Zanu PF unsettled about life after
10/15/02 9:38:10 AM (GMT +2)
travel to Europe, I notice millions of people jostling into
morning, clutching newspapers, flipping through documents and
material into portable computers.
They are consumers of various
goods and services, provided by someone.
They are always busy, on their way
to produce something for someone,
translates into wealth and sovereignty, even when
the majority of them do not
possess a piece of land.
Inflation and unemployment, when they
reach record levels, rarely
shoot above five percent.
those people to Zimbabweans today: heads bowed, standing in a
hours, either hoping that tomorrow will be better or frantically
for an escape route.
We eagerly greet strangers at every
opportunity, out of courtesy,
perhaps, but more importantly to try to squeeze
out some relief: a Scud, a
few coins, a copy of a newspaper, pieces of which
are valuable for rolling
tobacco, a job - indeed, any job, and even
Today, greetings are long and painful, the sad
stories are endless,
the plastic smiles are everywhere - scenes showcasing
the height of personal
ruin, economic inactivity and human debasement,
normally associated with
refugees pleading for political asylum.
Try to discuss politics and many either walk away as if they have
say or size you up first before speaking in hushed tones.
concerned about himself, about life in the final years of Robert
about work, transport, seed, children - just about everything.
Workers and villagers are anxious about the Zanu PF Chinhoyi meeting
December. In their view, Mugabe is so weak that it would be unthinkable
him and his two deputies, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, to stick it
Whatever happens, it will take Zimbabwe a long, long
time to regain
its lost self. Zanu PF no longer wants any election to be
if the turnout is high. Mugabe's successor could even ban
The party views democracy as an uncomfortable option because
of the depth of
the crisis of legitimacy it faces.
opposition has been virtually besieged. Voters are desperate for
oxygen, basic rights and opportunities to speak out. Had it not
been for the
sudden appearance of the MDC, further confused by the adoption
strategy of lawlessness as a survival apparatus, Muzenda could have
retired to the hills of Zvavahera.
True, everything has no end. The
ball began to roll after the
dismissal from Cabinet of former Finance
Minister Simba Makoni in September
and the supposed elevation of John Nkomo
to the President's Office.
A coterie of Zanu PF stalwarts toyed
around with the idea of Makoni
being a candidate for the high-powered post.
Another group spoke highly of
Nkomo, partly because of his name, his
maturity, experience and fealty to
In the eyes of the party
kingmakers, Makoni could appeal to young
people, a constituency Zanu PF is
trying to seduce without much success.
Given his stubbornness and love for a
semblance of sober economics, Makoni
could scuttle the ongoing scramble for
crumbs. At worst, he could easily
to be a Zimbabwean Levy
Mwanawasa - suddenly stripping Mugabe of his
immunity against prosecution and
going after all those responsible for the
chaos here. Recent events in Zambia
seem to have worsened his dreams. He had
That left Nkomo
as somebody worth talking about in the succession
debate. A former trade
unionist, Nkomo has the correct surname, and could
easily face up to Morgan
Tsvangirai, another ex-trade unionist.
But how could he deal with
the fractures in Zanu PF today, bringing in
brackish stalwarts like Eddison
Zvobgo, ambitious drivers like Philip
Chiyangwa and Saviour Kasukuwere,
Mugabe's family close associate Ignatious
Chombo, die-hards Enos Chikowore,
Didymus Mutasa, Josaya Hungwe and many
others unable to live without Mugabe?
Could he stand up to influential
Zezuru tribalists, some of whom are running
collapsing bus companies,
derelict farms and so-called indigenous
Could Nkomo unite Matabeleland with the top brass in the
men whose record will take years to clear and whose known love
for power is
increasingly becoming evident almost daily? Could Nkomo be
trusted, if put
under pressure? Like Makoni, he could easily follow
Mwanawasa's footsteps to
legitimise his hold and to cleanse himself of the
He was pushed upstairs, temporarily though, in
something else to maintain an ethnic balance sheet in
government. Nkomo will
take over as acting President, but not as the
His appointment, according to villagers in
Mashonaland, will cause
maximum discomfort, sufficient to open the door for
As Speaker of Parliament, Mnangagwa is perfectly
positioned for a
higher office. Mnangagwa is making his presence felt at
every gathering of
officials to market himself. Zanu PF provinces have been
directed to accept
him as the boss.
newspapers, already making huge losses, have been
tossed onto the market, out
of fears that the usually abused State media,
under a heavy hand from an
intemperate late-comer, could muddy the ointment.
The commanders of
the uniformed forces are happy with him, not because
he is Mnangagwa, but to
ensure that their lives and Mugabe's sunset years
Mnangagwa, aka Ngwena, is known as a strong character
able to discipline all,
applying maximum force when necessary. But then what
will happen to Nkomo?
Vice-President, of course! And, to the villagers?
Nothing, in the land of
While that is the Zanu PF grand plan for continued
Zimbabweans have made a tactical retreat to work out strategies to
killer punch and revive the shrinking political space.
When all the theatrics inside Zanu PF are over and done with, it will
impossible to persuade young people that it is fine to live without
When the MDC was formed in 1999, Zanu PF
enjoyed an obscene majority
in Parliament, but was never at peace with the
people. When Zimbabwe
experienced the first food riots in January 1998, and
the first land
invasions by the Svosve people in the same year, there was no
country was a de facto one-party state.
the re-arrangement of chairs on the deck of the Titanic
can never be a
substitute for freedom, prosperity and human dignity.
Auret story false: Ncube
AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor
HARARE Central MP, Mike Auret, is receiving treatment in a Cape
hospital, but has not quit his parliamentary seat as reported in a
In an interview yesterday, Welshman Ncube,
the MDC secretary-general,
said Auret was still an MDC MP and had not
resigned from the party and
The Financial Gazette last
week reported that Auret's seat had become
vacant after he told the MDC
leadership four weeks ago that he was
alleged that two factions had emerged within the MDC, one in
favour of the
party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, standing for the seat.
faction is opposed the idea because they believe the leader
would be more
useful outside the House, which they alleged had become a
"The story was false and all I know is that Auret
has been ill for a
long time and once in a while, he would go to South Africa
for treatment and
come back. His doctors said he should concentrate on his
treatment . . . and
we agreed about liaising with Parliament to regularise
his absence from
duty," said Ncube.
A few days ago one of your articles covered a story about a British
politician visiting Zimbabwe and a conversation he had with an old man who
begged the Politician
"Don't let the world forget us".
This sentence inspired me to write this poem for this man - and every man,
woman and child in Zimbabwe - You will not be forgotten - you cannot be
Don’t let the world forget us
Don’t let the world forget us!
A plea – with desperate eyes
shoulders - feeble voice
A life - a diet - not of food –
of Violence and
Don’t let the world forget us!
But no one seems to care
His eyes are
dark, they tell of pain,
Torture - troubled death.
Because the world will
Don’t let the world forget us!
His eyes dim with resignation
cares - His life’s destroyed
Or about this jewel -
Don’t let the world forget us!
He mumbles in his sleep
Too weak to
walk or to protest.
Terror rules his mind -
Devours his soul – too weary
Don’t let the world forget us!
He sighs and turns away
It seems they
have forgotten us
With other wars to fight!
I guess we’ll have go
alone…..Remember - Our Own Way!
MDC is for open debate and consensus
I REFER to the letter (The Standard 6 October 2002) which criticised MDC
I wish to stress that the MDC was born out of a coalition of a number of
civic groups which included the youth, women, war veterans, trade unionists and
others. In its three years of existence, the MDC has made great strides—57
members of parliament, five mayors, some 100 councillors and much more. These
outstanding achievements would not have been possible outside of the MDC.
MDC decisions are made through an open, rigorous and democratic process of
consultation and debate, resulting in consensus, and this sets the MDC apart
from other parties.
While the president exercises his prerogative by nominating his shadow
cabinet from among MDC parliamentarians and while the MDC management committee
selects party secretaries from the National Executive Committee (NEC), elected
by Congress, both lists are submitted to the NEC, where decisions are arrived at
by frank debate and consensus.
I am not a member of parliament and am therefore not eligible for selection
to the shadow cabinet. Confirmation of names on both lists from the NEC is made
by the National Council (NC), the MDC’s decision-making body.
Since my confirmation as MDC secretary for international affairs in 2000,
our department, in its work abroad, has reflected the political reality inside
our country—that, Morgan Tsvangirai remains the national choice for president
and that he is today the elected, legitimate, most popular and most effective
president of the MDC and of Zimbabwe.
Sekai Holland (Mrs)
MDC secretary for international affairs
Shadow MP, Mberengwa East Constituency
The reality behind the satire
I READ the comment from Brian Latham: ‘Yes—we have no fuel’ (The Standard,
6 October 2002) and really enjoyed it.
The situation is completely abominable and desperate, yet I couldn’t help
smiling at the way it was written. It smacks very much of the kind of humour
reminiscent of the great writer, Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the
Galaxy and I commend Mr Latham on his very good writing style and humour. To an
outsider, Mr Latham’s comment seems completely fictitious yet to us Zimbabweans
it’s all too real and is, sadly, ‘the real reality’.
I just hope that Mr Latham’s humour is not lost on the members of the new
AU and the true story pricks their conscience into galvanising the AU into some
form of concrete action to resolve this desperate crisis we find ourselves in.
The country belongs to all of us
THE recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa exposed
the depths to which our illegitimate president has sunk.
Mugabe displayed arrogance, selfishness stubbornness and above all, failure
to represent us as a nation. He made us feel like sheep deserted in the
wilderness by our shepherd.
South African President Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy towards Mugabe has failed
and the summit should have proved to him beyond doubt that with Mugabe in his
way, he should forget about African Renaissance and Nepad. Politically and
economically, the whole southern African region is under threat because of
Let it be spelt out in no uncertain terms that all those African leaders
who support Mugabe do so at the expense of Zimbabweans. In fact, we are better
off without their misguided support for a dictator who has refused to respect
our own laws and who has destroyed the country for selfish reasons. The
liberation struggle was not fought and won by Zanu PF as a party, but by
Zimbabweans as a people and it is for this very reason that the country belongs
to Zimbabweans, not to Mugabe. Indeed, we fought a repressive system used by the
white minority to suppress the black majority.
Needless to say, Mugabe and a host of his cronies were once or twice the
victims of repressive laws such as the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act. It is
sad that two decades down the line, Mugabe has unashamedly put in place the same
repressive laws to suppress the majority. He is running our country like a
Of course, the greatest enemy is our faulty constitution which gives Mugabe
all the power a dictator needs. Like Hitler, Mugabe is on a failed mission to
possess Zimbabwe. The army, police force, CIO, war vets and ministers all dance
to Gushungo’s tune. No wonder our police force has lost its credibility. The war
vets and Zanu PF supporters roam and rampage around the country doing as they
Price controls to be widened
By Rangarirai Mberi
THE government is expected to widen the list of goods covered by its
populist but retrogressive price control policy, which is generally blamed for
fuelling the current shortage of just about every basic commodity.
Standard Business is also informed that finance and economic
development minister, Herbert Murerwa, will announce the widened list
when he presents his budget proposals next month. The minister is also
expected to implement tight monitoring mechanisms to plug any
loopholes which manufacturers, who are struggling to stay afloat in these
stormy times, might be exploiting in their bid to beat the system.
Industry officials told Standard Business on Wednesday that government
officials had alluded to this at a meeting with Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) officials.
“We are told that senior government officials are anxious to see the prices
of more commodities coming under control in order to contain inflation,” a
prominent industrialist said.
Price controls were reintroduced late last year, with Murerwa, then
and commerce minister, among the central drivers of the policies. The
price caps were slapped over basics such as maize-meal, sugar, cooking
oil and bread, among others, leading to serious shortages of the same
products as industry and retailers refused to comply.
Export of basic goods was also banned last year, as government fought to
beat the shortages. Murerwa is expected, according to the sources, to
propose new measures to halt illegal exports, and is reportedly also
unsatisfied with the $500 fine imposed on retailers for overcharging by the
statutory instrument the price controls were brought under.
It was not clear last week which new products were targeted for control by
government, but state officials and pro-government commentators have
been quoted in the recent past pushing government to stretch controls to
farming inputs and other products that would cushion resettled farmers
from inflation, which soared to a record high of 135% last month.
Industry and international trade permanent secretary, Stuart Comberbach,
who has recently assumed a sterner tone when addressing local
industrialists after criticism from Zanu PF hardliners that he was weak,
last week accused local manufacturers of dodging government policy on
the prices of basic commodities, and blamed them for a thriving black
market for the scarce goods and foreign currency.
But hamstrung industrialist said any further expansion of price controls
would sap any residual confidence from Zimbabwean business.
“If one looks at results just released by listed firms, there are signs
price controls are not abandoned, and abandoned soon, eventually we
are going to see more shortages on the shelves as manufacturers will
concentrate entirely on exports to survive,” an analyst with a brokerage
Price controls have already hurt ZSE listed concerns such as seed
processor SeedCo, National Foods, Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries and
sugar producers Hippo Valley. The analyst said even cash rich Dairibord,
which runs a virtual monopoly over the local dairy products market, in its
profit report released recently showed signs of being fatigued by the price
We are ‘the wretched of the earth’
THE trend in recent weeks for visitors to Zimbabwe to describe the country
and its people as wonderful and happy, has been truly alarming and
reprehensible. Clearly, it is a case of ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ and smell no
It is too easy to come to a country for a few days or weeks and make
sweeping generalisations about a situation one knows very little, or
nothing, about. Harare is not Zimbabwe. Worse still, the hotels in the
capital city that loom large on the landscape, visible to people who earn
a year what it costs to stay there one night, equally do not tell the story
It is absolutely ridiculous to talk of Zimbabwe today in terms of a country
peace with itself. That is really pushing looseness of language to
unacceptable limits. The reality of the situation in Zimbabwe is quite
different from that being presented by these rent-a-crowd visitors.
The fact that starvation and hunger are taking a heavy toll in both the
and urban areas is of no consequence to these visitors and the powers
that be. It is not so much what these people talk about as to what they
to see, hear and talk about.
This is a country of massive unemployment—about 70% and inflation of
more than 130%. Wealth has been bestowed on a tiny elite and the mass
of the population have been sentenced to poverty and physical
deprivation. The reality of life without work has become a permanent state
for the majority of the population. Zimbabweans have become the
‘wretched of the earth’ in the true sense of the phrase.
In terms of health, Zimbabwe has become two nations. Hospitals for the
poor have few medicines. Our esteemed visitors are never taken to these
places for obvious reasons. Deaths at birth among babies born to poor
Zimbabweans are much more numerous than those born to rich
Under conditions of chronic food shortages and the severity of
Zimbabwe’s economic problems, Aids is decimating the country’s
children and labour force. In cities and towns, people are grossly
overcrowded with many living in shelters of plastic and cardboard. Their
plight goes unnoticed as our visitors’ eyes are closed to these
things—content as they are, to take refuge in fiction.
Then there is the growth of authoritarianism, anarchy and violence that we
have witnessed in Zimbabwe during the past 32 months. Members of the
opposition have been murdered, beaten up and tortured. Journalists have
been arrested and some beaten up and there has been no let-up in this
culture of violence and impunity.
In the light of all this, why paint a picture of conditions of peace and
stability in Zimbabwe? Why pass judgment as if these visitors are doing
so from inside knowledge and practical experience? These visitors have
never been to places where violence and mayhem has taken place and
neither have they been allowed to talk to people who have been victims of
violence nor have they been on the receiving end of the sheer terror and
repression that has reared its ugly head in Zimbabwe since the
constitutional referendum of February 2000.
The point has to be made that the blatant praise of Zimbabwe’s situation
has done this country’s cause no good at all and has in fact provided the
Zanu PF regime with more ammunition to continue on its wayward path.
The fallacy has played right into Mugabe’s hands.
Over and over again, the majority of these visitors repeat the praise. That
does not make what they say true. In fact, repetition can make even the
ugliest of political fantasies seem true if they are not exposed for what
they are. It is always reprehensible to the majority of Zimbabweans when
visitors to this country are fed on a diet of misinformation and yet
and experience point to the contrary.
Zimbabweans of all races are fleeing Zimbabwe. More than one million
have fled to South Africa, over 500 000 have left for the United Kingdom
and a sizable number are now living in Australia, USA, Canada, New
Zealand and elsewhere in the world. This massive exodus represents an
alarming loss of skills at a time when the country’s development is crying
our for more trained and experienced personnel in various fields. What is
deeply disturbing is that more Zimbabweans continue to leave. The
question to be posed to our visitors is: Why are Zimbabweans leaving in
their droves if this country is an oasis of peace and stability as you
Can you not see that there is something rotten in the state of Zimbabwe?
There is very little good news here. There are those who are directing
matters of state in this country who believe that there is enough for a few
when the majority sincerely believe that there should be enough for
everyone. The ordinary men and women—more that 90% of
Zimbabweans—are now truly scavenging. Nobody—and we mean
nobody—thought that we would end up with such a useless and
worthless Zimkwacha. We have no doubt that the men and women
responsible for the destruction of what was once a beautiful country will
not escape, come Judgment Day.
Greed and the need to insulate power by those who were first to come to it
and monopolise it is what has reduced Zimbabwe to a basket case. We
say it more in sorrow than in anger that the monarchical tendency within
Zimbabwean politics, whereby everything of consequence in national life
centres on one man because he has a monopoly of the state’s
instruments ranged against those who will challenge his party and
position of authority, is what we find most unfortunate.
Be that as it may, we want, in closing, to plead for a sense of
for a sense of balance in those visitors who have an urge to comment on
Zimbabwe’s crisis after coming, seeing for a few days and then going
away. Rather than adopting sweeping claims, or terms of praise, that
sound ridiculous to the ears of Zimbabweans or exhibiting a hysterical
note of unreality about Zimbabwe, our ‘esteemed’ visitors might care to
face up to some stubborn and reducible facts.
Brotherhood of the miserable
overthetop By Brian Latham
A GROUP called the Sad And Depressing Countries, comprising 14 member
states, have said they will not meet with western imperialists unless their
friend the troubled central African nation is represented—though they’ve also
said they don’t want the troubled central African country to have anything to do
with their leadership.
All this emerged over the last fortnight when the most equal of all
comrades flew to the saddest and most depressing of all southern
African nations for a meeting. Leaders gathered in what might pass for a
mediaeval city (if it had better plumbing) told the most equal of all
comrades that he was most welcome among their number, but not as a
Analysts pointed out that the move was not surprising. Among the
14-member states, several leaders look considerably worse than the
most equal of all comrades. One has been at war for about 40 years, is
guarded by black clad ninjas and regularly shoots his opponents—or
anyone else he decides should be killed. Another actually managed to
inherit his country, which he proudly claims is democratic. Another has so
many wives his subjects have lost count. And the supposedly most
important appears to have Alzheimer’s. Either that or years of circulating
on the diplomatic cocktail circuit have addled his brain to the extent that
doesn’t know what day of the week it is.
Still, there was a furore in the troubled central African nation when
enemies of the state pointed out that the meeting in the saddest and most
depressing African nation didn’t go quite as planned. “It was
mendacious,” screamed the disinformation minister, “to suggest that the
most equal of all comrades had been turned down as the next supremo
of the august body. On the contrary, he had himself turned down the
position on the grounds that he was rather busy at home, what with
allocating farms, fending off an insatiable sand dwelling Arab with lots of
oil and juggling an economy battered to death by the imperialist Brits.”
This was followed by a brief pause before it was explained that there was
nothing insatiable, avaricious or rapacious about the gent in the tent. On
the contrary, he was the troubled central African country’s fraternal
in international Islamic socialism’s fight against the imperialist western
puppeteers and their crony lap dogs in the More Drink Coming Party.
Despite the denials, citizens of the troubled central African nation were
confused and unsure whom to believe. While they would have liked to
think the most equal of all comrades had received one in the eye from the
Sad and Depressing Leaders, it seemed unlikely given precedent.
“We’ve become accustomed to the idea that the brotherhood of Sad and
Depressing Leaders is confined to the owners of all the diamonds, oil,
large farms, bauxite and various other riches our wonderful continent
possesses in such rich variety,” said one analyst. “Also, if you haven’t
Ninjas, Youth Brigades, Young Pioneers, Youth Leagues or other
movements armed with large sticks, you can’t join the club.”
Meanwhile, the question of whether the most equal of all comrades
jumped or was pushed from his lofty leadership perch was left hanging
as debate raged across the country.
Secretive to the end, a spokesman from the most confused of all southern
African nations said: “Um.” This was backed up by a spokesman from another
troubled central African country who said: “You’ll have to ask my colleague from
down south. The whole process was conducted in English and I can’t speak a word