Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
As the Solidarity Peace Trust report "Crime of Poverty" (released on 19 October) makes abundantly clear the intense misery caused to so many in Operation Murambatsvina, continues unabated. The Mugabe regime which visited this terror upon hundreds of thousands of the poorest of the poor, has done nothing to help rebuild their shattered lives. The so-called rebuilding operation, "Operation Garikai" (or "Hlalani Kuhle") is a cruel deception, no more than window dressing, which to date has not provided one single dwelling to any of those whose homes and businesses were destroyed in the first brutal, unlawful, assault. What is more, despite official denials and every effort made to cover their tracks by this callous and calculating regime, the fact is that Operation Murambatsvina is continuing with repeat demolitions wherever the internally displaced persons (IDPs), out of sheer desperation, dare to return to the sites of their original homes. Our reporter saw some of the continuing, and ever-deepening, misery of those affected when he visited the Killarney settlement outside Bulawayo again this week.
Most, if not all, the former inhabitants of the three informal settlements at Killarney whose homes were destroyed in the first raids carried out in June have moved, and been moved on, several times now. It is not unusual to find IDPs who have moved six and more times since June - from Killarney, to one of the Bulawayo churches, to the transit camp at Helensvale, to some remote rural location, back to Bulawayo on foot, and on (with the assistance of the Combined Bulawayo Churches) to first one and then another location in a desperate bid to find a place to stay for a while without fear of further forced removal. As might be expected, the health and general well-being of these destitute people have suffered through the trauma of these repeated removals. Some have died as a result, and that includes not only the most obviously vulnerable like little babies and the elderly frail, but some in mid-life. Rejected by the State as so much "filth" to be swept aside, deprived successively of work, food, shelter and the last scrap of human dignity, some simply succumbed to total despair. Like Patrick Ncube, the 39 year old man, married and with two children, sheltering temporarily on Spring Farm after being evicted from Killarney, and Mike Mkwakwa, another man in mid-life whose tragic story was told briefly in the Solidarity Peace Trust report, both of whom were buried last week; Like the mother of the three-week-old twins in Mpilo Hospital, who died shortly after giving birth, despite having no history of any prior medical problems - and like so many others whose deaths will not even be recorded.
Consider the history of another - let's call him Thabo because he has not succumbed to death yet and therefore his identity must be protected in the police state that Zimbabwe has now become. Thabo is in his 60s. Our reporter saw him collecting a few plastic containers of water from a water pipe not far from where he had made a temporary (and well-concealed) shelter for himself in the bush. His parents came to what was then Rhodesia from Malawi half a century ago. When they died Thabo found employment as a security guard at Victoria Falls. There he met his bride-to-be whose home was at Nyathi. The couple married and went to live at Nyathi. However as the liberation war intensified Nyathi became an uncomfortable place to live with all the military activity in the area. Thabo and his wife therefore moved to Matobo on the other side of Bulawayo with their four children. They were happy enough living there, but after independence they found the area was being targeted by the notorious 5th Brigade. Mugabe's maniacal genocide programme, Gukurahundi, was just getting under way. The family moved back closer to Bulawayo and found shelter where they could, at Killarney. Thabo's wife has since died and his children left home, leaving this elderly widower to fend for himself as best he can. Then in June 2005 Mugabe's second military-style operation to remove the human "debris", code-named Operation Murambatsvina, swept through Killarney. As he watched his home of 20 years being razed to the ground by Mugabe's black-booted agents of terror, Thabo took to the bush where he remained in hiding for a number of weeks. While in hiding he did not even dare to light a fire to cook a meal for fear of alerting the riot police. During this time he lived off scraps of food, including a few stale buns, which he managed to scavenge off others almost as desperate as himself. Finally, having nowhere else and no one else, to turn to, Thabo returned to Killarney, rebuilding the shack which had once been home. It was a vain gesture of hope (or was it defiance?) for a few weeks later the Mugabe storm troops swept through the area again, destroying his and the few other shacks which had been re-occupied. Leaving Thabo with only the bush to call home.
When our reporter visited the site on Saturday he was able to see the result of yet another military sweep through Killarney village 2. He spoke to a small group of numbed and shocked residents, of whom Thabo was one, who had fallen victim to a cruel ploy of the security forces the previous day. So as to surprise those who had been eking out a precarious existence at Killarney at the same time as they evaded the riot police, a group of plain-clothed CIO operatives visited the area on foot, leaving their police vehicle some distance away. In this way they took a group of eleven IDPs totally by surprise. As soon as they had them surrounded, they demanded to know why these people were still living at Killarney. They shouted abuse at the bemused group which included at least one elderly woman over 70 years of age. "Why are you still here?" they screamed. When one of the beleaguered group of mostly foreign nationals dared to ask where they should move to, they were told not to answer back. Finding these poor, unfortunate victims a place to call home was not in the slightest the concern of the CIO.
Worse was to follow. The CIO operatives said there had been some thefts from homes in the adjoining suburbs. They accused this pathetic group of being responsible, and since the rule of law has long since been overthrown in this country, they set to work to extract a few confessions there and then. They singled out three of the eleven for special attention. Each was handcuffed and tied to a tree before being given a severe thrashing. The "interrogation" included the use of fists in blows directed to the unprotected heads and upper torsos of each. A brazen flouting, not only of the law these officers were commissioned to uphold, but of every norm of international law upon which the rule of law itself is predicated.
When eventually they failed to extract the confessions they were seeking, the CIO left off. A further speech to harangue their unfortunate victims and they made off to recover their vehicle, but not without a final warning that they would be back in three days time. "Woe betide anyone we find here then," they said, "because next time we will bring dogs with us!"
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From Themba Nkosi in Kezi
19 October 2005
Fifteen years after an estimated 25 000 Ndebele villagers were massacred by Robert Mugabe’s notorious army unit in Zimbabwe, the Fifth Brigade, local human rights officials have embarked on a programme to identify hundreds of mass graves containing the remains of the victims.
Human rights officials were requested to prepare a case against the government by the survivors and family members of those who perished during the Gukurahundi atrocities.
‘We are already preparing for a post Mugabe era. That’s why villagers are working with us to locate the mass graves with the remains of those who died during the massacres’ said one of the local human rights officials.
The officials said they have so far located 76 mass graves in Kezi and Tsholotsho districts alone. They are also trying to establish the fate of hundreds of other villagers and young people who disappeared after they were forced marched from their homes by the notorious fifth brigade.
Some of those who disappeared were declared dead by the local courts a few years ago. Others are said to have died from torture in detention and in secret camps, which were run by the brigade troops in the bush. Kezi villagers said the majority of people who went missing were actually executed by the soldiers who set up a camp in Bhalagwe village about 10 km from Maphisa Business Centre in Matobo constituency.
According to Sibusiso Ncube, most of the victims died a painful death and should be given a decent burial once Mugabe leaves office. Local cultural leaders are also planning a big cleansing ceremony in Matabeleland once Mugabe leaves power.
Jabulani Sibanda, the leader of the war veterans association, said that he too would like to see the perpetrators of the massacres tried in international courts.
‘We want the UN to be involved in these trials of ZANU-PF politicians and five brigade commanders’ said Sibanda, who was recently expelled from the ruling party. He accused the United Nations of doing nothing to help the survivors of the massacres.- SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news.
Posted to the web on: 24 October 2005
HARARE - A Chinese firm is expected to provide transmitters worth $63m to
Zimbabwe's state broadcaster, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The debt will be offset through proceeds from a joint Chinese and Zimbabwean
mining venture, according to the state-controlled Sunday Mail.
China is believed to be interested in obtaining chrome and nickel from
Zimbabwe, the paper said.
The deputy governor of the China Development Bank, Zhao Jianping, arrived in
Zimbabwe on Saturday to oversee the deal to provide transmitters, the report
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, facing increasing isolation from the
west over his government's human rights abuses, has called for closer
business ties with Asian countries to replace traditional western markets.
The Observer (UK), 23 October
In the wilds beyond the M25, a homesick African has planted 20 acres of
Zimbabwean maize. It is David Mwanaka's own field of dreams. Here, William
Shaw traces the roots of the story to a personal ad the farmer placed more
than three years ago.
Glimpsed over the iron gate, close by a cricket ground and the remains of a
Roman villa, the crop makes an astonishing sight. The stalks are more than
3m tall; the thick leaves gleam in the afternoon sun. The field's bounty
looks too lush, too exotic for this muddy English field close by the M25.
Among his 20 acres, just outside Enfield, stands the farmer, directing the
harvest. He wears his wellies green and drives a mud-spattered Toyota Land
Cruiser. Less conventionally, he is growing a relative of sweetcorn known as
white maize. In Africa it's a staple. Here it's practically unknown. Just
over three years ago David put the following advert in Loot: 'Arable land
for farming wanted 20 acres or more, would consider less...' Writing the
Small Ads column in this magazine, I spotted the ad and, on a hunch, I
called. David kindly agreed to be interviewed. David had been born in the
Nyanga mountains of Zimbabwe. His father and uncles were all farmers there,
but from the age of seven David dreamed of becoming a journalist and writer.
He succeeded, too. He worked for Read On, a radical magazine set up to
promote adult literacy, interviewing political figures such as Morgan
Tsvangirai. He became a published poet; his plays won awards and were
performed on Zimbabwean radio. But as the economy faltered, and Mugabe
tightened his grip on the media, David and his colleagues would be followed
by government agents - once, they were even chased through the streets. By
1991, it was becoming clear that David could have a better life in Britain.
He moved here and enrolled in a journalism college, but never found work; he
wonders if it's his strong Zimbabwean accent. Instead he ended up working
through a variety of lowly jobs. 'Which was the worst? Well, most of them,
actually,' he laughs. The nadir was working as a parking attendant. 'Public
enemy number one,' he said. 'I hated that.'
It was while he was working eight hours a day behind a desk in a bank,
bristling at the routine, that David finally decided enough was enough. Like
his father, he would become a farmer. Like many African immigrants, the
40-year-old missed the flavours of home; specifically white maize. It is
similar to sweetcorn, but chewier, and it has a much more floury sweetness.
If you're raised on sweetcorn, you probably won't like white maize. But for
those who've grown up eating it, white maize is the glorious taste of back
home. David had grown it in his garden in Tilbury, in Essex. Traditionally
it's a hot-climate crop, so for several years he had experimented to
discover the ideal planting time for the British seasons. It took David a
further three years to produce maize. Even though he could now grow it,
convincing other people wasn't so easy. His wife Brenda, with three young
children - Jonathan, Ruth and Miriam - to raise, didn't share his faith.
'That first year when he said he was going to find a field, I thought he was
crazy,' she laughs. 'I thought, where's the money going to come from?' But
Brenda caved in; she recognised it was something David badly wanted to do.
Not knowing how to rent land here, David began by knocking on farmers'
doors: 'Can I rent some land?' Nobody took the round-faced, quietly-spoken
Zimbabwean seriously. He suspects people didn't believe an African farmer
could possibly know how to farm in the UK. 'White maize?' one farmer told
him. 'You must be dreaming.' Next, David tried advertising for land; again
no one responded. That's how I found the advert. I wrote up the story,
pleased to point out the ironies: he'd left a country where white farmers
were being evicted; where people with no experience and knowledge were being
given land to till. Here, David couldn't find a single acre. But after the
column appeared in spring 2002 things changed; several farmers who had read
it called to offer him land. One was in Wales, the other from a farmer
almost on their doorstep. 'You can come and view a piece of land near
Enfield...' 'Wow,' they told each other, gazing over that iron gate at the
20 acres. 'We're dreaming.' It was perfect. Time was already short, but
David borrowed tractors from helpful locals and planted his first crop
within weeks. 'It was so exciting,' he recalls.
The first year was not good - lack of rain wiped out half the crop. The last
two years' harvests have been much more successful, forcing him to rent a
further six acres near Salisbury to meet growing demand. He advertises in
community magazines and on his website www.mwanakafreshfarmfoods.com. Word
has spread fast beyond the Zimbabwean expatriate community to other
Africans, Asians and South Americans. This is his third harvest. You pick
the maize off the stalk as it ripens. The days are long. Brenda and David
are in the field from eight in the morning, and on the internet and phone
until nearly midnight, scheduling pick-ups from the farm. The crop is sold
almost entirely on site to private buyers, small restaurants, shops and
families. Throughout the day a steady stream of cars arrive from all over
Britain: from Luton, Leicester, Bradford, Manchester, even Glasgow. At this
time of year the fields make an incredible sight. Buyers wander wide-eyed
among the maize and the pumpkin leaves - eaten like spinach by Zimbabweans -
he grows between the rows. 'Some of them simply can't believe it,' says
David. Jane, a young Kenyan from west London, turns out with her
two-year-old, who plays with the maize husks. It's her first visit to
Mwanaka's farm. 'I'm so happy to find this,' she smiles. Before she'd only
been able to buy white maize flown in; it can't compare for freshness with
David's crop, she says. Brenda tallies bags of it into a silver Ford Mondeo
bound for Northampton. The back seats are full to the roof. The boot will
barely close. A black farmer can still draw stares in England, but David is
now a part of this landscape. As he stands among the tall crop, he says, 'I
think all farmers experience this feeling. When the crop grows, I'm proud
I've done it.' Of course, he also shares his fellow farmers' worries about
the crows who steal his corn; about the rain; when the first frosts will
come - frost kills the maize's flavour. Still, his market is expanding so
rapidly that next year 26 acres will not be enough. And the need to rotate
crops means that some of the land he's already farming will be unfit for
maize. It's a worry. In some ways he's back where he was three years ago:
arable land for farming wanted. But this time around, his fellow farmers
will be taking him a little more seriously.
Mon 24 October 2005
BULAWAYO - Ten candidates have submitted their names to stand for the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in Bulawayo and Matabeleland
North provinces in open defiance of calls by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
to boycott the November 26 senate election.
More candidates from the opposition party are expected to submit their
names in Matabeleland South province but it was unclear by midday whether
other provinces across the country would also follow suit to defy Tsvangirai
and submit candidates for the poll.
Those who have submitted their names to stand for the MDC in Bulawayo
province are; Thabiso Ndlovu (Magwegwe-Lobengula constituency), Sibangilizwe
Msipa (Bulawayo-Makokoba), Rita Ndlovu (Bulawayo-Nkulumane), Fanuel Bayeye
(Pumula-Luveve) and Greenfield Nyoni (Mpopoma-Pelandaba).
In Matabeleland North the following will stand for the MDC: Jacob
Thabane (Bubi-Umguza), Jabulani Ndlovu (Hwange East), Hebert Sina Mpande
(Binga), Dalumuzi Khumalo (Lupane-Nkayi) and chief executive of the banned
Daily News newspaper, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo who will represent Tsholotsho
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party will be represented in
Bulawayo province by the following: Sithembiso Nyoni (Magwegwe-Lobengula),
Calistus Ndlovu (Bulawayo-Makokoba), Dumiso Dabengwa (Bulawayo-Nkulumane),
Lot Senda (Pumula-Luveve) and Tryphine Nhliziyo (Mpopoma-Pelandaba).
More ruling party candidates were expected to submit names at
nomination courts across the country later in the day.
Nomination courts will announce at the end of the day names of people
who have been accepted as candidates. But this is usually a mere formality
with everyone whose papers have been initially accepted by the court assured
they will be allowed to stand in the poll.
MDC spokesperson in Bulawayo Victor Moyo told ZimOnline: "We are
grateful about out candidates who have shown courage by agreeing to contest
despite threats from the other camp. We are going ahead and all we are now
waiting for is the official confirmation of our candidates by end of the
Tsvangirai is expected to issue a statement later in the day about the
unfolding rebellion in his party.
The MDC is on the verge of splitting along ethnic lines after its top
leaders disagreed over whether to contest the senate election with
Tsvangirai insisting the party should not stand in the poll because it will
be rigged by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
Tsvangirai also insists the new Senate is a waste of scarce resources
for a country which should be focusing its energies on fighting starvation
threatening a third of its 12 million people.
But party secretary general Welshman Ncube and other senior MDC
leaders say the party should contest after its national council narrowly
voted for it to participate in the poll.
Besides they say the MDC cannot surrender political space to ZANU PF
by boycotting the senate election.
But the wrangle appears to be taking a clearly ethnic line with the
southern provinces of Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South and parts of
Midlands populated by Ndebele speaking people rooting for Ncube's position.
Ncube is Ndebele.
Northern provinces populated by Shona speakers appear to be backing
Tsvangirai who is a Shona. - ZimOnline
Mon 24 October 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed
as "mere allegation" claims by a top official of his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party that the party was illegally funded by foreign
Tsvangirai, who said his spokesman William Bango would issue a full
statement over the matter later in the day, said he will not "lose sleep"
over claims by MDC legislator for St Mary's Job Sikhala that the opposition
party took financial donations from the governments of Nigeria, Ghana and
The MDC leader said: "Sikhala is prone to such outbursts which do not
help the party. It is a mere allegation but unfortunately he speaks as if it
is a fact. We cannot lose sleep over that."
Zimbabwe's Political Parties Finance Act prohibits parties from
receiving external funding, restricting parties to only take donations from
people, companies or organisations based locally.
In an interview with the state-run Herald newspaper, Sikhala claimed
sharp divisions in the MDC over whether to contest a senate election next
month were in a large part fuelled by disagreements over control of US$500
000 given to the party by Presidents John Kuffour of Ghana and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria.
Sikhala, who did not give substantive evidence to back his claims,
also said the MDC had received US$2.5 million from Taiwan.
The legislator's claims are likely to see the state opening
investigations into the MDC to establish whether the party violated the law
by taking donations from outside the country.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be immediately reached to
establish whether the government would indeed probe the MDC. If it is
established that the MDC received the money, the funds could be forfeited to
The opposition party is already grappling a severe crisis threatening
to split it along ethnic lines after its top leaders disagreed over whether
the party should run in the November 26 election.
Tsvangirai says the party should not contest the poll which he says
will be rigged by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party. The
MDC leader also argues that the proposed new Senate is a sheer waste of
resources for a country that should be focusing its energies to fight hunger
threatening a third of its population.
But party secretary general Welshman Ncube and other senior leaders
say the MDC should contest after its national council narrowly voted to
participate in the poll. They also say the MDC cannot surrender political
space to Mugabe and ZANU PF by boycotting the poll.
Nomination of candidates for the poll is underway across the country
with the MDC members in some parts of the country expected to submit their
names for nomination while others will stay away from the election. -
24 October 2005 03:07
A Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker on Monday said his party
received $2,5-million in illegal funding from three foreign states, the
latest blow in a bitter feud threatening to split the main opposition apart.
"It's true and I can confirm that the Movement for Democratic
Change [MDC] received funding from Ghana, Nigeria and Taiwan," MDC lawmaker
Job Sikhala said.
But a spokesperson for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai denied this,
saying Sikhala was "out of line".
"As far as the party is concerned, that is not the issue. The
MDC has never received funding from Taiwan. He [Sikhala] goes further to say
Nigeria and Ghana have funded the MDC," said William Bango.
"Mr Tsvangirai knows nothing about the alleged funding. He is
surprised that Sikhala would make such false allegations," Bango said.
Zimbabwe's Political Parties Act prohibits parties from
receiving foreign funding.
Sikhala was adamant, however, that the latest funding came from
the governments of Ghana and Nigeria three months ago and that feuding over
money was the root cause for a looming split within the MDC, which currently
holds 41 seats in the 150-seat Parliament.
"All this fighting in the party is over money," Sikhala said in
response to a report in the state-run Herald newspaper on Monday.
It quoted him as saying the MDC received $2,5-million in funding
from Nigeria, Ghana and Taiwan.
"The struggle in the party borders on the issue of controlling
donor funds that were recently released by his Excellency President John
Kufour of Ghana and His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria,"
"It's not about the Senate elections or the interests of the
people of Zimbabwe. Rather, senior party leaders are angry because of $500
000 from the West African state [Ghana] which was misappropriated by a
Sikhala added: "Donor funding has been drying up of late and our
leaders are now busy fighting over the little money that has been coming
Speculation that the MDC had been riven by divisions and a power
struggle gained momentum after party leaders issued contradictory statements
two weeks ago over its participation in the Senate elections on November 26.
Some MDC members said they would register senatorial candidates
on Monday for nomination, contrary to Tsvangirai's wishes at courts around
Tsvangirai argues against contesting the Senate election, saying
its creation "is an ill-timed and expensive venture amid the food and
economic crisis wracking the country". -- Sapa-AFP
Mr. Kwabena Agyapong, the Press Secretary to the President, His Excellency
Mr. J. A. Kufuor, has refuted claims that the President of the Republic of
Ghana has given US$250,000 to the Movement for Democratic Change, the
leading opposition party in Zimbabwe.
The Press Secretary described the allegation which appeared in the Herald
Online, a Zimbabwean newspaper and given prominence by GHANAWEB, an
independent website which carries general news on Ghana, as baseless.
"Ghana respects the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and would not do anything to
interfere in the political process of that country", he added.
The Herald (Harare)
October 23, 2005
Posted to the web October 24, 2005
AS the 2005 third school term winds up to pave way for the senatorial
elections scheduled for November 26, the all-too-familiar debate on what
schools should charge has cropped up once again against the background of
escalating fees caused by inflation.
With several schools across the country asking parents to supplement this
term's fees, indications are that there will be a significant rise in school
fees during the first term of 2006.
Several boarding schools, both State-owned and private, argue that the fees
paid at the beginning of the term have since been eroded by the country's
This situation, the schools further argue, has seen them grappling with
equally high operational expenses, which can only be mitigated by way of
additional funding from parents.
Despite making these claims, it is generally agreed that the prevailing
economic hardships in the country have not spared the parents either.
Most hard-pressed workers are overstretching their already depleted incomes
to make ends meet and the schools' requests for supplementary fees have
therefore been seen to put a heavy burden on many of them as they had not
anticipated additional payments.
School authorities, however, contend that the budgets they had initially
drawn up for the term have fallen far below the high cost of essential goods
and services required to run their institutions.
This time around, some schools have made it clear that those who fail to pay
the required fees risk losing precious learning time, threats that have seen
parents making frantic efforts to source the funds, albeit under rather
Although only a few weeks remain before the school calendar ends on November
24, parents have been compelled to comply with the schools' requests.
On average, mission schools are said to be demanding a minimum supplementary
fee of no less than $1,5 million while a considerable number of trust
schools have asked parents to pay lower margins of $2 million.
At the beginning of this term, private and mission schools increased fees by
as much as 100 percent, citing the same reason - that their charges needed
to be commensurate with inflation.
Government schools also hiked their fees by varying proportions. For
instance, tuition and boarding fees at Arundel Girls' School went up from
$16 million last term to $25,5 million while Peterhouse increased its
charges to $31 million and Hartmann House to $10 million.
Lomagundi College near Chinhoyi pegged this term's fees at $27 million while
Kyle College in Masvingo and Prince Edward High School increased their fees
to $16 million and $15 million (boarding) respectively.
Like in previous heated confrontations over fee payment issues, the request
for supplementary funds has provoked different reactions among parents with
some arguing that it was not fair for schools to demand more when the school
term was due to end in only a few weeks' time.
The time allowed for the payment was also too restrictive, as many learning
institutions have emphasised that the top-up should be paid by the end of
this month and defaulters risk being chucked out of class. Fears now abound
that students whose parents fail to raise the required amounts within the
stipulated period risk losing precious study time or missing out on their
Other parents, however, agree that the prices of most basic goods and
services have continued to escalate and schools are entitled to ask for
more. Those who back this view go on to say that those prone to bickering
are parents who do not attend school development association meetings where
such decisions are made.
It is therefore justified that top-ups be paid because "our children cannot
suffer because of those who are not moving with the developments taking
place in the economy", goes the argument.
The pegging of school fees has remained a highly contentious issue in recent
years given that Government can easily set tuition and other fees for
State-run schools while the same cannot be done for private schools, which
fall out of its jurisdiction.
This has often given rise to bickering between the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture and school authorities over the appropriate fees that the
learning institutions should charge.
Concern has been raised in some quarters that certain schools were
deliberately pegging their fees at high levels in order to screen out
certain classes, an allegation the schools have denied, saying the fees were
meant to meet rising operational costs.
Although the standoff between the ministry and private schools, in
particular, last year spilled into the courts, the rift later culminated in
the tabling of the Education Amendment Bill, which seeks to give the
Minister of Education powers to determine fees in both Government and
The Bill has since received an adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal
Committee but standing regulations still apply in the case of fee increases
and supplementary payments. According to the regulations, State-run and
non-Government schools are supposed to apply to their respective provincial
education directors for approval before charging new fee levels.
Private schools are, however, required to apply to the Secretary for
Education for such approval. Institutions that are not happy with the
provincial education directors' determination are also, in turn, obliged to
appeal to the secretary while private schools can appeal to the minister.
Though the schools whose supplementary fee proposals authorities have
approved could not established, it is understood that several schools in
different provinces throughout the country are advocating such fees.
Association of Trust Schools (ATS) chairman Mr Jameson Timba said the
majority of the association's members had so far adjusted their fees in line
with the country's escalating inflation rate.
He pointed out that the schools had last year worked out fees for this
year's entire learning period based on projected falling inflation figures.
Year-on-year inflation was projcted to end the year at between 50 and 80
percent, but currently stands at 359,8 percent.
The fees, however, fell out of sync with the inflation rate, which continued
to rise beyond the expected levels, effectively begging for a review. Like
other boarding schools, the trust members' survival was under threat,
prompting authorities to seek the urgent intervention of parents to save the
"The majority of our schools had determined their fees for 2005 in October
last year based on the country's projected economic performance, which was
at that time expected to improve.
"However, as one would be aware, the year-on-year inflation rate has
continued to increase. What it means in practice is that the fees determined
by our schools based on inflation parameters have been rendered irrelevant.
"In this respect, our schools are adjusting their fees by way of a
supplementary fee. In real terms, this does not represent an increase in
fees," said Mr Timba, adding that most schools had taken the decision to
charge supplementary fees in mid-September.
According to the ATS chairman, trust schools are "non-profiting-making
entities". This effectively means that members charge fees that enable them
to recover the full cost of education.
Such schools are therefore optimally equipped with the necessary provisions
for each student.
Responding to allegations that many private schools were working to
discriminate certain classes by charging exorbitant fees, Mr Timba said: "A
private schooling system is an alternative system of choice where a parent
decides to enrol their children if they can afford.
"It (the system) is not the core because the State provides that. So there
is no discrimination because the schools operate on a cost recovery basis.
"In fact, our (the association's) constitution provides that 'a member
should not run a school for gain by either itself or its governing body'."
While frequent fee increases continue to be met with revulsion, it is widely
accepted that the cost of most goods has risen in recent months, affecting
both families and institutions constituted at different levels.
To date, the cost of essential products such as bread, milk, margarine,
sugar, mealie-meal, salt, cooking oil, meat, rice and vegetables, among
others, has risen to high levels that have effectively made it difficult to
make bulk purchases.
Given that such products are critical to the diet of most boarding schools,
it is argued that it is imperative for such institutions to access
additional funds to get them through the remainder of the term.
Reports suggest that pupils at some schools were in certain instances forced
to forego some meals owing to limited stocks, a situation that was further
compounded by fuel shortages that made it difficult to transport
replenishments to the affected institutions.
Apart from food, boarding schools, as expected of any conventional learning
establishment, require text and exercise books, among other essential
A recent survey shows that the prices of these and other products have also
gone up, which most schools haver cited to build a strong case to justify
this term's supplementary fees.
According to information at hand, a full complement of text- books required
for a Form 3 pupil now costs $15,3 million while $20,7 is the minimum for a
student writinhg his/her O-levsls.
A school would need to fork out $23,7 million to purchase a full textbook
kit for a Lower Sixth Arts student and $14, 9 million for a Lower Sixth
A full kit for an Upper Sixth Science student costs $17,2 million while an
Upper Sixth Arts student's kit would cost $16,1 million.
Acknowledging the need to review fees in line with prevailing economic
fundamentals, Government says schools should charge fees that are
"affordable so as to enhance access to education for the majority of our
The acting Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, Mr
Sylvester Matshaka, said it was the parents responsiblity to propose school
fee increases at their respective schools' general meetings.
"The ministry's role is not to determine the levels of school fees and
levies but to assess the need for raising the fees and approve levels
"The levels are determined by parents at a general meeting with the voting
pattern on proposed levels clearly indicated.
"Schools are urged to ensure the whole budgetary process is transparent and
has parents' approval and essential items such as provisions for teaching,
learning and the kitchen are well catered for.
"The goal of the ministry is to make education affordable and access
increased for the generality of the people," said Mr Matshaka, adding that
schools that flouted regulations would be dealt with in terms of the
With the country's cost of goods threatening to continue escalating
unabated, different schools of thought also continue to emerge over the
strategies that learning institutions can use to mitigate the economic
challenges affecting Zimbabwe.
So far, schools have been using parents as a ready cash base whenever the
need to augment their budget arises in the form of steep fee increases at
the beginning of each term.
Oak Human Rights fellow Dr. Frances Lovemore documents violence and torture
In Zimbabwe, political upheaval and violence have become a way of life. But
recent forced evictions of some 700,000 political opponents of the country's
dominant political party by the military and allied militias amazed even the
country's most conflict-hardened residents, including Dr. Frances Lovemore,
Colby's 2005 Oak Human Rights Fellow.
The one-semester fellowship was established by a 1998 grant to Colby from
the Oak Foundation to allow a frontline human rights practitioner to take a
sabbatical for research, writing, and teaching as a scholar-in-residence at
Lovemore's report from the front lines centered on a government policy that
has shaken her country. The destruction of homes and property of urban
Zimbabweans in recent months has forced destitute throngs to wander the
already-impoverished countryside. "There's just a complete shock in
Zimbabwe," Lovemore said from Harare. "People didn't believe the government
would go this far. The victims are in a state of complete shock. . They've
basically lost everything."
Because of the large numbers of displaced people, the appalling famine
conditions, and the high rate of HIV/AIDS infection and lack of medical care
in the rural areas, a new question is starting to surface, Lovemore said.
"Is this a planned genocide? Are we looking at a completely different
situation than what we were thinking about two years ago, when we thought
that we would be able to force a political crisis and have a transitional
system where we could advocate for truth and justice?"
Lovemore has reason to ask-and to be worried. For the past five years, she
has been treating victims of organized violence and torture and documenting
their injuries. The torture methods she describes include beatings, branding
and cutting, electrocution, partial drowning, rape and sexual torture. "It
would appear that there has been a deliberate decision [by the government]
to use torture rather than killing or disappearances . as it is as effective
a method of terror as killing and has the advantage of being harder to
detect. It also creates less alarm in the international community."
Lovemore spent her childhood and teenage years in what she describes as "a
country of conflict . which affected everybody in the country, whatever
color they were." Lovemore speaks of coming of age in the 1970s in Zimbabwe
(then Rhodesia), when the country's black African majority began to
challenge white minority rule. The struggle for independence was violent,
with atrocities committed by both sides. "For me," Lovemore said, "it was
fairly traumatic, being part of a [white] community that thought they were
Lovemore received her nursing degree from the University of Capetown in
1982, where she experienced firsthand the effects that South Africa's
apartheid system had on patients. "Being a white, I wasn't allowed to work
in the black part of the hospital. . That really started to develop my
interest in human rights." She continued her education in Zimbabwe and
became a medical doctor in 1989.
It wasn't until the mid 1980s that Lovemore and her colleagues began to
learn the extent of the atrocities perpetrated by both whites and blacks in
the struggle for independence. "A lot of my friends had been involved in the
war, on both sides, and I felt the impact of them having never been
debriefed or reintegrated back into society. I began to question the impact
of that on people's future lives." At the same time, Lovemore and others
began to see evidence of torture in the patients they treated. Under an
elected, black Zimbabwean government in place since independence in 1980,
Lovemore now works as the medical director of Amani Trust, which was formed
in 1993 to provide community-based care to survivors of organized violence
and torture. The trust was founded, in part, with a grant from the Oak
Amani Trust trains doctors in internationally established guidelines for the
medical treatment of torture survivors. These guidelines call for more than
just medical treatment-doctors also refer patients to counseling and support
and to legal assistance. Doctors are also trained to document injuries and
The organization has developed a network of counselors and medical
Redress and reparations for victims, perpetrator accountability, and public
acknowledgement of atrocities are important to the healing process that
Lovemore hopes eventually will occur. "In Zimbabwe now, we're beginning to
see the effects of never having a truth and justice commission, post-1980,
to create accountability for the atrocities. . The victims themselves were
also the perpetrators on both sides .[who] never had any opportunity to
obtain redress or be held accountable for what they had done."
In the hope that a truth and justice commission eventually will be
established in Zimbabwe, Amani Trust works to stay "ahead of the curve," as
Lovemore describes it, in documenting torture while it's happening and
alerting local, regional, and international organizations. "We've had the
advantage of seeing other people's experiences, at seeing what is required
for documentation." Lovemore cites work done since the 1970s, including in
South Africa, where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission publicly
acknowledged the victims and exposed the perpetrators of human rights abuses
during apartheid. In Zimbabwe's case, it is a goal to have documentation
that leaves no question about the responsibility for atrocities. "Our dream
is that we will have absolutely everything ready when we come to some
transitional process where we really don't want the issue of an amnesty to
occur, where the perpetrators get amnesty as a bargaining tool."
Lovemore arrived in Waterville in late August with her husband and three
children. The Goldfarb Center, which oversees the Oak Fellows program, will
be host to a human-rights conference in November, along with other events.
While at Colby, Lovemore is "really looking forward to some academic
interaction with like-minded people and some intellectual input. If I look
back at my last five years, it's always been emergency to emergency and
meeting another crisis. . We've got a lot of half-finished bits and pieces
of research that I would like to finish off."
Ideally Lovemore would like to write an overview of what has happened in
Zimbabwe, how Amani Trust has been able to document torture activities, and
tie that to what is being done internationally. But Lovemore says she isn't
interested in personal recognition for the work she will be able to
accomplish while at Colby. It's the effort of everyone at Amani Trust that
produces results. "I've got the most wonderful staff. They're really
brave. . I kind of wish that it was the whole office that was able to do
Eric Allison, prisons correspondent
Monday October 24, 2005
Home Office officials are routinely ignoring the national identities of
failed asylum seekers in order to get round a ban on returning them to
Zimbabwe, immigration lawyers claimed yesterday. The lawyers say that
officials reject evidence - including birth certificates - that the asylum
seekers are Zimbabwean citizens and try to deport them to South Africa.
Deri Hughes-Roberts of the Refugee Legal Centre said his office had
represented Zimbabweans whose nationality had been disputed by the Home
Office. "Officials persisted in arguing that these people were from South
Africa, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary," he said. Zimbabweans
removed to South Africa were detained in the Lindela repatriation camp,
notorious for its poor conditions, before being sent to Zimbabwe, he added.
The claim by Mr Hughes-Roberts follows the attempted removal of twin sisters
last Tuesday, during which one of the women says she was assaulted by
guards. Police are investigating.
In August, Mr Justice Collins halted removals to Zimbabwe, a ruling
confirmed by judges in the asylum and immigration tribunal. "We would have
very grave concerns if the Home Office is disputing nationality as a way of
getting around the ruling," Mr Hughes-Roberts said.
Since the high court ruling, the Home Office has attempted to remove eight
Zimbabweans on the grounds that they are South Africans. The Refugee Legal
Centre successfully argued in the high court that all eight were Zimbabwean
Patience and Patricia Zondo, 28, were removed from Yarls Wood detention
centre last Tuesday. Patricia was taken to Manchester airport and her sister
to Birmingham for separate flights to Johannesburg, but the deportations
were later cancelled. The immigration service maintains that the women are
South Africans. Their lawyer says both have Zimbabwean birth certificates.
Many Zimbabwean asylum seekers arrive in Britain from South Africa, often
travelling on false papers from that country. The Home Office, in its own
guidance briefings, says "a great deal of caution should be applied in
placing significant weight on South African passports or identity documents
where the claimant asserts they are not entitled to them".
Speaking from Yarls Wood, the twins insisted that they were Zimbabweans and
that their parents were still in Bulawayo. Their brother, Vezindaba, is in
England, having been granted legal status. He and his parents have contacted
the Home Office to confirm their nationality.
Patience said that she and her sister arrived in Britain in October 2002 on
false South African passports. They were arrested and taken to Yarls Wood
when their second application for asylum failed three months ago. Both say
that they will be imprisoned in Zimbabwe because they left the country using
Financial Mail, SA
21 October 2005
By Own correspondent
The IMF believes that Zimbabwe's economic resilience after seven years
of decline is little short of remarkable, but even it is beginning to fear
that the country is reaching the point of no return.
In its recent report on Zimbabwe, the IMF paints a bleak picture not
just of short-term economic prospects, but of a worsening social crisis.
Last week, the deputy head of the fund's Africa desk, Michael Novak, warned
that the country was reaching the point where economic damage would become
Few independent economists would disagree, but Zimbabwe Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono insists the "darkest hour is just before the dawn".
He avers that after declining a further 1,5% in 2005, the economy will
rebound strongly next year with real GDP growth of at least 4%. If Gono
really believes this - since taking office almost two years ago, he has made
a series of similarly wildly optimistic forecasts - there is a danger that
President Robert Mugabe's administration will continue to ignore the IMF's
calls for urgent and far-reaching reforms.
The near-term outlook is dire. Inflation has doubled from 164% in June
to 360% in September. Even conservative forecasts suggest inflation will end
the year in the region of 500% .
GDP will fall for the seventh consecutive year in 2005. By year-end
the country's economy will have shrunk by about 40% from its 1998 levels.
And if the IMF's scenario is right, GDP will fall another 17% over the next
The current account of the balance of payments is heading for a
US$530m deficit in 2006, and by December this year, accumulated foreign debt
arrears will exceed US$2,9bn.
The country's social indicators are equally frightening. The IMF says
two out of three Zimbabweans are unemployed; the adult HIV prevalence rate
is 20%; and the poverty head count has more than doubled from 35% in 1985 to
Given these numbers, Gono's optimism is little more than sheer
bravado. When he presents his October monetary policy statement he will have
to revise his forecasts radically as well as abandon some of his grandiose
One of these - the promise to set aside Z$12 trillion for parastatal
reform - has already been cut to just Z$3 trillion, partly because his new
strategy of raising interest rates in line with inflation has caused the
budget deficit to balloon .
Gono is likely to devalue the auction rate for the Zimbabwe dollar to
around Z$35 000/US$ from the current level of Z$26 000. A year-end exchange
rate of Z$50 000/US$ is a real possibility.
The IMF wants him to liberalise the exchange rate system and unify the
auction and parallel rates, the latter running at more than Z$80 000/US$.
Though this seems unlikely, it is the kind of measure exporters are
demanding as their costs surge.
In the past month, two important industrial players - National Foods
and Dunlop - have announced partial closures because they don't have the
foreign currency to keep their production lines going.
The country is also failing to exploit buoyant international commodity
markets. The Chamber of Mines says gold production was down 31% in the first
eight months of the year.
Zimbabwe's only hope of putting an end to the rot will depend on
whether the handful of technocrats and economic pragmatists in government
can hold the line against the increasingly shrill demands of party
hardliners, wanting more price controls and state intervention, which they
see as the only way to stop the slide.
It is going to be a bumpy ride, and conceivably a long one, since the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, far from challenging the
government, is preoccupied with internal squabbles over whether it should
contest next month's senate elections.
Indeed, all parties - the international community, SA, the government
and the opposition - are fiddling while the country burns.
October 24 2005 at 09:25AM
By Cris Chinaka and Stella Mapenzauswa
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party was mired in confusion on
Monday over whether to take part in a controversial Senate poll that has
fractured the party seen as the biggest challenge to President Robert
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has vowed his party will not contest the November 26 polls. But
his top lieutenants have rejected his calls, plunging the MDC into its worst
crisis since its formation six years ago.
Analysts say the row will test Tsvangirai's power among his ranks
and - whether the MDC survives it or not - considerably weaken Mugabe's only
A faction supporting the MDC's participation in the senate polls,
which critics say are meant to consolidate Mugabe's grip on power, said some
candidates were preparing to register with provincial electoral courts
closing at 4pm on Monday.
But by mid-day, no MDC candidates had pitched up to register in the
capital Harare, where Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party is contesting all the
five seats at stake.
"I don't have details at the moment, but the information I am getting
is that some candidates are getting ready to register and the process is
going on well," said MDC national spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi, a member
of the pro-election group.
But Tsvangirai's spokesperson William Bango said the pro-election
faction was struggling to find volunteers to contest the senate polls, and
might be forced to settle for some lower level candidates.
"The big guns, including some of those advocating that the party must
participate in these elections, have quietly pulled out of the race because
they realise their position does not enjoy popular support," he said.
The MDC leadership split almost in middle nearly two weeks ago over
whether to participate in the polls for the senate, a new upper house of
Tsvangirai says he is using his authority as party leader to keep the
MDC out of the senate elections as his party has nothing to gain from
participating, but other MDC leaders fear a boycott will further edge the
party out of national politics.
Nyathi accuses Tsvangirai of being dictatorial since the party's
decision-making national council had voted in favour of participation by a
narrow two-vote margin and that its decision was binding.
The MDC accuses Mugabe, 81, of hanging onto power by rigging
Zimbabwe's last three major parliamentary and presidential elections.
But the veteran Zimbabwean leader denies the charges and does not
accept responsibility for a deepening economic crisis which many government
critics blame on his controversial policies and what they call gross state
By Violet Gonda
24 October 2005
The crisis in the MDC, which seems to be split along ethnic lines, has
opened old sentiments about tribal divisions in the country. The rebellion
within the opposition seems to have taken a tribal element when candidates
in the Southern region submitted their names to contest the senate poll in
defiance of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
But political commentator Professor Stanford Mukasa disagrees that the
divisions over the senate are based on ethnic lines. He said the issue is
class based. The outspoken critic says an opinion survey in the Matabeleland
region would probably show that few people would support the senate and that
what is emerging is an elite group of people who want to be party to Mugabe's
Mukasa said the pro-participation camp may well be using tribal
factors to promote themselves but he doubts that many people are supportive
of this wasteful bureaucracy by Mugabe.
He said, "Nobody has done a scientific public opinion survey to find
out what the people think. This is just the elite few who are masquerading
as the people of Matebeleland." He believes that people everywhere in
Zimbabwe are suffering equally and that they know that the senate is just
going to be an imposition on them and cause further suffering.
The political commentator said the problem in Zimbabwe is a class
issue. "You have a small group of very voracious self serving elites who are
campaigning for their own aggrandisement and they are not speaking for the
With increasing problems in the MDC many are concerned that the
country's only viable opposition party may be forced to break-up. Professor
Mukasa believes this will be a break-up of the leaders only as the people in
Zimbabwe are still united because of their suffering. "When it comes to a
break-up, the people who will go are the leaders only. It is not going to be
extended to the grassroots movement and you are not going to see the people
of Matebeleland fighting against the people of Mashonaland."
The analysts said people are united and their enemy is Mugabe and his
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Herald (Harare)
October 22, 2005
Posted to the web October 24, 2005
MORE than 200 Zimbabweans were arrested on Thursday in Musina, South Africa,
for selling various goods suspected to have been smuggled and thousands of
rands confiscated while another truck was impounded at Beitbridge Border
Post after attempting to smuggle cigarettes worth $2 billion.
The South African Police Services spokesman for Limpopo Province,
Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi said that the suspects were found with
goods, which included cigarettes.
He said police had arrested 230 Zimbabweans involved in selling goods from
"These suspects were rounded up at various selling points in Musina," Supt
"We suspect these people are working in cahoots with locals, in which they
(South Africans) facilitate the smuggling of these goods, especially
Supt Mushavhanamadi said some of the suspects did not have valid travel
documents and would be deported soon after the completion of their cases.
They are expected to appear in court soon.
In Beitbridge, also on Thursday, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority intercepted
a South African registered haulage truck, pulling a fuel tanker packed with
more than 270 boxes of Remmington Gold cigarettes worth $2 billion at
Beitbridge Border Post.
Zimra chief corporate communications officer Mr Nixon Kanyemba said the
truck, which was being driven by a Zambian national, was from Zambia and on
its way to South Africa.
"The truck was among others from Zambia and when it arrived in Harare, it
was empty and we believe those master cartons of Remmington Gold cigarettes
were loaded somewhere in the capital," said Mr Kanyemba. He said on arrival
at the border post, the truck was taken to the Zimra container depot for
scanning leading to the discovery of the 277 boxes of cigarettes.
Amnesty International has launched a major new initiative under the banner
of Protect The Human at their newly opened London headquarters in
Shoreditch, the first building of its kind anywhere in the world, The Human
Rights Action Centre.
The Protect The Human drive, launched on 23 October, is a major nationwide
initiative aimed at getting a million people across the UK to stand up and
speak out for human rights.
The launch kicked off with an all-star line-up of music from Starsailor, The
Others, Dreadzone, Mark Moore from S-Express and an acoustic set by Kill
There was also stand-up comedy from Guy Pratt - formerly of Pink Floyd - and
compere Robin Ince.
Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said:
"The combination of music, comedy and human rights has been a powerful one
for Amnesty International in the past and, along with moving speeches from
those fighting for justice in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Nepal and Guatemala, these
ingredients helped to create the perfect launch pad for our Protect The
Human initiative, to get a million people in the UK standing up for human
"Protect The Human is all about making it easier for people to show their
support and - through art, music, film and TV, and using letters, emails,
postcards, photos and texts - Amnesty will be equipping the nation in the
coming months with simple and creative ways to speak out."
The "global scourge" of violence against women is also on the campaign
agenda - with the World Health Organisation estimating that one in every
five women in the world is, or will become, a victim of rape.
Representatives from around the world who spoke at Amnesty International's
launch included Krishna Pahadi from Nepal, who once campaigned for prisoners
of conscience and then ended up as one, and two mothers from the peaceful
protest group Women Of Zimbabwe Arise, who have suffered first-hand at the
hands of Zimbabwe's repressive regime.