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

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Zim Indep
Eric Bloch
Friday, 5 July 2002

Paranoid dementia accelerates decline

THIS column has previously addressed the very extensive, negative impact of government paranoia on the economy. However, recent events demonstrate that that paranoia has intensified and those in authority in Zimbabwe (or, in any event, a majority of them) are now suffering from manic paranoia in extremis.

Compounding the appalling symptoms associated with that severe mental condition is that many who are afflicted by it also suffer from pronounced delusions indicative of dementia and an inability to distinguish between reality and the imaginary, invariably alleging that the latter is actually the former. Regrettably, these mental ailments are also selectively contagious, for almost all in the employ of the state-controlled media are very evidently victims suffering the same complaints.

That this is so has been evidenced by innumerable statements and actions of many government ministers, their permanent secretaries and their spokesman, and by the specious and spurious media reports devoid of any credibility which fill the airwaves and the newspapers which are the blatant mouthpieces of the chronically mentally distressed. This condition has persisted for a long time, but the extent to which it has intensified was very clearly apparent from a vast array of statements and reports last week which defy all logic, only being believable by the nave, the gullible and those with inadequate IQ. Space constraints preclude reference to all of them, for to do so would fill volumes. However, a few examples will suffice.

The alleged "hoarding" of many tonnes of salt by a leading Zimbabwean quoted company was the lead story for days on radio, television and the government press. Castigating that company for deliberately depriving the populace of their essential need, they alleged that the company's motivation was one of malice and as protest against price controls and to alienate any goodwill the populace may have for government.

In further substantiation of their allegations, they criticised the company for engaging in repackaging salt from half and one kg packs into 2 and 5 kg packs so as to circumvent price controls. In fairness to them, it must be acknowledged that some of the allegations emanated from the Zimbabwe Republic Police who intimated an intent to prosecute the company. However, the media saw fit to expand upon and embroider the accusations against the company. Diverse motives were ascribed to the company's alleged misdeeds, including that it was determined to undermine price controls, that it was bent upon "profiteering", which term is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "seeking to make excessive profits out of others' needs", and that it was endeavouring to worsen the lot of the man on the street so that he would blame government for his suffering.

In doing so, the authorities and the media were wholly dismissive of the company's representations that its sale of the salt at the prices permitted by the price control legislation would result in substantial losses, for those prices were, it claimed, less than landed costs. Not only would sales at less than cost be business imprudency in the extreme, but it would be attempted business suicide. No enterprise can survive if it sells its products at prices below their cost (and attempted suicide is an offence in law!).

Moreover, when businesses collapse, whether because of non-viable pricing or for other reasons, their employees become unemployed, the fiscus is deprived of revenues (both by way of taxes on profits that could have been realised if the products were correctly priced, and on the profits of others from, and the indirect taxes on, employee spending of earnings), and downstream enterprises interacting with the collapsed business are severely prejudiced and their survival jeopardised. The authorities and the media also disregarded that the company had apparently made representations to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade for a realistic review of salt prices, whereafter it intended, the company states, to resume sales. (Of course, one must also ponder upon how it was possible that confidential communications from the company to the ministry fell into the media's hands, and upon the professionalism and ethics of the media for disclosing the contents of those communications.)

Most of all, one must wonder how a temporary holding of stocks, pending a response to representations to restore operational viability, can be considered to be hoarding, which is stated by the dictionary to be an act of "overstocking", and which the authorities and the media suggest is done with machiavellian intent.

Another prime example of the inability of the media and of government to recognise the fundamental facts of commercial life and of its ability to reject realities was the statement by the Minister of Land, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Joseph Made, that the banks should support the new farmers. He remains blissfully unaware that it is he and his government that render it impossible for the banks to do so. A key purpose of banks is to provide loan funding and working capital.

However, as the monies they advance are, in the main, not their own but those of their depositors, there is a strong onus upon them to ensure that recovery of the advances is assured by the holding of adequate collateral security. And yet government obdurately repels all representations that new farmers be given title to the land to be farmed by them. Without title they have no collateral to offer to the banks, without collateral the advances by the banks would be unsecured, and to make farming advances to those possessed of no meaningful collateral would be irresponsibility in the extreme, doing a gross disservice to depositors and to the economy as a whole. But clearly this is either of no concern to Made, or he is incapable of recognition of the realities of the situation.

A further heavily repeated story in the media last week was government contentions that Zimbabwe respects human rights! It is difficult to reconcile these claims with the many instances of condoned violations of property rights of farmers, and of attacks upon farmers. It is similarly difficult to align those contentions with the numerous attempts to suppress free speech and failure to comply with the fundamental tenets of democracy. It is even more difficult to accord veracity to government claims when it or, in any event, many of those in government, are foremost in the perpetuation of racism and discrimination. The consequence of the disregard for human rights is a most tarnished international image, resulting in minimal, much needed, foreign direct investment and in sharply diminished international aid and economic support.

Yet another example of total failure to face up to facts and realities is government's determined refusal to recognise the extent that the real value of the Zimbabwe dollar has declined, and to react to that decline by a realistic devaluation. Instead, yet again, government obstinately refuses to do that which is desperately necessary if existing export performance is to be maintained and enhanced. According to the media that are the lackeys of the Minister of Fiction, Fable and Myth, a special meeting of the cabinet committee on financial and economic affairs, which normally only meets once a year, was held last week, under the chairmanship of the president.

The media reports claim that proposals of the Reserve Bank and of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were "thrown out", and the officials of that ministry and the Reserve Bank were instructed "to come up with other measures, to address the foreign currency situation, which do not involve devaluation". The reports also cited the meeting as having accused the Reserve Bank and ministry officials of conniving with commercial banks to fuel the parallel market along with banks and bureaux de change.

The truth of the matter is that the parallel market exists, first and foremost, because government's disastrously ill-conceived economic policies, and its destructive, equally ill-conceived and unjust land programme, together with its contemptuous disregard for law and order and for harmonious international relations, have caused immense foreign exchange shortages. Moreover, it is government's determined rejection of devaluation which assures the continuance of the parallel market. And government should know, but refuses to recognise, that intensified controls to contain or eliminate the parallel market can only bring to an end the already much shrunken export ability of Zimbabwe and, therefore, will worsen the foreign currency shortages.

It is also devoid of foundation to ascribe the foreign exchange shortages to the bureaux de change. Yes, they do buy foreign exchange but that which they buy they also sell. So their operations recycle the foreign exchange within the market. If they ceased operating, there would be no increase in available foreign exchange. It would merely pass through other hands, be they the commercial and merchant banks, or the Reserve Bank, but there would be no increase in quantity. However, the government's paranoia necessitates blaming any and all other than itself, and its inability to recognise realities and its tendency to delude itself precludes it from facing up to the facts. The result is a continuing decimation of an already severely emaciated economy.

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Muckraker Friday, 5 July 2002
Zim Indep.

Nkomo must be turning in his grave

MANY column inches were devoted this week to the third anniversary of Joshua Nkomo's death. There was a lot said about what he did for his country and how much he was loved by all. But the coverage in the state media ignored the hypocrisy of those who actually hated his big heart and national appeal.

Speaking at Nkomo's graveside on Monday, President Robert Mugabe said: "We remember him as the father of Zimbabwe, as the one who pioneered the struggle and one who was committed to the very end to liberate his people and, after liberation, wanted the people to get land. What is important now is that we should follow his steps on those things that he showed us as virtues and that he wanted done."

Great words those if they did not come from the mouth of one who at one point wanted Nkomo dead as part of his campaign to eliminate PF-Zapu and establish a one-party state in Zimbabwe. Great because Nkomo genuinely wanted to liberate his people, not just himself. Virtuous because Nkomo would not have advocated violence and racial hatred to achieve equitable redistribution of national resources.

Writing from his Gonakudzingwa detention camp in 1966, Nkomo said of the system he was fighting: "If we have to be sacrificed on the altar for our people's freedom and independence for demanding what is right, just and proper we take it in our stride and we accept it without any malice towards anybody."

And lack of malice is what vastly distinguishes Nkomo from the dictator who has reduced this country to near starvation and raised racial division to a new religion. Speaking on the need for peace in Zimbabwe in his last years he said: "I pray and hope that it will be achieved so that Zimbabwe can become one country for one nation, with opportunities, rights and privileges for everybody - white, yellow, black, Zezuru, Ndebele, Karanga, Manyika, Venda, Kalanga, Tonga, coloured and all."

He must be turning in his grave at the blight that has consumed his dream of a united and peaceful nation. But he did leave those who have abused his legacy a salient message: "If we are to create a society where we can live as men, we cannot create it by repressive laws," he said in 1960, the year in which the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act was introduced. "If anybody thinks he can assure his future and the future of his children by repressive laws, it is very sad."

Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri says the private media in Zimbabwe does not appreciate police efforts to curb crime in the country. In a speech read at the OK Zimbabwe-sponsored function to reward police officers who excel in their duties, Chihuri claimed the media "distort the picture on the ground" to discredit the force.

"At other times they conjure and print images which are not on the ground to please their integrationist (sic) masters for political reasons," he said.

Unfortunately Chihuri was unable to provide any examples of a case where the private media had "conjured up images" of something that didn't happen. If there were such images they would probably have come from ZBC which recently showed us a picture of their reporter being brutally beaten by soldiers.

Another one would have been that of MDC supporters who were assaulted in Harare two weeks ago when they gathered to commemorate Soweto Day. At that event, three journalists from the Daily News were brutally assaulted while they were lawfully going about their duty. One of them had his arm fractured and is still carrying a plaster.

We believe Chihuri, despite all his arrogance, still has eyes to look on the ground. Last week he told a delegation of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights that it was not the role of the police to evict people who had illegally settled on commercial farms. That was the role of the Master of the High Court, said Chihuri.

At least he is no longer trotting out the excuse about insufficient manpower. After all, we know that whenever non-Zanu PF groups attempt to demonstrate the riot police descend on them in large numbers. And their approach is anything but professional. Every time people gather and expect the police to come and maintain order, they instead see the riot police rioting all over town. What sort of public order is that?

A police report published in the Herald on Wednesday provided further evidence of partisanship. It said the underlying cause of the current shortages of certain commodities was "economic sabotage maliciously intended to discredit the lawfully elected government of Zimbabwe". It said the MDC was hoping to gain political mileage "by orchestrating artificial shortages".

Nothing better illustrates the extent to which the police force has been suborned by political manipulation. Not only does the statement show crude political bias, it reveals an extraordinary ignorance of economic realities. How can businessmen falsely accused of "hoarding" expect fair treatment from a police force parroting Zanu PF's mantra that President Mugabe was lawfully elected and that shortages are all part of an opposition plot?

Sorry Comrade Chihuri. What the police are doing is "appreciated" only too well and it leaves a lot to be desired! By the way, any progress yet in your court-ordered investigation of the abduction and torture of two Standard journalists in 1999? OK Zimbabwe should meanwhile be careful not to have its functions tarnished by partisan police officers who abuse the platform provided to launch diatribes against the private media. That sort of association is far from OK.

A senior minister in Kenya's ruling Kanu government has accused ruling parties in Africa of delaying the democratisation process on the continent. Raila Odinga told a meeting on good governance in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: "Relations between government and opposition parties in Africa are often characterised by rancour, acrimony and outright hostility."

This is very revealing, coming as it does from an insider and a top party official appointed partly because of his illustrious parentage. Odinga is Kenya's energy minister and secretary-general of Kanu and his words reflect succinctly the hostility the MDC has experienced with Zanu PF here in Zimbabwe. They are not even allowed to hold meetings without police permission, which is invariably denied anyway. In fact the opposition has been called all sorts of things in an attempt by Zanu PF to establish a one-party state. Even after the MDC won a substantial proportion of the votes cast in both the parliamentary and presidential elections, it is still viewed by the ruling party as the enemy of the people. The "people" being Zanu PF spokesmen of course.

In this connection we were intrigued by Elliot Manyika's remarks about the dismissal of the Zanu PF Harare executive. Asked whether it had anything to do with the ruling party's defeat in the capital, Manyika said the executive was fired for being inactive and not conducting audits of the party structures.

"It is the culture in the party that you do not stay in a position indefinitely," he declared. "If the time comes to go you must go."

Has this new policy line been relayed to the party's first secretary? Is he aware of the culture of political obsolescence? And wasn't "Ambassador" Amos Midzi, the evicted provincial executive's chair, the same person Zanu PF was trying to foist on the voters of Harare only last March as mayor? When did they first see signs of "inactivity" or unaudited accounts and what are the implications for the City of Harare of Zanu PF's failure to notice these trends earlier in candidates it nominates for high office?

Which leads us to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which Midzi also heads. This useless organisation milks millions of dollars monthly from the tourism sector and then issues delusional and politically-coloured statements about how tourism is headed for a miraculous recovery which the state media gullibly reproduces. Needless to say, the recovery never materialises because "Ambassador" Midzi's political associates are busy sabotaging the economy.

Joseph Chinotimba, who was also fired last week in the same purge, still believes that the ruling party has the right to rule forever. He told the Herald at the weekend that war veterans should work together "to defeat the MDC" which was the "common enemy for all Zimbabweans".
What does that make the 1,2 million Zimbabweans who voted for the opposition? All of them traitors? Besides buffoons like Chinotimba there are mandarins in Zanu PF who still believe that only liberation movements should rule the country in perpetuity even if they are destroying the economy and the country. And these are the same people who, like Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made, believe all whites in this country are "racists and fascists". But the situation on the ground shows that government has in fact enacted racist and fascist laws which seek to criminalise commercial farmers by stopping them from producing food when the nation is faced with famine.

Last week a Mt Hampden commercial farmer had his house gutted by fire. We have not yet been told the cause of the fire. Instead the politics of sabotage have clouded the investigations, with claims that the farmer delayed calling the fire brigade who would have saved the property, worth millions of dollars.

Mt Hampden is about 20km outside Harare. But we have not been told why the same Fire Brigade failed to save millions of dollars' worth of property gutted by fire the same week at Shamrock Court in Eastlea, only five kilometres from their station. Could it be that the tenants of the flats were involved in acts of sabotage?

As it turned out the councillor for the area says the Fire Brigade arrived at the scene of the fire on time but didn't know what to do. Benjamin Maimba told the Daily News: "They arrived in time, but they seemed not to know even where the nearest water was. The Fire Brigade staff that attended to the scene comprised young people who seemed overwhelmed by the situation."

Would their reaction have been different if they had been sent to Mt Hampden, we wonder? And what does all this tell us about the brigade's emergency preparedness?

Just a few weeks after his counterpart in the Ministry of Education Aeneas Chigwedere beat a hasty retreat on North Korean-style school uniforms, Minister of Higher Education Samuel Mumbengegwi has come up with his own version of the same: from next year all youths will be compelled to undergo uniform national-service training to instill a sense of "patriotism and national consciousness". This covers everyone from college students to university graduates.

This "national consciousness" training was of such a high priority that vacancies in hospitals, schools and industry might remain unfilled, said Mumbengegwi. Those vacancies would be filled later, he said. We are left wondering where the government's priorities lie in the face of the current brain drain. We fear most of the youths will again be forced to skip the border to trade their skills where they are more urgently needed.

In any case, why does government think patriotism is something that can be purchased from some training course? And how is it hoped that this training will suddenly staunch the brain drain when there are no employment opportunities at home? Sorry Comrade Mumbengegwi, you have your priorities completely upside down on national issues. It makes us doubt government's "patriotism and national consciousness". Given the calibre of Mugabe's ministers and their petty projects amidst starvation, do we really need a government at all? Parents should give this latest imposition another firm thumbs down.

Few will deny the Women in Law Centre together with the Legal Resources Foundation, the Musasa Project, WAG and the Legal Aid Directorate the credit they deserve for ensuring women are appraised of their rights when dealing with deceased estates. But who took the decision to use Herald cartoonist
IM Mpofu to illustrate their campaign?

Mpofu is best known for his puerile cartoons in the Herald which attempt to deride the opposition and civil society on behalf of the Herald's political masters. Readers will immediately identify the women's legal campaign with those crude cartoons and ignore its message. That would be a pity but they have only themselves to blame for such poor judgement in the choice of illustrators.

President Mugabe appears resentful that one of his titles has been hijacked by South African conglomerate Anglo-American. Referring to the salt shortage which has been blamed on Anglo subsidiary National Foods, Mugabe declared: "We will not allow Anglo-American to become the principal saboteur of our economy."
Evidently that job is already taken!

As the African Union's inauguration looms it is about time questions were raised about Col Muammar Gaddafi's role. The OAU failed because it tolerated undemocratic rulers. While the AU proclaims its support for good governance, Gaddafi is bankrolling Mugabe and other rogue regimes. Gaddafi is himself a ruler-for-life. What sort of example is that for Africa?

While the AU and Nepad will be hoping to stimulate trade across the continent, Gaddafi's regime outlaws trade unions as well as civic organisations. It was also responsible for the death and deportation of black Africans last year in a brutal purge of foreigners.

Libya meanwhile is encouraging the Sudan in its war against Christian and animist minorities in the south.

Arab rulers in North Africa are as much "colonisers and racists" as the whites they help Mugabe to demonise in the south. What has been the fate of indigenous Berbers, Dinkas and Copts in much of North Africa? Why are the victims of forced Arabisation ignored as Gaddafi pontificates on African rights?

If the AU wants to be taken seriously it will have to address the emblematic problem posed by Africa's Gaddafis and Mugabes who linger on with the potential to sabotage any new beginning envisaged by Thabo Mbeki and others.

Let's hope the AU is not characterised by the same hypocrisy and double standards as its predecessor. With Gaddafi and Mugabe plotting to assert their anti-imperialist credentials in Durban next week we should be on the lookout for rotten apples in the barrel.

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Zim Independent

African leaders on collision course over Nepad
Dumisani Muleya
AFRICAN leaders are on a collision course over the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) project ahead of the launch of the African
Union in South Africa next week to replace the Organisation of African Unity
(OAU).

Nepad movers are anxious to consolidate its support, while others are trying
to sabotage it.


Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria,
Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and other leaders
want to secure African Union (AU) endorsement for Nepad.


African ministers met in Durban this week to finalise preparations for the
AU launch. Zimbabwe's Foreign minister Stan Mudenge took part.


However, Africa's veteran dictators are sulking. President Robert Mugabe and
his close ally, Libyan ruler Muammar Gadaffi, are apparently opposed to the
project.


Information minister Jonathan Moyo - who often reflects Mugabe's thinking -
two weeks ago advertised government hostility to Nepad after he claimed the
project was a "modern type of imperialism". His mouthpiece, the Sunday Mail,
has also been hostile.

But local business leaders have expressed support for the programme.


Trust Merchant Bank chief executive William Nyemba this week told a Zimbabwe
Economic Society debate on Nepad that the project was good for the country.


"No reasonable person would say no to some of the things proposed in Nepad,"
Nyemba said. "The problem is that some of the people opposed to the
programme have not read the Nepad document."


Moyo has said it was too early for government to adopt Nepad. But the OAU
adopted Nepad at its summit in Lusaka, Zambia, in July last year. Heads of
state agreed to go back and consult their people on the programme.


However, the Zimbabwean government remained largely silent. It only awakened
to the issue before the G8 Summit, trying to discredit Nepad through a
negative media campaign.


Gadaffi has also failed to hide his resentment of Nepad. At a meeting with
Mbeki in Tripoli on June 12/14, the Libyan leader denounced the programme.


"It is hard for an African to believe that he will be treated on an equal
footing by the colonialists and racists," Gadaffi reportedly said.


Libya is also understood to be unhappy with the launch of the AU in South
Africa. Gadaffi, who considers himself the architect of the AU, wants it
based in Sirte, Libya.

A paper presented by Jakkie Cilliers and Kathryn Strurman of the Institute
for Security Studies in South Africa says Gadaffi is trying to hijack the
AU.


"This is evident going by the number of Libyan envoys presently engaged in
lobbying for the launch of the AU at a special meeting of Heads of State at
Sirte," it says.


Nyemba said Libya would not endorse Nepad. "Libya is definitely not going to
support Nepad because of its requirements," he said. "I have never heard of
elections in that country."


Francis Kornegay, programme coordinator at the Centre for African
International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand, said:

"Resistance is guaranteed. The new order struggling to be born represents
nothing less than a clear danger to the African status quo of authoritarian
governance."


Mbeki has recently come out with guns blazing in support of Nepad. Writing
in Business Day this week, he warned Africans against concentrating on
hostile attacks on developed nations instead of tackling problems at home.


"We must avoid the danger that rather than engaging the positive development
challenges the action plan poses, we are drawn to a counter-productive
campaign against the governments and institutions of the developed north,"
Mbeki said.


l Meanwhile, President Mugabe, who will attend the AU Summit in Durban next
week, is expected to attend a summit of developing countries in Fiji later
this month.


Fiji is hosting the 78-nation African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) summit
from July 17.
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Zim Independent

Agribank in crisis
Dumisani Muleya
THE government-owned Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd (Agribank) is in dire
straits after recording a staggering $351 million loss last year. It is
already shouldering a $4 billion debt.

Agribank's audited results - which have not yet been released despite the
requirements of the Banking Act but are in the possession of the Zimbabwe
Independent - reveal the bank made a $350,9 million loss for the year ended
December 31 2001. This followed a $36 million profit the previous year.


"Agribank's problems are being aggravated by poor management," a banking
source said. "The chief executive is busy buying furniture for $4 million
for his office when his bank is facing collapse."


Documents show Agribank chief executive Taka Mutunhu wants to buy furniture
worth $4,47 million from Office Design at a time when the bank is in
trouble. The financial statements, which bank authorities are clinging onto,
show Agribank currently owes other banks $4,6 billion. Sources said
Agribank's bad debt provision is now about $1,5 billion. The bank - whose
core security is land - has been seriously exposed to government's sweeping
land seizures which have increased its non-performing loans.


Agribank's bad debt book has often been bloated. The bank inherited a $763
million debt from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) when it
transformed itself into a commercial entity in January 2000. At the
handover, government also owed the bank $201 million. This is still
outstanding.


Documents indicate Agribank was severely undercapitalised from the start.
The bank started with a share capital of $313 million created by
restructuring its predecessor's balance sheet. This figure was low compared
to other banks' capitals of around $500 million. The bank's reserves have
also dwindled precariously. Its capital adequacy ratio is now minus 5%. The
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s requirement is 10%.

"What this effectively means is that the bank is financing its operations
from depositors' funds," a source said. "It's really unacceptable in
banking."


Agribank's operating cashflow records indicate a $298,7 million outflow in
2001 compared to a $43,2 million inflow the year before.


The RBZ has been concerned by Agribank's financial emergency. On January 10
it stepped in with a corrective order. The directive demanded remedy of
fundamental weaknesses at the bank including capital adequacy, poor
management and a bad book. Agribank responded by making additional
provisions for bad debt in its financial statements, which it failed to
release on March 31 as required.


The bank also intensified loan recovery efforts but that was hindered by the
current land reforms. Designation of debtors' farms meant clients became
unwilling to repay. Threats to sell farms could not work because the
properties were grabbed by the state.


To make matters worse, some AFC loans were considered by the RBZ classified
or irrecoverable. Against this background, Agribank is planning to transform
itself again into a land bank to escape the rigours of commercial banking
and sustain its operations through taxpayers' money.


It has made a proposal, which seeks to extract $654 million from government
to boost its capital adequacy ratio and a further $599 million to put it on
a sound financial footing. Government is expected to take over some of its
bad loans. But taxpayers will eventually pick up the tab.


Sources said there were several ailing banks squatting on the market. This
week, Genesis Investment Bank was put under curator management.


In its annual report for 2001, the RBZ said market capitalisation and asset
base for several banks had plunged perilously.
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Zim Independent

Urban land targeted
Vincent Kahiya
GOVERNMENT is believed to be planning an amendment to the Land Acquisition
Act which would give it powers to grab private land in urban areas for
redistribution without the obligation to immediately compensate property
owners.

The proposed amendment to the Act seeks to legitimise mushrooming illegal
settlements controlled by Zanu PF officials and war veterans within the city
limits. The most recent example is Carrick Creagh estate in Borrowdale which
is being illegally partitioned into residential plots.


Estate agents this week said the illegal settlements threatened property
rights as housing co-operatives with certificates from the Ministry of Youth
Development, Gender and Employment Creation were targeting vacant private
land.


Illegal settlements such as Whitecliffe along the Bulawayo Road and Sally
Mugabe Heights in Borrowdale are going ahead although they have not been
sanctioned by the Harare City Council. There are other illegal settlements
in Kambuzuma and on Retreat Farm along Seke Road.


Government sources this week said government would soon introduce
legislation to amend Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act that affects
urban land.


The section presently compels government to pay for land so acquired. The
amendment will allow the government to acquire private land in urban areas
on a similar basis to that obtaining for rural land or land outside city
boundaries.


The sources said Harare council's planning department in Cleveland House had
been instructed by government to withhold approval of subdivision
applications for some 15 properties within the Greater Harare area until the
new legislative framework is in place.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said the Cabinet Action
Committee on Legislation had not yet considered legislation regarding the
acquisition of urban land.


"But that doesn't stop the Minister of Lands from coming up with such
legislation which will still need to come to the Cabinet Action Committee on
Legislation," said Chinamasa.

A recent advertisement in the press invited tenders for civil works at the
Sally Mugabe Heights housing scheme on Carrick Creagh Farm close to
Borrowdale Brooke. The land that this group is selling is actually private
land, and being urban land does not qualify for land acquisition as set out
in Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act. The property owners got a court
order last year which declared that the occupation of the property was
illegal.


Half-acre stands in the prime residential area are being sold by war
veterans at a give-away price of $115 000 plus $4 043 levied as an
administration fee. The Zimbabwe Independent this week visited the office of
the sellers on the fourth floor of Memorial Building in Samora Machel Avenue
in central Harare and found dozens of people making inquiries about the
stands. Stands in the area are generally valued at $1 200 per square metre,
which puts the value of a half-acre plot at about $2,4 million.


People who have bought stands on the 330ha Carrick Creagh estate were told
last Saturday that they have to begin building by the end of this month or
their land will be repossessed and resold. Bricks and other building
materials have already started arriving at the illegal settlement, which is
surrounded by upmarket homes.


In a telephone interview from Germany last week, Harare executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri said the continued invasion and ongoing building on the
privately-owned land threatened the status of all home-owners in Harare.


"Everyone who owns a property in Harare is threatened by this," Mudzuri
said.

He said the municipality could not provide water to an illegal township,
even if it had the money to do so. He confirmed the new "owners" of stands
could not obtain title deeds as the property was owned by the Newmarch
family.


The saga of Carrick Creagh farm began on May 13 2000, when war veterans,
calling themselves the Harare East Housing Scheme, marched onto the farm
owned by the Newmarch family. The war veterans were organised by Stalin Mau
Mau who lost the Harare East parliamentary seat to Tendai Biti of the MDC in
the 2000 election.


In a hearing in judges' chambers last year, in a case brought by Andrew
Newmarch against Mau Mau and two others, the High Court ordered the illegal
settlers to leave the farm forthwith.


At a recent meeting of prospective buyers at the farm, a Cde Harare told the
buyers that Minister Ignatius Chombo was working on details such as title
deeds and other processes to allow for servicing by the Harare municipality.
He said most of the stands on Carrick Creagh had already been paid for.
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Zim Independent

Human rights probe an indictment of Mugabe
Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's human rights record has again come under scrutiny
following last week's unprecedented investigation of rights abuses in
Zimbabwe by the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.
Analysts said the fact-finding mission was critical insofar as it should
illuminate hitherto hidden chapters of human rights violations and impunity
in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights chair Tawanda Hondora said the probe was
important because it could expose a catalogue of concealed rights abuses. He
said the investigation was also a severe indictment of government.

"It was significant because it showed that Zimbabweans' human rights
concerns have now attracted the attention of African leaders," Hondora said.
"The mere fact that the commission sent a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe
is in itself a serious indictment of government."

National Constitutional Assembly chair Lovemore Madhuku said the commission
gathered overwhelming evidence of abuses and could not afford to ignore all
of it completely.

"They can't make a finding that there are totally no human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe," Madhuku said. "They really have a serious challenge on their
hands."

The commission indicated at the end of its mission it had gathered large
volumes of useful information. Addressing journalists last Friday, group
leader Jainaba Johm said her team obtained "serious allegations" of human
rights abuses and, in some cases, evidence of those violations.

She said the team gathered over 20kg of literature including videotapes,
photographs, police reports and documents. Eyewitnesses and victims of
violence also testified before the commission.

"Having received a large volume of information in document form and orally,
our responsibility now is to take time to consider the material at our
disposal," Johm said. "Our inquiry will be focused on whether the Republic
of Zimbabwe complies with its obligations under the African charter."

The investigation team was in the country from June 24-29. It was led by the
commission vice-chair Johm of Gambia and included Barney Pityana, who is the
commissioner responsible for Zimbabwe, and Fiona Adolu of Uganda. Pityana is
a past chair of South Africa's Human Rights Commission.

The team, which covered the period 1999-2000, came to Zimbabwe following
reports of widespread rights transgressions. It met senior government and
ruling Zanu PF officials, including President Robert Mugabe, opposition
leaders, civil society groups and media representatives.

The opposition Movement for De-mocratic Change (MDC) condemned Mugabe for
misleading the commission after he claimed he was the "custodian" of human
rights. It said Mugabe should not "amend the truth" to masquerade as a
guardian of Zimbabweans' rights when the country was under his "grim
dictatorship".

"Evidence at hand demonstrates beyond doubt the regime's culpability in
widespread and systematic incidences of murder, torture, rape, abduction,
kidnapping, arson, inti-
midation and other forms of well-organised political violence," it said.

"In addition to these acts of barbarism perpetrated with state sanction and
impunity, the regime has sought to legalise harassment of political
opponents and to control what people read, hear or see."

Zanu PF was recently found liable for human rights abuses by a court in the
United States following an application by Adella Chiminya and Elliot Pfebve
whose husband and brother, respectively, were killed in the run-up to the
2000 general election. The party has been ordered to pay over US$73 million
in punitive and compensatory damages.

Johm said persistent complaints of human rights infringements in Zimbabwe
caused last week's probe.

"Since the 27th ordinary session of the commission held in Algiers, Algeria,
in April 2002, the commission has been receiving reports of alleged
violations in Zimbabwe," she said. "The commission responded to these calls
by seeking permission from the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe to
come to the country and undertake a fact-finding mission."

Hondora said the investigations would give African leaders a chance to
understand better what is happening in Zimbabwe.

"It will offer African leaders an opportunity to understand that what is
happening in the country has nothing to do with land but has everything to
do with issues of governance," he said.

"Zimbabweans have managed to raise the profile of human rights violations to
African leaders. It should no longer be possible for Mugabe to hide under
the cover of land and Pan-Africanist claims."

The commission came to Zimbabwe at a time when international human rights
group, Amnesty International, released a report blaming official impunity
for mounting human rights violations. Amnesty spokesperson Samkelo Mokhine
said last week at the launch of the report in Johannesburg there had been a
pattern of human rights breaches in Zimbabwe since the 1970s.

"The ordinary Zimbabwean hasn't had any sense of justice - not just from
the'70s but up to 2002," he said. "With this report we are hoping to jog the
international community and the Southern African Development Community into
action."

Apart from the current wave of violence and repression, Mugabe's government
stands accused of massive human rights abuses in Matabeleland during the
1980s. Rights activists say over 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by
government security agencies under the pretext of suppressing dissidents.

Amnesty said impunity - the failure to bring to justice those who commit
serious human rights abuse - was now entrenched in Zimbabwe.

"Impunity begins when state authorities feel that they cannot achieve their
political goals through legal means or with the support of the people," it
said. "Impunity implies the distortion of the rule of law. It is justice
being evaded by those for whom the law is an obstacle, as well as violations
committed to attack or punish those who should be protected by the law."

When a government adopts a policy of impunity, Amnesty said, other measures
may follow: the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are suppressed,
the protective role of the police and security forces is eroded and the
independence of the judiciary is undermined.

"All this is done in order to form a shield under which impunity for further
human rights violations can flourish without scrutiny," it said.

Amnesty further stated: "Impunity has become the central problem in
Zimbabwe, where state security forces - police officers, army officers or
agents of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) - commit widespread
human rights violations without being brought to justice.

"The Zimbabwean government has also organised, co-ordinated or otherwise
encouraged 'militias' to carry out threats, assaults, abductions, torture
and killings against its perceived political enemies. As a disguised arm of
the state, these informal 'militias' are composed of supporters of the
ruling Zanu PF, war veterans and unemployed rural youths, sometimes
press-ganged into their activities."

Amnesty said police have often accompanied these militias in committing
their crimes. However, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told the
African Commission that Zimbabwe police were effective and professional. The
MDC repudiated this claim describing the police as "partisan".

Amnesty traced the culture of human rights abuses back to the colonial era.

"In Zimbabwe, the growth of impunity has been a long-term phenomenon that
extends back into the days of the nationalist armed struggle in the 1970s
when Rhodesian forces committed atrocities against the civilian population
in their pursuit of African nationalist armed groups," it said.

"Amnesty International documented many violations by forces of the white
minority regime and campaigned for the fair trial or release of Robert
Mugabe - now the President of Zimbabwe - as well as many former and current
senior politicians."

"Starting in the early '80s, the purported threat of 'dissident' ex-guerilla
fighters in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces led to a
counter-insurgency war in which several thousands of civilians were killed
or 'disappeared'," the grouping said.

Amnesty said government promoted human rights violations by preventing
prosecution of rights transgressors through presidential amnesties,
clemencies and indemnities; shielding state agents who perpetrate abuses;
and blocking rights activists and the independent media from investigating
and publishing accounts of rights infringements.

It also said political manipulation of the police and the judiciary as well
as repression of civil society by government helped to promote human rights
violations.
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Zim Independent


Who is at the Heart of economic policy?
Sandawana Column
THE business community can breathe a sigh of relief after reading startling
accounts in the state media of just what the government's exchange rate and
monetary policy is to be - at least in the short-term.

In a marathon 1 552-word piece - the lead in the Sunday Mail - the
"reporter" outlined in remarkable detail just what government's policy on
exchange control was (no change), various conspiracies as to who has fuelled
the rise in the parallel market (the RBZ in cahoots with commercial banks
and bureaux de change), the current tussle and lack of trust within Zanu PF
over economic policy (Cabinet vs RBZ/Ministry of Finance), and tried to
remind those in the financial world just who is in charge (government).


This was followed by an absolute falsehood in The Herald - that the parallel
market rate had fallen to $150:US$1 - a level at which even the government
would have hoovered up as many greenbacks as possible. And, in two separate
advertisements on Monday and Tuesday, "consultant" Sam Undenge took it upon
himself to shell out $460 317,60 (he must have felt very strongly about
this) for two full page ads in The Herald to say what he thought government
monetary policy should be. Undenge questioned why interest rates were
rising, said low interest rates were the answer to all Zimbabwe's problems
and would be needed to spur on successful agrarian reform.


The net result of these stories and advertisements is that there is no
change in policy, although the market remains suspicious and those companies
with export earnings such as Interfresh and Ariston have come off their
recently achieved all-time highs.


For those who missed the Sunday Mail article, Sandawana brings you
highlights: "Government on Thursday emphatically told the RBZ there will be
no devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar in the foreseeable future ...
Officials from the central bank and the ministry were told in clear terms
that they should come up with other measures to address the foreign currency
situation, which do not involve devaluation ... It had also become clear
that the parallel market was being fuelled by banks and bureaux de change
... Following the rejection of the proposals it is understood that the
government is now set to take decisive action in the financial sector and
break what is perceived to be connivance between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and commercial bank officials ... The proposed devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar would have played into the hands of Zimbabwe's detractors ... Some
members of the committee felt by now some banks should have been closed for
repeatedly trading on the parallel market," etc, etc.


In spite of their own appalling track records, it appears the RBZ and
Finance ministry officials actually went into the meeting with some pretty
good ideas. The RBZ proposed the creation of a pooled foreign currency
system and a dual exchange rate system, with the official exchange rate
pegged at $189:US$1 and a commercial exchange rate at prevailing market
rates.


The RBZ also proposed government suspend import duty on fuel for six months
to cushion consumers from price increases since revenue losses from the
suspension of import duty would be offset by the expected increase in
customs duty as a result of the exchange rate adjustment.


But paranoia was also behind the rejection of these proposals: "The
expectation that the pooling system would see the parallel exchange rate
moving toward the commercial exchange rate was also theoretical and unlikely
given the presence of political elements in Zimbabwe's financial system,"
the "reporter" said.


The stockmarket is pretty directionless at the moment awaiting policy and
whether this dissertation through the press is the World of Warp Economics
according to Jonathan Moyo, or a very well-informed hack, we should remember
that the government usually gets its way. Chances are, with this
unprofessional rubbishing of the RBZ/ministry that we might soon have
someone else signing the banknotes, possibly Dr Undenge.

The sekuru in the furniture business?


THE market has been less than impressed with Pelhams inaugural results,
arguing that a below-inflation increase in earnings in an environment with
abundant credit and negative interest rates is simply not good enough.
Management concedes that lower interest rate income, a more competitive
credit world and change in sales mix weighed on the results last year. Now
the company has converted all its spare cash into stock and is fine-tuning
its working capital needs.


So what will be hugely different this year? Firstly, Pelhams has nearly
three-quarters of last year's profit ($600 million) guaranteed through in
its credit finance book. And thanks to Zimbabweans' credit ethic, bad debt
stands at only 1,61% compared with the provision for 5%. Secondly, the
cutting of its "no finance charges" credit terms to one month from six is
likely to further improve cashflow. Thirdly, it has stock that will maintain
its value in hard currency terms. And lastly, it is rather a unique play on
the market since it is the only counter that is exclusively furniture
retail - likely to be a huge beneficiary of lower interest rates and high
inflation.


Of course the overriding negative that remains is when is that disposable
income going to dry up? But nobody expects that to be soon, given the
stories in the state media this week. What also makes things interesting for
Pelhams is what will happen if Joshua Doore succeeds in taking over
Profurn - owner of a 42% stake in Pelhams? Will Joshua Doore push into the
region (in the same way as it has in Botswana) or will it leave it up to
Pelhams to push into the region?


THZ's unbundling


SANDAWANA read with interest THZ's rather detailed cautionary announcement
on unbundling. The stock has responded positively and its quite clear that
THZ is undervalued at current levels, especially given the group's gearing
to exports.


If it were to have a separate listing, Turnall Fibre Cement is likely to be
constrained by worries over price control, supply and the construction
industry. Rubber Products is the division most highly leveraged to exports
and we await the government's next move on exchange rate policy. But the
division and its units likely to arouse the most interest on the stock
market if it were listed would be Steel Products. The market is already
asking questions as to whether plough disc maker Hastt would be included.
For one it does not really "fit" with pipes and fasteners, and given the
political connections of THZ's parent SMM, Zimplow should be worried that
new farmers might be offered better terms from Hastt. No doubt SMM, however,
will use any funds raised from the market to continue its impressive
trail-blazing path of indigenisation.


The great injustice (again)


LAST Wednesday, just as the 45-day Section 8 order came into effect,
Russia's lower house of parliament legalised the sale and private ownership
of agricultural land for the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution
but banned foreigners from purchasing the country's farms. However,
foreigners are - just like in Mozambique - allowed to lease Russian farmland
for up to 49 years.


While Zanu PF has always craved a thin veneer of legality, Sandawana often
wonders why government just did not nationalise the land at the start? The
bad publicity would have quickly died down and by now investor confidence
may have even returned. The CFU's own lack of sophistication would have lost
them the PR war anyway. Sympathy for farmers globally has been slowly eroded
as they have been unable to effectively defend their seemingly elitist
position. The first thing they should have done is hire a spin doctor who
would put across the same message at every opportunity: "82% of land has
changed ownership since 1980." But it's all history now.


One thing that we can be sure of is that the wheel will turn just like it
has in Russia. Economic sense will prevail one day until land becomes an
emotional issue once more. Perhaps it will be Malthusian considerations. But
just like now and preceding the First Chimurenga 100 years ago, the
landowners will - rightly and understandably - feel that a great injustice
has been done.
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ZIMBABWE: Opposition accused of creating food crisis

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG, 5 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's food crisis has become highly politicised with the government accusing the opposition for the shortages that have seen basic commodities disappear off shop shelves.

This week Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said millers were stockpiling flour for speculative purposes. His statement followed allegations by the police that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was engineering shortages to foment political unrest.

Eddie Cross, MDC secretary for economic affairs, dismissed the allegations. He told IRIN: "The government is trying to create a scapegoat for its own shortcomings and these allegations won't stand up to scrutiny.

"It's nonsense that we are going to encourage vendors [unofficial traders] to profit from shortages. Vendors are a natural development because of the collapse of price controls."

Cross said the MDC had been drawing attention to the looming crisis since February 2001 and had consistently supported the efforts of the United Nations and donor communities who are providing assistance.

"We reject the accusation completely," he said.

The official Herald newspaper reported that Made dismissed a plea by the chairman of the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe, Armitage Chikwavira, for the government to import wheat to stave off bread shortages. He said the country had adequate stocks and accused millers of rationing supplies to make money on the blackmarket.

Cross, who is also a baker, disagreed. "There is no hoarding, three weeks ago the [government-controlled] Grain Marketing Board cut deliveries to millers by 50 percent."

Only five kg bags of flour for household use were easy to obtain. But even at reduced levels of consumption, stocks would run out by the end of July.

This confirms World Food Programme (WFP) warnings that the country was on the brink of a disaster which could leave 5.6 million people, out of a population of almost 13 million, without access to food. Even people with money would battle to find stocks to cover household needs. Earlier this week the Social Welfare Ministry said current food stocks were at the level of "hand to mouth".

Cross explained that government traditionally imported extra wheat to stretch local supplies, but was unable to do so this year due to foreign exchange shortages. The critical maize shortage has also created an unexpected switch to bread as a staple food, pushing consumption up markedly. At the moment, customers are rationed to one loaf at a time, he said.

The country also had a shortage of stockfeed, which was prohibitively expensive for farmers who were granted licences to import quantities of feed. This has led to shortages of milk and poultry. The country had also only grown half its oil seed requirements, creating shortages of cooking oil and margarine. A drop in the number of dairy farmers, brought on by land reform, had almost halved milk production, said Cross.

Of the grain situation, Vanessa McKay of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association said: "By the end of July we will have a complete 'stock out' situation and rely 100 percent on imports."

Only the government is allowed to import and distribute maize and wheat products.

The scarcity of foreign exchange has compounded the problem. In October 2000 the government capped the exchange rate at US $1 to Zim $55 to stop a downward spiral, but a shortage of foreign currency brought on by reduced production and exports has spawned a competitive parallel market.

Importers who don't have ready foreign exchange turn to this market to pay for their goods. The parallel rates have hovered around Zim $350 for US $1 but have been reported to top Zim $1,000 according to demand. The increased expense pushes production prices up and government price controls on basic commodities prevent companies from setting their own profit margins.

"We need price controls to be abolished. If government is worried about consumer spending power they must introduce a fair system of consulting producers to review prices and keep people in business," McKay said.

She added that an untapped source of foreign exchange lay in the sheds of tobacco farmer where US $320 million worth of tobacco was waiting to be graded. A land reform law forced almost 3,000 of the country's commercial farmers to down tools on 25 June in preparation for their eviction from the land.

Grading the tobacco would be a criminal offence. Fifteen sugar farmers have already been singled out by police for defying the order to stop farming. In a possible precedent-setting case, a farmer notched a symbolic court victory when he was granted interim relief to continue farming until a further court date on the grounds that the amendments to the land act were unconstitutional, AFP reported.

While shortages and parallel markets have become a daily reality for Zimbabwe's consumers, already battling an inflation rate of over 100 percent, the Zimbabwe Consumer Council (ZCC) said so far nobody had lodged an official complaint that the shortages were politically motivated.

ZCC senior manager Victor Chisi said: "This has not come to us as an official complaint. Perhaps it is discussed at a national level that there is connivance between the MDC and industry. I'd like to believe that political parties have a responsibility to ensure that their membership is alive, that they should survive."

He explained that some of the shortages were caused by a combination of business conditions, opportunism and a reaction to price controls.

Prices of certain basic commodities were fixed last October and supermarkets and shops are policed to ensure compliance. This includes maize, sugar, cooking oil, soap, chicken and some agricultural inputs.

Chisi said vendors spotted an opportunity and are buying up supplies at the depressed prices. Some form cartels to sell the items at higher prices.

Families queue to buy the maximum ration per person, then pool their stock, selling it at the higher prices elsewhere. A two kg bag of sugar costs Zim $76 (US $1.40 at the official rate) at the government price, but Zim $400 (US $7.50) on the parallel market.

"Some vendors have more stocks than the supermarkets they are operating next to," Chisi said. "Policing doesn't apply to them because they are always shifting. Consumers appear to have accepted this, opting rather to have regular supplies of scarce commodities."

However, there are concerns that vendors were being "sponsored" to sell on behalf of large companies.

"We don't know if the vendors are real or if they are being created by the formal sector," he said.

Spokespeople from several large retailers contacted were not immediately available to comment.

However, Chisi said the formal sector was concerned that price fixing prevented them from recouping production costs or raising prices when necessary.

He said there were plans afoot to set up a monitoring mechanism to give businesses room to remain viable and perhaps devise an industrial pricing formula to cover production costs.

But he was concerned that hoarders and vendors were acting in bad faith and "holding the nation to ransom".

"The situation of consumers is already bad enough. They have to buy commodities at inflated prices and their welfare is threatened," he said.

[ENDS]
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Dear Subscriber,

In this, we send to you two statements recently made on the above subjects.

Regards
MDC Information Department


Police statement highly irresponsible: 03/07/02

The statement attributed to the police in today's front-page story in the
Herald accusing the MDC of the so-called "orchestrating artificial
shortages" is highly irresponsible and borders on outright madness.

It is wrong and unacceptable for the police to issue partisan political
statements and naked propaganda whose objective is to absolve Zanu PF from
the mess it has driven the people into.

Surely can anyone with a conscience in the police force seek to suggest to
the starving masses that the shortage of maize in Zimbabwe is as a result of
the so-called "economic sabotage" by the MDC? Is it not clear to everyone
including pre school kids that the shortage of maize and maize meal, which
have robbed them of their porridge at pre schools, is clearly a function of
the Zanu Pf regime's disruption of agriculture through its ill planned Fast
Track land reform nonsense which was never meant to enhance agricultural
production?

Is Augustine Chihuri and Wayne Bvudzijena genuinely ignorant or they would
like to play silly games with a hungry nation queuing everyday even for
salt?

As for shortages of sugar, cooking oil, salt, bread and cigarettes, this is
testimony of the collapse of the policy of price controls which was never
meant to work.
Price controls have effectively collapsed. They have not benefited the
consumers. In cases where the consumers have been able to find the scarce
commodities, they have been forced to pay two or three times more than the
official price.

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. This is indeed sad. Let the message be
clear: Zanu Pf is to blame for the shortages and economic mess the poor
people find themselves in. If anyone has complaints or questions on the way
forward, these should be directed squarely on the door- steps of Zanu PF?

Learnmore Jongwe
Secretary, information and Publicity



Set-up patriotism school for Mugabe's children in Zvimba. 02/07/02

There is nothing national about the Zanu PF youth service. The illegitimate
regime of Robert Mugabe has set up and funded activities of the children of
Zimbabwe which have transformed them into bandits who have been used to
kill, maim and rape innocent citizens, including their own parents.

There is no doubt that the intention of Zanu PF is to turn young people into
assassins and murderers rather than train them in any skills. It is an
expression of a realisation by Zanu PF that they cannot recruit members
without forcing them into Zanu PF indoctrination centres, where those young
children shall have Zanu PF garbage forced down their throats.

The blundering Samuel Mumbengegwi proves his shallow grasp of issues when he
claims that Zimbabwean youths are leaving their homes to work in other
countries because they are not patriotic.

Such must be the logic of the archaic bandwagon of old men in this regime
and its array of unelected ministers who fail to appreciate that these
children of Zimbabwe have been forced to work outside the country, away from
the love of their families, because Mugabe and Zanu PF have destroyed our
economy.

All those children are waiting to come back to Zimbabwe to be re-united with
their families. They all love their country Zimbabwe.

There are no jobs in Zimbabwe. There is up to 75% unemployment and more
companies are closing. People are starving in Zimbabwe. There is no food, no
mealie-meal, no cooking oil, no bread and no salt,

It is an insult to the character of our citizens that to this day Mugabe's
illigitimate government still do not understand the issues at hand. Anyone
who cannot fathom the disaster we are currently in will never be able to
prescribe real solutions to the challenges we face.

We need a serious government to redeem our economy, and not flip-flop
policies made in dingy beer halls by a bunch of confused clowns.

What Zimbabwe needs now is to pull all its resources towards reviving the
country's economy and creating jobs for the people of Zimbabwe. We must put
our energies on saving the nation from the hunger and starvation we face. We
must ensure that the collapsed health system recovers and that people can go
to affordable hospitals and get medicines.

No children must be forced to dubious training centres that have in the past
and will certainly in future turn children into killers and rapists. There
are numerous stories of how those who were forced into the Border Gezi Youth
Training Centres were abused sexually by their trainers.

If Mumbengegwi, Mugabe and Jonathan Moyo's children lack this patriotism
they must set up a private and voluntary one in Zvimba and no one will
begrudge them.


Professor Welshman Ncube,
MDC Secretary General.
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Independent (UK)
Mugabe inquisition into gay politicians
By Basildon Peta Zimbabwe Correspondent
05 July 2002
Robert Mugabe has ordered his spy agency to investigate and compile a list
of possible gay ministers and officials in the Zimbabwe government.

President Mugabe is well known for his hatred of gays and lesbians, and has
described them as being worse than "pigs and dogs". He said the British
Government was made up of "gay gangsters".

He has ordered the Central Intelligence Organisation to spy on possible gay
people in his administration. How CIO officials will arrive at their
conclusions is unclear. "That is inside information ... those tasked with
the job know how best to achieve it," one said.

Mr Mugabe may use the list to rid his cabinet of gays. Officials said he
became furious when allegations of homosexuality were raised against the
former president Canaan Banana. Mr Banana fled the country before being
charged and convicted in 1998 of sodomising an aide.

Alum Mpofu, one of Mr Mugabe's chief propagandists during the March
presidential elections and the former head of the state-owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, resigned from his post after allegations of
homosexuality were levelled against him. Mr Mpofu was caught in a
compromising position with a man at a Harare nightclub.

Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's spokesman and
close ally, has also been implicated in an alleged homosexual affair with Mr
Mpofu.

In a separate development, the Zimbabwe government plans to investigate a
white judge who ordered the arrest last week of the country's Justice
Minister for contempt of court, the state-run Herald newspaper reported
yesterday.

Fergus Blackie, one of only two white judges left in Zimbabwe, issued the
arrest warrant last week after the Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
failed to appear in court. Officials later said the minister was on a trip
abroad. Mr Chinamasa said he wanted the investigation to go ahead regardless
of Justice Blackie's retirement in two weeks.
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Hopes fade for an end to Mugabe's crackdown

Jon Jeter The Washington Post


Friday, July 5, 2002



JOHANNESBURG Almost four months after the disputed re-election of the
Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, to a fourth term, any hope that the
78-year-old former guerrilla leader would relax his crackdown against
political opponents has all but evaporated.
.
Since turning back the toughest political challenge of his career in a
campaign marked by violence and allegations of fraud, Mugabe has put
restrictions on white farmers at a time when nearly half of Zimbabwe's
population faces starvation. He has also continued repression of dissidents
and journalists and, most recently, threatened to nationalize one of the
country's largest companies.
.
"Things have not improved for Zimbabweans since the election," said an
African diplomat based in Zimbabwe. "I'm afraid that things are only getting
worse. This government knows it no longer has the popular support of its
people, so it must govern with the only tool it has left: force."
.
The UN World Food Program estimates that nearly half of Zimbabwe's 11
million people urgently need international assistance to avert starvation as
a result of famine. Donor nations blame the famine on bad weather and the
government's policy of seizing the country's most productive farms, owned by
whites, and handing them over to poor blacks.
.
Relief agencies say that Mugabe's governing party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front, has used food donations from abroad to
reward its supporters and punish members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.
.
Tawanda Hondora, chairman of Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum, said the
government had required peasants to show ruling-party membership cards to
receive food rations and had stopped organizations thought to be sympathetic
to or aligned with the opposition from distributing food.
.
On Saturday, however, Mugabe blamed National Foods, a multinational
subsidiary of the South African mining company Anglo American, for the
country's food shortage. In remarks published in a state-owned newspaper,
Mugabe accused National Foods of hoarding such basic commodities as salt.
.
"We will not allow Anglo American to become the principal saboteurs of our
economy," he said.
.
If National Foods does not "want to operate in partnership with the
government and the people," Mugabe said, "the government would put the
enterprise in the hands of the people."
.
Last week, Mugabe's government ordered nearly 3,000 whites to stop farming
as he prepared for their eviction next month. Branding them "unrepentant
racists and fascists," Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has given them until
Aug. 10 to vacate farmland to make way for blacks.
.
And even as his fellow African leaders court Western investment with a
revitalization plan that promises good governance and democracy, Mugabe's
party has continued to intimidate and prosecute independent journalists,
opposition politicians and their supporters.
.
Mugabe has portrayed his party's struggle against the Movement for
Democratic Change as a battle against a puppet of Britain, the country's
former colonial ruler, and has portrayed his land redistribution program as
the last piece of unfinished business of the independence war.
.
Western governments widely accuse Mugabe of rigging the March election with
a campaign of torture and intimidation by youth gangs and militias against
opposition supporters, particularly Zimbabwe's wealthy elite of white
farmers and their poor, black employees.
.
Human rights organizations say that torture of dissidents has continued in
the months since the election, and the United States and European
governments have refused to recognize the election results or sanction
travel of Mugabe and his top lieutenants. But Mugabe has not wavered.
.
"It is sad that nothing is improving in that nation," said Don McKinnon, the
secretary-general of the Commonwealth, a coalition of 54 nations, many of
them former British colonies, which suspended Zimbabwe for a year in March.
"We have done more than anyone, but I cannot say that anything that we have
done has had any effect on putting the government on another course of
action," he said in London last weekend.
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Inflation Blamed For Ballooning Production Costs


George Chisoko, Business Editor

Galloping inflation, put at over 122 percent by the Central Statistical Office, has pushed up the cost of production in various sectors of the economy, with agriculture now needing a huge injection of almost $230 billion to finance cropping in the coming season.

Communal and resettlement farmers' alone need to invest $150 billion in summer crops while indigenous commercial farmers have put their investment at $78 billion.

The Zimbabwe Farmers Union, the representative body of communal and resettlement farmers, blamed the high inflationary environment for the ballooning cost of agricultural production.

Inflation has not only impacted negatively on agriculture but various sectors of the economy have received some battering.

ZFU director, Mr Sylvester Tsikisayi said their active membership, estimated at over 500 000 countrywide would have to invest $150 billion in cropping, up from $35 billion last season.

"This huge financial investment has been brought largely by inflation, which has seen prices of agricultural inputs escalating beyond the reach of many communal farmers."

A financial analyst with a local merchant bank said the high inflationary environment would certainly affect funding for farmers.

"The consequences of high inflation in the agriculture sector are very dire as input costs will go up. One can only expect that farmers get higher prices for their produce."

Mr Tsikisayi, an accomplished agricultural economist said the $150 billion required in the communal and resettlement sector excluded the cost of labour but was money that would take care of seed, fertilisers, chemicals and tillage.

At least $40 billion was needed to finance maize production and with many farmers emerging from a drought, the injection of external funds has become more important than before.

In the absence of support from commercial banks, the drought has meant that farmers would find it difficult to mobilise own resources to buy farming inputs.

Prices for the provision of tillage have increased to $10 000 a hectare while a 50 kg bag of fertiliser now cost around $3 000 from $1 500.

A 25 kg bag of the most expensive maize seed costs $3 283 while the cheapest is almost $2 000 and for 10 kg bags, the cheapest is selling for $748 while the most expensive is going for $1 329.

Most communal farmers have between two to three acres of land, which translates to a hectare. A 25-kg bag of maize seed would be enough for a hectare.

Farmers resettled under model A2 have between 25 hectares and 250 ha of land and these would require much more seed, which also means a big cost.

The Government is providing inputs through its multi-billion inputs scheme but cannot, on its own, meet the full requirements of the several thousands of new farmers that land reform has created.

"There is need for other players, such as commercial banks to come in to support farmers. Commercial banks should, in fact come in a big way although it is unfortunate that they have indicated a reluctance to lend to farmers without the traditional collateral.

"While we are still engaged in talks with the banks, we call on them to consider treating livestock as collateral. If banks cannot support farming, then productivity will be severely affected," said Mr Tsikisayi.

The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe last week said it was putting together a draft on how best to support resettled farmers.

Although funding remains an integral component of agricultural production, there is need to have input suppliers adequately equipped for the season.

Fertiliser companies, Windmill and ZFC have already assured the nation of adequate stocks to meet the needs of farmers despite the shortage of foreign currency.

Farmers resettled under model A2 scheme fall under the ICFU while the ZFU represent those under model A1 and others.


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Twenty-Two Years Needed to Clear IMF Arrears


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Financial Gazette (Harare)

July 4, 2002
Posted to the web July 5, 2002

Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE has paid US$3 million ($165 million) since the beginning of the year or just two percent of the outstanding payments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but analysts say it will take more than 22 years to clear the country's arrears with the Bretton Woods institution.

According to a report released last week, Zimbabwe - which was last month suspended from accessing IMF technical assistance over its failure to settle arrears to the Bretton Woods institution - had made two quarterly payments of US$1.5 million to the Fund since January 2002.

Another payment of US$1.5 million was made in the last quarter of 2001.

"It should be noted that government made an interim commitment to pay US$1.5 million quarterly payments to the Fund," the report said.

"The payments for the last quarter of 2001 as well as the first and second quarters of 2002 have been made."

But the payments failed to save Zimbabwe from being suspended by the IMF over non-payment of scheduled amounts, estimated at more than US$132 million at the end of May this year.

The report said the government was committed to reducing its arrears with the IMF to 2001 levels but noted that this required additional measures to generate foreign exchange through increased exports and stabilising macroeconomic fundamentals.

Privatisation proceeds would be used to support increased hard cash availability and create additional capacity for meeting Zimbabwe's external arrears.

Finance Minister Simba Makoni projected in the 2002 national budget that the government would raise $40.9 billion this year from the sale of public enterprises.

Financial analysts this week said it would take Zimbabwe about 22 years to clear its IMF arrears if it maintains the US$1.5 million quarterly payments.

"US$6 million a year is rather small but that is an indication that the country is unable to afford to pay more than that," said an analyst with Sagit Stockbrokers.

Business Professor Anthony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe added: "This is just the tip of the iceberg because the country also owes other multilateral institutions like the World Bank and African Development Bank."

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Zim Loses $55 Billion


The Herald (Harare) Govt paper

July 5, 2002
Posted to the web July 5, 2002

ZIMBABWE has lost close to US$1 billion (Z$55 billion) in money laundering in the last six years triggering the National Economic Consultative Forum to call for the tightening of laws that deal with corruption.

NECF said after a meeting yesterday that existing laws were fragmented and cumbersome when it came to effectively dealing with the growing problems of money laundering, hoarding of basic foodstuffs and illegal foreign currency dealing.

"We met to come up with a programme of action," Mr Nhlanhla Masuku told journalists after the meeting.

"We also discussed the Money Laundering Bill and progress made in the creation of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission."

The Money Laundering Bill was now ready to be presented to Parliament for debate.

"Money laundering has become one of the biggest crimes. It is estimated that over the past 6 years, up to US$1 billion has been laundered," he said.

"It (Bill) will greatly assist law enforcement agents in arresting the criminals," said Mr Masuku.

The present laws, he said, had many loopholes and were failing to deter crimes related to these problems.

Money laundering involves converting illegally obtained funds into legal ones.

"Enforcement of our existing laws could be better. We are requesting the police to proceed with arrests of culprits in the private and public sector to make them accountable."

An anti-corruption taskforce of the forum met yesterday to discuss what Mr Masuku described as the "foreign currency mayhem".

He said the taskforce discussed issues related to gold leakage, hoarding of basic foodstuffs, export funds leakage, corruption, money laundering and law enforcement to curb the crimes.

The Anti-Corruption Commission, said Mr Masuku, has to be supported by appropriate legislation to make it effective in fighting graft.

The taskforce also recommended that a meeting be held to discuss legislative grey areas in the management of foreign currency.

"These loopholes must be closed," he said.

"A report will be given to this taskforce when we meet on July 18."

However, Mr Masuku acknowledged that the slapping of punitive measures to curb illegal foreign currency trading was not enough on its own.

"We did recommend certain policy interventions in order to deal with it from all relevant angles," he said.

The Government is accusing the private sector of hoarding basic foodstuffs in what it believes is a well-calculated move to undermine it.

"A war of words has been traded," he said.

"But, it's really a question of good faith, whether all stakeholders are carrying out their duties in good faith."

Some existing laws like the Serious Offences Act were cumbersome and complicated when it came to dealing with crimes related to illegal foreign currency dealing and money laundering.

This, said Mr Masuku, had prompted the taskforce to push for a Money Laundering Bill and the creation of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mr Masuku said fines were not acting as a deterrent to crime.

"We need adequate deterrent sanctions to deal with money laundering. Fines are too low and less punitive."

He cited Botswana's case where if a criminal steals a car worth $4 million, the law in that country requires him to pay bail equivalent to the value of the car he would have stolen.

This, he said, acted as deterrent to car thefts.

He blamed the International Monetary Fund policies for economic problems which Zimbabwe is now facing.

"Esap policies have brought these problems," he said.

"The results we were promised of more export growth, more jobs, never happened.

"The policies were badly researched and lacking elementary research. Where is IMF now? We are suffering here and they are in Washington."

Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of foreign currency and basic commodities, a situation the Government says is largely due to hoarding by the private sector for speculative purposes.

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Harare is world's 4th most expensive city
Tokyo remains the world's most expensive city, though Harare has shot up to fourth place on rampant inflation while Buenos Aires has tumbled to 120th after the devaluation of the peso, according to a survey.
The three costliest cities in the world are still found in Asia - Tokyo, Osaka Kobe in Japan and Hong Kong - unchanged from last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit said in its Worldwide Cost of Living survey.
But one surprise contender for the title of the world's priciest city was the Zimbabwean capital, which surged to number four from 120th last year, according to the survey, which excludes housing costs.
"With inflation of over 100%, shortages of goods on the shelves and a government doggedly holding on to an overvalued exchange-rate peg, Harare has risen from 120th a year ago to fourth this time round, joining the perennially expensive Libreville in sixth," the report's author Bill Ridgers said.
"Conversely, the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, has plummeted from 22nd to (the) 120th most expensive city," he added.
"This mainly reflects differing exchange rate policies.
"Whereas the Argentine peso has been allowed to devalue, the Zimbabwean government has doggedly held the Zimbabwean dollar's peg to the US dollar despite inflation running at over 100%," Ridgers said.
The most expensive European city remains Oslo at number five, while London is the priciest in the European Union in eighth place, shared with Zurich.
New York tops the North American cities in seventh place, unchanged from last year, followed by Chicago at number 10.
AFP
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