Report: Mob Kills Zimbabwe
|Making the rich poor will not enrich the poor|
12/29/00 12:48:26 PM (GMT +2)
ANY community can be
organised and developed so that there is no poverty or
unemployment with the right political and economic approach. There is no
other lasting solution to the alleviation of poverty.
The Zimbabwean economy has
suffered from a number of
decisions, many of them
associated with the government’s
Socialism appeals to the poor and the lower paid
workers because its
policies are intended to redistribute wealth and
create a more equal
society. It has been tried in many countries and many
still follow the same
doctrine, but not successfully. They generally end up
making everyone poor.
Socialist politicians have great difficulty in making
their policies work
for the good of the economy. The rich may become poor,
but the poor will not
become rich. This is not to say that capitalist
politicians have any greater
success. Zimbabwe policies are twofold. The country is
not only attempting
to redistribute wealth, it is also trying to create a
rich black population
in the interests of “black empowerment”.
Socialist governments require a lot of income which
they endeavour to take
from the rich to finance the poor. They, therefore,
look for ways and means
of increasing revenue available to government one way
or another. Zimbabwe
introduced the National Social Security Authority
ostensibly as a social
security scheme to provide pensions, but its other
purpose was to create a
fund which could lend money to government and into
projects directed by
government in the interests of its political policies.
Other levies were introduced: manpower development,
and additional levies on income and company taxes. All
of these added to
business costs and, therefore, inflation. Interest
rates were increased on
the basis that this would reduce the rate of
inflation. Instead, it added to
the rate of inflation.
Government also instructed local government to appoint
executive mayors with
large houses and expensive cars, all in the name of
black empowerment, but
all at the expense of the community. Government, local
statutory corporations lent money to employees,
particularly higher graded
ones, to buy houses and cars. Capital projects were
also encouraged and many
contracts were made through friends and relatives and
on racial lines which
led to corrupt practices.
In addition, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim), with politically
appointed directors, was given a monopoly on fuel
imports. With a complete
lack of financial management and corruption throughout
country was plunged into financial chaos. This was
compounded by a
gratuitous payment and pensions made to war veterans
which the country could
not afford. Then there was the involvement of the army
in the Democratic
Republic of Congo which added considerably to
government expenditure. The
tax burden was growing and interest rates were being
pushed higher and
higher and inflation continued unabated.
Government borrowing, both externally and internally,
Additionally, the statutory companies, including
Noczim, increased their
borrowings both internally and internationally, all at
a time when interest
rates were climbing, the currency being devalued and
with foreign exchange becoming more and more difficult
The total national debt, taking into account all the
monies owed by the
parastatals as well as government, is astronomical and
circumstances would prejudice the development of the
country for many years
to come, although it is getting to the point where
Zimbabwe cannot service
these debts, let alone make any repayments.
It will only be alleviated by donations (not loans)
from organisations such
as the International Monetary Fund and other world
bodies and writing-off of
debts by other countries.
High interest rates meant that borrowings should have
been reduced, but they
were growing not only with increased demands, but
external borrowings were
increasing with the weak Zimbabwe dollar.
The business sector was hit with higher taxes, high
interest rates, higher
charges from the statutory companies such as the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority and premiums had to be paid in foreign
currency. Many companies
closed including some of the very large ones.
The government failed to balance its budget and the
continued to deteriorate and efforts to open the
economy were doomed to
failure. Nothing has been done to expand the economy
which was the only way
to avoid the budget deficits and would have resolved
many other issues
including the pressure for a land reform programme.
The government has now proceeded with its land reform
programme. Although it
has maintained it will not pay for any land, it has
accepted that it should
pay for the farm improvements. It matters not because
it is extremely
doubtful that it has the money to pay for anything
infrastructure required for the programme, even given
the possibility of
foreign aid for some of the latter.
Socialist governments very
often spend more than they can earn. The Zimbabwe
government is trying to
spend far in excess of what it can possibly earn and
already owes more than
it can afford to repay.
The currency continues to fall in value against other
surprising because inflation rates are still very high
as are interest
rates. The lack of maintenance of the infrastructure
is reflected in the
roads, water and similar services and further
reflected in the deterioration
in government buildings.
The lack of skills is being reflected in both the
government and commercial
sectors evidenced by queues in many areas – even to
pay taxes. That banks
and other institutions do not get their statements to
customers on time is
only partly due to a poor postal service. Even skilled
indigenous people are
emigrating. The economy is shrinking and will continue
to do so. Commerce
and industry could be largely lost and replaced by
peasants living at
subsistence level, which is the way the economy is
The changes required to bring Zimbabwe back to
normality are considerable
and include drastic political changes to regain
In 1970, Peter Hain and others launched what they believed was a small campaign to disrupt the year's Cricket tour of the UK by the South African team.
But it didn't just result in the tour being cancelled - it brought the movement to the attention of the international media and led to such consternation that the Cabinet considered taking action against its leaders.
The papers released today show that Harold Wilson's government considered charging the then 20-year-old Hain with conspiracy - a charge that could have left him in jail.
But the files also reveal another possibility - that Hain and others were under secret service surveillance from MI5.
At one Cabinet meeting, the then home secretary James Callaghan told his colleagues that they needed to separate moderate opponents of the campaign from the "more radical elements".
These radical elements "were believed to have been in touch with extremist coloured organisations".
The campaign against the tour had brought pressure on the UK from abroad, with a threatened mass boycott by African and Asian nations of the impending Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.
On April 30, James Callaghan told the Cabinet that he intended to send a "firm reply" to a letter from Hain demanding assurances that the police would not adopt "discriminatory methods" in dealing with any protests.
The ministers agreed they must rebut any "insinuations" that the police would not be even-handed.
Rather ironically, they then went on to discuss what pre-emptive legal action could be taken against Hain and other protest leaders.
According to the minutes, "It was suggested that if evidence came to light suggesting the Stop the 70 Tour organisation or other bodies opposed to the South African tour were concerting plans to interfere with cricket matches against the South Africans, this might lay them open to prosecution for conspiracy, even before such plans had actually been put into operation.
"It was therefore important that nothing should be said in correspondence with Mr Hain or any other of the parties concerned which might prejudice this possibility."
Panic in government
With Hain's campaign apparently willing to break civil laws to maintain the pressure against the Tour taking place, the atmosphere in Government was charged.
At the same time, the Prime Minister set up a secret committee to work out if it would be possible to ban the South African cricket team from entering the UK.
Despite political pressure mounting from the Conservatives - who would form a new government within weeks - Home Secretary James Callaghan appeared relaxed.
"Although some members of (the MCC) would die in the last ditch rather than call the tour off, there are almost certainly those whose only desire now is to get off the hook - especially if the Government can be made the scapegoat of cancellation," he wrote to Wilson.
"Our present object, therefore, is to intensify the pressures by all the unofficial means we can find in the hope that the nerve of the Cricket Council will crack."
With an election looming, Wilson wasn't so sure.
An official wrote: "The Prime Minister said that he had been going over in his mind the question of sending for the Cricket Council to urge them to call off the tour. The danger was that this might result in a rebuff."
Callaghan was eventually persuaded by the PM to confront the Cricket Council. On May 21 they complied with the government's wishes.
Reflecting on what happened at the time, Peter Hain, now the Foreign Office's minister for Africa, said that they knew how much the government wanted to get rid of the campaign.
"We knew that we were under surveillance," he told UK Confidential.
"Our phone was tapped and I think that we had people on our committee and in our meetings who were probably agents of one sore or another.
"What started off as a very small protest campaign ended up being a campaign that went right to the top of the British domestic political stage and also an international political matter that reached into the heart of the Commonwealth relations."
It says it now only awaits the Administrative Court’s confirmation on the transfer of ownership of the farms before it can start moving people in.
The other 110 farms were de-listed for reasons ranging from being within export processing zones, having agro-industrial status, to having Zimbabwe Investment Centre permits.
The Government hopes to have acquired the desired 5 million hectares of land for resettlement by June next year.
The Acting Secretary for Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Vincent Hungwe, in an interview said some commercial farmers had willingly offered their farms and that the 804 farms were no longer an issue but were now within the Government’s reach.
However, the Commercial Farmers’ Union, the representative body of large-scale commercial farmers, yesterday said this was "absolutely false as not one farm has been legally acquired’’.
CFU deputy director (administration and projects), Mr Malcom Vowles said the farms could not have been legally acquired without completing the whole process of acquisition.
"The process has to be completed through the Administrative Court before any occupation can take place. But if the Government is only basing its statement on the Section 8 orders, then some elements of the statement are true,’’ he said.
Section 8 orders state that properties become vested in the State from the date of serving the acquisition notices, but are subject to confirmation by the Administrative Court.
The acquiring authority, in this case the Government, however becomes responsible for the farms but cannot resettle people until the Administrative Court confirms the transfer of ownership.
The compulsory acquisition process starts with the Government gazetting a preliminary notice of an intention to acquire the land. Interested persons are then given 30 days to object to the intention by giving the acquiring authority the reasons for intending to object.
The acquiring authority can agree or disagree with the intention.
If it agrees with the intention to object, then the notice is withdrawn and if it disagrees, it goes ahead and acquires the land.
Once the acquisition order is served, the ownership of the farms is transferred to the Government.
However, that ownership has to be confirmed by the Administrative Court.
He said Zimbabwe was a developing country which depended on imported technology and that "quite a lot of inflation" in the country was not as a result of goods produced locally.
"I know that there are areas where the Government is being blamed for following wrong policies and that we are responsible for prices going up," the President told guests at the traditional New Year’s reception at State House on Wednesday night.
"Why should prices continue to go up? Is it because of demand for the goods or it is because of other forces? In economics, they talk of two things, that is demand and cost-push inflation."
He said when people buy cars, spares or other goods from abroad, they have no say in the price but when they sell these on the local market they put their mark-ups and the consumer has to pay the price.
"So a lot of inflation is imported. How do you fight that kind of inflation by raising interest rates? A lot of inflation is not because of the goods we produce here."
The economic problems faced this year were a result of low prices of gold, nickel and tobacco which were the country’s chief foreign currency earners.
They were also a result of sanctions imposed by Britain because the Government had embarked on an equitable land redistribution exercise, he said.
The year had seen the country experiencing acute fuel shortages which Cde Mugabe described as a passing phase.
He said the country’s economic problems could be solved if the Government and the private sector worked together for national development.
The Government was already working towards creating an enabling environment for the private sector to operate and was putting in place measures to allow oil companies to import and distribute fuel.
Its role in the fuel sector would only be limited to the national strategic oil reserves which would be used in cases of emergency.
The President urged the private sector to do their best in manufacturing, agriculture and mining while the Government would, on its part, promote and encourage their operations.
"It is that togetherness which we can demonstrate in causing development. We must cause development in as much as we want to see sophisticated industry."
The land reform programme was not about depriving white commercial farmers land because the Government had laid-down criteria, namely, that only those farms adjacent to communal areas and those with absentee landlords would be acquired.
A person owning more than one farm would have to give up the others for resettlement.
The Government had embarked on a programme to acquire land to empower the landless majority. With effect from next year, it would give plots to people interested in commercial agriculture.
"We will assist some of our people who would want to farm in the plots purely for the purposes which are economic," he said.
The Government had programmes of settling people on large-scale commercial farms. People in areas not suitable for commercial cropping would be encouraged to go into cattle ranching.
Referring to a recent Supreme Court declaration that there was no programme of land reform in the country, President Mugabe said: "I do not know where the judges in the Supreme Court got the facts from when they concluded that there was no land reform programme."
Officials in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement knew precisely what they were doing and had clearly set out the programme and its objectives.
"The mere fact that we are acquiring land from large-scale owners and giving that land to the people who can utilise it is a reform in itself and no one can deny that.
"But of course the persons who are hurt on the commercial side are those of the British stock and so who is this Mugabe to challenge the chosen one?"
The President said the British belonged to Europe and Africa was for the Africans and those who come here must be prepared to accept African rule and not to come and impose their rule.
"That’s what we fought against and that must be understood," he said.
There was enough land for those who wanted to remain in Zimbabwe because the Government was not chasing anybody away "but those who feel they can’t stand it, we will help them depart".
He was confident that diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe had projected a correct picture of what was happening in the country to their countries.
Cde Mugabe said the Government had not said that only blacks should participate in the economy.
Doors will remain open for tourists although propaganda had had the effect of frightening away a number of people who wanted to visit Zimbabwe.
The President lashed out at the MDC for advocating sanctions to weaken the country’s economy and urging donors not to send aid to Zimbabwe when some of its members had businesses in the country.
"What kind of nationalist would really invite harm to come to his family because there is disagreement between him and his wife? But of course we will not die, we will not collapse.
"We have not been nurtured on the tasty food of the west. Hard sadza is what brought us up. Factories may close down causing hardships, but then if we have the land, we will give it to all those who need it."
On the boycott of the reception by the MDC parliamentarians, Cde Mugabe said there was no obligation for the invited guests to comply with the invitation.
"It is entirely up to you to decide to come or not to come. If you decide not to come, that’s that. Of course we invited you to a reception and never talked about a banquet.
"Some people can’t distinguish between a banquet and a reception. Perhaps you will have to teach them, they are still new.
"Even some of our newspapers can also learn unless they choose to be daily liars," he said in reference to a story in the Daily News that said MDC MPs would boycott the "banquet" because they feared for their safety.
The MDC MPs were conspicuous by their absence from the reception despite it being a State function which transcends party affiliations.
The blitz, which was prompted by the violence that followed the fatal shooting of a vendor by police some 10 days ago, has seen a marked improvement in safety at Mbare Musika and several omnibus ranks in central Harare.
Police, however, said there were chances that some touts had been arrested twice since some were going back to their ranks after paying fines for the crime.
Inspector Tendai Nembire of the Harare Provincial Police said the blitz would continue because police had received massive support from members of the public and some sections of the transport industry.
She said investigations into circumstances surrounding the vendor’s shooting and the subsequent murder of an off-duty policeman were still in progress.
Insp Nembire said apart from waiting for a post-mortem report police were yet to interview several key eyewitnesses as they had been away for the holiday.
She said they would announce their findings as soon as they had completed their investigations.
She also called on other people who might have relevant information on the incident to come forward.
The vendor who was shot, Ms Loveness Zingwe, and the policeman who was stabbed, Constable Thomas Chihota, were buried last week.
"Anthrax is definitely not a problem at all. It occurs in Zimbabwe just like in many other countries," he said.
Zimbabwe exports about 9 100 tonnes of beef each year to the EU, earning the country about $400 million.
The department spends about $15 million annually to import vaccines for disease control.
A delegation of veterinary inspectors from the EU was expected to come to Zimbabwe in mid-January next year to inspect the country’s veterinary services.
"They usually come here every year. It’s a routine inspection," Dr Hargreaves said.
The country stood to gain more access to the lucrative EU market once the delegation finds that the country’s veterinary controls are line with the standard set by the EU.
Fears of the madcow disease in Europe were forcing many consumers in this continent to abandon eating EU beef in favour of beef imported from Zimbabwe and other countries.
The trucks, which cost a total of $20,3 million, were bought with funds from the Department of Lands and Technical Services and agricultural colleges.
Dr Made said the Government should be applauded for using its own resources to buy the vehicles.
"It is a testimony that we have moved away from depending on donations. Most vehicles we have in the Government were donated.
"This hand-over today is a milestone in that even during economic hardships, we have managed to buy vehicles using our own resources,’’ said Dr Made.
The vehicles some earmarked for the provinces would enable the ministry’s staff to visit the Deeds Registry Offices in Harare and Bulawayo to check on the titles for farms targeted for compulsory acquisition.
They will also help the ministry to serve preliminary acquisition notices, court and eviction orders as well as facilitate the actual resettlement work on the ground, in addition to the general travel of officers’ in the ministry.
Dr Made however, warned the officers against abuse and misuse of the vehicles