Friday, December 02, 2005

Police Crush World AIDS Day March in Zimbabwe

In an act of outrageous callousness and barbarity the Zimbabwe Republic Police descended on yesterday’s World Aids Day march and ordered the marchers to disperse, just hours after the regime's president, Mugabe, vowed to keep the promise. Five of the organisers of the protest are in police custody since midday Thursday. These are Munyaradzi Gwisai of ISO, Mao Nyikadzino (NCA), Sostain Moyo of Zimbabwe Activists Against Aids), and Anna and Gladys from the Women Aids Support Network (WASN)

The police had given clearance for the World Aids Day march and the gathering in the Africa Unity Square. They then suddenly turned around, outlawed the procession and arrested people. This is clearly a matter of setting up a trap and waylaying people on the way.

The success of yesterday’s action is very inspiring. Hundreds of us marched on the streets of Harare singing and raising our banners for over 30 minutes. People carried banners demanding access to ARVs and demands from the Action Against Poverty. These included living wage for workers, fuel, affordable sanitary pads and baby milk and reduction of taxation. People were also calling for transparency on the AIDS levy to which workers painfully contribute but some heartless regime bureaucrats are looting. There was also significant presence of NCA activists calling for a new people driven constitution.

Lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are busy trying to get the arrested comrades released. We are asking cdes to bombard the police station with calls and faxes demanding the release of those in police custody.

Harare Central Police Station
Phone: (+263 4) 733033, 721212, 736931, 725903
Minister of Home Affairs
Phone: (+263-4)723635, 703642, 703644

ISO Zimbabwe
(+263-91)719717, (+263-91)908847, (263-4) 704209

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From ZCTU Info Dept

Reports we have now are that at least 120 people have been arrested in Harare alone and they are held at the Harare Central Police Station and hopefully they will appear in court tomorrow
The total figure of those arrested countrywide is at least 200. No charges have been pressed against them and the indications from police in Harare is that they will only start processing their papers tomorrow (Wednesday).

Three other ZCTU members were arrested by soldiers. namely Mlamleli Sibanda, Last Tarabuku, Leonard Gwenzi and Thabitha Khumalo a general council member They were later released after the soliders handed them over to the Police law and order section. The four were arrested four allegedly photographing an army truck.

The demonstration was organised by the ZCTU against high price increase, high taxation levels, shortages of medical drugs, high transport costs and the general economic decay in the country.

Official Inflation is currently at 360 percent while unemployment is pegged at 80 percent. Generally 80 percent of the population live in abject poverty and most households can no longer afford a decent meal a day. School fees are now beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.

Those who participated in the demonstration included those from the infomal economy who were affected affected by Operation Murambatsvina.

The ZCTU has orgainsed this demonstration to remind government and employers that workers in Zimbabwe including civil servants can no longer make ends meet.

The ZCTU appreciates the solidarity it has received so far and hopes you will put more pressure on the government for the release of the trade union activists.

***The 120-ZCTU activists including Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo the ZCTU President are still in Police custody but have all been transfered to Chitungwiza 25 Kilometres outside Harare. Reports we have received but not yet verified indicate that Wellington Chibebe and a few others were tortured last night. The Police have not given any reasons for transferering the activists to Chitungwiza, neither have they charged anyone yet. The paperwork still has not been done. Lawyers are still fighting with the police.

Among the people arrested are about 20 people living with HIV/AIDS who can not assess treatment at the moment and five women with babies and other disabled people. This situation is particularly worrying as we now fear that there might be some fatalities because of the conditions these people are in.

* Several other arrested activists have been moved to Makoni, Dema and Mbare police stations. The phone numbers are:
Dema: +263-70-23142, +263-70-21928
Makoni +263-70-22006, +263-4-22001
Mbare +263-4-706401,

ZCTU Information Department
Mlamleli Sibanda
Information Officer
ZCTU Box 3549
Tel: 263 4 702517
Cel: 263 11 620 232
Fax: 263 4 728484
Web :


Workers' Democracy Thailand are very concerned about the arrests of comrades Aaron Dhliwayo, John Bomba and Munyaradzi Gwisai. They are special friends of the comrades here as they have spoken at our meetings on a number of occasions.
We wish to send a warm message of solidarity and hope that they will be released as soon as possible.

Giles Ungpakorn
Workers' Democracy
Bangkok, Thailand

Dear comrade,

We learnt about the arrest of several activists in Zimbabwe, including 3 comrades of ISO Zimbabwe. We will publish a note and a solidarity appeal in our website and magazine. Please let us know more details about the arrests.

In comradeship

Rui Polly

OR POLICE HEQDQUARTERS ON +263-4-700171, +263-4-700172
OR THE ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE ON +263-4-774539, +263-4-781769
ALTERNATIVELY THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE ON +263-4-781063, +263-4-781064

From ZCTU Info Dept + Ststements

Reports we have now are that at least 120 people have been arrested in Harare alone and they are held at the Harare Central Police Station and hopefully they will appear in court tomorrow
The total figure of those arrested countrywide is at least 200. No charges have been pressed against them and the indications from police in Harare is that they will only start processing their papers tomorrow (Wednesday).

Three other ZCTU members were arrested by soldiers. namely Mlamleli Sibanda, Last Tarabuku, Leonard Gwenzi and Thabitha Khumalo a general council member They were later released after the soliders handed them over to the Police law and order section. The four were arrested four allegedly photographing an army truck.

The demonstration was organised by the ZCTU against high price increase, high taxation levels, shortages of medical drugs, high transport costs and the general economic decay in the country.

Official Inflation is currently at 360 percent while unemployment is pegged at 80 percent. Generally 80 percent of the population live in abject poverty and most households can no longer afford a decent meal a day. School fees are now beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.

Those who participated in the demonstration included those from the infomal economy who were affected affected by Operation Murambatsvina.

The ZCTU has orgainsed this demonstration to remind government and employers that workers in Zimbabwe including civil servants can no longer make ends meet.

The ZCTU appreciates the solidarity it has received so far and hopes you will put more pressure on the government for the release of the trade union activists.

* Several arrested activists have been moved to Makoni, Dema and Mbare police stations. The phone numbers are:
Dema: +263-70-23142, +263-70-21928
Makoni +263-70-22006, +263-70-22001
Mbare +263-4-706401

ZCTU Information Department
Mlamleli Sibanda, Information Officer
ZCTU Box 3549, Harare
Tel: 263 4 702517, Cel: 263 11 620 232
Fax: 263 4 728484
Web :


Workers' Democracy Thailand are very concerned about the arrests of comrades Aaron Dhliwayo, John Bomba and Munyaradzi Gwisai. They are special friends of the comrades here as they have spoken at our meetings on a number of occasions.
We wish to send a warm message of solidarity and hope that they will be released as soon as possible.

Giles Ungpakorn
Workers' Democracy
Bangkok, Thailand

Dear comrade,

We learnt about the arrest of several activists in Zimbabwe, including 3 comrades of ISO Zimbabwe. We will publish a note and a solidarity appeal in our website and magazine. Please let us know more details about the arrests.

In comradeship

Rui Polly

From ZCTU Info Dept

Reports we have now are that at least 120 people have been arrested in Harare alone and they are held at the Harare Central Police Station and hopefully they will appear in court tomorrow.
The total figure of those arrested countrywide is at least 200. No charges have been pressed against them and the indications from police in Harare is that they will only start processing their papers tomorrow (Wednesday).
Three other ZCTU members were arrested by soldiers. namely Mlamleli Sibanda, Last Tarabuku, Leonard Gwenzi and Thabitha Khumalo a general council member They were later released after the soliders handed them over to the Police law and order section. The four were arrested four allegedly photographing an army truck.

The demonstration was organised by the ZCTU against high price increase, high taxation levels, shortages of medical drugs, high transport costs and the general economic decay in the country.
Official Inflation is currently at 360 percent while unemployment is pegged at 80 percent. Generally 80 percent of the population live in abject poverty and most households can no longer afford a decent meal a day. School fees are now beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.
Those who participated in the demostartion included those from the infomal economy who were affected affected by Operation Murambatsvina.
The ZCTU has orgainsed this demonstration to remind government and employers that workers in Zimbabwe including civil servants can no longer make ends meet.
The ZCTU appreciates the solidarity it has received so far and hopes you will put more pressure on the government for the release of the trade union activists.
* Several arrested activists have been moved to Makoni, Dema and Mbare police stations. The phone numbers are:
Dema: +263-70-23142, +263-70-21928
Makoni +263-70-22006, +263-4-22001
Mbare +263-4-706401,
ZCTU Information Department
Mlamleli Sibanda
Information Officer
ZCTU Box 3549
Tel: 263 4 702517
Cel: 263 11 620 232
Fax: 263 4 728484
Web :


Workers' Democracy Thailand are very concerned about the arrests of comrades Aaron Dhliwayo, John Bomba and Munyaradzi Gwisai. They are special friends of the comrades here as they have spoken at our meetings on a number of occasions. We wish to send a warm message of solidarity and hope that they will be released as soon as possible.

Giles Ungpakorn
Workers' Democracy
Bangkok, Thailand

Also protest phone calls can be made to President Mugabe's Office +263-4-781063, +263-4-781064, +263-4-707091, +263-4-707097, +263-4-707098, +263-4-707099

115 Arrested Including Women With Children

(we could not get this up sooner. The regime sabotages internet connections whenever there is a protest – they are the single regulating body)

The ZCTU demonstration against poverty was broken up by the police yesterday afternoon. About 115 demonstrators have been arrested. They are still detained at Harare Central Police Station and no charges have been brought against them. Muchadehama the lawyer was still there late yesterday.

Some of those arrested are:
Lovemore Matombo - ZCTU President
Wellington Chibhebhe - ZCTU Secretary General
Netsai Dzinoreva – NOC Member Zimbabwe Social Forum
John Bomba – National Co-ordinator ISO
Aaron Dhliwayo – Harare Branch Co-Ordinator ISO
Munyaradzi Gwisai – National Co-Ordinator ISO
Canwell Muchadya - President ZGAWU (Printing Union)
Regis Mututu - Chairperson Zimbabwe Social Forum
Rita Nyamupinga - NOC member Zimbabwe Social Forum.

More than 115 activists including the HIV/AIDS activitists, the disabled and women with children. About 6 women with children on their back, and the disabled have been move from one of the conjested cells into the other one but they are still detaining them. So far no charges have been brought against them and it is likely that they will spend the night in the congested cells. Your solidarity is needed to put pressure for them to be brought to court tommorrow. Phone Harare Central Police Station demanding the immediate release of the arrested. See the phone and fax details in the article immediately below this one.

* We have just learned (10.00 last night) that some were moved to either Dema or Marondera police stations. We mwill make a follow up and post the details as soon as we have them *
Also go to

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dozens Arrested

Several protesters were arrested this morning in central Harare.

An eyewitness described a “truck-load” of protesters being driven off.

Once inside the police station they will most certainly be subject to physical beatings.

They were arrested for daring to protest over the fast deteriorating living conditions in Zimbabwe and the anti-social policies of the ZANU(PF)/Mugabe regime.

Protest these arrests and trampling of workers rights in Zimbabwe by phoning:
+263-4-724668, +263-4-777777, +263-4-721212, +263-4-736931, +263-4-725803

and faxing +263-4-771420

for the attention of Harare Provincial Officer Commanding (Commissioner Edmore Veterai)

State Mounts Armed Road Blocks

(Posted 11:00am)

First eye witness report

The ZANU(PF) state has mounted road-blocks on all roads leading out of Harare’s townships and on all roads leading into the city centre - hours after revoking permission for the march to go ahead.

All public transport vehicles (buses and kombis) are being pulled over, passengers made to disembark and thorough searches made on every single passenger and vehicle.

Armed police and soldiers are patrolling and demanding IDs from pedestrians. Anyone caught without an ID is being severly beaten up.

More to follow later…

watch this space

Monday, November 07, 2005

JOIN THE ZCTU Action Against Poverty 08/11/05

Demonstration starts at Construction House, L.Takawira, Harare at 12:00 Noon
* We want food: We are starving
* We want water and have gone without water for months
* We want fuel: And affordable public transport
* We want affordable sanitary pads nemukaka wevana wanyanya kudhura ngauderedzwe!
* We demand a non taxable living wage for all workers in line with PDL (10 Meter), tatambura nemaslave wages
* We demand free ARV’s and stop looting AIDS Levy!
* We want jobs and the right to strike
* The right to trade for informal traders. Misika, maflea markets nematuckshop should be opened now! Mapurisa ngaarege kutora zvinhu zvema vendors! Stop harassment of Cross-Border traders, close down Lindela Centre!
* We demand the right to rebuild our cabins, and cottages destroyed by murambasvina
* Marates anyanya kudhura, mvura nemagetsi ngazvidzikiswe
* Tsvina yanyanya murukisheni, kanzuru ngaitakure marara
* Right to education and Decent payout for students
* Stop victimization of student leaders especially at UZ by Nyagura
* Repeal POSSA & AIPPA. A new democratic constitution now!
* Stop all payments to IMF – Use the forex for food, ARV drugs, education, water, fuel
* Food, food, food, we want food we are starving. Tafa nenzara today marara here?

If you can't be there, bang your empty pots and pans!! Make noise

Shinga Mushandi Shinga! Qina Msebenzi Qina! Kusvika Zvanaka!

Friday, November 04, 2005

ZCTU Protest On 8 November 2005

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade unions has called for a Day of Action on Tuesday 8 November.

On this day, Protest marches will take place from 12.00pm to 2.00pm countrywide.

In Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Harare and Mutare, the ZCTU leadership will lead the protests and hand in Petitions to the Ministry of Labour Offices.

The Protest Marches are being called to protest over the worsening levels of poverty in Zimbabwe whilst bosses, managers and investors continue to live their obscene lifestyles in Borrowdale, Highlands, Chisipite and others.

The ZCTU demands are:
* An immediate raise in the minimum wage. The current Poverty line is $ 10 million
* A reduction in PAYE to a maximum of 30%
* A reduction in VAT
* Provision of affordable anti-retrovirals (ARVs)

Other demands to raise are:
* Allow the building of cabins to ease the housing crisis
* Allow markets for Traders
* Compensation for victims of Murambatsvina
* A People Driven Democratic Constitution
* Student Grants Not Loans
* Infrastructure for A1 Farmers
* Water and Electricity supplies, Garbage Collection, functioning Sewerage system
* Food, Jobs, Affordable medical Drugs, Affordable Education

Contact your local ZCTU office to get the details of the march in your area.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

20 Reasons To Boycott The Illegitimate Senate Elections!

No food – No votes!
No reduction of school fees – No votes!
No water – No votes!
No electricity – No votes!
No proper sewerage system – No votes!
No garbage collection – No votes!
No free ARV’s – No votes!
No price reductions and No price controls – No votes!
No market stalls for informal traders – No votes!
No jobs – No votes!
No affordable medical drugs – No votes!
No affordable education – No votes!
No college student grants – No votes!
No compensation to victims of Murambatsvina – No votes
No teachers, no doctors, no nurses – No votes!
No infrastructure development for A1 farmers – No votes!
No ending of POSA and AIPPA – No votes!
No new democratic constitution – No votes
No democracy – No vote!
No freedom – No vote!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Participants Chant at Last Weeks Social Forum

by Charlie Kimber (Socialist Worker, UK)
Amid the suffering in southern Africa, one event last week was a powerful sign of resistance and hope.
Around 4,000 people took part in the Southern Africa Social Forum in Harare, Zimbabwe. This was the largest event ever of its type in the region, bringing together people from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

There were trade unionists, people with HIV, housing campaigners, campaigners for women's rights, informal traders, disabled people, students, unemployed and many more.

The forum was a chance for them to speak out and to organise. One experience summed up the confidence that people gained during the event.

Speakers had been warned that any criticism of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe would mean that the riot police would sweep in and close down the event. We cast anxious glances at the police gathered at the edge of the main meeting.

By the end of the three days of the forum, almost everyone was calling for Mugabe to go. Half of the watching police were nodding along in agreement.

It was a fiercely radical event, directed not only against the region's governments but against capitalism itself. The slogans with which speakers began their contributions almost always included chants such as "phansi (down with) capitalism" and "viva socialism".

Munyaradzi Gwisai, former MP and the country's most well-known socialist activist, told the forum, "Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. We weren't supposed to come here and demand our markets back, our homes back, a democratic and free country.

"All the intimidation has failed. We are here and we are not going away. The rich of all parties are uniting around Mugabe. This government has made an open decision to be puppets of the IMF and World Bank.

"While there are severe food shortages and hundreds of thousands of homeless, while our hospitals are death cells and education collapses, Mugabe repays $130 million to the IMF.

"We are calling for support across the region when the trumpet of liberation sounds from here. We are going to continue the struggle in the parliament of the streets for socialism."

Jabu Lile from South Africa's Anti- Privatisation Forum said, "This forum is our expression of a search for a better world, for a socialist transformation and for an end to capitalism which has brought suffering to our region."

Workers came to share their struggles and strategies. Canwell Muchadya, president of the Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union, told how his members had taken part in two national strikes in the last 18 months. Their militancy, even in very difficult circumstances, had improved wages and conditions.

Ben Moeletsi from Botswana was greeted with chanting and applause when he said he was one of the 461 workers sacked after a strike for a fair bonus at Debswana, the firm owned jointly by the De Beers company and the government.

Ben also called for support for the struggle of the country's Bushmen, presently facing extermination in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Dozens of people living with HIV/Aids-as 20 percent of the population in Zimbabwe aged between 15 and 49 do-gathered to discuss their situation and how to fight for their rights.

They tore into the giant pharmaceutical companies and the international institutions that defend patents and keep drug prices high.

Joyline Tarungarira said, "We call for more education, more truth about condoms and the way this disease spreads. But that is not enough without a different world where the profits of a few do not come first. I have four children, I am HIV positive and seven people in my immediate family have been taken away by Aids.

"This is an emergency which requires a revolution to end it."
About half of the participants were women, and there were serious debates about the role of women in society, and at the forum. Virginia Setshedi said, "Women carry the brunt of capitalism. As services are cut because of privatisation and high prices, it is women who take the sick to hospital, look after the children or walk miles for clean water.

"We want to tear down this system that imprisons us. But we also demand a full role in these forums. We want more women on these forum platforms. That is the duty of organisers, but it is also the duty of us as women not to hang back, but to take our proper place."

Her speech, made at the start of the forum, had a profound impact. In the final session more than half of those reporting back from the different stands of the forum were women.

The forum ended with a pulsating concert and poetry event. Under the stars Harare felt liberated and, as darkness gathered, a young South African rose from the crowd and delivered a powerful rap poem. It was not about Africa but about imperialism, Iraq and Palestine. A great end to a great event.

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

ISO Zimbabwe at the SASF Oct 2005!!

Like many progressive organisations, the ISO was born out of struggle. Radical left-wing student leaders, at the University of Zimbabwe, formed the ISO in 1990 following student demonstrations against the corruption of the ZANU (PF) regime.
Since then the ISO has grown into one of the most progressive organisations in Zimbabwe, working with women’s’ rights groups, the NCA, student groups, human rights organisations, trade unionists, HIV/Aids rights campaigners, the MDC for a time and Residents organisations. We have fought alongside these groups in the trenches for issues such as abortion rights, student payouts, a living wage, a democratic constitution, anti-retrovirals, education, health, and service delivery. We have gone to shop floors in solidarity with, and to offer leadership to, striking workers. We have marched on the streets for other social demands. We continue to do so.
We stood apart from the plethora of “opposition” groups that opposed the redistribution of land. We stand in opposition to the regime as it denies the infrastructure needs fo A1 model farmers. We have fought alongside groups for a new democratic constitution, putting forth many radical demands in the draft constitution drawn up under the banner of the NCA. We were one of the groups to create the Zimbabwe Social Forum. The ZSF became necessary to broaden the struggle into bread-and-butter issues. This is why Karl Marx argued “Before humans can argue over political rights, they must have shelter, food and clothing.”
We stood with the radical rank-and-file in the MDC until the neo-liberal leadership expelled us and purged the rank-and-file of the other radical leaders. But that has not stopped us as the social crisis continues in Zimbabwe. Whilst other so-called “opposition” leaders are going to State House for tea with Robert Mugabe, we have kept our principles and remained in the trenches with the ordinary person and will continue to do so.
We stand for:
SOCIALISM – Capitalism is a system of exploitation, which generates inequality. Workers create the wealth in society that is controlled by the ruling class for its own selfish ends. Socialism can only be built when the working class takes control of the means of production and wealth and democratically plans its distribution for social needs. Only this will destroy the class divisions in society.
SOCIALISM FROM BELOW – The working class is the most powerful class in the struggle for socialism. We stand for their centrality and alliance with all the socially oppressed groups. Socialism can only be attained by the mass self-activity of workers.
REVOLUTION NOT REFORM – Reforms within the capitalist system cannot end oppression and exploitation because the institutions of capitalism (parliament, the army, the police and the courts) are undemocratic and not neutral. Reformists fight for reforms to beautify the beast of capitalism whilst we fight for reforms to increase the confidence of the working class to fight. Capitalism must be overthrown.
INTERNATIONALISM – Workers in every country are exploited by capitalism, so the struggle for socialism must be global. We campaign for solidarity with workers and oppressed groups in all countries because socialism can survive and be won only by spreading class revolutions globally. We have sister organisations in South Africa, Ghana, Botswana and others. Check out for contact details
OPPOSITION TO OPPRESSION – Capitalism divides the working class using artificial sexual, tribal, ethnic, racial and national distinctions. The specially oppressed groups within the working class suffer the most under capitalism. We oppose, and fight to end, the oppression of women, blacks, minority groups, and gays. We fight for their real social, economic and political equality including access to safe, free abortion facilities.
REVOLUTIONARY PARTY – To achieve socialism the most militant sections of the working class must be organised into a mass revolutionary party. We are only in the early stages of building such a party through our daily involvement in the day-to-day struggles of workers, students, peasants and the oppressed.
If you believe in what we stand for, join us. Our contact details are: Phone: (+263-4) 704209, E-mail:

Friday, September 30, 2005

Your Suggestions Please!


Below are the suggested themes for the Southern Africa Social Forum from the Zimbabwe Youth Camp. Please forward any other suggestions to: and



The fight for a living wage
Health and Safety at the workplace

Access to treatment
Nutritional Support

*Arts and Culture
Arts and Culture in the Struggle for freedom

The right to free quality public education
Struggles against privatization
Education for liberation

Anti-Capitalist theory and practice
Towards a regional solidarity network
The search for people centered alternatives to capitalism
Resistance to neo-liberalism in Latin America: An inside look at the radical social movements

The struggle against sexism

*Social Services
Neo-liberalism, privatization and community resistance in the region
Operation Murambatsvina / Drive out the Trash

Smash Poverty! Smash Capitalism! Build Democracy! – Another World Is Possible

Friday, September 23, 2005

Uhuru Youth Indaba With People's Anti-Neo-Liberal Summit




0800 – 0900 Setting Up; One, Two Testing

0900 – 1100 Plenary: Solidarity Messages from Social Movements on the Fight Against Neo-liberalism and Dictatorship

1100 – 1200 Privatization and the Struggle for the Right to Education - Letugo Giwa Lewanika,
Promise Mkwananzi, Gladys Hlatywawo ZINASU

1200 – 1300 The Fourth World War: - Video on Struggles in Venezuela

1300 – 1400 LUNCH (Cultural activity)

1400 – 1500 The Struggle For a Living Wage – Peter Mzambwi, Fela, Amilcar

1500 – 1600 A Hundred Fires…The Rising Anti-Capitalist Movement and the Search for Alternatives
Cde Fatso and Briggs Bomba

1600 – 1800 Plenary Session: Report Back: Way forward and two speakers on the path to SASF

1800 – Late Resistance Cultural Festival

Late… The End

More Fire! More Freedom! More Resistance!

* * *from the rubble comes the trouble* * *

Monday, September 19, 2005

Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe) Newspaper Jul/Aug 2005

When A Dictator Is As Devastating As A Tsunami
Mugabe declares war on the poor people of townships
For weeks now, the state has been on a vicious offensive against the urban poor people in the so called ‘operation murambatsvina’ which is nothing short of a brutal, callous, tyrannical, Hitler like attack on the poor.
The state has launched a nazi type blitzkrieg on informal traders, flea markets and tuck shops, demolishing and burning cabin/cottages that housed thousands if not millions of poor people, at the same time the police are destroying and looting informal traders’ wares living families total destitutes. Thousands of women and children from the affected ghettoes are stranded and sleeping in the open in this cold winter.
The most brutal fact is that what is under attack is the very source of people’s livelihoods. Unemployment is currently at 80%, companies are closing down everyday and poor people have been sustaining their families through petty informal trading from which they never made much, but were at least getting a little something for rent, send their kids to school and feed their families. Flea markets, cross border trading, tuck shops, vegetables stalls, etc, this is how people have been living.
We all know of the critical housing shortage in towns, poor people are living in cabins; not by choice but because they have been condemned to that life of poverty and destitution by the very same regime which now attacks them. The police are burning and destroying these same cabins living thousands of people homeless. Everyday on the news and in papers we see sad pictures of people desperately trying to save their belongings from burning and crumbling structures. Everyday we see bulldozers mercilessly destroying people’s lives. The townships are swarming with police and soldiers who are beating up and brutalizing people. On the streets the police have unleashed a reign of terror rounding up street kids and homeless people. These unfortunate poor people are being dumped on farms such as Caledonia where they are virtual prisoners.
People on these farms are under constant police and army guard and they have no right to leave. Conditions are terrible and sub human with people sleeping in the open in this cold winter with no safe drinking water, no toilets, no food etc. Over 20000 poor people have already been arrested under this obnoxious
operation misnamed murambatsvina but which in reality is murambavanhu.
The most painful thing is that these attacks are coming at a time when people are facing unbearable hardships; serious transport shortages with workers walking
to and from work and others sleeping on transport queues, basic food shortages, crippling water and electricity shortages in ghettoes and water bills running into millions (more than the minimum wage. The reserve bank governor Gideon Gono
must be named and shamed as the demon behind this whole madness, which has received Mugabe’s total support. At the core of the so-called ‘operation murambatsvina’ or ‘restore order’, is Gono’s drive to rebuild a full-scale neo-liberal economic order. He wants a new socio-economic culture to support this new order. He wants every economic activity to be taxed; in a sense he wants to be the best (worst) tax collector there is. So when you want to buy a tomato you go into a registered supermarket. Already the cross border traders have come under attack losing goods and their money at borders. While he is mercilessly attacking the poor, Gono is doing everything to advance and protect the interests of capital. He has already said salary increments should not be more than 85%, he has removed levies on tobacco farmers and he is giving handouts to business left right and center, giving cheap money to businesses in the so called productive sector support scheme. Since the elections prices of almost every basic commodity have more than doubled and rates have sky rocketed. It is therefore crucial for the social movement opposed to neo-liberalism and capitalism to be part of the resistance. The lightning we are seeing now
announces the thunder of the carnage of the neo-liberal project. As such it is as a matter of duty that every genuine fighter against neo-liberalism must join the resistance and fight alongside the masses in this struggle.
We have already seen the poor people spontaneously rising up to resist these attacks with the burning barricades and pitched battles we saw in Glenview/
Budiriro, Mbare, Makokoba, Mabvuku and other townships. But if isolated and unorganized this resistance will easily be crushed. It is now time for all those committed to justice and life to gird themselves and join the fight. Hot boiling
anger is already there on the ground but it needs to be channeled and directed into a coherent program of active resistance. None of us can do everything but everyone of us can do something. The moment demands upon us that we rise up to defend life itself. We can no longer continue watching as our lives go up in smoke. We are under attack and its imperative upon us that we organize ourselves for self-defense. This mad operation can be stopped, and the calling is upon all the young people and all those able, to stand up and defend self, family and community. We are urging communities to organize for self-defense. We are
calling for the formation of resistance committees on every street, in every neighborhood. We are also calling for informal traders to organize themselves into collective vigilantes for self-defense and resist the actions of the police
by any means necessary. In unity lies our strength and no amount of repression can defeat us. We are in the majority and those who terrorize us are few. Every neighborhood must immediately organize committees for the defense of the community to resist and repel attacks from the police.
We are calling upon the masses of Zimbabwe to fully join the resistance under the banner of operation Povo Yaramba. Mugabe can be stopped if the poor masses of this country are united and the resistance must start now. Mugabe has only been able to continue for this long because he attacked at a time when the progressive forces were scattered, disoriented and at their weakest in terms of leadership, mobilization and organization. Matters were made worse by the dillydallying of those who should have most logically taken up leadership and mobilized for the resistance. The majority of those affected are the urban poor who have loyally supported the MDC for the past six years in the face of extreme repression from the Mugabe regime. As such the MDC has a duty to defend its constituency. It’s unbelievable that the MDC leadership could only repay this support with the confused statements issued by Tsvangirai in which he said the MDC was not exactly opposed to the clean up campaign but it’s the ‘how’ they disagree with. What a tragic repeat of the mambo jumbo of the MDC’s position
on the land question! Most in the MDC ranks have proved to be cowards not ready to lead a serious resistance to Mugabe, all they care about now is their privileged positions and perks. Genuine leaders will be seen leading their people in this struggle. MDC is part of the broad alliance and as such the party leadership must come out clearly mobilizing and leading their people.
The most immediate and important task of all progressive forces is to forge a united front to resist Mugabe and defend life. Isolated responses will neither be successful nor help anyone. With this understanding we see it as a matter of paramount importance that the broad alliance that has been mobilizing for action be turned into a functional United Front that incorporates all the progressive forces currently on the peripehery of braod alliance but can contribute to the
resistance. CHRA,WOZA, Churches, ZSF, ISO, Unions, all these groups must be part of the united front. Actions must be planned, mobilized for and led by the united front.

International news...
Southern Africa Social Forum comes to Zimbabwe:
The second edition of the Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) comes to Harare this October. This year’s SASF promises to be the biggest gathering in the sub-region since WSSD of progressive forces fighting against neoliberalism. The social forum process with its slogan
Another World is Possible is emerging to be a platform uniting movements, organizations and activists in a collective search for alternatives to capitalism. SASF is a regional equivalent to the continent wide Africa Social Forum and the world wide World Social Forum. The social forum has provided a platform for regrouping anti capitalist forces to strengthen solidarity and build the struggle against capitalism. The worsening crisis of capitalism particularly the failure of neo-liberal economic policies has resulted in a hugely distorted status quoin which the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow wider. The vast majority of people live in conditions of worsening abject poverty whilst a tiny parasitic minority lavishes in obscene riches. The neoliberal project has resulted in massive job loses, collapse of social service delivery systems such as health, education, housing and public transport. This reality of harsh living conditions has created the objective conditions for the emergence of resistance to the obtaining economic order of which the social forum process is a growing expression. Questions beginning to emerge as the social forum process takes root are whether the process will indeed serve as a platform to advance and resolve the ‘unfinished business’ and the new tasks of the social justice struggle.
Notable debate is picking up around whether this will not turn out to be all about serial meetings/talk shops, plane activism and tourist junkets and in that way actually become a platform to divert and disarm the building resistance against capitalism. SASF takes place at a time when grassroots struggles are building up in communities and townships against privatizations of water, electricity, education, and other social services.
The rural poor are crying for access to more land and workers want a living wage. HIV/AIDS activists are demanding access to life prolonging drugs and nutritional support. Oppressed people are fighting for democratic rights.The way the social forum will relate to all these ‘bread and butter’ struggles will either vindicate the process as a genuine vehicle for contemporary struggles against capitalism or condemn it as one of the biggest diversionary currents of
the 21st century. A real danger of abuse lies in the process’s structure of a ‘loose’, ‘open’, non voting, almost noncommittal space. Undoubtedly the anti- hierachical and consensus driven model is popular today, amongst particularly young activits.However this ‘looseness’ may serve to become the ultimate excuse for not taking any binding decisions and engaging in decisive collective action thus reducing the space to a non acting jamboree of NGO elements. The other key question is the marginal role of organised labour in the whole social forum process.
This threatens to make the social forum as a challenge to capitalism a ‘movement’ of numbers but lacking structural impact. The ultimate challenge is to forge an alliance between the admitedly tiny but strategically located working class and the vast mass of resistance to neoliberalism represented by the NGOs and the civic and social movements.

Latin America: a continent in revolt
Bolivia’s government has finally collapsed after weeks of struggle by workers and indigenous peasants demanding the nationalization of country’s oil and gas resources.
Early reports indicate that the indigenous peasants who have spearheaded the struggle have now begun occupying the oil and gas fields.
In the last five years, similar popular uprisings have overthrown unpopular regimes in Ecuador, Peru and Argentina. In Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and Uruguay, governments have been elected on anti-neoliberal platforms in the last seven years. Leftwing forces are considered to have a serious chance in elections in countries such as Mexico and Nicaragua.
People have become angry against politicians who keep implementing the pain of “free trade”, privatisation and debt repayment demanded by US imperialism, and its agents, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other
‘development’ banks. The neo-liberal project has become discredited.
Huge mobilisations, street protests, factory occupations and militant movements have forced many governments to retreat on neo-liberal policy in order to maintain control. In Argentina, President Kirchner renegotiates the country’s crippling foreign debt down and stood up to Shell Oil. However, the most significant breakthrough has come in Venezuela where President Hugo Chavez, who has won eight elections and referendums since 1988, is challenging US imperialism and its local lackeys.
Venezuela’s extensive oil wealth is being used to fund social programmes such as land redistribution, education and health missions and public housing. Workers, the urban poor and small farmers are mobilising in support of the revolution. Venezuela is in Washington’s target sights. The US is especially
upset with the political and economic ties Venezuela maintains with Cuba. Since the 1959 Cuban revolution, the US has sought to overthrow - at various times by invasion, assassination, propaganda bombardment and economic terrorism - the
government led by Fidel Castro.
The current situation is another headache for the US. If the Bolivian army is unable to attack and destroy the mass movement the US and other “allies” would have only the Columbian Army to do their dirty work, unless they deploy their own troops. However, Colombia has been unsuccessfully battling strong
leftwing guerrilla armies for decades. In Latin America, US imperialism, backed by the point of a gun and a loan, no longer seems so invincible.

What we think ... By Oscar Simbi
Why Operation Murambatsvina now
The first reason for operation Murambatsvina is the massive crisis of neoliberal capitalism in Zimbabwe, in the context of western imposed sanctions. Our rulers have resolved that the only way to get out of this crisis is to introduce a massive
neo-liberal program, as demanded by the west capitalists.
Despite Gono the economic crisis has worsened, as shown by the dramatic collapse in the Zim dollar, return of the ‘parallel’ market, and fuel and electricity shortages. Western governments, led by the UK and USA, have demanded that,
before they lift sanctions and resume aid, the Zanu PF government must restore ‘the rule of law’, accommodate their political allies, the MDC, and its supporting NGOs and return to a full scale IMF supervised Esap program.
They demanded the restoration of order and an end to the attacks on private property that have characterized Zimbabwe since 1997, as workers, the urban poor, peasants and war veterans rose up against the effects of Esap. In desperation Mugabe sought political survival by condoning and encouraging farm and factory invasions and partially reversing Esap through commandist policies like price controls, subsidies, refusal to devalue or privatize and interest regulation.
To ensure that Mugabe is not tempted to use his new two thirds majority any other way, the capitalists have increased the pressure, threatening an economic implosion, which could lead to mass insurrections like in Ukraine, Kyrgystan,
Georgia or Serbia. to avoid this eventuality Mugabe, using Gono, is now ready to play ball and do the bidding of the capitalists - this is why it is called ‘Operation Restore Order’ - to stop the lawlessness of the last six or so years.
Gono was very open about this in his review: “Government has declared 2005 as the year of investment attraction...Government and the monetary authorities have, over the last few months, been working on a framework to regularize bilateral investment protection agreements that were inadvertently adversely affected during the emotive Land Reform Program, which has now been concluded...We are pleased to inform our potential investment partners with
whom we have been negotiating for investment that Zimbabwe, as part of the global community, is fully aware of the need to protect and encourage inward investments as a tool to attract international capital mobilization...”
“ With the parliamentary elections now over, the marked peace...prevailing in the economy forms a solid launch - pad to deepen our turnaround thrust...We must
realize as Zimbabweans that we can not postpone the turnaround, we have to take the pain like grown-ups and must know that the responsibility to turn around this economy squarely lies on our shoulders...”
So herein lie the two fundamental objectives of Operation Murambatsvina: firstly, and most importantly, it is to send the right signal to the global capitalist class that the political elites of Zanu PF have turned a new leaf and are now ready
and prepared to defend and advance the interests of capitalists and private property at all costs - including reintroducing Esap, restoring some of the former white farmers and destroying Zanu PF’s radical base, which spearheaded the previous ‘lawlessness’, or jambanja, to save Zanu PF from imminent defeat by the MDC in 2000.
Secondly, the operation is designed to deal a decisive pre-emptive blow against all lingering and potential centers of resistance amongst the urban poor, workers,
informal traders, war veterans and peasants before Gono unleashes the promised full “pain” of his “turnaround”: i.e., an Esap harsher than the original one. The timing of this blow has been dictated by the highly conducive political
conditions currently existing: that is, the organs of resistance of the masses are at their weakest, organizationally and in terms of confidence as discussed below.
Political Conditions
The first political conditions is within Zanu PF itself: namely the defeat, post Tsholotsho (where there was a showdown between the two wings of the ruling party), of the radical anti-imperialist base of Zanu PF, composed of poor and
ordinary peasants, war veterans and informal traders. They received the support of anti-imperialist but opportunistic intellectuals led by Jonathan Moyo, whose massive strategic blunders at Tsholotsho ultimately led to the victory of the
neo-liberal right wing faction. Just after the 2000 elections, the Zanu PF right wing faction tried, for instance to destroy informal settlements in Kuwadzana and Whitecliff, but they were stopped by the mass mobilization of the Zanu PF poor,
led by war veterans. Now bolstered by the crushing of their opponents at congress and the expulsion of Moyo, and the subsequent overwhelming election victory of Zanu PF, they are driving their advantage home, seeking to deliver a fatal blow to the party’s radical base. Operation Murambatsvina could only be possible after the war veterans had successfully been dismembered and neutralized.
The second condition is the leadership crisis in the MDC, the labour movement and the NGOs. The Mugabe regime has attacked now, in the midst of a massive economic crisis, because it is convinced that the MDC and the ZCTU leaders will not lead their supporters in a fight back. In the last few weeks, the leadership of both organizations have been involved in severe power struggles, paralyzing their institutions. Critically MDC leaders announced that they would not call mass action to protest the rigged elections, but go back to the courts and call for mass action to protest the rigged elections, but go back to the courts and call on their western friends to increase pressure. Such cowardice, together with the deferment of congress by a year, so angered the youths that they tried to
physically kick out of office all members of the National Executive except Morgan Tsvangirai and National Chairman Isaac Matongo, and repossess party vehicles. Leaders who were assaulted include renegade Last Maengahama, whose sell out tendencies had long been exposed since he engineered an opportunistic split within the ISO to form the stillborn Left Wing in 2001.The ZCTU is mortally weakened by disillusionment amongst members because of the failure of most its leaders to mobilize a fight for a living wage and to defend jobs and because of rampant corruption amongst the top leadership. Meanwhile the rest of the NGOs are paralyzed by fear of the long running NGOs Bill.
It is no wonder that the rightwing neo-liberals now in charge of Zanu PF and the state have calculated that now is the right time to attack.

What Cleaning Up Can A Dirty Broom Do?
- By Briggs Bomba
Everyday the people of Zimbabwe pray that some miracle will save the country from degenerating into the curse of Malawi under Kamuzu Banda; Harsh brutal rule under a ruthless, insensitive, self-enriching dictator who lacked even the decency to die on time. Conversations are dominated by the talk of the Tsunami in reference of the devastation on ordinary people’s lives caused by the
government’s so called ‘operation murambatsvina’ which is nothing but a senseless and callous attack on poor people of the townships. The government’s so called ‘clean up’ campaign has left over a million people displaced making them refugees in their own country. Over 22 000 poor people trying to survive on informal trading have been arrested by the police with their goods worth millions of dollars confiscated or destroyed. The ongoing senseless attacks on informal traders comes at a time when the vast majority of the population has no choice but to survive on the informal sector. The country is reeling under a massive
economic crisis resulting from failed neo-liberal economic policies that the government adopted under the Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) of 1990.
Unemployment is widespread, now estimated at 80%. The formal sector continues to shrink with companies folding down everyday resulting in massive job loses. The whole social service delivery system is in a colossal crisis with the public housing, health and education sectors in total paralysis.
In the townships it certainly appears as if a tsunami has hit. In the over three decades old township of Mabvuku I witnessed the havoc. First came riot police in defender trucks singing and drumming as if they were psyching for war with some alien invaders. The next day the cops came in their hundreds and drove around the township with sirens blurring and all their tools of violence displayed. As they drove around they gave instructions that residents destroy all informal structures. If they came round and you had not destroyed your own cottages and tuck shops you will get it. They would beat you up for resisting and ask you to
start demolishing while they wait. In some cases they would just round up people in the vicinity and force them to take down the structures. Tuck shops, cottages, market stalls they were all going up in dust and smoke. And with that the source of livelihoods for thousands of people. When the dust had settled the scene looked more like a funeral than anything I have seen before. The atmosphere was weighty and grave, without the normal wailing and singing that accompany funerals. Shock. Stunned Silence. Disbelieve. Trauma. Arms folded people
stood looking at the rubble that once had been their dwellings and few worldly belongings as they tried to comprehend what would drive a government to turn against its people with such violence and treat them like animals.
Many did not know where to sleep that very night. Parents were at a loss on what to say to their children who wanted to know why. Many of these houses now ruins had stood and sheltered people for over two decades. Going late into the night one could still see women with kids strapped on their backs behind carts carrying the little they could scavenge out of the rubble. Many just lit up fires to warm their kids and slept in the open. Refugees in their own country. When I went to check out a tuck shop run by one of my comrades for years and had become a favourite spot for youths in the hood only one block with the YAHWE inscribed on it remained. Everything else was now a dusty memory.
In Chitungwiza the picture was much more depressing. Soon after the demolitions which left thousands in the open there was a heavy down pour.
Everything was wet and muddy. When I got to my brothers’ house, a family had huddled onto his verandah with all they could pick up from the rubble. Husband,
wife and kids, they were all there thinking about what to do next. Inside a neighbour’s kids were sleeping in the lounge. Their cottage had been destroyed whilst the mother was away at a funeral leaving the kids stranded on their own in the middle of a rainy winter night. It took me eight hours of waiting at the terminus the next day to get transport into town. Makoni bus terminus was swarming with hundreds of commuters who wanted to get into town, many of which had to cancel their plans for the day because of the serious transport crisis.
This is the anguish and suffering that Mugabe has visited upon those he swore to serve. Every other township has its sad account to tell. In Tafara a kid died when a wall fell on her. In Gweru a man committed suicide from the stress and desperation of the situation. The media carried stories of a mother who had to drag her terminally ill son from a burning hut torched by the police. The whole
structure crumbled just as they darted out.
At the Fife Avenue Shopping Center vendors come out to their old places in the night. Against all odds they try to sell something; Bundles of vegetables, tomatoes, onions, bananas, avocados and so on. They have no choice. They have families to feed. Their kids have to go to school. They must pay rent. It’s their only means of survival. One sees mostly women literally begging passersby to buy their vegetables and staff. Every now and then they glance sideways for the cops who may raid at any time. The police regularly carry out night raids on
which they beat up and arrest the women and seize their goods which they convert to their own use. The women look visibly stressed and if you talk to them they will tell you that they have no other choice. It’s the only way they can feed their families. Life is hard, they are no jobs, there are serious shortages of basic commodities and prices are going up everyday. When I was arrested on the eve of last week’s stay away whilst mobilizing for the action, the cops picked up a vendor on the way to the charge office and took us to one of the police internal security intelligence (PISI) torture rooms. They made the vendor lie down on the floor and he was beaten merciless with a wooden plank. Whilst beating him the cop kept on saying that ‘you are being told go and work on the farms but refusing’. After beating the poor guy senseless he was told to go and pay a $25, 000 for vending The cops remained with his whole basket of apples; their fringe benefits.
On the streets the same war on the homeless poor is raging on. The cops are rounding up the homeless, beggars, the mentally deranged and all those who have been living on the streets. These people are being dumped onto farms such as Caledonia where they are practically prisoners. A close comrade who went to one of the farms almost suffered a nervous breakdown. People live under 24hrs police guard. There are strict security checks on anyone getting in including a picky body search. Because of the humanitarian crisis in the camps police have now allowed aid workers to come in and help with the situation. No journalists are allowed into the camps and even the aid workers are given an ‘escort’ who censors what they can discuss with those inside the camps. Cameras are not allowed in. Cell phones too, the police say that they have information that some of the cell phones take pictures. One needs to be prepared for the horrible scene inside the camp. The mentally sick who were roaming the streets are tied onto trees to restrain them. There is no safe drinking water, people are drinking from the same dam they use for bathing. No houses or toilets. People sleep in the open and use the bush for ablution. The tents that were donated by some aid groups are just heaped somewhere; the people have not been allowed to pitch them. The place is near a dam so it gets freezing cold. Women, men and children sleep in the open just like that. Some of the inhabitants are terminally ill and in desperate need of medication. It’s just gruesome. This is what lurks behind the scenes of a clean street. People denied of their being and relegated to the status of animals.
The police are so overzealous in their street round ups to the extent that many times they have bundled onto trucks some people for simply being ‘poorly’ dressed and therefore suspected to be living on the street. Some comrades doing humanitarian work in one of the camps where they have given tents and
set up a preschool where given eight man to drive back to town on one of their trips. These had finally convinced the police that they had families waiting and worrying about them at home. They had mistakenly been rounded up as street people, just because they were ‘poorly’ dressed.
One of the greatest fears that people in the holding camps have is that they will be turned into pools for cheap labour to serve on state farms and those owned by Zanu PF Chefs. Already the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono who belongs to the Zanu PF faction behind the ‘clean up’ campaign has called for the construction of more prisons saying those arrested must be sent to work on farms for a season or so. It can also be argued that the government is destroying
people’s means of livelihood so that they have no choice but to become farm labourers, as they want them to be. Very much similar to how the colonial regime introduced Chibharo or forced labour on the farms.
The ferocity and scale of what is happening now in the history of independent Zimbabwe is second only to the early eighties Gukurahundi genocide in Matebeleland and the Midlands in which the fifth brigade slaughtered
over 20 000 poor peasants. The regime’s determination to kill in this operation is as resolute as during the Gukurahundi era. Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai told over 2000 of his officers before dispatching them into action following some resistance in the ghettoes where people put up barricades and fought running battles with the police: “Why are you letting the
people toss you around when you are the police? From tomorrow, I need reports on my desk saying that we have shot people. The president has given his full support to this operation so there is nothing to fear. You should treat this operation like war. Those people fighting back need to be taught bitter lessons because that is the only way to avoid further confrontation.” This is exactly what it is. War. On the poor.
With this one Mugabe has set off a time bomb and its now count down to detonation. The current tense silence will not be for long. Increasingly the atmosphere is getting charged up and maybe Jabulani Sibanda the
Chairperson of the War Veterans association summarized it best when he said,
“the government has this time ignited a bonfire which is going to backfire…Once government started valuating itself against the strength of its army, its police and its air power, then there is something wrong. We cannot have a situation where government strength is measured by the strength of its forces as opposed to support from the masses. People are like a coiled spring: if you suppress it, it comes together and becomes dangerous. They might not rise today, but rise they shall…war veterans are prepared to defend the revolution whether within Zanu
PF or outside, and the revolution is the will of the people, not a few government officials”. Time will tell, like Bob Marley said.
Resettled war veterans from Harare South Constituency talk to Mugabe:
“President, ko zvamava kutiputsira dzimba dzedu inga takakuvhoterai
mukahwina wani?
Mugabe replies:
“Ha-a, get away mhani, daidzisiri tsoro dzangu ndangandaenda .”

International Socialist Organisation Meetings
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Chikwata chekuseri
Economic turn right program
I guess this is the best way to summarize Gono (rhea) economic turn around program. True to the colours of the zigzag party, the left mask has been cast off and the naked right wing agenda spearheaded by the defacto prime minister gono(rhea) is no longer a secret. All the posturing since 97 is already half way in a roll back. The land, subsidies, price controls, everything. It was all a gimmick. Woe to any who continues to follow the zigzag party, you are sure to be thrown
overboard on the next turn. Many seem to be seeing this and are deserting en masse. The most spectecular evidence was in Highfield where a dog was seen wearing a Zanu T shirt. And still on that, have you noticed the sudden disappearnce of Zigzag party T-shirts from the townships? Maybe you need to check what your neighbhour’s dog is wearing these days. Check the bins too
Operation murambatsvina ( pronounced murambavanhu):- the menace of gono’s economic turn right program
So we are told that the success of the ‘ clean up’ campaign is evident on our streets for everyone to see. No more streets vendors, no more beggars, no more touts, no more people. But whats there now? Just a sad emptiness. What we really are is exactly what was swept away. Luscious the Poet put it well when he said, ‘we can not afford to be clean.Not now!’ All one needs to do is just look at the cost so far, 300 000 kids dropped out of school, close to 2 million displaced, thousands in holding camps, thousands brutalized by the police, scores dead, over 22 000 arrested, untold stress, trauma, chaos. ‘The dirty broom that pretends to clean. The heartless broom that kills. The dirty broom that needs to be cleaned’- words from Luscious the poet.
We are told that the ‘clean up’ campaign is targeting all illegal structures and activities. Our houses, backyard cottages are already down. It seems you have to be as rich as Sam Levy or half as that to have a right to carry out illegal activities. The whole world knows that the multi billion dollar Sam Levy complex was built without city council authority but it still stands today. Why was it not the first target. Solomon Tawengwa built a service station in the middle of a highway without council authority. Why has it not been touched? Countless other Zanu Chefs operate known illegal businesses and these have not been touched. It’s only the poor who were targeted. What was taken is all they had. The only roof. The only source of income. The only life. Murders!
The Ordeal of fake Cde Chinx
Chikwata heard that ‘cleaners’ went to the cde’s house wanting to ‘clean’. Obviously the fake cde had never imagined that as a ‘patriotic’ singing war veteran his property could be amongst the ‘dirty’ ones. So when he saw the bulldozer coming he was certain that it was a mistake, once they realize who he was they would certify his property clean and move on to the next poor guy. So our cde went out and told the cops that he was cde chinx. When he saw that, that didn’t change their assessment of his property’s cleanliness, we hear that fake cde chinx frantically reapeted to the cops that he was Cde Chinx. ‘ hamundizive here? Horaiti mirai ndibvise heti munyatsondiona. Ndinoimbira nyika varume,
mandikanganwana here?. None of that helped. And so the cde decided
to go on top of the house daring the cops to demolish. The next time the
cde gained consciosness he was on a hospital bed having sustained bad
injuries. And his house, just a heap of rubble.
The dumb squib of the month
This goes to non other than fake cde Chinx. After his fiasco with the ‘cleaners’, the man was again on TV announcing his next singing assignment. Even on this late hour the man can’t see what’s happening. You are the sacrificial pony on a chess board, you are cannon fodder, you are nothing but a dumb squib.
How about this one: History repeats itself. 25 years ago war veterans were sleeping in the open, 25 years later they are now sleeping in the open again. What a Silver Jubilee!
from the undaground

‘Great stir in the air’... We must continue the struggle!
There is only one way forward after the last stay away; i.e. to mobilize for more actions. The success or otherwise of the action should not be assessed merely on the basis of the turnout and closure of businesses. Admittedly turn out was
much poor than expected, but a strong minority of workers heeded the call.
There were several negatives stacked against the action:
(a) As the first real action called since the disastrous failure of the MDC’s 2003 ‘Final Push’, people are still cautious, afraid and numbed by the sheer scale of Operation Murambatsvina; more so because of (b) the massive deployment of police and soldiers into townships ahead of the actions, (c) the belated and lukewarm support by the MDC leaders, who only publicly came out in support on the eve of the stay away, (d) the complete paralysis of the ZCTU, with key leaders away in Geneva, and those remaining saying they had no mandate from the General Council; (e) the fact that the bosses and capitalists, partly out of fear of the state but mainly because as capitalists they are basically in support of Gono’s anti-poor actions, did not close their businesses as in 1997. Capitalists can never be trusted as consistent fighters against dictatorships, for they always put first, their business and profits; (f) the objective reality of 80% unemployment and massive poverty, made most workers choose the safer option, even if most supported the mass action in spirit. More so in the context of weak and hesitant
leadership from the MDC and ZCTU and an apparent overwhelming superior enemy; and (g) finally, in the above context, the tactic of a pure stay way not backed by public protests is not ideal. By its passive and individual nature, a
stay away isolates and atomizes the masses, failing to visibly show our strength and mobilize the weaker ones. Sadly in the above context emotions and anger alone were not enough to carry us through.
But we scored some points!
There was indirect support by most ordinary people as shown by the feeling in the air in the days leading up to and during the action, forcing the reluctant MDC leaders to come out in support. This shows that the fighting spirit is coming back,
although for now hesitant, cautious and lacking confidence. The action also saw the emergence of an enthusiastic layer of young activists and workers drawn from different organizations who wholeheartedly mobilized for the action distributing tens of thousands of flyers despite the lukewarm support of their leaders and harassment from the police. They were drawn from as many differing organizations as the Zimbabwe Social Forum, NCA, CHRA, ISO, WOZA, Students, MDC, and rank and file union activists. A new militant cadreship is being born for the oncoming struggles. Our actions have also managed to restore the Zimbabwean crisis back on the headlines of the international scene, with
support not only from the traditional left and socialist movement regionally and globally but also forced western governments and media to give crocodile tears support and coverage. This is critical because it stops or slows down the
detente between the elites of Zanu PF and the MDC, which Gono and the moderates in both parties are pushing for. More action will force MDC leaders to support the movement, even if nominally, or stand to be swept aside by history.
Despite Zanu’s apparent bravado, our action has shaken the regime. It has started some backpedaling, with the operation virtually suspended during the two days of the action with the regime’s propaganda emphasizing on rehabilitation and distribution of new stands etc. Much more importantly our actions have encouraged sections of Zanu PF supporters to waiver, in particular the war veterans as revealed by anti regime statements issued by Jabulani
Sibanda, the chairman of the war veterans association.
Way Forward!
The only way forward is to build up for more actions, even if the cowardly elements might want to derail us. The cost of inaction i.e. demoralization, would derail our struggle by decades. The BA, CHRA, WOZA, ISO, ZSF and the
progressive wing of the churches need to urgently meet to map out the next course of actions. The bedrock of our resistance hitherto has been the township women, who have led some very inspiring riots and struggles on their own.
The epicenter of our actions must move to the townships, so that we epitomize the participation of women. The action must this time be direct protest actions and marches that unite and give us a collective fighting spirit. The actions
must be done on a day that maximizes participation of everyone such as a Saturday. In order to counter the justified cynicism and distrust amongst the masses that leaders call for action which they themselves don’t participate in leaving the povo to make all the sacrifices, whatever protests are called, the leaders of the BA, civic and social movement groups, churches and trade unions and progressive opposition MPs and councilors must lead from the front, suffering with the people. The one area Mugabe has not yet dared to attack with his customary viciousness is the church. The progressive church now needs to unite with the fighting masses as was done by clerics like Tutu in the fight against apartheid. Only united and democratic action of the poor and those in support of democracy and justice, regardless of party or organization affiliating can succeed.
We urge for the formation a democratic united front that incorporated all progressive forces that can contribute to advancing the struggle against the heartless regime of Mr Mugabe. And finally we need to build on the massive
support emerging from the global and regional movement of the poor, the churches, the anti-capitalist, antiglobalization movement and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
Mugabe’s fake left and anti-imperialist postures are increasingly being exposed. Let Mugabe and his minions like Gono know that they can build as many prisons as they want, but they will never be enough to fill all of us. We are the vast majority and they are a tiny parasitic minority! No prison cell in history has ever stopped a people’s revolution whose time has come. Not under Smith, not under Botha, Not under Banda and today certainly not under Mugabe!
Issued by ISO Nation al Coordinating Committee: 11/06/05 Harare
The people`s resistance - Opperation Povo yaramba!

Workers struggles for a living wage & better working conditions
Minimum wages by Industry as of May 2005
Industry (Union) Monthly Minimum Wage
Automotive (AAWUZ) 800,000-00
Commercial (CWUZ) 1,000,000-00
National Engineering (NEWU) 900,000-00
Construction (ZCATWU) 536,745.33
Printing and Packaging Industry (ZGWU) 1,555,000-00
Textiles (ZTWU) 780,000-00
Food (FFAWUZ) 1,020,000 (Food Processing),
1,000,000-00 (Bakery)
Milling 1,150,000-00
POSB 4,100,000-00
Domestic (ZDAWU) 800,000-00 (Gardner)
850,000-00 (Housekeeper)
900,000-00 (Child minder)
Industry/Union Minimum Wage/Month (Z$)
Leather 800,000-00
Clothing (NUCI) 485,000-00
Transport 800,002-00
Tobacco (ZTIWU) 1,101,893 (Miscellaneous)
1,300,000 (Manufacturing)
Iron and Steel Workers Union 1,100,00
Chemicals (Plastic Manufacturing) 926,694 (lowest)
1,852,160 (highest)
Commercial (CWUZ) 1,000,000-00
Civil Servants Employees 914,000-00
Tel One (CASWUZ) 900,000-00
Zimpost (CASWUZ) 2,600,000-00
Electricity and Energy Workers 843,000-00
Progressive (PTUZ) 2,560,000-00
Agriculture (GAPWUZ) 160,000-00
Agro Industry 251,000-00

Printing workers to down tools
Workers and bosses have reached a deadlock over salary increases in printing yet again this year. After a series of labour forums in all industrial zones the union went to the negotiating table mandated to start at wage increase of
250%. Should they compromise were not allowed to go below 200%. Bosses came offering a paltry 12% and only went up to 30%. They then deadlocked workers at 220% and Bosses at 30%. This time contrary to what bosses
thought, as what had been happening in the past where they would then agree for arbitration after dead lock, workers sort to use their own powers –strike. Workers have leant from experience that they would not get anything good from
arbitration or courts but only through their self-activity with the experience of their last strike where they managed a 154% increment when bosses were originally offering 30%. The Secretary General of the union has already written a notice of industrial action to the Ministry of labour as required by the law that they give a 14 days notice before action. At the same time leaflets mobilizing for the strike
have already started circulating in industry. Zonal workers committees have started the distribution of leaflets and mobilizing for the strike . The 200% being demanded by workers would leave the minimum paid worker earning around $4.5 million a month. This is a beat reasonable considering where they are coming from and also the ever increasing cost of living given what Gono and his cronies are planning.
The 30% offer by bosses is nothing to talk about given the torment workers are undergoing brought about by the recent (Tsunami) dubbed disaster of Gono which left thousands of workers homeless. Obviously no one would to work for
peanuts and come back to sleep on the pavement. If the bosses are adamant with their peanuts workers will be left with no other option but to go back to their rural homes. Life has become so hard for workers in urban areas. Food and accommodation have become so unaffordable. The accomodation crisis has been worsened by the Tsunami as there is now a higher demand for houses than before. To printing comrades we say keep up the fighting spirit because that is the only language our bosses understand. Below is a table listing what workers are getting in several other industries as of May 2005. The printing industry is
relatively above others because of their successul strike of 2003. By M Sambo

War goes on for Nutresco workers as they are now punished for exercising their right to seek an audience with the Production Manager. Last year in November a group of workers at Nutresco confronted the Production Manager seeking clarity on the then prevailing rumors that the company wanded to force workers to a shut down and employ contract workers to perform their duties whilst they were on shut down. After that incident 40 workers were suspended and later on fired. Workers appealed to the ministry of labour, and the arbitrator arbitrator took six months to deliver a judgement which was not in favour of the workers. The judgement upheld the decision by employers to sake workers. This to a certain extent teaches us workers that laws are designed to safe guard the interests of bosses and capital therefore at a fundamental level courts and arbitration processes do not work and the ultimate solution is workers’ self activity.
Workers have lodged an appeal against the judgment with the Labour Court. No one had really thought workers would lose the case because at the first
conciliation meeting held before the arbitration it was agreed the workers were supposed to be reinstated. Only the conditions and payments were a cause for
Nutresco bosses are waging a consitent war against workers. Apart from the 40 fired workers last month they dismissed the secretary for the workers committee,
again for fighting for workers‘ rights and opposing the bosses plan to short change workers as they plan to sell the company to other bosses.

Stop War on Workers - $5,5 M minimum Now !!
As socialist worker went to press the price of fuel had just gone up by 3000%.Petrol is now $10 000 a litre, this will usher in a new wave of price increases across the board. this is the background that to the salary negotiations for the third quarter currently underway. We urge workers not to settle for anything less than the PDL of $5,5 million as the minimum wage.
Workers need to watch out for a bad practice that has been creeping into our unions. A tendency has developed in which union leaders negotiate and reach an agreement with employers without consulting the workers. In most of the cases what these union leaders settle for is way below the expectations and needs of the workers. It is therefore important for workers to demand that union leaders
consult before they negotiate and settle for anything with the employers. Leaders must be accountable to the workers who are paying their salaries. That’s the democratic principle that must be practiced and this is the only safeguard that workers have from sell out union official who take bribes from employers and become best at stopping rather than initiating strikes. Continuous consultation and feedback all the way is what is needed.
Since the elections the prices of every basic commodity have shot up and workers are barely surviving from the current slave wages with workers in industries like construction still getting as low as $500 000 a month Workers have been told to tighten their belts and brace up for the pain of Gono’s economic turn around (turn right) program with Gono saying companies should not increase salaries beyond 85% as this increases inflation and hurt the economy. This is an obvious, cheap and baseless lie. Mugabe recently awarded himself a 1000% increment. Why does it always have to be the workers paying the price of all these turn this and turn that programs. Bosses can still afford fat salaries, huge profit margins, the latest cars on the market, holidays abroad and all the other perks but we are supposed to believe that if workers get a living wage its bad for the economy. No,we will not take that. $5.5 million minimum wage now or else
down the tools and that is the ultimate power that workers have. Without you those machines can’t move and the boss is nothing. The Printing industry led by the Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union has already set the pace. They are demanding a minimum of $4 million and preparations for a strike are already underway because the bosses are being hard headed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

ISO Zimbabwe Advert

Southern Africa Social Forum comes to Harare!

The SASF comes to Harare in 2005 from 13 to 15 October 2005 in central Harare at the Harare Gardens and surrounding areas.

To be held under the theme “The People’s Challenge to Neo-liberalism”, topics include
Militarisation, Peace, Conflict and War and Global Solidarity
Poverty, debt and trade
Privatisation and cost recovery
Nature and role of the African State
Gender, sexism, feminism and masculinity
Regional Integration
NEPAD and the Regional Ruling Class Agenda
The Land question within the region

Further details contact: or +263-4-704209, or Box 6758, Harare

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Test post

This is a test post on the ISO Zimbabwe blog. Click here for the ISO Zim site.