By Roy Bennett - MP Chimanimani
The time has come for each and every
Zimbabwean to stand up
and be counted.
All of us are visitors in Gods
country and all of us
historically entered Zimbabwe through different ways
means, that the Bushmen who are now extinct were here before
Black people and that the Asians in their different sects
and religions, the
Whites in their different sects and
religions, and the union of all three
the colored people now
make up the population of Zimbabwe is fact, and
irreversible act of God.
Each and every one of us have rights as
people and all choose
a path to walk along, every one of us have had some
religious teachings and cultural up bringing to know
difference between right and wrong.
Politics drive a nation and form
Good Governance and Democracy develop a country and
people prosper and poverty is eradicated.
Bad Governance and
Oppression destroy a country and its
people are committed forever to
I have chosen my path to be involved in the politics of
nation to bring about change for good governance in the
the Nation and its people I would term myself a
I am a
Christian and believe in the word of God by which I
try to live my
I as have many Zimbabweans through the decades,
personally for my beliefs.
That I am white does not make me
above anyone else or too
special to risk my life and family and or worldly
to stand by what is right with the majority of Zimbabweans.
was humbly elected by the people of Chimanimani to
represent them in
Parliament, I knew full well the
ramifications involved taking on a
repressive ZANU PF regime,
as did the people who voted me in and we as a
equally been targeted and harassed for our beliefs I am
seen as a white commercial farmer but as a fellow Zimbabwean,
long as the people want to use me to represent them
for nationalism change
and good governance I will never go
back no amount of intimidation oppression
or threats will
I moved around the country in the white commercial
and business circles speaking to and advising people to
themselves as nationalists and stand by for what is
right for the nation and
people of Zimbabwe, it was necessary
to do this as for 20 years ZANU PF had
made whites believe that they should never get involved
politics, my message was do you belong, is this your country
owe the country and the people anything if so
contribute in any way you can
for a positive change for
better governance and democracy.
I am proud to
say that the response was overwhelming and
people committed themselves and
took a stand as Zimbabweans,
there is no doubt that this commitment very
a very crucial role in assisting the opposition get as far
it has in Zimbabwe today.
The current Zimbabwean Government is
comprised of 2 political
parties The Ruling Party and the
The Opposition having been formed by committed
the majority former members of the ruling party.
Ruling Party has been in power for 22 years, and history
tells us that they
have not dealt very kindly with any form
of opposition they successfully
destroyed the Zimbabwe
African Peoples Union through the Gukurahundi era by
them into a Government of National Unity and destroying them
an opposition force. They then had a 2/3rds majority in
proceeded to change the constitution a number
of times and rule the country
as ZANU PF (PVT) LTD.
It suited ZanuPF (PVT) LTD to use all people of
across all racial divides to enrich them as long as they did
get involved in Politics.
The same people formed the opposition, which
racial groups, and ZANU PF (PVT) LTD was seriously
and unless they did something drastic their hold on power
enrichment was about end.
There is absolutely no doubt and the facts
are there for all
to see the Land issue and Race issue was evilly used by
PF to destroy any support for the opposition and destroy
intimidate any body linked to them, this is self evident in
referendum results to change the constitution.
The unfolding and continuous
nightmare continues. What is
happening to white commercial farmers and
businesses alike is
happening to millions of black rural and urban
who have dared stand up to ZANU PF (PVT) LTD to say
should never get involved in politics but should stand by
watch evil prevail as long as they are left alone to make
to be a supremacist/expatriate attitude, everything
that anybody has made
from the soil or labor of Zimbabwe is
owed to that country and its
If all those that have made huge fortunes from our Nation
utilized some of those resources and energy to assist the
Zimbabweans out of poverty ZANU PF would never
have been able to oppress the
people as it has.
The facts on land is that anyone who has any contact with
rural folk at grass root level would know that to them land
is a not
the major issue, the majority of rural folk have
land. The real issue is
poverty. The majority of rural
Zimbabweans in congested rural areas are
living in abject
poverty because government has never delivered and they
worse off today than they have ever been, the most poverty
being those resettled in the last 20 years. For no
other reason other than
they have had no support logistics or
infrastructure, there are a small
number of success stories
being those done with the right support logistic
A good example of a successful resettlement programme
Nyamakati Resettlement Scheme between Karoi and Makuti
the German Government the scheme's success is
self evident, virgin bush was
reverted into a thriving
agrarian center economically empowering
The reason for this success was that it was done with the
support logistics and infrastructure, and because it
was virgin bush it
required committed hard working farmers
and not political opportunists
seeing a thriving successful
faming enterprise producing for the nation,
acquiring it, to turn into a broken down shambles, and
this there is proof one only needs to visit the very
Glendale farming area to see the farms of ministers and
Presidents lying derelict.
How many congested rural folk have been
resettled, where are
the Chiefs involvement in resettling their
How many Chefs multiply own farms?
Have resettled people
produced anything of what the
properties they have taken over
Surely agrarian land reform you do not take away
land and make it UN productive, my own property is a
example and is a microcosm of Zimbabwe as a whole.
In May 2000
during the lead up to parliamentary elections my
property was illegally
besieged by ZANU PF activists. They
occupied the property, assaulted and
threatened my family and
employees, stole and abused all my vehicles,
equipment, killed and butchered 8 head of cattle, broke
looted and occupied my residence damages amounted to then
million Zimbabwe dollars all in the name of land
invasion, these people were
then arrested after the elections
and we returned to normal farming
We had ploughed disked and limed ready to plant 50 Ha
Coffee and 50 Ha of maize. The land prep and inputs for this
ZWD 936423.00 a coffee nursery ready to plant out at
a cost of ZWD 360750.00
all this replaced by a fine crop of
DDF tractors arrived and a
total of 48 plots were ploughed.
12 over land that had already been prepared
and the rest in
Giant Rhodes grass pastures that had been fertilized for
to harvested for winter-feed. Of the 48 plots ploughed only
planted and of the 24 plots it was difficult to see
the maize for weeds if a
total of 20 tonnes of maize were
reaped it would have been a generous
estimate most being sold
to my workers on the farm as our 100 tonnes stock
maize had been impounded by the GMB using armed soldiers
plunder our storage shed and load GMB trucks to date I have
received any payment.
We would have yielded in the region of 400 to 500
maize and the coffee would have returned 150 tonnes of
in 2003 grossing USD 200 000 foreign exchange into our
I was prevented using half of the farm where my Giant Rhodes
pastures are for 1200 head of cattle ZWD 2 800 000 in
fertilizers were put on
the pastures, these lands have been
barely used by anyone else and I was
prevented from mowing
and bailing hay by armed soldiers, we were also
using the paddocks on the mountains and that grazing
become rank and useless from lying idle, I run a beef herd of
head, this last week I had the first 12 deaths from
poverty and we still
have the winter to get through, do I
stand and watch the cattle die while
half the farm has
Charleswood Estate was granted
Export Processing Zone Status
and issued an E.P.Z. License, which fall under
the EPZ Act.
This was for a state of the arts Coffee Mill and has
external investors involved, who were guaranteed no
interference through the Export Processing Zone Act. There
joint Zimbabwe Investment Center projects on the farm
both of them with
external partners, the one Mawenje lodge a
12 bed tourist lodge, the other a
contracting company with
considerable investment in contracting machinery
invested in Zimbabwe with guarantees from Government both
now at a stand idle because of ZANUPF (PVT) LTD.
On Charleswood Estate we
employ 200 permanent employees and
1200 contract/seasonal workers run 1200
head of cattle, 50 ha
of maize 210 ha of coffee and 150 ha of pastures an
foreign exchange earnings of 1 500 000 USD when in
production and all this to be destroyed for nothing
This is what is happening nation wide there are no
being resettled most are state employees ordered onto farms
loot and take what they want with guarantees of no
repercussions and ZANUPF
have hidden the truth with the
assistance of those farming bodies who have
been used by ZANU
PF (PVT) to achieve their ends.
No Zimbabwean in his
right mind would oppose any form of
Agrarian Land reform that empowers people
keeping the land productive or better still making it
productive and eradicating poverty.
Can anyone in his or her right
mind advocate working with the
government of the day? ZANUPF (PVT) LTD, and
be part and
parcel to the destruction of our nation and the
hardships that will follow I challenge anyone to be able to
I did what I could in any little way that I could to stop
destruction to our Nation.
ZANUPF (PVT) LTD WILL GO!!!! ANY LITTLE
THING WE CAN DO WILL
ACCELERATE THEIR DEMISE AND RETURN ZIMBABWE TO PEOPLES
FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE HELPING OUR COUNTRY MOVE
UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL.
Fear and terror stalk Zimbabwe, for the worst is yet to come
The terror is widespread and escalating. Yet the man who is responsible is
still free to travel to international conferences
13 July 2002
Africa had a new beginning this week. At least that is what the leaders who
gathered in Durban would like us to believe. A new beginning under the grand
title of the African Union. I would have been tempted to treat it as something
other than a bad joke were it not for the agenda and the invitation list.
A simple question to start with. What is the biggest political crisis in
Africa just now? The escalating hunger and violence in Zimbabwe. What wasn't on
the agenda at the launch of the African Union? You guessed it. Zimbabwe. But who
was an honoured guest at the big expensive launch? Of all people Robert Gabriel
While Comrade Robert was in Durban I was in Zimbabwe posing as a tourist. I
don't like creeping around countries pretending to be a tourist. I would much
rather do my job of reporting in an open and straightforward manner. But
openness is like cyanide to Mr Mugabe's government. He has employed as his
Minister of Information one of the greatest enemies of the free press anywhere
in the world. Jonathan Moyo is the architect of press laws which can see
journalists sent to jail for up to two years; after my last secret visit to
Zimbabwe he denounced me as no better than a terrorist and warned that if I came
back I might not leave the country for a long time.
I travelled with Marie, a South African who'd been part of the struggle
against apartheid in the old days. In a way that she had never experienced in
South Africa she felt the full power of racial hostility. We'd pulled up to get
petrol, unfortunately not noticing the truckload of Zanu-PF activists just ahead
of us in the queue. When the attendant came to serve us, the men and women on
the back of the truck erupted in an angry tirade. It was bitterness of a kind
I'd never experienced before anywhere in Africa. We quickly drove away to
another petrol station across the road. With the car filled we prepared to drive
away. But the engine wouldn't start. We tried. And tried again. Nothing but a
dry asthmatic wheeze from under the bonnet.
Marie conjured up a driver willing to take us towards Karoi on the main road
to Lake Kariba and the Zambian border. We passed once-thriving fields in which
the weeds were starting to blossom; the withered stalks of maize plants trembled
in the breeze, like strips of rags. In a few fields there were cattle, but
Zimbabwe's herds are being slaughtered. The farmers have no intention of leaving
them to the war veterans.
Chris Shepard lives at the end of a long dirt road, in a large white house
surrounded by flame-trees and poplars and with a huge baobab dominating the
garden. His four youngsters, three girls and a boy all under 10, raced around
the garden. Chris Shepard and his wife Elle have been given until 10 August to
vacate their farm. When they go, the 146 people working on the farm will lose
their jobs. More than 100 have already been let go – that thanks to more than
five invasions by so-called war veterans intent on stopping agricultural
Chris Shepard told me he was determined to stay on. Yet his wife Elle admits
that there are moments when the fear about what might happen is heart-stopping.
Eleven farmers have already been murdered. The police are either complicit in
the terror or refuse to impose the law; more often than not it is a combination
of both. I ask you to try to imagine what it is like to live on those farms, to
be awake at night when your children have fallen asleep and to listen for every
noise in the darkness outside. How it feels when the dogs begin to bark, when a
car drives up to the gate and then turns away, the lights playing across the
windows at the front of the house. And nobody to call to for help.
Or try to imagine what it is like to be among the poorest of the poor and to
wake in the middle of the night to find the war veterans smashing through the
door. To be a woman like Christine whom I met at a camp in the bush for
displaced persons: that term "displaced" – so civilised, so clean a word for the
terror imposed by Robert Mugabe's thugs. She is the mother of a three-month-old
baby and with her husband she lives in a tent donated by a local aid agency.
There is little food or medical help; children in the rest of the camp have been
sick with diarrhoea and chest infections.
Christine was gang-raped by members of Robert Mugabe's militia. She lived
with her husband on a farm and she was seized when the militia came shortly
after the presidential elections. Seven men took turns to rape the young mother.
In the course of the ordeal she fainted. When she woke the rapists had gone but
she was unable to find her child. Eventually some neighbours located the baby
and brought it to her; bruised and bleeding the young mother held her infant
An isolated case? Not at all. If you can't personally listen to the
testimonies of the victims, read the reports of human rights groups. The terror
is widespread and escalating. Yet the man who is ultimately responsible, Robert
Mugabe, is still free to travel to international conferences. Indeed he recently
spoke about children's rights at major event organised by the United Nations. He
was an honoured guest at the inaugural meeting of the African Union in Durban
earlier this week.
There is no political will – in Africa, or Europe or America – to put
Zimbabwe at the top of the agenda. The western political establishment sighs and
feels it has done its best. The Africans refuse every opportunity to show Mr
Mugabe that his kind of government has no place in the reborn continent of which
South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, repeatedly speaks.
There is wind and waffle but Robert Mugabe, the toughest and shrewdest
African leader of his generation, knows he is winning. For now at least. But
there will come a point – it comes in the life of every tyranny – when the
people will lose their fear. Hungry, desperate and angry, they will no longer
bow down in the face of the guns and the secret policemen. It happened in South
Africa when the students revolted in 1976 and began the process which would
destroy apartheid. How long will it take in Zimbabwe? I really don't know.
I left the country with a feeling that I knew well from the old days in South
Africa. Fear for the future. Real fear. For I believe the worst is yet to
Standing safely in South Africa, and watching the dusk creep down over the
Limpopo River I felt a surge of sadness: sadness for the people I'd met on the
other side – the human rights activists in Harare, for Christine and her child,
for the labourers driven off the land, Chris Shepard and his family waiting to
lose everything. As the Afrikaner writer Andre Brink wrote in 1976, the struggle
against oppression was "not a question of imagination but of faith". For
Zimbabweans – all of them, black and white – it is such a long journey ahead.
Not a question of imagination, but of faith.
The writer is a BBC Special Correspondent
Gaddafi antics could wreck Nepad
With his bazookas and AK-47s and
goats and his air of being the undisputed, but not yet crowned Emperor of
All-Africa, Libya's maverick leader Muammar Gaddafi inevitably stole the show at
the launch this week of the African Union.
African leaders indulged him,
even opening the way for him to serve on the important Implementation Committee
of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
But Gaddafi is
not the real threat to the democratic values and good governance that the AU is
supposed to instil in Africa. One can dismiss him as almost a nostalgic
caricature of the old Africa, a colourful despot. He is a wolf in wolf's
clothing and he is only one.
The real enemies of the new order in Africa
are the wolves in sheep's clothing; the despots who attire themselves in the
cloak of democracy. And they are many. They are the leaders who manipulate
democracy - mostly by rigging elections - to stay in power while presenting the
semblance of being democrats.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is a
good example. The critical question about the AU summit is whether our leaders
equipped themselves to deal with his ilk.
The evidence is mixed. On the
one hand, the only country sanctioned at the summit was Madagascar, which was
deemed to have violated the 1999 "red card" rule that governments which come to
power unconstitutionally should be suspended.
On the other hand, under
Nepad, African governments will volunteer to be "peer reviewed" - to have an
independent panel of experts scrutinise them to check whether they are observing
codes of good political and economic conduct.
Though the Nepad rules
allow for unspecified "measures" to be taken against governments which wilfully
and persistently flout the codes, President Thabo Mbeki stressed at the summit
that the aim would be to "encourage" rather than "exclude" such governments.
And of course governments can choose not to be peer reviewed at all and
therefore escape even this remote chance of sanctions. But as Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo noted, they will then suffer because donors and investors will
not channel capital their way.
However if donors are to be guided by the
Nepad peer reviews in their allocation of aid, the peer reviews must be
credible. Appointing Gaddafi to the Implementation Committee will undermine that
credibility and overly indulgent reviews will damage it further. One
representative of a G8 country has already said that there is no way his
legislators will allocate aid on the advice of a committee on which Gaddafi
The danger is that if capital is seen not to be allocated
according to Nepad reviews, then African governments will have no incentive to
submit to such reviews and Nepad will become irrelevant
There is also a
question of what Africa does about countries like Zimbabwe which have already
lost all the aid and investment they could hope for. They are unlikely to submit
to Nepad peer review. And yet they continue to wreak havoc in their countries
and beyond their borders.
The AU gave itself powers to deal with such
governments this week. It endorsed rules which will allow it to impose sanctions
- including "denial of transport and communication links ... and other measures
of a political and economic nature" on any member state "that fails ... to
comply with the decisions and policies of the Union."
So the weapons for
making this AU a credible vehicle of the new Africa are in place. But it remains
true after the summit as it was before, that the leaders of Africa have yet to
demonstrate the political will to use them. Picking on an island state is easy.
The litmus tests remain the Zimbabwes of this continent, the giants of the old
Mugabe was almost silent and invisible at the summit, perhaps
sensing his era was passing. But he will continue to destroy his country until
something explicit is done to stop him.
From The Independent (UK), 11 July
Gaddafi's African roadshow sets
off with 400 guards, three jets and a ship
Durban - The Muammar
Gaddafi roadshow has left Durban on a tortuous drive
home after the Libyan
leader and his heavily-armed entourage upstaged an
African summit called to
map out a new path for the continent. The Libyan
President's security detail,
several dozen strong, have taken with them a
special jamming device installed
in one of his vehicles. So people on his
route are likely to suffer sudden
interruptions of their cellphone
conversations as the convoy passes by.
Bemused Swaziland residents living on
the South African border said yesterday
they thought South Africa was
invading, after being confronted by the Libyan
leader's massive security
apparatus. In Durban, there were some
near-catastrophic encounters between
South African security officers and the
Libyan guards. More than once,
proceedings at the summit had to be halted
while the Brother Leader railed
against the West, Africa's new development
plan and other obsessions of the
moment. One security officer said: "He works
totally above the law. They
came here with the attitude that Gaddafi is the
Golden Leader and that they,
as Libyans, are above all of us."
Saturday, there was a stand-off between South African and Libyan
forces. "It was almost a war," the South African officer said.
40 of us against almost 400 of them. We were totally outnumbered
outgunned." South African security officials had already grounded
armoured vehicles accompanying Colonel Gaddafi. Their ostensible purpose
to provide a safe return by road for the Libyan leader through Africa.
South African government officials feared he would use the vehicles to
black townships in an attempt to steal the limelight from the summit
and chairman of the new African Union, President Thabo Mbeki. On
one of Colonel Gaddafi's planes was grounded in Mozambique
rocket-propelled grenade launchers were discovered on board. The
arrived with two Boeing 707s and two more planes, including an
among the largest freight planes in the world. An initial search of
cargo turned up 27 sub-machineguns.
Along with weaponry and a
fleet of vehicles, Colonel Gaddafi also brought a
container ship filled with
goat carcasses and two 46-seater buses. "Each
vehicle was packed to capacity
and we even found $6m (£3.8m) in hard cash in
one car," the security officer
said. "They point-blank refused for some of
their baggage to be searched."
With tension mounting, the South African
contingent called for back-up, and
within minutes, the Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, arrived
in an effort to restore calm. Shortly
afterwards, he sent a fax instructing
security personnel to release
everything to the Libyans. Although the Libyans
were issued with permits for
21 AK-47 assault rifles, when the weapons were
checked in at a Durban hotel,
they had multiplied to 48. Protocol allows for
four firearms to be carried
by a president's personal detail, although
special permits are sometimes
issued. Once a foreign leader is in South
Africa, his security is regarded
as the responsibility of the South African
There was another near-calamity when heads of state
convened for a meeting
and there was a scuffle between security forces and
the Libyan bodyguards.
The security officer said: "He [Colonel Gaddafi]
jeopardised security here
and now he's going to jeopardise the security of
all the civilians all the
way to Mozambique." Although Colonel Gaddafi's
travel arrangements are
supposed to be a closely guarded secret, insiders say
his convoy will pass
through Swaziland, Mozambique and Kenya on a
self-promotional tour that will
continue all the way to Libya. There are
indications that Colonel Gaddafi
will fly to each country along the route,
leaving a brother to anchor the
roadshow. A source close to Colonel Gaddafi's
delegation said one of the 10
armoured cars in his entourage was fitted with
a jamming device which
disrupts all electronic and radio signals in the
vicinity of the
security-conscious Libyan leader. The device, which is
clearly visible on
the roof of one of the vehicles, is reputedly designed to
ensure that any
electrical remote-control to detonate a bomb in the vicinity
Gaddafi's car would be neutralised until the leader was well out
Libyan officials declined to comment on the jamming device. A South
police spokesperson refused to discuss "security issues" or whether
Africa had given permission for the device to be used.
Mbeki's taboo questions, from Aids to
President Thabo Mbeki crossed the Rubicon on Tuesday when he joined Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard in
suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for a year for rigging last week's
presidential elections. For the first time, Mbeki punished Zimbabwe.
Mbeki seemed to be under considerable pressure to do as he did. After
the SA Observer Mission, the ANC and reportedly even Deputy President Jacob Zuma
had endorsed the election result, a US official, for instance, warned that
"Nepad will be dead on arrival" if Mbeki also endorsed the election.
Other Western governments conveyed their displeasure too. Our government
then made it clear Mbeki had not okayed the election.
This move and the
decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth have saved Mbeki's brainchild
Nepad - the New Partnership for Africa's Development. At its heart is a
commitment by African governments to good governance. The donor countries on
whose material support Nepad depends said you cannot turn a blind eye, let alone
endorse, Mugabe's theft of the elections and still claim to be championing good
They were right, and Mbeki did the right thing, even though
he has not - and according to his spokesperson, will not - actually go as far as
saying the Zimbabwe election was not legitimate.
It seems the question
"Was the Zimbabwe election free and fair?" has now joined that other infamous
question; "Does HIV cause Aids?" on the presidency's banned list.
sense, Mbeki is dealing with the Zimbabwe question the same way he dealt with
the Aids question: he is conducting Zimbabwe policy as though the election was
not legitimate without actually saying so. His spokesperson says Mbeki fully
supports the Commonwealth suspension of Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth observer
group report - dismissing the election - on which the suspension was based.
Mbeki could surely afford to say it out loud, but never mind. He has
done the right thing anyway.
What does this say about that great debate
on "quiet" versus "megaphone" diplomacy? It seems to say that what we have now -
and what we probably needed all along - was a judicious blend of the two.
Mbeki and Obasanjo effected a compromise. The rich Commonwealth
countries wanted to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. Mbeki and Obasanjo diluted
this to suspension, which is mainly a symbolic gesture.
In order to do
that they had to persuade Mugabe to invite his defeated opponent Morgan
Tsvangirai into government in some way. Whether or not Mugabe will do this is
moot. But it is likely that Mbeki and Obasanjo had to say to him: "Look, if you
don't agree to co-operate, the Commonwealth is going to hit you with serious
And on the other hand, they were able to say to Mugabe: if
you do co-operate, food aid and so on will follow.
In other words, Mbeki
played the good cop in a good-cop-bad-cop routine. (Britain, Australia, etc,
being the "bad cops"). For this routine to work, of course, you need a bad cop -
someone prepared to wield the stick. Who knows, maybe Mbeki even did it
deliberately, without Western pressure.
Either way, it is a good routine
and should be used again. It suggests African governments cannot effect Nepad's
good governance commitments alone, as they had hoped.
They need the "bad
cops" waiting in the wings, sticks raised, to be effective. Whatever it takes to
get wayward governments back on the path.
SA is being ridiculed as Mugabe's
March 14 2002 at 08:46PM
By Peter Fabricius
One can detect the suspicious whiff of President Thabo Mbeki strategising in
the pronouncement by the SA Observer Mission that the Zimbabwe presidential
election was "legitimate".
Most observers saw a huge systematic effort
by Mugabe to rig the election. Our mission chief Sam Motsuenyane saw only the
odd "administrative oversight". He was jeered by diplomats and journalists when
he delivered his report. South Africa is being ridiculed as an apologist for a
Before the election, our government proudly told us that our
mission would have a special and active role to play in ensuring it was free and
The metaphor that came to mind was of firefighters, going around
rescuing abducted MDC polling agents, ensuring the opposition could hold
rallies. Very little of that seemed to have happened.
mission seemed to see its brief as putting out the fires of bad publicity for
the Zimbabwean government.
Mission spokesperson Mbulelo Musi was asked
for comment on the government's refusal to open polling stations for five hours
on Monday in defiance of a court order, and then later abruptly shutting the
stations in the face of thousands of Harare voters. He waxed lyrical about all
the polling stations the mission had been to where no voters were turned away
and where all the ballots were properly sealed.
This was the equivalent
of firefighters being called out to a fire and then rushing to all the houses in
the street that were not burning, to show what a good job they were doing of
keeping the neighbourhood safe.
Now that Mugabe has duly extended his
lease on State House (which he obviously regards as a title deed), our
government is suddenly very active. The US is calling on us to restore
democracy, Mbeki is consulting world leaders and offering to help revive
Zimbabwe's economy and Deputy President Jacob Zuma has dashed off to Harare,
declaring that South Africa now had an "opportunity" to be "innovative" in
What is going on here? Has some deal been struck? Did we help
Mugabe get back in because we were afraid a Tsvangirai victory would have
de-stabilised the country and the region? Was our condition perhaps that Mugabe
form a government of national unity with the MDC?
If stability was the
aim, are we not just postponing the inevitable convulsion of Mugabe's departure?
And if we think we can ease Mugabe out by quiet diplomacy, are we not once again
in danger of Mugabe playing us for fools, as he has through every other episode
of such diplomacy?
Will Mugabe not just grab the public kudos - as he
did this week, splashing Motsuenyane's report all over the state media - and
then renege on the undertakings given in private?
mealy-mouthing this week contrasted with the straight talk of another African,
one Duke Lefhoko, head of the Southern African Development Community's
parliamentary forum observer mission to Zimbabwe. Unburdened by any strategy, he
just told it like he saw it, criticising the government for frustrating the will
of the voters, and giving the election an overall fail mark. His candour was a
Perhaps Lefhoko is a model not only for Motsuenyane but also
Mbeki. I suspect that we will do better in Zimbabwe by telling Mugabe what we
really think of him and what he should do. Given the poor results of quiet
diplomacy so far, he is probably just as likely to respond to public as to
private pressure. And if he tells us to go to hell anyway, then we at least walk
away with our credibility intact. Which is more than we have now, unless Mbeki
moves fast to dissociate himself from the Motsuenyane report.
Nation of Islam's Farrakhan backs Zimbabwe's land seizure program
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 13 — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan had given his backing to a program by President Robert Mugabe's government to seize thousands of white-owned farms, a state-owned newspaper reported Saturday.
Farrakhan, who is on a three day visit to Zimbabwe, told The Herald newspaper he
was ''in full support of President Mugabe's policies, especially the land issue,
as it was aimed at correcting a historical injustice.''
increasingly unpopular government has targeted about 95 percent of white
commercial farms for confiscation, saying it wants to redistribute them to
landless blacks. The program has been condemned by Western governments and
contributed to widespread food shortages.
Whites make up less than
one percent of Zimbabwe's population. Until Mugabe's recent land seizures, white
farmers — most of whom are the descendants of British and South African colonial
era settlers — owned about one third of the nation's productive farmland.
The Herald said Farrakhan had expressed respect for Mugabe's ''stance
against Western maneuvers to undermine the sovereignty of Zimbabwe.''
Farrakhan, who traveled to Zimbabwe from South Africa where he attended the
launch of the African Union, a new organization that aims to lift the continent
out of poverty through development and good governance, was due to meet Mugabe
Farrakhan holds controversial opinions on race
relations and Jews and has been refused entry to Britain, which fears he may
fuel racial tension.
The U.S. State Department has imposed targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and prominent supporters of his regime, who stand
accused of rigging March presidential elections and intimidating opposition
The U.S. Embassy in Harare was not informed of
Farrakhan's visit, said Bruce Wharton, an embassy spokesman.
U.S. black leader backs Zimbabwe land campaign
July 13, 2002
Posted: 1:16 PM EDT (1716 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) --
U.S. radical black leader Louis Farrakhan, on
a three-day visit to Zimbabwe,
gave his backing to President Robert Mugabe's
land seizure campaign, state
media reported on Saturday.
Farrakhan, who has led a Chicago-based Muslim
movement called Nation of
Islam since the 1970s, was due to meet Mugabe on
Saturday after arriving in
Harare on Friday.
"Speaking soon after his
arrival...Mr. Farrakhan said he was in full support
of President Mugabe's
policies, especially the land issue as it was aimed at
historical injustice," the state-owned Bulawayo Chronicle said
The Zimbabwean government is pressing on with its seizures of
farms despite criticism that the drive is worsening a severe food
the southern African state.
Nearly 3,000 white farmers have
been ordered to vacate their farms by August
10 to make way for landless
Eleven white farmers have been killed and thousands of farm
assaulted and displaced since invasions of white-owned farms
pro-government militants began more than two years ago.
is accused by the opposition and many Western powers of cheating
presidential polls in March, says the land programme is an effort to
imbalances in land ownership created by British colonialism.
farmers say they support land redistribution, but are opposed to the
employed by Mugabe, who has ruled the former Rhodesia since
Farrakhan, who attended the launch of the new African Union (AU) in
South African resort of Durban last week, has visited Zimbabwe
But the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp (ZBC) said on Saturday this
that Mugabe's government was not isolated.
powers, including the United States and former colonial master
desperately trying to portray the Zimbabwe government as
isolated," the ZBC
The U.S. and the European Union have imposed travel restrictions on
and other senior ruling party officials since his controversial
Mugabe attended the AU summit last week, but
Zimbabwe was not on the
official agenda and Mugabe did not give a speech
during the launch of the
new pan-African group, which replaced the
Organisation for African Unity
Farrakhan, who once called
Judaism a "gutter religion" and said Adolf Hitler
was a "wickedly great man,"
was banned from Britain in 1986 for expressing
racist and anti-Semitic views.
The ban was upheld in a British high court in
Guardian journalist awaits
verdict in Harare trial over report on web
Saturday July 13,
The worldwide web would
be unable to function if everything on it was subject to the laws of every
nation, a Harare court hearing the alleged falsehood case against the Guardian's
correspondent in Zimbabwe, Andrew Meldrum, was told yesterday.
Applying Zimbabwe's restrictive media regulations to stories on Guardian
Unlimited, the newspaper's electronic website in London, would establish a
far-reaching and extraordinary precedent, the defence warned the court.
Jim Holland, an Australian internet consultant, testified that the story
complained about - an account, attributed to a local newspaper, that supporters
of the ruling Zanu-PF party had beheaded a mother of eight in front of her
children - was published on the website in Britain, not Zimbabwe. The point of
publication for websites was where the information was uploaded not downloaded,
After hearing the evidence and closing submissions from defence and
prosecution, the magistrate, Godfrey Macheyo, said he would write his judgment
this weekend and deliver the verdict on Monday morning. The case had been
adjourned for three weeks.
Mr Meldrum, 50, a US citizen who has lived in Harare since 1980, faces up to
two years in jail or a fine of Z$100,000 (£1,200).
It is the first trial carried out under Zimbabwe's new media laws and is
being closely mon itored by representatives from America, the United Kingdom and
the European Union.
Earlier Mr Macheyo refused a defence request that the charges be dismissed on
the grounds there was no case to answer and no evidence that the article had
been published in Zimbabwe.
Beatrice Mtetwa, Mr Meldrum's lawyer, told the court the state had built its
case on an unjust law and failed to lay a solid argument. Mr Macheyo declined to
give grounds for his refusal but said he would explain his reasoning when he
delivered his final judgment.
Lawyers in Britain have raised concerns that Zimbabwe's Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act sets a dangerous precedent because it effectively
inflicts Zimbabwe's repressive laws on stories published anywhere on the web.
Thirteen independent journalists have been charged with "abusing journalistic
privilege" by publishing falsehoods, the charge which Mr Meldrum faces.
Ms Mtetwa told the court yesterday: "To convict [Andrew Meldrum] would be a
great miscarriage of justice."
Despite the fact the defence had already closed its case, Mr Meldrum was
called to answer questions but not put under oath.
He told the court that he had verified the story as far as possible and the
police would not confirm or deny the story about the beheading when he rang, a
common response in stories about political violence.
Two human rights organisations he spoke to said they were investigating the
incident and that it was consistent with the pattern of post-electoral violence.
The local paper, to which Mr Meldrum attributed his account, has since
apologised for the story.
In summing up, the prosecutor, Thabani Mpofu, alleged that Mr Meldrum did not
have to intend to publish a falsehood to commit an offence; that the story was
false; that Mr Meldrum was the publisher because he authored the story; and that
the court had jurisdiction because the story was published on the worldwide web,
"media available in Zimbabwe".
For the defence, Ms Mtetwa argued that publication in Zimbabwe had not been
proved; that Mr Meldrum was not "the publisher"; that the stories in both the
Daily News and the Guardian had not been proved to be false; and, in order to be
convicted, the prosecution must show that Mr Meldrum intended to publish a false
Dear Family and Friends,
Outside my kitchen door there is a large and very
beautiful Msasa tree and all week a pair of glossy starlings have been flitting
in and out of the branches. They are a gorgeous metallic blue colour with
startling orange eyes and have the most peculiar call which almost sounds like a
question. Nearby is a large avocado pear tree whose branches are positively
staggering under the weight of perhaps 400 fruits which are gradually swelling
and ripening. A few metres away stands a paw paw tree with 15 great green fruits
clinging onto the trunk. All of these simple and common sights have helped to
keep me sane over the last seven days which have again been filled with tears of
both despair and disgust at the events in Zimbabwe. Mid week an elderly farmer
came to see me and found it easy to tell his story of horror to a stranger. The
man told me how the people who say they have been allocated his farm had come at
the weekend. There were 5 men in a green landrover and they drove right up to
the farmer's house. They walked into his garden and demanded their right to move
into his small guest cottage. The farmer and his frail wife, their almost blind
son and his wife and their two young children were completely helpless and
powerless to stop this obscenity. They stood and watched as these five men went
into the guest cottage, removed all the furniture and dumped it outside on the
lawn. The five men then removed the farmer's lock from the front door of the
cottage and put their own padlock on the door of the house. With beds and
tables, chairs and bookcases lying on the grass in the farmer's garden, the five
men left having claimed another man's home and life. They will return in less
than a month to claim the rest of the elderly farmers life.
This story is being repeated on farms all over the
country but for me this particular incident has bought such indescribable horror
that I have struggled to keep my faith and hope for the future of Zimbabwe
alive. The reason is that I know the man who came in the green landrover. I know
that he is an educated, middle class man who already has his own farm. I know
that he is not a landless peasant but has allowed himself to be consumed by the
greed which is sweeping our country. While 6 million people face starvation and
utter destitution, anyone who thinks they can make a quick buck in these days of
lawlessness is doing so. Morals, principles, values and human decency have gone
out of the window in Zimbabwe. Looking out for each other, sharing what little
we have and helping the man who stumbles on the street have become things of the
past. After two and a half years of political insanity, torture, murder and
burning, no one knows who to trust anymore. The moral fibre and fabric of our
society is crumbling and we need ugent intervention. Everyone says that the
world will not step in and help us until we begin helping ourselves. How can we
though? It is illegal to go out without an ID. If more than five friends meet
for a chat it is an illegal gathering. It is against the law to criticize the
President, Cabinet or security forces. It is an offence to say or write anything
that may cause alarm and despondency and if you are a white farmer it is illegal
to grow food. How do we help ourselves in Zimbabwe when police will not enforce
court rulings and will not attend to the scenes of a multitude of crimes on
farms and in rural areas because they are considered "political." We are not
sure which way to turn in a country where, 4 months after elections, parliament
has not yet reconvened, the President has not yet announced his cabinet and
absolutely no one in authority has made any statements indicating how we are
going to get out of this most desperate situation we are in. When the elderly
farmer who visited me this week was leaving he said he had one more thing to
tell me. This man who is moments away from losing everything it has taken him a
lifetime to secure, said that he had this week visited my own farm on the
outskirts of Marooned. He had heard that 500 people had been dumped there and
are literally starving to death. The white farmer had taken them a 50 kilogram
bag of maize because he could not bear the thought of children starving to
death. He asked me if I blamed him for helping the people who have taken over
what was my family farm. I do not. I thank God for this farmer's decency,
goodness and godliness. Until next week, with love, cathy. http://africantears.netfirms.com
10 July 2002
Subject: Project Survival Update
weeks have passed since our Project Survival appeal went out globally,
what a 6 weeks it has been. Firstly, a big thank you for the
number of supportive messages and letters that we received in
of the appeal, and of course for the contributions to our
Full reports on funding dispersal, project areas and regional
we provide are on the reports page of our website . I know that
many of you
are not able to access the internet, so please feel free to
e-mail us by
return and we are able to email most of these reports in text
you. It is always nice to know exactly where your funding is
going, but bear
with us time wise . time comes dear!
These last weeks
have, again, been a defining time in Zimbabwean
agriculture. 85% of Farmers
are now not allowed by law to farm their land.
The worlds press cry's out for
the region, citing drought. Ironic. As we try
to make sense of this in
particular and also the broader picture, the
situation on the ground
deteriorates daily. I am sorry that we cannot bear
better news on this front,
but that is the crux of it. Deterioration. Full
up to date reports on the
situation on the ground are also available for
download on our
As more and more Farmers are becoming more and more desperate the
support structures for them increases exponentially. Many farmers
totally impossible positions. Some are in such a desperate state they
hardly pay their own way, let alone their farm workers. I would like
take this opportunity to ask anyone who has not yet found the time to make
small contribution to do so. Project Survival is regrettably still way
of target. Secure donations can be made on our website and details
regional bank accounts can also be found there. Addresses for cheques are
this email and the website.
On the events side we are putting on a
series of events over the summer
period and are planning more for the winter.
On the 1st of September is a
5km fun run for women in Hyde Park, London. We
already have over 70 girls
committing to run and it is promising to be a
great day out. Entries must be
in by the 1st August, so please email us on email@example.com for an
and entry forms. More detail can be seen at
There are plans afoot for ZimFest
2002. Last year was a great success and
this year will be twice the size. We
are also putting on a series of Black
Tie dinners and other events still in
the planning stage. As ever, please let
us know if you need details by post,
email or phone.
Thank you for
your continued support
(Zimbabwe Agricultural Welfare Trust)
Please do not reply to
this email address . mails to this address are
processed by servers and never
read. If you would like to contact us please
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Registered in the UK as a
Charity No: 1091003
Patron: The Most Reverend Desmond M. Tutu O. M. S.
D. D. F. K. C.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town
If you feel
that you have received this communication in error, and you wish
receive updates on our work, then please send a blank email to
email@example.com and you will be
permanently removed from our databases.
We are unable to take responsibility
for the actions of 3rd parties, who may
forward communications on
Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
A chronology of key events:
1830s - Ndebele people fleeing Zulu violence and Boer migration in
present-day South Africa move north and settle in what becomes known as
The Shona have already been established for centuries in
Exploiting the land: Cotton pickers at
1830-1890s - European hunters, traders and missionaries explore the
region from the south. They include Cecil John Rhodes.
1889 - Rhodes' British South Africa Company (BSA) gains a British
mandate to colonise what becomes Southern Rhodesia.
1890 - Pioneer column of white settlers arrives from south at site of
future capital Harare.
1893 - Ndebele uprising against BSA rule is crushed.
1922 - BSA administration ends, the white minority opts for
1930 - Land Apportionment Act restricts black access to land, forcing
many into wage labour.
1930-1960s - Black opposition to colonial rule
grows. Emergence in the 1960s of nationalist groups - the Zimbabwe African
People's Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
Untamed: Zimbabwe still has big areas untouched by
1953 - Britain creates the Central African Federation, made up of
Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi).
1963 - Federation breaks up when Zambia and Malawi gain independence.
Smith declares UDI
1964 - Ian Smith of the Rhodesian Front (RF) becomes prime minister,
tries to persuade Britain to grant independence.
1965 - Smith unilaterally declares independence under white minority
rule, sparking international outrage and economic sanctions.
1972 - Guerrilla war against white rule
intensifies, with rivals ZANU and ZAPU operating out of Zambia and Mozambique.
Liberation leader: Joshua
1978 - Smith yields to pressure for negotiated settlement. Elections
for transitional legislature boycotted by Patriotic Front made up of ZANU and
ZAPU. New government of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, fails to
gain international recognition. Civil war continues.
1979 - British-brokered all-party talks at Lancaster House in London
lead to a peace agreement and new constitution, which guarantees minority
1980 - Veteran pro-independence leader Robert Mugabe and his ZANU win
British-supervised independence elections. Mugabe is named prime minister and
includes ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo in his cabinet. Independence on 18 April is
1982 - Mugabe sacks Nkomo, accusing him of
preparing to overthrow the government. North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade
deployed to crush rebellion by pro-Nkomo ex-guerrillas in Midlands and
Matabeleland provinces. Government forces are accused of killing thousands of
civilians over next few years.
First president: Reverend Canaan
1987 - Mugabe, Nkomo merge their parties to form ZANU-PF, ending the
violence in southern areas.
1987 - Mugabe changes constitution, becomes executive president.
1991 - The Commonwealth adopts the Harare Declaration at its summit in
Zimbabwe, reaffirming its aims of fostering international peace and security,
democracy, freedom of the individual and equal rights for all.
1998 - Economic crisis accompanied by riots and strikes.
1999 - Economic crisis persists, Zimbabwe's military involvement in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo civil war becomes increasingly unpopular.
Formation of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
2000 February - Squatters seize hundreds of white-owned farms in an
ongoing and violent campaign to reclaim what they say was stolen by settlers.
Mugabe suffers defeat in referendum on draft constitution.
2000 June - ZANU-PF narrowly fights off an
opposition challenge in parliamentary elections but loses its power to change
Opposition leader: Morgan
2001 May - Defence Minister Moven Mahachi killed in a car crash - the
second minister to die in that way in a month.
2001 July - Finance Minister Simba Makoni publicly acknowledges
economic crisis, saying Zimbabwe's foreign reserves have run out and warning the
country faces serious food shortages. Most western donors, including the World
Bank and the IMF, have cut aid because of Mugabe's land seizure programme.
2001 October - Visiting Commonwealth ministers say
the government has done little to honour commitments to end the crisis over the
seizure of white-owned land.
Reclaiming the land: Squatters seize a white-owned
2002 February - Parliament passes a law limiting media freedom. The
European Union imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe and pulls out its election
observers after the EU team leader is expelled.
2002 March - Mugabe re-elected in presidential elections condemned as
seriously flawed by the opposition and foreign observers.
2002 April - State of disaster declared as worsening food shortages
threaten famine. Government blames drought, the UN's World Food Programme says
disruption to agriculture is a contributing factor.
2002 June - 45-day countdown for some 2,900 white farmers to leave
their land begins, under terms of a land-acquisition law passed in May. Farmers
affected are ordered to stop working their land.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
War vets split from Zanu PF party
By Chengetai Zvauya
WAR veterans, disillusioned with the land seizure exercise which has seen
top government officials reap huge benefits, have decided to break away from
Zanu PF and form their own political party, the New People's Party (NPP), The
Standard has learnt.
According to sources, the NPP is to be made up of the majority of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA) whose membership
currently stands at 50 000. This move will likely deal a major blow to the
beleaguered Zanu PF as the ex-freedom fighters are its last remaining loyal and
War veterans calling themselves the 'Vanguard of the Third Chimurenga'
have in the past two years, waged a bloody campaign aimed at crushing growing
support for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition MDC, who almost
relegated President Robert Mugabe to the dustbin of political history.
But only three months after the presidential election, controversially won
by Mugabe, the former fighters watch helplessly as land is grabbed by top
government officials and their cronies.
Only last week, one of their own, Andrew Ndlovu, the secretary for
projects, was jailed for three years for corruption after the state successfully
argued that he deserved to spend time in jail.
"There is an agreement among the war veterans that we need a new political
party. We decided this after realising that some of the politburo members in
Zanu PF have forgotten us," said one war veteran leader close to the new party.
The Standard understands that a huge gulf exists in Zanu PF between those
who fought in the liberation war and those who did not.
"There are a lot of counter-revolutionaries in the party. Most of them are
the mafikizolos who are causing confusion. So, we felt it in the interest of our
members to have a party to serve our interests," said the source.
"The reason for the armed struggle has been lost. Look at how we are being
harassed and left our of the land redistribution exercise," he added.
Last week war verterians demanded the dismissal of Elliot Manyika as Zanu
PF political commissar, whom they said had dubious liberation war credentials.
Contacted for comment, war veterans secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, denied
that some members of his association were defecting from Zanu PF.
"I don't know about that. I am hearing it for the first time, maybe it's
being done behind the back of our executive. The true war veterans remain loyal
to Zanu PF and President Mugabe because we fought the liberation war together.
It is a marriage for life.
"But I know that the Zimbabwe Liberation Platform have been trying to
mobilise our members to join them. Maybe it is they who are thinking of forming
a party," Mhlanga said.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Food stortage here to stay
By Itai Dzamara
THE highly-fancied, government-sponsored winter maize and wheat farming
project will not significantly alleviate the country's catastrophic food
shortage, The Standard has established.
Gweru Rural MP Renson Gasela who is also the MDC shadow minister for
agriculture, and the former general manager of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
said the harvests to be realised from winter maize and wheat will not
substantially alleviate the food shortage which the Commercial Farmers Union,
(CFU) has blamed largely on the chaotic land reform programme, which has
prevented most of its members from doing any winter farming. In addition, some
who were allocated pieces of land, especially under the Model A2 programme, are
yet to move on to their land, meaning that there was no winter crop farming
taking place on these farms.
After realising the high level of food shortage likely to result from a
combination of the chaotic agrarian reform programme and insufficient rainfall,
the government resorted to winter maize and wheat farming into which it invested
billions of dollars. The ministry of lands, agriculture and rural development
received $7,65 billion from the treasury for the farming of winter maize and
Gasela says the amount of land said to have been put under the winter maize
crop will yield only enough grain for two days. Said Gasela: "We have been told
by government that there are 1 800 hectares under the winter maize crop. If that
is the truth, the most we will produce will be 10 000 tonnes of grain, which is
only enough to feed the nation for two days. This won't come anywhere near
alleviating the food shortage."
Efforts to verify with minister of agriculture, Joseph Made, the hectarage
under winter maize, were fruitless. Telephones at the ministry's head office
On the wheat crop planted this winter, Gasela said it would have greater
yields than maize but would not solve the food shortage outright. "The figures
are showing that we are going to produce 150 000 tonnes of wheat from 30 000
hectares of land planted with the crop this winter. This will be enough for the
country's consumption needs for four months," said Gasela.
However, the wheat will only be ready for harvest in October, so there will
have to be wheat imports for the months of August and September. Already,
uncertainty hovers over the levels of wheat stocks at the country's grain
reserve, the Grain Marketing Board. Bread shortages hit the nation two weeks ago
amidst counter accusations by the GMB and millers, with the former alleged to
have abruptly halved grain supplies whilst blaming the millers of hoarding the
When harvested in December, the wheat reserves could go up to January next
year, meaning that the country would have to import wheat to cover the period
between January and the next year's harvest. However, the country is currently
immersed in an acute foreign currency crisis which will make importation of the
food reserves difficult.
The Commercial Farmers Union said that most of their members had not
planted the winter crop due to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the
land reform programme. Most farmers received Section 8 orders, which compelled
them to cease operations immediately and to vacate their properties by next
month. Another factor which could prove detrimental to winter crop supplies is
that some of the people allocated pieces of land, especially under the Model 2
programme, are yet to move on to their land.
According to a survey carried out by the United Nations World Food
Programme and the Food Agricultural Organisation, about six million Zimbabweans
in both rural and urban areas face starvation this year. In the drought-stricken
Matabeleland North and Masvingo provinces, there have already been 30 deaths due
Government planted winter maize at Chiredzi's Hippo Valley, Triangle and
Mkwasine Estates. In addition, some newly resettled farmers planted winter maize
with the aid of government. However, fears are that the winter maize may be
heavily affected by the very low temperatures prevailing in the Lowveld area as
well as attacks by pests. A commercial farmer in the Lowveld, who refused to be
named said: "This is an experiment but there are fears that the crop will be
attacked by frost and by pests before it reaches full maturity.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
When the law is an ass
AFTER two elections marred by blatant state terror, the fact that the
Movement for Democratic Change was challenging the gruesome government of Robert
Mugabe without the benefit of a voters' roll was largely overlooked. For the
opposition, it was like fighting with its hands tied behind its back.
Registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede's refusal to hand the roll over to the MDC
in a clearly workable form was, in its own way, as detrimental to the
opposition's chances as the unleashing of terror gangs to intimidate the
And now that crass and unhidden act of electoral sabotage has been
exacerbated-by no less a body than the High Court.
The same court that decided that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai must lodge a
$2 million deposit if he is to challenge Mugabe's disputed victory has said that
the registrar-general's office is not compelled to provide the opposition with
an electronic version of the voters' roll.
Instead it must purchase, at over a million dollars, a printed version.
At first glance, and disregarding the shameless rip off price of something
that should be free to all citizens, this is fair enough. But first glances are
always subject to crass misconception. Two immediate issues make the ruling
contradictory to even a pretence at democracy and freedom.
The first is the fact that it is a simple matter to provide the voters'
roll in compact disc form. The second is that, in print form, the roll is all
but an unworkable document that could take the MDC months to unravel-which is of
course the intention.
Naturally enough, like all government departments, the registrar-general's
office could lie and tell a gullible electorate that burning the roll onto CD is
technically unfeasible, prohibitively expensive or simply impossible. Still,
that would be a lie because it has been done before and there are electronic
copies of the old roll in existence in the country. If it was done before, it
can be done again.
And what of the work involved in pouring over a printed copy? Even
allocating scores of staff to the vital task of verifying the roll could delay
Tsvangirai's challenge by months.
Which is just what millions of Zimbabweans will believe was the intention,
just as they will assume that the court is in no great hurry to see justice run
Susan Mavangira, the High Court judge who handed down the ruling, added to
Zimbabwe's concerns when she doubled the deposit requested of Tsvangirai by
Mugabe's own lawyers. They asked that the deposit be increased from $500,000 to
$1 million-and the court doubled it again to $2 million. That Mavangira handed
down the judgments on behalf of a colleague will only double the worries
Zimbabweans have about their courts.
Perhaps the country's courts are unaware that Zimbabwe is a signatory to
the Sadc Parliamentary Forum's norms and standards for the conduct of elections.
That august forum, which roundly trashed the March poll, says that there should
be "free and unimpeded access" to the voters' roll.
Well, Zimbabwean courts obviously feel they're above such liberal nonsense.
Instead they've effectively said that the electronic voters' roll should remain
in the hands of Mudede, despite constant charges that the man is unrepentantly
biased in favour of Mugabe's thuggish Zanu PF party.
But wait, there's more. Perhaps in the rarefied air occupied by High Court
judges, a million dollars is neither here nor there, but we're fairly confident
that the Sadc forum would feel that it's a great deal of money and hardly
constitutes "free and unimpeded access".
What, we wonder, is the point of signing protocols if the country has no
intention of abiding by them? Sadly the answer is all too obvious. Just as Zanu
PF orders its ridiculous police force to ignore the laws of the land, or rubber
stamps through parliament laws that are clearly unconstitutional, the Mugabe
regime has no intention of abiding by agreements or treaties that get in the way
of its brutal subjugation of the people.
Last week's ruling against the MDC will hamper the opposition's chances of
proving that the election was rigged. On that point alone, the High Court will
find itself criticised and questioned. After all, an efficient audit of the
voters' roll can be conducted only on the electronic version. People will
inevitably say that the High Court has found unjustifiable favour with one party
over another and that the court's responsibility to be above party politics has
Still, it isn't just the courts that should be questioned, so should the
registrar-general. We need to know why he is so very reluctant to release a
document (and release it freely) that rightly belongs to the people? At this
point in time, we can only concur with the remarks made by MDC spokesman
Learnmore Jongwe: "We can only assume they have something to hide."
Trouble brewing as beer runs out
(overthetop By Brian Latham)
LIFE in at least one troubled central African country is set to take a turn
for the worse as beer runs dry in the taps that oil the nation. It is thought
that the shortages could lead to massive civil unrest and topple the precarious
government of the most equal of all comrades.
While western analysts dismissed the impending shortage as irrelevant,
given the scarcity of other foodstuffs, experts in the troubled central African
country pointed out that beer is in fact the staple diet of the entire adult
male population-and even a good number of the female population.
A noted dietitian lamented that it was indeed true that citizens of the
troubled central African nation survived, against all odds, on a diet consisting
solely of alcohol. "Beer is certainly their favourite," said the dietitian, one
of the troubled central African country's leading health fascists, "but frankly
they'll drink anything that makes them fall down and laugh a lot."
Still, sources close to the most equal of all comrades said His Socialist
Holiness The Great Untouchable was not troubled by a possible shortage of beer.
A teetotaller given to remarking that "beer is the opiate of the people", the
most equal of all comrades is reported to have said, "Let them drink Perrier."
The comment caused much excitability and agitation among the beer drinking
population, estimated at about 99% of people over the age of 15. "This is just
the sort of arrogance we've come to expect from the most equal of all comrades,"
said one drinker. "It is a scientific fact that all teetotallers are mentally
unbalanced, so do not be surprised if he sits back in his palace sipping water
while the rest of us die horribly of thirst."
Meanwhile analysts predict that the very social fabric of the troubled
central African country could well tear apart as the effects of running on dry
begin to take hold. A spokesman for an under-funded and totally obscure road
safety organisation predicted carnage on the road when for the first time in
history hundreds of thousands of sober drivers take to the streets.
He said there would be mayhem when drivers realised that the roads were not
only narrower, but also had far fewer lanes than they'd believed, something that
could well lead to mass panic. Either that, he said, or there'll be no traffic
at all because we'll all be drinking the petrol.
Traffic aside, citizens of the troubled central African country said that
while other shortages, including maize meal, were serious enough, most people
had lived through them before, largely as a result of four decades of inept
government. What they had not experienced before, and had no desire to
experience, was a shortage of beer. "This will be the first time in history that
beer has been in short supply," said one hysterical citizen. "If this so-called
government was even half responsible, it would immediately divert all maize
stocks to the beer factories in order to avoid a massive crisis." Confirming the
angry citizen's feelings, a poll conducted in a well-known drinking spot in the
troubled central African nation's capital city confirmed that 99% of the people
will resort to violent mass action if deprived of beer. "There is nothing else
left open to us," they claimed. "If ever sanity is to be restored to this
country, we need to take action in the name of the More Drink Coming party and
put an end to the tyranny of teetotalitarianism.
Letters to The Standard :
He doth protest too much
Robert Mugabe's apparent obsession with people's sexual orientation nothing but
While I'm of the
view that it's no one's business whether one is gay or not, I do find the
diatribes of your bullying leader something of a 'protest too much'.
At first blush, his archaic and intrusive pronouncements strike many of
us here in Canada as, well, quaint.
They seem rather more the views of the unenlightened past than those of a
However, the old chap does go on an awful lot about this sort of thing,
And as a former psychology professor of mine once observed, those most
vociferously proclaiming their heterosexuality are often those who are least
secure in it.
Pity we didn't know about Chairman Bob a bit sooner, though. I'm sure
Vancouver's annual Gay Pride Parade could have made room for him on the Despot's
Float where he could enthusiastically wave a handkerchief at all and sundry
while insisting the whole time that he was, of course, adamantly opposed to that
sort of thing.
Amused in the Americas
The mother of all jokes
RECENT pronouncements by the dishonourable minister of higher education and
technology, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, that all graduating students will have to
undergo the dreaded six-month National Service training programme is quite
laughable-the mother of all jokes.
It should be common knowledge that we will resist such mind-boggling and
inhuman practices to the last atom of our strength. What kind of patriotism is
he trying to build within in us when he himself is not patriotic. How many of
the top government officials' children are pursuing their education in Zimbabwe?
This kind of utterance from Mumbengegwi seems to imply that we owe our
very existence to him.
But we cannot continue to be downtrodden, left, right and centre.
Yesteryear, it was privatisation, the worst crime to ever be committed against
Zimbabwean students, and ironically, championed by the very same people who went
to school on 'charity'. It now appears like our very existence is also a crime
against the state. Does he know that man is endowed with certain inalienable
rights, among them life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Denying us the
natural taste of life is what we are saying no to.
He might want to employ a thousand ruses and stratagems to gain favours
from his cronies but the results will be bitter. It should dawn on him that
every cloud has a silver lining so he is in for a rude awakening.
There are other more crucial problems the government should be seriously
addressing so to hell with the National Youth Service programme. We are not
automatons. They must go back to the drawing board.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Political violence hits Masvingo
By Parker Graham
MASVINGO-A wave of politically-motivated violence is sweeping across
Masvingo province as marauding Zanu PF youths and war veterans continue to
unleash a reign of terror on hapless teachers they accuse of having supported
the opposition MDC during the run up to the March presidential election.
First, Mapanzure Government School was forced to close last week after Zanu
PF youths beat up the teachers there, then it was the turn of Chitsa Government
Secondary in Gutu and Mutonhori Primary in Zaka as ruling party agents continued
their campaign to silence perceived opposition MDC supporters in the rural
Chitsa teachers and groundsmen fled the school two weeks ago after
being thoroughly beaten up by suspected Zanu PF youths.
By Friday, some of the teachers had not yet returned to the school and
officials of the ministry of education, sport and culture were investigating the
reason for the unprovoked attacks on teachers.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo regional education director, Obert Mujuru,
expressed dismay at the Mapanzure incident but was unable to confirm the Chitsa
"We don't need politics to get into schools and disturb the law abiding
professionals. Teachers should be allowed to execute their professional duties
without fear of rampaging youths," said Mujuru.
Police have since arrested eight Zanu PF youths for the orgy of violence
which occurred at Mapanzure. Some of the youths appeared in court on Thursday.
Masvingo was the province where violence was most prevalent during the run up to
the presidential and parliamentary elections with the majority of the
perpetrators of violence being members of the ruling Zanu PF and their war
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Moyo defies superiors
By Farai Mutsaka
JUNIOR minister of state for information and publicity, Jonathan Moyo, has
rebuffed attempts by senior Zanu PF officials to have businessman, James
Makamba's Joy TV brought back on air, The Standard has learnt.
Despite heavy lobbying by senior ruling party officials who were asking for
the licensing of Joy TV, Moyo last week shrugged off the mounting pressure from
his party superiors.
Although party officials told The Standard that they would continue
pressurising Moyo, they agreed the junior minister had so far remained unmoved
by the lobby.
The lobby, understood to have already been sanctioned by the party's
highest decision making organ, the politburo, included vice president, Joseph
Msika, among other party members.
Ruling party officials on the forefront of the lobby to bring back the
television station confirmed to The Standard last week, that their efforts were
hitting a brick wall.
Other senior officials named in the bid to have Joy-TV brought back are
Zanu PF deputy secretary for the commissariat, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Mashonaland
Central bigwigs, Elliot Manyika, who is also the party's political commissar and
deputy secretary for youth, businessman Saviour Kasukuwere.
"We are not getting anywhere really. We were hoping that Makamba as an
indigenous businessman would be given a licence to operate his business but it
appears there are some people with other agendas. The minister does appear to be
very strong in his resistance," said a ruling party official lobbying for
" I don't see the station coming back. If the man (Moyo) can defy the
party's supremos, who else do you think will force him to act. I also think
there little chances that Makamba will even get the licence but we are supposed
because really we didn't think it would be such a serious issue. We didn't
anticipate any problems for Makamba to be granted a licence. After all he is
even a member of the party," said another party official.
Joy TV, which was leasing air time from ZBC-TV 2 channel, was switched off
air in May.
Moyo used the newly enacted Broadcasting Act which does not allow a
television station to lease air time to another station.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, which is empowered to licence
broadcasting operations, has so far failed to licence a single operation despite
a number of enterprises applying for licences.
Under the Broadcasting Services Act, only one broadcaster besides ZBC would
be licensed to transmit nationally and there was belief that Moyo wanted to give
his New Ziana project that licence.
It has however, emerged that the project might not even kick off owing to
lack of funding. Treasury, it is understood, has refused to release funds for
the project, which they think is extravagant.
Joy-TV, broadcasting within Harare and surrounding areas, had become a
favourite with viewers who saw the station as a relief from the hourly
propaganda bombarded by ZBC-TV.
The station also became popular through its programme, Makamba at Night, a
one on one programme which brought in various political, business, sports and
other personalities on television.
It is believed it was this programme that precipitated the station's brush
with Moyo as it gave a number of MDC officials and other government critics a
chance to air their viewers and attack government policies.
Despite the lobby getting the nod from the politburo, Moyo has remained
steadfast that the calls for Joy-TV to be switched on were uncalled for.
If Moyo refuses to give in to pressure and refuse to grant Makamba licence,
the businessman and other local investors stand to lose millions of dollars they
had poured into the project.
Makamba could not be reached for comment yesterday but has been referring
to questions pertaining to the licensing of his station to Moyo.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
War vets seek Ndlovu, Paradza pardon
By Chengetai Zvauya
THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Assocation national executive
has appealed to President Robert Mugabe to grant presidential pardon to their
colleagues, Andrew Ndlovu and Anna Paradza, who were convicted of corruption and
sentenced to four years imprisonment by the High Court.
War veterans secretary-general, Andy Mhlanga, told The Standard that his
organisation had instructed its lawyers, Aston Musunga and Advocate Charles
Selemani to draft a letter to Mugabe asking for his clemency to release Ndlovu
''The executive of the war veterans has given the lawyers instructions
to seek a presidential pardon over the issue of our colleagues. I know that
Musunga was at the prison yesterday (Thursday) compiling affidavits from Ndlovu
and Paradza,'' said Mhlanga.
''We hope that pardon will be granted-we have confidence that our patron
will secure the release of our comrades,'' he added.
The Standard understands that the war veterans had initially sought a
meeting with Mugabe, but were advised by the President's office to follow the
Ndlovu and Paradza were convicted of corruptly receiving gifts from a
Chinese national, the late Zhao Fun Yin, as reward for facilitating business
between themselves and the Magamba eChimurenga Housing Trust. They were also
convicted of stealing $860 000 from the housing scheme.
Mugabe has a history of granting Presidential pardon to Zanu PF supporters.
In 1989 he pardoned Fredrick Shava, a former cabinet minister, after he was
convicted of corruption by the Sandura Commission and sent to prison.
Last year he granted political amnesty to all the people who had committed
criminal offences during the run up to the parliamentary elections.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Bulawayo Zanu PF in trouble
< By Loughty Dube
divisions are threatening to tear apart the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial
leadership ahead of a visit by an audit team from Harare due in the city on
Friday to inspect the province's books.
The team, which was
initially expected to have visited last week, comes at a time when allegations
of fraud to the tune of $35 million have been levelled against provincial
chairman, Jabulani Sibanda. The money was part of funds disbursed to the
province for President Mugabe's re-election campaign.
The widening rift between the provincial leaders is so serious that some
members of the party in the province are now calling for the dissolution of the
party's provincial executive committee.
"The executive is not serving anyone at all, there are no meetings and
the chairman does as he pleases and that is ruining the party as a whole. There
is total confusion in the province and unless the national leadership does
something there will be a rebellion in the province," said a party source.
Senior party leaders in Bulawayo are also accusing Sibanda of running the
province as his own personal fiefdom by disregarding advice from central
committee and politburo members.
"The man (Sibanda) views himself as the supreme being and does not listen
to advice from people like Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who are more
senior and seasoned party cadres, and have more experience than him in the
running of party affairs," said one senior party member in the province.
The party members said since coming into power early last year, the
Bulawayo provincial executive has never called a meeting from branch level up to
"The only meeting that Sibanda has called was convened last week on
Saturday but he did not even attend the meeting...such behaviour is killing the
party," said one official.
The senior party sources said the divisions within the party were so
serious that party leaders are setting youths upon those who do not share the
same view with them.
"The youths have been taught not to respect leaders and for that reason
they are being used to assault senior party members who are not 'yes men' and
those who question transparency matters in the party," said another party
The division saga took a twist last week when senior party members were
The party was allocated the $35 million through the ministry of youth
development, gender and employment creation and part of the money was to be used
to fund the youth camps that housed Zanu PF militia who unleashed a wave of
violence on the citizenry before the presidential election.
However, senior party members alleged that the funds were abused since
Sibanda was the only signatory to the party account.
The party's national spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, professed ignorance
over the in-house divisions but confirmed that an audit team will visit Bulawayo
to assess the province's account books.
"I am not aware of the divisions rocking Zanu PF in the province, but
there is an audit team that will visit the province to check on how campaign
funds were used in the run up to the elections," Shamuyarira told The Standard.
The senior party members further alleged that Sibanda was not following
the party constitution when conducting business.
"The rot in the party has gone too far and now is the time to stop the
rot once and for all, otherwise the party is on the verge of collapse," said
another party leader in the province.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Mucheche's empire crumbles
By Itai Dzamara
PREVAILING economic difficulties have caught up with the one time creme de
la creme of Zimbabwe.
The Standard this week reveals that Ben Mucheche, the president of the
Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC) and Zimbabwe Rural Transport
Operators (ZRTO), once the envy of many an operator for his large fleet of
buses, MB Luxury Coaches, is now singing the blues.
Investigations last week revealed that the once 70-strong fleet has
dwindled to two wrecks that can hardly make it on the national highway.
To compound the woes of this once mighty businessman, The Standard is
informed that scores of employees have deserted MB Luxury Coaches after going
for about four months without being paid.
When The Standard spoke to a number of workers, some of whom had worked for
the company for 25 years, they said it was the pathetic situation at MB Luxury
Coaches that had forced them to leave the company they loved so dearly.
"I have been working as a mechanic for Mucheche for 23 years. We went for
four months without being paid so we decided to leave. I believe this is the end
of everything and I doubt if we will get any benefits," said a distraught
While Mucheche admitted that the sun was indeed setting on his bus company,
he denied that some of his workers had gone for several months without pay.
"I don't know about that. If someone leaves a job why would he then go to
the newspapers? They left of their own accord," said Mucheche.
Added the businessman: "We are leaving the transport business as you can
see; it is no longer viable. We are winding up so we can venture into serious
He refused to confirm the number of buses his company still had on the
roads or to comment on allegations of financial incompetence and of underpaying
"Some of these things are not worth reporting. There are more important
things worth reporting on concerning the country, not someone's private life."
The veteran businessman has been at the forefront of support for the
government backed indigenisation policy which is supposed to promote the
development of black-owned businesses. He is also a supporter of the ruling Zanu
PF party and an admirer of President Mugabe, to whom he gave $50 000 on the
occasion of his wedding to Grace in 1996.
A visit to the company's premises in Harare's Southerton industrial area
revealed the level to which Mucheche's transport empire has collapsed. Only
three mechanics were to be seen working on one of the remaining wrecks.
Said one of the mechanics: "Only two buses are still operating, this one we
are working on and the one over there which is awaiting our attention. "
At the height of his fame, the Mucheche buses where known throughout
Zimbabwe, as they plied most of the country's rural routes, but now that empire
has been reduced to a pitiful spectacle comprising just two 76-seater buses-a
Scania and an AVM.
Mudzuri compiling corruption dossier
By Itai Dzamara
HARDLY three months into office, Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, says his
council has identified ways which previous administrations abused funds and has
put in mechanism to stop the rot.
Mudzuri, who was elected to office with an overwhelming majority in the
March municipal and mayoral elections, told Standard Business that he had put in
place a team which is currently compiling a detailed dossier on how past Zanu PF
administrations had systematically fleeced Harare ratepayers of their hard
Said Mudzuri: "There are a number of corrupt practices which previous
councils engaged in, and which largely contributed to the continuous decline of
standards in the city. We are still doing more investigations and hope to
publicise our findings in the near future. We have already unearthed some of
them and we are looking forward to discovering many more, after which this
corruption will be publicised and where necessary prosecutions will
Looting within the Harare City Council had assumed legendary proportions,
resulting in past administrations failing to deliver under the pretext of
inadequate funds from ratepayers. In contrast, the Mudzuri administration has
had an immediate impact by the extensive resurfacing of the city's roads.
Uncollected refuse which had characterised downtown Harare is now a thing of the
past under the council's Harare Clean Up Campaign, which was launched last
Mudzuri said the road rehabilitation project was being subsidised by funds
collected from the carbon tax which was introduced by government last year,
adding that council had received $56 million for 2002.
"We approached government for our chunk of the carbon tax and were given
$56 million," said the mayor. Asked what had happened to last year's allocation,
Mudzuri said this was one of the areas which needed investigation.
He said apart from corruption, Harare City Council was plagued with the
problem of incompetent employees who had developed a laissez faire attitude over
"We are also fighting incompetence which had crippled the council. Workers
could afford to sit on jobs and noone would take action."
Mudzuri, however, acknowledged that his administration was struggling with
the problem of replacing stolen traffic lights because it was difficult to
monitor every single traffic light in the city.
"Whilst we are replacing stolen lights, it will be difficult to stop this
practice because many people are stealing the lights for swimming pools and
other purposes such as for disco machines," said Mudzuri.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
Bankers pass the buck to government
By Kumbirai Mafunda
BANKERS in Zimbabwe, shrugging off accusations that they are withholding
foreign currency, have said the Zanu PF government is squarely to blame for the
forex crisis plaguing the country.
Trust Bank chief executive, William Nyemba, said government had thrown out
suggestions from the business community into "dustbins" resulting in the current
economic mess engulfing the country.
"Much of business' contribution has been ignored for too long by
government. We have presented our solutions as the business community but they
have been ignored and government has refused to implement them," said Nyemba.
He said bankers' proposals and recommendations presented to the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the past two years were not taken seriously.
Only two weeks ago, government flatly told the RBZ that there would be no
devaluation in the foreseeable future and rapped the banks and bureaux de change
for fuelling the black market.
"We have for the past two years been telling them to devalue the currency.
They have not done so and they are now trying to find a scapegoat without
zeroing on the real problems. Banks and bureaux de change do not manufacture
forex. What causes the push in exchange rate is not banks or bureau de changes,
but the seller," said Nyemba.
Government has been closing down bureau de changes and arresting dealers
who trade on the black market in a bid to restore sanity to the forex crisis in
Zimbabwe's exports have nose-dived for the last two years in response to
government's seizure of white owned commercial farms and the rating of the
country as a risk destination for investment.
Jefta Mugweni, the group chief executive officer for Century Holdings
Limited, attributed the forex crisis to the deteriorating economy. "It is not
the banks, but it is a distortion in the overall economic situation in the
country," said Mugweni. As remedy to the mess, Mugweni said there was need to
look deeper into the export incentives and to reprice the local currency.
"The only solution to solving the crisis is to promote exports which will
generate foreign currency into the official economy complemented with the
correct pricing of the Zimbabwe dollar vis-a-vis other currencies. With the
correct price the forex inflows would naturally come through official channels,"
Royal Bank chief executive, Jeffrey Mzwimbi, concurred with his colleagues
saying what needs to be addressed is the supply of foreign currency.
"It is easy to blame banks because they are in financial mediation. Banks
don't create foreign currency. The issue that needs to be addressed is the
availability of foreign currency," Mzwimbi said.
In their financial results released in December, nearly all banks rapped
government's monetary and fiscal policies and pleaded for the immediate
restoration of economic fundamentals.
Nesbert Tinarwo, the chairman of the bureaux de change also denied
government's accusations. "Bureaux de change have been soft targets. They are
just caught in between. When there is little supply of foreign currency people
hold on to the currency and dictate the price. They come to us on a take it or
leave it basis," said Tinarwo.
He laid the blame on government officials whom he said brought the foreign
currency from their overseas trips. "Those who have the forex have the greater
say. High officials who seem to be talking much are the ones who go out on
foreign trips where they get foreign currency and they neither go to the banks
nor bureaux de change. Instead they go directly to exporters, importers or other
Tinarwo said his members were closing down after failing to raise the
minimum deposits required by the RBZ and called on government to address the
generation of exports which bring in foreign currency.
"By trying to crush bureaux they are only trying to address the symptoms.
The actual problem has to do with the supply side and government must address
the fundamental issues."
Like Nyemba, Tinarwo said his organisation's suggestions on devaluation to
the ministry of finance and economic planning were not considered. "Devaluation
would make the official exchange rate palatable. $55 to the US dollar is not
anywhere nearer to what is realistic," he said.
In sharp contrast to the official rate pegged at $55 to one US dollar, the
greenback is fetching as much as $600 on the vibrant black market, down from
$800 a fortnight ago.
The Standard (Zim) 14 July -
75% of Matabeleland businesses could collapse-MCI
BULAWAYO-MORE than three quarters of industries in the Matabeleland region
are threatened with collapse due to the worsening economic climate and
government's continued insensitivity to the their calls for the creation of
better operating atmosphere to ensure viability and continuity, an official of
the Matabeleland Chamber of Industries has said.
MCI president Ken Jerrard told Standard Business that most industries,
especially those producing basic commodities, were being obliged by government
to continue operating in a situation which keeps the products reaching the
market while the manufacturer grapples with escalating production costs.
"Industry is currently in a bad state. Various industries are being
affected in different ways. For example, the bakery is required to to carry on
producing bread, a commodity whose price is still controlled. This is
unrealistic because it does not take into consideration the fact that the
industry has to make enough profits to remain viable and able to service their
delivery fleets and the production machinery. This leaves them in a situation
where they continue to produce but fail to cover their operational costs, " said
He added that almost all members of the MCI, including construction,
manufacturing, quarry and general suppliers, have been badly affected by the
absence of foreign currency in the country. He said efforts by industry to
assist the government in regaining significant inflows of forex through exports
were being thwarted by trade statutes which require exporting companies to
surrender 40% of their export earnings to the state.
"The retention of 40% of industry's export earnings at the controlled
foreign exchange rates actually contributes to the depletion of the little
reserves of forex which the country has. It makes the export business completely
unviable and companies involved are slowly withdrawing their products from that
market to avoid making continuous operating loses," said Jerrard.
Jerrad said earlier efforts by the bakery industry to seek government
approval of a 55% price increase for bread to ensure the survival of the
industry have been fruitless.
"The bakery industry has since revised that proposal against current
operating costs. They have now requested for a 97,7% price increase for bread if
the industry is to remain alive and viable. We do not know if that will be
approved but everybody is operating at a very heavy loss right now," said
The construction industry which operates heavy machinery which use imported
spare parts has suffered most due to the shortage of foreign currency. The MCI,
Jerrard said, is still trying to lobby government to create a better exchange
rate to ensure the viability of all industries, including those in the import
and export business. He said MCI was still lobbying government through the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) despite the failure of previous
"We have struggled to meet several ministers since the Trade Fair. We are
desperately concerned about the worsening effect this will have on the food
crisis. There is also the plight of workers in these industries which we have to
consider. But we don't know where this will lead to since the government has
dismissed our concerns as exaggeration every time we put them across," he said.