The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Game park's wildlife dies of thirst as Mugabe lives in luxury

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 31/10/2005)

Wild animals in Zimbabwe are suffering and dying as the sun beats down during the year's hottest season.

Like so many humans, they are victims of President Robert Mugabe.

This dehydrated buffalo reached water but was too exhausted to drink and collapsed and died in the trough

In Africa's most densely populated game park water from underground bores is now available only intermittently because there is no money to fix engines pumping it to the surface.

Plains animals, in particular buffalo, are dying of thirst in Hwange National Park, 8,000 square miles of protected wilderness including the eastern edge of the Kalahari desert.

According to Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, as many as half the animals, except elephants, are at risk because the government has failed to finance the repair of borehole pumps.

Map of Zimbabwe

For the first time since the park was established in dry Matabeleland 76 years ago the pumps were not serviced in April or May, when last summer's below-average rains ended.

"This is mismanagement, nothing more. It's not a natural disaster," Mr Rodrigues said after a heartbreaking trip last week delivering fuel donated by well-wishers to keep a few pumps working. Although the country's economic collapse ensures there is no foreign currency for imports such as fuel, Mr Mugabe does have cash to spend on luxury vehicles.

Parked outside the headquarters of the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in Harare are 10 new 4x4's for executives, costing far more than repairs and service for the engines that pump water to the pans.

"Most of the water in the pans is on the surface and too shallow for animals to drink," Mr Rodrigues said. "It is terrible to see them fighting each other for water and extraordinary to see multiple species gathering to drink.

"We know that 33 buffalos died near one water hole last week from dehydration."

A dying hippopotamus
'It is grim': Many areas of water have turned to mud

Barry Wolhuter, who runs a safari camp in Hwange, said he had seen "nothing to compare" with conditions in the park in the past 20 years.

"It is grim," he said. "We try not to tell the few tourists who come here how bad it is as we don't want to upset them."

Margie Pearce, the chairman of the Matabeleland branch of Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe, WEZ, a long-standing voluntary organisation, said the situation in Hwange was "worrying."

"The pumps should be uplifted each dry season and that hasn't happened," she said. "There was little rain in Hwange last year; it was as dry as in 1998. But then the pumps were working."

Mrs Pearce said that if no repairs were carried out then private companies, safari operators and big game hunters would try to keep some water flowing, especially around their areas at the southern end of the park.

Mr Rodrigues warned that animal carcasses had started showing up near dry water pans in the last week or so.

One factor aggravating the water shortage is the size of the park's elephant population, now about 30,000 when conservationists estimate that it should be no more than 12,000. Culls were abandoned several years ago following pressure from abroad, leading to huge degradation of the park's forests and thorn bushes.

The vast wilderness was always too dry for agriculture and far-sighted early settlers had it set aside as one of Africa's first great conservation areas. Boreholes were sunk that fed new water pans, attracting hordes of animals and then tourists.

Today the park has deteriorated and tourists are missing, except at private safari camps adjoining the park for hunters.

According to Mrs Pearce, most wild animals outside protected areas have been eaten by hungry Zimbabweans over the past six years. The economy has shrunk every year since Mr Mugabe began evicting white farmers in 2000. Their export crops previously provided as much as 40 per cent of foreign currency earnings.

The environment minister, Frances Nhema, declined last week to answer questions about the national park.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gono juggles Zanu (PF) fiction and brutal reality

Business Day

Dianna Games

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SOUTH African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni would not want to swap jobs
with his struggling counterpart across the border for all the money in.
well, Zimbabwe anyway.

Gideon Gono, Zimbabwe's central bank boss, is on a weird roller coaster
ride, which, if he survives it, is not likely to be over until at least
2008 - the earliest anyone can expect President Robert Mugabe to step down.

As point man on the economy, who has to keep the wheels turning so the
ruling party can keep the wolf from its door, Gono must sometimes wonder
whether he will be able to restore his integrity when it is all over.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and he has a considerable bag
of tricks - which is commonly known as a monetary policy statement.

Business awaits Gono's policy statements with bated breath. Companies now
know that such pronouncements, usually coming with little warning and having
immediate effect, usually herald turbulent waters of the kind that can make
or break a company.

And so it was with the latest one just over a week ago in which he announced
a brand new foreign-exchange regime. This effectively opened up the ailing
currency, tightly controlled by the government for many years, to market
forces. Within hours, the currency started heading from Z$26000 to $1
towards the Z$90000:$1 that the black market had been offering lately.

Many people thought Gono's previous policy statement, issued in July, was a
bold move. In it, he devalued the currency from about Z$6000 to the dollar
to Z$17500 for a range of transactions. Within weeks it had sunk to Z$26000,
where it remained until the recent liberalisation.

And even with this new wind of change blowing through the currency market,
the story is that the Reserve Bank, alarmed by the speed of devaluation into
the Z$90000 zone, has instructed banks to maintain the currency at around
Z$60000 to the dollar.

It will obviously take a while for government officials to get the hang of
this liberalisation thing. After all, it was not that long ago that the
president considered any suggestion of devaluing the currency a treasonable
offence.

The rumour mill has attributed the change of heart to interventions by
Mboweni and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, which, relative to some loan
conditions the SA government allegedly put on the table, seemed quite
palatable to Mugabe.

The liberalisation is a desperate move to bring hard currency into the
formal economy from the more lucrative informal trading market. There are
those who will gain, such as exporters who are now allowed to keep 70% of
their foreign exchange earnings in hard currency for 30 days, up from 50%.
But the effect on inflation is likely to be dramatic.

Gono's statement acknowledged this. He climbed down from his official
prediction of year-end inflation of 80% and single digits by 2007, conceding
that it was more likely to be around 300% by December. Given that it doubled
from 164% in June to 360% in September, and that the year end is almost upon
us, he doesn't have a choice but to concede the point.

While Gono battles it out, trying to juggle reality and Zanu (PF) fiction
for his countrymen's consumption, the president has other fish to fry. And
no, those fish are not the country's fuel shortage, the fact that millions
face starvation, the plight of the hundreds of thousands he has made
homeless, massive unemployment and a sinking economy.

The far more pressing issue for Mugabe is the elections for his new
66-member senate - for which he forced the hapless finance ministry to find
funding in the midst of the economic misery.

Preparations for November's elections are in full swing. The central bank is
busy printing money for campaigning and electoral officials are tinkering
with the constituencies to ensure they reflect a positive Zanu (PF) result.
Of course, a lot of money could be saved if the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change followed its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in boycotting the
election.

With three years (at least) to go before there is any prospect of a change
of leadership, Mugabe, faced with the possibility that the fallout of the
crumbling economy might somehow topple him from power, needs another bulwark
against dissenters in his midst. The senate is his vehicle of choice and he
even gets to appoint 15 of its members, including 10 chiefs.

As in Malawi, where politicians have been focused on opposition attempts to
impeach the president rather than on how to feed an estimated five million
Malawians facing starvation, it is a case of fiddling while
Rome/Lilongwe/Harare burns.

Games is director of Africa @ Work, a publishing and research company


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

$10bln worth of beer crates gutted by fire

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/31/2005 10:43:13
OVER $10 billion worth of carpentry equipment and empty plastic crates went
up in smoke Sunday at Delta Beverages manufacturing plant in Southerton,
Harare, under unclear circumstances.

Although Delta's corporate affairs executive George Mutendadzamera said the
cause of the fire was yet to be established, sources at the plant claimed
the inferno could have been a result of carelessness by those manning and
using the premises.

An employee, who refused to be named for fear of breaking protocol, said an
unattended fire could have caused the inferno.

"We suspect that somebody cooking in the yard left a fire unattended and
that could have been the cause of the fire," the employee said.

Other members of staff suspected that a burning cigarette could also have
been the cause of the blaze.

Mutendadzemera said at least 200 000 empty crates, including new arrivals,
were destroyed in the inferno.

"We don't know the cause of the fire yet. A security guard saw flames and
alerted the fire brigade whose reaction was wonderful. We do not know how
many crates have been affected, but they could be in the region of 200 000
or so. We will carry out thorough investigations to ascertain the cause," he
said.

Mutendadzemera said there were no fatalities or injuries and that the only
hitch faced by the fire brigade was the shortage of ash to extinguish the
fire.

Some of the company's employees were busy removing cases not affected by the
fire on Sunday afternoon .

Meanwhile beer prices went up 27 percent last week. Beer is now selling for
between $5 000 and $15 000.

A pint of the green (Bohlingers, Zambezi etc) or brown bottle (Lion, Castle,
Black Label etc) is now selling at an average wholesale price of $25 000 in
leading supermarkets, up from $20 000. The price is exclusive of a $4 000
deposit.

At a number of outlets in Harare, patrons were paying between $27 000 and
$34 000 for a pint, and between $55 000 and $60 000 for a quart, up from $45
000.

At leading hotels across the country, the price of a pint averaged $100
000 -- Daily Mirror


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary 29th October 2005



A very lively Vigil this week right from the start, with a sizeable crowd from Leicester swelling our ranks. For the last few weeks the Vigil seems to have been getting bigger and bigger. We were treated to the usual colourful spectacle that is London's West End: a silver statue walking past, the unicyclist on his way to Covent Garden and a drinking party dressed as angels and demons (some of the angels joined in as we danced around the circle, but for some reason the demons didn't want to join in). We were privileged to see a rare piece of London tradition as a Pearly King and Queen walked past, stepping in time to the drums of Africa. For those who don't know, the Pearly King and Queens are an old working class tradition from the traditional Cockney culture, now a rare breed in London. They wear traditional suits covered in patterns of mother-of-pearl buttons.
We had a new song this week, which was taught to us by a supporter from Leicester who learnt it from a video of a rally in Zimbabwe. It starts with "Peep peep peep" and is about someone sounding their horn outside Tsvangirai's gate because they want to talk to him. It has a very lively beat and gets us dancing!
The Vigil's influence is expanding to China. Since our demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy against Mugabe's begging visit to Beijing, we have had a warm relationship with the Falun Gong who maintain a daily protest outside the Chinese Embassy against human rights abuses in China. They have now expanded their activities into our area and today they mounted a very graphic demonstration just around the corner from us fronting Trafalgar Square, depicting the brutal torture inflicted on opponents by the Chinese regime. So we are becoming quite a protest area running from Zimbabwe House to South Africa House on Trafalgar Square.
We were pleased to have Pastor Peter from Bulawayo with us, who is on a trip to Europe and America to seek help for our people. He paid tribute to the work the vigil was doing. We were touched that one of supporters, Tapiwa Elisha, gave the Vigil 20 to feed other Vigil supporters, many of whom are very short of money.
Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa was happy to have received a letter from the Prime Minister's Office in response to our petition calling on the British Government to bring the Zimbabwe issue to the UN Security Council. Julius who presented the petition on behalf of the Vigil was told that a full reply would be sent to him from the Foreign Office.
More than 50 people signed the register, including people from as far away as Manchester, Stockton, Doncaster, Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and Southampton. We sold out of the Vigil t-shirts and are having to order Vigil sweatshirts for the winter. The well-attended Vigil, when we linked hands at the end we made a circle well beyond the four maple trees outside the Embassy - was the last of British Summer Time. For some peculiar reason the English rush into winter and next week we will end in the dark. Let's hope this is the only way that we turn the clock back this year.
For your Diary: at the Forum on Monday, 31st October, Tor Hugne Olsen of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum will this week be presenting the recently released Solidarity Peace Trust video "Crime of Poverty".
Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai fires fresh salvo at colleagues

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/31/2005 11:13:01
MORGAN Tsvangirai threatened the uneasy calm that appeared to return to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) when he claimed that
colleagues who have defied his call for a senate boycott were working with
the ruling Zanu PF.

It took extraordinary efforts to get the MDC leader to meet his senior
colleagues in talks aimed at healing a widening rift caused by Tsvangirai's
refusal to endorse a majority decision supporting participation in senate
elections later next month.

Senior officials, including Tsvangirai's deputy Gibson Sibanda, secretary
general Welshman Ncube and party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi have openly
rebuked Tsvangirai for defying a decision of the party's national council to
contest the senate elections.

Several churchmen and a political analyst (Brian Raftopoulos) respected by
both factions brought the warring parties together towards the end of last
week, following which Tsvangirai and Sibanda addressed reporters. In a brief
statement, they said it had been agreed that both factions would stop making
"acrimonious comments".

But on Friday, Tsvangirai relaunched a series of rallies intended to
persuade party members to follow his election boycott call.

He addressed MDC supporters in Silobela, a town in Midlands North province
where three candidates defied him by registering to contest the November 26
elections in which 50 of 66 upper house seats will be filled.

The Voice of America quoted him telling supporters that the debate on the
senate was not the real issue in the intra-party dispute, because a truly
united party would never have come to the brink of a schism over the
question of whether to participate in the elections or boycott them.

On Saturday, Tsvangirai returned to the capital, Harare, where he launched a
severe attack on the pro-senate group, claiming they were working with Zanu
PF in order to form a unity government.

Addressing supporters in Kuwadzana, he said: "The issue that is there is not
about the senate only. It is about whether you want to confront (President
Robert) Mugabe or you want to compromise with Mugabe. Some of us are now
working towards a unity accord. We are saying 'no' to unity accord number
two. With us there is no unity accord. we will not do what (the late
vice-president Joshua) Nkomo did."

Although no names were mentioned, it was clear who was the target of
Tsvangirai's attack. The clues were written all over his message as he
claimed his political opponents had "retreated to Bulawayo" -- reference to
Ncube, Nyathi and Sibanda's home city.

According to the Daily Mirror, Tsvangirai told his supporters that they
(pro-senate MDC leaders) could not hide in Bulawayo for long and that he
would soon be visiting the region to entrench the "No to Senate message".

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi immediately hit back at Tsvangirai -- all
but confirming a solution to the crisis is further away.

"I am not aware of any member of the MDC doing that (advocating a unity
government)," Nyathi said.

"It's fiction. It is unfortunate that part of the disagreements within the
party over the senate issue have seen some resorting to the tendency of
demonising others. Insulting those that hold a different view point is very
unMDC. We can debate this issue of the senate without casting aspersions. If
you have strong points, you have to raise your flag and not insult other
people."

Reports say several songs attacking the pro-senate group were sung at the
Kuwadzana rally.

"Vamwe vedu voita mutserendende parazor" (Some among us are sliding on razor
blades) and "Mupanduki chera mwena (traitor dig a hole)", Tsvangirai's
supporters sang.

Asked whether his party had any talks with MDC officials towards the
establishment of a unity government, Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira
said: "The MDC leader is always dreaming about things that are not true."

Reports on Sunday had suggested that a compromise deal was in the offing. A
South African newspaper on reported that one of the compromises was that
Tsvangirai would dispense with his "kitchen cabinet" of paid and volunteer
advisors "who have become more important to him than elected officials."

"In return, those who believed and still do, that adherence to the MDC
constitution is a bottom line may quietly try and persuade candidates now
registered for next month's senate elections to withdraw......an exception
might be made for the Matabeleland provinces," the Sunday Argus reported.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Security officers resort to crime

Zim Standard

By Valentine Maponga

POOR salaries are driving officers from the security agencies to break the
law in order to fend off poverty and hunger, it has emerged.

In addition, a large number of police officers, who are supposed to be law
enforcers, have been dismissed from the force for various offences including
corruption and other unnamed misdemeanours.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) recently said the basic expenditure
for an urban family of six had shot up from about $6.9 million in September
to $9.9 million for the month of October.

The figures are beyond the reach of an average soldier or police officer,
where junior officers earn around $4 million.

A spate of robberies by armed soldiers and Central Intelligence Organisation
officers in recent weeks could be attributed to attempts to make ends meet,
The Standard heard last week.

Early this month, two soldiers, Stephen Mbengeni and Sibangilizwe Moyo,
based at 4.3 Infantry Battalion in Masvingo went on an armed robbery spree,
targeting fuel dealers.

The rogue soldiers were clad in their military fatigues when they committed
the crimes. They robbed fuel worth $22 million, and cash from parallel
market dealers.

In an almost similar incident last week, three CIO operatives appeared
before a Murehwa Magistrate facing charges of armed robbery.

The three are: Itayi Enock Chiutsi; Philip Chimwetsa; and Persuade Jonasi.

The three moved around the area posing as bulk fuel buyers.

They would pretend to buy fuel but then threatened their victims using guns,
before stealing the fuel.

They stole 240 litres of diesel and re-sold it on the more lucrative
parallel market.

Police last week announced that 24 officers, including two senior officers,
had been fired from the force for offences ranging from corruption,
breaching the Police Act and other unnamed criminal activities.

While the majority of the junior soldiers and security officers are
struggling to make ends meet, their senior officials face no such problems.

Last year, the government used billions of dollars in taxpayers' money to
import top-of-the-range Toyota Prados for the top brass of the army and air
force.

Movement for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai has said the $60
billion earmarked for the Senate should instead be channelled towards
increasing salaries of the poorly paid civil servants.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and social analyst Eldred Masunungure said
incidents of crime by security agents were a clear reflection of the
economic crisis.

"Those events mirror exactly what is going on in the country. Those soldiers
and police officers are experiencing the same problems that we are facing on
a daily basis," Masunungure said.

He said the incidents posed a serious threat to national security. "These
security agencies are operating under stress and poses a threat to the
citizens' security. Who will guard the guardian, when the people who are
supposed to be protecting the citizens are the ones who are inflicting pain
on them?"

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Aggrey Wushe played down the robberies
saying these were isolated cases of indiscipline within the force.

"That is just an isolated case of indiscipline within the army and you don't
have to attach any reason to it. When we are recruiting officers, we
emphasise on looking back into the historical background of the candidates,"
Wushe said.

He also dismissed reports that scores of soldiers were arrested and detained
after demonstrating against miserable salaries.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Msika blasts invasions while Matonga gets Chegutu farm

Zim Standard

By our staff

CALLS by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono for an end to land invasions
appear to have gone unheeded as it emerged yesterday that government has
given Bright Matonga, the Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, part
of orange-rich Chigwell Estate in Chegutu.

Before the farm invasions, the estate employed more than 1 200 workers and
exported oranges to the Middle East and Europe, raking in millions of
dollars every year.
Matonga first invaded the farm accompanied by a number of Zanu PF supporters
in May this year but backtracked.

The Standard established yesterday that government issued an "offer letter"
to Matonga to acquire a portion of the farm, just two weeks ago.

A copy of the letter, which is in this paper's possession, from the Ministry
of State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, shows the deputy
minister was offered "subdivision 1 of Chigwell Estate in Chegutu".

"The Minister of Special Affairs in the President's Office in Charge of
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement has the pleasure in informing you that
your application for land under Model A2 scheme has been successful," reads
part of the letter.

Didymus Mutasa signed the letter, dated 7 October 2005, which allocated
793.75 ha, part of the 4 000 ha Chigwell Estate to Matonga.

Contacted for comment, Matonga switched off his mobile phone just after this
reporter had introduced himself.

Tom Beattie, the owner of the farm told The Standard that on Sunday last
week a group of people invaded his farm and told him to leave because the
deputy minister had acquired it.

He said some of the people stole more than 1 000 litres of diesel during the
chaos on the farm.

"Police officers were around but did nothing to help us. We are all having
problems around here," he said.

Gono recently said the recent farms invasions would rob the country of the
much-needed foreign currency and scare investors from committing their
resources to Zimbabwe.

In his Monetary Policy statement, Gono labelled the recent farm invaders as
"criminal, economic saboteurs" and "unruly agents keen on reaping where they
did not sow".

The offer of Chigwell Farm to the deputy minister comes as Vice President
Joseph Msika castigated the mayhem on farms saying productive white
commercial farmers must not be kicked off the land as long as they adhere to
government's policy of one farmer, one farm.

Addressing delegates attending the 65th Zimbabwe Farmers Union annual
congress in Bulawayo, the Vice President said he was worried by recent
reports of war veterans in various parts of the country going round farms
and threatening white farmers with eviction. He singled out Esigodini about
40 km south of Bulawayo as a problem area.

"It's stupid to kick them out. These people used us during colonial times
it's now time to use them too. We must not frustrate whites out of farming
if they have one farm of maximum size," he said adding black farmers had a
lot to learn from working closely with experienced white farmers.

Msika's statement follows a fresh spate of eviction threats to remaining
white farmers across the country by war veterans in Matabeleland South have
been going around commercial farms giving oral eviction orders since the
beginning of the month. A group of 25 war veterans went to Angelisia Farm in
Matopos and demanded to be shown around the property before ordering the
farm manager Mani Delport and his family to pack and leave.

The farm employs 30 workers to look after a Jersey herd that produces about
1 500 litres of milk a day and has Nguni beef cattle. The Commercial
Farmers' Union also reported similar incidents in Bindura, Chipinge and
Nyazura.

The Vice President's comments appear a rebuke of a declaration by Didymus
Mutasa, the Minister of State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement,
who told a meeting in Masvingo last month that the government was launching
"Faster track", a programme to seize land from the remaining commercial
farmers.

Commercial Farmers Union president, Doug Taylor-Freeme said his union is
concerned by the threats, which he said, were widespread.

Taylor-Freeme said the CFU was "not entirely happy" with police's reaction
to such reports. He said in some areas police refused to act on the reports.

"Police officers were around but did nothing to help us. We are all having
problems around here," he said.

Gono recently said the recent farms invasions would rob the country of the
much-needed foreign currency and scare investors from committing their
resources to Zimbabwe.

In his monetary policy statement, Gono labelled the recent farm invaders as
"criminal, economic saboteurs" and "unruly agents keen on reaping where they
did not sow".

The offer of Chigwell Farm to the deputy minister comes as Vice President
Joseph Msika castigated the mayhem on farms saying productive white
commercial farmers must not be kicked off the land as long as they adhere to
government's policy of one farmer, one farm.

Addressing delegates attending the 65th Zimbabwe Farmers Union annual
congress in Bulawayo, the Vice President said he was worried by recent
reports of war veterans in various parts of the country going round farms
and threatening white farmers with eviction. He singled out Esigodini about
40 km south of Bulawayo as a problem area.

"It's stupid to kick them out. These people used us during colonial times
it's now time to use them too. We must not frustrate whites out of farming
if they have one farm of maximum size," he said adding black farmers had a
lot to learn from working closely with experienced white farmers.

Msika's statement follows a fresh spate of eviction threats to remaining
white farmers across the country by war veterans in Matabeleland South who
have been going around commercial farms giving oral eviction orders since
the beginning of the month. A group of 25 war veterans went to Angelisia
Farm in Matopos and demanded to be shown around the property before ordering
the farm manager Mani Delport and his family to pack and leave.

The farm employs 30 workers to look after a Jersey herd that produces about
1 500 litres of milk a day and has Nguni beef cattle. The Commercial
Farmers' Union also reported similar incidents in Bindura, Chipinge and
Nyazura.

The Vice President's comments appear a rebuke of a declaration by Mutasa,
who told a meeting in Masvingo last month that the government was launching
"Faster track", a programme to seize land from the remaining commercial
farmers.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hospital turning away patients

Zim Standard

By Caiphas Chimhete

ONE of the country's largest referral health centres, Parirenyatwa Group of
Hospitals, is turning away patients under the department of social welfare
scheme because the department had not been paying the health institution for
several months now, The Standard has learnt.

Disgruntled patients and their relatives last week said that they were
turned away from the hospital without any treatment even though they had
authentic letters from the department of social welfare.
The patients said hospital officials were demanding cash or cheques before
any form of treatment. But the department of social welfare only offers
letters that indicate that the patient cannot afford the fees.

"I was shocked when my aunt was denied treatment at the hospital on
Wednesday. The officials said the department was not paying them so they
cannot treat her," said Arnold Dube, who had taken her relative to the
hospital.

Reports say that department of social welfare is broke and is failing to pay
institutions that offer services to its constituency. The department has
also stopped paying schools fees for disadvantaged children and those
orphaned by HIV and Aids because of lack of funds.

The Standard could not establish how much the hospital is owned by the
department but reports say this could amount to more than $25 billion.

The director of the department social welfare, Sydney Mhishi, could not be
reached for comment.

An official with the hospital confirmed on Friday saying: "I am not sure of
the exact day we stopped accepting letters from the social welfare, but it's
sometime this month. The problem is non-payment."

Parirenyatwa chief executive officer, Thomas Zigora, on Friday refused to
comment on the matter.

"I talked to another newspaper on Monday and the matter was settled. I don't
want to resuscitate it," Zigora said.

However, on Thursday patients with letters from the department of social
welfare were still being turned way from the hospital.

The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Edwin Muguti, said all
public hospitals are mandated to treat patients under the department of
social welfare scheme.

"They are not supposed to do that. As government health institutions they
are supposed to treat all patients who come with letters from the department
of social welfare because it would have been certified that they cannot
afford to pay for themselves," Muguti said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Don't vote for renegades: Tsvangirai

Zim Standard

By our staff

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday launched an anti-Senate
campaign, urging supporters not to vote for party members who defied him.

Addressing a rally in Kuwadzana suburb in Harare, the MDC leader told
about 7 000 opposition supporters to boycott the Senate elections, slated
for 26 November.
"We are saying no one should go and vote for those people," said
Tsvangirai, who is embarking on country-wide rallies to denounce MDC
candidates for the Senate.

Although Tsvangirai avoided singling out anyone, junior members of the
party blasted Shakespeare Maya, who will contest in Chitungwiza, Frank
Chamunorwa (Harare-Mabvuku-Tafara) and Alois Mudzingwa
(Harare-Mbare-Hatfield).

Chamunorwa and Mudzingwa left their Mashonaland East province to
contest in Harare while Maya, the former NAGG president was accused of
sowing division in the MDC.

At least 27 MDC members submitted nomination paper for the elections.
The party submitted nominations in Mashonaland West (4), Masvingo (1),
Bulawayo (5) Matabeleland South and North (10), Midlands (3) and Harare (3).

Tsvangirai said there was no wisdom in participating in the elections
since the electoral playing field had not changed since Zanu PF "stole" the
March parliamentary polls.

"Only six months ago, the elections were stolen. We cannot go into the
Senate when nothing has changed," said Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader said the party had embarked on a restructuring exercise
to revamp the party to the 1999 level, when it was launched, so that it can
push President Robert Mugabe out of power.

"Mugabe haabve nevote. Haabve nekunyengerera anotoda kunzi ibva!
Spirit yandinayo ndeya 1999 ndiyoyandave nayo, Ini ndichaenda pamberi
imimotevera. (We cannot remove Mugabe by vote; he needs to be told to get
out!"

MDC members who are pro-Senate elections were conspicuous by their
absence from the rally, signalling that the divisions in the opposition
party are far from over.

Meanwhile, aspiring senators from the MDC have decided to source their
own funding for the elections, as it is still unclear whether they will get
any assistance from the party.

"We were hoping by now we would have been given money to start our
campaigns, but still nothing has come out. As a result, we have to source
our own funding as time is running out," said one aspirant who refused to be
identified.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We're starving,' cry magistrates

Zim Standard

By our staff

CORRUPTION among members of the judiciary will be difficult to curb if
government does not improve their conditions of service, a senior magistrate
said on Friday.

In an address during the annual general meeting of the Magistrates'
Association of Zimbabwe in Gweru, the organisation's president, Enias
Magate, said there was discontent among magistrates over poor conditions of
service and low salaries.
"There is an outcry among magistrates about their low and very stagnant
salaries. May the minister allow me to say to him that the faces sitting in
front of you are hungry faces? The majority cannot afford three basic meals
a day. Most are near destitute and are living below the poverty datum line.
The situation is really bad.

"The only magistrates earning slightly above the poverty datum line are the
regional magistrates. Even for them, that salary is just too low and is at
the datum line of poverty. In short our salaries are no longer sustainable,"
Magate said.

Magate said magistrates and junior police officers "have to fight for seats
with members of the public on commuter buses to get to and from work", and
failure to address their plight would jeopardize the administration of
justice.

While acknowledging the magistrates' predicament, justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who officially opened the AGM, said the magistrates have a duty
to live up to their sworn oath and should shun corruption.

"The reports that have come to my office of unprofessional conduct by some
of you and cases of corruption which have appeared in the Press and
implicating some of your members are a cause for concern.

"It is your duty as an association to correct each other and rid of the bad
apples amongst you so that you all remain faithful to your noble calling.
You should not encourage your members to be corrupt. It's better for one to
resign if you can't make ends meet within the wages you receive as
magistrates. One cannot improve life through corruption.

"In this regard it is sad to note that during the past twelve months, twelve
magistrates were charged for misconduct. Three were discharged from the
service. Those discharged were experienced magistrates. I urge all the
experienced magistrates to lead the new brooms by good example and not by
bad tendencies," Chinamasa said.

The permanent secretary in the justice ministry, David Mangota reiterated
the need to avoid corruption.

"I don't like to believe it is poor salaries that cause corruption, but
greed. People who are poor usually accept their lot and don't engage in
corruption," Mangota said.

Chinamasa said the delay in moving members of the judiciary from the Public
Service Commission to the Judicial Service Commission, which was mooted in
the mid-90s, was because of the need to have an enabling constitution. He
said with the passage of the 17th constitutional amendment into law, the
commission was going to be established soon.

During discussions, some magistrates raised concern over the
non-availability of judgments, which they said was making it difficult for
them to pass verdicts in some difficult cases.

The judgments made by judges, especially in landmark cases, and are compiled
into law reports, which members of the lower courts refer to when they make
their judgments. The magistrates pointed out that the last law reports were
made available in 2001.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hope for promised 'Garikai' homes turns to despair

Zim Standard

By Caiphas Chimhete

A new sign written, "Home At Last" sticks out at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo
Housing Co-operative in Harare's Kambuzuma high-density suburb.

It was erected a month ago after the government announced that it had
officially sanctioned the reconstruction of houses at the ill-fated
co-operative.
The sign, artistically designed, gives a false sense of belonging to scores
of families still living in the open at the demolished co-operative site.

However after last week's light rains, it was clear that "home was far from
home" for the families.

Women, with wailing babies on their backs, scurried for shelter but the thin
plastic sheeting over their shacks, could not provide enough cover for them
and their once glossy furniture.

"For us, it's a big tragedy. We have lost everything we worked for in the
past 20 years. First our houses were destroyed and now the remaining
property has been reduced to nothing," lamented Enita Gumbo, who looks after
three orphaned grandchildren.

Gumbo represents several Zimbabwean families still living in the open after
government demolished their homes in May in the internationally
condemned-operation. An estimated 700 000 people were rendered homeless,
according to the United Nations.

In Harare, several families are still in the open at Whitecliff, Mbare,
Hatcliffe and Tafara. Towns such as Chitungwiza, Mutare, Gweru and Bulawayo
still have hundreds of families without roofs over their heads.

This is despite government claims that, through "Operation Garikai", a
"fast-track housing constructing programme", victims of Murambatsvina would
have been housed by the end of the year.

Initially, the government put the deadline at end of August but has
constantly changed it after realising that the exercise needed massive
resources.

People allocated stands at Whitecliff under the "Garikai" project, will now
have to wait for at "least two years" to get the shelter, the government has
said.

All this time, the displaced people will be living in the open, exposing
them to diseases and harsh weather conditions.

Mosquitoes, which thrive well during the rainy season, are one of the
biggest threats to victims, who live in shacks that do not give them enough
protection from the vectors.

"We fear for our lives, especially with the rains. This is the time when
diseases break out," said one Murehwa, who resides at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

Murehwa has built a one-metre high shack from farm bricks without any
mortar. Mosquitoes and other small but poisonous creatures such as
scorpions, seeking cover can easily creep into the shacks when it rains.

"Living here is as dangerous as living in a forest but we have no choice,"
he said.

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) director Itai Rusike urged
government to allow non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist victims
of "Operation Murambatsvina".

The government forbids NGOs from distributing even relief aid to about 2.5
million Zimbabweans who desperately need food aid.

"The government should make sure these people are taken care of. The problem
is it (government) has not allowed NGOs to help these people. They urgently
need tents and clean water supply," Rusike said.

He warned of a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases such as typhoid,
cholera and dysentery as well as malaria with the onset of the rains.

The majority of Murambatsvina victims can no longer afford health fees after
the demolition of their homes.

The poorly staffed mobile clinics, which used to provide health services to
the affected people, have since stopped offering the service.

"This is the reason why, all along we have been saying, this clean-up
operation was not carefully planned because people are now suffering. They
are now more exposed, more vulnerable to more serious health threats than
before," said Rusike.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Furore over 'Operation Garikai' beneficiaries

Zim Standard

By Godfrey Mutimba

MASVINGO - Beneficiaries of houses under the first phase of "Operation
Garikai" in Masvingo are set to lose their newly acquired properties after
provincial governor, Willard Chiwewe, ordered the housing list to be
cancelled amid revelations that it was "cooked up".

The list of a hundred people, mostly senior civil servants and members of
the uniformed forces, had already paid $500 000 for the houses and been
issued with stand numbers.
Speaking during a recent tour of flea market stalls, which was attended by
Policy and Implementation Minister, Webster Shamu, at Nyika growth point,
Chiwewe lashed out at the committee accusing it of composing the list
without consulting his office.

"That list should be withdrawn as a matter of urgency because it has a lot
of shortcomings and as the governor, I am the head of 'Operation Garikai' so
that list should have come through my office for verification," Chiwewe
said.

Justifying his action, Chiwewe said it had come to his attention that some
beneficiaries were already property owners and were not supposed to benefit
from operation.

"People are complaining about your list. They are saying it was not
transparent as the real beneficiaries were left out. Here we did not have
any person who was affected by Murambatsvina so the houses were supposed to
benefit low-income people,'' he said.

Government officials in Masvingo accused the "Operation Garikai" committee
led by Colonel Phillip Toperesu of corruptly compiling the list.

The officials claim the list published in The Herald last month only
benefited senior police officers, soldiers and civil servants -most of them
already house owners.

Chiwewe ordered the committee to come up with a new transparent list that
will benefit the intended people.

Meanwhile Shamu was unable to launch the second phase last week after
discovering that work at various sites had been halted due to lack of
building materials and funds.

Masvingo failed to beat the 31 August deadline after construction was
severely affected by a massive shortage of funds.

Shamu said it was not logical for him to launch the second phase when
construction of the initial phase had not been completed.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dabengwa accused of vote-buying after $15m donation

Zim Standard

By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - As Zanu PF intensifies its campaign for next month's Senatorial
election, former PF ZAPU strongman Dumiso Dabengwa recently donated $15
million to a traders' association in Nkulumane in what has been widely
viewed in Bulawayo as vote-buying.

Dabengwa, a former Cabinet minister and ex-ZIPRA military supremo, will
stand in Nkulumane constituency as the ruling party's candidate in a poll
that is likely to be crippled by apathy due to a revolt the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Last Sunday, a day before the Senate Nomination Court sat in Bulawayo,
Dabengwa donated $15 million to the Nkulumane Traders' Association, raising
suspicions that his move was vote-buying.

He will stand against the Rita Ndlovu of the MDC on 26 November.

Speaking to The Standard, Dabengwa dismissed allegations that he was on a
vote-buying campaign, saying it was an honest donation with no strings
attached.

Although admitting that his rivals could view the timing of the donation as
an election gimmick, Dabengwa said: "It was just by coincidence that I
donated at a time when the Nomination Court was to sit, but it is far from
vote-buying. It was an honest donation. Even if I lose in the election, I
will continue donating to the association.

"In fact, I had been invited to the anniversary celebrations and I later
learnt that the organisers had bought some meat. I asked the chairman why
they did not approach me as I am a farmer and it was then that we discussed
and I ended up donating.

"I believe that it is the most successful association in the city."

Dabengwa said the amount was equivalent to the beast that they bought.

Dabengwa added: "It has been a long time since I donated to the project and
I promised that I will continue doing so whether I get elected or not."

The Nkulumane Traders' Association was established in 1993 and has 250
members. They operate a flea market in the same suburb.

President Robert Mugabe recently kept graduands and guests at the National
University of Science and Technology waiting for more than three hours when
he decided to go on a campaign trail in the city's Nkulumane suburb where he
addressed ruling party supporters and donated computers to 10 schools.

The ruling party is now well known for making donations in the run up to any
election. Before the March parliamentary polls, Zanu PF leaders,
particularly President Robert Mugabe, went on a computer donation spree.

Some of the donated computers ended up at schools without electricity or
qualified staff to teach computer lessons.

Critics dismissed the donations saying their timing suggested ulterior
motives.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Senate jobs: more Zanu PF nepotism

Zim Standard

By Foster Dongozi

TWO senior Zanu PF stalwarts, Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and his
youth development counterpart, Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri, could be the
latest couples employed by the State after their wives win seats in
forthcoming Senate elections slated 26 November.

Tracy Mutinhiri was unopposed when she filed nomination papers for the
Marondera - Seke Senate constituency last week.
Tambudzani Mohadi is also expected to stroll into the senate as Beitbridge
has always voted for Zanu PF.

Cynics, however, say elections in Beitbridge have persistently been rigged
in favour of the ruling party to give the impression that it is a Zanu PF
stronghold.

The Mohadi and Mutinhiri couples will not be the only families who will be
living off the tax-payer's sweat.

Former minister, Florence Chitauro the wife of former Permanent Secretary,
James Chitauro, returns for a second bite of the cherry after she was
nominated for the Chikomba - Hwedza Senate constituency.

Tsitsi Muzenda, the daughter of the late vice president Simon Muzenda could
also be joining in the gravy train after she was unopposed for the
Gweru-Shurugwi constituency in the Midlands.

Her father used the Midlands as his political base before seeing his last
days in his home province of Masvingo.

Speculation is rife that Senators will be driving all terrain Mercedes Benz
vehicles and earning higher salaries than Members of Parliament.

Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the rumours were untrue.

"That is not true; actually thank you for asking that question. We had not
thought about the issue of perks. I think we will have to check on what the
conditions were for the Senators before the old Senate was abolished. But
why don't you write about the divisions in the MDC?" asked Chinamasa.

Ironically, Chinamasa was the guest of honour at Dinyane School meeting
which allegedly master-minded the ill-fated Tsholotsho Declaration which
resulted in six Zanu PF provincial chairmen incurring the wrath of the
party's top leadership last year.

While some families will be feeding off tax-payers' money in the Senate,
President Robert Mugabe's family will remain the biggest beneficiaries in
Parliament.

When addressing Parliament in his capacity as the Head of State, the
President is joined by his sister, Sabina Mugabe, the MP for Zvimba South.

In a brazen show of power, Sabina is in turn joined by her two sons, Leo
Mugabe and Patrick Zhuwao in Parliament.

Leo, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Transport and Communications, is the MP for Makonde while younger brother,
the dreadlocked Zhuwao is the MP for Manyame, which he pronounces Mhanyame.

His uncle, President Mugabe, also appointed him the Deputy Minister of
Science and Technology Development after the 31 March Parliamentary
elections.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

An opportunity for the unpredictable

Zim Standard

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe could surprise even the most trenchant of his
critics. With at least 35 out of 66 seats in the Senate already in the bag,
he can afford to invite international observers to the 26 November
elections.

Given such a comfortable cushion, Mugabe can even afford to appoint those
from the opposition known to support participation in the polls as
representatives of special interest groups, if only to pull the rug from
under Morgan Tsvangirai's feet and compound the crisis in the opposition
leader's party.
During the 31 March Parliamentary elections, foreign observers began
arriving two weeks before commencement of the polls. There is still
sufficient time to invite election observers.

These will be the first elections since independence that both the ruling
party and the government will be most comfortable with because the issue at
hand is not whether they will win, but by what margin their victory will be
in order to guarantee them control of the Senate.

Zanu PF and the government can afford such a show of magnanimity because the
threat and likelihood of an electoral embarrassment and the uncertainty of
the poll outcome have been well anticipated and removed.

In fact, the advantage that Zanu PF could enjoy could be as high as 40.
There are at least four additional Senate constituencies that it could win
easily in Masvingo province. Nineteen of Zanu PF Senate hopefuls were
unopposed at close of nomination on Monday last week, while Mugabe appoints
16 other senators.

But the voter turn out could be the lowest in history, largely because there
is really no contest. There will be less coercion to drive people to the
polling stations, while "Operation Murambatsvina/Drive out filth" has
displaced and traumatised people so much so that many will feel its is safer
to stay out of the whole process altogether.

People were not just cowed and traumatised by "Operation Murambatsvina".
They were also displaced and will not be able to vote in areas they resided
before the "clean-up". The fear of another purge is still present. But the
danger is that the government could become convinced that the strategy
worked and could therefore be incorporated in future electoral campaigns ,
resulting in cycles of internal displacements until there is total surrender
to the dictates of the ruling party.

The strategy is to persuade and mobilise Zimbabweans to vote for the
government regardless of what the real pressing issues requiring urgent
attention are. This is despite the fact that there has been a strategy
during the past three elections, which seeks to manipulate public opinion by
shifting blame for the misfortunes of this country on the opposition, even
though the government and the ruling party are the architects.

Voter turnout has progressively declined, despite considerable campaigning,
especially by the ruling party. There is absence of comparable campaign
activity and the enthusiasm will be subdued because apart from putting
people in the Senate the real benefits for the majority of the people remain
largely a mirage.

The level of poll violence has been related to the ruling party's
uncertainty about its prospects of a victory. The stakes are not so high,
therefore, there will be no need to activate the Zanu PF militias so that
they can seal off and create "no-go" zones in certain areas of the country
until the elections are over.

The lesser the prospects of its victory, the greater has been the levels of
violence. That will not be the case this time. Instead, the anxiety will be
over creation of conditions that will lead foreign observers to conclude,
without any qualification, that the contest, although largely boycotted by
the opposition, was "free and fair". That is what the government is seeking
in order to garner legitimacy for the whole process.

Consequently, there is likely to be less propaganda, with for the first time
the State-run media affording pretence of impartiality because of the
absence of a real threat to the status quo.

In the absence of substantive campaign issues, "Operation Garikai/Hlalani
Kuhle" will be used to portray the government as caring and pro-people and
therefore deserving of support during the Senate elections.

The recent developments, especially in the opposition MDC, could present
Mugabe with an opportunity to do the unpredictable.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Monetary authorities hiding behind economic jargon

Zim Standard

THE Zimbabwean public have been bombarded with economic terms that are not
only difficult to understand, but difficult to pronounce for many. In the
end most people are confused.

I would like to attempt a clarification of the issue of inflation. By and
large, inflation is fuelled by money spent unproductively or just simply on
consumption only. This is money that is not exposed to growth, but is
allowed to waste away. That is the main cause of inflation.
This fundamental phenomenon has been camouflaged by emphasis on such things
as black (real) market activities, speculation (every business is a
speculative activity) and lack of fiscal discipline (uncontrolled spending)
by people who have jobs to protect.

We find that the very people who claim to be striving to arrest inflation,
our monetary authorities, are the ones who are fuelling it big time. The
proof is there for all to see - how many schemes such as the parastatals and
local government schemes are productive or have gone wrong? What is the
production level on farms, on average - (1.5 tonnes a hectare against a
minimum of 8 tonnes worldwide)?

How many companies actually employed more or exported more due to increased
(productive sector enhancement) funding? Which direction is our Gross
Domestic Product going - negative or positive - despite increased cheap
funding?

How many companies failed to pay back the loans due to reduced capacity
utilisation or just outright lack of productivity? Why?

I believe that our monetary authorities need to be more serious and avoid
constantly searching for scapegoats. "They blame everyone else except
themselves", to quote our Governor of the Reserve Bank.

Zimbabweans have been riding on a wagon of false hope for too long. It is
time to be realistic and responsible for our actions. It does not help
anyone to pretend that our problems will be over with just a little
sacrifice. Sacrificing what? Only very few people driving posh cars and
building mansions have something to sacrifice, the rest like me are left
with the little flesh that is holding the soul together.

The little that is left after Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Zesa, now with
a permanent formula to avoid applying for monthly increases and local
government - also working towards a formula and bus fares, leaving me with
nothing for food - so that even the soul is also now under threat.

No, we do not need a new paradigm shift. We need a new people shift first
and the sooner the better.

Austine Muroyiwa

Masvingo


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC fiasco underscores need for people-driven constitution

Zim Standard

THE disgraceful decision by a small majority of the MDC's national executive
council to participate in the forthcoming Senate elections demonstrates
clearly the paramount need for a new "people-driven" constitution.

An essential pre-requisite to the resolution of Zimbabwe's ongoing
catastrophic political, economic and social decline is the removal from
power of the regime that is directly and deliberately responsible for our
current situation. However, it is also essential that whoever replaces this
disastrous regime does not become like them.
My own support for the MDC has been based largely on what I perceived to be
the calibre of many of its leading members. However, if the MDC leadership
is now dominated by those whose main concern is access to the political
gravy train then I, for one, will no longer support them as a solution to
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. The political mercenary Sekesai
Makwavarara may no longer be an MDC member but there are clearly too many
others like her still within its ranks.

It is common knowledge that this re-creation of a Senate is nothing more
than the addition of a couple of extra carriages to the Zanu PF controlled
gravy train. For what possible reason can any self-respecting, as opposed to
self-serving, member of the MDC seek to become a senator? Do they believe,
or want us to believe, that their receiving a few crumbs as third class
passengers on the Zanu PF gravy train, with absolutely no power to influence
its direction, will in any way assist the struggling masses of Zimbabwe?

To those opportunists in the MDC who might be tempted by the pay and perks
of being a Senator, let them remember that every dollar spent on the Senate
is a dollar less for such essentials as education, housing and health care;
not to mention the food, fuel, power and water supply, service provision,
etc. that most Zimbabweans lack. For any member of the MDC to seek a Senate
seat would be nothing more than a self-serving betrayal of the people.

Let them also remember that parliament under Zanu PF hegemony is no more
than a facade and a charade. It serves no purpose other than to mindlessly
obey the dictates of the executive and to provide a superficial and false
veneer of democratic respectability to a dictatorial system.

The MDC, in fact, should not only not have anything to do with the Senate,
it should also have nothing to do with the charade that is "parliamentary
politics" in Zimbabwe.

Perhaps there is a case for a "third force" after all. Not one which has
anything to do with such discredited politicians as Jonathan Moyo, but one
which recognises the political necessity of challenging the regime in a
manner that can be effective - and that is most certainly not in a Zanu
PF-controlled parliament, however constituted.

The people of Zimbabwe should rally behind the drive for a new
constitution - a new constitution that can save us from the likes of
Makwavarara, not just from the evils of a Zanu PF dictatorship. The key to
avoiding becoming like Zanu PF is a total commitment to a new people-driven
and people-friendly constitution. By "people-friendly" I mean a constitution
that puts the people's interests before those of the rulers.

The battle for Zimbabwe will be won by peaceful resistance outside of the
charade that is parliamentary politics in Zimbabwe under Zanu PF. If that
means by-passing the increasingly ineffectual and irrelevant MDC, so be it.

I have been informed that the current battle within the MDC is "a battle for
the soul" of the party. I presume that there is no one who believes that the
soul of the party can reside in the Senate, or in any decision that does not
put the people's interests first. Participating in parliamentary politics
has itself diminished the "soul" of the MDC, and if its soul is to be
restored it will be through effective campaigns of peaceful protest, not
through meaningless participation in the discredited chambers of Parliament.

The suffering masses of Zimbabwe have not been best served in recent times
by a dithering and indecisive opposition that does little more than play at
parliamentary politics and urge the people to mobilise themselves.

If Morgan Tsvangirai is at last prepared to offer the leadership (not
dictatorship) that is needed, as his recent statements seem to indicate,
then maybe some good will come out of this seeming shambles.

R E S Cook

Harare


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No logic in having more universities

Zim Standard

THE Zanu PF government never ceases to amaze me. Media reports and
utterances by government officials indicate that the government intends to
establish more universities probably as many as there are mosquitoes.

There are plans that each region will have a university. Proposed
universities are Lupane; Tsholotsho; Matabeleland South; a university in
Bulawayo; another one in Marondera; and in Chitungwiza.
My opinion, which I know many educationists will agree with is that this
development, will only serve to destroy further the deteriorating education
standards. It is a total antithesis to meaningful educational and economic
development for a number of reasons.

It's a stubborn fact that infrastructural developments and staff complement
in current universities is not the least impressive. We have the case of
National University of Science and Technology, buildings in this supposedly
state- of-the-art university are in a dire state and most of them have
remained uncompleted for over a decade. Plant and machinery are lying idle,
accruing costs which the taxpayer will be expected to make good. The
completion of these buildings namely the library, residence halls and
lecture rooms is in limbo.

The Midlands State University is another case in point. To date not a single
building has been built ever since its transformation from the teachers'
college into a university. The same situation prevails at Bindura, Masvingo
and Chinhoyi universities.

Those of us in this southern part of Zimbabwe know that Lupane University
like the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, will remain a pipe dream only
to be resurrected each time there is another crucial election in the offing.

Over the years we have witnessed a painful deterioration in the education
system, which was once the envy of many countries but is now the laughing
stock of the region. Crucial examinations were localized without adequate
resources and preparation. The minister is running the ministry as badly as
ever with precious time wasted on trivial pursuits and fighting petty wars
with schools.

Corruption is rife at ZIMSEC with officers doctoring results for their
girlfriends and relatives. We need a clean up of the system before
commitment is put on projects the government cannot handle.

The introduction of more universities will be a death knell for the
education system. Close monitoring of standards and quality of education in
individual universities will be difficult. For a country like Zimbabwe the
current number of universities is more than enough. If the government fails
to comprehend this and makes another scandalous decision as it has done in
the past, we will have degree-milling institutions hardly recognized
anywhere in the world and producing half baked graduates.

The main thing here is that a responsible government would, in the interest
of improving manpower development and higher education in Zimbabwe, improve
the infrastructure, educational resources and staff complement in current
universities. A trivial issue is that an irresponsible government would make
populist decisions to portray an image that there is some development taking
place.

Zimbabwe and its people deserve better.

Asher Tarivona-Mutsengi

Solusi University

Figtree


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Black market in the dark as Zimdollar falls

Zim Standard

marketmovers with Kumbirai Mafunda

THE parallel market looked destined for extermination last week as the
battered Zimbabwe dollar significantly depreciated against major trading
currencies on the recently introduced interbank market.

In less than a week of flirting with the interbank market in which the
forces of supply and demand determine prices, it was envisaged that the
parallel market, which has been prevalent for the past six years, would be
wiped out.
Most traders were beginning to adopt the new exchange system, which dealers
said was more flexible and less risky. Under the new interbank system called
the Tradable Foreign Currency Balance System, which was introduced by the
central bank on 20 October 2005 exporters are required to sell 70% of their
receipts at "market determined rates" and 30% to the RBZ-controlled auction
while holders of free funds can liquidate their funds at the prevailing bank
rate. Prior to the introduction of the interbank market, the central bank
was powerless to stop the growing disparity between the official and black
market rate.

With only a day after inception last Friday, most commercial banks quoted
rates as high as $97 000 to the United States dollar. As rates fluctuated
the interbank rate was priced between $85 000 and $110 000 to the American
greenback.

"It is most likely that the parallel market, which has been prevalent for
the past years will be eliminated as most traders will adopt this new
system," said a leading treasury manager in Harare.

However, critics allege that following a meeting convened early last week
between the Treasury Forum, Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and the Reserve
bank, the Zimbabwe dollar began appreciating trading at between $58 000 and
$60 500 to the US dollar at nearly all the country's commercial banks.
Dealers reported that buyers were prepared to offer their currencies at
rates between $55 200 and $58 200 to the American unit, while sellers rates
were indicated in the range of $60 000 to $70 000. Reflecting the interbank
rate cross currency movements, the local currency significantly appreciated
against most major currencies.

But, this prompted critics to cast doubt on the autonomy of the new system.
Competition, critics feared, could now be based on other variable factors
excepting market forces.

"We would expect a range of prices," said Witness Chinyama financial analyst
at Kingdom. Price fix is not in the spirit of a market system, he added.

Analysts observe that the collusion between banks could be detrimental to
black banks, which are beginning to find their feet in a painful
environment. By late Friday it was feared that banks would now compete on
non-price factors and benefit traditional banks.

Chinyama cautioned that as long as there seems to be interference the
parallel market will not be contained. "It will fuel the suspicion of
traders," he said.

Dealers said the success of the new system will only be measured by the
amount of free funds flowing through the official channels and not through
export earnings, which the central bank was policing into formal channels.

Email: kumbiraim@standard.mweb.co.zw


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State slammed for fiscal indiscipline

Zim Standard

By our staff

MIDLANDS - Zimbabwe's current economic crisis stems from government's fiscal
indiscipline, participants at a pre-budget meeting said last week.

In submissions made at a consultative indaba hosted by the ministry of
Finance in Gweru Tuesday, several participants said that government should
learn to live within its means and stick to the budget as well as to
harmonise political and economic decisions.
A businessman, Ralph Nyoni, said while it was acknowledged that successive
years of drought have exacerbated economic problems, while lack of fiscal
discipline, poor planning and discord in policies, were some of the major
causes of the existing hardships.

"Although successive years of drought have compounded the economic crisis,
fiscal indiscipline and discord in policies are the major causes of our
problems.

"We have on one hand, the central bank, through the governor, showing
serious commitment to turning around the economy, and we have on the other
hand, government and political leaders making pronouncements and decisions
that militate against this," Nyoni said.

Trust Chikohora, an accountant, echoed Nyoni's sentiments adding that there
should be harmony between economic and political decisions.

"When the finance ministry draws up a budget, government should always stick
to that budget. Sticking to the budget will help curtail unnecessary
expenditure and will ultimately lessen the burden on taxpayers.

"I am sure everyone agrees that if we are to get out of the current economic
hardships, we also need to re-engage the international community including
the international financial institutions. However, there should be a
consolidated, harmonized approach in doing this," Chikohora said.

Deputy Minister of Finance David Chapfika, representing the ministry,
concurred with the observations and said government was working out to
harmonise its policies as well to reduce expenditure by reducing the number
of civil servants.

Other participants also pointed out that price controls were making it
difficult for business to remain profitable.

Chapfika pointed out that government had removed price controls on all
commodities except sugar, wheat and maize. He said government would continue
to monitor the prices of all goods to ensure that there was no profiteering.

Cephas Msipa, the Midlands Governor, other government officials and people
from various business sectors attended the meeting.

Although government has blamed the current economic crisis on successive
droughts and sanctions, some observers have noted that the real cause of
Zimbabwe's problems is gross mismanagement characterised by fiscal
indiscipline, dissonance in policies, misplaced priorities and partisan or
populist decisions made for political expediency.

Former finance minister Dr Simba Makoni, who resigned from cabinet after
President Robert Mugabe described his suggestion to devalue the Zimbabwean
dollar as being tantamount to sabotage, has been on record as saying that
politics and economics are "two sides of the same coin".

Government's resolution to commit Zimbabwean troops in the Democratic
Republic of Congo conflict in 1998 and the unbudgeted for payment of
gratuities to war veterans in 1997 triggered the economic crisis.

Earlier this year, government also decided to award $36b in perks to
ex-detainees and ex-restrictees, a move which central bank governor Dr
Gideon Gono, initially opposed, but later went along with after political
pressure was brought to bear upon him.

The recent decision to re-introduce a Senate is also seen as another glaring
example of unplanned for expenditure.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Region ponders power shortage

Zim Standard

By Ndamu Sandu

SOUTHERN Africa Power Pool (SAPP) members meet in Johannesburg next month as
they try to find investors into the electricity industry ahead of power
shortages in the region in 2007.

Southern Africa is threatened with power shortages if nothing is done to
boost capacity. Net capacity is expected to reach 45 000MW while peak demand
is expected to be over 45 000MW in 2007.
Power demand in the SAPP region has been increasing at a rate of 3% in the
last six years while there has not been any significant investment in
generation in the last 10 years despite the rising demand.

Standardbusiness heard last week that the 21 November meeting would
culminate in the presentation of projects that can be commissioned by 2010.

SAPP systems studies supervisor Alison Chikova last week confirmed the
meeting saying SAPP would present a sub list of projects to the financiers.

"In Namibia, power utilities presented their projects but in Johannesburg
the projects will be presented under SAPP," Chikova said.

Last month SAPP members met at a Regional Electricity Investment Conference
from 19-21 September where power utilities presented proposals to potential
investors that included the World Bank, African Development Bank, the
European Union, Bank of Namibia and Bank of Tokyo among others.

At next month's indaba, SAPP will present projects that can be attained by
2010, Chikova says.

Notable financiers to grace the meeting will be the World Bank and
Development Bank of South Africa. DBSA are the organisers of the historic
meeting.

The idea of an investment conference is the brainchild of SADC Energy
ministers who at a meeting last year proposed an indaba with financiers top
cushion the region against electricity shortages in 2007.

This has culminated in SAPP members identifying short- term priority
generation projects envisaged to output 8 764MW by 2009.

Long term projects which run from 2010 to 2020 will generate 31 743MW, SAPP
says.

A 12-member organisation, SAPP has a power installed capacity of 52 743MW
but having a net capacity of 45 044MW meaning that it is not exploiting its
capacity to potential. Figures from SAPP show that in 2004 its peak demand
was 41 036MW.

Members under SAPP include Botswana Power Corporation (Botswana),
Electricidade de Mocambique (Mozambique), Electricity Supply Corporation of
Malawi (Malawi), Empresa Nacional de Electricidade (Angola), South Africa's
ESKOM), Lesotho Electricity Corporation and NAMPOWER of Namibia. Other
members are Societe Nationale d'Electricite (DRC), Swaziland Electricity
Board, Tanzania Electricity Supply Company Ltd, Zambia's ZESCO Limited and
ZESA Holdings.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gono seeks divine intervention

Zim Standard

By Kumbirai Mafunda

IN the most lucid admission of failure since taking over the reins at the
central bank two years ago, an exasperated Governor Gideon Gono once again
appealed for divine intervention in his daunting task to bring under control
the country's run-away economy.

As his shock therapy appears to have been ineffective, Gono, for the second
time in 2005, admitted that the country was entangled in a deep crisis. He
had in July sought outside influence in curing the country's economic ills.
In his catalogue of the country's woes a fortnight ago, the central bank
Governor lamented workers' diminishing disposable incomes, worsening
poverty, company closures, shortages of medical drugs and foreign currency
shortages as some of the tribulations haunting Zimbabweans.

The severity of the crisis prompted the previously self-assured central bank
chief to seek heavenly intervention to halt Zimbabwe's seven-year-old
economic decline.

"In God's hands I commit this monetary policy statement," a humbled Gono
said after delivering of his two-hour long sermon which was broadcast live
on national television.

However, critics said whether by appealing to divine forces the central bank
Governor was demonstrating his religious inclinations or playing to the
gallery his catalogue of Zimbabwe's ills was a stark admission of defeat.
"God also helps those who help themselves," said Eric Bloch, economic
commentator and adviser to Gono.

Nonetheless, notwithstanding the glaring evidence that Zimbabwe's recovery
wheels are off the rails, a defiant Gono stuck to his guns reiterating his
favourite refrain that "failure is not an option."

"We will conquer and overcome our challenges," Gono vowed.

Gono warned that this time around his new tonic would need Zimbabweans to
shed more blood and sweat before they can be merry.

But embittered Zimbabweans say they can no longer make any more sacrifices.
They say they have given in so many times since President Robert Mugabe
appointed Gono as Governor of the central bank in December 2003.

"We have contended with so much and right now we can't take any more," said
Tendai Machimbi, a resident of Chitungwiza.

In August, finance minister Hebert Murerwa implored Zimbabweans to tighten
their belts as the government grappled to fix the worsening economic crisis.

However, Peter Robinson of Zimconsult reckons Gono's petition is
self-serving. "The chefs are not making any sacrifices," observes Robinson.

With defiant inflation having climbed to 360% in September, workers and
households' savings have been swallowed up as retailers adjust the prices of
commodities. Apart from rising commodity prices, Zimbabweans are also
bearing the brunt of walking long distances to and from their workplaces
while medication is now beyond the reach of many.

During his two-hour speech, an increasingly exasperated Gono blamed nearly
every sector of the Zimbabwean society for the country's woes. He shifted
his blame from the usual targets, banks, tourism industry and even
individuals to critical journalists and economists.

As Zimbabwe's six-year - old hard currency squeeze bites, Gono accused the
two groups of worsening Zimbabwe's precarious economic situation by their
negative stories and "lack of appreciation of the economic tribulations".

Although the central bank chief had in July remained steadfast that his
initial year-end inflation target of 80% was achievable, reality seemed to
have dawned on him this time around he revised his figures, projecting
inflation will close the year between 280-300%. But economists were not
impressed saying, instead, inflation was more likely to reach 600% by year
end.

"We still cannot reverse these things," said Bloch. His figures are too
optimistic and his revision is an admission of defeat." Already the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) is talking of inflation notching 400% by
the end of the year.

Gono who single handedly, has tried to mend fences with the IMF, ignored
President Robert Mugabe's call to move away from the Bretton Woods
institution.

A defiant Mugabe last month told Zimbabweans based in Cuba that the
crisis-wrecked nation does not need the IMF and would survive without the
global lender. But, in contrast, Gono underlined the fact that to survive,
Harare needs the support of international lending institutions.

"We need to firmly believe and commit to being part of the global village
where investment capital flows to those destinations that assure safety and
sanctity of private property rights," he said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Votocracy' is not democracy

Zim Standard

Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

LAST week a number of readers berated me for not writing this column for the
last two weeks. I apologised and explained to them that the previous week I
didn't write because I was hunting for cheaper fuel on the parallel market.

Despite our esteemed President's promise that within a week the precious
liquid was going to be plentiful "jakachaka" in Zimbabwe we have yet to see
a drop. In fact, things are now worse. The place is as good as dry.
The few parallel market dealers "Mabhoora ngoma" as they are called, who are
able to get diesel or petrol are smiling all the way to the bank. They are
selling it for anything from $650 000 for five litres. Rumour has it that
they are being supplied by Zanu PF chefs and cellphone farmers who are being
given preference by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

Last week I was unable to write because my older brother, Robson Tozonziyi
Wakatama died after a short illness. It was a traumatic experience for me
because Tozo was so full of life that I never imagined he would die, just
like that.

As many residents of Mbare around Stodart Hall know, Tozo was the life of
the community. He was a jovial friend to both young and old. The hundreds of
residents who attended his funeral were a testimony to that.

Tozo was a jazz lover. He was also a Mbare township music guru. He counted
among his personal friends music luminaries such as Sonny Sondo of the City
Quads, Faith Dauti, Dorothy Masuka, Bill Saidi, Chase Mhango, Temba
Mandizha, Charles Fernando, Simangaliso Tutani, Gibson Mandishona, Ruth
Mpisaunga, Andrew Chakanyuka and members of the Bulawayo-based Golden Rhythm
Crooners.

Before he died, he had instructed my young brother Cosmas and Sahwira
Clement Chanakira that they should play jazz music by Louis Armstrong and
Hugh Masekela after his burial. This they did.

I would like to thank all those who mourned with us and comforted us during
our time of bereavement, especially members of the Christian Marching
Church, who conducted services and the burial. May he rest in peace.

When I started to think of what I should write about for today, the rift in
the MDC came uppermost in my mind. Just then I received a message from our
African-American friend, Irene Chikaka, informing me about the death of Rosa
Parks at the age of 92. I couldn't help but pay tribute to this doughty
African American woman, who got Dr Martin Luther King Jnr into the struggle
for the emancipation of oppressed blacks in the US.

She was called the mother of the modern day civil rights movement in
America. On 1 December 1955 she, as blacks were supposed to do, refused to
give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery Alabama. She started
a protest against racial discrimination that was felt throughout the United
States. Her quiet courageous act of defiance against injustice changed
America and according to the New Orleans Agenda, "redirected the course of
history. Most historians cite that date as the beginning of the civil rights
movement in the United States.

This bus incident led to the formation of the Montgomery Improvement
Association led by a young pastor of the Dexter Baptist Church by the name
of Martin Luther King Jnr. The association called for a boycott of the
city-owned bus company. They chose to walk rather than be insulted. Later,
many whites joined them. This brought Dr King and their cause to the
attention of the whole world. It also launched Dr King on his journey to
freedom not only for blacks but for all of America.

Former President Bill Clinton presented Rosa Parks with the Congressional
Medal of Freedom in 1995.

Rosa Parks was neither a feminist nor a gender activist. She was an ordinary
dignified woman who refused to be treated as a second-class citizen in her
own country. I am sick and tired of women who go on and on about gender
equality when they meekly submit to chauvinistic and domineering husbands
and do nothing about our own oppressive society. They should learn from Rosa
Parks.

I take my hat off to real women "Amafazi sibili" like Beatrice Mtetwa, the
lawyer for oppressed journalists, Jenni Williams of Women of Zimbabwe Arise,
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga of the MDC and others who are today standing
up to the fierce Zanu PF monolith. These are the real women of Zimbabwe. Not
those who are married but wear another man's picture on their clothes.

The late revolutionary hero, Eddison Zvobgo once said: "If my wife is going
to wear a man's picture on her breasts and buttocks it will be my picture."
I totally agreed with him.

Enough said about that. Let's turn to the more pressing issue, which is the
rift within the MDC. Some alarmists are saying this spells doom for the MDC
and the struggle against Zanu PF hegemony in Zimbabwe. That is hogwash. I
for one am elated because now the chaff is being separated from the wheat.

The MDC has rightly been accused of prevarication. In this column a few
weeks ago, I said it was confused and confusing the people as well. In the
last general elections they took too long to decide on whether to
participate in those elections or not.

One day I met Morgan Tsvangirai about this. He told me that his own personal
view was that they should not participate in those elections because they
were going to be rigged. However, as a democrat, he would abide by the
majority feeling in the party. Now we know who was agitating for
participation.

As was predicted by even those with low IQs the elections were properly
rigged. The MDC went whining to the courts. Anyone who can expect justice or
judgement against Zanu PF in matters political is stupidly nave to say the
least.

Now come the Senate elections. It all started when President Robert Mugabe
as part of his succession strategy decided to re-introduce the Senate. It
has nothing, whatsoever, to do with solving the crisis facing the nation. It
is strictly a Zanu PF affair, which will in fact create more poverty for us
all by creating unnecessary jobs for Zanu PF failures.

From the very beginning, Tsvangirai, the MDC leader said the MDC should
boycott this useless election. This was and is the view of most Zimbabweans.
Instead of following their leader the national council insisted on
"consulting party structures" since the MDC was a democratic party.

After the so-called consultations the council, many of whose members hope to
win safe seats and make it into the Senate voted 33-31in favour of
participation. Tsvangirai refused to accept the vote and went his own way,
which happens to be the people's way.

MDC Secretary-General Professor Welshman Ncube accused Tsvangirai of being
dictatorial and of violating the party's constitution by not accepting the
council's narrow majority decision. What he fails to understand is that
votocracy is not necessarily democracy. In this case, the majority vote was
neither democratic nor moral. The council members were supposed to consult
grassroots on members of the party and then vote according to their
feelings. They did not do this because a good number of them were already
campaigning for Senate seats.

A case in point is that of Alois Mudzingwa. Before the vote Tsvangirai
specifically asked him how he could reconcile his personal wish to be a
senator and his province's contrary position. The Mashonaland East province
chairperson glibly said once he cast the vote in favour on behalf of
Mashonaland East the people would "fall in line and follow him". Was
Tsvangirai supposed to accept such undemocratic hogwash in the name of
upholding the party's constitution?

As I said before, the mere act of voting is not necessarily the practice of
democracy. Tsvangirai is more democratic because he is following the
dictates of the people who comprise the MDC and not according to the wishes
of those who are hungry for power, influence, salaries and perks. Pamberi
newe Tsvangirai. The suffering povo are behind you.

He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Does Mugabe have a conscience?

Zim Standard

sundayopinion By Ralph S Paratema

THE 60th Anniversary celebrations of the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organisation, which was held in Rome and to which President Robert Mugabe
was surprisingly invited in spite of having presided over the demise of the
agricultural sector and the erosion of food security in his own country,
afforded what has become a rare opportunity to visit Europe.

He did not waste time thundering to the delegates: "I have a heart. I have a
conscience and I will not let anything untoward happen to my people!" He
said this in spite of overwhelming evidence on the ground that the President
has been the biggest threat to "his people's" survival in the past five
years.
If President Mugabe has a conscience then it certainly must be a guilt
conscience. Otherwise how else is he expected to feel if not guilty if
fellow statesmen like Frederick Chiluba, Bakili Muluzi, Sam Nujoma, Joacquim
Chissano, Nelson Mandela, Ali Hassan Mwinyi all retired and now Benjamin
Mkapa is retiring.

Is it not significant that some of these men have all come to bid farewell
to our President? Perhaps this was their way of persuading him to also
follow suit.

The retirement of these leaders also points to the weakness in the
Zimbabwean constitution which allows a leader to remain in office until "the
donkeys grow horns" if I may borrow from the late Vice President Simon
Muzenda. While Mugabe has amended the country's constitution seventeen times
in the time that he has been in power it has been to entrench his
stranglehold on the crown. The most notable amendment to the constitution
was made in 1987 through which Mugabe transformed himself from a Prime
Minister into the omnipotent executive president that he has become.

President Mugabe's statement that he would not let anything untoward happen
to his people is probably the most hypocritical statement ever uttered by a
national leader in a long time. The people who sarcastically applauded after
his utterances probably still remembered his "Operation Murambatsvina"
through which he rendered over 700 000 of his people homeless.

The operation was undertaken with lightning speed and breathtaking brutality
and was specifically carried out in the middle of the winter season to
ensure it inflicted the maximum pain and suffering possible. Donors and
church organisations who intended to assist victims of this diabolic
operation were forbidden. So much for having a conscience and a heart!

Zimbabwe is in the midst of a drought which, together with bad policies,
have exacerbated food shortages. Zanu PF politicians, particularly those
from Manicaland and Masvingo provinces are aware of the chronic food
shortages that are prevailing in their areas. They have fully exploited this
by bringing truck loads of maize towards an election in order to entice
hungry villagers to vote for them. Mugabe has clearly said that donors who
are intent on providing food aid should not foist Zimbabweans with food. He
has said this in spite of numerous reports of people who have starved to
death. Traditional leaders have been politicised and will refuse to write
names of perceived opposition supporters so that they may buy maize whenever
the Grain Marketing Board makes it available.

The economic situation has continued to deteriorate with inflation now at
almost 360%. Bread is $35 000 a loaf while rentals in the high-density
suburbs are now up to one million dollars a room. Meanwhile an average civil
servant takes home less than two million dollars. Transport costs have
ballooned beyond imagination. There are persistent fuel shortages while the
education and health delivery systems have virtually collapsed. It is
unimaginable that things can be more "untoward" than this.

Mugabe and Zanu PF's victories in the past three elections have been
shrouded in controversy. One of the reasons why the election results have
been challenged in court has been the use of political violence to get into
political office. The most prominent case of violence was the one in which a
CIO operative, one Joseph Mwale, threw a petrol bomb that killed Talent
Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya.

A High Court judge recommended that Mwale be prosecuted. Needless to say the
judge was hounded out of the bench and to date Mwale is still a free man.
The police claim that they are unaware of his whereabouts when it is common
knowledge that he is still employed by the state security agency in
Manicaland.

The case of people benefiting from presidential pardons after committing
politically motivated crimes is not new. In 1990 Patrick Kombayi dared to
challenge Simon Muzenda for the Gweru parliamentary seat. He was gunned down
by two CIO operatives and left for dead. The two Chivamba and Kanengoni were
arrested, tried and sentenced but were almost immediately given a
presidential pardon by Mugabe. Maybe that is why he claims to have both a
heart and a conscience.

Is it by mere coincidence that all the people who have dared challenge
Mugabe, except Edgar Tekere, have at one time or the other been accused of
attempting to kill him? Ndabaningi Sithole, whom Mugabe never forgave until
his death, Joshua Nkomo and Morgan Tsvangirai are notable examples. Is this
paranoia or is it mere heartlessness?

If Mugabe really has a heart and a conscience and does not want anything
untoward to happen to his people then he must consider bringing forward his
retirement date from 2008. Perhaps he could give Zimbabweans an early
Christmas present by choosing the forthcoming Zanu PF conference to announce
his decision to leave office.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A purge is necessary to save MDC

Zim Standard

sundayfocus By Josiah Bambo

THERE are two incidents that caught my attention at the height of the
often-violent land invasions four years ago and demonstrated how base the
human psyche could get.

One was an altercation that occurred involving a group of ex-combatants
occupying a farm against a group of "new settlers" who had been given
occupation letters for the same farm by the district administrator (DA). The
war veterans claimed right of occupation because, they claimed, they were
the foot soldiers that chased away the original white commercial farmer. So,
according to them, had it not been for their vigilance the white man would
still be there and no offer letters from the DA would have materialized.
The new farmers maintained they had government letters and, therefore, were
the legal occupants. After bickering for days one war veteran suggested they
burn the farmhouse, so none of them would live in it. Apparently, the
differences were over occupation of the farmhouse, not farming. The house
was doused with petrol and burnt. That is how the problem was solved.

In another case, one war veteran promised a beast for his relative's wedding
because, he said, he was "given land". Upon arrival at the farm, another war
veteran was jealously guarding a herd of healthy cattle, which he too
claimed was his because he was the most instrumental in chasing away the
former commercial rancher. Sensing danger the second veteran begrudgingly
agreed to release the beast to save the rest.

These two incidents remind me of the current chaotic squabbles within
Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

To start with, MDC's Welshman Ncube's pro-participation faction has no
business in the Senate because the party in general and he in particular
roundly condemned the 17th Amendment of the Constitution that gave birth to
the Senate. There is definitely no democratic space to defend in that Zanu
PF project that is more of a retirement home for the party's geriatrics. It
has also more to do with President Robert Mugabe's succession saga than
entrenching democracy in the country.

What is more, Zanu PF has already "won" 19 seats unopposed on top of the
spare 16 constitutionally guaranteed. Morgan Tsvangirai was right to call
for a boycott of a poll that "breeds illegitimate and predetermined
outcomes".

The factions raised the stakes too high by taking their power struggle into
the public domain, including giving interviews to the ferociously anti-MDC
State media, which doesnot care anymore about factualism, balance or
editorialisation.

Registration of 27 candidates under an MDC flag and their tacit approval by
Paul Themba-Nyathi raised the stakes even higher. It's difficult if not
impossible to climb down.

Tsvangirai vowed to stop Senate campaigns amid serious allegations of
insider violence against the pro-participation faction. In defiance the
party's Bulawayo spokesperson, Victor Moyo, declared Matabeleland a
restricted zone for Tsvangirai because it is an Ndebele territory.

Out of the blue, St Mary's MP, Job Sikhala, poured more petrol on the house
by publicly claiming and reiterating that MDC leadership received funding
from foreign governments-US$2.5 million from Nigeria, Ghana and Taiwan. He
too, like Moyo, adds another layer of problems because the Zanu PF
government's approach is likely to force an Ari Ben Menashe-type trial under
the Political Parties (Finance) Act. Zanu PF spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira,
milking Sikhala's "revelations" speculated on televison that with that kind
of underhand funding there was a possibility of gun trafficking. The circus
became more ridiculous by Sikhala's futile attempts to disown his claims
accusing journalists of misquoting him.

It is not easy for Tsvangirai to "restart" his party to its 2000 glory but
he has to do it or risk irrelevance. To stamp his authority he obviously
needs to purge some unfaithful compatriots. But the rebels might have some
power of their own. Undoubtedly, some of the top officials have an arsenal
of party secrets they can use, to spitefully burn the house should they feel
they have nothing to gain. Sikhala's claims may be a harbinger.

Tsvangirai can still come out stronger if he goes back to the people. He
needs a countrywide roll out programme, not just to thwart Senate campaigns
but also to rejuvenate and restore public confidence in opposition politics.

By calling for a boycott of the Senate, Tsvangirai merely confirmed a
suspicion that was dawning on weary Zimbabweans that elections could not
remove Mugabe's regime under the current biased electoral conditions. Now
that he has abandoned elections strategy, he should convince the people that
there is another route to achieve democratic change.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's new forex regime gains favour

Business Report

October 31, 2005

Harare - A week after crisis-ridden Zimbabwe launched a new foreign exchange
trading system, the local currency has shed a third of its value to reflect
realistic levels prevailing in the parallel market.

The Zimbabwe dollar bucked from its official exchange rate of 26 000 to the
greenback to an average of 74 000 in the week after the country decided to
launch inter-bank trading.

Rates however varied widely from one bank to another with some offering 58
000 dollars while others went above 85 000 compared to the average parallel
market rate of around 100 000.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe on October 21 introduced the new tradable foreign
currency system (TFCBS) to replace a 21-month-old auction system, where the
buying and selling rates were largely controlled by the central bank.

Under the new regime, exporters can sell foreign exchange at a
market-determined rate.

Non-governmental organisations and embassies can also sell their currency in
the inter-bank market while importers can likewise access foreign exchange
at the market rate.

Exporters can now trade 70 percent of their foreign currency earnings at the
market-determined rate while the remaining 30
percent has to be surrendered to the central bank at the official rate,
which is adjusted from time to time.

The move to end six years of central bank control over foreign exchange got
the thumbs up from analysts.

"This was a very bold decision and a step forward," said economist Witness
Chinyama.

A University of Zimbabwe economic commentator, Charles Halimana, said
central bank governor Gideon Gono tried to match the parallel market rates
without officially announcing a devaluation.

"It is a really effort on the part of Gono to rein in the parallel market,"
said Halimana.

Last year the central bank tried a foreign exchange auction system, also
with the aim of clamping down on the underground market, but it proved to be
a non-starter.

Zimbabwe has long been experiencing a shortage of foreign currency as
external debts have accumulated, while the government has failed to import
adequate vital commodities such as fuel and medicines.

But in recent weeks the southern African country made a surprise debt
repayment to the International Monetary Fund of $135 million of a $295
million dollar loan. It plans to clear the remaining debt by next year.

Zimbabwe started controlling the exchange market by fixing the rate at which
the Zimbabwe dollar traded against foreign currencies, in 1999 - a year
after international donors froze aid to the country.

Bretton Woods institutions pulled out after disagreements over huge
unbudgeted payouts to veterans of the country's liberation war and the
funding of Harare's participation in the war in the Democratic Republic of
Congo.

The first major pinch was to be felt in December 1999 when fuel supplies
started dwindling.

While the parallel market has been blamed in part for skyrocketing
inflation, currently hovering at 360 percent, analysts believe the new forex
system is unlikely to push inflation further since prices have already been
pegged on the parallel foreign exchange rate.

"If we have more stability now (in the forex market), I think it will help
control inflation," said independent economist Robertson.

But others said stability can only be achieved by the supply side.

"It also depends on how much forex is flowing through the market but at the
moment there is a shortage of that currency. My suspicion is that people
will go back to the parallel market," said Halimana. - AFP


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Illegal immigrants using Zimbabwe as transit point: report

Africasia.com

31/10/2005 07:31 HARARE (AFP)

At least 300 refugees have deserted holding camps in Zimbabwe in the past
two months raising fears that illegal immigrants are using the country as a
transit point, a state daily reported Monday.

"At least 300 Somalis and Ethiopians who entered the country seeking refugee
status in the past two months have vanished from holding camps while the
government was still processing their asylum papers," the Herald newspaper
said.

"We are worried about this trend and feel Zimbabwe is being used as a
transit point for irregular migration into other countries," the newspaper
quoted Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi as saying.

The Herald said hundreds of foreigners mostly from the Great Lakes region
were suspected to have crossed into Zimbabwe through undesignated points
since July en route to South Africa, Botswana and other Southern African
Development Community (SADC) countries.

Twenty-six immigrants from Somalia were arrested in Harare last month after
turning themselves over to the police.

"Irregular migration has negatively impacted on the social aspect of
communities in Zimbabwe," The Herald quoted Mugwadi as saying.

"We have received reports of marriages of convenience in the case of most
Nigerian immigrants and the general flooding of foreigners not employed in
the formal system but leading luxurious lives."

The Herald said the majority of the refugees came through Zimbabwe's eastern
and northern borders with Mozambique and Zambia, some hiring boats or canoes
to avoid detection.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed there was an inflow of refugees,
saying they were coming from the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Somalia
and the Great Lakes Region "through both legal and illegal entry points."

"Some (are) coming to stay, some (are) on their way to other countries," he
told AFP.

In June, Zimbabwean police arrested 61 foreigners in a crackdown on illegal
immigrants and criminals and an accompanying unpopular urban clean-up
campaign which left hundreds of thousands destitute and homeless.

The suspected illegal immigrants included Burundians, Congolese,
Mozambicans, Malawians, Nigerians and Zambians.

Back to the Top
Back to Index