|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) has reverted to using archaic
methods of signal communications as it awaits the disbursement of $1
billion promised by the government for its microwave link project, the
Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The move is likely to further jeopardise the operations of the
parastatal in the wake of increasing rail accidents countrywide.
The NRZ signals system
is currently in disarray and has been blamed for
fatal accidents that have occurred along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route.
The old method that
the NRZ has reverted to using is known as the
"wooden staff system" and involves train drivers stopping at all rail
junctions and waiting for hand-written messages from signals engineers
before the trains can proceed.
NRZ corporate affairs manager, Misheck Matanhire, did not
questions faxed to him last week by this newspaper on the latest
developments at the troubled parastatal.
However, railway sources
said the wooden staff system was a safe
alternative as it ensured that there are no more than two trains on the
same line at any given time.
In February this year Zimbabwe witnessed one of its worst rail
in its history when 50 people were killed when a passenger train
travelling from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls rammed into a goods train
near Mambanje siding in Dete.
Sources said the NRZ had also
resorted to using detonators placed by
train guards behind a stationary train, which they explode to warn the
driver of an oncoming train to stop.
Three weeks ago a passenger train nearly rammed into a
train in Victoria Falls but managed to stop a few metres before disaster
struck after the passenger train applied emergency brakes.
The near crash was averted by the explosion of detonators
that had been
placed on the railway line by the driver of the goods train to warn
oncoming trains of the impending danger.
THE inflation figures released on Tuesday by the Central Statistical
Office (CSO) must be a source of disquiet to all Zimbabweans and should be a
clear signal to the government that it must move with haste to address the
country's deepening economic crisis to avert chaos and social unrest.
That is if the government has not already thrown in the towel and
become a helpless spectator in the unfolding drama.
According to the CSO, Zimbabwe's annualised inflation jumped 41,2
percentage points to 269,2 percent in April. With this latest rise in the
consumer price index, the grim predictions by analysts that inflation will
end the year at more than 500 percent are looking more than likely.
The government can only ignore the bold writing on the wall at its own
With inflation clearly still on the way up, the minimum wages
announced only last month are now a mere drop in the ocean. Even before the
latest inflation statistics, workers were already complaining that the new
wages were significantly below the poverty datum line, which stood at $53
029,10 in March.
Zimbabweans must therefore brace for a winter of discontent, with
workers in both the private and public sector resorting to industrial action
to force their employers to award higher salary and wage increments to
cushion them from rising inflation.
Companies, themselves already struggling to survive in a harsh
operating environment, will not be able to pay wages to match galloping
Some will have to retrench workers and some might even have to shut
The implications of further retrenchments and company closures at a
time most Zimbabweans are already unable to make ends meet do not bear
But think about them the government must for its own survival and that
of the nation are clearly at stake.
With the patience of most people in this country already hanging by a
mere thread, there is a real danger of a bitter social explosion that the
government and its trusted military might not find easy to control.
Yet this could all have been avoided had the tough decisions needed to
put the economy back on track not been ignored in the last four years.
Instead of choosing to blame the British and other scapegoats for its
own failings, the government could have started by living within its means
so that it could slash its ballooning expenditure.
This would have controlled its burgeoning budget deficit, which is
growing every year and is being financed through reckless borrowing,
The State's law and order enforcement agencies could have been
diverted from hunting down the government's political opponents and
reassigned to crack down on corrupt bureaucrats in the government and its
parastatals, who continue to enrich themselves using national resources.
This would have meant locking up some of the ruling party's blue-eyed
boys and girls, thus strongly indicating to the nation that the government
was ready to crack down on corruption at whatever cost.
Self-serving projects such as the discredited national youth service
programme should have been nipped in the bud so that they did not waste
By now, the government should have addressed the international
community's concerns over its human rights and democracy record in order to
unblock billions of dollars worth of foreign aid that is vital for the
resuscitation of the economy.
It would have been a bitter pill for the ruling party to swallow, but
much less painful than the wholesale measures now necessary to rescue an
economy that is on its last legs.
The government now has the unenviable task on its hands of reversing
four years of damage to the economy, simply because it has chosen to ignore
It will now take years to undo the damage that has been done and it
will take commitment to addressing the fundamental causes of the crisis, not
just its symptoms.
Commitment the government unfortunately does not seem to have.
Geneva treaty threatens tobacco industry
5/23/03 12:31:14 AM (GMT +2)
GENEVA, Switzerland, is a world away from Odzi in Manicaland, but
developments in the European city on Wednesday could turn out to be of
far-reaching consequences, not only for tobacco growers at Odzi, but all
leaf growers in Zimbabwe.
Odzi, for the uninitiated, is the prime farming land straddling the
area between the eastern border city of Mutare and Nyazura, about 70km east.
And its claim to fame? It is arguably the best producer of Virginia tobacco
in the country.
You see, representatives of 192 nations signed in Geneva last week, a
treaty called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which in essence
is the first ever international agreement designed to discourage cigarette
smoking including a total ban on advertising tobacco products.
Our government officials, as usual, were evasive. They wouldn't tell
me who represented us at the convention or, indeed, whether anyone was sent
there in the first place.
Yet, adoption of this treaty, which the global tobacco lobby
unsuccessfully lobbied long and hard to discourage, has such serious
ramifications on Zimbabwe's tobacco industry.
Just a reminder: tobacco is the country's top earner of foreign
currency; it has a considerable workforce, from farm workers to those in the
cigarette making sector; and - perhaps more crucially - the government, I'm
told, is trying desperately to import fuel on the promise it settle the bill
through tobacco receipts.
The jury is still out on whether or not it will succeed in the latter
endeavour. But the situation obviously gets murky if you factor in
developments in Geneva. In any event, I feel it's prudent to review what
went down in Geneva, if only for the sake of Virginia-growers in Odzi.
What it means is that the export market of our top foreign currency
earner is likely to dwindle, throwing thousands of people out of the
industry or tobacco-related jobs.
The tobacco treaty, which the United States vigorously opposed until
the last minute (in the interest, obviously, of its commerce and industry),
was prompted by alarm around the world at the growing rate of
tobacco-related deaths, estimated at more than five million each year.
The treaty, which requires ratification by individual governments,
bans tobacco companies from promoting their products on radio, television,
newspapers and magazines and on sporting and entertainment programmes.
Governments, the treaty says, must impose higher taxes on tobacco,
tighten regulations on smuggling tobacco products and imposing warning
labels on all cigarette packets.
Whether or when all signatories will ratify the treaty remains to be
For one, I can bet that Zimbabwe, China and the United States, major
producers of the product in the world, will be in no hurry to affix their
For their part, global tobacco companies - including Phillip Morris,
the world leader, and British American Tobacco (BAT) - worked tirelessly,
and unsuccessfully, to counter the tobacco lobby the moment the World Health
Organisation (WHO) began preliminary work on the treaty finally signed on
BAT, a London-based firm with a sister company in Zimbabwe, went to
work the moment it got wind of the WHO anti-tobacco initiative in 1999.
The company, according to a review of international media reports,
went flat out to portray itself as a firm with a social responsibility to
communities in which it markets its products.
That same year, BAT funded projects in several developing countries,
including Kenya, whose aim was to grow tobacco on a small-scale level to
help poverty stricken communities.
It also dispensed various amounts in the form of research funds to
various universities, including the University of Ghana in West Africa. You
probably guessed: the subject of research was the tobacco industry.
The company, whose only product is tobacco, unlike its competitor
Phillip Morris, which is highly diversified, launched several programmes in
target markets to discourage teenagers from smoking.
Still, that did not do enough to sway the convictions of those in the
anti-tobacco lobby. In fact, the company was criticised at one point that
its campaign on teenagers achieved the opposite objective - it gave an
impression smoking was only for adults, and perhaps good for the grown-ups.
In the end, all these lobbying efforts came to nought.
For Gro Harlem Brundtland, the director-general of WHO, the adoption
of the anti-tobacco treaty could not have come at a better time.
The director-general, who is retiring from the organisation,
spearheaded the anti-tobacco campaign, often making it appear as a personal
While she viewed Wednesday's developments as a step forward, she
nonetheless told reporters soon after the vote: "A convention on its own
doesn't mean much unless the nations that are signatories push it forward."
She probably had the US in mind, and perhaps China and, maybe,
"The United States has a lot of influence," she told the media. "A US
ratification is important, not only for the people of the United States, but
In the US, Congress plays a big role in passing new laws on tobacco
use. Knowing Washington, the US capital, as I do, the world health body
should be prepared to wait for a long time before they are assured of
ratification of the treaty by the US.
Washington is a city of lobbyists and when it comes to tobacco, they
burn the midnight oil.
Similarly in Odzi, the Virginia growers wait fingers crossed: will our
government ratify the treaty or not?
Tobacco valued at only US$8,19m sold so far
5/23/03 12:31:59 AM (GMT +2)
ABOUT 4,421 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco have been sold
since the beginning of the marketing season at the end of April, less than
half less the 10,4 million that had been sold in the same period last year,
worsening fears that this year's sales will not boost hard cash inflows.
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board yesterday said the tobacco
that had been sold up to Wednesday this week was valued at US$8,19 million
($6,551 billion, less than half the US$18,7 million ($2,97 billion) worth of
golden leaf sold in the same period last year.
Economists yesterday pointed out that the tobacco sold so far was
inadequate to meet Zimbabwe's monthly fuel needs, let alone to import
electricity or food aid for close to eight million people in need of
Zimbabwe needs between $30 billion and $40 billion a month to buy
Deliveries to the tobacco auction floors have been slow this season
due to fuel shortages and delays in grading caused by drought.
Farmers who delivered their crop to the auction floors yesterday said
some growers were still grading while many were failing to deliver because
of fuel shortages.
Tichafa Chitembeya, a grower from Hurungwe, said: "I delivered for the
first time today (yesterday) because most of the transporters are saying
they have no fuel. While I managed to deliver 21 bales today after a
temporary arrangement with a transporter, there is no one to carry my crop
to the floors tomorrow."
Chitembeya said many farmers were also failing to deliver to the
auction floors because of a shortage of packaging material.
David Machingaidze, managing director of TSF, one of Zimbabwe's
largest tobacco auction floors, said deliveries had improved from 900 bales
a day in the first week of sales to 2 000 bales a day. But cumulative sales
to date were still very low compared with last year, he said.
"We are expecting to have a full sale of 3 600 bales a day by the end
of May as deliveries are now picking up," he told The Business Daily News.
Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ) managing director Bruce Searls said
tobacco deliveries were still low and about 1 000 bales were laid for sale
at BMZ yesterday, compared with about 3 600 offered in a full sale.
However, Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre general manager Feisal
Greenland said sales were slowly picking up at his company's floors, with
about 2 000 bales offered for sale a day.
The auctioneers said while deliveries were still slow, prices were
firming. A seasonal national average of US$185,19 ($1 4 82) a kg has been
achieved so far, compared with US$180,4 realised at the same time last year.
However, earnings from tobacco are expected to drop this year, mostly
because of a sharp decline in output caused by drought and instability in
the agricultural sector resulting from the government's controversial land
Most large-scale tobacco producers have been evicted from their farms
under the land resettlement programme. Only about 350 white commercial
tobacco farmers, out of a total of 1 500, are said to be actively producing
the golden leaf.
IMF to Decide On Voting Rights
UN Integrated Regional Information
May 23, 2003
Posted to the web May 23, 2003
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will meet next month to decide whether
to suspend Zimbabwe's voting rights following the country's failure to meet
its repayments to the institution.
The news that the country can't make the payments, in spite of previous
assurances that some money would be forthcoming, adds to the burden of being
unable to raise enough foreign currency to pay for basic essentials like
fuel, power supplies and agricultural inputs.
currently unable to access further funds from the IMF and, if
the suspension is carried out, will lose its right to elect representatives
to the Fund or have any say over financial issues.
IMF Senior Resident Representative Jerry Johnson told IRIN on Friday that in
the early 1990s, Zimbabwe received IMF assistance for reform programmes when
the economy appeared to be poised for higher growth and investment. But by
the late 1990s, financial problems started setting in and the country
couldn't always honour its commitments.
Besides a small repayment last year, and in spite of assurances that US $1.5
million would be paid every three months, the country remains in arrears for
However, Johnson said: "We are not just saying pay up or else, we are saying
improve your policies - then we can move with you."
He said the Fund believed the country was making macro-economic policy
changes that were "significant moves in the right direction" and showed a
will to address these issues.
These include changing the fixed exhange rate from Zim $55 per US $1 to Zim
$824, reviewing price controls, and the "homegrown" New Economic Recovery
Plan, launched in February by business, labour and the government.
The country now needed to work on mobilising and maximising the use of
foreign exchange, improving agriculture, and building relations with
"If these things continue, then there will be a response from the rest of
the world," Johnson said.
The board meeting follows a visit by an IMF team in February who found that
the economy had experienced a progressive and sharp deterioration over the
past four years.
Govt dispatches SOS delegation as… - Fuel woes deepen
GOVERNMENT is today expected to dispatch a high-powered delegation to
South Africa, Angola and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in search of
fuel as the crisis which has gripped the country for four years refuses
to go away.
Official sources said the delegation comprising government, banking and
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) officials was expected to
leave this morning for South Africa before proceeding to Angola and the
UAE where it hopes to clinch new fuel deals to ease the deepening crisis.
Yesterday Energy and Power
Development minister Amos Midzi was locked in
a critical meeting at Parliament Building with all senior Noczim
managers under the auspices of the secretive National Security Council.
The agency supposedly deals with issues of national importance.
Midzi could not comment as he said he was in the meeting.
Sources said fuel prices could be increased last
night. But recently the
parastatal was blocked by government from increasing the prices of fuel
to $650 per litre for petrol and $340 per litre for diesel. Currently
petrol costs $450 per litre, while diesel is pegged at $200.
The new search for fuel follows visits this week to Zambia,
and Tanzania by Noczim officials in a bid to ease the country's
crippling fuel crisis.
Government recently failed to secure fuel
from Saudi Arabia in addition
to earlier efforts to get supplies from Sudan, Nigeria, Iran and Angola
where they now want to make a second attempt.
But last night the trip hung in the balance due to cost constraints.
Zimbabwe is currently relying on erratic fuel supplies
importers and small-scale dealers. Fuel queues have virtually
disappeared due to lack of supplies.
Zimbabwe owes suppliers up to US$300 million.
"We are intensifying our efforts to find fuel from
wherever we can to
find fuel from wherever we can find it," a Noczim source said yesterday.
"Now we are going all out to save this desperate situation."
Noczim, reeling under an over-$21 billion debt, is unable
adequate supplies due to the forex crisis.
the company invaded the black market in search of foreign
exchange. Sources said it used $20 billion to raise foreign currency
ahead of its accelerated fuel-hunting expedition. The money was raised
by Trustfin, which has been mandated to raise $60 billion for the
understood Noczim bought foreign exchange at a rate of US$1:$2 300
and as a result only managed to raise US$8,7 million which will buy a
week's supply at normal consumption levels.
Nkala case: ZBC accused of prejudicing police probe
THE defence in the Cain Nkala murder case yesterday accused the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation of prejudicing police investigations and grossly
humiliating the suspects.
The ZBC showed pictures of the three suspects - Remember Moyo, Khethani
Sibanda and Sazini Mpofu - on its news bulletins as they led police to a
shallow grave along the Khami Road towards Solusi University where they
allegedly buried Cde Nkala's body.
Advocate Erik Morris said the ZBC had prejudiced investigations by
broadcasting indications by the suspects.
He said this when cross-examining State witness Superintendent Martin Matira
in the "trial within a trial" in which the three suspects are accusing
police of torturing them to admit to kidnapping and murdering Cde Nkala in
Adv Morris asked Supt Matira how the police had let the ZBC cover the
"How did you allow ZBC to come and prejudice your investigations? This is
unprecedented in the history of criminal law. Why did you allow that?" Adv
Supt Matira answered: "I don't know what arrangement had been made by my
bosses to bring ZBC to the scene," he said.
But Adv Morris interrupted him, asking who his bosses were.
Supt Matira said Chief Supt Makhelele and Assistant Commissioner
Mashonganyika, who was then the Bulawayo acting commanding officer, were in
a better position to come to the court and explain how and why the ZBC was
called to the scene.
Adv Morris asked Supt Matira if he was sure that he wanted the court to
"Yes," Supt Matira responded.
"The scenario is that I was at Khulumani Police Station when the indications
were made and I only noticed the presence of the ZBC crew after I drove to
witness the exhumation of Cde Nkala's body."
He said that when he saw the ZBC crew he wanted to find out more about how
they came to the scene.
"My investigations revealed that the ZBC had been authorised to cover the
indications by Asst Comm Mashonganyika," Supt Matira said.
Adv Morris said the ZBC had grossly humiliated the suspects by broadcasting
the indications on television.
"Do you agree that the flighting of the suspects on television was a gross
Supt Matira answered: "Partly I would agree with the defence because we
wanted to bring the accused on an identification parade."
Adv Morris also said that the flighting of the accused on television was a
cheap publicity stunt by the ZBC meant to discredit the MDC.
"The purpose of the television was to discredit MDC,'' he said.
However, Supt Matira said the only person who could answer this question was
the reporter Reuben Barwe who covered the event. Adv Morris quizzed Supt
Matira if it did not occur to him that there was a political element in the
"I personally did not have that knowledge. I didn't know the accused and I
did not know their political affiliation," he said.
Adv Morris also cross-examined Supt Matira on the police diary log, which he
described as manufactured.
The trial was adjourned to June 2.
no information on that (Mugabe's invitation)," he said.
Ferrand's statement followed his promise to check if Paris had invited
Mugabe to the meeting scheduled for June 1-3.
Reports on Mugabe's invitation to the
G8 summit were prompted by
Britain's Conservative Party foreign affairs spokesman and deputy
leader, Michael Ancram's letter to Foreign secretary Jack Straw three
weeks ago seeking clarification on the matter.
Ancram suggested the Tories had information that France would
Mugabe to the summit where the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) would feature prominently.
is likely to come up insofar as it affects discussion
on Nepad. It is also widely viewed as a test case for Nepad promoters
who include South African President Thabo Mbeki and other African
leaders who are expected to be present.
Meanwhile, United Nations under secretary-general and head
newly-established UN office on Nepad, Ibrahim Gambari, says Zimbabwe
should not be used as Africa's recovery programme's test case.
Gambari, who was in South Africa recently to meet Mbeki and
the Nepad secretariat in Midrand, said the African Peer Review Mechanism
(APRM) was good for Nepad.
"But Nepad is not just about
the APRM, and in any case this mechanism is
yet to be established fully," he said.
"So how can you judge the success or failure of either the
Nepad by a structure that is still being put in place? Second, how can
you judge a mechanism by its most difficult case? Are you saying that
unless the most difficult case is resolved, then Nepad is not a serious
Gambari said Africa was now making democratic progress
on many fronts.
"As I speak now, do you know there is only one country in Africa that is
headed by a military ruler, which is the Central African Republic?," he
"So military rule is now an exception in
Africa. That is a major
progress. You would remember that 10 years ago, half of the countries on
the continent were ruled by a military government.
"Now almost all the countries in Africa have a multiparty
government," he said. "That is a major change."
economic advisor, Wiseman Nkuhlu, last week said Zimbabwe should
not be used as a gauge for Nepad assessment. He said it would be
"unfortunate and irresponsible" to do so.
Newly-appointed British International
Development minister Baroness
Valerie Amos last month said the Zimbabwe crisis should not be allowed
to sabotage Nepad.
"I hope I have
made it clear that the UK government will not allow
Zimbabwe to deflect it from support for Nepad or Africa," she said
during a visit to South Africa.
However, she acknowledged the crisis was a major test for
"One unfortunate consequence of the Zimbabwean situation, as I said, is
that it makes it more difficult to promote Nepad," she said.
"I spend a great deal of time tackling business about Africa.
investors fear that Nepad won't work. The danger is that the EU and G8
leaders could lose enthusiasm for the collective approach which is at
the heart of Nepad."
l Meanwhile, last Thursday the US-based
Lawyers Committee for Human
Rights sent a letter to each of the G8 heads of state, raising concerns
about the implementation of the G8's Africa Action Plan in light of
ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
their letter, the lawyers urged the G8 members to ensure that the
current crisis in Zimbabwe received sufficient attention at the summit
The letter points out that resolution of the crisis in
Zimbabwe is not
only a legal and moral imperative, but fundamental to the successful
implementation of the G8's Africa Action Plan and Nepad.
The letter states in part: "The crisis in Zimbabwe is a litmus
the efficacy of your discussions. The situation in Zimbabwe starkly
contradicts the principles contained in Nepad and supported by the
Africa Action Plan.
"Moreover, Zimbabwean civil society groups are routinely being
persecuted, which hampers their efforts to promote respect for human
rights and the rule of law. Many crises of poverty, disease, armed
conflict, and denial of democracy and human rights continue to plague
Africa and fundamentally undermine efforts to achieve sustainable
Mugabe admirer speaks out May 23 2003
By Chris Sands
A devout supporter of Robert
Mugabe has vowed to continue speaking out
against the British Government.
Croydon resident David Nyekorach-Matsanga has written numerous
sympathetic press articles about the Zimbabwean dictator.
And in an exclusive interview with the Advertiser, he continued to
voice his support for Mugabe.
Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga said: "I am very grateful to the British
Government for giving me sanctuary in this country.
"But now I am in this country I am entitled to speak. I am entitled to
make statements on things that are going wrong.
"I am just an African admirer of Mugabe for returning a country to its
Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga was once spokesman for the Lord's Resistance
Army (LRA), a rebel group in Uganda whose members have been accused of
raping, murdering and kidnapping innocent civilians.
He resigned from his post with the LRA in 1999 and now champions
Mugabe via articles in Zimbabwe's press.
Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga also claims to be an adviser for the dictator,
who has been accused by human rights groups of carrying out countless
According to Amnesty International, Mugabe has crushed opposition
"through the use of intimidation, arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture,
'disappearances' and extrajudicial executions".
It also says there were over 1,046 reported cases of torture and at
least 58 politically motivated deaths in 2002 alone.
However, Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga insists that any problems now
afflicting Zimbabwe are the British Government's fault.
Under the name of Rhodesia, Zimbabwe existed as an apartheid state
until it was given independence from Britain in 1980.
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party then came to power and opponents claim
it has since used violence to curb any dissent, with supporters of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and independent journalists
being the main targets.
But Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga said: "It's a multi-party state in Zimbabwe.
There is the MDC, there is a free press.
"If Mugabe was repressive would he allow (Rhodesian Prime Minister)
Ian Smith to stay in Zimbabwe, Ian Smith who killed innocent people?"
Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga arrived in Britain 14 years ago and lives with
his family in Croydon.
He told the Advertiser that he was a member of the Labour Party, but
added that he was now disillusioned with its foreign policy.
That much is clear from his press articles, one of which referred to
Britain's "rotten democracy".
It added: "Most of the actions of the British Government have caused
mayhem in Zimbabwe, which was once a peaceful and economically independent
country in Africa."
UK fails to influence events in Zim: President
Deputy News Editor
BRITAIN has now resigned to leaving African leaders to help Zimbabwe resolve
its problems after realising that it could not influence events in the
country, President Mugabe said yesterday.
Cde Mugabe said Britain now realises that he and the Government enjoyed
unwavering support from the people and most African countries and its
attempts to meddle in the country's affairs were being repelled.
He was speaking at a rally at Wenimbi in Marondera on the second leg of his
countrywide tour to assess developmental projects, recovery from drought,
the state of Zanu-PF and explain the task of the land review committee.
Cde Mugabe said Britain and its Western partners thought that he was "just
another leader" but now they knew that he derived his boldness from the
support he and the Government receive from people and most African
"The welcome I got from people in Soweto last week even surprised me. The
people applauded us because they were happy that their interests in South
Africa could be handled in the same way they are being handled in Zimbabwe.
"They also hail our respect of the interests of African people. Blair and
company are now saying we are leaving the Zimbabwe issue to Sadc and other
African leaders to solve," said Cde Mugabe.
However, the President warned against complacency saying Britain and its
allies would always hatch new ways of dictating the course of events in the
Before the rally President Mugabe toured Wenimbi Dam being constructed by
Government near Marondera.
Construction of the $650 million dam started in 1994 and is expected to be
completed in July this year.
The dam, with a capacity to hold 21 million cubic metres of water, will
supply Marondera Town and enable newly resettled farmers and those from
Svosve communal lands to embark on irrigation.
It was initially expected to be completed in 1998 but work was suspended
after money was diverted to build Tokwe Mukosi Dam.
On the land issue, Cde Mugabe said the review committee would thoroughly
study the resettlement programme and suggest ways of correcting anomalies.
He said those who had been allocated more than one farm would be
dispossessed of the extra ones.
Plans were underway to set up infrastructure in resettlement areas and the
Government was seeking the help of China and Yugoslavia to establish a
construction company to build houses for resettled farmers and urban
dwellers, the President said.
Cde Mugabe reiterated that the succession issue must be debated openly in
the party, taking a swipe at those already boasting that they were the
suitable ones to take over leadership because of their totems or tribes. He
said there were now fears of division in the party along tribal lines
because of the succession issue.
"We don't want people who go around saying they are the ones suitable to
take over. It's the people who must choose a suitable candidate. I have no
ancestral powers or spiritual powers. I depend on people's power," Cde
President Mugabe castigated unpatriotic young black professionals and
businessmen who worked against the Government. "They regard Zanu-PF and the
Government as enemies yet it is the same party that fought to liberate them
so they could get education and opportunities to establish businesses," he
Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Ray Kaukonde had told the
President at a briefing before the rally that most businesses and companies
in the country were now owned by blacks.
Cde Kaukonde said some indigenous businesspeople were not patriotic and were
worsening economic problems by fuelling the foreign currency black market.
"Some of these businesspeople are Zanu-PF supporters. You discuss problems
and possible solutions with them during the day but during the night they
clandestinely meet to fuel the black market," he said.
Cde Kaukonde said the ruling party must take stock of itself as some leaders
were working against the wishes of the people and dithering on matters of
"Some are now sitting on the fence because they think the MDC might take
over. You have to be careful President otherwise you might find you are the
only one in the top hierarchy who is still committed to the people while
others are giving up," he said.
Cash shortages resurface
CASH shortages, which occurred late last month, resurfaced at most banks in
Harare yesterday as many banks resorted to limiting withdrawal amounts.
Some banks had reduced withdrawal limits to clients while others were
referring clients to other branches in the northern suburbs.
Most banks were allowing their clients a maximum withdrawal of between $15
000 and $20 000 only.
The situation has apparently been worsened by striking security guards who
handle the bulk of cash transfers between banks.
Those queuing at various banks were mostly civil servants and members of the
uniformed services who had just been paid and were trying to withdraw cash
ahead of the long weekend which ends on Monday.
Other people were keen to withdraw their money due to rumours of another
stay-away by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and MDC.
Last month, people struggled to access their money soon after the three-day
stay-away organised by the ZCTU.
Long and winding queues were seen at most banks in the city centre as people
waited patiently to withdraw money.
Those who spoke to The Herald yesterday said they were not happy with the
situation in the banking industry.
Ms Rutendo Maware of Hatfield said she failed to get her money from her bank
despite having to come to town early to make a withdrawal.
"We were surprised when a supervisor told us that they could not give us
money in the morning.
"He told us to come back in the afternoon but there was no progress," she
Most banks were issuing clients with $20 and $50 notes only while some
automated machines were dispensing $100 notes only.
Mr Godwill Munyimi of Mufakose said he was surprised when his bank told him
to go to Borrowdale to withdraw his money.
"Things are getting difficult for us on a daily basis. Now we can't even get
our money when we need it," he said.
Some bank tellers said that if the situation remained critical, they would
not open to the public next week.
They said the central bank was failing to issue them with $500 notes and at
times they would only get small amounts.
Zimbabwe's retail stocks defying economic meltdown
May 23, 2003, 18:15
Zimbabwe's retail stocks are defying the country's economic
meltdown, posting rising profits and making predictions of further
profitability in months ahead. One of the big players on the market, OK
Bazaars Zimbabwe, is announcing a 252% rise in annual profits this week.
That translates to 4,5 billion Zimbabwe dollars - about R642 million on the
official exchange rate.
Even with inflation adjusted accounts, retailers have been doing
well. On the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, retail counters have been on a steady
It is imported goods - most of them from South Africa - which
have kept retail chains in Zimbabwe alive and profitable. On the other hand,
clothing retailers like Truworths, Edgars and Tedco have benefited from
While the companies project good results, analysts are cautious.
They warn that fuel shortages and power cuts that have affected most
manufacturers, who supply the retailers, will negatively affect future
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE LEGAL COMMUNIQUÉ - May 23, 2003
in cross-border trade between the two countries has been stunted
because there are no consumer goods to export. This has opened up
opportunities for South African companies, which have flooded the DRC
with consumer products.
At the height of the conflict in the Congo, informal
traders and senior
military personnel from Zimbabwe exported basket goods and clothing to
the DRC using military transporters.
have become difficult to organise since Zimbabwe's pull-out
from the DRC last year.
Zimbabwe's parliament ratified the Zimbabwe/DRC trade
December to pave way for the implementation of business deals agreed
upon during Zimbabwe's campaign in the Great Lakes region.
Zimbabwean troops went to the DRC in 1998 to rescue the
from advancing rebel forces composed largely of Rwandan and Ugandan troops.
During a four-year occupation, Zimbabwean army chiefs
and Zanu PF
politicians allegedly set up businesses which involved diamond, cobalt
and copper mining and logging. There has not been any noticeable
spin-off from the operations.
Last year business delegations from
the two countries met in Nyanga and
in Kinshasa to conclude bilateral deals, which have however not been
which were expected to spearhead the trade pact
include the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, First Banking
Corporation, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation, and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
in January that plans were at an advanced stage to
set up a bonded warehouse in the DRC and it invited applications from
companies interested in doing business there.
Zimtrade chief executive Freddy Chawasarira had not
responded to written
questions sent to him at the time of going to press. Zimtrade sources
said business was still very low.
Under the pact
Zimbabwe was expected to import 450 MW of power from Snel
of the DRC and pay for the energy in local currency. This was celebrated
in official circles as the panacea to foreign currency worries.
Snel ironically cut exports to Zimbabwe two months ago due to erratic
payments and Zesa has been forced to introduce load-shedding.
Air Zimbabwe was under the agreements expected to resume commercial
flights to the DRC but the national carrier has been hamstrung by
viability problems and fuel shortages.
medical front, however Health and Child Welfare minister David
Parirenyatwa on Wednesday said a Zimbabwean team had been dispatched to
the DRC to interview and screen doctors and pharmacists.
"We have managed to
secure 70 of them and these will be coming to
Zimbabwe very soon," said Parirenyatwa.
From ZWNEWS, 23 May
Blowing whistles, singing and chanting, Zimbabwean exiles on Thursday staged
noisy demonstrations against Robert Mugabe's regime outside the Zimbabwe
High Commission and Lords' cricket ground in north London as play began in
the first match of the England-Zimbabwe Test series. Dozens of demonstrators
packed the open top of a double-decker bus which travelled under overcast
skies from the High Commission through central London to Lords. The buss was
draped with banners declaring, "`End Murder Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe,"
and Mugabe's portrait stared grimly from the back of the bus above the
caption: "Wanted Robert Mugabe, Patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, for
murder, rape and torture. Reward offered: Freedom of the people of
Zimbabwe." Many pedestrians waved and clapped as the bus passed. At Lords,
the bus circled streets adjoining the ground, while other groups of
demonstrators held banners, and handed out black armbands to spectators at
the entrance gates. The armbands, in mourning for the death of democracy in
Zimbabwe, reflected the protest by Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and
Henry Olonga during World Cup matches in February. Neither man remains in
the Zimbabwe team.
At the High Commission, protestor
Ephraim Tapa handed in a letter saying
that the demonstrators had been forced from their homeland by
state-sponsored political violence. "Our fathers, mothers, brothers and
sisters and friends fought for years to establish a free Zimbabwe where
people enjoyed equal rights and protection under the rule of law," said the
letter addressed to High Commissioner Simbarashe Mumbengegwi - of whom there
was no sign. "Your regime has systematically stolen our basic and hard
earned democratic rights." The demonstrators sang "Nkosi sikelel iAfrica,"
chanted ``chinja'' (change) and gave the open-palm sign of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change as Tapa delivered the letter.
The main group of demonstrators dissociated themselves from
the Stop The Tour campaign led by Australian-born activist Peter Tatchell,
who has long dogged Mugabe and who said his group did not see why they
should "show restraint". Protests inside the ground were banned, and one
woman was escorted off the pitch after walking on with a banner saying "Bowl
out killer Mugabe". Tatchell said the woman was arrested. Washington Ali, an
organiser of the main protest, said Zimbabwean exiles did not support pitch
invasions or other attempts to disrupt the match. "This is a day for
Zimbabweans to draw the world's attention to the crisis afflicting our
country. It is not a day for headline-grabbing stunts by individuals," said
Ali. "The protest is intended as a show of solidarity with our brothers and
sisters who are suffering back home."
SCORE: Zimbabwe won the
toss and elected to field. England were 184-3 after
59 overs when bad light stopped play. England captain Nasser Hussain was out
for 19, caught by Douglas Hondo off Travis Friend's first ball shortly
before play ended. Opener Michael Vaughan was bowled by Zimbabwe captain
Heath Streak for eight, and Marcus Treschothick by caught by Ervine off the
bowling of Andy Blignaut for 59.
From Reuters, 22 May
minister moves to block treason evidence
Harare - Zimbabwe's government on Thursday argued against a judicial probe
into its contacts with the main state witness in the treason trial of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai saying it would compromise national
security. Tsvangirai and two other senior members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) face possible death sentences if convicted of
treason for allegedly plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe. State
Security Minister Nicholas Goche sent a ministerial certificate to the High
Court saying information on a contract and payments to the prime witness
against Tsvangirai was ''classified under covert operations'' and could not
be disclosed. Defense lawyer George Bizos said the government's attempt to
block the information was ''completely unjustified'' and it was difficult to
see how state security could be compromised.
Brigadier Happyton Bonyongwe, director general of the
Organisation, said on Wednesday CIO operatives had destroyed certain
invoices detailing government payments to Canadian public relations
consultant Ari Ben-Menashe. But he declined to say why the evidence was
destroyed. The state's case rests on a videotape of a meeting in Canada
between Ben-Menashe and Tsvangirai, who allegedly discussed Mugabe's
''elimination.'' Ben-Menashe has testified that Tsvangirai sought his help
in the alleged plot but he has admitted he taped the meeting solely to get
evidence for the government. He denied entrapping Tsvangirai. Bizos asked
the court to reject the certificate and accused the government of trying to
suppress information crucial to a fair trial. ''There is no basis for
issuing the certificate...It is an abuse of the legal process and your
Lordship must not accept it,'' he said. High Court Judge Paddington Garwe
adjourned the trial to next Wednesday to decide on the matter.
Horse-breeding industry destroyed, future grim
ROBERT Mugabe, sir, in the vain hope that you might possibly sneak away
from your "minders" for a quiet moment and read this letter, not to
mention the even vainer hope that you will actually care, let me lay
before you the facts concerning the thoroughbred racing and breeding
industries in our land, Zimbabwe, in this desperate year, 2003.
Last Friday, May 16, in the Nelson Mandela Hall at Exhibition
yearling colts and fillies, the smallest number offered in a decade or
more, were offered for auction by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association
of Zimbabwe at their 33rd annual sale.
soared by some 500% over last year's sale to $800 million. On
the surface this would seem to be good news, but closer analysis reveals
that this is not really the case.
In May 2002, when the South African rand was
trading on the streets at
approximately $40, turnover at this sale reached $167 million - ie
around R4 million. Last week, as the economy in our country continued on
its precipitous decline, the rate was anywhere between 200 and 250.
Charitably-speaking, then, we were no further forward in real terms than
we were a year ago, and at the maximum rate we had actually regressed.
Inflation and the seemingly uncontrollable devaluation of
currency unit put this year's "record" sale in perspective and give
little cause for cheer.
What is cause for alarm, however, is
the diminution in the numbers of
horses being bred in Zimbabwe and the implication that this has for the
future of a leisure and sporting industry that has existed here for 110
Allow me to explain, in clear and succinct terms.
Ten years ago, the thoroughbred breeding
industry, part of agriculture
in that most breeders were, and are, farmers, was producing some 400
foals annually from a breeding population of roughly 700 mares and
30-plus stallions, most of the latter expensively imported from SA and
Of those 400 foals, approximately 75 would be
entered for the annual
sale, whilst the rest were to be raced/leased privately. A small number
would be exported, some would die or break down before getting to the
races and roughly 250 new horses were coming into racing each new
season. The whole business, in the early 90s, was booming.
Today, thanks to your "land reform" programme and your
otherwise interesting approach to national administration, the breeding
industry has been all but destroyed and the future looks grim.
Breeding stock numbers have fallen to an all-time low as mares
either been destroyed, in some cases by the peasants who have invaded
farms, or exported to economically and physically safer countries in the
The stallion band, a pillar of any successful industry, is also at an
historical nadir in terms of numbers and, more importantly, quality.
The effects of all of this are now impacting disastrously
racing industry where the number of horses in training has dipped well
below the marginal line of requirement. Ten years ago, when we had all
been deceived into thinking that you and your government had the
interests of our nation at heart, this country boasted a healthy
breeding industry, as explained earlier in this letter, two racecourses,
a resident colony of some 22 jockeys and 700 plus horses in training
spread between at least 30 trainers.
Today, sir, the number of
horses in training has halved; no more than
half a dozen jockeys actually live here anymore for all the obvious
reasons, which means that the Mashonaland Turf Club and various owners
must expend vast sums of money importing jockeys from SA and Mauritius;
there are no more than a dozen trainers operating here and that number
continues to decline and, since the closure of Bulawayo racing in 2001,
only Borrowdale Park remains active in staging live horseracing. In
other words, the whole complex edifice of the thoroughbred industry is
now in the classic stages of pre-closure. It is almost impossible to see
how horseracing can survive the depradations of your policies.
To add ultimate insult to injury, this is the year of
IPI Tombe, the
world champion filly now based in America who graduated from the Harare
sale ring in 2000 and has conquered all before her locally, in South
Africa and, latterly, in Dubai. She will continue to do the same in
America. The farm on which she was bred, Golden Acres in Marondera, has
become virtually inoperable thanks to militant land invasions. So, the
proudest moments in the history of breeding and racing in this country
have also become the saddest.
Like every other industry, the
breeding of racehorses requires finesse,
expertise, capital and, more than anything else, hope for the future.
Right now there is no hope, and soon we will neither breed nor race the
thoroughbred in this country. This, sir, is what you and your government
have done to something beloved by so many for so long.