Mugabe ``agrees to' US maize for the starving
despite GM protest
August 2, 2002 4:05am
ZIMBABWE was said
yesterday to have accepted a large consignment of maize to help feed six
million people who face famine, after previously rejecting the American aid
because some of the maize is genetically modified.
Despite the apparent
decision to accept the shipment, the image of a nation on the brink of
starvation rejecting food because it has been genetically engineered has
reignited controversy over GM food, which has been eaten by Americans for
years with no apparent ill-effects.
An editorial in the Herald, regarded
as a mouthpiece of President Robert Mugabe's government, said last week:
"Vegetables . . could be contaminated with genes from such grain." Experts
have said this is a scientific impossibility.
Yesterday's issue of New
Scientist reported on how the Zimbabwe High Commission in London had said no
GM foods were allowed in the country because "scientifically, they haven't
been proven to be safe." The same day an American official said: "The
government of Zimbabwe has communicated its willingness to receive the
He added that Harare had in the past accepted milled maize from
America, which cannot certify whether the grain in the 20,000 ton consignment
has or has not been genetically modified.
Only a little non-engineered
corn is segregated from GM varieties during the US harvest. It sells at a
premium to organic food processors and others.
Biotech proponents have
attacked the Zimbabwean government for initially refusing aid, saying Mr
Mugabe seems to care more about demonstrating his independence than saving
the lives of 6 million said to be facing famine.
Others accuse Washington
of using the food crisis to get US gene-altered products established in a
part of the world that has resisted them.
The US Agency for International
Development rejected the suggestion that America was strong-arming Zimbabwe
or had any agenda other than feeding the needy.
involvement of the ordinary man, woman and child in any action is largely
dependent on information at hand on the gains derived from participating in
From there, everything else is likely to fall
into place, thus guaranteeing the success of the enterprise, that is if the
gains outweigh the risks that lie ahead. Weighing the gains of the time and
effort invested in shaking the Establishment towards democracy, it is only
logical that the execution of the people's revolt will be stayed
indefinitely, considering the risks. So Zimbabweans have to find and strike a
balance between forever being on the receiving end of the abuses of power,
and also what taking to the streets will mean for them.
by experiences in the Philippines among other countries, it would also be
expected to expedite democratic reform here. But as would be expected, what
guides one in deciding whether or not to take a particular path are the
challenges presented by the task. If they are surmountable, it is foreseeable
that the individual will be equal to that task, and if presented with a
challenge much larger than themselves, obviously that challenge will be left
to the foolhardy. The latter no doubt is the station that many here find
themselves in on the calls for democratic reform. Is anybody equal to this
new task where the "masters" meanwhile show no sign of fatigue? But before
all those cards are dealt, there are issues of choosing that path which leads
to taking up of "arms" and coming out onto the streets to demand
We could well ask: "Will the real men please stand up?"
And real men as in folks who will stand up and be counted as those who
stopped Zimbabwe from going to the dogs. What has happened in the past and in
the history of the continent, and also the fallen repressive communist
regimes of Eastern Europe, has been that opposition to these regimes has been
executed from outside the borders by exiled patriots. And these have been
both voluntary and involuntary. While exiled political activists spent most
of their adult lives pushing for those reforms, with some unfortunately being
hunted out of their not-so-safe havens and assassinated, could that be the
same kind of politics that will bring change here and elsewhere across
Africa? Proof is there for the doubting Thomases, and it is in studying the
politics here since the June 2000 parliamentary election to the
After all, there already is a radio station beaming its
programmes very far from home and manned by Zimbabweans! A look at the
obstacles put in the way of the opposition, despite its parliamentary seats,
and also the fate dealt other citizen actions will provide one with proof
that the drive for change from within has hit a brick wall. Look at the
efforts of the National Constitutional Assembly. These few men and women who
have exhibited courage and determination have been those who firmly believe
the law and the Constitution are on their side, yet they have still been
dealt with "accordingly" by the police! And obviously at the behest of the
Thus this new challenge would call for new
solutions as the ballot has not yielded any desired effect. But the question
would be whether that in itself is tenable. While post-independence
Zimbabweans will forever be remembered for the men and women who weathered
the onslaught from the party under whose aegis the new Zimbabwean flag was
hoisted, they will still be remembered by others as people who did so with
"good" reason. Thus it was asked: "Will the real men and women please stand
up?" They bore the assaults with no idea how to hit back because the opponent
had an unfair advantage.
Previously it was agreed that the police
and the army were citizen-friendly, but today seeing them milling about in
the city centre with their baton sticks spells trouble for the law-abiding
citizens. So with that ferocious power on the side of those responsible for
the misrule of this country, who honestly would dare the devil and leave
behind a widow and orphans? Or just die young? And this when everybody is
painfully aware of the hard times that have hit many. So thinking about
leaving behind those loved and young ones who might just end up as urchins
would be enough to absorb the punishment in silence and just hope that this
nightmare will soon come to pass.
That is what has inspired what
some have called the cowardice of Zimbabweans, despite the state of affairs
they find themselves in. And it is this that has fed the confidence of the
ruling party, despite all pointers that would have the party gurus
frantically running for panic buttons! A recent Amnesty International report
tells us what we have always known: that the police are being used as an arm
of the ruling party, as a militia force which has actively taken part in the
subjugation of law-abiding citizens. Moreover with the taxi driver shot at a
roadblock in Harare also in June, the images that are recalled for one
entertaining the idea of taking up the challenge and march for democracy
would not be something that favours taking up that gauntlet.
a taxi driver ferrying passengers to their chosen destination could be a
victim of a trigger-happy police officer, what about one who takes part in an
agenda that openly challenges the ruling party?
accused of murdering a 17-year-old student during an armed robbery at a house
in Greendale North, Harare, appeared in the Harare Magistrates' Court on
Gilbert Sebastain Chikukwa, 30, Vengai Savieri, 23,
and Naison Savieri, 20, were arrested following a shootout with the police on
Wednesday last week in Tynwald South, Harare. A fourth person, Jack Jiri, is
already in custody, charged with murdering Robert Thompson on 8 July. He is
also facing a charge of car theft. A fifth suspect, Michael Mugadza, was
killed during the shootout.
Chikukwa, Naison and Vengai Savieri,
were remanded in custody to 13 August when they appeared before Harare
provincial magistrate Joyce Negonde. Chifarai Dube, for the State, alleged
that at about 7:30pm on 8 July the five men drove to the house in Chamberlain
Road in a Mazda 323 they had stolen in Chatsworth in June. Two of
them broke the kitchen door and gained access, while the other two used the
front door, which was open, the State alleged. Mugadza remained in the
Jiri was allegedly armed with a pistol, Vengai with a wheel
spanner, Naison with a crowbar and Chikukwa, an empty beer bottle. The State
alleged: "All four met in the dining room where they ordered Mrs Ingrid
Thompson to remain silent but she screamed. "During the ensuing scuffle,
Robert Thompson, a student at Heritage School in Borrowdale, grabbed Jiri
from the back, trying to disarm him. "Jiri broke loose and shot him in the
head. He died instantly." Opposing bail, the State said the alleged murder
weapon had not been recovered. The State said Chikukwa was facing three other
counts of armed robbery.
Police called in to control crowd shoving for
8/2/02 10:59:42 AM (GMT +2)
The police were called in to quell any possible outbreak
of violence on Wednesday after hundreds of people stampeded a central Harare
supermarket which had just received a consignment of
Scores of people rushed into Jarzin Supermarket
along Chinhoyi Street, jostling for the few packets of sugar that had just
been delivered. The police, however, managed to calm the restive crowd. When
The Daily News visited the supermarket, some police officers were inside the
supermarket, while several shoppers waited patiently outside. Most basic
commodities, including sugar, maize-meal, cooking oil and salt have been in
short supply following the cumulative effects of economic mismanagement
and government-approved farm invasions over the past three years. In 1997,
food riots erupted in Harare, Bulawayo and other major cities as people
protested against tax increases and the rising cost of living.
me to write on the subject of Islam. This is not only of concern to
Christians, but to all Zimbabweans. Do you realise that Moslems are invading
It may appear funny and very simple to you
yet this has many implications and complications for this nation. I
understand and appreciate the fact that the Zimbabwean Constitution allows
freedom of association and religion. I also do understand that we have a
crisis in Zimbabwe and that it is apparent that the only friends left for our
President are the Moslems (ie Arab countries). Whilst I am not a racist, I
would like to let us open our eyes to the impending Islamic invasion on our
land. African solidarity certainly does not mean letting other African
countries invade our own country. Can't you see, brethren, that this country
is going to Islam all in a bid to be different and free from from the
so-called West? Don't you realise in whose hands we have placed our economy?
This has a lot of implications. I will give you examples of Nigeria, Libya
It is the priority of Moslems to turn the whole of
Africa into an Islamic continent and to apply their shariah law. In Nigeria
there are always raids on Christians by Moslems resulting in a lot of
bloodshed. To them it is a "holy" war. Now these people are flooding this
country. I am not a prophet of doom, but if nothing meaningful is done then
very soon we will be experiencing these "holy" wars in this country, Do
people understand the meaning of halaal? If they would know what it means how
would they react? Yet all the meat from the Cold Storage Company (CSC), all
the chicken in big supermarkets and most of the "cheap" butcheries is halaal.
Halaal meat is especially prepared as a ritual by Moslems and it is at the
centre of their religion.
They sacrifice these beasts that we
eat to their god called Allah, yet it is not explained to the public what
halaal means. To many Zimbabweans it means cheap meat. Why on earth
do the Moslems prepare meat to be consumed by the whole nation in a
ritualistic manner? Are we all Moslems? The argument normally advanced here
is that Moslems consume the bulk of our beef in this country. How true is
that? Even if it was true, does that justify forcing us to take their own
food? If all Christians are going to shun eating such meat, what would
be the impact on the economy of this nation? I know that even if I eat
that meat I would still remain Christian, but I certainly do not want to
be forced by whatever means to eat what I do not choose to. It should be
fully explained to the whole nation what halaal means.
when this argument first surfaced it was resolved that a distinction be made
between halaal and non-halaal meat, but all the meat from the CSC is now
halaal. I am convinced that if the people of Zimbabwe really knew what this
means they would not eat such meat. The economy is going into the hands of
different people, all in the name of black emancipation and patriotism.
Politics aside, it is important that the President, whom I respect so much
for his stance on Christians, take a stand here and stop Moslems from
invading this country. Have you ever realised that almost all the wholesale
companies in this country belong to Moslems? I am not against these people
accumulating wealth for themselves, but this is just to caution Zimbabweans
about the cliff ahead.
Thokozani Khupe, the MP for Makokoba, Bulawayo, yesterday
called on the government to shut down youth camps where girls are allegedly
being used as "sex slaves".She called on parents whose daughters were in the
camps to campaign for their closure as there had been reports of rampant
cases of "unprotected sex", with the danger of HIV/Aids being spread among
the occupants.Khuphe said as a mother and a concerned citizen, she was
worried about the continuing existence of the militia bases, created for Zanu
PF youths in the run-up to the presidential election.
The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association has reported that about 1 000 girls
were being used as "sex slaves" in 50 militia camps throughout the country.
"My major worry is the vulnerability of these kids, especially the girls who
are being used as sex objects," said Khupe. "The question is whether the
authorities are aware of the HIV infection that these children are being
exposed to." Khuphe said research by a number of organisations had proved
that youths in the militia camps were engaging in unprotected sex.
"I therefore call upon all Zimbabweans to condemn the idea of the militia
camps and that they should be disbanded with immediate effect." Some of
the militia bases set up in Bulawayo in the run-up to the presidential
election have been disbanded after Zanu PF failed to feed and pay allowances
to the youths. Those who have remained in the camps are reportedly surviving
on begging and prostitution.
A youth who ran away from one camp,
said: "We were forced to drink beer and do things we could never have dreamt
of in our right senses, including having sex." But yesterday in Bulawayo,
Mkhululi Sibanda, the Zanu PF provincial secretary, denied there were any
such camps in the city. Sibanda said: "We never had any militia camps in
Bulawayo or anywhere else in the country."When asked how he would describe
the camping of Zanu PF youths at the community halls in the city, Sibanda
invited the reporter to the party's provincial headquarters, which was also a
Zanu PF camp, for more details.Chidyausiku to hear Jongwe's bail appealStaff
ReporterLEARNMORE Jongwe's appeal for bail in the case in which the Kuwadzana
MP is accused of murdering his wife, Rutendo, has now been set down for
hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday before Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku.Jongwe, 28, is alleged to have stabbed his wife several times
with a kitchen knife during a domestic dispute.His lawyer, Jonathan Samkange,
who lodged the appeal in the Supreme Court last Friday to reverse Justice
Anele Matika's decision in the High Court, says he believes another court is
likely to come up with a different ruling.
Judge refuses to remove Nkala murder suspects from
8/2/02 10:51:01 AM (GMT +2)
Chris Gande in Bulawayo
Justice George Chiweshe yesterday threw out
an application to stop the indictment for trial of the MP Fletcher Dulini
Ncube (Lobengula-Magwegwe) and two other suspects in the Cain Nkala murder
The application in the Bulawayo High Court sought the
removal of the three from remand because the State had failed to link them to
the murder. The defence alleged "political intervention" in the State's bid
to indict them. Chiweshe said in a ruling delivered on his behalf by Justice
Misheck Cheda: "The application is designed to frustrate the course of
justice and therefore cannot be successful." Immediately after the ruling,
Mercy Moya-Matshanga of the Attorney General's Office (AG) rushed to
the magistrate's court to seek warrants of arrests for the
Initially, the police through the State media, had alleged
that the accused possessed forged passports and R1 million (Z$6 million). The
reports alleged Nkala's wife had been struck on the head with the butt of an
AK rifle. Now, according to court documents, the State has a piece of
the shovel allegedly used to dig the grave where Nkala was buried.
Advocate Chris Andersen, the defence counsel, instructed by Nicholas Mathonsi
and Josphat Tshuma, both of Web, Low and Barry, argued that the AG was
obliged to fully disclose to the court the evidence and grounds upon which
the three were to be indicted. "In the absence of a credible explanation for
such conduct from the law officers it is difficult to avoid the conclusion
of intervention for political reasons," said Andersen.
Moya-Matshanga argued the AG's Office had the constitutional right to indict
the three. She said the application to stop the indictment was an attempt to
defeat the course of justice. Simon Spooner, who was implicated in the murder
charge, has been absolved of all charges. Last week Justice Lawrence Kamocha
issued a provisional order stopping the indictment of the three. The State is
relying on statements from three other suspects, Khethani Sibanda, Sazini
Mpofu and Remember Moyo. According to the statements Dulini Ncube and Masera
held a meeting at which it was decided to avenge the kidnapping of Patrick
Nabanyama, an MDC activist. Nabanyama was kidnapped in the run-up to the June
2000 parliamentary. He has not been seen and is presumed dead.
The statements allege that Sibanda, Mpofu and Masera and three other people
identified as Matshobana, Mageza and Prince Ndlovu kidnapped Nkala from his
home and later murdered him. Sibanda and Moyo later told the High Court they
were tortured into making confessions implicating the MDC members.
Chief calls for spirit mediums' intervention over mine
8/2/02 10:50:15 AM (GMT +2)
NINE days after the collapse of Village Mine shaft at Zimbo
in Mhondoro, the bodies of about 20 illegal gold panners who died last
Tuesday were by yesterday still entombed underground.
But Chief Matthew Chivero of Chivero in Mhondoro communal lands said the
Chegutu district administrator (DA), Christopher Shumba, should
have approached him soon after the tragedy as the custodian of
traditional values. "The DA has not told me about the deaths of the panners,"
Chivero said. "I have heard that there are over 30 people assumed dead. If
they fail to retrieve the bodies from the pit in time, we are going to
consult our spirit mediums on the best way forward." He said efforts should
be made to identify the victims and inform their relatives.
Chegutu District Civil Protection Unit (DCPU) yesterday said they were making
frantic efforts to acquire the necessary machinery to retrieve the bodies.
The stench of the decomposing bodies could be smelt from a distance of about
30m when The Daily News crew visited the scene yesterday. A rescue team from
Makwiro Platinum Mine in Selous only managed to rescue one panner identified
by other panners as Francis. However, he died on the way to Chegutu District
Hospital. Christopher Shumba, the DA for Chegutu and chairman of the DCPU,
said they took long to respond because of conflicting reports on whether the
tragedy had indeed occurred.
Shumba said: "All efforts are being
made to ensure we have the necessary equipment to retrieve the bodies. We are
assessing how the rescue team can approach the crisis." The DA was speaking
at Village Mine yesterday afternoon, where he led the DCPU team to the site
of the tragedy. The DCPU has ordered relatives and other illegal gold panners
not to attempt to retrieve the bodies as they risk being entombed in the
shaft. Among the team was the officer-in-charge at Selous Police Station,
Inspector Leonard Matuku, Francis Dhlakama, the Chegutu mayor, Benaiah
Manyara, the chief fire officer for Chegutu, and officials from other
government departments. Peter Chanetsa, the Mashonaland West provincial
governor, had by yesterday not visited the scene of the disaster. He is only
expected to do so today.
Matuku said it was difficult to ascertain
the exact number of victims as only a few of their relatives had confirmed
their worst fears to the police. "We have only received reports from
relatives of four of the dead panners," Matuku said. "Our efforts have
received negative support."
SOLDIERS patrolling the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe on Tuesday
severely beat up 10 Zanu PF youths employed by a senior ruling party official
- after mistaking them for illegal cross-border traders
The youths are employed as bus
conductors by Isau Mupfumi, a businessman and Zanu PF secretary for transport
in Manicaland. Mupfumi said: "This is not acceptable. Those Zanu PF youths
are employed by me as bus conductors. The soldiers went to my premises in
Nyakamete, woke up my workers who were sleeping in a guest house and severely
assaulted them after suspecting them to be illegal traders from Mozambique.
"They ordered the youths to lie on the ground face down and assaulted them.
They were then ordered to roll on the floor." Edmund Maingire, the provincial
police spokesperson, could not be reached for comment as he was constantly
out of his office. The case number is 0011546 and it is being handled by
one Constable Chashaya.
Efforts to get a comment from the army
were also in vain. "Surely, how can soldiers tasked to keep peace and
tranquillity in the country go around assaulting people indiscriminately?"
Mupfumi fumed. "Assaults on innocent civilians by soldiers in Manicaland are
on the increase and this has to stop. If we in Zanu PF are not careful we may
lose the forthcoming rural district council elections because of these
unwarranted assaults and harassment of civilians by the uniformed forces."
Soldiers have been accused of spearheading violence in the politically
volatile Buhera district in Manicaland province. Over 1 000 opposition MDC
party supporters have fled Buhera alleging assaults by soldiers deployed
ostensibly to quell disturbances there after Zanu PF and MDC members clashed.
In general, the security forces mete harsh treatment on members of the public
and the opposition, while turning a blind eye to Zanu PF violations.
Opposition leader to stand trial for allegedly plotting to kill
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug. 2 -
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader will stand trial in November on charges he
plotted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe, a court ruled Friday. The
treason charges carry the death penalty. Morgan Tsvangirai, 50, leader
of the Movement for Democratic Change, has denied the charges that also name
two other opposition leaders. The treason charges were filed in March
after a Canadian-based consulting company released a secretly recorded
videotape of a Dec. 4 meeting in Montreal, which they said incriminated
Tsvangirai. A local media monitoring group said the recording had been
heavily edited and rearranged, and Tsvangirai said his remarks were taken out
of context. On Friday, a lower court judge set the trial for Nov.
11 and extended Tsvangirai's bail. Tsvangirai's attorney, Eric
Matinenga, said prosecutors failed to consult the defense over a trial date
and he dismissed the case as politically motivated. Zimbabwe has
been wracked by more than two years of political and economic chaos as
Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian government has cracked down on the
opposition, the independent press and the judiciary.
Property market takes a knock from
8/2/02 9:37:57 AM (GMT +2)
Simba Chabarika Deputy Features Editor
PRICES of basic goods and
services are rising with unpredictable regularity. They have reached
frightening proportions. Almost everything, from essentials to luxury items,
has its share on the rising price index.
residential and office properties have not escaped the upward spiral either.
The property market has experienced a phenomenal rise as runaway inflation
wreaks havoc in these trying times. Beer drinkers can tell the story better
as the price of their favourite beverage has been hiked four times since
December last year, while vehicle owners bemoan daily rises in the prices of
spares. The parallel foreign exchange market is calling the tune. If the US
dollar or British pound rises, so do our prices. Many people are selling
their properties as they leave the country, while those who have left for
greener pastures overseas are buying those properties.
to leading international property consultancy firm Knight Frank's Southern
Africa Property Report, the Zimbabwe property market has experienced a
slow-down and lacks direction because of the economic and political problems,
but prices have generally remained stable in US dollar terms. But if the
property rates and prices are considered in local currency, they become
higher due to inflation-related considerations. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
issued a directive banning property owners and negotiators from selling or
renting properties in foreign currency. Office rentals and retail space
charges in Harare's prime areas, continue to vary and increase
A few months ago, the prices ranged from $250 a square
metre a month for office space while retail space cost around $500 a square
metre a month. Today, these costs have trebled. Knight Frank says tenants pay
much less on the property market in Zimbabwe than other countries in the
region as a result of the relative balance between demand and supply.
"However, most of the rentals are much higher in Zimbabwe dollar terms as
most property owners do not use the fixed exchange rate of $55 to one US
dollar. Despite the political turbulence and economic hardships, the
Zimbabwean property market remains the second largest market in the Southern
Africa sub-continent after South Africa." Residential rentals and selling
prices continue to rise in both the low and high-density suburbs as well as
flats near the city centre.
Houses which were selling at a few
hundred thousand dollars at the beginning of this year, are now going for
millions of dollars. Some tenants volunteer to pay in foreign
currency which is in scarce supply and once that is converted into the
Zimbabwean dollar at the now "official" parallel market rates, owners have
reason to smile all the way to the bank. Some guest houses which have
recently and suddenly sprung up in low-density areas, charge in
foreign currency. "US$35 a day or US$1 000 a month or equivalent," says
an advertisement in the Press for a Highlands guest house.
Usually, "equivalent" means the prevailing parallel market rate. In
its latest quarterly report, one of the leading real estate companies in
Zimbabwe, Gainsborough, says any confidence in the country's economic
recovery has evaporated since the presidential election, and prices have
declined in international terms.
"As inflation continues to
escalate, prices in Zimbabwe dollars are increasing at an alarming rate. "The
fall in value of badly maintained properties or those requiring modernisation
is increasing. Security is of increasing importance, and in some inner city
and outlying suburbs, prices have been severely affected," says
Gainsborough's managing director, John Spicer. A shake-up within the
country's residential property market has been caused by the current economic
hardships and political climate.
"Houses for Sale" columns in the
papers show that there are now more properties for sale on the market than
before. But other reports say there is a shortage of residential and other
properties for sale. Both buyers and sellers have remained uncertain amidst
conflicting advice and sales of property have been slow until recently.
"However, a contradiction continues, prices are increasing in Zimbabwe
dollars and decreasing in US dollar terms. The advice for sellers or buyers
therefore, depends on your personal circumstances. What is clear is that many
potential sellers are not moving and there is already a shortage of
properties for sale, especially well-maintained secure homes in safe areas."
says Gainsborough's report.
Price increases continue to dominate
the property market and Gainsborough says these increases were fairly
straightforward until February 2001, when government reduced interest rates
from 70 percent to around 15 percent. This resulted in a flight of capital
from the money market into foreign accounts, the stock market, property or
luxury 4x4 vehicles. "Besides redistributing wealth to new millionaires, the
political expediency of low interest rates has allowed the government to
increase the domestic debt to levels that would be untenable without this
manipulation and this will ensure that prices continue to increase in
Zimbabwe dollar terms." In a development that boosts investment, an
international property services company has shown faith in the Zimbabwean
market. South Africa's Seeff Property Services opened its doors in Harare on
1 July 2002, after months of negotiations with one of this country's biggest
real estate companies, Gainsborough. This move sees the Seeff group
establishing itself as one of the African continent's largest property
Gainsborough converted to the Seeff licence
group after months of negotiations. The 15-year-old company onaverage trades
between R20 million (Z$120m) and R30 million (Z$180m) worth of property per
month. "The value and expertise the Seeff brand brings to our business,
augurs extremely well for the future. This conversion will also open the
doors for investor flow from Zimbabwe to South Africa. "It also goes without
saying that we are excited about the foreign investment which will emanate
from South Africa to Zimbabwe, which has a huge variety of real estate
investment opportunities on offer," says Spicer, who heads the new-look Seef
Gainsborough branch. After the nine-month joint branding of the two
companies, the Gainsborough name will fall away. Some advice from
Gainsborough to sellers: - n "never agree to a sale where payment may be
delayed" n and to buyers - "never part with money except to a reputable
registered estate agent or lawyer who has checked the title and will hold the
money in a trust account". Money is a very slippery commodity which needs to
be harnessed in sound investment, but with the spiralling costs of
properties, how many people can afford these properties that now cost
millions of dollars?
Importers blamed for fuelling foreign currency black
8/2/02 9:23:41 AM (GMT +2)
THE Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) says survival
strategies by exporters have partly led to the proliferation of the foreign
exchange parallel market.
Foreign currency shortages
have resulted in the pegged exchange rate trading on the parallel market at
more than ten times the official rate of $55 against the green back. The
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and economic commentators say there is need to boost
the export industry so that the problem of the parallel market can be curbed.
But in its latest economic review The Economic Vision, CBZ said exporters
were also major players on the parallel market as they try to evade the
payment of 40 percent of their export proceeds which is required by the
government. "Foreign currency shortages have seen the bulk of transactions
begin carried on the parallel market," said the CBZ, also known as the Jewel
" . . . The parallel market has been fuelled mainly by the
survival strategies employed by exporters who are required to sell 40 percent
of their proceeds at the official rate. "They then use the balance to
meet their import requirements or to achieve a blend rate that provides them
with a sustainable situation." Exporters have been calling for devaluation of
the dollar, pegged since 1999, so that their products can be competitive on
the world market. They argue that they cannot stay afloat as they get
their export remittances at the official rate when they are sourcing raw
materials after getting foreign currency on the parallel market.
There seems to be no solution in sight to end this perennial shortage of
foreign currency which has resulted in the country failing to
import essential commodities such as electricity, fuel, medicine and
other commodities. The severe foreign currency shortages have seen gross
foreign reserves falling significantly. At one time gross reserves had fallen
to a low of US$140 million (about Z$7 700 million) - an import cover of less
than a month. As a result, the country has been defaulting on most of its
debt repayments. Last month when Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance
and Economic Development presented the 2002 a $52,97 billion
Supplementary Budget he said external payment arrears to are now standing at
US$1,1 billion. The International Monetary Fund adopted a declaration
of non-cooperation for Zimbabwe and suspended its technical assistance
after Harare failed to settle its overdue financial assistance
Zimbabwe owes the IMF at least US$132 million. Last year the
foreign currency-strapped Southern African country paid US$1,6 million and
only US$3 million this year to the Bretton Woods institution.
Tuesday, Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, and Joseph Kabila, the
president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), signed a memorandum
of understanding on the way to end the four-year conflict in that vast
Two and a half million people were killed during
the conflict, among them a number of Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian
soldiers, whose governments had sent them to help Joseph's father, Laurent,
repel the rebels, backed by Rwanda and Uganda, who planned to unseat him
violently. The elder Kabila did not live to see peace return to his country,
the victim of an assassin's bullet. His son, at 30-something of age one of
the youngest leaders of an African country in turmoil, must hope he has
better luck than his father. The United Nations and South Africa will play
key roles in the lead-up to the implementation of the DRC-Rwanda peace pact.
The UN Security Council has said it eagerly awaits the details of the pact.
So do all Africans, including Zimbabweans who cherish the return of peace to
the Great Lakes Region.
Zimbabwe, which has the largest number
of troops backing the Kabila regime, has not been mentioned. President Mugabe
has not officially commented on the pact, as he is in Malaysia attending a
conference on the much-vaunted South-South "smart partnership" economic
strategy promoted by his close ally, Mahathir Mohamad. In Harare this week,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan Mudenge, did comment on the pact signed
in Pretoria. That comment was notable for its lack of enthusiasm. The
prospect of more than 10 000 Zimbabwean soldiers being able to return home at
last doesn't seem to excite Mudenge as much as it must do their parents and
other relatives back home. What is crucial for the pact to succeed is for
both South Africa and the UN to convince the two leaders that if the
fighting continues, even as a low-level conflict of sporadic skirmishes
between the Hutu Interahamwe and the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma
troops, their respective countries will sink deeper and deeper into the
morass of poverty, driving into the distant future the prospect of their
people ever enjoying the fruits of the independence their countries won in
Kagame and Kabila must be convinced that this pact
cannot be allowed to evaporate like another mirage. The Lusaka ceasefire
agreement of 1999 is now a dead letter. Under it were set out the modalities
for the tracking down and disarmament of ex-Armed Forces of Rwanda (FAR) and
Interahamwe insurgents in the DRC. Since then, none of them, held responsible
for the 1994 genocide of one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda,
have been captured. Kagame and Kabila will need to display tremendous
courage, tolerance and even statesmanship if they are to save their people
from the further punishment of senseless killings. The UN itself
must feel a special need to swing this peace pact. Reports of its role - or
the lack of it - in the 1994 massacre have not portrayed the UN in good
light. Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself, then in a crucial role before
the killings started, came in for some criticism. For South Africa, a
successful resolution of the DRC imbroglio would enhance its image as the
unanointed Big Brother of the region, if not of the continent. For a
beleaguered President Thabo Mbeki, it would certainly deflect attention from
what his critics both at home and abroad have called his pathetic failure to
convince Mugabe that his anti-democratic policies at home are
But the most abundant fruits of the success of the peace
plan would fall into the waiting hands of the hungry people of the DRC and
Rwanda. Most of them can have no beautiful memories of their independence
from colonialism. All they know is strife, poverty, hunger, disease and a
decline in their life expectancy. Zimbabwe must play its part in ensuring
they begin to enjoy their independence, even if for many Zimbabweans, that
enjoyment itself has been somewhat delayed.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network blasts Kadoma
8/2/02 10:57:11 AM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) yesterday
said the Kadoma mayoral election was not free and fair due to irregularities
which compromised the conduct of the two-day poll, won by Zanu PF's Fani
In a statement, Reginald Matshaba-Hove, the ZESN
national chairperson, said the election held on 27 and 28 July, was
characterised by pre-poll voter intimidation and significant incidents of
violence. Only one ZESN observer was accredited to cover the 13 polling
stations. The intimidation has been largely blamed for the voter apathy,
which saw only 13 161 people voting out of 38 789 registered voters. The ZESN
deplored the significant reduction of polling stations from 22 to 13. In the
2000 parliamentary elections, there were 22 polling stations. These were
reduced during the presidential poll and slightly increased for the mayoral
"Despite the slight increase, the polling stations were
still less than adequate for voters to be able to exercise their rights.
"Since we have complained about long queues in the past, one would have
thought that for the mayoral election the authorities would have increased
the polling stations or made the number equal to that used during the
parliamentary elections,'' said the ZESN statement. The election monitoring
body noted that the extremely long and slow-moving queues observed in the
high-density areas of Waverley, Mabanana, Kuredza and Mupamombe could only be
attributed to the reduced number of polling stations.
also reached ZESN of a number of people not on the voters' roll being allowed
to vote, which is clearly against all regulations. "We are still
investigating and verifying allegations of voters being bussed in from areas
outside the constituency,'' said the statement.
British MPs slam Mugabe Dumisani Muleya PRESIDENT
Robert Mugabe has lost the moral authority to rule Zimbabwe due to his
systematic repression and economic mismanagement, the British parliament's
Foreign Affairs Committee has said.
In a hard-hitting report, the House
of Commons' Foreign Affairs Select Committee said Mugabe forfeited the
legitimate right to lead through reckless disregard of democratic norms and
abuse of power.
"In his Independence speech in 1980, Mugabe said:
'Only a government that subjects itself to the rule of law has any moral
right to demand of its citizens obedience to the rule of law'," it
"(But) since 1980, Mugabe has deliberately and systematically
flouted the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Even judged against his own yardstick,
he has lost the moral right to govern his people. By abusing their
fundamental rights and freedoms, he has earned their contempt and that of the
international community and has transformed himself from a respected
statesman into an outcast."
The committee said Mugabe had also
squandered the opportunity to ensure prosperity in Zimbabwe.
tragedy is that he (Mugabe) has taken his country down with him," it said.
"One man can exalt a nation, as Nelson Mandela did South Africa; one man can
destroy a nation, as Mugabe has Zimbabwe."
crisis, the report said, has been worsened by his disputed re-election in
"We support the demand for new, free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe monitored by the Commonwealth and other impartial international
observers," it said.
The report said the Commonwealth set a good
precedent by suspending Zimbabwe for a year for electoral fraud and
violations of its own agreements.
"We warmly welcome the
Commonwealth's decision to make a suspension for the first time on grounds of
violating human rights and the Harare Declaration," it said.
the past countries have been suspended from the Commonwealth only after the
unconstitutional overthrow of elected governments."
The report urged
the UK government to intensify efforts to consolidate a global coalition
involving the Commonwealth, G8, the United Nations, the European Union and
African countries "to increase pressure on the illegitimate regime of
It called for broader and tighter targeted sanctions against
the ruling elite. The report said the British government should clarify how
the EU travel ban provisions on Mugabe and his officials related to
exemptions allowing them to attend meetings of bodies established under
Heads to roll in reshuffle Dumisani
Muleya SPECULATION is mounting overthe appointment of a new cabinetwith
reports suggesting President Robert Mugabe could announce a crisis management
team in a week's time.
Sources said Mugabe - who for the first time
ever did not immediately appoint new ministers after his re-election in March
- is expected to do so after the Heroes Day holiday.
at hand indicates Mugabe is contemplating a "crisis cabinet" to resist
growing international pressure and isolation. Unconfirmed reports about
Mugabe's fire-fighting agenda have been swirling for sometime now.
usual, the president is expected to cling to the ruling Zanu PF old guard.
Those widely seen as candidates for removal or reshuffle include Finance
minister Simba Makoni and Industry and International Trade minister Herbert
Murerwa who have recently been the targets of hardliners around
the president. Mutoko North MP David Chapfika who is chair of the
parliamentary finance committee has been lobbying for Makoni's post, ruling
party sources said this week.
Addressing the opening of parliament
last week Mugabe, in a thinly-veiled attack on Makoni and Reserve Bank
governor Leonard Tsumba, said those advocating devaluation were "saboteurs"
and "enemies" of his government. The remarks, observers say, revealed
Mugabe's deepening hostility towards reformers and dismissed idle talk about
Makoni being a possible candidate for the Zanu PF
Sources said Mugabe was coming under intense pressure
from the ruling party's old guard and war veterans to transfer or even
discharge loyalists such as Jonathan Moyo, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
and Agriculture minister Joseph Made.
Made is accused of bungling
land reform, Moyo has alienated war veterans while Chinamasa has landed in a
row with the courts. But insiders said although the three have evidently made
mistakes, they were unlikely to go given their ability to reflect Mugabe's
Health minister Timothy Stamps is likely to be
replaced by his deputy David Parirenyatwa while Defence minister Sydney
Sekeramayi is said to be a possible candidate for a transfer. General Solomon
Mujuru has been considered a candidate for the Defence ministry.
Attorney-general Andrew Chigovera, who is an ex-officio member of cabinet and
the recent subject of attacks in the government media, is also likely to go
if his detractors succeed. Analyst Brian Raftopoulos said if a new cabinet is
appointed it would be a fusion of old-guard followers and new blood. "I think
it will be a combination of the old guard and younger ministers," he
Sources said several provincial governors, especially the ageing
Stephen Nkomo of Matabeleland South and ailing Peter Chanetsa of Mashonaland
West could also be removed.
It is generally accepted in government
the two vice-presidents - Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika - will soon be
retired although this may not happen just yet, given the political turbulence
their succession would entail.
The cabinet reshuffle is expected to
give an indication of the direction which Mugabe
wants to take in view
of growing international hostility.
Commentator Masipula Sithole said
Mugabe was under pressure to fire Makoni.
"There has been tremendous
pressure from certain Zanu PF quarters for Makoni to go. They want to skin
him alive together with Tsumba," he said. "The misguided hardliners are
likely to dominate the new cabinet. It will be difficult to find credible new
ministers because no one is enthusiastic to serve in a sinking
CBZ chief Gideon Gono, who was once tipped as a possible
Finance minister, is understood to have turned the job down. But he could
come in as Reserve Bank governor if Tsumba falls victim to Zanu PF's long
If the long-postponed reshuffle does materialise there will
likely be a realignment of ministries.
The current Ministry of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement will be divided into two: the
Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, and the Ministry of Agriculture, a
The Ministry of Rural Resources and Water Development is
also targeted for restructuring, sources said.
OPINION August 1, 2002 Posted to the web August 1,
Joseph Ngwawi, Business News Editor
ZIMBABWE, once one of
the most educated and skilled nations in Africa, runs the risk of being
turned into a society of expatriates because of an unprecedented exodus of
professionals fleeing a plethora of worsening ills, industry experts warned
But they said the recruitment of foreigners to fill in
positions left by the large army of Zimbabweans leaving the country in search
of greener pastures had its own limitations, particularly at a time when the
country is battling to raise funds to import basics such as the staple maize
Zimbabwe, facing its worst economic and political crisis in
more than two decades, has lost more than 100 000 of some of its best young
brains in the past two years, a snap survey by the Financial Gazette showed
It showed that 15 percent of all professionals who left
Zimbabwe since 2000 to seek economic refuge in the United Kingdom, the United
States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were skilled workers such as
doctors, nurses, accountants and engineers.
The brain drain has even
assumed political connotations, with President Robert Mugabe at the weekend
accusing Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain of "stealing" medical
doctors, nurses and pharmacists from the southern African nation.
human resource experts and business analysts say the lure of better living
standards has cost Zimbabwe its intellectual capital to almost every corner
of the globe at a time the nation is unable to extricate itself
from worsening shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel and of
rampant unemployment, inflation and poverty.
Reward consultant Godfrey
Chisanga says some Zimbabweans are now seeking employment opportunities as
far as in the Caribbeans.
"Intelligent brains no longer respect borders,
and in Zimbabwe's case the situation has been exacerbated by the weakening
currency," he said.
The Zimbabwe chapter of the Association of Chartered
Certified Accountants (ACCA) estimates that at least 200 of its members had
left the country since the beginning of the year in search of greener
ACCA branch administrator Cuthbert Munhupedzi however said the
figure could be higher because some members did not notify the association
when relocating to another country.
"This year alone over 200 of our
members have left but the number could be higher because our records only
capture those students who have notified the association of changes in their
addresses," Munhupedzi said.
Other professional bodies such as the
Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) and the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers
(ZIE) have lost a sizeable chunk of their members in the past two years,
although their representatives said this week it was difficult to come up
with actual figures of doctors and engineers who had left.
lost a sizeable number of our members to South Africa, the UK, the US,
Australia and New Zealand where the doctors are attracted by
better salaries," said ZIMA secretary-general Paul Chimedza.
deputy president Sam Kundishora said: "The loss of engineers and
other professionals to other countries will obviously have a negative impact
on the science and technology policy launched by the government in June,
which is supposed to be driven by locals."
The science and technology
policy seeks to promote investment in research and development.
McElvaine, a human resources consultant with Deloitte and Touche, warned that
Zimbabwe risked becoming an expatriate society unless the brain drain is
He said the available labour pool had shrunk by more than 50
percent since 2000 because of the exodus of professionals.
ago, I could shortlist five or six people for an interview but that figure
has now dropped to about one or two for any particular job,"
He said the migration of skilled workers was particularly
telling on the sectors of information technology and
"Zimbabwe therefore risks losing an entire generation of young
skilled professionals and turning into an expatriate society if the current
trend continues," McElvaine said.
Zimbabwe already has more than 100
Cuban and other foreign doctors working at rural government hospitals and
church-run health institutions.
The number is expected to rise as more
doctors leave the country.
Aona Fallon, a partner at accountancy firm
KPMG, said: "We are moving towards a scenario where we will soon fill most of
our professional positions with expatriates because we won't be able to find
the right people for the job in a few years time."
Economic Society (ZES) warned that an increase in the number of expatriate
workers would worsen Zimbabwe's foreign currency crisis, triggered by poor
exports and a boycott of Harare by the West over governance
The country has operated on less than a week's import cover for
more than two years because of a crushing hard cash crisis that started at
the end of 1999.
ZES president Lovemore Kadenge said recruiting
foreigners to fill in positions left by Zimbabweans now working abroad would
prove costly because the country does not have enough hard cash to meet
imports of food and basic commodities.
"Local companies will therefore
have to do with what is available but that will have serious implications on
the level and quality of output," he said.