Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Youth Prayer Meeting

“Youths should desist from having a departure mentality of leaving Zimbabwe, but they should contribute to the future of the country,” said Pastor Muchina.
These were some of the words of wisdom that were said at the Youth Prayer Meeting that was held on Saturday 17 May at Baptist Church in Bulawayo.

The theme of the prayer meeting was extracted from Nehemiah 3 vs. 7, which speaks about rebuilding Israel. Habakkuk Trust and youths in Bulawayo, from the community and from the churches came together to teach each other about the importance of taking part in national and development issues.

The background of the meeting was based on the evident lack of participation of youths in issues such as nation building and developmental issues. Youths are supposed to be at the fore front of everything that happens in the country and it is unfortunate that they are not participating given that they are young, energetic and have fresh ideas that can help build our nation.

The prayer meeting began on a high note with Pastor Vusa Moyo giving a motivational speech on praying for peace during the run-off. Pastor Moyo said youths should not be apologetic when they come before God. They should take a stand and tell God what exactly they want Him to do for them, because God is a God of specifics. His motivational came from the book of Daniel chapter 9.He said youths should pray with their heats and not with their minds. Youths should pray for peace during the run-off, pray for the fight against the spirit of violence.

The second motivational speech was given by Mr Dembedza, who spoke about the restoration of hope among youths in the current situation. He said youths should realise that they are very important people and that they can make a lot of difference in the nation by their participation.
Mr Dembedza encouraged youths by citing some youths in the Bible that made a difference, such as David, Mark, Joseph. He therefore said youths should not be afraid but they should stand for what they believe in.

The third motivational speech about a brighter future for young people was given by Pastor Muchina. He quoted the scriptures from Esther4:13-14. Pastor Muchina said youths had developed a departure mentality, whereby they tell themselves that when they complete school they will go to neighboring countries. He said that was not good and youths should have the courage to contribute to their future and said they should be masters of their own destiny. He encouraged youths to desist from relying on handouts and they should get up and begin doing things on their own.

The Chief Executive Officer of Habakkuk Trust, Mr Dumisani Nkomo said in his closing remarks that Zimbabwe was barren, but youths needed to come together to break that barrenness.
He said as the youths prayed, something was birthed and urged youths to continuously push and pray until something happens.

The prayer meeting had entertainment from Patience, who gave a poem about hope, Sindiso, who sang a worship song, a duet was also given by Mickey and Lovejoy and a group called Family Voices gave a stunning performance. The prayer meeting was attended by youths from different churches, communities as well as youths from schools such as Gifford, Eveline and BES.



By Sihle Nyathi

The community of Phakamani is located in Matabeleland South in ward 1 in Zimbabwe and like most of the rural areas in Zimbabwe has seen the setting up of military bases. Some rural areas in Zimbabwe have been hit by a wave of violence but Phakamani has been spared the violence as they promulgated strategies to ensure that peace prevailed in the community.

The Phakamani community shows that communities have adequate resources to deal with conflict in their communities as long as they are organized and they are conversant with their rights.

“The community of Phakamani feels that the Habakkuk Trust Action Team has been empowered by the local level advocacy training as we have been equipped with knowledge on advocacy. The training has enabled us to diffuse a potentially volatile situation, said James Nhlabano, Phakamani Action Team Treasurer.

The Habakkuk Trust Action Team convener for Phakamani, Mr Prince Mpala said that a military base was set up and they had had an input in its set up as they wanted to make sure that there was no violence in the area.

“When the base was set up, we insisted that it be set up near the police station so as to make sure that there is no violence”, said Mr Mpala. He also said that there is no violence in the area and they are only hearing about the violence in other areas.

The Habakkuk Trust Phakamani Action Team approached the police and war veterans in the area to state their view that they do not want violence in the area. The Action Team also stated in the meeting that genuine war veterans are those who are above the age of 35 and will not accept anyone who claims to be one and is below the age of 35. This was done so as to ensure that no unruly elements would be allowed to hide under the guise of being a war veteran in order to destabilize the area.

The community has also taken peace building initiatives such as holding a meeting with parents and telling them that they should caution their children against being violent and that they should make sure that adults are not attacked.

The Phakamani community has been proactive in determining the destiny of their community in that they have gone on to hold peace prayer rallies a fortnight ago and they are scheduled to hold another one at a date to be confirmed. The peace rallies have been very effective in that they have brought different community stakeholders together and they pre-empty any violence that is at stake.

“The peace prayer rally that was held was attended by everyone in the community including the police, those manning the military base and the war veterans. Religion helps to establish community cohesion and is also are an effective method of information dissemination and in this instance it was to stamp the fact that peace should be established in the community. At the end of the prayer, the tension that was there at the beginning of the meeting had been diffused, said Mr Nhlabano, the Action Team Treasurer.

The Phakamani community has also had useful insight in determining the cause of conflict and in line with their findings they have banned the use of the door to door campaign strategy as they say that it exposes people’ political orientation. This would be undoubtedly a breeding ground for strife.

“We have informed all parties that we will prepare a schedule were they will be able to address the electorate in the forthcoming runoff”, said Six Boys Ndebele, information secretary for the Phakamani Action team.

The Habakkuk Trust Phakamani Action team has said the environment is peaceful and they are saying that development is critical for the area rather than political squabbles. Whilst they acknowledge the importance of the offices of the councillor and members of parliament, they feel that they are the critical people for development. They have since resaved to work with traditional leaders to deal with issues such as the lack of serviced boreholes which has seen school children carrying water to school and women walking for more than 4 kilometers fetch water.

Mr Dube of Mahlabazihlangene also acknowledged the need for communities to take charge of their developmental goals and acknowledges that development starts with the individual and hence it is not the preserve of politicians.

The community of Phakamani is an interesting case study and bears testimony to the fact that a community which is aware of their rights is able to deal with situations which threaten their livehood. The communities realize the importance of peace in development and they are taking active steps in defending it. The community is very organized and this enables them to speak with one voice. The community has managed to ensure peace in their surroundings at a time when rural communities are under siege.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



By Fortune Dlamini

Communities have to be educated and receive training on how to use the resources they have to sustain themselves. Most communities are affected by the top-down theory, where by they are given resources and become unable to make use of the resources that they have been given. This has resulted in communities not being able to sustain development that would have been brought about by donor funding.

It is therefore important that while donors give communities some resources, the community should be active involved in the development process so that they have ownership of the projects.

Some communities have since realized the need to sustain development. A visit to some parts of rural Plumtree, namely Mahlabazihlangene, Valukhalo and Phakamani revealed this.

Habakkuk Trust under its Local Level Capacity Building Programme carried out extensive consultations with stakeholders in Mahlabazihlangene. These consultations were followed by a capacity building for development training programme.

The Habakkuk team visited the above areas in an effort to make sure that the 2008 ward plan is implemented. The ward plan proposes various projects which would improve the livehood of the community.

Mahlabazihlangene is home to multi purpose centre which could be used by the community as a sustenance tool. The multi purpose centre is home to a bakery and equipment which includes generators. Most of these structures have been deliberately neglected due to an unclear sense of ownership. A majority of them have been vandalized, windows broken and some equipment and property gone missing with no one to account for it.

The Habakkuk Trust Mahlabazihlangene Action Teams are major development catalysts and feel that development should not be stopped by the leadership vacuum which is in the country. This has been brought about by councillors not being sworn in. Development is set to continue as the community concurred that development was something that should begin at grassroots level, with the assistance of traditional leaders. The greatest challenge that has been faced by these communities is the vague current political situation that has forced some of the projects to be stopped. There is currently a vacuum in the leadership structures as councillors for some areas have not been sworn in.
However, the communities have not been deterred by the situation as they have resolved to continue with their work, through the engaging of traditional leaders in the area. These include the chiefs, headmen, village heads, church pastors and the local police. Mrs Mbengwa added that development was an ongoing process, hence it was important that the projects continue while councillors are being sworn in. She said it would be worthwhile if the councillors find the ground work already done by the community.

Mrs Eveline Ndebele said it was important that people should be able to sustain their livelihoods by making use of the resources they already possess. She said it was important to pave the way forward and make the bakery a reality.

Mr Dumisani Nkomo, the Habakkuk Chief Executive Officer reiterated that it was essential that the communities pave the way forward on the use of multi-purpose centers, through the training of vocational skills. Their main focus is to ensure that development and self-sustenance continues in the community and that it involves everyone.

The role of Habakkuk Trust in development issues is to educate and train communities on
strategies they could use to make use of their resources and be able to sustain themselves from
the resources they have.

The communities grasped the Habakkuk Trust training programmes and have been enlightened enough to take up their position and be in the fore-front. It is essential for the communities to realize that development begins at grassroot level, since the people are the ones who know their needs and wants.

Friday, May 9, 2008


information from Lobengula member of Parliament-elect, Sam Nkomo.

Sam Nkomo shares his thoughts on the violence in the country in the following article.

Yesterday I was physically ill having presented a briefing on the post election political violence. Over the past ten years I have seen the results of, and personally witnessed, a lot of brutality. However, the events of the past five weeks have left me shell shocked. The calculated, evil state sponsored and perpetrated violence against, and beating to death, anyone construed to be oppostion, as well as MDC office bearers is to say the least barbaric. A Doctor friend who is involved in Human Rights abuses almost 24/7, told me yesterday that she felt the same. We are living in a dark tunnel that is close to overwhelming those closely involved with the tragedy unfolding in our beloved Zimbabwe . The perpetrators are mostly the young militia dressed in camoflage army uniforms and a few of the war vets, commanded by military officers of high rank.

Below are some of the cases of violence

T.C. (38 years) from Kavasha village, Mutoko was beaten on the 27th April with big sticks on the buttocks by youth militia saying "stop supporting MDC". This resulted in extensive deep tissue bruising that has not received medical attention. He has a long road to recovery.

little Samson (3 years) was beaten on Golden Star farm, Shamva. His parents are ex farm workers who remained living on the farm after their white employer was evicted. They were beaten on 21st April by militia who were saying " Whites left you on this farm, you are MDC, you want whites to come back and look after you". Their houses and everything they owned was burned. The mother is at the hospital with Samson and her husband and other two children are somewhere in Shamva. She does not know where they are.


Habakkuk news watch 7-9/5

Violence persists ahead of the expected run-off, with churches and pastors being targeted. Churches and pastors are housing victims of political violence and this has made them to be political targets. The date for the runoff has not yet been announced, however, there are reports that it might not take place after 21 days as provided for by the constitution.

Masvingo- Sources on the ground in the Masvingo area have informed Habakkuk that violence in Masvingo is persisting with war veterans allegedly being the perpetrators. Habakkuk managed to interview some of the victims who had fled from their homes to seek shelter in the urban areas.

One of the victims revealed that war veterans arrived at his homestead where he resides with his 80-year-old mother and told them that they wanted to teach them how to vote and began beating them. The victim, who was a polling agent for MDC-T revealed that among the perpetrators, was the chief of that area (name supplied). He has since fled from his house and has been sleeping in the mountains for the past two weeks.

In another interview, it was revealed that war veterans arrived at one of the homesteads, where there was a one-and-a-half year old baby, they lifted the child by the leg and said, “Is this a Zanu pf baby or an MDC baby?” They proceeded to return the baby to his mother. The war veterans then burnt the mother with a cigarette on her right hand. After they had threatened them, they left their homestead. The family then fled to the mountains and later proceeded to the city.

Mberengwa West- Sources on the ground also revealed that police visited some churches in Mberengwa West, where they told the pastors to stop keeping people in the church, saying by so doing, the church was creating “camps”.

Two houses in the same area, which were housing victims of political violence, were raided. The house belonged to pastors. They were taken to the charge offices. There were some people among them who were hurt and these people were taken to the police station. The victims have not received medical attention and their health is deteriorating. “Safe houses” were also raided for allegedly harboring “political activists”.

Bulawayo- Habakkuk also got in touch with some local pastors who confirmed that churches had surely become targets. The pastor however revealed that as pastors, they had made it clear to the people that the church is a house of God and the church doors are open to anyone seeking shelter.
The pastors said there was a need to bolden the congregations in smaller towns so that they do not become overwhelmed by the situation.

Inyathi- The pastors also revealed that in Nyathi, Naledi, a church has been closed down by war veterans.

Gwanda-A pastor in Gwanda from West Nicholson farm was attacked by war veterans on Wednesday. It is alleged that the perpetrators arrived at his home and ordered him to recite a slogan. He refused to do so, stating that his job does not allow him to recite any slogan. They attacked him and beat him . He has since received medical attention and is recuperating at home.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Habakkuk News Watch (1-2/5)

Political violence continues in different areas of the country, as we continue receiving information on violence in different areas. Violence has been mainly concentrated on polling agents but this week we have learnt that a school in Zimuto on Masvingo has not reopened because the teachers who Habakkuk received information that there are two casualties of political violence from Lupane. They are currently being treated at Mpilo Hospital.

HT has also received classified information from well placed sources that it is alleged that people causing political violence in Matabeleland are youths belonging to Jabulani Sibanda. These youths are allegedly being led by CIO’s and are clothed in Border Gezi regalia.
It was learnt that leaders in high offices held meetings with the commanders and the army to avoid inciting violence among the civilians.
It was however learnt that people causing violence in the Mashonaland areas were the army and the police.

Human Rights abuse cases are said to be persistent in Nkayi, in the Dambadzi area.

News24 has reported that two school teachers have been beaten to death in the latest wave of political violence. Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU head said this at a May Day rally at a stadium in Harare. The incident took place at a school in the north-western Guruve region.

10 more MDC activists have been arrested for alleged human rights violence in the rural areas. They are said to have appeared in court. Some of these include Josiah Nyafumbi (36), Stephen Nemaungwe (35), Temba Chogodora (22), Denford Martin (22), Crispen Tsano (32), and Shorai Chindoko (34).

Food politics continues in areas such as Mpopoma where distributors go through a Zanu-PF list. If ones name does not appear in the list, they are told to stand at the back of the queue. Those who appear on the Zanu list get first preference.
HT also received news that National Foods is currently being controlled by police and the army. The food is therefore distributed to millers who belong to the ruling party, these then in-turn do their own screen tests on the ground, depriving everyone else the opportunity to purchase mealie-meal.

However, in other areas such as Robert Sinyoka and Pumula North and South, the food distribution anomaly has subsided, as the situation has been dealt with.

Habakkuk News watch 6/5


With the preparations for the Presidential run-off beginning, cases of violence have also increased. The independent media have said the violence is emanating from Zanu-PF supporters and the youth militia.

This past week has been marred by attacks on civic organizations and churches. Civic and Christian organizations that are housing victims of political violence are being raided by the youth militia and the army, reported different media houses.

News24 reported that Zimbabwe police dispersed people at the Methodist church in Harare and arrested a clergyman, Reverend Farai Mutamiri and Bishop Sebastian Bakare as well as three other people. Police have also arrested employees of a humanitarian organization, Action Aid. Anne Chipembere, Precious Shumba and three other employees in Mayo, Manicaland.
The Offices of Crisis Coalition, Centre for Research and Development and Plan International in Mutoko were also raided.

The Fingaz (2-8/5) reported that some churches in Matabeleland North have closed down. The Assemblies of God Church in Dola in Bubi closed down and its resident pastor fled after being tortured by Zanu-PF supporters. The pastor was accused of housing displaced people.

In the rural areas, intimidation and the burning down of people’s huts continue. In Masvingo, it is reported that people are being beaten up and they flee to the mountains. Four families are said to have been forced to live in a four roomed house in Mvuma. These families had been displaced by the Zanu PF militia from their homes and have sought refuge in the house.
The same scenario is happening in Zaka, where families are fleeing their houses and living in the mountains after their huts were burnt down.

Bulawayo Agenda also reported that in ward 12 in Matopo the militia has camped at some schools and the teachers have fled. The school children have also been told, not to attend school. In the same area an elderly woman and a baby have been badly hurt and their situation is grave, but they are reportedly being attended to.

In Nswazi, in ward 17, it is reported that some strangers arrived in the area and camped. When asked what they had come there for, they (strangers) said they had come to teach people how to vote. People have become afraid in the area and MDC supporters have begun fleeing their homes for fear of victimization. In Bulilima and Mangwe, in areas such as Tshitshi and Masendu, the youth militia has set up camp. In the Dandada area in Lupane soldiers are attacking people.
In Hwange, people have fled from the Mashala area to seek refuge in the Methodist Church. In the same area, 10 families are being housed at Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.-report by Bulawayo Agenda.

The situation in Lupane in Ward 18 is grave with one of the councillors revealing that at Makhovula Primary School, a militia base has been set up and the teachers and school children have fled. In Ward 16, there is also a militia camp that has been set up and the militia is claiming to be “on holiday”. A victim from the area narrated how his mother was attacked by Zanu-PF youths. When he went to make a report to the police, they refused to take his statement and told him to wait for the officer-in-charge.

Pastors on the ground also told Habakkuk that food politics persists in the Methodist area, a few kilometers from Robert Sinyoka (Ward 17), where people are buying mealie-meal with Zanu-PF cards. The mealie-meal is even called, “impuphu ye Zanu.” [ZANU P.F Mealie meal]Those people who are known to belong to Zanu buy the mealie-meal for $200 million and they sell it to the community at exorbitant prices. There are three identified homesteads with people who have Zanu-PF cards and this is where the mealie-meal is sold from .

Meanwhile police in Bulawayo forced church leaders to cancel a weekly prayer meeting for the nation after alleging that the previous prayer meeting had occasioned inflammatory speeches likely to result in violence .The organizers of the meeting Churches in Bulawayo ,the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and Bulawayo Intercessors Network were told to cancel the prayer meeting after a meeting with the police .