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

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Lawyer calls for Mugabe trial at The Hague

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Friday April 23, 2004
The Guardian

A leading international lawyer yesterday called for Robert Mugabe to be
brought to trial for state-sponsored torture, murder and rape amid fresh
claims that the government in Zimbabwe is abusing its legal system to hold
on to power.
Mark Ellis, from the International Bar Association, said there was enough
evidence to bring Mr Mugabe before the international criminal court in The

"It is time that the international community took decisive steps to assure
the suffering people of Zimbabwe that Mugabe and his cohorts will be held
accountable for their crimes," he said.

"Files can be opened now and evidence can be compiled to prepare for the

The UN commission on human rights, now meeting in Geneva, declined to take
action on the reports of abuses in Zimbabwe. But Mr Ellis said the trend of
international justice was to make sure that there is no impunity for rulers
or government officials. "We must show that even a dictator cannot evade
international law," he said.

Stephen Irwin QC, chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales, was one
of an international delegation of lawyers who returned this week from a
visit to Zimbabwe. "What is happening there is the destruction of a once
fine, working justice system in order to hold on to political power," he

The country's judges were either being bought or threat ened into submission
to the Mugabe regime, he said.

Mr Irwin said the Mugabe government had to significantly reform or the
parliamentary elections due in March next year would be "meaningless".

A new report by analysts at the International Crisis Group, echoed Mr
Irwin's warning, saying that the upcoming elections "may be the country's
last chance to avoid becoming a failed state".
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Business Day

No Harare invite for PAC to liberation bash


Harare Correspondent

HARARE Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) has not invited its key regional ally,
SA's Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), to the meeting of former liberation
movements in Harare that began on Wednesday.

A Zanu (PF) source said a PAC invitation could have upset the African
National Congress (ANC), which fears that the opposition party could import
the Zimbabwean "virus" of wholesale land invasions.

Parties and groups invited to the conference included Swapo of Namibia, the
Botswana Democratic Party, the Movement for the People's Liberation of
Angola, Malawi's ruling United Democratic Front and the Malawi Congress
Party (MCP), and Zambia's Movement for Multiparty Democracy and the United
Independence Party (Unip). The MCP and Unip were invited in their capacities
as former liberation movements and ruling parties.

A number of other parties from Sudan, Tanzania, Lesotho and Swaziland, as
well as from the US, Britain and Australia, were also invited.

Although it also received an invitation, the ANC did not send anyone from SA
to the meeting. It nominated deputy high commissioner in Zimbabwe Kingsley
Sithole to attend instead.

PAC leader Motsoko Pheko said his party was disappointed it had not been
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Business Day

Politicians run for cover on the tough decisions

I HAVE watched the unfolding saga in Zimbabwe cricket this past week with an
increasing sense of dislike for politicians and their duplicitous manoeuvres
and sidesteps.
What is happening is disgusting. Players are taking moral stands while
governments, though quite happy to piggy-back on the actions of players,
refuse to get their hands dirty.

The issue started out as a dispute between the cricket union there and its
top players.

The reasons for the dispute range from politics to a fundamental lack of

But it's where international tours come in, that double standards begin.

England and Australia are to tour Zimbabwe this year and there is plainly
substantial opposition to those tours in Zimbabwe and in those countries.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has made it clear it is reluctant
to hand what it sees as legitimacy to a regime it regards as dubious, by
touring there.

But the ECB's hands are tied by a decision emanating out of the
International Cricket Council boardrooms, declaring that any country
defaulting on tours for reasons other than concerns about safety and
security stands to incur huge fines.

If the British government were to tell the ECB it cannot tour, those fines
would not be incurred because the ECB would be under government instruction.

But the British government won't do a thing. It makes quite clear its
dislike for the Robert Mugabe regime and it uses the debate surrounding
every tour as a chance to have its say and to denigrate that regime.

But when it comes to putting its money where its mouth is, the British
government is nowhere to be seen, claiming that it is the ECB's decision to
tour or not.

The Australian situation is even worse.

Cricket Australia has said it will tour because it believes in the
philosophy that cricket must be spread worldwide.

As a result, individuals are left to examine their consciences and decide if
they want to tour or not.

Australian legspinner Stuart MacGill, has decided that he cannot, in all
conscience, tour a country that he believes has denied people their
fundamental human rights.

His government, while refusing to stop the Australian players from touring
there, has jumped in boots and all on the back of MacGill's courageous call
of conscience.

Their foreign minister, Alexander Downer, was yesterday quoted slamming the
"abhorrent" racial policy for selection of the national team. He called on
the International Cricket Council to take action against Zimbabwe, saying
its team was being selected on the basis of race, not merit.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is said to have congratulated MacGill
on his "strength of character".

Well, those comments certainly beg questions.

If Zimbabwe's policies are so abhorrent to them, why is the Australian
government allowing that tour to go ahead?

And if, as reported, Howard so admires MacGill's "strength of character" in
refusing to tour, what does that say about his government's refusal to act
and their strength of character?

I find it sickening and cynical, that governments are perfectly willing to
make known their "abhorrence" and all those other strong emotions, while
sitting back and letting cricket unions make the hard choices all the while
knowing that the cricket unions stand to lose heavily if they decide not to

On a purely sporting note, the Zimbabwean cricket rebels must have had a few
uncomfortable hours watching the country's second-stringers doing rather
well against Sri Lanka in the first limited overs international.

With everyone in cricket expecting a complete cake-walk for the Sri Lankans,
a win for the Zimbabwean team was certainly not in the script.

What if they had won? Where would that have left the rebels and their
bargaining position?

Interesting times.

Smit is sports editor.
Apr 23 2004 07:31:56:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

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Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 20 April

What the IMF really said about Zim's economic performance

John Robertson

Zimbabwe's government-controlled media made headline news of the few
positive points that could be extracted from the International Monetary Fund
's (IMF) press statement at the end of their two-week visit last month. The
first points highlighted by the IMF team were skimmed over for local
readers, if mentioned at all. These were the IMF's key findings:

Zimbabwe's economy's deterioration in the past five years had reduced its
gross domestic product by about 30% and it was still contracting.

Inflation had doubled in each of the past three years to reach 600% at the
end of last year. This had dire social consequences, including high and
rising unemployment that made the poverty measures twice as serious, and
school enrolments had been cut by 35% in 2003.

Structural changes in agriculture relating to land reform negatively
affected agricultural production.

Foreign donors have provided large amounts of humanitarian aid, but donor
assistance has been curtailed because of concerns about the quality of

Loose monetary policies had intensified inflationary pressures. They had
also left interest rates highly negative in real terms, which imposed a
heavy tax on savers, encouraged excessive borrowing, and increased the
vulnerability of the financial sector.

Flight to alternative assets had been caused by the excessive liquidity
growth, and this had contributed to record increases in real estate and
share prices and hoarding of goods. Exports had suffered because of the
uncompetitive official exchange rate, and official imports were severely

Acknowledging that the government's budgetary operations were almost
balanced last year, the IMF found this to be because of higher sales-tax
collections after the mid-year price-control liberalisation and further cuts
in government spending.

The IMF team did welcome steps taken in the 2004 Budget, in the December
Monetary Policy Statement and in more recent moves to strengthen banking
supervision. It encouraged the authorities to accelerate and broaden these
efforts. The IMF team was in the country to start the process of its
so-called Article IV Consultation Report, a detailed economic statement of
each member country's performance and prospects. Normally the information
gathered will be used to set guidelines for the various forms of assistance
that the IMF might offer to the country and the criteria that a recipient
country would have to meet to qualify for the facilities. Conditions laid
down normally focus on the basic issues directly affecting the stability of
a country's exchange rate. This means that sources of inflation, such as
large Budget deficits, distorted interest-rate structures, dual exchange
rates or the use of borrowed funds for consumption rather than investment
would all be targeted for correction. Once it has persuaded the country to
deal effectively with these potential hazards, the IMF will typically show a
strong preference for leaving market forces to determine exchange and
interest rates, hopefully helped by a low inflation environment that has
been achieved by rigorously applying strict fiscal and monetary policies.
Although Zimbabwe no longer qualifies for the IMF's technical assistance,
the team listed a number of recommendations to the Zimbabwe government.
These were:

To focus monetary policy on taming inflation and on reducing pressure on the
exchange rate, taking into account the vulnerability of the banking system;

To gear fiscal policy to the support of tighter monetary policies;

To use the exchange rate to decisively reinvigorate exports and contain the
demand for imports, and to restart the comprehensive discussions that link
private and public-sector efforts to meet Zimbabwe's economic challenges.

While Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF, which stood at US$290-million at the
end of February, place the country beyond the reach of IMF lending, the
staff team welcomed Zimbabwe's recent repayment of $6-million and its
commitment to make quarterly payments of $1,5-million. The IMF team closed
its press statement with the assurance that its executive board will closely
examine the progress made on policies and payments when it considers the
team's Article IV Consultation Report in July. The almost token instalments
of $1,5-million a quarter that Zimbabwe has promised to pay off its arrears
are intended to stave off the next stage on the road to Zimbabwe's expulsion
from the IMF - the ultimate step in a sequence that started with Zimbabwe
losing its right of access to IMF funds, then its right to technical
assistance, and thereafter its voting rights as a member country. The feared
compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe's membership now appears to be on hold,
but much more progress will be needed before funds will be offered or the
country's voting rights on the Board of Governors can be restored. Records
show that Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF since February
2001 and by the end of November last year, the arrears amounted to
$273-million, (about 53% of its IMF quota). Of the total amount,
$110-million was overdue to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Trust.
The IMF revealed at the time that Zimbabwe was the first and only country to
have protracted overdue obligations to this trust. Zimbabwe has doubled the
measurable levels of poverty while shrinking the economy to only 70% of its
size five years ago. It now has to repay $120-million to this facility. But
as export revenues have dropped by half as a result of destructive policies,
the country can barely manage the quarterly token instalment to keep its IMF
membership on life support.

John Robertson is an economic consultant in Harare

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward;
 but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

--- Ursula Kroeber LeGuin
Letter 1.  Subject Land - MT Statement

There is still no official statement on the recent very damaging press

The issue is not going away and, almost to the contrary, the absence of an
official clarifying statement, preferably from MT himself, is fermenting
increasingly destructive debate well beyond our borders.

There is a dire need to prepare something appropriate for media circulation
throughout Africa and the rest of the world.

There is a feeling that this silence is almost sinister and it raises a
serious question about the sincerity of the commitment to the very
foundation principles of the MDC as a truly democratic organization that
believes in the rule of law.

The press report also contradicts the agrarian reform policy as enshrined
in the official policy documents. This has added to the confusion and
provided ammunition for our critics who now have every justification to
question the national leadership qualities of the government in waiting.

Simon Spooner
"11 year's old - Thank You"
Letter 2.  Subject The History of Justice
The Vice Chairman,
Justice for Agriculture.

Dear Sir,

The Third Chimurenga started in February 2000. Jag started in about May 200
2 when the effects of the Third Chimurenga concerned a group of people
enough to act in a legal manner which they saw fit. The Quinnel case which
is to heard next month (27th May) is the product of that concern.

However, it is always good to pause for reflection and take stock of the
past. Cathy Buckle and other writers seem to have documented many aspects
of the Third Chimurenga for Zimbabweans to read and study at their leisure
in the future.

It would appear that the Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative (ZJRI) made
an attempt to prevent some of the activities that have occurred in Zimbabwe
over the last few years. I believe that the Chairman of Jag was actually
involved in the ZJRI at one stage. Would it not be a good time to examine
the composition and the activities of ZJRI, and the time frames, to paint
a clear historical picture of its part in the whole exercise?

Are there any ex ZJRI committee members who could assist in supplying this
information, including the Chairman of Jag?  This information is likely to
form an integral part of the web of intrigue which can now be analysed in a
completely detached manner. Once some form of pattern is evident it may
well be used as the basis of the Fourth Chimurenga - Real Justice for all
Zimbabweans regardless of their status in political, religious, gender,
racial, financial, geographical, employment or tribal terms. Your
assistance in supplying the facts about ZJRI will be most appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Fourth Chimurenga.
Letter 3.  Subject Money or Principles
Dear Jag,

The Octogenarian W.F. Deeds has written some words about the ECU's dilemma
about meeting its obligations by playing cricket against Zimbabwe that we
all need to give some thought to. It would appear that the cricketing
fraternity have now become the chosen ones to experience the Third
Chimurenga because there is a little dosh at stake of course - instead of
houses, farms, tractors, cattle, rose sheds, tobacco, sheep, goats, diesel,
cars, irrigation, maize, chickens, lorries, pick ups, TVs, furniture, etc.
as was found in the first round on the farms, it is now just pure beautiful
unadulterated 'mali' this time. Much more fun.

"By pushing aside principle and insisting that monetary considerations come
first, we have made cricket look cheap.
  We shall find our own behaviour harder to explain."

I have met an ex Zimbabwean lawyer, and a farmer who became disillusioned
with the CFU's arrogance towards its members who had pointed out that there
was a matter of "principle" at stake rather than a "monetary
consideration," some four years ago. One had raised the full amount for the
equivalent of the Quinnel Case some four years ago, but was advised that
the Director and others had it all in hand.

My question is, did the CFU make agriculture or farmers "look cheap?"
Judging by the quietness from that quarter right now it is not totally
unreasonable to wonder how that "behaviour will be explained." The Peter
Principle states that we all get promoted to our level of incompetence.

 Principally Peter.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated 22nd April 2004

Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities <>

1.  Advert Received 14th April 2004

Positions available immediately - for both experienced houseworker and
gardener in the Umwinsidale area off the Shamva Road. Must have reliable
references, be non drinkers and above all be honest. Accomodation available
and good renumeration offered.

Please contact Sue or Sarah on 04 494848 or 091 237 576
2.  Advert Received 16th April 2004

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am looking for a business partner to produce vegetables in a 10 ha
irrigated plot in Botswana.  The government of Botswana has just
recently leased me the plot at P 23 000 (approx R34 000) per year.  The
lease period is 25 years with an option for a further extension of
another 25 years.

May I humbly ask your association to help me in this regard.  Please
contact me on the reflected e-mail address and/or on the numbers
indicated below:

(27) 15 268 2376/2203
(27) 84 272 9148
(27) 83 299 0106

David Norris
Dr David Norris
Quantitative Geneticist
Faculty of Science, Health & Agricullture
University of the North
South Africa

Tel: (27) 15 268 2376/2203
Fax: (27) 15 268 2892


3.  Advert Received 17th April 2004
there must be farmers out there who had experienced, accomplished
but who are now jobless. we are looking for one such, five days a week for
large property. regret we cannot offer accommodation. must have contactable

please contact andy, on 091-315-063 thanks,

jan raath

4.  Advert Received 20th April 2004
2777 073 22595
CELL 011 615367

5.  Advert Received 21st April 2004
Bookeeper wanted to work mornings (9 to 1) in the highlands area. Pastel
would be ideal but not vital
please contact :
Patrick Cochran
Mobile - + 263 (0)91 274327
Tel - +263 (0)4 495 433
Email -
6.  Advert Received 21st April 2004

"Procurement company looking for a mornings only (& possibly 2 afternoons a
week) lady to work in their office which is run by ex farmers:

Must have:
drivers licence
a sense of humour
good secretarial skills
basic knowledge in booking keeping
good telephone manner

Please contact Siobhan (Shavaun) Hutchings on 011 410 347"

For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact (updated 18 June 2003)

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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday April 12th – Sunday April 18th 2004

Weekly Media Update 2004-15










1. General Comment


NOTHING more aptly illustrates African countries’ hypocrisy in tackling the Zimbabwean crisis more than their resistance to have Zimbabwe’s human rights record discussed by the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in Geneva recently.

According to media reports, all 15 African countries on the 53-member commission voted for a “no action” motion that blocked a primary motion criticising Zimbabwe’s evidently deteriorating human rights record.

Their vote together with that of 10 Asian states, one South American country and a European nation ensured that the motion raising the issue of Zimbabwe’s human rights record was defeated by 27 votes to 24. There were two abstentions.


So elated was The Herald with this outcome (16/4) that it reported the story under a false headline, No human rights abuse in Zim: UN. The paper and its stablemates then used this distortion to vindicate the authorities’ claims that reports of human rights violations in Zimbabwe were a fabrication of Britain and its ally the US, who are allegedly against the country’s agrarian reforms.

However, the private media reports disputed such claims and continued to present more fresh evidence of nationwide State-sponsored or state-condoned human rights abuses in the country. For example SW Radio Africa and Studio 7 carried about 18 reports on rights abuses in Zimbabwe. These included the authorities’ violent eviction of farm labourers at Charleswood and Kondozi farms. Similarly, the private Press carried about six reports on rights violations, including farm seizures.


Although The Herald and The Manica Post (16/4) also reported the invasion of Kondozi and Charleswood, they did not view the seizures in the context of rights abuses. Instead, The Manica Post especially, celebrated the takeover of Kondozi saying it was indicative of “government’s commitment that there would be no going back on the policy and legal decision” to acquire the farm. This blatant contradiction of a High Court interdict preventing interference in the operations of Kondozi, also ignored the adverse ramifications of the takeover on farm workers and instead claimed that the invasion would create “jobs galore”.

ZBC steered clear of the issue. 


Meanwhile, as this report went to Press The Daily Mirror (21/4) reported that the authorities had deported a sports correspondent with the UK-based Daily Telegraph newspaper, Mihir Bose, after his accreditation to cover the Sri Lankan national cricket team’s tour of Zimbabwe was turned down. According to the paper, Bose had allegedly provided incomplete information to the authorities. The Herald (21/4) typically, reported that Bose, “whose newspaper…is linked to the British government, had secretly entered the country…to work ‘undercover’…”    



2. Land grab continues


The facade of normalcy with which government has always tried to mask the chaotic nature of its controversial land seizures peeled off again in the week to reveal the nasty outlook of the exercise after the authorities made fresh aggressive bids to take over Kondozi and Charleswood Farms in Manicaland.

As SW Radio Africa (13/4) and Studio 7 (12 & 16/4) revealed, this onslaught follows President Mugabe’s threat in June last year that government would take over the two farms and more recent statements by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo that the authorities would take “decisive and final corrective measures over Kondozi”.

Not only did government’s latest efforts smack of hypocrisy and vindictiveness, but also exposed serious policy contradictions in the implementation of government’s ‘fast-track’ agrarian reforms.


Predictably, the government media ignored the authorities’ violations of the law and human rights under the guise of the so-called equitable redistribution of land. As illustrated by The Herald (16/4) for example, they covered up the illegal and violent nature of the raids and failed to question why government continued to resort to this barbaric method to achieve its goals.

This primitive use of force was all the more alarming since the raids were clearly in contempt of court orders granted to the owners of the farms barring government from interfering in their operations.

Instead, The Herald downplayed the vicious manner in which armed State security agents evicted workers at Kondozi Farm, ostensibly to pave the way for the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). It merely reported that ARDA “has started operations” at Kondozi after its previous owners, the De Klerk family, who had “refused” to vacate it after its acquisition by the government, “made way for the Authority”.


Similarly, the paper reported law enforcement agents as occupying Charleswood Farm and ordering “defiant employees to leave” after its owner, MDC MP for the area, Roy Bennet, “deserted the farm and the constituency opting for his farm at Ruwa”.

ZBC simply ignored the seizures altogether.

But SW Radio Africa, which has for several weeks closely followed the developments at the farms, disproved The Herald’s suggestion of civility in the way state security agents threw out the farm workers.

The private radio station’s determination to ferret out a more reliable story about the invasions saw it diligently updating its audiences on the matter at least four times during the week.


For instance it reported (13/4) that “truckloads of soldiers armed with AK-47’s and police units with dogs and baton sticks” descended on Charleswood on Good Friday and forced all the farm workers and their families out of the compound, assaulting and injuring several in the process. Some workers who decided to stay were offered “short-term contracts and less pay”.

The Zimbabwe Independent (16/4) corroborated the story and quoted farm workers who claimed that the police beat them up with truncheons “while children and the infirm were trampled in the melee”.

The paper also reported that the Manicaland provincial administrator had allegedly prevented the Red Cross from helping the stranded Kondozi farm workers.


SW Radio Africa (15/4) also highlighted this.

The station (14/4) revealed that the seizure of Kondozi had adversely affected the surrounding community. It quoted journalist Peta Thorncroft as saying Kondozi supported “more than…8,000 families” in the province, most of whom were subsistence farmers contracted to sell their produce to the farm, which in turn exported the products to the lucrative European Union markets.

In fact, Studio 7 (15/04) reported that such negative repercussions of the takeover had prompted a high-powered delegation, including 28 chiefs, from areas surrounding Kondozi to travel to Harare hoping to meet President Mugabe “to complain about the evictions” but instead ended up meeting Vice-President Joseph Msika. The Zimbabwe Independent also revealed this.


Msika reportedly ordered ARDA off Kondozi saying the original farm “management must resume operations without interference” (Studio 7, 16/4, and The Standard, 18/4). The Standard quoted Msika as having claimed that he was unaware of “this latest land (Kondozi) acquisition neither is John Nkomo (Land Reform and Resettlement Minister) – nor is the acting police commissioner – only the police there were aware of this invasion”.


Ironically, while the government was hounding out the remnants of productive commercial agriculture, the government media attacked Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for wanting the same rejected farmers to farm in his country.

They did this by rehashing previous private media reports claiming that a team of white former commercial farmers had held talks with Obasanjo during a week-long visit to that country during which the group discussed the possibility of relocating there (The Herald, Chronicle, 15/4, and The Herald, 16/4).      


But instead of fairly reporting the matter, the two papers (15/4) abused their professional roles by politicising the issue, depicting Obasanjo as a latter day Judas Iscariot.

They claimed that Nigeria’s move had “raised eyebrows and set tongues wagging in diplomatic circles, given that General Obasanjo had been ‘a midwife’ involved in moves to mend relations between Zimbabwe and Britain over the land issue”.

To sustain their attack on Obasanjo the papers falsely claimed that government had not expelled the farmers but that they had instead spurned government’s one-man-one-farm policy in favour of multiple farm ownership, “some of which were idle and have been repossessed for redistribution among landless blacks”.  

They deliberately ignored the fact that government had legislated against the one-man-one-farm policy through section 9 (2)(a) (iii) of its 2004 Land Acquisition Amendment. The section dismisses the owning of one piece of land as constituting “valid grounds for any objection to the compulsory acquisition of the land nor shall such criteria form the basis of any claim or right in law…”


However, unlike the government media’s heavily sanitised reports on agricultural activity, the private media critically took stock of the pitfalls surrounding government’s agrarian reforms.

For example, the private media picked up an IRIN report (the UN’s Integrated Regional Information Network) on the rapidly shrinking dairy industry because some newly resettled farmers had given up on dairy production and had instead turned to the cultivation of maize and soya beans (The Tribune, 16/4, Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard).

The Tribune quoted one of the farmers as saying: “When I took up dairy farming I thought it was an easy business, but hardly had I started, did I realise that there was much more to it than leading cows into a milking pen.”


The Zimbabwe Independent, on the other hand, quoted the National Association of Dairy Farmers (NADF) spokesperson, Hilary Blair, as saying the new dairy farmers had been disillusioned mainly because of their lack of experience and resources. This had resulted in a slump in the production of milk on some farms by 25 to 45 percent.

Blair said a dairy farmer “must be… a veterinary doctor, a nutritionist and must be on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”


In contrast, the government-controlled media merely carried damage control pieces as was the case with The Herald (16/4) story, Milk shortage due to operational problems – DZL. The story unhelpfully claimed, “Milk producers continue to face various challenges related to drought, the cost and shortages of critical inputs…” adding that Dairiboard Zimbabwe Limited was running schemes to help dairy farmers with funds and infrastructural developments.



3. Independence celebrations


The government media’s coverage of the country’s 24th Independence anniversary further underscored their status as unbridled conduits of ZANU PF propaganda. They merely regurgitated government assertions that the 24th anniversary was historic as it represented the peak of the country’s socio-political and economic successes, as exemplified by the repossession of land from the minority whites.


This slavish coverage was clearly illustrated by the manner in which ZBC handled the issue.

The government broadcaster (ZTV, Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe) bombarded its audiences with a total of 114 stories on the country’s independence in its main news bulletins of the week. Of these, 41 (36 percent) reminded the public about the importance of commemorating independence. The stories also challenged people to “jealously guard the gains of the country’s liberation struggle” and emulate the lives of the late liberation war heroes who devoted their lives to the country.

Forty-three (38 percent) were on the preparations for the countrywide celebrations, while 21 stories (18 percent) were reports of the actual event itself.

Nine (8 percent) of them linked the country’s Independence to the government’s self-proclaimed achievements, such as the resettlement of the landless. 

In addition, ZBC’s stations carried excerpts of old speeches made by the country’s heroes during the war. Recent speeches made by President Mugabe were also aired. Old liberation struggle songs were played on all ZBC’s radio stations.

The frenzy culminated in an overnight live coverage of a musical show held in Hwange on April 17.


But this over-zealous allocation of airtime to the event did not translate into an honest evaluation of issues, especially the effects of agrarian reforms, which government and its media advertised as the hallmark of its achievements and therefore a source for celebration.

Besides, the broadcaster and the government Press were also blind to how government, under the pretext of empowering the disadvantaged and safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, had totally subverted Zimbabweans’ basic rights as a people.

The Manica Post (16/4) made an ironic reference to it when the paper quoted ruling party stalwart Oppah Muchinguri as having “defined independence as total freedom of expression and respect for human rights” adding that “it (independence) means freedom to associate, vote, own property, excel in business, as well as respect for fundamental human rights.”

However, there was no attempt by the paper to measure such bland rhetoric against the arsenal of hostile laws, such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which have massively eroded Zimbabweans’ rights.


Only the private media tried to explore this area, although their analyses were often distracted by the economic crisis rather than focussing on the wholesale erosion of the country’s civil rights too.

The Financial Gazette, for example, quoted constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku as tracing Zimbabwe’s woes from between 1980 and 1994 when Zimbabwe moved from “a parliamentary system of enacting laws to a presidential system” as illustrated by the fact that of the 17 amendments made to the Constitution since independence most were focused on concentrating power in the hands of the Executive.

Added Madhuku: “It (the constitution) had detrimental effects on the economy and the society in that there is no benefit of a free flow of ideas.”


Studio 7 (13 & 16/4) and SW Radio Africa (16/4) echoed similar views. 

And The Zimbabwe Independent story, You may rejoice, I must mourn also referred to the systematic erosion of people’s freedoms by the government since the attainment of independence in 1980. It noted that the ruling party “has remained entombed in the revolutionary mantra that it alone brought freedom and therefore it should be the custodian and dispenser of all freedoms and rights. Anyone demanding extra rights outside the prescribed ones is considered…an enemy of the state.”

This observation found relevance in government media reports, which unquestioningly allowed the ruling party to selfishly own the liberation struggle and consequently monopolise independence proceedings. But surprisingly, the private media accessed little comment on this brazen theft of an important national event in the name of narrow political interests and the government media were allowed to get away with the deification of the ruling party and the President.


The Herald (12/4), for example, depicted President Mugabe as a faultless revolutionary legend, persecuted by his enemies for, among other reasons, his magnanimity, forgiving nature, love for peace and unity, benefiting “previously deprived Africans”, achieving social justice, and fighting graft “everywhere, including in his own party and government”.

The Herald (14,15,16&17/4), Chronicle (15/4) and The Sunday Mirror (18/4) stories were tailored in the same way, either hallowing Mugabe’s achievements or that of his party. The Sunday Mirror story especially simplistically described Mugabe as “a legendary hero of all times” without examining his contemporary record of governance.



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at

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      Mudzuri sues Mugabe

      Brian Mangwende
      4/23/2004 8:07:50 AM (GMT +2)

      THE acrimonious and disruptive wrangling at the Harare City Council
has, in an extra twist, sucked in President Robert Mugabe, who has now been
dragged to the High Court by dismissed Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri.

      Mudzuri, who is literally clutching at straws, is now fighting for
reinstatement. He was finally sacked last week after spending almost 12
months on suspension.

      During the 12 months, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo,
accused of trumping up charges against Mudzuri, put a political squeeze on
the embattled former mayor who was elected on a Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) ticket.

      Speculation had swirled about for months that Chombo had decided to
dismiss Mudzuri in what observers said was a battle to control the
opposition-dominated Harare council which presented a delicate political
challenge to government. ZANU PF lost control of the capital city through
the ballot in what was widely seen as an expression of anger and
disillusionment by urban residents over the economic meltdown blamed on
central government.

      The opposition party, which has posed the biggest challenge ever to
ZANU PF rule, tapped into the rich well of voter disenchantment to win most
of the local government elections in urban centres. Since then there has
always been acrimonious wrangling between Chombo and Mudzuri which
culminated in the dismissal of the latter last week.

      But before the ink was even dry on his dismissal letter, the
beleaguered mayor took the ageing Zimbabwean leader to the High Court on
Wednesday, giving a fresh spin to the circus at Town House. This comes as it
emerged that President Mugabe, who has been conspicuous by his silence on
Mudzuri's suspension and subsequent dismissal, had actually given the
directive for the sacking of Mudzuri, the first executive mayor to be thrust
into the hot seat on an opposition party ticket.

      The MDC last week threw its weight behind Mudzuri, who had reportedly
been abandoned by the opposition party during his bitter rift with Chombo.
The party indicated that it has the stomach for a protracted costly battle
in the courts.

      Mudzuri, who has been fighting a lone battle against the government
since his suspension on April 29 2003, was fired last Friday in terms of
Section 54 (1) of the Urban Councils Act and through Cabinet Minute Number
58/04 of April 8 2004.

      His lawyers this week trashed their client's dismissal, saying the
executive mayor's case was not looked at fairly and in any case, he was
already challenging the process which led to the dismissal.

      In an urgent chamber application filed in the High Court, Mudzuri,
through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor and Immerman, cited President
Mugabe as the second respondent while Chombo is the first respondent.

      "The applicant's purported dismissal has come at a time when he has
challenged the process leading to it. Until this honourable court has
determined such rights, the applicant should be allowed to remain in the
residence and for the status quo to remain," Mtetwa argued in her
certificate of urgency challenging Mudzuri's dismissal.

      "The seven-day period given to the applicant to vacate the council
residence he occupies is very clearly inadequate to allow him relocation.

      "The applicant has been denied even the most basic rights associated
with a fair adjudication process and until such time that he has been given
access to the basic documents he requires in order to challenge what is
clearly a flawed process, the few rights he has remaining should be
retained," Mtetwa added.

      Mudzuri's dismissal letter dated April 15, signed by Chombo and copied
to acting mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, read in part: "Having suspended you in
terms of Section 54 (2) of the Urban Councils Act . . . and carried out an
investigation/inquiry into the allegations levelled against you, the
findings and recommendations were submitted to His Excellency the President
of the Republic of Zimbabwe."

      "As a result the President has, in terms of the Section 54 (1) and
through Cabinet Minute . . . directed that you vacate your office with
immediate effect. Accordingly, you are directed to vacate the council house
. . . within . . . seven days and to surrender to the acting executive mayor
all council property . . . "

      Mudzuri, who in 2002, won the mayoral seat, has been on a persistent
collision course with Chombo. The Local Government Minister has made no
secret of his dislike for the senior MDC member whom he suspended on at
least 14 allegations of misconduct including mismanagement of city affairs,
public funds, gross insubordination and wilful default on lawfully issued
instructions and directions. Critics believe that these were trumped up
charges and that Mudzuri's dismissal was politically motivated.

      It is however yet to be established whether elections for executive
mayor would be held in the stipulated 90 days and whether Mudzuri would be
permitted to contest.

      Before Mudzuri was eventually axed, Chombo had appointed a team led by
Jameson Kurasha, which the High Court ruled had no power to directly
investigate him although it could conduct general investigations in terms of
section 311 of the Urban Councils Act,

      Mudzuri said in his founding affidavit that the Kurasha report was
never made available to him therefore he could not be adequately prepared to
answer allegations being levelled against him by the committee.

      He is also demanding proceedings of the said Cabinet minutes which
resulted in his dismissal.

      Another committee, this time led by prominent Harare lawyer Johannes
Tomana, was set up, but Mudzuri walked out on the same grounds - a move seen
by the government and the Tomana Committee as arrogant.

      The MDC has since said they would back Mudzuri in his quest for

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       . . As Chombo gets bitter over council sugar

      Felix Njini
      4/23/2004 8:08:18 AM (GMT +2)

      A VERBAL punch-up erupted at Town House this week after the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC)-dominated council clashed with Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has started to assert his authority following
the sacking of executive mayor Elias Mudzuri last week.

      At an emotionally charged special council meeting on Wednesday night,
Chombo courted the ire of the MDC councillors when he accused them of
laziness, corruption and abuse of council property, charges the city fathers
vehemently denied.

      The Local Government Minister, who was flanked by his deputy Fortune
Charumbira and acting Harare executive mayor Sekesai Makwavarara, who has
since dumped the MDC, threatened the councillors with dismissal for abusing
Town House facilities.

      "Bathing facilities for councillors at council premises do not form
part of your conditions of service," a visibly angry Chombo said. "I am
aware that some councillors are coming here for the purposes of bathing and
taking showers. You are abusing council offices, vehicles and telephones,
phoning to the United States and Tony Blair. Go and use your own telephones
at Harvest House."

      Harvest House is the headquarters of the MDC, which is often accused
by the ruling ZANU PF of planning to overthrow the government with the help
of Britain and the US.

      Digressing from his prepared speech, the minister added: "Sugar, which
used to last six months, now lasts only a week."

      The threats come barely a week after President Robert Mugabe, through
Chombo, fired Mudzuri on allegations of misconduct.

      "Unless a councillor has legitimate business such as attending a
meeting, no councillor should henceforth be found loitering at the council
offices. I am aware in this instance that some councillors leave their homes
every morning to come and loiter at council premises without legitimate reas
on. This will no longer be tolerated," said the minister.

      Visibly outraged by Chombo's accusations, some councillors lost their
cool and called him an outright liar.

      "The minister is a liar and worse, he is basing his decisions on
libellous and spurious allegations," said one councillor straight to
Chombo's face.

      Another councillor, Last Maengahama, had this to say: "This is not
fair. You come here and dictate to us without giving us an opportunity to
respond. This is not democracy. We are not happy with the way, minister, you
are playing hide-and-seek with us councillors. You are making decisions on
hearsay. You cannot preach for unity in the city of Harare when you are
behaving like a bully."

      Chombo, who has largely been blamed for interfering in council affairs
throughout the country, had earlier barred councillors from holding meetings
without his approval.

      Last year, he stopped the holding of elections for the post of deputy
mayor for Harare after Makwavarara's term expired in September.

      Chombo's delegation included the newly appointed Governor for Harare,
Witness Mangwende, the permanent secretary in the Local Government Ministry,
David Munyoro and Mines Minister Amos Midzi.

      Soon after the meeting, Makwavarara, who was forced out of the MDC on
allegations of indiscipline, came under fire for reportedly siding with

      "We are considering passing a vote of no confidence in Makwavarara,"
said Councillor Paul Linus Mushonga.

      In a separate interview with the Financial Gazette, Chombo ruled out
the possibility of holding mayoral elections to replace Mudzuri.

      He said he had already appointed Jameson Kurasha, who led the team
which investigated Mudzuri, to monitor the activities at Town House.

      "Officials from my ministry will also work very closely with the
technical committee led by Kurasha, which I have tasked to monitor all
council activities," Chombo said.

      "I am not completely ruling out elections, but there are certain
things which need to be put in order first."

      Chombo also ordered that the capital's audited accounts be completed
by December 2004.

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      RBZ gives clear signal on direction of interest rates

      Nelson Banya
      4/23/2004 8:08:47 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has given the clearest signal yet
over the direction interest rates should take and has admitted, for the
first time since the declaration of an all-out war on inflation, that the
current levels are punitive.

      Central bank computations have shown that nominal overnight rates
below 200 percent would yield effective compounded rates outstripping
inflation at current levels.

      Presenting a first-quarter review of his watershed maiden monetary
policy in Harare on Wednesday, RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the central
bank's intention was to cull inflationary demand for credit.

      It was necessary for interest rates to be "appropriately aligned, in
compound effective yield terms, to prevailing inflation levels. This would
avoid choking off necessary minimum consumptive demand for goods and
services, as well as inadvertent deterioration of asset quality for the
financial system.

      "While the active intermediate target for monetary policy will
continue to be the broad money supply aggregate, the Reserve Bank's interest
rate policy is expected to give support to the dual policy priorities of
inflation control and economic growth.

      "The Reserve Bank notes, however, that the level of interest rates on
non-concessional borrowing as has obtained in the economy over the recent
months, particularly between the last quarter of 2003 to March 2004, has
been excessively high," Gono said.

      The governor said this was particularly so when the compounded
effective rates obtaining in the market were taken against inflation. He
added that even the central bank had erred in this regard and had reaped
yields going up to "6 000 percent".

      Interest rates took flight at the end of December 2003 on the back of
massive deficits on the money market and an uncompromising accommodation
policy adopted by the central bank, which saw rates briefly touching the 1
000 percent mark.

      This had forced financial institutions to effect fortnightly upward
reviews of their minimum lending rates to levels above 400 percent on

      The RBZ's own overnight accommodation rate has been 400 percent, while
the nominal overnight rate across the banking institutions has largely been
above 200 percent over the first quarter.

      The central bank governor said consistent with the new direction on
interest rates, the RBZ, as lender of last resort, would avail overnight
accommodation to qualifying banks at nominal interest rates.

      When annualised or compounded on a daily, monthly, quarterly or
bi-annually basis, these would yield a positive real rate of between 10 and
20 percentage points above the prevailing inflation rate.

      Using the February annualised inflation rate of 603 percent, a nominal
overnight rate of 205 percent would yield an effective daily compounded
annual rate of 673 percent, yielding a positive real accommodation rate of
around 10 percent after netting off the impact of inflation on interest
income, RBZ figures show.

      Penalties for unsecured lending have been retained at 10 percentage
points above the secured overnight rate.

      Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited economist Witness Chinyama said the
central bank, which admitted its failure, hitherto, to give a clear
indication of its intentions on interest rates, had come out in the clear
that the rates should remain below 200 percent, particularly as the rate of
inflation, which slowed down to 583 percent in March, was showing signs of
coming off.

      Trust Holdings Limited group economist David Mupamhadzi said the
central bank was confronted with a balancing act to see that interest rates
were not punitive on the one hand and that money supply growth, currently at
490 percent, was curtailed.

      "The critical issue is the ability to control inflation, while the
level of interest rates should stimulate economic activity.

      "The major handicap, though, is that we do not have savers in the
economy at the moment due to unattractive interest rates, so there should be
concerted efforts to ensure that inflation continues to come down if the
interest rate policy is to work. My main concern, though, is that if rates
become very low, then inflationary speculative conduct could return,"
Mupamhadzi said.

      Short-term investment rates on the money market have been subdued
below the psychological 100 percent mark across all periods this week, as
the market returned to surplus.

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      RBZ's intricate balancing act continues

      Nelson Banya
      4/23/2004 8:09:39 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which has been placed at the
vortex of initiatives to turn around the flagging economic fortunes of the
country, has emerged from the quarterly review of its monetary policy
largely unswayed from its course to exorcise the inflation ghost.

      Faced with a motley of expectations and demands from the diverse but
equally critical sections of the economy, central bank governor Gideon Gono
did not show any signs of illusions over the enormity of the task that
confronts the turnaround programme which, according to government critics,
has been inordinately placed on the shoulders of the monetary authorities.

      Exporters and tobacco farmers were clamouring for a review of the
exchange rate policy, particularly where the vexatious $824 surrender
arrangement was concerned. Large-scale gold producers have raised a hue and
cry over the dual payment scheme that tended to discriminate against them in
favour of small-scale producers.

      The market sought a clearer, unambiguous position on interest rates.

      Even optimistic exchange control violators were anticipating a
surprise blanket amnesty for sins of the past, when the parallel market for
foreign currency was THE market for hard cash.

      The general public, most of them long suffering depositors who have
been left shell-shocked by upheavals in the banking sector, was eager to
find out if the storm was indeed over and they could sleep peacefully again.

      The list is endless.

      To some exporters, the policy review came with the disappointing news
that the contentious foreign currency remittance scheme would remain in

      "The 25 percent surrender requirement at $824 against the US dollar
will remain in force to meet strategic payments.

      "As monetary authorities, we work to balance the needs for exporter
viability, fiscal sustainability and inflation control, among many other
competing objectives," Gono, who has accused some exporters of being
perpetual "cry babies", said.

      However, there were some meaningful concessions made to exporters,
particularly the setting of a suppliers' floor price to the foreign currency
exchange at $5 200 against the US dollar.

      Should the weighted average foreign currency auction rate outstrip
this figure, then the auction rate would apply.

      Gono said this would be reviewed periodically to take into account
changes in inflation differentials between the country and major trading

      Economic commentator Eric Bloch, who also sits on the 29-member RBZ
foreign exchange advisory board, said this new measure would effectively
mean that exporters would benefit from a blend rate of about $4 200 to the

      Bloch said while this would not solve all the exporters' problems, it
was a step in the right direction, taken in difficult circumstances.

      The retention period for corporate foreign currency accounts (FCAs)
has been increased from the current 21 days to 30 days with immediate

      Further, the incentive on advance payments has been enhanced to allow
exporters to retain 80 percent of their proceeds in their FCAs and to sell
20 percent at the ruling auction rate, as opposed to the current $824 per US

      Prominent hotelier and Zimsun chief executive Shingi Munyeza said the
tourism sector, which will also be included in the new retention scheme,
would benefit largely because of the nature of the industry, typified by
instantaneous bill payment and settlement.

      Exporters should also smile at the extension of the memorandum of
deposit (MOD) scheme beyond the financing of tobacco, to which it has been

      Every other exporter with confirmed export orders would get offshore
financing, with the RBZ providing the requisite cash cover at a "reasonable"

      The policy review also resulted in the novel scheme of post-shipment
foreign currency bills for exporters with no access to offshore lines of
credit and cannot, as a result, exploit the MOD facility.

      The bills will be issued on 50 percent of the free on board (FOB)
value of shipments and have a tenure of 90 days at an interest rate
calculated on the basis of the prevailing LIBOR rates plus five percent.

      Exporters would apply for this facility through their bankers.

      There were also idiosyncratic concessions extended to the tobacco and
gold sectors.

      A tobacco support price, at $750 per kilogramme and whose modalities
are expected to be announced today, has been introduced with immediate
effect, while gold producers will benefit from a $71 000 per gramme support

      Gold producers, large and small, electing to sell 100 percent of their
bullion in exchange for local currency, would benefit from this scheme,
while those electing to retain some of their proceeds in their FCAs would
have 50 percent sold at the international price.

      Of the remainder, 25 percent would be sold to the government at $824
per US dollar, while the other 25 percent would be sold at the support

      The three percent gold levy on deliveries has also been dispensed

      The monetary policy review also attempted to tackle the issue of the
Diaspora dollar, which has been the subject of much debate and conjecture.

      To this end, the estimated 3.4 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
will be enticed not only by the Diaspora floor price of $5 200 to the US
dollar or the ruling auction rate, whichever is higher, but also by the
setting up of a transparent system of transmission through licensed money
transfer dealers.

      To date, eight transfer agents, most of them linked to established
banking groups, have been licensed.

      Most analysts said although the jury was still out on most of the
initiatives in the policy review, the market had now come around to accept
and embrace the renewed optimism brought about by the missionary zeal with
which the authorities at 80 Samora Machel Avenue were carrying out their

      Economic commentator and fervent critic of the government's economic
policies, John Robertson, ungrudgingly summed up the sentiment in one word -
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      Anti-corruption drive earns ridicule

      Brian Mangwende
      4/23/2004 8:11:17 AM (GMT +2)

      AFTER rolling out an armoury of anti-corruption measures, the
government should broaden the anti-graft net to cover a wide cross-section
of the economy if it is to earn plaudits for honesty and seriousness in its
drive, commentators said this week.

      To bring back a semblance of credence to the anti-corruption drive,
the crusade, which has so far been dismissed by critics as a smoke-screen
ahead of the crucial 2005 Parliamentary elections, should cover key sectors,
they said.

      The crusade should particularly cover the mining and agricultural
sectors, among others.

      The mining sector has of late been hit by a spate of mysterious
robberies purportedly carried out by South Africans.

      It is, however, widely believed well-organised and politically
well-connected syndicates from Zimbabwe have been responsible.

      The mines that have been hit so far in multi-billion dollar thefts
include Zimbabwe Platinum Mines-owned Makwiro, Zimasco's Mimosa Mines and
Bindura Nickel Corporation.

      Last year, the government was forced to cancel 14 gold buying
concessions to plug loopholes in the production and marketing of gold with a
number of businessmen including Ian Macmillan and Mark Burden - reportedly
used as fronts by ZANU PF bigwigs to export the precious mineral - being

      The anti-corruption drive, commentators said, also provided government
with a perfect window of opportunity to bring to book those implicated in
the multiple farm ownership scandal.

      Influential ZANU PF politicians and their cronies, feeding on the
deeply-rooted political patronage system, have emerged as some of the most
voracious acquirers of land. They reduced a scheme meant to redistribute
land equally among landless Zimbabweans into a senseless orgy of land grab.

      Most of those implicated have largely remained faceless despite two
government-sponsored investigations into the redistribution exercise.

      Politicians are said to have used their mothers, sisters and brothers,
among others, as fronts to acquire multiple farms in direct violation of the
government's publicly stated policy of one man, one farm.

      Thus, they have deprived more deserving cases in the form of the
country's landless peasants who bore the brunt of the liberation struggle.

      As a result, most peasants meant to benefit from land reforms are
still practising back-breaking subsistence agriculture in the dusty bowls
dotted around the country.

      Political commentator Joseph Kurebwa said: "There is definitely need
to address the issue of those who acquired multiple farms irregularly.

      "There are many people still on the waiting list because of those who
acquired many farms.

      "What is happening in the financial sector is because the governor
(Gideon Gono) is restricted to the financial sector.

      "The other sectors, especially that of land, need other players in the
political sector.

      "Apart from the Utete report, the government is not in a hurry to
bring to book those who broke the rules. Now the nation doesn't have an
indication of which way they are going."

      Another political commentator, Jonathan Kadzura, called for the
publication of names of those implicated in commercial crimes and their
immediate arrest.

      "The anti-corruption drive has been mainly limited to the financial
sector yet there was rampant corruption in the acquisition of land," he

      For the country to prosper, he said, there was need to go back to the
original policy of one man, one farm and those found to have acquired more
than one farm should be brought to book.

      "We still see a lot of people with multiple farms moving around

      "The government has recovered about 400 farms yet we hear more land
acquisitions almost every day. What has happened to the recovered farms? Are
they just lying idle?

      "A lot of people still need land and those farms should be put to good
use," added Kadzura.

      "It (the anti-corruption drive) will not succeed so long as it
concentrates only on the financial sector," said University of Zimbabwe law
lecturer, Lovemore Madhuku, whose organisation is pushing for a new

      "The net needs to be widened, but unfortunately ZANU PF doesn't have
the political will to go beyond the financial sector.

      "The anti-graft crusade can only be meaningful if it goes beyond that.

      "For now, it is all but a political gimmick. He (President Mugabe) is
intelligent enough to know that corruption goes beyond the financial sector.

      "The only reason why he doesn't want to immediately broaden the anti-
corruption crusade is because he is not sincere about the whole
anti-corruption drive."

      Alois Masepe, a political analyst, shared Madhuku's view.

      "This whole corruption thing is a political gimmick aimed at winning
the 2005 parliamentary elections.

      "The MDC capitalised on corruption within ZANU PF and ZANU PF realised
that so they decided to steal the thunder from the opposition by claiming to
be addressing corruption.

      "Why did they abandon the leadership code? Although this corruption
thing is applied selectively, I will not shed a tear for those caught in the
net because they benefited immensely from shady deals that brought the
country to its knees."
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      Mugabe speech heightens discord on talks

      Hama Saburi
      4/23/2004 8:12:18 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's insistence on contrition by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) as a pre-condition for the resumption of talks has
reinforced the long held view that the ruling ZANU PF is not interested in
inter-party dialogue, political commentators observed this week.

      The MDC, which the government accuses of being a Western front to
effect regime change in Zimbabwe, has consistently said it would not accept
pre-conditions to the resumption of the long-stalled talks.

      The opposition party, which has scoffed at suggestions that it is a
Western creation, this week referred to President Mugabe's renewed demand as
"unfortunate and tragically delusional".

      The MDC has maintained that it is purely a Zimbabwean formation and
would press ahead with its election petition challenging the Zimbabwean
leader's victory in the disputed 2002 presidential ballot.

      President Mugabe, who turned 80 in February, chose the country's 24th
Independence Day celebrations to remind his fierce rival, the MDC, that its
leadership should double back from its old ways if the talks, which were put
on ice two years ago, are to resume.

      "For us in Zimbabwe, our challenge is to clearly join hands in unity
and work selflessly for our country.

      "We always aim at unity of purpose with those who share our salient
principles and ideals and not with those who align themselves with our
enemies," said the ageing ZANU PF leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain in 1980.

      He was also quoted in a local daily paper as saying: "It is not our
assertion that we do not make mistakes somewhere or go wrong somewhere. We
are human beings who also make mistakes and there is need for the opposition
party to see to it that we discuss these issues as this is good for the

      The renewed demand by President Mugabe, analysts said, showed that
ZANU PF would continue to tease the MDC as a time-buying tactic, hoping to
whitewash the opposition party in the 2005 parliamentary election, where the
current electoral laws favour the ruling party.

      They said the Zimbabwean leader had mastered the art of political
grandstanding to mask the reality on the ground.

      "ZANU PF, as the party that is in trouble, should be sincere and
should woo the MDC and look at it as a genuine opposition party. The state
media should also play a part and should stop demonising the opposition,"
said political commentator Alois Masepe.

      MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, however, said a faster way of moving
out of the current political impasse required discussions around the country
's widely condemned electoral conditions.

      "We are prepared to support an amendment to the existing Lancaster
Constitution in order to fashion out conditions for a genuinely free and
fair election that will give birth to a legitimate government.

      "One crucial change would see the setting up of an Independent
Electoral Commission. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and
the United Nations are willing to assist us put together a new election
management institution mandated to attend to all election needs in an
impartial and non-partisan manner," said Tsvangirai, who is facing charges
of attempting to assassinate President Mugabe.

      Masepe said the two parties were obviously not singing from the same
song sheet if their divergent positions were anything to go by.

      The MDC is for a transitional arrangement that would finally lead to a
re-run of the disputed presidential election, while ZANU PF is insisting on
contrition on the part of the opposition party.

      At the same time, SADC leaders have been pushing for a coalition
government, which is now most unlikely given that the 2005 plebiscite is
only 11 months away.

      "Mugabe is not speaking the language of a coalition government. His
language signifies a political aberration of not understanding issues
involved on both sides," said Masepe, who urged local politicians to act
like statesmen for the good of the country.

      He said SADC leaders, who have maintained a distance for now, were
likely to start intervening after the 2005 parliamentary election to avert
the catastrophic effects the MDC/ZANU PF standoff has had on their

      Said Masepe: "It is in their interest (SADC leaders) to do it
considering that Zimbabwe is now exporting poverty, which is now affecting
their economies."

      He, however, said President Thabo Mbeki, whose African National
Congress this week romped home with almost 70 percent of the vote in the
just-ended elections in South Africa, would not meet his June deadline for
the resumption of talks between ZANU PF and the MDC.

      Another political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Joseph
Kurebwa, said there was nothing new in what President Mugabe said about the
talks during the Independence Day celebrations.

      "In the past few years, President Mugabe has been saying he is willing
to talk to the MDC, but he is not making practical steps to demonstrate
that. We are at a standstill. He just wants to give the impression that it
is the MDC which is refusing to talk.

      "MDC is strong enough without ZANU PF . . . they belong to the
opposition and not to ZANU PF. Their only challenge should be for them to
keep the party intact because ZANU PF wants to divide them.

      "What we need is a compromise with a give and take on both sides,"
said Kurebwa.

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      Gloves out for bruising fight in Manicaland

      Own Correspondent
      4/23/2004 8:12:48 AM (GMT +2)

      MUTARE - Boxing gloves are out as aspiring parliamentarians in the
ruling ZANU PF here begin jostling to win the right to represent their party
in the legislative elections slated for next year.

      While hostilities in other constituencies in Manicaland province
appear to be relatively calm, tempers are flaring in Mutare South where Mike
Madiro, the ZANU PF provincial chairman, is being challenged by his junior,
Fred Kanzama, the ruling party's deputy provincial youth chairman.

      Kanzama, at one time Madiro's political disciple, has vowed to upstage
his boss in primary elections, whose date is still to be officially
announced. Madiro, on the other hand, has dismissed Kanzama's challenge,
saying he would sail to an "easy" victory in the primaries.

      Kanzama, who says he hails from the constituency, said it would be a
slap in the face for people from Mutare South to be represented by an
individual who did not come from that constituency.

      Madiro is believed to be from Makoni District.

      Brandishing the tribal card, Kanzama said: "I cannot go and stand as
an MP in Makoni. Neither can I go and stand as an MP in any constituency
where I do not come from because people will say 'go to where you come from'

      "The people of Mutare South will decide whether they should import
someone from outside the constituency when they have educated children in
the constituency. That is why I decided to stand."

      Kanzama claimed he was merely "responding to a request from parents in
Mutare South who are urging me to represent them in Parliament".

      But Madiro countered, saying it was Kanzama's democratic and natural
right to "dream" himself being an MP for Mutare South.

      "People are not denied a right to dream," Madiro said. "It is a
God-given right to dream . . . it's natural."

      He added: "I feel very comfortable with the people of Mutare South
because we have been together for a long time. We have been through trials
and tribulations together."

      Madiro narrowly lost the constituency to Sydney Mukwecheni of the main
opposition MDC party in 2000 after he split votes with the late former
outspoken MP, Lazarus Nzarayebani, who had sought re-election as an

      Mukwecheni is highly tipped to represent his party at the polls.

      Madiro is said to enjoy the support of most of the ZANU PF bigwigs
from Manicaland such as Didymus Mutasa, Kumbirai Kangai, Patrick Chinamasa,
Christopher Mushowe and Joseph Made, while Kanzama is believed to enjoy
sympathy from diplomat John Mvundura and governor Mike Nyambuya, a retired
top soldier.

      Others interested in contesting the seat on a Zanu PF ticket are
businessman Clifford Piki and a Mr Kabungaidze.

      In other constituencies, Zanu PF sources recently said former governor
for Manicaland Oppah Muchinguri was likely to stand in Mutasa, abandoning
her traditional Mutare North, which was wrested from her in 2000 by the MDC'
s Giles Mutsekwa.

      Mandi Chimene, a ZANU PF central committee member who unsuccessfully
contested in Mutasa, is believed to have set her sights on Mutare North.

      Both Evelyn Masaiti (Mutasa) and Mutsekwa (Mutare North) of the MDC
are expected to represent their party in next year's poll.

      In Mutare Central, the ruling party is said to be considering throwing
into the fray outspoken businessman Shadreck Beta, while the MDC is likely
to retain Innocent Gonese.

      Zanu PF insiders have also indicated that Munacho Mutezo and Enock
Porusingazi would win the right to represent the ruling party at the polls
next year.

      The two men lost in Chimanimani and Chipinge South respectively.

      In Nyanga, Paul Ladzima, the Zanu PF Manicaland provincial treasurer,
is being challenged by Nicodemus Chibvura, a member of the ruling party's
national executive committee.

      Heavyweights such as Mutasa, Kangai, Shadreck Chipanga, Mushowe,
Gibson Munyoro and Kenneth Manyonda appear to be comfortable as their seats
are regarded as "sacred".

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      Nkala murder suspects get bail two years on

      Staff Reporter
      4/23/2004 8:10:11 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Harare High Court has finally granted bail to three
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists implicated in the murder of
war veterans leader Cain Nkala, now interred at the National Heroes Acre.

      The three, Khethani Sibanda, Remember Moyo and Swazini Mpofu, had
spent two-and-a-half years in remand prison after being charged with the
kidnaping and subsequent murder of Nkala who was the war veterans
chairperson in Bulawayo and an active ZANU PF official in Matabeleland. They
walked out of remand prison on Tuesday.

      Justice Clement Chitakunye ruled last Thursday that the trio be
released on April 16 2004, but prison officers only set them free this week
on Tuesday. They are out on $1 million bail each.

      Their release comes barely a month after Justice Sandra Mungwira
ruled, during a trial-within-a-trial, that the evidence being led by police
was inadmissible.

      This prompted the three men's lawyers to file an urgent bail
application arguing that the three should not be remanded in custody when
the High Court had dismissed the evidence used to arrest and detain them.

      Nicholas Mathonsi of Coghlan and Welsh, who was instrumental in the
bail application, said it was an uphill task to get the men out of remand
prison despite brandishing a warrant of liberation signed and endorsed by
Justice Chitakunye.

      "The prison officers refused to release them on Friday," said
Mathonsi. "They said they did not recognise liberation warrants delivered by
civilians. We had to ask an official at the Criminal Registrar's Office in
Harare to deliver the warrant (of liberation) on Tuesday morning. The three
men were only let out after 2 pm on Tuesday this week after contacting the
Attorney-General's office and other relevant departments," said Mathonsi,
who instructed Advocates Happious Zhou and Edith Mushore.

      The lawyer however refused this newspaper permission to talk to the
three men or take pictures, saying it might prejudice his clients as the
case was still pending at the courts.

      "Whatever they say outside the court might prejudice them. So it's
best for them to keep quiet," he said.

      The men, however, looked in high spirits but seemed worried by their
security amid indications they were not welcome where they used to reside
before their incarceration in November 2000.

      Nkala was allegedly kidnapped from his Magwegwe West high-density home
here in November 2000 and his decomposed body was found buried in a shallow
grave at Norwood farm in Solusi, about 50 kilometres outside Bulawayo.

      Sibanda, Moyo and Mpofu were jointly charged with the murder of Nkala
with three other MDC supporters, Army Zulu, Anthony Masera and Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube, the MDC legislator for Lobengula-Magwegwe.
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      Chiyangwa eats humble pie

      Staff Reporter
      4/23/2004 8:16:53 AM (GMT +2)

      MAVERICK Harare businessman Philip Chiyangwa ate humble pie this month
by making a dramatic U-turn in a dispute in which the ZANU PF legislator was
being accused of accidentally smashing his luxurious car into a fellow
businessman's truck.

      Chiyangwa, who had denied any wrongdoing from the beginning in the
wrangle dating back to August 2001, softened this month and instructed his
lawyers to make an out-of-court settlement.

      The legislator, who is also the ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland West,
turned to Christianity soon after brushes with the law in January this year
when he was dragged before the courts on three charges of obstructing the
course of justice, contempt of court and perjury.

      Chiyangwa rammed his posh Mercedes Benz limousine in August 2001 into
a Mazda DX truck belonging to Capitol Insurance Brokers managing director
Philip Mutasa, causing extensive damages to both vehicles.

      The dispute was due to be heard in the High Court on April 2 2004, but
the businessman-cum-politician immediately instructed his lawyers, Hussein
Ranchhod & Co, to settle the dispute outside the courts a day before its
scheduled hearing.

      He has since paid part of the damages.

      "We refer to the above matter and confirm that our client has agreed
to pay yours $1.5 million in full and final settlement. We will let you have
the sum of $1.2 million today. The balance will be paid next week," said the
lawyers in a letter dated April 2 2004.

      Mutasa told The Financial Gazette yesterday that he had pursued the
issue to its logical conclusion, not for the money, but as a matter of

      "It was not necessary to get this far. In all honesty and good faith,
we should not have gone this far. It is unfortunate that instead of saying
sorry for what had happened, Chiyangwa was adamant that he was not in the
wrong," said Mutasa.
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      ZCTU a hapless spectator

      4/23/2004 9:40:20 AM (GMT +2)

      Within a week, Zimbabwean workers, with their backs firmly against the
wall, will, just like their counterparts throughout the world, commemorate
International Workers' Day.

      Unfortunately that is as far as the similarities go. For the local
worker, the May Day commemorations could not have come at a worse time.
Unlike elsewhere, this important day will not provoke that rarest of
emotions in the unusually sombre and stagnant Zimbabwe - hope. It is all
gloom and doom with no respite in sight.

      For the Zimbabwean workers, who on average toil for a 40-hour week,
the centre does not hold anymore. They are reeling from the depressing
situation that has enveloped the country from both an economic and political
point of view. Under the lengthy economic crisis where political measures
are sadly put up as remedies for economic woes, the worker has resigned to
near-destitution, frustration and disillusionment resulting from an
unprecedented scale of deprivation which is eating away at the very fabric
of the nation.

      Nothing seems to be falling in place. Jobs are being shed every single
day as companies move to trim fat from their employment rolls in the face of
the four-year savage economic slump. Real incomes have been eroded by
runaway inflation. There is no odd shaft of light as the socio-economic
difficulties continue to mount with government mistakes aggravating them.
The socio-political and economic structures are now so obsolete, making
prospects for an early recovery rather grim. The workers are indeed caught
between the reality of a terrifyingly shrinking economy, rising cost of
living and the insecurity thereof. Not to mention the bane of the workers -
the burden of the country's tax regime, which has inevitably played its part
in weighing down the economy and could provide a fertile ground for a rise
in tax evasion.

      The plight of the workers is aggravated by the fact that both the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the low-profile Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) have increasingly become irrelevant and
are pathetic excuses for trade unions. The ZCTU in particular faces a
serious crisis of public and worker confidence and might not recover the
lost credibility.

      The organisation lacks sufficient leadership depth and has done
everything to give trade unionism a bad name. At least the ZFTU has always
been a joke and has never been taken seriously except probably by its
midwife, ZANU PF. But it is really sad that the ZCTU, the erstwhile strong
union that was previously the envy of other unions in the region, lacks
strong, competent, resolute, courageous and evolutionising leadership. Its
deafening silence on burning pertinent issues is disturbing, to say the
least. Moreso at a time when there is a bottomless well of disenchantment
among the generality of the country's workers.

      Other than its glaring leadership ineptitude, its approach to labour
issues lacks that all-important vision, which gives a clear flavour of its
priorities and direction. The labour body does not inspire confidence as a
force for advocacy and protection for workers. It is so out of its depth
when it comes to essential socio-economic and political issues afflicting
the nation. Little wonder therefore that real labour-related issues are
treated mainly as an after-thought.

      We recall in this context the deeply embarrassing debacle when, in
March this year, the supremely egotistical labour body leadership dismally
failed to rally the workers behind an ill-conceived mass stayaway to, among
other mundane and asinine reasons, protest the sacking of Lovemore Matombo
from Zimpost, of all things!

      Nothing more than that farcical episode clearly underscores that other
than having upside-down priorities, the ZCTU leadership, which many believe
is in the pockets of the Movement for Democratic Change, is, for want of a
better expression, bent on self-aggrandisement. The executive members are,
to all intents and purposes, using their positions within the ZCTU to stitch
together political power bases at the expense of the workers. And like the
typical insensitive and uncouth politicians that they are, they do not have
the luxury of a conscience.

      Indeed there is scant evidence, if any, that the ZCTU is working in
the interests of the workers. This is despite the irresistible moral
pressure piling on the union for a radical push for a worker rights agenda
through the judicial system. As a key stakeholder that should wield an
incredible amount of influence, the ZCTU should see to it that
worker-related issues are right at the centre of the government's social
development agenda.

      Of course we are mindful of the fact that the economic slump in
Zimbabwe, which has wrought profound misery and stagnation on the country,
is a function of economic mismanagement among other things. This means that
any move by the ZCTU to agitate for the betterment of the lives of its
membership could create political intrigue and friction with those under
whose stewardship the economy has been mired in recession and therefore feel

      But the likely political backlash should not be used as an excuse by
any labour body worth its salt for failure to fight for workers' rights. It
goes with the territory. Indeed it is an act of civil bravery expected of
any labour body to fight for the workers' cause. True, they could be targets
for unjust rhetoric, systematic bullying and intimidation or worse still be
incarcerated. That is the price they would have to pay. And if the current
ZCTU leadership cannot stand the heat or if its whole history is unequal to
the task, then they should do the honourable thing and get out of the
kitchen. It is as simple as that.

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      ...and now to the Notebook

      4/23/2004 8:33:49 AM (GMT +2)

      While some Zimbabweans at the weekend were busy celebrating what we
are told is the independence which brought freedom to all blacks in this
country, residents of Harare and all freedom-conscious citizens had nothing
to celebrate.

      Just as everyone was busy preparing for whatever they were planning to
do during the "independence" break, ZANU PF, in its accustomed wisdom,
decided to cashier Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri from a position which hundreds
of thousands of Zimbabweans voted him into. Reasons: maladministration,
incompetence, abuse of power, insubordination . . . blah, blah, blah. Ho-oh
nhai? These constitute dismissable offences when they are allegedly
committed by duly elected opposition officials. How many ministers, deputy
ministers, provincial governors, permanent secretaries, etc, who are hundred
times more incompetent than Mudzuri have been allowed to keep on messing up
things for the past 24 years and are still in government?

      How many of them have abused their offices to grab dozens of farms, to
steal billions of dollars worth of farming equipment, to fuel the black
market, to access free AIDS drugs first, to impregnate helpless subordinates
. . . to do anything on earth. And what happened to them?

      How many of these mandarins have virtually looted the public purse
empty, plundered the country's mineral wealth barren and clobbered many
innocent villagers to death with impunity? And all this is no serious ground
for anyone of them to leave public office in the name of public goodness?
Instead, for all these heinous crimes, the lot gets promotion after
promotion simply because a certain political party which purports to have
liberated the people is in power! My foot!

      Zimbos have now had the opportunity to see the true colours of their

      Can anyone make any sense from this: Because someone has liberated
you, that then gives them the freedom to own you whole and raw . . . because
you were liberated, you cease to have the freedom to make decisions and
choices . . . all your liberator's decisions and choices, no matter how zany
and warped, are always right . . . because you were liberated! In this case
your freedom is worse than no freedom at all! You are no better than a
grasshopper moved from one jar into another.

      And this week the official press revealed that our people's government
was very sorry for it could no longer afford to dish out the free AIDS drugs
it earlier promised the sick masses because of logistical problems . And the
lot expects to be taken seriously? At least by those who as yet do not know
who these people really are.

      The truth is that AIDS patients would have to cool their feet a bit
longer . . . until campaigning for the 2005 election gains momentum. There
is nothing for free in this free country called Zimbabwe. Remember there are
some votes at stake in less than a year so strategists at Shake Shake
Building along Rotten Row will not leave anything to chance.

      But we all know very well that some influential people in the
government and or close to it started benefiting from free AIDS drugs more
than two years ago. It's a question of who knows who and where. So as long
as this lot is being taken care of, the hoi polloi can just wait and get
them in a few months' time in exchange for those Eucharist votes.

      Now that it will be at least a couple of months before the next major
national holiday, CZ is pleading with our owners to please give us a
well-deserved break from the loads of liberation war propaganda which in the
days leading to the independence holiday nearly choked many to death.

      Please, whomsoever is responsible for the national broadcaster should
know that as much as people should know their past, they don't live in the
past or eat history.

      It appears to the whole lot as if this country has no future at all .
. . all that is there to talk about is history, history, history and more

      Every programme one can think of, news included, had to be
"historised" somehow to fit the propaganda mood. Please give us a short
break to sober up from your inebriating compulsory history lessons!

      A Zimbo says now that our national cricket team has been indigenised,
the only way we can create public interest in the formerly white sport is to
set up some boozer cricket teams in all the districts in the country. He
argues that this is the only way to get most adults to learn the sport.

      Looks like this is not at all a very bad idea. CZ would not mind
playing for one such team . . . mind joining him?

      A banker fan is pleading with me to inform my journo colleagues
(especially those on business desks) that Zimbabwe ceased to have a bank by
the name National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe some four or so years ago.

      Since then we have been having NMB Bank Limited, the new name that the
bank assumed after deciding to diversify into more than just merchant

      We hope they learn.

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      Heightened demand slumps Zim dollar

      Nelson Banya
      4/23/2004 8:18:00 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe dollar, which staged a strong comeback early in the year,
has continued to weaken on the foreign currency auction market and had, as
of last Monday's auction, shed 9.15 percent since the inaugural January 12

      From $4 196.58 to the United Stated dollar at the first auction, the
local unit has been on a consistent slide since the beginning of February
when the marginal and largely artificial gains recorded against the major
currencies petered out under the burden of increased demand.

      For three weeks following the auction system's launch, the local unit
gained against the US dollar from $4 196.58 to the greenback to a high of $3
519.10 on February 2.

      Demand, which was initially sluggish as typified by just USD480 000
worth of bids allotted on the first day, began to mount in February as the
early apprehension wore off and producers sought to stock up on imports.

      This culminated in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) increasing the
amount on offer from USD5 million to USD7 million on January 26 and to the
current USD8 million thereafter.

      To date, a total of USD183.58 million has been allotted to importers,
from the USD195 million available, compared to bids amounting to USD237.14

      The gap between the highest and lowest bids has also been
significantly reduced at recent auctions, with the Monday April 15 auction
returning lowest bids of $4 500 to the greenback, while the highest bids
were presented at $4 600.

      The lowest bid rate was around $3 000 for the better part of January,
while the highest bid, to date, of $5 000 was recorded at the second auction
on January 15.

      The RBZ has stated that it has not rejected any bid solely because it
was deemed too high, saying that only extremely low bids had been rejected.

      The new controlled auction system, which was introduced by RBZ
governor Gideon Gono in his maiden monetary policy statement, has been met
with mixed responses, although many stakeholders in the economy have largely
accepted it.

      The auctions have had the effect of dampening activity on the
once-thriving foreign currency parallel market, where the local unit was
being quoted at about $6 500 against the USD late last year.

      However, the introduction of the system caught wrong-footed many
exporters who had stocked up at the high prices prevailing on the parallel
market but had to remit at the significantly lower weighted average auction
rate under the revised foreign currency retention scheme.

      Some exporters, with Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Bicaf being the
notable example, have ceased exporting until the foreign currency retention
scheme and exchange rate issues are addressed.

      Economic analysts have pointed out that while the auctions would not,
in isolation, solve the chronic foreign currency shortages that have hit the
country in the past five years, the system had restored a measure of
stability and predictability that had a positive impact on corporate
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      Inflation dips further

      Staff Reporter
      4/23/2004 8:19:35 AM (GMT +2)

      THE year-on-year inflation rate took a further 20 percentage point dip
for the second consecutive month in March, a development which economists
say points to the dissipation of inflationary pressures.

      Annualised inflation, which was 602.5 percent in February, slid to 583
percent in March, while month-on-month inflation was almost unchanged at 5.9
percent, against six percent in February.

      Economic analysts have attributed the downward trend in the rate of
inflation to stability on the foreign currency front and a tight monetary

      David Mupamhadzi of Trust Holdings Limited said the foreign currency
auctions had not only brought about a predictable exchange rate, but had
also killed off the effects of expectations on inflation.

      "Much depends on the exchange rate. The auctions have stabilised the
exchange rate and this has, in turn, brought about price stability and tamed
the problems of expectations," Mupamhadzi said.

      Moses Chundu, group economist at Century Holdings Limited, said there
was now sufficient evidence to suggest that the downward trend would

      "The fact that the rate of inflation has slowed down in two
consecutive months gives a clear picture of sustainable decline. There is
also sufficient evidence to back this up - demand has been depressed and
producers are now keen on squeezing margins to make profits, rather than
bleed from holding costs.

      "The decline should build further into expectations of decline, as
well as other factors, such as the recent slashing of tariffs by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority by as much as 45 percent. This will
reflect in, and boil down to, a declining trend," Chundu said.

      The inflation rate took a shortlived dip in December, receding by 26.3
percentage points to 598.7 percent, before rising again in January to 622.8

      There was another dip in February, followed by the March slowdown,
which coincides with the date the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
said would mark the setting in of a decline.

      The central bank chief has set out to achieve an annualised inflation
rate of within the 170 percent and 200 percent region by the end of the

      Analysts have indicated that this target would be difficult to
achieve, especially if monetary policy initiatives were not complemented on
the fiscal side.

      "Achieving that figure would be a mammoth task. The government needs
to work on the fiscal side, which has been largely neglected.

      "Government domestic debt trebled between December and March, while
the turnaround on the foreign currency front, where the (Zimbabwe) dollar
has been weakening, is not encouraging," Mupamhadzi said.

      Government domestic debt soared to about $1.3 trillion in March, while
the local currency has weakened by almost 10 percent against the United
States dollar since the inception of the controlled auctions in January.

      The local unit is currently being quoted at a weighted average auction
rate of about $4 619.24 to the greenback.

      The Zimbabwe dollar has come under increased demand from the country's
huge import bill, estimated to be around US$200 million a month.
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      The wise man from the east speaks on graft

      4/23/2004 9:34:12 AM (GMT +2)

      WHEN I switched on my television set by pure chance on Thursday last
week and found the Minister of Anti-Corruption, Didymus Mutasa, on the
programme Face the Nation, I dropped everything I was doing to watch.

      I hoped to hear from the horse's mouth how Mutasa proposed to go about
fighting the cancer of corruption. I also thought he would answer questions
on why the crusade has seemed, so far, to target only the small fish in the
finance sector.

      I hoped to learn from the minister whether this meant that politicians
and government officials were so squeaky clean that none had been netted so

      I was thoroughly disappointed. First of all, the minister seemed to
imply that his ministry was not to undertake any anti-corruption work
itself. Instead, the ministry, he said, would set up an anti-corruption
commission to tackle the task.

      So, I wondered, why on earth was it necessary to create an
Anti-Corruption Ministry when an independent commission could do a more
thorough and objective job?

      I found myself shouting this and other questions at my television set
because of programme host Masimba Musarira's failure to probe to obtain
necessary elaboration or clarification of relevant information.

      Despite being much more experienced as a broadcaster than the current
crop of novices at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Musarira stuck to
ritualistic plodding and panicky flight through the interview, allowing
Mutasa to gain topic control.

      Musarira's failure to skilfully use the wide variety of probing
techniques available to an interviewer allowed the minister to pontificate
and propagandise to his heart's content on a number of themes.

      I could not believe my ears when the minister indicated he would take
the opportunity provided by his appearance on Face the Nation to appeal to
all those who knew they were involved in corrupt dealings and activities to
voluntarily come forward and confess their sins to his ministry. If such
wrongdoers gave themselves up before the Anti-Corruption Ministry went after
them, they would be forgiven, Mutasa said.

      Really? Do we honestly need an Anti-Corruption Ministry that has no
teeth but apparently only exists to act as an agony aunt?

      I have arrived at my cynical conclusion on why the ministry should
regard such a risible and illogical approach as a viable way to tackle a
problem as serious as the corruption and graft that has become embedded in
the very fabric of Zimbabwean society.

      Could it be that this hands-off method is a time-buying device as well
as a built-in insurance policy for corrupt political heavyweights?

      Are we not going to be told, at an appropriate time down the road,
that no politicians or government ministers have been caught in the
anti-corruption dragnet because they have "confessed" to the ministry? We
have, after all, seen this category of culprits being accorded preferential
treatment in the past.

      Remember the multiple farm ownership scandal and how government
officials and ministers who had grabbed more than one farm were treated with
kid gloves?

      After much ado about nothing, the worst sanctions these culprits ever
faced involved being asked to voluntarily surrender the extra farms they had
corruptly acquired. Whether they have done so or will be pressed to comply
is another matter.

      What seems clear is that, like many other things in Zimbabwe today,
corruption is being tackled selectively. I think it is scandalous that
private sector corruption, which does not have a direct bearing on the
national fiscus, should be punishable by law while the more virulent public
sector variety which results in the plunder of national resources and the
looting of the treasury, bringing the country to its knees, is ignored.

      Musarira should have asked Mutasa how corruption can ever be
eradicated when that perpetrated by public officials continues to be swept
under the carpet by the availing of such loopholes and escape routes as
voluntary confessions and compliance?

      After leaving me thoroughly incensed with his eccentric pronouncements
on corruption, Mutasa proceeded with relish, with Musarira's encouragement,
to pontificate on the success of the land reform programme.

      The initiative, Mutasa declared, had been such a spectacular success
because it had enabled Zimbabwe to assert its sovereignty and to "get rid of
the West".

      Yes, you guessed right, he was not asked to explain how sovereignty
and kicking out the West had become the main objectives of land
redistribution. We all thought the aim was to redress historical imbalances,
decongest the rural areas and enhance food production and security. Why have
all these not been achieved four years after farm seizures began?

      During the interview, which was a virtual monologue because of
Musarira's preparedness to become an accomplice, Mutasa also touched on the
question of human rights abuses.

      Instead of telling the nation what the government was doing to improve
its dismal record on this matter, Mutasa, as expected, tried to hide behind
a finger. Western leaders like John Howard of Australia, he said, had no
right to criticise Zimbabwe because they had their own problems with the

      According to this absurd way of thinking, it is OK for Zimbabwe to
commit human rights abuses as long as it can point fingers at other
countries doing the same.

      Well, Mutasa should have been told that even if his allegations
against certain countries were correct, two wrongs do not make a right.

      He should have been pressed to address the problem as it affects

      The interviewer's failure to follow up on this matter was the last
straw for me, particularly, as the minister's appearance on Face the Nation
came so soon after the violent Zengeza by-election during which a youth lost
his life in a very controversial shooting.

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      I long to come home but there's no future

      4/23/2004 8:23:06 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - My heart bleeds to see what has become of my beloved

      I hate the way I feel when Zimbabwe is often used in class as an
example of one of the poorest countries in the world, as the country with
the highest unemployment rate, highest number of starving children and so

      I get that "all eyes on you" feeling, and I just want to sink in my
seat and vanish.

      I only wish our leaders knew how much we, the children of Zimbabwe,
are suffering from their poor decisions.

      We are the ones starving, we are the ones who cannot find jobs, we are
the ones suffering the most over issues we can hardly understand.

      I want to come back home, but what is my future there?

      I have to languish in another man's land scrapping for a living.Why?
Just because our parents are too hard-headed to acknowledge their bad
decisions and correct them?

      Leaders of our dear Zimbabwe, I can't begin to explain what emotional
and mental suffering you have brought upon us, your children. We feel angry,
betrayed, caught in between.

      I dont know if I can ever forgive you for messing up my future and
that of all the other young Zimbabweans.

      To all young Zimbabweans, musakanganwe kwamakabva (don't forget your
roots) and don't be satisfied with being mediocre.

      We can make Zimbabwe a better place. It's our home, so let's not give



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