By Peta Thornycroft
04 August 2008
Although the deadline for completion of negotiations between Zimbabwe's two
main political parties has been reached, the talks are continuing in South
Africa's capital, Pretoria. Peta Thornycroft reports that the Movement for
Democratic Change, which won March parliamentary elections, says the talks
deadline with the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe is flexible.
Insiders close to the Zimbabwe talks believe there could be a power-sharing
agreement on the table by Friday.
The negotiations paused last week as negotiators reported back to party
principals. The talks mediator, South African President Thabo Mbeki, has
insisted negotiations be conducted in secret and many people in rural
Zimbabwe do not even know talks about their future are under way.
There appears to be some consensus emerging in public statements from both
ZANU-PF negotiators and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that President Robert
Mugabe will have a role to play in whatever emerges from the negotiations.
The MDC, which won the March parliamentary elections, says it wants a
short-lived transitional authority, which it would control, to emerge from
negotiations. The authority would produce a new constitution leading to
fresh elections within about two years.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who received the most votes in the March presidential
election, says Mr. Mugabe should have an honorable exit from power, which he
has held since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.
But Mr. Mugabe, the sole candidate in a discredited run-off election, has
been sworn in for a further five years in power. His ZANU-PF is calling for
lifting of western sanctions, which are mostly visa bans against individual
ZANU-PF leaders and a few that restrict western citizens from doing business
with some ZANU-PF businesses.
ZANU-PF set lifting of sanctions as a prime reason for going into
negotiations with the MDC.
But western diplomatic sources in Harare say Washington and the European
Union remain resolute that targeted sanctions against ZANU-PF will only be
lifted if the talks lead to a power-sharing agreement that reflects the will
of the people as expressed in elections on March 29.
Zimbabwe has been without a government since parliament was dissolved the
evening before the elections. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans suffer with little food
available, collapsed social services, and a chaotic financial system that
has produced annual inflation of at least 2.2 million percent.
Mon Aug 4, 11:49 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Zimbabwe's rival parties were likely to miss Monday's
deadline to conclude power-sharing talks, a South African official said, as
the two sides met for negotiations over the country's crisis.
Discussions would likely stretch several days beyond the two-week deadline
set by Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition, said Mukoni Ratshitanga,
spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has mediated the
"The talks were on today (Monday) after they resumed on Sunday," he said.
"We should take note of the fact that the parties took five days off last
week to discuss with their principals. So, logically there is no way they
will meet their original deadline if you take that into consideration."
Talks resumed in a secret location in South Africa on Sunday after a nearly
week-long pause to allow negotiators to return home and consult with their
The discussions broke up Tuesday amid suggestions from the opposition that
the two sides were deadlocked in their bid to resolve the crisis that
intensified after President Robert Mugabe's one-man election in June.
Mugabe, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and the head of an MDC splinter branch, Arthur Mutambara, agreed
on July 21 to a framework for negotiations, including the two-week deadline.
Tsvangirai has also signaled the talks would extend beyond Monday, saying
last week the timeframe was "not inflexible".
Mbeki, who has faced heavy criticism in the past over accusations of
treating the Zimbabwe president with kid gloves, flew to Harare for talks
with Mugabe after the adjournment last week and also met Tsvangirai in
The Star newspaper in South Africa reported Monday that Mbeki was to return
to Zimbabwe for meetings with the two leaders this week, but Ratshitanga
said he was not aware of it.
Tsvangirai finished ahead of Mugabe in the March first round of the
presidential election, but boycotted the run-off, citing rising violence
against his supporters that left dozens dead and thousands injured.
He announced his withdrawal five days ahead of the June 27 poll, and Mugabe
pushed ahead with the vote despite widespread calls to postpone it, handing
himself a sixth term as president.
Tsvangirai believes his first-round total gives him the right to the lion's
share of power, but sources in his party said recently Mugabe's negotiators
had so far only offered him one of several vice presidential posts.
August 04, 2008, 18:15
President Thabo Mbeki has stressed that he remains optimistic that the
Zimbabwean talks are on track. He was speaking in an interview with SABC
News during his Imbizo in the south-eastern Free State.
Zimbabwe's rival parties resumed power-sharing talks near at a location near
Pretoria yesterday, a day ahead of the expiry of a deadline to conclude
discussions to end a political crisis. The talks are aimed at resolving the
crisis, which intensified after President Robert Mugabe's controversial
re-election. SADC leaders have mandated Mbeki to mediate in the crisis.
Mbeki who is being assisted by officials from the United Nations, the
African Union and SADC, says all is going according to plan.
The SADC,AU,UN reference group and mediator Thabo Mbeki felt that on top of the political representation to the talks the Joint Operations Command is seen as unifying the security forces, which some say has become the real power in the land as government structures collapsed and any deal has to be endorsed by the five member team.
The Joint Operations Command (JOC) is effectively believed be in day-to-day charge of Zimbabwe’s government.
JOC comprises Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the overall military chief; Augustine Chihuri, the national police commissioner, and Gen Paradzai Zimondi, the commander of the prison service. Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the commander of the air force, who masterminded a brutal military campaign Gukurahundi in the 1983.
Happyton Bonyongwe the director general of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). He is a retired Brigadier in the Zimbabwe National Army.
It is chaired by Emmerson Mnangagwa,ZANU PF- Chirumanzi–Zibagwe., reputedly the country’s richest man, earning a fortune on investments in Congo ,Malayisia and China. Mnangagwa was a few years ago director the Central Intelligence Organization, during the Gukurahundi massacre.
August 4, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Power-sharing talks between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change resumed in earnest Monday, with the MDC set to demand an executive
leadership position and key ministerial positions.Sources close to the
discussions, which adjourned last Tuesday for delegates to consult with
their respective principals, said the two parties were now ready for a
negotiated settlement to break the political impasse as they had managed to
clear obstacles to dialogue, including President Mugabe's insistence on
retaining his presidential post.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorities to
discuss proceedings at the talks with the media. In its position paper which
was seen by The Zimbabwe Times, the MDC listed constitutional reform,
restoration of economic stability, political liberties and law and order,
cessation of political prosecutions, torture and a lifting of the ban on
food relief as key agenda issues.
The Zimbabwe Times was informed that the sticky issue of Mugabe's legitimacy
that stalled the talks last week had been "thoroughly discussed".
The MDC was set to accept a deal that leaves president Robert Mugabe as head
of State, while demanding key ministries such as Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Finance.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which has become increasingly autonomous and
authoritarian has become a key factor.
The MDC will also demand an executive Prime Ministerial post for its leader
Morgan Tsvangirai while Mugabe would be retained as a titular head of State,
a hard sell, by the MDC's own admission.
If the proposal for Mugabe to remain President, but in a non-executive
capacity, hits a brick wall, the MDC would be willing to back down and
retain Mugabe as executive president, as long as it assumes control of the
key ministries it is demanding.
The party would accept nothing short of an executive Prime Ministerial post
for Tsvangirai, a senior MDC source said, pointing out that the
power-sharing arrangement envisaged by the party would be fashioned along
the French dual executive model.
"I need to emphasize that this would be our Plan B," said the source. "Of
course our preferred position is a transitional authority headed by
President Tsvangirai to hold free and fair presidential elections within the
next 18 months. It's just on paper but we are acutely aware of the
resistance we will face."
Zanu-PF is adamant that Mugabe must be recognised as President as part of
any deal, basing this on his pyrrhic victory from a one-man June 27
presidential election which Tsvangirai boycotted.
Sources in diplomatic circles said South Africa President Thabo Mbeki and
other regional leaders were keen that the talks are concluded before the
August 16 SADC heads of State and government summit in Midrand, South
Africa, to ensure that regional leaders underwrite at the summit whatever
deal emerges from the talks. The deal would then be used as basis to
approach the United States and other donor countries to provide a
A special summit of heads of State and Government of the SADC troika on
Politics, Defence and Security that had been scheduled to meet on August 1,
in Luanda, Angola, to discuss the Zimbabwe inter-party talks was postponed
indefinitely to give the parties more time.
It is understood the agenda for the second round of the Zimbabwean talks has
remained largely unchanged from the one agreed at the signing of the
Memorandum of Understanding on July 21 in Harare.
Mbeki has fully briefed all the principals about progress so far, having met
Tsvangirai in South Africa on July 29 and then visited Harare on July 30 to
brief Mugabe and the leader of the breakaway MDC faction, Prof Arthur
Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said Sunday that the August 4 deadline
had to be extended taking into view that the negotiators took a four- or
five-day break to go and consult.
The MoU states that "it is envisaged that the dialogue will be completed
within a period of two weeks from the date of signing of the MoU (August
4)." It, however, also states that the dialogue "will continue until the
parties have finalised all necessary matters save for short breaks that may
be agreed upon for purposes of consultation".
The Zimbabwe Times was informed that in the current round of talks, the item
on the Constitution would take centre stage as the two parties regard it as
offering a way out of the current deadlock.
By Lance Guma
04 August 2008
South Africa's Star newspaper claims that Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert
Mugabe will this week begin a series of face to face meetings, aimed at
swiftly concluding power sharing talks. The newspaper, quoting a Zanu PF
official, says South African President Thabo Mbeki will travel to Harare
this week to meet Mugabe and Tsvangirai. There is speculation the process
has reached deadlock over who will lead a proposed unity government and
Mbeki will sit through meetings between the two men to ensure the impasse is
resolved. 'Until a settlement is agreed, Mugabe and Tsvangirai will meet
weekly and hammer out any obstacles. They will then brief their mediators on
the subsequent steps to be followed,' The Star reported.
Last week negotiations broke off amid official claims the negotiators needed
time to consult their party leaders. Sources privy to the negotiations
however told Newsreel Zanu PF was refusing to budge on the issue of Mugabe
stepping down, insisting he should lead the next government. With a cloud of
secrecy hanging over the talks the only clear thing is that the process will
not meet its original 2 week deadline as set out in the Memorandum of
Understanding signed by all the parties. The talks resumed on Sunday and
right through Monday were still ongoing. Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni
Ratshitanga told journalists the parties had taken five days off last week
to discuss issues with their principals. 'So, logically there is no way they
will meet their original deadline if you take that into consideration,' he
Later this month Mbeki will assume the Presidency of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) and commentators say it is in his interest to
try and resolve the crisis before that time. He is facilitating the talks on
behalf of SADC and would be greatly compromised if, as President of the
grouping, he has to supervise his own work.
Meanwhile the Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe has
urged MDC and Zanu PF negotiators to ensure the concerns and will of the
people of Zimbabwe form the basis of any settlement. In a petition to
Botswana President Ian Khama the group demanded that political violence,
intimidation and other violations of human rights should stop during the
negotiations. They also added to concerns about the exclusion of civil
society groups from the process arguing this might lead to issues affecting
ordinary people being ignored. The group also slammed the idea of a
Government of National Unity saying it was simply a quick-fix solution that
has proved unsustainable in the long run.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
ANGUS SHAW ASSOCIATED PRESS
Originally published 11:07 a.m., August 4, 2008, updated 10:57 a.m., August
HARARE, ZIMBABWE (AP) - Armed robberies have surged to a record high in the
Zimbabwe capital, state radio reported Monday, saying the spike was due to
an amnesty that freed dozens of convicted criminals to make space for
It said police were launching a crackdown on gun crime after robbers stole
cars at gunpoint and used firearms in burglarizing houses to steal
valuables, televisions, electronic goods and cash.
State radio said at least four cases of armed robbery were reported daily in
Harare in the past two weeks, the highest on record. It said "unrepentant
criminals" were set free during an amnesty authorized by President Robert
Mugabe to make room for those who committed political violence surrounding a
disputed presidential runoff election in June.
Up to now, gun crime has not been common in Harare. Government critics,
however, believe that crime is being spurred by the deepening political and
economic turmoil in the southern African nation.
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has led to brisk illegal black market trading
and growing use of U.S. dollars in basic transactions. With chronic
shortages of local cash available at banks, cash and hard currency are often
kept at home.
The central bank slashed 10 zeros Friday from the local currency in
Zimbabwe's hyperinflationary economy. Independent financial experts estimate
Zimbabwe's real inflation at more than 12.5 million percent a year _ the
highest in the world _ fueled by acute shortages of food, power, gasoline
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says at least 120 of its
supporters were killed in political violence blamed on Mugabe supporters
surrounding parliamentary elections March 29 and the disputed June 27
Thousands more were displaced from their homes and hundreds of opposition
supporters were jailed for allegedly perpetrating political violence.
On June 10, Mugabe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a prisoner
amnesty to "create space" in the nation's jails for political offenders. He
said prisoners convicted of murder, rape and other serious offenses would
not be freed.
Also Monday, police in Harare said they were investigating a bombing
Saturday at the central downtown police station. The explosive device
damaged offices of the Criminal Investigation Department and the police
Homicide Section. Two unexploded devices were also found at the scene,
according to police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
No one was hurt in the explosion.
By Robert Tshuma-Financial Editor ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ August 4, 2008 ⋅
Jubilation over the scrapping of Zeros and introduction of a re denominated
currency by the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe last week could be over as
retailers have started to rejected any coins below 50 cent.
Retailers fear the zeros might be back as soon as next month as prices have
shot up astronomically within less than a fort night and are avoiding being
stuck with useless coins.
A two-litre bottle of cooking oil went up to $120 in new currency, which is
$1,2 trillion in old currency. A two-kilogramme packet of sugar is now
selling at an average of $50 from $25, a loaf of bread is now $25, $250
billion in old currency from an average of $15.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s central bank chief,Gideon Gono has already urged
a six-month price and salary freeze in a bid to rein in runaway inflation.
“As such, there is need for a universal moratorium on all incomes and prices
for a minimum period of six months,” said Gono.
President Robert Mugabe threatened a state of emergency during Gono’s
monetary policy statement.
“Entrepreneurs across the board, don’t drive us further,” Mugabe warned in a
nationally televised address after the currency announcement. “If you drive
us even more, we will impose emergency measures. … They can be tough rules.”,
Past measures to control prices have always backfired.
Contact Robert at finance[@]zimbabwemetro.com
SW Radio Africa (London)
4 August 2008
Posted to the web 4 August 2008
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been accused of creating confusion with the
chaotic new currency system that it implemented last Friday. Two currencies
are now useable at the same time, creating a nightmare for those in the
businesses sector and making it complex for the consumer.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono slashed 10 zeros off the currency on Friday and
re-introduced the old coin system. The 'new' currency will run side by side
with the family of bearer cheques until the end of this year. Daily cash
withdrawal limits were also increased from Z$100 billion to Z$2 trillion,
now re-valued to Z$200.
But although the daily withdrawal limits have been increased to help
consumers access more of their own money to cope with the hyper inflation,
some building societies have reportedly increased the minimum balance that
you need to hold in your account to Z$5 trillion, now Z$500 re-valued. Our
Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said Beverley and CABS have done this,
making it impossible for many workers to access their own money, as most
people earn below the Z$5trillion mark. The other confusing aspect is - if
you don't have Z$5 trillion to keep in your account, are the building
societies forcing you to close your account?
Muchemwa said: "Z$5 trillion is a lot of money and a lot of people over the
weekend were actually busy trying to convert their accounts to other
accounts, which would require less minimum balances."
While the re-introduction of the old coins have brought some immediate cash
relief for those who had held on to their previously unusable coins, the MDC
says the measures are a desperate attempt by the RBZ to cure the symptoms
rather than the root cause of the economic crisis.
Elton Mangoma, the MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs, said in a statement:
"The announcement that old coins are coming back into circulation will
benefit people who do not have a banking culture, which will send a wrong
signal to the market at a time when confidence building should be a top
priority to the central bank."
Mangoma, who is one of the main negotiators for the Tsvangirai MDC at the
talks, said the central bank should know how much money is in circulation
and forcing people to scrounge around trying to find their old money makes
it impossible to know how much is on the market. This will further push up
inflation. Analysts predict inflation is currently running at more than 15
The MDC officials say the only way out of this mess is to address the crisis
of governance and legitimacy.
August 2008 (IRIN) - Attempts to tame Zimbabwe's multimillion percent annual
inflation rate had an inauspicious beginning on 1 August when banks turned
customers away after running out of cash.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono sees the introduction of a new currency that will lop off ten zeroes from the old currency, effectively revaluing Z$10 billion to one Zimbabwe dollar, as the solution to the country's hyperinflation.
On 4 August, US$1 was equivalent to Z$75 on the parallel currency exchange market. The largest denomination of the new currency is Z$500 (US$6.60).
The new attempt to curb inflation - estimated at 2.2 million percent by the government and at more than 15 million percent by independent economists - was announced in Gono's half-yearly monetary policy statement on 30 July and implemented two days later.
He said the new notes, along with the bearer and agro cheques being used as currency, would remain in circulation until 31 December. He recommended that wage and salary increments be frozen for six months.
"The six-month moratorium is suggested here as the most credible foundation and seed for the retransformation of market trends and micro-level pricing behaviour into stable and predictable modes," he said.
President Robert Mugabe, 84, who attended the monetary policy presentation, threatened to impose a state of emergency if the business sector continued to adjust its prices in line with the hyperinflationary environment.
"We have the power to invoke further measures, but we do not want to use the emergency rules. Emergency measures can be taken but we do not want that yet. We can do that to deter unjustified price increases," said the president, who has ruled for 28 years.
A bank manager, who declined to be identified, told IRIN that they had not received the new notes. "Our only problem is that the maximum withdrawals have been increased to Z$2 trillion (US$200) per customer per day, and as a result we have run out of cash. The Reserve Bank has not given us any additional supplies of money." Delivery vans were parked outside the central bank, waiting to transfer the new currency to rural areas.
The printing money habit
The notes were manufactured in 2007 by a German company, but additional trade restrictions imposed after Zimbabwe's elections in March were dismissed as a sham by the European Union, led paper suppliers Giesecke & Devrient cancel their contract.
The decision put pressure on an Austria-based company, Jura JSP, which provides the specialised software used to print forgery-proof bank notes, to review its business relationship with Mugabe's government.
The EU has frozen bank accounts and slapped travel restrictions on Zimbabwe's ruling elite in protest against the government's human rights violations.
The main causer of
hyperinflation is Gideon Gono, who is printing money, which is being used for
handouts and is being given to political thugs to beat up people
Independent economist Tony Hawkins dismissed Gono's latest strategy as little more than posturing. "What monetary policy? That was a political statement that was made. The nonsense about Zimbabwe being under sanctions was not monetary. There were a few currency changes, but that is where it ends. Freezing wages is not going to end hyperinflation," he told IRIN.
"The main causer of hyperinflation is Gideon Gono, who is printing money, which is being used for handouts and is being given to political thugs to beat up people."
Hawkins said unless there was a political settlement, the zeroes would be back on the currency in a few months. "We are looking at a situation whereby the (US) dollarisation of the economy is going to increase, because our own money would have become worthless."
The ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change are engaged in negotiations, but no settlement has been reached.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
August 2008 (IRIN) - Attempts to tame Zimbabwe's multimillion percent annual
inflation rate had an inauspicious beginning on 1 August when banks turned
customers away after running out of cash.
By Alex Bell
04 August 2008
Botswana government officials reiterated over the weekend that the country
would boycott the upcoming SADC summit taking place in South Africa, if
Robert Mugabe is invited as a head of state.
SADC member states are reportedly split on whether to allow Mugabe to attend
next week's summit, but Botswana has taken the lead by renewing its call for
other members not to recognise Mugabe as a legitimate leader.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister, Phandu Skelemani,
said in an interview over the weekend that Mugabe should not be invited to
attend the summit. But he added that Botswana's leaders would be willing to
accept Mugabe and meet with him at the summit if the MDC and ZANU-PF come to
an agreement that sees Mugabe emerge as a legitimate leader. He said the
country will "boycott the forthcoming SADC summit if we feel the democratic
process of setting up a new Zimbabwean government was questionable".
Mugabe is likely to be invited to next week's summit if the negotiations
continue with no result, as he is regarded as the country's leader after the
June 27 run-off poll saw him snatch victory in the one-man contest. His
invitation will also likely rest with long time supporter South African
President Thabo Mbeki, who is set to assume the presidency of SADC later
this month, and it is doubtful that he will refuse Mugabe, regardless of
Botswana has been one of Mugabe's toughest critics and has made repeated
calls for fellow African leaders to refuse to recognise the dictator's
regime. It has also called for the Zimbabwean government to be suspended as
a SADC member state until a legitimate leader is in place.
According to government sources late last year, Botswana plays host to an
estimated 250 000 Zimbabweans - a number that was growing as conditions
under Mugabe's regime went from bad to worse. The flood of exiles has seen
the Botswana government make an appeal for international help, saying the
number of Zimbabwean refugees is draining the country's resources.
Meanwhile Zimbabweans held a march in Gabarone on Saturday, urging the
Southern African region to make it possible for them to return home. They
called for SADC leaders to put pressure on the negotiating members of
ZANU-PF and the two factions of the MDC, currently meeting in South Africa,
to agree on a transitional authority rather than a power sharing deal.
Simbarashe Chirimubwe from the Global Zimbabwe Forum based in Botswana told
Newsreel on Monday the situation is desperate and the country is "strained
by Zimbabweans". He said Zimbabweans are demanding "urgency in the talks"
for the crisis to be resolved and added that many Zimbabweans feel they have
"overstayed their welcome".
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
CFU Annual Congress, 04.08.2008
Comments from Ambassador Xavier Marchal
Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Zimbabwe.
It is the third time that I am honoured by addressing your annual Congress.
Indeed a tradition now, going with the deep commitment of the European
Commission towards land and agriculture in Zimbabwe, ever since we opened a
delegation in Harare back in 1981.
After all, agriculture is one of the three main vertebras of the economic
spinal cord of Zimbabwe, together with natural resources and mining. It has
significantly contributed to making Zimbabwe what it was. And it can again
rapidly become the engine of its recovery.
More importantly perhaps, and unnecessarily in my belief, land as also
always been at the core of the tensions that have prevented this country
from gaining full benefit from its potentialities, instead bringing it to
its knees. It is again the case today, while Zimbabweans are trying to work
out a solution to the major political crisis affecting them.
This is why it is so important for me to be here today. And the timing for
this Congress could not have been better.
From the angle of this Congress, I call on Zimbabweans to reach an Agreement
which is legitimate, which is respecting rather than violating again the
will of the Zimbabwean people, and which can be endorsed by the European
A few comments on the past and on the present
Before I focus on the future, let me bring forward a few facts, and
thoughts, as regards past and present.
Agriculture has collapsed. This year's harvest of the key crops has been
catastrophic. The "mother of all agricultural season" has miscarried. I will
spare you the figures.
In the past months, rural communities have faced extreme political violence,
with their dignity violated, and their assets destroyed. Commercial farmers
have been brutalised, their farms grabbed for the wrong reasons. The whole
land has been deeply aggressed.
Zimbabwe is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, with extremely poor
prospects for the next agricultural season. Yet as we speak, partners
involved in key food aid and food security activities can still not operate
properly, and I call again on Government to immediately and totally lift
restrictions imposed on them.
I mentioned both small and commercial farmers. This is because the European
Commission feels that the strength of agriculture in Zimbabwe relies
precisely on their complementarities, even their symbiotic relationship.
Small communal farmers need commercial farmers for technical and economic
reasons; commercial farmers need small farmers for socio-political reasons.
And Zimbabwe needs both.
The Commission, as most here know, has remained ready to engage with
Zimbabwe on land and agriculture, on a "give and take" basis. But without a
"give", there cannot be a "take".
However, in the meantime we have continued to address food insecurity, and
provided a staggering amount of 370 million euros since 2002. This is a
shocking figure, mostly aimed at handouts. It is quantitative rather than
We are also proceeding with supporting rural populations, through various
projects aimed at building food security, through UN agencies and Non
Government Organisations. This includes a programme to support small scale
irrigation. Total amount here is around 45 million euros.
To that, we can add an amount of 15 million euros in emergency food aid
earmarked for the coming months, to address the humanitarian crisis. Again,
these are handouts, however necessary they are. If more is needed, we will
try to respond.
What the future could be
When and if normality and legitimacy are re-established in Zimbabwe as a
result of a fair political Agreement, endorsed by the European Union, then I
believe that we could quickly move back to a businesslike relationship on
land and agriculture.
One of the first telephone calls of the new Minister of Agriculture could be
to the European Commission, aimed at serious business.
We could then quickly move towards implementing the 10th European
Development Fund, of which one of the two focal sectors is focused on land,
agriculture, food security, and environment. The amount to be dedicated to
this would be around 50 million euros.
Before that, we could finally implement my coffee initiative, aimed at
turning around the coffee industry, which today is moribund with a
disgraceful 500 tons yearly coming from 10 thousands tons in 2002. Little
money needed here, and the plan is still in my drawer.
Zimbabwe could take full advantage of an EC funded Sugar Adaptation
Strategy, aimed at bringing back her Sugar Industry from abyss to world
class level again, with the best yields worldwide. The amount possible for
this could reach 45 million euros over six years.
We could move swiftly to implement a vast EC funded Stabex programme,
through the main Unions, the CFU, the ZFU, and the ZCFU. We have started
this programme, but with snail pace, deliberately, in order to avoid having
to send the funds back for other performing countries, as long as we can.
The amount possible for this programme reaches 20 million euros.
We could implement all recommendations of studies we are currently
conducting, on land reform, on the compensation issue, on the best
strategies for a commercial agriculture, to name but a few.
Zimbabwe could take full advantage of significant and unused possibilities
offered by trade relations.
Perhaps more importantly and timely, there is the potential prospect of
Zimbabwe benefiting from a new initiative from the Commission, aimed at
farmers in Africa, to help them tackle high food prices and boost output.
This is a massive scheme, just launched, provided with one billion euros
(1.6 billion USD), with 750 million euros earmarked for 2008 and the
remainder for 2009.
These funds will be channelled to developing countries through international
or regional organisations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation and
the World Food Programme. Four areas of financial support are envisaged, the
main two being to improve access to farming inputs such as fertilisers and
seeds, as well as ways to improve agricultural capacity and production.
Zimbabwe has been classified by the European Union as a country in severe
food crisis and could in principle benefit from this fund, significantly.
What we need to make these significant resources available, is normalisation
based on clear principles making reengagement possible, cleared by the
European Union, and following a genuine and legitimate Political Agreement.
And then of course we need also a proper Business Plan from the Minister of
A Business Plan providing for genuine agricultural policies, in which all
farmers are desired stakeholders, in which private sector and property
rights are respected, and in which all skills of this country are brought to
work for the common cause.
A Business Plan in which a very much needed land reform is conducted for its
real purpose, not for political reasons or simply patronage.
A Business Plan in which the true asset of Zimbabwe in term of land and
agriculture is fully valued and highlighted: this is the symbiotic
relationship between farmers of all size and race I have mentioned.
A Business Plan in which problems are transformed into opportunities.
A Business Plan which can receive full support of the EC and the
international community, allowing Zimbabwe to return to a world class
The water crisis continues to deepen in
ZINWA has also run out of water treatment
chemicals, a situation that has led to a massive decrease in the water
production. With water production remaining very low, there is no hope that
ZINWA will be able to bring back water supply to those areas that are already
dry. Rather the water crisis is set to worsen as ZINWA’s woes deepen. CHRA also
notes with concern that ZINWA managers are not aware of some of the water
Meanwhile, the State, through the ‘Deputy
Minister’ of Water, has issued a statement on water crisis, in which they have
vowed that they will not reverse the ZINWA take over of water supply management
from the city council.
It is surprising that the ‘Minister’ is not
concerned with the fact that some residents have gone for two years without
running water. The ‘Minister’ is not saddened by the sight of little school
children carrying huge water containers to school as school authorities order
students to bring water to school. His heart is not touched by the sight of
residents trooping down stream with containers to fetch water from unprotected
wells sunk closer to the sewage drainage system.
Electricity supply remains critically low.
Sewage and Waste management
In Mabvuku (Matongo shops and Mabvuku Bus terminus) there are pools of sewage that have gone unattended for weeks. This result from sewage that is not serviced as a result of no water supply. When water supply is restored sewage pipes burst making life unbearably to residents.
ZINWA’s incapacity continues to show its
ugly face in the collapsing sewer reticulation system for the city of
The Bread Basket
The Reserve Bank Governor unveiled the monetary policy, which saw 10 zeroes being removed. For instance zw$10 000 000 000 (zw10 billion) will now be read as zw$1 (0ne dollar). Most residents expressed their lack of confidence in the RBZ governor and his monetary policy’s ability to address the economic crisis. The residents have not yet forgotten that the RBZ Governor once removed the zeroes from the currency, but that did not help matters as inflation continued to deepen unabated. It did not take long before the same Zeroes returned in even large quantities.
The RBZ also increased the maximum withdrawal limit from zw$100 billion to zw$2 trillion (Revalued to zw$200). Whilst this is still not enough to buy a few household items, most residents are not able to access their monies as the banks have suddenly run out of cash; amid suspicion that the RBZ did not put enough quantities of money into circulation. The residents are also worried that the value of the maximum withdrawal limit will be eroded by inflation by the end of the month.
The residents slammed the RBZ for calling for salaries and prizes freeze. Whilst it is possible to freeze the salaries, the same cannot be done to prizes because the latter is determined by market forces. Therefore, to freeze salaries is to further condemn the residents and indeed the rest of the citizens deeper into poverty. The wages and salaries are already low as inflation erodes the purchasing value.
The RBZ’s BARCOSSI programme is underway in
Meanwhile, last week’s bread basket table stands as follows;
Week 13-19 July 2008
Week19-26 July 2008
Week 26 July-02 August 2008
10 kg Mealie meal
750ml Cooking oil
6 kgs Economy Beef @ $900/kg billion
Transport per week @ 100 billion ( up from 80 billion the previous week) per person per trip, where 1 person works in town, and 3 children commute to school, 5 days a week
4 loaves of bread @ 350billion(up from $300 billion the previous week) per loaf x 7 days
2 kg sugar
30g Tea bags
6 litres of drink @ $1,2 trillion (up from $1trillion the previous week) per 2litres
N.B shortages of cash forced the Zim Dollar to stabilize against the U.S Dollar which also had an impact on prices somehow stabilizing. This is however temporary as prices have begun to skyrocket.
The political Environment
The political atmosphere in
Service delivery continues to deteriorate
Chief Executive Officer
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
4 August 2008
Posted to the web 4 August 2008
HARARE has been hit by an outbreak of diarrhoea, with the eastern suburbs -
where there has been no water for almost a month following the failure by
Zinwa to provide supplies in parts of the city owing to chemical shortages,
power cuts and increased demand -- worst affected.
City health services department director Dr Stanley Mungofa confirmed the
outbreak but could not be drawn to give the number of cases reported so far.
"The city is currently experiencing pockets of high incidence of diarrhoeal
diseases which could be attributed to the current water crisis but no deaths
have been recorded," Dr Mungofa said.
He said the health department was concerned with the current water problems,
which were mainly affecting the city's eastern suburbs as they are situated
on higher ground.
The suburbs include Greendale, Borrowdale, Mount Pleasant, Msasa Park,
Letombo Park, Mabvuku and Tafara and have gone without tap water for more
than a month forcing some residents to resort to fetching water from
This weekend Zinwa was supposed to be throttling back supplies to the
western suburbs to push supplies in the east, but eastern taps were still
dry last night.
Two weeks ago Zinwa reported that water supplies were deteriorating owing to
a critical shortage of chemicals such as aluminium sulphate, power cuts and
increase in demand for water which has surpassed capacity of the Morton
Morton Jaffray has a capacity of around 650 megalitres per day but on
average produces up to 450 megalitres a day.
"Water shortages in homes, schools, churches, beerhalls and other public
places are of grave concern to the city as the hygiene in those places and
the health of people is severely compromised," Dr Mungofa said.
"The city residents now resort to fetching water from unprotected wells and
polluted streams when piped water supply has not been available for long
periods putting their health at risk," he said.
Dr Mungofa urged residents not to fetch water from such sources but when
forced to do so they should apply disinfecting tablets and solutions to
purify the water before use.
He said the tablets could be collected from water disinfecting points
established by his department.
Dr Mungofa also said the taskforce on epidemic-prone diseases in the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare was also meeting monthly to come up
with strategies and modalities to prevent and control disease outbreaks and
epidemics. Tafara and Mabvuku, the two main high-density suburbs in the dry
zone, are receiving water from Unicef in bowsers and the United Nations
agency has been drilling boreholes at schools and clinics for the suburb.
In January more than 400 cases of diarrhoea were reported in both suburbs.
The outbreak was attributed to uncollected garbage, sewer blockages and
erratic water supplies.
August 04 2008 at 07:19AM
By Special Correspondent and Hans Pienaar
Police have discovered a second bomb that failed to detonate in the
debris of an explosion on Saturday at Harare's central police station.
Destroying 13 offices and a kitchen on the first floor, the bomb blast
came on the eve of the resumption of the dialogue between Zimbabwe's main
political parties on Sunday.
Unusually, Zimbabwe police were cautious in apportioning blame. "We
are not going to speculate or jump to conclusions until we have gathered all
the evidence," national police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said. "We are
leaving our investigations very open."
Another police source, who works in the criminal investigations
department which was bombed, said: "Investigations into the blast are in
full swing and at this stage you cannot rule out anything. There have been
suggestions that this could be the act of criminals out to destroy vital
information, but there is also a strong view that politics could be
"Right now police are examining debris from the blast. A live bomb
which was also supposed to explode was discovered. We are working on the
origins of the bomb," said the police source.
Police believe that if the blast was politically motivated, there
could be more bombs planted around the country. But staff at hotels in the
city appeared to be unaware of the blast. They gave assurances that it was
business as usual and that there were no extra security personnel on the
There have been reports in Harare that hardliners within the ruling
Zanu-PF party are planning to destabilise ongoing talks with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
The talks resumed in Pretoria on Sunday.
Militant war veterans have also voiced their concerns with the talks
after information filtered through that the talks might end up giving
executive powers to the MDC.
Last year, there was a series of bomb blasts targeted at police
stations. Police implicated the MDC and arrested dozens of opposition
supporters. The subsequent assaults on MDC leaders, including Morgan
Tsvangirai, led to President Thabo Mbeki being appointed facilitator to the
talks by the Southern African Development Community.
The Human Sciences Research Council has been warning that opposition
supporters have begun to retaliate against violence blamed mainly on
Reports have quoted the Zimbabwe Peace Project, sponsored by the
Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, as saying at least two
government supporters have been killed in attacks by MDC supporters.
This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on August
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 04 Aug 2008
HARARE, Aug 4, 2008 (AFP) - Economically-ravaged Zimbabwe has suspended
exports of basic commodities, state media said Monday, amid a devastating
meltdown and chronic food shortages.
"It is indeed true that the exportation of specified basic commodities has
been suspended," Florence Jambwa, a commissioner with the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority, was quoted as saying by The Herald newspaper.
"This is with effect from July 23, 2008 and will last for a period of 12
months," she said, adding that the goods covered included sugar, cooking
oil, salt, soap, candles, rice and sanitary pads.
The suspension comes amid a political crisis in Zimbabwe that intensified
after President Robert Mugabe's re-election in June in a one-man poll widely
condemned as a sham.
Power-sharing talks between Mugabe's party and the opposition were due to
continue on Monday in a bid to resolve the crisis.
Basic foods such as sugar, bread, cornmeal -- the national staple -- and
cooking oil are often in short supply in Zimbabwe, which was once a regional
The country's inflation rate has been officially put at 2.2 million percent
and at least 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty threshold.
Many companies have down their shutters while others are operating at a
fraction of their capacity due to shortages of foreign currency used to
import spares and raw materials.
Last May, the government suspended import duties on selected basic
commodities in an attempt to improve local supplies.
fj/ade/mjs/ach AFP 040903 GMT 08 08
Sydney Morning Herald
Jacquelin Magnay | August 5, 2008
ZIMBABWE'S President, Robert Mugabe, has been forced to return home
following intense political pressure from the Chinese Communist Party not to
attend Friday night's opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Herald understands high-powered lobbying from political leaders who will
be attending the ceremony prompted the highest levels of the Chinese
Government to convince him not to attend. It is understood he had arrived in
Hong Kong on Sunday but could get no further.
The two countries have a close relationship and it took intense persuasion
to convince Mr Mugabe to return to Zimbabwe and not cause embarrassment to
the host country.
A Mugabe spokesman, George Charamba, wrote in a Zimbabwean newspaper:
"President Mugabe attaches great importance to the ongoing talks [between
the Government and Opposition], which is why he is not going to China for
the grand opening of the Olympics."
The US President, George Bush, and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will be
among heads of state attending the opening ceremony. * The pro-Tibet
supporter and Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans will respect the Olympic
rules and not protest at Games venues, says the Australian Olympic Committee
president, John Coates.
August 04 2008 at 11:51AM
By Natasha Prince
Three young brothers, aged 11, 13 and 15, who had been abandoned by
family in Zimbabwe, have survived a perilous journey on foot, in minibus
taxis, and on a train to make it to Cape Town.
The Cape Argus caught up with the siblings at the Langa train station
and heard how they had been spurred to make the trek by dreams of a better
The youngsters cannot remember the exact date they left Zimbabwe but
know that it was on a Sunday several weeks ago.
The boys said their mother died recently and, because they never knew
their father, they lived with their grandmother while attending St Peter's
School in Gwanda, a rural area in Matabeleland.
Fleeing a country under siege from ongoing political violence, the
three crossed the Beitbridge border and arrived in South Africa, unaware of
the xenophobic hostility that has left thousands displaced.
They said they were not stopped or asked to produce documentation as
they passed through customs. They walked, hiked and travelled by train to
Then they headed further south, arriving in the Mother City, having
clung onto a truck driving from Johannesburg.
The trio were lucky enough to meet a fellow Zimbabwean on a train
travelling between Cape Town and Bellville.
They had heard him speaking in the familiar Chi-Shona dialect on the
Tawanda Pfinda, who lives in Khayelitsha, saw the boys and asked if
they could spend the night at his place.
Pfinda later took them to Solomon Mahlangu hall in Khayelitsha where
more than 100 immigrants displaced by xenophobic violence are being housed.
This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on
August 04, 2008
Tribune Staff 04 August, 2008 03:51:00
Disregarding the fact that the world condemned the June 27 as a sham,
ZANU-PF continues it's victory celebrations across the country
Insiza--Msithi Primary School was the venue for ZANU-PF's victory
celebration of Robert Mugabe's win in the June 27 election in which he ran
against himself. The June election, which the whole world has dismissed as a
sham, was held against a backdrop of uprecedented violence waged by the
state sponsored ZANU-PF militia.
In the face of world codemnation, since June 28 when the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) released the results of the one man election showing Mugabe
with a landslide win of 85% of the vote, ZANU-PF has been holding victory
rallies across the country.
Hundreds of people come to these events, on the lookout for free food, drink
and entertainment. However, in some case, like out there in Gutu East,
Masvingo Province, ZANU-PF has been forcing civilians unaffiliated with the
party to donate money and food and drink to be used in these victory
Insiza District, out here in Matabeleland South Province, is one of the most
impoverished regions of all districts in the country, except for Binga
District, perhaps. In the run-up to the June 27 and even before that,
residents in the district suffered at the hands of ZANU-PF militia.
Villagers here eke out a living panning gold and carrying out susistance
farming. Most of the young men leave the villages, some without even
finishing school, for South Africa where they hope to find better paying
jobs. The region has been depopulated by the continued economic woes, all
ZANU-PF's making, that are currently facding the country.
While the district lacks everything from healthcare facilities to
infrastructure, the ZANU-PF leadership in the district chose to spend its
energies organizing the victory celebrations.
The guest of owner at the occasion, the Deputy Minister of Environment and
Tourism, Cde Andrew Langa, thanked the people for voting "wisely" and
protected the national "heritage." Langa, choosing to ignore the fact there
was widespread violence across the courntry, said the elections were free
and fair adding that the British and the Americans had no right to interfere
with the way Zimbabwean conducted its polls.
"I would like to thank you all for showing political maturity. The British
and the Americans soon after the June 27 election run off expected the
Kenyan style of killing each other in Zimbabwe. There is no reason for
people to kill each other because there is Zanu-PF and MDC," he said.
Langa expressed his support of the GNU talks, but was quick to call upon
spirit mediums like Mbuya Nehanda, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara
and others to guide the ongoing talks so that they yield positive results
that would protect the national interests.
"I just came for the food," Tabani Ncube, a gold panner out there in the
Insiza River, confessed as the victory celeration ended. "I do hope that the
new government will not forget us like what ZANU-PF has done in the past
three decades." --Harare Tribune News
HARARE, Sunday - As Zimbabwe’s political protagonists’ inch closer towards a negotiated settlement to the country’s multifaceted crisis, there is growing scepticism that they could reach a deal that will provide a lasting solution to the problems blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s leadership.
Late today, talks between Zimbabwe’s ruling party and opposition on ending the political crisis resumed after adjourning early last week, South Africa’s presidency said.
Adding to tensions in Zimbabwe, which is also suffering economic collapse, police confirmed that a bomb had exploded on Saturday at the central police station in Harare. There were no casualties and no claim of responsibility.
President Robert Mugabe’s party began power-sharing talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in South Africa two weeks ago to try to resolve the crisis after Mugabe’s unopposed re-election in a poll boycotted by the opposition.
While an agreement might not be reached by August 4 as set out in the MOU, indications are that there are no insurmountable obstacles to the final settlement.
But already there are strong indications that the outcome of the talks could prove difficult to sell to Zimbabweans and the influential Western countries who are key to any economic revival in the battered country.
The European Union and the United States have made it clear they will not accept any government led by Mr Mugabe because he lost a legitimate election to his rival Mr Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
Mr Mugabe has dug in his heels, insisting he was given the mandate to govern by the people and the MDC appears to have given in to his demands to be recognised as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.
The opposition leader outpolled Mr Mugabe but failed to garner a majority to assume the presidency, prompting the June 27 run-off election which Mr Tsvangirai boycotted.
A deal that fails to give Mr Tsvangirai executive powers as head of a transitional government would be rejected by the group of Western donor nations that have pledged their support to a post Mr Mugabe Zimbabwe.
The group includes the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, Holland, Norway, Australia and Canada – countries that have said the June 27 election was not legitimate.
“Whatever agreement the talks produce, Tsvangirai must head the government,” the respected Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said last week. “The unity government must have close ties with the Western donors and that can only happen if the countries accept the outcome of the talks.”
Once the donors reject the agreement, sanctions imposed on the country would remain intact and Zimbabwe’s economic crisis that has already driven close to five million people to seek refuge across the world will certainly worsen.
Since the talks began the US and the EU have imposed fresh sanctions to pressure Mr Mugabe and his Zanu PF to accept the outcome of the first round of the presidential election. Even African countries that in the past have stood solidly behind the Zimbabwean government have taken very radical positions on an agreement that leaves Mr Mugabe in control.
Botswana, which is one of the countries seriously affected by an influx of Zimbabwean refugees, has even threatened to boycott the forthcoming Southern African Development Community (SADC) to be held in South Africa on August 14 if Zimbabwe is allowed to attend.
The neighbouring country has openly said it would not recognise any government led by Mr Mugabe, breaking away from the African tradition of paying a blind eye to excesses by peers.
However, an even bigger threat to the political settlement might come from Zimbabweans themselves with many groups protesting loud that the power sharing talks ignored the input of key stakeholders.
One of the fringe political parties has even gone to the extent of challenging the negotiations in the Pretoria and Harare High Courts
Monday, 04 August 2008 06:20
ROHR POSITION REGARDING THE POWERSHARING TALKS BETWEEN ZANU PF AND TWO
We as ROHR Zimbabwe, dismiss the outcome of the sham one-man election
held on June 27 which was marred by State authored violence countrywide,
intimidation, murders, abductions, economic plunder, rape and widespread
internal displacements. Far from being a reflection of the will of the
people, the June 27 sham election was a blue print of the Zanu PF strategy
to retain power at all cost even if it meant loss of life.
We therefore reiterate our position that Robert Mugabe is not the
legitimate president of Zimbabwe and that he earned his position at the
negotiating table through unorthodox and insensitive means.
He used violence to have an edge over his contestant and then called
for talks. This scenario is not peculiar to the current case. In the early
80s, Mugabe purged the supporters of PF ZAPU and the Ndebele people in order
to cow them into submission. The negotiations that followed were a result of
a desperate and worn out opposition in which huge concessions were granted,
much to the detriment of the nation and democracy. Suffice to say PF ZAPU
was swallowed in the process resulting in a defacto one party state with
Robert Mugabe as life president.
In addition to orchestrating a violent war against the innocent and
the defenseless citizens', the Robert Mugabe regime and ZANU PF denied the
dying and sick of food and medical relief from NGO's and removed all of what
remained of democratic space necessary for a credible election thus
effectively driving the nation and opposition into submission.
In light of Mugabe's deployment of violence and terror to earn his
place at the negotiating table and his known history of deceitfulness; the
weakened position of the opposition in which some of its leaders are either
missing in hiding, facing spurious charges or still nursing fresh wounds and
the exclusionary nature of the talks were civil society and other stake
holders are not involved thereby turning the talks into an elitist form;
We believe that the people of Zimbabwe have a right to a legitimate
government born out of the exercise of their right to choose in a free and
We believe the continued suffering of Zimbabweans be it economically,
socially and politically is needless and avoidable and that this calls for a
holistic approach to the Zimbabwean question.
We believe that there is an urgent need for an all stakeholders
platform to map the way forward for Zimbabweans. The people of Zimbabwe
should not be alienated in deciding their destiny.
A civil rights campaign must be launched to empower the people of
their rights and obligations as citizens of Zimbabwe.
The civil society and all stakeholders should demonstrate their
displeasure with nature, scope and methodology to the current talks. Further
we believe in the unfettered right of citizens to resist unjust laws and
polices and their right to be heard as sacrosanct.
ROHR will continue to name and shame the perpetrators of violence .We
will also continue to maintain a register at local level of violators of
human rights to ensure that justice will be done one day.
As an option a transitional authority from all stakeholders including
churches , trade unions, students etc should be established to overseer the
creation of a new people driven constitution that guarantees respect for the
rule of law, end to human rights violations and bring to justice all human
Further the transitional authority should create a conducive
environment in which free and fair elections can be held.
Zimbabwe belongs to Zimbabweans!!
I highly recommend the work of Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah for anyone wanting a refreshing, honest take on life, politics and everything in between.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Morgan Richard Tsvangirai held hands. Mugabe grinned. Tsvangirai grinned. Arthur Guseni Oliver Mutambara grinned. Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki grinned. They all grinned and were happy together. It is surreal, this orgy of grinning, this sudden, blinding flashing of teeth: barely a month ago the pictures of torture camps filled television and computer screens, photographs of burnt bodies illustrated the stories of horror from Zimbabwe.
She writes, in her recent sobering and though provoking piece on the Memorandum of Understanding and inter-party dialogue. On her blog, she recently published John Eppel’s short story – Boys will be boys – a truth is strange than fiction account of the petty squabbling reportedly happening behind the scenes at the interparty negotiations.
We made the story available to our SMS subscribers recently, and one wrote in:
Well, if indeed it is true that the inter-party talks have degenerated into a war about mini-bars and who has the best rooms, then God help us. Why would we, claiming to represent the wishes of the people, stoop so low? The people back home sleep on rumbling empty stomachs and our leaders fight over the fat of the land. The people back home sleep in overcrowded one roomed shacks and yet our leaders see sense in fighting over who has the better room. The people back home only have darkness as their best view thanks to ZESA blackouts and our leaders haggle over who has a better view of the magnificent terrain. That is the sad reality about power. Once our leaders begin to taste good things as is the case now, there is no telling what lies ahead of us after these talks. The gloves are off and we now see the true colours of our erstwhile leaders. For them it’s about fame, glory, power, prestige, and money. I mean, does it matter to our leaders that people died for the cause of democracy? What are the families of the deceased meant to think when they hear that the democracy their loved ones died for is now the flip side of a coin that has “bedroom suites, minibars, topless waiters etc” on the other side? We have betrayed the martyrs of the struggle. Surely, they turn in their graves in regret.
God help us indeed.
A guy I know who lives in one of Zimbabwe's smaller towns is chortling with
delight. Being in a small town, business was always a bit languid, but
during an economic crisis like the one we're enduring, business had all but
dried up. This once-upon-a-time-I-had-my-own-business guy has done just
about everything he can to earn a living over the years including
diversifying into all sorts of bizarre products and trades - some legal,
some not so legal - and always keeping his sense of humour intact.
"I am in the Import Business," he grandly told me when I saw him last year,
exaggerating the word 'Import' as if it really meant something. It turned
out he had started employing a couple of guys as runners to bring in
whatever people in his town needed from Botswana and South Africa - soap,
toilet paper, toothpaste.
"Ja, you and everyone else," I retorted.
That business came to an end when the runners ran but didn't come back, as
he put it, taking with them some forex he'd given them to buy products. "I
hope the crocs in the Limpopo bit their backsides," he said at the time,
half-seriously I think. Like so many they had decided to stay in the greener
pastures of South Africa.
But he is on top form again: "Today I am in the doorstop business," he said.
"Do you know how expensive a doorstop is these days!?" adopting the
you-are-NOT-going-to-believe-what-I'm-going-to-say-next tone of voice that
all Zimbabweans use when they talk about prices.
"How much?" I asked, knowing I was probably going to regret the question.
"Trillions, and maybe even quadrillions of billions of dollars," he said
earnestly, rrr-rollling out the rrrrr-rillions.
"I am serious," he insisted when I locked my eyebrows into my hairline,
"doorstops are in big demand. Forget food, forget sadza, forget fuel:
EVERYONE wants my doorstop".
"Can I have your doorstop then?" I asked, playing along.
"Sure," he said, "you know what, you are a special person; you can have my
doorstop." ( There was bound to be a catch with him, and of course there
was). "You can have my doorstop. if you can pick it up!"
"OK, where is it?" I asked gamely.
"There!" he shouted with total delight, pointing to a storeroom door across
the room, his big face beaming happily in anticipation at the culmination of
Against the door was a large crate, and in the crate were lots and lots of
plastic bank bags, all neatly containing coins sorted into their
denominations. Too many to count and too heavy to pick up. Each coin the
equivalent of 1 billion dollars minimum.
He was right: the 'doorstop' was worth trillions and maybe even quadrillions
and everyone would want it if they could get their hands on it! It had been
there for years gathering dust and today, my friend who was broke a couple
of days ago, was sitting with a small fortune.
"So are you going to at least take me shopping and let me help you spend
some of your trrrrrrrillions?" I joked.
"Nah", he said with mock thoughtfulness, "my brother overseas says if I keep
them and and wait until they lose their value then he can sell them for me
on Ebay and I'll be even richer - in US dollars!" he said, bursting into
He's joking of course: the windfall will be spent before hyperinflation
strips it of its value, and that means he has a lot of shopping to do very
quickly - if only he could find something to buy!
I can remember the days when we used to have coins. There was an awkward
period when there was an extreme shortage, and people were buying and
selling bags of change at higher than their value prices, simply so they had
change to give to their customers. Money is never worth what it should be in
Those who were left with bags of change when inflation gripped hard made
jokes about the 'shrapnel' lying around their homes and offices. The coins
were so valueless it wasn't even worth the effort of taking them to the bank
to cash them in. Those people are laughing all the way to the bank now, but
everyone knows it won't be long before they become worthless again, and we're
all taking guesses at how long it will be before we're back to bank notes: a
couple of weeks, a month? Who knows!
(I am such a cynic, but I'll bet Gono and the guys at the top all stashed up
on coins before they made the announcement; such an opportunity for quick
wealth would be very hard for the very corrupt to pass up on.)
This entry was written by Hope on Monday, August 4th, 2008
July 22, 2008
"Let's go," growled Comrade Hondo shouldering his battered AK 47 and
smashing his beer bottle against the wall of Mr Mutarara's store. Hondo was
a genuine war veteran, now in his fifties. He was wearing a police uniform
and had been given a temporary force number, and a temporary designation:
Chief Warden. With him were seven youths designated by Joint Operations
Command as Militias, and two brutalised farm workers. Their task that night,
early morning if the glow on the eastern horizon was anything to go by, was
to put into effect Operation Vote Wisely. They were armed with iron bars,
the kind used to reinforce concrete. They were drunk.
Mr Mutarara's General Trading Store had been bought by his father in 1953,
the year of the Centenary. It still displayed, somewhat anachronistically,
faded advertisements for Aspro, Milk of Magnesia, and Rudge Cycles. It was a
solidly built brick under corrugated iron structure and, except for a period
during the Liberation Struggle when it had been regularly plundered by both
sides in that bloody civil war, it had supplied the surrounding rural
community, at a reasonable profit, with everything from mealie meal to wire
No longer. When comrade Hondo and his group petrol bombed the store (the
Mutarara family had already gone into hiding) they found nothing but three
plastic coat hangers and two almost full crates of Castle lager. They had
also been passing round a powerful distillation called, onomatopoeically,
"tot- tot" accompanied by deep inhalations of the finest Gokwe mbanje, so by
the time they left the fire-blackened shop they felt ready for anything.
"Anything" materialized into a seventy year old MDC activist called Mai
Mwatse and her fourteen year old grand daughter, Chido. Their village, what
was left of it, was located north of Harare in the Mazoe district, once
famous for its oranges, still famous, somehow, for its orange juice. This
was to be a mopping up operation; the real work had been done the night
before. It had begun with an address by the MP elect for this constituency,
retired Colonel Moscow Mhondi. In the middle of the night, villagers had
been dragged from their huts and forced to assemble in the bush. The MP
elect had harangued them for nearly three hours. The gist of his speech: if
the country is given away through the ballot, we will go back to the bush
and start another war. Then the villagers were forced to chant ZANU PF
slogans and sing Chimurenga songs. For hours. Then the beatings began. Then
the killings. Limbs were broken, and backs (by laying the victims on a log,
supine, see-saw style, and jumping on them); finally their heads were
crushed. The MP elect broke many jaws with the butt of his rifle, and he
presided over the killings, which were witnessed by the entire village
including wives and children of the men who were killed.
The militias, also known as green bombers, wore T-shirts, combat jackets and
trousers, and black boots. Their T-shirts portrayed the Esteemed Leader
flapping his wrist at God, and the slogan: tiri vechibhakera (we are of the
fist). The two brutalised farm workers wore rags. They were from retired
Colonel Mhondi's farm. Douglas, the younger of the two, had been born on the
farm, at the little clinic, which had been established by the previous
owners, the Longbottoms. He had been schooled on the farm, and was in Grade
Six when angry war veterans arrived in government vehicles without number
plates and drove out the white owners and their labourers. Among those who
ended up camping along roadsides, for months to come, were Douglas and his
One of those angry war veterans had been Comrade Hondo. Douglas remembered
his demented eyes, red with battle-lust, as he set about killing the
Longbottoms' pets. When the old, spayed Labrador bitch dared to challenge
him, he grabbed it by the tail and swung it round several times before
smashing its head against a wall of the farm house. The guinea pig and the
budgie were easy. Only the cat got away.
Some of the children of the evicted labourers were allowed back to the farm
where they underwent extensive re-education, which focussed on words like
"revolution", "sovereignty", "colonialism", "imperialism", "racism"; and
phrases like "puppet sanctions-mongers" and "Blair's kith and kin". Douglas
had been one of these children, grateful for a daily plate of sadza and
relish, which the farm no longer produced but which was freely available
from Care International and other well-meaning suckers. When the harmonised
elections of 11 March, 2008 went the wrong way, all retired Colonel Mhondi's
farm workers (no longer labourers) were mobilised to help punish, with
impunity, the misguided villagers throughout the country, but particularly
in the previously ZANU PF strongholds, the three Mashonaland provinces.
Mai Mwatse and Chido had missed the previous night's pungwe because they had
been in Harare to help care for the hundreds of displaced villagers who had
taken refuge at Harvest House, the opposition headquarters. Mai Mwatse was a
polling agent for her constituency and was, consequently, a marked person.
When they got home the following day they were devasted to see that every
single hut in the village, including their own, had been burned to the
ground. The police had been and gone. Their task was to remove the bodies to
the nearest mortuary, and those still alive but incapable of moving, to the
nearest government hospital or clinic. They had strict instructions from the
men at the top: Joint Operations Command: not to interfere with things
The traumatized community were huddled round an open fire - the nights were
becoming chilly - when Comrade Hondo's party arrived. While his team stood
guard on the outskirts of the circle of villagers, the war veteran went up
to Mai Mwatse and ordered her to lie face down on the ground. "This is what
we do to sell-outs," he growled, and he began beating her with an iron bar.
Her screams excited the militia and one of the farm workers, and they joined
in with the beating, all the while chanting: "Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again!" Only Douglas, head lowered in shame, remained on the
Chido tried to protect her grandmother by throwing herself over the old
woman's head. With a hobnailed boot Comrade Hondo nudged her onto her back
and signalled to his mujibas to take her. The petrified crowd looked on. The
farm worker was given the task of holding the girl down, by the shoulders;
the dominant youth handed his iron bar to one of his subordinates, unbuckled
his belt, and pulled his trousers down. Comrade Hondo wrenched Mai Mwatse's
head in Chido's direction and forcefully held it there. Chido was sobbing,
begging them to leave her alone. Two of the youths ripped off her underpants
and pushed her dress above her navel. They forced her legs open and the
dominant one went down on her. He humped her for so long that his comrades
became impatient, called upon him to "release", "discharge", "unload".
Finally the spasm came and he rolled off the whimpering child. The next one
went down on her, and the next, and the next.... By the time the farm
labourer took his turn, Chido was unconscious.
"This one is mine!" growled Comrade Hondo. He handed his iron bar to one of
the militias, slipped his rifle off his shoulder, and barked an order to
turn Mai Mwatse on her back. She was too broken from her beating to resist.
"Hold open her legs! Whore of the white man! I am going to fuck your brains
She gave a strangled cry as he rammed the barrel of his AK 47 into her
vagina. "Do you know why this gun is called 47?" shouted Comrade Hondo.
"Because it pumps 47 times before it comes. Count! COUNT!" He screamed at
the audience, and they began to count. "Louder!" Forty Seven times he pushed
the barrel in and out of the old woman's bloodied vagina. Then... "Let's
come!" he laughed, and he fired three times into the woman's body.
On their way back to retired Colonel Mhondi's farm, which was being used as
a torture centre, they mocked Douglas for being a coward, mbwende, and for
behaving like a woman, chikadzi. Comrade Hondo went further and accused him
of being a traitor, threatened to kill him there and then. In a choked
voice, Douglas said, "That old woman, she is my grandmother..."
"And that girl, that musikana?"
"Chido. She is my sister."
It is undeniable that the world knows Zimbabwe as that infamous African
country where economic policy barely exists given the litany of ‘llions’
(millions, billions, trillions, quadrillions) used to describe every aspect
of economic expression whether it is rate of inflation, price of bread or a
mere commuter-bus ride that runs into billions of dollars. The ongoing talks
about a government of national unity should see the emergence of opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the rightful Prime Minister of Zimbabwe if the
country is to move forward. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe still has
enormous potential to recover economically given the country’s abundant
natural resource base and highly skilled human resource base at home and in
the Diaspora. The underlying assumption is that the country regains
political sanity and the rule of law will be fully restored without delay to
coincide with that agreement. It is heartening to note that the US, the
European Union and many multinational financial institutions have pledged
development assistance in support for Zimbabwe’s economic reconstruction
should the talks ‘succeed’. As much as we can all be upbeat about economic
rebound, it is total foolhardiness to underestimate a plethora of forces
pulling down the economy. If left unattended to, the same forces will deal
a huge blow to any economic recovery initiative as they come back to haunt
us as a nation. Key steps have to be carried out if we are serious about an
Retire Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono and the current Finance Minister.
Of all the decisions that you are going to make Mr Prime Minister, this will
probably be one of the most daunting yet the most important given the fact
that Gono has become probably the richest and one of the most powerful
Zimbabwean alive since his appointment as central bank chief nearly five
years ago. Gono, a political appointee and Mugabe’s alleged personal banker,
is an accomplished serial underperformer who placed the whole economy on
experiment with his unorthodox approach to economics which was based on a
philosophy that crucified conventional wisdom. Gono and his boss (Mugabe)
are known for perennially den ouncing textbook economics and advocating for
‘nothing’ hence the economy has become ‘nothing’. Finance and economics
students across the world know ‘what not to do’ economics by just looking
at Zimbabwe as the case study. All the talk about new currency remains
futile because the real fundamentals that should stop economic
disintegration are still flawed severely. The band-aid redenomination
solution of scrapping ten zeroes is definitely going to wreak vengeance on
the economy. A double ricochet is bound to happen within a very short space
The new monetary announcements are meant to serve as a short-term expedient
designed to give computers a relief as they were suffocating trying to
process those astronomical ‘zillion’ figures . In addition, the printing
machine had ‘broken down’ following the withdrawal of the German firm
Giesecke and Devrient GmbH from printing Zimbabwe’s currency. Giesecke and
Devrient is the company that supplied all of Zimbabwe’s banknote paper until
it was recently stopped by the German government as a result of piling
international pressure despite initial att empts by Chancellor Merkel who
did not want to intervene describing the issue as a ‘private matter’. By the
end of June 2008, The Financial Gazette published Zimbabwe’s inflation
figure as 32 million percent, a figure that was 16 times higher than the
official figures posted by Zimbabwe’s government-owned Central Statistical
Office as authenticated by Gono.
The little known Finance Minister Mumbengegwi who has been hoping from one
Ministry to the other (education, industry and trade, finance) has been an
invaluable enabler of Zimbabwe’s economic malaise. Just like other political
appointees, Gono and Mumbengegwi are part of a legion of Zanu PF kleptocrats
who have always populated Zimbabwe’s bureaucracy as career ministers.
De-politicization of the post of Reserve Bank Governor is urgent because the
central bank does not need another sanctimonious sycophant who has done so
many unorthodox things to prop up a regime and to sponsor its activities
most notably funding the militia. It is a known fact that Gono lavishes
government officials and Zanu PF sympathizers with everything from fuel to
new cars at concessionary rates that are far below their true market values.
There i s need to hire smart and energetic executives with the ability to
inspire confidence at home and internationally such as Professor Mthuli
Ncube and economist Kenias Mafukidze who have solid private sector
Zimbabwe’s bloated bureaucracy requires immediate elimination. We understand
Mugabe’s irresistible impulses to accommodate by appeasing ‘his fellow
comrades’ who have propped up his longevity in power for so long. It is also
true that he derives his power and patronage from them. Consequently the
temptation to accommodate and recycle those tired career ministers is huge.
A country as big as the US with a GDP of almost US$14 trillion and a
population of 302 million people only has 14 cabinet positions/secretaries.
In contrast Zimbabwe with approximately 12 million people (with at least 4
million in the Diaspora) and an ever-shrinking economy whose GDP is US$2
billion as of 2007 (according to the International Monetary Fund) has over
25 government ministers excluding their redundant deputies and permanent
secretaries. There is no need for the following ministries:
1) Policy Implementation (as if each ministry is not expected to
2) Youth Development (no more militia breeding grounds)
3) Rural Housing (as if we need rural houses, Public Service and Social
Welfare should completely absorb this ministry).
4) Small and Medium Enterprises (this should be a division of Ministry
of Industry and Commerce/Trade)
5) Special Affairs (what special affairs?)
6) Agriculture Mechanization (there is already a ministry of
7) Science and Technology (should fall under Industry and Commerce)
8) Ministry of Information (or misinformation? This is a ministry that
is perennially abused for propaganda purposes, Jonathan Moyo can testify.
Communications and Transport ministry can absorb this. Government has enough
9)& nbsp; State Security (Defense and State Security represent close
duplication hence the need to merge them)
10) Transport and Communication (should be merged with Energy Ministry)
11) Higher Education (should be merged with Ministry of Education, after all
education is education).
12) Indigenization and Empowerment (not necessary, people know how to
empower themselves now given the crisis that they have endured for so long)
There is an urgent need to discontinue extravagant governmental spending on
non-developmental experiments such as bloated ministries which have caused
an instinctual addiction to money printing in order to sustain them.
Zimbabwe’s financial woes cannot be solved by Gono’s scorched earth policy
of relentlessly printing of more worthless paper.
Lure back commercial farmers.
Zimbabwe is an agrarian country where agriculture has always been the
bedrock of the economy earning it the title ’Africa’s breadbasket’ for
years. Tobacco has been the leading agricultural export that earned the most
hard curre ncy for Zimbabwe. The government sanctioned land grab of
commercial farms which were largely white-owned has destroyed the once
thriving sector and dealt a major blow to the country’s ability to earn the
much-needed foreign currency and the ability to feed itself. The
confiscation of white-owned commercial farms was an unmitigated catastrophe
that will come back to haunt the economy. There is an urgent need to lure
back the displaced commercial farmers, new and ‘old’. A deliberate plan to
immediately compensate displaced farmers who want to continue farming is
necessary. One of the key steps in that direction is to protect private
property rights and to assure those farmers that the country is ready for
change. Some of the land has to be returned to the white Zimbabweans who
were marched off their land while new farms have to be allocated to them.
New farmers can also be assisted with subsidized leases to buy agricultural
land. While Zambia and Nigeria are still luring all the farmers who are
still ‘on the loose’, Zimbabwe is still harassing the few that are left
there. Commercial farming has huge potential to contribute meaningfully to
the nation’s economic recovery, the much needed food security, poverty
alleviation and medium to long term macroeconomic stability. Employment
opportunities can easily be created by a revamped agricultural sector and
effectively reduce Zimbabwe’s more than 80% unemployment. The new government’s
greatest challeng e in this regard is to create an agricultural sector that
is viable beyond subsistence level.
Rebrand Zimbabwe by promoting it as a new and safe tourist destination.
Tourism has always been another cornerstone of Zimbabwe’s economy due to the
foreign currency it churns out. Compared to some of the economic initiatives
that will be implemented, a rejuvenated tourism sector provides the quickest
turnaround because it is not capital intensive. The question naturally
becomes, “who do we trust to carry the new Zimbabwe brand?” Francis Nhema
is certainly not the best man for the job because of the demands to go
global with the campaign. His ties to Mugabe automatically disqualify him
for the job in favor of someone young and fresh to compliment the new Prime
Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. The collateral benefit from the advent of 2010
World Cup next door presents enormous opportunities for an easy breakthrough
as South Africa gets deluged with millions of tourists from across
continent. This is a once in a life-time positive externality that the
Zimbabwe needs to seize at all costs. At the moment South Africa is busy
marketing Victoria Falls as part of its province while the talks are going
on. Tourism and security are positively correlated, the more secure Zimbabwe
becomes, the more it will be able to attract tourists. With South Africa’s
unassailable scourge of violent crime which is the highest in the world,
Zimbabwe can become a great sanctuary for tourists during that period.
Private sector-led growth will enable Zimbabwe to fully unlock its tourism
Anti-poverty and social programs.
Even though I am a staunch advocate of free market enterprise I still think
it would be presumptuously daring to assume that the stage we are at can be
left to free market alone given the level of poverty, disease and suffering
that the nation faces. The perils of unchecked capitalism are a clear case
of study in the American society where corporate interests far supersede
everything. At the same time it is important to underscore the fact that
welfare goals alone (such as eliminating poverty and disease through an
improved health delivery system) while necessary will not move the country
to economic independence. I hate to sound20socialist but welfare oriented
government spending has to take effect from day one, Mr Prime Minister. Some
audacious form of poverty and disease alleviation have to be implemented. A
carefully calibrated interventionist policy is imperative given the fact
that an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans lives below the poverty datum
line. The depressing statistic released by UN’s Food and Agriculture
Organization estimates that more than 5 million people will need food aid by
September 2008. The situation in the hospitals is pathetic given the lack of
medicines and other essential supplies compounded by a severe brain drain
that hit hospitals the most. Schools have not been spared either as
thousands of teachers fled the country as victims of political violence or
as economic refugees.
The next article will be focusing on currency stabilization, reviving the
mining and manufacturing sectors, defining the role that fiscal and monetary
policies can play in stimulating the economy, creating a fund for SME’s,
the creation of a government accountability board, balancing budget as well
as a proposed new cabinet.