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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabweans pour into South Africa

Zimbabweans are desperate enough to risk their lives crossing a
crocodile-infested river, three barbed wire fences and an electric fence in
attempts to escape the border police - and their country's woes.

"The people that we catch are in the worst condition ever," a military
source said at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"They come from further north, so they walk much further, and where
previously they would carry some of their personal belongings with them,
they now have just the clothes on their bodies."

Zimbabwe is in the throes of crippling food shortages which threaten more
than two-thirds of the population of 11.6 million. Food riots broke out in
two towns this week, causing four injuries and 34 arrests.

The shortages are mainly attributed to a drought which has ravaged Southern
Africa. But critics also blame President Robert Mugabe's controversial land
reforms, which have seen white-owned commercial farms seized for
redistribution, worsening the food crisis.

Some 2,500 "border jumpers" are arrested and deported every month - close to
100 a day - as they try to avoid the security forces on the frontier between
South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"Some just come over because they buy food in the border town of Mussina and
then get themselves caught for the free ride home," the military source
said.

An old copper plaque at the border post explains that Beitbridge was erected
"for development of communications in Africa and for the furtherance of
public and educational objects".

Named after German-born mine magnate Alfred Beit, the 500-metre-long
bridge - built in 1924 - retained its colonial name after democratic
elections in South Africa in 1994.

These days it has become more of an umbilical cord between the two Southern
African nations as more Zimbabweans legally stream across the border to buy
basic food stuffs such as maize and fruit, supplies that are no longer
freely available in their own country.

Some use pick-up trucks and cars, but many are unable to afford taxi fares
and have to walk long distances.
South African border officials said close to 9,000 travellers passed through
Beitbridge between Christmas Eve and New Year 2003.

"The people of Zimbabwe are really suffering," remarked a South African
Defence Force soldier posted at the bridge which carries traffic between
South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He was checking the passport of an ageing woman, carrying fruit and a small
bag of maize on her head.

A year ago she might have been carrying a 50kg bag of maize, but with the
Zimbabwean dollar losing value on a daily basis, many can now only afford to
buy 10kg packs.

But not only locals are affected by the depreciating currency.

Zambian businessman Ignatius Mooya used to trade in Harare, but is now
travelling to South Africa with his truck driver, hoping to make new
business contacts.

"We used to trade in Harare, but we use American dollars to trade and while
Mugabe has fixed the rate at Z$150 to one American dollar the real rate on
the street is over Z$2,000 for an American dollar.

"We have to do things above board so it means we lose money," Mooya
explains.

Malawian resident Mark Visser, who was on holiday in South Africa, said he
would avoid Harare on his way back home.

AFP
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FinGaz

      Of football, politics and nonsense

      Sydney Masamvu
      1/9/03 8:05:11 AM (GMT +2)

      I HAD a really gloomy Christmas holiday. It stands out as the worst in
recent years. With 10 days' leave from work, I thought I would take time to
visit my relatives and join my parents in the rural areas in time for
Christmas.

      Unfortunately, I did not manage to do this thanks to the fuel crisis.
Fuel failed to materialise even though we were told daily that it was on its
way to service stations.

      Five weeks after the shortages worsened, the fuel crisis is still with
us and there appears to be no let up.

      The authorities continue to maintain a deafening silence. I guess they
realise they can mislead the nation only so much.

      Typically, we as Zimbabweans have come to accept the unavailability of
fuel as a way of life. It is business as usual.

      At the end of last year, I said Zimbabweans deserve this nonsense
because of our failure to stand up for our rights. l still maintain that we
deserve this and much more.

      Happy queue year!

      Amid all this gloom, two interesting developments took place that
really uplifted my spirits, which are daily being crushed by living under
these wretched conditions in Zimbabwe.

      The ouster of Leo Mugabe as the ZIFA chairman and the political change
that took place in Kenya were bright spots in a dismal landscape.

      As a soccer fan, I have followed with keen interest the twists and
turns of the ZIFA saga. In the process, I have also learned valuable
lessons.

      Leo Mugabe is a good human being and I enjoy excellent relations with
him in so far as we talk about everything except politics.

      He is uncomfortable delving into that area, at least when he talks to
me.

      The reasons that led to his eventual ouster from ZIFA are neither here
nor there. Those are what are called occupational hazards.

      In the same breath, I must hasten to say I am not absolving the ZIFA
board members of any blame from the goings on at the association. However,
the fact that they took a stand and said enough is enough is significant.

      People need to stand up on a matter of principle when the rot sets in.

      Wherever I go, I am bombarded with questions about when the current
economic crisis and hardships are going to end, what needs to be done and
the usual self-pitying lamentations that Zimbabweans are known for.

      People blame the situation they find themselves in on the ruling ZANU
PF party and rightly so, but do not seem to have any solutions to offer.

      Some senior ZANU PF members have indicated to me that the economic
situation is critical but acknowledge they do not know what needs to be
done.

      That is the tragedy that has befallen this country.

      After the events at ZIFA House, I have a standard answer that I give
to people who ask me what needs to be done about the situation in this
country.

      The solution is simple: let's second the Vincent Pamire-led ZIFA board
to Shake-Shake building and appoint them as committee members in the
Politburo.

      Give the "five musketeers" three months and they will deliver.

      The problem with Zimbabwe is that we have few people who stand up on a
matter of principle to point out the ills that have befallen this country
without any shame or compunction.

      We should not always look to opposition parties or independent
newspapers to tell us what our country is doing wrong.

      It might be expecting too much, especially in Zimbabwe, but we should
develop a culture where seasoned ZANU PF politicians - the likes of John
Nkomo, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Solomon Mujuru - stand up
on a point of principle to publicly tell their leaders where they are going
wrong for the sake of Zimbabwe.

      This is how it should be.

      Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe we have bred blind-followers and praise
singers. That has been the sad story of Zimbabwe since 1980. It is a story
of bootlickers and praise singers who sing for their supper at any given
point, even when there is nothing to sing for.

      We may want to blame outside forces for all our problems, but has our
leadership examined itself?

      Unless and until we have leaders in our midst who stand up to point
out what is wrong and demand that justice be done, then God help us.

      If we are to move forward as a country in 2003, we need people in our
political leadership who will follow the example of the ZIFA board members.
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FinGaz

      Only 528 farmers plant tobacco, output set to halve

      Staff Reporter
      1/9/03 8:36:44 AM (GMT +2)

      ONLY 528 large-scale commercial farmers have planted tobacco for the
2002/2003 agricultural season, which will slash output by more than half to
60 million kilogrammes and worsen the country's foreign currency crisis, it
was learnt this week.

      According to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA), the number of
large-scale tobacco growers has plummeted from 1 400 in 2001 to 528 this
year, of which 75 are black farmers allocated land under the government's
agrarian reform programme.

      In the past, Zimbabwe's large-scale tobacco farming sector was
dominated by white farmers, the majority of whose properties have been
appropriated by the government for the resettlement of landless blacks.

      In its latest planting report, the ZTA said large-scale growers would
produce up to 60 million kilogrammes of tobacco this year, down from 150
million kgs in 2001.

      "Recent statistics from Tobacco Hail Insurance and councillors'
returns indicate a total of 528 commercial farmers planting a crop of 21 000
hectares, of which 7 800 hectares are irrigated," the report said.

      "This translates into a possible crop from this sector of between
55-60 million kilograms, 22 million kilograms of which is irrigated," the
report added.

      The ZTA report said of the 75 resettled farmers known to have planted
tobacco, 25 had planted 776 hectares. Information is still being sought on
the plantings of the remaining 50 new farmers, the association said.

      A senior ZTA official told the Financial Gazette that small-scale
tobacco growers, comprising existing and resettled farmers were estimated to
be planting 30 000 hectares, which would produce a crop of up to 25 million
kilograms.

      The contribution of small growers to this year's tobacco crop is
expected to be slightly larger than last year's 15.7 million kgs because of
the increase in their numbers resulting from the agrarian reforms.

      The ZTA official said the unavailability of inputs, which has
adversely affected many farmers countrywide, was a serious concern for the
growers, adding that funds allocated to small-scale producers by the
government were insufficient to buy all the necessary inputs.

      This has resulted in farmers being unable to buy adequate petrol and
diesel for their equipment, curing fuels for curing tobacco and food for
their workers.

      The ZTA official said at least 50 percent of small-scale farmers were
still in the process of planting at the end of December and their crops were
likely to be affected by low rainfall, which would reduce yields.

      "At least 50 percent of the small holder crop is currently being
planted, a significant proportion in the drier southern areas," the official
told the Financial Gazette.

      "These late plantings will unfortunately be subjected to dry
conditions and yields could suffer as a result."

      Zimbabwe sold 165.7 million kilogrammes of tobacco in 2002, down from
202 million kgs in 2001, at an average price of US$2.26 cents a kilogramme.

      The further decline of output in 2003 is expected to worsen the
country's foreign currency crisis, which has already severely affected the
economy. Tobacco is Zimbabwe's single largest foreign currency earner.

      Analysts this week said continuing hard cash shortages would make it
more difficult for Zimbabwe to import food to alleviate the effects of
drought and could force more local companies out of business, worsening
unemployment and poverty levels.
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FinGaz

      50% of Matabeleland firms face collapse in first quarter

      From Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
      1/9/03 8:23:02 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - At least 50 percent of industrial firms in the Matabeleland
region could collapse in the first quarter of 2003 unless the government
introduces measures to halt Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, industrialists
said this week.

      According to the Matabeleland Chamber of Industries, half of the 75
companies registered with the organisation were listed in critical condition
when they closed for their annual Christmas shutdown on December 20 2002.

      Officially, most of the firms are expected to reopen next Monday, but
business executives and officials at the chamber of industries said some of
the companies might be forced to resume operations in February or March if
there was no improvement in their operating environment.

      They said Zimbabwe's fuel shortages, which have worsened in the past
five weeks, had severely compounded the impact of the country's economic
crisis and left a large number of Matabeleland companies on the verge of
collapse.

      "It's pretty bleak for Matabeleland industries and business, more so
with the shortage of fuel, especially diesel, which most industrialists use
in their operations," said Ken Jerrard, the president of the Matabeleland
Chamber of Industries, which represents industrialists in the region.

      Jerrard, whose organisation is affiliated to the powerful
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), added: "At the moment, we don't
know how many firms might fail to reopen for 2003 although most are expected
to officially open for the new year next week. Half of the industries are in
critical condition. If the government does not come up with rapid responses
to the ills in the economy, I can see about half of our industries
collapsing in the first quarter of this year.

      "I might be wrong with my predictions, but the reality of it is that
companies are in great difficulty. Some firms have said they will only
reopen briefly to finish off orders they have and then that's it."

      Zimbabwean companies have been hard hit by the country's worst
economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.

      The crisis has been characterised by soaring inflation of 175.5
percent, severe foreign currency shortages, company closures and an
unemployment rate that is estimated at more than 70 percent.

      A controversial government land reform programme has resulted in the
takeover of at least 90 percent of the country's commercial farms and has
combined with drought to slash food production by over 60 percent, leaving
eight million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.

      Food shortages have been worsened by a blanket freeze on prices that
has further knocked the viability of local companies and spawned a thriving
black market for basic commodities, where prices are more than treble those
set by the government.

      Stringent exchange control measures, introduced in November requiring
exporters to lodge 100 percent of their earnings with the central bank, have
also forced companies to send distress signals to the government.

      Previously, exporters had to remit 40 percent of their forex to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and could trade the rest on the parallel
market for hard cash, where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at more lucrative
rates than those fixed by the government.

      This enabled many exporters to recoup their operating costs and break
even despite the fixed exchange rate.

      Jerrard told the Financial Gazette: "The companies are failing to get
foreign currency from the official market, others are being forced to wait
for weeks by the RBZ. This is difficult for business operations."

      He said as a result, a number of firms in Matabeleland had downsized
their operations and laid off staff before the end of last year, adding that
his organisation would compile a detailed report on the impact of the
economic crisis in February "when things are clear".

      Jerrard said: "But one thing is clear, we are going to see companies
closing down more rapidly than before. The price controls are affecting most
businesses. Most butcheries and bakeries in the region have closed down.

      "These are the hardest hit and clear casualties of the price controls.
These (butcheries and bakeries) I don't see re-opening at all in the new
year unless a miracle happens."

      Tour operators in Victoria Falls this week said they were unlikely to
be spared by the country's worsening economic crisis.

      Victoria Falls Publicity Association chairman Pathisani Nkomo, who is
also the head of a tour company in Zimbabwe's prime tourist resort, said: "I
am afraid of what might transpire in the new year. We might see some
operators downsizing or even closing completely because of the fuel crisis
and the general harsh operating environment."

      Analysts said further company closures would hit hardest on ordinary
workers, who have become poorer in the past three years as their wages have
failed to keep pace with rampant inflation, which has steadily eroded their
purchasing power.

      Most workers forced out of work this year would be unable to find
alternative employment or would face great difficulties in venturing into
the informal sector, which has not remained unscathed by the economic
crisis, the analysts said.

      Although it was not possible to ascertain this week how many workers
could lose their jobs in Matabeleland in 2003, analysts have estimated at
that at least 300 000 Zimbabwean workers could be unemployed by the end of
the first quarter of 2003.

      Koketso Magabo, a senior representative in Matebeleland of the
Zimbabwe Domestic Allied Workers' Union, said the closure of half of the
industries in the region and anticipated company closures around Zimbabwe
would be disastrous for his organisation.

      "Our members are employed by people employed elsewhere," he told the
Financial Gazette. "If people who employ them as domestics are retrenched
because of company closures, it will be a big problem. A majority of
Zimbabweans will not be employed, including domestics and allied workers."

      Reason Ngwenya, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' representative
in Matabeleland, added:

      "Indications are that most employers are hard pressed. We have heard
rumours that a number might not open. We are really worried for the worker.

      "We know it has to do with the economic problems we are facing.
Everything is going up everyday so we are looking at a 200-300 percent
(salary hike as a) cushion for the workers."

      Analysts said to protect both companies and workers, the government
had to speedily implement proposals submitted by industry for protecting
firms from the impact of the economic crisis and recent state regulations.

      Affirmative Action Group head Sam Ncube said: "If nothing changes, we
might not have businesses to talk about. I have heard that some companies
might not open but the government should not let this happen by coming up
with rescue packages. It must with immediate effect address the issue of
fuel, which is certainly going to force firms to close."

      Bulawayo-based economic commentator Eric Bloch added: "With what is
happening in the economy, many business here will not survive 2003 and
thousands of workers will be retrenched thereby impoverishing the greater
part of the region.

      "The government, which is in the process of reviewing proposals from
the CZI, should move with speed to implement some of the measures raised.
Unless the government introduces effective export incentives, I don't see
companies in that sector surviving the next six months."

      Bloch added: "It is also true with those companies reliant on imports.
The shortage of foreign currency means companies in this sector cannot
reliably source the imports. It is a very sad scenario."
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FinGaz

      Urban hunter-gatherers emerge

      Farai Mutsaka Senior Reporter
      1/9/03 9:47:40 AM (GMT +2)

      MUTARE - While the more affluent were sleeping off their Christmas and
New Year hangovers, 30-year old Wilford Muchingami joined his neighbours in
Sakubva high-density suburb in a quest for basic foodstuffs that for most
Zimbabweans have become like the Holy Grail because of their scarcity.

      The little maize-meal he had at home was eaten during the festive
season, a time when families usually receive many visitors and when children
cannot be fobbed off with meagre portions of food.

      For Muchingami and thousands of other Zimbabwean urban workers, the
end of the holiday was bleaker this year than in the past, when most
families had to worry primarily about the infamous "January disease": little
money and countless bills to pay.

      A dejected Muchingami told the Financial Gazette that with the 2002
festive season over, he and his neighbours had to literally hunt for every
basic foodstuff imaginable: mealie meal, sugar, cooking oil, bread and many
others.

      "If I had a choice, I would just queue for the mealie-meal at the
supermarket, but they are no longer getting any supplies," he said.

      Basic commodities have slowly disappeared off most supermarket shelves
in Mutare and other towns and cities across Zimbabwe in the last few months.
The shortages have combined with a biting fuel crisis to make life
unbearable for most urban dwellers.

      The food shortages have been blamed on price controls imposed by the
government in 2001, drought and a controversial land reform programme that
slashed food production by 60 percent last year.

      Unable to recoup escalating production costs by raising prices,
manufacturers have cut back on production of controlled goods or introduced
substitute products at prices that many urban workers cannot afford.

      As a result, hunger, which until a few months ago appeared to be
largely confined to the country's poorer rural communities, is fast
tightening its grip on the country's urban communities.

      In Harare, the city's health department warned last year that
malnutrition in children was on the rise due to the food shortages.

      But the extent of the impact of the food crisis in Zimbabwe's urban
areas remains unclear. No comprehensive survey has been undertaken to
determine the number of urban dwellers that are in need of emergency food
aid.

      Hindered by inadequate resources, relief efforts by both the
government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) remain focused on rural
areas, where the bulk of the more than eight million Zimbabweans facing
starvation live.

      Left to largely fend for themselves, the country's urban poor have
been forced to adapt to whatever survival strategies they can.

      Mike Zengeya, another Sakubva resident, told the Financial Gazette his
secret to survival was joining whatever queue he might come across because
chances were the commodity on offer was one he was in need of.

      He said: "Whenever you see a queue, you just join and then ask
whatever it is people are queuing for later.

      "The greater chance is that you were probably looking for whatever it
is that's being sold. The point is, we have to queue for almost everything
and soon, we may have to queue even for cigarettes. That is how bad things
have become."

      Zengeya spoke as he hurried to join a long and winding queue at a
Sakubva shop, which was selling sugar for the first time in three weeks.

      Other consumers in urban areas have survived the food shortages by
cultivating the operators of a thriving black market in foodstuffs that is
awash with scarce commodities.

      But prices on the illegal market have recently skyrocketed beyond the
reach of families with low incomes that have not kept pace with soaring
inflation, which reached an all time high of 175.5 percent in November.

      The cost of goods on the black market is more than treble the prices
set by the government, making them a luxury for many urbanites.

      According to a 2002 survey by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, an
urban family of four needs at least $35 000 a month to pay for basic
commodities, but many workers do not earn half this amount.

      Mutare resident Raymond Tembeya said: "I earn $16 000 a month. Compare
this with the prices being charged on the black market and you will
understand my bitterness."

      Tembeya, who is employed as a general labourer by a food manufacturing
company, added: "I have a family of five and yet a bucket of maize costs $4
500, a two kilogramme packet of sugar costs $500 and I am buying a loaf of
bread for $180.

      "And you expect me to survive? At least in the rural areas they
receive assistance from the NGOs."

      The general labourer said the problems faced by his family and many
others lucky enough to still have employed bread winners had been compounded
by Zimbabwe's economic recession, which has forced a large number of
companies out of business.

      The closure of several firms in the past three years has pushed the
country's unemployment rate up to more than 70 percent and unable to
relocate to the rural areas, which have been even harder hit by the food
crisis, many retrenched workers are being forced to rely on urban-based
relatives for survival.

      Tembeya told the Financial Gazette: "At least I am lucky, I am still
holding on to my job. But things have become tougher. A number of my
relatives have been retrenched and I now have the burden of looking after
them as well as paying school fees for some of their children."

      As the shortages bite harder and the number of dependents increase,
several families in Mutare interviewed by this newspaper said they have had
to change their eating habits.

      Prisca Tarewa explained: "It's either you have the money but the goods
aren't available or when the goods become available, you no longer have the
money.

      "So we have been forced to change our feeding habits. Instead of three
square meals a day, we now have only two. One that combines breakfast and
lunch and another one in the evening."

      But for others like Muchingami, a staunch supporter of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the food crisis has brought additional
problems.

      He must register himself as a member of the ruling ZANU PF so that he
can receive maize-meal, which he says the party has been distributing to its
members in the past few weeks.

      The ruling party has denied distributing food aid along partisan
lines.

      But Muchingami said: "Since the beginning of December, mealie meal has
been distributed through ZANU PF councillors and in most instances, we are
left out. Some people in this area have received mealie-meal on four
occasions and we have been left out because we are perceived to be
supporters of the MDC.

      "I guess ZANU PF is trying to use the hunger in the cities to win back
support. So if I am to get food, I will have to be seen as one of them, even
if it's against my conscience."

      And with weather and agricultural experts forecasting another drought
this year, Muchingami fears he may have to compromise his political
principles for a long time to come
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FinGaz

      Mayhem as war vets open 'torture office'


      1/9/03 9:46:13 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - War veterans have opened an office in one of Bulawayo's
oldest high-density suburbs, which residents this week said was being used
as an illegal police station where members of the public were subjected to
beatings as punishment for perceived crimes.

      The residents alleged that several people had been beaten and tortured
in the office, which is located at Pumula shopping centre.

      "People are being subjected to kangaroo courts at that office
everyday," Pumula resident Paul Tshuma told the Financial Gazette.

      "Some have been beaten while others have been tortured. We have
brought this to the attention of the police at Pumula police station, but
nothing has been done," added a visibly angry Tshuma.

      Smile Dube, the Bulawayo spokesman for the Zimbabwe Republic Police,
however said there was "no way" war veterans could usurp police powers.

      "It is news to me that there are war veterans arresting people in
Pumula," he said. "I will find out what is happening. At the moment, I
cannot fully comment on something that I have not investigated."

      "Who gave them power to arrest people?" he added.

      However, Clement Moyo, another Pumula resident, alleged that he was
"arrested" by the war veterans following a family dispute.

      He said he was forced to their office and assaulted by the war
veterans, who he later reported at Pumula police station.

      Moyo said the Pumula shopping centre office had become so notorious
that residents were afraid to walk past it at night.

      "These people need to be exposed," he told the Financial Gazette. "I
am taking some of them to court for what they did. They think they are the
police yet there are not.

      "Some of them are not war veterans. They are using that office for
their nefarious activities and this has to stop."

      Other Pumula residents said the war veterans used the office as a base
for raids on local shops and vendors suspected to be hoarding or selling
basic commodities at higher prices than those gazetted by the government.

      They said the war veterans had taken over the registration of people
in need of mealie meal and bread at local shops.

      "You cannot buy mealie meal if you are not one of them. They now
control the queues at the shops in addition to harassing us," said Tshuma.

      Police officers at Pumula police station, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said they had received reports of harassment and beatings by the
war veterans based in Pumula.

      "These people are taking advantage of the political situation but I
tell you, it's just a matter of days before we bring them to book," a police
officer said. "They think we are stupid but we are gathering information on
what they do in that office.

      "We are going to account for all those that have committed any crimes.
They (war veterans) go around claiming that they are part of us. They are
free to work with us to combat crime but not to try and usurp our powers as
some of them are doing."

      David Mano, another Pumula resident, said the police should shut down
the war veterans' office because it was fuelling animosity between the
residents and the former freedom fighters.

      "We are against that office," he said. "The war veterans there are
behaving as a law unto themselves. This has to stop because very soon the
residents that have been quiet will be forced to retaliate.

      "We know most of these people that are causing trouble but they seem
to have no shame. Police should do something."

      It was not possible to get comment from the war veterans this week.
The Financial Gazette was denied entry into the Pumula shopping centre
office by a self-confessed war veteran standing guard at the door of the
premises.

      "We only allow ZANU PF supporters, war veterans and residents with
genuine problems. You are not one of us. You are of one those youths in this
suburb that need re-education," he fumed. "You are sell-outs, get away. Go
away before you court trouble."

      Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials in Bulawayo
said they had received reports of beatings and harassment by war veterans in
Pumula.

      "Some of our supporters have been taken there," said MDC chief whip in
the Bulawayo City Council Charles Mpofu. "We are aware of it. Meal mealie is
also being sold there to ZANU PF supporters.

      "That office has to be investigated. It is as if it's a police station
on its own yet it's just a batch of confused opportunists."

      War veterans played a leading role in the occupation of white-owned
farms in 2000 and have been implicated in the political violence that has
rocked Zimbabwe since in the past two years.

      Commentators have accused the government of allowing the war veterans
and youths who are part of the controversial national service programme to
commit crimes with impunity because they have emerged as a strong power base
for the ruling ZANU PF.

      The two groups are said to have played a crucial role in the ruling
party's parliamentary and presidential election campaign, intimidating
opposition party supporters and potential voters.

      National service graduates have lately been accused by consumers of
usurping the powers of the police by attempting to control food queues, and
are alleged to have attacked police officers manning a queue for mealie meal
in Chitungwiza recently.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena however this week said the youths
were not an extension of the police force and could not undertake its
responsibilities.
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SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE: Progress under land reform, SA govt

JOHANNESBURG, 9 January (IRIN) - The South African Ministry of Labour said it was impressed with the progress resettled farmers in Zimbabwe were making following a visit to several farms in Mashonaland on Thursday.

"After visiting three farms, Minister [Membathisi] Mdladlana was impressed with the commitment of the resettled farmers. In one case a black farmer who now owns 250 ha of land and employs 74 people has developed the land much more than the previous owner. Also, contrary to what is believed, there are white farmers in Zimbabwe who are patriotic and want the land reform to yield some positive changes," spokesman for the department of labour, Snuki Zikalala, told IRIN.

Sikalala added that on his return to South Africa Mdladlana would impress upon the government the need to assess how land returned to people under the country's own land reform programme had been used.

"The visit to the farms was a learning curve for the South African delegation. What was evident was that the land that was given to resettled farmers was not left idle," Sikalala said.

Mdladlana has been on a four-day visit to the country for talks with the government aimed at regulating the status and working conditions of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants working on South African farms.

It is estimated there are currently more than 10,000 Zimbabwean illegal immigrants working on farms in Limpopo province in the north of the country alone.

Zikalala said: "Discussions have centred on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two governments which would ensure that Zimbabwean farm workers in South Africa benefit from the country's minimum wage policy therefore eradicating the exploitation of cheap foreign labour. Of course, farmers would have to prove that they had first sought South African labour before employing any foreign labour."

Following the signing of the MOU between the two countries, farmers would have to comply with the newly introduced minimum wage of R800 per month (about US $93) in metropolitan areas and R600 (about US $70) in rural areas as from March this year.

The departments of labour and home affairs first tried to phase out illegal Zimbabwean farm workers in the Limpopo province about four years ago.

The exercise followed complaints from farm workers' rights activists that farmers shunned local labour in favour of cheap foreign labour.



[ENDS]

IRIN-SA
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SABC


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   Angola may offer dispossessed Zimbabweans farms
            January 09, 2003, 06:00


            Angola wants to invite dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers to take
over thousands of farms abandoned during the country's 27-year civil war.
The governor of Benguela province, Dumilde Rangel, says Zimbabwean farmers
have the know-how and could create jobs in Angola.

            Some 45000 farms lie abandoned in Benguela alone. Angola faces a
monumental task of re-building the country after a cease-fire signed last
year finally brought to an end to a civil war in which most of country's
infrastructure was destroyed.

            Several Zimbabwean farmers, who received their marching orders
from the government, are already plying their trade in Mozambique after
receiving invitations to do so.
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FinGaz

      A case for a securities exchange commission

      Tapfumanei Nyawanza
      1/9/03 8:09:29 AM (GMT +2)

      To corporate governance buffs, the news that government is mulling the
idea of setting up a Securities Exchange Commission in Zimbabwe is the best
news since sliced bread.

      The worldwide crisis in capitalism sparked by the collapse of Enron,
WorldCom, Andersen and others as well as the enactment of the controversial
Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States, which has extra-territorial
implications, mean that this proposal could not have come at a better time.

      A Securities Exchange Commission is invaluable for the creation of a
culture of best practise, which creates trust in the financial system and in
turn reduces transaction costs for business.

      Insofar as it protects investors by regulating disclosure and
reporting, a Securities Exchange Commission is also key for the development
of "deep and liquid" capital markets, which are critical sources of cheap
financing for enterprises.

      The spill over effects of well-funded enterprises include, amongst
other things, a healthy economy in general and, in particular, greater
revenues for central government through the creation of wider taxation
bases, greater returns for investors, and better wages for employees.

      In this article, l share some thoughts on a possible model of a
Securities Exchange Commission. l also argue that this development is as
overdue as it is fundamental to attracting foreign investment, both direct
and portfolio but that key to these reforms is the wider reform of the
political-economic fundamentals of our body politic.

      Although we have been repeatedly reminded by politicians not to mimic
other systems and to come up with home grown solutions for our problems,
which is a fine argument, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

      We must therefore look to other jurisdictions for inspiration. This is
critical because our country will not be able to fully participate in a
globalised economy without some measure of harmonisation of our national
political interests with our global economic interests.

      To this end, l will look at two different models; viz the
Anglo-American model and the Chinese model, with a view to establish a
workable formula for our own jurisdiction.

      America and the United Kingdom are important case studies because of
their dominance in the global capital markets, whilst China shows us all
that there is no shame in repenting from policies that do not work, in spite
of their historical pedigree.

      At the very outset, it must be noted that there are basically two
dominant models of regulation: the "market forces" model, in which industry
regulates itself, and the centrist or state regulatory form.

      Recent trends world-wide have been towards a hybridisation of the two
models, which probably began with the interventionist policies of the
Roosevelt presidency in America, which was keen to restore confidence to the
American capital markets after the massive stock market crush of 1929.

      The crush came about as result of the lack of control of market
operations. Estimates have been made that as high as US$50 billion in new
securities offered, half became worthless when the stock market crashed.

      Institutional investors, especially banks, lost a lot of money in the
crash because of their heavy investments in the markets. The panic
withdrawals that ensued also caused many bank failures. Public confidence in
the markets reached an all-time low and it became clear that the capital
markets had to be reformed.

      Based on Congressional findings, the Securities Act of 1933 and the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 were passed and the Securities Exchange
Commission was created pursuant to the latter legislation. The result was
more government oversight of all aspects of the American financial system.

      The Commission has four divisions, viz; the Division of Enforcement,
which investigates and takes appropriate action in the event of violations
of securities laws such as insider trading, misrepresentation or omission of
material information about securities, manipulating the market prices of
securities, and sale of securities without proper registration; the Division
of Corporate Finance, which oversees corporate disclosure; the Division of
Market Regulation, which oversees and sets standards for all key players in
the securities world; and lastly, the Division of Investment Regulation,
which oversees the investment management industry.

      In England, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the equivalent
of the American Securities Exchange Commission and is statutorily the sole
regulator of all UK financial services, including insurance and banking.

      It replaced the Securities and Investments Board and its array of
self-regulatory organisations. There is now emphasis on the "Control and
Command" model of regulation wherein a government-empowered body monitors
and enforces regulation, but with an active self-regulation regime that
complements the efforts of the FSA.

      Many other countries have successfully used this model including,
Thailand which, as recently as 1992, enacted its own Securities Exchange
Commission Act and thereby established a Securities Exchange Commission to
oversee the Thai capital markets.

      On the other hand, China has a slightly different model, which is
explained by its communist pedigree.

      Under communist China, the concept of private property was anathema
and hence private enterprise in China is relatively novel, having seriously
begun in 1978 when the Communist Party made a pledge to work towards
"socialist modernisation".

      One critical issue which China has had to address and which is the
cornerstone of corporate governance, is the issue of the rights of
shareholders and other stakeholders in corporations, in view of the fact
that enterprises in China were predominantly state enterprises.

      With privatisation, the government had to contend with the interests
of other shareholders, with the inevitable result that state control in the
enterprises weakened somewhat.

      But China still falls in the class of ownership structure in which
shareholding is characterised as block holding, as opposed to the
market-based model in which shareholding is more dispersed amongst diverse
shareholders.

      There is also still a lot of state control in commercial activities,
which extends to the regulation of the securities markets through the China
Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), which is charged with
authorisation, rule making, investigation and enforcement of all aspects of
the securities market.

      Something new has been happening in China however, in relation to
securities law and listing requirements. With the promulgation of the CSRC's
Notice Concerning the Announcement of Corporate Governance for Listed
Companies, which proposes changes that are very similar to the
Anglo-American regime, there is a clear sign that global market-place trends
are influencing the way that business is done in China and that there is
more and more movement towards convergence with international regulatory
standards.

      It is thus clear that considerations of raising global capital have
taken precedence over ideological considerations. It is also clear however
that the protection of minority shareholders will have to increase if China
is to fully exploit the potential of its capital markets.

      What is evident from a cursory study of securities regulation in the
countries cited is that:

      lThe primary mission of a Securities and Exchange Commission is to
protect investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets by
overseeing and developing the capital markets and all other key participants
in the securities world, including stock exchanges, broker-dealers,
investment advisors, mutual funds, and so on.

      lA Securities Exchange Commission must also fulfil the other vital
regulatory tasks of authorisation, provision of information, enforcement and
policy development.

      lStock markets are inherently risky. To reduce these risks (for it is
not possible to completely remove all risk), investors must have timeous
access to accurate and relevant information about an investment prior to
buying it. Mandatory disclosure lies at the heart of financial services
regulation.

      lIn order to be effective, a Securities Exchange Commission itself
must meet certain minimum requirements; the following being some of the most
important:

      - It must be independent of both issuers and investors and not prone
to political interference. In America, no more than three Commissioners of
the five presidential appointees (who are subject to Senate confirmation)
may belong to the same party.

      - It must be manned by experts (which is a real challenge because the
private sector usually has a monopoly of experts because of better pay).

      - It must be well resourced to enable it to retain competent staff,
hire consultants and educate the public on the financial system.

      - It must have authority, i.e. some real teeth backed by the
possibility of sanctions against transgressors.

      - It must be strategically placed and able to control access to engage
in financial services through authorisations and permissions.


      At present in Zimbabwe, the regulation of the financial sector is
fragmented amongst several regulators such as the Ministry of Finance, the
Reserve Bank, the Registrar of Companies and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
amongst others. This lack of coherence in regulation is costly, inefficient
and confusing to players and consumers alike.

      The current system may also create grey areas, which could be
exploited by unscrupulous dealers at the expense of consumers. This raises
problems of non-objectivity and partiality, at least in perception.

      Apart from this, the financial industry has grown in sophistication
and consolidated beyond traditional areas of operation, which poses a real
supervision challenge. The solution is not to increase regulatory powers in
diverse bodies, but to create a single, integrated regulator for the entire
financial industry.

      There must also be emphasis on the education of the public on the
financial system to foster a culture of investment, investor activism and
shareholder democracy.

      Whilst there is no perfect model of securities regulation, Zimbabwe
must begin to move towards convergence with prevailing international trends.
In an increasingly globalised economy, countries can ill afford to resist
change.

      They must constantly evaluate their own systems against international
benchmarks, such as the International Organisation of Securities
Commissioners. This is unavoidable because of the increasing importance of
international capital.

      The International Monetary Fund, for example, now operates the
Financial Sector Assessment Programme, which has potential to wield
significant powers of sanctions and incentives, particularly in countries in
need of their credit. There is even growing lobbying for a World Financial
Authority, which would be critical in determining the movement of global
capital.

      Investors worldwide will not want to invest their precious money in
countries that do not have a reputation for good corporate governance.

      In coming up with a new regime of financial regulation, we must strive
for a system that combines the "market forces" model and the centrist model
by creating and encouraging strong peer regulatory systems that are industry
based but backed by a strong and efficient body such as the Securities
Exchange Commission.

      Government backed regulation is vital because markets are not always
perfect and thus public policy justifies some intervention to provide
certainty and predictability. On the other hand, market forces are flexible
and adaptable to the rapid changes that occur in the financial world. Hence
the structure we choose must be a hybrid of the two models.

      It must strike a balance between sufficient flexibility, which allows
business to flourish, and strength to give confidence to investors. What is
vital is that there be accountability in the system with regards to globally
accepted principles of good corporate governance, which is essential for the
creation of public confidence in the financial system.

      Ultimately, however, it is the macro-political and economic climate
that determines whether well-heeled international investors will surrender
their money for local securities.

      An influential 1997 research covering 49 countries (including
Zimbabwe) showed that countries with poorer investor protections, measured
by both the character of legal rules and the quality of law enforcement,
have smaller and narrower capital markets.

      This is where central governments come in. Contrary to the laissez
faire approach of minimum intervention by the state in the economic arena,
research shows that a government's ideal role is to create a market with
consumers possessing effective demand.

      This requires eliminating severe inequalities that depress the
purchasing power of consumers by an orderly and inclusive land reform,
progressive and not punitive taxation, and advancement of workers rights,
amongst other initiatives.

      And so, while the idea of a Securities Exchange Commission is laudable
and long overdue, what is more critical is widespread political and economic
reformation that will usher in a leadership that can articulate a coherent
and comprehensive policy of development.

      To me, the current one cannot.

      lTapfumanei Nyawanza is a Zimbabwean lawyer presently pursuing further
studies in the United Kingdom. He can be reached on e-mail address
T.Nyawanza@warwick.ac.uk
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FinGaz

      Unblocking Zimbabwe's blocked transition to democracy

      Masipula Sithole
      1/9/03 8:18:47 AM (GMT +2)

      "ZIMBABWE'S children in the diaspora" (Part Five) must wait. For the
time being I thought it appropriate to begin the year by suggesting what we
should do to break the impasse of last year, which will continue to our
peril.

      In this rather lengthy contribution, I want to make a "patriotic
suggestion" to unblock Zimbabwe's blocked transition to democracy.

      The ZANU PF government has said it was duly elected following the laws
and constitution of Zimbabwe as a sovereign state and not the expectations
of other countries.

      The opposition MDC and the international community argue, however,
that sovereignty should operate within certain international norms and
expectations, which Zimbabwe is in violation of.

      Thus two contradictory principles are involved in this issue: the
principle of "national sovereignty" and the principle of "human rights".
Both are enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

      My assessment of the two is that national sovereignty is becoming
obsolete and moribund in the era of globalisation and internationalism,
while human rights threaten to be the pre-occupation of the 21st century in
the march of history from primitive to contemporary notions of human
community. It's just an observation, but a very important one.

      In other words, the political impasse in Zimbabwe should be
problematised and contextualised in this way: national sovereignty versus
human rights, both enshrined in the UN Charter.

      Which one shall the international community respect: national
sovereignty kana kuti human rights? Which is dearer to the contemporary
international community?

      Which should be dearer to us as Zimbabweans? Should it be national
sovereignty (whatever that means) or human rights of life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness (whatever that means)?

      President Robert Mugabe and his party have chosen national
sovereignty. MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai and his party have chosen human
rights and good governance; they believe that where the two are in conflict,
human rights and good governance must take precedence. These two are at the
core of the present political impasse.

      What is the way forward? How do we unblock the blocked transition to
democracy in Zimbabwe? I see the following options:

      (1) Status quo: whereby the MDC and the international community
recognise the Mugabe government, notwithstanding how it came to power. This
option includes a "government of national unity", the possibility of
including the MDC in Mugabe's Cabinet. This would be still maintaining the
status quo, at best, and legitimising the illegitimate, at worst.

      (2) Election re-run: whereby ZANU PF agrees to a re-run of the March
presidential election under international scrutiny and supervision. Given
its acclaimed popularity - having solved the land question - there is
nothing to fear but fear itself!

      (3) Bringing forward the presidential election: whereby the
presidential elections due in 2008 are brought forward to occur concurrently
with the parliamentary elections due in 2005, three years away. A
constitutional amendment could be made requiring parliamentary and
presidential elections to occur concurrently. Mugabe would be 81 in 2005, a
perfectly legitimate reason for early retirement.

      (4) Removing the stumbling block: whereby an intransigent leader is
removed from the political scene. A theory has been advanced that long-time
adversaries have intractable positions; they have dug in their heels. If a
negotiated settlement to a contentious issue has to be successful, one of
the adversaries has to leave the political scene. There is evidence for
this.

      Not until there was a new leader in Salisbury (the malleable and
unsuspecting Bishop Abel Muzorewa replacing the intransigent Ian Smith in
1979) did the Lancaster House Conference succeed.

      Not until the soft-spoken Joaquim Chissano succeeded the ideological
and militarist Samora Machel did rapprochement with Renamo begin, however
slowly, in Mozambique.

      Not until the stiff-necked hardliner Pik Botha was replaced by the
reformist Frederick W de Klerk did we see movement towards ending apartheid
in South Africa.

      Shall I say more? Not until the unreliable papa Laurent Kabila had
been assassinated and replaced by baby Joseph Kabila did peace talks in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo have a real chance.

      And not until the power-hungry veteran UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was
killed did prospects for real peace come to Angola, even instantly.

      The removal of stumbling blocks, therefore, has in certain cases (many
in our region!) proven fruitful in paving the way forward. As a pacifist
myself, I am naturally inclined to prefer the Smith/Muzorewa and Botha/de
Klerk examples to the other three cases where removal from the scene was
violent. This is an option still open to ZANU PF.

      (5) Civil unrest: whereby all hell breaks loose and we gravitate
towards the "state of nature" where life, in Thomas Hobbes' formulation, is
"solitary, nasty, brutish and short". Civil unrest or mass uprising has many
attendant dangers (seen and unforeseen).

      At least Zimbabwe still has its economic physical infrastructure
intact; its people still have some semblance of goodwill towards one
another. (We still share a joke or two those rare times Jonathan and I bump
into each other!).

      During an uprising, both physical infrastructure and goodwill are
destroyed and it takes long and tedious years to rebuild both.

      Which option do I prefer? I prefer all of them, in the sense that it
depends on circumstances. Option (1) and (5) are the least attractive, yet
they appear the most likely, one leading into the other, as we mindlessly
let this impasse drift along unchecked.

      I don't like option (1) because, although I come from Chipinge, I am
an internationalist in the sense that I strongly subscribe to the view that
where the principles of national sovereignty and human rights are in
conflict, the latter should take precedence. In that sense, I am an
internationalist who happens to come from Chipinge.

      Moreover, good governance and human rights are permanently on the
African and international agenda in the 21st century whether we like it or
not. In that sense, I live in the future, while (oops?) lives in the past.
It's just an opinion, a very important opinion, one might say.

      But frankly, I prefer option (3): bringing forward the presidential
election to occur concurrently with parliamentary elections in 2005 instead
of 2008. It appears to be the best under the currently prevailing
circumstances of meeting the dictates of national sovereignty on the one
hand and human rights and good governance on the other.

      But can the collapsing economic, political and social order hold for
three more years until 2005? That is the question. Some even wonder if
things can hold for the next three months. But, built into the third
scenario or option is the following:

      Mugabe announces he will retire in three years. (Sooner could be more
helpful!) He announces he will not be seeking re-election. He can give his
age as the reason; he will be 81 in 2005!

      This would release his party to search for another leader well ahead
of time for the 2005 presidential election. He would begin negotiating his
retirement package together with those of his colleagues, which they could
ask the international community to underwrite.

      In addition, the President would announce that he would revisit the
constitutional debate of 2000 that was left unfinished in a rush to the 2000
June parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections.

      He would start the process of levelling the electoral playing field by
dismantling the para-military political structures such as the war veterans
and the youth militia.

      He would repeal all the draconian legislation affecting people's civil
liberties and human rights.

      He would take steps to de-politicise the army, police, security
service, judiciary and the public service in general.

      Such democratising agenda and processes can start immediately,
presided over by Mugabe himself. The irony of it is that the President can
do all this to everyone's relief (including himself) and still maintain the
"national sovereignty" that is so dear to him! Why doesn't he do that,
veduwe-e-e; tanzwa!

      In this scenario, Mugabe and ZANU PF would come out smelling like a
rose in that they would claim to have solved both the "land question" and
the "good governance" and "human rights" issues so dear to the MDC and the
international community.

      Both the MDC and the international community would look ridiculous to
insist on re-running the presidential election. I would cease to be an
internationalist and join my friend doing the kongonya dance in the "Fourth
Chimurenga"!

      At any rate, it takes time to even up the playing field and to create
a national psychology for a free and fair election in a population
traumatised for so long, particularly in Zimbabwe's rural areas. In my view,
three years is about the optimal time needed to unblock Zimbabwe's blocked
transition to democracy tidily.

      What is likely to happen in this scenario is immediate positive
response from the international community. Hence the collapsed economy would
start picking up almost immediately after such steps begin to be taken.

      In this scenario, Mugabe's successor (even himself!) might have a
chance to win a truly free and fair election. (I might even consider voting
for a ZANU PF candidate! Chenjera kunyeperwa!). Even if ZANU PF loses,
Zimbabwe would have a democratic constitution that protects even their human
rights and the rule of law.

      This, I submit, would unblock the blocked transition to democracy in
Zimbabwe. This way, both principles of national sovereignty and human rights
and good governance, which contradict each other in this impasse, are
resolved without any further bloodletting and suffering.

      I am aware there is a sixth and perhaps obvious option, the military
option. There are three perspectives on this. The first suggests that a
military coup has already occurred when the military, in one form or
another, intervened and blocked the transition to democracy last year. That
scenario is therefore option (1) (the status quo) which, like any military
government, is already unsatisfactory.

      A second perspective on the military option suggests that the military
will eventually get fed up with the lack of progress since the March
presidential election and stage a proper military coup pending an election
in which existing parties contest. In this scenario, the military itself
might form a political party of its own called the Zimbabwe Military Party
(ZMP) and contest against both ZANU PF and the MDC (Jerry Rawlings style).

      (But, please, please, ndapota, don't get ideas. Hatidi kunyeperana;
zvokutonga hamuzvigoni. Zvokurwa, kabanga!)

      A third perspective on the military option is that the military, as a
corporate entity, might support any of the above five options, except that
option (1) (status quo) has already proven it is not getting the country
anywhere. Option (5) is too chaotic, leaving option (2) (re-run), option (3)
(bringing forward) and option (4) (removing the stumbling block).

      My "patriotic" contention is that the military, as a corporate entity,
would support option (3) more readily than any other, including the second
perspective of the sixth option. This again is only a point of view, again a
very important point of view.

      Finally, how likely is Mugabe to buy into this? It depends on the
skills of the salespersons. The view that the President is irredeemable (won
't change) is too deterministic and pessimistic an idea which is often
advanced by the more sanguinary among us, wittingly or unwittingly.

      Like all of us, Mugabe will push his agenda relative to options
available to him at a given point in time. He is not as blind an actor and
will know when his options have narrowed. And, they have rapidly narrowed
since his controversial re-election.

      But I can't resist admitting that this is a minority view, judging
from what one reads in both Jonathan and Gono's Press! (By the way, both men
could sell the idea if they should decide to become "patriotic").

      Otherwise, the spectre of civil unrest looms ahead, larger than life.
When is this going to occur? This is a question those who know don't tell,
and those who tell don't know.

      But this too depends on the skills of the salespersons of the idea,
and there are many; some of them are hungry for food while others are hungry
for fuel. Somehow, they will meet and press demands.

      They don't need a salesperson. I shudder to contemplate the
consequences. All this can be avoided by looking very closely at option (3).

        a.. Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at
the University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public
Opinion Institute. While he is currently on sabbatical leave in the United
States of America, Sithole can be contacted at e-mail address
msithole@usip.org and telephone number (202) 429 3819.
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FinGaz

      10 000 voters added to Kuwadzana voters' roll

      Staff Reporter
      1/9/03 9:41:09 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday alleged
that it had unearthed hundreds of phantom and non-resident voters in
Kuwadzana constituency in an audit that revealed 10 000 new names had been
added to the voters' roll since the March 2002 presidential election.

      The MDC faces the ruling ZANU PF in a by-election to replace the late
Learnmore Jongwe, the opposition party's member of Parliament for Kuwadzana
who died last year.

      The government is still to set the dates for the poll, in which MDC
national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa will square off against a ruling
party candidate yet to be nominated.

      The opposition party's campaign manager in Kuwadzana, Charlton Hwende,
said an MDC audit of the Kuwadzana voters' register showed a total 10 000
new names of potential voters had been added to the roll since the
presidential election controversially won by President Robert Mugabe last
year.

      Hwende said a physical check by the MDC showed that several of the new
voters did not live at the Kuwadzana addresses listed as their residences on
the voters' register.

      Another 150 people registered to vote in the by-election actually live
in the ZANU PF stronghold of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe constituency in
Mashonaland East province, he said.

      Some of the new voters were traced to Dziva-rasekwa high-density
suburb, located close to Kuwadzana, while others were from Epworth just
outside Harare and Seke communal lands.

      Hwende told the Financial Gazette: "We deployed about 90 people, 30
per ward, to carry out an extensive audit on the voters' roll. What was most
worrying about the results of the audit was the number of voters who are not
known by the landlords and the neighbours at the addresses where they are
purported to be staying.

      "A good number, about 150, is coming from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe,
while others are from Seke Rural and from urban constituencies such as
Epworth and Dzivarasekwa, where ZANU PF enjoys substantial support."

      Hwende said the MDC's 90-member audit team had uncovered cases where
up to 25 potential voters were listed on the voters' roll as residing at a
given Kuwadzana address, where in fact only five people lived.

      Several names of long deceased people were also still appearing on the
voters register, according to Hwende.

      The MDC official said his party had conducted its audit using the
voters' roll utilised in last year's presidential ballot and another copy of
the register supplied by Mudede's office.

      Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, who is in charge of compiling the
voters' roll, could not be reached for comment on the matter by the time of
going to print last night. The Registrar General has been accused of
manipulating the voters' roll to favour ZANU PF.

      Mudede, whose office this week confirmed that thousands of mostly ZANU
PF supporting illegal settlers at Whitecliff farm adjacent to Kuwadzana had
been registered to vote in the upcoming by-election, denies the charge.

      ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa said his party
was happy with the Kuwadzana voters' roll and vehemently denied charges that
ineligible ruling party members were being added to the register to ensure
the party won the by-election.

      He told the Financial Gazette: "What rigging? Are they already
panicking? The voters' roll was open for inspection. They can't just be
unhappy in their offices. They have got to inspect the voters' roll.

      "That is the purpose for inspection, to rectify anomalies. You can't
just sit at home and be unhappy. You put forward your concerns."

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FinGaz

      Govt presses DRC to pay $100 bn debt in forex

      Staff Reporter
      1/9/03 9:40:21 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is pressing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
to pay part of the $100 billion Zimbabwe spent on the DRC's four-year civil
war in foreign currency in a bid to boost the country's hard cash resources,
it was learnt this week.

      Government officials said the Zimbabwean ministerial delegation that
visited the DRC last November had tabled the proposal to the Congolese
because of the country's biting fuel crisis.

      "Various ways were discussed on commercial deals which can be
implemented by the two governments (to settle the debt)," an official, who
spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Financial Gazette.

      "One option Zimbabwe has tabled is to have compensation of the war
effort paid in foreign currency to help pay for our fuel bill."

      Officials in the Ministry of Finance, which has been involved in
negotiations on the DRC war debt, could not comment on the matter yesterday.

      Contacted on his mobile phone, the ministry's permanent secretary,
Nicholas Ncube, said he was attending a funeral and was unable to discuss
the issue.

      Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi declined to comment,
saying he was "busy attending to pressing issues".

      Sources however said the Zimbabwean government had received no
response to their proposals from Kinshasa, which wants to compensate
Zimbabwe through timber and diamond concessions.

      The sources said representatives of the DRC government had told the
Harare officials at the November meeting that the onus was on Zimbabwe to
ensure that the concessions the country was granted became operational.

      They said the proposal made to the DRC was only one of several options
the Zimbabwean government was considering to pay its fuel bill after a
procurement deal with Libya failed to halt the country's liquid fuel crisis.

      Zimbabwe needs about US$45 million a month to meet its fuel
requirements, but has been unable to raise the money because of a hard cash
squeeze, which has adversely affected business and the country's public
transport system.

      Official sources said the country's fuel shortages had worsened in the
past few weeks because President Robert Mugabe had been advised against
acceding to demands by Libya to barter fuel for the national oil-pipeline at
Feruka and storage depots in Masasa.

      Libya emerged as the country's main liquid energy supplier after a
deal in which the North African country supplied Zimbabwe with fuel on
preferential terms in exchange for investment opportunities.

      According to government sources, the Libyans had initially been
interested in ventures in the hotel, tourism, farming and financial sectors,
before further casting their eyes on key Zimbabwean fuel assets.

      Sources say government and National Oil Company of Zimbabwe officials
had advised Mugabe against endorsing further demands that they described as
"outrageous".

      "President Robert Mugabe was advised that it was improper to let the
Libyans get the pipeline and depots as they had been demanding because those
are of national strategic and security importance," a government official
told the Financial Gazette. "That was the hitch."

      Analysts this week said the government was under pressure to quickly
resolve the fuel crisis, which has been cited as one of the key factors
affecting the viability of local businesses.

      The Matabeleland Chamber of Industries this week warned that the fuel
crisis was one of the reasons that could forced half of its 75 members out
of business in the first quarter of this year.
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THE MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI'S SPEECH TO MDC MPs AND WARD COUNCILLORS ON THE PARTY'S POSITION ON THE ZIMBABWE UNIFORMED FORCES.
 
Harare, January 9, 2003.
The Mugabe regime has been using scare tactics to foment hostility in the Zimbabwe uniformed forces i.e. the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) towards the MDC. The common tactic used has been to cast these uniformed forces as part and parcel of the political structures of ZANU PF. In this context the vain, cowardly and despicable strategy has been to try to portray the national uniformed forces, together with ZANU PF, as the common political opponents of the MDC. This is a deliberate attempt by ZANU PF to bring the uniformed forces in its political battles against the people, led by the MDC. The position of the MDC in this diabolical scheme has always been clear and consistent as spelt out in our defence policy, which is a public document. Mugabe and ZANU PF are acutely aware of our defence policy.
We have no political quarrel with all the Zimbabwe uniformed forces and we regard all them as patriotic, national, professional rather than partisan, and political. I would therefore want to take this opportunity to clarify once and for all, the party’s position on these key national institutions.
THE UNIFORMED FORCES HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO FEAR FROM AN MDC GOVERNMENT. THEY CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A HEALTHY AND PROFESSIONAL FUTURE THAT IS FREE OF POLITICAL ABUSE.
The MDC unequivocally recognizes and unconditionally accepts that the ZNA, the AFZ and the ZRP, just like the civil service, are permanent and eternally enduring national institutions, which are provided for in the Zimbabwe Constitution. They are an expression of, and therefore indispensable guarantees for our security, sovereignty and national independence. These are cardinal issues on which the MDC has never and will never surrender or compromise on.
 An MDC government will protect and respect the professional integrity and organizational autonomy of all the uniformed forces. The organizational hierarchy and seniority of all the uniformed forces will be respected and guaranteed; and the criteria for advancement and promotion will be respected.
 Pensions and all other benefits will be guaranteed and the usual public service mechanisms to keep pensions in line with the cost of living adjustments will apply.
The MDC government will not implement, tolerate or support any policy or programme that deliberately seeks to disrupt the organizational integrity and professionalism of the uniformed forces. The organizational continuity of all the uniformed forces will be guaranteed.
Immediately after the formation of an MDC government, we will implement a programme of national healing and reconciliation. We shall not allow past memories, past bitterness and past vendettas to continue to haunt the nation. No one will benefit from dwelling in the past.
 For the uniformed forces, the practical implication of this policy is that we shall draw a line that will put an irrevocable seal or closure on the events and tragedies of the past.
There will be no recrimination or persecution of members of the uniformed forces. We will expect and encourage the uniformed forces to join the nation as one patriotic force and march together with courage and determination towards the re-building of our country and invent a prosperous future for posterity.
 As with all other citizens of our great nation, constitutionally guaranteed roles, rights and privileges come with responsibilities. In this regard, the MDC government will expect and require all our uniformed forces to reverently adhere to their constitutionally mandated role of defending the nation against security threats. However, we will require that all the uniformed forces desist from participation in partisan politics as organised units.
 IT IS INTOLERABLE IN ANY DEMOCRACY FOR THE UNIFORMED FORCES TO AGREE TO THE PARTISAN USE OF THEIR MILITARY MIGHT AND INTERVENE TO DECIDE THE OUTCOMES OF DEMOCRATIC CONTESTS BY POLITICAL PARTIES.
 The uniformed forces should not agree to act as armed wings of any political party. They are to act as non-partisan patriotic units rendering non-political and constitutionally determined service to the nation as a whole.
Under an MDC government, all members of the uniformed forces will be free to exercise their democratic political rights as citizens and participate in electoral politics as private individuals, but never as organized units of the uniformed forces.
 The root of the crisis in Zimbabwe today is a crisis of governance, which manifests itself in a political contest between the MDC and ZANU PF.
The Zimbabwe uniformed forces are not party to this political contest and therefore they have absolutely no political role to play in it. Bringing them into the contest does not only violate the Police Act and the Defence Act, thereby seriously undermining political neutrality and professionalism, but it is also patently unconstitutional.
We therefore call upon all the uniformed forces to be facilitative of peaceful and democratic political change, rather than agree to play an obstructive role that may ultimately send the nation tumbling into the abyss or catastrophe. In the new democracies in Africa and elsewhere today, the uniformed forces have played a critical role in ensuring that political change is democratic, orderly and peaceful:
·        In Senegal the uniformed forces maintained their non-political, non-partisan and constitutional role and the change of government was a model for all Africa to emulate.
·        Ghana moved from a government with a direct military legacy to a purely civilian democratic government; the uniformed forces, by sticking to their constitutional role ensured that the democratic process was irrevocable.
·        Only yesterday, the uniformed forces of Kenya pledged loyalty to a newly elected democratic government, and the country has laid down a firm foundation for national renewal, recovery and development.
·        Had the uniformed forces chosen to disrupt the democratic transitions in Namibia and South Africa those two countries would have been plunged into chaos.
·        In Venezuela, for the past month, political parties have been locked in political combat, but the Venezuelan uniformed forces have remained loyal to their constitutional mandate. They have refused to take a partisan position.
·        Brazil has just effected a smooth change of government, and the uniformed forces abstained from interfering in the political process.
 The plain truth is that the world is now a hostile place for uniformed forces that expand their roles to the realm of politics.  Political change will come with or without the co-operation of the uniformed forces as it did in many countries in Africa and beyond, but it is preferable and in the national interest that political change be orderly and peaceful. The uniformed forces in Zimbabwe must therefore play their part by being professional and non-partisan. There should be absolutely no room for the involvement of the armed forces in political contests between the MDC and ZANU PF.It is now self-evident to all Zimbabweans that the Mugabe regime is illegitimate and has lost all the capacity to solve the problems of the nation.
 
The unending fuel crisis has now reached its zenith and Mugabe does not even know where the next litre of petrol or diesel is going to come from. With food shortages set to continue until 2004, there is no sustainable programme to feed the nation throughout 2003. We all face a bleak and frightening common future. Without a comprehensive political solution no amount of military force would ever resolve the problems of the country.
The uniformed forces of Zimbabwe can play a positive role as facilitators of democratic change if they abstain from partisan intervention in politics. Democracy and good governance can not be decided by the gun.
As a result of the regime’s pathological ineptitude it has opted for a false solution that seeks refuge in the militarisation of politics.
  The overall strategy is to try to spread the blame for its misrule and then hide behind the uniformed forces. They have tried to create a civil-military junta in order to use military means to ward-off democratic challenges from the people.
 The Mugabe regime today finds itself in a situation in which it uses the uniformed forces to protect itself from democracy. Protecting illegitimate regimes from democracy is surely not the responsibility of the uniformed forces.
 This overt and illegitimate militarisation of politics is one of the key reasons why the MDC has spurned recent efforts through some shadowy and retired military elements to involve the uniformed forces in the search for a political solution to the country’s problems.
 Our position is that the uniformed forces have absolutely no functional or constitutional role to play in the Zimbabwe political equation. 
 The departure of the uniformed forces from partisan political activity is the only course of action that will guarantee the triumph of the sovereign will of the of the people of Zimbabwe. They should therefore not be abused by a bankrupt and corrupt regime that is too cowardly to face the consequences of its tyrannical actions.
  THE PLAIN TRUTH IS THAT THE UNIFORMED FORCES HAVE NO CASE TO ANSWER IN THE COURT OF ZIMBABWEAN PUBLIC OPNION. THEY ARE NOT AND HAVE NEVER BEEN ON TRIAL. IT IS THE CIVILIAN POLITICIANS IN ZANU PF WHO HAVE, MUST FACE A DEMOCRATIC INDICTMENT.
 The MDC is a legal, national, patriotic and constitutional political party that upholds the sanctity of the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and the sacredness of the people’s expression of their sovereign popular will through democratic, free and fair elections.
 In that regard we remain unshaken in our conviction that the path to Zimbabwe’s future is a civilian rather than a military or semi-military one.
 The test of acceptability for any government in Zimbabwe must lie with the people and not some civil-military junta. The uniformed forces have no business in, and must resist the unconstitutional expansion of their mandate to embrace the illegitimate role of king-makers in the vain exercise of serving the fortunes of a regime that has clearly lost the political and moral authority to govern Zimbabwe.
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Daily News

      Appointment of governors slammed

      1/9/2003 12:31:23 PM (GMT +2)


      By Fanuel Jongwe

      THE government's intention to appoint governors for Harare and
Bulawayo has been condemned as "a retrogressive development". Ignatius
Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
was quoted in yesterday's Herald as saying President Mugabe had declared in
last Friday's Government Gazette that Harare and Bulawayo would have
governors.

      Chombo reportedly said "the legal modalities" had already been worked
out. He said the governors could be used to dish out State resources to
favoured beneficiaries. The chairman of National Constitutional Assembly,
(NCA), Lovemore Madhuku, whose organisation is pressing for constitutional
reform, said Mugabe was cashing in on flaws in the current constitution to
protect Zanu PF's interests.

      "There is nothing in the Constitution that protects local
 authorities," Madhuku said.

      "As things stand, anything can happen as long as you are not protected
by the Constitution. Mugabe can abolish the mayorship or reduce the powers
of mayors."
      He said Zimbabwe's Constitution allows eight governors to sit in
Parliament so Mugabe would have to either appoint the two governors from
sitting non-constituency members of Parliament or appoint two other people
to become governors.

      He said it was not possible to pick from elected MPs as they would
have to resign from Parliament once they were appointed governors. "If
Mugabe appoints people who are not sitting MPs to become governors, he will
have to work out which two governors would not sit in Parliament as the
Constitution allows only eight governors to sit in the House," Madhuku said.

      "I hope Zimbabweans will learn from this and realise why we are
advocating for a democratic constitution," he said. Madhuku said the NCA's
proposed constitution protects local authorities from abuse by the
government.

      Chombo said the governors would "co-ordinate urban agriculture, road
construction, public works programmes and link developmental programmes with
adjacent provinces".

      The proposal has been viewed as a ploy to undermine Harare Executive
Mayor Elias Mudzuri, and Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, his counterpart in Bulawayo.
The two were elected on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
tickets. Mudzuri and Chombo have clashed on a number of policies, while the
State media has launched a relentless campaign to discredit the mayor and
his MDC-dominated council.
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Daily News

      Masvingo water supplies contaminated

      1/9/2003 12:28:10 PM (GMT +2)


      From Our Correspondent in Masvingo

      MASVINGO city faces a serious health hazard as companies are
discharging effluent, including raw sewerage, into Lake Mutirikwi, the city'
s sole source of water.

      Companies in Masvingo's industrial area are currently disposing of
their waste into Mucheke and Shagashe rivers which feed into the lake.

      This has raised strong fears among residents that their drinking water
might be polluted.

      Residents say the practice has remained unchecked for months. Luckson
Mudzinganyama, a spokesman for the residents, said the council should
seriously look into the matter to avoid a serious disease outbreak. He said:
"We feel our water is not safe for drinking. Companies and organisations are
discharging waste into rivers which directly feed into the lake. As
residents, we demand to know whether our water is still safe to drink."

      The Executive Mayor of Masvingo, Engineer Alois Chaimiti, said
yesterday he had tasked the city's health department to look into the
matter.

      Chaimiti admitted some companies were discharging waste and raw sewage
into the rivers which feed into the lake, a practice he said should stop.

      "I am also worried about the waste being discharged into the rivers. I
have instructed the city's health department to look into the issue," said
Chaimiti. But the mayor assured residents that Masvingo's water was safe to
drink. Chaimiti said: "The waste being disgorged into the rivers has not yet
affected the quality of our water. "In fact, the town has the best water in
the country. Our water purification plant is perfect and residents are
assured of quality water."
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Daily News

      Anti-Chombo demo quashed

      1/9/2003 12:40:46 PM (GMT +2)


      By Obert Matahwa

      BATON-WIELDING police yesterday sealed off Harare's Town House and its
immediate surroundings to quash a demonstration against the Minister
      of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius
Chombo.

      Police spokesman Bothwell Mugariri confirmed to the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) last night the arrest of eight people saying
they would be charged with violating Section 19 (a) (i) of the repressive
Public Order and Security Act.

      In the ensuing skirmishes, the police allegedly arrested a couple
along the First Street Mall and seized their video camera.

      The demonstrators carried placards in support of Harare Executive
Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who has been the target of constant attacks from
Chombo.

      Passers-by were caught up in the melee as the police indiscriminately
attacked those who happened to cross their path. A Daily News crew witnessed
a policeman forcing a woman walking along Julius Nyerere Way to pick up
placards which had been abandoned on the streets as the demonstrators fled
in different directions, with the police in hot pursuit.

      The protesters, mostly youths numbering about 200, grouped in the
central business district, waving placards denouncing Chombo for his
continued interference in the affairs of the Harare City Council.

      Last week, Chombo ordered the council to reinstate Nomutsa Chideya,
the town clerk, Lovemore Mbengeranwa, the director of health services, and
Leslie Gwindi, the public relations manager all suspended by the opposition
MDC-dominated council last year for incompetence, insubordination and having
been irregularly recruited, respectively.

      Mudzuri, elected on an MDC ticket last March, has said the three will
not be
      reinstated.

      Gabriel Chaibva, the MDC shadow Minister of Local Government Affairs,
condemned the arrests and use of brute force by the police."The Mugabe
regime through . . . Ignatius Chombo, has made several attempts to frustrate
the Mudzuri-led council," Chaibva said.

      He said the arrests were a violation of the residents' constitutional
rights. Chombo's order to Mudzuri to reinstate the suspended officials was
in contravention of the Urban Councils Act, added Chaibva.

      A police source said eight people were arrested and taken to Harare
Central Police Station. Mudzuri denied a news report by the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) that he had organised the demonstration
against Chombo. In a statement last night, the Harare mayor said: "It is
very unfortunate that the ZBC is making serious and malicious allegations
about His Honour, Executive Mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri's involvement in
organising the demonstrations that have taken place today.

      "I wish to deny categorically that I made any input whatsoever in
organising the demonstrations."
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$500 Notes Shortages Set to Worsen



Financial Gazette (Harare)
January 9, 2003
Posted to the web January 9, 2003
Staff Reporter
Harare
FIDELITY Printers, Zimbabwe's sole printer of money, has failed to pay
millions of dollars owed to a German paper supplier, raising fears that
shortages of $500 notes will continue in the next few weeks, the Financial
Gazette has established.
Although it was not possible to ascertain this week how much Fidelity
Printers, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, owed
the German firm, sources within the central bank said the debt ran "into
several millions of American dollars."
"The central bank has not been settling its dues for some time," a source
said.
Fidelity Printers chief executive Christopher Kambasha would not comment on
the matter this week, referring all inquiries to the central bank.
The was no immediate response from the Reserve Bank's public affairs
department, whose officials were said to be out of the office on business.
However, officials within the Ministry of Finance warned that the shortage
of notes was likely to continue because of Zimbabwe's numerous, pressing
foreign debts, most of which are in arrears.
The country's foreign arrears have reached US$1.3 billion and are expected
to rise this year because of a severe foreign currency crisis that has
dogged Zimbabwe for the past three years.
Sources said the shortages of bank notes could also be attributed to recent
central bank guidelines to banks, aimed at curbing withdrawals of cash and
distribution of $500 notes at a time Zimbabwe's hyperinflationary
environment has led to a high demand for money.
The country's capital inflows have declined from US$502 million in 1995 to a
net outflow of US$347 million in November last year.
"Bankers were asked to scrutinise people with suspicious looking accounts,
or who either bank or withdraw a lot of money," a source told the Financial
Gazette.
A Harare based economist this week warned that if the shortage of $500 notes
continued, it would pose a security threat to members of the public who
would now be forced to carry large quantities of bank notes for their
transactions.
"The greatest problem is that people holding money for large transactions
would be exposed to thieves as they would be handling a lot of money," said
the economist.
"The other problem is that this might lead to a shortage of money in the
formal market, which might lead to another parallel market of our money," he
added.
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Fine Time in Fuel Queue



Financial Gazette (Harare)

OPINION
January 9, 2003
Posted to the web January 9, 2003

Richard Wiley
Harare

ON Christmas Eve at around 1400 hours, I was "enjoying" the passing of the
third hour in a petrol queue blessed with blazing sunshine.

As my house happened to be less than two kilometres from my position in the
queue, I asked my wife to bring me a couple of beers. Liquid refreshment had
become a necessity in the aforementioned heat and unsurprisingly, the slowly
approaching garage couldn't help as the fridges were devoid of any
refreshments of a more sugary nature.



Being a generous fellow, I couldn't let a friend a couple of cars back in
the queue go without his share of the amber nectar so the two of us retired
to the shade of a leafy tree situated not far from a "police station".

Needless to say, a couple of PC Plods passing by in a ZRP vehicle found
unusual levels of energy and alighted with alacrity with the declared intent
of carting the two of us to the nearby "station".

The crime, we were bluntly informed, was to consume alcoholic beverages in
public. The charge was a hefty $5 000 each.

The fact that our vehicles were now within spitting distance of the oasis
called a service station was of no concern to the Plods. "Come now and pay"
was the clear message.

No warning was entertained, no consideration given to the circumstances, but
that's life and so is the fact that patrons have for 20 years consumed
alcohol in public outside a bottle store within direct line of sight of the
self-same police station. To my knowledge, not one of these imbibers has
been apprehended.

I continue to hear and read tales of woe concerning the use/carriage of
chigubhus containing liquid fuels.

Many motorists have had this fuel and containers "confiscated" at places
such as Beit Bridge border post or even at roadblocks manned by individuals
purporting to be representatives of the ZRP.

Worse, I have heard of many victims being allowed to retain their chigubhus
and the contents thereof, but only on payment of a "fine". The word "fine"
is, of course, a euphemism for "bribe". The most commonly applied "fine"
seems to amount to $5 000.

At the time of the last major fuel shortage, a lawyer sent me a copy of the
Hazardous Substances Act with the specific purpose of demonstrating that
there is no law which prevents any person from storing (or moving) liquid
fuels in a loose container.

To my knowledge there has been no change whatsoever to this legislation but
that doesn't seem to deter a multitude of individuals from exploiting
positions of power and profiting at the expense of innocent individuals.

Now to matters of a more relevant nature but possibly of more appeal to
those who are small-minded, in this case, in a nice sense.

I am referring to that littlest of urban runabouts called the MCC Smart
which is produced by yet another division of that global giant,
DaimlerChrysler.

I first saw a Smart at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show and was frankly
staggered that the proprietors of the three-pointed star should involve
themselves in such a project.

Memory tells me that the Smart was initially a slow seller but the expansion
of the dealer network in Europe has seen sales pick up considerably such
that these "cars" are a common sight, even in the UK.

The range has in fact expanded from the original Coupë to include a City
Cabriolet, a Crossblade and a Roadster but for purposes of this article, I
will confine my comments to the original model.

This two-seater is available in a number of configurations which are
identified by descriptions such as Pulse and Passion. Whichever model you
consider, all are powered by a turbocharged three cylinder, fuel-injected
motor mounted in the rear.

The basic model produces 44 bhp at 5250 rpm. This is sufficient to propel
the little machine to a limited top end of 135 km/h with 100 km/h reached in
18.9 seconds.

The smarter Smarts feature more turbo boost which results in a peak power
output of 61 bhp with torque rising to 88 Nm. The restricted top speed
remains but 100 km/h is reached in just 16.8 seconds. (A 54 bhp motor is
also available for models fitted with auto transmission). A six-speed
sequential gearbox (motorbike-style) is offered as standard fare but for the
lazier motorist, a "soft-touch" auto is also available.

Front suspension is by conventional McPherson struts while the rear end sees
a resurrection of the old De Dion system fitted with coil springs. In all
applications, the front wheels are four inches wide while the rears grow by
one-and-a-half inches to promote a decidedly sporty stance.

When you first see a Smart, your most immediate impression is how tiny the
darned thing is. To put this in perspective, its total length is 2.5 metres
on the button while its width is a smidgen over 1.5 metres. Given the
miniscule dimensions, it may come as something of a surprise that kerb
weight is as much as 720 kg.

The fuel tank holds a relatively generous 35 litres and provides a fuel
range of approximately 600 kms in urban use.

Prices in Britain range from anywhere between £6 500 to £10 000 depending on
model and specification. This large variance points to the availability of a
huge range of options, the most attractive of which are airconditioning and
side airbags to name just two.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe there's a Smart running around Harare and I'm
told Zimoco is in the process of importing a couple. Doubtless they'll be
great fun in an urban environment but please consider they could disappear
completely in some of Harare's potholes.

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FinGaz

      Govt considers wildlife-based land reform

      Staff Reporter
      1/9/03 9:43:42 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is considering a policy document promoting sustainable
wildlife management within the land reform programme, which has cost
Zimbabwe at least $6 billion in poached wildlife in the past two years, the
Financial Gazette has established.

      Officials within the Ministry of Environment said the document, titled
Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy, was drafted in July by the ministry and
the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, in
conjunction with two international wildlife conservation groups.

      The document was submitted to other ministries at the end of last
year, the officials said.

      The objectives of the proposed wildlife-based land reform policy, a
copy of which is in the possession of this newspaper, include equitable
access to land and wildlife resources as well as sustainable management of
wildlife.

      "In addition to engendering greater production efficiency in the
wildlife management sector, this policy seeks to address past inequities
with respect to access to wildlife resources and benefits," the draft policy
document says.

      "However, the current land reform is silent on how to incorporate
wildlife-based land uses. Therefore, in order that various proposals for
wildlife-based land reform can be given due attention, it is necessary to
articulate a relevant policy that will encourage sustainable management of
Zimbabwe's wildlife resources."

      It was not possible to ascertain this week if and when the document
would be brought before Cabinet for discussion.

      The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Lucas Tavaya,
yesterday would only say that the government was still "looking into the
document" without going into detail.

      Wildlife industry officials estimate that at least 50 percent of
Zimbabwe's wildlife has been wiped out by poachers in the past two years,
and that the country has lost more than $6 billion in revenue.

      Most of the poaching has been blamed on war veterans, who began
occupying white-owned farms in February 2000, and on beneficiaries of the
government's controversial land reform programme.

      Disregard for the country's wildlife in the implementation of the
agrarian reforms has resulted in the loss of not only wildlife but
vegetation and animal habitats that conservationists say will only
regenerate after many years.

      Animal conservancies and tourism resorts have also been adversely
affected by the land reform programme.

      "Whether planned or not, virtually all resettlement has been based on
use of land for agriculture," the draft Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy
said. "This emphasis on crops and livestock has fuelled poaching, habitat
degradation and woodland loss on newly settled farms.

      "The (Wildlife-Based Land Reform) policy is underpinned by recognition
that wildlife is a viable land use option that can facilitate attainment of
equity objectives and that it is feasible. This policy is complemented by
existing natural resources legislation and the state protected area system."

      The document proposes the creation of wildlife production zones
outside protected areas that are dedicated to conservation.

      "In these areas, wildlife should be the only permitted primary land
use option. Outside core zones, wildlife production, amongst other land use
options, will be encouraged," the draft policy said. "Wildlife production
must be maintained where it is the most appropriate land use option."
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FinGaz

      Govt refuses to grant Harare council borrowing powers


      1/9/03 9:43:11 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has refused to grant the Harare City Council borrowing
powers that would enable it to undertake crucial capital projects in 2003,
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said yesterday.

      Chombo told the Financial Gazette that his ministry and the Ministry
of Finance would only grant the council borrowing powers when it had a
strategic plan in place.

      He said a plan was necessary because the city council had suffered
financially during the tenure of the Solomon Tawengwa-led council, which was
dismissed by the government for mismanagement in 1999.

      The minister said by granting the council borrowing powers, the
government was acting as the guarantor for funds borrowed and it wanted to
see a document clearly spelling out what the council intended to achieve
during its term in office.

      "It is the state which guarantees the borrowing and we have to be
satisfied that it will be used in line with government plans for the next
few years," Chombo told the Financial Gazette.

      Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri said the government's refusal to grant the
Harare municipality borrowing powers would this year adversely affect its
operations, which last year were severely hampered by the lack of borrowing
powers.

      He said although the Ministry of Local Government had approved the
city's 2003 budget, the council would be unable to undertake capital
projects unless the borrowing powers were granted.

      "The budget approval will not serve much without the borrowing
powers," said Mudzuri, adding that important infrastructure development
would be derailed.

      Capital projects that the city will not have sufficient funds to
undertake this year include the upgrading of sewerage treatment plants, the
construction of additional reservoirs and the servicing of housing stands.

      - Staff Reporter

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