Zimbabwe’s Government , the Robert Mugabe Zanu PF regime has put out a call for assistance , by appealing to the public for any information that could help in finding the whereabouts of the abducted and missing activist, ‘Itai Dzamara’.
Time is of the essence. The future of Zimbabwe is firmly in our hands. None but ourselves can set us free. There is a total failure of government and the centre can clearly no longer hold. The MDC T would like to call upon all patriotic and peace – loving Zimbabweans to join hands in finding lasting and effective solutions to extricate our beloved motherland from the prevailing political and socio – economic quagmire. The country urgently needs no less than $300 million to import food in order to avert starvation in the country. As a direct result of the ruinous agricultural policies and violent so – called land reform program undertaken by the beleaguered and faction – ridden Zanu PF regime over the past 15 years, the country has only managed to harvest a paltry 49% of its national maize requirements. At least 7 million Zimbabweans are facing the grim prospect of starvation. Robert Mugabe and his rogue administration are bankrupt and they will not be able to harness adequate financial resources in order to import the maize that is now urgently required. The situation cannot be more desperate than what it is right now.
Instead of crafting policies targeted at rescuing the fast deteriorating political and economic situation, the Zanu PF regime is obsessed with internal fighting. The various antagonistic factions within the crumbling Zanu PF political formation are pre – occupied with decimating each other instead of concentrating on essential matters of governance. The country is on virtual auto – pilot as the nonagenarian Head of State continues with his endless, fruitless, purposeless and expensive foreign jamborees. It is high time that the renegade Zanu PF regime is called to order. The streets of the country’s major cities, towns and growth points are teeming with thousands of desperate vendors who are struggling to eke out a living day in and day out. There is virtually no meaningful domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) that is flowing into Zimbabwe mainly because the Zanu PF regime has effectively lost control of the state apparatus. We are now a virtual banana republic where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. There is no sequencing and co – ordination of government policies, laws and programs and as a result, the few foreign investors who are making enquiries about investment opportunities in Zimbabwe are getting confused and frustrated and naturally, they end up taking their money to more attractive investment destinations within the SADC region and beyond.
The MDC calls upon both SADC and the AU to put their focus on Zimbabwe once again. It would be folly for these two organisations to proceed as if there is no crippling crisis in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe and his rogue Zanu PF regime should be confronted and told, in no uncertain terms, that the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe is now a serious threat to both regional and continental security and stability. The situation should not be allowed to deteriorate any further. In this respect, therefore, there is a crying need for SADC to call for an urgent summit to discuss the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe. More than 100 days after State security agents abducted journalist and human rights activist, Itai Dzamara, we have a regime that is not even bothered about providing security to its citizens as well as guaranteeing the safety of all its citizens ; regardless of political affiliation. Zimbabwe is now a regional and continental flash point.MDC T: Equal opportunities for all.
by Obert Chaurura Gutu, MDC T National Spokesperson
Netwerk24 revealed that about 1 400 South African soldiers in Darfur were held “hostage” by Sudanese troops when the drama around Al-Bashir’s possible arrest in South Africa escalated.
According to military experts, this effectively means Sudan blackmailed South Africa and the soldiers’ lives served as a guarantee for Al-Bashir’s safe return.
Only after Al-Bashir safely touched down in Khartoum on Monday, were Sudanese troops withdrawn. President Jacob Zuma is the commander-in-chief of the defence force.
“We were so scared – we were surrounded by soldiers. We handed out extra ammunition to all our troops in case they needed it,” said one South African soldier in Sudan on Tuesday.
The deployment of Sudanese troops and threats against South Africa started shortly after Al-Bashir left for the African Union summit in Sandton, Johannesburg. He arrived on Saturday night. Heavily armed Sudanese soldiers surrounded military bases in Kutum, Mellit, and Malha. South African troops were placed in a state of combat readiness.
“Vehicles approached our bases and the commander placed us on Stage 2 of readiness,” said another soldier. This meant all troops had to be in combat gear, fully armed, and positioned in bunkers and against embankments.
Another soldier said if the situation got out of hand, “we would have had to surrender to save our lives, because you can’t fight a country’s army with a poorly equipped battalion”.
THE country’s road infrastructure authority sees licence fees collections doubling to $55 million this year from $27 million collected last year, but remains too low to fund the country’s aging road network, an official told a Parliamentary committee on Monday.
Zimbabwe requires $5 billion to rehabilitate its road network, but with recurrent expenditure accounting for nearly 80 percent of total revenue and worsened by a $10 billion foreign debt overhang, government is unable to close the funding gap.
Zimbabwe National Road Authority acting chairperson Albert Mugabe told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure that massive investment is required to rehabilitate the country’s roads despite a sharp rise in collections. Zinara has disbursed $112 million to local authorities since 2010.
“In 2014, we collected a total of $27 million, this year we budgeted to collect $55 million. We are more or less on track, so far we have collected approximately $22 million which is a marked improvement from last year,” said Mugabe.
“The figures required for us to rehabilitate our asset (roads) are very, very great. For us to make an impact towards addressing the rehabilitation of our national road asset, we have to pull our funds together.”
Harare alone requires $400 million to rehabilitate its road network. The agency also expects to collect $55 million from licencing.
He said of the $27 million collected in 2014, $11 million was disbursed to councils, with the lion’s share of the balance going towards servicing the obligations for the graders that were distributed to local authorities.
Mugabe appealed to the committee to push for the granting of national project status to mega road projects after a garnish order by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority last year stalled $206 million funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for the Mutare-Plumtree road project.
He said the project nearly capitulated after Zimra garnished some $30 million resulting in the contractor seeking more funds to complete the project.
“I concede there may have been technicalities in the deal structuring or formalities that were not followed for Zimra not to find fault with us but this is a national project and I think the government was partly to blame as was Zinara as the core originators of the transaction,” said Mugabe.
“We are presently have another garnishing order hovering over us. We cannot be effective in road maintenance rehabilitation and construction if we are allowing these kind of things to impact negatively on operations.” source-newzimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s food situation is on the brink of an outbreak of mass starvation after the maize harvest generated from last year’s crop fell by at least 50%. This is partly attributed to poor rainfall pattern and mainly to the collapse of Zimbabwe’s once enviable agricultural sector which fed the African continent but now has collapsed after the disastrous Zanu PF war veteran led, white commercial farm invasion of the early 2000 years.
Zimbabwe fell swiftly from a self sufficient nation in food supply down to a ‘bread basket case’ in need of food aid as the inactive farming sector failed to meet demands.
The crisis in Zimbabwe is now critical as evidenced by the broke Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime’s appeal to development partners for US$300 million to mitigate starvation across the nation due to the fall in maize output or harvest by at least 50 % from the last cropping season.
Zmbabwe’s Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report, where he stated that at least US$300 million is needed for food import to make up for the shortfall and cushion Zimbabwe until the next harvest, assuming that the next season will be result in a plentiful harvest.
Zimbabwe needs 1,4 million tonnes of maize a year for consumption, but the 2014-15 season output was just 49 percent of this, demonstrating how critical the pending starvation will turn out to be if bold steps to mitigate the starvation are not taken immediately.
President Robert Mugabe recently announced that no one will starve in the country, a typically empty promise coming from the head of a broke Zanu PF regime, who amongst themselves hold more US$ billions than the government itself, all built up from corruption, and looting of national wealth and resources, through monopolising wealth and power. It is not rocket science that Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime will not easily find the money to cover grain imports.
Zimbabwe’s poor harvest dictates that at least 50% of the required food must be imported from neighbours, a typically controversial issue since South Africa and Zambia, did not have massive outputs due to the poor rainfall and thus will seek to feed their own people before disposing of any excess stocks.
Zimbabwe’s government poor or low government support to farmers , low harvests due to climate change, coupled with the reluctance of Zimbabwe’s banking sector to offer cheap loans to farmers for their agricultural activity are all a smoke screen that the government can hide behind and avoid taking direct blame for their contribution to the whole fiasco right from the haphazard, murderous eviction of white commercial farmers, with no clear plan to move the nation forward progressively. Sibusiso Ngwenya.
A FEW weeks ago, we woke up to a ‘research’ whose results showed a list of fifty wealthiest Zimbabweans. I do not know what benchmark the researchers used, but the message was simple: those men and women have more assets, more money and better quality of life than both you and I combined! Rather than agonising over the wealth of the woman or man next door, the question that resonated in my mind was why ten million Zimbabweans are languishing in abject poverty. How did a nation of educated, enlightened and hardworking people end up being so poor? The answer is one – bad politics.
As a product of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lower Gweru, I grew up with a sizeable dose of gospel from the Beatitudes, paraphrased: Blessed are the poor: for theirs is the kingdom of God. However, I now know that poverty is more of a curse than a blessing. Zimbabwe is burdened with dysfunctional Zanu PF governance. Zanu PF, correctly interpreted, means President Robert Mugabe is the purveyor-in-chief of poverty.
Our rulers have exalted poverty by promoting lawlessness, expropriation, hatred and revenge. In their warped logic, President Mugabe and his henchmen believe that by taking from the white man and his companies; and doling out freebies to villagers, they are ‘creating’ wealth. He has soaked the nation in the semantics of deceit – that those like you and me who have ‘a piece of land’ are actually not as poor as we think we are.
We might differ on its meaning, but poverty is real in Zimbabwe. Wikipedia explains that general scarcity or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money amounts to poverty. When it is absolute, it becomes destitution. When it has economic implications, it is relative. The World Bank estimates that about 400 million people are destitute, especially South of the Sahara.
As a leader of the MDC, my heart bleeds that 35 years after independence, there are ten million Zimbabweans who are in near-destitution and live on less than U$2 per day. Millions of our citizens suffer from not “having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, and not having access to credit”.
The World Bank goes further to say if you have “low incomes and the inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity… low levels of health and education, poor access to clean water and sanitation, inadequate physical security, lack of voice, and insufficient capacity and opportunity to better one’s life”, consider yourself poor. “Severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information,” is what millions of Zimbabweans are now accustomed to.
In rural and some urban areas of Zimbabwe, there are women who have no access to sanitary wear and pre-natal expertise. I often see the women of Mabvuku and Budiriro in Harare carrying water buckets and firewood on their heads, exactly like what my mother used to do in the sixties in Lower Gweru. How is it that in 2015, a country so endowed with natural and human resources cannot afford to deliver clean drinking water directly into taps even in urban homes?
Politicians in Zanu PF boast at rallies that Zimbabwe must not declare itself poor because we have diamond this, iron ore that and tobacco that yet we cannot pay a twelve billion dollar debt to the IMF. Our fictitious national ego is a product of ignorance, pride and superficial sovereignty. We benchmark our ‘successes’ against poor countries then claim to be better than them.
I have even heard Zanu PF politicians argue that there are also poor people in New York, Berlin and Tokyo. Of course there are, but the little money they get buys much more than the money we make in a month. Trade Union leaders have argued incessantly that in Zimbabwe, an average family of six cannot survive with less than $600 per month. The bad news is there are few families who actually have access to even $100 per month!
Let me throw a caution. All the talk about ZimAsset, industrial parks, foreign direct investment and ‘mega deals’ will turn out to be fiction if it does not bring food on the table of ordinary Zimbabweans. Occupation of land without title, community share ownership schemes and numbing propaganda on indigenisation has not brought electricity and clean water to the villages of Dombodema.
President Mugabe delivers long speeches in Geneva, Cairo, Jakarta and Cape Town – international solidarity while workers at NRZ have gone for months on end without pay and no longer afford three meals a day. That to me is poverty. If you go to Mbare’s Matererini Flats, you encounter destitution, poverty, misery and deprivation of unbelievable proportions while the privileged Zanu PF functionaries like Philip Chiyangwa boast of houses with twenty-five bedrooms, expensive cars and private jets.
Some aspects of poverty are not about money, but “unequal social status and inequitable social relationships, experienced as social exclusion, dependency, and diminished capacity to participate, or to develop meaningful connections with other people in society”. The World Bank’s “Voices of the Poor,” based on research with over 20,000 poor people in 23 countries, identifies a range of factors which poor people identify with as part of poverty. These include abuse by those in power, dis-empowering institutions, excluded locations, gender disparities, and lack of security, limited capabilities, precarious livelihoods and problems in social relationships.
How have Zimbabweans been impacted by poverty? Health wise, there is lower life expectancy, hunger, malnutrition and infectious diseases. Socially, we are victims of rising cost of living, poor quality of shelter (hence street children and squatters), and declining quality of education, inability to afford education, poor access to primary school education, and no guarantee of work after completion of college including university, domestic violence, internal displacements and prostitution.
We can fight it, but dreaming of eliminating poverty is a bridge too far. We could begin by enhancing farming and cattle rearing strategies, industrialisation, improving ease of doing business, eliminating corruption, reducing the size of government and downsizing the idle army and police to save money. Good politics starts from democratisation, stopping farm and company invasions, restoring property rights and reverting to the rule of law.
Internationally, greater access to markets brings more income to the poor; we can also take actions to get our national debt forgiven like the Zambians did, so that expensive debt repayments are channeled to social safety nets that benefit the poor. As someone quoted Nelson Mandela: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.” by Welshman Ncube. source -newzimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, a man traditionally known for his tough anti western stance, particularly the International Criminal Court (ICC), understandably because his hands are tainted with the same blood that makes people like Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir , a most wanted individual to face justice before the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity, addressed a few issue raised by journalists with respect to the Sudanese president.
Robert Mugabe, admitted that President Al-Bashir is a wanted man by the ICC and that Civil society Non Governmental Organisations, (NGOs) had chosen to press the of law to enforce the warrant of arrest against Al-Bashir, but according to Robert Mugabe, South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma assured the African Union (AU) summit delegates, that the Sudanese President would not be arrested.
“This is not the headquarters of the ICC and we do not want it in this region at all,” Mugabe said. President Al-Bashir , whilst on court orders not to leave South Africa before a court decision was made with respect to the ICC warrant, calmly left South Africa on board a flight departing from the Waterkloof Military Airbase and arrived safely back in Sudan to a rousing homecoming welcome from supporters in Sudan. Suffice it is to say, that the whole world was excited about the prospect of Al-Bashir’s arrest, but the African Union (AU) led by its Chairperson, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, kept its cool and continued as if nothing had happened, knowing very well that the Sudanese President was safe from arrest. Sibusiso Ngwenya.
photo-news24.Omar al-Bashir and Robert Mugabe