The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Mercury

      Don't tone down report on Zimbabwe, AU told
      August 21, 2003

      By Brian Latham

      Harare: Zimbabwe's Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of human rights
organisations, is to approach African Union Human Rights commissioner Barney
Pityana to ask that he release his report on the country.

      The forum said it would also appeal to the UN to send a special envoy
to Zimbabwe to gauge the level of state-sponsored violence and human rights

      Head of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Albert Musarurwa said:
"We'll petition the African human rights commissioner who came to Zimbabwe
last year to release his mission's findings because we know the document is

      Musarurwa, echoing increasing scepticism about African politicians in
Zimbabwe, said he wanted to see a report that had not been toned down. "We
suspect the AU wants to tone it down so that a member state isn't
embarrassed. But we want it released in its raw form."


      Zimbabwean human rights activists and opposition party members are
dismissive of attempts to underplay state-sponsored human rights abuses in
the troubled country.

      Musarurwa also vowed that his organisation would petition the UN next
week. "We've met to finalise the modalities of sending our request and that
should be done next week," he said of a request to send a UN human rights
envoy to Zimbabwe.

      The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum also called for the disbandment of
Zanu-PF's youth militia, the so-called Green Bombers, who are blamed for
much of the violence and intimidation in the country.

      And human rights organisation ZimRights head Arnold Tsunga said: "It
is a sad reality that, despite 23 years of independence, Zimbabweans still
cannot fully enjoy the rights of full sovereignty, such as the right to vote
or be voted into public office without attracting the risk of organised
violence against them." - Independent Foreign Service
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Business Day

Zimbabwe's miners call crisis meeting

The Zimbabwean government and mining executives have held an emergency
meeting in the midst of the current economic crisis in a bid to save the
declining mining sector from collapse.
Mines Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga met Chamber of Mines officials in
Harare on Tuesday to work out a plan to rescue the troubled sector, which
has seen rapid deterioration over the past two years.

Chamber CEO David Murangari confirmed the meeting was held but would not
disclose the details, saying they were confidential.

"We met but we made an undertaking not to reveal the details of the meeting.
The issues we discussed are sensitive and we won't disclose them," he said.

However, sources close to the talks said Chindori-Chininga and mining
executives had discussed measures to save the key economic sector from

The meeting focused on the government's policies on the mining sector, the
exchange rate, the foreign currency crisis, fuel and power shortages and
spiralling inflation.

Zimbabwe's mining shrank 7,1% last year, and the situation is expected to
get worse this year.

A number of mines have either closed down or reduced operations, while new
projects have been put on hold.

Whereas in 1996 the mining sector contributed 4,5% to the gross domestic
product (GDP), the industry's GDP contribution dropped to 3,9% in 2001 and
1,45% last year.

Zimbabwe's current GDP is about 3,7bn, two-thirds the size it was in 1998
when it stood at 5,4bn. The economy contracted 11,9% last year and it is
expected to contract by 7,2% this year.

The sector's foreign-exchange earning capacity has also fallen from more
than 30% of the total net proceeds in recent years to 25%.

Minerals that recorded decreases in volumes last year include gold, black
granite, coal, chromate, cobalt, graphite, iron ore, iron pyrites, lithium
minerals, magnesite and nickel.

Zimbabwe produces base metals, platinum group metals, industrial metal and
energy minerals.

It has diamond and coal-bed methane reserves.

But gold production has been the worst affected due to the support price
scheme that always lagged behind operating costs, creating cash-flow
problems for producers.

The shortage of foreign currency and the inefficiency of the gold pool
facility set up to help companies acquire inputs has negatively impacted on

Gold production is expected to tumble another 27,6% to 11 tons this year and
reach its lowest level in 23 years.

Problems in the mining sector are a reflection of the broader economic

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      Talks headed for the rocks

      By Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 9:56:44 AM (GMT +2)

      THE momentum on the widely hoped for negotiated settlement to the
country’s economic and political crisis has slowed down as it appears
increasingly likely that the negotiating process is headed for the deep
freeze, with ZANU PF heavyweights this week indicating that they are not
keen on talks.

      ZANU PF’s secretary for information Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday told
The Financial Gazette, in what could be a crushing blow to the church
initiative, that there was no dialogue expected soon between ZANU PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), now desperate for a negotiated
settlement to resolve the country’s political crisis that has rendered
thousands destitute.

      "You are just bothering us, but the truth is that there are no talks
at all," Shamuyarira said.

      This comes in the wake of a recent statement by President Robert
Mugabe that the MDC should repent first before it expects to work with the
government while ZANU PF party chairman John Nkomo said the ruling party was
not in anyway in hurry to engage the opposition.

      The much-talked about talks had, for the past four weeks, caught the
imagination of the nation and the international community, with the media
indulging in an orgy of speculation about Zimbabwe’s political future after
the now stalled talks.

      Only a couple of weeks ago, it looked like the feuding political
parties were within the cusp of agreeing an agenda for the long-awaited

      The latest development, a bruising setback to the church-backed
initiative, political commentators said, meant that disillusioned
Zimbabweans’ expectations had run way ahead of what the ruling ZANU PF and
MDC could deliver. The development would also underscore a significant
triumph for the hawks, who have been throwing spanners into the talks.

      The situation is aggravated by the fact that in one of the saga’s
latest and greatest twists, the Southern African region has since played
into the hands of ZANU PF by dismissing the MDC, which was hoping to tap
into a rich and deep well of disenchantment against a background of a
faltering economy, as a western- backed party meant to effect regime change
in Zimbabwe.

      This would see ZANU PF stiffening its hands, one observer said, adding
that even South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been at the sharp
edge of the delicate arbitrage to find a negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe’s
political impasse, would find it difficult to persuade ZANU PF to come to
the negotiating table.

      The ruling party, which stands accused of time-buying tactics, would
now exploit the power of incumbency for its own benefit.

      On Monday, representatives from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
Zimbabwe waited in vain for ZANU PF to come forward with its position paper.

      Retired chief air marshal and ZANU PF’s politburo member, Josiah
Tungamirai, was surprised that there could even be talks between the two
feuding political parties.

      Said Tungamirai, a ZANU PF founding member: "It’s news to me that
there are going to be any talks. We have not discussed the possibility of
talks with the MDC. Where are they going to meet and discuss all these
burning issues? If the masses want talks then let it be, but so far the
situation hasn’t changed."

      MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said although it was correct that
there were no official talks at the moment, ZANU PF should come clean on
whether it is ruling out the possibility of any talks at all.

      "It is common cause that there are no talks at the moment, but there
are preparations for talks," Ncube, who is also the legislator for Bulawayo
North-East said.

      "The question is whether ZANU PF is willing to take part or not. If
they are saying there will be no talks, then they should say it directly so
that we can respond."

      On the contrary, Ncube’s colleague, the Member of Parliament for
Harare South Gabriel Chaibva did not mince his words.

      "To hell with talks about talks," he said angrily. "These people don’t
want to talk."

      Before Mugabe’s utterances at the national shrine on this year’s
Heroes Day, Shamuyarira was on record as advocating for dialogue to resolve
the country’s problems. However, he echoed Mugabe’s sentiments that for
dialogue to resume, the MDC must recognise Mugabe as the legitimate head of
state — a proposal rejected by the opposition.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who is charged with high treason for
allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe, has maintained his court challenge
to Mugabe’s re-election. The charge carries a death penalty or life
imprisonment if convicted.

      Efforts to get comment from the church leaders negotiating for
dialogue proved fruitless as they could not be reached for comment.
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      Muluzi hints at govt of national unity

      Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 10:01:04 AM (GMT +2)

      MALAWIAN President Bakili Muluzi, a key broker in Zimbabwe’s boiling
political crisis, has hinted at the formation of a government of national
unity between the feuding ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic Change

      Muluzi who visited Zimbabwe in May this year together with presidents
Thabo Mbeki of South African and Olesugun Obasanjo of Nigeria told the
London-based NewAfrican magazine that the three leaders had asked President
Robert Mugabe about the possibility of a coalition between his party and the

      "President Mugabe was magnanimous enough to bring Joshua Nkomo (the
late former leader of PF ZAPU) into government. And that ended the war. What
we said to President Mugabe when we went there was why don’t you do the
same, to bring tension down? And I think it is going to happen," he said.

      Muluzi said the donor community had stopped giving aid to Zimbabwe,
with some countries slapping economic sanctions on the southern African

      This has resulted in considerable devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar,
high inflation and untold suffering among the country’s 13 million people.

      "So we said, look why don’t we help our brothers in Zimbabwe, first to
encourage internal dialogue between the government and the opposition. And
secondly, if possible, once dialogue is achieved why don’t we encourage a
government of national unity like I did here in Malawi. I brought the
opposition into government, including those who were very critical of my

      African Union leaders, Muluzi said, should play a more pivotal role in
solving Zimbabwe’s problems. Those from outside the union should consult
members of the former Organisation of African Union before taking a position
on Zimbabwe.

      "I can pick up this telephone here and call President Mugabe right
now, and have a straight talk with him, and tell him where he is going

      "But to always criticise him, and even try to demonise him as the
worst country in Africa, he will feel that you are doing so because he is
poor, and therefore oppressed," the Malawian president was quoted saying.

      "So I think the approach should change. It is not helpful to use all
this unilateralist approach."

      The Malawian leader also launched a broadside against the manner the
Zimbabwean government had handled the land reform.

      "…In fact, all of us in the region supported the land programme
because there is no freedom without land. And in Zimbabwe, there was no
equitable distribution of wealth," he was quoted saying.

      "What was wrong in Zimbabwe was the way they did it, by violence; for
instance, when people were killed. That we didn’t support. I was the
chairman of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) then, and I
said this cannot go on.

      "The issue of land, yes, even in Malawi we are going through land
reform programme, not necessarily to go through the same path like Zimbabwe,
no …."

      The land reform, which was spearheaded by the veterans of Zimbabwe’s
liberation war, resulted in some commercial farmers and workers losing their

      Most of the perpetrators of the violence have not been brought before
the law, a situation that unnerved investors.
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      Troubled NRZ stuck on the rails

      Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
      8/21/2003 10:04:02 AM (GMT +2)

      THE beleaguered National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is in critical
need of $7 billion and US$50 000 in foreign currency to steer its faltering
operations out of the current crisis, an study commissioned by its
management has revealed.

      A fresh injection of working capital would enable the perennial
loss-making parastatal move at least 8 million tonnes of projected traffic
by the end of this year.

      The revelations, contained in documents seen by this newspaper, come
at a time when the NRZ is failing to cope with the increase in the volume of
imports coming into the country despite stretching its capacity to the

      Failure to raise the much-needed funds would result in NRZ moving
traffic of less than 6 million tonnes by December this year, threatening
further the viability of a public institution that has been a victim of
incessant train crashes caused by a dilapidated telecommunications system,
wagons, coaches and other vital infrastructure.

      The study, undertaken between March and April this year, said the
envisaged capital injection was a contingency measure to boost capacity at
the parastatal, reeling from crippling financial and human resource

      The study has "established that the cash injection immediately
required to keep the organisation afloat up to the end of the year 2003 was
$7 billion in local currency and advancement of US$50 000 for the repair
services and rehabilitation of rolling stock and information technology."

      "Lack of maintenance and repair of the infrastructure, rolling stock,
plant and equipment due to shortages of working capital and foreign currency
have been major causes of the decline of the organisation’s capacity," read
part of the study.

      NRZ’s capacity has been declining since 1990 when the organisation had
the capability to move 18.5 million net tonnes of traffic per annum. Its
capacity fell to 12.5 million net tonnes by 1998.

      Last year traffic moved by the wounded railway entity averaged 9
million net tonnes. If the current trend of decline is not arrested,
capacity could fall to 6 million or less net tonnes by next year.

      The study blamed the decline in NRZ’s capacity on the worsening
availability of locomotives and wagons. A large number of these have been
grounded due to shortage of spares.

      The motive power and wagons available by the end of 2002 was too far
stretched to move the traffic on offer. Thus the current wagon and
locomotive utilisation is below 50 percent of the corporate target and this
has resulted in long transit times and extended depot detentions.

      The study adds: "The problem is compounded by the perennial low
performance of the major economic sectors comprising agriculture, mining,
industrial and conveyance of transit traffic. The declining economic sector
activity has also resulted in high interest rates, inflation and foreign
currency shortages."

      While contingency measures were being sought and implemented, theft
and vandalism of essential on-line equipment, which seem to continue
unabated, is negating all efforts to ensure continued and uninterrupted

      Train delays due to signalling and telecommunication disruptions have
reached unprecedented proportions in the last five years. This has resulted
in changes being made to train working methods, which have considerably
reduced the line capacity of most sections by 50 percent.

      The government, as the major shareholder, NRZ management, major rail
users and other stakeholders are understood to have drawn up plans to rescue
the NRZ from the current crisis and reposition it as a viable entity.

      The study also noted that there was need for the government to
finalise the restructuring of the institution, which has been on the drawing
board for a long time. The current restructuring thrust will entail adoption
and implementation of a national transport policy to ensure modal equity as
well as govern operations of the new entities.

      NRZ should also be exempted from the payment of duty on capital
equipment for the rail operations.

      "The NRZ applied to government for a waiver on duty paid for hired
locomotives and is still waiting for a response," the study adds.

      The NRZ normally hires locomotives from contiguous railways,
especially Botswana Railways, to augment its depleted fleet. It also entered
into an arrangement with contiguous railways to have their locomotives pull
traffic across the borders to Bulawayo and Thompson Junction in the case of
Botswana and Zambia railways.

      The study further proposed to have NRZ being allowed to procure spares
using the current account with contiguous railways.

      An application to use the balance owed to NRZ by contiguous railways
to purchase spares was submitted to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year.
It was not possible to immediately verify if the RBZ had responded.
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      RBZ boss Chikaura taken to task

      Bulawayo Bureau
      8/21/2003 10:02:02 AM (GMT +2)

      ACTING Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Charles Chikaura was
this week taken to task for hurrying the introduction of travellers’ cheques
(TCs) to rein in the four-month long cash crunch.

      Chikaura, who was accompanied by the bank’s director of financial
markets, Stuart Kufeni, had to parry a barrage of needling questions from
business executives who were concerned that the RBZ was consulting key
stakeholders only now when the TCs were already in circulation.

      The business community, which is refusing to accept the TCs, has come
under heavy pressure from clients who want it to recognise the instruments
as legal purchasing tender.

      Representatives of major retailers in the city, wholesalers,
hoteliers, restaurants, commercial banks, building societies and the
Bulawayo City Council, attended the meeting, which was not open to the

      Sources privy to details of the long-day meeting told The Financial
Gazette that fears were abound that fake TCs could cost businesses, which
are still familiarising themselves with the new legal tender, dearly.

      Banks are also taking up to seven days to clear the travellers’
cheques, which are supposed to be accepted as ready cash.

      Officials from the RBZ however, said discussions were underway with
banks to reduce the clearing period on TCs.

      "We raised concern over the fact that customers are cashing high
domination travellers cheques to raise cash, cash which we do not have,"
said a city retailer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

      "Some business people complained bitterly that once they have accepted
the travellers’ cheques, they only got value for the TCs after about seven
days. This, the governor was told, did not augur well for businesses reeling
from the present harsh economic environment," added a local bank executive.

      Christopher Shava, the acting manager for the RBZ Bulawayo office,
confirmed that his bosses had met with the local business community to
drum-up support for the TCs introduced early this month. He was however,
reluctant to discuss details of the meeting.

      Shava said: "Yes, the acting governor met the local business people,
but I can’t comment any further except that it was a roadshow to meet
stakeholders over the recently introduced travellers’ cheques."

      A hotelier who also attended the meeting said it was highlighted to
the acting RBZ boss that customers were bringing unsigned TCs, making it
difficult for business to accept them.

      In a statement issued to The Financial Gazette, the RBZ said the
concerns raised in Bulawayo were being addressed.

      "This situation has now been rectified with the introduction of lower
denominations of $1 000, $5 000, $10 000 and $20 000. The public is
therefore urged to use appropriate denominations of TCs in their
transactions to reduce the amount of change in cash," said the RBZ.

      The RBZ also noted that some banks were charging fees for processing
TCs, discouraging the public from using the new monetary legal instruments
because of the added cost to bearers.

      "The Reserve Bank has been empowered through a recent Statutory
Instrument 171 0f 2003 on Promotion of Banking Transactions Regulations,
under the Presidential Powers to determine levels of charges on transactions
by banks, including TCs.

      "The Bank’s position is that no charges should be levied on the TCs.
However, if any charges are to be levied, they should be minimal and
justified. This matter is still under discussion between the Reserve Bank
and the Bankers Association (of Zimbabwe)."

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      Zanu PF drags feet over talks

      Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 10:06:21 AM (GMT +2)

      THE crucial talks between the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to break the political impasse that is
badly hurting the economy could take much longer to kick off as the ruling
party does not seem too keen on a negotiated settlement.

      Political commentators were this week unanimous that utterances by the
ruling party stalwarts over the past couple of weeks smacked of reluctance
on the part of Zanu (PF) to engage in dialogue with the opposition. The
ruling party’s reluctance to engage the MDC remained the logjam holding back
the epoch-defining talks that could usher in a new political era.

      This comes at a time when church leaders who are leading the talks
seem to be getting difficulties in getting the ruling party to agree to come
to the negotiating table amid media reports saying the party was not in any
hurry to engage the opposition in dialogue.

      On Heroes Day last week, President Robert Mugabe, as per tradition,
digressed from his prepared speech to launch a veiled attack on the MDC whom
he described as "the enemies of Zimbabwe" and whom his party will not talk
to until they repent.

      This, the analysts said, was the official position for the ruling
party which has been fudging and prevaricating in its preparations since the
church-driven efforts to kick start the talks started about a month ago.

      At the weekend, ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo told the state
media that his party was in no hurry to draft an agenda for the talks and
this week no ZANU PF official turned up for a preliminary meeting planned
between the party and the church leaders who are trying to facilitate the

      "There is nothing that is going to happen in the near future," said
Lovemore Madhuku, University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

      "In fact nothing significant has been happening all along, it’s only
that the talks were blown out of proportion by the media."

      "We might not see any talks taking off anytime soon especially after
Mugabe’s utterances at the Heroes Acre last week," University of Zimbabwe
political science lecturer Joseph Kurebwa said.

      "Nothing may happen for some time as ZANU PF expect MDC to do certain
things to show that they are indeed repenting, something like calling on the
international community to ease sanctions on Zimbabwe which ZANU PF believe
are a result of an international campaign by the MDC," Kurebwa said.

      After months of a tense political stand off resulting from Mugabe’s
controversial re-election last year, the MDC last month announced that they
had decided to put the interest of the country before anything else hence
they were going to abandon their confrontational approach and engage ZANU PF
in dialogue.

      However, since then ZANU PF has not made any serious effort to requite
the opposition party’s overtures, instead setting debasing terms for the
opposition party to meet before any dialogue could start.

      "ZANU PF has never been interested in the talks in the first place,
they wanted them when they thought that they could use them as a bait to
destroy the MDC, but it now seems like they have decided to destroy the MDC
by dividing Welshman (Ncube) and Morgan (Tsvangirai)," Madhuku said. "They
(ZANU PF) do not want to talk to a strong opposition party so they have to
undermine it first before they can agree to any talks and this is what they
are doing now," Madhuku said.

      Kurebwa however warned that if ever the opposition leaders give in to
the demands by ZANU PF, they risk losing their power base as most opposition
supporters do not want a solution that involves ZANU PF in any way as they
blame it for causing all the economic problems facing Zimbabwe.

      "There is a clear difference between what is desirable and what is
practicable. Talks might be desirable, but I don’t think the conditions
exist for a coalition government or a government of national unity in
Zimbabwe at the moment as there is nothing in common between the two
parties," Kurebwa said.

      Chairman of the Zimbabwe Integrated Programme (ZIP) Heneri
Dzinotyiwei, said the main obstacle to the talks was that there was no
clarity on the agenda.

      "The dialogue has not gathered any momentum because there is no
clarity as to what needs to be discussed and also possibly the question of
who has the mandate to drive these talks," Dzinotyiwei said.

      He said although the church leaders seem to have made much progress in
precipitating the talks compared to regional African leaders who have had a
series of meetings without much to show, the African leaders still had a
role to play in the debate.

      "The only person who is in a position to influence the time-frame (of
the talks) in any significant way is President Mugabe himself and he needs
some people with much clout to pressurise him and that is where some SADC
heads of states could come in," Dzinotyiwei said.

      "When the church leaders see that ZANU PF is not willing to move, they
should retreat a bit and give regional leaders a chance to talk to Mugabe.
Dialogue should always remain on the agenda until a solution to the economic
crisis in this country is found."

      The analysts drew uncomfortable parallels between the ZANU PF-MDC
talks and 1980s ZANU PF’s talks with PF ZAPU which dragged for more than two
years and culminated in PF ZAPU being negotiated out of existence.

      During these 1985-87 negotiations several senior PF ZAPU leaders were
either languishing in prison, under home arrest, or had fled into exile as
ZANU PF moved in full force to crush the opposition party.

      As it was the party in control, ZANU PF did show any care about how
the talks progressed, as it boasted that it could still rule the country
without any talks with the opposition taking place.

      Throughout these talks, hawks in ZANU PF like the late Morris Nyagumbo
and Enos Nkala repeatedly denied that there were any talks going on between
the ruling party and PF ZAPU, or rushed to the Press at every opportunity to
announce that the talks had collapsed. On the other side, PF ZAPU leader
Joshua Nkomo and the church leaders who initiated the talks maintained that
the talks were still on and the opposition party continued to make more
concessions until it was swallowed by ZANU PF.
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      Nkomo’s guff

      8/21/2003 9:50:07 AM (GMT +2)

      SENTIMENTS attributed to the ZANU PF national chairman and Minister of
Special Projects in the President’s Office, John Nkomo, which intimated that
the ruling party was in no hurry to set the agenda for the proposed dialogue
with the MDC, must have caught Zimbabweans by surprise.
      The sentiments, which have not yet been denied and published in the
current issue of the Sunday Mail, are not only out of line but come through
in very bad taste. This is more so, coming as they did, against the shrunken
state of an economy crying out for radical surgery. If the minister’s
sentiments give a clear flavour of the priorities and direction of the
government, then God help us!

      The unfortunate utterances give the impression that Nkomo, together
with those of his ilk, do not see anything wrong with the current state of
affairs in Zimbabwe. They seem bent on preserving the status-quo where
ordinary Zimbabweans, who feel the sharpest edge of the knife in the
sweeping economic downturn, are disillusioned with prolonged social

      The tension and frustration among Zimbabweans could literally be cut
with a knife! But Nkomo seems blind to all this.

      A raft of professionals and skilled manpower are fleeing the country
in their droves against a background of rising unemployment, there are
unprecedented food shortages where the one-time regional bread basket is
stalked by famine and inflation rates continue to hit record highs month in
month out. Zimbabwe has for a long time been a pariah state with a badly
damaged international credibility, the provision of social services has
collapsed and debt levels have surged to unprecedented and unsustainable
heights. Not to mention a world first — the crippling cash crisis.
Zimbabweans can barely survive under these circumstances.

      It is because of this deteriorating situation that has seen the once
robust economy collapsing into a recessionary heap and the resultant
suffering of the country’s citizens that both the international community
and indeed Zimbabweans themselves have called for a negotiated settlement to
the political impasse pitting ZANU PF and the MDC. This formed the basis
upon which calls for dialogue were made and Nkomo should know better. It was
hoped that easing political tensions would usher in a new order and help the
country tread out of its difficulties.

      The minister’s statements, which betray political ineptitude, are
therefore at best unfortunate and at worst arrogant, reckless, irresponsible
and insensitive to the long suffering Zimbabweans. They are an insult to our
intelligence as a people. We wonder what planet the minister is from.

      Nkomo, who until now had been given an imaginary personality as one of
that rare breed of sober, level-headed and thinking politicians, is now
exposed not only as a loose tongue but a provocative one too.

      It is under the stewardship of Nkomo’s party, ZANU PF, that the
economy, known for its resilience, has been brought down to its knees. And
much as we do not believe in finger-pointing and the blame game, we feel
that Nkomo’s comments suggest that ZANU PF, known for scapegoating, still
refuses to take responsibility for the current mess. And that is the height
of arrogance that Zimbabwe could do without.

      Even though they do not feel the people’s pain and suffering, do these
politicians have an inkling as to the extent of the damage inflicted on the
economy so far? We think not because if they did, they would seek to
expedite the negotiations with a view to putting a fresh heart into the
stricken economy.

      The attitude of the likes of Nkomo is very unfortunate given that the
revival of the economy is something that will not be accomplished overnight.
It could take well over a decade to restore the economy to its pre-crisis
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      Give them enough rope

      8/21/2003 10:09:10 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - So Patrick Chinamasa "who is supposed to lead the governing
party’s delegation to the "talks about talks", said the time is not yet ripe
for ZANU PF and the opposition MDC to resume dialogue" (Standard, 3/8).

      Frankly, I would not trust Chinamasa, like Jonathan Moyo, for one
moment, and for him to be leading the ZANU PF delegation gives me no
confidence at all.

      ZANU PF continue to pursue their "Give nothing. Take no prisoners"
tactics as ever. "We are the strong party. ZANU PF ndeyeropa (ZANU PF is a
bloody party)".

      I am seriously beginning to agree with Pius Wakatama (Standard, 3/08)
who suggests that the MDC should quietly stand to one side and give ZANU PF
enough rope to bring the country down to the level where, as he writes, "Let
them (ZANU PF) sort out their own mess without (MDC) getting too close and
being contaminated by it. Let them face the wrath of the people".

      Let it be said, too, that I believe in justice, and appropriate
punishment for crimes committed. I do not hold with the concept of a
"dignified and safe exit" for Mugabe; interestingly, the longer ZANU PF put
off meeting their opposition to resolve the country’s problems the less and
less likely it will be for that "safe exit" to be agreed.

      We await "the last straw", the final indignity, the final shortage
which will enrage the people and make them rise up spontaneously and in
righteous wrath against this government.

      PNR Silversides

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      Find long-term measures

      8/21/2003 10:10:06 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR — The black market is not so easy to eliminate. It is even
harder to eliminate if it has grown to the size that it has in Zimbabwe.

      In Zimbabwe, everything that is short on the legal market is available
on the black market. We are talking of foreign currency, basic food
commodities, fuel and even money — to mention just a few. For most of these
commodities there is only one root cause; foreign currency shortage. Once
this is solved many others will be solved automatically.

      Basically, the proposed and implemented solutions by the government
are short-term and not well formulated.

      Although there is a great need for resolving the cash crisis, let us
not do so in haste otherwise what we think are solutions could cost us more.

      The solutions, especially to the core one — foreign currency, should
be long- term, not short-term. We all know that there is always a rise after
a fall. But have we reached the base of the fall yet and how long are we
going to stay down there when we get there, given a background of
comparatively low savings rate, sky rocketing inflation, capital flight,
high unemployment, business closures, and the thriving black market?

      The dual interest rate policy, a measure that was put in place to at
least ease the foreign currency situation, meant to boost the export and
productive industry sectors does not seem to fit well with the intended
plans. This is because of the funds that are being misdirected, probably
being channeled into the profitable sector — the black market.

      So whatever solutions we have let’s make sure they are long-term and
well thought.
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      Major parties mustnot marginalise other interest groups

      8/21/2003 9:53:03 AM (GMT +2)

      So far, it appears, the two major political parties in Zimbabwe are
bent on assuming a monopoly over what should be "national dialogue" and they
seem to be involved in an acrimonious "conspiracy" to marginalise other key

      The monopolistic approach of both ZANU PF and the MDC to the talks has
caused a lot of fear, insecurity, suspicion and distrust in minority
parties, civil society and other organised interests. As I alluded to in the
previous contributions, this is a rapture in our transitional management
paradigm and Zimbabweans must be wary of allowing these two political
parties to use the parliamentary way of bringing about a new constitutional
dispensation in Zimbabwe.

      It is indisputable that ZANU PF and MDC are the major players but
exclusion of other organised interests altogather is alienation of a
significant section of the electrorate and this compromises the credibility
and legitimacy of the talks.

      The crisis in Zimbabwe is multi-faceted and as such it requires a
multi-pronged and holistic approach that encompasses various other organised
interests apart from the two major political parties.

      In South Africa, although there was no popular participation in the
sense of involving ordinary persons via civic society in the actual
negotiations, the process did involve almost all the political parties and
organisations in that country as illustrated in the second part to this

      I am aware of the existence of a surviving school of thought which
argues that meanwhile pro-democracy forces must concentrate on political
change and then deal with the constitutional question afterwards.

      This is a very dangerous proposition because it has as its foundation
trust and faith in the new government.

      The essence of democracy is to distrust those in positions of
influence and hence put in place structures that oblige them to be
transparent and accountable to the people.

      Some voices have expressed deep concern that we might be creating
another monster in the MDC if we don’t insist on comprehensive
constitutional review as an intergral part of the talks, and I share their
underlying fear and suspicion.

      The constitutional question caused a lot of stir in the South African
negotiation process and is the major reason why CODESA ended in deadlock.

      While agreement on broad and general constitutional principles was
relatively easy to reach, there was fierce diagreement as soon as an attempt
was made to interpret the principles.

      What was considered a principle by one party was perceived as
unnecessary detail by another.

      After CODESA had failed, minority interests continued to express their
fear of the emerging majority party and this fear, insecurity, distrust and
uncertainity on their part threatened to frustrate the breakthrough that was
so imminent.

      Throughout, the ANC grouping argued that only very broad and general
principles could be negotiated beforehand, while the details would be
determined by an elected Constitutional Assembly.

      The crux of the argument of the ANC grouping was that the
Constitutional Assembly should be bound as little as possible by the
non-elected Negotiating Forum.

      The ANC standpoint is not difficult to understand in that politically
the ANC was confident that after the elections it would control the
Constitutional Assembly, with an absolute or even two-thirds majority.

      Hence, according to this reasoning, the less the Constitutional
Assembly was bound by previous decisions the better.

      On the other hand, the non-ANC grouping, with parties such as the NP,
DP, IFP and various bantustans (homelands) such as those of Bophuthatswana
and Ciskei) argued that the Negotiating Council must negotiate as much
detail as possible and that the constitutional Assembly should be bound by
the resolutions of the council.

      From a political perspective, the non-ANC parties realised that their
share in the Constitutional Assembly could be relatively small (an absolute
minority) even to the extent that they could fail to attract the "golden"
one-third support needed to prevent a single party from unilaterally drawing
up the constitution or amending it.

      Their strategy was therefore that the Constitutional Assembly should
be bound by resolutions passed beforehand and together with this, that as
many of the details as possible of the new constitution should also be
negotiated beforehand.

      This meant that the Constitutional Assembly would have mainly a
ratifying or legitimising function in respect of a Constitution already

      These issues are the main reason why CODESA ended in deadlock.

      It goes without saying that we, in Zimbabwe, are also confronted by
the same consitutional questions and the sooner we become politically sober
and clear-minded about them the better. Those who are well-informed about
the history of this country in the past four years will know that, with some
slight variation, these are the issues that led to the parallel processes of
the Constitutional Commission and the NCA, resulting in the "NO" vote to the
government-appointed Constitutional Commission’s draft constitution.

      Essentially, from round-about 1997, the struggle in Zimbabwe has been
that of a new constitution.

      The formation of the MDC was born out of a realisation by various
civic groups, most of which were members of the NCA, of the need to increase
"battle fronts" from which to assault an arrogant regime.

      So the MDC is a creature of the constitutional reform movement and in
fact, its leader was the inaugral chairperson of the NCA while its current
Secretary general was the NCA spokesman.

      However, in their wisdom or lack of it, the MDC seems inclined towards
sidelining other pro-democracy forces that have always supported them,
particularly the NCA, by belittling all that they represent.

      They have been possessed by another form of political drunkenness to
think that they can go it alone. The progressive movement cannot afford to
put too much faith in the MDC.

      The same was done to ZANU PF in 1980 and the results are there for
everyone to see.

      The MDC must know better that their party was formed in a very
broad-based, consultative and all-inclusive manner.

      As such the party must always keep its partner organisations aboard.
Any attempt to do otherwise is striking at its own centre and naturally
things will fall apart.

      The best way the MDC can get its tributary organisations aboard is by
insisting on comprehensive constitutional review as an intergral part of the

      Legitimacy, which the party is so fond of talking about goes beyond
just elections.

      Sovereignity, which their ZANU PF counterpart’s are also fond of
talking about resides in the people, who express how they want to be
governed in a sovereign national constitution.

      Our constitution is not sovereign because it is not home-based and as
such it does not reflect Zimbabwean values and ettiquette.

      If the constitution is not sovereign then it is illegitimate and in
the same vein, any government that derives its political authority from such
a constitution is equally illegitimate. If you like, a government that uses
a colonial constitution also serves colonial interests and is a front for
capitalist and imperialist interests; all the talk about sovereignity and
independence is sheer rhethoric. How do you like that? Interesting, isn’t

      On a more serious note, the point is that both ZANU PF and the MDC
must consider the Constitutional question more seriously. Both the
Constitutional commission and NCA draft Constitutions provide useful working
documents at any future constitutional reform project. Governing with the
consent of the governed is the best stamp of legitmacy for any government.
"A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is
only the creature of a constitution. A constitution is not the act of a
government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government
without a constitution, is power without a right".

      In South Africa, more than two years were spent wrestling with the
question as to what could be negotiated by the unelected Negotiating Council
and what had to be left for the elected Constitutional Assembly. Finally, on
2 July 1993 the Negotiating Council of the MPNP accepted a package of 27
Constitutional principles with which the transitional Constitution and all
subsequent constitutions would have to comply. This package was expanded on
17 November 1993 by an additional six principles, bringing the total to

      The acceptance of the principles was seen as one of the first real
breakthroughs on the road to the establishment of a democratic constitution.
The idea behind the acceptance was to ensure that the major features of the
future democratic constitution would be guaranteed beforehand. The agreement
reached was that all future Constitutions and amendments had to comply with
the principles or they could be set aside. The Constitutional Court was
given the mandate and task of certifying whether a new constitution,
provincial constitutions, or amendments to the constitutions infact meet the
requirements of the constitutional principles.

      The acceptance of the Constitutional Principles was a unique event
that emerged from the crucible of negotiations and compromise. None of the
parties had foreseen that the negotiations would turn out the way they did.
However, the parties were obliged to investigate new possibilities as it
became clear that their opening moves were not acceptable to other parties.
This is an important lesson for the political payers in Zimbabwe. Gunuine
dialogue and negotiation is open-ended. Entrenched positions and prejudices
will have to be moderated and the outcome is unpredictable. The acceptance
of the South African Constitutional principle as was never partof a general
philosophical "plan" that the various parties had agreed to beforehand.
Their origin was largely coincidental and born of necessity. They were
regarded as a win-win compromise which on the one hand, offered security
concerning the nature of future constitutions and, on the other recognised
the inherent competence of the constitutional Assembly to write a
constitution within the framework of the principles.

      The South African principles were born out of the general suspicion,
fear and distrust the different parties had of one another, and in
partucular, the suspicion and fear of minority parties in respect of the
anticipated majority party. The constitutional principles are accordingly
underpinned by different interpretations and intentions. Some of the parties
saw them as an indespensable "insurance policy" and "guarantee" while
otheres regarded them as a forced compromise that in the medium and long
term could have a curtailing and inhibiting impact on the popular will. What
can not be taken away from these principles though is that they managed to
keep negotiations on track and history will judge whether or not they were
not just the proverbial sugar coating of a bitter pill.

      It is my submission that the MDC and ZANU PF must, as a preliminary
step, come up with broad national objectives as to what the talks are
intended to achieve and should accommodate proposals and submissions from
various other stakeholders. This would assist in creating a broad national
framework within which dialogue should take place. This should be preceded
by a proper process and criteria of identifying the parties that will take
part in the actual negotiation process.

      Once there is agreement on these broad national objectives then the
negotiation process can start with the less contentions issues on which
agreement is easy to reach. Once the less contentious issues are resolved
that might also help in the resolution of the more contentious issues
because the negotiating parties would have known each other for a while and
their respective negotiating stances.

      One of the most important factors contributing to the success of the
MPNP was the building of personal relationships and trust among the various
negotiators. Several factors facilitated this: working long hours, often
into the early hours of the morning, to meet a deadline, sharing the danger
and excitement of the attack by the Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging (AWB) on the
World Trade Centre in June, and finally, experiencing the sweet taste of
success when the various Bills were accepted by the Council and later the
Plenary, are just a few of these. The relationships kept the process on
course when external factors and forces were intend on destroying it.
Of-course none of this removed the serious differences in both process and
content among negotiators. Arguments were still heated at times,
participants still flexed political muscles on occasion, and sometimes the
drama could be felt and the atmosphere proverbially cut with a knife.

      Alternating chairpersons, selected from an appointed panel of eight
ensured that participants had trust in the impartiality of the chair. The
MPNP developed its own unwritten but very difinite "code of conduct" A most
important procedural factor was the constant flow of reports and referrals
between the Technical Committees and the Negotiating Council, through the
Planning Committee. This allowed for increased clarity and consensus
seeking. The MPNP was indeed structured to be as flexible and informal as
possible. One or two government ministers had to learn this the hard way
when they used the often more robust parliamentary manner of speech in the

      The MPNP was initially as inclusive as one could have in a palarised
society such as South Africa at that time. With the withdrawal of COSAG it
lost some of this inclusivity. The withdrawal did not, however, destroy the
MPNP. It was as if the remaining participants, while endeavouring to have
COSAG return, were also determined that "this time, there can be no
failure". History will judge whether this determination was a correct
attitude under the circumstances.

      While the CODESA process was virtually closed to the media, the MPNP
very early on took the unprecedented step of opening up the proceedings of
the Negotiating Council to the media and diplomatic liason officers. Through
this transparency the media could report as fully as possible on the
progress of negotiations and the international and local communities could
stay abreast of events. The public also profited from greater transparency
by being given the opportunity to submit proposals to any technical
committee on a variety of issues. In the event of members of the public
wanting to witness the proceedings, the Administration used a media
"overflow room" with television monitors to afford them the opportunity.
Various youth groups and researchers made maximum use of this facility.
Could there be anyone who doubts that we have a lot to learn from South

      From the foregoing analyses it becomes clear that for a country that
has been so politically polarised like Zimbabwe, a constitutional review
process, by its very nature provides a comprehensive moral framework
conducive for reconcilliation, confidence-building and a healing of wounds.
The collective moral effort that we put in drafting the constitution has an
immense unifying influence and massive potential to break the current
political impasse, thus allow for a peaceful democratic transition.

      Because electoral majorities can and do come and go, no ruling party
can plausibly claim to be the sole consience and sole embodiment of the will
of the people, let alone their only prophet. Neither is the cause of
democracy served by a ruling party that claims to be co-terminus with the

      If these and others excesses are to be avoided, the restraints
provided by the constitution will have to be supplemented by self-restraint
on the part of the political parties. Majority parties must be allowed to
rule, but they must not rule in such a way as to appear to be gathering to
themselves all power and influence within the state, thereby denying the
rights of the opposition parties. How the opposition opposes, however, is
equally important.

      If in their respective roles, ruling parties and opposition parties
are to contribute to the greater good of their nation, they would need to
cultivate a relationship based on mutual confidence. That confidence will
enable them to agree on what aspects of the national interest transcend
party divides and can therefore be legitmately withdrawn from inter-party
strife and brawls. This is what most Zimbabweans expect from ZANU PF and the
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      Zim dollar plummets to US$1:$5 100

      Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 10:02:57 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe dollar has suffered another heavy battering, slipping
from $3 500 to around $5 100 to the greenback on the non-official market in
a space of one week as the government tries to raise money needed to pay for
supplies of new banknotes.

      The British pound sterling has also responded to the government’s
insatiable appetite for foreign currency with this week’s rates quoted at
between $5 000 and $6 500 to the local unit from $4 600 the previous week.

      On the official market, the United States dollar is fetching $824
only, while the pound sterling is going for $1 300 against the Zimbabwe

      Foreign exchange dealers told The Financial Gazette that the
government was using various mechanisms to mop up foreign currency required
to pay for the paper used to print $500 notes and the new notes pencilled
for introduction before the end of October this year.

      Zimbabwe is buying the paper used to print bank notes from a German

      "Once the market knows that the government is desperate for cash, this
pushes the rates up," said one dealer

      "The situation has again been worsened by the tobacco selling season,
which has not performed so well to suit the governments expectations. If the
tobacco season had done well, maybe this could have spared the parallel
rates, but nothing has happened."

      Tobacco output was dealt a hammer blow by disturbances caused by the
chaotic land reform. Output going through the three-tobacco auction floors
declined from 160 million kgs of flue-cured tobacco to an estimated 80/85
million kgs this year.

      Zimbabwe has struggled to restore the value of the dollar, which once
traded at par with the greenback at independence from Britain in 1980. The
unit has been on a free-fall because of the weak exporting capacity and the
lack of balance of payments support from the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and other donor agencies, which turned their backs on Zimbabwe citing
breaches on the rule of law and economic mismanagement among other things.

      Best Doroh, an economist with the Financial Holdings Limited said the
firming of parallel market rates has also been caused by people taking
long-term positions on the market and the huge demand for foreign currency
by importers.

      Doroh said: "A huge demand from importers has caused the rates to
firm, and there is also a very strong demand from fuel importers."

      "Some people are taking positions in anticipation of further
devaluations and worse still the IMF has taken a position on Zimbabwe, which
was our only source of hope of foreign currency inflows."

      Meanwhile, the shortage of cash has worsened on the back of the huge
demand for money needed to mitigate the humanitarian crisis caused by the

      Long queues have continued outside the banks despite the government
directive that the current $500 notes would be phased out within two months.

      The directive has failed to steer any form of confidence in the

      Analysts said the government had over generalised the problem by
assuming that the cash crunch was a result of people hoarding money, when it
was in fact the high level of inflation.

      "The government has refused to accept the reality that we have a
problem of inflation, I do not think that their directive that $500 notes
would be phased out would make any difference at all," said another local
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      Farmers still to get promised $100bln input credit facility

      Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 9:54:54 AM (GMT +2)

      FARMERS’ representatives this week said their members are still to
access the $100 billion input credit facility promised by the government
last year despite the commencement of the new farming season.

      Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) president, Davison Mugabe
told The Financial Gazette his organisation was still trying to ascertain
where its membership could access money for agricultural inputs before the
onset of the rains.

      He said even if the $100 billion was to be made available now, farmers
still needed to look for additional funding as, according to estimates, at
at least $600 billion is required to fully finance this year’s cropping.

      "We are making frantic efforts to find out from the Ministries of
Finance and Agriculture where farmers can access the money pledged by
government for farming this season," he said.

      Mugabe urged the corporate sector to chip in to avert yet another
disastrous season.

      Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Douglas Taylor-Freeme said
the union, whose membership dropped from 4 000 to about 1 000 due to land
reforms, was also concerned about delays in the disbursement of the

      "The CFU has not received any money at all. We have to talk to our
banks for financing," he said.

      The newly-elected CFU boss said it was difficult for both the old and
new farmers to borrow from banks because of exorbitant lending rates
triggered by the hyperinflationary environment.

      At the moment, interest rates are currently hovering between 80 and 90
percent with prospects of hitting the 100 percent mark because of underlying
inflationary pressures.

      Agricultural experts said farmers’ participation during this year’s
agricultural season would be hampered by poor producer prices despite
prospects of good rains.

      The agricultural sector contributes about 11 percent to the country’s
gross domestic product (GDP), which is the total value of goods produced in
a country.

      Zimbabwe’s GDP has been on a downward spiral over the past few years
because the drought and the effects of the agrarian reform, which has
reduced the country from being a breadbasket of Africa to a basket case.
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      Foot-and-mouth keeps cattle away from show

      Staff Reporter
      8/21/2003 9:55:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE annual Harare Agricultural Show will be without livestock for the
third year running owing to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD),
The Financial Gazette can reveal.

      Poultry would also be absent at the show after most of the commercial
farmers who supported the event previously, relocated to Zambia at the
height of the chaotic government-led land redistribution.

      Robin Taylor, the event’s official spokesman, said this week although
there was an increase in agricultural commodities to be showcased this year,
there would be no livestock, which had become a major attraction at the

      Last year, livestock was also banned from the show because of the FMD
outbreak that has been a menace to the country’s beef herd and exports since

      Taylor said: "We are going ahead with the show despite the economic
situation in the country. We have not had cattle for two years now because
of the foot-and-mouth disease and this is a major setback to the event."

      Livestock had remained the major attraction to the agricultural show.

      Beef herd has decreased from 1.2 million to about 400 000 in the past
three years.

      Most commercial farmers have been destocking because of uncertainties
caused by changes in the land tenure, where the government has been taking
land from white commercial farmers and parceling it out to previously
disadvantaged blacks under the controversial land reform.

      It is suspected the FMD could have been sparked by contact between
cattle and buffaloes during the chaotic land reform.

      The veterinary services department, which has been affected by the
shortage of foreign currency, has not been able to import adequate vaccines
to contain the disease.
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      Why people ‘bank money in mattresses’

      8/21/2003 9:59:42 AM (GMT +2)

      AS Parliament debates President Ro-bert Mugabe’s speech to Parliament
on July 22, I find it imperative to chip in with advisory services on
certain aspects of the address.

      On the economic front, you will recall Mugabe announced a number of
measures that have implications on the economy.

      Today I will talk about interest rates, particularly developments that
have taken place since then.

      Mugabe emphasised the need for interest rates "to come down through
decisive intervention designed to recharge this economy in ways that
encourage real wealth generation as opposed to speculative wealth".

      As I said in one of my previous contributions, the government was
arguing for interest rates to be reduced so that productive sectors of the
economy could access cheaper sources of finance while the central bank
wanted rates to continue rising as a monetary policy instrument to control

      By implication, this means the central bank is not comfortable with
the government’s position.

      The neo-liberal theorists say the hope of increasing investment by
lowering interest rates in a bid to increase investment will not succeed
because the source of these investment funds — savings — will have been

      Investment funds come from savings and for savings to be boosted
interest rates must be increased, otherwise it will not be profitable for
savers to deposit their money with financial institutions.

      The neo-liberal theory basically hinges on the need for the removal of
the constraints by the authorities on the financial instruments especially
the interest rate, that is, financial libe-ralisation.

      The argument is that controlling interest rates represses the
financial sector, stunts growth and results in the misallocation of

      These repressions, it claims, show their effects on the limited
savings generated because of interest rate ceilings on deposits; limited
loan resources because of loan rate ceilings and sectoral allocation rules;
financial dis-intermediation which results in cash shortages at banks as
people keep money at home for speculative purposes and inflation hedging.

      Two factors have now emerged as the determinants of interest rates in
Zimbabwe — government policy and liquidity.

      Although a very important factor, inflation is currently not
explaining interest rate levels in Zimbabwe since rates are controlled and
this explains the current negative real interest rates of more than 300

      For more than two months now, policy rates have remained largely
unchanged with the benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill (TB) discount rate
hovering around 50 percent, which gives a yield of 57 percent.

      In fact, at last week’s traditional TB tender, the rate came out lower
at 48.5 percent or a yield of 55.17 percent. Rates for repurchase agreements
have been fixed at 65percent during the same period while overnight rates on
secured borrowings are 85 percent and 105 percent on unsecured borrowings.

      However, reflecting the tight liquidity conditions on the money market
emanating from corporate tax payments that took place at the end of June and
less TB maturities, rates in the secondary market have firmed with the
90-day NCD rates rising to around 90 percent from 80 percent last month
while overnights have risen to over 100 percent from around 80 percent
during the same period.

      As a result, lending rates have increased further to over 90 percent
from 80 percent last month.

      Reflecting the lower interest rates against a background of high and
rising inflation, it has become very attractive and imperative to borrow and
invest in inflation-hedged assets like property and equities.

      These inflation-hedging efforts explain the current speculative mood
among people and the shortage of cash at banks.

      With inflation rate of 400 percent and interest rates around 100
percent, the resultant negative real interest rates of 300 percent have made
it pointless to keep money at the banks as this means that your money would
be losing value at a rate of 300 percent on a monthly basis.

      As result of the high inflation levels people are frantically looking
for inflation-hedged assets like property and stocks and engaging in illegal
parallel market activities like buying and selling of foreign currency, fuel
and cash.

      The only incentive for keeping money at the bank — security from
theft — is not worth talking about.

      For the monetary authorities to effectively solve the cash crisis they
have to make it unattractive to "bank money in mattresses and pillows"
through a re-establishment of positive real interest rates — otherwise I do
not see any other effective method.

      Money is being kept in homes because it is losing value at a rate of
at least 300 percent when kept in banks and retains, if not surpasses its
nominal value, when kept "in mattresses" as people engage in the mentioned
inflation-hedging activities.

      What is needed is for the RBZ bosses to be allowed to holistically
implement sound macroeconomic policies to turnaround the fortunes of this
country and not to fire them!
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The Guardian, Tanzania

Zimbabwe minister attacks MISA

Thursday, August 21, 2003 .


By  Henry Lyimo

A Zimbambwe cabinet member has attacked the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA) for “promoting misunderstanding” between the Zimbabwe
government and the private media.
Prof. Jonathan Moyo, the Zimbabwe Minister of State for Information and
Publicity alleged in Dar es Salaam yesterday that MISA is being used by the
donor community to promote reports that the private media in the Southern
African country were operating in a hostile environment.
“People who are promoting this misunderstanding are is an
organisation which is donor created and donor funded…it has a vision which
is totally at odds with our reality,” Prof. Moyo said shortly after he
toured media organizations under IPP Limited.
The Zimbabwe Minister also described as unfounded reports that Zimbabwe
government was using harsh media laws to demand excessive loyalty from the
“It is not true that the government is demanding excessive loyalty from the
media,” said the Minister arguing, however, that journalists like anybody
else in the country had no special privileges.
Earlier, responding to an Independent Television (ITV) journalist, Prof.
Moyo played down accusations levelled against his government of harassing
the media in Zimbabwe saying the accusations come by because the Zimbabwe
Government was working to improve media environment in the South African
If our government is not accused of anything, it is not doing anything. It
shows we do so many things,” he told
MISA is a network of national chapters which seek to foster, independent and
diverse media throughout Southern African region.
He lauded media development in Tanzania and said its freedom, loyalty and
patriotism to the nation was fascinating.
He said Tanzania’s media were more vibrant in the Southern African region
and as far as media was concerned, Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from
“I find Tanzania much more vibrant than any other country in the region. It
is a big story that is yet to be told. It is fascinating,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Minister visited IPP’s media outlets which include ITV, Radio
One Stereo, SKY FM radio station, East African Radio and The Guardian
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West Coast Sentinel, Australia

Making a Zimbabwean connection
Thursday, 21 August 2003

Member for Flinders Mrs Penfold hopes to establish an Eyre Peninsula group
of the Zimbabwe Connection to help Zimbabweans fleeing their country.
The first of three families set to make Wudinna their home arrived in the
town last month, with 86 Zimbabwean families waiting to emigrate to
Australia through the Zimbabwe Connection.
Among these are electricians, fitters and turners, engineers, toolmakers and
mechanics for a range of industries.
Mrs Penfold is gauging local interest in setting up an Eyre Peninsula
Connection for the Zimbabwe Connection, which connects potential employers,
mostly in rural Australia, with Zimbabweans wanting to leave and provides
advice to immigrants on what to expect when they come to Australia - on
everything from the weather to schooling.
Mrs Penfold wants local employers to inform the Zimbabwean Connection of
jobs available to allow more Zimbabweans to come to Eyre Peninsula.
"There's not just tradespeople wanting to come over - there's farmers,
doctors, nurses, all sorts of allied health professionals," she said.
"There's already quite a few overseas people here - most of them are from
South Africa."
The non-profit, volunteer-run organisation was set up in Adelaide by people
concerned about how the Zimbabwe people were managing their emigration to
The connection helped Warren and Kim Alanthwaite move to Wudinna to work
with Rick duBois at Pringles garage, and within the next two months two more
diesel mechanics and their families will make the move - Kumar Shingadia and
Dave Segon.
The Zimbabwe Connection's chair Jill Lambert said all anyone in Zimbabwe
could think about was "getting out while it is still possible".
"Primarily due to the destruction of the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe,
with its domino effect into all aspects of an economy now verging on
bankruptcy, many Zimbabweans want to come to Australia, and are leaving
behind their property and their homes without compensation," she said.
"It is very difficult for us to imagine how anyone is conducting a normal
life over there - there is no fuel, so you cannot, for instance, get your
crop to point of sale, garages are closed because nobody can drive their
vehicles in for service and aircraft cannot fly unless they have been able
to fill up elsewhere.
"There are no bank notes and you cannot get your passport renewed because
there is no paper.
"This is in addition to the fact that there is no bread, milk, butter, maize
meal (the staple diet) or meat.
"It is a living nightmare."
Ms Lambert said the response to the Zimbabwe Connection had been
astonishing, with great interest shown both by the Zimbabweans and potential
Over 60 job, share farming or joint venture offers have been received
nationally, and 23 Zimbabweans have been matched to jobs.
"We need help to keep it going, or we will simply 'burn out'," said Ms
From Zimbabwe to Wudinna
Warren and Kim Alanthwaite have made the move from the horrific Zimbabwean
regime to settle in Wudinna.
Mr Alanthwaite arrived recently, with his wife Kim and children Jonathon, 15
and Kirsten, 13 to work as a diesel mechanic with Pringles Ag-Plus.
He said he decided to leave when, working as a farm manager in Zimbabwe, two
of his managers were beaten by Zanu PC war veterans pushing farmers off
their land, and his 13-year-old son was chased around the farm by the men
with the same intent.
While it had become essential to leave, it was difficult to say goodbye to
Mr Alanthwaite said the Zimbabwean situation worsened five years ago when
prime minister Robert Mugabe lost about 98 per cent of the vote in a
referendum he created himself.
To save face and realising his government was under serious threat, he
encouraged Zanu QF youths and war veterans to take over the farming land,
land that before white settlement had been theirs.
This uprising had left millions of farmers without homes, and with nowhere
to go.
"At the moment other countries are looking for qualified people - and
farmers don't fit into that category," he said.
"For a lot of farmers, that's all they know, and they don't have anywhere to
"I was lucky that I had a trade."
Mr Alanthwaite said even farmers should be able to find work elsewhere.
"I believe there's a place in the world for everybody."
The Zimbabwean regime was set to collapse even further, with its industries
falling into disrepair and the government "completely broke."
Concepts like the Zimbabwe Connection and potential Eyre Peninsula
Connection helping Zimbabweans to move would help the situation
"It's a brilliant idea, because a lot of Zimbabweans are stuck and don't
know where to go."
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