Letters 06-07-06

Youths must unite
EDITOR - The latest images from Amnesty International show how people have been severely affected by the government’s devastating policy of demolitions (Operation Murambatsvina). The government shows total lack of compassion and mercy by crushing peacef

ul protests using armed police, soldiers and militia to silence hungry and angry innocent civilians. Who will save Zimbabwe? It’s our house which is dirty and it’s our duty to clean it. Let’s all unite regardless of race, tribe or sexuality, and restore political sanity and dignity to the once bread basket of Africa. Come on young people, it’s up to us.
The diaspora plays a major role in pushing for political transformation and to lobby for international intervention in the Zim crisis.

Massive cost to SA
EDITOR – The Zimbabwe economy is closing down – literally. We have inflation now at over 1300 per cent per annum. GDP is down about 50 per cent, exports by two thirds. In recent weeks the reports of accelerated decline have poured in – gold output down by a third on last year, winter cropping down 50 per cent, electricity supplies down to 70 per cent of demand and threatening economic activity across the board. The tobacco crop down by a third and prospects that the coming crop could be very small – perhaps less than 20 000 tonnes. Industrial activity is shrinking fast and, if it was at all possible, the numbers of foreign tourists still dropping.

The sheer lunacy of the Mugabe regime’s management of the economy is highlighted by the maize situation. Just look at these numbers. We require 5 000 tonnes of maize a day to feed the country. Of this 3 600 tonnes is for human consumption as maize meal. Last year the State imported 1 million tonnes of this product into the country and in addition donors supplied basic foods for over 3 million people every day.

As I write, some 2000 tonnes of white maize is coming into Zimbabwe from South Africa every day. This costs about R1200 per tonne (at least) and on top of this you must add another R160 per tonne for administration. So we are talking about a product that costs R1360 per tonne – perhaps even R1400 per tonne when it is finally sold to the local millers.

The selling price charged by Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board is just R12 per tonne at market based exchange rates, R37.50 at the bank rate. Whatever they sell it for, the loss on the product is well over 99 per cent of its cost. The numbers are just staggering – at official exchange rates (which bear no relation to reality) the loss is Z$22,4 million a tonne or Z$44,8 billion a day!

How do they manage this? They don’t. I must assume that the South African government is in fact providing the maize on credit to Zimbabwe in an effort to keep the Mugabe regime afloat. This means that, at last years rate of imports South Africa is building up debt with Zimbabwe at the rate of R3 million a day. Add that to the power subsidies being ploughed into the Zimbabwe economy at the same time – also through another bankrupt parastatal and you come to the total debt build up of some R2 billion a year at the very least (US$350 million).

In other areas the South Africans are also covering up the real facts. Illegal migration to South Africa via Botswana has been estimated at 500 people per day and via the Limpopo border with South Africa at 2 500 a day -that is one million new illegal migrants a year. Some are caught and returned, but most disappear into the murky depths of South African slums and townships.

The cost of all this to the South African economy is huge. And with an extra 1 million illegals a year- that is on top of the estimated 3 million that are already here- it can only get worse. Please help us stop this lunacy by sending a donation to Zimfund – Nedbank Account Number 1589406079 – Branch Code 158952. Your money will be well spent.
SAVE ZIMBABWE, Johannesburg

Forsaking the legacy of Kings
Open letter to Japhet Ndulini Mayor of Bulawayo
Your Worship, World Refugee Day 20 June Campaign – “We are refugees in our own country. Our lives have been stolen but the flame of hope still burns. We demand the right to earn a living.”
We are writing to thank you for granting us an audience on 14 July 2006 and for listening to our requests with such respect.

The issue that brought us to your offices during our World Refugee Day campaign was Bulawayo City Council involvement in Operation Murambatsvina activities being conducted by a Government that no longer cares for its citizens. We had noted that when the Operation was launched, your office and Council were lonely voices speaking out and trying to defend the right to trade of the long-marginalized people of Matabeleland.

However we have noted that in the last few months, Council has been at the forefront of harassing parents trying to put food into the mouths of their children. Children who cannot now even access affordable education and thereby a better future. We also note that previous concessions to freely trade during weekends and holidays have also been withdrawn. We also remind you that we informed you that the process of registering for vending licenses has become politicized and that we are therefore not able to register and refuse to allow the right to earn a living to be only for those carrying Zanu PF party cards.

Some of our members noted the Bulawayo Upcoming Traders Association court order barring the council and the police from raiding until a solution could be found. Bulawayo City Council has ignored this. After our visit we resolved to observe the situation to see if there would be any change, but there has been no change. We then saw Council being quoted through spokesman, Pathisa Nyathi on June 28 2006 in ZimOnline saying Council will continue to raid vendors.

We are now writing to ask you the following questions.

1.Where is the spirit of Ubuntu you spoke to us about?
2. Are you forsaking the legacy left behind by the Kings this city is named for – Mambo, Mzilikazi and the King of the Kalanga people?
3. We demand you call a full Council meeting and withdraw from any Operation Murambatsvina activities until a solution is found that.
All we are asking for is our right to earn a living because without that right and the right to keep what we earn, there is no right to life. See the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 22:
1. All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity….
2. States shall have the duty … to ensure the exercise of the right to development. See Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Article 14: “State parties shall take appropriate measures ….that they participate in and benefit from rural development and ensure the right: (e) to organise self-help groups and
co-operatives in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self employment.”
WOZA, Zimbabwe

Ncube to retire
EDITOR – I read with interest Prof. Welshman Ncube’s intentions to quit mainstream
politics in 2010(The Zimbabwean 15-21 June,2006). How does he justify his desire to quit politics at his age when a normal political career should be reaching its peak? Is he admitting failure or does he possess some supernatural ability to foretell that the struggles of ordinary Zimbabweans against dictatorship will be over and so he can retire Prof, let me tell you one thing, true leaders do not retire from the struggle, but endure all the way to the end, unless freedom of the ordinary Zimbabwean was never your agenda.
If that is the case, please identify all those in the current leadership who are like-minded

Nkomo turning in his grave
EDITOR – I think the way the hosts Joburg Joshua Nkomo gala conduct their business can not go without a comment, especially from us who live in South Africa and are patriotic. To tribalise or regionalise a gala for nationalist like Dr Nkomo is not fair treatment to such a veteran nationalist and father of the nation.

He was neither a regionalist or a tribalist, as was proved by his (PF) ZAPU that had structures in all provinces and districts are garnered a number of votes in every constituency at elections in 1980 before Mugabe suffocated and tribalised his influence.

That’s why you found Shonas like Joseph Msika holding a very high post in the party.

Solomon Mujuru also held a very high post in the military wing ZIPRA before the integration of the forces.
Also the naughty war veteran Chenjerai Hunzvi was in the diplomatic service in Poland on a ZAPU ticket. This proves the type of person Dr Nkomo was.

Furthermore, Dr Nkomo was not Ndebele, although he came from Matebeleland. He was a Kalanga – an ndebelised shona according to the historical background. And if we want to believe a shona proveb which says “manyurusi anozivakwazvo kuti madzitateguru awo aiva mahachi” that means Dr Nkomo knew very well that his ancestors were Shona. Thus Dr Nkomo was not a divider of the nation on tribal, regional or language. So I think tribalising or regionalising anything in his name might make him turn in his grave.

On the issue of the Ndebeles being called newcomers in Zimbabwe, that is utter rubbish that needs to be treated with the contempt it deserves. Xenophobia and segregation are products of a lack of knowledge about the history of the human race. Come to your senses guys and see reason.

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