Mugabe hounding independent judges, says suspended High Court
judge Tue 23 August 2005
HARARE - The lawyer for suspended
Zimbabwe High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza on Monday told a Harare court
that the taping by police of his conversation with a fellow judge was
illegal according to the country's telecommunications laws.
Paradza, arrested last year on allegations of interfering in the trial of a
business partner and obstructing the course of justice, in his defence
outline told the court that three other judges lined up to testify against
him had succumbed to pressure to "build cases" against independent members
of the bench.
Paradza, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges
against him, becomes the first judge to stand trial in Zimbabwe
The matter is being heard before Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe, a
Zimbabwean on the Namibian Supreme Court bench, after Harare Judge
Chinembiri Bhunu, recused himself last November saying he could not preside
over the trial of a judicial colleague alongside whom he fought during
Zimbabwe's 1970's war of independence.
Superintendent Raphael Nyathi told the court that he had been instructed by
the then Senior Assistant Commissioner commanding Bulawayo Province Albert
Mandizha to tape a conversation between Bulawayo High Court judge Mafios
Cheda and Paradza using a Dictaphone.
since left the police force and now works for the Zimbabwe Revenue
Paradza's lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett however said that the
taping of the conversation was illegal under the country's Postal and
Telecommunications laws, which forbid anyone from taping wireless
(cellphone) and telephone conversations without a presidential
"Only the President can authorise a minister who has to
make a directive which has to be in writing. Did you receive such a
directive Superintendent Nyathi?" Gauntlett asked, to which the police
officer answered no.
In February, the government suspended
Paradza from the bench to enable an international tribunal to investigate
charges that he attempted to influence Cheda to release the passport of his
business partner Russell Lubuschagne, who was charged with murder and was
later convicted of the offence.
The tribunal is still to
release its findings and Paradza is suing President Robert Mugabe's
government for wrongful arrest and over a "humiliating" night spent in a
lice-infested jail, which he said was an assault on judicial
Half of Zimbabwe 's High Court judges condemned
In his defence outline, Paradza claimed that
Cheda and two other judges who will testify against him "may have succumbed
to pressure to 'build' cases against certain judicial officers who are
perceived to have handed down judgments unfavourable to
Paradza's lawyers have previously said the state
charges are politically motivated, designed to punish him for embarrassing
the government last year when he freed then Harare executive mayor Elias
Mudzuri, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change member, who had been
arrested for holding an illegal political rally. The government denies the
charges against Paradza are politically motivated.
Supreme Court ruled in September 2003 that Paradza's detention was
unconstitutional. It said the state could still pursue the charges after
first subjecting Paradza to a judicial inquiry. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe faces more food shortages amid fertilizer
crisis Tue 23 August 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe 's biggest
fertilizer manufacturer could close down in two weeks time because of
foreign currency shortages, a development that would compound problems for
farmers already facing severe shortages of seed barely two months before the
onset of the rainy season.
Describing the situation as "sad and
serious", Andy Humphreys, who is managing director of fertilizer maker,
Windmill, said the firm had only two weeks supply of imported raw materials
in stock and that it would have to close shop once supplies are
"There is very little foreign currency and we have
virtually exhausted our supply of raw material. We are going to produce for
another two weeks and then we will stop production, it is a very serious and
sad situation," said Humphreys.
The company, one of two that
produces fertilizer in Zimbabwe , requires at least US$6 million to import
raw materials and avert closure.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its
worst ever foreign currency crisis which began six years ago after the
International Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support to the
country after disagreeing with President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policies
and other governance issues.
The forex crisis worsened after Mugabe
seized productive farms from white farmers five years ago destabilising the
agricultural sector, the country's biggest hard cash earner.
Food, fuel, essential medical drugs, electricity and almost every other
basic commodity is in short supply because there is no hard cash to pay
Seed producers warned last week that they were
only able to raise about 40 000 tonnes of seed maize compared to 100 000
required per season citing poor rains last farming season as well as the
fact that black peasants resettled by Mugabe on former white-owned seed
growing farms lack experience or resources to maintain
Zimbabwe 's rainy season begins around November and the
mounting problems in the supply of seed and fertilizer could ensure the
country faces food shortages again next year even if it receives good
A US$500 million bailout loan Zimbabwe is negotiating with
South Africa could however help save the 2005/2006 farming season with part
of the money reportedly earmarked for the importation of fertilizer and
other farm inputs to ensure the country produces adequate food. -
The ICC will this week ignore a plea from Jack
Straw and Tessa Jowell to boycott Zimbabwe and endorse a match programme
that will commit all Test-playing nations to visit the controversial African
state at least once betweeen 2006 and 2012. The chief executives of the
Test-playing nations meet in Dubai this week to discuss the International
Cricket Council's future tours programme, and are likely to recommend a
six-year cycle during which every nation will have to play each other home
and away at least once.
The British foreign secretary and the culture
minister have written to ICC president Ehsan Mani and Malcolm Speed, the
chief executive, urging the body to take sanctions against Zimbabwe
following a slum clearance program by the Mugabe regime which has left tens
of thousands of people homeless.
The letter was sent in support of
similar pleas from the Australian and New Zealand governments. New Zealand
are in Zimbabwe for a Test and one-day series that was the subject of huge
controversy domestically before it began. Meanwhile Australia have an
outstanding commitment to play Test and one-day games there.
officials said yesterday that Mani and Speed had not seen the letter and
would not be in a position to comment until they had, but it is understood
that the British government's intervention will not force discussion of a
boycott on to the agenda.
The chief executives will discuss potential
schedules for two days before formally meeting to consider extending the
future tour cycle from five to six years - a move favoured by the ECB
because it will allow it to schedule more lucrative series with major
drawcards such as South Africa, the West Indies and Australia.
Guardian understands there is no appetite for reassessing ICC regulations
last tested when the England and Wales Cricket board was contemplating the
consequences of pulling out of England's four match one-day tour last
Without a clear government instruction not to tour governing
bodies face fines and possible suspension from international cricket (unless
the two parties agree to suitable compensation), if they do not play as
The ECB met its commitment to a one-day series last year but
agreed to pay Zimbabwe Cricket £250,000 in compensation for pulling out of
two Test matches postponed because Zimbabwe's Test status was
England are not due to return to Zimbabwe until at least
We will sink or swim together, impatient Mbeki warns
Mugabe By David Blair in Johannesburg (Filed: 23/08/2005)
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa warned President Robert Mugabe yesterday that
"we sink or swim together" and that economic collapse in Zimbabwe affected
the whole region.
Delivering rare words of censure to his Zimbabwean
counterpart, he urged Mr Mugabe to "understand" that his actions had "an
impact" on his neighbours. He has refrained from criticising Mr Mugabe in
the past, arguing that he could best influence his behaviour behind the
scenes. By issuing this stern public warning, he sent a strong signal that
he had lost patience and that South Africa was toughening its policy towards
its troublesome neighbour.
The rebuke coincided with a milestone in
Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis. The International Monetary Fund will
soon decide whether to cast Mr Mugabe into isolation by expelling Zimbabwe,
a step not taken against any member in 50 years. A team of IMF officials
arrived in Harare before a board meeting on Sept 9 that will decide
Mr Mugabe's regime, unable to import essential food
and fuel, owes the IMF about £175 million. The country's inflation rate of
254 per cent is Africa's highest and a third of the economy has been wiped
out in five years. A slump on such a scale usually occurs only in countries
hit by civil war or natural disaster.
Mr Mugabe has had to turn to
South Africa for a rescue package. But Mr Mbeki, writing in ANC Today, the
internal newsletter of the ruling African National Congress, said that "a
stable and prosperous Zimbabwe is critical", adding: "All of us must
understand that what we do in any one of our countries has an impact on the
rest. It means that, as countries, we will sink or swim
Talks between South Africa and Zimbabwe on a proposed rescue
package have dragged on for more than a month. Mr Mbeki has agreed in
principle to save Zimbabwe from expulsion from the IMF by paying off some or
all of its debts to the organisation.
An agreement on a loan for
Zimbabwe, likely to run into hundreds of millions of pounds, is believed to
have been reached by Trevor Manuel, South Africa's finance minister, and
Herbert Murerwa, his Zimbabwean opposite number. But the proposed deal still
needs Mr Mugabe's endorsement. South Africa is believed to have insisted on
tough conditions, focusing on major economic reforms.
South Africa's deputy foreign minister, has spoken of the danger of a
"failed state on our doorstep" and has called for "fundamental changes" in
Mr Mugabe's economic policies.
Zimbabwe's crisis has caused millions of
its citizens to flee to neighbouring countries. Official figures issued in
Harare suggest that about 3.4 million people - a quarter of the population -
are living abroad. Some 1.2 million have fled to South Africa, more than any
other country, and Mr Mbeki fears that if the collapse continues the numbers
of migrants will climb further.
But Mr Mugabe is deeply reluctant to
accept any conditions from abroad and has spurned calls for talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
He is pushing a series of
repressive laws through parliament, including a measure that ignores reform
altogether and makes the freehold ownership of land illegal.
the year that Robert Mugabe became secretary general of the Zimbabwean
African National Union (Zanu), Thabo Mbeki enrolled at Sussex University.
One man spent most of the next 20 years fighting and behind bars; the other
spent them on international diplomatic postings for the ANC.
explain the extraordinary complaisance which Mr Mbeki has shown towards Mr
Mugabe's behaviour in recent years. In African politics the armchair general
defers to the bush guerrilla, the younger man defers to the elder, and
leaders stick together in the face of "post-colonial" pressure.
Mbeki has informed Mr Mugabe that they will "sink or swim together".
Interestingly, however, this is not a restatement of fraternal affection,
but a reminder that the prosperity of South Africa is bound up with that of
Zimbabwe. Indeed, Mr Mugabe has caused a quarter of all Zimbabweans to flee
their country, most to South Africa. It is not surprising that Mr Mbeki is
getting that sinking feeling.
Facing the unprecedented prospect of
expulsion from the International Monetary Fund for the small matter of an
outstanding debt of £175 million, Mr Mugabe has turned to Mr Mbeki for help.
Sure enough, help is forthcoming: South Africa has agreed in principle to
pay off the debt. But, commendably, Mr Mbeki is insisting on significant
economic reforms in return for the cash. We await Mr Mugabe's response to
the man he regards as his junior in the liberation struggle. The omens are
not good: already he is trying to pass a law effectively nationalising the
soil of Zimbabwe by making freehold ownership illegal. Tougher action than
this might be necessary.
Back in the 1970s, John Vorster of South Africa
forced Ian Smith to the negotiating table by cutting off his supply of oil.
Today, Zimbabwe gets a sizeable proportion of its electricity from South
Africa. If Mr Mbeki were serious about preventing what one of his ministers
has called "a failed state on our doorstep", he would simply threaten to
switch off the lights and leave Mr Mugabe alone in the dark.
Nkala Last updated: 08/23/2005 13:14:03 IT HAS been a few weeks since the
debate on the Third Way -- a new political alternative which Zimbabweans are
being rightly or wrongly asked to believe in -- started.
In its short
time of existence, the Third Way, promulgated by Professor Jonathan Moyo
among others, has been called all sorts of supportive and derogatory names -
a dead force in some quarters, and an obscure tribally inspired plot as the
editor of a beleaguered weekly said last week in an editorial aimed at
denying allegations that Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) owns the
paper and pays his salary.
The debates around the Third Way have given a
new impetus to our national situation and therefore renewed interest as to
where Zimbabwe is going.
There is no argument about the need for a new
beginning in our country but it is my view that the debate around an
alternative to the failures we have in Zanu PF and MDC has been so
personalized as too concentrate on personalities and trivial personal
histories premised on hear-say.
Instead of debating the Third Way and
seeing beyond personalities, many so-called eminent political (actually
media) scientists, vendetta driven activists and unknown persons from
consultancies with no history in the long struggle for Zimbabwe have taken
the PHD (Pull Him Down) syndrome so far that they would rather character
assassinate Professor Moyo to a point that the debate itself ceases to be
Professor Moyo admitted his complicity in drawing up and
defending un-democratic legislation and we cannot afford to lock ourselves
in history and hold him accountable forever as if he was heading military
junta in Zimbabwe. He admits that his time in Zanu PF set the democratic
struggle back by some years. We have had too much anti-Jonathan invective,
voluminous apologies by the Third Way critics on behalf of the MDC, as if
anyone denies the party's contribution to democratization and chaos in the
last five years. The problem is that like Zanu PF, the MDC has entered a
tunnel where no lights are allowed, yet they still seek light at the end of
an ever darkening tunnel.
In simple terms we cannot moan and groan
around the failure of MDC and Zanu PF as if they were the only parties given
brains to think out solutions and work with Zimbabweans in pulling us out of
Mugabe's 25 years of misrule. I am sure that in the disgruntled ranks of
Zanu PF and the MDC we still have clear-minded people with one experience or
another, which this country needs. Critics who stoop to tearing down
personalities and leaving real issues begging are no different from
backbiters, an unnecessary burden in any struggle. The diversity of opinion
in the country can also be seen in its political dynamics and one does not
need to join the MDC in order to be seen as a democrat. In the same way we
should not allow anyone to appoint themselves the giver or taker of
democratic credentials, which is exactly what some critics have vainly
sought to do.
Without mentioning names, I would like to refer to one
article, which said the Third Way, if it came to a government, would fizzle
out and become worse than Mugabe and Zanu PF. We are asked to believe this
is so because members of the ruling coalition in Kenya came from various
different parties to form the shaky Rainbow Coalition that is now busy
tearing itself apart. I disagree totally with anyone who says the stupidity
of Kenyan politicians in Nairobi can manifest itself and be allowed to
fester in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a unique country and we can do things
different if we put our correct senses in order and remember not to fall
into the pits that swallowed many an African revolutionary. I agree 100%
that Zimbabwe needs a solution outside the MDC and Zanu PF, which are both
so internally weak at the moment that they cannot be relied upon to be
Any opposition party that fails to take advantage of
suffering on the scale of Murambatsvina is a sad loss and an abject failure.
Just as any ruling party that fails to take advantage of an opposition in
disarray to sort its own mess is a sad story. The personalities behind any
political idea can be just interesting. If Jonathan Moyo is to be fried with
his coat on for being a former member of Zanu PF, what should we do to
Morgan Tsvangirai who remained a card holding member of Zanu PF even after
taking the leadership of the MDC?
What of all those Zanu PF turned
MDC turn-coats who became champions of democracy simply by proclaiming that
they had thrown away Zanu PF cards? Zanu PF and the MDC are legal entities
and every Zimbabwean is entitled to join as fast and leave as soon as they
start feeling the stink. As Zimbabweans, we have for years said we are
resisting the traps Mugabe has been laying to warp our thinking. It is sad
to note that a lot of our activists yearn for freedom when they apply for
donor funding but are defeatist enough to go on and proclaim that Mugabe is
invincible. It is unfortunate that the Third Way debate has been reduced to
a summer slam of personalities, being battered by people who cannot even
offer a way out for Zimbabwe apart from telling us those very old stories
about MDC achievements five years backwards.
To all the critics of
the Third Way: If the Third Way is not a way of the Zimbabwe debacle, then
Do we have to find only politicians who have never been members
of Zanu PF or the MDC (both failed parties) before we can debate the future?
The MDC is made up of more former Zanu PF officials and members than the
Third Way can ever hope to gain and I wonder why those who see Moyo's past
association with Zanu PF as tainting do not see and say the same of the MDC
leadership. Is this vociferous crowd not the same that gave Edison Zvobgo,
author of the executive presidency, a hero's burial? Is it not the case he
had been allowed to reform, and to re-emerge as a champion of the free press
when he tore Aippa apart ?
We go on to discuss the crumbling of the
Rainbow Coalition in Kenya as if the MDC, our own coalition of coalitions,
designed today to govern tomorrow, is not falling apart because of
unmitigated greed, power hunger and other distinctly personal reasons. Some
prophets see a leadership rising yet they cannot even give it a name and say
where it comes from.
I am sure the Third Way will evolve into a better
idea than Zanu PF and the MDC. The problem is that as Zimbabweans, we
already know the unknown and yet continue to fear it. We are so personal and
some so devoid of ideas that they see tribal schemes each time an idea rises
from the south-west. As a matter of fact, it is a silly and outright rabid
lie that the future of Zimbabwe is woven around the little fingers of the
Anyone can lead Zimbabwe as long as they are collective
enough and put the country first, unlike Zanu PF, which rates Mugabe's
survival as paramount. If the Third Way can find us an accountable,
people-driven leadership, why wait until MDC grows beyond its ferocious
internal struggles? Why wait for Zanu PF to regain its long lost senses if
another viable option is in the offing?
We have heard enough now to
know that the Third Way is a political process aimed at uniting people
across the established, bitter political divide for the cause of freeing
Zimbabwe. Ironically, many in the so-called pro-democracy lobby are
beneficiaries of Mugabe's tribally determined and skewed policies. Lastly,
the editor of one weekly paper I used to respect until recently showed in
his indirect contribution to the Third Way debate that his mind is still
trapped in the feudal days of Sekuru Kaguvi and King Lobengula in thinking
that tribalism still has a place in Zimbabwean politics.
To say the
Third Way is 'tribalist' and accuse those who give Professor Moyo media
coverage of being journalist co-conspirators probably explains why the CIO
did not find it difficult to buy the paper in question without the editor
noticing!! Let us debate the idea, not personalities or the tribal origins
of the proponents. Oscar Nkala is a Zimbabwe journalist based in South
Africa. Views expressed here do not represent those of the organisation he
works for. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
No buyers for three days on Zimbabwe's stock
exchange August 23, 2005
Harare: For the third trading day
in a row Zimbabwe's stock exchange has been paralysed because there are no
buyers for the deluge of shares on offer.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation is in Zimbabwe for meetings
with the government and private sector ahead of its executive board meeting
on September 9 when Zimbabwe's expulsion will be considered.
Zimbabwe's stock market has 82 publicly listed companies. Since last
Thursday stockbrokers have been unable to sell any shares on
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa announced a 10% capital
gains tax on traded shares in a supplementary budget on Thursday, up by
Other new taxes were also announced because, Murerwa
said, the government was critically short of money.
is in danger of meltdown, economists say.
No one in Zimbabwe is
able to say with any certainty whether South Africa has paid off some of
Harare's debt of nearly US$300 million to the IMF to try to prevent its
Interest rates have soared to more than 200% and on
Friday the central bank devalued the Zimbabwe dollar by a further 23%, which
means the currency has lost 75% in three months.
estimate they will have to sell three trillion shares to cover the new
A team from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday started a week-long visit to
Zimbabwe ahead of a board meeting in September that may yet turn out to be a
defining moment for the country's future.
When Zimbabwe defaulted
last year on debt repayments to the IMF (its arrears now stand at US$295
million), President Robert Mugabe defiantly spluttered: "To hell with the
Since then, his country's economic fortunes have taken an
even greater downturn. It is now reeling under an inflation rate of 47%, and
the unemployment rate is already over 70%.
The IMF visit also
comes amid new warnings of a possible stock market crash and a further fall
in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar. The potential consequences are
frightening: the deprivation and hardship this would inevitably cause may
trigger off widespread conflict and instability.
in turn, weaken Zimbabwe's economy even further. And then, of course, lead
to more anger and frustration.
This dangerous cycle will be
broken only if there is a political resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. As
South Africa well knows, brute force cannot indefinitely stifle
So far, however, there is no indication of the ruling
Zanu-PF's ability or willingness to recognise this basic truth. Last
Saturday, for instance, police arrested another 318 people as part of the
"clean-up" in central Harare.
When Zimbabwe's economy implodes,
as it surely will, the short-sightedness and futility of this mean-spirited
behaviour will be exposed.
The fear generated by such jackboot
tactics may delay a negotiated compromise with Zanu-PF's political
opponents. But there is no way it can avoid that day for ever.
Zimbabwe bank officials frustrated August 23,
By Basildon Peta
A draft agreement between South
Africa and Zimbabwe on a $470-million (about R3-billion) rescue package is
gathering dust on President Robert Mugabe's desk because he is uncomfortable
with political conditions attached to the deal.
was hammered out between Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, South African
Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni and their Zimbabwean counterparts Herbert
Murerwa and Gideon Gono nearly three weeks ago.
But the deal
stalled when Murerwa and Gono presented Mugabe with the draft agreement for
He is opposed to some of the political conditions
attached, particularly SA's call for an all-inclusive process of
constitutional reform instead of Zanu-PF's preferred route of railroading
repressive constitutional amendments using its majority in
The draft agreement has been drawn up to avoid any
mention of Mugabe's arch foe, the Movement for Democratic Change, and its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, authoritative sources say.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) sources say a sense of frustration has now
gripped senior central bank officials who have been working overnight to
avoid Zimbabwe's expulsion from the International Monetary
An IMF delegation is visiting Harare ahead of a crucial
meeting in two weeks' time during which Zimbabwe's continued membership will
The sources felt the deal with South Africa drawn up
after the "agreement in principle" by President Thabo Mbeki's cabinet to
rescue Zimbabwe offered the best prospects to avoid expulsion from the
But Mugabe has told Gono to keep trying to raise loans from
other countries such as China, Malaysia and Iran.
Mugabe does not care whether or not we get expelled from the IMF," said one
official in the RBZ.
"He does not think it (the IMF) will resume
lending money to Zimbabwe anyway even if all arrears are liquidated and
expulsion avoided. He is keeping the institution out of the equation," added
the official, who asked not to be named.
One senior government
official speculated that the arrival of the IMF mission could force Mugabe
to act. It was to be expected that the mission would issue yet another
negative report on Zimbabwe and its inability to cope without external
THE Lion and Cheetah Park was still open yesterday
pending the outcome of police investigations after a Japanese woman was
killed by lions.
Visitors could be seen trickling into the park unshaken
by the recent incident.
"The police want to do their own
investigations. I was with them this morning and they told us that if anyone
wants anything (information about the case) we should refer them to the
Japanese Embassy," said Mr Biggie Madonoro, one of the managers at the
The Japanese woman was in the company of five other embassy staff
when she was attacked.
The Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe could not
be reached for comment.
Preliminary police reports show that when the
first two embassy staff went into an enclosure for lions at the park in the
company of a guide, they emerged unharmed but things turned
all of a sudden when the same guide accompanied the woman and
another embassy official into the pen.
Lions pounced on the woman as
about to leave the pen and the guide and embassy staff had to
stone the lions to free the woman who had sustained serious injuries from
the attacking lions.
"The woman had sustained serious injuries by the
time the lions were finally restrained," a police spokesman was quoted as
"She was immediately rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital where she
was admitted but died on Friday."
Lion and Cheetah Park near Harare
in the Lake Chivero area is a popular resort spot for both local and foreign
It is a favourite spot for schools who may want students to
learn more about wild animals and their habitat.
woman, Ms Patricia Magaya, has filed a legal suit against Police
Commissioner Cde Augustine Chihuri and three other police officers in
Chitungwiza for confiscating fuel she had imported from Botswana.
her affidavit Ms Magaya indicated that the Chitungwiza Police Station
Officer-in-Charge, and Constables identified as Moyo and Mariga acted
improperly when they confiscated her fuel. The woman said in the affidavit
that on July 21 this year, she crossed the Zimbabwe-Botswana Plumtree Border
Post in the company of Mr Nyasha Nyamhanza.
"I had arranged, through
my father who works in Botswana, to purchase a 210-litre drum of petrol
which was declared to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority under Nyasha
Nyamhanza's name and in respect of which duty was paid in the sum of $61
558,70," Ms Magaya wrote in her affidavit.
Government, through the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, recently announced that individuals with free
funds could import fuel.She said after crossing the border, she managed to
travel to Chitungwiza past several police roadblocks without being arrested
for importing the fuel.
"On arrival in Harare, we took the drum to Unit O
on July 23 as I live in a flat. On that Saturday (July 23), I was advised
that the police wanted the owner of the fuel and I accordingly presented
myself to the police.
The police first inquired where and how she had
acquired the fuel and after she showed them the documents they preferred
charges of selling fuel without a licence against her.
She said she
showed them the sealed fuel container and said nothing had been sold and the
police changed the charge and alleged that the fuel was improperly
"I pointed out that I had travelled hundreds of kilometres with
the fuel in a drum and had passed many roadblocks with the fuel without any
query about safety of the petrol.
"In essence I denied the charge and
was then locked up for the weekend," she wrote in the affidavit.
stated that her father, who was anxious for her release paid an admission of
guilt fine on her behalf.
"Sergeant Mariga, the fourth respondent,
immediately advised that the entire drum of fuel would be confiscated as I
had admitted and we would receive half of the contents as had been
previously intimated to my father," she wrote.
She said the same
sergeant told her that the matter had been finalised and she would not get
anything since she had paid an admission of guilt fine.
that my position had remained the same throughout, hence my detention in
that I wanted my matter taken to court as my father's payment of the deposit
fine on false information did not constitute an admission of guilt by
myself," she stated.
THE local oil industry, in consultation with the
Government, is expected to soon review fuel prices in the wake of rising oil
prices on the international market and adjustments in the foreign currency
exchange rate, an official said yesterday.
The Secretary for Energy
and Power Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, told The Sunday Mail last night
that Government and stakeholders in the oil industry were currently
deliberating on a price structure commensurate with the recent
Although he could not be drawn to reveal the figures
stakeholders were proposing, Mr Mupamhanga conceded that local oil prices
had become unsustainable in light of a major leap in international fuel
prices over the past few months.
He said Zimbabwe needed to urgently
introduce a new price structure, adding that stakeholders were expected to
come up with a final position on the proposals soon.
immediate effect the price review was likely to have on fuel availability is
still unclear, it was earlier expected that a price hike would help release
the strain on the country's limited foreign currency resources.
would also be considered whether the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) would receive subsidies in light of the impending price review,
said Mr Mupamhanga.
"The current prices prevailing on the local
market are not sustainable given the adjustment in the exchange rate and the
escalating cost of oil on the international market. Obviously, there should
be a reaction to these determinant factors by the local
"The industry has, however, consulted the ministry over price
adjustments and deliberations on the issue are still under way. Although the
figures are yet to be finalised, stakeholders expect to come up with the new
price structure soon. This has to be done quickly in light of the prevailing
push factors," said Mr Mupamhanga, declining to shed more light on the
International oil prices rose in recent months, increasing from
US$26 a barrel at the beginning of the year to over US$66, a situation that
has partly been attributed to the instability believed to be restricting oil
movement from the Middle East.
The situation, which has had ripple
effects on economies in different parts of the world, has left Zimbabwe,
which was already reeling under heavy fuel shortages in the last few months,
seeking ways of realigning itself with international trends.
the prevailing fuel shortages were largely attributed to the foreign
currency shortages the country is experiencing, recent changes in the
country's exchange rate have meant Zimbabwe needed to pump out more of the
scarce foreign currency in its reserves to make purchases.
week, the Zimbabwe dollar fell from $18 000 to about$24 000 against the US
Last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) adjusted the
exchange rate to $17 500 against the greenback, up from $10 800.
last price review was effected in June this year when the oil industry hiked
prices by 300 percent with petrol increasing to $10 000 per litre, up from
$3 600 while diesel was reviewed to $9 600 up from $3 800. However, the
review was not expected to result in a drastic change in the fuel supply
situation given prevailing constraints, including foreign currency
shortages, induced by competing demands.
Oil industry officials say
the adjustment in the exchange rate and the escalating international oil
prices had affected local supply given that the industry would have to
contend with increased charges throughout the supply chain.
official pointed out that duty and transportation charges would be factored
into the final cost build-up of the product, bringing the total charge per
litre to higher levels when the product is brought into the
"The international oil price increase is quite significant
as it directly impacts on the local industry's ability to bring in the
"For instance, if oil is brought in through Beira, the price
would increase because of factors such as duty and pipeline charges," said
Zimbabwe has over the past few months been experiencing
critical fuel shortages, which have largely been blamed on the country's
limited foreign currency resources.
The situation has resulted in
motorists spending nights at filling stations while public transport and
business have also been affected. Efforts are, however, being made to
address the situation.
Recently, the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development granted five filling stations in Harare and Bulawayo the right
to sell fuel in foreign currency at an initial price of US$1 per
More foreign currency has also been availed to Noczim because of
its strategic position as a distributor of oil to Government departments,
industry, the public transport and agricultural sectors.
measures include allowing individuals with access to foreign currency to
import fuel for personal use rather than for resale.
In spite of these
measures, several calls have been made for motorists to conserve the little
fuel available by engaging in various measures such as self-restricted use
of vehicles. Proponents of fuel conservation have also suggested the
purchase of smaller cars that usually consume less fuel, arguing that the
country's roads are dominated by fuel guzzlers.
OPINION August 21, 2005 Posted to the web August 22,
Elias Mazhindu Harare
The cocktail of policy measures
designed to widen Government's revenue base enunciated in the Mid-Term
Fiscal Policy Review Statement presented in Parliament by Finance Minister
Dr Herbert Murerwa last Tuesday and the annual inflation rate of 254,8
percent in July conspire to further marginalise the ordinary person who is
The record high annual inflation rate of 254,8
percent meant that the prices of goods and services were slightly above
three-and-a half times as expensive in July this year as they had been in
July last year.
Thanks to the tight monetary policy adopted by the
central bank in December 2003, Zimbabwe seemed to be winning the inflation
battle when the figure progressively declined from 623 percent in January
2004 to 124 percent in March this year before the spiral that began in April
when the annual rate increased to 129 percent.
The high inflation,
low investments, crippling foreign currency exchange shortages, rising
unemployment, tumbling industrial production, chronic shortages of basic
commodities and a contracting economy are some of the challenges dogging the
country which Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono's Mid-Term Monetary
Policy Review last month and Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review
continue to grapple with.
In his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review
Statement, Dr Gono cautioned that the resurgence in inflationary pressures
was expected to continue until September before declining in the last
quarter of the year.
He attributed the resurgent inflationary pressures
to a combination of factors, in particular the corrective fuel price
adjustments, the drought-induced shocks on food pricing, wage and salary
increases and the increases in school fees, rents and
Arguably, the record highest inflation rate of 254,8 percent since
January last year and Dr Murerwa's $6,6 trillion supplementary budget,
buttressed by various tax adjustments made by Government, are expected to
bite deeper into the individual taxpayer's pocket as businesses are set to
pass on the burden to the consumer.
It is now a common sight in some
supermarkets to find piles of abandoned goods at till points left by
disgruntled shoppers who would have failed to pay for them.
this is because some retailers, long since addicted to their old habits of
profiteering, continually hike prices of most basic commodities in disregard
of those stipulated by Government and at the expense of consumers who are
now restricting their buying to purely basic necessities.
Be that as it
may, I appreciate the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor's call, urging the
nation not to despair but to rededicate itself to responsible behaviour,
particularly when it comes to setting or reviewing of prices of goods and
services in the economy.
Equally, I find it difficult for most low-income
households not to "scream" or despair at the laissez-faire attitude of some
retailers and service providers who, despite appeals by Government and
consumers alike, continue to indiscriminately increase their prices by
unwarranted margins, further fuelling inflation.
therefore, be no surprise that the relentless increases in the cost of most
goods, particularly basic food items such as bread, sugar, meat, mealie
meal, milk and cooking oil, has resulted in some families changing their
spending patterns, with many in the low-income bracket having to cut down on
the number of meals they consume per day.
"We used to have three meals a
day. Instead of tea and bread in the morning, we have now resorted to a
breakfast of porridge without sugar in the mid-morning that also serves as
early lunch, and then supper.
"It's not out of choice, but simply because
the cost of basic commodities is beyond our reach. My last-born son, who is
nine years old, has already lost weight because of the reduced number of
meals," said Ms Varaidzo Mirirai of Kuwadzana.
Government, through the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, last
week announced a 174 percent increase in wholesale, retail and producer
prices of various basic commodities at the behest of the sliding Zimbabwe
dollar against the greenback.
Despite the now regular price increases,
the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe public relations manager, Mr Tonderai
Mukeredzi, lamented the disappearance of goods whose prices are controlled
from the market.
"Manufacturers are now focusing more on producing the
expensive refined supplementary products which are not controlled but beyond
the reach of many consumers.
"With the incomes most people are
getting, they are forced to buy the basic commodities on the black market
where they are found in abundance," he said.
Some manufacturers are
reportedly working in cahoots with retailers to produce in large quantities
basic commodities that are not controlled as a way of circumventing the
recommended prices. A case in point is cooking oil, which is being packaged
in 500-millilitre, one-litre and two-litre containers which are not
Many people are concerned about the packaging loopholes
being taken advantage of by some manufacturers to avoid the gazetted prices
and call on the Government to act quickly and effectively.
Government should find ways to counter the devices and tricks being used by
manufacturers to evade the gazetted prices because this is not helping us in
"All the controlled basic commodities have disappeared. All you
find are products which are not controlled and the retailers are not giving
us valid explanations or convincing answers," said Mr Davies Tivapasi of
In the current hullabaloo about runaway prices against
contracting real incomes, while the poor and defenceless consumer is forced
to take it or leave it, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe appears to be
moribund as a pressure group in effectively articulating the grievances of
the disadvantaged ordinary consumer.
According to the Central
Statistical Office, prices of goods and services rose by an average of 47
percent for the month of July, the highest increase ever recorded in
This huge monthly jump in the cost of living means that a
person would have needed a pay rise of 47 percent in July just to cover that
single month's jump, let alone the above average inflation of the previous
two months. If they spent $5 million on food, rent and the like in June,
then they would have needed to spend $7,35 million in July to retain the
same standard of living.
Most companies in the private sector
reportedly raised salaries last month while some, such as banks, gave
significant increases, others offered less than 40 percent, meaning that
their workers were worse off at the end of the month despite the rise in
salaries and face further harsh drops in their standard of living over the
next few months.
The 45 percent jump and the high figures for May and
June also make it mathematically impossible for Zimbabwe to achieve the
target set by Reserve Bank governor Dr Gono of 80 percent year-on-year
inflation by the end of this year unless prices actually fall over the rest
of the year.
In the run-up to Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review,
undoubtedly many had envisaged a statement that would be sympathetic to the
hard-pressed worker, through realistic tax concessions such as Dr Murerwa
had generously offered in the past.
The only tax measure that seemed
positive was the token adjustment of the tax-free threshold from $1 million
to $1,5 million, which is clearly out of sync with reality on the ground. An
average family of six now needs at least $7,4 million a month to buy its
basic requirements - not to mention clothing and footwear! As if that was
not enough, the increase in the Value Added Tax rate from 15 percent to 17,5
percent and a special VAT rate of 22,5 percent on mobile phone airtime is
largely expected to result in upward adjustments of prices of goods and
The presumptive tax on commuter omnibuses, taxi cabs and
increased surtax on second-hand vehicles and "non-essential" imports will
all combine to make life even more unbearable for the average
While it is plausible that Dr Murerwa's Mid-Term Fiscal
Policy Review and various tax adjustments seek to widen Government's revenue
base, the pain this will entail could considerably outweigh the anticipated
Certainly, the minister admitted that he was aware of the
difficulties induced by the new tax measures but was caught in a Catch-22
"I am aware of the social implications of introducing
additional levies on already over-burdened taxpayers and, in particular, on
low-income earners whose real wages continue to be eroded by inflation," he
It is equally depressing to most workers that Pay As You Earn
concessions could not be entertained until next year's budget. Employees
will have to wait till then in the forlorn hope that there will be something
for them. In the meantime, however, the majority of the low-income earner is
looking for some tax relief now.
Besides, the writing is on the wall
that most households cannot afford to have a decent livelihood on their
current salaries or incomes which have long since been eroded by the soaring
It is also unfortunate that the majority of companies have
already submitted that they will not be able to afford hefty salary
increases adjusted to the prevailing inflationary trends as they are
operating below capacity.
Regrettably, the Government has also conceded
that it will not award salary increases for civil servants - most of whom
are barely managing to get by - although it has set aside $440 billion for
their transport allowances. I agree that the obtaining situation begs for
collective action by Government, labour and business on the way
Be that as it may, certainly another round of price adjustments
is expected shortly to factor in the new taxes and the record high inflation
rate but this calls for sober decisions to save the situation from further
deteriorating as to cause undue alarm.
Last, but not least, I believe
that the successful implementation of the proposed tax adjustments in tandem
with the monetary policy measures put in place to salvage the economy in the
best interests of Zimbabwe and its people will as much depend on the wisdom
and perceptive forward planning of the decision makers as on the quality of
professional advice that will be made available to them. No one doubts that
from now on, in the wake of the inflationary new high compounded by the
scissors effects of the recurrent price hikes, the going will be a lot
rougher for the ordinary person!
THE Land Reform Programme, initiated to correct the
uneven distribution of land in Zimbabwe, will create over 500 000 new land
owners if the legislature passes provisions to amend the country's
Constitution, Parliament heard on Thursday.
As part of initial steps
to facilitate this move, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, which,
among other provisions, seeks to confirm the acquisition of land under the
programme and future acquisitions, was read for the first time.
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa,
said it was Government's intention to "democratise land rights and access to
land by opening up property to the majority".
He pointed out that the
Government hoped, through the proposed amendments, to gain room to plan
agricultural settlements and re-organise communal areas in different parts
of the country.
Said Cde Chinamasa: "With the passage of this amendment,
the armed struggle will thus become the true fountain of all land rights in
Zimbabwe. We would have succeeded in democratising land rights and access to
"Where ownership of land has for the past 90 years up to 1980 been
the preserve of a few white people, around 4 000 in 2000, the Land Reform
Programme will, when it is completed, have created in excess of 500 000 new
Land ownership in Zimbabwe has for many years been
the preserve of beneficiaries of the imbalances that were created by
colonialism, which gave privileges to a few while sidelining the majority of
Zimbabweans. Although earlier arrangements were made to compensate
landowners under the Lancaster House Agreement, Zimbabwe embarked on the
land reform programme after former colonisers Britain were adjudged to have
breached terms of the agreement.
Moves are now being made through
legislative means to conclude the exercise and facilitate future property
acquisitions while Government still expects Britain to provide compensation
for the acquisitions.
According to Section 16B of the Bill, all
agricultural land that was identified on or before July 8 this year under
Section 5 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10) and that
identified afterwards will become State property with effect from the period
provided for in the proposed law.
The State, through the acquiring
authority, would not pay compensation for the acquired land but only for
improvements made on the property prior to its acquisition.
with "any right or interest" in the property would not be obliged to
challenge the acquisition in court while the courts would in turn be barred
from hearing such challenges.
An interested party would, however, be
entitled to challenge the amount of compensation equivalent to the cost of
improvements made on a particular property prior to its
Cde Chinamasa said prospective property right owners should
occupy a particular piece of land after receiving lawful authority from the
Ministry of Lands and Resettlement or relevant authority, adding that
legislation would be introduced with a view to prosecuting
The minister highlighted that the Government sought to
conclude the land acquisition process and "settle the land question once and
for all", a move that would enable authorities to direct resources towards
the resurveying and repegging of new boundaries.
would also be rationalised while leases would be issued to beneficiaries and
land tenure instruments approved.
Cde Chinamasa emphasised the need to
finalise the land reform programme with a view to concentrating on boosting
agricultural productivity. He indicated that the implementation of the
programme had been stalling in different parts of the country owing to the
challenges that some former commercial farmers were making through the
According to the minister, Government had only legally acquired
over 1 000 farms out of the 6 240, measuring 11 million hectares, while
numerous other cases, in which many people were already allocated and
settled, are still pending before the courts.
appointment of eight presidents of the Administrative Court who are
dedicated to dealing with the land acquisition cases, progress has been
painfully slow because in 99 percent of the cases, the farm owners have been
objecting not out of any expectation by white farmers that they would
succeed, but in order to politically harass and delay the process through
clogging the court system," said Cde Chinamasa.
In light of the
proposed law, many property owners have raised concern that its provisions
would infringe upon their rights.
They also argue that the courts should
be allowed to perform their set duties without restriction.
Chinamasa, however, reiterated that there was need to "remove conflict from
the land issue", adding that limited access to land in Zimbabwe was stifling
prospects of economic advancement.
"I want to underscore the point that
the land provisions of the Constitutional Amendments are epoch-making and of
historic significance not only in Zimbabwe but in the sub-region and
"We are trail-blazers in showing that the way to fight
poverty is through regaining political sovereignty over our natural
"There is no way this country can advance economically when
the bulk of its citizens are denied the right of access to land and other
natural resources that God gave to this nation.
"The land provisions
are therefore a major landmark in our protracted struggle for political and
economic independence," he said.
Plane's overhaul set to cost Air Zimbabwe US$500
Herald Reporter THE national airline, Air Zimbabwe needs at least
US$500 000 to complete a two month C check on one of its two Boeing
The airline chief executive officer Dr Tendai Mahachi
said the money would be used to buy spare parts.
The overhaul was
detailed as it encompassed stripping the plane to check its structures'
integrity and ensure it was mechanically sound.
"The C class-check is
done after a period of 18 months. It is done to make sure that we adhere to
the highest safety standards and we estimate that about US$500 000 is needed
for the maintenance," he said.
The maintenance also involves checking the
effects of corrosion on its body, engine and whether the plane could
The overhauling of the Boeing 767-200 plane compelled
Air Zimbabwe to lease a larger Boeing 767-300 from Thailand, to service
routes to Asia and the Middle East.
The leased Boeing 767-300 is
expected to make some 10 flights during the two months the Airzim plane
would be undergoing refurbishment.
The grounding of the national airline
plane has impelled it to reschedule, with immediate effect, the
Beijing-Bangkok-Dubai-Harare and Harare-Dubai-Bangkok-Beijing
Dr Mahachi could not reveal how much they were paying for
leasing the plane from Thailand except saying, "it was
However, it is understood that Air Zimbabwe would pay in excess
of US$2 million for the two months it was leasing the plane from
"Despite the air fare increases, business is going on as usual.
In fact the load factors are greater, they are actually more than 79
percent. Most of our flights are always full to capacity especially the
Harare-Johannesburg and Harare-London routes," he added.
two 767-200ERs, which can fly 14-hour flights depending on the load, Air
Zimbabwe owns three smaller Boeing 737-200s and two MA60 bought from