By Peter Clottey
01 August 2008
Some Zimbabwe residents living in rural areas are reportedly voicing their
strong opposition to a government of national unity with President Robert
Mugabe leading that government. This comes after they received information
that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he
is satisfied with the current negotiations in South Africa's capital,
Pretoria. The residents say there is need for a transitional government to
organize and ensure a free and fair vote in a couple of years after its
South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating negotiations between the
opposition MDC and the ruling ZANU-PF party aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's
economic and political crisis. Busani Ncube is the logistics director for
the Bulawayo project, a non-governmental organization. From Zimbabwe's
commercial capital, Bulawayo, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that some
Zimbabweans are cautiously optimistic about the ongoing peace talks.
"It is very refreshing for Zimbabweans to hear the negotiators saying the
process is going on very well, especially, when it comes from the
opposition, and it comes from Morgan Tsvangirai himself.† It is good to hear
that, but again it is too early for ordinary Zimbabweans to celebrate
because as you know, that there is a media blackout and we don't know
exactly what they are discussing. And if they are saying they are proceeding
very well, we don't know what is well. But with Tsvangirai we would have to
hope that they mean well for the people of Zimbabwe," Ncube noted.
He concurs that calls by the leader of opposition for President Mugabe to
step aside in a recent interview is in good taste.
"I don't think that if Tsvangirai is saying the talks are going very well
and they mean that Mugabe will remain the helm of government, Mugabe remains
the state president. I don't think I will describe that as well because as
long as you have Mugabe in the leadership, in whatever position, but still
the head, there is no well in the talks because I don't think that is what
the Zimbabweans want," he said.
Ncube said Zimbabweans want to do away with old ways of running the country
and bring in fresh hands to deal with the current crisis.
"Zimbabweans want a new set of leadership, even if it is transitional. I
don't think they now need a name called Mugabe," Ncube pointed out.
He welcomes the opposition's rejection of a proposal by the ruling party in
the peace negotiations for the creation of several vice presidential
"That is a very good move by the opposition. When the talks started, we said
we were very skeptical about Mugabe's intentions. We believed that he was
only asking the opposition and the opposition asking ZANU-PF to come up with
its lists of demands, and the proposal that came from ZANU-PF shows that
Mugabe's intention was to swallow the opposition. And surely we cannot be
creating vice presidents anytime there is a crisis. And when there are
negotiations, we solve that by creating vice presidents," he said.
Ncube said there was need to have one vice president in Zimbabwe's
"In fact we need only one vice president in the country, not the three vice
presidents to appease the people. We would end up with having about 10 vice
presidents, and this is not what Zimbabweans want. Zimbabweans do not want
Mugabe to lead the government," Ncube noted.
By Garikai Agenda Chimuka ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ July 31, 2008
The RBZ governor will never cease to amaze Zimbabweans with his brand of
bush economics disguised as ,”thinking outside the box”, “innovation” or “
extraordinary solutions to extraordinary challenges.”
The most recent surprise move was his re-introduction of old coins which
have been in circulation before until when people stopped using them because
they were now valueless after the striking of 3 zeroes from all units during
Sunrise 1 in August 2006.
Because the RBZ no longer has the capacity to print wards of useless
currency, Gono has decided that the old coins must get back into the system
at their face value meaning that if one has a $5 coin, it is as good as $5
dollars in today’s new currency.
What exposes the shocking desperation by Gono is his assertion that the
coins are coming back into circulation because, “they were never demonetized
in the first place.” Gono thinks that if he can cheat his ZANU PF masters
all the time, then he can also cheat all Zimbabweans all the time through
such dubious reasoning coming from a whole Governor of a central bank.
In August 2006, the coins in question ranging from 1c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c,
$1, $2 and $5 were in circulation at their nominal or face value. This was
the time when Gono launched the much hyped Sunrise 1.The simple effect of
Sunrise 1 was to cancel 3 zeroes from the local currency. In simple terms
this meant dividing all the units of money in circulation by 1000
This meant that a $100 dollar note in circulation at that time became a
1cent.Gono even had the temerity under Sunrise 1 to print paper coins up to
1 cent. The fact that the $100 note became a 1c technically means that all
notes and coins less than $100 in circulation at that time (August 2006)
became worthless meaning that they were demonetised.This is why people
maintained them as souvenirs or just threw them away since they could not be
converted in a single unit of the new currency. Therefore Mr. Gono must not
hallucinate and try to deceive people that the coins were never demonetized
Mr. Gono must appreciate that in Economics, money is not just the face or
nominal value of notes and coins but it refers to its real value in terms of
a bundle of goods and services which it can buy .Therefore there is need for
consistency and uniformity in terms of its application. The moment a central
governor can change values of money at a stroke of a pen defeats the
succinct characteristics of money that makes it acceptable in everyday
transactions. So when people are subjected to such jokes whereby a valueless
coin in reality, is eventually resurrected at face value, then people will
loose confidence not only in the money itself but also the monetary
For how can Zimbabwe economy be integrated in the region and internationally
when the authorities can make such careless decisions that defeats the core
fundamental meaning of money and central banking. For from nowhere, a
worthless former $5 coin will now circulate at face value meaning that Gono
miraculously added 13 zeroes to this coin. The 13 zeroes being the 3 that
were removed under Sunrise 1 in August 2006 and the 10 zeroes that were
removed on the 30th of July 2008.Thus Gono has reduced the RBZ to a money
donating institution because for every technically worthless former $5 coin
in hands of population, the taxpayers will be pumping 5billion to the lucky
few if we are to use the July 29 base and 5 trillion if we are to use the
August 2006 base. This money does not come free, someone will have to pay
for it and in this case it’s going to be the poor taxpayer or the printing
press thus stoking the already ravaging hyperinflation fires
Although one may understand that Gono is so desperate because of the lack of
paper to print money leading him to resort to such a desperate tactic, he
should have been open with the people of Zimbabwe. After all he preaches day
in and day out to those who care to pay attention the need for good
corporate governance. The RBZ can not be excluded from good corporate
governance which is underpinned by full public disclosure, transparency and
accountability. Thus Gono must have clearly told the nation, the total
amount of these old coins that are not in the RBZ vaults so that the people
knows the extend of the amount of money that will be needed to subsidize the
lucky few who have been holding on to those technically and legally
Since Gono always boasts of innovation, he should, if he is so desperate to
use the same coins in the RBZ vaults, introduced a special mark on those
coins to distinguish them from those in the hands of people. Instead, the
governor chose the easier way. However, central banking is not about the
easier way but about maintaining the credibility of a country’s currency.
What Gono has done is to set a very dangerous precedence which will have
fatal implications on the credibility of the Zimbabwean currency in and
outsides the country’s borders.
For in the coming weeks if the political crisis is not resolved, the new
highest denomination of $500 will be overcome by events. Because of lack of
paper, there is even a bigger temptation that speculators will start
hoarding the old bearer cheques knowing very much that Gono will be forced
again to re-introduce them in the payment system at their face value
It is instructive to note that Gono has been vocal against charging of goods
in foreign currency vowing that the local currency remains the legal tender.
He should now take time to reflect how some of his poorly thought out
policies like this latest Father Christmas gesture has contributed to the
majority of Zimbabweans loosing any confidence in Gono’s currency
Garikai Agenda Chimuka is a Zimbabwean e writes from the Netherlands
MANDY ROSSOUW AND JASON MOYO - Aug 01 2008 06:00
An attempt by the Movement for Democratic Change to appeal to the Southern
African Development Community to aid the mediation effort was scuppered when
a meeting of the SADC troika was unexpectedly cancelled this week.
President Thabo Mbeki was on a mission this week to get negotiating parties
of Zimbabwe back to the table under more amenable circumstances and to
present a positive picture of progression to the SADC troika, which was due
to meet in Luanda on Friday.
On Thursday, however, Angolan President Josť Eduardo dos Santos unexpectedly
postponed the meeting, giving no reasons and without saying when it would
Visiting Harare this week, Mbeki reportedly told Robert Mugabe there could
be no unity government in Zimbabwe while he insisted on remaining executive
Mbeki also met MDC hive-off leader Arthur Mutambara in Harare and Morgan
Tsvangirai in Pretoria.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai were due to attend the troika meeting to discuss the
violence that continues to be a feature of daily life for ordinary
The MDC initially refused to negotiate unless the violence ceases and
political prisoners are freed.
It also wants passports for its leaders, as Tsvangirai was given only an
emergency travel document after the signing of last week's memorandum of
The troika meeting was to have been chaired by Angola, a former Mugabe ally
which has become increasingly disenchanted with him.
†The MDC planned to tell the troika that Mugabe is "negotiating in bad
faith" and that it cannot continue negotiating while its supporters are
being attacked in Zimbabwe.
"The troika has security obligations in the region and statements by Mugabe
threatening those who oppose the government are of concern to them. For them
this is starting to become a threat to regional security," an MDC source
told the Mail & Guardian.
Mugabe boasted on Wednesday during the central bank's monetary policy
announcement in Harare that he is an old hand at card games, saying: "If you
have never played card games, play me. You will see just how crafty I am."
Mugabe said that negotiation was a different game which required compromise.
"Unlike in card games in negotiation you must be ready for compromise," he
His first remarks since talks began might be interpreted as a hint that he
is willing to give ground to the MDC, even on key issues.
However, a senior Zanu-PF official continued to insist to the M&G that there
could be no negotiation on "irreversible" land reform and Mugabe's
leadership of any new government.
"Mugabe is not going to be the [ceremonial] queen of Zimbabwe," the official
Sources report that such contact has already been made and that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai held a second meeting on Friday at which the latter presented a
DVD detailing violence by Zanu-PF supporters. Mugabe apparently demanded
proof of claims of violence by his supporters at the first meeting on Monday
Sources say the negotiators representing Zanu-PF and the MDC are digging in
their heels, saying after consulting their leaders there is no change in
their positions and they remain unwilling to compromise.
The Mutambara faction's main goal is Cabinet representation in the new
government. The faction also hopes to use the talks to "mark our own
territory and drive home the fact that we cannot be ignored", an official
said on Wednesday.
Mutambara has led calls by opposition negotiators for a constitutional
amendment allowing the president to appoint six additional non-constituency
MPs to Parliament, to be shared equally among the three parties.
Ironically, it was the MDC that successfully demanded the curtailment of
presidential appointments in negotiations last year.
As the speaker must be elected with 106 votes, which neither of the larger
parties commands, both must court Mutambara's support.
Cabinet posts would give Mutambara a level of influence that was unlikely
months ago when his factiojn fared badly in the March polls.
Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono announced at the monetary policy meeting
that 10 zeroes would be removed from the denomination of the Zimbabwean
MDC supporters hitting back -- report
While Zimbabwe's political leaders are arguing in a plush Pretoria
guesthouse, the killing continues back home.
A new report from the Zimbabwe Peace Project, endorsed by the Centre for the
Study of Violence and Reconciliation, points to incidents of retaliatory
violence by the Movement for Democratic Change.
But it also says opposition supporters are overwhelmingly the victims of
continuing attacks by Zanu-PF militia.
The report records that a war veteran named Nkomo was fatally assaulted by
MDC supporters on June 30 when villagers in Gokwe Kabuyuni reacted to
letters he sent them "advising [them] to leave the area for the United
Kingdom by midnight".
When war veterans visited the area to see if the villagers had vacated their
homes, they found that they had beaten Nkomo and left him for dead. He died
on the way to hospital.
Another Zanu-PF member, T Njanji, is reported to have been blindfolded and
handcuffed before being beaten to death on June 27.
Again, this is described as retaliatory violence. Njanji had allegedly
torched the houses of three MDC supporters, including one belonging to the
MDC MP for Mkoba.
According to the report Zanu-PF attacks in areas such as Chirimhanzu are
intensifying. Victims who fled violence in the town of Gweru have returned
home to find that militia bases are still operational and people are being
The report says a police officer, Kingsley Muteta, was beaten by Zanu-PF
supporters because his mother is a known MDC activist.
According to the MDC, 122 of its members have been murdered since the March
29 elections.--Mandy Rossouw
01 August 2008
By Ben Madzimure
THE future of Zimbabwe is in limbo although the country's two feuding
parties, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which now has a majority in
Parliament, and Zanu PF, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU), under the watchful eye of South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
Although the Zimbabwean society is pinning its hopes on the talks, most
people are afraid that Zanu PF may back-track on its commitment, thus
plunging the country into further turmoil.
The ruling party has lost credibility in the past after it failed to honour
its side of the Unity Accord agreement with PF Zapu in 1987.
The MDC and Zanu PF met at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on July 20 to sign
the MoU, which had been secretly crafted by mediators from the two parties
in South Africa.
An initial signing ceremony was abandoned after MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai boycotted the proposed ceremony at the State House. Diplomats and
political analysts said Tsvangirai had refused to attend the State House
ceremony because he did not recognise Mugabe as Zimbabwe's Head of State.
The ceremony was later moved to Rainbow Towers hotel after Mugabe was said
to have agreed to sign the document outside State House. The eleven point
document, which highlights the level of chaos and anarchy in Zimbabwe, seeks
to address pertinent issues which have something to do with the current
political and economic situation in the country.
There are however, mixed feelings across the Zimbabwean society which has
suffered under the dictatorial leadership of Mugabe, who has ruled the
country with an iron fist in his entire 28 -year rule.
Already Zimbabwe's vibrant civic society, including the ZCTU has already
expressed reservations over the whole process, saying Zimbabwe's crisis was
not just an issue between the MDC and Zanu PF political parties only, but
touched on an array of civil and political institutions which needed to be
involved to chart the way forward.
However the crisis talks have excluded the wider society which has been
instrumental in the democratisation proccess for a very long time.
Meanwhile, ZCTU has dropped a bombshell over Robert Mugabe's purported
election as the president of Zimbabwe, declaring that his election is a
nullity and that workers do not recognize him as their legitimate head of
In a communique on July 12, the ZCTU General Council, meeting as the
decision and policy making body of the labour union, also resolved to
support moves for a Neutral Transitional Authority (NTA), rather than a
Government of National Unity (GNU) being pushed for by South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, who is currently facilitating dialogue between MDC
and Zanu PF.
Mugabe defied the international community, including the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) and the Africa Union (AU) which had said a
presidential election run-off pitting him against MDC president and
favourite to win the poll, Morgan Tsvangirai, should be shelved and be held
at a latter date as the environment in the country did not allow for the
holding of a free and fair election. He then embarked on a violent one man
show, where he was the sole candidate after Tsvangirai pulled out citing
rising violence against his supporters.
Tsvangirai had won the first round convincingly on March 29, beating Mugabe
by more than five percentage points. According to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, he polled 47.9 percent of the total vote, while Mugabe polled
42.3 percent. ZEC, which took more than five weeks to announce the result,
ordered a run off after it claimed that none of the candidates had garnered
enough votes to avoid a run off.
After the announcement of the results by ZEC, Zanu PF, using state resources
and ammunition, embarked on a violent campaign which resulted in more than
110 MDC supporters killed, with some of them being shot at point blank by
members of the army and Zanu PF militias. Thousands of MDC supporters were
also displaced. In its resolutions, the General Council resolved not to
recognize Mugabe as a legitimate head of state after noting that the June 27
run off had degenerated into a declaration of war on Zimbabweans by Mugabe.
"Dozens of people were murdered due to politically motivated violence;
thousands were threatened with death, beaten, tortured and harrased for
expressing or supporting MDC . People were forced to attend political
rallies, failure of which they were severely beaten up," noted the general
"There was deployment and sprouting of several bases led by the then ruling
party militias that harassed and perpetrated political violence. The usual
polling officers, that is teachers and other civil servants, where sidelined
in the running of elections in favour of ruling party supporters," also
noted the ZCTU, adding that even Mugabe, who was a contesting candidate on a
Zanu PF ticket, in most of his campaigns, had made it clear that he would
not accept defeat, even if he lost the election to Morgan Tsvangirai of the
It also noted that even the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
observer Mission, the Pan African Parliament (PAP) observer Mission and the
Africa Union (AU) observer Mission had declared that the elections where not
free and fair and that there was need for the holding of a free and fair
poll in the country, which would represent the will of the Zimbabwean
The SADC observer Mission had observed that the election process did not
represent the will of the people of Zimbabwe. "The African Union (AU)
observer Mission also noted that, in the context of the AU Declaration of
the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, it is the
considered view of the AU Observer Mission that the election process fell
short of accepted AU standards," noted the ZCTU, quoting from the AU
observer Mission report.
The labour union expressed concerns that the current mediator in the talks,
president Mbeki, was working on a part-time basis and that he had been
involved in the negotiation process for a long time without much success. It
also noted that Mbeki was perceived as sympathetic to Zanu PF. It also
expressed concern that Mbeki's idea of power sharing and the establishment
of a Government of National Unity (GNU) was misplaced as it did not
represent the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe.
The council then resolved that the mediation process should not be left to
President Mbeki alone, but that other players should be involved. It also
demanded that the inter-party talks should not exceed two months because the
economy was now in a very bad shape and that violence was still continuing
in some parts of the country.
"A Government of National Unity is a subversion of our National Constitution
and only a Neutral Transitional Authority (NTA) should be put in place with
a mandate to take Zimbabwe to fresh, free and fair elections that will
hopefully not be disputed by the parties," concluded the ZCTU communique.
Ben Madzimure is the editor of the labour union, ZCTU newspaper The Worker.
August 1, 2008
Britain’s BAE Systems, the world’s fourth biggest arms company, has paid over £25 million (US$49.5 million) to a company whose majority Zimbabwean shareholder is a long-time business ally of President Mugabe’s regime. The multiple investigations into BAE’s role in the affair, which appear to be nearing conclusion, are likely to have serious political repercussions in Britain and South Africa.
The recipient of the payments was British Virgin Islands-registered Kayswell Services, whose signatories include majority shareholder John Bredenkamp, Jules Pelissier and Graham Andrews, according to company records seen by Africa Confidential. BAE made the payments in mid-2003 through its Red Diamond Trading subsidiary, also registered in the British Virgin Islands. Within a year, Kayswell had transferred more than £10 million to Bredenkamp.
Through his network of military equipment companies, such as Aviation Consulting Services and Raceview, Bredenkamp became an important supplier to the Zimbabwe Defence Force and a close associate of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the chairman of the Joint Operation Command. Bredenkamp has indefinite leave to remain in Britain. ACS, which is registered in both Britain and Zimbabwe, was the Southern African agent for BAE and Italy’s Agusta military aviation company.
However, Bredenkamp’s spokesman said his client had not ‘to the best of myknowledge supplied military equipment to the Zimbabwe government since European Union sanctions were introduced (in February 2002).’ BAE’s payments to its agents are being investigated in several jurisdictions. Richard Alderman, the Director of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, which has been under fire since it halted an investigation into a BAE arms deal with Saudi Arabia, pledged on 30 July to reinforce efforts to conclude its investigations into BAE’s £1.6 billion deal with South Africa. Bredenkamp denies he played any role in the BAE arms deal, but SFO and Ministry of Defence officials raided his offices in Berkshire in October 2006.
Asked about why BAE had paid Kayswell over £25 million, Bredenkamp’s spokesman said ‘it would be inappropriate to comment while the investigation is continuing.’ A spokesman for BAE also declined to comment on matters that were ‘commercially sensitive’.
BAE’s £1.6 billion arms deal with South Africa, under which it is to supply 24 Hawk fighter trainers and 26 Gripen advanced light fighters, will come under more scrutiny after recent progress in the investigations. Until now President Thabo Mbeki has resisted pressure to open a probe into the entire arms deal. South African investigators have focused on the Thales deal, to which Mbeki’s rival Jacob Zuma is linked. Now the African National Congress is pressing for a full investigation.
Mbeki chaired the ministerial committee in 1997-98 that controlled the evaluation of bids in the arms deal. It was Mbeki and his ministers who decided to accept the deal despite opposition from the heads of the armed forces, who argued that the BAE planes were too expensive and did not meet the SA Air Force’s technical requirements. The then Chief of Air Staff, General W. H. Hechter, said he would only accept the BAE Hawks if ‘politically obliged’ to do so.
A spokesman for John Bredenkamp contacted Africa Confidential on the morning of 31 July and wanted to the make the following points: ‘Mr Bredenkamp was not personally involved with the BAE Systems deal in South Africa. He knows nobody who was on the BAE Systems side of the deal in South Africa. And likewise Mr Bredenkamp doesn’t know anyone on the South African government side of the deal.’
The spokesman also confirmed that Mr Bredenkamp remains happy to cooperate fully with the British SFO’s investigations into the commissions paid on BAE’s £1.6 billion arms deal with South Africa.
August 1, 2008
By our correspondent
NYANGA - Despite the ongoing talks between Zanu PF and the two MDC parties,
self-proclaimed war veterans who are known Zanu-PF supporters have
reportedly continued to harass MDC supporters in Nyanga North constituency.
In the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week, the three political
parties agreed to "take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of
political violence, including by non-state actors, and to ensure the
security of persons and property".
As a result of the continuing violence, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) has filed an urgent chamber application seeking an order
compelling the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to ensure "that all and any
illegal bases and roadblocks be removed; harassing, assaulting and stealing
of livestock belonging to MDC members, their agents and supporters
Among other things, the court documents - filed under HC 3667/08 - indicate
that "several members of ZNLWVA (Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association) have been harassing, beating and stealing from suspected MDC
members and the general public in Nyanga North".
ZNLWVA chairman, Jabulani Sibanda denied that his members were responsible
for any post election violence.
"I have always said we are not a violent organization, but there are some
people out there who create stories in order to discredit our organization,"
Among others, the lawyers' body identified Pasi Makunza, Wilfred Nyapokoto,
Antony Nyaguse, Joseph Gwenzi, Kennedy Tsvamuno and Charles Muronza as the
war veterans responsible for the terror campaign in Nyanga.
The ZLHR said the war veterans had set up semi-military bases at different
locations across Nyanga North constituency. The bases are situated at
Sabvure Clinic, CBC Nyakomba, Arex Offices in Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic,
Kambudzi Clinic, Chifambe School at Kiss Shopping Centre, Avilla Mission
Hospital and Dumba Business Centre in Nyautare.
"Roadblocks manned by the mentioned war veterans and their accomplices are
also periodically set up near the bases, whereat passengers in buses and
motor vehicles are searched, ordered to chant Zanu-PF slogans and, at times,
beaten up," said the ZLHR.
The lawyers said that on July 1, Muronza, allegedly abducted one Edmore
Njanji near Avilla Mission, and severely beat him up. The following day,
"teachers at Chatindo Primary School were rounded up and one Mr. Misheck
Mholo was severely beaten with sticks all over his body".
The war veterans are also said to have been demanding food from the
villagers to feed themselves at their bases and as "protection fees".
"The harassments and beatings have also been extended to MDC election agents
in Ward 10, Nyanga North, while an elected councilor and the elected Member
of the House of Assembly representing Nyanga North have had travel
restrictions in the area imposed upon them. At least five councilors from
Wards 5, 8, 9, and 10 in Nyanga North Constituency have been forced out of
their homes and continue to seek refuge outside the constituency," added the
The lawyers' body said all parties should stick to the requirements of the
MOU to "issue public statements and take positive and visible action against
those who instigate and perpetrate politically motivated violence within
their rank and file".
August 1, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - The opposition MDC says the monetary reforms just announced by
central bank governor Gideon Gono remain futile in the absence of
substantive strategies to shore up the country's battered economy.
Gono unveiled on Wednesday a line-up of new currency to replace successive
families of bearer and agro-cheques in circulation.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor also scrapped 10 zeros off the
over-burdened currency while resuscitating coins that had long been
discarded by Zimbabwe due to hyperinflation.
In addition, he maintained the unpopular cash withdrawal limits that have
prevented both individuals and corporate companies from accessing amounts of
their choice. While the largest note in circulation from Friday will be the
$500 bill the maximum that can be withdrawn from the bank will be only $200.
The MDC maintains the new measures are too cosmetic and a desperate attempt
to address the symptoms as opposed to the root causes.
In a statement, MDC secretary for economic affairs and MP-Elect for Makoni
North Constituency, Elton Mangoma, described the new measures by Gono as
"the usual nonsense" that will not rescue the economy from further collapse.
"The MDC believes that no amount of tinkering with currency denominations
will address the Zimbabwean crisis," said Mangoma.
"As long as there is no production, we will continue to move in circles as a
country. The supply side of the economy should be addressed by confronting
Zimbabwe's real crisis, which is the crisis of governance and legitimacy."
He accused Gono of opting for the easier alternative of striking off the
zeros to make the mathematics of the changeover easier and better for the
"This will definitely not work," said Mangoma.
"The last attempt time the zeroes were removed, they came back with a
vengeance barely three months after the monetary policy measures were
introduced," he said.
He was referring to the attempt in 2006 by Gono to heal the economy by
removing three zeros from the currency. The measures failed.
Mangoma says the new measures will fall flat and cause serious confusion
among the public.
He said the re-introduction into circulation of old coins only benefited
those who did not have a banking culture, apart from sending a wrong signal
to the market.
Said Mangoma, "We believe that any central bank should know the amount of
money that is in circulation and clearly, allowing people to scrounge for
old money from their drawers will make it impossible to know how much
currency is on the market.
"It could further push up inflation, which has now hit stratospheric levels
at over 10 million percent.
"Moreover, the token increase of withdrawal limits from $100 billion (now
$10) to $2 trillion (or $200) will not bring any relief to the public at a
time when that amount can hardly buy you two bars of soap."
He also criticized the increase to 45 per cent of the RBZ share of export
proceeds by both the mining and agricultural sectors.
Until the new measures, exporters were retaining 65 percent of their
proceeds and selling 35 percent to the RBZ.
Mangoma says the increase will make it harder for industry to operate at a
time when expert performance needed to be boosted for the good of the
Mangoma, who is one of the negotiators in on-going negotiations between Zanu
PF and the MDC, says nothing outside a concrete settlement by the parties in
the talks will save the economy from further collapse.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a crippling economic crisis blamed by many on
President Robert Mugabe's unpopular policies.
Official inflation is pegged at all time 2, 2 million percent while
independent economists put it at above 10 million percent.
Nearly a quarter of the population has fled the country over the past 10
years to seek economic havens abroad.
-- Communicate to all levels and divisions of Zimbabwean authorities - including national, provincial, district, and ward - that the suspension of NGOs has been completely rescinded. -- Guarantee the safety and security of all humanitarian aid workers. -- Guarantee unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations to provide impartial, need-based assistance to affected populations and to monitor aid programs. -- Respect the right of affected populations to move freely to seek and receive protection and assistance without fear of intimidation or unlawful seizure of humanitarian aid.
Friday, August 1, 2008
With talks in South Africa set to resume this weekend on Zimbabwe's impasse,
strongman Robert Mugabe has suddenly rediscovered his nation's disastrous
economy. Not that Mr. Mugabe has applied the right lessons. On Wednesday,
the regime rolled out an old classic in government economic illiteracy - a
new zim dollar that simply knocks 10 digits off the old currency's
denomination. So, a loaf of bread that previously cost Z$50 billion now
costs either $50 billion of the old zim dollars, or $5 in new ones.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, which topped 1 million percent in May, is
expected to rise to 5 million percent by the fall. A loaf of bread costs
what 12 new cars did a decade ago. It hard even to make such comparisons
anymore. They continually change. The inflation rate has accelerated to the
point where the currency is meaningless.
If, as Einstein said, insanity consists of doing the same thing over again
and expecting different results, this policy is truly insane. It has been
tried before, and failed. The "second dollar" was introduced in 2005 in an
effort to combat spiraling inflation. The Zimbabwean dollar was
redenominated in August 2006 at a 1,000-to-1 ratio. Since then, inflation
has raced forward even faster. Evidently the regime now figures that a
10-digit reduction will do the trick.
This, of course, presumes that the redenomination is a good-faith effort.
Likelier it is Mr. Mugabe's pretext to continue to govern in a state of
emergency. This would increase his leverage during negotiations with
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Why else would he rediscover ZImbabwe's
disastrous economy at a critical moment in the negotiations?
Whatever the motive, the markets will deliver the same judgment as always
unless this regime's arbitrary, confiscatory and repressive governance
somehow ceases. This is a country where, two years ago, the government made
refugees of approximately 1.5 million of its citizens in "Operation Clear
the Trash." It bulldozed "unlawful" towns and cities in a vicious payback to
the political opposition. This is a country where potatoes are a "strategic
The cruel combination of poverty, repression and nearly unparalleled
governing irresponsibility must come to an end.
Judges get vehicles, goods
By Fidelis Munyoro
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has donated a fleet of new vehicles,
generators, sets of televisions, and full sets of satellite dishes for the
sitting judges to improve their conditions of service.
The central bank funded the acquisition of 16 top of the range Mercedes-
Benz E 280 and all the other perks given to the judges.
Master of the High Court Mr Charles Nyatanga yesterday confirmed that the
central bank had purchased the goods and would help with the installation of
the generators and satellite dishes at their residencies.
All the judges got 32-inch plasma screen television and full set of
satellite dishes each while the Chief Justice and Judge President got
42-inch screens and full sets of satellite dishes.
Labour Court judges, who also benefited from the donation, came to collect
their sets at the High Court yesterday.
"Yes, the judges received Mercedes Benz E280. This was long overdue and some
of the judges had never been issued with Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever since
their appointment to the bench.
"Others were due for new allocation after five years. Each judge is entitled
to a new Mercedes-Benz after five years in terms of his or her conditions of
service. So the RBZ intervened and funded the acquisition of the vehicles.
We are very happy that at long last the judges have been given their
entitlement," Mr Nyatanga said.
Apart from the top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz, the judges also have utility
vehicles which include Toyota IMV and Isuzu trucks, courtesy of the central
Mr Nyatanga said it was not desirable for judges to drive Mercedes Benz in
rough terrain going to their farms. He also commended the RBZ for donating
generators to the judges at a time the country was experiencing severe power
"We have problems of power outages in the country and judges do not work in
their chambers alone but carry their work home. They need to write their
judgments at home and during weekends.
"We are grateful that the RBZ gave our judges generators to enable them to
work at their homes even if there are power cuts," he said.
He said the generators were currently being installed at the judges'
Last year the Government acquired top-of-the-range vehicles, computers and
laptops for judges in an effort to improve the working conditions and
service delivery in the judiciary.
The perquisite for the judiciary came after Judge President Rita Makarau, in
her maiden speech at the official opening of the 2007 High Court legal year
raised her concern over the state of the country's legal system.
Deputy Business Editor
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono wants salaries and prices
frozen for up to six months, as he battles to control inflation.
The central bank chief said this must be done in the spirit of the social
contract, and immediately followed by comprehensive policies targeted at
achieving macro-economic stability.
Labour, Government and business early last year signed the social contract,
covenant meant to stabilise prices, increase production and reduce
"Within the context of the social contract, Zimbabweans must realise that
the country is in a practically binding state of socio-economic emergency,"
Dr Gono said on Wednesday, when he presented the half-year monetary policy
"As such, there is need for a universal moratorium on all incomes and prices
for a minimum period of six months.
"The stage where the economy is, therefore, requires nothing short of a
total change of approach and commitment by all stakeholders to arrest the
speculative bubble through the moratorium route.
"The six months moratorium is suggested here as the most credible foundation
and seed for the re-transformation of market trends and micro-level pricing
behaviour into stable and predictable modes."
Dr Gono hopes that the stability gained from the freeze "will allow the
swift implementation of supportive and more comprehensive reforms that would
engender medium to long-term stability in the country's price-income
Economists said prices would have to freeze first, and then incomes would
This would help incomes close the yawning gap that has been created by rapid
price movements, and then increase the purchasing power parity.
But since the signing of the social contract, prices have stopped at
nothing, and the rate of increase pushed annual inflation to 2,2 million
percent at the end of June, according to statistics from the Central
Rising costs are forcing retailers to increase prices a number of times a
day, which has fed into the inflation spiral.
Negative expectations have also driven inflation higher. Speculation matters
because they are self-fulfilling.
Government has set inflation targets of between 250 percent and 350 percent
However, RBZ has watched helplessly, as inflation hit roof levels. Attempts
to use monetary and inflation targeting to curb inflation growth have failed
to bear fruit.
On Wednesday, the apex bank left the key bank rate unchanged at 8 500
percent and 9 500 percent for secured and unsecured borrowing respectively -
a key tool it has used for many months to keep a check on speculative
borrowing that drive inflation.
This week, Dr Gono admitted the fight against inflation was not a lone man
war. It needed mainly, concerted effort from the political side, and that of
To curb inflation growth, Dr Gono said it needed: "The expeditious
resolution of the current political differences among the country's major
political players to create an environment marked by a deep sense of
national cohesion and unity of purpose in committing to resolve the economic
challenges facing the country.
"An immediate unified call by all Zimbabweans across the board for the
lifting of the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe."
The fight against inflation would also need increased agriculture output,
reduced fiscal expenditure, which will "reduce the reliance on monetary
financing of the fiscal budget. Through this, there will be scope for the
rapid deceleration of money supply growth."
He warned: "We will soon have no economy to talk about" if the current
"daily and hourly" price increases continue.
CSO acting director-general Mr Moffat Nyoni said mid-July the inflation
figures were not as accurate because the office was functioning on limited
"The information was based on fewer observations than we would be confident
with due to scarcities," Mr Nyoni said at the time.
Friday, 01 August 2008 06:07
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono lopped off 10 zeroes from the
country's bearer cheques yesterday in a desperate attempt to cure the
symptoms rather than the root cause of the economic crisis.
This will definitely not work, given that the last time the zeroes
were removed, they came back with a vengeance barely three months after the
monetary policy measures were taken.
In any case, it would have been easier to remove either three zeroes,
six zeroes, nine zeroes or 12 zeroes to make the mathematics of the
changeover easier and better for the public.
The latest measures, once again, will fall flat and will cause serious
confusion among the public. The announcement that old coins are coming back
into circulation will benefit people who do not have a banking culture,which
will send a wrong signal to the market at a time when confidence
building should be top priority to the central bank.
We believe that any central bank should know the amount of money that
is in circulation and clearly, allowing people to scrounge for old money
from their drawers will make it impossible to know how much currency is on
the market. It could further push up inflation, which has now hit
levels of over 10 million percent.
Moreover, the token increase of withdrawal limits from $100 billion
(now $10) to $2 trillion (or $200) will not bring any relief to the public
at a time when that amount can hardly buy you two bars of soap.
The performance of our mining and agricultural sectors has
significantly declined. The monetary statement also paints a gloomy picture
of Zimbabwe's export performance. Exporters were retaining 65 percent of
their proceeds and selling 35 percent to the RBZ. The increase in the RBZ
share to 45 percent as announced yesterday will make it harder for industry
to operate at a time when our expert performance needs to be boosted for the
good of our economy.
The MDC believes that no amount of tinkering with currency
denominations will address the Zimbabwean crisis. As long as there is no
production, we will continue to move in circles as a country. The supply
side of the economy should be addressed by confronting Zimbabweans real
crisis, which is the crisis of governance and legitimacy.
The dialogue currently taking place between the country's political
players is the best way forward as long as there is sincerity from all the
players.Ordinary Zimbabweans have been brutalised, their houses have been
burnt.Others have been killed. They want to start afresh.They want food,
jobs, better education and health care. They want the outcome of the
dialogue process to bring back their dignity, which has been lost because of
many years of corruption and patronage.
We must not fail the nation.
Hon. Elton Mangoma (Mr)
MP-Elect, Makoni North Constituency
MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs
August 01, 2008, 08:15
Several Botswana groups will hold a march against the current Zimbabwe
negotiations today. The Botswana Civil Society Coalition on Zimbabwe,
Botswana's Human Rights Organisation Ditshwanelo, and Zimbabweans in
Botswana, will take part in the march. They're opposed to the talks between
Zimbabwe's opposition MDC and ruling Zanu-PF on a power-sharing deal.
The coalition of Botswana NGO's on Zimbabwe, says the negotiating parties
have no public mandate to discuss a government of national unity. They want
the negotiators to discuss the appointment of a Transitional Authority,
which will first have to level the political playing field in Zimbabwe.
This they say is in preparation for national elections free of violence and
intimidation, in which Zimbabweans are able to freely express themselves on
who should govern them. A memorandum will be presented to the Botswana
government in support of their current stance on Zimbabwe. Botswana does not
recognise Robert Mugabe as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.