|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The aircraft, an Air Zimbabwe cash cow, plies the
Harare-London route and
generates about $3 billion a week for the troubled national carrier.
High-level sources said Mugabe left the country
early last week on an Air
Zimbabwe plane to Johannesburg on his way to Malaysia for both a holiday and
He left the Air Zimbabwe
plane in Johannesburg and proceeded on a commercial
flight to Kuala Lumpur. After vacationing for a few days in Malaysia,
Mugabe, who is travelling with his family, met the country's new Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for a 30-minute courtesy call on Tuesday.
The two leaders discussed trade
and investment issues. Badawi recently
succeeded Mugabe's close ally, Mahathir Mohamad.
Mugabe on Wednesday also met Indonesian President
Megawati Sukarnoputri for
talks that centred on enhancing economic and trade cooperation between the
Indonesian Foreign minister
Hassan Wirajuda said his country could soon send
a delegation to Zimbabwe to discuss trade and investment issues.
During the meeting, Megawati invited Mugabe to attend the 50th anniversary
of the histo-ric Asia/Africa Conference next year. Mugabe said Zimbabwe has
decided to open an embassy in Jakarta by the end of this year.
Observers in Jakarta said statements by both
Wirajuda and Megawati appeared
carefully measured to avoid any blanket endorsement of Mugabe.
Sources said Mugabe on Monday called Air
Zimbabwe while still in Malaysia to
send the 767-200, which had to be dispatched immediately to take him to
"He called on
Monday and demanded the plane and it was sent to Malaysia
immediately," a source said. "The plane left with a number of big containers
in it apparently to carry his goods and was due to be away for five days. A
lot of passengers travelling between Harare and London who use that plane
were left stranded."
Mugabe is expected back home today or tomorrow from
Singapore where he made
his last stop during his trip to the now preferred Far East holiday
destinations. Over the past three years Mugabe has taken his holidays in the
Far East following the closure to him of European destinations.
Early last year the First Couple went to Singapore and
brought back large
quantities of personal goods.
returns to work in early February, Mugabe was understood to be
coming home early because his children are due back at school next week.
habit of commandeering Air Zimbabwe planes for his personal use has
been costing the beleaguered national airline billions of dollars in lost
"Air Zimbabwe will lose more than $3 billion during
the five days that he
has the plane because this time around we had many passengers travelling to
London," a source at the national airline said.
Church raises $30m for Mugabe
HEAR the Word Ministries in Borrowdale last month gave President Mugabe a
$30 million gift raised through a collection at the church.
Members of the congregation this week said there was a danger that the
church group - formerly Rhema - could be seen as part of Mugabe's patronage
Pastor Tom Deuschle, the head of the church,
however said the gift was in
accordance with the scriptures and should not be interpreted in any way as
an endorsement of everything Mugabe is doing.
"It wasn't a Christmas present. It was a collection for a gift
president. It amounted to close to $30 million. The scriptures say that we
should honour our leaders," said Deuschle
present when the collection was taken said a number of people
were deeply disturbed over this.
He said a passage in the Bible was quoted to
justify the collection.
Deuschle acknowledged the displeasure of some members over the gift, which
he said the church only decided upon in line with scriptures.
"There has been some criticism of giving a gift to
this man because some
people are saying that he has caused all sorts of havoc in the country," he
"But we are honouring the office of the
president and he is the incumbent.
It doesn't mean that we entirely agree with what he has done. It's not an
endorsement of him."
said that whilst there was a lot of controversy regarding
leadership, the Bible also teaches Christ's followers to bring grace unto
"The Bible says bless those who despise you. Even if
we believe the
president is despising us, we as Christians have to bless him. Our church is
apolitical, we don't belong to Zanu PF or the MDC but we seek to bring grace
to all people," he said.
Mugabe has been blamed for
the country's plunge into economic chaos as he
obstinately clings to power.
The church in Zimbabwe as well as in the region has directed a
criticism at Mugabe.
Reports by the Peace for
Solidarity Trust, a group of clergy based in South
Africa released last year, described Mugabe's regime as a "rogue" state.
Battle for control of Kondozi turns ugly
THE battle to control the multi-billion dollar Kondozi farm in Odzi turned
ugly this week when Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda)
workers supported by Zanu PF youths violently clashed with farm workers.
The Arda workers and Zanu PF supporters wanted to evict Kondozi staff to
take control of the farm. Three people were reportedly injured in the
The 224-hectare horticultural products project with a turnover of US$15
million and employing around 5 000 workers has been at the centre of
controversy with Lands and Agriculture minister Joseph Made spearheading its
invasion on Christmas day. The property is registered as an Export
Processing Zone farm and is only second to Mitchell & Mitchell of Marondera
in horticultural production.
Highly-placed sources at
the farm told the Zimbabwe Independent there was a
shooting incident at Kondozi farm on Tuesday as Arda staff tried to evict
"More than three shots were fired as an
11-member-gang of Zanu PF youths led
by an Arda employee, only identified as Zuze, fought running battles with
Kondozi workers," officials at Kondozi said.
Sources said Zuze was armed during the invasion and is
understood to have
fired the shots.
Kondozi farm owner Edwin
Masimba Moyo confirmed the incident.
"A group of 11 people, comprising Arda employees and unemployed youths,
attempted to forcibly grab office keys from our management team," Moyo said.
"Sensing danger, the management
sounded an alarm to which all our workers
responded resulting in a scuffle with the invading group. Zuze fired at our
workers. Three of our workers were injured in the process," he said.
He said the case has been reported to Mutare police.
Moyo said he was not contesting the acquisition of the
farm but wants
permission to remove his equipment.
"Even in my
High Court case, my argument was never about the land but how I
should remove my equipment.
"Arda, acting on instructions from Made, is stopping us
from taking our
equipment and for as long as they are standing in my way the battle is still
on," he said.
Moyo said he wanted to give the
equipment to the out-growers so that they
can continue supplying products for the export project.
This week government in a story carried by the
Herald quoting an
unidentified government source, labelled Moyo an Uncle Tom who was a front
for Piet de Klerk from whom he is leasing the farm.
Moyo this week said he is the major shareholder in the project
with a 52%
stake while de Klerk and Adrian Zeederberg own 24% apiece.
Doctors win the battle but ...
IN a desperate bid to avert the total collapse of the country's health
delivery system the government has agreed to an accommodation with doctors
on pay, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The doctors are now set to gross $6 million a month including allowances.
The basic salary has been increased from $378 000 to $1,7 million a month.
Allowances payable to doctors now amount to $4,3 million a month.
On-call allowances have been
increased by 400% from a monthly $450 000.
Other allowances including transport, housing and medical aid have been
increased by about the same margin. The doctors now also enjoy a new risk
on-call allowances which were taxed at the rate of 45% will now be
levied at a concessionary rate of 40%. A special tax bracket for this
allowance of 40% has been arranged. Zimbabwe's tax, one of the highest in
the world, is 45%. The Public Service Commission is also finalising the risk
allowance for the doctors.
The deal saw doctors who had embarked on a three-month
calling off the strike on Wednesday. Sources in the PSC told the Independent
that they feared their deal with the doctors would invite the wrath of other
civil servants who are demanding a 600% salary hike.
"Doctors are part of the civil service and their salary
requirements are not
treated separately," said the source.
were genuine fears that if the monthly salaries of doctors were to
skyrocket, this would inflate the public service salary structure. The only
solution was to hike the allowances which differ from one sector to
another," he said.
The compromise deal is also a stop-gap measure until the
Health Services Commission is established. The move will see the health
profession severing ties with the PSC.
David Parirenyatwa said he couldn't give the exact date when
it will come into effect.
"You cannot have a date on such a thing can you?" said
"What we know is that it has passed through cabinet and we are working
through other channels," he said.
Muchena, Mahofa compete for hearts
ZANU PF MPs Olivia Muchena and Shuvai Mahofa of Mutoko South and Gutu South
respectively have threatened to stop donors from distributing food relief in
their constituencies, as villagers no longer attend party meetings and
There are however good turnouts when donors come in to distribute food in
Sources said Muchena
addressed a meeting at Nyamakosi Village in her
constituency last month at which she threatened to stop donor agency World
Vision from distributing food aid in the area. People had stopped
participating in Zanu PF activities and had defected to the donors, Muchena
is reported as having said.
Muchena, who is also the Minister of Science and Technology,
denied making the threat and said there were people putting words into her
"That is not my language. I am having problems
with people who are putting
words into my mouth," said Muchena. "Definitely not me. I can't respond to
those who are saying that I am not doing anything for my constituency, let
them tell you. But I am doing my work just like I have done in the past nine
This paper witnessed Mahofa
trying to hijack a meeting between villagers and
Care International at Mutanga Business Centre in Gutu South and convert it
into a rally just before Christmas. The embattled Zanu PF MP arrived at the
business centre with an entourage of supporters and tried to take over from
the donor agency's officials who were preparing to distribute food relief to
"I am not happy with the approach you have towards party
activities," said Mahofa. "It appears your hearts have been taken away by
these donors. We will stop them if they make you forget where you are coming
from or going," said Mahofa.
However, the villagers
dispersed in all directions as soon as Mahofa took
over the meeting, with some hurling abuse at her. Efforts by Mahofa's
helpers to stop the crowd from moving off were unsuccessful.
Tremors intensify in financial sector
TREMORS in the currently shaky financial services sector, sitting on an
asset portfolio of over $4 trillion, intensified this week as a number of
locally-owned banks continued to precariously trade in a hazardous terrain.
The financial quake has forced retail shops and companies to blacklist a
number of banks that are feared to be gripped by severe liquidity problems
and could be the next casualties of a sweeping Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) crackdown in the sector.
ENG Capital Asset
Management all but collapsed last week after it failed to
pay investors over $100 billion. The firm's directors who are now on remand
had allegedly invested investors' funds in specu-lative and personal
properties that included posh cars and mansions.
Century Discount House, appa-rently
defrauded of $22 billion by ENG, also
sunk in the process. Although the closure of Century Discount House did not
affect Century Bank, sources said the bank could be hit by the spreading ENG
contagion because the asset management firm had 30% equity in it.
It is understood ENG last year
bought 350 million shares at an average price
of $15 a share in Century Bank for $5,3 billion. This could expose the bank
as credi-tors jostle to seize ENG assets to recover their money. First
Mutual Life is exposed to the tune of $30 billion.
Retail shops sent alarm bells ringing this week by
rejecting cheques from
banks seen as in trouble. Electronic and furniture retail giant, TV Sales &
Hire, was rejecting cheques from Trust Bank, Time Bank, Metropolitan Bank,
First Bank, Century Bank, and all discount houses.
Leading cellular telephony firm, Econet Wireless, has also
Trust, Time, Metropolitan, and Century banks. Sources said many other shops
and companies have taken similar measures.
understood Agribank (now Land Bank) is trembling and an emergency
taskforce chaired by Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena has been seconded to
rescue it. The bank, which has not released financial results for two years
despite requirements of the Banking Act, was last year reported to be
RBZ officials, backed by state intelligence officers, this
week descended on
banks inspecting their assets, in particular cars, as part of the clampdown
on illegal speculative gains. They are next week expected to raid houses of
bank directors in search of information, as well as things like hoarded
RBZ governor Gideon Gono warned last month of a crackdown against banks.
"On-site and off-site
examina-tions will be intensified, and ad-herence to
international best pra-ctice and responsible behaviour required of all
financial institutions," he said. "The curtain has been drawn against the
era for the proliferation of weak, poorly managed financial institutions
dependent on cheap and unlimited central bank credit."
Some banks were now despe-rately anxious to
protect them-selves from the
unfolding banking crisis, which could have far-reaching consequences in the
financial system as its ripple effects wave through institutions like
insurance companies and pension funds that have invested in stock and money
"NMB has closed
Interfin's major account to protect itself from possible
contagion," a source said. "Interfin moved its account to Trust before
running away to Stanbic. That shows the level of panic and jittery reactions
in the banking sector."
Several banks are restless because they have been hit by a
investors and depositors with-draw their money amid growing speculation a
number of banks could go under. Trust Bank has already lost 30% of its
"Some banks are losing at least $300 million a
day as the run intensifies,"
a source said. "This has left them exposed big time."
29 bank accounts located in UK
A TOTAL of 29 bank accounts in the United Kingdom worth £513 000 belonging
to Zanu PF and government officials have been frozen since the European
Union (EU) imposed targeted sanctions on President Mugabe and his cronies
two years ago.
The amount translates to about $3,3 billion at the parallel market rate of
A senior EU official this week said other
assets worth US$50 000 ($225
million at the parallel market rate of US$1:$4 500) had been frozen in
The revelation on the frozen
accounts comes amid reports that the EU will
tighten travel bans on Mugabe and his cronies at its review of the sanctions
regime next month.
Mugabe at the imposition of the targeted sanctions said there
were no such
assets in Europe. He said if any assets were found the governments were free
to donate them to charity. EU officials said not all member states had
reported progress in freezing accounts under Regulation (EC) No 310/2002.
"The disclosure of the names of individuals to whom
frozen assets belong is,
as you will understand, not possible in view of rules on data protection and
professional secrecy," the official said.
The EU Council will review the sanctions on February 20 and has
said in a
statement that nothing had improved in Mugabe's leadership to warrant a
lifting of the restrictions. Member countries of the EU have complained over
loopholes in the travel bans on Mugabe and his cabinet ministers, service
chiefs as well as business people deemed by the economic bloc to be
responsible for the violation of human rights and perpetuation of tyranny in
"Lifting of the sanctions is almost out of
the question. Nothing at all
warrants such a decision," said the EU Council official in response to
questions from the Zimbabwe Independent. "The council is likely to
deliberate on ways through which member countries could strictly uphold
travel bans. The other embargoes on trade in arms are set to be extended."
MDC supporter dies after attack
A MOVEMENT for Democratic Change supporter died on Sunday in a midnight
attack by suspected Zanu PF hoodlums who have launched a campaign to push
out opposition supporters in Shamva, the Zimbabwe Independent has heard.
The Assistant Officer in Charge for Crime at Shamva Police Station, who
declined to provide his name, yesterday confirmed the death but referred
this paper to Madziwa police station which is responsible for
investigations. Efforts to get through to Madziwa police station were
also violent attacks by suspected Zanu PF officials in Gweru
Rural where a headman in the constituency is still missing after being
abducted on Monday
The deceased in the Sunday attack, Alexander Chigiga, died
after an assault
by a group allegedly led by Milton Kangi whilst his injured wife and son
were admitted to a hospital in Bindura.
supporters' homes were raided at night and a number of victims
sustained serious injuries.
Ruben Manyika, one of the victims, who sustained
serious head injuries,
yesterday narrated his ordeal: "The Zanu PF supporters, led by Kangi are
saying that they were given instructions by their leaders to drive MDC
supporters out of Shamva. Night raids on homes of suspected opposition
supporters have become common."
in Gweru Rural started after MDC MP Renson Gasela began to hold
Headman Shadreck Sikombingo was still missing yesterday
after he was
abducted by a group of 27 suspected war veterans and Zanu PF youths in Lower
Gweru on Monday.
According to the headman's family
members, Sikombingo had been warned by
Zanu PF officials in Lower Gweru the previous week that he would be "dealt
The abduction was
reported to the police. A policeman at Gweru Police
Station who refused to identify himself on Wednesday said that
investigations were continuing but declined to give further details.
The headman's abduction followed
the police's last-minute cancellation of
Gasela's report-back meeting in Sikombingo's area.
Gasela this week said there had been overwhelming
attendance at his meetings
in the constituency to which Zanu PF has reacted by harassing MDC
An MDC councillor in Zvishavane,
Simon Dick, and his sister-in-law escaped
death by a whisker last week after a house in which they were sleeping
caught fire following a petrol bomb attack by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
The house and property worth
over $70 million were completely destroyed in
the attack just after midnight. An unexploded petrol bomb was later
discovered underneath Dick's vehicle.
These incidents followed an attempt on former Gweru mayor,
life on December 27 when a hand grenade was thrown at his car, completely
destroying it. Kombayi said the assailants were suspected Zanu PF supporters
as well as intelligence operatives.
supporters have resumed illegal roadblocks as well as patrols in
Gweru Rural constituency for the purpose of identifying opposition
supporters who are then taken to torture bases.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said
the reemergence of violence in the
three incidents "demonstrates beyond doubt that despite claims by Zanu PF
and the Mugabe regime that there is peace in Zimbabwe, lawlessness still
prevails as the law-enforcing agents have become part of the instruments for
lawlessness and violence.
calls on the Sadc countries to remind Mugabe that suppressing
opposition political parties is a gross violation of human rights principles
and has no place in a democratic Africa," he said.
Committee appointed to clean up land reform mess
AS President Robert Mugabe desperately casts around for solutions to his
chaotic land reform programme, he has appointed a five-member national
committee known as the Presidential Land Resettlement Committee which is
expected to beef up another team led by Special Affairs minister John Nkomo
in clean-up efforts. It has a three-month mandate.
The committee has been selected from among various heads of government
departments and will be getting support from a team of provincial
Willard Chiwewe, former Foreign Affairs
permanent secretary who is now
Senior Secretary in the President's Office, heads the task force. He
confirmed that he was heading the team on Wednesday but said that its term
of office might surpass the three-month period.
"Tinopedza, kanatapedza (We will end when we finish the
task). We are
committed to this and we are working on a permanent institution to address
the problems that have affected the land distribution," said Chiwewe
"What we want to have is a permanent institution that would be looking at
the land reform programme, just like what was recommended in the Utete
report," he said.
The task force also has an "inspectorate"
that is expected to deal with
senior officials who might decide not to co-operate with the team, including
those who grabbed more than one farm.
The inspectorate is led by deputy police commissioner Godwin
assisted by Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena. Chiwewe also confirmed that
Matanga was heading the inspectorate.
various tasks is that of investigating the chaotic handling of the
land reform programme and to come up with recommendations that would see the
creation of a permanent office which deals with the issues of land reform.
At a national level, the team comprises Sophia Tsvakwi and
directors in the Department of Agriculture, Mathamsanqa Dube, the principal
of Joshua Nkomo technical college, Daniel Moyo, the regional director for
Education in Matabeleland North, and Vitalis Chadenga, director of National
4 years on, land reform still marred by chaos
NEARLY four years after President Mugabe's government began to expropriate
commercial farmland in the name of correcting a social injustice, confusion
and policy contradictions have continued to haunt the programme.
Mugabe's pet project, condemned by international donors as unworkable and a
recipe for disaster, has turned out to be just that as production in all
facets of agriculture has plummeted, dragging the economy down with it.
But the inherent policy contradictions and blunders
demonstrated that amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, the appointment of
a succession of committees of inquiry or taskforces, and even the purging of
the judiciary have done nothing to improve production. Farming activity
requires proper financing and planning which have been conspicuously absent
over the past four years.
Last weekend, Special Affairs
minister John Nkomo in an interview with the
BBC, made a stunning admission that the land reform exercise had failed in
cases, the percentage of people who took up the farms that they
were allocated has not been encouraging," Nkomo said in the interview.
"In some cases, only 40% of people who were allocated land have taken it
up," he said.
Nkomo blamed this on lack of finance, saying farmers who wanted
to take the
land had difficulties obtaining bank loans.
is leading the government's Land Review taskforce, was this week
quoted in the government media as saying there was confusion on the ground
caused by the listing and delisting of farms.
Sources in the Lands and
Agriculture ministry this week said at least 500
farms had been left fallow this season as wrangles over ownership raged.
Agricultural experts have said despite numerous promises that government
would support new farmers with inputs and tillage, this has been a
monumental failure in the past three farming seasons. The current season,
despite promises of near normal rainfall, is set to be the worst ever due to
a combination of chaos on the ground, poor planning and meager financing.
Government measures to redress the situation through amendments to the
principal Act since 2000 have not managed to improve production.
From the inception of the
fast-track land reform, white commercial farmers
clinging on to the land were considered to be the primary obstacles to the
success of the exercise.
In 2000, the government through a presidential decree began
acquire farms. The decree was then confirmed by the passing of the Land
Acquisition (Amendment) Bill in November 2000.
September 2002, another amendment to facilitate the forcible eviction
defiant farmers was passed. Farmers had resisted eviction on the grounds
that lending banks, which held their bonds, had not been informed of pending
eviction, as required by law.
This meant the government
had to notify the banks of farmers affected in
this way, then reissue eviction notices. The amendment removed this
impediment resulting in mass evictions towards the end of 2002 and beginning
of last year.
months ago the government gazetted another amendment to the Land Act
which seeks to give government powers to acquire at least 11 million
hectares of land. The Bill, if enacted into law, will empower the government
to compulsorily acquire plantations and farms engaged in large-scale
production of tea, coffee, timber, citrus fruit and sugar cane. The amending
legislation will also empower the government to acquire land which has
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) status or agro-businesses with Zimbabwe
Investment Centre certificates
Another presidential decree two weeks ago was
promulgated to give government
powers to compulsorily acquire farming equipment held in warehouses by
government believed, would solve the problems of the shortage of
tillage implements and other on-farm infrastructure.
accelerated the acquisition of the land but this has
corresponded with a sharp decline in grain and cereal production. The
tinkering with the legislation has failed to address the fundamental issue
of security of tenure, which is crucial to securing funding.
Last year, the
government appointed the Utete Land Review Committee to sort
out the mess that had been created by the re-organisation on the farms. Its
report, whose recommendations President Mugabe said government would
implement, was deemed to be the panacea to the problems on the land.
However, some of its
seemingly sensible suggestions contrast sharply with
the proposed amendment to the Land Act. The Utete report says land under
exotic forests should not be resettled.
"The proposal to divide some of the plantation forests
into small farms of
about 250-hectares to be allocated to individuals will almost certainly
prove unviable," the Utete report said.
the high level of vertical integration, the long gestation period and
the contribution to the national economy of the exotic plantation forestry
industry, it is recommended that land in this category be maintained in the
current state without any fragmentation."
analysts say, will further scare away investors in the
capital intensive agro-processing industry and the agro-forestry sectors.
Exotic forests in the Eastern Highlands and conservancies and national parks
in the south-eastern Lowveld have been occupied by crop farmers. The
government has not removed the illegal settlers who have caused fires in
forests and decimated wildlife.
Last week, the Independent reported that the
Agriculture and Rural
Development Authority was acquiring a sophisticated horticultural farm with
EPZ status in Odzi.
The Land Bill finally
disposes of Mugabe's diplomatic gambit that Zimbabwe
was implementing the one-farm-one-farmer policy and that no farmer would be
left without land.
The government seeks to amend the law so that it can acquire a
farm even if
it is the only piece of land belonging to the owner. In its findings, the
Utete review committee said government was upholding the one-man-one-farm
policy - a fallacy.
"In the case of a
single-owned farm being acquired due to it being
contiguous to a communal area, government undertook to provide the affected
farmer with another elsewhere around the country," the Utete committee said.
team continues with its tour around the country, revelations of
more confusion and policy contradictions are likely to greet them.
MDC pledges land reform audit
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) plans to establish a
Land Commission to audit the ongoing chaos surrounding President Robert
Mugabe's agrarian reform as soon as it gets into power.
The MDC revealed at its annual conference held in Harare recently that as
soon as it replaces the Mugabe regime, it will seek to address the anarchy
created by the violent seizure of white-owned farms in the name of agrarian
opposition has compiled a draft plan through which it will address the
myriad crises crippling the country. Titled From crisis to democratic
human-centred development, the document emphasises the urgency of
implementing corrective measures on the land issue.
"The MDC will establish, by an Act of
parliament, an impartial, independent
and well-sourced professional agency, known as the Land Commission.
"This will be vested with the powers and authority to fulfil its role of
formulating, planning and coordinating an all-inclusive and well-crafted
resettlement programme and agrarian reform programme, with a limited life
span," the draft plan says.
A draft Bill has already been compiled, the MDC said.
"The Land Commission
Bill has been drafted and its terms will be subject to
stakeholder scrutiny before being submitted to parliament."
An independent land audit to
establish the ownership of land resulting from
the chaotic programme being implemented by the Zanu PF leadership is
envisaged by the MDC to be a major stepping stone in its quest to create
sanity on the land issue.
"The commission's first major task shall be to establish the
legal status of all land holdings by carrying out an independent land audit.
The physical component of the land audit will include information such as
the farm's location, name, size, legal status, as well as on-farm data,
details of Model A1 and A2 occupation, occupiers and where they came from.
"The legal component will consist of an analysis of the
and legality of measures taken, as well as ground realities, to clarify the
legal status of farmers, settlers, and the land they occupy," the party
The opposition seeks to transform
agriculture in the rural sector to ensure
commitment by rural landholders. The MDC proposes in its draft the
establishment of security of tenure.
"Farm investment and productivity is to be encouraged by
security of tenure for all Zimbabwean farmers. This will be achieved by
maintain-ing freehold tenure where it exists, and offering resettlement and
small-scale farmers long-term leases with options for title," the MDC said.
Nkomo concedes failure of land reform
A SENIOR Zimbabwean minister has admitted that the seizure of thousands of
white-owned farms has failed to benefit large numbers of poor black farmers,
many of whom have failed to take up the land that was grabbed.
Special Affairs minister John Nkomo, chairman of the ruling Zanu PF, said in
some areas fewer than half of the black farmers who were allotted land had
started farming it. Commercial agriculture has collapsed following President
Robert Mugabe's land redistribution policy, leaving about five million
people needing food aid because of shortages.
cases, the percentage of people who took up the farms that they
were allocated has not been encouraging," Nkomo said in a BBC interview at
"In some cases, only 40% of people who were allocated land
have taken it
up," he said.
Nkomo blamed lack of finance, saying
farmers who wanted to take the land had
difficulties obtaining bank loans, but the Mugabe regime's critics had
foreseen such difficulties.The poor peasant farmers who were meant to
benefit from land seizures did not have the money to buy seed, fertilisers
or farming implements, let alone redevelop the farmland to make it
productive. And without the title deeds, which are still held by their white
owners, black farmers cannot obtain bank loans.
Renson Gasela, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's
spokesman, said his party had always said the programme was chaotic.
"They gave land to people who are not farmers, who are
soldiers and police
and civil servants. These people are working in towns. They are not
interested in the land. They got the land for speculation purposes, so that
they can sell it later."
Gasela said Mugabe has
admitted that there were problems, but they have
always glossed over them or indicated that they were teething troubles.
"If John Nkomo has said this, then this is the first time there has been
such a frank admission," he said.
A spokesman for Justice for Agriculture, a commercial farmers'
group, said the failure to make use of Zimbabwe's farmland could well worsen
food shortages, the spokesman said.
around the country and seen there's nothing being grown," he
said. "The maize crop is down, the wheat is down. A lot of people have
started to prepare their land, but it's too late to get any reasonable crop.
What we saw last season is going to be nothing compared to what we're going
to see. The food shortages will be horrendous.
"They keep blaming what's happening on
drought, but the drought in the past
couple of years has been in specific areas, and the main grain-growing areas
haven't had any drought."
Nkomo's embarrassing admission comes after Mugabe's
government announced on
New Year's Eve that it had recovered half a million acres of farmland from
Zanu PF loyalists who had seized two or more white-owned farms.
However, the Justice for Agriculture spokesman
said it had seen no sign that
those involved in multiple land grabs had abandoned any of the land.
"One minister is now on his third farm," the spokesman said. "They go on to
the farm when it is ready to produce, kick the owner off and take the
State’s disregard of law a cocktail for disaster
GOVERNMENT’S recent disregard of three court rulings in favour of closed
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe publications has added to a growing list
of judicial orders that authorities have so far elected to ignore.
On September 17 Justice Omerjee ruled that the police conduct of forcibly
occupying the premises of the ANZ and seizing their equipment without a
court order was illegal and that there was nothing at law to prevent the ANZ
In particular Justice Omerjee ruled that the police have no legal right to
prevent the applicant or its employees from gaining access to the premises
of the applicant and carrying on the business of publishing a newspaper.
Administrative court judge Michael Majuru on October 24 ruled in favour of
the ANZ. The decision was made on the grounds that the Media and Information
Commission was not properly constituted and could not in its current
composition issue any valid licences.
The MIC had acted outside its authority when it turned down the ANZ
application, the judge ruled. He said it was biased, especially through its
chairman Tafataona Mahoso, against the ANZ. Judge Majuru ruled that the ANZ
should be issued with a certificate of registration.
This ruling was upheld by Judge Sello Nare who allowed the ANZ to carry into
effect the judgement of Judge Majuru. He said the order should remain of
force and effect not withstanding the filing of any notice of appeal against
it by the MIC.
But Information minister Jonathan Moyo said the ANZ could not resume
operations. He said the ruling by Judge Nare was “academic” and could not be
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says the government’s tendency to ignore
court orders that it didn’t like was shocking.
“In Zimbabwe we have had the executive refusing to enforce certain court
orders that are seen to be unfavourable to the state or the ruling Zanu PF
party. The executive has also attacked the judiciary openly, quite
unprofessionally and unfairly in a number of cases. The government of
Zimbabwe however has a history of attacking the judiciary or members of the
legal profession each time the executive is unhappy at certain judicial
decisions,” said ZLHR.
Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general and constitutional law
expert Professor Welshman Ncube said the government’s action was a cocktail
“If the government cannot obey its courts, what moral and political right
does it have to compel ordinary citizens to obey the same courts? It’s now
the law of the jungle?” said Ncube.
Ncube said the ANZ case had left the government exposed.
“The ANZ case is the first clear and unambiguous refusal by the government
to obey a court order. This time they cannot change the law to suit their
needs. This is a clear attack on the judicial system,” he said.
The chief culprits in disregard for the rule of law are President Mugabe and
his Information Tsar, Jonathan Moyo. The two’s utterances in public have
been seen to be encouraging the lawlessness that is now the hallmark of the
Mugabe’s disregard of the rule of law is legendary. On July 29 1982, the
then Prime Minister was quoted as having said: “The government cannot allow
the technicalities of the law to fetter its hands in what is a very clear
task before it, to preserve law and order in the country...We shall
therefore proceed as the government in the manner we feel is fitting...and
some of the measures we shall take are measures which will be extra-legal.”
He was referring to a court order for the release of the York brothers who
were accused of plotting a coup.
Political commentator and civic rights activist Brian Raftopoulos said the
government was disregarding rulings it considered inconvenient.
“The executive now feels that it is supreme and that the judiciary is
subject to any executive decisions,” Raftopoulos said.
Apart from the ANZ case, there are at least a dozen other court rulings that
the executive has elected to disregard since 1999 when the High Court ruled
that the police should investigate the torture of Standard journalists, Mark
Chavunduka and Ray Choto at the hands of the army.
When judges in this case complained about the non-compliance by the
executive with court orders, President Mugabe is reported to have asked the
judges to resign and is quoted as having said the following on national
television: “The judiciary has no constitutional right whatsoever to give
instructions to the president on any matter as the...judges purported to do.
Their having done so can clearly be interpreted as an action of utter
judicial indiscretion or as one of imprudence, or as, I regard it, an
outrageous and deliberate act of imprudence.”
To date, investigations into the torture of the journalists have run into a
In the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections in Buhera, two MDC
activists Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika were petrol bombed and died.
Those alleged to have murdered the two are war veteran Tom Kainosi Zimunya
and state intelligence operative Joseph Mwale.
High Court judge, Justice James Devittie, ordered that the record of the
case, involving the electoral challenge to the outcome in Buhera North, be
sent to the Attorney-General (AG) with a view to a possible prosecution of
the alleged murderers of Chiminya and Mabika. The court heard testimony from
an eyewitness that Chiminya and Mabika were killed by Mwale and Zimunya. The
judge said: “The killing of Chiminya and Mabika was a wicked act.”
Judge Devittie’s order has not been enforced to date despite promises by the
AG’s office that it will investigate the matter.
In 2000 the Commercial Farmers Union successfully won a court case against
the government to have illegal settlers evicted from farms but the order was
ignored. The police claimed they didn’t have sufficient manpower.
Ncube said the government has now perfected the art of defying court orders.
“In the case of the CFU, there were pretensions by the government that it
was complying. Later it said it was impossible to comply and the excuse was
that there was no manpower. When they ran out of excuses they went on to
change the Act,” he said.
The government has also chosen to ignore other High Court rulings and
magistrates’ orders compelling it to evict settlers on Roy Bennett’s farm in
In May 2003 the Chief Immigration Officer in violation of a High Court order
deported foreign correspondent Andrew Meldrum.
Other court orders that have been ignored by government include Charles De
Kock vs Mike Madiro, Dorothy Kumunda and seven others vs the District
Administrator for Chikomba, and Natalie Dube vs the Commissioner of Police
and Constable Mabunda.
Last year Mugabe attacked High Court Judge Fergus Blackie when he ruled that
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was in contempt of court.
“The government would respect judgements where the judgements are true
judgements. We do not expect that judges will use subjectivity in
interpreting the law. We expect judges to be objective. We may not
understand them in some cases but when a judge sits alone in his house or
with his wife and says this one is guilty of contempt, that judgement should
never be obeyed.
“I am not saying this because we would want to defy judges. In fact we have
increased their salaries recently. We want them to be happy but if they are
not objective don’t blame us when we defy them.”
Blackie was subsequently arrested on spurious allegations of corruption
involving a case he was handling. He was detained at Matapi Police station
in deplorable conditions. The charges were eventually dropped before plea.
Another High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza was also arrested in chambers and
detained in police cells on allegations of corruption. He appealed to the
Supreme Court, which ruled that his arrest was unconstitutional.
ZLHR executive director Arnold Tsunga says such total disregard for the rule
of law has negative consequences for the country.
“With an administration of justice system that is not effective and cannot
offer real remedies to the aggrieved parties, the rule of law is violated
and lawlessness creeps in. The country ceases to be attractive to investors
both local and foreign as business confidence reduces,” Tsunga said.
New laws cannot rescue land programme
DOES the government have a land reform policy, apart of course from seizing
every farm in the country?
We were told in 2000 that the government intended to acquire five million
hectares. That remained the target figure for some time while commercial
farmers were assured that they would not be prevented from continuing to
farm. Only surplus properties would be redistributed.
It was called the “one-farmer, one-farm” policy and President Mugabe dined
out on it abroad. What could be more reasonable than leaving farmers with a
single property of their choice. Those contiguous to communal lands would be
found a farm elsewhere.
It was all a lie of course. The government had no intention of leaving any
Then there was the matter of compensation. On-farm improvements would be
paid for, although not the land itself.
It was another lie. Very few farmers have been paid anything. Offers made
have been derisory, bearing no resemblance to market rates. The
five-million-hectares target was soon abandoned as too limiting on the
revolutionary scope of the exercise which, as interviews with the president
soon confirmed, had become a form of political retaliation against growing
All 11 million hectares of commercial farmland will be taken, Joseph Made
That means commercial estates and plantations, including those supposedly
protected by EPZ and country-to-country investment agreements will be
seized. An amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, removing whatever
obstacles remain to wholesale confiscation, will soon be brought before
The properties involved, such as exotic plantation forests, are those which
the Utete Report recommended be delisted. With them will go the work of
generations who developed the forest estates of the Eastern Highlands, the
sugar-cane plantations of the Lowveld, the citrus fruit estates of Mazowe,
and the tea and coffee estates of Nyanga and the Burma Valley. In other
words all those enterprises that contributed towards national
self-sufficiency while at the same time adding to forex earnings.
Many conservancies have already gone, over-run in haphazard invasions with
their rich wildlife and woodland assets destroyed.
Many small-holdings are also likely to fall into the predatory hands of
chefs down this route. Already black-owned agri-businesses have been
occupied by ministers and officials, as we reported last week.
The seizure of EPZ and country-to-country-protected properties will deal a
massive blow to what little investor confidence remains. Nobody will want to
sink their money in a country where property is insecure, including property
the government has pledged to protect from arbitrary confiscation. The
Indonesians, who the president was courting this week, already have their
own experience of expropriation in Zimbabwe with the loss of an
ostrich-rearing project in Matabeleland.
But what is so evident in all this is the absence of a plan. Policy has
evolved on the hoof. And driving it has been ambition and naked greed.
Social justice doesn’t even feature on government’s list of priorities.
It was the absence of a workable plan that prevented the UNDP from coming
back on board after 2000. And when President Mugabe handed Kofi Annan a copy
of the Utete Report at the UN in September, he omitted to mention that the
pending amendment to the Land Acquisition Act will render many of its
The fast-track programme has been described so often as chaotic that it has
become a cliché. But that’s exactly what it is — chaotic. It is a
help-yourself programme benefiting the politically strong and providing no
protection whatsoever to the weak and dispossessed. Farm workers lost most —
their homes, livelihoods and citizenship. Only an attempt to buy Sadc’s
goodwill will see the last item restored.
The government cannot understand how such anarchy and sabotage of commercial
farming could lead to a dramatic fall in production. Because of the facile
nature of its propaganda it is in denial and unable to make the connection.
So everybody else will be blamed for obstructing the miraculous recovery
that was expected to emerge phoenix-like from the ashes of its scorched
The truth is that Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, including the inept
Made, are directly responsible for the devastation that is now unfolding all
around us. A drive from the city in any direction exposes the extent of the
dereliction. Where irrigated wheat, maize and citrus production was
everywhere evident, now there is nothing. There will certainly be less
activity this year than last. And fewer donors will want to help.
We are staring a human and national tragedy in the face. And those
responsible are intent on making it worse.
The MDC at its recent congress has proposed a proper audit by an independent
land commission. That will at least establish who got what. From that,
recommendations for recovery can flow. Providing title deeds is a start. And
once the rule of law is reestablished and a workable plan of land reform set
out the international community will come back on board.
Until then the prospects are bleak. A greedy, corrupt and incompetent elite
has criminally seized the country’s resource base — and then proceeded to
destroy it. There are few examples — except perhaps Uganda and Cambodia — of
such wilful self-destruction. Those responsi-ble should not for one minute
think they have shown us the future. What we see here is a dead end.
Eric Bloch Column
It can’t be done on our own
ZIMBABWE, under the hammer-fisted rule of a government that is so
self-centred and head-strong that it repeatedly blinds itself to realities
and instead focuses upon its pronounced delusions, has by now lost the
friendship of most of those who at — and since — Independence were proud and
very willing to extend that friendship to the young and independent state.
At one time Zimbabwe could count on almost every one of the world’s
countries as friends, as it could the major international organisations and
associations such as the United Nations, the European Union, the
Commonwealth, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and many, many
others. But today, Zimbabwe’s friends are few and far between.
Some have ceased to be friends because they cannot reconcile themselves to
Zimbabwean government perceptions of good governorship. They espouse the
fundamental principles of democracy, so succinctly expressed in 1941 by then
President Franklin D Roosevelt, when addressing the United States Congress.
He said : “…… we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human
freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the
world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way —
everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want… The fourth is
freedom from fear.” Despite its protestations to the contrary, the
Zimbabwean government cannot credibly claim to believe in those precepts of
democracy. If it did, it would not imprison the freedom of speech and
expression with draconian legislation such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act, resulting
in newspapers being banned from publishing, and peaceful protesters barred
from demonstrating publicly to voice their protests.
If Zimbabwe genuinely respected the second freedom, its President would not
voice anti-semitic slights and then disregard all representations made to
discuss them. If the third freedom had any meaning, four-fifths of Zimbabwe’
s population would not be poverty-stricken, under-nourished, without
healthcare, whilst those in control can acquire palatial residences,
multiple farms, accumulate much wealth in Zimbabwe and abroad, and flaunt
that wealth with fleets of luxury vehicles and recurrent shopping trips for
themselves and their families to those few countries as will still admit
And if Zimbabwe had any respect for the fourth freedom (and therefore the
fourth pillar of democracy) there would not be so many able Zimbabweans,
desperately required to facilitate economic growth and well-being, who have
gone into self-imposed exile, recognising the risks that would confront them
if they had not done so. There are many such Zimbabweans as, for example,
Nkosana Moyo and Strive Masiyiwa, to name but two.
Others have had to suspend their friendship until Zimbabwe transforms, and
friendship can be restored. They include the IMF, whose support for Zimbabwe
has been repaid by contemptuous disregard for almost all its advice, by
failure to honour agreements to service debt, and by recurrent outpourings
of vitriol and malice. The same holds good for Zimbabwe’s relationships with
the World Bank, the European Union, the Commonwealth, and the majority of
the world’s philanthropically disposed donor states. The latter have been
forthcoming with immense largesse, given readily and unconditionally (save
that their gifts should not be misused to promote political objectives).
That generosity had been driven only by a desire to assist the fledgling
Zimbabwe to develop and grow, and by humanitarian concern to aid those in
need. With rare exception, Zimbabwe’s acceptance of such generosity has been
with an attitude that it was Zimbabwe’s God-given right to receive the
largesse, that it was wholly acceptable to select beneficiaries in the
population amongst those politically supportive of the ruling party, and
that corrupt misdirection of some of the largesse was naught but a
legitimate, nepotistic tithe.
Yet others befriended Zimbabwe because, amongst other motivants, they
foresaw opportunities of investment and of trade as consequences of friendly
relationships and support. They included countries such as Malaysia, Kuwait
and Libya. They are still friends, but the signs are clear that they are
disillusioned ones, for the promised investment opportunities did not
materialise. Those friends poured great amounts of critically needed foreign
currency, petroleum productions and other goods into Zimbabwe, and were
promised commensurate investments and Zimbabwean produce in exchange, but
few of those promises were fulfilled. Superficially those countries are
still Zimbabwe’s friends, but the warmth of the friendship has cooled
markedly, and that it is so is not surprising, for broken promises are not
the foundation of steadfast friendly relationships.
Until now, the loss or diminution of friendships has been of little concern
to the government of Zimbabwe, for it has always been convinced that others
were waiting in the wings, and so there have been, although ever less. Most
recently acquired is the People’s Republic of China. In recent years that
country has made tremendous economic advances, casting aside many of the
long-proven to be unsuccessful socialist economic policies still foolishly
worshipped by Zimbabwe’s politically powerful.
And at this moment of time China sees investment opportunities and trade
openings as being ready for the taking in Zimbabwe. And, becoming devoid of
friends who can rescue Zimbabwe’s fast-shrinking economy, government is
welcoming China with open arms. But, if past experience is any guide,
Zimbabwe will undoubtedly renege on much that it has promised, or will
promise to China, and in time the newly-acquired friendship will become as
rocky as so many others have done.
Government has frequently claimed that Zimbabwe does not need the rest of
the world and that Zimbabwe can, should it be necessary, “go it alone”.
Government unhesitatingly claims that Zimbabwe has no need for the IMF, the
Commonwealth, the European Union, and many others. To express such
contentions with conviction, the political hierarchy endlessly cites
Malaysia as an outstanding example of a country which successfully
transformed its economy without support from the world in general, and the
Western world in particular. A prime target for dismissal is the IMF,
closely followed by its fellow Bretton Woods’ institution, the International
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (otherwise known as the World Bank).
And it cannot be denied that Malaysia did achieve the metamorphosis of its
economy with spectacular success and without funding from the IMF and the
World Bank. In the 20 years from 1982, when Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed
took over to 2002, Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by almost
350%, from US$27,3 billion to US$95,2 billion. Thirty years ago, 50% of
Malaysia’s population barely survived, their income being below the Poverty
Datum Line (PDL). Now only 6% are in such straitened circumstances.
There are many similarities between Malaysia and Zimbabwe including that its
head of government was reluctant to retire (but after 22 years has done so,
in contrast to Zimbabwe’s president who, after almost 24 years, remains
determined to continue in office until, at least, 2008). And both Malaysia’s
former head of government and Zimbabwe’s are renowned for controlling their
populace with heavy hands, of brooking no conflicting opinions, of
alienating the international community, and of practicing antisemetism. But
there the similarities substantially end. In order to transform its economy,
Malaysia was prepared to recognise where it had erred. The Zimbabwean
oligarchy believes itself to be infallible. Malaysia vigorously imposed
fiscal discipline, curbed corruption, privatised parastatals, shrunk
itsgovernmental infrastructure, dere-gulated the economy and incentivised
investment, job creation and exports.
And Malaysia had a highly-effective, very functional infrastructure.
Moreover, although it did not have IMF funding or economic guidance,
Malaysia did have a very great number of countries willing to invest in, or
trade with, it. The number willing to do so with Zimbabwe is far less!
Zvinavashe goes ‘political’
“ZVINAVASHE goes into politics,” the Herald reported on January 1. Most
people would be forgiven for thinking he was already in politics. We all
recall those partisan remarks he made ahead of the 2002 presidential poll.
Just to clarify things, the Herald proceeded to explain that the former
Defence Forces commander had indicated it was “full-time politics” that he
would now be embarking upon — presumably as distinct from the part-time
politics he has hitherto been dabbling in.
“From next week I will be talking like a politician,” Zvinavashe warned
Let’s hope when the time comes that he does more than regurgitate Zanu PF’s
All government and party officials are obliged to read from scripts handed
to them by the usual suspects in the President’s Office. These contain catch
words like “independence” and “sovereignty” — but not much else. No minister
is allowed to think for himself. So even intelligent people like John Nkomo
end up sounding vacuous when they read from the approved script. Others like
Augustine Chihuri need all the help they can get!
So we will not be waiting with bated breath to hear the pearls of wisdom
dangled before us by the ex-general. Zimbabwe’s military leaders are not
known for their searing intellects. Most are happy to get on with their
private businesses. And no matter how senior they have been, they will all
be required to sing from the single hymn sheet handed to them just minutes
before they open their mouths. Pathetic really!
The writer of the Nathaniel Manheru
column, which reflects the views of
full-time apologists in the Office of the President, appears miffed that
Australia should be concerned about the murder of one of its citizens,
Phillip Laing (called Phillip Langa in the Sunday Mail), in the Eastern
Highlands. For a country “notorious for violent crime, kicking dust over a
forlorn death is a protest too much”, the official spokesman fulminated
referring to Australia’s past.
It all looks “straightforwardly criminal” to Manheru. Yet Australia has the
“temerity” to warn its citizens against crimes related to Zimbabwe’s
“Are we dealing with the criminal murder of Laing or the opportunity which
this tragic incident provides for venting pent-up anger and attitude of this
racist government?” Manheru wants to know.
At last, a confession that this government is racist! But Manheru wants us
to believe that crime-related deaths are the product of Australian
The fact is that Australian sanctions are mere pinpricks. The collapse of
law and order is not the work of the authorities in Canberra. Nor are the
lawless gangs who terrorise commercial farms, man roadblocks at election
time and assault opposition supporters. Who has been orchestrating farm
invasions in Chimanimani in defiance of court orders? Who are the
state-employed killers of Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya who continue
to operate with impunity against law-abiding citizens?
Zimbabwe today is notorious for violent, politically motivated crime. And
this is the direct product of the arming of militias and the selective
application of the law. To pretend that foreign governments are responsible
for the violent seizure of farms protected by court orders and
country-to-country agreements is fatuous. The criminality Manheru refers to
is the criminality of a regime that steals land and farm equipment, that
defies court orders and abuses the media to preach a gospel of hate and
The Australian government is absolutely right to warn its citizens of the
criminals who are emerging from behind the smokescreen of land reform. We
know who they are. And one day soon they will be made to account for their
crimes against the people of this country.
You can tell how desperate Mugabe’s office boys are when
Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Here is a churchman renowned for his human decency
and shining integrity. But according to Manheru he is “useable”. Anybody who
abides by principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law is being
“used” by Zimbabwe’s enemies, this childish writer suggests. It’s all a
conspiracy against land reform!
“The holy men across the Limpopo are disappointed Mugabe is Catholic, not
Moslem,” Manheru suggests, so they can deal with him like Saddam Hussein.
In fact they are disgusted he calls himself Catholic. They are appalled he
calls himself Christian. What Christian knowingly inflicts pain and
suffering on the people in his care? Perhaps the garrulous Manheru can
The Sunday Mail carried a front-page picture last weekend
attending a Christmas party in Mbare with political slogans written on their
Is this not a clear case of child abuse? Who organised this party because it
looks suspiciously like a Zanu PF party? Were public funds used?
“I love Zanu PF” and “Sendekera Mwana Wevhu” were among the slogans daubed
on the kids. None of them was at an age where they could decide for
themselves whether they wanted to be exploited in this way. But it is a sign
of the times that, like child soldiers in Liberia and Uganda, Zanu PF has
descended to this level of recruitment in its battle against the people of
Harare who have made it clear they don’t want that rotten party here.
By the way, we haven’t heard a squeak of protest from any organisation
claiming to have the interests of children on its agenda! “Sendekera Mu’Born
Free”, the Sunday Mail dutifully told us. Free to be abused by the look of
Another child, who we were told was
a National Youth Service member, was
shown in the Herald holding up a placard extolling Zvinavashe’s achievements
at a farewell reception for him.
The general was “very innocent and tactiful (sic)”, the placard said.
Evidently English is not one of the subjects the Green Bombers are taking at
their Border Gezi Camp.
Fox stood for “Freedom Organiser Xider”, we were told. “Xider” must be a
code of some sort understood only by the initiated. Or it could refer to the
Gava meant “God’s Arrangements for Vitalis’ Achievements”, according to
That was as far as the Bombers’ wisdom went. Probably about as far as
Could we appeal to all those making
abusive calls to this newspaper about
how unpatriotic the doctors are and how unfair we are in reporting threats
against them to please identify themselves. We had one irate lady last
Friday asking why we were working for the “Breetish” in reporting on the
She didn’t say who she was working for but we have some idea!
State commentators on
our current economic malaise are becoming increasingly
inventive in finding explanations for the crisis. Here is Caesar Zvayi in
the Herald: “A certain group of people masquerading as democrats arrived on
the scene and systematically began destroying the macro and micro-economic
fundamentals through collusion with white industrialists and commercial
farmers as well as through orgies of sabotage disguised as mass actions.”
Were these the same mass actions that the government described as flops?
Wait, there’s more: “As if that was not enough damage, they cavorted across
the globe lobbying for economic sanctions in the vain hope that the
resultant socio-economic hardships would foster resentment against the
The hope was not entirely in vain it would seem.
“They have been successful to an extent as a lot of urbanites continue
voting with their stomachs rather than brains.”
But, says Zvayi, who cannot be accused of writing with his brains, “we now
know the breed of cat that ate the canary” .
Really? Perhaps Zvayi could tell us what it is. There are a number of fat
cats where he comes from and they are of a single breed. And dozens of
parrots, if not canaries!
Having “liberated ourselves from the Queen and her dominions”, Zvayi wishes
all patriotic Zimbabweans “a better Christmas this year”.
Is this the best the Herald can do? Please bring back Olley Maruma and David
Martin. At least they sounded intelligent. And we would have much more fun
taking them on. Last time we heard, Martin was in self-exile in the Vumba!
Banks face new $10b hurdle
A NUMBER of banks could fail to renew their operating licences, as the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is now demanding $10 billion as part of new
capital requirements for a commercial banking licence.
This is an increase from the $500 million demanded by September this year.
In the process, the
central bank has also revised all licensing requirements
for financial institutions.
The new requirement surpasses the profit margins posted
by most commercial
banks in 2002, and this development might force a number of financial
institutions unable to raise the requirements to merge.
The latest revision of application fees will also result in
and finance houses paying $7,5 billion for a licence, up from $300 million.
Building societies who previously had their capital
by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development through the Registrar of
Financial Institutions will now have to part with $7,5 billion.
Discount houses are now required to pay $5 billion, up
from $200 million.
A circular to that effect has already been sent to banks about the
structures from the RBZ's Supervision and Surveillance Department.
"We write with reference to the Monetary Policy announced
by the governor Dr
Gideon Gono on December 18 2003," Stephen Gwasira head of banking and
supervision, wrote on Friday last week.
connection, we advise that the new capital requirements are as
commercial banks - $10 billion, merchant bank - $7,5 billion, finance
house - $7,5 billion, building societies - $7,5 billion, and discount
house - $5 billion.
"All banking institutions will be expected to be in compliance with the
stipulated requirements by September 30 2004. The relevant statutory
amendments will be made in due course."
On Monday, the RBZ said it was reviewing the operations of
local banks which
are already reeling from a run on deposits.
month during his monetary policy announcement Gono said he would limit
the RBZ's liquidity support to banks as part of efforts to reduce inflation.
He said inflation, currently at 619,5%, would be reduced to single digit
levels by the end of his tenure in 2008.
The RBZ said
asset management companies are now required to part with $500
million as part of registration fees.
The regulations that asset management companies
should be registered so as
not to have any financial exposure to the banking sector has so far claimed
Century Discount House, a subsidiary of ENG Capital Finance, whose directors
were this week hauled before the courts over fraud.
A number of financial institutions have been hit by a spate of
withdrawals by investors and depositors, as fears mounted during the course
of the week that the concerned firms might eventually close.
An analyst this week said a number of institutions might fail
to raise the
"This development might actually
result in a number of mergers coming on
board from the financial sector as a number of banks might not be able to
raise that money," said one analyst.
"In fact, we know that despite the regulatory requirements
publish their results for the public to see, some of the banks have not been
doing that for some time now."
Zim banks placed on rating watch
GLOBAL Credit Ratings Company (GCR), an international rating agency, has
placed all of its Zimbabwean bank ratings on rating watch in a new twist to
the saga bedevilling money-spinning in the financial services sector.
The prominent agency this week said the move was a result of the severe
liquidity crunch currently being experienced by Zimbabwe's financial
GCR director Dave King told
businessdigest that the financial market
currently has an estimated $180 billion liquidity shortage to contend with
and certain banks were apparently struggling to maintain adequate liquidity
So far Trust
Financial Holdings Ltd and First Mutual Ltd have confirmed that
they have been affected by the ongoing liquidity crisis that has witnessed
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) conducting spot checks on all financial
The RBZ has already shut down ENG
Financial Services and Century Discount
King said by
December 31, 2003, overnight rates had increased to more than
750%, from a position of approximately 100% three months ago. RBZ governor
Gideon Gono indicated in his recent Monetary Policy Statement that the
central bank would not "automatically" support banks experiencing liquidity
problems in future.
King said the aforementioned had created a high level of
uncertainty in the
market and a position where some retailers could be unwilling to accept
cheques from certain Zimbabwean banks.
as a result of these factors GCR would be closely monitoring and
reviewing statistics on all its rated banks so as to better analyse the
impact that the current liquidity squeeze is having on the individual
participants in the Zimbabwean banking industry.
King said whenever a systemic liquidity
crunch looms in a country, it is
standard practice for GCR to call on all its rated banks to immediately
provide latest management accounts and liquidity data.
"The objective is to be in a position to provide depositors
with a factual
basis on which to make decisions within the shortest possible time-frame,
failing which a rating may have to be withdrawn until such time as the
requisite information has been forthcoming and analysed," he said.
Gono said he would not leave any stone unturned in his
endeavour to clear
the financial services sector of "criminals" bent on enriching themselves
using unorthodox means.
Online firm provides easy access to medication for Zim
PONA Distributors, a new online drugs company, has been set up to provide
easy access to medication for those who have relatives and friends who
suffer from HIV/Aids, diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure.
Zimbabweans based in Seattle, Washington, USA, who work in partnership with
private-practice medical doctors in Zimbabwe set up the company.
Some of the company directors are Jonathan Mvududu and Richard Guzha.
Pona Distributors only provide drugs to patients living in
Individuals cannot buy any of the medical drugs for themselves or someone
living outside Zimbabwe.
One needs to acquire a
prescription and a code number from one of their
contracted licenced private doctors in Zimbabwe.
These include Dr Solomon Mutetwa, Dr Elope
Sibanda, Dr John Pfumojena, Dr
Pheneas Makurira, Dr S M Chiora and Dr Conway Zengeza.
All order processing and payment is done using this code number through
their http://www.ponadistributors.com website.
Patients who have a foreign currency account in Zimbabwe,
can log on to
their website to order and pay for the medication, using either Visa or
Patients who have a relative or friend living
and working in a country where
their currency can easily be converted to US dollars can also log onto the
website to order and pay for their required medication.
The directors at Pona have emphasised their respect for
confidentiality and have indicated that they have no desire in knowing
Their sole aim is to make effective
medical drugs readily available to
individuals requiring them.
official said Pona had already shipped a substantial amount of medical
drugs to contracted medical doctors in Zimbabwe thus ensuring that the drugs
are available as and when needed.
Made invasion exposes beast in Zanu PF govt
I HAVE just read the article entitled "Made in Xmas invasion" published in
the Independent on January 2 concerning the attempt by Minister Joseph Made
and others in government to seize Kondozi Estate in the Odzi district.
No doubt the purpose is to loot the assets as they will not be continuing
the current farming operations.
Of interest to you is the assertion by
deputy minister Christopher Mushowe
that he "doesn't know what Kondozi is".
About six months ago the deputy minister took occupation of the
home of one
of the de Klerk family (managers and shareholders of Kondozi and at the time
resident on the farm) by driving out the lawful occupants after giving them
48 hours notice to vacate their home. The house is on Kondozi Estate as the
deputy minister well knows.
Mushowe took the de
Klerk's house after deciding he wanted another house,
being dissatisfied with the farm and homestead he had already been given on
Nyamazura Estates (owned by Arda) in the Odzi district.
This is just one more example of the
dishonesty and lawlessness of members
of this government.
in the district and your reporters can confirm the accuracy of
There's one battle Chiwenga can't win
SO President Robert Mugabe's army chief has decided to threaten the medical
fraternity who look after us. Sweet.
He even boasts of the battles he has fought. I wonder, does it really pay to
be a loud mouth? One can win every battle but when it comes to the last
battle and one is on the operating table, even a general may wish the
surgeon's knife is sharper than his rusty old sword.
Rid Mutare West of Mushowe
AFTER reading your article on Minister Joseph Made's Xmas invasion I find it
amazing that our local MP Christopher Mushowe does not know about Kondozi.
It could be that he is trying to hide the fact that he has obtained two of
the companies on the farms for himself after evicting one of the
shareholders and wants to hide the fact from Charles Utete's land audit
More amazing still is that Kondozi is the only agro-industry in his
constituency employing over 5 000 people directly who in turn influence over
50 000 constituency members. Surely he should know this as our MP. In my six
years of service at this company we have never had him address us positively
and he only avoids the company. Maybe he and Made want this place for
themselves and are only using Arda as a tool.
These people need to be stopped because they are
destroying our lives. Where
will we get jobs if Arda takes over because everybody knows they have failed
in their business?
wants to destroy his constituency like other areas in Zimbabwe
then Zanu PF must give us a new MP who will build up Mutare West and give us
Let us stop the nonsense in 2004 and build on the good
things and rid
ourselves of rubbish like Mushowe, Made and Arda CEO Joseph Matovanyika.
Forward to a better 2004 and a return to national pride.
Shungu dze Upenyu,
Mugabe worse than Smith
I STILL maintain that President Robert Mugabe is far worse than Ian Smith.
He is causing untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe. Jonathan Moyo and
the rest of his War Cabinet care only about their own survival. There is
gagging of the press by a guy that clearly looks like a dimwit with a face
of someone living in the past and an economy in ruin.
There is no positive sign to date of addressing the economy, just a lot of
venom about the "Breetish" and Blair the toilet. Does that really address
the problem that we are in?
The way they believe they can solve the problems is by imposing a
on our poor people living abroad who are holding two or three jobs a day to
support their families doing menial jobs. I have even heard these ministers
say those working abroad are like export commodities. Does that not ring a
bell? Didn't our own chiefs trade their own people long ago as slaves while
they received whisky and cloth in return?
Our chefs need to
go in a small corner to meditate and examine their minds
instead of carrying on like lunatics. Another striking thing is that
Zimbabwean men are like reptiles or creatures with no back-bones. In the
meantime, their women are working overseas, doing cross-borders trips to put
food on the family table and clothes on their backs.
Shame on you men. When our women like
shining stars demonstrate in Bulawayo,
you men in the army and police come and beat them up. You only get tough
when dealing with women. You are too weak to stand up to the Mugabe regime.
I READ with interest recently of Judith Todd's plight in a heartfelt mailing
from her. She has been done a wounding injustice by our government and
judicial system that needs to be more widely known.
Judith was born in Zimbabwe in 1943. But in 2001 she was refused a passport
by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede on the grounds that she was entitled to
New Zealand citizenship because her father, former Prime Minister Sir
Garfield Todd, was born there. She had never possessed New Zealand
citizenship nor applied for it.
In May 2002
the High Court ordered Mudede to renew her Zimbabwe passport.
Instead he appealed against the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court while
reluctantly issuing a temporary passport of one year's duration in which he
pre-empted any judgement by the Supreme Court by declaring that Judith was a
permanent resident of Zimbabwe, thus not a citizen.
In February 2003, in what
she describes as "an agonisingly confused and
confusing judgement", the Supreme Court declared that Judith was a citizen
of both New Zealand and Zimbabwe and concluded: "For the avoidance of doubt,
the respondent has two days from the handing down of this judgement within
which to renounce her New Zealand citizenship in accordance with the New
Zealand Citizenship Act.
"In the event of her failure to do so, she will lose her
citizenship by operation of the law."
unreasonable expectation that this matter could be resolved
within two days, Judith duly applied to the New Zealand authorities as
But then another hurdle presented itself. The New
responded by saying that her application for renunciation could not be
processed as she had never laid claim to New Zealand citizenship. In other
words, they could not help her renounce what she did not have.
Her temporary passport expired in July 2003 and she was
stranded in Bulawayo
with no citizenship and no travel documents.
Her lawyers took the matter up with the Minister of Home
Affairs, the Deputy
Minister, and Permanent Secretary on the grounds that obviously the Supreme
Court had erred in finding that she was a citizen of New Zealand. They were
made aware of the New Zealand government's response.
Her lawyers were then given the impression that there had
been a conference
of Home Affairs officials on this matter and that Mudede had been instructed
by his superiors to recognise her citizenship of Zimbabwe and to issue a
passport to her forthwith.
But this was not to be.
Instead, Mudede's lawyer wrote to Judith's lawyers
to state that as far as they were concerned the matter of her citizenship
ended at the Supreme Court and any problems arising thereafter were not
despite the fact that she had been caught in a bureaucratic morass, a
classic Catch 22 situation, Judith was obliged to live with the
In the end the New Zealand authorities came to
the rescue by issuing her
with a New Zealand passport.
But what we
have here is a manifest injustice to a citizen. The Supreme
Court clearly misdirected itself in declaring Judith to be a New Zealand
citizen when she was not. The lightning speed with which she was required to
act was entirely unreasonable and, it might be added, in marked contrast to
the snail's pace operations of the Supreme Court. One may be forgiven for
thinking the time-span allotted was designed to prevent her from fulfilling
In pointing out that they could not help her renounce a
never possessed the New Zealand authorities identified the obvious
shortcoming in Zimbabwe's legislation and, indeed, in the judicial ruling.
Many other embassies and high commissions in Harare adopted a
thus casting former Zimbabwean citizens into a legal no man's land where
they became stateless.
This was clearly the intention.
As a result over a million people lost their
citizenship and thus their right to vote in the 2002 presidential poll. It
was clearly the duty of the judicial/administrative system to correct its
error, once it became apparent, and grant Judith the citizenship to which
she was entitled by birth.
Her birthright had been stolen from her by the state. Her
father, by the
way, was placed on a list of people expressly not allowed to vote despite
the fact that he had been a Zimbabwean Senator as well as a former prime
minister with a record of support for majority rule.
There is an unhealthy perception taking root in this country
Supreme Court sees its duty as upholding the decisions of the executive
rather than extending to individuals the relief to which they are entitled
by constitutional right.
If that view persists the very
foundation of a law-based society will be
undermined because confidence in the judiciary will erode.
Judith Todd's case is symptomatic of the
failure of the justice system to
protect individuals from a predatory state intent on depriving them of their
rights. That is the sorry reality today.
We have in this country a fine record of senior judges
unimpressed by the
pretensions of the state and prepared to do their duty by affirming the
rights of applicants appearing before them. JR Dendy Young (later Chief
Justice of Botswana), Enoch Dumbutshena, and Anthony Gubbay come to mind.
On the other hand there have been those who saw their duty as adopting the
perspectives of the government of the day. Chief Justice Hector McDonald
falls squarely unto that category given his record of helpful rulings in the
I have no doubt in my mind that posterity
will respect judges who are
unafraid of executive power and exercise their authority on behalf of
powerless individuals who insist upon the upholding of their rights. That is
their duty and we expect nothing less from them.
Meanwhile, one of the first tasks of a democratic government
must be to
restore citizenship to all those who have been so unjustifiably deprived of
it for manifestly partisan purposes.
Hondo Yeminda plot lost, Zim to starve
By Hatina Hamadziripi
POVERTY-STRICKEN greetings to all you sons and daughters of the soil as we
wave good riddance to yet another year in which our beloved soil failed once
more to feed its own children.
I'm talking about our land, which was supposed to be our prosperity, but
continues to become our poverty. The land which once gave us the reputation
as the bread-basket of the southern African region, yet today whose main
meaningful contribution to the nation is the provision of burial ground for
the people as they continue to perish with disease, hunger and poverty.
As we close yet another
annual chapter of this Hondo Yeminda madness, why
not look at some of the highlights that further confirmed the suicidal
nature of this whole business.
The major one of course was the continued departure from
mission statement of the exercise, from ivhu kuvanhu to ivhu kuvakuru as the
politically connected bigwigs continued to grab the most fertile pieces of
land for themselves, their wives, children, and girlfriends, you name it,
naturally at the expense of the ordinary sons and daughters of the soil.
Diversion of agricultural inputs like
machinery, fuel, seed and fertilisers
to their multiple farms was their daily bread yet they hypocritically
continued to parrot their dedication towards giving land back to its
original owners, the majority!
land audits unearthing the multiple ownership scandals, lack of
political will on the part of mudhara to put a stop to this unethical
malpractice meant that these big chefs and axe-combatants (notorious for
massive deforestation on the new farms) got away with theft, scot-free! The
young-old man instead chose to devote most of his time to lambasting the
Blairs, Bushes, McKinnons and the Tsvangsons of this world with his endless
calumnies while his lieutenants were busy stealing the people's land.
Sons and daughters
of this land continued to get hungrier and hungrier, food
continued to get scarcer and scarcer and yet they continued telling us to
celebrate the gains and benefits of the land reform programme.
What gains, what benefits? How does the ordinary Zimbabwean benefit from
massive yield declines in tobacco, cotton and horticultural crops, which
constituted our predominant agricultural export products? What about the
escalation of prices of basic food commodities, virtual dependency on donor
aid and the massive impoverishment of the majority?
What's there to celebrate?
Massive harvests of maize, wheat and horticultural
products were witnessed
in the past agricultural year, unfortunately mainly on television and radio.
Farming programmes were basically showing harvests and lush-green crops from
seasons of our yesteryears and still go on to claim that they were Hondo
Yeminda benefits! Hamunyare! More yields were seen popping out of the
circus-style jingles on television that must have been meant to be
advertising productivity, but sadly advertised more of human reproductivity
with sexually lurid dances leaving only a little about human sexual
behaviour to the imagination.
Of course we won't even
mention how expensive the production and airing of
these jingles were, yet sons and daughters of the soil were scrounging for
inputs way into the new season.
Rhetoric continued to be the order of the day, with the big
encouraging the people kuti varambe vakashinga, yet they were busy eating
the latter's share of the national cake. Some even went as far as throwing
away their tails and mentioning how organisations like Care International,
World Vision etc were agencies of imperialism because they were buying
people with food aid!
How diabolic to say that. How
could they want to jeopardise the provision of
what has become a lifeline for most Zimbabweans? Do they even care? After
all, they don't have words like hunger and deprivation in their
dictionaries, only words like appetite and kuguta!
They have failed to feed us, yet they continue to bite the
their own electorates. Speaks of hypocrisy doesn't it?
Absence of clear and measurable land policies meant land
continued to be
underutilised and lying fallow, yet it's the very same land that is supposed
to be feeding us. Insufficient incentives on local markets meant the few who
were producing commercially chose to produce for the export markets, a good
example being in the seed production sector, among other sectors.
Call them unpatriotic, but patriotism haigutse! Patriotic convictions can
not fill your tummy. Shuwa shuwa unless there is a massive turn-around
strategy in our agricultural sector, we are headed for yet another hungry
year, and God knows how many of us will come out alive. Lord have mercy on
-The author is a Harare-based agricultural
Tale of a society in self-denial
By Chido Makunike
ONE reason Zimbabwe's problems continue to worsen is not just that many of
them are now of a nature that defies quick or easy solutions, but that we as
a society are often less than honest about even owning up to them.
There are many aspects about our reality, past and present, that we need to
confront with more brutal honesty than we do now if we are to have any hope
of grappling with the many challenges before us in any sustainable way.
The official violence that has been unleashed by the government
people in the last few years is not at all a new phenomenon to this society.
Zimbabwe has certainly been fortunate to have escaped the nation-wide
post-independence civil strife we have witnessed in many other African
countries. But we have also been "peaceful" in a way that has been
misleading; by dint of having certain narrow parameters of acceptable
conduct. As long as things seem alright and we are not particularly inclined
to push the limits of those parameters of what is considered acceptable
behaviour, we are left alone and lull ourselves into thinking we are the
citizens of a free society.
We consider the
violence that was employed to bring Ian Smith to the
negotiating table as an honourable aberration in our peacefulness, one
forced on us by the conditions of the time.
But in the process of this sort of clever
justification of it we also lost
sight of the negative ways entrenching the idea of violence as the ultimate
solution to problems has affected us in the post-independence era. We so
focus on the atrocities of Smith's government and our response to them that
we downplay the licence to violence amongst ourselves that was spawned.
For instance, the rapes and beatings that
have become an instrument of
control today were common in the liberation struggle as a form of internal
control, although it has always been considered blasphemous to discuss them.
For the rulers of today who instigated and took part in them in the process
of asserting dominance over their rivals, they are a quite legitimate form
of political campaign. They are genuinely puzzled when the methods we
allowed them to practise during the struggle under the guise of fighting
Smith are today called "human rights abuses".
Before, they could be broadly justified as part of the
of the struggle. Today the rapes and other abuses committed by the Green
Bombers and other regime-aligned militia as forms of control can also be
justified by the need to use unorthodox means to fight off the imperialist
barbarians at the gate! The fact that we hurt ourselves more than the
purported enemy in the methods we use to fight that claimed foe is neither
here nor there. Those are pie in the sky philosophical luxuries we cannot
indulge in at this critical phase of the anti-imperialist struggle!
So whether one looks at the methods of physical, legal,
propaganda or other
abuses of sections of the Zimbabwean public that are taking place today,
they are not new methods for the ruling regime at all. When the threat to it
has been minimal, it could afford to give an appearance of being an
expansive, democratic government. When feeling threatened, it has had no
hesitation to use "any means necessary", fair or foul, to ward off that
This has affected the society in ways far deeper and
more significant than
the political. Is the on-the-job soldier, policeman or ruling party warlord
who is given tacit or active licence to rape, beat or kill people as part of
the ruling regime's tactics of control going to go home and be a normal
husband and father off-the-job? Is his on-the-job "political" behaviour not
going to be reflected in his off-the-job "personal" behaviour? Is this not
part of why we have such an epidemic of domestic violence, rape and other
forms of dysfunctionality in this "peaceful" society?
Are the many manifestations of depravity in the home,
church, at work and
elsewhere not connected in many ways to the brutalisation we have become
accustomed to from our leaders? Are we not naive to divorce the political
brutalisation we experience from President Mugabe's regime to the rage,
helplessness, unhappiness and guilt that finds expression in violence at all
levels, greed and corruption and so many other social maladies of today's
Before Independence the
methods of control by those in power today
included the aforementioned rapes and beatings, high profile assassinations
and so forth. The fascism we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today goes a long
way back if you really think about it. Today it has been bolstered by having
control over the instruments of propaganda, economic and military resources
and so forth. This is why genuine change will require more than just the
replacement of Mugabe and his government. It will require the interrogation
and overhaul of the whole set-up of our society. Economic renewal can only
be a result of this more fundamental kind of renewal, it cannot produce it.
propaganda, including outright falsehoods, is considered a part
of defeating one's enemy. It was employed by both sides during the
liberation struggle. The liberation movement had no trouble winning the
propaganda effort because most people the world over saw its aims as just
and supported it. Today the same people who successfully led the propaganda
effort then cannot seem to see that the current one is failing because they
have lost the overwhelming support they once enjoyed. To much of the
populace they control and the world beyond, they now look no different from
the oppressors they once fought and defeated.
Just as the Rhodesians' own propaganda to
themselves helped to shield them
from the power of the foe they were fighting in a futile way, today's
propagandists undermine themselves by their lies more than they convince
Part of the disastrous results
are that we lie to ourselves about the
possibility of "bumper harvests" when we have over several years very
carefully ensured that they cannot possibly happen any time soon, quite
apart from the latest drought we are in at the moment. Year after year, as
we become poorer, hungrier, weaker and more dependent, we delude ourselves
with all sorts of magic wand economic initiatives, trying to escape the
harsh reality that there can be no economic renewal without a political and
ethical renewal that is simply inconceivable as long as the very principal
authors of our multi-faceted degeneration as a society are still in control.
The most tragic way we cheat ourselves
as a society in crisis and decline is
by pretending that there can be any appreciable way to arrest and reverse
our fall as long as Mugabe, his regime and all the negative values that they
represent rule Zimbabwe. There can be no regeneration of a genuinely free,
peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe until not just the head of the system, but
the system itself is overhauled. None of the desperately hopeful stop gaps
such as the latest clever budget by Herbert Murerwa, catchy new land jingle
by Jonathan Moyo, fancy new monetary statement by the latest claimed
national messiah Gideon Gono, the tossing of a few crumbs by the Chinese
government or any other friend of the month: not one of them will make any
of the required difference to restore a ruined Zimbabwe until we stop being
in denial about the fundamental nature of our problem.
We have been extremely reluctant to do so because it would
require us to
personally and collectively make decisions which we are currently too
cowardly and irresponsible to do. We will continue to plunge rapidly until
we cease being a society in denial on so many fronts.
-Chido Makunike is a regular contributor based in Harare.