Kudakwashe Musasiwa visited SW Radio Africa studios on Friday and joined Lance Guma and Brilliant Pongo On the Pulse. Kudakwashe and his colleague Munyaradzi have just released a double album bringing together their separate works. Both albums are named after their names â€˜Kudakwasheâ€™ and â€˜Munyaradziâ€™. United States based Zimbabwean rapper Cee Jay joins the programme in the last segment as the show previews his song â€˜Mu-Zimbabweanâ€™ taken from his Desperate Measures album.
Chaka speaks to Mandisa about how he considers us Zimbabweans to have repeatedly proved ourselves to be very resourceful and adaptable to changing circumstances, but it is this adaptability that is perhaps standing in the way of us motivating for change. He says that whenever the goals posts are shifted, Zimbabweans adapt accordingly.
Thembankosi is based in South Africa but gets a chance to visit Zimbabwe every so often. He paints a gloomy picture about his last visit a few weeks ago, and says there is much evidence of a nation whose economy is on its knees now more than ever.
ZCTU promises strikes every three months.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Japhet Moyo is the guest on Behind the Headlines. Lance Guma speaks to him about the impending protests they are planning in July this year. Moyo says nothing has changed since their last strike in April and as per their congress resolutions, further strikes will be held every 3 months, and this means July.
Army investigates reports of coup plot
Unconfirmed reports say influential retired Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Solomon Mujuru, has been placed under house arrest following reports of a foiled coup plot against Mugabe. Accurate information about the countryâ€™s military activities is notoriously difficult to find and a reliable army source told Newsreel it was too early to put the â€˜pieces together.â€™
Zimbabwe faces total economic collapse by year end
An International aid agency has issued a sharp warning that Zimbabwe faces an economic collapse. This is not the first time that there have been such reports but the situation is now critical. The Zimbabwe dollar is falling at an unprecedented rate and workers are failing to go to work because of high transport costs.
4 arrested after police block NCA demo in Harare
Plain-clothes and uniformed police officers blocked a planned demo by members of the National Constitutional Assembly in Harare Thursday. Sources say about 100 NCA activists gathered at Chinhoyi and Albion streets. But before they began marching police attacked, and they ran off. Our correspondent said police were prepared with bicycle and foot patrols already at the location.
Government found guilty of rights abuses by International labour organisation
The International Labour Conferenceâ€™s Standardâ€™s Committee has found the Mugabe regime guilty of trade union and human rights violations. The ZCTU collated data of victims of torture and abuse and provided accounts and reports from individuals and successfully presented its case to the Geneva based organisation.
Labour unions to launch protests in July as economy collapses
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is already making plans to launch more strikes in July, following what they say is an unchanged situation since their last strike in April. Japhet Moyo the Deputy Secretary General of the ZCTU told our Behind the Headlines programme that workers are suffering while government has no clue how to sort out the economic mess.
Police ban Amakhosi Theatre play in Bulawayo
The government has once again exercised its oppressive arm by banning a new play called The Good President in Bulawayo. The police showed up at the Theatre on opening night Wednesday and shut down the Amakhosi Theatre production claiming it was not a play but a political gathering. They said such an event needed permission from the Commanding Officer.
Riot police disrupt students meeting in Bulawayo
There was commotion at the Bulawayo Polytechnic Thursday when riot police disrupted what was meant to be a meeting of students to discuss issues affecting them. A statement from the Zimbabwe National Students Union says 4 truckloads of riot police were used to disrupt the gathering.
Cost of living skyrockets 65% in 2 months
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 June 2007
The cost of living in the country has shot up by over 65 percent with an average family of six now needing Z$5,5 million a month to pay for basic goods and services, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.
The CCZ said two months ago an average family needed Z$3,3 million for its basic needs. However the majority of workers in the country earn an average of Z$500 000 a month. Teachers, who were reportedly granted another pay rise giving them around Z$4 million a month, will still find themselves below the poverty line.
The inflation rate is continuing its upward trend, and is expected to reach 4,500 percent by the end of this week, up from the current 3,700 percent. This puts an ever-greater strain on the countryâ€™s struggling economy. Things are also set to get worse for the majority of consumers who are experiencing price increases on a daily basis. Economic analysts are predicting that the countryâ€™s inflation is actually hovering just above 8,000 percent, the highest in the world.
Two weeks ago water and electricity charges rose by 251 percent, clothing by 241 percent and transport costs by 150 percent. The average monthly wages are not keeping up with these paercentages. It means goods cost about 18 times what they did a year ago, compounding the hardship many Zimbabweans are experiencing.
For untold numbers of Zimbabweans, onions, bread, margarine and meat have become unimaginable luxuries. Taurai Chamboko, who returned to the UK from a three week break in Zimbabwe said he was shocked to buy four onions for Z$50 000.
â€˜When I left Zimbabwe six years ago we used to buy a sack of onions for Z$2 but that money canâ€™t buy you a sweet today.Â When I arrived home three weeks ago a litre of petrol was Z$30 000 but when I left on Sunday it had risen to Z$70 000. Itâ€™s true prices are going up everyday,â€™ Chamboko said.
Mbeki mediation reaches out to Zimbabwe civic society and analysts
By Violet Gonda
13 June 2007
Civic groups and analysts in Zimbabwe who had so far been excluded from the SADC mediation efforts were given a chance to meet with South African officials in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.Â Political analyst Dr John Makumbe, who was on the planning committee of the pressure groups, said those that met with the South African Ambassador in Harare include representatives of various umbrella bodies like the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO), Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the Womenâ€™s Coalition and Save Zimbabwe campaign.
The South African Ambassador Mlungisi Makhalima called for that meeting himself to find out their demands.
Makumbe did not attend the general meeting but attended a separate meeting with the Ambassador and his team in his capacity as an analyst. He said he put it to them that ZANU PFâ€™s attempt to amend the constitution for the 18th time undermines the talks, as having a new democratic constitution is one of the major demands of the opposition at the negotiations.Â Dr Makumbe said: â€œThey (SA team) were surprised that Mugabe was pursuing amendment no.18 more enthusiastically than he was showing any interest or zeal about the talks.â€
The outspoken commentator said he also advised them on the need to have a third chair comprising civil society, churches and NGOs. The civic groups recommended an arrangement like South Africa had through the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), where everything was transparent and all stakeholders were involved.
Critics say Robert Mugabe is using delaying tactics, which has resulted in a couple of meetings between the protagonists being postponed. He has also continued to harass and arrest opponents.Â Dr Makumbe said when this issue was brought up the South Africans said there must be no pre-conditions. â€œThey actually said – they were very quick to say President Mbeki has said there must be no pre-conditions and so the demands by the MDC that the violence should stop, the brutalities should stop and the people who are in prison should be released or tried in a court of law should not be part of the mediation process.â€
Makumbe told them it would not be mediation if the other party is running for life: â€œAnd I said donâ€™t you see what Mugabe has done. He has essentially weakened the MDC by literally raiding their headquarters, dragging their secretariat to prison and locking them up and taking all their computers and the MDC is hardly functional now.â€ According to the analyst, the SA officials said they understood these issues, and Mbeki would have to negotiate them at a higher level.
Meanwhile, media reports say the political parties are expected to meet this coming weekend in South Africa.Â Mbeki has so far been criticised for being too soft on Mugabe, whose delegation has been dragging its feet to the negotiating table.
Legal merry-go-round for detained MDC activists continues
By Lance Guma
13 June 2007.
At least 17 MDC activists detained in remand prison over spurious terrorism charges had their bid for freedom derailed again after the High Court told both state and defence lawyers to go back to the Magistrates Court to resolve outstanding applications. Alec Muchadehama and his defence team had hoped to get bail for the remaining activists but in the end both sides agreed to await the finalisation of a Friday hearing, in which they want the lower court to either force a trial date or throw out the case. The bail applications for Glen View MP Paul Madzore and 12 others will now be heard on the 19th of June, while that of Morgan Komichi and 3 others will be heard on the 16th June.
Muchadehama expressed frustration with the process, saying it was a deliberate ploy by the state to prolong the incarceration of his clients. In court on Wednesday one of the state prosecutors refused to handle the matter instead throwing responsibility to his colleague who was absent from the proceedings. This Muchadehama said was clearly designed to frustrate them and create further delays. He said the state is refusing to set a trial date, grant bail or have the case thrown own and yet quite content to have the MDC activists remain in remand prison. Over the last few weeks the state has been forced into an embarrassing climb down with police withdrawing charges against 13 activists and the courts ordering their release.
ZANU-PF forces â€œSnoopingâ€ Bill through parliament
By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 13, 2007
The ruling party used its majority in parliament on Tuesday to push for more oppressive legislation, this time forcing a second reading of The Interception of Communications Bill. After a heated parliamentary debate, 31 ZANU-PF legislators voted for the second reading and 18 from the MDC voted against it. The proposed Bill seeks to establish regulations that would empower certain government officials to issue orders to intercept private communications. Critics have described it as the â€œsnoopingâ€ Bill, claiming government would use the new law to target its perceived political enemies.
Opposition chief whip Innocent Gonese said they fought hard against this Bill, because there is no justification for it in Zimbabwe. But with a majority in parliament, ZANU-PF MPs forced a third reading on Wednesday. The Bill now requires Senate approval and Robert Mugabeâ€™s signature to become law. Gonese said some ruling party MPs voted for it to protect their positions and interests because ZANU-PF has a patronage system. Others ignore their reservations in order to entrench their power.
Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Mushohwe told parliamentarians that the interception of communications was necessary because advancements in information technology posed a threat to national security. He referred to countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa, saying they had similar statutes. But Gonese dismissed this saying the United States and Britain had terror bombings. They also require a judicial court to review the interception orders before they are approved.
Â The proposed Bill seeks to establish an interception of communication monitoring centre and would require telecommunication providers to install hardware and software to allow interception. Officials allowed to apply for the interception of communications include the chief of defence intelligence, director-general of the Presidentâ€™s department of national security, the Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General. And in Zimbabwe, all these are government appointed officials.
Chipo is an aspiring social worker who is close to completing her studies. She is faced with the difficult decision of deciding whether to follow her dream of working with orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, or to make a decision based purely on her economic situation and leave for greener pastures in the Diaspora. She speaks to Mandisa.
John talks to Simon who heads the â€˜Revolutionary Youth Movement of South Africaâ€™ and believes that more options should be explored to end the political stalemate.
The state media has started a blitz this week to make Robert Mugabe look like heâ€™s reaching out to the opposition. Why are they now trying to polish his image? The feuding political parties, MDC and Zanu PF meet in South Africa under the Mbeki led initiative. Will the meeting shape the political destiny of Zimbabwe or is this another â€˜much ado about nothingâ€™ meeting? Lance Guma hosts the forum and is joined by journalists Bekithemba Mhlanga and Itayi Garande.
Rindai Chipfunde, national director of the Zimbabwe election Support Network talks to Gugulethu Moyo. ZESN is concerned that the Zimbabwe government is pushing through electoral reforms in parliament which undermine the SADC mediation efforts, led by President Mbeki, that are meant to lead to free and fair elections in 2008. Chipfunde urges Zimbabweans and civic society to keep pressuring for elections under SADC guidelines. Get the details of their basic minimum requirements In The Balance this week.
Dear Family and Friends,
This week all semblances of normalcy collapsed in most parts of Zimbabwe. The supply of electricity was negligible for most of the week and we found ourselves behaving in the most absurd fashion in order to remain functional. Going to bed at 7 in the evening in the cold and the dark – and ‘waking up’ when the lights came on at 11pm.Mostly your body doesn’t know which way is up as it struggles to understand your new absurd routine.