The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe radio station goes live on internet

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/01/2004 09:59:10
BLACKLISTED and hounded out of Zimbabwe's state radio after being labelled
opposition supporters, a group of journalists are now using the internet to
form common front against President Robert Mugabe's regime.

A new 24-hour independent internet radio station went live last week,
broadcasting to thousands of Zimbabweans from a location in London.

Owners of the new radio station called Afro-Sounds FM say it was set up to
"entertain and inform."

Harsh media laws in Zimbabwe have ensured government retains control over
the media - both print and broadcasting. Three independent newspapers have
been shut down and Zimbabwean journalists are now being forced to resort to
"illegal" broadcasts from foreign countries to beat the country's harsh
media laws.

"We don't want to only entertain," says Station Manager Zenzo Ncube, a
former Radio 4 DJ and Afro Beat presenter. "We want to use entertainment to
draw the attention of Zimbabweans and update them on what is happening to
their beloved country."

Among the ex-Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) DJs set to make guest
appearences on the station is former Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe) favourite
Ezra Tshisa Sibanda, who also lives in London.

Sibanda is just one of at least 600 workers forced out by Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo during a clean-up targeted at employees thought to be
sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Ncube said: "We are happy to be able to provide independent news and
information to Zimbabweans who are concerned about the deteriorating
situation at home. For the greater part of the day we play music and we have
hourly news updates in the evening."

By visiting the station's website, listeners can download a special
programme to their computers. Within a minute, the download is complete and
listeners can listen live.
TO LISTEN TO AFRO-SOUNDS FM go to the website: http://www.zimnews.co.uk and
follow instructions. More information mail@zimnews.co.uk or call 02070934828
or 07843655418

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

MUGABE TO PUT NGOs ON THE LEASH AHEAD OF CAMPAIGN
Fri 1 October 2004

††††† HARARE - President Robert Mugabe this week told his ruling ZANU PF
party's politburo to ensure that Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in
Zimbabwe were effectively restricted before campaigning started for next
year's general election, sources told ZimOnline yesterday.

††††† According to the sources, who attended the politburo meeting last
Wednesday, Mugabe told ZANU PF's decision-making committee to use the
party's simple majority in Parliament to ensure the NGO Bill and another
Bill seeking to amend Zimbabwe's Electoral Act
††††† were passed into law once the house resumed on Tuesday.

††††† ZANU PF would only launch its campaign for the critical election
scheduled for March after the two Bills were law, Mugabe is said to have
told the politburo.

††††† "The meeting mainly touched on the issue of elections, the modalities
of winning next year's elections," said a member of the politburo, who did
not want to be named.

††††† He added: "The President said the party will launch its campaign for
next year's election as soon as the NGO Bill and the electoral law reform
Bill were made into law. He said it was vital to regulate and control the
NGO sector before we started our campaign."

††††† Mugabe had also ordered that internal primary elections by ZANU PF to
select candidates for the 2005 parliamentary poll should also be held after
the two laws were in place, according to sources.

††††† ZANU PF spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, refused to discuss the matter
yesterday. He said: "We do not discuss our politburo meetings with the
media."

††††† The NGO Bill seeks to bar civic organisations from carrying out voter
education. Only a government-appointed electoral commission will be allowed
to conduct voter education under the proposed new law.

††††† The Bill also proposes a ban on all civic organisations wishing to
carry out human rights work from receiving foreign funding.

††††† A draft Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill proposes the creation of a
new commission which the government says will have the power and
independence to run elections in the country according to a Southern African
Development Community (SADC) protocol adopted
††††† last August.

††††† Civic society activists have opposed the NGO Bill saying it will
shrink further democratic space in Zimbabwe. They also say an NGO Council
proposed under the Bill to licence NGOs in Zimbabwe could be used to deny
civic bodies that refuse to toe the government
††††† line permission to work in the country.

††††† The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says the
proposed new electoral law will lack independence because its chairman will
be appointed by Mugabe. The SADC protocol requires independent commissions
to run elections. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Cash-strapped council may be forced to delay public exams
Fri 1 October 2004

††††† HARARE - The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council yesterday said
public examinations were not likely to be written on time because the
council does not have money to pay local and foreign printers of question
papers.

††††† The council also delayed registration of candidates for the end of
year examinations. The exams were scheduled to run from November to
December.

††††† Council director Happy Jabulane Ndanga told a parliamentary committee
probing Zimbabwe's crumbling education sector that the examinations
authority was failing to raise Z$15 billion demanded by printing firm,
Fidelity Printers.

††††† Fidelity is a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and prints
the primary level, and Ordinary level examination question papers for the
council.

††††† Ndanga said: "Fidelity Printers are hostile to us. They want a deposit
upfront and instalments as they print and will halt printing if we fall
behind in payments. This is likely to cause delays in the writing of
examinations unless we get the money."

††††† He said the council had also failed to raise foreign currency to pay
South African and British printing firms that were printing Advanced level
question papers. The council did not have money to ferry the question papers
to Zimbabwe even if the foreign
††††† companies printed them for free.

††††† Ndanga said: "One set of examination papers is printed in South Africa
and the other is printed in the United Kingdom. For these we need
substantial foreign exchange and the Reserve Bank is aware of the problem."

††††† The examination chief said the $11 billion the state had allocated his
council for the examinations and for its general operations for the year was
long exhausted.

††††† The council has also failed to pay civil servants who marked public
examinations written last June and it did not have money to train markers
for the end of year examinations when and if they are written, Ndanga said.

††††† The problems at the examinations body mirror the parlous state of
Zimbabwe's education sector because of years of under-funding and
mismanagement. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Nine-month old baby languishes in cells
Fri 1 October 2004

††††† HARARE - A nine-month-old baby is among 56 women activists detained in
police cells in Chegutu town and in Harare after attempting to march from
Bulawayo to Harare in protest against a proposed new law that will restrict
Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe.

††††† The baby could be heard wailing in the cells at Harare central police
station where its mother is being held together with eight other women
activists of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure group.

††††† Leader of the women, Jenny Williams, told ZimOnline from the cells:
"We have not fed since afternoon and it is painful to a nine-month baby who
was arrested with us crying all the time. The conditions in the cells are
just bad."

††††† A lawyer from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights battled in court
unsuccessfully yesterday to have 48 of the women held in Chegutu released.
The court reserved judgment to today.

††††† In Harare, another lawyer representing the nine women activists
detained at the capital's main police station said she will try to get the
women released on bail today.

††††† The women were arrested on Tuesday in Chegutu and at Selous less than
100 kilometres from Harare. Williams and her colleagues managed to evade the
police and sneaked into the capital but were later apprehended.

††††† The women were arrested after walking 300 of the 440 kilometres from
Bulawayo to Harare. They left Bulawayo on Sunday last week. They planned to
demonstrate at Parliament and to hand in a petition urging legislators to
block the NGO law.

††††† Civic organisations in Zimbabwe say aid to the country will dry up
completely if the government passes the proposed NGO law. The law seeks to
ban NGOs from carrying out voter education while those wishing to do human
rights work will be prohibited from receiving foreign funding. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

UK pushes for international arms embargo on Zimbabwe
Fri 1 October 2004

††††† BRIGHTON, UK - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw yesterday said
London was pushing for an international ban on military sales to Zimbabwe
and other countries that violated basic human rights.

††††† Speaking at the ongoing conference of the Labour party here, Straw
said the United Kingdom was intensifying efforts to end tyranny in Zimbabwe,
Sudan, North Korea and Burma.

††††† He said: "We are intensifying efforts to get improvements of human
rights record in countries like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Burma.

††††† "We will work soon with other countries to build support for an
international arms treaty (banning arms sales to the four states). We need
to control the sale of arms to these countries. This is the only way we can
restore the rule of law."

††††† The European Union (EU), to which Britain is a member, and the United
States already have an arms embargo against Zimbabwe on top of travel
sanctions banning President Robert Mugabe and his top officials from
visiting their territories.

††††† Zimbabwe's Ministry of Defence two weeks ago told a parliamentary
committee reviewing the country's defence capacity that the EU embargo had
seriously affected the defence forces because they were unable to buy spares
for weapons and aircraft bought from
††††† European countries.

††††† Although Zimbabwe has also equipped its defence forces with eastern
manufactured weaponry, a large component of its arsenal is European made.

††††† An international arms ban would make it impossible for China which has
kept Zimbabwe supplied with arms since the EU ban from selling weapons to
Harare.

††††† Mugabe and his government are accused of violating human rights,
failure to uphold the rule of law and of rigging elections. They deny the
charges. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Troubled banks to know fate in a fortnight
Fri 1 October 2004

††††† HARARE - Banks that failed to increase capitalisation to Z$10 billion
will only know their fate in two weeks time when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono returns from the United States.

††††† Gono left the country yesterday for the US where he will meet
International Monetary Fund officials to discuss strained relations between
Zimbabwe and the Bretton Woods institution.

††††† The central bank chief is expected to force banks, most of them
black-owned, which failed to increase capitalisation to merge and pool
resources to the required level.

††††† Gono in January ordered Zimbabwe's 16 banks to up capitalisation from
$500 million to $10 billion by September 30. At the time he threatened to
deregister and close institutions that failed to meet the new capitalisation
requirement.

††††† Black-owned banks experienced a run on deposits for most of the past
week as depositors transferred their money to the larger and more secure
foreign-owned banks.

††††† Sources said Gono was backtracking on his threats to close
under-capitalised banks because of political pressure from the ruling ZANU
PF party fearful of massive job loses in the financial sector ahead of
elections next March.

††††† Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested two directors of the closed Royal
Bank allegedly for fraud. The directors, Jeffrey Mzwimbi and Durajadi Simba,
were picked up by the police in the morning yesterday.

††††† Royal was last month placed under curatorship by the central bank
because of a liquidity crunch that threatened the bank with collapse. -
ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe's Elections and African Science

SciDev.net (London)

EDITORIAL
March 25, 2002
Posted to the web September 30, 2004

David Dickson
London

The mature response of many African leaders to the conduct of the Zimbabwean
elections bodes well for their efforts to secure regional support for
science. But the political challenges they face in doing so should not be
dismissed lightly.

At first sight, it's difficult to make an immediate connection between the
outcome of this month's general election in Zimbabwe and the future
prospects for science in the rest of the African continent. But the link
between the two is more direct than might appear. It doesn't lie in either
the conduct or the outcome of the election itself, but in the response to
both of other African nations.

This response has been expressed in the way that African leaders such as
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Olusegun Obasanjo of
Nigeria have essentially aligned themselves with non-African critics of the
brutality and lack of genuine democracy in the regime established by
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. By doing so, they
have raised the prospects for a reasoned, regional approach to integrating
African nations into the global economy. And current thinking about how this
might be done already places science and technology at the core of viable
development strategy, as an integral part of any country's 'system of
innovation'.

At the same time, however, the unhappy political scene in Zimbabwe provides
a reminder that any such strategy will only succeed if the political
groundwork has been laid in which it can flourish. If the science and
technology that are needed to help drive Africa's development are to succeed
in achieving their goal, they must respond to local needs and conditions.
They must not be merely an extension of ideas, concepts and strategies
designed to meet interests from outside Africa, an accusation that lies at
the heart of recent political disputes over globalisation.

This is not just an academic debate. The issues that it raises are central
to the success - or otherwise - of the dream of an 'African renaissance'
currently being pursued by Mbeki, Obasanjo and other African leaders in the
form of their proposals to establish a New Partnership for African
Development (NEPAD).

NEPAD is described as a pledge by these leaders "to place their countries,
both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and
development". It embodies a broad-based strategy of institutional reform
that will lay a firm basis on which these leaders can transform their
economies, and to do so in ways that allow them simultaneously to
participate effectively in the global economy and to develop weapons to
fight poverty on their own doorsteps.

The central role that scientific and technological advances can play in this
process has already been firmly embedded in NEPAD's approach. For example,
the document outlining the project that was adopted last October by the
Heads of State and Governments of the Organisation for African Unity
endorses the idea that globalisation "is a product of scientific and
technological advances", while expressing the desire that NEPAD "will enable
Africa to increase her contribution to science, culture and technology".

At the same time, an increasing number of those currently engaged in debates
over scientific capacity-building in Africa - particularly where such
debates are taking place at a regional level - are accepting the
desirability of placing their efforts within the framework of NEPAD. This,
for example, was the outcome of a meeting held last November by the
Committee for Natural Resources, Science and Technology of the UN Economic
Commission for Africa, which agreed that NEPAD "provides a suitable context
to address the challenges of science and technology and competitiveness in
Africa". Similarly a workshop of African scientists on "Sustainability
Science" held shortly afterwards in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, issued a
statement recommending that "bold, imaginative, consistent and effective
efforts" should be made in this field "to form part of, and support, NEPAD".

So far, so good. But there are also political dimensions to the promotion of
NEPAD that must not be ignored, if only because they are likely to play a
significant role in its reception and implementation. Last Sunday (24
March), for example, the European Union delegation to the latest meeting of
the preparatory committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD), which takes place in Johannesburg in August, explicitly voiced
support for initiatives led by Africa "such as NEPAD", while emphasising
that "African countries themselves must take the lead".

At the same time, Western nations are already using their willingness to
support NEPAD as a political lever in order to achieve other goals. It is
widely perceived, for example, that Mbeki decided not to oppose the
suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth after it had been made clear to
him that any overt support for Mugabe (as had been expressed by several
other African leaders) would have led to the removal of support for NEPAD
from the developed countries, from which most of its funding is expected to
come.

Domestically, however, all is not well in South Africa on the NEPAD front.
In a dispute which seems destined to spill over into the proceedings of the
WSSD itself, a major split has taken place between the non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) that are planning "civil society" activities to take
place simultaneously with the summit, and Cosatu, South Africa's largest
labour federation. Although the reasons for the split are complex, one
central factor is the way the NGO's inherent distrust of the whole process
of globalisation has already extended to distrust of NEPAD and much of what
it stands for.

So where next? There is widespread agreement in Africa (as well outside)
that a regional development strategy such as NEPAD is required. There also
seems to be a growing consensus that such a strategy is essential both to
provide a setting for continent-wide efforts to promote capacity-building in
science, and to push forward any concrete efforts to promote sustainable
development that emerge from WSSD.

At the same time, however, it is equally clear that both efforts need to
emerge from a self-diagnosis by the countries involved of their own
scientific, technical, social and economic needs. Any attempt to graft on
solutions devised outside - however effectively they may have worked in
other parts of the world - risk rejection if this diagnosis, and the demand
that it can lead to, is lacking. The scientific community, which is already
beginning to recognise the potential value of NEPAD in reaching its own
goals, must remain as sensitive to this danger as other stakeholders in the
development process.

© SciDev.Net 2002

Readers' Feedback

From: Dr Esau Masuku (masuku@botec.bw) Senior Research Scientist (Building
Materials and Structural Engineering) Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC)

I agree that indeed there is a real relationship between science and
politics. But focusing on the subject of your editorial, one is easily led
to the conclusion that Zimbabwe's elections are likely to impact negatively
on science in Africa! In fact, that danger exists as long as science in
Africa is viewed as a commodity that can be "brought to Africa" by such
vehicles as NEPAD in its present version, which requires that that it must
be "endorsed" by the Western world, as they would be its "prime" financiers.

There is nothing for nothing in our world. The price is always material and
tangible. The Marshall Plan, to which NEPAD has often been likened, was
mooted and executed primarily to thwart Soviet expansion westwards, and thus
safeguard tangible and material Western interests, such as the capitalist
way of life.

What would the Western world get in exchange for Africa's Marshall Plan? The
answer is not democracy, transparency, freedom of the press, observance of
human rights, independence of the judiciary, or the rule of law, all for the
well-being of the Africans! That is merely the packaging of the real prize:
namely access to Africa's resources virtually on the Western world's own
terms, safeguarded by entrenched "property rights" as they are today - owned
to a disproportionately large extent by Western countries or their kith and
kin resident in Africa.

Why is this item so high on the agenda? Because the political liberation of
Africa, which was completed only in 1994, has for the first time made it a
real possibility that, just as it happened during colonization when the
colonial powers used political instruments to disown Africans of their
birthright, the politically empowered Africans can similarly reverse the
situation.

It is imperative, for the sake of science in Africa, that we, the scientists
of Africa, support the idea and stand up for the best interests of our
condition as a people. Leaders come and go, political parties come and go,
but these interests will never betray us.

While it is very important that we interact with our colleagues in the
scientific and technical fraternity the world over, we should never lose
sight of the fact that only self-reliance will engender genuine progress
towards real social, political and economic development. Let us not lose
sight of the bigger picture because of a smaller one. Zimbabwe is worth much
more than US$64 billion - the price tag attached to NEPAD - let alone
Africa!
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Independent (UK)

Hearing farce casts new shadow over tour of Zimbabwe
By David Llewellyn
01 October 2004

England's tour of Zimbabwe next month is in doubt once more. This follows
the abandonment in Harare of the International Cricket Council hearing into
allegations of racism in Zimbabwean cricket.

The two adjudicators, Goolam Vahanvati, India's Solicitor General and South
African High Court Judge Steven Majiedt called off the hearing because
neither party - the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and the 15 'rebel' white
players - could agree who should and should not be present during the
submission of certain evidence.

Vahanvati and Majiedt will still consider written submissions before
producing a report for the ICC to consider at their board meeting in Karachi
on 16-17 October.

If the ZCU were to be found guilty of racism the ICC could suspend Zimbabwe
from all international cricket, which would settle the question of England's
tour instantly.

But the Federation of International Cricket Associations (FICA), the body
that represents professional cricketers' associations around the world,
could take action anyway and call on all its members to boycott cricket in
Zimbabwe until the country's cricketing house has been put in order.

But last night no one was predicting anything. Richard Bevan, chief
executive of the Professional Cricketers Asoociation and that body's
representative on FICA, said: "We cannot second guess the report's findings.
We must wait until it is made public at the ICC board meeting later this
month.

"At that point the players will review their position. But until then there
is no point in speculating."

The ICC has adopted a similar 'wait and see' stance, while the England and
Wales Cricket Board said the matter was an ICC issue. But there is no doubt
at all about the racism inquiry, which is off. It had been expected to run
for three days, but at the start of day two yesterday the adjudicators
closed proceedings because of a failure to reach an agreement on whether or
not three ZCU board members should be present during the player's submission
of evidence.

Vahanvati and Majiedt were scathing in their criticism of the outcome.
Majiedt said: "This outcome is obviously not what would be desired, but has
been imposed upon us by the positions adopted by both parties whose
attitudes reflect what has brought about these problems."

"We find ourselves in an untenable position at this stage of the
proceedings. If we accede to an exclusion of the three ZCU directors, the
ZCU will withdraw from these proceedings. If, on the other hand, we decline
the request for their exclusion, the players will withdraw. It is
unacceptable to proceed in this fashion." So, match abandoned. And all eyes
will be on Karachi on 16 October when the seals on the report are broken and
the findings revealed.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

I won't go - Msika
Dumisani Muleya
VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika has dismissed reports that he will retire at the
forthcoming Zanu PF congress scheduled for the first week of December.

In a new twist to the ruling party's dramatic succession race, Msika said
the reports were baseless because "it depends on what the people say".

"I don't elect myself, I'm elected by the people. I don't put myself in
there," he said.

"Nxa umuntu engasafuni umsebenzi uyazikhulumela yena, kakhulunyelwa
njengenkomo yo-mdaka (If someone no longer wants a job, he speaks for
himself)."

There has been strong speculation that Msika could retire to pave way for
Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo in the scramble to succeed President Robert
Mugabe. Nkomo is widely seen as one of the candidates likely to move up in
any changes at the apex of power.

Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, who has dubbed the coming congress a
"watershed", suggested in April Nkomo and secretary for administration
Emmerson Mnangagwa were frontrunners in the Mugabe succession race.

Shamuyarira also hinted that Mugabe could clarify his future at the
congress. He said if Mugabe left immediately, Msika would automatically step
in, whereas if he were to leave after an advance announcement, Nkomo or
Mnangagwa could take over.

Nkomo defeated Mnangagwa for the position of national chairman at the 1999
congress. Mugabe, who claimed some of his lieutenants were hunting for lucky
charms to enhance their chances, has said he will retire in 2008 when his
current term of office expires. But most observers have said he is likely to
go earlier.

Sources said the agenda for the Zanu PF congress has already been compiled
and it includes the usual themes of land, the economy, corruption,
international relations and elections. However, the meeting could be largely
dominated by behind-the-scenes manoeuvres for power.

Meanwhile, Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa, also involved in the
escalating succession battle, said yesterday he is still strongly in the
running for the vacant post of Zanu PF vice-president despite current
allegations of violence levelled against him.

Mutasa, also Makoni North MP, said he would contest for the position.

"I'm still very interested. I haven't changed my mind at all. I want to run
for the position," Mutasa said.

"I believe people in my province will support me. I may not have the support
of certain individuals but I have the support of the people who matter."

Mutasa, the ruling party's external affairs secretary, said his prospects of
becoming vice-president would not be sabotaged by "false reports" of
violence.

"People in Zanu PF are more mature than those elements with dirty hands
planting stories about me in the Sunday Mail. The smear campaign against me
will fail. After all, in politics any publicity is good publicity!"
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Trust owed $300 billion
Vincent Kahiya
TRUST Bank was owed at least $300 billion when it was put under curatorship
last Thursday, half of it by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), it emerged
this week.

Trust, whose collapse has been attributed in official circles to severe
liquidity problems, paid the ultimate price for heavily lending to problem
parastatals which failed to service their loans. The bank was also haunted
by its past foreign currency dealings on the black market in which the
Reserve Bank was a major beneficiary.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week established that the troubled bank, which
had been in a short position since 2002, is owed US$27 million ($152
billion) by the Reserve Bank from foreign currency dealings on the black
market.

The bank was also sitting on a bad loan book of $150 billion in money lent
mainly to parastatals. Among them are the Grain Marketing Board, the Cold
Storage Company and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

The RBZ gave Trust about $280 billion, which has now ballooned to $1,4
trillion, from the Troubled Banks Fund to save it from collapse. By May
Trust had already repaid $85 billion to the reserve bank, sources said.

Investigations by the Independent this week revealed that Trust had a US$30
million line of credit with the Cairo-based Afrexim Bank. Trust was drawing
down from the facility for on-lending to the Reserve Bank, which on numerous
occasions failed to pay back the forex.

To keep the facility working, Trust sourced foreign currency on the black
market, reportedly from off-shore company Saturn Investments to pay Afrexim
Bank.

Saturn Investments, represented in Zimbabwe by Jayesh Shah, was also
understood to have been selling foreign currency to a number of financial
institutions which were dealing with the Reserve Bank.

Saturn is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Kingdom Bank over
US$900 000 borrowed during the height of the forex crisis.

The sources said in February this year RBZ offered to pay back the US$27

million albeit in local currency at a rate of 1:3 500. Trust turned down the
offer, arguing that it would not be able to source the forex to pay back the
Afrexim loan, which was due in May.

Sources close to Trust said due to the RBZ's erratic loan repayments, the
closed bank was prejudiced of US$27 million between 2002 and early this
year. Trust as a result owes Afrexim Bank the same amount.

The sources said when Gideon Gono took over as RBZ governor at the end of
last year, he was aware of the foreign currency transactions between Trust
and the central bank.

Trust Bank was last year accused of straying from its core business by
investing in non-banking undertakings such as property. There however are
some who believe that the bank could have been saved if the rescue package
from the central bank had been delivered earlier.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Pressure mounts on independent media
Staff Writer
THERE is growing evidence of political pressure on Zimbabwe's media with
government stepping up its harassment of journalists at two of the country's
remaining private publications, the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard.

Over the past week journalists from the two publications, both owned by
Trevor Ncube, have been questioned by the police about stories published as
far back as February. Both are the subject of civil litigation.

The Standard has also received threats from the Media and Information
Commission to investigate the paper for publishing a photograph of President
Mugabe hitching up his trousers which it claimed it had received complaints
about.

In this case and in an earlier complaint to the Standard, the principal
complainant was an official of the Department of Information in the Office
of the President.

Independent editor Vincent Kahiya, reporter Augustine Mukaro, and group
general manager Raphael Khumalo were picked up last Thursday over a report
that assessors in the treason trial of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
blocked Judge President Paddington Garwe from handing down a judgement
before they could review a transcript of the proceedings. The story was
published on July 30.

Standard editor Bornwell Chakaodza was on Tuesday summoned to Harare Central
police station to answer charges arising from a story published in February,
which alleged that Pastor Admire Kasi had a licence to sell beer.

Meanwhile, Chakaodza was given until today by the MIC to submit the negative
of the photograph of President Mugabe at the Harare Agricultural Show
published on the front page of the Standard on August 29. It was taken with
a digital camera.

MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso, who writes for the Zanu PF organ, The Voice,
claimed the MIC had received "numerous telephone complaints" about the
photograph.

He enclosed a written complaint from "one of the 10 or so complainants". It
was from J Neusu in the Department of Information, writing on behalf of the
"Secretary of State (for) Information and Publicity" who claimed the "use of
the photograph by the Standard is extremely mischievous and represents a
deliberate denigration of the highest office in the country".

He went on to complain that "it epitomises the weekly newspaper's editorial
disposition that is underpinned by an anti-Zimbabwe and anti-Mugabe
orientation. It is obvious that the paper seeks to foist on the nation an
image of the President that will facilitate its regime change discourse."

The photograph sought to "caricature, belittle and undermine the dignity of
the Head of State", the letter said.

Neusu in an earlier complaint to the MIC had complained that "reportage by
the Standard and its sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent, is
characterised by outrageous lies and ridiculous claims underpinned by
misrepresentation of facts."

"Their aim is to push forward an anti-government and anti-Zimbabwe
discourse," he said. "If left unchallenged, such reportage would grow into a
monster that threatens to unleash chaos and despondency amongst the reading
public."

Khumalo said recent police intervention amounted to harassment aimed at
silencing the media group's voice.

"We are surprised at the engagement of the police as all these cases are
under litigation," Khumalo said.

"A clear example is the Tsvangirai story which we were picked up for last
Thursday. Justice Paddington Garwe had written to us through his lawyers
complaining and asking for a retraction which implies that the case was
being handled between the lawyers of the two parties."

The Independent has maintained, through its lawyers, that Justice Garwe was
not in any way defamed by the story.

Chakaodza said the complaints represented a new wave of attempts to silence
the media.

"The complaints defy logic," Chakaodza said.

"While we are not surprised by the reaction of the Department of Information
to this award-winning photograph of the president, we are dismayed that
freedom of the press is being circumscribed in this manner.

"Anyone with an elementary knowledge of journalism would have praised such a
memorable photograph."

Chakaodza said there was need to separate the state of Zimbabwe from the
person of the president.

"We cannot see by any stretch of imagination how a picture of the person of
the president in whatever situation can be said to be "anti-Zimbabwe," he
said.

Observers have questioned how the Law and Order section of the CID came to
be involved in the Kasi case
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Bearer cheques outlive 'expiry' date
Gift Phiri
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has kept bearer cheques in circulation,
exactly a year after the popular bonds were introduced.

The RBZ introduced the large denominated paper as legal tender on September
28 last year as a "stop gap measure" to ease an unprecedented cash crisis in
the country.

The central bank first issued a range of bearer cheques valid up to January
31, 2004. In January the RBZ released another batch that carried changed
dates of expiry from January to June 30. In June commercial banks received
another batch with a December 31, 2004 expiry date. The bearer cheques are
in denominations of $5 000, $10 000 and $20 000. Despite the fact that some
bearer cheques expired on June 30 2004, they have remained legal tender.

There were fears this week that banks would run out of money due to panic
withdrawals following Trust Bank's closure last week. However the central
bank said there was enough cash. It said "total cash holdings amounted to
$1,8 trillion, comprising bearer cheques of $1,5 trillion and banknotes of
$300 billion."

Economic analysts said despite reports that the cheques could be easily
counterfeited, the RBZ was keeping them in circulation as a way of avoiding
higher denomination notes.

"Government may have made a tactical mistake by giving the cheques an expiry
date," a Kingdom Holdings Financial analyst said. "The cost implications are
immense. Obviously billions of dollars have gone into the printing of the
cheques and more billions of dollars will be needed at the end of the year
to print more."

The largest bank note is the $1 000 bill which cannot buy a loaf of bread.

Coins and smaller notes such as the $10, $20, $50 and $100 have virtually
ceased to be instruments of trade. The RBZ had not responded to questions at
the time of going to print.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Royal Bank bosses nabbed over fraud
Shakeman Mugari
POLICE this week arrested the chief executive of the troubled Royal Bank
Jeffery Mzwimbi and his co-director Durajadi Simba over an allegation of
fraud.

The two were picked up on Wednesday afternoon and taken to Highlands Police
station where they were held overnight before being transferred to the fraud
section of Harare Central Police station.

Assistant police commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrests.

"We arrested them on Wednesday afternoon and we are still holding them for
further investigations," said Bvudzijena yesterday.

"It is in connection with a fraud case at Royal Bank where the two were
senior officials."

Bvudzijena said police were still to prefer charges against Mzwimbi and
Simba.

"We are still interviewing them and they are in detention. We are yet to
decide when they should appear in court," said Bvudzijena. He could not
reveal the nature of the fraud or the amounts involved, insisting police
were still working on the case.

Their lawyers Scanlen & Holderness confirmed that the two had been were
arrested.

"We can confirm that our clients Mzwimbi and Simba were arrested and we are
in the process of verifying their charges so we can prepare for the case,"
said the lawyers.

Royal Bank was placed under curatorship in August after the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) discovered that it was in an unstable financial position. The
RBZ said the bank was in dire straits owing to imprudent banking practices.

Sources said the bank had sunk into the red because of bad insider loans
that were allocated to directors and senior managers without following
proper safeguards. Although Bvudzijena could not be drawn into giving
details, sources close to the issue said the fraud case could have
contributed to the sudden closure of the bank.

Mzwimbi and Simba are the first directors of a banking institution to be
arrested since the crack down on corruption started earlier this year.
Others have fled the country before arrest such as NMB Bank, Intermarket and
Barbican Bank directors.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Nhema in bid to resume ivory trade
Loughty Dube
A ZIMBABWEAN delegation led by Environment and Tourism minister Francis
Nhema is in Thailand to back a bid at the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species (Cites) conference by southern African countries to
resume trade in ivory.

Nhema left the country on Tuesday with a delegation of officials from his
ministry and National Parks. The Cites conference starts tomorrow.

Zimbabwe will support southern African countries - Namibia, Botswana and
South Africa - at Cites in their bid to be allowed to sell their ivory to
control their growing elephant populations.

Zimbabwe will not present a position paper of its own on the issue.

Conservation groups allege that Zimbabwe is overestimating its elephant
population to justify a campaign to sell ivory.

"Zimbabwe shares borders with South Africa and Botswana. This means elephant
censuses are not accurate since elephants can be counted more than twice in
any of the countries that they cross into at any given time," Johnny
Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce, said.

Government puts Zimbabwe's elephant population at 100 000, a figure hotly
disputed by conservation groups. Zimbabwe has a capacity to carry 45 000
elephants only.

Rodrigues said allowing South Africa, Botswana and Namibia to resume trade
in ivory would prove disastrous as the poaching of elephants would rise
sharply.

"The elephant is already facing extinction due to culling, wanton poaching
and hunting by newly-resettled farmers and we dispute the figures provided
by government on that basis," he said.

Zimbabwe is expected to oppose a proposal by Kenya to have lions lifted from
Appendix 1 to Appendix 2 or gain special protection after the East African
country argued that its population of lions was facing extinction.

The National Parks authority has banned the hunting of lion in the Hwange
area after trophy-hunting expeditions led to the depletion of the national
pride. The move to oppose Kenya's move has raised suspicions among
conservation groups.

Kenya's efforts at the Cites meeting are expected to face stiff opposition
from other countries in the region where trophy hunting for lions is
permitted.

Trophy hunting is permitted in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and
Zambia.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Pro-democracy group officials arrested
Gift Phiri
POLICE this week arrested four officials of a pro-democracy group as
repression of perceived government critics intensifies ahead of next year's
legislative poll.

Tony Reeler, Kuda Chidzike, Teddy Nemeroff and Heather Steenkamp of the
Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) were arrested on Monday in
connection with an inter-denominational prayer meeting held in Gweru last
week. Police said Idasa facilitated an illegal meeting that violated the
draconian security law, the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).

"The meeting was not cleared by the police," police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena said.

The four were picked up on Monday morning and taken to Harare Central Police
Station's Law and Order section where they were interviewed about their work
with Idasa. They denied any involvement with the prayer meeting and were
later released without charge.

The arrest of the four comes ahead of a large meeting convened by the South
African Council of Churches and the South African Catholic Bishops
Conference to be held in South Africa next week. Idasa is providing the
logistical support for the conference which has the theme "Minimum Standards
for the Zimbabwe Election".

The Idasa officials' legal counsel, Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor & Immerman,
said her clients were arrested over "trumped up charges".

In a statement this week, Idasa said it was "an independent public interest
organisation committed to promoting sustainable democracy in South Africa
and elsewhere in the region by building democratic institutions, educating
citizens and advocating social justice".

"It is therefore regrettable that the Zimbabwean government is treating
Idasa as an outlaw that is bent on subverting the democratic processes in
Zimbabwe."

l Meanwhile, the leader of the human rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(Woza) Jenni Williams and seven other women activists were still in custody
at the time of going to press last night. The women were arrested on
Wednesday in Harare after completing an epic march from Bulawayo.

The eight were rounded up and bundled into a police truck. They were taken
to Harare Central police station. Bvudzijena said the eight were arrested
for "participating in an illegal demonstration
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

ZBH evades tax for 9 months
Itai Dzamara
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), formerly Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation, has not been remitting tax revenue for nine months and a
Newsnet bus was recently impounded by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra)
over the debt.

ZBH workers' salaries for the month of September were cut by up to 50% in
some cases with claims that the money had been deducted to settle the debt
with Zimra.

ZBH board chairman Rino Zhuwarara confirmed on Wednesday that a Newsnet bus
had been seized by Zimra but said it had since been returned.

"Yes, it had been held by Zimra. But it's already back and operating. It has
just been returned. It's really an issue of one or two companies, not the
whole group. I can't disclose the amounts," he said.

However, highly placed sources at Zimra yesterday said the bus was still
being held over a large debt accumulated over nine months when ZBH did not
remit tax revenue.

Workers at ZBH who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said they were shocked
when they received their salaries for this month last week to discover huge
deductions.

"Management failed to explain the deductions, which were up to 50%, until we
established that the broadcaster owed Zimra huge amounts in debt," one of
the workers said. "We heard from guys at Zimra that they had deducted money
from our salaries to settle the debt."

But Zhuwarara denied there were any such deductions.

"No, the workers' salaries were not affected by that. I can't discuss that
issue," he said.

ZBH, the sole broadcaster, is controlled by the state.

Since Information minister Jonathan Moyo banned most sponsored programmes on
radio and television, the broadcaster has been facing serious financial
problems.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

War vets want Mutasa out
Itai Dzamara
WAR Veterans Association chairman Jabulani Sibanda says his association will
ensure that Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa doesn't retain his seat
in Makoni North in the Zanu PF primary elections.

Sibanda said in a wide-ranging interview that war veterans were angry over
Mutasa's alleged assault on James Kaunye, a member of their association who
wants to challenge him for the constituency. The war veterans have already
started "dealing with Mutasa on the ground" and would make sure he loses the
seat, Sibanda said.

"We don't like violence," said Sibanda. "Didymus Mutasa is not the party. He
is just an individual and he can't go about assaulting our members.

"We are angry over this and are dealing with the issue on the ground. He
assaulted our member and we are moving swiftly on the ground to ensure he
never wins the election."

Mutasa last month admitted to having sent his supporters to assault Kaunye
at his farm and having paid bail for 31 of them in court. Police and Zanu PF
investigations have established Mutasa has a case to answer.

Sibanda, who is reported to be campaigning for Zanu PF secretary for
administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa, denied the assertion.

"I have felt insulted by reports that I campaign for Mnangagwa. I have never
campaigned for him and he has never approached me," Sibanda said.

On the succession issue, he said the war veterans association would wait for
President Robert Mugabe to move on the contentious issue.

"There are people who are far away from attaining the presidency and are
nonentities in the party, the mafikizolos," he said.

"These people want to use the succession debate to push upwards and position
themselves, but they are wasting time."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Food shortages rampant despite govt claims
Loughty Dube
DESPITE claims by President Robert Mugabe that the country is not facing
food shortages, government last week launched its drought relief programme
in the arid Matabeleland South province.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana,
launched the programme last Thursday in Beitbridge.

The launch of the feeding scheme was seen as an admission of the severity of
the food crisis.

Felix Mafa, executive director of Post-Independence Survivors Trust, said
the move shows there is a problem with food supply.

"The latest move by the government absolves (Bulawayo mayor Japhet) Ndabeni
Ncube from any blame and confirms that lots of Zimbabweans are suffering as
a result of the food shortages. There is a scarcity of food in this
country," he said.

Figures compiled by the Bulawayo City Council have shown that 162 people
have died since January as a result of malnutrition. But government has
reacted angrily to the reports, saying the country has an abundant supply of
maize, the staple food.

The drought relief programme is set to benefit thousands of people who are
finding it difficult to source food in the border town of Beitbridge, which
is located in the drought-prone region.

Beitbridge MP Kembo Mohadi, who is also Home Affairs minister, said the
launch of the feeding scheme would go a long way to alleviate the plight of
people in the district.

The launch of the programme came a few days after Information minister
Jonathan Moyo claimed Zimbabwe had an abundance of maize. Mafa said the
programme exposed Moyo's statements as threadbare.

"Moyo is a propagandist and he is not qualified to talk about statistics on
food. How can government claim that there are no food shortages on the one
hand and then on the other go on to have feeding programmes. It's hypocrisy
of the highest order," Mafa said.

Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Forum president Max Mnkandla said government was
not sincere with the food situation in the country.

"In reality there is not enough food in this country and all we are hearing
from Moyo is mere politicking but people have no food," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

SA warned of Zim-style farm invasions
Dumisani Muleya
SOUTH Africa must speedily address inequitable land ownership patterns to
avoid Zimbabwe-style farm invasions, the International Crisis Group (ICG)
has warned.

The ICG, which deals with conflicts around the globe, said South Africa
faced rising tension over land and should act quickly to avert a grabbing of
farms.

"South Africa still has time to get it right on land reform and avoid future
land-related violence and insecurity," ICG special advisor, John
Prendergast, said.

"The government, farmers and donors, can take practical steps to accelerate
the current land reform programme, contribute to poverty reduction, and
reduce landlessness. The stakes are enormous, with implications throughout
southern Africa."

In a newly-released book titled Blood and Soil: Land, Politics and Conflict
Prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa, the ICG said "tensions over land
and race, which have already contributed much to Zimbabwe's political and
economic collapse, are rising in South Africa as well".

"New approaches are needed if they are not to push tempers to the boiling
point across all of southern Africa," the ICG said.

"Resolving the challenge of land will be central to getting Zimbabwe back on
its feet when that nation eventually experiences a change of government."

The ICG, based in Brussels, Belgium, and led by eminent statesmen, said
while land reform was an important issue, South Africa should be wary of
plunging into a crisis of farm seizures.

"For all the understandable international outrage over seizures of
white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, the biggest losers of the land programme have
been black Zimbabweans - black farm workers, black members of the
opposition, and all those who were not part of the ruling elite," the ICG
said.

"There are tremendous historical injustices that need to be dealt with both
in Zimbabwe and South Africa, but Zimbabwe has demonstrated the deadly
dangers of exploiting land redistribution for blatantly political ends."

The ICG said President Robert Mugabe had "exploited genuine sensitivities
about the land issue to divert attention from growing dissatisfaction with
his government".

It said the bungling of land redistribution in Zimbabwe "exacerbated racial
and ethnic polarisation", as well as precipitating economic decline. The ICG
said the disorderly exercise left agriculture in ruins and the country
experiencing food shortages.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Norton chair splurges on phone bill as town burns
Conrad Dube
NORTON council chairperson Bybit Tsomondo has the luxury of spending $7
million a month on mobile phone calls despite the council being in dire
financial straits.

Documents to hand show gross abuse of council funds and facilities by
Tsomondo who has frustrated efforts to hold elections for chairperson, vice
chairperson, or chairmen of committees.

She has been accused of implementing decisions without council approval. The
elections were supposed to have been held in August according to the Urban
Councils Act.

A memorandum written to members of the finance and development committee by
chief executive Winslow Muyambi shows that council paid $7 057 107,67 for
Tsomondo's mobile phone bill for the month of July.

Tsomondo is entitled to a monthly mobile phone allowance of $300 000.

Muyambi said Tsomondo was allocated the cellphone for official use.

"Initially the maximum allowance for the council chairperson was fixed at
$60 000 per month. This cellphone usage limit was reviewed upwards to $300
000 per month with effect from March," according to Muyambi's memo.

Muyambi said the delay in the council's response to the increase in tariffs
by Net*One caused the prejudice to Tsomondo in meeting the debt incurred as
a result of the tariff increase.

The documents also show that Tsomondo claims an average of 730 litres of
fuel per month valued at about $2 555 000 at $3 500 a litre. In May she
allegedly claimed 918 litres, in June 871 litres, in July 786 litres and in
August 656 litres.

The documents also show that Tsomondo was allocated house number 7, Fletcher
Road in May this year for use during her annual tenure. She later bought the
house for only $30 million contrary to a letter written by one S Madzinga of
the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing, dated May 10.

The letter read: "Please be advised that it was agreed that the council
chairperson be allocated a council house for a duration of her tenure as
chairperson. Council should draw up a lease that ends at the next council
election."

The council ignored the recommendations of the director of housing and
community services on land valuations.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Ruling won't bar Tsvangirai from polls
Dumisani Muleya
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
conviction in the landmark treason trial will not necessarily stop him from
standing in future elections as widely feared.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said the ruling, set
for October 15, would only have a political impact on Tsvangirai's tenure at
the helm of the MDC. It would not bar him from contesting elections except
if he were convicted and served a prison term of more than six months.

"If Tsvangirai is convicted that will not necessarily bar him from
contesting for political office except for the time when he is serving that
sentence which has to be more than six months," Madhuku said.

"In theory a person who is convicted and sentenced to less than six months
can stand for election. Zimbabwe does not generally impose a blanket ban
against people with criminal records. However, for public positions someone
with a criminal record cannot be appointed within five years of that
conviction."

In terms of chapter IV of the constitution, section 28, subsection (1), a
person qualifies for election as president if he is "a citizen by birth or
by descent, has attained 40 years and is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe".

"You don't even need to be a registered voter to stand in an election to be
president. That is the constitutional position," Madhuku said. "It's
different from when you are standing in an election to be an MP because you
should not have a criminal record and must be a registered voter."

There have been widespread fears that the ruling Zanu PF wants to see
Tsvangirai behind bars to stop him from running for the office of president
in 2008. But Madhuku said a conviction would not necessarily prohibit him
from standing.

Tsvangirai was arraigned in February last year for allegedly plotting to
kill President Robert Mugabe ahead of the hotly disputed 2002 presidential
election.

The allegations, firstmade public by an Australian television ch-annel, were
officially confirmed by controversial Canadian publicist Ari Ben-Menashe in
February 2002, a month before the presidential poll.

The state case hinged on a fuzzy videotape and an unintelligible audio tape
in which Tsvangirai was allegedly caught discussing Mugabe's "elimination"
at a meeting with Ben-Menashe in Montreal, Canada, in December 2001.

Madhuku said the ruling would have a political impact as it would either
strengthen or weaken Tsvangirai's position in the MDC. There are fears that
Tsvangirai's conviction could create divisions that might weaken the party.

If Tsvangirai is convicted, Madhuku said, that would leave him exposed to a
possible internal challenge for power by his lieutenants who might think
that he had become an electoral liability. However, if he is acquitted, he
was likely to become stronger because his reputation would remain intact,
and even become case-hardened, he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Wobbly banks still send tremors
Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari

AS Zimbabwe's banks rushed to meet yesterday's deadline on new capital
adequacy requirements, questions lingered on the stability of the banking
sector which has been buffeted on all sides by the monetary policy regime
introduced last December.
Although Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials this week denied that some
banks could sink, distress signals continued to spread across the sector,
with reports that some institutions were pleading to be put under
curatorship to avert imminent collapse.
Analysts said the volatility in the banking sector showed that the financial
system remained unstable. They said fears that nine banks could fail to meet
new capital requirements were clear evidence of instability.

Out of 41 banking institutions, seven are under curatorship, two under
liquidation, and four under the Troubled Banks Fund - which means 13
financial institutions are in crisis.

Banks which have been placed under curatorship include Intermarket,
Barbican, Royal and Trust.
Economic analyst Eric Bloch said Zimbabwe's banking sector was struggling to
regain balance but remained shaky.

"Current RBZ measures are useful but the sector is still unstable," Bloch
said. "There is still a long way to go before the sector regains stability."

Bloch said though it was encouraging that the central bank had licensed 31
asset management firms after receiving 58 applications. Before the licensing
system was introduced, Zimbabwe had more that 70 asset management companies.

He said some banks would soon either be forced to recapitalise, merge, be
put under curatorship or go into liquidation. Several mergers and closures
were said to be looming despite statements to the contrary.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono, who has been assuring the nation that the banking
sector is "fundamentally sound and stable as a whole", was quoted in the
state media on Tuesday as saying "no banks will collapse".

Gono reportedly said contingency measures had been devised to save
"distressed banks" threatened by a hostile economic environment and new
capital requirements.

Zimbabwe's economy, which shrank by 9% last year, is this year expected to
contract by 5%, according to Gono, despite contradictory claims from his
office and by President Robert Mugabe that it was recovering.
While inflation is falling, partly due to the use of a fixed exchange rate,
most economic indicators - which are barometers of the nation's economic
health - still remain poor.

Notwithstanding the prevailing uncertainty in the banking sector, Gono has
maintained the situation is under control. He said there would be no
"free-fall Armageddon" for the banking system.

The new capital requirement for commercial banks is $10 billion; merchant
banks, building societies and finance houses $7,5 million; and discount
houses $5 billion.

Last week Gono told the parliamentary portfolio committee on budget, finance
and economic development that "most banks were now in compliance with the
new capital requirements". He also said those banks that were not yet in a
position to meet yesterday's deadline had submitted their recapitalisation
plans.

Gono's streak of optimism, which observers say is as encouraging as it could
be misleading, which ran through his quarterly monetary policy reviews in
April and July, has been widely reflected in the official media.

However, analysts say despite Gono's persistent claims that the banking
sector is stable, there are serious fundamental problems and underlying
risks besetting the financial system.

Analysts cited the placement of Trust Bank under curatorship last week as a
clear indication that some of the banks which remained on the market were
actually shells.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions economist Prosper Chitambara said Trust's
closure was indicative of the depth of the crisis in the financial sector.

"The closure of Trust has sent jitters in the financial market. It confirmed
the depositors' fears that their money is not safe in banks, especially in
indigenous banks," Chitambara said.

"There is of course the contagion effect of the closure on other banks.
Already many locally-owned banks have been hit by massive panic withdrawals.
The banking sector is not yet safe. Depositors don't have peace of mind."

Chitambara said the banking crisis was worsening Zimbabwe's credit risk
internationally when the country was already suffering from serious
political and sovereign risks. "Who would want to deal with a country where
banks are closed and placed under curatorship every month?" he asked.

Trust's closure was said to be particularly worrying because the RBZ poured
in $280 billion - which has now ballooned to $1,4 trillion (equivalent to
the country's domestic debt) - of taxpayers' money in a bid to rescue the
bank but that simply failed. This prompted accusations that the central bank
had just plunged into the Trust crisis without adequate knowledge of the
depth and extent of the problems.
The issue also raised fears that the RBZ could be acting on the basis of an
ad hoc policy. If the RBZ had closely studied the banking emergency,
analysts reasoned, it would have discovered that the banks it tried to save
were on the skids and beyond redemption.

Trust's bottomless pit into which the RBZ poured money was only exposed
after Old Mutual did a due diligence exercise to ascertain the possibility
of a merger between the bank and Nedcor of South Africa. Old Mutual has an
interest in Nedcor.

Soon after the study was completed, one Old Mutual official was asked by a
business colleague why they "walked away" from Trust and he replied: "We did
not walk away, we ran away!"
He was dramatising the problems that Old Mutual had found at Trust which led
to the collapse of the merger talks.

Trust, like other banks, was dogged by serious liquidity problems. Most of
the ailing banks were also bedevilled by imprudent business practices,
administrative failures, managerial limitations, structural ownership
weaknesses, poor corporate governance, bad risk management, and leadership
incompetence.

But the RBZ's raison d'Ítre of pouring money into Trust after issuing a
corrective order on January 13, after discovering it was "unsafe and
†unsound", was that the bank needed huge liquidity support to prevent it
from a collapse which could trigger systematic risk and affect "vulnerable
depositors".
The RBZ had forced out the original bank directors, including managing
director William Nyemba, on March 15 to steer the institution out of
trouble. Analysts expressed scepticism as to whether the RBZ was
sufficiently informed in its actions in the first place.

Hardly a month after the new team had take over at Trust, misinformation
started flowing, with Gono claiming on April 4 that the bank had made
"commendable progress" towards recovery when in fact it was sinking deeper
into crisis.
No evidence whatsoever was provided to back the declaration which has now
proved to have been wholly misleading.

Gono also expressed optimism about the positions of Metropolitan bank, which
had received $23 billion, saying the changes made were expected to "give
birth to a new and stronger institution with modern methods of risks
management and stewardship".

He said he was "happy" to continue supporting Royal Bank's merger efforts.
He said the money that had been sunk into Barbican and Century would be
recovered. Although Century says it has repaid, it is not clear how much of
the almost $500 billion in public funds put into the struggling banks would
be recovered.

Gono said last week there were efforts to recover the money which now runs
into trillions, including interest, through the troubled banks resolution
plan although there are strong doubts this would be achieved.

Commentator Jonathan Kadzura said: "They allowed the banks to borrow for
speculative reasons and to breach the Banking Act at will. The central bank
must come out in the open and say who has failed the nation."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Comment

Gono's forlorn struggle

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono faces his sternest test when he meets
International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials during his trip to the United
States this week over Zimbabwe's relations with the Bretton Woods
institution.
Gono last met IMF officials in Washington in June in a bid to stop Zimbabwe's
expulsion from the multilateral lending institution.
After its Article IV consultation meeting on July 7, the IMF's executive
board gave Zimbabwe until December to settle its US$295 million arrears or
be cashiered for non-payment.

An IMF delegation was in Zimbabwe from March 17-31 ahead of the annual
Article IV consultation. It reported that Zimbabwe's real gross domestic
product had declined by about 30%.

In another report released on September 17 the IMF again said Zimbabwe's
social and economic situation continued to worsen because of poor policies.
In particular, the IMF said, the disorderly implementation of the land
reform programme had precipitated a sharp decline in agricultural
production.

The IMF further expressed concerns about the rule of law and human rights,
and lack of clarity on property rights which have severely undermined
investor-confidence and fuelled capital flight and emigration.

While these issues will prove to be an encumbrance for Gono at the IMF, the
real stumbling block to the normalisation of relations with the
institution - and by implication other lenders - will be politics back home.
Zimbabwe needs the support and goodwill of the international community
before it can think about economic recovery. Donors have made it clear to
the RBZ governor that there is no prospect of their resuming support until
there is a domestic consensus.

Despite his best efforts Gono will not succeed without a negotiated
political settlement back home. Paul Mangwana's attempts this week to
portray government's failure to raise funds for social recovery as the
product of imperialist pique only serve to underline the extent of the
international isolation Zimbabwe now faces.

Since his appointment last December, Gono has been trying to improve
relations with the IMF. Everybody, except for dogmatic Zanu PF mandarins,
knows that this is critical, not only for balance-of-payments support but
also for our international rehabilitation. But Gono has been undermined,
largely by President Robert Mugabe's obduracy.
Mugabe has shown overt hostility towards the IMF. Only last week he attacked
the institution again when he knew Gono was set to meet its officials over
the Zimbabwe issue.

Grandstanding on international platforms to divert attention from real
problems at home will not extricate Mugabe from the consequences of his
disastrous policies.

This is where the problem lies for Gono.
Government's fundamental policy contradictions and leadership failures have
caused the current problems and its obduracy has prevented the sort of
reengagement that Gono is attempting to engineer. As he would be the first
to admit, nothing could be more important than resumption of
balance-of-payments support as the country faces an ongoing forex crunch.

Mugabe wants to spin the country to face East. He admires prospering
countries like China and Malaysia and dreams of emulating their achievements
without adopting their sound economic policies. China did not get to where
it is by accident. It launched economic reforms in 1978 and has since then
maintained, for a quarter of a century, an average 9% growth rate.

A number of countries in the Far-East that Mugabe wants to endear himself to
have implemented investor-friendly regimes to enhance economic relations
with the West and the rest of the world.
Economic relations forged over a long period by a combination of trade
treaties, open markets as well as private and public-sector networks, are
difficult to redefine overnight.

They are not responsive to doctrinaire populist posturing, reckless
demagoguery or unilateral government interventions.
Ideological self-designation does not help unless backed by social delivery.
That in turn requires sensible fiscal policies. South African ministers have
repeatedly made this connection clear to their constituents.

Our international economic relations, especially in the current global
village, will certainly not respond to Mugabe's caprices.
Mugabe, who is evidently locked in a dangerous ideological time- warp, must
get real and understand this. The sooner he does, the better.

Gono will have a hard time explaining to the IMF the contradictory signals
emanating from Harare. Exactly where does Zimbabwe stand on relations with
the IMF, World Bank, UNDP and other multilateral institutions whose help the
governor is seeking?
Until there is a balance between political and economic imperatives, his is
a forlorn struggle.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Bigotry fuels industrial collapse

INDUSTRY and International Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi must be a major
catalyst for the distraught state of Zimbabwe's industrial sector and for
the massive decline in the country's international trade.

That anyone should occasion industrial collapse, with the concomitant
negative economic consequence in general, and upon employment and foreign
exchange generation is abysmal, but that it should be the minister
responsible for industry and international trade is tragic.

One of the first occasions that the minister evidenced to this columnist how
detached he is from reality was at the 2004 annual congress of the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce. I had been accorded the privilege of being the
guest speaker at the closing banquet of the congress.
Inevitably, my address centred upon Zimbabwean economic circumstances and
actions that could stimulate economic recovery and growth. In the course
thereof I suggested that Zimbabwe needed a change of attitude and policies
insofar as interactions with the international community were concerned.

I contended that those who claimed that Zimbabwe "can go it alone and does
not need the international community" were misguided. Any reversal of the
economic decline would have to be facilitated by diverse circumstances,
including reconciliation with the international community.

That reconciliation would result in foreign direct investment, in technology
transfers and in development of export markets and, if that reconciliation
was to be achieved, Zimbabwe needed to abandon its confrontational stances,
its recurrent outpourings of vituperative, unfounded criticisms and its
unwillingness to seek compromise and cooperation.

In doing so, I further suggested that the most outspoken in denying any need
for interaction with the international community steadfastly cited Malaysia
as evidence that economies can be successfully restructured and operated in
isolation, but they failed to recognise the very great differences between
Malaysian resources, circumstances and policies when that country so
successfully uplifted its economy from very low levels to remarkably high
levels of economic dynamism, and the circumstances, resources and policies
which prevail in Zimbabwe.

As I spoke, the minister showed increasing signs of irascibility and
indignation and, although not scheduled to speak at the banquet, insisted
that he be given the opportunity to do so. He was given that opportunity,
whereupon he gave vent to his spleen with an outpouring of negative
reflections upon my character - to which reflections he is wholly
entitled! - and claimed that my statements were devoid of credibility
because Malaysia has clearly proved that countries can achieve economic
wellbeing in isolation.

Obviously he did not absorb what I had said, for he used the very example
which I had destroyed. He then also claimed that, in any event, Zimbabwe had
fully satisfactory international relationships, as evidenced by its
membership of the Southern African Development Community and trade bloc
Comesa, and its very close friendships with Libya, Malaysia and China.

Unfortunately, he did not explain how those relationships were benefiting
the Zimbabwean economy to an extent as would be forthcoming from
reciprocally harmonious relationships with the International Monetary Fund,
the World Bank and the European Union and the Commonwealth.

In the post-banquet comments from participants, it was very evident that the
captains of commerce present were wholly unconvinced by his diatribe, and
that he had successfully dissipated any esteem that most of them may have
had for him.
But then, approximately a fortnight ago, he saw fit not only once again to
disregard totally the substance of an address, but instead resorted to
unmitigated vitriol, directed once again at this columnist.

The minister is fully at liberty to despise me, and is welcome to use his
best endeavours to belittle me, but he should not be at liberty to ignore
irrefutable facts as to the state of industry, which he is supposed to
assist and encourage, and equally he should not unilaterally reject
opportunities (present or future) to strengthen international trade. And yet
that is exactly what he did, if numerous reports are well-founded.

The Ministry of Industry and International Trade, in conjunction with the
textile faculty of the National University of Science and Technology,
organised a workshop on Zimbabwe's textile and leather industries, targeted
at identifying how those industries could be assisted and supported, and
could be key players in Zimbabwean economic development.

The ministry extended an invitation to me to present a paper on the textile
industry at the workshop and, as I was going to be overseas and therefore
would be unable to attend, I was then requested to prepare a paper to be
read on my behalf. I duly complied, and by way of a strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis suggested that the textile industry could
become a very major factor in a future, strong economy, subject to the
weaknesses and threats being appropriately addressed and countered, and the
strengths applied to exploitation of the opportunities.

Among various opportunities, which I believe exist or will exist in the
future, I identified the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) of the
USA, which enables various countries in Africa to export textiles and
clothing to that country without an incidence of customs duties and import
taxes.
I suggested that although present political differences between the USA and
Zimbabwe resulted in Agoa not being extended to Zimbabwe, at some future
date Zimbabwe could well become a beneficiary of Agoa, and the textile and
clothing industry should gear themselves towards maximising on the
opportunity, when it occurs.

Reports from 16 different participants at the workshop have since given me
substantially identical details as to what occurred when my paper was
presented. Some participants said that the minister was apoplectic, that he
could not contain himself and fury and heat poured forth from every pore.

That venom was only matched by the quantum of vitriol that, in my absence
(and despite the fact that it had been his ministry that had invited my
participation) the minister directed towards me. His ire had been primarily
fomented by my references to Agoa.

Like the fox of Aesop's Fables fame, that unsuccessfully strove repeatedly
to reach a bunch of grapes and then claimed "I never wanted those grapes!"
so the minister said that Zimbabwe had no desire whatsoever to be aligned to
Agoa for, he alleged, Agoa was nothing but an evil stratagem of the USA to
colonise and dominate Africa.

He proceeded to state forcibly that I - whom he dubbed as "Dr Blair" -
promoted Agoa because I was an active conspirator with Tony Blair, the
United Kingdom and the USA and the Zimbabwean political opposition, striving
to achieve a regime change in Zimbabwe.

The only gratifying feature of his censorious decrial of my paper was that
his audience, or at least many present, listened to him in stunned silence,
provoked by dumbfounded amazement that he could project himself in such a
ludicrous manner, completely detached from reality, and that he could allow
his racial and political bigotry to override the interest of the industries
that he is supposed to care for.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Muckraker

Bad light stopped play - Straw

BRITISH Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been experiencing some discomfort
this week following what he claims was an ambush in New York.
He said he shook hands with President Robert Mugabe at a reception hosted by
President Thabo Mbeki last week "by mistake" and because it was "dark".

The handshake, filmed by BBC's Newsnight in a programme shown on Monday, has
led to a furore in Britain.

"Handshake that shames Britain," declared the Daily Mail, which printed a
picture of it on its front page. "Straw causes storm with Mugabe handshake,"
Reuter reported.

Other headlines were equally unforgiving. "Straw blames bad light for Mugabe
row," the Scotsman mocked. "Straw: 'Did I shake Mugabe's hand?'" the Daily
Mail pitched in. "What a mistake to shake," Sky TV declared.

The London Independent quoted Straw as saying: "I hadn't expected to see
President Mugabe there. Because it was quite dark in that corner. I was
being pushed towards shaking hands with somebody just as a matter of
courtesy and then it transpired it was President Mugabe," he reportedly
said.

According to the Independent, Straw then defended his actions: "The fact
that there is a serious disagreement between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom
does not mean that you should then be discourteous or rude."

Critics have said the handshake sent the wrong message. Mugabe is anxious to
extract every ounce of recognition and legitimacy he can which is why he
appears every year at one of the few fora left open to him, the UN General
Assembly meeting in New York. The only restriction imposed is that he is
confined to a 25-mile radius of the UN building.

Straw is guilty of gullibility. Does he always allow himself to be "pushed
towards shaking hands with somebody"? How does he know it isn't the head of
the Burmese junta or some populist demagogue like Hugo Chavez lurking in the
shadows?
Meanwhile, whatever the reaction of the British press, Mbeki is probably
rather pleased with his diplomatic coup. While it hardly constitutes the
rapprochement he is looking for, he will be able to claim that "the two
sides are engaged in talks"!

Has anybody measured the column inches devoted in the state media to
rubbishing the MDC? Vast acres of woodland have been chopped down to enable
brain-dead columnists like Lowani Ndlovu to hurl his simple-minded abuse at
the opposition as if it posed a mortal threat to him and his ilk.
Perhaps it does. Many of us have been taking Zanu PF's electoral victory for
granted given the manipulation and coercion taking place across the country.
But why does Zanu PF need to exercise this sort of muscle if it is a
natural-born winner?

The state media, with their daily anti-MDC ranting, are unwittingly telling
us something: that their masters see the MDC as a real threat to their
continued grip on power. How else do you explain the attempts by the Green
Bombers to prevent Morgan Tsvangirai's rally taking place in Sakubva last
weekend? Why bother if the MDC is already "buried"? And why churn out all
those phoney "analysts" on ZTV every night if the battle is already won?

The numbers attending Tsvangirai's rally are part of the answer. Thousands
ignored intimidation to attend. And the same scenes are being repeated up
and down the country in the few cases where rallies are allowed to go ahead
or are not broken up by ruling-party thugs. People are yearning for change.
And what does Zanu PF offer? Beatings, poverty and dishonesty. In other
words, more of the same.
Does anybody seriously believe the country has "turned the corner"? Is that
the experience people have when they go shopping? Is that what the new phone
bills tell us? And are Zanu PF policies, in the mining sector for instance,
calculated to ensure recovery?
Zanu PF has nothing to offer except discredited mantras, delusional crop
figures and the usual threats.

By making Tony Blair his principal opponent President Mugabe hopes to beat
the nationalist drum at home and secure support abroad from developing
countries that feel frozen out of the Washington consensus. But scattered
applause at a poorly-attended General Assembly session hardly does the
trick. Yes, he will mine some sympathy there although, as our state media
bitterly complained, few other leaders were prepared to emulate his
demagoguery. Especially not President Mbeki whose thunder Mugabe tried to
steal. South Africa has signed up for Blair's African Commission and so have
many others.
Then there are the over one million Zimbabweans who have chosen to live
under Tony Blair rather than Robert Mugabe.

Why have they chosen Britain's bleak shores rather than anywhere else? Could
it be the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and inflation of 3% - as
distinct from 300%!
Could it be the attractions of a strong economy where they have
opportunities they can't find at home? Or the right to say what they like
and wear whatever T-shirt they like without being set upon by armed thugs?

Mugabe can wave his fists at Blair at the UN. And a handful of sympathisers
may applaud. But they don't have to live with the consequences of his toxic
policies. And meanwhile one million Zimbabweans have voted with their feet.
No wonder he won't extend the franchise to them!

This week a bitter Uncle Joe Stalin launched what he thought would be a
successful counter-attack in the so-called Sunday News in retaliation for
our strikes against him last week. He accused us of stealing the Sunday Mail
and Sunday News' Didymus Mutasa story.
We reported last Friday that there had been developments in the case, and
anyway felt it was a good running story which the Independent first carried
on August 27. Just because the Sunday Mail/Sunday News borrowed the story on
September 19 (better late than never) doesn't mean we can't return to it!

So what did the Sunday Mail offer up last weekend as an example of its
originality? A story headed "Govt dismisses poll postponement" which was
(yawn!) Information minister Jonathan Moyo once again having a go at the MDC
and being afforded any amount of space to do so.

This time it was focused on remarks by Welshman Ncube that more time was
needed if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was to be up and running in time
to do anything useful.
Uncle Joe could perhaps enquire at Herald House which Moyo statement they
will be running on a Sunday before attacking other papers for lack of
originality!

Meanwhile, that other Sunday News organist, Cde Goings On, claims he is
"nobody's apologist". But having declared George Bush and Tony Blair to be
criminals he proceeded as follows: "If they have brains worth talking about
these war-mongers will never forget President Mugabe's sheer intellectual
brilliance and unparalleled eloquence as he told them in their faces and in
their very own backyard that the world will not be fooled."
Now that qualifies Cde Goings for our Bootlicker of the Year Award.

Competition is fierce in the government media so he had better get his entry
in soon!
By the way, was Blair actually present at the UN last week?
Oh never mind. Why let the facts get in the way of a good lick!

We were intrigued by remarks made by Cde Goings about a "false, malicious
and outrageously defamatory article" about their editorial commissar,
Brezhnev Malaba.

What on earth could Goings be talking about? Surely not that little incident
along the Gwanda Road?
"Those of us in the know are now marvelling how a motley crew of strange
bedfellows conveniently forgot their past differences and foolishly
conspired against my editor," Cde Goings loyally declared.
And how would he know about this conspiracy that suggests a worrying lack of
solidarity in the ranks at the Sunday News?

Apparently he's got the place bugged. "Walls have ears, especially enemy
walls."
"Goings On certainly knows the cowardly gang of wicked, goulish, illiterate
semi-literate and barely literate characters who pushed for the publication
of that patently false story."

And that's just at the Sunday News! But Cde Goings has the culprits in his
sights as a purge looms.
"They better prepare for what is coming. Pity the young and gullible
reporter who will soon discover that you don't fight other people's dirty
wars and expect to emerge unscathed."
The gulag beckons!

Congratulations to the Herald for discovering another "conspiracy" designed
to "cause havoc" and "derail" the land reform programme. Chinhoyi farmers
Kestell Bezuidenhout and Pieter Ernst Gertenbach are challenging a Section 8
order issued on Maryland Farm which had been allocated to "prominent"
lawyers Johannes Tomana, Joseph Mandizha and Wilson Manase.

In papers filed at the Chinhoyi magistrates' court, the "former white"
commercial farmers are seeking a peace order and an interdiction against the
"three prominent lawyers" barring them from entering the farm.

By exercising their rights under the law, the two farmers are involved in "a
well-calculated move to derail the land reform programme and create anxiety
among new farmers ahead of the planting season", we are told.
The Herald doesn't say how anxious Tomana, Mandizha and Manase might be
because they could not be reached for comment.

But Bezuidenhout is clearly a trouble-maker. He was arrested last month for
contravening the Land Acquisition Act when he refused to vacate his farm
after being served with a Section 8.
He was later released. It is still not clear what he actually did wrong!
"Observers" said the Ministry of Special Affairs responsible for land reform
needed to come up with "a clear position" on such cases, given that the
courts have ruled that a Section 8 order cannot be reversed.

A few months ago, the Herald told us, officials in the ministry were accused
of withdrawing offer letters to new farmers "as part of a conspiracy to
return the land back to the former white commercial farmers".
We are still trying to work out what colour they are now. But more to the
point, we are keen to know how this "conspiracy" story found its way to the
Herald!

The Sunday Mail had a masterpiece on Page 6 this week. It consisted of two
stories and four supporting pictures. You didn't need to read the stories to
get the message. The two pictures at the top on Lomagundi College showed
what money can buy at an "elitist" institution.

So long as Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere insists that pupils should
pay peanuts as school fees, the situation in the bottom two pictures clearly
showed what to expect. The pupils at Chijaka primary school were bare foot,
sitting on a log in a pole-and-mud "classroom block" struggling to share the
few tattered books available.

The school, if it can be called that, relies on "four untrained teachers"
whose qualifications are O-level certificates. And according to one of the
teachers, the nearest source of water for the school is a borehole located
10 km away.

If any school needed a donation, there can't be a more deserving candidate
than Chijaka. Where are Jonathan Moyo and President Mugabe who have been
donating computers and other accessories worth millions of dollars to
schools across the country? We don't believe Mugabe himself went to school
under such deplorable conditions even in colonial times. But Moyo, according
to the Sunday Mail, is concerned only with celebrating Zimbabwe's silver
jubilee after defeating Tony Blair. Never mind that Independence hasn't
improved learning conditions for the poor.

We liked the editorial Comment in the Herald on Monday about Paralympiad
Elliot Mujaji. Now that he has won gold, everyone would like to be
associated with that achievement. Nobody wanted to help him during his
training, it said. In fact he nearly failed to make it to the Paralympic
Games in Athens for lack of sponsorship.

The Herald rightly observed that Mujaji deserves a rousing welcome home. "It
is obvious," it said, "that many of those individuals and organisations who
were nowhere to be seen when he needed them most will now want to hijack
Mujaji's victory."

The question should be directed to Sports minister Aeneas Chigwedere. When
Kirsty Coventry returned from Athens with her haul of three medals
Chigwedere couldn't miss the opportunity to tell the nation that he had
recommended to President Mugabe that she be given a diplomatic passport.

That was after the event. Yet he is the minister in charge of sport and
doesn't appear to know who deserves help. It was through the generosity of a
few companies that Mujaji was able to go to Athens. Where was Chigwedere? Is
Mujaji going to be issued with a diplomatic passport and US$50 000?

Professor Jonathan Moyo appears to have met his match at Roosevelt High
School last week. He was the guest of honour at a prize-giving ceremony. His
hosts obviously reckoned that one sure way of pleasing the minister was to
flatter him with one of his Third Chimurenga jingles.

They got Hondo Yeminda ready for the occasion and won themselves $1,7
million. Who said adults cannot be humoured? We all saw it in New York.
And thanks to Kirsty Coventry's achievement at the Athens Olympics,
ministers now seem to notice swimming pools wherever they go. Moyo promised
to help Roosevelt School raise the $61 million needed to rehabilitate its
swimming pool which the Herald reports "has been lying idle since 1991".

The verdict is out from the apologetic Voice editor, Lovemore Mataire. He
has exonerated Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa from any blame for
the violence that occurred in Makoni North a month ago despite confessing
that he doesn't have all the facts.

"It just can't be true that you slapped a police officer," Mataire assured
the minister in his weekly column, "Candid brief from the editor".
"That is just bizarre and unlike yourself," opined Mataire, declaring there
"is more to it than see the eye" (sic) in the allegations linking Mutasa to
the violence.

Instead Mataire believes police details at the scene of the violence were to
blame because they didn't do their duty.

"The fact that all the incidents of violence took place in full view of the
police is in itself a pointer that some people could have set you up."
confided Mataire conspiratorially. Was this written for The Voice or for
Mutasa?

Mutasa is described by Mataire as a man of peace who "exhibits a class of
political maturity unmatched with a number of offshoots now sprouting up".
So parliamentary aspirants such as James Kaunye are condemned out of hand
because they were not at Cold Comfort Farm with the likes of Guy
Clutton-Brock and have little association with the children of ex-combatants
born at refugee camps outside the country?
So much for a "candid" brief!

Meanwhile, the laser surgery which UK papers tell us Jack Straw had
performed on his eyes recently doesn't appear to have been entirely
successful as our remarks earlier attest. You will see from the Herald photo
that he no longer wears "specs".
We recommend a return to the old bottle-glasses which were his trademark. At
least with those he could distinguish Britain's friends from its foes!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

RBZ reads riot act
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has set stringent regulations that bar
directors or senior managers of failed banks from sitting on the boards of
financial institutions.

The new guidelines, which came into effect yesterday, are contained in the
Bank Licensing, Supervision and Surveillance document on Corporate
Governance.

It means, for instance, that directors of the liquidated Century Discount
House, which was bought by the collapsed ENG, can no longer be directors of
any financial institution. Also affected are directors who once worked for
United Merchant Bank.

"Banking institutions must follow good corporate governance principles,
which provide for the disqualification of a director or senior manager who
has been involved in the directorship or management of a failed banking
institution and or bank holding company," the document says.

"Unless that person shows to the satisfaction of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe that the person was not responsible for the insolvency,
liquidation, composition with creditors, bankruptcy or the arrangement with
creditors or other action with similar effect in Zimbabwe or elsewhere."

The document was given to banking chiefs by Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono at a meeting on Monday. The meeting also discussed problems of cash
availability and the status of the banking sector ahead of yesterday's
recapitalisation deadline.

In a 37-page document, the central bank said with effect from yesterday
every banking institution would set out its policy on insider loans and
intra-group transactions to comply with the Banking Act.

The loan policy comes in the wake of revelations that senior bank officials
contributed to the demise of their institutions by allocating themselves
massive loans without approval.

It is thought that irregular inside loans were one of the major causes of
the collapse of Barbican and Royal banks which have since been ring fenced
through a curatorship. Intermarket also suffered the same fate when its
former chairman Nicholas Vingirai allegedly allocated himself more than $90
billion in loans.

Trust Bank, which was placed under curatorship last week, is also battling
to come out of the red after its former managers abused internal loan
facilities.

The new policy forces banks to make disclosures on any lending in connection
with any related interest.

A fortnight ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised concerns on
the stability of the banking system in Zimbabwe, which it said was risky.
That was before Trust Bank was suddenly placed under curatorship.

The local banking industry has been severely affected by the problems of
poor corporate governance.

The IMF said there was need to strengthen financial sector supervision, and
particularly with regard to capital adequacy.

Under the new regulations, every board member is now required to attend at
least 75% of board meetings of a banking institution.

"At its Annual General Meeting, each banking institution is required to
review the suitability of a non-executive director who has failed to comply
with this 75% attendance rule, without valid reason. Attendances shall be
disclosed in the annual report."

Under the new system, the board is expected to meet at least once every
quarter to deliberate on the performance of the bank and provide policy
direction.

"Although directors may delegate certain authority to senior officers, they
are ultimately accountable for the banking institution's operations."

The regulations also state that the chief executive of a bank will be
responsible for its day to day running, adding that his absence must be
approved by the central bank.

"A banking institution is required to inform the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
the person who will be directly responsible for the overall running of the
institution when the chief executive officer is unavailable, on leave or
otherwise absent," the report said.

"The person nominated should be fully acquainted with the affairs of the
banking institution, and should be able to act promptly, with authority, on
matters affecting the banking institution. The delegation of
responsibilities to several persons, with no single person as the
coordinator with the institution, should be avoided."

The report said remuneration of directors and the chief executive shall not
be out of line with the nature and size of opeations of a banking
institution.

"The directors and chief executive should not avail themselves of
unreasonably bountiful remuneration, with execessive bonuses and fringe
benefits relative to the profits and operations of the bainking
institution," RBZ said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Nssa boss quizzed
Conrad Dube
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts this week quizzed
National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board chairman Edwin Manikai over
the powers that allow him to deal in shares on behalf of the authority
without board approval.

Pricilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga chairs the committee.

Manikai does not need board approval to acquire or dispose of the
authority's shares worth a maximum of $200 million as he deems necessary - a
situation which the committee said was irregular.

According to Nssa's resolution of the board of directors, the board
chair-man's limit of authority toacquire and dispose shares was in November
last year raised from above $50 million to above $200 million.

The Nssa board chairman can buy or dispose shares without board approval and
the public accounts committee said the move leaves room to manipulation
where the chairman can only make a report after transactions.

The committee felt that Manikai had to much powers and was now acting as the
defacto executive of the authority. The committee complained that this was
not in line with prudent corporate governance.

"He has decision making powers for share dealings above 10% and up to 20%
without board endorsement. This is tantamount to abuse and usurping the
general manager's powers," the committee said.

Nssa has in the past been blasted for poor corporate governance and lack of
public accountability at man-agement levels. It has also been delaying the
release of externally audited accounts andannual report as required by the
law.

Nssa has had no sub-stantive general manager for four years and recently
re-advertised for the post.

Manikai told the committee that his board had recommended the top two
applicants to the Public Service Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul
Mangwana.

He said Mangwana has instead directed the board to go through another
process of seeking a general manager.

Manikai said there were no reasons given for the new development.

The committee also grilled the chairman over issues of operating on an
unauthorised capital and expenditure budget for the past three years.

Currently Nssa is said to receive $13 billion monthly and pays out $6
billion in the same period. The monetary value of the fund stands at $506
billion.

It also queried why some of Nssa's properties were operating below the rate
of return and why it was paying out meager allowances to beneficiaries,
among other issues.

Although Manikai appeared together withother Nssa officials as well as the
permanent secretary in the labour ministry, Lancaster Mu-seka, most of the
questions were directed at him. "For each capital ex-penditure, Nssa is
supposed to seek approval from the Ministry of Finance,
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

"Manikai claimed that they had been doing so, but he said the Ministry of
Finance kept losing the papers and therefore had not given them approval.
However, Nssa proceeded without the Ministry's approval which is in
contravention of treasury regulations."Manikai, in response, said their
parent ministry had advised them to treat the budgets as approved due to the
finance ministry's failure to respond in time. Manikai acknowledged
violating provisions of the Nssa Act, blaming it on lack of proper
information technology, which he said would be put in place next
year.Manikai lambasted the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for attempting
to manipulate his board for political gains, adding at one time there were
moves to dilute Nssa's 47% equity in Financial Holdings (Finhold).
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

††††† Committee riled by influx of cheap imports
††††† Roadwin Chirara

††††† THE parliamentary portfolio on Industry and International Trade has
raised concern over what it termed invasion of the local retail sector by
foreign imports.

††††† Acting chairman Moses Mzila Ndlovu said his committee had realised
that the local retail sector was being disadvantaged by the influx of cheap
products on the local market.

††††† He said the products were creating problems in areas of employment as
jobs were being lost because the local industry was retrenching in light of
slow business caused by loss of market share.

††††† Ndlovu, who is MDC MP for Bulilimamangwe, said there was an urgent
need for the government to look into the situation since the economy was at
risk.

††††† "This issue has to be looked into. We are going to investigate the
origins of these products and how they end up in the country," said Ndlovu.

††††† "We hope the country's markets have not been used as a dumping ground
for these businesses," said Ndlovu.

††††† Other members of the committee are Chris Chigumba, Trudy Stevenson,
Ray Kaukonde, Osward Chitongo, Daniel Ncube, Willias Madzimure and Timothy
Mukahlera.

††††† He said there were other issues that had to be clarified such as how
these traders were accessing their foreign currency and if they were paying
duty for the products.

††††† "We have concerns on how these businesses are accessing their foreign
currency to import their products, sure they are not getting it from the
auction," said Ndlovu.

††††† "We really need to find out how these products are entering the
country because there have been reports that they are not paying duty
because of political ties," he said.

††††† He said the country could not be held to ransom because of political
ties with some countries it has trade agreements with, especially when the
country was being prejudiced of customs duty and taxes.

††††† "How can the country really watch its economy being held to ransom
because of the need for foreign currency and protection of political
friends?" said Ndlovu.

††††† For the past three years, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a massive
influx of goods mostly from Asian countries.

††††† Many of the products that eventually find their way into the country
are sub-standard.

††††† He said the government needed a clear policy on how to handle its
imports especially with countries that pose a threat to the survival of the
local industry.

††††† Ndlovu said the government had taken a clear contradictory position on
what was happening in the local industry.

††††† "There is a direct contradiction, whilst we have a clear position on
what is on the ground, the government has taken its own position on the
issue," said Ndlovu.

††††† He said there was also a need to establish how exactly the country was
benefiting from the foreign business people.

††††† "I wonder what we are benefiting from the current arrangement because
there are doubts if there is any inflow of foreign currency from the
businesses. We really have to distinguish what is politically correct and
what is good for the economy," he said.

††††† He said the committee would recommend that Zimra and the Reserve Bank
investigate the organisations.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Who's a hero?
By Vincent Kahiya
FOR too long physical appearance and political prowess have been used to
identify a hero. For too long it has been inculcated in us that the outside
facade rules over inner self. For too long we have been made to feel guilty
for not trying to emulate these false heroes.

So what constitutes a hero? In a word, it's integrity, which is the sum of
convictions, and how hard one tries to live by them. Of course, a correct
conviction has to abide by some fundamental laws of nature, like others'
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This week Information minister and President Mugabe's megaphone Jonathan
Moyo made a key disclosure on why the government needs to control our minds
through the electronic media. Addressing Chinese and local army officers,
Moyo said there should be 100% local content in the electronic media because
the country now had a generation of born frees who in essence were American
and British.

"Local content makes local aspirations our backdrops. It allows us to
celebrate our heroes. Why is it okay to hero-worship (George) Washington of
the USA and not President Mugabe?" he asked.

"We are not happy with anyone who wants foreign content in our local media.
The reality is that it should be 100% local content and those who want
foreign content should pay," said Moyo.

That is the Moyo law of patriotism.

Do not look beyond the borders for heroes. All other heroes should be
blacked out - we know that to be the justification for 100% local content
programming. The ultimate hero for Zimbabweans must be RG. Why does Moyo
believe that his control of media content will ultimately control our
passions, tastes and even our heroes? Does he believe that the whole country
should join him in the time warp of men prepared only for subservience in
the quest to secure a guaranteed position at the feeding trough?

Moyo was at Roosevelt School last week where he donated $1,7 million to the
school after pupils "successfully sang" the propaganda jingle, Hondo
Yeminda. Pupils are expected to fall to their knees before lowly shrines all
in praise of a festering system. Compare this with the slogan taught at Nazi
day nurseries: "Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith, my light"! We are not heading
in this direction, are we?

Have our hero-in-Mugabe-builders been soaking in this Third Reich deputy
fuhrer Rudolf Hess classic? "With pride we see that one man remains beyond
all criticism, that is the Fuhrer. This is because everyone feels and knows:
he is always right, and he will always be right."

But heroes are not necessarily those whose exploits and perceived
infallibility is celebrated in song and dance and foisted on the populace.
Sensible people choosing heroes go beyond that.

Heroes should not be cruel, manipulative and blackmail followers through
positions of power. A true hero is not infallible. He makes mistakes. People
choosing heroes know that there is no hero without holes.

They know that if there are too many of those holes for their liking, they
can walk right through them and away. No amount of propaganda and threats
can stop them.

Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano this week embarked on a roundtrip to
his country's eleven provinces to bid farewell to the 19 million people who
live there. He will be stepping down in December after elections to choose a
new president.

The whirlwind tour, dubbed "Don't cry for me, Mozambique", is also aimed at
giving his chosen successor, businessman Armando Guebuza, badly needed
electoral exposure.

The 64-year-old leader took over power in 1986 following the death of
founding president Samora Machel in a plane crash. For the next six years,
Chissano, with the help of Zimbabwean troops, fought a bitter war with
Afonso Dhlakama's Renamo rebels until a Rome-brokered accord ended the civil
war. Renamo became the official opposition in Mozambique.

In the polls scheduled for December Dhlakama, political watchers in
Mozambique say, stands a fair chance of winning as he is far more popular
than Guebuza.

President Chissano last year freely announced he would not seek a third
presidential term even though the Mozambican constitution did not oblige him
to stand down. Chissano has said his stepping down is meant to strengthen
democratic institutions in the country and Mozambique's international
credibility as a democracy.

Recent municipal polls in Mozambique have been hailed by the international
community as free and fair. Renamo disagrees with foreign reports regarding
President Chissano's democratic record and Dhlakama still maintains that the
1999 presidential poll, which he officially lost to Chissano, was marred by
irregularities.

Mozambican authorities, highly dependent on foreign goodwill and funds, are
nevertheless believed to be doing their best to organise free and fair polls
in December.

Chissano has however always insisted that the electoral reform process in
his country should be acceptable to the opposition. That is nation-building.
Chissano is a hero.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

JAG JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated 30th September 2004

Please send any classified adverts for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities jag@mango.zw
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.† Advert Received 26th September 2004

Please would you put this email address on your situations vacant mailing
list. I am looking for a book-keeping situation in the Borrowdale district
- mornings only, or part time.† Thank you.
_____________________________________________

2.† Advert Received 28th September 2004

VACANCY:

Position available for maintenance/mechanic with fitting and turning
experience for large farming concern in the Karoi area. Please forward CV
to email : cocky@zol.co.zw
_____________________________________________

3.† Advert Received 28th September 2004

A man aged 30 , Diploma in Business Management / Administration , computer
literate , Driver's Licence , former Daily News On Sunday Columnist
currently working as Administrator / Press Officer for NGO , excellent
Coordinator - Joel 751202 , 781770/1 or email artslive@mweb.co.zw
______________________________________________

4.† Advert Received 29th September 2004

I have just been given a lovely broad acre cropping under central pivot job
given to me to fill with a Zimbabwean who might be considering his options.
This position is in central Queensland. Tracey Mays (Member of the
Migration Institute of Australia) Registered Migration Agent Number 9901668

Australian Relocation and Migration Services
17 Andromeda Way
Lower Templestowe
Victoria 3107 Victoria
Australia
e-mail: tracey@arams.com.au
Tel: 61-3-9848-4910
Fax: 61-3-9848-5962
Office hours: 9am to 5pm, M-F, by appointment only
______________________________________________

4.† Advert Received 29th September 2004

WANTED - Bookkeeper full time, must do Quickbooks, Costings, Budgets, Petty
Cash and computer literate. Month end returns knowledge a must. Excellent
package offered. Tel: Irene 091321512
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact
justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
Back to the Top
Back to Index