By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/04/2006 11:04:37
THE Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday urged Zimbabwe to drop
"baseless" charges against two Botswana TV journalists arrested at the
weekend near the two countries' border.
Botswana Television reporter Beauty Mokoba and cameraman Koketso Seofela
were accused of practicing journalism in Zimbabwe without accreditation,
which carries a potential jail sentence of up to two years under tough media
They were arrested on April 30 and held for two days before they were
charged with violating Zimbabwe's draconian Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Botswana's director of broadcasting
services, Bapasi Mphusu, confirmed.
They were both released on bail Tuesday. They will be tried in Zimbabwe,
with a first hearing scheduled for May 23. Both will plead not guilty,
Mokoba and Seofela were arrested near the Botswana-Zimbabwe border, where
they had traveled to report on a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
in local livestock and the possible role of cross-border cattle rustling in
driving the epidemic, Mphusu told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The disease has caused several neighboring countries to ban imports of
Botswana beef, according to international news reports.
Zimbabwean police retained a videotape from the television crew, possibly
for use as evidence in the trial, Mphusu said.
''It is obvious that Beauty Mokoba and Koketso Seofela were merely doing
their job,'' said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ. ''These baseless
charges against our colleagues should be dropped immediately.''
Leon Marshall in Johannesburg
for National Geographic News
May 3, 2006
The king of beasts may soon be dethroned, as conflicts between African lions
and humans contribute to the big cats' population decline.
Now, to improve the lions' lot, conservationists are trying to rekindle an
age-old aspect of life on the continent, when lions and people lived
relatively peaceably side by side.
The effort will be tough, researchers say, but it is the best way of
preventing the iconic species from becoming even more threatened.
"Africans know how to live together with lions-they have been doing so for a
very long time," James Murombedzi told a workshop held earlier this year to
consider the lions' plight.
Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, Murombedzi is the regional director for southern
Africa for the World Conservation Union (IUCN) based in Switzerland.
IUCN and the Bronx, New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society convened
the workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, following a contentious
conference in Thailand last year.
At that event officials from Kenya (see map) had to back down in the face of
fierce opposition from other African countries when the Kenyans proposed
that lions be given more protection.
The suggested changes would have slapped tough restrictions on commercial
trade in lions and their parts, most notably trophies from safari hunting.
IUCN data show that lion numbers have remained relatively stable inside game
Currently between 23,000 and 39,000 of the big cats roam wild, according to
The trouble is in nonprotected lands, which encompass about half of the
species' range. This is where the lions' decline has been the biggest.
Overall the cats' population is estimated to have declined by 30 to 50
percent over the past 20 years.
The African lion is classified as vulnerable on the 2006 IUCN Red List of
In West Africa there are now thought to be fewer than 1,500 lions left,
meeting the Red List criteria for "regionally endangered."
Kristin Nowell of IUCN's cat-specialist group says in western and central
Africa lions have lost some 80 to 90 percent of their historic range.
Gus Mills, a senior researcher with South Africa National Parks, says that
the main trouble for the lions is that their roaming area has become so
"We are going to have to find ways of expanding their living room," he said.
"The only way is to identify areas surrounding wildlife reserves where it
will be possible for people and lions to coexist, and then to work at ways
of bringing this about.
"There cannot be hard and fast rules, because circumstances differ from
place to place and country to country. But where possible, we must see if we
cannot get a more mutually beneficial relationship going between lions and
people," Mills said.
The key to success, Mills says, would be to help communities see lions not
as a liability but as something that can secure an income in the form, for
example, of ecotourism or sustainable hunting practices.
He cautions that people will have to learn safety precautions, such as to
put their livestock inside enclosures at night.
Mills also says that a managed plan for killing lions that become a danger
to people or regularly attack livestock is better than indiscriminate
hunting or poisoning.
But some experts fear it may no longer be possible to get lion-friendly
projects going in densely populated areas, such as those adjoining South
Africa's Kruger National Park.
Southern and eastern Africa are home to the biggest lion population, with
between 21,000 and 35,000 of the animals.
In southern Tanzania† more than a hundred people are attacked by lions every
And in the area surrounding Nairobi National Park in Kenya farmers seeking
revenge for livestock attacks have killed an estimated 40 lions over the
past four years.
Mills says another option is to look at creating corridors between protected
lands as a way of expanding the animals' ranges.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, now in the process of being formed,
would link the Kruger park with Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park and
Mozambique's Limpopo Park.
Such a project would allow animals, including the lions, to expand their
range and use traditional migratory routes that are now blocked by fences.
Posted to the web on: 04 May 2006
Nicole Fritz and Joshua Koltun
HUMAN rights activists in Zimbabwe acknowledge the ennui that seems now to
characterise regional and international response to developments in
Zimbabwe. But South Africans and others should at least be able to feel
sufficient indignation for a new proposal that potentially has direct
implications for even those of us outside Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe authorities are
proposing new legislation that will authorise it to spy on the private
communications of its citizens. But given that these communications might be
transmitted to, or originate from, people outside of the country, all of us
entering into communications with Zimbabweans are at risk of surveillance.
The recently published draft legislation is apparently to be fast-tracked
for quick parliamentary approval.
In 2004 the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe beat back a previous attempt by the
seek such authority. The previous legislation was struck down as it violated
section 20 of Zimbabwe's constitution - that "no person shall be hindered in
the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold
opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without
interference, and freedom from interference with his correspondence."
Although the new legislation makes some half-hearted improvements over the
previous legislation, it remains fundamentally an attack on the constitution's
guarantee of freedom of expression.
The bill would establish a monitoring centre to intercept communications.
Communications providers would (at their own expense, and under sanction of
stiff criminal penalties) have to provide the software and hardware that
would enable the government to snoop on its own citizens.
A number of state agencies would be authorised to apply for "warrants" to
intercept communications. The agency obtains the warrants directly from the
communications minister, not from a court. Even oral applications will be
permissible. Information obtained in this way may be used in court, and for
similarly broadly defined purposes.
The minister's authority to grant these warrants is framed in broad
language, including on the grounds that "there are reasonable grounds for
the minister to believe that the gathering of information concerning" an
"actual threat to the national security ... of the country," or even
concerning a "potential threat to ... national security" is necessary.
Similarly, the minister can approve the opening and examination of people's
post - on the grounds that the agency "suspects on reasonable grounds" that
the mail "contains anything that will afford evidence of the commission of
The invocation of "reasonable grounds" might sound like it provides some
level of protection, but it is simply window dressing - since the minister
is the judge of the reasonableness of his own belief. There is no
requirement of judicial approval before interception.
And the provisions for after-the-fact judicial review seem intended only as
the cruellest kind of joke. The time periods to mount a legal challenge are
ludicrously short. A person aggrieved can complain to the minister - so long
as he mounts his legal challenge within 14 days. A person aggrieved by the
minister's decision has only a month to appeal to an administrative court.
In addition, the deadlines assume that a person knows she is being spied
on - indeed, the deadlines run from the time the minister notifies the
person of a decision. But the legislation does not require the minister to
let a person know that a warrant has issued. On the contrary, the
legislation specifically requires that the service provider enable the
government to carry out the interception without being detected.
To be fair, in many ways, Zimbabwe's proposed new law merely tracks
legislation that has been introduced in countless countries, including SA.
Governments worldwide are increasingly snatching greater powers of
surveillance because, in the best interpretation, modern threats such as
terrorism require them to do so, but more likely, and less nobly, because
more sophisticated technology means they can.
Still, Zimbabwe is exceptional. While SA's equivalent law - the Regulation
of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication Related
Information Act - permits surveillance by government agencies, this may
happen only under order of a court. Zimbabwe's proposed law will mean
government agencies need only obtain government authorisation in order to
Fritz is director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and
Joshua Koltun is an SALC lawyer.
††††† May 4, 2006
††††† By ANDnetwork .com
††††† HERD of elephants suspected to have strayed from Botswana is causing
havoc at the $50 billion Shashe Irrigation Scheme northwest of Beitbridge
†††††† In an interview yesterday, Shashe ward 8 councillor Luka Ndou said
the elephants were putting this year's winter wheat cropping programme under
threat. The Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, sponsors
Shashe Irrigation Scheme. "We are living in fear. The jumbos are really a
threat to our crops and lives," said Cllr Ndou. He said the irrigation
scheme was the major livelihood of the area and the residents would face a
bleak future if it were to be destroyed. Cllr Ndou said they have since
notified the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on the
issue but nothing has materialised. "We have notified all stakeholders
involved in wildlife management but nothing has come up, much to the
detriment of our lives," he said. He said some safari operators near the
ward had promised to cull the elephants but the situation was getting worse
with each passing day. Cllr Ndou said residents in the ward were living in
fear since the elephants descended on the area about 4 weeks ago resulting
in some school children absconding lessons. "We are faced with a big problem
and we have even approached the local Member of the House of Assembly Cde
Kembo Mohadi and he promised to assist," said Cllr Ndou. He said plans were
afoot to erect an electric fence around the irrigation scheme to protect the
wheat from further destruction. Cllr Ndou said elephants were becoming a
regular problem to the area and there was need for urgent action to protect
the community. He, however, said no human deaths have been reported so far
but people are living in constant fear of possible attacks from the
elephants. Efforts to get a comment from officials at the Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority offices in Beitbridge were in vain as no one was
answering the phone.
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Published: 04 May 2006
The HIV/Aids epidemic gripping Zimbabwe looks set to spiral further out of
control because President Robert Mugabe's foundering government is running
out of antiretroviral drugs.
Efforts to provide tens of thousands of people with the life-saving
medicines are failing as a shortage of foreign currency prevents the
National Pharmaceutical Company, Zimbabwe's chief drugs repository, from
distributing the antiretrovirals (ARVs), the state-run Herald newspaper
"There are 20,000 people on the ARVs national programme and we have less
than a month's supply of the vital drugs, and that is not encouraging,"
Charles Mwaramba, the company's acting director, told a parliamentary
Zimbabwe's struggling health sector has been badly damaged by a severe
economic crisis which has seen the inflation rate soar to 913 per cent.
Shortages of foreign currency, fuel, food, water and electricity have
brought the once prosperous country to its knees.
About 1.8 million of Zimbabwe's 12 million citizens are infected with
HIV/Aids. Of that group, 295,000 need antiretroviral treatment immediately,
but only 8,000 - less than 3 per cent - are receiving it, according to a
recent report from the World Health Organisation.
With an average of 3,000 people dying each week from Aids in the country,
yesterday's news that anti-retroviral drugs stocks are drying up was greeted
with horror. For the estimated 1.61 million people infected with full-blown
Aids, the future now looks even more bleak than before.
Many people, such as Lazarus Zhuwao, whose brother, Emmanuel, is dying of
the virus, blame President Mugabe's erratic and destructive policies for
making their deaths inevitable.
After his brother tested HIV positive last year, Mr Zhuwao was told by a
doctor that Emmanuel should start to take antiretroviral drugs. In a
telephone interview from Harare, Mr Zhuwao said he would have sold any of
his meagre belongings to buy the ARVs, but none were available. When he took
Emmanuel to the main hospital in Harare, he was prescribed Panadol
Mr Zhuwao said he was surprised by reports that Zimbabwe was running out of
ARVs: "It seemed there have long been none at all," he said.
Owing to acute foreign currency shortages, Zimbabwe has been unable to
import ARVs and now has roughly a month's supply left. An Aids activist for
a prominent NGO, who declined to be named, said drugs donated from abroad
were insufficient to cater for those in need.
"State hospitals and clinics here are death chambers. People go there to
die," she said. "They [state hospitals] don't have the drugs, nor the staff
to administer these drugs. People are dying like flies, particularly in the
rural areas, where Aids is worsened by poverty and malnutrition."
Mr Mwaramba said yesterday that his National Pharmaceutical Company was
allocated just $106,000 (£58,000) for ARVs by the central Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe between January and March, instead of the $7.4m it required.
"We understand that drugs are also competing with other items like fuel for
foreign currency, but the picture is not encouraging," he said.
Zimbabwe's economy has been in freefall since President Mugabe expelled more
than 4,000 white farmers and confiscated their land for re-distribution in
February 2000. Most of the repatriated land is now lying fallow. Four
million Zimbabweans are relying on the World Food Programme for food.
††††† May 4, 2006
††††† By ANDnetwork .com
††††† A CRITICAL shortage of water has hit Chiredzi town where demand has
outstripped supply resulting in council effecting daily water cuts.
†††††† Council has also banned the use of hosepipes. The town and
residential areas have been the hardest hit by the long hours of water cuts.
It is understood council requires $65 billion to upgrade Chiredzi's water
pumping system, which can serve only 7 000 people when the estimated
population stands at 25 000. The shortage of water has greatly retarded
development in the town as the problem had not been solved for sometime now.
"We have been experiencing a series of water cuts here, sometimes lasting
for about 12 hours everyday. Council has since banned the use of hosepipes
whose use now attracts a very heavy fine. What irks us most is that there
are plenty of sources from where council can draw water from but nothing has
been done up to now,'' said Mr Callisto Dzingirayi from Tshovani Township.
However, council officials said efforts to boost pumping capacity has been
affected by lack of funds. Town secretary Mr Charles Muchatukwa yesterday
said they have effected daily water cuts for the benefit of the community.
"Chiredzi requires urgent attention in terms of water because there is a
serious shortage of the commodity which has forced us to effect daily water
cuts because our water purification capacity cannot meet the soaring demand.
"We have since embarked on a water works upgrading exercise but progress is
being hampered by lack of funds. This year we received $10 billion from the
Government under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) but the whole
exercise requires about $65 billion to be completed,'' said Mr Muchatukwa.
He revealed that Chiredzi, which was granted town status in 2002, was for
two years ineligible to receive funding from the Government under the PSIP
as the town had not filled key positions, mainly that of the town secretary
and town engineer. Currently, the town draws its water from canals owned by
sugar milling giant - Hippo Valley. Mr Muchatukwa said it was crucial that
Chiredzi looked for an alternative source of water as part of a permanent
solution to the predicament. He said council was mulling drawing its water
from Manjirenji Dam or alternatively Chiredzi River, both of which have the
capacity to supply the town. Last year council halted the upgrading of water
works after they procured pumps of the wrong size. However, the council has
since bought the required pumps.
By Msekiwa Makwanya
Last updated: 05/04/2006 11:05:02
ARTHUR G.O Mutambara, the President of the other MDC faction addressed a
rally at Manchester on 30th April 2006.
It is interesting to note that different Zimbabwean online newspapers
focused on different aspects of the rally. Some people chose to focus more
on the number of the attendees than the issues that were addressed at the
rally, while others preferred to focus on the substance. The readers always
have the privilege of reading and judging for themselves.
It is worrying to observe that the concern with the number of people
attending rallies or meetings is becoming an obsession. My concern is that
some people are becoming more concerned about counting the people than
focusing on the issues being addressed which leaves one wondering whether
the battle in the opposition is about the quality or quantity of change. It
is tempting to get the impression that, instead of concentrating on the
issues being addressed at these rallies and meetings, some people are busy
counting the people who attend.
It is important to realize that statistics often conceal more than they
reveal. For instance, the people who come to rallies are not always
supporters but there may be potential supporters. Of the people who come to
rallies, you are never sure how many will agree with you, and decide to
continue to following your party, but it is important to be given the chance
to share your views. You cannot claim people at a rally, people attend
rallies for different reasons but you should be more concerned about whether
people are actually getting your message.
I know the tired argument about democracy being a game of numbers, and it is
precisely that understanding or over-emphasis which feed into this obsession
with numbers. Democracy has more ingredients, than just numbers, it is also
a culture of respect, equal opportunities, and battle of ideas and rules of
engagement. A report on New Zimbabwe.com put the figure at 400 people, with
the Zimbabwejournalists.com website putting the attendance figure much
higher at 500 people. Then we had a report circulated by Morgan Tsvangirai's
MDC faction spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, claiming that there were just 35
The dispute about numbers makes a mockery of what is important to the people
of Zimbabwe, the actual message and ideas of the change agenda.
Dr Alex Magaisa rightly argued that being obsessed with being in the
majority tends to create a problem of perception or misconception. You could
be in the minority on one issue or at some point without being even aware of
it and being in the minority does not always mean being wrong. In fact,
people's views or perceptions change do change, and we are all engaged in
the discourse of what is happening in Zimbabwe either passively or actively.
It will be interesting to hear what Prof Arthur Mutambara's ideas for
Zimbabwe at the rally in London on 9th May. So much has been said about the
rocket man, it is time for those in London to meet him. One thing is clear
about this rally already, it will be a two way meeting judging by the talk
in some parts of London, people will not be only listening and asking
questions, they will be also expressing the views from the Diaspora, and
hopefully the organizers will prepare a process for robust engagement.
Once again, more important will be the ideas discussed and not the number of
Msekiwa Makwanya is a social commentator based in England. Contact can be
made through firstname.lastname@example.org
††††† May 4, 2006
††††† By ANDnetwork .com
††††† A villager from Murehwa, who went into extensive lemon production
eight years ago after embracing the agro-forestry concept, is yet to fully
realise benefits from his endeavour due to limited market for the citrus
††††† Mr Baxtone Nunurai Mangwende (48) of Nhende Village in Murehwa South
constituency planted 150 lemon trees in 1998 with the help of the Forestry
Company. He also cultivated two hectares of blue gum-trees and established
40 Kenyan bee-hives which give him 2 400kg of honey every year. However,
lack of a clear-cut market for his produce has been detrimental to his
venture and he has to rely on local vendors who are mainly interested in
purchasing lemons. Mr Mangwende is now pinning his hope on getting help from
the Ministry of Science and Technology Development in order to establish a
small plant for manufacturing marmalade jam, lotions and lemonade.
"Initially, my view was that I could live off my projects over the last
couple of years, but I am failing to attract buyers for the lemons, honey
and blue-gums. I rely on vendors who don't provide a reliable market for my
produce," he said in a recent interview. Mr Mangwende's hopes were raised
following the recent call by the Minister of Science and Technology
Development, Dr Olivia Muchena that the country can employ science and
technology to promote economic recovery, increased agricultural output,
environmental sustainability as well as realise poverty reduction and
improved health. "The minister is on record saying these objectives require
formulation and implementation of policies that promote utilisation of
available resources in addressing the challenges that Zimbabwe faces. It is
my profound hope that agro-forestry will be considered in the future
policies by the ministry," said Mr Mangwende. He also expressed hope that
industrial development in rural areas will focus on raw materials available
in the areas, in order for them to move from being areas of consumption
rather than production. Mr Mangwende lamented that agro-forestry farmers
have for long been marginalised, yet the country has the capacity to export
produce like mangoes, lemons, oranges, guavas, apples, avocado pears and
bananas if the responsible ministries can tap into this market which is
lying virtually unexploited. Despite producing 2 400kg of raw honey per year
from his 40 bee-hives Mr Mangwende still relies on vendors for his market,
although he joined the Bee Keepers Association of Zimbabwe a couple of years
ago. He revealed that he has the potential to set up 300 bee-hives with the
capacity to produce 12 tonnes of honey per year. Such production would
result in the birth of an industry that manufactures wax, candles, floor
polish, shoe polish and other honey-related products and thus bring the
much-needed employment to rural areas. The industrial sector in rural areas
has been restricted to the production of coffins, scotch-carts, window
frames and burglar bars, while the areas continue to be characterised by
businesses such as beer halls, bottle stores, butcheries, grocery shops,
flea markets, hair salons and a few banks. Rural local authorities have
failed to promote the potentially lucrative agro-forestry industry despite
having agriculture technicians in their employ, while the Forestry Company
has not been committed to assisting in the sourcing of markets for the
produce, leaving the rural farmers to virtually struggle on their
By Crisford Chogugudza
Last updated: 05/04/2006 11:04:57
THIS paper tries to explain in some limited detail how the concepts of Greed
and Opportunism have significantly led to the death of a nation state in
Greed in particular has been the mainstay of political activity across the
political divide in Zimbabwe.
Those with access and power to control resources have to a large extent
enriched themselves and bled the country out of its last vestiges of
survival and this has worsened rural and urban poverty.
The poor in Zimbabwe today are almost ten times poorer than they were 10
years ago according to the latest UNDP development index.
This sad scenario is directly linked to the high levels of corruption and
greed in the country. The advent of the land reform programme could not have
come at any better time for these greed opportunists. What started as a
genuine policy of social justice in Zimbabwe degenerated into a national
disaster primarily because of the opportunistic and greedy politicians.
The systemic and culpable failure of the controversial land reform is a
direct result of greed and opportunism of gigantic proportions. Political
greed and opportunism has become fashionable in Zimbabwean politics today
and nothing seems to satiety greed and hence people practising it in
perpetuity. It is saddening to note that some of these greed opportunists
are ironically people who are respected and tasked with the responsibility
to oversee the land distribution programme itself.
News in the largely reliable independent media in Zimbabwe has recently been
pointing at that certain ruling party and government bigwigs continue to
invade farms and are chasing away the remaining productive white commercial
farmers while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono continues
to talk about transparency, rule of law, accountability and investor
confidence. These greed opportunists make the Governor's job very difficult.
Paradoxically, these new farm invasions by these greedy politicians take
place at a time the government is unashamedly inviting the former white
farmers back on the farms and on the sidelines calls for bridging bridges
with the west are becoming louder. Opportunism has largely created political
mediocrity in political party leadership in Zimbabwe. These leaders in some
cases lack the necessary integrity, accountability clear vision and level of
sophistication to function effectively in a country in transition. Some of
these leaders today join political parties to either plunder resources or
raise their political profiles.
A biting allegory of unrestrained greed and opportunism has crippled
political vibrancy and accountability across the spectrum of Zimbabwean
institutions. Even within the once revered civil society it is all about
power, greed and opportunism. Partiality as long as it raises stakes has
substituted impartiality and competence in most of the civil society
organisations, people now use these organisations to market their political
profiles in readiness for change of political fortunes. Even those people
and organisations once reputed for projecting honest and credible views
about the state of the country have either clandestinely joined the
political opposition as trustees, advisors or some other dubious role.
Some have joined the ranks of the establishment in order the benefit from
the farms or the spoils of the bleeding economy and this is happening at
systemic proportions. Some critics have however, blamed the rise of greed
and opportunism to the failure of Zanu PF to stamp its authority on errant
members and restore order and public confidence in the economy. There is
extensive political greed, opportunism and corruption in our political
system today because of low moral standards and the existence of a vicious
cycle starting with political corruption leading to bureaucratic corruption,
business corruption and the criminalisation of politics. Our nation is
fundamentally corrupt and corruption flourishes because there are people in
higher echelons of power who benefit from the present system. Unfortunately
those who benefit are also those who initiate the changes to check
corruption and this rotten propensity inevitably leads political and
The problem with greed in top-flight politics and business in Zimbabwe today
is that it is not only fundamentally wrong in the moral sense, but also the
fact that greediness seems to be a lousy strategy in responsible party and
government politics. Sheer opportunism leads to gloom and in multifarious
ways an insane society as well as a stagnant economy characteristic of
Zimbabwe for the last decade. What frustrates many rational minded
Zimbabweans is the way in which political affairs are conducted and
decisions are made.
Most worryingly, the perverse, grotesque tales of greed, opportunism,
exploitation and blatant profiteering by people in offices whose
accountability is only placed selfishly where they believe their bread is
buttered. The issue that worries many in Zimbabwe is that no one seems to be
responsible for halting the death of the state in Zimbabwe. Previously, the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
and other business groupings used to refer to the Zimbabwean economy as
resilient but this now a thing of the past, there is just a free fall of the
economy and so is the state. It becomes even more difficult for the IMF,
World Bank and other multilateral finance institutions to consider salvaging
the Zimbabwean economy when such horrendous acts of greed and barbarism are
Zimbabweans are responsible for their own destiny and unfortunately in this
case it seems the destiny is political and economic extinction. The road to
destruction has always been the easiest and the road to recovery though
largely inconceivable under the current political establishment could be a
long and painful one. Who ever wants to change the status quo must first get
rid of wanton greed and opportunism which is responsible in part for
stifling political and economic development.
The Foreign Policy magazine in their research recently concluded that
Zimbabwe ranks number 5 behind Sudan, DRC, Ivory Coast and Iraq out of 148
countries on the Failed States Index rankings. The index primarily looks at
such factors as political, economic, and social indicators of instability. A
state that is failing has the following attributes among others; loss of
physical control of its territory, erosion of legitimate authority to make
collective decisions, inability to provide reasonable public services, brain
drain, group based inequality, institutionalised persecution or
discrimination, severe democratic pressures, environmental decay, inability
to interact with other states as a full member of the international
community, extensive corruption (Zimbabwe currently ranks in the top 15 of
most corrupt countries according to the transparency international rankings)
and the absence of the rule of law, large scale involuntary dislocation of
the population (more than three million Zimbabweans have left the country
since 1995), sharp economic decline (Zimbabwe 's economy has shrunk by more
than a quarter in the last decade, inflation is highest in economies outside
war zones and according to the World Economic Forum Growth Competitiveness
Index rankings 2004-2005 comparisons, Zimbabwe is ranked number 98 out of
Zimbabwe is out of the AGOWA, NEPAD initiatives and has been for more than
two years running excluded from benefiting from debt forgiveness
(cancellation) by the world's wealthiest nations. It is inconceivable that a
country with so many odds against it can ever recover economically under the
current political dispensation. Whether a change of government that is
willing to work with the West for purposes of survival is anybody's guess.
The fact is that any further isolation of Zimbabwean largely influenced by
greed and opportunism will increase the suffering of the already
impoverished and disenfranchised Zimbabweans. In view of the above, the West
can also play a big role by initiating dialogue with political leaders of
course using a carrot and stick approach where it matters.
However, there is a general feeling that the sanctions regime imposed by the
West on Zimbabwe is actually hurting the poor more than the intended targets
and any hopes for recovery from the current state of collapse may need
divine intervention. Nothing seems to work today in Zimbabwe and the
unbridled greediness continues to relentlessly bleed the economy further
with no signs of abating.
It is common knowledge that states can fail at varying levels through
various reasons. It true to mention that Zimbabwe falls under the above
category of failing states in many respects. Failed states can be
re-established by concerted efforts aimed primarily at rebuilding the
institutional capacities particularly the important institutions of the
military, police, civil service, the system of justice, leadership and
institutions of democracy.
However, given the calibre of politicians there are in Zimbabwe today,
rebuilding the country will be an uphill struggle unless greed and
opportunism is eliminated among other factors. It is unfortunate that greed
in particular has increased the levels of corruption and economic decay in
Zimbabwe. Opportunists in the mould of aspiring politicians turned business
moguls with clandestine backing from top politicians in some cases have
taken advantaged of the near anarchical situation and enriched themselves.
Genuine accountable politicians will always have the interest of their
country at heart. The stage at which the country has reached now requires
everyone to join forces irrespective of political affiliation in an effort
to resuscitate the state and the economy. Those clinging to power should be
encouraged to either relinquish or share it responsibly and allow other
players into their shoes. Those willing to wrestle power should also do it
democratically through peaceful means. Those among us who are opportunists
and greedy should be flashed out because recovery of the state cannot be
achieved with them at the midst of the struggle. If 20 percent of our
population is corrupt then what it means is that 80 percent are victims and
so the onus is on the majority to fight the former or suffer in perpetuity.
Crisford Chogugudza Social Commentator based in North London Can be
contacted on email@example.com
LONDON - The Zimbabwean website www.mukuru.com has announced a further
evolution to its Diaspora services. From May 1 the site will be expanding
its current fuel offering to include 17 petrol stations nationwide and a
distribution agreement with BP. The move will enable customers in the
diaspora to send fuel vouchers home via email and sms from mukuru.com paying
via credit card, paypal, cheque or wire transfer.
"The key attraction here is the speed of transaction. With five clicks of
the mouse a relative can get SMSed a voucher and redeem his fuel at any of
the stations," explained founder Rob Burrell.
Mukuru.com has also just launched a money transfer service. With competitive
rates and guaranteed 24-hour transfers, buyers can browse online and send
Zim Dollars back home instantly.† For those who don't have internet access
Burrell and his team are rolling out a string of reseller branches around
the UK, so buyers can walk in off the street, browse a brochure, and pay
there and then for goods and services to be collected in Zim. If you are
interested in becoming a reseller anywhere worldwide then email
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean teachers in exile here held their first Congress
at the weekend, amid calls from the Secretary General of their Zimbabwean
mother body, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), to go back
to Zimbabwe and boost the education sector which has gone down the drain
owing to the exodus of trained teachers. Raymond Majongwe, who presided over
the elections to appoint an executive committee for the South African
chapter, called on the Zimbabwean government to take drastic measures to
improve the conditions of teachers so that those in exile could go back home
to uplift the standard of education. "Zimbabwe still needs these teachers
who have left the country because of poor salaries, unpalatable working
conditions as well as political harassment. Our organisation has never
encouraged teachers to leave the country as alleged by some people,"
Majongwe said. He said the call by President Mugabe for all the
professionals who have left the country to return home and help to rebuild
the country indicated a realisation by those in power that they cannot do
without those they have caused to flee. Majongwe also called on the teachers
to unite and fight the ill-treatment and exploitation they are facing in
private colleges in South Africa. "You run away from Zimbabwe because of
fear and you want again to live in fear. You should stand up for your rights
and don't let yourselves be exploited by these colleges."
Many Zimbabwe teachers based in South Africa are being exploited by private
colleges who pay them peanuts to work in harsh conditions. The outgoing
PTZ-SA chairman, Bongani Nyathi said, most of the teachers were afraid to
expose the exploitation in case they lost their jobs. Commenting on the
recent increases awarded to teachers, which saw all salaries doubled,
Majongwe said he was glad that at last the government had heard the demands
put across by his organisation. Members elected to the executive committee
include: Doctor Ncube (Chairman), S Limukani (Vice Chairman), Bongani Nyathi
(Secretary General), Prosper Ndlovu (Treasurer), Salomi Dlamini (Women
Affairs secretary), Thuso Khumalo, a teacher turned journalist
(International Affairs), Thulisile Dube (Information and publicity),
Khulumane Mutsamai and Esnathi Banda - committee members. - CAJ News
HARARE - A new organisation has been started in Harare offering a
personalised service to care for elderly relatives who have had to be left
behind as families disperse throughout the world to escape political
persecution and economic destitution in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Entitled TALC -
Tender Antique Loving Care - the organisation offers a number of services
including payment of monthly utility bills and medical aid, counselling,
spring cleaning, basic home maintenance, regular visits, pet care and
special birthday events.† - For more info, call +263 91 315 323 or email
BULAWAYO - Some service stations here have refused to service Zanu (PF) cars
following the non-payment of bills by the ruling party that intends to spend
billions of dollars to purchase 100 new vehicles. According to the party's
confidential Central Committee report, 2005 was the most turbulent for the
party in terms of maintaining its 102 vehicles. "At the moment garages
(service stations) are not servicing our vehicles because we have
accumulated high bills. We strongly recommend that the party establishes its
own garage to attend to all party vehicles. We believe this will help in
cutting vehicle maintenance costs by more than sixty percent as we will be
procuring our spares and utilising personnel already in the party," reads
the report. The Central Committee accuses garages of overcharging and
sometimes invoicing for work that is not done. It also attributes problems
bedevilling its fleet to the abuse of motor vehicles by party members who
were fond of using cars for their personal businesses.- CAJ News
HARARE - Felix Mafa, the executive director of the Post Independence
Survivors Trust (PIST) believes that the Mugabe regime is now targeting
families of opposition activists as a way of silencing them. He says the
government has produced a warrant of arrest for his US-based son, who has
been accused of spying for the British and American governments. "My son is
not a spy. All these allegations of him spying against the Zimbabwe
government are false, and I will not let them take my son or anyone's son
ever!" said Mafa in a recent telephone interview.† He lost a son to the
Mugabe regime during the Gukurahundi, believed to have been drowned in Lake
Kariba by the 5th Brigade.† His body has never been recovered. Mafa, a
founder member of the opposition MDC, has demanded compensation for those
killed or maimed during the Gukurahundi period.† On March 14 this year he
was arrested with several other MDC provincial officials, detained for one
day and released just before the MDC congress began. The police accused him
of trying to oust President Mugabe with the help of his son. Documents and
computers were seized from his offices MDC officials have confirmed that
suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organization, aiming to
suppress protests, had abducted provincial officers of the party's youth
wing along with members of their families, beaten them and threatened them
if they organize protests against the government. In interviews, several
victims of the crackdown said the suspected government agents threatened
them with death if they tried to mobilize people to demonstrate in keeping
with a call by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai for mass protests. -
HARARE - The new-look Ngoma magazine, a National Arts Council of Zimbabwe
publication specializing in arts and cultural issues, has been revived.
Pamberi Trust has taken on the production of the quarterly arts magazine for
2006, and the first issue is alive with news and updates, information and
opinion from arts commentators, administrators and promoters - music, fine
art, theatre, band management, news from Bulawayo "the City of Kings", arts
development in rural Binga, jazz, poetry, fine art, Amakhosi's new website,
the new Arts Journalists Association, up and coming artists and programmes,
NAMA winners, HIFA attractions and Culture Week celebrations.
A generation ago, who would have imagined that traditional mbira would
mesmerize our urban cultural landscape; that a group of unknown young "live"
poets would redefine literary boundaries by bringing back its oral
tradition; that stand-up comedy would dare to challenge deep-rooted social
taboos and prejudices, and get away with it?
Who could have foreseen the revival of jazz taking place; that Harare would
be host to HIFA one of the largest arts festivals in Africa; and sculptor
Dominic Benhura would achieve world acclaim?
Meanwhile people dance to Tuku from Zanzibar to Brazzaville; 1950s township
Cool Crooners have become the darlings of Paris; and a formerly unknown
writer, Brian Chikwava has won the Caine Prize for literature. - Artists are
invited to forward information to Pamberi Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org, for
either the magazine or the website. Subscribe at email@example.com or
HARARE - The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has rejected the
idea creeping into the ruling party's agenda of replacing a failed
commission with another commission to run the affairs of the city at the
expense of a democratically elected council. "The residents of Harare are
clear on what they want. For the record, the residents were loud and
categorical at the Girls' High School last week before the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Local Government that conducted a public hearing into
the state of service delivery by the City of Harare," says a CHRA statement.
"Perennial commissions with unlimited terms, no matter where they come from
are unwelcome in Harare and any other local authority. What we demanded
yesterday, what we demand today, and what we will demand tomorrow is that we
need new elections for a people's council now," says the statement. "We are
aware that the plot is to get residents to endorse the removal of
Makwavarara and celebrate a new commission. Service delivery and legitimacy
are non-existent in the current strategy. The prolonged administration of
Harare by commissions that lack the mandate of residents will further
prejudice residents of their democratic right to choose leaders of their
choice. The principle of re-appointing commissions beyond the mandatory nine
months has been ruled illegal by the High Court and the Supreme Court."
A huge number of calls have been received by the office this week. Thanks to
all those who are working so hard to gather the information that is needed
by the legal team to prepare the AA case for the re-hearing. Please keep the
calls coming as each piece of information on returnees to Zimbabwe makes the
overall picture clearer. We only have a few more weeks before the hearing so
it would be helpful if members understand that the AA case is our priority
at the moment, and most other matters are being put on hold. ZA members with
legal queries on individual cases should remember that there will be a
lawyer in the office next Wednesday afternoon (10 May) to answer such
Depressing news this week concerns the continued detention of one Zimbabwean
woman who has now been detained for eleven months. Our understanding is that
detention should only be used when removal is imminent. Clearly this is not
the case here. Attempts will continue to be made to secure her freedom.
Three people were released from detention last week, leaving only two
Zimbabweans (known to us) in detention - the lowest number for several
years. One mother has been good enough to share with us her problems re
vouchers. In her area they are only exchangeable at an Asda supermarket,
which is five miles away. She hasn't had much luck offering her vouchers up
in payment for transport! When she eventually got to Asda she found that the
type of milk on sale there was a type that her baby was allergic to; her
husband only eats halal meat, which wasn't available, and she couldn't find
any mealiemeal. Have you had problems with vouchers? Let us know. ZA paid up
members should all have received notification of an Extraordinary General
Meeting to be held on 8 May at 6 pm at Development House. The meeting is
solely concerned with establishing the ZA as a charity and is expected to
take about 30 minutes. Correction: Please note that in a previous column
(16/4) we said that Mr Ockelton was permitted to sit on the panel at the
AIT, which will hear the AA case. This is not correct. It is the President
of the AIT, the Honourable Mr Justice Hodge OBE, who will be chairing the
panel. We can be contacted at the office on 020 7549 0355 on Tuesdays and
Thursdays (messages may be left on the answer machine at other times), or by
fax 020 7549 0356 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADVICE LINE: Asylum queries - Wednesday 10 May and 7 June, 2 - 5pm
Support queries - Wednesday 17 May and 21 June, 2 - 5pm
The satirical comedy, Breakfast with Mugabe, opens in the West End this
week. The following statement on the reality of life in Zimbabwe under
Mugabe, by Glenys Kinnock MEP, Co-President of the ACP EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly, has been included in the programme, ensuring that
incredulous theatre-goers understand that the play is not just a figment of
someone's imagination: The tension and intensity of 'Breakfast with Mugabe'
reveals and reinforces the truth.† The swaggering tyrant, brilliantly
portrayed by Joseph Mydell in the play, has actually declared himself to be
an admirer of Hitler.† As all evidence shows, he models himself on ruthless
autocrats who have governed through repression, intimidation and political
violence. Zimbabwe's economy is in tatters.† The regime has driven away many
foreign investors and the country's commercial, farming, mining and
manufacturing sectors have been ruined. Mugabe's Zanu (PF) Government has
dragged Zimbabwe into bankruptcy, fixed elections, tried to terrorise the
judiciary, the press, the unions and the people.† In his rantings, he claims
heroic stature and absolves himself of any responsibility for the tragedy
and suffering he has caused. The land which he misrules once had one of the
best standards of living in Africa.† It has now fallen to the bottom of the
pile.† Since 1996, GDP has almost halved and income per capita slashed by
60%.† Life expectancy for women now stands at just 34 years making it the
lowest in the world.† For men, it is 37.† Zimbabwe's unemployment currently
stands at 80% and inflation at 913%.† About 4.6 million people rely on food
aid and 3.5 million Zimbabweans have fled - mainly to South Africa, Botswana
and the UK. Political opposition is growing more audacious in Zimbabwe.
Now, their efforts to restore democracy need and deserve to be backed by
their neighbours and by the international community. In the last 10 years,
the liberation that offered so much hope has been perverted into terrible
tyranny.† Zimbabwe's leaders exploit memories of the past with posturing and
political symbolism whilst multiplying the agonies that - naturally -
inflict the worst harm on the poorest and the powerless. Against this
background, the staging of Breakfast with Mugabe is indeed timely.† The
continuing slide to disaster demands urgent action.† The Mugabe regime -
those who implement its policies and those who benefit from its corrupt
despotism - may think that the international community will stand back.
They must be proved wrong. We must not tire of supporting the suffering
people and the courageous efforts of Zimbabweans who strive for democratic
change without resorting to violence. Breakfast with Mugabe tells us why.
BY FARAI KASHIRI
Every society creates art and images that become a unique 'library' of
cultural memory, reflecting passages of time, changing values, movements
within a society and its relations with other cultures. Zimbabwe's visual
culture is currently being scattered, even more than previously, as people
move. Many Zimbabweans took their much-loved sculptures and paintings with
them when they left and some of the artworks inevitably find their way onto
the market. Five artworks are being put up for auction in the UK, including
one piece in stone by master sculptor, Nicholas Mukomberanwa (1940 - 2002).
I met him at the National Gallery in Harare in the 1970s, when he was a
policeman and only able to sculpt in his spare time. Gentle, warm and
principled, he was the sort of policeman one would hope for and respect† -
so very different from the debased role being forced on our ordinary
Mukomberanwa's art speaks of the noble nature and warm humanity that many
identify as essential characteristics of Zimbabwean people - characteristics
in danger of irrevocable damage from the warped power-mongering and
corruption of the illegal Mugabe regime. And for those very reasons, his
work will remain of lasting value for Zimbabweans in generations to come.
Born in Buhera District in 1940, Nicholas attended St Benedict's Mission
School, where he showed a talent for drawing, and then went on to Serima,
where they were in the process of building a new church and looking for
artists. Established by the Swiss Bethlehem Fathers and under the leadership
of talented architect Father Groeber, Serima Mission was one of the few
places where the importance of images in local culture was not only
understood and taught but incorporated into the students' environment. It
was Father Groeber's respect and admiration of African aesthetics that led
him to create superb buildings reflecting local style and using local
materials. The church at Serima - with its open spaces, carved wood altar
and stunning floor-to-roof screen of apostles, saints and angels, baptismal
font clad in small clay tiles depicting biblical scenes, two side-altars of
gracious beauty, one with tiers of fine voluminous clay pots, and sculpted
Stations of the Cross - is one of the most inspiring churches I've ever
visited. The title of the work being offered for sale is unknown, but it
depicts three people joined together in grief or suffering. The sorrow is a
shared experience, not a solitary one. It brings them closer. Their
emotional bond is evoked in the physical form of the sculpture, which allows
no spaces between them, no divisions, no separation. The three heads press
silently one against the other, under a single uniting head-cloth, the
repeated shapes of the closed eyes and unhappy mouths echoing across the
surface. And, the mark of a master artist, we sense their living thought and
sorrowful being beyond the surface. Of great interest is the second artwork
for sale. It is a piece of church 'furniture' carved on a gum pole and may
have been one of the 'practice pieces' for the screen of columns behind the
Serima altar. It appears to be in the rich and dramatically worked style of
the earlier period at Serima, with the small crucifixion sheltered between
narrative biblical scenes carved in bas relief and decorated with strong
chevron patterning. The other three works for sale are from the woodwork
school at Driefontein Mission, not far from Serima and also set up by the
Bethlehem Fathers. The artist (or artists) of these works is unknown. The
tall (three quarter actual size) male and female figures (probably Joseph
and Mary) appear to be by the same artist, and possibly also the third and
smaller figure (perhaps a priest or saint with a prayer book). Delicately
carved out of light Jacaranda wood and stained, the figures have an elegance
and peacefulness about them that is appealing. Their style is quite
different to that of Serima, and closer to the style of carving found at the
missions near Rusape. More conventionally European in approach, they are
interesting, as is all the Serima and Driefontein work, in the depiction of
biblical figures as Africans - at a time when this was highly unusual. Sad
though it is that these works - which are part of all Zimbabweans'
heritage - are being dispersed, hopefully they will find an appreciative
environment (perhaps the British Museum which now holds so much of the
cultural heritage of countries in the South).