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09/12/2000 19:07 - (SA)

Zim govt bars courts from overturning poll results

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has published a law forbidding courts to
invalidate the ruling party's victories in 36 parliamentary constituencies
which are facing legal challenges, state-run media said on Saturday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging the
results of June elections in the 36 constituencies, where they say electoral
fraud, violence and intimidation of voters compromised the returns.

The new law says that the election of sitting lawmakers "shall not be
rendered void in the interest of democracy, peace, security and stability,
even if the corrupt or the illegal practices were committed," the state-run
Ziana news agency reported.

The amendment to Zimbabwe's electoral act was passed with special
presidential powers, and was not subjected to debate in parliament.

"It is sheer madness on the part of government to announce to the people of
Zimbabwe and to the world that they are interfering with due process of law
for the reason that they want to protect democracy," MDC spokesperson
Learnmore Jongwe said.

He charged the government's move to dodge the lawsuits was a validation of
MDC's argument that voter intimidation compromised the electoral results,
and showed the ruling party's fear of having to run in by-elections.

"They know that they will lose any by-election in this country and they fear
the MDC having a parliamentary majority," Jongwe said.

The law is the latest swipe against the courts by President Robert Mugabe's
government, which has lost several cases challenging its controversial land
reform programme.

The most recent Supreme Court hearing on land reform was delayed for more
than one hour when supporters of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) stormed the courtroom and chased out lawyers
representing white farmers.

The nation's highest court ruled in favour of the farmers and ordered police
to evict squatters who have occupied 1 600 white-owned farms since February.

The squatter campaign was closely tied to political violence surrounding the
June legislative elections, which left at least 34 people dead. Thousands
more were beaten, kidnapped or otherwise intimidated.

The MDC became the ruling party's first real opposition in 20 years in the
June vote, when it won nearly half of contested parliamentary seats. -

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Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

At the Market
Candid Comment - by Sibangilizwe Ndlovu - The ugly side of government's
ethnic hegemony
Comment - International community no longer 'amused' by Mugabe
Cutting Edge - Brian Raftopoulos - Zimbabwe at crossroads: Which way ahead?
Editor's Memo - The Limpopo divide by Iden Wetherell
Eric Bloch - Bulawayo budget driven by prudence, realism
Face to Face - Forward Maisokwadzo - MDC unveils economic recovery plan
Muckraker - Chihuri falls over himself to please
News Analysis - Dumisani Muleya - Govt fails to sell its land policy
Viewpoint - Ruzvidzo Mupfudza - Shaping our lives and our future
Viewpoint 2 - Dr EG Mtetwa - Makoni's budget targets hard to achieve

At the Market

Tetrad Group
THE audited results of Finhold for the year ended September 30 2000 make
dismal reading. Interest expense grew at a faster rate than interest income
resulting in a lowly 26,1% growth in net interest income to $1,151 million.
The amplified interest expense could have resulted from Finhold being forced
to shift from a cheaper deposit base of current accounts to the money

Attributable earnings were down by 18,3% to $186 million. At the interim
stage Finhold had attributable earnings of $120 million, which means that
for the last six months of the year, Finhold's attributable earnings were
only $66 million, less than half of the earnings achieved in the second half
of last year.

Surprisingly, Finhold did not bother to make a comment as to what caused
such a drastic decline in earnings! It would be interesting to see what
effect the highly unacclaimed hyperinflationary accounting would have on
Finhold's result.

ZBCL and other subsidiaries contributed to the group's profitability, while
Scotfin incurred a loss of $337 786 compared with a profit of $29 million in
the prior year. Scotfin is highly exposed to the small to medium-sized
enterprises. The economic downturn resulted in a substantial number of these
enterprises failing to meet their repayments for lease and hire purchases.
The hyperinflationary environment has resulted in lending becoming

udc, which also happens to be in the same line of business as Scotfin,
contributed negatively to group profits for ABCH mainly as a result of a
large non-performing loan book. As a consequence both companies, udc and
Scotfin, increased their provisions.

Interestingly, Fincor, which is owned by Barclays, remains a profitable

The results of most banks that have been published of late show massive
increases in provisions. It is quite amazing that in this highly unstable
operating environment, Finhold has actually slashed its provisions by almost
half to $78 million from the previous year's figure.

Finhold is now characterised by the large non-performing loan book of
Scotfin, high interest rates, non-availability of foreign lines of credit
and the increased risk of clients defaulting on loan repayments.

The major question at the end of the day is whether the provisions are
prudent. Will the provisions be able to cushion the above characterisation?
It must also be borne in mind that to combat "unsustainable salary increases
in a highly inflationary environment", Finhold has embarked on an
involuntary retrenchment exercise whose costs have still to be ascertained.
One would hope that similar measures are being taken at the upper echelons.

It is also dispiriting to notice that the asset base of Finhold has shrunk
by 11,4% to $11,6 billion. This is on the back of major reductions in
amounts clearing to and from other banks, cash and other assets. On the
other hand, advance and other accounts rose by 19,7% to $4,1 billion. The
group cash flow is not encouraging at all as Finhold had a net cash outflow
of $200 million, which works out to a negative $3,17 per share.

TZI posted moderate results for the year ended September 30, with turnover
increasing by 41% to $3,637 million. However operating profit declined by
10% to $306 million. As with Meikles, TZI has opted to keep cash off-shore
while at the same time paying high interest charges locally, accumulating
net interest payable of $76 million, up 95% over last year. At the same time
hard currency cash holdings were in excess of US$3 million at year-end.
Despite the net interest paid, two out of the three divisions were cash
positive, resulting in excess of $198 million in cash flow from operations
at year-end.

A fixed exchange rate as well as run away inflation marred the first half of
the year. Art faced increased US dollar-based costs for pulp while selling
paper at a US dollar price in Zimbabwe dollars at a fixed exchange rate.
This eroded margins considerably in the first half of the year, while the
devaluation was a little too late to help this year's results.

On the positive side, sales increased by 41% with higher volumes recorded in
most areas. With the ongoing liquidation of Randalls, TZI took the
opportunity to acquire the Eversharp brand, and this has proved to be a
highly profitable operation. TZI expect to recover the $55 million cost of
Eversharp by the 2001 year-end.

The export horticulture division, Agriflora, based in Zambia, is now the
largest export horticultural operation in Southern Africa. Agriflora had a
troublesome start to the year with excessive rains causing adverse growing
conditions with lower output but fixed overhead costs.

Agriflora's margins were put under additional pressure by the stronger US
dollar and weaker Euro, since freight is charged in US dollar while the
horticultural produce is paid for in Euros. Agriflora have continued to
expand their rose hectarage and plan to have 40 ha of roses in the next 12
to 15 months.

Together with the fruit and vegetable operations, Agriflora now have enough
bulk on their own to fill three cargo planes out of Zambia each week,
securing reliable freight services for their produce.

Freight shortages have severely affected many Zimbabwean horticultural
producers who in some cases are transporting their goods by road to
Johannesburg International Airport and flying them to Europe from there. TZI
expect 2001 to be the turnaround year for Agriflora with substantial growth
in volumes forecast.

The health and insurance division also experienced a decline in operating
profit for the financial year although sales increased by 58%.
The operations have been negatively affected by liquidity shortages in
Zambia as well as smaller tourist arrivals resulting in less demand for
emergency evacuations. TZI is looking at expanding into East Africa and so
far the prospects are encouraging.

TZI is primarily a US dollar based business with most operations outside
Zimbabwe earning US dollars. TZI's share price over the past year has been
weak, partly due to the disinvestment of foreign shareholders.

TZI is poised to take advantage of any upturn in the Zimbabwean economy and
once Agriflora gets off the ground, TZI should once again be one of the top
ranking listed companies on the ZSE.

Gulliver's first results following the take on of three Apex divisions,
namely Morewear Industries, Lysaght Steel Merchants and Industrial
Galvanising & Fabricating showed a decline in operating profit from $4,6
million the previous year to an operating loss of $10,9 million.

What brought the company to a pre-tax profit was the $36,2 million net
interest receivable, bringing the company to a pre-tax profit of $ 25,2

The industrial and manufacturing divisions had a difficult trading year,
although things are looking more positive for 2001. The construction
divisions have had a fairly successful year especially with the development
of the Marlborough property which falls under Residential Suburbs (Harare)
(Pvt) Ltd. Highway construction has also had a reasonable year with the work
load being supplemented by Residential Suburbs.

Gulliver originally forecasted an EPS of 280c for the 10 months to July 31
2000, but only managed 234c for the 12 months ended September 30. However
with the outlook for Zimbabwe being increasingly uncertain, one can expect
the industrial and manufacturing sectors of the economy to take a downturn.

Candid Comment

The ugly side of government's ethnic hegemony

Sibangilizwe Ndlovu
KUDAKWASHE Marazanye's Candid Comment (Independent, November 24) has sought
to gravely mislead readers of this paper by looking at only one side of the
ethnic problem in Zimbabwean politics. While the title of the article: "We
don't need any more tribal heroes" appropriately states that our country
does not need any tribal heroes, the same piece of work fails in content to
show that we do not need any tribal heroes, let alone racist heroes from
both Matabeleland and Mashonaland.

Most unfair is the unbalanced manner in which the ethnic problem is being
analysed, edging "leaders in Matabeleland" to rise above tribal and regional
politics, as if the same problem has not been experienced in Masvingo and
greater Mashonaland.

It is my contention that the ethnic problem in Zimbabwe has always existed
since Independence, and in all the 20 years it has been dealt with in a very
clumsy fashion. As everywhere else, any minority that claims basic rights to
equal opportunities and self-determination serves as a great temptation for
populist politicians to often jump the gun without analysing the issues to
label those minorities as tribalists. Zimbabwe has been a victim of that
culture in an attempt to silence public figures that speak on ethnic
concerns and regional imbalances.

One issue Marazanye seeks to deliberately ignore is the fact that since
1980, there has been an undeniable thread of majoritarian dictatorship and
intolerance against minorities of all races in Mugabe's leadership traits.
This has always caused untold insecurities among minorities, particularly in
Matabeleland where the dominant ethnic groups have paid dearly for divergent
political opinion in the 80's, and may soon pay even more severely for
rallying behind the MDC in the June election.

The insecurities that have always existed in Matabeleland under Mugabe's
leadership are mainly because just after Independence, Mugabe's army had an
unfortunate task of implementing a genocidal crackdown on minorities in
Matabeleland and the Midlands as a way of whipping the nation into a
one-party state. The Shona-speaking Korean-trained Fifth Brigade did this
exercise under the skilful guidance of Emmerson Mnangagwa and Perence Shiri,
among others.

The atrocities committed by this brigade have been well documented and it is
not the writer's intention to detail them here. However, memories are still
fresh among many residents of western Zimbabwe that the Fifth Brigade
targeted particularly non-Shona-speaking civilians who were accused of
supporting dissidents in Matabeleland simply on the basis of their ethnic

Mugabe ordered the all-Shona brigade moving into Matabeleland to exterminate
human life without discrimination, saying: "Comrades, Zimbabwe is your
garden, and like every farmer, you have a duty to uproot every weed in your
garden. Go and uproot all the weeds in your garden."
To the Fifth brigade members this was understood clearly to mean that the
state machinery had to move in and wipe out all minorities from the province
and claim the entire country to themselves just the way a farmer would do in
his garden.

Coming from such a sad history of atrocities committed by a
democratically-elected government, cries from public figures in
Matabeleland, be it Pius Ncube, Welshman Mabhena or anybody else, are
justified and seek to point out genuine issues worthy of the government's
attention. In their cries for equal access to job opportunities and balanced
regional development, leaders from Matabeleland have not said Mashonaland
should be neglected or impoverished.

It would be only prudent to develop the whole country equally, with a
conscious mind that for more than seven years, Matabeleland was under wanton
destruction from government forces who were burning schools, raping women
and closing private businesses, when other regions were developing
economically. That is very important to remember.

No one in Matabeleland has been against the employment of the Shona in
Bulawayo, save the fact that the public is unhappy with the discriminatory
way in which that is done in the public service. Further, what justification
is there for employing into a basic general job that requires no education
at all in Gwanda, someone from Harare who happens to be there because his
parents are flooding the civil service in the entire country as a government

Clearly, the position would not be the same for a professional job that
requires someone with qualifications if all applications have been received
from a certain part of the country.

The so-called Ndebele said to be prospering in Harare jobs are professionals
in private companies who are employable anywhere, regardless of their ethnic
orientation. This is because there is not much government can do to direct
private companies on who to employ in certain positions. The same cannot be
said for positions in the civil service where most important positions in
minority areas are awash with Shona bosses out of the government's
assimilationist policy, right from Beitbridge, through Gwanda, Bulawayo and
all the way to Victoria Falls.

Consistent with this approach has been recent attempts by the government to
change the names of provinces as a way of facilitating an easy influx of
majorities into minorities, thereby destroying any sense of oneness and a
commonality of cultural interests in minority areas.

If my memory is correct, Mabhena and others have not protested against the
appointment of Shona teachers in Matabeleland. Who does not need qualified
teachers in Zimbabwe? The only bitter issue has been the reckless deployment
of teachers who are meant to teach lower grades when they do not speak the
language dominant in that region.

Clearly this would be wrong, even if it were done in Mashonaland by Ndebele
teachers, as it is a gross violation of a child's right to basic education
in a language he understands as contained in the Children's Rights
Convention and the African Charter on the Rights of the Child. Teachers may
be deployed anywhere, but great regard must be had to the language of the
recipients of their knowledge, particularly for lower grades in primary

For parents in Matabeleland to be told by pupils that a teacher is forcing
them to learn a new language that is not part of the curriculum at such a
tender age does nothing more than remind the parents of the Gukurahundi
horrors when one could be killed for not speaking the majority language.
Marazanye has deliberately omitted all these facts.

It is unfortunate that Leonard Zhakata might have faced an unruly audience
in Victoria Falls, just as it was equally unfortunate for Arthur Mafokate
from South Africa to have been pelted with beer cans in Bulawayo in
September 1997. Without trying to justify all these wrongs, such is common
behaviour from the public at musical shows and soccer venues. However, it is
not true that Albert Nyathi has been singing to Shona audiences in Harare
with appreciation.

Many a time he has cancelled his shows at the University of Zimbabwe, where
there is an audience from every ethnic group, as he is always told to sing
in Shona or shut up when in fact he sings in all languages. Again, this is
not to try and say two wrongs make a right, but only to show how biased the
article by Marazanye has been in its deliberate concealment of facts that
are of equal relevance to the issues discussed.

It is neither a myth nor an unfounded notion that Matabeleland is less
developed than most of Mashonaland. Of course a peasant in Uzumba maybe as
poor as his counterpart in Tsholotsho, but that cannot be the sole criterion
to be used to analyse government efforts to develop all regions equally.

Readers are still aware that our own government destroyed the infrastructure
in Matabeleland by burning schools, filling up with stones cattle dip tanks
and other structures in the 1980s. At that time, no investment was coming
into Matabeleland as the government made it an insecure region when other
regions were progressing, and denied a number of children an opportunity to
go to school through dictatorial curfews that forced many citizens in the
region to migrate to South Africa and the United Kingdom as economic

How does one explain the deliberate neglect of the Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Project by the government, the development of an advanced rail system
from Harare up to Gweru, the relocation of important industries to Harare
and the appointment of Shona-speaking civil servants into the police, the
army, the national parks, the prisons, and other civil positions and still
maintain that equal attention is being given to Matabeleland?

If at all Gibson Sibanda has ever said the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission that the MDC desires must investigate only Gukurahundi
atrocities, why is the writer so nervous about that? Has he any fears that
such a commission could catch up with him too?

Is it not only common sense that we should be so ashamed to mend the cracks
we have created ourselves as a democratically-elected government that turned
against its own people? What ethnic connotations can really be attached to
that plea, coming from the MDC, a party that enjoys sufficient
representation of ethnic and racial groups even more than Zanu PF itself?
How can Morgan Tsvangirai choose sectarian tribal activism against his own
tribe as Marazanye claims?

The article by Marazanye is nothing more than the usual attempt from members
of a majority who seek to silence vocal minorities by calling them names and
belittling all the concerns that minorities have about issues of governance
and human rights. It taste to every reader as the usual mud that is thrown
at every vocal public figure's face who attempts to speak for powerless and
oppressed minorities.

That way we achieve no progress as a society that needs uniform development
and the right to equal participation in public affairs as contemplated in
Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.

The most disappointing aspect of the article was its failure to appreciate
the extent of damage that Mugabe's government inflicted in Matabeleland by
butchering over 20 000 civilians in a senseless war. Since then, all
minorities have been very uneasy and do not have a sense of belonging in
Zimbabwe. The horrors of the 1980s still haunt them and there are fears they
could be wiped into oblivion.

What further strengthens this fear is Mugabe's recent crackdown on minority
whites through the war veterans. We are left to wonder that once all the
whites have gone would there be anything to stop Mugabe's government from
turning against the Ndebele, the Sotho, the Venda and Kalanga to say the
land in Zimbabwe is not theirs and they should be invaded as well?

In a society like ours where each ethnic group views the other as an
oppressor and a potential victim, would it be too far fetched to opine that
the same racial hatred being meted out to a white minority by Hunzvi, Mugabe
and their right-hand man would easily degenerate into ethnic chaos against
minorities who do not enjoy a meaningful grip of political power? That way,
I see Matabeleland vanishing and being swallowed up in another ethnic
bloodbath, considering that the whole region left the government with egg on
its face in the June parliamentary election.

In conclusion, it is true that our society does not need tribal heroes, just
in the same way it does not need any racist heroes. But if that can be told
to Pius Ncube and Welshman Mabhena, let it be told to all leaders in
Zimbabwe, including President Mugabe, Patrick Chinamasa, Chenjerai Hunzvi,
Eddison Zvobgo and the spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo.

We achieve no justice by merely reprimanding vocal members of a minority
without seeking to build a constructive attitude towards all ethnic and
racial groups in the country. That way, no one will ever feel like a
second-class citizen who enjoys less rights than others, or whose language
is less important than the other, and that being born in a certain part of
the country inherently makes one unsuitable for leadership positions.
*Sibangilizwe Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean lawyer currently based in Kosovo.

International community no longer 'amused' by Mugabe

PRESIDENT Mugabe was "not amused" by a "lecture" from UNDP administrator
Mark Malloch Brown on the rule of law last week, the official media informs

That's perhaps because the international community is "not amused" by
Mugabe's contempt for the law. Even President Olusegun Obasanjo felt the
need to remind our wayward leader that it was not colonial laws he was
flouting but his own.

"What I think the Zimbabwe government should do is to strictly follow the
law that is already in place," he told the press after he and President
Thabo Mbeki met Mugabe at State House last Thursday.

Despite energetic attempts to convince the public that other countries were
showing "solidarity" with Zimbabwe on the land issue, it seems an
international consensus has emerged - which includes the region - that while
land reform is an important policy aim, it should not be attained by threats
and lawlessness.

Malloch Brown emphasised the need for consensus with internal stakeholders
while Obasanjo stressed the need for Zimbabwe to find common cause with
Britain and the wider international community.

Mugabe is stuck up a cul-de-sac of his own making, it would appear. And all
those appointed to rescue him - Mbeki, Bakili Muluzi, Kofi Annan - are
washing their hands of the problem. An exercise commenced at the Victoria
Falls mini-summit in April has come to nought, all because the government
has proved impervious to reason.

It was a serious own-goal for Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to have
declared in the same week regional leaders and the UNDP chief were visiting
Harare for crucial talks on the land issue that the government was free to
pick and choose which laws it would obey.
This scuppered any bridge-building and obliged Obasanjo, Mbeki and Malloch
Brown to speak to Mugabe in the unambiguous terms he now says he took such
exception to.

The three leaders did not come to "amuse" him. They came to read him the
Riot Act. Any country that refuses to obey its own courts or follow its own
rules can hardly expect international respect or cooperation whatever the
historical injustices it claims.

Which exposes the fundamental flaw in Chinamasa's ill-advised attack on
members of the judiciary. The judiciary is there to interpret and uphold the
laws of the land. In their recent judgements, the laws they were defending,
whether on citizenship (1984) or land (1992 and 2000), have been passed by
Zanu PF.

The government is being required not to abide by some colonial edict, but by
its own legislative enactments - one just a few months old! This point
appears lost on ministers who have been only too happy to use colonial laws
such as the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act to settle personal scores with

But what is so egregious about Chinamasa's assault on the judiciary is the
personal nature of the remarks made, especially when it now transpires he
invented much of the information he used in his Nyanga speech. Justice
George Smith, one of those under fire for being at the "core" of the Smith
regime, says Chinamasa knowingly made false allegations against him and
Justice Adam.

Nearly every "fact" cited by Chinamasa in his curriculum vitae of Smith
turned out to be wrong, Smith points out. He provided the correct details to
an independent paper this week. They would have taken little effort to
corroborate if Chinamasa had wanted to do so.

This is of some significance as the state media gave such prominence to
Chinamasa's allegations and Information minister Jonathan Moyo is
threatening to take legal steps against the free media for, among other
things, "malicious" and "defamatory" remarks about people in the public

Moyo is proposing to act against papers which have accumulated lawsuits and
public complaints. This is all very convenient of course. Those papers that
have been bold enough to do their job in exposing crime and corruption at
the highest levels will be penalised while those that have betrayed their
calling by remaining supine on the misdemeanours of our leaders will be

But what does Moyo propose to do about ministers who knowingly make false
statements about judges in order to punish them for upholding the rights of
citizens exposed to Zanu PF's programme of arbitrary and illegal farm

Justice George Smith, it will be recalled, has called for investigations
into the VIP housing scam and the looting of the War Victims Compensation

Chinamasa claims his government is fulfilling some historic agenda. In fact
its proposals on land were rejected by Zimbabwean voters in two democratic
tests this year. The only historic agenda it is fulfilling is one that has
impoverished and discredited Zimbabwe. Are the courts expected to endorse

We can appreciate Chinamasa's need to bark when his master tells him to. But
at a time when Moyo is proposing to muzzle newspapers that have exposed Zanu
PF's criminal career, it seems rather inappropriate for a minister to commit
all the offences Moyo complains of and get away with it!

Are we prepared to live with this double standard? Of course not. The
Zimbabwean public expects newspapers to do their duty by exposing
ministerial hypocrisy and maladministration. They certainly expect
newspapers to blow the whistle when ministers abuse the law and then attack
those who the constitution has designated as the law's protectors.

This is misgovernance writ large. The law in any society is designed to
prevent tyranny and anarchy. Zimbabwe now suffers from a fatal combination
of the two. That, in part, was the point Malloch Brown made to Mugabe last

The government appears not to want massive inflows of international aid for
land reform in return for an orderly redistribution programme. It would
prefer to penalise the rural constituency it claims to care so much about.
If Zimbabwe does not address the concerns of the UNDP and others it will
forfeit international goodwill altogether.
Nobody wants to cooperate with a rogue state.

That in turn will compound the economic crisis we are going through and
cause social unrest. At some point the government should care about this
because it will have a political cost. Mass action, when it comes, may not
be the organised sort favoured by the MDC. And the National Reaction Force
can't provide a permanent defence to persistent miscreants who trade on a
false view of what the nation wants.

Cutting Edge
Brian Raftopoulos
Zimbabwe at crossroads: Which way ahead?

Brian Raftopoulos
AS we reach the end of the year 2000, many Zimbabweans remain apprehensive
about the year ahead. We have experienced the wrath of a state facing its
most serious crisis of legitimacy, and a ruling elite forced into increasing
reliance on violence to stay in power. It is this central fact which needs
to be kept in mind as we consider Zanu PF's strategies.

Whatever the historical imperative of land reform, and this is indisputable,
the manner in which the land issue has been addressed, in the most recent
interventions, makes two issues clear. First, as the financial resources
available to the state have declined and the potential of the private sector
has been eroded, the only major resource available to the state as the basis
of patronage, employment-creation, and a potential source of capital
accumulation, is the land.

Second, the use of the war veterans as a coercive mobilising force on the
land, no doubt also drawing on a real demand for land reform, has placed the
veterans at the centre of the decision-making process in Zanu PF more
decisively than we have seen over the last 20 years. Since 1980 the war
veterans have repeatedly pressurised the state for access to resources,
which has led to various concessions by the state. Their influence in the
ruling party, therefore, has always been a major factor in the constellation
of power in Zanu PF, with the year 1997 witnessing their accelerated

However, the particular importance about the most recent interventions by
the veterans is that they have become the ruling party's, and more
particularly, President Mugabe's major resource for staying in power. Their
influence in the army, the police and in the party more generally, means
that the commandist style of politics which characterised the liberation
movements, has now become an increasingly defining feature of Zimbabwean
politics in the absence of the broad legitimacy that marked the party's
influence in the early post-Independence period.

Since the government's defeat in the constitutional referendum in February
2000, there has been a repositioning of the state, a process that has
accelerated since the June election. This process has been characterised by
a number of features:

* The incorporation of war veterans that led the land occupations into the
Defence ministry as a form of rapid mobilisation militia. This force is
likely to be used for further violent mobilisation in the presidential

* The campaign by the state to control the entry of new players in the
electronic media, as evidenced by the reaction to the Capital Radio saga, is
a clear indication of its need to retain control over the major source of
information to the rural electorate, namely the radio. When this is combined
with the continuing threat of violence in the rural areas, the intention to
prevent alternative voices from reaching rural voters is hard to doubt.

* Since June, when an important element of the ZCTU leadership moved into
more full-time positions in the MDC, the ruling party has set out to
increase its influence over the transitional leadership in the labour
movement. Thus we have seen moves to entangle the ZCTU in a social contract
in which the benefits to the labour movement are anything but clear, and the
responsibilities of the state even more nebulous.

The idea has been to draw the labour movement away from its political
unionism, into a more narrowly-defined industrial relations framework, which
would seek to neutralise the ZCTU over the next year. Those close to the
ruling party have sought to legitimise this development through the argument
of "autonomy". Of course it is imperative that the labour movement retains a
strong critical presence in Zimbabwean politics in order to demand
accountability from any political party, including the MDC.

However, it is important to distinguish this from the autonomy argument
which seeks to let Zanu PF back into the driving seat of the labour movement
through the back door. This debate is currently being carried out in the
labour movement in the run-up to its congress early next year.

Fortunately, thus far, both the ZCTU and the Public Service Association have
resisted a hasty entry into such a contract, demanding instead more
clarification on the terms of such an agreement, and insisting on more time
to discuss the issue with their membership.

This tactic of infiltrating civic organisations is likely to be attempted in
a number of prominent organisations, and combined with the strategy of
developing government-sponsored civic organisations such as the NDA which
are then allowed large amounts of time to propagate their pro-Zanu PF

* Because public sector workers have played such a prominent role in
criticising the state, and in providing membership for opposition politics,
the government introduced Ordinance 16 2000 which forces a civil servant,
among other things, to declare that he is "not an office bearer in any
political party, political organisation or political movement". The
intention, presumably, is to enforce loyalty to the ruling party through
such a regulation.

* The war veterans have been used to quell dissent not only outside of the
ruling party, but also within the party itself. Thus we have witnessed the
forced removal, or attempted removal, of dissenting provincial executives in
Masvingo, Manicaland, Harare and Mashonaland West. It appears that the
presidency has initiated a purging process within Zanu PF as part of the
on-going process of consolidating the power of the president, and narrowing
down the elite that defines what is in the national interest.

* The newly-deployed National Reaction Force that was used against the food
rioters and the students this year, has displayed a new level of
preparedness in dealing with urban disorder. The response in both cases was
a clear message to the MDC of the level of force that it would encounter in
the event of a mass action.

If we link these processes, it would appear reasonable to assume that the
president is consolidating his hold on power in the face of the most serious
threat to his party since 1980. My own view, therefore, is that President
Mugabe is unlikely to step down despite mounting pressure within Zimbabwe,
within his own party, and at international level.
If this assessment is correct, the president will use his party's congress
to assert his dominance, with the issue of succession unlikely to be raised.

He will then prepare to contest the presidential election, which he will
fight with every means at his disposal, most notably the deployment of an
array of coercive strategies. As part of this process it is essential to the
president that he consolidates his hold on the land question, and control
over those rural votes that will ensure his victory. Were the president to
"win" such an election, he would then plan to step down on terms which he
would consider more of his own making.

In the interim it is essential for President Mugabe to secure financial
support for the fast-track land programme, in order for the latter to move
forward. Hence the importance of the visit of the UNDP administrator to
Zimbabwe this week.

However, in order to receive any further donor assistance, the president
will need to convince the UNDP of greater openness and transparency in the
land programme, in particular providing assurances on the question of law
and order, that concept considered dubious by the ruling party, because of
its supposed protection of minority interests.

The UNDP has in the last two years tried to draw the government into a more
open technical process on land reform, but to no avail. It is very difficult
to see how this problem can be overcome at this stage, given the political
imperative for the president to maintain an iron grip on the land question,
and the ideological capital he has invested into resolving it his way.

However, it is also clear that if the UNDP were to broker a process leading
to a movement towards an all-party consensus on the land issue, this would
open up new spaces for more constructive politics, and the greater
possibility of a more peaceful transition, whoever wins, in the next
presidential election. The alternative to this is heightened political
tension between now and 2002.

For the opposition movement in this country, the decision to draw back from
mass action to remove the president was a wise one. As other commentators
have pointed out, Zimbabwe is not Yugoslavia, and the likely costs of such
an action at this stage would have been a political defeat, a high casualty
rate, and a loss of strategic advantage. In the future it is essential that
the MDC consults its partners in the civic movement on such strategies, as
it is this process of consultation that made the MDC the force it is today.

For the immediate future the MDC will need to concentrate its efforts on
strengthening its structures and organisational capacity, pursuing the
parliamentary process to its limits, consolidating its consultative
processes, and developing its policy-making capacity. These tasks are enough
to keep the MDC at full stretch. The MDC has made remarkable achievements in
a very short space of time and its progress has decidedly undermined the
hegemony of the ruling party. This progress needs to be patiently

Moreover, the MDC needs to bolster its policy on economic redistribution, in
which a strong, efficient and accountable state will be a necessity. This is
absolutely essential if the MDC is to present a redistributive economic
policy that distinguishes it from the state thuggery of Zanu PF.

If the MDC faces formidable challenges in the near future, the obstacles
facing the ruling party are enormous. First, the need to start planning for
life after Mugabe. At present there is little sign that the party can find a
consensus for a new president. Rather, the mere whisper of the word
"succession" releases the forces of implosion within Zanu PF. This, of
course, plays into the hands of the president, who has reduced his potential
opponents to provincial minions.

Given this inability to challenge the president, the little chance of
putting a new face on Zanu PF before the presidential election will become
non-existent. Second, the president needs to secure a dignified withdrawal
from the DRC, a war that has no popular appeal in Zimbabwe, and is adding
significantly to the country's economic woes, however much it might be
benefiting certain party chefs. Kabila has proved himself an increasingly
unreliable client who is bent on obstructing a UN peace-keeping mission in
the Congo.

Third, the ruling party will have to run a presidential campaign on the
basis of an economy in desperate straits, and on a platform of land
occupation which has no substantive connections to a broader policy of
economic recovery.

Fourth, while President Mugabe retains a strong standing in the southern
Africa, support for him is likely to become an increasing liability, even
for President Thabo Mbeki, who has already begun to show signs of
impatience. In such circumstances, it would not be long before the ANC is
forced to talk with the MDC.

Given this scenario, it is clear that Zimbabwe has reached a moment of great
danger. For it is probable that President Mugabe will raise the political
stakes in the country in order to stay in power. This strategy would
translate itself into increased land occupations, and a greater emphasis on
forcing whites off the land.

Were the election campaign to be fought under such conditions, the results
would be highly contested by the MDC, and a large section of the Zimbabwean
electorate. Under these circumstances the strategy of a mass action would
have a clearer logic, and a stronger popular mandate. The question would
then be: "What will the military do?"

* Brian Raftopoulos is a research fellow at the Institute of Development
Studies at the University of Zimbabwe.

Editor's Memo

The Limpopo divide

Iden Wetherell

WHILE it is always good to be home, there is something very depressing about
returning to Zimbabwe's overcast skies and equally sombre political climate.

Returning along Prince Edward St from the airport I was greeted by piles of
broken cement pavings and debris lying on the sidewalks, lights that don't
work, potholes big enough to swallow a small car, and a general air of

After two weeks in Cape Town where, despite enormous challenges, officials
are struggling to meet people's needs and maintain public services, Harare
has a forlorn and dilapidated look.

South Africans went to the polls this week in a largely tension-free
environment where every party got to be heard. The Independent Electoral
Commission put in place an impressive advertising campaign telling people
why their vote mattered together with a sophisticated computerised voting
system which, except for a few hiccups, worked on the day.

SABC and other stations provided live coverage of the results as they came
through on Wednesday. While campaigning was largely peaceful, a shooting
incident in Katlehong on the East Rand which claimed six lives and another
on the KwaZulu/Natal south coast, marred election day itself. This did not
however affect what was evidently a free and fair election process,
professionally conducted.

Despite the IEC's energetic campaign, voter turnout was characterised by a
certain amount of apathy precisely because many people are no longer moved
by politics. This is the price of "normality"!

The ANC has spent the better part of the past four weeks urging its
supporters to get out and vote. But opinion polls had warned enthusiasm was
flagging as people saw no meaningful change in their lives despite promises
of delivery. Revolutionary credentials are no guarantee of effective
governance, commentators have been reminding South Africa's rulers in an
echo of what Zimbabweans already know.

At stake was control of six megacities (the government prefers to call them
unicities) with budgets larger than Zimbabwe's GDP. The opposition
Democratic Alliance, which the ANC has been attempting to portray as
indelibly stained by apartheid-era links despite the ex-DP's solid liberal
credentials, has been making the most of revelations of corruption and
mismanagement in the various ANC administrations across the country.
Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape have been particularly badly affected by
incompetent or corrupt leadership. KwaZulu/Natal, under the IFP, has not
fared much better.

In the Western Cape where the DA governs there is a palpable sense of
optimism based on sound administration and investor confidence. Whether the
ANC would be able to penetrate the DA's Cape Town bastion was the major
focus of the campaign in which Coloured voters had suitors from both sides.

The ANC's bid, it seems, has failed as Cape Town electors, despite massive
gerrymandering of ward boundaries, have opted to remain with the DA. Over
half the party's candidates across the country were black, a sign that the
DA can make some inroads into the ANC's traditional constituency. The party
has boosted its share of the popular vote to 28%.

I heard the DA's candidate for cape Town mayor, Peter Marais, speak at a
charity fund-raising dinner in the city centre. He is an instinctive
politician with a quick turn of phrase and is easily able to deal with ANC
charges of hobnobbing with yesterday's enemies.

In fact what struck me most about the South African political debate was the
fact that the ruling party didn't get away with anything. Its claims to
moral authority were invariably confronted by evidence of wrongdoing and
misrule. The opposition could cite a multitude of examples of help-yourself
politics to rebuff revolutionary claims to greatness.

Very simply, that is because South Africa still has a diverse media despite
attempts by the ANC and its allies to impose certain perspectives. And it
has a civil society with a sense of commitment to change and alert to
people's rights.

Coming back to the Herald, the Sunday Mail and ZBC was like a cold shower.
It is extraordinary that 20 years after Independence some journalists are
still prepared to sell their souls to the government - especially one that
has proved rotten to the core. Where is their sense of self-respect?

And it saddens me enormously to see old friends like Patrick Chinamasa
uttering such patently ignorant and partisan remarks about the judiciary.
Who is guilty of racism here, judges who have sought to uphold land laws
passed by Zanu PF since 1992, or ministers attempting to isolate and
demonise minorities because all else has failed? Ministers who are only too
happy to enforce laws passed by the Rhodesian Front to suppress African

Zimbabwe is today in the grip of an unprecedented crisis. Zanu PF has
demonstrated in Marondera West that it fears free and fair elections and in
fact won't allow them to take place. Its career of corruption in every
sphere of public life continues unabated as revelations this week show. It
is proposing to muzzle the press for exposing the gross accumulation of
wealth that our leaders have taken as a perk of office. Meanwhile the
economy is in tailspin because self-evidently bad policies are being pursued
to retain power at the expense of good governance.

Land reform could have been effected with stakeholder goodwill and
international support if the 1998 terms had been adhered to. Instead chaos
has ensued and Zimbabwe has become a pariah state because President Mugabe
lives in mortal fear of electoral defeat. Our most qualified people are
voting with their feet, leaving the country in droves.

That is why, despite its daunting problems, South Africa is still a relative
success story. Fiscal prudence has taken precedence. And the law is
respected by those that rule.

The Limpopo sadly has become the border between two very different political
cultures: one democratic and pluralist, the other locked in the habits of
one-party absolutism and economic failure.

Eric Bloch
Bulawayo budget driven by prudence, realism

ALTHOUGH many very deserved plaudits were accorded the Zimbabwean budget
presented to parliament three weeks ago by minister of finance, Dr Simba
Makoni, many more should have been forthcoming to the City of Bulawayo
budget, tabled before the city council only 12 days later, and yet the
approbations and commendations were far fewer.

Admittedly, those who welcomed Makoni's budget generally also voiced
concerns and reservations. Zimbabwe's fiscal circumstances are in such
disarray, after two decades of mismanagement, that it would have been
impossible for anyone, including Makoni, to remedy all in one fell swoop,
and yet that was what many expected.

Moreover, as in every year since Independence, the fiscal outturn has been
very markedly worse than projected in the budgets,understandable scepticism
and cynicism characterised the reception by many of the budget. They
acknowledged the good faith intents of the minister but doubted that he
would be able to enforce them, believing that the President, the cabinet and
the politburo would pursue fiscal profligacy with the same vigour as
previously, and that the minister would not have the power to contain them.
This writer believes the minister will prove the sceptics to be
substantially wrong, but only time will justify or belie that belief.

In contrast, and because Bulawayo has been fortunate to have a highly
responsible and able municipal management for at least the last
half-century, if not longer, it is the envy of the populace of most other
local authorities in southern Africa.

Because the city has always sought to provide, to the best of its ability
within available means, the utilities, services, needs and infrastructure,
required for the wellbeing of residents and for economic growth, and to
operate very strictly within those means (relying upon borrowings only to
the extent that they could be realistically serviced), the residents of
Bulawayo took it for granted that the city's 2001 budget would be of alike

As a result, many found nothing extraordinary in the budget, and hence
reactions were muted and few, whilst the constrained Zimbabwean economy had
created an array of expectations of budgetary measures for change (however,
unrealistic those expectations may have been) and the unavoidable
non-fulfilment of those expectations resulted in disappointment and,
therefore, in some criticism.

But there was much in the budget statement of Councillor Sibanda, chairman
of the city's finance committee, that should have received widespread

Addressing first the outturn for the year 2000, it was impressive to note
that the year's expenditure is expected to amount to $1 292 billion, as
compared with the original Budget of $1 565 billion.

Despite inflation having risen in 2000 to a far greater extent than could
have been envisaged over a year ago, the city managed to limit its
expenditure to 82% of budget (and, in distinction to central government,
there had been no requests of council during the year to approve any
supplementary allocations!).

The city also managed to enhance its revenue collections, even though
government and many residents have been most delinquent in the settlement of

As a result, the city's deficit for 2000 is more than 18% lower than
anticipated. In part, the city achieved its outstanding fiscal outturn by a
reduction in staff establishment by 21%, from 6 558 to 5 181, and yet did so
without major disruption to the lives of its employees, allowing natural
attrition and privatisation to be the catalysts to the shrinkage of the

In addressing the city's finances for 2001, the local authority was
cognisant of the massive inflation that has prevailed throughout most of the
past year and will inevitably extend into the year ahead. It was also
conscious of the need to maintain standards, to ensure that all essential
services continue to be available to all in the city, and to provide all
necessary to preserve the city's recently developed status as Zimbabwe's
most positive and advantageous investment destination.

It was also conscious that the greater the reliance upon borrowings, the
greater the encumbrance of the future, and hence a need to curb borrowing
insofar as at all possible. structuring a realistic budget which would take
account of all these factors must have been a Herculean task, compounded by
the very credible desire of the council to minimise budgetary impacts upon
the poorer in the Bulawayo community.

Highlights of the budget included the fact that increases in charges are
well below the aggregate extent that inflation in 2000 has risen beyond
projections and is expected to rise in the months ahead. It cannot be denied
that some of the increases are very considerable, but not only are they
unavoidably necessary, they have also been spread in order to diminish their
impact upon the community to some extent.

Most charges will rise by 35% in January, and then by a further 30% in July,
yielding a total increase over the year of 75,5% (and not 65% as suggested
by most of the media, for the second increment is compounded upon the

And, even with the increase of most charges, the council tried to recognise
the hardships experienced by many residents by refraining from any increase
in out-patient clinic fees and maternity fees, and in the fruits, vegetables
and grain vendors' licence fee.

Overall, the city projects expenditure on revenue account of $2 998 billion,
inclusive of staff costs of $1 485 billion, and anticipates income of $2 065
billion, with a resultant Revenue Account deficit of $933,2 million.

The finance committee chairman did not conceal his concern at having to
incur such a deficit, and was far from complacent as to its impact.

He readily acknowledged that "such a level of deficit is unhealthy and
cannot be sustained for a long time".

He emphasised, therefore, that on the one hand the "council will have to
seriously consider scaling down or doing away with heavily subsidised
services" and that on the other hand "stern measures" will be taken to
enforce collection of the $435,2 million owed by government ministries and
departments, and $424,5 million due from residents and businesses.

Concurrently, in order further to curb the deficit, the council intends to
pursue "costcutting measures", including further reduction of staff costs
and restructuring of service delivery processes (Clr Sibanda said that "the
wage bill is untenable and drastic measures will have to be taken to reduce

The council also intends to speed up its "commercialisation" process, and to
adjust rates of interest, on amounts owed to council, to market levels.

The straitened economic environment and its negative impacts upon the
council necessarily limit the extent to which it can embark upon capital
projects, but effort is being made on a practical and realistic
prioritisation basis, to undertake the most essential.

These projects include an intended expenditure of $100 million on
much-needed housing, $50 million for preliminary works on the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Project, $79,3 million on sewerage treatment works and $30
million on water reticulation and water conservation projects, over and
above lesser cost projects on public area lighting, roads, stormwater
drainage and fire service equipment.

Critics of the budget have been those who cannot easily afford the intended
increases in service charges, but they still expect and demand the services
and proffer no practical alternative proposals as to how to fund those

In contrast, Bulawayo's daily newspaper, which is often vociferous in its
criticism of the Bulawayo City Council, evidenced an objective and balanced
stance by an enthusiastic editorial reception of the budget.

That reception was well justified, for once again the city of Bulawayo has
set an example to all as to effective urban management, and prudent,
realistic fiscal management which could and should be emulated by many.

Face to Face
MDC unveils economic recovery plan

Forward Maisokwadzo
ZIMBABWE'S economic performance is fast deteriorating against a background
of a high budget deficit, interest rate volatility, depreciating exchange
rate, rampant inflation, and fuel and power shortages.

These problems have resulted in unemployment, deepening poverty, general
decline in the quality of service delivery and loss of confidence within the
business community and international development partners.

Critics have blamed the government for its slow approach in arresting the
problems affecting the economy.

Despite the current problems dogging the country, the Movement for
Democractic Change (MDC), which is positioning itself as a
government-in-waiting, thinks it has a lasting solution to rescue the
economy and give relief to a restive populace.

However, this is no easy task considering the damage that has already been
inflicted on the economy.

With inflation and interest rates hovering above 60% and a $125 billion
domestic debt, and a foreign debt of over $250 billion, worsened by the
government's appetite for funds, a lasting solution to resuscitate the
ailing economy requires concrete measures rather than mere rhetoric.

Critics say understanding Zimbabwe's current predicament will amount to
nothing as long as there is no political will and commitment from
government. But how then can the country be rescued from such a mess? MDC
shadow minister of finance, Tapiwa Mashakada, believes his party has the
answer to the problems afflicting the country.

Mashakada says a key aspect would be to completely restructure government so
as to make it smaller, more accountable and efficient.

"It is the objective of the MDC to create social and economic conditions
which will foster economic growth, provide opportunities for all, provide a
better quality of life for rural and urban families and improve conditions
for social security," said Mashakada.

He said the MDC believed, under a more visionary leadership, that the
country had the potential to grow rapidly, resolve its current debt and
other macro-economic problems and provide an enhanced standard of living for
all Zimbabweans.

He said that despite the good intentions of Finance minister Simba Makoni's
2001 budget, it was difficult to implement new corrective measures under the
current regime.

Mashakada said in as much as Makoni tried to talk of new stabilisation
measures, all would come to nought as political commitment would override
economic factors.

"Government's suicidal economic policies and lack of political commitment
has resulted in Zimbabwe's quandary. As long as we have a government which
does not cut its expenditure and respect the rule of law, it's difficult to
implement new measures.

"For example, Makoni talked about the need to withdraw from the Congo, but
look what is happening (the executive is not likely to allow a withdrawal
from the Congo), hence there is a need for a complete change," he said.

Mashakada said the economy was being run as if Zimbabwe was in a state of
war, with no targets, aims or goals.

"Despite efforts by technocrats to address the ills of the economy,
state-sponsored violence, lawlessness and farm invasions will hinder their
efforts," he said.

Further pressed on what his party had to offer, Mashakada said as laid out
in the MDC manifesto, sustainable, human-centred development was the basis
of the party's economic strategy.

"The immediate solutions to the economic crisis lie in a comprehensive
re-assertion of control over the budget," he said.
Mashakada said his party's plan embraced six main action areas: restoration
of confidence in the budget process; increasing social spending and
investment; increasing revenues and improving the tax environment; reducing
current expenditure; increasing flows of privatisation proceeds; and
attracting external budgetary support.

He said it would be necessary to eliminate expenditure on all government
activities that were not concerned with immediate domestic priorities.

On the ballooning debt, he said political changes could be used to win
support from the multilateral financial institutions and donors to
restructure the national debt.

"This will involve using grants and concessionary loans to reduce the
budgetary debt sufficiently for a breathing space to make it possible for
the economy to grow out of the debt trap," he said.

He said foreign exchange inflows would help restore stability to the
foreign exchange markets while complementary policies would encourage
restoration of growth in export revenues to rebuild foreign currency
reserves and reduce the burden of debt-servicing to sustainable levels.

On how he would tackle the budget deficit problem Mashakada admitted that it
would be difficult to reduce the budget deficit to manageable levels in a
short period considering the severity of the economic crisis.

However, the combination of sound fiscal and monetary policies would result
in a sharp decline in inflation and interest rates and the restoration of
stability in the exchange rate.

On unemployment, which was now officially about 60%, he said as long as
there was full production and economic growth, more jobs would be created.

"Economic growth will mean more production, hence job opportunities will
rise," he said.

"There is little doubt that recent socio-economic and political actions by
the ruling Zanu PF government have seriously undermined whatever prospects
the majority of the people of this country had for any meaningful
improvement in their quality of life," he said.

Mashakada said the focus of the present government was on peripheral issues
like the role of white businesses and the farming community. The real issues
were rapidly rising prices, stagnant incomes and deteriorating social
services. While the MDC recognised the need for a coherent and equitable
resolution to the land issue, it had set as its immediate goals the need for
economic recovery.

"The MDC is determined to restore our political relationships with key
external bodies, restore the confidence of the international and local
business community in Zimbabwe and to tackle, comprehensively, the
fundamental economic and social issues that are at the root cause of our
current problems," he said.

He said Zimbabwe's economy had the potential to grow considering the vibrant
banking sector and the niche sectors of the economy - agriculture, mining
and tourism - which were the pillars of the economy.

However, lack of commitment on the part of the government to revive the
economy had resulted in social unrest and suffering.

"The general populace is feeling the economic hardships prevailing in the
country, but our government turns a blind eye," he lamented.

He said a change in the system of government would restore order and sanity
to the advantage of the people of the country.

"The government should work to serve the interests of its people, not
inflict great suffering like what is happening in the country at the
 moment," he said.

He said a lot of energy had been spent in trying to seek political glory at
the expense of putting right the political fundamentals.

"It is unfortunate that the government is gearing for the forthcoming
presidential election at the expense of addressing economic problems," he

Mashakada said the performance of the economy hinged on the government's
resolve to press ahead with current reforms to revitalise the ailing

Multilateral donors like the World Bank had taken flight and with it all
other donors as nobody wanted to invest in a country where the big lenders
had withdrawn.

"The government should stop its arrogance and start fresh negotiations with
the donor community," he said.

For the economy to grow, the private sector had to operate in an environment
which instilled confidence.

In his analysis of the 2001 budget, Mashakada said the country, faced with
poor performance indicators like investment, savings, inflation, exchange
rate and budget deficit, had to come up with sound measures to attract
foreign investment, increase domestic investment and savings.

He said a combination of low savings and investment would slow economic

The political and rhetorical statements in the budget were ambiguous, as
they were not backed by strategies to implement them, he said.
It would be necessary to promote exports and attract foreign investment to
generate more foreign currency. He said Makoni did not mention how the
government would go about it.

He accused government of derailing the commercialisation and privatisation
of all loss-making parastatals. "The privatisation process is taking long
because they have separated government equity from Zanu PF equity," he said.

He said the intention to use the $28 billion to clear external arrears,
retire domestic debt and capitalise revolving fund for SMEs, indigenisation
and the informal sector was too ambitious.
Mashakada hailed Makoni for reducing the Defence budget and other
ministerial votes.

Mashakada, (32) is the MDC MP for Hatfield and the secretary general of the
National Employment Council for the Engineering and Iron and Steel Industry.
He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe and is
currently studying for his PHD. He is married with two children.


Chihuri falls over himself to please

WE were intrigued to hear about Augustine Chihuri's recent dizzy spell at
State House. Perhaps he caught it from the incumbent who has had difficulty
remaining upright for a while now. But that doesn't excuse the police
commissioner's silly outburst at the Morris Depot passing out parade where
he threatened to crush the MDC if it engaged in mass action.

He chose to characterise an entirely legal protest as "an uprising against a
legitimate government".

This comes from a commissioner who has ignored court orders and flouted the
Police Act by accepting illegal instructions from the president.

"The right measure of force shall be used if the so-called mass action goes
ahead," he warned.

So once again the nation's most senior law enforcement officer, who refused
to enforce the law when instructed to do so by the courts even though lives
were at stake, is not only holding the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans in
contempt, he is inciting other police officers to do the same thing.

Is Chihuri not aware of the low esteem in which police officers are now held
by the general public because they are seen as agents of a corrupt and
violent ruling party instead of professional officers committed to upholding
the law? Is it really his intention to discredit the entire force? Because
that is exactly what he is doing by suggesting rights under the law don't

Zimbabweans have the right to demonstrate so long as they are peaceful. They
have the right to express themselves. They have the right to stay away from
work. Chihuri, in attempting to withdraw those rights at the behest of his
political masters, could well be in breach of his oath of office. If that is
the case, his final fall when we get a democratic government will be enacted
once again at State House, this time cleansed of its evidently contagious

We can understand attempts in the state-owned media to place a gloss on the
current state of siege confronting Zimbabwe in the international community.
But to pretend President Mugabe continues to enjoy the support of other
leaders in his disastrous land policy is self-deception of the worst kind.

Last Sunday, the Sunday Mail claimed the visit to Harare by Presidents
Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki was "a major diplomatic coup for Zimbabwe"

Their visit, the paper suggested, "sent a strong and clear signal that
Africa stands firmly with Zimbabwe in its quest to distribute land to the
majority of its citizens".

Both the Sunday Mail and the Herald conveniently omitted from their coverage
of the visit the following remarks by Obasanjo:

"We do know that there is a law that stipulates what needs to be done and
how it should be done... What I think the Zimbabwe government should do is
strictly follow the law that is already in place for the resolution of this

Now that's what we call a "strong and clear signal". The implication is
obvious enough: Zimbabwe is not adhering to its own laws passed in 1992 and
amended this year. Although the Nigerian leader repeated the now standard
line that the international community had an obligation to help, the
realisation is dawning on all parties that such help will not be forthcoming
so long as the current lawlessness persists.

As Obasanjo pointed out with reference to South Africa's economy, this was a
problem that affected the lives of people beyond this country's borders.
Which is why he and Mbeki felt able to speak to Mugabe about it with some

All this was omitted by the state media.

Much hope had been placed by the government on the visit by the UNDP's Mark
Malloch Brown. But he made it clear there had to be stakeholder involvement
and dialogue in the redistribution process. The government has hitherto
rejected this route, refusing to negotiate with the CFU over its "sovereign
right" to seize land.

The UNDP cannot save Zimbabwe from Zanu PF's stubborn determination to buy
popularity with arbitrary land grabs that are bound to sabotage economic

Only two weeks ago presidential spokesmen were boasting that Britain had
isolated in the EU over the land issue. Then Denmark's Jan Trojborg put the
record straight. Denmark was cutting aid to Zimbabwe, he said, to send "a
clear and strong signal to Harare that cannot be misunderstood".

It was necessary to tell President Mugabe that his policies were "expensive"
in terms of aid, Trojborg said in Copenhagen after talks with Malloch Brown
ahead of the latter's visit to Zimbabwe.
And Malloch Brown rammed the message home. "No donor country wants to see
this country, which was once stable and had relative freedom, degenerate in
this manner," he said.

"It is terrible both for Zimbabwe and the region."

These remarks explain why Mugabe accorded him only a few minutes during his
visit. It must be abundantly clear to Mugabe now that the international
community has a common position on Zimbabwe. Stan Mudenge may enjoy his
comparison between Zimbabwe and a freight train. But occasionally freight
trains suffer serious derailments. Zimbabwe's land policy looks like one of
those accidents waiting to happen.

Another visitor to Zimbabwe appears to have been involved in an accident of
a different kind. Denis Sassou Nguesso, dictator of Congo-Brazzaville, was
touring Harare, we are told, when his motorcade was involved in a minor
pile-up involving an outrider.

Residents of the capital are unlikely to shed any tears over the fate of
these arrogant officers who believe their president has a God-given right of
way. The officer's injuries were only minor. But missing from this story was
the point of Nguesso's visit.

Nguesso, it will be recalled, lost a democratic election to Pascal Lissouba
a few years ago. He then conducted an armed revolt using militiamen known as
ninjas to recover the throne and in so doing wreaked havoc on the Congo's
economy and infrastructure. It may not be difficult to guess at the sort of
advice he has been imparting to Harare's determined incumbent!

Muckraker was intrigued by pictures of Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri
celebrating his "win" in Marondera West. The brigadier, who with his wife
took time off from his last job as ambassador to Belgrade to improve his
education, was shown looking very pleased with himself after a campaign in
which Mugabe's ninjas bludgeoned opposition supporters and intimidated
potential voters.

But why is he so pleased when the opposition, despite being on the receiving
end of state-sponsored violence and abuse of government resources,
maintained almost exactly the same number of votes it secured in June
while Zanu PF lost 4 000? Is this a result to celebrate?

We shall be monitoring the brigadier's contribution to parliament to see if
all that education at taxpayers' expense paid off!

Mutumwe Mawere, while claiming he is not a member of Zanu PF, has adopted
the language of Jonathan Moyo in seeking to place a gag on what the media
can or cannot say about those in the public eye. He has also taken acres of
space in the press to engage in an arcane dispute with the Daily News over
whether he is or is not a moving force in Diamond Insurance.

But that was not the only point the Daily News raised. It made a number of
connections which needed to be brought to light. What for instance is the
precise connection between Mawere and Emmerson Mnangagwa? And what is the
relationship between Mawere, Mnangagwa and the legal firm of Dube, Manikai &
Hwacha which is representing Samdef in its case against ANZ and seems to
specialise in suing independent newspapers on behalf of well-connected

These are all legitimate questions which the press is legally and ethically
entitled to ask. After all, if an outspoken independent paper has become the
target of a campaign to close it down in which prominent political players
are involved, that is a matter of public concern.

Mawere understandably wants the press to be muzzled when his credentials are
raised. But he has been promoting himself of late in a number of interviews
which invite understandable curiosity as to his background and motives. He
should grow up. If he wants the public spotlight he must understand the need
for press scrutiny. And when he echoes reactionary remarks by Moyo which
reflect Zanu PF policy towards the press he must expect to make new enemies.
Zimbabweans can no longer be muzzled by the likes of Moyo and Mawere.

Meanwhile, Samdef has emerged from this covered in manure. Here is the
supposed agent of press freedom and democratic diversity in the region
getting into bed with Zanu PF cronies. Who will take the organisation
seriously again?

It seems that the government's desire to silence the media is directly
related to the degree of exposure it suffers on the corruption issue. The
more Mugabe and his inner circle of blood-suckers are implicated the more
Moyo raves about "malicious" reporting.

"It is unfortunate that the press has fast developed to become a tool for
settling personal scores and we will not allow that," the minister loftily

Is there anybody in particular he had in mind, we wonder? And why are the
president's property holdings not publicly declared? How many properties
does Mugabe or his wife own? Where are they located? Who built them and who
paid for them? These are all matters that fall within the public domain as
public funds have been used.

Moyo slammed the Daily News for not verifying its facts with his office
first. But whenever the Independent has attempted to do that it has met a
brick wall and overweening arrogance from the officials concerned. "What
business is it of yours?" has been their standard response.

Again, why is it "malicious" and "criminal" to suggest Mugabe's Zvimba house
was put up by one shady company when it was in fact built by another? Moyo
should beware of treating every press story about his boss as "malicious"
and "criminal" or a credibility gap may emerge.

We were intrigued by the persistent references to Grace Mugabe in Hani
Yamani's grovelling letter to the president over the airport deal. Yamani
seemed to regard Grace as a property agent of some sort. Here he is
describing his hotel scheme:

"We intended to lend the money to the First Lady who would buy the land,"
Yamani disclosed, "and we would build the hotel using our own equity."

Payments could be made to the First Lady's charity, he proposed.
So that's how it works? We should however be reasonably "charitable" in our
view of the first couple's role in all this. They appear at least to have
kept the oily Yamani at arm's length in recent years as he attempted to
insinuate his way into their confidence.

"Beware of Arabs bearing gifts," has clearly been the Mugabes' watchword
while lesser mortals in their entourage were stuffing their pockets!

The question nobody seems to be asking is, who is going to use the white
elephant of an airport building when it is finally complete? During the
period it took to build it, nearly all international airlines plying the
Harare route have pulled out!

A reader has sent us a copy of the Herald for August 14 1990. In a feature
on the farming sector John Gambanga quoted CFU president John Brown as
pointing out that most of his members were Zimbabwe-born and "have so
clearly demonstrated their loyalty and commitment to Zimbabwe, who produce
so much, employ so many and whose only crime appears to be that they are

Lands minister Witness Mangwende replied that the farmers had nothing to
fear from his government.

"Take heart and get on with the business of farming," he told them. "I can
assure you there is no intention by government to grab land from anyone. We
will live by our word."

And we have seen what that's worth! Meanwhile, Health minister Timothy
Stamps has been singing for his supper by making disingenuous remarks in
Addis Ababa about land redistribution. According to the Herald he claimed
that land redistribution would improve the quality of lives for people and
halt the spread of Aids.

He said nothing about the tens of thousands of farm workers made homeless in
their own country by Zanu PF's arbitrary seizures and the impact on society
of these refugees flooding into the towns. He said nothing about the Aids
orphans who have been chased off their farm orphanages in Mazowe and

Thankfully, the Daily News carried a report on Tuesday which helped to set
the record straight. It described the growing health disaster unfolding in
Masvingo where 7 000 families resettled under the government's fast-track
programme have no access to sanitary facilities or clinics. The provincial
administrator confirmed the appalling conditions on 100 farms acquired there
which he said opened the way for cholera to spread.

Stamps should focus his attention on the plight of the new rural poor his
government has created instead of impressing his political benefactors with
the fatuous claim that fast-track land grabs will stop Aids.

Finally, as so much has been said about the US election it might be worth
quoting veteran commentator Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. He said
whoever comes out on top in the Bush/Gore race, the real winner is the
American people.

"They have been fair, they have been patient, they have expressed an almost
touching confidence in their system," he wrote. "And they have - foreign
observers please note - not once resorted to violence. All they lack is
political leadership as good as they are."

Meanwhile, a mischievous e-mail message doing the rounds, reminds us that
the Japanese have trouble distinguishing between an "r" and an "l" in much
the same way many of us do.

"In a gesture of goodwill and global friendship," it says, "the people of
Japan have sent 50 million capsules of Viagra to the US. Apparently, they
have heard the Americans are unable to hold an election."

News Analysis
Dumisani Muleya
Govt fails to sell its land policy

Dumisani Muleya
THE current land reform crisis has produced an illusory official position
where government claims that its policy on land is gaining international
approval while in reality Zimbabwe is more isolated than ever.

The retailers of the official line also claim that London is becoming
increasingly isolated due to its "unpopular" stance on Harare.

This view has been prevalent for sometime now. It would appear authorities
are beginning to think they are winning the day in their contrived
diplomatic war with the British. Since the September United Nations
Millennium Summit in New York, government has been claiming that the world
was beginning to understand and appreciate its land reform policy.

In the process, it has been seriously suggested that London was now finding
itself isolated because the international community was coming to terms with
Zimbabwe's agrarian "revolution".

Observers say this is an intriguing manipulation of opinion which has no
basis in reality.

Brian Raftopoulos of the Institute of Development Studies at the University
of Zimbabwe explains:

"I think the West as a whole is still holding the view that President
Mugabe is pursuing an arbitrary land reform policy and the programme is
proceeding in a lawless fashion," he said.

"They are still insisting on the rule of law and a stakeholder-driven
programme. Nothing since this issue started has ever changed."

Raftopoulos said Mugabe had only succeeded, to a limited extent, in
explaining his policy in the region because solidarity and not economic
considerations took precedence. But he said the regional leaders including
South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo
were beginning to publicly qualify their support for Mugabe's land policy.

He added: "In the West, government is failing to secure support because
donors want the land reform programme to have some measure of
predictability. They want government to stop violence and the erosion of the
rule of law."

President Mugabe, together with an array of ministers who appear determined
to perpetuate what critics consider to be a preposterous claim, have been
repeating the mantra with straight faces that their programme was gaining
international support. France and Austria as well as other so-called
friendly countries have been cited as examples of nations willing to offer
unqualified support for the land reform programme.

But observers think that the ruling elite is trying to create a smokescreen
and hopefully a momentum of support in order to influence donors to release
money that is so critically needed to fund the massive exercise.

Dr Alfred Nhema, University of Zimbabwe political scientist, said government
has had mixed fortunes on the issue.

"Government has managed to convince the international community on the need
for land reform," Nhema said.

"The moral argument (that a minority cannot own most of the country's prime
agricultural land) is quite persuasive."

However, Nhema said government has on the other hand failed to get its
message through. The international community remains sceptical and
unyielding, he said.

"What has not been successful is government's efforts to court the
international community to accept modalities on how the land should be
redistributed and who would benefit," he said.

Nhema, who has just returned from Europe where he spoke extensively on the
issue, said one of the major worries in the West was that the land policy
was not compatible with the economic recovery plan. He said the economic
recovery plan emphasised privatisation while the land redistribution policy
encouraged nationalisation of land. The two were inherently contradictory,
he said.

"Donors are not opposed to the programme but they are asking whether the
current policy thrust will enhance agricultural productivity and
privatisation at the same time. There is a conflict of perception on land
ownership in this case. Does government have to take the communal ownership
route or the freehold title one?" he asked.

There is no policy enunciation on that. Analysts said government had failed
to find purchase for its land policy internationally for several reasons.
They said lack of a clear-cut resettlement policy and pretensions that
government has the capacity to change and sustain the response of the
international community were also at the heart of the dismal policy failure.

Whatever the case, a visit by UN Development Programme administrator Mark
Malloch Brown last week appears to have punctured government's
self-constructed myth and helped to reveal that authorities were wallowing
in self-delusion, analysts noted.
Malloch Brown, who was forthright on the issue of land reform, observed at
the end of his visit that the ball was in Mugabe's court to meet the demands
of the international community if he entertained any hopes of getting
financial aid. The conditions include the restoration of the rule of law and
observance of court orders regarding the land reform programme.

The UNDP is working within the framework of the 1998 EU-sponsored Harare
donors' land conference. The agreement has conditionalities which government
has so far refused to abide by despite being one of the signatories to the

The UNDP is playing the pivotal role of broker between government and the
international community. Malloch Brown came to Zimbabwe as a special envoy
from UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to engage Mugabe and ascertain what the
situation on the ground was. Annan has been directly involved in the land

Malloch Brown came to Harare via Europe where he consulted widely on the
land impasse. The outcome of his visit to Zimbabwe has not been too pleasing
to authorities. The UNDP boss refused to promise Harare any money without
securing official assurances that government would follow the rule of law
and adhere to provisions of the donors' accords in executing its land
contentious programme.

Analysts say that was really disappointing for authorities who all along
thought that the UNDP could give Zimbabwe support regardless of what Britain
and other major players thought. It could not have happened, they said. For
the UNDP does not function independently of major stakeholders who include
international donors, Western countries and US.

The announcement by Denmark last week that the Scandinavian country was
cutting aid to Zimbabwe in protest to state-sponsored violence in the
countryside further exposed government claims.
"We are very disappointed that the government of Harare has not followed the
decision of the Supreme Court to end illegal occupation of farms," Jan
Troejborg told a press conference in Copenhagen last week when he announced
the aid freeze. Malloch Brown was also there.

"No donor wants to see this country (Zimbabwe), which was once stable and
had relative freedom, degenerate in this manner," Malloch Brown said at the
press conference. In Harare he said that UNDP would only help if common
ground between government and donors was established.

Government ministers reacted with horror to the news from Copenhagen. For
they have been living in self-deception. They sounded resigned to that
fate - which ominously sent government's sustained claims collapsing around
them and gave them a rude awakening. As a result of the Danish decision,
government is now actively retreating to the laager mentality that whatever
happens in European capitals, it will not affect the land reform

Reacting to Troejborg's announcement of the aid freeze, Information minister
Jonathan Moyo said donors did not formulate programmes for Harare and
government would therefore forge ahead with its programme. He did not say
where the resources would come from.

"It is a misplaced symbolism likely to be misunderstood because it gives the
impression that donors formulate policy. I am perplexed by the double
standards in the selection of court orders to be implemented by the
government," Moyo told the state-controlled Herald. The minister has been at
the forefront of purveying claims that Europe was now on board on the land

Moyo's colleague Joseph Made was equally resigned in his comment.
"All I can say is that what they have done is in bad faith and I wish them
good luck but we will proceed with our land resettlement programme," Made
said. Critics say the chickens of populist delusions were now coming home to

All too often Zimbabwe's foreign policy has been criticised as a product of
haphazard and unsystematic forces and events acting upon government. It has
also been said that what appears on the surface as the country's settled
course of action on critical questions is usually not policy at all but the
drift of events precipitated by political demands.

The current land reform crisis beckons. Political analysts say the land
redistribution saga is a product of government's compliance with strong
domestic political pressure - and thus a product of contending political
forces within the nation itself. It is not a result of well-founded policy
measures which are underpinned by consensus and national interest, critics

Since government embarked on arbitrary land seizures beginning with farm
invasions early this year and culminating in the so-called fast-track land
reform programme, there has never been a settled policy on the issue. The
government has proceeded on an ad hoc basis and that has alienated the
international donor community from the exercise which needs huge financial


Shaping our lives and our future

Ruzvidzo Mupfudza
THERE is a tendency in many of us when faced with problems to shrug and say,
"Ah, what can we poor people do?" It is triggered by a deep-seated feeling
of helplessness in the face of events that appear beyond our control and the
erroneous belief that we are victims of fate. Trapped in this myopia we feel
that history always acts on us and that we have no power to influence it. We
conveniently forget that we are actors in the process of history and have
every right to shape it.

Unfortunately it is always in this sense of powerlessness and consequent
silence that tyranny triumphs. For a long time the people of Harare watched
and endured a corruption-riddled council bring the city to the brink of

The then mayor denied any responsibility for his council's gross
inefficiency and refused to resign. The arrogance and insensitivity toward
the people he showed during that period epitomises what passes for
leadership in this country.

This is why ordinary members of society must flex their muscles and resist.
Standing up and speaking out against injustice and corruption, against
arbitrary and absolute authority may seem futile but it has far reaching
implications. This is why dictators, demagogues and megalomaniacs clamp down
on criticism of any kind. They know full well that their corruption cannot
flourish in an environment where its premise is constantly questioned and

It follows therefore that the "what can we the poor people do" syndrome
consents and acquiesces to injustice and corruption.
We conveniently forget that we are all members of the crew and cast of the
drama of our lives. We are responsible for the outcome of the show.

How many times have we been told of "a government of the people for the
people by the people"? Numerous times until it has lost its lustre, but in
it lies our destiny. We should never allow ourselves to be cut off from
those who are elected to serve us.

But when the workings of the government get shrouded in secrecy and are so
opaque that decisions made ostensibly on our behalf come as a surprise then
we have become alienated from our own power. For no matter what we are told
and made to feel, those who make it to office are only able to do so because
we loan to, and vest our own power in, them temporarily through the ballot

Yet when those we elect begin to act like arrogant godfathers, we are made
to feel helpless and unable to influence change.

This is why we must realise that dissent to wrong-doing and the demands for
transparency and accountability from those who lead us are essential factors
in any democracy.

The health of a democracy is measured by how dissenting voices are accorded
space to articulate their grievances and doubts.

No matter how insignificant we feel we need to have a say in how our lives
are governed. It is our democratic right. If we embrace silence and despair
we sanction abuse of power and lack of transparency and we suffer the more
because of it.

The hallmark of good leadership is its ability to be beholden to the will
and general good of the public. It takes great courage for one to admit that
they have erred. To take responsibility for wrong-doing requires a giant
leap of bravery. In a society where hero-worship is the order of the day, it
is rare to find leaders with the strength to admit their foibles.

The problem with personality cults is that they reproduce themselves until
the entire political landscape is littered with smaller versions of similar
cults. The prevailing culture becomes one of uniformity where arrogance
rules and humility is sacrificed on the altar of egocentrism.

The problem with our leaders is that more often than not they follow their
own desires without restraint and the nation suffers in the process. They
wrap themselves up in cocoons of the great-men-of-history syndrome and
become impervious to the wishes and will of the people they are supposed to

Surrounded by sycophants, great men begin to believe that they rule by
divine right and therefore are not answerable to anyone. They fail to
realise that to be able to step down from power because one has compromised
one's office and nation is the ultimate act of humility. It reflects
maturity and integrity.

Sadly, our politics lacks these virtues. Our silence condones this absence.
We watch passively as twenty-year-old dreams vanish. Those in whom we have
entrusted our power mismanage our dreams. In these days of social and
economic upheaval, it is so very easy to blame
individuals and for individuals in power to lay the blame elsewhere.

It has always been difficult for the physician to heal himself.
Tragically, when power becomes arrogant and begins to unravel, it takes the
entire nation along with it on its self-destructive course. In Troilus and
Cressida William Shakespeare explores the importance of order, the
preservation of law and custom in man's world. Through one of the speeches
of Ulysses, he touches on the idea of degree or order, which he terms the
"speciality of rule". By this Shakespeare means the specialness and
importance of society in regard to law and order. He says take but a degree
away, untune that string:
And hark ! What discord follows. . .

Then everything includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite,
And appetite, a universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce a universal prey,
And last eat up himself.

The great bard might as well have been talking about present day Zimbabwe.
His argument, although meant for a different kind of society and epoch,
applies in our current situation. The essence of his thesis is that when law
and order are ignored, power becomes supreme and dangerous to both society
and to itself.

In the meantime, the young give way to a voracious disease. Moloch walks our
land demanding 1 000 lives per week, and Azrael coldly wields his murderous
scythe. Those on the war front endure the pain as loved ones wilt away. A
stray cough ricochets with anxiety. The lumps, the spots, the fever, the
sweat, the coughing and the despair - these are signs not just of physical
malaise but political rot as well.

The rapid decay of the body mirrors the decay of the body politic. All
around us, the socio-economic centre refuses to hold any longer, and our
lives along with the dollar begin to fall.

But people can put a stop to this. If we become committed to active
participation in our own lives we should realise that we can affect and
effect change, even if not all our actions bring about instant results. A
former Polish prisoner of conscience, a conscientious trade unionist, once

"I cannot foretell the future and I have no idea whether I will yet live to
see the victory of truth over lies...The point is... that for me, the value
of our struggle lies not in its chances of victory but rather in the value
of the cause. Let my little gesture of denial be my small contribution to
the sense of honour and dignity in this country that is being made more
miserable every day."

Therein lies the crux of the matter. What can we poor people do? A lot and
everything. Any and every gesture of denial counts and is a salient reminder
of the power of human dissent. It prevents the outright victory of evil. If
we nurtured the spirit of dissent our leaders would learn to respect us and
thus not hang on to power, refusing to take responsibility for their
mistakes. We must seize the reins of our destiny and become masters of our
fate - that is the only way we can salvage our nation.

The tragedy is that we allow fear and apathy to rule our lives. When we do
that we abdicate the throne of our civic duty. We let go our power into the
hands of those who will take us for perpetual children and treat us
likewise. For as long as we have embraced fear and maintained silence in the
face of the unjust and the corrupt we have sanctioned them to thrive.

For as long as we have stood aside and watched, we have condoned our
national suicide. We must learn to evaluate ourselves for it is so easy to
get caught up in the frenzy of either the worship of a personality cult or
in the blood sport of personality bashing.
Our country is only as bad as we make or allow it to be. In the end, its
goodness is only a reflection of the good in our own hearts.

We, as a nation, must have the courage and ability to accept our own
shortcomings. We must also have the willpower to face the responsibility for
the outcome of those weaknesses and be prepared not only to pay the cost but
also to rectify them. If this were embedded in our national psyche, it would
be easy to expect the same from those we have elected to lead us. There is
need to create and foster a culture of debate.

We should not fear questions and those who ask them. Our actions, beliefs,
morals and policies are not sacrosanct. We have never been and will never be
infallible. We therefore need to outgrow the petty tendency to personalise

We must realise that debate is an ally in our goal to build a sound nation.
Difference is not necessarily an obstacle but can be a stepping stone as
long as we can harness it for our common good.

Above all we should be wary of a destructive tendency to dissipate our
energy in the pursuit of the trivial at the expense of the important.
Zimbabwe can only prosper, grow and progress when the people reclaim their
right to have a say in their own destiny.

The ability and will to organise, resist, question and challenge for our own
good is paramount. At the moment we are trapped by our own sense of
helplessness which dooms us to be a nation of perpetually whinging and
whining citizens.

Needless to say all the changes we want for this country - economic,
political, social, educational - can only come about when we change the way
we perceive ourselves and our role in our own lives.

* Ruzvidzo Mupfudza is a high school teacher and social commentator
currently completing his MA.

Viewpoint 2
Makoni's budget targets hard to achieve

Dr EG Mtetwa
FINANCE minister Simba Makoni's budget statement of November 16 revealed him
to be a man who walks around with his eyes open. He seems to be aware of the
fact that the majority of the citizens have fallen on very hard times

Makoni could arguably be the first and only senior government official to
have recognised that the prevailing economic situation has spawned
widespread suffering, poverty and hunger in the country. He is cognisant of
the transport tribulations besetting the populace. To this extent, Makoni
deserves accolades for distinguishing himself as a compassionate and caring

What is striking about Makoni's budget plans, however, is that they are
unrealisable. His revenue projections are so easy to shoot down because they
fail to recognise the one most prominent feature of the economic landscape
of present day Zimbabwe - namely that the bulk of the tax base has
disappeared and the little that is left continues to be eroded by the hour.
Makoni's revenue projections of $140 billion in 2001 are truly pie in the

Companies, big and small, all over the country, are shutting up shop every
day mainly because either they cannot access foreign currency to import
necessary raw materials and machinery spares, or because their market has
simply disappeared with the demise of large-scale commercial farming.
The collapse of the tourist industry, with the loss of tens of thousands of
jobs, is another timely reminder of the economic realities besetting us.
Makoni ought to have been more pragmatic. The first thing he needs to have
done was to come up with tangible measures to preserve, and if possible,
invigorate, what is left of his tax base.

This step would have been the prerequisite for him to make meaningful cash
flow projections. To secure the survival of what is left of business in the
country requires the will and courage to identify, confront and seek to
solve first and foremost the problem of foreign currency shortage in the

Needless to say, in the total absence of foreign currency reserves, as is
the case at the moment, the Zimbabwe dollar has got to suffer daily
devaluations. It is senseless for anyone to plan on the basis of a currency
such as ours. It is surprising that the minister did not address himself to
the question of exchange rate management, and made no mention at all of the
balance-of-payments problem.

Cabinet should rather have directed its team effort towards the task of
formulating a conducive business environment in the country, and overhauling
the country's shattered image, and left the arithmetic to Minister Makoni
and his staff at the Ministry of Finance.

The question of prioritisation in national resource allocation ought to be a
matter for the whole society to decide, it ought never to be left in the
hands of a cabal of self-seeking and unelectable individuals, as happens at

Another unfortunate problem is Makoni's decision, deliberately or
unwittingly, to close his mind to our government's performance record of the
past 20 years. By so doing, he has undermined his capacity for systematic

In the early 1980s the Zimbabwe government decided to enter the Mozambican
civil war. This was done without any consideration of budgetary
implications; and the country was mired in that war for seven years and
reaped nothing from it.

It is common knowledge that when President Mugabe single-handedly entered
the pact to enrich Chenjerai Hunzvi and his 55 000 marauders, around three
quarters of them being mere pretenders as war veterans, including Hunzvi
himself, this decision to expend in excess of $4 billion was made without
budgetary planning.

This act led to the crash of the Zimbabwe dollar in November 1997. Despite
all this, in August 1998 the same Mugabe once again single-handedly plunged
Zimbabwe into the intractable Congo conflict, which triggered a further
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar and accelerated poverty in the country.

Subsequent to Zanu PF losing the referendum on the proposed new constitution
in February 2000, resources from the fiscus were poured into recruiting a
mercenary force, a de facto Zanu PF militia, under the command of Chenjerai
Hunzvi, to spearhead invasions of white commercial farms.

Recently, in preparation for the 2002 presidential election, the same
mercenary force, which masquerades as war veterans, has been incorporated
into the Ministry of Defence, once again at an unaffordable cost to the
national fiscus.

Why should the forcible recovery (that is if the powers that be ever allow
this to happen!) of public funds looted under the War Victims Compensation
Fund, the VIP Housing Scheme, the Grain Loan Scheme, Indigenisation
programme funds, etc, have to wait for the year 2001 budget?

Since these funds were stolen in the first place, why were they not
recovered long back in the course of normal enforcement of the laws of the

How will it be feasible for the same powers that previously protected the
wrong doers to belatedly allow the laws of the land to be applied? In fact,
it is even doubtful whether there is a police force left to conduct
investigations and make arrests as necessary!

Against this background, it becomes clear that the gentlemen's agreement on
which Minister Makoni is pinning so much hope for his cash-budget for
control of expenditure by ministries is destined to turn out to be nothing
but a pipe dream.

Perhaps Makoni needs to be reminded that good faith and good intentions in
themselves are not enough, especially in the world of politics. After all
the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.

* Dr EG Mtetwa writes from Kwekwe.


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ZIMNEWS 8 December 2000
Another scam surfaces - DNews
van Hoogstraten's farms invaded - Times
The losers from fast-track resettlement - DTel
Pressure to prosecute Tsvangirai - ZInd
Congress debate suppressed - ZInd
Tsvangirai insists meeting was held - DNews
Zimbabwe Independent 8 December
Harare ratepayers face $8b budget - ZInd
No compromise on land - Chiwewe - ZInd
Zanu PF infiltrates ZCTU - ZInd
Bleak future for Imire park workers - ZInd
House too busy for Mugabe impeachment - ZInd
Invasions could cost Zim $1b in grants - ZInd
Lack of funding hits UN bodies - ZInd
Natbrew in setback as farmers pull out - ZInd
Row over Parly Website tender - ZInd
Zanu PF to punish Mavhaire - ZInd
RBZ offers $300m support to ZBS - ZInd
Local authorities urged to sue government - ZInd

CFU Sitrep to 8 December 2000

>From The Daily News, 7 December

Car racket uncovered

Harare - Police are investigating how five motor vehicles, suspected to
belong to a Harare company, CIE Mercantile (Pvt) Ltd, were acquired. Police
spokeswoman, Inspector Tendai Nembire, yesterday said the cars, brought into
the country by the company - a Nissan Patrol, with registration number
755-843S, a Toyota Land Cruiser (596-239K), and three Isuzus with
registration numbers 595-422X, 578-827J and 678-923J - were improperly
registered at the Central Vehicle Registry. "The Criminal Investigation
Department and the Fraud Squad are investigating these vehicles because when
we checked in the records at the Vehicle Theft Squad we found some of the
information contradictory," she said. "What is in the records is not what is
at the Central Vehicle Registry."

CIE Mercantile is the local partner of Kjaer and Kjaer, a Danish company
that imports new vehicles tax-free for Danish diplomats and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) working in Zimbabwe. The owner of CIE is Harare
businessman Tony Kates, who has been cited as the main agent in Zimbabwe for

Hani Yamani's Airport Harbour Technologies (AHT), the main financier of the
controversial new Harare International Airport. Kates' business partner at
CIE is Krishna Naidoo, also linked to the awarding of the airport contract
by the government to AHT in 1996. Yamani named Kates and Heena Joshi as the
main agents for AHT in Harare. Heena Joshi is the daughter of Jayant
Chunilal Joshi, the chief executive of Zidco, the operating company of Zanu
PF. Zidco is also an agent of AHT on the airport project. Kates and Heena
Joshi are alleged to have paid a number of government ministers and
officials sums of money reported in The Daily News a week ago, including
US$20 000 or $1 million in local currency, allegedly paid to Zidco towards
the construction of President Mugabe's new private residence under
construction in Borrowdale.

Kates' company, CIE Mercantile, was granted a licence by the Zimbabwe
Investment Centre (ZIC) to assemble cars locally, but does not assemble any
cars in Zimbabwe. ZIC officials said yesterday that they did not know what
business the company was engaged in at the moment. Yesterday Kates denied
the allegations about improper importation of vehicles. "That is incorrect,"
said Kates. "I take very strong exception that you interview me on the basis
of a tip-off. If your source has information, let him give you." Kates'
company is alleged to have prejudiced the State of millions of dollars in
customs charges through the illegal importation of several vehicles. The
cars were allegedly cleared through a Kjaer and Kjaer facility, which
enables CIE to import cars duty-free for those who qualify for a rebate such
as NGOs and diplomats.

CIE Mercantile allegedly secured five work permits for expatriates through
Cuthbert Nyamuzaza, a former low ranking officer with the Department of
Immigration, now employed by CIE. The expatriates were allegedly then used
to clear imported vehicles through customs. The Daily News has established
the names of four of the expatriate workers as Frank Oleson and John
Hjelmholm, both Danes, and Mark Cawood and Claudine Smith. Smith, who has
been in and out of the country from February, was granted a permit as a
trainee with Kjaer and Kjaer, when she was in actual fact Cawood's fiancée,
it is alleged. Cawood was formerly employed by Kates to handle Kates'
businesses in Angola, but later settled in Harare. His girlfriend's permit
was allegedly applied for so she could import a Mercedes Benz (767-767D)
duty-free through the Kjaer and Kjaer facility. The police are investigating
the car.

Cawood refuted the allegations. "What?" he asked. "Is it supposed to be
illegal? There is no substance to that. I think you are barking up the wrong
tree. It is the first time I have heard of that. Besides, I am not giving
you any answers to your allegations which are unfounded unless you tell me
your source." Hjelmholm, a student on attachment in Zimbabwe, imported
duty-free a Mercedes Benz worth over $2,5 million. He stayed in the country
for only six months. Hjelmholm's car is now at CIE Mercantile.

"The expatriates have cleared cars in the past few months without paying
duty thereby prejudicing the State," said a source. "Where do trainees get
that kind of money? There is obviously a case of abuse here which needs to
be investigated." Olesen, who was employed by Kjaer and Kjaer on a two-year
permit but left for Denmark after only four months, cleared a VW Golf
(753-899E) under a Temporary Employment permit. The vehicle is now being
used by Naidoo, our sources allege. A white Nissan Terrano (757-603F) being
used by Oliver Nudds, a director of Systems Communication, a subsidiary of
CIE now called Danimex, was imported through Kjaer and Kjaer using the same
method. The name of the importer in this case could not be established. This
vehicle was parked outside the CIE offices yesterday. "I have no comment,"
Nudds said when contacted yesterday. "I am putting the phone down now." A
Mercedes Benz S600 (739-966K) which was cleared by one Ismail Mohamed is the
vehicle used by Kates. Mohamed owns Ottawa, a company in which Zidco had a
50 percent interest until 1992.

But who is Tony Kates? The Daily News was told that Kates put the Harare
International Airport project together. A source says Kates specialises in
project identification and implementation. "He keeps tabs on what is
happening in several regional countries and then organises offshore finance
through foreign governments, which have to be guaranteed by local
governments," the source said. "He puts together the necessary consortium
and, in the case of Harare International Airport, he organised the finance
through Interbeton-Netherlands, Ove Arup-UK and the local partner used was
Zidco, through Heena and her father Jayant Joshi." Kates allegedly sold the
airport idea to Yamani, who agreed to be one of the principal financiers.

Kates' local business partner, Naidoo, doubles as the accountant for CIE.
Apart from organising the airport deal, Kates and Krishna represent Motorola
of the US in Zimbabwe. They recently sold a large security digital trunked
radio system to the Central Intelligence Organisation. It cost about US$10
million ($580 million). Major problems in the funding of the project nearly
derailed the deal as the government could not pay the deposit required by
Eximbank of the US, who were involved in financing the deal. The government
eventually paid. "The real issue here is the US Eximbank which allows
impoverished Third World countries to buy things they cannot afford,"
another source said. "I was surprised the deal went through because the
government did not have the money."

Eximbank and Kates were recently trying to finance a Pay TV deal for ZBC.
The government could not raise the money. Kates used his company, Security
Communications, to broker the deal. The company, now called Danimex, sells
cellphones, allegedly as a cover. Security Communications also won a
District Development Fund tender to supply radios. The deal was allegedly
funded by the Belgian Embassy. Kates' other company, NKT International, has
done work for the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, supplying
cables. "These guys are aid sharks," the source said. "They get on the aid
bandwagon. That's how Tony started - aid to Mozambique." Kates arrived in
Zimbabwe in 1988, having spent time in South Africa.

>From The Times (UK), 8 December

Mugabe's white champion loses land to invaders

Harare - A British property multimillionaire who has championed Robert
Mugabe was last night counting the cost after squatters overran tens of
thousands of acres of his prime farmland in Zimbabwe. Nicholas van
Hoogstraten, infamous in Britain for describing ramblers as perverts and his
neighbours as riff-raff, was assessing the damage yesterday to five of his
biggest farms. He is the latest white farmer to suffer from the incursions
by "war veterans" despite his long friendship with President Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe has encouraged the squatters to take over land owned by white
farmers and has found Mr van Hoogstraten, who recently branded Zimbabwean
commercial farmers as "white trash", to be a strong ally over many years.
The outspoken property tycoon has spent tens of thousands of pounds
bankrolling Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) Party. "I'm in bed with his Zanu
(PF) party," Mr van Hoogstraten, Britain's 140th richest man with a fortune
of £200 million, said before his property was overrun. He said that he had
been a friend of Mr Mugabe, whom he greatly admires, since the 1960s and had
cultivated links as a means of protecting his investments. In Zimbabwe he
has interests, including land, property and mines, worth £32 million. In
addition, he has homes in Britain, France, St Lucia, Barbados and America,
an art collection and a collection of expensive cars.

"Comrade Mugabe has kept the country peaceful and relatively wealthy for 20
years. I entirely agree with what Mr Mugabe has said and done," he had said.
He has been scathing about the behaviour of some of the white landowners and
said they should "stop sticking their noses into politics". He favours
dictatorship as the best form of government, though he believes that some of
Mr Mugabe's officials have let power go to their heads. But his links with
the country's most powerful man proved no protection when squatters began
taking over huge chunks of his farmland. He is one of the biggest landowners
in Zimbabwe and his four major properties, with 28,000 cattle, have been
invaded, according to farm union workers and neighbours. Three of them have
already been listed for compulsory acquisition by the Government.

The biggest of his farms, Central Estates, 326,000 acres in Midlands
Province, is the only one to have been spared the official axe but it is the
worst affected by squatters. Neighbours who asked not to be named said that
much of it has been overrun by about 5,000 people. Eastdale Estate has about
140 families who have ploughed patches of maize and built mud and thatch
huts. "I wouldn't call it overrun, although the pace of people moving on has
speeded up in the last ten days," said a neighbour. "It gets the same
hassles as the rest of us. They leave the gates open, mix the herds up,
separate calves from their mothers and push the cattle on to the roads at

Mr van Hoogstraten has offered 12,000 acres to the Government for
resettlement, in two equal portions, one on Central Estates and the other on
Hayhill Farm. Both are the subject of bitter disputes, where landless
peasants who originally settled there claim they have been driven off by
so-called guerrilla war veterans and local businessmen. Cephas Msipa, the
Governor of the Midlands Province, said yesterday: "I personally discussed
the matter with Nick, and he agreed to give the district 6,000 acres."
However, the area was later occupied "by people who settled themselves", he
said. Davison Zimowa, the chairman of a group of 900 families who say they
were resettled there in August and forced off last month, produces letters
from Mr van Hoogstraten that discuss an offer of land, and minutes of
numerous meetings with him. He says his group is now squatting in the
rundown town of Mvuma near by. "If the process is left like it is, it will
benefit only those who already have (land)," he said.

Mr van Hoogstraten could not be contacted for comment last night.

In his own words


"You ask any policeman, he'll tell you. They're what we call the 'dirty mac
brigade'. Flashers."

"A bunch of disenfranchised perverts".

"The whole purpose of having money is to put yourself on a pedestal, isn't
it? Not to hobnob with the local riff-raff."

"I'm not having the riff-raff. There's a big difference between allowing in
scholars and connoisseurs of art and allowing in the general public."

"The great unwashed"

"I have been picked on by these disgusting people who have nothing better to


"I agree entirely with what Mr Mugabe has said and done. A lot of white
people down here are seeing the opposition party as a means of reverting
back to the Rhodesia they used to know and love."

"He (Mugabe) is 100 per cent decent and 100 per cent incorruptible and he is
held in esteem."

"In the days of slavery, which I am a bit of an expert on, the slaves were
relatively well-treated because they were valuable. That is an absolute
fact. The white farmers in Zimbabwe think they can do what they like with
black workers because there are 20 people waiting to take their place."

>From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 8 December

Mugabe's land grab 'creating poverty'

Chiwiti - Tens of thousands of Zimbabwean villagers are struggling to make a
living in the rugged hills north of Harare after suffering from the very
land grab which President Mugabe claimed would transform their lives. At
least 40,000 black farm workers have become homeless refugees and another
100,000 have lost their jobs since the seizure of white-owned farms began.
Mr Mugabe's resettlement programme was launched in July and the authorities
claim to have awarded land to 50,000 people. Yet the scheme has created
almost three times as many losers and the Supreme Court has found the
programme, under which more than 300 farms have been seized so far, to be
illegal. Thousands of homeless people have streamed into the hills of
Makonde communal area, 100 miles north-west of Harare.

Melusi Bisenji, 27, lost his job as an irrigation worker when the white farm
where he lived was seized in October. None of the 300 workers on the farm
was awarded any land by the government. Mr Bisenji returned to live with his
parents in Chiwiti village, and the family ekes out an existence from a few
acres of dry land. The white farm near Raffingora had been his home for 21
years and he attended a school established by his employer. Mr Bisenji said:
"I am surviving with my parents, but there is no school, no clinic, little
food, nothing." As Mr Mugabe's land grab has gathered pace more than two
million people living on white farms are now at risk. The government says
that displaced workers will be given land, but Philip Munyanyi, leader of a
farmworkers' union, said the promise was being broken. He said: "It is a
disastrous situation. They are just creating poverty." John Robertson, an
independent economist, said mass unemployment, a food shortage and the
destruction of once-thriving farms could bring about Zimbabwe's economic

>From The Zimbabwe Independent, 8 December

AG under pressure to prosecute Tsvangirai

The Attorney-General's office, under pressure from Zanu PF politicians, will
against its better judgement draw up charges against MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai over his alleged call for the violent removal of President Robert
Mugabe from power. Government sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that
heavy political pressure was being exerted on the AG's office to proceed
with the case. "Despite there being difficulties in drawing up the charges,
the issue is going ahead, thanks to the political pressure," said one source
close to the case.

Sources say there is no strong legal basis upon which the AG's office could
draw up charges that would result in a successful prosecution. The law says
that a statement merely inciting people to violence - which violence did not
materialise - was not criminal unless the violence occurred to achieve the
desired results, the source added. Deputy AG Bharat Patel told the
Independent that the case would be finalised "soon". "The charges against
Tsvangirai in relation to his speech at an MDC rally at Rufaro Stadium have
not yet been shelved," Patel said. "The matter is being fully considered
having due regard to all relevant legal considerations, and a decision will
be taken in due course." "It should be pretty soon," he said. Patel denied
his office was struggling to find relevant pieces of legislation that could
nail Tsvangirai or that his office had been advised that the case would fail
on constitutional technicalities.

Sources said that as the issue stood, "Tsvangirai just made a bad political
statement. Questions will be asked as to why no charges were preferred
against Zanu PF politicians who used the same language in the (election)
campaign. It is only due to political pressure that the case is still going
ahead," one source said. Senior politicians were desperate to haul the MDC
leader before the courts and try and embarrass him even though the
prosecution could boomerang. "That the matter might be struck down is highly
possible. It would have made a lot of sense for the matter to die a natural
death within the office of the AG," the source said.

Tsvangirai said during the MDC's first anniversary rally his party would not
wait until the 2002 presidential election to unseat Mugabe. "Mugabe should
go peacefully. If he does not want (that), we will remove him violently.
This country cannot afford Mugabe to rule a day longer than is necessary,"
Tsvangirai said. The statement attracted the wrath of the Speaker of
Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and other Zanu PF politicians who charged
that the MDC leader should be prosecuted. The government was accused of
having double standards as no action was taken against Zanu PF officials -
including Mugabe himself - for preaching the gospel of violence in the run
up to the June 24/25 parliamentary election.

>From The Zimbabwe Independent, 8 December

Mutasa blocks Mugabe debate at congress

ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and senior party
functionaries are manipulating the ruling party's forthcoming congress
agenda to exclude the succession issue. The move is designed to protect
President Mugabe from internal challenges, the Zimbabwe Independent heard

Party sources told the Independent Mutasa and the congress secretariat were
suppressing the succession issue which was stirring within the ranks of the
party. Pronouncements by senior officials suggest a determination to
suffocate the issue, insiders said. It is understood that party luminaries
were working flat out to ensure that Mugabe emerges without challenge after
the December 13-16 gathering which is technically an extraordinary congress
tasked to continue exploring issues unresolved by last year's congress.
Party members who spoke to the Independent yesterday said they feared the
succession issue had already been suppressed. There was a lot of jockeying
before the Zanu PF congress last December but Mugabe managed, with the help
of Mutasa and other political hatchet men, to head off possible challenges
from those who wanted to place the matter firmly on the agenda. The Zanu PF
congress gave Mugabe a renewed five-year tenure at the helm of the party.
Like previous party meetings, the congress also passed several ringing
resolutions. Insiders expected no change at the forthcoming get-together.

In an interview yesterday, Mutasa insisted the succession issue would not be
discussed "whatever the views of other party members". He said the agenda
had already been formulated and there was no room for the issue to be
included. "Let me say it again that the succession issue will not be
discussed," Mutasa said. "Our programme for the forthcoming congress starts
with President Mugabe's keynote address, followed by amendment of the
constitution to allow for the expansion of the politburo and the Women's
League," he said. "After that there would be special congress issues like
land and resettlement to be dealt with by Vice-President Joseph Msika, the
economic recovery plan by Finance minister Simba Makoni, and party
restructuring by our chairman Cde John Nkomo. There will be time for any
other business, after which President Mugabe will close the congress," he

Pressed to say how the party would handle the issue if some delegates raised
it, he said that would "simply not happen". Mutasa refused to say what he
would do with the agendas of the provinces which would be forwarded to him
next week if they included the issue of succession. Party insiders said the
issue was manipulated to avoid embarrassing the president who many Young
Turks now consider a liability to the party's prospects in 2002. Mutasa has
admitted removing it from the agenda in the past. Last week party luminaries
were quoted in a state-controlled weekly declaring that the succession issue
would not come up. Their syllogism was that Mugabe still had four years to
serve out as the Zanu PF leader since he was elected only last year.

However, there have been a lot of shifts and changes in the political
landscape since he got a fresh mandate. His popularity has dramatically
plunged and he has failed two electoral tests this year. He went down
heavily in the February referendum on constitutional change while Zanu PF
failed to secure the ringing endorsement Mugabe sought on the land issue in
the June election. Opinion polls have reflected massive popular disaffection
with his record.

After the June election, the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial executive met to
review the poll outcome. It emerged after the meeting that the province
wanted Mugabe to spell out his future plans to avoid damaging speculation.
It was also said the party lost the election in Matabeleland due to
unfulfilled promises on crucial issues and overwhelming antipathy towards
the leadership. Effort Nkomo, Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial information and
publicity secretary, said he could not say whether those issues would be
raised at congress. "Congress delegates will be meeting on Monday to review
resolutions they want to present to congress," Nkomo said. "The resolutions
will be coming from districts. I don't know what they will bring to us but
so far the succession issue has not come up." Nkomo said although the party
constitution was clear on the succession issue, it was healthy for the
leadership to speak out on it. He admitted that constitutionally the issue
could not be brought up but on pure political grounds it could be discussed,
he indicated.

Other Zanu PF provincial executives are also scheduled to meet on Monday to
discuss logistics for the party's supreme congregation and other issues
which they would want to raise. The provinces were expected to look into the
succession issue. However, sources said chances of the matter coming up
during the congress were now virtually zero. The central committee would be
meeting on Wednesday to finalise the agenda and sources said the issue would
not come up because senior party members were against it. "Even if we
discuss it during our Monday provincial meeting and put it on our agenda for
congress, it will certainly not sail through the central committee and the
politburo," a senior party official said. The politburo - Zanu PF's supreme
administrative organ - would also meet on Thursday to discuss congress
issues ahead of the gathering. Sources said that was part of the screening
process to ensure that there were no "unrehearsed issues" that would come up
in the stage-managed proceedings.

>From The Daily News, 7 December

Tsvangirai insists meeting took place

Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC, yesterday insisted he held
successful talks in South Africa last week with senior leaders of the
Frelimo government of Mozambique and the official opposition, Renamo. He
said: "I stand by what I said in the story published by The Daily News on
Tuesday. That is my last comment on this issue." Tsvangirai was reacting to
a statement from the Mozambican Embassy in Harare which was reported in the
government-controlled Herald newspaper yesterday. In the statement,
Mozambique's High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Antonio Sumbana, denied that
senior Mozambican government officials had met MDC leaders in South Africa.
"There has never been a meeting of that kind and we have no plans to hold a
meeting of that nature," Sumbana was reported as saying. On Monday,
Tsvangirai told The Daily News that he and MDC national chairman, Isaac
Matongo, held separate meetings in South Africa with Almerino Manhengo, the
Mozambican Minister for National Security in President Joacquim Chissano's
Office, and Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo. He said the meetings,
facilitated by the Mozambican government, had taken place with the full
knowledge of the South African government of President Thabo Mbeki,
including Zimbabwe's President Mugabe. He said the meetings were part of MDC
diplomatic initiatives to engage SADC leaders in dialogue on the situation
in Zimbabwe.

>From The Zimbabwe Independent, 8 December

Harare ratepayers face $8b budget

Vincent Kahiya
THE commission running the city of Harare will next week unveil an $8
billion budget for the year 2001 which should see another steep rise in
rates and charges for residents of the capital, the Zimbabwe Independent
established this week.

Sources at the Town House this week said the various departments of the
municipality had finished putting together their estimates for the year 2001
and these were discussed and certified at a meeting on November 29. Town
Clerk Nomutsa Chideya this week said the commission was putting final
touches to the draft which should be announced on Wednesday.

A draft of the budget which has been circulated to key stakeholders proposes
a $7,8 billion budget, up from the 2000 expenditure total of $5,5 billion.
However, details of the new tariff regime to finance the 2001 budget were
still being worked out this week. The final budget and the proposed new
tariffs would be presented to stakeholders who include business and
ratepayers' representatives at a meeting on Monday.

The militant Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has vowed that it
will not be party to the deliberations on the budget. CHRA has accused the
commission running the city of reneging on its promise that consultation
would start three months prior to the announcement of the budget. The
association claims that it only received the budget proposals last Friday.

CHRA chairman David Samudzimu told the Independent yesterday that the
commission had in February undertaken to liaise with the residents'
representatives on the formulation of the 2001 budget.

"In fact it was agreed that not later than September of each year the
commission would initiate consultation on the proposals," said Samudzimu.
He said the association had not been given enough time to study the

"This is totally unacceptable to CHRA and we reject the commission's
attempts to use our association to legitimise a defective, undemocratic and
opaque process," he said.

This week Samudzimu wrote to chamber secretary Josephine Ncube to register
the association's disquiet over the late submission of the budget proposal.
The association demanded overall audited statements of accounts and records
of revenue collection and investments before deliberating on the budget

Last year, the council's $5,5 billion budget saw increases of between 70%
and 92% on supplementary charges and rates while health charges went up by
almost 100%.

The new tariff regime is not likely to be different from that of last year,
considering the fact that the city authorities are anticipating a deficit of
at least $2 billion.

"The year 2001 anticipates a deficit due to a growth in salaries,
contributions, administration charges and general expenses as result of the
general increase in process," said a statement from the city treasurer's

The city has also not been able to borrow on the open market because of its
poor financial record, a legacy of the last council.

Of late there have been clashes between the commission running the city and
ratepayers who have argued that the high rates they are paying do not
correspond to the poor services that the city has been offering.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

No compromise on land - Chiwewe

Dumisani Muleya
GOVERNMENT will not give in to sustained pressure for a compromise in its
handling of the controversial land reform process despite the urging of
international donors, a senior government official has said.

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that government would forge ahead parcelling out land
to villagers without changing its position.

He said no amount of lobbying or pressure would compel Zimbabwe to make
concessions or find common ground with international donors who are pushing
for the observance of the rule of law and better management of the process.

Chiwewe, whose ministry is battling to convince the international community
that the current land policy is workable, said those donors which were not
interested in working within government's own framework should stay away.

"Zimbabwe has found a lasting solution to the land problem: giving land to
the masses in a massive way," Chiwewe declared.

"The train of land reform will not stop and those donors who don't want to
come in shouldn't... They can stay with their money and we will proceed with
our programme within our limited resources."

Western donors are refusing to release money for land reform in protest
against the erosion of the rule of law and the unilateral manner in which
the government is proceeding. Efforts by the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) to broker a solution have so far failed.

"We will only engage benign and progressive donor agencies and leave alone
the malignant ones," said Chiwewe.

"Government has since 1979 been signing in good faith what we thought were
civilised agreements. But we have now realised all those agreements were
meant to delay land reform," he said.

Chiwewe, while giving the UNDP boss Mark Malloch Brown the benefit of the
doubt in his pronouncements on land reform, said the outcome of UN chief
Kofi Annan's special envoy's meeting with President Mugabe was displeasing.

"Malloch Brown spent much of his time involved in negative atmospherics. But
anyway, we are working with the UN secretary-general to bring on board those
donors who are willing to join us. There are some who are prepared to enter
into bilateral arrangements with us to fund the land programme," he said.

But Chiwewe declined to name the donors.

Diplomatic sources said Malloch Brown received divergent views about the
land problem during his visit. The president told Malloch Brown there was no
violence or breakdown of the rule of law on the farms. The Commercial
Farmers Union on the other hand gave a different picture - of violence and
complete lack of order in the fast-track exercise. The Indigenous Commercial
Farmers Union told Malloch Brown that Zimbabwe needed to embark on a smaller
and more manageable exercise.

Diplomats said Malloch Brown was most likely to believe the farmers and not
Mugabe's lecture which was not supported by facts on the ground. They said
Mugabe no longer seemed to care about the consequences of his actions.
"He has elevated himself as a post-Independence leader who is prepared to
take on the West and he cannot climb down from that elevated position," said
one Western diplomat.

"Zimbabwe's foreign policy has now been engineered to reflect this Mugabe
passion which is designed to achieve personal glory and not national
prosperity," he said.

Government has been claiming that the international community is beginning
to appreciate its land reform programme. It has been suggested by the
President's Office that Britain was now isolated on the issue, a view that
seems to have evaporated with the UNDP chief's visit.

Chiwewe said government has had mixed fortunes in trying to sell its land
policy to the world.

"We have not succeeded in dislodging international groups and their paranoia
over land redistribution. The problem is that those with vested interests
are among the most powerful groups and have control over multilateral
institutions like the Bretton Woods," Chiwewe claimed.

"These groups are masters of the art of economic and political subversion.

They are using their critical mass of privilege and resources under their
command to vilify, strangle and disperse the energies of the political
leadership of this country," he complained without naming the "groups".

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Zanu PF infiltrates ZCTU

Rashweat Mukundu
FEARS of a major split in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have emerged
over allegations that the leadership is not addressing fully the concerns of
its affiliates in the social contract negotiations, the Zimbabwe Independent
established this week.

The differences in the ZCTU have taken a political twist with top union
leaders being accused of siding with the government to sideline such issues
as the need for law and order on the commercial farms, a well-defined
resettlement programme, political stability and the need for a living wage.

The ZCTU leadership is alleged to be concentrating on the minimum wage
increase which they want pegged at $8 400 a month.

The concerns of the affiliates come against a background of intensified
efforts by Zanu PF to win back the support of the workers and break the
ZCTU's marriage with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The ruling party, according to sources in the ZCTU, has set up a committee
to work on strategies on how the umbrella body can be brought back under the
party fold. The committee is believed to be made up of Nathan Shamuyarira,
Jonathan Moyo, Ignatius Chombo and Sydney Sekeramayi.

Zanu PF is understood to have assigned $2,5 million to the committee and a
sizeable chunk of that money was used to pay for three months of
subscriptions due to ZCTU from affiliates which had been unable to pay.

The leadership of the affiliates whose arrears were paid by Zanu PF are
expected to vote for people seen to be sympathetic to the ruling party at
the ZCTU congress in February.

A survey by the Independent this week revealed that discontent is rife in
the majority of ZCTU affiliates as there are fears that once Zanu PF
succeeds in wooing the union, it would mark the end of trade unionism in

The rival union to ZCTU, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, seen as
largely sympathetic to Zanu PF has been quiet since the ruling party began
making inroads into the ZCTU. It has been campaigning against political
involvement and opposes stayaways.

The ZCTU leadership is alleged to be succumbing to the ruling party's
blandishments. Most general secretaries of the affiliates who talked to the
Independent raised concerns over the increased travels of their leaders with
President Mugabe and government officials to places such as Malaysia,
Mozambique and Zambia - purportedly on ZCTU business but which has not been
sanctioned by the executive committee.

Remus Makuwaza, the general secretary of the Zimbabwe Chemicals, Plastics
and Allied Workers Union, said that the leadership must report to the
national executive committee which is yet to meet and make a decision on the
way forward. Gilbert Shoko of the Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers Union
concurred with Makuwaza that there is need for consultation.

"We will protest if the declaration is signed without consultation," said

Philip Munyanyi, the general secretary of the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ) described the whole social contract
process as vague.

"I tried to make a follow-up of the whole thing but I failed to understand
anything. There was no dialogue with the leadership and no input from us,"
said Munyanyi.

The leadership, according to Collen Gwiyo of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied
Workers Union, has sidelined all other issues and are concentrating on the
wages as if other issues are not important.

"The leadership is putting the issue of wages at centre stage and not the
others. One may not understand whether it is still a social contract. My
understanding of a social contract is broad and may not be what is
happening," said Gwiyo.

MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda said that they have a relationship with
the ZCTU because it is the trade union that sanctioned the formation of the
MDC. He said they are watching developments in the union and will soon be
contacting their affiliates on the way forward. On the social contract he
said that there is need to stabilise the economy first.

"How do you negotiate for a wage increase when the economy is collapsing?
You cannot negotiate under the current circumstances," said Sibanda.
Efforts to get a comment from ZCTU's acting secretary general Isdore Zindoga
and Zanu PF were fruitless.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Bleak future for Imire park workers

Godfrey Marawanyika
DESPITE repeated assertions by the government that conservancies and areas
under Campfire programmes will not be listed for acquisition, Imire Game
Park in Mashonaland East has been targeted, throwing the lives of more than
300 workers and the future of wildlife into uncertainty, the Zimbabwe
Independent established this week.

The game park, one of the leading tourist attractions in the country, is
situated 100km east of Harare. The owners of the game park have lodged an
appeal over the acquisition with the Ministry of Agriculture, but to date no
reply has been received.

The game park had since fallen victim to poaching by farm invaders camped on
nearby commercial farms. The owners of the park confirmed that several
animals had been slaughtered over the past few weeks.
The presence of war veterans had undermined the operations of the park which
had ground to a halt as no tourists were visiting the area.

"Ever since the war veterans made their presence felt in the area, things
have dramatically gone down," said one source.
"Trophy hunting has gone down by 70% and photographic safaris by almost

The park has seen the slaughter or maiming from snares of four eland, eight
warthog, and eight waterbuck. "Last week alone we lost a $70 000 Impala bull
to these poachers.

It is not clear whether the perpetrators are war veterans or poachers, we do
not know but this is really sad," said the source, adding they had so far
recovered between 300 and 400 snares in the park.

Residents of the commercial farming area said some unknown people who came
in 4x4's gave the war veterans food and money.

"Every time during month-ends, cars, mostly with government number plates,
always come with money and food for these guys," a park worker said.

Workers expressed fears that the game park could close down altogether.
The park is home to elephants, black and white rhino, and many other

"At this time of the year we are supposed to have many visitors but as you
can see there are only children who are here on their Environment 2000
 trip," said the worker who requested anonymity.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

House too busy for Mugabe impeachment

Dumisani Muleya
THE parliamentary committee investigating grounds for the landmark
impeachment of President Mugabe for alleged wilful violation of the
constitution and gross misconduct will not meet until next year, the
committee chair said yesterday.

Patrick Chinamasa, who is also leader of the House and Justice minister,
said parliament was too busy to start investigating grounds for the removal
of Mugabe from office. As a result the matter would be postponed until next
year, he said.

"Right now we are busy discussing the proposed budget and that should be
finalised on December 21 so that we enter the new year with an approved
budget," Chinamasa said.

"After that we are going for the Christmas break. There is no time to
discuss the impeachment issue," he said.

Chinamasa said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should
understand that the budget issue was a more serious matter than its Mugabe
impeachment bid.

He said: "It's a more serious job which can't be done in a perfunctory
manner. We don't have time. They know we are very busy...Where do we get the

But MDC secretary-general and MP for Bulawayo North-East Welshman Ncube said
his party expected Chinamasa to call for the first meeting of the committee
this week and start working on the issue henceforth.

The MDC wanted the committee to consider its articles of impeachment,
investigate the issue and report back to the House before the Christmas
break. The party wanted the impeachment report to be tabled and debated when
parliament resumes business early next year.

Chinamasa was accused last month of trying to block the impeachment motion
when it was introduced in parliament. Zanu PF MPs protested against the
institution of the probe into Mugabe's alleged abuse of power saying the
opposition was bent on embarrassing their leader. The ruling party
legislators have vowed to frustrate the unprecedented investigation.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Invasions could cost Zim $1b in grants

Brian Hungwe
ZIMBABWE stands to lose up to a $1 billion in grants from Germany for
landmine clearance operations in the south-eastern Lowveld unless the
government withdraws war veterans and peasants who have invaded the Save

German ambassador to Zimbabwe Fritz Hermann Flimm, in a statement recently,
said that although the German government had decided to fund the study on
the approximate number of mines in the area, it had "certain reservations".

"These reservations referred to the fact that at present one of the major
wildlife conservancies of Zimbabwe, the Save Valley Conservancy, is
threatened with total destruction by the action of war veterans," Flimm

"Germany would only be able to consider a financial contribution for the
actual mine clearing operation - which could start in the beginning of next
year - when and if the problems of the Save Valley Conservancy are solved to
the satisfaction of all stakeholders."

War veterans and villagers have occupied the privately-owned ranches that
constitute the conservancy, hitherto a post-Independence success story. The
absence of political will to address the problem was glaring despite visits
to the area by high-level delegations which included the two
vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika.

The German Technical Co-operation agency has already provided $5 million for
the feasibility study of the mine-clearing project, to be undertaken by

The study was intended to serve as a basis for a future clearing operation
aimed at the removal of a minefield known as Border Minefield Sector 5 and
located close to Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Lack of funding hits UN bodies

Rashweat Mukundu
UNITED Nations bodies operating in Zimbabwe are suffering from lack of
funding as the impasse between the government and major donors continues,
the resident representative of the United Nations Children and Education
fund (Unicef) Justin Maeda has said.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday, Maeda said their
programmes had been affected as traditional donors took their cue from the
Bretton Woods institutions.

"We receive only US$1,6 million from our headquarters and the rest comes
from donors," said Maeda. The body needed about US$7 million every year to
complete its programmes.

Four members of staff were to be retrenched and many more were set to follow
if the situation did not improve in the coming year.

"Our resources to support government are getting limited and our office
capacity has also suffered.

"It takes us a long time to train people and it is unfortunate that we are
losing some of them," said Maeda.

Unicef has fallen victim to the impasse between the government and major
donors led by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
"Donors give us money because of our mandate that has to do with children's
programmes, but now we don't understand why we are not supported on the
basis of our cause and not on the basis of donors' relationship with the
government," he said.

The government was aware of the problems since all Unicef programmes were
co-ordinated in liaison with government ministries. Donors had made it clear
that they would not support any new programmes until government policies
were clear.

"It is in the interest of the government to create an environment that
enhances donor support for our programmes," Maeda said.
He said Zimbabwe was faced with a serious problem of HIV/Aids, in the rural

"The priorities of the government are different from people especially on
Aids. It is the people who are feeling it more than the bureaucrats.
"More time is spent in workshops than in development projects and those who
used to receive boxes of foodstuffs are now receiving coffins," he said.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Natbrew in setback as farmers pull out

Godfrey Marawanyika
BEER manufacturing giant National Breweries (Natbrew) has suffered a major
production setback after more than half of its contracted farmers pulled out
of barley farming because of the uncertainty on the land, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.

Barley is a major ingredient in beer production. The number of contracted
farmers had been dwindling over the years. In 1990 Natbrew had 135
contracted farmers growing barley but by last year the numbers had dwindled
to about 37 before growing steadily this year to 67.

Some farmers who are pulling out of barley farming have shifted to wheat.
The withdrawal of farmers will reduce the national crop to the point where
Natbrew would be forced import barley.

"There is a clear decline of farmers in barley farming because of the land
problems," said a crop expert with the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture.
"Many farmers are not happy with remuneration offered after planting the

"If Natbrew has to retain its market share on beer they might have to import
barley this year," said the expert.

He said even if Natbrew was to hire farms to grow the crop, a lot of time
was needed to train the farmers to produce the desired quality crop.

This year Trustfin, a subsidiary of Trust Merchant Bank, revised to $20
million its $100 million credit facility to finance barley growers because
of uncertainty in the farming industry caused by land invasions.

The bank said it would only disburse approximately $20 million to only
carefully-selected growers who were able to secure Natbrew's guarantees for
their facility.

Natbrew requires about 54 000 tonnes of barley for its malting plant for the
year 2000/2001. The recent spate of farm invasions and violence in the
commercial farming areas, particularly Macheke, Marondera, and Wedza, the
major barley production areas, had resulted in the facility being applied on
a very restricted basis.

Natbrew marketing director Cecil Gombera said barley farmers were this year
unable to plant the winter cereal crop because of the uncertainty on land
and operation disruptions.

"It is difficult for us to estimate the number of farm workers affected but
generally farmers producing barley have the ability to switch from one crop
to another," said Gombera.

He said this year only Trustfin offered credit to barley producers but
withdrew the facility because of the prevailing conditions on the farms.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Row over Parly Website tender

Forward Maisokwadzo
POLITICAL fingers have been meddling in parliament's plans to establish a
Website with the reversal of a multimillion dollar tender awarded to a local
company, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The tender, floated last year, was won by Global Village which immediately
commenced developing the Website. But with the alleged intervention of
senior political figures the development has stalled. Global Village won
ahead of other bidders, MWeb and Africa Online.

The reversal comes immediately after Zanu PF launched its Website, set up by
Africa-Online, and sources say Zanu PF's leaders in parliament preferred the
parliamentary project to be done by the same service provider.

When contacted for comment, Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa refused to discuss
the issue and referred the Independent to the Clerk of Parliament, Austin

"Talk to Zvoma, is he not there?" said Mnangagwa before switching off his
mobile phone.

Zvoma would only say that they were working on the logistics of developing a

"We have no Website at the moment but we are in the process of coming up
with one," he said.

Asked about political intervention, Zvoma professed ignorance of the matter.

"That's absolute nonsense, and like I said we don't have a website," he

Contrary to Zvoma's claims that there was no Website at parliament, Global
Village said they had done a lot of work on building the site. The service
provider said the site was only waiting to be commissioned.

Parliamentary sources told the Independent that parliament advised officials
at Global Village to stop putting finishing touches to the site as
parliament had exhausted the funding set aside for the project. The
officials said parliament was now looking for donor support to finish the

They said they were surprised on the impasse over the awarding of the tender
which had gone through formal tender procedures.

"Global Village did win a tender to develop the parliamentary Website and
for the past year we have been working on the development of the Website,"
said Global Village chief executive, Danny Bismark, in written responses to
the Independent.

Pressed to give more details on the tender and the amounts involved, Bismark
said: "I can only state at this time that it is company policy not to
discuss client relationships. In this instance and at this point there are
no comments to divulge regarding the parliament Website.

"Any comments on the details of engagement by me or my company would be
premature as I am currently out of the country on business for two months,"
he said.

However, sources said the claims by parliamentary authorities that the
development of the Website was set aside due to lack of extra funding was
used as an excuse to cancel the tender.

"Revoking the tender now will save nothing to parliament as they are still
going to pay for the work already done," said a source.

He said there was a contractual agreement which authorities at parliament
had to honour instead of politicising the whole issue.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Zanu PF to punish Mavhaire

Brian Hungwe
OUSTED Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman Dzikamai Mavhaire faces
disciplinary action for defying a decision taken by party vice-president
Joseph Msika to sack his executive, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.
Mavhaire's executive was suspended immediately after the "invasion" of party
offices by war veterans, who sources said had been used to pursue the
interests of powerful politicians opposed to Mavhaire and Masvingo strongman
Eddison Zvobgo.

Senior party sources told the Independent politburo members were irked by
Mavhaire's defiance of their decisions.

Moving the issue to have the "recalcitrant" Mavhaire disciplined was
Vice-President Simon Muzenda, godfather of the opposing (Josiah) Hungwe
faction in the politically-troubled Masvingo province.

There was a general feeling in the party that if Mavhaire was allowed to
defy party decisions, it would set a bad precedent, sources said.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa told the Independent
that the party was now waiting for Mavhaire to formally put his reasons for
defying the politburo order in writing.

"Mavhaire has been just communicating with the press. He has not formally
addressed the party. We will take appropriate action upon receiving his
letter," Mutasa said.

The issue, which was raised in a recent politburo meeting, was not
conclusive and awaited recommendations from the Masvingo province's interim
chairman, Samuel Mumbengwegwi.

Members belonging to the Zvobgo faction - of which Mavhaire is a member -
defied the politburo's decision to dissolve their executive and subsequently
walked out of Mumbengegwi's interim executive to which they had been
Those that walked out now faced the grim prospect of not attending the
crucial party special congress to be held in Harare from December 13 to 16.
There was a general feeling within the party that Msika had usurped national
chairman John Nkomo's responsibilities by proceeding to fire Mavhaire
without prior consultations. Party sources said that Muzenda was calling the
shots behind Msika.
"Msika is a senior party member. He is just acting on behalf of the party,
he cannot arrive at that decision on his own," Mutasa said, adding that he
did not understand why Mavhaire was "failing to understand that".
That war veterans could descend upon the Masvingo party offices and close
them, calling for the removal of democratically-elected party executives and
succeed in defiance of standing party regulations, was not a big issue
according to Mutasa.
"War veterans are members of the party. If their grievances are legitimate,
as leaders we have to look into them and make specific recommendations. What
kind of a leader is he who does not listen to his people?" Mutasa asked.
Party sources said the only party member being targeted was Zvobgo who has
been having running battles with Muzenda for the past eight years over
control of the province.
Mutasa denied this.
"Zvobgo is not in the executive and we were targeting the provincial
executive," Mutasa said.
Muzenda, believed to be behind the machinations to have Mavhaire whipped
into line, took the matter up with the politburo last week when Mavhaire
exchanged bitter words with Mutasa.
The sources said that Msika took it upon himself to deal with the Masvingo
"problem" two months ago, a task that should have been left in the hands of
The sources said the politburo had tasked Nkomo to deal with the provincial
matters, not Msika.
Nkomo, sources said, was not happy with the decision taken by Msika.
"Nkomo was actually surprised when Msika took the decision. It flew in the
face of the recommendations Nkomo had made that the issue of Masvingo best
be solved through dialogue as any attempt to suspend Mavhaire would divide
the party further in the province," the source added.
Mavhaire was slapped with a two-year suspension and stripped off his
provincial chairmanship by the party's disciplinary committee for calling on
President Robert Mugabe to go during a parliamentary debate in 1998.
Mugabe, irked by Mavhaire's statement, said that there were witches brewing
a dangerous concoction amongst the party's members.

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

RBZ offers $300m support to ZBS

Dumisani Ndlela
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has offered liquidity support, estimated
at about $300 million, to the troubled Zimbabwe Building Society (ZBS) which
it took over in 1998 after declaring it insolvent, the Zimbabwe Independent
established this week.

Sources said ZBS was facing liquidity problems and was therefore unable to
pay maturities on investments. There was still a heavy mismatch between the
society's income and expenses, sources said.

Market analysts charged that the Reserve Bank's move contradicted official
policy which is to let distressed banks twist in the wind.

Public funds should not be used to rescue them, the RBZ declared after the
Boka affair.

The RBZ is already involved in ZBS after injecting $400 million in 1998 to
prop up the building society. The central bank immediately took up a 99,67%
shareholding in the society, with the remainder held by founder members.

The ZBS is stuck with time deposits amounting to about $450 million, which
have matured for redemption. Immediate repayments to creditors would
therefore plunge the ZBS into bankruptcy, sources said.

RBZ director for financial markets, Stewart Kufeni, said in a confidential
communication with the ZBS and its creditors that the RBZ would offer
liquidity support to institutions holding the shares at ZBS at a fixed rate
of 35% per annum with effect from Friday last week. The creditors are mainly
holders of Class "B" shares which have matured for redemption.

"This amount will be limited to the principal amount held in Class "B"
shares with ZBS and will be covered with Treasury Bills," Kufeni said in a
memo to banking and private sector institutions holding the Class "B"

Investigations by the Independent revealed that the magnitude of problems at
the ZBS was so massive that they could not easily be eliminated simply
through the intervention of the central bank.

The building society is still struggling to clear a cumulative deficit of
about $560 million.

The financial institution was still making frantic efforts to manage a high
volume of expensive and short-term negotiable certificate of deposits (NDCs)
that supported the long term mortgage book with lower returns at the time of
the RBZ's intervention. This had resulted in serious cash flow problems.

The RBZ had proposed, together with ZBS and investors, that the creditors
would retain their investments in ZBS to the end of the current financial
year. The financial year ends on June 30, 2001.

ZBS would commence repayments in September 2001 on a quarterly basis for a
period of 18 months. By the end of this period, all outstanding amounts are
expected to have been repaid.

Dividend payments for the Class "B" shares held by the creditors would be
made quarterly instead of bi-annually.

"The interest on liquidity support from the Reserve Bank for creditors will
be fixed at 35%, notwithstanding the current monetary policy of pegging the
bank rate in line with inflation," a joint RBZ/ZBS report produced in
October said.

Presently, interest on creditors' funds is calculated as the average of the
Treasury bill rate and the Class "B" rate of 23,5%.

"ZBS will also give an additional 2,5% per annum above the ordinary 23,5%
dividend on Class "B" shares held by creditors. This will also be paid
quarterly," the joint report said.

It said ZBS would actively involve creditors in the management of its
uncommitted balances to ensure a high return.

"Performance benchmarks will be worked out between ZBS and the investing
institutions," the report said.

The central bank has said its role is merely to supervise and not to bail
out banks or financial institutions facing liquidity problems.

Three months ago, the central bank intervened to save the beleaguered
Universal Merchant Bank (Unibank) by appointing a curator to run the bank.
The RBZ has declared Unibank insolvent.

Sources said even though the RBZ might claim justification for its latest
intervention in the ZBS, a case was now likely to be argued against it that
its claims that it would not save banks were merely a smoke-screen designed
for IMF consumption. The sources said the bank could not escape the fact
that it would always come in to save troubled banks to curtail convulsions
in the sector, especially where those banks had political links.

It is understood the banking sector is still sitting on shifting sand after
the collapse of the United Merchant Bank (UMB) in 1998.

The central bank still paints a rosy picture of the banking sector, arguing
that it is still sound and safe.

The Independent understands that at least two more banks may need urgent
intervention by the central bank if shareholders fail to inject fresh

Zimbabwe Independent 8 December 2000

Local authorities urged to sue government

Loughty Dube
THE secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
Finnie Munyira, has encouraged local authorities to take legal action
against government ministries and departments who owe them money in unpaid
rates, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

The revelations were made by Munyira in a circular dated September 22
circulated to all heads of local authorities nationwide. Munyira said in the
circular that local authorities were corporate bodies who were capable of
suing and of being sued.

He said it was a waste of time for local authorities to approach his
ministry seeking help in recovering debts from government which has always
proved to be an inefficient process.

Government owes councils for services provided in water, rates,
supplementary charges and for refuse collection.

"The ministry would like to remind you that local authorities are bodies
corporate capable of suing and being sued. Hence local authorities are
advised that they can and should take the necessary action in their own
right against such debtors and defaulters rather than relying on the
ministry, a way that has not always proved to be efficient," reads the

Munyira concurred with councils that it was difficult to operate when more
than half of their money was in debtors' hands.

"This has to be appreciated because local authorities provide services at a
cost and this non-payment for services adversely affects their operations.

"Local authorities are therefore encouraged to take appropriate action
concerning this issue," he said.

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