By Violet Gonda
21 July 2009
The inclusive government has dedicated Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week
as days for renouncing political violence and promoting national healing. In
an Extraordinary Government Gazette Robert Mugabe declared 24, 25 and 26
July will be a period for all Zimbabweans at home and abroad to 'renounce
and report all forms of political violence, in an effort to restore peace
and stability in the country'.
Sekai Holland, the co-minister of National Healing, told SW Radio Africa on
Tuesday that the three days will not be national holidays but dedication
days, earmarked for individuals to take spiritual time to pray for national
healing, reconciliation and integration.
The minister said this is the first time in the history of Zimbabwe where
the State actually recognizes there has been violence in the country.
In the Government Gazette, Mugabe called for an end to political violence by
all political parties, civil society and foreign organisations. But his
sincerity has been questioned by critics who say his party has been at the
forefront of all the violence and that ZANU PF still controls the organs of
violence. Vicious militia camps, mostly in rural areas, have still not been
dismantled, 'opponents' are still being terrorized in some parts of the
country and violence on the farms continues.
The MDC issued a statement on Tuesday saying scores of party supporters
across the country have in recent months been victims of politically
motivated violence at the hands of 'Zanu PF thugs,' despite the formation of
the inclusive government in February.
The statement said another MDC activist 'Ebba Katiyo, 31, is battling for
her life in a private hospital after she was brutally attacked by Zanu PF
thugs in Uzumba, Mashonaland East province on 12 July.'
Holland said that violence was still there but said it was not as bad as it
was in previous years. She said: "The Global Political Agreement is a flawed
and difficult document to work through and the structures we work in are
ones that are by agreement, but none of what we are doing is what we as
The Minister said the State was established in 1890 as a state of violence
as a means of putting the population down, but that needs to change now. At
independence in 1980 Mugabe called for reconciliation between blacks and
white, and in 1987 the Unity Accord was signed between the rival ZANU PF and
ZAPU to end acrimony between the two parties. This had followed the massacre
of at least 20 000 people in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions by the
Fifth Brigade, the Korean trained army brigade which reported directly to
Nearly 30 years after independence ZANU PF still revives the violence
whenever it wants to.
Holland said that during the next six months the 'Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration' will go around the country to talk and hear
from the public about what they want to heal the nation.
Holland caused a stir last month when she said in a BBC interview that
serious violence was continuing despite the formation of the unity
government. The statements were immediately dismissed by her party leader
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. When asked about this she said: "The
BBC journalist lied that he was from a British NGO that deals with children.
It was a few weeks before he put that programme on when the Prime Minister
was visiting abroad. The things I said at the time I said them were correct.
And he lied he was in Zimbabwe to collect money in the UK to build a school
However the BBC told SW Radio Africa in a statement that it stands by its
story and 'refutes all claims made by Mrs. Holland." The BBC added: "We made
it perfectly clear to Mrs. Holland that the material gathered in Zimbabwe
would be made available to the British media."
Meanwhile Mrs. Holland acknowledged that there was still violence going on
in Zimbabwe, but said it was not as bad as it was before the formation of
the coalition government. She said: "In 2007 we have been having lightening,
thunder and rain in terms of violence. In 2008 we had hail storm and in
2009, we have a drizzle which sometimes breaks out into a thunderstorm, as
we have had in Gweru where two farmers have been killed. But it is a
drizzle. It is not the same as the year before."
Movement for Democratic Change (Harare)
21 July 2009
Another MDC activist, Ebba Katiyo, 31, is battling for her life in a private
hospital after she was brutally attacked by Zanu PF thugs in Uzumba,
Mashonaland East province on 12 July 2009.
Katiyo, who can hardly speak or move in her bed, was brutally assaulted
twice in a space of two weeks on accusations that she was still a member of
"I was called by the village headman of Katiyo kraal who is also my uncle
for a public meeting at his homestead where I was asked why I continued to
support the MDC.
"After the meeting, he asked youths gathered to beat me up and I was beaten
all over the body," said Katiyo.
She said before she had recovered from the assault, she was again called for
a second meeting by the headman who again ordered that she be beaten.
"Again I was assaulted all over the body this time with sticks, booted feet
and clinched hands," she said.
After the second assault, Katiyo could not even move until her relatives
sought help from the MDC who then referred her to hospital where she is
currently receiving treatment.
A police report was made on Friday at Mutawatawa Police Station and the
police officers said they would investigate the case but although the
assailants have been identified, no arrests have been made.
The culprits have been identified as Headman Katiyo, Zanu PF district
chairperson, Teguru, Albert and Sarah Mutopo.
Scores of MDC supporters across the country have in recent months been
victims of politically-motivated violence at the hands of Zanu PF thugs,
despite the formation of the inclusive government in February.
July 21, 2009
By Mxolisi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's revived opposition ZAPU party says that it will
contest any vacant by-elections that will be held in the country, beginning
with three prospective seats in the Matabeleland region, left vacant after
the recent dismissal of standing parliamentarians by the smaller faction of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Methuseli Moyo, ZAPU's director for communication and marketing said in a
press statement released Tuesday that the party, which he says has been
following "with keen interest" the developments in the Mutambara-led party,
felt that the time was ripe for it to "enter the fray".
"Zapu is excited by the prospect of a by-election for the House of Assembly
for Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima East," said Moyo.
"This follows the dismissal by the MDC-Mutambara party of its three sitting
parliamentarians, and the subsequent decision by the party to notify the
Speaker of Parliament to ask the President to call for by-elections in the
respective constituencies. Zapu is geared to enter the race in the three
"Nkayi, Lupane and Bulilima are part of what we consider to be ZAPU's
traditional "home-ground" and we are very confident of winning."
Moyo said that his party would make its decision known in due course on its
positions regarding other parliamentary seats, where by-elections are
"Zapu is cognisant of the agreement by Zanu-PF, MDC-M and MDC-T not to
contest each other, but to let the incumbent party stand unopposed if a
by-election arose within 12 months of signing of the GPA," said Moyo.
"It is important to note that other political parties are not part to the
agreement and are therefore free to contest by-elections if they arose.
"In any case, we are about to reach 12 months since the GPA was signed and
given the process involved in organising and holding by-elections, we do not
expect any to be held before September 15, when the 12 months period
The ZAPU official called on his party's supporters "who strayed into the two
MDC formations and are finding life difficult there, and those who are still
with Zanu-PF, to come back home".
"The revival of ZAPU has been accomplished," said Moyo. "The upcoming
by-elections will prove to all that ZAPU is back forever."
Jul 21, 2009, 16:52 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's Minister of Public Service, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro on
Tuesday announced wage increases for civil servants that will see some
workers earn double their current 100-dollar monthly allowance.
Since February this year Zimbabwe's new coalition government has been paying
civil servants a flat monthly 'allowance' of 100 US dollars, which many say
is too little to feed and clothe their families.
The allowances replaced salaries in virtually worthless Zimbabwean dollars,
which the new government suspended and replaced with hard currency shortly
after its formation.
Instead of the uniform 100 dollars, civil servants will now be paid
according to the demands of their profession. The minister did not give
details of the new pay scales, saying only wages had been increased by on
average 55 percent.
A source within the Public Service Commission showed the German Press Agency
a government document that showed public workers earning between 100 and 200
dollars a month.
Teachers and nurses would earn 155 dollars a month, while a doctor would
earn 170 dollars, the document showed.
Mukonoweshuro said the 526-million-dollar salary bill would swallow 52 per
cent of the government's meagre 2009 budget but that government felt the
increases were necessary to motivate and retain essential staff.
'It is a promissory note to show that we are not static... We are moving. It
shows that better times lie ahead,' he said.
The pay levels were comparable to those in neighbouring countries like
Mozambique and Zambia, 'but we can't be compared with South Africa (Africa's
richest country) yet,' he said.
At its formation in February, the government led by longtime rivals
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it needed
between 8 and 10 billion dollars for the country's long-term economic
Donors have offered only a fraction of their demands, saying the government
needs to show signs of greater commitment to democratic reforms.
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 July 2009
The MDC-M MP for Nkayi South, Abednico Bhebhe, has dismissed his expulsion,
and that of two other colleagues from the party, as null and void, claiming
the move to oust them is a conspiracy by those in the party hierachy.
Bhebhe, together with the MP for Lupane East Njabuliso Mguni, and the MP for
Bulilima East Norman Mpofu, were being accused of 'undermining' the party's
But in an indication that he intends to fight any attempt to expel him from
the party, Bhebhe told us he would defend himself strongly against 'wild
allegations.' He said he was still an MP elected by the people, the same
people who can vote him out of parliament and not a disciplinary committee
that has a 'hidden agenda.'
'To begin with the case against us was unprocedural from the start. This is
a classic case of certain individuals wanting to get rid of MPs and not the
party. We should be held to account by the party and not individuals who don't
know how to vent their problems,' Bhebhe said.
Analysts believe Bhebhe is paying the price for leading a group of eight MPs
from his party, to vote for Lovemore Moyo as speaker of Parliament, and not
Paul Themba Nyathi, the party's choice for the post.
'We are already seeking legal advice and we are not going to roll over and
let this happen (expulsion). We've made it quite clear that a piece of paper
from an illegal disciplinary hearing is not going to take away a lifetime of
commitment and my beliefs. I've done nothing wrong and we're seeking legal
advice and will be in touch with the party soon,' Bhebhe added.
The 'dissident' group of MPs have made it known they are not happy that
party officials who lost in the general elections, have ended up as
ministers and deputy Prime Minister.
Only one MP out of the ten that won the elections is in government, apart
from Welshman Ncube, Priscillah Misihairambwi-Mushonga and Gibson Sibanda,
who all lost in their constituencies last year. Moses Mzila Ndlovu is only a
deputy minister of Foreign Affairs while the other three are full cabinet
But that elevation to ministerial posts, despite losing in elections,
sparked a bitter 'cold war' that has been destabilising the party since.
Latest reports suggest the MDC-M legislators are now campaigning openly to
rejoin the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai. They also took turns to
lambast the leadership at a rally in Bulilima over the weekend.
The Bulawayo based Sunday News reported that Mpofu told the rally that if
they ever fired him he would meet them in the dock come election time where
he will beat them as an independent if the 'worst comes to the worst.'
According to the Global Political Agreement the main MDC and ZANU PF parties
will not field a candidate in any by-elections, but other parties and
independents are free to contest the elections.
The paper also quotes Mguni blasting the Mutambara leadership saying they
tried to tell them that people on the ground want a united MDC, but they
refused to listen.
'We want the original MDC. Mutambara and his two or so MPs cannot defeat the
common enemy we have, ZANU PF, and Welshman's two degrees will not be able
to beat ZANU PF. Only MDC, a united MDC, can,' Mguni said.
There are also reports that allege that Vice President Gibson Sibanda and
Secretary General Welshman Ncube are planning to oust Mutambara as the party
leader. The state controlled Sunday News, reported that the leaders told
supporters over the weekend in Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland that they were
tired of playing second fiddle in party politics.
But as Zimbabweans well know, you can't believe everything you read in a
state controlled newspaper, particularly when it refers to the MDC.
By Alex Bell
21 July 2009
Hopes that ageing dictator Robert Mugabe would be retiring soon have been
dashed, after his party endorsed the 85 year old as ZANU PF's 'Supreme
leader', in a move that a leading political analyst has dismissed as
The party's Midlands Province Coordinating Committee made the resolution
over the weekend, apparently ending the ZANU PF succession debate that
observers have said threatened to divide the party. In May the ZANU PF
politburo set up a committee to look into the issue of choosing new leaders
for the party, a move that was seen as a sign the party was finally looking
for a Mugabe successor. But Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU PF Secretary for Legal
Affairs, who was also rumoured to be harboring his own presidential hopes,
said this weekend the ZANU PF Midlands grouping had agreed they are
satisfied and committed to Mugabe's leadership of the party.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe explained on Tuesday that the move
is little more than an attempt by the provincial ZANU PF branch to impress
Mugabe, saying Mnangagwa in particular has been vying for a top leadership
seat for many years. Professor Makumbe said the succession debate in ZANU PF
will rage on, regardless of the title Mugabe has been given, arguing the
title is 'unconstitutional'.
"ZANU PF's own constitution has no room for such things, and its quite
simple: the succession debate will only be over when it is over," Professor
Makumbe said. "The fight will intensify and all these attempts to impress
Mugabe are part of the fight."
ZANU PF infighting has reportedly been growing steadily worse since the
party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since independence,
to the MDC last year. Mugabe meanwhile has said he would not step down until
he is convinced that his departure will not lead to the collapse of ZANU PF.
But what does the declaration mean for Zimbabwe? Professor Makumbe argued
that it means 'nothing', saying nothing at all is going to change the
"ZANU PF has not changed even if the party is in disarray," the Professor
The declaration of Mugabe as 'Supreme leader' puts him on a level with Iran's
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, an ironic similarity that puts the two countries
even closer on a par than they've been before. Iranians too have suffered
enormous human rights violations under Khamenei's 'supreme' leadership,
including strict media restrictions. Mugabe meanwhile has in the past
defended Iran, saying in 2006 that he and Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad were like-minded 'revolutionaries'.
Professor Makumbe explained he is not surprised by ZANU PF's willingness to
place itself in line with a country like Iran, saying the party respects the
regime type that is dictatorial and oppressive.
"They may as well put the party in line with the Taliban," Professor Makumbe
NYIKA- July 20, 2009 - Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Bikita
West Constituency and ZANU PF central committee member Retired Colonel
Cladius Makova at the weekend forcibly took away property from the
constituency office here saying he did not want the Movement for Democratic
Change to use equipment he sourced using personal funds.
Accompanied by youths Vonzia Takawira, Tongesai Masunda and Evelyin
Mabvira, Makova went to the constituency office at Nyika Growth Point and
grabbed all the furniture which included desks and chairs, two landline
telephone handsets, files and a desktop computer.
MP for the area Heya Shoko confirmed the incident but he said the
people who were in the office were the best to give the actual details of
what happened. Speaking to RadioVOP, Cassiano Chaodza, MDC councilor for
ward seven said: "He suddenly burst into our office and started to pack the
He was very violent...He told us that we were not supposed to enjoy
the benefits which were sourced by ZANU PF. We could have blocked him but we
discovered that the muscular youths who had accompanied him were ready for a
fight. We tried to reason with him but he did not want any further
conversation with us."
Chaodza later filed a report at Nyika Police Station. However, the
police are said to have done nothing since Saturday.
"Why should they cry when I take my personal property from their
office? I do not care about what they will do but I am happy that I
recovered my property. In no ways shall the police criminalize somebody for
repossessing his property," said Makova. Masvingo Provincial Police
Spokesperson Phebion Nyambo said: "I am not aware of that development, I
have to check with the Police on the ground before I comment." Makova is
named among the people who are threatening mine officials to hand over
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Deputy News Editor Hebert Zharare
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa was detained for six
hours at Frankfurt International Airport in Germany recently - culminating
in his failure to attend the crucial European Union-Zimbabwe dialogue in
Brussels, Belgium, with immigration police grilling him over his visa.
Minister Chinamasa, who was part of the Zimbabwean delegation that joined an
advance team led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - who was already in
Europe - had his booking for Brussels cancelled by the immigration
officials, who insisted that he was not supposed to proceed as he was on the
EU sanctions list.
Minister Chinamasa yesterday confirmed his detention at Frankfurt
International Airport and the ordeal he went through at the hands of German
"They kept on telling me that they were verifying the authenticity of the
visa documents I had because I am on the sanctions list.
"They proceeded to cancel my booking to Brussels. As a result, I did not
attend some of the meetings. They finally rebooked me six hours later,"
Minister Chinamasa said.
The Zimbabwean delegation, which flew to Brussels last month, almost failed
to travel because some EU member-states were against the inclusion of
officials from Zanu-PF, insisting that they were on a travel ban.
Besides Minister Chinamasa and his Foreign Affairs counterpart Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi (both Zanu-PF), the delegation also included Ministers Elton
Mangoma (Economic Planning and Investment Promotion), Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Regional Integration and International Co-operation),
Welshman Ncube (Industry and Commerce) and Tendai Biti (Finance) - all from
the MDC formations - and was led by PM Tsvangirai.
Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Sten Rylander - whose country currently
holds the EU rotating presidency - told The Herald that he did not have
details on Minister Chinamasa's detention in Germany.
"Maybe the people at Frankfurt did not have more information on Minister
Chinamasa's travel arrangements. He later joined us during the meeting in
Brussels," Mr Rylander said.
The Swedish ambassador, however, said formal dialogue between Zimbabwe and
the European Union Troika was set to begin in Harare soon as the two parties
explored ways to thrash out remaining thorny issues.
The success of the dialogue would eventually see the lifting of the illegal
economic sanctions and other forms of sanctions imposed on the country by
the European bloc.
The troika - comprising Sweden, the EU representative to Zimbabwe Mr Xavier
Marchal and Spanish Ambassador Ms Pilar Fuertes - was set to meet with
Zimbabwe's technical team made up of the permanent secretaries of five
The Zimbabwean technical committee is chaired by Foreign Affairs Secretary
Ambassador Joey Bimha.
Mr Rylander confirmed that informal discussions had been going on between
the troika members and the Zimbabwean officials over the past two weeks with
a view to kick-starting formal discussions.
"Formal meetings might start before the end of the week . . . I had informed
meetings with (Mr) Bimha and others. We are talking . . . it's not that we
are at a standstill," he said.
During the meetings, the technical team chaired by Ambassador Bimha will
represent the Zimbabwean side.
Other members of the team are secretaries and officials from the ministries
of Finance, Regional Integration and International Co-operation, Justice and
Legal Affairs, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, and Industry and
Said Mr Rylander: "Nothing much has happened since the Brussels meeting. The
technical team needs guidance from their principals."
Zimbabwe and EU members had their first meeting in Brussels last month after
almost seven years of acrimonious relations.
During the forthcoming meetings, the Zimbabwean team will present to the
troika its commitment plan in implementing the Global Political Agreement
and the time frame in thrashing out issues that are of concern to the EU
During the meeting, the EU is also expected to submit its commitment plan
and come up with a concrete undertaking to address all forms of sanctions
imposed on Zimbabwe and its leadership over the years and the restoration of
Mr Rylander said following the Brussels meeting, things had been moving
smoothly in the country except for a few pockets that he said were also
"We are seeing a lot of progress on the economic side, but on the political
side we have not seen much . . . like media reforms. We are also looking
forward to seeing the land audit being completed.
"I was shocked with the developments at the constitution conference," he
said, referring to the disruption on the opening day of the all-stakeholders
conference last week, "but the next day the meeting went on well after the
principals had made a statement. The developments at the national vision
meeting were also encouraging. There is a collective spirit on what is
happening in the country. Zimbabwe is moving in the right direction," he
Ambassador Bimha could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out
of the country.
by Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 21 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's food situation could deteriorate if no major food
imports are made between now and March next year, the United States Agency
for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWSNET) warned in a report released at the weekend.
"The food security situation could deteriorate if adequate food imports are
not made between now and March 2010; current private sector imports of
cereals and other basic food stuffs is curtailed; unfavourable inflation
policies replace the current policies that have resulted in deflation; and
current rural household income levels decline," said FEWSNET.
The FEWSNET report follows a joint Food and Agricultural Organisation and
World Food Programme food security assessment (CFSAM) mission conducted in
May, which estimated that about 2.8 million people in Zimbabwe would be food
insecure during the peak hunger period (January to March).
The CFSAM mission said that 600 000 of the 2.8 million people would be in
"Both of the above assessments recognise that from April to June 2009, the
food insecure population in both urban and rural areas was at the lowest
levels of the year (approximately seven percent of the population) and
mainly comprises chronically food insecure households," FEWSNET said.
In May, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Rural
Household Food Security Survey projected that about 1.4 million rural people
will not be able to meet their cereal requirements during the 2009/10
consumption year, but FEWSNET said the size of the population in need of
food assistance is expected to be between 2.0 and 2.4 million.
"The projected food security picture for the 2009/10 consumption year is a
significant improvement compared to last year. According to the second round
crop assessment conducted by Agritex, 2008/09 production is estimated at 1.2
Government has indicated that it will be importing 600 000 metric tonnes of
maize this year to mitigate the shortfall.
Once a net food exporter Zimbabwe has faced food shortages since President
Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme that he launched in 2000
and which has seen agricultural output plummet because the government failed
to provide blacks resettled on former white farms with inputs and skills
training to maintain production.
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of people have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 15 percent of capacity.
A unity government formed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe
last February is pushing to revive the economy although it has to date
failed to ensure law and order in the mainstay agricultural sector where
mobs of supporters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party continue harassing the few
remaining white commercial farmers. - ZimOnline
JASON MOYO - Jul 21 2009 06:00
Arms and ammunition manufactured in Zimbabwe could be finding its way to
Western markets, despite sanctions on President Robert Mugabe's government,
according to a new international report.
Zimbabwe -- Arms and Corruption: Fuelling Human Rights Abuses, prepared by
conflict researchers International Peace Information Service (Ipis), states
that Mugabe is still able to profit from an arms trade that includes agents
from Europe and the United States. Zimbabwe also continues to exploit the
close relationship it has with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to
Zimbabwe and the DRC have sustained an eight-year partnership, the
Congo-Duka company, first set up to facilitate the movement of arms and food
to the DRC at the height of the war in the central African country.
Citing a United Nations report released last year in which the DRC was
accused of re-exporting arms to Zimbabwe, the report says that in the space
of 48 hours last August, 53 tons of ammunition were allegedly flown from the
DRC to Harare. Enterprise World Airways, a company said to have links to
members of the Kinshasa government, was used to transport the cargo.
The report claims to have documents that show a Czech company, Arms Moravia,
lists the Zimbabwe National Army as a client in a handwritten document.
Arms traders in Europe and the US may have disguised the destination of arms
to "circumvent controls on the transfers of arms and ammunition to state
forces with a perceived record of serious human rights violations, by
presenting licensing authorities with an alternative destination".
Zimbabwe has been under a Western arms embargo since 1998, when it
intervened in the DRC war to prop up Laurent Kabila's government.
Ipis says possible leakages in the arms embargo on Zimbabwe underline the
need for an effective arms trade treaty (ATT). "An ATT would require all
parties to prohibit international transfers of conventional arms and
ammunition in circumstances where there is a substantial risk that such
transfers would be used to facilitate serious violations of international
human rights law."
A team sent last June by the UN Security Council's group of experts on the
DRC to locate the controversial cargo carried by a Chinese vessel, the An
Yue Jiang, heard from staff of state ammunitions-maker Zimbabwe Defence
Industries (ZDI) that the arms had indeed arrived in Zimbabwe.
This was corroborated by a senior military expert in Harare, who told the
Mail & Guardian that the air force of Zimbabwe would have used one of its
two Illyushin II-76 carriers to ship the arms into Manyame air base, just
south of the Zimbabwean capital.
The new report also alleges collusion among Western arms dealers to provide
a market for Zimbabwean arms.
"Zimbabwe's defence industry remains interlinked with European and US arms
dealers, engaging in transactions that not only benefit Zimbabwe's state
arms manufacturer, but that also exemplify the inadequacy of European and US
measures to stop European and US arms companies [from] engaging in arms
deals with sanctioned companies and regimes, mediated by individuals listed
on government arms trafficking watchlists."
Experts in Harare said ZDI had long been "a strong and leading" supplier of
ammunition to the US prior to the arms embargo. Its "Cheetah" brand of
ammunition "was much sought after in that market".
But the US market would have dwindled significantly with the stricter
attention given to any flow of arms from Zimbabwe, they said. "The ZDI would
have little knowledge of where the hardware ends up now. They have supplied
arms to governments and contractors from Africa to Asia for years, but
there's no real guarantee where it ends up," one source familiar with
Zimbabwe's arms industry said.
The company manufactures ammunition at two plants outside Harare.
The US government bolstered the arms embargo when it placed the ZDI on the
US sanctions list in 2005, banning its citizens from directly or indirectly
trading with Zimbabwe. The ZDI maintains it remains in compliance with UN
regulations on trade in ammunition.
SW Radio Africa
HOT SEAT transcript: Journalist Violet Gonda hosts the second and final part of a land discussion with farm beneficiary Dr Arikana Chihombori and dispossessed farmer John Worsley Worswick:
Broadcast: July 17 2009
|Violet Gonda: We bring you part two of the land discussion with Dr Arikana Chihombori and John Worsley Worswick. Dr Chihombori is an American citizen of Zimbabwean origin who has been at the centre of controversy since her attempt to take over a commercial farm in the Chegutu area. John Worsley Worswick is a spokesperson of the pressure group Justice for Agriculture which has been campaigning for many years on behalf of commercial farmers.|
John, there are some people who are saying that as a farming community, you brought the land invasions upon yourselves in the sense that you removed yourselves from participating in national activities like withdrawing yourself from political participation and were seen as being aloof. And also you’ve been accused of acting almost like a nation within a nation and basically looking after yourselves. What’s your response?
John Worsley Worswick: Well first of all one has to go back to 1980 and the political scenario at the time. We were offered the hand of reconciliation and we were encouraged to take that hand of reconciliation and reengage, reconstruct Zimbabwe . But there were severe warnings given even back then that not to get involved in politics but to concentrate on what we do best.
Politics of land, certainly we were discouraged from getting involved in that, and that was a dire mistake when one looks at it from a position now with a 20/20 hindsight. Certainly with regard to the 3.8 million hectares of land that was immediately available for resettlement, we should have monitored that and been actively involved in the allocation process and making sure that it was a success.
But certainly when one looks at it today that, yes, the British government did fund the purchase of those farms, it wasn’t a transparent process, for example where farmers had left the country and were being made offers for those farms that should have been paid in foreign currency outside the country, it didn’t happen. Those farmers ended up with government bonds that over time because of inflation were rendered to nothing, they couldn’t get money outside the country.
But that was on the one side, on the other side, those farms went into resettlement and the British funded purchase of farms which we are led to believe was only a third of the funding that was available, the other two thirds of the funding was multi donor funding for the development of these resettlement areas and that was being looted on a wholesale basis to the extent that very little of it was finding its way onto the ground and there was no way they could possibly become a success story given that there was no title transferred with this land. So there was the inability to raise the capital required.
Then you couple that to the fact that a lot of this land did not go to the landless peasants as the beneficiaries, it went to the political hierarchy on peppercorn rentals. I’m referring now to the Margaret Dongo list in the mid-1990s, when that came out it caused a huge scandal and one can’t be surprised today that the donor community, especially the British, were quick to withdraw in the light of the lack of transparency, lack of accountability and the most important issue here was the lack of poverty alleviation relating to resettled land and there certainly wasn’t a meaningful land reform programme by then.
VG: But John…
Arikana Chihombori: Can I ….
JW: So yes, we should have been more closely involved and we should have probably become the umpires on the field alongside the British, the British were the umpires on the field and they didn’t blow the whistle and it was a mess, even predating 2000.
VG: OK Dr Chihombori you wanted to respond?
AC: Yes, I wanted to respond to the comment that John has just made pertaining to being advised to stay out of the political arena. First of all John, who advised you that?
JW: Well the Commercial Farmers Union at the time was warned very strongly to keep out of politics and to keep it, to focus on what we did best which was to farm and to produce for the country. These were warnings, very real warnings that the agricultural leadership at the time were given. I’m not saying that they should have adhered to those warnings they should have ignored them and taken a different line altogether.
VG: John, her question is who advised you to stay out of politics?
JW: Well that would be the government of Zimbabwe . Mugabe himself I believe issued those stern warnings about not getting involved in politics.
VG: And if I might just add another question for you John, wasn’t there a sudden interest though when the constitutional process involved farms being acquired? Isn’t that the reason why the farmers then became interested in national politics?
JW: Well one must understand that the invasion of farms predated the fast track land reform programme of 2000 by two or three years and with the donors having pulled out of funding land reform, the 1999 donor conference was an attempt to reengage and set the terms of reference for that and Mugabe threw that out the window in its entirety to pursue a different programme.
In a time span between that, farmers took it upon themselves to try and engage and to put together a model for meaningful resettlement and this was the Zigiri (inaudible) programme where 50,000 hectares was earmarked on a voluntary submission basis, farmers would relinquish land and not only would they relinquish land, they would provide the capital and the stakeholders were involved in supplying that capitol as well.
But probably the most important part of this exercise was the transference of skills to new farmers and certainly as a pilot project it would have worked because if you look at the fundamentals of production in the Zimbabwe context - no different to anywhere else in the world, land, labour, capitol and one seems to ignore but are included here, the skills.
We certainly didn’t have a shortage of land, there’s never been a shortage of land in Zimbabwe and we would argue also that there hasn’t been a land hunger in Zimbabwe . What we’ve had is a carry over of an historical injustice in Zimbabwe where there’s been a shortage of titled land with the ability to raise capital in more than half the country, in fact we’re talking about the largest part of the country now because it’s being used as a model for the way forward, the communal areas have never had title, so in terms of development, they’ve been severely hamstrung.
So going back to this pilot project, it was a way of forging the way forward and engaging even at the eleventh hour with something that would have been meaningful and would have worked and formed a template for future land reform in Zimbabwe .
Subsequent to that and the chaos that has been involved, the loss of life and the gross human rights violations, the drop of production levels to below 20% of what we are used to in this country in fact we’ve gone back to production levels of the 1940s when we had a population of about two million people and that’s borne out by the fact that 75% of Zimbabweans are facing acute shortages this year. It would have worked and would have formed the basis for the way forward. Mugabe binned it.
AC: I wanted to come in – going back to the issue of, first of all I find it interesting that as Zimbabweans, white Zimbabweans, they were specifically told to stay out of politics. It would be interesting to see why the President did not give the black Zimbabweans also an order to stay out of politics, but be that as it may, it looks like the commercial farmers are in politics big time.
One of the reasons also I was very concerned was because the Commercial Farmers Union, just before Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai left for his tour visiting other nations, the Commercial Farmers Union sent a very toxic letter to the leaders of other nations that the Prime Minister was going to visit with, specifically trying to suggest that I own hundreds of hectares of land which is not true, suggesting that I have displaced hundreds of people which again is false and that the Prime Minister was fully aware of my behaviour which again is false.
That letter which was so false and toxic was circulated to all the leaders that the Prime Minister was going to meet with and it was circulated in advance and the Prime Minister was not notified.
Now, the question I have is these are Zimbabweans and in the letter, the Commercial Farmers Union is advising the other leaders or suggesting that no funding should be given to Zimbabwe and that whatever funds the Prime Minister is looking for he should not be awarded that and that the sanctions should not be lifted. These are white Zimbabweans.
With the environment as it is, difficult as the economy is, understanding how much suffering people are going through, you get a faction that had elected to stay out of politics or supposedly elected to stay out of politics, what’s your position? You are against the President, you’re against the government, now you are going after the Prime Minister who is trying to do something about the current situation, and one has to wonder, the Commercial Farmers Union – what is your position? What do you want for your country? You are Zimbabweans for speaking out loud!
JW: Violet can I come in?
AC: … and the Prime Minister is only trying to do a good thing, he’s trying to sort out a difficult situation and the Commercial Farmers Union circulates such a letter. I can’t understand that
VG: John, can you respond.
JW: Violet, can I comment? Yes we saw the publicity surrounding this alluded to letter. Certainly we have absolutely no knowledge of this letter. First of all I must make it clear we are not the CFU, we are a separate organisation all together, representing not just commercial farmers but we represent the farm workers as well in conjunction with the union for farm workers here in Zimbabwe .
We have consulted with the Commercial Farmers Union subsequent to the publicity surrounding this alluded to letter and they deny categorically that they had anything to do with such a letter and that such a letter exists and that this is propaganda and not based in truth at all.
AC: There’s a communication as well that I forgot which media has it, where Mr Cremer also did state that other governments should not give any funding to President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai, it’s in one of the letters of communication from the Cremers, sounds similar to the memo that was circulated to other governments.
JW: I’ve monitored very, very carefully all the publicity surrounding this particular take over of a farm, I’ve been in discussions with the Cremers at length, certainly I have seen nothing they have written with regard to publicity and advising that funds should not be released. I think that’s also fiction in this case. This is a sensitive issue which needs to be answered to by the Cremers and if it’s an issue of the CFU, they need to be given a platform to answer on their own behalf on this one. I can only speak in terms of the consultations I have made and publicity I’ve seen surrounding this
VG: Right it’s difficult because the Cremers are not here but Dr Chihombori, can I just ask you a question as a follow up to the question that you asked John about the commercial farmers trying to sabotage the Prime Minister’s overseas trip.
Now you have said that the Prime Minister is your uncle and if this is the case are you also not on the other hand trying to sabotage his trip by participating in what could be seen as an invasion of a commercial farm, because the Prime Minister is against this?
AC: You keep repeating that. I have not invaded a farm.
VG: But the fact that you were given an offer letter…
AC: What I have is an offer letter, that’s it.
VG: Yes but…
AC: There’s a lot of land in Zimbabwe , a lot of land that is vacant, farmland that is vacant, that needs to be utilised.
VG: So if there’s a lot of land, why are you taking this particular farm if there’s a lot of land?
AC: I did respond to that to say I have no idea why this particular farm. I did call up the lands office and specifically asked the question why this farm? There are many other farms, why this farm?
JW: Hello Violet?
VG: Hold on John.
AC: The response I was given was that Mr. Cremer refuses to put in an application so he can be properly allocated that farm.
VG: So you know that your uncle is against this kind of process where things are not done in a proper fashion so what is your next move regarding this farm?
AC : I have to say I agree with you, if a farm is being utilised, is being productive, in all fairness, there is plenty of land in Zimbabwe . There is plenty of farmland for all. The previous offer would have been fine if they had just reallocated a smaller portion of that farm which was vacant.
VG: So you are no longer going to pursue with this particular farm?
AC: Not with the situation as it obtains, no and also with me also understanding the situation on the ground. The more I understand the issue, the more I realise that, you know there are better ways of doing things but at the same time I also feel that the commercial farmers also have a role to play.
The more I understand the situation on the ground, the more I realise that both parties need to move towards the centre. I do believe yes the government needs to take another look at the land reform programme but at the same time the commercial farmers as well, they have a role to play in the failure of the land reform.
They also need to sit down and realise they are Zimbabweans and they need to work towards a common goal. Because until that happens, the problems in Zimbabwe are going to continue and it doesn’t matter who we have in the government unless both parties have a common goal, unless both parties work towards achieving that goal, and undermining the Prime Minister who is trying to do the right thing, is wrong.
And on a personal note, I truly believe that if the two leaders, President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai could be allowed to make this particular unity government work, it can work. But it’s not going to work if there are so many other forces pulling in different directions to see to it that the unity government is a failure. Yes presidents are there, prime ministers are there to lead us but they need help from us, we need not work against them.
VG: And so John what can you say about what Dr Chihombori is alleging that some outside forces, like the farming community and other players are determined to make this unity government fail?
JW: Well one’s got to analyse the attack on commercial farmers and what Ms Chihombori has been involved is a lawless situation of jambanja on a farm and an invasion of that farm. Now we’ve got the politics of the situation ruling over the law in a situation where over ten years in Zimbabwe , that has been the case and it has given rise to gross human rights violations and the promulgation of a whole litany of unjust laws in the country.
We have a situation where 4,000 farmers displaced and 500,000 farm workers constituting probably 1.5 million to 1.8 million people, huge mortality in the farm worker community and this continues to happen even today with a unity government in place and an accord signed.
We have the SADC tribunal which has struck down or should have struck down in Zimbabwe , certainly in the SADC region, it’s struck down Amendment 17 which is the most unjust of all the promulgated laws in the last ten years which deprived farmers from the courts.
We’re looking at a citizen issue here, Ms Chihombori highlights this that all citizens in Zimbabwe should pull together on this one and the land is the crux of the issue but we’ve been excluded from being citizens of Zimbabwe, we’ve been alienated by the regime and so have farm workers on the perception that we come from foreign lands and are not citizens of Zimbabwe at all, so that is a major issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
Personally to her, I would say that the situation she finds herself in is a classic one where she’s tried to claim ignorance of the situation on the ground. Nowhere in the world is a plea of ignorance, and ignorance of the facts and ignorance of the law a plea of innocence. The onus is on the individual, given the history and we’re looking at a ten year history on this to do the due diligence that is required of a new owner and to establish exactly what the law says and also align it with international law and what international laws say as to what has happened in Zimbabwe .
Likewise, on a personal note I would warn her very strongly that there will be a turn around and a return to the rule of law in Zimbabwe, but in the meantime she does as an American citizen and she can’t be an American citizen and a Zimbabwean citizen so from the moment she became an American citizen her citizenship of Zimbabwe fell away automatically in the laws of Zimbabwe, she is vulnerable under the Zimbabwe Democracy Act in the United States of America and not just that bit of legislation, there are human rights legislation in the United States of America that allows for an American citizen to be prosecuted for human rights violations in any other country and certainly her ongoing invasion of this farm would constitute that.
VG: You mentioned just now that the farming community has also been victims but there’s a political consideration that the farming community was the backbone of the MDC . Could this have been the reason why you were suddenly targeted in 2000 for example?
JW: No, not at all Violet. This has been the decoy and the smokescreen for the whole exercise. The real targets in this were the farm workers, they comprise 350,000 permanent employees, another 270,000 seasonal casuals, with their dependents we’re talking about close on 1.8 million people but what is of real interest here is how many voters that comprised and it’s about a million voters in an electorate of four and a half to five million people so the attack on commercial farmers was merely a decoy to get the world to focus on them whilst the farm workers felt the real brunt of the attack and every attempt was made through gross human rights violations, we’re talking about beatings, torture, rape, murder even perpetrated by in many cases youth militia to totally, politically re-orientate those farm workers and when one looks at that as a background of perceptions only, the perception was that the commercial farmers were for the MDC and that the farm workers were for the MDC . There’s no basis in fact for that.
VG: Other reports say that a lot of the invasions were disenfranchised workers on the farms. Now could this not have been because of the appalling manner farmers addressed the workers. What can you say about that?
JW: Well certainly our research shows the opposite in terms of the amenities that were made available to farm workers and we would uphold that there’s no basis in fact for that at all. And certainly interviews with farm workers today destroys that as a contention altogether in that the vast majority of them would, their first option is to return to their farms and get back their jobs and their livelihoods and their homes on those farms. Now if the abuse that’s alluded to was there in fact, that certainly wouldn’t be their first prize today.
VG: And a final word?
JW: Well it’s a very unfortunate situation we find ourselves in Zimbabwe at the moment politically in that land is very much the crux of the matter and land has been at the centre of conflict in Zimbabwe for over a hundred years and certainly there’s been a crisis of expectation on this front and that certainly farmers believed that this unity government would focus on the land question and not miss a once in a lifetime’s opportunity to come to terms with it.
Now to do that one needs to actually focus on the issues and be realistic as to exactly what is happening at the moment and commit oneself to a return to the rule of law, a moratorium on the lawlessness on farms and a land audit to be conducted as a matter of urgency especially against a background of humanitarian plight and starvation in the country.
VG: And a final word Dr Chihombori.
AC: Well let me just start by pointing out or rather clarify a few points raised by John. Let me just state this categorically, I have never invaded any farm in Zimbabwe or anywhere else on this earth. He keeps alluding to that. I set eyes on that farm for the first time in May and I passed through for about ten minutes. I have never invaded any farm so point of correction for John. He keeps emphasising that, maybe it makes him feel good to say that but the point is I have never invaded any farm. Period.
Secondly, he’s talking about claiming ignorance. I am not claiming ignorance. The land reform is a fact; it is something that is happening, it’s something that I think should be embraced by both parties, black and white, that is an injustice that must be addressed. Yes I agree, I think we need to agree on how that process should be handled but the land reform is an issue that is definitely calling for discussion, immediate discussion and both parties must approach this issue from a very fair point of view, not a selfish point of view. Not one group feeling that they are more important than others, (and that) they should have advantage over the other group.
So the land issue, ignorance or no ignorance, I’m not going to pay attention to the constitutional amendments that are happening on a daily basis, on a monthly basis, that’s what he does, he represents the commercial farmers so naturally you’d expect him to keep up with those issues. I don’t have to. I don’t need to, so let me clarify that.
As far as the ignorance, yes I don’t claim to know everything. To say if you don’t know anything about anything you are ignorant, well then, that is his position but he represents commercial farmers so naturally I would expect him to be well versed on the issues to do with the constitutional amendments and any laws to do with land in Zimbabwe. I don’t need to do that. I do not need to do that so I needed to make sure I clarified that on his part.
Let me just start by saying or rather conclude by saying that the land issue, if both parties come to the table, clearly willing to do what’s right, clearly wanting to address the matter in a very fair manner, there will be no losers. The unity government demands that we support it. The world must support the unity government. Without the unity government what do we have? Go back again to the way things were? I don’t think so.
So we must support the unity government and unless both parties come to the table and support the unity government, there’s no hope for Zimbabwe. There will be no winners; both parties, black people or white people, farmers, non-farmers.
My last word is the unity government must be supported and yes, I think this is a democratic situation; people must be given an opportunity to participate in the process. The laws are there to be challenged but when we challenge them let us challenge them in a constructive manner, in a manner that we move forward not in a manner that favours one group against the other.
VG: And Dr Chihombori, what about the issue of dual citizenship that John raised?
AC: You know I like to consider myself a child of the world. Yes I’m a US citizen and again this land issue I’m finding it being thrown onto my lap. Prior to going to Zimbabwe in May, I hadn’t been to Zimbabwe in almost two years. So I’m just a fall guy here. The land issue is a much broader issue, I just happen to be, I guess you could call it wrong place at the wrong time - but I’m not so sure why being at the (President Zuma’s) inauguration was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m just a fall guy here.
The land issue is not about me or Mr Cremer. I happen to be an American citizen who applied for land long before I became a citizen, it took almost nine years for the land to be allocated and my sister who is a citizen of Zimbabwe was going to be working the land.
I’m not so sure exactly why John is jumping up and down about. I’m Zimbabwean born, a Zimbabwean, I should be entitled to land just like anybody else. In other words is he going to fault those who have been allocated land in Zimbabwe? White people have been allocated land in Zimbabwe. Is he going to fault those for accepting those offers from the government?
It is my understanding that some farmers have refused to apply for the land and again those are details that I don’t really wish to get into. The point is, John wants to make me the fall guy and I think that’s unfortunate because there are bigger issues out there and it needs to be addressed not by tackling someone who comes to Zimbabwe once every so many years, that’s not the way to handle it.
But I have just one more point to make pertaining to the black commercial farmers and the sabotage that they are getting from their fellow white commercial farmers. I’ll be glad to give you some phone numbers of individuals that you can talk to. The real people who are being put through some very difficult times, all in an effort to make it very difficult for them to be productive on the land that they have been allocated. To me, this is very sad and John cannot try to claim that he’s not aware of this.
Secondly, he also cannot deny a very well known fact by any Zimbabwean that the average farm worker has been abused terribly, including at times, beaten. He can’t deny that. Now for him to really honestly want to get on the airwaves and say he’s not aware of any abuse that the black farmer farm workers receive in the hands of their masters, that’s very sad, he’s just simply being a hypocrite. That is a known fact, it does happen and again until we start being open and having an honest discussion we’re not going anywhere.
John knows it happened, John knows the sabotage that’s going on, John is fully aware of the funding coming from Britain to the white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe and they’re using some of that funding to sabotage the black people, the black farmers by paying the local farm workers much, much higher wages compared to what the black commercial farmers can afford and again those are issues that need to be discussed.
Until we start with a clean slate there’s going to be problems in Zimbabwe, it’s my country of birth and I would like to see things improve. Unfortunately I’m an American now and this is my home. It just saddens me to see things the way they are.
Again I have to sound like a broken record, it’s going to take everybody, everybody coming to the table sincerely and participating in a fair manner. The denials coming from John, they’re just not going to work, that sort of attitude is destructive and is the same tunes have been played for years and they continue to be played but unfortunately, like I said, it is a lose-lose situation, there will be no winners in Zimbabwe unless everybody’s attitude changes and it changes for the better and discussions are held with people who share a common goal.
For comments and feedback please e-mail email@example.com
July 21, 2009
THE closing observations in the Zimbabwean Minister of Finance's Mid-Term
Budget Statement were chosen well. Although he was forced to accept that
severe constraints are still keeping many urgent needs beyond reach, he
tried hard to remove all doubt about his intentions:
"We are slowly liberating ourselves from the era of economic fascism and
economic hedonism", was one of his remarks, and more thoughts were captured
in, "We have a duty to rise above the mediocrity of subjectivities and the
sterility of conflict. We have a duty to ignore the long sulk of
godfathers," and "Zimbabwe is too valuable a dream to be squandered".
The first 130 pages of the Minister's presentation examine the extensive
range of economic handicaps he and the country have been bequeathed by a
decade of appallingly bad economic mismanagement. He points out that the
Global Political Agreement had to be signed because of the absence of a
viable option to the "attrition, stalemate, conflict, violence, debilitating
and disempowering effect of a decade-long political crisis".
Arguing that the crisis led to a "massive de-industrialisation of the
economy, deep seated poverty, sustained periods of negative GDP growth
rates, the collapse of social services, food shortages, and massive
despondency in the country", the Minister reminded Parliament that, "The
fundamental reality that brought all the actors into an unhappy compromise
has not gone away", because, as he points out, "There is little delivery and
execution of agreed positions taken in the Global Political Agreement,
particularly on matters around human rights and the rule of law", and, "The
reality of the matter is that political factors need to be liquidated as a
matter of urgency so that the country does not continue to be held hostage
to the past."
After the initial changes to the Former Minister of Finance¹s budget had cut
revenue and expenditure figures by half to US$1 billion, mid-course
correction changes were inevitable and each ministry attempted to improve on
the amount allocated. However, the forecast revenue has been decreased and
the total expenditure increase being provided for will have to be financed
by the Vote of Credit. This is funded by donor contributions specifically
earmarked for budget support. Of the total US$391 million involved, US$117
million has been received already and the balance is expected by the end of
However, cuts were made to the amounts applied for by each ministry to
permit an improvement in government salaries. Together with cuts to the
Constitutional and Statutory Appropriations, the total expenditure is
reduced by US$220 million, which is to be used to improve upon the US$100 a
month allowance that has been given to public servants since dollarisation
earlier this year.
To the US$34 million a month this has absorbed so far, a further US$14
million a month is now to be added and the Minister¹s wording suggests that
further sums will be provided to permit some differentiation between grades.
At Zimbabwe¹s severely depressed levels of economic activity, public sector
salaries amount to 35 percent of total expenditure and 13 percent of GDP.
With the forecast recovery of the economy and improvements in both the tax
revenue and GDP, the Minister expressed his wish to see these percentages
reduced to 30 percent of expenditure and 8 percent of GDP to prevent them
from crowding out non-wage expenditures.
However, the prospects of the hoped-for recovery remain far less promising
than the Minister suggested in his presentation. He appears to have been
persuaded that capacity utilisation has already improved considerably in
manufacturing, but the evidence strongly suggests that the severe power cuts
alone will have made significant increases in output impossible for most
To this problem must be added the inability of the banks to offer the
overdraft facilities or the longer-term loans needed to rebuild stocks of
materials, carry out long overdue maintenance and repairs or attract back
the skilled personnel or experienced operators to staff production lines.
For those many producers of processed foods, the far from adequate supplies
from the farms remain the most critical problem. Zimbabwean supermarkets and
greengrocers have to import even table vegetables these days.
Although the extent of the recovery that does prove possible will be off a
very low base, the constraints presently affecting output are certain to
impose severe limitations and these will be reinforced by the reluctance of
buyers on the domestic as well as export markets to place too much reliance
on Zimbabwe¹s suppliers at this stage.
Although some mineral prices are beginning to improve and the gold miners
have at last been granted more acceptable marketing arrangements, the
severely debilitating handicaps imposed on them in recent years have left
them in need of more working capital than most can afford, or can obtain
from the equally handicapped banks.
Government¹s acceptance of the need to make far-reaching changes has not
been enough to overcome the lingering effects of years of losses that eroded
each company¹s skills, physical capacity, standing with customers and
suppliers and financial stamina. A few undoubted successes have been welcome
and these have helped reduce the import bills for some goods, but these
might not be sufficient to offset the continuing declines in other sectors.
Agriculture appears to have attracted the most exaggerated forecasts of
recovery, but the sizes of this year's crop deliveries were set by events
and conditions in 2008, very few of which were favourable. For the hoped-for
recovery in 2010, the disappearance of government's capacity to offer
subsidies has brought the financial realities home to previously generously
supported farmers. Even though the quantities of local fertiliser are
inadequate, unsold stocks are accumulating for lack of buying power; so next
year's harvests are already in doubt.
Hopes of a rapid improvement in the business outlook have not been realised
mostly for reasons related to the recovery of confidence. Widely known
political requirements have not been fulfilled and the pace of change is
unlikely to improve before these receive the needed attention.
by Roelof Horne
ONE advantage of hitting rock bottom is that things are bound to get better
from there. The authoritative Washington publication Foreign Policy recently
rated Zimbabwe as the second-worst failed state in the world (after
After watching ten years of economic destruction in Zimbabwe, there are at
last clear signs of a turnaround.
News flow from Zimbabwe does not always help to form a balanced view -
between the shameful propaganda of the state-controlled media and the
jaundiced eye of perpetual doom-mongers, there is a story which is not being
told. Having visited Harare recently, here are some observations.
The demise of the Zim dollar has solved many problems
I have a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note in my wallet. I also have 2008
company results for one of the bigger banks reported in quintillions of
dollars (that's 18 zeros!). The comparative column is blank - all zeros, as
the 2007 numbers, having been eroded away by hyperinflation, are too small a
fraction to count.
Towards the end of 2008, prices were going up by 100% a day, so owning any
cash or having a positive bank balance was ruinous. Employees were queuing
for days to get their salaries out of bank accounts while faced with
restrictive (government imposed) daily withdrawal limits.
So what happened to the Zim dollar? The population spontaneously abandoned
the currency late last year, turning to barter, fuel coupons and (later)
foreign currency instead. By the time the transitional government announced
the demise of the Zim dollar, they were simply blessing what had already
become the norm.
The change to USA dollars (in Harare) and rands (the rest of the country)
had two very important results. It launched a business revival and stopped
hyperinflation (by stopping the printing presses and thereby limiting the
amount of money chasing goods and services).
Business is booming
Business leaders are almost absurdly optimistic about conditions in
Zimbabwe. This should be seen in the context of conditions last year:
Business time and personal time was consumed by one thing - keeping afloat
in a fast deteriorating environment.
Apart from banking, stock, pricing, energy and staff problems, they also had
to deal with price controls, legalised seizure of export proceeds, and an
inability to import foreign maintenance components or production
With the end of hyperinflation in 2009 and the scrapping of prohibitive
controls, the captains of industry can, for the first time in years, focus
on rebuilding their businesses. They now concentrate on recapturing lost
market share and margins, refurbishing and restarting production capacity
and finding capital for capex or working capital purposes - in short, the
things that a businessman should be doing.
However, the banking system is wounded. Banks have "lost" their entire
balance sheets, except for hard assets that can now be revalued in USD. The
capital base and deposit base of the banking system is severely depleted.
There are signs of life: starting from virtually zero in January, the
banking system now has US$500m of deposits. There are only four banks (of
which three are multinationals) that clearly meet the new requirement of
US$12.5m capital. The rest would need recapitalisation. For the moment,
individuals are largely shunning the banks. Confidence has been eroded, and
ATMs and credit cards are not functioning.
Government is functioning in spite of the 'shotgun wedding'
The (MDC-controlled) Ministry of Finance has accomplished the seemingly
impossible - running the government on a balanced budget since the beginning
of the year. This is no mean feat, as the previous regime had for years been
printing cash to finance their 50%+ budget deficits (and thereby causing the
Civil servants are paid a monthly allowance of $100 (increased to $150 last
week) - sourced from who-knows-where. (President Mugabe publicly scoffed at
the idea, citing a lack of government funds). Fiscal revenues have climbed
from $6m in February to almost $100m in June.
Unbelievably soon, and in spite of a lack of funds, basic services are
picking up, streets are being cleaned and potholes being filled across the
The quote of my visit? An (indigenous) businessman: "We should be pleased
that the collapse came as soon as it did - the country has retained its
collective memory of the right way to do things. It means the recovery to a
decent environment will be far quicker than in countries where the decline
lasted 30 years".
I had the opportunity to speak to Morgan Tsvangirai and his private
secretary (in separate meetings). Their approach and attitude were both
admirable and heartening. As the Prime Minister said in a recent speech: "We
are pursuing negotiation rather than confrontation, pursuing teamwork rather
In one word, I would describe the attitude of the MDC as "pragmatic". It
would have been easy for the transitional government to become bogged down
in power plays and petty squabbles. For example, the refusal of the
president to replace Gideon Gono as head of the central bank could have
turned into a show-stopper.
Instead, the MDC has, with a "Yes We Can" attitude, simply pulled all
constitutionally sanctioned fiscal and monetary functions into the Ministry
of Finance. With no printing press and no local currency, there isn't much
for a central bank governor to do.
Anecdotal evidence of the way the business of government is conducted far
exceeds current perception of two (or is it three?) parties at each other's
throats. An off-site at Victoria Falls resulted in new bonds across party
lines, cabinet meetings are productive, and - most of the time - energy is
being directed at rebuilding the country.
The road ahead is rocky, but we've seen the worst
Predicting the future is setting oneself up for failure, but nonetheless,
here are my expectations: December 2008 will be recorded as the low point of
the "lost decade" in Zimbabwe.
After a period of very rapid economic improvement, triggered by the removal
of the serious impediments of hyperinflation and restrictive regulations,
the real work of reconstruction will start. I predict a rapid "recovery"
phase in 2009, followed by multiple years of high GDP growth.
Zimbabwe was an economic poster-child of Southern Africa, and (politicians
willing) has all the ingredients to grow back to that position. The human
capital is still in my opinion the best Sub Saharan Africa has to offer on a
per capita basis. Yes, it has been eroded by emigration, but we will see
many return as conditions improve.
Already the top schools have long waiting lists for returnee children, and
the upswing has hardly started.
How will the political scenario play out? I expect the transitional
government to hold, in spite of public tiffs. The MDC will, through dogged
perseverance, gradually work itself into a position where Zimbabweans will
overwhelmingly view non-Zanu PF involvement in government as a positive.
The new constitution will mix direct and proportional political
representation, thereby removing much of the acrimony caused by the current
Financial policy will be pragmatic, growth-friendly and investor-friendly.
With every month of growth and stability that passes, confidence in the
government and the country will grow.
Foreign Direct Investment will pick up; donor and reconstruction capital
will follow. By the time we have the next election (expected in two years'
time), it will be orderly and truly democratic and the outcome will be
accepted by all Zimbabweans.
And that would be as close to a fairytale ending as one could hope for.
Roelof Horne is a portfolio manager for Investec Asset Management
By Godfrey Marawanyika (AFP) - 4 hours ago
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe - A decade after the bottom fell out of Zimbabwean
tourism, Victoria Falls wants to re-establish itself as a luxury and
adventure travel destination ahead of South Africa's World Cup.
Operators are polishing their attractions -- though sometimes with what is
seen as too much enthusiasm.
The town, home to the world's largest waterfall, was once a tourist magnet
but years of political violence and economic collapse have sent holiday
makers fleeing. Those who do come stay across the Zambezi River on the
Zambian side of the falls.
The decline is stunning: 10 years ago, Zimbabwe drew 1.4 million tourists
who generated 400 million US dollars (281 million euros) for the economy.
Last year, 223,000 tourists came, generating 29.1 million dollars.
"Right now things are not well within the tourism industry, but it's far
much better compared to last year when we did not have tourists because of
political violence," said Ollalia Nyoni, a local hotel manager.
The unity government formed in February, which has stabilised the economy
and curbed last year's post-election violence, has given new hope to
Victoria Falls is only a 90-minute flight from Johannesburg, but Zimbabwe so
far is struggling to find ways to cash in on the games that run from June 11
to July 11, 2010.
State media complained last month when hotels in Victoria Falls failed to
agree with FIFA's accommodation service on prices for the World Cup.
Zimbabwe's hotels were seeking rates of between 1,000 and 3,000 dollars (700
and 2,100 euros) a night. FIFA proposed maximum rates of about 500 dollars,
according to state media.
The town now wants to draw football fans by increasing the number of
helicopter flights over the mile-wide falls and then into the 100-metre (328
feet) gorge where the Zambezi lands with such power that the mist booms
another 100 metres over the top.
Elephants, hippos, rhinos and other big game fill the parks surrounding the
falls, creating spectacular views for those with the stomach for the flight.
"These animals and the falls make this area tick," Victoria Falls mayor
Nkosilathi Jiyane told AFP.
Six helicopters already have licenses to fly over the falls, but the new
plan would see the number rise to 28 -- raising questions about safety in a
narrow air space, as well as noise pollution and the environmental impact.
"Given that World Cup in South Africa is less than a year away, the
helicopters might also prove to be another attraction," said Nyoni.
But other hoteliers complain the noise will become a nuisance, while
environmentalists worry over the effect on wildlife, which could affect the
area's World Heritage Site status.
"Daily we have to endure the noise and constant irritation from these
aircraft which fly directly over and above the Victoria Falls hotel," a
group of hoteliers wrote to the World Heritage Commission.
Ian du Preeze, conservationist with Victoria Falls game reserve, said
increased flights could affect animal breeding.
"The breeding of animals will also be disturbed as animals will be trying to
find new quiet places. Victoria Falls is a small place and it obviously
can't have all those helicopters flying over the place," he said.
The Zambezi National Park, together with the Victoria Falls, covers an area
of 56,000 hectares (138,000 acres).
"This is one of the most difficult decisions we as (town) council have to
make. It's a question of profits versus environment," Jiyane said.
Debate over how to draw in tourists has distracted from efforts to reassure
travellers, especially after cholera swept the country last year.
But Nyoni insisted that with the unity government is place and the World Cup
nearing, Zimbabwe has a chance to turn itself around.
"Tourist arrivals are not as high as we would want but why should we be in a
perpetual mode of low arrivals, we should plan ahead," Nyoni said.
"Planning ahead means looking forward with good results."
BILL WATCH 25/2009
[21st July 2009]
The Senate will resume today, 21st July, after a month’s adjournment
The House of Assembly will sit on Wednesday 22nd July
The end of the 2008-2009 Parliamentary Session is now imminent, so it is likely that this week’s sittings will be the last of the present session.
Update on Constitutional Commissions Nominations
The short lists of candidates for the four Constitutional Commissions have not been finalised – the necessary meetings may take place this week but the short lists are unlikely to be published before next week.
Update on Inclusive Government
Referral to SADC – a letter was sent to SADC Chairman Jacob Zuma by the two MDC principals asking for assistance in resolving outstanding disputes in the inclusive government. A SADC meeting was mooted for the end of July but will probably be deferred until some time in September.
JOMIC – a report to SADC on the inclusive government by the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee is due in mid-August, six months after the formation of the inclusive government.
National Security Council – has still not met – there is a meeting scheduled for Thursday 30th July.
National Economic Council – has still not met.
Parliament last week
House of Assembly
Tuesday: The sitting was a token one, lasting only a few minutes before the House adjourned because MPs were attending the First All-Stakeholders Conference on the Constitution.
Wednesday: The House sat for two hours of Question Time. Ministers’ replies to questions included the following:
· on the disruption of the First All-Stakeholders Conference, co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa said he had seen it personally, that police would investigate, and that “culprits will be facing the wrath of the law – that I guarantee”.
· Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara condemned incorrect information in ZBC and Herald coverage of the disruption of the Conference, confirmed the need for transformation at ZBC and said “we cannot have a new Constitution without media reforms”
Thursday: Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement and Supplementary Budget
Motions After the Fiscal
Policy Review, a motion was introduced for the House to take note of the report
of the Parliamentary delegation to the Second Forum of the African
Parliamentarians for Education Workshop in
Parliament This Week
As this is likely to be the last week Parliament sits before its end-of-session recess it is likely to concentrate on Budgetary matters – this means that there will be no new legislation introduced before the next session of Parliament opens. The President will end the session by proroguing Parliament and then summon the new session by Presidential proclamation.
The Finance (No. 2) Bill and the Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill will be dealt with. [Note: the Finance (No. 2) Bill has not yet been gazetted, but Finance Bills do not have to be gazetted 14 days before introduction.]
No other Bills have been gazetted [and they have to be gazetted 14 days before introduction in Parliament], so no Bills will reach Parliament in what remains of the present Parliamentary session.
Senate Thematic Committees will continue with their inaugural meetings [not open to the public].
House of Assembly Portfolio Committee meetings – the only meeting open to the public later this week is on Thursday 23rd July at 10am in Committee Room No. 4, when the Education, Sports and Culture committee is due to hear oral evidence from the Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture. [Anyone wishing to attend please confirm with the Committee Clerk at Parliament Tel 700181.]
The number of vacancies in Parliament has risen from 7 to 10, as a result of three recent deaths [two Senators, and one member of the House of Assembly]. By-elections needed to fill the other seven long-standing [since before the end of last year] vacancies have not been called by the President – in clear violation of the Electoral Act and of the new “political rights” section in the Constitution, which gives every citizen the constitutional right to vote in regular elections [section 23A, as added by Constitution Amendment No. 19]. This violation of the rule of law and the Constitution should be a matter of concern to JOMIC. It is also extraordinary that there is no mention whatsoever of this matter by any of the parties. If by-elections are delayed until after 15th September, the parties’ agreement not to stand against each other in by-elections will have expired [Interparty Political Agreement, Article 21] which means this unconstitutional delay on the part of the President, apparently condoned by the parties, could be leading the country into further election violence.
Another MDC-T MP Given Prison Sentence
Meki Makuyane, MDC-T MP for Chipinge South, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after conviction on violence charges. He has appealed, so the decision on whether or not he will forfeit his seat must wait pending the result of the appeal. Meanwhile, however, he is suspended from exercising his functions as an MP. [Note: under section 42 of the Constitution an MP sentenced to 6 months or more imprisonment “shall cease forthwith to exercise his functions and to be entitled to any remuneration as a member” – and this consequence is not suspended by the noting of an appeal. If his appeal succeeds, the MP “shall be entitled to resume his functions and receive remuneration … for the period during which he ceased to exercise his functions”.]
Mr Makuyane joins two other MDC-T MPs from Manicaland – Matthias Mlambo and Shuwa Mudiwa – who have also been given lengthy prison sentences and have noted appeals. For the time being, therefore, MDC-T’s voting strength in the House of Assembly drops by three. Mr Mlambo said last week that he had been notified of his suspension by the Clerk of Parliament and was considering challenging the suspension letter in the High Court. [Comment: given the clear wording of section 42 of the Constitution, Mr Mlambo’s prospects of getting the suspension overturned by the High Court are slight.]
MDC-M MPs Expelled by Party
MDC-M yesterday announced the expulsion from the party of executive member Alex Goosein and three of its MPs – Abednico Bhebhe [Nkayi South], Njabuliso Mguni [Lupane East] and Normal Mpofu [Bulilima East]. The disciplinary committee chairman said the party will soon notify Parliament. Abednico Bhebhe responded by calling the committee's action illegal. If the party does notify Parliament, this will immediately, create three vacancies in the House of Assembly and the need for three more by-elections. [Section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution states that the seat of an elected member of the House of Assembly “shall become vacant … if … having ceased to be a member of the political party of which he was a member at the date of his election to Parliament, the political party concerned, by written notice to … the Speaker, declares that he has ceased to represent its interests in Parliament”]. But if the MPs go to court, this result may be delayed.
Party Voting Strengths in Parliament
Total number of vacancies arising from deaths, seats vacated by election/appointment to other offices, and appointed seats not yet filled: House of Assembly – 6 [MDC-T 1, ZANU-PF 5] ; Senate – 6 [ZANU-PF 4, Elected Chiefs 1].
As well as these there are the 3 suspended MDC-T members of the House of Assembly who are not allowed to sit and therefore cannot vote.
If the MDC-M withdraw their 3 expelled MPs, it will add a further 3 vacant seats, but this is not the case as of today.
This leaves voting strengths per party as follows:
House of Assembly:
MDC-T 98 [Originally 100 elected, plus 2 GPA nominated seats for Prime Minister and for Deputy Prime Minister Khupe, minus 1 seat vacant through Lovemore Moyo’s election as Speaker and minus 3 MPs suspended and therefore unable to vote – following prison sentences longer than 6 months]
MDC-M 11 – may soon be down to 8 [Originally 10 elected, plus 1 GPA nominated seat for Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara – this will drop to 8 if the three expelled MPs forfeit their seats]
ZANU-PF 95 [Originally 99 elected, plus 1 extra nominated seat for Vice-President Mujuru, minus 5 – 4 seats lost through deaths and extra nominated seat not filled]
MDC-T 28 [Originally 24 elected, plus 4 appointed gained by GPA]
MDC-M 8 [Originally 6 elected, plus 2 appointed gained by GPA]
ZANU-PF 41 [Originally 45 – 30 elected, 5 Presidential appointed Senators and 10 Provincial Governors, plus 1 GPA nominated seat for Vice-President Msika – minus 5 [1 seat vacant through Edna Madzongwe’s election as President of Senate, 2 seats vacant through appointment of incumbents as Provincial Governors, 1 seat vacant through death, and extra nominated seat not yet filled]
Chiefs 17 [18 minus 1 seat vacant through death]
These strengths will change again when the agreed changes in provincial governorships occur at the end of August
Update on Legislation
Bills – the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill and the ICT Bill seem closest to finalisation before being taken to Cabinet for clearance prior to submission to Parliament for printing and gazetting. [Electronic version of the latest draft of the ICT Bill available on request – note this may not be the final Bill.] Although Minister of State Gorden Moyo has acknowledged that a Bill to guide the National Healing process is being prepared, it is obviously still in its early stages and nowhere near ready for presentation to Parliament. There are no signs of Bills to amend AIPPA and POSA or any other reform legislation.
Statutory Instruments – SIs 109 and 114/2009 give effect to the changes in customs and excise duties on petrol and diesel announced by the Minister of Finance in his Fiscal Policy Review.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.