|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority seeks greenlight for 30 percent tariff hike|
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is reportedly seeking Cabinet approval to increase electricity tariffs by as much as 30% in order to remain viable. ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata has reportedly stated that the increase is in line with plans for the unbundling of the energy parastatal.
|Precarious forex position worsens|
10/11/01 8:06:17 AM (GMT +2)
Zimbabwe’s precarious foreign exchange (forex) situation continues to worsen, with exports bringing in only US$6,4 million (Z$352 million) on a cash basis.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said that for the period ending 21 September import payments, on the other hand, totalled US$5,1 million (Z$280,5 million
10/11/01 7:56:48 AM (GMT +2)
CLEMENT Muchachi, a
founding member of the nationalist struggle, died on Monday. He was 76.
He was virtually destitute
after he was dumped and forsaken by his erstwhile liberation war comrades. Zanu
PF plans to declare him a national hero. July Moyo, the party’s provincial
chairman for the Midlands, yesterday said they had requested that Muchachi be
declared a national hero.
|Editor condemns Press harassment|
10/11/01 7:58:00 AM (GMT +2)
By Collin Chiwanza
GEOFFREY Nyarota, the
Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News, has denounced the continued harassment of
journalists, which he said is part of a general crackdown mounted by an
increasingly intolerant government.
Nyarota said this in his acceptance speech on Tuesday night in Washington DC, soon after he was presented with the prestigious Knight International Press Fellowship Award for 2001 by the International Centre for Journalists.
Nyarota said: “Journalists, especially those working for The Daily News, have been harassed, intimidated and physically attacked. They have also been subjected to a barrage of vitriolic and defamatory attacks in the government media.
Company invasions increased damage to Zimbabwe's
October 11 2001 at 03:18PM
Harare - Invasions of companies by supporters of Zimbabwe's ruling party
earlier this year cost the already staggering economy millions of local dollars
in lost production, a report said Thursday.
Between March and May this year, war veterans who support the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) stormed companies under the pretext of resolving wage and employment disputes.
The report, sponsored by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and a German civic group Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is based on an analysis of 40 companies, mostly in the capital.
A total figure on losses incurred as a result of the invasions could not be given, but the maximum loss by a single company in the study amounted to 34 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$618,000s), researcher Phineas Kadenge said.
Harare - A devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar in the foreseeable future was
ruled out yesterday by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Leonard Tsumba, a move
that has riled the country's industry.
Tsumba, on a visit to Malaysia with President Robert Mugabe, told journalists that devaluation was not an option at this juncture.
He refuted widespread reports in the Zimbabwean media last week that the country's currency would soon be devalued by about 56 percent to restore confidence in the exchange rate and crush a thriving black market for foreign currency.
Zimbabwe is facing acute shortages of hard currency. The business sector has repeatedly called for a devaluation and even finance minister Simba Makoni has suggested it. However, he has been overruled by Mugabe.
Makoni has openly said that Zimbabwe's foreign exchange policy is now discredited. However, sources said Mugabe had ruled out devaluation until after the presidential elections next year.
Mugabe and his other cabinet ministers fear devaluation will have inflationary effects on an economy already under heavy siege.
Reports last week said the Zimbabwean dollar was set to be devalued by 56 percent from Z$55 to the US dollar to Z$125.
The Zimbabwean government has dismissed the reports.
Tsumba said devaluation had its own costs and was not an option at this juncture.
The central bank would nonetheless continue with its crackdown on commercial banks trading above the official exchange rate, he said, and a number of banks had already been fined.
The black market is offering an average Z$300 to the US dollar.
An official with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said yesterday that the government's refusal to devalue the currency was ample proof that it had run out of ideas to manage the economy.
"That the Zimbabwean dollar is in need of imminent devaluation is now obvious, even to the ordinary man in the street," said the official.
"What I read in this government's refusal to implement what has become obvious is a tacit admission of failure to run this economy."
The spokesperson said prices of commodities would in fact continue rising for as long as businesses resorted to the black market to buy foreign currency to import goods.
"It's mere stupidity to think they can keep prices down by not devaluing. The opposite is what is happening," the official said. - Independent Foreign Service
Gaddafi’s recent visit and pledge of funding to Zimbabwe seems to have sparked this consternation. The article appearing in IAA quotes a South African intelligence source as saying that Gaddafi had meetings with senior Pagad members in Harare.
The article also claims that South Africa’s intelligence services are particularly interested in Gaddafi’s promise of US$360-million in oil and $1-million contribution to President Mugabe’s ruling party Zanu-PF to fight next year’s election.
Speaking to iafrica.com on the article, editor of Islamic Affairs at the Jane’s Information Group, Stephen Ulph, said it seems Gaddafi, who’s Pan-Arab image has taken a dent, is trying to build up an image in Africa and in return for “funding”, Mugabe will give Gaddafi “space”. In late August Gaddafi bought several safe houses in Harare.
Quoting London’s Sunday Times, the article alleges that the houses are likely to be used “'for death squads supplied by the Libyan dictator as part of his plan to assist the man he sees as his embattled comrade in arms, President Robert Mugabe.'”
But intelligence ministry spokesperson Thembi-Nkosi Lehloesa told iafrica.com that local intelligence is not investigating a link between Gaddafi and Pagad. He denied reports appearing in Die Burger alleging local intelligence services were assisting the Americans in such an investigation.
In reference to the IAA article, Lehloesa told iafrica.com that he does not know who the IAA could be quoting as they have no record of such findings.
However, as South Africa has a relationship with Libya, Lehloesa stated that if Pagad were receiving funding from the country, the matter would be discussed with them.
He did, however, confirm that South Africa was offering intelligence support to their American counterparts, following an undertaking by Cabinet to do so on September 19. The undertaking followed the devastating terror strikes in New York and Washington in which more than 5 000 perished.
However, IAA asserts that South Africa’s intelligence services have already tried to establish to what extent Gaddafi is involved in funding Pagad and are also probing who paid for the 400 Pagad-linked volunteers to join the Palestinian Intifada (uprising) in the Middle East.
During his Harare visit, Gaddafi called on an Indian Muslim Group to declare a jihad and throw the whites out of the country. IAA report that Gaddafi also said that if they did not do so, he would be forced to bring in “strong-arm elements from Pagad, with which he told them he had close links”.
The IAA also reports that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has confirmed that he is aware of the Libyan/Pagad presence in his country. But when speaking to iafrica.com, the MDC was not yet prepared to comment.
IAA meanwhile quotes another source saying that in a bid to overcome travel problems between South African and Zimbabwe, special instructions have been passed onto immigration officials at both the Harare Airport and the border post at Beit Bridge to allow unrestricted access to Pagad members. This step was reportedly taken on the instructions of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation because Pagad members are likely to have criminal records.
When presented with these allegations, Pagad spokesperson Abeedah Roberts said the organisation had "no comment".
Mugabe Flies Back to Face the Changes
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
October 12, 2001
Posted to the web October 11, 2001
The Zimbabwean president created an alibi for himself when hangings were reintroduced
President Robert Mugabe flew back into Harare this week, after hangings were resumed and drastic plans to fix basic commodity prices below the cost of production were unveiled in his absence.
Just as Mugabe established a foreign alibi for himself in January 1999 when independent journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were abducted and tortured, he was away on a prolonged jaunt to South East Asia when Zimbabwe's newly appointed hangman got busy after a three-year moratorium on executions.
Likewise, the pricing plans were unveiled before Mugabe touched down at Harare. This leaves the way clear for the president to disown responsibility should they prove unworkable. Past somersaults in economic policy were announced during his frequent trips abroad, and declared later to have been made without his consent.
While Mugabe was visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo and Reserve Bank Governor Leonard Tsumba dropped hints that a return to a pre-1990 command economy was imminent after 10 years of failed reforms.
Professor Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said he abhorred the resumption of hangings by a regime that had "encouraged killing of political opponents, and authorised murder on a wide scale".
"You worry a great deal about the intentions in the long term. It is terrible you have a government under siege which seems to have all its priorities wrong - you have a country in a mess and you start hanging people."
More than 100 people have died in 18 months of violence centred on 5,000 white-owned farms, many of them occupied by state-sponsored former guerillas.
Moyo and Tsumba said the Zimbabwean government would bridle the current 76% inflation through tighter enforcement of official exchange rates - Z$55 to US$1 - against black market rates of between Z$250 and Z$350 to US$1. The rand, officially at Z$6,5, fetches at least five times that amount from Beitbridge touts.
Minister of Industry and commerce Herbert Murerwa unveiled regulations to force down the price of a loaf of bread from Z$60 to Z$34, while the price of maize meal is to be pegged at just under Z$23/kg, sugar at Z$22/kg, cooking oil at Z$70 for 750 ml and beef at Z$125/kg.
The country is short of up to one million tonnes of maize needed to see it through to next year, while much of the national beef herd has been slaughtered as pandemonium reigns on commercial farms.
Eddie Cross, economics adviser to the MDC, warns basics may soon become completely unavailable. Customs officers have orders to stop cross-border shoppers going home with truckloads bought at comparatively bargain prices.
The MDC fears an official rationing system may be used to dragoon voters in the run-up to presidential elections scheduled before next April.
Malvern Rusike, chief executive of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said the controls are "futile", leading to shortages, hoarding and bankruptcy of producers.
Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has conducted a prolonged campaign against the death penalty but Mugabe amended the Constitution to block challenges to hanging of those left languishing on death row. One of the latest three hanged in Zimbabwe had been on death row for more than five years.
The last public hangman died shortly after the last executions in April 1998. Mugabe's government has sent 66 to the gallows since independence in 1980.
|Zimbabwean Ministers Discuss 2002 Budget|
HARARE, Oct 11, 2001 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Zimbabwean cabinet ministers and other senior government officials Thursday attended a closed-door seminar at Darwendale, about 90 kilometers outside the capital Harare, to fine tune and see how the 2002 national budget could be piloted through on November 1. Sources close to the meeting told Zimbabwe News Agency that Finance Minister Simba Makoni voiced strong concern over farm invasions which are disrupting production, and over the need for the country to restore confidence. "Makoni said we should restore confidence ourselves so that others can have confidence in investing in the country," the sources said. "Talking about sabotages every time will not help us." Other hot issues that were discussed included the need to increase exports and the contentious issue of currency devaluation, the sources said, adding that "Makoni said more money should go towards capital expenditure which could improve the welfare of the people and create jobs." Among those present at the pre-budget seminar were Vice President Joseph Msika, Industry and International Trade Minister Herbet Murerwa, Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo, other senior government officials and business executives. Makoni will present the national budget on November 1. Economists observed that the challenges he faces include tackling a high consumption expenditure, declining revenue, privatization of public enterprises, devaluation and repairing the damage that has been done to the economy.
Security At Border to Be Increased
Business Day (Johannesburg)
October 11, 2001
Posted to the web October 11, 2001
THERE will be an increased police and army presence at the Beit Bridge border post on Monday when between 10000 and 16000 Zimbabwean farm labourers working in SA are repatriated.
The labourers, said to be in SA illegally, are being sent home to free up jobs for South Africans in the Northern Province.
Provincial police spokeswoman Captain Ronel Otto said the SA Police Service and SA National Defence Force members were being sent to the border in case the Zimbabweans refused to leave of their own accord.
Home affairs directorgeneral Billy Masetlha was in Messina yesterday to check breaks in the fence at the border post.
The labour and home affairs departments have been negotiating for the repatriation with the Messina farming community for several months.
Agreement was reached between government and the farmers on Tuesday. Farmers will have the opportunity tomorrow to make appeals on "exceptional cases" to a governmental task team. These cases will be considered during a 90-day "grace" period. Masetlha also assured farmers that their security concerns would be looked into.
On Monday immigration officials will inspect the farms for illegal immigrants, Masetlha said.
The labour department already has a database of unemployed locals to replace the Zimbabweans on the farms.
In addition home affairs have asked local political and traditional leaders to ensure that job seekers are enlisted.