Mail and Guardian
Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe
20 July 2007 04:15
Long, chaotic lines of vehicles built up on Friday at the few
gas stations still supplying fuel after the government banned a
hard-currency coupon gas-purchasing system used by well-to-do Zimbabweans.
In desperate efforts to curb rampant inflation, the government
on June 26 ordered price cuts of about 50% on all goods and services. The
measure has left empty shelves, closed some businesses and prompted warnings
that the Southern African nation is on the brink of collapse.
The worsening gasoline shortages caused panic among drivers on
Friday, who had bought coupons, entitling them to gas, with hard currency.
Gas stations were rationing fuel to the coupon holders following an
announcement on Thursday by Industry Minister Obert Mpofu that coupons will
be invalid after August 1.
The hard-currency coupon system had been legalised in 2000 when
severe fuel shortages began.
The government-ordered price cuts brought gasoline down to less
than half what it costs to import it. Regular supplies dried up, crippling
commuter transport and closing stores and shops that use gas-driven
generators during the nation's regular daily power outages.
State radio on Friday reported more business leaders had been
arrested for allegedly failing to cut prices. Three directors, including
high-profile businessmen from the biggest store chain, were jailed on
The directors of stock exchange blue-chip Meikles Africa, owners
of about 70 supermarkets, department stores, hotels and other businesses
across the country, were accused of selling clothing and cosmetics above the
stipulated government price.
Two executives of a leading chicken breeder were also jailed and
another chicken farm was ordered to resume full operation. The farm had shut
down some pens, saying it ran short of chicken feed.
At least 3 000 businesses have been fined for overcharging in
the prices clampdown. Many of their executives and managers have been
briefly held in filthy police cells, given a single lice-ridden blanket
against near-freezing temperatures at night.
Chicken, meat, cornmeal, bread, eggs, milk and other staples
have disappeared from the shelves since the price cuts were announced.
Shoppers swarm into stores when small deliveries arrive.
Canned and other foodstuffs have largely sold out.
"I've been around three supermarkets hunting for things. Look,
I've managed to find coffee," said Marjory Wessels, a housewife from the
central town of Gweru, 200km from Harare.
She said she caught a ride to Harare with friends to stock up on
basics. Whole sections of stores in Gweru were empty or shut down, she said.
Private pharmacies began running out of imported life-sustaining
drugs, including medicines for those with Aids and diabetes, shop owners
A government hospital in the northern resort of Kariba had no
painkillers for a car-accident victim, offering him only aspirin, said a
business associate who hired a medical air-rescue service to bring him to a
private clinic in Harare.
Fixed and cellphone services veered closer to collapse on
Friday, with call connections needing numerous attempts and often cutting
off after a few seconds.
Econet, the biggest mobile network, said power failures and
gasoline shortages for its generators affected its relay stations, along
with congestion after charges were reduced and as shoppers call each other
with alerts on what is available in stores.
Official inflation is given as 4 500%, the highest in the world,
but private financial institutions estimate it at closer to 9 000%. --
Mail and Guardian
Cris Chinaka | Harare, Zimbabwe
20 July 2007 01:24
Zimbabwe central bank governor Gideon Gono has warned President
Robert Mugabe's government that it risks strangling the already battered
economy by banning private fuel purchases in foreign currency.
A severe economic crisis many blame on Mugabe's policies has
left the Southern African state struggling with chronic food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages and the world's highest inflation rate of over 4
Gono -- who has been spearheading a bid to turn around the
economy but has criticised the government's blitz to slash rising consumer
prices -- told Friday's Herald newspaper the scrapping of the fuel scheme,
which removes one of the few remaining ways for people to acquire scarce
petrol, appeared ill-thought.
A committee enforcing price cuts ordered by Mugabe three weeks
ago said the government had banned foreign-currency coupons allowing people
to get scarce fuel from private oil companies or individual importers.
The facility is also used by foreign diplomats and officials
working for international aid organisations, and Gono said in a statement
published by the state-run Herald that the move could be disastrous for many
in commerce and industry.
The government gave no reasons for the move, but in the past it
has accused fuel-coupon holders of selling fuel on the black market at
highly inflated prices.
"We must avoid good intentions having negative results.
Everything needs to be properly dissected, looking at the pros and the cons
so that we do not make rushed decisions," Gono said.
"The last thing we want is legitimate fuel that runs mines
failing because we have done what we have done ... we have hindered people
from going about their normal business."
The government order that people with coupons must use them
within two weeks sparked another wave of panic in the country where many
urban residents are already scrounging a living and are spending long hours
hunting for scarce foodstuffs.
Fuel points selling petrol in foreign currency were jammed on
Thursday and Friday by desperate motorists seeking to fill their cars and
put fuel in drums.
"I don't know the point of all this [the scrapping of the
scheme] ... but it just makes our life harder," one man told a Reuters
correspondent at a Harare fuel filling station where the queue stretched for
about half a mile.
The Herald newspaper said private fuel dealers had about
10-million litres of fuel in stock while the state-owned National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe had three million litres.
Zimbabwe has seen several years of acute fuel shortages, but
Mugabe -- who has been isolated by the West over his policies -- has failed
to secure concrete fuel supply deals from "friendly" countries such as Libya
and Equatorial Guinea.
The fuel problems have at times forced public transport
operators to pull vehicles off the road, forcing thousands of commuters to
walk to work.
Mugabe (83), in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has vowed to press on with his controversial policies, saying they are meant
to benefit Zimbabwe's poor majority.
The veteran Zimbabwean leader said he had ordered a price slash
because businesses were hiking prices in support of a Western-sponsored plot
to overthrow his Zanu-PF government.
The government has arrested and fined hundreds of business
executives for defying the price freeze while consumers have cleaned shops
of basic goods after the blitz, which analysts say is part of a short-term
populist drive by Mugabe to retain power in general elections due next
Mugabe says Zimbabwe's economy crisis is a result of sabotage by
opponents trying to punish him for seizure and redistribution of white-owned
commercial farms to landless black Zimbabweans. -- Reuters
July 20, 2007, 18:15
by Supa Mandiwanzira
The Zimbabwean government appears to be acceding to pressure from industry
in the aftermath of huge reductions in retail prices of basic commodities.
In an about turn, the retail price of cooking oil has been increased by 400%
and price monitoring authorities have started engaging manufacturers to find
This comes after a three-week price war that has seen prices tumble on
government directives, giving rise to unprecedented shopping sprees. A 750ml
bottle of cooking oil had been priced at 22 000 Zimbabwe dollars - the
equivalent of just R1.
Because the price was not viable, the commodity simply vanished from
supermarket shelves. Now government has made a review and increased it by
400%. Economists say this was inevitable.
John Robertson, an economist, says: "Any time you reduce the price to
ridiculously low levels, you increase the level of demand to absolutely
everybody trying to hoard, trying to build up stocks because they know that
it can't last. Government has at last realised that there is basic law of
economics that will come into effect to drive up the price of many things."
Plight of producers
Consumers feel that as much as they appreciate bargains, the plight of
producers cannot be overlooked. They say such increases must be extended to
more commodities to avoid shortages.
Starting this week, price monitoring officers are meeting manufacturers and
captains of industry in a bid to come up with prices acceptable to both
industry and consumers.
In an interview with SABC News, Calisto Jokonya, the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries president, said negotiations are going on well and
considerable progress has been made.
By: Julian D. W. Phillips, Gold/Silver Forecaster - Global Watch -
- 20th July 2007
By far the greatest majority of you who read this article live in
well-ordered societies, where the bulk of your problems can be contained
within the good order of the rest of your life. Indeed, from this position
it seems easy to couch your views and criticisms of others, from within this
Now look away from the civilized parts of the earth to those where there
appears to be a veneer of civilization such as Zimbabwe. A despot rules
but he is old and no doubt once he offends the people sufficiently the
Democratic process will enable the voters to replace him and his party with
a reasonable opposition who will no doubt repair any damage done. Such is
the faith in Democracy and decency and the decency of neighbors, isn't it?
Oh were that true, even to a small extent. The truth of the matter is that
it is possible to watch a nation decay beyond basic human decency.
We write this in the context of the Platinum mines and their future because
the events in Zimbabwe have decidedly affected the future of the South
African owned Platinum mines of Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum
[Zimplats], already facing the potential appropriation of 51% of their
The author began visiting Zimbabwe in 1981 when the U.S.$ fetched Z$1.
This was when there was a semblance of good order and morality, despite the
growing greed of President Mugabe. The beauty of this country is
intoxicating, while it was then the bread basket of Africa. In the previous
30 years it had been developed from bush to a wealthy nation, prior to it
being handed over to Zanu-PF by the British government.
Today, after more than 2 decades of rapacious assault on and the collapse of
the economy, of the remaining businessmen, more than 1,300 shop owners and
business managers were arrested there as part of a crackdown on firms
accused of flouting government-imposed price controls. The inflation rate
in April was 3,714% and is now believed to be well beyond 5,000% and headed
towards 1.5 million%. The real exchange rate to the US$ is currently
running at about 250,000, though it has gone higher, much higher.
Mugabe had earlier ordered companies to restore prices to their June 18th
levels after a sudden surge of inflation trebled or quadrupled prices within
a week. This has already created a serious shortage of goods on shelves and
forced some businesses to close rather than continue operating at a loss.
Zimbabwe's Industry Minister Obert Mpofu ordered businesses a fortnight ago
to halve the prices of all goods and services in a bid to curb spiraling
inflation but the edict has been widely ignored. Many manufacturers say
the government-set prices mean they cannot cover their costs and have
stopped production, leading to widespread shortages of basics such as
cooking oil and salt. President Robert Mugabe, unable to stem the rise of
what is the world's highest rate of inflation, warned last week that his
government would seize and nationalize firms found to be profiteering. In
imposing the order, shops sold their goods at these low prices, to the
police and to those who could afford them, emptying the shops of stock,
which then found its way onto the black market where they are sold at the
far higher [more than double] 'black market' prices. Of course
nationalizing companies doesn't give them money to buy goods to fill the
shelves, particularly a government that cannot afford to import fuel and
It is thought that this potential shutdown of the economy may force Mugabe
and his henchmen to step down from power and their source of wealth.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is preparing a dramatic
plan to rescue the shattered Zimbabwean economy by extending the Rand
monetary area into Zimbabwe. Tomaz Salamao [late the Prime Minister of
Mozambique], the SADC executive secretary, is drafting the plan, which would
also include the South African and Botswana reserve banks pumping millions
into the Zimbabwe reserve bank. The aim of these measures would be to
stabilize the exchange rate of the Zimbabwe $ and curb inflation so that the
country could buy foreign exchange and continue importing essential goods.
But to get the rescue package, President Robert Mugabe would first have to
agree to fundamental political reforms in the negotiations with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which were snubbed by
Mugabe this week. A superficial knowledge f Mugabe's history affirm that
such plans are doomed to failure, because he would have to sacrifice his
present [5000 strong at lest] closest supporters sources of wealth and
therefore his own position of strength. Despite the fact that it is a last
desperate plan, Mugabe lacks the concern for his people tat would be
required for this solution to work. Recent history and the collapse of the
economy and the suffering this is causing testifies to this.
With his henchmen able to buy the U.S.$100 for Z$25,000 and sell it for Z$3
million [1200% profit - no risk], their source of revenue would disappear
immediately such a plan were implemented. With it would go Mugabe's power.
With this in mind we as writer on precious metals look at the remaining
economic crown jewels, the Platinum mines [particularly Zimplats of Impala
and Angloplat's new mine set to provide huge future sources of income for
the mining companies. With the recent law past that requires these
companies to pass ownership of 51% of their Zimbabwean subsidiaries to
Zimbabwean ownership it is only a matter of time before they are lost to the
companies as a source of future income, despite the Mugabe promise of being
able to avoid such loss of control if infrastructural developments were
undertaken by the mines.
With the moral capacity to keep such promises gone from the Zimbabwean
government and the presence of a willing Chinese government investor, the
mechanics of taking the deposits and the mines away from the South African
mining companies is simple.
We therefore suggest that any Investors in Anglo Platinum or Impala
Platinum, write off the contribution their Zimbabwe investments may have now
or in the future on the companies balance sheets, when assessing the shares
As we can see such hyperinflation is usually accompanied by moral turpitude.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
"Just about everything is erratic, steadily getting worse and there seems to
be no end in sight." These were the words of reporter Jan Raath, describing
life in Zimbabwe's capital city on Friday. Raath said many areas are going
for days at a time without electricity and this is affecting many other
aspects of the daily routine, which rely on power.
Telephone communication is becoming increasingly difficult. Fixed lines are
more reliable that the mobile networks, but the power cuts affect
substations that operate on batteries. These need a steady supply of
electricity to remain charged. Mobile lines are worse. The networks were
over subscribed anyway and that problem has increased because of the forced
reduction in costs, making access more affordable.
Then there is the transport nightmare. Raath said the government clampdown
has made fuel even more scarce. And the price per litre is much higher than
the reduced fares stipulated by government. Raath said 2 weeks ago fuel was
selling at Z$180,000 per litre. It is now selling at Z$250,000 per litre.
Raath described the water supplies as "erratic". He explained that a year
ago most areas, including the low density suburbs, could count on a steady
supply of water. Then months ago people were going for 2 to 3 weeks without
water. Now many people are opening their taps and hearing that hissing sound
that signals there is nothing but air.
Raath said he cannot claim that the system has totally collapsed, but at the
current rate of deterioration total collapse is imminent.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Transmission date: Sunday 22 July 2007
Zimbabwe was once one of the richest and most stable countries in southern
Africa, but today it is a state teetering on the brink of collapse.
Years of economic collapse have taken their toll. The statistics make grim
reading: the country has the world's highest inflation rate, estimated to be
running at around 5000 percent. Over 80 percent of the population is
unemployed. The country has the lowest life expectancy in the world.
The World Food Programme says four million Zimbabweans, one-third of the
population, will need food aid this year.
At least three million people have fled abroad in search of a better life.
President Robert Mugabe has blamed the economic problems on sabotage by
western nations, upset over his seizure of thousands of white owned farms
and redistributing to black Zimbabweans.
Critics blame the present crisis on the policies of President Mugabe as he
fights to hold on to power. Mr Mugabe has also been accused of resorting to
heavy-handed methods to remain in power. A new report by the Solidarity
Peace Trust describes a deteriorating human rights record and increased
Is it time for the international community to intervene? What should be done
to help Zimbabwe out of the current crisis?
Stephen Ellis, a senior researcher for the African Studies Centre in Leiden.
He is also the former Director of the Africa programme for the ICG.
Zimbabwean journalist, Wilf Mbanga. He is the founder and editor of the
weekly newspaper, The Zimbabwean.
Christopher Landsberg, the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in
Listener response to our question: is it time for regime change in Zimbabwe?
"The International Criminal Court needs to assess if he has committed crimes
for which he should stand trial, and if so, issue a warrant for his arrest.
We have already learned this lesson from the Croatian war. Additionally,
Mugabe's personal international bank accounts should be made forfeit and
used by the NGO's working in Zimbabwe to help the people from whom this
money was stolen."
Brian Merritt, Canada:
"From being a bread basket economy to becoming a "basket-case", Robert
Mugabe has demonstrated to the world that under his rule this country has
Do the black majority believe the land grab of the white-run farms has been
good for them and their country? This present dictatorship has left the rest
of the world seemingly helpless of these peoples plight. Time for the UN and
others to correct this situation."
Peter Belew, Santa Cruz, California, USA:
"While I was pleased to see Ian Smith's government replaced decades ago, the
end of Robert Mugabe's corrupt rule is long overdue. Hopefully it will
self-destruct, but it's looking now like external intervention is going to
be needed. I suspect the Zimbabwe military will be as glad to have a change
as anyone else in the country, when push comes to shove."
Evert C. Weidner, Lansdale, USA:
"The cloak of leadership is power. Wearing it does not a leader make. This
pattern is not only applicable to Mugabe, but many other instances in
society and is the cause of a lot of unwanted stress and lack of civility."
Gino Lofredo, Argentina:
1. Keep superpower geopolitics out of southern Africa
2. Zimbabwe has no national currency. Rand linked new currency and currency
management auth. established.
3. Fade RM heroically into the sunset, he should be promoted not deposed.
4. Recreate environment for a multiracial governability with S.A. as
sensible elder states brothers
5. Access to strategic resources in Z should be managed for reconstruction.
6. Remember RM´s hard core are ready for retirement as a matter of basic
aging. Everyone has a right to be a hero in Heaven.
Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso, CPUR, Miami Florida:
"The US working to undermine Zimbabwe's Government? That's a new one. The US
Media never mentions Zimbabwe or Mugabe."
"Whatever information I receive is from Radio Netherlands, SABC, ABC
[Australia], RCI [Canada], and the BBC. Mugabe was a creation of the
Republicans and Democrats of Washington as well as the West. But to attempt
a regime change in the style of Iraq and Afghanistan would be
counterproductive. South Africa must lead the way to force a regime change
especially since South Africa is the powerhouse in southern Africa and they
are going to host the 2010 World Cup."
"South Africa must not do it [regime change] alone but in conjunction with
Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho,
and Swaziland. According to SABC [South Africa Broadcasting Corporation],
many small and big businesses are leaving Zimbabwe."
David Rupiny, Northern Uganda:
"What the hell does Mugabe think he is doing? We have seen war in northern
Uganda for 21 years, but it looks like the situation in Zimbabwe is far
worse than what is happening here. It is time for Mugabe, and all other
long-serving leaders like Uganda's Yoweri Museveni to pack their bags and go
home. I see Uganda becoming like Zimbabwe too - what with rising inflation,
increasing commodity prices, power cuts, wanton corruption, nepotism and
tribalism, inequitable distribution of resources, political intolerance and
Blake Finley, San Francisco CA USA:
"Zimbabwean and earlier 'Rhodesian' politics has had a long history of
infestation with political corruption, at least since the white colonizers
tricked the Shona and Matabele chiefs into submission. The colonial regime
in Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) was highly racist and corrupt, and not
dissimilar to that of Apartheid South Africa. The Bruderbund BOSS (South
African CIA) of the Apartheid regime, with earlier close assistance from the
racist white government in Zimbabwe before independence raged ruthlessly
inhumane wars, both overt and covert through BOSS (South African CIA) in
neighbouring countries including Mozambique and Angola. How many foreigners
realize this, and how much attack and exploitation black Zimbabweans have
continually undergone? Are we getting truth about Zimbabwe or Mugabe? How
much external/foreign (including post-Apartheid Bruderbund/BOSS)
manipulation has contributed to Mugabe's situation from the onset? Mugabe
should be heard in an international forum, and any corruption under his rule
should not be used to discount the principle of national autonomy and rule
of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans."
"Mugabe should not simply be typecast as a ruthless dictator, as the western
media usually portrays him, without hearing what he has to say about the
situation in his country and why he has done what he has done."
"He should be heard not only in the EU but also in the United Nations, as
the charges against him are very grave, and all sides in Zimbabwe should be
heard before any foreign nation or international organization intervenes
overtly or covertly, or before Mugabe and his countrymen are judged for what
they have done. An eye should also be kept on the future of Zimbabwe so that
any type of political corruption is allow to either continue, or replace the
David Berridge, Montreal, Quebec, Canada:
"Unfortunately, regime change is not a viable course of action for Zimbabwe.
After the scathing international criticism levelled against the United
States for its intervention in Iraq, no other power will seek to take on a
similar policy against Robert Mugabe. Unless Bono and U2 hold a rock concert
to raise funds for a large mercenary group to kill Mugabe and install a new
leadership, Zimbabwe will remain the compounding tragedy it is. (Executive
Outcomes anyone?) The only viable option left is for the United Nations to
approve a name change from Zimbabwe to Biafra."
David L. Blatt, Chicago, IL, USA:
"It was time for regime change the day the ZANU-PF got into power in
Zimbabwe. Mugabe has been very open as to his desire to be the Papa Doc of
southern Africa. The International Community should have backed the Internal
Settlement Government of Bishop Abel Murozewa 30 years ago. Instead, we
opted to put Tyrant Mugabe into power and the results are clear for all to
Alhaji Daramy-Bassey, United Kingdom:
"The answer is yes if the entire nation is ready for reconciliation and
nation building efforts. The answer is 'no' if the present demographic
sector is going to have reprisals and put into the same plight as the
Tsvengarai group. The political dispensation in the republic of Zimbabwe may
not differ from any other third-world country in terms of religious, ethnic
as-well-as political choice."
Mens News Daily
July 20, 2007 at 1:44 am
I do not know how to describe what this collection of goons are doing but it
is the worlds biggest closing down sale! I have now been raided 7 times and
on each occasion they have demanded that we write down our prices to new low
levels. I have yet to determine the full extent of our losses but they now
run into the billions. My main concern now is just how on earth do we pay
our staff at the month end? They are equally concerned!
I have heard many explanations of this exercise, termed "Good Governance" by
the regime in its normal exemplary manner. One was that this is a knee jerk
reaction to the statement by Christopher Dell, the US Ambassador to Harare
on the 18th June 2007 to the effect that we are headed for 1,5 million
percent inflation and the collapse of the regime in short order. Another is
that they were shocked by outcome of their own exercise to draw foreign
exchange from the market that week and the resulting collapse of the local
currency and the massive surge in inflation that followed and this is a
desperate effort to halt inflation.
Yet another, well informed source said it was well planned, the people
involved trained and is a deliberate attempt to further reduce urban
populations and the support base of the MDC in the towns in the form of
small and large-scale business. This hypothesis was based on the
Murambatsvina exercise two years ago when they destroyed 300 000 homes in
informal settlements and hundreds of thousands of small non-formal
businesses. This resulted in both an upsurge in human flight and movements
back to the rural areas - both targets of the policy and in the view of the
regime, highly successful.
Now, forced to face elections in March 2008, they have assessed the
situation and decided that more surgery is required. So smash the remnants
of the formal economy and at the same time give the people cheap goods as a
reward for their complicity. The possible outcome is now clear, the majority
of what is left of the modern economy is being systematically destroyed and
most companies affected will almost certainly close their doors with
dramatic job losses, huge suffering and the flight of much of our present
urban population to South Africa and elsewhere.
They then feel that with all food supplies in their hands and most of the
remnants of the economy under their control, they can direct how people will
vote in the next election and be sure that they will comply. This hypothesis
is validated by the actions taken last week to introduce new controls on the
importation of food and "groceries" for resale. As for the flight of
millions to South Africa it has been clear for some time that the regime
here is making no efforts at all to curb illegal border crossing into any of
our neighbors territory.
If permitted, this demonic, ruthless but clever operation will result in the
Zimbabwean population declining to less than 7 million this winter, the
potential voting population to perhaps 2 million; 80 per cent of them poor,
impoverished and totally dependent on regime controlled handouts and
charity. Like peasants everywhere, the majority will be dependent on the
regime for work, food, shelter and even clothing - the basics of life, as
such they would not dare act in defiance.
Zanu PF will, under this scenario, then call an election early - as soon as
the human flight and controls are in place and effective on the ground. In
this election they will make every pretense to show that it is "free and
fair" even allowing some international and regional observers. The people
will vote under supervision with the threat that districts that vote MDC and
known MDC activists will face instant reprisals that will leave them without
food and all other means of survival. They might even control remittances
The people behind this strategy are very clever in an evil sort of way. They
have become wealthy beyond their imaginations; they have no shortages, can
take holidays abroad (if they are not under sanctions and even if they are,
there are plenty of places that will gladly take their dollars) and have the
systems of control and coercion in their hands without legal or moral
constraints. They are totally determined to protect this power and privilege
at any cost.
Their main threat is not from the MDC or the people, but from within.
Therefore they reserve their most harsh action for those individuals who
dare to break away from the power group and in recent weeks we have seen a
resurgence of political killings of senior Army officers who have dared to
ask questions about what is happening and what they are asked to do. They do
not give a hoot about the interests of the region or the people, they think
the former can be manipulated, do not have the will to stand up to them and
may even be compliant. The latter, they regard as just fodder for the
machine they are creating.
The operation itself tells us a great deal about this regime. It is now,
effectively a military Junta. The Joint Operations Command is totally in
charge and the civilian State is simply being brushed aside and forced to
watch as decisions are taken (outside of Cabinet) and implemented. We have
documentary evidence of this.
It also confirms that the rule of law has now been totally abandoned and the
Courts sidelined and access the legal redress made impossible. There is
nothing legal about what they are doing; it would never stand up in a Court
of Law in any normal society. The rights of property owners (no matter what
sort of property) are being flagrantly violated with business capital being
wiped out in a dramatic and fatal way. Interestingly they are not
discriminating in this operation, foreign or local, Zanu PF or MDC, Asian,
indigenous black or white, they are simply sweeping the board. This shows
that they feel they no longer need these alternative pillars of political
support - the armed forces and their own systems and tentacles are enough to
do what they want.
Do regional leaders understand the terrible price they will pay for this
gross abuse of power and privilege in Zimbabwe? What on earth are they doing
to stop this madness? Not a great deal at present and there are four
possible outcomes of their inaction.
1. We will collapse in a heap and the military will formalize their role in
2. The so-called reformers in Zanu PF will take over, expel Mugabe from
power and form a new government that will declare a state of emergency and
3. Mugabe will call a snap election late this year and will try to win by
4. The SADC initiative will be put back on course by South African power and
we will stagger under reserve engines to an election in March 2008 that will
produce a new government to pick up the pieces.
It is reported to me that Zanu PF Members of Parliament have jokingly stated
to MDC colleagues "we know you will win the elections, and we are making
sure there is nothing left for you to eat!" This might well be a scorched
earth strategy - or the scorched earth idea might simply be a fall back
position if SADC does intervene. Whatever, time is running out for all of
Bulawayo, 19th July 2007
By Lance Guma
20 July 2007.
Masvingo State University has decided to take the lead from their
counterparts in Harare by defying a court order allowing two suspended
student leaders the chance to write their exams. In June the President of
the SRC Whitlaw Mugwiji and his Secretary General Edson Hlatshwayo were
violently dragged out of the examinations room before being severely
assaulted by the state and college security personnel. The courts have
ordered the institution to set supplementary exams before 10th August this
year and allow the two to write them.
Unfortunately for the students it seems Robert Mugabe, the Chancellor to
most Universities, is giving direct instructions to the Vice Chancellors to
ignore court orders. In Harare, High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo last week
ordered the University of Zimbabwe to reverse the eviction of over 4000
students from their halls of residence. But Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura
defied the order, telling one suspended student that Mugabe had told him the
judge who made the decision should be prepared to accommodate the students
at his house. Authorities in Masvingo are singing from the same songbook.
Vice Chancellor Professor Maravanyika openly told the students that he takes
instructions from the Presidents office and that he has been firmly told not
to readmit the two students. Contempt of court applications have been filed
by students at the University of Zimbabwe and similar applications in
Masvingo are expected.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Chipo Ngwira, 31, left Harare three weeks ago to look for a job in Gaborone, Botswana. She has not tasted a decent meal for 14 days as Batswanas constantly remind her that they have no jobs for foreigners, commonly known in the diamond-rich nation as 'makwerekwere'.
The 100 Pula she had raised over six months in Zimbabwe's economically crippled capital, Harare, has been exhausted. The only thing now is for her to join other Zimbabwean women at Gaborone West's Mogoditshane suburb where prostitution is the order of the day.
Finding a job in Gaborone's White City area, largely frequented by Zimbabweans looking for formal employment such as gardening and housekeeping is just a pipe dream.
To Chipo, the idea of leaving her two starving children with their grandmother was the most painful decision she has ever made in her life.
"I just dumped them at my grandmother's place in Highfield density suburb in Harare and told the granny that I am leaving for a better life either in Botswana or South Africa," says the distraught single parent.
"I shed my tears before embarking on the 760 kilometre journey to Gaborone. Right now, I don't know whether my children have had a decent meal during the past three weeks because my grandmother is poor and she receives $100,000 per month from the Department of Social Welfare. This is hardly enough to buy two loaves of bread."
Chipo is not the only Zimbabwean facing such difficulties as thousands of economic refugees are flocking to Botswana and South Africa to search for basic food commodities and greener pastures as the country is facing its worst economic crisis in its history.
"This is the worst time of our lives and there is no way
one can live in Zimbabwe and make ends meet unless one is a thief, money dealer,
businessperson, worker of a non-governmental organisation or top civil servant.
People have struggled to make ends meet since President Robert Mugabe and his
cronies raided the farms in the year 2000," says Njabulo Ndlovu, an economic
refugee currently looking for a job at White City suburb.
Independent sources estimate that between 500 and 600 refugees cross into Botswana and South Africa every day to look for jobs. Farmers close to the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa say that the figures are much higher, a fact that they say senior officials in the military and police will only privately admit to. According to the farmers' estimates, about 4,000 Zimbabweans are crossing into South Africa every night. That represents at least 100,000 people a month, far more than official estimates of 20,000 per month.
Just this week the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported that 6,000 Zimbabwean refugees were deported every week from Musina near the Beit Bridge border post. ZimbabweJournalists.com reported that Andrew Gethi, the chief operating officer of the International Organisation for Migration, which opened an office to assist deported Zimbabwean refugees on the northern side of the border, says the organisation is handling on average 17,000 deportees every month - it estimates that more than 86,000 illegal immigrants were forcibly repatriated between January and May this year alone. (It is important to note that the figure of 17,000 per month excludes those refugees who have managed to evade the South African authorities).
The scale of the problem is likely to worsen as the Zimbabwean economy deteriorates further and as Zanu PF policies become increasingly repressive and brutal. For most refugees, the dangerous crossing into neighbouring countries and the uncertain future they face there presents them with far better options of survival than staying at home.
Zimbabwe's economy is deteriorating at an alarming rate. South Africa's Econometrix Ecobulletin of 10 July reported that in June, Zimbabwe's inflation was around 3 700% and the preceding month around 2,200%. At the time of publishing, the bulletin said the official rate had reached over 4,500%. This clearly indicated that the country had reached the realms of hyperinflation as a 4 500% inflation rate entailed roughly a doubling of prices every month or an escalation of 2.33% per day. Furthermore, if daily prices accelerated to 2.8% per day, on an annualised basis this would be equivalent to 20,000% inflation.
The Econometrix Ecobulletin noted: "No country has ever endured true hyperinflation without there being a change in leadership or type of government within a fairly short space of time. Zimbabwe is unlikely to be any different."
The very recent 'price war' policies embarked upon by the Zanu PF government under Mugabe's leadership has led to an immediate upsurge in the scale of the refugee problem. The editor of South Africa's Business Day newspaper commented this week that the undeniable human flood of Zimbabwean refugees to South Africa over the recent years has suddenly become a torrent. He further commented: "There is a real threat of a socially and economically disastrous tsunami sweeping [South Africa] in the coming weeks unless there is international intervention".
Opposition parties in South Africa have called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to set up refugee camps along the borders with Zimbabwe, a call that has been rejected by Jack Redden, the UNHCR's regional information officer. Redden said that the UNHCR could only be involved in the case a "total collapse" of the Zimbabwean state, at a point when Zimbabweans became 'asylum seekers' rather than 'economic refugees'.
Rapidly escalating state-sponsored violence and the fall out from Operation Murambatsvina has blurred the distinction between political and economic refugees. During the disastrous government initiated operation to demolish the houses and shacks of largely poor people in the major cities and towns, more than 700,000 people were rendered homeless or jobless, and at least 2.4 million poor people were affected. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the special envoy of Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, said the programme breached both national and international human rights law provisions guiding evictions, thereby precipitating a humanitarian crisis. The UNHCR distinction between political and economic refugees is a moot point to most Zimbabweans; they are leaving Zimbabwe because they have no options and they need to survive. *
Among the refugees fleeing Zimbabwe, those who have already sought political asylum in Botswana during the past six months are awaiting the processing of their application papers at Dukwe Camp, a security-tight compound once occupied by Zimbabweans fleeing atrocities perpetrated by former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith's repressive regime and the Mugabe government's Gukurahundi - involving mass civilian murders - in the 1980s. It is estimated that more than 20,000 people died during the Gukurahundi massacres.
David Sediadie, an official spokesman of President Festus Mogae's Office, says indications are that the political asylum seekers arrived in the country six months ago while the new string of refugees are linked to the current price control measures enforced by Mugabe's desperate regime.
Although the Zimbabwean government is tight-lipped over refugees fleeing the country into neighbouring countries, the situation appears to be worse in Johannesburg, one of Africa's largest cities.
This has forced Bishop Paul Verryn's Central Methodist Church to take care of 900 stranded refugees, some of them with little children, who crossed the borders illegally to look for a better living.
"Conditions for refugees in a church building not meant for housing are a nightmare, but it's far sight better than living rough on the inner-city streets where life is very tough and the refugees are regularly harassed," said the Bishop.
"While peace is not in place, it's vital that people seeking asylum and refuge find a more humane welcome in the countries to which they flee. In South Africa, we have the opportunity for the Zimbabwean refugees to be granted full refugee status, almost in response to the way we were hosted and cared for during the difficult years by the Zimbabwean government of that time."
He continued: "The presence of Zimbabweans in this country presents us with a choice about our view of humanity. Firstly, refugees are by no means a nuisance or a curse in a country. They are a glorious opportunity for us to show our true humanity. Secondly, Zimbabweans come with gifts. Our wisdom is to expose and celebrate their presence among us."
An estimated three million Zimbabweans, mostly illegal immigrants, live in South Africa. The majority end up living in crime-infested areas such as Hillbrow, Berea and some parts of Johannesburg's South-Western Townships (Soweto), leading to the troubling perception among some South Africans that Zimbabweans are deeply involved in crime - a perception that many commentators see as a worrying increase in xenophobia.
"Once these economic and political refugees arrive here, look for jobs and fail to get formal employment, some are forced into crime," says a top South African policeman.
Despite concerns like these expressed in media reports, Chris Maroleng from the South African Institute of International Affairs says the statistics do not indicate a disproportionate number of Zimbabweans involved in crime.
"Individuals who were engaged in normal activities back home are less likely to get involved in criminal activities in other countries," he says. "They are just keen to make a living and send food and money home."
Maroleng does point out, however, that there have been cases of former Zimbabwean army personnel being involved in specialised crimes, such as cash in transit heists and bank robberies.
The difficulties and uncertain future facing Zimbabwean refugees in neighbouring countries, combined with the negative and sometimes hostile reception they receive from locals there, highlights the scale of the desperate conditions in Zimbabwe. The choice to leave, to cross illegally into another country either by swimming across a crocodile infested river or risking arrest by border patrols, reflects the tenacity and courage of Zimbabweans too, determined to find a way to survive despite all efforts to beat them into submission.
Zimbabwean refugees want to go home to live with their families in peace and security and are increasingly turning to talk of the need for action and the need for political change in Zimbabwe. Regional leaders would do well to listen to them, and support their call for non-violent peaceful change.
The Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and Botswana believe that there is only one answer to their suffering - the demise of Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe's rule, a dictatorial evil leader who has been at the helm of the country for all of the 27 years since independence from British rule.
"Our lives are resting on one selfish man named Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I don't see the reason why over 12 million people can be terrorised by one man without fighting back. This is the time for us to retaliate against this monster. Enough is enough!" says Phathisani Mkandla, an economic refugee roaming the streets of Johannesburg during the past two weeks looking for formal employment.
"If all people agree to stage a strike against Mugabe, we will push him out of power within hours and our country may pull out of this mess," says Mkandla's friend Power Nketha with razor sharp cheekbones, a sign of extreme hunger.
* See reports by the Solidarity Peace Trust: "No War in
Zimbabwe" and "Operation Murambatsvina - Discarding the Filth".
July 20 2007 at 08:22PM
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has pronounced China his country's
top co-operation partner, Harare's Herald newspaper reported on Friday.
Its website quoted him as saying: "Currently, we are being driven by
our Look East policy and our first country for co-operation is China."
Mugabe was addressing a delegation from the Communist Party of China
at a meeting in Harare on Thursday.
He said relations between the two countries dated back to the struggle
for independence, which Beijing backed to the hilt.
"Now that we are independent and sovereign, we have pursued together
ways of how we can transform our socio-economic systems for the benefit of
The two countries had done this realising that there were areas where
they must observe their oneness especially on the international forum.
Zimbabwe and China had always been criticised by Western countries at
international forums on false grounds that they did not uphold human rights.
But the United Nations had always found nothing wrong with the human
rights records of China and Zimbabwe, Mugabe said. - Sapa
Cape Argus (Cape Town)
20 July 2007
Posted to the web 20 July 2007
The national SPCA has called on South Africans to dig into their pockets and
donate funds and goods to help animals left destitute by the political and
economic crisis ravaging Zimbabwe.
The call follows reports in the Cape Argus that food shortages had forced
the Zimbabwe SPCA to begin euthanasing stray animals housed in its kennels.
The euthanasing began early this week and affects more than 600 animals.
Allan Perrins, chief executive of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, told the Cape
Argus that public response to the reports had been overwhelming.
He said the local SPCA had been inundated with offers of help from concerned
"Some kind of help from us is inevitable and imminent. The Zimbabwe SPCA
will send us a wish-list, we will procure what they require and courier
those to them," said Perrins.
"It is also not in the realm of the impossible that we could even send
people up to Zimbabwe to help our colleagues there," he added.
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has also done a study that shows that
83% of wildlife in privately owned game farms and conservancies has been
destroyed since 2001. The blame for the wipe-out has been attributed to
drought, and the political upheavals that have engulfed Zimbabwe over the
last five years.
A statement by the SPCA said the mass exodus of Zimbabweans to neighbouring
countries had left many animals destitute and dying of hunger.
"There are no easy solutions. The situation in Zimbabwe is not one conducive
to the homing or adoption of animals. Supplies of food for captive and
animals on farms is a central issue and we fear that these animals
themselves become targets for food," the NSPCA said.
Meanwhile, the DA has announced that it will be sending an inspection team
to the Beit Bridge border crossing next week to study for itself the
circumstances of the refugees fleeing from the economic and political
collapse of Zimbabwe.
Mark Lowe, the DA spokesman on home affairs, said in a statement that the
government should set up a refugee camp near the Beit-Bridge border
"This is a major humanitarian crisis happening right now. Not next month,
not next year, but right now ... the Department of Home Affairs has a duty
to find accommodation for refugees coming into the country en masse, which
is the case of Zimbabwean refugees," he said.
Zimbabwe is reeling from the worst economic and political crisis ever to hit
the country. Annual inflation is at record highs of 4 000% and free
political activity has been curtailed.
Donations to the SPCA should be donated into the following account:
Institution: Standard Bank
Account Name: NSPCA
Account Number: 201 032 015
Branch Code: 006 405
20 July 2007
Information Technology Editor
POLITICAL pressure to end the crisis in Zimbabwe could get an unexpected
kick from Fifa, as officials organising the 2010 World Cup are anxious to
avoid a humanitarian catastrophe on SA's border.
The "Mugabe factor" could harm the smooth running of the Soccer World Cup,
so Fifa would be urging SA's government to intervene and help to resolve the
crisis, said former footballer Gary Bailey.
The World Cup could also be the catalyst that finally spurs the government
to face up to crime in SA, he said yesterday at the Internetix conference,
staged by technology company Internet Solutions.
The 2010 tournament was a chance to "rebrand" the country, said Bailey, a
former Kaizer Chiefs player and goalkeeper for England. He was an ambassador
for SA's World Cup bid.
"The rest of the world doesn't see us as world class. T hey are very
Afro-pessimistic. The World Cup is an incredible opportunity to reposition
SA. What's holding us back isn't the infrastructure, it's crime and
The g overnment tenders, worth R410bn, were being issued to overhaul SA's
infrastructure, said Bailey. "(President Thabo) Mbeki has put R410bn behind
it - now we have to force him to deal with crime."
Police statistics released earlier this month showed robberies at
residential premises had risen 25,4% for the year to March. That could
affect visitors who stayed in bed and breakfast accommodation, Bailey
warned. "Every single news organisation will be in SA and we can't say we
only have five murders a week, not 10, because that will fill up their
Bailey said he had met Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi after the
statistics were issued and came away optimistic.
Selebi promised that 35000 new police would be on the roads by 2010, new
centres would be built to process criminal cases, and 55000 more paid
reservists should be recruited.
The World Cup would be a success, Bailey said, but the question was how
local companies would capitalise on the massive opportunities presented by
"the biggest business opportunity ever to reach SA ".
Analysts at Grant Thornton estimate that R51,1bn will be pumped into the
economy as a direct result and foreign visitors are expected to spend R15bn
on travel, accommodation, food and entertainment.
An estimated 220000 overseas visitors are expected, plus another 180000 from
Africa. Those figures were conservative and up to 600000 may arrive . That
created challenges and opportunities for the transport system,
accommodation, tourism and the telecommunication networks, said Bailey.
July 20 2007 at 06:04PM
South African authorities would adopt a wait-and-see approach before
deciding whether or not to seek businessman Billy Rautenbach's extradition
This comes as Rautenbach, best known in South Africa and Botswana for
his activities in assembling Hyundai cars, was arrested in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and deported to Zimbabwe.
"We will wait to see what happens to him in Zimbabwe, if he is not
imprisoned the (extradition) option remains open," said Panyaza Lesufi, NPA
Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean passport holder, faces hundreds of charges of
fraud, corruption and other crimes in South Africa.
The London-based public relations company, Bell Pottinger, on behalf
of the Katanga provincial government, said: "The government of the DRC is
making strenuous efforts to clean up the mining sector in the country, and
has taken seriously South African charges of fraud, corruption and other
crimes against Rautenbach."
Rautenbach is a major shareholder in Central African Mining and
Exploration (Camec), which owns copper mining properties in the DRC.
Katanga governor Moise Katumbi said later: "Even if we have as yet no
extradition facilities in place, we will not continue to allow such people
to operate in the DRC with impunity."
Camec, chaired by former England cricketer Phil Edmonds, is in a
hostile bid for DRC-focused copper firm Katanga Mining. - Sapa
The Herald - Published by the Government of
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Dell missed only by MDC
By Isdore Guvamombe
NOBODY can fight time and reality for that will be akin to impish
attempts to paint the air.
So US ambassador Christopher William Dell, who left Zimbabwe last
Saturday, found out as he ended up sneaking out without bidding farewell to
Progressive Zimbabweans will remember Dell as an evil man who
sponsored the petrol-bombing of innocent men, women and children; an evil
man who sought to remove the wheels from the Zimbabwean economy in his
attempt to embellish his reputation as Uncle Sam's Mr Fix-it.
The scars Dell left in Zimbabwe are too raw to forget. Remember the
gory pictures of the two female police women petrol-bombed by suspected MDC
youths in Marimba?
Good riddance to bad rubbish, Dell has gone to Hell where he belongs.
His time was up after three years of failing to understand Zimbabwe's
political vectors as he desperately sought to break President Mugabe's
resistance to British and American regime change tactics.
What baffles many is that hardly two days before Dell's departure a
schooled diplomat from Russia, Ambassador Oleg Scherbak, bade farewell to
President Mugabe after completing his mission.
As expected, the battered and bruised Dell did not have the courage to
face his nemesis, and stole out like a common thief following the footsteps
of Sir Brian Donnelly, the British spy who also found the going tough in
After coming to Zimbabwe as warmongers masquerading as diplomats, we
were not shocked when Dell and Donnelly flouted diplomatic etiquette by
sneaking out of the country without bidding their host farewell.
Maybe we expected too much, honey comes from bees, not flies!
Dell came to Harare a dragon breathing the fire of misplaced regime
change and intoxicated with the destruction he wrought on the Yugoslavs. He,
however, left a humbled man with egg all over his face.
It was easy for the Government to beat Dell at his game because the
cowboy was so myopic; he always tipped his hand.
Dell, like many Americans, seems to have been socialised into
believing that he was mightier than other people as he thought Zimbabwe
should be governed in the manner he saw fit.
After taking his destructive antics to every facet of Zimbabwean life
in an impish attempt to effect illegal regime change, Dell must have found
it difficult to accept that he had failed.
But excuse me Mr Fix-it, Zimbabwe is not Kosovo let alone Luanda or
President Mugabe is not Slobodan Milosovic; he is not Mohamed Siad
President Mugabe is the greatest son of Africa, a political
grandmaster whose gamesmanship, antics, vision and wisdom have left not only
Dell but also generations of imperialists wondering what hit them.
From the day he took over from Joseph Sullivan in 2004, Dell dabbled
in opposition politics as if he were Zimbabwean.
Admitted, Dell was on a mission to clandestinely effect illegal regime
change in Zimbabwe but the failure of his project frustrated him so much
that he could no longer hide his intentions, he was so pathetic. What a sore
In June 2004 Dell, just nine days after Tony Blair told the world that
he was pursuing regime change in Zimbabwe, appeared before a US
Congressional hearing and laid bare his agenda:
"If confirmed (as ambassador to Zimbabwe) I would continue the efforts
of our government in seeking Zimbabwe's re-emergence as a country with a
legitimate democratically elected Government that reflects the rule of law
and human rights . . .''
Three years down the line, Dell left Harare a wreck of nerves, his
much-vaunted reputation as America's "Mr Fix-it'' in tatters.
He came riding on the bloody legacy of military excursions that ranged
from the "accidental" bombings of Kosovar Maternity Ward and civilian buses
on the streets of Belgrade, to infinite hiccups in Mozambique and Angola's
civil wars and tried to apply the same in Harare.
He tried to relive his experiences in Kosovo and Belgrade on the
streets of Highfield and Glen Norah; his hand was evident in the bombings at
Sakubva and Marimba police stations.
Due to Dell's desperation, innocent men, women and children suffered
permanent injuries. They lost property and they will never forget him for
After the Government thwarted that violence, Dell hatched more plans,
this time on the price hikes using his so-called Fishmongers.
As prices skyrocketed Dell continued with his provocative, combative
and confrontational approach issuing statements to the effect that the
Government would be on its knees within six months. When Government once
again closed that front, Dell was left clueless, with no time on his hands
to organise anything else; he stole out like a spy coming from the cold.
In October 2005, Dell trespassed into a restricted security zone at
the Botanical Gardens in an apparent attempt to provoke a diplomatic row. A
year later, he walked out of a meeting in which the Government had invited
him and other diplomats, before the meeting had even started. It was a very
undiplomatic, rude thing to do.
Dell used to hold secret meetings with the opposition and its allied
groups. Fine, it was his right to associate but he never walked out of any
of their meetings because those involved were American puppets.
Dell's subversive activities brought untold suffering on innocent
people, but he was undeterred since no American could be injured in
Highfield, Glen View or Sakubva, no American policeman could be
petrol-bombed at Marimba or Sakubva police stations.
The cruel man has gone and will not be missed except, maybe, by the
MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai.
[Just a thought - where else in the world would you think it normal to have a restricted security zone in the Botanical Gardens?- Ed.]