|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
society meeting on Zimbabwe in Gaborone has condemned
human rights violations in Zimbabwe and called for intervention there by
other African governments and institutions.
The African Civil Society Consultation on Zimbabwe called on the
African Union Commission to issue a public statement condemning the human
rights abuses. It also demanded Southern African Development Community
countries examine the compliance of the Zimbabwean authorities with the
provisions of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on the freedom of the press. The
declaration was a United Nations initiative.
Suspension 'should continue'
The Botswana meeting also demanded that Zimbabwe's suspension
from the Commonwealth should continue until its government took concrete
steps to restore the rule of law, respect for human rights and held
perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.
Civil society groups from Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa,
Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Kenya were represented at the two-day meeting
that ended today. The event was organised by the US-based Lawyers Committee
for Human Rights and by Ditshwanelo, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights.
Among the participants were representatives of regional human rights
organisations, trade unions, church groups, women's organisations and youth
Alice Mogwe, Ditshwanelo director, described the event as "an
extremely important occasion" for civil society groups to express their
concern about the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe. "Until now, there has not
been a meeting involving so many different civil society groups, from so
many countries in the region which has focused on the Zimbabwean situation,"
Mogwe said. - Sapa
Zimbabwe court to rule on treason case discharge
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Aug. 7 — Zimbabwe's High Court will rule on Friday on
by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to dismiss charges that he plotted to
kill President Robert Mugabe, a defence lawyer said on Thursday.
Tsvangirai and two senior colleagues in the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have been on trial since February on the charges, and could
face death sentences if convicted of plotting to assassinate Mugabe in 2001.
The three men have pleaded not guilty and their lawyers have asked
the High Court to dismiss the charges, saying the state has failed to
present a solid case.
High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe adjourned the case in
mid-July for two weeks to consider the defence application, but the judgment
was deferred on July 28.
''We have been advised that the court is now ready to make a a
ruling, and that the ruling will be made tomorrow (Friday),'' defence lawyer
Innocent Chagonda told Reuters.
The state's case hinges on a videotape of a meeting in Montreal
between Tsvangirai and political consultant Ari Ben-Menashe which it says
captured Tsvangirai discussing Mugabe's ''elimination.''
Ben-Menashe admitted he taped the meeting to get evidence for the
government -- with which he later signed a political lobbying contract --
but denied entrapping Tsvangirai.
The defence says the video was doctored to discredit the MDC, the
biggest political threat to Mugabe since he led the country to independence
from Britain in 1980, and has slammed Ben-Menashe and his assistant Tara
Thomas as unreliable witnesses who gave contradictory evidence.
In his application for discharge, chief defence lawyer George Bizos
said Menashe was ''a notorious and demonstrable liar'' and the court could
not rely on his evidence to put the three men on trial.
The prosecution said Tsvangirai and his colleagues should answer the
charges because the state had shown sufficient evidence that the MDC
defendants discussed seeking the support of the army for a post-Mugabe
transitional government. It said that alone amounts to treason.
The MDC and several Western countries accuse Mugabe of rigging his
re-election in 2002 and blame his government for chronic food and fuel
shortages and inflation running at 365 percent -- one of the highest rates
in the world.
Mugabe says the MDC is a stooge of Western powers and insists his
opponents have sabotaged the economy in retaliation for his seizure of
white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
Feature - Last commercial farmers hanging on
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Commercial Farmers Union ponders its future
HARARE, 7 Aug 2003 (IRIN) - Sixty-year-old Jo Swath has been farming maize
in the Macheke area of Mashonaland East province for the past 15 years. When
the government embarked on the compulsory acquisition of farms for
redistribution to landless Zimbabweans in 2000, Swath was spared one of his
However, officials from the provincial land committee visited him three
weeks ago and informed him that his remaining farm had now been designated
for acquisition. They told him it would be subdivided, leaving a portion of
the property for him.
"The visit took me by surprise. I was beginning to think that things were
starting to look up for me since my other two farms were taken to resettle
some black families. I tried to point out to the officials from the
provincial administrator's office that the intended acquisition of my
remaining farm was not proper, since the government was insisting on a 'one
man, one farm' policy. But one of them rudely said I could be removed and
forced to join the queue of applicants wanting new plots," Swath told IRIN.
The government had announced that its controversial fast-track land reform
programme ended in August 2002. Swath said he therefore approached a law
firm representing the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) for legal advice and
was told to lodge a court application barring the acquisition of his farm.
But despite this, new settlers have trickled onto his property, setting up
temporary structures as they look forward to the coming raining season. The
police were informed but are not taking any action, despite a provisional
court order directing them to evict the settlers.
Swath is one of around 600 white farmers who have remained on the land.
Before land reform began, the CFU had some 4,500 members, who occupied 11
million hectares of Zimbabwe's prime agricultural land.
According to CFU president Colin Cloete, some of those who lost their land
in the initial - often violent - wave of government-backed land invasions,
have relocated to neighbouring African countries, or emigrated overseas.
However, a sizeable number have moved into Zimbabwe's towns and cities,
hoping that their court applications contesting the seizures will one day be
processed in their favour.
Those who managed to cling on to their farms were able to do so for a
variety of reasons.
Farmers like Swath struck deals, giving up some of their land for
redistribution. "I made a mutual agreement with the land authorities that
they could take my other two farms and leave me with one. A notice of no
intention to acquire the farm was issued," he explained.
"It was not easy, though. In 2001, a certain war veteran led a band of
settlers onto my farm but the provincial administrator's office intervened
and they went away," Swath said.
Other farmers were rescued because they had long-standing working relations
with influential black Zimbabweans, who used their connections to dissuade
the authorities from acquiring their land.
Stoff Hawgood, chairman of the National Association of Dairy Farmers,
acknowledged that black businessmen played a crucial role in ensuring that
most of his members remained on their farms. He mentioned Anthony
Mandiwanza, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, and
Thompson Mabika of Dairiboard Zimbabwe, as some of those influential
"Their efforts with government have, I believe, resulted in so many dairy
farmers still being on their farms today," Hawgood declared in his report to
the association's annual general meeting in July.
For David Connolly, a beef and dairy farmer in Matebeleland South province,
recourse to the courts was his salvation.
"I am aware that the police and some court officials, who are supposed to
the enforce and interpret the law, have been unwilling to help white farmers
for obvious political reasons. However, I remained steadfast in pushing the
courts to evict the squatters who camped on my farm in 2001, and I
succeeded," Connolly told IRIN.
A recently instituted Presidential Land Review Committee last month
acknowledged that the resettlement of land-hungry black Zimbabweans was
being hampered by court applications challenging the legality of the
gazetting and acquisition of farms by commercial farmers. This seriously
curtailed production, the committee said, as some of the farms were left
An interim report by the committee also accused some senior figures within
the ruling party of multiple farm ownership, despite the government's policy
of "one man, one farm".
Connolly, who said he enjoyed good relations with settlers on neighbouring
farms, added that his farm had not attracted a lot of attention from
would-be settlers because, being a ranch, it was not suitable for ordinary
crop farming in the dry southern province.
Others, according to the CFU, had not been so fortunate. In a number of
provinces white commercial farmers, particularly those whose farms have been
partitioned to make way for the new settlers, complain that their new
neighbours are disrupting their operations. They charge that some new
farmers steal and vandalise their equipment, snare their animals and
threaten them with eviction.
"There are still many dairy farmers continuing to face threats on a daily
basis from land occupiers, who continue to make unreasonable demands and
apply pressure in the ongoing efforts to force them to say, ‘enough is
enough’, and pack their bags and leave, as so many have already done,"
Mac Crawford, CFU vice-president, told delegates at the union's 60th annual
congress this week that farm equipment worth Zim $75 billion (US $91
million) had been stolen or vandalised.
Cloete recently announced that farm evictions continued to occur,
particularly in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East. "These illegal
evictions have disrupted production extensively, and several wheat crops, as
well as export crops and preparations for summer food, have been affected.
The [CFU] appeals to the relevant authorities to put a stop to these
disruptive evictions," Cloete said in a statement.
He added that acquisition orders were still being issued, mainly to farms
which did not qualify for acquisition and were currently producing not only
food, but crops earning foreign currency.
An assessment by UN agencies found food production in Zimbabwe has fallen by
more than 50 percent measured against a five-year average. As a result of
land reform, large-scale agriculture produced only about one-tenth of its
However, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said this week, "the CFU has
become irrelevant to what is on the ground."
The official Herald newspaper on Thursday quoted Made as saying: "There are
a few remnants of former white commercial farmers, about 200 of them, and
the tendency is to lecture to 11 million Zimbabweans about the destruction
of the economy.
"Really, if we look at how they say we have destroyed the economy, you
wonder why they don't see how they have destroyed it through their racist
view on the land issue. They started by exporting crops grown here,
retaining forex, banking it outside, growing flowers instead of food crops,
and they even slaughtered dairy cows, and now they are burning pastures,"
said the minister.
"This group has played mischief all the time, because they think they are a
special race. Anyway, I hope they had a nice congress," Made added.
SA issues talks deadline
SOUTH Africa has told Zimbabwe’s governing ZANU PF party to resume
formal talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
by November, diplomatic sources told the Daily News yesterday.
The well-placed sources
said Pretoria, whose ambassador to Zimbabwe
Jeremiah Ndou they said was shuttling between the MDC and ZANU PF to get the
two parties negotiating, wanted to report tangible progress on Zimbabwe at
the Commonwealth summit in Nigeria in December this year.
South Africa’s President Thabo
Mbeki is expected to push for the
lifting of Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth at the 54-nation
group’s heads of governments meeting in Abuja, according to the sources.
"South Africa has leaned on the
Zimbabwean government to ensure that
by November some concrete and formal talks are under way," a South African
government source said yesterday.
The source, who spoke on condition he was not named,
added: "At the
Commonwealth we want to merely report progress and demand that Zimbabwe’s
suspension be lifted – by then they should be a tangible and unquestioned
view that formal talks are in progress."
sources spoke as an initiative by Zimbabwe’s church leaders to
broker talks between ZANU PF and the MDC yesterday appeared to be faltering
with the ruling party failing to submit proposals for dialogue to the church
leaders as promised.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president
Trevor Manhanga confirmed
yesterday that they had not received ZANU PF’s position paper by yesterday
when the party was supposed to have done so.
The MDC presented its position paper earlier this week.
Manhanga, who said he was expecting ZANU PF to make its
today, said: "If we don’t receive the ZANU PF submissions (by today) we
would have to go back to them and find out what is happening, which nobody
Manhanga, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’
Conference’s Patrick Mutume and
Zimbabwe Council of Churches president Sebastian Bakare, who is leading the
church initiative, met ZANU PF and state President Robert Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in separate meetings over the past two weeks.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai promised the
clergymen that they were committed
to resumption of dialogue between their two parties. ZANU PF, however,
appears split over the Church-
proposed talks with the party’s legal affairs secretary Patrick
Chinamasa accusing the church leaders of being biased in favour of the MDC.
But, the sources said, South Africa and Mbeki – designated
point-man on Zimbabwe by American President George W Bush – were optimistic
that dialogue would be resumed between the Zimbabwean parties and that by
next June there could be a political
settlement between ZANU PF and the MDC.
A South African government official said:
"There will be a political
settlement in Zimbabwe by June next year. We see an arrangement where ZANU
PF and the MDC would in the interim have to form a coalition government or a
government of national unity."
Secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress
Kgalema Motlanthe said: "We expect a quick resolution to the impasse. The
situation in Zimbabwe is grave enough and has to force the two parties to
engage in a more meaningful dialogue immediately."
Motlanthe the also
confirmed that Ndou was actively pushing for
resumption of dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC.
He said: "We are involved indirectly in
facilitating the talks. Our
ambassador Jeremiah Ndou is shuttling between the two parties. We hope that
his efforts will lead the parties to talk."
ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo, commenting on
Pretoria was pushing for resumption of dialogue by November and possibly a
political settlement by June next year, said: "It is not a Zimbabwean line
(solution). I suppose it is a South African line which may have or may not
have a bearing on what goes on in Zimbabwe.
"If people want to engage or influence discussions they must do so
without making unfounded suggestions."
MDC secretary-general Welshman
Ncube yesterday said a political
settlement had to be reached now rather than in a year’s time.
"The crisis in Zimbabwe is grave enough – it cannot wait until June.
We in the MDC believe that a settlement has to be reached now rather than
later because we are faced with a total collapse – and ZANU PF should be the
last to be reminded of this." By Sydney Masamvu and Precious Shumba
ESC loses bid to amend poll material order
JUSTICE Ann-Marie Gowora of the High Court yesterday threw out an
application by the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) seeking an order
to amend an earlier order by the judge directing the ESC to supply to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) various documents relating to the 2002
presidential election as requested by the opposition party.
The documents included memoranda and other papers
relating to the
appointment of members of the ESC secretariat engaged to supervise the
The MDC wants to use the
documents in its petition seeking
nullification of President Robert Mugabe’s victory.
The MDC contended that the personnel employed by the
ESC for the
election included members of the Zimbabwe National Army and that, as a
result, the army virtually ran the election.
the ruling, the ESC’s lawyer George Chikumbirike filed an
application arguing that Justice Gowora had issued her order in error and
that the ESC could not be held in contempt of court.
Justice Gowora said in a judgment
handed down by Justice Moses
Chinhengo: "An examination of the order granted does not reveal any
ambiguity, error or omission and it would appear to me that what the
applicant is seeking is not so much the correction of an order as the
substitution of the one I granted for one that would accord with its
"To alter the order in the manner suggested
by the applicant would
result in the amendment or alteration of the substance of the judgment or
order that I had initially given."
judge said she could not revisit her own judgment as she had
rendered "the final sentence on the matter".
"In my view what the applicant
(ESC) is requesting of this court would
be akin to the court re-examining the substance of the dispute between the
parties without having formally noted an appeal against the judgment or
She ruled: "I am not
in a position to do so neither can I review my
own decisions. The correct approach for the applicant was to have noted an
appeal on the basis of the error it alleged was created by the respondent
and compounded by the court."
Zimbabwe asks for $23 bn drugs from donors
THE Zimbabwe government has requested for essential medical drugs
worth US$28 million (Z$23,07 billion) from international donors to last the
country until the end of the year.
for help is contained in a 24-page document by Harare
appealing for humanitarian help, including 700 000 tonnes of food aid, which
was presented to the United Nations last month.
The government said HIV/AIDS
was wreaking havoc in Zimbabwe with many
Zimbabweans succumbing to opportunistic infections such as pneumonia,
diarrhoea and tuberculosis.
More than 70 percent of patients at hospitals
were suffering from
HIV/AIDS-related illnesses, according to the government.
"Drugs, such as simple painkillers and
anti-micro-bial drugs effective
in the treatment of HIV complications, are required," the government wrote
in its letter of appeal.
"The country does not have adequate foreign currency to purchase these
drugs. It is estimated that drug requirements, excluding anti-retrovirals,
for this year, will be US$25 million."
The government said 2,3 million
people were living with HIV/Aids and
were at different stages of the infection and required various levels of
care such as home-based and hospital-based care.
The state said: "Ordinary essential drugs
for management of infections
and pain in the home as well as anti-retroviral drugs are, therefore,
required for a holistic continuum of care.
"The ministry (of Health) intends to implement an
programme intended to reach at least 10 000 patients. While government will
finance the other logistical issues, funding is required to purchase
anti-retroviral drugs at an estimated cost of US$3 million."
Among the major drugs listed as being urgently needed
anti-diabetics, respiratory drugs, malaria drugs and anti-infectives as well
as tuberculosis drugs.
Zimbabwe’s public health sector
is near total collapse weighed down by
years of underfunding and mismanagement.
Once the pride of President Robert Mugabe and
achievements, the public health sector has also been crippled by an exodus
of experienced staff who have left for greener pastures in the region and
The country’s doctors went on
strike in June to press the government
for higher pay and better working conditions.
A burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis, one of the worst in
the world, has
exacerbated the crisis in the health sector.
Abandon ‘destructive’ land policy, CFU urges Mugabe
Zimbabwe’s white farmers yesterday urged President Robert Mugabe’s
government to abandon its "destructive" policies to avert economic disaster.
Doug Taylor-Freeme, vice-president of the white
Farmers’ Union (CFU), told the group’s annual meeting that government
policies, including the seizure of white-owned farms, had killed the
mainstay agricultural sector.
on its downward path to economic ruin with no
relief in sight," he said.
The farmers are trying to reorganise their lives a year
lost their farms to Mugabe’s land seizures.
Taylor-Freeme said agricultural production had fallen more than 50
percent in the past year.
Zimbabwe faces food, fuel and foreign currency
unemployment and inflation have risen to record levels.
Taylor-Freeme said Zimbabwe’s foreign debt arrears had
risen to $1.5
billion and the government had lost international aid over the last three
years because of Mugabe’s land seizures and controversial economic policies.
"A reversal of the calamitous macro-economic
situation just described
can only occur if current destructive policies are abandoned in favour of
rational ones, and international assistance is both sought and quickly
forthcoming," he said.
Three years ago,
the CFU represented 4 500 white farmers. Now only
about a quarter of its members are actively farming.
Zimbabwe, once a regional
breadbasket, has become a net importer of
officials say 600 to 800 farmers remain on their farms. Most
left their land when the government seized vast tracts for a resettlement
Between 200 and 500 others are
estimated to be farming by "remote
control" from the safety of urban areas where they took refuge during the
sometimes violent invasions, often led by veterans of the country’s
liberation war against white rule.
About 200 farmers attended the CFU conference. There were no
government ministers at the meeting.
Last week, Mugabe ordered top
officials who grabbed more than one farm
during the seizures to reduce their holdings to one property.
Dozens of officials of Mugabe’s
ruling ZANU-PF party, including
government ministers, have taken more than one farm since Mugabe launched
his land reforms three years ago.
Critics say this shows that land reform is not being carried out to
benefit the landless black majority.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s ruler since the
former Rhodesia gained independence
from Britain in 1980, says his land seizures are meant to correct colonial
imbalances which left 70 percent of the country’s best farmland in the hands
of minority whites.
Meanwhile, CFU president Colin Cloete said uncertainty had gripped
Zimbabwe’s remaining white commercial farmers. Cloete said: "There is a lot
of uncertainty in the agriculture industry. We have had our members who had
a farm each and they had them taken.
"We have a situation where
someone who was born say in Kenya or Malawi
is treated as a Zimbabwean and is allowed to have land but when when my
father and I were born here and I am not treated as a Zimbabwean. I can’t
Severe hunger stalks Zimbabwe’s prisons
WHEN a Harare magistrate denied him bail, instead ordering him to
spend two weeks in remand prison awaiting trial for armed robbery, Kizito
Mulenga, 28, did not expect a holiday at the state prison.
He did not expect
hell either, after all he was still innocent until
But when the warder opened the heavy doors to usher him
into his first
prison cell, it immediately dawned on Mulenga that the fortnight he was
going to spend inside Harare Remand Prison was going to be a tough test of
As Mulenga this week recounted to
the Daily News, the overcrowded
cell, equipped with one malfunctioning toilet which resulted in human waste,
urine and water "sharing" the cells with the inmates, was to prove the least
of his worries.
to learn how to survive on a single "meal" a day.
Mulenga, who is now out of prison after the charges against him were
dropped, said: "We were always hungry. The meals are not regular and most of
the time we would only have one badly prepared meal a day. That is where I
really witnessed starvation at its worst because 90 percent of my cell mates
did not have relatives that could bring them extra food.
"If you thought people out here are
starving, then you need to visit
one of these jails to get a picture of what hunger is really like."
A shortage of basic food commodities
afflicting Zimbabwe plus the
cash-strapped government’s failure to pay suppliers on time has combined to
create an acute hunger crisis in Zimbabwe’s prisons.
But it is a crisis festering on, behind the iron gates
unnoticed by the media or public. Mulenga, like many others who have been
through Zimbabwe’s prison system lately, talks of serious hunger stalking
the country’s overcrowded prisons.
The food served
in the country’s prisons has never been known for its
healthy or tasty quality, but Mulenga or the several other former prisoners
and prison officials interviewed by this newspaper, said there was hardly
any feeding of prisoners taking place these days owing to the shortage of
With his relatives unaware that he was languishing
in remand prison,
Mulenga had to learn the prison lingo quick enough to be able to budget for
the day’s meals.
"When the prison wardens
say 0-0-1, then you would know that the only
meal you are getting that day is supper and if he says 0-1-0 then you are
getting lunch only. We would all smile when its was 0-1-1 because at least
that would be two meals a day, never mind the quality," he said.
Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, under whose portfolio the Zimbabwe
Prison Service (ZPS) falls, last month said that the government would build
more prisons to accommodate ZImbabwe’s growing prison population.
Chinamasa could not be
reached for comment on the issue of hunger in
prisons by the time of going to print last night. The ZPS had also not
responded to questions on the matter faxed to it yesterday.
The country’s 42 prisons have capacity
to hold 16 000 inmates but they
are estimated to be holding close to 30 000 prisoners. But prison officials,
who spoke on condition they were not named, said money allocated for
prisoners’ food fell far below what was required given the skyrocketing cost
One senior prison
official said: "From our budget allocations, we can
only use about $10 000 for food per prisoner per month and with the rising
costs of basic commodities, this is hardly enough.
"We have had to suspend
other meals to stretch the budget. We can no
longer afford luxuries such as bread or meat. We give them porridge with
salt in the morning and after that it will just be sadza and boiled
"The same goes
for clothing and blankets. They are all worn out but we
can’t afford new ones."
Human rights campaigners have in the past called on the
revamp the country’s prison system by building more prisons and allocating
more funds to its prisons described by opposition Movement for Democratic
Change president Morgan Tsvangirai as a "scandal waiting to explode".
Tsvangirai spent two weeks in prison after being
the mass anti-government protest called by his party in June.
By Farai Mutsaka Chief Reporter
ZANU PF militias step up violence ahead of polls
THE broken-down doors and shattered window panes of House Number 13
along Mazowe Close in Marondera town’s Nyameni high-density suburb are a
constant reminder to residents here of the bitter price many Zimbabweans
have had to pay for daring support a political party of their choice.
Visibly frightened residents steal furtive glances at
eerie-looking house as if afraid staring too long at the house might provoke
the ire of pro-ZANU PF militias who residents say keep the house under
But House Number 13 is also a sad
reminder that efforts by Zimbabwe’s
church leaders to broker peace between the country’s feuding political
parties have not yet filtered down to the grassroots where violence and
intimidation are sadly still "acceptable means" to silence political
In Marondera and in at least
eight other municipalities, where urban
council elections are scheduled for 30 and 31 August, suspected ZANU PF
vigilantes have stepped up terror against opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party supporters.
This even as the leaders of the Zimbabwe Council of
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’
Conference (ZCBC) are meeting ZANU PF and MDC leaders to pave way for a
negotiated settlement to Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have in
separate meetings told the ZCC’s Sebastain Bakare, EFZ’s Trevor Manhanga and
the ZCBC’s Patrick Mutume that they are willing to resume dialogue which
broke down between their two parties in August last year.
But for Deliqua Simon Musiwa, the owner of the
eerie-looking house in
Nyameni or the other residents of this overcrowded suburb, the efforts of
the church leaders have not yet brought any respite from political violence.
The provincial election co-ordinator
for the MDC in Mashonaland East
province and that party’s candidate for Ward 8 in the local government
elections, Musiwa said trouble for him started much earlier, in June, well
before Bakare, Manhanga and Mutume embarked on their search for peace. He
has not stepped in his house or known peace since then.
Musiwa this week narrated his ordeal to the Daily News:
"On 1 June at
approximately 9.30 pm, a group of Zanu PF members came to my house and
started throwing stones, breaking at least 18 window panes in the process.
"They were shouting: ‘You and Tsvangirai must go back
because it is the British that are sponsoring you’."
A little later the suspected ZANU PF vigilantes returned
home where they smashed more windows and broke down doors before leaving.
According to Musiwa’s neighbours in Nyameni, the
vigilantes have since
that day kept his house under surveillance hoping that one day Musiwa – who
has fled to Harare with other election candidates – will return so they can
"finish him off".
In Marondera alone the
pro-ZANU PF militias have chased out of town
six MDC candidates for the forthcoming election. The militias have also
prevented at least 30 other opposition candidates in Rusape, Bindura and
Chegutu town from registering to stand in the election after beating them up
and chasing them from nomination courts.
The MDC has already applied to the High Court seeking
the court to
order Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to accept the nomination of its
candidates for Chegutu town.
The opposition party is
also expected to apply for its candidates
prevented from submitting nomination papers in the other municipalities to
be considered for nomination.
If the MDC wins in court then it might still be
able to field
candidates in municipalities where it was prevented from doing so because of
And if the church leaders
are eventually able to convince Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to rein in their militant supporters then residents of Nyameni in
Marondera or in other municipalities might hope for peaceful elections.
But for now
Musiwa’s colleague, Alexander Zhou, says his fear is that
until the church initiative can bring peace, the longer he and other
candidates for the MDC stay in hiding from the marauding pro-ZANU PF
militias the higher the chance they would be alienated from the electorate.
Zhou said: "We
have been unable to organise meetings with our
supporters but hope they know the truth. We are confident the people will
vote for us in the election when the polls are held.
"But the longer we stay in hiding in
Harare, the greater we run the
risk of losing touch with our supporters."
By Ray Matikinye Features Editor
AirZim refers US$4 m debt for arbitration
AIR Zimbabwe has referred a dispute over US$4 million (Z$3.2
billion) with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s national airline,
Lignesa Airines Congolais (LAC), for arbitration, the airliner’s managing
director, Rambai Chingwena, told the Daily News yesterday.
Chingwena said Air
Zimbabwe took up the matter for arbitration after
repeated efforts to recover the money raised through a joint route
management deal with LAC failed.
He said: "We haven’t recovered anything from LAC and
that matter is
pending for arbitration. Everything we will do to recover the money will
flow from the decision that will be reached by the arbiter."
Chingwena, who refused to disclose further details on
the matter, said
the arbitration hearing will be held in Harare.
According to sources, the national airline entered
LAC under which an Air Zimbabwe plane serviced the Harare-Kinshasa-Brussels
route while LAC took charge of ticket sales whose proceeds were to be
deposited into a shared bank account.
The arrangement collapsed in March 2002 allegedly after LAC repeatedly
failed to deposit revenue from the joint operation into the joint bank
Several discussions between Air Zimbabwe and
LAC officials aimed at
resolving the issue failed while the debt owed to the Zimbabweans is said to
have ballooned because of the fall of the Zimbabwean dollar against major
currencies such as the United States greenback.
Chingwena said: "We have held discussions but that
did not help us
recover our money. Any deliberations with LAC will depend on what comes out
of the arbitration process," he said.
for purposes of arbitration Air Zimbabwe wanted interests
accrued on the US$4 million owed to it by LAC to be calculated at the London
interbank rate of 3-4 percent per annum for the period.
But sources told this
newspaper that the cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe
had lost all hope of recovering the money because the Congolese appeared no
longer keen on resuscitating the collapsed joint-venture deal.
The sources also said that
besides the money owed by LAC, the
Zimbabwean airliner was also owed about US$1,2 million ($988,8 million) by
individual Congolese businessmen, who flew on Air Zimbabwe planes on credit.
Efforts to contact LAC officials in Kinshasa were fruitless yesterday.
In a related
development, Chingwena yesterday confirmed the
reshuffling of staff at Air Zimbabwe’s office in London which saw Chris
Kwenda, the airline’s area manager in London being replaced by Tesfaye
Bekele, an Ethiopian national.
Kwenda still had two years of his contract remaining.
Cabinet blocks Chombo’s attempt to dismiss council
SENIOR cabinet ministers have allegedly blocked moves by Local
Government, National Housing and Public Works minister Ignatius Chombo to
fire the Harare City Council for refusing to take orders from him, it was
Well-placed sources told the Daily
News that Chombo had proposed that
the government appoints a commission to run the capital two weeks ago but
his colleagues in Cabinet shot down the idea arguing it was
counter-productive given the seemingly thawing of relations between the
ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
which dominates the Harare council.
PF and state President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have told the country’s church leaders that they are committed to
resuming dialogue between their two parties to find a negotiated settlement
to Zimbabwe’s political impasse.
Chombo’s colleagues are said to
have also resisted moves to dismiss
the council saying it could spark riots in Harare’s discontented suburbs.
"It was after the
intervention of other senior officials and Cabinet
colleagues that Chombo backtracked on his decision, but he had resolved to
fire the whole council after it refused to take his orders," said one
source, who spoke on condition he was not named.
He added: "It was felt that the move had
security hazards as it could
spark demonstrations in the townships. The dissolution would also not serve
the government much purpose other than invite more criticism and trouble."
Chombo yesterday denied
that he wanted to dissolve the council saying
he would only take action once a committee he appointed to investigate the
operations of the council after Mudzuri’s suspension had finished its work.
He said: "I do not
want to fire them, not now. I am very clear on what
I want and that is to have the job done properly and at the moment I have no
"But if they misbehave, of course I will take
action and I won’t need
anyone’s opinion or permission. I will just do what I did to Mudzuri but for
now I will wait for the committee to finish its work before I can do
The sources said Chombo wanted to
fire the council after it voted to
resist orders by the Local Government Minister to withdraw salaries and
benefits from suspended executive mayor Elias Mudzuri.
Chombo suspended Mudzuri, Harare’s first
opposition mayor, three
months ago. He ordered that Mudzuri’s benefits be withdrawn and that he be
evicted from the mayoral mansion after the opposition mayor had defied
orders by Chombo not to perform mayoral duties until his case was resolved.
But the Harare councillors refused
to Chombo’s order and this week
filed an application at the High Court seeking the court to outlaw Chombo’s
sources said the Cabinet advised Chombo to identify "progressive"
councillors within the opposition council to improve relations between his
ministry and the council.
By Farai Mutsaka
Planning, transparency needed for road toll project
THE government’s plan to introduce road tolls to raise money to
maintain Zimbabwe’s road infrastructure is a commendable move, provided lack
of planning and non-transparency – which have killed so many other
projects – do not turn it into another good, but stillborn idea.
According to Transport and Communications secretary
Katsande, toll-gates will be constructed on the country’s major highways,
with the first being operational in the next six months.
"We have already started preliminary groundwork on the
Katsande is reported to have told the state-controlled Herald newspaper. "If
we can be able to pull together the toll-gates and people pay money, we will
plough it back into maintaining our roads."
There is no doubt that if the government is able to pull this plan
off, it will take a heavy burden off Treasury, which is unable to allocate
sufficient funds to build new roads or maintain existing infrastructure.
Expenditure on infrastructure development has been declining steadily
in the past few years, against a background of decreasing revenues and the
government’s growing commitments and appetite for funds.
The consequences of reduced spending on Zimbabwe’s road network have
been felt by both urban communities and rural villagers, many of whose
movements are constrained by lack of or bad roads.
Where roads do exist,
they are sometimes so badly damaged that they
have contributed to traffic accidents that have claimed several lives or
maimed many people in the last few years.
Local business, too, has been affected by the
road network, with some companies unable to venture into potentially
lucrative markets because there is no road infrastructure.
Clearly, the introduction of road tolls would
enable the country to
get around so many of these problems. That is if the project is properly
managed and is not just another means for the government to cynically
extract money from embattled Zimbabweans.
Toll-gates are being used in many countries as a way to build and
rebuild roads without having to resort to introducing new taxes or
increasing existing ones.
But we must stress that in Zimbabwe, this
long-overdue venture can
only achieve its objectives if it is well-planned and implemented in a
Otherwise it will
end up, like so many of the government’s
fine-sounding ideas, consigned to the trash heap of history because no one
thought to determine its feasibility, how it would be implemented or its
It is encouraging to note that the
government has begun a survey along
the Harare-Bulawayo road to find out motorists’ views and their
expectations. We hope this survey is also attempting to determine the
feasibility of an ambitious project that could have far-reaching
The government, we are told,
is also considering several options on
financing and construction of the toll-gates and how the toll system will
work in this country.
Whatever route Zimbabwe eventually takes, it is
important that those
with self-serving interests are not allowed to hijack this venture for
personal gain, as has happened too often in the past.
Because of the public’s stake in this project, it is
crucial that all
processes in the implementation of the venture be subject to keen public
It is when there is no planning and no
transparency that so many of
the government’s projects are doomed to fail even before they start.
Witness the non-implementation of the
Chitungwiza commuter rail link,
the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam project, the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and
the proposed dualisation of the country’s roads.
All projects that were supposed to benefit so
many communities, but
which seem to have died a natural death.
Indeed, there is no better example of the consequences
planning and lack of transparency than the government’s disastrous land
Only last week, President Robert Mugabe was appealing to ruling ZANU
PF and government officials who benefited under the programme to adhere to
the government’s "one man-one farm" policy. Why? Because what should have
been a nationally beneficial programme was hijacked by the ruling elite’s
already bloated fat cats. God forbid that we should go through this again
with this new initiative.
The logic behind scuttling dialogue
LAST week I argued that Zimbabwe was ripe for dialogue by presenting
the logic for dialogue. And yet, it is folly and even reckless to pretend
that the case for dialogue is uncontested.
In this contribution, I present the
logic against dialogue, from the
perspective of those who advance this position, at least as I discern it. I
still maintain that dialogue is inevitable, primarily, if not only, because
the status quo is both untenable and unsustainable.
There are real threats to the dialogue
process and to date, the
loudest and most coherent threats seem to emanate from ZANU PF circles, and
there is logic to that.
reported in the media, church leaders first met the ZANU PF
leadership led by President Robert Mugabe and his delegation, comprising
Vice-President Joseph Msika, the party national chairman John Nkomo, party
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and Cabinet Secretary Willard Chiwewe. All
these are veterans of the party – ZANU PF. Virtually all of them are
veterans of the negotiations leading to the Unity Accord of December 1987.
Chiwewe was the secretary of the Unity Committee. It is clear from the
composition of this delegation that it comprised the Old Guard of the
unified ruling party.
significance of this lies in that the Old Guard convinced the
party president of the seriousness of the national crisis and of the
"profitlessness" of a hard-line and inflexible position; that there is
virtue in flexibility. This is no mean achievement given the amadoda sibili
orientation of the First Citizen.
I don’t think it was easy to convince Mugabe of the
this course of action. It must have involved considerable secrecy and even
stealth on the part of this group, a political coup of some sort. And, as in
most coups, there is often a counter-coup, and we may be witnessing a
counter-coup in motion, that of convincing the party president of the
faultiness of the dialogue process as presently mooted.
This brings us to the new breed of ZANU PF politicians,
by the party’s legal affairs secretary, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
This group comprises the Young Turks of the party, the New Guard. It also
contains the bulk of the amadoda sibili, the core of the "War Cabinet".
Chinamasa articulated the New Guard’s stance
eloquently, though not
necessarily convincingly. He did not waste time in dismissing the church
initiative, attacking particularly the credibility of the men (there were no
women) of cloth.
characterised the churchmen as "MDC activists wearing
religious collars" and accused them of being in the service of foreign
masters. The New Guard is unequivocally opposed to even the "talks about
talks" and I think the dismissive stance has a logic of its own. The logic
is most likely based on the New Guard’s assessment of the state of the
nation and its future, the role of ZANU PF in the overall scheme of things
and their own political fortunes within the party and on a national scale.
To me, the
position of the New Guard is best captured in three words:
"tenacity in turmoil" whose Shona version is Rambai Makashinga.
there is a wide gulf between the Old Guard and the New Guard.
Both may be in search of a viable solution to the Zimbabwe crisis (the New
Guard sees the crisis more as a challenge), but seem to differ markedly on
the definition of the problem, its magnitude, the urgency of solutions to
it, the time-frames and may also differ on the prognosis of the future and
the party’s role in it.
While for the Old Guard, tenacity in turmoil has proved
the New Guard tenacity in turmoil is a virtue, the reasoning being that if
we are in darkness, light should surely be around the corner. The darker the
darkness, the nearer the light, so, rambai makashinga.
Any fair-minded observer would easily acknowledge
that the New Guard
has invested very heavily politically and emotionally in trying to rescue
ZANU PF and building and projecting its positive image both domestically and
And the New Guard is
shrewd, cunning, thorough and energetic. It has
worked overtime and tirelessly and with a single-minded purpose to salvage
the party from collapse. In its estimation, ZANU PF is on the road to
irreversible recovery and can certainly weather the storm until the next
parliamentary elections in 2005.
The logic, therefore, is to hold on for as long as it
takes to the
next elections and those elections are to be run under the present
constitutional and electoral framework. No more, no less! Elections 2005 has
become a fixation; rambai makashinga until 2005.
Why throw in the towel to the churchmen when 2005 is so near? Why
allow a case of so near and yet so far away?
Further, the New Guard
seems to believe that the MDC is really not a
permanent feature of Zimbabwean politics; that the MDC is nothing but a
temporary political aberration that will wither away if ZANU PF remains
steadfast, unyielding and unbending combined with an integrated onslaught on
the MDC will be neutralised, pulverised or paralysed
through various concerted and well-co-ordinated efforts to decapitate its
leadership while simultaneously scattering the sheep.
To the Young Turks, it is
argued (to Mugabe of course) that the
strategies and tactics used in the 2000 parliamentary elections and
sharpened for the 2002 presidential election can further be refined,
perfected and deployed for 2005.
challenge is to survive until 2005, even if it means the country
wobbling along until then. The Public Order and Security Act and the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act can be argued to provide the
legal infrastructure for a triumphant ZANU PF.
When the party president recently threw down the gauntlet and exhorted
his party supporters to gear themselves for the 2005 elections, this
represented a triumph for the New Guard. And the New Guard is gifted with
the power of argument. The thrust of the argument is that ZANU PF does not
need the MDC, that a solo effort is both possible and desirable. Having
worked so hard since the hondo yeminda and the Third Chimurenga, why
surrender now? they ask. The dialogue process represents a silent surrender
in this perfectly plausible view. Further, the church initiative, or any
other initiative for that matter, could easily scuttle the New Guard’s drive
for the supremacy of the party. The dialogue process comes at a time when
the New Guard has not captured control within the party. The talks then can
be regarded as a big ointment in a bigger game plan. So the talks must be
By Eldred Masunungure
Eldred Masunungure is head of the Political and Administrative Studies
Department at the University of Zimbabwe
Another massive scam looms over new $500 note
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will shortly be introducing a new
denomination of the $500 bill. One has to ask why this decision has been
taken instead of introducing a higher denomination with immediate effect.
In order to be as brief as possible, only the bigger
to be explained.
The normal practice where
new bills are put into circulation is for
the old ones to be destroyed immediately by the Reserve Bank upon receipt by
collecting commercial banks.
Should this not happen and these old bills are
re-introduced or are
siphoned off by unscrupulous individuals as much as $200 billion could be
gained for free and reused illegally.
important to remember that this government is effectively broke
and has no cash to pay members of its security services such as the police
and army and any others requiring large pay-offs.
There are a number of ways
to circumvent this situation:
- Once the new $500 bills become available from commercial banks in
return for old notes, ensure that the old notes to be handed over to the
bank tellers are defaced by crossing through the notes with either a marking
pen or ball-point pen and insist that you receive new notes.
If new notes are not available, do not bank
them, keep them until new
notes are made available.
that commercial bank tellers cut off one corner of the old
notes using a guillotine immediately. (Serial numbers must be left visible
for verification by Reserve Bank.)
Both of these features will make old notes
easily recognisable should
they resurface after having been through the system and should not be
accepted as legal tender.
you all to give this situation some very serious thought before
we are subjected to another massive scam by the authorities.
Lecturer exodus threatens varsities with total collapse
I read with interest the story about the exodus of lecturers from
the faculty of medicine at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). Let me say that
the medical faculty is just one typical example as the situation is the same
in other departments like mathematics, physics, chemistry and pharmacy, to
mention just a few.
department of mathematics at the UZ, about nine lecturers had
left by 1 July 2003 with the majority of them having left by 1 January 2003.
That figure does not include the graduate research assistants who also left,
abandoning their studies for greener pastures in the United States, South
Africa or our very own private sector, where they are working as actuarial
As I write, one of my colleagues has
just left Zimbabwe in the past 24
hours for a similar post in South Africa. Those lecturers who are still in
Zimbabwe are here because of these
-they are still processing their visas or passports;
- they are busy looking for alternative employment elsewhere in or
outside the South African Development Community; and
- some lecturers have business interests in the country and don’t see
any need to relocate for purposes of getting better remuneration.
If the Ministry of Higher Education does not act
now, then there is a
possibility that some departments may close down by January 2004.
Most of the vacant posts created by this mass
exodus cannot be filled
by Zimbabweans due to the scarcity of academics who meet the minimum
The foreigners too cannot
fill the vacant posts due to our poor
economy and the poor salaries that lecturers are paid. This means that most
universities are now operating with skeletal staff, which results in
overworking the lecturers.
For instance, in the area of statistics, I don’t know any academic
remaining in the country today with a PhD in statistics. I am challenging
anyone in Zimbabwe with such a qualification and practising as an academic
to respond to this letter.
In most cases when posts are advertised in the
Press, there are two
scenarios: the first one being that there will usually be no respondent for
the advertised posts, and the second scenario is that all the applicants won
’t meet the minimum requirements for the job.
Surely, the government should do something now before the
universities collapse completely.
Department of Mathematics
Bindura University of Science Education
Nonsensical to replace $500 with $500
THE Zimbabwean government last week announced that it was
withdrawing the $500 bank note from circulation and would replace it with
another $500 with a new design.
The public was given 60 days to take the old notes to the banks.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is
printing new $500 and
$1 000 notes.
The development comes at
the height of a crippling shortage of money
at all the country’s banks and building societies and is described as a
The public is asked to take whatever money it has to the banks to
solve the problem.
Replacement of the current $500 note is a way to push
such cash to release it to the financial institutions.
The government’s approach is that there is enough
money but that it is
being held in offices and residential houses, and that if it is sent to the
banks, there will be enough cash to give to bank clients. It is difficult to
appreciate this approach in that were that to happen and new bank notes are
introduced, what will stop the public from hoarding the new currency? It is
not a fact, but mere suspicion, that the shortage of cash at banks was
caused by hoarding of $500 notes within the country or abroad. While it is
quite true that there is a lot of Zimbabwean currency in Mozambique,
Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and, to a less extent, Malawi, it is false
that the collective amount could have precipitated the present critical cash
The real cause is that some
senior national leaders have been hoarding
cash because of sheer avarice and panic. They are panicking that they may
lose their current privileged positions sooner than later, and hoarded
whatever they laid their hands on to feather their nests.
There could be other causes, such as
failure by the RBZ to print more
money to meet the needs of the public in the face of the country’s rampant
inflation, now standing at 365 percent.
It should have been obvious to anyone, let alone the
that if prices of basic commodities such as bread rise, the public would
spend more money, a development that would result in more money circulating.
A few months ago, a litre of petrol cost about
$45; today it costs at
least $1 300. That means that motorists need much more cash to purchase the
commodity than before.
government decision to replace $500 with $500 is nonsensical.
It would have been much wiser and more realistic to phase out the notes of
smaller denominations and increase the $500 notes because of the terrible
rate of inflation.
A consumers based in the rural areas goes to an
urban centre to
purchase groceries, including six loaves of bread at $1 000 per loaf. He or
she would carry 12 notes of the $500 denomination instead of 60 of the $100
If the groceries were to cost
$50 000, the consumer would have produce
to 500 $100 notes instead of 100 $500 notes. It is obvious which of the two
denominations would be more convenient to carry to town, say from Mufakose,
Mbizo, Rimuka, Dingumuzi, Dangamvura, Jahunda, Dulibadzimu, Chinotimba,
Magombekombe, Mambo, Chitomborwizi, Mabvuku, Madumabisa or Makokoba, to say
nothing about remote rural areas such as Tizora, Gwaranyemba, Cesucele or
It would appear that the RBZ did not consider
this particular aspect.
Why? I am of the opinion that instead of replacing just the $500 bank note,
the RBZ and the relevant ministry should have replaced the whole currency
with something with an entirely new name and value.
The name could have been in a local language and the
value could be
based on internationally acceptable factors, among others.
We should bear in mind that money is really nothing but
a form of
receipt for goods or
services received. There are traditionally two types of money:
fiduciary or representative money and fiat money or forced legal tender.
Fiduciary money consists of paper
issued by banks promising to pay
bearer in either silver or gold coins on demand. Fiat money is issued by a
government and its acceptance is made compulsory by law or is treated as
legal tender for the settlement of debts.
In Zimbabwe’s case, we are in effect using fiduciary
money. That is
why the notes carry the promise: "I promise to pay bearer . . ." whatever
the amount is printed on the note "for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe".
That promise is followed by the signature of the RBZ
simply means that banks have no right to fail or refuse to pay their clients
their money. That is because they hold whatever money in their custody on
behalf of their clients on the basis of the stated promise. Their duty is to
procure the money if and when needed. That brings us to the question: Can a
government force people to bank their money? Yes, but only when the country
is at war and certainly during peacetime. Since Zimbabwe is not at war, one
wonders how its government cannot justify compelling the people to bank
their cash. That is probably why it has opted for the replacement of just
one denomination. Whatever is the reason for the decision, it is vital that
the crisis be resolved by correctly identifying its causes and dealing with
them with the utmost urgency. The problem is so serious that one would have
thought that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, as an
alternative government, should have by now analysed it and made a public
statement about it. Its silence on the matter is a shortcoming on its part.
As for the ZANU PF national administration, it is very, very surprising that
all its doctors of philosophy (PhDs) are continuously failing to solve the
country’s socio-economic problems. What is the use of one’s education if it
is not to improve the lives of the people at large by applying it
practically and selflessly so as to leave this world a better place than it
was? Can the ZANU PF leadership honestly say it has achieved or is achieving
By Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu
Logic says we should introduce $1000 notes
So the Reserve Bank is in a "hurry" to replace the existing $500
note with a new one, which, I presume will be cheaper to make?
But then again, the country is in a cash crisis and it
appears as if
someone has got their priorities all wrong. Would it not have been a
"little" more logical to first introduce a higher denomination, say a $1 000
After all, they are going to waste a lot of
foreign currency just to
replace a note that turned out to be too expensive to print.
It is like the man who rushes home when he remembers
that he has
forgotten to water his vegetables the previous day. On arrival, he finds his
house on fire, but he proceeds to water his vegetables first before he does
Apparently, common sense is not so common after all!
Dollar Tumbles Again
August 7, 2003
Posted to the web August 7, 2003
THE Zimbabwe dollar yesterday crashed to new lows on the
driven to $6 000 against the United States dollar by desperate demand for
foreign currency in a market where sellers continue to hold on to their
forex for speculative purposes.
The local currency nose-dived 33 percent against the greenback to settle at
$6 000 yesterday, after trading at $4 500 on Monday and Tuesday.
On the official market, the Zimbabwe:US dollar exchange rate is pegged at
Z$824:US$1. The government has not reviewed the exchange rate despite
promising in February that it would to do so every quarter.
Meanwhile, the British pound was yesterday quoted at a low of $8 000 on the
Foreign currency traders told the Business Daily that foreign currency
holders were now cashing in on desperate importers who were willing to pay
any price for hard cash.
But in some cases, the traders said, holders of foreign currency were only
quoting higher rates without selling their hard currency.
The dealers added that the foreign currency shortages on the parallel market
were becoming artificial because foreign currency holders were clinging to
their forex in anticipation of bigger margins when they eventually disposed
of their currency.
Yesterday, dealers were busy taking up positions in anticipation of a
continued slump in the value of the Zimbabwe dollar against the major
Banking industry officials said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe yesterday
summoned bank chiefs to a two-hour meeting between 9:00 am and 11:00 am to
seek their advice on how they could help end the shortages of bank notes,
which have resulted in long queues for cash.
Dealers said despite the shortage of bank notes, foreign currency sellers
still preferred cash for their transactions, but when payment was made
through a cheque, it drew a premium.
"People are chasing too little foreign currency and whoever wants it has to
cough up a higher rate and if one deal goes through at that rate, then the
rest of the deals follow through," a foreign currency trader with a Harare
discount house said.
"Once you have a trend economy like ours, once a problem is there, the issue
of supply and demand might not work because there will be other forces at
work like we are seeing now."
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE PR COMMUNIQUE - August 7, 2003
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Slash and Burn
AGRIZIM. The Way Forward.
The works of R. Dasmann, L. Bromfield and J. Nkomo tend to acknowledge the
dangers of a badly planned agrarian programme. Seemingly this country was
destined to have the experiment carried out over the last three years a bit
like a Geography Practical. The results have been hardly surprising for
professional agriculturalists, no matter how painful and are likely to have
created a healthy awareness for most people in agriculture by now.
The question remains as to whether there will now be another change for the
C.L. Lundell writes about the Mexican example of 'slash and burn
agriculture' in the Mexican context - that of the Maya civilization in
Peten near the Yucatan Peninsula. "In the beginning the almost limitless
virgin forest permitted the continued clearing of land - utilizing stone
axes and fire during the centuries preceding and immediately following the
birth of Christ.
Under the milpa system, dependent upon fire as the clearing agent, surface
litter is destroyed as well as much of the humus...The uplands were slowly
denuded of soil which filled the large lake basins - today great swamps
known as bajos.
The silt layers filling these swamps is the irrefutable and tragic story of
the rise and fall of the highest civilization developed on this planet by
The disintegration of the empire could not be stemmed in a land depleted
and eroded by one of the most destructive systems of agriculture ever
evolved by man.
The story is clear for everyone to read.....even after a thousand years of
AGRIZIM supports a LEGAL and SUSTAINABLE Agricultural Policy ONLY, using
the SKILLS of all Zimbabweans, regardless of race, religion, gender or
political affiliation - as per the Freedom Charter of the Crisis Coalition.
The results of a Slash and Burn programme have been fully predictable:
To resort to the WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME handouts.
Correspondence to: P. Goosen. Facilitator. AGRIZIM. email@example.com