Nelson Banya News Editor
Shamu linked to controversy-hit safari firm
IN what could be a blatant case of influence peddling, a safari operator has
revealed that Policy Implementation Minister Webster Shamu - whose
involvement with the HHK Safari company has been the source of controversy -
is just a "front man" in the venture who does not own any shares.
Shamu's association with Charles Davy of HHK has focused the spotlight on
the company, with calls from both the United States and United Kingdom -
regular feeder countries for Zimbabwe's multi-billion dollar hunting
industries - that the safari company's operations be put under sanctions
that have been slapped on government and ruling ZANU PF officials and their
However, HHK managing director Graham Hingeston, who claims Davy is no
longer a shareholder in the business, has sensationally told a US hunting
journal, The Hunting Report, that Shamu was never a joint venture partner in
HHK as has previously been reported.
Instead, the senior ZANU PF politician's involvement was as a token of
indigenisation, Hingeston revealed.
"In 1999, HHK Safaris wanted to purchase the hunting rights for Chirisa off
Ingwe Safaris, which had purchased the lease on auction in 1994. In order
for Ingwe to be allowed to participate in the auction, they had to have an
indigenous partner, and this person happened to be Webster Shamu (remember -
this was in 1994, a long time before any sanctions were enacted).
"Ingwe successfully purchased the area on the auction and entered into an
agreement with Mr Shamu whereby he received a nominal fee for acting as the
front person. The company which held the lease was called Famba Safaris.
"Mr Shamu signed an agreement abdicating all rights to the Chirisa safari
area in terms of management, profit sharing, etc. Understand, Mr Shamu
invested not one cent of his own funds into the deal, which is why he was
quite happy to sign any agreement," Hingeston wrote in an e-mail response to
The Hunting Report.
Shamu has, however, dismissed the assertions as "nonsense."
"Do not be misled. How can he say that? Ndinoita shareholder asina
chaakaita?" Shamu protested.
He said he had founded Famba Safaris together with a business associate, the
late Richard Makore.
"Go to Parks (the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management) and find out
when we bought Famba. We bought it and then Richard passed away. His wife
assumed ownership of the shares, which she only sold when she relocated. I
hold 60 percent of the shareholding in Famba," Shamu said.
Asked about the relationship between Famba and HHK, Shamu said the latter
was just a marketing company.
He said: "HHK is a marketing company. When you want to sell your quotas you
go through a marketing company, that's all there is to it. You have to
realise that when we entered this industry, we had no knowledge of how it
works, we had to contract professional hunters and marketers."
However, HHK Safaris says it is a safari operator which incorporates Famba
Safaris, among others.
"HHK Safaris is one of the top safari operators in Zimbabwe with exclusive
marketing and management rights to some of Zimbabwe's finest hunting and
fishing concessions, operating over 15 different camps around the country,"
the official company website states.
The company, which also lays claim to being the largest safari operator in
Zimbabwe, incorporates operations from Birmakino Safaris, Bulembi Safaris,
Famba Safaris, Mazunga Safaris, and National Safaris.
HHK has come under increasing pressure from sanctions lobbyists, owing to
its links with Shamu. The British press has taken a particular interest in
the issue after it emerged that Prince Harry was courting Davy's daughter,
A recent report in the British Mail on Sunday carried a widely reproduced
article on "the extent of the wildlife slaughter that has made millions for
the family of Chelsy Davy, girlfriend of Britain's Prince Harry."
The report also made allegations of racism, bribery and foreign currency
externalisation against HHK. The company has, in recent months, made efforts
to distance itself from Davy and, according to The Hunting Report, Shamu.
A statement from the company says Davy is no longer a shareholder or
director in HHK following some "structural changes" in 2005.
"The shareholders of HHK Safaris are Graham and Anton Hingeston and BTC
Safaris, represented by Anthony Crick of Bulawayo and Marty Wood of
Monticello, Florida. Bulawayo Trading Company Safari Outfitters (BTC
Safaris) is a Zimbabwean registered and owned company.
"Graham Hingeston is the managing director of the group, while Anton
Hingeston and Anthony Crick join as co-directors of the company," the
company announced in a statement posted on its website.
Hingeston was said to be "out of signal range" when The Financial Gazette
called his office yesterday.
Perspectives with Jonathan Maphenduka
THAT Vice-President Joseph Msika cannot be expected to continue on the job
after President Robert Mugabe's retirement cannot be argued. His age - he is
reputed to be far older than the President - militates against his
What is arguable is whether President Mugabe will indeed retire in 2008.
There is a lot of talk that his retirement may be delayed until 2010. This
would require amendment of the constitution to allow the next presidential
election to coincide with the next parliamentary elections, and moves in
that direction are already being considered.
Meanwhile, of great interest is the succession debate which tips
Vice-President Joice Mujuru as the next President. This focuses attention on
who will then succeed her as vice-president.
Ruling party national chairman and Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo (72) is
well-positioned for that position and is therefore tipped to become Mujuru's
deputy. But of some nuisance value is the suggestion that Dumiso Dabengwa
might challenge Nkomo for the job. I would not put my money on him even if
my arm were being twisted!
After the break-up of the government of national unity in 1982, Dabengwa was
among those who were arrested and later faced treason charges. He was
acquitted and later became Minister of Home Affairs following the 1987 unity
accord. That detention smudge has haunted him ever since, and it is unlikely
that king-makers in the ruling party have forgotten it. Even more serious is
the fact that he has become a liability to the party after losing two
elections in succession.
Not that his rival has won any since Joshua Nkomo's death, but John Nkomo
has a more illustrious record and President Mugabe gives him a lot of ear,
it is said.
Dabengwa therefore is unlikely to rise to heights above his current position
of being leader of a pressure group in Matabeleland region, especially
pertaining to the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP).
It is difficult therefore to see him posing a serious challenge to Nkomo if
he were to seek support for one of the vice-presidential positions.
Who is John Landa Nkomo? His meteoric rise up the political ladder began in
earnest in 1971 when he joined the African National Council (ANC), a
regrouping of nationalist movements after the banning of ZAPU and ZANU.
The ANC was headed by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, with Gordon Chavunduka as
secretary-general, and Nkomo became deputy secretary-general. In March 1975,
Nkomo was sent to Lusaka to head the ANC office in the Zambian capital with
Simon Muzenda as his assistant.
At independence in 1980, he became Minister of State in Deputy Prime
Minister Simon Muzenda's office. When Joshua Nkomo was fired from the
government in March 1982, John Nkomo was one of two junior ministers with
Cephas Msipa who remained in government.
His detractors like to see this as a dark patch in his career. But they
overlook the dictum that in politics there are no rules to tick off, and
that more often than not the end justifies the means and this is why
politics is such a beautiful art of the possible. He can therefore dismiss
the so-called dark patch as a non-event.
His political career suffered a temporary set-back in November 1984 when
then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe sacked him and Msipa from the cabinet,
accusing them of involvement in subversive activities. But he bounced back.
Nkomo was appointed Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in 1988 following
the signing of the unity accord the previous year. Since then he has held
several ministerial positions including that of Home Affairs.
Although, like Dabengwa, he has not won an election in his region since
Joshua Nkomo's death, he has continued to rise in the structures of the
party and now lies fourth in the presidium as national chairman.
There is something called predestination. John Nkomo appears to have been
favoured for its appointment. His name alone has a touch of destiny to it
which has proved most profitable in the struggle to the top.
His first name must have been borrowed from John the revelator, the man who
showed believers the pitfalls in the way to paradise. On the other hand, is
Nkomo not the Joshua who led the children of Israel across the Jordan to the
In politics, memories tend to be long. Look at what has happened to Edgar
Tekere who returned to the fold only to discover he had to undergo some
vetting. The only thing in politics which has been known to ignore (not
forget) the past is expediency. And in the succession jigsaw puzzle
expediency has a warm place.
If I had anything to do with decision-making in ZANU PF, I would advise the
abandonment of expediency and, instead, the adoption of a more accommodating
policy. This would be the recognition of the fact that the population
comprises four main ethnic groups requiring the rotation of the presidency.
These groups are led by the Zezuru-Korekore coalition, followed by the
Ndebele-Kalanga in which the Venda, Suthu, Nambya and Tonga are included,
the Karanga, with the Manica-Shangani bringing up the rear.
Part of the 26 years in which the Zezuru-Korekore have predominated should
have been spent preparing the people to accept this phenomenon of the
population. President Mugabe would have had a free hand in ensuring that
rotation of the presidency was strictly observed. There would have been no
need for an opposition.
For instance, if John Nkomo had been installed president when Joshua Nkomo
died in 1998, instead of waiting to become vice-president in 2008 or 2010,
the MDC would have found no supporters in Matabeleland. Is this such an
outlandish proposal? But are our rulers so foolish they cannot see the
advantages? Traditional chiefs have long recognised the need to rotate a
clan's chieftainship, and look at the smoothness of their administration!
Former army chief Vitalis Zvinavashe was last week reported as saying
Masvingo Province had ceased to be a "one-party state" for the ruling ZANU
PF. He did not elaborate why and how this had become so.
But since 2000, it has become clear that the people of Masvingo have become
tired of the pretence that the "common enemy" of the Shona - a term used to
describe the coalition of Shona-speaking people - are the people of
It is clear now that the people of Masvingo now want their own to become
head of state one day. This is the reason why they backed Emmerson Mnangagwa
for the post that went to Joice Mujuru.
If this country is to avoid being condemned to inter-tribal conflict after
President Mugabe's retirement, a reappraisal of the present arrangement
which gives the Zezuru-Korekore coalition a clear deck to rule the country
for other groups, becomes absolutely imperative.
The greatest threat to peace, stability and prosperity will come from the
present arrangement that does not recognise these distinct interest blocs
which are increasingly becoming restless.
Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter
A BATTERY of rate, statutory reserve ratio hikes and finger-wagging have all
failed to tame inflation. Now analysts say Zimbabwe needs a whole new set of
tools to stem the tide.
March inflation fell at the high end of analysts' forecasts last week, but
many see the rate rising at a faster pace as the government funds a string
of new subsidies and the Zimbabwe dollar comes under renewed pressure from
an anticipated boom in money market liquidity.
The rise was slower than in February, but with a range of new farmer
subsidies and an expected rise in liquidity that could push demand for hard
currency, the landmark 1 000 percent level could be cleared with ease,
A Financial Gazette poll of five analysts and economists last week had shown
March inflation forecasts as high as 920 percent year-on-year.
The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Friday that inflation rose to
913.6 percent in March - a new high that was up 131.6 percent from February.
Month-on-month inflation, slower at 19.8 percent from 27.5 percent in
February, was also largely in line with forecasts of around 20 percent.
Rentals, up 3 016 percent, and postal services, which rose 3 062 percent on
last year, were some of the major drivers of inflation in the year to March,
the CSO said.
The March figures easily beat central bank governor Gideon Gono's forecasts
that inflation would peak at 800 percent at the end of the first quarter.
Gono said in January he expected inflation to slow in the second quarter on
"tight monetary conditions, fiscal restraint and the expected improvement in
food security" to bring the rate to below 230 percent by December.
However, economists worry that higher prices for tobacco and maize will fuel
inflation, denying Gono the second quarter slowdown that he wants.
Gono's rate hikes have hit the limit, and Zimbabwe now needs to back up the
monetary policy with a programme to rebuild confidence, they said.
"There is always a limit. We have reached that," said James Jowa, economist
at TN Financial Services.
"The rate hike no longer has any major effect on inflation. What Zimbabwe
needs now is to rebuild confidence, stop printing money and mend ties with
the international community in order to access balance of payments support,"
A Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) survey late last year showed that only 2.2
percent of Zimbabwe's business executives believed that efforts to deal with
inflation were either "good" or "excellent".
However, the government's idea of building confidence has been to announce a
range of new subsidies to farmers.
The RBZ will pay US$1.80 per kg of tobacco, plus a bonus for early delivery,
acting bank governor Charity Dhliwayo said last week.
Earlier, the government announced a 1 450 percent increase in the maize
producer price from $2 million to $31 million.
The prices have been popular with farmer groups, but critics say the result
will be bigger deficits and higher inflation.
And as the pace of inflation increases, it is going to become a lot harder
for business to predict the direction government and central bank policy is
going to take, analysts said.
"We are in a random walk situation now and it is impossible to guess what
will happen next," said Tony Hawkins, professor of business studies at the
University of Zimbabwe.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S precarious food security situation comes under the public eye
next month when a food monitoring agency inspects Harare's crop harvest,
amid revelations that donor groups will soon discontinue food aid
Government and aid agency sources disclosed this week that the crop
assessment, which will be carried out by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability
Assessment Committee-a multi-stakeholder body comprisng the World Food
Programme (WFP), Southern African Development Community institutions, non
governmental organisations (NGOs), the Famine Early Warning System (FEWSNET)
and the government- will commence in early May after rural households
complete this season's crop harvesting.
Government is reported to be increasingly jittery over the outcome of the
crop assessments, with Agriculture Minister Joseph Made this week warning
multilateral agencies against conducting "back door assessments." This
follows the preliminary findings of the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) that indicated another staple grain deficit this year
despite above-average rains.
Agricultural experts have blamed the virtual destruction of commercial
agriculture on the mismanaged land redistribution programme and other skewed
policies as well as fuel, fertiliser and seed shortages for the continued
decline in output.
The much-anticipated assessment will determine Zimbabwe's food requirements
in 2006/7 by identifying vulnerable areas in both urban and rural areas
where teacher unions report that schoolchildren are increasingly dropping
out of school because of starvation.
The crop measurement would be critical in quantifying food requirements
following another cropping season that was marred once again by poor
planning and support for new farmers.
ZIMVAC coordinator Joyce Chanetsa confirmed the forthcoming assessment when
reached yesterday; "We are just putting resources in place to carry out the
household food security and vulnerability assessment in all rural and urban
areas," said Chanetsa.
Preliminary assessments carried out by the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA)'s Foreign Agricultural Service and FEWSNET have already
indicated that Zimbabwe once again faces a serious grain deficit that will
further exert pressure on its meagre foreign currency resources through more
Despite receiving above average rains during the current season the USDA
projects a staple maize yield within the 800 000 metric tonnes to 900 000
metric tonne range about half the annual requirements
Zimbabwe has an estimated 1.8 million tonne annual grain requirement at an
average 150 000 tonnes per month. A further 500 000 tonnes are required to
maintain strategic reserves.
While Zimbabweans and the international community keenly await the results
of the crop assessment, the WFP which has been feeding 4.6 million food
insecure Zimbabweans since October 2005 says it is winding up some of its
feeding programmes at the end of this month.
"We will continue with school feeding, home-based care, orphans, vulnerable
children and people who are acutely food insecure," said Kevin Farrell, the
WFP's country director.
The WFP says it is still US$22.2 million short of some US$151 million needed
to fund its humanitarian operation until June despite repeated appeals.
Close to five million Zimbabweans require food assistance due to drought and
reduced food production in the wake of President Robert Mugabe's seizure of
mainly white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks,
which began in 2000.
Apart from grappling with food shortages, Zimbabweans are also battling with
skyrocketing inflation, unprecedented unemployment and acute foreign
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is under extreme pressure from his close associates
to act fast on sloppy Cabinet ministers in what has raised prospects of an
Sources revealed this week that the ZANU PF strongman's colleagues in the
presidency had openly told President Mugabe to institute a major surgery on
the current Cabinet in the face of a groundswell of public anger over the
deepening economic crisis.
"It is clear that some of the ministers have been overwhelmed by their
responsibilities and President Mugabe's inaction has become a cause for
concern to his close lieutenants, who would want new blood fused into the
Cabinet," said a source.
"The old man is definitely under pressure and cannot continue to ignore
advice," added the source.
The issue of a Cabinet reshuffle, said sources, featured in a tête-à-tête
the presidium had prior to President Mugabe's trip to Singapore.
In January this year, this newspaper broke the story about President Mugabe's
concern about non-performance and predilection to lie among his ministers.
This was later confirmed in an interview the veteran Zimbabwean leader had
with Newsnet titled reflections at 82.
President Mugabe specifically fingered the Agriculture, Industry and Mining
Ministries headed by Joseph Made, Obert Mpofu and Amos Midzi.
Stanley Kwenda Own Correspondent
THE Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Housing, Ignatius
Chombo, has downplayed the acquisition of a hugely underpriced upmarket
council house by Sekesai Makwavarara, the chairperson of the commission
running the city of Harare.
Makwavarara, whose penchant for unbridled self-aggrandisement has scarcely
endeared her with Harare's residents and ratepayers, who accuse her of
defecting from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to ZANU
PF and betraying the voters who elected her a councillor in 2002, has
reportedly acquired the Highlands property - which was recently renovated at
a cost of $500 million - for $780 million.
However, Chombo, who has acted expeditiously in dismissing opposition-led
council administrations in Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare on various charges
including financial irregularities, yesterday chose to look the other way as
yet another scandal broke at Town House.
"This might just be some over-enthusiasm (sic) over things that are yet to
happen. I am yet to receive the resolution number of this case from the town
clerk, who deals with these issues at council level. Once we get a report
then the full council will act on it," said Chombo.
"I just read the story in the newspaper. I was out of town and I am yet to
receive anything from the town clerk," he added.
Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya told The Financial Gazette yesterday that
Makwavarara was given the opportunity to buy the house some time last year.
He, however, declined to give further details, referring all questions to
Zivanayi Chiyangwa, the city's director of housing.
"The mayor (sic) was given an opportunity to acquire one of the council's
staff houses and she identified the one in Highlands, which was priced at
that amount at the time when the case was deliberated some time last year,"
Chiyangwa declined to comment.
The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) has demanded the immediate
removal of Makwavarara from her post and challenged Chombo "to act on
"The woman is not fit for the job and her recent excesses leave a lot to be
desired. Her unparalleled desire to spend and use money demonstrates her
questionable managerial qualifications.
"The commission is there to serve its own interests and one wonders where
the minister is when all this is happening. We don't want to tolerate this
abuse, which is clear testimony that this woman wants to get the best before
she is chucked out," CHRA chief executive officer Barnabas Mangodza said.
Makwavarara was recently in the news, reportedly demanding that the Harare
City Council purchase furniture and curtains worth an estimated $35 billion
for the mayoral residence she occupies.
Only last week, she was reported to have requested payment of $103 million
for a decoder and satellite dish, which was installed at the mansion without
the commission's approval as is required by procedure.
"Makwavarara is not the mayor of Harare. She does not have the mandate of
residents to be where she is. Continued failure by the government to call
for elections is testimony that the commission is serving political
"That woman has no right to stay in that house because it is for the
substantively elected mayor. CHRA reiterates that elections should be held
urgently to return Harare to its rightful status," said Mangodza.
Political commentator John Makumbe also slammed Makwavarara's latest
"It is very unfortunate that this woman continues her extravagant spending
on the ridiculous mansion, and now she has bought that house for a song.
This is unbelievable and only demonstrates that this reckless woman is
determined to feather her own nest and accumulate as much as she can,"
"This is absolute corruption. Chombo is doing nothing about this
self-aggrandisement while Harare residents suffer," he added.
Makwavarara's antics have raised the ire of ratepayers, coming as they do at
a time when service delivery in the city has virtually collapsed under her
Most roads in Harare are riddled with potholes, traffic lights are not
working, there are frequent reports of water contamination and refuse
collection is non-existent in some parts of the city.
Makwavarara currently resides at the plush Gunhill mayoral mansion, which
was the subject of great controversy when it was constructed several years
ago under the late Solomon Tawengwa's administration.
Makwavarara was elected councillor on an MDC ticket in 2002, before
defecting to ZANU PF and speedily replacing the popularly elected executive
mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, when Chombo booted him out of Town House.
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
VICE President Joseph Msika (83) was last week flown to Cape Town, South
Africa, in a critical condition and is being treated for what well-paced
sources said was a heart ailment at a top private hospital.
A veteran of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, the former PF-ZAPU stalwart is
reportedly being treated by specialist doctors after being taken ill because
of the suspected heart condition.
Sources said the Vice-President, who has been conspicuous by his absence
from official engagements in recent weeks, was initially treated at a
private hospital in Harare before doctors recommended that he receive
specialist treatment in South Africa.
"The VP is under the weather and presently seeking treatment in Cape Town
(South Africa)," said the source, speaking anonymously.
George Charamba, the presidential spokesman, could not be reached for
comment yesterday. Officials in Msika's office said he was not in the office
but refused to disclose his whereabouts.
Due to Zimbabwe's deteriorating health delivery system and the flight of
highly qualified doctors to greener pastures, the country's elite has
resorted to seeking specialist treatment at health institutions in
neighbouring South Africa.
High-ranking officials that have sought specialist treatment at South Africa's
hospitals include late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, the late Eddison Zvobgo
and Retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
Vice-President Msika recently informed his inner circle in ZANU PF and
colleagues in the former ZAPU that he intended relinquishing his post. His
intention to quit active politics has ignited a succession battle in
Matabeleland as senior politicians in the region position themselves to land
the job which comes with lucrative perks.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO - Godie is an architect. He loves his beer. But when he has had one
too many, he starts lambasting bottle store owners.
"How can you expect the country to prosper when it is run by bottle store
owners?" he asks in a soft drawl. But he is very serious.
His colleague, an engineer, asks: "But they do not all own bottle stores?"
"I am not saying they all run bottle stores," Godie says. "But they all
think like bottle store owners. All they are interested in are quick
returns. They are not prepared for long-term investment. They want their
profits now. This lack of foresight has destroyed our country."
Though Godie is the only drinker in the group, people quickly gather around
to hear his theory.
"Everyone should have seen it coming, but no one paid attention. At
independence most of the United (now Zupco) Buses were heading to the
industrial sites each morning and evening. They only started taking people
to town after delivering industrial workers.
"Then the drift started, slowly. More and more buses started heading to
town. The drift was sealed with the introduction of emergency taxis.
Everyone was now heading to the city centre. Industry began to die a slow,
but painful death. Production declined until there was none. People started
selling services, until there were no takers. And finally they started
selling money itself. That's where we are now."
Godie's theory may be a trifle simplistic but it reflects what has happened
in Zimbabwe over the past few years. The massive bus termini that were
dotted around most of the key industrial areas like Belmont and Donnington
in Bulawayo, Workington and Graniteside in Harare just to name a few, are
now white elephants.
They were designed for a booming industrial sector and cannot be converted
into anything else. They would have made ideal market stalls but they are
too far from customers.
The rot started soon after the boom in the first three to four years of
independence when government ministers discovered they could make money with
impunity by selling cars from the government-owned motor assembly plant at
Willowvale. Despite the widely publicised scandal and commission of inquiry,
most got away scot- free.
But the economy started coughing. The dollar, which was stronger than all
hard currencies, started plummeting. Inflation started rising. The
government introduced an economic structural adjustment programme that
promised hardship in the initial years and milk and honey after five-years.
But it was a total flop. Growth averaged only 1.2 percent instead of five
percent a year.
Faced with a restless population, especially those who had participated in
the liberation struggle, the government was forced to implement a rushed
land reform programme and to reward the war veterans.
Things went haywire and the economy has not recovered since.
Now only four percent of industry is operating at full capacity. Everyone
has moved to the city centre. Operation Murambatsvina, though hailed as a
success, has failed to drive people out of the city centres. A new breed of
entrepreneur, the speculator, has emerged.
The speculator does not produce anything but looks out for bargains,
shortages and price disparities. On seeing something cheap, the speculator
cleans the supermarket shelves, puts a mark-up and sells it at a higher
The speculator makes millions but does not in any way promote production.
Commerce and industry continue to suffer. The few available goods become
prohibitively expensive. And because he or she makes money easily, the
speculator blows the money easily as well, patronising fast-food outlets,
hotels and the increasingly popular out-of-town braai spots.
But because there is no production taking place, the economy continues to
shrink. People lose jobs. Industry struggles to survive and sells the few
products it is able to manufacture at ever escalating prices. Sadly, it
becomes cheaper to buy imported products than locally produced ones. But
because most people are unemployed and inflation erodes workers' incomes,
people have no choice but to buy the cheaper, lower quality products.
Life suddenly turns into a survival game. More and more income has to be
spent on food and accommodation. It turns into a vicious circle. Work, home,
work and suddenly one realises that one will starve even with that full-time
job unless one joins the circle of speculators, or steals from one's
There is something for everyone to sell within one's trade or profession.
The hospital worker steals drugs. Staff from milling companies steal mealie
meal. Teachers go for exercise books or exam papers. Driving schools offer
fake drivers' licences. Magistrates, police and prison officers set
criminals free. Journalists spike stories for a fee. The list goes on.
Result, total breakdown of the rule of law. But no one realises this.
Everyone is busy trying to earn a living, blaming the next guy for the
While all this is happening, someone has to keep the fires burning through
promises that keep the people hoping that things will change for the better.
"The fuel situation is set to improve because of the discovery of jatropha,"
people are told. Or: "Tourism is set to recover following the acquisition of
new planes by Air Zimbabwe." Because of the constant blackouts, someone
says: "Power shortages will soon become a thing of the past following the
discovery of uranium in northern Zimbabwe."
And so life goes on. As things get tougher, bottle store owners make more
money as people try to drown their sorrows, only to wake up broke the next
morning. But the problem is still there.
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited says it plans to sink US$20 million into its
Three Main underground mine as part of an expansion plan aimed at boosting
production at the underground coal resource after a disappointing 2005
"We are going to invest US$20 million into Three Main Underground and hope
to boost production. The company is in the process of procuring coal haulage
equipment, drills and coal fines recovery plant. The new 3 Main Underground
Mine, which was commissioned during the first quarter of 2005, should be
boosted by the current initiatives to expand mining operations when a second
continuous miner is brought into production," said Hwange chief executive
The mine has a 25-year lifespan and a capacity to produce 150 000 tonnes of
a coal a month. Management did not give details on current production
The new underground mine, which covers a surface area of 2 250 hectares, is
located southeast of the open cast mine.
Turnover was $988 billion from $374 billion, showing a growth of 164
percent. The company's attributable earnings stood at $264 billion from the
previous $49 billion last year.
The company realised some exchange gains on exports after fourth quarter
Coal delivered to Hwange Power Station (HPS) stood at two million tonnes up
from a previous 1.9 million tonnes delivered in the prior year. Sales
declined from 1 022 497 tonnes in the previous year to 831 614 tonnes owing
to low production from its new underground mine which was commissioned in
the first quarter of last year while coal exports stood at 39 067 tonnes,
down from 99 514 tonnes in the prior year.
"Coke sales of 196 523 tonnes were 10 percent above the tonnage achieved
last year. This product is a high revenue earner for the company. There was
a significant offtake of coke to the export market especially during the
first half of the year.
"Coke exports for the year amounted to 105 927 tonnes and were 40 percent
above the sales achieved in the previous year," said the company in a
statement attached to the results.
"Gas supply to ZPC's Hwange Power Station increased from 19 million Nm3 due
to improved plant availability throughout the year," added the company.
Hwange, the largest coal producer in the country, is listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Securities
Rangarirai Mberi Senior Business Reporter
Adequacy ratio still below RBZ requirements
AGRIBANK'S capital adequacy ratio remains below regulatory requirements
despite a $45 billion cash injection from government, as the bank's show of
high default rates on its loans again exposed the risk banks take on farm
The bank had $519 billion in non-performing loans in December. Bad and
doubtful debts rose from $31 billion in 2004 to $401 billion in 2005, blamed
on crop failure and input shortages. The bank made a provision for doubtful
debts of $434 billion, up from $36 billion in 2004. Loans and advances to
farmers stood at $1.53 trillion, with the bulk of that loan book in 91-day
to 180-day maturing loans.
Tellingly, Agribank has no 365-day loans on its books. The bank wrote off $3
billion in bad debts in 2005, up from $415 million.
The heavy provisioning hit profits, which came in at $77.4 billion, up from
"The incidence of crop failure caused by the drought of 2004/2005 season as
well as input shortages, particularly relating to fuel, fertilisers and
imported chemicals, are some of the factors contributing to this outcome,"
chairman Steven Makonyere said.
The bank is again seeking more funding from government to lift the capital
adequacy ratio from 9 percent to the required 10 percent, as its latest
results raise continued concern over the bank's lending.
"The major factor affecting capital adequacy is the low margin on the bank's
loan book. The growth of the risk weighted assets is not being matched by
similar growth in earnings from the same assets," Makonyere said.
The bank last year had to seek additional capital from government, the sole
shareholder, in a bid to raise its capital adequacy ratio from 6 percent to
10 percent. Agribank had paid out $954 billion to farmers by June last year.
However, the terms and the conditions of the loans had not been made clear
at the time the disbursements began, and were treated as grants from
government up to May 31.
Agribank then approached government to rectify the anomaly, resulting in a
pledge by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa in September to inject $45
billion into the bank.
At that time, the reclassification of the loans had increased fears about
the health of Agribank's lending.
Stanley Kwenda Own Correspondent
AILING national passenger carrier Air Zimbabwe has recruited a host of
technicians from the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) to act as a back-up
workforce should the airline's disgruntled staff go on strike.
The move by AirZim has worsened discontent among the airline's restless
The AFZ technicians, who are slowly being integrated into the AirZim system,
are believed to have been recruited through a ministerial order.
According to sources, most of them have little knowledge about AirZim's
"They are still learning the ropes since most of them are used to
helicopters and small aircraft. They are going through the same process as
technical students," said a source.
An official at the AFZ confirmed that a number of airforce personnel had
left for the national passenger airline, but could not shed more light.
"I understand there are some of our guys at Air Zimbabwe, but I cannot give
you the exact details. My boss will be the right person to talk to," said
the official, who asked not to be named.
Contacted for comment, the AFZ director of operations referred The Financial
Gazette to TK Maphosa, the secretary of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, who was
said to be out of the office.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson David Mwenga also confirmed the presence of the
AFZ technicians, whom he said were on attachment at the airline.
"There are 12 aircraft engineering technicians from the Air Force of
Zimbabwe attached to the airline's engineering division," said Mwenga.
"The attaches, who have basic aircraft engineering training, undergo further
training in the airline's engineering departments. The training that the
technicians undergo, together with apprentices from Air Zimbabwe and other
local and at times regional engineering organisations, is meant to enhance
their skills before they can be certified to work on any aircraft," he
Mwenga said that some of AirZim's former personnel now working for
international airlines had come through the AFZ.
He, however, denied that the AFZ engineers had been recruited as a reserve
workforce in case of industrial action at AirZim.
"If there were to be industrial action today, or indeed in the near future,
no uncertified engineers, including those from the airforce, will be allowed
to handle the airline's aircraft," said Mwenga.
The recruitment of AFZ technicians by Air Zimbabwe comes at a time when the
national airline is facing several problems, including shortages of fuel and
spare parts and a decrease in the number of passengers due to reduced
standards, most of which have been blamed on constant government
AirZim acting chief executive officer Oscar Madombwe said the airline had
plans to acquire two long-haul passenger aircraft in a bid to change its
An Air Zimbabwe plane was recently forced to make an emergency landing at
Harare International Airport after it developed a technical fault a few
minutes after take-off.
The airline was also recently forced to cancel its Harare-Beijing flight
following a strike threat by engineers, who were demanding a review of their
The engineers were demanding monthly allowances equivalent to that of the
The Geoff Nyarota Column
"BY this constitution we, the people of Umthwakazi, presently living in
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces of present-day Zimbabwe, united in the
rejection of domination and tyranny and inspired by our firm commitment to
freedom and independence and determined that Mthwakazi must never again
suffer genocide and ethnic cleansing, today found our political movement
MTHWAKAZI, whose purpose will be to spearhead the establishment of a free
and united nation of Mthwakazi under a new, independent and sovereign state
to be called the United Mthwakazi Republic, UMR."
The above is the preamble to the constitution of the proposed Republic of
Mthwakazi, which is posted, for those who may wish to peruse, on the website
of MTHWAKAZI, an organisation fiercely campaigning for the establishment of
a separate state for people living in Zimbabwe's provinces of Matabeleland
and the Midlands.
MTHWAKAZI, when spelt out in caps, is the name of the political movement
behind this project, while the same word spelt in lower case is the official
name of the proposed republic.
The establishment of this proposed state, should it ever materialise, will
mark the official secession of the two provinces of Matabeleland, together
with the mineral-rich Midlands province, from present-day Zimbabwe.
It will also signal the end of Zimbabwe as we know it today, a state created
26 years ago next Tuesday after decades of bitter struggle and the bloodshed
of Zimbabweans in every corner of the country.
While at the moment Mthwakazi may sound like a radical cyber-based project,
a visit to the organisation's elaborate website at www.mthwakazionline.org
leaves the visitor in no doubt as to the seriousness and commitment of the
people behind the project.
I departed from the website with a definite sense of regret that such
energy, creativity and commitment were not harnessed for the benefit for the
whole of our country, Zimbabwe.
In a message apparently posted on the website in 2004, the unidentified
president of the party of MTHWAKAZI states: "Let us discard both Zanu PF and
the MDC for the tribal parties they are. They are not national parties and
will never be, because their basic assumptions and foundations are fatally
"If they are national parties, why should ZANU PF in 2004 not be led by
Dumiso Dabengwa or John Nkomo? Why the insistence on Emmerson Mnangagwa and
Simba Makoni? As for the MDC, why should it not be led by Gibson Sibanda,
Welshman Ncube or Fletcher Dulini-Ncube?"
I asked two leading Matabeleland politicians, Professor Jonathan Moyo and
Professor Welshman Ncube, for their opinion on the setting up of the
proposed Republic of Mthwakazi.
Ncube was brief. He had no interest in the subject, he said.
"Please, consider stopping thinking of some of us as politicians from a
particular region and consider us as Zimbabweans," he urged.
Moyo said he was not aware of the Mthwakazi project.
"I fully understand where the people behind the website you have brought to
my attention are coming from," he said. "The plight they describe is very
real and has remained unattended for a long time, leading to inevitable
alienation; but I don't know where they are going in terms of their specific
The cartographers of Mthwakazi have been busy at their drawing boards. They
have produced a detailed map of the proposed Republic of Mthwakazi.
They carved out a whole swathe of land, whose northern frontier takes in
more than 80 percent of the coastline of Lake Kariba before the border
snakes southwards to include the cities of Gweru and Kwekwe in the
mineral-rich Midlands province and narrowly misses the town of Chiredzi in
the southeast as it approaches the Mozambican border.
Mthwakazi will encompass about 52 percent of present-day Zimbabwe.
The MegaCity of Bulawayo, as it will be called, will be the capital city of
Mthwakazi. It will also serve as the capital city of the Province of
It is proposed that the city of Gweru will be renamed Gwelu, while Kwekwe
and Hwange will both revert to their colonial names of Que Que and Wankie.
It is proposed that Mthwakazi will have four other provinces - Mpumalanga
(capital city Gwelu), Zambezi (Wankie), Mulilima (Dette) and Limpopo
Each province will be headed by a provincial government headed by a premier,
following the model of South Africa.
The promoters of the idea have identified and prepared the ground work for a
number of ambitious projects to be implemented once the state is officially
The kingpin of development in Mthwakazi will be the creation of a man-made
river to be called the Great Mthwakazi River. It is proposed that the river
will be created by linking three existing rivers: uMganwini to the south,
Khami to the west and uMguza to the east and north.
While it is proposed that the Great Mthwakazi River will encircle the new
MegaCity of Bulawayo and provide transport both in and around the capital,
such as by boat or ferry, technical details of how the water will flow in a
circle are not given at this stage.
Another major project earmarked for early implementation is the
Trans-Limpopo Spatial Development Initiative.
The promoters of Mthwakazi say an agreement for this project was signed in
2001 between the government of South Africa and "representatives of the City
of Bulawayo and Matebeleland in general".
This project envisages the creation of a development corridor stretching
from the Gauteng Province of South Africa through Matebeleland into
Botswana, Zambia and eventually Angola.
The project proposes various economic activities covering especially tourism
A prominent feature of the MegaCity of Bulawayo will be the Mthwakazi Mall.
Within the mall, an artistically designed monument will be built with names
of prominent Ndebele heroes killed in the Ndebele Rebellion and the last
At another prominent site within the mall another memorial will be
constructed "in honour of those who were either killed or caused to
disappear by Robert Mugabe during the Gukurahundi in the 1980 -1987
"At strategic points, statues of King Mzilikazi, King Lobengula, Cecil John
Rhodes, Joshua Nkomo and other heroes of our time such as Nikita Mangena,
Lookout Masuku and other fallen heroes will be inscribed."
Central to the development of the MegaCity will be the construction of King
Mzilikazi Airport to replace the current Joshua Nkomo Airport as the main
international airport of the proposed republic.
The national carrier of Mthwakazi will be Indiza, to be operated by
Matabeleland Airline Systems.
As one who comes from an underdeveloped district of Manicaland, I am all too
familiar with the negative impact of too much centralisation of
administration, the economy and development in Harare.
I would support in
principle the devolution of power to the provinces because it makes sense in
terms of administration and development.
I would, however, not support decentralisation as a weapon to hit at the
Zezuru people, many of whom, even in Mashonaland West, also wallow in
poverty and under-development like the rest of the nation, on account of the
To Page 17
From Page 9
tent governance of ZANU PF.
Most Zimbabweans living in whatever part of the country are humble, peaceful
and generally hardworking people.
There is general consensus among them that the cause of their current
hardship and deprivation is the party that has mishandled their affairs of
state over the past quarter century - ZANU PF.
In 2000 and 2005, they attempted to remove the ruling party from power using
the ultimate weapon in any democratic constitution - the electoral process.
The greater majority believe they have been cheated of victory on three
occasions now, including during the presidential election in 2002.
Anyone visiting the well-funded website of the Republic of Mthwakazi will
immediately detect that the concept, tone and language of this project is
hostile and belligerent, not just towards ZANU PF, but towards all Zimbabwe
It is not clear, however, whether the belligerence and hostility reflect the
general attitude of the people of Matabeleland against the rest of the
The national symbol of the proposed republic of Mthwakazi, as depicted at
the top of the constitution and other important documents, is an eagle in
The Zimbabwe Independent, a leading privately owned weekly newspaper in
Zimbabwe, was recently re-branded and re-launched. The main feature of its
new masthead is an eagle in full flight and, coincidentally, not entirely
dissimilar to the national symbol of the proposed Mthwakazi.
I asked the publisher of the paper, Trevor Ncube, for any comment on this
strange coincidence. He assigned projects manager Iden Wetherell to comment,
copying his memo to general manager Ralph Khumalo.
Khumalo was first to react.
"I thought we were dealing with a normal human being," he said of me. "Now I
see we are dealing with a lunatic who is capable of just about anything."
Wetherell subsequently responded.
"Thank you for drawing our attention to the Mthwakazi eagle," he said. "We
had not seen it before. I note that it appears where they publish their
constitution but does not feature on their website where they have their
symbols. It is similar to ours but not identical. A number of publications
and organisations have similar eagles. We chose ours because of its skills
(sharp-eyed with strong talons) as well as its location in central Africa."
I challenged Wetherell to publish pictures of the Mthwakazi eagle and the
Independent eagle in his paper to establish if the public would consider it
an act of lunacy for anyone to be struck by the resemblance between the two
National Agenda with Bornwell Chakaodza
IT is that time of the year once again when long-suffering Zimbabweans have
to bear with independence jingles and President Robert Mugabe predictably
going into overdrive pontificating about the ideals of the armed struggle,
national sovereignty and bringing freedom and democracy to Zimbabwe.
Ordinarily, there would be nothing wrong with saying all these things in an
environment in which there is cause for celebrating our 26 years of
independence. Sadly, as in the previous six years or so, there is very
little worth celebrating about. It is all pain, agony, anguish and despair
for the majority of Zimbabweans. It has been the same tragic story year
after year since the outbreak of the Zimbabwean crisis six years ago.
For all practical purposes and amid the hunger, economic hardships and
missed opportunities, we must accept that we Zimbabweans of all colours and
creeds have been independent for the last 26 years. It is a political
reality and it is a reality that will be with us for eternity.
But as we reflect on the past 26 years of independence, we naturally have to
ask ourselves: Is this the kind of Zimbabwe that we fought for and the
Zimbabwe we dreamt of? Economic-wise, is this the Zimbabwe we inherited from
Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front party? True, the economy then was crafted
around a white minority but the truth is that black Zimbabweans in their
townships and reserves were not as hungry and poor as they are now. We must
not shy away from saying these things for fear of being labelled unpatriotic
and disloyal to Zimbabwe by people who are now pretending to be more ZANU PF
than ZANU PF itself.
One of the great pretenders is George Charamba who Jonathan Moyo is on
record as having said writes as Nathaniel Manheru in the government bulletin
The Herald on Saturdays. George must be careful that in singing for his
supper and enjoying the largesse that is dispensed by the system, he thinks
that his loyalty to Zimbabwe is more than some of us who quietly and in our
own different ways sacrificed for independent Zimbabwe while he was still a
toddler. The fact that we do not shout about it does not mean that we did
nothing for this country. As the Nigerian saying goes: 'A cook who pounds
yam noisily thinks that those who pound quietly do not eat'.
The point George is that we do not criticise the ruling party for criticism's
sake. No. We criticise it precisely because we are concerned about Zimbabwe
and we want to see the ruling party stop marching not only to the drum of
self-destruction but also to the drum of Zimbabwe's destruction. That is the
only motivation we have - nothing else!
This country is much bigger than ZANU PF George and your blind loyalty to
the ruling party must not in any way be seen to be translating to loyalty to
Zimbabwe. In writing your pieces in The Herald, please refrain from
insulting fellow Zimbabweans whether black or white. If you stick to issues,
perhaps readers will begin to take you seriously and see that you are trying
to do your job of defending the indefensible and explaining government
policies and actions that are presently not working. This is a task I
totally agree with, having performed it myself once upon a time, but at a
time (1993-1998) when Zimbabwe's political environment was largely
democratic and more civilised that it is now.
Indeed my agreement with the position that you are currently holding George
stems from the fact that people's eyes and hearts see and feel things
differently. Even among people who see and witness the same event, no single
view may hold the truth!
Yes, people do see things from different perspectives depending on which
side of the fence one is. In your case George, you are inside the corridors
of power along with other members of the ruling elite benefiting from the
gigantic mess we find ourselves in right now.
Obviously, your main motivation is to maintain the status-quo - but what
about the vast majority of Zimbabweans who have nothing to eat? Is that what
kutonga is all about - you having three meals a day while most Zimbabweans
can only afford two buns and a cup of tea a day? You want to continue
enjoying the privileges of power at the expense of the masses of
Zimbabweans - people are saying no to that.
The other day, a friend was explaining to me how an elderly woman who had
suffered a stroke in the Zvimba communal lands (President Mugabe's home
turf) was being left to die slowly and painfully by her son because there
was neither the money to transport her to the nearest clinic nor to buy
medication. The illness was further compounded by lack of maize meal in the
household. The son who was looking after her could not do anything. Neither
could the neighbours do anything as they had nothing as well.
For every story of this nature that one hears, there are thousands upon
thousands of them up and down the country that one does not get to hear
about but are a reality. For the majority of Zimbabweans, living standards
have deteriorated very badly. The question can rightly be asked: What does
independence mean for this elderly woman in Zvimba and the millions of
Zimbabweans who are in the same situation? In truth, Zimbabwe has become an
The civil servant, the teacher, the nurse, the security guard, the
policeman, the soldier, the communal farmer, the factory worker, the
unemployed - name it, all are now sharing the scourge of poverty and the
grinding despair that is stalking this land.
Bread, which used to be taken for granted, has at $90 000 a loaf priced
itself out of the reach of many Zimbabweans. For the few Zimbabweans who are
gainfully employed, their pay packets can only take them to work for 10 days
a month. How they continue to survive and continue to go to work, only God
knows. For many Zimbabweans, meat is now a thing of the past. Today's
ever-rising prices are forcing everyone to rethink what they eat, what to
buy and what not to buy - literally, changing the kind of lifestyles they
had been used to.
Whether the government accepts it or not, people are literally starving not
only in the urban areas but in the rural areas as well. The Zimbabwe
government itself, the UN World Food Programme, World Vision, Western
embassies based in Harare and other non-governmental organisations are
helping to alleviate the suffering but it is never sufficient.
The story is doing the rounds of soldiers and guards hunting for mice in the
Botanical Gardens in Harare to try to at least have protein in the diets of
their families. When such soldiers see their well-nourished commanders
driving around in sleek, state-of-the-art vehicles and generally flaunting
their wealth, what goes through their minds at this time of the independence
'celebrations'? What will sovereignty mean to such a soldier? How is it
possible that our political leaders can be blinded to such harsh reality?
National sovereignty can never be an end in itself. The majority of
countries the world over are trading off their sovereignty in return for
prosperity and development. The European Union (EU) is a famous case in
point. It is not a question of surrendering one's sovereignty. No. It is a
question of sharing: giving something and in return you get something back -
prosperity. This is how other countries are moving ahead. In this regard,
the ruling party is out of sync with the contemporary world. And we are
suffering largely precisely because of this. Countries such as China and
India are on the rise precisely because they are doing business with the
West. There is a huge lesson for Zimbabwe here. The so-called Look East
policy is a non-starter - everybody knows that is a failure. Why the ruling
ZANU PF party's head is stuck in the sand on this one boggles the mind.
So, we limp on - with inflation set to race past the 1 000 per cent mark. In
a country labouring under such hyperinflation, one can safely say that we
are not far off from
To Page 17
From Page 13
an implosion. In other words, Zimbabwe will soon begin to burn from within
unless the authorities stem the tide soon. And the answer does not lie in
militarizing all state institutions or establishing National Security
Council committees. The answer lies in the ruling party swallowing its pride
and embarking on wholesale policy changes. The road map that Zanu PF is
presently following is untenable. Holding office particularly at the level
of Head of State and Government must teach realities and when you learn
reality, it dawns on you that you could be wrong in what you are doing. Even
within the Presidium of Zanu PF, there must be a realization that
Zimbabweans have suffered enough. How much practice does it take 'to plan' a
sacrifice of your own people?
Health, education, material well-being and the economy ingeneral: these are
the things that Zimbabweans care about deeply. They do not eat sovereignty.
They want to be able to feed their families, clothe them, put a decent roof
over their heads, have a good and affordable health delivery system and send
their children to school without too many headaches.
The reason that men of the cloth like Archbishop Pius Ncube and many others
in the civil society, the churches, the media and the international
community are holding our political leaders to account is because they have
a vested interest in putting the Zimbabwean house back in order.
To me, this is what independence should be all about. What these men and
women and many others are trying to achieve is what should inspire us and
the next generation to celebrate real independence in future years. But for
now, despite the doom and gloom, at least have yourselves a good and godly
Easter weekend and a hopeful new 27th year of independence.
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
ARE the ruling elites taunting the struggling masses? This is certainly a
question that begs an answer in view of the numerous unacceptable excesses
of those whose official positions enable them to enjoy effortless access to
dispensations, resources and assets that ordinary hard-working Zimbabweans
can only dream about.
The chairperson of the Commission running the City of Harare, Sekesai
Makwavarara, hit the headlines twice in quick succession this week, not for
any sterling work she is doing in the service of the erstwhile Sunshine
City's long-suffering residents, but for the creature comforts she is
acquiring for herself. Last week, the chairperson was embroiled in
controversy over a satellite dish and decoder she had installed at the
mayoral mansion at a cost of $100 million. She did all this without the
Commission's authority and without following any tender procedures.
Residents have the right to ask what gives this woman the confidence to get
away with such murder with impunity.
But before residents have even figured out why a supposed "patriot" like
Makwavarara needs DSTV when she should be glued to local television for
ZBH's offerings, there is another bombshell. The Herald reported yesterday
(April 12) that Makwavarara had acquired a house in the upmarket suburb of
Highlands in Harare for the meagre price of $780 million when similar
properties are fetching in the region of $20 billion. The official
explanation given was that the property was being sold to Makwavarara as the
occupying tenant. This was in line with the local authority's policy of
enabling senior managers to acquire decent accommodation as an incentive to
retain their services.
But why does Makwavarara need this house when she is already living in the
opulent mayoral mansion in Gunhill? Remember she was embroiled in another
controversy only in February when it emerged that the cash-strapped Harare
City Council planned to spend $35 billion on furniture and curtains for that
residence. Not long before that, Makwavarara had grabbed the headlines over
a junket to the Russian capital, Moscow that gobbled up $650 million. These
costly trips evidently do nothing to broaden the chairperson's horizons
judging by the continuing deterioration of her inept leadership.
It is only through Makwavarara's failure to provide any kind of leadership
that the local authority came up with plans to spend more than $1 trillion
on luxury vehicles for senior staff a few weeks ago. While it is accepted
that employers have an obligation to provide these fringe benefits, it is
imperative to have properly ordered priorities and this is where visionary
leadership is crucial. Makwavarara has proved herself to be totally devoid
of such leadership skills hence her own and the local authority's constant
hurtling from one embarrassing controversy to the next.
It has become abundantly clear that the only concern of Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo's token woman at Town House is to make hay while
the sun shines. She has been shameless about using her political
prostitution to maximum advantage to upgrade her lifestyle. From living in a
humble high-density house when she was first elected into council by MDC
supporters, she has had a pick of comfortable residences all paid for by
ratepayers. In 2003, when she was still acting mayor, the city council
forked out $2 million per month in rentals (a lot of money in those days)
for a house in Gunhill to accommodate her.
When she was appointed chairperson of Minister Chombo's imposed Commission,
Makwavarara graduated to the plush mayoral mansion in the same suburb. At
the same time, she had apparently also become the official tenant of the
council house in Highlands that she has now bought for the paltry $780
million. These are not the only windfalls that have come her way. In 2004,
Makwavarara was awarded a farm by the government in Raffingora, a prime
Ever since this woman sold her political soul through her underhanded
defection from the MDC, on whose ticket she had been elected as a
councillor, she has distinguished herself only for her willingness to be
used to facilitate the implementation of Chombo's vindictive agendas and for
her shameless pursuit of a programme of self- upliftment and enrichment.
Makwavarara dutifully waited in the wings while Harare's first popularly
elected executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was hounded out of office on
Now, Makwavarara is the most spoilt woman in Zimbabwe although one would
have to crack one's head to come up with what she has achieved to deserve
such lavish rewards. Makwavarara's stewardship of Harare, first as acting
mayor and now as chairperson of the Commission imposed by Minister Chombo to
"run" the affairs of the capital has been disastrous to say the least. Since
Mudzuri's forced departure things have deteriorated in every department with
the result that service delivery is now an extinct concept.
Everywhere one looks one is confronted with mountains of rotting garbage
that the city council no longer even pretends to be collecting. There are
other eyesores in the form of burst pipes discharging sewage in residential
areas and potholes the size of craters normally caused by the impact of
meteorites or bomb explosions. Large sections of the city are plunged into
darkness every night because of the absence of street lighting. Is anybody
in charge of this city?
Long-suffering residents would definitely answer in the negative but they
are being constantly taunted by the authorities through the lavishing of
rewards and benefits on the person responsible for their misery. What is
going on Minister Chombo? What is the secret of Makwavarara's impunity after
she has been involved in so many controversies and has failed to justify the
confidence you apparently have in her?
No Holds Barred with Gondo Gushungo
Reflections at 26
WAY back in 1990 when I was still training as a journalist, I borrowed a
back issue of a Soviet weekly, New Times from our lecturer Sipho Magwaza.
I had been attracted by an article in the paper on Solidarity leader Lech
Walesa just after he was elected the Polish president.
The article talked about how Walesa had, in the autumn of 1980 led a
gigantic column of people past police formations at a sports centre known as
Katowice. According to the magazine account, before the march some one had
shouted from the crowd; "Lech! There are hundreds of police out there
waiting for us. They have got clubs, water cannons and tear gas!" Walesa
shot back; "If you are afraid of them, I will go first and you will follow .
. ." At that moment the gates flung open and Walesa marched ahead, leading
For me, the article brought back fresh memories of Zimbabwe's war of
independence. True, what I read about Walesa might have happened in far off
Poland, but it had a familiar ring. I had seen the same level of courage and
determination from Zanla combatants Danger, Durban, Prosper and Jongwe who
operated in my home area of Chihota in 1977 with my late uncle Samuel
Chikunguru as one of their collaborators. Against all odds they vanquished
the ruthless Rhodesian forces who were operating in the area and were based
During that time which can be described as the darkest of Zimbabwe's
historical periods, freedom fighters in this country were not scared of the
tyrannies of Smith's rule. They knew that the Rhodesians had a brutal lust
for power for in those days, to speak of trees was treason. But they
soldiered on at great personal sacrifice.
The freedom fighters did not chafe at but fiercely fought the regime.
Instead, the brutality of the regime brought about deeper reactive
consequences in the would-be freedom fighters. These include Robert Mugabe,
Joshua Nkomo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Josiah Tongogara, Hebert Chitepo, James
Chikerema and many others.
They, together with tens of thousands of other liberation war heroes, dead
or alive, are the reason for Zimbabwe's decisive rupture with the
pre-democracy days of black subservience to the whites. But it was no stroll
in the park. It was a bloody war in which wives were widowed and children
And as already observed, it is a historical fact that the stiffer the
resistance of the outgoing forces, the greater the cost of the revolution. I
believe this was the case with Zimbabwe. Which is why the struggle for
independence in Zimbabwe evokes feelings of both pride and achievement, loss
and sadness. Because of their sacrifices Zimbabwe's brutal political
landscape changed profoundly, the most notable change being the political
gains. And that cannot be taken away from them.
The ultimate price so paid - death - means that Tuesday, April 18 2006 -
designated as the day when the nation celebrates the coming of independence
26 years ago - is a special day for Zimbabweans in their enormous diversity.
Indeed, the celebration of independence should ideally transcend parochial
political party affiliation and ethnic barriers. That is also why, in my own
estimation, other than anything else, this should be a day of national
reflection, soul-searching and stock-taking and not the traditional orgy of
self-congratulation. There would be no better way of honouring the heroes of
the struggle who never meant for the country to be frozen at the point of
liberation because they knew that the struggle, though an outstanding
chapter in the history of Zimbabwe, would not be a rallying point for the
And April 18 should therefore be a day to carefully examine the journey that
Zimbabwe has travelled since 1980, the people's thoughts and feelings, what
could have been but never was, why and where the wheels came off etc. It is
absolutely imperative to do so because there are so many questions:
Does the country have the credibility, prestige, friends and prosperity the
liberation war heroes envisaged? Does it cater for broad-based population
needs? Were all the objectionable pieces of legislation swept away with the
rubble of the Smith regime? If not, why? Is Zimbabwe a law-based state that
observes basic human rights, ensures the accountability of the executive
power to legislative power and allows dissent among others?
There are those that are still practising back-breaking subsistence
agriculture in the featureless expanse of sandy soils in dust bowls. Yet
they sacrificed so much looking after the freedom fighters and even
slaughtering their livestock to feed the same comrades - in a society where
a man's social status is measured by the number of cattle he owns. What do
they have to say about the state of affairs in the country where uncouth
influential politicians own more than one farm?
Is the country moving on with the rest of the world or it is caught up in
some time warp? In short, are Zimbabweans experiencing the true meaning of
independence and the value of hope?
Admittedly these are both vexed and fundamental, if uncomfortable,
questions. But they need to be asked nonetheless and without shirking direct
and honest answers. That is vitally important for Zimbabwe to reach that
all-important national consensus for a solution to those issues despite the
widening polarisation of political forces.
Without that, it would be difficult for the country to embark on a path of
self-correction to restore not only local economic pride and promise with a
national sense of purpose and cohesion but also to restore the honour and
dignity of millions of Zimbabweans living in grinding poverty.
Not only that but as I have said before, such critical self-introspection
and self-assessment will help the nation revisit the principles and
selflessness of the true heroes of the war of independence around which
Zimbabwe should redefine its national goals to create the kind of nation
envisioned by the selfless founding fathers of the liberation movement.
This is what the critical private media and civic society, both bent on
influencing policy for the greater good, have over the years been trying to
prod the powers-that-be to look at. Of course this means treading a new path
of reforms that might not be politically convenient. Which is probably why
the private media and civic society are being branded as an evil even though
they are only doing their job. Thus betraying a staggering political
inability to accept exactly why the Zimbabwean story is beyond sad.
It is because of failure by the authorities to realise this that President
Robert Mugabe and his colleagues in government stand accused of making
mistakes by their justifiably furious critics. The dominant view is that,
that the economy caught an enervating disease is the result of culpable
failure by the government to consider all the issues pointed above. Hence
the blame for the inevitable socio-economic difficulties and the government
mistakes that aggravated them is rightly placed squarely on their shoulders.
And the widespread criticism comes with the territory. Any politician in his
second year of leadership must be prepared for tough criticism replacing the
initial praise he might have had in the early days. What about one who has
been in office for close to three decades?
Tinashe Mawerera Own Correspondent
ZIMBABWE'S seven-year economic crisis has claimed the scalps of more than 50
bakeries amid warnings that more could shut down if the wheat shortage
Industry sources told The Financial Gazette that the bakeries' closure had
rendered thousands jobless.
Bakers said the few who had kept their plants operating are going for weeks
and months without firing up their ovens.
The National Bakers Association has said millers were not supplying them
with adequate wheat allocations to sustain operations and they called upon
government to protect their members in the same way they have protected
millers so as to ensure the survival of distressed bakers.
The shortage of wheat has meant that millers were demanding prices that are
as high as $50 million per tonne.
The wheat shortage has led to a huge increase in the price of bread which
last week shot up from $66 000 to $ 95 000 per loaf.
FOREIGN capital has been a vital part of many developing countries. The
Asian growth story is a case in point.
When East Asia was faced with an annual current account deficit of US$21.8
billion between 1990 and 1996, it was external financing of this
investment-saving gap that fuelled a period of unprecedented economic growth
in the region.
And just like any other country whose economy continues spiralling downward,
Zimbabwe needs capital to fund its recovery. The need for foreign capital
is, in fact, even greater for Zimbabwe particularly for developing
infrastructure, which could be a lifebelt for the sickly economy. But the
country has been unable to attract lenders or foreign direct investors over
the past six years. And there doesn't seem to be any proverbial silver
lining in the dark cloud because not everyone believes the hype surrounding
the much-vaunted Look East policy. Our argument is not without reason.
First, other than good words we find it difficult to believe that much will
come from this initiative. The major players in the East including the oil
sectors in friendly countries such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea are from
the European Union area, United States of America and Canada - the very
regions that are opposed to Zimbabwe's politics.
And it goes without saying that the interests of the companies from these
regions operating in the East are intertwined with those of their respective
governments hence the attitude towards Zimbabwe is endemic among the various
governments and private investors. Which leaves Zimbabwe in a catch-22
situation. How does it convince companies that follow their flags to come
and invest here? It would be as easy as trying to unscramble an egg.
Not only that but the country's ranking on world economic indexes is
continuously being downgraded since 2000. Only recently, the World Economic
Forum's Global Competitiveness Report tellingly placed Zimbabwe in the lower
ranks with the likes of Cambodia, Chad and the little-known Kyrgyz Republic.
It is instructive to note that such ratings come about after the rating
agencies have taken a long hard look at potential troublespots and then use
the information to forewarn investors and lenders of potential
uncertainties. Of particular poignancy is the underlying message - Zimbabwe
is a land of contagion of political extremity, uncertainty and fear, shun
In other words, they are warning investors of the force majeure events that
can be used by Zimbabwe for failing to fulfil its contractual obligations or
that can make it impossible for foreign-owned firms operating in Zimbabwe to
remit or pay out dividends to their investors. This explains why investors
and lenders have tended to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the risk
problem associated with Zimbabwe as can be seen either through their
wait-and-see attitude or stampeding through the exits after they decided to
cut their losses than linger in unsatisfactory circumstances.
The situation is in fact so bad that Zimbabwe has lost its relevance on the
regional economic front. To the extent that some international companies
with operations in Zimbabwe have removed them from their balance sheets!
All this points to two things. First, the investors are uncertain about the
overall direction and future prospects of the Zimbabwean economy. Secondly,
Zimbabwe has, as an investment destination, not only lost its glitter but
also failed to convince the international community that the initially slow
but now accelerating economic melt-down is temporary.
It also underlines the fact that investment, be it domestic or foreign,
follows confidence. And to this end we do not have to belabour the fact that
if foreign capital is to stay, it requires macro-economic management to
international standards, something that is clearly lacking in Zimbabwe. What
with policy contradictions and the unpredictable, arbitrary changing of the
rules of the game half-way for political expediency.
A case in point would be the contradictions coming from government officials
as regards the issue of bilateral investment protection agreements (BIPAS)
that were inadvertently adversely affected by the wildcat farm invasions
under the fast-track land reform exercise. This has hurt Zimbabwe's
reputation as an investment destination by damaging investor confidence.
As we have said before, restoring the battered confidence will, among other
issues, require reintegrating into the broader community of nations. This
means that there is need for a paradigm shift in Zimbabwe's foreign policy.
Government has to realise that it is not about looking east or west but
looking at the global village that is the world! As it is Zimbabwe has taken
a hard stand, aligning itself with the East and alienating itself from the
influential West at a huge cost to the economy which has plummeted into
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - While MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, rides on a wave of optimism
and enthusiasm from the thousands of supporters who have been attending his
rallies around the country, President Robert Mugabe cowers behind his
restless armed forces, desperately making secret plans to escape prosecution
for his crimes against humanity.
Emboldened by the mood of the people, who are clearly ready for change,
Tsvangirai declared again at the weekend that he would gladly give his life
if that was what it took for Zimbabwe to be free of Mugabe's tyranny. His
call is clear: nothing short of a new constitution and fresh elections
supervised by the UN and international observers will restore legitimacy to
People continue to pack stadiums across the nation in a heartening display
of support for the MDC's strategy of massive peaceful public protest. Change
is clearly in the air.
Mugabe, meanwhile, has ordered a massive recruitment drive to beef up the
army and police and sent messages to church groups and other intermediaries
about constitutional reform that would grant him immunity from prosecution
if he relinquished the presidency.
"It seems that Mugabe has at last seen the writing on the wall," said a
political commentator. "He knows his rule is coming to an end. But he
wants assurances that he won't end up on trial in The Hague like his fellow
dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, or on trial in his country like Charles
Taylor, or living in exile, a fugitive from justice, like his friend
Mengistu Haile Mariam."
At the same time Mugabe is about to sign a law pegging his own pension to at
least 75% of the salary of a future sitting president. In addition, the new
legislation provides for his young wife, Grace, and three children to get
generous payments for the rest of their lives.
Selfishly, the new law does not apply to the still-living family of the late
former president, Canaan Banana, whose wife is understood to live in poverty
in the UK.
As part of his exit preparations, Mugabe gave himself - alone among all
Zimbabweans - a salary increase of more than 1000% in the past year.
Since the disastrous 'land reform exercise' of 2000, Mugabe has regularly
used drought as an excuse for food shortages.
"But people are not stupid," said the observer. "After the recent bumper
rainy season, they can see that there is something seriously wrong with the
government's agricultural policies and whole resettlement exercise. They
refuse to accept these lies any more."
He said Mugabe continued to denounce the west, but "it is the West that is
coming to the aid of Zimbabweans in their hour of need, not his eastern
friends. What the people need right now are not tanks and jet fighters, but
food and medicines."
The World Food Programme (WFP) expects 5.5 million Zimbabweans to be in need
of food aid by June. "People are so desperate for food that at some
distribution sites, beneficiaries have been seen opening and eating uncooked
rations on the spot. Some reportedly lack the strength to carry donated food
home," said a WFP official recently. Meanwhile, the UK's Department for
International Development (DFID) has just given £22 million to UNICEF in
Zimbabwe in a bid to improve the plight of orphans and vulnerable children
across the country.
We offer this space to Zimbabweans everywhere to express their views on a
subject close to their hearts. If you have something to say please email
the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mash war vets lambaste Mugabe
By Worried War Vets: Mash West and East
This an open letter to His Excellency Cde R G Mugabe to show our
disgruntlement as the Liberation War Freedom Fighters of Zimbabwe in regard
to just a few of your shortcomings concerning our welfare as the ZNA Reserve
Force of Zimbabwe.
We have observed that you forcefully placed us under the command of your
office and of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Chiwenga, in
order to silence us - wilfully knowing that you have let us down on many
For example, there was your evil Clean up campaign, code named operation
Murambatsvina, which spared no-one, including us the Zimbabwe Liberation War
Vet Association members and Zanu (PF) supporters countrywide.
How do you think we are going to build our houses when you are aware that
you are only giving us a paltry Z$5m per month as salary, no bonuses, no
increments? How many bags of cement and bricks do you think we can afford to
buy in this economy? And what about our monthly rental since most of us are
lodgers and destitutes?
Why is it that the detainees are getting better treatment than us who were
disadvantaged while in the bush? We had no visitors, no shelter, no clothes
or education. And there is a lot of paper work needed when applying for
funds, yet you know that we are not all educated because of war?
We don't want you to impose candidates who should lead the freedom fighters
in this country. We would like to express our displeasure at the imposition
of Dumiso Dabengwa and retired General Mujuru. The only exception is the
retired Army General Zvinavashe, with whom we feel comfortable since he is a
man of principle and has War Vets at heart.
We have also noted with great concern the level of promotion of War Vets in
the army, where most ranks are only from lance corporal to colour sergeant
and in the police where most of us are sergeants, with just a few connected
to the highest table?
Stop politicising national events because we did not fight to liberate Zanu
(PF) only but the whole nation and the emerging political parties of
We demand that all political parties are allowed to lay flowers on the tomb
of the unknown soldier on all Heroes commemoration days, since its their
right to pay respect to daughters and sons who died for this country during
Please help me get educated
By Sarhanna Hassim.
I am a form 4 student currently attending a private school in Zimbabwe. In
first term 2006 my school fees, which include boarding, cost Z$90m. The
school fees for second term 2006 will cost my parents Z$239m. On top of
this, they have to buy my own food as the school is unable to provide for my
special diet. My parents struggle to scrape together enough money to pay my
1. What do they do for a living? My parents own two shops.
2. So then what is the problem? The problem is it is very expensive to buy
goods for the shop as suppliers demand cash upfront and the goods can't be
sold anyway as nobody can afford them.
3. Then why don't I move to an affordable government school? First of all
the facilities in government schools are not up to scratch for the medical
career I want to follow. The laboratories are not well equipped, even though
the teacher might be excellent. It is also extremely difficult to get
textbooks and chemicals are very expensive. If my private school cannot
afford new textbooks how will government schools manage? Secondly there is
racism, and not only about your skin colour (which has already occurred at
my private school) but about the school you have attended before. Thirdly if
I do go to a government school, what are my prospects of getting to the top
4. So what am I trying to say? I sit at home now that it is the holidays and
worry myself sick about where I will attend lower VI, as my parents have
made it clear that they cannot afford my fees. According to my latest report
I have excellent prospects. I have also achieved first place in Geography,
Chemistry, Biology, English Language and Literature. For the other subjects
I have attained either second or third place.
I have been trying to get information about scholarships out of the country
but because I am a Zimbabwean student it has been impossible. As long as you
are from Zimbabwe it is near impossible to get into other countries. Won't
you spare a thought for us whose future look bleak but whose brains are
bright? You never know. I might be the person who discovers a cure for AIDS!
If you have any information concerning scholarships available to A Level
Students, please let me know.
VICTORIA FALLS - The 60,000-member Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA)
held its annual conference here this week under the theme "Uplifting and
Consolidating the Status of Teachers in Zimbabwe."
"Teachers are preoccupied with their abject poverty, moonlighting to make
ends meet instead of devoting their full attention to providing quality
public education to the learners. Their morale is low and it is difficult to
motivate hungry professionals who cannot afford to send their children to
school, or afford basic needs," said chief executive office Peter Mabande. -
HARARE - The City authorities have announced that they intend to repossess
undeveloped stands and tear down illegal structures erected since last
year's evictions and demolitions. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it
was ready to help people who risked losing their homes.
The warning came on the eve of the first anniversary of Operation
Murambatsvina. Tafadzwa Mugabe of ZLHR encouraged residents to comply with
regulations, ensure that construction met council standards and title deeds
were in order and offered free legal help to do this.
"We are ready to assist people to meet the legal demands of local
authorities and the state to avert what happened last year," he said. "Last
time, residents were told to regularise their houses, but before they could
do that they were razed to the ground, and that is what should be avoided."
Officials from residents' associations in the Harare suburbs of Mbare, Glen
View and Dzivarasekwa said council officials had already started evicting
residents from their uncompleted houses. Police have also intensified
efforts to remove illegal street traders. - IRIN
BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Soldiers put in charge of villagers in Matabeleland have seized harvests of
maize planted before they arrived, ploughed in vegetable crops, ruined crop
rotation, beaten up protesting farmers, and harassed school girls, a body
headed by southern African church leaders reports.
The South African-registered Solidarity Peace Trust provides a devastating
indictment of the increasing militarisation of Zimbabwe as the economy
slides further into ruin and the Mugabe regime seeks to tighten its grip to
head off the possibility of insurrection.
The detailed report focuses on the impact in Matabeleland of Operation
Taguta/Sisuthi or "Operation Eat Well" launched last November when soldiers
were despatched to rural areas under a Maoist-style Command Agriculture
"The fact that they (soldiers) have taken away the farmers' food, which is
rightfully theirs - produced by their hard labour - is a hugely immoral
issue," Bishop Rubin Phillip, the Anglican bishop of KwaZulu Natal, told a
news conference to launch the report.
Bishop Phillip, who with Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo is co-chairman of
the Solidarity Peace Trust, visited Matabeleland at the end of March with
another South African prelate, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, to
investigate the impact of the deployment of military in rural areas.
"As of now they give us 500 cobs (100 kg) of maize (of our entire harvest)
and say that's enough, we have to wait until the next harvest," said a plot
holder in Matabeleland South, who was among farmers interviewed on video
recordings played at the news conference. ". we had bought our own seeds and
fertilisers from Bulawayo and we hired a lorry to carry it for us, and we
planted it before the army arrived."
The Trust said it had not been able to find much evidence of large-scale
commercial farms seized from white owners coming under Command Agriculture.
It knew, however, of one commercial farmer who has cut a deal: the soldiers
cleared away the settlers and in exchange he grew a bumper crop for the
The report mentioned a few instances of Command Agriculture in Mashonaland
West and Central, but focussed on Matabeleland.
"It could be that Matabeleland is considered a troublesome rural region as
most rural people here support the opposition, whereas in other parts of the
country, rural areas are the Zanu-PF stronghold," said the report.
Among the most shocking results of Operation Taguta/Sisuthi in Matabeleland
is what the report calls the "seemingly senseless destruction" of market
gardens with lucrative cash crops such including paprika, tomatoes, spinach,
sweet potatoes, groundnuts and even banana trees. The soldiers grabbed
anything salvageable and ate it.
This, said the report, was either the work of extremely stupid soldiers
following a general instruction to plant only maize, or, more sinisterly,
the wanton destruction of the villlagers' food base to keep them subdued.
This would be in line with the regime's repeated use of food as a political
"Plot holders now have to beg for the very maize they themselves have
laboured to grow, and soldiers have the power to say yes or no," said the
Solidarity Peace Trust, adding that the small-scale farmers see themselves
as indentured labour.
The Trust said another possible reason for Command Agriculture was to
appease poorly paid soldiers by putting them where they can help themselves
The authors predicted that the regime may try to keep the urban population,
which could stage food riots, fed at the expense of the rural areas where
hunger is likely to result in greater political compliance rather than
Above all, the military deployments are part "of the continuing process of
closing all remaining democratic space in Zimbabwe," said the report. "It
can be predicted that the presence of the army across the nation, including
in rural areas, will intensify over the next few years ahead of the next
presidential and/ or parliamentary elections."
The Trust urged NGOs and the international community to press the Zimbabwe
authorities about forced purchase of crops; urged charging the military with
violation of the Grain Marketing Board Act, which stipulates that producers
can keep sufficient for 12 months; and said the army should be withdrawn
immediately from irrigation schemes.
National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa dismissed the report as "lies,"
telling IRIN (UN) that the army had been deployed to revive the agricultural
Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: its impact on rural communities in
Matabeleland April 2006. www.solidaritypeacetrust.org.