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The Telegraph

Zimbabwe on the brink of losing Test status
Simon Briggs
(Filed: 21/05/2004)



The directors of the International Cricket Council will today take the first
steps in a process that seems certain to end in Zimbabwe's suspension from
Test cricket.

At a 12.30 pm teleconference meeting, the ICC's chief executive, Malcolm
Speed, will recommend that the other nine Test-playing countries should vote
to demote Zimbabwe's two-Test series against Australia - which is due to
start tomorrow - to first-class status.
ICC sources believe that at least seven of those nine votes are in the bag,
with New Zealand and South Africa the most likely to side with the
Zimbabweans. And according to the constitution, only seven are needed to
pass the motion.

Australia have already confirmed that they see no point in remaining in
Zimbabwe for the sake of a couple of meaningless matches against a team
shorn of 14 'rebel' white players. However, while their Test squad are
preparing to return home, their one-day players will still be obliged to
contest the three-match series starting on June 6.

A similar logic would apply to England's controversial October tour of
Zimbabwe. Even if Zimbabwe's demotion from Test status should be extended
indefinitely, the reciprocal tours arrangement would still require them to
fulfil their one-day obligations.

According to insiders at the England and Wales Cricket Board, this would
lessen the public relations damage associated with the tour, but not by
much. "The tour has a symbolic impact," a source said. "No one will be
paying attention to the details."

Speed's recommendation, which was first circulated yesterday in an official
paper, represents a major break with protocol. ICC chief executives are not
usually to be found proposing motions, let alone advising which way their
members should vote.

But patience has gradually been giving way to exasperation at the ICC's
Lord's headquarters. The turning point came on Tuesday, when Speed's
diplomatic mission to Harare ended with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union board
refusing even to meet him.
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The Herald

Municipal police to get arresting powers: Chombo

By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
Government will soon give municipal police throughout the country arresting
powers, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
Cde Ignatius Chombo, said yesterday.

Addressing municipal police officers comprising 84 patrolmen and 14
patrolwomen at a pass-out parade in Harare, the minister said: "It is
critical that they be given arresting powers so that they quickly enforce
the law and bring culprits to book.

"As the noble concept of municipal courts and empowering municipal police is
debated, it may be necessary that you begin to look ahead and focus on
upgrading the curricula for training municipal police."

He said granting of arresting powers to municipal police was meant to ensure
they were able to effectively enforce by-laws of local authorities.

Criminals arrested by the municipal police would be brought before the
courts of law.

"Crime is on the increase not only in Harare, but in all urban centres, with
the criminals acquiring greater sophistication each day,

"A team of municipal police that can partner the efforts of our Zimbabwe
Republic Police is of total importance for peace to prevail in our towns and
cities," Cde Chombo said.

He said people expected to be protected and it was the duty of each
patrolman and patrolwoman to ensure that peace prevailed.

Cde Chombo urged municipal police officers to further their careers as there
were plans to establish a municipal court.

As Government contemplates the establishment of municipal courts and
upgrading the status of municipal police to complement the national judicial
and peacekeeping institutions, Cde Chombo said local authorities should
begin to work on training to enhance the calibre of municipal police
adequately equipped to handle the ever-increasing complex societal
challenges.

He said internal growth and rural migration had placed urban authorities
under pressure to maintain acceptable standards for order, cleanliness,
environmental control and the general privacy of residents.

He urged the patrol officers to guard against corrupt activities as the
profession did not allow for mistakes.

The minister inspected a parade mounted by municipal police accompanied by
Harare chief security officer Mr Tavanana Gomo and staff officer Clifford
Mukodza.

The crowd was treated to fascinating displays of march past in slow and
quick time, silent drill and unarmed defence.

Cde Chombo presented certificates of competence to four patrol officers, who
included two patrolwomen and two patrolmen.

The patrol officers underwent a training course in basic law, industrial and
commercial security, investigation techniques, first aid, physical fitness
and firearms handling and use, just to mention a few.

It is hoped that the officers would curb vandalism of council property, deal
with cattle rustlers and enforce by laws.

Harare Metropolitan Province Resident Minister Cde Witness Mangwende,
Chitungwiza Executive Mayor Mr Misheck Shoko, Harare Acting Mayor Councillor
Tapfumaneyi Jaja and Harare town clerk Cde Nomutsa Chideya attended the
pass-out parade.

Also in attendance were several councillors, Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association deputy chairman Cde Joseph Chinotimba and council
officials.
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news.com.au

Zimbabwe peace deal collapses
By MICHAEL CRUTCHER in Harare
21may04
AGITATED officials are tonight poised to scrap Australia's Test series in
Zimbabwe after a panic peace deal broke down in the rogue cricket nation.

Five rebel players last night refused the Zimbabwe Cricket Union's demand to
return for tomorrow's opening match in Harare, ensuring the International
Cricket Council's member nations would probably make the unprecedented move
to withdraw Test status from the series.

Australia is expected to join England, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies in voting to downgrade the two-match
series while New Zealand is tipped to be Zimbabwe's sole supporter in
tonight's telephone hook-up.

Seven of the 10 nations must agree for the vote to be carried and the desire
to "preserve the integrity of Test cricket" is expected to save Australia
from a pointless series against a club-standard Zimbabwe team.

Australia's one-day players based in England have been put on notice to rush
to Harare should the tour be changed to a one-day tournament but any
decision will wait until after the ICC vote. The Tests could only be saved
by a last-minute truce between the ZCU and the 15 rebel players but that
crashed when dumped captain Heath Streak and another four rebels rejected a
place in the squad for tomorrow's match.

The rebels, locked in a six-week dispute with the ZCU over selection
policies, agreed to return for next month's one-dayers but insisted they
were not physically or mentally ready to play Tests.

They were shocked when the ZCU named them in a desperate bid to convince
impatient Test nations that the sport was not collapsing in Zimbabwe.

"The players think they are being forced under duress to play cricket," said
a spokesman for the rebels. "Even if they reluctantly went back into the
team for Saturday, it's probably not going to fool anyone about the state of
this game."

ZCU chief executive Vince Hogg admitted the ICC had made it clear its hopes
of surviving tonight's vote would be "very tough" if Zimbabwe fielded the
same team humiliated twice by Sri Lanka this month.

Cricket Australia chairman Bob Merriman was heading to Harare for the phone
hook-up and was expected to join the strong Asian bloc in torpedoing the
series.

Cricket Australia has already indicated its players would not contest
non-Test matches, leaving a cloud over the tour. An extended one-day
tournament, featuring the rebel players, would create a logistical nightmare
for Cricket Australia but it remains one of the most likely options.

The tourists would not be disappointed if the ICC scrapped the Test series.
"You dont want to play Test cricket against a weakened side in a whitewash,"
Shane Warne said.

The Australians trained last night at the Harare Sports Club, not far from
where Streak, Ray Price, Andy Blignaut, Stuart Carlisle and Trevor Gripper
were meeting with ZCU officials.

The rebels agreed to return to one-day cricket without achieving the demands
of their strike, including changes to selection policies and apologies for
the behaviour of ZCU officials but they were satisfied with a promise to
settle the dispute through a different mediation process.

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MDC Legislator Munyanyi Charged With Public Violence



The Herald (Harare)

May 20, 2004
Posted to the web May 20, 2004

Harare

MDC Member of Parliament for Mbare East Tichaona Jefta Munyanyi has appeared
before a Harare magistrates' court on allegations of assaulting a man for
being a Zanu-PF supporter.

Munyanyi (36) appeared in court on Tuesday before magistrate Ms Sukai
Tongogara charged with public violence.

He was not asked to plead and was remanded to June 2 on $50 000 bail.

Prosecutor Mr Bright Magomeza said on Friday last week at Sister's Night
Club in Matapi, Mbare, Munyanyi, in the company of about 20 opposition MDC
supporters who are still at large, approached the man who was with his
friends drinking beer at the night club.

The State alleges Munyanyi accused the man of being a ruling Zanu-PF party
supporter and attacked him.

He allegedly grabbed the man and hit him with a stick and the other MDC
supporters joined in and severely assaulted the man all over the body.

The man sustained multiple injuries.

The State further alleges that Munyanyi and his alleged gang also approached
one Chakanetsa Musonza and hit him with an empty beer bottle before
shattering his car's windscreen.

Musonza reported the matter to the police and Munyanyi was subsequently
arrested at Matererini Flats in Mbare.

Damaged property is valued at $300 000.

In a related case, five other MDC youth activists have appeared before the
same court facing similar allegations.

Antony Phiri (37), Chipinge Maturure (29), Goodfriday Mandizera (23), Tendai
Zairo (24) and a 17-year-old party supporter were arraigned on public
violence charges.

They were remanded to June 2 on $50 000 bail each.

It is alleged that the five, who are suspected to be part of Munyanyi's
alleged gang that assaulted the man at the nightclub, grouped at Number 7
Grounds in Mbare and later went and assaulted another person.

The activists, who were also protesting about Munyanyi's arrest, confronted
police over the arrest.

The police, the State papers read, dispersed the protesters, but the
activists and their accomplices, numbering up to 20, went to Sunspun Bananas
premises in Southerton where they assaulted another man and stole two crates
of bananas, a pair of shoes and $200 000.

They also went to Patti's Shopping Centre where they snatched a wallet
containing $187 000 from one Weston Kavhiya, the court heard.
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High Court Quashes Newsmen's Conviction And Sentence



The Herald (Harare)

May 20, 2004
Posted to the web May 20, 2004

Harare

THE High Court yesterday quashed the conviction and sentence imposed on
three former newsmen of the Standard by a magistrate court in June 2000.

Former editor Andy Moyse, Clive Wilson the paper's former publisher and
reporter Chenge-tayi Zvauya had been each fined $18 000 for criminal
defamation over a story incorrectly stating that the draft constitution,
produced by the Government in 2000, was printed before an inquiry was
launched.

The three appealed to the High Court against both the conviction and
sentence saying the magistrate court had misdirected itself in finding them
guilty of the crime.

In his ruling Justice Lawrence Kamocha set aside the lower court's decision
for lack of merit.

"The appeal succeeds. Both the conviction and sentence is set aside," said
Justice Kamo-cha.

The full reasons for the judgment were not yet available yesterday.

The trial court heard that the Standard story headlined "Draft printed ahead
of results" said the draft constitution was printed in September 1999 and
prepared before the outreach programme by the Constitu-tional Commission was
complete.

This meant that the draft excluded the people's views.

From the story, readers understood that members of the Constitutional
Commission had lied when they said that the draft was prepared on November
29 1999, the court heard.

The contents of the story were said to have been defamatory of the whole
commission and that the false reports were likely to affect the interests of
the State and the community.
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UK Min Urges Zimbabwe Pres To Study Advise Of Neighbors


Copyright 2004, Dow Jones Newswires

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP)--Britain's minister for Africa on Thursday
urged Zimbabwe's autocratic leader to listen to his neighbors, whom he said
were suffering the consequences of the country's spiraling decline.

President Robert Mugabe "doesn't listen very much to what Britain has
to say," Chris Mullin said on a two-day visit to Mozambique. "I think he
must listen to what other African countries and other African leaders have
to say."

Zimbabwe's often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks has plunged the country into political and economic
chaos. Mugabe's government is also cracking down on dissent, arresting
political opponents, shutting down the only independent daily newspaper and
packing the courts with sympathetic judges.

While African leaders have drawn criticism for not being outspoken
about the abuses, he said many were privately unhappy about the harmful
effects on their economies. Thousands of refugees have also spilled into
neighboring countries.

"I think people should be asking themselves why a country which was
once the bread basket of southern Africa and one of the most prosperous and
developed countries ... has been reduced to ruins in such a short period,"
Mullin said after a meeting with Mozambique Prime Minister Luisa Diogo.

Mullin arrived in Mozambique on Thursday for meetings with political
leaders on the country's upcoming elections. He also plans to visit
development projects supported by Britain.

Mullin's four-day African trip also included a stop in South Africa,
where he met with the two deputy foreign ministers and civil society
leaders.

Among the issues discussed were the establishment of a new
international commission aiming to tackle Africa's woes, including poverty,
conflict and HIV/AIDS. British Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the
Commission for Africa in February, and it held its first meeting in London
earlier this month.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 20, 2004 14:50 ET (18:50 GMT)

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE


AI Index: AFR 46/015/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 129
20 May 2004

Zimbabwe: Amnesty opposes extradition of alleged mercenaries to Equatorial
Guinea
Amnesty International is concerned by reports that Zimbabwe plans to
extradite 69 alleged mercenaries to Equatorial Guinea because they will be
at grave risk of torture and unfair trial procedures, and could face the
death penalty.

The 69 men were arrested, along with one other man, in Harare on 7 March
2003. They have been linked to a group of 15 men arrested on 9 March 2004 in
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and accused of plotting a coup against the
President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

In March Amnesty International expressed concern that some, if not all, of
the 15 suspected mercenaries detained in Equatorial Guinea had been severely
tortured, allegedly leading to the death of one of them, Gerhard Eugen
Nershz, on 17 March. The Equatorial Guinean authorities publicly admitted
his death but attributed it to "cerebral malaria". However, there is
reliable information that he showed signs of having been tortured and was
very ill and the prison authorities denied him prompt medical treatment. He
died shortly after being taken to hospital.

Amnesty International reiterates its opposition to all military, security
and police transfers which contribute to human rights violations.
Mercenaries operate outside the military disciplinary and legal system and
the established military chain of command. Accordingly, Amnesty
International has welcomed efforts, such as under South Africa's Foreign
Military Assistance Act, to establish legislative controls over mercenary
activities. However, any person arrested on suspicion of such activities has
the right not to be subjected to torture and the right to a fair trial.
Amnesty International also opposes the use of the death penalty.The 70 men
arrested in Zimbabwe have been charged with a number of offences under
Zimbabwean law, including violations of aviation, immigration and firearms
legislation and with contravening the Public Order and Security Act. Their
trial in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison is at a preliminary stage.Fears
that they would be extradited were fuelled when, in April, Zimbabwe added
Equatorial Guinea to the list of countries with which it has an extradition
agreement. Since then Amnesty International has received information that an
extradition request made by the Equatorial Guinean authorities for the
extradition of 69 of the 70 men exists, and makes specific reference to
their involvement in the alleged coup plot. Amnesty International further
understands that the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended
that Zimbabwe should accede to the extradition request.Amnesty International
has documented for many years the routine use of torture in detention
facilities in Equatorial Guinea. Accused persons are also subjected to trial
proceedings which routinely fail to meet international standards of fair
trial. When imposed, the death penalty is swiftly applied. In addition it is
likely that these detainees will be tried by a military court using summary
procedures and from which there is no right of appeal. The organization
believes that Equatorial Guinea's human rights record should rule out any
consideration of extraditing the alleged mercenaries detained in Zimbabwe to
that country. "The Government of Zimbabwe should not hand over detainees to
Equatorial Guinea because of the serious risk of human rights violations,"
Amnesty International urged. All of the 70 alleged mercenaries being
detained in Zimbabwe reportedly hold South African citizenship. The majority
of those held in Equatorial Guinea hold South African citizenship.

Amnesty International supports the South African Human Rights Commission's
action on 11 May calling on the government of South Africa to defend the
right of its citizens detained in Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe to a fair
trial and humane conditions of detention.

"The South African government should investigate the grounds for requesting
their extradition to South Africa in terms of the Foreign Military
Assistance Act and oppose the extradition of any of the South Africans in
Zimbabwe to Equatorial Guinea," Amnesty International said.
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VOA

Anti-White Protests Break Out in Zimbabwe
Peta Thornycraft
Harare
20 May 2004, 18:13 UTC


A crowd of several thousand ruling party supporters, shouting anti-white
slogans, demonstrated Thursday outside Zimbabwe's parliament and then broke
into the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party. The target of the protest was the MDC member of parliament, Roy
Bennett, who shoved two cabinet ministers during a heated debate in
parliament Tuesday.
Early Thursday the MDC evacuated its city center headquarters after being
warned that the ruling Zanu PF planned a demonstration. Several thousand,
mostly young people gathered outside parliament, carrying posters denouncing
Mr. Bennett.

The protesters, shouting anti-white slogans, broke down the front gate of
the building while the police were watching.

A committee investigation of Tuesday's scuffle in the parliament, which
sparked the demonstrations, was postponed because of continuing tension in
the center of Harare. The probe is to determine whether Mr. Bennett, who
shoved two ministers during a heated parliamentary debate, should be
punished.

Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, John Houghton, the elected white mayor of the resort
town of Kariba, sent out an alert that he is barricaded in to his home by
Zanu PF supporters.

Isolated reports of other disturbances in which whites appear to be the
target are also coming in from other parts of the country.

Zimbabwe's white population has shrunk to between 20,000 to 30,000 in recent
years and white families continue to leave Zimbabwe to settle mostly in
Australia or New Zealand.
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SABC

Mugabe supporters smash opposition offices in demo

May 20, 2004, 19:11

Supporters of president Robert Mugabe smashed up the entrance of the
opposition's headquarters today during a protest sparked by a scuffle
between lawmakers over the seizure of white owned farms, witnesses said.

Roy Bennett of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) knocked Patrick
Chinamasa, the justice minister, to the floor in parliament on Tuesday after
a dispute over the government's seizure of his farm as part of its policy to
redistribute land to blacks.

Today riot police, some accompanied by dogs, cordoned off the entrance to
the MDC's offices, holding back about 2 000 angry supporters of the ruling
Zanu (PF) party who sang revolutionary songs and waved placards denouncing
Bennett.

The building's glass entrance lay smashed, and witnesses said the crowd had
earlier tried to force their way inside.

The MDC has apologised for Tuesday's incident, but said Bennett had
responded to extreme provocation and racial slurs from Chinamasa. - Reuters

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Few options left for independent press - MISA
JOHANNESBURG, 20 May 2004 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe office of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has slammed the arrest and detention of
the editor of independent newspaper The Standard.

Editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporter Valentine Maponga were arrested on
Wednesday for contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) when The
Standard published a report on the murder of a mining boss.

The Standard had published an article in which relatives of slain nickel
mining executive Leonard Chimimba allegedly implicated government officials
in his death. Chimimba had reportedly been assisting police investigating
the disappearance of truckloads of nickel.

MISA's Zimbabwe information officer, Rashweat Mukundu, told IRIN on Thursday
that the two were questioned by police for several hours before they were
released on Wednesday night.

Mukundu said the two journalists "were released last night [Wednesday]
around 7pm, and police said they would proceed by way of a summons, should
they need to pursue the matter. The police questioned them and they signed
warned-and-cautioned statements before their release".

"This is the same kind of harassment we have seen the police and army
perpetrate on the private media since POSA and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act. Since the closure of the Daily News, the only
independent voices are The Independent, The Standard, and the Financial
Gazette ... it's clear the intention of the government is to close those
remaining voices," Mukundu remarked.

He added: "As we go towards elections in 2005, we are likely to see quite a
lot of this kind of harassment, to stop the private media from being
critical of some policies affecting Zimbabweans, and reporting on incidents
[likely to embarrass government]."

He noted that there "seem to be very few options left for the media in
Zimbabwe", and called for "pressure from the [Southern African] region" to
help preserve media freedom.
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From The Daily Mirror, 20 May


Bennett banned from Manicaland


Daily Mirror Reporters


Roy Bennett, the MP for Chimanimani no longer qualifies to set foot in
Manicaland province because of his recent conduct in parliament, Mike
Madiro, Zanu PF's Manicaland provincial chairman has declared. Madiro said
this yesterday while addressing thousands of ruling party supporters in
Mutare, who had converged to express outrage over Bennett's assault in
parliament of the august House's leader, Patrick Chinamasa. "Bennett has
openly declared war against the province under which his constituency falls.
As such we are going to retaliate by all possible means as a province. We no
longer want him in the province and he should never dare risk his life by
coming here. It is still a fact that Bennett is still colonially minded and
still believes he can treat blacks the same way his fellow whites
ill-treated our forefathers," Madiro said. The opposition MP pounced on
Chinamasa when the latter had referred to him as "an inheritor of looted
wealth" and added that he "owned the whole of Chimanimani." Meanwhile, the
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) has described Bennett's behaviour as
"barbaric unbecoming behaviour." "Experience has shown that violence does
not solve disputes, rather it tends to exacerbate it. ZIMCET does not
believe that there is anything that can not be solved through dialogue and
therefore the actions of the MP are condemned in the strongest terms,' said
the group's executive director, David Chimhini. Also reacting to the
incident, the MDC has blamed both Bennett and Chinamasa for the
parliamentary drama adding that both MPs "must be held accountable.' The
party's spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi said "whilst the actions of Bennett
are not to be condoned neither should the "abusive, demeaning, hurtful,
wicked, barbaric and provocative racial and personal slurs and insults
hurled at Bennett by the Minister."
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FinGaz

Will domestic debt restructuring succeed?


5/20/2004 7:10:16 AM (GMT +2)

Concerned with the domestic debt which, according to Former Finance
Minister Simba Makoni, had become a " . . . heavy albatross round the neck
of the country" (2001 national budget statement, p17) as it had engendered
serious macroeconomic instabilities through high budget deficits, the
government embarked on a programme to restructure its debt in 2001.

As of January 5 2001, a disproportionately large amount of domestic
debt of some Z$154 billion or 94 percent of total central government
domestic debt was held in teasury bills with maturities of not more than 91
days. As a result, the government sought to restructure the domestic debt so
that at least 30 percent would become medium- to long-term, while not more
than 70 percent would be treasury bills of 91 days, six months and one year
maturities.

The domestic debt restructuring exercise registered a short-term
success as the share of short-term debt had, by the end of June 2001,
declined to 72 percent from 94 percent at the end of 2000. Government debt
with a tenure of two or more years increased from six percent to 28 percent,
a development that had a positive effect of reducing pressure on servicing
of government debt.

Encouraged by these results, the government sought to intensify the
restructuring exercise in 2002 by planning to increase the proportion of
medium- to long-term debt to at least 40 percent.

Further progress on the debt restructuring exercise did not
materialise because of the weakening of monetary policy through lower
interest rates to allow the government to borrow cheaply and support
productive and export sectors of the economy, which triggered the
hyperinflation environment that the monetary authorities are currently
grappling with.

The lower interest rates were achieved through the creation of surplus
liquidity conditions through two methods: (a) the partial rollover of
maturing treasury bills and (b) making use of the government's overdraft
facility to fund its expenditure.

Reflecting the surplus liquidity conditions on the money market,
yields on 91-day treasury bills fell from 54.4 percent at the end of
December 2000 to 15.5 percent in June 2001, before ending the year slightly
higher at 29.6 percent. Rates on 90-day negotiable certificates of deposit
( NCDs) fell by 31 percentage points to around 24 percent during the same
period.

During the year 2002, interest rates softened further, with the 91-day
yield declining from 30.8 percent in January to 26 percent in December,
while the 90-day NCD rates remained stable, rising by only four percentage
points to 34 percent during the same period.

In 2003, there was growing realisation and pressure for the need to
allow interest rates to rise so as to fight inflation, but this was
temporarily reversed when the President expressed his reservations about a
continued increase in interest rates.

This saw yields on 91-day treasury bills, which had increased from
25.8 percent in January to 54.5 percent in June, being kept in a narrow
range of between 57 percent and 59 percent until October before tight
liquidity conditions that characterised the last quarter of the year saw
rates firming to 66.5 percent in December.

Rates on private sector paper were, however, difficult to contain in a
high-inflation environment and very short market. As a result, the 90-day
NCD rates firmed from 38 percent at the beginning of the year to 75 percent
in June. By the end of the year, the rate had shot to 350 percent.

Reflecting this weakening of monetary policy, the annual rate of
inflation, which had fallen to 56.3 percent in December 2000 from 62 percent
in September, embarked on a three-year upward trend, which coincides with
the duration of the weak monetary policy period (2001-2003).

Inflation opened the year 2001 at 57 percent and by mid-year it had
risen to 64.4 percent and further to 112.1 percent by year-end.

In 2002, inflation rose from 116.7 percent in January to 198.9 percent
in December, while in 2003, it rose by an unprecedented 390.6 percentage
points to 598.7 percent.

Due to the political backing that had been given to the low interest
rate policy, just like was the case with a strong exchange rate, it took
serious lobbying by the business community to change this perception by the
authorities so as to have the necessary political will needed to tighten
monetary policy in a bid to break the strong inflation spiral that had
become entrenched.

In this regard, real interest rates are now positive as the Reserve
Bank has introduced a positive real interest rate policy of between 10
percent and 20 percent. For instance, if we take the April 2004 inflation
rate of 505 percent, the nominal interest rate that is consistent with this
inflation rate, assuming daily compounding, is 180 percent.

Given a positive real interest level of between 10 and 20 percent,
this means that the nominal 90-day NCD rate, for example, should be between
190 percent and 200 percent. Similarly, a compounded nominal interest rate
that is consistent with the RBZ year-end inflation rate forecast of 200
percent is 110 percent. This means that nominal interest rates should be
hovering between 120 percent and 130 percent by year-end.

It is against this background of the return of market-related interest
rates through the re-establishment of positive real interest rates, coupled
with an enforcement of the prescribed asset ratios for pension funds and
insurance companies, that I am of the view that the domestic debt
restructuring exercise might experience some success.

Although the two stock issues floated so far are attractive if we go
with the RBZ inflation view, which seems realistic, investors are not keen
on meeting the prescribed asset ratios in one or two issues but a number of
them so as to avoid concentration risk. This means the RBZ should issue more
stocks if it is to get the required money from investors who do not want to
put all their eggs in one basket.

At the same time the authorities should remain steadfast in their
economic restructuring exercise if they are to build confidence and trust
with the investing community and other important stakeholders in general.
This includes the continued presence of political will, and avoidance of
policy reversals. Concrete steps that point to a re-engagement with the
international donor community should continue to be visible.
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FinGaz

Bush, Blair at least have a conscience


5/20/2004 7:22:51 AM (GMT +2)

THE abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American and British soldiers has
received saturation coverage worldwide.

The media, including the Zimbabwean government's mouthpieces, have
been unanimous in their condemnation of the humiliation and barbaric
treatment the inmates have been subjected to.

That is as it should be. The observance and protection of human rights
is not optional but imperative.

Every decent human being should be horrified when the intrinsic worth
and inalienable rights of other human beings anywhere on the globe are
ignored, questioned or denied. This is an issue when there should be no
compromise whatsoever.

The involvement of the coalition forces that invaded Iraq a year ago
in these heinous acts is particularly repugnant, inexcusable and
unacceptable because they went into that country to rescue a population that
had already endured 35 years of Saddam Hussein's tyranny. They deserved a
break rather than more abuse.

For these supposed liberators to replace the former dictator's
unfathomable cruelty and barbarism with a Western brand is a shameful
display of hypocrisy. The soldiers' despicable behaviour deserves to be
condemned in the strongest possible terms.

That these horrendous misdeeds were committed by soldiers representing
two of the foremost exponents of democracy in the Western world underscores
the fact that no country, no matter how mighty, is above reproach and
scrutiny. In other words, no country has a "sovereign" right to violate the
rights of its citizens or anybody else's.

However, it has to be said that the redeeming factor in this abhorrent
situation is the preparedness of US President George W Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair to accept that transgressions were committed.
There is a big difference between atrocities ordered by a government as
official policy and those committed by wayward individuals.

In my opinion, these two leaders have shown political maturity by
being ready to eat humble pie before the whole world and apologising for the
barbarity of their military forces. They have pledged their determination to
ensure that thorough investigations are conducted so that all culprits can
be brought to book.

This is a far cry from what happens in many countries, where
tyrannical regimes do not give a hoot about human rights and in fact ensure
their political survival by subjecting entire populations to inhumane
treatment.

Take our own country, for example. The gloating by the state media
about the coalition forces' transgressions cannot wipe our own government's
slate clean. It only serves to remind us how many skeletons this regime has
in its own cupboard.

The Matabeleland massacres, in which more than 20 000 civilians were
killed, occurred more than 20 years ago. Yet in all that time, there has
been no single occasion when the powers-that-be have offered an apology for
the atrocities to the nation and to the families of the victims.

Not a single undertaking has been made to investigate what happened
during this dark period of our history so as to bring offenders to book and
afford the affected families closure.

Instead, frantic efforts have been made to suppress the findings of
independent organisations that undertook to discover the truth on this
matter. Even more strenuous efforts have been made to forestall any scrutiny
of current goings-on in Zimbabwe.

The government has turned a deaf ear to persistent charges of human
rights violations and the absence of the rule of law. It has not been brave
and mature enough to do what the American and British governments have done
with regard to the Iraqi abuses.

Instead, the regime has made it clear that because Zimbabwe is a
"sovereign" state, no one else should talk about these issues.

Hiding behind the cloak of sovereignty has enabled the government to
muzzle the media by way of the archaic Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which makes it a criminal offence to scrutinise and
criticise government actions and policies.

Journalists who have tried to report truthfully and objectively on the
state of affairs in the country have been subjected to harassment, arrest,
violence and deportation.

And yet despite its misguided belief that the Iraq scandal means it
has been vindicated of its own abuses, our government has many important
lessons to learn.

The first is the fundamental importance of free speech in a democracy.
It is only the existence of guarantees protecting the right of individuals
to speak freely, to organise in groups, to question the decision of the
government and to campaign openly against it that has enabled the media in
America and Britain to expose the goings-on in Iraq.

It is well known that far worse horrors than the soldiers' perverse
acts occurred under Saddam's tyrannical rule. The world never got to know
about them because that dictator clamped down on civil liberties in the same
manner our government is doing. And yet no government has the right to
establish absolute standards of what is true and what is false as ours has
done through AIPPA.

Believers in democracy insist on free speech and a free press out of
recognition that no one is infallible. Our government has yet to learn to
accept that other people can be right and it might be wrong.

Moreover, freedom of speech is not merely the right of individuals to
speak their minds or journalists to report events truthfully. It is, more
importantly, the right of the rest of the populace to hear different
viewpoints. Why is the Zimbabwean government so averse to such a
dispensation if it has nothing to hide?

John Staurt Mill, who staunchly defended free speech in his Essay on
Liberty, has said: "The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of opinion
is that it is robbing the human race. If the opinion is right they are
deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they
lose what is almost as great a benefit - the clearer perception and livelier
impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

The search for truth is endless. Someone has said "it involves the
possibility - even the inevitability - of error."

According to American jurist Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, this means
not only freedom of expression for those who agree with us "but freedom for
the thought we hate."

Another American judge, Justice Robert Jackson, pointed out that
freedom of speech is not merely freedom to express ideas that differ from
ours but on things that go to the heart of the matter.

Against this background, it is necessary to point out that the conduct
of American soldiers in Iraq is as reprehensible and unacceptable as the
escapades of the "Green Bombers" who have been accused of murder, torture,
rape, etc. The allegations made against the coalition forces in Iraq are as
serious as those of brutality and lack of professionalism levelled against
our army and police force.

The question is: why are our leaders not honest, principled and man
enough to respond to these accusations as Bush and Blair have done by
ordering thorough investigations?
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FinGaz

Barclays fingered in Kondozi saga

Staff Reporter
5/20/2004 6:53:55 AM (GMT +2)

BARCLAYS Bank of Zimbabwe Limited has been drawn into the evolving
Kondozi saga following moves by the police to launch an investigation into
alleged foreign exchange control violations by Canvest Farming, commonly
known as Kondozi.

Sources told The Financial Gazette that the police had visited
Barclays' Mutare branch a couple of weeks ago but were referred to the
bank's Kurima House branch in Harare, where the Canvest account was held.

The former owners of Kondozi, which has been at the epicentre of a
spat involving the government's Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
(ARDA), which forcibly took over the farm last month, are now under probe
for alleged foreign currency externalisation.

Kondozi was an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) agro-concern and, prior to
the announcement of the new monetary policy in December, enjoyed concessions
on foreign currency remittances.

Barclays' company secretary, Tamara Moyana, confirmed that Canvest was
being probed by police and that the bank had been brought into the
investigations.

"We are Kondozi's bankers and the police are investigating Kondozi. We
are assisting with the investigations. I wouldn't say we have been dragged
in as such because the investigations are centred on Kondozi," Moyana said.

Sources have, however, indicated that the police wanted to establish
if Barclays had not abetted the alleged exchange control violations.

Contacted for comment, Piet de Klerk, one of the directors of Canvest
and a co-signatory to the account, denied knowledge of the police action.

"That's nonsense . . . a malicious rumour. I have been with my banker
this morning and nothing of that sort has been brought to my attention," de
Klerk said.

Observers have questioned the timing of the move to probe Canvest
which, under previous rules governing EPZ firms, was not subject to
surrender arrangements put in place by the government to bolster the
country's tenuous foreign currency reserves.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono last December announced that locally owned
EPZ firms would now be subject to the same surrender arrangements applicable
to all other exporting companies.

Locally owned EPZ firms raked in US$136.1 million in 2002 and, by
August last year, had realised some US$35.1 million.

Canvest is 52 percent owned by journalist-turned horticulture
businessman Edwin Moyo, while Adrian Zeederburg and the de Klerk family own
the remainder in equal parts.

The compulsory acquisition of the lucrative Kondozi farm has been a
divisive matter, with several prominent ZANU PF officials finding themselves
on opposing sides on the highly publicised affair.

Vice President Joseph Msika has openly voiced his displeasure at the
acquisition, that has thrown over 5 000 workers on the streets, while
Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and Chris Mushowe have
vigorously defended the acquisition.
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FinGaz

Destabilisation of farms threatens industry

Nelson Banya
5/20/2004 6:50:30 AM (GMT +2)

THE effects of the government's land redistribution exercise, which
was formally pronounced complete in August 2002, continue to haunt the
country's once vibrant agro-based industry.

News that a farm belonging to Sable Chemical Industries was invaded
last week by suspected ZANU PF functionaries puts the country's sole
ammonium nitrate manufacturer on the growing list of
agricultural-cum-industrial concerns whose operations have been destabilised
by the land reform.

Anglo American Corporation's Hippo Valley and Triangle Estates,
Interfresh Limited's Mazoe Citrus Estates and landholdings belonging to
horticulture group Ariston Holdings have had their operations disrupted by
invaders who, since the invasions began in 2000, have enjoyed the tacit
approval of the government.

The hotly contested Kondozi farm in Odzi, a multi-billion-dollar niche
horticulture venture with established markets in Europe and South Africa as
well as an extensive outgrower network, was also forcibly taken over by the
government's Agriculture and Rural Development Authority last month.

All this is in spite of assurances given by the government at the
onset of the divisive land redistribution exercise that productive
agricultural enterprises and estates would be spared from compulsory
acquisition.

Very little progress has been made in trying to solve disputes
involving former landholders and the new settlers on the farms, with Hippo
Valley suffering probably the greatest loss in terms of sugar production,
which has plummeted since the onset of the disturbances.

Only last month, the government, using new amendments to the land
acquisition law, moved to expropriate 49 properties constituting about 24
838 hectares of the total 60 165 hectares which make up the Hippo Valley
Estates.

South African firm Tongaat Hullet has also reported a dip in earnings
from Triangle, which used to contribute up to 15 percent to the Tongaat
bottom line.

Interfresh, Ariston and, most recently, Kondozi have faced
invasion-related problems at a time agriculture and industries directly
related to the sector should be recovering from the upheaval of the past
three years.

Last week's invasion of Sable's 65 000-acre spread in Kwekwe, where
management was reportedly given 24 hours to remove all equipment at the pump
station, was even more peculiar, considering that the government, through
the Industrial Development Corporation, owns 36 percent of Sable.

TA Holdings is the 51 percent majority shareholder in the venture,
with Norwegian firm Norsk Hydro holding 12 percent.

Any moves to destabilise the strategically important Sable would, in a
very direct way, mean that the government is shooting itself in the foot.

Apart from being the country's sole manufacturer of ammonium nitrate,
Sable employs over 500 people and has an annual production of about 240 000
tonnes of fertiliser.

Sable also provides the mining industry with critical raw material
supplies.

Operations at the firm have, in recent years, been hamstrung by
debilitating price controls imposed by the government.

Sources close to the developments at the Sable farm say the battle
with the invaders, who have been linked to a senior ZANU PF official by
management at Sable, was over the pump station, which supplies water to the
electrolysis plant.

Analysts and commentators have cautioned that as long as the
government does not come out with a clear position on the property rights of
investors operating agri-processing concerns on farmland, critical foreign
direct investment in the sector would not be realised.

"Almost every major agri-processing concern has some land reform
ulcers to contend with. Who will invest in such an environment where you
cannot guarantee continued operations for both the processors and their
outgrowers?

"Let us have a clear policy which clearly indicates a break with the
recent past and charts a way forward in terms of resuscitating commercial
agriculture," one economist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

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FinGaz

Zim: four years from the beginning of the plunge


5/20/2004 7:07:41 AM (GMT +2)

(continued from last week)

AT the same time, there has been an attempt to bring some sanity to
the
foreign currency market by introducing a state-controlled auction.
This effectively devalued the currency by 75 percent, bringing the official
exchange rate up and the black market rate down, at least temporarily.

But it has negatively affected exporters, importers and consumers and
will certainly fuel inflation further. We are set for another round of
catastrophic price rises. Where the problems are essentially political,
piecemeal policies cannot rescue us. A modern economy cannot thrive in the
absence of political
stability, without smooth linkages to the international players.

On the economic side, then, 2004 is likely to bring us only misery.
What of the political? It is encouraging that through all the intimidation
and violence the opposition MDC has managed to survive, maintain its
structures and has held together in spite of a wide internal divergence of
ideological positions. It contains some individuals who have worked at great
personal risk to bring change.

Furthermore, they deserve credit for firmly adhering to principles of
non-violence, restraining their youthful hotheads who would prefer to answer
violence with violence. It is clear, however, that elections marked by state
violence and terror will not bring change unless the electoral ground rules
are completely rewritten, and that is certainly not going to occur in the
present circumstances.

What about the mass action route? Besides the opposition party, MDC,
several civil society organisations have raised their voices against
government policies. These
include the labour federation, ZCTU, the National Constitutional
Assembly,
some of the churches which have country wide membership and several
other NGOs.

All of them, including the MDC, are divided between the activists who
want to take to the streets and the lobbyists, who want to push for some
kind of "talks" with government. Those in favour of street action are in a
weak position. Last year (2003) demonstrated that while people were prepared
to protest by staying away from work, they were not ready to take to the
streets and face the riot police and possibly the army.

Activists watched events unfold in the Georgian capital Tbilisi with
envy, but have been forced to admit that Zimbabweans are simply not yet
willing to take the risk. Small demonstrations organised by the ZCTU, the
NCA and WOZA, a group which organises grassroots women, invariably resulted
in arrests or police brutality or both.

The masses have shied away from such action, and without the masses,
this tactic cannot shift ZANU PF in any way. But the bravery of the few,
especially when they are women, keeps the opposition visible and raises
spirits and hope.

Dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC has been held out as the solution
by neighbouring African countries, particularly South Africa. The purpose of
such inter-party talks would be to agree to end human rights abuses,
re-establish the rule of law, and rewrite the electoral rules so that a new
election could produce a government accepted as legitimate domestically and
internationally.

Then a start could be made to repair the economic damage. Such talks
would have to be brokered by foreign mediators. For the MDC, talks would be
the best solution, but so far they have proved elusive. For obvious reasons,
ZANU PF is not interested and has deliberately held out the impression to
the South Africans that they were committed while doing absolutely nothing.
But it is now becoming clear that in the end, this
is the only way that a solution will be found.

ZANU PF appears to think that they have outwitted the opposition and
can
hang on to power until 2005, when they will conduct an even more
violent and dishonest election which will see them clear for another five
years.

Even now they are making preparations. A new Presidential decree has
introduced the power of detention without bail, on mere suspicion, where
there is no evidence of wrong-doing. Youth militia training is being stepped
up to provide a reserve of shock troops. The United Nations was asked to
provide funding for the election, but the request was quickly withdrawn when
they proposed to send a delegation to study the situation on the ground.

The MDC, under severe constraint from forces of terror,
unconstitutional laws, and a compliant judiciary, and the unwillingness of
their members to engage in civil disobedience, is hobbled. It can not do
much more than to hold its supporters together, plan policies to implement
if they do gain power, and
work hard, as they are now doing, to persuade African governments,
particularly that of South Africa, to apply pressure for
internationally accepted elections.

Hence the deep despair of the population. Most Zimbabweans face the
year with little hope for any early solution. But there are signs that the
logic of economic failures may finally bring the whole edifice crashing
down. Maybe enough Zimbabweans will decide that "enough is enough" and
provide the critical mass in the streets to topple ZANU PF.

The "war on corruption" has now exposed the rot at the core and could
develop into an uncontrollable internecine struggle. The distortions in the
Zimbabwean economy have impacted heavily on the region. President Mbeki,
like Obasanjo in December, might finally decide that it is not worth the
embarrassment of continuing to support President Robert Mugabe, whose
galloping paranoia occasionally turns on Mbeki himself.

"An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped." The time for
democratic change in Zimbabwe has not yet come. But time does move fast in
Zimbabwe. The unexpected occurs on a daily basis. While today we may see
little hope, tomorrow or next week will surely be different, for ultimately
time is on our side.


lThis article first appeared in Pambazuka News, an electronic
newsletter for social justice in Africa, www.pambazuka.org
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FinGaz

Mugabe moves to quell in-fighting

Brian Mangwende
5/20/2004 6:51:49 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, whose political future has of late become a
subject of heightened speculation, has moved to patch up the cracks emerging
in his ruling ZANU PF over the emotive succession issue by announcing a
distant departure date.

In doing so, President Mugabe, an object of bitter attacks from
Western governments led by former colonial master Britain, has confirmed the
widely held view that he was seeing out his fifth and last term in office.

"I want to retire from politics. I have had enough. I am also a writer
and would like to concentrate on writing after this term of office is over.
I have not even completed this term, I have four more years and I am not so
young, you know. I need to rest from politics and do something else, like
writing," President Mugabe told a visiting journalist from the East African
Standard of Kenya.

The incumbent's term of office runs to 2008.

President Mugabe's announcement comes at a time when there is a chorus
of angry voices for him to go from both Western governments led by Britain
and the local opposition led by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

They have been calling for his exit to save the economy that has
collapsed into a recessionary heap under his stewardship.

The West, which the government accuses of wishing to effect a regime
change in Zimbabwe, believes President Mugabe no longer enjoys public
confidence and that a new man at the helm would do a better job than him.

They also accuse President Mugabe, who became a darling of the West
when he pronounced reconciliation to heal the wounds of the bitter war of
liberation, of having become a dictator.

The Zimbabwean government, which claims the economy has since bottomed
out, however, maintains its stance has not changed. If anything has changed,
it is the West's political yardstick, the government claims.

President Mugabe's latest statement, political observers said, could
have been prompted by intense internal jockeying by ZANU PF bigwigs for his
position that is likely to split the party through the middle.

This would effectively weaken ZANU PF ahead of crucial 2005
parliamentary elections in March next year.

The President's surprise announcement was therefore calculated to send
a clear signal to his feuding lieutenants who had long coveted the top job
that he was not, as widely expected, about to retire.

Of late, fissures have erupted within the ruling party, which is now
riven along factional lines as members jostle for the top post.

President Mugabe seemed to give credence to this line of thought.

"They are fighting and some are even consulting n'angas ," the
80-year-old leader said.

"It is very interesting to note that even educated people are
consulting n'angas (witchdoctors) to enhance their chances of landing my
job."

President Mugabe has in the past decried some of the tactics employed
by those fighting to step into his shoes, saying they would divide the
ruling party.

For the better part of President Mugabe's precarious tenure,
infighting in ZANU PF over the succession issue has been subtle, mainly
because succession has always been considered to be a political hot potato.

Debate on the issue had been largely muted until last year when
President Mugabe said the party could discuss it.

Prior to that, the octogenarian leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
1980 after a bloody and bitter war of independence, had kept his exit plans
a closely guarded secret.

Opening up the succession debate was the closest he ever came to
hinting on his imminent departure.

Political analyst Heneri Dzinotywei said: "The year 2008 is still far
away and by announcing he would retire when his term expires, he is merely
trying to quell the potentially explosive situation in ZANU PF.

"He wants to calm the atmosphere. He wants people to realise there is
no need to start jockeying for his position now because it's too early.

"It's a message to his members that he is not leaving yet.

"So instead of wasting time jockeying for his position, they should
come together and strengthen the party."

A confusing picture is, however, emerging within the ruling party
insofar as President Mugabe's succession is concerned. There is no telling
who the front-runners for the presidency of the party are.

Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was said to be President
Mugabe's confidante, was at one time thought to be the heir-apparent. His
political career has, however, been on the wane and he has since reportedly
appeared before a five-member team probing ZANU PF companies.

Others tipped to make it to the top job include the quiet Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, and the affable Special Affairs Minister John
Nkomo, who now ranks third in the party's hierarchy after Vice President
Joseph Msika.

Observers, however, say President Mugabe, a shrewd politician, could
settle for former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, widely viewed as the rising
star in the political firmament.

They say although Makoni might have been dumped from Cabinet, he
remains President Mugabe's favourite.

Alois Masepe had this to say this week: "There is a general
misconception that whoever takes over from Mugabe will automatically rule
the country.

"On a national level, if Mugabe retires before or when his term
expires, we go to the polls.

"But as for ZANU PF, their constitution is very clear on the party
hierarchy. Should Mugabe step down, the next man in line for promotion is
Msika, and after him comes Nkomo.

"If they are jockeying, it's because they want a radical change in
leadership.

"They probably want to inject new blood. That's why they are fighting
each other, otherwise internally they don't have a problem in terms of the
party's constitution."

Chairman of Transparency International Zimbabwe and political analyst
John Makumbe said: "I think that announcement has demoralised members of the
ruling party. It has probably shocked them.

"Come 2008, ZANU PF members would have stabbed themselves in the back
so much there may be no one standing.

"It has dealt a heavy blow to the succession debate. I don't think his
(Mugabe's) colleagues can stand another five years of in-house fighting.

"Most of them would have vanished by then.

"The economy can't also stand a further five years of battering."
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FinGaz

...and now to the Notebook


5/20/2004 7:09:44 AM (GMT +2)

IT was good to learn that after last week's regional food meeting in
Dar es Salaam, our very own Zim was honoured with the responsibility of
providing advice to other countries in the region on how to implement
successful land reforms.

We are made to believe that what this effectively means is that we are
no longer going to chaperone only our sheepish Namibian brothers through
their own land reform, but the entire SADC region! What an honour!

After our costly trial-and-error land reform exercise, we are now
suddenly expert enough to lecture the whole region on how to go about
"revolutionising" their agricultural sectors.

CZ cannot help but just wonder what the students will learnt from our
very own Cde Dr Joseph Made!

We just hope that they will not be taught about setting up needless
bureaucratic behemoths like the Agricultural Marketing Authority which the
Cde Dr is always spouting forth about day and night these days.

We just hope that they will not be taught to muster the art of
surveying national harvests from aeroplanes and telling the world and their
girlfriends that you have more than enough when you do not even have enough
to last a quarter of a year.

We hope the regional counterparts will not be taught how best to seize
productive farms from "enemies" and give each other 10, as well as their
best friends, their uncles and their concubines all in the name of
empowerment . . . we mean dishing out millions of hectares through
newspapers to people who do not even own a sickle, let alone a hoe, and
expecting maximum production!

We just hope these people will not be foolish enough to be taught how
to give farming inputs to lazy party cadres who in turn sell them off to get
some money for dagga and few "scuds", all under the name of black upliftment
. . . or how to pay sub-economic producer prices in the hope of encouraging
more farmers to produce more!

We just hope that when these people come to learn from the Zim
example, they will be keen to learn more of the things they should never do
than they should copy.




Our otherwise somnolent Parliament is promising to get much more
lively in the run-up to the make-or-break 2005 elections as this week some
arrogant ministers of justice got instant justice right within the House -
the way parliaments in other democracies like Kenya, Britain, Taiwan and
many others operate: where MPs pulverise each other's faces over the
smallest of issues!

We commiserate with the Honourable Minister for the mortifying
experience and only hope that from now on, he will learn to use much cleaner
language. We also hope another foul-mouthed minister has also learnt
something.

We also commiserate with the "Rhodie" because after this week's events
in the House, he will definitely learn that mwana wevhu haarohwe . . . that
farm is now history to him and "the party's" youths will make sure that he
doesn't set his foot in Chimanimani again! Not with ZANU PF yeropa!

Our sages always enjoin us that while it is good to be brave and
fearless, oftentimes we stand in the compound of a coward to point at the
ruins where the brave man used to live. This wisdom rings true in all this
madness!




CZ is increasingly getting worried about the behaviour of none other
than the VP, Joseph Msika, who seems to be clashing with members of his
adopted party at every turn.

Is something going wrong in his ageing mind or, because of old age, is
he now losing that needless rancour that seems to be filling most members of
his ruling ZANU PF and is beginning to see things much clearer than before?

Is it that he is now beginning to base his judgments on reason rather
than on raw emotion . . . hence his clashes with almost every one.

One day he was opening a big supermarket in Mazowe and in no time the
owner of that supermarket was in all sorts of fertilisers . . . we have
since forgotten he exists!

The next time the VP was captured on our one and only TV station
telling some war veterans that the fact that they fought for this country
does not give them the right to behave in the rambunctious way most of them
do. He said some of them were actually behaving like
counter-revolutionaries.

And then came the hot Kondozi issue. Up to this day, the old man is
arguing that it was wrong to throw away thousands of families working on
such an intensive production farm simply to please a few individuals!

Only last week, when he got the opportunity to be acting President, he
was in Mazowe again, this time assuring some agro-industrial firms that
their farms would not be expropriated by the government, as well as advising
them to beware of some rowdy war veterans who may like to seize some
shareholding in those firms.

We wonder whether the VP is no longer attending the same Cabinet
meetings where some of the zany and warped decisions are taken and approved.

cznotebook@yahoo.co.uk

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FinGaz

Comment

Overhaul parastatals


5/20/2004 7:24:20 AM (GMT +2)

THE very existence of all state-owned companies has been precariously
hanging in the balance for a long time now. And it is with this in mind that
we feel that the government's eleventh-hour efforts to improve the
operational efficiency of these ailing parastatals, most of which have been
exhibiting classic warning signs of collapse, were long overdue.

Part of the stringent conditions recently laid down by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe for the funding of state-owned companies could be the
fastest route to bring the parastatals, which have been operating below the
red ink line, back to the black.

Indeed the conditional funding could be a cathartic turning point in
the country's 20 or so year quest to turn around the companies. This
approach will make it clear to whoever is running these enterprises that
they are on notice to perform. It means that unlike in the past, the
government will not just dole out large tranches of funds from the treasury
and throw the public money into these bottomless pits. Appointing a
commission of inquiry to look into the operations of these enterprises, as
the government might have been tempted to do, would have been not only
pointless but simply bureaucratic. After all, previous appointments of such
commissions, whose findings have never been made public and whose
recommendations have never been implemented, were emblematic of everything
wrong with our system.

These companies are part of the reason the black hole in public
finances continued to grow over the years as the government increasingly
found it difficult to balance its books. Squeezed by deep-seated corruption,
which spawned underhand deals and inefficiency, rising delinquent debts,
falling revenues and politically motivated boardroom squabbles, the
parastatals continued to pressure public finances. They drained the fiscus
by remaining on a life-support system courtesy of a government subsidy. Yet
they should have contributed to the fiscus instead of sucking it dry as has
been the case.

A common thread runs through all the crisis-hit parastatals,
underlying how all-embracing the malady in these institutions is. Be it the
ZBC, AirZim, NRZ, NOCZIM, GMB, ZESA, Tel*One or the perennial industrial
loss maker, ZISCO, it is the same old gloomy picture. Their financial
performances have been disastrous. They are characterised by malfeasance,
complacency and downright management ineptitude, all of which have added
strain to their corporate credibility and performance. Their operations,
just like many areas of public life in Zimbabwe, have remained largely
opaque and hostile to scrutiny. Added to this, they are all clearly at sea
as to how to shed their financial handcuffs, dealing a body blow to local
economic pride and promise.

Not only that, but in almost all cases there has been extensive
political interference. Influential politicians have been accused of
parachuting their cronies into top jobs at the parastatals. Without either
the requisite qualifications or what it takes to run the institutions, these
cronies found themselves at the heart of corporate maelstrom. This probably
explains why previously, there did not seem to be any keen appetite to
reform the parastatals: it is because the politicians wanted to cut
themselves a slice from the earnings of these companies on the back of
influence-peddling and back-scratching relationships. Suffice to say that
the consequences have been tragic and disastrous.

It is only the Industrial Development Corporation led by Michael
Ndudzo that has remained that odd shaft of light in the dark sea of public
sector corporate failure although it has one or two non-performing assets.
The sprawling conglomerate, though a government investment vehicle, has
become something close to a byword for industrial productivity and corporate
solidity. In the 12 months to December 2003, it notched up a profit of $65.5
billion. This is an incredible performance compared to other parastatals
that have rounded off successive years with banana skins.

Hence the need to clean up the other state-owned companies by way of a
radical surgery to staunch the seemingly never-ending haemorrhaging at those
monoliths which have become a national symbol of business corruption and
greed.

Before they even cast around for possible offshore white knight
bidders for strategic link-ups, it is imperative that these organisations
fix their strategic mistakes.

Admittedly, strategic alliances will be the natural next step in the
evolution of these companies for technology transfer purposes. But any
attempt to dispose of them in their current state would see bargain-hunting
foreign predators snapping up the family silver for a song. As things stand
right now, their state is rather anxious and that is not the easiest
bargaining position to start from.

It is also important to point out that settling for technical partners
after turnarounds would afford Zimbabwe the luxury of selecting strong
strategic partners who would add value to the businesses rather than having
to necessarily settle for the highest bidders.

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Mail and Guardian

Unravelling the riddle of Simon Mann

Rory Carroll and Jamie Wilson

19 May 2004 12:47


Perched on the banks of the river Beaulieu in Hampshire is a rambling house
named Inchmery. Today its eight hectares of pasture are placid, but half a
century ago they were a training ground for Polish paratroopers preparing
for D-Day. When an old pine tree blew over in a storm several years ago it
was found to be riddled with bullets from the Poles' target practice. For a
man in search of a life less ordinary, the intrigue attached to the property
must have seemed irresistible. In 1997, Simon Mann bought it.

Spring may be turning to summer, but Mann can only imagine the clear views
across the mouth of the Beaulieu river and the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
Since March 7 his home has been a 4m by 1,5m solitary confinement cell in
Chikurubi prison, a maximum-security facility outside the Zimbabwean capital
of Harare, where, his lawyer claims, he has been tortured, assaulted by
prison officers, suffered lice, inedible food and general deprivation.

Mann is accused of planning to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea
by leading a mercenary force into the capital, Malabo, and kidnapping or
killing the president. His lawyers are fighting a formal extradition request
from the West African country, where, it is safe to assume, prison
conditions will be no better.

It is a story with implausible characters and plot twists. There is the
alleged cannibal dictator, his playboy son and scheming relatives. There is
the offshore oil waiting to make millionaires out of those audacious or
desperate enough to seize it. There is the exiled politician and the Chelsea
plutocrat. There is the planeload of mercenaries stopping in Harare to pick
up weapons. And, at the heart of it all, there is Simon Mann. How the plot
went awry and landed this unusual Englishman in manacles may come to be
judged as the end of an era of white buccaneers who thought they ruled
Africa.

The 51-year-old has spent most of his career in the murky world of special
forces and the mercenary. He is an establishment deviant. The son of an
England cricket captain who made a fortune from the Watney's brewing empire,
he was educated at Eton and Sandhurst and joined the Scots Guards, one of
the more pukka regiments of the royal household. But he hungered for
something more. He passed the gruelling selection procedure for the SAS at
the first try and became a troop commander in 22 SAS, specialising in
intelligence and counter terrorism. He served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway,
Canada, central America and Northern Ireland. So far, so conventional; he
was not out of place among the dukes and earls of White's, London's oldest
club, where he was a member.

But in 1981 he left the army. "I think he wanted a new challenge, and after
a while some people find army life a little bit mundane," says a former
colleague. The adventures on which he embarked as a result would lead him,
eventually, to a cell, decked in khaki prison garb, his life in ruins. He
has authorised the sale of his Aerostar jet to pay for defence lawyers and
parcels of food, toilet paper and toothpaste for himself and his co-accused.
"Amanda [Mann's wife] worries the house may also have to go," says a friend
in South Africa.

Unravelling the riddle of Simon Mann is not easy when even relatives were
kept ignorant of his activities. "I only really know as much as you," his
father-in-law, Maurice, a retired accountant from north London, tells The
Guardian. "I know nothing about his business -- it was as big a shock to me
as to you." But enough fragments emerge to build a picture of a complex
character, part thrill-seeker, part businessman, who mined Africa's wars for
profit before coming unstuck in a deal too far. If convicted on firearms and
public-order offences, Mann may shuffle out of Chikurubi prison in his 70s.
If extradited to Equatorial Guinea he could face the death penalty. Last
month, one of the alleged "advance party" of mercenaries died in Black Beach
prison in Malabo. Authorities there blamed malaria, but local reports said
he had died after being tortured.

Mann began his post-army freelance career quietly enough, selling supposedly
hack-proof computer software. But he soon moved into the security business,
reportedly providing bodyguards to wealthy Arabs to protect their Scottish
estates from poachers, before briefly being persuaded back into uniform in
1990 to serve on British Gulf war commander Sir Peter de la Billiere's staff
in Riyadh. In 1993 he set up a mercenary outfit, Executive Outcomes, with
the controversial entrepreneur Tony Buckingham. It made a fortune protecting
oil installations from rebels in Angola's civil war.

In 1995 when EO became too high-profile, he set up an offshoot, Sandline
International, with another ex-Scots Guard, Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer,
and shipped arms to Sierra Leone in contravention of a UN embargo. "Mann
would not have been one of the front-line guys in choppers, more the
businessman in the suit," says Will Reno, an American politics professor who
specialises in African conflict.

An estimated $10-million made, Mann stepped down a gear. According to the
land registry, he bought Inchmery, a former residence of the Rothschild
family, in 1997 in the name of Myers Developments, a firm registered in the
offshore tax haven of Guernsey. Under the advertisement, "Is this the most
beautiful beach house in the country?" he then rented it out and moved to
Cape Town.

Already with three children from two previous marriages, Mann had another
three with his new wife, Amanda, and settled at 18 Duckitt Avenue, a
R2,4-million Cape Dutch gabled house in Constantia, a secluded suburb
beloved by British expatriates such as Earl Spencer and Mark Thatcher. He
went fishing, bought sculpture and threw dinner parties for a small set of
friends. "They seemed very happy," says Donald Greig, a jeweller who knew
the couple. But no one seemed to know Mann's source of income. "He was a
very private sort of person," says Rupert Wragg, a schoolfriend who also
ended up in Cape Town.

But not, it seems, entirely private. In a bizarre twist, Mann agreed to play
the part of Colonel Derek Wilford, commander of the paratroopers who fired
on marchers in Derry, in a gritty television reconstruction of Bloody
Sunday. In an interview with this newspaper in 2002, Mann suggested he had
taken part in the film partly to defend the army (though he admitted Bloody
Sunday was a "cock-up"), and partly, he said, to aid the peace process.

The director, Paul Greengrass, found Mann one of the most interesting,
thoughtful and courageous people he had ever met. "He is a humane man, but
an adventurer. He is very English, a romantic, tremendously good company."

What happened next suggests that the adventurer did not fully grasp how
easily things can go wrong, though his motives may have been pragmatic -- it
is rumoured that Mann needed the money. Whatever the reason, Mann embarked
on a monumental blunder.

Equatorial Guinea is a small, malarial country in west Africa ruled by a
tyrant, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who pockets vast profits from
offshore oil drilling. He wants his favourite son, a dangerous playboy known
as Teodorin, to succeed him, a prospect that frightens powerful relatives.
Severo Moto Nsa, an exiled opposition politician who claims the president
has eaten human testicles, also feels threatened by the succession.

President Obiang accuses Ely Calil, a Chelsea-based tycoon, of plotting a
coup to vault his friend Severo Moto into power in return for oil
concessions. Both men rubbish the allegation. Details are murky but there is
strong evidence of a two-pronged plot. Since last year, Nick du Toit, a
South African former mercenary, has forged ties with one faction of the
ruling clan involving fishing rights and customs control. It is rumoured
that his real task was to somehow nobble the military, especially the
president's Moroccan bodyguards, to clear the way for a small invasion
force.

The second prong was to be led by Du Toit's former commanding officer at
Executive Outcomes, Mann. Allegedly promised $5-million at meetings with
Calil and Severo Moto last year, he recruited 66 veterans of apartheid South
Africa's bush wars, many of them black mercenaries from Angola and Namibia.
They are thought to have trained at a farm south of Johannesburg. The
alleged plan was to collect a consignment of AK-47 rifles, mortar bombs and
30 000 rounds of ammunition and fly to Equatorial Guinea.

At 7.30pm on March 7 a Boeing 727-100 recently purchased by Mann's company,
Logo Logistics, was impounded after arriving at Harare. The crew and
passengers were arrested, as was Mann, who had arrived several days earlier
and was waiting at the airport. Soon afterwards, Du Toit and 14 others were
arrested in Malabo and the governments of Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe
were boasting about foiling a coup.

Relatives of those in Harare say that the men were on their way to Congo to
guard diamond mines, so there was nothing sinister about the $190 000 Mann
has admitted paying the state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries for weapons.
"They were set up," says Alwyn Griebenow, their lawyer. However, a written
confession purportedly from Mann and dated March 9, which was leaked to a
South African newspaper, admits the coup plot. Griebenow says it had no
legal standing and prosecutors had not cited it. In the only public hearing
so far, Mann rebuffed journalists with the words "I have nothing to say."
One observer said he looked like Richard Burton in The Wild Geese.

Doubters of the coup plot point to anomalies. Some of the arrested men were
in their 60s and unfit. Many had good jobs and did not need the money. The
flight plan went only as far as Burundi. These are intriguing points, but
explainable by haste and incompetence: "Amateur hour. It was doomed to fail
because they had absolutely no respect for operational security. Everybody
knew it was happening," scorns one aquaintance of Mann, one of several
security sources who claims to have known of the coup months in advance.

One version is that South African intelligence infiltrated the group and
tipped off Harare and Malabo. Another is that Mann's arms deal was not
squared with key players in Zimbabwe who therefore sabotaged it. Another is
that the plotters were manipulated by Malabo's ruling family.

For all his sophistication, Mann appears not to have read the hidden
agendas, or realised that Africa is no longer the pushover it once was,
argues Reno. "Good lord, what idiots, the whole thing seems inept. Are they
just ignorant about what goes on in these places?" States are stronger than
they were a few decades ago. So too is regional cooperation through bodies
such as the African Union, which makes it much more difficult, though not
impossible, for mercenaries to topple governments. "I think this story marks
the end of an era," says Reno.

In studying the layout of military installations in Malabo, it is possible
that the plotters, if such they were, overlooked the metaphorical potential
of the fact that the island is built on extinct volcanoes, once dangerous
things whose time has passed. - Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers
Limited 2004
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