Friday, April 18, 2008

Zimbabwe News Update: 28th Anniversary of National Liberation, 'Never a Colony Again,' Says Mugabe; Martyrs Remembered

‘Zimbabwe will never be colony again’

By Sydney Kawadza
Zimbabwe Herald

CHILDREN have a right to inherit a free and sovereign country and elders should not let them down by dropping their guard against imperialists, President Mugabe has said.

Speaking at a Children’s Party hosted by the First Family during the annual commemorations of the 28th Anniversary of Independence at the City Sports Centre in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said imperialist forces were finding their way into society to cause division among the people of Zimbabwe.

"(They) are trying to divide our people to create a weak society, a state of weakness to impose neo-colonial rule in our country," he said.

Cde Mugabe said as long as he was still alive, he would not let the British or their Western allies colonise Zimbabwe again.

"As long as I am still on this earth, as long as I am still breathing, the country shall never be a colony again. Never shall this country be a British colony again," he said.

Cde Mugabe urged the children in the country to grow up knowing that the country has a history that led to the freedom enjoyed by all the people today.

"We want you to grow and develop in an environment of freedom (but) you should develop by knowing your history. Knowing your country’s past would also help you knowing its future.

"You must also know the history of the struggle. Freedom did not come on a silver plate. Zimbabwe was once usurped by imperialists who seized it like robbers, but we got it back and we are proud to be Zimbabweans, not Rhodesians, Africans, not British.

"We have our own cultures. We can borrow from other cultures, but not British. We must remain black and be proud to be black and hence our children should inherit a culture of being proud to be African," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwean children should learn to inherit and develop good characters from their elders.

"You should show friendship, love for the poor and work to unite the people. You should also inherit from those with the right knowledge, correct skills that will help you to be better people and get an education to grow in terms of conduct and character," he said.

President Mugabe said children should know that they do not have to start as leaders but should learn to follow others before they could become good leaders.

"We want to see good leaders who would inherit Zimbabwe and ensure fair distribution of the country’s resources among the people. Good leaders must have good character, knowledge and good ideology.

"Move in circles of well-behaved people, respect your elders, your Government and be able to distinguish what is wrong or right so that you can also be distinguished from others.

"If you develop a bad character, you would be damned and you would also be damned as a person, but a good character cannot be developed in a day. It should be developed in your homes and schools," he said.

President Mugabe urged the children to shun bad company and develop good habits that can be built into a good character.

"You should develop a good habit, a good habit that would develop into a good character, a good character for a good destiny," he said.

The party is an annual event held a day before the country’s independence celebrations and attended by children from the country’s 10 provinces.

Traditional dancers, poets and local musical groups entertained the gathering.

The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere, led a number of dignitaries who graced the occasion including Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Obert Matshalaga, Information and Publicity Deputy Minister Cde Bright Matonga, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda and many others.

Do not be cowed by white ex-farmers: ZNFU

Bulawayo Bureau

THE Zimbabwe National Farmers’ Union yesterday urged farmers not to be intimidated by white former commercial farmers who have been visiting farms countrywide threatening to take them over.

ZNFU president Mrs Monica Chinamasa said any attempts by the white former farmers to forcibly evict new farmers would be resisted.

She said since the harmonised elections late last month, her organisation has been receiving a number of reports from its members who said former commercial farmers whose land was acquired for resettlement, have been visiting farms, intimidating settlers.

Following those reports, she said the ZNFU leadership met in Harare over the weekend and came up with a position to urge its members to remain on their land.

"We got some information from some members over the past few weeks. They said some white former farmers were coming to their farms on motorbikes claiming that they were taking over the land.

"For that reason, we met as an executive committee of the ZNFU in Harare on Saturday to discuss that matter.

"We agreed that the land that we have was acquired by the Government and offered to us.

"We were given the land in terms of the law and Constitution of Zimbabwe.

"So we are saying our members will resist any attempts to forcibly move them off the land that they were legally allocated by the Government," she said.

She said her organisation had been receiving reports from its members in Mazowe, Marondera and Beatrice, among other areas.

The white farmers have been going to their former farms claiming that they retake return the land, as they anticipated an electoral victory by the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

On the eve of the harmonised elections, Tsvangirai said in a US newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, that in the event that he wins the elections, he would reverse the land reform programme.

But Cde Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement and Cde Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs have strongly warned the former farmers against intimidating new farmers.

Cde Chinamasa said by harassing new farmers, the former farmers were "playing with the tail of a lion".

Cde Mutasa said: "Let me warn those few white former farmers who are overzealous that what they are doing is treacherous and tantamount to disregarding the rule of law.

"We have received reports that those white farmers we spared from the land acquisition process are now harbouring their kith and kin returning from outside the country.

"We are not going to sit back and relax as this is a threat not only to the new farmers, but to the country as a whole.’’

Mrs Chinamasa advised any new farmers receiving threats from the former farmers to report such cases to police or the ZNFU.

"The law is on our side.

"In any case, the land is ours. It has always been our land which these people (whites) stole from us.

"I would like to say that if anyone visits and threatens our resettled farmers, they must be reported to police or us.

"Such people would be charged with violating the law and disturbing peace and would actually be trespassing on property which does not belong to them," she added.

She urged new farmers to continue carrying out their farm operations as usual.

"We encourage our people to carry on with their work normally.

"We have the winter season that is coming up and we do not have time to waste.

"Farmers must be in the process of preparing to grow wheat," she said.

Chimoio victims remembered

By Peter Matambanadzo in CHIMOIO, Mozambique,Zvama

EIGHT hundred Zimbabwean delegates are in Chimoio for a tour of former liberation war camps and shrines in honour of the country’s gallant sons and daughters who were massacred by Rhodesian forces during the liberation struggle.

Thousands of Zimbabweans were massacred by Rhodesian forces at Chimoio on November 23, 1977.

The delegation — led by Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation Cde Saviour Kasukuwere — includes the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Diydmus Mutasa; the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Cde Oppah Muchinguri; and Manicaland Provincial Governor Cde Tinaye Chigudu.

Other delegates include members of the Zanu-PF Youth and Women’s Leagues, Government and other ruling party officials.

Cde Kasukuwere yesterday said all logistics were in place and the delegation would tour the shrine, camps and mass graves today.

He said the turnout was pleasing and it signified youths’ commitment to learn more about the country’s history.

"We want our youths to be politically conscious especially in these trying times. We want them to emulate and appreciate as well as jealously safeguard what their sisters and brothers died for," he said.

Zanu-PF has over the past years organised pilgrimages as a way of paying tribute to those who perished in the attack.

The former liberation camps and shrines are in Nyadzonia and Choimoio, Mozambique, as well as in Zambia, which served as a base for Zipra fighters.

Similar visits to Zambia have also been undertaken in the past.

The visits to Mozambique coincides with Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield, Harare, today.

Thousands of people are expected to converge at the stadium where President Mugabe will officiate.

Provincial governors will preside over commemorations in their respective provinces.

The main celebrations were moved to Gwanzura because the traditional venues — Rufaro and the National Sports stadiums — are being refurbished.

Many have said the commemoration of the historic day in Highfield was symbolic since it used to be the hotbed of nationalist politics that led to the liberation struggle which gave birth to a free Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980.

It is also here that Zanu-PF was formed in 1963 at Cde Enos Nkala’s house.

Many nationalists, who include President Mugabe, the late George Nyandoro, Cde Nkala, the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, the late Cde Herbert Chitepo, the late Cde Leopold Takawira and the late Cde Josiah Chinamano, among others, lived in the suburb as they executed the liberation struggle.

Just adjacent to Gwanzura is Zimbabwe Grounds, where President Mugabe held the historic homecoming rally on arrival from Mozambique on the eve of Zimbabwe’s first democratic elections in 1980.

A stone throw’s away from the stadium is Mushandirapamwe Hotel where nationalists used to convene to strategise on how to execute the liberation struggle.

At today’s ceremony, people will be treated to breathtaking army drills like mock battles, drum majorettes, music and dance and a soccer match.

The opposition has in the past snubbed these national events, a stance that has been roundly criticised.

When asked whether his party would attend today’s commemoration, MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa played down the event, saying independence commemoration was not about gathering although they respected the day.

Global food crisis: Zim needs to boost production

By Martin Kadzere

AS the global food crisis looms, economists have warned that Zimbabwe should expeditiously start producing enough to avoid spending more money on imports.

Last Friday, the global financial leaders in Washington declared a food international emergency at the spring annual of the IMF and the World Bank.

Zimbabwe, currently importing over 75 percent of its food, particularly maize and wheat, should brace for massive price hikes provided that no urgent measures are put in place to ensure the effects are mitigated.

Economists also warned producer countries could introduce export ban on food to prevent protests, a development that they said could trigger massive shortages.

Neighbouring countries, SA and Botswana have already raised concerns over the growing food shortages on the international markets.

South Africa’s labour federation body, Cosatu planned countrywide protests over price collusion while Botswana has already warned on massive food price increases.

In the recent years, Zimbabwe has been relying heavily on food products such as flour, rice and cooking oil among others from these two nations.

"The country really needs to quickly boost production if we are to avoid paying much higher prices for food," a Harare-based independent economist said.

"It is important to ensure that all farms are utilised productively. We do not have money to import food but we have the land to produce so land should be productively used."

Global food crisis was triggered by the US’ move to produce ethanol from maize. Maize stocks declined sharply thus creating a shortfall in stocks feeds.

Farmers then resorted to wheat as an alternative and stocks began to fall, sending wheat and cereal prices higher.

South African finance minister Trevor Manuel last week urged Opec, the oil producing cartel to lower the incentive to divert food to fuel by pumping more oil.

Apart from "diverting food to fuel", the wheat crop was completely destroyed by floods in Australia while low harvests were recorded in Argentina.

In the US, wheat harvests were low as the crop was affected by changes in world climates. The repercussions have spread around the world.

"Unless something dramatic happens, Zimbabwe will face massive food scarcity in the next six months. It might be difficult but the effects can be mitigated by boosting production at subsistence level," said an agriculture economist with a local bank.

Since last year, Zimbabwe has been importing maize and wheat from Zambia, South Africa and Argentina. Despite the imports, shortages persisted.

Shortages of wheat have seen bread prices rising from $15 million a loaf in the past three weeks to $60 million on the black market.

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