Committee to Protect Journalists (New York)
January 25, 2006
Posted to the web January 25, 2006
Six trustees of the independent news production company Voice of the People
were charged today with broadcasting without a license, which carries a
potential two-year prison penalty. Defense lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said her
clients appeared in court this morning in the capital, Harare, after
learning that police were seeking their arrest.
Police had visited trustees' houses and had detained two household staff
employed by trustee Arnold Tsunga, who is also director of the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
The trustees were granted bail and told to report to police every Friday.
Tsunga's driver and caretaker were released without charge after spending
three nights in jail for allegedly obstructing an investigation.
The six trustees charged today were: chairman David Masunda, Isabella
Matambanadzo, Millicent Phiri, Lawrence Chibwe, Nhlahla Ngwenya, and Tsunga,
according to CPJ sources. They are scheduled to appear in court on February
10. VOP Director John Masuku was charged with the same offense on December
VOP staffers produce programs on a variety of community and political issues
but do not broadcast directly within Zimbabwe. The programming is
transmitted via shortwave from overseas. Local sources say no new programs
have been aired since police raided VOP's Harare offices on December 15,
confiscating equipment and files. They also arrested three staff members,
who were released after Masuku and Masunda reported to the police on
ZLHR said the arrests of Tsunga's household employees represented a
disturbing new tactic in which "innocent individuals are being detained in
order to unlawfully secure the presence of human rights defenders who have
been continually harassed by state authorities and/or individuals acting on
"Zimbabwe's international standing is eroded every time the government seeks
to silence the ever-fewer number of critical voices," said Ann Cooper,
executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "It's sad to see
so much time and resources devoted to quashing the sort of diverse
viewpoints that would invigorate Zimbabwean society."
Police last week arrested journalist Sydney Saize and accused him of writing
a false story for the U.S. government-funded Voice of America. Saize was
released without charge after spending three nights in police custody,
according to the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA). Read CPJ's
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to
safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit:
January 26, 2006
By Basildon Peta
Students at all Zimbabwean universities will later this year be
required to learn to speak and write Chinese.
This is part of an offensive by President Robert Mugabe to promote his
"Look East" policy, Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge has announced. He
said there was a "compelling need" to bring the peoples of the two countries
But the students, who have been told to become fluent in
tongue-twisting Mandarin, have lashed out at the idea, saying it was a case
of the "madness of the Mugabe regime scaling new heights".
Washington Katema, president of the Zimbabwe National Association of
Student Unions, said yesterday: "It seems they are trying every political
gimmick to lure the Chinese into this country to bankroll their bankrupt
regime. But they should not do that at the expense of students."
Critics have dismissed Mugabe's "Look East" policy as an empty
political slogan that won't rescue Zimbabwe's collapsed economy.
African News Dimension
Thursday, 26 January 2006,
By ANDnetwork Journalist
THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe is saddled with a $1 trillion
debt as farmers allocated fuel for agricultural purposes are diverting it to
the parallel market in return for a quick buck.
In his 2005 Fourth Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement on
Tuesday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Dr Gideon Gono condemned
the rampant abuse of the fuel facility.
"As monetary authorities, we continue to point out that the current
arrangements in the fuel sector, under which a privileged few were accessing
fuel at subsidised prices is fomenting immense leakages, where the
recipients were tempted to make quick gains through selling of the commodity
on the parallel markets, far removed from the intended beneficiary sector of
agriculture," Dr Gono said
As part of the fiscal realignment process, the governor said it was
critical for the relevant authorities to realign the fuel sector to rid it
of retrogressive arbitrage and rent-seeking behaviour.
The fuel facility was introduced two years ago with the Government
allocating 50 percent of all petroleum imports to farmers under a facility
administered by Noczim.
Dr Gono said the central bank was working on tailor-made interventions
to cushion, on a targeted basis, the vulnerable groups, to allow for the
realignment and liberalisation of fuel pricing.
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) director Mr Dzarira Kwenda, however,
accused some senior Government officials of abusing the fuel facility for
"Top Government officials who own A2 farms mostly have access to
Government facilities such as the subsidised fuel which they then divert to
the black market.
"Loans from Agribank were abused in the same manner by people who have
advantageous positions to access funds from the Government," said Mr Kwenda.
Agriculture Minister Cde Joseph Made confirmed the abuse of the
subsidised fuel facility yesterday, although he did not give details.
He added that some people were procuring fuel at subsidised prices
claiming to be bona fide farmers when they were not.
"There are two aspects to this fuel scam issue; those who are getting
fuel under the guise of being farmers and other individuals who are also
diverting fuel meant for Noczim to sell on the parallel market," he said.
Because of the widespread abuse of the fuel facility, Cde Made said
farmers would with immediate effect start buying fuel at the official price.
In addition, officials from the agricultural extension services would
be barred from playing a role in the distribution of Noczim fuel to farmers.
Earlier, Mr Kwenda called on the Government to scrap the facility
since it was not benefiting the agricultural sector.
Mr Kwenda said that water-tight systems should be put in place to
monitor the legitimate use of funds provided by the Government.
"I urge the relevant authorities that funds which are intended for
farmers should be channelled through farmer organisations and the Ministry
of Agriculture who should be accountable to guard against abuse and misuse
as in the case of the subsidised fuel," he added.
Farmers who spoke to The Herald echoed similar sentiments and
applauded the Government for its decision to do away with the fuel facility.
Mrs Eunita Chikwanda, a Beatrice farmer, said most farmers who were
allocated A2 plots in the area were leasing them, but continued to access
subsidised fuel and other inputs for resale at the farms.
She said these acts flew in the face of the Government efforts to
revive the agricultural sector, adding that this was taking a heavy toll on
genuine farmers who were denied access to loans.
Mr Bhekimpilo Mafoshola, from Nyabira, said some farmers were using
their offer letters to access crop inputs and hefty loans from Agribank,
which they used to buy cars and other luxury goods.
Other farmers in Harare South, Norton in Mashonaland West and Wedza
said it was time the Government scrapped the fuel facility and other
subsidised facilities for A2 farmers.
"A2 farmers are supposed to be self-sufficient in terms of finances
and crop inputs, among others. This is why these facilities are being
"Not all people who were allocated A2 farms are serious about
farming," said Mr Aaron Sibanda, a farmer in Chegutu.
Source : The Herald
January 26, 2006
By Brian Latham and Antony Sguazzin
Johannesburg - The Zimbabwean dollar, the world's worst performing currency
this year, had fallen 15 percent since December 30 and might decline further
because the country did not have enough foreign currency to finance imports,
businessmen and economists said.
The currency was at a record Z$99 202 to the US dollar on Tuesday, down from
Z$97 632 on Monday, in trading between the country's banks, according to the
central bank. It trades as high as Z$125 000 per US dollar on the black
"Smaller businesses with less cushion and no external operations are really
struggling and pushing up the price [of the local unit]," said John
Gardiner, the chairman of the Cold Chain, the largest supermarket supplier
"People really have their backs to the wall."
Yesterday the Daily Mirror reported that Unilever's Zimbabwean unit
suspended its manufacturing activities last week because it had no foreign
currency to import raw materials. It cited human resources director Noah
The shutdown was temporary and business should resume this week, the
newspaper said. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said on Tuesday that it would
try to curb volatility in the currency.
The Zimbabwean dollar would be able to fluctuate in a daily band of 1
percent from its average rate if volumes reached between US$5 million (R30
million) and US$10 million, 1.5 percent if volumes rose to US$15 million,
and 2 percent if volumes reached more than that, it said on its website.
John Robertson of Harare-based Robertson Economics said the decline in the
Zimbabwean dollar might push the consumer inflation rate to 1 000 percent
within three months as import costs rose. Inflation accelerated to 586
percent in December.
By Carole Gombakomba
25 January 2006
Activists have condemned inaction by the African Union at its just-concluded
summit on a report from its own human rights commission documenting human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe, accusing South Africa of again providing Harare
with political cover.
The AU summit in Khartoum, Sudan, this week declined to take up the report
from the Gambia-based African Commission on Human and People's Rights, which
was critical of the Zimbabwean government's 2005 slum demolitions which left
hundreds of thousands of people homeless, among other alleged human rights
A Johannesburg newspaper quoted South African Foreign Affairs Minister
Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma as saying the Zimbabwe report was not tabled because
Zimbabwe and other African countries facing similar accusations had not had
time to respond. But Harare has officially refused to acknowledge the AU
International relations professor Stephen Chan of the University of London
School of Oriental and African Studies told reporter Carole Gombakomba that
it is a "shame" the African leadership gathered under the AU is not prepared
to tackle such issues.
Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:47 PM GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - New rules by Zimbabwe's central bank aimed at restricting
the local currency's depreciation by controlling the interbank market could
see a resurgence in black market trade, analysts said on Wednesday.
The Zimbabwe dollar has lost 73.8 percent of its value against the U.S.
dollar since last October, when the central bank introduced a managed float
On Tuesday governor Gideon Gono moved to stem the tide, announcing that
fluctuations would be linked to actual volumes traded on its fledgling
interbank market, with daily movements limited to a maximum of two percent
in either direction.
"It's just a back-door way of controlling the interbank market," Anthony
Hawkins, a business professor at the University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters.
"The depreciation will now slow down but at the same time the parallel
market will become more active. When controls are put in place the activity
on the black market picks up, this is exactly what will happen."
The Zimbabwe dollar was unchanged at 99,201/dollar on Wednesday, the first
time it has not moved since the introduction of the interbank market. In
line with the new rules, volumes of below $5 million will not cause changes
in exchange rate.
Dealers say the interbank market used to trade volumes of above $5 million
before 1999, but volumes have fallen, with most of the money traded through
"There is a danger that the central bank will control the movement to such
an extent that some people will feel prejudiced. Then we will see more
people returning to the black market," a dealer with a Harare commercial
The currency was trading at around 125,000/dollar on the black market, which
analysts say has handled the bulk of foreign currency trading.
Zimbabwe has experienced severe foreign currency shortages, one of the
clearest signs of an economic crisis also seen in high unemployment,
hyper-inflation and food and fuel shortages.
Foreign currency shortages have been worsened by the withdrawal of balance
of payments support by major agencies such as the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) over policy differences with Harare, such as the expropriation of
An IMF team arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday ahead of a March deadline for
Zimbabwe to clear its arrears or risk expulsion from the body.
"What the governor is saying is put in more money and you will have more
movement," Luxon Zembe, president of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
"But what it shows you is that we desperately need balance of payments
support to stabilise the forex market, and if we don't do that we will
remain in this vicious cycle."
Thursday, January 26 2006 @ 12:06 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
ZESA Holdings is projected to have made an operational loss of
over $8 trillion by October 2005, while its counterpart, the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe, was $1 trillion in the red owing to a retrogressive
pricing system. Central bank governor Gideon Gono made the startling
revelations while addressing diplomats yesterday.
Noczim sells hugely subsidised fuel to farmers and government
departments at about $10 000 per litre. The official price for the fuel is
$22 600 per litre, while prices on the thriving black market range between
$100 000 and $120 000 per litre. Gono said ZESA, in particular, was plagued
by a number of operational challenges, which would continue to have a
negative impact on its operations. The central bank governor said the
continued lack of clarity between the operations of the holding company and
its subsidiaries was also impacting negatively on its operations.
"Lack of clarity exists on the relationship between ZESA
Holdings and its operations units," a central bank supplement to Gono's
policy document states. The central bank said the parastatal was riddled
with corporate governance challenges as it was operating without a
substantive chief executive officer while its wage bill was gobbling over
55% of its total revenue. Sydney Gata, who is married to President Robert
Mugabe's sister, currently heads ZESA Holdings operations as executive
chairman following the dismissal of the board in 2003.
"Corporate governance challenges where no substantive Chief
Executive officer prevail over the operations of the company, high wage cost
as a percentage of total revenue (in excess of 55%)." The RBZ noted that a
poor pricing structure and mounting foreign debts was also adding to its
current challenges. "A parallel tariff structure where ZESA sells
electricity at ZW$218,08/KW hour after producing it at an average of
ZW$1,386.20/KW hour. Poor investment and rehabilitation in electricity
generation capacity resulting in a running capacity of 550MW for Hwange
Power Station against 920 MW potential capacity. Foreign debts amount to
Thursday, January 26 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: Reporter
The government through the ministry of Health, on Monday spurned
a quest by the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) to
irregularise and subsequent extinction of condoms in Zimbabwe. In a document
that was sent to the ministry, ZINATHA, among other things, asked the
government to phase out condoms. ZINATHA contests that condoms are unAfrican
and that they spread the HIV virus.
"This is really madness, how can a group masquerading as healers
call for the phasing out of protection measures", said Sibangilizwe Sibanda,
a Harare resident.
Sources in Ministry of Health indicated that Dr David
Parirenyatwa and his deputy Dr Edwin Muguti were appalled by ZINATHA's
ZINATHA's fresh lobby comes after its charlatan members conned a
lot of desperate people on the pretext of curing the deadly scourge. Some
ZINATHA members coined disastrous myths of curing AIDS such as 'sleeping
with a virgin'. This measure saw the alarming spread of HIV which is still
to find cure.
Thursday, January 26 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Government has hired Israeli intelligence experts to step up
surveillance on mines amid fears that the sector lost US$160 million through
smuggling and side marketing during the last year. Gold deliveries to the
official market plunged 37 percent in 2005, prompting the central bank to
bring in Israeli security investigators to probe avenues of possible
smuggling to external markets. Fidelity Printers, a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
subsidiary, is the sole official buyer of gold in the country. A total of
21.5 tonnes of the precious metal were sold to the formal buyer in 2004, but
just over 13 tonnes were delivered last year.
The gold price has approached 26-year highs in recent months,
but Zimbabwean gold producers, as the rest of the exporting community, have
to contend with exchange rate distortions that eat into profits. This has
driven much of the bullion to the grey underground market. Gono yesterday
told diplomats that politically powerful 'chefs' were behind the smuggling.
He also announced measures meant to tighten the industry's supervision.
Mining firms are now required to submit detailed reports to the
Ministry of Mines and central bank for purposes of accounting for
extractions and exports. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon
Gono, yesterday said the measure is targeted at curtailing the increased
incidences of unofficial transactions in the mining sector. "It is also
imperative that greater surveillance be instituted at the country's mines,
so as to curb the growing incidences of smuggling and side marketing," Gono
Gono, who also said that the surveillance instruments should be
rigorous, added that the central bank has over the last quarter been
investigating the issue with the assistance of Israeli experts with
collaboration from the police force. "Introduction of the recommended
systems and reporting procedures should commence with the gold sector next
month," he said. Gono also called for the restructuring of the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
"It is also critical that the MMCZ be realigned and reoriented
to assume a much more aggressive role in marketing and assuring early
repatriation of our mineral exports." He added that the country could not
afford to live under the 'paradoxical dichotomy' where miners' consumption
of fuel, electricity, explosives, chemicals, spare parts and machinery which
are all imported is rising, suggesting increased productivity, but the same
miners are declaring falling output levels and "crying happiness" with
activities in the same breath. Gono said that the work underway to finalise
the country's Mining Laws, including the issue of government and or
indigenous participation is a monumental agenda which when completed should
investment in the mining sector. Two years ago, the government announced
that locals should acquire at least 15% empowerment stakes in all mining
concerns but up to now no local has successfully done so due to failure to
raise the required amounts.
African News Dimension
Thursday, 26 January 2006,
By ANDnetwork Journalist
THOUSANDS of commuters in Bulawayo were stranded yesterday as commuter
omnibus operators withdrew their services amid reports that the Bulawayo
United Public Transport Association chairman, Mr Strike Ndlovu, was picked
up by police for allegedly inciting other transporters to unilaterally
The commuter omnibus operators withdrew their vehicles in protest over
roadblocks that had been set up by the police to make sure that they stuck
to the $20 000 fare instead of the $30 000 they effected on Monday.
Police mounted roadblocks on all major roads leading into the city
centre and impounded the vehicles. A snap survey revealed that the
withdrawal of services by the transporters left thousands of workers and
school children stranded.
When a Chronicle newscrew visited Egodini terminus yesterday evening,
it found hundreds of people, including school children, milling around not
sure what to do.
The kombi drivers and conductors, popularly known as owindi, had no
soft words for the newscrew, blaming the paper for "all these troubles".
Some people were seen walking along the Luveve and Khami roads to
different suburbs in the western areas. The newscrew also saw scores of
omnibuses parked at Sekusile Shopping Centre in Nkulumane. On the picking up
of Mr Ndlovu, police sources said was to do with statements he made in the
He was quoted as saying his association would not reverse fares
despite an order from the Government to do so. Mr Ndlovu also accused the
police of soliciting for bribes.
"He (Ndlovu) is at the Bulawayo Central Police Station and is being
questioned over what he said in your (Chronicle) story today (yesterday),"
said the source.
However, the Bulawayo Province police spokesman, Inspector Smile Dube,
could neither confirm nor deny that Mr Ndlovu had been picked up for
"I am not in a position to say anything at this moment," he said.
Mr Ndlovu confirmed through the phone yesterday evening that he had
been picked up for questioning.
"I have been arrested because of your story.
"Are you going to compensate me for the business I lost the whole day?
I am not impressed," he said.
Insp Dube said police had impounded several commuter omnibuses at
roadblocks set up on most roads in the city.
"Yes, the omnibuses were impounded but it's not necessarily because of
"We are always doing routine checks on public transport vehicles and
those which are not fit for the road are pulled out," he said.
Source : The Chronicle
African News Dimension
Thursday, 26 January 2006,
By Oscar Nkala www.andnetwork.com
A procession of donkeys, moving as sluggishly as all idle animals do,
is the only spectacle that attracts the attention of the visitor in this
solemn and sombre-looking village of Northern Botswana.
Apart from the occassional crowing of an over-fed cock and the
quacking of an excited duck, there is no other sound, not even the usual
barking of dogs at Tshessebe Village. Even the sound of cars on the highway
to the city of Francistown is mutted because of the distance.
The village is almost deserted, except for one village boy who should
obvioulsy have been at junior secondary school like all youngsters his age.
"I could not go to school today because my parents are away. They went
into the bush three days ago to gather phane, and we are expecting them back
here next week. I have to look after my younger brothers while they are
away," the boy explains.
Boima, as he identifies himself, is one of those who provide the
rear-guard action to an age old regional tradition of harvesting the
caterpillar worm, known as "phane" in Botswana and "amacimbi" in Zimbabwe
and South Africa.
The ugly and prickly nature of the caterpillar worm has not prevented
it from becoming a regional delicacy, consumed by the rich and famous at
high bills in cafes around Johannesburg's Sandton City and munched with the
equally the same appreciation by beef cattle at farms in the Groot Marico
and the Swartruggens areas of the platinum province, the North-West.
Boima's parents are some of the hundreds of Botswana, South African
and Zimbabwean rural poor who do not only like the rains for providing water
in the thirsty, often drought-stricken region. To them it also means the
coming of the caterpillar worms, the only time when all families in the
village are guaranteed of nutritious food straight from Mother Nature.
"When the phane comes around, my parents know they will be able to
harvest enough for sale. That way we are guaranteed of food and other basic
necessities. The people also trade it for various other things they cannot
buy with money since they do not have it.
To us the "phane" season is a chance for those who do not have money
to have an item of bargaining. It is the currency here," he adds with a
One does not need to look too far to see that the 'phane' season is at
its peak. All around, the host mopane trees are stripped bare of the lush
green leaves and festering with the zebra coloured worms armed with short,
"In good times we harvest up to 300 kg of phane between the first
season in December and the last one in April. The harvest is divided into
what remains for family consumption and what goes on sale to the dealers.
"Phane forms a very important part of the local, although seasonal
economy because we all sell it to survive before the harvest in April. We
get all we want by trading phane although the traders exploit us," said 35
year-old Anna Sekorogoane, a mother of three.
Charges of exploitation have always characterised the nature of the
relationship between the harvesters and the middlemen. While the local
harvesters would have demanded P100 per 25 litre bucket if they were in
charge, the middlemen are charging themselves P50 for the same measure.
According to Sekorogoane, it is naked exploitation and abuse of their
hard labour, but there is nothing the communal people can do because they
are the poor, desperate side.
"The middlemen are exploiting us simply because we are poor, ignorant
and disorganised. Besides, desperation pushes us to a point where we accept
anything, even exploitative prices. Because we are always desperate, the
middlemen buy from us at the lowest prices but charge the highest when they
get to the export markets in South Africa," she added.
Although the Botswana market consumes a lot of the caterpillar worms
harvested locally, the bulk of it goes across the border to South Africa
where restaurants wishing to improve their menu lists compete for it with
farmers vying for honours as top cattle fatteners.
There are three principal markets in SA: the farmers buying phane for
use as fodder, household and hotel consumption.
A lot of Botswana's 'phane' is also bought by Zambian and Congolesse
traders and taken into new found markets of south-central Africa in buses
and trucks through the Kasane border post.
Apart from the problem of exploitation by South African, Zambian and
Congolese middlemen, the host population also suffers a lot of environmental
damage, notably the loss of the mopane tree which the caterpillars feed on.
"A lot of people come from Zimbabwe and literally live in our forests
throughout the 'phane' season. Because they want money and nothing else,
they do not care whether they harvest mature or immature worms. They take
everything and cut down the old mopane trees just to get the worms.
"When the trees are destoyed, the worm losses habitat and at times it
cannot regenerate because of over-harvesting. The foreigners do not care
about the future of this resource, they just want to fill up their bags and
go," said one harvester found near the Jakalasi Community Centre.
In Zimbabwe and South Africa, the worms are found in the mopani
woodlands of the largely arid south-west and the northern provinces
respectively. Local populations face the same pressures as those in
Botswana. Foreigners who know the 'real' price of the worms
and the places of high demand have teamed up with 'smart' local
urbanites to strip the rural populations of their most valued resource, all
for a song.
"The foreigners do not come directly and they do not pay in cash. They
remain in the towns and send down their 'boys' with foodstuffs like sugar,
mealie meal and other basic necesities that are hard to come by in this
country. That way they trade large quantities of "macimbi" for junk goods
like plastic cups or plates and small measures of sugar or a few candles.
"At the same time, they encourage over-harvesting and habitat
destruction by hiring unscrupulous locals as harvesters and promising them
more goods if they can meets certain supply targets. We have had many
seasons when the caterpillar never re-generated because it had been
ove-harvested and denied a chance to breed," said Sifiso Sibanda, a
well-known caterpillar worm harvester in the southern town of Gwanda.
In South Africa's northern town of Musina, Zimbabwean caterpillar worm
traders line the pavements of the local markets to announce who is in charge
of the gathering and sales process. Unlike their neighbours in Zimbabwe and
Botswana, South Africans rarely harvest the worm for sale.
"It is a local delicacy, so most of the people who harvest it here
keep it for consumption latter in the year. There are some youths who are
hired out by local farmers but people dislike the hard, dirty job. So they
do not do it," said Fanuel Mudau, a businessman in Musina.
In all three countries, the communities endowed with the resource feel
that governments should assist them to process the worms locally to avoid
exploitation and undervaluing.
"A regulatory body that will bring all harvesters together would be a
good start. That way they can present one outlet and set one selling price
as opposed to the poverty determined give-away pricing system that works
""Through such a body, locals can control harvesting by restricting
annual harvest quotas to certain areas to protect the trees and allow the
worms to breed. They will also be able to control and hold accountable those
among them who destroy the environment in the process of harvesting the
worms," said Mudau.
Although the governments of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa have
legislation governing the harvesting of veld products, the laws remain
ineffective because of lack of implementation.
In Zimbabwe, the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous
Resources (CAMPFIRE) has tried to help communities set up local caterpillar
worm processing factories. However, the programme has not made any clear
progress, largely because of the worsening economic crisis.
MDC INFORMATION & PUBLICITY
Tel 091 940 489 email :firstname.lastname@example.org
25 January 2006
Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Tuesday
confirmed the MDC's position that Zanu PF is at the epicentre of the
Gono, in his monetary statement, was clear that there was endemic corruption
in all sectors of the economy, from land redistribution to parastatals. He
was clear that the large-scale corruption that had eaten into every pillar
of the state was not driven by the ordinary man but by known thieves in the
top echelons of Zanu PF and government.
The monetary policy statement further manifests the naivety of anyone to
expect the monetary and fiscal policies to solve our deadening economic
meltdown. It is clear that without a lasting political solution to the
political crisis, merely tinkering with interest rates or introducing new
bearer cheques will take us nowhere
Gono's statement shows that this regime has failed in its national duty to
rescue the economy and no amount of window-dressing by the RBZ without
complementary government commitment will give this nation political and
economic salvation. The MDC also believes that the governor himself should
resign if he really believes his colleagues in Zanu PF are the major
culprits in state haemorrhage. The governor should quit if he truly believes
in his own statement that Zanu PF sharks are the major players in the
pilferage of state assets, abuse of input schemes and the sabotage of the
land reform programme, among other treasonous crimes.
Gono's monetary policy measures could not achieve anything as long as Zanu
PF sharks continued to waylay the economy in broad daylight. .
The state of the economy is clear testimony that the governor has been a
failure despite his oft-repeated cliche that failure is not an option.
We believe Gono's statement only serves to vindicate the MDC position that
there will be no respite for Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe and his government
remain in power.
The governor has proved that this cut-and-paste approach to economics
without the requisite political commitment will bring this nation to
inevitable doom. Gono has shown that empty slogans and imaginary turn-around
programmes will get us nowhere.
We believe in a new Zimbabwe and a new hope; a new Zimbabwe with a
leadership that has the political will to tackle graft and allow for
far-sighted economics in the national interest.
Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity
Monetary Policy Review Statements by the Reserve Bank Governor, just like
the annual Budget Statements, have become unimaginative ramblings as devoid
of solutions as they are badly written. The Monetary Policy Review
Statement for the Fourth Quarter of 2005, belatedly announced on the 24th
January 2006, was no exception.
Once again as in the past, optimistic predictions of inflation reduction and
anticipated growth in output are made, but as in the past there is no
explanation justifying the exuberant predictions.
In the latest of the Governor's fancy year end inflation is predicted at
230%, a more realistic figure to that of 80% made by the Minister of Finance
in the 2006 Budget Statement made on the 1st December 2005, but nevertheless
it is an unrealistically low prediction.
The premises upon which there will be a major reduction in inflation is
sadly not explained in the Governor's latest Statement. A normal rain
season does not equate to a good agriculture year. Equally, a restrictive
money policy and the abandonment of quasi-fiscal activities, highly
impressive targets will remain mere notions and dreams that will not reduce
The fact of the matter is that unless the supply side of the economy is
addressed and unless massive capital investment takes place and we start
producing again any attempt of using monetary tools to deal with this
economy will result in one thing and one thing alone. INEVITABLE FAILURE.
Whilst nominal recognition of expanding the exports is made in the latest
Statement, a major policy reversal seems to have been sneaked in. The move
towards Volume Based Adjustments of the Interbank Weighed Exchange Rate will
effectively result in the pegging or freezing of the exchange rate. Given
the fact that parallel market rates will continue spiralling, exporters who
have always relied on informal supplies of exchange will continue to be
squeezed out. Furthermore, the widening of the gap between the two rates
will as usual have serious inflation pressures. This is already happening.
Quite significantly the Governor almost apologises in his Statement for his
misadventures in dabbling in fiscal issues. We long made the point that he
legally held no brief for this. However, it is quite clear that the
expressed intentions to abandon quasi fiscal emprise is nominal. Only last
week $2 trillion was handed out by the Central Bank to Local Authorities or
In addition the much hyped Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement
Facility (ASPEF) is progeny of the Central Bank and not the Central
The main concern about the Central Bank dabbling in quasi fiscal activity is
not one of the obvious illegality. Rather the question is how does the
Central Bank raise funds to support these adventures. In the absence of
production or direct budgetary allocations to the Bank there is no question
that the bulk of these activities are financed by the horrendous printing of
money. Herein lies the disaster and the lith.
Another thinly veiled confession in the latest Statement is the
acknowledgement of failure or a "delayed success" engineered by "eclectic"
policies and the absence of a "grand long-term National Strategy".
It has taken the Governor three years to agree with us on the need of a
comprehensive, holistic national plan to address the current crisis. No
country can develop without one and this is why we led the way by crafting
our RESTART programme.
The fact of the matter is that this country cannot continue to be run on the
back of sterile knee jerk solutions, that have no ideological foundation,
are unco-ordinated and ill understood.
The inevitable result of the lack of planning and co-ordination has been the
reality that this economy is now in a worse off position than when Governor
Gono assumed office in December 2003.
An economy can not be run by charlatans or cartoon characters. It requires
visions, strategies and not endless turnarounds. That vision unfortunately
can not emerge from the blinkered breath of the bespectacled gentleman at
No.80 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare.