Sent: Saturday, August 06, 2005 5:39 PM Subject: Glow from the mobile
Dear Family and Friends, Almost every day now I hear the
country I live in being described as a "collapsed state". The way people talk
so easily and casually of our "economic meltdown" puts in mind a square of
chocolate sitting in the sun melting into a soppy pool. I hear South African
leaders talking about economic "challenges" in Zimbabwe and the UN talking
about human rights "challenges" and I wonder what happened to real words that
mean real things. Words like catastrophe, disaster, chaos and crisis which
really describe things in the Zimbabwe I live in, but it seems these are
not diplomatically acceptable words and so they talk of "challenges". It
has certainly been a very bad week in Zimbabwe and I am not sure if some
of the events listed below would be classified as challenges so leave you
to fill in the adjectives for yourselves.
On Monday the electricity
went off at 6 am and only came back on six hours later but didn't stay for
long. At 3.30 in the afternoon the power went off again and didn't come back
on until 10pm that night.
On Tuesday a desperate father told me how he'd
taken his daughter to Harare airport for a 6am flight to the UK. There were
no lights in the airport public toilets and so men used the glow from their
mobile phones to light a slippery path to the urinals. No announcements were
made about the 5 hour delayed departure of the international flight which
went to Uganda first to get fuel before finally heading to London.
Wednesday the government announced that the public could now go and buy fuel
from a named service station but that we would have to pay in
foreign currency. Aside from the fact that it has been illegal for ordinary
people to posses foreign currency for a number of years, the
electricity blackouts were increasing and spreading and so petrol couldn't be
On Thursday there was no electricity from 8am to 6.30
pm and when I phoned to enquire after having been off for 10 hours I was told
that there was no foreign currency with which to buy power. On the same day
my friend who is an epileptic went to the hospital for his monthly check up.
He waited for three hours in a queue but didn't see a doctor because they
"hadn't come yet". In simple English this actually meant that junior doctors
weren't there as they were on strike for an 800% pay rise. My friend didn't
get any phenobarb for his epilepsy as there wasn't any at this main
provincial government hospital.
On Friday morning I got up long before
dawn to try and cope with days of backed up emails but that was pointless as
the electricity was gone by 7am. In the town, the supermarkets were also
without power, meat had defrosted and the shelves were bare of basics that we
all desperately search for :- bread, sugar, soap, margarine, cooking oil.
Outside another supermarket a sea of people, standing in lines four deep
stretched along the main road for over four hundred metres. They had heard
that they may be a delivery of sugar. Outside the post office was a sign
which read: "No electricity, phones not working".
On Saturday morning,
as I write this hurriedly before the power goes off, we have no water because
the pumps need electricity, generators need diesel. In a couple of days time
it is Heroes Day here, a time when we remember the people who died to give
Zimbabwe independence. I wonder what they would think if they could see these
"challenges" twenty five years after their sacrifice. Until next time, love
cathy.Copyright cathy buckle 6th August 2005 http://africantears.netfirms.com
JUNIOR and middle-ranking medical doctors, who last week staged
a crippling job action demanding an 800 percent salary increment, were
ordered by government to return to work or face detention, The Standard has
State security agents allegedly began visiting the striking
doctors. Doctors who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity said
they resumed work following threats from the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare, David Parirenyatwa and his deputy Edwin Muguti.
"We did not
get what we wanted. We were threatened out of it, as usual," said one junior
doctor at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, one of the largest referral
health centres in the country.
The junior doctors, who earn a basic of
$5.7 million a month, went on strike last week demanding that their salaries
be increased to $47 million. They also demanded better working
The doctors said Muguti "arrogantly" told them to go back to
work or face detention.
"Muguti told us that we were not doctors but
medical interns and threatened us with arrest," said another doctor, who
requested anonymity for fear of victimization.
He said for the larger
part of last week, representatives of junior doctors were being visited by
people whom they suspected to be Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
agents, telling them that it was for their own good to return to
Zimbabwe Medical Doctors Association president, Takarunda Chinyoka,
on Friday told The Standard they called off the strike on "humanitarian
grounds" but confirmed the threats by Muguti as well as security
"What worries us is when Dr Muguti calls us interns. A strike by
junior doctors can paralyse the whole health sector. It shows how important
"As a fellow medical doctor, minister and employer we expect him
to say things which are constructive. His attitude is 'we don't care you can
go'," said Chinyoka, who added that the doctors would soon down tools if
their grievances are not immediately addressed.
The junior doctors'
strike had serious repercussion on Zimbabwe's disintegrating health sector.
There is serious a shortage of qualified personnel, drugs and
Chinyoka said several patients died, prompting them to return
to work. Hundreds of outpatients were turned away because the hospitals were
admitting emergency cases only, he said.
The well-to-do were going to
The junior doctors said forcing them to return to work
through use of threats was only addressing symptoms of a deep-rooted
problem. Under the Essential Services Act, workers manning essential
services are prohibited from striking.
Parirenyatwa could not be
reached for comment, but yesterday Muguti confirmed that he had "told" the
doctors to go back to work or risk being charged for breaching the Essential
Services Act. "They are doing an essential service to the nation and under
the law they are not allowed to strike. They are not justified in striking
because the government is addressing their grievances. What they have done
is unfair and criminal," Muguti said.
He said the deaths that might
have occurred were not necessarily linked to the strike.
minister said he was right to use the term "interns" because that is what
the junior doctors were. Muguti said the doctors were still on training and
worked under qualified personnel.
UN to launch appeal for food-aid funds By Walter
THE United Nations will this week launch a humanitarian appeal
aimed at raising funds to help hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans affected
by "Operation Restore Order".
The United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), announced on Thursday that 300
000 Zimbabweans would benefit from the appeal whose priority is to provide
shelter, food and sanitation. The appeal is part of the pledge by UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan to mobilise international assistance in order
to prevent the further suffering of people whose homes and properties were
destroyed in the "clean-up" operation.
Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the
UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, says the operation was carried
out "with indifference to human suffering" and left 700 000 people homeless
while another 2.4 million were affected in one way or another.
number of international agencies are assisting people who are sleeping in
the open and in danger of contracting communicable diseases.
these organisations, UNICEF, has "expressed horror that displaced children
are dying of treatable respiratory infections and evicted women have no
alternative to giving birth in the open."
The organisation says it has
been providing blankets and plastic sheeting as protection from winter and
winds as well as distributing thousands of litres of water a day, providing
sanitation facilities and supporting chronically ill people with supplies
for home-based care.
Outcry over proposed amendments By Walter Marwizi and
HUMAN rights activists and lawyers, stressing that
Zimbabwe deserves a wholesome constitutional reform which takes into account
the views of all stakeholders, have warned that the proposed constitutional
amendments will worsen the country's economic and political
They said the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.17) Bill,
2005, is the latest in a long line of alterations to a constitution which,
"by its very nature and history, is fundamentally deficient and problematic
especially in the protections offered under the Declaration of
Rights". The Constitution has been amended 16 times by the Zanu PF
government, and the most notable amendment remains the abolition of the
Prime Minister's position, which gave way to creation of the Executive
Presidency in 1987.
This single amendment, crafted by the late Zanu PF
legal guru, Dr Eddison Zvobgo, gave President Mugabe, the extraordinary
powers he enjoys today.
Mugabe is the head of State, head of government,
commander-in-chief of the defence forces and can single handedly come up
with temporary legislation by invoking the Presidential Powers
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), in a statement, called
on the judiciary, which would be rendered useless in so far as land matters
are concerned, to take a firm and public position against the
Under the proposed amendments, owners of land deemed
"agricultural land" and gazetted cannot challenge its acquisition in
Making presentations at a public hearing on the Constitution
Amendment (No 17) bill called by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday, lawyers and human
rights groups said this clearly deprived Zimbabweans of rights to property
and to protection of the law - rights guaranteed in the Constitution and
other international instruments.
"There is no applicable definition
of agricultural land, so almost all land in Zimbabwe will be subject to
expropriation under the new section. The only land that will fall outside
the ambit of the section is land on which it is impossible to conduct any
form of agriculture. Anyone with an interest or right in land will lose
their right or interest if the land is acquired under the new section and
they will not receive compensation," said Abel Chikomo, who represented the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum.
The forum is a coalition of
organisations such as the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF), the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ), and Amnesty
International Zimbabwe Chapter, which made an in-depth analysis of the
The forum's spokesperson added that even residential
stands would be subject to compulsory acquisition, provided the stands are
"large enough to produce a few flowers and vegetables".
and 16a of the Constitution specify the purposes for which property,
including land, may be acquired compulsorily, but under the new section the
purpose of the acquisition is not relevant and can not be challenged," he
If passed into law, the bill seeks to make provisions for the
confirmation of the acquisition of land for resettlement, which gave effect
to the Land Reform Programme, which started in 2000.
Court Judge, Justice George Smith, said because of the failure by the bill
to define agricultural land, land set aside for sporting activity could also
be acquired for agricultural purposes.
"The amendments make it criminal
to challenge the acquisitions and it is also going to be difficult for the
courts to decide whether a piece of land is agricultural land or not? Golf
courses are large enough to be called agricultural land," he
Acting secretary for the Law Society of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe
lawyers for Human Rights director, Arnold Tsunga, said the association was
opposed to the bill in its present form because it defeated the whole
purpose of constitutionalism.
Blessing Chimhini, a legal officer with
the Human Rights Lawyers for Southern Africa, said the proposals would make
Zimbabwe an outlaw of the regional international conventions.
seems the government has not seriously considered the impact of the
amendments. The bill is actually taking away the rights citizens already
have and it is very unfortunate because the country would be put under
international condemnation," Chimhini said.
committee, chaired by Zanu PF MP for Makoni East, Shadreck Chipanga, will
present its findings before the House for consideration before the bill can
be passed into law.
Coal shortage blamed for power black-outs By our
POWER cuts affecting homes and business premises across the country
have intensified, with ZESA Holdings blaming chronic coal shortages. In many
of Zimbabwe's major towns, power blackouts have become a common feature
especially during the mornings and evenings.
All the suburbs have
been hard hit in Harare, where electricity sometimes is switched off for up
to six hours a day. Officials at the Zimbabwe Electricity Authority have
attributed the load shedding to coal shortages and a breakdown of generators
and a boiler point at Hwange Thermal power station on Sunday last
Technicians who spoke to The Standard yesterday said the generators
had since been repaired and what remained were coal
Sherperd Mandizvidza, the senior public relations officer for
Zesa, however could not be reached for comment yesterday but the Hwange
Colliery Company issued a statement saying it could not transport coal to
thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare.
small thermal stations resumed at the end of June 2005 after orders were
placed on 16 June 2005. However this coincided with diesel shortages, which
affected the movement of coal by both rail and road.
Company Limited is cognisant of its responsibility for coal supply and
national energy security and would at all times want to channel all energies
and resources towards this strategic role."
Affected residents told The
Standard that life in city was no longer enjoyable under the
"Where there is no water and electricity, life in a city
becomes very difficult," said a disappointed Tatenda Chitova who stays in
Despite the take over of the water supply system from the
Harare City Council, by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) water
shortages have continued in Harare.
Some suburbs go for days without
water. The Minister of State for Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development Munacho Mutezo claimed in Parliament two weeks ago that water
supplies in Harare had improved tremendously following the take over by
However, Mike Davies, chairman of Combined Harare Residents'
Association said the problem of water in Harare would persist as no
half-hearted measure would solve the crisis.
"The solution is to have
an additional source of water to cater for the increasing population,"
Harare residents have been facing water shortages since 1997
with nothing tangible being put in place to curb this dilemma. The Kunzvi
Dam project, which was supposed to have been completed by 2003, is yet to
Operation Garikai a 'pie in the sky' By Caiphas
THE government, battling to build houses for thousands of people
rendered homeless by the controversial "clean-up" operation, has failed to
meet its target of building 5 000 two-roomed houses countrywide by end of
July, investigations by The Standard have revealed.
On 9 July, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatious
Chombo announced that the government would have built 5 000 houses in urban
and growth points "in the next three weeks" under "Operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle", with the help of the army and the youth militia. When the end of
July deadline seemed unattainable, the government quickly shifted the target
dates to the end of August.
But still, critics question how the
government, struggling to import fuel and food for more than 2.5 million
people, will fund such a massive construction project, with an initial
capital outlay of $3 trillion.
In Harare, beneficiaries of the operation
have already been allocated stands at Hopley, Hatcliffe and White
However, a visit to some of the construction sites by The Standard
last week revealed very little progress, despite the fact that the operation
is already into its second month.
Some of the estimated 1.5 million
people, affected by the internationally condemned operation, still live in
the open, under the chilly weather with few blankets provided by church
At White Cliff, where a total of 20 477 people were
allocated stands, only 50 small houses have been constructed to roof level,
a clear indication that government has failed to meet the
Workers at the site said progress was being slowed down by
shortages of cement, asbestos and fuel.
"We have completed 50 houses
now and about half that number at various stages of construction. At
foundation level, we have over 100 houses," said one of the
The water and sewer systems are still to be
While Chombo had publicly announced that there would be an
office at White Cliff for council officials to speed up processing of papers
and showing beneficiaries their stands, The Standard established that no
such structure is in place.
The MP for Harare North, Trudy Stevenson,
said there was virtually no construction progress at Hatcliffe Extension,
where more than 300 families were allocated stands after being removed from
the overcrowded Caledonia farm.
Hatcliffe Extension is in Harare
"Nationally, there is no way that the government can
achieve its housing target because very little is happening on the ground.
For example, in Hatcliffe Extension only a few people were given some
asbestos sheets and that was the end of it," said Stevenson, adding,
"massive construction of houses under Garikai is only taking place on
A senior Mutare City Council official on Thursday was
equally skeptical of government's capability to build the 300 houses in the
border town by end of this month as targeted.
He said of the targeted
300 houses only 20 were at various stages on construction.
"It is not
possible to achieve such a target because right now we are talking about 20
houses that have been built in a month, which is nothing," said the
In Masvingo, the government said it would establish nearly 7
000 houses and factory shells in two months. However, just as in other
cities, very few houses are at various stages of
Masvingo mayor Alois Chaimiti said the local authority was
"working on about 100 stands only", a month after Operation Garikai
"There are about 100 stands that are being worked on but I don't
have details because everything is controlled from somewhere," Chaimiti
In Chitungwiza, the government said it plans to construct 500
houses by end of August but Chitungwiza acting mayor, Collin Gwiyo, said
this figure was "insignificant" compared to the estimated 100 000 people
affected by the operation in the town.
"In our case, that target is
not important because the number is insignificant. We wonder where all the
other people affected by the operation will be staying all this time,"
Bulawayo acting mayor, Angilacala Ndlovu, said
construction of houses under "Operation Garikai/Hlalani" Kuhle was taking
"shape" but he was however reluctant to say whether government would meet
The government plans to build 1 003 houses by end of this
month, a figure most critics said was not attainable considering the
non-availability of resources.
But analysts said the government
wanted to hoodwink the United Nations into believing that it had capacity to
house all the displaced people in a short space of time.
Even in her
report on the clean-up operation, UN special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka
expressed doubts about the government's capacity to accommodate the affected
families in a few months.
"Government's track record of supplying
serviced sites in recent years has been less than 5 000 stands (plots) per
year, compared to the nation wide objective of Operation Garikai to deliver
4 900 stands within a few months," she wrote in her damning100-page
Chombo, who is currently touring the country to assess
construction progress, could not be reached for comment.
he estimated that government would have constructed 300 000 houses by end of
the year, an achievement rendered equally doubtful, considering the little
financial resources it has and the pace at which current projects are
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given Zimbabwe a one-month stay of
execution to clear its arrears or risk expulsion from the 184-member
Standarbbusiness can reveal that the multilateral financial
institution's executive board will meet on 9 September in Washington to come
to a decision on banishing Harare from the global lending institution. As
of 30 June, Zimbabwe owed the IMF US$199,56 million from US$295 million as
of 20 June, meaning that Harare has made some significant repayments
recently in spite of the foreign currency shortage.
In a telephone
interview from Washington the IMF's spokesperson Frances Harbin confirmed
the September meeting, saying it was normal that Zimbabwe be given a grace
Harbin said: "The executive board will meet on 9 September and it
is part of IMF regulations to give a country that is facing expulsion time
to settle its arrears."
Zimbabwe, which has been in arrears to the
global lender since 1999 has in recent weeks engaged in frantic efforts to
source hard currency to settle its overdue arrears.
indications that China had availed nearly US$100 million to Zimbabwe to
settle its debt with the multilateral financial institution.
Zimbabwean delegation was in China a fortnight ago during which various
agreements were signed. Although the visit was ostensibly to sign agreements
of co-operation, sources told Standardbusiness that Beijing had bailed out
Harare with funds to repay IMF.
Harare is also courting Pretoria for a
rescue package and there were indications this week that Pretoria had
pledged to settle Harare's debts of more than US$350 million to the World
Pretoria's assistance to Harare heightened last week when Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, made a stop over from Beijing
and met his South African counterpart Tito Mboweni. Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa also flew to South on Thursday for SADC finance ministers meeting.
Sources said Murerwa would use the opportunity to seal the US$1 billion
loan. The loan was approved by South Africa's cabinet last week but has
drawn sharp criticism from opposition political groups with the Democratic
Alliance leading the pack.
Zimbabwe joined the IMF on September 29,
1980 but has not had rosy relations with the financial institution since
Last year the IMF closed its Harare office, in a more linked to the
impasse between Harare and Washington. Although the central bank was making
frantic efforts to normalize relations with the global lender, the political
leadership was dismissing the fund as unfriendly to
However, Harare softened its stance following a visit by the
IMF's team in June for the annual Article IV Consultation. In its
recommendations, the mission said that a comprehensive policy package should
include decisive action to lower the fiscal deficit, a tightening of
monetary policy, and steps to establish a unified, market-determined
exchange rate. The package should also include structural reforms, such as
the removal of administrative controls, to ease shortages and restore
private sector confidence, IMF said. But Harare has dismally failed to take
up the economic prescriptions.
Low attendance, poor business at book fair By our
THE current fuel shortages and economic hardships affected
attendance and business at this year's Zimbabwe International Book Fair
(ZIBF), which ended in Harare yesterday.
Many exhibitors failed to
turn up and there was low attendance by the general public as compared to
previous years. "We cannot blame people for not turning up as was expected.
Everyone knows the economic crisis in this country and for one to think of
buying a book and not a loaf of bread, it's something else," said Sonny
Smoyi, one of the exhibitors.
Many exhibitors who spoke to The
Standard yesterday said the exhibition was not inspiring at
"This year everything is just down. Public turn-up was very low and
even our fellow exhibitors failed to come, especially regional exhibitors.
This is not what we expected because as publishers we wanted to interact,"
another exhibitor said.
However, an official with Grail Message
Distributors, from Johannesburg, South Africa, said since this fair was
their first, they were not disappointed.
"We are aware of the
economic crisis in this country and we even wonder how people are surviving
here," said one official.
The Harare City Council also worsened the
problems of the exhibitors. On Wednesday, its officials asked all the
exhibitors to pay for traders' licences.
However, some of the
companies refused to pay the $402 000 fee saying they had made all the
arrangements with the organisers.
"We refused to pay because all the
necessary payments were done before by the relevant departments here and we
are only showcasing our books. We are not concerned about those payments,
after all the council only wants to make money where it is not necessary,"
said one exhibitor.
Sugar production hits rock bottom By Godfrey
CHIREDZI - Zimbabwe could shortly be forced to import sugar as
production levels in the Lowveld are down to unprecedented
Speaking at a National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF)
regional meeting, Triangle Estates Agricultural Planning Director, Farai
Musikavanhu, said sugar production levels had plummeted to an all time
low. "There is no doubt that there has been a big decline in sugar cane
production due to the land reform programme. Land acquisition has brought
more challenges to the sugar industry and because of that we are now in a
critical position," he said.
During the past few years, government
has seized vast tracks of land from the sugar estates and commercial farmers
and resettled new farmers who lack the necessary sugar farming skills and
"The quality of sugar that used to be produced by former
commercial/ private cane growers cannot be matched with what we are getting
now and this has also contributed in the downfall of production,"
It emerged at the meeting that some of the new farmers,
who are provided with fuel and fertilizer by government were now involved in
black market deals, selling the much-sought after commodities.
were allegedly growing maize, cabbages and other vegetables instead of
growing sugar cane.
"Surely for one to take a hectare of sugar cane for
maize is the highest economic sabotage for the sugar industry I can ever
think of," said Musikavanhu.
Musikavanhu said in 1999, Triangle used
to produce 315 000 tonnes a year and last year they only produced 250 000
tonnes, while private growers' production dropped from 573 000 tonnes to 349
during the same period.
Disputes between new farmers and Mkwasine estates
are negatively affecting production as the settlers, who are mainly war
veterans and Zanu PF sympathizers, refuse to vacate from the land they
settled on illegally.
Sugar remains one of the commodities in short
supply in the country.
Ministry threatens to get tough on lecturers By Nqobani
BULAWAYO - The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education will soon
lay off staff at the government's tertiary colleges "in order to restore
sanity and prevent" total collapse of the education sector, an official said
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Dr Washington Mbizvo, said the ministry would crack the
whip in the sector in order to ensure the country's educational standards
remain high in the region. Mbizvo also said that the curriculum is also
being changed to ensure high standards are maintained.
that our lecturers and managers in tertiary colleges, such as Bulawayo
Polytechnic, will continue to be professionals of a high calibre who operate
within set standards and intrinsic monitoring mechanisms in order to perform
and deliver high standards of education and training.
"We have zero
tolerance for laziness, sloppiness, shoddy work, inconsistency, absenteeism
and other professional vices. Such performers and professional saboteurs
will persistently and constantly be weeded out of our tertiary education
system as we strive to achieve our goals of delivering the highly skilled
and innovative manpower for the national economic turnaround," Mbizvo
However, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
Secretary-General, Raymond Majongwe, said that the ministry was skirting
around the real issues affecting the education sector.
firing lecturers was a misdirected effort, as the problems facing the sector
will persist. He said what was needed was the improvement of conditions of
"It's quite sad and one gets surprised by what these politicians
are saying. The real issue here is not about firing the lecturers and
threatening them. It is because the conditions of service do not provide any
basis for motivation," Majongwe said.
The trade union activist said
the people who needed to be fired were those who are in positions of
"It is quite surprising that everybody talks about
disciplining the teachers yet the ministry is doing nothing to restore their
status. They have to give them remuneration, loans and so forth so that they
can also be able to buy houses and cars. They must engage the stakeholders
and come up with meaningful solutions of addressing the problems," Majongwe
Meanwhile Mbizvo, who was officiating at the graduation ceremony at
Bulawayo Polytechnic, said that all the country's polytechnics would
introduce a Bachelor of Technology degree programme.
He also revealed
that the Bulawayo Polytechnic School of Hospitality and Tourism would be
transformed into a National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism commercial
entity "that will offer first class training of manpower for the hospitality
industry, locally and for the region".
Masvingo Zanu PF official has taken party squabbles to the High Court in an
unusual move that will expose infighting and divisions in the once united
organisation, now disintegrating in the face of mounting economic
Clemence Makwarimba, unhappy with the manner he was relieved
of his duties as the acting chairman of the Masvingo Zanu PF district
co-ordinating committee (DCC), has filed an urgent High Court application
seeking to have his dismissal set aside. The legal suit filed on 29 July
before Justice Charles Hungwe also cites provincial chairman Samuel
Mumbengegwi and National Political commissar, Elliot Manyika, as the first
and second respondents.
Makwarimba wants the court to re-confirm him as
the "rightful and lawful chairperson" of the Masvingo DCC according to the
Zanu PF constitution.
He was removed from office by the Mumbengwegwi's
executive, which came to power after the dismissal of former Masvingo
Provincial Chairman, and TeleAcess boss, Daniel Shumba.
Jessie Majome, of Jessie Majome and Company, who is representing Makwarimba,
argued that the provincial executive had violated the party's constitution
by removing her client from the post of DCC chairman.
Makwarimba was co-opted as Zanu PF Masvingo district coordinating committee
chairman on 16 May 2004 according to the party's constitution article 29
(250) and allows him to hold office until the next elections are held in
terms of article 14 section 19 of the same constitution," wrote Majome in an
affidavit before the courts.
Majome said the matter should be treated as
an urgent case: "Only two months remain before the applicant's (Makwarimba)
term of office expires. Therefore, if the matter is not dealt with urgently
the applicant will suffer irreparable prejudice in that he will be barred
from exercising the functions of his office."
dismissed as chairman on 16 June this year by a letter from new provincial
chairman Mumbengegwi, which advised him of the restoration of Masvingo South
MP Walter Mzembi as the DCC chairman.
Mzembi had been suspended by the
Shumba-led executive after being accused of being disrespectful of party
elders, among other reasons.
Mzembi is also cited as a third respondent
while other party activists Natson Tsere and Kudakwashe Mugabe are fourth an
'Clean-up' victims still waiting By Caiphas
THE majority of the victims of the controversial "Operation
Murambatsvina" blitz on slums, which left an estimated 700 000 people in
urban areas homeless, have not benefited from the government's follow-up
reconstruction exercise, The Standard has established.
Some of the
displaced have since been returned to Hatcliffe or have found temporary
shelter in relatives' homes, while the remainder has been forced back to the
rural areas. Ironically, at White Cliff Farm most of the beneficiaries of the
reconstruction campaign code-named "Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai'' are
civil servants - police officers, soldiers and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) officers - according to a list published in the State
About 50 members of the media fraternity who were not resident
at White Cliff before the "clean up" were also allocated residential stands
at the farm.
Former residents who spoke to The Standard said it was
disheartening to note that people who were resident at the demolished
housing co-operatives were not the ones being allocated stands.
the houses demolished were those owned by members of co-operatives such as
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, White Cliff, Ngungunyana, Ushewekunze and Border
But the anomaly is most evident at White Cliff Farm and
A former resident of White Cliff Farm who spoke to The
Standard at Harare City Council's Department of Housing and Community
Services in Mbare recently said she had lost hope of ever getting a stand in
"Soon after our houses were destroyed the government promised
we would get first preference in the allocation of stands at White Cliff but
up to now we have nothing," said a women, who requested anonymity for fear
that her name would be deleted from housing waiting list.
government published 4 470 names of beneficiaries of stands at White Cliff
housing project. It claims that about 20 477 people are set to benefit from
Some families that had not been allocated stands and do not
have alternative accommodation, have since erected shacks adjacent to their
demolished houses, hoping that one day they will also be allocated housing
This is most pronounced at housing co-operatives such as Joshua
Mqabuko Nkomo and White Cliff.
According to Harare North MP, Trudy
Stevenson, only 18 percent of the people who were at Hatcliffe Extension got
their stands back.
"We have not finished our analysis, but according to
what we are getting it would be very few people, about 18 percent,"
The government, two weeks ago, published 2 578 names of
people allocated stands under Hatcliffe housing project.
very few people even knew they had been allocated stands because many had
already returned to their rural areas while some had left for countries such
as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
The Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, said his ministry did
not compile the list of beneficiaries. "Names of beneficiaries at White
Cliff and other co-operatives were compiled by co-operatives themselves not
my ministry. Those who claim to have been left out were not members of the
co-operatives," Chombo said.
He dismissed as false the suggestion
that "Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai" had benefited civil servants
THE year is
2040 and a history teacher is floundering through an explanation to the
events between 1980 and 2009.
One student stands up and declares that the
information in the text is heavily distorted to insult the intelligence of
the students and that ought to be stopped. He does not understand the
malleability of the peoples' patience that, for almost three decades, not
only eulogised the madness of an ignominious dictator but also allowed him
to destroy their means of livelihood with some underhand tactics. The
concept of urban-rural migration is incomprehensible to him. Even Dambudzo
Marechera's statement that "Zimbabwe is a country paranoid about sex and
politics" would not yank the collar of his conscience and compel him to buy
into such an illogical series of events.
Where was their sense of
nationhood? What were the people thinking when they had to stand such
egregious humiliation? Why were they complaisant accomplices, not only in
the destruction and corruption of the national psyche, but in bartering the
conscience of their country for such cheap shame, idiocy? How could they
insidiously betray their common good and forfeit their stewardship in a
powerfully choreographed tragedy designed to outperform any one of the
Shakespearean tragedies? How could they be that amenable to some of the most
botched up legalism that would, under the loosest interpretation of any laws
constitute treachery and treason?
The student is baffled. Something just
does not add up. Were the people peace-loving, as alluded to by some
historians? Or were they some individualistic cowards, with very low
expectations and standards for their systems of human affairs governance? Or
the hiatus of political thought, activity and indifference was just that
historical period of blinding apathy and maddening languor? Whatever it was,
there is no excuse for this generation to have betrayed the future of the
country, the student concludes.
It will be that bleak and disturbing
and we will be scrambling for excuses. We will try to absolve ourselves of
any blame and lie that we did our best under very challenging and
intractable conditions. But are we? Did we? We will write dossiers of
apologies and promise not to repeat it when we know that our days are
numbered. We will complain that we lived in a police state, with a very
dense network of spies only second to the notorious KGB of the former Soviet
But where do the spies and the police live? Aren't they our
tenants? Why can't we kick them out when they bite the hand that feeds them
and soil the water that they drink.
Yes, they spy on us and tell the
government. Yes, they tell their friends to come at night and pick our
neighbours whom we will never see. And, of course, we foot their wage bill
through our taxes! I am not trying to incite public violence, whatever that
means. But we have our destiny in our own hands.
One way or the
other, we have to get back our country from this gang of bandits because we
owe ourselves an apology. But as bandits live by the sword, they sure will
terrorise us using the machinery of the government bought by our tax
dollars. We can refuse to pay taxes and the whole machinery of the
kleptocracy will crumble under its weight. It is not easy but what is the
difference between being shot and being starved to death?
thugs will surely petrol-bomb the printing presses of the newspapers that
oppose banditry and we have to promise ourselves that we will not be
As foreign currency coffers dry up, my country is now
officially a mendicant. From Namibia to China, it cannot be worse than that!
Where did the foreign currency at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe go? But as
sure as the sun rises tomorrow, we have a decision to make -whether we will
be a citizenry of indebtedness that belongs to the trash can of history or
history will vindicate us for saving our country from total
President Thabo Mbeki has confirmed that his government is seriously
considering facilitating a large loan to our government?
are that a large chunk of the said money will probably be paid directly to
Eskom, South African maize suppliers and maybe even South African fuel
suppliers, under the umbrella of assuring financial accountability by
President Robert Mugabe's regime, of course. What a wonderful opportunity for
Mbeki to score a hat-trick by: repairing his damaged "quiet diplomacy"
(aptly renamed "quiet support" by an opposition politician); repositioning
South Africa to influence the Mugabe succession equation; and using Zimbabwe
as a syringe to inject money back into the South African
Tony Namate's cartoon in a weekly last week was right on the
money. In the short term, Mbeki has played his cards cleverly by watching
passively while Mugabe has disembowelled the economy of South Africa's
nearest geo-political competitor.
At the end of the day, Mbeki the
politician does not owe the Zimbabwean voters or economy any favours. The
extent to which Mbeki's policy reflects on the foundation, stability and
future direction of South Africa's own young democracy is
Finally, the one farcical question recent developments beg of
our Zimbabwean leaders in government, finance ministry and the central bank
is this: "Why not just make us a province of South Africa and be done with
Zimbabweans, we say enough is enough. Heroes' Day which we observe tomorrow
is a time to heal the nation.
The launching of "Operation Murambatsvina"
demonstrated irrevocably to us that the "liberation guns have been turned
against us" women fought alongside men to usher in a new era for the
population but our independence has not done away with all the vestiges of
our colonial past. The women of WOZA remember the time of the Zhii Riots in
the month of July 1961. We remember them not because of the violence and
looting which we condemn, but because it was a time when the Law and Order
Maintenance Act (LOMA) took hold and many nationalists faced detention under
this unjust law.
While Zimbabweans celebrated independence in 1980
with promises for peace and prosperity in a spirit of reconciliation, never
could our fallen heroes or we predict that the ghost of LOMA would come back
as POSA - the Public Order and Security Act. And that the passing of POSA
would help usher in further unjust laws.
The legislature should
instead have focused on a new constitution and removing remaining colonial
laws. Your government instead institutionalized a framework of governance
that retained the structures, laws, culture and spirit of intolerance used
during colonial times.
Through POSA, AIPPA, and the ad hoc amendments to
the Constitution your government has perpetuated the colonial mentality we
fought to remove. As we have consulted and discussed, we find that
"Operation Murambatsvina" is proof that we may be an
nation but are not free from colonial laws, which continue to
oppress the majority of Zimbabweans.
Your government has failed to
reverse the unequal and exploitative nature of capitalism. By continuing to
keep these oppressive systems in place your government has become guardian
to a different form of exploitation.
Already socially and economically
disadvantaged by a crashing economy, Zimbabwean mothers suffer greatly every
hour, every day. We have lost our homes and livelihoods to "Murambatsvina"
and have reached the point of no return. The United Nations estimates that
some 700 000 people in cities across the country have lost their homes,
their source of livelihood or both. Indirectly, a further 2.4 million people
have been affected in varying degrees.
Sokwanele, Zvakwana and Enough
is enough of unjust laws and systems! The UN recommendations must be
fulfilled. For us to find the strength to go on believing in the Zimbabwe of
our dreams we feel we have the rights to demand the following based on the
Repeal POSA, AIPPA and other unjust laws. Repeal the
Regional Town and Country Planning Act 1976 [Chapter 29:12] ("Planning
Act"); the Housing Standards Control Act 1972; the Urban Councils Act; and
several other municipal bylaws. These laws have trampled upon our freedoms
and are divorced from social, economic and cultural realities. By repealing
these unjust laws your government will also set a good example and show
willingness to respect the freedoms allowed under the
Adhere to the rule of law and end selective application of
all laws seen by arrests and detention of people with alternative
Open up dialogue and consultation with the populace and their
civic representatives to help dignify the nation and heal the fabric of
As a further step in re-establishing goodwill with the people of
Zimbabwe, announce the names of the architects of "Operation Murambatsvina"
and hold them accountable in an independent court of law for their crimes
against Zimbabwean people.
Stop interfering with the operations of
municipal leaders and systems of operation. Leave elected mayors alone -
they are held accountable through their electorate.
interference with the operations of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
mothers we wish to remind your government that the UN Report recognized that
Zimbabweans have rights and freedoms and we quote:"The fundamental right to
human dignity, to shelter, to employment, to education and to health care
are all entrenched in a variety of international and regional human rights
instruments, all of which Zimbabwe is party to. The government of Zimbabwe
has a duty to protect and enforce the economic and social rights of its
citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The Government of Zimbabwe also has a
duty to fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Zimbabwe ratified on 13th May
In the Executive Summary, the UN Special Envoy, Mrs Anna
Tibaijuka found that the operation "was carried out in an indiscriminate and
unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering". Once compensation
has been paid and the perpetrators brought to book, Zimbabweans may forgive
what happened, but as with Gukurahundi, we will not forget and we hope that
the UN report will help to remind our grandchildren who may face
constitutional challenges in the future. A constitution is only as effective
as we, the people, insist that it be fully respected.
We quote from
the UN report: "Although the Zimbabwe Constitution provides protection under
Chapter III, Declaration of Rights, Operation Restore Order infringed upon
many of these rights. The forced evictions and resultant displacements have
rendered thousands of people homeless and thus vulnerable to the violations
of a number of other rights. In addition to the violation of the right to
adequate housing, other key rights including the right to life, property and
freedom of movement have also been violated."
Please take the opportunity
Heroes' Day will present, to announce that your government has heard our
cries for peace, justice and healing. We will see that our appeal has been
heard when your government repeals all the unjust laws and removes once and
for all the remnants of colonialism.
Murerwa blunders on while economy sinks By Kumbirai
ZIMBABWE'S longest serving Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa was
by last week still unsure and "stuttering" on what therapy to apply on the
country's economic meltdown, which analysts say, has now entered a final
phase towards irreversible economic collapse.
Murewa, who had
originally been scheduled to give a clear picture of the state of the
economy in July, postponed the presentation of the mid-term fiscal policy
and a supplementary budget to 4 August but later on deferred it again to the
16 August. But economic observers read this adjournment as failure to find
any prescription to cure the country's ailing economy.
nothing to offer," said Daniel Ndlela, economic consultant at
"Things are going out of hand and instead somebody is
running away when the beast is really attacking the child," Ndlela added in
reference to Zimbabwe's worsening economic fundamentals.
multiple exchange rate, rocketing food prices, a worsening foreign currency
shortage, rampaging inflation and company closures all adding up to cocktail
of economic imponderables, analysts say the country is sliding deeper into
crisis by the day.
Although supplementary budgets are common in Zimbabwe
where the government is known for its spending imprudence, a severe economic
slump has forced the country into outlandish territory. As if the domestic
debt that has sky-rocketed up to $12 trillion, up from $10 trillion as of
last month is not enough, Murerwa will table a $12 trillion supplementary
budget, ostensibly to fund food imports and "Operation Garikai/Hlalani
The long-serving finance minister will largely defend recourse to
a supplementary budget on basis of the drought that hit most parts of the
country, severely compromising food production.
In an apparent shift
away from last year when the government appeared committed to fiscal
prudence in compliance with monetary policies introduced by the Governor of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, Murerwa is expected to say the
second budget will be applied to importing grain and to nurse the sick
economy back to health.
Estimates indicate that than two million
Zimbabweans will be needing food assistance while the government has been
ambivalent about appealing for food aid.
However, economic critics
contend that Zimbabwe needs foreign currency to secure grain from
neighbouring South Africa and other countries with surplus grain and not
local funds."The drought is the government's excuse but we don't purchase
grain with local currency," said Tapiwa Mashakada, the opposition MDC's
spokesperson on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Observers also suggest that
the government has been spending public funds without parliamentary
approval. Harare has already committed funds under its fast-track
reconstruction programme code-named "Operation Garikai\Hlalani Kuhle" and
only intends to bring the new spending for parliamentary
The government is already dipping its hands into an
unbudgeted $3 trillion to construct houses for thousands of displaced
families who were rendered homeless by an ill-considered "clean-up"
Murerwa is also expected to allot funds to equip new ministries
created by President Robert Mugabe in his April cabinet reshuffle.
Government sources say most ministries are only shelf ministries, manned by
ministers and skeletal staff.
"They just want to come and sanitise
the public accounts," noted Mashakada.
He also accused the government of
undermining parliamentary protocol by bypassing the legislature on loan
agreements. President Robert Mugabe's government is reportedly courting
Pretoria and Beijing to help with its loan repayments to multilateral
lenders. Harare is battling to clear US$295 million it owes the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Although Murerwa had estimated
collecting revenue of $23.5 trillion and to spend $27 trillion in the 2005
fiscal year, causing a $4.5 trillion deficit or 5% of GDP, analysts warn the
supplementary budget would result in an unprecedented budget
Mashakada estimates that the deficit will approach 10% of GDP if
the outstanding debts some local authorities and parastatals owe are taken
Apart from a budget deficit, Harare also faces slower
economic growth and Murerwa should revise his 2005 growth forecasts of
between 3% and 5%. The Central Bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono, has already
admitted that his 50-80% inflation target is in jeopardy.
ZIMBABWE'S retail and supermarket sales are projected to drop to
US$70 million in 2007 a recent report by the London based Business Monitor
International (BMI) reveals.
The slump in sales from US$332 million
in 2002 is attributed to a harsh economic environment. The report, The
Zimbabwe Business Forecast Report Q3 2005, said that although Zimbabwe has
over 100 supermarkets and two hypermarkets current, economic trends mean
that it is highly unlikely for other foreign operators from Europe or United
States to enter the market at this time.
The report said: "However should
the economic climate change, Zimbabwe's formerly developed retail market
would be of interest to companies wishing to invest in Southern
Domestic manufacturers, the report says, are expected to
continue to battle with shortages of fuel and electricity that will
negatively affect production and production distribution.
price of grain or its unavailability will effectively stop the production of
beer and other cereal based foods," BMI said.
The report said that
although South African retail chain such as Shoprite and Pick 'n' Pay are
currently targeting other African countries for expansion due to market
saturation Zimbabwe could not benefit until the economic climate
As a result, the report said, Zimbabwe was missing out on
foreign direct investments from regional retail operators due to "a lack of
food, currency devaluation, general poverty, political unrest and shortage
of fuel and electricity".
"Shoprite which has just one store in
Zimbabwe has already halted its expansion in Zimbabwe for the above reasons,
while it is aggressively pursuing its African expansion elsewhere, via
entrance into Ghana and Angola as well as planned entry into Nigeria," the
The report said that as a result of the harsh economic
conditions, store openings were likely to be put on hold in the foreseeable
Established in 1984, BMI is a leading print and online publisher
of specialist business information on global emerging markets.
client and subscriber base includes leading financial institutions,
corporates, multinationals, government and academia in over 125 countries
Why African despots 'look East' sundayopinion By Tajudeen
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is a troubled old man who last week
not just looked East but went East in search of solutions to the many
challenges that his iron grip on the politics and economy of Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980 has brought about.
It is threatened with
expulsion from the IMF if it does not pay up in the next few weeks. The
President's trip to China has yielded new promises of aid and agreements
with the Chinese government for mineral exploitation in the
China is neither troubled by human rights concerns nor
allegations of corruption; it is only interested in promoting its economic
interests with whoever is able and willing. It is an official "communist"
state internally in a very limited but important way politically for its
peoples but an unapologetic capitalist state outside of its
It's "no questions asked" couched as "non-interference" but
operating as "complete indifference to the suffering of others" has made it
a favourite partner for many troubled African leaders from Khartoum to
Harare. Even the late Sani Abacha of Nigeria "turned East" when his
government became a pariah.
While Mugabe's China trip and other deals
with Asian countries may give him and his propagandists collateral excuses
that show that they are not completely isolated, the immediate reprieve they
need from the IMF debacles may come nearer home. South Africa is the only
country that has indicated that it could take over some of the loans, pay
off the debt and save the country from being declared bankrupt.
have been a long- term critic of Uncle Bob's autocratic rule. I should also
say that this has not been very popular with many Africans who identify with
Mugabe and see him as a veteran Pan Africanist giving back African lands
that were illegally, often brutally, stolen by British imperialists and
distributed to their kith and kin.
Many will decry the crude methods and
brutalities but comfort themselves that on scales of historical injustice
the white farmers despite some deaths have fared better than the original
Africans from whom the British forcefully stole the lands. They did not have
any powerful state or group of states then to protest and protect them
There are even many Zimbabweans who do not support
Mugabe politically but say they don't care how he is doing it let him just
give us our land back. According to these people, it is unfortunate that the
methods led to deaths but the end justifies the means.
are based on a number of reasons that may warrant brief recapture. One, the
land campaign was hijacked by Mugabe and Zanu PF to save their skin after
more than a decade in power looking after themselves and their cronies and
thus facing mass loss of legitimacy.
Two, if they knew they would
confiscate the land why did they not prepare the people for the action
through training, both technical and managerial that would have ensured that
there was minimum disruption to production. They had more than a decade to
do this, why didn't they?
Three, blaming everything on the British is
popular but disingenuous. Mugabe has been in power for 25 years and for two
decades before the confiscations began has he been ruling on behalf of the
British for all those years? Even the Lancaster House agreement compromise
ended in 1990 so why did he not act?
Four, if this campaign is about
righting historical wrongs done to black Africans how come more of them have
died than the white farmers? Is it not a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul
that set up veterans against agricultural workers?
There are many
more questions and queries that can be put forward but they all boil down to
political opportunism by a ruling elite that is clinging onto a popular
issue in order to retain power. There is nothing spectacular about that: all
governments will do anything to maintain their power.
Therefore Mugabe is
similar to many of his critics in that sense.
However the stronger
reservations from a human rights perspective that no historical circumstance
should vitiate or compromise is the respect for the right of citizens to
disagree with their government without having their lives threatened and
their security compromised. It should not be treachery to oppose any
government even if one's opposition is reactionary.
In the 1980s Mugabe
forced ZAPU and the people of Matabeleland into a virtual one-party State
through unity with his Zanu PF after a campaign of violence, intimidation
and gross abuse of human rights.
In a bitter irony many Africans who now
support Mugabe use this same incident claiming that because the Westerners
who are now shouting themselves hoarse did not say much in those troubled
times they have no reason to do so now. The reason for the double standard
is not difficult to deduce: blacks killing blacks is not news but once one
white person is affected it becomes a threat to international security! It
is not only in Zimbabwe that this hypocrisy rears its head but I find this
logic very twisted as used by our own people to censor any censure of Uncle
An African life is equal to any other life and it does not need
validation from Washington or London. If they don't value our lives much
does that mean we don't value them ourselves?
In spite of my strong
criticisms of Mugabe as a tired geriatric who (sadly) like some still
serving African leaders do not know when to bow out when the ovation is
still there I find myself an unwilling defender of the old man especially
dealing with media and academics in the West. Whatever topic you are
discussing these Westerners will find a way of introducing Mugabe into it.
Somehow in their minds Africa is not a continent (in spite of the fact that
one country alone, DRC, is bigger than the whole of Western Europe put
together) but one country to which we are all jointly
Perhaps as a Pan Africanist who believes in one government
and one citizenship I should not mind this but Pan Africanism is not what is
pushing these people. It is prejudice and ignorance. The same people will
not expect Tony Blair to be held responsible for Jacques Chirac's or Silvio
Berlusconi's problems. So why do they expect that other Africans have to be
responsible for Mugabe's excesses?
Their more scurrilous anger is
reserved for President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, whom they accuse of not
"doing enough". I have always wondered what enough means. Do they want him
to invade Zimbabwe the way they have occupied Iraq and
Now they are speculating about Mbeki's offer to bail out
Zimbabwe. Would he put conditions? What would those conditions
African Slum dwellers, as long as they are in Harare, have suddenly
become darlings of the West. They are assumed to be opponents of Mugabe
therefore fit the pariah mode. But where were the cameras when President
Olusegun Obasanjo's regime in Nigeria, the Chair of the Commonwealth, razed
down two cities, Odi and Zaki Biam?
Interestingly another shameful
famine has hit us from Niger. Emergency aid is finally being sent. How come
nobody has asked what the government of Niger was doing when it allowed
drought to degenerate into famine?
I hope South Africa does come up with
the hard cash to prevent Zimbabwe from becoming bankrupt. It will be
concrete solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, not necessarily its
government. It will be money well spent and it may even buy it significant
influence with Uncle Bob.
If Blair can stand shoulder to shoulder with
George W Bush why is it so wrong for Mbeki to do the same with our
cantankerous Uncle Bob? Why can't these Westerners understand that the more
they shout about Mugabe the stronger such leaders become and the more
difficult it is for an African leader to condemn him openly for fear of
being seen as Western puppet?
Fuel for forex move spells doom sundayopinion By Sure
I read with amazement, an article in an online publication
stating that fuel is now being sold at some garages in Harare, in foreign
currency. The order to do so was reported to be coming from the Reserve Bank
Governor, Dr Gideon Gono.
Firstly, I do not know whether our
constitution now allows someone to sell or offer his/her services and charge
in a currency other than the domestic currency. If that is illegal, then the
Governor should be held accountable for this new development. In the event
that it is legal, then I intend to highlight how Zimbabwe is doomed. My
first contribution is based on the simple fact that the consumers of fuel
products range from the general public, civic groups, companies and even
political parties. Gono reportedly said that he would not ask anyone about
the source of the foreign currency used to buy the fuel.
such a measure (selling fuel in foreign currency) is an admission that the
problem of fuel has no immediate solution, then everyone is bound to queue
at the chosen garages for the product. But where will they get the foreign
Some are lucky to have relatives abroad who will once in a
while send them money for use. Companies and service providers have no
alternative except either to charge their products and/or services in
foreign currency or in local currency but using such rates (read parallel
market rates) that will allow then to buy the foreign currency from wherever
or they have to close down.
Given that companies and service
providers still want to operate, then the first option will be taken. So the
question is: where is Zimbabwe heading? The answer is simple...the
dolarization of the economy... a situation similar to a country in
Then the next question follows...why? The answer again is simple.
Africans are cursed.
The present situation where certain shops have
to be opened to charge in foreign currency is not new. In the former leftist
countries such as Cuba, they have what they call "Diplomatic Shops" where
those in possession of foreign currency buy local and mainly imported
products. The aim is the same...to generate foreign currency because for one
reason or another, the local industry cannot produce enough for export where
most of the foreign currency should come from.
Shops" then become the source of all evil.there will be serious parallel
market trade in the products that come from there. As a result, one who will
be fortunate to buy a litre of fuel at US$1 will be tempted to immediately
sell to those who are not so lucky to have foreign currency at an inflated
That is the situation which the Reserve Bank has to allow
otherwise the "Diplomatic Fuel Stations" will not generate as much foreign
currency as they want if they attempt to control this illegal trade. The
Reserve Bank should be reminded that its previous attempts to chase around
parallel market traders and confiscate their money was a futile exercise. No
country in the world has been known to eliminate arbitragers (risk takers
who take advantage of anomalies on the market).
The solution is to
create an environment that eliminates arbitrage opportunities through
allowing capitalist principles of supply and demand and open competition to
After having explained all this, I want to go to my claim
that Africans are cursed. This may appear offensive to some because we have
always perhaps taught ourselves to be on the defensive each time one of us
is under attack. Aidan Hartley (Zimbabwe Independent 8 July 2005) wrote a
very emotional article about the way most Third World leaders abuse their
positions and use public resources for their aggrandizement.
articles appear daily about our own government's abuse of State resources
through corruption, unplanned expenditure, unnecessary expenditure, theft
and other means. On the political scene, similarly Mafia-style gambling
strategies are reported during election time. All this comes to one
theme.that once in power an African (read Third World leader) wants to die
Some time in the late 90's, I wrote an article to The Sunday Mail
demanding to know why the international community decided to give jointly
the Nobel Peace prize to Nelson Mandela and his former jailer Mr FW De
Klerk. Now I suspect I have an answer.it took De Klerk a lot of effort to
see logic. In our own homeland, Ian Douglas Smith believed that he could not
be ruled by a black person..."not in a thousand years".
bombed his petrol tanks, prompting the country to experience fuel shortages
better than those experienced now during the reign of his enemies, and when
inflation moved from a single digit to two digits...then it did not take
time for Smith to see reason. But these are just but two examples.and then I
try to justify my point with such a small sample.
The civil war in
Mozambique took more than 20 years of suffering by the general public. I
doubt whether Samora Machel then as president and his rival Afonso Dhlakama
were feeling any effects of the war. They were supposed to get everything
from protection to goods. The civil war in Angola took more than 20 years.
The same can be said about Jonas Savimbi and President Eduardo dos Santos.
The situation was the same in the DRC before the death of Laurent Kabila.
The mess has to drag on and on because the leaders feel that they are not
suffering from the effects of their actions. It is only the general public
which has to pray everyday for the situation to change.
In our own
set up, one cannot imagine the presidential motorcade stuck without fuel one
day, or even to dream of seeing the president and/or any of his cabinet
ministers or Morgan Tsvangirai spending the night in a fuel queue for just
one day, or better still, to imagine the First Lady complaining that she
could not make tea for her husband because she could not find sugar in the
This is the kind of attitude which is killing Africa
because those involved in its demise are not affected by the effects of
their actions. This was my point when I said Africans are cursed. We do not
see sense in the way De Klerk or Smith did, but we are quick to remind each
other that these two were more evil than us just because their ancestors
colonised our countries or to borrow Patrick Chinamasa's words "because
their ancestors were thieves".
But my understanding is that a person
who yesterday was a thief is no worse than a person who today is a thief. If
the Smiths were thieves yesterday and the black are thieves today, all are
culpable...no senior or junior thief period!
Lastly, the other reason
why we are cursed is this attitude of "I know everything". President Robert
Mugabe has distaste for people who pretend to know everything. Five or so
years ago, he hired Professor Jonathan Moyo to try and prove to all
Zimbabweans that he knows everything. He could attempt to crush any point
raised by the public. He was Minister of all, including
The result was the creation of the most oppressive
environment perhaps experienced even under the colonial era. The president
has also just hired Gono as Governor of the Central Bank. In the same style
as Moyo, Gono is seen everywhere, giving orders (or advice) even to city
councils about housing stands. One then wonders whether the Central Bank
Governor is Minister of everything, including knowledge. We then wonder why
President Mugabe has a taste for such characters.the answer could be
simple.that personally he has a problem.
We should accept that
certain positions in society fit certain characters and not all. The "I know
everything" characters have never been known to be good leaders. President
Mugabe has called retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu "a little bishop", Tony
Blair a "small boy". Therefore, in his eyes he is the big man of the world.
Who has the guts to challenge such a big man.he asks himself. Who is Kofi
Annan to give me orders, who is Blair to suggest that I be democratic.who is
Tutu to suggest that I resign.these are just but small boys.
he is right age-wise, that is. This explains part of the causes of the
demise of Africa.
Celebrating the right to return to basics By Dumisani
FREEDONIA'S megaphones were in overdrive mode. They were tripping
over each other, reminding the country's citizens of the importance of
reminiscing over Freedonia's struggle for self rule.
fought for the hard-won independence by dislodging a brutal, insensitive and
exploitative regime to usher in a new era of freedom, peace and equality."
was one of the messages that received considerable airplay. But there were
facetious characters in the land of the brave and the free. They thus
rewrote the above statement to reflect the fact that although Freedonians
fought a bruising war to wrest their independence from former oppressors,
they were the wiser because it was abundantly clear that they had merely
exchanged oppressors. An oppressor by any colour still remains an oppressor,
but worse still one of your own.
It was pointed out that the only freedom
Freedonians had was to agree with the Freedonia Revolutionary Party. This
was done in the "interests" of maintaining law and order and "safeguarding
the national well-being".
A visiting envoy described the laws in
Freedonia as worse or similar to those used by oppressors. In fact, the
revolutionary leaders were happy to inherit and implement the same laws they
had fought to rid the country of. It was unclear whether their struggle had
been about getting into the shoes of the oppressors or not.
result of its governance crisis, Freedonia had the singular distinction of
being the only nation on the continent that tried to preside over an economy
stripped of the best of its entrepreneurs. Its most successful business
professionals were either imprisoned while those who outsmarted Freedonia's
intelligence corps sought refuge abroad, most of them ironically in the land
of the former oppressors that the leadership decried at every available
opportunity. The consequences were evident to everyone, who cared enough.
There were more business closures than there were new ones. It was a
challenging study case.
One of the effects of this drive against
those capable of generating hard currency was that the land of the free and
the brave was hard-pressed to meet its import obligations. It was not
surprising therefore when Freedonia's leadership started suggesting a return
What this in essence meant was that where once people had
become used to public or informal sector transport to move from one point to
another, back to basics dictated that they walk. Where once people relied on
electricity for energy and other uses, they were being encouraged to do
without and the leadership romanticised this state of affairs suggesting it
brought people together, encouraged them to find time to discuss issues
(except politics) and created greater awareness of the
Freedonians were encouraged to discard reliance on
refrigerators. In reality this was a disingenuous move to prevent people
from buying more of the increasingly scarce commodities since they had no
means of preserving them. This way, the shortages would not be
Back to basics, also meant that where once traffic lights
controlled such things as traffic, this no longer applied. As a substitute,
law enforcement agents were deployed, not necessarily to control traffic.
More to keep an eye on as well as the lid on possible manifestations of
discontent: the thought and action police.
Back to basic meant more
recourse to use of traditional healers, uncollected refuse being burnt or
pilling up, more reliance on wells or untreated water, while what passed for
its national air carrier was grounded, because such things did not exist
before the age of enlightenment.