Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
Desperate ZDF struggles to pay debts
THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has made fresh appeals for additional
funding from Treasury running into billions of dollars, as it struggles to
settle its foreign debts and replace ageing equipment, a new parliamentary
The report, by the Defence and Home Affairs committee, which was tabled last
week, paints a bleak picture of the state of the military and reveals a
deepening government financial crisis.
It had been hoped that a supplementary budget would staunch the haemorrhage
on government finances, which started around March when some of the line
ministries were said to have exhausted their budgets.
The deafening silence from Treasury on the supplementary votes could be an
indication that the civil service might have to limp through until November
when Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is expected to present the 2008
The parliamentary committee says the army is failing to pay its foreign
debts due to a worsening foreign currency crisis, and could find it
difficult to operate efficiently in the remaining months of the year.
As a further indication of the increasingly grave state of government
finances, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the Senate that he has
approached Treasury to plead for his ministry to be allowed to retain 100
percent of all revenue collected from the courts. Currently, the ministry
only gets five percent.
And the Minister of Higher Education, Stan Mudenge, last week took the
unprecedented step of tabling in Parliament a letter he wrote to
Mumbengegwi, pleading for more funds, saying that "sadly, the issue brooks
But it is the Defence report that shows the funding crisis that key
government arms are now facing. The report reveals that the army is
struggling to fund the purchase of sundry requirements, including fuel, oils
and lubricants "used for stationary and mobile equipment such as aircraft,
motor vehicles, tanks, dozers, etc."
Physical infrastructure is also affected, the report says.
"The ZDF has workshops, barracks, offices and runways that need to be
maintained on a regular basis. A total of $877.42 million (54 percent of the
budget for infrastructure) has been used out of an allocation of $1.63
billion. The current expenditure patterns confirm that there is urgent need
for additional funding."
Some 37 percent of the $3.58 billion budgeted for "mobile infrastructure" -
such as tanks and planes - has already been used up. "Treasury has already
been approached for additional funding."
The report says the ZDF is not able to procure equipment to replace hardware
that has become obsolete or which was lost during training and operations.
The army, the report reveals, is saddled with foreign debt it is struggling
to settle. Only two percent of funds owed to foreign suppliers has been paid
"The effectiveness of the (Defence) Ministry would become a daunting task
for the rest of the year owing to low or inadequate funding . . . there is
great need for regular and prompt review of the working conditions for the
armed forces' morale," the Members of Parliament warn in their report.
Mumbengegwi has delayed an expected supplementary budget, which would be his
maiden budget statement presentation. The statement had been expected this
month, but will now most likely be presented next month. The lower House
resumes sitting on Tuesday, while Senate returns a week later.
However, the gravity of the funding crisis, as reported to Parliament,
suggests that Mumbengegwi's budget is unlikely to fill the gap in any
To underscore his desperation for more funds, Mudenge also pleaded with
Movement for Democratic Change Chitungwiza Member of Parliament Fidelis
Mhashu, who is the chairperson of the portfolio committee on education, to
persuade donors to fund government universities.
Mudenge said that although donors had pulled out of Zimbabwe because of
political considerations, Mhashu should try and use "his clear persuasive
ability (to convince) donors that education is a neutral factor".
In his letter to Mumbengegwi, Mudenge says: "I believe that . . . you will
seriously consider redressing some of the glaring inadequacies in the
provisions that will negatively affect some areas in university education."
Zimbabwe is enduring its worst econimic crisis since becoming independent in
1980. Inflation, at 7 634 percent is the highest in the world.
Drought-induced food shortages and the effects of galloping inflation have
made it imperative for Mumbengegwi to table a supplementary budget, which is
likely to be bigger than the original budget presented last year by former
finance minister, Herbert Murerwa.
THE Czech Republic is closing its embassy in Zimbabwe, citing what its
foreign affairs minister has described as the "crazy" policies of the
government of Zimbabwe.
Czech Republic foreign affairs minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, told members
of his country's Chamber of Deputies last Thursday that in addition to
the Zimbabwean embassy, the Czech Republic would also close embassies in
Singapore and Uruguay.
Schwarzenberg said the Czech foreign Ministry would save 120 million crowns
annually (more than US$5.8 million dollars) and would retrench 50 employees
as a result of the closure of the diplomatic missions.
The European Union (EU) slapped President Robert Mugabe and his ruling elite
in ZANU PF with targeted travel and financial sanctions after the
controversial 2002 presidential elections.
But most EU countries have continued to maintain diplomatic missions in
Now, however, Schwarzenberg says the Zimbabwe government "is somewhat crazy",
and any further activities of the Czech embassy in the southern African
country would therefore, not be effective.
He said the Czech Republic would nevertheless continue
the building of the office so it can be reopened at a later date.
"With God's help, we will return there (Zimbabwe)," he said.
Schwarzenberg said the
deciding factor on the closure
of specific embassies was whether the Czech Republic needed them and whether
the embassies in neighbouring countries could take over their activities.
"It would be good to have an embassy in Zambia where the Czech Republic
concentrates its development aid within Africa," he said.
President Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's economic meltdown on the targeted
sanctions he claims are part of a Western plot to depose him from power.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
PRESSURE is mounting on Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu
over the licensing of the banned Daily News after the Attorney General gave
him a September deadline to start dealing with the matter.
The A-G's Office, which represents the minister in all cases brought to
court in his official capacity, is said to be of the opinion that if the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday, went back to court to complain about Ndlovu's
inaction over the matter, government would lose the case.
The A-G's office bases its argument on a High Court judgment delivered in
March by Justice Anne-Marie Gowora, which said the Minister's failure to
deal with the matter urgently was a violation of the ANZ's rights.
Sources in the A-G's office on Tuesday said the Minister is now set to name
members of a special committee that will decide on the Daily News case.
The panel would be given a timeframe within which to deal with the matter,
according to the sources.
Although Justice Gowora dismissed The Daily News' application to be deemed
registered on a technicality, she lashed out at the Information Minister.
"Given the attitude displayed of the Minister, however, it is obvious that
he does not intend to put in measures or even change the composition of the
commission in order for the registration of the applicant to be dealt with
by an impartial body. Clearly this would be in violation of the applicant's
rights in terms of the Act and the Constitution," reads part of Justice
"What is, however, surprising, is that despite the findings by the Supreme
Court in 2005 . . . there has been no effort on the part of the Minister to
put in place a legal structure or framework that would permit the
application to be heard and determined by an impartial body."
Although the government had initially refused in court papers to appoint an
ad hoc committee to deal with the matter, The Financial Gazette has
previously reported that Ndlovu had accepted advice from the A-G's office to
drop the Media and Information Commission (MIC) from hearing the matter and
to appoint, instead, a committee to take over.
The exclusion of the MIC is based on a 2005 Supreme Court judgment that said
the commission's chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, who has been accused of bias,
had made remarks prior to hearing the ANZ's application that "created an
apprehension in the minds of reasonable people that justice would not be
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
"I MUST come to the side of ZISCO. It's a very sad story, and I think
government is partly responsible for problems that ZISCO is facing."
This is how the Hansard of March 15, 1990, quotes late Member of Parliament
Henry Swan Elsworth as saying during a debate on ZISCOSTEEL, the country's
state owned steel maker.
"We do not want to remind the honourable House that we are pumping in
approximately a hundred million dollars yearly to keep its nose above the
water. This is all taxpayers' money, and why are we doing this?"
Today, 17 years after Elsworth's lament, any MP who stands up to say the
same of Zisco would still be spot-on.
Since its formation through an Act of parliament in 1942 as the Iron and
Steel Commission, the company continues to be the most hotly debated
parastatal in Parliament.
The reason for the attention MPs pay to the parastatal is easy to recognise:
the worst that can happen to any company has happened to ZISCO over the
Some of the developments at ZISCO in recent years have included the fatal
shooting of three workers by soldiers on August 7, 2001, during a strike, a
politically charged row over Gabriel Masanga's continued tenure as managing
director, and the widespread perception of the parastatal as an emblem of
corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency.
Soon, legislators will debate whether or not to endorse Industry and
International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu's conviction by a parliamentary
committee over his evidence concerning Zisco.
That debate will only be the latest in a long history of attempts by
different parliaments to grapple with the ZISCO puzzle. And, given its
history as reflected in parliamentary records, the debate on Mpofu's
conviction is unlikely to be the last time ZISCO is mentioned in the House
According to the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade, when operating at full capacity, ZISCO has the
potential to earn US$105 million per year - enough to bankroll the country's
fuel requirement for three months.
The government has been touting a $2 billion dividend it received from ZISCO
as a sign that the company is now "at the centre of a remarkable comeback
On its part ,the company is flaunting the dividend payout while it is
struggling with inadequate working capital, owes 73.8 million Euro to KFW of
Germany, US$47 million to Exim Bank and Sinosure of China, and is heavily
indebted to local suppliers, especially those of coal and limestone.
But the company's history and its current state suggest the dividend payout
could be nothing more than a public relations gimmick.
Its history is littered with failure. Records of parliamentary debate show
that in the 1980s,the government hired Japanese consultants to undertake a
"rehabilitation and viability" study, peddled at the time as the panacea for
the parastatal's problems. The plan did not work. Close to 20 studies have
been conducted on ZISCO in the past five decades but successive governments
have always come short on implementation.
And in the 1990s, MPs were told during a visit to the steelworks that the
refurbishment of the main blast furnace Number 4 would effectively end the
Government has over the years ignored advice by MPs that would have helped
turn the company around. One of the main reasons for ZISCO's dismal
performance is government's inability - or unwillingness - to deal
decisively with corruption at the company.
Attempts by the Parliamentary trade committee, chaired by ZANU PF Chipinge
South MP Enock Porusingazi, to have government to furnish Parliament with a
report compiled by the National Economic Inspectorate Conduct on graft at
the firm have been ignored.
Porusingazi's committee had established that an Indian investor, Global
Steel, had moved into ZISCO with no formal agreement in place. The committee
also cast doubt on the credibility of Mpofu's testimony, saying he was "not
serious" about solving Zisco's troubles.
The Global Steel debacle mirrored an earlier discovery by the same
committee, in 2001, then headed by former ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland
West Phillip Chiyangwa, that ZISCO had bought Tswana Steel of Botswana; but
there was no documentation confirming the deal, a situation the committee
described as "strange and disturbing".
This harked back to 1990, when Parliament heard that ZISCO had deposited $15
million - then a princely sum - with a Swedish firm without a formal deal
for the purchase of equipment; as was to be repeated later with Global Steel
and Tswana Steel.
The decay of infrastructure was already a concern in the 1990s. According to
parliamentary records, most of ZISCO existing infrastructure was purchased
over 45 years ago and needs to be replaced urgently.
In 2001, 20 employees who received specialized training in China to operate
blast furnace Number 4 abandoned the company upon their return. When members
of the parastatal's board appeared in Parliament this year, they described
how a massive exodus of skilled labour was still a problem at ZISCO.
Senior officials say the parastatal is operating with skeleton staff, is
short of artisans and relies heavily on apprentices.
So, once the dust settles after the impending Mpofu debate, the question is:
Wwhat ZISCO-related issue will be next on the agenda for Parliament to
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
AN Air Zimbabwe plane flying to Nairobi, Kenya, was forced to make a U-turn
to Harare International Airport last week after the pilot discovered that
one of its doors was not properly secured.
Officials at Air Zimbabwe told The Financial Gazette that the plane, a
Boeing 737, returned to Harare after the pilot detected the problem from the
Air Zimbabwe spokesman, David Mwenga, confirmed the incident.
"I can confirm the incident. It happened last week. It was one of our
aircraft, a B737, which was going to Nairobi via Lilongwe and Dar es Salaam.
The plane had to come back because one of its doors was not properly sealed.
The rubbers were not properly arranged so the pilot detected something on
the cockpit dashboard and had to do the right thing under the circumstances
and return to have the problem fixed."
Mwenga said such incidents were not unusual in aviation.
He said: "It's not that we do not recognise the importance of safety, but
those are some of the things that happen from time to time and you do not
want to lose sleep over that.
"It is not a big issue, but when such a thing happens, some instruments in
the plane detect that something is wrong and it is up to the engineer and
the pilot on board to decide what to do. But you can actually go as far as
London with such a problem."
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
THE report on Zimbabwe by Tomaz Salomao, executive secretary of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), shows that regional opinion on
President Robert Mugabe's style of economic management may not be too
different from that of his western critics.
According to the report, details of which are only now coming to light,
Salomao told SADC leaders that the first step they must take in propping up
Zimbabwe's economy is to secure lines of credit to the country.
"The restoration of the country's foreign exchange generating capacity
through balance of payments (BoP) support is crucial: however, the most
urgent action that is needed to start this process is to establish lines of
credit to enable Zimbabwe to import inputs for its productive sectors,
particularly for agriculture and foreign currency generating sectors," the
There is the mandatory reference to sanctions. The western blockade, he
says, has curbed Zimbabwe's access to BoP support and shut it out of world
"SADC should do all it can to help Zimbabwe address the issue of sanctions,
which is not only hurting the economy through failure to get BoP support and
lines of credit, but also through reduced markets for its products.
Sanctions also damage the image of Zimbabwe, causing a severe blow to her
Having got the obligatory solidarity rhetoric out of the way, Salomao gives
an assessment of Zimbabwe's economic policy that could well have been a
cut-and-paste job from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report.
According to Salomao, Zimbabwean economic policy is erratic, its currency is
trading above true value, money supply growth is out of control, and "price
distortions" are hurting the economy.
"Zimbabwe on her part must continue to implement robust policies to reduce
the overvaluation of the exchange rate, to reduce the budget deficit and to
control the growth of domestic credit and money supply, which fuel
inflation, and to reduce price distortions in the economy."
He says: "Equally important is the need to avoid frequent changes in policy
initiatives, which have caused uncertainties and led to the view that the
policy environment is unpredictable."
SADC heads of state accepted a recommendation by the Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security, that the region's finance ministers come up with a
programme of "specific interventions" - South African President Thabo
Mbeki's words - to help Zimbabwe. This rescue mission, according to a SADC
communiqué, would be prepared with Zimbabwe's cooperation.
Whatever shape these "specific interventions" take, the one good thing is
that Salomao has acknowledged that Zimbabwe prefers its economic policy to
be random and unpredictable.
This is where SADC's rescue mission will either succeed or fail. Either SADC
convinces Zimbabwe to become more consistent, or the rescue mission is lost
in the country's renowned maze of zany policy u-turns.
Salomao's recommendations on lines of credit to Zimbabwe have not taken into
consideration the reasons why even some of the country's supposed friends,
such as Libya, have withheld further credit to the country.
But it is likely that SADC's finance ministers will, in their discussions,
take note of Zimbabwe's not-so-sparkling credit record, the ultimate result
of the country's policy inconsistencies.
A decision not to back new credit to Zimbabwe - very likely given bearish
comments on such prospects by SA Finance Minister Trevor Manuel - would
therefore whittle the options available for Mbeki's "specific interventions"
down to merely giving advice to Zimbabwe and hoping its managers see sense.
It is certain that Zimbabwe will not reject outright whatever proposals come
out of the ministers' plan - the country still needs to continue pretending
it respects its neighbours.
What is less certain, though, is what proportion of these proposals would
have been adopted by the time some bright-spark, or the Joint Operating
Command, figures out that the SADC ministers' recommendations - not likely
to be too different from Salomao's liberal proposals - are a bit too similar
to other advice previously rejected for being too free market, too
imperialist, too predictable.
Salomao has couched his report in diplomatic speak, but his proposals have
been heard before.
Compare Salomao's plea for Zimbabwe "to reduce the overvaluation of the
exchange rate, to reduce the budget deficit, and to control the growth of
domestic credit and money supply, which fuel inflation, and to reduce price
distortions in the economy," with the IMF's last proposal in February, for
"a comprehensive package of fiscal tightening and price and exchange regime
Besides, and Salomao would not have heard this from his government contacts
during his time here, removing "price distortions", as he recommends, would
cut off many of the policy makers from the arbitrage opportunities that have
brought them personal wealth and encouraged them to continue with the
"frequent changes in policy" he now criticises.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S financial sector is sitting on huge cash deposits as a result of
non-withdrawals by corporate clients due to reduced re-stocking caused by a
July government clampdown on retailers and manufacturers to force prices
down to June 18 levels.
"With prices slashed, corporates had to sell at reduced prices but they
cannot restock now. So we are sitting on huge amounts of deposits," a banker
told The Financial Gazette.
Kingdom Bank, a subsidiary of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, reported a
massive growth in corporate cash deposits, but declined to give figures.
"Following the price freeze, sales in all retail outlets jumped up
considerably, but now most firms are failing to restock," said Kingdom Bank
managing director Mark Woods.
This has resulted in the bank sitting on huge cash piles.
"We are trying to deploy them (deposits) as best as we can," Woods said,
indicating these funds were being invested in various money market
The government launched a crackdown against the business sector in July
after accusing entrepreneurs of supporting a regime change agenda allegedly
championed by the West to topple President Robert Mugabe's government.
Other bankers confirmed that deposits had swelled incredibly in the past
three months because most companies were not replenishing their stocks and
were, consequently, leaving cash untouched in their current accounts.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
A FUEL dealer says supplies could return to normal if the government adjusts
the price to $120 000 a litre.
The government chopped the price of fuel to $60 000 a litre when it
introduced a price blitz that saw prices of most commodities being reduced
either by half or reverting to their June 18 levels.
This has seen products, including fuel, disappearing from the market. Fuel,
which was selling for $130 000 a litre at the launch of the clampdown is now
selling at anything from $300 000 a litre.
The price clampdown also saw transport operators withdrawing their buses
from the roads as it was no longer viable to operate. This has created an
unprecedented transport crisis, which now seems to have been accepted by
employers as no one can tell when employees will turn up for work because of
The supplier, who runs several service stations in the city, said if garages
were allowed to sell fuel for $120 000 a litre, he believes things would
return to normal and could also see the black market rate of the Botswana
pula and the South African rand come down.
On Tuesday the pula was selling for $42 000 and the rand for $34 000, more
than double the rate at the time of the clampdown.
Already there seems to be an easing on fuel trading. The government backed
down on the ban on fuel coupons days after announcing the move, fearing that
this would cripple most companies, civic organisations and the diplomatic
community. Most of them buy fuel in bulk from reputable oil companies using
their own foreign currency.
Individuals not able to buy fuel in bulk, especially those with relatives
abroad, could also get some relief. One of the companies that had been
affected, Mukuru.Com, announced this week that it would be resuming its fuel
coupon facility on Tuesday.
This enables people to buy as little as 20 litres but at the moment the
service is only available in Harare. The company said it was planning to
expand this facility to other cities.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
THE 34 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists, on whom police tried
unsuccessfully to pin "terrorism" charges, are suing Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi for close to $4 trillion in a lawsuit that exposes the bizarre
nature of some of the methods used to torture perceived government
The group is suing for unlawful detention and claiming damages for torture
suffered during three months of detention.
"Our client could feel that the vehicle was being driven although he did not
know where he was or where they were taking him. Our client found himself in
the middle of the bush. They took him out of the coffin and started asking
questions about (activists) Better Chokururama, Piniel Donga and Ian Makone,
accusing our client of collaborating with the three to cause illegal regime
change in Zimbabwe," said the lawyers.
Tamborinyoka, the lawyers said, was assaulted on the feet, joints and all
over the body while being accused of peddling falsehoods by virtue of being
in charge of the MDC's information and publicity desk.
"Tamborinyoka was told to make different noises resembling nocturnal animals
and birds, such as cats, to snore, bellow like a lion, hiss like a snake,
laugh like a hyena etc. The officers, one of them known as Chimbetete,
stamped on the detainees' backs."
A High Court judge recently released the activists from remand after ruling
that police had fabricated evidence to link them to a series of petrol
bombings, which government claimed were part of a terrorism campaign to
destabilise the country and oust President Robert Mugabe.
The notice to sue was delivered on August 10, to the Civil Division of the
Attorney General's office.
Roddie Tokwe, on behalf of the acting director of the Civil Division, wrote
to the MDC activists on August 16 2007, confirming the notices to sue Mohadi
had been delivered to his department.
"We acknowledge receipt of your notice of intention to sue, dated 7 August,
2007. We will revert to you as soon as we get instructions from our
clients," said Tokwe.
The combined total of the 34 MDC activists' claim is $3.820 trillion. Of
this amount, $2.210 trillion is for damages for assault and torture, while
$1.610 trillion is for damages for unlawful arrest and detention.
Court papers reveal how police removed a corpse from a coffin and shoved an
opposition activist into it. A gruesome picture emerges of police officers
forcing detainees to make animal sounds such as hissing like a snake and
trampling on their backs as they lay prostrate on the floor - all for the
law enforcement agents' amusement.
The group includes MDC elections director Ian Makone, Member of Parliament
Paul Madzore and former journalist Luke Tamborinyoka.
All state in their notices of intention to sue that their treatment while in
police custody was inhuman, degrading and violated Section 15 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, which protects individuals against inhuman and
degrading treatment, and international human rights conventions, such as
Article 5 of the African Charter, Article 7 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of
Phillip Katsande, one of the activists, says he was shot while hiding in the
ceiling of his house. He has filed a claim for $140 billion.
Katsande identifies Detective Inspector Rangwani as the officer who shot
"As a result of the shooting and subsequent injury, our client suffered
damages for pain, shock, suffering, disability, disfigurement, psychological
trauma and loss of amenities of life in the sum of $90 billion," reads part
of the notice to Mohadi from Katsande's lawyers.
"The state knew that or deemed to have known that our client was never
outside Zimbabwe between 2002 and 2007. Our client did not receive the said
training on any part of the globe between December 2006 and March 2007 or at
an earlier time. The charges were a way of covering up for the cold-blooded
shooting of our client."
Another of the activists gives macabre details of how he was shoved into a
coffin by three police details, whom he identified.
"The trio took him to a coffin, where they removed what appeared to be a
dead body. In its place, they placed him in the coffin, which smelt of human
flesh, and [item ends here. Ed]
REVENUE from Value Added Tax (VAT) could have decreased by as much as 90
percent over the last three months owing to the government's price cuts, The
Financial Gazette has reliably heard.
It has also emerged that ZANU PF Members of Parliament are increasingly
concerned about the continuing shortages of essential commodities so close
to a key election, and had planned to quiz Industry and International Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu over the issue at a party caucus that had been
scheduled for last Wednesday.
The meeting was, however, shelved, even though it had been listed on the
party's parliamentary caucus agenda.
In an interview yesterday, ZANU PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said the meeting
with Mpofu had been shelved "because we had not planned well. Others did not
know about it."
"We wanted to get an update on how it (price blitz) is going. We have always
done that, even with Operation Murambatsvina. We do not rely on lies," he
said. Operation Murambatsvina is a large scale campaign adopted by
government in 2005 to forcibly clear slum areas across the country.
Gumbo could not say if the meeting would be rescheduled, saying this
depended on whether it "has not been overtaken by events".
Senior government sources said the recent price reviews, in which the
government authorised increases in the cost of a range of goods and
services, had been informed largely by a realisation that its coffers were
being seriously depleted by the loss of revenue.
In June, government directed that all prices of goods and services be
reduced by 50 percent. Government had hoped the order would slow down
rampant inflation and win over the urban poor, but the move caused massive
shortages, and now threatens state finances.
"VAT feeds off a selling economy, so government coffers have been affected.
Government choked itself.
"Businesspeople are not the only people who are suffering. It (government)
has also felt the pinch," a source said.
VAT is a tax levied on added value that results from each exchange. It
differs from sales tax because a sales tax is levied on the total value of
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority's (Zimra) legal and corporate services
commissioner Florence Jambwa, yesterday declined comment on the losses, or
to release latest revenue figures, referring all questions to the Ministry
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi could not be reached for comment.
But sources said the government is now mulling over proposals for dropping
even more goods and services from the current list of controlled products,
desperate to reverse the losses in revenues, and also to boost product
availability, anxious not to go into elections with shop shelves still
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
OLD Mutual will sell up to 20 percent of its Zimbabwean business to staff to
comply with impending empowerment legislation, officials at the country's
largest life assurer say.
Managing director for Africa, Johannes !Gawaxab and Old Mutual Zimbabwe
chief executive, Luke Ngwerume, told a meeting of senior staff earlier this
week that Old Mutual plc would back the sale of shares to its black staff in
Zimbabwe, a source said on Tuesday.
Details of how Old Mutual plans to structure the sale are unavailable. But
Old Mutual would have to find some structure to allow staff a 20 percent
stake of the company, the largest capitalised counter on the Zimbabwe Stock
On the open market, 20 percent of the issued shares would cost well over
$300 trillion at Old Mutual's current share price of around $400 000.
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana last Thursday tabled a
Bill before Parliament that will require all companies operating in Zimbabwe
to be 51 percent owned by black investors.
Parliament's legal committee is now studying the Bill, and Mangwana has said
he expects it back before the House in two weeks.
Old Mutual's lead in selling stock to staff is likely to be followed by
other international companies, especially those not publicly quoted.
Foreign shareholders of listed companies would only have to sell 20 percent
to pare their shareholdings to the required level, since most already hold
shares at the ZSE-limit for single shareholders of 70 percent.
However, wholly owned companies, such as Stanbic and Standard Chartered
banks, would have to sell more.
Old Mutual has the largest life assurance operation in Zimbabwe, and also
owns Zimbabwe's biggest mortgage lender, CABS, and also has controlling
interests - directly or indirectly - in a range of companies, key among them
Earlier this month, Old Mutual SA (OMSA) MD Paul Hanratty said although
Zimbabwe's contribution to group profits was no longer significant, there
was no plan to pull out of the local market.
"That business is not generating good returns for OMSA any longer," Hanratty
was quoted as saying. "But there is no point in pulling out of that
business, even though conditions are extremely difficult. We have staff and
customers to think about before we make any move."
This week, he said the Zimbabwe sale would probably be similar to
empowerment deals agreed with staff and black investors in Namibia and South
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
MOBILE and internet service providers (ISPs) have begun installing
surveillance equipment, in compliance with the controversial Interception of
Communications Act, the Zimbabwe Internet Access Providers (ZIAP) confirmed
ZIAP is a grouping comprising Econet's ecoweb, TelOne's comone and
"We are in the process of complying. We are putting in place projects to see
that we comply," said ZIAP chairman Shadreck Nkala.
Nkala declined to reveal the costs involved in installing the equipment, or
where the eavesdropping equipment is being sourced, saying: "We do not
Industry sources say mobile phone companies have also begun importing the
equipment necessary to give government access to data, calls and other
The Interception of Communications Act will establish a hub, known as the
Monitoring of Interception of Communications Centre, which would be the sole
facility through which authorised interceptions would be effected.
Heads of service providers who do not comply with the new law face
imprisonment of up to three years.
Part of the Act reads: "A telecommunication service provider is required to
install hardware and software facilities and devices to enable interception
of communications and also that the telecommunication service can store
communication-related information and how the service could be connected
with the communication monitoring centre or the manner in which information
can be re-routed to the monitoring centre."
"The telecommunication service provider shall be assisted or compensated for
the assistance he or she may provide to the Authority or the monitoring
The spying law says persons who are authorised to make applications for
interception of communications include the chiefs of Defence and
Intelligence, the Director-General of the President's department of national
security, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner-General of the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
EVERY where I look during lunch hour these days I see hundreds of
Zimbabweans eating ice cream either from tubs or cones. What is going on
Have ordinary Zimbabweans suddenly developed a sweet tooth than can only be
appeased by this frozen liquid?
The answer is no great mystery. With supermarket shelves empty and most
takeaway food outlets offering virtually nothing, ice cream seems to be the
most easily accessible and affordable "food" in the Harare central business
district. This is the effect of the "price war" that the government embarked
on in July when it ordered the business sector to slash prices by half
regardless of whether or not they would be able to continue operating
viably. As one cynic has observed, the government can arbitrarily amend the
constitution of Zimbabwe as many times as it wants to suit its own agenda,
but it cannot do the same with economic fundamentals.
Indeed, one does not need to be an economic or mathematical whiz to figure
out that buying an item or a commodity at, say, $100 000 to sell it at $30
000 does not make sense regardless of the "revolutionary" weight of the
motive for requiring such a dumb thing to be done. The result of the
government-ordered economic self-mutilation was predictably, that business
establishments made huge losses and could no longer afford to order new
stocks, pay wages and other overheads, hence the empty shelves staring back
at hungry Zimbabweans all over the country.
Now there are queues everywhere for basic essentials such as bread and milk,
which become available occasionally. Faced only with rows of packets of salt
in a supermarket, a frustrated woman once asked, "Will Zimbabweans ever be
able to shop normally again?" None of the other equally flabbergasted
shoppers was in a mood to respond, so the answer, my fellow starving
Zimbabweans, is blowing in the wind.
The government, which accused the business sector of increasing prices in
order to foment discontent among the people as part of an alleged regime
change agenda sponsored by foreign powers, claimed it had no option but to
intervene to ease the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans. The trouble is that
those in government who wished to be seen as having the interests and
welfare of the people at heart wanted to impose their noblesse oblige at the
expense of others.
It was simply a case of government wanting to get the credit and the
business sector paying the price. The trouble is that so far, there are no
winners in this debacle. Business establishments have been bankrupted and
some are closing down. The people are starving and if it cares to listen,
the government is not exactly getting bouquets for setting this catastrophic
chain of events in motion. It is unlikely to have won any hearts and minds.
The government, whose military-style decrees on prices sparked great tumult
was, it will be remembered, not prepared to lead by example by announcing
austerity measures of its own to reduce spending, tackle corruption and
streamline its operations and those of the perennially loss-making
parastatals. Moreover, the "price war" bore the unmistakable marks of
impunity and lack of transparency that are now a hallmark of government
practice when "price monitors" were accused of brazen looting and other
irregularities such as tipping off their friends and relatives in advance
about shops due to be "monitored" so that they could make a killing. So much
for easing the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans and thwarting "regime change"
And now, after causing these unnecessary disruptions and human misery, the
government appears to be quietly climbing down on the matter. Price
increases for various goods and services are being approved regularly but
whether this means a lasting solution has been found to end the predicament
ordinary Zimbabweans have found themselves in, remains to be seen. The
government, which plunged headlong into the price blitz without any prior
notice, is taking its time to reverse the damage although it knows or should
know, that the shops are empty and the people are living like scavengers.
Does anybody care? A clue is that while the empty stomachs of millions of
hungry Zimbabweans continue to rumble, plans for the biggest banquet of the
year at which the rulers of the country eat to their heart's content are at
an advanced stage. Reports in the state media give regular updates of funds,
food and beasts donated for the ruling party's annual congress to be held in
Bindura in December. A report in the August 22 issue of a state-controlled
daily describing the copious amounts of food already pledged was enough to
make millions of starving Zimbabweans salivate. The paper reported on a
fund-raising dinner at which the Mazowe district of ZANU PF raised $1.2
billion. The ruling party was reported to have received donations of eleven
tonnes of maize meal and five cattle to provide meat during the conference.
In addition, the provincial leadership has pledged 48 cattle while
Mashonaland East has earmarked 20 mombes for the same festivities. Various
individuals have pledged millions of dollars and beasts for the same
occasion. And this is just one district! With all districts throughout the
country jostling to outdo each other in terms of the size of their
donations, it is anyone's guess how much maize is being withheld from the
Grain Marketing Board.
The same goes for the number of beef cattle that are being set aside for the
festivities instead of being sold to the Cold Storage Company (CSC) at the
government-decreed prices. It cannot escape anyone's notice that these
"super patriots" in the ruling party who are making these extravagant
donations of maize meal and cattle for the congress are not thinking of
making the food and beef available to the nation to mitigate against the
negative impact of the price war? When is hoarding not hoarding?
The CSC, it will be remembered, went AWOL (absent without leave) instead of
rising to the occasion after the cancelling of the licenses of private
abattoirs. As the population continues to face the threat of diseases caused
by the lack of meat protein and other nutrients in their depleted diets, the
burning question is why such a redundant entity continues to exist at great
cost to the nation when it is not fulfilling its mandate.
FINANCE Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi was on cloud nine a week ago.
The reason: month-on-month inflation had receded to 31.6 percent in July
from 86.2 percent the previous month although year-on-year inflation had
scaled past 7 600 percent from 7 251.1 percent in June.
On widespread shortages caused by the unilateral price cuts, he had this to
say: As long as government remained the overall regulator of the economy,
"we will continue to regulate."
Fine, it is Mumbengegwi's democratic right to express his views but surely,
is he being honest with himself? Who is the minister fooling by giving a
rosier-than-real-picture of a clearly charging inflation dragon that
continues to push the country's once-robust economy into a basket case?
Mumbengegwi and his colleagues in government know only too well that while
the price controls can restrain inflation, as is the case at the moment, the
resultant technical "victory" is hollow if the reduction in month-on-month
inflation exists on paper only. In the meantime, the people who are meant to
benefit from the price cuts are going hungry and spending long hours queuing
for basics, which are now in short supply.
Policymakers need to be reminded that while it is their responsibility to
regulate the economy, they must be mindful of the potentially high cost of
their excesses. Essentially, regulation should achieve fair and reasonable
prices and not choke business to death while depriving the consumer of
access to basic goods and services or worse still, creating illegal markets
where the very same products fetch twice or three times as much.
A drive through the country's industrial sites used to be such an electric
experience before the twilight of the 1990s but it now serves as a constant
reminder of the ruinous nature of government's excesses in regulating the
country's economy. The puffing furnaces, squeaking conveyor belts, whistling
goods trains, roaring plants and the hustle and bustle in between day and
night shifts is gone, and all one can see now are rusting factories
operating at the barest minimum capacity.
It is the same sad story for residential areas, where infrastructure, i.e.
roads, sewerage and water reticulation pipes and public lighting are
collapsing. The despair written all over people's faces, be it in petrol
queues, bread queues etcetera, bears testimony to the suffering thrust on
them by ill-conceived economic policies implemented without much regard to
their consequences, intended or unintended. Yet the powers-that-be are quick
to heap the blame on "illegal" sanctions.
There were signs last week of the loosening of government's hard stance on
prices as shown by the upward price reviews on some products. This has since
turned into the worst nightmare for the rest of industry and commerce. While
the revised prices have offered respite to some struggling companies, it is
still a case of too little too late. The reviewed prices have since been
overtaken by events and now fall short of restoring viability.
Reports suggest that those tasked with reviewing the prices are scared that
any attempts to correct them to realistic levels might be misconstrued as
part of a "regime change agenda". In order to safeguard their jobs they
would rather squeeze blood out of the ailing industry by ignoring the
numbers coming out of the various computations of the agreed pricing models.
The government should bite the bullet by making a complete U-turn on its
price blitz that is only benefiting a few individuals and stoking the
In certain cases, the price adjustments have been awarded selectively to
downstream industries, ignoring those upstream, that feed on their outputs.
Collapse, in such cases, is inevitable.
It is for this reason that most companies are beginning to send distress
calls, calling for the updating of their applications for price reviews,
which are gathering dust at the Industry and International Trade Ministry.
What is becoming clear though, is that the government does not have the
capacity to review prices at the speed and scale consistent with its current
policy thrust. The situation on the ground is quite desperate and the longer
it takes to correct the price distortions, the harder it will be for
government to breathe any form of life into the country's economy.
The powers-that-be should not lose sight of the famine knocking on the
country's doors as a result of the poor harvest. Because of crop failures in
the southern provinces and escalating poverty in both rural and urban areas,
more than four million people are in need of food assistance.
A combination of the drought-induced food shortages and the trail of
destruction being caused by the government's misguided economic policies is
a recipe for disaster. Misguided economic policies can also cause famine and
at the rate at which the country is going, Zimbabwe risks becoming the first
functioning democracy to suffer a famine in modern times, that is if there
is still any semblance of democracy left.
After all, disasters caused by humans, such as civil strife and economic
crises now have more impact on food security than natural disasters.
IN his "Letter from the President," published in the African National
Congress online newsletter, South African leader Thabo Mbeki touched on the
Zimbabwean crisis, which was discussed extensively at the Southern African
Development Com-munity (SADC) summit held recently in Lusaka, Zambia. Owing
to space constraints, we have re-organised Mbeki's letter to focus mainly on
aspects relating to Zimbabwe.
ON August 16-17, SADC, which incorporates 14 (and potentially 15) countries,
held its 27th ordinary summit meeting of heads of state and government in
Lusaka, Zambia. To emphasise its importance, the summit meeting was attended
by all the SADC heads of state and government.
(Seychelles, a member of SADC for many years, was not represented because of
a continuing discussion about the membership dues it must pay. The Lusaka
Summit, fully sympathetic to the concerns of Seychelles, expressed its
determination to do everything possible to ensure that this island-state,
geographically and otherwise part of southern Africa, resumes its rightful
place as a fully-fledged member of the development community.)
...The Lusaka Summit Meeting focused on the urgent task to transform the
economies of our region, to ensure that as an integrated whole, they meet
the aspirations of the masses of the people of southern Africa.
In this regard, the Lusaka Summit Meeting was exposed to what can be done.
President Bingu wa Mutharika announced that Malawi would donate 5 000 metric
tons of maize each to Lesotho and Swaziland, in the light of their food
shortages, caused by drought. President Mwanawasa also announced that Zambia
had donated 10 000 metric tons of maize to the World Food Programme (WFP) to
be made available to any SADC country in need.
The Zimbabwe Economy
The summit meeting also approved the urgent initiation of a process that
would identify the measures that the SADC region should take to assist in
the economic recovery of Zimbabwe. The report prepared by the SADC
secretariat in this regard says:
"The restoration of the country's foreign exchange generating capacity
through balance of payments support is crucial: however, the most urgent
action that is needed to start this process is to establish lines of credit
to enable Zimbabwe to import inputs for its productive sectors, particularly
for agriculture and foreign currency generating sectors.
"SADC should do all it can to help Zimbabwe address the issue of sanctions,
which is not only hurting the economy through failure to get BoP (balance of
payments) support and lines of credit, but also through reduced markets for
its products. Sanctions also damage the image of Zimbabwe, causing a severe
blow to her tourist sector.
"Zimbabwe on her part must continue to implement robust policies to reduce
the overvaluation of the exchange rate, to reduce the budget deficit and to
control the growth of domestic credit and money supply, which fuel
inflation, and to reduce price distortions in the economy.
Equally important is the need to avoid frequent changes in policy
initiatives, which have caused uncertainties and led to the view that the
policy environment is unpredictable."
In this regard, on Monday, August 20, the Business Day newspaper published a
wholly fabricated story alleging that the SADC leaders were divided over
this report, describing a discussion at the summit meeting that never took
place. This is consistent with an unethical practice in sections of our
media in terms of which they manufacture news and information and
communicate complete fiction as the truth.
The newspaper manufactured an unbridgeable "rift" resulting in a
non-existent paralysis among the leaders, arising out of the discussion that
never took place. The fact of the matter is that, acting on the
recommendation of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, (the
Organ), the SADC summit meeting accepted the report on the Zimbabwe economy,
as well as the proposal of the organ that our finance ministers, in
consultation with the government of Zimbabwe, should use the report to
elaborate specific interventions that could be made by our region.
The hostile allegation that our countries have recklessly turned their eyes
away from the problems of Zimbabwe, because of the imperatives of
solidarity, has always been nothing more than a product of propaganda, which
all thinking persons would recognise as such. The reality is that in a very
real sense the problems of Zimbabwe are our problems, in the same way that
the problems of the rest of southern Africa are problems for Zimbabwe as
well. Our entire region stands to benefit most directly from the recovery of
Zimbabwe, in much the same way as Zimbabwe benefits from the progress of the
region of southern Africa, of which it is an integral and inalienable part.
The Lusaka summit meeting reconfirmed these fundamental positions, which
include unqualified respect for the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and the right of
its people to determine their destiny. At no point will SADC and its member
states act as a super-power that has the right to expropriate the people of
Zimbabwe of their right to self-determination, as imperial Britain did.
The SADC Brigade
Undoubtedly, one of the high points of the summit meeting was the launch of
the SADC Regional Peace-keeping Brigade. This military-police-civilian
brigade is made up of personnel drawn from 11 of the member states of SADC.
It has been constituted to respond to the challenges of peace, security and
stability that face our region.
At the same time, it constitutes a component part of the African Union (AU)
Standby Force, which Africa is forming to ensure that it has the organised
and multi-skilled force to enable it to respond expeditiously to all
situations of conflict on our continent.
Thus the launch of the SADC Peace-keeping Brigade represented, in concrete
terms, the resolve of our region and continent to rely on its resources
effectively to ensure peace and security throughout Africa.
It was indeed very moving to see the 11 mixed formations, each behind its
national flag for purposes of identification, assembled on the parade
grounds at the Lusaka City Airport.
Nobody present at the launch ceremony could have avoided being moved by the
fact that despite the variety of the national flags that led and identified
the various formations, all the members of the brigade marched and drilled
with great precision, responding to the commands of one commanding officer.
Clearly, here, at the Lusaka City Airport, the combined political leaders of
our region were presented with a palpable example of the readiness of our
region of southern Africa to act together, to promote African unity, to bind
all countries of our region to the cause of peace, to guarantee peace,
security and stability on our continent, and to create the necessary
conditions for the defeat of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.
Who will deliver us to promised
EDITOR - A people, more so a nation without a vision perishes. Today we need
a visionary and inspired leadership to lead our exodus from the "Egypt" that
we are experiencing in Zimbabwe, through suffering, poverty and oppression,
to the promised land of hope and fulfilment. Who is going to rescue us from
our dire situation?
In the ZANU PF camp, the main preoccupation is holding on to power and the
question of who will succeed President Robert Mugabe. The plight of the
people doesn't feature on this agenda. The opposition is deeply divided and
also concerned about issues of power. In both cases we see people or
politicians who are self-serving and egotistic. The well-being of the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe is way down on the agenda.
The kind of picture I see is of a people engaging in tribal battles with
wooden swords as the atomic bomb behind them continues to tick. The real
battle should be to save Zimbabwe from sinking.
The tactics of gerrymandering and electoral manipulation are farcical. Such
tactics of deceit do not hoodwink people who are hungry, jobless and for
whom life has become a nightmare. I think it is high time the government
learns to dialogue with captains of industry and those in business rather
than ruling by decree. That was the case with the temporary suspension of
direct fuel imports and the imposition of price controls, making our life a
This irrational logic of chicken soup economics will only succeed in pushing
us further to the precipice. Also no amount of economic alchemy will help us
to believe that inflation will decrease to double or single digit figures.
Inflation is out of control; numbers don't lie. We need genuine political
will, realism and focused action so that steps may be taken to stabilise the
Let us take the Southern African Development Community initiated talks
between ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seriously. Let
us include civil society groups in these talks so that they may be more
representative of the wider society. Let us "never say never" in life; let
us believe that even a spark of good will can ignite a fire and spread.
Ian Smith said "never in a thousand years"; but he was made to swallow his
words and was dethroned from his proud seat. There is nothing like an
eternal enemy/opposition in politics. ZANU PF and the MDC should take a cue
from the peace process taking place in Northern Ireland. Whoever imagined
that Ian Paisley, not too long ago a British sectarian bigot and Martin
McGuiness, former commander of the Irish Republican Army, would agree to sit
at the table and share power in the Assembly Executive. The impossible has
happened in Northern Ireland, and it can also happen in Zimbabwe. This is
clearly an example of how even intractable conflicts can be brought to an
end through the negotiation process.
Jesus said, "With God all things are possible". We must believe that the
impossible can happen in Zimbabwe today. Ultimately, no matter how long it
takes, we have to learn to listen to each other, tolerate each other's
genuine views and to express our deepest desires in a new social and
political dispensation where we are all winners and where there are no
Rev Fr Fokisa O.Cam
St Killians' Mission
EDITOR - It is fair that the children of ministers are being deported. If
there is nothing wrong in Zimbabwe, then the ministers should be happy to
have their children in Zimbabwe. They should taste their own medicine!
They are the same people who are looting the little available foreign
currency at discounted rates, spoiling their children abroad to live as
though they own Zimbabwe.
I salute all governments that are deporting all these beneficiaries of
EDITOR - Seeing President Robert Mugabe is having so much difficulty keeping
Zimbabwe's head above water with the rigid Western sanctions he believes
have been imposed on Zimbabwe, perhaps he could glean some ideas from those
Rhodesia Front officials who may still be alive on how to run a country
Not only did the country survive but it thrived, even in a war situation.
Biti misses point
EDITOR - The input from Tendai Biti to have more mobile units to register
voters sounds very noble at face value but looking at the last elections, it
is a very naive suggestion. What the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
lacks is not the number of registered voters in urban areas but across the
whole spectrum. I will bet my last pound that if there were 10 voters
registered in urban areas, the MDC will win still all those seats.
Mr Biti you need to be able to go into all constituences and make your
agenda known to the people so that they can vote for you. The government has
already done its bit by registering the people in rural areas for you. Start
campaigning now as the environment is ripe. With all these shortages and all
this desperation the government is displaying, if you are what we used to
think you are you can pull a good one buddy.
SADC leaders not so stupid
EDITOR - I once said it and wish to say it again that this bunch of Southern
African Development Community (SADC) leaders are selfish and we will never
get any help from them.
In fact, South African President Thabo Mbeki wants our cheap labour for the
World Cup and no one can see through him. Maybe, we will see some action
from him after the World Cup is over.
Think of the massive construction of roads, bridges, stadiums and hotels.
Where do you think all that labour is coming from? He (Mbeki) is not as
silly as we think he is. He is actually benefiting from the skills flight
and all the company relocations to South Africa. He has the World Cup in
mind, hence his reluctance to do anything about the Zimbabwean crisis.
All the other SADC countries will also benefit because all the investment
that is supposed come to Zimbabwe is going to them. You will actually find
that the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls will have thousands of people
visiting it during the World Cup.
Do you think the Mwanawasas of this world cannot see this windfall? Is he
willing to share this windfall with Zimbabwe?
Doing the wrong thing all the time
EDITOR - The report that Dorowa Mine, Iron Duke mine and Zimphos were closed
last month due to power cuts and non- availability of various raw materials
spells disaster for the production of food this coming season.
Zimbabweans have learned to rationalise around problems and instead of
calling a spade a spade, we call it 'agricultural implement'. What has
happened at these companies is nothing other than total failure by the
government and should not be called challenges. If it was a challenge,
Chemplex Corporation would get around the power cuts. It is not a challenge
to them; it is not failure by ZESA, but by government. ZESA does not operate
in isolation outside what is happening in the country. Can we expect ZESA to
perform when no other entity is able to? Problems in this country do not lie
with individual entities, but with the way the country has been governed.
When this same government used to care, it was able to pump water from
Darwendale dam into Serui river. This water then gravitated into Mufure
river and saved Chegutu. The government drilled numerous boreholes in the
Nyamandlovu Aquifer and saved Bulawayo. The government laid pipes from the
Pungwe river to Smallbridge dam and saved Mutare. I can give more examples;
all this was in 1992.
Now, there is hardly a city with sufficient water. The Sunday Mail reported
that nearly every township in Harare has no water. It's the same in Gweru.
Bulawayo is a disaster with Minister Munacho Mutezo boasting that nothing
will be done by government until the Bulawayo City Council hands over water
distribution to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
I must come back to Dorowa and others. If this problem, not challenge, had
been highlighted at the beginning of the year, there would have been time to
try and do something. The country will remember that when the power cuts
started to get bad, and that was at the beginning of May, we were all told
not to worry as we would have sufficient wheat as the power was going to
wheat producers. Ask wheat producers how much power they have been getting.
I happen to be one of them.
I am sure that the management of Dorowa Mine, Iron Duke and Zimphos have
loads of correspondence to government about the impending disaster. Closing
the companies was a last resort for them. What should have been done was to
use the little foreign currency properly and import power from SNEL, Eskom
and Mozambique. Instead, fleets and fleets of the latest vehicles have been
imported to please a few powerful people in ZANU PF.
God Almighty, in His divine impartiality, will pour sufficient rain this
season, which by the way, starts in eight weeks. Those farmers who got
tractors are raring to go, so we are told.
Only 160 000 tonnes against a national requirement of 600 000 tonnes of
fertiliser have been produced. There is no more production. Even if
something was done now there will still be a shortfall of more than 50
percent. It is common knowledge that compounds are required at planting.
With all crops, the best planting time is extremely limited. You miss that,
you are finished, at least for that year. Every day counts and lost
opportunity can only be remedied the following year. For example, the bulk
of our tobacco is irrigated. Seedlings are put in very early in the year.
The planting is at the beginning of September. If the planting is delayed,
that will have an adverse effect on both the size and quality of that
It was reported by farmers in the Herald this week that there is no compound
C fertiliser, which they need for planting tobacco. Dorowa mine is not
producing phosphate. Compond C comes from phosphate. Tobacco planting starts
I can see these closures spilling to Sable Chemical as their production of
ammonium nitrate requires phosphate. The problem will also spill to Windmill
and Zimbabwe Fertiliser Corporation.
The long and short of what I am trying to say is that there will not be
enough food produced next year since we cannot turn back the clock. It
appears to me that one of the greatest shortcomings in this government is
the inability to sit down and plan ahead. No, I am wrong; the government is
able to plan how to do the wrong thing all the time.
Secretary for Lands and Agriculture