Econet let down

EDITOR - As one of Econet's long serving subscribers, I am disappointed by their failure to provide GPRS.

I understand Econet has been appealing to the government for a licence, now that our ICT minister, Nelson Chamisa, has given you all the ground and permission who will they blame for failing to deliver what they promised? ANON., by e-mail

One voice

EDITOR – NCA is very correct; politicians should never again be allowed to craft another Lancaster House Constitution which was deliberately left with potholes for patching. The self-imposed Robert Mugabe, claiming to represent the Freedom Fighters and the masses of Zimbabwe core, authored the Lancaster House Constitution with his friend Ian Smith without our mandate.

A people-driven Constitution should not be driven by Politicians who have their own ambitions and manipulative agendas of remaining in power for life like Robert Mugabe. The role of Parliament/Government is to facilitate a conducive environment for the establishment of an independent People’s Constitutional Commission.

The current Parliament is full of unwanted visitors, especially the Zanu (PF) elements brought in by imposition. For example, MPs for Sanyati and Chakari Kadoma. All these Polititcians do not represent the will of the people.

Paul Mangwana is popular as a non-performer who presided over a so-called Anti-Corruption Commission which was corrupted by Zanu (PF) fat cats and failed to deliver.

Remember, people were not consulted when Robert Mugabe transformed himself from a Prime Minister to an Executive President who has destroyed our country. Zanu (PF) elements in Parliament are full of deadwood and tired geriatrics resulting in the current stalemate of the GPA.

The People should be the drivers of their Constitution and not Politicians. We call upon all progressive Civil Society Organizations and the Youth to speak with one voice. Support the NCA for a People Driven Constitution. No more cheating should be allowed. Enough is enough. BUSH LAWYER, by e-mail

Lessons from SA

EDITOR – As we celebrate Africa Day and plan a way forward for our sad country we can afford to learn some lessons from our neighbour, South Africa.

1. We need a culture of service in business and the public service. When we drive up to a service station we automatically get our windscreen cleaned and offers of other services. No payments are expected. Civil servants are there to serve the public efficiently.

2. I was impressed with the culture of accountability. If you fail to get good service you can phone a number and report that person. They set time frames to get jobs done otherwise they are accountable.

3. The media helps keep people accountable. Can you imagine our press criticising a minister for failing to provide a promise? Leaders are exposed to great scrutiny to ensure they live up to expectations.

4. We never came across a single police road-block in our month of travelling and the police kept a low profile. They were adequately funded to be able to respond to any call from the public.

5. It was good to see money being spent on the upkeep of roads. We have a long way to go in this regard.

6. We were witnesses of their election and were staggered at the tolerance and restraint of all citizens. That was the standard to follow in a free and fair contest!

7. When democracy works, they deserve their prosperity and investment.

Let’s follow their example to rebuild our future. H. MATTHEWS, Chegutu

Political stubbornness

EDITOR – The endless conflict between Zanu (PF) and MDC has not been fully resolved. The two stalwarts of politics are not on good terms when it comes to resolving the issues of farm invasions, activists abductions and the continuous arrest of journalists.

Mugabe believes he has the pedigree to end the ever collapsing economy if given some air, which to me is ridiculous.

Recently in South Africa, they inaugurated Jacob Zuma as their forth president. Back home we have been stuck with Mugabe for at least three decades.

President Zuma, Zimbabweans are waiting anxiously for your massive power to come and demolish Mugabe. What I ask from you is to be vocal, harsh, and hard on Mugabe until he realises his mistakes and stubbornness. AARON DUBE, South Africa

Open letter to Zimbabweans staying in SA

EDITOR – This note serves as a response to complaints being raised about my public encouragement to Zimbabweans to return home and rebuild the country.

Some people phoned, asking me to go back to Zimbabwe first before encouraging others.

Some demanded assurances of employment upon returning to Zimbabwe. Others questioned the rational of going back when the economy of the country was still terrible.

I respect everyones right to freedom of expression, but I am yet to be convinced that surrendering territory to Zanu (PF) is the best way to solve our problems in Zimbabwe. The fact of the debate is that, we all stood-by with folded hands as Robert Mugabes Zanu (PF) plundered the country to the brink of demise.

When Mugabe started taking away bread from peoples tables all of us just packed our bags and left the country, literally handing over our soils to Zanu (PF). Takaramwira makudo munda akadya akapedza. This is a mistake we committed and history would judge us harshly. We owe an explanation to the posterity. An opportunity to reclaim our lost ground presented itself with the coming up to life of the inclusive government. The inclusive government of course is not the best development we all wanted, but is the only practical option available.

The new set-up however, revealed one fact which we can not run away from. The fact being that Zanu (PF) is not as invincible as we thought. We need to all team up with MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai in reclaiming the political space which Zanu (PF) usurped from us. Imagine, Tsvangirai took them head-on and went on to reclaim a senior position in government. The same applies to all other MDC leaders who took government positions from Zanu (PF)s jaws of resistance. They did not run away for borrowed comforts in foreign lands like you and me.

Tsvangirai cannot rebuild Zimbabwe alone. He needs our contributions and support. Zimbabwe is not for Tsvangirai, it is for all of us. I cant believe that some Zimbabweans feel that the home going story is an irritation which they expect to stop itching one day.

Ukakwata sadza next door hazvirevi kuti ndiko kwava kumusha kwako

Do you burn down the house to get rid of a rat, or you specifically get rid of the rat and keep you house?

I said the leadership of MDC in South Africa is in the process of trying to come up with a fund to assist those who want to go back home. This is different from saying money is already available. Modalities involving the assistance would be announced as soon as funds are available. SIBANENGI DUBE (MDC SA), by e-mail

Kodzi was wrong

EDITOR – I was initially tempted not to dignify Lovemore Kodzis letter with my response.

He spewed crooked versions of simple political scenarios despite his claims of setting the record straight. One would have expected Kodzi to familiarize himself with facts before releasing bile in the public domain.

Kodzi attempted to make readers believe that there was an MDC structure in Pretoria. He also struggled to point out that the provincial leadership was not elected. Kodzi seem to be distancing MDC from Zimbabweans staying in squatter camps.

If Kodzi had bothered to inquire, I would have told him that the provincial structure was closen in Mairfair by District Chairmen. The elections were supervised by MDCs Bindura South MP.

There are two ways of voting in MDC for the provincial leadership. Each district can have one vote or attending delegates could be allowed to vote. Since all districts except Johannesburg were represented by their chairmen only we decided to allow only chairpersons to vote. These are facts which are recorded in party records and Kodzi would have been accessed these records if he had bothered to inquire in genuine good faith.

The Mayfair declaration came after a congress in Broemfontein delivered a structure which never met for six months prompting concerned MDC members to come up with a way forward. I hope Kodzi did not expect us to sit and watch as the party in South Africa disintegrates in oblivion.

There are many MDC supporters in Pretoria but we do not have a district structure. The district leadership in Pretoria apparently joined an Association Veterans Activists, whose objectives and aims are at variance with the MDCs policies. We received directives from Harvest House not to accommodate these Veteran Activists in our structures. We are in the process of building branches which will culminate into a district congress where the leadership would be voted in.

MDC is not a party of the rich and I can confirm that some of our party supporters are staying in informal settlements. – SIBANENGI DUBE (MDC SA), by e-mail

Shot in the foot

EDITOR – Whether Gideon Gono authored the letter that has been widely publicised on

the Internet or not, the man has shot himself in the foot, and his days at the helm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are numbered. Dear colleagues, Gono is gone!

Chances are that Gono did not pen the letter himself. The letter could be a product of the hidden hand of some residual elements in Zanu (PF), including some in the military.

If that was the case, Gono should have dissociated himself from the letter as it has been doing the rounds for quite some days now. Chances, therefore, are that he authored the letter and is happy with the contents, or he is aware of the authors of the much publicised letter, and is hoping that the contents of the letter, even though he did not write it himself, may appeal to the SADC leaders who are said to have been sent copies.

Given Gono’s failure to distance himself from the letter, those who believe he wrote it will be asking the following questions:

1. Why did he find it necessary to copy this letter to Thabo Mbeki?

2. Why did he find it appropriate to copy the letter to SADC Heads of

States?

3. What evidence does he have that Hon Biti is linked to the externalisation

of foreign currency at Honey and Blanckenberg?

4. Why does he find it necessary to discuss an issue which has already been

investigated and closed?

4. How was the letter delivered to the Prime Minister’s office?

5. Are there any records in the RBZ mailroom to show that a letter was

dispatched to the Prime Minister’s office?

If Gono indeed authored the letter, then he has just proved to the SADC Heads of States and Governments that he does not know the appropriate channels of communication, and is not fit to occupy the high office of Governor for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. His letter could best have been copied to Professor Arthur Mutambara and President Robert Mugabe as the three Principals of the Global Political Agreement, or alternatively, addressed to all three.

Gono has given a very clear impression in his letter that he and the Minister of Finance cannot work together, and should that be the case, he should resign immediately and allow the country to move forward.

Gono, please go in peace. BENJAMIN CHITATE, New Zealand

GALZ and SRC horrified

EDITOR We are horrified by an article in The Zimbabwean entitled Ministers order arrest of sex workers, clients, which reports that the two Home Affairs Ministers have issued a decree to round up and prosecute female and male prostitutes and their clients as a way to curb the spread of HIV.

This is a knee-jerk reaction and serious short sightedness and flies in the face of more enlightened government policy as outlined in the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Council Strategic Plan 2006-2010.

In terms of female prostitutes, the strategic plan says that: Periodically occurring round-ups and arrests of street and hotel-based prostitutes in urban sites will be replaced by longer-term regulation of the sex work scene and more predictable planning and programming. The plan also states that this will be agreed upon on a consensus basis between the Ministries of Home Affairs, Health and the Department of Social Welfare, in collaboration with humanitarian NGOs.

In terms of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) the plan states quite clearly that there can be no doubt that there are men who have sex with other men. They are at risk of HIV infection and passing on the virus to their partners, including female partners. Furthermore, international experience has shown that ignoring this group or adopting punitive approaches will only serve to drive MSM underground and reduce opportunities to dialogue with this group.

The Ministry of Home Affairs would therefore seem to be acting unilaterally and without proper thought to the consequences of their decree. It will drive these vulnerable and marginalized groups further underground making them difficult to reach with HIV/AIDS interventions and will simply provide corrupt police officers with additional ammunition to extort money out of already impoverished men and women. And as one of the prostitutes pointedly says in the article: I will still find a way of soliciting clients even if it means servicing the police officers for free.

GALZ and SRC call on the two Ministers to rescind their decree and to support the National AIDS Council and other organizations in the fields of sexual rights and HIV/AIDS to develop sensible and sensitive HIV/AIDS strategies for interventions amongst these marginalized groups. Only in this way can we hope to see a continuing downward trend in the HIV infection rate in Zimbabwe. – Joint statement between Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) and Sexual Rights Centre (SRC)

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