Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for January, 2008

Zimbabwe elections: the quest for nomination

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Thursday, January 31st, 2008 by Michael Laban

More stuff from Former-Councillor Laban . . . over the weekend, we had the announcement of the election and nomination court dates.

So, on Monday, I arranged to be away from work (as I am one of the few Zimbabweans who has a job).

Tuesday, 29 January 2008 – up and off to do the task. First stop, Makombe complex. After visiting three offices (and the gate guard, door guard, photocopy man), I am told, “ZEC Office, Fourth Floor, Cecil House – Corner Jason Moyo and Third.”

I get there, walk up the stairs (the lift does not work), and search for anyone in the offices. The reception and two adjoining offices are empty, but someone on the stairs helps, and eventually two people come by. “Am I a from a Party, or Independent?” – “Independent” “Councillors’ papers are with the local authority. You must go to Town House. I sent the papers there yesterday.”

Off I go to Town House – I remember where it is, and am greeted by all sorts of people! Quite nice. People ask of my health, and I ask after old friends. However the Chamber Secretary (along with many others) is away at a memorial for the dead firemen. “Can I come back in the afternoon?” “Yes, I can.” In the afternoon, she is still away.

Wednesday 30 January 2008 Next morning, she is around. (More old conversation.) I get in to see her and fill in a form to say I have the forms. I ask for, and she will prepare, “a written certificate of clearance in terms of section 125 of the Act from: b) the relevant council.”

Then, off I go. I get to work at 1200. And leave early, to go home (because it is right beside my local police station, in fact, from my kitchen, I can look into the holding cells). I need to deal with another aspect of the forms. “a written certificate of clearance in terms of section 125 of the Act from: a) the Zimbabwe Republic Police.”

At the police station, I am informed, “you must go to a bookstore, buy two finger print forms, then come here and get fingerprinted.” This is only done between 1000 and 1200. Then, I will have to take the forms to Morris Depot, and get clearance.

As for the rest of the form, it requires a birth certificate and Nat Registration card (photocopies) (we guess for identification and to show you are over 21), a passport size photograph, and then nominators. There are spaces for 6, but you can add more on a separate sheet of paper if you want. The nominators must be registered to vote in your ward, and provide Nat Reg number, address, signature and date, and be witnessed by you or your agent/representative. You must sign a declaration, and there are more papers included (Party authorisation forms, and such like.)

So tomorrow it is back to the quest. Anyone out there registered in Ward 7 who wants to nominate me? Let me know, I will come by.

And I am still not sure if I should stand or boycott. The election will not be free and fair (if Zanu PF thought they might lose, they would not hold it), but the campaign will be a chance to bring up the issues (like refuse collection), and make people think about what they want, instead of what they do not want. If I get elected (and there is definitely a chance of that) can I make a difference in Council? Is there a danger I will be overwhelmed by Party people who only know how to say what their party tells them to say? Even with that danger (an others) do you still want me to give it a go? Or can I achieve more by campaigning, and then withdrawing before the elections. If nothing else, the process of getting nominated will, I hope, be a learning process that I can ‘share’ with you all.


Harare – no shine in this city

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Dennis Nyandoro

I think it’s high time that our city fathers in Harare, if they still exist, engage some clean up campaigns because our city is getting so dirty. Youths have got nothing to do other than drink beer, loiter at the street corners for prostitution and other illegal activities, drugs etc.

The youth should be involved in the clean up activities, which is one area they (city fathers or local government) can reduce the percentage of unemployment and restore order in the cities and small towns around Zimbabwe. Litter is everywhere, and its even worse with this rainy season.

Some years ago, we used to see tractors cutting down grass along the roads. Youths are crying for jobs out there, why not save that diesel you don’t have and employ these youths to cut the grass and keep Harare the Sun Shine City clean!

Why can’t we do what they are doing in Freetown, Sierra Leone where the last Saturday of every month has been declared “Cleaning Saturday” by the government.

People’s shops? What a laugh!

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Natasha Msonza

Call me a pessimist or whatever you may, but the government never ceases to amaze me each time it rolls out newer, albeit ill-thought-through measures to ease the prevailing economic crunch. As March 29th quickly approaches, it figures that the government should suddenly be so concerned about “disadvantaged, low income earners” who are failing to access basic commodities whose prices are ever escalating in shops now mostly selling imported goods.

The Minister of Industry and International trade, Mr Obert Mpofu was quoted in the Herald of 29 January, 2008 saying that the people’s shops will provide basic commodities aimed at low income earners for “it is our belief that the disadvantaged and less privileged community should access basic commodities. The shops will be useful in beating rampant price increases, shortages and monopolistic tendencies in the market.” So the government is under the illusion that everyone else who falls outside their bracket of the ‘underprivileged’ is somehow easily accessing basic goods and commodities.

From the little economics I understand, there is a shortage of basic commodities because local manufacturers are failing to produce for obvious policy and economic reasons, albeit the government would like to believe and make believe it is simple sabotage. Wouldn’t it be more practical for government to first seek to resuscitate and stimulate production that will see the locally manufactured goods come back onto the market, as well as find ways to mend the dent in foreign investor confidence? As a matter of interest, I am anxious to know where the ‘cheap’ goods that will stock up the people’s shops will come from.

Does the government honestly think the so-called pauper’s – er – people’s shops will make life any easier? You know what’s most likely to happen? More queues and more hoarding for resale (especially if the goods will be cheaper) by those with the time, ability and energy to spend a whole day in shop queues. I’ll tell you what’s more, civil servants will probably get first preference, just like what was/is happening at most bank queues. Just come in your uniform, or take out your pay slip or whatever it is they present in order to jump the queue.

Lastly, the government substantiates its new idea by conveniently mentioning the fact that the concept was taken from Angola, whose government set aside US$1,5 billion and ” has been successful in implementing the project.” People, I hate to burst your bubble but, take a look at this picture taken outside one such people’s shop then you know all is not rosy in Angola. While the long queues that have become a common sight, if not an eyesore seem to be disappearing from most banks, it seems our government really loves seeing them and cannot wait to introduce something else that will make queues re-appear.

People’s shops? What a laugh. There are some people’s shops already in this country – zhing-zhongs – which are supposed to sell the cheapest quality products but still expensive as hell. And people of all walks of life, no matter what they earn, converge there. For God’s sake, let market forces control the prices of goods. Unusually or exceptionally cheap products will only be hoarded, quickly disappearing from the shelves to reappear on the black market at inflated prices.

Crisis in education must be unmasked

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Monday, January 28th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabwe’s education sector has been hard hit by the political and economic crisis of recent years. As schools opened for the new year, teachers are so poorly paid, some couldn’t afford transport back to their schools. Parents, meanwhile, are struggling to afford the school fees, uniforms, and supplies their children need.

Last week, Kubatana sent a text message to ask our members what could be done to resolve the challenges in the education sector in a way that improves things for parents, students and teachers alike.

In addition to Dennis Nyandoro’s blog on the subject, here are some replies from our subscribers:

The situation is a nightmare. It’s not only teachers, what of health professionals? Where is NSSA & NAC fund going to? ARV’s coming from NGO’s cover 3 quarters of patients.


The crisis in education must be unmasked by us in conjunction with the media. Once parents understand the depth of the crisis, they can stop their children attending school unless there is an overhaul. Teachers seem to be satisfied with their earnings. If not, they should not have attended until they got reasonable amounts in their accounts.


Nothing can be done to the education sector in Zimbabwe until the bankrupt regime goes on the 29th of March & the new government goes back to the drawing board. Everything needs cash.

MDC freedom march goes ahead, despite police harassment

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Saturday, January 26th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

Watch this video (30 sec, 2MB)Despite a lengthy back and forth with the courts, and harassment by the police, the Movement for Democratic Change went ahead with their freedom march on January 23, 2008.

In this clip, recorded by a journalist on the scene, MDC members run from tear gas which was thrown by the police to disrupt their gathering. They quickly regroup, and toyi toyi their way through Harare’s streets, waving their posters and singing their protests of Zanu PF’s governance.

Another journalist was not so lucky – an Al Jazeera cameraman was stopped by the police and prevented from filming, despite the fact that his network is the only foreign television station tolerated by the Zimbabwe regime.

With our “mother of all polls” now scheduled for March 29, 2008, prospects of a free and fair election are non-existent. In these conditions, some are advocating a stronger stance from the MDC, urging them to develop a genuine programme of democratic resistance. Others are more sceptical of MDC protests.

Leave a comment or send us an email on info [@] kubatana [dot] org [dot] zw and share your thoughts. What do you think the opposition – or Zimbabweans more generally – can do to snatch some kind of satisfactory result from the jaws of what is certain to be another rigged election?

Country for sale

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Friday, January 25th, 2008 by Bev Clark

I love a good mechanic. Especially a mechanic who doubles as a fiery, passionate conservationist, and who has a sense of humour. Zimbabwe is extremely fortunate to have Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, working hard to protect our wildlife. And these days a sense of humour is essential to living in, and surviving Zimbabwe. At the end of one of his recent emails he included this

1980 MODEL