Monday 27 November 2006
HARARE - Finance Minister Hebert Murerwa will on Thursday table an
eagerly awaited national budget with measures that crisis weary Zimbabweans
hope would put a gravely ill economy back on the rails, but analysts see
little room for the former diplomat to manoeuvre without drastic political
and economic reforms.
Zimbabwe has to overcome its worst post-independence economic crisis,
reflected by world record inflation officially at 1 070.2 percent - a figure
disputed by many independent analysts who argue that the statistic is much
higher, pointing to the weekly increases in the prices of commodities.
Shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel and intermittent power
and water cuts have worsened the plight of an urban population that has
borne the brunt of a crisis also dramatised by 80 percent unemployment and
"The biggest challenge for Murerwa is to present a package that gives
confidence to investors both local and international and to address the
issue of productivity, which is the underlying cause of inflation," Eric
Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economist and central bank adviser said.
While President Robert Mugabe's government has dubbed inflation, and
lately corruption, its number one enemy, analysts said the government seemed
unprepared to crack down on non-productive farmers who benefited from its
chaotic and often violent land reforms.
Critics mainly point to the historic land seizures for dislocating
agriculture, the backbone of the economy.
Once a top foreign currency earner and main employer, agriculture is
in decline mainly due to lack of inputs and failure to fully utilise land by
blacks resettled on former white farms.
This has had a ripple effect on sixty percent of the southern African
nation's industries which rely on agriculture and are operating at around 30
"Zimbabwe is an agrarian-based economy and so Murerwa's first step is
to have a budget that is biased towards agriculture but it has to be a
multi-sectoral approach where this is supported with real economic and
political reforms," James Jowa, an economist with a Harare financial
Analysts repeated that the government should move to privatise
non-performing parastatals or allow them to charge economic prices to stop
them from perpetually draining the national treasury.
They urged Mugabe's government to streamline its appetite for
spending, which has seen domestic debt skyrocketing. Analysts say the debt's
upward march, along with a fast sliding Zimbabwe dollar, is driving money
supply and inflation.
Shunned by international donors, including the International Monetary
Fund, the government has relied on the domestic bank sector to borrow money
to plug the budget deficit.
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, has also turned East
targeting Muslim and Asian countries to help shore up an economy that has
leapt from crisis to crisis in the last seven years.
That drive, dubbed "look east" is still to bear fruit.
Murerwa has promised to introduce a Bill in Parliament that puts
measures to punish Ministries that breach their budgets.
"That will be welcome but the process should start with the proper
allocation of resources where productive ministries like agriculture,
international trade, mining and tourism should be given more money," said
More than 70 percent of Zimbabwe's budget is for recurrent
expenditure, a situation analysts say has helped compound the country's
Analysts said Murerwa was unlikely to give projections for the main
economic indicators fearing the government would be judged on these
During the 2006 budget presentation last year, he predicted that
inflation would end this year at 80 percent, way off the current levels of
Murerwa also said the economy would grow by three percent while the
budget deficit was projected at 4.6 percent, figures which even the
government has revised.
Analysts said the trend will continue with inflation shooting through
the roof, while the budget deficit is expected to widen and Zimbabwe's
currency continues to plunge.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono who has continuously
missed his inflation targets since 2003, has muted the idea of a quarterly
budget but analysts say this would not happen as it would be an admission by
Mugabe that the government has lost the inflation battle.
"That would be an ideal route to follow but I do not think such a move
will get support within the political establishment. It would mean accepting
that inflation is here to stay," said Bloch. - ZimOnline
Monday 27 November 2006
HARARE - At around 5pm each day in central Harare, 35-year old Tumai
Runinga drives his run-down vehicle to a spot along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.
There, Runinga parks his battered car with the boot of the vehicle
facing the pavement. To the ordinary eye, this ramshackle of a vehicle
But inside are crates of various fruits such as peaches and bananas
that he clandestinely sells to passers-by to complement his meager salary.
"It (run-down vehicle) is a good camouflage because municipal police
do not bother about it," Runinga says with a toothy grin.
"I just hope the Harare city council takes its time to tow away
derelict vehicles in the city to allow me to operate a bit longer," he says.
A year after President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on a
controversial clean-up exercise dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, vendors who
had been driven out of the city are now back in business in full force.
The clean-up operation saw thousands of vendors in Harare being
violently ejected from the city centre and their wares confiscated by the
The United Nations (UN) said at least 700 000 people were left without
homes and means of a livelihood after their homes were razed down during the
Another 2.4 million people were also indirectly affected by the
military-style operation, according to the UN.
But if there was one thing the operation failed to do, it was to get
rid of Zimbabweans' ingenuity and natural instinct to survive under the most
difficult of circumstances.
Zimbabweans are battling a severe seven-year economic crisis described
by the World Bank last year as unprecedented for a country not at war.
The southern African country has the world's highest inflation rate
which currently stands at 1 070.2 percent. Food, fuel and essential
medicines are also in short supply.
Major Western governments and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) blame the country's collapse on Mugabe's bad
With millions of Zimbabweans have been driven to the edge because of
the economic crisis, there has been an upsurge in petty trade with more
people - including some like Runinga, who hold formal jobs - resorting to
vending to supplement their salaries.
Each day, the vendors play cat-and-mouse with municipal police who are
charged with enforcing city by-laws that prohibit vending from undesignated
However for Runinga - who is a teacher at a city primary school - his
battered jalopy provides useful cover from the police.
"If police swoop during their routine raids, I just close the boot and
stand a safe distance away from the vehicle. Nobody suspects I am the
owner," he says.
Several other car owners involved in "boot-vending" who spoke to
ZimOnline say they have devised crafty ways to avoid arrest by municipal
"Once I see municipal officers approaching, it is a question of
closing the rear tailgate and driving off," said 50-year old Bismark Gwembe
another part-time fruit seller.
"It is prudent to sell something and supplement your income even if
you have a formal job," Gwembe says, capturing the desperate mood gripping
most Zimbabweans who appear trapped without any means of escape.
But traditional vendors who occupy market stalls in the city
complained bitterly that old vehicle boot sellers were slowly encroaching on
"We pay for the produce stalls, but these people are taking away our
business without paying anything to council," said Emily Samuhweya.
Samuhweya, a widowed mother of five says police ought to impound the
vehicles as punishment on the owners for trading without licences.
"They should ban vehicles within the vicinity of the market stall,"
If the municipal police were to take such drastic measures then this
could mean the end for this new breed of car boot vendors. But until then it
remains business as usual for Runinga and the scores of other old car-boot
vendors. - ZimOnline
Monday 27 November 2006
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe police have promised a new war against business,
threatening to put up roadblocks on the country's roads to arrest public
transporters for hiking fares without permission from the government.
Public fares are controlled by the government which also tightly
monitors prices of basic commodities as it battles to keep a lid on
inflation, at the moment the highest in the world at 1 070.2 percent.
Transporters at the weekend unilaterally hiked fares by about 60
percent citing the skyrocketing costs of fuel and bus spares.
More Zimbabweans - who already had to walk long distances to conduct
business because of prohibitive public bus fares - will find it harder to
afford the new faces.
A police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka told ZimOnline the transporters
would be arrested for becoming " a law unto themselves" by increasing fares
without approval from the Ministry of Local Government.
"We will put up roadblocks and arrest all those who raise fares
without government approval," said Mandipaka.
Crack-teams from the police last month raided several milling firms
and bakers' shops across the country arresting managers for allegedly
increasing the prices of flour and bread without permission from the
The courts later cleared nearly all of the milling and baking industry
executives arrested by the police.
Defending the fare hikes by transporters across the country, the
spokesman of the Bulawayo Public Transporters Association, Strike Ndlovu,
said: "There is not much we can do because we have to raise fares in order
to be able to source fuel and spare parts both of which are also in short
supply in the country."
Skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services are only one on a long
list of economic troubles facing Zimbabwe as the country grapples with a
severeeconomic recession that began in 1999.
The economic meltdown, critics blame on repression and mismanagement
by President Robert Mugabe has also spawned shortages of food, essential
medicines, electricity, hard cash and just about every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline
By Selbin Kabote
BIRMINGHAM - The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube,
has expressed his determination to continue highlighting to the
international community, the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe
without fear of political persecution.
Speaking to the BBC in London, Archbishop Ncube said hundreds of
people are dying every day in Zimbabwe due to malnutrition, poverty and a
shortage of medicines in hospitals. He said depression is also a
contributing factor to the high death rate in the country.
The Roman Catholic cleric said many people in Zimbabwe are now dying
in their thirties. Zimbabwe currently has the lowest life expectancy in the
world, which is 34 years for women and 37 for men.
Archbishop Ncube, who is an outspoken critic of the Zimbabwean
government, said he does not fear for his life in Zimbabwe, since as a
church leader it is his responsibility to represent the silent majority, who
are battling to survive under the current harsh economic conditions in the
Southern African country.
The Roman Catholic cleric, who is currently in the United Kingdom,
said by being the voice of the voiceless in Zimbabwe, he is succeeding in
fulfilling the prophetic call of battling oppression.
The inflation rate in Zimbabwe is currently standing at 1,100 per
cent, the highest in the world.
The Times November 27, 2006
Mugabe's way out
Sir, I do hope the British Government will heed the suggestion
of the Archbishop of Bulawayo that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe should quit
There is still time, but not much, to save Zimbabwe from
economic, social and civil disaster. Britain and South Africa must help Mr
Mugabe to take a dignified retirement.
Burton Hill Lodge, W Sussex
Sun Nov 26, 5:47 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - The speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament John Nkomo has
indicated that he will throw his hat into the ring for the contest to
succeed veteran President Robert Mugabe.
"Why would I vie for the vice-president's position when there is the
presidency?" Nkomo, who is also the governing ZANU-PF party's chairman, was
quoted by The Sunday Mail as telling journalists in the second city
"Why should I not be president? I have risen through the ranks from branch
level to the national party chairman, which is less strenuous but very
powerful. So why not the presidency?"
The 70-year-old former teacher and veteran politician said it would be up to
the electorate to choose the country's next leader.
"When the time comes that there is a vacancy, someone will occupy it. Our
people are intelligent enough to make the choice."
Nkomo refused to say whether the next presidential polls would be held as
scheduled in 2008 when Mugabe's sixth term will have elapsed or whether the
contest would be held over until 2010 to coincide with parliamentary
elections, as has been widely muted.
Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from British colonial rule
in 1980, has indicated he will retire at the end of his current term.
Senior members of ZANU-PF have been jostling behind the scenes for the last
two years since 82-year-old Mugabe first spoke of stepping down.
Although Mugabe has held off anointing a successor, he hinted that
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru was destined for higher office when ZANU-PF
elected her as the party's deputy leader in December 2004.
"When you choose her as vice president, you don't want her to remain in that
chair, do you?" Mugabe told the ruling party's annual congress.
He has since criticised infighting among senior party members who are due to
gather at the ZANU-PF conference near Harare early next month.
Harare - Zimbabwe has signed a $150m deal with a Russian firm to build
17 electricity generators as the country grapples with a looming power
deficit, an official said on Sunday.
"The Russians are coming into this deal following the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's recent visit to that country," Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) general manager Obert Nyatanga was quoted as saying by the
state-run Sunday Mail.
The Russian firm Turbo Engineering would manufacture equipment for
hydro-electricity power stations to be installed at various locations across
Zimbabwe, Nyatanga added.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will fund the project.
"We have already signed a memorandum of understanding while the
company will be registered in two weeks' time after which they will be able
to get a power generation licence," said Nyatanga.
The first phase of the project is expected to start in January next
year and will generate 43 megawatts of electricity while three subsequent
phases will produce a further 80 megawatts.
Imports 40% of power
The southern African nation imports 40% of its power needs - 100
megawatts a month from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 200 megawatts from
Mozambique and up to 450 and 300 megawatts from South Africa and Zambia
Imports are expected to stop in 2007 due to an anticipated power
deficit across southern Africa resulting from increased demand.
Zimbabwe's once-model economy has been on a downturn for the past five
years, characterised by four-digit inflation and shortages of foreign
currency and basic foodstuffs such as the staple cornmeal and cooking oil.
Power supplies have become frequently erratic and families in the
cities are turning to firewood for cooking and heating because of scheduled
power cuts lasting up to 10 hours.
Manufacturers sometimes switch to diesel-powered generators to keep
their machines running but the option is not a viable one in a country
saddled with chronic fuel shortages.
Sunday Telegraph, UK
By Stephen Bevan in Durban, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:54pm GMT 25/11/2006
Jacob Zuma, South Africa's former deputy president and the man many
predict will succeed Thabo Mbeki as president, has dismissed fears that he
is a new Robert Mugabe in the making - a populist who will pander to the
mob, push white farmers off the land and introduce hard-line, Left-wing
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph before addressing a rally in Durban,
Mr Zuma, 64, rejected comparisons with the Zimbabwean leader.
"As a member and a leader of the ANC all I do is carry out ANC
policies," he said. "How could you have an individual who would become such
a monster? The ANC system does not allow for that kind of thing."
But he defended Mugabe's controversial land reforms programme. Mr Zuma
said he could not give "a yes or no answer" to whether he supported Mugabe
but made clear his sympathy for the view that Britain is to blame for the
crisis in Zimbabwe, because it did not live up to its promises to fund land
"For 20 years that was not addressed, and after 20 years Mugabe
moved," he said. "So it is not a simple matter . . . It has been a critical
issue and some people should have known that one day the issue would explode
as it has done."
He also defended South Africa's policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards
its northern neighbour. "Other people have adopted the policy of criticising
Mugabe from a distance, which only makes him more angry. We are the only
ones who have engaged him on the issues," Mr Zuma said.
He denied that the huge numbers of economic refugees pouring over the
border each day were proof of the policy's failure. "Refugees from
Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland pour into South Africa every day.
Zimbabwe is not an exception because there are economic problems in these
Looking relaxed and flashing his trademark smile, Mr Zuma demonstrated
the warmth and charm that have helped this unschooled cowherd from a rural
backwater in KwaZulu Natal rise to be one of the dominant - and, some say,
sinister - forces in South African politics. A key figure in the struggle
against apartheid, he was imprisoned for 10 years with Nelson Mandela.
Yet his political career has been more controversial. Sacked last year
as deputy president over allegations that he accepted bribes from a French
arms company, Mr Zuma has refused to lie down and instead mounted a campaign
to portray himself as a victim of a conspiracy to prevent his becoming
president of the ANC in party elections next year. Whoever wins that contest
is almost certain to become president when Mr Mbeki steps down in 2009.
He denied suggestions that the party was split on tribal lines, with
his own backers drawn from the Zulu tribe and those of Mr Mbeki from his
Xhosa tribe. The passionate support of his followers sprang from a natural
sense of justice, not tribal or political rivalry. "What people are
protesting about is the apparent victimisation of a comrade - me - by the
organs of state," he said.
Even the admission that he had unprotected sex with a 31-year-old HIV
positive woman who accused him of rape - a charge of which he was cleared
this year - has failed to dent his appeal. When the corruption charges were
also struck from the roll in September, it appeared Mr Zuma was unstoppable.
"I support Mr Zuma because he fought hard for the liberation of our country
and he would do more for ordinary people than the current government," said
Bonginkosi Mbhele, 50, as he waited for Mr Zuma's arrival.
But the business establishment is deeply suspicious of him. Azar
Jammine, the head economist of the analysts Econometrix, said he knew of
many white business people who said they would pull out of South Africa if
Mr Zuma were elected. They fear his economic policy would be dictated by his
trade union and Communist Party supporters.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has suggested that Mr Zuma should pull out of
the presidential race, citing his sexual irresponsibility and the mob antics
of his supporters. Mr Zuma said only: "I respect him and I don't think I
want to politic with him on this."
As to allegations raised during the trial of his former financial
adviser Scahbir Shaik - jailed this month for fraud and corruption - that he
had been bailed out by Shaik because his own finances were in a terrible
mess and was therefore unfit to be president, Mr Zuma said "no president, no
leader in the world" had been subject to this kind of examination.
"I've been in the ANC for decades," he said. "I've had many
responsibilities at different levels, including responsibility to handle
money and nowhere could you find a record that I was unable to handle money.
"In any case, if one day the ANC says this man will be president,
people are not judged by how they manage their personal finances. It is on
their understanding of the policies and their responsibilities towards the
Mr Zuma's supporters are reported to be targeting weak ANC branches
with propaganda material in an effort to build up greater support for his
Many South Africans are disappointed that huge numbers of people still
live in poverty, despite the ANC's 12 years in power. But Mr Zuma said the
ANC had lived up to its promises. "You cannot resolve in a decade the
problems of centuries. I think the ANC has brought stability and hope to
people who never had it before."
He defended the government's affirmative action programme, Black
Economic Empowerment, from the charge that it had merely enriched a small
elite, many of whom were ANC members.
"Capitalism does not empower people equally," he said. "If there was a
deliberate policy to enrich a few, that would be wrong. But if those few are
making it on their own - that's what capitalism is all about." He said the
government had done a good job of tackling HIV but admitted to mixed
messages - a reference to the health minister's promotion of garlic, lemon
and beetroot as being as beneficial as anti-retroviral drugs.
By a Correspondent
LONDON - THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change's UK and
Ireland branch, which last weekend held its first ever external assembly
council meeting, is urging Zimbabweans living abroad to join them in quest
to remove President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party from power.
Speaking to zimbabwejournalists.com, Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa, the
MDC UK and Ireland's secretary, said it was heartening to note that more
people were coming forward to work with the others in a bid to bring
meaningful change to Zimbabwe.
"The MDC applauds and congratulates its membership for their continued
resolve to see meaningful change in their country as shown by their
overwhelming response to the meeting," said Mutyambizi-Dewa.
"We take pride in a determined people willing better things for their
country and ever ready to confront their oppressor by proving him wrong with
their continued participation in the Party. The continued presence of people
in MDC meetings is a humiliating vote of no confidence on Robert Mugabe and
the ZANU PF government."
He said the people of Zimbabwe were getting tired of the government's
lies and "old ZANU PF rhetoric and their very redundant and irredeemable
"Above all it shows solidarity with our fathers and mothers and
brothers and sisters back home who still remain trapped under the jaws of
tyranny. Our cause is a just cause, and we remain seized of it regardless of
where we are, in Zimbabwe or in the Diaspora!," Mutyambizi-Dewa said.
Apart from hearing several reports in line with the business of the
external assembly council, the meeting was also meant to introduce to the
MDC UK and Ireland External Assembly Council the full MDC UK and Ireland
Executive Council. This was after the appointment of the following into
Portfolio Secretary Positions:
Elliot Pfebve (education), Brighton Chareka (health), Faith Sibanda
(social affairs and labour), Kudzai Rangarirai (legal affairs), Peter Nyoni
(transport and logistics), Tonderayi Samanyanga (lands, agriculture and
national resources and the environment), Kainos Kuveya (research and
policy), Solomon Kutsirayi (economics) Collin Zhuawu (international affairs,
integration and coordination with the host country) and Joshua Chigwangwa as
secretary responsible for immigration and asylum issues.
These secretaries will with immediate effect be part of the MDC UK and
Ireland External Assembly Executive Council. The other members of the
Executive Council of the MDC UK and Ireland External Assembly are: Ephraim
Tapa (Chairperson), Rodwell Mupungu (Deputy Chairperson), Mutyambizi-Dewa
(Secretary), Virginia Ncube (Deputy Secretary), Jaison Matewu
(Organising Secretary), Edward Nyakudya (Deputy Organising Secretary), Mary
Kasirowore (Treasurer), Matthew Nyashanu Secretary for Information and
Publicity, Adella Chiminya (Women's Wing chairperson) and Jameson Mashakada
(Youth Wing chair).
Canada Free Press
October 26, 2006
'This House believes that the United Nations is a dead loss'
It is reasonable that honest, compassionate people seek a means for
governments to come together to discuss and air their differences.
It is also reasonable that honest, compassionate people should desire some
way to voluntarily pool resources to provide charitable aid to those who are
starving or are victims of natural disaster.
Indeed this is the image of the United Nations that has been sold to the
world since its inception.
It is not, however, the reality.
The world is in chaos and, quite frankly, it's the UN's fault. It gives
validity to zealots and petty bigots. It helps to keep tyrannical dictators
in power. It gives a voice to international terrorists.
Delay. Negotiate. Recommend. Study. Reconsider. Do nothing. This is the game
the UN has played in nearly every international crisis.
It is the reason North Korea remains a threat after 50 years.
It is the reason Zimbabwe's murderous Robert Mugabe is able to steal his
election and then steal the land of white property owners, drive the nation
into economic ruin and starvation ' without an international protest,
boycott, or sanction.
Instead, Mugabe is given a voice in the UN's Sustainable Development
conference in South Africa.
It is the reason why the Chinese government is able to ignore UN rules not
to its liking -- while growing as an international military and economic
And it is the reason why a terrorist nation like Syria can be given a seat
on the UN's Human Rights Council.
The United Nations, internally, is a mess. It now finds itself buried under
It has Oil-for-Food scandals. Smuggling scandals. And theft scandals.
Peace keeping missions actually bring fear to the local citizens they are
supposed to protect. Rob, rape and pillage seem to be the UN's modus
How can we be surprised by such revelations'
Who has the power to oversee and control its actions'
The people don't vote on UN actions. The media has little access behind the
scenes. Who audits the accounting books'
Of course, even its supporters will readily agree that such problems exist.
They are quick to jump in and call for 'reform.'
However, when talking reform, one must be very careful of what the word may
UN reports on reform don't indicate a simple desire to plug holes in UN
spending -- or to clear up scandals.
Quite the contrary. According to Kofi Annan, Maurice Strong and many others,
reform means global governance.
Since its inception, the UN has advocated the desire to eradicate sovereign
nations -- while imposing what it calls 'world-mindedness.'
A 1949 UNESCO document said, ' nationalism (is) the major obstacle to the
development of world-mindedness.'
In the 1990's, Maurice Strong said, 'it is not feasible for sovereignty to
be exercised unilaterally by individual nation/states, however powerful.'
There in lies the true goal of the United Nations. And that belies its
public image of simply a place where nations may come to air their
differences and act responsibly.
Instead, the UN is openly working to gain power for itself in order to
become independent and supreme over its member nations.
To do that it needs the power to tax. On September 19th plans were approved
to begin the creation of a global tax, mostly through airline tickets to
help pay for the treatment of aids. They of course euphemistically call it a
There are several other tax schemes on the UN wish list, including a carbon
tax on Co2 emissions, a currency tax on transactions of foreign currency
exchanges, and taxes on the Internet, to name a few.
If the UN gains the power to tax and the enforcement power necessary to
collect them, then the UN will become an unstoppable force in the world. A
monster free of its chains.
And, of course, the UN wants its own military. It already has its own court.
These three things, the ability to collect taxes to provide near unlimited
funds from independent sources; the ability to enforce its will with a
military force; and a court system to impose its own brand of justice, are
all that is required to create a government.
Imagine a world run by the justice of China, with the economics of Cuba and
the military might of the United States. Such is the world of the future
under United Nations global governance.
Public relations propaganda aside, clearly, the United Nations wants to be
much more than a place where nations can come together to air their
differences under a voluntary membership association.
The truth is, today, fifty years after the inception of the United Nations,
the international community is a dangerous place.
Today the world has more wars, more poverty and more suffering that anytime
in human history.
Obviously, the United Nations is irrelevant as a body to deliver world
Just as obviously, the UN is more interested in meddling in the sovereign
affairs of nations, seeking to impose its own agenda over development,
production and what it calls social equity in a drive to set itself up for
Using images of dire environmental emergencies or life-threatening diseases
or starving children, the UN promotes an agenda which really seeks to
redistribute the world's wealth.
Its only answer is government control - and confiscation of individual
wealth and property.
Nowhere is there mentioned in a single UN document that I have read an
advocacy for the right to own private property.
In fact, quite the opposite is the case as nearly every UN document, report,
working paper, program, treaty, protocol, declaration and resolution ' is
dedicated to the confiscation, redistribution, regulation and tax of
And it is a fact that the inability to own private property creates poverty.
It is also a fact that confiscation of private property never helps to
It is bad economic policy. Yet that is the UN's only solution to the massive
suffering throughout the world. Take it from one source to give to another.
And that, I contend, is the very root of the suffering ' not the solution.
The UN was wrong from its very beginning and wrong now because it has always
sought to interfere with national sovereignty rather than to provide a
unique forum to help keep the peace.
That is why the UN is a dead loss. It should be tossed on the trash heap of
history so that we may start over and create an honest enterprise that seeks
to help nations, not eradicate them.
The United Nations is not 'dysfunctional' as some 'reformists' have claimed.
It is a criminal enterprise in which no moral nation should ever
participate, let alone perpetuate.
Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and
president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank
headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. Its Internet site is
Tom can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Last updated: 11/27/2006 08:24:10 Last updated: 11/27/2006 07:40:25
I WAS encouraged to learn that Dr. Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), had agreed to use the New Zimbabwe.com platform to address questions from the New Zimbabwe.com family.
When the role of a central bank is put in its proper context, it is instructive that most governors would not take the evangelical or political posture in the execution of their mandates but in Zimbabwe there exists a unique environment that has catapulted the Governor into a quasi political animal with unprecedented exposure and profile.
In Zimbabwe’s 26 years as a democratic society, no governor has assumed the kind of power that Gono has and invariably his opinion and views have to be taken seriously.
In this vein, the staff of New Zimbabwe.com should be congratulated for providing an opportunity to interested people to engage in a conversation with one of Zimbabwe’s most important citizens. As I have always said, the only power people who do not have power have, is the power to organise.
Gono can boast of the vast resources at his disposal to spin and many may have accepted his use of unorthodox methods to address simple problems that confront Zimbabwe as normal and acceptable without critically examining the real and possibly irreparable danger that is inherent in the centralisation of power in a few hands with limited or no accountability.
The Zimbabwean economy has often been described as a patient in the intensive care unit and Gono has emerged as a specialist doctor to restore the live of this helpless patient.
Yes, Zimbabwe has known of only three black governors of the central bank since its independence but cannot claim the same in terms of its political leadership. It is common cause that Gono has been a governor for the last 36 months and his brief tenure will go down in history as a significant epoch event in the history of Zimbabwe. It is true that the role of the RBZ in the past 36 months may not be understood by many in the diaspora who are familiar with the institutional framework that underpins any democratic society.
Ordinarily, central banks do not deal with the public but focus on monetary policies and their clients are normally banks. Equally, the normal vehicle through which the resources of the government are allocated among competing interests is the budget and yet under Gono’s tenure, the RBZ now acts like a quasi-fiscal entity with direct commercial relationship with clients. No explanation has been provided regarding the basis on which a wholesaler can end up becoming a retailer without any institutional changes to support such a transformation.
There is a host of troubling constitutional, legal, political, and governance issues that arise out of the extraordinary role that Gono has found himself in. I will deal with these issues below using my own personal experience over the last three years. It is important that in taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to the New Zimbabwe.com family by Gono that the questions posed to him are focused and guided by national interest. With respect to national interest, it is important to underscore that this is a contested issue and there are many people in government that honestly believe that they have a monopoly to define what is in Zimbabwe’s national interest. Any person who may hold a different view is considered a saboteur and an enemy of the people of Zimbabwe.
In the event that you are considered to be acting against “Your Governor”, the consequences are clear and the benefits of compliance are self evident. I can safely say that the New Zimbabwe.com family may be the only constituency that Gono may not be able to inflict his poisonous medicine on but he is known to hold grudges with any person who may not see the world according to his eyes. It is instructive that the business sector in Zimbabwe has over the last three years been reduced to a docile force that is incapable of defending its own interests against an onslaught that is being perpetrated by the central banks through a variety of overt and clandestine activities. The supply chain role of companies and state institutions has now been taken over by the RBZ and suppliers to government institutions no longer have to go through tenders but only have to satisfy the RBZ whose capacity to be a broker in this complex business activity still has to be tested.
I have borrowed the definition of patriotism from the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, as follows: Patriotism denotes positive and supportive attitudes to a 'fatherland' (Latin patria), by individuals and groups. The 'fatherland' (or 'motherland') can be a region or a city, but patriotism usually applies to a nation and/or a nation-state. Patriotism covers such attitudes as: pride in its achievements and culture, the desire to preserve its character and the basis of the culture, and identification with other members of the nation. Patriotism is closely associated with nationalism, and is often used as a synonym for it. Strictly speaking, nationalism is an ideology - but it often promotes patriotic attitudes as desirable and appropriate. (Both nationalist political movements, and patriotic expression, may be negative towards other people's 'fatherland').
Patriotism has ethical connotations: it implies that the 'fatherland' (however defined) is a moral standard or moral value in itself. The expression my country right or wrong - perhaps a misquotation of the American naval officer Stephen Decatur, but also attributed to Carl Schurz - is the extreme form of this belief. Patriotism also implies that the individual should place the interests of the nation above their personal and group interests. In wartime, the sacrifice may extend to their own life. Death in battle for the fatherland is the archetype of extreme patriotism.
Gono has successfully manipulated the nationalist pedigree of Zanu PF to locate his policies under a general umbrella of nationalism with a clear strategy to ensure that any critics can easily be labeled as unpatriotic with disastrous consequences. Most fascist regimes in human history have used the same strategy with national and international consequences. When you hear any governor of a central bank using nationalistic language as a way to advance unpopular policies and programs you should have to be concerned.
Rule of Law
The importance of the rule of law and not rule by law is an important ingredient of any democratic civilization. It is important that the New Zimbabwe.com family critically evaluate the multitude of decrees that have been promulgated by President Mugabe under Gono’s tenure to determine whether Your Governor believes in the rule of law. Surely, if the laws of the nation are inadequate, why would Gono not trust parliament to review such laws and pass new ones?
Against a background of a contested political space that has an opposition represented in parliament, one would not expect a governor of a central bank, itself a creation of the law, to act outside the provisions of the law using nationalistic and state of emergency language. I am sure that legal scholars are counting the number of statutory instruments that have been gazetted during Gono’s tenure and test such instruments against the Bill of Rights entrenched in the constitution of Zimbabwe. New crimes have been manufactured dealing with externalisation and corporate governance that would be offensive to any country that believes in a constitutional democracy. I do hope that questions can be posed to Gono on this regard. Ultimately, right policies induce good behaviour and policies that are informed by real national interest would respect property and human rights of citizens.
Corporate Governance at the RBZ
The RBZ is a body corporate whose functions are defined at law. There is a perception rightly or wrongly that Gono is behaving like the owner of the bank and his actions would not pass the test of good corporate governance. Examples are many that clearly demonstrate that the RBZ under Gono is no longer accountable to its board and in turn to the parliament of Zimbabwe. It would not be surprising that the parliament of Zimbabwe whose legitimacy is derived from the people is not aware of the full extent of the activities of the RBZ and how they are undermining the constitutional democracy that they purport to be upholding by remaining in parliament.
We have noted with concern the scandals that are unfolding at the RBZ including the Pinnaclegate, Fertilisergate and SMMgate all serving to demonstrate that there is something fundamentally wrong taking place at the RBZ. What is amazing is that the domestic media appears to have been sufficiently compromised to the extent that these scandals are not pursued to their logical conclusion. Can you imagine for example if a person like James Makamba was involved in the Fertilisergate, what would have been the attitude of Gono?
The selective application of the law remains one of the key defining characteristic of Gono’s tenure. Although all men are born equal, it is evident that they are all not equal before the law. The reliance of private rational economic players on the parallel market in the allocation of scare foreign currency is well known and the RBZ is not immune from participating in the black market. However, anyone who is defined as patriotic is spared the humiliation and harassment by the RBZ using the law enforcement agencies.
Theft of Private Property
It is common cause that a constitutional amendment was required to expropriate land from the historically advantaged white settler community because the constitution of Zimbabwe did not have a provision allowing the government to assume ownership of private property without qualifying the Bill of Rights of the target group.
However, not all Zimbabwean land owners benefited from a colonial heritage and yet the definition of the targeted land for expropriation was not amended to isolate only those whose ownership was a direct result of colonial abuse. The approach taken rightly or wrongly was that all land should be treated as if it was stolen and, therefore, all land owners were brushed with the same broom. Having established that all land was stolen from black Africans by whites, the next step was easy and to date no African country has been convinced about the unfairness in the blanket approach adopted by the government and the consequences on domestic and foreign investor confidence. Due to the racial undertones of the land issue, people have taken a dismissive approach choosing to say that the end justifies the means. The national psyche has now been changed to accept the legitimacy of property rights theft by the state to the extent that most of the victims have found no sympathy for their plight.
Having successfully made the case that property rights can be undermined with popular domestic and pan-African support, the RBZ under Gono came to the rescue in the onslaught against private property. Bilateral agreements under which the property rights of foreign investors were supposedly protected were thrown out of the window. The RBZ expanded its role into the mineral sector and, indeed all exporting sectors, choosing to nationalize all exports and treating all exporters as if they were agents of the central bank. Agreements were revisited and control of the mining sector rapidly moved to the RBZ.
My case has been in the media and at the core of the case is the role of the RBZ in expropriating my assets. When Gono was appointed in December 2003, his first act apart from targeting the asset management companies was to announce a Monetary Statement whose sole purpose was to place all the exporters under the control of the RBZ. All dispensations granted to the exporters were removed and in return a new animal was born i.e. Productive Sector Facilities under which exporters were rewarded with concessionary financing provided by commercial banks on condition that they would be penalized with an exchange rate that was arbitrarily determined. SMM was affected by this move, but in hindsight, it was part and parcel of a strategy to create a standing for the RBZ to intervene in the affairs of my companies with the ulterior motive of nationalization.
To complete the plot, allegations were made that I had externalised substantial funds from Zimbabwe and that I was a fugitive. At first, I did not believe that Gono was the man behind all this and I naively called him to arrange a meeting. He strangely agreed to meet me and the executives of SMM. We met at his office on March 1, 2004, and it was clear at the meeting that there was a conspiracy in the making involving Messrs. Manikai, Mkushi, Munyati, Gwaradzimba, and First Bank. Although other companies were accessing productive sector facilities to cover their requirements, a directive was issued by Gono to deny my companies any access to the funding. SMM managed to access some funds but that was not sufficient. What was more disturbing was that Gono instructed his officers not to grant any foreign currency to my companies as a way of crippling them.
However, the companies were resilient and he then dispatched a team to South Africa to investigate the allegations of externalisation. The team was led by the former Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Mr Mukurazhizha, whose understanding of business is questionable. It emerged that this was just a witch hunt to create a perception that there was a case. When the team did not get anything, Gono then ordered that I be extradited to Zimbabwe and this was promptly done. The Attorney General’s office was made to work at the weekend to manufacture a case against me. Hilary Munyati, a former CEO of SMM, was given a job at the RBZ and the onslaught was in earnest.
When the extradition project failed, this was followed by attempts to retroactively create a scenario where SMM would be considered to be a state indebted insolvent company for the sole purpose of establishing a legal basis to nationalize my assets. Under the decree promulgated by President Mugabe on the advice of Gono, all the SMM bank loans were classified as state loans even though SMM never borrowed any funds from the state. What is strange is that in the decree the state was never defined. I have attached herewith correspondence (click here) between SMM Holdings Limited (SMMH), the sole shareholder of SMM that confirms my submission about the illegal and unconstitutional actions that have now come to characterize Gono’s reign. The letter of 13 February 2006 that is attached was never responded to by the RBZ and through this initiative; I do hope that New Zimbabwe.com will obtain answers to the pertinent questions that will help expose the corruption that is taking place at the RBZ. I now understand why people would lose trust in government if the actions of the RBZ in the SMMgate are anything to go by.
My case is one of many and it is important that we interrogate the hypothesis that Gono is not a villain but just a practitioner who is concerned about the progress of Zimbabwe and in advancing a national interest. I do hope that people will have the patience to read the attached documents and make conclusions for themselves.
I never thought a day will arrive in Zimbabwe’s history where the RBZ would act in the manner highlighted in the attached correspondence. I know that Gono will try to make the case that the SMM matter was concocted above him and that the RBZ was just a facilitator in the expropriation of my assets but the evidence suggests otherwise. How can SMM’s loan from commercial banks be unilaterally converted into state obligations without any due process? Why would Gono issue instructions to the RBZ to disburse almost Z$1 trillion (using the old currency) without any board approval? To the extent that the RBZ’s funds belong to the people of Zimbabwe, how can it be justified that funds are disbursed of this magnitude on the instructions of one person without any feasibility or viability study?
Although the Reconstruction Act has been aptly described as Mawere Law, the law now exists in Zimbabwe allowing the government to superimpose itself in commercial transactions and arbitrarily become a creditor to your company for the sole purpose of nationalising your assets. In my case, ZESA, NSSA, RBZ, and MMCZ were used as instruments for nationalisation and yet the four institutions are body corporates in their own right. It is important that all the people who chose to ask Gono questions take due care that their assets may be fair game if you decide to ask difficult questions.
It would be wrong to preempt Gono’s show but I just thought that it was important in the interests of Zimbabwe that I devote my column to raise some of the key troubling questions that Gono would need to address in the conversation with the New Zimbabwe.com family.
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono will be answering advance questions from New Zimbabwe.com readers on December 4. To ask the governor a question, please register on our forum today. CLICK HERE
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New Zimbabwe.com every Monday. You can contact him at: email@example.com
The Vigil ended with a bang tonight. At 6 pm (8 pm Zim) we banged a pot as
loudly as we could for two minutes in solidarity with similar protest
actions back home. "Our pot is empty. Food, food. We are hungry. Come and
feed from empty plates," was the message.
Passers-by were confronted by our new poster:
ZIMBABWE LEADS THE WORLD
- Highest inflation at around 2000%. The IMF predicts 4000%
inflation in 2007.
- Fastest shrinking economy
- Lowest life expectancy - 34 for women, 37 for men (source UN)
- Highest number of orphans per capita (source UNICEF)
- Death rate 3,500 per week - exceeds: Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan
- 80% unemployment
- 80% below poverty line
- Half the population starving
- 24%+ HIV Positive - 90% HIV infection rates in the army
WELL DONE MR MUGABE
This litany of distress was underlined by the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius
Ncube, who visited the UK this week and seemed despondent at the lack of
international will to deal with Zimbabwe. The Archbishop made a powerful
impact (see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3933-2470095.html).
The Vigil's mission is to alert the world to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Our
supporter Sue from Tunbridge Wells, with the support of her MP, Sir John
Stanley, is the latest to challenge the British government to do more to
resolve the situation. She was told by the government, "At this stage we
judge that insufficient members of the United Nations Security Council would
be prepared to support such a referral." This was in response to a request
that Mugabe should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court.
South Africa is one of the African non-permanent members of the Security
Council, along with Ghana and Congo-Brazzaville, and our efforts will be
focused on reminding them of their obligations.
This week the Vigil and the Zimbabwe Central London Forum sent letters to
African members of the UN Human Rights Council asking them to raise a motion
against human rights abuse in Zimbabwe at the 3rd session of the UN Human
Rights Council at the end of November. These letters will be followed by
telephone requests to meet their diplomatic representatives to discuss this.
Our supporters from Free-Zim Youth advised us of their next initiative: they
want to lobby the Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, when he speaks in
London on Monday, 4th December at 1.30 pm at Chatham House (a foreign policy
think tank). The Vigil wants to support every effort to put pressure on
SADC at a time when it seems to be more responsive to our message. Peter
Tatchell, the human rights campaigner, came to give support to the Free-Zim
Youth on this. We are always impressed by his dedication to our cause.
(Not the only one he supports - he told us he had only had 3 evenings to
himself during the last month and this was his 4th engagement today on human
Best wishes to Ephraim and Wiz who are off to spread our message to Germany.
Hopefully Munich will join the family of Vigils, which include Bristol who
had their monthly Vigil today. We are heartened that the diaspora is so
vigorous and that SW Radio won international radio station of the year at
the second Association for International Broadcasting awards - a great
distinction. Wiz painstakingly creates newsboards for the Vigil showing the
latest developments in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately she left them on the train
going home so they are now travelling the country informing Britain about
It gets dark so early now but the singing and dancing keeps us going as
winter sets in.
For this week's Vigil pictures:
FOR THE RECORD: 61 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
- Monday, 27th November, 7.30 pm, Central London Zimbabwe Forum at
the Rose and Springbok, 14 Upper St Martins Lane, WC2H 9DL. Map link:
http://makeashorterlink.com/?N2D231EA6. Nearest tubes: Leicester Square,
- Tuesday, 28th November, 7.30 pm. Daniel Howden, the Independent's
Deputy Foreign Editor speaks on "Zimbabwe - a country in meltdown" at the
Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ. The Frontline Club has
kindly given the Vigil 6 concessionary tickets so we will be there in force.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk