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

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Mugabe by-passes parliament to ban money 'hoarding'
09/08/2003 - 1:40:32 pm

President Robert Mugabe has by-passed Zimbabwe’s parliament to ban money “hoarding” to relieve the country’s cash crisis, the state-run newspaper reported today.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said Mugabe signed in the new law this week without presenting it to parliament, because of its urgency, the Herald reported.

Murerwa said any person hoarding cash would be penalised, but he could not clarify what the new limits were or what penalties could be incurred.

Bank economist Anthony Hawkins and economic consultant John Robertson said bankers had not been warned of the move and were “mystified” about how it would be applied.

The country is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with official inflation at 370%. Black market trading in scarce food and petrol put inflation closer to 700%.

Local currency shortages are blamed on the out-of-control inflation, the central bank’s inability to print money quickly enough and the hoarding of cash amid uncertainty in the crumbling economy.

Hawkins feared the announcement would open the way for arbitrary seizures of cash by police as has happened with people found in possession of dwindling necessities like bread, maize meal or fuel.

“It is just panic, it is a farce,” Hawkins said.

Earlier this week, the government made the unprecedented move of unveiling a range of new travellers’ cheques in huge denominations, saying it would ease acute shortages of local currency.

The Reserve Bank said the checks in denominations of up 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars, would be legal tender accepted by major stores and businesses in Zimbabwe.

The Reserve Bank announced last month it planned to issue a 1,000 Zimbabwe dollar bank note by October. In another attempt to keep the sinking economy afloat, it also plans to replace the 500 Zimbabwe dollars bill with a new design within two months to force hoarders to turn in old bills.

The 500 Zimbabwe dollar bill has been scarce for several weeks, prompting long lines outside banks. Banks have rationed withdrawals to 5,000 Zimbabwe dollars - 40p at the official exchange rate.

Part of the deepening economic crisis is blamed on the state program that seized thousands of commercial farms from the white minority for redistribution to black settlers.

Foreign investment and aid have largely ended in protest of human rights abuses and the disputed presidential elections last year that gave Mugabe another six-year term in office
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Date:  Sat Aug 9, 2003  6:04 am

Subject:  The fight to preserve Zimbabwe's wildlife is being led by an emerging black majority

Financial Times

The fight to preserve Zimbabwe's wildlife is being led by an emerging
black majority
By Patrick Bergin
Published: August 9 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: August 9 2003 5:00

From Dr Patrick J. Bergin.

Sir, John Reed is right that "it is easy to forget just how fast
things went wrong" in Zimbabwe ("We can't put a policeman behind every
animal", FT Magazine August 2). Not long ago Zimbabwe was regarded as one of
Africa's model countries - at least in terms of wildlife and environment
policies and management. Now, both its people and the wildlife are

Nevertheless some of Reed's pessimism seems misplaced. He writes: "It
occurs to me, as I write this, that wildlife and its protection in
Zimbabwe - as elsewhere in Africa - is largely the concern of white people."
As the leading international conservation organisation focused solely on the
wildlife and wild lands of the African continent, our staff is more than 80
per cent (black) African, including our head of programme, chief scientist
and senior representatives on the continent.

Despite the widespread suffering and devastation, there are many
people working hard to protect wildlife and protected areas in Zimbabwe.
While we are not the only non-governmental organisation working on the
ground, the foundation has two offices in Zimbabwe, specifically in Victoria
Falls and Kariba. Together, these offices employ 11 Zimbabwean employees who
are proceeding with a number of conservation initiatives in Zimbabwe and
neighbouring countries despite the current discouraging conditions.

On a recent visit to Zimbabwe, I was able to hand over assistance,
including equipment, uniforms and food, to the park scouts working on
anti-poaching efforts in the Zambezi valley and met some of the dedicated
and capable members of staff of the new Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority.

I admit there is a perception that conservation is white-dominated but
could the problem possibly be that journalists and others are not meeting
the right people, or frequenting the right places? Might it be that too many
of us habitually seek out the well known (white) spokespeople of
conservation for sound-bites and overlook the emerging majority of
professional and dedicated African conservationists who are ethnically
representative of the majority of people inhabiting these countries?

Clearly, conservation is only one of the problems facing Zimbabwe at
present. But we are hopeful that the preservation of Zimbabwe's wildlife
assets, by Zimbabweans, will provide options for the future of that great

Patrick J. Bergin, President and CEO, African Wildlife Foundation,
Washington, DC 20036, US
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No more promises, no more deceit

SO IT looks like Zimbabwe will be re-admitted into the Commonwealth come December. Zimbabwe’s good and powerful neighbour, South Africa, wants this to be so.

The only proviso, according to Pretoria, is that Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) must be talking to each other about Zimbabwe’s future.

Well and good, many would say, noting that this is South Africa’s carrot, a positive stance meant to nudge the two opposing sides to a negotiating table.

But equally many will ask: are these the conditions set by the club of Britain and its former colonies two years ago for Zimbabwe’s re-admission? The answer is an unambiguous no.

The Commonwealth demanded that endemic lawlessness and gross human rights abuses be ended. It sought a return by Harare to the democratic values that are cherished by the club. It called for a fresh, internationally-supervised presidential plebiscite to right the wrongs of the flawed 2002 ballot.

It’s all water under the bridge, we hear South Africa saying. It’s time to give Zimbabwe a chance to move forward, to start on a new slate.

Yet history rightly teaches all that only the fool-hardy ignore the past to plot the future. For in the past, humanity learns and continues to learn the bitter and sweet lessons of man’s good and bad.

In Zimbabwe’s case, ZANU PF’s chequered history is clear to all who care. Never mind President Robert Mugabe’s mocking comments the other day asking MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he really knew who ZANU PF was and where it had come from.

ZANU PF, born out of blood, wants all political power or nothing. It threatens its rivals with death – and sadly some have paid the supreme price. Compromises are not in this party’s vocabulary.

So if the Commonwealth prematurely ends ZANU PF’s isolation, it means the international community will have lost the only weapon that the ruling party had somewhat understood, if defiantly.

As certain as the sun must rise each day, ZANU PF would then return to its bad old ways, emboldened by a few more days that it would be in power. Predictably, it would trumpet its glorious victory over the evil forces of colonialism and imperialism that are on the ascendancy.

And so in this one stroke, Zimbabwe’s dream of returning to normality any time soon would die a cruel death.

South Africa, for all its good intentions for its northern neighbour, must learn these hard lessons, lessons that those who live in Zimbabwe know only too well.

It would be the worst betrayal of Zimbabweans’ trust were South Africa to walk the path it wants to follow long before there was real evidence that the latest round of talks were on an irreversible one-way route to true democracy.

Zimbabweans, inexplicably ever cheerful and hopeful in the face of debilitating human depravation, have already seen and heard too many false promises that a better tomorrow is beckoning.

This time, they want to see hard results. No more lies, no more deceit and false promises. After all, all they want are their God-given rights.

Zimbabwe’s still unfolding tragedy is a rude reminder to South Africa and other would-be mediators that only drastic action in the form of banging heads can bring about sanity to those who publicly proclaim that they are God’s chosen men and women to rule Zimbabwe forever.

Even looking at the time left between now and December, its seems almost impossible that the projected ZANU PF-MDC talks would have borne fruit by then, let alone to warrant a reversal of the Commonwealth’s principled stance.

Unless, of course, South Africa is now saying it no longer shares the Commonwealth’s core values of good governance and democracy, ironically authored in Harare not-so-long ago.

Ironically, it is these same values which Pretoria, as head of the African Union until only last month, has been championing to try to win more Western aid and trade to rescue Africa from its largely self-created withering poverty and under-development.

No more double-speak, no more double standards, please Mr Thabo Mbeki!

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Begging becoming a national cancer

OUR country seems determined to carry on the deplorable practice of begging, passing it on from generation to generation. I have come to this conclusion because of the number of school children who accost me week in week out on the streets of Harare, asking to be “sponsored”.

Zimbabwe’s leaders are constantly criss-crossing the globe visiting “friendly” countries, arms outstretched, hoping for a handout. This is happening because we seem to be incapable of solving our problems that have seen us facing severe shortages of food, fuel, cash, the all-important foreign currency, just to mention a few.

Back home, headmasters and mistresses are sending out school children onto the streets begging for money for all kinds of reasons, ranging from bus funds, building funds or simply because these kids will have passed some spelling test or other.

We are all aware of the acute difficulties facing various sectors of our economy. Education is naturally one of these important sectors as it forms the basis for the development of a nation.

Parents and schoolheads are having to make every effort to squeeze the little available cash from the public and themselves to enhance their schools’ educational accoutrements.

For quite some time, sponsored walks and bicycle rides were quite the rage with schools, individuals and organisations, seeking to raise money. These activities never really struck a chord with me. I always felt that these feats of endurance did a lot for the participants’ egos but nothing for society.

I rather favoured the actions that improved society’s well-being, like sweeping dirty bus termini and parks and washing blankets and clothes at old people’s homes, just to mention a few.

I also remember money being raised through cake sales, where parents would bake cakes that were then sold at their children’s schools. The money raised would then be put in some developmental fund.

Once at my high school, a very successful fete was organised. Each class was asked to come up with a money-spinning venture. Ideas that came up included the usual cake sales but some were quite innovative. The whole thing proved the school children to be creative and generated a lot of excitement.

Not only was the fete highly entertaining, it also raised a considerable amount of money.

The holding of disco shows that include fashion or beauty contests have always been popular with students. Some parents and school heads are decidedly against such functions as they believe them to be responsible for some of the students’ deviant behaviour.

Parents should indeed be wary of such shows because without the necessary supervision and the creation of the right environment, the shows can degenerate into drinking binges and encourage other forms of misbehaviour.

However, parents must be equally aware that such shows encourage the discovery of talents that may otherwise be unexposed within their children.

Beauty and fashion shows have launched many into the glamourous and profitable worlds of fashion designing, modelling and entertainment. Some children have become professional comperes, and disc jockeys after exposure to such shows.

Dancers and musicians have entertained at such shows and become professionals after being encouraged by the response of their peers.

It is a well known fact that not all students are academically inclined. It is therefore imperative that parents and teachers do all they can to discover each and every student’s forte.

The issue of limiting the opportunities for mischief on the part of the student body can be dealt with in a number of ways. Chief amongst these can be having entertainment shows take place in the afternoon.

Darkness and the bright lights of nightlife do have an intoxicating effect on most people, especially on the impressionable students.

Parents and teachers should be available as chaperons during such events. Prior to the functions, the riot act can always be read to students to discourage incorrect behaviour. If such basic rules are followed, fashion contests can be not only enjoyable, but profitable and, therefore, instrumental in funding developmental projects at schools.

A valuable benefit of such shows is that of giving students a sense of purpose and achievement when they are involved in their organisation. It is also an important lesson for students to learn that the development of their school came through hard work and the provision for services or goods for the exchange of money.

I believe the sending of school children onto the streets to beg for money is immoral and should be outlawed. Not only does the practice encourage the begging syndrome in Zimbabwean children, it is also quite dangerous. Children can easily be abducted and molested under some pretext or other. Children can be molested after being encouraged to do “something” for the money to be donated to the school. Kids can also be abducted after being told to accompany strangers to their “offices” or homes to be given the money. There are a lot of sick-minded and desperate people out there. It is wise not to play into their hands under the name of fundraising. When times are hard, the innovative always find a way of pulling through. There are a lot of potentially profitable activities that take place at schools. What is important is getting the community to support their schools. By Musavengana Nyasha Musavengana Nyasha is an entertainment consultant

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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.

As 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.

The 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 righteousness of 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, supposedly led 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.

Chinamasa 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.

Clearly 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 foolhardy, for 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 internationally.

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.

Come 2005, 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.

The 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 scuttled. By Eldred Masunungure Eldred Masunungure is head of the Political and Administrative Studies Department at the University of Zimbabwe

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Civil servants forced to pay up 

GOVERNMENT workers this week said they had been forced by war veterans to make contributions to Monday’s Heroes Day celebrations, to show their gratitude to the government for awarding them salary increases.

Civil servants who spoke to this newspaper alleged that there was widespread

coercion of government workers, who were being told to contribute as much as $5 000 to the celebrations.

Information gathered by this newspaper shows that the exercise was more prevalent in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East, although several other provinces were reported to be

affected as well.

The war veterans, it is alleged, were holding meetings with civil servants in various areas around the country and threatened them with unspecified action if they refused to pay towards the


“We are being forced to pay as much as $5 000 each. During the independence celebrations, we paid $500, but the war veterans are now saying that we should show our gratitude to the government by paying more.

Each person has been ordered to pay and EC (Employment Code) numbers are recorded,” said a high school teacher from Manicaland.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman Patrick Nyaruwata said his association expected all “ reasonable” Zimbabweans to pay towards events such as the Heroes Day celebrations. But Nyaruwata said this was voluntary.

“We have a programme under way to fundraise for the Heroes celebrations and this happens every year. But people are not forced.

We just expect every patriotic Zimbabwean to think about the importance of the day before they decided whether to pay or not collect money for such events every year, it’s not new but people are not forced to pay,” said Nyaruwata.

He added: “The principle of war veterans is that we live in communities and together with these communities we work to ensure that national events are a success.

But sometimes where there are differences, people pay voluntarily and then complain later yet everyone is free to decide whether to pay or not.”

However, civil servants said the affected government workers, who were mostly teachers, nurses and Ministry of Agriculture workers in rural and farming areas, had not contributed voluntarily.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Majongwe said his organisation had received reports from its members about the alleged forced payments, saying: “We have received reports from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Mudzi, Centenary, Buhera, Chiweshe, Chimanimani, Chipinge and other areas.

“We believe these are clear criminal cases of extortion and this has been the case all along. Teachers have nothing to thank the government for because what they got were peanuts.”

Comment could not be obtained from the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association, while the Public Service Association said it had not received such reports.

Staff Reporter

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Chombo suspends Harare councillors

LOCAL Government Minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday suspended two Harare city councillors, Falls Nhari and Fanuel Munengami, saying this would facilitate the probe of suspended Executive Mayor, Elias Mudzuri.

The suspension resulted in the postponement of elections for a new deputy mayor and chairpersons of committees, which the council had scheduled for yesterday in defiance of Chombo’s directive that the elections be postponed.

City council sources said in letters written to the two councillors, who are members of council’s executive committee, Chombo cited Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act.

The Act says: “The Minister may, by written notice to the councillor and the council concerned, suspend the councillor from exercising all or any of his functions as a councillor in terms of this Act or any other law.”

Acting deputy mayor Sekai Mawavarara said she had received the suspension letters from Chombo and passed them on to the two councillors.

Nhari yesterday said it was premature to comment on the suspension letter handed to him when he arrived at Town House, where the council had initially planned to elect a new deputy mayor and other committee members.

“I have just received the letter of suspension from the acting mayor, which I haven’t studied. So I have no comment on the issue at the moment,” said Nhari. Munengami could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Makwavarara and other Movement for Democratic Change councillors were yesterday shuttling between Town House and their party headquarters at Harvest House, seeking a common position on council elections that were suspended by the minister.

Chombo ordered the postponement of the elections, saying they could not go ahead until the probe into Mudzuri, suspended earlier this year, was complete. Makwavarara referred all questions on the matter to council spokesman Cuthbert Rwazemba.

Rwazemba said elections and other issues that were supposed to have been considered yesterday would be discussed at a special council meeting. “The status quo remains. All the issues that were to be looked at today (Friday) have not been considered pending a special council meeting to be held at a date to be fixed by council,” he said.

Chombo did not attend a meeting he had scheduled with the councillors yesterday, but the meeting is now expected to be held next Wednesday. Municipality officials said after the suspension of their colleagues, councillors unanimously agreed to postpone indefinitely their meeting with Chombo.

By Obert Matahwa

Staff Reporter

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Ncube, Gasela acquitted

HIGH Court Judge President Paddington Garwe yesterday ruled that the treason case against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai should proceed, saying there was enough evidence that he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe.

The High Court, however, acquitted MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and the party’s shadow agriculture minister, Renson Gasela, on the same treason charges.

Acting Attorney General Bharat Patel immediately told the court that he would appeal against Ncube and Gasela’s acquittal.

The High Court ruling comes as Zimbabwean church leaders are making efforts to bring Tsvangirai and Mugabe to the negotiating table to hammer out a political settlement to end an impasse that analysts say has contributed to the crisis in the country.

Delivering judgment on an application made by MDC lawyers to discharge the three senior opposition officials, Garwe said there was no evidence linking Ncube and Gasela to the alleged assassination plot but Tsvangirai had to be put to his defence.

The three were charged with plotting to assassinate Mugabe in the run-up to last year’s presidential election and conspiring to overthrow his ZANU PF government.

The state’s case hinges on a grainy videotape of a meeting between Tsvangirai and Ari Ben-Menashe, the head of the Canadian political consultancy the MDC allegedly attempted to engage to assist in Mugabe’s assassination.

Defence lawyers have sought to portray Ben-Menashe as an unreliable witness.

Justice Garwe said he was satisfied that Tsvangirai had discussed Mugabe’s assassination and a coup d’etat but was dismissing the charges against Ncube and Gasela because state lawyers produced only one witness to tie them to the case, instead of two required by law.

He said in his ruling: “This court will acquit accused two and three (Ncube and Gasela). In respect of accused one (Tsvangirai), the application for his discharge is dismissed. I am satisfied that there is no basis upon which accused number one can be acquitted.”

The Judge President added that Tsvangirai would not be removed from remand.

“This is a case which must be treated in totality and not as piecemeal. There seems to be a prima facie case for the first accused (Tsvangirai). He attended all the meetings in which the issue of elimination was touched on,” said Justice Garwe.

The MDC leader, who faces a possible death penalty if found guilty, sat motionless in the dock as the judge read the ruling and declined to speak to reporters when he left the courtroom.

Tsvangirai is facing another treason trial set for October, connected to MDC protests in June dubbed the “Final Push”.

The MDC leader is alleged to have advocated the unlawful removal of Mugabe from power, a charge that he denies.

MDC legal secretary David Coltart yesterday said his party was “extremely” disappointed by Justice Garwe’s ruling on Tsvangirai. He said the MDC did not doubt the innocence of its president.

“We remain of the view that there was no credible evidence whatsoever and that the charges against the MDC president are spurious now as they were at the beginning of this trial,” Coltart said.

Political analysts yesterday said Justice Garwe’s ruling would not affect efforts to broker talks between the MDC and ZANU PF, observing, however, that Tsvangirai could be sidelined if his legal problems dragged on for too long.

Representatives of Zimbabwean churches have held meetings with both Tsvangirai and Mugabe in an attempt to convince the country’s main political parties to resume dialogue, which stalled last year after ZANU PF objected to the MDC’s court challenge against Mugabe’s re-


African leaders are also said to be anxious to see talks resume before a Commonwealth meeting scheduled for December, at which they are expected to lobby for the lifting of sanctions slapped by the club of former British colonies against Harare.

The treason trial is expected to resume in September.

Staff Reporter

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Tobacco sales down 43pc on last year

DEMAND for tobacco at the country’s auction floors outstripped supply in the past week as farmers continued to hold on to their crop in anticipation of higher prices and a review of the exchange rate by the government.

According to a Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) report for the week ending Wednesday 6 August, cumulative seasonal sales of 43 million kilogrammes were 43 percent below last year’s figure.

Weekly output also declined to 3.2 million kg compared to 9.27 million kg during the same period last year.

Tobacco growers are agitating for a review of the exchange rate, which they say has become unviable because of escalating production costs driven by inflation, which rose 364.5 percent in the year to June.

The government at the end of February this year announced what it called a new export incentive, but which amounted to an outright devaluation of the local currency from $55 against the United States to $824.

Exporters, including tobacco farmers, have since called for a review of the incentive.

Meanwhile, in its report, the TIMB said the trading average price of US$2.32 a kg during the week under review was up US$0.2 on the previous week.

“Demand further improved against a background of low deliveries, with prices maintaining an upward trend across most of the groups,” according to the TIMB report. “The seasonal mass of 43 million kg that fetched US$92 million is 43 percent below 77 million kg that earned US$161 million during (the) corresponding period in 2002. Progressively, the average price has been within the same ranges as the 2002 season.”

Weekly tobacco wastage at 15 percent was still higher than last year because of growers withdrawing their crop for price considerations, the report added. Tobacco, previously Zimbabwe’s single largest foreign currency earner, has been adversely affected by disruptions in the commercial agriculture sector caused by a controversial government land reform programme and the occupation of white-owned farms by ruling party supporters.

Because of the disruptions, tobacco output dropped from a record 236 million kg in 2000 to an expected 70 million kg this year.

Although the government has said its new farmers, resettled under the land reform plan, would up tobacco production in the coming agriculture season, soaring production costs have discouraged the new farmers from planting. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, whose members still produce upward of 80 percent of the country’s tobacco crop, forecasts that production could again plunge to around 50 million kg next year.

Business Reporter

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MDC must be extra careful when dealing with ZANU PF

This is an open letter to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership.

Be very, very, careful in your dealings with the ruling ZANU PF party. Various news reports suggest that you are making a number of concessions in order to promote dialogue.

According to a report in The Mail and Guardian: “Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Thursday offered to suspend its challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s 2002 election victory if the ruling party commits itself to resolving the political crisis in the southern African country.

“If Mugabe’s ZANU PF ‘demonstrates good faith and a commitment to resolving the crisis Zimbabwe is facing, the MDC will consider suspending or holding in abeyance the electoral challenge’, the Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement.”

The same story pointed out that: “Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is also ZANU PF’s secretary for legal affairs, said in comments carried by the state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday that the MDC would be doing Mugabe ‘no favours’ by withdrawing its petition.

“He (Mugabe) needs to be vindicated in a court of law because we knew for a fact that the presidential election was freely and fairly conducted and there was nothing to hide,” he was quoted as saying.

Do you seriously think that Mugabe’s ZANU PF is capable of “demonstrating good faith” and having a “commitment to resolving the crisis”? Have you learnt nothing about what kind of party you are dealing with?

“ZANU PF” and “demonstrations of good faith”! The mind boggles at the very idea.

Do not forget:

- That you are dealing with a deadly and cornered wild animal.

- Who is directly responsible for the crisis you are now trying to help resolve?

- Who do you represent?

- The lessons of recent Zimbabwean history – including the record of Mugabe and ZANU PF in its dealings with any opposition. Is there any reason to think the MDC will be treated any differently?

- Your own promises to keep up the pressure on this regime. Your concessions, especially unreciprocated ones, do not represent pressure. Mugabe and ZANU PF will see them as nothing more than signs of weakness – something to be exploited.

- The millions of victims of Mugabe’s misrule and violence (almost all Zimbabweans). Have they been consulted?

- That the people of Zimbabwe will not forgive you if you betray them.

- That the crisis is a crisis of governance, and its only solution is the removal from power of, not just Mugabe, but the whole rotten ZANU PF structure.

Is it not time that you consulted and informed the people whom you represent about what is going on? ]

Do not betray the people people’s trust, the same people who continue to suffer at the hands of a brutal and illegal regime; the same people who voted for the MDC in parliamentary and presidential elections – both of which were stolen from the people (represented by the MDC} by ZANU PF.

R E S Cook


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Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 5:05 PM
Subject: Lost the plot.

Dear Family and Friends,
I'm sorry to say that this week I have completely lost the plot about just exactly what is going on in Zimbabwe. To put it simply, we have descended into complete chaos and absolutely nothing is making any sense now. The chronic shortage of bank notes has not eased at all and while riot police are continually being called to control crowds at banks, the Ministry of Finance has made a classic announcement. They have launched internal travelers cheques and said with great pride and massive propaganda that Zimbabwe is to become a "cash-less society". They have urged us to all rush out and buy travellers cheques but there are a few very basic problems that seem to have been forgotten about. The first and most obvious is that you need either cash or a bank account in the first place in order to buy the travellers cheques. Our Minister is obviously not aware that nine out of ten Zimbabweans haven't got bank accounts because they can't afford the outrageous ledger fees we are charged every month and don't have enough money to maintain the minimum balances that our banks demand.
The next problem is that of change giving. If I present a travellers cheque worth 5000 for 4000 dollars worth of groceries, where is the change going going to come from. It's just laughable to think that bus drivers and vegetable vendors are going to accept travellers cheques, let alone the black market dealers who have a stranglehold on all basic commodities from fuel to sugar. But it isn't really funny at all and the stories of people's hardships are just heart breaking. Elderly pensioners who worked their entire lives building the country, are standing for 3 hours in queues at banks to draw out tiny fractions of their pensions. Hundreds of thousands of industry and shop floor workers are being paid their wages fortnightly with cheques - cheques which the banks are unable to honour as they have no cash. People can't pay their rent, can't buy food or medicines and the suffering is increasing every day.
To further compound my loss of the plot is the fact the travellers cheques are also printed on special paper with wire safety strips - paper which our government doesn't have the money to print ordinary money on. This week the Ministry of Finance raised foreign currency to give to a German company so that they could print money for us. This led to another massive demand for foreign currency and caused the black market to soar. This week one £ was selling for 6000 Zim dollars, one US dollar for 4800 and one SA Rand for 620 Zim dollars.
As if they didn't have enough of a mess on their hands and to divert our attention from people's suffering, the government have done what they always do in a crisis situation : they grab more farms. In the last fortnight they have implemented something they have called "Operation Clean Sweep." This has entailed listing for state seizure all the remaining white owned commercial farms in the country. This involves fewer than 600 farms which have managed to continue growing food for our starving nation and has thrown another blanket of despair over our country. In three and a half years the government have seized almost all the farm land and yet we still have absolutely nothing to show for it. Night after night on the state owned television there are desperate pleas from people who were allocated 7 hectare plots on our farms. Plough for us, they cry; give us seed and fertilizer, give us water and irrigation, pesticides and herbicides. The entire food production system has completely collapsed and contrary to all public pronouncements by both the President of the country and the Minister of Agriculture to various world leaders, the land grabs haven't finished at all and appears they will not until there is not one centimeter of land which is not owned by the State left in Zimbabwe. All the people who have either been dumped on or grabbed our farms have no Title Deeds to the property, no collateral with which to borrow money and, as we get closer to the rainy season, it appears we are about to go into the fourth season of not being able to grow anywhere near enough food to feed 11.6 million people.  From a desperate and chaotic Zimbabwe, until next week, love Cathy. Copyright Cathy buckle, 9th August 2003.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the UK, Europe, US and Canada from ; in Australia and New Zealand from: and in Africa from and  
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MDC must be extra careful when dealing with ZANU PF

This is an open letter to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership.

Be very, very, careful in your dealings with the ruling ZANU PF party. Various news reports suggest that you are making a number of concessions in order to promote dialogue.

According to a report in The Mail and Guardian: “Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Thursday offered to suspend its challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s 2002 election victory if the ruling party commits itself to resolving the political crisis in the southern African country.

“If Mugabe’s ZANU PF ‘demonstrates good faith and a commitment to resolving the crisis Zimbabwe is facing, the MDC will consider suspending or holding in abeyance the electoral challenge’, the Movement for Democratic Change said in a statement.”

The same story pointed out that: “Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is also ZANU PF’s secretary for legal affairs, said in comments carried by the state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday that the MDC would be doing Mugabe ‘no favours’ by withdrawing its petition.

“He (Mugabe) needs to be vindicated in a court of law because we knew for a fact that the presidential election was freely and fairly conducted and there was nothing to hide,” he was quoted as saying.

Do you seriously think that Mugabe’s ZANU PF is capable of “demonstrating good faith” and having a “commitment to resolving the crisis”? Have you learnt nothing about what kind of party you are dealing with?

“ZANU PF” and “demonstrations of good faith”! The mind boggles at the very idea.

Do not forget:

- That you are dealing with a deadly and cornered wild animal.

- Who is directly responsible for the crisis you are now trying to help resolve?

- Who do you represent?

- The lessons of recent Zimbabwean history – including the record of Mugabe and ZANU PF in its dealings with any opposition. Is there any reason to think the MDC will be treated any differently?

- Your own promises to keep up the pressure on this regime. Your concessions, especially unreciprocated ones, do not represent pressure. Mugabe and ZANU PF will see them as nothing more than signs of weakness – something to be exploited.

- The millions of victims of Mugabe’s misrule and violence (almost all Zimbabweans). Have they been consulted?

- That the people of Zimbabwe will not forgive you if you betray them.

- That the crisis is a crisis of governance, and its only solution is the removal from power of, not just Mugabe, but the whole rotten ZANU PF structure.

Is it not time that you consulted and informed the people whom you represent about what is going on? ]

Do not betray the people people’s trust, the same people who continue to suffer at the hands of a brutal and illegal regime; the same people who voted for the MDC in parliamentary and presidential elections – both of which were stolen from the people (represented by the MDC} by ZANU PF.

R E S Cook


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Farmers hit by new wave of farm seizures

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 three properties.

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 figures.

“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 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 idle.

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,” Hawgood said. Mac Crawford, CFU vice-president, told delegates at the union’s 60th annual congress this week that farm equipment worth $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 United Nations 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 1990s output. 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. – IRIN

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DA claims report stifles facts on Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN – The African National Congress (ANC) used its muscle in Parliament’s agriculture committee on Tuesday to silence Democratic Alliance (DA) objections to a report on the committee’s fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe earlier this year.

The majority report, adopted by the committee, found that there was consensus in

Zimbabwe on the land reform programme.

It also suggested that famine in the region was because new farmers who had taken over seized white farms were poorly equipped and not because the land grabs destroyed the country’s commercial farming sector.

DA MP Andries Botha tried to have his objections to the report heard, but committee chairman Neo Masithela said this could not be done until the committee had voted on whether or not to approve the report.

This was done, and when Botha offered a minority report, he was told that the rules did not allow for minority reports and he would have to make his objections in the National Assembly when the matter was debated. “The report creates the impression that all Zimbabweans are in agreement with the land invasions and ignores evidence to the contrary,” he said.

According to Botha, the report failed to acknowledge the economic consequences of the land reform programme, condemn the widespread violation of human rights or acknowledge the fact that ZANU PF elite had benefited most from the land invasions.

“Rather than using this opportunity to criticise President (Robert) Mugabe’s disastrous policies, the ANC has created the impression that the situation in Zimbabwe is relatively stable. The ANC has again failed to address a far more desperate reality.

“The ANC continues to protect the narrow and selfish interests of Mugabe and ZANU PF ahead of the people of Zimbabwe.

“The land reform programme in Zimbabwe has been a catastrophic failure that has plunged Zimbabwe into financial ruin. The sooner the ANC acknowledges this, the sooner a sustainable and effective

solution can be found,” Botha said.

Masithela said: “We have different views on the report because we have different ideological perspectives and different political backgrounds.”

When Masithela asked the committee whether they would entertain a minority report from Botha, the ANC MPs simply shouted: “No.”

The DA’s Dan Maluleke asked how it was possible ANC MPs could reject something when they had not even seen it. – Business Day

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Armed municipal police

MUTARE – The city council here has deployed armed municipal police details to the home of ruling ZANU PF councillor Peter Maviza, to protect him from suspected ruling party youths who have besieged his house several times in the past few weeks, it was learnt this week.

The youths are said to have been angered by Maviza’s decision to stand as an independent candidate in this month’s urban council elections. They allegedly stormed into his home last week, attacked and injured several of his supporters.

Maviza, councillor for Ward Five in Sakubva, said the city council had provided an armed municipal police officer to guard his house.

“The policemen are very armed,” Maviza said. “They were deployed in line with a council resolution that was passed following an attack on the house of the mayor (Lawrence Mudehwe).”

The resolution was passed after Mudehwe’s Sakubva home was attacked by a mob angered by the alleged fatal shooting of a child by a municipal police officer two years ago.

Mutare Town Clerk Morgan Chawawa this week referred all enquiries on the deployment of municipal police officers to Maviza’s home to David Khoza, the chamber secretary.

It was, however, not possible to contact Chawawa.

“There is a council resolution to that effect, but talk to the chamber secretary,” Chawawa said.

Meanwhile, ZANU PF Manicaland spokesman Charles Pemhenayi denied the allegations by Maviza that the ruling party was mobilising youths from Rusape to attack the Mutare councillor.

He told the Daily News: “It’s news to me. But you know what happens in a lawful country like Zimbabwe, if anyone attacks anybody, police will arrest that person.”

Pemhenayi added: “I hope it’s not about tarnishing the image of the party because the youths know very well that we do not condone a violent campaign.”

Four other ZANU PF activists are standing as independents.

Own Correspondent

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Cash-strapped Mutare gives Mudehwe $41 m exit package  

MUTARE – The cash-strapped Mutare City Council has offered out-going Executive Mayor Lawrence Mudehwe a hefty exit cash package of more than $41 million, including cash and allowances, the Daily News has established.

According to Mutare City Council documents, Mudehwe – who leaves office at the end of this month after serving two terms – will receive more than $26 million in cash,allowances exceeding $15 million, a free residential stand, a cellphone, a pistol and a 4x4 Land Cruiser.

The ruling ZANU PF-dominated executive committee said the proposal was in line with Circular 5 of 2002, dated 25 February 2002, from the Local Government Ministry.

The circular states that in terms of section 63 (4) of the Urban Councils’ Act, conditions of service of mayors may vary between different towns, municipal councils and city councils.

Mutare deputy mayor and councillor Rajab Maeresera, councillors Kenneth Saruchera, Cecilia Gambe, Edmore Karumbidza, Maxwell Tsopotsa and Justice Chiwara, all from the ruling party, sit on the

Mutare City Council executive committee.

Mudehwe yesterday said he was not aware of the details of the proposed exit package.

“As the beneficiary, the deliberations are done in my absence so I would not know what they want to offer me,” Mudehwe told the Daily News.

When told what had been recommended as his exit package, Mudehwe replied: “I think that is also provided for within the Local Government Ministry’s policies for out-going mayors.”

Mudehwe had a basic salary of $1 401 572.17, a representation allowance of $280 314.43, an entertainment allowance of $140 157.22. He also enjoyed other benefits, such as house rental of $67 500, two servants for $74 362 and a house telephone payment of $20 000.

His residential stand, measuring 4 000 square metres, will cost $2 084 000 and a cellphone handset is pegged at $420 000. The outgoing mayor will also take with him his 1996 model Land Cruiser vehicle free because, the executive committee said, its value had “fully depreciated” to nothing.

Under the proposed exit package, Mudehwe would be exempted from paying rates as well as water and sewerage service charges until the end of 2005.

The exit package proposal has already been sent to Ignatius Chombo, the Local Government Minister for approval.

The tentative exit package comes at a time services such as collection of garbage, the provision of efficient public lighting and usable roads is now virtually non-existent because of the financial constraints faced by the municipality.

The health delivery system has also become unreliable, with clinics running out of basic drugs and medicines.

Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairman Geoff White yesterday said Mudehwe’s proposed exit package was “too excessive” considering the financial problems the city was facing.

“We find his exit package too excessive because Mutare’s service delivery got worse during Mudehwe’s eight-year tenure,” White said.

“The city has no obligation to pay him that much given its poor performance on revenue collection. It’s like giving a bonus to someone who is a failure.”

But according to Mutare City Council documents, the executive committee opted to offer Mudehwe the hefty package in line with cities such as Gweru and Kwekwe, which have also proposed expensive exit packages for their mayors.

Karumbidza yesterday defended the council’s decision, arguing that it was provided for in the Urban Councils Act.

“What we did was above board. Executive mayors are entitled to such packages when leaving office,” Karumbidza said.

Staff Reporter From Sydney Saize

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EU releases $20.6 bn

THE European Commission (EC) has released 25 million euros (Z$20.6 billion) to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to purchase about 60 000 tonnes of food aid for Zimbabwe, it was learnt yesterday.

In a statement, the EC said the contribution, was part of a 100 million euro (Z$150 billion) package made available to the WFP, which would benefit several food-insecure countries.

Zimbabwe is expected to be the major beneficiary of the aid package.

WFP Zimbabwe country director Kevin Farrell said: “This donation could not have come at a more critical time. Current food aid supplies for Zimbabwe would otherwise have run out by the end of this month had the European Commission not intervened.

This contribution will allow us to fast-track a purchase of over 60 000 tonnes of maize to be sourced in the region. We expect to be in a position to adjudicate on the first tranche of tenders in the coming week.”

The EC – the executive arm of the EU – and members of the 15-nation European economic bloc contributed 83 million euros (Z$ 124.5 billion) last year to the WFP for Zimbabwe.

The contribution made up 40 percent of total food aid donations for Zimbabwe.

“Thanks to the generous and timely response by donors such as the European Commission, we believe that the WFP food assistance programme last season helped avert widespread starvation,” Farrell said.

EC Press and information manager Josiah Kusena said the money donated to the Zimbabwean umanitarian appeal in the past year had been used for transport and to distribute almost 150 000 tonnes of food to the most vulnerable sections of the population, especially the old, the sick and those with no means of support.

The EC last year also donated 328 million euro ($492 billion) to six southern African countries affected by drought.

“The European Commission recognises by this contribution that the food security situation in Zimbabwe remains critical and that without the direct intervention of the international community, a significant proportion of the Zimbabwean population are at serious risk,” Kusena said.

“ Notwithstanding the international donor response, the donor community expects that the government of Zimbabwe will play its part in filling the estimated import gap of 1.28 million tonnes of cereal in the coming year.”

Statistics from UN agencies indicate that about 5.5 million Zimbabweans will need food aid by January 2004 due to food shortages caused by drought and the government’s controversial land resettlement programme.

According to humanitarian agencies, many local households are increasingly resorting to gold

panning to raise money and eating roots and wild fruits to stave off starvation.

Staff Reporter

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  Help me understand cause of cash crisis please!  

I REALLY cannot understand this. There is a severe shortage of cash, I mean Zimbabwean kwacha, and everyone knows it. The government blames the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). They did not print more money on time, or so they say.

The RBZ is, in fact, part of the government. Central bank governor Tsumba just keeps quiet, maybe because he is on his way out, but is it true that they are to blame? If it is true, then by extrapolating backwards, it means that the government did not print more money and it is actually blaming itself by blaming the RBZ!

I cannot understand this.

The RBZ does not just print money, you know. If it did, hey, we would be having plenty of paper money floating around with nothing to buy. I really do not understand why the government, or anybody else for that matter, should think that the RBZ can print money just like that.

The government also blames the opposition and their “British sponsors” for this lack of cash. It is economic sabotage, screams spin doctor Professori Jonho. I really do not know how bungling Blair and crew got hold of all our dollars without paying for them and then hid them away somewhere in an alleged attempt to sabotage the Cockerel.

I know Zim-Zim is not worth many pennies, but Blair would have gone completely caput to buy all our money using his pound, which we still do not have, and then hide it away somewhere.

Fine, the Brits want to kick him out for lying, but I think our government should believe him when he says he has got nothing to do with the shortage of the Zim dollar.

As for Morgiza, please leave this guy alone. He has no cent to his name and I know it. Everyone knows it. If anyone is “eating” in the opposition, it is not Morgiza. All he has is courage and not money, so he couldn’t be hiding all our not-so-value-loaded dollars.

Dealers and black marketeers also come in for the blame. The government wants them reined in. I know these dealers and black marketeers. I know who they are in person.

The biggest and the worst of them are the big companies, both local and multinational. The other ones do it small time. These are my indigenous friends and government officials, including ministers .

All of us are also in there, but we do it pretty small time. What is wrong with dealing, I wonder? Dealing is not stealing. It is the normal way of doing business. A willing buyer and a willing seller, then cash and goods change hands, that’s all.

What is wrong with that? I do not understand. Have we not been doing that since time immemorial and we still had cash in plenty? How could this good old business practice suddenly become responsible for the shortage of cash? Can you really understand this?

If everyone does it as I have tried to demonstrate, then everybody is responsible for the cash shortage. So, in fact, by blaming dealers, which means everybody, for the shortage of money, the government is blaming nobody. How amazing!

What about our erstwhile opposition, what are they saying? For the most part, they are safely quiet about it. That they blame the government for everything is a foregone conclusion. If they blame the cockerel for everything, everything can be anything including nothing. So, in fact, we can say that they blame the government for nothing, which means in effect that they do not blame them at all!

Come on, guys, I do not understand this. Let us first of all examine what we know and not dwell on wild speculation, rumour-mongering and fanning hatred. We know that there is no cash in the banks.

We also know that the money is in circulation, all of it. It cannot be anywhere else. There are no records or reports of the money having been stolen from circulation, so it must be in there somewhere with the people.

We also know that it is not finding its way into the banks because the people are not taking it there. Cash does not find its way to the bank on its own, you know. The big question is: why are the people not taking cash to the bank? Or better, still why did they use to take it to the bank in the first place?

I can answer the second question with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Cash used to be taken to the bank primarily for safekeeping. Now it is not very safe to keep your cash at the bank because you may definitely not get it when you need it.

Has anybody tried to find out why the banks will not have the cash to give you back when you need your money? I think in the answer to this question lies the real reason why there is a severe shortage of cash in this country.

Jonho, the spin doctor and professori, please tell us. But do not tell us that it’s Morgiza and crew, including Blair, because everyone now knows that it’s not true. I have just proved it.

Also, Morgiza, if you want to rule us tomorrow, as you seem to, please tell us why banks do not have cash. But do not tell us that it’s the Cockerel’s fault because as you have already seen, this is a discredited argument. We want to be told in economic and not political terms because, you see, even if Jonho does not want to believe it, there is no politics in the banks. There is just money making sense, although at the moment, I cannot understand it. By Cleopas Sibanda Cleopas Sibanda is a medical doctor and social commentator.

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Appaling corruption at passport office

I write to express my utmost displeasure concerning the goings on at the passport office. My confidence in the way that department is being run has dwindled to rock bottom, and it is particularly saddening that we have our fellow Zimbabweans working retrogressively to bring shame to our country.

Save for a few unscrupulous individuals, Mr Tobaiwa Mudede deserves some credit for concerted effort to clear the big backlog and ensuring Zimbabweans get what they want.

One would expect such kind of handling of official affairs in pre-independence Zimbabwe. There is a requirement that people wanting their documents to be timeously processed should forward authentic evidence.

In keeping with this, it is baffling that a bona-fide document showing validity of the “urgent” claim is rejected without any reason given. One wonders what criteria is being used. I was taken aback to learn that some offices are accepting bribes, or rather charging privately for official duties performed.

These should be investigated or brought to book to bring sanity to an otherwise professional and committed government department. I even have evidence of these allegations and I am prepared to speak to Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi.

A thorough clean up of that department is imperative. We would rather take our letters for approval to the Chief Passport Officer because she respects all Zimbabweans irrespective of race, which is not done by some.

Disgruntled Son of the Soil


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Doug Taylor-Freeme has been unanimously elected as President of the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe by members of the full Council of the Union.
Mr Taylor-Freeme’s was the only nomination received for the position, following the expiry of out-going President Colin Cloete’s two-year term. The election took place at the post-congress meeting of Council on Thursday 7th August.
Mr Stoff Hawgood, formerly chairman of the National Association of Dairy Farmers, was elected as Vice-President, Commodities. The election of a Vice-President, Regions, was postponed.
Regrettably two Matabele members of Council, Mac Crawford (Vice-President, Regions) and Gavin Conolly (President of Matabeleland region), withdrew from Council.
Mr Taylor-Freeme said he hoped that these differences could be resolved, and said he had already approached the Matabeleland contingent with regard to finding a positive way forward. He added that Matabele representation on Council was vital as membership of the Union from that province was significant.
The Union’s annual congress, held over Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th August, was a positive event. The open session on Wednesday was attended by 200 delegates and invited guests who heard presentations from the out-going Vice-Presidents for Commodities and Regions, Doug Taylor-Freeme and Mac Crawford. There was a motivational session with Claude Moller from South Africa, a well-known friend to members. The official opening during the afternoon session was performed by expert climatologist Professor Mark Jury from the University of Zululand in South Africa. This was then followed by presentation of the 2003 Farming Oscar to Dr Japie Jackson.
The closed session of Congress on Thursday covered Union business, including the appointment of auditors (Ernst & Young), legal representation (Honey & Blanckenberg), the adoption of the Union’s accounts, the President’s Council report, and the proposed members’ licence fee structure for the coming year.
In Mr Taylor-Freeme’s speech to Congress on Wednesday, he said: "The full downstream effects of the ill-considered and badly implemented land reform process have become very apparent this year. Production in the commercial farm subsector during the 2002/2003 season was less than half of normal, and the whole economy is reeling from a situation of increased food insecurity and reduced foreign exchange earnings. Despite this, disruption of commercial farming operations continues unabated, and farm invasions, farmer evictions, human rights abuses, and the theft of property still occur."
On matters dealt with by the Union’s leadership in the past year, Mr Taylor-Freeme said: "More than 90% of our time has been spent dealing with issues that are not related to actual production on the ground. The continuous stream of people and the many phone calls received both in and out of the office were mainly from farmers in distress. The Union is often criticised for only dealing with farmers who are farming. However, our offices have spent countless hours dealing with non-farming members and, I might add, non-members, as well as business people, who need assistance and advice. Issues tackled here have included farmers being evicted, those needing security assistance and legal advice, farmers wanting to return to their farms, compensation issues, regional investment, medical assistance, economic and financial advice, advice on removal and sale of equipment, ALB, and many more."
He said: "I must remind members that we have a government that is attempting to desperately prove that it can run a country on its own in complete contradiction to globalisation and succeed on its present policies. It has turned its back on the international community, not listening to the demands of the people of Zimbabwe. It has managed to distort and influence every government institution into not making good governance decisions, in the interest of politics. We can see the results of this position and that is why the country is in free-fall.
"However, many of our members believe that the Union and its leaders are miracle performers against a government that is not interested in listening to anyone but itself. They vent their frustrations on elected members and staff when there are no tangible results to their problems. This is understandable.
"What is concerning me is the lack of respect and the divisions being deliberately created by a small sector of our community. The strength of the Union is its diversity in managing different situations. The strong points rise up through this diversity and this is what makes the Union a credible and strong organisation."
Mr Taylor-Freeme spoke out strongly on the Union’s displeasure with the manner in which the land reform programme was implemented. He added: "We have politicians at both ends of the political divide making use of people to better their cause. We need to say ‘enough is enough’, sort out your differences soon, because unless this is done quickly, I can see the total collapse of agriculture ahead. I don’t mean only commercial agriculture - small scale farmers, communal farmers, new farmers, old commercial farmers, farmers who just want to go back farming, everybody is unhappy about the prevailing situation in agriculture caused by politics. Industry that supplies agricultural inputs and services is also collapsing.
"We’ve had three years of politics and the requirements of the business of agriculture have been ignored. The politicians had better resolve the issues soon because otherwise there will be no country left to govern. We need to get back to sound business policies because agriculture is the engine of Zimbabwe. That engine needs to be serviced and tuned correctly to run efficiently."
Each delegate to congress was presented with a marketing brochure, which was produced in-house by CFU staff. In the brochure, the Union highlights the many services it offers to members, and lists other services it plans to introduce. There is also a questionnaire attached, covering matters of communication, service to members and farm status. All members will be receiving the brochure and questionnaire by mail in the coming months.
Following his election as Vice-President, Stoff Hawgood welcomed the challenges ahead. "Our challenge as a Union is to help the nation maximise production and deal with the business of agriculture," he said. Mr Taylor-Freeme echoed this, and said his focus was to return agriculture to a production-based, business-focused enterprise so that Zimbabwe as a nation could move forward with confidence. He said: "I hope that we can get some sense back into the situation, and get some farmers back in business on acceptable terms."
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