The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      'Company seizures suicidal for Mugabe'

      By Abel Mutsakani News Editor
      7/4/02 11:19:40 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, at his wits' end as he confronts a deepening
economic and political crisis, has threatened to seize private businesses he
accuses of sabotaging the economy to incite Zimbabweans to rebel against his
government.
      But analysts this week said such a move could spell his administration
's quickened downfall.

      The government is grappling with its most dangerous crisis since
winning power in 1980, dramatised by severe food and foreign currency
shortages, isolation by the international community and swelling support for
opposition-led mass protests to force a re-run of a presidential election
controversially won by Mugabe two months ago.

      Political scientist Masipula Sithole echoed a widely held view this
week when he said nationalising industries would be a blind move that could
ignite the demise of Mugabe's 22-year-old administration.

      "It is a demise that is increasingly looking inevitable any how," said
Sithole, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and
also head of the Institute of Mass Public Opinion, a Harare-based political
think-tank.

      More than half of Zimbabwe's population of 12 million faces starvation
unless the international community urgently provides more than 500 000
tonnes of the staple maize and other basic foodstuffs to the southern
African nation.

      Salt, which became scarce two weeks ago prompting Mugabe's threats to
take over the salt-making firms, is only one in a long list of basic
commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, soap and even essential drugs and
medicines which are now rare in Zimbabwe.

      Bread, seen as an alternative to maize-meal, is also becoming scarce
because of shortages of wheat, sugar and salt.

      UZ business studies professor Tony Hawkins said a Soviet Union-style
seizure of private firms in the era of the free-trade global village would
have dire consequences for an already collapsing economy and could not be an
option for the government.

      But Hawkins was quick to point out that Mugabe's threats should be
taken seriously, if only because of the seizure of private farms by the
government and its supporters which the 78-year-old President had often
threatened before.

      "It is unthinkable, but what is happening in agriculture was also
unthinkable. Perhaps one should not get surprised if one of these days these
latest threats are followed through," the highly respected economist said.

      Last week the government scaled new heights in its often chaotic land
reforms when it gave about 3 000 of the country's largest producing farmers
a 45-day ultimatum to stop farming and vacate their land or face
prosecution.

      Coupled with last year's poor rains, the government's fast-track land
reforms and the illegal farm seizures by its supporters are largely blamed
for Zimbabwe's worst food crisis.

      Critics say Mugabe and his government - and not private businesses -
should be held directly responsible for the food shortages and economic ruin
because of their skewed land policies, bloated human rights record and harsh
crackdown on political opponents and the media, all which have combined to
scare away foreign investors and capital.

      Most of the remaining foreign investors abandoned Zimbabwe during the
run-up to the violent March presidential vote when pro-government militants
invaded companies, forcing employers to award salary hikes to workers and to
re-hire dismissed employees.

      But Hawkins said if this time round Mugabe was to follow through his
threat and take over companies, such a step could be the last straw to break
the back of an economy that only a few years ago was one of Africa's most
promising.

      "For example, the government is unable to provide capital for its own
companies and parastatals (partly state-owned firms)," Hawkins noted.

      "Where would it get the money to run theses business, let alone the
managerial expertise required?"

      State-funded firms such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ),
the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) and the Grain Marketing Board
are regularly rocked by scandals and financial woes which critics say can be
traced to the ruling ZANU PF's politics of patronage of appointing
incompetent party followers to head these.DiDter

      Hawkins said: "The government's threat to seize companies is pregnant
with disaster in that whatever the government has taken over has never
worked again. Look at Air Zimbabwe, NRZ and NOCZIM."

      Sithole said any escalation of the economic hardships already
tormenting Zimbabweans could only turn Mugabe's worst fears into reality -a
socio-economic driven revolution.

      Such hardships would make Zimbabweans much eager to support mass
protests against the government if the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) were to go ahead with its threatened mass action.

      The MDC says it will call mass protests at any time now to force a
re-run of the March ballot, which the opposition party and the international
community say Mugabe stole from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Although Mugabe insists that he won relatively free and fair polls,
the international community has responded by imposing travel bans and other
sanctions on the veteran leader and his inner circle, increasing the siege
on the troubled country.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

Comment

      Hard lessons ignored


      7/4/02 7:11:10 AM (GMT +2)

      AS chickens predictably come home to roost, an infuriated President
Robert Mugabe chooses not to see them and to learn the hard lessons of the
past which they bring.

      Mugabe's weekend threat to seize companies which he accuses of causing
shortages of foodstuffs not only fails to address the underlying causes of
Zimbabwe's descent into deeper economic turmoil but highlights the failure
of governance.

      Instead of taking a hard look at the trigger of the ever widening
shortages, the President has decided to use the iron fist symbolised by his
numerous recent threats to try to resolve a policy issue which emanates from
none other than his own administration.

      The shortage of salt, only the latest to afflict crisis-weary
Zimbabweans, has been caused by the government's own price controls
re-introduced with much defiance last October.

      We advised at the time and we do so again that no business will thrive
under price controls, more so in the highly inflationary climate of Zimbabwe
that fuels galloping costs of production.

      If hoarding or any other economic crime is being committed by any
company, let it be punished fully under the law.

      In the case of salt, it was none other than salt-maker National Foods
which told the government the amounts of stocks it held, which it wanted to
be re-priced before being distributed. There is no suggestion therefore that
the company was hoarding the salt.

      After last week's state seizure of the limited salt that is available,
has anyone in the government for example mapped out what will be done
afterwards when National Foods is forced to close down because it can no
longer find the hard currency it requires to import the ingredients needed
to manufacture the commodity?

      At any rate, the takeover of National Foods or any other company by
the government will certainly not resolve the economic crisis but only
exacerbate it.

      Just witness the financial and management chaos which have marked the
running down of virtually all state-owned firms, which have proven to be a
severe strain on the national fiscus, and you can be certain that National
Foods would go down the same route.

      The government must simply go back to the drawing board to do what it
hates most: to abolish the stifling price controls if commodities of any
nature are to continue to be on the Zimbabwe market.

      For goods and services to be available at affordable prices, this
requires that the government acts with resolution on restoring stability to
Zimbabwe's blighted macro-economic landscape.

      Crucially, as we have stated too often before, this requires that the
government brutally cuts down its runaway spending which has triggered an
unsustainably high budget deficit which is fuelling rampant inflation and
crippling interest rates.

      No amount of threats by Mugabe or anyone will ease Zimbabwe's economic
crisis unless these very basic measures are wholeheartedly taken on board by
the government.

      Indeed the issue of food shortages now stalking Zimbabwe is not
different to the salt saga.

      The wholesale seizure of productive farms by the government and its
supporters in the name of land hunger is the chief cause of the present
famine, which tragically affects half the population. The drought is only
one of the factors.

      As everyone now knows, Mugabe and his government would brook no one
who at the time called for a halt to the fast-track land reforms, and the
result is there for all to see.

      The farm seizures have not only deprived Zimbabweans of food, but are
threatening the very survival of the country's single biggest export of
tobacco, which earns the foreign currency now desperately in short supply.

      The hard cash crisis threatens to shut down the entire economy and
yet, once again, the government defiantly marches ahead to evict vastly
experienced tobacco farmers from their land in the name of addressing a
colonial injustice.

      No sensible person questions the need for redistributing land to
Zimbabwe's dispossessed black majority, but the violent and chaotic nature
of the reforms which have disrupted farming and triggered the country's
worst food crisis.

      Is it too much to ask Mugabe and the government to learn from the
painful lessons of the land reforms so that they do not repeat the same
mistakes by taking over productive private companies?
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Of investors, speculators and gamblers ...

      Owen Mutetwa
      7/4/02 7:12:43 AM (GMT +2)

      WHENEVER national currencies fall dismally against major currencies,
speculators are mentioned in the culprit search.

      Remember the first major fall of the Zimbabwe dollar on Friday
November 14 1997 ( The Black Friday)? Who was blamed? Speculators!

      Recently in neighbouring South Africa when the rand lost 17 percent of
its value in December 2001, the Myburgh Commission of Inquiry was set up to
investigate the causes. Once again currency speculators were at the fore and
at one time described as "profiteering opportunists bereft of ethics."

      On the other hand a talk about economic growth is incomplete if the
term investors has not yet been mentioned.

      Investors are regarded as the key to business expansion that
ultimately translates to economic growth.

      Only last week I advised a friend to invest on the stock market and he
gave me the remark "No that's gambling. You know I don't like gambling." But
then this is not true.

      By drawing examples from stock market activity let us make a
distinction between investors, speculators and gamblers.

      An investor is one who puts his money into a fund or stock because he
understands the business the company he is investing in is into and believes
the company will be successful.

      For example one can invest in a counter Boleh Plc (listed) with an
optimistic view about its profit and also its dividend. Such an investment
decision is usually based on sound fundamental analysis of the company in
question and is usually held with a long term view - can be up to many
years.

      A speculator takes unusually high risks in order to make unusually
high returns if he is successful.

      Unlike an investor a speculator cares less about the company dividends
and profits. For example one may commit huge amounts of money in a stock
temporarily in expectation the share price will go up in value then he sells
the counter.

      A speculator cares nothing about the company underlying stock,
whatever he may know about it. It is just something to be bought and sold.
Now there is an element of chance in this. But wait!

      It is totally false to equate trading in stocks with what is done at
Monte Clair or the Harare Exhibition Park.

      The gambler at a casino is playing against odds that are against him.
When he pulls the lever of the slot machine, the expected value of his
winnings is less than the money he puts in. The house takes its cut!

      Therefore the gambler is someone who plays with the odds against him
for the joy of making money move and for the irrational hope that he will
get lucky. Gambling is just innocent fun.

      Although speculators are often portrayed as frenzied and amoral market
players who devour national economies like a parasite attacks a healthy
body, the truth is we are all speculators.

      We all contribute to speculative madness. It all goes down to the
basis of arriving at our investment decision and the motive for making your
investment decision.

      By the way, speculators are an essential component of an efficient
market system.

      Owen Mutetwa holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Banking
from the National University of Science and Technology. He can be contacted
on e-mail cabomutetwa@yahoo.com
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      ZANU PF accused of hijacking AIDS fund

      Staff Reporters
      7/4/02 11:18:14 AM (GMT +2)

      REPRESENTATIVES of AIDS bodies in Zimbabwe this week accused
government and ruling ZANU PF party officials of hijacking relief funds
collected from the billion-dollar annual AIDS levy meant for HIV-positive
people and their beneficiaries just when the government has declared an
emergency to fight the killer disease.

      Zimbabwe recently declared a state of emergency to pave way for the
importation and possible local manufacture of cheap anti-retroviral drugs to
deal with the runaway pandemic that is claiming the lives of about 2 000
people every week.

      HIV-positive Zimbabweans and local AIDS activists this week however
accused ZANU PF of politicising the distribution of money from the levy
through the government-aligned District AIDS Action Committees (DA AC).

      Dominica Banure, the district representative of the Zimbabwe National
Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) in Chirimhanzu, said many
HIV-positive Zimbabweans were suffering and dying without getting any aid
from the state-imposed levy.

      She said this had been caused by the politicisation of the
distribution of the levy by DAACs, which were originally expected to be
impartial.

      "The funds are benefiting ZANU PF members and not those people who
need them," Banure charged in an interview with the Financial Gazette.

      "There was an AIDS workshop last year organised by the DAAC for people
living with AIDS. Although people were supposed to go to the workshop at
which they would be given some money, we were told that only one person from
our network would represent us and yet ZANU PF had three members from each
ward," she noted.

      Banure said that at one point, some senior ruling party officials told
them that the AIDS money was meant for the ruling ZANU PF's campaign leading
to the March presidential election because it had come from "mother ZANU".

      "After the workshop, each district was given $140 000 but mother ZANU
said it was for the campaign. We were only given dried fish and blankets and
when we complained about this, we were chided and accused of belonging to
the opposition," she said.

      Banure said Zachary Maphosa, the ZANU PF counsellor in Chirimhanzu,
was fond of accusing anyone who criticised the disbursement of the AIDS
money as being a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC).

      Jefter Mxotshwa, ZNNP+ acting director, confirmed that he had received
"nationwide" complaints concerning the politicisation of money from the AIDS
levy.

      "The district committees are supposed to be giving money for
programmes to the public but ZANU PF committee members are purportedly using
the money for political mileage although we cannot readily justify the
extent of these allegations," Mxotshwa said.

      He said his organisation had contacted the government-appointed
National AIDS Council (NAC) to alert it on his members' concerns about the
way ZANU PF had hijacked the disbursement of the AIDS relief aid.

      "We have already talked to NAC on the issue and they are also finding
it difficult to deal with it because there may be individuals in district
committees with their own personal agendas that are divorced from the
activities of NAC."

      NAC's chief executive officer Everisto Marowa, however, dismissed the
charges of favouritism, saying his council was apolitical and only dealt
with those who needed the kind of assistance it offered.

      "For us, the fund is for those who are deserving according to our
requirements. The council has no label and all is being done to ensure that
this is observed," he said.

      Responding to allegations that most of the intended HIV-positive
people were not getting the funds, Marowa said it was not feasible for
everyone suffering from the disease to get assistance.

      "In many instances, individuals may not get cash but may benefit from
the programmes run by the district AIDS action committees to which the funds
are distributed," he said.

      "For example in the programmes we run, orphans are sent to school and
even if the money is not received by the schools, the children are not sent
away from lessons."

      Although school fees for children whose parents have died of AIDS or
are incapacitated by the disease should be distributed through the Basic
Education Assistance Module (BEAM), many schools complain that the fees are
never paid or are not paid in time.

      One teacher who attended the launch of Voices and Choices, a report
compiled by the Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN) on Monday, said the
DAACs were causing problems for many schools because some of their members
were using their positions to ensure that only relatives and members of
their political party benefited.

      She said schools "were suffering" because other members of the DAACs
used the AIDS money for their own personal needs.

      Some AIDS orphans were also being left out of the BEAM programme
because the committees identified the most needy and would in certain
instances choose only children whose relatives were local political
heavyweights.

      Speaking on condition of anonymity, the teacher said it was the school
administrators who had to foot the bill in the end because they could not
expel those who had not paid the fees because of the problems with the BEAM
programme.

      Anatolia Chamuka, who is HIV-positive, said because of the way the
AIDS levy is being abused, "it is better if taxpayers refuse to contribute"
to it.

      "We do not gain from it and even those who have relatives who are sick
cannot help look after them through this money because of the way it is
being administered," said a visibly angry Chamuka.

      WASN director Barbara Dembedza said her agency was still waiting for
its share of the AIDS levy, although it had fulfilled all the requirements
demanded by NAC.

      The NAC in April disbursed more than $8 million to the Zimbabwe
National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, $500 million to the Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare and $95 million to the district AIDS action
committees throughout the country.

      The money was raised through taxes imposed by the government when the
levy was introduced amid heavy public opposition in 2000.

      It is administered and channelled to end-user anti-AIDS organisations
by NAC.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Tough options for troubled Makoni

      By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
      7/4/02 11:17:26 AM (GMT +2)

      FEW options are open to Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Simba Makoni as
the noose tightens round his neck over his failure to rescue the country
from its worst economic crisis, analysts said this week.
      A two-year-old foreign currency crisis, which started after the
International Monetary Fund suspended crucial economic aid to Zimbabwe in
October 1999, threatens to abruptly cut Makoni's short stint as the country'
s fifth finance minister since independence in 1980.

      A storm is brewing over the alleged failure by Makoni and central
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Leonard Tsumba to steer the economy
back on track and plug the free-fall in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.

      Some ruling ZANU PF politicians are even baying for the blood of the
two men, who they accuse of adopting inappropriate economic policies.

      Analysts this week said Makoni, a strong advocate of the free play of
market forces, was caught between a rock and a hard place, with tough
choices to make between going along with the populist thinking in the
government on key economic matters or taking the more plausible but
unpopular path towards meaningful reform.

      The analysts said Mako-ni had two options - to resign or press on with
economic reforms that could save Zimbabwe's economy from total collapse.

      The Zimbabwe Economics Society (ZES) said one of the solutions to the
foreign currency crisis should be an introduction of restrictive monetary
policy, which would rein in inflation and deflate speculative pressures on
the exchange rate.

      But ZES president Lovemore Kadenge said such an option would be
unpopular at present because the government had benefited from the
expansionary monetary policy it has pursued for the past 17 months.

      The government has deliberately kept interest rates low since January
2001 by flooding the money market with funds as part of efforts to contain
the cost of its domestic debt, estimated at about $300 billion - more than
Zimbabwe's total budget for this fiscal year ending in December 2002.

      "Others in government would therefore not want a shift in monetary
policy because that would mean higher costs of borrowing at a time the
country is looking for money to buy maize and meet other expenditures,"
Kadenge told the Financial Gazette.

      The cash-strapped Zimbabwean authorities require more than US$800
million ($44 billion) to import grain between now and May next year as well
as for other drought relief programmes.

      Another possible option for Makoni would be to drastically reduce the
use of the government's overdraft facility at the central bank, which has
been blamed for fuelling money supply growth and inflation, both of which
are at record high levels of above 100 percent.

      This is however largely seen as not a plausible option due to the
government's bloated recurrent expenditure.

      The analysts noted that like other ministers before him, Makoni had
failed to come up with an effective industrialisation strategy for Zimbabwe
to boost production and improve foreign currency inflows.

      "For a start, he should come up with a package of incentives targeted
at the key export sectors such as tobacco, horticulture, tourism and
manufacturing," said an economist with a Harare commercial bank.

      "Right now the country's biggest export crop tobacco is under threat
at a time there are serious foreign currency problems, while another
cash-cow, horticulture, has been allowed to die due to the problems that
beset agriculture two years ago," the economist said.

      Zimbabwe's key agricultural sector has been in continuous turmoil
since February 2000 when President Robert Mugabe sanctioned the occupation
of white-owned commercial farms by his supporters to punish the owners for
ostensibly supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      Nearly 4 000 farms - or 90 percent of all fertile land in the
country - have been taken over by the government in the past two years for
the resettlement of Mugabe's supporters and other landless peasants.

      The emerging cracks over the alleged mismanagement of the economy have
also brought to the fore the lack of independence of the RBZ.

      "If the RBZ was truly independent, they would change the current
monetary policy which has promoted speculative behaviour among people who
have been borrowing money at low interest rates and using that to buy
foreign currency on the parallel market," Kadenge said.

      Under Africa's new economic rescue package NEPAD, central bank
governors of the African Union will be fully independent of their
governments.

      University of Zimbabwe business lecturer Tony Hawkins said Makoni and
Tsumba should shoulder the blame for the economic decay for failing to stick
to their policies and ensure that they are implemented.

      "They have failed to deliver on what the economy wants," Hawkins said.

      The analysts spoke as pressure mounted on Makoni to act on bureaux de
change and financial institutions accused of fuelling the parallel hard cash
market by trading at rates above the official rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars
against one American greenback.

      The Cabinet Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs, chaired by
Mugabe, last week also threw out proposals by Makoni and Tsumba to devalue
the Zimbabwe dollar.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      War vets seek audience with Mugabe

      Staff Reporter
      7/4/02 11:16:45 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S militant war veterans have demanded an audience with
President Robert Mugabe to complain over the allocation of farms to the
independence war fighters under the government's land resettlement plan and
their welfare.

      The meeting is scheduled for Saturday but the President's Office is
yet to confirm the appointment.

      Andy Mhlanga, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans' Association, confirmed that a delegation from his
association was scheduled to meet Mugabe this week but declined to reveal
what they would discuss.

      But sources said the veterans would tell Mugabe they were unhappy with
the allocation of land given to them by the government.

      Most were dismayed that fertile farms being seized by the government
from commercial farmers were being parcelled out to senior ruling ZANU PF
officials while the veterans were being relegated to what one said was
"barren tracts of land".

      The veterans also want to complain about what they say is the failure
of the government to provide them with farm inputs so they can start winter
cropping.

      Top ZANU PF politicians, including Cabinet ministers, have grabbed
fertile farms formerly owned by white farmers in most provinces country
wide.

      Mugabe promised to give the veterans 20 percent of all land that is
acquired by the government under its controversial fast-track reforms, which
the President says must be completed by August.

      The veterans want to voice their concern in the manner in which the
State is evicting some of their members from farms they have occupied with
encouragement from the government. Most of these veterans had already built
homes on these farms.

      They will also question the conduct of Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, who has been leading the evictions. Some veterans want
Chombo sacked or at least removed from overseeing the land resettlement
programme.

      The veterans are also unhappy with the conduct of provincial governors
who they say are inexplicably de-listing farms or evicting veterans from
farms which are later taken over by ZANU PF officials.

      They want their monthly pensions paid by the government to be
increased by 150 percent, from $7 890 to $20 000, the school fees allowance
hiked from $20 000 per term per child to $35 000 and a special
state-subsidised medical aid scheme set up for them and their dependants.

      In 1997 the veterans forced Mugabe to pay out more than $4 billion in
unbudgeted expenditure after staging a series of violent protests against
what they said was the government's neglect of their welfare.

      Each veteran was subsequently paid a once-off gratuity of $50 000 in a
move which triggered Zimbabwe's present economic meltdown.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

      The mother of all disasters is human irresponsibility

      7/3/02 8:44:12 AM (GMT +2)



      AFTER those two horrific road disasters that cost 48 human lives,
everyone wants to know: Who is to blame? Who is responsible? What caused the
accident?

      Was it bad driving? Human error? Was it the bad state of our narrow
roads? Once you ask such questions you are right into budgetary politics:
What do we spend our money on? What are our priorities? Who makes these
decisions? I remember a bus driver telling me that he was forced by his
employer to drive extremely long hours, all day and most of the night, for
days on end so that he suffered from chronic fatigue while on the road.
Exactly four weeks later he died, together with 25 passengers, in a head-on
collision. I felt his employer was more to blame than that driver.

      Similarly, certain people sitting in faraway Harare offices deciding
on our budget, including on how much to spend on road construction and
repair, may have a greater responsibility for such fatal accidents than the
men who died driving the vehicles involved. Zimbabwe is facing famine and
starvation. Not for the first time.

      Drought is a regular occurrence. It does not hit us like lightning out
of a blue sky. It is foreseeable and predictable, at least in the sense that
sooner or later there will be a drought year again. Therefore, you have to
be prepared for it. The grain silos must keep an adequate reserve at all
times.

      The State is duty-bound to ensure food security. No one else can do
this. Like healthcare, education, communication and transport, the basic
food requirements of the nation will not be provided for by the famous
"market forces" as if by magic. Making sure there are enough basic food
supplies is too big a job to leave to private firms.

      Government must play a role here and take control for the common good.
      Not government alone though. Whoever has the technical, managerial and
business expertise to produce food must be encouraged by paying prices that
make the risk of farming worthwhile.

      But this class of people, instead of adding to their number from the
population as a whole, is now systematically being destroyed. Does not
genuine land reform need such expertise? Those responsible blithely
guaranteed food security at a time when the experts warned them that there
would be a severe shortfall.

      Do they resign now that they have been proven so disastrously wrong?
      It does not seem to be part of our political culture to accept
responsibility for failure.

      It has been said that the popular vote, democratic government, human
rights, good governance, accountability and transparency are abstract
concepts ordinary people are not interested in. All that is mere theory only
middle class intellectuals are interested in, they say.

      Urban workers and rural peasants who have their feet on the ground don
't want to hear about it. "You can't eat human rights," they are supposed to
be saying. "You don't feed children with something called 'democracy'."

      The present crisis teaches us that such talk is dangerous and
irresponsible. It is precisely bad governance that has got us into the
present fix from which we expect the rest of the world to rescue us.

      Bad governance consists precisely in government no longer listening to
the people that put them into power, and out of arrogance no longer
answering their questions. Good governance consists in leaders being
answerable, which means the same as responding to, or being responsible to,
the true sovereign, ie the voting public.

      Why are the grain silos empty in a country that used to be known as
the "bread basket of the southern African region"? Is it merely due to a
"natural disaster"? But then why did the people in charge not have
sufficient foresight to keep those silos full? The citizens certainly have
the right to ask such questions in a free media which is vitally important
precisely when we do not want to send our children to bed hungry. You cannot
eat democracy, true. But you cannot eat without democracy, either. A natural
disaster is called in English an "act of God". That is a fine way of evading
our own human responsibility.

      We blame God when it was our job to forestall, if not the disaster,
then at least its destructive effects.

      People ask: Why did God allow those young people from Masvingo to
perish in a ball of fire? They should also ask: What did we, and the leaders
who claim popular support and responsibility, do to prevent it?

      We were given intelligence and foresight for a purpose. There is a
contradiction in our society. People want to be free agents. But if you tell
them, "Since it was your free decision to do this, you must be held
responsible," they turn round and say: "No, I was under duress, I could not
help it, it was not my fault." You are enslaved to the ones you blame. You
admit they still have control over you.

      How can you claim freedom, yet never accept responsibility? Is it not
time to grow up? Children do not have to have answer for themselves in a
court of justice. But as an adult you have to. People want justice. Why do
we have to suffer? The question will not go away. Will someone answer?

      Will someone respond, accept responsibility? That is the reverse side
of that precious coin called "freedom". Leaders who claim to rule in the
name of the people should be glad to be accountable to them. Why would they
be afraid of them? Why should they have to gag them?

      There will be justice. There will be a judge and judgment. That judge
will not want to know what we think the sins of the British are (he knows
them anyway). He will want to know what we have to say for ourselves - what
"we did to the least of his brothers and sisters".

      No more fooling and silly word games. The truth must come out. Only if
we answer in truth can we hope for a lenient judgment. There will be
justice. So we must insist on it and keep asking questions until leaders
answer for their actions or non-action.

      Disasters do happen.

      But the mother of all disasters is human irresponsibility.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Mbeki fears Mugabe, says SA opposition leader Leon

      7/3/02 1:13:49 PM (GMT +2)


      By Lloyd Mudiwa

      Tony Leon, South Africa's opposition leader, says President Thabo
Mbeki was failing to act against President Mugabe because he is overwhelmed
by his reputation.



      Leon, the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), said in Harare
yesterday: "Mbeki fears his Zimbabwean counterpart and has not been able to
take any meaningful steps in denouncing lawlessness and human rights abuses
by him.

      "Mugabe plays the role of being the senior man and Mbeki the junior. I
think Mbeki fears Mugabe because he is the veteran leader in the region.

      He fought a long struggle in the trenches and has credentials which
make Mbeki feel very nervous about criticising him."

      Leon attacked Mbeki's policy of criticising human rights violations in
the Middle East where South Africa has no influence, while keeping quiet
about abuses in neighbouringZimbabwe.

      Accusing Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, of "spreadingfalsehoods", Leon denied he was in Zimbabwe to
"light fires".

      He blamed Zimbabwe's economic meltdown on the unfavourable policies
being pursued by Mugabe's government.

      Leon denied South Africa was imposing unofficial sanctions on Zimbabwe
to put pressure on Mugabe's government to restore the rule of law.

      He said: "Mugabe is tightening the screws on himself. The only thing
tightening screws on Mugabe is his policies.

      "People want to trade with and invest in Zimbabwe, but because of the
political situation, the devaluing dollar and what is happening on the
parallel market, they cannot do so." South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest
trading partner.

      Leon arrived on Sunday night to assess the situation in the country.
He was accompanied by Dan Malakele, the party's vice-chairman and an MP, and
DA MPs Nick Clelland-Stokes and Andries Botha.

      They met farmers, farm workers and human rights organisations before
leaving yesterday.

      Leon, commenting on the intended mass action by the MDC, warned
Zimbabwe could slide into a civil war if tensions between Zanu PF and the
opposition party were not eased.

      He said: "If constitutional means to change bad governance do not work
people look for unconstitutional means. The new South Africa came about as a
result of mass action."

      But he refused to say whether the MDC's intended mass action was worth
pursuing. "I cannot comment on the MDC's policies," Leon said.

      "It's not even my business to comment on Mugabe's policies, except
that they are negatively affecting South Africa and the region as a whole."

      He said Zimbabwe's criticism of the New Economic Partnership for
African Development (Nepad), on the grounds that it was a vehicle for the
re-colonisation of Africa showed a lack of trust in South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki.

      "That is a deeply unhelpful remark and shows a complete lack of faith
in what Mbeki is trying to do. He has put both his regional and
international reputation on the line over Nepad."

      He said for Nepad to work, there was need for sound economic policies
and human rights to be observed throughout the continent. Zimbabwe's
negative policies were bound to affect Nepad's success, he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Byo runs out of fuel

      Staff Reporter
      7/4/02 11:10:50 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Several pump stations in Bulawayo ran out of fuel yesterday
after motorists, panicking because of widespread speculation of an impending
fuel shortage in the city, bought large quantities of fuel.

      At several pump stations visited by the Financial Gazette, long queues
of cars waited to be filled in as panic gripped Zimbabwe's second city.

      The long queues could be seen at Amtec Motors along Robert Mugabe Way,
at Bulawayo Service Station along Main Street and at the Belmont Service
Station near Belmont industrial area.

      Some pump stations were already displaying "No Fuel" signs after
motorists had bought all their stocks of diesel and petrol.

      The resort town of Victoria Falls was also reportedly running out of
fuel, according to pump owners there.

      Webster Muri-ritirwa, chief executive of the state fuel procurement
company National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, could not be immediately reached
for comment.

      But motorists and pump station employees in Bulawayo were adamant that
the city would have a critical fuel shortage.

      Others suggested there could be a price increase in fuel.

      "The depot is dry. Petrol is finished but we have diesel and people
are queueing up for it.

      "I think we have another fuel crisis just around the corner," said one
worker at a BP and Shell Marketing depot in the city.

      Pump station owner Sam Ncube said: "I have been told by officials from
some distributors that this is temporary but I don't think so because the
queues are getting longer every day."

      Zimbabwe has been having on and off fuel shortages since 1999 because
of foreign currency shortages caused by slumping exports and a cut-off of
aid by international financial bodies and the West angered by the government
's policies.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Plot to oust Makoni thickens

      By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
      7/4/02 11:06:08 AM (GMT +2)

      A PLOT to oust Finance Minister Simba Makoni and Reserve Bank governor
Leonard Tsumba from their positions thickened this week when cracks emerged
in the ruling ZANU PF over implementation of fiscal and monetary policies to
prop up the tottering economy.
      Official sources said a faction within ZANU PF was feverishly
campaigning for the dismissal of Makoni and Tsumba from their positions.

      The faction is accusing the two men of failing to come up with
credible measures to stem a crippling foreign currency crisis, which has
gripped Zimbabwe since November 1999 and threatens the entire economy with
total collapse.

      Top business leaders with links with senior ZANU PF politicians are
also involved in the behind-the-scenes campaign, which gathered momentum in
the past week when President Robert Mugabe shot down proposals from Makoni
and Tsumba to ease the hard cash crisis through the devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar.

      The Cabinet Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs, chaired by
Mugabe, unceremoniously threw out the Makoni-Tsumba proposals to devalue and
introduce a dual exchange rate at a meeting held in Harare last week.

      Both Makoni and Tsumba had suggested the introduction of an official
exchange rate based on inflation differentials between Zimbabwe and its
trading partners and the commerial rate which would be based on prevailing
macro-economic fundamentals.

      Philip Chiyangwa, ZANU PF's legislator for Chinhoyi and head of
Parliament's Committee on Empowerment, swung into action immediately after
news of Mugabe's veto on the Makoni-Tsumba proposals.

      He blasted what he branded as non-performing officials at the finance
ministry and the central bank and urged that these be fired, exposing the
grand scheme set in motion to relieve Tsumba and Makoni of their official
posts.

      Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who has become one of the most
influential politicians because of his close ties with Mugabe, is also
against any devaluation, saying it would exacerbate Zimbabwe's record high
inflation of 122.5 percent.

      The Politburo, ZANU PF's supreme policy organ, similarly rejected the
devaluation proposals at the weekend.

      "There is a behind-the-scenes campaign to get Makoni and Tsumba
replaced," a senior Cabinet minister told the Financial Gazette this week.

      "This is because of their failure to stem the slide of the dollar, the
foreign currency crisis and their overall stewardship of the economy," the
minister said, preferring not to be named.

      "The bottom line is that there is no consensus between the politicians
and the beaurocrats in the party on how to deal with the foreign currency
issue and the economy," the minister added.

      The group chief executive officer of the financial group Finhold,
Elisha Mushayakarara, a finance ministry permanent secretary for 18 years,
is tipped to take over the reins at the Ministry of Finance.

      The sources said efforts by Makoni and Tsumba to deal with the hard
cash shortages and the thriving parallel market had been undermined by
senior politicians in ZANU PF who are themselves allegedly involved in
illegal foreign currency dealings.

      Two provincial governors own a chain of bureaux de change in Harare
and Bulawayo while some ministers have employed staff to mobilise foreign
currency on the parallel market from tourists at major resort centres
countrywide.

      The National Economic Conduct inspectorate is already investigating
the practice amid calls by the state media for the shutting down of the
bureaux de change.

      Foreign currency for government trips is also now being secured from
the parallel market because of biting shortages on the official market.

      Makoni has made clear that the Zimbabwe dollar is highly overvalued
and that Zimbabwe should normalise its tense ties with international
financial bodies such as the International Monetary Fund so as to give the
local economy emergency balance-of-payments support.

      Mugabe has rejected this, saying Zimbabwe must pursue a home-grown
economic revival led by his controversial agrarian reforms.

      Makoni has also publicly called for a return of "sanity" to Zimbabwe's
troubled commercial farming sector, where thousands of ZANU PF militants,
many armed, hold sway with Mugabe's open approval.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Stop harassing private media, Mugabe told

      7/3/02 1:26:38 PM (GMT +2)



      HARARE - An international media rights group on Monday called on
President Mugabe's government to stop harassing the private media, saying it
was threatening the future of independent journalism in Zimbabwe.



      In a statement, Article 19 said the government must drop charges
against more than a dozen journalists arrested in the last four months for
reporting "falsehoods" or for defamation.

      The London-based organisation also called on the government to repeal
new laws requiring media houses and journalists to register with a
state-appointed media commission, stipulating heavy fines and two-year jail
terms for "unethical journalism".

      "Together with existing repressive laws and continuing incidents of
harassment of the independent media, this has led to a climate in which it
is becoming increasingly difficult for independent journalists to operate in
Zimbabwe," it said.

      "Article 19 calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to drop immediately
all charges currently pending against journalists ...and to stop using
repressive legislative provisions to harass independent journalists."

      The group said the government was using the laws selectively against
the private media, noting that no journalist from Zimbabwe's state-owned
press had been arrested.

      The Zimbabwe government argues that its new laws are not designed to
suppress press freedom but to instil "ethical behaviour" in a sector it says
is being used by its Western enemies to wage a hate and propaganda campaign
against Mugabe.

      Eleven journalists have been arrested on charges of "publishing
falsehoods". They include Andrew Meldrum, the Zimbabwe correspondent for
Britain's Guardian newspaper, who went on trial last month, accused of
publishing a false story alleging that Mugabe's supporters beheaded a woman
while her two children watched.

      The government says that story was part of a Western-backed campaign
to damage Mugabe's image since his re-election in March and to advance the
interests of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he was robbed of victory by
Mugabe. - Reuter
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Sections of media Act unconstitutional: report

      7/3/02 1:19:34 PM (GMT +2)


      By Pedzisayi Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      SEVERAL sections of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act have been criticised as unconstitutional, repressive and too
highly unreasonable to be accepted in a democratic society.



      The observations are contained in an audit of the Act, produced by
Tawanda Hondora, a legal consultant, at the request of the Media Institute
of Southern Africa (Misa)'s Zimbabwe chapter.

      The report, released at the weekend in Kariba during a two-day seminar
to launch a Media Defence Fund, said Section 40 should be repealed.

      Under the section, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity
in the President's Office, Professor Jonathan Moyo, is empowered to appoint
a Media and Information Commission.

      Dr Tafataona Mahoso, the head of the Division of Mass Communication at
the Harare Polytechnic was recently appointed its chairman.

      Hondora said: "This section should be repealed and the commission
should be appointed without any ministerial and government interference."

      Misa suggested that appointments should be made by Parliament because
the commission is a representative of all political parties, or by a select
committee of the House.

      It noted that the commission should appoint its own chair and deputy
chairpersons as well as establish its own rules of procedures.

      The report described as unconstitutional the decision to give the
commission judicial and disciplinary powers, saying the courts to date have
successfully protected individuals from media excesses.

      Misa criticised the mandatory accreditation of journalists under
Section 79. The accreditation is undertaken by the commission.

      "Both in theory and practice, the commission is a politically partisan
body. It is unlikely, therefore, that the commission will accredit
journalists that are considered to be critical of the government.

      "The mere possibility of interference is sufficient to render the
commission and its activities unconstitutional," the report noted.

      Hondora said that Section 80 which establishes offences which will be
deemed to be an abuse of journalistic privilege was wholly unconstitutional.
In terms of this section it is criminal to publish falsehoods.

      "The criminalising of the failure to report accurately places an
unreasonable hindrance of freedom of expression as guaranteed by the
Constitution," Hondora said.

      Over the past six months, several journalists, mainly from the private
media, have been arrested for allegedly violating Section 80. The cases are
still pending in the courts.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      War veterans threaten school head for accepting donation from MDC MPs

      7/3/02 1:18:05 PM (GMT +2)


      From Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

      The headmaster of Mdubiwa Secondary School in Lower Gweru has been
threatened with unspecified action by war veterans after he allegedly
accepted a donation of $200 000 worth of building material from MDC MPs.



      A group of suspected war veterans and Zanu PF supporters allegedly
besieged the school last Saturday after they got wind of the donation and
threatened the headmaster.

      The donations were presented last month by Renson Gasela (MP Gweru
Rural), and Welshman Ncube (MP Bulawayo North).

      "The group threatened some unspecified action and later dispersed
after failing to locate the headmaster," said a source, who declined to be
named for fear of victimisation.

      The donation followed an urgent appeal for cash by the school
development committee after health officials closed the school on 7 May
citing inadequate sanitary facilities.

      Gasela said in Gweru yesterday: "The appeal was open to everyone, so
as MP for the area, I raised funds and with the help of Ncube donated 40
bags of cement and other building material to Mdubiwa Secondary School."

      Both Gasela and Ncube are residents of Lower Gweru. The headmaster,
who identified himself only as P C Juru, confirmed yesterday his school had
been closed, but declined to comment about the donation from the MPs.

      "We are still in a very desperate situation because we need to raise
$1 million to construct new toilets, provide clean water and refurbish the
classrooms," he said.

      Juru declined to comment on the alleged visit to the school by Zanu PF
supporters, referring all questions to the regional office in Gweru.

      Isaac Tanyanyiwa, the regional director for education in the Midlands,
could not be reached for comment.

      Gasela described the threats as unfortunate. "Did the ruling party
supporters want the school to remain closed? Instead of threatening and
victimising the headmaster, they should instead complement our efforts," he
said.

      Parents at the school have moulded about 70 000 bricks towards the
construction of new toilet facilities.

      Officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare descended on
Maboleni and Matshaya primary schools last month and ordered them to close.

      But the schools defied the order and remained open. In a related
development, Gweru businessman and former mayor Patrick Kombayi, last week
donated $50 000 to Mudavanhu School for Mentally Handicapped Children.

      The school, administered by Zimcare Trust, has been grossly
underfunded over the last three years and relies on generous donations for
its upkeep.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      MDC unanimous in decision to shun parly

      Staff Reporter
      7/4/02 11:08:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE opposition MDC's executive has concurred with a decision taken by
its MPs to virtually boycott Parliament because they accuse it of
rubber-stamping repressive government legislation, it was learnt this week.

      Party insiders said this week the legislators, who met MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai last week, had decided to attend a few sittings of
Parliament a week and devote their energies on fighting the government
outside the House.

      The party had also decided to boycott all sessions and functions
presided over by President Robert Mugabe, who the MDC accuses of stealing
the March presidential ballot. The party is challenging Mugabe's win in the
courts.

      Last week's meeting in Harare approved a resolution which said
Parliament was being used to bless repressive laws being made by Mugabe's
ZANU PF and said there was no need for MDC legislators to continue
participating in its business.

      The insiders said the meeting especially noted that ZANU PF had used
its majority in the House to pass controversial laws such as the Public
Order Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act to stifle democracy.

      It is understood that all MDC legislators and members of the party's
executive will meet shortly to formally endorse last week's decisions.

      The insiders said the opposition party's MPs will now be attending
Parliament once or twice a month when the House is sitting only to re-affirm
the MDC's position as the official opposition.

      Political analysts note that the MDC is obviously aware that its MPs
could lose their seats were they to miss 21 consecutive sittings of
Parliament, hence the token attendance.

      The MPs will devote their time galvanising MDC structures to prepare
for sustained mass action to force a re-run of the disputed presidential
ballot.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Bakers want 30% bread price hike


      7/4/02 11:06:44 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S bakers are seeking permission from the government to raise
the controlled price of bread by at least 30 percent, it was learnt
yesterday, as it emerged that the country could run out of available wheat
stocks by September this year.

      The National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) yesterday said it
had applied to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade for an
immediate upward review of the price of bread by about 30 percent.

      NBAZ chairman Armitage Chikwavira said his association had also
requested another meeting with Industry Ministry permanent secretary Stuart
Comberbach and his agriculture counterpart Ngoni Masoka over pleas by the
bakers to have an additional 50 000 tonnes of wheat imported urgently to
avert serious bread shortages.

      "We have submitted a paper to the government requesting a 30 percent
increase in the price of bread," Chikwavira told the Financial Gazette.

      The request, if granted, would raise the price of a standard loaf of
bread to about $78 from the present $60, which has been in effect since
April.

      "We have also submitted a paper to the government making a request for
an urgent meeting on our proposal for the importation of 50 000 tonnes of
wheat," Chikwavira said.

      No comment was available from Industry and International Trade
Minister Herbert Murerwa or the ministry's acting permanent secretary Ethel
Hlabangana. Comberbach is out of Zimbabwe.

      The bakers warned that Zimbabwe could run out of wheat by September
because supplies were dwindling fast.

      Harare baker Eddie Cross said available wheat stocks would last two
months after which the country would run dry unless additional wheat was
urgently imported before then.

      Zimbabwe consumes 400 000 tonnes of wheat annually although only 150
000 tonnes of the commodity are expected to be produced this winter season,
down from about 360 000 tonnes in 2001.

      Many commercial farmers could not plant the crop after being ordered
by the government to stop farming under its controversial Land Acquisition
Act.

      "Bakers have therefore decided to cut bread production but maintain
production of confectionary (such as buns)," Cross said.

      He said bread production had been slashed by between 50 and 70 percent
due to the shortage of wheat.

      Another baker based in Gweru, David Gweva, said if the state-owned GMB
was not rationing the wheat, the country would have required between 125 000
and 150 000 tonnes of the commodity until the next harvest in October.

      The country now requires between 50 000 and 60 000 tonnes of wheat
until the next harvest due to the GMB's rationing, although the bakers are
operating below capacity.

      "We will therefore continue to experience periods when there will be
insufficient supplies of bread, especially during the weekends when millers
are closed," Gweva said.

      The GMB last month reduced its supplies to millers amid allegations
flour producers were hoarding the commodity to create an artificial shortage
of bread to cause civil strife.

      Supplies to millers were slashed from 7 200 tonnes a week to about 4
000 tonnes as President Robert Mugabe cracked down on alleged economic
"saboteurs" bent on trying to oust him from power.

      Meanwhile, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
yesterday blamed the government for fuelling shortages of basic goods
through half-baked economic policies.

      In a statement, MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe dismissed allegations
of economic sabotage levelled against his party and the private sector by
the government, saying the current shortages of cooking oil, sugar, salt,
bread and cigarettes were a result of Mugabe's disruptive land reforms.

      "Against this background, the regime and its bandwagon of
spokespersons does not see anything wrong with its policies and blames
everyone except itself for the failure of its policies," Jongwe said.

      More than 3 900 white-owned commercial farms have been compulsorily
acquired by Mugabe since he embarked on the land reforms in 2000.

      - Staff Reporters
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Feature

      Coalition on Conflict Management promoting peace, tolerance

      7/3/02 2:06:10 PM (GMT +2)


      By Simba Chabarika Deputy Features Editor

      FARM workers constitute a large percentage of the Zimbabwean labour
force, but despite their contribution to the economy, they remain one of the
most marginalised groups in society.



      They do not have adequate educational facilities for their children,
or adequate pension plans and with the fast-track land resettlement
programme in progress, they are now faced with the problem of displacement.

      Some have been killed, assaulted and harassed during the mayhem of
farm invasions. Others chose to stand by their former white employers when
it came to eviction, lending weight to the age-old adage: "Better the devil
you know."

      The June 2000 parliamentary and the March 2002 presidential elections
have left many victims of conflict in their wake. Lack of tolerance was
glaringly apparent as people with divergent views were brutalised during the
election campaign.

      Somebody once said: "The mark of a first class mind is the ability to
hold two contradictory opinions at the same time."

      But this is a tall order. Who then can engender the spirit of
forbearance and promote peace among the people of one nation who are divided
along political or religious lines?

      An organisation tucked away in the tranquil suburb of Milton Park,
probably has the answer. It is called the Coalition on Conflict Management
and is tasked with an almost impossible responsibility - managing conflict.

      Its location in Milton Park is in sharp contrast with its mandate.
Outside its premises, there is no sign of its presence and the work it is
engaged in.

      Moreover, the atmosphere in this residential property-turned-office,
is so sedate it is ironic to talk about conflict.

      The Coalition on Conflict Management is the umbrella body of
non-governmental organisations involved in different activities but whose
work sometimes involves conflict in the communities they operate in.

      Stembile Mpofu is the co-ordinator of the alliance. She says: "The
Coalition on Conflict Management is an initiative which originated in the
context of the challenges that face Zimbabwe today. It is composed of about
30 organisations and is a national and collective process founded on the
principle of non-violence."

      Mpofu says the body has taken up the challenge of cultivating a
culture of non-violence so that disagreements can be resolved without
violence.

      The group believes that eventually, this will lead to an improved
resolution of most conflict situations in the country.

      Founded in April 2000 soon after the first farm invasions, the
coalition quickly realised that there would be no development if peace did
not prevail.

      "Development without Peace is not Sustainable" and "It has become
apparent that there is an indisputable link between peace and development,"
are some of the headlines in the association's brochure.

      The amalgamation did not have a secretariat until one was established
last February.

      Mpofu says many organisations are faced with head-to-head situations
and their challenge is to resolve them during their normal development work
in urban and rural areas.

      "These social development issues are mostly found in informal
settlements created by the haphazard land reform programme. More often than
not, the staff of these organisations are not equipped with skills to deal
with these problems."

      The coalition provides its member-organisations with training in
communication management, reconciliation, rehabilitation and trauma
counselling together with human rights training.

      Target areas of training so far have been the youth, women and farm
workers and people living in informal settlements like Hatcliffe, Porta Farm
and Dzivaresekwa.

      Two workshops to empower farm workers lobbying for an improved life
have been held to date.

      "We have managed to train a small number of farm workers' leaders and
with the secretariat now in place, we are putting together project proposals
so that we can get some funding for the training of more farm workers and
other target groups," Mpofu says.

      "The purpose of these workshops is to enable farm workers to acquire
leadership techniques, communication, advocacy and lobbying skills.

      The training is specifically geared towards the meetings to be held by
farm workers and two parliamentary portfolios of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement and Labour and Social Welfare."

      The skills learnt will enable farm workers to articulate their
grievances and present them to the relevant authorities.

      The General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe and
the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe are responsible for selecting the
participants.

      The remarkable calming down of the political situation in the country
must lead to the prevalence of a peaceful environment, Mpofu says
optimistically.

      "This will give us access to rural areas and commercial farms where
our members couldn't go because of the violence that dominated the
pre-election period."

      She urges journalists not to antagonise and aggravate already bad
situations by biased reporting.

      "The media is very important in conflict situations. It is very
powerful and can influence attitudes in so many different ways," says Mpofu.

      One of the member-organisations of the coalition - the Non-Violent
Action and Strategies for Social Change (NOVASC), shares the same premises
with the secretariat.

      NOVASC is an organisation that seeks to promote dialogue, mediation
and negotiation as means of reaching constructive solutions to conflicts and
disputes.

      It works to prevent violence and dehumanising, intolerant and
disrespectful behaviour during the processes of change, making it one of the
foremost organisations that deal directly with conflict resolution.

      NOVASC carries out its mandate through training activities and
interventions in specific situations and its vision of social change is
spearheaded through a process led by organisations representing people who
are marginalised, such as the poor, excluded, mistreated and alienated.

      It strengthens such organisations and inculcates the specific skills
it espouses into their strategies.

      "It is clear to us all that we are at present living in a rapidly
changing society, in which the old methods and ways of thinking are being
challenged, questioned and found wanting.

      In many instances, violence has been the means used to carry forward
the demands for justice and change, or on the other hand - to suppress
change and keep existing structures in place," says NOVASC.

      The organisation is also committed to promoting a culture of "do no
harm" and non-violence, preparing people to understand the nature of
conflicts and to have skills to transform them into constructive, peaceful
and just outcomes.

      Among NOVASC's main objectives are the creation of a national network
of mediators drawn from relevant sectors of the society and to share
experiences, dilemmas of dealing with conflicts, disputes, negotiations,
deadlocks and the use of violence, so as to contribute to a national process
of dialogue towards tolerance and lasting peace.

      The task ahead seems insurmountable but he Coalition on Conflict
Management is determined to make a change in the healing process through its
various arms borne by the organisations it represents.

      Will Zimbabweans ever be able to live in peace with each other by
moving away from the violent, confrontational and intolerant attitudes that
have prevailed during the past couple of years?

      The Coalition on Conflict Management has taken the lead and needs all
possible support to help restore sanity to society.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Zimra sets up hotline to curb corruption at Beitbridge

      7/3/02 1:52:50 PM (GMT +2)


      Business Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has set up an anti-corruption
hotline at the Beitbridge border post, for members of the public to report
cases of corruption amongst Customs officials.



      The State is believed to be losing billions of dollars in revenue
annually as a result of corrupt practices by customs officials.

      That resulted in Gershem Pasi, the Zimra Commissioner-General
instituting a rotating system for the authority's staff. No Zimra staff
members are going to be permanently based at any border post as Zimra tries
to prevent its staff from getting used to members of the public frequenting
specific border posts.

      The Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), a local anti-corruption
organisation said the establishment of the hotline by the Zimra was long
overdue.

      "It is pertinent that corruption at Customs be curbed urgently,
because the country is being prejudiced of valuable resources that can be
put to better use," said Andrew Nongogo, TIZ executive director.

      "This is important in the context of the country's current economic
problems, which create tempting conditions for officials to engage in
corrupt activities.

      "We strongly encourage Zimra to establish hotlines at all Customs
points to deal with potential or suspected cases of corruption.

      The hotline numbers must be well publicised for all members of the
public to participate, and TIZ is prepared to support similar initiatives in
other government departments, to assist the public to fight corruption in
the public sector."

      However, Nongogo said the hotline was going to achieve a lot if there
is money and protection for those who would have reported cases of
corruption by Customs officials.

      "The establishment of the above-mentioned hotline falls in line with
TIZ's advocacy for the establishment of a Whistleblower's Fund, which will
encourage members of the public to report cases of corruption as they
 occur," said Nongogo.

      Last year, Simbarashe Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development in the 2002 Budget statement said whistleblowers would be
rewarded.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Outgoing Canadian envoy laments economic decline

      7/3/02 1:24:53 PM (GMT +2)


      By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

      THE outgoing Canadian High Commissioner James Wall, on Sunday said he
was sad to leave the country at the end of his term without having promoted
trade, economic and commercial links with Zimbabwe due to unfolding events
here.



      Speaking at a reception to mark his country's national day, Wall said:
"Although it was a busy year, I must confess that I did not do some things I
wished. As High Commissioner I would have liked to have had ministers of my
government visiting Zimbabwe to foster trade and economic and commercial
ties.

      "I would have liked to see ever increasing numbers of Canadian
tourists visiting this beautiful country. That did not prove possible."

      The Zimbabwe government, as usual, did not respond to Wall's speech as
there were no ministers in attendance. The country's national anthem was
played instead.

      Wall said Zimbabwe's economy had shrunk by about 20 percent since he
arrived in the country three years ago and the "well-known events on
commercial farms associated with the elections in 2000 and 2002 have served
to dampen the investment and tourism that embassies normally try to foster".

      He said instead of nurturing these links, Canadian officials,
including senior ministers and the prime minister, had spent most of their
time trying to understand and respond to the situation in Zimbabwe.

      "They have done so in the spirit that has dominated our relations with
Zimbabwe since independence and they have done so on the basis of the spirit
that has characterised our relations with Zimbabwe since independence, while
asserting the common values articulated in the Harare Declaration that are
supposed to knit the Commonwealth together," said Wall.

      Zimbabwe has been torn by strife for the past two years following the
violent invasion of farms by so-called war veterans and Zanu PF supporters
as President Mugabe sought to consolidate his stranglehold on power.

      The violent farm seizures and persecution of the opposition and the
independent media has led to the drastic reduction of tourists coming to
Zimbabwe and the number of foreign investors.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Sadc NGOs slam Zimbabwe for bad governance

      7/3/02 1:21:54 PM (GMT +2)


      By Sandra Nyaira Political Editor

      NON-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) have lambasted the Zimbabwe government for
failing to adhere to basic good governance principles.



      The NGO council, meeting in South Africa over the weekend, called for
a constitutional review in Zimbabwe to ensure good governance.

      The council is the umbrella body of NGOs in southern Africa. At the
end of their two-day meeting in Johannesburg, the council committed itself
to engaging with "regimes" such as Robert Mugabe's government that still
ignore the will of the people.

      With Africa in the spotlight this week after the G8 summit in Canada,
the council was critical of Zimbabwe, seen by many as providing the litmus
test for the New Plan for Africa's Development (Nepad).

      The government has largely been blamed for human rights violations,
starting in the run-up to the June 2000 parliamentary election up to the
March 2002 presidential election, condemned by many international observers
as neither free nor fair.

      Most of the developed world has refused to acknowledge as legitimate
Mugabe's controversial re-election in March.

      The council expressed concern over events in Swaziland, Malawi and
Namibia, criticised for their lack of freedom of expression and attempts by
their leaders to entrench their power by changing the constitution.

      Malawi's Bakili Muluzi, once commended for taking Mugabe to task over
his iron-fisted rule in trying to maintain his stranglehold on power, is now
seeking to amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term as
president.

      The Sadc NGO council said most of the problems plaguing the continent,
among them poverty, famine, HIV/Aids and human rights violations, were
worsened by weak or corrupt leadership.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      PTUZ calls for the trial of alleged killers of teachers

      7/3/02 1:15:52 PM (GMT +2)


      Staff Reporter

      THE Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says it is suing
the people suspected to have raped and murdered teachers during the past two
years.



      Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ secretary-general, on Tuesday told a Press
conference in Harare that they were consulting the families of the deceased
teachers and other political victims from the time of the June 2000
parliamentary election up to the presidential poll in March this year.

      Majongwe said: "At the moment we have two cases of murdered teachers
that we have brought before the magistrates' courts.

      "The murderers and rapists are known Zanu PF activists. As PTUZ, we
are saying those who stand accused of the murders and rape cases should be
brought before the courts, tried and convicted."

Back to the Top
Back to Index