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Leader of Zimbabwe opposition describes torture to reporters in US

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 26, 2007

UNITED NATIONS: A leader of Zimbabwe's opposition described how she was
tortured for attending a prayer meeting last month and called for an
international campaign to end the abduction, arrests and beatings of
opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

Grace Kwinjeh, who said she is still receiving treatment for an internal
head injury and other injuries from the March 11 attack, called herself and
a 64-year-old woman who eventually were allowed to go to South Africa for
medical treatment "the two lucky ones" because they are out of Zimbabwe.

Kwinjeh spoke Wednesday at a news conference at the U.N. Correspondents
Association that was organized by the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa. It is part of the Open Society Institute founded by billionaire
financier and global philanthropist George Soros.

In Zimbabwe, demonstrations and a national strike in the past month have
been thwarted largely by the heavy deployment of police and troops and
violent police action that crushed the March 11 prayer meeting that the
government said was a political protest banned under sweeping security laws.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic
Change, and other pro-democracy activists including Kwinjeh, the movement's
deputy secretary for international relations, were assaulted by police while
under arrest.

Kwinjeh said at a news conference Wednesday at the U.N. Correspondents
Association that she was beaten with an iron bar and lost part of an ear.
"After they tortured me, I stayed for about 72 hours without access to my
lawyers," she said.
She said she then ended up in hospital under guard by riot police and a gun
pointed at her, but the High Court eventually ordered the riot police to
leave "since there was no credible case against us."

Because of her head wound, arrangements were made for her and the other
woman to go to South Africa, but they were stopped at the airport and spent
another four days in hospital under riot police guard before lawyers got a
court order for the two to leave for six weeks.

After they landed in South Africa, she said, 28 colleagues were rearrested,
tortured, hospitalized and then taken from the hospital to prison where five
are in a "very bad state," barely able to move or eat.

"After what I went through, I thought an international campaign for these 28
colleagues" should be launched, said Kwinjeh, who spent five weeks in a
South African hospital before flying to New York.

"I really thank God that I'm lucky to be out here to be able to tell my
story. But ... I can't tell my story without bringing to attention
Zimbabweans who are being attacked every day," she said.

"So far, over 600 of our activists have been abducted. In the Movement for
Democratic Change half of our staff have been arrested on charges of
treason. So that is the increased repression, that is what the opposition in
Zimbabwe is faced with," Kwinjeh said.

Otto Saki, acting director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who
represented Kwinjeh, said March 11 was just one incident the organization
responded to.

He said police and intelligence organs posed the greatest threat, and the
situation was becoming "very difficult because we are now equally targeted."

The Zimbabwean opposition and critics abroad accuse Mugabe of economic
mismanagement and political oppression. At independence celebrations last
week, Mugabe blamed unbridled greed in some quarters for massive price
increases that have put many basic commodities out of the reach of ordinary

He called the Movement for Democratic Change "the shameless local puppets"
in a conspiracy by Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, to remove him.
Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since independence.

Kwinjeh said that "that is the kind of language they used while torturing

She said she had never studied in Britain and had no relationship with Prime
Minister Tony Blair.

"As a black citizen, as a Zimbabwe citizen, on this night I was tortured
because I attended a prayer meeting - a prayer meeting that was called by
the churches that was going to pray for peace, and to pray for the suffering
masses," Kwinjeh said.

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Zimbabwean victims seek help from other Africans


Thu 26 Apr 2007, 1:09 GMT

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Opposition Zimbabweans, some victims of police
torture, sought to convince other African nations Wednesday that it was time
to call for an end to the suppression in their country that has left a trail
of broken bodies.

Lawyer Tawanda Mutasah, one of four Zimbabwean human rights campaigners,
said African delegates at the United Nations had to be persuaded that
Zimbabwe's actions need reprimands in the Security Council and the U.N.
Human Rights Council.

"The United Nations has a responsibility to protect citizens who are
suffering from state terror," Mutasah told a U.N. news conference, sponsored
by philanthropist George Soros' Open Society Institute.

South Africa, among other nations, say President Robert Mugabe's brutal
crackdown on his critics, is an African problem and does not endanger
international peace and security.

Otto Saki, acting director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, noted
that criticism of Mugabe's policy had been voiced by leaders in Senegal,
Zambia, Tanzania, and Botswana, which refuted the charge by Mugabe's
government that only the United States and former colonial power Britain had

Grace Kwinjeh, an official in Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, whose repeated beatings provoked an
international outcry, said a police raid on a March 11 prayer meeting
changed many lives.

Like Tsvangirai, Kwinjeh was beaten and taken to several police stations
after she went to a prison to visit arrested colleagues.

"None of us had prepared for the kind of brutality that was unleashed on us
that morning," she said. "On one occasion I was beaten with an iron bar on
my head which resulted in part of my ear coming off."

After the first beatings, Kwinjeh said that she and other prisoners were
shoved into a police van, with open wounds, bleeding. "Like animals there in
the lorry they made us all lie down on top of each other in this lorry."

At the Harare central police station, she said she was ordered to lie in a
courtyard for several hours, dizzy and vomiting and refused any water. "We
were told to get up and hold the person in front of you by the belt" and
transported to a different police station, Kwinjeh said.

Among those with her was Sekai Holland, 64, who police called a "whore" for
British Prime Minister Tony Blair. She suffered three broken ribs, a crushed
knee and broken arms.

Hours and days went by, Kwinjeh said, including hospital care and with guns
trained on her. Her lawyers obtained a release because no charges had been

When she and Holland tried to board an air ambulance to South Africa, they
were arrested again before they could finally leave the country. She has
been treated in South Africa for five weeks.

"But we are the true lucky ones who left the country," said Kwinjeh, who
wore a black turban. She said some 28 colleagues were "rearrested, tortured,
abducted from hospital and as we speak they are still in prison."

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On Zimbabwe, UNDP's Support For Mugabe's Human Rights Commission Criticized

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 25 -- As from Zimbabwe images of opponents of Robert
Mugabe being beaten have pulsed out around the globe, the UN system has been
implicated in more than one way. Most have focused on the UN Security
Council, where the UK managed to get a briefing on humanitarian issues, over
the objection of South Africa, which argues that Zimbabwe is not a danger to
international peace and security.

            A separate controversy involves the controversial support to a
Mugabe-sponsored Human Rights Commission by the UN Development Program. Last
month, Zimbabwe's National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations
denounced UNDP's involvement. NANGO spokesman Fambai Ngirandi said there is
"no basis for discussing the setting up of a rights commission when there
was no letup in the government's suppression of people's rights... It is not
the UNDP's role to support the government in imposing a human rights
commission. Day in and day out the government is attacking us and they can't
respect our very existence."

            Wednesday at the UN in New York, the Open Society Institute
brought three speaker from the region. OIS for Southern Africa executive
director Tawanda Mutasah explained that the context in which UNDP publicly
supported Mugabe's Human Rights Commission was while activists from the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unionists were being abducted and tortured by the
Mugage government, in September 2006 and again in March 2007.

    In response to questions from Inner City Press, Mr. Mutasah said that
Mugabe's reason for putting forth a HRC at that time was the at least 13
petitions about Zimbabwe filed with the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights in Banjul, The Gambia. He said that a Zimbabwe HRC would
"provoke the argument that we do have domestic remedies we can use," and
therefore there is no need to take complaints to "the African plane" using
"regional mechanisms."

    Mr. Mutasah's detailed criticism contrasts to the defense of its
programs that UNDP offered in response to questions from Inner City Press:

"UNDP is working to facilitate dialogue on human rights in Zimbabwe
generally and more specifically on the proposed National Human Rights
Commission, with the participation of and at the request of  Zimbabwean
Civil society, as represented by NANGO, the independent governing body of
non-governmental organizations in the country . [But see above.]

"UNDP believes that the decision of government to establish the National
Human Rights Commission presented an opportunity for dialogue."

   By contrast, the article "Civic groups to boycott human rights
conference," quotes Arnold Tsunga, then the executive director of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights that "groups resolved that they would not
attend the meeting because they did not want to be seen as supporting the
state's proposed human rights commission."

            Accompanying Mr. Mutasah on Wednesday were Grace Kwinjeh of the
Movement for Democratic Change, who described torture including being hit
with a metal bar in March such that she has lost part of her ear, and her
attorney, Otto Saki, Acting Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
and thus the successor to the above-quoted Arnold Tsunga.) In response to a
question concerning OSI's role in Zimbabwe, the moderator asked that her
explanation be treated "off the record," since it "compromises the
mechanisms that we have in place."

   While Inner City Press is therefore not specifying the role or the
speaker, one assumes that the Mugabe government is aware of OSI's role in
bringing these speakers to the UN, where they intend to speak with the
missions of Senegal and Rwanda, among other places, and to make similar
presentations in Washington. The visits to African diplomats was explained
as an attempt to work around the accusation that those showing most concern
for human rights in Zimbabwe are the UK and the U.S., which plays right into
Mugabe's hands.

   Mr. Mutasah offered praise for truth-telling to the presidents of Ghana,
Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania (although no one on the panel would comment on
whether the Tanzanian president asked Mugabe not to stand for election again
in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has since said he will run again.  And what the UN and
UNDP will do remains an open question.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

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Police purge looms


Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
Cops nabbed for feeding MDC activists
TWO police detectives have been arrested over claims that they helped feed
detained opposition activists and have been leaking sensitive information to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a purge that is likely to spill
into the top echelons of the force.

The Financial Gazette can reveal that a unit of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP) tasked with directing a widely condemned blitz on the opposition has
charged two detectives with allegedly leaking information to the MDC and
allowing detained activists access to lawyers and food.
This follows the March 11 clashes between civic activists and the police
that were met with sharp responses from the international community while
prompting the Southern African Development Community into appointing South
Africa to help resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.
In a case that shows signs of discord within the ZRP over the ongoing
arrests and torture in detention of protesters, the Criminal Investigations
Department's (CID) Law and Order Section this month started taking steps
insiders say would ultimately lead to the expulsion of officers seen as
dissenters from the force.
The insiders also hinted that the arrest of the two could just be a tip of
the iceberg as a number of senior police officers believed to be sympathetic
to the MDC are currently under scrutiny.
The Financial Gazette has established that the CID is accusing Niros Muyashu
and Paul Kavhurangara, tasked with leading the gathering of information that
could constitute a state case against opposition activists, of leaking
useful leads to the MDC on every aspect of the investigation.
In doing so, the state alleges, the two prejudiced police investigations
into the alleged acts of arson and bombings that government is keen to pin
on the divided MDC.
According to a police charge sheet, Muyashu contravened Section 35, Chapter
11:10 of the Police Act, which prohibits any member of the force from
"acting in an unbecoming or disorderly manner, or in any manner prejudicial
to good order or discipline or unreasonably likely to bring discredit to the
police force."
Police say between April 5 and 7, Muyashu secretly communicated with the
MDC, and arranged for food to be given to arrested supporters.
"Between April 5 and 7 2007 at the Harare Central Police Station, the
accused, being a member of the force, clandestinely communicated with MDC
activists who had their co-activists held at Harare Central Police cells and
organised the feeding of the detained suspects by their relatives or
co-activists outside the knowledge of the CID Law and Order structure, an
act or behaviour, which was unbecoming or disorderly or prejudicial to good
order or discipline or reasonably likely to bring discredit to the police
force in the circumstances."
Kavhurangara, the other detective, is accused of passing information to the
leadership of the MDC using his mobile phone.
"The accused, being a member of the force, communicated with MDC activists
and leadership, passing crucial information through his cell phone and at
times visiting them and passing the information."
Muyashu has been jailed for five days at the Chikurubi detention barracks
while Kavhurangara's case is yet to be concluded, as he has been taken ill.
Kavhurangara's lawyer, Ralph Maganga of Maganga and Company, said his client
has been denied food in detention.
"We are seeking that the state provides us with evidence that will buttress
its case. We have requested things like telephone transcripts, recorded
tapes and other relevant data that can prove that such a
crime was committed. We are of the belief that these are just flimsy
allegations against my clients," Maganga says.
Police have turned down Muyashu's offer to quit the force, posting him to
Middle Sabi instead.
Maganga, who also represents Muyashu, said his client now fears for his life
at his new remote outpost.
Opposition groups say up to 600 activists have been arrested or abducted
since March 11, when police crushed a rally planned by a coalition of
opposition groups, including the MDC.
The activists were denied food and access to lawyers for four days.
Although there has been public backing for the crackdown from senior
politicians, cracks have emerged within ZANU PF over the increased
Junior police officers also fear reprisals from the public over their
participation in the attacks.
Efforts to get comment from Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi or Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri were fruitless.

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EU sanctions target top cops


THE European Union (EU), seeking to widen the reach of its personal
sanctions on government officials, will target senior law enforcement agents
involved in the beating of opposition activists last month, reports say.

Police on March 11 arrested over 50 opposition activists, bringing them to
court some four days later with visible signs of battering.
The beatings raised the concern of regional leaders as well as broader
worldwide criticism, but government propagandists came out in public
strongly supporting police actions.
Now the EU, according to the reports, wants those directly involved
Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed EU diplomat as saying the bloc will
target senior police officers involved in the arrest and beating of
protestors last month.
The EU last week added five new deputy ministers to the EU sanctions list.
Britain proposed adding two security officials to the list Monday, the
diplomats said.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri is already among over 100 senior
government figures barred from Europe. However, Zimbabwean police remain
well-sought-after in peacekeeping missions worldwide.
"In response to the acts of violence and abuses of human rights," the EU
will "extend the visa ban list," EU foreign ministers said in a statement
after talks in Luxembourg on Monday.
The EU "condemns in particular the acts of violent repression against the
opposition and calls on all parties to refrain from violence," the foreign
ministers' statement said.
Opposition activists said recently they were compiling a list of police
officers they claim were involved in the recent crackdown.
- Reuters/Staff Reporter

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CHRA seeks to force Chombo to set date for mayoral election


Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter

THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has petitioned Parliament
to compel Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to set dates for the
election of a new mayor for Harare.

In a letter dated April 10, 2007, delivered to Speaker of Parliament John
Nkomo, the pressure group said there was need for the House to defend the
laws that it had created.
Says the petition: "CHRA appeals to the Parliament of Zimbabwe to assert its
role as the lawmaker of the country and defend its own legislation and to
immediately direct the minister of local government, public works and
national housing to set dates for mayoral and council elections. The Harare
Commission is illegal, has no mandate to administer the local authority, and
has no powers to exercise executive functions."
High Court judge Lawrence Kamocha last month ruled that Chombo's appointment
of the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission to a fourth term was illegal and
was "null, void, and of no force or effect."
The government has since appealed to the Supreme Court against the ruling.
It is, therefore, unlikely that the petition by the CHRA would be considered
by Parliament until the superior court has issued its judgment.
Margaret Zinyemba, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on
local government, said her committee, which has had previous run-ins with
Makwavarara after she skipped hearings, would only take a position on the
matter once it had sight of the entire Kamocha ruling.
"We are yet to see the complete judgment that was handed down by the High
Court. It is only after the committee has seen the report that we will be
able to make our position known," said Zinyemba.
A political turncoat, Makwavarara, has previously argued that only Chombo,
and not the courts, had the right to determine whether she stayed or not,
remarks that incensed critics that have long accused government of contempt
for the rule of law.

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Just when you thought you knew...


Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor

FORMER chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United
States, Alan Greenspan, once said that since he had become a central banker,
he had "learnt to mumble with great incoherence. If I seem unduly clear to
you, you must have misunderstood what I said."

The Fed governor explained: "I know you believe you understand what you
think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what
I meant."
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono, might be another
central banker "mumbling with great incoherence", and if anyone thought they
understood what they think he said, then they might as well not have heard
him well.
In his monetary policy statement for the current year, delivered on January
31, Gono said the RBZ's interest rate policy would be guided by inflation
developments and outlook in the country.
When the market thought he would hike accommodation rates to track northward
bound inflation, and set the tone for a higher interest rate regime to allow
for real investment returns on the money market, they were bowled over when
Gono kept interest rates unchanged.
At prevailing accommodation rate levels of 500 percent and 600 percent for
secured and non-secured lending to banks - which had been set in December
when the rate of inflation touched a high of 1 281.1 percent - Gono said the
interest rate framework was "appropriately aligned to both developments and
outlook on the inflation front".
But, to an obviously bewildered market, he encouraged: "Further reviews will
continue to be done on an on-going basis, in the normal course of open
market operations of the bank."
"Our expectation was that (interest) rates would be reviewed upwards because
of the increasing inflationary pressures," says David Mupamhadzi, chief
economist with the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG).
But almost three months since that monetary policy statement, the key
accommodation rates remain fixed at December levels, while inflation has
surged to an unconfirmed rate of over 2 200 percent year-on-year for March.
Gono will unveil an interim monetary policy review today, and the market
still expects him to make some pronouncement on interest rates.
And that subject is indeed a contentious one.
Government is the biggest borrower on the money market because it has no
access to alternative funding sources because of targeted sanctions from the
West and withdrawal of credit lines from multinational lending institutions
such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
A high interest rate regime would therefore, exacerbate the domestic debt
level, already too high because of the government's profligate spending
habits, which have created huge budget deficits annually.
Total government domestic debt, excluding government deposits with the
central bank, had climbed from $176 billion on January 5 to $1,3 trillion by
March 30, a 630 percent increase that was far ahead of the official
inflation forecast for the year of between 350 and 400 percent.
Of this government debt stock, $330 billion was in Treasury Bills (TBs),
which attracted a whopping $904 billion in interest.
The costly TBs were issued to the market last year, at rates of between 500
and 800 percent.
In his 2007 budget proposals, former Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa
projected a budget deficit of 17.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP),
excluding interest.
For a start, if Murerwa had factored the interest payments on the budget
deficit, and based its projection on a correct forecast of inflation during
the year, the budget deficit would have been higher than the country's GDP.
With the recent implosion on the domestic debt level as a result of interest
payments, it is clear there has been a loss of fiscal control, and the high
inflation environment in the country has worsened the situation.
This might be the reason for the lack of movement on the inflation front,
despite the pledge for reviews by the governor.
But still, for those who think the governor had been "unduly clear" to the
market in his promise for further interest rate reviews, they might also
have misunderstood what he said.
Gono said that "devastating distortions which have hitherto stood in the way
of all efforts to turnaround the economy" as proposed in his "Roadmap to our
recovery", had to be dealt with first by stakeholders "before we can
announce an interest rate framework that is consistent with an agreed
programme of holistic measures".
So far, neither government nor other economic stakeholders have undertaken
measures towards achievement of his proposals.
Apparently, the government's budget for the year has already been spent, and
new Finance Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, is already preparing to approach
parliament with a request for a supplementary budget.
Yet the anchor of the planned recovery programme was a drastic reduction in
money supply growth, largely spurred by huge government deficits.
But the debt implosion is not a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe, except lessons
are not being learnt in government corridors as much as they should.
Zimbabwe experienced a doubling of the domestic interest share of recurrent
government expenditures between 1991 and 1992 when it shifted to market
determined TB rates, and again in 1995 and 1996.
The share of domestic financing of the fiscal deficit also rose very rapidly
during this period while foreign financing of the deficit largely
The share of interest expense dropped slightly in 1997, but still absorbed
24.4 percent of the recurrent budget, as compared with only 12.4 percent at
the beginning of the country's economic liberalization in 1991, according to
a World Bank report.
Direct borrowing by the government from the central bank in 1997 and 1998,
helped initially to reduce the interest burden on the budget, but added to
domestic liquidity and inflation and, along with other government actions,
contributed to a currency crisis in late 1997, the World Bank says.
John Robertson, an independent economic consultant, says: "It's beyond the
resources of the government to offer good rates of interest. They can't
afford the money."
That, Robertson says, explains the reluctance of the central bank to move
interest rates upwards in line of inflation, despite what appeared to be an
apparent pledge by Gono to do so.
Robertson says it is getting increasingly difficult to find meaning in the
RBZ's pledge.
Robertson says negative real interest rates had destroyed savings, and that
there were no resources for investment and even for government borrowing.
The loss of fiscal control is inevitably going to make economic
stabilisation unfeasible, and Gono is likely to speak with increasing
Analysts argue that the low interest rates have resulted in negative returns
on money market investments and this had discouraged people from keeping
money in the banks.
As a result, national savings have suffered significantly, and Robertson
projects that national savings are at between four and five percent of GDP.
Ideally, national savings should be at 15 percent of GDP.
"There is no incentive for people to leave their money in the market," says

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Air Zim fares take off, again


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

AIR Zimbabwe has increased fares by up to 200 percent, a month after it
raised charges by an average 170 percent.

The increases are with immediate effect, a spokesman for the airline said
David Mwenga, spokesman for Air Zimbabwe, told The Financial Gazette rising
operating costs, especially on fuel and catering, were behind the fare
"The increases differ with each route. Some are over 200 percent and others
are less than that," Mwenga said. "I cannot give an average at the moment."
Routes where fares are up over 200 percent are Harare-Dubai and
The latest increase comes a month after another fare hike, which averaged
168 percent. Prior to yesterday's fare hike, an economy class return ticket
to Johannesburg cost $1.9 million, while an economy class return ticket to
Bulawayo cost $178 000.
Late last month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono revealed that
central bank had been doling out US$600 000 per week to the airline.
According to Gono, Air Zimbabwe had behaved like "some Father Christmas" by
charging what he said were sub-economic rates that left it in the red.

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Spy bill fails test again


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

IN a major climb down, government has conceded that a revised version of its
controversial spy bill, the Interception of Communication Bill, is just as
draconian as the original, and has pledged additional amendments.

Government first withdrew the bill before Parliament last year after strong
objections from the Parliamentary Legal committee (PLC). It came up with
another consolidated text and sent it back to the PLC, but critics charged
that the Bill remained unconstitutional even after those changes.
The Bill, gazetted on May 26 last year, provides for the
interception of both telecommunications and postal articles
by the Commissioner of Police, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, the
Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation, and the
Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority or their nominees on
the strength of a warrant or detention order issued by the Minister of
Transport and Communications.
In an interview this week, chairman of the legislative assembly's legal
committee, Welshman Ncube, said government had undertaken to make fresh
amendments to the consolidated text.
"The Bill is still before Parliament. The Attorney General (AG) and the
Minister promised to come up with amendments to the text that was before the
legal committee," he said. Transport and Communications Minister Christopher
Mushohwe is sponsoring the Bill.
Following last year's agreement between the PLC, the AG and Mushohwe to come
up with another version of the Bill, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
moved a motion "that the present text of the Interception of Communication
Bill (H.B 4, 2006), currently in the Order Paper, be withdrawn and be
replaced by a new consolidated text of the Bill in terms of Standing Order
No. 128 and that the new Bill be treated as having been introduced in terms
of Standing Order No. 103 and referred to the Parliamentary Legal
The House of Assembly adopted the motion on November 7 last year.
However, after an analysis of the consolidated text by lawyer Chris Mhike,
the local chapter of media rights group, the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA) said the Bill remained repressive.
MISA-Zimbabwe said although there were differences between the consolidated
text and the original Bill, the thrust of the proposed legislation remained
"The Interception of Communications Bill, 2006, even in its revised form, is
a retrogressive and repressive piece of law that has no place in a
democratic society. No amount of revision would justify the impending
snooping. ," MISA-Zimbabwe said.
It however, noted the limiting of the Minister's powers through the transfer
of certain functions to the Administrative Courts, and the provision of
review functions by the AG or the Administrative Court.

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Beleaguered RMB to let beer outlets


Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter

THE beleaguered beer-selling arm of the Harare City Council has mooted plans
to rent out most of its outlets in the capital, a move market sources said
had been precipitated by a haemorrhage in the business.

Rufaro Marketing Board (RMB) is said to be grappling with severe working
capital constraints and has failed to refurbish its dilapidated properties.
Efforts to get comment from RMB chief executive officer, Caleb Mutsai, were
fruitless as he was reportedly locked up in meetings.
Sources however, told The Financial Gazette this week that RMB's management
had taken a decision to rent out at least 10 of its outlets and has already
started the process of interesting bidders.
The company runs a number of beer outlets in the city but these have since
lost appeal to urban revellers because of collapsing infrastructure.
A bid by the company last year attempting to stop supermarkets from selling
beer indicated the depth of the crisis besetting the company, a source
highlighted. RMB sold its brewery in 1979 to a competitor and remained
viable over the years but its fortunes have waned lately due to a poor
business model and increased competition from private entrepreneurs.
Council has had to subsidise the operation of the company over the years.

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ZBC strikes off 'Talking Business'


Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter

TALKING Business, arguably the most watched business programme on ZTV, has
been struck off air on curious grounds that the loss-making public
broadcaster was already running similar productions.

Insiders at Pockets Hill (the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation - ZBC) revealed this week that a letter had been dispatched to
the producers of Talking Business (Mighty Movies), informing them of the
sudden turn of events.
They said the informative 30-minute current affairs programme, which had
been running for the past six years, could only be reconsidered if packaged
as an infomercial, attracting about $21 million in airtime.
"This is certainly not a
viable option, considering that Mighty Movies was not making money from the
programme. In fact, it is ZBC, which has been gaining and the nation at
large, which has benefited from the incisive issues raised via the
programme," said the source.
Talking Business host, Supa Mandiwanzira and ZBC's marketing and business
development manager, Josephine Toro could not be reached for comment at the
time of going to print.
Despite its dire financial position,
ZBC has not had the best of
relations with independent producers.
In 2001, fugitive businessman Mutumwa Mawere's National Development
Association programme, Talk To The Nation, was withdrawn from television.
In May 2002, ZBC switched off James Makamba's Joy TV
citing a section of the Broadcasting Services Act prohibiting the public
broadcaster from continuing to lease the station.
Other channels have, however, fallen by the wayside due to viability
For example, Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation had a short-lived
life in 1997 when it operated for a few months before shutting down after
allegedly failing to pay airtime fees to ZBC.
Sources said it was curious
that ZBC had proceeded to withdraw Talking Business a few weeks after some
of its top executives had given the programme the thumbs up.
"Talking Business has always been a current affairs programme, this is the
understanding that has kept it on air for the past six or so years," said a
source. "It would appear that some of our executives have an axe to grind
with some of the personalities at Mighty Movies, hence the decision to
withdraw the programme," added the source.
An independent survey of the local media ranked Talking Business the highest
watched business programme on ZTV.
The programme also featured among the top five of the
most popular programmes produced locally.

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Hotels all out of rooms at ZITF


Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief

BULAWAYO - Accommodation has now become the biggest challenge for Bulawayo's
biggest trade showcase, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which
kicked off on Tuesday.

ZITF chairman Nhlanhla Masuku said all hotels and lodges in the city were
fully booked for the five-day fair. Some exhibitors were staying as far as
Gweru while others had opted to fly from and back to Harare everyday.
Fair general manager Daniel Chigaru said in some cases it was cheaper for
the exhibitors to fly to and from Harare everyday.
Masuku said ZITF was looking at the feasibility of building a hotel at the
fair grounds in partnership with the business sector.
He, however, said the accommodation problem provided a big challenge to
Bulawayo investors and those who already owned hotels and lodges in the
city, either to expand them or build new ones.
He said the lodges also had to market themselves. One way of doing this was
for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to keep a register of all hotels and
lodges in the city so that exhibitors can have a directory to select
accommodation from.
The Bulawayo City Council said last month there were 26 registered lodging
houses in its central business district and 41 in the suburban areas.
However, only 10 lodges in the city centre and 21 in the suburbs had been
The council also said that activities that were being carried out at some of
the lodges left a lot to be desired but this was better dealt with by the
police. Masuku emphasised that even if lodges became available, they had to
meet certain minimum standards for them to get business from ZITF
The ZITF chairman was upbeat about this year's fair whose theme is:
"Zimbabwe Brands, Africa Brands and Global Brands", saying it was bigger
than last year's as all exhibition halls were open. Previously, two were
Asked what was the point of participating in the fair when the economy was
shrinking and industry was
operating at only 20 percent capacity, Masuku said one of the main purposes
of any exhibition was to make new contacts and maintain old ones.
He said though the economy was shrinking it was important for business "to
cling on to that shrinking dollar" because it was more difficult to build
new markets from scratch.
He said a number of companies could increase their capacities by toll
manufacturing, which he said was becoming increasingly popular.
ZITF will officially be opened tomorrow by President Robert Mugabe.

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2008 poll: Strategies needed from opposition


National Agenda with Bornwell Chakaodza
The sooner MDC announces its single candidate the better for us all
IT is now a race against time for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
in particular and the other opposition parties in general.

Despite the many unknowns in the ruling ZANU PF party at the present moment,
that party wasted no time in announcing its own candidate for next year's
poll. Believe it or not, President Robert Mugabe is the man!
I do not minimise the problems and difficulties ranged against the MDC and
other opposition parties. We know, of course, that ZANU PF has created a
climate in which all opposition parties are at a terrible and grotesque
disadvantage, whether which have given up power voluntarily without a
struggle. The non-stop rubbishy propaganda emanating from state-owned media
on a daily basis about this Bush or that Blair testify to the determination
on the part of ZANU PF to brainwash the Zimbabwean people rather than
provide them with information and genuine facts. I guess when things go
wrong as a result of government's own irresponsible actions, the first thing
that it does is to fall into the blame game.
The MDC must move away from being driven by arrogance of power and
privilege - ZANU PF style. It must be said without any hesitation that
President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU PF party have played their part in
bringing about the old Zimbabwe but as implied in the DC part of the acronym
MDC, it is now time for a democratic change and a new Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have grown cynical about politics and politicians. There is
fatigue within the public about the future of this country at the moment and
what people need now is a political party that will deliver results in the
aftermath of next year's presidential and parliamentary elections - that is
if we can get there intact!
It is not enough for the MDC to play on the suffering that ZANU PF has
caused without offering practical, genuine, feasible and easily understood
options. In the same vein, it is not enough for the MDC to solely speak to
journalists, African and Western governments without first explaining its
strategies and plans to its first and foremost constituency - Zimbabwean
people up and down the country. What is important is to test the waters, to
hold rallies in the rural areas and see how ZANU PF responds.
An injection of hope is what Zimbabweans are craving for at the present
moment. The strongest card that the MDC can play if it has any expectation
of succeeding is the single candidate thing in the presidential election as
well as extending the one- candidate principle to all constituencies, thus
preventing splitting the vote. I have no doubt in my mind that there will be
a dreadful price to pay and disillusionment all round if the MDC fails to do
this. It must be done not in October, November or December 2007 but now.
History will punish those who arrive late for the train. There must be
serious political will on the part of both Tsvangirai and Mutambara together
with their lieutenants to present a united front not just during election
time but well before March 2008. Pre-election period is just as important as
the election itself and equally important as well is the post-election
period. All this gives the MDC and other opposition parties little time to
prepare. Hence the urgency of announcing a single candidate for next year's
poll pretty quickly.
For me, such an announcement looks so easy. It can only be a mountain to
climb for people who have only their own interests at heart and not the
interests of the generality of the Zimbabwean public. Again, ZANU PF
provides a salutary lesson here. We all know how in the past ZANU PF used to
command enormous crowds both at the ballot box and at ordinary political
rallies. That is now a thing of the past. It was because President Mugabe
was a unifying force and the whole party and most Zimbabweans did rally
around him.
In spite of the uneven political playing field at the moment, the MDC can do
the same and let Tsvangirai be the focal point given the undoubted support
he commands at the grassroots level. And who knows - the Mbeki initiative
might just help to ease and liberalise the political environment. But what
is crucial is for the MDC to prepare now just as ZANU PF is doing.
In the last analysis, however, my message to the MDC and other opposition
parties is that few Zimbabweans will vote for parties that attempt to whine
their way into power in a haphazard manner. They want to see and hear
strategies and concrete plans of how to transform the fortunes of this
country sector by sector - whether health, education, agriculture, tourism,
industry etc.
Zimbabweans are tired of just hearing complaints about President Mugabe and
ZANU PF. They want to hear more of strategies than complaints.
E-mail: is to do with election campaigns, holding
rallies or having access to state newspapers and the only government-owned
and controlled broadcasting station in the country.
But the reality is that presidential and parliamentary elections are due
next year in March. And this is a reality that the MDC cannot wish away or
ignore even if it appears unpleasant at the moment. The need and importance
therefore, for the MDC to be prepared and get its house in order cannot be
Others may help but ultimately it is the MDC itself, which has to put its
house in order and come up with a single candidate, strategies and plans for
next year's poll. Pretty pronto I might add. No one owes the MDC a living
The lesson of 2005 must not be lost on the MDC. In that election year, the
party dilly-dallied - whether to boycott those elections or to participate
in them - to its detriment. When eventually it made up its mind to go into
the ring, it was rather too late for the MDC. The electorate had been so
thoroughly confused by the procrastination that few people bothered to vote.
Voter apathy or "voting with one's feet" meant that voters' turnout was
pretty low. Does the MDC want a repeat of that debacle next year? Be honest
with the Zimbabwean people, please Morgan and also Arthur by the way. I dare
say that the MDC must not fall into that trap again.
Kenya, during Daniel arap Moi's regime and before the success of the rainbow
coalition offers a valuable lesson here. The opposition in Kenya was divided
for many years during Moi's time and it was not until they forged a common
front that old man Moi was ousted. Clearly, divisions within the Kenyan
opposition parties then were a major handicap in the successive general
elections that were held before Moi's ouster.
If the MDC continues with its myopic stance, then it will be its own worst
enemy for all time. Individual self-interest must give way to greater
national good. This may seem obvious that it hardly needs saying but the
fact is that in politics people are driven by these things.
ZANU PF at this time is a case in point. In these very bad economic times,
we will not see a thorough-going agenda for change despite central bank
governor Gideon Gono's spirited efforts because to offer that kind of agenda
will mean so called ZANU PF chefs abandoning ill gotten gains and privileged
Governments the world over find it very difficult if not impossible to
surrender power and privileged positions they have acquired over the years.
In fact, I challenge anyone to give me examples of governments in this
world, [item ends here...]

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Of black markets and the market economy


Economic Viewpoint with Mubayiro Nunurayi

Black market A black market is an economic activity that operates outside
the legal or 'formal system'. This includes the act of selling illegal goods
or selling goods at illegal prices. For example the system of giving bribes
to landlords for rent controlled accomodatiom would be a black market.

The black market or underground market is the economic activity involving
illegal dealings, typically the buying and selling of merchandise or
services illegally.
A black market is generally less efficient in the allocation of scarce
economic resources due to the fact that:
n contracts are not as enforceable,
n there is risk of being arrested and this increases the profits required by
suppliers and
n quality control deteriorates and this leads to more defective products.
From the viewpoint of economic efficiency, the performance of black markets
is relatively poor and this point gives us a greater appreciation of the
benefits of a well structured and enforceable legal system to promote the
gains from trade.

Price Ceilings
and Black Market
In demand and supply parlance,a price ceiling is defined as the upper limit
on the price a supplier can charge and in the event that the "ceiling" is
pegged below the equilibrium price, the result will be a shortage
characterised by quantity demanded exceeding the quantity supplied. The
price system will no longer be an effective means of rationing the good or
service. The common manifestation of this development is:
n Consumers may have to wait in long lines to make a purchase. They pay a
price in terms of the time they spend in the line (opportunity cost i.e the
forgone alternative the wasted time could have been used at)
n Suppliers may enegage in discrimination such as selling to friends and
relatives first.
n Suppliers may sell at the ceiling prices, but take bribes to do so.
The phenomenon enunciated by the "price ceiling" case is very synonmous with
what has been happening in the Zimbabwean economy during the past five years
with the availability of bread being a case in point

Market Price
Goods acquired illegally can take one of two price levels. They may be less
expensive than legal market prices because the supplier did not incur the
normal costs of production or pay the usual taxes. This is usually the case
in the underground market for stolen goods. A good example is the 'Mbare
Market' for stolen goods where every product one can think of can be bought
at give away prices.
Even when the underground market offers lower prices, however, many people
are likely to continue to purchase the goods in question from legal
suppliers, for a number of reasons:
n Some consumers may feel that the black market supplier conducts business
immorally (although this criticism sometimes extends to legal suppliers,
n The consumer may - justifiably - trust legal suppliers more, as they are
both easier to contact in case of faults in the product and easier to hold
n In some countries, it is a criminal offense to handle stolen goods, a
factor which will discourage buyers.
In the latter case of an underground market for goods which are simply
unavailable through legal channels, underground markets will thrive if
consumer demand nonetheless continues. In the case of the legal prohibition
of a product viewed by large segments of the society as harmless, such as
marijuana under prohibition in the Zimbabwe, the black market will prosper,
and the black marketeers often reinvest profits in a widely diversified
array of legal or illegal activity well beyond the original item.
Underground markets can be reduced or eliminated by removing the relevant
legal restrictions, thereby increasing the supply and quality of formerly
banned goods. People who advocate this may believe that governments should
recognize fewer crimes in order to focus law enforcement effort on the most
treatable dangers to society. However, this can be seen by some people as
the equivalent of legalising crime in order to reduce the number of
"official" criminal delicts - in other words, an immoral concession that in
their view only makes matters worse.

Black markets flourish in most countries during wartime. Most states engaged
in total war or other large-scale, extended wars must necessarily impose
restrictions on domestic use of critical resources which are needed for the
war effort, such as food, gasoline, rubber, metal, etc., typically through

Illegal drugs
Beginning in the 19th and 20th centuries, many countries began to ban the
possession or use of various recreational drugs, such as the United States'
famous "war on drugs." Many people nonetheless continue to use illegal
drugs, and a black market exists to supply them. Despite ongoing law
enforcement efforts to intercept illegal drug supplies, demand remains high,
providing a large profit motive for organized criminal groups to ensure that
drugs are available.
Prostitution is illegal in many nations and regions throughout the world.
However, as market demand for the illegal services of prostitutes remains
high, black markets are usually found catering to such demands.
Copyrighted media
Street vendors in many areas, particularly in countries with loose
enforcement of copyright law, often sell deeply discounted copies of movies,
music CDs, and computer software such as video games, sometimes long before
the official release of a title. Innovations in consumer DVD and CD burners
and the widespread availability on the Internet of cracks for most extant
forms of copy protection technology allow anyone with a few hundred dollars
to produce DVD and CD copies that are digitally identical to an original and
suffer no loss in quality.

The author, Mubayiro Nunurayi is a member of the Zimbabwe Economic Society
(ZES) and holder of Bsc Hons Degree in Economics and an MBA obtained from
the University of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Economic Society articles are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge and
he can be contacted on or on cell number

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ZANU PF heavyweights spoil for a fight


Charles Rukuni and Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Report

A SHOWDOWN that might further threaten the shaky unity that has kept ZANU PF
from falling apart is brewing ahead of weekend provincial elections in
Bulawayo and Masvingo provinces where ruling party heavyweights are spoiling
for a fight.

ZANU PF insiders said the dissolved interim executives in the fractious
Masvingo province and Bulawayo were mobilising to scuttle the weekend
elections. They suspect a devious plan is in place by some of their
principals at ZANU PF headquarters in Harare to catapult pliant members into
the executive, according to sources.
In the eye of the storm is Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF political commissar
who was mandated by the influential ZANU PF Politburo to oversee the
transitional process that has been on the backburner since 2004 when a purge
spawned by the power struggles to succeed the then Vice President Simon
Muzenda led to the dissolution of the executives.
Manyika is seen having a brief from named party bigwigs to deal with party
cadres who did not put their cards on the table in support of President
Robert Mugabe's bid to seek re-election in next year's elections.
Despite admitting that there is resistance, Didymus Mutasa, the party's
secretary for administration, was adamant yesterday that the weekend
elections would go ahead.
Incumbent acting chairpersons, Macloud Chawe (Bulawayo) and Samuel
Mumbengegwi (Masvingo) are said to be interested in the posts despite the
dissolution of their interim executives.
In Masvingo, Indigenisation Minister Paul Mangwana is tipped to take over
from Mumbengegwi, the Finance Minister, who came in to stabilise the
province after the suspension of Daniel Shumba following the Tsholotsho
Shumba resigned from ZANU PF last year and has since formed the little known
United People's Party.
Reports that have not been denied suggest that the party had been split into
factions controlled by President Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru and
party legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, before last month's
central committee meeting that endorsed the former as its candidate.
The ZANU PF central committee also endorsed the harmonisation of
presidential, parliamentary and local government polls.
The Financial Gazette's Bulawayo Bureau reports that while the main line
media has portrayed a picture that all is well and most of the office
bearers for the district coordinating committees were retained during
elections held last Sunday, the elections were a sham and will be challenged
this weekend.
Bulawayo province is presently divided into two factions. One is called
"petition" and is loyal to the politburo members from the city and the other
is dubbed "Godhi" and comprises mostly war veterans and members of the
previous executive that was suspended soon after the Tsholotsho debacle. Six
ZANU PF provincial chairmen were suspended from the party for attempting to
block Vice -President Mujuru from the Presidium in what came to be known as
the Tsholotsho debacle.
An interim executive currently runs the province.
No executive in Bulawayo has ever served its full term since the death of
former ZAPU leader, Joshua Nkomo, in 1999 because of the divisions within
ZANU PF in the province, which are mainly centred on who will succeed the
former vice-president.
Sources said the interim executive does not have members and could,
therefore, not have come up with any executive, as it could not field the
required number of candidates, 102 per district.
Security Minister Nicholas Goche is expected to preside over the Bulawayo
provincial elections.
A Bulawayo-based senior politburo member said: "It is not very clear to us
what this restructuring is all about. There are unconfirmed reports that
they want to deal decisively with those provincial members who have refused
to toe the line and we are afraid that some people could actually be dropped
from provincial positions given their stance on the issues of succession and
Manyika recently announced that the ruling party would restructure to
strengthen itself in time for the campaign trail ahead of the March or April
2008 elections in which President Mugabe's only serious challenge is likely
to come from his nemesis, Morgan Tsvangirai. leader of one faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change.
A ZANU PF official aligned to Manyika this week said there would be no going
back on the elections as the exercise was in line with the party's
"You cannot expect interim executives to run provinces forever. Those were
just temporary structures and we are now putting in place substantive ones
to run the business of the party," said the official.
In what seemed to be confirmation of the impending purge that could result
from the restructuring, Manyika said the party wanted to elect people with a
"zeal to steer the party into victory" into leadership positions.
Mutasa said yesterday the polls would proceed as planned.
"The elections are proceeding as planned and with those that have been
nominated to contest these elections," said Mutasa without disclosing the
names. "There will be no changes to the candidates because we listen to the
wishes of the people. These elections are not for party heavyweights but for
the people. As a party, we are not taking chances but we are all working
towards ensuring that the party is strengthened ahead of the elections next
year," he added.
In the meantime, an audit of ZANU PF structures is in progress amid reports
that the party has completed the audit at branch level and was now at
district level.
Thereafter, it will move to the provincial level in time for the ZANU PF
congress to be held in 2009.
Defence secretary Sydney Sekeramayi is overseeing the audit in Manicaland,
while Goche is handling Mashonaland East. Tendai Savanhu, a ZANU PF
politburo member, is in Mashonaland Central while Ignatius Chombo, who was
shunted into the politburo at last year's conference, is in Harare.
The Financial Gazette could not immediately confirm the names of the people
leading teams auditing the rest of the provinces.

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Distraught car dealers meet government


Staff Reporter

TROUBLED vehicle dealers are scrambling for a way out of an industry crisis
precipitated by a recent government directive that payment of duty and Value
Added Tax for luxury goods would be made in foreign currency.

A make or break meeting between industry representatives and relevant
authorities has been scheduled for today to discuss the contentious issue
that appears poised to become subject of legal action should the parties
fail to agree.
Industry sources indicated yesterday that motor vehicle dealers were
pressing for a reversal of the directive, which has triggered a rush in
motor vehicle prices and resulted in many dealers failing to pay duty for
imported vehicles, which are now stuck in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
warehouse in Beitbridge.
Alternatively, they will propose that a significant portion of the duty
threshold be paid for in Zimbabwe dollars.
Because there was little notice given, the car dealers will also suggest
that those that had purchased vehicles before the April 5 effective date be
exempted from paying duty in foreign currency.
"We are hoping that the government would ventilate all the gray areas first
before we can submit our appeal. It is not very clear who should pay the
duty in foreign exchange," said a source.
Motor Trade Association vice chairman Misheck Nyamupingidza told The
Financial Gazette yesterday that the MTA was gravely concerned by the latest
"We felt that on behalf of our members, there is an urgent need to meet the
relevant authorities and discuss the issue face to face," he said,
confirming plans for today's meeting.
While the meeting is likely to determine the dealers' next move, there were
suggestions from disgruntled industry players that MTA should push for a
court challenge against the directive.
Legal experts have indicated that the directive, made through a statutory
instrument, violated provisions of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act
stipulating that the Zimbabwe dollar is the country's legal tender.
MTA Harare chapter acting chairman Peter Chipamuriwo said most of their
members were "a bit confused and stranded and are in a panic position".
Dealers were already passing the added cost to motor vehicles, caused by the
new duty payment requirements, to final buyers.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said recently that the new provisions
for duty payment were mooted in 2005 and should be seen as an instrument to
turn around the economy.
The dealers are understood to have made an initial appeal days after the new
measures were announced .

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Fresh crisis as farmers cancel tobacco dates


Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter

TURBULENCE hit the tobacco-selling season yesterday after growers withdrew
their crop from the auction floors, despite initial bookings following a
government announcement that growers would be given a special Zimbabwe
dollar price for their crop.

Although a few bales of tobacco had gone under the hammer on Tuesday and
yesterday, officials at the auction floors said there had been considerable
cancellation of bookings by growers who felt they had to wait until the
government unveils the promised incentives, said to be due in seven days
from the day auction floors opened on Tuesday.
The auctions, which had been scheduled to start in March, had been delayed
by almost a month after growers protested at the country's overvalued
exchange rate and called for a sectoral devaluation to ensure viability.
The government, which has insisted it will not brook calls for a devaluation
of the country's embattled currency, said it would only review the Zimbabwe
dollar component of growers' earnings.
Industry sources suggested this could amount to an exchange rate review for
tobacco growers.
Growers told The Financial Gazette yesterday that they would only start
selling after the government announced new Zimbabwe dollar prices for
They said that the government had reneged on its pledge to pay a $5 000
bonus per kg of tobacco sold during the 2006 marketing season.
"We will have to wait and see whether the promise is genuine. This time
around we can't be fooled," said one farmer who only identified himself as
Growers said transporters were charging between $100 000 and $150 000 to
transport a 100 kg bale from farming areas such as Mvurwi to Harare.
Such high costs meant that they would incur significant loses if they sold
their tobacco at the official exchange rate of $250 to the US dollar, which
would give them $737.50 from the average price of US$2.95 per kilogram on
Auction floor officials said deliveries were still depressed.
The Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Company (ZITAC) had booked only 100
bales of tobacco, with only 50 bales being sold after growers cancelled
bookings for the other bales.
"It (trading) is quite low. Some growers have opted to wait until the seven
days that were announced by the government," said Irene Ushe, the ZITAC
public relations manager.
Lodwin Gatsi, the operations executive at the Tobacco Sales Floor, where the
auction started after a seven hour delay on Tuesday, said a total of 650
bales had been sold in the two days of trading but this was down on opening
sales last year of 1 000 bales.

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Market prays still for policy surprise


Staff Reporter

A HIGHLY expectant market has always hoped for drastic policy measures every
time Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono presents his
monetary policy statements, particularly on interest and exchange rates.

But, following a recent decision to concentrate on the core business of the
central bank, Gono has said he will no longer involve himself in the
contentious issue of devaluation, and interest rates.
These, he said, had failed to yield results in the past, and that
devaluation is the domain of the Ministry of Finance.
But, as he presents his interim monetary policy statement today, the market
is hoping for a surprise, except they are very sure it has now become very
difficult to predict Gono.
Although Gono has previously refused to devalue the local currency, there is
a feeling that he knows pretty well that the current official exchange rate
is now too unrealistic that it requires an urgent review.
Negative returns on the money market have only caused investors to shun the
banking sector and keep their money elsewhere, largely spawning speculative
activities in the economy.
This, in itself, calls for a review of the interest rate regime, and even
devaluation of the local currency.
Early this month, Gono charged that there was rampant indiscipline in the
economy, and this had been a major cause of the economic crisis and a
parallel market rate 10 times what he said was a justified exchange rate.
"Justified levels are well below $2 000 (against the US dollar)," Gono said.
The official exchange rate has been fixed at $250 to the greenback for a
very long time, despite inflationary pressures and a rampaging parallel
foreign currency market were the United States dollar was fetching just
below $30 000 yesterday.
Analysts say his major challenge will be putting in place a liquidity
management framework that would hinder speculative activities in the
The major instrument, they say, is the interest rate policy.
"He has to make the money come back into the banking system," said a
commentator in the banking sector.
That involves hiking interest rates, but the effect of this on the bloated
government debt would be disastrous.
But still, something will have to be done.
The sticking issue might be that the proposed social contract, which Gono
had hoped would be in place in February, has not yet taken off the ground.
In his key monetary policy statement in January, he had indicated that
certain deliverables had to be made in order for the central bank to
announce a comprehensive interest rate policy, and take a re-look at the
exchange rate.
The hope is that from consultative meetings he held with stakeholders
recently on the proposed social contract, helpful suggestions were made, and
progress initiated, to kick-start the social contract and spur the governor
into action.

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Magistrates shy away from Chinamasa 'victim'


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

MANICALAND magistrates have refused to preside over the case of a prominent
prosecutor who alleges that he is being persecuted for prosecuting Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

A magistrate had to be brought in from Masvingo to handle the case in which
Manicaland area prosecutor Levison Chikafu is accused of soliciting for a
bribe from a murder suspect.
Chikafu was granted $500 000 bail at Mutare magistrates court late on
He will appear again in court on June 12.
"All the magistrates in Mutare recused themselves. A magistrate from another
jurisdiction presided over the case," said Chikafu's lawyer, Charles Ndlovu.
Sources say Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele was reluctant to have
Chikafu prosecuted, in a matter the same sources insist is linked to the AG's
reported fall-out with Chinamasa.
Chikafu's public profile rose last year after he led a series of legal
proceedings against political heavyweights.
He prosecuted Chinamasa in an obstruction of justice case, in a trial in
which he also famously ruffled the feathers of State Security Minister
Didymus Mutasa, telling the court that the Minister's "wings must be
Also last year, Chikafu wrote the police directing them to investigate four
Cabinet Ministers accused of stripping the once lucrative Kondozi Estate of
In Chikafu's latest case, he had been pushing for the arrest of a Central
Intelligence Organisation operative, Joseph Mwale, the alleged mastermind in
the killing of two aides of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
violent run up to the 2000 general election.
Last year, all the magistrates in Manicaland recused themselves from
Chinamasa's trial, claiming intimidation from Mutasa. However, Mutasa, the
ZANU PF secretary for administration, denied the allegations.
Retired magistrate Phineas Chipopoteke handled Chinamasa's trial, acquitting
the Minister. An appeal by the AG against Chinamasa's acquittal was recently
Yesterday, Chinamasa's lawyer, James Mutizwa, refused to comment on Chikafu's
claims that he was being victimised for prosecuting the Minister.

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You may approach bench, Dr Madhuku


Staff Reporter

LOVEMORE Madhuku can practice law again after the High Court yesterday
admitted the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman back to the bar
14 years after he was deregistered.

Madhuku, who is also a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), was
readmitted in terms of chapter 27:07 of the Legal Practitioners Act.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) did not oppose the application, as it is
entitled to under law.
Harare lawyer Pointer Chinyerere filed Madhuku's application.
Madhuku was deregistered in 1993 for defrauding clients.
He said yesterday he would continue his constitutional reform campaign.
"This changes nothing.
I will continue teaching and practicing law in the streets," said Madhuku.
He said he would not go into private practice, although he could take up odd
cases "here and there."
State media reports last year said government was opposed to Madhuku's
A controversial civic figure who has been arrested more times than many can
remember, Madhuku is one of several college lecturers accused by the ZANU PF
youth league last December of "poisoning" the minds of university students.
Madhuku was among opposition leaders tortured by police after their arrest
at a rally last month.

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MDC asks court to act against impunity


Staff reporter

THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has lodged an urgent
application in the Supreme Court to compel High Court judges to treat
contempt of court proceedings against state security agents as urgent.

The plea, filed last week through MDC lawyer Jessie Majome, cites as
respondents judge president Rita Makarau, as head of the High Court, and
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.
Police in February defied a High Court order allowing the opposition to hold
a rally in Highfields, using water cannon and batons to crush the meeting.
The MDC filed an urgent appeal to have police charged with contempt, but the
High Court ruled the matter was not urgent and would be treated as a normal
In his affidavit, Tendai Biti, secretary general of one faction of the MDC,
says High Court judges' refusal to deal with contempt of court proceedings
brought against police put opposition activists at risk of further torture
by government agents and encouraged violations of civil liberties.
MDC members continued to be deprived of the freedom from torture and their
right to free assembly as a result of High Court lethargy on contempt
"Through the failure in this regard, we and people associated with us have
been deprived too of other rights including the right to freedom from
torture and cruel treatment. We and such others are likely to suffer in
future unless the courts end the current practice of requiring complaints of
contempt to be dealt with as normal applications," said Biti.
"This practice has been followed even in urgent cases, even when faced with
allegations of continuing contempt for orders to protect liberty and
possibly life."
Police, emboldened by public support by President Robert Mugabe for their
strong-arm tactics and the failure of the courts to challenge their contempt
of the February order, have in recent weeks escalated their clampdown on
opposition activity.
Last month, at least two protestors were killed while over 50 other
activists were arrested after police stopped another rally.
The activists, including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were
brutalised in custody.
According to Biti, such repression would worsen unless the courts started
treating contempt appeals as urgent.

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Industry incensed by Mugabe remarks


Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S industrialists have reacted angrily to accusations that they were
seeking to undermine the government's popularity by repeatedly raising
prices of goods and services, saying skewed government policies had ruined
the country's economy.

"Some of these comments are a bit unkind," said Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce (ZNCC) president, Marah Hativagone. "Vakuru (President Robert
Mugabe) sometimes takes it a bit too far."
President Mugabe last week charged that businesspeople, sponsored by
imperialists pushing a regime-change agenda against his government, were
hiking prices to create social discontent and make his government unpopular
with the people.
Hativagone said while the ZNCC acknowledged that some businesses were taking
advantage of the economic situation to profiteer, it was wrong for the
government to accuse businesspeople of working to topple it through price
"There could be people who are profiteering but most businesspeople are
patriots and why would someone want to bring down the government?" asked
"Production levels are low but the demand for goods is (high). So price
controls actually trigger increases in prices. We have seen that with
foreign currency," she said.
The influential Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said the country's
overvalued currency had wrecked the economy and this had recently combined
with hefty tariff reviews to precipitate an economy-wide rush for price
"As the private sector we note with extreme concern the recent spate of
price increases. These increases were triggered by an unprecedented increase
in the price of inputs apparently influenced by the informal exchange rate
in the first three weeks of March and the justifiable ongoing adjustment to
parastatal prices," the CZI said in a statement this week.
Industrial companies have hemorrhaged from a raft of government polices,
including unpopular price controls that have created arbitrage opportunities
in the sickly economy.
Request for price reviews have often been flatly rejected by the government,
or taken time to be approved, resulting in company closures.
The government accuses manufacturers and retailers of hiking prices of basic
commodities to frustrate its economic turnaround programme, and accuses
business of conspiring with enemies of the state by creating shortages and
hiking prices arbitrarily.
President Mugabe, who was speaking at an occasion to mark Zimbabwe's 27
years of independence, also accused the business sector of colluding with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to stir up anti-government
sentiments through commodity price hikes.

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SADC urges Zim to implement sound economic policies


Staff Reporter

AN executive with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has
warned Zimbabwe to start implementing sound economic policies, saying the
country was stalling members' goal of attaining the regional body's goals
for integration.

"In economics we don't have miracles," said Tomaz Salomao, the SADC
executive secretary, in an interview. "One needs to devise and implement the
right policies and this calls for sustainable planning, implementation and
monitoring," he added.
SADC is pushing for regional integration to give the bloc the clout to
compete on an increasingly global market place and spur development.
The regional body wants to attain a free trade area among member countries
next year before pushing for a unified customs union in 2010 and a monetary
union by 2015.
Salomao said SADC's vision for a monetary union was predicated on systematic
macroeconomic convergence between member states.
"We really need to harmonise our fiscal and monetary policies especially
those to do with attracting investment. We need to bring inflation down to
stable and sustainable levels. Our average annual growth rate must be around
seven percent if we are to achieve the millennium development goals by
2015," Salomao said.
Zimbabwe, currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history, has
an inflation rate of over 1 700 percent, while its economy has contracted by
over 35 percent in the past six years and is projected to decline further
this year.
Regional members within SADC have inflation levels below 10 percent and
robust economic growth figures.
SADC member countries last year signed the Finance and Investment Protocol,
which outlined that improvement in macroeconomic management and performance
among member states would be a precondition for the establishment of the
monetary union.
Under the protocol, member countries targeted a progressive "restriction of
inflation to low and stable levels, which should reach a single digit level
by 2008 and about five percent by 2012 and a cumulative reduction in fiscal
They undertook to restrict their budget deficits to not more than five
percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2008 and to keep external reserves or
import cover of around three months in the same year and at least six months
by 2012.
The Zimbabwean government has reportedly exhausted its budget for 2007,
three months into the year, and is experiencing an acute foreign currency
shortage with no meaningful foreign currency inflows to build foreign
currency reserves.
SADC's monetary union model involves the creating of a regional central bank
and the adoption of a common currency by member countries.

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Democracy should mean 'liberty and groceries'


Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni

THE business sector has been under sustained attack by government for
constantly raising the price of goods, including basic necessities such as

Since last year, a number of business executives have been arrested for this
reason and no doubt more will be targeted this year. Some of those who were
arrested got into trouble for writing to the relevant ministry to seek
authorisation to increase prices in line with the escalating costs of
While it is true that consumers cannot cope with the regular steep
increases, it is dishonest for government officials to look at this problem
in isolation and blame the business sector. The abnormal price increases are
one symptom of what is wrong with the economy and which the government needs
to confront honestly instead of trying to attribute blame to a section that
is in fact also a victim of upside-down government policies.
The business community has been accused of being used by foreign interests
to sabotage the economy and to foment trouble. During his speech to mark
Zimbabwe's 27th Independence anniversary last week, President Robert Mugabe
repeated the accusations. After his customary and umpteenth Tony Blair
bashing, the President praised Zimbabweans for their resilience in resisting
attempts to reverse the gains of Independence through the "regime change"
agenda. It was not the first time this kind of praise has been lavished on
the long-suffering population. I have always felt that praising the people
for enduring suffering they cannot do anything about is no different from
crushing a cockroach underfoot and then praising it for remaining prostrate.
The government is quick to blame everyone else for what is wrong with the
economy and what is wrong in the country without even acknowledging its own
role in creating the mess. It is always the United States, Britain, the
European Union, imperialists, the opposition, unpatriotic Zimbabweans, etc
who are cast as the villains responsible for the country's unending crises.
The government never misses a chance to scapegoat the business community for
the escalating cost of living by focusing only on price increases. The
government's hypocrisy on this matter is however amply demonstrated by the
fact that it has not adopted any austerity measures itself - government
spending has increased rather than decreased or stabilised during these
difficult times. And while it blames businesses for factoring the cost of
overheads into their pricing structures, the government does not hesitate to
increase the cost of governance by a million fold to implement non-essential
In 2005, taxpayers had no choice but to buckle down and groan under the
enormous burden of the re-introduced but irrelevant Senate. In one fell
swoop, the taxpayer was forced to absorb the cost of expensive senatorial
elections and a new wage bill. But apart from having cushy jobs and
lucrative perks fall into their laps, what have the new senators contributed
towards improving the lot of the ordinary Zimbabwean? And before that issue
can even be explored, a new scenario has emerged. Both parliament and the
senate are to be expanded in next year's merged elections. Judging by the
(non) performance of existing senators and Members of Parliament, all that
this means is simply having more voices reciting the same ruling party
mantras about the alleged source of Zimbabwe's troubles. The overburdened
taxpayer will, of course, have to pay for the increased cost of being
governed - or misgoverned.
The government can shed crocodile tears over the escalating prices of
commodities but it should take overall responsibility for the economic
"Our Land is Our Economy," the nation was told ad nauseam at the height of
the land invasions, which led to the ruination of the agricultural sector.
Now that the mishandling of the land reform programme has adversely impacted
on the economy, why is the blame for the negative outcome being shifted to
everyone else? This error needs to be addressed at its source, which is
The government has allowed corruption, which has cost this nation dearly, to
fester because, as the monetary authorities say, it is helping to enrich the
chefs and other beneficiaries in the vast ZANU PF political patronage
network. It is the combined impact of these government failures and excesses
that have conspired to rob Zimbabweans of the benefits that were supposed to
come to them after the attainment of independence.
As an American congressman once said, democracy is "liberty plus groceries."
It means freedom from want and fear. As things stand today, not many
ordinary Zimbabweans can say they enjoy these basic benefits of
independence. Most can no longer put food on the table. All are stifled by
suppressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Surely, the business
sector and all the other scapegoats cannot be blamed for this.
-email feedback to:

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Approach with caution



EVER since Harare rekindled its ties with Beijing, none of the officials in
government has openly raised a finger to question China's motivations and
intentions despite the trepidation across Africa as President Hu Jintao's
hawkish men aggressively pursue new markets and mineral resources to meet
rising energy demand.

Probing, not out of malice or anything but for purposes of clearing the air
and reassuring a jittery citizenry that has been presented with scant
details on mostly back-to-back deals signed between the Chinese and Harare's
increasingly isolated political leadership.
Alarmists have signalled the continent to embrace China with caution,
fearing the reverse expropriation of her wealth although there is really
nothing to suggest that Beijing could use her fat purse to move away from
being the responsible global citizen she has been known to be during the
wars fought by Africa's guerrilla movements to liberate the mineral-rich yet
impoverished continent.
It had been hoped, therefore, that the candid call by Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa for Africa to guard against falling into a colonial relationship with
Beijing would be echoed right across the continent to nip in the bud any
ulterior motives China might have, but alas.
Just this week, Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo, became the latest
officialis to exhibit the deep depths of desperation to which Harare has
sunk to achieve a quick economic turnaround by any means necessary. Maybe,
he was only too aware that beggars cannot be choosers. Nkomo, who this week
played host to top Chinese advisor Jia Qinglin, told a distraught nation
that the world's most populous state, with about $1.3 billion people, has
overtaken South Africa to become the country's largest trading partner,
obviously a sign that the "Look East" policy is bearing fruit.
China now commands an investment portfolio worth US$600 million with 35 of
its firms now domiciled on Zimbabwean soil, it was revealed without giving
away the source of data or the nature of the investments. God forbid! Maybe
it was about making a political statement to perceived political enemies!
Zimbabweans can only hope that the source is not Joseph Made, the
Agricultural Mechanisation Minister famed for his aerial crop forecasts or
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, another amusing figure in President
Robert Mugabe's bloated Cabinet.
Maybe the US$600 million refers to new investment because a reality check
based on country-by-country valuations of existing investments would put
this declaration to shame. Only time will tell. Whatever the grand plan
might be, Nkomo needs to be reminded that apart from the diplomatic niceties
aimed at cementing her influence at the United Nations and other fora, China
means serious business and sadly, Zimbabwe does not.
They should be warned that in the pursuit of fresh markets and energy
resources, China might fail to strike a balance between her commercial
objectives and the need to champion fair trade, peace and prosperity.
China's association with states whose records on human rights and democratic
governance leaves a lot to be desired is a case in point. For starters, the
giant economy is propped up by oil imports from Africa, with Angola being
the largest supplier. It has moved further down into Zambia's copperfields
and has emerged the dominant investor in Sudan's oil sector where China is
under pressure to use its influence to end the conflict in the Darfur where
3.5 million people are now dependent on aid.
Zimbabwe should avoid mortgaging her assets. Granted, ZANU PF might want
China to shield it from possible international censure, but at what cost?
For God's sake, there are no shortcuts to prosperity. In order to attract
the much-needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the country requires sound
economic policies that allow for unrestricted repatriation of
earnings/capital, scrupulous observance of investment laws, an independent
judiciary/parliament etc. Botswana has done it and FDI is pouring in. And as
it is, Zimbabwe is way off the mark.
According to the 2007 Index of Economic Freedom, Zimbabwe is 35.8 percent
free, which makes it the world's 154th freest economy, coming slightly ahead
of Libya, Cuba and North Korea, countries known for their huge democratic
deficits. Sudan, Serbia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and
Montenegro, which could have eased Zimbabwe's worries on the rankings, were
not considered for obvious reasons. This is a signpost alerting all
well-meaning Zimbabweans of the unenviable task ahead.
Unless and until Nkomo and his colleagues shape up, Zimbabwe will find it
difficult to shake off its "wholesale economy" status and here is the
In 1998 China ranked 11 on Harare's roll-call of importers, by 2005 it had
become the second largest supplier of imported goods. And what does Harare
has to show for it? A cluster of mostly Chinese clothing shops and
restaurants? And who knows what could happen next in view of China's stated
desire to grow its share of trade with Africa from US$55 million in 2002 to
US$100 billion by 2010?
And where Zimbabwe could have benefited through technology transfer, skills
transfer and FDI, red tape and bureaucratic bungling reared their ugly
There was no better way to show the subservient nature of politics to
business in the eyes of China than President Hu's recent visit to Africa,
which skirted Zimbabwe but included neighbours Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia
and South Africa.

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FinGaz Letters

We will always be our worst enemy

EDITOR - As a Zimbabwean living outside the country, I read your paper every
week to try and grasp what is taking place at home. My heart bleeds for
Zimbabwe but unfortunately life is too short and I have to do the best that
I can for my family.
Having been over there a few months ago and from what I hear from my
relatives, I am more and more ever so sure that a quote in a Herald story on
"Church backs social contract" is nearest to the real truth as close as any
truth can be. However, it was very unfortunate that Bishop Manhanga
dismissed it as 'baseless'. The quote read ". . . Zimbabwe was a lost cause
and that the Zimbabweans themselves were a directionless lot."
Where I cannot agree with Bishop Manhanga is that not all Zimbabweans are a
"directionless lot", but surely the policy makers have proved beyond
reasonable doubt that they are directionless. Until such a time that we as
Zimbabweans start accepting our weaknesses and faults, only then can we take
advantage of our areas of strength and steam ahead in progress. We have to
start calling a "spade a spade".
The biggest problem with Zimbabweans is that most of them believe the
excuses from the policy makers. "'Things are fine, except for a few
challenges". You do not see anything wrong with the situation you are in
because you compare yourselves with yourselves. I would like to remind
Bishop Manhanga that the Word of God says in 2-Corithians 10-verse 12: "For
we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some
that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and
comparing themselves to themselves, are not wise."
The past six years have shown total weakness and lack of innovation and good
nationalistic ideas from the old guard. Now look at what they have done. It
will take a generation to bring Zimbabwe at par with other African
countries. This is the time that they were supposed to implement policies
that allow Zimbabweans to determine their own destiny. The failure of
Zimbabwe to come out of this situation on its own means we will always be
our worst enemy. I really feel Dr Gono is trying hard to put things in
order, but the rest of the government is doing absolutely nothing and just
hoping for a miracle.
We appreciate the good work and sacrifices that were made to free our
Zimbabwe from colonial rule, but surely a good soldier is not necessarily a
good economic manager. As for science and technology, I am disgusted by the
Research Council of Zimbabwe claiming that they need more funding for
research and development. At a time like this. What is there to research?
All we need is to use the existing technology so we can start producing our
own products at home and make the livelihood of Zimbabweans better.
The Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers can afford to spend three days at
Victoria Falls on a retreat, when they should be spending more time in
workshops and foundries instead of drinking beer and talking about how good
they were at university.

New Zealand
 Import duty decision not such a bad idea

EDITOR - Some businesspeople have complained about the newly introduced
method of paying duty in foreign currency on luxury imports and one example
of a luxury that quickly comes to mind is a car.
And let me be quick to suggest this, that maybe we have enough cars for now
considering the state of the economy. Cars and other luxury goods have been
imported obviously after being paid for in foreign currency but at the
expense of other sectors of our economy like manufacturing.
Just move around Greater Harare and notice how car sales sites have
sprouted. Some critical sectors are failing to get enough foreign currency
because it is being channelled elsewhere. Investors have been hedging
against inflation by importing cars so as to maintain the value of their
investment but, like I said before, at the expense of other sectors.
If anything, government, through its ministries and departments, is supposed
to be always intervening wherever possible for the sake of sanity in the
economy and this is one of the control measures.
What some people forget is that while they are wheeling and dealing, central
government will be recording statistics so that the data can be used where
necessary. Therefore, people should not cry foul.

 ZANU PF still rants and raves

EDITOR - Most observers of the Zimbabwean disaster in the making are beyond
being bored to death by the rants of ZANU PF's solidarity comrades and their
propaganda agents.
The comrades have nothing left for their propaganda distributors to
articulate other than to repeat extinct claims that everyone else but
themselves are to blame for Zimbabwe's final meltdown.
We often hear about how the British have allegedly failed to honour the 1979
Lancaster House settlement. These comrades have yet to produce a shred of
evidence to support this hallucination.
We also hear about alleged "illegal sanctions". In whose global and lawful
eyes are the widespread travel restrictions against listed ZANU PF
evil-doers illegal? Since when has a leadership that has reduced the economy
from being a breadbasket into a basket-case make overriding determinations
over other real "sovereign states" of global relevance ?
In desperation, these ZANU PF apologists claim that others want to
"recolonise" Zimbabwe. What a joke.
Not even the Chinese would want to lay claim or inherit the enormous debts,
massive asset theft, cultural pollution, corruption and evil that the
disease of ZANU PF has brought to the nation.
Now in desperation, the ZANU PF apologists hallucinate that the churches
will persuade the civilised nations of the world to lift alleged illegal
sanctions that actually do not exist!
These people have yet to realise that local and foreign investment is
related to national stability and business confidence as founded on proven
and established civilised principles.
At no time do we ever hear of any intent or action to close the gap between
ZANU PF's malignancy versus cultured global values.
Thus the meltdown will continue until all the crooks have run away when
their loot troughs are empty.

Kevin Blunt
Bloemfontein, SA
 Sordid state of affairs at UZ

EDITOR - I am writing this letter to highlight the state of decay that has
afflicted the country's oldest institution of higher learning - the
University of Zimbabwe (UZ). As alumnus of the UZ, I feel grievously
saddened by the unprecedented fall in standards at this once venerated
institution of higher learning. In my own opinion, I feel that the calibre
of leadership at the institution is largely to blame for this sordid state
of affairs.
For a start, the UZ has lost significant critical skills over the past few
years and the leadership at the institution has done absolutely nothing to
curb this 'brain drain'. In fact, there appears to be anecdotal evidence to
the effect that much of the 'brain drain' playing out at the institution has
been abetted by the leadership through some of its self-serving actions.
Those closer to the goings-on at the institution are of the view that a
system of patronage politics is at play, particularly in the appointment and
promotion of key personnel. The institution's failure to resolve a
long-standing pay dispute with university teachers has led to many
resignations by academic staff thereby, exacerbating an already difficult
Meanwhile, students have gone three quarters into the semester with no
lectures and yet they are expected to sit for exams in a month's time!
On another note, this dearth of effective leadership at the institution has
led to a number of illogical decisions whose only defining characteristic is
concern with self at any cost. Take for instance the latest decision by the
so-called authorities to dismantle the Graduate School of Management (GSM)
over some seemingly petty issue. For nearly two decades now, the GSM had
become a beacon of success with its MBA degree widely recognised in Zimbabwe
and beyond. Sadly, that reputation has been blown into smitherens by a
leadership that is mostly concerned with its own survival at the expense of
the greater good of the nation.
In another self-serving charade, the so-called authorities saw it wise to
channel significant financial resources into dubious "public works"
programmes on campus while neglecting the welfare of staff. The UZ
leadership needs to be reminded that roads and car parks do not teach
students nor contribute to favourable ratings on academic quality. The
authorities need to be further reminded that as a university, it is only by
investing first in your human resources that you are able to deliver on the
core business of teaching, research and service.
It is without doubt that the quality of degree programmes offered by the UZ
has declined drastically as a consequence of this dearth of competent
leadership. Newer universities seem to faring better than the UZ and
employers are responding favourably by employing graduates from these
fledgling institutions ahead of those from the UZ. Talk about providing
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the UZ is
poised for even greater decay as long as the current crop of politicians
masquarading as managers remains in place at the institution. There is need
for a commission of inquiry into the operations of the UZ as a matter of
urgency to safeguard this important national asset from further ignonimy.

God Save the UZ
 The worst professional body in the world

EDITOR - The Zimbabwe Institute Of Medical Laboratory Scientists (ZIMLS) is
probably one of the worst professional body in the country, if not the whole
world. It is the only professional body that works to undermine the very
professionals it is supposed to represent. Not only does the leadership
carry out important decisions without consulting the general membership,
they also make decisions that make the profession a joke and endanger lives.
At almost every opportunity they will be running an academic training
programe parallel to the BSc programme at the UZ Medical School. When the UZ
introduced the BSc programme, every progressive medical laboratory scientist
was happy except the ZIMLS leadership. They immediately introduced a
programme to train even those without 'O' Levels into medical laboratory
scientists. Registration of such individuals was not difficult since the
ZIMLS leadership is also the leadership of the regulatory body, the Medical
Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council and others hold influential posts
in the ruling party.
Right now they (ZIMLS) have introduced another programme for holders of BSc
general degrees. These undergo a two-year training programme and are awarded
a general diploma in medical laboratory technology, which is equivalent to
the BSc (UZ) and general diploma awarded to those without O'level.
This behaviour has not only showed how selfish these people are but has also
caused problems for employers and to a large extent, those employed by
government as the Salary Services Bureau seems to have got confused by the
whole circus.
One would expect ZIMLS to carry out workshops and refresher courses for
those already qualified and leave the training to the experts at UZ, moreso
when one considers that they lack resources and are using underqualified
staff. The current group is not having practical lessons yet the job
requires that one possesses such skills.

Senior Tech

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