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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

 Fraud rocks CFX
Chris Goko
CFX Bank Ltd, the retail arm of CFX Financial Services, recorded a $115
billion loss as of October this year and has approached the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) for permission to recall its statutory reserve funds to cover
the yawning capital gap.

The solvency crisis, exposed by both internal and external probes, could
claim the scalps of several top managers at the former Century Bank and
exposes inherent weaknesses in the merged entity.

CFX Financial Services, in correspondence to hand, alleges that management
at Century Bank withheld information on bad accounts. CFX was thus lured
into marrying a dishonest partner.

CFX, whose merger with Century was sealed in mid-May, took out profit
warning statements this week saying "profitability of the commercial bank
will be significantly below expectations".

It did not elaborate on the reasons for the financial haemorrhage, giving
assurances, however, that corrective measures were being taken. The
cautionary said other group associates would perform satisfactorily.

Information gleaned from financial sector sources indicates that CFX Bank
incurred an accumulated loss of $115 billion in the year to October 31 and
the company's board blames the former owners for the mess at one of the few
surviving banks.

CFX's board, chaired by respected banker Isaac Takawira, is begging the
central bank for a capital adequacy refund, which it will reinvest as
treasury bills held by the regulator in a bid to save the bank from collapse
and thus save about 9 000 small shareholders.

The proposals would see the RBZ refunding CFX's current $10 billion
statutory reserve obligations and exempting the stuttering bank from capital
adequacy subscriptions for a year.

"A preliminary audit undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirms

that CFX Bank Ltd has incurred an accumulated loss of $115 billion to 31
October 2004," a source said.

"Basing on some workings they could recover this loss if the RBZ allows them
to use statutory reserves to generate income."

Papers signed by Takawira confirm the fraud. ". . . the loss was
fraudulently withheld from shareholders of CFX Merchant Bank at the time of
the merger and subsequently from the Reserve Bank at the time of determining
capital adequacy of the commercial bank," the papers say.

Although the implementation of the proposal would not immediately curtail
losses, it would mitigate monthly losses and enable the bank to fully
recover by June next year.

Takawaira, who was in Harare earlier this week, promised drastic action
against "culpable CFX Bank management", and the new shareholders are
threatening to reverse the deal with the former Century Holdings citing

Takawira's call was prompted by internal investigations, concluded on
Monday, which indicate that bank accounts "were computer-engineered" by a
key accounting manager (name supplied), who has since taken leave effective

CFX, using the Equation banking system, fell victim to the crafty managers
who tabulated a pre-tax profit of nearly $873 million in October yet the
software records a near $20 billion loss.

PwC, in correspondence to the merged bank's chief executive Wilson
Gwatiringa, corroborates the software tampering at the bank, urging the
firing or suspension of culprits who were identified in the internal report.

The report further notes discrepancies linked to "inflation of interest
expense", saying the new interest figure as reflected in the management
accounts did not match client statements.

The internal audit particularly targets the information and technology
department for aiding the creative accounting scandal.

As of October 31, the management accounts and Equation reflected a
cumulative management account profit of $9,5 billion, while aggregated loss
as given by the banking software is $115,2 billion, meaning there was a $124
billion gap.

The balance sheets also gave total assets at nearly $259 billion, while
liabilities are $374 billion.

"I strongly feel that the adjustments noted above are done on an Excel
spreadsheet and they are adjusted backwards from the management accounts
back to the Equation system, ie the management accounts showing desired
results are prepared first, then adjustments to tie up to Equation are
 made," the report says.

CFX boss Gwatiringa did not return calls from this paper and PwC acting boss
Tinashe Rwodzi was unreachable for comment. RBZ officials flatly refused to

Apart from the accounting fallout, CFX's forerunner is not new to
governance-linked shortcomings. It was plagued by allegations of inadequate
banking law compliance and enforcement flaws at a time it traded with the
failed ENG Capital.

The latest problems, though, contain grave ramifications for its stock
exchange listing and have seen Innscor Africa backing off from further
capital injections.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

       EU to review Mugabe sanctions
Dumisani Muleya
THE European Union is reviewing targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's
political leadership ahead of their renewal next year.

A flurry of shuttle diplomacy involving the European Union and other
interested parties on the long-running Zimbabwe crisis is under way ahead of
the 2005 election.

Diplomatic sources confirmed that senior officials from the African desks of
Britain and France's foreign ministries were in Harare over the past two
weeks to put out feelers on possible re-engagement with Zimbabwean

The EU in February 2002 imposed targeted sanctions and travel bans on
President Robert Mugabe and his regime to protest repression and human
rights abuses. It has also slapped Zimbabwe with an arms embargo.

Sources said Britain and France are trying to find a formula to resolve the
Zimbabwe crisis.

Although the two countries share a common EU position on Zimbabwe, they have
different views on how to handle the problem. In the absence of any change
of behaviour by Zanu PF, Britain wants a renewal of sanctions while France
favours a policy of engagement.

This accords with regional approaches, most notably South Africa's "quiet
diplomacy" aimed at persuading Zanu PF and the MDC to negotiate a way out of
the impasse.

British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr Roderick Pullen, has been meeting cabinet
ministers and Zanu PF politburo members to discuss issues. British embassy
spokesperson Gillian Dare said Pullen had held meeting with authorities but
there had been no "policy shift" on Zimbabwe as yet.

"There have been some meetings and they have listened to us and we have also
listened to them but there is no policy shift," she said. "The difference is
that they are now more responsive to dialogue."

The French position, which Britain appears reluctantly to have embraced in
return for France's cooperation over the renewal of EU sanctions in
February, dovetails with South African President Thabo Mbeki's diplomacy.

Sources said Mbeki's approach, endorsed by United States President George
Bush last year during his visit to Pretoria, is winning the day as it had
become "the only show in town".

"Mbeki's policy of coaxing the two political parties to re-engage,
especially after the concessions Zimbabwe made in Mauritius, is viewed as
the more rewarding of the various policies," a Western diplomat said this
week. A recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) said Western
nations need to support Mbeki's initiative.

When the EU's "Common Position" is renewed in February, it could be for just
a few months instead of a year to concentrate minds in Harare and hold out
the rewards of dialogue. But if the election is violent and openly
manipulated, as was the case in 2002, such concessions will prove

*Meanwhile, the EU parliament yesterday adopted a resolution condemning the
passage of repressive legislation in Zimbabwe and demanding the release of
Roy Bennett.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

 War vets defy Mugabe
Gift Phiri/Loughty Dube
IN what appears to be open defiance of President Robert Mugabe's orders, war
veterans in the three Matabeleland provinces have said they do not recognise
the interim chairman Andrew Ndlovu and his organising committee, insisting
that dismissed chairperson Jabulani Sibanda is still their leader.

Mugabe suspended Sibanda from the ruling Zanu PF for four years after he
attended an unauthorised meeting in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North. Also
suspended from the party were six party provincial chairpersons while
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who reportedly called the meeting, was
reprimanded and faces further censure.

War veterans district leaders from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South,
meeting in Bulawayo last weekend, re-affirmed their support for the
Sibanda-led executive and denounced Ndlovu as a nonentity in the national

"We do not know Andrew Ndlovu," one district leader said. "What is he
reforming in the war veterans association and on whose behalf is he doing
that? He should go back to those that sent him and tell them that we do not
want him to intervene in our affairs."

Ndlovu this week claimed that he was tasked by Mugabe to re-organise the
Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, a claim that was dismissed by
war veterans leaders at the Bulawayo meeting.

"As the legitimate interim chairman of the association, I was tasked by
President Mugabe to re-organise the party and those that are claiming that I
am illegitimate are the same people who plotted the Tsholotsho attempted
coup. But as it stands, I am in charge of the association," Ndlovu said.

President Mugabe is the patron of the war veterans.

However, party insiders this week said Ndlovu was acting on the instructions
of Vice-President Joseph Msika who has openly clashed with Sibanda on
numerous occasions.

"The participation of Jabulani Sibanda, Chinotimba and other misguided
elements in an attempt to stage a coup d'état against our revolutionary
presidium and party is to us a matter of life and death. It (is) aimed at
causing bloodshed and suffering among our people," Ndlovu said in a
statement last week.

"As ex-officio members of the war veterans we have declared a vote of no
confidence in the leadership of rebels Jabulani Sibanda and Chinotimba and
all members who attended and took part in the Tsholotsho Declaration."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

   Ministers get feel of Air Zim turbulence
Itai Dzamara
THREE cabinet ministers and Air Zimbabwe acting managing director Oscar
Madombwe recently suffered the effects of declining service at the national
airline when they spent several hours stranded due to technical problems and
a go-slow by workers.

Transport and Communications minister Chris Mushowe, under whose ministry
the national airline falls, had to resort to an Air Malawi plane after an
Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737 had returned to Harare International Airport soon
after take-off due to technical problems on Monday.

Special Affairs minister John Nkomo and Information minister Jonathan Moyo
were stranded at Harare airport when the Friday and Saturday flights to
Bulawayo were delayed by several hours due to the go-slow at the national

Madombwe, who was in China to discuss an aircraft deal, failed to come back
on Sunday as earlier scheduled due to technical problems with the Boeing 767
plane that is plying the route.

Madombwe yesterday confirmed the airline was experiencing technical

"It is largely a result of the go-slow. There have been flight delays here
and there and indeed it has affected some of us and ministers," he said. "We
are working on ensuring that such problems don't continue."

The flight to China via Singapore was launched last month amidst much
fanfare but has suffered very low bookings. The persistent technical
problems at Air Zimbabwe could worsen the situation in the face of stiff
competition from established regional airlines.

Mushowe yesterday confirmed from Malawi that he had to use an Air Malawi
plane on Monday evening after the pilot of an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737
detected what engineers said was a serious defect in the cabin.

"There was a technical problem. This affected my plans because there was
very little time between the scheduled time of arrival and the connecting
flight in Johannesburg," Mushowe said. "I realised I couldn't use the Air
Zimbabwe plane and resorted to the Malawian plane that plies the
Harare-Lubumbashi route later that evening."

The plane, which also had passengers booked for Johannesburg, returned to
Harare airport less than 10 minutes after take-off and had to reschedule the
flight to Tuesday.

Nkomo this week confirmed having spent up to four hours at the airport due
to delays in the departure of the flight to Bulawayo. The flight was
scheduled for early morning but was delayed to after lunch.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

    UK firms largest investors despite row
Gift Phiri
BRITISH companies remain firmly ensconced in the Zimbabwean economy, ranking
among the country's largest investors despite the drawn-out diplomatic row
between Harare and London.

Information gleaned from the country's prime investment promotion body,
Zimbabwe Investment Centre, reveals that 414 British companies are still
operating in Zimbabwe. In his opening remarks during the ruling Zanu PF's
National People's Congress held two weeks ago, President Robert Mugabe said
the economy was in the hands of a "racist minority and foreigners". He said
there were "over 400 British companies operating here making profits, and
dividends being declared in England".

"I am not sure if Mr Blair knows this," he said.

The ZIC said there were 71 companies which were 100% British-owned while 208
had either an equal partnership with locals or had a dominating shareholding
ranging from 60 to about 90%. Zimbabweans have a controlling shareholding in
143 companies, which also have partnerships with British companies. The
companies operate across the spectrum of the economy from agriculture,
communication, commerce, construction, manufacturing, mining, to tourism and

It was not possible to obtain comment from the British Business Association,
an affiliate of the British Embassy. But an embassy spokesperson told the
Zimbabwe Independent that they did not immediately have comprehensive
records of the number of British companies operating in Zimbabwe or their
investment value.

"The British Embassy maintains contact with a number of companies operating
in Zimbabwe which are branches of British companies or which are owned or
part-owned by British parent companies," the spokesperson said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

       Mangwana's circus
Shakeman Mugari/Conrad Dube
THE Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana is
a firm believer in his own statistics. He believes Zimbabwe's unemployment
rate is only 9% instead of the widely accepted 70%.

Mangwana also believes the troubled National Social Security Authority
(NSSA) is the "best run" parastatal in the country. He even believes
millions of Malawians will soon trek back to Zimbabwe like they did during
the colonial era, to be employed by new farmers.

The minister made these extraordinary claims this week at a press conference
on the preparations for the East, Central and Southern Africa Employers'
Conference to be held in Zimbabwe in January. The Employers Confederation of
Zimbabwe (Emcoz) is hosting the conference. The conference will be held in
Victoria Falls from January 26 to 28 and regional labour unions and employer
organisations are expected to attend.

But it was Labour minister Mangwana who stole the show with his eloquent but
far-fetched responses to questions from the media. "I don't believe that the
unemployment rate in this country is 70%. In fact it's a lie. If that was
the case it means 70% of the country's population would have been dead by
now," Mangwana remarked poetically.

"Therefore the correct rate of unemployment rate in this country is 9%, that
is the correct figure that I am using. That is the figure that I was given
by the Central Statistical Office (CSO)," Mangwana claimed to the surprise
of everyone present.

The minister was however bogged down by his mathematical errors when he said
that 1,5 million people or about 30% of the employable labour force were
gainfully employed out of the five million who are economically active -
thus confirming that only 30% of the economically active are employed.

He strained credibility further when he said about 1,8 million people were
contributing to NSSA - a wide 300 000 above the 1,5 million he had early
stated. A mathematical error perhaps. But the minister was not finished yet.

He said all allegations of mismanagement against NSSA were unfounded.

"I came into office earlier this year. I immediately went into NSSA to
verify these allegations and found nothing.

"Really I found nothing amiss. In fact NSSA is the best run parastatal in
Zimbabwe. In any case why are we not asking questions about private pension
funds?" said Mangwana without indicating what independent enquiry he had
employed to reach that conclusion.

This is despite the fact that a parliamentary public accounts committee had
earlier this year grilled NSSA officials and board chairman, Edwin Manikai,
over the state of the authority's accounts and investment portfolio.

But the circus was only just beginning, as the minister was to pull another
shocker from his bag of startling revelations. "And mind you Zimbabwe is
short of farm labour. So we might find ourselves trekking to Malawi for farm

The Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions (ZCTU) immediately lashed out at
the minister saying he has little knowledge of labour issues.

ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe said the figures Mangwana was
"selling are coming from a legal expert who is however not well versed with
labour issues". Mangwana is a lawyer by profession.

"The minister is easily excitable and does not concern himself to research
to verify his claims," said Chibebe. He said government figures on
employment contradict CSO figures which show that the unemployment rate is
between 65% and 70%.

Chibebe said there was no need to view "people earning slave money as

"There is an element of employment, underemployment and unemployment which
the government is not considering in the calculation of employment rates.

"However, the figures the minister is using are for political expedience and
cannot be relied on. If South Africa which has a vibrant economy has an
unemployment rate of between 30% and 40%, how can Zimbabwe have such low
figures when industry is going down?"

About 40 companies have closed down this year alone, throwing many workers
on the streets. More than 400 companies have closed down since 2000.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

      Zesa goes farming
Staff Writers
THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has taken up
tobacco contract farming to raise foreign currency for power imports and
expansion of its generation capacity.

The development comes barely a month after a telecommunications company,
TeleAccess, turned to contract tobacco farming and mining in a bid to raise
US$160 million needed to import equipment for its network rollout.

Zesa needs US$40 million to repay China National Aero Technology Import
Export Corporation (Catic) for investments in power generation in the
country. In the current season the power utility is understood to have
sponsored 3 900 hectares of Virginia tobacco planted by both A1 and A2
farmers throughout the country.

Zesa Holdings group stakeholder relations manager Fullard Gwasira confirmed
that his organisation had ventured into farming to raise money to pay back

"Zesa's participation in the tobacco export sector is intended to raise the
necessary foreign exchange to amortise the investments from China," Gwasira
said. "The agreement between Zesa and Catic of China is worth about US$40
million."He said Zesa Enterprises, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings, had signed
an agreement with Catic for the expansion of Hwange and Kariba power

"This agreement is already operational and work on the expansion programme
is set to commence early next year," he said.

"The tobacco contract-growing scheme has so far seen flue-cured tobacco
planted on 3 557 hectares of land. US$20 million is expected to be harvested
by these farmers.

"Another 105 small-scale farmers are expected to be contracted soon to grow
400 hectares of flue-cured tobacco. The hectarage is planned to increase to
10 000 by 2006 for export to China," Gwasira said.

As of March this year, Zesa needed to raise US$543 million to recapitalise
the Kariba and Hwange power stations.

Zesa requires US$17 million a month to meet power import requirements,
operational costs and to settle debts.

The power utility has a capacity to generate only 65% of the country's
requirements. The remaining 35% is imported from Eskom of South Africa,
Hydro Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and Snel of the Democratic Republic of

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

      African NGOs seek UN help on Zim
Staff Writer
NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations (NGOs) in Africa have resolved to pressure
the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) to ask the
United Nations to send a special rapporteur to assess the situation of human
rights defenders in the country.

The continental organisation made their submissions to the Commission's
meeting held from November 23 to December 7 in Dakar, Senegal.

In their resolution titled "ACHPR 36th Session - NGO Forum Resolution on
Zimbabwe", the African organisations said there was a need for the
government to also repeal repressive legislation such as the Public Order
and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy

"The NGO forum resolves to recommend to the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights to recommend to the government of Zimbabwe to invite the
special rapporteur on the African Commission on Human Rights defenders and
the special representative of the United Nations Secretary General on human
rights defenders to visit Zimbabwe to assess the situation of human rights
defenders in Zimbabwe," the resolution said.

The continental NGOs had also appealed to the commission to urge Zimbabwe
not to pass the NGOs Bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill in
their current form as they violated and "impinged on the African Charter and
other international human rights standards".

However, the Bills were both passed last week, and are now awaiting
presidential assent.

Of major concern to the NGO forum was that promulgating such legislation
would result in the closure of some NGOs, criminalising human rights
defenders and banning foreign funding.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

    Mugabe slammed for subverting legal system
Sydney Morning Herald/Staff Writer
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is clinging to power by driving judges from office
and subverting the entire legal system, an international group of lawyers
who recently visited the country has said.

The International Council of Advocates and Barristers said in a report it
found that judges and the courts had been "profoundly compromised over the
past four years".

"We have concluded that the Zimbabwean justice system has ceased to be
independent and impartial," the report, titled State of Justice in Zimbabwe,

"Many of those within the system have been driven out by some kind of
pressure, and much of the legal system of Zimbabwe has been subverted by the
Zanu PF government in an effort to frustrate the proper working of democracy
and to hold on to power," it said.

"There are still judges and lawyers in the system that are very courageous
and brave and act according to the law, but these people are in danger,
which can even mean they fear for their lives."

A special team of the International Council of Advocates and Barristers led
by Stephen Irwing prepared the report on Zimbabwe after a fact-finding visit
in April. Other members of the delegation were Glenn Martin, president of
the Queensland Bar Association in Australia; vice-chairperson of the South
African Bar Justice Poswa; vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates of
Scotland, Roy Martin; and Conor Maguire, chairperson of the Irish Bar.

The delegation met the Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku, Judge President Paddington Garwe, acting
Attorney-General Bharat Patel, judges, magistrates, prosecutors, clerks,
interpreters, and recorders.

By the end of the visit, Irwing and his team had accumulated more than 10kg
of documents from evidence given by many people regarding the justice
delivery system in the country. The report said some judges had been given
land at nominal rents under the government's land reform scheme. It states
that some judges have been promoted above more senior colleagues, while
Mugabe's sympathisers handle sensitive political cases.

"The legal culture has been subverted for political ends," the report said.

Even the attorney-general - whose role is more akin to a director of public
prosecutions - conceded politics was a factor in the appointment of judges.
A visit to Patel's office convinced the council he was "under immense
pressure from his political masters".

It said the interference began after the government published a list of 1
471 white-owned farms for acquisition in 1997. Two years later, the
Administrative Court declared the notices invalid and in 2000 the Supreme
Court ruled the government had failed to follow the correct procedures for

In the past three years four Supreme Court judges have been replaced
following withering criticism from the government. In March 2001, a former
deputy Justice minister, Godfrey Chidyausiku, was appointed Chief Justice -
a month after accusing the then Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay of "bias in
favour of white farmers".

Six months later he was listed as the owner of 895 hectares of farmland in
Mazowe. Two of the other appointees have been given more than 1 800

The council also recorded the arrest of two judges, one of whom found the
Justice minister Chinamasa guilty of contempt in his last case before
retirement. Last year, a serving High Court judge was arrested in chambers
after handing down a series of anti-government decisions. The charges in
both cases were later withdrawn.

At the lower end of the justice system, magistrates have been under attack.
In August 2002, one was dragged out of his courtroom by Zanu PF supporters
after he granted bail to two officials from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. Another was stabbed.

There were now 59 vacancies for magistrates' posts and a backlog of more
than 60 000 cases in April. The council found the judiciary was attacked "to
frustrate the proper workings of democracy and to hold on to power. It seems
clear they would not have held on to power otherwise.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Zanu PF links may dash royal affair
Staff Writer
TRADE links between a white Zimbabwean business tycoon and Zanu PF
heavyweights who were granted lucrative hunting and photographic concessions
during the government's sullied land reform scheme has sparked controversy
which has a royal dimension.

Charles Davy, the father of Prince Harry's girlfriend, Chelsy, has carved
out a fortune through marketing wildlife hunting safaris owned by President
Robert Mugabe's lieutenants.

The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that the background to Davy's wealth
includes business partnerships with some of Mugabe's close lieutenants who
have been accused of corruptly using their influence to acquire Parks and
Wildlife concessions.

The beneficiaries, whose safari concessions are now being marketed by Davy's
HHK Safaris, hold long leases on farms in hunting and photographic
destinations in central Midlands, Matetsi Safari Area, the south-western and
south-eastern shores of Lake Kariba and the south-western Lowveld of

Prince Harry has been photographed with Chelsy in South Africa prior to
their departure for a Mozambique island resort last week.

HHK Safaris director Vincent Davy on Wednesday said his organisation was not
based on any political benefaction.

"HHK was started in 1998 and it is not based on any political patronage,"
Davy said. "It was not then and it is not now. It does not have any hunting
concession area of its own. HHK is not a concessionaire. HHK is a marketing

Information to hand indicates that HHK Safaris' marketing wing, Safari
Marketing and Management Services, market five hunting concessions with 15
camps. These are Chirisa owned by Famba Safaris, Unit 1 and Kasibi held by
Matetsi Wildlife, Chete owned by Burmakino Travel and Tours, Omay by
National Safaris and Lemco owned by Mazunga Safari.

Investigations by the Independent reveal that Webster Shamu, the Minister of
State for Policy Implementation in Mugabe's office, is a shareholder in
Famba Safaris, the holding company for Chirisa concession and has also been
represented by HKK Safaris during international hunting conventions.

Shamu, who has been tipped to take over as the next Information minister,
has also been fingered in the contentious allocation of Matetsi Unit 5. He
was once the editor of the People's Voice, the official mouthpiece of the
ruling Zanu PF. Reached for comment on Wednesday, Shamu declined to comment
on the matter saying it was a contentious issue sparked by a love affair of
"two kids", a reference to Harry and Chelsy.

The Independent understands that in Matetsi 5 concession, seven units in the
area were leased to ruling party and high-ranking government officials. Unit
1, which is currently trading as Matetsi Wildlife, is in the name of Eddie
Kadzombe, Unit 2 Mike Chidziwa, Unit 3 Enos Dube, Unit 4 Jacob Mudenda, Unit
5 Shamu, Unit 6 Army General Constantine Chiwenga and Unit 7 Lovemore

Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema has confirmed that his Zanu
PF colleagues named have concessions but vehemently denied allegations of
favouritism. Trying to rebut a widely-held perception that the allocation of
hunting concessions only benefited leading Zanu PF politicians, Nhema said
everything was done above board. He said they went to tender and emerged

"They attended the auctions for the concessions. It is on record how they
got the concessions and how the auction happened," Nhema said.

Questions are now being asked about the suitability of Chelsy to be a royal
bride following reports that Prince Harry plans to marry her. Already the
love affair has caused consternation in Royal circles with many Britons
arguing that the Prince cannot marry into a family whose head sups with the
Mugabe regime.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Zanu PF rushing Bills for March election
Gift Phiri
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is pulling out all the stops to ensure the ruling
Zanu PF wins the crucial parliamentary election due in March next year.

Analysts say Mugabe's measures were part of a wider plan to further
undermine civil and political liberties, and the freedoms of association,
assembly and expression in a bid to entrench the current regime's
totalitarian grip on every facet of life.

These draft laws would come in handy for Zanu PF, which is evidently afraid
of a free population and democratic elections. The ruling party is likely to
use the laws to strengthen its growing agenda of repression, human rights
abuses and electoral manipulation.

An electoral reform Bill was pushed through parliament last week but the
draft legislation impedes rather than create genuinely independent and
impartial electoral authority. Government is struggling to make electoral
reforms to comply with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
principles and guidelines governing elections.

A new security law, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill, was
also bulldozed through the House last week. Critics have said it
criminalises the journalism profession and makes it a crime to criticise

The Bill seeks to impose up to 20 years' imprisonment, heavy fines, or both
for anyone publishing "false" information deemed "prejudicial against the
state". It would make it an offence to publish or communicate "to any other
person a statement which is wholly or materially false with the intention or
realising that that there is a real risk of inciting or promoting public
disorder or public violence or endangering public safety; or adversely
affecting the defence and economic interests of Zimbabwe; or undermining
public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the
Defence Forces of Zimbabwe; or interfering with, disrupting or interrupting
any essential service".

The New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) immediately called
for the repeal of the law in a damning letter fired off to Mugabe.

"The CPJ is outraged at your government's continued clampdown on independent
media in Zimbabwe, including proposed new legislation that could be used to
jail journalists for up to 20 years," the press freedom organisation said in
the letter. "At a time when several other African countries are lifting
criminal sanctions for press offences, bringing their laws in line with
international standards, Your Excellency's government is preparing to
introduce penalties that are among the harshest on the continent."

The CPJ reminded Mugabe of Zimbabwe's commitment to the Sadc principles and
guidelines governing democratic elections, which include safeguarding
freedom of expression and access to the media.

Another Bill, the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), was passed by
parliament - in spite of fierce criticism - last week. It will ban
foreign-funded rights groups in the country.

Analysts say the government's political language in the last few months has

signalled the launching of a campaign against NGOs, the latest targets of
Zanu PF's attempt to silence dissent.

Analysts said the proposed electoral law, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) Bill, hampers the establishment of an impartial electoral body in four
key ways.

"First, the method of appointing electoral commissioners does not provide
for the sufficient inclusion of various political parties," Peter
Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division
said. "Second, the Bill does not adequately restrict high-ranking political
party office holders from being appointed as commissioners. Third, the Bill
provides numerous opportunities for ministerial intervention in the work of
the commission. Fourth, the establishment of the commission solely through
an ordinary statute makes it vulnerable to repeal."

Mugabe has branded the charities "megaphones for their foreign masters" and
"enemies of the state". Already, two British organisations - Oxfam and Save
the Children and a Swiss charity Medair - have been stopped from
distributing food to the hungry. Since the tabling of the NGO Bill, whose
provisions include a requirement to register with the government-body, the
NGO council, there has been a concentrated effort to single out as
"imperialist agents" specific groups such as the Amani Trust, Transparency
International, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Legal
Resources Foundation, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the National
Constitutional Assembly - all of whom have helped expose the government's
appalling human rights record.

While the government's intolerance of NGOs is not new, the current hype
against them has shown renewed determination to eliminate dissent and
destroy their capacity to function.

Brian Kagoro, a lawyer and human rights activist, said the government was
determined to mount a sustained programme to emasculate civil society, pull
the rug from under the feet of the established independent organisations and
create its own groups. Already, a disturbing trend is evident with the
emergence of state-sponsored groups who pose as civil society organisations
while promoting Mugabe and state propaganda.

"The issue is not about the NGOs having done anything wrong but about
control," Kagoro said. "They are aiming at clearing the space for their own
pliant organisations who will praise the government in the name of
nationalism. When people say there is no associational life in Zimbabwe they
will simply point to the ones they have created," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

        Tourism fails to rise from the ashes
By Ray Matikinye
CLIMB over a gentle incline along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway and a
roadside shop gradually looms, marking the entrance to Lupane growth point
that is billed to become the future provincial capital of Matabeleland

A few metres from the verge of the highway, 32-year-old Kizito Tshabangu
stands up from a wooden stool placed in the midst of various carvings spread
on the ground and twists his torso in both directions to unloosen cramped

"I hardly get any customers these days. This period of the year towards the
festive season used to be our best time selling artefacts to tourists,"
reminisces Tshabangu, who bemoans that he spends most of his time spitting
and polishing the stone carvings to maintain their shine despite little hope
of getting his wares sold.

Tshabangu specialises in exquisite carvings made out of teak found in
abundance in the surrounding forest. He has diversified into stone carvings

"At times I feel like abandoning it all and just going home. But I have a
family to feed and children to send to school so I convince myself that
better times lie ahead," he says without much optimism.

His despondency is illustrative of the tourism industry's failure to rise
from the ashes of Zimbabwe's economic and political environment like the
proverbial phoenix.

A boom in tourism during the few years preceding the often-violent farm
invasions in 2000 and its attendant political upheaval brought about a
legion of wood and stone carvers keen to capitalise on an influx of tourists
driving along major highways.

Chug along major highways across the country today and witness small
communities of wood and stone carvers living in flimsy plastic or pole and
mud shacks, waiting in vain for customers. These communities flourished as
informal foreign currency exchange points while the tourism boom lasted. The
decline in business for the roadside wood and stone carvers serves as a
barometer for the sharp decline in the motoring tourist.

"Now I am lucky to get a single buyer in a week," Tshabangu says.

Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe indicate that receipts from
tourism peaked at US$232 million in 1996 and slumped to US$124 million in
2000. They then slid to US$43,40 million in 2001.

During the decade 1989 to 1999 tourist arrivals grew at an average 17,5%
while tourist receipts increased at an average 18%. However, the prevailing
political environment has witnessed the sector experience its worst

But the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says it is working hard to ensure
that the "Look East" tourism policy becomes a success story, expecting the
industry to ride on the back of the Asian market.

"Asia is a new market for Zimbabwe and therefore might take some time to
grow to high levels that we may all want them to reach," says ZTA research
and development director Simba Mandinyenya. "But things are looking good as
Asian visitors continue to rise. These are just signs of good fortunes to
come for us and so we should be patient."

According to the ZTA, Chinese visitors recorded the highest increase in the
number of tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe from January to September 2004. A
total of 24 000 Chinese visited the country during the period, representing
a 392% increase compared to the 4 960 arrivals in 2003.

Despite government claims of a boom, Zimbabwe Council of Tourism chairman
Shingi Munyeza says his organisation, which represents the bulk of tourism
companies, has yet to see the benefits of its policy.

"The Chinese move in large numbers but they are bad spenders. The

majority come through South Africa."

Statistics from ZTA do not impress Tshabangu who says his business counts on
the motoring tourist.

"Our customer base is the motorist, particularly those from South Africa.
Since the fuel situation began to deteriorate in 2001, there has been fewer
and fewer such tourists driving along this highway," he explains.

So to maintain a steady flow of business some of Tshabangu's colleagues have
decided to take their artefacts to the customers at Victoria Falls where
tourists fly in and fly out.

"We cannot all go to Victoria Falls where police constantly harass those
selling artefacts," he says.

Zimbabwe's tourism industry has been floundering despite efforts by various
organisations to shore up its flagging fortunes. In September the National
Economic Consultative Forum completed an interactive CD-Rom meant to boost
tourist inflows ahead of an international exposition to be held in Aich,
Japan, next March.

Mandinyenya says his organisation has also identified key zones in the
Shashi-Limpopo Beitbridge, Great Zimbabwe and Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park
that it intends to develop because of their high potential for tourists.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

       Moyo botches 'Battle for Tsholotsho'
Dumisani Muleya/Gift Phiri
EMBATTLED Information minister Jonathan Moyo faces further humiliation today
when President Robert Mugabe announces a new Zanu PF politburo during a
central committee meeting.

Moyo was recently booted out of the central committee after he convened a
controversial meeting in Tsholotsho, reportedly aimed at staging a palace
coup against the Zanu PF old guard.

Mugabe attacked Moyo over the issue before he kicked him out of the
242-member central committee. This automatically ensured Moyo would be left
out of the politburo.

Moyo is struggling to ride out a series of problems that he has created for
himself. He is also trying to win Tsholotsho in next year's general

But Moyo's attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people of Tsholotsho
suffered another blow this week when his plans to rope in the country's most
popular soccer clubs - Caps United and Highlanders - to play in his $50
million challenge match hung in the balance.

The match was organised by the Tsholotsho Sports Association, Moyo's

Newly crowned Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Caps United initially
said they would send a second-string side to play former champions
Highlanders in the "Battle of Tsholotsho" at Tsholotsho business centre but
later changed their mind.

Although it was not possible to get an official comment from Highlanders, a
senior official at the Bulawayo giants said their team would not be used as
a "political condom".

Caps play in the Zifa Unity Cup match on Sunday while Highlanders are set to
engage South Africa's Black Leopards and Dynamos to raise money to meet
their financial obligations.

Winners in Moyo's match were set to walk away with $35 million, while losers
would get $15 million. It was not clear where Moyo got the sponsorship
money. There have been a lot of queries about his avalanche of donations in
Tsholotsho. Ministers earn $16,5 million per year. They also get a cabinet
allowance of $29 030, a general allowance of $18 670 and a housing allowance
of $125 000.

Moyo is not a known businessman and this has fuelled speculation about the
source of his donations and money to finance soccer matches, beauty pageants
and his shadowy music band, PaxAfro.

PSL secretary-general Chris Sambo said yesterday the soccer body was not
involved in Moyo's match.

"The PSL is not involved in the organisation of that game," he said. "We
know nothing about the Tsholotsho match. We have not been contacted by the

Confusion seemed to engulf the Moyo match yesterday as officials sounded
uncertain about the game. Caps United chairman Andy Hodges initially said
the team would send a weakened side.

"We will send a team but it won't be a full strength squad," Hodges said.
But later he said: "Without PSL approval we cannot play."

Moyo's Tsholotsho Sports Association yesterday faxed a letter dated November
30 seeking approval for the match but PSL was in a dilemma over the issue.
The letter said Tsholotsho would be "blessed and thrilled" by the match,
which was due to be played on a dusty football pitch in rural Tsholotsho.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

     Loans abuse may backfire for Agribank
Itai Dzamara
THE Agricultural Development Bank (Agribank) could fail to get the proposed
$150 billion from next year's annual budget following expressions of outrage
by the presidency over the handling of this year's allocation as well as
interest rate levels.

Agribank was allocated $60 billion this year, which it has exhausted on
loans to farmers. However, there are reports of gross abuse of the loan
facility by government officials and that in most cases the money was used
for purposes other than agricultural production.

Vice-President Joseph Msika this week said the presidency had requested a
probe and an explanation from Agribank management on the allocation and use
of funds as well as interest rates charged.

Msika openly disapproved of the figures presented to Zanu PF at its national
congress a fortnight ago by Agriculture minister Joseph Made.

"We were shocked to hear that the rates had been increased by huge margins
without our consent," Msika said. "Something is wrong with the manner things
have been done at the bank and we have ordered a probe before any funds
could be released."

Made told the Zanu PF congress that interest rates on loans had been
increased from 20% to 70%, a factor which could have contributed to failure
by resettled farmers to access the Agribank loans.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on budget and finance told the House
two months ago that senior government officials had benefited from Agribank
loans. The committee recommended a probe, which is currently under way.

Sources at Agribank said the list of names of people who accessed loans that
reportedly comprised senior government officials disappeared after the
parliamentary committee's report.

Government restructured Agri-bank last year to finance the controversial
land reform programme. Agricultural production has drastically gone down
partly owing to failure by the beneficiaries to engage in meaningful
production due to lack of capital.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

       No consensus between Zanu PF/MDC on polls
Dumisani Muleya/Itai Dzamara
THREE months before next year's general election, the ruling Zanu PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are still "worlds apart" on
contentious electoral reforms. This follows reports in the government media
that the two parties are in agreement on electoral reform.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the two parties were still poles
apart on the political reform agenda. The reforms are contained in the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill and the accompanying Electoral

"There still remains an extremely wide gulf between Zanu PF and the MDC on
the electoral reforms," Ncube said.

"It's not true that we are now proceeding by consensus because there is no
agreement. What has happened is that they have made a few technical
concessions, like improving the quality of drafting of the Bill, but not on
fundamentals issues."

The ZEC Bill was passed by parliament last week while the Electoral Bill was
passed yesterday. The changes will result in voting in one day instead of
two, use of translucent ballot boxes, and the counting of ballots at polling

The Electoral Bill will amend the Electoral Act to facilitate reforms.

Reports in the state media this week claimed Zanu PF and the MDC had found
common ground on key electoral issues, but Ncube said this was untrue. He
said the parties were still entrenched in widely divergent positions.

"We still have irreconcilable differences on the method of appointment of
commissioners to the ZEC, the role of the Registrar-General's Office, the
voters' roll, and the issue of repressive legislation," Ncube said.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) we were refused permission to hold consultative
meetings and where permission was granted there were impossible conditions

Ncube, who has previously engaged in informal talks with Zanu PF negotiator
Patrick Chinamasa on the current crisis, said Zanu PF's obduracy militated
against a negotiated political settlement.

"There are still a lot of contentious issues," he said. "Out of the more
than 30 proposals we have made, Zanu PF has only accepted about five. They
have agreed to give us access to the state media but it's an empty agreement
if there are no enforcement mechanisms.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

       ZCTU says forum waste of
Conrad Dube
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said that the resumption of
the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) will be a waste of time without
political commitment to its objectives.

ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chebebe told the Zimbabwe Independent that
the labour union was wary of government using the forum as a publicity stunt
without benefits accruing to members as the nation prepares for the March
2005 election.

Chibebe said: "We are concerned that without political commitment the social
dialogue will become useless. The machinations by government which derailed
earlier social protocols will not help the TNF go forward.

"We are mindful of the possibility of intentions to use the TNF as a
publicity stunt going to the general election to portray a picture of unity
among the social partners."

He said there was need for the social partners to revisit the founding
principles of TNF and show commitment to transparency, equity and fair-play
among the social partners.

There have in the past been disagreements on which labour organisation is
expected to attend the social dialogue between the ZCTU and the Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).

The membership conflict is however set to worsen as another labour
federation seeks registration under the Labour Act.

According to a Government Gazette of December 10, the Zimbabwe Federation of
Labour, which seeks to represent the interests of employees of the Kapenta
Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Private Security Workers Union, Motor Industry
and Allied Workers Union, and Horticulture, Ostriches, Crocodiles and Allied
Workers Union has applied for registration.

This brings to four the number of labour federations in the country.

On the matter of the membership and absence of the ZFTU at this week's
meeting, Chibebe said: "We agreed that the matter had to be dealt with as
part of the labour symposium. That is why they did not come. There are some
issues that still have to be addressed for them to participate."

Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Mike Bimha said "the
issue had to be discussed by the social partners".

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mangwana however
said labour would be represented by the three main labour bodies in the
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

         ZTA to downgrade hotels
Shakeman Mugari
THREE hotels risk having their star ratings downgraded by the Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority (ZTA) due to what insiders say is sub-standard
infrastructure and low quality of service, businessdigest can reveal.

The three ZSE-listed firms, Zim-sun Leisure Group (Zimsun), Rainbow Tourism
Group (RTG) and TA Holdings (TA), might have their flagship hotels stripped
of their stars.

The five-star Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, owned by Zimsun, and RTG's Ambassador
Hotel face downward re-ratings. Jameson Hotel, owned by TA Holdings could
also lose a star.

Sources say Crowne Plaza Monomatapa risks having its stars reduced to four,
down from the maximum of five. The Jameson could have its stars slashed from
four to three. The Ambassador Hotel risks having its stars reduced to two
from three.

Stars are an important aspect of the tourism industry because they give an
indication of the standard of service and the quality of facilities at each
hotel. They also indicate the capacity of the hotel to provide certain

Sources at ZTA told businessdigest that the authority was compiling a report
on each of the three hotels before they chop stars. The sensitive issue was
expected to be discussed by the ZTA board of directors this week.

Zimsun, TA Holdings and Rainbow Tourism Group have however professed
ignorance of the pending action. They said ZTA had not informed them of its
intention to re-rate their hotels.

RTG chief executive Chipo Mtasa said last week that she had held a meeting
with ZTA chief executive Tichaona Jokonya to clarify the issue.

"I met with ZTA boss and he assured me that Ambassador Hotel was safe,"
Mtasa said.

"He (Jokonya) said he had seen the draft report on the issue. He however
noted that he would have to come back to us (hotels) with that report for us
to respond to the issues raised."

She said it was unfortunate that such information had been leaked to the
press before the hotels had responded to the issues raised by the authority.
"It is sad and unfortunate that the media should get to know of such
information before us. However, we will meet Jokonya again on the issue,"
she said.

Concerning Zimsun's Crowne Plaza, Zimsun chief executive Shingi Munyeza said
he had not been informed of the move. "Even if there was such a report we
would have been given the right to respond. That is the usual way of doing
things. It's not like they would just downgrade the hotel without us
knowing," Munyeza said.

"I can tell you that no report of that sort has come to us. What I can say
though is that such a thing would not happen without us knowing."

A TA spokesperson said it was highly unlikely that their Jameson Hotel would
lose a star. "It is unfair to say that the Jameson would lose a star. It's
unfair because we cannot be downgraded when we are still renovating the
hotel," said the spokesperson.

If taken, the move could hit the tourism industry which is curently reeling
because of low tourist arrivals due to serious safety concerns in
traditional markets.Tourism has slumped by more than 60% since 2000 and is
likely to plunge further due to the security problems that are likely to
surround next year's election.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Zim still to meet terms to access EU funds
Godfrey Marawanyika/Ndamu Sandu
ZIMBABWE will not access the European Union's ?109 million grant for
technical assistance from the European Development Fund (EDF) as it has not
addressed the concerns raised by the EU prior to the aid ban, it emerged
this week.

The grant is meant for development of various sectors of the economy.

The EU suspended aid to Zimbabwe in 2002 over lack of freedom of the media,
unfair elections, subversion of the judiciary, political violence and
disorderly land reform.

Although the EU is reviewing Zimbabwe's grant next year, it has availed ?7,5
million for HIV/Aids programmes.

The EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Francesca Mosca said the money was
available but the country has to meet the EU's conditions to access the

"Funds are still there earmarked for Zimbabwe but the EU has some concerns
which it raised in 2002," Mosca said.

She said that for local organisations to access the HIV/Aids funds they had
to be first registered by the government under the relevant new legislation.

Last week parliament passed the NGO Bill that will repeal the Private
Voluntary Organisations Act.

The new legislation will make it illegal for local NGOs involved in human
rights and governance issues to receive foreign funding.

The money will be used to assist NGOs to work in close cooperation with
public health institutions in at least eight districts in the country.

Mosca said that the EU headquarters in Brussels had recently approved the

"The money was approved sometime in November and it is meant for HIV/Aids
projects," she said.

"The money is coming. As required by the law, the NGOs should seek
registration and we are hoping they will not face any problems."

She said the funds would only be disbursed to registered organisations.

Government has given all NGOs that are already operating and legally
registered under the PVO Act a six-month grace period to comply with the new

The NGO Bill now awaiting President Robert Mugabe's assent will result in
the creation of an NGO council composed of five civil society and nine
government representatives.

The five representatives will be appointed at the discretion of the Minister
of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Current, capital accounts in red
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE country's current and capital accounts last year registered a fourth
consecutive decline, a situation the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) concedes
is a major challenge in its economic turnaround plans.

In its 2003 annual report, the RBZ said the current account registered a
deficit of US$581 million.

The central bank also said by the end of last year, the capital account had
a deficit of US$248,7 million.

A current account depicts the country's exports and imports performance.

The capital account reflects the country's foreign direct investments, which
also includes foreign aid and grants.

Gideon Gono's central bank said the country's balance of payments
performance continued to decline in 2003 to an overall deficit of US$334,8
million compared to US$496,3 million in 2002.

The central bank said exports declined by 13,8% to US$1,2 billion in 2003,
from US$1,4 billion in 2002. This was marked by declines in agriculture
(-20%) and manufacturing (-2,3%), which offset a growth of 12,7% in mineral

It said the decline in agricultural exports to US$517,1 million from
US$646,6 million in 2002 mirrored falls in tobacco (-26,1%), horticulture
(-7%) and beef (-95,8%).

"Export performance in this sector (beef) was largely constrained by
persistent foreign currency shortages which affected the procurement of
essential inputs in the sector and foot and mouth disease, coupled with the
2002 drought which depleted the national herd," the report said.

"Manufactured exports declined from US$287,2 million in 2002 to US$280,6
million in 2003 due to loss of export competitiveness aggravated by high
domestic inflation, which stood at 598,7% in December 2003, as well as a
shortage of foreign exchange to procure imported raw material."

The RBZ said mineral exports, however, grew to US$334 million in 2003 from
US$296,3 million in 2002.

During the same period total imports decreased by 15,4% from US$1,8 billion

in 2002 to US$1,5 billion last year mainly because of declines in imported
intermediate inputs, food and energy, constituting over 50% of total

Last year food imports declined by 5,6% from US$214 million in 2002 to
US$202 million last year due to lower than anticipated maize imports.

"Energy imports declined by 41,6% from US$378,5 million in 2002 to US$221,2
million in 2003 with electricity imports accounting for 24,6% of this, while
fuel imports accounted for the balance. Fuel imports declined by 48,4% from
US$323 million in 2002 to US$166,7 million in 2003," the report said.

"At the back drop of these developments the current account registered a
deficit of US$581 million. The capital account registered a fourth
successive deficit of US$248,7 million."

The central bank said the deficit was largely caused by the suspension of
the balance of payments support from multilateral organisations, "net
outflows of long-term and short-term capital, and negligible foreign direct
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Lack of funding bogs down GMB
Conrad Dube
THE capacity of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to procure grain in the
coming year has been further weakened by the government's failure to provide
$1,2 trillion for subsidies under the 2005 national budget, parliament's
portfolio committee on lands, agriculture and water development heard last

The GMB had requested $1,4 trillion from the fiscus for subsidies and future
grain procurement but the Ministry of Finance did not make any provision for

The parastatal's chief executive Samuel Muvuti said: "We requested for $1,4
trillion of which $1,2 trillion was meant to cover subsidies. We had
expected to channel the difference towards capital expenditure."

In the absence of government subsidies, GMB cannot carry out planned capital
projects as funds from the fiscus are only enough to cover operational costs
and to buy commodities from farmers. The GMB, according to Muvuti, expected
to venture into flour making and oil extraction projects and to refurbish
dilapidated silos countrywide.

"GMB is losing money through contracting private transport companies and
thefts of grain and inputs in transit to various destinations," said Muvuti.
Part of the capital expenditure was earmarked for the acquisition of
30-tonne trucks but no provision has been made for that purpose."

The parastatal had requested $8,5 billion for the acquisition of the
30-tonne trucks, another $8,5 billion for the purchase of computers and $16
billion for the stockfeeds manufacturing centre being established at the
Norton depot.

It had also requested $23 billion for the flour making project and $4
billion for the refurbishment of ageing silos.

Muvuti said the treasury did not make a provision for any of the projects
despite government making promises in the pre-budget meetings. Executive
director of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Dzarira Kwenda said if the
government does not provide a special fund through the GMB, farmers would be
affected as GMB may fail to pay for grain delivered by the farmers.

Kwenda said: "Unless the government provides a special fund to GMB, farmers
will suffer. But I am convinced that the government is aware of GMB's
requirements and how strategic it is to the revival of the economy."

The ZFU represents between 85% and 90% of registered farmers. He also said
that the government had for the first time, not made any provision for
farmer organisations.

"Farmers' organisations have also not been considered in the budget. This
will affect our efforts to develop strategies and policies for the
distribution of seeds to farmers. We had expected a bigger grant now that
the government has committed itself to improve agricultural production."

MDC shadow Minister for Agriculture Renson Gasela, in an interview said GMB
has over the years accumulated a huge deficit due to selling below cost and
borrowings to finance day-to-day operations.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          International Monetary Fund meets CZI, ZCTU
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week met with the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) before rounding up its fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

The four-member team left for Washington on Tuesday this week. CZI acting
chief executive officer Farai Zizhou refused to comment on the meeting and
referred all inquiries to Pattison Sithole, the organisation's president.
Sithole also refused to comment saying details of the meeting were

"We did meet them on Wednesday last week," he said. "But some things are
better not made public for the good of the nation. I cannot say anything on
the meeting at the moment."

Sources who attended the meeting said one of the IMF's concerns was whether
policies put in place by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to protect
industries "were bearing any result".

The IMF spokesperson in Zimbabwe Gita Bhatt said the visit was meant to
assess the effectiveness of government's economic turnaround programme.

"The purpose of the visit was to undertake a technical update of
developments in Zimbabwe and the government's agenda," she said.

"The mission will report back to the IMF management and its executive

ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe also confirmed meeting the

He could however not be drawn into disclosing what they had discussed citing

The ZCTU met the delegation on Friday last week.

The IMF also met with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The
opposition pleaded with the delegation not to suspend Zimbabwe as a member
of the Bretton Woods institution.

Last year, the IMF suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights. The IMF board is set
to review Zimbabwe's membership in January.

The IMF report on Zimbabwe will be used by the board in determining the
country's fate next month.

The IMF board's review next year is meant to decide Zimbabwe's further
participation as a member of the international global lending institution,
which is now worried about the failure to settle debts on time.

However, even if Zimbabwe is spared the expulsion, this does not mean the
country will be able to borrow from the IMF to cover its widening balance of
payments gap.

According to figures from the IMF, Zimbabwe's debt has declined from a peak
of US$301 million in December last year to US$185,84 million.

On July 7, the IMF concluded its Article IV consultations with Zimbabwe.
Under the Article IV agreement, IMF staff visit the country, collect
economic and financial information and discuss with officials the country's
economic development and policies.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Abandon violence as political tool

THE statements by Zanu PF leaders and the Zanu PF-aligned police
commissioner discouraging violence in next year's parliamentary election
came at the right time, but much more needs to be done to show their

For us, fighting for change and democracy, we know it's just a smokescreen
to hoodwink Sadc and the international community because from the year 2000
we have heard such statements, while on the ground the situation has been

We know that a peaceful political environment is one where political
contestants are free to campaign for voter support, free to express
themselves and make their views known to the electorate without fear of
intimidation or victimisation.

We have over the years lost a number of cadres in the democratic movement
who were killed because they dared believe that they had an inalienable
right to campaign for and support the MDC, the party of their choice without
endangering their lives in the process.

Over the past years Zanu PF:

*has employed violence as a systematic political strategy in the run-up to

*teachers, civil servants and rural villagers believed to support the
democratic movement have been beaten up, kidnapped, tortured and some

*homes and businesses of perceived opposition members in both urban and
rural areas have been burnt and looted;

*schools and clinics in rural areas have been closed as teachers and nurses
fled to the relative safety of towns;

*at every election time there has been general fear of war veterans, hired
Zanu PF thugs and militia (green bombers) because of their capacity to
instigate and inflict violence on the voters as they move from one area to
another with;

*all-night forced Zanu PF political re-education meetings brutalised those
forced to attend;

*Zanu PF has repeatedly refused to sign a multi-party code of political
conduct outlawing violence and snubs meetings organised by church leaders to
curb violence;

*opposition rallies have been broken up by hired Zanu PF thugs and rented
crowds with the assistance of war veterans;

*stepped up the use of inflammatory language by its candidates against the
opposition; and

*in many cases the police were reported to have looked on!

President Mugabe and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri should do more to
make next year's election violence-free, peaceful and the envy of Sadc.

Frank Matandirotya,

MDC Chikomba.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

          Editor's Memo

I'm beaten

WHAT do you do when technology becomes your worst nightmare? The Internet
has become our daily mode of communication but when it is not working, it
raises your blood pressure to near cardiac-arrest levels.

In a country where mail literally operates at a snail's pace, the Internet
has become a crucial resource. Frankly speaking, Zimpost has simply priced
itself out of the market. Can you imagine paying over $50 000 to post a
Christmas card to the United States, or worse still, $6 900 to post a local
letter that takes a week to be delivered to a Harare address? I also do not
trust the soldiers sorting mail.

The inefficiency at Zimpost's sibling Tel*One is blamed for a number of our
Internet woes. There is little bandwidth available and as a result the
gateway out of Zimbabwe is as congested as Beitbridge border post.

There is even more pain for the user who has to pay a fortune to get
connected. Those who browse the Net regularly have in the past two months
been receiving shocking telephone bills - for a poor service.

We have become slaves of poor technology and we tend to accept it as normal.
What would we do without the Internet or mobile phones? But the technology
has become a source of pain of late, especially if I have to try more than
10 times to get connected to another 091 number.

Econet admits to "some congestion" in the CBD but its customer service
department has no idea when it will all end.

When will the "upgrades" end? Have they started? We have become accustomed
to that soporific voice bringing the bad news: "The number you have dialled
is not reachable. Please try again later."

The Internet is always on the blink. After several minutes you encounter the
message: "The requested URL could not be retrieved."

Then there is the cryptic and elaborate apology when you cannot download
your e-mail: "Receiving reported error (0x8004210A): The operation timed out
waiting for a response from the receiving (POP) server. If you continue to
receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service
provider (ISP)."

At the ISP, a machine answers you. You have been put in a long queue
together with other complainants. When someone at the end of the line
finally picks up the receiver, the customer care operators recite a model
mantra. It's either there is "an upgrade of the system", or "there is a
fault on the dedicated line", or "the gateway out of Zimbabwe is overwhelmed
because there is bandwidth scarcity".

Simply translated, all this means that the Internet is not working. It got
worse for us this week when those trying to log on to our website were
greeted with the message: "Account for domain has
been suspended."

Readers were not amused and some feared the worst. "Have you not paid your
ISP?" "Has the government shut you down?"

We also wanted to know what the problem was because no one had the courtesy
to pick up the phone to explain prior to our loud protestations just as
Econet has not advertised its current difficulties.

The answer came on Tuesday from the ISP hosting our site.

"As you may be aware, your website has temporarily been suspended since
Monday, December 13 2004. This has been caused by a maintenance problem with
the hosting company in the United States from whom we contract our
international hosting services. We have been in constant communication with
them, but they are struggling to get their systems up," the message said.

"We want to assure you that we are very much concerned about this situation
and are looking at alternative hosting solutions as this is not the first
time this has happened with our overseas supplier."

What was the US company up to?

"We are currently vacuuming our entire control panel Hsphere for maintenance
and database optimisation. The process may take some time to be
completed...Your patience and understanding would be appreciated in this
matter," it explained.

What? Your vacuum cleaner is not just used for your dirty lounge carpet.
Those who wanted to know why we were down: someone was vacuuming an Hsphere
panel. I am beaten.

In the past two months a number of our on-line readers here and abroad have
raised concern with slow download speed on our website.

Readers have also demanded that we install a search engine and provide an
archive for back copies.

The Zimbabwe Independent website is very close to my heart having been
responsible for updating it weekly for more than three years. Although our
on-line edition is largely a free service to our readers, we are working on
providing an even better service. We should soon be giving our on-line
readers the choice to access the locally hosted site or the mirror site,
which is hosted outside the country. This should give readers an alternative
if either of them is down or is being "vacuumed".

We are also hoping to upgrade and update our archives and install a search

More importantly, we strive to ensure that on-line readers in Zimbabwe
access the site when they walk into their offices on Friday mornings. There
are also plans in the near future to update the site mid-week to keep track
of developments here and across our borders.

Teldah Mawarire, who has largely taken over that task of updating and
administering the site, has promised she will deliver.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Fresh ideas needed to move Mugabe

THE EU's visa ban, assets freeze and other punitive measures against
President Mugabe and his top aides imposed in 2002 are due for renewal in
February. European states are reportedly busy scrambling for a consensus
that will see the EU Common Position renewed but perhaps for a shorter

The targeted sanctions on Mugabe, his wife and lieutenants are likely to
stir controversy in the powerful trade bloc as there is no unanimity on the
measures designed to express disapproval of Zanu PF's "reign of terror".

Last year France's decision to invite Mugabe to the Franco-African Summit in
Paris caused consternation in London.

French Foreign minister Dominique de Villepin said then France wanted to
discuss democracy and human rights with Mugabe, hence the sanctions regime
had to be interpreted "flexibly".

Britain's disapproval of the French action was marked by a formal
reservation echoed by Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
France, backed occasionally by Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy, has
repeatedly pointed out that sanctions are not achieving their stated aim of
regime reform. The British, Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians respond that
the Quai d'Orsay's diplomacy has been equally ineffective and that in any
case a message should be sent in line with the Cotonou convention that
electoral manipulation and political violence are unacceptable.

The United States and the Commonwealth support this view. There have been
calls in the UK and US to tighten the sanctions because the situation in
Zimbabwe has deteriorated rather than improved. France argues that the
sanctions make dialogue with Mugabe impossible and that their quiet
diplomacy is in line with regional approaches to resolving the Zimbabwean
The efficacy of targeted sanctions has always been a contentious issue. Two
years down the line, many doubt the effectiveness of the measures.

The EU's Common Position was taken as a belated attempt to pressure the
belligerent Mugabe to
allow free and fair elections in March 2002 and to let international
monitors observe the election process. Yet, as they were imposed just three
weeks prior to the elections, there was inadequate time for them to bring
any real pressure on Mugabe and his associates. Hence, they were ineffective
as an instrument of coercion, whatever their moral suasion.
It was hoped that the international community would cooperate in the period
after the election to put pressure on Mugabe to hold a fresh poll. This did
not happen.

However, the targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe are noteworthy in that they
reflect many of the lessons learned from previous sanctions. The EU ruled
out comprehensive sanctions precisely to avoid inflicting further hardship
on Zimbabwe's vulnerable people. The EU's suspension of economic development
funds contained exceptions for projects that directly supported the

Sanctions were thus targeted to avoid humanitarian consequences and to
impact on Mugabe and his associates who were implicated in violence or
electoral rigging. Their scope was limited to senior government officials in
the hope that they would reform their ways.
The sanctions were adopted long after influential lobby groups had called on
the international community to do something about Zimbabwe. The UN Human
Rights Commissioner had expressed deep concern over the government's
behaviour, as had the Commonwealth and the US Secretary of State.

The international community did not take concrete action, however, until
very late in the day. This certainly vitiated the potential for the measures
to impact on Mugabe's decision-making.
So Mugabe has appeared to weather the storm with support from regional
"friends" who have refused to censure him. Regional collusion has clearly
been an important factor in shielding the regime from international pressure
to improve its record.

The same was true in Afghanistan in the late 1990s when regional support for
the Taliban undermined UN sanctions against that regime.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the most powerful state in the region, South
Africa, has supported President Mugabe and objected to international
sanctions against his regime. It claims it is working for "leadership
renewal" in Harare in a quiet and unobtrusive way. The Mauritius principles
are held up as evidence of the success of this approach.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan's co-operation with the international community was
to prove vital in undermining support for the Taliban regime. The current
raft of international measures against Mugabe's regime is bound to fail as
long as our rulers' iniquities are shielded by Mbeki's inaudible diplomacy.
Thus, while the smart sanctions present the stick (Mugabe admitted at his
recent party congress that they were working) they lack the carrot - the
crucial ingredient of reaching out to our obdurate octogenarian ruler. Mbeki's
approach offers the carrot but there is no stick.
As long as quiet diplomacy fails to complement the smart sanctions, the EU
and US measures are not likely to move the road block.

There is need to give serious consideration to diplomatic initiatives that
could be used to gain the co-operation of states that can directly influence
Mugabe's behaviour.

Neither targeted sanctions alone nor Mbeki's behind-the-scenes scheming have
managed to nudge Mugabe to end his repression and autocratic behaviour. It
is time for fresh ideas.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Commission set to worsen city's woes
Augustine Mukaro

THE appointment of a commission to run the city of Harare could see service
delivery plunging to irretrievable levels if the performance of previous
commissions is anything to go by.

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo last week appointed an
eight-member commission led by the acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara to run
the affairs of Harare for the next two years. This followed his denial in
recent months that a commission was due to be appointed to run the city.
The commissioners, a majority of them ruling party top functionaries, have
been appointed to replace fired opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Mayor Elias Mudzuri and his council. Mudzuri was fired earlier this year on
allegations of corruption and incompetence.

The current commission is made up of Zanu PF's Mbare East losing candidate
Tendai Savanhu as deputy chairman, lawyer Terence Hussein, Mashonaland
Central committee member Prisca Mupfumira, Professor James Kurasha, Noel
Muzuva, Michael Mahachi, and a Mrs V Chasi.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), the umbrella body
representing residents associations in the capital, said the appointment of
the commission was done to ensure Zanu PF tightens its grip on Harare ahead
of next year's parliamentary election.

"As expected, Zanu PF has appointed several of its functionaries to oversee
the capital city and to ensure that the municipality continues to operate as
the private fiefdom of the regime," CHRA said in a statement. "Once again
and ad nauseam, government demonstrates its staggering arrogance and utter
contempt for the norms of democracy.

"Despite the massive rejection of its candidates in the 2002 municipal
elections, it continues to undermine our democratic rights to elect
representatives to govern the city." CHRA said the latest commission would
face resistance from ratepayers. The resistance could result in the
commission failing to fulfill its mandate. "Not one of the commissioners has
any mandate from residents and as such do not deserve any respect or
cooperation from our citizens. The commission is a political appointment not
accountable to residents but to its political masters," CHRA said.

Local authorities throughout the world can only be effectively run if
residents are involved but in Harare, central government has usurped that
right from residents.

CHRA said the Urban Councils Act clearly spells out that such commissions
have a limited tenure of six months and during that time it has to ensure
that elections are held. "CHRA will seek relief from the courts once again
should this bogus commission remain in office beyond May 9 2005," the
association said.

In 2001 CHRA forced government through the courts to hold elections, which
subsequently ejected the illegal Elijah Chanakira Commission after three
years at the helm of Town House.
"In the interim, CHRA reiterates its call to all residents to withhold the
payment of rates and other charges until democracy is restored to Town

"Do not give your hard-earned money to an unelected, unaccountable and
blatantly partisan commission. Work with your fellow residents and the
genuinely elected councillor for your ward to overcome these manoeuvres by
the regime," CHRA said.

The Makwavarara-chaired commission becomes the second commission to run
Harare since Independence. In February 1999 government appointed the
Chanakira commission to replace the now late Solomon Tawengwa council with
the mandate to turnaround the fortunes of Harare city.
Chanakira and his team came into office to save council from imminent
collapse following the firing of Tawengwa and his entire council over
allegations of maladministration, corruption and incompetence.

The commission, which was in office for three years, failed to improve the
situation at Town House.

Tawengwa was alleged to have corruptly allowed the building of a bus
terminus and a footbridge at Machipisa shopping centre.
Analysts said when the Chanakira commission took over the city had gone for
over a week without water, the sewer system was working in reverse, the city
had a bloated wage bill and refuse collection was erratic.

The Chanakira commission was tasked to improve the city's financial
position. It had incurred an overdraft of $100 million and had debts
amounting to $299 million. The commission was also challenged to upgrade the
water distribution network, which was estimated to be losing about 30% of
the treated water through leakages.
"Chanakira suspended all capital projects as a measure to stabilise council's
financial base but the move strained the ageing infrastructure," one analyst

The capital projects that were put on hold included the construction of
Kunzwi dam which was expected to be an alternative source of water for
Harare. Tawengwa had contracted Biwater of the United Kingdom to do a
feasibility study, mobilise funds and construct the dam on a build, operate
and transfer basis. Up to now no follow up has been made.

Firle sewarage treatment plant was one of the projects which were suspended.
Its construction would have greatly reduced the volume of raw sewerage that
flows into Manyame river and Lake Chivero.

The appointment of the commission resulted in the death of the Inner City
Partnership, an Old Mutual initiative to involve large corporates in the
general maintenance of the city.
Donors' also suspended their assistance to Harare demanding the restoration
of a democratically-elected leadership at Town House.

In particular, Germany's city of Munich suspended its cooperation with
Harare citing the deposition of someone democratically elected by the
residents. The move threw Harare's health delivery system into disarray.

Analysts said the major question which remain to be answered is whether the
Makwavarara commission can make any difference
as it is coming in under almost similar conditions to those obtaining when
the Chanakira commission came in. Council services have nosedived over the
past two years since the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Mudzuri in

As the Makwavarara commission comes in, virtually all of the capital's
infrastructure is in free fall, characterised by burst water pipes, raw
sewerage flowing in the high-density residential streets, roads almost
inaccessible because of potholes and decomposing refuse mountains posing
threats of disease outbreak around the city.

Over the past year when she was Harare acting mayor, Makwavarara has dropped
the stakeholders' consultation system resulting in council coming up with
absurd rate increases and policies that have been resisted by residents.
"Council is no longer consulting residents in matters of budgeting as had
been the norm but simply imposing its views," CHRA said.
"Last year council had to be forced to revise its budget downwards because
it had not followed the consultation process.

"Half the time Makwavarara has been fighting to keep her position instead of
taking the city ahead through getting feedback from residents and responding
to their concerns."

CHRA said the one-man band attitude which Makwavarara has adopted resulted
in the city deteriorating further in both infrastructure and financial

"Council has been reported bankrupt on two occasions over the past year when
Makwavarara has been acting mayor because residents have been refusing to
recognise her thereby holding back rate payments, council's main source of
revenue," CHRA said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Casting the mantle of blame upon others

BASED upon reports in the state-owned press, it must be assumed that
Zimbabwe's president continues to be surrounded by ministers, advisors and
others who grossly misinform him as to the economic realties of the country
which he leads, and of the countries which they clearly perceive to be
Zimbabwe's enemies.

Those reports related to an address by President Mugabe to a gathering of
Zimbabwean ambassadors, which address reveals major misconceptions of the
causes of Zimbabwe's economic ills. As even the president's opponents and
critics acknowledged his renowned intellect, the greatly erroneous
perceptions and perspectives that characterised his address can only be
credibly attributed to his being the victim of extensive, ongoing,
misinformation and disinformation. The misrepresentations to him of facts
and their causes are pronounced and very wide-ranging, albeit that there are
also indications that on occasion (although probably infrequently) he is
correctly informed. That is presumably because on such rare occasions, it
suits the agenda of the misinformants to recount certain facts.

One of those exceptions is the recognition of the very significant
achievements of the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon
Gono, in his first year in office.

However, the president has been given a totally different impression of the
previous governor of RBZ, Leonard Tsumba. Unjustifiably, he blames Tsumba
for much of the economic morass that has been Zimbabwe's increasing lot
since late 1997. The president alleges that Tsumba "believed in textbook
economics rather than practical solutions to the country's economic
challenges", and stated "Government had difficulties working with Tsumba
because he was Western-oriented and orthodox."
One must ponder why, if government had such difficulty in working with
Tsumba, it accorded Tsumba a second five-year term in office? Was government
so masochistic that, when it had the opportunity of ridding itself of
someone it (allegedly) could not work with, at the end of his first term,
that it gave him another term? Surely not? The reality must have been
government's then satisfaction with him.

One must also ponder why, for four of the first five years of Tsumba's reign
as governor, the Zimbabwean economy enjoyed steadily increasing growth. It
was attracting foreign and domestic investment, unemployment was reducing,
inflation was falling, exchange rate stability was developed, and much else.
President Mugabe's attack on Tsumba implies that the economic growth was
despite Tsumba. In reality, the economic recovery experienced from 1994 to
mid-1997 was attributable to many different acts and causes. Some of those
actions were initiated by RBZ at the very time Tsumba was governor.
The president also contended that whilst Tsumba was in office "banks and
other financial institutions engaged in all sorts of unscrupulous activities
such as under-invoicing of export earnings", and that "supervision of the
financial sector was poor". Certainly there was a plethora of unscrupulous
activities in the financial sector, although under- invoicing was the action
of certain exporters, and not of financial institutions, for they do not
issue export invoices.

Equally, supervision of the financial sector was abysmal, but not recognised
in the presidential statement was that the authority and power of
supervision of financial institutions was very limited in the hands of RBZ
at that time, such authority and power having vested mainly in the Registrar
of Banks and Financial Institutions within the domain of then Minister of
Finance and Economic Development. Fortunately, when Gono came into office,
RBZ was given markedly greater monitoring and surveillance authority.

The diplomats were informed by the president that the economic decline was
due to the "textbook" and "orthodox" monetary policies prevailing during
Tsumba's reign, coupled with "high inflation, illegal economic sanctions
imposed on the country by some Western countries led by Britain, fuel
shortages and successive droughts". It is appalling to note how massively
the president's ministers and advisors must have deliberately misled him.

Very often "textbook" and "orthodox" policies are the best to remedy a
distressed situation, for they can be very effective. This has been
evidenced on countless occasions, including the remarkable economic
turnaround of South Africa post the apartheid era, the dramatic and very
rapid recovery a few years ago of the Mexican economy, the spectacular
economic upturn of Mauritius in the mid-1980s, to cite but a few of the many
economies that have benefited from tried and proven "textbook" and
 "orthodox" measures.

But it's time that Zimbabwe stopped deluding itself as to the origins of its
economic woes. Contentions that a major catalyst of the economic ills is the
imposition of "illegal" sanctions are devoid of substance. The only
sanctions imposed upon Zimbabwe (by the European Union, including Britain,
and some Commonwealth countries) are sanctions targeted at specific
individuals, the first and foremost being the president and the government
hierarchy. Those sanctions restrict such persons' travel, and access to
their assets situated in those countries.

In addition, many donor states have reduced or halted support, but Zimbabwe
has been the trigger of the withholding of donor support, by its frequent,
vitriolic outbursts against the donors, and through promulgation of
non-democratic, inequitable and unjust legislation such as Posa, Aippa and
the NGO Bill. And there was, and is, nothing illegal in the application of
targeted sanctions.

By far one of the greatest causes of Zimbabwe's near self-destruction of its
economy was the disastrously implemented programme of land acquisition,
redistribution and resettlement instead of pursuing a constructive, racially
and internationally cooperative, merit-based, programme. That shattered the
very foundations of the economy.

Of almost equal negative economic consequences was the foolhardy,
profligate, irresponsible payout to war veterans (actual and pseudo), to an
extent far beyond the means of government.
The third significant cause of the catastrophic collapse of the economy was
government's immensely excessive spending, at levels markedly greater than
its revenues. Such expenditure is on the operations of the Presidency and
the Cabinet, so-called Defence, Foreign Affairs (the president suggests that
Zimbabwe needs many more embassies, and yet it cannot even pay its present
diplomats timeously), on a Ministry of Information which does not fulfil its
mandate, on a Ministry of Justice which mainly crafts despotic and draconian
legislation, on a Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture which lowers
Zimbabwe's education standards, and much equally
wasteful and unaffordable fiscal outflows.

Another major cause of the Zimbabwean economic malaise is the ongoing
alienation of most of the international community. Zimbabwe regularly
disparages the very international institutions which could give it
desperately need balance of payments support.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


 When a paper loses bootlicking plot
THEY say some guys have all the luck. The same could be said of the Herald.
Last Thursday the paper ran a long story in which President Robert Mugabe
"attacked" former Reserve Bank governor Leonard Tsumba for lack of
creativity and relying too much on textbook economics. He was also accused
of advocating a reduction in the number of Zimbabwean embassies abroad.
No, nothing like that was ever said by the president, came George Charamba's
rebuttal on Friday. The remarks attributed to His Excellency by the Herald
were "misleading", said Charamba in a statement.

"Clearly his views did not pass for pointed remarks," said Charamba
helpfully. "They were intended as a general criticism to those who fail to
adapt their knowledge and understanding of economics to fit and address
peculiarities of given economic situations."
He then went on to tell readers the Office of the President regretted "any
anguish" caused to Dr Tsumba by the Herald report.
Just why Charamba and his department chose to be "anguished" on behalf of
the Herald is not clear. Couldn't the Herald "correct" the story if it was
wrong? Or are we to assume that the editor refused to retract the story
because that is what the president said?

We liked the assurances by police commissioner Augustine Chihuri last week
that the force would not tolerate the setting up of bases and safe houses,
as these could be "potential sources of violence" in the March general
"The idea of recruiting hordes of unemployed youths and criminals to cause
mayhem and brutalise innocent and peace-loving citizens . should be
monitored and any excesses be decisively dealt with," said Chihuri.
He pointedly noted that police would not tolerate politicians who substitute
"lack of brain work by physical power".
We wish we could trust the commissioner to enforce his opinions.
Unfortunately past performance doesn't engender such trust.
For one thing, it is his party Zanu PF that is allowed to mobilise and
deploy youths in any part of the country without seeking police clearance.
We saw them being deployed from the party headquarters during the MDC's
ill-advised "final push". We saw the police escorting the same party
hooligans to Harvest House to beat up people who were celebrating Morgan
Tsvangirai's acquittal on charges of plotting to assassinate President
Mugabe. Incidents of police dereliction of duty are too numerous for us to
expect Chihuri to keep his word.

But more worrying is that by declaring that there should be no safe houses
for victims of political violence, Chihuri is not helping the "innocent and
peace-loving citizens" whom he purports to want to protect. The police
should simply do their work impartially. There should be no "political"
crimes that the police can't deal with. That breeds a culture of impunity
for those who belong to the right party.

Another person with an overdose of faith in Zanu PF is the Sunday Mail
editor. In his Comment this week he urged the capital's newly-announced
commissioners to "implement Harare's turnaround plan".

"It is as much in the interest of central government as it is in that of
local government that the city of Harare is efficiently managed and run,"
prayed the editor.

Of course there would have been a glaring anomaly if the local authority was
found to work efficiently while central government bungled all around. That
is why it was necessary to frustrate the MDC council out of office so that
government and council mirror each other perfectly.
The editor praised the commission for correctly identifying the priority
areas to be attended to. These key performance areas were said to be
"finance management, waste management, water and sanitation, public safety,
housing, roads and lighting".

All rather obvious areas of concern. What else would a local authority be
doing if the above were not its priority? Does that call for a commission Mr

"The capital city of a country is supposed to radiate the country's beauty,"
concluded the editor. "Harare is radiating something else."
That "something" was found tucked away in a picture on page M2 of Sunday
Metro. The caption read: "Vagrants have turned the back of Shell House along
Samora Machel Avenue into toilets." Except that in place of vagrants the
writer should have put Zanu PF! Ignatious Chombo knows why.
And why did ZBH race through the list of commissioners last Thursday evening
as if it didn't want anybody to know who they were? Are collaborators in
Zanu PF's anti-democratic project so reviled by the city's residents that
they have to be taken in one breath by ZBH announcers?

Young Lovemore Mataire is really keen to rub it in on the Chronicle editor
who three weeks ago filled two pages of his broadsheet trying to convince
everyone who cared to read it what a good fellow Professor Jonathan Moyo
was. People now say those lengthy excuses are what in fact infuriated
President Mugabe and sealed Moyo's fate. But that's not an issue anymore.

In his Candid Brief from the editor, Mataire talks mercilessly about what he
terms the "pitfalls of bootlicking" and how the Chronicle completely lost
the plot and wasted acres of space defending the indefensible.

For instance Mataire asks how the paper could use documents which had been
sent to all the other state newspapers but put on hold - embargoed until the
moment was right. The Chronicle editor, however, in his desire to please the
minister, jumped the gun.

"The Chronicle had become a poodle, always singing praises for an individual
while denigrating issues of national importance to the dustbin," Mataire

So that's why it's now called the Tsholotsho News! Mataire also had no kind
words for those at the Herald and ZBH whom he accused of "blacking out" the
party's mouthpiece, The Voice. He was bitter that he left the Herald "in
good faith" but somebody was treating his paper like there was bad blood.

"I have good if not excellent relations with a lot of senior staff there and
it really boggles the mind why some staff there feel compelled to bury the
ruling party's mouthpiece alive." We thought the paper was supposed to
survive on its own by selling news. Now Mataire is telling us it has to
survive on the goodwill of state papers giving it free publicity. Why keep
the paper alive if nobody wants to buy it?

Why are Munyaradzi Huni's sources so reluctant to be identified? In a
front-page article in the Sunday Mail last weekend headed "Human rights
report a joke" we had "observers", a "political scientist" at the University
of Zimbabwe, and "a lawyer at a top law firm" all refusing to give their

It is surprising that individuals with such strong opinions on civil society
should not have the courage of their reactionary convictions.
And did they all say the human rights report referred to was "a complete
joke fit for the dustbin" or was that Huni speaking for himself? It
certainly sounded like it!

The shy political scientist who declined to be named claimed the Human
Rights NGO Forum had only sought the views of the Zimbabwe Independent and

"These newspapers are silent members of the Forum and surely they were
always going to report things against the government," the political
scientist suggested.

It is extraordinary to think UZ employs people with such shallow levels of
analysis. He couldn't think of anybody to blame for the human rights report
so he blamed two newspapers which hadn't said anything!

The only named person in the story was George Charamba who said the report
vindicated the need for the NGOs Bill.

"Clearly these are not bona fide NGOs but political outfits founded from
outside to pursue political interests," Charamba suggested.

Like the December 12 Movement in other words!
But those attempting to camouflage Zimbabwe's shocking human rights record
should be careful of guilt by association. The Gabriel Shumba case is not in
dispute. It has been brought to the attention of a wide range of
international organisations of which Zimbabwe is a member. So has the case
of Tonderai Machiridza who we referred to last week.

There is no evidence to date that these well-documented torture cases have
been investigated by the authorities. What happened to the police
investigation into the Job Sikhala case which President Mugabe last year
assured President Olusegun Obasanjo was being undertaken?
And where is Joseph Mwale? How is it possible in a country which spends such
vast sums on intelligence for a senior officer in the President's Office to
roam free when he is wanted by the courts in connection with a political
murder case?
Perhaps Charamba could tell us.

Tafataona Mahoso meanwhile appears to believe that one of his briefs is
acting as a spokesman for Zanu PF. Last weekend he was explaining why the
central committee of the party and the Herald were justified in regarding
Zimbabwe's diplomats as fighting a war in an "extraordinary situation" which
could not be managed by conventional diplomacy.

The situation was extraordinary, Mahoso explained, "because the minority
white imperialist powers who control global channels of mass deception want
to tell the world that Zimbabwe is hated by its own people and by the rest
of the world".

"The truth, however," he reassured us, "is that the government of Zimbabwe
is supported by the overwhelming majority of its own people and the
overwhelming majority of nations within the UN system."

Our diplomats therefore have an easy job abroad because they never have to
lie when justifying the government's policies, Mahoso said.
Thank goodness for that!

One of the reasons why the "white axis powers" hate Zimbabwe and seek to
demonise it, Mahoso explained, is "because Zimbabwe is admired by the
majority of the peoples of the world for its clear position on important
issues in world affairs.
"The extraordinary situation therefore is that Zimbabwe is hated because it
is loved; Zanu PF is hated because it is popular and loved."
Poor old Mahoso. Has he been reduced to this? Singing for his supper while
turning a blind eye to the cruelty of Zanu PF's militia gangs, the heavy
jackboot of repression, and the silencing of civic voices?

What sort of access to information is it that assumes that all the country's
problems are the products of "imperialism" and have nothing to do with the
tyranny and mismanagement of those that rule us? This is official deceit
writ large.

As unemployment plunges to new levels, President Mugabe evidently believes
he is entitled to a pay hike. According to a statutory instrument published
last week, his salary will go up to $83 863 200 a year. With allowances the
figure amounts to $95 555 800.

The president's salary was last reviewed in March, the Saturday Herald told
us, when it was increased from $20,2 million to $73,7 million.
The latest hike includes a bonus of $7 380 600.
We were not told what the bonus was for. But it comes after a 30%
contraction in the economy, company closures and burgeoning unemployment.
During the Great Depression of the early 1930s, the cabinet and civil
service took a cut in their salaries to show solidarity with the suffering
population. A precedent, we can safely assume, that will not be followed
now. And could somebody explain the president's need of a housing allowance
of $3,024 million?

Finally, we all had a good chuckle last week when we saw the Herald
headline: "Budget realistic - economists". There was a picture of Samuel
Undenge alongside the story. Two other economists, the CFX's Moses Chundu
and UZ's Clever Mbengegwi, didn't actually use the word "realistic". Chundu
said there was a need for
credible inflation figures and a statement by government that would inspire
investor confidence in Zimbabwe.

Mbengegwi said the 5% negative growth rate in manufacturing would undermine
targeted growth in the economy.

In fact no serious economist would use the word "realistic" in relation to
Herbert Murerwa's absolutely delusional budget statement that looks as if it
was written in the Office of the President. Who in all seriousness would
project a 28% recovery in agriculture when even Enos Chikowore concedes
resettled farmers are not producing anything?

On Tuesday the Herald announced: "Inflation falls to 149,3%". What it didn't
tell us was that it is still the highest in the world, that the cost of
medicines, vehicle repairs and agricultural equipment have risen by 600%,
and that Zimpost and Tel*One have raised their charges by 1 000%.

So much for the "turnaround"!
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Relevance won't be that easy, madam VP
By Tanonoka Joseph Whande
THE $20-billion congress is passé now. If Moses had foreseen Zanu PF's
extravagances, there would have been an eleventh commandment.

My compatriots, I need not apologise for not being as optimistic,
enthusiastic and as confident as some of my fellow Zimbabweans because,
simply, I am just not as optimistic, enthusiastic and as confident as some
of my fellow Zimbabweans.

I am not a prophet of doom; I am just a discontented and demoralised
Zimbabwean who sees us continuing to frolic hopelessly in the very same pool
of mud in which Zanu PF has got us stuck for 25 years.

We now have a brand new vice-president gleaned from the same under-achieving
crop of pedestrian, uninspiring and docile politicians, yet for the last 20
years or so Zanu PF failed to offer this nation any notable new ideas,
laudable leadership, alternatives or originality. All we got was mediocrity
if not retrogression.

While I am aware that Zimbabweans deserve much more than Joyce Mujuru, I am
really not concerned about what Mujuru deserves or does not deserve. I only
care about my Zimbabwean constituency. To that end, therefore, Zanu PF must
stop fooling people about democracy.

There are many intelligent, far-sighted, and judicious women in Zanu PF. Why
did the party not allow these women's names to be put forward for a fair
contest in popularity and preference? It would have been to Zanu PF and the
nation's advantage if the ruling party had paraded several of its eminent
women candidates for people to choose from.

Who did Mujuru run against, if she ran at all? Mujuru was not a people's
choice but Mugabe's pick. She was handpicked, elected and sworn in by
President Robert Mugabe while the Zanu PF party faithful, who could have put
forth or suggested better candidates, were cowed into ululating for no more
than just Mugabe's fancied candidate much as Emmerson Mnangagwa once was.
Oh, how political winds not only flow but change course!

Neither Zanu PF nor the nation was given an opportunity to choose their
preferred leader. Yet Mujuru's ascension also exposed heavy subterranean
tribal loyalties and preferences shamefully resulting in some of those who
did not support her being suspended from the party. How then can Zanu PF
talk about democracy in the nation when it cannot practise the same within
its own ranks?

But Mujuru has already taken the oath of office. And to her I say:
congratulations, Cde Joyce. Your military feats were well-publicised. So I
was not surprised when you were part of that highly, internationally
acclaimed BA, MA, MD and PhD-infested first cabinet in 1980. You have
remained in cabinet since then and I honestly would like to credit you with
something original, something substantial, important and innovative but I
cannot find anything extraordinary or of particular mention in your more
than 20 years as a cabinet minister.

You will be the first to admit that you did not get that post through
democratic practices in the party or even through your own brilliance. Far
from it. It was through the president's political vivisection.

We have witnessed how, over the years, mindless patronage destroyed this
nation; but today patronage has elevated you. Congratulations! Your
resilience not withstanding, you did not have much of a choice but to accept
the position thrust upon you.

But please do remember that you are in that position to placate the
neglected but hopeful Zimbabwean women. Hear me, please: you are not Mugabe's
representative before the people; you are the people's representative before
Mugabe and his government.

Since you were not elected, in real terms, you owe that position to the
bungling of Zanu PF just as much as the struggling new farmers owe their
newly acquired farms to the very same man who appointed you. Both are acts
of convenience and expediency not of substance.

Admittedly, since your appointment was stimulated by patronage and was not
the result of any evident, justifiable or simmering ambition on your part,
the thrust of your duties and responsibilities must have more to do with the
people to justify your presence. New farmers are failing to serve the nation
with some of them rather clearly serving themselves. Please avoid that. You
owe us.

Madam Vice-President, please think of the people for a change. You have a
perfect opportunity to show that you are a woman of substance and to confirm
the decades of propaganda and unproven myth attributed to your person. I,
for one, do not want any excuses. You fought a war for the people and we
must now see why you were such a military rabble-rouser and firebrand.

Cde Vice-President, you have been given both an opportunity and a platform
that elude many women around the world. While you are the people's emissary
in general, you are the women's representative in particular. Show a
difference. There is no middle ground; you just have to perform to avoid
destroying your own legend.

Beware though! Mugabe's jocular statements that you should not intend to
stop with the vice-presidency should not be taken seriously. Your former
colleague, the late Eddison Zvobgo, was honest about it and his openness
offended Mugabe.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa, with Mugabe's tacit encouragement, showed a
deliberately subdued but nevertheless strong interest in the presidency but
then, again with Mugabe's help and prodding, you leapfrogged over Mnangagwa
yourself. So you see, disaster and opportunity derive from the same symbol.

It is Zimbabweans who delivered you into the lap of destiny. I therefore
cannot doubt that the people will support you if you show them a radical and
positive, progressive, pro-people difference. You owe us.

Shall we, therefore, dare to celebrate that our time has come because you
have arrived? Madam Vice-President, I really and sincerely wish you the very
best. But please ask yourself how and why you have now successfully reached
the pinnacle of Zimbabwean politics. Success is much easier than relevance.

*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based writer.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Does sovereignty mean threats?
By Rashweat Mukundu
HAVING grown up in a family which owned neither a radio nor a television set
for the better part of my life, I recently heard this song: "There are
better days before us and . . . we must believe and . . . paradise was
almost closing down." I have no idea who the artist is and fellow
Zimbabweans might know.

It is however the captivating words that make one think about this country,
our own paradise. This Zimbabwe, which has however turned into hell. And we
are winding up 2004, the fourth year of our very deep political, economic
and social crisis that has left many blinded and hope lost.

For the past four years, over three million Zimbabweans have left this
country and sought refuge in other countries. By now every Zimbabwean has
either a relative or friend outside the country. Our crisis has been talked
of in binary terms: it's either you are with President Robert Mugabe and
Zanu PF, or you are one of the so-called "running dogs of the imperialists"
and a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporter.

Whereas there was real hope and excitement in 2000 and 2002, when we

had our controversial and bloody elections, the 2005 elections are only
exciting Zanu PF and the opposition leaders as most people focus on
day-to-day challenges.

Whereas in 2000 and 2002 there was excitement in commuter omnibuses and beer
halls in the high-density suburbs, today no one talks to anyone about
politics - instead the talk is likely to be on soccer and other issues far
away from politics.

Politics to many is the beatings they go through at the hands of security
agents towards elections, intimidation and the presence of youth militia and
roadblocks. Apart from that, politics means nothing else and why bother
participate or take heed?

Zimbabweans need to reclaim the freedom and political space that has been
lost to the powerful that basically use brute force to maintain this
hegemony. This hegemony is being sustained through a multi-pronged strategy
that includes force and the "rule by law".

We are a country with laws for everyone and everything. Zimbabwe probably
holds the record for passing, in quick succession, the most repressive laws
in the world. For the ordinary person, these laws only come to life the day
you are arrested for calling Mugabe a dictator and Tony Blair a liberator.
Of course, the police would gladly read sections of the Public Order and
Security Act to you that criminalise such utterances.

We have to question our members of parliament whether they understand these
laws when they are passed and their implications on our lives. I suppose the
only consolation for many is that some of the laws from time to time trip up
their proponents, who from time to time might find themselves in police
custody, cut off from the state media or chased from one of their many farms
because they are now multiple farm-owners.

Our real crisis is the new definition of "our sovereignty". A new definition
of sovereignty that basically is centred on Zimbabwe's perceived "Super
Sovereignty" has been evolved. It talks of a perfect country that needs no
one and is prepared to go it alone, a splendid sovereignty.

Sovereignty in Zimbabwe now means passing laws that repress the same people
meant to be protected. Sovereignty in Zimbabwe means believing and
supporting Mugabe and Zanu PF, for the two are what constitutes sovereignty
and are in fact the state.

Zimbabwe must dismiss cheap talk that Zanu PF needs a loyal opposition. The
Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) was a loyal opposition but its supporters were
hounded. Lest we forget, Patrick Kombayi was shot despite ZUM being a very
indigenous and loyal opposition.

In the same vein that we are told of this super-sovereign state called
Zimbabwe, our gold is finding its way to South Africa via Mozambique through
illegal means, and our shops are filled with cheap imported goods that are
resulting in our own industry shutting down. We are given a few electrical
generating gadgets in exchange for our tobacco and minerals by "wise men"
from the East, and the big conglomerates are mining our platinum and nickel.

In the name of sovereignty 11 million hectares of land were expropriated and
given to 150 000 families. Meanwhile, millions of jobs were lost and indeed
confessions are coming from the top that the land is not being fully

How do we define our friends as a country? How do we characterise our
friends and our sovereignty in relation to them?

Are our friends Blair's imperialist Britain, George Bush's United states of
America, who "demonise" us and give us food at the same time, donate towards
the immunisation of our children, keep our HIV/Aids programmes running and
donate to Harare city council towards the purchase of chemicals to keep our
water safe?

Is sovereignty defined in terms of the threats and political challenges Zanu
PF and Mugabe are facing? Does the criticism of Zanu PF by the West threaten
our sovereignty and, if so, in what way? Is Zanu PF the sovereign, we must

Zimbabweans need to question this new form and version of sovereignty that
brutalises and impoverishes its own people rather than protect them.

In the name of sovereignty, laws that undermine the existence of the
ordinary person have been passed. Real issues that define and characterise
our sovereignty are ignored. We have to question whether Zanu PF has the
monopoly to define what constitutes sovereignty and patriotism and whether
we are all to be Zanu PF supporters in order for Zimbabwe to be a sovereign

*Rashweat Mukundu is Misa-Zimbabwe acting director.
Back to the Top
Back to Index