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Gono warns banks on money-laundering

IOL

††††January 03 2008 at 09:14AM

Johannesburg - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has directed banks -
some of whom were found to have been working with so-called cash barons - to
adhere to Zimbabwe's anti-money laundering laws and report any suspicious
transactions, the Herald Online reported on Thursday.

Those caught on the wrong side of the law would meet the consequences
of their actions, the Herald said.

RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono said banks, although fully apprised of the
anti-money laundering laws, had not taken heed of appeals by the central
bank to adhere to the guidelines.

"Our message and advice to the financial sector is that we have talked
to one another for a long time now, we have appealed to your good selves
long enough and we issued many circulars and guidelines on the subject of
money-laundering and other undesirable banking practices.

"Now is not the time to continue with such talking or lectures
anymore but action and as a central bank we shall not be found wanting in
this direction so that together and in partnership, we can rid our economy
of the cash-hoarding and money-laundering menace," Gono said at a press
briefing.

Investigations had shown that some bank officials were releasing
billions of dollars to cash barons while starving ordinary depositors, the
Herald said.

In some cases, bank employees were reactivating dormant accounts
which they would then use as channels to syphon money.

Some bank employees are said to have lost their jobs in recent
weeks after investigations established that they were involved in cash deals
from which they would get kickbacks.

The bulk of the cash would then be sold to cash-desperate
companies and individuals at premiums as high as 40 percent.

The cleansing process was meant to plug loopholes that large
cash movers and some individuals had taken advantage of.

"As monetary authorities, we now also hold vital intelligence we
have now gathered from the entire banking system on the intricate web of
shelf companies and multiple accounts that were being held and operated
simply to beat the standing banking regulations," Gono reportedly said.

The central bank implored the business community, labour and the
general banking public to desist from any illicit cash transactions. - Sapa


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Unpacking the Butau-Gono Forex and Cash Scanda

l
by Mutumwa Mawere

The recent escape of Hon. David Butau from Zimbabwe amid allegations of
exchange control violations has attracted media attention both domestically
and internationally but the matrix of facts and legal issues surrounding
this complex political and economic matter are murky.
Having followed the Butau issue closely, I thought it would be beneficial to
attempt to unpack the facts so that informed opinions on the developments in
Zimbabwe can be made. It is evident that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
is the central player in the matter.

Butau’s problems seem to have started when Dr. Gono, the Governor of the
RBZ, threatened to expose the cash barons in a television interview that was
a follow up to the address he made at the ZANU-PF extraordinary congress
held in December 2007 in which he alleged that senior members of the party
and government were economic saboteurs for personal benefit.

The revelations by Dr. Gono about the rampant corruption naturally raised
expectations that heads will roll and the executive branch of the government
would take an active interest in arresting the acknowledged problem.
However, the President and his cabinet have now exclusively outsourced the
task of economic management to Dr. Gono who appears to be accountable to the
President alone.
Concerns have been raised about the conduct of the RBZ under Gono but it
appears that power has now been centralized and the RBZ is now the
undisputed center of gravity. So when Dr. Gono offered to expose the
transgressors, it would only take a fool to ignore the implications.

Strangely enough, he indicated that he was only prepared to disclose the
names to the Budget and Finance Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, chaired
by Butau. Initially, Butau, who as it turns out knew more about the motives
of Gono than met the eye, refused to convene the requested meeting but then
it emerged that he was a wanted man himself raising the question why Gono
had singled his portfolio committee fully knowing that he was the Chairman.

The context of Gono’s revelations has to be appreciated. For the past 60
days, Zimbabwe has been facing a cash crisis and Gono had assured the nation
that everything was under control. As the festive season approached it
became evident that there was nothing to mitigate the worsening cash crisis.
In the face of policy bankruptcy and implementation confusion, Gono
opportunistically provided an explanation to the nation that the problems
were causally linked to the criminality of certain high profile individuals.

Adding one plus one it became evident that Butau was one such individual and
the offer by Gono to disclose the names to an allegedly tainted Butau’s
committee could not have been in good faith but an attempt to divert
attention from the core problems.

If anyone was in doubt of Gono’s powers, the Butau saga has removed any
doubt that Gono is the law in Zimbabwe. If you are on his target list, you
better escape before injustice visits you. Butau is not the first victim of
Gono and one only has to look at the predicament of ENG directors, Makamba,
Kuruneri, the NMB crowd, Tregers, Muderedi, and others. The connecting dots
in all these cases are the foreign exchange violation allegations.

By targeting selected individuals, Gono has successfully repositioned the
Zimbabwean political and economic crisis as nothing more than a creation of
Zimbabwe’s external enemies using their domestic surrogates which fits in
conveniently with President Mugabe’s thesis that were it not for the land
reform program, Zimbabwe would be a performing country.

The external enemies have already been identified as the UK, Australia and
the USA in the main with their Anglo-Saxon cousins supported naturally by
their domestic political stooges in the form of the MDC. The role of
business in undermining the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is a subject that Gono
has taken up as his main theatre of operation.

It is no wonder that during his tenure Gono has proceeded to centralize
power at the RBZ and effectively put in place measures whereby all foreign
currency is now under his control. This has allowed him to be a law unto
himself. He virtually decides who should be classified as a criminal and
given his modus operandi all business persons are de facto criminals anyway
for transacting at generally accepted black market prices for foreign
exchange deals.
Through the various schemes that he has put in place, he knows everything
about all exporters as well as domestic producers. He controls the banks and
shareholders have been reduced to nothing under his tenure.

Against the above background, one has to appreciate the predicament of
Butau. What wrong did Butau do? What is the case against him? The police who
are allegedly looking for him appear not to know what they want him for.
According to Wayne Bvudzijena, the chief police spokesman, Butau is on the
wanted list for the purposes of investigating alleged exchange control
violations. The moment you hear the police are looking for you for exchange
control violations then you must know that Gono is right behind the police.

Although the real facts on the Butau matter are not known to the public, the
Herald reported a related matter involving Mr. Joseph Manjoro, a finance and
administrative executive with Clarion Insurance Company, who pleaded guilty
to charges of illegally dealing in foreign currency involving more than
Z$2.1 trillion. The Manjoro case is no different from the allegations
against Dorothy Mutekede who was convicted of illegally dealing in foreign
currency. The two appeared before provincial magistrate, Mr. Mishrod
Guvamombe whose outrage at the conduct of the police and the RBZ in
obstructing justice has been well reported.

The central players in the two cases are Mr. Jonathan Kadzura and David
Butau who it appears are both well connected to Gono. The facts are that the
RBZ in its well documented quasi-fiscal activities promised to procure
tractors for the farmers in line with its purported sanctions busting
mandate. Having convinced President Mugabe that Zimbabwe’s Western enemies
would derail any attempt to make the land reform successful, Gono has
managed to position himself as the chief sanctions busting agent.
Under this framework, Gono needs instruments to execute the mandate. He
prefers to work with his strategic friends who hold positions that can cause
problems for him if persons occupying such positions are not sufficiently
compromised in as much as the President and First Lady have already been
mesmerized by Gono’s capacity to be creative and innovative with state
resources.

Butau occupied a position that could potentially be dangerous for Gono not
only because of the oversight role of the Portfolio Committee that he
chaired but because parliament is the only organ of the state that has
representatives from the opposition. With the President in his pocket, it
was only inevitable that Gono would want Butau to also be under control lest
his shenanigans in the RBZ would be exposed. If this happens, ZANU-PF cannot
remain in power primarily because Gono’s quasi fiscal activities are a real
threat to the constitutional order and if the public were to know what has
been happening this will be explosive.

All of Gono’s enemies have been neutralized or externalized through the
active use of the law enforcement authorities. He now controls ZIMRA, the
Anti-Corruption Commission, the Police, and the Price Monitoring Commission
(although he appeared to be against price controls).
The court in Manjoro’s case heard that it was the RBZ that contracted a
commodity broking company known as Flatwater Investments Private Limited to
procure tractors for the Government's Agricultural Mechanisation Programme.
Flatwater Investments got $2 120 650 000 000 in October last year from the
RBZ and gave it to Manjoro who sourced the needed currency from individuals
and not from the normal channels involving the banking system.

The RBZ was fully aware that Manjoro would buy the foreign currency in the
illegal black market otherwise it would not make sense for it to allocate
Z$2.1 trillion to a commodity broking company without going to tender. If
there was any doubt that the black market is being fueled directly by the
actions of the RBZ this is one such example of the irresponsibility of the
bank. By using Manjoro instead of the banking system, the RBZ was
effectively undermining the very system that it was established to supervise
and monitor. One cannot say that individuals like Manjoro come under the
oversight of the RBZ. It is not clear how Flatwater was selected and who was
responsible for identifying the company on behalf of the RBZ.

It has now been established that Manjoro transferred some of the money
provided by the RBZ to companies linked to David Butau -- Squareaxe Pvt Ltd
received $575 billion through its ZB Bank account while Nyamasoka Farm got
$262,5 billion through CBZ. It is not clear whether Gono personally was
informed by Manjoro of this transaction but it is highly unlikely that he
would have been kept in the dark. Indirectly, through Manjoro it appears
Butau was in the loop of this illegal transaction whose motivator was the
RBZ using channels that any law abiding RBZ would rather avoid.
The transfers by Manjoro were an integral part of the purported RBZ
sanctions busting activities involving the use of nominee companies that
would not be detected by Zimbabwe’s Western enemies. On several occasions
Gono has justified the use of these shadowy companies in conducting
government business because of the sanctions regime that he blames for the
deteriorating governance standards.

In any normal democratic order one would not expect a central bank to be
involved in procurement of tractors let alone use companies like Flatwater
when the country has legitimate tractor dealers. The funds transferred to
Butau’s companies were then used to procure the foreign currency required by
the South African suppliers of the tractors.

Having paid the Zimbabwean dollar equivalent to Butau’s companies, it is
alleged that US$357,000 was paid to Michigan Tractors on behalf of Flatwater
Investments.
Manjoro is alleged to have pocketed Z$20 billion from the transaction. It is
now the state’s case that Butau violated the exchange control regulations by
facilitating the procurement of the foreign currency at black market rates.
This makes Butau one of the casualties like Kuruneri who mistakenly thought
that Gono was his friend and helped with US$500,000 in a fuel transaction
only to find himself accused of violating exchange controls.

How other Zimbabweans are doing what Butau is alleged to have done with
impunity? Why has Butau been targeted? What does he know about Gono’s role
in such opaque transactions?
Butau now finds himself on the increasing fugitive list that is daily
updated by the RBZ. When will Gono stop playing games with the future of
Zimbabwe? Why would the police not investigate the circumstances leading to
Flatwater getting state funds in the first place? If Flatwater was not meant
to violate the law by accessing foreign currency through the black market
then surely someone should explain the basis on which the RBZ accepted the
mandate to procure tractors without providing the required foreign currency.

Surely Gono is aware that Zimbabwean currency is not acceptable by foreign
suppliers as payment. Why would the RBZ, an institution that has the
capacity to extort foreign currency from exporters at official exchange
rates, outsource that function to a non authorized dealer? Could it be that
Butau was set up and Manjoro was just a pawn in the game? Could Butau just
like Kadzura have been in the loop when the deal was constructed?


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Brown set to ban Zimbabwe cricket team from UK

Times Online
January 3, 2008

David Byers
Gordon Brown is set to ban the Zimbabwean cricket team from touring England
next year because of political opposition to Robert Mugabe's regime.

Downing Street revealed this morning that it would be holding discussions
with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on the fate of the 2009 tour,
although officials emphasised that no final decision had been reached.

The development came after The Times reported last month that talks had
already started between English cricketing authorities, Zimbabwean officials
and the Government over pulling the plug on the tour.

If it is asked to scrap the fixtures, the ECB will incur a bill of £225,000
in compensation under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules.

It is believed that England will also seek to ban Zimbabwe from attending
the World Twenty20 tournament, which is due to be held here in June 2009.
Asked about whether a decision had been reached this morning, the Prime
Minister's official spokesman said: "I think that it’s very early to be
making these sorts of decisions.

"We obviously will need to discuss this with the ECB closer to the time. A
decision will have to be made about this at some point, but we are not at
that point at the moment."

Preventing Zimbabwe from touring would mark the latest stage of a campaign
by Mr Brown to isolate Mr Mugabe's regime. The Prime Minister refused to
attend an EU-Africa summit last month because the Zimbabwean President was
present.

The decision, if reached, would also mark the latest in a series of
occasions in which international cricket has clashed with politics over
Zimbabwe.

Last May John Howard, then Australian Prime Minister, ordered his country’s
cricketers to pull out of a scheduled tour to Zimbabwe, saying it would be a
propaganda coup for Mr Mugabe, whom he called "a grubby dictator".

In 2005, New Zealand refused visas for Zimbabwe’s cricketers, preventing
them from playing a planned tour against the Kiwis.

Zimbabwe have not played Test cricket since 2005 when they voluntarily
withdrew amid concern about a collapse in the standard of their performance.
But they have continued to play one-day cricket, and during September’s
World Twenty20 they caused an upset by beating Australia in Cape Town.

Last month, The Times reported that England's cricket chiefs were already
lining up replacements to take over some of Zimbabwe's matches in 2009, with
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh earmarked.


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China pledges 5,000 tonnes of food aid to Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jan 3, 2008, 9:07 GMT

Harare/ Johannesburg - China has pledged 5,000 tonnes of food aid this year
to Zimbabwe where more than four million people will soon require aid, the
official Herald newspaper reported Thursday.

Deputy Chinese ambassador Ma Deyun also said that her country and Zimbabwe
wanted to increase trade to 500 million US dollars in 2008 as China expands
its presence in southern Africa.

'This year (2007) has witnessed a steady growth of trade between our two
countries and we are working together to push the trade volume to 500
million dollars in 2008,' Deyun said at a ceremony to hand over 97 trucks
ordered by the Zimbabwean government.

'Five thousand tonnes of food aid that China provides to Zimbabwe will soon
arrive in Zimbabwe, the deputy ambassador said.

She said China had pledged to build two primary schools, a hospital and an
Agriculture Technical Demonstration Centre in Zimbabwe this year.

President Robert Mugabe's government has welcomed the support of China in
the face of increasing Western disapproval over alleged rights abuses and
economic mismanagement in the once-prosperous southern African country.

Zimbabwe's economy is mired in its worst crisis since independence in 1980,
blamed by many in the West on a chaotic programme of white land seizures
that has seen agricultural production plummet.

The country has suffered food shortages for six years now, with 4.1 million
Zimbabweans - more than one third of the population - expected to need aid
soon.

Mugabe and his vice president Joseph Msika call China Zimbabwe's all-weather
friend, a sentiment echoed by Deyun.

'Whether in the past, at present or in the future, the Chinese people will
be an equal, sincere and reliable friend, a mutually beneficial and
co-operative partner and a brother sharing weal and woe of the Zimbabwean
people,' Deyun said.

Trade between the two countries has been rising in the past few years, with
figures well over 200 million dollars recorded in both 2005 and 2006.

© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur


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Harare power utility chief suspended

IOL

††† January 03 2008 at 12:41PM

Johannesburg - Nobert Matarutse, the general manager of the Zimbabwe
Power Company, has been suspended for alleged incompetence, among other
issues, the Herald Online reported on Thursday.

"Matarutse, who heads Zesa Holdings' key subsidiary responsible for
power generation, was debarred from office on December 17, 2007 pending
finalisation of investigations," the website said.

It was not immediately clear what other charges had been levelled
against him.

However, the Herald had gathered that the Zesa Holdings board had
accused Matarutse of "failing to improve the electricity supply situation in
the country".

The board alleged that the general manager caused delays in
refurbishing units 4 and 5 at Hwange Thermal Power Station despite the
release of Zim60 billion for works by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

"It had also become clearer that the power problem went deeper than
the coal supply deficiencies that have been routinely cited as the major
cause of current power generation and supply bottlenecks," the Herald said.

Indications were that Hwange Colliery Limited had raised coal
production by nearly 100 percent in the last two months.

In spite of increased deliveries to Hwange Thermal Power Station - a
coal-fired plant - the electricity situation in Zimbabwe had not improved.

Matarutse is directly responsible for the generation of power at the
Hwange station, and three smaller coal-fired stations in Harare, Bulawayo
and Munyati in his capacity as ZPC general manager.

"Mr Matarutse has systematically provided misleading information as
regards the power supply situation," sources told the newspaper.

"Such misinformation has resulted in frequent power outages, some of
which could have been avoided with proper planning. The general manager did
not do this."

Zesa Holdings chief executive Ben Rafemoyo confirmed the suspension.

He said: "Investigations are still in progress, and once they are
finalised, the board will issue a statement. Other details largely remain an
internal matter."

Matarutse acknowledged the suspension but refused to discuss details
with the Herald, saying it was a Zesa board matter.

Zimbabwe has recently suffered serious electricity shortages.

The situation has been blamed on low coal supplies, ageing equipment
plus general lack of investment in power generation projects.

Hwange Thermal Power Station, which is managed by ZPC, has chronically
under-performed due to coal shortages.

Imported electricity, which constitutes 35 percent of Zimbabwe's power
needs, has come at a heavy cost in foreign currency.

Zesa has been switched off several times by its external suppliers for
failing to service the huge forex debt, the Herald said. - Sapa


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JAG says white farmers under intense pressure to leave farms



By Tichaona Sibanda
3 January 2008

The 400 white farmers in the country who are still on their properties are
under intense pressure from the government to leave their farms, according
to Justice for Agriculture.

JAG, an organisation acting on behalf of around 4,300 white commercial
farmers dispossessed by the government’s fast-track land reform programme,
says although there was a lull in forced evictions over the festive season,
they expect the situation to ‘get hot’ soon.

John Worsley Worswick, chief executive officer of JAG, said traditionally it’s
quiet over the Christmas and New Year holidays but things start to happen
again as soon as the festive season is over.

Worswick’s statement comes amid reports that a white farmer based in KweKwe
in the Midlands province has been given two days’ notice to
vacate his farm.

Michael Berry Jansen owns Xanphippe Farm but has been ordered by a serving
Zimbabwe National Army soldier, Obert Mabhena, to move off his property or
be dragged to court for resisting the eviction order.

JAG said they had hoped that a SADC tribunal interim relief order issued
against the government would have extended protection to all farmers.
It allowed a white farmer to remain on his farm until the Supreme Court
rules on his appeal case.

The interim relief order, granted in Windhoek, Namibia late last year,
protects farmer William Michael Campbell and his family and all his
employees from the regime’s continued onslaught of invasions and
intimidation.

Worswick explained that Campbell sought the relief in his own right and as
such it was extended just for him. But he said normally in a country that
abides by the rule of law the government would respect that order across the
board.

‘All farmers should in fact be protected under this interim ruling, because
it orders the government not to take any steps, or permit any steps to be
taken, directly or indirectly, whether by its agents or by orders, to evict
Campbell from his farm in Chegutu. This exposes government’s lack of respect
for property rights,’ Worswick said.
Meanwhile floods continue to wreak havoc in most parts of the country as
heavy rains continue to fall. The rains have reportedly marooned villagers
and drowned livestock and wildlife in the Middle Sabi and in Chipinge.

The commanding officer of police in Manicaland, Assistant Commissioner Obert
Benge, told the Herald on Wednesday that rescue teams comprising security
forces and members of the Civil Protection Unit had been deployed to the
affected areas.

Benge said heavy rains upstream in the Middle Sabi resulted in Save River
bursting its banks in low-lying areas of Chipinge. The weekend floods also
saw the Dakate River that runs into Save River, bursting its banks, flooding
nearby homesteads in Masimbe Village.

‘People fled homes and sought refuge on higher ground. The same situation is
at the Tongogara Refugee Camp where the floods have marooned inmates. No
casualties have been reported so far but the biggest problem is that most of
the marooned villagers are failing to access food,’ Benge said.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Zim opposition threaten to boycott poll

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

03 January 2008 01:59

††††††The main faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) on Thursday vowed to boycott presidential and
legislative polls in March if the nation's Constitution was not overhauled.

††††††"It's not only Morgan Tsvangirai or the MDC who are saying they
will boycott the elections if certain conditions are not met," William
Bango, spokesperson for Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC main faction,
said.

††††††"It's the people of Zimbabwe who are saying they have no
confidence in the current conditions and will not partake in an activity
whose result will not reflect a correct record of their voice," he said.

††††††He accused veteran President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party of reneging on an agreement in ongoing talks with the opposition party
to amend the Constitution to ensure what he called "disputeless elections".

††††††"We agreed on a set of benchmarks regarding the elections,
including the setting up of public institutions to inspire confidence in the
electoral system.

††††††"As far as we are concerned, nothing has changed since the last
elections, which were flawed, and it is not possible to set up the
institutions, recruit staff and have elections in 100 days."

††††††Among other demands, the opposition wants a new electoral
commission that would conduct the March joint presidential and parliamentary
polls.

††††††Mugabe has said that elections will be held in March and that
the opposition would only have themselves to blame if they do not adequately
campaign.

††††††Once a formidable force that posed the stiffest challenge to
Mugabe's stranglehold on power, the MDC was torn apart by factionalism
following a row over senate elections in 2005.

††††††The Arthur Mutambare faction of the MDC is yet to decide whether
or not it would participate in the elections.

††††††Mugabe (83), who has been in power since the nation gained
independence in 1980, is seeking a sixth term of office. -- Sapa-AFP


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NCA takes voter education programme to Zanu-PF strongholds



By Tichaona Sibanda
3 January 2008

The National Constitutional Assembly has sent out what it terms ‘an
expedition team into uncharted waters to educate potential voters in rural
areas of the need to register for this year’s elections.

NCA spokesman Maddock Chivasa acknowledged the danger of the mission by
admitting the whole exercise was being done discreetly so as not to attract
the attention of Zanu-PF activists. The ruling party has a history of
forbidding opposition election agents and monitors from venturing into rural
areas.

‘We are targeting people based in areas perceived to be strongholds of the
ruling Zanu-PF party. We are also warning them of the dangers of not going
to vote because voter apathy can have serious repercussions for
pro-democracy forces in the country,’ he said.

The NCA launched its voter education programme two weeks ago in Mashonaland
central province and so far the team has been to areas in Mashonaland East
and West.

Chivasa said their ‘modus operandi’ in rural areas includes organizing
meetings where people gather for beer drinking sessions and barbecues, where
the main business of the day is voter education.

‘It has worked most of the time because whenever police officers approach us
they see people drinking and having a meal and they leave us alone. This
exercise is very effective because people in rural areas are good at passing
on information,’ Chivasa said.

He said they have been successful at informing the rural folk on how
government has manipulated elections in Zimbabwe using state resources, and
how a massive turnout can make it impossible for the ruling party to cheat.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Lessons from Kenya


by Eddie Cross

I have been watching the events in Kenya very closely and feel that there
are a lot of lessons to be drawn for us in Zimbabwe. The lessons must be
preceded by the disclaimer that I know little of Kenya as I have visited it
only a few times and worked there briefly after 1988 when I was asked to
advise them on the future of the Kenya Meat Commission.

But even to me as an outsider, the recent elections seem to have been
seriously rigged in favor of the incumbent President. I watched with
interest and some considerable hope on Sunday as Odinga built up a sizable
lead over the incumbent President – leading by 700 000 votes late on Sunday.
Then the sudden shroud of secrecy over the whole process and the surprise
announcement that Kibaki had won. I still find the mathematics difficult to
understand as Odinga’s party collected a clear majority of seats in
Parliament. How Kibaki intends to govern with Odinga holding a majority in
the House is a mystery to me!

But even so, the democrats of Africa must regard this as yet another victory
of the ordinary person. An incumbent President, representing the tribal
group that had controlled power since Independence was challenged and had to
be beaten off by non-democratic means. It is rough on the democrats in Kenya
but overall it is good for Africa. Kibaki will not get away with this
attempt to cook the books. I am sad for the consequential violence and
killing, as it will take a long time for these wounds to heal.

But what are the lessons for Zimbabwe? Many will say it is the need for a
united opposition; some have already done so, but in fact Kenya has a much
more fragmented ethnic and tribal background to Zimbabwe and no particular
tribe occupies the dominant position of the Shona people here. In my view
that is not the lesson. The real lesson is that we must ensure that we
control and record the vote count in the forthcoming election from A to Z.

Africans are not dumb, they know what to do and who to vote for and in fact,
in my experience, are often more sophisticated when it comes to politics
than their Western counterparts. In reality we do not really have to
campaign in the classical sense here in Zimbabwe, not for this election. as
the issues are so clear. What we have to do is show the people here what we
will do with their vote and with the subsequent responsibility. That we are
doing and our policies will shortly be published both in writing and on the
net.

Much more difficult is how to ensure that all Zimbabweans can vote and that
when they do, it is properly recorded and then counted and reported. In the
case of the Kenyan elections it seems as if the State permitted a free and
fair election and campaign, (something we are yet to achieve in Zimbabwe)
but when the final count was taking place and it became clear that Kibaki
would lose the election, the State stepped in and the vote was stolen from
the people. A great shame as a normal democratic transfer of power would
have been first prize.

Mugabe has gone off for his annual leave in the Far East and left behind the
chaos and confusion wrought by his policies. The Z$200 000 note that was
withdrawn from circulation is back, the queues are even longer and the
stores just as empty. We have not been able to find maize meal, the basic
staple food here, for a month. It is also short in Harare and other towns.
As for prices! Even I am shocked by the way they are escalating – a 150 ml
tub of Yoghurt is Z$1 250 000!

Just before the Christmas break we met the IMF team that was visiting Harare
for a routine visit. They told us that they could see no end to the
inflationary spiral in which we are at present. There is no bottom to this
current crisis, they said. While I was dismayed to hear such judgments from
an experienced international team of specialists, I was much more encouraged
by their view that what we proposed made sense and would stop inflation in
six months. I was also encouraged by their view that if the politics was
right, we could “deal” with the huge overhang of debt that this regime is
going to hand over to us when we beat them in the next election.

In South Africa Jacob Zuma was finally elected leader of the ANC and it
seems that this event was very much over the dead body of the incumbent
President. It has profound implications for South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zuma
will strengthen the pro change sentiments in the ANC on the Zimbabwe issue
and we should see movement very shortly in respect to our demand – given to
President Mbeki the Saturday before Polokwane, that the whole agreement
reached in negotiations in 2007 with Zanu PF be implemented before any
election takes place here. South Africa and indeed the whole of the SADC,
have little choice in this matter and I am expecting the problems remaining
to be dealt with shortly.

That of course will do nothing to help us get a handle on our economic
crisis. Inflation is now certainly at 50 000 percent or more and still
accelerating. Shortages are as bad as ever and the State shows no signs of
even understanding what they are doing or coming to grips with reality. How
we survived 2007 is a mystery, but we did. Now we have to survive 2008 up to
the elections and then deal with the situation that will be presented to us
by that event. That is not going to be easy or quick and we will have to dig
deep.

But I am quite sure that we are going to see the 2007 agreements with Zanu
PF implemented and that we are going to have another election – perhaps the
most important in our history. In that election I am sure that we will win
and that this time there will be a transfer of power to a new government. It
’s a question of time and resources. The regime and South Africa will both
want the election as soon as possible, probably on schedule in March.
However, the agreements as signed will not allow that if they are to apply
and it may be necessary to revert to some of the proposals made during the
talks but rejected by the other participants so as to enable an early
election. For us in the MDC that would be just fine – then to control the
vote!

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 2nd January 2008


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Mawere exposes Gono propaganda



By Lance Guma
03 January 2008

South African based businessman Mutumwa Mawere has claimed the recent escape
to the United Kingdom of Guruve North MP David Butau, exposes the plot by
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to shift the blame for the current
economic mess onto western countries. Mawere told our Behind the Headlines
series that the victimisation of several high profile individuals, allegedly
for foreign currency exchange violations, fits in neatly with a propaganda
campaign to blame the cash shortages on western countries.

The government is extensively using the Butau case as part of its propaganda
strategy. Mawere added: ‘The role of business in undermining the sovereignty
of Zimbabwe is a subject that Gono has taken up as his main theatre of
operation.’ More worryingly Mawere believes Gono has become a law unto
himself and only reports to Robert Mugabe. Mawere said; ‘If anyone was in
doubt of Gono’s powers, the Butau saga has removed any doubt that Gono is
the law in Zimbabwe. If you are on his target list, you better escape before
injustice visits you.’

He says the predicament faced by people like James Makamba, Chris Kuruneri,
Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Cecil Muderedi and others all stem from Gono’s
power to decide who should be classified as a criminal. Mawere himself left
Zimbabwe after his Shabani Mashaba Mines was expropriated by government on
the grounds that he was a ‘specified’ person following similar dubious
accusations of foreign currency exchange law violations.

Turning to the Butau case, Mawere said the RBZ, ‘in its well documented
quasi-fiscal activities promised to procure tractors for the farmers in line
with its purported sanctions busting mandate.’ Gono then used people like
Butau to purchase the tractors using so called shelf companies. Why they
have turned on him remains unclear but he believes the regime needs to
manufacture new enemies all the time so as to blame them for it’s own
shortcomings. As an example he said instead of people talking about the real
reasons for the cash shortages, all talk is about so-called cash barons like
Butau and others.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Doctors and nurses strike continues

zimbabwejournalists.com

3rd Jan 2008 14:24 GMT

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri

HARARE – Doctors and nurses at Zimbabwe’s two major referral hospitals in
Harare are still on strike since downing their tools last week demanding a
review of their salaries and working conditions.

The strike is crippling the nation’s struggling health delivery system.

A visit to the† Harare Central and Parirenyatwa hospitals revealed that
outpatients departments at the two biggest state hospitals in the capital
were still closed for a week now with student nurses attending to emergency
situations only.

Amon Siveregi, the President of the Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) said
the strike was going to continue unless their demands were met.

"We have no solution in site so far,” said Siveregi. “We might only call off
the end of this week depending on the progress that the negotiation we are
going to have with the Health Services Board (HSB).

The Dr. Lovemore Mbengeranwa-led HSB board was yesterday tight-lipped on the
negotiations referring all referring question to Health Minister David
Parirenyatwa.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Parirenyatwa were fruitless as he did
not answer his mobile phone while, his secretary said he was in series of
meetings.

Sources within the HSB said they had not been sanctioned to effect an
increase for health personnel.

"The truth is that there is no money with the board,” said one HSB member.
“We are still waiting for the Treasury to give us directions.”
Doctors and nurses interviewed from their residence at Parirenyatwa said
yesterday said they would only go back to work when their demands are met.

"We have been promised salary reviews many times but nothing has
materialised, so this time we will not return until something is put on
paper,” said one nurse.

Junior doctors are currently earning Z$40 million while nurses are earning
$15 million, enough to buy just 15 loaves of poor quality bread.

Zimbabwe’s health delivery system, once lauded as one of the best in Africa,
has crumbled due to years of under-funding and mismanagement.

Hundreds of doctors and nurses have fled Zimbabwe over the past seven years
to seek better paying jobs in neighbouring countries such as South Africa
and Botswana. The United Kingdom is another major destination for Zimbabwe's
hard-working health workers.

The exodus of trained medical staff has hit hard Zimbabwe’s health delivery
system which is also struggling to cope under an unprecedented economic
recession described by the World Bank as unseen for a country not at war.


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Some Zimbabwean doctors back at work, union says

Reuters

Thu 3 Jan 2008, 9:38 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Some of Zimbabwe's striking state doctors have returned
to work on humanitarian grounds but most are still holding out for higher
pay, the head of the doctors' union said on Thursday.

Amon Siveregi, president of the Zimbabwe's Hospital Doctors Association,
told Reuters the industrial action had not been called off, contrary to
reports in the state media.

"We have not called it off," Siveregi said. "Negotiations with the ministry
continue, and while it's true that some doctors are turning up for work on
humanitarian grounds, that doesn't mean the strike is over."

Strikes by government doctors and nurses have become a frequent occurrence
as their salaries have been eroded by the world's highest inflation rate --†
officially put at about 8,000 percent, although analysts say the figure
could be double that.

When the doctors' strike began in late December, President Robert Mugabe's
government brought in army medical personnel to deal with serious cases,
while other patients were turned away.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper on Thursday reported that most doctors
had returned to work after the government approved loans worth Z$100 million
for all state employees, including health workers.

Health Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment.

Staff at private clinics have not joined the strike, but most Zimbabweans
receive medical care through state hospitals and clinics.

Zimbabwe continues to lose thousands of health workers who abandon the
country in search of better-paid jobs in South Africa, Britain and
Australia, hitting a sector already burdened by shortages of drugs and the
effects of HIV and AIDS.

Economic analysts have said Zimbabwe is likely to see more strikes in 2008
by dissatisfied workers grappling with an economic recession marked by
soaring inflation, shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel, and rising
unemployment.

Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
accusation of mismanaging the economy and says it has been sabotaged by
Western countries as punishment for his seizure of white-owned farms to
resettle landless blacks.


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Deposed bishop still vexes Zimbabwe

Anglican Journal

staff
Jan 2, 2008
Harare
The former bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has reportedly resorted to
forgery in an attempt to discredit and stop the appointment of Sebastian
Bakare as the diocese’s interim bishop, the Church Times has reported.

Bishop Kunonga’s attempt to withdraw Harare from the Anglican Province of
Central Africa had earlier resulted in his own dismissal.

Church Times said the Harare Herald newspaper had been informed by Bishop
Kunonga that Bishop Bakare, the retired bishop of Manicaland, had turned
down the Harare appointment because he wanted more money.

The newspaper also reported that a “correspondence” between Bishop Albert
Chama, dean of the Province of Central Africa, and the “Anglican Church
Harare Diocese,” stated that the church has “since appointed Zambian bishop,
L. Mwenda as a replacement, further plunging the church into administrative
chaos.”

The bishop of Botswana, Trevor Mwamba, said the letter, supposedly signed by
Bishop Chama, was a forgery. “It is propaganda warfare…It is lies upon
lies – it is amazing how they have spun it up,” he said. Bishop Bakare said
the report was a “complete fabrication and blatantly mischievous and
misleading.”

A meeting of the diocese’s churchwardens and clergy earlier released a
statement that Bishop Kunonga and his supporters had engaged in a campaign
to “destabilize the diocese and the provincial church, and bring into
disrepute the church as a whole,” and are no longer licensed to exercise
“any ecclesiastical functions.”

Bishop Kunonga recently travelled to Kampala, reportedly in at attempt to
ally his breakaway group with the Church of Uganda.

Meanwhile, Bishop Kunonga told journalists who were covering the recent
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala he strongly supports the
policies of President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of human rights abuses.

“The West should stop demonizing Mr. Mugabe. He is a man who was
democratically elected and redistributed land which the white man had taken
away,” Bishop Kunonga said.

The Zimbabwe government has seized land belonging to nearly all of Zimbabwe’s
4,500 white commercial farmers since 2000. It has said that under its land
reform programs the farms have been allocated to landless blacks – many of
whom lack agricultural skills. One farm seized from its former white owner
was given to Bishop Kunonga.

Bishop Kunonga denied reports there are human rights abuses in Zimbabwe,
describing the reports as lies emanating from Western countries.

With files from Ecumenical News International.


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Government should have taken tough stance on Zimbabwe sooner

conservatives.com

Commenting on the Government's decision to block the Zimbabwean cricket
team's 2009 tour of England and Wales, Shadow Foreign Minister David
Lidington, said:

"It is right that the Government has finally decided to take serious steps
against the Zimbabwean regime. However, whilst I support this latest
development, Gordon Brown's new tough stance against Mugabe has come far too
late.

"That is why we have called upon countries like China to end their direct
aid to the Zimbabwean regime and supported the Prime Minister's boycott of
the EU-AU summit.

"The Government has allowed Mugabe's regime to carry on unchallenged for too
long and should have taken measures like these sooner."

Due to Mugabe's sickening corruption and wilful mismanagement:

• Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by 40% in the last decade and it is the
only country in Africa which will experience negative growth in 2007
• Four out of five of the country's twelve million people live below the
poverty line, a quarter have fled, and unemployment is at 80%
• Four million people will be dependent on food aid by Christmas due to
famine
• The water and sanitation systems in Zimbabwe's main cities have collapsed,
and thousands are at risk of life-threatening waterborne disease
• In violent attacks on the opposition between March and April 2007, the
regime arrested or abducted 600, hospitalised 300, and killed three.

David Lidington MP
03/01/2008


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Pain of Winning And Not Taking Power


The Weekly Observer (Kampala)

OPINION
3 January 2008
Posted to the web 3 January 2008

Anne Mugisha

The saddest lesson from the Kenyan election is that an 'independent'
Electoral Commission does not guarantee a free and fair election. Everyone I
spoke to swore that Kenya's Electoral Commission was independent.

Sammy Kirui, a Kenyan electoral official, spoke to the contrary. At an ODM
press conference immediately after Mwai Kibaki was declared President, Kirui
said there was shameless alteration of documents to secure a Kibaki victory.

Independence of an Electoral Commission, therefore, does not render it a
fountain of honour and integrity nor does it guarantee a smooth transfer of
power even where it appeared so imminent.

I followed the slow and predictable stealing of votes in the Kenyan
presidential election without the emotional sting that I suffer while
watching election robbery in Uganda and it was quite an edifying experience.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) of Kenya is struggling with the same
question that Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) struggled with less than two
years ago in Uganda: How to convert an electoral victory into power.

There must have been excruciating moments last week when ODM supporters
thought their eyes and ears were tricking them. The Electoral Commission of
Kenya (ECK) could not possibly be reading tallies from the results that
their agents had signed hours ago.

Of course they were correct; the results that reach the Electoral Commission
are not necessarily the same results that left the polling station. It is
quite an out-of-body experience for those who invest their time and passion
in electoral politics to see victory snatched at such close range.

The sense of powerlessness is quite overwhelming. To have proof before your
very eyes, that someone has robbed you and for that proof to be completely
ignored by the arbiter whom you entrusted with declaring the results is
nerve racking. Where does one turn for truth and justice when those in
authority refuse to enforce it and prefer to stand with those who flout the
very rules and values which we entrust them to defend?

And so Reuters reported that "As smoke billowed from protests in Nairobi
slums, Kibaki was sworn in on the lawn of State House just an hour after the
final vote tally was announced, his hand on a Bible."

The 76-year-old urged Kenyans to put aside election 'passions' and promised
a corruption-free government to forge unity in the ethnically polarised
nation of 36 million, the region's biggest economy. "I thank all of you for
the trust you have bestowed upon me," he said.

Meantime, The New York Times reported that, "The European Union said its
observers in one constituency last week witnessed election officials
announce that President Kibaki had won 50,145 votes, but on Sunday the
election commission boosted those same results to 75,261 votes."

Furthermore, ECK admitted that in a constituency with 70,000 registered
voters, Mr. Kibaki received 125,000 votes; in another, the tally changed at
the last moment to add 60,000 to his score.

So one is left wondering where Mwai Kibaki gets the audacity to place his
hand on the Holy Bible and swear-in as President of Kenya.

In an article aptly titled 'Cheated of Change,' The Times of London states,
"The verdict of Kenya's voters is unmistakably clear. They have turned out
in force to vote for deep reform of a political system that, although
democratic by comparison with much of Africa, is deeply scarred by
corruption and dominated by a pampered, self-perpetuating political
elite...Seldom has an African election so clearly reflected public
determination to 'sling the bastards out'. President Kibaki's government and
his opportunistically revamped alliance of the political old guard have been
dismissed by the electorate."

Perhaps when their pain recedes, ODM will find time to celebrate their
unprecedented victory at parliamentary level and the resounding defeat of
the corrupt old guard.

Perhaps ODM will head to court shortly in search of justice and we pray that
the Kenyan judiciary has a stronger back bone than Uganda's, which says the
right thing but rules in contradiction of its own findings, in favour of the
incumbent.

There are many lessons from last week's election in Kenya but for all the
emotion and intrigue of elections, particularly presidential elections, we
should never lose sight of the fact that vote counting and tallying is not
calculus or even algebra. It is simple basic arithmetic of adding one vote
to the next and then ensuring that all votes from all polling stations are
correctly tallied.

If we can isolate the instances and areas where votes and tallies are
corrupted then we can protect the vote. That is the easy part.

The difficult part remains the will to safeguard the integrity of our vote
against all odds.

We must want that so badly that we are willing to go to extraordinary
lengths to face off a powerful incumbent, particularly one with a personal
army, who loves power nearly as much as he loves his dear life. If we cannot
summon the will to protect our choice of leaders as single-mindedly as our
rulers want to stay in power, the election will be rigged.

Are we up to the challenge?

The author is a Special Envoy, Office of the President, FDC.

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