The needless suffering and terrible death of
Mugabe's excesses have made
life even worse in Aids-torn Zimbabwe
time I saw Emmanuel Chitsere alive, he was struggling to get out of the back
door of my pickup truck. His wife, Memory, was trying to get him on his
feet. I had to blink away my tears. Chitsere's feet were painfully swollen.
As I left their one-room home in the Mbare township of Harare, I felt
optimistic. After a month battling with Zimbabwe's failing health system, I
had won: Chitsere, who had Aids, was in possession of two little envelopes
of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs).
I was not able to stay to
ensure his health, though. The next day my lawyer phoned to warn me that
police were soon to pick me up on suspicion of "spying" and of "working
illegally as a journalist". I stuffed a couple of suitcases with belongings.
And overnight, I fled Zimbabwe.
Fifteen days later
Chitsere, aged 39, was dead. I still don't know why. He had enough ARVs for
six weeks, renewable indefinitely. I found out that he was taken to his
rural home soon after I left, because it would be easier to nurse him
In the end, it made little difference. No bus would
take Chitsere in his state, so the family had to hire a taxi. He died in the
car, 10km (6 miles) away from his home in Chirumanzu, about 200km south of
Harare. He was buried on March 4. A prudent man, he had joined a burial
society, so the coffin and pots and plates for cooking for the mourners were
paid for. One of his four cattle was slaughtered to feed
I hired Emmanuel Chitsere in 2001 as a night guard, not
out of fear of burglars, but as a first defence against Zimbabwe's secret
police, who tend to burst into the homes of journalists at 2am. We got on
well from the outset. He was an avid reader of newspapers, and we laughed at
the latest anti-Mugabe jokes. He did chores for me, such as gardening,
without being asked. Occasionally I would find him sleeping on the job. He
always denied it, but I didn't mind. His presence was
My landlord, Andy Moyse, phoned me in Cape Town
two days after Chitsere's death and told me of it. After shock came anger.
There was no excuse for him to have died. His demise had been brought about
through ignorance, confusion or superstition. But at the same time, I felt
relief. If Chitsere had recovered, I would probably have had to provide ARVs
for the rest of his life. And from where I am now, 1,500km away, I could not
guarantee that. I also had to think of the living. There is a strong chance
that Memory, in her twenties, is HIV-positive. Without Emmanuel, her only
source of income is selling tomatoes at the bus terminus.
Aids in Zimbabwe today brushes you personally every day. The country has one
of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world: one adult in four
carries the virus. Life expectancy has collapsed to 38 years because of
Aids. Seventy per cent of patients in hospital are being treated for the
virus. In the 1980s I was news editor of a domestic news agency to a
generation of young black journalists. Nearly all are dead. I have found
myself driving the hearse for one of my office messengers. In my pickup, I
took the dead members of his family to the cemetery, women mourners keening
Over my time in Zimbabwe, I learnt that for all
but a tiny minority, early death is certain for Zimbabweans with Aids. About
10,000 have access to ARVs but it kills 200,000 each year. ARVs are
unaffordable for ordinary Zimbabweans. The price is doubled by the import
duty that the Government charges. Even donated anti-Aids drugs are charged
Last year Chitsere sickened. First it was flu, then a
sore throat, then a cough that wouldn't go away. With Vitamin C, extra food
and aspirin he recovered temporarily. I said nothing. How do you say to
someone, "Excuse me, I think you should see a doctor about a virus that will
probably kill you"? I returned from holiday in January to hear that he had
been off work most of the time I was away.
I was told
that he was in St Theresa's, a Roman Catholic mission hospital at
Chirumanzu. The phone never worked. On the morning of January 22 I was about
to drive to Chirumanzu when Chitsere turned up on my doorstep. "I have come
for my duty," he said. He had shrunk to half his size in just over a month.
His head was swollen. But the spell in hospital seemed to have cheered him
I phoned an Aids-prevention charity, the centre, which
provides a low-cost diet of nutritious basic foodstuffs and herbs to boost
the immune system. The Centre also issues ARVs as a last resort. It agreed
to see him immediately. I told Chitsere that I would take him to someone who
would help him. I did not mention Aids, but I'm sure he knew. When I dropped
him at the gate he didn't even turn to wave as I drove off. I'm sure he knew
that he was about to face someone who would try to force him to confront his
condition. He did go in, I found out the next day. Fortune, the counsellor,
told me: "He just said, 'But I can't have Aids'."
weeks later Chitsere came back, escorted by his son, Simbarashe. He was
desperately sick. Diarrhoea had shrunk him even more dramatically in a
fortnight. His mouth was raw with thrush; his lips stiffly pouted to ease
the burning that breathing caused. He couldn't eat; he was vomiting. He
mumbled obsessively about money and that he could not pay his debts. I
discovered later that after his counselling session he had gone for an HIV
test at a municipal hospital for sexually transmitted diseases and it had
turned out positive. Too frightened to tell anyone, he did
Then I launched the campaign to get him on ARVs. You
cannot get them without a prescription, and the doctor cannot issue one
without a CD4 count, a measure of the cells that manufacture the body's
None of the depleted state
laboratories can do CD4 counts. Unless you are one of the 10,000 on the
state ARV programme, you have to go to a private laboratory. They charge 1.2
million Zimbabwe dollars (about £75) - two months' wages for a
Chitsere couldn't walk to the bus stop, so I collected
him from his spotlessly clean room to take him to the laboratory. He lay on
his bed in only his underpants. His ribcage was like a large hump with
hollows between each rib, his stomach was sunken, his hips stuck out and I
probably could have closed my hand around the middle of his
We waited five days for the results. ARVs are usually
introduced at a count of 200. Chitsere's was 16 and he was withering by the
I took him to my GP for a prescription and just happened to phone
the doctor while he was seeing Chitsere. The GP told me: "He said nothing
about Aids or ARVs. He went on about a pain in his
The next day, armed with the prescription, I got
Chitsere to the Centre to pick up the ARVs. He now had a two-week starter
pack and a month's full ARV medication with nevirapine. On top of that,
every day he had to take anti-diarrhoeal drugs, anti-emetics, antibiotics
for the thrush, electrolytes, three vitamins, mineral supplements, zinc and
selenium - to be administered by his wife, who was educated no farther than
primary school and speaks no English.
While we waited in the Centre's
reception area for the drugs, Memory noticed that Chitsere's orange shirt
was hanging open. She leaned gently across him and buttoned it
That night I was forced to stop at an intersection as President
Mugabe's 28-vehicle motorcade of gleaming new Mercedes-Benz limousines,
Yamaha motorcycles and troop-laden 4x4 behemoths roared past, and I was
filled with rage. It was a horrible symbolic sight: a reminder that people
like Emmanuel Chitsere and three million other Zimbabweans with Aids are
paying for Robert Mugabe's gross and cynical excess.
MDC leaders 'feeling used', decide to sever ties with SA
government April 20, 2005
By Peta Thornycroft and
Johannesburg: Contact between the South African
government and Zimbabwe's opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, who was the main
contact between the two, said at the weekend: "I am not available to the
South Africans any longer."
Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC spokesman,
said: "From his point of view, he acted in good faith, in seriousness, and
he discovered he had been used, so one should imagine he is intractably
angry. That is what has happened."
William Bango, spokesman for MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai, said: "He is not talking to the South Africans
either as far as I know."
A senior South African foreign affairs
source said the news of the MDC's decision had come as a shock.
"We haven't heard anything from them. We've been talking to them and of
course they weren't happy with the result of the election and about what the
observers had to say. But nothing like this," he said.
Zanu-PF won 78 out of 120 elected parliamentary seats at the March 31
election which, together with 30 MPs appointed by President Robert Mugabe,
gives it a two-thirds majority allowing it to change the
The MDC won 41 seats, down 16 from 2000 when it
came within three seats of winning a parliamentary majority.
The opposition claims the results were rigged and that the voters' roll is
in a shambles. Meanwhile, several diplomatic missions, including South
Africa, are becoming increasingly alarmed at yet another sudden dive in the
economy off an already low base.
With domestic debt having
trebled since February, to US$1.1 billion according to information on the
website of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, foreign currency reserves now meet
less than 10% of demand from the productive sector.
traders in central Harare said yesterday that the black market rate for the
dollar was now more than treble the auction rate at the Reserve Bank. One
woman, ostensibly selling tomatoes but offering to buy foreign currency,
said South African rands were trading at R1 to Z$3 100.
forex from annual tobacco sales which began this month are way down because
of a poor quality crop and reduced volumes. Manufacturers of cooking
oil, margarine and soap put in for US$5 million for inputs and got US$300
000 at a recent Reserve Bank auction.
Already, cooking oil and soap
powder have largely disappeared from supermarket shelves, in addition to
sugar and mealie meal which are only rarely available.
price stability over the last year has ended, and reductions in inflation
have bottomed out and are now galloping ahead. No one, least of all
consumers, believes the Reserve Bank's figure of less than 130% inflation as
of end February. Private sector economists say it is somewhere between
Making life even more unbearable is the virtual collapse
of both cellphone networks - the privately owned Econet and government-owned
Victoria Ruzvidzo in NAGOYA (Japan) ZIMBABWE should aggressively explore
trade and investment opportunities that exist in Japan as part of efforts to
turn around the economy, the Zimbabwean ambassador to the Asian country, Mr
Stuart Comberbach, has said.
In an interview here yesterday, Ambassador
Comberbach said Zimbabwe could improve trade between the two countries
significantly with more effort, particularly by Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe exported goods worth US$130 million to Japan while it imported
US$20 million worth of commodities. These figures had potential to rise
Japan exudes potential to become a big market for
Zimbabwe's minerals, agricultural products and other manufactured
Trade figures for last year do not include tourism and the
second-hand motor vehicles Zimbabwe imports from Japan.
show that Japan imports ferrochrome, nickel and nickel alloys, tobacco,
cotton and leather from Zimbabwe while the latter often imports motor
vehicle spare parts and high-tech equipment.
Ambassador Comberbach said
Japan was also keen to import paprika, coffee, tea and platinum from
Zimbabwe and measures were currently being taken to explore strategies in
"We have been receiving so many enquiries from the Japanese
particularly regarding platinum and coal. The Japanese are also keen to buy
large quantities of tobacco from Zimbabwe."
However, reduction in the
production of ferrochrome and tobacco over the past few years had affected
Zimbabwe's exports to Japan.
A rejuvenation of agricultural produce,
minerals and manufactured goods would translate into increased imports by
the Asian country.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono in
January said he anticipated exports to grow to more than US$3 billion this
year from about US$1,7 billion last year
In this regard, more exports
to Japan would contribute towards the attainment of the projected
"Zimbabwe could indeed increase exports to Japan. The scope
exists and we are working towards ensuring that this happens," said
However, he stressed that Japan was a sensitive
market that put emphasis on both quality and quantity.
currently worried about erratic supplies from Zimbabwe but we are confident
that as the economy stabilises, the country will be able to meet the
required quantities and quality particularly in to-bacco," said Ambas-sador
Zimbabwe, which boasts of the world's second largest platinum
deposits after South Africa, could take advantage of the growing demand for
the mineral in Japan and other countries.
The white metal is a key
component in the production of catalytic converters for motor vehicles'
"Japan currently imports huge quantities of platinum
from SA but as our own production increases, we can increase our exports to
automobile producers," said Ambassador Comberbach.
Zimbabwe and South
Africa between them hold 80 percent of the world's platinum
A number of countries including China and Russia have also
expressed keen interest in the platinum sector.
said ambassadors from 10 countries based here were currently engaged in
negotiations with Japanese countries based in South Africa to ensure that
they extended their business interests into other countries in the
South Africa hosts a concentration of Japanese companies, which
include the Japanese Import and Export Bank, Toyota and Jaika.
have been engaging some of these companies to look beyond SA and put up
businesses elsewhere including in Zimbabwe," said Ambassador Comberbach.
Reporter THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has embarked on a massive
crackdown on tax defaulters in a bid to meet its revenue collection targets
and instill a sense of professionalism among individuals and companies Zimra
yesterday announced that it was on an "intensive follow-up on potential
withholding tax and VAT defaulters".
The crackdown comes hard on the
heels of an announcement by Zimra at the beginning of the year that it would
make follow-ups on all forms of tax defaulters to promote regulatory
controls with integrity, transparency and fairness in all transactions
Zimra collected revenue amounting to $7,87 trillion in the 12
months to December 31 2004, surpassing its targets of $7,23 trillion by $643
billion or 9 percent.
At 40 percent of the total revenue or $3,199
trillion in monetary terms against a target of $2,5 trillion, individual tax
was the biggest contributor.
Company tax, however, fell short of its
target of $733,37 billion closing the year at $604,9 billion which
represents a deficit of $128,4 billion or 18 percent negative
In its first year of operation VAT contributed more to the
fiscus than sales tax. By December last year about 10 000 registered
operators were reportedly using the new system and more were still
The tax collector has been given a target of $22 trillion
for the 2005 fiscal year by the Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development, which relinquished its economic development mandate in the
recently announced Cabinet.
To meet or surpass this target the
revenue authority is keen to ensure that all forms of tax are paid,
including withholding tax and VAT.
As of last month at least 80 percent
of companies had paid their first corporate tax dues of the year to Zimra.
The deadline was February 28.
In its bid to plug tax loopholes, Zimra was
intensifying roadblocks, field audits and border patrols.
common leakages included smuggling and non-acquittal of CD1 forms by
exporters and TR1 forms by tourism operators.
Zimra has also enlisted the
services of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to tighten the screws on potential
In a statement earlier this year, the RBZ said anyone found
guilty of violating declaration procedures risked a heavy fine as Zimra and
the bank had intensified their crackdown to promote integrity, transparency
and fairness in all business transactions, including imports and
"In line with the redoubled thrust, heavy penalties will be
imposed on those exporters who refuse to take heed and comply.
Reserve Bank also wishes to strongly urge authorised dealers to educate
their clients on proper procedures, for when in default, equal
responsibility will be placed on the financial institutions in question as
well as their errant clients," said RBZ.
Regarding the discharge of
CD1, TR1 and CD3 forms, RBZ said in giving these dispensations to exporters,
the bank expected reciprocity through compliance with standing Exchange
Control Regulations, as well as commitments to enhance foreign exchange
The Zimra crackdown comes at a time when tax remittances are
said to have put a tight squeeze on some companies' cashflow positions with
most reported to be seeking bridging finance to meet their operating
It also comes at a time when several companies and individuals
are reported to be now familiar with VAT mechanics but chose to dishonour
Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank
will announce a steep currency devaluation this week to boost export
earnings in a country suffering perennial foreign currency shortages, a
newspaper said on Tuesday.
"Officials sources privy to the issue told The
Daily Mirror that the central bank governor would be announcing a huge
devaluation of about 90 percent in his monetary policy review at the end of
this week," The Daily Mirror said.
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono has finally bowed to mounting pressure by industry to devalue
the local dollar in a last-ditch attempt to boost export earnings," the
The Zimbabwean dollar is pegged at 6 200 against the US
dollar, yet on the black market last week it traded for over 13 000 to
Zimbabwe has for almost five years experienced an acute
foreign exchange shortage when vital imports of fuel, electricity, basic
food stuffs and other commodities have to be paid for.
last year launched a scheme to encourage thousands of Zimbabweans living
abroad to send money home.
The enthusiasm that greeted the launch of the
scheme, codenamed the Homelink Scheme, has been waning in recent
Farmers and industrialists have been crying out for a
devaluation, but the government has been reluctant.
Zimbabwe is mired
in its worst-ever economic crisis, with a triple-digit inflation rate,
unemployment levels over 70% and the critical lack of foreign
International donors suspended aid more than four years ago
while tourism and foreign investment have suffered a slump.
tobacco sector - which earns a third of the country's desperately needed
foreign exchange - has not had any significant impact on the foreign
currency availability in the country.
BUSINESSMAN and former Mashonaland
West Zanu PF provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa, (pictured), is in
trouble again amid revelations he will be hauled before the ruling party's
disciplinary committee. Zanu PF national commissar Elliot Manyika yesterday
confirmed the former Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi would be summoned for
a hearing. However, he refused to disclose the date of the hearing or the
nature of charges to be preferred against the businessman, arguing the
matter was an internal party issue. "He will appear before a
disciplinary committee, it is confidential, and we cannot discuss the
charges in the Press. But after a vote of no confidence was passed on him,
it is normal that disciplinary procedures follow," said Manyika. He
declined further comment, only saying answers were provided for in the
"ruling party's books". Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman, John Mafa said
his predecessor last attended party meetings before his arrest. However,
he was evasive on whether a ban had been imposed on the businessman. Mafa
also said the Zanu PF leadership would deal with Chiyangwa's fate in the
party. " The nature of his arrest means that as a province we cannot do
anything regarding his fate, so we will await a decision from the elders.
They must have been busy (to deal with the issue), but as we have finished
the independence celebrations we are waiting for the Politburo to
decide." Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo told The Daily Mirror to
contact him later, but subsequent efforts to reach him were
fruitless. Chiyangwa has been maintaining a low profile since he was freed by
the High Court in February on espionage charges. The State has since
indicated he still has a case to answer and will proceed by way of summons
if more evidence crops up. Following his disappearance on December 15
last year, soon after presenting a budget review committee report in
Parliament, the former Chinhoyi MP lost the ruling party's mandate to defend
his parliamentary seat. Chiyangwa also lost the provincial chairmanship while
he stands to lose his Citrus Farm following Chinhoyi Municipality's decision
to acquire it for peri-urban development. In a recent interview with The
Daily Mirror, Chiyangwa would not be drawn into commenting on his political
status, and went biblical. He said: "If God is with you who can be against
you?" Another ruling party senior official, the deputy director of security,
Kenny Karidza, arrested at the same time as Chiyangwa on similar charges,
had his trial postponed to April 26, yesterday. Zimbabwe's then
ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, ex-Metropolitan Bank
secretary Tendai Matambanadzo and Zanu PF external affairs director Itai
Marchi were jailed in February this year for breaching the Official Secrets
THE trial of Zanu PF deputy security
director, Kenny Karidza, was yesterday postponed to April 26 after his
lawyer George Chikumbirike failed to turn up in court. Karidza is being
charged with espionage against the Zimbabwean government. The suspect has
since pleaded not guilty to contravening provisions of the Official Secrets
Act and has been languishing in remand prison since December last
year. Yesterday, prosecutor Lawrence Phiri told the court that he had not
seen the defence counsel and neither had the lawyer communicated anything to
him. Regional magistrate William Kasitomo then deferred proceedings to next
Tuesday. In a related case, Zimbabwe's then ambassador-designate to
Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, ex-Metropolitan Bank secretary Tendai
Matambanadzo and ruling party's external affairs director, Itai Marchi, were
jailed in February for breaching the same law. Dzvairo was jailed for six
years while Matambanadzo and Marchi were slapped with five-year prison terms
each for spying. Former Mashonaland West chairman and businessman Philip
Chiyangwa was also hauled before the courts on similar charges, but had his
application for refusal of remand granted by High Court judge Charles
Hungwe. Earlier, regional magistrate Peter Kumbawa had dismissed Chiyangwa's
bail application and refusal of remand forcing the legislator to seek
protection from a higher court.
THE government has hiked prices for
kapenta fishing permits for companies operating in Lake Kariba from $2.5
million to $15 million per annum, a development that is set to cause further
upheavals in the already distressed sector. Environment and Tourism
Minister Francis Nhema announced on Friday that the $15 million would be
paid in respect of every fishing rig that a company operates. However,
information gathered by this newspaper indicates that the bulk of companies
in the commercial fishing sector have been struggling to meet the current
demands from the government due to acute viability constraints. The fishing
concerns claim that operations have been going through volatile patches in
the past five years due to foreign currency shortages for importing spare
parts, sporadic fuel supply bottlenecks and the hyperinflationary
environment. There are also indications of overfishing on the water body,
whose fish produce is shared by both Zambia and Zimbabwe. These
problems, the Kapenta Producers Association of Zimbabwe argues, have
militated against profitability resulting in companies either
diverting into Mozambique or winding up operations. The operators have
also been complaining that cheap Kapenta from Cabora Bassa in Mozambique
that is persistently dumped on the local market are threatening their
survival considering that the local produce's prices are controlled by
government. Former member of parliament for Kariba Isaac Mackenzie recently
said the problem originated from the failure by customs officials to charge
duty on the Kapenta from the Indian Ocean, a condition that makes production
costs for fishing companies in Mozambique lower compared to those in
Zimbabwe. Government however says although measures were put in place to curb
leakages, companies trying to avoid duty payments on the ports have always
looked for other avenues of beating the system. "Regardless of all the
measures that have been put in place, it is no secret that fraudsters are on
the look out for any possible loopholes that may be exploited thereby
threatening local businesses and loss of revenue to the fiscus," Finance
deputy minister, David Chapfika told parliament last year. While most
companies that spoke to this newspaper yesterday expressed ignorance of the
new tariffs, some players said they were headed for a possible clash with
government, as the increments would further slide their prospects into
uncertainty. The government also announced in last week's Government Gazette
that adjustments had also been effected on such businesses as luxury
cruises, angling, rafting and sailing, among others.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe
has extended the boundaries of Chinhoyi, the provincial capital of
Mashonaland West. According to statutory instrument 52 of 2005 published in
the government gazette of April 15, President Mugabe expanded the boundaries
by altering 15 wards falling under the jurisdiction of Makonde Rural
District Council and incorporating them into Chinhoyi Municipal
Council. The alterations were done in terms of sections of the Urban Council
Act as well as the Rural District Councils Act. "Whereas it is provided
by paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 4 of the Urban Councils Act
(Chapter 29; 15), that, at any time after the establishment of a council,
the President may, subject to the said Act, by proclamation in the gazette
and after consultation with the council.Whereas I consider it desirable to
(a) alter the boundaries of the council by adding thereto the area known as
Alaska, Cheltenham, Olympus, Sangwe, Shacklelton, Strathcoma and Sinoia
subtracted from the jurisdiction of Makonde Rural District, (b) redefine the
council area; and whereas the Chinhoyi Municipal Council has been consulted:
now therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as
afore said , I do hereby- alter the boundaries.," reads part of President
Mugabe's proclamation. The mayor of Chinhoyi, Risipa Kapesa could not be
reached for comment yesterday, but in an interview with The Daily Mirror in
February the mayor said council was in dire need of land for peri -urban
development. He added that the government had already allocated it 14 farms
including one owned by troubled businessman Phillip Chiyangwa which he said
at the time were awaiting gazetting.
POLICE in Mashonaland West say
they are investigating the MDC's losing candidate for Chinhoyi constituency
in the March 31 2005 parliamentary elections, Silas Matamisa, on allegations
of assaulting a Zanu PF member at a local polling station on voting
day. Matamisa who lost the Chinhoyi seat to Faber Chidarikire of the ruling
party reportedly man handled the Zanu PF chairman for ward 12, Erison
Dendere, at Manyame primary school. Inspector Paul Nyathi confirmed
receiving a report on the matter and said the police were looking into the
allegations and if reasonable suspicion arose, would take the matter to
court. However, according to the presiding officer at the polling station
Florence Machila who spoke to The Daily Mirror last week, on election day,
she received a report that Matamisa arrived at around 10am and confronted
Dendere who was already in the queue waiting to cast his vote. Matamisa
reportedly grabbed his 'victim' by the neck and then hit him after accusing
him of encouraging those in the queue to vote for Zanu PF. "The MDC candidate
came here and had an altercation with Dendere who was waiting to cast his
vote. But when I investigated, people in the queue said Dendere had done no
such thing," Machila said. After voting, Dendere reported the incident to the
police leading to the probe.
THE MDC has petitioned the
Electoral Court seeking the nullification of results for the parliamentary
seats won by five ministers and a deputy last month. The six are: defence
minister Sydney Sekeramayi (Marondera West), national security minister
Didymus Mutasa (Makoni North), finance minister, Herbert Murerwa
(Goromonzi), energy and power development minister Mike Nyambuya (Mutasa
North), women's affairs, gender and community development minister, Oppah
Muchinguri (Mutasa South) and deputy minister of science and technology,
Patrick Zhuwawo (Manyame). The losing candidate for Harare South, James
Mushonga, also filed papers against Zanu PF's Herbert Nyanhongo, the
constituency's new Member of Parliament. The six petitions were filed on
Tuesday. In Marondera West, the opposition party's losing candidate, Ian Ka,y
said there were discrepancies between the number of total votes cast which
were announced on March 31 by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and
those announced the following day. Kay, who garnered 10 066 against
Sekeramayi's 19 193, said initially 25 193 were said to have voted but the
total released later left 4 742 votes unaccounted for. Elton Mangoma, who
was beaten by Mutasa in Manicaland, also cited discrepancies in figures
released by ZEC that he attributed to the ruling party's secretary for
administration's victory. He added that prior to the poll, there was
intimidation in the constituency by Zanu PF supporters. He cited an
incident in which three MDC women were assaulted by ruling party supporters
who were in a truck driven by Mutasa and agriculture minister Joseph
Made. In Goromonzi, MDC losing candidate Claudious Marimo cited a number of
allegations he said had tilted the figures in Murerwa's favour. One such
incident is the alleged hovering of a military helicopter above the
constituency from morning till noon - a development which, he said,
intimidated the voters. In Mutasa South, Evelyn Masaiti also said
soldiers had been used to intimidate the electorate. She said on March 31,
10 986 was given as the total number of votes cast, but the following day
the number shot up with 10 135 votes being attributed to Nyambuya and 6 665
to her. In Manyame, Hilda Mafudze said the delimitation exercise had resulted
in people who were not supposed to vote doing so. She also cited
discrepancies in the figures released. "The constituency of Manyame was a
new creation of the Delimitation Commission based on unchecked figures given
to it by the Registrar General, which were not consistent with the national
census, the findings in the Rukuni Report and the fundamental principle
required in section 3 of the Act," said Mafudze in her affidavit. In
Harare South, the only constituency won by the ruling party in Harare
Province, Mushonga bemoaned the actions of the Delimitation Commission,
among other allegations. Mushonga alleged that the commission created a
"designer constituency" for the ruling party by incorporating some people on
acquired farms. He queried the removal of areas such as Cranborne, Hillside,
Arcadia and St Martin's among others, from the constituency. The MDC
candidate for Gokwe, Aaron Chinhara, also petitioned the Electoral Court on
Friday seeking to be declared the winner of the poll, or alternatively for
the seat to be declared vacant. Chinhara lost to Zanu PF's Lovemore Mupukuta,
who garnered 8 987 against his rival's 14 113. Among other allegations,
Chinhara said there was intimidation of the electorate by the country's
security agents and threats by traditional leaders - 10 headmen under chief
Njelele - who used food as a political weapon. Chinhara also alleged that
the poll was fraught with irregularities during counting. "Firstly, the
decision as to when to do the verification and collation of the polling
station returns was not determined by the constituency elections officer,
but was determined in Harare and mandated to the constituency elections
officer. "Secondly, neither my agents nor I were given the opportunity to
examine and to make notes of the contents thereof. "Thirdly, the
elections officer did not deal with the postal ballot papers as required by
section 65 but added those ballots into the ballot box of one of the polling
stations," said the MDC losing candidate. Law firm Mbidzo, Muchadehama and
Makoni are representing Chinhara, while the rest are being represented by
Atherstone and Cook.
RESIDENTS of Marondera town endured a
week of water rationing after the main booster pump at its reservoirs broke
down last week. Executive mayor Ralph Chimanikire told The Daily Mirror
yesterday that the Mashonaland East capital was forced to ration water by
the breakdown, but council had since imported a $1,3 billion new booster
pump to be delivered soon. "The water rationing was due to the breakdown
of the biggest booster pump at our water reservoirs and the remaining three
could not cope with the demand," Chimanikire said. "We have, however,
contracted a private company to import a new machine and we expect it to be
delivered in the next two to three months," he added. The mayor explained
that council sent notices to residents last week informing them of the
breakdown, and that water supplies would be rationed until the situation
normalised. An official at the town's water works said the pump had been
repaired and that normal water supply was expected to resume today.
Simba Rushwaya Deputy
Sports Editor issue date :2005-Apr-21
THE Sports and Recreation
Commission (SRC) has suspended Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) president,
Paul Chingoka, amid allegations of financial misappropriation during his
tenure with Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ). In a press statement Sports Commission
chairman, Gibson Mashingaidze, announced that Chingoka and treasurer Bash
Mohomed were placed under investigation on recommendation of the SRC
Investigating Committee which probed the operations of Tennis TZ after
accusations of "maladministration and malpractices against the tennis
leadership by players, parents and stakeholders". "The Investigating
Committee noted that Tennis Zimbabwe Board was not effective as an entity.
The board was significantly passive on all tennis matters and, therefore, it
was found collectively responsible for the mess in tennis. "The
association was found wanting in records keeping and accountability. Some
indicators of possible misappropriation of funds were established." The
committee, which was commissioned on 18 June last year, was given the
following terms of reference: n investigate any issues relating to the
constitution, governance and development of Tennis Zimbabwe n investigate
allegations of maladministration and misappropriation of funds n investigate
the existence of national team selection criteria, composition of the
selection panel and how the system has been working in the past n
investigate how the Davis Cup was funded and grants and loans for the ITF
have been used n determine if Tennis Zimbabwe has a strategic plan or a
development plan and how the plan is implemented The committee, among
their findings, claim that the TZ constitution is outdated, does not comply
with national policy on the decentralisation of sport, some of its
affiliates have outdated constitutions while others do not have any at all,
the governance structures are poorly structured and weak and that there were
low levels of professionalism, accountability and transparency in
administering and developing tennis. The report further alleges poor
administration of the game although Zimbabwe scaled dizzy heights during
Chingoka's reign. "Decision making tended to be centralised on a few
individual leaders and there was no separation of powers between the board
and its secretariat." As a measure to improve the operations at TZ, the
Sports Commission devised a road map that will see the association updating
its constitution and that of affiliates by the next AGM. "An
investigative audit on the funds of the Tennis Zimbabwe, especially the ITF
and Davis Cup resources, payment of players and officials, foreign currency
account and sponsorship deals should be done by 30 June 2005. "An
investigation into the conduct of former president and treasurer and any
other person who may have been involved in conduct inconsistent with the
development of tennis in Zimbabwe should be done by 30 June 2005," read part
of the statement. It further said Chingoka and Mahomed should be
suspended with immediate effect from tennis to "facilitate the
investigations". The revelations will come as a shock to many Zimbabweans
after the country attained prestigious status in tennis during Chingoka's
era which was spiced by the Black brothers -Wayne and Byron - who took
Zimbabwe to the Davis Cup World Group. Ironically, Chingoka has won
several accolades as a good administrator, including the Administrator of
the Year run under the auspices of the Sports Commission. It remains a
mystery what criteria the Sports Commission bosses were using when they
selected him as the best administrator just last year against this
background. Efforts to get a comment from Chingoka were unsuccessful by
the time of going to press.
Posted to the web on: 20 April 2005 Zimbabwe runs short
of maize - and the foreign exchange needed to pay for it Peter
DROUGHT and poor seed distribution may force
Zimbabwe to import more South African food, traders say, but many doubt
whether President Robert Mugabe's government has the money to pay for
South African traders say Zimbabwe's state Grain Marketing Board
failed to honour contracts last year, and they are reluctant to supply
much-needed maize for the struggling country this year.
But SA stands
to capitalise on shortages across the southern African region as the only
country to have a surplus of the staple food.
Aid workers say this year's
drought would have cut Zimbabwe's maize crop anyway, while Mugabe's critics
say chaotic seizures of white-owned farms over the past five years have left
the nation's once-thriving farm sector in ruins.
"Even in the
commercial areas it would have been bad," says one aid worker. "But those
guys would have had irrigation. There could be real suffering this
Some wonder if Zimbabwe's food needs might be funded by China or
Iran - both wooed as part of Mugabe's "look east" policy, aimed at
developing new friends for a government widely reviled in the
"We don't know where they will get the money from," says another
aid worker. "(Iranian President Mohammad) Khatami was in Zimbabwe recently,
so we wonder if it's someone like that."
With state-supplied seeds
and fertilisers arriving late or not at all, some aid workers say Zimbabwe's
overall maize crop could be as little as 300000 to 700000 tons - well short
of the 1,8-million tons they say the country needs, and estimates of a
1-million ton crop for last year.
SA, on the other hand, is expecting its
best harvest in over a decade after good rain, but much of the rest of the
region also faces shortages after late-season droughts destroyed much of the
crop in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, leaving SA the only regional source
Some traders say the rest of southern Africa may need as
much as 1,5-million tons of South African maize to stave off starvation in a
region where the HIV/AIDS pandemic has left many weakened and unable to
carry out farming.
Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the kingdoms of
Swaziland and Lesotho can either buy the food themselves or ask for food
aid, but no one knows how Zimbabwe will meet its shortfall.
along with much of the rest of southern Africa, saw serious food shortages
in 2002-2003, with as much as half the country's 14-million people needing
Agencies such as the World Food Programme saw operations
significantly cut back in 2004, when Zimbabwe said it had enough to feed its
people, and economic decline has left the country with little foreign
exchange to buy imports, commodity traders say.
Some aid workers
expected relief agencies to be invited back after parliamentary polls at the
end of March - criticised by western countries as unfree - but nothing has
Traders say food is moving into Zimbabwe anyway, as last year's
harvest is exhausted and next year's main crop awaits harvesting towards
May. Further orders are expected, they say.
There are no signs the
South African government is buying on behalf of Zimbabwe, as it has done in
the past, traders say, leading some to talk of Chinese or Iranian
involvement. Both countries have invested in Zimbabwe in recent years as
western donors flee.
South African rail and road transport operators ship
some 40000 tons of food a month to private buyers around the southern
Zimbabwe city of Bulawayo, rail operator Spoornet says.
African traders say they distrust Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board after it
failed to honour contracts last year, and a few say the government is using
private buyers rather than the board to purchase its grain.
current orders are being processed and paid for, traders say large future
orders may to be treated with caution until Zimbabwe's ability to pay
Other trade sources say as much as 70000 tons of white
maize could be already in transit to Zimbabwe from SA, with a possible
further 80000 tons on the way.
"I think you'll see the export figures
to Zimbabwe rise next week or the week after," a trader says.
16:30 - 20 April 2005 A Zimbabwean asylum
seeker based in Derby has won a last-minute reprieve in his fight to stay in
Tafara Nhengu (25), was to be deported back to his home
country at 8pm yesterday, after a series of asylum applications on his
Mr Nhengu, a performing artist, has campaigned
against President Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe since he was a
He fled his home country for Britain in 2002 because he
feared his political activities as a member of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change would lead to his imprisonment.
Mr Nhengu signed a faxed authorisation for a new lawyer to take over his
According to Dr Martine Stemerick, a minister at Alvaston
Methodist Church in London Road, who has championed Mr Nhengu's case, the
new lawyer was successful in a last-minute appeal against the deportation,
although it is unclear on what grounds.
Mr Nhengu has now been
returned to the Colnebrook Detention Centre near Heathrow Airport while his
latest appeal is considered by the Home Office.
It is not known
how long Mr Nhengu will have to wait for his appeal to be
Dr Stemerick said: "Tafara's new lawyer is superb and we are
hoping Tafara can stay.
"He would be in great danger for
speaking out against Mugabe if he was returned to Zimbabwe."
THERE has been no water supply to some sections of
Tafara, Mabvuku and Prospect in Waterfalls for the past two days, forcing
residents to resort to using unsafe water from shallow wells for household
Some of the affected residents told The Herald yesterday
that they feared an outbreak of waterborne diseases if the situation was not
Mr Voster Muzavazi of New Mabvuku said the supplies in the
area were abruptly cut without warning on Monday morning.
"Up to now
there is no water and we don't know when the supplies will resume," he
Mrs Sarah Chivizhe of New Tafara, who said only a few drops of
water were trickling from the taps, echoed Mr Muzavazi's
She urged the city authorities to find a lasting solution to
the now perennial water problems faced by residents in the eastern
Harare City Council introduced water rationing in the
north-eastern and southern suburbs about a week ago in a bid to boost
dwindling levels in the city's major reservoirs.
Director of works Mr
Psychology Chiwanga recently said due to persistent water shortages in the
eastern suburbs, the Commission running the affairs of Harare City Council
had implemented a water demand management exercise.
The city is currently
facing shortages of Ecol 2000, an oxidising agent used to destroy algae
(chlorophyll containing organisms) which clog filters at Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant.
In a related matter, Glen View residents are
complaining of running stomachs and headaches because they allege they are
drinking dirty water supplied by Harare City Council.
interviews, the residents said they were now boiling drinking water but
another unforeseen problem had arisen from that measure.
"The water gets
thick and forms into a viscous compound when we boil it," said Mrs Betty
Mr Chiwanga said no report had been lodged with his office over
the state of the water.
"He said his staff would investigate and
After receiving numerous calls from residents of
the suburb, The Herald yesterday visited Glen View to investigate and found
that the water coming from the taps had impurities.
Mrs Makura said
the problem had been going on for almost a fortnight. She said five people
at her house were suffering from severe stomachaches as a
Another resident, Mrs Rachel Simango, concurred, adding that
residents had resigned themselves to the hope that the water would come out
clean on one of the days.
"Last weekend the water was brownish. We
had to throw away a lot of it," she said.
Mr Mabasa Kadzimwe from the
same area said he had a running stomach but could not pinpoint the
He only became aware that the water had impurities after
neighbours alerted him.
Four other people at his house also
complained of the same problem.
Mrs Nyarai Tandi and Mrs Bridget Keta
also complained that the dirty water was causing stomach upsets with
children affected the most.
The residents said to compound the problem of
the contaminated water, supplies were not reliable.
The Herald is
reliably informed that problems with the city's water emanate from a
shortage of water treatment chemicals.
CAPE TOWN - President
Robert Mugabe couldn't be more different to the man who offered great hope
when he came to power 25 years ago.
There were always silly
rumours that a ghost writer, such as the last British governor Christopher
Soames, had written Robert Mugabe's speech of reconciliation after he won
the first general election in 1980. That speech that he made 25 years ago on
April 17 - on the eve of independence - always stuns young Zimbabweans when
they see the black and white footage for the first time.
"If yesterday you hated me, today you cannot avoid the love that binds you
to me and me to you. Is it not folly, therefore, that in these circumstances
anybody should seek to revive the wounds and grievances of the past?" Mugabe
Among those who questioned his authorship were vanquished
whites, mourning their dead and scared after decades of demonising
propaganda by the Rhodesian Front-controlled media. Others who questioned
the speech, were the left wing of Zanu PF, many of whom had been detained by
Mugabe in Mozambique during the war, and of course, the towering Joshua
Nkomo, who led the original liberation movement, Zapu.
Mugabe wrote the speech himself, according to a former Rhodesian senior
civil servant who stayed on in his office after independence. And it needed
little editing. If many questioned it then, almost everyone now finds it
hard to believe, so far does Zimbabwe seem from those emotions
They were directed mainly at whites who controlled much
of the economy at independence. But Mugabe quickly made them politically
irrelevant. Many of the racists and the heartsore slunk off to South Africa.
Those who stayed, largely disappeared from the political
A few months after independence, Mugabe still had a
positive message for whites, though rather less so that in that April 17
speech. He told a group of white farmers in a hall in Chinhoyi, 100
kilometres north of Harare: "You will need shock absorbers, as you will hear
many things about yourselves, but just keep going."
heard the message in a province which provided 70 percent agricultural
foreign currency earnings. Agricultural expansion, which spread into an
increasingly sophisticated and growing peasant sector who quickly became the
largest maize producers, seemed set to provide food security for ever and
ever, even in drought years when there was enough foreign currency for short
term imports of grain in 1991.
This sector drove the economy so
fast it was almost breathtaking and Mugabe invested the proceeds in health
and education. According to the United Nations, Zimbabwe achieved 85 percent
literacy within 15 years of independence, and health care was up there too.
Even now, when the country is mired in staggering domestic and foreign debt
and a collapsing infrastructure, there is still zeal and dedication among
many public health workers struggling to alleviate the suffering of those
affected by HIV/Aids.
"They are surprisingly committed,
hamstrung by lack of resources, of course, but their data collection, for
example, is really good," said a foreign doctor, seconded to the department
of health. "Despite everything, many African countries could learn something
from the Zimbabweans."
By 1990, a decade after independence,
infant death rates had been reduced by more than 16 percent, maternal deaths
were more than halved, and immunisation and nutrition levels had
After free and compulsory primary education became law,
the number of primary schools nearly doubled - from 2 401 to 4 324 - between
the last year of minority white rule in 1979 and 1985. Zimbabwe more than
doubled its number of trained teachers between 1980 and 1995. Secondary
schools sprung up everywhere.
But if things looked good at
the start, it was because Mugabe's essentially autocratic, undemocratic
nature had not fully revealed itself. Mugabe's political plans were always
to establish a one-party state under the comfortable cloak of his allies in
the eastern bloc. Zapu leader, Joshua Nkomo, stood in his
Zapu won 20 of 120 elected seats in the liberation
election of 1980. Shortly after independence, fighting broke out between
Mugabe's former combatants and those loyal to Joshua Nkomo's Zapu in post
wartime assembly points. Former Rhodesian soldiers, mostly black, restored
an uneasy peace but the wound ran too deep to heal.
Zapu combatants struggled for places in the Zimbabwe National Army and many
of those who did get recruited and who were manifestly better trained than
those loyal to Mugabe, found themselves stuck in junior positions. They left
Top Zapu leaders were arrested and tried for
treason, acquitted and detained under emergency regulations for a further
four years. A mysterious force, known as the "dissidents" began killing a
few white farmers and some Zanu PF members in Matabeleland province. Many of
Mugabe's opponents suspected that this was a "dirty trick" by Mugabe himself
to give him ammunition to crush Zapu, which he in any case
Mugabe accused Nkomo in the following provocative terms:
"Zapu is irretrievably bent on its criminal path ... time has now come to
show this evil party our teeth. We can bite, and we shall certainly bite."
He told his supporters to "weed them out of your gardens."
He sent in the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade, and for five years parts
of the Midlands and the two Matabeleland provinces were consumed by violence
in remote villages and journalists who reported it were routinely
Food in those dry and hungry areas was used as a
weapon, development was withheld, and the state controlled media was used,
much as the Rhodesians had used it, to persuade the dominant Shona tribe
that Zapu and Ndebele speakers in general were the enemy.
Many Shonas outside of Matabeleland didn't know, or didn't believe, what was
going on in the south of the country, and peace, development and growth
continued in the provinces closest to Harare
But Zapu had been
quietly vanquished, and Nkomo, who had fled Zimbabwe three years after
independence, returned, and he and his party retreated into a junior
partnership with Zanu PF. Zapu died when Nkomo reluctantly signed a unity
accord with Mugabe in 1987. The massacres in Matabeleland left unknown
thousands dead, many injured and thousands fled from the rural areas. The
economy, now struggling with outdated capital equipment from years of
sanctions against Rhodesia began to falter, and then in 1997, Mugabe made a
huge unbudgeted, pension pay-out to restless, unemployed war veterans which
sank the value of the Zimbabwe dollar overnight. Foreign currency became
scarcer and the International Monetary Fund's structural adjustment
programme in the early 1990s, which facilitated cheaper imports, and led to
factory closures and massive job losses, ripped the social infrastructure
further apart. So, when a growing, well educated urban society began
questioning the loss of civil liberties and the trade union movement grew in
protest against the economic hardships of structural adjustment, it was
inevitable that a new opposition would emerge. Several small parties came
and went, and only one, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, lead by former Zanu PF
heavyweight Edgar Tekere, made any impression. But it was demonised and made
a foolish alliance with conservative whites, fought an election in 1990, won
two seats, and disappeared before the next poll. The new party, the Movement
for Democratic Change, MDC) as in the early days of Zapu when it was still a
liberation movement, would emerge cutting across the lines of tribe, clan,
class and province. When the MDC mobilised the population to reject Mugabe's
proposed new constitution in a referendum in February 2000, Mugabe was
caught by surprise. His old international allies in the Soviet bloc had
become multiparty democracies, the world had changed, so dealing with the
MDC in the same way as he had crushed Zapu was not an option. So, Mugabe
played his last card - the card which some believe he had always kept at the
bottom of the deck for an emergency like this - the white farmers whom he
had always berated verbally when he needed a scapegoat, but whom he had
basically left intact. Some say that the farmers "brought it upon
themselves" by providing financial and logistical support for the MDC. In
any case, now he needed their land and he unleashed his war veterans and
unemployed youths onto well developed farms, evicting white farmers and
their workers. Commercial agriculture shrank and the peasant farmers who
grew the maize were collateral damage as tractor mechanics left, foreign
currency for fertiliser dwindled, reliable seed was no longer available. But
that was okay for Mugabe because his objective was political not economic.
With civil liberties largely extinct, collapsed education and health
sectors, a constitution so massively amended and often ignored, a justice
system mired in political patronage, Zimbabwe's future is as breathtakingly
perilous as it was bright when Mugabe made that speech 25 years ago. -
HARARE - The recent parliamentary elections
in Zimbabwe did not comply with the SADC principles and guidelines and there
were many flaws and irregularities before and during the one-day poll, the
chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Dr Reginald
Matchaba-Hove has said.
Speaking at a postmortem one-day
workshop organised by the Silveira House Civics Department in Harare today,
Matchaba-Hove noted that the Zimbabwean government flouted many regulations
and for this reason, ZESN did not endorse the poll.
his organisation had already written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
expressing displeasure about the discrepancies of figures in the final count
of votes. He said there had been serious discrepancies in a number of
He said ZESN noted the failure to invite
observers at least 90 days before the elections, the bias by the state media
in favour of the ruling party Zanu PF and irregularities on the voters
"As many as 10 per cent of the prospective voters were
turned away for various reasons and we felt that the margin was too high,"
the ZESN boss said.
Matchaba-Hove questioned the legitimacy
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as it was created just before the
elections. The voters roll was only released to the participating civic
groups seven days before the election and yet it was supposed to be released
He said although there was relative peace during
the election period there was concern about the transparency of the
collation of results after they were taken from the polling stations to the
Matchaba-Hove warned the nation to look critically
at the planned amendment of the Constitution by Zanu PF now that it had the
two-thirds majority of members in the House of Assembly. The presidential
term might be amended so that both parliamentary and presidential elections
are held simultaneously either in 2008 or in 2010, Mugabe has already
Addressing the same group of participants, mainly drawn
from civic groups, a senior lecturer in political science at the University
of Zimbabwe, Dr Eldred Masunungure, predicted a massive disengagement by
civil society in socio-economic and political
affairs of the
"After failing collectively to bring about positive
change through the ballot box in 2000, 2002 and 2005, many people will feel
disinclined to take part in national affairs at whatever level," said
He painted a very ugly picture of the Zimbabwean
economy, noting that experts say the former British colony has the fastest
shrinking economy in the world. Socially, Dr Masunungure said as many as 12
000 people die of Aids every month making Zimbabwe the second highest
country affected by the Aids pandemic in Africa after
Masunungure said while many people were hopeful that
the elections would bring about change, they were disappointed with the
outcome. " Most people feel resigned, disillusioned, defeated and powerless.
They might turn to divine intervention. They have become like tortoises that
withdraw into their shells when they feel threatened or out of sorts," he
He warned that disengagement was dangerous in the long
term. "It means political submission. People are not happy and when anger is
bottled up, it can lead to a sudden spontaneous outburst. This is real but
this might result in leaders who are demagogues - leaders who will remove
both the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF party," he said.
also noted that President Mugabe, who has in the past been accused of
appointing people from the Shona group, had moved a step further by
appointing people mainly from his own Zezuru tribe in the recent Cabinet
reshuffle. He said the Zezuru domination was not good for the country as it
could ignite national chaos.
Most of the 40 participants
agreed that the elections were grossly flawed but they could not reach
consensus on what strategy to be taken as a step forward.
JOHANNESBURG - The
South African government, fearing an expected influx of Zimbabweans into its
territory following the removal of stringent visa requirements, will for the
meantime maintain the current visa system with its northern
Speaking at a recent ceremony at which it announced
its removal of visa requirements for Mozambican nationals visiting South
Africa for a maximum of 30 days, South African Home Affairs Minister
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula expressed concern with the condition
the Beitbridge border post, where thousands of Zimbabweans cross into South
She said the number of Zimbabweans who were crossing
the border post on a daily basis was unacceptable.
daily basis we experience a very high influx of Zimbabweans who are involved
in cross-border trading. The situation now demands that we should do
something about it and we are currently talking with our Zimbabwean
counterparts," said Mapisa-Nqakula.
She said the visa waiver
pact with Mozambique was meant to encourage legal entry and to keep a proper
record of people who come in and go out.The agreement was co-signed by Jose
Pacheco, the Mozambican Home Affairs Minister.
Mapisa-Nqakula did not, however, say when discussions with the Zimbabwean
government would be translated into the scrapping of visa requirements. At
the moment, Zimbabweans are required to get visas before they can travel to
The requirements for the South African visa are
now beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans, who are required to either produce
travelers' cheques worth R1 000 or savings with any South African bank of
the same amount.
The streets of Johannesburg, South Africa's
economic capital, are filled with Zimbabwean blind beggars who have run away
from Zimbabwe. Illegal border jumpers have also invaded the country's
industrial sites in search of employment. More than three million
Zimbabweans are believed to be eking a living either by illegally working in
South Africa or involved in cross-border activities.
Although the South African government has tried to curb the influx of
Zimbabweans by introducing stringent visa requirements, the move seems to
have come to naught as long queues can still be witnessed at the South
African visa office in Harare.
Zimbabwean banks, seeing the
popularity of the South African visas, are now cashing in by requiring that
any Zimbabwean in need of the visa has to find ways and means of acquiring
the R1 000 from the black market, and hand it over to the bank for it to
issue travelers cheques of equivalent amount plus a commission of Z$500 000
Zimbabwe is a major South African trading
partner, with large volumes of goods going through Beitbridge. The border
post is also Zimbabwe's safest gateway to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
through the ports at Durban and Cape Town.
The scrapping of
visa requirements for Mozambicans visiting South Africa is set to improve
trade relations between the two countries. South Africa has similar
arrangements with Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia,Malawi, Lesotho and
the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
HARARE - Zimbabwe's
central bank has remained silent amid speculation that the Zimbabwe dollar
would be devalued by up to 90 percent as part of economic austerity measures
in the delayed first quarter economic review policy statement expected to be
issued by the central bank soon.
In the past, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe ( RBZ) would quickly issue press statements denying such moves,
but its silence on the current speculation is now giving credence to the
speculation. Tale-tell signs of a devalued dollar have already begun to be
felt as the prices of most basic commodities have been steadily rising in
the past few weeks.
A number of companies which survive on the
central bank's foreign currency auction floor to raise money for
international purchases, have indicated that the central bank has in the
past weeks failed to raise the required money, resulting in some of them
being advised to raise more funds on the parallel market.
senior employee for a tyre manufacturing company told The Daily News Online
today that his company had been allowed by the central bank to raise foreign
currency on the parallel market. He said although the central bank was not
committal to the whole deal, it had endorsed it.
"This is a
clear indication that the Zimbabwe dollar is poised for massive devaluation
because the foreign currency auction floors are longer raising enough money
required by various critical sectors of the economy," he
Most of the companies which had been allowed to raise
foreign currency on the parallel market were now factoring in their
expenditure when pricing basic goods. The Zimbabwe government, facing
mounting pressure from industry to raise the price of basic commodities, has
indicated that all those found charging exorbitant prices would be
The move has resulted in various commodities
disappearing from shelves in major distribution outlets. This has in turn
led to hoarding. The central bank, which has always issued a quarterly
monetary policy review, which among other things, has been a
principle in the country's economic activities, has been
quiet in the past few weeks.
With nearly half of the second
quarter coming to an end, industry and commerce has been jittery over
government's lack of a deliberate economic policy, especially as it also
included the country's election period.
The Zimbabwean dollar
is currently officially pegged at $6 200 against the US dollar, yet on the
parallel market it is trading at fluctuating rates of between $13 000 and
The recent wage increase for domestic workers will
erode the gains made by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to revive the
economy through its monetary policy interventions, the Employers'
Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) has said.
Mr Mike Bimha, the Emcoz
president, said the increase, announced by Government last month, could have
the consequence of reversing the "good work" achieved by the monetary
"Statutory Instrument 42/2005 has the potential to undo all the
good work achieved by monetary policy interventions to date. Emcoz should
continue to seek accommodation with the relevant authorities on this issue,"
said Mr Bimha, in a statement.
Government increased domestic workers'
wages by nearly 1 000 percent from a minimum of $90 000 to $850
Wages for a cook/housekeeper who resides at the employer's premises
were increased to $850 000, while those residing elsewhere would be entitled
to a minimum wage of $1 256 000 with effect from March 1 this
Mr Bimha said Emcoz would consult with relevant stakeholders on the
matter following which its members would be informed of the
He, however, urged all members to pay according to the gazetted
wages pending the results of the deliberations.
"In the meantime,
Statutory Instrument 42/2005 is the law of the land and members are advised
to comply," reads part of the statement.
Some employers have also
expressed concern at the increases, saying they are both unrealistic and
Mrs Priscilla Nyahuma of Glen View said she could not
afford to pay the gazetted wage of $850 000 as it amounted to a third of her
"If Government wants us to increase domestic workers' wages, then
our salaries should also be revised upwards," she said.
Harare woman was of the opinion that it was for the domestic worker and his
or her employer to mutually agree on a wage rise.
"You cannot expect
someone who takes home $2 million to pay $850 000. They will be left with
just over a million to survive on," she said.
"I've told my maid and
gardener that I can only increase their wages by $150 000 and they have
agreed. So it's a matter of understanding between the workers and their
employers," she said.
The Government, however, said the increases were
necessitated by the rise in the cost of living over the past few years,
which has not spared the domestic workers, some of whom have families to
look after like everybody else.
Government also defended the almost 1
000 percent margin of the raise - which is over tenfold above the RBZ's
recommended maximum salary increase of 95 percent for this year - saying the
latter percentage was meant for the general workforce.
domestic workers were far below the minimums stipulated in other sectors and