By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: August 9 2007 22:01 | Last updated: August 9 2007 22:01
The Zimbabwe government is expected to announce a new price control policy
next week that will substantially ease the existing blanket price freeze.
Six weeks ago President Robert Mugabe's government ordered businesses to cut
prices by about 50 per cent and return to the price levels of June 18.
During the so-called "price blitz", some 7,500 businesspeople,
industrialists, wholesalers and retailers have been arrested and fined,
almost all of them pleading guilty to charges of contravening price
controls. Some cases are still before the courts, including at least one
challenging the validity of the price-control orders.
The new draft policy fixes the price of six or seven essential goods,
including bread, sugar, cooking oil and fuel, that cannot be increased
without ministerial approval.
The prices of another dozen or some items will be closely monitored and
businesses will be required to seek official approval before making big
price adjustments. The new policy is expected to set maximum mark-ups for
importers, industry, wholesalers and retailers.
The authorities are unlikely to announce any relaxation of their hardline
stance on prices until after Mr Mugabe's policy speech on Monday during the
country's heroes' day celebrations.
Businesspeople say the proposed new policy marks a climbdown by the
government, which last week said it would maintain strict price controls
until the end of the year.
However, it is clear that the government is deeply divided over the price
policy itself and how best to extricate itself from the impasse as companies
warn of factory closures if the controls are not relaxed.
"Stocks are running out. The only way we can restock is by accessing the
parallel foreign exchange market, which means much higher prices for
products than the government will allow us to charge. It is deadlock," said
In the parallel market, the Zimbabwe dollar, which recovered somewhat
immediately after the price freeze was imposed, has weakened significantly
in the past week to around Z$360,000 to Z$400,000 to £1. The official rate
paid to exporters is Z$7,500 to the pound.
10 August 2007
Diplomatic Affairs Editor
ANALYSTS from the Centre for Policy Studies have warned against being too
optimistic about reports that the political crisis in Zimbabwe is nearing to
News agency Reuters said it had a confidential report due to be presented by
President Thabo Mbeki to leaders of the Southern Africa Development
According to the document, progress had been made in talks between
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
A deal could be close, the report said. "It seems there are no real
substantive issues between the government and the MDC.
"There are strong indications that the two sides are sliding towards an
SADC asked Mbeki to mediate talks between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) and
the MDC in March.
Mbeki is expected to report back on his progress at an SADC summit in Lusaka
"It would be difficult for me to assess whether this reported development is
positive, as the full details of the report are yet to be made available to
the public, political analyst Audrey Matshiqi said.
"But we have to remember that (president) Mbeki has more than once been
positive about the prospect of an agreement being reached by political foes
in Zimbabwe. And more than once he has been proven wrong on that."
Another analyst, Cris Landsberg, said that any comments on an agreement
would be premature as the contents of Mbeki's report were yet to be
disclosed in full.
However, he said he was concerned about whether any agreement reached "is
what was expected" by both parties.
Landsberg said Zanu (PF) and the MDC both went to the mediation talks with
different expectations "that were not going to be met by the other".
He said Mugabe had "something on his mind" when agreeing to join the
mediation exercise; use it as a springboard to avoid any further
The MDC, on the other hand, wanted the mediation to focus mainly on
constitutional changes ahead of next year's presidential polls. Landsberg
believes that under current circumstances, the parties are unlikely to reach
a substantive agreement, though they could reach an agreement on the
"In the latter case, I can frankly say that the happier party will be Zanu
(PF)," he said.
"Any agreement on the election would mean the MDC had accepted to remove any
issues questioning the legitimacy of the Zimbabwean government and of the
2002 and 2005 elections."
Landsberg said that so far there had not been any about turn by the MDC on
its claims that those polls were flawed. "But if they agree to any accord on
the elections, those past polls become a non issue."
The South African document says various contentious issues, including
constitutional reforms, have been "worked out" by the two sides. It also
blames the country's former colonial power, Britain, which has been highly
critical of Mugabe, for Zimbabwe's isolation by western nations.
Mugabe blames western sanctions for hyper inflation, food shortages and an
economic crisis in the formerly prosperous southern African nation. Critics
say Mugabe is at fault because of his controversial policy of farm seizures.
"The most worrisome thing is that the UK continues to deny its role as the
principle protagonist in the Zimbabwean issue and is persisting with its
activities to isolate Zimbabwe," the report said.
It said Britain had a "death wish" on the dialogue, which it expected to
fail before the end of September, thus furnishing a new pretext to take the
Zimbabwe issue to the 2007 United Nations general assembly.
"None of the western countries that have imposed the sanctions that are
strangling Zimbabwe's economy have shown any willingness to lift them," the
The "government and Zanu (PF) are, therefore, committed to the
Mbeki-mediated dialogue, in the hope that it would highlight and ultimately
resolve Zimbabwe's bilateral dispute with Britain".
Friday 10 August 2007
By Farisayi Gonye
HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government is diverting food
seized from businesses and individuals accused of overcharging to feed
starving soldiers, patients and prisoners amid reports that hunger is
stoking most state institutions.
Police sources yesterday said they had been ordered to stop public
auctions of the confiscated goods to allow government institutions such as
the army, prison service and hospitals to get the food.
A senior police officer told ZimOnline that price monitoring crack
teams had been told to intensifying seizures of goods as opposed to asking
vendors or shops to sell to the public promptly.
"The food is no longer sold to the public. In fact, all the food is
now being collected by various government departments," said the police
officer who asked not to be named fearing reprisal from his bosses.
The Ministry of Health and the Zimbabwe National Army were the largest
recipients of the confiscated goods, he said.
It was not possible to get a comment from Bothwell Mugariri who heads
the police crack team enforcing the price controls and carrying out the
But Obert Mpofu, Minister of Industry and International Trade who is
spearheading the government blitz, insisted the public auctions were still
going on and said government departments had as much right to seized goods
as everyone else.
"I don't know whether they are getting first priority at the auctions
but I would assume so. They have ways of paying pachigovernment pedu [using
inter-ministry payment systems]," Mpofu told ZimOnline.
Army barracks, prisons and state hospitals have fought food shortages
over the past few years as the government failed to find money to buy enough
stocks for soldiers, prisoners and patients.
Sources said defence, health and home affairs ministers have in recent
weeks told President Robert Mugabe during weekly cabinet meetings that
hunger was causing deaths at hospitals and prisons while affecting morale in
The sources said Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa
has in recent weeks asked for more money to buy food.
"In many recent (Cabinet) meetings, he has repeated that some patients
were dying because there was no food. He didn't give figures but indicated
that hunger-induced deaths were on the rise," said a government source.
This followed a critical shortage of commodities sparked by Mugabe's
ill-conceived decree last month that producers and service providers must
roll back prices of goods and services to mid-June levels.
Crack teams from the price monitoring taskforce have since early July
raided shops accused of defying the price control order, seizing goods or
ordering prompt sales at state approved prices.
Cross border traders who buy commodities like sugar, cooking oil, eggs
and rice from neighboring Botswana and South Africa have also had wares
seized at roadblocks or from the streets.
The reports of hunger in the army, prison service and hospitals come
at a time when the Harare authorities have already indicated they would soon
approach the country's Parliament for approval of a supplementary budget.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is expected to present his
proposals for additional funding for government department after all
ministries had exhausted their allocations for the 2007 national budget.
The request for a supplementary budget comes against the backdrop of
runaway inflation officially estimated at over 5 000 percent as well as food
imports spawned by poor harvests in the 2006/07 agricultural season. -
Friday 10 August 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - The state's Media and Information Commission (MIC) has
summoned award-winning Zimbabwean journalist Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi for a
hearing to answer charges of "deceiving" the commission in his application
In a letter summoning Mukwazhi, the MIC which has banned four
privately-owned newspapers over the past four years, alleges that the
journalist "deceived" the commission after he failed to disclose all the
media organisations he freelances for.
Under Zimbabwe's tough Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), journalists must declare all the organisations they work for
before they can be accredited.
Mukwazhi, who was last week assaulted by Jocelyn Chiwenga, the
controversial wife of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine, was
ordered to appear before the commission today.
In a statement released to the media yesterday, the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe, said it was disturbed by the turn of events
after Mukwazhi was assaulted by Chiwenga last week.
"MISA-Zimbabwe is greatly disturbed at this turn of events as it comes
hardly a week after Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces
commander General Constantine Chiwenga, on 1 August 2007 assaulted Mukwazhi
at Makro Wholesalers in Harare.
"Chiwenga hurled all sorts of insults at Mukwazhi accusing him of
advancing the agenda of Western imperialists," MISA said.
This is not the first time that the MIC has summoned journalists to
its offices accusing them of practicing their profession without
accreditation from the commission.
Last year, the MIC that is headed by Tafataona Mahoso, summoned
Chinhoyi-based journalist Nunurai Jena after accusing him of obtaining his
press card fraudulently.
Relations between President Robert Mugabe's government and the media
are strained after the Harare authorities accused the media of pushing a
western agenda to tarnish the country's image and oust Mugabe from power.
At least four newspapers including the country's biggest circulating
daily, The Daily News, have been banned over the past four years with over a
hundred journalists having been arrested during the same period for
violating the country's media laws.
The World Association of Newspapers lists Zimbabwe among the three
worst countries for journalists. The other two are the former Soviet
republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic republic of Iran. - ZimOnline
Friday 10 August 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers Association (ZISPA) says
it is struggling to raise funds to buy intercepting equipment currently
pegged at US$1 million each in a fresh huddle for the Harare authorities.
President Robert Mugabe last week signed the controversial Interception of
Communications Bill that allows state security agents to pry into private
mail and electronic communications in what political analysts said was a
sign of tightening of repression by the Zimbabwean leader.
Under the new law, service providers who defy the law by failing to install
the spying equipment face up to three years in jail.
Shadreck Nkala, the ZISPA chairperson, said internet service providers were
currently in a fix as they could not afford to buy and install the spying
equipment as required under the new law.
Nkala said service providers were not in position to buy the equipment
anytime soon because of the prohibitive cost adding that virtually all of
them will be pushed out of business if they were asked to buy the equipment
without government support.
"If we have to remain in business, we need to look at what costs we will
incur and how the equipment will be financed. The government has to be
"There is need for a mutual relationship between the government and the
service providers because we would all need state-of-the-art equipment which
is very expensive," said Nkala.
Nkala said the Zimbabwe government, which is battling its worst economic
recession that has seen inflation zoom past the 4 500 percent mark last May,
would need to pay out more to finance the buying of the spying equipment.
"The government has to contribute funds the equipment. We have engaged
Potraz and the Ministry of Transport and communication on the matter and
they have to play a role as well. We will meet with government soon to chart
the way forward," he said.
Transport and Communications Minister, Chris Mushowe, could not be reached
for comment on the matter.
Zimbabwe human rights groups have criticised the new interception law
arguing that the Zimbabwean government will use the legislation to further
emasculate the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders
and other government critics.
The Zimbabwe government denies the charge insisting the new law is in line
with international trends to fight terrorism and ensure national security. -
Friday 10 August 2007
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
HARARE - A Harare magistrate on Thursday reserved judgment in an application
for refusal of further remand filed by six men who are being accused of
ploting to topple President Robert Mugabe.
The magistrate, Archie Wochiunga, remanded the six accused in custody to
next Friday after rejecting a defence application to have the matter moved
to an open court.
Wochiunga granted the application by the state led by Lawrence Phiri that
the court proceedings must take place in camera with no family members or
members of the media in the courtroom.
The magistrate did not give reasons for the decision.
Immediately after the ruling, the police ordered the public gallery to clear
before the application for refusal of remand could be heard.
Speaking to ZimOnline after the proceedings, defence lawyer Charles Warara
said he was optimistic that the magistrate would rule in his clients'
"The charge of conspiring is defective because it does not disclose a plot
to topple the government. For that to take place, there must be an
"But the state is saying these accused wanted to approach some senior (army)
officers - which they did not prove - but that in essence does not
constitute an offence of conspiracy," said Warara.
The six accused - Albert Matapo, 40, a former senior army officer; Shingirai
Mutemachani, 20, a private in the army; Nyasha Zivuku; Oncemore Mudzurahowa,
41; Emmanuel Marara, 40; and Patson Mapfure, 46 - have been in remand prison
since their arrest last June.
The state says the six wanted to recruit members of the Zimbabwe National
Army (ZNA) to stage a coup against Mugabe and replace him with Rural Housing
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa, who has since denied that he was party to the coup plan, heads a
faction of ZANU PF that is tussling against another led by former army
commander Solomon Mujuru for the control of the ruling ZANU PF party and the
country in a post-Mugabe era. - ZimOnline
Friday 10 August 2007
By Nigel Hangarume
HARARE - South Africa will not boycott cricket tours of Zimbabwe on
political or moral grounds, as the two countries engaged in a four-day game
at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Cricket South Africa (CSA)'s new president Norman Arendse yesterday defended
his country's stance following media criticism of their A side's tour of
Australian Premier John Howard barred his country from fulfilling a tour of
Zimbabwe scheduled for next month as a way to protest against President
Robert Mugabe's human rights record.
West Indies politicians followed suit last month when they stopped their A
team from touring Zimbabwe after raising moral and security concerns.
India agreed to send their A side as a replacement for the Caribbean side,
which was seen as a blow to a campaign by Australia, England and New Zealand
to slap sporting sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Arendse said the Test members had agreed that the International Cricket
Council (ICC) had no obligation to take political positions.
"The Zimbabwe issue was debated fully, and at length, at the recent ICC AGM
in London," Arendse said in a statement. "Despite initial criticism from
countries like Australia, England and New Zealand, after full debate and
discussion, the full member countries of the ICC unanimously agreed to
retain Zimbabwe as a full member."
He added: "The full member countries also agreed that it is not for the ICC
to take up any moral or political stance on any issue in any of the full
"CSA is therefore committed to fulfilling its ICC obligations, and will only
not do so, if instructed by the South African government whether to play
there or not."
Arendse said the CSA board had also debated the Zimbabwe and the decision to
tour "was unanimous".
South Africa's full national side is set to tour Zimbabwe next month for a
one-day international series. - ZimOnline
Afrique en ligne
Harare, Zimbabwe - The Angolan government has embarked on seeking
Zimbabwe's assistance in various military aspects, Angolan armed forces
chief, General Fransisco Furtado said here Thursday.
Furtado arrived here Wednesday at the head of a top-level Angolan
military delegation for a seven-day visit to Zimbabwe, during which he was
expected to hold talks with senior Zimbabwean military leaders and visit key
He said Angola, a regional military ally of Zimbabwe, was particularly
interested in establishing co-operation in training, and to tap Zimbabwe's
experience in military integration.
After three decades of civil war, Angola is integrating its former
warring forces, an area Zimbabwe has vast experience it gained independence
in 1980 it successfully integrated the colonial army and various guerrilla
Former rebel UNITA soldiers are being presently integrated into the
"We can learn something from ZDF (Zimbabwe Defence Forces) to help us
in the process (integration) we are developing now," Furtado said told
He said Angola was also keen to establish military training links with
Zimbabwe, reputed to have some of the finest military education programmes
in the southern Africa region.
Harare - 09/08/2007
Economic decline, poor harvest cause significant decrease in food insecurity
Protracted economic decline, exacerbated by a poor 2006/07 harvest, as well as current and potential future disruptions of food supply due to recent price controls and eminent restrictions on basic commodity imports have caused a significant decrease in Zimbabwe’s food security, especially in the southwest and in urban areas.
This year’s cereal production is expected to meet only 55 percent of Zimbabwe’s requirements, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme. The 2006/07 harvest was severely compromised (Figure 1) by poor access to inputs, the underutilization of land and, in the south and west, by El Niño-related drought conditions. In an effort to mitigate the impacts of this year’s production deficits, the Government of Zimbabwe’s (GoZ) Grain Marketing Board (GMB) intends to procure half of the country’s harvest and distribute this, along with 400,000 MT of maize it plans to import from Malawi, in deficit production areas. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the GMB has secured an additional 200,000 MT of maize from Tanzania. To make up the balance, WFP and C-SAFE tentatively plan to import about 352,000 MT of food aid to feed 4.1 million people. While it is conceivable that maize import requirements could be met, the GMB’s ability to distribute maize is a serious concern, as, in the past, GMB distributions have been erratic, and local shortages are common.
To date, the GMB has collected about 70,000 MT of maize from domestic production and has received about 115,000 MT of the Malawian maize. The Malawi contract has performed to GMB expectations to date.
Drought-affected areas of southern and western Zimbabwe produced less than 10 percent of their cereal needs, and these areas are now entirely reliant on the GMB for their maize (Figure 1). While the GMB provides maize at a controlled and comparatively affordable price to deficit areas, this maize is not always available on demand and must be requested by community delegates in advance, then transported from depots to villages at the requesting village’s expense. The availability of transport will play a critical role in meeting food needs in the deficit areas.
Source: FEWS NET
Towards end of June, the GoZ affected price controls on an array of basic commodities. The resultant decline in food availability and food access has been dramatic, particularly in urban areas. Until recently, most basic goods, including maize meal, were available on both formal and parallel markets, albeit at rapidly rising prices. But, the implementation of the June price controls resulted in a run on price-controlled commodities and a decline in their production due to the erosion of profit margins. The formal market can no longer maintain a regular supply of basic goods, and sporadic deliveries of these goods are met with long lines that do not allow for everyone to make it into the store before stocks run out. The run on commodities is having the biggest impact on the poor, who are forced to make frequent purchases in smaller amounts and are not able to buy in bulk when commodities become available. While basic goods can still be found on parallel markets at a substantially higher cost, availability is noticeably declining as restrictions are tightened on imports and the police intensify monitoring operations, driving the parallel market further underground.
The cost of a household’s monthly basket, monitored by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), had risen to ZW$ 12,587,819 for the month of June, before price controls lowered the cost to ZW$ 8,275,859. Inflation has continued unabated, wreaking havoc with the economy and restricting household purchasing power. In most sectors, workers unions have been pushing for wage reviews on a monthly basis because minimum wages continue to trail behind inflation. The minimum monthly wage for the commercial sector, a proxy for the majority of low income earners, only covered about 10 percent of the CCZ monthly basket in June this year. The situation is expected to have deteriorated further in July, given the stagnation of wages and higher basic commodity prices on the parallel market.
By Carole Gombakomba
09 August 2007
Residents of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare say water shortages in the
city have reached alarming levels, such that some now say they fear a public
health emergency with households going for up to five days without running
Harare needs 900 megaliters a day, experts say, but at present the capacity
of the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works is just 600 megaliters of
Frequent power cuts by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority are also
limiting the ability of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to supply
water to the city.
Critics say the capital's water supply system is simply insufficient to meet
the needs of an expanding population now estimated at 3 million. And such
experts say ZINWA does not have the capacity or the funds to meet the demand
for clean water.
Senior ZINWA officials could not be reached for for comment. But a spokesman
for the parastatal enterprise, Nicholas Mukarakate, told state television
that the disruption of water supplies stems from machinery breakdowns at the
Morton Jaffray plant, which was operating at 50 percent of capacity. He
promised a solution by Saturday.
Water Resources Minister Munacho Mutezo said the government is asking
consumers to bear with the difficulties because it is "battling to provide
water for everybody."
Executive Director Ngoni Mudege of the Institute of Water and Sanitation
Development told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that with water in short supply, households are turning to other sources,
posing a health risk.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 9 August
Mail & Guardian reporter
In the five months since the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
asked President Thabo Mbeki to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis, Robert Mugabe
has pushed through legislation entrenching his rule, widened rifts with his
opponents and made policy decisions that have deepened his country's
economic crisis. With just a week to go before Mbeki is due to present a
report on the progress of his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, there are no
visible signs that Mugabe has cooperated as much as SADC and Mbeki had
hoped. But analysts say Mbeki goes into next week's SADC summit in Lusaka
encouraged that a set of recommendations to rescue Zimbabwe's economy is now
ready. SADC secretary general Tomasz Salomão, who has led the SADC team that
is trying to work out an economic rescue package for Zimbabwe, disclosed
this week that he has presented a document of recommended economic reforms
to Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete, the head of the region's organ on
politics and security.
Salomão told the Mail & Guardian this week that he had given the document to
Kikwete on July 29. Although he would not discuss the contents of the
report, he was quoted earlier as saying that Zimbabwe's neighbours need to
provide fertilizer and energy to the country. He also described the state of
the mediation process as "delicate". With the veil of secrecy over the
talks, it is difficult to gauge the success of the Mbeki mediation. There is
the question of how much of the recommended reforms Mugabe will be prepared
to accept. This will be key in determining the future of the Mbeki mediation
process, opposition figures in Zimbabwe say privately. Zanu PF seems to feel
it is under no pressure; it has missed meetings at will and stalled the
talks on constitutional reform. Its deputy spokesperson, Ephraim Masawi,
this week said his party's delegation to the dialogue is waiting now for a
formal briefing by Mugabe before taking a final position on whether to
discuss a new constitution.
But among Mugabe's opponents, patience with the regional mediation process
seems to have run out. Elphas Mukonoweshuro, opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's senior foreign policy adviser, disclosed the opposition's
frustration with the process. He said: "What is most disappointing up to now
is there has not been much progress in terms of the substantive issues
concerning Zimbabwe. When SADC leaders mandated Mbeki to look at the
Zimbabwe issue, there was a real sense of urgency to contain the total
breakdown of the country, but all we see is the situation getting worse."
Representatives of both factions of the MDC have been criss-crossing the
region this week, anxious to prod it to take more urgent action.
Despite outrage over the brutal beating of opposition politicians and
activists, Mugabe escaped public SADC censure at the last summit in March.
State media gloated over what it saw as a diplomatic victory, saying Mugabe
had managed to convince the summit that he had acted only to defend the
country against a violent opposition. At the March meeting in Dar es Salaam,
he presented what was called "a dossier of the MDC's terror tactics"
prepared by police. But now it turns out that the entire document was a
collection of lies crafted by the police. A Harare High Court judge - ending
the five-month detention of 13 opposition activists accused of taking part
in a petrol bomb campaign earlier this year - dismissed police claims that
the activists had created a South African-based and opposition-run terror
training camp, adding that witnesses who police say had linked petrol bomb
attacks to the MDC were entirely "fictitious".
At the upcoming meeting, SADC will be under pressure to confront Mugabe
about his disastrous economic policies. More than 7 500 business people have
been arrested since he ordered a price freeze in June. State media reported
last weekend that Zimbabwe will produce its smallest wheat crop since 1980,
after irrigated crops were hit by power cuts and fuel shortages. The price
crackdown has combined with poor harvests to create a new surge of economic
refugees seeking food and jobs in neighbouring countries. It is perhaps this
growing number of fleeing Zimbabweans that might persuade the region to
adopt a fresh approach to the Zimbabwe crisis. South Africa has been bearing
the brunt of the exodus, but Zambian immigration has reported that the
number of Zimbabweans crossing into the southern town of Livingstone in
search of basic goods has risen from 60 to 1 000 people daily.
Zambia is the incoming chair of SADC and relations between Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa and Mugabe are not as cosy as Mugabe would want. Mwanawasa's
deputy, Rupiah Banda, travelled to Harare in April and stroked Mugabe's ego,
calling him "an outstanding leader". Last week, Banda was back in Harare "in
an attempt to make up with Mugabe", reports said. Zimbabwe's opposition
fears that, in his report to SADC, Mbeki will go no further than the
position taken by his Cabinet recently when it voiced "concern about the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe", encouraging only a continuation of the
HARARE, 10 August 2007 (IRIN) - It's early morning and a small truck with
fake number plates draws upto a shopping centre in St Mary's, a populous
suburb in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza - about 30km from the capital
Harare - and within minutes long queues form after the word spreads that
there is beef for sale.
Beef has become a rare commodity in the country and being sold at a price of
Z$100,000 (US$0.40 at the parallel market exchange rate of Z$250,000 for
US$1) a kilogram from the back of the truck, those queuing cannot believe
their luck. When beef was readily available it was sold for as much as
Z$550,000 (US$2.2) a kilogram.
After 30 minutes the truck has sold its stock and hurriedly disappears, and
then it dawns on the customers that they have been duped and have bought
donkey meat, condsidered unedible by Zimbabweans.
In rural Dema, which lies on the southern border of Chitungwiza, Chrispen
Mutongi, 53, awoke to discover that his two donkeys had been stolen and
alerted the police, who later found the remains of his animals on a roadside
in the dormitory town.
They had apparently been killed and skinned the evening before the truck
appeared at St Mary's, making it possible that the meat sold as beef were
"If the thieves had stolen goats or cattle and sold the meat, it would be
understandable but that they had the guts to sell donkey meat to
unsuspecting people just shows how cruel these people can become in their
quest to make fast money during these difficult days," Mutongi told IRIN.
Mutongi used the donkeys in tandem with his three cattle, but without them,
Mutongi says he will not have sufficient draught power to adequately till
his land next months when the rains are due and expects bad yields from his
crops this season, which will only add to his households worsening hunger.
There has been a spate of livestock thefts in the Dema area and residents
have now taken to keeping their goats and chickens in their homes as a
security precaution, whereas before the livestock would be housed in pens
away from the homesteads.
"Of course, we always experienced thefts particularly of poultry but the
cases have sharply gone up in the villages in the last month. What we have
gathered is that those who steal the goats and chicken sell them in
Chitungwiza and Harare," said Mutongi, who is urging the police crackdown on
the informal trade of meat products.
It is just one more incident reflecting the increasing desperation among
consumers, after President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF government
introduced price controls six weeks ago in a bid to cap inflation levels
that have surged beyond 4,000 percent, resulting in shop shelves becoming
According to the police 7,660 people have been arrested for overpricing
after they failed to reduce prices by 50 percent since the price controls
were introduced and beef and other livestock products have all but
disappeared from butcheries.
When butcheries were ordered by price control taskforce inspectors to price
their beef between Z$90,000 (US$0.36) and Z$120,000 (US$0.48) a kilogram,
abbattoirs stopped slaughtering arguing that they would be operating at a
loss since they were still buying beasts at high price. The government
revoked the abbattoirs' licences and brought the parastatal, the Cold
Storage Company (CSC), out of mothballs, and gave them the sole right to
slaughter and distribute meat.
But the CSC is struggling to meet demands, even though the parastatal
increased the price of a head of cattle from Z$3 million (US$12) to Z$12
million (US$48), still far short of the Z$40 million (US$160) price that
were obtainable before the price blitz.
"Now is the time for the government to take stock of Operation Reduce Prices
and revisit the rationale behind it against the negative implications it has
had on consumers," Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist,
businessman and past chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) told IRIN.
"That consumers can become so desperate as to fail to distinguish between
donkey meat and genuine beef reflects their vulnerability in an environment
of extreme scarcity offset by bad policies. It is not only consumers but
livestock owners as well who are affected as unscrupulous people take
advantage of the situation," he said.
"Before the blitz, the CSC was not functioning and was hurriedly revived at
a time private abattoirs were closed down. It is poorly capitalised and
lacks the necessary infrastructure for a massive rollout of beef. That
means, for as long as there is no change in policy, beef will remain scarce
in this country," said Makwiramiti.
The CSC said recently it required least Z$700 billion (US$2.8 million) to
function properly, but as yet has only received a first tranche of Z$80
billion (US$320,000) from the government.
Poachers and rustlers
At a time when drinking taverns are experiencing low patronage because of
the unavailability of beer and meat, a butcher, who identified himself only
as Nick to IRIN has managed to maintain a constant supply of meat.
"I did not cause the current shortage of beef and I will be the last to
moralise about who brings me the stuff and where he or she gets it. I have
managed to strike it with some 'connections' of mine who give me regular
supplies of both game meat and beef.
"Of course, I know that some of the meat is poached or rustled from farmers
and rural cattle owners and even game parks, but it is the work of the
police to investigate that," Nick told IRIN.
Edward Mbewe, the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson, told
the state-run Herald newspaper recently that the government was "concerned
that the continued demand for meat now with our animals that are edible
roaming our parks, we could be seeing a worse poaching situation."
When meat is sourced, it has often been transported in unhygienic
conditions, but consumers care little for that or the legality of the meat.
"When you have gone for a month without tasting beef, hygiene is the last
thing that comes to your mind. There is a sense of victory when you manage
to bring a morsel of meat to the table," John Mangirazi, a patron of one of
Harare's taverns told IRIN.
Nick is not deterred that if caught selling the meat of stolen animals that
he could face a jail sentence of 30 years under strict anti-rustling
He sells a kilogramme of game meat for Z$600,000 (US$2.4), arguing that "the
price monitors cannot touch me since it is not controlled", but even the
beef he sells at Z$450,000 (US$1.8) is above the gazetted price; although he
does not expect to be arrested becasue he has "made friends" with the price
Conservationists believe about 80 percent of Zimbabwe's wildlife population
has been killed since 2000 when the government embarked on a controversial
land redistribution programme that saw commercial farms owned by whites
redistributed to landless blacks.
There have been reports of villagers hunting down elephants for food,
particularly in areas close to nature conservancies, but smaller animals
such as hares and kudu are prime targets in rural areas.
Beef has joined the ever growing list of shortages in Zimbabwe, which
includes, fuel, electricty, potable water and staple foods. The Food and
Agriculture Organisation and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) issued a
joint report on Zimbabwe's food security in June, predicting that "people at
risk (from severe food shortages) will peak at 4.1 million in the first
three months of 2008 - more than a third of Zimbabwe's estimated population
of 11.8 million."
The WFP made an urgent an US$118 million appeal on Wednesday to raise funds
for the millions of Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Committee to Protect Journalists (New York)
9 August 2007
Posted to the web 9 August 2007
A sweeping surveillance law ratified Friday in Zimbabwe will target
"imperialist-sponsored journalists with hidden agendas," the country's
information minister told CPJ. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the law as
intending "to protect the president, a minister, or any citizen from harm."
The Interception of Communications Act will allow authorities to intercept
all phone, Internet, and mail communications, and will establish a state
monitoring center and require telecommunications providers to install
systems "supporting lawful interceptions at all times," according to the
Media Institute of Southern Africa.
Independent journalists say the law is intended to close a loophole in an
already oppressive reporting environment. As Zimbabwe has become more
restrictive of the media, a greater number of Zimbabwean journalists send
their reports to international media outlets and online publications based
outside the country. The lawful interception of communications could expose
investigative reporters and create a climate of fear, said Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists President Matthew Takaona.
"This surveillance law further cuts Zimbabwe off from the world and creates
an even more oppressive environment than ever for the press," said CPJ
Executive Director Joel Simon. "The international community needs to be
aware that Zimbabwe is attempting to suppress any remaining press freedom in
its country. Urgent action is required."
While the law troubles reporters at SW Radio Africa, a UK-based independent
broadcaster founded in December 2001 by uprooted Zimbabwean journalists, it
would not deter the station, manager Gerry Jackson told CPJ. The broadcaster
offers news headlines via SMS to a growing audience of about 5,000 mobile
phone users in Zimbabwe, she said. The station also circulates transcripts
of interviews via e-mail to the Zimbabwean diaspora.
In June 2006, the station reported that its medium-wave broadcasts into
Zimbabwe had been jammed. There had been a similar scrambling of its
short-wave broadcasts in 2005. The government denied that it had interfered,
but in February it admitted to jamming Washington-based Studio 7, produced
by Voice of America and staffed by uprooted Zimbabwean journalists. "We
cannot allow foreigners to invade our airwaves without our authority," the
Media Institute of Southern Africa quoted Deputy Minister of Information and
Publicity Bright Matonga as saying.
The law also threatens to undermine local journalists who clandestinely
report for independent Internet-based publications, Takaona said. Several
Internet news sites have flourished in recent years as alternative sources
of information in response to the government's strict accreditation regime.
Under the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
journalists can already be sentenced for up to two years in prison for
practicing journalism without a license.
A journalist of South Africa-based Zimbabwean news Web site ZimOnline told
CPJ the measures have been designed to create fear. ZimOnline reporters in
Zimbabwe use e-mail pseudonyms to file stories and conceal their identities
when calling government officials for comments, he said.
Local rights group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is considering
challenging the legislation in court, acting director Irene Petras told CPJ.
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court had previously ruled unconstitutional similar
legislation granting the government sweeping powers to monitor
communications that threaten national security when it struck down in 2004
the Posts and Telecommunications Act, according to news reports.
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to
safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit
SW Radio Africa Transcript
Broadcast on 7 August
This was a day after she assaulted photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi at Makro Wholesalers in Harare . The journalist confirmed the assault with us but Jocelyn was in complete denial.
Violet: Hello can I speak with Jocelyn Chiwenga.
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Yeh who is speaking?
Violet: Hello this is Violet from SW Radio Africa.
Jocelyn Chiwenga: From?
Violet: SW Radio Africa
Jocelyn Chiwenga: What do you want?
Violet: I wanted to find out if reports that appeared in the newspapers are true that you attacked a journalist.
Jocelyn Chiwenga: No they are not true at all and you know what? Why don’t you book yourself in British Airways first class I will pay for it and you can come and see for yourself. You people started writing without checking. So now you have seen my answer I am suing you for 1 billion US and I mean business.
Violet: You are suing…?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: They are not true.
Violet: Who are you suing?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: And I am not chef’s wife. My name is Jocelyn Chiwenga.You have started all over again this war. You’re not gonna win it.
Violet: Mrs Chiwenga you sound so angry why are you this angry?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: What do you think? If it was you what would you say!? You wake up in the morning and everybody in the whole world is phoning you, how would you feel?
Violet: Did you not attack people at Makro supermarket in Harare yesterday?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Where you at the supermarket in Harare ?
Violet: That’s why I am calling you …
Jocelyn Chiwenga: If you were then why are you calling me?
Violet: … to find out from you
Jocelyn Chiwenga: I said if you were at Makro you would have been writing something else.
Violet: We have a journalist who confirms that…
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Ohh, you have. Then why are you phoning me?
Violet: No but you are the one who has been accused
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Because I replied. Because I have replied and I’m taking action that’s why you are phoning me.
Violet: You are taking action against who?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: And who gave you my number? Who gave you my number?
Violet: But don’t you think…
Jocelyn Chiwenga: for your own information let me tell you something
Jocelyn Chiwenga: This conversation I am taping it so you are, I know you are also taping it. And hello, yes I have the right to be angry; because you have started a war that you will not win! I am not Iraq !
Violet: Amai Chiwenga do you think it’s right for people to just barge into shopping centres and start threatening people?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Okay, okay let me tell you something you are Zimbabwean right, are you not Zimbabwean?
Violet: I am Zimbabwean
Jocelyn Chiwenga: You are Zimbabwean, no no no are you Zimbabwean?
Violet: I have answered
Jocelyn Chiwenga: you are Zimbabwean or you are British?
Violet: I am Zimbabwean and I have answered that already
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Okay. You see, you are what?
Violet: I have answered that already that I am Zimbabwean
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Okay are you the ambassador of Zimbabwe ?
Violet: You know your words don’t sound like those of a normal person or rational. What are you trying to imply here?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: You know what, you haven’t really heard anything don’t ever phone this number again do you understand me?
Violet: Amai Chiwenga in the rest of the world people are allowed different points of views why is this not allowed in Zimbabwe ?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Ayiwa iwe listen the rest of the world is now at war with me including yourself!
Violet: I am not at war with you.
Jocelyn Chiwenga: We gonna pick you up baby! And you are coming to write the truth. So tonight watch BBC and CNN you will see it and Zimbabwe television, you will see the truth and then when you do, tomorrow you will be apologising.
Violet: Amai Chiwenga but are you not ashamed of yourself that you hide behind your husbands power?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: F*** YOU MAN STUPID!!! (BANGS THE PHONE)
Violet: And she hung up on us. ButI did try to call her back and this is what happened.
A woman answers Chiwenga’s phone: Hello?
Violet: Hello Amai Chiwenga?
Personal Assistant : It’s not Amai Chiwenga, it’s the PA. Can I help you?
Violet: Can I speak with Ami Chiwenga please?
Personal Assistant : I am sorry right now she is busy. She is in a meeting.
Violet: When can I talk to her?
Personal Assistant : ehh I am not quite sure, (Chiwenga can be heard talking in the background) ehh hold on.
Jocelyn Chiwenga: Hello. I am behind the girl. Listen my baby darling. Read your email again. I am now suing you for $2 billion. BREAKING NEWS!! Bye!
Violet: You are suing me for 2 million?
Jocelyn Chiwenga: (she hangs up)
Violet: (laughing) Dr. Makumbe your thoughts on this?
Dr. Makumbe: (laughing) I can lend you $2 if you want.I think it will help.
Violet: Some say just listening to Jocelyn Chiwenga you get a good profile of what ZANU PF is like. Do you agree with this?
Dr. Makumbe: I agree entirely except of course she is more of an unpolished crude, if you like – uncouth, uncultured version of ZANU PF. But ZANU PF elements are basically like that. They are arrogant. They are full of themselves and they are half-wits really. They are morons most of them. “Because you have made a phone call to me the lawsuit has moved from $1 billion to $2billion.” (laughs) You know, you will have to be an idiot to think like that. But she is a good representative of the nature of the majority of the elements in ZANU PF, yes.
Violet: You know, it seems that most of the people in ZANU PF, that we do talk to, seem to be in denial. Every single time when we call them to comment on the situation in the country they never take responsibility of the situation on the ground and nothing seems to make any sense especially with the latest economic policies - where for example in one week you hear they’ve announced the ban of food imports and fuel coupons and then the following week they have reversed this. Do you agree that the regime is randomly hitting out on everybody without any thought?
Dr. Makumbe: I would go further than that Violet and say the regime is actually confused. They actually legitimately don’t know what to do. Sometimes we are actually treating them as normal people when they are completely abnormal. Some of the decisions they make, for example, government vehicles have been getting fuel from the fuel depots that issue coupons. But they go and ban the fuel coupons and literally grounding half of the government fleet! So you actually see a moronic approach to some policies and a complete failure to understand how business operates or how the public will react to reduced prices, what the impact of that would be on manufacturing sector, on productivity and so forth. They actually are ignorant of the dynamics of some of the things they do.
Violet: What about their actual mindset. The situation in Zimbabwe has degenerated. What kind of people would allow things to degenerate like this?
Dr. Makumbe: These are people who are actually desperate Violet. The mindset is that of a desperate regime. Which, because it doesn’t know what will work or what will not work, is busy bungling. It’s trying by trial and error, you know, this policy, that policy and they don’t actually believe that they cannot themselves turn this economy around. They cannot in fact resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe themselves. They need help; they need to be rescued from themselves. As I said they are arrogant and full of themselves. The mindset is one of; “If we don’t do it nobody else can do it better.”
Which really is the mind of an idiot because after 27 years of messing up if you think you need another five or six or ten years messing up again in order for things to get right, you must be a half-wit.
Violet: So do you think Zimbabweans are dealing very superficially with Mugabe and his lieutenants?
Dr. Makumbe: Yes I think so. I think Zimbabweans have gone beyond the level of tolerance to the level, I think, of absolute cowardice now. Because no normal country would allow the situation to deteriorate to the level it has without challenging the powers that be and I mean challenging very forcefully. Very vigorously without being violent but literally if people are asked to boycott work, they boycott work en masse. If people are asked to go into the streets and march they go there not in the few numbers of the NCA – you know a few hundreds – but in THOUSANDS! Literally making the regime sweat for every second it stays in power. That is not yet happening and Zimbabwean are paying the price of that level of cowardice, I think.
Violet: But where are the thinkers?
Dr. Makumbe: The thinkers are here and I think they are dead scared of thinking! They are therefore just equally cowardly. If you get a group of very brilliant young men and young women in Zimbabwe. Put them in a room and say let’s put together ten strategies, which we can use to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, they would be petrified! They would be so scared! First of all they will say; “Are you sure there are no cameras and microphones here where we could be heard and so forth.”
They are petrified of the regime! The regime system of intimidation and torture and harassment has actually worked to the regime’s advantage but to the disadvantage of the nation because the regime essentially gets away with whatever it decides to do. All the way from Gukurahundi to Murambatsvina and to now this ridiculous Operation Lower Prices and so forth. The regime is having everything its way while the nation is essentially collapsing.
Violet: Now Edison Zvobgo once said that Mugabe is a mental case and called him the madman from ngoma huru who is still running in the bushes. Is what is happening in Zimbabwe something that a normal person would do?
Dr. Makumbe: No.
Violet: What is really happening to Robert Mugabe?
Dr. Makumbe: No Robert Mugabe is impervious to reason. He has no faculties that function normally at all. A normal person would look at the hardships that Zimbabweans are facing today and feel guilty and feel responsible and feel that it is probably time to hand over the baton to somebody else younger, more intelligent. Somebody more popular, more acceptable to the people of Zimbabwe, more acceptable to the international community but Robert Mugabe doesn’t actually have the mental capacity to think like that. I don’t think his grey-matter still exists within his head. I think he is senile basically now. Senile and deranged. I think he even suffers from worst things than we can mention on radio now. Just like Jocelyn Chiwenga. When you listen to that woman talking you actually understand – while you are 8 to 10 000 kilometres away from Zimbabwe – you can hear you are talking to a deranged woman. Somebody who is actually sick and it is well known that Jocelyn is sick. Those who saw her on television when she appeared confirmed that she is sick. All the signs are there. She may have gone through a “red robot” or they would even say in Zimbabwe “she is in the departure lounge” and I believe that. People in that condition tend to be very difficult to work with or to have a conversation with.
Violet: And Dr. Makumbe, you know, Chenjerai Hunzvi was a ruling party official who led a violent campaign that led to the seizure of commercial farms in 2000. He was known to be brutal and some say he enjoyed the violence and physical pain he inflicted on those who crossed his path. Now his death a year later was attributed to malaria but some reports say he died of AIDS. There are some who attribute his irrational behaviour to his illness and there has been some discussion about the link between the two. But others say the bottom line is that these are people who simply feel they own the country and are not answerable to anyone. Essentially they are thugs. Do you see more of this irrational behavior in government?
Dr. Makumbe: Well we are seeing a lot of this not so much in the government but at least in Jocelyn Chiwenga who is not anything to do with government. But where we are seeing that in government is with people like Augustine Chihuri who is part and parcel of the task force on the lowering of prices or price controls. He largely dictates a lot of things in the task force. And when he speaks as the commissioner of the police no other individuals contest that, including ( Industry and Trade Minister) Obert Mpofu himself. Obert Mpofu is petrified of Augustine Chihuri! And I know that it was Augustine Chihuri who mooted the issue of banning fuel coupons and no one in the taskforce – at that particular meeting - dared to challenge him. And as you know the government later reversed this decision or rescinded the decision including the decision also to ban food imports.
So you have these maniacs running the government and they are not just maniacs - they are also sick. In between sessions of these meetings they are busy pouring ARVS and drinking tablets and you expect them to be normal – normal enough to run a complex economy like Zimbabwe? It just doesn’t happen.
Violet: So Dr Makumbe is this now an issue that requires some sort of psychiatric examination?
Dr. Makumbe: I think so. I think the whole lot. If the government leaders now in the cabinet, in the various commissions – you know thank God (Sekesai) Makwavarara is no longer a Commissioner of Harare – and if they were to go through psychiatry tests none of them would pass! We would end up without a cabinet, a government or commissioners. They would all fail because they are literally borderline maniacs. They are really operating largely in the manic depression areas of their insanity, I would say.
Violet: And with what we have been seeing in the last few years concerning Robert Mugabe – you know the regional leaders have been trying to get the political parties together, to negotiate. Now is Mugabe the kind of person that you can actually sit with and engage with seriously now or it’s just a waste of time trying to negotiate with him?
Dr. Makumbe: It is a waste of time and Thabo Mbeki is only discovering that now because out of three meetings conducted or held – convened by South Africa – ZANU PF elements missed two and the MDC guys turned up. But in those two which the ZANU PF elements didn’t show up nothing, no business occurred and Thabo Mbeki is actually embarrassed now because he has to give a report to the SADC on progress and he will definitely lie and say; “We have made good progress and the parties are talking to each other and they have agreed on an agenda blah blah blah.”
When Robert Mugabe opened parliament last week he didn’t mention one syllable to do with the mediation by Thabo Mbeki or the SADC region! That shows you how scornful he is of the whole process and he doesn’t even look at the mediation process by SADC or Thabo Mbeki as necessary for the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe. He is very likely to say; “There is no crisis in Zimbabwe, we are dealing with the malcontents, we are bring about socialism blah blah blah. We have a Look East Policy.” Literally every sector is collapsing and he actually behaves like nothing is happening. That can only happen to a person who is living in cloud cuckoo land. Who has no relation to reality and that is Robert Mugabe.
Violet: So what is the way forward? It’s now sounding like a cliché but it’s not enough – you said earlier Zimbabweans are cowards - but it’s not enough to say that. Clearly something has to be done but what is it? You have more than 3 000 people flocking to South Africa daily. There are serious food shortages. There is no fuel, power cuts, water cuts. What is the way forward? What can people seriously do to resolve the situation?
Dr. Makumbe: I think those among the people who are still in Zimbabwe, who are in NGOs, who are in Save Zimbabwe Campaign, who are in MDC – both factions of the MDC – should again come together and say we have to pay a price to free this country from ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe. And to do that some of us will have to be locked up, tortured even killed and we agree that, that would be necessary. So from today we shall be on the streets. We shall march peacefully but we will face the wrath of the police, the CIO, the army and so forth. And they will have to commit themselves to go on until the resolution of the crisis. Until Robert Mugabe is removed from power. Without that commitment, Violet, the situation will continue to deteriorate and eventually it shall deteriorate in such a way that the ordinary person who is unorganised, who is very hungry, very angry may take the law into their own hands and they may do a Somali in Zimbabwe. And as you know Violet in Somalia they did it so powerfully – when they overthrew Siad Barre – that they destroyed the State and if we do that in Zimbabwe we all lose. When you destroy the State you are in trouble because the State is one of the most difficult things to rebuild.
Violet Gonda: And the discussion with Dr. Makumbe concludes next week when he will give us his thoughts on the army in Zimbabwe. How strong a hold has Mugabe got of the security forces? Is there a likelihood for a coup? Dr Makumbe will also talk about the rigging of elections in Zimbabwe, which he says goes far beyond tampering with the voters’ roll.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to email@example.com
Financial Gazette (Harare)
9 August 2007
Posted to the web 10 August 2007
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) attempted to dupe the State Procurement
Board (SPB) into approving a 980 000 euro procurement deal with a
Netherlands registered company, Pedflora, for the purchase of 100
motorcycles, according to confidential documents seen by The Financial
The ZRP is understood to have misled the SPB into believing that Pedflora
was a local company, according to details of an SPB report to Parliament
early this year.
The SPB had written to Parliament after the ZRP had complained about delays
in the processing of urgent tenders, arguing the tendering process had
become irrelevant due to hyperinflation, which eroded the value of local
currency on a daily basis.
The report to Parliament, addressed to deputy clerk of Parliament Helen
Dingani by SPB chairman Charles Kuwaza in February this year, chronicles how
the police's accounting officers had occasionally violated procurement
procedures by making direct purchases, avoiding an open tender system as
required by law.
The accounting officers would seek condonation for the procurements after
violation of the procurement processes.
But the open tender system gives the authorities a chance to choose the most
Kuwaza told Dingani that he noticed the anomaly in the involvement of
Pedflora when it claimed advance payments in foreign currency.
On seeking clarification, the police said, "adopting an open tender will
result in serious delays in procuring these much-needed bikes".
"The ZRP is in dire and immediate need of transport resources to fight
economic crimes," the ZRP said.
Details obtained by The Financial Gazette indicate that the police had
sought to purchase 100X Arctic Cat 400 Automatic 4X4 motorbikes from a local
company called Pedflora Limited (but) no company profile was provided.
A police superintendent named R.T. Masukusa had on March 7 2006 communicated
the request to the SPB.
Pedflora's details indicate that it is headquartered in Amsterdam, and
operates account 0251-805109-72-2 with Credit Suisse Private Banking, 2
Place Bel-Air in Geneva Switzerland.
"As can be seen from the request, the company (which the police) claimed to
be local had an operating address (in) the Netherlands with banking details
in Geneva and claiming advance payment in Euros," Kuwaza said in his report
He said the police had not attached a profile of the company as required in
any tendering process.
"The Board rejected the accounting officer's proposal as it had failed to
meet the requirements of the Procurement Act and Regulations," he said.
But The Financial Gazette understands that after the SPB queried the
transaction, police backtracked and claimed local dealers had run out of
A Special Formal Tender (SFT) for Yamaha motorcycles granted to eight local
suppliers, among them Yamaha Centre (Pvt) Ltd, Honda Centre, Suzuki Centre,
AMC, Bike-A-Rama, Masvingo Bike Centre, Southern Region Training Company and
Ped Stock Investments, was also overturned, the report says.
"The accounting officer never explained how he had come to identify Pedflora
and eventually, the SFT was granted in the absence of the requested
information," the report reads.
Kuwaza said they discovered other violations of regulations by the ZRP when
they were investigating the Pedflora deal.
These included the direct importation of 10XBMW 1150 escort motorbikes from
Instrument for Traffic Law Enforcement of
South Africa, for which the ZRP had later sought condonation after the
"The accounting officer's justification for purchasing motorbikes without
board authority lacks credibility and substance," he said.
"About 90 percent of the accounting officer's requests relate to direct
purchases from this particular supplier," Kuwaza said.
"Such procurement methods are inherently susceptible to corruption as the
supplier would almost always inflate his prices and fleece the public purse.
The accounting officer has failed to explain how the supplier of the bikes
was selected," the SPB chief wrote.
He added that the SPB had discovered that local suppliers used by the ZRP
who claimed not to require foreign currency to provide goods and services,
could actually be sourcing the hard currency from the parallel market,
worsening the already high inflation.
Kuwaza said instead of benefiting from the illegal transactions, the ZRP
should investigate the sources of such foreign currency.
Zimbabwe is facing acute foreign currency shortages and the general policy
has been for government departments to procure their requirements from local
companies to save the depleted reserves.
Kuwaza declined to comment on the issue when contacted last week, saying he
could only do so before a parliamentary committee in which the issue had
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
10 August 2007
Posted to the web 10 August 2007
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's political career, both before and after
Independence, has been shaped by risk-taking behaviour.
But more so after Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980. Whether Mugabe's
calculated risk-taking has been successful as a political strategy is
another subject of debate.
There are those that will argue that he has been in power since 1980 and has
managed to outwit his political opponents, both within and outside, and
therefore his risk-taking behaviour has scored him successes.
Yet others will argue that Mugabe has been a monumental failure in politics
because he will go down in the annals of history as a liberation hero who
went from respectable statesman to a power-thirsty dictator.
That he has become an embarrassment not only to Zimbabweans but also to
Africa as a whole.
I will highlight six political milestones or events in Mugabe's
post-Independence political career that I think define his risk-taking
In the early 80s, a gang of marauding North Korean-trained soldiers from the
Fifth Brigade of Zimbabwe National Army went on a rampage, killing innocent
and defenceless villagers in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions of
Zimbabwe in what is now termed the Gukurahundi massacres.
In an orgy of unprecedented violence, more than 20 000 people were massacred
in cold blood.
Their crime: belonging to the Ndebele tribe and attempting to jealously
guard their zones of autonomy against Mugabe's quest for a totalitarian
one-man political show.
Today, Mugabe has refused to own up and seek forgiveness for the killings,
only grudgingly offering a very terse apology by calling that dark era in
Zimbabwean history "a moment of madness".
Those that spoke against the madness in the corridors of power in the West
did so in hushed tones. Mugabe at the time was lauded as a great statesman.
While his soldiers were busy slaying innocent men, women and children,
Mugabe was juggling his life between having a cup of tea with the Queen at
the palace or Lady Thatcher at No 10 Downing Street in London and receiving
another honorary degree somewhere in Europe or the United States.
Whether Mugabe will live to face the consequences of his actions is between
him and his God.
The fact of the matter is he took a risk at the time and this was to mark
the beginning of a political career characterised by calculated risk-taking
In November 1997, faced with growing dissent from within his own ranks,
Mugabe acceded to calls by veterans of the liberation struggle for them to
be compensated for the sacrifices that they made to bring freedom.
He fully understood the economic consequences of paying out a gratuity at a
time when the economy was beginning to show signs of il-health.
However, he was quick to figure out that he could buy loyalty among the war
veterans if he paid them a gratuity.
Against wise counsel from within and from outside, Mugabe agreed to pay each
war veteran $50 000 in cash and a subsequent monthly stipend of $2 000.
At the time there were 50 000 registered war veterans but the number was to
grow with the news of the cash bonanza. As the news filtered through to the
financial markets, there was economic disaster. On Friday the 14th, now
popularly referred to as the "Black Friday", the Zimbabwean dollar tumbled
from $14 to the US down to $26.
This was to mark its free fall and to date it has never relented. Mugabe
soldiered on and the war veterans were to prove a vital cog in his 2000
election campaign, a campaign that was characterised by terror.
Having secured the loyalty of the war veterans through the cash payment,
Mugabe was faced with two major hurdles that threatened his political life.
The economy was sinking deep into crisis.
There was mounting opposition to his rule and towards the end of 1999 a new
formidable opposition political party, the MDC, emerged. Mugabe could see
his political fortunes waning and he took another gamble.
Land had always been an emotive issue in post-Independence political
discourse. That there was a problem in the land ownership pattern was a fact
that no sane Zimbabwean could deny.
The contentious issue has always been how to address the problem.
He instigated chaotic land seizures that saw thousands of commercial farmers
being violently removed from their land.
Some paid the ultimate price for resisting the invasions. Mugabe urged his
supporters to "strike fear in the heart of the white men".
He had the instruments to do this at his disposal. The war veterans had been
paid handsomely. Chenjerai Hunzvi and his gang became a dreaded force in
many rural areas of Zimbabwe.
Hunzvi became some kind of de facto commander-in-chief of the violent land
seizures. This is the era that marked the beginning of Joseph Chinotimba's
Mugabe's reasoning was that if he annihilated the white farming community,
he would have succeeded in wiping the MDC off the political landscape in
He parcelled out pieces of land to his supporters, most of whom were not
committed to farming at all. To date the once vibrant agricultural sector
has become a pale shadow of itself. Another risk taken.
At the time Mugabe was agonising over the ramifications of his generous
package to the war veterans, he embarked on yet another costly political
This time it was in a far off land. Laurent Kabila, the buffoon-like rebel
leader had just ousted the tyrant Mobutu Sese Seko from power in the then
Zaire and the latter had fled to exile in Morocco.
Having captured political power and renamed the vast country the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Kabila was now facing internal opposition after his
allies accused him of failing to deliver on his promises.
Uganda and Rwanda backed a rebel group that was now threatening to march on
Kinshasa and remove Kabila from power.
How Mugabe got involved with Kabila still remains shrouded in mystery.
Some mention the lure of diamonds as the bait that did the trick for the
In an operation code-named Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (OSLEG), Mugabe
committed about 11 000 troops to fight on Kabila's side. By 2 000, the war
had gobbled a whopping $15 billion of Zimbabwean taxpayers money.
For three years thousands of Zimbabwean sons and daughters were butchered
for a cause that no one has cared to explain to the nation.
The politics of risk-taking!
In May 2005 Mugabe embarked on yet another risky adventure, this time
targeting hungry and poor urbanites in an operation that was code-named
He had always been cynical of urbanites and at one time called them
His anger was understandable. In all the elections that have been held since
2000, the opposition MDC has garnered landslide victories in most urban
centres, particularly in the capital Harare.
In a brazen act of wanton disregard for humanity, Mugabe sent out his forces
to mow down people's houses ostensibly to destroy what he called "illegal
Despite protests from his victims and human rights groups, Mugabe waged a
war against his own people and to date more than 700 000 have been left
A United Nations report has condemned the operation as a gross violation of
people's rights. Mugabe has not said a word!
On June 27 2007, speaking at the occasion of the burial of the late
Brigadier General Armstrong Paul Gunda at the National
Heroes Acre, Mugabe spoke of new enemies that he said were out to remove him
A few days before the then United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher
Dell, had predicted that Mugabe would be out of power in six months time
because of the rapidly declining economy.
Mugabe accused the business sector of hiking prices of basic commodities to
starve the people so that they could revolt against him.
In typical Mugabe fashion, he promised to deal with errant businesses.
A few days later Mugabe launched another operation codenamed Operation
Dzikisa Mutengo (Operation Reduce Prices).
All retailers and service providers were ordered to reduce prices of
commodities by 50%.
The order resulted in a chaotic shopping frenzy where consumers rushed to
snap up anything that they could lay their hands on.
Businesses have refused to restock arguing they are operating at a loss.
Mugabe has threatened to take over the industries that fail to operate
accordingly and give them to those that are willing to produce.
But will Mugabe survive this time round? Only time will tell.
*Charles Mangongera is a human rights and development expert based in
August 10 2007 at 11:35AM
South Africa is considering setting up refugee camps along its border
with Zimbabwe to accommodate the tide of Zimbabwean refugees fleeing the
country's economic and political crisis, the Mail & Guardian newspaper
reported on Friday.
The paper quoted an unnamed senior government official as saying that
a plan drafted in 2002 to cope with an eventual exodus of Zimbabweans during
contested elections in Zimbabwe, had been resurrected by the department of
The plan provided for two transit camps, where incoming Zimbabweans
would be held until their eligibility for refugee status could be
determined, the Mail & Guardian said.
Any such plan would be submitted by Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula for cabinet approval, according to the paper.
Members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
living in South Africa have told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Zimbabweans
largely opposed proposals for refugee camps, fearing they would serve as a
launching pad for deportations.
Estimates of the number of Zimbabweans jumping the border into South
Africa each day swelling the ranks of the estimated 3 million Zimbabweans in
the country range from anywhere between 1 000 and 5 000.
The government has so far publicly rejected calls from the opposition
Democratic Alliance for the establishment of refugee camps as "misplaced,"
without fielding any alternative plans.
Inflation of over 4 500 percent, unemployment of 80 percent, food
shortages and the authoritarian style of President Robert Mugabe are
fuelling the flight of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries, where they
compete with locals for jobs and resources. - Sapa-DPA
Mail and Guardian
10 August 2007 07:59
This week the Mail & Guardian went in search of government's
policy on the steady influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa.
We knocked on home affairs' door, sure we would find something,
specially after the statements last week by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz
Pahad that the stream of immigrants from our troubled neighbour was a
"serious problem" and that it was therefore "vital for South Africa to act".
But instead we found one government source who was willing to
tell us only that a 2002 plan -- which envisaged setting up camps close to
the border at which new arrivals' asylum applications would be processed --
is to be dusted off.
This suggests there will be no shift in policy that might see
the government widen its definition of a refugee to include those fleeing
the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe. And, if the home affairs minister is to be
believed, there isn't even that much of a crisis there, as only one person
applied for asylum at the border all year, indicating "that calls for
refugee camps . thus seem to be misplaced".
This approach misses the point; the vast majority of Zimbabweans
entering the country do not bother to apply for asylum. And who can blame
them? Based on data from the first quarter of this year, only 2,5% of
Zimbabwean asylum-seekers are granted refugee status -- of 3 074 applicants,
79 were granted asylum. Meanwhile, in the first six months of this year, 100
000 "illegal" Zimbabweans were deported.
That so few Zimbabweans apply for asylum does not mean that they
are not here -- estimates put their number at three million -- nor does the
fact that they do not fit into South Africa's definition of a refugee mean
that they are not fleeing Zimbabwe for legitimate reasons.
Obviously there are still people who believe that public order
in Zimbabwe is intact; that the arrest in the past seven weeks of 7 500
people on charges of circumventing draconian price controls is not a form of
persecution; that the arrest this week of 19 women activists who were
playing netball is not an act of persecution; and that being forced to live
in a country where the average life expectancy is 34 is not also a form of
Is this really the time to prevaricate about what constitutes a
refugee in the same way that countries in the region have prevaricated about
the nature of the crisis that is causing this exodus, never quite daring to
call it what it is -- a man-made humanitarian disaster?
We think the South African government is wrong to pretend that
the Zimbabwean population in South Africa is not in dire need of support. We
think it has a moral duty to recognise Zimbabweans as refugees of a
humanitarian crisis and grant them asylum as a group on a prima facie basis.
And we believe that UNHCR and the international humanitarian community
should help South Africa -- and other countries in the region -- to cope
with the crisis by setting up and financing refugee camps for Zimbabweans.
Next week's summit of SADC countries is the right place to take
This will take strong political will, as Robert Mugabe would
likely see the granting of refugee status to Zimbabweans as a public
embarrassment, but this should not deter President Thabo Mbeki and his
regional peers from doing the right thing. If they don't, we will know their
standing with Mad Bob means more to them than the lives of millions of human
Put up or shut up
The rhetoric of the left is becoming increasingly reckless as
the December conference of the ANC approaches.
At its congress two weeks ago, without a shred of evidence, the
SACP all but accused President Thabo Mbeki of complicity in Chris Hani's
murder. Now Cosatu has weighed in with a statement heavily insinuating that
the prosecuting authorities were responsible for breaking into Jacob Zuma's
"This incident is part and parcel of the concerted drive to
victimise the ANC deputy president and to prevent him from getting a fair
trial. This break-in follows the NPA's [National Prosecuting Authority's]
raid on his Johannesburg house in 2005," the federation tells us. "Without
enough evidence to secure a conviction, some within the state structures
seem to be using any means, legal and illegal, to lay their hands on enough
'evidence' to justify continuing their campaign to prosecute him, blacken
his name and destroy his reputation."
The M&G agrees that the NPA should put up or shut up on Zuma,
either expediting charges or announcing that the fraud case against him has
been dropped. That would at least dampen the left's incessant whining about
the "conspiracy" against him by "some within state structures".
Scorpions boss Vusi Pikoli has indicated that a decision will be
taken after the Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled on the disputed Zuma
search and seizure operations of 2005.
But, as in the Hani case, Cosatu has nothing to back its
suggestion of NPA involvement in the break-in, or that its purpose was to
ferret out evidence. It accuses the NPA of having no case, while it bases
its claims on the weakest possible foundation. No hard inference can be
drawn from the fact that nothing was allegedly stolen from Zuma's flat and
that the CCTV was turned off.
The effect of such irresponsible statements -- indeed the effect
of the left's years-long smear campaign against the NPA and the Scorpions in
Zuma's defence -- has been to undermine the NPA's legitimacy.
Cosatu is an important movement and, in general, a beacon of
sanity on social issues. But it does the country no favour by repeatedly
telling us that key law enforcement agencies and pillars of our democracy
are the tools of political plotters. Until it has hard evidence, it should
keep its mouth shut.
National Univesity of Science and Technology (NUST) students union
president, Clever Bere appeared today before the magistrates courts and has
been further remanded to the 3rd of September on bail. Clever was on Monday
6 August 2007 arrested in the city of Bulawayo, dragged on handcuffs all the
way to Bulawayo Central Police Station and detained for unclear charges. A
lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights effectively pressured the
police to take Clever before the courts otherwise demanded his release since
he had been deained for more than 48 hours.
Charges on Clever's arrest were unclear and highly political. He was
verbally accused of being aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) the main opposition party in Zimbabwe that has exposed the ruthless
yet fruitless regime of Robert Mugabe. The torture that Clever went through
is clearly politically manifested, ZINASU condemns in the strongest terms,
political bushworkers masquerading as police officers.
The Information Desk
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
THE government has blown scarce foreign currency and trillions of dollars to
coddle the feared state security agents with state of the art luxury
Authoritative sources indicated that the feared Central Intelligence
Organization (CIO) that is credited with keeping President Robert Mugabe in
power has taken delivery of the latest state of the art Toyota Yaris Sedans.
The acquisitions for the CIO's come at a time when the government is in
urgent need of foreign currency to import fuel, maize and electricity at the
same time meet pressing financial obligations like debts.
Authoritative sources said: "The state of the art vehicles have - for the
meantime - been allocated to the Provincial Intelligence Officers (PIO)
normally in charge of provinces and Divisional Intelligence Officers (DIO)."
In Bulawayo, the state of the art Toyota Yaris Sedans cars for the CIO's
were delivered a fortnight ago. It could not independently verify the number
of Toyota Yaris Sedans each province was allocated.
A google search on the new CIO vehicles revealed that the government blew
billions of dollars acquiring the new CIO cars with each Toyota Yaris Sedan
going for over $2 billion.
According to the google search on the internet, a Toyota Yaris is a 3 or 4
door, passenger family coupe, or family sedan, available in three trims
ranging from the Toyota Yaris 3 door liftback, Toyota Yaris Sedan and the
Toyota Yaris S.
Didymus Mutasa, the State Security Minister under which the CIO's fall under
could neither deny nor confirm that the state has acquired state of the art
vehicles for the feared state security agents.
"Who told you that," Mutasa said. "As Minister responsible I cannot confirm
all that you come across and after all, I don't even know whether you are
the person you say you are and whether you have a press card or not.I might
find comments all over the world."
Mutasa later refused to comment over the phone saying "I can only talk to
you face to face in my office." The government has been blowing billions for
the agency like buying sophisticated jamming equipment.
Recent reports say the feared state security agents got hefty salary
increments to cushion them against the country's economic woes. Apart from
salaries, CIO agents also get generous entertainment allowances- CAJ News.
BY TRUST MATSILELE
Zambia 's leading political figure and brother to former President, Kenneth
Kaunda, and Pilenje Kaunda has expressed concern over the brutality
practised by the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe .
Kaunda acknowledged to the Movement for Democratic Change delegation in
Zambia that the Mugabe regime was practising gross human rights violations
and that a immediate solution to the crisis was needed.
Pilenje Kaunda also called on the opposition MDC to consider granting
amnesty to President Mugabe once he accept to step down from office as a
possible starting point of rejuvenating the country's political and economic
environment which has slowly soared over the past seven years.
Pilenje's comments coincides with those made by former President Kenneth
Kaunda recently when he openly castigated President Robert Mugabe's
government for ruthlessly beating opposition leaders among them leader
"Obviously there are things which I do not agree with on President Mugabe's
policies especially that of beating MDC leaders among them Morgan
Tsvangirai,"said Kaunda in an interview.
Nqobizitha Mlilo, the MDC's Political Liaison Officer from Zambia
acknowledged Pilenje's plea and said the MDC as a party had agreed to offer
amnesty to President Mugabe as has been highlighted by party leader Morgan
"It has been our approach that once President Mugabe accepts to step down as
a way of allowing a peaceful transition in the country it would be necessary
to grant him amnesty as that would help Zimbabweans to move ahead with their
lives," said Mlilo.
Pilenje Kaunda also expressed sympathy with the people of Zimbabwean and
said both parties were supposed to negotiate in good faith as a way of
finding a solution to the country's political and economic impasse.
Kaunda says Zimbabwe 's rival parties should work towards a negotiated
settlement. Zimbabwe is the country with highest inflation figures in the
world pegged just above 10 000 percent according to independent analysts'
estimates with unemployment just a few inches to hit a 100 percent mark.