A crate of football boots will wing its
way to Africa in time to bring Christmas joy to barefoot young footballers in
Zimbabwe, thanks to a magnificent response to the Journal story of their
And a whole container-load of kit, mainly
boots, will follow next week, shipped out by Grantham businessman Andre
Gallagher and his father Pat, whose appeal on behalf of the African youth
players has been taken on board in Grantham and surrounding
Andre said: "The response has been unbelievable. Those kids
won't know what has hit them when this lot arrives. Grantham Town, Harrowby
United, Rushcliffe Eagles, Grantham Youth League and many individuals have all
been magnificent in making kit donations."
They said: "We can't wait to
see the looks on the kids' faces when the kit arrives at the stony grounds of
24 December 2004
Zimbabwe to establish economic crimes court|
HARARE, Dec. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe has said the southern African country will establish an economic
crimes court to deal with the increasing number of economic crimes, according to
the Herald on Friday.
The president said Thursday in a briefing with Supreme Court and High
Court judges that this was necessary because the currently constituted courts
were failing to deal with the cases promptly due to a huge backlog of other
cases. In view of this, Mugabe said, the government had resolved to establish an
economic crimes court.
He told the meeting that a new category of crimes arising from
financial irregularities was on the increase with colossal amounts involved and
more were being exposed.
"There are immense irregularities on the part of those in
institutions which once upon a time had the confidence of people," said Mugabe.
Mugabe said some banks were extensively engaged in under invoicing
and the creation of foreign bank accounts and all this created a new burden for
The Reserve Bank, Zimbabwe's central bank, has placed a number of
banks under curatorship following the discovery of severe liquidity constraints,
poor risk management, imprudent banking practices and abuse of depositors' funds
by senior management.
Another major issue Mugabe spoke on was the transformation of the
judiciary from a colonial one at independence to one that was African-guided by
He said the evolution of the judiciary had given the government some
problems as there was once a shortage of lawyers in the country, but now there
were enough numbers to run the judiciary proficiently.
"Whereas laws are easy to make, judges have to be trained in law
schools," said Mugabe.
However, he said, although the number of lawyers was increasing there
were concerns over the quality of some of these legal practitioners.
"From what we see, hear and experience, there has been a degeneration
of quality. Quality seems to have gone down. The numbers are increasing, but
quality is going down, quality in the sense of creating a knowledgeable lawyer
who is also articulate." the president added.
"Some lawyers have difficulties to express themselves," Mugabe said.
He said this raised questions as to whether the lawyers were
undergoing sufficient training.
Mugabe also promised that the government would continue to review
judges' remuneration and conditions of service in line with the economic
challenges the country is facing.
Zimbabwe Extends Crackdown on Dissent as Election Looms
By MICHAEL WINES
Published: December 24, 2004 _ NY Times
Ludbrook/European Pressphoto Agency
Hundreds of protesters representing organizations that are promoting
human rights in Zimbabwe and fair elections there in 2005 demonstrated earlier
this month at the country's embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
Zimbabwe - A few yards from Raymond Majongwe's office, on the apron of a
four-lane highway outside this capital city's downtown, a cherry red sedan sat
recently beneath a clutch of trees, its engine off, the driver idle. The sedan
has been there for weeks, Mr. Majongwe said. It will be there next week, too.
Mr. Majongwe is the head of a rebel schoolteacher's union. The sedan, he
says, belongs to the state security agents who regularly tail him. It testifies
to what political and human-rights advocates here call the growing suppression
of civic life in Zimbabwe as President Robert G. Mugabe girds for national
elections that his government cannot afford to lose.
Mr. Mugabe and the
governing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, came
unexpectedly close to being swept from office in parliamentary and presidential
elections in 2000 and 2002, and they have taken a series of measures designed to
minimize the chances of another competitive ballot.
During the 2002 election
the government enacted laws sharply curbing freedoms of the press and public
assembly, citing national security. Now, with new national elections looming in
March, new laws and other measures promise to silence the remaining independent
press and activist groups that have been vehicles for dissent.
alone, Zimbabwe's Parliament enacted legislation mandating a two-year prison
term for practicing journalism without a license. A second law made it illegal
to conduct voter education without government approval, requiring most election
workers to register and clear electioneering materials with the state.
third law, passed in early December, effectively places nongovernmental groups,
churches and charities under state control, empowering the government to
investigate their finances, to restrict their activities and, in many cases, to
disband them at will. A fourth proposal would impose prison sentences of up to
20 years for "materially false" statements or writings that impugn the state.
Earlier this year, the government installed equipment on Zimbabwe's Internet
service providers to monitor and censor e-mail messages. In July, it tried to
bar the one cellphone company outside state control from routing calls outside
the country, saying unsupervised foreign telephone calls were a national
The company, Econet Wireless, is controlled by a government
critic whose opposition newspaper, The Daily News, was far and away the most
popular publication in Zimbabwe. The government closed the newspaper in
February. In October, it charged five of Econet's directors with illegal
dealings in foreign currency.
Such actions, rights advocates here say, are
but the latest moves in a long clampdown on Zimbabweans' freedoms that peaked
around Mr. Mugabe's re-election in 2002 and then subsided, but is now regaining
momentum. After that election, independent observers said that the balloting had
been rigged, and that the opposition party would have won a fair election.
Parliamentary documents show that spending on security police officers like
the one posted outside Mr. Majongwe's office has run 60 percent over budget this
year - and is projected to quadruple in 2005. While it is impossible to verify
figures, human rights groups here also claim that the number of government
informers and security police has grown sixfold in five years, to as many as one
in 60 Zimbabweans.
Similarly, the Solidarity Peace Trust, a group of clerics
that monitors human rights in Zimbabwe, reported last month that 300,000
Zimbabweans - roughly one in 40 - have been beaten or tortured, thrown off their
land or denied food since violence began to escalate in 2000. Another 300, the
trust stated, have died in politically motivated killings.
Like most of the
government's domestic critics, these and most other Zimbabweans spoke only on
promises of anonymity. The crackdown has silenced most democracy advocates and
workers in foreign-based organizations, who now face prosecution or expulsion
for publicly differing with the government.
December 24, 2004, 17:30
Joyce Mujuru, Zimbabwe's newly-appointed first vice president, says its a
priority to engage the international community in order to restore the country's
battered image abroad.
Mujuru was speaking in a wide ranging exclusive
interview with the SABC in which she indicated she is even prepared for higher
office. It is her second week in office and she says she is ready for the huge
task ahead which includes sprucing up Zimbabwe's image abroad. She says her
priority is to really want the British to toe the line on what they agreed to
with ZANU(PF) at Lancaster.
Her nomination sparked an uproar that saw
senior party members being suspended for holding unauthorised meetings.
President Mugabe says he will be stepping down in 2008 and Mujuru says she is
prepared to fill his shoes. The new vice president is also promising a violence
free election in March.
It may be the Christmas season but this hasn't
kept the vice president out of her office. She aims to lead by example and hopes
her behaviour will spur on the population to tackle the many economic challenges
ahead. Challenges she says, she is ready to tackle head-on.
AI Index: AFR 46/041/2004 (Public)
24 December 2004
In December 2004 Amnesty International communicated to the
government of Zimbabwe the organisation’s serious concern about the proceedings
which led to the conviction and sentence of Roy Bennet, Member of Parliament
(MP) for Chimanimani, following an incident on 18 May 2004. Roy Bennet is
alleged to have pushed the Minister for Justice, Parliamentary and Legal
Affairs, the Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, to the floor during a heated exchange
between the two of them in parliament. Minister Chinamasa is alleged to have
verbally abused Roy Bennet who was then challenged by the Anti-Monopolies and
Anti-Corruption Programme Minister, the Hon. Didymus Mutasa, who reportedly
kicked him. Roy Bennet was expelled from the chamber.
Zimbabwe: Unfair trial of Roy Bennet, MP
Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act (as amended 1991),
parliament is empowered to sit as a court and to award and execute punishments
for specific offences which are listed under the Act. Assaulting a Member of
Parliament within the precincts of parliament is one such offence. In the case
of Roy Bennet, parliament tasked a five-person parliamentary committee, known as
the ‘Privileges Committee’, to review the conduct of Roy Bennet and make a
recommendation to parliament in terms of the powers vested in parliament under
The committee was made up of two MPs from the Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) - two MPs from the opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and an unelected Chief appointed to
parliament by President Mugabe. All members of the ‘Privileges Committee’ were
present in parliament during the incident on 18 May. The Hon. Paul Mangwana, the
member who proposed its establishment, chaired the committee.
before the committee included an opportunity for Roy Bennet to account for his
conduct and present evidence. The Hon. Minister Chinamasa and the Hon. Minister
Mutasa were also called to give evidence to the committee, although the
committee was not tasked with any investigation into their conduct on 18 May.
Roy Bennet was permitted to have legal advice during the proceedings, although
no cross-examination of witnesses was permitted.
recommended a sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment with hard labour, with three
months to be suspended, subject to good behaviour. On 28 October parliament
voted to accept the committee’s recommendation. In both the committee and
parliament voting was split along party lines. Under the Privileges, Immunities
and Powers of Parliament Act there is no provision or mechanism for appeal
against sentences passed by parliament. Roy Bennet was taken into custody on 28
October, and is now detained at Mutoko prison.
Amnesty International has
raised the following concerns about the procedures used to convict and sentence
The lack of independence and impartiality
Article 18 of the
Zimbabwe Constitution, as well as Article 14 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights, to both of which Zimbabwe is party, guarantee everyone the
right to a fair hearing by a competent and impartial tribunal established by
law. The right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal is so basic
that the UN Human Rights Committee has stated that it "is an absolute right that
may suffer no exception". See Gonzelez del Rio v. Peru (263/1987). Report of the
Human Rights Committee to the General Assembly, vol. II, (A/48/40), 1993.
The primary institutional guarantee of a fair trial is that decisions
will not be made by political institutions but by competent, independent and
impartial tribunals established by law. The independence of tribunals is rooted
in the separation of powers in a democratic society. Different organs of the
state have exclusive and specific responsibilities. In so far as the Privileges,
Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act allows for parliament to act as a court,
it is inconsistent and incompatible with the basic tenets of fair
A body sitting as a court or tribunal must be impartial. The
principle of impartiality, which applies to each individual case, demands that
each of the decision-makers, whether they are professional or lay judges, be
unbiased. Actual impartiality and the appearance of impartiality are both
fundamental for maintaining respect for the administration of justice.
impartial tribunal requires that judges and jurors have no interest or stake in
a particular case and do not have pre-formed opinions about it. In the
procedures used to judge and sentence Roy Bennet, the five-person committee was
weighted in favour of ZANU-PF, comprising two members of ZANU-PF and a Chief
appointed to parliament by President Mugabe, and two members of Roy Bennet’s
party, the MDC. The committee recommended a sentence and this recommendation was
then voted on in parliament where ZANU-PF holds the majority of seats. The
injured party, the Hon. Minister Chinamasa, was amongst those who voted in
favour of the recommendation on sentencing. Amnesty International does not
believe that either the parliamentary committee as constituted or the
proceedings for the adoption of its recommendations were impartial, particularly
in view of the deeply polarized nature of Zimbabwean society. The very fact of
the aggrieved party voting in the punishment of the accused is contrary to the
principles of disinterested administration of justice.
Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights found that the creation of a special
tribunal consisting of one judge and four members of the armed forces, with
exclusive power to decide, judge and sentence in cases of civil disturbance,
violated Article 7(1)(d) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The African Commission stated: "[r]egardless of the character of the individual
members of such tribunals, its composition alone creates the appearance, if not
the actual lack of impartiality". The Constitutional Rights Project (in respect
of Zamani Lakwot and six others) v. Nigeria, (87/93), 8th Annual Activity Report
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, 1994-1995,
ACHPR/RPT/8th/Rev.I at 14, para. 10.
Disproportionate nature of the punishment
standards in respect of sentencing clearly prescribe that any punishment imposed
upon conviction following a fair trial must be proportionate to the gravity of
the crime and the circumstances of the offender. Report of the 8th UN Congress
on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, UN Doc. A/Conf.144/28,
rev.1 (91.IV.2), Res. 1(a), 5(c), 1990. Courts may not impose a heavier penalty
than the one that applied when the crime was committed. Article 15 (1)
In the case of Roy Bennet the procedures used did not conform to
the standards for a fair trial. Furthermore legal experts in Zimbabwe have
pointed out that the sentence for common assault (which is the offence with
which Roy Bennet would most likely have been charged had the matter been brought
before a criminal court) would attract a far less severe sentence. In many such
cases only a fine is imposed. Even if a more serious assault charge were brought
against Roy Bennet it would not have attracted such a severe penalty.
Mugabe is 'rigging election' before vote
By David Blair in
President Robert Mugabe was accused yesterday of "rigging"
Zimbabwe's coming election before a single vote had been cast by abolishing
parliamentary seats in opposition strongholds.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was outraged by the
"illogical" decisions made by the official body charged with drawing-up
This commission has delivered its report to Mr Mugabe and the MDC
has seen its main findings. Both the capital, Harare, and the second city,
Bulawayo, will lose one MP each despite growths in population in both
But they are MDC strongholds and the party took all 27 of their
seats during the last elections in 2000.
Innocent Gonese, the opposition's chief whip, said: "By doing
this, the government is rigging the election. They really don't care what
people's opinions are, either internationally or locally. "
The last official census found that Harare's population grew by
30 per cent, or 424,670 people, between 1992 and 2002. Yet the latest electoral
roll shows that 46,780 names have mysteriously disappeared from the capital's
list since the presidential election two years ago.
Mr Mugabe's heartland in rural Zimbabwe is gaining three seats.
The rural provinces of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Manicaland are
getting one additional MP each for the next election, which is due in
10m litres of fuel for farmers THE National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe has released 10 million litres of diesel for the summer
cropping season at heavily subsidised prices that are less than half the service
This is in addition to the five million litres released
in September this year, which Noczim says has already been exhausted.
Noczim has put in place a three-tier pricing structure as follows:
Distributing oil companies will get diesel from Noczim at the discounted
price of $1 250 per litre. They, in turn, will sell it to their service stations
at $1 500 per litre.
On the other hand, service stations supplied
directly by Noczim will pay $1 500 per litre for diesel delivered to their
Farmers will get the diesel at a maximum retail price of $1
650 per litre. Those uplifting from any of Noczim’s depots in Msasa, Feruka and
Beitbridge will pay $1 500 per litre, but will have to make their own transport
"Issues of overpricing at any stage should be reported to
the respective Arex official or Agricultural Inputs District Sub-Committee,"
While every effort has been made to bring fuel to within
easy reach of farmers, those in some parts of the country will have to travel
long distances to access the fuel at designated Noczim receiving depots.
Examples are those from areas such as Rushinga and Chikomba who will
have to travel all the way to Harare while those from Nyanga and Mutasa have
been directed to Mutare.
In Matabeleland, farmers from Binga will need
to travel to Hwange while those from Bubi, Nkayi and Umguza will go to Bulawayo.
There are already concerns that land preparations have not been
proceeding at the desired rate.
Of the four million hectares targeted
for tillage nationwide this season only 977 694 hectares had been tilled so far.
Noczim’s initiative is therefore likely to prove a timely shot in the
arm for the agricultural sector as the country seeks to achieve its full
The 10 million litres is "part of the 15 million
litres that Noczim pledged to make available to farmers for this season," the
fuel procurement firm said.
Noczim added that an audit team comprising
its own officials and officials from the ministries of Agriculture and Rural
Development and Energy and Power Development and Arex would be visiting various
This was to ensure that the initial five million
litres was used for its intended purposes.
In October when the first
batch of the fuel was disbursed a Noczim-Arex Fuel for Farmers Committee was set
up to ensure transparency in the exercise.
Arex officers on the ground
are expected to submit weekly reports giving details of all the recipients.
Noczim has threatened to come down hard on those found to be abusing the
"In case of diversion or abuse Noczim will not hesitate to
suspend provision of fuel either to or through the culprits and also institute
criminal proceedings," Noczim said.
The disbursement of the facility has
been tainted by reports that non-farmers were benefiting and that some fuel was
finding its way onto the black market.
Things fall apart at Doves IT would not come
as a surprise if Zimbabwe’s oldest funeral company, Doves Funeral Services,
went, literally, six feet under.
It would, however, be the "mother of
all shocks" if such an occurrence were to eclipse everything else in a year of
drama characterised by aborted mergers, curatorships and suspensions from the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. But the fact that it did not happen does not mean it
will not happen.
It could still happen, but not in 2004.
not a secret any more that things are falling apart at the funeral parlour. Some
say the country’s funeral house is in the morgue.
Otherwise, how do you
describe a situation where a firm shuffles four CEOs in a space of seven months?
Even office orderlies are unlikely to be hired and fired with such frequency.
New Doves owner Newton Madzika left the company in a huff earlier in the
year headed for South Africa amid growing fears of bad corporate governance.
Madzika had barely served a year at the helm of the company.
came Judith Chamboko. But before she could settle down in the executive chair,
Newton appointed his brother Takawira to run affairs at the funeral company.
Judith resigned in October, along with nine other top executives.
Takawira’s whereabouts are still a mystery.
Now there is Francis
Mukurazita. He has since announced positive turnaround plans for the company.
But his stay at Doves (we can only speculate) will be determined by his
strength to lift a financially frail company out of the quagmire and his ability
to steer it to new heights.
Mukurazita says, according to earlier Press
reports, Doves is courting new investors to pump in $10 billion in a desperate
bid to retire its debts and inject fresh capital into its moribund operations.
The new boss says the move is part of a turnaround plan adopted by his
company, currently groaning under a $4 billion debt.
The required amount
should take care of Doves debt and ensure the century-old funeral company
returns to profitability.
Doves is currently undergoing a facelift
geared towards revamping all company procedures and systems to make them more
efficient and cost- effective. The restructuring exercise is critically looking
at all aspects of the business from its organisational structure, strategy,
skills, human and technical resources.
Moving away from the world of
near extinction, Doves has also stopped bothering the market with its intentions
of going public, pronouncements that have never come to fruition.
media has been awash with reports of an imminent listing by Doves as it sought
to be the first funeral company to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Doves made public its intentions early last year with Madzika arguing
the firm was now ripe for ZSE listing after consolidating its operations.
However, the announcements have remained a pipedream, as they never got
to see the light of the day, more than 15 months after the proclamations.
The present plan would be to restructure the company’s operations with a
view to making profit and ensure none of its troubled subsidiaries become a
liability to the firm.
At least then, Doves executives could entertain
the idea of going public.
The funeral service provider at present
operates 23 parlours countrywide.
Established in 1902, Doves are the
country’s oldest funeral company. The company was transformed from a family
business earlier this year following its acquisition by Ecofin Venture Capital
Finance led by Newton Madzika.
Zimbabwe farmers cutting agricultural land
A government official in Zimbabwe has admitted farmers have
prepared a quarter of the land available for planting this agriculture season,
raising the possibility of more food shortages.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo says only 1
million hectares of farmland has been prepared for the 2005 crop, out of a
targeted 4 million.
Critics say President Robert Mugabe's seizure of
white-owned land to re-distribute among landless blacks has disrupted
agriculture and is partly to blame for food shortages in the country over the
past three years.
Amnesty International has also accused the Grain Marketing
Board of only giving food to supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF Party.
The country suffered serious shortages in 2002, when a
drought hit much of southern Africa.
Philip Chiyangwa, the maverick business tycoon held by state security
agents on suspicion of espionage, is unwell and reportedly suffered a stroke
this week as it emerged that a Zimbabwean intelligence attache to Geneva was
recently recalled and arrested on arrival as the murky plot thickened this week.
Sources said the flashy Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and
Chinhoyi Member of Parliament, who was taken in on December 15, was on Wednesday
brought to St Giles Rehabilitation Centre for specialist treatment after showing
signs of a mild stroke. While it was difficult to verify the information given
the shroud of secrecy surrounding the issue, deemed sensitive by security
agents, The Financial Gazette is reliably informed that Chiyangwa spent a few
hours being examined at the health institution. Suspected members of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) later drove him from St Giles, which specialises
in spinal cord and stroke-related illnesses.
Chiyangwa; Godfrey Dzvairo,
Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique; Kenny Karidza, Zanu PF deputy security
chief; and Tendai Matambanadzo, Metropolitan Bank secretary, were picked up at
different times and dates by unknown people last week in what is shaping up to
be an intriguing case. Sources said the high-profile Zimbabwean citizens were
being interrogated by officers from the dreaded CIO at safe houses in different
locations on suspicion that they were part of an intricate web of espionage.
Espionage is generally considered to be a form of treason, which carries the
death penalty in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and the late Zanu Ndonga leader,
Reverend Nbabaningi Sithole, were some of the high-profile figures to be charged
with treason locally for allegedly plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe in a
bid to seize power. Tsvangirai has since been acquitted of the charge although
the government has appealed to the Supreme Court.
Matambanadzo, one of the
longest serving officials at Metropolitan, was picked up by unknown people close
to his residence last week and has not returned home since then. Karidza, the
brains behind the failed musical show that was to feature the Democratic
Republic of the Congo's France-based rhumba artist Koffi Olomide, was said to
have been picked up at the Harare International Airport while allegedly trying
to flee the country. He is said to have been in possession of some classified
Zanu PF documents at the time. Although Chiyangwa's exact whereabouts were still
sketchy yesterday, speculation is rife that the flamboyant businessman is being
held in Goromonzi. It has been a tough year for the billionaire, who became one
of the first top Zanu PF officials to have brushes with the law after he was
dragged to the courts on allegations of threatening a police officer, perjury
and defeating the course of justice in the ENG Capital Asset Management saga.
Chiyangwa has since been exonerated of the charges.
While panicking officials
at St Giles were tight-lipped about the legislator's brief admission and the
state of his health yesterday, a source closely monitoring developments
surrounding Chiyangwa said: "He is sick. We understand he had a mild stroke. We
understand he is being grilled and bear in mind that Goromonzi is not a place
for the light-hearted." Nicholas Goche, the Minister of State Security and Kembo
Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs, professed ignorance over the whereabouts
of Chiyangwa and the other high profile individuals who are reportedly missing.
James Chiyangwa, the young brother to Phillip, was yesterday adamant that
Chiyangwa was around and "100 percent fit." "People are lying. He is around and
very fit. He is 100 percent fit. If he was sick, do you think I will talk nicely
and laugh with you. Usanyeperwe, Phidza aribho (Don't be lied to, Philip is
okay," said James Chiyangwa. The sources said the families of all the four men,
whose exact locations are the subject of immense speculation, had been gagged by
state security agents from revealing the circumstances surrounding the capture
of their relatives. "That is why all the family representatives are professing
ignorance. These people are facing serious allegations of the same magnitude as
those faced by Tsvangirai," added another source.
|Daily News to re-open
12/24/2004 9:35:27 AM (GMT
THE Daily News, the first
newspaper to close under harsh media laws promulgated in 2002, could be given a
new lease of life as the government makes frantic moves to regain legitimacy
ahead of next year's parliamentary
The country will come under the
spotlight before, during and after next year's polls after the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) states, including Zimbabwe, adopted guidelines for
holding democratic elections.
The government has been accused of closing
democratic space through repressive legislation through which no less than three
newspapers have been forced to close and several civic groups outlawed.
SADC guidelines provide for independent electoral structures and equal access to
the public media - factors which have seen observers casting aspersions on
Zimbabwe's elections and questioning the legitimacy of the ZANU PF government.
Impeccable sources intimated that there were manoeuvres, actively supported
by some ZANU PF heavyweights, to register the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ)'s defunct newspaper titles, hoping that their resurrection would boost the
government's faltering profile.
It is no coincidence, they said, that
telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa, who ranks high among the government's
most-hated people, had moved to spin off his controlling stake in ANZ a few
weeks before the Media and Information Commission's (MIC) December 31 2004
It has been established that the ANZ - whose two
titles, The Daily News and the weekly Daily News on Sunday, closed doors in
September 2003 after the courts ruled they were operating illegally - has
launched a fresh bid to register in terms of the draconian Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy
To Page 23
The group, which
started publishing The Daily News in 1999, and saw it grow to become the largest
circulating daily newspaper, had refused to register with the state-appointed
MIC, resulting in the retrenchment of nearly 160 workers, who are now battling
to secure their retrenchment packages.
"Powerful ZANU PF politicians are
pulling the strings behind the scenes, and as far as I am concerned it is a
win-win situation in that the ruling party (ZANU PF) would be seen to be
increasing democratic space, while the ANZ would not only resuscitates its
operations, but make full use of its multi-billion-dollar printing press," said
"But in the process, it may also cost the ANZ the much vaunted
independence, as the forces pushing for its registration may press for a more
friendly and reconstituted board and management," the source added.
has confirmed selling his stake to a consortium linked to former Econet Wireless
Holdings chairman Norman Nyazema, journalist Jethro Goko and former ANZ chief
executive officer Muchadeyi Masunda.
The sale is now awaiting the evaluation
of the group's assets, particularly its printing press, a Solna Distributor
Masiyiwa, Econet Wireless Holdings Limited group chief executive has
faced incessant retribution from government and some senior ZANU PF officials
whom he successfully fought in a bitter war to secure a licence for the
country's second mobile network.
Sources said ZANU PF officials, who firmly
believe that the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would
be a walkover in the March 2005 parliamentary elections, are mostly interested
in enhancing President Robert Mugabe's acceptability in the international
community. President Mugabe has had to live with contested legitimacy following
the 2000 parliamentary election as well as his own re-election in 2002.
re-opening of The Daily News- an unrelenting critic of the ZANU PF government-
would provide the tonic to efforts being done to align Zimbabwe's electoral
system to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) guidelines and
principles governing democratic elections.
Sam Sipepa Nkomo, ANZ chief
executive officer, professed ignorance on the latest development.
"We already have an application launched a year ago, but it was rejected by the
Tafataona Mahoso, the MIC chairman could not clarify whether his
organisation had received the ANZ application.
"Ask them, we do not make
news out of applications. We do not discuss applications because we receive
hundreds of them, and if we single them out for discussion, that is bias,"
ANZ had refused to register under AIPPA and has been fighting
running legal battles challenging the constitutionality of certain clauses of
Sources said Masiyiwa's exit from ANZ was meant to restructure the
board and shareholding structure to 'make it acceptable to government'.