Streak sacked as Zimbabwe captain Press
Association Friday April 2, 2004 7:52 PM
Heath Streak has been
sacked as captain of Zimbabwe and replaced by Tatenda Taibu.
alleged to have put a number of demands to the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU)
and insisted that if they were not met he would resign from all forms of
cricket in Zimbabwe. The ZCU dismissed his ultimatum and sacked him with
In a statement, the ZCU said: "Streak raised a number
of issues and demanded that they be met by Monday or else he would resign
from all forms of cricket. Instead of accepting his demands the ZCU board
unanimously accepted his resignation from all forms of cricket with immediate
effect. Tatenda Taibu becomes the new captain with immediate
The move comes just weeks after Zimbabwe struggled to see off
Bangladesh in a five-match one-day series.
They eventually prevailed
2-1, largely thanks to Streak's efforts with both bat and ball, but that
wasn't enough to convince the ZCU that he should continue.
appointment is a surprise given his inexperience - he does not turn 21 until
He will be in charge in two weeks' time when Sri Lanka arrive for
two Tests and five one-day internationals.
UN issues urgent plea for $95 million to help Zimbabwe out of
2 April 2004 - Hoping to stem the rising tide
of HIV/AIDS infection, the growing number of people dying of starvation and
an eroding socio-economic system, the United Nations today launched an urgent
appeal for $95 million to support relief efforts in Zimbabwe through the end
of the year.
The request is a revision of the Consolidated Appeal
launched last July and covers health care, safe water, sanitation, education,
and recovery at household and community levels. The $95.4 million in funding
requirements include $31.1 million requested by local and international
non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
"The generosity of the
international community in response to the first six months of the Appeal has
already contributed to mitigating the humanitarian consequences of this
crisis," said Victor Angelo, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe.
"But a lot more must be done to prevent the further erosion of basic
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe has
seriously deteriorated during the past five years and continues to decline.
Inflation has shot to 600 per cent at the beginning of this year from
approximately 100 per cent in 2000. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
decreased by 13 per cent in 2003. The latest assessment of the urban
population indicates that almost 2.5 million are vulnerable due to food
insecurity and lack of access to basic services.
At the same time, an
estimated quarter of Zimbabwe's sexually active population is HIV positive
and some 2,600 adults and 690 children die each week because of related
illnesses, OHCA said. Nearly 800,000 of the country' s children have been
orphaned due to AIDS, while for many of these and other children, education
must often take a back seat to securing food or other survival priorities.
Cholera outbreaks are also now occurring in areas previously out affected, as
access to clean water and sanitation deteriorates. The result is increasing
demands on health and social services colliding with dramatically reduced
human resource capacity to address these needs.
"Funding is required
to prevent loss of life, decrease human suffering and mitigate the impact of
the crisis on the most vulnerable groups through nutrition, critical health,
water and sanitation, education interventions and protection initiatives,"
OCHA said in a news release.
"The appeal also seeks to strengthen
household livelihoods, improve food security, develop minimum standards in
essential services, address the impact of HIV/AIDS to support recovery
efforts, and bolster coordination," it added.
ANALYSIS April 2, 2004 Posted to the web April 2,
Thami Ka Plaatjie And Skhumbuzo Ndiweni
Zanu-PF will be
holding its elective national congress in December. It is this congress - it
is hoped - that will settle the critical succession issue within this
organisation and, by implication, the future president
But Zanu-PF is constituted by various interest groups
that are vying for control and eminence of the organisation. Added to this,
is the fact that Zanu-PF is a by-product of a marriage between two former
Zimbabwean liberation movements, Zanu and Zapu, which had different
political traditions and ideological affinities. Tribal affinities and
regional sensibilities also play themselves out in this marriage since the
Shona constitute the base for the former Zanu and the Ndebele are seen as
a citadel for the former Zapu.
These tribal differences are
complicated by the fact that within the Shona people there are the majority
Karanga, and the dominant Zezuru - from whom Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe comes and who are also positioning themselves for the control of the
There is a feeling among the former Zapu members that the
opportunity has risen for them to take the leadership of Zanu-PF. Zapu
candidates for the leadership of Zanu-PF are likely to include Vice-President
and septuagenarian Joseph Msika, although his presidential candidacy may
be ruled out by his age and health.
Another Zapu candidate could be
John Nkomo, the phlegmatic national chairperson of Zanu-PF and the third-most
senior member of the organisation. Other candidates could include former home
affairs minister and Zipra intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa, High
Commissioner to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo, and politburo member Joshua
By virtue of holding the position of national chairperson and
having served in the Presidium, Nkomo is seen as best placed to be the next
successor. Dabengwa has considerable support from the army and the war
veterans. Moyo is seen as the natural follower to the late leader of Zapu,
Joshua Nkomo, who gave him his political acumen. Moyo's rapport with
political power in South Africa also stands him in good
Malinga, a former mayor of Bulawayo, is seen as a confirmed
tribalist who always seeks to cater for the interests of the Ndebele people.
He stands little chance of securing the position.
There are rumours
circulating that if the succession debate in Zanu-PF is not decided soon,
former Zapu members may break away from the organisation as the longer it
drags out the dimmer their chances of succeeding to the highest post in the
Possible candidates for succession from within the ranks of Zanu-PF
include Emmerson Mnangagwa, secretary for administration and Speaker for
Parliament; Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence; Didymus Mutasa, secretary
for external relations; Nicholas Goche, Minister for Security; and
retired general Vitalis Zvinavashe.
Mnangagwa is viewed as the heir
apparent since he is seen as a confidante of President Robert Mugabe. Their
relationship dates back to Zimbabwe's struggle for independence. He wields
considerable influence in the army and is seen as an astute politician who
will not undo the gains of the land reform programme. His shortcoming is that
he was seen as a driving force of the post independence onslaught on a Zapu
base in what came to be known as the infamous Gukurahundi (wild storm). Zapu
supporters were brutally pulverised during the attack.
The fact that
the United Nations identified him as being involved in the "illegal
exploitation" of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo to fund the Zimbabwean war effort in that country - and to enrich
individuals - may count against Mnangagwa. Also, his knowledge of the economy
is scant. A new leader will have to reinvigorate investor confidence and
Mnangagwa may not be fit for such a task.
Sekeramayi enjoys the support
of the Zezuru clan that controls much of the economic activity in the
country. He is an ally of the first commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
General Solomon Mujuru. The latter is a key political power broker whose
influence in the army is only second to that of Mugabe. He is seen as
flexible, of intellectual disposition and an astute diplomat. However, his
role in the Gukurahundi, as the then minister of security, may count against
Mutasa is a long-serving secretary for administration of Zanu who
believes the time has come for a leader to be elected into a critical
position from the Manyika people. Edgar Tekere, the former secretary general
of Zanu who broke away to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, comes from
Mutasa's Manyika clan. That Tekere has been welcomed back into the Zanu-PF
army provides more impetus to Mutasa's political ambitions. Goche does not
command visible grassroots support - his Achilles heel. In fact, the
likelihood is that he might give his support to Sekeramai.
commands the support of the crucial Masvingo province. He has inherited the
largely Karanga constituency from the late vice-president Simon Muzenda. His
struggle credentials are impeccable and he has the support of the war
Thami ka Plaatjie is former secretary general of the Pan
Africanist Congress and senior manager for strategy and policy coordination
at the National Development Agency, and Skhumbuzo Ndiweni is former Zanu-PF,
Bulawayo Province, secretary for publicity
Tomos Livingstone, Welsh Affairs Correspondent, PA News
foreign secretary Michael Ancram launched an attack on the "spin, deceit,
betrayal and sell-out" of the Government's foreign policy today.
speech to the Welsh Conservative conference in Llandudno, North Wales, Mr
Ancram - who is also deputy leader of the party - said a Tory
government would not "turn its back" on Zimbabwe and would scrap plans to
share sovereignty over Gibraltar.
He said his party would ask the UN
to monitor food distribution in Zimbabwe and would freeze the assets of
President Robert Mugabe's financial backers.
"Spin, deceit, betrayal,
sell-out. These are the pillars of Blair's foreign policy," he said. "No
strategy, just knee-jerk reactions. So, military overstretch, shortage of
equipment and failure of direction.
"We will be very different. We will
have a coherent foreign and security policy.
"We will rebuild respect
for Britain in the world, not least because what we promise, we will
Mr Ancram said the forthcoming England cricket tour to Zimbabwe
should not go ahead.
On Gibraltar, he said: "We will disown this
Government's dishonourable agreement in principle to share sovereignty with
Spain. Sovereignty shared is sovereignty surrendered."
He said Britain
had to "stick it out" in Iraq and Afghanistan, but added: "There must never
again be a situation where our soldiers are put at risk because the likes of
Geoff Hoon have delayed crucial military planning for party political
"And never again should any of our soldiers be sent into combat
without the right kit.
"And never again should soldiers be sent into
battle with only a handful of bullets to fight a whole war."
lies and broken promises were "the common currency" of the
Blair administration, and the Tories would win the next
"Isn't it exciting to be a Conservative again?" he asked
"We are united, we are determined, and we know we can
Zimbabwe is to send land evaluators to Namibia to assist in a land
redistribution exercise, Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper reported on
The report said that six evaluators would leave on Sunday
to evaluate land taken from white farmers in Namibia so compensation can be
"We have had our land reform programme and certainly we have
also dealt with issues of compensation which the Namibians can learn from
us," Zimbabwean Lands Minister Joseph Made told the paper.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe launched a controversial programme to take
land from white farmers and give it to black farmers in 2000.
'The Namibians can learn from us' About 4 000 white farmers used to own
more than 30 percent of prime agricultural land in Zimbabwe: now white
farmers own just three percent, according to a recent state
However, farmers complain that the compensation they are to
receive for their farms is inadequate.
Last year the Zimbabwean
government allocated Zim$10-billion (about R15-million) for compensation,
which farmers said was only enough to pay for 30 farms.
month Namibia's Lands Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba said that the country
would soon begin the forcible expropriation of white-owned land, saying they
would be carried out within the law.
Zimbabwe's land reform was
characterised by sometimes violent invasions of land by self-styled veterans
of the war for independence in the 1970s, which provoked international
About 4 000 mostly white farmers own nearly half of
all arable land in Namibia.
Namibia's ambassador to Zimbabwe
Ndali Che Kemati told the Herald: "We have just started implementing our land
reform and in that regard we have a lot to learn from the Zimbabwean
experience." - Sapa-DPA
Zim: Aids kills 3 000 weekly 02/04/2004 16:35 -
Harare - Around 70% of patients admitted to Zimbabwe's hospitals
suffer from HIV and Aids-related illnesses, a health expert said on
"It is also shocking to note that 33% of pregnant women in the
country are infected with HIV," Rangarirai Chiteure of the non-governmental
Zimbabwe Aids Prevention and Support Network told New Ziana news
The government, which has for the past year administered
anti-Aids drug Nevirapine to pregnant women to reduce HIV transmission to
babies, plans to introduce free anti-retroviral drugs to tens of thousands of
HIV-infected people this month.
With about 24.6% of its adult
population infected with HIV or Aids, the southern African country has one of
the world's highest prevalence rates. Aids kills an estimated 3 000 people in
the country weekly.
252 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOUGHT
FOR THE DAY
Subject: Politicians This is by kind permission of
our Harare North MP
Smile... "Politicians are like nappies, and should
be changed often for the same reasons." Anon Guess whose are most smelly
1 Subject: Up for Grabs Dear Jag,
I have met two ex Zimbabean farmers
living outside the country. One was beaten severely by War veterans who then
removed his fingernails because his wife refused to open the door. He had to
have his whole jaw rebuilt.
The other farmer sold his farm to the
Government about eight years ago. It appears that they needed the property to
offer some form of compensation for a high profile ex party member who had
been shot in the penis by some party excitables in the
Judging by the membership figures of Jag and the Matabeleland
Farmers' Association it would appear that there are quite a few farmers
and ex-farmers who have reservations about Mr. Taylor-Freeme's boyish
optimism about the new Governor of the Reserve Bank; or Agri Africa's
boyish enthusiasm about going for compensation instead of restitution. It
seems reasonable to assume that Mr. Taylor-Freeme and Agri Africa should
ask themselves if they believe farmers of such character will agree to
put their farm (or any other part of their anatomy) up for grabs for
the Government. It certainly has not grabbed my enthusiasm - only my
2 Dear JAG, I replied to my Harare accountant when I had a bill and
various Company returns,registrations,etc, to fill in,asking whether it was
necessary to keep up this charade with companies that are the owners of farms
which have been seized and are completely out of business.An extract from
his reply says:-
"It is our understanding that unless the companies
that own such land are kept up to date with the Registrar of Companies they
will be struck off and any compensation that may be paid in the future will
revert to Government". Viewed from outside Zimbabwe,where every natural and
most constitutional laws have been flouted,this seems a crazy opinion,but
then what isn't crazy in Zimbabwe?
Do you at JAG have any advice to
offer on this subject?
By all means use this and your reply in your Open
Letters Forum if you think it would interest your subscribers.
continue to be most grateful for the information link that JAG has forged.
Most important as Zimbabwe loses its newsworthiness as demonstrated by the
meagre few lines that the Daily Telegraph used on March 29th to tell how the
MDC candidate for a current bye election was shot dead and 70 supporters
beaten up by ZANU-PF thugs.
Very Best Wishes, Peter Horsman
we concur entirely with your Accountants' view on this and would add that it
is very much part of remaining on the centre line of the law by remaining a
registered legal entity. Our advice is for farmers to remain in close liason
with both their Accountants and Lawyers and keep their documentation
updated. This advice is especially pertinent to those farmers outside the
country and is equally applicable with regard to completing a JAG Loss Claim
Document and keeping that exercise up to date
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
Harare's mining equity plan chills investors, halts
ventures April 2, 2004
The Zimbabwean government's plans to give black people more ownership of
mines had caused panic among investors, with some new projects being put on
hold, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said yesterday.
Harare is in
talks with the mining industry over draft legislation that would require
foreign mining firms to sell up to 49 percent of their operations in the
country to local black people. It has called off a countrywide road show for
input on the bill.
In a statement published in the weekly
independent Financial Gazette, Ian Saunders, the president of the chamber,
said section 28 of the draft legislation had spooked investors.
Section 28 of the draft says that for private companies to hold a mining
title, 49 percent of the total shares must be held by
"historically disadvantaged persons" within three years.
requirement is 25 percent for public firms.
"Section 28, which
deals with indigenisation of the industry, has caused considerable
consternation among both current mine owners and potential new investors,
both locally and abroad," said Saunders.
"It has already been
reported to the chamber that new projects have been put on hold, primary and
secondary listing partners have withdrawn from future financing activities
and existing mines may soon develop a 'wait and see attitude' before
embarking on expansions," he said.
Foreign mining companies
with projects in the country include Impala Platinum (Implats), the world's
second-largest platinum producer, which is based in South Africa and has an
82 percent stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats).
executives told Amos Midzi, Zimbabwe's mining minister, yesterday that the
group was in favour of spreading the benefits of platinum mining in Zimbabwe,
but needed a stable and practical set of regulations.
Implats said Zimplats held a special mining lease in Zimbabwe that appeared
to exempt it from the proposed legislation.
Other mining firms with
projects in the country include Australia's Aquarius Platinum, Ghana's
Ashanti Goldfields and Anglo American Platinum, which is engaged in a $90
million (R567 million) platinum project in Zimbabwe's Midlands
"The chamber would like to assure its members ... and
the international investment community that it is earnestly involved
in discussions with the government on this and a broad range of other
issues that will hopefully see an operating and fiscal regime that is
conducive to predictable stable growth in the country," said
"In saying this, the chamber urges all the participants
in the Zimbabwean mining industry... to continue to believe and invest in
the Zimbabwean mining industry."
Distrust of Lords
widespread amongst African nations
Paul Kelso Friday April 2,
Failure to tour Zimbabwe this autumn could cost English cricket £50m
and derail London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics. The England and Wales
Board faces intense pressure to
withdraw from the tour because of human rights abuses by Robert Mugabe's
regime. The British government opposes the tour, as do many key stakeholders
in the game including players and the team sponsor Vodafone. The tour has
been the subject of speculation since England withdrew from the World Cup
fixture in Harare in 2003, but the implications of withdrawal have become
more serious in the last year.
A change to ICC regulations last month
means that England could face a $2m (£1.1m) fine and suspension from
international cricket for failing to meet their commitment to tour, made last
summer when Zimbabwe toured England. The Champions' Trophy and a lucrative
one-day tour by India could also be moved from England at a cost of around
£9m. With 90% of its £55m annual turnover deriving from international
cricket, the ECB estimates it could lose £50m from a one-year suspension with
devastating effects for the game at all levels.
ICC sources indicate
that the threat of suspension is being taken seriously at Lord's, where a
majority of influential voices now feel a hugely unpopular tour is the
The only option for a clean withdrawal appears to be
for the ECB to persuade the ICC that the government has offered a "clear
direction" not to tour, which is permitted by a force majeure clause in the
Thus far the government has only said it would not
support the tour, claiming that it does not have the power to prevent it
going ahead. It is also keen to avoid damaging the 2012 bid by alienating
John Read, the board's director of communications, said:
"The ECB is once again in an invidious position because of the utterly tragic
situation in Zimbabwe. If we undertake the tour we will face condemnation
from a number of key stakeholders in the game. If we don't go, however, and
are unable to convince the ICC that the government's disapproval of the tour
as voiced to date constitutes force majeure then we risk a fine of at least
$2m, or worse. The ICC now has the power to suspend countries that breach
touring regulations and ban us from international cricket.
ban would cost the ECB tens of millions of pounds and would have a
devastating effect on all aspects of the game including our ability to help
nurture and develop the two million school-children that play cricket up and
down the country. It is difficult to envisage a more serious scenario facing
cricket in England and Wales."
The ECB is also coming under pressure from
London 2012 to consider the implications of withdrawal. Bid leaders fear that
bad feeling created by withdrawal could have a negative impact on London's
chances of garnering votes among African IOC members. In Africa there is
widespread distrust of the British government's approach to Zimbabwe. It was
noted that no objections were raised to the presence of Zimbabwe at the 2002
Manchester Commonwealth Games because of the risk of an African boycott.
Condemnation flowed, however, when cricketers proposed touring
A London 2012 source confirmed there had been contact with the
ECB, and that the potential "ripple effect" of the decision had been made
clear. "It's not a red flag issue for us, but we're grown up enough to know
that we are in the business of international relations," they
Zimbabwe has no direct IOC vote, but ties between the cricket and
Olympic bodies are strong. The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is a constituent of
the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, and the ZOC chairman is the brother of ZCU
chief Peter Chingoka.
The ZOC secretary-general Robert Mutsauki said
yesterday: "We would hope England's commitment to tour Zimbabwe is fulfilled.
The ZCU is an affiliate member of the ZOC and we will back them in all their
Threatened ECB hint at Zimbabwe U-turn By Simon
Briggs (Filed: 02/04/2004)
In what could be the first hint of
a climbdown over England's autumn tour of Zimbabwe, the England and Wales
Cricket Board yesterday invited three members of the Zimbabwean Cricket Union
to attend their management board meeting at Lord's on April 20.
decision is best read as a diplomatic initiative, meant to convey to
the Zimbabweans and the international community that the cancellation of
the tour is far from being assured. Indeed, as ECB corporate affairs
director John Read put it yesterday: "It's a much more open question than it
was three or four weeks ago."
If the ECB suddenly seem prepared to
contemplate the tour - which most commentators have long viewed as a
write-off - their change of stance owes much to the punitive sanctions
introduced at an International Cricket Council meeting in Auckland on March
According to those new rules - which were tabled by Australia, much
to the ECB's chagrin - any country who withdraw from a tour without citing
either force majeure or specific safety and security concerns can be hit with
a fine of at least $2 million, as well as possible suspension from
the international game.
Some pundits have suggested that the threat of
suspension is an empty one. England are too big a side, they say, for the
game to get along without. But that argument provides little comfort for the
ECB. Many at Lord's believe that the ICC will come under sustained pressure
from the heads of other national cricket boards, notably Indian chief
executive Jagmohan Dalmiya, to take a hard line on the issue.
the ICC have specifically put these powers in place only last month," said
one ECB source, "they may feel that if they refuse to use them, they will
look either silly or weak." And whatever anyone might say about
Malcolm Speed, the hardline ICC chief executive, he is neither of those
Given that the ECB derive 90 per cent of their income from
international cricket, any suspension would have crippling financial
implications. And it is this threat that is causing sleepless nights at
Lord's. At the beginning of the year, the ECB were proudly trumpeting Des
Wilson's "moral framework" document, which they believed could help them to
locate and occupy the moral high ground. Now they appear to be more concerned
with their own survival.
The Government, in the person of Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw, have encouraged the ECB to cancel the tour, arguing in
a letter that, "the situation in Zimbabwe is worse today than it was during
the World Cup last year". But at no stage have they provided the direct
instruction that the ICC would interpret as force majeure.
asking a lot of any organisation to expect them to peer into the financial
abyss," Read said yesterday.
As for the Zimbabweans, ZCU chairman Peter
Chingoka said: "There is no obstacle or legal reason why they can't tour
Zimbabwe. It's in the interests of international cricket that these tours
"The Zimbabwe players have a right to be playing against all
the teams from across the world and the England players have the right to
play in Zimbabwe. Let's make cricket our priority."
PRIVATE doctors, dentists and private hospitals
yesterday increased their fees by between 50 and 100 percent.
within the health sector said medical doctors increased their fees for the
second quarter of this year by 50 percent, dentists by 55 percent and private
hospitals by 100 percent.
The increases were effected after an agreement
between their associations and the National Association of Medical Aid
Chairman of the National Tariff Liaison Committee Mr Chad
Tarumbwa confirmed the increases on behalf of the private doctors.
said the first tranche of the increases was to cushion doctors from
the effects of inflation while the other portion would raise their income
The doctors are effecting increases quarterly.
the third quarter will be in July while those for the last quarter will be in
A circular sent by Mr Tarumbwa to private doctors said the
Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and the Zimbabwe Medical
Association, on behalf of doctors, had agreed on the 50 percent increase
across the board and asked them to obtain the schedule of the new tariff
structure within the next seven days
Following the new increases,
Harare's Baines Avenue Clinic increased its deposit on maternity cases from
$800 000 to $1,6 million while the Avenues Clinic was still charging $300
Bulawayo's Catholic Church-run Mater Dei Hospital now demands a
deposit of $220 000 with effect from yesterday, up from $110
After normal working hours, deposit shall be $440 000, up from $220
Mr Tarumbwa said the recent increases were effected after
successful negotiations between the doctors and the PSMAS.
increases would result in consultation fees being pegged at $69 750, up from
the present $46 500 for general practitioners, while specialists would now
charge $150 000.
"What these increases mean is that we will maintain an
agreed tariff regime agreed with PSMAS which we will charge patients from
other medical aid societies.
"We still have a problem with NAMAS since
the impasse we had over the increases of the first quarter of this year. We
tried to bring NAMAS to the negotiating table but they are unwilling," said
He said the predicament in which doctors found themselves
was that, on one hand, there was a piece of legislation that compelled them
to accept every medical aid card holder, while on the other NAMAS was
unwilling to be involved in coming up with fees favourable to members of the
Mr Tarumbwa said in the absence of an agreement
between the doctors and NAMAS, the practitioners would be left with no option
but to charge patients the difference between the new fees and what medical
societies were willing to pay them.
He said NAMAS had since indicated
that it would raise the direct payment to doctors by 50 percent.
senior official within NAMAS confirmed this and said the final meeting on the
issue would be held today.
"We initially agreed that we will have to
increase direct payments for consultation and other procedures by 50
percent," said the official.
The increase by NAMAS would mean that
medical aid societies would increase their direct payment to $48 000 for
general practitioners leaving the patients to pay the difference in order to
get the services.
Sources said some of the medical aid societies were
increasing subscriptions with effect from next month to raise money for the
increased direct payment to doctors and private hospitals.
medical aid societies, with the exception of PSMAS, pay $32 000 for
consultation fees for general practitioners whose fee is $46 500. This means
patients pay $14 500 as co-payment and top-up fee.
With the 50 percent
increase in consultation fees and direct payments, patients would pay $21 750
as co-payment and top-up fee for a general practitioner and up to $60 000 for
Mr Tarumbwa expressed concern at the yawning gap between
what PSMAS was agreeing to pay to the doctors and what NAMAS was willing to
pay, saying it would have a negative impact on the health sector in the near
"The gap is getting wider, especially on non-consulting services.
This means patients will have to fork out more money to meet their own
healthcare cost. This has resulted in a sharp decline in elective operations
and admissions in private hospitals," he said.
Increases of the first
quarter of this year came into effect in January with ZIMA unilaterally
awarding itself a 400 percent increase, resulting in consultation fees being
pegged at $46 500, up from $8 000 in December.
The doctors also started
refusing to provide services to patients with medical aid cards.
and ZIMA were then involved in protracted negotiations that ended in an
Following the deadlock, doctors maintained their 400 percent
increase while NAMAS increased its direct payments to the practitioners by
This resulted in direct payment being increased to $32
This is the same amount of money that patients are reimbursed after
paying consultation fees to doctors.
As a direct response to the
impasse and the refusal of medical aid cards by doctors, the Government moved
in and outlawed any refusal by the medical practitioners to provide health
care service to people with medical aid cards.
This was done early
last month through the amendment of the Medical Services Act.
THE fuel shortages that have been experienced in the
country for the past few weeks are a result of hiccups following the
liberalisation of the oil industry, a Cabinet minister has
Energy and Power Development Minister Cde July Moyo said there had
been a change in the import duty paid by oil companies and this had brought
some hitches at border posts.
"These hitches have been discussed with
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and they know exactly what to pay when they
come to the border posts," he said.
Cde Moyo was responding to a question
from Mutare North MP Mr Giles Mutsekwa (MDC) during a question and answer
session in Parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Mutsekwa had asked why fuel queues
Cde Moyo said his ministry had come to an agreement with
oil companies to jointly order fuel so as to bring in large quantities
instead of procuring small quantities.
"The third area is that a lot
of companies, including oil companies, instead of ordering on behalf of all
petrol stations, have been getting licences for particular stations
especially those which the oil companies themselves run," he
"That distorts the market and we have been working with oil
companies, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development to make sure that we correct the
However, the past few days have seen a steady flow of fuel
supplies into the country.
The spokesperson for the Petroleum
Marketers' Association, Mr Masimba Kambarami, attributed this development to
the association members' ability to source foreign currency at the auction
Fuel importers recently blamed the lack of foreign currency for
the fuel shortage.
Responding to another question in Parliament, Cde
Moyo said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority was now using a new
formula to calculate the unit cost of electricity.
"We are now
operating a Southern African Power Pool and there is a unit that is being
used in order to calculate the cost and Zesa and all (utilities in the
region) are using the same unit (of) three cents per kilowatt hour in
US cents," Cde Moyo said.
He was responding to a question from Binga
MP Mr Joel Gabbuza (MDC) who had asked why Zesa was levying industrialists in
foreign currency yet the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had directed that no
services provided in the country would be charged in foreign currency.
The Resident Minister for Harare Cde Witness Mangwende
has said the city is sitting on a potential time bomb that could explode in
the face of the city's authorities and Government if the water and sewage
reticulation systems are not attended to in the next three years.
made the remarks during a familiarisation tour of Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Works near Norton and the Crowborough Sewage Treatment Works
near Mufakose on Tuesday. Cde Mangwende said the only solution to avert
disaster was to overhaul the Morton Jaffray and Crowborough treatment
Some of the equipment at the two plants is beyond repair while
some phases at the two plants are out of use because of the non availability
of spare parts.
Council officials who were part of the tour said
suppliers were reluctant to supply because council owed them millions of
dollars in unpaid debts.
Morton Jaffray has a capacity to pump 614
megalitres of water per day but due to breakdowns of machinery it can only
pump 500 megalitres a day to service a population of more than two million
people whose daily demand is above 700 megalitres.
treatment works which was built in 1958 has a capacity to receive 56
megalitres of raw sewage a day but is currently receiving over 120 megalitres
thereby overstretching its pumping capacity, resulting in the overflow of
untreated sewage into the river system.
The failure to treat all the
sewage has also led to the discharge of raw ammonia into the
Cde Mangwende said if no corrective steps were taken in the
next three years there could be a major disaster in Harare. Although Cde
Mangwende pushed the time frame to three years, officials said the situation
was already critical and could explode anytime.
He said captains of
industry and commerce should be encouraged to assist the city in its efforts
to rehabilitate the two plants. Cde Mangwende said industry was responsible
for the bulk of pollution occurring in the city's water system and as such
should contribute to the maintenance of the water and sewage
Out of the 1 500 companies in Harare, which discharge effluent,
only 700 can be billed for discharging effluent into the water system but due
to transport and manpower constraints only 120 are being
Harare has budgeted $815 billion for the purchase of water
treatment chemicals in the 2004 budget. The justification for the huge budget
was that Harare uses at least seven water purification chemicals because the
city water is heavily polluted.
One of the major chemicals used in the
treatment process, aluminum sulphate, is costing the city over $360 million
every day and suppliers of the chemicals demand cash upfront.
Mangwende said Government had approved borrowing powers to the City of Harare
to the tune of $10 billion for use in the rehabilitation process but said the
money was insignificant compared to the amount of work to be done.
journalists on Zimbabwe's embattled Daily News lost their jobs on Thursday,
months after their newspaper was shut down by the government.
Chief Executive Officer of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers
of the Daily News, said the firm had retrenched 157 of its staff.
a small number of staff had been retained to kickstart the operation if the
government were to allow it to resume publishing again.
When the Daily
News was banned in September 2003, its publisher vowed to keep workers on the
payroll for another two years. But the management later said it could not pay
the wage increases of up to 2 000 percent that workers had called
"If they were willing to stay on their present salaries we would
have paid them for another two years," said Nkomo.
Inflation of more
than 600 percent prompted the staff to seek rises.
article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on April 02,
Judges taped Vincent Kahiya A TRANSCRIPT of a
telephone conversation between suspended High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza -
under probe by an international tribunal for misconduct - and Justice Mafios
Cheda reveals fresh evidence that has been availed to judges when they start
probing the jurist on Monday.
The document provides a record of the
conversation between the two judges which resulted in Paradza's arrest in
February last year on charges that he wanted members of the bench to make a
ruling in favour of his business partner Russell Labuschagne to have his
passport released. The two were partners in a safari
Labuschagne, who has since been convicted and sentenced to
15 years, was on bail on a murder charge. His passport had been retained by
the state as part of his bail conditions.
The case will now be
decided by an international tribunal of judges which will sit as a court on
Monday at the Harare Sheraton Hotel.
The transcript forms the
government's evidence-in-chief. The tribunal is headed by Justice Dennis
Kamoni Chirwa of Zambia and includes Justices Isaac Mtambo of Malawi and John
Mroso from Tanzania.
The transcript documents Pa-radza's alleged
attempt to influence Cheda to hear the case of Labuschagne and possibly
release his passport. It is not clear who was responsible for taping the
In the transcript, Cheda is also quoted asking Paradza
how he wants the case handled.
Cheda: "Okay. So you yourself want
us to assist him in order to get your business moving
Paradza: "If it is possible. It is entirely your discretion
and I mean you are a judge isn't it and you will look at the case and.
disagree with me or ."
Cheda: "Aah no, no. It is not a question of
disagreeing. I mean you, yourself must tell me in confidence isn't it, about
how you want me to handle it."
The transcript was made available
to Paradza's defence team by secretary of the tribunal, Jameson Mupariwa
Mukaratirwa, last Wednesday. The transcript was handed over after Paradza's
lawyer Jonathan Samkange wrote to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
requesting documents relating to the case.
confirmed the transcript would be produced before
Samkange is instructing advocates Eric Matinenga and
Jeremy Gauntlett SC of South Africa.
In the transcript Justice
Cheda at one point said he had been approached by an "Indian man" who wanted
the judge to talk about Labuschagne's case.
"Because you see, some
Indian man approached me last time," Cheda is recorded as saying. "He was
trying to talk about that but I wasn't sure what he was talking
Earlier Cheda had asked what Paradza expected him to
Cheda: "Okay, so what do you want me to do about
Paradza: "He (Labuschagne) wants his, I mean passport, so that
at least he could prepare for this . hunting, I mean this one which is on the
Paradza explained to Cheda that Labuschagne required his
passport to go to Spain to bring in hunters for a safari. Paradza said the
case was "continuously being postponed". He said Labuschagne had approached
him about the passport issue together with a colleague "called Ralph Nkomo"
whom Paradza described as "old man Nkomo's child".
Cheda: "So what
do you yourself want to do now?"
Paradza: "You know, just assess. You
can assess and see. Do you think it is safe to give him, and just give him
say some two or so months, just to enable him to prepare?"
"Okay, you mean looking into his bail application in question?"
asks how he would get hold of the court record, to which Paradza suggests
contacting clerk of the court Joseph James who would ensure the case came
Paradza: "I will then tell Ralph Nkomo, and see if (he)
should then talk with James.
Cheda: "So that James should make
sure that it comes before me?"
Paradza: "Ehe, ehe."
According to the transcript, Cheda then wanted to know how
much Paradza would get if Labuschagne's passport was released and hunters
came to the safari.
Cheda: "And what is the white man or white
persons going to assist you with.?"
Paradza: (Laughter)."I mean
apart from that alone.he supports hunters with money, of course I mean
Cheda: "How much are you expecting? How much do you intend
(sic) to lose?"
Paradza: "I think around.We are looking at about
In the transcript the two judges also discuss the role James
will play in ensuring the case goes before Cheda.
Cheda: "So then
it is James who is going to assist so that.?"
Paradza: "Yaah. James
is a lawyer."
Cheda: "Then James will make sure that it (the case)
comes there to us?"
Paradza: "To you yourself."
transcript Cheda asked how his responses to the request would be relayed to
the other parties. Paradza said he would call Labuschagne. He also said he
would find out from Nkomo if Labuschagne had filed bail papers in
Paradza: "But I will just phone Ralph and ask what's up, did
you submit, this and that and so forth."
Cheda: "So that it goes
to James, then James will engineer it comes to me?"
Mugabe to drop bombshell Dumisani Muleya PRESIDENT
Robert Mugabe is set to drop a bombshell by announcing his retirement plans
during the ruling Zanu PF's crucial congress in December, a senior party
official has said.
Despite attempts to backtrack on his earlier
statements last week, it has now been established that Zanu PF spokesman
Nathan Shamuyarira did in fact say Mugabe would announce his future plans at
the congress, which he described as "a defining moment" for Zimbabwe. He
predicted some infighting among candidates.
Reliable Zanu PF
sources said Shamuyarira said if Mugabe left office immediately,
Vice-President Joseph Msika - whom he said was not popular in parts of the
country - would automatically take over and consolidate his grip on
The sources said Shamuyarira told a visiting foreign
journalist last week that once Msika took over it would be difficult to
dislodge him because he would deal with anyone challenging him as
If Mugabe announced his retirement plans beforehand,
Shamuyarira said, there would be "infighting" in Zanu PF between party chair
John Nkomo and secretary for administration Emmerson Mnanangwa.
said Nkomo and Mnangagwa were clear frontrunners in the Mugabe
succession race. He said Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, external affairs
secretary Didymus Mutasa, and ex-Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General
Vitalis Zvinavashe were trailing.
"We have Mnangagwa .he is one of
the frontrunners in the situation and there is Mutasa.he is also one of the
frontrunners . (and) there is (also) . Sekeramayi," he
"Sekeramayi is quite strong also but there are other dark
horses like Zvinavashe, the retired army commander. He is very political, and
he is waiting in the wings. We have people of stature and ability who can
walk into the shoes of Mugabe."
But Shamuyarira said the issue of
who would come in hinged on how Mugabe left.
"If Mugabe were to
relinquish (power) today the likely successor will be Msika. He is not
popular in many parts of the country but it will be difficult to oppose him
if Mugabe left immediately because he would immediately hold the reins of
power," he said.
"He can use those reins to buy support from various
people, he can make concessions...but he would make a good president also, he
is presidential material."
"Nkomo . I'd put him on par with
Mnangagwa. He is also up and coming. But it depends very much on how Mugabe
quits. If Mugabe at the December congress. says I'm quitting now, Msika will
Shamuyarira went further: "It will be very difficult for
anyone to oppose Msika. (If anyone does that) he would say 'ah now you are
"But if he (Mugabe) says 'I will be retiring in a
year's time'. then Msika will be out, the infighting will be between these,
Mnangagwa and Nkomo, that's where the infighting will be. But the encouraging
thing is that they are all men of substance."
Shamuyarira, a Zanu
PF politburo member and former cabinet minister for nearly 20 years, is one
of Mugabe's closest lieutenants. He is currently working on Mugabe's
He said the Zanu PF congress would be a political
watershed for the country.
"The issue is that the retirement of
President Mugabe is done first by himself in his own decision and secondly
(through) the decision of the supporters in Zimbabwe," Shamuyarira
"What we don't like about the present situation is that it is
outsiders who are calling for his retirement, and you know that is
.unacceptable to us.
They are not the ones who should decide as to when
he should retire."
He said people would be free to discuss Mugabe's
succession at the gathering.
"They will discuss it and he himself
will insist on . guaranteeing the freedom of the people to express
themselves. He has always been saying that people should discuss the question
of succession openly and I think at that congress he will stress that even
more and (say) to the people 'say your mind on this matter'. I think it will
be open," he said.
"So it will be an interesting a juncture because
that will also be three months before the parliamentary election . it will be
a defining moment for Zimbabwe."
RBZ clean-up claims another victim Dumisani
Muleya AS the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe intensifies its financial services
sector clean-up, another asset management firm has closed shop after failing
to pay investors and clients about $2 billion.
Management - which had invested $500 million in the collapsed ENG Capital
Asset Management - closed down on March 19 after the police fraud squad
swooped on its office and seized computers.
The raid came two weeks
after its acting chief executive and managing director Francis Jani fled the
country to the United Kingdom with his family.
directors were also said to have run away, leaving investors and workers
Sources said Jani had promised to pay investors on April 15
knowing full well that by then he would be gone. He had claimed that his
computer company, Data Resources Integrators, would pay Interlink
"Jani left the country on March 3 with his wife Gladness
Gotora, who was also a director in the company, and their child," a source
said. "This was after he had realised that the company could no longer pay
investors and clients."
Sources said a local travel agency, Direct
Travel, processed Jani's travel documents. However, Direct Travel managing
director Ishmael Macheka yesterday said although Jani used to arrange his
trips with his company, this time he did not.
"I was surprised to
hear he was in the UK. He used to arrange his travels with us but this time
he did not come to us," he said.
It is said Interlink - which dealt
with asset management, micro-finance and unit trusts - held an offshore
account in the UK where it collected money from locals working abroad and
paid recipients at home using investors' funds.
currency collected remained stashed abroad while creating a huge financial
hole for the company locally.
"They transferred a lot of investors'
money to the people who deposited forex in London while they did not replace
that money," a source said.
"That resulted in them being unable to meet
local claims from investors. This was worsened by the fact that they had
invested $500 million in ENG."
Sources said police were still trying
to recover Interlink's assets and those of its directors. Apart from
computers, sources said so far police had seized cars from Data Resources
Integrators that belonged to Jani and were expected to take his house in
Ruwa. Some of the assets have not yet been identified.
It is said
some of the assets, including a Toyota Vista, remained with friends. Some of
the cars such as a Mitsubishi Pajero and Mercedes Benz had already been
Tomana committee wants Mudzuri fired Augustine
Mukaro THE Johannes Tomana committee which was investigating suspended mayor
of Harare Elias Mudzuri has recommended dismissal of the mayor, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Sources privy to the report
which was submitted to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo this week
said the committee based its recommendations on Mudzuri's failure to
co-operate with them during the investigation.
proceeded and looked into the allegations after Mudzuri had walked-out," a
source following the proceedings said this week, adding
"Mudzuri refused to defend himself before seeing the (James)
Kurasha report from which he believed the allegations were
The committee was however insisting that it had nothing to do
with the Kurasha commission and had not even seen its
"Mudzuri's refusal to defend himself is clear testimony that
the report is not in his favour," the source said.
out of the hearing Mudzuri proceeded to file an application in the High Court
seeking the nullification of the Tomana committee. His application also seeks
to declare null and void all the evidence brought before the committee saying
that it had a predisposition of bias and malice in the conduct of its
The Tomana committee set up by Chombo was investigating
Mudzuri on allegations that he abused his authority by arbitrarily suspending
or dismissing council senior management, leaving critical positions
without substantive occupants and impacting service
Allegations against Mudzuri are that he manipulated tender
procedures, sought to change and influenced council to alter its tender
specifications for refuse collection in order to favour and facilitate the
awarding of tenders to undeserving companies. Chombo has also alleged that
Mudzuri failed to manage the city's water delivery resulting in acute
water shortages for Harare and its satellite towns
Mercenaries saga: role of middle man emerges in arms
deal Dumisani Muleya THE state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI)'s
controversial sale of weapons of war to the 70 suspected mercenaries
currently held in Harare deepened this week following claims that a local
businessman facilitated the deal.
Sources said businessman Martin
Bird introduced alleged mercenary leader Simon Mann and his team earlier this
year to ZDI chief executive Colonel Tshinga Dube.
It is understood
Bird connected Mann and his associates, who included Nick Du Toit, to Dube
for negotiations about the arms deal. Du Toit is currently detained in
Equatorial Guinea over allegations of planning a coup against President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. It is alleged Mann and his group were arrested
in Harare on their way to Equatorial Guinea.
Bird and Dube are said
to be long-standing business associates. Sources said after Bird introduced
Mann to Dube and other ZDI officials the deal was struck. ZDI official, Group
Captain Hope Mutize, was involved in the deal which the state claimed last
week in court was part of a well-orchestrated sting operation against the
"Bird made it clear that while he did not want to be
directly party to the arms deal, he wanted something for providing the
contact with Dube and also for administering the transaction
behind-the-scenes," a source said.
However, Bird yesterday denied
being involved in the deal between ZDI and the mercenaries. He said although
he knew Dube and Mutize he was not part of the arms deal.
know Dube and I know Mutize but I don't know who Mann is. Of course, I have
read about him in the newspapers but I have never met him,"
"I don't know where this thing comes from. I have been
asked about it by other people but I wasn't involved in anything like that. I
don't worry too much about it because it's not true."
referred questions to Dube who said he could not discuss the issue as it was
sub judice. Mutize handled the transactions and payment for the arms, it is
reported. The state prosecutor Mary Zimba-Dube last week said Mutize received
a deposit of US$90 000 for the "dangerous weapons" which cost US$180 000 in
ZDI, which supplies army uniforms, field equipment and
ammunition, sold arms to the suspects without an end-user certificate. The
arms included 61 AK-47 assault rifles and 45 000 rounds of ammunition, 300
offensive hand grenades, 20 PKM light machines guns and 30 000 rounds of
ammunition, 50 PRM machine guns, and 100 RPG 7 anti-tank launchers and 1 000
rounds of ammunition.
While the state has claimed that the deal was
part of a trap to arrest the alleged mercenaries, questions have arisen about
the role of ZDI in the capture of the accused and transparency of the
operation insofar as the purported dummy sale of the weapons was concerned.
Record tobacco crop withdrawn from floors Augustine
Mukaro ZIMBABWE'S annual tobacco auctions kicked off on Tuesday with a
serious tug-of-war between farmers and buyers over prices resulting in a
record withdrawal of the crop from the floors.
on the three auction floors reported that prices were firm considering that
it was the first day of the annual sales, and slightly higher than last
year's, farmers who brought in their crop wanted the price to be reviewed
"Prices are below expected levels considering the fact that
the exchange rate at the auction has been deliberately held down," David
Chiguvare, one of the farmers, said.
"Most established farmers who
had brought their tobacco hoping to get a good return had to cancel their
tobacco from being sold following news that the auction rate had plummeted
from around $5 000 to an average $4 200 to the US dollar.
this was a deliberate ploy to underpay the farmers and for this reason an
estimated 60% of the tobacco sold at Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) had to be
withdrawn. As farmers we are demanding the auction rate to be at least $4 500
so that we can manage to get back to the fields next season,"
Thomas Nherera of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union
this week said his organisation has already started lobbying government to
review prices upwards.
"The prices being offered cannot cushion
the farmers against the economic hardships and later on allow the farmer to
increase production," Nherera said.
"Government has to review the
prices upwards so that farmers will be encouraged to grow more tobacco next
season. We have started forwarding proposals of what we think would be
realistic prices for farmers to break even."
Prices at the three
auction floors ranged from US$1,74 to US$2,50 with TSF offering the lowest
average of US$1,75. Zitac offered the highest prices.
receive 75% of their earning at the auction rate and 25% of the money at the
official rate which is US$1:$824.
Over the years Zimbabwean tobacco
was being sold through the auction system with TSF, Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction
Centre (Zitac), and Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ) being the three auction
This year government has introduced a dual marketing system.
Tobacco is being sold through the auction system alongside the contract
Under the new system nine contractors and the three
traditional auction floors are buying the crop.
Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner, but this year it will bring in less
than 25% of what it earned five years ago before the inception of the land
Chiyangwa to head anti-graft committee Staff
Writer SPEAKER of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa this week appointed Chinhoyi
MP Philip Chiyangwa as chairman of the Portfolio Committee on
Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies.
The legislator, who is Zanu
PF chairman for Mashonaland West Province, will also head the portfolio
committee overseeing the Ministries of Indigenisation and Empowerment,
Foreign Affairs, and Industry and International Trade.
appointment follows the creation of two ministries dealing with corruption
and another on indigenisation in President Mugabe's last cabinet reshuffle in
Chiyangwa yesterday confirmed the appointments.
was arrested in January on three charges of obstructing the course
of justice, contempt of court and perjury.
The state case is that
Chiyangwa tried to hide vehicles belonging to ENG Capital Asset Management
Company, misinformed police about the collapsed company's assets, and
threatened a policeman.
Botswana denies foreign collusion Loughty
Dube BOTSWANA has refuted claims that it is working with foreign powers
to destabilise Zimbabwe as has been reported in the local state
Botswana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Co-operation, Mompati Merafhe, told his country's parliament last Friday that
Botswana was concerned with persistent allegations that Botswana was working
with foreign powers to destabilise Zimbabwe.
dismissed allegations that his country was hosting an American military base
and said Botswana built the Thebephatshwa military airbase using its own
"For the benefit of those who may not be aware, let me
explain that when the airbase was under construction, the US government
summoned our ambassador in Washington to the State Department to raise
concern about what it termed excessive mili-tary spending," Merafhe told
He dismissed claims that the military base would be used
as a springboard for an attack on Zimbabwe.
Reports in the local
state media have alleged that the Botswana airbase was being used by
Americans and predicted that the Americans would use the same base to attack
Zimbabwe to effect so-called "regime change".
Merafhe said the
airbase was necessary for the protection of the country against external
threats. He said Botswana had never hosted a foreign military base because of
its long-standing policy of non-aggression.
"No amount of sinister
propaganda would turn Botswana against its neighbours," Merafhe told
Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have been rocky
as a result of allegations of ill-treatment of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants
by Batswana and the claimed hosting of the American military airbase. On
Wednesday this week the government-controlled ZBC TV broadcast a documentary
claiming it had detailed cases of abuse of Zimbabweans by Botswana
The state media earlier this year alleged that Botswana
was hosting an American radio station that was beaming anti-Zimbabwe
Botswana declined to join a Sadc statement condemning
Zimbabwe's continued suspension from the Commonwealth at Abuja in
ZESN claims irregularities in Zengeza poll Munyaradzi
Wasosa ZANU PF's victory in the Zengeza parliamentary by-election at the
weekend has sparked controversy after the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and civic organisations claimed to have found evidence of
electoral fraud, intimidation and violence by the ruling party, the
Zimbabwe Independent has established.
A Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN) report made available to the Independent this week cited cases
of electoral irregularities, mainly the "unusually large" numbers of assisted
voters in the election.
A few of the assisted voters were elderly
people, but the majority were youths who claimed "illiteracy, sickness,
blurred vision or unsteady hands", the report says.
Supervisory Commission (ESC) gave the total number of assisted voters as
ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma said there was nothing amiss about
the assisted voters.
"The country's electoral laws stipulate that
an ESC monitor and a police officer, authorised by the presiding officer, can
help a person who justifiably requires assistance to vote," he
Allegations of vote-rigging also surfaced in Unit H,
Chitungwiza, where a new open-air polling station was only announced on the
eve of the poll.
Despite being a relatively unknown station, it recorded
a high voter turnout, "the majority of whom belonged to the Apostolic Faith
religious group identified by their white clothing", said
Bvuma refused to comment on this matter.
only comment after we release our analysis report of the election after two
weeks," he said.
ZESN chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove criticised the
ruling party for ignoring regional standards for elections.
election was held in an atmosphere that does not comply with
minimal conditions specified by the Sadc Parliamentary Forum," he said. "If
'peace' in Gutu North (by-election) was possible, then why the unprecedented
level of violence in Zengeza?"
Matchaba-Hove attributed the large
numbers of "illiterate" youths who were "assisted" to vote to urban
"The youths who requested assistance would come in a
systematically organised groups. It is a mixture of poverty and coercion that
is forcing these people to be used," he said.
Other civic groups
monitoring the election said at Dudzai primary school, a group of people,
allegedly Zanu PF agents, was seen writing down the names and national
identification numbers of people who had just cast their ballots. This, they
said, instilled fear in those who were yet to cast
Some voters in the volatile constituency alleged that
Christopher Chigumba, the winning ruling party candidate, went on a
vote-buying spree before the elections, doling out $10 000 to individuals who
attended his rallies.
Five make Byo's roll of honour Loughty Dube FIVE
Zimbabweans have been honoured for their contribution in championing human
rights under very difficult conditions in Zimbabwe and for standing
up against intimidation by the authorities.
The five, Archbishop
Pius Ncube, journalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu, activist Gorden Moyo, medical
doctor Peter Zwana, and lawyer Perpetua Dube, were honoured by Ecumenical
Church Services at a prayer ceremony held at St Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo
The prayer ceremony, held under the theme "Deliver Us
from Evil", was attended by over 2 000 people who included bishops from
Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.
Ncube was honoured for his role in speaking out for the poor and for standing
firm in the face of intimidation by government.
The gathering also
endorsed and acknowledged awards received by Archbishop Ncube last year in
the United States and Germany in recognition of his work in the fight against
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Veteran journalist and Bulawayo
editor of the Daily News, Gwakuba Ndlovu, was honoured for his fearless
reporting dating back to the pre-Independence period.
Ndlovu is honoured for his contribution to the media fraternity and for
writing the truth dating back to pre-Independence and days of the struggle
and up to today he still is in this struggle through the pen," said the
Bulawayo Agenda director, Gorden Moyo, who was arrested
last week on allegations of distributing subversive material, was also
honoured for contributing to freedom, courageous work and affording the
generality of the people a chance to air their views in the face of the
intimidating Public Order and Security Act.
Moyo was honoured on
behalf of the whole civil society while Dube was honoured for standing up for
victims of Posa.
Sugar estates reduced to wasteland Own
correspondent THE Chiredzi district, once the centre of a thriving cane
growing industry producing close on 600 000 tonnes of sugar cane annually, is
today a mere shadow of its former glory.
Prior to 2000 when the
devastating land invasions began, this district was home to approximately 56
cane growers who employed about 3 500 workers and generated an income in
excess of US$10 million per annum.
The families of the workers
enjoyed the benefit of several well-run clinics and schools, and the export
earnings in sugar and tropical fruits brought in vast sums of valuable
This year only 345 000 tonnes has been produced, or
58%, of the normal harvest. Huge quantities of sugar cane have been left to
rot in the fields and scores of workers laid off, while the original farmers
and resettled A2 farmers continue a protracted legal battle over entitlement
to the proceeds of the crop that was harvested. The dispute has already led
to angry and sometimes violent confrontations between the illegal A2
occupants and the commercial farmers they have, in large measure,
That the commercial farmers have the law on their side is
clear. Last year the High Court overturned the Section 8 orders served on
them which had previously forced them to leave their properties. On March 13
last year the commercial farmers' ownership of the land and the crops was
reconfirmed by the High Court. Copies of these rulings were served on the
Zimbabwe Republic Police in Chiredzi.
Furthermore the commercial
farmers held the only valid cane purchase agreements and milling agreements
with Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills.
And as if that was not enough,
through the Utete Commission the authorities had promised to uphold a Sadc
protocol and safeguard Mauritian and South African nationals and their
property in terms of their country-to-country accords - a significant number
of the commercial farmers originating from these
However, as is so often the case in Zimbabwe today, having
the law on one's side counts for little when it comes to contending with
illegal settlers, negotiating with multinationals that are anxious to retain
the regime's favour, or even obtaining the assistance of the police to
enforce one's rights.
Hippo Valley Estates sugar mills are only
permitted to enter purchase and milling agreements with persons having legal
tenure of the land. As early as April 2003 legal practitioners acting for the
commercial farmers informed the Hippo Valley and Triangle Mills in writing of
the High Court rulings confirming their clients' legal tenure. This did not
stop Hippo Valley Estates however from subsequently issuing cane purchase
agreements to the A2 settlers illegally in occupation of the land - thus
producing a bizarre situation in which two agreements were in existence for
the same crop.
Hence the legal wrangle ensuing over title to the crop
delivered to the mills. Hippo Valley Estates had knowingly accepted the crop
illegally harvested by the A2 settlers and even assisted them with their own
haulage equipment in transporting the cane to their mill, thereby raising
false expectations that the settlers would be paid for the
The police failed to act on the orders of the High Court to
reinstate the commercial farmers to their lands, to protect them from assault
and intimidation and to evict the A2 settlers who had illegally taken
possession of their properties.
Last April a letter was sent to
the police giving details of criminal and potentially life-threatening
situations occurring on some of the farms, to which the police had not
The incidents included the assault of farm workers ordered
off the land by Border Gezi youths, breaking and entering homesteads still
illegally occupied by settlers, looting of properties and intimidation of the
legal owners and their families. This letter and several others which
followed failed to bring about any satisfactory response on the part of the
police. No arrests were made even following an attempted abduction of one
farmer and serious assault of another by known assailants whose names were
supplied to the police.
When on October 28 the police did finally
act, convening a meeting of A2 settlers and commercial farmers, dire threats
of violence were made by the settlers against the farmers unless the latter
withdrew their legal claim to the crop delivered to the mills, thus allowing
the settlers to be paid for it.
Although these threats (criminal
acts themselves) were made in the presence of the police, the police failed
to take any action on them.
Immediately after this meeting one farmer
wrote to Chief Superintendent P Ncube of the Chiredzi Police, complaining of
the ZRP's failure to uphold the law and to protect citizens threatened with
violence. Fearing physical harm or even death he asked for 24-hour armed
protection for himself and his family.
So far as the Sadc protocol
is concerned, in early February the regime issued a statement to the effect
that there is no binding agreement that protects South African or other
nationals from land designation.
Hippo Valley Estates themselves were
notified in February that their vast holdings must be divided into plots for
settlement. Their mill closed down on January 25, leaving 500 hectares of
cane in the fields that should have been cut and milled last year - their
failure to do so being due largely to the diversion of their haulage
equipment to assist the A2 settlers transporting their (stolen) cane to the
mill. Given that the average yield is 120 tonnes of sugar cane per hectare,
Hippo Valley Estates' loss on this account alone amounts to 60 000
At the onset of the unlawful farm invasions and until mid
2001 the commercial cane growers perhaps naively believed this regime would
protect the sugar cane industry because of its vital strategic importance to
the economy. They were proved wrong in this assumption.
very short time ago the two multinationals, Hippo Valley Milling Company
(owned by the Anglo American Corporation) and Triangle Mills (owned by
Hewletts), may have believed that they enjoyed immunity from
illegal settlement. Perhaps their bubble is also about to burst as they make
the painful discovery that nothing and no-one is sacrosanct to a regime
that will sacrifice anyone else's interest to their own quest to stay in
Setting the tone Iden
Wetherell THE Zengeza poll outcome will hopefully stimulate a debate about
whether to contest elections that are anything but free and fair. Last week I
referred to the suffocating media environment that prevented voters from
making an informed choice at the polls. We should as civil society be
discussing now how to respond to the vote-buying and intimidation we have
witnessed in the latest poll.
The MDC is allowing its members to have
their say while it prepares for a number of eventualities. In due course the
party will make a formal decision on whether to participate or not in the
March 2005 poll.
But this should not be a debate confined to the MDC.
It concerns the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. Do they want the current
crisis to continue with an attendant decline in living standards or do they
want something better? Are they prepared to see the Electoral Act become an
instrument of the ruling party or will they insist on their right to a free
and fair poll?
There are several major elections taking place in the
region this year and next: in Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, and
Namibia. All will be guided by the Sadc parliamentary forum's electoral
standards. Zimbabwe has chosen to be an exception.
Section 158 of
the Electoral Act is a 1990 instrument providing the president with sweeping
powers to make regulations governing polls. Mugabe used this to make
far-reaching changes to the electoral process on the eve of the March 2002
By allowing Mugabe the power to make electoral
laws unilaterally, the MDC's lawyers argue in the party's court petition
contesting the 2002 poll outcome, the public and parliament were deprived of
the opportunity to debate the changes. Mugabe used Section 158 to introduce a
number of regulations, the party's legal team notes, which fundamentally
affected the way the presidential election was run.
They point out
for example that he used Section 158 to pass regulations that had the effect
of disenfranchising large numbers of Zimbabwean citizens who were declared to
be "foreign" citizens; disenfranchising some categories of postal voters;
limiting the number of polling stations set up in urban areas; repeatedly and
secretly extending the cut-off date for voter registration thus allowing late
registration of voters in areas sympathetic to the president; and overturning
court rulings that had declared invalid some of the regulations passed
earlier by Mugabe under Section 158.
To prevent this happening again
the MDC has made 15 demands that it regards as essential preconditions to a
free and fair poll.
l The establishment of a
genuinely independent electoral commission that will be responsible for
running elections and the entire electoral process.
l The exclusion
of officials seen as partisan such as the present Registrar-General and
members of the military from being involved in the running of the
l A completely fresh voter regi-stration exercise done by
the Inde-pendent Electoral Commission with the assistance of the United
l The supply of an electronic (computer data base) copy of
the voters' roll to all political parties and interested
l The repeal of those aspects of the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act that curtail media freedoms.
repeal of those aspects of the Public Order and Security Act that curtail the
freedom of political parties to campaign.
l The amendment of the
Electoral Act to bring it into conformity with the Sadc Parliamentary Forum's
Electoral Standards and Norms.
l The reversal of administrative
decisions that have resulted in the closure of the Daily News and the removal
of all obstacles preventing the Daily News and other newspapers from
l The liberalisation of the broadcasting media and
the opening up of state media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all
parties' electoral messages pro rata to the percentage of votes they secured
in the last general parliamentary election.
l The complete
disbanding of the youth militia.
l The use of translucent plastic
ballot boxes of secure, single-piece construction.
l All voting
should be done and completed in one day. To ensure this, sufficient numbers
of polling stations should be established.
l Unhindered access to the
entire electoral process by international, regional and domestic election
l All counting of ballots to take place at polling
stations in the mandatory presence of polling agents and
l The use of visible indelible ink to identify those who
These criteria are considered routine best practice in most
democracies and nearly all can be found in the Sadc parliamentary forum's
protocol on electoral standards and norms signed up to by Zimbabwe in 2001.
They should not be seen as exclusively MDC conditions. Civil society should
be making its voice heard in demanding free and fair elections based on
Elections can change people's lives. Conducted
properly they can replace poorly-performing governments with those prepared
to work with the international community in turning a country around so it
grows and prospers. Zimbabweans are being denied that opportunity. And if
they don't raise their voices in insisting on their democratic right to a
free and fair poll they will end up condemned to years of poverty and
FOR the Zimbabwe electorate, to win or not
to win is not the real question. They should be asking themselves whether
they are prepared for a free and fair election.
irregularities in Zimbabwean elections over the past four years were manifest
again in the Zengeza by-election over the weekend. The proceedings were clear
testimony that Zimbabwe is still far from ready to hold a free and fair
The election, which was contested by four candidates -
Christopher Chigumba (Zanu PF), James Makore (MDC), Tendai Chakanyuka (Nagg)
and Gideon Chinogureyi (Zanu Ndonga) - was marred by violence both in the
run-up and during the voting days.
The ruling Zanu PF won the
election, polling 8 447 votes against the opposition MDC's 6 706. Zanu won 96
votes and Naag 37.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in a message on Tuesday,
condemned the electoral process as flawed and undemocratic.
analysis of the Zengeza by-election shows that political competition here
remains a bloody affair 24 years after Independence," Tsvangirai
"Zanu PF is prepared to kill to satisfy its hunger for power
Francis Chinozvinya, an MDC activist, was shot dead
on Sunday in a Zanu PF raid on the home of the MDC candidate, James Makore,
in Zengeza. Another MDC youth, Arthur Gunzvenzve, was shot in the leg and
taken to hospital. Scores of other MDC supporters were seriously injured
since the start of the campaign in Zengeza, Tsvangirai said. "We condemn the
continuous descent into thuggery, lawlessness and mayhem in the general body
politic in Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said.
"Elections, which should
reflect the exercise of our sovereignty in the selection of our leaders,
should never become open seasons for murder, torture, beatings and
He said the MDC entered the 2002 presidential election fully
aware that the rules of the game were against democracy.
we participated in all the by-elections because of our firm belief in taking
over power through democratic means," said the MDC leader.
"The image of
opposition parties in Africa has been severely dented by the apparent
readiness to use arms to deal with post-colonial dictatorships. The results
have often been chaotic and unpredictable. That route has never been an
option for the MDC," he said.
Tsvangirai said the Zengeza election gave
the people of Zimbabwe a foretaste of the chaos that awaits the nation in
"Conducting any election in this manner affects the secrecy of the
ballot and must be condemned," he said.
Tsvangirai also questioned
whether Zimbabwe was ready for next year's parliamentary
"Come to 2005, what safeguards do we as Zimbabweans have to
curb the kind of wayward behaviour we saw from Zanu PF in the past five
years? Are we ready as a nation to go through the same agony we endured in
2000 and in 2002?" he asked.
"What kind of life did the Zimbabwean
voter go through in the various by-elections conducted in this country since
2000? Are these ordeals necessary if the outcome is going to be
pre-determined anyway?" he questioned.
The Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (Zesn), which deployed its observers in the constituency as early as
January 25, could not declare the election fair and fair. Zesn said Zanu PF
intensified its terror campaign as the polling dates approached.
PF set up youth camps in Zengeza and their youths were allegedly harassing
the residents," Zesn said.
"Zanu PF youths were accused of banging on
people's gates trying to force them to attend their rallies. The Zanu PF
candidate was allegedly involved in a vote-buying campaign. It is alleged
that the candidate's agents launched a door-to-door campaign and offered $10
000 to each of the people they visited in return for votes."
people who refused to accept the money were then invited to the Zanu PF
offices. They were required to bring with them their national identity cards
which were subsequently confiscated while those who accepted the money had
their identity numbers noted down and there is now a fear that they could
have been "converted into assisted voters" thereby giving the ruling party an
As the election days got closer, Zanu PF was accused of
unleashing an orgy of terror against suspected opposition
During this terror campaign, a group of over 100 ruling party
supporters pelted with stones and damaged houses belonging to members of
the opposition. One of the damaged houses belonged to Makore.
proceeded to beat up people willy-nilly after the incident but noone was
Other than the clear vote-buying and sponsorship of terror
campaigns, Chigumba is alleged to have opened a clinic to offer free
medication to the Zengeza electorate. Whether the clinic will continue its
services after the election remains to be seen as analysts see it as a
political gimmick. Chigumba's tactics to lure the electorate was known by the
Electoral Supervisory Commission but it never took action although this was
in clear violation of electoral laws.
The ruling party set up seven
militia bases throughout the constituency from which it launched its terror
campaign against people suspected to be sympathetic to the
Despite the setting up of an inter-party liaison committee,
Zanu PF continued to violate its undertakings by disrupting the MDC's
campaign activities. This forced the party to abandon all public meetings for
fear that Zanu PF would disrupt them. Some of such disruptions occurred in
the presence of the police.
Violence spilled into voting days. One MDC
activist was shot dead on Sunday morning (the second day of voting) when
ruling party supporters clashed with MDC supporters. No one has been
arrested. On Tuesday a police spokesman said the force was pursuing "very
active investigations in the case".
Electoral Supervisory Commission
spokesman Thomas Bvuma this week confirmed that clashes had erupted in
Zengeza involving Zanu PF and MDC during election days. He also confirmed
that there was a shooting incident in which one life was lost while two other
people were injured.
"It is not clear whether that person died as a
result of gunshot wounds or death related to the clashes but he reportedly
died at Avenues Clinic," Bvuma said
Observers also raised concern over
the number of assisted voters. An estimated 10% of the 15 388 people who cast
their votes in the Zengeza by-election are understood to have been assisted
The US State Department has declared the Zengeza by-election not
free and fair because of the irregularities that occurred prior to and
"We condemn the violence, intimidation, and
irregularities that occurred prior to and during the March 27/28 Zengeza
parliamentary by-election," the US said in a statement.
credible reports, two youth supporters from the opposition MDC were shot, one
fatally, on March 28. We call upon the Zimbabwean government to investigate
the crime and prosecute those responsible," it said.
improprieties preclude it from being deemed free and fair. The by-election
should have been a routine and peaceful expression of a local constituency's
political will. Instead, it became another symbol of the ruling party's
pursuit of electoral victories at the expense of the peaceful expression of
democratic rights in Zimbabwe," the statement said.
The US said police
failure to quell disruptions in Zengeza and the general deterioration of the
electoral process cast a dark cloud over prospects of a free and fair process
in the Lupane by-election in May and nationwide parliamentary elections
scheduled for March next year.
"The violence and irregularities of the
Zengeza election are also troubling because of what they portend for another
by-election in May and for the nationwide parliamentary elections in March
2005," the US said.
"For future elections to be free and fair, government
must act now to regularise the political environment. Specifically, it must
ensure freedom of the press and association, suppress and prosecute political
violence, allow unfettered political campaigning and establish an
independent electoral supervisory commission."
The MDC is demanding
there should be amendments to the electoral laws to conform to Sadc norms and
standards. The MDC wants to see the establishment of an independent electoral
commission that would be responsible for the running of the entire electoral
process. It is also demanding the exclusion of partisan officials such as the
current Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and members of the military from
being involved in the running of the elections.
The opposition wants a
completely fresh voters' role to be generated by an independent electoral
Zanu PF propaganda reaches new pitch By Cathy
Buckle THE propaganda in Zimbabwe has reached new boundaries in the last few
weeks. First it was the mercenaries and their bolt cutters that made headline
news every night and still appear on virtually every television bulletin. Now
it is the BBC documentary on Zimbabwe's youth training camps.
after day ZBC have vehemently denied any wrong-doing in Zimbabwe's
youth training programme. They deny the allegations exposed in the film,
deny rape, instruction in torture, human rights violations and victimisation
of supporters of the political opposition. Unbelievably, last week ZBC
even flighted the entire BBC documentary here in Zimbabwe and then followed
it with a point by point denial of every millimetre of the
At the end of this "critique" on what was advertised as BBC's
"fiction", the ZBC presenter challenged the documentary's producers to prove
their story, but this challenge was not accompanied by a removal of the
three-year ban which has prohibited the BBC from entering or reporting from
Despite the fact that one of the women being
interviewed in the documentary is described as being a youth camp deserter
now in hiding in South Africa, ZBC announced triumphantly on Friday that she
was an actor.
They said she was outside the country and offered as proof
the mountains and ocean behind her. Presumably this little gem was intended
for those of us who have not yet realised that Zimbabwe is a landlocked
A week of propaganda reached dizzy heights on Friday morning
when the headline news on ZBC radio was that political anlaysts have
described the documentary as part of Britain's plan to control the world. It
seems to have completely escaped the notice of the state media and all their
political commentators and analysts that the opposition have been calling for
the closure of the youth training camps for two years.
ignored by ZBC was the position taken by a group of Zimbabwe's former war
veterans regarding the BBC documentary. Quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent
newspaper, the president of the Zimbabwe Liberator's Peace Initiative said
that they too had interviewed deserters from the youth training camps. Max
Mnkandla said what they had established "is exactly what was highlighted in
the BBC programme".
The propaganda presently suffocating Zimbabwe
about mercenaries and British plots to take over the world have done nothing
to help cloud the real issues consuming Zimbabweans. We are again a country
crippled without petrol. The capital city still has some fuel queues but in
smaller towns like Marondera there is nothing to even queue
We are also a country gripped by panic about the safety of our
money in banks which are collapsing, being closed or going into
Last week I met three people who had their life savings
in a building society which used to be called Founders before it was taken
over by a bigger company. That company has been closed and the money
belonging to ordinary men and women is lost, savings are gone and no one
knows who to turn to for help or how to survive.
American writer on matters Zimbabwean said that what had frightened her was
to see how much people here bend as the situation deteriorates. We bend, and
bend and then bend some more and surely the point must come when, like a
green stick, eventually we will break.
Cathy Buckle is a
Marondera-based author and human rights activist.
winning Zanu PF candidate in Zengeza, Christopher Chigumba, said
the by-election result had set the tone for the 2005 parliamentary poll.
Indeed it has. The by-election was characterised by coercion, violence
and vote-buying, according to independent observers.
One MDC activist
was killed and two others injured in a shooting incident. Several clashes
were reported between rival groups of party supporters. People standing in
voting queues were stoned and chased away, according to one
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said suspected Zanu PF
members could be seen camped outside polling stations where they were taking
down the names of people who had just voted. At Seke 1 High School, ZESN
observed two women being beaten by a group of women as they tried to leave
the polling station. The group claimed the two women had voted for the
ZESN reported ruling party militants moving around the
district in large numbers, hindering campaigning. Most opposition meetings
and rallies were cancelled, their posters torn down and replaced by ruling
party ones. There were also a large number of youths requesting assistance
from polling officers to cast their vote because they were either illiterate,
sick or had "blurred vision or unsteady hands", the network said.
PF will have learnt a useful lesson in all this: that crime pays. Not only is
the electoral process designed to assist the incumbent party but vote-buying
and coercion have now become the norm.
The ruling party claims the
Zengeza poll reflects a return of support from the urban electorate who have
either been persuaded that the economy is on the mend or are disillusioned
with the MDC's performance.
This requires a considerable leap of faith.
By supplying the month-on-month inflation figures instead of the usual
year-on-year figure, the government press has suggested inflation is coming
down when it manifestly isn't.
An inflation rate of 602,5%, which Finance
minister Chris Kureneri last week told this paper was the highest in the
world, is shocking evidence of a mismanaged economy by any definition. There
will be no improvement in employment figures so long as investors are scared
off by the absence of the rule of law, and the destruction of commercial
agriculture means there will be significantly lower returns on tobacco and
other income-generating exports. The country has long since ceased to feed
If the MDC's municipal administration has failed, that is hardly
surprising given the obstruction and downright sabotage the Harare city
council has experienced on the political front.
But any debate along
these lines is to fall into the trap of conceding that the Zengeza poll
reflects any such things. What it shows clearly is that the urban electorate,
like their rural counterparts, will not be afforded an opportunity to
exercise their democratic right to vote for a candidate of their
Visits by ruling-party supporters to their homes with
"invitations" to attend meetings, the recording of their names outside
polling stations, the presence of Green Bombers and the clamour of the mob
around polling stations all provide a climate of intimidation.
there are the promises and inducements, once known as "treating", that are
patently illegal but now regarded as the norm. Add to this a flawed voters
roll, "assisted" voting, and a public media that excludes alternative views
and you have an election that is seriously at odds with the
democratic standards Zimbabwe has promised to observe in its 2001 signature
to the Sadc parliamentary forum's rules.
Nobody should deceive
themselves into thinking Zengeza represents a turning of the tide. Conditions
in the country and its capital are now a great deal worse than they were in
2000 when Zanu PF, by its own admission if yesterday 's Herald is anything to
go by, lost the popular vote by 48,8% to the combined opposition's 51%.
Because of a sluggish appeals process its MPs continue to occupy seats that
were taken in polls declared null and void by the High Court because of
violence and intimidation.
The difference between 2000 and 2004 is that
the means of coercion have been refined. Far from guaranteeing the ruling
party the popular high ground it is claiming, the electoral results emanating
from this flawed system will simply raise further questions of legitimacy and
perpetuate the profound and potentially fatal divisions now evident in
Zimbabwean society between those who favour a democratic dispensation and
those who think they can survive by repression and fraud.
This will in
turn impact on economic recovery because the international community will
understandably refuse to deal with a regime that denies its people a
Zengeza is therefore indeed the harbinger of things to
come claimed in the government media. But what that means is more of the
Distressed state of tobacco
industry THE governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Dr Gideon Gono,
has recently been quoted as saying that "vigorous efforts must be made to
ensure that next year the tobacco crop be at least three times the size of
the current crop". That he should have such an aspiration is
readily understandable, for in the past tobacco has been the strongest
single element of Zimbabwe's economy. Between 1992 and 2000 the average
annual production of flue-cured tobacco was 190 million kilograms, and in
2000, an all-time record crop of 237 million kilograms was produced. That
represented export earnings in excess of US$400 million, being an amount of
foreign currency greater than the total annual import cost of Zimbabwe's need
for petrol, diesel and other petroleum products.
The past importance
of flue-cured tobacco to the Zimbabwean economy cannot be over-stated. It
used to generate over 30% of the country's foreign currency, being
considerably more than the foreign currency generation of any other sector of
the economy. Its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeded 10%,
and provided employment for more than 200 000 Zimbabweans. And yet, in doing
so, it used only 3% of the country's arable soils, leaving most of Zimbabwe's
fertile lands available for other agricultural operations.
But that is
now almost history, for the past four years have witnessed the abysmal, and
wholly avoidable decline of that economically vital industry. As compared to
the mythical projections of the size of the 2004 crop that emanated only a
few months ago from the Ministry of Agriculture and other governmental
spokesmen, who repeatedly cited projections ranging from 150 to 200 million
kilograms of tobacco, which they begrudgingly reduced in the last eight weeks
to 80 million kilograms, and then to 65 million kilograms, it is now becoming
apparent that the probable size of the crop is approximately 45 million
kilograms, or less than 20% of the crop in 2000. More than 70% of the
large-scale producer farms are now totally out of production, with the
former, provenly successful, farmers having been forced off their lands and
those then vested by government with the usage of the lands not availing
themselves of the opportunity of economic empowerment bestowed upon them by a
government which had unhesitatingly replaced the productive with the
Admittedly, small-holder production (as distinct from
large-scale commercial production) increased from an insignificant 2 million
kilograms in 1995 to over 18 million kilograms in 2003, with the number of
small-scale producers rising from 1 000 to over 20 000 in that 8 year period,
but in 2004 their production has shrunk to 12 million kilograms only, or only
5% of the very substantial 2000 total production of 237 million kilograms.
Moreover, the small-scale producer's average yield is 900 kilograms per
hectare, compared with an average yield of approximately 2 400 kilograms per
hectare consistently attained by commercial, large-scale
There are numerous reasons for the near demise of Zimbabwe's
most important industry. First and foremost has been the government's
implementation of the land reform programme, re-distribution and resettlement
in the most ill-conceived, destructive and foolhardy manner possible. Instead
of adhering to its avowed principle that any farmer is entitled to one
farm, albeit with a limitation on size, it pursued the programme with almost
no considerations other than racism. It demonstrated a determination
to dispossess almost all who were not regarded as being indigenous. It
sought to justify the policy of dispossession with spurious allegations that
the land had been "stolen" from the indigenous population, in complete
and deliberate disregard for the fact that prior to the colonial era, the
total population was less than 250 000, occupying less than 5% of the land.
The remainder of Zimbabwe's vast land expanse was both unoccupied
In reducing the total number of commercial farmers by
more than 90%, Zimbabwe's government deprived the country of a very
considerable skills' resource developed over generations, replacing that
resource with a few new farmers with like skills, but no capital, and with a
great number of new farmers who did not have skills of a comparable nature,
but who could progressively acquire such skills, and who did not have the
capital or other resources required for production and which would be the
catalyst of developing the skills.
Government obdurately resisted all
recommendations that the new farmers be accorded title to the land, thereby
giving them collateral to access necessary funding, and thereby also
motivating the new farmers. Instead, the government showered the new farmers
with promises of all required production inputs. In the main, all the farmers
ever received were the promises, and to the limited extent that the inputs
were provided, they were invariably forthcoming too belatedly to be of
meaningful use. This appalling state of affairs was compounded by a gross
inadequacy of extension services and training, further hampering production,
growth and development.
Other factors contributing to the demise of the
tobacco industry included the massive escalation in production costs, due to
the rampant hyperinflation which has become endemic in the economy. The
catastrophe in that never-ending rise in costs was that there was no
commensurate rise, in Zimbabwean dollar terms, in sole prices, for driven by
misguided political considerations and a myopic disregard for economic
realities, government steadfastly refused to effect meaningful and realistic
devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar. Had it done so, the Zimbabwean dollar
yields would have compensated for the immense cost increases, preserving
viability for the tobacco industry.
Amongst the cascading costs borne
by the few who remained active in the tobacco growing industry have been
funding costs. Interest rates have soared upwards, to levels seven to eight
times greater than a few years ago. Some limited relief has been forthcoming
from the RBZ driven productive sector concessional facility at a rate of 30%
per annum. However, that relief does not suffice, for tobacco is a 16 to 18
month crop, from when seed-beds are prepared to when sale proceeds are
forthcoming, whereas the concessional facility is limited to a period of six
Yet another major constraint upon the industry has been the
progressive collapse of the infrastructure. Repeated breakdowns in energy
supply by Zesa, inadequate production of coal by Wankie Colliery
jeopardised tobacco-curing operations, and the NRZ was unable to deliver such
limited quantities of coal as were produced. Erratic availability of fuel
also impacted adversely upon operations. In addition, many of those who were
not settled by government upon the lands, but who unilaterally
settled themselves on well-established, previously highly productive farms,
looted and vandalised much of the farm infrastructures. They destroyed
farm improvements essential for operational efficiency, and removed
pumps, equipment and the like to sell to third parties, denuding the farms of
that required for purposes of production.
Immediate recovery of the
tobacco-growing industry is an impossibility. However, if government heeds
the governor of the RBZ, who recognises the critical need for that recovery,
it must take definitive actions. First and foremost, it must restructure its
land reform programme to one which is just, facilitative of return of
commercial farmers to some of the lands, and effectively settling those who
can and will be productive. Concurrently, government must ensure that law and
order is fully restored.
Government's response is invariably that total
law and order exists and, therefore, that there is nothing to restore. But
the populace and the world know otherwise! When hordes can trespass and
expropriate properties, can threaten, assault and victimise, can vandalise
and loot, and are allowed to do so unhindered, law and order does not exist.
When the supposed guardians of law and order are appealed to for assistance
and such appeals are denied, law and order does not exist.
SO President Mugabe now feels the pinch of the country's economic
meltdown? The Herald reported on Saturday that the president's salary had
been increased from $20,2 million to $73,7 million a year. Our currency
might have lost much of its value over the years since that black Friday
in November 1997 when Zimbabwe suffered a major black eye, but $73 million is
a mouthwatering figure by any definition.
What does he need the money
for? Muckraker understands many of his personal needs are taken care of by
the state. That aside, the president has in the past displayed a very healthy
contempt for all things material. What would he need all that money for when
there are so many people going to bed without bread?
As a sign of the
ascetic life that Mugabe is always trying to preach perhaps he should lead by
example: either he rejects the hike in his salary and allowances altogether
or donates it to those who have more need of it. We are sure the president
wouldn't want to be accused of double standards - preaching austerity but
living like royalty!
All this is beside the fact that we are being made
to believe that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's monetary measures will
bring down inflation and instill confidence in the economy. What confidence
can be derived from a process whereby the president is awarded a salary hike
of over 260% when we are being told the aim of the Reserve Bank is to bring
inflation down to 200% by year-end?
In its pursuit of Zanu PF
propaganda, ZBC TV's Newshour last week outdid itself. It ran the BBC's
Panorama documentary three times, each time trying to prove that claims made
about government's youth training centres were false or that the interviewees
condemning the training programmes were not Zimbabwean. With each screening
of the programme the desperation was getting more keenly felt. The producer
of the documentary, Hilary Anderson, was said to be backtracking for merely
saying "some of the claims could not be independently verified"! Muckraker in
fact thought this should have worked in her favour for being honest and at
the same showing a high degree of scepticism. Something not likely to come
out of somebody sent by the British government, especially to do a hatchet
job on Mugabe and his land reform.
We were surprised that this little
documentary was on the third day still given more prominence than the story
about the National Aids Council stopping with immediate effect paying school
fees for Aids orphans. Muckraker felt the NAC was the bigger story in terms
of its implications. A whole generation of poor children is going to be
sacrificed because government can't get its priorities right! Just what is
happening to the money deducted from salaries every month in the name of the
In any case we can start expecting a flood of street children
in the towns as these children drop out of school for lack of funding. A
number of them have already graduated into rapists and thieves, yet
government doesn't appear in the least concerned about the time bomb ticking
away in our towns.
Here we have a vicious cycle where children orphaned
by Aids are being let loose on the streets to breed more
It does appear that things aren't all rosy at Herald
House despite all the bluster about Gono's magic wand. Last week the Herald
sent one of their reporters around Harare to consult all manner of "fortune
tellers" and "prophets" about the economy and the general election next year.
Most of these bush crooks charged between $7 000 and $100 000 for their
services, the Herald's Sifelani Tsiko reported matter-of-factly as if
promoting superstition was a major national pastime.
"The shake-up in
the financial sector will continue for about six months to come," prophesied
one of Tsiko's oracles in a stock response to questions from so-called
business executives threatened by Gono's policies.
"More heads will roll
but the clean-up will also pose headaches for the government as many black
businesses succumb to the clampdown. As for the 2005 elections, there will be
some incidents of violence here and there, but the party for the people will
win again," is the response to those worried about politics. "This shake-up
has helped the poor through some price stabilisation and made things worse
for the fly-by-night billionaires."
The story was headlined: "Foretellers
making a fortune." Tsiko could make a fortune himself if these platitudes are
all there is to fortune telling!
All the Herald now needs is a cubicle
with all the paraphernalia that Tsiko can use to predict the future like
tarot cards and the proper regalia like beads, feathers and masks. Thereafter
they don't need to interview specialists about the economy or politics of the
Incidentally, most people the Herald has in the past promoted as
faith healers have turned out to be rapists. Most prominent was Madzibaba
Godfrey Nzira of Chitungwiza who Zanu PF used in the past two elections. Soon
after, he was locked away in prison after he was convicted of rape. How do
their reporters come by these mountebanks?
Our condolences go
out to the Kangai family on the death of Tirivafi Kangai. The Herald's
account on Monday carried some curious claims. After completing 'O' level in
Marondera Kangai planned to study law. Then we are told: "In 1971 he left for
the United States and studied law at San Francisco University where he
attained a degree in radio and television broadcasting." How did he achieve
such a feat, we wonder?
Josiah Tungamirai is one of Mugabe's
latest ministerial acquisitions still eager to show off. He would not accept
that the new ministries were finding it hard to set themselves up because
they had not been budgeted for. He was happily eating from the budget for the
President's Office, he told the Standard at the weekend. "The budget of the
offices in the President's Office is also my budget and I have one of the
best furnished offices ever," boasted Tungamirai. His portfolio is Minister
of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment. We hope that goes beyond
In the same report we were told Minister without
Portfolio Elliot "Border Gezi Green Bomber" Manyika "also requires offices
and staff". We thought the portfolio title was enough to explain why he
didn't have offices and staff! Nothing is as it appears in this
Tanzania's Home Affairs minister Omari Ramadhan Mapuri
had high praise for Zimbabwe's police force at a ZRP passing out parade in
Harare last week. Looking at the catalogue of courses the graduands had
covered Mapuri said the "course has nurtured you into professional and
proficient police officers".
"The inclusion of human rights in the
training curriculum is commendable," he said, "as it reflects a paradigm
shift from a police force characterised by a legacy of brutality in the
colonial era to a people-centred, sensitive and democratic police force. The
impact of the atrocious and systematic subjugation of the majority indigenous
people in the country and the region by colonial regimes underscored the need
to precipitate a new constitutional era that is underlined by respect for
human rights, dignity and principles of equality."
We wish he had
stayed through the Zengeza parliamentary by-election over the weekend to see
our police force at work. It is true colonialism left our police a "legacy
of brutality" but we are definitely not aware of any "paradigm shift . to a
people-centred, sensitive and democratic police force". In Chitungwiza three
people were shot on Sunday morning, one of them fatally. Up to now the police
are still investigating and there has not been a single arrest despite the
fact this was a crowded place during the day. The only progress they have
made is trying to find a watertight alibi for Elliot Manyika whom we are told
was in Bindura when the shooting occurred. Fine, but where were the police?
Surely instead of chasing Manyika in Bindura they could have tried to locate
those involved in the shooting!
Then on Monday morning MDC MP for Seke,
Ben Tumbare-Mutasa, made the mistake of firing shots at Zanu PF hounds who
were baying for his blood in the Zengeza constituency. Our ever conscientious
law enforcement officers were immediately there.
"Two cartridge cases
were recovered at the scene of the incident and a search at his house
resulted in the recovery of the pistol which was used at the scene," gushed
police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena.
In case Mapuri is still in doubt
about our diligent police force's squeaky clean reputation, a human rights
lawyer had the misfortune of being their guest early last year after he tried
to represent a client MP whom they had detained. According to evidence
provided recently to a US Congressional committee, he was himself detained
and tortured all night and told by a police officer brutally frankly: "There
are no human rights in Zimbabwe". He is now living in exile.
way, any news on the investigation into the torture of Job Sikhala which
President Olusegun Obasanjo said he had received assurances about
The Botswana authorities are becoming impatient with
people who commit suicide by throwing themselves in front of
"I am appealing to the people," that country's Minister of
Transport Tebelelo Seretse said recently, "not to use the trains to kill
themselves. If people want to commit suicide they should use trees, not our
We are not sure what the Minister for the Environment thought
about that proposal!