|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Saturday, August 23, 2003
By Henry Lyimo
The Zimbabwe government did not deal with the land issue right after
independence in 1980 because of provisions of Lancaster Agreements the
country was advised to honour by former frontline states.
The Zimbabwe Minister for State in the President's Office (Information and
Publicity) Prof. Jonathan Moyo said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that it was a
mistake to honour the agreement which provided for acquisition of white
settlers possessed land in the "willing seller-willing buyer framework."
"It is a historical fact. We did a mistake," said Prof. Moyo at a public
talk organised by the University of Dar es Salaam Academic Staff Association
(UDASA) at the Hill.
The frontline states whose main agenda was liberation of all Southern
African countries from colonialism included Angola, Botswana, Tanzania,
Zambia and Mozambique.
Prof. Moyo, who was an external examiner at the University in 1997 and 1999,
said the frontline states took position on the matter and convinced Zimbabwe
to compromise dreading that other alternatives might have jeopardized the
chances of independence for Namibia.
Prof. Mwesiga Baregu of the University of Dar es Salaam, who attended the
talk, further said UDSM lecturers in a special committee held a protest
meeting against pressures of frontline states to Zimbabwe over the agreement
in early 1980s.
Prof. Moyo said however that Zimbabweans were not blaming the frontline
states, but rather were praising the countries for their contribution to the
liberation of their country.
He said the problem in Zimbabwe was due to the fact that people had ideally
two Zimbabwes in mind one being mythical and another real.
The mythical Zimbabwe is the white settlers' image of the country, an Euro
Zimbabwe they fight to preserve and have never given up even after the
independence, according to him. He said land redistribution programme was
unfinished business of the liberation which if not carried out would have
made a mockery to the sacrifices made to attain the independence.
"Everything that happens in Zimbabwe has to do with that quest to give land
to its rightful owners. It was unfinished business of liberation," he said.
"People were unhappy with the state for failing to fulfil that. Majority of
Zimbabweans who are peasants wished that done," he said.
He said the programme was to acquire 16 million hectares of arable land
which was held by the white settlers.
He accused the Zimbabwe opposition party Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) of being created and funded by the white settlers and their friends
after they realized Zimbabweans were after re-possessing their land.
"These people imply the struggle for democracy started in 1999.they were
created to challenge the very basics of independence," he said.
CIO boss faces arrest
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management (DNWM) has
written to the police to arrest six top police and state Central
Intelligence Organisation officers for allegedly stealing game meat poached
from opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator Roy
Bennet’s Charleswood Estate farm in Chimanimani district in Manicaland
lawyer, Arnold Tsunga, has also written to police authorities
in Manicaland requesting that they take action against their colleagues.
Tsunga told the Daily News yesterday he was also under instruction
from his client to pursue a private prosecution against the police and
In a letter to the police officer in charge of crime
province, Killian Mandisodza, the DNWM’s senior investigations officer,
Felix Matenda, detailed how a police assistant inspector Mupfuriranwa and
CIO boss in Chimanimani, Joseph Mwale, and four others allegedly seized from
Bennet’s workers game meat that had been poached from Charleswood. The
wildlife officer did not specify the date when the incident occurred.
The police and intelligence officers allegedly hid
the carcasses which
could have been used as evidence against the poachers, according to Matenda.
The poachers are believed to be suspected
ruling ZANU PF party
supporters who seized part of the farm during the illegal invasion of
white-owned farms last year by pro-government mobs.
Matenda’s letter, written last month, reads in part:
of the exhibits to include meat. Not even the skin was preserved for
prosecution . . . my opinion, which I would like to put forward (for) your
serious consideration, is that your officers committed an offence.
“Apart from the Police Act that you can apply in
punishing them, I
would like to suggest that they be charged in a criminal court in terms of
Section 4 (a) (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. You could be of
better ideas or opinion, but there will be no better options than this.”
Mandisodza could not be reached for comment yesterday.
He was said to
have visited Rusape town on business.
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who was still ascertaining the
details pertaining to the matter by the time of going to print last night,
could not provide details on what action, if any, the law enforcement agency
had taken against the police and intelligence officers.
The DNWM’s head in
Manicaland province, Henry Charidza, yesterday
confirmed that his officers had written to the police but he would not
disclose what action action had been taken against the police and
Charidza said: “I did not write the letter myself. Look for Matenda
because he is the one following up on that one.
Anyway, I will need a
written directive from my bosses to comment
sources, however, told this newspaper yesterday that because of
political interference no action was likely to be taken against the police
and especially Mwale, whom they described as untouchable.
who is barred from Charleswood Estate by the High Court, has
been accused by the MDC on several occasions of committing or aiding
violence and human rights abuses against its supporters in Chimanimani.
High Court judge James Devittie directed the Attorney-General
(AG)’s Office two years ago to have Mwale investigated on charges that he
and others murdered MDC activists Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya in the
run-up to the 2000 parliamentary election. Although the AG’s Office says it
has ordered the police to probe Mwale, to date no action has been taken yet
against the CIO agent over the MDC’s activists’ deaths.
A police officer,
who spoke on condition he was not named, told the
Daily News: “Matenda’s letter has been gathering dust. Issues surrounding
Charleswood Estate are very political and difficult to handle.
“It seems Mwale and his
guys in Chimanimani have full blessings of the
chefs to do whatever they want at the farm and this has made the
letter to Manicaland police, Tsunga claimed that Mwale and his
colleagues were even heard urging the poachers to kill more animals at
“What surprised our clients is that when the
police attended the scene
in the company or under the leadership of Joseph Mwale, they allowed the
poachers to go scot-free and loaded the meat into CIO operative Mwale’s
vehicle,” wrote Tsunga.
According to Matenda, Mwale and his colleagues threatened to shoot the
farm workers for arresting the suspected poachers. Matenda wrote: “I would
not imagine a reasonable police officer who would arm himself to go and
recover meat from an already disarmed group of poachers. Not only to arm
themselves in this case, they even went to threaten the people who had
effected a citizens’ arrest by corking their firearms. “It is very
disgraceful for police officers to be seen doing such things in the eyes of
the public.” By Farai Mutsaka Chief Reporter
ESC silence on MDC man queried
A LAWYER representing 11 opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party candidates who were allegedly prevented from submitting their
papers for nomination for urban council elections at the end of this month
yesterday queried why the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) and the
Registrar-General’s Office had withheld information about a candidate who
allegedly withdrew from the election because he feared for his life.
"We believe it was improper for neither the
nor the ESC or its officials to have failed to inform this court until now
that the only opposing candidate advised them in writing on that day that he
was withdrawing," Sheila Jarvis, of Atherstone and Cook law firm, wrote to
High Court judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo’s clerk.
She added: "This information was peculiarly within their
it clearly should not have been withheld.
"With such a formal report to their officials at the time, the ESC
suggestion that the proceedings there were relaxed and peaceful in their
view and the government claim now that this was a paradigm of a lawful
election are insupportable."
According to the ESC report submitted to court
this week, George
Mutigwe, who had allegedly filed his papers as an MDC candidate for Ward 7,
later withdrew his candidature saying he feared for his life.
‘Deserter’ challenges court martial trial
LAWYERS for former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldier Amos
Chikanya yesterday challenged a military court’s right to try him for
desertion, saying Chikanya’s contract with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)
had already expired during the time he is alleged to have committed the
In a special plea to the court martial, Harare
Bhatasara, representing Chikanya, said in terms of ZNA regulations
his client’s contract of employment automatically
expired after he
failed to renew it on 30 June last year.
Chikanya could not be court-martialled for offences allegedly
committed from 29 June last year to 18 March this year as declared in the
second charge against him because he had reverted to being a civilian,
The court reserved judgment on the special plea until
The ZDF has charged Chikanya with
desertion for allegedly failing to
report for work on 29 June 2002 and remaining away without official leave
until he was arrested on 18 March this year by members of the army’s
Bhatasara said: "Allegations against the accused (Chikanya) as
contained in the second count were committed from 29 June 2002 until 18
March, 2003. During this period it is clear that the accused was not
employed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
"The accused, as of 1 July 2002, was a
civilian and ‘desertion’ by its
very nature and as defined in section 1(2)(a) of the First Schedule
necessarily involves members of the defence forces. It is legally impossible
and factually impracticable for a civilian to commit a crime of desertion."
Bhatasara said if the court martial
insisted on trying Chikanya for
desertion it would be breaching the Defence Act, which limits its
jurisdiction to ZDF members.
is also charging Chikanya with illegally absenting himself
from duty when he extended the official leave of absence he was granted
after a tour of duty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to army
authorities, Chikanya went away without official
leave for 227 days from 16 September 2001 before briefly rejoining the ZDF
sometime in May last year.
He then allegedly disappeared again on 29 June until he
in March this year.
Bhatasara told the court
martial that his client was severely tortured
by the army intelligence officers and coerced to appear before a media
conference "admitting" to having conspired with opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party activists to assault residents in various
high-density suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza during mass job stayaways
organised by the opposition party in March.
The Press conference was aired for several days on the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s television and radio news bulletins.
Gweru braces for rates hike protest
GWERU – The Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (GRRA)
yesterday said it had begun mobilising residents here to boycott paying
rates to protest against a decision by city authorities to raise rates by
200 percent under a proposed supplementary budget.
GRRA chairman Willie Muringani,
who also said his association was
going to petition the government to block the proposed budget, said the
rates boycott was aimed at forcing the council to consult ratepayers before
implementing the budget.
Muringani said: "There are objections to this supplementary budget and
we have already started telling people to get ready for a boycott of the
"We will (also) petition the government and
boycott paying rates in
order to force the council to engage us in a dialogue on the way forward."
Under the Urban Councils Act, Local
Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo must approve council budgets before they can be implemented.
Chombo last week told local authorities
that he would first check
whether there were objections from residents before approving proposed
The Gweru City Council last
month resolved to defer the supplementary
budget, saying the proposed rate hikes would overburden hard-pressed
most of them seeking re-election next week, told the
finance committee at Town House to find alternative means of raising money.
sources told the Daily News that the council was now apparently
backtracking on its earlier position after the finance committee told it
there was no other way of raising funds to keep the city running except
through rates hikes as proposed in the supplementary budget.
No comment was
available from Town House on the matter. But city
finance committee chairman Michael Gara told the Press last week that the
proposed rates hike was because of the steep rise in the cost of equipment
and other materials required by council.
Negotiations best option for Zimbabwe – survey
JOHANNESBURG – In a special report on the Zimbabwean crisis, the
United States Institute of Peace said the best means of ensuring a peaceful
political transition was a combination of increased international and
domestic pressure on the government.
Washington-based institute said that although the idea of a
national government of unity fell out of favour following the breakdown of
talks between the government and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in April 2002, a poll conducted last year showed that the
majority of Zimbabweans were in favour of this option as a way out of the
Since a unilateral solution to the political deadlock
impracticable, movement towards a transitional government or some form of
power sharing has gained ground, the political think-tank found.
This scenario could include joint parliamentary and
elections, as well as various constitutional amendments curtailing the
powers of an executive presidency and changing electoral laws.
But while media reports exploring this option have
increased, so too
have concerns about transparency and stakeholder participation by civil
remarked that civil society groups were keen to
negotiate their role in the transition process, aiming to ensure that they
are not left out by the government and MDC initiatives.
"Some are arguing that any
mediation efforts and transition dialogue
must formally include representatives of civil society to ensure the talks
move beyond the narrow balance-of-power concerns of ZANU PF and the MDC,"
the report noted.
Human rights groups have also called on the
and United Nations to investigate reports of rights abuses. News reports on
Wednesday said the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum will approach the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights to request it to second a special envoy.
The institute also questioned the
impact of further mass protest
action, saying acts of civil disobedience alone were unlikely to result in
political change given the government’s control of the security apparatus.
"While there is still a
popular view that mass action may be a
necessary condition for continued dialogue, there is perhaps even greater
fear of violent government clampdown – particularly against students, who
are at the forefront of any such action," the report said.
Change from within ZANU PF was more
likely, given overtures last year
by the chief of the armed forces General Vitalis Zvinavashe and Speaker of
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa to the MDC. However, the MDC made public the
overture, which controversially involved early retirement for President
Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa subsequently denied approaching the MDC.
The institute commented that lack of
consensus within ZANU PF could
make inter-party talks less likely and "until the succession battle is
resolved, the anti-Mnangagwa faction has a strong incentive to block talks
mediated by South Africa or other regional powers".
Should change come from within ZANU PF, ruling party
elites would seek
protection from investigations into the acquisition of personal wealth, and
from potential prosecution for human rights violations, the report stated.
Despite recent hints by Mugabe that his
party members should discuss
the succession, the "lack of expressed interest suggests that Mugabe has not
signalled sufficiently to his party members that he will step down any time
In the event of a
president’s resignation or death, the Zimbabwe
constitution requires a fresh poll within 90 days.
The study found that change via military
involvement seemed to have
the support of some within ZANU PF in 2002, and would benefit the current
elites in the country, since such a move was unlikely to bring about
substantive policy change. However, recent events brought into question
whether a military coup would indeed be successful.
Deteriorating conditions of service and real wages
morale and created some degree of resentment and alienation in the lower
levels of the military, but while these conditions were worth considering in
view of a possible military coup, the report downplayed the possibility of
"Divisions between the
command and rank and file would be expressed in
other ways – for example, by lower-ranking soldiers refusing to obey orders
to attack unarmed demonstrators, or stop mass actions," the report said.
report concluded that a negotiated or mediated strategy held the
strongest prospects for breaking the deadlock between the two parties, and
charting non-violent change in Zimbabwe.
Intensify fight against AIDS
REPORTS that Zimbabwe’s national HIV prevalence has dropped in the
past three years should not be viewed unreservedly as an indication that
there is a turning point in the state of the pandemic in the country.
According to Health
Minister David Parirenyatwa, national prevalence
in Zimbabwean adults aged 15-49 years fell from 33 percent in 2000 to 24.6
percent, a drop he attributed to a "multi-sectoral approach" in fighting
"As has been revealed in the survey conducted by the Ministry of
Health, there has been a multi-sectoral approach in fighting HIV and AIDS by
churches, traditional healers and non-governmental organisations, among
other people," the minister said at the launch of a report containing the
All well and good. But at the risk of being
accused of cynicism and
never seeing any good in anything the government does, we must sound a note
We sincerely hope
that these statistics were released in good faith
and not because the ruling ZANU PF wants to score points and gain good
publicity by being seen to be doing something constructive about the
would be extremely reckless – if not criminal – if the government
issued such statistics as a public relations gimmick and not because this is
what a thorough and level-headed analysis indicates is the real situation on
This drop in figures could be the result of many
factors, some of them
technical and completely unrelated to an actual drop in HIV prevalence in
the country. This is something we would want to believe the Ministry of
Health fully realises and took into account before going public with the
results of its survey.
Unfortunately, there are
many who might take such seemingly positive
statistics at face value and gain a false sense of security about HIV
prevalence in Zimbabwe. This is something the government and anti-AIDS
groups should strenuously guard against.
As Parirenyatwa pointed out himself when he launched
HIV and AIDS estimates, more data and further surveys are necessary before
the country can conclude that it has reached a turning point as far as the
AIDS pandemic is concerned.
In addition, the
government and the nation as a whole cannot pat
themselves on the back until Zimbabwe can conclusively say that the rate of
new infections in the country has dropped significantly.
Only such statistics can indicate
that the anti-HIV messages that the
government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been strenuously
disseminating have had an impact.
It is imperative that we do not rest on our laurels
simply because the
results of one survey seem to show that there has been a positive change in
statistics. The nation must continue to be vigilant.
Anti-AIDS activists must continue to bombard
the young, with messages that emphasise responsible sexual behaviour, in a
bid to curb new infections and the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.
It is equally important that the government
and NGOs continue to
pursue policies aimed at assisting people already infected with HIV so that
they can live positively with the virus, as well as those orphans,
care-givers and others who have been indirectly affected by the pandemic.
Failure to adequately address the question of HIV
and care will be disastrous for a country that is already feeling the impact
of a disease that is striking down the most economically active members of
commerce are already being affected through increased
absenteeism, rising medical costs and declining output. Agriculture, the
embattled backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, has not been spared either.
This is a
problem that touches all Zimbabweans alike, and as such, is
a burden that must be embraced by all if the nation is to make any headway
in its fight against the pandemic.
Enough of this endless patience!
I INITIALLy wanted to write about the Freddie Gwala-Paul Matavire
show I attended recently, what a flop it was and my view on why it was such
a flop. However, I find myself unable to write about such trivial matters.
I am deeply frustrated. Angry, really. I am presently
unable to write
about the amazing world of entertainment and what I consider to be the media
’s shortcomings. Somehow, such matters seem to be rather inconsequential
My near-perfect world has been dented.
I am horrified by signs that
this dream world may soon be devastated.
The entertainment world is one that somehow manages
to stay on its
feet in times of hardships, the reasons being that the more people suffer,
the more they need to escape from the harsh realities of life.
It is also rather obvious that the majority of those who
themselves with "surplus" amounts of money for entertainment are getting
this money through alternative means, as opposed to waiting for a monthly
As one who has chosen this field to make
a living, I have been largely
unscathed by the problems that face other people in various professions. I
have also managed, to a great extent, to insist on transferring most
problems to those who hire me, especially in terms of insisting on being
paid in cash.
Whenever I have
had to deal with cheques, I have done my best to look
for people who are "connected" to help me out. However, it has become clear
to me that I cannot be insulated from the harsh reality of the situation
I have said that I am angry and I
really am, I am livid. I am angry
because I recently had to stand in a bank queue for about forty-five minutes
and all I wanted to do was enquire about my bank balance.
Some of you have had to stand in these queues
for longer periods of
time and maybe even on a daily basis in order to pay your rentals and for
groceries etc. You will probably get mad at me thinking that I should not be
complaining about a "mere" forty-five minutes.
The rationale applied here is that I should not
complain because I’m
having it easier than most. Such thinking is as ridiculous as the arguments
put forward by our leaders not so long ago.
Politicians used to say that, though corrupt, our country
off than nations such as Nigeria. They even had the temerity to say that
even though things were bad, we were better off than the likes of Zambia!
Where has that thinking gotten us?
anything new about what I’m about to say, but why do
Zimbabweans believe in the coming of a messiah? A messiah in the form of
Thabo Mbeki or George Bush, for instance? Why do we have this unfounded
optimism that one day, things will just change for the better?
Our government, as we well
know, believes in scapegoats; they believe
in the blame game. It is the fault of the "British- sponsored" MDC, the
weather, the Martians even!
Supposing it is the fault of the British. Suppose it is
who are sabotaging our economy because of the land issue. Did you expect
them to rejoice when the land was taken? Did you not expect them to
retaliate? What contingency plans did you come up with? Rambai makashinga
(remain steadfast)? Is that a plan? During hardships, a nation needs men of
vision who can come up with counter-measures.
How many economic recovery measures have been introduced to no avail?
Was it Tony Blair who sent Minister Made up in a plane so that he could
claim that he had seen that we had enough maize to feed the nation?
neither a politician nor an economist, but I do not need to be
either of these two to see that Zimbabweans are being forced to deviate from
their chosen fields and become "innovative" – innovation being another word
I don’t need to be a politician to see that the
nation has been let
down by its leaders. I, for one, am tired of kushinga (perseverance) without
an end in sight.
I demand a time
frame. I demand to be shown some light at the end of
the tunnel. I demand a shorter tunnel! I demand to know the exact extent of
the country’s problems. What plans are being made to solve these problems
and the time frame. How long is it going to take before we stop queuing for
cash that may or may not come? When are we going to have adequate fuel
supplies? Is it a matter of weeks, months or years?
We Zimbabweans need to change the creed
by which we live. We need to
demand competence and accountability.
Let me give you a sporting example of what I
The Zimbabwe Football Association will eventually have to hold
elections for a chairman. Every candidate must be forced to come up with
concrete plans. He or she cannot just promise to bring change to the running
of football. Let a candidate come up with definite goals, with time frames.
For example, when will Zimbabwe quality for the World Cup finals? When will
our Under-17s go to the World Youth Championships? When a candidate is
elected on the strength of his promises, and he fails to deliver, he should
not have to be told to go, he should simply resign even if it is the fault
of the referees, coaches or even the Zambians! If a candidate is foolish
enough to give unrealistic targets, let him suffer for it. In England,
despite having a star-studded line-up at his disposal, Claudio Ranieri
insists that 2005 is a more realistic target for his Chelsea team to win the
Premier League Championship. Would not it be fair to give him until then to
achieve his goal? Zimbabweans, in general, constantly get this urge to vent
their frustrations, after which they go back to being their docile selves. I
have done my bit of yelling. Next week, in typical Zimbabwean style, I will
be ready to write about the Freddie Gwala show. By Musavengana Nyasha
Musavengana Nyasha is an entertainment consultant.
Supplementary budget to increase inflation
THE $672 billion supplementary budget presented to Parliament by
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa on Thursday will further fuel inflation,
analysts said yesterday, noting that the government seemed to have no
solutions for Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis.
analysts said although Murerwa acknowledged to Parliament that
inflation was the government’s major challenge and laid out the economic
problems facing Zimbabwe, there was no indication in his presentation to the
House that his ministry had any ideas for resolving the crisis.
presentation, Murerwa merely said that inflation was projected
to rise further and that the nation should brace for harder times ahead.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce economist James
Jowa said with
the government failing to provide solutions, the economy was hurtling
towards total collapse.
"We are in a serious problem, things are not working," said Jowa. "The
government is aware of the problems, Murerwa did chronicle (them). But my
concern is that there does not seem to be any solutions."
The analysts said while not proffering
solutions to existing problems,
the Finance Ministry was, however, adding to the crisis through a
supplementary budget that would widen the government’s budget deficit.
Because of the supplementary budget, the
deficit will end this year at
around $301 billion, or 18.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up
from an initial forecast of $230 billion or 11.3 percent of GDP.
Because it is unable to attract foreign direct
investment or financial
aid from multilateral and other donors, the government will be forced to
resort to raising funds from the domestic banking sector and the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the analysts noted.
This will not only crowd out the productive sectors,
manufacturing, which declined 8.6 percent in the first four months of 2003,
but will also push up money supply growth, fuelling inflation.
Inflation increased 399.9 percent in the year to
July, from 364.5
percent the month before, while money supply growth was pegged at 226
percent in April this year.
Zimbabwe business studies lecturer Anthony Hawkins said
if the government was serious about bringing down inflation, it should be
working towards reducing its budget deficit.
Hawkins said with more than 40 percent of
the supplementary budget
being taken up by salaries alone, the economy was still far from recovering
and was probably operating at 1970s levels.
He said: "If inflation is a problem, why increase the
Ultimately, the budget deficit is the biggest source of inflation. It is
difficult to take it (supplementary budget) seriously."
Analysts also warned that below inflation rates
could scupper the
government’s plans to raise $195 billion for the supplementary budget from
The analysts said if the
Treasury was unable to raise the funds, it
would be forced to push the central bank to release more money, putting more
pressure on money supply growth and inflation.
"Because of the negative interest rates,
the Treasury bills might be
rejected and where will they get the money?" said Jowa. "They might ask the
RBZ to print it, which raises money supply and inflation. The vicious cycle
presentation, Murerwa said the "high inflationary spiral" could
only be broken by engaging business and labour under the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF), but analysts said the Zimbabwe crisis was now
beyond the TNF.
The said only an urgent political solution could halt the
The commentators said the
impasse between Zimbabwe’s main political
parties, the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, had added to the crisis.
Resolution of the impasse and the abandonment of
policies that have
alienated Zimbabwe from the international community would enable the country
to mend fences with donors and investors, the analysts added.
This would enable Zimbabwe to attract the crucial
and aid needed to turn the economy around. Independent economic consultant
John Robertson said Zimbabwe had reached a point where a political solution
was the only way out of its crisis. "All the economic challenges we are
talking about need a political solution. This is a disaster," Robertson told
the Business Daily. The analysts noted that a political solution would
restore confidence, which they said was lacking in the economy. In his
presentation to the House on Thursday, Murerwa also noted that restoring
business confidence was crucial to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. He also
noted that the country’s economic decline was heightened by the government’s
failure to timeously implement agreed policies. "Policy reversals and
inconsistent implementation of agreed policies undermine the credibility of
our economic strategies," said Murerwa. "Non-implementation of agreed
policies ultimately destroys confidence in the economy and perpetuates
conditions for an environment of escalating inflationary pressures."
Analysts gave as an example of the government’s failure to follow through on
policies a promise the Finance Ministry made earlier this year to constantly
review its exchange rate policy. When it introduced its export incentive
scheme, under which it devalued the Zimbabwean dollar, the ministry pledged
to review the exchange rate every quarter, but six months later, no review
has been made. As a result, business is now lobbying for a devaluation
because the official rate of $824 against the United States dollar is no
longer viable. The government has also not met most targets it set out in
its latest economic blueprint, the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP),
which it says will turn the economy around. The NERP programme prioritises
the agricultural sector, which the government believes will drive Zimbabwe’s
economic recovery, with tourism, mining and other sectors also contributing
to the turnaround. Murerwa this week said agriculture, which has been
declining since 2000, would recover by 2.3 percent this year, but analysts
said this was over-optimistic. Agricultural output has been adversely
affected by a controversial government land reform programme, under which
the state has taken over most commercial land in what it says is an attempt
to redress colonial imbalances. The analysts said with the shortages of
inputs facing farmers, it was unlikely that agricultural output would pick
up next year. "That is laughable. It’s difficult to take him (Murerwa)
seriously," said Hawkins. "This is the man who claimed that inflation will
be 96 percent by the end of this year." Jowa added: "That is a big lie, that
will not happen. Let’s admit it, we have messed up the land reform (and)
there is no agriculture to talk about." Business Reporter
Laws against cash hoarding stifle growth – economists
LEGISLATION introduced to stamp out the hoarding of cash will
suppress economic growth and business activity by mopping up the cash in
circulation, economists said this week.
government this month introduced regulations making it a criminal
offence for individuals and organisations to be in possession of cash
exceeding $5 million as part of measures aimed at resolving severe money
shortages in Zimbabwe.
State security agents are authorised to seize excess
individuals, traders and businesses.
this week pointed out that cash was crucial for
transactions in the country and making it an offence for businesses to hold
large amounts of money would adversely affect their activity.
"It’s a pity that the
government is working flat out to kill the
widely used payment system without introducing a universally acceptably
alternative," University of Zimbabwe economist Albert Makoche said.
He added that most of the
business transactions conducted in the
country required cash and making it an offense to hold more than $5 million
would suppress the rate at which business was conducted.
Several retailers and company
executives who spoke to the Business
Daily expressed concern at the new law, describing it as a desperate measure
that would "drag the nation backwards".
"We are now tired of these new laws and regulations
government is introducing to cover its failures," said an angry shop owner
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
that it was difficult to operate a retail outlet with less
that $5 million on hand a day given the volume of transactions that had to
The finance manager of a local steel company added:
"We were not
consulted when those limits were created and it is going to work to our
disadvantage since our company needs very huge volumes of cash per day, far
beyond the gazetted limits."
The company executives
and local economists said the government should
come up with comprehensive and sustainable policies instead of relying on
command economy policies that had failed in the past.
They pointed out that government price
and restrictive exchange
controls had worsened Zimbabwe’s economic crisis in the past three years.
Trust Bank Corporation chief economist
David Mupamhadze said: "The
shortage of cash in the country is not directly a result of some people
hoarding cash, but it is a product of the government’s inability to source
enough foreign currency to import the required paper.
"The country is operating in a hyper-inflationary
requires huge volumes of cash to complement the skyrocketing prices in the
He added that the
country must invest funds in the creation of higher
denominations bank notes, instead of trying to control the volume of notes
and coins through unorthodox means.
According to the new regulations, individuals are only
withdraw a maximum of $2 million a day, while traders and parastatals are
limited to aggregate cash withdrawals of up to $4 million.
However, any cash withdrawals exceeding $4 million
forms that must be sent to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for approval.
Economic consultant John Robertson noted: "The limit
traders and other companies is the one which is a bit sad since they conduct
very huge businesses which need high volumes of cash."
He added that inflation was still the major problem that
needed to be
addressed to reduce the volume of cash needed by economic agents for certain
"The government really knows the
root cause of the problem, but the
fact that it is politically unpopular is making it difficult for it to
execute the necessary policies," said Robertson.
The analysts said the legislation limiting cash would only force
traders to come up with ways of getting around the new laws and would do
little to alleviate the cash shortages. Century Holdings economic analyst
Ranga Mandaza pointed out: "Bureaux de change were banned to thwart the
trading of forex on the parallel market, but foreign currency is still being
traded on the parallel market." By Stanley Taderera Business Reporter
Why Mbeki will not tackle Mugabe head-on
It may be necessary to begin by analysing Thabo Mbeki’s infamous
"quiet diplomacy". Briefly summarised, it means doing absolutely nothing
while Zimbabweans and the rest of the world wait. But most of all,
Zimbabweans are persuaded by that false hope not to take President Robert
Mugabe head-on and, thus, perpetuate his misrule.
The longer Mugabe tarnishes his
image internationally, the more
difficult it will be for him to remain the statesman he was, thereby passing
the baton of statesmanship to Mbeki.
Mbeki is being bandied about as a weakling, but he is
tactician who has found salvation in the demise of Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Mugabe and his rocket scientists are priding
having outwitted Mbeki. Little do they know that they are being taken to the
cleaners with no detergents.
Here is the
scenario: South Africa has mammoth problems of poverty,
unemployment and violence, the last of which can be eradicated by tackling
the first two.
Zimbabweans are renowned for their industry. Mugabe and
have played right into Mbeki’s hands. The continued erosion of Zimbabwe’s
economy is inversely the building of South Africa’s economy. The company
closures in Zimbabwe result in most workers relocating to South Africa and,
thus, creating the much-needed employment there.
Have we not observed of late the deafening silence from the Congress
of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) – because they too have been reined
in? COSATU stands to gain from substantive employment created by the demise
of Zimbabwe’s economy.
The continued leadership of Mugabe is
abetting the crippling of
Zimbabwe’s economy, and as long as Mugabe remains in power, Zimbabwe’s
economy is destined to reach critical levels, all of which serve to entrench
the supremacy of South Africa over all the economies of southern and central
Zimbabwe, through the
Southern African Development Community
protocols, will be a sure market of cheap products from South Africa,
joining Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana etc.
The scenario goes further – all erstwhile professionals
will trek down
to South Africa to create solid foundations of entrepreneurship.
It is, therefore, in Mbeki’s favour to
perpetuate Mugabe’s misrule
till he falls dead from old age because any urgent meaningful change of
government will only scuttle his plans to entrench himself as the only
African leader to succeed from where whites left off.
The industries of Zimbabwe abound with stories of shelved
expansion due to the unviable economic environment in the country and for
many, South Africa remains the safe haven for reinvestment with Zimbabwean
skilled personnel. This sad state of events further exacerbates the
inability of Zimbabwe to compete fairly in the economies of the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Angola, thus leaving South Africa unchallenged.
As opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) president Morgan
Tsvangirai aptly put it, and I quote: "Therefore, their current effort (by
Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo) to unilaterally retire the
mandate of the Commonwealth troika, thereby scuttling a multi-lateral effort
to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, must be seen in the context of this broad
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity
Preferential treatment of soldiers, police by banks unwarranted
Please publish my letter in your popular paper, for the sake of the
poor masses of Zimbabwe.
This is an open
letter to the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe. On
behalf of the starving masses, I am seeking clarification on this issue.
shortage of local cash is being experienced across the
country. One has to wake up as early as 3 am to be among the first 200
people in the queue, for which numbered cards are issued to each person on
arrival as a control measure and in order to avoid unruly queue-jumping
On a normal working day, there is usually no cash when banks open at
As soon as it arrives at around 10 am, troops of
policemen and soldiers in camouflage arrive and go straight to the counter
to receive the long-awaited cash, at the expense of those who would have
been in the queue since 3 am.
My question to the
association is: what facts did you take into
consideration when you decided that security agents should receive the
scarce commodity first?
We all have starving families, we all want to go back to
work, we are
all human beings.
The principle of first come,
first serve should be applied to
everyone. If nurses can follow the meandering queue, why can’t these rogue
suffer the consequences together. Please control
Introduction of weekend trains ill-timed and costly
May you allow me to comment through your
paper on the way that the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ ) is operating?
I was shocked recently to learn that there was going
to be another
so-called freedom train during weekends.
not that I am saying there should not be one, but what I am
saying is that with the current difficulties that the parastatal is
experiencing, the timing is just bad.
With the state that the trains are in and the
state of the signals on
the rails, one can never imagine that they can undertake such projects, as
if the "freedom trains" that are there are not straining their resources to
If one boards a
train to Bulawayo at 10 in the evening and arrives at
1 in the afternoon the following day due to stoppages as a result of signal
failure, which has become the order of the day, then I do not see any reason
why they should add more woes to their already strained resources.
The NRZ should
know that they are surviving because of the money they
get from these long trips and not the urban commuter trains. Passengers are
beginning to realise that they can save money when they use a bus as
compared to trains nowadays as they are spending almost 24 hours travelling.
The NRZ is surely crawling, meaning that it is struggling to survive, and
with the introduction of a further burden of Saturday and Sunday trains,
then very soon, ichaita zvekugwesha because of this. Concerned Bulawayo
Mugabe simply punishing NGOs
Your comment on 20 August asked what the government could have in
mind in trying to curtail the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from
President Robert Mugabe has said we must repent. He was
schoolteacher, and what do schoolteachers do to unrepentant children? Punish
them. He knows that donors will not provide food aid under the new
conditions, so he will not be responsible for the mass starvation that
occurs – they will be. In the meantime, he can be rid of the 5.5 million who
do not support him and ZANU PF. The 5.5 million have shown that they will
just roll over and die and not be any threat to him. Once the population is
halved, he will be able to more effectively control the remainder by giving
them all land.
If government’s motives are not that
sinister, then maybe they plan to
transfer wealth to the povo (or themselves) by allowing the maize that has
been donated to be sold – $49 billion at Grain Marketing Board prices or $1
050 billion at the parallel rate.
UN limits 'political' Zimbabwe aid
By Martin Plaut
The United Nations has
instructed local aid agencies in Zimbabwe to
stop distributing food aid in areas where there is government interference.
The UN's World Food Programme, which is currently feeding over three
million people in Zimbabwe, says there can be zero tolerance over political
The instruction was issued after the Zimbabwe government ordered all
emergency food aid to be overseen by local officials.
The WFP has instructed the local aid agencies through which it works
not to provide food if the distribution is controlled by government
This puts it on a collision course with the government of Zimbabwe,
which has told village headmen that they should take charge of the
President Robert Mugabe has been repeatedly accused of using food aid
as a political weapon - restricting help to people with membership cards of
the ruling party.
Later this month Zimbabwe is holding a string of local elections.
With declining support in his rural heartland, observers believe
President Mugabe is determined to use food to increase his share of the
Africa Ministers Urge EU to Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions
— By Manoah Esipisu and Wangui Kanina
DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - The 14-nation southern Africa trade bloc SADC
Saturday urged Western governments to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe while
ministers debated issues from regional conflicts to AIDS.
The ministers were preparing for a SADC summit from August 25-26, which is
expected to sign of a Mutual Defense Pact aimed at curbing civil wars
through strong regional peace enforcement.
Officials Saturday urged lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe, imposed by the
European Union and Australia after the controversial 2002 re-election of
President Robert Mugabe.
Earlier this year a planned summit of EU and leaders of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) was scrapped over the issue.
"Sanctions on Zimbabwe are hurting the people of Zimbabwe and should be
lifted," said SADC's executive secretary and CEO Prega Ramsamy.
SADC officials said because of the embargo, Denmark and Britain had
withdrawn financial support for a SADC peacekeeping center managed by
Zimbabwe and the United States refused to fund any projects in which
Zimbabwe was involved.
It said the U.S. had also refused to attend a U.S.-SADC forum on trade and
investment planned for Malawi if Zimbabwe participated.
SADC said ministers would seek a way to raise funds without reliance on key
U.S. and EU donors.
Zimbabwe and the crisis in Swaziland, where the continent's last absolute
monarch refuses to allow opposition parties and concerns of human rights
violations are rising, will be discussed by SADC ministers who started talks
Ministers will try to agree an action plan to tackle AIDS -- which seriously
threatens development in the region, where an estimated 14 million people
South Africa has the world's highest caseload with 4.7 million people
infected with HIV or AIDS. The disease affects around 40 percent of adults
in Swaziland and 35 percent in Botswana. One in five adults in Zimbabwe and
Zambia are infected with HIV or have full-blown AIDS.
HEROIN, CANNABIS ALSO A THREAT
The risk of HIV infection is exacerbated by drug abuse, SADC said, which
also increased poverty, and ministers will agree a plan for tackling the
region's drug-related problems.
"Treatment demand for heroin abuse was particularly high in Mauritius,
Mozambique and ... South Africa," SADC said, adding drug abuse in the region
spanned cannabis to heroin.
A Sunday mini-summit of eastern African leaders expected to approve a peace
deal in troubled Burundi was put back because the Bujumbura government and
the main rebel CNDD-FDD group had not reached agreement on power-sharing,
The gathering is now planned for later next week.
The Southern African leaders will also agree a position ahead of next
month's World Trade Organization talks in Mexico. Many fear Washington and
Europe will not budge on farm subsidies and say the WTO talks are doomed to
SADC comprises South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Angola,
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of
Congo, Mozambique and Malawi.
Sunday Nation, Kenya
Sunday, August 24, 2003
MUTAHI NGUNYI / Insight
The horrors of having an executive PM
This is a letter to the delegates attending Bomas II. It is my hope that you
have now settled and that they are paying your allowances on time.
The draft you are discussing is an "angry" document. Worse still, it is
incompetently written. From the way you treated Mrs Wambui Otieno-Mbugua
this week, the mood of the conference is also angry. Most of you are
frustrated, irritable and anxious. And with 25 days to go, I am afraid you
might end up giving us a ‘protest constitution’. That through a protest
vote, you might create the position of Executive Prime Minister.
For the last five months, I have been an advocate of this position. This
week, however, I would want to deconstruct my own argument. I would
therefore want to invite you to consider the following with me. From the
1960s, the idea of an Executive Prime Minister has been tried in most
African countries. However, not a single country south of the Sahara, north
of the Limpopo has retained the system. And the reason is simple: this model
failed. History shows that in the 1960s, 19 military coups occurred in
Africa. Of these, 10 were caused by tensions arising from the model.
Those that adopted the model later suffered the power struggles associated
with it. In Zimbabwe for instance, Robert Mugabe came to power as the
Executive Prime Minister in 1980. He then appointed Rev Cannon Banana the
President. As Head of State, President Banana’s job was to sit pretty and
inspire the peasants of Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe was ultimately unhappy with him
and one morning he woke up and "fired" him.
My question to you is: do you envisage a situation in which Mr Raila Odinga
becomes the Executive Prime Minister and then he is required to appoint Mr
Mwai Kibaki the President? If we roll out this model the Zimbabwe way, Mr
Odinga will appoint Mr Kibaki. And what is more: it will be his turn to
implement the ‘MoU’.
In my view, we must caution you. You should not create this position out of
anger. Similarly, you should not create it as a protest against NAK. And if
you decide to do it, you must realise that you would be voting for a
protracted political struggle. Constitutional historians tell us that the
turmoil in Uganda began when the then Executive Prime Minister, Mr Milton
Obote, staged a ‘palace coup’ against ‘President’ Kabaka Mutesa in 1966.
Similarly, the beginning of military coups in Nigeria has its roots in the
struggle between President Nnamdi Azikiwe and his Executive Prime Minister.
In fact, this 1964 crisis shook the very fabric of Nigeria’s politics: it
inflicted a wound from which the Republic has never recovered. My question
to you, therefore, is: are you ready to gamble with what we have? And after
all, is the non-executive PM job that bad, anyway?
Let us move to the present now. And let us assume that Bomas II has
concluded its deliberations and the position of Executive Prime Minister is
created. Let us go further and assume that this position is given to Mr
Odinga within the next six or so months. What would the implications be?
For starters, Mr Odinga would be Head of Government and President Kibaki
would be Head of State. What this means is that Mr Odinga would act as the
‘creator’ and chairman of the Cabinet. No, let us pose this differently. As
Head of Government, he would appoint the Cabinet of his choice. This is what
the Ghai draft constitution says in Chapter Eight. And the implication of
this is that he would have to fire the Kibaki Cabinet and appoint a new one.
Put graphically, he would have to fire Finance minister David Mwiraria,
National Security minister Chris Murungaru, Local Government minister Karisa
Maitha and everyone else in the Cabinet. The choice of re-appointing them
would be his.
As Head of Government, he would also have the discretion of firing all
parastatal heads and appointing new ones. And although the Head of State
would be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Prime Minister
would share in some of his responsibilities. In fact, he would run the
operations of the forces and the Commander-in-Chief would only be used to
rubber stamp Cabinet decisions. In sum, this is what it means to create the
position of an executive Prime Minister. And some of these are the
implications delegates must ponder.
With these implications in mind, let us attempt to analyse one of the
intriguing political circuits of the week. This is the one tying Mr Odinga
to Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Odinga to Simeon Nyachae, and Mr Nyachae to former
President Daniel Moi. Let us begin by asking a question here. Why should Mr
Kenyatta and Mr Nyachae form an alliance with Mr Odinga? After all Mr Odinga
destroyed Mr Kenyatta's chances of becoming president, what would make the
two men hug with such passion? Of course Mr Odinga tells us that there is
nothing in the offing. And I suggest that we do not believe him.
My hypothesis is as follows: if Mr Odinga becomes the executive Prime
Minister, he is likely to form a completely new Cabinet. He is likely to
argue that the country needs ‘healing’ from the wounds inflicted by Bomas
II. As such, he would put up a compelling argument for a Government of
This would allow him to bring in non-Narc MPs into the Cabinet. And in my
view, this is the only reason why Ford-People and Kanu would support his
But there is another possible bargain involving Mr Moi here. If he supports
the creation of a new government through a Prime Minister, Mr Odinga would
guarantee immunity from harassment and possible prosecution. This immunity
would also extend to Mr Moi’s closest allies. The politicians are bound to
rubbish this hypothesis. And in my view, they should. However, the question
I would want to ask you and any thinking Kenyan is: does this analysis fall
within the realm of possibility?
And now let us turn to NAK and its underdog position at Bomas II. Given
their understanding of investments, I would want to repeat a short business
story I told you in March.
When Coca Cola discovered that Pepsi Cola was eating into their market
share, they had to devise a strategy. Their new CEO was not convinced that
fighting Pepsi Cola was an optimal choice. He therefore asked this question:
when people are thirsty, what else do they drink apart from Coke and Pepsi?
And to this, his ‘think tank’ told him that they drink coffee, water,
lemonade and other beverages. Inspired by this answer, he declared that
Pepsi was not the problem.
These alternatives were the problem. From here on he decided to place a Coca
Cola dispensing machine in every available corner. The idea was to make a
Coca Cola drink available at an arms length to whoever was thirsty.
Instead of eating into the Pepsi market, he increased the Coke market share
by competing with coffee, water and lemonade. In other words, Coca Cola
opted not to compete with the opponent. The company chose to compete with
the prevailing situation.
NAK should do likewise. Instead of competing with Mr Odinga, they should
compete with the emerging situation. And on this, they probably have no
Mr Ngunyi is a political scientist with ConsultAfrika, a research and
Talks if success is certain
23/08/2003 22:29 - (SA)
Harare - A Zimbabwean government minister said on Saturday
Zanu-PF party will not be rushed into talks with the opposition Movement of
Democratic Change (MDC) unless the talks successfully end the country's
political and economic woes.
Pressure has been mounting in recent months on the country's largest
political parties to meet to iron out the political and economic problems
bedevilling the country.
"Talk we must eventually and when we do, a successful conclusion should be
guaranteed," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as saying on
state television on Saturday.
"Because of the importance of the matter, nothing should be hurried or
rushed. We should never be stampeded into these talks if there is danger
that success will not be guaranteed," he said to journalists at a
UN-organised media seminar in the northern resort town of Kariba.
The proposed talks which broke down last year are expected to find ways of
pulling the southern African country out of dire economic straits and a
months-long political stalemate over the disputed presidential election of
Last year's talks had been brokered by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki
and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.
Local church leaders last month launched fresh efforts to persuade President
Robert Mugabe's party and the MDC to resume the talks.
Talks between Mugabe's camp and the MDC, headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, ended
in deadlock last year after both sides managed only to draft an agenda of a
The MDC has said it has taken "risky" actions to facilitate dialogue with
the country's governing party. It has dropped, from its proposed agenda, one
of the key and contentious issues that led to the breakdown of last year's
talks -- Mugabe's legitimacy.
But Mugabe last week put a damper on the prospects of the resumption of the
talks when he said the MDC needs to "repent" before any inter-party dialogue
"Those who seek unity must not be enemies...there cannot be unity with
enemies of the people," Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) has accused the
MDC of being a front of the Western nations that are against Mugabe's
controversial land reform scheme of taking land from whites giving it to
"MDC should not seek to go into dialogue with their hidden agenda to achieve
an imposed solution or to achieve what it failed to achieve through
attempted assassination, stayaways, rolling mass actions," Chinamasa added.
RBZ urged to adopt tougher measures on cash crisis
24 August 2003
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been urged to adopt tougher measures to
address the cash crisis.
The call was made by the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee
on budget, finance, parastatals and economic development Cde David Chapfika.
In an interview with Newsnet, Cde Chapfika said the cash crisis would
continue as long as the economy is characterised by shortages of
He said these are created by saboteurs of the economy being used by western
Cde Chapfika commended the stance taken by government to address the
Police have launched an operation code named 'Ndarama Sure' aimed at netting
foreign and local currency dealers.
To date more than $400 million has been impounded by the police.
Under statutory instrument 171 of 2003, the hoarding of and trading in cash
has been outlawed.