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Just another day in Harare

Life is difficult these days for Zimbabwe's professional classes, a
dispiriting round of endless queues, power cuts and perverse new layers of
bureaucracy. But as novelist Ian Holding discovers, his troubles are minor
compared with those of the his black employees

Friday August 19, 2005
The Guardian

My cellphone illuminates the time, beeps at me. 4.45 am. I get up in the
dark - the power is off again - and fumble my way to the car, scooping up
Jasper, my Jack Russell, as I go. He's comfort, a slab of warmth across my
lap as I wait. There are rumours of petrol at some shack of a garage out on
the fringes of the industrial sites, owned by some crony with ties to the
army. I ought to have a conscience: I don't.

I drive slowly, through streets draped in predawn darkness. Eventually I
slip out of the suburbs and into the wastelands where industry seeps on to
the gravelled beaches of shanty towns. I choose my queue, join the tail end
of a snake of cars. It looks, at five on a Saturday morning, longer than
infinity. I glimpse the sneaky winter heat ahead, the dust and dryness, the
violent monotony of the wait. But for liquid gold, one is prepared for
hardships. And I'm desperate - my gauge sulks below a quarter of a tank, and
there's so much I can't do any more: tennis, golf, boating with friends at
the dam. But here's my chance. Today's my day. So I kill the engine, I
huddle Jasper to my chest. I am filled with happiness.
I've been unsettled all night - I spent most of it reading Schindler's Ark -
but now that I've secured my place in line, I find myself dozing off. I set
my seat back, ease Tosca up on the stereo and recline in groggy discomfort.
For five hours I veer between sublime nonchalance and the jolting fear that
some thug is going to slash my windscreen with a chain and make off with my
wallet. Odd bodies pass by, proffering trays of goods. I wave them off

At noon I surface to a distant low groan that suddenly becomes a booming
roar, a plume of smoke and dust spills towards me, and then a crash through
corrugated iron and a violent shake in the ground: the shanty town lies
strewn across my bonnet. Stunned, I stare at a windscreen piled with debris:
a squashed tin pot, flung cutlery, shredded clothing. I get out, leaving
Jasper growling and puzzled on the seat. The timber and metal sheets have
buckled like twigs and tinfoil under the bulldozer's charge. I look up,
screening my eyes from the smoke and dust. But I can see it all right:
sitting fat and squat on the rubble, purring, then backing away with an
urgent jerk.

I bend down to access the damage to my car: dents and scratches, nothing
serious. I'm not angry, not yet. It's most likely some kind of freak
accident, a building operation gone wrong. I stand, waiting for the foreman
to come running forward to offer me an explanation. No one comes. And
something's not right. When I look back to the queue, it has disappeared.

People don't vacate a petrol queue for nothing. But I need an explanation. I
pick my way through the wreckage, towards the punctured shanty town
perimeter. I wade in only three steps before it happens again: 10 metres
away the iron wall crumples, a hut folds like a cardboard box, toppling to
the dirt. The noise and shock shudder through me, and I stumble, cutting
myself on splintered wood and rusty, jutting nails. I grapple for my
footing, hop back towards the road. The wounds are slight, the blood begins
to ooze. When the bulldozer breaks through yet again, this time to the
chilling shatter of concrete slabs exploding like glass, I rush forward and
grope frantically to free my bonnet from the debris, make my escape.

I drive home. I sit on the edge of the bath and dab disinfectant at my cut
legs. I'm shaken, but not enough to subdue the anger that now comes, like a
blast. It's not because no one told me to move in time, or that I've had my
car scratched, or I've been cut on dirty planks. It's because I've wasted
all that petrol. I'd been so sure I'd be lucky today, that I'd wait my turn
in the queue, fair and square, pay my money, get my 20 litres. I'd have a
life again. I throw the bloodied cotton wool into the toilet bowl, flush
hard and angrily.

I notice the electricity's back. I go to make tea, give Jasper some
biscuits. It's now that I hear Agnes, my maid, sobbing in the laundryroom.

"What the hell's wrong with you?" I ask.

She breaks down, weeping. Her son, his wife and five children have had their
home destroyed by the army, she tells me, "commanding great big tractors".
And her brother too, and his three sons, their families.

"They just came, baas, no warning, no chance, just tear down homes, one by

A dullness takes hold of me. It all makes sense now. The fact that I had
been there, just on the fringes, conveniently mobile, able to drive away,
extricate myself, makes me feel at once sick and relieved.

But there's more. Agnes tells me that they've now all been rounded up, piled
into trucks and taken to an army "farm" where they're being vetted and held
in crowded tents until they're sent back to their rural homelands, away from
the city. "They lost everything, baas, everything," she wails.

"Yes, yes," I tell her. "That's very bad."

And then comes her request: can I take her to go and fetch them all, from
this "farm", and bring them here? "Just for a few days, baas, promise."

This is all I need. I tell her we don't have enough space: her kia
[servants' hut] only has one tiny room, one bathroom.

"We can't have 10 people staying here, we just can't. And anyway, where do
you think I've got the fuel to go all the way to this farm to fetch them
all? It just can't happen, I'm afraid."

I leave her and go to the TV lounge, moodily settle on a cricket match.
Jasper reclines at my feet, warm and loyal. Then the phone rings. It's my
mother, more frantic than normal.

"My God, they're coming round shooting dogs with no licences."

She says they've heard of two instances already: the police searching the
suburbs, shooting on sight any unlicensed pet. Jesus. I scramble for some
cash and the car keys, fly down to the nearest municipal office, and all the
while the thought of a gun aimed at Jasper savages my mind. Inside, the
commotion of dog owners complaining bitterly. A short, shifty civil servant
explains over and over that "we have no dog licences - we have no paper to
print dog licences. Try elsewhere."

I go back to the car, drive to the next municipal office, the next suburb.
Same story: yes, dog licences are required by law, but we've run out. The
next one: no dog licences for three months. Eventually, frustrated and
impatient, I drive into a police station, demand to know what they expect us
to do. "Just get one," the constable retorts. "How and where are not our
concern." I don't argue.

As I leave, I unhook a slip of paper from under my windscreen wipers:
Z$100,000 (£3) for "not possessing red reflective tape on rear of vehicle".
My existing reflectors are white, but white, it seems, isn't a good colour
any more.

I drive, dumbfounded, infuriated, nervous. I conjure up a quick solution,
I'll hide Jasper away, lock up his basket in the garage, deny I own a pet.
Has it come to this, this pettiness?

I look dismally at my petrol gauge, at the needle tottering on the E. I'm
going to have to ask for a lift to work on Monday. But I throw that aside.
I'm tired now. I slip in a tape of Bach, look out at the sun sunk in the
blue winter sky, the hills lined with darkening firs. I'll chug on home
slowly, conserve my petrol, make a pasta dish, settle down with a glass of
red, watch a black and white movie on TV.

At home there's a not too unexpected surprise. As I walk out to fetch
Jasper's bowl, I see them: a crowd draped about, men, women, children. My
anger lurches, I scream for Agnes, demand an explanation.

"They just come, baas, on their own. They can't stay at farm, there no food,
no shelter. It very cold at night, especially for children."

An elderly man comes up to me, Agnes' brother. He greets me, smiling through
crooked teeth, and tells me, very calmly, what they've been through, the
bulldozing of their homes, the loss of their belongings, being horded by the
army against their will, being transported to this place, being told to line
up by the army commanders, being shoved and shunted ...

I stop him. "Look, I'm sorry, but you just can't stay. There's simply no
room here on this property. And it's not my problem, really it isn't." I
turn to Agnes. "Tomorrow they have to be gone - all of them. Right?"

"Yes, baas," she says, quietly.

I storm back into the house, go around the various rooms closing the
curtains. My mood has changed. I grab a beer, flick through the stations. I
sit, not really watching, my mind fuzzy and indignant, the culmination not
just of today, but every day of the past five years, every worry, every
tension, every dismay and disbelief, every thin gasp for survival comes up
on me like a sandstorm. I'm 27. But I'm old in this place, in this country
where you fight and fight, clawing and scratching at indefatigable deafness,

I breathe in, breathe out. Sip my beer. Then the power goes out. Fuck.

In the dark I grope for a candle from the TV cabinet, light it. I walk to my
bedroom, fiddle around for Schindler's Ark. I cuddle up to the candle,
strain to accustom my eyes to the print. Off the pages roll descriptions,
harrowing screeds of the Jews being rounded up, harassed, their property
looted, their rights stripped. I close the book. I lie looking into the dark
room, seeing the desolate farm that Agnes' family fled, 10 to a tent, the
stiff reek of sewer in dank puddles, the dead, deep winter's nights.

I close my eyes, spread my presence throughout the house, the empty
bedrooms. I have everything. I have nothing. I'm cold. I'm alone.

I walk now towards the bonfire where they all sit. I've draped a blanket
round my shoulders, Jasper trots at my feet. They welcome me into their
circle. I've brought a crate of beers from the pantry. They offer me sadza
and relish. I squeeze it into balls in my hand, take it to my mouth. In the
firelight their eyes dance, black pupils on gleaming white. The spirit of
survival, the will to endure. One man offers me his weed. I take it, inhale
the drug deep into my lungs. I huddle Jasper close to me.

A while later, languid and light-headed, the old man starts singing a
traditional song, and the children listen as if they're hearing a sermon,
God himself speaking through the ages. Somehow, despite everything, I know
we'll all see tomorrow.

· Unfeeling by Ian Holding is published by Simon and Schuster, price £10.99.
Ian Holding will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August. See for more
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Arrests during a peaceful demonstration

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

ZWE 002 / 0805 / OBS 068

Arbitrary arrests / Releases on bail /

Judicial proceedings

Brief description:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary
arrest of two human rights defenders during a demonstration in favour of
constitutional reforms.

According to the information received, on August 4, 2005, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a grouping of independent NGOs dedicated to
the promotion of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, decided to
spontaneously organise a demonstration in Harare in favour of a new

The police then called in a riot squad in order to foil the public protest,
which arrested Mr. Lovemore Madhuku, NCA Chairman, along with Mr. Bright
Chibvuri, a journalist at The Worker, a newspaper published by the country's
biggest labour movement, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Mr. Madhuku and the other marchers planned to stage a demonstration outside
the Harare International Conference Centre, where the Parliamentary
Committee on Legal Affairs was holding a consultative public meeting on
planned amendments to Zimbabwe's Constitution. The planned amendments
include barring individuals whose land has been seized from making a court
challenge except on the amount of compensation, and also seek to
re-establish a lower house of parliament to be known as the Senate and to
impose of travel restrictions on Zimbabweans who are suspected of "engaging
in terrorist training abroad".

Mr. Lovemore Madhuku and Mr. Bright Chibvuri were charged under section 19
of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) (gatherings conducting to riot,
disorder or intolerance), according to which they might be condemned to a
fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a period
not exceeding ten years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

On August 5, 2005, both men were released on bail of Z$ 250,000. Their trial
date has not been set yet.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time that Mr. Lovemore
Madhuku is subjected to acts of harassment and intimidation due to his
activities in favour of constitutional reforms. Thus, in 2004, Mr. Lovemore
Madhuku was arrested twice in February, and again in May and September 2004
(See Observatory Annual Report 2004). The Observatory also recalls that
freedom of demonstration is regularly violated in Zimbabwe.

The Observatory is deeply concerned about these events, which blatantly
violate the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted
by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in
particular its article 5.a, which states that "for the purpose of promoting
and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the
right, individually or in association with others, to meet or assemble

Actions requested:

Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities and ask them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological
integrity of Mr. Lovemore Madhuku, Mr. Bright Chibvuri, and all human rights
defenders in Zimbabwe;

ii. ensure the unconditional release of Mr. Lovemore Madhuku and Mr. Bright
Chibvuri, and that they be granted a fair and impartial trial so that the
charges against them be dropped, as they are arbitrary;

iii. end all forms of harassment and ill-treatment of human rights defenders
in Zimbabwe, and guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders
and organisations are able to carry out their work without any hindrance;

iv. comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular
article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or
collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and
fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels",
above-mentioned article 5.a, and article 12.2, which states that "the State
shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent
authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others,
against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure, adverse
discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of
his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present

v. guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in
accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other
international human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.


  President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President,
Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211

  Mr. Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs,
11th Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe,
Fax : +263 4 726 716

  Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Police Prefect, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807,
Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212

  Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the
United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy,
Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email:

Please also write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country.


Geneva - Paris, August 12, 2005

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in
your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of
Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time
of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Email: Tel and fax FIDH: 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 01
43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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The Times

            August 19, 2005

            White farmers face eviction under 'apartheid-era' laws
            From Jan Raath in Harare

            THE Government of Robert Mugabe tabled draconian laws yesterday
to drive the last white farmers from their land and crush dissent.
            The constitutional amendments debated in Parliament will
nationalise all agricultural land that has been listed for seizure since
2000. Landowners will have no right to contest the confiscations and will be
barred from receiving compensation.

            Another clause in the legislation gives the Government powers
"in the national interest" to stop people leaving the country. Lawyers said
that this echoed apartheid-era South African laws that stopped critics from
travelling abroad to condemn white-minority rule.

            Another section will introduce an upper chamber in Parliament,
with 16 of the 66 senators effectively appointed by President Mugabe. Also
on Parliament's order paper is a Bill to put private schools, a preserve of
generally pro-opposition middle-class families, under state control. Yet
another amendment will ban civil servants from joining trade unions.

            The legislation comes after parliamentary elections in March
that the ruling Zanu(PF) party won amid accusations from Western nations and
the Opposition that they were neither free nor fair. The legislative
onslaught also comes after demolitions and evictions in mostly urban areas
that made 700,000 people homeless and jobless, according to the UN.

            The package comes as Mr Mugabe is negotiating with South Africa
for a loan, thought to be £279 million, to prop up the Zimbabwean economy.
It is believed that the loan is conditional on Mr Mugabe reversing his
crackdown on democracy that began in 2000 when the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) nearly won elections.

            Brian Raftopoulos, of the Zimbabwe in Crisis Coalition, said
that the changes showed Mr Mugabe's scorn for the hopes of President Mbeki
of South Africa to start political dialogue in Zimbabwe. "Mugabe will never
accept political conditionality," he said.

            David Coltart, the MDC's legal director, said: "Mugabe said the
elections were meant to 'bury' the MDC. He failed. Zanu (PF) didn't win a
single urban seat. What we are seeing now is an incremental approach to
finish off the MDC."

            After five years of murder, assault and harassment of
white-owned farms by state agents, the Government has managed to confiscate
legally only about 10 per cent of the estimated 4,500 properties. All but a
handful of white farmers have had their property listed for "compulsory

            However, most of them have kept the Government at bay by
fighting their eviction in court. About 450 farmers have stayed on their

            Mr Coltart said: "These constitutional changes are designed for
once and for all to smash the white farmers and to close any possible avenue
for using the constitution to protect human rights."

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'Zim Needs to Revive Relations With IMF, World Bank'

The Herald (Harare)

August 18, 2005
Posted to the web August 18, 2005


ZIMBABWE should re-engage the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in
its economic turnaround strategies as it continues to foster economic
growth, a senior Government official has said.

"We need to revive the relationship with the WB and IMF so that we have
support in the balance of payments and access to foreign currency
supplements," the president of the Chiefs Council, Mr Fortune Charumbira,

He was addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
breakfast meeting to discuss the monetary policy and mid-term fiscal policy
review statements held in Harare yesterday.

"The country has been failing to generate enough foreign currency to meet
its requirements and in this regard, we need to re-engage the multilateral
financial institutions," he added.

Zimbabwe has been facing a critical shortage of foreign currency, resulting
in its failure to import adequate supplies of fuel, raw materials, capital
equipment and other necessities.

The central bank has in the last two years introduced measures that have
improved foreign currency inflows from US$301 million in 2003 to US$1,7
billion last year, but this was still not enough to meet critical needs.

The situation has been worsened by the rising international oil prices to
more than US$60 per barrel that have resulted in more money being pumped out
for fuel purchases.

Although it is still too early to quantify, the revision of the exchange
rate to US$17 500 by the central bank last month is also expected to boost
foreign currency inflows.

However, these initiatives need to be complemented by balance of payments
support from multilateral institutions. Zimbabwe's economy needs about US$3
billion per year to meet its requirements.

The ballooning of the domestic debt, Mr Charumbira said, was a sign of
inefficiency on part of Government ministers who have not been producing the
desired results.

This was evidenced by a request for more than $31 trillion in the
supplementary budget by all the ministries, which the Ministry of Finance
turned down as it was deemed inflationary.

"The only problem is that our ministers do not want to admit failure. They
used to perform better before their elevation to ministerial levels but that
performance has disappeared.

"We are too defensive and this is the time to admit our failure for the
betterment of the economy," said Mr Charumbira, amid applause from the

He also took a swipe at industrialists who are taking the advantage of the
challenges which the country is currently experiencing to engage in illegal
activities which have proved costly to the economy.

"We have seen several companies involved in shady dealings in several
sectors of the economy, such as mining.

"Farmers have also been getting heavily subsidised fuel but that commodity
had been diverted to the black market, but they do not want to take the
blame," he added.

Mr Charumbira encouraged the Government and industry to work hand in glove
if the turnaround objectives were to be achieved.

He becomes one of the few top Government personalities to challenge his
colleagues to start producing results.

Addressing the same seminar, Kingdom Financial Holdings economist Mr Witness
Chinyama said the economy could start recovering if Zimbabwe exploited
available global opportunities.

"The Government has adopted the Look East policy, but we are saying let us
also look everywhere so that we can engage every country in the world in our

"The increase in the interest rates also has a negative impact on investors
because they are not favourable for investment promotion and foreign
investors are not lured to invest in this country as well," added Mr

Economist Mr John Robertson said "companies have been over-taxed and they
will not be able to be productive as they require more money to pay the

However, the mining sector commended the exchange rate movement.

"The new development will bring positive returns to the sector as the
exchange rate will move in tandem with the inflation movements," said Mr
David Matyanga, an official with the Chamber of Mines.

The delegates concurred on the need to have a uniform economy and move away
from situation were a multiple economy targeted at different sectors of the
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Mozambique's Chissano Voices Regret at Zimbabwe Mediation Setback By Simeao
      18 August 2005

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's diplomatic snubbing of former
Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano is likely to further isolate Harare
and expand rifts in the Southern African Development Community and African
Union, observers say.

Under Western pressure for years, Mr. Mugabe has enjoyed support from other
African leaders. But one diplomat at the SADC summit in Botswana this week
said that South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Mauritius all want to keep
pressure on Mr. Mugabe for reform because his policies are harming the
region. These countries also want the United Nations to follow through to
ensure the recommendations made in the report it issued on Harare's May-July
slum clearance drive will be adopted.

However, Zambia, Namibia and Malawi are siding with Mr. Mugabe, the diplomat

Mr. Chissano, asked to serve as African Union mediator in hoped-for talks
between the Zimbabwe ruling party and its opposition, confirmed Thursday to
reporters in the Mozambican capital of Maputo that Mr. Mugabe had told him
in discussions at the SADC summit in Botswana this week that he was not
interested in mediation.

Mr. Chissano expressed regret that his mission had come to an end in effect
before it started, but said everything now depends on Harare - though he was
ready to help.

Voice of America correspondent Simeao Pongoane spoke with reporter Ndimyake
Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe about Mr. Chissano's briefing.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group issued a report this week calling
for Nigeria and South Africa to assemble a team of former African presidents
to try to persuade Mr. Mugabe to retire gracefully and agree to a
transitional mechanism.

The ICG says the West must maintain sanctions while stepping up aid to
democratic forces in Zimbabwe to strengthen civil society and develop the
political culture.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of Studio 7 asked Dr. Peter Kagwanja, ICG's director
for Southern Africa, why he thinks former heads of state can get the job

However, another South African based analyst, Obri Mashiq, argues that such
an ex-presidential panel would be no panacea for the complex crisis in

Despite the setback at the SADC summit, the Movement for Democratic Change
said it still believes opening talks with the ruling party are the way to
resolve the crisis.

Studio 7 evening show host Ndimyake Mwakalyele reached MDC spokesman Paul
Themba Nyathi who outlined the opposition's stance at this juncture.

But officials of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front,
or ZANU-PF, are staying on message and accusing the MDC of trying to gain at
the negotiating table what it failed to achieve in the March general
election (which the MDC and a range of observers say was marred by voter
intimidation and ballot-rigging).

Expressing this viewpoint was William Nhara, ZANU-PF district chairman for
Harare, who spoke with Studio 7 reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele.
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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 19 August 2005
Land Bank denies Harare loan talks
Justin Brown


I-Net Bridge

THE Land Bank has denied reports that it was engaged in talks to loan the
Zimbabwean government money for the country to import food, the agricultural
funding parastatal's marketing GM Herman Moeketsi said yesterday.

He denied rumours yesterday that boosted maize futures to an eight-month
high on the JSE's agricultural derivatives division or Safex.

"Those rumours are totally incorrect," the marketing GM said.

The Land Bank was involved in agricultural development purely within the
borders of SA, Moeketsi said.

"There were rumours in the market that came from a number of sources, with
people putting the funding amount for Zimbabwe at enough for 1-million tons
to 1,5-million tons of maize or food to be imported into Zimbabwe," a
Johannesburg broker said.

For the current 2005-06 marketing year, SA exported 299823 tons of maize to
Zimbabwe or 46,1% of total exports during the period.

In the last financial year, the country exported 210335 tons of maize to

Zimbabwe's annual consumption of maize is about 1,8-million tons, while the
country's latest crop has been put at almost 600000 tons, leaving a
shortfall of 1,2-million tons.

Zimbabwe's ability to import food and maize has been hampered by the country's
foreign currency position, which has been deteriorating steadily since 1999,
with the position having moved to a deficit of more than $600m last year.
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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 19 August 2005
MDC MPs plan to defy Mugabe in illegal march on parliament
Michael Hartnack



HARARE opposition legislators planned an antigovernment march in Harare
yesterday and said they would not seek the state's permission - setting the
stage for possible confrontations with police.

Lovemore Zimuto, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), said the 41 MDC legislators would march from party
headquarters to parliament to protest the ruling party's proposed overhaul
of the constitution, its handling of the economy and a crackdown on private

He said that they would not request police authorisation, arguing that the
MDC legislators marching from their offices to parliament do not require

But Zimbabwe's sweeping security laws spell out that police permission is
required for any political gathering. In the past, police have been swift to
use batons and tear gas to break up any gathering of critics of President
Robert Mugabe.

The antigovernment protest in Harare was planned the same day the Central
Statistical Office announced annual inflation had jumped from 164% to 254,8%
in July. Moffat Nyoni, the acting director of the office, told state media
it was the largest monthly surge on record.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa told parliament on Wednesday that while the
economic turnaround was not as fast as he had forecast, he still expected
economic growth of 2% and that inflation could be reduced to 50% by year's
end and drop below 10% by the end of next year.

He also announced new revenue measures, including an increase in value added
tax from 15 to 17,5%. He said it would now be applied to a wide range of
previously exempt basic foodstuffs.

The constitutional proposals the opposition is also protesting would
establish a 40-seat senate, abolish all freehold title to real estate,
restrict landowners' right to appeal expropriation and allow the state to
refuse passports to critics.

Economist John Robertson said the latest inflation figures showed "the
government is now the victim of its own policies".

"We are heading for 1000% inflation by year-end if we do not start behaving
better," he said
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Zim Independent

Mediagate deepens
Dumisani Muleya
THERE were frantic efforts this week to contain the fallout from the biggest
scandal to rock the media industry since Independence in 1980 after
revelations in this paper that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
had taken over three major private newspapers.

The editors-in-chief of the papers that were reported to be owned by the
CIO, the Financial Gazette and the Mirror Group titles, the Daily Mirror and
the Sunday Mirror, made desperate efforts to deny the story which has sent
shockwaves in the media fraternity.

Like his Mirror Group counterpart, Ibbo Mandaza, Financial Gazette editor
Sunsleey Chamunorwa yesterday tried to deny the story broken by this paper
last week with an opinion-editorial piece long on words but short on

Chamunorwa could only say the paper was owned by "a credible shareholder".
There were no names but descriptions which raised the question of why the
sponsors of the paper should remain anonymous. The description of the main
shareholder could match that of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono, who has in the past denied owning the paper but is a financial

It has been learnt that Mandaza fuelled trouble on Wednesday after
suspending without pay and benefits his deputy editor-in-chief, Alexander
Kanengoni, allegedly deployed to the Mirror by the CIO. Last night the
Zimbabwe Independent heard that Kanengoni had been locked out of his office
at the Mirror Group.

The story roped in the CBZ (Jewel Bank) and, by implication, its main
shareholder, South African banking giant Absa, which provided $200 million
for the take-over of the Financial Gazette in October 2001. The take-over
negotiations ran between October 2001 and November 2002.

Absa African division head Dana Botha said yesterday his bank was not in a
position to deal with the issue. "We have a board representation but we
don't have management and operational control over CBZ," he said.

"The CEO Nyasha Makuvise should be able to deal with that."

Marathon crisis management meetings at the media houses failed to allay
anxiety among staffers.

Sources said there was no decision on what to do at the Financial Gazette
after Chamunorwa tried but failed to secure the support of Gono to deny the
story. Chamunorwa had to come up with the opinion article, which he wanted
to pass for a company statement.

On the main issue of the ownership structure, Chamunorwa could only say his
newspaper was owned by "a group of individuals with impeccable financial,
commercial and business credentials.

"They are not CIO agents; neither does this newspaper have under its employ
anyone answerable to the state or any of its agents."

Then there was the disclosure: "I have not checked with the major
shareholder but for the record, let me put this issue to rest once and for
all. The major shareholder is a prominent banker, Zimbabwe's best known
turnaround expert, farmer and businessman."

The description fits that of Gono, whom Chamunorwa has in the past described
as "Mr Turnaround".

Observers and readers who called the Independent said the fact that Gono
could own a financial paper was in itself a scandal.

"How ethical is it for a central bank governor to own a business newspaper
which has failed to criticise the failed policies of the perceived
shareholder?" said a manager with a commercial bank.

The Mirror also ran into problems as management was divided on what to do,
while the CIO maintained a low profile to avoid fanning the crisis.

Accusations and counter-accusations flew thick and fast during the week.

Sources said Mandaza, who tried to deny the story on foreign radio stations
after he was shut out by the CIO, suspended Kanengoni.

Mandaza told SAfm and Voice of America on Monday he was the sole owner of
the Mirror newspapers but sources maintained the CIO were the real owners.

He did not deny there were CIO operatives in his newsroom, but claimed he
was not aware of it.

He said he had launched an internal investigation to find out if CIO details
were operating in the group. Mandaza said if the probe revealed the CIO were
there, he would ask the authorities to withdraw them.

Government remained mum as the furore intensified. Former State Security
minister Nicholas Goche, under whose charge the newspaper scandal occurred,
refused to comment.

"I am not the minister for the CIO," he said. "In any case, I don't comment
on such matters over the telephone."

Acting Information minister Chen Chimutengwende said: "I'm not sure what the
situation is. I have not been briefed."

Mandaza, who is also the Mirror Group CEO, was said to have written a letter
to Kanengoni accusing him of assaulting the news editor of the Sunday
Mirror, harassing journalists, shouting obscenities, insubordination and
incompetence. Kanengoni and his backers reportedly accused Mandaza of
misusing funds and failing to ensure the papers increased circulation to
generate sufficient advertising revenue.

Mandaza was said to be fighting for survival at the company after a head-on
clash with a powerful CIO-backed group led by his chairman, Jonathan
Kadzura. It was said the CIO had been angered by Mandaza's antics and wanted
him booted out. He was understood to have accused the CIO of trying to
destroy the Mirror, while the Kadzura faction blamed Mandaza for leaking the

Before the scandal was exposed, sources said Mandaza complained to political
and business associates about the presence of CIO operatives in his

Presidential spokesman George Charamba recently made insinuations Chamunorwa
worked with and for the powers-that-be in his Nathaniel Manheru column in
the Herald. Despite Chamunorwa's pretence that he was not under political
influence, sources said there were instances when stories were given to him
to publish directly from the President's Office.

"We have many examples, including the false story the Fingaz published in
December last year claiming (former Information Jonathan) Moyo had
resigned," a source said. "It had come from the President's Office."
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Zim Independent

Battle for control rocks state media
Ray Matikinye/Augustine Mukaro
THE recent storming of the newsroom at Pocket Hills by Information
secretary, George Charamba, constitutes an unprecedented intrusion into the
management of the public broadcaster by a civil servant.

Charamba stormed the Newsnet newsroom after its "hotline" allegedly went
unanswered when he telephoned the newsroom. He wanted to find out why the
leading story on a news bulletin on Heroes' Day had failed to capture the
gist of the presidential speech.

Philliat Matsheza, a former deputy director in the Ministry of Information,
said during his tenure no government official ever acted in such a manner as
such issues were "left to management".

"Our involvement in the affairs of the ZBC as a ministry was minimal. Our
role was the facilitation of budgets to ZBC that had independent revenue
collection of its own," Matsheza, now the director of Southern Africa Human
Rights Trust, said.

"We did not conduct any surveillance over editors but gave the corporation
operational autonomy. The ministry's mandate has obviously changed."

Matsheza said the information secretary's role then was to make information
readily available. Government encouraged a flow of information from
grassroots to it and not the other way round as became the norm under
Jonathan Moyo.

Charamba's recent actions appear as evidence of frustration by both the
ministry and Zanu PF's department of information over how to rid the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) of the remnants of Moyo's legacy.

Sources say the current saga is partly due to a build up of animosity
between the party information department headed by Nathan Shamuyarira and
Information minister Tichaona Jokonya over control.

While Shamuyarira wants the Ministry of Information to effect changes in
government-controlled media, Jokonya and his deputy Bright Matonga seem too
slow to act.

The turf war between the two politicians has sucked in Charamba, who is
still smarting from not being appointed minister.

Charamba, alongside Webster Shamu and Ephraim Masawi, was touted as a
possible Moyo successor when the Tsholotsho MP was expelled from Zanu PF
over the Tsholotsho rift.

Charamba has been unable to come to terms with not being appointed minister
as evidenced by correspondence between him and senior management at Pockets

He has clashed with colleagues and ministers over policy issues,
particularly regarding the running of the state media ending up embroiled in
fights with ZBH workers over a report compiled by Policy Implementation
minister Webster Shamu.

Last month Charamba clashed with ZBH head of national productions, Douglas
Justice Dhliwayo, over a number of issues, including the productions of
jingles, videos and footage to promote Zanu PF policies and programmes in
the run-up to the March general election.

The tiff ended up with Charamba accusing Dhliwayo of "selling him out" to
Shamu, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Attorney-General Sobusa
Gula-Ndebele and Shamuyarira and his deputy spokesman Masawi to solicit
favours from them and sabotage his chances of being appointed a minister in

Dhliwayo accused Charamba of launching unwarranted attacks and insults
against senior government officials he described "as mere politicians" who
can't do anything to him.

The sources said Charamba subjected Dhliwayo to an hour-long telephone
tirade over the issue and Dhliwayo reacted angrily with an eight-page letter
accusing Charamba of being "malicious" and abusing the President's Office to
pursue personal vendettas.

They said Dhliwayo then asked Charamba why he was angry that he was not
appointed minister if he thought being a minister was beneath him.

The sources said the report that caused the infighting focused on the ZBH,
Zimpapers, New Ziana and Kingstons, and concluded "all is not well" in the
state media.

The latest issue of Zanu PF mouthpiece The Voice, viewed as an impeccable
source of party policy, reported eminent changes at Pockets Hill.

Another source said Shamuyarira wanted the state media rid of all the
remnants of the Moyo era immediately but Jokonya has been resisting this
overbearing attitude. Party sources say Shamuyarira wants the business units
set up under Moyo disbanded and the broadcaster to revert to Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation.

The sources say at one routine meeting, Shamuyarira railed at Matonga,
wanting to know when changes would be effected. But Matonga replied that
"his hands were tied and the onus to effect the changes lay with the

The broadcaster has not been able to wean itself from Moyo's legacy that
brought in inexperienced journalists to replace veteran broadcasters who
were elbowed out because they could not qualify for Moyo's media decimation

Allegations of unprofessional conduct that have been levelled against some
staffers at Newsnet reflect the power struggles between the Zanu PF
information department and the Ministry of Information over policy.
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Zim Independent

You've failed, Biti tells govt
Ray Matikinye
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for economic
affairs Tendai Biti was on Tuesday booted out of parliament for telling
government to admit failure to steer the economy out of a debilitating
political and economic crisis.

Not wanting to lose control, Speaker of the House, John Nkomo ordered Biti
to leave the chamber just after Biti said: "I say Zanu PF has a lot to learn
from the sport of boxing. When your boxer fails, you throw in your white
towel to signify surrender. I say to this regime please throw in the towel."

Biti had earlier censured government for lack of planning and economic
foresight by crafting a mid-term budget that heavily taxes the poor.

Biti, the member of parliament for Harare East and the MDC's shadow minister
for finance, accused government of destroying the informal sector through
its ill-conceived Operation Murambatsvina and now seeking to tax the poor
through more value added tax (VAT).

Contributing to debate on the supplementary budget announced on Tuesday,
Biti said government had failed and become so desperate that it had to come
up with a raft of taxes that impinge on the livelihoods of the poor.

By destroying the informal sector, which he said contributed between 40% and
60% to gross domestic product, government had destroyed 60% of the economy.

"We have failed. Now we want to squeeze the little income from already
suffering people of Zimbabwe," said Biti. "What we are doing is that
'tavakukorokoza mari' from our own people to run the country. VAT is a
direct tax that affects the poor more than it does the rich," Biti said.

Finance minister Herbert Murerwa announced, among other revenue measures, an
increase in VAT of 2,5 percentage points from 15% to 17, 5% in his $6,6
trillion mid-term supplementary budget. But he deferred reviewing individual
and corporate tax bands until the national budget in 2006.

Biti said although government blamed inflation for the current economic
crisis, it clearly lacked competency to craft credible development plans in
which fiscal and monetary policies complement each other.

These measures are essential for developing economies in the third world
countries like Zimbabwe and should deal with social formations that address
structural issues of poverty and underdevelopment.

Since 1990 development blueprints have dealt with recurrent issues like
inflation without touching on reasons for poverty and underdevelopment

Biti censured government for profligacy at a time when it is in dire
financial straits by creating a bloated bureaucracy. "We have created a
situation where every other second person in parliament is a deputy minister
and seek to create a Senate with 60 members that is going to create yet
another onerous burden on the fiscus," he said.

The MP decried the dollarisation of the economy saying it deepened poverty
among 80% of the population that live under the poverty datum line and have
to buy products pegged against the greenback.

Beginning this month, Zimbabweans who have access to foreign currency are
allowed to buy fuel at designated service stations using hard currencies.
"When we buy our products at international prices, this increases the gap
between the rich and the poor because the rich are the ones who control the
dollarised economy. Dollarisation of the economy is an acknowledgement of
failure," he said.
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Zim Independent

Africa scrambles for Zim farmers
Augustine Mukaro
MORE than 20 African countries - in a bid to develop their commercial
agriculture - are scrambling to snap up Zimbabwe's farmers displaced under
the chaotic land reform.

The stampede for Zimbabwean farmers, renowned for their skills, comes at a
time when Zimbabwe is in financial dire straits and cannot feed itself
because of the failed agrarian experiment that has put an estimated 4,3
million people at risk.

A Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) report circulated to its members at its
annual congress two weeks ago shows that the success of the farmers' venture
in Nigeria has generated interest from African governments keen to develop
commercial agriculture.

"The Nigerian project has opened many doors, and will continue to open more
doors in other countries, with private companies, and government departments
approaching us, wanting to put together similar projects," reads the report.

The report adds: "Countries that have contacted us and with whom we are
currently dealing include Ghana, Cameroon, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Benin,
Central African Republic and Namibia."

The CFU also said a team was currently working on securing a project similar
to that in Nigeria in Senegal. "Three trips have been made to Senegal and
proposals are being put together. All parties involved are positive about
this venture," the farmers' organisation said.

Alan Jack, leader of the pioneering group that has relocated to Nigeria,
said up to 23 African countries had contacted his office with propositions.
Fifteen farmers and their families have already relocated to Kwara State in

Most farmers who fled their farms at the height of the land invasions have
found new homes in African countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and

Government continues to harass white commercial farmers still on the land,
creating a lot of uncertainty about the future of commercial agriculture in
the country. The farmers say proposed amendments to the Land Act will
nationalise all land.

The proposed amendments and their possible ramifications fly in the face of
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa's call in his mid-term fiscal review
statement this week for stability in the agricultural sector.

Justice for Agriculture chairman, John Worswick, told a parliamentary
hearing last week that the amendment would nationalise all farmland, making
it lose its market value.

"If the amendment passes, land in Zimbabwe will be owned on the basis of
patronage and not one's productiveness or ingenuity," Worswick said. "While
China has accepted the need for individual property rights, Zimbabwe is
moving completely in the opposite direction," he said.

CFU president Doug Taylor-Freeme took a swipe at the proposed amendment,
saying it would speed up the collapse of agriculture.

"It is extremely alarming to note that a new constitutional amendment to the
Land Act has been put to parliament which proposes that all land gazetted
for acquisition since 2000 cannot be contested in court. As virtually every
white farmer has been listed for acquisition in some way or other this
surely provides direct evidence that a process of ethnic cleansing is taking

"If the objective of the authorities, by introducing such draconian
legislation, is to get agriculture back to work, they are wrong. It is
likely to increase the conflict of ownership of the business on the land and
reduce meaningful investment in agriculture," Taylor-Freeme said.
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Zim Independent

Another transit camp opens at Hopley Estate
Grace Kombora
ANOTHER transit camp in the mould of the disbanded Caledonia Farm has opened
at Hopley Estate where scores of people have been dumped in an open space
without any facilities despite government claims that it has closed all
transit camps.

Former Porta Farm residents who were evicted under Operation Murambatsvina
have been moved to Hopley Estate south of Harare, where prison officers and
police are keeping the inmates under armed guard.

The detainees are not allowed to speak to the media and civic organisations.

Security officers earlier this week prevented the Zimbabwe Independent crew
from interviewing residents at the transit camp.

"You do not enter at your own will. You get clearance from the Ministry of
Information first before I can permit your entry," said one the officers.

He said journalists and civic organisations were barred entry into the area.

Ministry officials yesterday refused to comment on the issue referring all
questions to the Media and Information Commission (MIC).

MIC officer Munyaradzi Nyamagodo however denied that the commission had
issued instructions to shut out the media.

Hopley Estate is one of the three farms subdivided into residential stands
to be allocated to evictees under the controversial Operation Garikai.

Living conditions at Hopley Farm, where the displaced have been dumped for
the past three weeks, are described by civic groups as "inhuman".

People are living without shelter while food and water supplies are erratic.

Unicef and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have started
providing aid to people at Hopley Estate.

We are assisting these people with 45 000 litres of water every day," said
James Elder of Unicef. The IOM is distributing blankets and food at the
transit camp.

Most of the people at Hopley lost their belongings during their
displacements to Caledonia.

Caledonia transit camp was closed during the visit last month of UN special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka to assess the impact and extent of Operation

There are no latrines at the new transit camp.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights' efforts to visit people at Hopley
were also blocked by military personnel guarding the area. US Ambassador to
the UN's FAO and WFP, Tony Hall, was barred entry into the camp by the
security officers. Hall also visited Hatcliff Extension where he expressed
concern at the situation there.
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Zim Independent

Govt yet to pay for Byo stands
Susan Mateko
GOVERNMRNT has not paid a cent for the stands it was allocated by the
Bulawayo city council under Operation Garikai/Hlalakani kuhle, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.

At the beginning of July government announced it had been allocated over a
thousand stands for the reconstruction programme by the council but did not
indicate whether the stands were a donation or they were to be paid for.

However, it emerged this week that the council allocated only 360 stands
against 1 002 that government said it would develop in Bulawayo.

The Bulawayo city council's director of housing and community services,
Isaiah Magagula, confirmed this week that government had not yet paid for
the 360 stands.

"We allocated 360 stands to government in line with Operation
Garikai/Hlalani kuhle, but government is yet to pay for the stands and we
are not sure when that will be," Magagula said.

Pressed to give the estimated cost of each stand, Magagula said a single
stand cost in the region of $6 million but that this could be two-fold.

"Currently the council does not have an exact figure but the standard price
for a 200 square metre stand was $6 million for the last lot that we had.
Now it might have doubled or gone beyond that," Magagula said.

The latest revelation follows government plans to channel trillions of
dollars into housing projects to resettle thousands of Zimbabweans displaced
under its widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina.

Magagula also revealed that Operation Garikai/Hlalani kuhle would benefit
only those people on the council's housing waiting list when it comes to the
allocation of stands.

"Only those who had been living in illegal structures and were on the
council's waiting list will get stands," said Magagula.

Operation Garikai/Hlalani kuhle is an ambitious project by government to
provide accommodation for thousands of people left homeless countrywide by
its clean-up exercise.
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Zim Independent

Medical exam ordered for assaulted MDC activists
Loughty Dube
AS police harassment of opposition supporters continues, a local magistrate
has ordered that 12 MDC activists assaulted by police while campaigning for
Bulawayo mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, be medically examined to determine the
extent of their injuries.

The activists, who were arrested last week in Emakhandeni suburb while they
were giving out fliers urging residents to vote for Ncube, were allegedly
injured when they were assaulted by police before and during their detention
at Luveve police station.

The 12 were visibly swollen in the face and other body parts when they
appeared in court last week on Friday to answer charges of toyi-toying and
blocking traffic.

A young woman in the group had a broken arm hanging loosely by her side when
she appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Kholwani Mangena.

After being briefed by the lawyer representing the group, the presiding
magistrate ordered that the group be taken for a medical examination.

The lawyer, Josphat Tshuma of Webb, Low and Barry, told the magistrate that
his clients were assaulted by police as they were being arrested and at
Luveve police station where they were detained overnight.

"The worrying part is that the group was assaulted by police and each of the
members in the group received varying injuries, a case which should be
investigated by the courts," Tshuma said.

The 12 were remanded out of custody to August 25.

Beside the incident involving the police and the 12 MDC activists, the
Bulawayo executive mayoral elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere with
no incidents of violence being reported throughout the city.

Bulawayo executive mayor Ncube retained his seat after he routed Zanu PF's
Dickson Abu- Basuthu by 29 575 votes to 5 509 votes.

Police have in the past been accused of taking sides with the ruling Zanu PF
party during elections and several opposition officials and supporters have
been arrested on the flimsiest of excuses.

Just two weeks ago, Zanu PF supporters attacked and injured Mangwe MP in
Bubi-Umguza whom they detained at a homestead for the whole night and police
are alleged to have responded to the matter after 26 hours.

Last month Mbare MP, Gift Chimanikire, was arrested on allegation of
illegally possessing a firearm after he had gone to a police station to
report an assault by Zanu PF supporters during a state function to
commission a vegetable market.
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Zim Independent

Stockbrokers on stay-away
Thomas Mutswiti
STOCKBROKERS yesterday protested against Finance minister Herbert Murerwa's
latest fiscal policy measures by staying away from the bourse.

There was no trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange following a major policy
shift that requires pension funds to increase government bonds and bills as
a proportion of their portfolios, a ZSE official said.

The directive on Tuesday includes a 10% tax on all shares sold on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

In tandem with this policy shift, the industrial index lost its post-holiday
exuberance, shedding 0,41% on Tuesday, 6,5% on Wednesday with only
1,3-million shares changing hands. This was a far-cry from daily averages of
20-million shares in the past few weeks.

Yesterday there was no trade in both the morning and afternoon call overs as
brokers were just seated chatting away.

Pension funds, the biggest investors on the ZSE, are required to invest 35%
of their total assets in government bonds and Treasury bills, but have been
calculating that percentage based on book value.

Murerwa said pension funds must calculate these assets based on market
value, a move traders said would force companies such as First Mutual and
Old Mutual to offload shares to raise money to buy bonds and bills to meet
the required percentage.

The bourse has remained one of the few areas notching a positive return on
investment in a crumbling economy. Inflation last month raced to 254,8%, the
highest in more than a year.

"What will happen is that pension funds will be forced to sell shares to
meet the shortfall created by the new requirement, but no one in the market
has the capacity to absorb the shares. There has not been any activity
today, the afternoon session only lasted five minutes," ZSE chief executive,
Emmanuel Munyukwi, said.

"The market becomes a sellers' market. It's a disaster, and there is a very
high possibility that the market will collapse. All is not well."

Rashid Mudala, a fund manager at First Mutual Ltd, agreed. "As they rush to
conform with the new requirements, pension funds will have to sell shares to
raise the cash."

Mudala said the directive was most likely to cause a stock market collapse
as pension funds dispose of shares in a market with no takers.

Pension funds have until October to meet the new requirements.

There are 79 listed companies on the bourse, including South African
insurance firm Old Mutual, Pretoria Portland Cement and tobacco giant BAT.

The ZSE's market capitalisation stood at $37,6 trillion at the end of July.

Analysts said government was desperate to raise funds to meet commitments
after six years of recession. Government is increasingly relying on the
domestic market for funds to finance budget shortfalls after a fallout with
multilateral lenders over President Mugabe's controversial land policies.

"The government is trying to extract every last dollar that might be out
there, but by so doing it is making people poorer when they retire,"
economist John Robertson said.

Analysts predicted an upsurge in black market activities like forex dealing
as investors seek alternative avenues to realise real returns.

Government is trying to satisfy its expenditure needs and at the same time
violating its social obligations. This development might see pension funds
and insurance companies raising premiums, analysts say.

An analyst with an insurance company said the requirement will be taxing on
pension funds as it implies that every time properties are revalued they
will fall short of the prescribed asset ratios.

The equities market will suffer the most as pension funds will have to
liquidate shares to meet these ratios.
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Zim Independent

Airzim to pay $40 billion for leased plane
Roadwin Chirara
AIR Zimbabwe is likely run a bill in access of US$2 million (about $40
billion) in the next two months from the lease of a Boeing 767-300 plane
from PB Air of Thailand.

The plane, which comes into service today, will be a relief for its Boeing
767-200 which is currently undergoing a C-class service check by national
airline engineers at Harare International Airport.

The terms and conditions of the lease arrangement, which have been kept a
closely-guarded secret after its chief executive Tendai Mahachi left
Thailand to negotiate the deal, will see the national carrier paying US$3
200 per flight hour.

The plane is expected to fly for up to 70 hours a week for two months. There
are also insurance costs and minor services which are pegged in United
States dollars over the duration of the lease agreement.

The 245-seater plane, which was put into service in 1999, is expected to
cater for Airzim's Asian markets under government's Look East policy.

The plane is expected to make its maiden flight into the country tonight
from Beijing and then make a return flight to the Chinese capital.

The plane under the lease agreement will also be expected to make two weekly
scheduled flights from Harare to Beijing via Dubai and Bangkok, Thailand
while it retains its owners' PB Air livery.

The flights to Bangkok will be Airzim's first after the national carrier
failed to launch the route as planned in July under its Asian expansion

Currently Air Zimbabwe is charging $25 million for a return ticket to the
Chinese capital Beijing, and $12 million for a return ticket to Dubai.

Travellers to Bangkok will be expected to folk out $28,4 million for a
return ticket.

Mahachi confirmed the airline was folking out over US$3 200 for every hour
the plane is in the air under the Thailand lease agreement.

He however refused to disclose further conditions of the deal saying the
lease agreement was in favour of the national carrier as the rate paid was
far below the uniform IATA rate which is in the region of between US$3
500-US$8 000 per hour depending on the age and size of the aircraft.

"We are lucky that we found a favourable deal which is charging us far below
the normal IATA rates considering the size of the plane," Mahachi said.

He said the decision to lease the aircraft had been necessitated by the need
to maintain the airline's current routes while remaining consistent in new

"The decision to lease to plane has been mainly influenced by the need for
us as an airline to maintain our routes and customer base," said Mahachi.

"You have to realise the Asian routes have registered tremendous growth over
the past few months," said Mahachi.

The airline chief also confirmed the use of army engineering personnel in
its operations.

"Yes we do have army engineering personnel working for us. This is under a
secondment agreement we have entered with the army as part of their training
process," Mahachi said.

He also said the airline was planning to train army pilots in flying
civilian planes in the near future.

"We are also looking at training pilots to fly some of our planes such as
the MA60 as these are similar to some of their planes currently in service,"
said Mahachi.

The Air Zimbabwe chief said the third MA60, which was offered for free under
the purchase arrangement of the initial two planes with China, was due to
arrive in December or early next year.

"The free MA60 is due to arrive in December or early next year. It will be
used by the airline for routes such as Mutare and Buffalo Range. Currently
one of the MA60 is plying the Joburg route," Mahachi said.
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Zim Independent

Sting in the tail
By The Tetrad Group
WHILE most analysts were still busy trying to come to grips with the
somewhat dodgy figures in Tuesday's mid-term fiscal policy review, the
Central Statistical Office (CSO) dropped an inflation bombshell behind them
just a day later.

If the Finance minister had any inkling of what was in store he certainly
gave little or no hint of it in his statement, citing only the June figure
of 164,3% and concluding with a repetition of his view that "inflation
remains a major obstacle to the realisation of the country's full productive

After the CSO's revelation that the July figure leapt to 254,8%, with a
month-on-month rise of 47,1%, 13,5% percentage points above the previous
record monthly increase of November 2003, all that can be said is that
hardly anyone would dare contradict the minister's sentiments in this

However, projections in the review did not appear to take into account a
year-on-year rate of inflation at the beginning of the second half of the
year of 90,5 percentage points, or 55%, above that at the end of the first

There will be some really serious discrepancies to account for when the
budget for 2005 as a whole comes to be compiled towards the end of the
current calendar year.

Even if the mid-term figures can be accepted as a half reliable pointer to
the likely outturn to the overall budgetary outcome for the year, which
looks unlikely, it is clear that the resurgence of inflationary pressures
are but one of several major problems impeding the realisation of the
economy's productive potential.

A major stimulant to the spiralling prices is undoubtedly the fall in
domestic production. Although the minister still clings to the hope that
there will be positive, albeit lower than forecast growth in GDP in 2005,
all the available evidence points to yet another year of significant
economic contraction.

This is likely to take real national output down to nearly half what it was
six years ago. One reason for this downward trend is the inability of
producers to access more than a small fraction of the foreign exchange
needed to sustain output. The auction figures show that just over 7% of bids
have been met since the end of June compared with 27% in the corresponding
period last year. Output must be falling across the economy, yet
supplementary estimates provide increased public sector spending of $3,4
trillion although the minister admitted that in the absence of foreign
funding the widening budget deficit had to be financed entirely from the
domestic market.

With falling real output and rising expenditure the budget deficit for the
first half of this year was put at $5,7 trillion compared with the original
estimate of $4,5 trillion for the whole year. This was despite his refusal
to provide any further funds to the line ministries this year and the
implementation of certain measures to increase revenue. The after shock on
output, income and employment is certain to be felt increasingly over the
next few months.

The reduction in revenues is more a reflection of declining economic
activity rather than failure on the part of Zimra. Increasing VAT and
surtaxes is counterproductive and will not make up for the shortfall, nor
will introducing new taxes.

More than likely these will actually cause a reduction of the total amount
collected in the long-term. What is needed is a conducive environment for
doing business such that companies are profitable (more corporate tax),
workers are adequately remunerated (more PAYE), and thus spend more which
means more VAT.

Of more serious implication to the financial sector, particularly the stock
market, is the introduction of a 10% withholding tax on the sale of
marketable securities. At the moment every trade attracts an additional 4%
cost to both the seller and the buyer, split evenly between the government
and the stockbroker. From September 1, on the sale of securities the
government will get 12% (2% stamp duty plus 10% withholding tax) and the
broker 2%; makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

Whilst working for the development of one's country is what many are
expected to do, the above scenario means Zimbabwe probably scores another
first by being the only country in which the government earns more on a
financial transaction than the agent or intermediary. The logic has left
many so astounded that there hasn't been any trading on the stock market in
the past two days.

The other imponderable was the new directive on the insurance sector and
pension funds to calculate the prescribed asset ratios of 25% for short-term
insurance companies, 30% for long-term insurers and 35% for pension funds at
market value, which in any case changes almost daily.

In essence, what this implies is that by September 30, most pension funds
would need to have liquidated at least a third of their assets, which are
not prescribed, mainly shares and properties.

The insurance and pension fund sectors are the main players in both the
stock and property market, meaning that there will be no buyers for the
properties and shares, unless of course if foreigners seize the opportunity
to get these assets at basement bottom prices - unlikely in current

This again will be contrary to the spirit of the statement which seeks to
preserve the country's sovereignty by directing that all foreign investment
will be through joint ventures, in which foreigners will own 40% and locals
60%. Thus for a US$100 million project (Zesa coal project for example) the
foreigner will inject US$40 million and the local partner will weigh in with
US$60 million, in a country as short of foreign currency as we are?

This comes in the wake of local consortia, even a state institution like the
Zimbabwe Investment Trust, failing to raise funding for 15% of Zimplats and
Mimosa. Make sense of it if you can!
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Zim Independent

Enemy No1: the volatile exchange rate

IN the latest monetary policy review (MPR) the Zimbabwe dollar was adjusted
against US$1 to $17 500. Within a few days the parallel market rate moved to
within $40 000.

It is important to note that the rate had not moved materially before the
MPR, and from this it can be deduced that that movement was not caused by
sudden changesin the market forces of demand and supply.

Prior to the MPR, the parallel market value of the US$ was approximately $18
000 while the auction rate was $10 500. This comparison demonstrates that
the parallel market rate operates on a premium to the "official" rate.

The problem of the parallel market is an issue that seriously needs to be
addressed as it has downstream negative effects for the economy.

In the same vein, it must be understood that a parallel/black market for any
commodity exists when it is in short supply. The way to destroy the parallel
market is to strengthen the performance ofthe official market and therefore
devaluation or adjustments will becomeunnecessary. Only four years ago the
parallel market value of the Zim dollar against the greenback was$300.

Back then it was generally agreed that even at this parallel rate the local
currency was undervalued, but with the official rate at $55, the market was
placing both a corrective premium to adjust the rate to realistic levels as
well as a risk premium - in the event that if one got caught trading, it was
the while.

By July 2002 the official rate was still $55,04 while the parallel market
rate was $650. In three years the official rate is now $18 500,41 and the
parallel rate is $40 000. This clearly shows that there is a foreign
currency crisis.

Some technical and fundamental analysts are predicting an auction rate of
over $100 000by the end of the first quarter of 2006.

But there must be a solution and such solution must be actively pursued
today. It would be a sad development if we nostalgically look back at the
past three years ofdifficulty as "the good old days". The solution is there
but it is not close at hand. In fact, it is moving further and further away
with each day of delay. Most of Zimbabwe's current problems would be taken
care of with a steady supply of foreign currency.

Over the past few years we have moved so far from where we were, which
itself was far from where we were headed, that what we are going through now
will be with us for a while yet. What this calls for is action now.

If action had been taken three years back we would be at a different
leveltoday. It is interesting to note that Zambia went through a similar
period when there were undue restrictions on foreign currency and
significantparticipation by the state in the economy.

When the markets were liberalised and the government took a regulatory role
there was a crash of the Zambian kwacha against major currencies (from
US$1:ZK60) but that was 15 years ago!

In the ensuing period the government of Zambia enforced bold market-based
policies not dictated by the West, and today the Zambian kwacha is one of
the most stable currencies in the region, trading both in Zambia and
internationally at an average of ZK4 350 to the greenback.

Today the kwacha is stronger than the Zimbabwean dollar! Economic history,
from our own Rozvi State to the modern G8 nations, has demonstrated that
there is nothing thatcan beat a free market, and free market policies need
to be actively pursued to correct the disparities currently existing in our

It is the exchange rate that is the country's number 1 enemy and all stops
must bepulled out to fight it. We remember well the abolishment of trade in
US dollars in early 2004 because the Zimbabwean dollar was the legal tender
of the country. The private sector's innovation had seen that dollarising
was the only way to go and real estate, fuel and other commodities were
quoted in the US$, to give a semblance of stability.

It appears we are now moving back to the days of late 2003 with the
introduction of the payments of PAYE in foreign currency, fuel being
purchased in foreign currency; the economy is slowly dollarising and soon
most key costs (electricity, water, toll roads) will be charged in foreign

As with fuel today, he who has foreign currency, knows no shortage. Foreign
Direct Investment (FDI) is one way of ensuring that there is a steady supply
of foreign currency.

While the country has resources that could easily give it a positive balance
of trade, without capital equipment (which itself needs foreign currency) we
cannot convert these resources into the hard currency we seek.

Over the past two years, private sector involvement in national development
has been relegated as the nation has monopolised the salivation of our state
to the Asian giants. While this might be noble, no economic turnaround has
succeeded with the involvement of foreign powers in conjunction with the
government alone. The local private sector needs to be involved to safeguard
the local interests.

We are not taking the Asian model, but bringing the Asians themselves, whose
interests are to safeguard their own commercial interests. Soon we will
bring them in to resuscitatethe Feruka Refinery and to manufacture ethanol
for us, all things the private sector can do with a little help. Private
sector innovation is now regarded with suspicion in Zimbabwe, whereas
foreign innovation is hailed.
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Zim Independent

Skewed policies bad for investment
Thomas Mutswiti/ Itai Mushekwe
GOVERNMENT'S command approach to the economy has tainted its investment
promotion initiative which has seen Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)
dwindling to its lowest ebb since 2000 during the chaotic land seizures.

President Robert Mugabe's call for 2005 as a year of investment is proving
to be pie in the sky.

Despite the increase in Zimbabwe dollar terms in FDI levels, the country
remains in dire need of foreign capital injection amid calls for an
improvement in the investment climate.

Statistics indicate that levels of FDI have been increasing with the US
showing substantial interest in the tourism sector. It has invested $4,9
trillion in the sector with China investing $620 billion in the agricultural
sector for the half year to July. Total foreign and joint venture investment
increased from $1,4 billion in 2000 to $5,8 trillion as at July 31.

However, analystswho spoke to businessdigest doubted these figures
indicating that FDI has been falling due to a host of political and economic
problems in the country. Many spoke of the failure of investment initiatives
due to policy uncertainties.

Economist Eric Bloch said: "My perception of Zimbabwe's investment promotion
initiative is that it is all talk and no substance and, therefore, of very
minimal effect. As yet 2005, which is supposed to be the year of investment,
has witnessed very little investment. There have been some specific
investment projects agreed with China, but most have yet to convert to

Bloch added that it was not correct that the economy has endured massive
capital flight, for the stringent exchange controls have prevented
repatriation of capital by foreign investors. The only major capital flight
has been externalisation of assets through the parallel market. This has
compounded the scarcity of foreign exchange and exchange rate movement in
the unofficial markets. Investors do not invest if there is a lack of
national credibility.
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Zim Independent

Dynamics of the SA rescue package
By Alex T Magaisa
THE rescue package from South Africa to Zimbabwe has raised considerable
interest in the last few weeks.

Zimbabwe has the worst performing economy in Southern Africa. Even the DRC,
which has been involved in conflict in recent years is recording positive
growth. That Zimbabwe now needs a bailout package is official
acknowledgement of its precarious state. No amount of denials will cover the
fact that the country is in dire straits. Not even the headlines and
statements proclaiming that the country is on the road to recovery.

However, the debate over what SA can do for Zimbabwe and how it can achieve
that result appears to overlook the wider politics of international
bailouts. In organising a bailout, SA is not simply acting as a benevolent
big brother, but is also acting to safeguard its interests. Such rescue
packages have been organised elsewhere previously. SA must however realise
that in the pursuit of its interests present a moral hazard. To the extent
that such moral hazard arises SA also has at the very least, a moral
obligation to account to Zimbabwean citizens. They need assistance to
survive these hardships but far more important is that they need help to lay
down a foundation for restoration of prosperity in the long-term.

Bailouts are not new and we can learn a bit from recent history. The two
principal goals of bailouts are firstly, to prevent total collapse of a
country's economic system and enable it to meet its international
obligations and secondly, to prevent the spread of systemic risk to other
countries. The total breakdown of a country's economic system has major
social and economic implications on the region. It would mean mass migration
to neighbouring countries, breakdown in trade relations and loss of major

It would not have escaped SA's attention that Zimbabwe is one of its major
trading partners in Africa. Zimbabweans flock to South Africa as economic
migrants and political refugees. SA cannot afford to have a total collapse
in Zimbabwe because it would entail a huge loss of market as well as open
the floodgates of immigration. Total collapse would negatively affect SA and
other neighbouring countries.

In organising a rescue package for Zimbabwe, SA is doing no more than the US
did in 1994-5 during the Mexican financial crisis. At that time the US led a
major financial rescue operation to save Mexico partly to safeguard its own
interests. In the end Mexico received almost US$50 billion from the US, the
IMF and a consortium of other countries. Similar responses were taken during
the Asian financial crisis in 1997-8. The international community took a
pro-active stance to safeguard the international financial system from the
threats posed by crises in the emerging economies.

There is a key theme in all this: protection of self-interest. It is
therefore not surprising that SA would deploy its resources not so much for
the sake of Zimbabwe, but for its own interests. And that is where the
problem lies: the moral hazard created by such rescue packages and what SA
could do to minimise it.

The assistance that was given to Mexico and Asian countries was criticised
as giving rise to specific moral hazard in the investment community. Besides
the superficial picture of assisting the country in crisis, critics argued
that it was in fact assisting imprudent investors who would otherwise have
lost their money if the crises were to persist. In other words, the
interventions had the effect of encouraging unwise and reckless behaviour of
investors knowing that whatever happens they would recoup their losses.
Critics argued that the governments were using taxpayers' money to bail out
reckless investors who should have carried their losses.

Now getting back to Zimbabwe, there is a large number of SA business
involvement in Zimbabwe. The South Africans who have invested in Zimbabwe
would suffer great losses as a result of economic and political collapse in
Zimbabwe. The package has the effect of cushioning these investors and the
question really is for South Africans to question whether they would allow
their taxpayers' money to be used to protect a selection of businesses
investing in Zimbabwe. But for Zimbabweans there is also a further moral
hazard and that is why SA should also be concerned with their views.

The argument is that other than being a temporary reprieve, the loan will
not really solve the core problem affecting Zimbabwe's economy. Further, it
would be argued that far from rescuing the country from economic malaise,
the loan permits the government to pursue skewed economic and political
policies knowing that it has a cushion to fall back on. It is this moral
hazard that SA ought to consider in its relations with Zimbabwe.

The question they ought to ask themselves is: Are we, by advancing this
rescue package to Zimbabwe permitting and encouraging imprudent behaviour on
the part of the Zimbabwe government? If the answer to that question is yes,
it does not necessarily mean that SA should not advance the rescue package.
As I have stated already, SA also has some self-interest to safeguard. It
means, however, that in making its decisions, SA must balance the
self-interest and the interests of Zimbabweans.

The question that arises therefore would be: If by our assistance we create
such a moral hazard, what can we do to minimise it? It is at this point
where the issue of conditions to the loan arise. In these circumstances, the
principal purpose of the conditions should be to minimise the moral hazard
created by advancing the bailout package. The loan should not simply have
the effect of a temporary solution, but should be part of a long-lasting
transformation covering economic, political and social aspects pertaining to

We ought to recall again that the issue of conditions to rescue packages is
not new. In accepting the rescue packages, Mexico and most of the Asian
countries had to also accept certain conditions. These conditions had impact
on both economic and political matters in the respective countries. It has
been said that Malaysia resisted these conditions but most of the countries
believed that they had no choice and duly accepted.

Conditions do not always work in the anticipated fashion and the IMF-led
rescue packages have been widely criticised over the years. The key,
however, as far as Zimbabwe is concerned, is for SA to identify and
understand the causes of Zimbabwe's problems and negotiate conditions that
have the effect of dealing with those specific challenges.

Now there is also some controversy regarding the genesis of Zimbabwe's
problems and care must be taken at this stage. In my view, these causes may
be both external and internal to Zimbabwe. All too often, however, there is
huge polarisation. On the one hand there are those who argue that Zimbabwe's
problems are internal but refuse to acknowledge the external factors and on
the other hand are those who argue that Zimbabwe's problems are external but
refuse to acknowledge the internal factors. There is need to accept the
reality that there is no single cause to the problems.

Perhaps some are more prominent than others, depending on each individual's
platform but it would be a mistake, as we have seen over the years, to adopt
a narrow view and refuse to see the point from the other side. So what's the
point of all this?

The point is that in debating SA's position in relation to the rescue
package and how it can play a role in helping Zimbabwe, we need to avoid a
narrow approach. We should take a wider and more comprehensive plan that
addresses a wider cross-section of issues impacting on the Zimbabwean
economy. The more the issues we place on the table, the easier it is to
negotiate the major obstacle.

The way I see it is that simply discussing the issue in political terms has
the effect of placing SA in a difficult position. We have seen over the
years that it is keen to avoid being seen as a bully by the Zimbabwe
government and its allies. Yet in being soft it has also risked being called
a poodle by its critics. The key however is that it must take into account
the long-term interests of Zimbabweans and realise that its actions have an
impact on their future.

In doing so SA has to realise that the key question is not whether it gives
Zimbabwe the current loan request, but what it will do next time when
Zimbabwe comes again extending the begging bowl. This is because unless
there is fundamental overhaul stretching from political to economic systems
in Zimbabwe, it is more than likely that Zimbabwe will soon be broke again.
In order to avoid that, SA needs to assist Zimbabwe out of this by taking a
more comprehensive approach. In doing so it would also be assisting itself,
because it has major economic and political interests to safeguard by
helping Zimbabwe to be successful.

There are of course differences between the Mexican and Asian crises on the
one hand and the Zimbabwean crisis on the other. Unlike the Mexican and
Asian crises, the Zimbabwean crisis is not seen as a major threat to the
international financial system. If anything, its impact is limited to the
Southern African region, which explains why SA would be interested in
keeping systemic risk at bay.

Secondly, the other crises took place over a relatively short space of time
and were major shocks to the international economic system at the time.
Zimbabwe's crisis has unfolded gradually and visibly over a period of time
and its demise has been predictable. The current liquidity problem is widely
seen as an opportunity to halt that crisis.

Third, the crises in Mexico and Asia were largely perceived as threats to
the model of the free-market economy, which at the time was being largely
promoted by the Bretton-Woods institutions the World Bank and the IMF.

Rightly or wrongly, the Zimbabwean crisis is largely perceived as political
rather than a threat to that model. In any event, as we saw in relation to
the Argentinean crisis, the criticisms of the rescue packages of the 1990s
have discouraged knee-jerk reactions on the part of the IMF in crisis

Hence, despite persistent talk about Zimbabwe and the need for reform, it is
unsurprising that there has not been much international mobilisation to
advance a rescue package.

Finally, the key lies in the fact that financial injection alone will not
solve the problems in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe and SA both need a clear plan on
what needs to be done. The message must be driven home that the idea is not
to punish Zimbabwe, but to help it out of its crisis. SA has a legal
obligation to account to its citizens for using their money.

But at the very least, it also has a moral obligation to the people of
Zimbabwe not simply to assist them as neighbours but also to ensure that its
assistance is put to good use.

Zimbabwe needs more than a temporary solution. It requires assistance that
has long term implications on its political and economic stability. SA is
not doing anything new. All it needs to do is learn from history to avoid
making similar mistakes. It is free as a sovereign nation to help its
neighbour and also safeguard its interests. Its key challenge however is to
minimise the moral hazard that would arise from extending the bailout

* Dr Magaisa is a specialist in Corporate and Financial Services Law. He can
be contacted at
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Zim Independent

Yet another body blow to consumers
Godfrey Marawanyika/Thomas Mutswiti
FOR a government which claims to have the economically disadvantaged at
heart, the $6,6 trillion supplementary budget presented by Finance minister
Herbert Murerwa this week is a slap in the face for ordinary citizens as
they will now have to dig dipper into their coffers.

Murerwa skirted any measures to curtail run-away government expenditure,
instead opting for deficit financing by raising $1,6 trillion from the
already squeezed financial markets.

This measure is projected to raise the budget deficit to 8,7% of the gross
domestic product.

So desperate has been the government for quick cash that it will now levy
surtax on cellphone airtime, commuter and taxi operators.

Apparently for political expediency's sake, government continued with its
jobs-for-the-boys approach. The Senate will be given $30 billion to conduct
its elections.

The minister introduced a host of taxes including widening the tax base to
cover already cash-strapped parastatals.

Parastatals have been called upon to review service fees to economic levels
in a bid to lessen the burden on the fiscus.

The informal sector whose operations were almost blown to extinction by
Operation Murambatsvina are now regarded as a source of tax revenue.

This was long overdue given that about 75% of the economy was operating

Small-scale miners were also not spared and will have to pay 5% presumptive

The levels of corruption, particularly at the ports of entry, are a cause
for concern but Murerwa just talked of revision of strategies by Zimra to
permanently deal with it.

The Anti-Corruption Commission was sworn in last week and all Minister Paul
Mangwana has managed to do is gobble $300 billion of taxpayers' money.

The Look East policy seems to be pinching the revenue base - albeit mildly.
To minimise forex pressures due to spare parts need, Murerwa prescribed the
use of yet another tax to address the problem.

Car dealers who were complaining of low business levels will now sing the
blues as all vehicles five years old and above will now attract a surtax of

In South Africa, used cars are completely outlawed.

In a move that is set to hit mobile phone users hard, a special VAT rate of
22,5% will be levied on airtime.

Speculation is rife that Econet and Net*One have proposed 180% and 250%
tariff increases respectively, yet government rhetoric is the promotion of
telecommunication levels.

Imported beer and cigarettes now attract a surtax of 50%. Surtax on other
luxury goods has been pegged at 15%.

Given the problems that passenger transport operators are facing due to lack
of forex to buy spare parts and biting fuel shortages, the introduction of
presumptive tax can only be the final blow to their survival.

In continued dollarisation to harness the much-needed forex, Murerwa
proposed that PAYE be payable in the currency in which employees receive

In a bid to appease employees, the minister proposed a $500 000 "windfall"
by broadening the tax-free threshold from $1 million to $1,5 million per
month though calls were for $2,5 million.

Further review of tax brackets has been deferred to the 2006 budget.

The overburdened taxpayer has however been guaranteed continual payment of
withholding tax on any investments made in marketable securities.

For the local bourse, that's a slap in the face to the investors, since they
will now be levied a 10% capital gains tax on any sale.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Luxon Zembe, indicated that
he was relieved that government had recognised that the country is in an
economic crisis requiring implementation of tough measures.

"Some positive things did come out of the budget. There was general
compliance with the monetary policy, particularly calls for a conducive
investment climate, showing convergence of thinking by both the monetary and
fiscal authorities," Zembe said.

Zembe added that calls for order on the farms were very important and that
what was now needed was practical implementation with the help of law
enforcement agents.

He said calls for parastatals to charge economic prices where possible were
welcome, adding that strategies should focus on restructuring as the
problems the country is facing are structural.

Another analyst said increasing tax the burdens had serious implications for
the business community with respect to both equity and efficiency of the
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Zim Independent

Mawere decries abuse of property rights
Eric Chiriga
EXILED businessman, Mutumwa Mawere, has said that the state takeover of his
firms clearly indicates that the government has no respect for property

Mawere's comments come in the wake of questions recently posed in parliament
by MDC St Mary's MP Job Sikhala to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa if he
was aware that the Reconstruction of State Indebted Companies Act was in
breach of provisions of property rights.

Sikhala also asked Chinamasa if he was taking any corrective measures
especially in the light of the state of affairs at Shabanie Mashaba Mines.

However, Chinamasa dismissed Sikhala's claims.

"I can state categorically that the Reconstruction of State-Indebted
Insolvent Companies Act (the Reconstruction Act) does not breach the
property rights enshrined under our constitution," Chinamasa said.

"The constitutionality or otherwise of a piece of legislation or an
administrative action is determined by our Supreme Court in terms of the

Chinamasa said there is a presumption of constitutionality in the
interpretation of our legislation and such legislation is presumed to be
constitutional until declared otherwise by the Supreme Court.

Chinamasa said the Reconstruction Act referred to by Sikhala was
constitutional until the Supreme Court rules otherwise.

"To my knowledge, SMM has not filed a constitutional challenge of the
Reconstruction Order, which was issued on the 6th September 2004," he said.

SMM has since filed an application in the High Court seeking the setting
aside of the Reconstruction Order.

Chinamasa said it was difficult to understand the sort of corrective
measures Sikhala wanted, given that SMM was as of September 6 last year
indebted to the state to the sum of $115 billion and to other creditors to
the tune of $22,4 billion and unable to repay.

He said SMM was also overwhelmed with debts to the extent that the state
could no longer lend it funds while trade creditors and suppliers had ceased
dealing with it for non-payment.

He said business had ground to a halt and government was forced to pay the

"All this was caused by the externalisation of SMM foreign exchange earnings
of US$18,5 million by South African-based Mutumwa Mawere," he said.

" It (SMM) faced imminent closure and thousands of jobs and livelihoods were
at risk of loss. It could not repay its trade creditors and the mining
concern was literally insolvent and incapable of proceeding."

SMM was placed under reconstruction in terms of the Reconstruction Act, with
government arguing that this was done with a view to rebuilding it (SMM) and
ensure it returned to viability through a proposed Scheme of Reconstruction.

Chinamasa said in any event, it was also in the public interest that SMM be
placed under reconstruction given the fact that it was owing public funds
and was a debtor of the state.

He said based on the facts on the ground, one would conclude that SMM was
indebted to the state and, therefore, the state acted in the national
interest to pass a new law to prevent the imminent collapse of the company.

"The role of the state in relation to SMM needs to be examined in order to
determine whether the actions of the state were justified," Chinamasa said.

"In addition, the conduct of the state in relation to SMM and its
shareholder are issues that the minister failed to address."

However, speaking from South Africa, Mawere said SMM is a private company
beneficially owned by another private company, SMM Holdings Ltd (SMMH),
through shares registered in England.

He said the ownership of SMM goes back to 1965 and there has been no change
of shareholding since then, adding that the shareholding of SMMH changed in
1996 when ARL, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, owned by
himself acquired by purchase, all the shares owned by T & N Plc, a company
registered in England, but now in administration.

He asked why the government did not allow the due process of the law to take
its course if the company was indebted?

Mawere said if the relationship between the state and SMM was that of a
debtor and creditor, then the recovery or reconstruction of the company
would certainly have been a civil matter.

He said the protection of a debtor against a creditor would be governed
under Section 18(9) of the Constitution that states: "Subject to the
provision of this constitution, every person is entitled to be afforded a
fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court
or other adjudicating authority established by law in the determination of
the existence or extent of his civil rights or obligations."

He said in the case of SMM, the indebtedness alleged by the minister was not
independently determined as provided for in the constitution.

Instead, the state appointed its administrator who dismissed the board of
the company and proceeded to unilaterally determine the indebtedness of the

"Even if SMM was indebted, the minister would still have been obliged to
give notice to SMMH as the member most affected by the Reconstruction
Order," Mawere said.

"However, the minister chose not to inform SMMH although the constitution
provides no latitude. By failing to afford the shareholder a hearing before
issuing the Reconstruction Order, the decision to issue a Reconstruction
Order by the minister in respect of SMM was contrary to the rules of natural
justice. The minister did not address this issue in parliament."

Mawere argues that Chinamasa failed to inform the House that there was no
legislative framework which allows the state to loan funds to individual
companies in Zimbabwe.

He said that the broadening of the definition of the state in the
Reconstruction Act not only undermines the juristic persona of state
institutions and the fact that it operates retroactively offends all rules
of natural justice.

"The SMM saga illustrates the classic case of abuse of power by the
executive on the pretext of national interests. The minister alleges that
there was no ulterior motive in placing SMM under reconstruction," he said.

"In the response of the minister it is clear that the government was in no
way involved in the ARL acquisition and yet now has effectively dismembered
a private company of its property rights in Zimbabwe."
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Zim Independent

Power licences: 4 in race
Conrad Dube
FOUR private players have applied to the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory
Commission (Zerc) for licences to develop power generation plants in the

Zerc was set up to create and preserve efficient industry structures for the
provision of electricity power. It also seeks to promote competition and
private sector participation in the power generation sector.

The regulatory commission has invited applications for the generation of
electricity as the initial stage of demonopolising the electricity industry.

Commissioner general Mavis Chidzonga said this week Zimbabwe had a deficit
of 240MW on total demand of about 2 070MW.

The country produces 1 330MW, with Hwange Power station producing 550MW,
Kariba 730MW while small thermal stations account for the remaining 50MW.
About 500MW is imported from Mozambique and South Africa.

Chidzonga did not disclose the identities of the applicants, citing client

The commission is looking for other options to increase power generating
capacity and is encouraging small-scale hydro-electricity generators to
reduce the current electricity shortfall.

"New players have shown interest in greenfield investments and they want to
bring in a different type of technology from the existing one that can
enhance electricity generation," said Chidzonga.

Among some of the conditions demanded in the application is the technical
capacity of the applicants.

The commission is also looking at the availability of resources such as
financial and primary energy sources.

The executive commissioner responsible for technical and economic
regulation, Gloria Magombo, said the commission would eliminate briefcase
companies through a rigorous vetting exercise.

"We will eliminate speculators because this has to do with the security of
the nation. We do not want a situation where new players destabilise
existing systems and infrastructure due to use of non-compliant equipment,"
Magombo added.
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Zim Independent


South African farmers' fatal mistake

WHEN in 1999 President Robert Mugabe threatened to seize land owned by white
commercial farmers without paying compensation, everybody said it was
impossible. Such an act of madness had no historical precedent in modern
times. It was against property rights and the international community would
not stomach such errant nonsense. After all the white commercial farmers had
title to the land.

Sure, such an abomination had never been committed before. When the
Bolsheviks and the Chinese did it, it was against the kulaks and other
remnants of the landed aristocracy from the feudal era, not against the
children of a former colonial power. It was a typical "internal affair".

We all now know what Mugabe did soon after. Unfortunately white landowners
and the opposition in South Africa don't seem to have learnt a lesson. They
are still in denial about the need for speedy land redistribution to avert a
replay of the Zimbabwean tragedy. This became stark clear in their reaction
to newly appointed deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka's vexatious
 "joke" about South Africa learning "how to do it fast" from Zimbabwe's

"We may need some skills from Zimbabwe to help us," she said. The anger
quickly crystallised around the opposition Democratic Alliance's response
when its spokesperson Kraai van Niekerk warned Mlambo-Ngcuka to act "in a
more balanced and responsible manner" during public appearances. "Zimbabwe
offers a textbook example of ways in which land reform should not be carried
out," the DA said. They are right and wrong.

Just as happened here a few short years back, the South African government
was accused of not allocating enough funds to buy land, as if it has
limitless resources at its disposal. Farmers in SA should need no reminding
that whatever the shortcomings of Mugabe's disastrous method, it was partly
in response to the failure of the "willing seller, willing buyer" approach
to deliver as it was to Mugabe's fight with Tony Blair.

More importantly, the land became Mugabe's biggest largesse yet to stem a
tide of discontent from the constituency of war veterans and the army who
had not benefited from the expensive DRC debacle.

While the political imperatives for fair land redistribution should have
been obvious to all, farmers behaved as if government was to blame for
lacking money. Similarly, while South African farmers are keen to point out
the legal framework for land reform, they deliberately ignore the political
pressure on government and hope cynically that what happened in Zimbabwe
cannot happen there. It is very dangerous self-delusion.

We understand very well how President Thabo Mbeki has tried to stick to the
law and tread with caution even on the Black Economic Empowerment programme.
He may not have Mugabe's petty vindictiveness, but there is a danger in
making him feel like an Uncle Tom in the eyes of poor blacks.

Mlambo-Ngcuka's gaffe may be a timely warning against complacence by white
commercial farmers and of the restlessness among the poor agitating for
Zimbabwean-style farm invasions. There is a danger of the "right approach"
frustrating Mbeki and his ANC party into ultimately believing that there is
in fact a "method to Mugabe's madness". South Africa and the entire region
will be the biggest losers from the fallout.

There may be no skills to be learnt from Mugabe's approach, but South
Africans have had ample opportunity to know what can be avoided by seeking
compromise on the price of land. Their country has not yet gone down the
tubes but its farmers and the opposition are proving just how difficult it
is to learn from the mistakes of others, even when they are as close as
Zimbabwe is.

It should also be borne in mind that there are black South Africans who
regard Mugabe as a hero for tormenting whites. Mugabe would like to infect
such South Africans and
those in the land lobby with the fast-track virus.

The core group of potential hosts of the virus is already there in the form
of the Landless People's Movevement, the Northern Province Land Rights
Coalition and elements in the Pan Africanist Congress. Merchants of terror
in the country, notorious for murdering white farmers, mainly with the
motive to rob, can also be roped in to form an alliance of convenience. The
product will have a "made in Zimbabwe" sticker.

Zimbabwe's mistakes can be avoided with some modicum of public spiritedness
and a genuine sense of equity. If South Africans can achieve by moral
suasion what Zimbabweans are trying to achieve through force, they
would have learnt something and can set a better example for other countries
in a similar conundrum.
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Zim Independent

Zim's rot: the face of Mugabe's humiliation
By Chido Makunike
THE last several months have not been good for President Mugabe and his
regime. Many at home and abroad believe his party rigged the recent
parliamentary election. Operation "Destroy Homes and Livelihoods" was an
unmitigated disaster not only for the hundreds who were at its receiving
end, but for President Mugabe's already tattered stature as well.

Then came the trip to China, from which it was hoped he would return
triumphantly laden with gifts, shaking his raised fist at the airport as
Zanu PF Women's League members wearing his face on the bosoms or buttocks of
their dresses ululated, cabinet members shuffling dutifully. Alas, it was
not to be!

No multi-billion dollar aid or investment package materialised. Instead he
was said to have been thrown US$6 million for starving Zimbabweans.

I wondered whether this humiliation was why, when inspecting a guard of
honour alongside a relaxed looking Chinese president, President Mugabe's
face was locked in a grim, mouth-down turned countenance. I felt so sorry
that it has come to this for him.

He has previously railed against the veto at the United Nations, but took
cover under Chinese assurances that they would use theirs to shield his
regime from Security Council scrutiny.

Rather than appearing to be the leader of a proud, sovereign nation, this
seemed to confirm how President Mugabe is so desperate, frightened and
cornered that he must find protection wherever he can get it, whatever the
cost and no matter how it contradicts his rhetoric.

While China may be quite happy to sell us buses, transformers and rickety
old-tech technology like the MA 60 planes that the government has
embarrassingly been crowing about, they are clearly not interested in
extending any large scale injection to a regime that has squandered
Zimbabwe's wealth and potential.

The suggestion that President Mugabe was playing off the Chinese and the
South Africans against each other in his appeal to both of them for a big
rescue package was laughable.

You must be in a position of relative strength to pull this off and
President Mugabe has ensured that Zimbabwe at the moment is the weakest it
has ever been.

Reports from South Africa say that country's government is being very
careful not to be seen to be "humiliating" Mugabe in the negotiations over
the terms of that country's loan to Zimbabwe.

But what "humiliation" could be worse for him than the state of Zimbabwe and
what he has been reduced to, trying to stem the rot?

The greatest humiliation to Mugabe is the mess he is presiding over. All his
rhetoric at the AU, UN and other summits that he so enjoys pontificating at
is neutralised and contradicted by the dysfunctionality of the country he
rules over.

He would be better off staying at home and getting his country to be in a
more respectable shape before he ventures out to be cheered in front of his
face while he is laughed at behind his back.

The contradictions caused by his unenviable position just keep coming. A big
part of the South African loan is to pay off arrears to the IMF. But
countless times Mugabe has attributed many of the country's economic woes to
that organisation and suggested his government would get along without it.

The scramble to make a part payment and avoid imminent expulsion is an
admission that his rhetoric was mere populist posturing. The need for the
loan and the arrears in the first place are also signs of how the economy is
not performing.

A borrower, even one who is in good standing with the world, is not in a
position to dictate the terms of a loan even at the best of times. So
whatever the public posturing of both governments to protect a fragile ego,
Mugabe and his regime will have to swallow some unpalatable conditions to
get South African assistance.

No matter how it is explained, the fact of the loan, the conditions and the
fact that the lender does not trust the borrower enough to give him direct
cash are all very loud statements that say "mistrust, lack of confidence".

If Mugabe says "go to hell" to the South Africans over their conditions, it
will cement the world's view of Mugabe as a churlish despot who sulks easily
and does not accept reality enough to manoeuvre in the modern world for the
benefit of his people. He would have confirmed his growing reputation as a
remote cold seeker of power with very little regard and concern for the
misery he has been responsible for.

I wish I could think of some ways in which things were going President
Mugabe's way but I can't. This is a great pity because a person of 81 who
has lived a privileged and eventful life should have the comfort of his
golden years filled with happy events, the respect and adoration of those
around him for a long life well lived.

Ideally, people should be looking to your eventual exit with trepidation,
not with joy and eager excitement.

The bigger and more important story is the destruction of a beautiful
country. But a smaller, more personal accompanying tragedy is how a man over
several decades managed to replace possible greatness with ignominy. It need
not have turned out this way.

*Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

State-ownership of land a backward step
By John Robertson
GOVERNMENT'S proposals to replace the former freehold title to agricultural
land with a 99-year leasehold system appear to offer political advantages
that make the concept attractive to political authorities. These centre on
features of the arrangements that permit the state: * to retain ultimate
control over the land; * to protect peasant communities from the harshness
of market forces; * to prevent the development of empowered pressure groups
of farmers; * to re-allocate land that officials consider is not being
efficiently used, and * to directly influence the selection of successors
when existing lessees choose to vacate their properties.

In the proposed legislation to control leases, government intends to
separate the land from improvements on the land. As the initial
beneficiaries of land redistribution were given the land free of charge,
their successors would also take over the land free of charge, but would be
expected to pay the former occupant for improvements if the new lessee
agreed these were of value.

In support of the 99-year leasehold proposition, government has cited the
fact that considerable areas of land in certain developed countries are
successfully leased to farmers.

Unfortunately, the conditions the government of Zimbabwe intends to entrench
in the leases make them distinctly different from those that apply in first
world countries.

In all the countries concerned, the land is not owned by the state, but by a
property-owning individual, family or company under title deed. In all cases
the land itself has value, so each lease has a market value and is
marketable as well as being protected by tenant right laws.

In the event of a lessee deciding to relinquish a lease, the market value of
the remaining years will be established in the market, a buyer will be
sought through the market and the transaction will be formalised and
registered in the market by estate agents and conveyancers.

Other than collecting transfer duties and registering the new owner, the
state plays no part in the procedures.

These features make the lease not only transferable but also bankable within
a free market. Lessees wishing to invest in useful improvements on the land
can therefore use the lease as collateral for a bank loan. Should the lessee
fail to meet the bank's repayment conditions, the bank is entitled to
foreclose on the borrower and offer the lease for resale on the market to
recover the outstanding loan.

Leasehold arrangements evolved from the earlier feudal systems in Europe as
landlords and tenants tried to find means of unlocking the capital value of

As the short-comings of leasing became apparent and as the power of the
landed aristocracy waned, freehold ownership rights evolved. When new areas
of settlement and investment were being established in the Americas, the
feudal systems of Spain and Portugal were transplanted into South and
Central America and the evolving freehold land tenure systems were adopted
in North America.

Today, hundreds of years later, South and Central America remain a
collection of developing countries and North America encompasses the most
prosperous countries in the world.

The essential difference between these two vast areas - and the essential
difference between the former communal and commercial areas of Zimbabwe - is
that, where they had individual title, the owners of the land used its
capital value to develop its potential and their own as well.

With the backing of capital, they achieved remarkable success. Their title
deeds provided them with security of tenure and a powerful bridge directly
into the banking sector. Their eagerness to repay their loans, plus their
ability to make long-term plans, drew from them resourcefulness, ingenuity
and their most determined efforts to succeed.

By contrast, where the occupants of the land were tenants, their ability to
raise money to carry out development work or to enhance their own skills was
severely limited. Their uncertain hold on the property they occupied, but
could not own, left them with little incentive to plan ahead or to invest in
something that might have a pay-back only in the longer-term and probably
only for someone else.

China has accepted the need for individual property rights, and ownership
rights are being restored to East European families that were dispossessed
of properties after the USSR extended its territories after World War II.

Zimbabwe's proposals are taking the country in the opposite direction. As
they will effectively eliminate the collateral value of the land, they will
make development funding entirely the responsibility of the state and they
will make each individual's performance dependent on state subsidies and

Personal progress will become dependent upon political patronage rather than
resourcefulness, ingenuity and hard work.

Although fixed assets of some value could be built with money loaned by a
bank, the separation of land from the improvements on it makes the recovery
of the debt almost impossible if the borrower defaults. This is because the
farmer's right to remain on the land is conferred, not by a business
procedure, but by a political act that the bank cannot challenge.

Investment is the first requirement for economic growth, and by according a
capital value to land, considerable capital sums are unlocked and made
available to the investment process.

The responsibility, accountability and legal obligations that go with
individual freehold property rights quickly help communities to accept the
challenges of modern economic development and they place the means of
achieving profound economic empowerment within reach of the majority.

A decision by Zimbabwe to revert to feudal state-ownership of land would be
a massively retrograde step.

*John Robertson is a prominent Zimbabwean economist
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Zim Independent

Mbeki ideal candidate for Marxist study
By Michael Hartnack
BEFORE Zimbabwe's land seizures nervously made him into a Zanu PF
fellow-traveller, my old friend and colleague, retired South African editor
Ken Owen, used to mock the ANC as "Walkies".

This, he told us, stood for "World's Last Communists".

However, one of the blindest things you can do in today's Africa is mock the
thinking of Karl Marx (1818-1883). The more you abhor the societies that
once claimed him as their inspirational genius, the greater your duty to
learn what the pioneering sociologist actually said.

The easiest way to grasp the blunder President Thabo Mbeki made when he told
the National Land Summit in Johannesburg it was "wrong to conclude
Zimbabwe's debt had been accrued through financing corruption and
repression" is to think about its history from a Marxist, or "Marxian",

Unfortunately, it is hard to get many people to do this nowadays, since
minds close up at the mere mention of Marx's name.

Marx dreamt of creating a future without class and without private property.
In the end it was the anthropologists rather than the economists who
shattered this dream when they showed that humans, like most vertebrates,
let alone higher mammals, are innately territorial and hierarchical in their
social organisation.

The best we can work for (from a moral and ideological standpoint), is that
we make the best ecological use of our territories, and that our social
hierarchies will be creative, allowing those with talent to express
themselves or assume responsibility.

The anthropologists confirmed what courageous Eastern bloc scholars reported
before they were dragged off to the slave labour camps - that "the Marxist
bureaucracy was the most intractable of all class systems".

The ability of the Soviet nomenklatura to carve out territories for their
relatives outdid the Tsarist aristocracy that went before.

Marx was one of those thinkers, like Darwin and Freud, who left us with a
wealth of magnificent ideas, even if he was in some areas spectacularly
wrong, with dire consequences for humanity.

Whether President Mbeki and the ANC can perceive what those errors were is
another matter.

To the immense delight of Zimbabwe's state propaganda machine, Mbeki told
the National Land Summit Zimbabwe's debt had been accrued "to respond to the
demand to meet the urgent needs of the people after liberation. The
government of Zimbabwe had to spend more money than it had."

If that is so, why are Zimbabweans not just vastly worse off than in 1980?
Why is the gap between 12 million poor and the rich - the political elite -
so much wider?

The particular piece of Marx's theory most relevant to this is the sage's
view that societies pass through economically "necessary" (unavoidable)
phases of development - from feudalism to capitalism, from capitalism to

He doubted any hope for socialism in Tsarist Russia because, he said, the
great, backward empire had yet to pass from feudalism to capitalism, which
permitted a widening degree of individualism, particularly for those able to
accrue private wealth - capital.

The remaining handful of Marxist ideologues in President Robert Mugabe's
Zion, China, contend, interestingly, that the United States is nearer a
socialist revolution than they are, because it is at a much more advanced
stage of capitalism.

Under feudalism - to quote a Zanu PF slogan - "Land is the economy and the
economy is land".

Economists define a "pure rent" as a payment for owning "the free gifts of
the soil" or "the free gifts of nature". They talk of "rent-seeking
behaviour": the desire to sit back and have funds roll in without having to
make any productive effort, take any risks, keep up-to-date with any new

Feudalism may be described as a system of licenced "rent-seeking behaviour"
but it has the advantage of giving a measure of social stability in a
turbulent world, such as Europe in the wake of the Dark Ages.

The nub of it is, if you don't adore the king, you have nowhere to live,
nowhere to farm, you starve.

Does that sound familiar to Zimbabweans? Zimbabwe has certainly been dogged
by incessant corruption scandals since Independence: the massive fraud over
1982-84 drought relief, the 1988 "Willowgate" vehicles racket, the 1994
farms-for-ministers swindle, the 1997 "war disabilities" scam. It goes on
and on and on. And the guilty were always spared.

These all grew out of President Mugabe's deliberate gift of "rent-seeking"
privilege to his loyal underlings, the gift of impunity, in return for
absolute political loyalty. Such is feudalism, Marx would say.

If Mbeki plans to give Mugabe US$1 billion help, he is propping up a feudal
state hardly less backward than tribal Swaziland, and not nearly so honest.

President Mugabe's planned new constitution will entrench his powers of
feudal patronage not just by creating a host of sinecures in a Senate, but
by giving him ownership of all real estate, to distribute and redistribute
among loyal followers at whim.

Those who rage about the evils of Marxist-Leninism often fail to grasp it
was an intellectually dishonest system of government for societies such as
Russia that had tried to throw off feudalism, with the liberation of the
serfs in the 1860s, and failed. Incipient instability drove Russia back into
a serf-and-overlord system of social organisation, with its hugely
inefficient form of economy.

Say what you will against King Mswati with his brides and palaces, he is not
trying to enveigle Mbeki into doing the Reed Dance with the typing pool from
Pretoria's Union Buildings.

Like Stalin and Mao, however, President Mugabe brags that his hopelessly
backward, profligate and cruel system is "the wave of the future".

The brutal fact is that Zimbabweans' living standards are half those of the
war-ravaged 1970s, despite vast sums of (donated aid) money pumped into
education, health, roads, communications, land reform and black empowerment.

If South Africa's presidential graduate of the University of Sussex can't
see that, they need to send him to a Marxist re-education camp, preferably
run by the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

*Michael Hartnack is a veteran foreign correspondent based in Harare
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Zim Independent

Radical changes in wrong direction
Ray Matikinye

FEW Zimbabwean parents still remember the promises made by Aeneas Chigwedere
on being appointed deputy Education minister in 2000, when he said: "I feel
I have come at the most opportune moment for one main reason, that the
Nziramasanga Report which contains radical changes in education is being
considered for implementation. I have been clamouring for changes in the
education system. I feel I will assist the minister to forge the education
system so that the youths will benefit."

Now the changes he intends to make are radical in the wrong direction.

Stakeholders predict Zimbabwe's education system would reach the pitch of
disintegration if the proposed Education Amendment Bill that seeks to repose
unrestrained powers in the minister rather than address pertinent issues to
halt deteriorating standards is allowed to pass through parliament.

Human rights lawyers, teachers' unions and associations have urged MPs to
throw out the Bill as it is deemed detrimental to education.

The Education Amendment Bill 2005 has heightened public anxiety that
government wants more control over the education system by curtailing
freedoms and privileges enjoyed by education administrators, particularly in
privately-registered schools.

Stakeholders view the Bill as a sinister desire by Chigwedere to avenge what
he lost in a court battle against private schools over fees charged by
introducing the Bill.

Last year, outraged parents shot down Chigwedere's directive for all schools
to prescribe one uniform. Parents also turned up their noses at an arbitrary
ministerial directive to rename schools arguing that the costly exercise did
not add value to the education system.

The proposed legislation vests more powers in the minister to determine who
these schools can employ. The ministry is also empowered to determine the
levies that schools can charge.

The Bill has raised the hackles of both human rights lawyers and teachers'
representative associations. The amendments also impinge on the right of
both church-run and private schools to recruit staff of their own choice.

The Bill empowers the minister to determine what school uniforms children
should wear and what association a teacher should belong to.

Human rights lawyers say the amendments raise serious concerns as they
impinge on some provisions under the Convention of the Rights of Children
and the African Charter on the Rights of the Child.

The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child places the onus
on governments to respect the rights and duties of parents to choose their
children's schools, other than those established by public authorities.

In contravention of the African Charter, the Bill seeks to reinforce zoning
regulations which determine what school a child can attend.

Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says the
proposed law effectively denies parents the right to enroll their children
in schools of their choice and whose fees they can afford.

"The Bill raises concerns coming as it does after government last year
closed 46 schools in a bid to control school fees in contravention of the
provisions of that Charter which it ratified," Nyamurundira said.

The Amendment Bill seeks to punish schools which fail to comply with
ministry directives on school fees and levies by arbitrarily dissolving
school development committees, or placing the schools under direct
management of the ministry.

Dissenting schools also risk being de-registered.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond
Majongwe says his union is not happy with the proposed amendments.

Majongwe says the proposed amendments are nothing more than "the ministry's
misplaced desire to extend needless control over education".

"The prescription of fees charged by non-governmental schools will cripple
these schools considering that it takes more than six months for the
minister to decide what fees are to be paid," says Majongwe.

The PTUZ suggests a commission comprising representatives of these schools
and senior ministry officials should be set up to deliberate on the fee

Majongwe says it is not only these amendments that concern the PTUZ but the
new Labour Bill that takes back the teacher to the Public Service Commission
where teachers are proscribed from becoming members of a trade union.

"It's more political than professional."

He said the ministry was failing to keep its finger on the pulse of what is
going on in schools and failing to manage them as illustrated by the
widespread sexual abuse of students at Macheke government school.

"The ministry has a lot on its hands which needs attention other than
seeking to control who private and church-run schools employ."

The combative teachers' union says the ministry should direct its energies
towards improving conditions of service for teachers. Teachers with
disabilities receive no special allowances.

For instance, a blind teacher has to employ an aide in order to execute
his/her duties efficiently. Such a teacher is required to pay the aide from
his meagre salary.

Another amendment to the Education Act that is on the cards seeks to
recognise more representative associations for teachers.

Observers say instead of making efforts to implement recommendations
contained in the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission Report into Education and
Training , Chigwedere has launched a vigorous assault to break the spirit of
private and church-run schools.

The commission recommended a nine-year compulsory basic education (junior
school) cycle for all pupils in order to cultivate the habits, attitudes,
interests, skills and entrepreneurial opportunities which would prepare them
to be good citizens and provide
them with a good foundation for training in occupations of their choice at
senior school and beyond.

It also recommended an outcomes-based curriculum which is broad-based in
terms of subject offerings and which focuses on learning areas, employment
related skills and other essential skills to be developed across the
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

SA lessons

WHEN Joice Mujuru was appointed vice-president last December, there was a
feeling that she would add fresh energy to government leading to an economic
recovery and social regeneration. Our confidence was boosted when on
Christmas eve she told SABC that she was equal to the task of leading by
example and tackling the challenges ahead.

"I hope my behaviour will spur on the population to tackle the many economic
challenges ahead," she said. She was ready to tackle the problems head-on.
These included sprucing the image of the country and ensuring that the
British "toe the line" about what was agreed upon regarding land
redistribution at Lancaster House in 1979.

I hope the VP was not being charitable with promises because of the
Christmas spirit. The jury is still out on her ability to deliver on these
pledges. She is yet to assume the stature of a white knight riding in to
save the country from an economic quagmire.

To say that she is not anywhere close to making sure that the British toe
the line is an understatement. She is yet to attract the attention of the
British. She is yet to take the first step. Mugabe has at least made an
approach to Tony Blair by demanding talks.

I have not heard much in the form of diplomatic moves by the VP to cleanse
the country of its bad-boy image, especially in the light of the stinging UN
report on Operation Murambatsvina. It is still early days perhaps to expect
diplomatic coups engineered by her office. She is still testing the waters.

But she must be seen to be doing something to fulfil her promise to
straighten the economy. This is a good opportunity for the vice-president's
office to do a national service and convince us that her appointment brought
in positive energy in government.

She is behind schedule as the economy is in a more dilapidated state than it
was when she assumed office. She came in when inflation was 132,6%. It is
now 254,8%. Domestic debt has almost doubled to $16 trillion. The Zimbabwe
dollar has crashed at rollercoaster speed.

There is no foreign direct investment to talk of and the nation is getting
poorer by the day. Central bank governor Gideon Gono's projected growth in
GDP and agriculture have remained a mirage. The economic pointers are
heading south at a faster rate. The central bank's policies have proved to
be inadequate, hence the dreamy projections devoid of economic reason.

Mujuru's starting point should be to advocate the drawing up of a recovery
plan incorporating righting the political dispensation and restoring
national confidence in government. This is the spur required by the nation.
She cannot perform a Houdini here. She needs a plan to work with. There is
no coherent economic blue-print with targets for her to preside over.

Her counterpart in South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, is in a more
enviable position. Last month President Thabo Mbeki appointed her to head a
government taskforce to ramp up the country's economic growth rate above 6%.
Her brief is to achieve growth so that more jobs are created and new
investment flows into South Africa.

The Mlambo-Ngcuka team comprises senior economic ministers, including
Finance minister Trevor Manuel, Trade and Industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa,
and the premiers of Eastern Cape and Gauteng. It is expected to come up with
firm proposals by end of next month, which have to be budgeted for in the
Medium Term Expenditure Framework, due before parliament in October.

The team is not expected to re-invent the wheel because it has a template to
work with in the form of the microeconomic reform strategy, decisions of the
2003 Growth and Development Summit which set a target of 5% growth, the
Expanded Public Works Programme, and reform of the labour market.

The team of six is tasked to speed up the process of achieving growth.

Despite having targets to achieve and a clear outline to follow, the South
African government has strived to garner buy-ins from as many stakeholders
as possible, including powerful labour unions and big business. This
enhances the sense of purpose.

Mujuru will not achieve the goals she set out last year so long as the
economy is being run in a policy vacuum. A key facet in any economic
recovery - human capital - has been subtracted from policy formulation.

Workers, business and other key stakeholders do not have ownership in the
economic reform processes.

Gono's style has been "do it or face the consequences". The mindset of the
ordinary citizen has been poisoned by negativity which explains why there
were celebrations at Roadport when Gono devalued the currency by 94% last
month. Those smart enough to make money in these trying times would rather
purchase luxury cars or household goods than invest in the productive

The country is crying out for a moral leader and Mujuru has a role to play
here. She has a role to talk to her comrades in government so that they
serve the country and not destroy it. The government's public relations
thrust is obtuse. Foisting government policies on to people has never worked
in this era. Zimbabweans today do not trust the government. What an
opportunity for her to change that by presenting the face of government that
cares and is ready to listen. And, of course, less vituperative.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Double standards on curbing inflation

WITH ever greater frequency, government is demonstrating its policy: "Don't
Do As I Do, Do As I Say!"

Whilst Zimbabwe has, almost endlessly over the last seven years, suffered
the intense pangs of hyperinflation, the media controlled by the state has
vigorously and repeatedly given great prominence to the innumerable
endeavours of government's spokesmen to berate the totality of commerce and
industry for the supposed causes of that inflation.

The recipients of the never-ending, scathing abuse of government have been
profusely castigated for alleged profiteering, inhumanely bringing poverty
to the masses and for creating the inflation that has been a pivotal cog in
the decimation of the economy, and repeatedly blamed for breaching
non-existent price controls.

With very great frequency, ministers, permanent secretaries and others
within the corridors of government have threatened diverse sanctions against
private enterprise that increase prices without governmental approval,
notwithstanding that most of previously-legislated price controls were

Then, approximately two weeks ago, the Ministry of Industry and
International Trade announced that it had reached agreement with the
manufacturing and distributive sectors on price increases for a variety of
basic commodities, including bread (from $4 500 to $7 500 per loaf), cooking
oil (from $8 100 to $22 200 for 375ml bottle), 2kg white sugar (from $8 300
to $14 500) milk (to $8 500 for 500 ml and $16 600 for a litre).

On average, the increases approximated 174%, and were determined after
extensive consultations between government and the private sector.

However, whilst government is usually rigorously opposed to price increases
by commerce and industry unless they are lower than the rate of inflation,
and have been determined after very extensive consultation, the same
criteria do not apply to government, and to its "commercial" operations
through its parastatals.

It usually effects increases of its prices, and charges for its services,
willy-nilly, in disregard for the inflationary consequences, and for the
repercussions of that inflation, and without any prior dialogue with
consumers or with consumer representative bodies.

The examples of those actions by government and by the parastatal
enterprises controlled by it, are very many, clearly evidencing that it does
not practice that which it preaches.

In the year ended June, wherein the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based rate of
inflation was 164,3%, postal charges rose by 4 641,5%, being more than 28
times the annual rate of inflation!

In the month of June, those charges rose by 309,3%, whereas the
month-on-month rate of inflation was 18,1%. Even accepting that Zimpost is,
to some extent, impacted upon by movements in foreign exchange rates, and
that it had been subjected to some very significant wage increases, it
appears to be incomprehensible that postal charges should escalate with such
immense magnitude. That is even more particularly so as it appears that
increasingly the reliability of mail delivery is declining in inverse
proportion to the soaring charges.

Prices of state-controlled newspapers have increased by more than twice the
rate of inflation. Undoubtedly such increases were necessary, in the light
of surging cost increases of newsprint and ink, and of wage increases. But
many in the private sector can equally justify their need for price
increases in excess of the rate of inflation.

Such justifications are invariably ridiculed and ignored by the government,
which is motivated only by showing consumers that government is caring in
the extreme, striving to protect them (even if in so doing businesses are
forced into closure, causing unemployment and product scarcities).

Amongst some of the most radical of governmental increases in charges are
those gazetted on August 4 in respect of services of the Registrar of
Companies. The minimum cost of registering a new company rose by 400%,
whilst the minimum fee payable for lodgement of a company's annual return
rose fro $5 000 to $60 000, being an increased charge of $55 000, or an
additional eleven times the previously payable fee.

Admittedly, some time has elapsed since the previous increase in fees, but
nevertheless the new fee levels are so great as to provoke a sense of shock.
Not only is the extent of increase, in one fell swoop, untenable in the
light of government's attitude to proportioning lesser price increases in
the private sector but, in addition, the new scale of charges is likely to
discourage many first-time entrepreneurs utilising corporate structures, and
will instead motivate them to operate within the informal sector,

Over the last year, Air Zimbabwe has increased most of its fares by more
than 500%. Again, it has to be accepted that a high element of its costs are
foreign currency based, including aviation fuel, spares, major aircraft
services, foreign landing fees and services, and much else.

However, in a year in which foreign exchange rates have moved by less than
300%, the airfares have risen considerably more and that despite that
airline's recent many proud statements that its newly acquired aircraft are
very greatly more cost effective than its older fleet of larger aircraft,
and despite its lesser service to its passengers on those routes where it
has the monopoly. Its fares go up almost as frequently as do its aircraft!

Allied to the immense increase in costs of flying with Air Zimbabwe is the
inexplicable disparity in the airport departure taxes levied by the Civil
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ). If the flight is to a destination
within Zimbabwe, the departure tax is $90 000, but if it is to a destination
outside Zimbabwe, a resident has to pay a departure tax equivalent to US$30,
presently fixed by CAAZ at $530 000.

Why does it cost $440 000 more to provide the services of an air terminal,
runway take-off facilities, and support services, if the flight is
proceeding to another country, than if it is going to another airfield
within Zimbabwe? (The only evident differential is that some air terminal
space has to be made available to Immigration and Customs officials!) This
gargantuan differential smacks of being yet another governmental "rip-off"
of the captive customer.

The saga of government's rampant stimulation of inflation, as distinct from
its ongoing attribution of blame to the private sector, does not begin and
end with Zimpost, Zimpapers, the Registrar of Companies, Air Zimbabwe and

Tel*One is equally guilty of increased charges at rates very considerably
greater than the rate of inflation. That is understandable insofar as
regional and international telecommunications are concerned, in the light of
the depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar, but not credibly explainable in
the case of local and national calls. In like manner, the mammoth increases
which have been inflicted upon electricity consumers by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) make inflation-related price increases
seem insignificant.

So too have been the increases in charges by the state-owned hospitals. It
is undeniable that their costs have risen very considerably (even if they
still under-reward doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, motivating
ever more to seek employment outside Zimbabwe).

However, in an economic environment where almost four-fifths of the
population exist below the poverty datum line, its is humanly and socially-
unacceptable to price essential health services beyond the grasp of the

As government must, (in order to contain inflation, and in order to restore
national and international fiscal credibility), contain its spending, it
should cut back on defence spending, and much other spending of lesser
priority than health. Instead, it raises its charges to a stressed,
increasingly unhealthy, population.

But the must recent piece-de-résistance of government's stimulation of
inflation, and of placing essentials beyond the means of the populace, has
been the vicious, pernicious imposition of a 1000% in school fees, with
retrospective effect from January.

Last year the Minister of Education Aeneas Chigwidere, forced the temporary
closure of 45 private schools for fee increases for lesser in extent, which
he had not been prepared to approve, and is currently pressing for the
promulgation of far-reaching, disastrous amendments to the Education Act,
likely to bring about an end to all private schooling in Zimbabwe.

Whilst he would vigorously protest to the contrary, few believe that there
are any motives to his actions other than to seek revenge for the private
schools defeating him in the courts, and to wholly subjugate the private
schools to his desired omnipotent power. And yet, at the same time, he
inflicts fee increases so great that tens of thousands are having to forfeit
education, and many more are relocating to rural areas where some school
fees are somewhat less.

Government's stance is evident, being that of double standards. It is that
necessary, survival, price increases of the private sector must be
vociferously condemned, and the private sector blamed or inflation. It is
that government and its parastatals are immune from any need to contain
their prices and charges increases, but that those increases can be effected
irrespective of extent, irrespective of consequences, and oblivious to the
impacts upon society as a whole, and upon the economy.
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Zim Independent


Zanu PF remains party of rural poverty

SO Dr Ndlovu: Who thumped who?

Zanu PF's secretary for education, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was quoted in the
official press on Friday as saying his party's candidate for Bulawayo mayor,
Dickson Abu-Basutu, would "thump" the MDC's candidate, incumbent mayor
Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, in last weekend's poll.

In the event, Abu-Basutu managed to pick up a paltry 5 509 votes to Ndabeni
Ncube's 29 575. Zanu PF once again got a good thumping in Bulawayo.

The Herald tried to find a silver lining to this gloomy result by pointing
out that the MDC lost in six rural district council by-elections. But what
this message only confirms is that Zanu PF remains the party of rural
poverty and ignorance. Where people can think for themselves it makes no

The result represents another defeat for Ndlovu who remains without a seat
in a hostile terrain. On Friday he had confidently forecast that Abu-Basutu
was the "mayor-designate and he is just waiting to be sworn in on Monday".

He will have to wait now until hell freezes over. The ruling party's
coercion evidently doesn't work in Bulawayo.

While Ndlovu graciously conceded defeat, it may be time for him to review
his position after promising that Bulawayo would be "reclaimed to the
 people". On Sunday he conceded that "the people have spoken". It would seem
he is somewhat confused as to who the people are!

We heard similar bombast from the author of the Herald's Manheru column. He
was busy on Saturday claiming that Anna Tibaijuka was a liar and that the
people of Harare were well-housed and well-fed.

"Where did the multitudes come from?" he asked with reference to those who
turned up to listen to President Mugabe's speech at Heroes Acre.

The answer is very simple: They were bussed in. A policy decision was taken
by the Department of Information a few years ago to ensure these functions
were well-attended. This followed several years of declining attendances and
pesky members of the public telling Mugabe that things were better under
Smith. As a result steps were taken - in the best Stalinist tradition - to
reorganise the people. Today the president is greeted by hired crowds
wherever he goes. They even hold up banners produced by his officials. But,
as Bulawayo shows, the Information ministry is incapable of winning back
hearts and minds. It is too late for that now.

Last week we referred to the row surrounding BAT's Tobacco Grower of the
Year Award made to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa's wife. The award
stirred controversy because of the manner in which the farm had been
acquired. The company put out a statement saying "BAT do not interfere with
award decisions".

This prompted a reader to remind us that BAT's statement contrasted with its
behaviour a couple of years ago regarding the annual ZIPR Communicator of
the Year Award which went to Jenni Williams, then CFU spokesperson.

"They vetoed this, for obvious reasons, and made ZIPR cancel the award," our
reader reminded us.

As we pointed out last week, corporate cowardice is a national curse and
deserves public exposure whenever and wherever it occurs.

South Africa's new ambassador to Harare, Prof Mlungisi Makalima, has not got
off to a good start as he begins his tour of duty. After presenting his
credentials to President Mugabe, he launched into an attack on the press for
speculating about the conditions attached to Zimbabwe's loan.

"I am surprised to learn that you (the press) talk about conditions,"
Makalima scolded. "Matters of this nature do not entail the discussion of
the arrangements the two parties have entered into."

These remarks provided an opening for a government spokesman to throw dust
in the public's eyes about inter-party talks.

Why does Makalima think the press should not discuss conditionalities? Is
this not a matter of public interest? Are these not public funds? Does this
government's long record of failing to repay debt and wasting other people's
money not enter into the argument at any point? South African officials such
as Joel Netshitenzhe have been very clear on the need for "political
normalisation" in Zimbabwe as well as economic recovery. Will those things
happen without South African prompting?

If Makalima is "surprised" that the media is pursuing these matters, he
clearly does not understand the role of the press in society - which may be
a disadvantage in his diplomacy.

Muckraker understands however that the state media likes to ambush new
envoys and that it is probably too early to judge how the ambassador will

Reading through Manheru's rabid column against talks between Zimbabwe's main
political parties, you get the feeling that there could be some truth in
those who believe there are many in Mugabe's government who thrive on the
current crisis. Other than regurgitating Mugabe's statements that MDC
leaders are puppets of the West, there has never been any convincing reason
why Zimbabweans cannot discuss their problems. Why is it so unpatriotic of
the MDC to try and find a way out of this mess?

Last week there was a gratuitous attack on former Mozambican president
Joachim Chissano for offering to mediate in the envisaged talks between
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. He was reminded that Zimbabwe had "staved off
Renamo" and warned not to repeat "Western diatribes about the need for
presidential term limits".

For a start Mozambique has since moved on from civil war to presidential
elections. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama is a respected politician despite
his despicable past. The people of Mozambique have not allowed themselves to
be unduly encumbered by a history of petty vindictiveness and rivalry. While
in 1980 Mozambique was way behind Zimbabwe in terms of development,
investment there is now booming while the likes of Manheru thrive on dark
deals at the expense of national progress. Talk of patriotism!

And why shouldn't people propose presidential term limits? Of course we know
that's an office far beyond Manheru's criteria based on beauty and his "six
feet tall" American heroes. Even if one's liberation war record were to be
the criteria, how many would attain the office of president if one man wants
to rule until eternity? Incidentally, is it now official policy that
government spokespersons who presume to be oracles of the president can call
foreign leaders "impudent quislings"? What is the Nigerian embassy's view of
its leader being likened to a harlot in the government media?

And the Herald's editor evidently hasn't got a clue how Commonwealth
countries lined up at the Abuja Chogm in 2003. Most of the African,
Caribbean and Pacific countries which the editor thinks were "betrayed" by
Obasanjo in fact voted against Thabo Mbeki's attempts to lift Zimbabwe's

It shouldn't be too difficult for the editor to check how countries like
Jamaica, Ghana and members of the South Pacific Forum decided.

By the way who is propagating the nonsense that the one parliamentary seat
won by Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho "represents one percent of Zimbabweans"?
We thought people like Manheru would know better but we were definitely
expecting too much. Another one in need of help with her maths is the mother
of a son who was allegedly denied a visa to go and study in the US. She
fumed in the Herald that the interview lasted three minutes, her son was
asked only three questions before he was dismissed, "yet I had paid $1 320
million for the visa fees". What junk currency is that we wonder? And why
sacrifice so much to study in an imperialist country?

The debate on the Education Amendment Bill appears to be getting muddled.
This was evident in a contribution by Dr Obedia Mazombwe in the Sunday Mail
who appears to think government rules for itself and can impose laws on
flimsy claims of national interest. The first issue is whether our education
is the most pressing problem the country faces at the moment. For if a
government cannot get its priorities right, it loses the moral authority to
superintend policy issues. Why is government trying to smuggle through
parliament an education amendment Bill at a time when people are distracted
by critical food and fuel shortages to fully pay attention to what Aeneas
Chigwedere is trying to achieve?

Mazombwe takes issue with assertions that Zimbabwe's education system is one
of the best. This, he says, is doubtful because it carries questionable
values. The "values inculcated in that education are those of the people who
gave that education in the first place - the colonisers".

How have the colonisers affected the quality of our nurses, doctors,
engineers, teachers, lawyers and architects who are in demand all over the

Nobody says people should not be taught vernacular languages or our history
of the struggle. But that content cannot be decided by Chigwedere alone
while other stakeholders are stuck in fuel queues or are trying to get food
for their children.

Chigwedere himself has been responsible for the ruin in our public schools
and now wants to spread the cancer to private schools under the phoney claim
that they are elitist. Surely one of the benefits of the liberation struggle
should be the choice of what school a parent wants to send his child to.
That includes hypocritical ministers who send their children to imperialist
universities overseas "because such courses are not available locally". What
sane minister would propose the same uniform for all schools in the country
as if Zimbabwe were one huge barracks? Answer - Chigwedere of course.

What our education is in dire need of is protection from a predatory
minister who has failed to administer examinations to ensure the integrity
of the results. Don't tell us colonisers taught Zimbabweans how to leak exam
questions! If anything, Chigwedere and his supporters should be ashamed of
the havoc they have caused to our education system - so much so that parents
spend millions of dollars sending children for extra lessons during holidays
when they should be resting. Most schools lack basic textbooks and
furniture - a legacy only Chigwedere can be proud of.

Street kids, illegal vendors and beggars are back in full force in urban
areas, according to ZBC's Reuben Barwe. The abominable vehicle touts have
become a nuisance once again. But there is no respite yet for Harare
residents. Harare Commission chair Sekesai Makwavarara said they were
training officers to deal with the menace. What has happened to those who
carried out the clean up in the first place?
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Zim Independent

Murambatsvina: the pogrom hasn't ended

ZIMBABWEANS who feel strongly about democratic principles and processes
would have welcomed the full report of UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka,
which views Operation Murambatsvina from many perspectives - socially,
historically and politically.

It is a comprehensive and clearly articulated report. The report gives many
recommendations for making reparations and calls on the government "to
facilitate humanitarian operations within a pro-poor, gender sensitive
policy framework".

Most of these recommendations naturally revolve around helping affected
persons to pick up the pieces of their lives and to be given some form of
shelter and sustenance; the sorts of things that most caring people would

The report also speaks of crimes against humanity (Article 7 of the Rome
Statute) and examines the sustainability of prosecution for "all those who
orchestrated this catastrophe".

One hoped that on reading the report, the government would take heed of its
dismal record of human rights abuses, so clearly described within, and
thereafter attempt to make amends.

And so the horror of August 15 to witness Reuben Barwe on ZTV news
complaining about children, blind beggars and women coming back onto the
streets and how they are going to be dealt with: a batch of newly trained,
baton-wielding municipal police on the way! He asks in an exasperated voice:
"But why are they coming back?" This is Barwe being "pro-poor".

The pogrom hasn't ended, and this government has no intention of helping the
poorest members of our society as recommended by Tibaijuka. The government's
solution is just to drive them away again.

Since the beginning of the demolitions ZTV's Newsnet, in particular its
chief reporter Reuben Barwe, has consistently filmed and gloated over the
fate of these poor displaced persons, without once questioning the morality
of it all, or to offer possible solutions to the problems.

The tones of the reporting and innuendos always cast these persons as some
sort of criminals - children, grandmothers, blind people included. Film
footage was often dishonestly edited to distort events. It was and seemingly
still is Barwe's pet project.

Surely persons who stand by and film and report on citizens having their
houses destroyed by their own government are as guilty of crimes against
humanity as those doing the destruction. Just as those who gave the orders
are guilty.

I trust that the strong, principled, champion of democracy, Tibaijuka, is
still watching and taking notes.


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Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005 12:17 AM
Subject: BTH: The hazards of working as a journalist in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Standard journalist Foster Dongozi, is the guest on Behind the Headlines. He speaks to Lance Guma about the hazards of working as a journalist in Zimbabwe, such as the experience of being arrested and sharing cells with hardened criminals. As Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, how well has the Union done in lobbying against the draconian laws dangling above their operations? He talks about the closure of the Daily News and the trauma most journalists went through over the destruction of their livelihood, given the government onslaught. Dongozi also talks about Jonathan Moyo's attempts at re-invention. Don’t miss the programme.
Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa
Behind the Headlines, 5:15am-5:30am on Medium Wave, 1197KHZ every Friday. Available on the internet 24 hours a day.
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home. Access broadcasts on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and 24 hours on the internet at Broadcast archives are also available on our site.
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