Syndicated News from Zimbabwe
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 11:36:29 GMT
Corruption endemic in ZimbabweThe Zimbabwe StandardInternational anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI) last week painted a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe, saying it was one of the most corrupt countries in the world. In its 2013 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) launched Tuesday, TI ...and more »
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 11:43:47 GMT
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 11:03:45 GMT
Zimbabwe examinations body defends credibilityThe Zimbabwe StandardThe Zimbabwe School Examination Council has defended its credibility despite increasing reports of exam paper leakages blamed on criminal activities of some rogue headmasters and teachers. BY HAZVINEI MWANAKA. Zimsec director, Esau Nhandara ...
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 10:55:38 GMT
Zimbabwe's new generation animators under focusThe Zimbabwe StandardStand-up comedian Carl Joshua Ncube last week held animation workshops at Reps Theatre in Harare. BY OUR STAFF. Ncube, who is also the chairman of the Zimbabwe Animation Association, told Standardlife&style on Friday that the focus was on the new ...
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 13:25:44 GMT
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 05:24:06 GMT
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 10:58:46 GMT
Sun, 08 Dec 2013 10:47:02 GMT
Zimbabwe music greats feature in new dramaThe Zimbabwe StandardComedian Mabla 10 (Lloyd Kurima) has released the much-awaited Bag Rabvaruka 3 featuring sungura maestro Alick Macheso and Utakataka Express frontman Peter Moyo aka Dhewa. BY WINSTONE ANTONIO. Speaking to Standardlife&style, Mabla 10, ...
Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:36:09 GMT
Wed, 04 Dec 2013 19:45:19 GMT
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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Zimbabwe
Thursday, January 16th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Zimbabwean Defense Forces Commander Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe has admitted during an interview with a local business weekly that the country is facing an economic crisis. The general’s statements follow reports of a plan to remove President Robert Mugabe -- whose personally directed seizure of white-owned farmland has devastated the southern African country’s agriculture-based economy and caused severe foreign currency shortages and triple-digit inflation.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai claimed earlier this week that Zvinvashe and Parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, both members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), approached him to discuss the possibility of a post-Mugabe, power-sharing government.
The fact that Zvinvashe did not directly voice support for Mugabe or deny the opposition leader’s claims during the recent interview suggests the military no longer supports the embattled ruler and lends credence to Tsvangirai’s claims. Mugabe could not be ousted without a deal involving the military, ZANU-PF and the opposition. But with talks already under way -- driven by the crumbling economy -- a new president for Zimbabwe within the short term is almost a certainty.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Air forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- whose 14 members include Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe -- will hold joint training exercises in Zambia in July or August of next year. The exercises will focus on disaster relief and will include command and control and logistical cooperation, South African daily News24 reported Sept. 16
Eleven of the SADC countries will attend the exercises, but few have modern air forces and it’s likely most will simply observe or work closely with South Africa, which maintains a modernized and up-to-date air force. Although Angola and Zimbabwe also have large air forces, their own internal conflicts have strained these resources.
Even the host nation is unlikely to be flying many planes. According to sources in Africa, the Zambian air force has been largely grounded due to a lack of parts and a high rate of HIV/AIDS among pilots.
Thus, South Africa’s air force likely will dominate the exercises, and Pretoria may exploit the opportunity to demonstrate its military superiority to the regional states and move to expand its role as regional security guarantor.
The South African air force recently reported to Parliament that it has 88 mission-ready aircraft and 27 mission-ready helicopters. In the 2001-2002 fiscal year, the air force plans to provide its pilots with 35,549 flying hours, 57 percent of which will be used for force preparation and the remaining 43 percent going toward force deployment, according to Periscope online military database.
A key goal of the exercises planned for next year will be the facilitation of greater interoperability between the air forces that actually fly planes and host nation Zambia. Cooperation over airspace management, aviation safety, logistics and training will give the visiting air forces experience working with Zambia, as well as give Zambian air traffic controllers experience working with visiting pilots.
Since South Africa is likely to be the only air force of any size participating in the exercises, it will gain the lion’s share of knowledge about Zambia. In the future this will be invaluable should another conflict engulf southern Africa. Zambia is centrally located, surrounded by Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Tanzania and is home to many refugees from the wars in the DRC and Angola.
Future conflicts in the region also may send refugees fleeing into Zambia, and this in turn could make it a recruiting ground for rebels who would then try to filter back across the borders into their home countries. By controlling Zambian air space, South Africa can monitor these activities as well as the countermeasures taken by the governments that such rebels would hope to overthrow.
Friday, August 30th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Britain appears to be preparing for a possible military intervention in Zimbabwe, with Defense Ministry officials recently telling U.K. papers that contingency plans are being finalized for road- and air evacuations for an estimated 20,000 British citizens, mostly white farmers. The reports come amid rising tensions in the country following President Robert Mugabe’s Aug. 8 order that thousands of white farmers leave their lands to allow for redistribution to landless blacks.
Elite British Special Air Services, now engaged in military exercises in South Africa, already have conducted reconnaissance along the South Africa-Zimbabwe border in anticipation of an evacuation, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Aug. 30. But such a plan would require the cooperation and support of the government in Harare, and that is not assured.
Moreover, the scale and scope of the operation -- along with heightened violence such as the recent bombing of an independent radio station -- raises the possibility of firefights between British forces and Zimbabwean security forces. Such a confrontation could quickly transform the evacuation into a full-scale British military intervention, which also would create problems in South Africa from where the British troops will be operating.
Mugabe has used the country’s white farmers -- most of whom have ignored his repeated eviction orders despite attacks by Mugabe-backed militias -- as scapegoats for Zimbabwe’s economic troubles and as geopolitical hostages to prevent total isolation from the international community. Mugabe may want the farmers off the land, but having them completely removed from the country will leave him with few levers for dealing with Western entities like the European Union and the United States, which have imposed sanctions on his regime and have blamed its policies for leaving half the population facing starvation.
Even if the government in Zimbabwe did not interfere in Britain’s evacuation plans, such an operation would still be daunting. According to the Telegraph report, military personnel could fly British citizens from the Harare airport or take them by road to South Africa. But either route would be dangerous. Moreover, white farmers are scattered all over the country, and even getting them to rendezvous points would be a major undertaking. The logistics of transporting several thousand people to safety would be nightmarish, and the bigger the operation, the greater chance for trouble -- including violent confrontation.
STRATFOR sources in Zimbabwe say mobs of militants already have begun harassing local whites, in what is likely to turn into the latest round of violent clashes between the government-sanctioned "war veterans" and white farmers. The presence of British SAS troops inside Zimbabwe could further enflame the conflict, leading to fights with militants.
Military planners in Britain will need to account for all possible scenarios and their outcomes. A key question, for instance, will be how should the government respond if things start to go bad and firefights break out between the British military and Zimbabwean forces, either militants or the regular military? If several thousand British citizens are still in the country when fighting starts, their lives will be in immediate danger.
This would mean that the British military will not have the option of disengagement but may need to take the next logical step: a full military intervention to oust Mugabe. Such a move, which would be labeled by the Mugabe government as a colonial invasion, would need the direct support of South Africa and at least the tacit acceptance of other regimes in the region.
South Africa has also suffered from Mugabe’s land redistribution program, with its currency, the rand, dropping drastically at least in part because of the land seizures next door. But both South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and Mugabe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) began as liberation movements that fought against white colonial rule.
Both of these governments also like to blame colonialism and Western intervention for the region’s political and economic woes. And the issue of land redistribution has been debated openly in countries like South Africa and Namibia, where whites still control the vast majority of the rich, arable land.
Yet the fears of wreaking the type of economic havoc now evident in Zimbabwe and scaring off foreign investors have limited these countries’ political calls for seizing white-owned farms. South Africa has been especially careful to tiptoe around the land issue, promising reform but moving at a snail’s pace.
As white farmers in South Africa are already key targets of organized violence, with hundreds of farmers murdered since the end of apartheid, Pretoria is reluctant to play on the issue. Moreover, the ANC’s political popularity gives it plenty of political breathing space, unlike Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, which has come under pressure in the last few years from a well-organized, well-funded and black opposition -- the Movement for Democratic Change.
A British intervention in Zimbabwe will raise the specter of colonial rule in southern Africa only a few decades after that rule ended. British troops are now conducting weeks-long exercises in South Africa, which the Defense Ministry has denied have any connection to the situation in neighboring Zimbabwe. However, it’s likely that the troops on the ground think differently. They are looking at the field of options and seeing an extremely difficult and likely protracted campaign that could redefine Britain’s relations with southern Africa.
Thursday, August 8th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
People are being starved in Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe’s deliberate and systematic ploy of using food shortages to cling to power.
Millions of people are going hungry not, as Mr Mugabe’s government claims, because of poor rains but as a direct result of its policy of denying food to opposition supporters and enriching its loyalists.
Last night, the deadline passed for the mass eviction of 2,900 of Zimbabwe’s white commercial farmers, for decades the mainstay of the agricultural sector. Mr Mugabe ordered them to abandon their homes, land and livelihoods by midnight.
An investigation by The Telegraph found that control of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe’s state-owned monopoly supplier of commercial maize, was passed this year to one of Mr Mugabe’s most loyal henchmen, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, an alleged war criminal.
With Zimbabwe’s economy in chaos, Shiri’s mission was to spend a Â£17 million loan provided by Libya buying just enough maize to stave off food riots, which would then be supplied through the GMB.
The organisation, which is meant to supply maize at subsidised prices to all Zimbabweans, has instead been selling maize only to supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Backers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change went hungry.
Worse still was the country’s Food For Work programme. Thousands of opposition supporters would provide 15 days’ labour only to be told at the end there was no GMB food for them.
The GMB is so corrupt and politicised that aid groups shipping food into Zimbabwe are being forced to set up their own expensive parallel storage and distribution facilities, rather than using those of the GMB - the traditional way of bringing food aid into Zimbabwe.
There is also evidence that the Zimbabwean government is deliberately blocking the work of these international aid groups and keeping the flow of aid down to a trickle.
That trickle is enough to stave off threats of public unrest, but not enough to provide food for all of the country.
"What we are seeing is nothing but humanitarian torture," an aid worker said. "It takes three months to die of starvation and this is a torture every bit as bad as beating someone with barbed wire or hanging them from handcuffs."
One British Government source said: "The irony is that the food shortage is one of the reasons the people in Zimbabwe might be impelled to rise up against the government but we are morally obliged to provide food that removes that impulsion and secures the Mugabe regime."
The British government has promised aid worth Â£32 million to Zimbabwe.
A warehouse of supplies organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was blockaded for three months by Zanu-PF militants and an attempt to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies by the World Food Programme (WFP) has also been blocked. The WFP relies on recognised agencies to do the final distribution on the ground and aid sources said the mere presence of a British charity, Save the Children (UK), on a list of possible distributors is hindering expansion.
Aid groups are routinely criticised in the state-owned media in Zimbabwe, accused of being tools of the "imperialist, colonialist West".
The situation is being worsened by logistical problems in neighbouring countries such as South Africa, where management errors in the state-run railways mean there is a drastic shortage of goods wagons to move grain.
And in Mozambique a malfunction in a bagging machine at the port of Beira means six ships carrying grain remain in the approaches to the harbour, unable to offload supplies for Zimbabwe.
In effect, the regime in Zimbabwe is doing just enough to help its own supporters while blocking efforts to help the millions of needy people in the country.
So far, there have been only a handful of deaths connected to food shortages. Without any basic food supplies, families have been forced to live off what they can find in the bush and some children have died from eating poisonous berries.
By early November, however, before the next planting season, aid experts predict widespread malnutrition in Zimbabwe unless significant food supplies can be brought into the country.
The WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian aid organisation, currently estimates six million people in Zimbabwe out of a population of 13 million are suffering from food shortages.
There have been intermittent rains in the region this year but observers believe most of the shortages have resulted from Mr Mugabe’s policy of land invasions, which have all but destroyed the country’s once thriving commercial farming sector.
South of the Limpopo in South Africa the same intermittent rains have not stopped farmers producing a surplus of about 1.8 million tons of maize.
For almost all of the 1990s, Zimbabwe was a net exporter of maize and so good were its supplies that the WFP had an office in Harare, not to distribute maize in Zimbabwe but to procure Zimbabwean maize for distribution elsewhere.
That situation now seems a long way away.
Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
All across Zimbabwe thousands of white farmers are tearfully saying farewell to their neighbours, workers, gardens and houses before tomorrow’s deadline to leave their homes.
Jannie Erasmus, a 63-year-old rancher who left his home, Bath Farm, earlier this week, said:"We can’t take any more. We are finished. I have two dairy cows and two sheep left."
Last weekend, the Erasmuses and the few remaining neighbours from their community gathered for a last prayer meeting in a homestead.
Tears poured down their faces as they prayed for "safety" and "serenity" days before being forced to drive down their dusty farm roads for the last time.
In May, MPs from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party passed a law which gave farmers 45 days to stop farming, and the same period again to abandon their homes, nearly all of them without any compensation.
Most of those affected by final orders of acquisition have already begun leaving, moving into towns, squatting with friends or family, before the coming weekend’s public holiday commemorating the thousands of black guerrillas who died in the independence war which ended in 1979.
"We must go before the weekend in case Zanu-PF decide to take out it out on us," said a tobacco farmer in Hwedza, 60 miles south east of Harare. "We have been offered a house in town for the weekend," he said.
Jannie and Maureen Erasmus have lived on Bath Farm, Chatsworth, 140 miles south of Harare in cattle ranching country, all their married lives.
"The ’settlers’, that’s what we are supposed to call them, have cut down thousands of wonderful indigenous trees," said Mr Erasmus.
"They have extorted money from me for months. Their children swear at me and my wife at the school they have created in my workshops. They have stolen so much of my equipment. This is no life. I had to move my cattle. Every time they went near a settler’s piece of land they said we had caused damage and they extorted me. I have paid out millions."
Maureen Erasmus said: "Packing up 30 years of rubbish is hell. We only have a few workers left. The government says we must pay them packages before we go. We have no money left in the bank to pay anyone. We only have an overdraft."
At a minute to midnight before leaving the Erasmus farm was still neat and intact. The white homestead, reminiscent of the Cape Dutch architecture of his ancestors in South Africa, was clean and the garden was watered and pruned.
All the paddocks are still fenced. Miles of underground pipes carrying water to where 4,000 cattle used to graze are still working. But there is nothing moving in the paddocks, no sounds of cattle, almost, it seemed, no birds in the remaining ancient trees.
Less than a year ago Commonwealth foreign ministers visited Bath Farm and were told by Mr Mugabe’s ministers that Jannie Erasmus had agreed to co-exist with hundreds of ruling party supporters who invaded his farm and destroyed his life and still regularly threaten his physical safety.
It was not true. Jannie and Maureen were bullied, threatened, beaten and bruised into sending away their cattle and trying to stick it out. He has offered the government four out of his five ranches in the parched province.
"They haven’t let us know. So we are moving into a small holding outside Masvingo. There are some fruit trees which Jannie can be busy with," she said. But they have no money, had to take out a mortgage and do not know how they will meet the monthly repayments.
Leaving was especially hard for the Erasmuses. Their only son died of a brain tumour two years ago and Bath Farm was where he spent his last days. "We have so much pain, we can’t even talk about it," said Mr Erasmus.
Chatsworth district, which six months ago had 50,000 commercial cattle, now has fewer than 5,000.
In Masvingo, Ian Dott, 73, was recovering from wounds inflicted on him at his farm, Mayo, close to the town. With arms heavily bandaged and a black eye still visible, Mr Dott said he was attacked in the middle of the night 10 days ago. "Nothing was stolen, they just want me to go."
An unknown number of farmers, especially the older ones, say they are returning to their homesteads after the holiday weekend. A farmer near Marondera, 45 miles south-east of Harare, said: "We don’t know what to do.
"We can’t get equipment off, because the war vets won’t let us. We can’t grow crops. We are still grading last season’s tobacco. Our kids are supposed to be at home for the holidays, we have no money to pay off workers, and we are paralysed."
Hundreds have already left, abandoning their homes and their life’s work. Only 106 out of more than 3,000 farmers have been paid pitiful compensation for the infrastructure on their farms.
Horseshoe, Mutorashanga, Raffingora, Umboe Valley, Ruzawi River, Mvurwi - these are the names of some of the farming districts from where heavy hearted farmers and their families are leaving in one of the last chapters of Mr Mugabe’s ethnic cleansing of the countryside.
Thursday, July 25th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader is to be charged with undermining the country’s president under newly passed security laws. The charges against Morgan Tsvangirai, are based on allegations that he told a party rally in May that President Robert Mugabe would have to quit office. Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, who was beaten by Mugabe in a disputed election in March, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of undermining the office of the president.
Thursday, July 25th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
The promise of an AIDS vaccine in five yearsâ€™ time is not much comfort for 14-year-old Onalenna. For a couple of hours after school, she plays at an orphanage on the edge of this sprawling village. It gives her time to play ball games or just sit and chat to friends.
The rest of the time she is a little mother. She is now running her home, looking after her 12-year-old twin sisters, a brother of eight and her father, who has been sick in bed for months. Her mother died in March last year after weeks of constant diarrhoea and infections. Her grandmother lives with them and they survive on her monthly pension of Â£13.40 since no one in the family is strong enough to dig and grow their food.
Africa has about 13 million orphans under 15 â€” about the same number as the entire child population of Britain. The prospect looms of millions of semi-wild orphaned children without basic human loyalties or the skills to fend for themselves. They could turn into gangs living off the land or, in the hands of scheming politicians, become ruthless armies destabilising vast areas of Africaâ€™s already chaotic states. So far there are no signs of this happening but nor do African governments have any plans to provide for millions of orphans. Most governments still seem to believe that the extended family will cope.
Traditionally orphans such as Onalenna would have gone to live with aunts and uncles. But Aids has overwhelmed the system. Some families now turn away orphaned nephews and nieces or, worse, exploit them. Boys are kept out of school and work in the fields without pay; girls as young as 11 or 12 are sexually abused.
Onalenna is one of the luckier ones. She is in her own home and is still in school. That gives her a chance of getting skills that will enable her to look after herself and protect herself from HIV infection. In most families when the mother dies, the daughters are taken out of school to look after the rest of the family. In the short term girls without education will be poor and more likely to become involved in relationships that expose them to HIV. These girls will be unable to give their own children a decent start in life.
But what is now a trickle of orphans will turn into a tidal wave. According to UNAids, Aids has killed 13.7 million people in Africa, and about 28 million, the equivalent of half the population of Britain, are infected and will die by 2020. Botswana has the highest proportion of HIV-positive people at nearly 40 per cent. In Zimbabwe the rate is about 33 per cent and in the rest of southern Africa it is more than 20 per cent and has not yet peaked. Even when the level of infections starts to fall, the death rate from Aids will continue to rise as the infected die.
In society generally there is a widespread refusal to talk about Aids and its implications, fuelled by the public questioning of scientific facts by President Mbeki of South Africa. But the lack of political leadership is being compensated by a handful of ordinary people fighting back. Their leaders are mostly HIV-positive women strangely liberated by the trauma of finding they will die of an incurable disease and breaking through the conventional silence about Aids.
These women are setting up organisations to help people living with Aids and organise campaigns to prevent its spread. In Botswana, for example, the Coping Centre for People Living With Aids now has a national network of people, mostly women, who visit homes affected by Aids, counselling the sick, making sure they have a decent diet and medical care. They battle with headmasters who try to exclude Aids orphans. They hound bureaucrats to provide money and care.
These activities are in effect becoming a war on Africaâ€™s male-run societies and the public silence about such evils as rape and child abuse. Conducted by women who have lost their fear and admit they are HIV-positive, this revolution could have as much effect on African societies in the long term as Aids itself.