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

From Reuters, 17 March

Zimbabwe arms saga raises questions over govt role

By John Chiahemen

Johannesburg - The planned trial of suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe could
raise embarrassing questions for the government over their alleged bid to
buy weapons illegally from the state, defence analysts say. The key question
will centre on what role President Robert Mugabe's senior aides played in
any plans to procure weapons from state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries
(ZDI), a cash-strapped agency under the firm grip of the government. The
analysts told Reuters on Wednesday that proceedings against the 70 men, who
were charged on Tuesday, could throw a spotlight on what one called "the
murky operations of the ZDI". "Certainly it does raise some questions and it
might expose some more about the activities of the ZDI that the government
will regret later," said Richard Cornwell, head of the Pretoria-based Africa
Security and Analysis Programme. The group of South Africans, Namibians,
Angolans, Congolese and a Zimbabwean are charged with conspiring to murder
the president of Equatorial Guinea in an alleged plot to topple the
government of the oil-rich African state. They also face charges under
Zimbabwe's immigration and firearms laws after authorities seized their
plane in Harare on March 7 and said they tried to procure weapons from the
ZDI. The authorities have not elaborated on the arms procurement
allegations.

Experts said it was difficult to imagine the ZDI would agree a deal to sell
arms without the approval of senior government or party officials or without
an end-user certificate specifying the final destination of the weapons.
"There is no way they are going to be able to sell it to anybody without an
end-user certificate or at least some government backing," said Herman van
der Linde of private think-tank Executive Research Associates, also in
Pretoria. Interior Minister Kembo Mohadi has suggested that Zimbabwe
authorities had monitored the alleged procurement deal and moved in on the
group after suspecting "a sinister motive". He did not elaborate but legal
experts said that suggestion could be put to the test in court. Cornwell
said the trial could lead to public scrutiny of other activities of the ZDI,
mainly in its role in arms brokerage and dealings across Africa and
elsewhere. "ZDI is involved not only in the manufacture of arms but also in
a significant amount of brokerage of third-party arms," Cornwell told
Reuters. The Zimbabwe government used the ZDI to provide the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe soldiers with military supplies when Mugabe
sent thousands of troops to back the late President Laurent Kabila against
rebels in 1998. ZDI has been in financial straits since the Kinshasa
government failed to come up with promised payments for the support,
military analysts said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

IOL

Mugabe is no puppet, says Mbeki

      March 18 2004 at 03:24PM

Pietermaritzburg - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday defended
his so-called policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, saying the
crisis there would take time to resolve and that President Robert Mugabe did
not take instructions from him.

"Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe does not take instructions from me," the
Sapa news agency quoted Mbeki as saying during an election campaign in
eastern KwaZulu-Natal province for South Africa's April 14 polls.

He added: "I discuss matters with them as a neighbour."

Mbeki has come under fire from political detractors for his stance on South
Africa's northern neighbour, plunged into crisis after presidential
elections in March 2002 that returned Mugabe to power, the results of which
international observers and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai alleged were
rigged.

Zimbabwe is currently in the grip of its worst economic crisis, with
inflation at more than 622 percent, 70-percent unemployment and critical
shortages of fuel, medicine and food.

The crisis can only be solved once formal talks between the two groups
begin, Mbeki said.

"One has reason to believe that formal talks would bring a speedy resolve,"
Mbeki said.

South Africa and Nigeria brokered talks between the two sides in May 2002,
but these collapsed after succeeding only in drafting an agenda.

Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) pulled
out of the talks after the opposition filed a lawsuit challenging Mugabe's
legitimacy after the 2002 presidential elections.

Mugabe has ruled out dialogue with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) until the opposition withdraws its election litigation and
recognises him as the legitimate head of state.

Mugabe slammed the door on proposed fresh negotiations with the MDC last
month, dealing a new blow to the "quiet diplomacy" tack taken by South
Africa to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis.

Mbeki was critical of some South Africans insisting on an immediate
solution.

Mbeki said Palestine and Northern Ireland had been riddled with conflict for
decades, but, according to the South African leader, there were no
complaints from anyone.

"Palestine has had problems since the 1940s but nobody complains," he said.

"And what about Northern Ireland? Nobody complains that Tony Blair's
diplomacy is not working. They speak about my quiet diplomacy (towards
Zimbabwe), but no diplomacy is loud."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters

Zimbabwe May Try 'Mercenaries' in Prison-Sources

      March 18 - By Cris Chinaka
      HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's trial of 70 suspected mercenaries
charged with plotting to kill the president of Equatorial Guinea may begin
in the top-security prison where they are held, government sources said on
Thursday.

      But a lawyer representing the detained men said he would make an
urgent court application if necessary to ensure the men were brought to an
ordinary open court.

      Lawyer Jonathan Samkange said the state had laid fresh charges on
Thursday against the 70 under the Foreign Subversive Organization Act which
criminalises activities that seek to overthrow governments of states
recognized by Zimbabwe. Samkange said the charge was "obsolete"' in the
present case.

      The men -- from South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Democratic Republic of
Congo and one from Zimbabwe -- were arrested on March 7 after their
U.S.-registered Boeing 727 plane landed in Harare and was seized by
Zimbabwean authorities.

      The men say they were heading to Congo to guard mines. But Zimbabwe
maintains they were on a mission to oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and has charged them with plotting to
murder him and his bodyguards.

      Samkange has dismissed the coup charge as "fictional" and questioned
whether it can be brought under Zimbabwean law.

      The state also charged the men under immigration and firearms laws
over accusations their plane landed in Harare with a false declaration and
that they intended to pick up weapons from state-owned Zimbabwe Defense
Industries (ZDI).

      These charges attract a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, although
Zimbabwe officials have indicated the men could face more severe
penalties -- including death -- under other charges being considered,
including possible charges brought under tough security laws.

      Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act, enacted in 2002, provides
for a variety of charges relating to crimes deemed to threaten state
security, and the southern African country's acting chief prosecutor has
said other charges might follow.

      On Thursday, government sources said the state might decide to send a
magistrate to Zimbabwe's maximum security prison where the men are held to
hear charges against them.

      "This a case of terrorism, a case involving sensitive security
issues... and it might be best at this stage to charge the men where they
are being held," one source told Reuters.

      Samkange said defense lawyers had rejected the proposal on Thursday,
and would file an urgent application the next day if the state did not agree
to an open court appearance.

      "This is not a court martial... there is no basis for not bringing
them to an open court. This case has aroused a lot of interest and we have
an obligation to see that these guys get a fair trial in an open court,"
Samkange told Reuters.

      Under Zimbabwe's immigration laws, the men can be held for two weeks
before a court hearing. Samkange said state lawyers had indicated the
suspects had only been served with a warrant of detention four days after
their arrest, meaning they could be held until next Thursday.

      Regional defense analysts say the planned trial of the suspects could
raise embarrassing questions for the government over their reported bid to
buy weapons illegally from the state.

      Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer,
says it has arrested 20 men it says were part of an advance party in the
coup plot. It said the operation was funded by foreign powers and
multinational firms to put an exiled opposition politician into power.

      (Additional reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Scotsman

Mp's Plea for Ex-Sas Man Held in Zimbabwe

By Vivienne Morgan, Political Staff, PA News

The detention of a British former SAS officer in Zimbabwe on suspicion of
aiding a coup against another African country was denounced as
"extraordinary" in the Commons today.

Old Etonian Simon Mann, 46, was among 64 men arrested at Harare
International Airport and accused of being mercenaries, hired to help
overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea. He could face the death
sentence.

The men say they were headed to eastern Congo to work at mining operations.

During exchanges on future Commons business, Tory Henry Bellingham (Norfolk
NW) said it was an "extraordinary" situation.

"Mr Mann may be an adventurer but if he was going to launch a coup against
Equatorial Guinea he would hardly start it in Zimbabwe.

"He is currently imprisoned in squalid conditions, possibly facing the death
penalty.

"Has the High Commission been to see him. Have consular officials offered
him any support at all?"

Commons Leader Peter Hain replied: "I'm not aware of the detailed consular
arrangements that have applied, but obviously British citizens are entitled
to full consular access and support whatever their situation, whatever they
might or might not have done.

"I am sure that the Foreign Office will be wanting to take a close interest
in your request."

He added: "Indeed that situation is rather bizarre and pretty well
everything that happens in Zimbabwe at the moment is not just bizarre but
something more serious than that."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters

      18 Mar 2004 17:04:09 GMT
      Accused German mercenary dies in Eq.Guinea-diplomat

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

DAKAR, March 18 (Reuters) - A German citizen detained with other foreign
nationals in Equatorial Guinea accused of plotting a coup has died of
cerebral malaria, a Western diplomat in the oil-rich country said on
Thursday.

The man was one of 20 alleged mercenaries -- most of them from South
Africa -- arrested earlier this month in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo
on accusations of scheming to topple President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo. The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters by
phone from Malabo that none of the other detainees appeared to be in poor
health.

Officials in Equatorial Guinea and Germany were not immediately available
for comment.

Earlier South Africa said in a statement it had been told by Equatorial
Guinea that there was no truth to a Spanish newspaper report that one of the
South Africans held, Nick du Toit, had died of torture on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe has arrested another 70 men it accuses of being involved in the
same alleged plot against Obiang after their Boeing 727 was seized at
Harare's main airport on March 7.

Obiang, who seized power from his uncle in 1979, has said the plot was
funded by foreign powers and multinational companies. His opponents accuse
him of stage-managing it to create a climate of fear ahead of April
elections.

Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, is sub-Saharan Africa's third
biggest oil producer. (additional rpeorting by Nick Shaxson)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 11:19 PM
Subject: Parliamentary Public Hearing Tuesday 23 March 10.30 am

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade will be conducting a final Public Hearing to prepare

A Rescue Plan for Industry and Commerce
TUESDAY 23 MARCH
10.00 for 10.30 am
at Parliament - Conference Room (Union Avenue entrance)

Interested members of the public are invited to attend.  Those who wish to
make submissions concerning these sectors, either as group representatives
or individuals, are advised to indicate to the secretariat on registration.
The Committee particularly welcomes oral submissions backed up by written
documents, although we will also receive both oral and written submissions
on their own.

Members of this Committee are the Honourables Chiyangwa (Chairman),
Chindanya, Chitongo, Kaukonde, Madzimure, Mukahlera, Mutsauri, Mzila Ndlovu,
FD Ncube and Stevenson.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank has been especially invited to attend.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Mutasa for presidency

      3/18/2004 7:02:43 AM (GMT +2)

      The fears, which underscore the potential for fissures within the
ruling party, have reportedly set ZANU PF bigwigs on a collision course.

      The internal feud was precipitated by the elevation of Mutasa, 68,
into President Mugabe's election Cabinet during the recent reshuffle. With
the ink barely dry on his appointment letter, Mutasa has already started
wielding the axe on corrupt leaders in both political and business circles.

      Mutasa, who many thought was in the twilight of his political career
dating back to the days of the liberation struggle, was thrust at the centre
of the anti-corruption crusade when he was appointed the Minister of State
responsible for Anti-Corruption. This was in line with the government's new
found quest to deal with the all-pervading graft in what is widely seen as a
thinly veiled move to soothe voter anger and fear of deprivation ahead of
the crucial 2005 Parliamentary elections.

      The appointment, which caught many by surprise, is seen as a deft move
to enable Mutasa to exert his influence and dominance among his ZANU PF
colleagues who rank among the country's most voracious acquirers of wealth
through corruption and political patronage.

      The public, which all along had been made to believe that for the rich
and powerful, justice is both blind and cheap, however remains largely
sceptical whether Mutasa would pursue the anti-graft crusade to its full
expression. Although he has a power base of his own, it remains to be seen
whether he has or will get sufficient political backing in his efforts to
rid the country of corruption.

      Sources within and outside ZANU PF were unanimous that President
Mugabe was tactfully heaving Mutasa, who became Zimbabwe's first black
Speaker of Parliament in 1980, to the post of vice-president left vacant
after the death last year of the ruling ZANU PF's godfather in Masvingo,
Simon Vengai Muzenda.

      Mutasa, the founder of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU)
Birmingham branch, had long coveted the number two job. Recently he openly
declared his interest in the post of vice-president, but the feeling within
the ruling party is that whoever fills that slot would stand a better chance
of succeeding President Mugabe.

      Mutasa was at one time tipped for the vice-presidency during the
run-up to the party's national conference in 2001 after the late
vice-president Muzenda had indicated that he wanted to resign. This move
however flopped after Muzenda had a change of heart on the pretext that he
wanted to see through the controversial land redistribution exercise.

      High-ranking ZANU PF sources said most senior party members were
baffled at Mutasa's appointment and discussion on his role in the whole
anti-graft crusade was taking place in dark rooms. This had caused confusion
and friction among party heavyweights in the succession race. Still,
jockeying was now intensifying, as it was widely believed in the ruling
party that President Mugabe, who had previously insisted on a distant
departure date, was now seeing out his last term of office.

      But seemingly unperturbed by his colleagues' manoeuvres, Mutasa, a
known loose and provocative political tongue, told The Financial Gazette
this week that the other ZANU PF cadres were free to discuss whatever they
wished.

      "You probably have to ask the President (Mugabe) about that one,"
Mutasa said jokingly. "But on a serious note, I am not an individualist and
I will accept any position of power bestowed upon me by either the President
or my colleagues as long as I see that I am suitable and up to the task. Let
them continue discussing my appointment. They are free and are at liberty to
do so."

      Pressed to state categorically whether he was still interested in the
post of vice-president, Mutasa retorted: "The decision lies with the people
of ZANU PF whether they want me there or not."

      But last year the veteran politician did not mince his words. Then the
government-owned media quoted him saying: "If anyone proffered my name for
that position, I would first thank that person and readily accept the
offer." This was interpreted to mean that he might have known that he was
poised to be appointed to the key position.

      Last month, President Mugabe poured cold water on speculation on his
likely chosen successor when he deliberately did not appoint a second
vice-president in his cosmetic Cabinet reshuffle, turning the succession
race into a fierce internal battle.

      Instead, the President threw a political lifeline to old colleagues
like Mutasa, who had spent almost nine years in political oblivion.

      Already a number of politicians and bankers perceived to have strong
links to the President's perceived choice of successor, Parliamentary
Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, have been quizzed by the police in the ongoing
corruption blitz that has sent shivers down the spines of ZANU PF bigwigs.

      Sources said most senior party members were baffled at Mutasa's
appointment and discussion on his role in the whole anti-graft crusade was
taking place in dark rooms.

      "It's now a whole new ball game after Mutasa was incorporated into the
Cabinet," the source said. "His position to look for skeletons in other
people's closets may see some of those eyeing the post being caught up in
this whole corruption thing. But what remains to be seen is whether Mutasa
himself will not be caught up as well."

      Another source said the contentious succession debate was likely to
turn nasty ahead of the planned ZANU PF congress slated for December as
party members were now bent on digging dirt on each other to please
President Mugabe.

      "Already there is friction among party members," the source said. "But
I think as a tradition the President has always tried to please all
provinces by appointing senior members of the provinces into the Cabinet.
But it's going to be a dog eat dog situation this year before the Congress
in December."

      Names being bandied around as the front-runners for the late Muzenda's
post include Mnangagwa, Minister of State responsible for Lands John Nkomo,
and Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

      It is also being speculated that incumbent vice Ppresident Joseph
Msika, who has been flexing his muscles lately, will retire together with
President Mugabe, paving way for Nkomo, who holds the third most senior
party position as national chairman.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Bank turmoil sinks equities deeper

      Staff Reporter
      3/18/2004 7:04:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE equities market was driven further into nether territory this
week, amid a worsening financial sector crisis that rocked Intermarket
Holdings Limited and the listed Barbican Holdings Limited.

      The benchmark industrial index retreated eight percent, while the
mining index sank by 15 percent in the week.

      Another week saw another financial counter being suspended from
trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), raising fears that the
collapse of some banking institutions, which was held back in January, was
imminent.

      Significant losses were recorded in heavyweight bellwether stocks this
week, with Old Mutual taking a breather and shedding $355, to close at a
flat $6 000.

      The financial giant announced management changes during the week,
following the retirement of long serving chief executive officer Graham
Hollick, who has been replaced by Luke Ngwerume.

      Delta, PPC, Apex, ABCH, Innscor and Meikles, which lost
      $1 050 to end the week at $2 300, were other notable losers.

      There were gains in Zimsun, which rebounded from last week's low of $7
to $18, Falcon put on
      $1 500 to close at $7 500, while Kingdom bucked the sliding trend in
financials to close at $47.50, up from $30.

      Excellent results produced by Celsys, which registered a mammoth 8 000
percent growth in earnings, and NicozDiamond failed to bring excitement to
the market and the two counters traded largely unchanged during the week.

      Stock market analysts said uncertainty over the levels where
investment rates will eventually settle was affecting the stock market.

      There has been a dearth of institutional investors on the market,
despite the fact that the ZSE average price to earnings ratio has been at
its lowest in years.

      Asset management companies, which handled much of the investments in
stocks, are yet to be sanctioned under the new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) regulations, robbing the market of key players.

      Firming money market rates have also further compounded the stock
market's woes.

      Tuesday's RBZ finance bill tender, which sought to suck $60 billion
from the market and had the novelty of inviting bids from individual members
of the public, attracted bids amounting to $101 billion.

      The highest bid rate was 400 percent, with the lowest being 315
percent, giving an average yield of 317.11 percent.

      Money market dealers said yesterday the unprecedented move by the
central bank to allow direct bids by the public would circumvent financial
institutions that had traditionally acted as intermediaries in the short
market.

      "I also think this will create further shortages, and trigger the
switch of funds from other investment destinations," a money market dealer
said.

      The market opened the week $215 billion short and was forecast to have
a $146.4 billion deficit on Tuesday.

      Investment rates for the seven- to 14-day period ranged between 250
percent and 300 percent in the week, while the 30- to 90-day deposits were
being quoted at around 230 percent and 270 percent.

      Monday's foreign currency auction saw the local currency weakening
marginally against the major currencies.

      The weighted average auction rate for the local unit against the
United States dollar was $4 239.66, a marginal change from $4 211.71 to the
greenback at the previous auction.

      The Zimbabwe dollar was quoted at $631 to the South African rand, $7
834 to the British pound, $5 205.45 to the euro and $870.61 to the Botswana
pula.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      'Inflation drop can be sustained'

      Staff Reporter
      3/18/2004 7:06:24 AM (GMT +2)

      THE decline in the year-on-year inflation rate can be sustained, but
not necessarily to levels predicted by the central bank, if the country
receives steady foreign currency inflows at a predictable rate of exchange,
analysts said.

      Inflation, described as the worst evil confronting the Zimbabwean
economy, went down by 20.3 percentage points last month in what could be an
arithmetic decline devoid of underlying fundamentals.

      Analysts said the stability on the foreign currency market during the
first two months of the introduction of the foreign currency auction system
has also eased pressure on inflation.

      David Mpamhadzi, group economist for Trust Holdings, said the
inflation outlook would be dependent on developments on the foreign currency
market, particularly in the first half of the year.

      If the foreign currency market remains under pressure, mostly due to a
ballooning import bill estimated at around US$200 million a month, inflation
could go up again, flying in the face of the monetary authorities who are
anticipating it to end the year at between 170 percent and 200 percent.

      Inflation has been on an upward spiral since June 2003 with economic
pundits predicting it could breach the 1 000 percent mark by the end of
2003.

      The scourge has however slowed down twice in the past four months,
first in December 2003, when it decreased from 625 percent to 598.7 percent,
before rising again.

      In February, the rate went down from 622.8 percent to 602.5 percent
with the month-on-month food inflation easing by 10.2 percentage points to
3.5 percent.

      John Robertson, a local economic consultant, said inflation was slated
to rise owing to the ballooning budget deficit and impending food shortages.

      "Food scarcity and government fiscal problems are likely to push
inflation up again. Furthermore, the amount of foreign currency being earned
is not sufficient to meet importers' demand, to fund government budget
deficit and meet food import requirements," Robertson said.

      Others, however, welcomed the tightening of money supply growth as a
positive step that would bring down inflation. Firming interest rates have
had the effect of clamping down credit expansion, especially for speculative
consumption.

      Short-term interest rates have recently started going up and are
currently around 250 percent, on the back of intervention by the central
bank.

      "Key to driving down inflation is the exchange rate. Prices of basic
commodities, which have been major drivers of inflation, hinge around the
exchange rate," said Mupamhadzi.

      "If managed below $4 500 against the United States dollar, it (the
exchange rate) will have a positive knock on effect on inflation," he said.
"The parallel market has sort of disappeared and this has changed
expectations in terms of price determinations, but the outlook for inflation
will largely depend on the behaviour of the exchange rate."

      Foreign currency inflows from exporters alone would not be sufficient,
hence other avenues of bringing foreign exchange into the country such as
tapping into Zimbabweans in the diaspora and attracting foreign investments
would be required.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Panic as Intermarket, Barbican close

      Nelson Banya
      3/18/2004 7:05:46 AM (GMT +2)

      LAST week's terrorist attacks in Spain, which claimed the lives of 200
people reverberated in the major global markets, but for Zimbabwe's
financial sector, the Ides of March were to bring further turmoil to the
troubled sector at a time when most thought the worst was over.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week moved to weed out weak
financial institutions from the sector, at the same time confirming fears
that problems in the sector ran deeper.

      First to come under the central bank's surgical scalpel were three
Intermarket Holdings Limited subsidiaries - Intermarket Discount House,
Intermarket Building Society and Intermarket Banking Corporation - which
were closed and placed under a six-month curatorship.

      Then Barbican Holdings Limited's flagship, Barbican Bank, was also
placed under curatorship, while Barbican Asset Management was closed for a
number of breaches of regulations.

      While Intermarket's problems have been well documented in recent
weeks, Barbican Bank's predicament took the market by surprise, coming as it
did after an announcement by management that they had repaid funds advanced
to the bank by the RBZ through the Troubled Banks' Fund.

      The developments have triggered a fresh round of sector-wide panic
withdrawals amid fears of a pervasive contagion effect emanating from the
affected institutions.

      Industry players have called on the central bank to issue clear
statements on the health of all banking institutions to allay investors'
fears and avert certain disaster as a result of the panic.

      "This is not the end. We can expect more of the smaller banks to meet
the same fate, but there are real fears of ripple effects in the whole
sector because even the bigger banks were exposed to these small
institutions.

      "I think they (RBZ) are aware of that, which is why they cannot go
full-scale," economist Best Doroh said.

      John Robertson said the latest developments showed that the RBZ's
intervention in January, which saw the central bank pouring billions of
dollars in liquidity aid for distressed banks, had met limited success.

      "We have serious defects in the financial sector, which cannot be
solved by flooding liquidity in the market without a clear comprehension of
the problems. This round of problems could be stopped by the RBZ once again
flooding the market, but they have realised that this does not work.

      "They need to get the whole story, but the unfortunate thing about
banking crises is that they create panic and even good and sound companies
suffer as a result. It is very difficult to predict what will happen next,"
Robertson said.

      An economist with a local commercial bank said the latest action by
the central bank might mean that the regulator had run out of patience with
some banking institutions.

      He added that this might also sound the death knell for locally owned
banks, which have borne the brunt of the reorganisation of the financial
sector.

      "The depositors' flight to quality is not likely to be reversed. So
while the RBZ might be moving towards restoring confidence in the sector, I
do not see depositors returning in a hurry," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Chombo readies to appoint commission

      Thomas Madondoro
      3/18/2004 7:06:55 AM (GMT +2)

      EMBATTLED Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri could be on his way out
as it emerged that a commission headed by Sekesayi Makwavarara, this week
suspended from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would be
appointed in the next few weeks to run the affairs of the capital city.

      It would be the second commission to descend on Town House in five
years in what appears to be a grand plan by the ruling ZANU PF to silence
its main rival, the MDC in Harare, ahead of the 2005 parliamentary
elections.

      The ZANU PF government, aware of the resistance building up at the
MDC-dominated Civic Centre in Bulawayo against the city's first provincial
governor, is determined to prepare a soft landing pad for Witness Mangwende,
who was last month appointed the first governor for Harare.

      Highly placed sources told The Financial Gazette this week that Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has been tight-lipped about the
contents of a report submitted by a taskforce appointed to investigate the
goings-on at the council, has made up his mind on the fate of the
Mudzuri-led council.

      Chombo, who has been at loggerheads with the MDC-dominated council
since its arrival in 2000, is likely to cite maladministration, corruption
and failure to solve the perennial water crisis in Harare as some of the
reasons to justify the appointment of the commission. The city's books have
also not been audited since 2001.

      The choice of acting mayor Makwavarara as head of the commission is
likely to cause a further rift within the opposition party and cause
confusion among the urbanites, who strongly rallied behind the MDC in
previous elections.

      Makwavarara was this week suspended from the MDC and a recommendation
was made to have her expelled from the party.

      Makwavarara has been the acting mayor for Harare since the suspension
of Mudzuri in April 2003, but she has been under fire from MDC members, who
accuse her of working against the interests of the party.

      Chombo could not deny nor confirm the latest developments when
contacted for comment this week.

      He said he was still studying a report compiled by the Kurasha
taskforce, which is said to have advised the government to intervene before
the situation at Town House got out of hand.

      "The whole process will be concluded by Tuesday next week. If the
mayor (Mudzuri) wants to challenge the findings of the taskforce, he is free
to do so. After that, I will start implementing the recommendations in the
report," Chombo said.

      Mudzuri told The Financial Gazette this week that the government was
capable of doing anything.

      "There is nothing impossible with this government. They can do
anything without following the law. Residents will soon realise that the
government does not respect a democratically elected council," he said.

      Citing an example, Mudzuri said the government had proceeded to
appoint new governors for Harare and Bulawayo yet the constitution only has
a provision for eight governors.

      "If they decide to follow the law, they should hold elections within
six months after the appointment of a commission," added Mudzuri.

      In 1999, the government dismissed the entire council headed by its
first executive mayor, Solomon Tawengwa of ZANU PF, and replaced it with a
commission led by former diplomat Elijah Chanakira.

      The Chanakira Commission left Town House in 2002 after the expiry of
its term of office and was replaced by Mudzuri's team.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Farm invaders storm water bottling firm

      3/18/2004 7:07:29 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S first water bottling company, Glendale Spring,, is
teetering on the verge of collapse after marauding farm invaders stopped
repair work at the plant which was mysteriously gutted down by fire last
year.

      The invaders brought repair work at the factory to a standstill,
raising fears that Glendale Spring could be forced to retrench its entire
workforce of 31 employees.

      Glendale Spring operations manager Nicodemus Musakasa confirmed that
the company had been stopped twice from rebuilding its factory.

      It has emerged that the invaders were planning to take over the
factory, but hesitated when they learnt that a consortium of indigenous
businesspeople trading as Harambe Holdings, had bought the business.

      Former Mashonaland Chamber of Industries president David Govere heads
Harambe Holdings, which has been operating the plant for the past year.

      "Settlers allocated land at a nearby farm were not helping by
switching off electricity, totting guns and generally making it
uncomfortable for the employees and builders involved in reconstructing the
plant," said a source.

      The invasion follows a mysterious incident in December last year when
the factory, which has so far cost the company $70 million in repairs, was
completely razed by a fire whose origins could not be established.

      Musakasa said they have been complying with the authorities in the
Mazowe District to ensure the impasse is resolved and believes
reconstruction could start soon now that the Mashonaland East provincial
governor, Ephraim Masawi, has promised to intervene.

      Masawi could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

      Musakasa said the employees at the factory have been receiving their
salaries since December. - Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      ZANU PF won't flinch at boycott threat

      Cyril Zenda
      3/18/2004 7:08:33 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF, known for its blatant egotism and flagrant
disregard for the voice of reason, is unlikely to flinch at threats by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to boycott the 2005
parliamentary election, analysts said this week.

      The MDC resolved last week that it would not participate in the poll
unless its demands for a free and fair plebiscite are met.

      Analysts said while the MDC had a point in insisting on a level
playing field, ZANU PF, just like other ruling African political parties,
thrived on poll boycotts and undemocratic electoral laws.

      They said with or without the participation of the MDC, ZANU PF could
always argue to the rest of the world, as it has done in the past, that all
the due processes of electoral law in Zimbabwe had been followed to the dot.

      For ZANU PF, which has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain
in 1980, an MDC boycott could turn out to be a carbon-copy of the 1996
presidential poll when Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the African National Congress
and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole of ZANU Ndonga tried to pull out of the
election.

      President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF, which is under pressure to
win the 2005 ballot at all costs and possibly give its leader the confidence
to relinquish power before the 2008 presidential election, went ahead with
the voting process and won by nearly 100 percent.

      MDC sympathisers are adamant that ZANU PF will always emerge
victorious by hook or by crook if next year's election is held under the
current electoral laws.

      They say the MDC could save lives by pulling out of the race on time
and avoiding bloody clashes against ZANU PF supporters, known to enjoy
sympathies of the law enforcement agencies and the government-owned media.

      Other analysts say with public sentiment against it in a deteriorating
economy where poverty is afflicting 70 percent of the 13 million population
and worsening, ZANU PF could yet yield to pressure to amend the electoral
laws.

      University of Zimbabwe lecturer Joseph Kurebwa said the decision by
the MDC to boycott next year's general election unless certain conditions
were met could work in favour of ZANU PF and render the opposition party
irrelevant.

      The resolve by the MDC, the only opposition party that has posed a
serious challenge to ZANU PF's rule, could also be the last nail in the
coffin of Zimbabwe's nascent democracy as this would give the ruling party
the leeway to do whatever it wanted, he said.

      "They (MDC) are just bluffing . . . there is no way they would change
things by boycotting the elections when they are the main opposition party
in the country," said Kurebwa. "If anything, this will render them
irrelevant."

      Another University of Zimbabwe lecturer and chairman of the Zimbabwe
Integrated Programme, Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said there was nothing the
opposition party would gain by refusing to contest the election. Such a
decision, he said, would only widen the rift between it and ZANU PF.

      "I don't see any advantages they will get from boycotting the
election," Dzinotyiwei said. "This will only further widen the gap between
the MDC and ZANU PF and chances of any dialogue will disappear."

      The MDC national executive met last week and resolved that unless the
government met a number of conditions - the most important being a levelling
of the playing field - the party would not take part in any future polls.

      The party resolved that for it to participate in any future elections,
President Mugabe's government would first have to demonstrate genuine
efforts to ensure that polls in Zimbabwe met internationally accepted
standards.

      "The MDC, through its national executive, has resolved to reserve the
party's right to take part in the 2005 parliamentary election unless there
is genuine commitment from the Mugabe regime to run the polls in accordance
with universally accepted norms and standards," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said last week.

      Demands from the MDC include the setting up of an independent
electoral body, the supply of electronic copies of the voters' roll to all
interested parties, the repeal of draconian laws such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security
Act as well as the disbanding of youth militias.

      In addition, the party is demanding that voting should take place in
one day, that counting should take place at polling stations and that
transparent ballot boxes and visible, indelible ink should be used in all
polls.

      It is also demanding amendment of the Electoral Act to bring it in
line with the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum's
electoral standards and norms as well as the re-opening of the Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe.

      The party said it was, together with several other civic groups,
planning "rolling mass actions" to force the government to agree to its
demands.

      Since independence, opposition parties in Zimbabwe have blamed their
defeat on flawed electoral laws, alleged massive rigging by ZANU PF and
untold violence.

      Kurebwa said judging from past experience, ZANU PF would not easily
bow to the opposition's demands, especially if the demands took away some
advantages it enjoyed from the current electoral system.

      "ZANU PF has shown that it is willing to go on its own," Kurebwa said.
"Look at the 1996 presidential elections where Muzorewa and Sithole tried to
pull out of the election, but ZANU PF went ahead with the elections and won
by about 100 percent . . . and what happened after that?"

      Dzinotyiwei said it would be better for the MDC to try and influence
ZANU PF to embrace change when it had seats in Parliament than to do so from
outside.

      "While we realise the dilemma the opposition is facing when it comes
to dealing with ZANU PF, it is better for them to remain in Parliament . . .
being in Parliament gives them a foothold from where they can initiate
change," Dzinotyiwei said.

      But Alois Masepe, another political analyst, said boycotting elections
was one of the ways the opposition could effectively use to push President
Mugabe's government to agree to constitutional reforms.

      He said the main problem was that Zimbabwe's constitution was meant to
serve a one-party state and could not work in a multi-party democracy.

      "Boycotting elections is a political activity that can be used to
force the government to accept the wishes of the people," Masepe said.

      "But when they call for a boycott, they should make the people
understand why . . . they should be able to explain to the people the
reasons why they are not participating in an election and mobilise them not
to go and vote."

      He said with enough pressure from the masses, ZANU PF, as a party that
claims a background of liberating the people, would give in to the people's
demands.

      "Everyone in this country, including ZANU PF, agrees that the
constitution is a people's issue and it should be addressed before any free
and fair elections can take place," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Firms sue ZESA over blackout

      Staff Reporter
      3/18/2004 7:05:13 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Two Bulawayo firms, saddled with combined electricity bills
of about $1 billion, have dragged the national power utility to court after
being forced to close shop following a disconnection of supplies.

      The two firms - O Connolly and NIMR & Chapman - last week filed urgent
court applications with the Bulawayo High Court to force the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to restore supplies.

      Both companies are disputing the huge electricity bills and have
temporarily sent workers home.

      It also emerged yesterday that Pretoria Portland Cement, the largest
producer of cement in Zimbabwe, was in talks with ZESA to find ways of
settling its debt.

      Information at hand indicates that the two urgent applications were
filed separately at the Bulawayo High Court after the firms received the
"shocking" electricity bills for the past month.

      Justice Nicholas Ndou, in his chambers, heard the O Connolly
application last Friday and a judgment on the matter is due before the end
of the month.

      The case of NIMR & Chapman has been postponed to a later date.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      ZANU PF in bid to pull rug from under MDC

      Brian Mangwende
      3/18/2004 7:09:08 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF party, clutching at straws and desperate to reclaim
urban constituencies in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, has pulled
out an ace against opposition parties after it announced the demarcation of
the restive Harare and Bulawayo provinces.

      The development, seen as an attempt by the ruling party to amass extra
votes and penetrate the main opposition party's urban stronghold, could
cause confusion and weaken the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
has been technically shut out of the rural areas.

      Since independence, Harare and Bulawayo have never had governors,
while the remaining eight provinces were administered by provincial
administrators answerable to governors and resident ministers.

      It is common cause that Harare and Bulawayo are political power bases
of the MDC, but in relentless efforts to keep the opposition in check,
President Robert Mugabe (80), recently appointed the first governors to head
the provinces, courting confrontation with the opposition executive mayors
in the two major cities.

      The controversial appointment of the governors will help Zanu PF,
rejected by the urban voters for running down the economy, hold all the aces
in the event of an election.

      The decision, whose merits have not been fully explained to the
public, attracted widespread condemnation, but that has not deterred
President Mugabe's government, which is determined to repossess lost ground.

      The delimitation process is widely perceived as a way to dilute the
urban vote and lay firm groundwork for ZANU PF to finally take over the
provinces.

      Local authorities have since queried the government's intention and
sincerity in continuously creating boundaries, arguing that the move
destroyed social and cultural fabrics.

      Bulawayo Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube probably aptly
summarised the confusion surrounding the exercise. He said: "I welcome his
(Cain Mathema) appointment if it is to add value to the citizenry of
Bulawayo and so long as he sticks to state provincial issues such as
problems being experienced by people in trying to acquire birth
certificates, passports and other government documents.

      "My role is clearly stated in the Urban Councils Act - to deal with
civic issues of the city. I am not aware of the role of the new governor,
but I will be happy as the elected executive mayor of the city of Bulawayo
if he is going to ensure that the government pays us the nearly $3 billion
owed to us by various government departments," he added.

      Analysts this week viewed the demarcation of Harare and Bulawayo as
political provinces as a way to frustrate the MDC and penetrate its
structures with a view to dilute its influence.

      The MDC enjoys massive support in urban areas, where it clinched 57 of
the 120 contested parliamentary seats in the June 2000 parliamentary polls,
while ZANU PF boasts of hogging the rural vote.

      Defending the exercise, the government has in the past said expansion
or withdrawal of district and provincial boundaries fell under a new
national resettlement policy as an alternative way of decongesting
overpopulated areas across administrative borders.

      Last week, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said his ministry was
awaiting the promulgation of the district boundaries from the Local
Government Ministry "that would enable my ministry to put in place borders
and boundaries that would make it easy for the administration of the voting
process".

      Asked whether demarcation was not a way of diluting the urban vote,
Chinamasa said: "It's very clear there is fear in the MDC of losing the
upcoming elections. They have lost the goodwill of the people and are now
running scared.

      "They know they have lost out in quite a number of programmes
especially the land reform exercise and they want to play cat and mouse
games, saying they want to boycott the elections.

      "They don't want to be embarrassed, hence the funny ideas of
boycotting elections claiming the playing field is uneven. They will use all
sorts of excuses but that doesn't worry us."

      But political analyst Alois Masepe argued that the move - if not done
within the framework of a level playing field - could spell gloom and doom
for the opposition as much as it would be open to manipulation by the ruling
party.

      Masepe asked: "To whom does the delimitation committee ultimately
report? Who appoints them? Is the person they report to an interested party
in the whole process. For instance, is that person a contestant?

      "If the process is upside down then there is no democracy to talk
about. What they want to do is to mix the rural and urban voters and
manipulate votes. That is how vote-rigging begins."

      He queried why ZANU PF was so eager to tamper with boundaries in the
11th hour ahead of parliamentary elections pencilled before the end of March
2005.

      "We need to look at the move closely," another political analyst,
Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said.

      "Opposition parties need to look at this carefully so that they are
not short-changed if they decide to participate. Prior to all previous
elections as far back as I can remember, there has been an exercise of that
nature.

      "If the exercise is to be without prejudice, then there must be an
independent body in charge. The body should listen to everyone."

      He added: "We may see part of the urban areas being attached to the
rural areas and of course that will heavily impact on the outcome of any
election there. So there is a need to see what the ultimate goal is."

      Another analyst, Joseph Kurebwa, said the timing of the process was
suspicious and should be looked at with a hawk's eye.

      "Whether the timing is coincidental or by design beats me," Kurebwa
said.

      "But one thing for sure is that the ruling party wants to maximise its
chances during elections.

      "The major reason for appointing governors was to make sure that MDC
mayors are constantly under the direct scrutiny of ZANU PF."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

Comment

      Stinking scandal in mining sector

      3/18/2004 7:32:18 AM (GMT +2)

      SOMETHING is terribly wrong in the country's erstwhile vibrant mining
sector and it is screaming for attention. First, there was the disappearance
of billions of dollars worth of platinum belonging to Zimbabwe Platinum
Mines following a robbery in Johannesburg in October last year. This did not
however seem to evoke as much attention and concern over the looting of the
country's resources as it should have.

      If anything, the headline-grabbing incident could only provoke muted
responses from the authorities. Zimbabwe displayed a typical
one-swallow-does-not-make-a-summer attitude. The general feeling, it would
seem, was that it was just one of those things and there was no need to
press the panic button. Despite pledges for a thorough investigation by
former Mines Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga when The Financial Gazette
revealed the robbery, nothing has been heard of the probe. Needless to say,
the culprits have not yet been brought to book.

      But even before the dust settles, early this month, exactly five
months after the first heist and in similar circumstances, two trucks
ferrying nickel from Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) were hijacked in South
Africa. From our preliminary investigations, the 40 tonnes of nickel were
worth a staggering $2.5 billion, a top line ripple for even the mining
bellwether stock. Even more alarming was the attitude of both BNC and the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) which is responsible for
marketing most of the country's minerals. They both pushed the buck,
refusing to take responsibility for the lost nickel, which will certainly
not be the last shock to hit the scandal-prone mining sector.

      In what could only be described as a monumental public relations
disaster, the MMCZ only issued a statement after the theft had become public
knowledge following the Fingaz story. The statement was a poor way of
absolving the MMCZ, which should be equally responsible for the stolen
nickel. In fact there was a noticeable reluctance by both the MMCZ and BNC
to make this public. What did they have to hide? We also can not help but
wonder whether the MMCZ and BNC are aware of their "serious"
responsibilities?

      Simply put, the provision of adequate security could have mitigated
the risk. Far from suggesting that they literally delivered the nickel into
the hands of the hijackers, it is pertinent to point out that failure to
provide security, in this case, could never be a matter of inadvertency or
oversight. It can hardly be innocent negligence but smacks of outright
recklessness bordering on mischief considering the serious prejudice to the
nation.

      While evidence as to what actually happened is still scant, we are
hard-pressed to believe that these incidents, which will certainly result in
breathtaking losses for the mining sector, are isolated. That is why we feel
that the sector should be placed under scrutiny to unravel what is
increasingly becoming its terrible aura. There are two main issues to be
considered here.

      First, the incident concerning BNC brings into question issues of
transparency and good corporate governance as BNC, which was acquired by a
consortium of black businessmen in the heat of the deal-making frenzy of the
late 1990s, had not advised its shareholders about the loss, which will
obviously create a big dent in the company's bottom line. Despite the fact
that it is a public quoted company, it opted for the audacious decision not
to immediately advise its equity investors.

      Even though it might still be investigating and gauging the
implications of the robbery, it should not have concealed the incident from
the shareholders. The company's silence might have been legal but it was
somewhat grossly misleading to the shareholders. The silence could turn out
to be a very expensive strategy.

      Secondly and most importantly, the incidents smack of deep-seated
corruption in the sector. The telltale signs are there. We say so because
not only should the frequency at which Zimbabwean mineral exports are
falling prey to "South African robbers" be cause for concern but something
does not seem to add up here. There could be a much more complex story
behind all this. Indeed the two robberies in question should be a red flag
to alert the authorities of a possible close-knit, well-organised Zimbabwean
syndicate responsible for these robberies. It is very highly likely that the
proceeds of the loot are silting up the pockets of some well-placed
individuals in the mining industry. The most frightening thing though is
that we don't know as yet for how long this cancerous rot might have been
festering.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

Letter

      Who in Zimbabwe received payment from the so-called mercenaries?

      3/18/2004 7:34:39 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - The whole farce about African mercenaries on Zimbabwean soil
needs deeper investigation and consideration, especially as Stan Mudenge,
Kembo Mohadi and other honest and truthful ZANU PF stalwarts have been
making so much noise.

      I suspect this is an effort to divert attention from the real issues.

      It would seem that the "mercenaries" had bought and paid for a whole
lot of AK47s and 7.62 ammunition from the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI).
Now, ZDI is owned and operated by ZANU PF, aka the Zimbabwe government.

      The amount that changed hands was reported to be US$180 000. Who was
this paid to? Was it to Colonel Tshinga Dube of the ZDI? Was it banked by
him, or banked by the ZDI? Was it banked in Zimbabwe, or externally?

      It is obvious also that the buyers did not expect any trouble in
collecting their guns. One assumes that they had been given assurances that
the guns would be ready and waiting at the airport. Who gave them this
assurance? Dube? The Zimbabwe government? I don't think they would have
landed without it.

      Who decided to arrest them - and why? What part did South Africa play
in the scheme? If the South Africans knew of the scheme, why did they do
nothing? I believe they have said they did know, so their inaction is
puzzling.

      Does President Robert Mugabe think he can get oil from Equatorial
Guinea? Is that why the plane was held and the people arrested? Or was it
simply a matter of thieves falling out, and the US$180 000 not being shared
with the right people?

      I read that the Equatorial Guinea president thanked South Africa and
Angola for warning him, but apparently not Zimbabwe. Maybe he feels miffed
the "mercenaries" were going to get their guns from there?

      A lot of questions need to be answered, none of which is likely to be
truthfully answered by Mudenge and Mohadi. But we can be sure of a torrent
of froth from Mugabe and Mafikizolo Moyo!

      C Frizell,

      United Kingdom.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Zim and the IMF

      3/18/2004 7:29:44 AM (GMT +2)

      Time for shift from neo-liberalism to people-centred development
projects

      ZIMBABWE today faces political and economic crises as a result of a
multifaceted chain of events ignited by the early 1990s structural
adjustment programmes that were forced on the country by the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

      To say the IMF and the WB are solely responsible for these crises
would be a misrepresentation of facts but their policies have played a huge
part in triggering the problems the country is facing.

      When Zimbabwe started implementing the Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP), a number of sectors of the economy were affected and this
led to ordinary people suffering the consequences. In implementing ESAP, the
government adopted the so-called Washington Consensus (WC) principles, which
in effect reversed the otherwise steady growth of the economy that Zimbabwe
was experiencing. The principles included:

        a.. cost recovery for social services;

        a.. minimal role for the state;

        a.. financial liberalisation;

        a.. competitive exchange rates;

        a.. trade liberalisation;

        a.. openness to foreign direct investments;

        a.. privatisation; and

        a.. deregulation

      The augmented WC includes the above plus many others like legal and
political reform and the World Trade Organisation agreements. In the midst
of implementing some of these principles, the government encountered
multiple problems from different fronts, including from its own people,
labour unions, the private sector, civil society, multilateral and bilateral
donors, including the IMF and the WB. Donors squeezed the country to enforce
further changes to the economy that was rather protected from foreign
manipulation before the 1990s.

      In the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe agreed with the WB to implement a
home-grown five-year phased programme towards a freer market. During the
first year, Zimbabwe was to lift many restrictions on imports, meaning
drastically reducing tariffs on products coming into the country. At a
donors' conference in Paris in March 1991, the WB and western countries
promised US$690 million to fund the first year of the programme. The donors,
however, back-tracked, demanding much more rapid changes than originally
agreed. Little of the promised funds have been given and donors said they
would not come into the country until the government negotiated a much freer
market deal with the IMF and the WB. But of course the reasons that are
being given today by the donors are that Zimbabwe has a very bad human
rights and governance record. In our own interpretation, these rapid changes
that the donors wanted entailed free fall financial, capital and trade
liberalisation. The free fall liberalisation exposed the country to foreign
products and control, thus mortgaging the nation to the dictates of foreign
commercial interests at the expense of their social and moral well-being.
The re-orientation on public spending meant that the government had to
remove subsidies on socially important sectors like health, education and
agriculture. Today, the cost of health care is beyond the reach of many
because the IMF required the government to cut expenditure and stop
subsidising health care provision. People, including the poor, were supposed
to pay for their own health in the form of user fees or cost recovery.

      Zimbabwe's food security has been compromised because the IMF and WB
required farmers to switch from traditional food crops to cash crops to
supply the export market. After independence in 1980, the government
provided infrastructural facilities, inputs and credit to encourage communal
areas to produce maize for the market. These were, however, drastically
curtailed during the 1990s. There was substantial reduction in the subsidies
on farm inputs. The centralised crop purchasing system of the early eighties
was gradually abandoned and the farmers were left to locate their own
markets. Because of communal farmers' immediate need for cash, they thus
became hostage to middlemen, and were forced to sell at market-dictated low
prices which, in turn, reduced their incomes and purchasing power. On the
other hand, mostly white commercial farmers gradually shifted away from
maize production for domestic consumption to export crops, especially
horticulture. When Zimbabwe liberalised its trade to the "opportunities" of
globalisation in the early 1990s, it was acting under the advice of IMF
"experts" whose general mandate is to open up developing countries'
economies to the global market. Also a section of the private sector in
Zimbabwe put pressure for trade liberalisation. Some of them are now
complaining about premature liberalisation, or badly sequenced
liberalisation. They are now calling for protection against the entry of
"foreigners" (especially those from South Africa) taking over the domestic
market.

      The 1999 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report
for Zimbabwe notes that: "The adoption of an orthodox structural adjustment
programme (ESAP) in 1991 entailed a fundamental shift from the state
intervention system to one largely driven by market forces. (Sachikonye,
1997; Kanyenze, 1999; Loewenson, 1999). The reform programme referred to as
ESAP was first announced in the Budget Statement and an accompanying
statement, Economic Policy Statement: Macroeconomic Adjustment and Trade
Liberalization (GOZ, 1990), in July 1990. A more elaborated statement,
Zimbabwe: A Framework for Economic Reform 1991-95 (GOZ, 1991), was published
in early 1991 as an input into a meeting of donors held in Paris in February
that year. It was only after the Paris meeting that there were pledges of
financial support from donors.

      The political dynamism for development henceforth shifted from Harare
to Paris, from the people to the donors. The assumption was that ESAP would
raise investment levels, thereby facilitating higher growth rates,
employment creation and uplifting the standard of living of the majority of
the people (GOZ, 1991).

      The way forward

      Time has come for Zimbabwe to shift the political, economical and
developmental debate from neo-liberal economistic discourse to the people
centred developmental alternatives in a more sophisticated, historical,
structural and humanist manner. The IMF delegation is in Zimbabwe this week
and is coming under Article IV consultations, which basically mean the
delegation is coming to check whether Zimbabwe is now adhering to the
conditions suitable for the resuscitation of balance of payments talks.

      Zimbabwe, in its present situation, may be forced to talk to the IMF
but it should set its own conditions that it feels are suitable for the
development of the people of Zimbabwe.

      The Zimbabwean people and its leadership have now an understanding of
what happened under the IMF policies. There should now be national consensus
involving all stakeholders in shaping the future of the country. Civil
society organisations should play a key role in this process. Rangarirai
Machemedze is the programmes coordinator for the Southern and Eastern
African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI).
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      No to secret political deals

      3/18/2004 7:29:44 AM (GMT +2)

      In this final part, he highlights the possible hazards for opposition
politicians of clandestine deals with the ruling ZANU PF as pressure mounts
for a negotiated settlement between Zimbabwe's two major political parties.
      On March 18 1975, Herbert Wiltshire Hamandishe Chitepo, the
revolutionary chairperson of Dare reChimurenga, the ZANU "politburo" at the
time, was assassinated in Lusaka, Zambia, and there are various theories
explaining his death.

      He was in a situation in which Tsvangirai finds himself at the moment,
that is, when the colonial regime had targeted him as a militant in order to
pave the way for détente. At the same time, some of his colleagues in the
high command and Dare wanted his head on a platter over the controversies
surroundings the Nhari rebellion.

      According to Flower, in his book referred to above, a few days after
Chitepo's death, my uncle, Edison Furatidzayi Chisingaitwi Sithole, a ZANU
central committee member but then working as the information and publicity
secretary for the enlarged ANC, and as legal and constitutional adviser for
the then ANC president, Bishop Abel Muzorewa during the Smith- Muzorewa
talks, declared in Salisbury that Chitepo's assassination had shattered all
hopes of a negotiated settlement.

      Flower specifically states that the Rhodesian Front did not like and
was becoming impatient with Sithole's militant and obstructive tactics and
his general veteran leadership, which qualities particularly manifested
themselves during the "NO" vote campaign against the constitutional
proposals of the Pearce Commission in 1972. Inside the struggle he also had
his enemies.

      Finally, on October 15 1975, in a move similar to what happened to
Madhuku, Sithole was abducted and bundled into a vehicle. That was the last
that was seen of him and up to now his fate is still a mystery, perhaps the
biggest political mystery in Zimbabwe in the past 30 years.

      What is worrisome to us as a family is that it took his colleagues in
government 14 years after independence to declare him a national hero, and a
further six years to install a representative grave at the national shrine.

      What is even more worrisome is that there are some among his
colleagues who have decided to embark on a deliberate and systematic
operation to suppress his achievements and what he stood for. But for us
,the "bones" of that legacy and heritage continue.

      I shall not dwell on the ascendancy of Mugabe to the presidency of
ZANU in 1975 in succession to Nbabaningi Sithole except that it was part of
the struggle within the struggle without, of course, being blind to the
merits and demerits of both men.

      What is of interest to me for present purposes is the formation of the
Patriotic Front by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU and the
Mugabe-led faction of ZANU in 1976.

      In his book, Struggles- within- the Struggle, the late brilliant
professor Masipula Sithole notes that, after 1974, ZAPU was clearly divided
ideologically between "militants" and "centrists", or moderates as they were
called. (Could this be the situation in the MDC at the moment?)

      The militant wing consisted of those who had led ZAPU in exile, like
Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Edward Ndlovu and George T Silundika. The centrists
were mainly those ZAPU leaders who had been restricted at Gonakudzingwa,
like Josiah Chinamano, Joseph Msika, Willie Musarurwa and Nkomo himself.

      The former group was largely responsible for building up ZIPRA, the
military wing of ZAPU, and giving it a Soviet orientation under the
direction and leadership of Moyo. This group was well known for its
persistent resistance to a united front with ZANU. For that reason, it had
formed a very troublesome group within ZAPU called Dengezi - "the clay that
fights unity".

      The latter group was largely responsible for maintaining PCC/ ZAPU
structures within Zimbabwe and it is this wing that was involved in the
aborted controversial Smith- Nkomo talks in 1976 against protestations from
the ZAPU external wing which felt that unilateral talks with Smith were
ill-advised and would further compromise the party's precarious image within
the African population, which was responding more and more to militant
political symbols.

      After the failure of the Smith-Nkomo talks, the external wing of ZAPU
gained more relevance, while the internal wing became irrelevant because its
mass support had dwindled. Nkomo then left the country to assume ZAPU
leadership in exile from Moyo.

      In light of the October- December 1976 Geneva Conference on Rhodesia,
Mugabe of ZANU and Nkomo of ZAPU formed what became known as the Zimbabwe
Patriotic Front. About a month after adjournment of the Geneva Conference,
Moyo was assassinated when a letter bomb exploded in his Lusaka office while
Nkomo was away accompanying Kaunda on a trip to west Africa.

      Moyo's death was attributed to what was described by both ZAPU and the
Patriotic Front as "enemy agents".

      In 1978, Alfred Nikita Mangena, the ZAPU veteran commander, believed
to have been very close to JZ Moyo, was killed in a landmine blast outside
Lusaka. For both Moyo and Mangena, some put the blame on the struggle (enemy
agents), while others put it on struggles within the struggle (internal
contradictions). You are free to arrive at your own informed conclusions.

      In like manner, in contemporary Zimbabwean politics,some of us are
advocating a popular front of the opposition, civil society and other
progressive elements to exert collaborative effort to pressure the ruling
party and government to come to the negotiating table.

      This is a process and the temptation is to coerce those who resist
without understanding why they have reservations and where possible
addressing their pertinent concerns.

      About a month ago, in a very commendable move, Tsvangirai announced
that his party had now forged an alliance with the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and that
future political action would not be carried out under single organisations.
What is puzzling is that within a month of Tsvangirai's announcement, both
the NCA and the ZCTU embarked on separate political actions as separate
organisations. What is going on here?

      This separatist and fragmented approach has proved to be futile and it
is entrenching unnecessary struggles- within -the- struggle, not to mention
the wastage of resources. We must avoid a situation where we will end up
fighting among ourselves, as if that is the struggle.

      The reality is that as the formation of a popular front against the
establishment becomes increasingly inevitable, opposition and civic leaders
are positioning themselves strategically for a higher bargain in the united
front - the who-is-calling-the-shots thing. And at this time when the regime
is using heavy- handed tactics against political opponents, one can be
either a victim of the struggle or of the struggles within the struggle.
Alternatively, one can be a victim of the struggle and have no sympathy
whatsoever from fellow comrades.

      These are things that we must avoid as a lesson drawn from an
inspirational history.

      We have seen it before during our struggle for independence and if we
have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from our past mistakes then we
will only have ourselves to blame. We must learn to persuade and not to
coerce and even sometimes physically eliminate those who may hold opinions
that differ from our own.

      Everything in the national interest must be done with a
consensus-seeking spirit and we must avoid sealing clandestine political
deals that will unnecessarily endanger the lives of fellow activists and
analysts alike.

      There are a lot of sinister things that happened in the struggle
between 1974 and 1977 which we must avoid at all costs in our contemporary
struggles. Our history should be our rabbi.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

FinGaz

      Zim, not IMF or WB, has everything to lose

      3/18/2004 7:31:31 AM (GMT +2)

      Bretton Woods institutions' visit presents golden chance

      THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) make a
return to Zimbabwe this week under the annual IMF consultation visit known
as Article IV.

      There are mixed feelings in the country as to the importance of the
visit to Zimbabwe and its likely implications for future relations with the
Bretton Woods institutions. The country's relations with the two have been
strained since 1998 when the country got entangled in the DRC civil war.

      President Robert Mugabe's anti-West rhetoric over the years has only
helped to further distance the country, not only from the two institutions,
but also from other bilateral and multilateral lending institutions and
foreign investors who normally take a cue from the IMF and WB before doing
business with any country.

      The country has not been able to honour its financial obligations to
the IMF and WB, with loan service and repayment arrears currently running
into millions of United States dollars. As such, the country's credit rating
has deteriorated considerably and there are already initiatives under way
within the IMF to expel Zimbabwe's from the institution.

      Zimbabwe's poor economic performance has been underpinned by a severe
foreign exchange shortage that began towards the end of 1999 and resulted in
shortages of most imported products.

      It led to poor performance of the productive sectors that rely on
imported raw materials and other components in their operations.

      As such, inflation, unemployment, national debt and the general
standard of living have deteriorated.

      Zimbabwe finds itself in this predicament because of inability to
generate or get access to adequate foreign exchange.

      There are basically four major sources of foreign exchange, namely
export receipts, external loans, foreign direct investment (FDI) and aid.

      The country's export receipts have dwindled from more than US$3
billion in 1997 to less than US$1 billion in 2003.

      No matter how vigorously some want to deny it, the fast-track land
reform programme has been the chief architect of the poor exports
performance.

      The chaotic nature of the reform programme has caused the country to
lose its most experienced farmers and their workers and replaced them with
untrained and inexperienced new farmers.

      The fall in agricultural exports is exemplified by the decline in
tobacco production from more than 200 million kilogrammes four years ago to
81 million kilogrammes in 2003.

      This year tobacco output is officially forecast to decline further to
around 60 million kilogrammes. Given that tobacco alone accounted for a
third of the country's foreign exchange earnings prior to the hurried land
reform programme, the impact will certainly be felt over many years to come.

      The second major source of foreign exchange consists of loans,
bilateral or multilateral, and the major lenders to the country over the
years have been the Bretton Woods institutions.

      The drying up of funding from these institutions in 1998 has
contributed significantly to the foreign exchange crisis and poor economic
performance.

      The third source of foreign exchange comes in the form of FDI, which
is money invested locally by citizens of other countries. Foreign investors
want to be assured of some minimum levels of the security of their
investments. As such, issues of property rights and security of tenure are
critical for FDI.

      The official lack of respect for property rights under the fast-track
land reform programme in Zimbabwe since February 2000 has scared away
potential investors and has forced some existing investors to relocate to
other stable destinations. As such, FDI levels in the country have gone down
significantly over the past four years, much to the detriment of job
creation.

      The fourth source of foreign exchange inflows is in the form of aid
that is normally channelled through non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In Zimbabwe, NGOs have continued to play an active role, particularly in
food relief efforts and various other support initiatives to help civil
society.

      In order to reverse the present economic decline, Zimbabwe should
improve on its ability to generate foreign exchange. And, in this regard, it
is pertinent that export performance be revived.

      The current initiative by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to support the
productive sectors of the economy under the monetary policy introduced at
the beginning of the year is a step in the right direction.

      However, exports can only be increased gradually - in the medium to
long term - as confidence returns to the economy.

      In the short term, however, there is need to improve international
relations particularly with the IMF and the WB for the country to be able to
negotiate some balance of payments relief. This will be critical not only
for adequate foreign exchange resources to be made available to the
productive sectors of the economy at affordable rates, but also to stabilise
the exchange rate.

      But this can only be possible if the authorities are willing to accept
that, just like at the individual level, whenever one borrows, it is the
lending institution that dictates the conditions of use and repayment and
not the borrower.

      In addition, there is need to take meaningful steps towards reducing
the perceived risks associated with the country in order to become an
attractive FDI destination.

      In this regard, the country should address issues of concern to the
international community regarding the perceived lack of rule of law, lack of
respect for private property rights, lack of press freedom and poor
democratic institutions, among others. More specifically, there is need to
bring sanity to land reform in order to restore confidence, harness adequate
resources and re-establish the productivity of the agricultural sector.

      The new monetary policy has been viewed with a lot of optimism,
particularly in the way it has exposed poor corporate governance in the
financial services sector. The ongoing anti-corruption crusade should
therefore be extolled.

      However, for it not to be perceived as a 2005 election gimmick, as it
most likely is, the net should be cast wider to include probes into
externalisation of foreign exchange and assets by politicians, particularly
those lamenting their assets having been frozen by the European Union, the
United States and other progressivse nations under the existing targeted
sanctions regimes.

      If the anti-corruption initiative is to hold water with the general
public, it has to take on board input from civil society and other
stakeholders. It should also probe past corruption allegations in
initiatives such as the Pay-for-Your House Scheme, the War Victims
Compensation Fund and the recent allegations of scandals regarding multiple
ownership of farms by politicians.

      The setting up of the Anti-Corruption Commission - as was being
championed by Parliament and organisations such as Transparency
International Zimbabwe -should have been the most appropriate starting
point.

      In light of the initiatives under the new monetary policy, there is a
tendency to neglect the fiscal side of the macroeconomic equation. For years
Zimbabwe has constantly failed to meet its fiscal targets because of an
oversized civil service, poorly performing parastatals, a huge debt
overhang, a huge Cabinet, unrewarding foreign missions and other
unproductive expenditures.

      The recent increase in the number of ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle
is a good example of what should not be done because it will result in a
significant increase in unbudgeted expenditures.

      There is already talk that some government ministries have almost
overspent their 2004 budgetary allocations.

      The fiscal problem is further compounded by the fact that the country
is heading towards a general election in 2004, which is likely to see an
upsurge in expenditure as the government tries to assuage restless
constituents such as civil servants and the rural poor during the election
campaign.

      Zimbabwe's short voting cycles have been a major hindrance to any
hopes for the adoption of tough decisions to extricate the country from the
current economically ruinous path, with most economic decisions being based
on the need for the amassing of short-term political gains.

      Another supplementary budget looks unavoidable and, as such, the
country's macroeconomic instability is set to continue unabated.

      The visit by the IMF and WB delegation is an opportunity for the
authorities to climb down the anti-West rhetoric pedestal and initiate moves
towards restoring relations with the institutions for the good of the
country.

      There is no need to expect imminent positive results from this visit
given the ground that the country has to cover before most of the major
issues of concern to the international community are adequately and
satisfactorily addressed.

      But all the same, the authorities should make sure it is a good
starting point. They owe it to the country's poor and disadvantaged as well
as the country's future generations.

        a.. James Jowah is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

42 new Cuban health professionals arrive

Health Reporter
FORTY-TWO new Cuban health professionals arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday,
along with 75 others already assigned to Zimbabwe who had gone back to Cuba
for holiday.

The group comprises general practitioners, specialist doctors, nursing
tutors, engineers and technicians.

The 42 are part of a new group of 60, the fourth group to arrive in Zimbabwe
since 2000.

The 75 who had gone back to Cuba for holiday work at central, provincial,
district and mission hospitals.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, is today
expected to welcome the health professionals.

"Dr Parirenyatwa is also expected to mention where the Cuban health
professionals would be deployed," said the spokesperson for the ministry, Mr
Bright Mpofu.

Zimbabwe and Cuba enjoy excellent relations and this has seen more than 186
health professionals serving in Zimbabwe since 2000.

Last month, a three-member Cuban delegation met Dr Parirenyatwa in Harare
under the ninth session of the Zimbabwe-Cuba Joint Commission as part of
efforts to strengthen co-operation in the field of health.

At the meeting, the Cuban Deputy Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic
Co-operation, Mr Ramon Ripoll Diaz, who was leading the delegation, said his
country would assist Zimbabwe to improve its health delivery system.

Zimbabwe and Cuba also signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at
strengthening economic, scientific and technical co-operation.

The memorandum was signed by the Deputy Minister of Industry and
International Trade, Cde Kenneth Manyonda, and Mr Diaz.

New areas of co-operation proposed under the memorandum of understanding
include science and technology, youth, gender and employment creation.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Intermarket opens to pay salaries

Herald Reporter
Intermarket Building Society branches throughout the country opened
yesterday to process salaries only.

The curator for Intermarket Building Society, Mr Ngoni Kudenga of Kudenga
and Company Chartered Associates, said the branches would remain open until
people get their salaries.

As early as 8 am yesterday, thousands of people who get their salaries
through Intermarket Building Society could be seen queuing outside the
troubled building society's banking halls where a maximum withdrawal of $500
000 a day was allowed. Teachers and members of the Zimbabwe National Army
were among those who thronged the building society.

They were asked to produce their payslips, letters from their employers and
valid identification.

Security guards manning the entrances were letting in only a few people at a
time into the banking halls to avoid congestion.

Mr Kudenga said he had recalled a "substantial number" of the building
society's workers for the sole purpose of processing salaries.

Those with any other business besides salaries were turned away.

Some people who spoke to The Herald expressed relief at being able to get
their salaries.

The closing of the building society had left many concerned about their
salaries while workers found themselves temporarily out of work.

Some commercial banks yesterday began limiting the amounts of money that
could be withdrawn as people panicked.

Some employers have advised their workers who were getting their salaries
through Intermarket and Barbican Bank to open new accounts with other banks.

The closing of three subsidiaries of Intermarket Holdings --- Intermarket
Building Society, Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Discount
House --- last week and Barbican Bank and Barbican Asset Management this
week have resulted in people losing confidence in the banking sector.

Some bank tellers were yesterday limiting withdrawals to $1 million after
realising that most of their customers were requesting amounts of more than
$2 million.

"Almost everyone I was serving was withdrawing and they wanted big sums so I
ended up asking them to reconsider because it was too much," said a
commercial bank teller who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Minister challenges hospital board

Health Reporter
THE new board for Parirenyatwa Hospital must find ways of creating a viable
hospital that does not discriminate on ability to pay.

Parirenyatwa Hospital is faced with challenges that include the retention of
its human resources, the upgrading of its private wards and accepting all
patients without discrimination.

Speaking at the inauguration of the hospital's board members, the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa, challenged the board
members to come up with solutions in issues of recruitment and retention of
health staff and industrial actions that might be undertaken by health
professionals.

"The newly appointed board members for Parirenyatwa need to be more
innovative and be committed to their duties.

"The board members should be able to take a leading role in issues
concerning Parirenyatwa Hospital, including the upgrading of D1 and D2
private wards," said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Mr Charles Tawengwa, who retained his position as chairperson for
Parirenyatwa Hospital, said the new board was a democratic body open to
views aimed at improving the institution's facilities.

He said different responsibilities would be allocated to the board members
to ensure the effective running of the institution.

Dr Parirenyatwa last week announced new boards for Parirenyatwa Group of
Hospitals, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, National
Pharmaceutical Company and the Public Health Advisory Board.

He said the appointments, which include old and new board members, are
effective from March 1 this year.

Mr Tawengwa and Mr Zigora have retained their positions as Parirenyatwa
Group of Hospitals chairman and group chief executive respectively.

Other board members for Parirenyatwa Hospital are Mr Herbert Nkala, Mr
Bernard Basera, Mrs Margaret Mwamuka, Mrs Florence Kazhanje, Dr Billy
Rigava, Dr Davies Dhlakama, Mrs Mavis Sibanda, Dr Christopher Samkange,
Professor Kufu Nathoo, Mr James Fleming, Dr Steven Munjanja and Mrs Susan
Maonera.

Ms Mabel Torongo has been appointed chairperson of the Medicines Control
Authority of Zimbabwe while Mr Jealous Nderere becomes the new
vice-chairperson.

Other MCAZ board members are Dr Alex Zinanga, Dr George Gwaze, Dr Lovemore
Mbengeranwa, Dr Stanley Sakupwanya, Ms Priscilla Munangati, Mrs Flora
Sifeku, Mrs Muriel Munyaradzi, Dr Tapiwa Bwakura, Dr Isaac Dombo and Mrs
Semukeliso Gono. Dr George Washaya has been appointed chairperson for the
National Pharmaceutical Company and other board members are Mrs Priscilla
Madzonga, Mrs Eunice Wilson, Ms Gugu Mahlangu and Dr Ash Morar.

Also on the Natpharm board are Mr Nyasha Makuvise, Ms Subusisiwe Bango, Mrs
Selina Mumbengegwi, Mr Charles Tawengwa and Mr Celestine Kumire.

Mr Jealous Nderere has also been appointed chairperson for the Public Health
Advisory Board while Mr Dombo Chibanda is the new vice-chairperson.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the board would also be responsible for issues
concerning the Health Services Commission to be put in place soon, and whose
task would include looking into salaries for all health staff.

Other board members for the Public Health Advisory Board are Dr Alva
Senderayi, Mr Charles Tarumbwa, Dr Edward Makondo, Dr Kudzai Ndawana, Mr
Douglas Shonhiwa, Dr James Duri, Mr Victor Mugwagwa, Mr Emmanuel Magade, Mr
Alexander Phiri, Mrs Siphiwethina Tshuma, Mrs Claveria Chizema and Mr
Philemon Macheka.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Moyo raises concern over US radio station

Herald Reporter
THE Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President's
Office and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan Moyo, yesterday expressed concern
over an American radio station broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe propaganda from
Botswana.

The minister raised this issue during a meeting with Botswana ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Mr Mothusi Nkgowe, who paid a courtesy call on him at his
Munhumutapa offices.

Mr Nkgowe told journalists after the meeting that he had discussed the
American radio station and the alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in
Botswana with Prof Moyo.

"I was not aware of this issue until the minister raised it and I will take
the issue up with the authorities in my country.

"Since the 1970s Botswana has had a relay station for the Voice of America
and this was established to help the coverage of Radio Botswana. I am not
aware that there is now a station specifically to broadcast more about
regime change in Zimbabwe."

The radio station in Botswana, together with others in the Netherlands and
Britain, has been at the forefront in broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe propaganda.

Mr Nkgowe said he had raised the issue of the alleged ill-treatment of
Zimbabweans in Botswana with the authorities.

"As regarding the flogging of people suspected to be committing crime, this
is in the statute books of Botswana and does not apply to Zimbabweans only
but to anyone suspected to have breached the law," he said.

Mr Nkgowe defended the flogging of suspected criminals, saying he believed
this was not in violation of human rights as the same obtained with capital
punishment which was applicable in some countries while others condemned it.

He said Prof Moyo had also raised the issue of Zimbabweans who were being
hired by Botswana businessmen and then thrown out before getting their dues.

"The minister expressed concern at the hiring of Zimbabweans by Botswana
business people who would later call the police so that the Zimbabweans
would be deported before being paid and I will also take up this issue with
the authorities in my country," Mr Nkgowe said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana, he said, were excellent contrary to
media speculation that there was bad blood between the two countries.

There have been numerous reports of Zimbabweans being allegedly ill-treated
in Botswana, with some being flogged at customary courts. Last year,
Botswana said it was deporting 2 500 Zimbabweans every week. Politicians in
the neighbouring country blame Zimbabweans for the increasing crime rate in
their country.

This has resulted in a number of operations to flush out the illegal
immigrants, a situation that has at times resulted in the abuse of
Zimbabweans legally resident in that country. Botswana has also faced
mounting criticism over its decision to erect an electric fence on its
border with Zimbabwe ostensibly to control the movement of animals between
the two countries. Critics of the move say the fence has been put up to
control the movement of people between the two countries and is mainly
targeted at Zimbabweans.
Back to the Top
Back to Index