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

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Boston Globe

 Opportunity seen for change in Zimbabwe
South Africa could tie aid to greater freedom
By John Donnelly, Globe Staff  |  August 5, 2005

PRETORIA -- During more than two years of South Africa's policy of ''quiet
diplomacy" toward embattled Zimbabwe, there probably was never a scene like
the one yesterday: senior Zimbabwean finance officials asking their South
African counterparts in a private meeting here for an economic bailout that
could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has resisted pressure from South Africa
or any government to undertake political and economic changes that would
lead to power-sharing and greater freedoms of speech and the press. But some
analysts said yesterday that South Africa now has leverage in imposing
conditions to its loan to pressure Zimbabwe, and even hasten the end of
Mugabe's quarter-century rule.
''A window of opportunity has opened," said Dianna Games, executive director
of Africa@Work, a Johannesburg-based publishing and research company.
''These talks show how desperate the Zimbabwean government is. The
government has basically run out of foreign exchange. And when things start
to touch the government ministers, that's when things start to happen."

Zimbabwe's crisis stems largely from an economic collapse that has left the
country without enough hard currency to pay off a $1 billion loan from the
International Monetary Fund, which has called in the loan and has threatened
to expel Zimbabwe for nonpayment. The economic meltdown includes severe
shortages of fuel and crops.

Mugabe failed in a global hunt for a bailout -- China, Malaysia, and Namibia
said no -- forcing him to approach South Africa, which now wants to tie
conditions to the loan.

Zimbabwe's finance minister, Herbert Murerwa, and central bank governor
Gideon Gono met yesterday with South Africa's top two financial officials,
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni,
Pretoria's government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said in an interview.
Netshitenzhe said the South African cabinet has agreed ''in principle" to
support a loan, which could range from as low as $100 million to several
hundred million dollars. But the spokesman said no action will be taken
until it meets again in two weeks.

Mugabe also has come under international political pressure following his
order to demolish shacks in cities around the country. The crackdown, called
Operation Murambatsvina, or ''Drive Out Trash," has displaced 700,000 people
in the last two months.

A United Nations report sharply criticized the demolitions, and Secretary
General Kofi Annan called the operation ''profoundly distressing." Mugabe
has defended the action, saying the situation had grown out of control and
was contributing to a general lawlessness.

UN officials acknowledge that the international community is faced with a
dilemma: Nearly a million people are in need of emergency relief, but
helping them may further entrench Mugabe in power.

''This point came up in the Security Council debate, that the international
community has to step in and basically compensate for the shortcomings of
the government," Anne Patterson said late last week, when she still was
acting US ambassador to the UN. John Bolton has since assumed the post.

One option for the UN would be to quadruple emergency food aid to Zimbabwe
through the World Food Program.

Asked whether the UN would attach conditions to any aid plans, Stephane
Dujarric, chief UN spokesman, said: ''The government of Zimbabwe has a
collective responsibility for what happened. How the aid is disbursed down
the line, obviously that's something that we will have to look at. But it's
important that the people affected by the evictions not be victimized twice.
There is a clear need for help to get to them."
Games, the Johannesburg-based analyst who is studying Zimbabwe's economy,
said the country's financial crisis is ''bigger than has been the case for a
long time." She pointed to such indicators as a 400 percent increase in
domestic debt from January to June and the rapid devaluation of the
country's currency. Last year, the official rate was 6,000 Zimbabwean
dollars to 1 US dollar; now, the black market rate is close to $40,000 to

Despite the burgeoning crisis, many in Zimbabwe still feel that Mugabe's
grip on power is strong and that not much will change in the near future.

In Glen Norah, a suburb of Harare, the capital, parliamentarian Priscilla
Misihairambwi Mushonga worked yesterday to get ready to feed about 100
children tomorrow outside her office. Mishihairambwi, a member of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said in a telephone interview
that droves of constituents had come to her pleading for food in recent

If she had unlimited money, she said: ''I could feed 4,000 to 5,000 children
this Saturday -- that's how many are going hungry in Glen Norah. Mothers are
coming to my office and saying they haven't eaten for a whole week. So I
have to choose the weakest to help. It's a terrible ethical dilemma."

But the parliamentarian said she didn't expect major change in her country
as long as Mugabe was in power.

''Like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, things in Zimbabwe will
degenerate," Mishihairambwi said. ''Nothing will work, but we will still
have a semblance of government at some level. Government ministers will
pretend something is going on. We are not at war, so the international
community will sit there and hope this will go away."

''But people will die quietly," she said. ''They will die of hunger, they
will die of negligence, and no one will know."

Globe correspondent Joe Lauria contributed to this report from the United
Nations. John Donnelly can be reached at

Mugabe's agenda

Economic woes

Involvement in the 1998-2002 war in the Democratic Republic of Congo
consumed hundreds of millions of dollars. International Monetary Fund
support was suspended after Zimbabwe failed to meet budgetary goals.
Inflation soared from 32 percent in 1998 to 133 percent in 2004.

Land reform

After coming to power in 1980, Robert Mugabe began giving white-owned land
to blacks. But many of the new farmers had few assets and limited business
knowledge, and foreclosures led to sharp drops in production, triggering
critical food shortages.

Mass demolitions

and evictions

In the summer of 2005, tens of thousands of shanty dwellings and street
stalls were destroyed as part of program referred to as ''Drive Out Trash."
The UN estimates about 700,000 people were left homeless.

SOURCE: BBC, CIA world Factbook, news reports

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Business Day

Harare 'no' to key loan condition
Karima Brown, Vukani Mde and Dumisani Muleya


ZIMBABWEAN officials have rejected a crucial South African condition for a
financial bale-out for the troubled country, saying they will not resume
negotiations with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The rejection set the scene for tense talks between Finance Minister Trevor
Manuel and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Herbert Murerwa, which began last
night as the two men sought to work out the details of a $1bn bale-out of

The Harare government's rejection of the conditions for the bale-out, if
carried out, seems to suggest that SA and President Thabo Mbeki's last real
chance to influence events in Zimbabwe could be in danger of evaporating,
and could lead to a fundamental change in relations between the two

Nathan Shamuyarira, chief spokesman for the ruling Zanu (PF) and a confidant
of President Robert Mugabe, said yesterday that Zimbabwe would not relent to
pressure for a negotiated political settlement with the MDC.

"We will not have talks with the MDC. We have been saying this over and over
again. Why are we being forced to talk to them? Why should they talk to us?"
Shamuyarira said.

His comments echo Mugabe's announcement last weekend that Zimbabwe would not
succumb to pressure "from whomever" to accept talks with the MDC.

Mugabe's angry remarks were apparently directed at Mbeki, United Nations
(UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo,
who want him to talk to the MDC.

Last week Mbeki impressed on the nation the need to help Zimbabwe. A
meltdown in the country would have disastrous effects on SA and neighbouring
countries, Mbeki said. He said any assistance given to Zimbabwe must be part
of a package aimed at normalising the situation in that country.

On Wednesday, SA's cabinet approved "in principle" the loan to Zimbabwe.

Asked about last night's talks, SA's finance ministry spokesman Logan Wort
said government would make an announcement only "once the sensitive talks
have been concluded".

Government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said: "We don't want to give running
commentary (on the meeting)."

SA, keen not to appear as a "big brother", has nonetheless set strict
conditions in return for the lifeline. These include a restoration of the
rule of law, economic reforms, the repeal of repressive laws and, crucially,
the resumption of talks with the MDC.

However, Shamuyarira said there would be no multiparty talks. He said:
"Those who have been trying to promote the MDC have failed in their agenda.
We are not going to talk to the MDC."

Government sources in Harare said yesterday that Mugabe had also told Zanu
(PF) and his ministers that his government would not accept funds with
strings attached.

However, South African analysts said the Zimbabweans were posturing ahead of
last night's meeting, and that it was unlikely SA would drop its conditions.

Political analyst Nic Borain said: "It's likely to be posturing before
negotiations start. SA have the leverage as things have clearly hit rock
bottom (in Zimbabwe)."

Mugabe, who is expected to meet Mbeki on the sidelines of an African Union
(AU) summit currently taking place in Ethiopia, has reportedly also said
that SA can keep its money if it "wanted to behave like Western countries".

But pressure is mounting on Mugabe. Borain said the AU and the Southern
African Development Community felt the situation in Zimbabwe had gone "too
far" and were supporting Mbeki's efforts to help end the crisis.

At the same time, the US has stepped up pressure on Mugabe, adding 24
Zimbabwean commercial farms and two Zimbabwean companies to the list of
entities now under targeted US sanctions.

Zimbabwe desperately needs money to settle its $295m arrears to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), which meets on September 9 to discuss its
possible expulsion.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's major cities continued to suffer from power cuts and
chronic shortages of energy and food.
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Zim Independent

Mugabe, Mbeki square up
Dumisani Muleya/Godfrey Marawanyika
ZIMBABWE and South Africa are headed for a showdown over the US$1 billion
loan for economic recovery which Pretoria says it will only release on the
strict condition of inter-party talks.

President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki were
expected to meet over the issue during the extraordinary African Union
summit in Ethiopia. Mugabe made it clear on his return from China on Sunday
that he is totally opposed to national dialogue.

Mbeki's Finance minister Trevor Manuel was yesterday expected to meet his
local counterpart, Herbert Murerwa, to deal with the explosive issue.

Murerwa left yesterday afternoon for South Africa where he will also attend
a regional finance ministers' summit.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono was also set to hold talks with his South
African counterpart, Tito Mboweni, today to clarify the terms of the
cash-for-talks deal.

Manuel was likely to tell Murerwa the loan had been approved by the South
African cabinet on clear conditions that Harare enters inter-party talks,
adopts political and economic reforms and measures to end international

While Mugabe angrily rejected pressure from South African and other quarters
for talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mbeki's
chief government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe yesterday insisted South
Africa's loan should benefit Zimbabweans "within the context of an economic
recovery programme and political normalisation".

But Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira confirmed Mugabe's hardline stand
on the issue.

"We will not have talks with the MDC. We have been saying this over and over
again. Why are we being forced to talk to them? Why should they talk to us?"
Shamuyarira said yesterday.

"Those who have been trying to promote the MDC have failed in their agenda
and they now want to fulfil it through us. We are not going to talk to the

However, MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Zanu PF should stop its
"political grandstanding" and be serious for once. He said the bail-out
should help the poor and not subsidise Mugabe's failed rule.

The funds are largely for paying Zimbabwe's US$295 million arrears to the
International Monetary Fund which meets on September 9 to decide the
country's membership of the institution.

Mbeki has been talking to the IMF not to expel Zimbabwe, arguing South
Africa would suffer more from its collapse. Manuel said South Africa did not
want a "failed, rogue state next door".

"The MDC hopes Mugabe responds positively to South African moves to help the
people of Zimbabwe in their hour of need," Nyathi said.

"Given the gravity of the humanitarian situation, we urge him to move with
expedition to ensure help reaches those most in need. This is not the time
for political grandstanding and deliberate delaying tactics aimed at
securing narrow political gains."

Mbeki wants Mugabe to meet MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to find a way out of
the seeming intractable crisis. But Mugabe has insisted he won't meet
Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai has said he is prepared to meet Mugabe "any day, any
time, anywhere".

On arrival from China on Sunday, Mugabe angrily rejected overtures by Mbeki,
Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo and United Nations secretary-general Kofi
Annan for talks, practically telling them to go to hell.

Mbeki is now using the loan as leverage to force Mugabe into talks.

Mugabe's position is seen as weakened following his failure to produce a
bonanza from China.

Obasanjo said last month Mugabe had agreed to meet Tsvangirai in a bid to
pressure him to accept talks. Annan has also called for dialogue, but Mugabe
has rejected all these initiatives.

Mbeki has adopted a carrot-and-stick approach. This week he tried to flatter
Zanu PF by claiming its land reform programme was delayed by the need to
avoid scaring South Africa's apartheid rulers in 1990s. He also said
Zimbabwe's debt crisis was a result of social services investment.

At the same time he was using the US$1 billion loan to drag Mugabe to the
negotiating table.

But Mugabe has militantly declared he would "resist that stance from
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Zim Independent

RG sets CIO on MDC agent
Ray Matikinye
IN the boldest move yet by government to thwart the opposition MDC's
challenge to the 2002 presidential election outcome the Registrar-General's
Office invited the Office of the President to deal with an opposition
official who is involved in a crucial petition currently before the courts.

The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which falls under the
President's Office, and the military have in the past been implicated in
unprofessional meddling in the conduct of the election. But in the most
explicit example yet of official meddling, court documents filed at the High
Court by opposition election expert Topper Whitehead expose the partiality
of the Registrar-General's Office in the running of elections.

In an annexure to the High Court application, a letter dated March 11 last
year shows Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede directed one of his senior
officials, Ben Mpala, to write to the "Director in the President's Office"
asking for his assistance to "build a case" against Whitehead whom he said
"continues to be a bother to this department over the election petition".

Mpala offered to provide the President's Office with staffers in the RG's
Office who could assist to build a case against Whitehead in the unfolding
saga over the presidential election challenge by MDC leader Morgan

Tsvangirai in 2002 filed a High Court petition challenging Mugabe's victory
in the presidential poll. Whitehead has since been perusing electoral
material to find evidence of rigging by the government, especially by the
RG's Office. The RG regards Whitehead's probing as undesirable interference
hence the SOS to the President's Office to assist in putting together a case
against the official. Mudede, who is central to the case, has since been
fined $5 million and given a suspended jail term for contempt of court after
he failed to bring crucial electoral material to the capital as directed by
the High Court.

Last Wednesday eight police officers led by Detective Inspector Govha of the
Law and Order Section ransacked Whitehead's home in Avondale claiming he had
subversive photographs and videotapes taken during Operation Murambatsvina.

Police confiscated three computers and a similar number of removable
external disc drives with a powerful database system able to decipher a
large amount of data. The equipment is capable of analysing data from ballot
boxes that the High Court has granted to the MDC access to.

On Wednesday High Court judge Justice Yunis Omerjee ordered police to return
Whitehead's equipment. Justice Omerjee ordered the police to pay costs of
the suit. Yesterday Whitehead spent the day at Harare Central police station
trying to recover the three computers.

Whitehead said he has signed a warned and cautioned statement after police
found a picture of "a building with a blue roof" and a police payroll on one
of the computers. The MDC says the raid was meant to hobble the party's
efforts to analyse the ballot boxes after it discovered some of the boxes
used in the presidential election had been tampered with.
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Zim Independent

Punish Zanu PF leaders for blitz - MPs
Staff Writer
THERE was a fierce debate in parliament last week over the damning United
Nations report on the widely condemned urban demolition blitz dubbed
Operation Murambatsvina.

Independent MP Jonathan Moyo led the debate, saying the report was a true
reflection of the situation on the ground. He urged government to institute
a judicial commission of inquiry to root out and punish the architects of
the programme.

Moyo said the scope of the demolition campaign, which he said was
"implemented in a ruthless military style with the ferocity and shock of a
tsunami", was "total and brutal".

"Operation Murambatsvina's scope was total and brutal. It was madness. It
was implemented military-style by the police and the army. Obviously, it
should not surprise any of us that an operation like that, done outside
civic structures, should cause such a serious humanitarian crisis," Moyo

"Upon a fair reading of the report, one is left wondering and worrying
because each and every one of us here knows someone who is suffering from

President Robert Mugabe and his ministers have attacked the report compiled
by United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna
Tibaijuka, claiming it had "in-built biases, and hostile". But Information
deputy minister Bright Matonga said government had not rejected the report.

Mugabe claimed from China last week that Tibaijuka had told him she wrote a
negative because she was under political pressure to do so.

However, Tibaijuka refused to comment on Mugabe's claim, only saying the
methodology she used was clearly outlined and that the report was "balanced".

Annan described the report, which said 700 000 people were displaced and up
to 2,4 million indirectly affected, as "profoundly distressing".

Moyo said an independent judicial commission should be established to

probe the issue, "especially given the fact that the government is attacking
a report which was written by a team it had agreed to".

He said it was surprising Mugabe was attacking a report when he agreed to
the team that wrote it. "We need an independent judicial commission of
inquiry to ascertain who was responsible for this (demolition blitz). We
need to get to the bottom of the matter," Moyo said.

"Who was responsible for this disaster? Was it (Justice minister Patrick)
Chinamasa? Was it (Local Government Ignatious) Chombo? Who was it and what
was their motive? There have been deaths associated with this criminal

Chinamasa interjected during Moyo's speech. When Moyo said the operation was
done military-style, Chinamasa butted in, saying there was no "military
operation". Other MPs like Joseph Made also heckled Moyo shouting "Stop
provoking us!"

Eventually Deputy Speaker Edna Madzongwe intervened, ruling: "Professor
Moyo, stop inciting this House! Just make your contribution."

However, Moyo soldiered on amid heckling from former colleagues and
continued to attack government. He said those responsible must be prosecuted
for "massive human rights abuses".

Moyo said the demolition crusade was reminiscent of the Gukurahundi
operation of the early 1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change MPs Murisi Zwizwai and Job Sikhala
supported Moyo, saying Zanu PF leaders should be punished for the
demolitions. They said the operation was a "moment of madness".

Zwizwai said the demolitions had made life "nasty and brutish" for the poor.

He likened the situation to the crises in Nigeria under Sani Abacha, Uganda
under Idi Amin, Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko, and Central African Republic
under Jean Bedel Bokassa.

Zwizwai said he was disturbed by protests from Zanu PF MPs when Moyo
compared the demolitions to Gukurahundi because this issue was "cited in the
UN report to demonstrate the systematic abuse of human rights by this

He reminded Zanu PF leaders of how Mobutu died and was buried in a "very
small grave in Morocco". "Forewarned is forearmed," he said.

Sikhala said it was a pity Zanu PF MPs opposed a report they had not read.
"There are some of us here who are semi-literate and others who are simply
not able to read but we are prepared to provide with free lectures to
understand the UN report," he said.

Sikhala said gone were the days when Zanu PF would violate human rights and
get away with it. He said Zanu PF leaders should ask despots like former
Iraq leader Saddam Hussein and former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic
about the price of human rights violations on a massive scale.

Zwizwai said: "Government got away with the murdering of innocent civilians
in Matabeleland between 1980 and 1987, but this time we are going to agitate
the loudest so that culprits in Murambatsvina be prosecuted," he said.

"I call upon the UN secretary-general to immediately urge the Security
Council to pass a resolution to ensure those behind this operation are tried
at the International Court of Justice." - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Lobby against land Bill
Ray Matikinye
CIVIC groups and the opposition are piling pressure on MPs to reject the
proposed constitutional amendments under the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment (No 17) Bill of 2005.

Opponents of the Bill say it seeks to leash individual freedoms and impinge
on property, especially land, rights. This will damage economic prospects,
they point out.

Government last week gazetted the Constitutional Amendment Bill which seeks
to effectively remove fundamental rights to property (Section 16),
protection of the law (Section 18(9)) and freedom of movement (Section 23).

Under the proposed amendments, government seeks to nationalise all land and
those dispossessed will have no recourse to the courts except for purposes
of compensation.

Among other amendments, the Bill seeks to establish a bicameral parliament
with the setting up of a 65-member Senate.

On Tuesday, Movement for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai,
said the MDC would work with other civic groups to oppose the amendments.

Tsvangirai told a press briefing in Harare that piecemeal constitutional
amendments for political expediency do not work.

"What the ruling party is doing with these constitutional amendments is
closing the remaining democratic space which has been shrinking over the
past three years," he said. "It is myopic for Zanu PF to think that it can
go it alone against the wishes of the people."

The government in 2002 promulgated the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act under which rights
guaranteed in the constitution were severely curtailed.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) gave pitch to calls by civic
organisations to reject the proposed amendments.

The organisation intends to challenge the passage of this "evil piece of
legislation" in all manner and through all channels available to it.

Under the amendments, President Mugabe will appoint six additional members
to the Senate, in addition to the 12 non-constituency MPs and eight
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Zim Independent

Moyo sneers at arrest threats over memoirs
Loughty Dube
FORMER government spokesman Jonathan Moyo has hit back at deputy Information
minister Bright Matonga for making thinly-veiled threats against him over a
book he is currently writing.

Moyo, who slammed the ministry's permanent secretary George Charamba last
week over the same issue, said Matonga could not lecture him on how to write
his book by pretending to know the way cabinet functions when he is not even
a cabinet minister.

Matonga, like Charamba, warned Moyo not to reveal state secrets in his book
as that would break the rules of the "Cabinet Handbook" and land him in
trouble with the law.

However, Moyo, a professor of politics who has been widely published, said
Matonga and Charamba were not qualified to teach him how to write books.
Moyo described Charamba, his former subordinate, as President Robert
Mugabe's "irresponsible and reckless wordsmith".

He said Charamba was abusing his position as a civil servant to write the
"bankrupt" Nathaniel Manheru column in the Herald "focusing on vituperation
rather than informed debate".

The Manheru column recently warned Moyo he could be jailed at the notorious
Chikurubi maximum security prison if his book disclosed state secrets.

Moyo attacked Matonga, saying he had become a "laughing stock in the media
because of his dense appreciation of his job and gross incompetence".

"My attention has been drawn to a threat of arrest over my soon-to-be
published memoirs from the increasingly excitable Matonga, that as I write I
must remember the provisions of what he described as 'the confidential
Cabinet Handbook'," Moyo said.

"In the first place, it is characteristically dull of Bright Matonga to
imagine he can use threats full of hot air against me to brighten his
self-evidently dark performance in the ministry where he has become a media
laughing stock because of his incompetence."

Moyo said Matonga had no idea about how literary works are produced because
he thought a "Cabinet Handbook" could be used to block authors from
exercising their intellectual freedom.
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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai disputes Mbeki's claims on Zim
Ray Matikinye
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday
disputed South African President Thabo Mbeki's argument that Zimbabwe's
foreign debt was entirely a result of its colonial past.

Mbeki last weekend said Zimbabwe's crippling debt was a natural consequence
of liberation and Independence that imposed on the new government a
responsibility to deal with urgent needs for the disadvantaged.

"It is wrong to say the debt problem is a problem of corruption, that money
was disappearing to corrupt officials," Mbeki said in a speech at the
national land summit in Johannesburg.

Mbeki's statements came as South Africa is considering a US$1 billion
package to bail out its northern neighbour from a foreign currency, fuel and
food shortage crunch.

Tsvangirai said the tendency to attribute Zimbabwe's failures to colonialism
is misplaced.

"Twenty-five years after Independence, Zimbabwe's economic failures have
nothing to do with colonialism," he said.

"It is purely mismanagement, corruption and a failed leadership. Years of
dictatorship have put us where we are today."

Tsvangirai said contrary to what Mbeki said, corruption and economic
mismanagement had led President Mugabe to run around with a begging bowl.

"All organisations such as the UN, the IMF, the African Development Bank and
the AU have come to realise that the country is now a failed state,"
Tsvangirai said.

He said if the money was on offer, the MDC would not stop anyone from
assisting Zimbabwe with food, fuel and other things that are in short

"It is not MDC policy to dictate what assistance should or should not be
given to Zimbabwe but such intervention by South Africa is only a short-term
solution. South Africa has no capacity to provide leverage for the problems
in Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said.

He said South Africa though could use the bail-out funds to force Mugabe to
the negotiating table if it felt so inclined because "a failed state is not
in the best interests of South Africa".

He said a failed leadership had destroyed the basis for economic

"When three million Zimbabweans flee their country for economic and
political reasons that is not colonialism. Is it colonialism that carried
out Operation Murambatsvina?" Tsvangirai asked.
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Zim Independent

Exposé on hotels a mirage
Shakeman Mugari
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono's exposé on hotels that he accused of
prejudicing the government of millions of US dollars turned out to be no
more than a mirage after most hoteliers were later cleared of any

In what has now turned out to be a damp squib, Gono in May went on a
crusade, accusing hotels of withholding foreign currency and understating
their earnings. He said hotels had unlawfully charged foreigners in local
currency and of feeding the parallel market.

He said the country had been prejudiced of US$200 million by hotels seeking
to sabotage his economic turnaround plans. Gono splashed an estimated $3,7
billion in newspaper adverts in a name-and-shame campaign against hoteliers
said to have understated their forex earnings.

The Reserve Bank issued a 48-page dossier listing the "guilty hotels" and
paid an average $750 million per newspaper that carried the advert. The
supplement was flighted in the Sunday Mail, the Chronicle, the Mirror, the
Standard and the Financial Gazette.

Gono also blasted the tourism sector on at least three occasions,
threatening to bring the culprits to book.

Sources however said most of the accused hotels had been cleared by the
National Economic Crimes Unit in the central bank which investigated the

The Central Intelligence Organisation and government officials who helped in
the investigations also failed to find evidence to support Gono's
allegations. Only one of the 55 named hotels and lodges has been convicted.

Executive Hotel was convicted and fined $43 million for charging foreigners
in local currency while Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo was told to remit the
foreign currency it earned.

The sources says Gono is yet to give the hotels clearance letters which he
was supposed to write soon after the investigation teams failed to confirm
the allegations. A source said efforts by hotels to get their clearance
letters have hit a brick wall.

In order to make amends and save face, Gono three weeks ago said he had
decided to close the matter. In his monetary policy review statement last
month Gono said he had decided to "let bygones be bygones".

"I have decided to make peace with the tourism sector and let bygones be
bygones," Gono said.

The rapprochement followed similar cease-fire statements he made to tourism
players in Victoria Falls last month to lure them back into the fold. But
sources say the admission was not out of his benevolence but failure to
corroborate his allegations.
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Zim Independent

MZWT in ambitious fundraising projects
Loughty Dube
THE Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT), the implementers of a project
to pipe water from the Zambezi River to arid Matabeleland, wants to embark
on an ambitious programme to raise billions of dollars to kick-start the

This is yet another sign that international investors whom the government
said would help finance and implement the project, are not coming any time

A document in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent indicates that the
MZWT is set to venture into wildlife and tourism, timber processing and
methane gas exploration in a bid to raise billions of dollars for the

According to the document, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment has
donated a sable to MZWT and the trust is seeking authority to sell it to the
United Arab Emirates.

The ambitious document also says the MZWT has reached an advanced stage
towards acquiring coal concessions that will enable it to enter agreements
for the generation of power and the sale of coke.

The MZWT report states that it requires 4 000 hectares of land in the Gwayi
area for eco-tourism ventures.

The trust wants to set up a lion and tiger research project together with a
Dutch organisation, Panterra Foundation, on 1 000 hectares. Also to be set
up in the area is a 1 000-hectare lion and cheetah tourist park in
conjunction with Pamuzinda Safari Lodge. The other 2 000 hectares will be
set aside for a sable, antelope and rhino-breeding venture for tourism and
export of live animals.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF supporters evict registered Mbare traders
Grace Kombora
GOVERNMENT'S controversial Operation Garikai has taken a new twist with Zanu
PF supporters violently evicting registered traders allocated stalls at the
Mbare Musika market this week.

Mbare Musika, which was closed during the clean-up campaign under Operation
Murambatsvina, was reopened after rigorous vetting and registration of
eligible operators at Harare council's Remembrance Drive offices. The
vetting retained most of the original traders at Mbare Musika.

The traders resumed trading after the official re-opening of the market by
Vice President Joseph Msika last week, but were in for a rude shock this
week when Zanu PF officials in Mbare started evicting them saying the stalls
would be reallocated to Zanu PF supporters.

At the start of the operation, civic society and the opposition accused
government of evicting traders to substitute them with party supporters. The
government at the time denied this. But government's clientelism was evident
this week as party officials started to parcel out vending stalls to their
members at Mbare Musika and Mupedzanhamo market.

The Zimbabwe Independent witnessed scuffles at Mupedzanhamo between traders
who had been legally given vending sites and marauding Zanu PF supporters
who were laying claim to the same stalls

A man identified only as Bazooka is spearheading the evictions at Mbare

Traders are now reluctant to occupy stalls issued to them fearing that the
invaders will confiscate their wares.
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Zim Independent

Farmers take case to international court
Augustine Mukaro
ment that could further embarrass Zimbabwe, Dutch nationals who lost farms
under the land reform programme have filed a case against the government at
an international tribunal demanding that Harare uphold the Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) between the two

More than 60 Dutch farmers were forced off their properties despite the fact
that they were protected under a Bippa, ratified by President Robert Mugabe
in 1996.

Netherlands embassy first secretary in Harare Lily Talapessy confirmed that
the displaced farmers had submitted their case to the International Centre
for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington. The centre was
formed in 1966 as an affiliate of the World Bank. It provides facilities for
the arbitration of disputes between member countries and investors who
qualify as nationals of other member countries.

"The farmers do not demand more than Zimbabwe has agreed to compensate,
stipulated in the Bippa between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands," Talapessy

She said the Dutch farmers were demanding an independent audit firm to
assess the value of the property the government wanted to acquire.

The farmers want the government to compensate the former owners in the
currency the appellants decide upon and accounts of their choice.

"Once compensated the ownership is transferred to the government," Talapessy
said. "Where the government has not followed the agreed procedure, the Dutch
farmers claim compensation, determined in the agreed way and paid in the
currency and into the account of their individual choice."

There were about 1 000 Dutch nationals in Zimbabwe before 2 000, 70 of them
being farmers, all growing flowers and falling under a ratified Bippa which
came into force in 1996.

Netherlands embassy officials said their government has been making
representations to mitigate the seizure of the farms without success.

"Since 2000 the embassy used all diplomatic channels and we are also in
contact with influential people to protect the investments," the official

One such farm under the Dutch Bippa agreement and threatened with seizure is
Chikore Farm part of which is already being occupied by Higher Education
minister Stan Mudenge.

Zimbabwe has Bippas with several European Union countries, four of them
ratified by President Mugabe.

An investigation by the Independent has revealed that all countries whose
nationals were farming in Zimbabwe have lost properties under the chaotic
land reform programme. The embassies concerned have also made
representations to the government in spirited efforts to save the
investments from folding.

The Swiss embassy also made representation to the Foreign Affairs ministry
following the invasion of Cannonkopje conservancy in Mutorashanga,
Mashonaland West.

The worst affected country is South Africa, which had over 200 farmers
spread throughout the country.

Farmers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said government completely
ignored the agreements prompting the concerned nationals to appeal for
diplomatic interventions.

"Government would only ask for the agreements and confirmation from the
concerned embassy but on the ground the situation would remain the same,"
one farmer from Masvingo whose farm is under threat said.

"My property is protected under the Dutch agreement and the embassy has made
representations at various levels in vain."
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF infighting spreads to govt structures
Dumisani Muleya
INFIGHTING in the ruling Zanu PF has now spread from party structures to a
government bureaucracy already crippled by corrupt and incompetent

Sources said the ruling party's factional wrangling, epitomised by last
year's fierce power struggle which culminated in the Tsholotsho saga, has
permeated state structures with dire consequences.

A Zanu PF faction linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa met in Tsholotsho on November
18 last year to plot a power-grab in the party. President Robert Mugabe
described the move as an attempted coup.

Sources said the fallout from that episode was now manifesting itself in
various ways in government. They said a political struggle was currently on
over the proposed Attorney-General's Office Bill which was gazetted on the
April 29.

Sources said despite the Bill sailing through its first reading and the
Parliamentary Legal Committee, it was now stuck due to internal Zanu PF
politics playing out in government's bureaucracy.

They said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney-General Sobusa
Gula-Ndebele were slugging it out over the Bill. Gula-Ndebele, linked to
retired army commander Solomon Mujuru's camp, is said to have been deployed
to his office, which falls under the Justice ministry, to checkmate
Chinamasa who belongs to the Mnangagwa faction.

Chinamasa, who was dropped from the Zanu PF politburo but retained in the
central committee and cabinet after the Tsholotsho affair, is also being
checkmated by Vice-President Joseph Msika who is the real Leader of the
House. Chinamasa is Leader of the House by delegation.

Sources said Chinamasa was unhappy with political attempts to establish the
Attorney-General's Office board and thereby reconstitute Gula-Ndebele's
office outside the public service, and to provide for the administration of
the office and conditions of service of its members separately.

The Bill, stuck fast due to political bickering, will set up the
Attorney-General's Office board and to provide for its functions,
administration and conditions of service of members and provide for the
transfer of employees from the public service to the office.

The Attorney-General's Office staff's remuneration and conditions of service
will be fixed by the president and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue

Sources said two weeks ago Zanu PF MPs backed Chinamasa in a caucus when the
Bill was discussed. Gula-Ndebele is said to have afterwards taken the matter
to Mugabe who then summoned the minister to explain. Mugabe is said to have
queried Chinamasa on why he was mobilising resistance to the Bill but the
minister denied the accusations.

There is also evidence of further Zanu PF infighting within government.

Zanu PF MPs recently complained at a caucus meeting over the fuel crisis.
Sources said the MPs also complained last Wednesday in their caucus over the
widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina.

Gutu South MP Shuvai Mahofa, linked to the Mnangagwa camp, is said to have
raised the issue, saying legislators could not support a programme whose
genesis they did not know. She was backed by colleagues in this.
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Zim Independent

Customs authorities seize books
Loughty Dube
ZIMBABWE'S Customs authorities have allegedly seized hundreds of copies of a
novel by exiled Zimbabwean journalist, Chris Gande, after they were mailed
to the country last month from the United States.

The books were meant for exhibition at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair
that is taking place in Harare this week, the Zimbabwe Independent has

The consignment of fliers and books was despatched by the United States
Postal Service on July 8 but never reached the intended recipient.

"The 450 books were sent to Zimbabwe last month and were expected in two
weeks' time," said Gande. "But so far, they have not been delivered and we
have been informed that Customs authorities are holding them," Gande said in
a telephone interview from Washington.

Gande said he had instructed his lawyers in Harare to take action to secure
the release of the books.

The book, Section Eight, is based on the Zimbabwe government's controversial
land reforms that saw white commercial farmers lose land violently to Zanu
PF politicians and party supporters.

Section Eight dramatises a love relationship between the daughter of a white
commercial farmer and the son of a government minister. The minister wants
to take over the farm belonging to the parents of his son's girlfriend.

Gande told the Independent that after enquiring about the whereabouts of the
book, he was informed that government authorities were still going through

Gande was the bureau chief for the banned Daily News in Bulawayo before he
left the country for Washington where he now works for the Voice of
America's Studio Seven.

The ZIBF, which began at the beginning of the week, ends tomorrow.

Gande said his book was now available in almost all countries except

"I wanted to promote the book through the Book Fair and it is now most
likely that it will not make it by Saturday," Gande said.
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Zim Independent

Trip lays bare realities of 'Look East' policy

Shakeman Mugari/Augustine Mukaro

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's attempts to secure an urgent financial rescue
package from China to save the economy from collapse have hit a brick-wall
and he returned from a week-long state visit to that country almost

Mugabe, however, won China's political support to veto a possible United
Nations resolution condemning Zimbabwe's Operation Murambatsvina.

Mugabe desperately needs Chinese support to counter the UN move. Analysts
say Mugabe's trip was successful from a political point of view but a
failure from an economic standpoint. Politically, it was a success because
China promised to block any UN resolution based on the report by United
Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka.

Besides political support, Mugabe did not get much from China. He signed
more bilateral and preferential trade agreements with the Chinese
government. He also got a paltry US$6 million for grain imports to avert
looming starvation in the countryside.

An estimated six million people are understood to be in need of food aid
throughout the country. Although this could be enough to feed the starving
multitudes for about three months, it leaves Mugabe with nothing for fuel
and power imports.

Zimbabwe also desperately needs money to pay its international debts, which
have ballooned to more than US$4 billion.

Analysts expressed reservations about the trip, saying beyond the minor
achievements of Mugabe's much-publicised visit was a signal failure as he
did not get the comprehensive rescue package he desperately wanted. The
analysts say China's support only offers a reprieve but does not solve the
economic crisis. They say Zimbabwe's fundamental problems of foreign
currency and fuel shortages will remain despite China's moral and diplomatic

China has shown that it is only interested in Zimbabwe in as far as it
provides markets for its products but is not committed to giving the much
needed balance-of-payments support, which Mugabe had hoped for.

Economic experts say China is not in the business of doling out largesse but
creating markets for its products. That is a fundamental part of Chinese
economic policies Mugabe and his ministers have failed to understand.

China's diplomatic support will not settle Zimbabwe's debt to the IMF and
other international lenders.

The analysts say it will not help Zimbabwe win international friends the
country desperately needs.

In the end, it's back to the drawing board for Mugabe. If anything, Mugabe
has taken the country backward by engaging in political bluster, attacking
local and international leaders who have been pushing him to accept the need
for a negotiated political settlement to Zimbabwe's problems.

While Mugabe claims China is Zimbabwe's "great friend", the reality is that
China has stronger economic and cultural ties with the West which it is
consolidating at a time Zimbabwe is trying to go it alone.

Latest figures show that despite Mugabe's boast about the "Look East"
policy, Zimbabwe's total trade with China is only US$264 million annually,
an amount which can barely buy five months' supply of fuel.

Co-operation agreements which parastatals signed with Chinese companies are
similar to those signed last year. History shows that very few of these are
followed up.

For instance, Zimbabwe has about 15 bilateral agreements with Malaysia but
none of them have been implemented. The noise made about them and the travel
expenses are not mirrored by investment flows.

In the past four years Zimbabwe has signed agreements with China, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. The benefits from these
agreements have been negligible, if any.

Trade figures show that Zimbabwe's economy is heavily inter-twined with the
West that Mugabe resents with a passion simply because they have been
critical of his political repression and economic mismanagement.

"China is an alternative market but certainly not the solution to our
problems," said an economist with a local bank.

"In a real sense our economy is heavily dependent on the West whom we are
still doing business with despite government's stance," he said.

Buoyed by China's warm reception and its effort to save Zimbabwe from UN
sanctions, Mugabe went into overdrive, attacking his African friends calling
for inter-party talks.

Political analysts say Mugabe's statement was seen as a reaction to regional
and international pressure for him to accept talks.

Rights activist Reginald Matchaba-Hove said Zimbabwe needed a political
solution to deal with the economic crisis and end international isolation.

"What is required in Zimbabwe is a political solution that will result in
the re-engagement of our traditional partners, particularly the West,"
Matchaba-Hove said.

"Therefore dialogue with all local stakeholders should resume so that
confidence can be built by investors."

Opposition MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai described Mugabe's tour as a
worthless trip.

He said Mugabe's begging spree in recent weeks would come to nothing unless
there was dialogue for a lasting political solution to the crisis at home.
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Zim Independent

Revisiting significance of Heroes' Day
By David Mupfurutsa
THE other day, while watching the first and permanent choice, I sat
transfixed by a song Zvichandibatsirei done by a local award-winning and
nimble-footed sungura musician, Hosea Chipanga.

In the song, this lyrical genius, using satire, takes issue with people who
(mis)use funerals as occasions to shed crocodile tears when previously they
watched, from a safe distance, as the deceased lived in squalor and abject
poverty. Whatever this musician's own inspiration and intention, the song,
for me, can be interpreted at national and not just family level.

Heroes' Day on August 8 is almost upon us. The year 2005, being the year of
the much-publicised Silver Jubilee, affords the nation an opportunity once
again reflect on and revisit the significance, if any, of heroism and the
holiday itself.

Twenty-five years of Independence have had a sobering effect on the national
psyche, with contradictions continuing to manifest themselves.

Despite all the rhetoric peddled by politicians about Independence and
democracy, many events have shown that there is very little shared vision
between the leadership on the one hand and their followers on the other.

The electorate, then as now, has become willing and sometimes helpless pawns
in this political tug-of-war for political supremacy. With the benefit of
hindsight, it now seems that the Patriotic Front was simply just that - a
front - in the worst sense of the word, for establishing in 1987 a political
hegemony through a one-party state.

Recently, Operation Murambatsvina amply demonstrated that those living in
glass houses nestled atop mountains have the habit of throwing stones and
other missiles. Is the government then still with the people, as espoused by
the late national hero Maurice Nyagumbo?

In 1982, the government, even though infatuated by, and flirting with the
then fashionable socialism, went on to establish the National Heroes' Acre.
It has now become a white elephant of monumental proportions where only a
select few sons and daughters are interred.

Heroes' Acre has served to expose all pretensions and propaganda about

the country being an egalitarian society. History continues to reinforce the
truism that some people are more equal than others.

Heroes' Acre is a shrine where, even after death, the ruling elite, as if to
rub salt in the wounds of the struggling masses, is allowed to exhibit its
aloofness and conspicuous consumption. It is therefore increasingly becoming
difficult, if not impossible, as is this case, for even the well-meaning,
not to speak ill of the dead.

Administration of the shrine has thus far dismally failed to foster national
unity. The criteria used to select heroes/heroines have to a large extent
been partisan and, not surprisingly, divisive and will thus continue to
haunt its architects and disciples.

It is telling that most of those interred at Heroes' Acre are members or
sympathisers of the ruling party. Such partisan selection has led to discord
even within the ruling party itself. It is the process, in this instance
conferment, that determines the authenticity, or otherwise, of a product -
hero status.

Heroes' Acre has sadly become a party and liberation war museum as opposed
to a national monument.

The politburo, as if by divine appointment, continues to exercise the
privilege, and not the right, of conferring hero, either national or
liberation war, status.

The politburo is a ruling party decision-making body and not a
nationally-elected organ. Such a partisan selection process continues to
discredit an otherwise noble idea to honour the country's heroes.

It becomes akin to attempting to sell ice to an Eskimo; a hard-sell indeed!
It follows therefore, that the criteria of who qualifies as a national hero
should, or manifestly be seen to be, democratic. Selection and conferment of
the status should be based on consensus or national sentiment. The primacy
of sectional interests has the danger of making the concept at best
compromised and at worst, irrelevant.

It is worth reiterating here that the upkeep of the shrine continues to be
funded by taxpayers as opposed to party membership subscriptions.

Taxpayers are thus being unfairly forced to pay for the upkeep of the
spouses and offspring of heroes who, like the war veterans, are being given
pensions and other benefits.

If the selection of heroes is not or, at the very least, seen to be above
board and based on consensus, then doesn't the granting to surviving family
members of non-contributory benefits become a form of corruption?

At the moment, matters relating to the shrine are being impartially treated
by the ruling party as if they only concern a private company or even a
monarch, and not, as should be the case, the whole nation.

As long as the politburo continues to be given unfettered powers to decide
who should be interred at the shrine, then it is only logical and fair that
the ruling party should finance the shrine and support the beneficiaries
from its own coffers.

Allocating public funds and then branding the Heroes' Acre a national
monument, but at the same time, using a partisan selection criteria, is
analogous to committing theft by false pretences from the fiscus.

The portfolio committee on public accounts and other patriotic citizens
should drive this point home so that the nation does not continue being sold
a dummy. There is definitely urgent need for a new mindset in how, as a
nation, we conceptualise and decide the criteria of who is a national hero.

The ruling party often vociferously and publicly criticises the opposition
for its alleged lack of commitment in observing Heroes' Day. However, such
criticism is cheap politicking because, as already alluded to aready, the
Heroes' Acre, at least at the moment, does not really inspire collective
ownership. It is greatly appreciated that not all mortals can be buried at
he shrine.

However, if the shrine is to command the respect that it deserves, then it
is probably time that it stopped being treated like private property by the
ruling party. It is such paternalism within the party that deludes it to
unilaterally appropriate national assets (theft by conversion), which has
done us more harm than good.

When the opposition politicians boycott Heroes' Day functions, the act
hardly qualifies as lack of gratitude for the sacrifices, some of them
ultimate, that were made by some of the country's sons and daughters.

Boycotts of functions at the shrine should simply be seen as a political
statement protesting the criteria presently being (mis)used to confer hero
status. In order to end the boycotts and apathy towards such functions, the
ruling party needs to extend an olive branch by seeking input from, and
promoting participation by, the opposition party in matters such as this one
that are of national significance.

The opposition, whatever its perceived shortcomings, cannot simply be wished

Unlike campaign rallies, Heroes' Day functions should not continue being
used as occasions for political grandstanding and throwing abuse and
invectives at political opponents and enemies, real or imagined.

If a conciliatory approach is adopted, more people from across all sections
of society may voluntarily attend these functions. The shepherding or
shanghaiing of children who should be on school holiday and youth militia
expectantly hoping to secure jobs to the acre will hopefully become
consigned to history.

Civil society, especially those involved in the promotion of children's
rights, should be more vocal in criticising such press-ganging of these
young and impressionable minds, which, when all is said and done, amounts to
child abuse disguised as re-education.

One wonders how many people who will be attending Heroesplush in Kwekwe
today understand, let alone appreciate the significance of the day.

For many young people, these galas, apart from allowing a temporary
diversion from economic difficulties, seem to provide an opportunity to
indulge in anti-social behaviour. Remember media reports about the gala, or
whatever you chose to call it, held a few years ago when used condoms were
found littering the grounds of Great Zimbabwe.

Selection of heroes by the politburo may have been acceptable when in the
late 1980s and early 1990s the country had become a de facto one-party
state. This situation is, however, now out of sync with the reality of a
multi-party state that the country has become, albeit falteringly.

The country's legacy cannot be appropriated by a clique within the ruling

Bereft of ideas on how to solve the current economic difficulties, the
leadership is now more concerned with harping about the past and the legacy
of the country's liberation struggle.

The liberation struggle credentials are not the only yardstick that should
be used to confer hero status. There are many more deserving people from
different walks of life -- a lot of them unsung heroes, and not necessarily
politicians or freedom fighters - who have made and continue to make a
difference to the nation and to other people's lives.

The heroes interred at the shrine, barring race, class, gender, ethnicity,
religion and politics, should, in all fairness, cut along the length and
breadth of the nation.

Is it not just a marvel to see how the affable former South African
president Nelson Mandela and the late inimitable Mother Teresa have
respectively, through their good deeds, become international citizen and

Many times, politicians have the belief, mistaken as it is, that people
venerate one's position and/or human remains when in fact, after death, it
is deeds that survive and are indelibly etched in people's collective

History has the nasty habit of sometimes turning some heroes into villains,
and vice-versa.

Even when some unsung heroes are not buried at the shrine, being fondly
remembered by many nationals can elevate them to bona fide national heroes,
as is the case with Mbuya Nehanda (Charwe) and Sekuru Kaguvi

These two were uncharitably portrayed as cult leaders steeped in witchcraft
by the government of the day, but their legacies have defied time and grown
in stature. Heroism is determined by perception and not legislation. Heroism
is relative!

The values held yesterday and today will not necessarily be those of the
next generation.

The monument, if not properly managed, risks becoming an illegal structure
or a gimmick, at least in the eyes and minds of the general populace,
especially among future generations who, everything being equal, will be its
true shareholders or custodians.

* David Mupfurutsa is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

How the ANZ played into Moyo's hands
By Geoff Nyarota
IF the ongoing Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe versus Media and
Information Commission (MIC) battle were a normal court case, the Daily News
would have long been back in circulation.

In the wake of the MIC's rejection recently of the ANZ's application for a
licence, lawyers for the publishing company shunted the case back to the
Administrative Court, where they scored a victory against the government in
2004. The MIC neutralised that earlier success by appealing to the Supreme

But even before the lawyers acting on behalf of the ANZ had filed the latest
notice of appeal at the Administrative Court, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the
publishing company's chief executive, sounded pessimistic.

"I assume that when the Administrative Court grants us relief the MIC will
appeal to the Supreme Court to forestall our attempts to get a licence," he
told a press conference in Harare.

Nkomo's reservations reveal a tacit admission that the ANZ may not be
contesting a legal case after all.

In an article published hot on the heels of Nkomo's press conference, former
Information minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the man who painstakingly
charted the downfall of the Daily News, said the reasons cited by the MIC
for its refusal to register the paper in the latest determination were

"They have no legal basis whatsoever," Moyo said. "The contraventions
alleged by the MIC are factually and legally simply not there. The MIC had
no option but to register the ANZ as a matter of law."

Moyo has embarked on a new campaign to redeem his reputation since his
year-end's fall-out with President Mugabe, the boss he served so
sycophantically for five years.

If Moyo, the architect of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) under whose auspices the Daily News was banned, says his
creation, the MIC, is guilty of abuse of the law, why then does the Daily
News remain unlicensed?

In a month's time, the Daily News will have been off the streets for two
years. If the paper's publishers were engaged in a genuine legal wrangle
against government, their lawyers have repeatedly won that case.

The Daily News remains unlicensed today because a political decision was
made to demolish the paper ahead of the 2000 parliamentary election.

When management decided, on a matter of principle, not to register the paper
with the MIC in 2003, they knew their decision was a calculated gamble in
the prevailing politically polarised situation.

"The Daily News has become a threat to our national security and it must be
silenced," Moyo vowed angrily on television in January 2001.

Two days later, the paper's printing press was reduced to a heap of scrap
metal after saboteurs exploded four powerful bombs in the printing factory.

A large contingent of the ruling party's war veterans association, equally
angry, had staged a rowdy demonstration in front of the Daily News offices
in downtown Harare a day before Moyo's ominous outburst.

Nine months before the factory explosion, a hand-grenade was launched at the
ground floor of the newspaper's offices.

The only person ever arrested in connection with either attack was a
Johannesburg-based Associated Press photographer who, true to his calling,
was the first on the scene of a news event. In the case of the factory
bombing, the police were given the registration details of the vehicle used
by the saboteurs.

Their findings were never made public.

The bomb attacks were episodes in an arduous crusade to silence an
independent newspaper, perceived to be a voice of the opposition at a time
when the popularity of the Mugabe administration was on the decline.

The first phase of the campaign had targeted journalists working on the
Daily News and other independent newspapers. They were harassed, arrested
and tortured on a number of occasions. Death threats were issued.

When the Daily News persevered, totally undaunted, the second phase of the
campaign was launched - seeking a total destruction of the paper's premises.
That the paper was back on the streets a day after its printing press was
wrecked was a humiliation for the paper's detractors.

Then Moyo had a brainwave. Legislation would bring the Daily News to its
knees. Aippa had a tempestuous passage through parliament. Some ruling party
backbenchers opposed it vehemently. The target of Aippa was the Daily News.

When Nkomo announced he was challenging this draconian law through refusal
to register the paper, bureaucrats in the Ministry of Information rubbed
their hands in glee.

The Daily News has since been reduced to the status of an occasional
newspaper headline. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have, once more, reverted to
total dependence on Zanu PF mouthpieces - the Herald and Chronicle.

The majority of those men and women who suffered and sacrificed so much to
launch and keep the paper on the streets, now wallow in misery and penury,
some in distant parts of the diaspora, far away from even the nearest

"I believe that all this could have been avoided had Nkomo agreed to join
(then Financial Gazette proprietor Elias) Rusike and myself in our decision
to register our newspapers and then launch a constitutional challenge
against this Act," Trevor Ncube, publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent and
Standard, said of the ban of the Daily News.

Ncube and Rusike registered their titles. Now the three papers have taken up
the cudgels on behalf of the stricken Daily News.

"Our position is that we will go ahead and register but there are some
objectionable sections in the Act that we feel need to be looked at," is
what Nkomo was quoted as saying by the Financial Gazette back in 2002. He
has never publicly explained the subsequent shift in position.

"I cannot say I understand the reasons for the decision not to register the
Daily News but am convinced it was most unfortunate," Ncube went on to say.

"The Daily News has basically given the government a 'legitimate reason' to
shut the paper down. The decision not to register when it was obvious that
the government hated the Daily News with a passion and wanted to close down
the newspaper was tactless and played right into the hands of Moyo and (MIC
chairman, Tafataona) Mahoso."

The role played by Nkomo in this fiasco needs to be scrutinised. In October
2002 I received a telephone call from Farayi Makotsi, editor of the Eastern
Star in Mutare.

He wanted me to confirm that we were closing his paper down. Thinking he was
joking, I asked where he got such fanciful ideas from.

"Well, Mr Nkomo is here and wants to make the announcement to staff,"
Makotsi responded despondently. That is how the editor-in-chief of the ANZ
got to know that one of his papers was closing down.

A few weeks later, the Daily News itself was off the streets. Staff went on
strike after Nkomo refused to honour a written undertaking made by the
company in July 2002 to award a salary increase in January 2003.

In the absence of Nkomo, who departed early for the Christmas holiday
leaving the workers out on the streets, I intervened to rescue the paper for
which, as editor-in-chief, I was legally responsible. When the Daily News
hit the streets again after an absence of nine days its banner headline was,
"Nyarota fired".

Nkomo suspended me after I rescued the paper. I was forced to resign. He
announced on radio that he had fired me.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation gleefully accused me of siding with
staff. To date I have to receive the letter of dismissal.

The Tribune, now also banned, celebrated my pending departure a full two
weeks before I committed the crime for which I was allegedly dismissed.

Nkomo obviously considered a hearing to be a luxury newspaper editors were
not entitled to.

"Board members are, alas, culpable as we should not have allowed this
travesty of justice and this undermining of our moral and statutory
obligations," board member Judith Todd lamented in a memo addressed a week
after my departure to Professor Norman Nyazema, chairman of Strive
Masiyiwa's Independent Media Group, then majority shareholder in the ANZ.

"I do not understand how Sam Nkomo has been able to accrue and wield such
power, such destructive power, as it turns out, without the knowledge let
alone consent, of the board. That false headline 'Nyarota fired' in The
Daily News with which our year began has been widely interpreted, rightly or
wrongly, as being simply a greetings telegram to Jonathan Moyo."

Voicing similar concerns 10 days after the closure of the Daily News in
September 2003 for publishing without an MIC licence, board member Stuart
Mattinson said: "I am most concerned that we appear to have been caught
unawares and our response has not been fully considered. Indeed, it seems
that we have left our executive team to decide on strategy, determine a
legal position and tactics and at the same time deal with those who would
like to see us permanently closed."

The Daily News has not been seen since Mattinson spoke with such uncanny
prescience on what was so clearly a case of political manoeuvring right from
the beginning.

* Geoff Nyarota is former editor-in-chief of the banned Daily News.
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Zim Independent

We have no more need of messiahs
By Michael Hartnack
By Michael Hartnack Author: Professor Steven Chan. Title: Citizen of Africa:
Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai. Publisher: Fingerprint Co-operative
Ltd, Cape Town, SA.

WHILE the late Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts' achievements as a
statesman remain debatable, lingering admiration for his thought as a
naturalist and philosopher, for his books such as Holism and Evolution, may
arouse protests at any attempt to compare him with President Robert Mugabe.

Yet what is the modern African nationalist's view of Smuts?

Is it not that Smuts' narrow obsession with relations between Afrikaans and
English-speaking South Africans caused him again and again to seek
coalitions between them at the expense, ultimately, of black and brown? Is
it not that Smuts' attempts to play world statesman distracted him from
attending to the best interests of southern Africans?

And does not President Mugabe contend that he sought continually to build
coalitions of black ethnic groups? His critics would say he did this at the
expense of whites, and of the country, but perhaps Mugabe has proved himself
a more wily, more ruthless and more effective coalition-builder than "Slim
Jannie", although Smuts, admittedly, had to respect at least some rules of
law and economic common sense.

In the end, an element of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans accused Smuts of
betraying their interests, just as some black Zimbabweans now accuse Mugabe.

Like so many African leaders, both suffered an undue degree of adulation at
their advent to power, particularly from persons abroad with insufficient
knowledge of Africa, persons with confused consciences about recent emotive
events - the 1899-1902 Boer War and Zimbabwe's 1960-80 Independence

As late as the 1930s, the historian Arnold Toynbee was smugly congratulating
"British statesmanship" for conclusively solving South Africa's ethnic
problems by putting Smuts at the helm, just as a later generation
prematurely and complacently hailed President Mugabe. Smuts, like Mugabe,
was believed to have something to offer Africa and the world.

Learned books deified Smuts and Mugabe while, unnoticed, dire ecological and
demographic problems developed on the soil of southern Africa.

Just as I unsay no word of admiration for Smuts as a philosopher, I unsay
none for Morgan Tsvangirai as president of the Movement for Democratic

When he was under heavy criticism after the March 31 parliamentary election
here, I wrote that he seemed to personify ordinary, sensible Zimbabweans and
may represent our last hope of keeping our country together as a unitary

Precisely because of this, I am alarmed by publication of Professor Stephen
Chan's set of conversations with him, Citizen of Africa, Conversations with
Morgan Tsvangirai, interesting as it is, when compared with Tsvangirai's
jejune regurgitation in the 1980s of Zanu PF Marxist cliches.

Chan's book is a self-evident attempt to build Tsvangirai up, in Chan's own
eyes and those of the world, into a front-ranking African statesman, a
worthy successor to the Mugabe Chan once adulated.

Yet Chan, professor of International Relations at London University's School
of Oriental and African Studies, fails to perceive Zimbabweans' (including
Tsvangirai's) enormous achievement to date.

In 2000, less than 20 years after the end of the Independence war, black
voters turned out in droves to vote for candidates who were former Rhodesian

Likewise, less than 13 years after the Gukurahundi Matabeleland genocide,
Ndebele voters turned out to vote for a Shona-led party.

The learned Professor Chan obviously never grasped that the fundamental of
African politics for a thousand years was ethnic cleansing, at best forcible
assimilation of neighbouring communities, and communities' corresponding
paranoid fear of genocide.

Chan, as a scholar, should have had his ears open for the perceptive comment
of Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly at the February
2000 referendum, that this country was witnessing "the death of nationalist

In other words, a historic shift was taking place from the politics of
ethnic solidarity to demands for good governance, as in any modern,
developed state.

Nationalist or ethnic politics was not, alas, giving up without a fight.

Blind, ignorant adulation of Louis Botha and Smuts paved the way under their
successors for the system of institutionalised ethnic cleansing that was
apartheid. Blind, ignorant adulation has contributed to the tragedy of the
past 25 years here, which saw tactics of ethnic cleansing used against the
Ndebele, against white farmers, and now the urban poor.

It is a pity to be unkind to so well-meaning a writer but Chan does not see
how he was part of the tragedy, how he unknowingly posed a moral danger to
Mugabe and Zimbabwe, and now to Tsvangirai.

His conversations with Tsvangirai are informative and valuable. Tsvangirai
seems to be saying all the right things to make him acceptable to a 21st
century Africa, moving towards women's rights, confronting the HIV crisis,
restoring the economy while at the same time not forgetting the


But southern Africa has no more need of messiahs. With the exception of
former South African president Nelson Mandela they all got crucified in the
end, anyway. What we need is a strong civil society in which credible
leaders can operate.

* Michael Hartnack is a veteran foreign correspondent based in Harare.
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Zim Independent

Zim slides as image-makers falter
By Chido Makunike
WHILE the destruction of Zimbabwe continues under the present rulership, a
sea change that has taken place in recent months has been the complete loss
of the Mugabe government's control over its image.

While the country continues on its slide it might be easy to overlook the
importance of this development, but I believe it will in future come to be
viewed as a significant milestone in the decline of this odious regime.

Virtually everywhere in the world, with the possible exception of South
African president Thabo Mbeki's mind, Mugabe and his regime have become
symbols of how not to run a country.

Mugabe's government has become a laughing stock, still maintaining a
physical grip on the country's citizens but no longer having the means to
keep things running at even minimally acceptable levels.

Since things began to spiral out of control for the government, it has
attempted to limit how much of that national unravelling Zimbabweans and the
rest of the world get to see.

Foreign news correspondents were unceremoniously kicked out with the
collusion of former Information minister Jonathan Moyo's propaganda
department and the department of immigration in contravention of the
country's own laws. The closure of newspapers on the flimsiest grounds does
not need repeating here.

The state media does not allow dissenting voices any meaningful space and
bombards us with repeated doses of the most puerile propaganda. The ruling
authority is so lacking in confidence that laws to intimidate people from
speaking their minds are on the books.

Yet not a single one of these and many other measures designed to try and
protect the government's image have done a bit of good.

On the contrary the Mugabe government's image is in complete ruin. The
bitterness and nervousness the government displays towards many of the
citizens and much of the world show it has no confidence that a significant
part of the target of its propaganda believes it.

Despite the closing off of alternative voices from the public space, the
government's actions and how Zimbabwe is not functioning well are such loud,
obvious counters to its propaganda that the propaganda only makes the
government look ridiculous. There must be some plausibility for propaganda
to be effective.

When it flies in the face of the reality that people live and see for
themselves, it doesn't really matter how many newspapers you shut down or
how much you limit the airwaves. It may limit people's access to the real
truth, but it will certainly not win any hearts and minds.

Information management can only be a distant second in moulding opinion to
what actions are actually taken.

Shouting about British premier Tony Blair and "illegal sanctions" until you
are blue in the face is a complete waste of time in trying to influence
thinking when you then take actions that cannot possibly be reconciled with
your propaganda.

If there were any people who bought the propaganda that Blair and sanctions
were the cause of most of our problems, certainly they would have been
rudely disabused of that notion by the Mugabe regime's enthusiastic
destruction of thousands of homes and flea markets.

No one, no matter how gullible, would believe that Blair, the West or "the
whites" would have been the instigators of the orgy of violence against them
by their own "sovereign" government.

After this and other actions, it almost doesn't matter what statements the
president and his propaganda machinery issue to defend themselves against
charges that they are in fact the worst disaster to have befallen Zimbabwe.

In a system where regurgitating whatever the official line is on a
particular issue is about the only way to keep one's position and access to
perks in a non-performing economy, the appearance of unanimity on everything
looks absurd.

How is it possible that there could be any contentious issue on which all
the members of a political party or a government can completely agree?
Instead of making Mugabe's regime appear like a genuinely united fortress,
it instead makes them look like frightened, cornered rabbits.

Party unity within certain limits may be understandable as a reason for
reining in loose cannons, but the image we have of Mugabe's minions are of
robots who dare not think or utter an independent thought for fear of his

Again, no matter how the propaganda services attempt to explain this dull,
unnatural unanimity even on actions that are clearly harmful to the country,
on a gut level everyone understands that this is unanimity born of fear and
convenience, not conviction.

Anyone who sees things differently from Mugabe is accused of being a lackey
of the West or the whites.

This sort of blackmail is how Mugabe has been able to keep many of his
opponents as well as allies in line.

But this rhetoric is utter drivel when one looks at how Mugabe and many of
his closest aides are attached to so many of the accoutrements of the West
that they pretend to so hate.

Ministers who are citizens of Western countries, ministers with Western
spouses, ministers whose children flock to the West to escape the ruin their
parents are visiting on their country.

All one has to do is look and listen to Mugabe to see and hear all the ways
in which he is steeped in Western ways. So when he rants and poses as the
greatest "anti-Westerner" of the age, all he manages to do is make himself
look ridiculous, no matter what his propaganda machinery is churning out.

There is little doubt that as things continue to unravel, Mugabe's regime
will become more repressive in proportion to the loss of esteem it continues
to suffer at home and abroad. But when the story of this stage of the
country's history is written, it will be recognised that the loss of the
Mugabe regime's control over the image it projects to the world was a
critical point in its decline.

So much so that even those it considers its friends wrinkle their noses and
deal with them from a distance. They are unwilling to openly embrace them,
coming only as close as they believe is necessary for their advantage.

When foreign help is rendered, it is minor and strips away even more of the
dignity of the president who shouts himself hoarse about his sovereignty and

The tough propaganda and bravado we are fed is in stark contrast to the sad,
crumbling country we painfully witness for ourselves everyday as the
president maintains his stiff upper lip, fooling no one but perhaps himself
and his bootlickers.

Despite all the crude efforts to limit the thinking space, the Mugabe
government has provided a case study of how in an enlightened, technological
age, an incompetent dinosaur of a regime that has failed to evolve with the
times simply looks ridiculous despite its raw, oppressive military prowess.

*Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo


PRESIDENT Mbeki's neatly tailored account of Zimbabwe's land reform
programme and his dismissal of corruption as a contributor to the country's
huge foreign debt is disingenuous to say the least.

We know he has to justify doling out South African taxpayers' money to pay
Zimbabwe's debt to the IMF but surely he could do better than this descent
into platitudes. This must rank as one of the most dishonest statements by a
head of state on Zimbabwe in recent years, although admittedly there is hot
competition in the field!

Mbeki told a land conference in Johannesburg last weekend that Zimbabwe was
immersed in debt because of the reconstruction which took place after the
war of liberation. It was justified for the government to spend more than it
had to provide social services such as housing, education and health.

Corruption did not play a part in this glowing account. Mbeki was also
quoted as saying: "To suggest Zimbabwe's land reform was marred by
corruption was wrong."

Which hole has the president just emerged from?

Can I invite President Mbeki to take the Zimbabwean template of land reform
and implement it in his back garden so he can watch the flowers dying?

For President Mugabe's regime, the statement could not have come at a better
time. It is a justification for the glaring history of failure and inept
governance that has brought us to where we are today. This dishonesty will
be Mugabe's lifebuoy at international fora to justify Zimbabwe's Zanu
PF-inflicted economic meltdown.

The Mbeki tale of Zimbabwe blends well with Mugabe's conspiracy theories.
The octogenarian leader is being cleansed of all culpability in Zimbabwe's
fall from grace. There was justification for it. He was doing it for his
people, according to President Mbeki. Here is a good leader who loved his
people so much that he plunged the country into debt and abject poverty all
in the name of social upliftment.

We should however sound a cautionary note. This version comes from the same
man who said HIV did not cause Aids!

Just a reminder to Mbeki: President Mugabe's government is notorious for its
profligacy. He has maintained a huge cabinet - reportedly in per capita
terms one of the largest in the world - which has drained the fiscus of
resources that could have been used for social investment. The current
cabinet, with its acres of dead wood, is testimony to that.

Not content with distortions in the pattern of public expenditure, it has
never been explained how ministers become extremely rich overnight. It has
nothing to do with business acumen because the portfolios under their charge
bear all the marks of incompetence.

Members of Mugabe's government have not hesitated to raid the national purse
for personal enrichment. I am sure President Mbeki is familiar with the
corruption scandal surrounding the VIP Housing Scheme and the War Victims
Compensation Fund.

Can I remind Mbeki that President Mugabe's brother-in-law who secured a huge
payout from the fund because of a supposed 95% disability was on the front
page of a national daily last month advertising his credentials as a farm
owner? He has not been prosecuted despite promises that he would be made to
account for his ill-gotten windfall. Nor have any of the other well-placed

Then there is sheltered employment in government. This explains massive
defence spending in peacetime when the health sector is crumbling. For
Mbeki's information Zimbabwe last year commissioned ox-drawn ambulances in
rural areas where suborned traditional leaders have been given Mazda pick-up
trucks. The promises of health for all by the year 2000 evaporated long
before the chaos of land reform in 1999.

There are more examples of policies which compounded our poverty like the
four-year campaign in the DRC and the doling out of unbudgeted monies to war
veterans. This is expenditure which did not benefit the country. Is there
any justification for senior government officials to be driving the latest
Mercedes and Peugeot 607 limousines imported using scarce foreign currency?
This is corruption by another name.

I would also want to draw his attention to reports by the comptroller and
auditor-general on the handling of loans advanced to parastatals. A 2000
report by the auditor-general on the management of debt said the government
should not commit itself to loans whose conditions are not feasible.

"The ability to fulfill the loan conditions on time should be highly
considered in the negotiation of loans since some lenders' requirements
might be difficult to meet," the auditor-general said.

There is no accountability in parastatals where managers are appointed on
political lines and are not obliged to explain huge losses incurred. Air
Zimbabwe provides an emblematic example of a well-run profitable concern
transformed into a basket case by the regime's friends and hangers on.

There is corruption in our government and President Mugabe knows that. That
is the reason why the country's ranking in international corruption indices
is not enviable. That is why the country's credit risk is so high. Mbeki
does not need to go very far to confirm this. He should find out why South
African banks are not prepared to give Zimbabwe lines of credit.

Zimbabwe has established an anti-corruption ministry in response to grand
corruption. But we can be sure its ambit will not extend to the high and
mighty.Mbeki appears blissfully unaware of the unbridled graft and greed by
government officials in the land reform exercise. Many got more than one
farm each. They parcelled out the best land to themselves. They commandeered
tractors and vandalised irrigation equipment. They ignored court orders to
vacate properties and return looted equipment.

Looking the other way will not help Zimbabwe at all, neither will it assist
South Africa. It certainly won't convince the world that Mugabe was right
with his land reform nor will it attract investment to the region.

We must ask, what contribution can President Mbeki make to solving
Zimbabwe's crisis when he engages in self-deception about its causes?
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Zim Independent

Properties set to be pegged in US$
Eric Chiriga
THE recent move by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to allow fuel sales in
US dollars could open the floodgates to the dollarisation of the economy,
which would also see prices of properties being pegged in United States

It will give property agents and other businesses leeway to conduct business
in foreign currency, a move which governor Gideon Gono declared illegal in a
statement in March last year.

The legal currency of tender in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwe dollar. In this
regard the local currency must be used in all quotations for properties sold
in Zimbabwe and payment should be effected in the same currency," the
central bank was quoted as saying in the state media.

However, Gono announced in his monetary policy two weeks ago that designated
filling stations would sell fuel in US dollars.

The fuel will be sold at US$1 per litre, the equivalent of $17 500 at the
new exchange rate.

But analysts say the move will gradually dollarise the economy, giving a
leeway for manufacturers and traders to transact in foreign currency. This
would be in stark contrast to Gono's previous statement that the Zimbabwe
dollar was the only legal tender.

Property owners and real estate agents have of late been threatened with
closure for pegging their rentals or property prices in foreign currency.
Gono has in the past blasted estates agents for pegging prices of properties
in US dollars.

Property prices have been rising to levels not proportionate with locals'
financial capacity as many foreigners and Zimbabweans in the diaspora use
the strength of foreign currencies like the British pound and the greenback
against the plunging Zim dollar.

Former RBZ governor, Leonard Tsumba, allowed estate agents to quote property
prices in foreign currency. The estate agents then quoted or leased their
properties in foreign currency to both foreigners and locals who were
prepared to pay in hard currency.

Landlords and property agents said it was a hedge against the country's high
inflation rate, which currently stands at 164,4%. Abraham Sadomba, the
managing director and spokesperson of CB Richard Ellis said the government
failed to understand them from the beginning.

Property agents say they are not happy that Gono has allowed service
stations to charge for fuel in US dollars when he had in the past attacked
them for quoting property prices in the same currency.

"Our job as estate agents is to link the seller of property with the buyer,"
Sadomba said. He said whether the property price was quoted in foreign or
local currency was up to the owner or seller of the property.

In relation to the decision to sell fuel in US dollars, Sadomba said that
authorities were implementing policies without thinking of their effects.

He said even if they sold fuel in US dollars, the real price of the
commodity would finally prevail.

"It's very discouraging, we want policies that are well thought out because
the current ones are not working," he said.

He said he was appalled by the so-called economic commentators who keep on
supporting policies they know don't work.

"These people appear frequently saying the same things that they know will
not work."

The property agents and other businesses prefer payment in hard currency
because of the flourishing parallel market.

The disparity between the official auction market exchange rate and the
parallel market is continuing to widen despite the devaluation from about
US$1: $10 800 to US$17 500.

Currently the US dollar is trading at approximately $40 000 after rising
sharply in response to Gono's devaluation. The RBZ has also ruled illegal
the payment of salaries in foreign currency.
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Zim Independent

Zim dollar in steep plunge
Eric Chiriga
THE Zimbabwe dollar has plunged over $17 500 against the US currency on the
auction market, making it the steepest decline since Gideon Gono took over
as Reserve Bank governor in 2003.

Two weeks ago, before Gono devalued the Zimbabwe dollar, the exchange rate
stood at US$1: $10 890.

On July 18, it was trading at US$1: $10 890 before collapsing to US$1: $17

On July 28 the auction rate hit US$1: $17 701 with the lowest average bid
rate accepted at $17 698 and a weighted average rate of $17 700.

Economic analyst, John Robertson, said the rate was responding to market

He said the authorities tried to control the exchange rate but that this
only worsened the country's foreign currency shortage.

"It should have been recognised long before that the exchange rate should be
determined by market forces," he said.

Robertson said the new exchange rate would not revive exporting firms that
have already collapsed.

The shortage of foreign currency on the auction floor continues to worsen as
demand is now about 20 times the amount in supply.

The shortages are compensated on the flourishing parallel market where major
currencies like the US dollar and British pound are trading at about
US$1:$40 000 and £1:$70 000 respectively.

On August 1, 7 358 bids were rejected out of 7 418. In the previous auction
of July 28, 5 489 bids were rejected out of 5 544.

The foreign currency auction can only allot a fixed US$12,5 million.

On the auction of May 12, the total amount of bids was US$267 296 306, about
25 times more than the available US$11 million.

There were 8 291 out of which 8 180 were rejected, a rejection of about

According to Finhlod's monthly economic report for March, the amount of bids
surpassed the US$100 million mark at the February 10 and 14 auctions,
translating into demand of 9 times more than the fixed supply of US$11
million per auction.

"The average rejection rate rose from 93% in January to 97% in February,
reflecting the continued excess demand of foreign currency on the auction,"
Finhold said in its Economic Update of March.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced the foreign currency auction system
in a bid to manage and ration the country's dwindling foreign currency

The system involves the auctioning of foreign currency to the market
bi-weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays, through a currency exchange at the
central bank.

At the auction, all bids to be submitted must be for foreign exchange
transactions with prior Exchange Control Approval.

Exporters and other suppliers of foreign exchange make offers to the
currency exchange through authorised dealers and bids are supposed to be
from importers and other users of foreign exchange.

Authorised dealers are required to aggregate small bids of less than US$5
000 and present them as one bid to the auction on behalf of the small

All bids are submitted in US dollars only.
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Zim Independent

'Zim economy worse than a country at war'
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE World Bank has said Zimbabwe's economic decline is untoward for a
country that is not at war.

Hartwig Schafer, Zimbabwe World Bank's country director, on Wednesday said
for the six-year economic meltdown to be reversed, serious economic
restructuring like the one which helped the former Soviet Union states would
be required.

According to Schafer, the crisis facing the country is largely because of
poor government policies."I can't think of a country that has experienced
such a decline in peace time," he said.

"The major reasons for (Zimbabwe's) decline are the breakdown of
agricultural productivity and distortion of economic policies," he said.

The 2000 ill-planned land reform programme, which was often violent, led to
seizures and disruptions on the farms, which resulted in maize production
declining by three quarters.

The reform impacted on Zimbabwe's exports and food security.

In addition to the frontal attacks on agricultural production, the rest of
the economy suffered from the undermining of property rights and poor
macroeconomic management.

The government has run huge budget deficits of up to 22% of gross domestic
product since 2000, and has printed money to cover triple-digit
hyperinflation. Although the government has said that the economy is on a
recovery path, the country has been given the dubious status of having the
fastest shrinking economy in Africa.

Due to the crisis, the central bank has now been forced to revise its
initial economic growth figures from 3% to 2%.

The central bank has also revised its initial annual inflation rate target
from 20-35% to between 50-80% although analysts say the target would be

The World Bank has produced a report on Zimbabwe's agricultural sector,
which said that government's fast track land reforms had redistributed 80%
of farmland and improved racial distribution of agricul-tural property but
had worsened poverty.

The report said the land reform programme coincides with a deepening
political and economic crisis, which saw GDP shrinking by more than 20%
since 2000, while agriculture registered a cumulative decline of 26%.

The programme's impact on agriculture had the effect of displacing 30% of
farm workers who are now destitute and living as squatters.The report, said
70% of Zimbabwe's 11,6 million people were living below the poverty datum
line as per capita gross domestic product had plummeted 30% since 1999.

Schafer said restoring agricultural productivity would be a first step to
helping Zimbabwe arrest its economic free fall.

"It wouldn't change things overnight but it would stop the economic
hemorrhage and help the country get back on an upward path," he added.
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Zim Independent

Constitutional amendment spells doom for economy
By Alex T Magaisa
THE proposed constitutional amendment in relation to property ownership will
effectively close one of the few remaining opportunities for economic
revival in Zimbabwe.

In an age of the free market and open economy, Zimbabwe is regressing by
adopting frightening characteristics of the discredited closed economy.

Clause 16B of the Constitutional Amendment (No 17) Bill is one that any
self-respecting parliament should never permit if the legislative body value
the economic interests of the country.

Contrary to the beliefs of its proponents, the nationalisation of land is

on a fallacious understanding of the nature of African society and is quite
simply poor economic policy.

It is necessary to give a simplified summary of the key legal and practical
effect of Clause 16B of the Constitutional Bill. First, it effectively
enables the nationalisation of all agricultural land and gives power to the
state to compulsorily acquire land "for whatever purpose".

There is therefore no limit to the purpose for which land may be acquired by
the state and presumably it may even be taken for private interests.

This exposes the process to abuse.

Secondly, it prohibits any claims for compensation for acquired land except
in respect of improvements.

Third, it ousts the jurisdiction of the courts in respect of challenges
against compulsory acquisition and only permits challenges against the
valuation of improvements.

These are highly dangerous clauses, encroaching as they do on one of the
fundamental rights which play a key role in the economic situation of any

The rationale for nationalising agricultural land has not been clearly
defined but it is clearly a retrogressive step.

One question that arises is whether or not at a conceptual level the
institution of private ownership is alien to African societies as there is a
view that seems to suggest that traditional African society is inherently

At the heart of the problem in contemporary Africa is the apparent conflict
between the so-called traditional (African) and modern (Western) values.

It is often suggested that while traditional society values communal
ownership, Western society privileges individualism and private ownership.

At the national level, this value of communal ownership is expressed in the
form of nationalisation with the state purportedly acting as the guardian of
people and custodian of property for the people.

It is often argued that there is no place for individualism in African
society, and because communal ownership is purportedly for the good of all
members of society, we must make it the foundation of our relationship with

This is not only wrong but it is at variance with the realities of modern
African societies.

Opponents of private ownership conveniently forget that the so-called
traditional African society is not static.

Likewise, the values of that society are not fixed in time but are dynamic
and change in form and character in response to changes in society.

From that perspective, it is clear that African society is not what it was
in the 19th century and similarly its values have changed.

The values of individualism and private ownership have been embraced by both
rural and urban Zimbabweans and co-exist with the aspects of communalism
that may still be the basis of relations between people.

The acquisition and protection of ownership of things are some of the key
characteristics of Zimbabwean society today.

Both movable and immovable assets are the subjects of Zimbabweans' desire to
own and protect individual capacities.

When the state justifies nationalisation with reference to traditional
values, it

is taking society to an age that many can hardly relate to.

Whatever our denials we, including the leaders, have embraced the

so-called Western value of private ownership.

By this constitutional amendment, the state is simply imposing a system that
is discredited, alien and at variance with modern society's values.

Given the fashionable reference to all things Chinese as the alternative, it
is perhaps ironic that Zimbabwe is going in the opposite direction compared
to our Eastern friends.

In 2004, the Chinese parliament endorsed landmark changes to the
constitution to enable it, for the first time since the 1949 Revolution, to
protect the right to private property.

This represented the decline of a key tenet of communist China, which by and
large demonstrates the Chinese's calculated embrace of capitalist
characteristics, albeit with caution.

The disaster that followed nationalisation of land in Tanzania under Mwalimu
Nyerere is well documented.

One could be tempted to remark that Zimbabwe is experimenting. It is not. By
this amendment, it is simply learning from others' mistakes to make similar

The Chinese and others have embraced private ownership because empirical
evidence shows that it is a necessary tool for promoting economic
development. Pressure for reform came also from the Chinese business
community, whom ironically, we are trying to attract.

The ability to own things drives the human being to be inventive and to
invest labour and capital into more production and efficiency. Ownership
facilitates freedom as it gives a person personal jurisdiction of his

The state fails to realise that besides skill and experience, the white
commercial farmers were able to carry out viable business on the farms
because they had title to the land.

The availability of title meant that they were able to participate in the
financial markets as commercial businesses, thereby benefiting from the
instruments designed specifically to meet their needs.

This falls away with nationalisation - effectively wiping out the economic
value of land in the markets.

The amendment will undoubtedly cause a major setback to any economic
turnaround efforts.

It sends out the message that Zimbabwe is not prepared to embrace free
market economics and protect investor rights. Who would want to invest in a
country where their security of title is constantly under threat?

In all industrialised and emerging economies, the right to private property
is held in high esteem and given ample protection.

The right of the state to acquire land is generally accepted but the state
is held accountable for its actions and laws that affect property rights.

In this respect Clause 16B has serious defects.

First, by ousting the jurisdiction of the courts it is effectively violating
the time-honoured principle of separation of powers between parliament, the
executive and the judiciary.

This separation is crucial for the purpose of maintaining checks and
balances against the abuse of power by any of the branches of government.

The judiciary acts as a bulwark against the encroachment into the rights of
citizens by the legislature and the executive.

This is more pertinent in many African countries in cases where the
legislature is effectively captured by the executive that is often too

In Zimbabwe, the constitution already confers rights to approach the courts
for redress and ousting that jurisdiction goes against the constitutional

Worse is that Clause 16B tries to remove the right to the protection of the
law that is protected under Section 18 of the constitution.

The amendment fundamentally disturbs the institutional arrangements that are
necessary for the protection of the right to property.

Secondly, two of the paragraphs seek to legitimise the acquisitions of land
without compensation that have already taken place or might take place
before the clause becomes law.

This is known as an ex post facto law, that is a law that seeks to apply to
events that occurred before its enactment.

There is in most civilised states a general prohibition against passing such
laws, which are essentially retrospective.

They are unfair because they seek to take away rights to which citizens were
legitimately entitled at the relevant time.

Law must be certain to all citizens and it is unjust to place one at a
disadvantage after the event has passed.

In some countries this prohibition applies only to criminal laws but there
is no reason why a similar approach should not apply to civil laws.

Clearly, this retrospective amendment goes against the legitimate
expectations of citizens.

Under the constitution, they had legitimate expectations to approach the
courts of law for redress at the time of acquisition.

They also had legitimate expectations to receive fair compensation for their

This amendment cannot now purport to take away those legitimate
expectations - it would be a clear violation of international law.

The danger of allowing a change of this character will in future open the
way for the state to violate the law with reckless abandon, only to provide
a cover of legitimacy by enacting retroactive constitutional amendments.

In conclusion, the amendments will do more harm to the country in the long
term that the framers seem to conveniently overlook at this stage.

The confidence of investors will decline further while the credit rating of
the country and businesses will be drastically reduced.

The land question is not simply a political matter nor is land simply needed
for sentimental reasons.

It is a key economic issue and sadly, this amendment is based on misdirected
economic policies.

The real revolution will manifest when people who get land are given title
to it - to use it as they wish and when a person has freedom over their
property, he is more likely to put it to better use.

Not when it is at risk of compulsory acquisition without recourse to the
courts. James Madison once stated that, "In framing a government, which is
to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you
must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next
place oblige it to control itself."

In Zimbabwe, by ousting the judiciary as far as land is concerned, clearly
the executive is rejecting control.

Parliament must think long and hard before passing this dangerous amendment
into law for it is a mortal danger to the economy.

* Dr Magaisa is a specialist in Corporate and Financial Services Law. He can
be contacted at
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Zim Independent

Farmers wary of amendments
Godfrey Marawanyika/Itai Mushekwe
FARMERS' organisations have warned that the proposed constitutional
amendments on land if passed into law will result in land being owned along
party lines rather than the capability to produce.

Justice for Agriculture (JAG) voiced its concerns at a parliamentary hearing

JAG Trust chairman, John Worswick, told the parliamentary hearing that the
17th amendment would allow government to nationalise all farmland, making it
lose its market value.

"If the amendment passes, land in Zimbabwe will be owned on the basis of
patronage and not one's productiveness or ingenuity," Worswick said.

"While China has accepted the need for individual property rights, Zimbabwe
is moving completely in the opposite direction," he said.

Worswick said land the world over was not owned by the state but by

individuals and companies with leases and title deeds, which gives the land
market value.

A Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) representative, Mike Clark, said although
they were not opposed to land reform, they were concerned that Section B of
the Bill undermines property rights and the rule of law in the country.

"As soon as the section is effected into law all the land in Zimbabwe will
become state land," Clark said.

"We are worried about the powers vested in the minister which are
unprecedented. The amendment fails to clearly define what agricultural land
is and where one draws the line in terms of acres which constitute
agricultural land."

Since 2000, the government has been failing to come up with a final position
on the land redistribution process. The haphazard land reform resulted in
severe food shortages, forcing the country to resort to imports.

It is estimated that at least 3,3 million Zimbabweans are in dire need of
food aid, which is now mostly being availed through the World Food

The food donations are contrary to public statements by Agriculture minister
Joseph Made who last year insisted the country had enough food stocks.

Earlier this year central bank governor Gideon Gono was forced to revise the
initial economic growth projections from 3-5% to 2% by year-end.

Ruling party Secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira said government
would divert funds from public investments to pay for food imports.

Irene Petras of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the amendment
presents the judiciary, legislators, legal fraternity and ordinary people
with their greatest challenge yet.

She said the amendments impose fiscal obligations on the state, adding that
the move is contrary to the African Charter which guarantees fundamental
human rights which the state seeks to remove

"The Bill usurps the powers of the judiciary and constitution which many
Zimbabweans depend on for protection from unchecked state actions," she

"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights strongly rejects the Amendment Bill and
intends to challenge this dangerous and oppressive law."
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Zim Independent


China obsession only the latest fad

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was in South Africa last week
to discuss new trade deals and enhance investment between the two countries
while President Mugabe took his begging bowl to China.

Badawi and President Thabo Mbeki agreed to set up a joint Malaysia-South
Africa Trade and Investment Committee to follow up on agreements and ensure
that impediments to trade are removed. From China, we had vague mention of
trade deals being struck between Harare and Beijing. The Chinese will be
active in the refurbishment of Hwange Power Station and coal-mining. But
apart from a handful of computers and US$6 million in food aid, President
Mugabe returned largely empty-handed. While China has pledged to prevent UN
Security Council censure over Operation Murambatsvina, the British
accomplished their primary mission in having Anna Tibaijuka's report tabled
for discussion.

It is not surprising that on his return from China, Mugabe spoke more
fervently about solidarity and the veto and not about trade. That is because
his diplomacy revolves around his ego. It is a parochial mindset that our
true allies are only those who praise our every obtuse move. Badawi's visit
to South Africa last week was important because it reminded us of
opportunities we have lost in the so-called "Look East" policy.

Badawi's predecessor, Mahathir Mohammad, a leader of similar demagogic
inclinations, found time to stroke Mugabe's ego. Zimbabwe's salvation, we
were told by our local media, lay in Kuala Lumpur. Bilateral investment
agreements were inked in for agriculture, information technology, air
travel, tourism and energy. We were told that the Malaysians were expected
to fund the construction of the water pipeline from the Zambezi River to
Bulawayo and that a Malaysian company, YTL, would take ownership of Hwange
Power Station.

Enter Badawi who evidently does not possess the same fawning zeal as
Mahathir when dealing with Mugabe, and Malaysia has suddenly disappeared
from the lips of Mugabe and his ministers. Nothing has come out of the
myriad deals with Malaysia. Badawi has been careful not to open up on Harare
but he has not been complimentary either. In South Africa last week he said
he was "concerned about the developments in Zimbabwe".

Nothing tangible has come out of Malaysia because relations between the two
countries were never built on a strong business platform involving the
private sector. It was a political partnership - "South-South" Mugabe said
in regard to Hwange - whose lifeblood was the camaraderie of Mugabe and
Mahathir. Zimbabweans have nothing to show for that relationship today but
Mugabe did get some timber for his private mansion in Helensvale.

We have not forgotten the hype around Muammar Gaddafi's messianic persona
when he was singing Mugabe's praises. We were told Libya would invest in
Zimbabwe. Fuel problems were "now a thing of the past". Gaddafi entered
Harare in the longest motorcade ever seen after crossing Chirundu bridge on
foot from Zambia. This grandeur never translated into anything tangible
because the Libyan leader preferred to do business with the West. At the
African Union Summit in Libya last month, he was praising Mugabe's
arch-enemy British prime minister Tony Blair while telling African leaders
"to stop begging". Nobody was left in any doubt about who he was referring
to. He is no longer an ally.

We have not of late heard nothing either from Mugabe's other friend Hugo
Chavez of Venezuela. He is yet to bring in fuel the government promised us
two years ago. Iran is currently playing ball but for how long?

Mugabe's differences with Blair have also moulded national policy. We should
all abhor him because Mugabe hates him. Similarly we should all learn to
speak Mandarin because Mugabe has embraced China as his true friend - for
the time being. But history should warn Zimbabweans that these friendships
are not cast in stone. A change of leadership as was the case with Malaysia,
or a change of policy as was the case with Libya, could see Mugabe groping
around for new allies and new panaceas.

In fact there is no strong commercial bond in the deals that have been
agreed between Mugabe and China. Local business leaders who should be
helping to drive business linkages between the two countries have been left
out. They do not have ownership of the process and it is only a matter of
time before the cookie starts to crumble again.

Zimbabwe will not reap any meaningful benefits as long as Mugabe yearns for
friends who praise him and declares his critics enemies. That has killed
direct foreign investment from countries that have been branded enemies and
scared off tourists.
Foreign direct investment declined by 95 % from US$98 million in 1995 to
US$4,5 million in 2003. Portfolio investment also shrunk by 83% from US$64
million in 1995 to US$10,8 million in 2003. Grants contracted by 78% from
US$167 million in 1995 to only US$36,1 million in the same period.

China today is operating in the global village where business sense takes
primacy over solidarity slogans. It is 26 years since Deng Xiaoping opened
up China to precisely those reforms Mugabe eschews. Zimbabwe is a risky
investment destination because of Mugabe's posturing and Chinese companies
know it. They tend to ask around before opening their wallets.

The fist-waving scenes at Harare International Airport on Sunday had about
them the whiff of a revolution gone stale. The Chinese will have been the
first to spot that!
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Zim Independent


Where are the real media terrorists?

DID you know that when Henry Morton Stanley came to Africa in 1869, he was
not looking for Dr Livingstone as we all used to think? He was looking for
the "North Atlantic agenda" in Africa.

This fascinating revelation came from an otherwise unenlightening interview
last Saturday between Caesar Zvayi and Media and Information Commission
chair Tafataona Mahoso in a vacant lot that used to be occupied by the late
unlamented Nathaniel Manheru.

The interview followed the predictable route of Zvayi asking everything the
media tsar wanted to be asked, enabling him to provide long-winded answers
that cried out for an editor.

Zvayi got off to a ripping start.

"One of the biggest problems Zimbabwe faced over the past five years," he
opined, "is the problem of media terrorism that manifested itself in
sensational reports in the privately owned press and Western media, pirate
radio stations that broadcast hate speech and a proliferation of on-line
publications pursuing the illegal regime-change agenda."

This seemed more like a statement than a question and deserved to be
"interrogated", as the academics say. What examples, for instance, of hate
speech could Zvayi provide from radio stations?

We recall his own threats against opposition voters last year. But we don't
remember hearing anything particularly untoward from any of the radio
stations. Wasn't one of them bombed by individuals who have mysteriously not
been apprehended? The real media terrorists.

And why does he think regime change is illegal or are all state hacks
required to insert that word every time they mention regime change?

Anyway, Mahoso was not slow to occupy the platform thereby provided and
proceeded to berate some media for having become "a very dangerous conveyer
belt of lies".

In particular he seemed to have a bone to pick with the Swedish
International Development Agency for having tried "to make the white
minority voice the mainstream voice in Zimbabwe".

What explains this extraordinary claim? Could it have something to do with
the Swedish government's invitation to journalists to visit Stockholm to
assess for themselves whether Mahoso's claim that Aippa was akin to Sweden's
media law was true? Needless to say there was no comparison. It was just
unfortunate he hadn't done his homework!

Where he couldn't throw dust in Zvayi's eyes, he resorted to gross economies
with the truth. Asked about the findings of the Media Ethics Committee that
preceded the MIC, Mahoso made the following claim: "What we discovered was
that all the people we consulted recommended that we could not rely on
voluntary regulation (and) that there should be statutory regulation."

Really? All the people? The Zimbabwe Independent has kept a tape-recording
of the meeting held at this newspaper between Mahoso's envoy and our
journalists. We kept the tape just in case the record might become somewhat
murky in the hands of a self-serving propagandist. At no point did anybody
at this paper recommend that "we could not rely on voluntary regulation" or
propose a state regulatory body. Nor was it likely we would do so!

Having led the gullible Zvayi down this particular garden path, the wily old
professor of journalism proceeded to pronounce that "the first
responsibility of the MIC is to defend the Act (Aippa), and we have done
that successfully, and it is only after the legislation is secured that we
could implement the development side of the Act. Much of that cannot be
visible in the sense that you have to start by creating a commission . . ."

In other words, by providing a job for Mahoso! And where in the Act does it
state that the principal responsibility of the MIC is to defend the Act?
That is surely the responsibility of its authors in parliament. And judging
by what its principal author had to say in this paper last week, Mahoso
hasn't been doing that terribly well.

And how convenient that everything has been "invisible". This looks
suspiciously like an excuse for not having done anything useful, apart of
course from closing down pesky newspapers that embarrass the ruling party.

Isn't that what it's all about? Claims to be policing ethics sound like a
pretext for interference by people who know nothing about journalism and
would have difficulty holding down a job anywhere else.

Why didn't Zvayi ask a few pertinent questions about the qualifications of
the media commissioners and the costs to the fiscus of running the
commission, a body that has no public mandate?

Mahoso complains about the "external foreign voice embedded among us and the
African voice which has come from exile and is establishing itself and has
not yet fully overcome the obstacles created by the minority media . . ."

In other words, the state, which controls 90% of the media and has a
monopoly of the airwaves, still hasn't managed after 25 years of Stalinist
controls to convince the populace of the authenticity of its voice or the
credibility of its views. So other voices must be silenced while Mahoso and
his state-pensioners turn up the volume of their tinny instruments!

Mahoso thinks judges that expose post-liberation corruption should be
brought before a war crimes tribunal. As Anna Tibaijuka came close to
recommending the same sort of thing for those who have recently inflicted
such suffering upon Zimbabwe's urban populace, the note of panic in Mahoso's
voice was understandable.

Meanwhile, Muckraker wants to know what's going to happen to Manheru after
his recent undressing by Jonathan Moyo. The former Information minister
recently fired a broadside at his permanent secretary, George Charamba, who
he said writes the Manheru column, for threatening Moyo with Chikurubi if he
discloses cabinet secrets in his book.

Judging by the tenor of his response, Moyo is unlikely to be intimidated by
warnings from Charamba, who was backed up this week by Bright Matonga
wielding a cabinet handbook.

Just for the record, Muckraker understands that Moyo penned Manheru for the
first 10 weeks of its venomous life and then handed it on to Charamba while
the real Nathaniel colonised new territory in the Sunday Mail.

Nobody could ever accuse Moyo of being lazy! We gather his forthcoming
kiss-and-tell publication is awaited with trepidation in official circles.
Let's hope it sees the light of day. Muckraker's proposed title, "Voting for
Moyo", is unlikely to be taken up. Eddison Zvobgo's working title for his
magnum opus, "The Fall of a Dictator", might be worth borrowing but the
final chapter is likely to pose something of a problem. So is "Robert
Mugabe: My Part In His Downfall". Perhaps readers have their own

We see Joseph Made is making crop forecasts again. We would have thought
this was inadvisable for this particular minister who has been, how shall we
say, a little wide of the mark in his previous projections.

We all recall the bumper maize harvest that never was. That was the product
of an aerial survey. Now we hear winter wheat production is expected to
double. Let's wait and see. Will it share the same fate as Herbert Murerwa's
expected 28% rise in agricultural production?

Made's crop forecasts are about as credible as crop circles!

Then we had this gem from Not-So-Bright when asked whether there would be a
commission of inquiry into who was responsible for Operation Murambatsvina
so its perpetrators can one day be prosecuted: "It was a government
initiative. No one person was responsible."

How convenient! But if that's the case, why wasn't it discussed in cabinet?

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN, Boniface Chidyausiku, said Anna
Tibaijuka's report was "a big let-up".

His confusion is understandable. The government adheres to the official
position that while it doesn't like the language of the report, it does not
reject it. But somebody forgot to tell the state media!

Didymus Mutasa is also a bit confused. He doesn't recall Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono asking white farmers to return to the land.

For the record, this is what Gono said in his latest monetary policy

"In order to ensure maximum productivity levels, there is great scope in the
country for promoting and supporting ventures between new farmers with
progressive-minded former operators of horticultural estates . . . so as to
hasten skills transfer."

Either Mutasa wasn't listening or he doesn't care. From this false premise
he proceeded to berate the press. It was "unfortunate that journalists had
decided to peddle lies when reporting on land reform issues", he told the
Sunday Mail, whose reporter Emilia Zindi also appears to have forgotten
Gono's statement. Evidently, being a beneficiary of state patronage makes
one forgetful.

"Why did we repossess land in the first place?" Mutasa asked. "The land here
is for the black people and we are not going to give it back to anybody. We
are not inviting any white farmers back, never."

Anybody recalling reports in 2000 of the president and ministers saying "we
just want to share the land" will not be surprised by this aggressive tone.
Claims of sharing were aimed at hoodwinking an international audience.
Mutasa's racist remarks are the reality. And, once again, we see the rogue
coterie around Mugabe sabotaging any prospect Gono might hold out of
agricultural recovery.

If anyone was in doubt as to the stumbling block in Zimbabwe's quest for a
return to normalcy, that doubt must have been cleared after President
Mugabe's unstatesmanlike comments this week. While it is clear to all who
have the interests of the nation at heart that Zanu PF on its own has
woefully failed to solve the country's crises, Mugabe wants to place that
burden not on Zimbabweans, but on foreigners, especially the Chinese.

Otherwise how does one explain his obdurate refusal to have Zimbabweans
debate their problems to find a way forward?

Speaking on his arrival from his new colonial masters in Beijing, he said
the opposition MDC could only discuss with Zanu PF in the confines of
parliament. He said there was no chance of a partnership between the two

"Anyone who seeks to foster relations with the MDC will be going against our
democratic principles and we shall resist that stance from whomsoever,"
declared Mugabe oblivious to the irony between the said democratic
principles and his fundamentalist opposition to dialogue.

The comments must come as a major rebuff to South African President Thabo
Mbeki and AU chair Olusegun Obasanjo who have been pushing for internal
dialogue instead of external pressure.

Were it not for the abject poltroonery among Mugabe's lieutenants in Zanu
PF, they would have told him the obvious thing that the solution to
Zimbabwe's problems lies with Zimbabweans working together, not in
worshipping the Chinese dragon.

Why does he think the Chinese would be keen to solve problems of our own
making? Apart from finding markets for its overheating economy, there is no
sign that China wants to be taken as a charity organisation coming to
Zimbabwe's aid for no charge. It would be extremely naïve if Mugabe thought
that is what he was getting.

Incidentally, is it by coincidence that now we hear less and less of
"sovereignty" as the country gets more entrapped by the Chinese? And they
want us to believe Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. That slogan is
beginning to sound very hollow indeed as the begging gets more desperate.

Is anybody taking Mugabe seriously about his Look East fishing expeditions?
Zimbabweans are their own saviours, not the Chinese.

The Independent reported recently that government's information management
was in tatters. That has been borne out by conflicting statements almost on
a daily basis.

A classic example was the searing Tibaijuka report. It was initially
dismissed as biased. President Mugabe claimed from China to have talked to
Tibaijuka who told him "her hands were tied" when she wrote the report.
There was a volte face last week when Information deputy Minister Bright
Matonga said government "had not condemned" the report but was instead
working with the UN to rehabilitate people displaced under Operation

This week the mandarin at the MIC called Tibaijuka's report "fake" and
accused Kofi Annan's envoy of seeking to further the MDC's "final push"

Whatever the bluster about Zimbabwe not doing this or that, there is evident
panic by a regime clutching at straws because it is isolated from the
international community.

This is also evident in the confusion about government's position concerning
the report. This heightened when there were indications that the report
would be presented to the United Nations Security Council. The president had
to rush to China to plead for its veto.

"We are a revolutionary party," Mugabe boasted after his trip to China. "We
derive our power from the people, that is where we came from as the
government of Zimbabwe after the elections," he said.

Then why does he have to go
around begging for support from countries such as China, Tanzania and Russia
to justify his government's actions? How many victims of his tsunami
operation would say they knew they were voting for the demolition of their
homes, we wonder?

The Herald this week revealed what lies in store for us. One of its
columnists pointed out that after currency reforms in 1924 ended what
Germans call die grosse inflation, their country enjoyed an economic boom.
But first there had to be sacrifices.

"If we want honey at the end of the war against inflation we must be
prepared to be stung by the bees, like the Germans," the Herald columnist
blithely opined.

Does he mean we have to experience 8 000% inflation and undergo the
depredations of a crazed dictator and the flattening of our cities before we
make a complete recovery? Surely not?
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Investors seek national credibility

A RECENT article in a state-controlled daily newspaper bewailed the fact
that Zimbabwe's "investment promotion initiative has been disappointing". It
noted that President Robert Mugabe had decreed that 2005 would be a year of
investment, and that "the Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, and Reserve
Bank governor, Gideon Gono, were also guided by this pronouncement when they
presented their fiscal and monetary policies late last year and early this

The article claims "government did its part when it pledged to adhere to
bilateral and international obligations, as well as the protection of
foreign investments covered by Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion
Agreements". But it then scathingly attacks others for not ensuring that
"local and foreign investors set up shop in this country", stating that
"sadly there is not much on the ground to reflect the seriousness and total
commitment towards attracting investment".

In particular, the article castigates the Zimbabwe Investment Centre (ZIC)
and the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) for failure to deliver on
investments, and claims that those organisations are shielding behind a
"myriad of reasons" for "the seeming lack of progress". In belittling the
defences cited by ZIC and EPZA, the article's author particularly rebuts any
suggestion that fuel shortages are in any manner a deterrent to investment.

She contends that the "National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has kept key
institutions of the economy well oiled". If that is so, then Air Zimbabwe is
not a "key institution", for it is recurrently cancelling flights due to
lack of fuel. In like manner, if Noczim is assuring fuel supplies to key
institutions, then all enterprises in the manufacturing sector, most mines
and almost the entirety of the tourism operators are not key institutions.

In fact, it is not surprising that so few presently see Zimbabwe as an
investment haven. The first negative is the economic environment, for years
of ongoing hyperinflation, exacerbated by the reversal of the 2004 decline
in inflation rates, despite the efforts of the governor of the Reserve Bank,
massive scarcities of foreign exchange and, therefore, of manufacturing and
other operational inputs, endless governmental regulation and threats of
price controls and of punitive actions against those spuriously accused of
creating product shortages, are major investment deterrents.

A second key factor is the widespread scepticism as to the genuineness of
the government's assurances. Admittedly it has stated the intent to honour
Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements (BIPAs), but has yet to be seen
to be doing so. Farms and conservancies acquired by the state by compulsion,
as distinct from a "willing buyer, willing seller" basis, have yet to be
returned to their rightful owners who were entitled to BIPA protection,
although in some instances more than four years have elapsed since the
government acquired them, and nearly a year since it said that it would
respect BIPAs.

Moreover, in cases where farms owned by foreign nationals to whom BIPAs
apply were not acquired by the state, but were unlawfully occupied by those
who "helped themselves", the government has failed to act. This is even the
case in some instances where the courts have justly given eviction orders,
but six or more months later the police have steadfastly refused to
implement the orders, and provincial administrators disdainfully ignore
appeals for assistance in having the law enforced.

But currently the greatest factor in discouraging investment is that the
government continues to erode any confidence in its good faith, its ability
to govern in the best interests of the country and its populace, and in
particular in its credibility. This has become especially pronounced in its
reactions to the report of Anna Tibaijuka, special envoy of the United
Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Operation Murambatsvina. That
operation was an unmitigated disgrace, for even if the objectives, which it
sought to attain, were sound, the uncalled for violence, cruelty, abuse of
power and inhumanity cannot be condoned.

Had Operation Garikai been launched first, bringing into being the necessary
housing and trading areas, and had Operation Murambatsvina then been
implemented after, first according its victims the opportunity to relocate
to the then constructed houses and trading sites, and that implementation
been carried out humanely, none could complain.

However, with Operation Murambatsvina preceding Operation Garikai, with the
wanton destruction of property, including the slashing of bags of food, the
burning of carvings and curios, of clothing and many other goods, and the
beating of people occupying shanties and unauthorised trading zones solely
because of their extreme poverty, the government demonstrated a lack of
forward thinking and planning, and an inability or unwillingness to control
and contain its supposed enforcers of law and order.

Then, instead of maturely admitting to its errors and defaults, the
government sought vigorously to justify the wrongs. When the UN
secretary-general sent his special envoy, the government enthusiastically
welcomed her; the president and his ministers met extensively with her, and
ensured that the state-controlled media would sing her praises vociferously.

However, after she had departed Zimbabwe, and issued her report, which was
highly condemnatory of the government, there was an immediate transformation
in the government's attitude. In sharp contrast to their previously
expressed immense regard for her, they vilified her and her report. With
great lack of originality, they cast blame upon British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, alleging that he had influenced her into producing a false report.

That the government did so was not surprising, despite being devoid of
credibility, for it has for years attributed blame for virtually everything
to its most disliked critic, Blair.

All these actions, and many more have virtually destroyed investor
confidence in the credibility of the government, and a key factor that any
potential investor considers is whether it can believe in statements and
assurances given by the government, and whether it can trust the government.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

I am coming back home: Makamba

Constantine Chimakure Assistant News Editor
issue date :2005-Aug-05

BUSINESS tycoon and Zanu (PF) member James Makamba - facing five charges of
illegally dealing in foreign currency - has not fled the country, but is in
South Africa together with Makonde legislator Leo Mugabe on Telecel Zimbabwe
Makamba is chairman of Telecel Zimbabwe while Mugabe is  a board member of
the country's third largest mobile phone operator.
This latest development came amid reports the former Zanu (PF) Member of
Parliament for Mount Darwin had sought sanctuary abroad after the Supreme
Court last week overturned a High Court decision to acquit him on the
externalisation charges and ordered his trial to continue in the magistrate's
In a telephone interview from Johannesburg yesterday, Makamba, who was on
roaming, denied that he fled Zimbabwe and said he would be returning home
soon, before referring further questions to his lawyer, George Chikumbirike.
"Since my release from remand custody last year, I have travelled outside
the country," Makamba told The Daily Mirror. "This is my sixth or seventh
trip and am I obliged to announce wherever I go? Hungave upenyu here
ihwohwo, vakomana? (Loosely translated: Can that be life, guys?)."
Chikumbirike last night also insisted that Makamba was not on the run,
adding the former radio personality left the country on a business trip on
June 17 - way before the Supreme Court had set the day for its verdict.
"Makamba left the country on June 17 and I must add that there were no terms
set for him when travelling abroad because he is a freeman," Chikumbirike
"Makamba is definitely coming back as soon as he is through with his
business, or alternatively if required by authorities he is more than happy
to come. The issue is that the AG's office is yet to indicate a definitive
Chikumbirike said after last Friday's Supreme Court ruling, he approached
the AG's office to find out when Makamba's trial would continue to enable
him to advice his client accordingly.
"As I earlier indicated, I went to the AG's office seeking clarification as
to when they will require Makamba to attend court. At this stage they do not
have any date they for the continuation of trial. They shall revert to me as
soon as one is at hand."
The High Court last year acquitted the former Zanu PF provincial chairman
for Mashonaland Central on charges of snapping the Exchange Control Act.
But the superior court reversed the decision and ordered the case be
referred back to magistrates for continuation and finalisation.
This week, the director of Public Prosecutions, Joseph Musakwa was in the
media saying the AG's office was yet to set Makamba's trial date.
Musakwa said regional magistrate Virginia Sithole who presided over the case
had since left the bench, and arrangements have to be made for her to return
and conclude the matter.
Sithole was hearing the trial when Makamba applied to the High Court for
acquittal at the end of State submissions. The matter was later referred to
the higher court for review.
The Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision upon the prosecution's
Makamba was arrested in February last year and spent over six months in
remand prison charged with 11 counts of illegally dealing in foreign
He pleaded guilty to six counts of selling US$133 000 to Telecel Zimbabwe,
an unauthorised dealer, and was fined $7,3 million.
The high profile arrest was followed by former finance minister Chris
Kuruneri's on similar charges, as government intensified efforts to crush
graft once and for all.
Kuruneri was released on $50 million bail last month by the Supreme Court
amid tough conditions, among them, a 24-hour house arrest.
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For immediate release

4 August 2005

SA govt. scared of Mugabe - ACDP

Besides the contradictory positions taken by government on the loan to
Zimbabwe, we find it repulsive that Cabinet can decide in principle to give
a loan to the Zimbabwean government without any conditions attached.

The SA government may have assumed this position after hearing that
President Robert Mugabe has been angered by the conditions attached to the
loan. The South African government must tell us why they are so scared of
Mugabe. When they have to confront him on the suffering he is causing to
this own people, they refer to his destruction campaigns as an internal
matter. This is both shocking and unacceptable.

President Thabo Mbeki is reported to have stressed in Pretoria on Sunday
that any financial assistance to Zimbabwe would come with economic and
political conditions.

A few days later, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
Head, Joel Netshitenzhe, in response to the question whether any assistance
to Zimbabwe would come with conditions attached, reportedly said that the
South African government did not relate to other countries on the basis of

The South African government must be exposed for their hypocrisy and false
claims that they believe in the rule of law when they clearly support a
despot who is a specialist in the politics of defiance.

The ACDP supports every kind of humanitarian aid to the suffering people of
Zimbabwe caused by the Mugabe regime and not aid to a ruthless and
oppressive government that has destroyed homes and small businesses of
people making an honest living. According to the United Nations report on
Harare's campaign of demolition, about 700 000 people have been left
homeless and a further 2.4 million people have been negatively affected by a
ruthless regime that is protected and defended by the South African

We call on the South African government to stop perpetuating the suffering
of the poor people of Zimbabwe by propping up the ruthless Mugabe regime
that is defying international calls for an end to their brutality. For as
long as President Mbeki and his government support the Zimbabwean government's
brutality, they will be seen to be equally guilty of human rights abuses and
the suffering of millions of Zimbabwean people.

Unless the South African government changes their attitude and strategy to
the Zimbabwean crisis, NEPAD is doomed to fail.

Rev Kenneth Meshoe, MP

ACDP President

082 962 5884

Sabrina Richmond

ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

tel: 021-403-3307

fax: 021-461-9690

cell: 082 376 6433


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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Ex minister sues Mbare district Zanu PF chairman

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Aug-05

FORMER local government deputy minister Tony Gara and a Zanu (PF) member
Shepherd Chironga have filed a $110 million defamation suit in the High
Court against the ruling party chairman for Joshua Nkomo district in Mbare,
Modern Namion Chirwa.
Gara and Chironga in their court papers filed on 7 July 2005 claimed that on
23 January, Chirwa claimed they were homosexuals in front of a congregation.
"In the process of threatening the 2nd plaintiff (Chironga) the defendant
stated to the 2nd plaintiff the following words and concerning the 1st and
2nd plaintiffs namely: "Iwe na Tony Gara (the 1st plaintiff) muringochani
dzevanhu. Uri mukadzi waTony Gara (You and Tony Gara are homosexuals. You
are Tony Gara's wife.)," read the plaintiffs declaration.
Gara and Chironga are claiming $80 million and $30 million respectively.
But Chirwa in his opposing declaration expected to have been filed on
Wednesday, denied defaming the two. He also claimed that his differences
with the applicants were political and accused Gara of not following Zanu
(PF) protocol, resulting in the party's Harare province passing a vote of no
confidence in him early this year.
He said he had known Gara and Chironga for over 15 years as political
associates only. "Our political relationship was strained when the 2nd
plaintiff and others failed to secure positions in our Zanu PF Joshua Nkomo
District," reads Chirwa's declaration.
"I won the position of chairman of the district and a full compliment of the
district committee was also elected together with me. The 2nd plaintiff and
his supporters walked out of the election process in protest alleging that
the elections were not free and fair." After that, he claimed, Chironga
appealed to Gara for support to influence the nullification of the election
results in October 2003 during Zanu PF's restructuring process.
He alleged that since then Chironga and his supporters with the blessing of
Gara have been trying to establish a parallel district known as Mbare 8.
"This has been done secretly and against the party's constitution," Chirwa
Further, he claimed, Gara - a former councillor and MP for the then Mbare
East constituency for 20 years until 2000 when he lost to an MDC candidate -
in 2004 sought Zanu (PF) support to be elected into the central committee,
but however lost to Edward Chataika.Declared Chirwa: "In 2005 1st plaintiff
sought party support to contest the 2005 parliamentary elections. He lost to
Tendai Savanhu who then stood for the party in Mbare constituency against an
MDC candidate.
"First plaintiff did not get the party support to contest in the primary
elections because he was disqualified by the party's Harare province for
reasons best known to him.
"It is this political background that has strained my relationship with the
two plaintiffs and nothing else."
Gara, Chirwa added, went further to strain his relations within Zanu (PF.)
"First plaintiff has gone further to strain his relationship with the
majority of party members in the constituency because of not following party
protocols in most of his political activities. This has influenced the
Harare province to pass a vote of no confidence in him. In addition 1st
plaintiff is not on the 2005 voters roll of Mbare constituency," declared
He claims that indeed he quarrelled with Chironga on the day in question,
but Gara was not at the scene and moreover his lawsuit was premised on
hearsay from his co-plaintiff.
"This false statement by 2nd plaintiff is meant to attract the support of
1st plaintiff to 2nd plaintiff so that he may get some financial and
material benefit.
"What I know is that on the day mentioned, I had a serious exchange of
argument with the 2nd plaintiff over the quality of leadership between
Gara and Tendai Savanhu. I was for Savanhu and he was for Gara. It is then
that I emotionally pushed him to the ground. I paid an admission of guilty
fine of $25 000 for public violence. Other than that, I know nothing about
the alleged defamatory statement I am alleged to have made by the 2nd
plaintiff," added Chirwa.
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