|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Zimbabwean economist John Robertson
described the move as ominous.
"It is not just that businesses might be forced to hold even smaller
amounts," he said.
"It is the new nature of it all. It's not normal in any country to
limit the amount of cash one can hold."
Robertson said the shortage of cash had little to do with hoarding
"If they had printed a Z$50 000 note this would never have arisen," he
Z$50 000 equates to about R90 on Zimbabwe's flourishing black market.
The new laws also make it illegal to sell banknotes. Cash- flush
businesses have been cashing in with a scheme called cash for cheques.
People desperate for cash to pay wages and bills write out cheques and
receive banknotes for between 60 and 75% of the cheque's value. - Foreign
By Michael Radu
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 19, 2003
According to the news agencies, Idi Amin, a.k.a. "Big Daddy"
formally "His Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadj Doctor Idi
Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of
the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda
in Particular" has died on August 15.
Amin's name was synonymous with tyranny during his presidency of Uganda,
from 1971-79. Amin's career took him from illiterate national boxing
champion to chief of staff, "doctor" to military dictator, mass murderer to
chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In the nearly 25 years
since his rule ended, has the behavior of African regimes or outside
observers and aid donors changed?
"Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are," the saying
goes. Amin's friends included the communist Red Brigades and Palestinian
terrorists he aided in their 1976 hijacking of an Air France airliner to
Entebbe. The Jewish passengers being held on the plane (who were rescued in
the spectacular Israeli raid that ended the hijacking) had been carefully
selected: Amin, who publicly praised Hitler for murdering Jews, had become
an admirer of the Fuhrer after Israel, which he visited, refused to provide
him with modern weapons.
Idi Amin was a declared racist. He confiscated the wealth and expelled from
Uganda all Asians, whose crime was being hard working, and Asian. (Neither
India nor Pakistan would receive them: it was the United Kingdom that gave
them asylum and another chance to use their talents and get rich again.)
But the West's blind eye toward Amin was such that, as the U.S. ambassador
to Uganda at the time, Thomas Melady, recently noted, the human
rights-oriented administration of future Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter
refused to impose even the most minimal sanctions (such as on Ugandan
coffee) on Amin's regime. And this was an administration that unhesitatingly
penalized Argentina for human rights abuses against educated, middle-class
That Amin was a member of Uganda's small Muslim community allowed him
ultimately, after sometime in Libya, to reach safe and comfortable asylum in
Saudi Arabia. He was granted asylum, thereby avoiding a trial in his own
country for the 100,000 to 300,000 murders committed by his regime, in the
name of umma (worldwide Muslim community) solidarity. Reporters describe the
Saudi-funded exile's life in Jeddah as one of a comfortable suburban home,
driving Cadillacs, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, lunching at the Meridien,
having tea at the Sofitel, and swimming and taking massages at the
The UN (which, interestingly, has been less vocal about Amin than it has
been about Milosevic or Mladic), and the human rights NGOs were all
disturbingly mute about Amin's comfortable asylum. Because Amin has enjoyed
exile as a Muslim, the world must tolerate it, fearful as the West is of
holding Muslims to the same human rights standard as others are held to.
Indeed, while 1979 was a bad year for African dictators-cannibalistic Jean
Bedel Bokassa, the "Emperor" of Central Africa, was overthrown by his
erstwhile French protectors; sadistic Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea was
shot by a Moroccan squad (locals did not believe he could be killed,
considering his voodoo talents)-Amin at least survived, no matter how many
of his countrymen he fed to the crocodiles. Interesting for those who still
believe, or claim to believe, in "international law," Bokassa, a recent
convert to Islam, was removed by a perfectly illegal French Foreign Legion
intervention; Moroccans tied up Equatorial Guinea after Nguema, and it was
an illegal Tanzanian invasion that liberated Uganda from Amin.
After becoming chairman of the OAU in 1975, Amin was able to use that
platform to rant about Israeli "racism" and other causes. At the time Amin
became chairman, chairmanship of the OAU--which has since been renamed the
African Union (AU)--was a matter of rotation. The chairman's values were
assumed to be "African" because he was president of a member state. The
Libyan-backed AU does not seem troubled by its history of glorifying mass
murderers such as Amin, Bokassa, or Nguema. Old habits are hard to break,
and the AU continues to preclude discussion of this by labeling it "racism"
to question Africa or an African leader.
"African solidarity," a racialist term if ever there was one, remains the
AU's approach to the rest of the world. Amin may have been a criminal, but
non-Africans have no right to say so. The same AU nations that judge other
nations' pasts harshly (Europeans, for instance, were "slave-owning
criminals") is mute about Amin (and Bokassa, Nguema. etc.). But that was in
the past, some would say - wrongly. Today Amin's successors, Mugabe in
Zimbabwe, Taylor in Liberia, are still protected by their African
colleagues. Mugabe is still in power (and harboring fellow murderer and
former Ethiopian version of Stalin, Mengistu Haile Mariam) and still ruining
what was once one of Africa's prosperous countries, simply because South
Africa does not want him out. Nigeria, which vies with South Africa for
African leadership, has long allowed Taylor to stay in power and create
havoc throughout the region, and now has given him asylum - despite his
indictment by a UN court in Sierra Leone.
And then there is Central Africa, a bloody mess the size of Western Europe.
In 1994 the majority Hutus in Rwanda murdered at least half a million
Tutsis, in a mass frenzy of genocidal proportions. What did "Africa" and its
Western supporters , or enablers, do? Blame the West for not stopping
Africans from butchering Africans, and have the UN establish a court to try
the perpetrators. That court, in Tanzania, has managed to convict 15 persons
in seven years at the cost of sixty million dollars…Meanwhile in neighboring
Burundi the Hutus are trying hard to come to power - with the potential of a
As for the Democratic Republic of Congo (!!!) , the continent's second
largest "country", it is a huge sore on the map, robbed blind by "friends"
like Angola and Zimbabwe, with large areas under Ugandan or Rwandan control,
a political fiction but a much too real tragedy. After Mugabe and the
Angolans stole enough and left (just as the Nigerians did in Liberia a few
years back), it was left to…the French to establish temporary order in a
Collapse in Sierra Leone ? Call the British. Collapse in Côte d'Ivoire? Call
the French. Collapse in Liberia? Call the Marines. Where is the African
Union, so aggressive in condemning colonialism and slavery (but only the
European part in it) and demanding universal respect and "a voice" in world
affairs? Well, the AU did take a position on Zimbabwe - it elected Mugabe as
one of its vice presidents.
There are, of course, notable and decent exceptions - Senegal, Botswana and…
Senegal and Botswana. Uganda itself has recovered from Amin's reign of
destruction and is now doing better than most. But all in all it does not
seem that "Africa", or at least its self - proclaimed spokesmen have
internalized the lessons of Idi Amin's rule. He may be dying but the evil
he represented still haunts the continent.
Pick of the day
Tuesday August 19, 2003
"Right now, as we speak, somebody in a prison cell or basement is being
tortured beyond endurance..." the words that introduce Between Ourselves
(9am and 9.30pm, Radio 4) are abstract enough. Then you meet two of the
Gabriel Shumba was a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe when he was picked up
by Mugabe's secret police. Hooded and handcuffed, he was driven to a torture
centre deep underground. "They brought in a black contraption that resembled
a telephone," he remembers. "It had electric wires dangling from it. They
tied these on to my middle toes, then some on my middle fingers. One was put
in my mouth and the other was wrapped around my genitals. Then they switched
on the electricity..."
Shumba was also beaten with planks and slashed with a bayonet. He vomited
blood and lost control of his bladder. Then his tormentors forced him to
lick the floor clean.
Carlos Reyes was an official in Chile's Socialist Party when he was arrested
after Pinochet's coup. Grabbed at home, he was told to say goodbye to his
children as he would never see them again. His eyes were taped up and a hood
was put over his head. "That was the last time I saw light for six months."
Reyes was driven to a garage beneath the presidential palace, where he was
kept chained to a car's steering wheel. He too was electrocuted. "You never
forget until the day you die," he says.
Don't miss it.
Idi Amin's unfunny side
Confronted by all the cruelty and incompetence of
political life in many
parts of Africa, the reaction of the West tends to be shameful: we laugh,
and when we are not amused, we indulge.
On one level, there is something irresistibly comical about His Excellency
President-for-Life Idi Amin - as we reported yesterday - shouting genially
to the Daily Telegraph's Africa correspondent of the 1970s: "Please tell the
Queen I love her."
Or at least it is funny until you read on and learn that his henchmen were
simultaneously knocking the brains out of political opponents with
There is also something luridly risible about Robert Mugabe's murderous
kleptocracy in Zimbabwe, though the victims of his misrule will not see the
The comic tension lies in the incongruous pomposity of Mugabe's harangues
about colonialism, or white farmers, or homosexuals, which disguise the
basest and most human instinct: to help himself to his country's wealth, and
to cling on to power by all means, so that his enemies will not be able to
do to him what he has done to them.
South of the Limpopo, there is President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
sitting up until all hours in his Cape Town office, reading quack reports on
the internet by dubious American scientists denying the link between Aids
and the HIV virus. This is quite a funny image until you think how many
South Africans will die because of his wilful obtuseness.
Ugandan or Zimbabwean victims of decades of misrule rightly point out that
we created their tyrants, but that does not excuse us laughing when we
should act, or at the very least be outraged.
Western apologists for the Amins and Mugabes and those who have followed
sometimes say we do not understand the complexity of the African way, or the
workings of a continent that has not yet developed what we call a civil
society. And it is certainly true that the worst African tyrant is acting in
a way that was commonplace on our own continent until comparatively
Amin is dead, and Mugabe surely cannot go on much longer, and it would be
reassuring to think we will not see their like again. Uganda has certainly
made progress in recent years, notwithstanding concerns about President
Museveni's creeping authoritarianism.
There would be more reason to be hopeful about the future of Africa as a
whole if Mr Mbeki, the continent's natural leader, had seized this moment to
ostracise Mr Mugabe, rather than to coddle and flatter him.
Half of our own continent was enslaved by Communism when Idi Amin was
inflicting his crimes on Uganda, which perhaps explains why we preferred to
laugh about him and his excesses. Three decades on, the killing and
repression is still routine, not just in Zimbabwe, but in Congo, Liberia,
and too many other countries, and that really isn't funny at all.
The end of an era?
August 19, 2003
By the Editor
Idi Amin inflicted so much pain during his brutal
rule of Uganda that
his brother was probably one of the few people who mourned his death on
That is a tragic indictment of the life of a man who, at one stage,
inspired so much hope in post-independence Africa.
Instead, Amin's rule became characterised by barbarism and cruelty. It
is estimated that more than 300 000 Ugandans died during the eight years he
was in power.
During his rule, the economy of the once-prosperous East African
country was also virtually destroyed.
Amin was responsible for so much suffering that Tanzania, under
then-president Julius Nyerere, supported a military offensive to end his
reign of terror in 1979.
Part of the mission of the new African Union (AU) is to ensure that
dictatorships like those of Amin are never again allowed on the continent.
In its short lifespan, the AU has already distinguished itself, most
recently in Liberia, where it helped to ensure that warmonger Charles Taylor
much more work needs to be done before we can say that the days of
despots like Idi Amin, Jean Bédel Bokassa, Haile Mariam Mengistu and Mobutu
Sese Seko are truly over.
The matter of a certain Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a case in point. How
the AU deals with his repression and chicanery may yet turn out to be a
So far, the indecisiveness and pussyfooting around Mugabe and his
Zimbabwe African National Union does not hold out much promise.
But we must learn from the past; we cannot allow violence and
undemocratic practices to go unchecked. At some point, silence becomes
Amin became a byword for evil in the seventies. Today, his dark legacy
still casts a shadow over the continent.
Africa cannot afford the likes of him again.
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
WEEKLY BRIEFING NOTE
19th August 2003
For Further Information Please Contact:
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of Information: 0263 91 248 570
Grace Kwinjeh, MDC EU Representative: 0032 494 181621
James Littleton, London: 00 44 7771 501 401
MDC MOURNS DEATH OF MP
MDC MP for Kadoma Central, Austin Mupandawana, died on 9 August at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. He leaves behind a wife, Constance, and six children.
“We have lost a dear colleague, dependable friend and a courageous man. The nation is robbed of a dedicated leader and a man of integrity. While we grieve his death, we in the MDC cherish his deeds and the part he played in the struggle to bring a better life for all Zimbabweans,” said Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity
“It is clear that Zanu PF has no idea how to solve the crisis and is determined to hold onto power while the people suffer. We have chosen the path of dialogue in the hope that this will bring about a speedy and peaceful resolution of the country’s problems and stop all the suffering,” said Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC President (10 August 2003)
“We are extremely disappointed that the High Court has chosen to put the President of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, to his defence in the treason trial….We in the MDC have absolutely no doubt of the innocence of Morgan Tsvangirai. We believe that once the defence has given evidence, and placed on record the true facts of what happened at the three meetings, the whole world will know wherein the truth lies,” said David Coltart, MDC Secretary for Legal Affairs (8 August 2003)
“We have no fuel, we have no sugar, we have no cooking oil, we have no money, we have no mealie meal; the cost of these items if they become available are unaffordable. The government has asked WFP for the total food shortage this year as they have no money. If this is not an abrogation of responsibility and a total admission of failure then I don’t know what is,” said Renson Gasela MDC Shadow Minister of Lands and Agriculture (13 August 2003)
Numerous government workers informed the Daily News last week that they had been forced by war veterans to make contributions to the Heroes Day celebrations as a way of ‘showing gratitude’ to the Mugabe regime for awarding them salary increases. Many were forced to contribute as much as $Zim 5,000.
Local Government Elections Update
Free and fair elections are clearly anathema to Zanu PF. Ballot rigging, voter intimidation and the illegal registration of voters have defined Zanu PF election strategies over past few years. Such underhand and contemptuous tactics are an admission that they have nothing to offer the electorate. They are bankrupt of ideas. Zanu PF know that they cannot win an election if the people are allowed to exercise their basic democratic right in a free and fair poll.
In the build up to the local elections, scheduled to be held on 30 and 31 August, Zanu PF have certainly lived up to their reputation as an enemy of democracy. Their violent youth militia are omnipresent, over 40 MDC candidates have been prevented from submitting their nominations whilst recent evidence has come to light of Zanu PF illegally registering voters after the closure of the registration process in June. For instance in Gweru the MDC has already unearthed 6,000 phantom voters.
It has also been revealed that the Mugabe regime is using Central Intelligence Organisation and army officers to run the elections, in what is an unashamed attempt to rig the process. What functioning democracy has the army and the secret police running elections?
“It is like a repeat of the elections we have had before where electoral fraud takes centre stage,” said Professor Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General
The European Union has donated 25 million euros to help alleviate widespread hunger in Zimbabwe. Representatives of the WFP have reported that without the donation it would have run out of food stocks by the end of August. The EU donation will be used to buy 60,000 tonnes of maize from neighbouring countries that harvested a surplus this year.
5 Die From Hunger
Five people have died from food poisoning associated with hunger in Matabeleland.
According to recent press reports, Zimbabwe’s struggling gold sector, previously a major source of foreign currency, faces more mine closures unless the Mugabe regime devalues the dollar and manages to reign in spiralling inflation. Given the regime’s catastrophic record vis-à-vis the economy this is unlikely to happen, meaning that even more people face the threat of unemployment.
Travellers Cheques Fail
In a desperate attempt to tackle the cash shortages that are a direct manifestation of their flawed economic agenda, the Zanu PF regime last week issued travellers cheques, mostly in the denomination of $Zim 100,000. Thus far most retailers have refused to accept the cheques as they do not have sufficient cash available in order to give customers the necessary change. Moreover, most ordinary Zimbabweans do not have $Zim 100,000 in their bank accounts. As most basic commodities are now purchased on the burgeoning black market the travellers cheques are somewhat pointless because only hard cash is the recognised currency on the black market.
The idea of introducing travellers cheques follows fast on heals of another recent ‘initiative’to tackle the cash crisis: replacing the existing $500 note with a new one. Both of these absurd policy initiatives are further evidence that Zanu PF does not have a clue about how to resolve Zimbabwe’s economic woes.
Angry soldiers and police officers stormed the Chitungwiza (Harare) premises of the Beverley Building Society last week, smashing windows and threatening tellers after being informed that the bank had run out of cash.
According to a recent article in the Zimbabwe Standard a tractor scheme, initiated by Mugabe for the benefit of newly resettled farmers, has been exploited by senior Zanu PF officials. The piece in the Standard alleges that the beneficiaries of the tractors thus far are Mugabe himself, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Judge President Paddington Garwe and Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Vitalis Zvinavashe.
A recent study, funded by the UN, into the extent of the brain drain in Zimbabwe, has confirmed what many already feared: that Zimbabwe has lost, and continues to lose, an unsustainable number of its skilled professionals, in particular doctors and nurses. The study concluded that, “..the level and trend of the brain drain in Zimbabwe has reached unacceptable and unsustainable height.”
Over the past four years thousands of professional Zimbabweans have been forced to flee the country in response to both the politically induced economic crisis as well as the high level of state sponsored violence. The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe reported that between 2000 and 2002 five teachers were killed, 119 raped and scores tortured and beaten as a result of their suspected support for the MDC. In response to such a sustained campaign of violence scores of teachers have fled to safety overseas.
Commonwealth Members Condemn Mugabe Regime
The 11 South Pacific members of the Commonwealth condemned the Mugabe regime last Saturday for continuing human rights abuses, saying that no progress had been made to end Zimbabwe’s suspension from all councils of the Commonwealth.
Leaders of the Pacific states issued a statement at the end of the Pacific Islands Forum noting their “grave concern at the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular continuing serious human rights abuses and the worsening economic crisis”. Leaders concluded that Zimbabwe was showing intransigence in its refusal to move back towards democracy.
Statement from a
symposium organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in cooperation with
South African partners Temba Lesizwe and IDASA; and the International Bar
Association. The symposium was held in Johannesburg, South Africa last
Declaration of the Johannesburg Symposium
11 – 13 August 2003
Mindful that a political solution is urgently required to overcome the crisis in Zimbabwe, and in the understanding that there is or may soon be dialogue between the major political parties in Zimbabwe, a number of Zimbabwean civic leaders convened a symposium to enable civic society leaders to have a forum at which to discuss issues of human rights and justice in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean participants resolved to make representations to the negotiating political parties with recommendations on issues of human rights and justice that they desire should form part of any political settlement reached by the political parties.
The recommendations are as follows:
1. That human rights abuses of the past - both during the colonial and post-colonial eras - must be redressed;
2. That mechanisms be put in place to guarantee that human rights abuses never again occur in Zimbabwe;
3. That blanket amnesties for human rights abusers should not be allowed, and specifically that there should be no further general amnesty for human rights abusers;
4. That the necessary institutions be set up to deal with past and present human rights abuses, and that such institutions be empowered not only to investigate and seek the truth, but also to recommend criminal prosecution, provide for redress and reparations for victims, and lead to healing of the nation. Such institutions must encourage and sensitively deal with the special needs of victims. This is particularly important in dealing with women and children as victims;
5. That the Constitution guarantees future respect for human rights and set up a justice system and other institutions to give effect to such guarantee;
6. That the government must enable Zimbabweans to take advantage of the protection and remedies offered by international human rights instruments;
7. That there should be an investigation into corruption and asset stripping, and the repossession of all assets misappropriate from state and private enterprise, or acquired through corruption and other illegal means.
In the short term, we make the following demands on the Zimbabwean Government:
1. That there be an immediate end to political violence and intimidation, an immediate disbanding of the militia, and an immediate return to non-partisan police, army and intelligence services and
non-selective application of the law;
2. That there be an immediate repeal of all repressive legislation and unjust laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Broadcasting Services Act and charges brought before the repeal of these laws should be
withdrawn and sentences previously imposed be annulled;
3. That there be an immediate opening up of political space, including the immediate and complete overhaul of electoral laws and institutions to enable all elections to be held under free and fair
4. That the economic and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe must be immediately addressed.
We also call upon the United Nations to immediately send a Special Rapporteur to Zimbabwe to assess the human rights environment.
We also call upon the African Commission on Human and People's Rights to immediately release the report of the findings of its mission to Zimbabwe.
Consultation on Zimbabwe
Gaborone, Botswana - August 5-6, 2003
CONCLUDING STATEMENT OF THE AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATION ON
August 6, 2003
We the representatives of the under-mentioned civil society groups from Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia, concerned with the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, held a Consultative Meeting in Gaborone, Botswana between August 5-6,
2003, organized by DITSHWANELO - the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, and the US-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, to consider the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe:
RECALLING the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998 which outlines the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
NOTING that the manipulation of recent constitutional and electoral processes in Zimbabwe have exacerbated divisions and polarization whereby principles of good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights have been violated,
STRESSING that the prime responsibility and duty to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Zimbabwe lie with the State,
EMPHASIZING the important role that individuals, civil society organizations and groups play in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
NOTING further that a fact finding mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights visited Zimbabwe in June 2002,
COMMENDING the efforts that have been undertaken by civil society, in particular the Churches, in trying to resolve the human rights and political crisis in Zimbabwe,
NOTE with grave concern that:
. Serious violations of internationally recognized human rights standards are widespread in Zimbabwe and constitute a human rights and humanitarian crisis;
. The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is characterized by, inter alia:
serious food shortages, massive job losses, collapse of public health delivery services, an increase in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, political violence, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention, attacks on human rights defenders, systematic violence against women, forceful indoctrination, repressive legislation, attacks upon the independence of the judiciary, the politicisation of state institutions such as the police, denial of freedom of expression and association,
partisan distribution of food aid and the resultant exodus of Zimbabwean refugees;
. The Government of Zimbabwe is indoctrinating and militarizing the youth and children in militia camps where they are subjected to sexual abuse including rape, sodomy and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS,
. These human rights violations undermine the objectives established in the Harare Declaration, the African Union Constitutive Act and the NEPAD framework on democracy, good governance, human rights and development;
. The perpetrators of human rights violations in Zimbabwe are overwhelmingly government officials, agents and state-sponsored militias. While criminal responsibility lies with individual government
officials, agents and militias general responsibility for these violations lies with the Zimbabwean government;
. The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe affects the entire African continent and must be addressed as a matter of urgency by African states and institutions, with the involvement of local and regional civil society groups.
THE MEETING RESOLVES AND DEMANDS:
1. THAT the government of Zimbabwe:
. Immediately restores the rule of law and ensures the immediate end to
all human rights violations in the country;
. Holds all perpetrators of serious human rights abuses accountable for
their actions, including being criminally prosecuted where their actions
constitute crimes under domestic and/or international law;
. Distributes food and food aid in a non-partisan and equitable manner
and full access for local and international humanitarian agencies is
. Must ensure the fair, non-partisan and equitable redistribution of
land in a transparent manner. The process must take into account the
rights of the landless peasants, the farm workers and the nation's food
. Invites human rights investigative mechanisms of the United Nations
and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to visit the
country and investigate human rights violations falling within their
. Agrees to subject itself to scrutiny by the NEPAD Peer Review
. Immediately ratifies the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its optional protocol,
and incorporate its provisions into domestic legislation;
. Repeals all repressive legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Privacy Act and the Broad Casting Services Act.
2. THAT East and Southern African governments must strongly condemn the
human rights violations in Zimbabwe and must work individually and
collectively to bring an end to these violations.
3. THAT Countries in the region party to the Convention Against Torture
investigate and prosecute all individuals responsible for torture in
Zimbabwe who come within their territory.
4. THAT SADC should examine the compliance of the Zimbabwe authorities
with the provisions of the Windhoek Declaration, condemn the human
rights violations and exert pressure on the government to take specific
measures to remedy the situation.
5 . THAT the President of the AU Commission should issue a public
statement condemning the human rights violations in Zimbabwe and request
the Conflict Management Division to immediately carry out a proactive
fact finding mission to Zimbabwe. The Division should recommend
immediate steps to be taken by the AU and the Zimbabwean government to
prevent a possible violent confrontation.
6. THAT Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth should continue
until its government complies with the Harare Declaration and takes
concrete steps to restore the rule of law, restores respect for human
rights and holds perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.
7. THAT the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights should make
its report on the fact finding mission public at its next session in
October 2003. The Commission should then consider its mission report
together with submissions of civil society organisations and decide in
line with Article 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
that a situation of serious and massive violations of human rights
exists in Zimbabwe and brings this to the attention of the Chairperson
of the African Union and further, make recommendations on immediate
steps to be taken by the Zimbabwean government to end the human rights
8 . THAT the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement should jointly
condemn human rights violations in Zimbabwe and work individually and
collectively to bring an end to these violations.
9. THAT the Special Rapporteurs on torture, independence of the
judiciary, freedom of expression, the right to food and violence against
women and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Human
Rights Defenders should urgently request permission from the government
to visit Zimbabwe to examine the human rights crisis. Should this
request be denied or ignored, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
should issue a public statement denouncing human rights violations in
Zimbabwe, as reported to him by local and international human rights
10 . THAT the situation in Zimbabwe constitutes a threat to regional
peace and security and consideration should be given either by the
Secretary General of the UN or member states of the SADC, EAC and the AU
to place the question of the crisis in Zimbabwe before the UN Security
Council under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
League of Women Voters, Zimbabwe
Transparency International, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of Bulawayo
Zimbabwe Youth Democracy Trust
Crisis Coalition, Zimbabwe
Human Rights Institute for South Africa
Amnesty International South Africa
Zimbabwe Advocacy Campaign, South Africa
South African Council of Churches
Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa
Civil Liberties Committee, Malawi
Church of Central African Presbyteria, Blantyre Synod, Malawi
Active Youth Initiative for Social Enhancement (AYISE), Malawi
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Malawi
International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya
National Convention Executive Council, Kenya
NGO Coordinating Committee, Zambia
Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia
Council of Churches, Zambia
National Society for Human Rights, Namibia
Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia
DITSHWANELO, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Women NGO Coalition, Botswana
Women's Shelter Project, Botswana
Amnesty International, Botswana
Anglican Church, Diocese of Botswana
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, United States
International Human Rights Law Group, United States
London School of Economics, England
Zimbabwe Accountability Commission, France
THE government has ordered
relief agencies to surrender food aid to
village headmen for distribution to starving Zimbabweans, in a move donor
groups yesterday said could see international donors cutting off aid to the
In a directive issued last week, virtually revoking an
arrangement were donor groups were allowed to independently distribute food,
Social Welfare Minister July Moyo told non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
that they would no longer be permitted to select beneficiaries of food aid.
The NGOs would source food aid but surrender it to the village headmen
and their committees who would select recipients and give out food.
The new directive, entitled
Policy on Operations of Non-Governmental
Organisations in Humanitarian and Developmental Assistance in Zimbabwe,
reads in part: “The beneficiaries of the NGOs food distribution programme
will be selected from the ward/village assembly and neighbourhood committee
distribution point where the food is delivered by the NGO, the
ward and village food distribution committees, with the assistance of local
governmental structures, will be responsible for the physical distribution
Food aid distribution would now also
be harmonised with the government
’s public works programme, where hungry people carry out community and
development work in return for food.
Food relief experts told the Daily News the new
breaches guarantees given by the government that it would not interfere in
food aid distribution, could see international donors, wary of political
interference in food relief operations, immediately cutting off help to
“The repercussions are quite clear. We shudder to think how they
(international donors) will react to this total takeover by the government
of food aid distribution,” a senior official with the Harare office of an
international NGO said yesterday.
Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), which is leading
international efforts to avert starvation in Zimbabwe, yesterday said it was
seeking clarification from the government on the directive.
A spokesman for the WFP,
Luis Clemens, said: “WFP has learned of a new
government directive concerning relief food distributions, which was
announced by a Cabinet Action Committee at meetings held in provincial
capitals in the past three days.
“We are reviewing this new directive and seeking
Moyo played down the issue, but declared that no donor could prescribe
to the government to totally keep its hands off food aid.
He said: “They (NGOs) have always been working with the
nothing has really changed. All we are saying is that the NGOs should use
local structures such as chiefs, headmen and councils because these are the
people on the ground. Everything else will remain the same.
“But no international donor can tell us that the
government should not
be involved in food distribution when we are the ones who asked for the food
in the first place.”
donor countries and groups, wary of the ruling ZANU PF
party and the government’s alleged use of food aid to punish political
opponents by denying them food, have insisted that the government keeps away
from food distribution.
NGOs receiving help from Western governments and
help groups have
independently selected recipients and ensured that all deserving people
received food regardless of their political affiliation.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for
agriculture Renson Gasela said ZANU PF could easily manipulate village heads
and use them to withhold food to perceived supporters of the opposition
He said: “Village heads and rural councils
are basically ZANU PF arms
and we have numerous reports of partial distribution of government-sourced
“They should not be
allowed anywhere near food distribution. The idea
is to hijack donor food and use it as a campaign tool for the council
About 5.5 million Zimbabweans could starve to death unless food relief
agencies provide 700 000 tonnes of food aid to Zimbabwe.
Once southern Africa’s
breadbasket, Zimbabwe must survive on food
handouts after poor rains and chaotic government land reforms combined to
reduce food production by more than 60 percent.
ZANU PF fails to submit position paper on talks
THE ruling ZANU PF party failed again yesterday to submit its
position paper on dialogue with the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party, throwing into disarray an initiative by local church
leaders to broker a political settlement between Zimbabwe’s two biggest
The ruling party, which has
failed on about two previous occasions to
submit its agenda proposals for talks with the MDC, yesterday did not turn
up for a meeting with the church leaders that was supposed to take place
around 10 o’clock in the morning in Harare.
Sources close to the faltering church initiative told
the Daily News
that by late afternoon yesterday neither ZANU PF chairman John Nkomo nor the
party’s spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira had contacted the church leaders to
apologise for their failure to turn up for the meeting or to say when the
ruling party would now be submitting its position paper on dialogue.
The meeting that was supposed to take place yesterday
proposed by Zanu PF, which had said last week that it wanted a meeting with
the three clergyman before it could submit its position paper.
“They (Shamuyarira and Nkomo) did not come for the
meeting as was
scheduled and there was no communication from them on what will happen
next,” said a source, who spoke on condition he was not named.
Shamuyarira and Nkomo, who is also Special Affairs
President Robert Mugabe’s Office have represented ZANU PF during the
preliminary efforts by the leaders of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches
(ZCC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and the Catholic Bishops’
Conference of Zimbabwe (CBCZ), to revive talks between the ruling party and
Nkomo was unavailable for comment
yesterday. Calls on his mobile phone
went unanswered. Shamuyarira was said to be out of his office and could not
be reached on his mobile.
ZCC leader Sebastian Bakare, leading the church leaders, yesterday
confirmed the scheduled meeting with ZANU PF failed to take place but he
would not be drawn to disclose further details on the
Bakare said: “We are still optimistic. But our scheduled meeting with
ZANU PF did not take place.”
The church-led initiative to break Zimbabwe’s political impasse had
appeared set for a successful outcome after ZANU PF and state President
Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Bakare, EFZ’s Trevor
Manhanga and the CBCZ’s Patrick Mutume in separate meetings three weeks ago
that they were both committed to resumption of dialogue between their rival
The MDC has since submitted to
the clergymen its position paper on
dialogue, seen by most analysts as the only viable way to end Zimbabwe’s
indecision and reluctance by ZANU PF to commit itself to
talks brokered by the three-member church team appear to have now
effectively dimmed prospects that dialogue could be resuscitated any time
to sources, the three bishops were now disillusioned by the
apparent lack of urgency in ZANU PF to end the political crisis gripping the
Last weekend Nkomo publicly rebuked the
bishops, saying his party was
not going to be rushed into dialogue.
A week ago Mugabe appeared to backtrack on his word,
the MDC “repent” before
there could be co-operation with the government and his ZANU PF party.
insiders say there are bitter disagreements between various
and competing factions within the ruling party on whether to
embrace the church leaders’ initiative with the hawks in the party,
who do not want co-operation with the clergymen, appearing to gain the upper
hand at the moment.
Last week Tsvangirai said his party would not wait
forever for ZANU PF
to come to the negotiating table, warning the MDC could resort to mass
action to force the governing party to negotiate.
By Precious Shumba
Police pounce on union bosses
POLICE yesterday swooped on top officials of the Zimbabwe Security
Guards Association (ZSGA), arresting several of them to thwart a strike by
private security guards called by ZSGA yesterday to press for higher wages.
Commercial Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ), to which
affiliated, told the Daily News yesterday that eleven leaders of the
security workers’ union were arrested and charged with breaching the
government’s draconian Public Order and Security Act.
CWUZ secretary-general Shangwa Chifamba said: “The arrested guards
appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court today (Monday) facing charges of
contravening the Public Order and Security Act and were given a bail of $5
The court ordered the ZSGA officials to return
for trial on 3
The CWUZ official said most of the
guards who appeared in court
yesterday had been arrested at the weekend while on duty or on their way to
report for work.
another 75 security guards employed by the
privately-owned Safeguard had also been arrested and briefly detained at
Braeside Police Station on Friday for going on strike demanding higher
The police last
Friday had to fire tear-gas to disperse about 200
Safeguard workers who had besieged the company, to force management to
address their demand for higher salaries.
The guards are demanding a minimum monthly salary of $85 852 from the
current $62 660, which is being offered by the employers following the
completion of salary negotiations last month.
Chifamba said most security companies were refusing to award their
workers the new salaries that had been stipulated by the National Employment
Council citing low business.
He said: “The security companies are saying that if they pay the
workers the new salaries, they would go out of business, something we don’t
believe. The workers should not be made to (pay) for their employers’
“The arrest of the disgruntled
workers is very unfair and intimidatory
as they would be demanding their rights by using legal procedures,” he said.
Zimbabwe women bear brunt of state sponsored violence
In 18 months, Amani Trust, a non-governmental organisation (NGO)
dedicated to the assistance of victims of violence in Zimbabwe, has
documented 16 cases of rape.
Sixteen – not
even one a month. Not enough to make the case for the
systematic rape of women during Zimbabwe’s political crisis. Not enough to
make anyone sit up and take notice. However, this relatively small number
belies the degree to which women have been and continue to be targeted in
the continuing political violence.
In the media in Zimbabwe, the enduring victim of violence is male.
There is no national outcry over what
Zimbabwean feminist Everjoice
Win describes as the “state-sponsored violations” against women in that
“Women as a group
are picked on and assaulted,” Albert Musarurwa, the
chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, says. “Women have become
targets of politically motivated, deliberate sexual violence.”
He says an
emerging pattern justifies speaking of a “policy of
deliberately targeting women”. It can, therefore, be safely assumed that
behind the small number of documented cases of politically motivated rape
lie hundreds more.
Dr Frances Lovemore, Amani’s medical director, says rape
is the most
“Women are the most vulnerable group and often the bravest of the
activists. Women as a group are picked on and assaulted.”
But a variety of cultural, social and
economic factors silence the
women. The long-term psychological repercussions, she says, are serious.
Only once the political
crisis has ended will researchers be able to
uncover the extent to which women have been raped or sexually assaulted
because of their real or perceived political affiliations.
Making a case for
gender-based violence in Zimbabwe will depend on how
many women are willing to come forward and on how well these cases are
recorded, Lovemore says.
At the moment, most women do not report their cases
because they are
afraid of being stigmatised, of having been infected with HIV, of being
ostracised or blamed by their families and husbands, of being unable to take
care of their children. Many fear that no one will listen.
Since the Rwandan genocide, the systematic and
widespread rape of
women during a time of war or political conflict is considered a crime
Systematic rape of
women is now recognised as a strategy of war, says
Virginia Chitanda, a Zimbabwean who works as the lead gender crime
investigator in the office of the prosecutor in Sierra Leone.
Chitanda, Win, Lovemore and
Musarurwa were among several Zimbabwean
civic leaders who attended a three-day symposium in Johannesburg to draft
recommendations on human rights and justice in a post-conflict Zimbabwe.
Chitanda explains, make use of women’s social role to
In Sierra Leone, fighting forces would go into villages
and rape women
to demonstrate the need for the village to comply with their demands and to
highlight the village’s powerlessness.
Women and girls were used as sex slaves, abducted as “bush wives” and
forced into prostitution. The courts are only now acknowledging what
happened to the women of Sierra Leone.
“The courts have a responsibility to
make a statement to the women
that what was done to them is criminal. Survivors want to hear that what
happened was not their fault. They want acknowledgment,” says Chitanda. –IOL
By Christina Stucky
Fiddling while Harare burns
IT IS disheartening to note that while Zimbabwe’s capital city
continues to battle the hardships that have become the lot of the country’s
municipalities, the authorities insist on continuing to be part of the
problem instead of assisting to come up with a solution.
Facing the impact of
severe foreign currency shortages and rampant
inflation, Harare has been further adversely affected by the suspension in
April of Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri on allegations of mismanagement and
About four months down the line, a
commission hand-picked by Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to investigate Mudzuri has not begun
work. Instead, several of its members have abandoned the commission, forcing
the minister to virtually begin from scratch.
There are indications that a revamped nine-member
commission is now to start work in a fortnight.
The merits or otherwise of Mudzuri’s suspension are
not our concern at
this point, but it is disturbing that central government seems to be so
unconcerned with speedily resolving the crisis in the Harare City Council.
Why a committee that should have begun work
months ago has not started
its investigations remains a mystery to most residents of the capital city.
Indeed, that several members of
the committee have jumped ship before
even beginning their work and why they have taken this step is something the
government has been silent about. Yet, these are issues that are of major
concern to a city whose duly elected mayor has been summarily relieved of
But this blatant
disregard for their plight is something the people of
Harare and Zimbabwe have come to expect from the government and, even worse,
accept and tolerate.
However, it is imperative that residents and
ratepayers of Harare
begin to demand that urgent action be taken to resolve the confusion at Town
House. It is important that central government, having insisted on
interfering in the operations of the Harare City Council by suspending the
mayor and appointing a committee to probe him, should ensure that its
proposed investigation is carried out speedily.
people of Harare need to know as soon as possible whether Mudzuri
will be able to resume the duties they elected him to perform or whether
they should prepare to vote a new mayor into office.
Of course, it goes without saying that central government should have
thought to pre-empt any controversy over the outcome of the proposed
investigation by ensuring that a truly independent commission was appointed.
As it is, if the
present committee finds Mudzuri guilty of the charges
against him, the mayor and the residents of Harare are likely to cry foul
because the commissioners were picked by Chombo and are, therefore,
perceived to be sympathetic to him and unlikely to give Mudzuri a fair
hearing. However, if central government insists on this probe, it is not too
late for the minister concerned to address these concerns before an
consequences for Zimbabwe’s main city will be serious if Chombo,
for reasons best known to himself, allows this matter to drag on for much
longer or to end in the kind of controversy that can only be resolved by yet
It would be naive to think that everything is
within the Harare City Council just because the minister has appointed an
acting mayor to perform Mudzuri’s duties.
To make matters worse, Chombo has continued to issue controversial
directives over Mudzuri’s salary and benefits, even suspending council
elections scheduled for this month.
This has meant that the Harare
municipality has been preoccupied with
matters that have distracted it from its main task: to provide adequate and
efficient services to residents and ratepayers. Service delivery has already
been adversely affected by hyper-inflation and the hard cash shortages that
have hit other city councils around the country.
It is clearly unacceptable that these
problems should be compounded by
central government itself, which should be working flat out to help resolve
these crises before the damage is too far gone.
There is no time to waste.
ZANU PF made themselves enemies of the people
THERE is a reason why enemies do not shake hands when they meet.
They do not wish each other well. There is a reason why
hands in front of other people. They try to lull each other into a false
sense of hopeful expectation before
delivering the sucker punch.
The gesture of shaking hands is just taken for
granted. But if we stop
and think about it, we will find that a handclasp between two living hands,
in addition to expressing comforting and loving intentions, miraculously
receives a greeting at the very moment that it gives it.
But now, because of politicians, handshaking has been
relegated to a
symbol that no longer represents the original good intentions. It’s now used
to camouflage the worst of
Several times over the years, I have seen Israeli
by a United States President, shaking hands with Palestinian leadership just
before bombing defenceless Palestinian children and
Handshakes are now
favoured by those at war with each other; they have
become public relations weapons against one’s opponent as the adversaries
vie for the support of the common person.
I recall the late Jonas Savimbi shaking hands
with Angolan leaders,
only to be killed in action by government forces months later. And young
Joseph Kabila almost lost both his footing and his country after being
fooled by handshakes from political foes who did not intend to lay down
And now in Zimbabwe, where political opponents are regarded and
treated as enemies, I see ZANU PF’s leading negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa
and Nicholas Goche, shaking hands with their MDC counterparts. And the MDC
better be warned. I don’t know about you, but I am not very
optimistic about this exercise.
pessimism is fomented by an unbearable desire and impatience for a
meaningful and lasting solution to our problems. I am compelled to conclude
that ZANU PF is not serious at all since I do not believe there is any need
to talk. President Robert Mugabe should just leave and that is all.
He has become everyone’s problem and a stumbling block to the revival
of this nation. If the MDC agrees to anything less than Mugabe’s dignified
departure, then it is betrayal.
To make it worse for me, I know that ZANU
PF is not attending these
talks to negotiate itself out of power. Those preliminary handshakes and
banter are just forced rituals. For starters, Chinamasa and Goche are very
low on the ZANU PF totem pole and are hardly inspiring figures, even within
ZANU PF itself.
MDC should feel insulted that these two are leading
negotiators in such a serious and delicate matter. They are hardly the kind
of people an embattled party would turn to and trust with its own future.
But then, who of consequence is left within ZANU PF?
Like a meteorite hurtling
towards some planet, ZANU PF’s violent sonic
boom was heard and was seen during the last parliamentary and presidential
elections. While they were busy killing innocent people, the party was
Secondly, whom does Mugabe mean when he talks about enemies of the
people? Is he referring to the people with whom he is engaged in talks,
talks that shall determine his comfortable future after being booted out of
State House? As far as I am concerned, the heart of the matter is that ZANU
PF and its government are themselves enemies of the people on account of the
misery they collectively inflict upon the nation. This violent group of
under-achievers has made me feel ashamed of my president and my country.
plead guilty to shame. Even the national anthem now conjures up
nightmares for me and the picture of the President emphasises and identifies
who is responsible for the nation’s despondency.
Thirdly, look at what
ZANU PF is doing to the MDC and to the people
through Ignatius Chombo! The continuing harassment of Harare Executive Mayor
Elias Mudzuri is another indication that ZANU PF has no good intentions in
these negotiations. The MDC better be warned: ZANU PF politics is like water
full of frogs; I dare the MDC to drink it!
How can ZANU PF expect the MDC or the people
to take them seriously
when they behave in the manner they do? I was, however, amused to hear MDC’s
Paul Temba Nyathi declaring that the talks will continue in spite of both
Mudzuri and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s harassment.
But what does the MDC think of ZANU PF’s continuing
Is it not relevant to these talks and their outcome? The problem here is
that ZANU PF has nothing to lose. It lost everything already and they are
just looking for a resting-place hence the emphasis on exit packages.
ZANU PF stole from the people; they took over and
ruined the country,
but they now say in order for them to leave, they want more perks from the
people they have been robbing. From the political and economic survivors,
they demand immunity from prosecution for crimes they committed but to which
they have not admitted responsibility. They want a golden handshake for
ZANU PF is in office but not in power. The only source of power they
wield is through the police and the army. Herbert Murerwa is in office as
the Finance Minister, but what power does he have? The country is now being
sustained by the informal sector. Tomatoes sold on the sidewalk now send our
children to school. The art, handiwork and curios we produce and which the
government is supposed to export for us and the country are sold cheaply to
exploiting traders. Our transactions bypass the government; no taxes are
Meanwhile, the government naively expects me to bring my US dollar to
the bank and exchange it for a worthless 800 Zimdollars when a fellow
citizen is prepared to part with over 3 000 Zimdollars for the same US
dollar. The government inflicts and erects ethical, moral and legal
quagmires for the people because if I practice free enterprise, they will
arrest me for going after $3 000 but will call me a patriot if I become
foolish enough to go for the $800.
Because of the economic ruin inflicted on the country by ZANU PF, most
of us now live only a few centimetres from the boundaries of legality. And I
hear the Chorus Of Priests from Mustapha: “Oh wearisome condition of
Humanity! Borne under one law, to another bound . . . Tyrant to others, to
her self unjust . . . ” What a mess we are in! As these two adversaries sit
down to talk, both have to be warned about the enormity of the task. I fear
for the MDC because they are the ones with the most to lose. They are the
ones on who people rest their expectations.
While ZANU PF seeks nothing more than being accommodated, the MDC is
expected to play its role in delivering an alternative to the 23 years of
misery. People want to be delivered from the cruel, corrupt clutches of ZANU
PF. The MDC should be careful that the sacrifices and concessions they make
do not amount to a betrayal of the people. The sacrifices that the MDC make
must not disappoint. ZANU PF is a master at inflicting political wounds;
their record in trickery is a matter of public record.
The MDC needs to be warned. They must, however, deal with ZANU PF in
the most honest way possible. The people must be kept up-to-date on these
talks and the MDC should watch out for South African President Thabo Mbeki
Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based writer.
RBZ’s late release of data hits local firms
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s failure to timeously release
crucial economic data has hit hard on local companies, many of which are
being forced to generate their own estimates to facilitate planning,
according to analysts.
Bank economists said the
RBZ statistics were frequently released
months after they were due, making it difficult for financial institutions
and other investors to plan effectively.
The analysts said the delays were worsening
speculation in an economy
suffering serious distortions because of speculative investors.
Century Holdings economic analyst Ranga
Mandaza told the Business
Daily: “Most institutions are now producing their own information because it
’s very difficult to wait for the RBZ, which releases expired information.”
The central bank is supposed to
produce statistics on Zimbabwe’s
domestic and external debt, import cover, exports, imports, annual broad
money supply growth and fiscal revenue.
Commentators said most of this information was
released months after
it was out of date, making effective planning difficult.
They said the difficulties were compounded by the
fact that the
Central Statistical Office, which releases Zimbabwe’s inflation data, also
fails to release information on time.
analysts pointed out that inflation data should be out on the 16th
of each month but was always delayed.
Mandaza said the resulting
uncertainty made it difficult for local
firms to attract international investors, who need up-to-date information to
make decisions on investment.
The analysts said although many local businesses
were coming up with
their own estimates, this did not solve the problem caused by the delays and
could, in fact, expose Zimbabwean firms to difficulties if they made their
decisions based on inaccurate estimates.
Trust Banking Corporation chief economist David
Mupamhadze said: “We
have a very wide time lag and the activity in the country is just
unpredictable and making estimates of monetary and economic variables might
not be possible.”
It was not possible to
secure comment from central bank officials
However, sources in the RBZ said the delays could be partly attributed
to printing machine problems.
But Mupamhadze pointed out that the
central bank could update its
economic data on the Internet, which would enable it to get around printing
and distribution problems. But although the RBZ has a website, the
statistics published on it are also usually several weeks or months out of
Independent economic consultant
John Robertson attributed some of the
delays in the release of economic data to the exodus of skilled and
experienced staff from government departments.
A large number of Zimbabwean professionals have
left the country in
search of better pay and working conditions.
Exporters anticipate devaluation of dollar
LOCAL exporters yesterday said they were expecting the government to
devalue the Zimbabwean dollar by 118 percent to $1 800 against the American
greenback by 1 September, as part of its policy to review the exchange rate
The sources, however, said some
industrialists and exporters wanted
the government to adjust the exchange rate by as much as 191 percent, which
would see the United States dollar trading at $2 400 against the local
The Zimbabwe:US dollar exchange rate is at $824:$1.
industry sources said some exporters were agitating for the
total removal of exchange controls.
“The government wants to push the exchange
rate to $1 800 against the
US dollar, but that still is not enough according to some people,” said a
well-placed source who has been attending consultative meetings with the
Herbert Murerwa had not responded to questions sent
to him yesterday morning by the time of going to press.
However, business executives
told the Business Daily that the
government had been approaching key stakeholders to come up with
recommendations on how to improve the export incentive scheme announced at
the end of February this year.
The government adjusted the exchange rate from $55 to $824 against the
US dollar at the end of February and promised to review the scheme
quarterly, but has not done so.
The executives said the government had
been urged to abolish the
exchange controls and leave market forces to determine the price of the
battered Zimbabwean dollar, while others wanted the dollar to be devalued to
$2 400 to the US dollar as long as the government undertook to review it
quarterly as it had promised.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), which
country’s major manufacturers who produce for the local and export markets,
yesterday said it had submitted a position paper to the government on the
CZI president Anthony Mandiwanza
said the industrial body’s
recommendations emanated from consultations with members, but would not
disclose what the recommendations were.
“We have already made a recommendation to government on
that,” he told
the Business Daily yesterday.
“We do have a
position paper, but we cannot discuss it. It is part of
our response to those issues that are of best interest to our members.”
yesterday said the CZI had encouraged the government to
totally do away with the controls it has imposed on foreign currency,
something the government has been resisting.
Chamber of Mines president Ian Sanders
yesterday said the mining
industry was meeting government officials today to reinforce the industry’s
position regarding the review of the export incentive scheme.
Sanders said while each sector had its own
needs, the government had
to look at fundamental issues when coming up with a new exchange rate.
He said the mining industry was looking at
an exchange rate of between
$1 600 and $1 800 against the greenback.
“The mining industry is due to meet the Minister (of
Chindori Chininga) tomorrow (Tuesday) to once again reinforce the industry’s
position,” he said. “It is grossly inefficient to look at an exchange rate
for each sector.
“We need a transparent
exchange rate. And for our sector, we are
looking at between $1 600 and $1 800, which should be timeously reviewed.”
Sanders said the gold
mining sector had been affected by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe’s delays in paying companies the local currency equivalent
of their foreign currency earnings.
Exporters are required to remit 50 percent of their proceeds with the
central bank and are paid local currency in exchange. The Chamber of Mines
official said gold producers had last been paid on 10 July. The Zimbabwe
dollar is trading between $4 800 and $6 000 against the US dollar on the
parallel market, with large volumes attracting a higher exchange rate.
However, exporters said some of the exchange rates prevailing on the
parallel market were too low and were not reflective of the actual value of
the Zimbabwean dollar. They said even taking into consideration the
inflation differential with Zimbabwe’s major trading partners, the local
currency was not valued at $6 000, adding that $3 000 was a fair value for
the Zimbabwean dollar, which has continued to lose ground against major
currencies. Consultant economist John Robertson said most of the exchange
rates on the parallel market were a reflection of the prevailing shortages
and this could only be addressed by creating a conducive environment for
exporters to earn more forex. “It’s (parallel market rates) is a function of
scarcity,” said Robertson. “The scarcity price then becomes the real value
and the question is how do we tackle the scarcity issue.” He said the other
options were for the government to receive balance of payments support from
multi-lateral institutions and donor support, which was unlikely to be
forthcoming until the government changes policies often blamed for the
country’s imploding economy. Kingdom Financial Holdings economist Witness
Chinyama said the government’s greatest challenge was to keep pace with
exchange rates that were constantly changing as a result of the worsening
operating environment. He said: “They (the government) have been talking to
people about it (devaluation). The problem now is that we are chasing a
moving target. It’s now way out of line. The $824 (to the greenback) is no
longer functional.” President Robert Mugabe last month said the Harare
authorities were looking at ways to make sure that those who handled foreign
currency accounted for it fully.
By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business Editor
Africa’s industry captains seek to revive economy
A three-DAY Global African Business Titans conference started on
Sunday in Johannesburg where African business executives and company
directors would discuss ways to help revive the continent’s economy.
The conference has been convened by Black Business
(BBEC), which is affiliated to Mafube Enterprise, together with the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) office.
The gathering titled: Towards the creation of a Global
Economic Community, will be held until today at the Sandton Convention
“The conference will explore how NEPAD
can serve as a catalyst to help
business from the diaspora to trade and investment within a borderless
global African economic community”, said Mafube Enterprise marketing manager
of the conference is to bring debate about NEPAD beyond the
shores of the continent, and engaging Africans abroad to become champions of
its principles and advocates for its implementation.”
She said to accomplish
this, the conference would look at NEPAD
through a pragmatic, triple bottom line focused, private sector prism and to
have businesses from the continent and outside of it explore how it should
be utilised to facilitate increased trade and investment within a borderless
global African economic community.
Registered delegates and speakers who have committed
included international, African and local businessmen.
They are Armgold SA chairman Patrice Motsepe,
Minister and Economic
Adviser to President Wade of Senegal, Cherif Salif Sy, Senior Editor of
Black Enterprise Magazine (USA) Matthew Scott, NEPAD Secretariat in Kenya,
Peter Ondeng, and chairman of ESKOM, Reuel Khoza.
Ngwenya said it would be the first time the continent’s
industry had come together to discuss the continent’s economy.
The BBEC consists of senior black business executives
together to discuss, to share experiences and to explore business
opportunities. They have visited a number of African countries to
investigate potential investment.
They comprise chief
executive officers, executive chairpersons,
managing directors and those in senior general management positions in
parastatals, multinationals and major South African or African corporations.
The BBEC is also a
member of the Black Business Council and its
chairman is businessman Peter Vundla.
Who will be to blame for starvation next year?
THIS beautiful and productive country has been plunged into crises
that no one could have imagined only three years ago. When the fuel shortage
started in 1999, we were told it was a passing phase. Numerous deals were
put in place. They all collapsed.
At the moment, the
government has no idea how the cars are moving. It
is often said that some managers make things happen, others watch things
happen while another lot wonder what happened. This government is wondering
what is happening.
Let us take sugar for example. Zimbabwe still
exports sugar. There is
enough of it in the Lowveld. So why has there been a shortage for over two
Whoever imagined we would
be short of our own local currency? The
problems besetting this country have a domino effect. Can we say that this
regime is trying hard to resolve the problems but failing or can we say that
they have now given up and are bereft of any ideas?
We in MDC have said that the crises can only be
resolved in a holistic
manner. Presently, each minister of the so called war Cabinet is running
round like music or even decapitated chicken trying to solve the problems
ministry. The problem is
a governance issue, period. The purpose of
this submission is to warn the nation that unless we enter into serious
dialogue and resolve the governance issue, even if the country receives
sufficient rains in the next four months, there will still be shortage of
food to levels that have never been seen before.
The factors that will contribute to that sorry state of
the following: shortage of seed, shortage of fertilisers and cost of both
seed and fertilisers.
I will now expand.
There are approximately 800 000 active farmers in the
are mainly communal farmers and those who were properly resettled before the
chaotic land reform. These farmers can be relied upon because they have
experience, they are good farmers and they may have their own draught power.
If each of these farmers was to cultivate
only two hectares, each
would need a minimum of 500 kgs of compound D, and 400 kgs of Ammonium
Nitrate (AN) and 50 kgs of maize seed. At current prices, this translates to
$540 000 per farmer. The average yield for communal farmers is about a tonne
per hectare. The total production would therefore be 1 600 000 tonnes.
If this was to happen, other farmers would
then produce maybe another
600 000 tonnes, giving us a total of 2 200 000 tonnes, sufficient for one
year’s requirement. This is easier said than done. Let us look at some
Eight hundred thousand farmers
each tilling two ha means 1 600 000 ha.
The seed required would be 40 000 tonnes at $800 000 per tonne equals $32
billion; compound D 400 000 tonnes at $600 000 per tonne equals $240 billion
and AN 320 000 tonnes at $500 000 per tonne equals $160 billion.
To finance maize production for next
year, the farmers must raise $432
billion. As we have seen above, each farmer must raise $540 000. We know
that there is shortage of local currency in the country. Communal farmers do
not have cheque accounts. They operate on cash, which is now not available.
They do not have this kind of money.
Even if the government was to print money to help
farmers with inputs,
I don’t believe there is enough printing capacity to produce the volumes of
cash required. But this assumes that the inputs are available. We do not
have enough seed in the country. We do not have enough fertilisers either.
Any scheme to revive agriculture should
have long been put in place,
farmers would by now have received the bulk of their inputs. As nothing has
been done, nothing of any significance can be done now.
Two years ago, we produced about 240 000 tonnes of
wheat. Last year,
after much hype, only 140 000 tonnes were produced. This year, the wheat
which is in the ground will be enough to feed the nation for one month – a
mere 40 000 tonnes. Next year, there will be no wheat at all.
What is the solution? The government, in its inherent
preoccupied with readmission to the Commonwealth in December. It is my
submission that one of the most urgent matters is the growing of food next
year. We have only two months at most to put plans together.
We have no fuel, we have no sugar, we have no cooking
oil, we have no
money, we have no mealie meal. The cost of these items, if they become
available, is unaffordable. The government has asked the World Food
Programme (WFP) for assistance this year as it has no money! If this is not
abrogation of responsibility and total admission of failure, then I don't
know what is.
The Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement
Minister is today, so late in
the season, seeking foreign currency to import seed and fertilisers. Who is
going to be responsible for the starvation of the people in this country
next year? Who is planning for the food production for next year? Can we
really say that we have a government that is in charge other than in charge
of violence and repression?
I go back
to my earlier point. The problems of this country cannot be
solved in isolation of the governance issue. We in MDC have plans that will
address the economic meltdown, not piecemeal, but totally. We have already
developed sub-strategies for each sector.
In agriculture, we can revive production within the shortest possible
time provided it is part of the overall political solution. The political
solution will bring back rule of law, readmission into the comity of
nations, access to international finance, return of donors, opportunity to
negotiate on what to do with our huge foreign debt. We will also rationalise
the land reform to ensure productivity returns. Like I said, because nothing
has been done up to now, even though the weather forecasters are predicting
a good season, we will embarrassingly be begging for food again next year.
What an indictment for a country endowed with such natural resources. In the
words of the erudite Pius Wakatama, those who have ears, let them hear.
By Renson Gasela
Renson Gasela is the Member of Parliament for Gwanda South and shadow
lands and agriculture minister of the Movement for Democratic Change.
So-called sanctions another scapegoat for incompetence
Could some expert, through your paper, explain fully the so-called
sanctions that Zimbabwe is facing?
the fact that more than half the world supports President
Robert Mugabe and his weird policies of destruction, I find it strange that
there is so much talk about sanctions by the West and suspension by the
In my view, the United Kingdom and United
States have not directly
imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. Or is it that if Mugabe were to be
allowed to travel to the US for instance, he would visit such places like
Harlem and meet Cde Chimurenga, who in turn would pour millions of dollars
into his account, thus neutralising whatever sanctions?
I do not know of any ZANU PF friend being denied
entry into Zimbabwe.
I, therefore, fail to understand what help it would bring should Mugabe’s
ban to travel to the US be lifted.
After all, all that Mugabe wants from the US is being obtained through
Simbi Mubako. There are so many Zanu PF hotheads who were excluded from the
list banned to travel to the US.
Why should we be made to believe
that only Mugabe’s travel to the US
would bring cooking oil at low price under his regime and filthy policies?
Then we have this
Commonwealth group. If Australia, New Zealand and
Britain are the only enemies that John Nkomo and Stan Mudenge see as the
ones opposed to re-admission of Zimbabwe into this club, I find it strange
that the rest of the former British colonies are failing to support Mugabe
financially and materially to the extent that Zimbabwe is in such a mess,
and South Africa sees re-admission as the only solution to Zimbabwe’s
economic kongonya dance.
This is why someone should make us see exactly how the
sanctions have brought this economy to this stage where people are being
forced to use travellers’ cheques despite that they are not travelling
Without sitting on a desk for some
formal education about economics
and politics, we all know that with or without sanctions, this present mess
is a result of gross mismanagement by this government.
Its weird policies of violent confiscation of
land is backfiring and
its weird laws of POSA and AIPPA scare off donor organisations.
Companies on genuine business trade were being
haunted and hunted by
the Chinotimbas until they wound up and relocated to neighbouring countries.
Since 2000, I am yet to read about
Mbeki donating food to poor
Zimbabwe. I am yet to read about Libya pouring fuel into Zimbabwe for free.
I am yet to read about Namibia donating fish to avert poverty in Zimbabwe.
The last time we had some donation
from a poor country was some years
back when Harare hosted CHOGM and Mozambique donated some Mercedes Benz
in the years we had some unfortunately rotten maize
But meanwhile, money and food is coming every
six months from Mugabe’s
enemies, namely the US and UK. What sanctions? Another scapegoat to the
known effects of a dictatorship in a modern day global village. So what
sanctions if we are having such generous donations?
Outcry over lavish Mugabe pension
August 19, 2003
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabweans have expressed outrage over President Robert Mugabe's
decision to peg his pension benefits to almost the same level as the salary
of a sitting president.
The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
said it would scrap the decision that Mugabe signed into law at the weekend
as soon as it gained power.
The MDC said considering the damage Mugabe's policies had done to the
Zimbabwean economy, he should have volunteered to forfeit his pension and
rely on the wealth that he and his cronies had looted from Zimbabwe and
In a move to guarantee his comfort when he leaves office, Mugabe
signed into law legislation that pegs his pension benefits to at least 75%
of the salary and benefits of any sitting president.
Officials in the justice ministry confirmed the pension plan. One
said: "The decision ... is naturally meant to cushion Mugabe from any
fluctuations in the inflation rate."
wording of the new law is such that only Mugabe and his family
qualify for the generous pension benefits. It disqualifies his predecessor,
Canaan Banana, who served as president until 1987 before Mugabe ousted him
and combined the offices of president and prime minister.
The move comes after Mugabe awarded himself a series of pay hikes
amounting to more than 1 000% in the past year.
The move has reignited speculation that Mugabe intends to step down
soon, but the MDC and civic groups said it rather showed that he, like other
African tyrants, only cared for his own comfort.
Mugabe's wife Grace and their children will also get generous payments
as part of the pension plan.
Economists seek ideas to fight African food shortage
Policymakers meeting at Durban conference know that the need for economic
recovery on the continent is urgent
International Affairs Editor
WITH a recovery in agriculture central to a wider African economic recovery,
it is likely that policy makers will be looking to this week's conference of
agricultural economists being held in Durban for some fresh ideas.
The urgent need for African economic recovery is clear. SubSaharan Africa is
the only region in the world to have experienced a large increase in the
number of undernourished people in the past 30 years.
If this trend continues, Africa cannot possibly meet one of the Millennium
Development goals of halving hunger in 30 years.
There have been some gains in African agriculture recently, but there have
been some spectacular disasters too.
Nine years ago, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe opened the meeting of the
International Association of Agriculture Economists, a body which brings
together international economists from research, academic and financing
Then, Zimbabwe was an example to Africa for both small- and large-scale
agriculture. Today the country is in deep crisis with more than half the
population dependent on food aid.
Zimbabwe is likely to be discussed at the conference this week, although it
is not on the formal agenda.
In many ways Zimbabwe shows the limitations and frustrations of agricultural
economists and that agricultural recovery is firmly in the hands of
politicians in certain countries.
"Economists can turn around lots of things, but not fundamental governance
problems," says the outgoing president of the association, Joachim von
Braun, who is also the director-general of the Washington-based
International Food Policy Research Institute.
He says there are issues that donors and governments should address as a
matter of urgency to bring rapid, proven results to the problems and
challenges facing African agriculture.
Market access to advanced industrial countries is one of the issues near the
top of his list for agricultural recovery, but the institute's team is not
hopeful the World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun next month will solve
If agricultural protection is lifted in developing countries, a number of
studies suggest that Africa will see a $3bn annual increase in national
income, as agriculture makes up 30% of the continent's exports.
Von Braun would like to see greater public investment in rural
infrastructure, such as roads, storage facilities, and banking.
Although agriculture makes up between 25%- 50% of most sub-Saharan
countries' gross domestic product, investment in agricultural infrastructure
is only between 4% and 6%.
During the 1980s and 1990s most African governments embarked on fundamental
economic reforms to their pricing regimes to lower the discrimination
against their domestic agricultural sectors.
Most governments have depreciated their exchange rates and allowed farm gate
prices to rise, giving farmers a greater incentive. But the lack of
infrastructure continues to bedevil efforts to make markets work more
Price volatility is far greater where infrastructure does not allow farmers
to get their produce to larger markets, and allow consumers a choice of
where to purchase products.
In some situations, says David Orden, a senior research fellow at the
institute, prices can vary by as much as a factor of four, depending on
local conditions. This makes it very difficult for farmers to be guided by
The institute's team underscores the need for improved seed, resistant to
drought, to make recovery possible.
Von Braun says he is somewhat encouraged by the development of the Nerica
rice variety because of its reduced need for water as well as its higher
yields. But, he says, what is really required is greater drought resistance
in Africa's staples, particularly maize, sorghum, cassava, and sweet
Because of Africa's mainly dry conditions, pests and complex diseases, he
believes that in the long run the continent cannot do without genetically
modified crops if there is to be any sustained agricultural recovery.
Many African countries are taking their time to decide whether or not to
allow modified varieties out of fear that their export crops could be
excluded from European Union markets.
But governance remains the overarching issue for Von Braun. Economic reform
is not enough when there are problems of rule of law because agriculture can
only grow if there is long-term stability, he says.
The institute is hosting an AllAfrica conference in Uganda next year, to
discuss assuring food and nutrition security on the continent by 2020.
The theme of the Durban conference is Reshaping Agriculture's Contributions
Delegates will grapple with the fact that demands on the agricultural sector
are continually increasing.
In developing countries, agriculture, fisheries and forests are required to
supply expanding demand. But they are also being asked to address chronic
rural poverty and food insecurity problems, and become more environmentally
In transitional economies the task of structural and institutional
adjustments remains at the fore, as do the rules of trade engagement between
different groups of countries.
The challenge is to reshape agriculture and the food chain to meet the
demands of society.
The mission is to bring together economi sts and leading policy makers to
debate and generate a better understanding of the way the new agenda might
Zimbabwe food directive raises concerns
By John Reed in Johannesburg
Published: August 19 2003 16:58 | Last Updated: August 19 2003 16:58
Zimbabwe has ordered foreign
relief agencies to surrender future food
aid to local officials, raising new fears that President Robert Mugabe's
government could use hunger as a political tool.
Aid agencies, led by the United Nations, are
from the government of a surprise directive issued last week which ordered
that food be distributed through government-picked channels such as village
assemblies and neighbourhood committees.
As quoted in Harare's Daily News, the directive - announced at
meetings in provincial capitals in recent days - said nongovernmental
organisations could continue to source food aid. However, it said: "The
beneficiaries of the NGOs' food distribution programme will be selected from
the ward/village assembly and neighbourhood committee registers."
Zimbabwe is to hold local elections shortly, so handing food
distribution to local officials would likely have political implications.
UN officials have complained in the past of political interference in
their work, including at one distribution point last year where
beneficiaries were asked to sing pro-Mugabe songs. Aid agencies have been
careful to supply food to Zimbabwe's neediest cases, without regard to their
The agencies were publicly circumspect in their reaction to the
directive on Tuesday. "We are reviewing this new directive and seeking
clarification," said Mike Huggins, spokesman for the WFP in Johannesburg.
But another aid official in Harare privately expressed alarm that it
could compromise the NGOs' relief work in Zimbabwe. "Even if it doesn't get
implemented, there is a paper that will be hanging over operations like a
sword of Damocles," said one.
The new rules might also cause international donors to curtail their
food aid to Zimbabwe, he said.
The UN's World Food Programme estimates that 3.3m Zimbabweans
currently need food handouts, but the number will rise to 5.5m by January,
when reserve stocks are exhausted. Many of Zimbabwe's starving people also
have HIV/Aids, raising the stakes of possible hitches in food distribution.
Separately Zimbabwe's central bank has outlawed the holding by
individuals and businesses of more than $Z5m ($6,000) in cash. The move,
announced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday, is aimed at fighting an
acute shortage of banknotes seen in recent months.
SADC Development Conference Opens in Tanzania
19 Aug 2003, 15:23 UTC
conference of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is
under way in the Tanzania's capital, Dar es Salaam. The conference is
focusing on the region's draft development strategy.
The draft strategy, known as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development
Plan, proposes the use of key indicators as a method to both set and
evaluate progress toward development targets.
During the next few days senior officials and ministers hope to fine-tune
the plan in preparation for a summit of regional leaders early next week.
The plan foresees a 15-year development period during which member states
will be expected to legislate and implement plans to reduce poverty, combat
HIV/AIDS and other serious diseases, and improve health, education and
The plan also seeks to redress imbalances in the regional economies. South
Africa, whose population is about one-fifth of the region's 208 million,
produces 75 percent of the gross domestic product.
Only South Africa and Mauritius have significant manufacturing sectors,
while the rest of the region depends predominantly on agricultural
production. This adds to concerns for food security in the region because
many of the countries are prone to droughts and flooding.
Preparatory documents for the conference cite greater political stability in
several countries in the region such as Angola and the Democratic Republic
of Congo. But they also appear to gloss over the region's politically
troubled countries, in particular Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has not been included as a formal agenda item at this meeting, but
the presidents of South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique likely will seek the
support of regional leaders to persuade Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to
engage in dialogue with his political opponents.