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Chombo Is A Hypocrite - UN

Zim Daily

            Friday, December 23 2005 @ 04:06 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

            A top UN official has accused Local government minister Ignatius
Chombo of being a hypocrite after condemning as "sub-standard" a model of a
home built by the United Nations (UN) for victims of a government clean-up
blitz that left hundreds of thousands homeless.

            Zacarias told a press conference in the capital, Harare, that he
was "somewhat puzzled" by the minister's response. He went on to describe
the model as a joint effort by the Zimbabwean government and the UN, as "it
was designed jointly by UN technicians, together with technicians appointed
by the ministry of local government, and is the result of extended
negotiations between the UN and the government of Zimbabwe".

            The government-run Herald Wednesday quoted Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo as saying that the UN was told to "follow set
guidelines but they went ahead and built this sub-standard building." "This
structure is not permanent. We want permanent houses for our people," said
Chombo during a visit to a camp where the UN has built an example of the
brick and asbestos house. The Herald added that Chombo, after viewing the
model home on Tuesday, commented that the people who had designed the
structure were guided by "a this-is-good-for-Africa attitude".

            "I would like to take the opportunity to categorically refute
suggestions that the UN has applied double standards to Africans and more
specifically to Zimbabweans," said the UN representative. In fact, Zacharias
said, the house very closely reflected technical specifications contained in
a letter the government wrote to the UN on November 14 this year approving
the design. After all, Zacharias said, the model house that was being
criticized was superior to the plastic sheeting that the majority of
families affected by the clean up exercise continued to find themselves in
months after the exercise.

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Zanu-PF to change constitution to extend Mugabe's rule

The Mercury

      December 23, 2005

      Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party will amend the constitution in the new
year to cancel presidential elections in 2008 and extend President Robert
Mugabe's tenure until 2010, government sources have said.
      Even if the 82-year-old Mugabe opts to retire before 2010, the
envisaged constitutional amendments would enable him to appoint a successor.

      Mugabe's term expires in 2008, when Zimbabwe is due to hold its
seventh presidential elections. But using his two-thirds majority in both
parliament and the recently established upper house, the Senate, Mugabe's
party aims to defer the presidential elections so that they can run
concurrently with parliamentary elections in 2010.

      - Mercury Foreign Service

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Tolstoy advises:Zimbabwe and the Root of the Evil

By Ralph Black



This article is inspired by the “Letter to a Chinese gentleman,” written in 1899, by the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, the author of the “War and Peace.”  Although this letter was written over a century ago, its urgency and directness is astoundingly current as if it were written yesterday.  It reads as advice to Zimbabweans both at home and abroad and poignantly reveals the root of the evil that has paralyzed and crippled Zimbabwean society.


It reads; individuals and societies are always in a transitory state from one age to another, but there are times when these transitions both for individuals and for societies are especially apparent and vividly realized.


And further, this transition consists in the necessity of freeing themselves from human authority which has become unbearable.


Here is the advice Leo Tolstoy gave in the letter to a Chinese gentlemen, which Zimbabweans are best advised to urgently consider and heed.


You should free yourselves from the unreasonable demands of your Government, which exacts from you actions contrary to your moral teachings and consciousness.  Only adhere to that liberty which consists in following the rational way of life… and of themselves will be abolished all the calamities which your officials cause you.  You will free yourselves from your officials by not fulfilling their demands and above all, by not obeying you will cease to contribute to the oppression and plunder of each other.


Profound and prophetic words! And how applicable to the current situation in Zimbabwe.  If the Zimbabwean people are to live a peaceful and industrious life following in their conduct the principles of their religious faiths, not doing to others what one does not wish to be done to himself, obedience to God and His law, respect for nature and the recognition of human authority that is subservient to divine authority and the dictates of conscience, then of themselves would disappear all the calamities from which the nation now suffers.


At this historically pivotal moment in Zimbabwe’s history, Leo Tolstoy’s words sound like a wake up call and an encouragement for Zimbabwe to retrace the steps of its rich and glorious history and culture, and to shake off the nightmarish existence and suffering imposed by the guardians of nationalist propaganda.  However, to remedy the nations plight, collectively and beginning at the lowest and most basic unit of society we must identify and decisively deal with the root of the evil and not with its consequences.


Tolstoy reveals; in order to free oneself from the evil, one should not fight the consequences, the abuse of Government, the seizure and plunder of land and natural resources, repressive legislation, homelessness, poverty, dislocation and displacement… emphasis added…, but[one should fight] with the root of the evil; with the relations in which people have placed themselves toward human authority.  If the people recognize human power as higher than the power of God, higher than His law, and higher than the laws of human nature and the laws of the land…emphasis added…, then the people will always be slaves and the more so, the more complex their organization of power… which they institute and to which they submit.


The lesson; our nations attitude toward human authority is the root of the evil calamities our nation faces.  Human authority in the person of Robert Mugabe and his party ZANU-PF, is so revered and feared, that it has been placed above divine authority, divine law, hence it is not governed by the dictates of human decency nor the law of the land.  It follows then that the socio-political formations whose objective it is to oppose the glorified human authority of Robert Mugabe, struggle and fight the consequences of the evil regimes rule i.e., AIPPA, POSA, Constitutional Amendment 17, the electoral act and not the root of the evil,  which is our collective hallowed perception and relation toward its authority.


Failure to recognize the root of the evil as being our relational attitude toward human authority and not the consequences of errant rule, denies the nation of our right and duty to disobey human authority that has become unbearable.  Perhaps the dictates of Harare’s authority has not been unbearable or calamitous.  Or to the contrary, the calamities that have befallen the nation at the hands of the repressive Mugabe regime have not forced a change in our relations towards its authority.


 Again, Tolstoy advises; you will free yourselves from your officials by not fulfilling their demands and above all, by not obeying, you will cease to contribute to the oppression and plunder of each other.


Could it be that we have contributed to the oppression and plunder of each other?


Ralph Black is the Director of Communication for the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad (, co-chair of the North American Coalition for a Free Zimbabwe ( and board member of DFW Community Alliance (  He writes in his personal capacity.  He can be contacted by e-mail at


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Striking Zim players need help


23/12/2005 08:16  - (SA)

London - Fed-up Zimbabwe cricketers, who went out on strike on Thursday,
desperately need help from the International Cricket Council (ICC) if they
are to keep on playing.

Their representative Clive Field insisted that many players will be forced
to turn their back on the game as the sport in the country goes through
another depressing crisis.

"It's a financial issue - these guys are crying out for help," Field told
the BBC.

"If they don't see a viable career in cricket they will have to earn a
living doing something else."

The players went on strike and said they would not travel to next month's
Afro-Asian A-team tournament in Bangladesh unless their demands, including
the dismissal of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairperson Peter Chingoka and
managing director Ozias Bvute, and payment of monies owed to them were met.

The Under-23 side would also not travel to neighbouring South Africa to play
in cup matches in February.

Last week, the players decided to resume training so that they would be
prepared for the tournaments, but they changed their minds because of what
was described as "the ongoing failure of ZC to address players concerns,
both contractual and governance".

ZC shut its offices without notice a fortnight before Christmas and they are
not expected to re-open until mid January.

In an earlier statement put out by Field, on behalf of the Zimbabwe
Professional Cricketers Association, it was alleged match fees were paid
late or not at all for series against India and New Zealand.

"In the light of the persistent and continued failure by both the
chairperson and the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket to address the
legitimate concerns of their players, effective immediately no player will
train or avail himself for national duty," said the statement.

Last month former Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu said he would be heading to
Bangladesh to resume his career after retiring from international cricket -
at the age of 22.

He resigned the captaincy in protest at the alleged mal-administration of
Chingoka and Bvute.

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The State of the MDC in Zimbabwe

I have deliberately been fairly quiet on the evolution of the crisis in the
MDC since October when the first cracks appeared. The main reason for this
was that I was waiting to see how events played themselves out while trying
to ascertain exactly what is going on. From day one it was clear that there
was more to this internal crisis than at first met the eye.

My own personal views were well known from the start on the Senate issue - I
was against participation for a wide range of reasons. Like others I was
shocked and surprised by the acrimonious debate and the split decision in
October at the National Council meeting. Then, while we waited for
reconciliation and a resumption of business as usual in the MDC, far from
the situation improving we were spectators of a game where both sides were
guilty of "sledging". For non-cricketers this a term is used to describe a
situation in a game of cricket where one side or one person, by word and
deed, denigrates the opposition. The debate left the majority of us confused
and unhappy.

It is quite clear now that the real agenda had little to do with the Senate
race and everything to do with the issue of how to approach the question of
securing progress on the change and recovery agenda in Zimbabwe. It is now
clear to all - even Zanu PF, that there will be no progress until Mugabe
goes. That he wants to go is no secret - just today the local pink paper
headlined that "Mugabe seeks a safe exit." By safe they mean that he wants
to go when he is satisfied that his position after relinquishing power is
still secure. No Saddam Hussein trial for him. His colleagues are equally
anxious to ensure that when he goes - the whole edifice of Zanu PF and it's
control of power does not simply wobble and collapse.

They are not fools - they well know that they are hated throughout the
country and that they could never win a free and fair election on a level
playing field. They also know what lies ahead for them if the situation does
get out of hand.

The group that attempted an internal coup against Morgan Tsvangirai in
October was and is of the opinion that if the Zanu PF cannot be defeated in
an election and that they cannot be overthrown by a popular uprising, then
the only way forward is a "deal". It is quite clear that such a deal has
been thrashed out and agreed and that this operation is well under way -
with considerable international support.

The dilemma for this group is that they do not command sufficient support
inside the MDC to control the grass roots of the Party where Morgan
Tsvangirai remains an icon and has massive support across the country.
Morgan's great strength has always been his ability to touch the "common
 man". When he realized that he was the subject of a carefully planned and
co-ordinated strategy to remove him from the MDC, Morgan turned back to the

Since October he has toured the country tirelessly, walking among people in
markets, holding rallies and meetings of Party loyalists to explain what he
feels is happening and why he has decided to stay with the course he set in
2000. At that time he argued that the MDC had come into being to confront
Zanu PF - not to compromise with Zanu PF. He sees the present conflict as a
choice between these two poles.

I have supported Morgan throughout this trauma - many of my friends and
colleagues have not and I am saddened by that, but it does not change my
view that he is the only political leader with the trust and support of the
majority - in Zimbabwe, that means, the poor, disadvantaged majority.

When I worked for three years in the early sixties among peasant farmers in
the Gokwe district, I gained a real respect for those poor people; their
wisdom, grasp of the essential fundamentals, hard work and sense of
community. Above all, their instinctive grasp of who was genuine and who had
their interests at heart. Since then I have worked among the poor in urban
areas and helped start Zambuko, a micro lending organisation that finances
small business. My respect for the people who make up the great majority of
the third world and depend on the informal sector for survival has become a
guiding principle for my life. These street-smart people know where their
real interests lie, they also know who can be trusted with those interests
and who cannot. They are amazingly principled and have good communications
and sense of community. In short, I trust the instincts of the poor.

There is no doubt in my mind where the majority sentiment lies here - both
in the MDC itself and in the country. It is with Morgan Tsvangirai and his
immediate support group. In fact I have been shocked and surprised at how
vociferous the people attending MDC rallies have been about the dissident
group led by Welshman Ncube et al. At yesterdays meeting in Bulawayo for
example, he was repeatedly called "Wishman" to the laughter and jeers of
several hundred people from the length and breadth of the Matabeleland

The present situation in the Party is that Morgan is slowly regaining
control of the Party across the country. 7 out of 12 Provinces have now held
their Congress's and have elected new leadership to replace those who are
perceived to have defected. In my own district, all those who supported the
Senate contest have been brushed aside and new leadership - improved
leadership in many cases, has been selected.

This process will be completed by mid January and then the MDC will hold its
national Congress in early March. At that meeting all the leaders who have
failed to restore their relationship with the grass roots of the Party will
be replaced by new leaders and a fresh mandate given to them. The Congress
will be a celebration for a movement that has survived 6 years of battering
by Zanu PF, the media and the CIO. It will provide a strong affirmation of
our people's faith in democracy and freedom, of their commitment to continue
the struggle to defeat those who have destroyed what was once a proud and
self-sufficient country.

It is a time to choose. I was delighted when the warrior Roy Bennett, came
out of the woodwork to be elected as Chairman of Manicaland Province for the
MDC. Roy has reservations about some of the things that have been going on
in the MDC but recognizes that whoever is responsible - and most of us
suspect the CIO and their internal plants, the people are united and are not
in any way confused. They are backing Morgan's leadership and are willing to
go all the way with him. You cannot sit on the fence in this game, all that
that gets you is flak from both sides.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 23rd December 2005

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African drought aid charity hit by lack of interest

UK Herald

December 23 2005

Public indifference is forcing a charity to consider putting fund-raising
for Africa on hold.
The chief executive of Care International says it needs £2.2m to help
drought-hit sub-Saharan Africa. However, two newspaper campaigns raised only
£20,000 for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, Geoffrey Dennis said.
He explained: "We can feed something like 9000 children for a month with
that money, with high energy protein supplements. But it is nowhere near
Now the charity may postpone a campaign relaunch. "It costs us money to
raise a campaign. It may mean that a full relaunch will not happen until the
situation is really disastrous in these countries and that would be a real
shame," Mr Dennis added.
He said the situation was potentially one of the worst facing Africa's
present generation. "Thirty-five million people, we are forecasting, will be
affected. There are no animals left. Crops have failed. There are people
already on the verge of starvation."
In addition to drought there were longer-term issues, Mr Dennis said. "The
effect of HIV/Aids across the whole of Africa, one million orphans in South
Africa alone, life expectancy in Zambia now down to 37, while in the 1970s
it was about 60.
"This is affecting the whole of society. Farmers can't work in the fields if
they are affected and they are losing family members like this."
Meanwhile, research has found that ethical shopping at Christmas is
Of 1070 people surveyed for the Body Shop, 27% said they expected to spend
between £11 and £50 on ethical goods this year. This could mean a UK-wide
ethical spend of £310m compared with £230m last year.

Public indifference is forcing a charity to consider putting fund-raising
for Africa on hold.
The chief executive of Care International says it needs £2.2m to help
drought-hit sub-Saharan Africa. However, two newspaper campaigns raised only
£20,000 for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, Geoffrey Dennis said.
He explained: "We can feed something like 9000 children for a month with
that money, with high energy protein supplements. But it is nowhere near
Now the charity may postpone a campaign relaunch. "It costs us money to
raise a campaign. It may mean that a full relaunch will not happen until the
situation is really disastrous in these countries and that would be a real
shame," Mr Dennis added.
He said the situation was potentially one of the worst facing Africa's
present generation. "Thirty-five million people, we are forecasting, will be
affected. There are no animals left. Crops have failed. There are people
already on the verge of starvation."
In addition to drought there were longer-term issues, Mr Dennis said. "The
effect of HIV/Aids across the whole of Africa, one million orphans in South
Africa alone, life expectancy in Zambia now down to 37, while in the 1970s
it was about 60.
"This is affecting the whole of society. Farmers can't work in the fields if
they are affected and they are losing family members like this."
Meanwhile, research has found that ethical shopping at Christmas is
Of 1070 people surveyed for the Body Shop, 27% said they expected to spend
between £11 and £50 on ethical goods this year. This could mean a UK-wide
ethical spend of £310m compared with £230m last year.

Public indifference is forcing a charity to consider putting fund-raising
for Africa on hold.
The chief executive of Care International says it needs £2.2m to help
drought-hit sub-Saharan Africa. However, two newspaper campaigns raised only
£20,000 for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, Geoffrey Dennis said.
He explained: "We can feed something like 9000 children for a month with
that money, with high energy protein supplements. But it is nowhere near
Now the charity may postpone a campaign relaunch. "It costs us money to
raise a campaign. It may mean that a full relaunch will not happen until the
situation is really disastrous in these countries and that would be a real
shame," Mr Dennis added.
He said the situation was potentially one of the worst facing Africa's
present generation. "Thirty-five million people, we are forecasting, will be
affected. There are no animals left. Crops have failed. There are people
already on the verge of starvation."
In addition to drought there were longer-term issues, Mr Dennis said. "The
effect of HIV/Aids across the whole of Africa, one million orphans in South
Africa alone, life expectancy in Zambia now down to 37, while in the 1970s
it was about 60.
"This is affecting the whole of society. Farmers can't work in the fields if
they are affected and they are losing family members like this."
Meanwhile, research has found that ethical shopping at Christmas is
Of 1070 people surveyed for the Body Shop, 27% said they expected to spend
between £11 and £50 on ethical goods this year. This could mean a UK-wide
ethical spend of  £310m compared with £230m last year.

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ARVs Price Shocker

Zim Daily

            Friday, December 23 2005 @ 04:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: Reporter
            HIV and AIDS patients will now have to fork out a whooping $4,5
million for the much-needed generic Anti Retroviral medication per month.
The latest development comes as a major blow to the suffering Zimbabweans
who are caught in an economic meltdown puzzle.

            The sole manufacturer of the generic ARVs, Varichem indicated
that the rising inflation coupled with the constant crippling shortage of
foreign currency has seen the unprecedented rise in the much sought after
drug. HIV and AIDS activism organisations have bemoaned the shortages
levelling the blame on the government's reluctance to take the issue

            Dr Edwin Muguti, deputy minister of Health and Child Welfare
lambasted independent media for 'melodramatising' the situation. Dr Muguti
chose to attack journalists, whilst admitting that the crisis is far from

            "Tozotaura kana zvinhu zvanaka (i will only give a comment when
the situation is back to normal)', said Dr Muguti. Human rights lawyers
weighed in blaming reserve bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono for choosing to pay
the International monetary Fund using money that 'was raised in a
controversial manner'. Zimbabwe needs US$1 million to adequately acquire
ARVs for the 290 000 needy. Currently less than 20 000 patients are on
medication, the figure that is set to drop drastically against the
background of the skyrocketing prices.

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Traffic flows freely at last at Beitbridge border


December 23, 2005, 10:45

Traffic is reportedly running smoothly along the Musina-Beitbridge road in
Limpopo Province. Thousands of cars are passing over the border to Zimbabwe.
There have been problems of traffic congestion throughout the week at the
border post, but the problem was resolved with the deployment of more staff.
For many days the queue stretched for 6km.

The situation improved after the more than 80 defence force members and
police officials were roped in to control traffic congestion. Earlier this
week a person was knockdown by cars during the congestion. A number of
overloaded vehicles also broke down along the road to Beitbridge.

A meeting of the border control co-ordinating committee resulted in steps
being taken to address the problem, which was flaring tempers among
motorists waiting to be attended to. Nkosana Sibuyi , home affairs
spokesperson, admitted there had been a lack of professionalism and
managment efficiency at the border post.

Water points and portable toilets were provided to ease the wait while
contingency plans were made.

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MPs get $428b for cars

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya
GOVERNMENT will next month splash out a staggering US$4,8 million - about
$427,7 billion at the ruling parallel market exchange rate of US$1: $90
000 - to MPs and senators to buy personal vehicles at a time when forex
remains scarce and millions of Zimbabweans are without food.

Official sources said lawmakers in the lower and upper chambers - who now
number up to 216 - will each get US$22 000 to import a vehicle under
parliament's car loan facility. This means US$4 752 000 will be spent on
vehicle allowances.

The House of Assembly has 150 MPs while the newly-reintroduced Senate has 66
members. The re-introduction of the bi-cameral legislature has stretched
already scarce national resources as new members push for perks. Expenditure
on the recent Senate election and allowances and other benefits for the
senators will further deplete the country's scarce forex resources.

Zimbabwe is reeling under a serious foreign exchange crisis which has in
turn caused shortages of fuel, power, drugs, spares, production inputs, and

The foreign currency shortage was caused by poor export performance, lack of
balance of payments support, and drying up of donor aid and direct foreign

"Legislators, both members of the lower house and the upper house, will from
next month start to draw down on the facility in which they would be able to
access US$22 000 each to import cars," a source said. "Initially MPs wanted
US$46 000 each but the figure was brought down to US$22 000."

The loans will be secured at a preferential exchange rate of US$1:$26 000
and will be interest-free. The vehicles will be imported duty-free.

However, the legislators want the loan increased because they argue that it
was too little to buy suitable off-road vehicles.

"There is no useful car that one can buy with US$22 000 because MPs need
all-terrain vehicles that work in all constituencies, especially rural
 ones," one MP said.

"The only car one can buy with that amount is a re-conditioned Japanese
vehicle, those from Durban (South Africa), which cost between US$3 000 and
US$10 000."

Parliament has been in dire straits due to budgetary constraints. It has
during the course of the year failed to pay MPs their allowances.

In October, Speaker John Nkomo and a delegation of MPs failed to travel to
Geneva, Switzerland, to attend an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference
because parliament was broke and had no usable foreign currency. It could
not raise the required US$1 500 travel allowances for each of the MPs.

Nkomo was expected to travel with Zanu PF MPs, Leo Mugabe and Margaret
Zinyemba, and opposition MDC legislators Job Sikhala and Gilbert Shoko.

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We blundered on land, admits Zanu PF

Zim Independent

Loughty Dube
THE ruling Zanu PF has admitted for the first time that the controversial
land reforms it masterminded five years ago are fraught with irregularities,
a report by the party has revealed.

The concession by Zanu PF vindicates assertions by local pressure groups and
the international community that the land reform exercise was hurried to
achieve a political goal and that this has contributed to the decline in
agricultural production.

Zimbabwe is grappling with acute food shortages caused mainly by disruptions
to commercial farming and the shortage of inputs such as fertiliser and
grain seed.

The Zanu PF central committee two weeks tabled a report outlining the
problems at a closed meeting during the party's national conference held in

The contents of the report angered President Mugabe who, in his closing
remarks at the conference, lashed out at government departments for failing
to deal with problems in the agricultural sector.

The report, titled Land and Land Reform, confirms that the latest land audit
has revealed there are fresh farm invasions despite government claims that
the exercise has been completed.

In highlighting some of the problems plaguing the land reform process, the
report says the land audit currently under way has discovered that only 81
farms from a list of 6 482 acquired have been submitted to the
Surveyor-General for title surveys.

From the list, only two farms in Matabeleland North and four in Masvingo
have been submitted to the Surveyor-General for the title surveys.

The report further indicates that multiple-farm ownership is still prevalent

"Double allocations and multiple ownership are still prevalent but the
ministry is addressing the situation," the report says. "Provincial land
committees have been requested to take corrective measures as a matter of

This is one of the problems that is also being addressed by the land audit."

Senior government officials and Zanu PF supporters have in the past ignored
President Mugabe's calls for multiple-farm owners to surrender their surplus

Successive land committees appointed by Mugabe to take stock of the land
reform exercise have all indicated that Zanu PF chefs owned several farms
each but few have bothered to hand back the extra land.

The report also highlights vandalism or under-utilisation of infrastructure
on state farms, government's failure to deal with people on the land without
offer letters, and those with offer letters but not on the ground.

"There is rampant vandalism of infrastructure and equipment on a number of
farms, especially the destruction of tobacco barns," the report says.

"A number of farmers without offer letters have been identified on the
ground and these claim to have moved to the farms in the year 2000 and
therefore claim that they are protected by the Rural Land Occupiers Act," it

While the confusion on the farms continues, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is
mobilising resources to import 50 000 tonnes of fertilisers needed by
farmers for the current farming season.

Despite the widespread rains, reports on the ground indicate that there is
little farming activity due to input shortages and on-farm disruptions.

The ongoing land audit has established that settlers are involved in the
destruction of trees on the farms.

"The settlers are involved in wanton destruction of trees, selling firewood,
gold panning, poaching and vandalism of farm properties among other things,"
the report says.

The land audit seeks to address issues of farm utilisation, identification
of property left on farms by former white owners, farm disputes, double farm
allocations and the issue of multiple farm ownerships.

It is also expected to deal with cases of beneficiaries with offer letters
who are not on the ground and farmers on the ground without offer letters.

"There are cases where existing infrastructure like dairy infrastructure is
being converted into classrooms and in some cases coffee, citrus or timber
plantations are being cleared to pave way for crop production," says the

It highlights cases of illegal gold panners who are using prime farming land
for mining activities.

The report also states that there is massive irrigation infrastructure on A1
farms that is not being used at all by the new farmers.

The government intends to amend Section 10 of the Farm Equipment and
Minerals Act to allow it to compulsorily acquire former white farmers'
equipment and give it to A1 and A2 farmers.

According to the report, a total of 140 698 A1 families have been resettled
on 2 740 farms while 14 856 A2 beneficiaries have been resettled on 2 280

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What they said in the year gone by

Zim Independent

* "HE met Cde Msika but he was adamant and Msika gave up. The next day we
heard he had filed nomination papers to stand as an independent and we
advised him that it was not wise to stand as an independent. I advised him
that the whole machinery of the party will fall on you and you will be
demolished. You can never win against Zanu PF. You can't educate him." -

President Robert Mugabe commenting on Jonathan Moyo who had defied the party
leadership to contest the March election as an independent in Tsholotsho.

* "Those people waiting for a launch ceremony might wait for a very long
time because the party for today to make tomorrow better has already
come." - Tsholotsho MP and former Information minister Jonathan Moyo in
response to questions when the United People's Movement would be launched.

* "The only option left is for the responsible authorities to call for
elections so that residents can elect a mayor with a vision for the
municipality. "- Glen Norah resident Walter Muneneri commenting on the
reappointment of the Harare commission led by Sekesai Makwavarara.

* "I have no interest in playing idiotic games with idiots. Tsvangirai and
his gang believe I am interested in playing their idiotic game." - Welshman
Ncube responding to claims of his suspension as MDC secretary-general by
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

* "I don't want to give lies any respect. Those are just lies. I have seen
website stories saying I knew about this and did nothing. Those are lies.
You are a seasoned journalist and I don't think you want us to discuss such
things. I have no personal views on lies." - Former State Security minister
Nicholas Goche dismissing reports that he was involved in the spy case
involving Phillip Chiyangwa, Kenny Karidza, Itai Marchi, Godfrey Dzwairo and
Tendai Matambanadzo.

* "There is nothing wrong with the party policies. But there is something
wrong with some of the leaders. We have party leaders who think they should
die in power and should never be challenged. We do not have leaders who have
the Mandela-style of leadership - a type of leadership where you lead some
day and groom someone to lead you tomorrow. You then look back and feel
proud of your achievements and the continuation of party ideals." -
Suspended war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda castigating the Zanu PF

* "The women were assaulted with batons and kicked by the police. They were
taken into an interrogation room that had a table in the middle and
underneath the table was a pool of blood. Police details interrogating them
threatened that if the women continued with Woza their blood would be added
to the pool under the table." - Woza coordinator Jenny Williams describing
the ordeal women demonstrators went through at Harare Central police station
for protesting against Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere.

* "This book is a prophecy of what is going to happen. The book tries kuudza
vana veZimbabwe kuti kutengesa nyika hazvibatsiri. Kutengesa nyika kunoita
Africa irasike. They have gone to create a media whose hatred of Zimbabwe's
revolution surpasses the smell of a thousand dead donkeys." - Director of
Zanu PF publicity Steve Chidawanyika commenting on a booklet published for
the March parliamentary election listing the names of people perceived as
traitors. The list included Trevor Ncube, Basildon Peta, Geoff Nyarota,
Archbishop Pius Ncube, NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku and most MDC

* "The problem with our leaders is that they don't look at the economy
strategically. They must not allow Zimbabwe to be a free-for-all economy
where inferior products just flood the market to the detriment of our
manufacturers. Zimbabwean manufacturers cannot be expected to compete
against the Chinese. China has huge economies of scale which we don't
have." - President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Luxon Zembe
commenting on the flooding of the local market with inferior Chinese

* "People blame us for not organising protests against the government. But
how do you organise a person whose immediate priority is to see where his
family is going to eat or sleep next? You cannot tell a person preoccupied
with finding alternative accommodation for his family or a temporary place
to keep his belongings to join a protest march." - MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai responding to charges that his party should have seized
opportunities presented by the unpopular Operation Murambatsvina to rally
people against the regime.

* "People know my assets and God knows they are mine. Even if they take them
they will remain mine. What have I done?" - Businessman James Makamba
responding to reports that government wanted to take over his stake in

* "This is about intimidation. This is about clamping down on the
independent media. This is about thought-control which has forced people to
look over their shoulders before they express themselves." - Publisher
Trevor Ncube commenting on the seizure of his passport by the state.

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Bleak Christmas for Zimbabweans

Zim Independent

Grace Kombora
A BLEAK Christmas beckons for crisis-sapped Zimbabweans as inflation
continues to gnaw at the national currency, forcing buyers to carry huge
bundles called "bricks".

Going down memory lane, many adults remember times when Christmas was an
occasion for celebrations. Every child in our neighbourhood would look
forward to the day. They looked forward to receiving new clothes or a pair
of shoes and invariably sweets.

Flaunting new clothes, the kids would roam around the rural shopping centre
in the "townships" with the $5 mothers would have generously given them as
"pocket money". It was so loaded with value that they would spend as much as
they could and still return home with change.

Food flowed - winnow baskets full of bread slices, sweets and candy cakes -
the rare treat that children would wait a whole 365 days for.

Everything that a child could dream of was freely available. Relatives would
bring home the bacon in the form of dozens of bread loaves to grace the
Christmas day table.

All that is long gone. The joys of Christmas have been receding since the
current economic crisis took hold in 1997 accompanied by rising food costs
which have spawned deepening poverty.

Christmas Day no longer raises expectations but competes with any other for
daily worries.

There is little hope of re-incarnating the good old days owing to a serious
plunge in the value of the Zimbabwe currency, gnawed to the bone by rising
inflation which is now more than 500%

The crippled economy has spawned hard times for Zimbabweans.

Travel to rural areas and the gathering of family units for Christmas has
become too costly for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Fuel shortages, which hit the country three years ago, have left Zimbabweans
without any hope of getting normal supplies in the near future.

The would-have-been festive season appears to have turned into a curse
exemplified by Josephine Mano, a widowed teacher at a primary school in

Mano, a mother of two, does not know how she is going to survive not only
this Christmas but in the coming year.

With a paltry $3 million monthly salary and a similar amount in untaxed
bonus, she does not have enough to make the minimum required to feed a
family for a month.

Mano fears that she will not be able to pay school fees for her children
come January when schools open.

As a civil servant, Mano is among ill-paid public servants who are gradually
joining a growing number of urban poor hard pressed to make a decent living
out of formal employment.

"I do not know how I am going to survive especially next month as I have
already used up my cash," Mano said.

"I have to beg and borrow to make ends meet. That does not give me any
reprieve because come monthend I must pay what I owe and start borrowing
again. It's a vicious cycle," Mano said.

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If it's Christmas Day, that's for Chombo

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari
CHRISTMAS Day could pass without anything to distinguish it from any other
day for about two million poor Zimbabweans this year. They got their
Christmas "present" from government in the form of Operation Murambatsvina
seven months ago.

For those affected by the controversial slum clearance operation - put at
over two-and-a-half million by the UN - Christmas Day is likely to find them
busy patching the leaking roofs of their shacks, hastily put up after their
homes were destroyed in May.

While President Robert Mugabe might be looking forward to his traditional
annual Christmas holiday abroad, the victims of his government's brutal
actions have nothing to celebrate.

With their sources of livelihood destroyed and homes razed by bulldozers,
they have lost hope of ever rebuilding their lives again.

Nowhere is this lack of hope more apparent than at Whitecliff Farm where
thousands were left homeless by the operation. The place now resembles a
bombed village. Massive heaps of bricks and rubble are what remain of their

In other places coloured floors and pock-marked slabs serve to remind them
that they used to own a house there.

The government said their houses were not planned but to the people of
Whitecliff their structures were home-sweet-home.

Fearful of the coming rains, the people have built makeshift shelters some
of which rise barely two metres off the ground. Many have become used to
crawling into their homes instead of walking in.

To ask them about their Christmas plans and New Year resolutions is an
insult. Their faces bear a hang-dog look.

It is a question that they believe has an obvious answer if one looks around
them. "What else can a man with a destroyed home hope for?" says July
Mushonga (41), who now lives in a shack with his wife Mary and two kids.

"What can you do on a Christmas day if you don't have money? To me Christmas
will just be another day of suffering, another day of struggle to eke out a
living," says Mushonga.

It is very difficult to find any other name for his shack than a hovel. It
leans precariously on two wooden poles used as pillars that it could take
only a slight storm for it to crumble. But Mushonga has nothing to fear
because he says the government has "killed me already". A black plastic
sheet on the entrance serves as a door. He has learnt that the simple act of
opening a door is a luxury reserved for those who have proper houses.

During heavy rains he does not sleep, dealing with leaks on the roof.

"I am destroyed already. Nothing could be worse than what the government did
to me," he says almost in tears. When a man weeps in Africa it means his
situation is dire.

A single sofa probably bought from Siyaso - the informal market - during the
good times before government swooped on informal settlements and traders
shows that he once owned furniture.

"I sold all the property I had to buy food after they destroyed my roadside
tuck shop and house," he laments. Inside the hovel, there are no
demarcations between bedroom, kitchen and dining-room - one plastic
contraption serves both purposes. In the dark corner of the room a glowing
fire flickers underneath a black tin.

He is boiling today's relish -nyevhe - an edible weed that grows during
summer. Next to the fire is a tin half full with mealie-meal that might on
first look pass for brown sugar because of its poor quality.

"This is what I will eat for Christmas," he says opening the tin for this
reporter to see.

"I am ashamed I will not be able to provide my children with the few goodies
that I enjoyed during Christmas when I was young. I am ashamed of myself for
failing to provide for my children."

He remembers how as a young boy growing up in Murehwa under the Smith regime
he would look forward to Christmas Day.

Then before the economy had been vandalised he would wake up early on the
day with other village boys to go to the river.

There they would scrub their cracked feet to wear their canvass shoes
brought from town by their fathers. They would smear their bodies with Shell
oil and put on their new clothes. It was good.

Christmas was a day when the family had plenty to eat from bread to rice and
chicken. For the boys those with a blinking Quartz watch would be heroes.
Those without anything to show would compensate by smearing their mouths
with margarine or butter to show off. No one starved because everyone was
willing to share.

At the local shops the children would splash their valuable cents on local
fizzy beverages drinks. One of the drinks was famous for its twisted bottle.

The rock buns and candy cakes (Chikondamoyo) were also favourite items of

But all that has changed for Mushonga and millions of Zimbabweans now
poverty stricken because of economic meltdown caused by misrule.

The Mushongas last had bread three weeks ago.

"Bread is now a privilege for people like (Local Government minister
Ignatious) Chombo," Mushonga says in frustration punctuated with sarcasms.

"Kana ukataura zvechingwa kwandiri unenge uchitondituka. Chinodyiwa nevari
muhurumende savana Chombo ndiye nyakupaza imba yangu." (To talk about bread
to me is an insult. Bread is for those in the government like Minister
Chombo who ordered the destruction of my house.)

He has more pressing problems to worry about over Christmas. His eldest son,
Godknows (8), will need $400 000 to go back to school in Murehwa, Mushonga's
rural area which he last visited four years ago.

In Whitecliff there is no distinction between those who have and those who
don't - they are all poor. The villagers are bound by one common goal - to
get something to eat today. Tomorrow in another day to be lived when it

Norman Bondayi (38), a father of three, shares the same misery with

He has pulled through the past three months selling bricks from his
destroyed house to people in the neighbouring suburbs like Kuwadzana

"But the bricks are almost finished. I have to look for other means to
survive," said Bondayi. Christmas to him has lost its meaning.

"Even if it meant anything to me, what would I do if there is no money in
the house?" he asks.

Once a staunch supporter of Zanu PF, Bondayi now has no kind words for
Mugabe and his government.

"I now know who is killing this country, it's the Zanu PF government and no
one else," he declares bravely. He says poverty has taught him to be
critical and analyse things.

"I feel angry when I hear the president's motorcade passing along the road
(Harare-Bulawayo). I ask myself why he doesn't look this side and see how we
are living."

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Travellers slam SA visa regime

Zim Independent

A NUMBER of Zimbabweans will be unable to visit South Africa for the festive
season after failing to get visas due to the stringent requirements made by
the South African authorities.

Prospective travellers interviewed this week expressed frustration with the
South African visa requirements which they said were being used to block
genuine travellers under the pretext of controlling illegal immigrants into
that country.

Those interviewed said they were unable to get visas because they did not
have invitation letters needed to accompany a visa application. Tourists and
holidaymakers do not travel by invitation, they pointed out.

Thulani Gumede, a Bulawayo resident who wanted to go to South Africa for
holidays with his family, said he was unable to secure visas for his family
because he could not produce an invitation letter to back up his

"I telephoned the guys at the South African embassy and they told me I
should not bother to submit the passports unless I had an invitation letter
from someone," Gumede said.

"I asked the officer at the visa section how I could get an invitation
letter to go on holiday on my own resources. In a way, I'm a tourist and
since when have tourists been invited to tour holiday resorts?"

To get a South African visa, one needs to attach an invitation letter with
the name and address of the host and a travellers cheque worth R1 000 or
savings with a South African bank of the same amount. The visa takes seven
days to process. South Africa recently introduced transit visas for
Zimbabweans, in a move that showed a tightening of the visa regime.

If one is applying for a visa to attend a funeral, the embassy needs a death
certificate, which means a bereaved family has to confront government
bureaucracy to get the certificate before attending to more immediate

To make matters worse, local travellers say, officers at the South African
embassy's visa section in Harare are generally hostile and treat customers
with disdain.

Another potential traveller, Andrew Mutasa, said he also failed to get a
visa because of the strict requirements.

"It's very disappointing to be subjected to such kind of treatment, not only
by fellow African brothers, but also by neighbours," he said.

"When will South Africa realise it has to treat other Africans with due
respect? It's unfortunate such a small thing might end up damaging relations
between the two countries if not addressed in time."

Several travellers who failed to make it said they were annoyed by the South
African visa demands because they would lose money - thousands of rands -
they had paid for hotel bookings and other holiday activities in advance.

"I will lose R3 000 just because I couldn't get a visa. This is really
unfair and insulting," one traveller said.

Last month editor of the Standard newspaper Davison Maruziva failed to
attend an important media conference in Johannesburg after the South African
embassy withheld his passport, claiming it could not be released before
seven days had expired.

South African embassy officials could not comment on the issue this week.
The head of the visa section (only identified as Nzuza) demanded questions
be put in writing.

In the region, Zimbabweans are the only ones who need visas in advance to
enter South Africa.

Eight months ago South Africa signed an agreement with Mozambique for the
removal of visa requirements for Mozambican nationals visiting South Africa
for a maximum of 30 days.

South African Home Affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the
Zimbabwean visa issue needed to be addressed urgently. Observers say it has
become untenable for South Africa to block people - mostly ordinary citizens
and businessmen - from travelling on spurious grounds. - Staff Writer.

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UPM will push for radical overhaul

Zim Independent

Ray Matikinye
THE United People's Movement (UPM) says it will push for a broad-based
constitution in its first 100 days in office to undo the damage that the
ruling Zanu PF has inflicted on ordinary Zimbabweans since it took office in

In a position paper published recently and being distributed selectively,
UPM promises a radical shift from Zanu PF policies to restore property
rights, enfranchise Zimbabweans abroad and break the stranglehold on tribal
chiefs that Zanu PF has maintained.

The position paper assumes UPM will benefit from the divided loyalties of
disgruntled members from the MDC and Zanu PF by offering a policy shift.

UPM promises to de-politicise the Central Intelligence Organisation, the
Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army and remove them from
direct political control by a sitting president.

Current UPM focal person, Pearson Mbalekwa, said his movement will not
launch itself at a press conference like other parties have done.

"We know the risks involved," Mbalekwa, who sent his resignation letter from
Zanu PF to the party headquarters along Rotten Row through his gardener,
said last Friday.

"As a movement we have been mobilising in secret because we know who we are
dealing with."

Mbalekwa resigned from Zanu PF to protest the widely condemned slum
clearance scheme, Operation Murambatsvina.

Mbalekwa, a former CIO officer, resigned in April.

He refused to name other members but the UPM position paper gives pointers
that the movement has drawn support from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF

"While the leadership in Zanu PF is now deadwood, the same is not true of
the bulk of its membership which is part of UPM," it says.

Unlike Zanu PF which has remained wedded to the politics of liberation, UPM
says it will reverse the marginalisation of young people by ensuring they
play a pivotal role in national politics and the economy.

It says its ideological position "seeks a radical revision of democracy and
public institutions, not only as a response to the failed Zanu PF's
one-party project but as a response to the push down effects of
globalisation below and above the level of the state".

This will be achieved through decentralisation and devolution of political
power to produce what constitutes public or national interest.

Once the UPM is in government, it will embark on a rationalisation of land
reform and institutionalise a freehold land tenure system to promote
effective land utilisation and eliminate abuse by the ruling elite.

UPM will abolish presidential appointments for MPs and provincial governors
to ensure anyone holding political office is directly elected by the people.

"UPM believes in representative leadership, not in leaders who are not
elected by the people or leaders without followers who have no mandate
beyond their personal interests," the position paper says.

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Factions threaten Zanu PF - report

Zim Independent

AS the 2008 presidential and 2010 parliamentary elections draw closer,
internal Zanu PF reports indicate that 10 of the party's 12 provinces are
faced with serious factionalism that threatens to divide the party.

The reports, communicated to the party leadership during the just- ended
Zanu PF national conference, state that Mashonaland East and Central are the
only provinces unaffected by factionalism.

A Zanu PF "National Security" report that looks at the state of the party
nation-wide says factionalism is so rife that it has an effect on the very
existence of the party.

The divisions have prompted the central committee to recommend that the
party restructures from cell to district level in all provinces ahead of the
presidential election due in 2008.

"Factionalism is rife in most provinces with the exception of Mashonaland
East and Central. If there are any differences within the ranks of the party
leadership of the two provinces, it is minimal and of no consequence to the
party," says a summary of the state of the party.

The report further states that in most cases there are two factions in each
province while other provinces have more than two.

According to the report, the leaders of each faction in each province are
known and can easily be identified.

"In most cases there are two factions in each province, though in other
provinces there might be more. The leaders of each faction are known and can
be identified without any difficulties," the report says.

Zanu PF is fraught with factionalism that dates back to the early 90s but
the latest fragmentation was accentuated by the succession issue that saw
six provincial chairpersons suspended for allegedly plotting against Joice
Mujuru's rise to the post of vice-president.

As a result, two camps emerged with one camp backing Mujuru while another
was rooting for former speaker of parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The report, divided into several sections, also assesses Zanu PF's
strengths, the security situation around the country, activities of minority
parties, the recently held senatorial elections and the strained relations
between Zanu PF and the international community.

The party report says voter apathy, corruption within its ranks and protest
votes are some of the problems undermining Zanu PF.

"However, the weakness of the party, which has also become its major threat,
is its continued failure to effectively destroy factionalism, voter apathy
and protest votes within its ranks. The party should be exemplary in dealing
with corrupt leaders within its ranks, as failure to do so would seriously
erode its fortunes through mistrust," the report says. - Staff Writer.

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Mandaza to file contempt of court charge

Zim Independent

ZIMBABWE Mirror Newspapers Group CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza said
yesterday he will today file a contempt of court charge against his company's
board which has prevented him from resuming duties despite the nullification
of his suspension.

Mandaza, who secured a court order against his suspension last week and a
"clarification order" to put the lifting of his suspension beyond doubt,
said the Mirror board had issued a memo to employees urging them not to
cooperate with him and said that "amounted to contempt of court".

"The circular amounts to a contempt of court and my lawyers are going to
court tomorrow (today) to file a contempt of court charge," Mandaza said.

"The court order interdicts, prohibits and restrains some board members from
holding or continuing any disciplinary proceedings or other actions against

The Mirror group, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, has been
taken over by the Central Intelligence Organsiation using public funds.

Mandaza was first suspended in October by Mirror chair Jonathan Kadzura and
his deputy John Marangwanda. He had to fight in court to overturn his
suspension. - Staff Writer.

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Two Zimbabweans nominated for Oxford

Zim Independent

SUBJECT to confirmation by the Rhodes Trustees, two Zimbabweans have raised
the country's flag high by being nominated for entry to the prestigious
Oxford University in the United Kingdom in October next year by the Rhodes
Scholarship Selection Committee for Zimbabwe.

The duo - Rosemary Nyabadza and Tara McIndoe - will join some 240 Rhodes
scholars from 19 countries.

McIndoe was educated at the Dominican Convent High School in Bulawayo where
she obtained flying colours scoring nine "A"s in her "O" level examinations
and three "A"s and one "B" at Advanced level. She was headgirl in the year
2000 and is an avid athlete who represented the school's first teams in
swimming, tennis, hockey and diving. McIndoe proceeded to Trinity College,
University of Dublin, where she obtained first class honours throughout her
four year BA degree in Economics and Social Studies. She is set to complete
an MPhil in Economics at Oxford.

Nyabadza on the other hand attended Arundel School where she amassed ten "A"s
at 'O' level proceeding to score an impressive three "A"s and two "B"s in
the Cambridge Advanced Subsidiary examinations. Nyabadza is also an active
sportswoman who represented her school in athletics and hockey.

From Arundel she joined Griffiths University in Brisbane, Australia, where
she won various awards for academic excellence in her Bachelor of Biomedical
Science degree. She wishes to study for a MSc in Global Health Science.

Oxford Scholarships are awarded to outstanding and deserving students across
the world who display unparalleled academic excellence in various fields of
study. - Staff Writer.

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Art graduates blast Murambatsvina

Zim Independent

Itai Mushekwe
IN a clear case of disapproval, visual arts students from the Zimbabwe
Institute of Visual Arts (Ziva) recently produced stinging work against
government's infamous slum clearance blitz Operation Murambatsvina/ Restore

The damning presentations were on display at Ziva's graduation ceremony held
a fortnight ago at the City Bowling Club in the capital. Fifteen students
were awarded with diplomas for completing the institute's two year visual
arts programme.

Of the displays viewed by guests at the ceremony, four presentations from
four artists emerged head and shoulders above the rest owing to their
powerful political connotations told through sheer graphic design prowess.

The visual pictures which included Clean Up? by Thomas Mwasangwale and A New
Beginning by Michelle Motsi together with Operation Sunga Zvinhu (lock it)
and Warning presented by Fadzayi Chiwandire and Kundai Hove respectively
speak volumes about the devastation and suffering inflicted on the people by
the operation.

One of the artists who declined to be named expressed grave concern over the
plight of those affected describing government's so-called urban renewal
which left a swathe of destruction on its trail as horrendous.

"As artists we are society's mirror," said the artist.

"It is incumbent upon us to reflect reality and matters affecting humanity
through our work.

"Transgressions committed by the state while undertaking this mad operation
amount to an atrocity and are unforgivable as Zimbabweans have been reduced
to paupers after working so hard to improve their lives."

The visual displays complement each other in communicating the fate and dark
cloud cast upon by Murambatsvina. The displays left people attending the
graduation ceremony overwhelmed with grief as they painted a vivid picture
of what transpired during the crackdown. UN envoy, Anna Tibaijuka produced a
damning report following her fact-finding mission which states that 700 000
people were rendered homeless and robbed of their source of livelihood.

Warning warns against playing Russian roulette with people's life, which it
argues cannot be recycled like waste. Operation Sunga Zvinhu through the
metal lock talks about how the state made life difficult for ordinary
Zimbabweans by undertaking the operation.

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What went wrong for business in 2005?

Zim Independent

THE year 2005 could be described as one of the most difficult for businesses
in Zimbabwe. Shortages of foreign currency, fuel, power and water all
contributed to massive loss of production and at times the closure of
companies. Luxon Zembe, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)
president, spoke to our senior business reporter, Shakeman Mugari on the
state of business in 2005 and next year's prospects.

Mugari: How would you describe the year 2005 from a business perspective?

Zembe: I would say this was the most difficult year for business in
Zimbabwe. We saw the whole thrust of the turnaround failing to achieve its
goals. The minor gains of 2004 were reversed this year. Foreign currency
supply almost dried up to the extent that at one time the auction system
could only meet 3% of national needs. The inflation rate also increased
drastically while interest rates climbed up to more than 450%. From a GDP
point of view, we are still in the negative.

Mugari: What other problems did business face this year?

Zembe: There was a shortage of everything. There was no fuel, water and
power. Power outages actually intensified while water became a scare
commodity with other areas going for more than three months without water.

Mugari: What caused all these problems?

Zembe: This was an election year. And we must realise that during an
election year politicians put everything aside to win an election. This is
one of the most unfortunate aspect of Zimbabwean politics - the economy does
not take centre stage in an election. In other countries leaders are
evaluated on the basis of the state of the economy, the standards of living
and employment. Voters in other countries use the standard of education,
health and transport system to choose their leaders. That is why I don't
believe we have a leadership in this country.

Mugari: What do Zimbabweans use to evaluate their leaders?

Zembe: Well they focus on relationships, associations and tribal issues.
There is a culture of the politics of hatred in this country. That is why we
don't elect leaders in this country, we elect comrades. We put personal
interests at the forefront. People are forced to look at their personal
interests. They believe if they vote in so and so they will lose their land
or property.

Mugari: What were the other causes of the crisis?

Zembe: We had wrong people occupying land. That is why we failed to raise
agricultural production despite pouring billions into the sector. We have
people without skill, resources and passion for agriculture. They are
occupying the land for political reasons. That is why after free land they
want free tillage, free fertiliser and free seeds. They want everything
free. In the end they are only working to feed themselves and not the
nation. They are merely subsistence farmers.

Mugari: So what is to be done?

Zembe: We need to go back to the Utete (Charles) report which recommended
that we resettle these people. I am not saying people should be removed from
their land. What I mean is that there must be a clear distinction between
land for resettlement and for business. That did not happen when we started
the land reform and we are still suffering from those effects of omission.

Mugari: How about government policy, did it have an impact?

Zembe: Oh yes, it did the damage. In August 2004 President Mugabe said the
reform had ended but we have witnessed fresh farm invasions. We have seen
massive disturbances on productive farms. The fiscal and monetary policies
were not compatible. We also had these command policies that are killing the
economy. We still have price controls on commodities like sugar and fuel. As
for fuel, we have four prices that are being used.

Mugari: What are those prices?

Zembe: We have $11 000 as the price for the privileged farmers who then sell
it on the black market instead of using it to till their land. We have $23
000 as the price for the lucky ones who have contacts in government. We have
the US$1 as the price for the rich who can afford to get foreign currency.
Then we have the price for the desperate ones which ranges between $100 000
and $150 000 per litre.

Mugari: Other policies you could say also affected business this year?

Zembe: Money supply growth. Government kept on printing money to fund its
bloated debt. The RBZ also contributed to the inflation surge with its
quasi-fiscal actions. It was pouring money into parastatals and local
authorities like confetti. That pushed inflation to new heights of over
500%. It is clearly unsustainable.

Mugari: President Mugabe declared 2005 a year of investment. Looking back,
would you say there was any investment?

Zembe: That has not materialised. We of course have a few Chinese here and
there but that is for their own benefit. In real terms we have not seen any
investment whether local or eternal. There were some mergers and
acquisitions but that is not real investment. It is just the same money
changing hands locally. That it not wealth creation. So in terms of luring
investors, the country failed to perform.

But how can we get investment when we are still ranked so lowly in
corruption and political risk terms? Our policies are not clear. We don't
have a policy of indigenisation in the mining sector. We are still invading
farms too.

Mugari: If we had all these biting problems, how did other companies

Zembe: That was probably out of their ingenuity, perseverance and
resilience. That is why we say with proper policies this country would do

Mugari: But government says they are part of "economic saboteurs" working to
undermine the national interest?

Zembe: Now that pains me. It pains me to see businessmen and leaders who
have struggled this far being victimised and traumatised. The government
forgets that these are the same people who have kept the economy running all
these years, they deserve respect and we should treat them with love. Even
politicians should be grateful to have such patriotic businesspeople in this
country. They have saved this country from civil unrest.

Mugari: What do you think is in store for business in 2006?

Zembe: We could start on a positive note if what Minister Murerwa said about
price controls is going to be implemented. He said we would have a
market-driven economy but that remains a statement of intent instead of

It is the implementing side that lacks in this country. They should
implement policies with speed like they do with taxes. When announcing taxes
Murerwa will say "with effect from today". That is the speed that we want on
other policies.

Mugari: Minister Murerwa in his budget statement says 2006 will be a better
year, especially for agriculture.

Zembe: Those predictions are based on false assumptions that agricultural
production will increase. But the situation on the ground shows that this
season is probably the worst in terms of preparation. It would be a miracle
if we manage the 28% growth that he talks about. It's impossible. Irrigation
equipment has been vandalised and there are no inputs.

Mugari: What about our bilateral relations?

Zembe: They are at their worst currently. Murerwa and (RBZ governor Gideon)
Gono are saying we should engage the international community but they are
being attacked left, right and centre by other government officials. It's OK
for countries to have differences but our government has gone further than
that to create enemies. They forget that the economy is built on a political

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Cabinet changes mooted by rumour mill

Zim Independent

IT is incomprehensible as to why Zimbabwe has been the victim of fuel
shortages, for Zimbabwe does not run on fuel, it runs on rumours, and it
certainly has no scarcity of those.

Of course, the fact that none, or almost none, of Zimbabwe's rumours have,
during the past 25 years, had any foundation of fact has been, and continues
to be, irrelevant. Rumour raconteurs unhesitatingly, and with great
authority and deep conviction, assure their listeners that the rumours are
absolute in substance, for invariably they have heard them direct "from the
horse's mouth". The facts that horses can also lie, when it suits them, that
many horses are often asses, and that all they can usually say is "neigh",
and that should probably (bearing in mind the Zimbabwean political
environment) be spelt "nay!", are invariably disregarded.

In view of this Zimbabwean rumour syndrome, it can be taken for granted that
the rumours below of presidential intentions to restructure his cabinet are
without foundation and naught but a figment of this author's imagination.

And yet, there have been so many calls for Zimbabwe belatedly to adopt the
precepts of transparency, and especially so in the fields of politics and
state management of economics, perhaps such a restructuring would at least
belatedly give the president's cabinet an aura of reality of awareness.

If there should be any substance to the alleged intent of the president to
restructure his cabinet, then the first of the changes is that the Ministry
of Agriculture will be in future, the Ministry of Fallow and Unproductive
Lands, and Rural Disorder. Such a title would transparently reflect all that
the ministry has achieved since 2000, with a year-on-year decline in
agricultural production, ever less land under cultivation, recurrent
unfulfilled promises of agricultural inputs availability, and the only real
production being by the ministry itself, yielding a wealth and plethora of
mythical projections of seasonal agriculture outturns.

Alongside the Ministry of Fallow and Unproductive Lands must be the Ministry
of State for Land and Resettlement Programme, which will surely be retitled
the Ministry of Snatch, Displace and Destroy, for it has so effectively
pursued government's policy of identifying farms with great production,
immense contributions to economic well-being (including great employment,
foreign exchange generation, and downstream economic spending, as well as
fiscal contributions), and destroying all that, that the name Ministry of
Snatch, Displace and Destroy must aptly describe the ministry and its

However, not to be ignored, in this sector of government, is the Ministry of
State for National Security responsible for Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, for not only has that ministry issued innumerable Letters of
Offer of legitimately owned productively operated farms, to others who have
then destroyed productivity, but concurrently it has severely jeopardised
the state's economic security, any prospects of the security forthcoming
from having a united populace, the security of being a respected member of
the international community. In the restructured cabinet, this ministry will
be the Ministry of National Endangerment and Ruination.

Next for name transformation is the Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture. So pronounced has been its endeavours to intensify its controls
over private schools, thereby both enlarging the minister's empire and
facilitating a future lowering of their standards so that government's
schools cannot be compared unfavourably to them, that mass emigration from
Zimbabwe has been provoked.

Thousands of parents have reluctantly packed their bags, and those of their
children, and departed for pastures new where they would feel more assured
that those children will benefit from quality education. Thus the president
will undoubtedly restyle the ministry, and it will hereinafter be known as
the Ministry of Emigration Promotion and of Reflected Glory from Kirsty
Coventry Achievements.

With Zimbabwe's ever greater alienation of potential friends abroad, and
intensifying confrontation with the world at large, including the United
Nations, the European Union, and the Commonwealth, and despite Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono's vigorous conciliation efforts, the president's
continuing castigation of the International Monetary Fund, it is clearly
necessary to restructure the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for Zimbabwe has
ever less of those. In the restructured cabinet it will be known as the
Ministry of Shrinking International Relations.

Bearing in mind the immense extent to which the Ministry of Information and
Publicity has sought to develop and intensify the techniques and tactics of
the former ministerial circumvent, the president will presumably, in a
desire for utmost transparency, restructure the ministry to be the Ministry
of Professional and Rocket Scientist Disinformation and Negative Propaganda

Also in line for transformation is the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development having regard to the frequency of interruptions of Zesa supplies
of electricity, exacerbated by equally frequent bouts of "load-shedding",
and bearing in mind that Zanu PF espouses "More Power To The People", that
ministry will hereinafter be known as the Ministry of Governmental

Despite his very conscientious and determined efforts to restore Zimbabwe's
fiscal well-being and to promote assured economic recovery, Minister of
Finance Herbert Murerwa has endlessly had his endeavours frustrated and
overturned by his ministerial colleagues, the presidency, the politburo, the
central committee, and the ruling party as a whole. Therefore, pursuant to
policies of transparency, the ministry will be restructured as the Ministry
of the Empty Purse and Gargantuan Debt.

Believing that fire must be fought with fire, the president will probably
also create a new ministry, to be the Ministry of Targeted Sanctions.
Although that ministry has yet to come into being, it will be given some
guidelines, including that Tony Blair shall be subjected to stringent
sanctions barring the supply of him of sadza, mopani worms and biltong. No
camels shall be supplied to Jack Straw, for fear that he will break their

Those responsible for preparing Australia's sanctions list shall from now
onwards no longer be recipients of birthday cards, in recognition of their
inability to be aware of birthdays of others. Once the ministry has come
into being and commenced its work, it will undoubtedly identify many others
to be sanctioned. If the criteria are to list those who have done Zimbabwe
ill, presumably many of the other ministers will be immediate selections.

Zimbabwe must await 2006 to see whether rumour will become fact, but the
prospects of this rumour doing so are unlikely. Nevertheless, maybe 2006
will herald some greater transparency in government, and that may belatedly
start to move towards true democracy, genuine law and order, and economic
upturn, and a happier Zimbabwe for all. - Own Correspondent

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Challenges to spill into 2006 - economists

Zim Independent

Eric Chiriga
THE year 2005 has ended on a very low note and the current economic
challenges will spill into the New Year as the government has failed to
sustain the economic recovery hinted at the start of the year by low
inflation, business leaders and economists say.

They said claims by the Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa and central bank
governor Gideon Gono that the economy was on a recovery path have failed to

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Pattison Sithole said
that at the beginning of 2005 they were optimistic that the economy would

"We started off with a bit of optimism because inflation was very low and on
the downward trend, products were available and the foreign currency
shortage was not so severe," he said.

Sithole, who is also the chief executive of Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries
Corporation (ZSR), said as the year progressed inflation started picking up
and shortages of products began.

Zimbabwe's inflation, which declined to 123% in January, has since risen
sharply throughout the year. The Central Statistical Office recently
announced a November inflation rate of 502%, further dampening Zimbabweans'
hopes of the much-touted economic turnaround.

In October the inflation rate was 411% after increasing by 51,2 percentage
points from September's 359,8%.

"We hoped that the trend of economic recovery would be sustained but
unfortunately it was not," Sithole said.

He added that the economic challenges that the business community faced
during the year would continue in 2006.

"A lot of work still needs to be done from all angles," Sithole said.

He said the major task that the authorities should do was to boost foreign
currency earnings and that this could only be achieved by increasing

"You cannot solve the foreign currency problem without increasing production
and sorting out the parastatals."

Sithole said there should be a more coordinated approach in reviving
agriculture and resource allocation.

He added that the government should also mend its relations with the
international community and pursue avenues of getting significant foreign
direct investment to augment inflows from the Diaspora.

"There were very low levels of investment throughout the year," he said.

Economic analyst John Robertson said the year 2005 has had a bad ending,
with higher levels of unemployment and declining standards of living.

He said the perpetual rise of inflation, interest rates and deterioration of
other economic fundamentals would spill into the New Year unless government
makes better political decisions.

"The decline in the agricultural sector has killed the country's
manufacturing and commercial sectors," Robertson said.

He said Zimbabwe did not receive significant investment this year.

"Under the current policies no investor would give the country a second
look," he said.

According to a report titled Doing Business in 2006, recently compiled by
the Investment Climate Department of the World Bank, Zimbabwe has been rated
as one of the most difficult country to do business in due to bureaucracy,
corruption-prone systems and high start-up costs.

Zimbabwe was ranked 126 out of 155 countries that were surveyed to ascertain
the investment climate.

There is also a contrast between Murerwa's targets and the situation on the

In his 2005 national budget statement, he had predicted that the
agricultural sector would improve by 28%, only for the same sector to
decline by -12,8% in his 2006 national budget statement.

Gono, who had predicted that the inflation rate would be between 280% and
300% by the end of the year has also been proved wrong as the rate has now
ballooned to 502% and is expected to hit 600% by February.

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Meltdown forces firms into rights issues

Zim Independent

Eric Chiriga
THE deteriorating economy, particularly the soaring cost of borrowing, saw
numerous listed firms resorting to rights issues to raise capital.

Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) went into the market to raise $80 billion
through a renounceable rights issue. The hotel group proposed to use the
funds for refurbishment of its hotel premises around the country, regional
investments, working capital financing and IT upgrade.

According to the results of the rights issue, existing RTG shareholders took
up 42% of the more than 1,2 billion shares on offer.

The rights issue resulted in Accor Afrique, once the largest shareholder in
RTG with 34,2%, having its shareholding diluted to only 9%.

Laaico, a Libyan-based investment company, which previously held 13,84% in
RTG, had its shareholding diluted to below 4%.

Pharmaceuticals company, Caps Holdings Ltd, recently launched a $77 billion
rights offer seeking funds to refurbish the manufacturing facilities of its
joint venture subsidiary, Caps Shreya, and upgrade its IT infrastructure.

Out of the $77 billion rights offer proceeds, Caps intended to spend $66
billion on the refurbishment, $7 billion on IT upgrade and $4 billion to
cover the expenses of the rights offer.

General Beltings also launched a $55 billion renounceable rights offer,
which closed with 96% of the total ordinary shares on offer being taken up.

According to the offer results, out of 346 904 738 ordinary shares worth
$55,5 billion that were available, 332 713 790 shares worth $53,23 billion
were taken up. The rights issue was in the ratio of 11 new rights offer
shares for every five ordinary shares already held.

General Beltings also proposed a $55 billion rights issue to raise funds for
recapitalisation of its merged operations with Cernol Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd
and to pay off SMM debts.

Insurance giant, Zimre Holdings Ltd, also earlier this year issued a $60
billion renounceable rights offer to shareholders.

Part of the funds was channelled towards the recapitalisation of its
struggling South African subsidiary, Southern Union Reinsurance.

The rights offer resulted in businessman Mutumwa Mawere, who had a 43%
controlling stake in ZHL, losing the company.

NMB Ltd also launched its rights issue, anticipating to raise a $64 billion.
The bank said the funds were to be used to meet the central bank's minimum
capital adequacy ratio for commercial banks.

NMB offered 426 million shares of which 417 million (97,73%) were taken up.

The year 2005 also witnessed a few acquisitions and mergers.

Zimnat Insurance Company, a subsidiary of TA holdings, acquired AIG
Insurance through a share transfer. The company acquired the entire issued
share capital of AIG, being 10 million ordinary shares of $1 each and in
turn issue 1,1 billion ordinary shares in the company (Zimnat) to TA
Holdings, the majority shareholder in AIG.

Zimnat shareholders approved the transaction at an extraordinary general
meeting (EGM) held on June 28.

Zimnat proposed that the balance of the authorised but unissued shares,
after the merger, be placed under the control of the directors for an
indefinite period.

The company also proposed to amend its Articles to increase the authorised
share capital from $18 million divided into 1,8 billion ordinary shares of
$0,01 each, to $30 million divided into three billion ordinary shares of one
cent each.

Zimnat is understood to have structured the deal in a way that will allow it
access to the management of the company and at the same time access to AIG's
clients and markets. Zimnat's merger with AIG came after the company
acquired a controlling interest in another short-term insurance company,
Lion of Zimbabwe Insurance Company, to form Zimnat Lion Company.

General Beltings merged with Cernol.

According to the terms and conditions of the merger, General Beltings issued
68 847 894 fully paid-up ordinary shares to the shareholders of Cernol.

In exchange, General Beltings would acquire the entire issued share capital
of Cernol, thereby achieving total ownership of Cernol, including its
immoveable properties.

Delta Corporation Ltd recently diverted from its core business of beverage
manufacturing and distribution by acquiring Ariston, a horticulture concern.

Delta made a 272 billion takeover bid of the produce and flower exporter. It
made a cash scrip offer to Ariston shareholders of 9,3 of its shares for
every 100 shares they held in Ariston or a cash payment of $70 070 for each

Phoenix Consolidated Industries Ltd also acquired two subsidiaries that were
being sold to them by Apex Corporation of Zimbabwe Ltd.

Apex was disposing of two of its subsidiaries, Bardwell Printers and RCP
Belmont Printers to Phoenix for $6,7 billion.

The transaction was of a direct acquisition of all the assets and assumed
liabilities of Bardwell and RCP at a total purchase consideration of $6 783
650 000. The purchase consideration was settled partly by settlement of debt
due from Apex and partly in cash.

Both Bardwell and RCP will become divisions of Phoenix and will be included
in the company's forthcoming financial results for the year ended October

Phoenix took over the management control of Bardwell and RCP in April.

Apex Holdings Ltd owns 51% of Phoenix and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Apex. On the other hand, Apex Pension Fund owns 8,29% of Phoenix.

There were also some failed attempts to go for a right issue. Hwange
Colliery's intended $2 trillion rights issue failed to take off the ground.
The rights issue was abandoned after the company's largest shareholder,
Nicholas van Hoogstraten refused to exercise his rights.

Van Hoogstraten said the rights issue was irrelevant as there were several
other avenues of raising the money.

"A rights issue should always be the last course of action by a company
wishing to raise additional capital. At 100 billion, the costs of the issue
are too high," the British investor, argued.

The offer proceeds were meant to finance Hwange's capital projects such as
expanding its huge open cast and underground mining operations.

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Two sides of a coin

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Joram Nyathi
MY editor Vincent Kahiya is away attending a funeral. He lost his father on

At first I thought I should write something light, about how Christmas has
died and how people are so stressed out and broke it is hard to be happy.

Even about how I am unable to go to Mberengwa to see my mother this
Christmas because of the biting fuel crisis. All that changed on Tuesday.

In his brilliant book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Brazilian psychologist
Paulo Freire wrote to the effect that nothing so fascinates the oppressed
person as much as to be like the oppressor. "To be is to be like the
oppressor," he noted.

This observation neatly dovetails with French philosopher Voltaire's
aphorism that nothing is easier for the slave to use than the methods of his

I have in the past thought of these writers in relation to Zanu PF's alleged
use of violence against opponents and its fascination with Ian Smith's
infamous Law and Order (Maintenance) Act (Loma) which it has further honed
into the catch-all Public Order and Security Act (Posa). Better than Loma,
Posa has put the country in a virtual permanent state of emergency in
relation to gatherings, demonstrations and political activities.

The same writers came to the fore again as I was reading MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's briefing to the Harare diplomatic community on Tuesday. This is
what he said of his "erstwhile colleagues" who participated in the senate
election three weeks ago:

"We are fully briefed and painfully aware of the extent to which Zanu PF is
the dynamic force behind the destabilisation of the MDC. Our erstwhile
colleagues are not reading from an independent script. They are not free
agents or autonomous operators. Instead, they are Zanu PF's fifth column
inside the MDC. We are aware of the level of logistical support and the
quantities of material assistance that Zanu PF is providing to our erstwhile

This is the kind of language and reasoning that former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo would have loved to hear. After all don't they say imitation
is the most sincere form of flattery? We all know what President Mugabe
thinks and says about the MDC - its origins and its mission in Zimbabwe.
Whenever he sees the letters MDC, he sees the shadow of British premier Tony
Blair - hence the "anti-Blair election" in March. Whether he believes it or
merely trots it out for propaganda purposes is neither here nor there. The
point is that the contagion is taking a deadly effect in the minds of those
who claim to be different and fighting for a better Zimbabwe.

The meaning of Tsvangirai's words is simple and devastating in its
implications. That which is overtly loathed in the oppressor is covertly
admired. The soldier for democracy subconsciously envies the power and the
tactics he is seeking to fight in the enemy.

Unfortunately it is not just Tsvangirai who is guilty of envying the
oppressor. We all saw and heard how the warring factions in the MDC were
only too happy to use the state media to attack each other. That includes
footage of Tsvangirai's supporters burning the T-shirts of MPs who have
aligned themselves with the other faction.

There has been no pulling of punches in the trading of insults here. The
Zanu PF slogan "Down with so-and-so" is being freely reproduced at public
meetings. This is a question of scoring points and hoping that he who shouts
the loudest will win the contest.

What is evident is that we are still far from a democratic people. Like Zanu
PF, we all see our opponents as enemies to be destroyed by whatever means
necessary. Somebody once said that we cannot change our current conditions
so long as we continue to think and use the language of the present. I took
this to mean that a dictator is defined by his methods and tactics, not the
colour of his skin or the name of his political party. So long as we love to
use the language and tactics of the oppressor, we haven't moved an inch
towards the goal of democracy and political tolerance.

This I have heard said by colleagues in the MDC before and after the March
parliamentary election. They say if the MDC had won that election, they
would have pleaded with their leader to allow them at least two weeks of
havoc to deal with their "enemies" in Zanu PF. That way they would be

It reminds me of an ethical-cum-legal paradox eloquently expressed by
political activist Barbel Bohley of Germany soon after the fall of the
Berlin wall: "We wanted justice and they gave us the rule of law," she cried
in disgust. While she had spent years fighting injustice in East Germany,
she was herself not averse to exacting revenge.

The truth is that we cannot practise democracy before we are democrats. That
means we need to respect the dignity of the individual as a constituent
member of the broader democratic society we aspire to establish in Zimbabwe.
It is not enough to attack Zanu PF for one to qualify to be a democrat when
we are secretly fascinated by its modus operandi. It is time to face the
truth and think and behave differently if we wish to be different.

A new constitution on its own is not enough to restrain those with a
penchant to breach the law. Let's learn to be democrats at heart first. That
starts with the leadership, from language to actions.

I don't know which diplomats attended Tsvangirai's briefing. If it was the
usual lot that has in the past pronounced the elections free and fair even
before voting took place, they must have loved what they heard. On the other
hand, those from countries with a tradition of democracy must have been
hugely embarrassed listening to Tsvangirai speaking - and acting - like

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Investment cabinet fails to deliver

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

WHEN President Robert Mugabe appointed his current cabinet in April after
his disputed March election victory, he said 2005 would be a year of

This was a follow-up to his "war cabinet" of 2003 and the "development
cabinet" of last year. The public was told the "investment cabinet" would
tackle head-on the current political and economic crisis to attract
investment and achieve growth.

Mugabe's statements gave the impression the economy would be in a better
shape by the end of the year. They also suggested that Zimbabweans might for
the first time in five years have a relatively happy Christmas and
prosperous New Year.

Observers say it needed a great leap of faith to believe Mugabe. They say
the economy is now in a far worse condition than it was in April.

We are faced with a collapsed economy when we were told it should have
recovered by the end of the year. Inflation is now over 500%, up from 123%
in January.

Government has forecast the economy to shrink by 3,5% this year when it
initially claimed it would grow by 5% before it revised that to 2%.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which initially forecast a 7%
contraction, now says the economy will shrink by 4,6%. All the other
economic indicators - interest rates, budget deficit, national savings, and
domestic and foreign debt - remain in negative territory. The situation next
year looks increasingly grim.

Companies are still closing down. And the shortage of foreign currency,
fuel, power, spares, drugs, food and basic commodities have not abated
either. If anything, they have got worse, showing Mugabe's growing
proclivity to misjudge his policy pronouncements.

Instead of attracting investment, Zimbabweans saw government exerting more
energy in destroying their investments, particularly in the informal sector.
They saw a calculated assault on property rights and a further curtailment
of civil and political rights.

This provided a powerful disincentive to foreign investment. The
confiscation of farms protected by Bilateral Promotion and Protection
Agreements, contempt of court orders, and the occupation of the Lowveld
sugar estates have scared off investors in all sectors of the economy,
including mining.

In the end it means for the fifth year running it's going to be a miserable
Christmas for Zimbabweans.

Christmas and New Year have now become irrelevant occasions in Zimbabwe.
They come and go virtually unnoticed for the majority, except for the
wealthy who can afford to go on holidays abroad.

Mugabe had claimed the economy would grow through increased investment and
production in key sectors like agriculture, mining and tourism. However,
events during the year show that the government spent more energy trying to
scare away investors than bringing them into the country.

The formulation of unworkable policies, for instance on price controls, and
intensification of repression - such as the arrests of political and civic
activists as well as journalists - compounded the image of a failed state.

Recent Zanu PF annual conference resolutions to seize citizens' passports
and crack down on NGOs has aggravated the situation. Mugabe's continued
fight with the international community, including the United Nations,
militate against investment. Zimbabwe is now more isolated than ever before
and this will militate against its efforts to attract domestic and foreign
investment to revive the economy.
Save for the few Chinese investments, Zimbabwe did not receive any major
foreign direct investment because of its high political and economic risk.
Companies which want to invest in Zimbabwe are still holding on to their
plans while they assess the situation.

The year kicked off with government taking over tycoon Mutumwa Mawere's
Shabani Mashava Mine for allegedly failing to pay its debt to the state. The
Reserve Bank also helped the state in taking over Trust, Royal and Barbican
banks to incorporate them into the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.

The owners of the companies are still in court seeking redress but the
government is committed to keeping them at all costs.

Operation Murambatsvina, which destroyed people's informal business
investments and homes, was also alarming to those who might have wanted to
bring new investment into Zimbabwe. Thousands of small companies were swept
away by the so-called clean-up.

When the United Nations (UN) raised concerns about the humanitarian
situation spawned by Murambatsvina government lashed out accusing the world
body of being an agency of the United States and Britain.

The government also passed the Constitutional Amendment No 17 Act which
further limits democratic space and attracts negative publicity.

The amendment practically nationalised all acquired land and amounted to an
attack on the judiciary by removing the courts' powers of jurisdiction on
land cases.

Fresh land invasions were also damaging. About 33 companies operating in
Export Processing Zones closed after their land was invaded or due to the
foreign currency crisis.

Then there was the problem of unstable macro-economic fundamentals.
Inflation, which was 123% in January, has surged to 502%. The increase in
inflation e he continues to wipe out people's disposable incomes, one of the
key ingredients for economic growth.

National savings crashed to about 10% of GDP, leaving the country with
limited sources of funds. In an ideal situation savings should account for
25% of GDP. National savings are one of the major sources of domestic income
and a favourite indicator for international investors. Disposable incomes
determine people's expenditure levels. Investors target countries where
people have strong buying power because of their disposable incomes.

Government also continued on a spendthrift path splashing national resources
on questionable institutions like the newly reintroduced senate when over
three million across the country face starvation and have to survive on
donor food handouts.

In the end, instead of being a year of investment, 2005 became a year of
record disinvestment and de-industrialisation. And going by the current
power dynamics, there is no sign that things will change any time soon.

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There is a sinister agenda at work

Zim Independent

By Jonathan Moyo
TWO things happened two weeks ago that initially seemed unrelated but later
proved to be connected in the broader scheme of things. Firstly, the ruling
Zanu PF officially opened its annual conference on December 9 at Esigodini,
the same day that my name was brought up in Trevor Ncube's passport seizure

The Zanu PF conference was later to pass a strange resolution to undo
changes effected at the government-controlled media when I was still the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of President
and Cabinet. Linked to that issue, Zanu PF MP Leo Mugabe appeared in the
state media after his party's conference making unprovoked attacks against
me on all sorts of pretexts, including our work in the transport and
communications parliamentary portfolio committee.

Stories were run about me in the newspapers where Zanu PF mandarins
virtually declared war against journalists working in the state media who
stand falsely accused of being my underlings. The authors of those stories
did not seek comment from me about the Zanu PF allegations and others
fabricated claims which on face value appear isolated but are part of a
coordinated campaign of disinformation and scapegoating.

The context of these issues was President Robert Mugabe's address at the
conference where, predictably, he pontificated about events that preceded
the Zanu PF congress last year, the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration.

Rather blandly, Mugabe repeated his claims about a Tsholotsho plot that
never existed except in the bankrupt imaginations of his hangers-on who went
on to grab positions in the party unconstitutionally, crudely using phony
allegations of a palace coup plot that was non-existent beyond a democratic
and healthy competition for power.

On the same day of Mugabe's address, Ncube was told that his name was part
of a list of 17 people which was compiled by me. Of course, when the
Zimbabwe Independent telephoned me to enquire about this issue, I dismissed
it as not only false but also preposterous. There has been a chain of lies
told about me when I was in and out of government. These range from laws
which were allegedly crafted or engineered by me, such as Posa and the NGO
Bill, the deportation of the Ugandan fugitive Nyekorach Matsanga, bombing of
the Daily News, and a blatantly false story in December last year in the
Financial Gazette about my purported resignation from government.

It has now come to my realisation that working in Zanu PF and its government
invites such kind of scapegoating which on the surface appears coincidental
when in fact it is a systematic campaign to allow the real agents of
dictatorship off the hook at the expense of others who might err in the
process of trying to deal with genuine national issues as opposed to those
who are in the government for personal aggrandisement.

When I looked at the recent seemingly isolated - but clearly connected -
events, I was able to situate the scene and plot of this issue where it
rightly belongs: in the Zanu PF and state propaganda departments now hostage
to securocrats.

If there's one very dangerous development in Zimbabwe's body politic today
it is that ill-advised policymaking in government and wicked Zanu PF
political decisions are being engineered by unaccountable state security
agents whose role and influence have now gone beyond their competence and
constitutional mandate.

While the roots of this rot are to be found in the notorious 1965 Rhodesian
state of emergency which was extended by the Zanu PF regime and continued in
force between 1980 and 1990, these episodes follow a new two-pronged
strategy hatched by securocrats to deal with the collapse of Zanu PF
structures in the 1990s and the rise of the MDC in 2000 underlined by
government's policy failures that have led to the current economic meltdown
in the country.

The new strategy calls for:

* state security to purge and take over the running and control of Zanu PF
structures, especially in the wake of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration;

* state security to infiltrate the opposition in order to destroy it from
within. The core purpose of this strategy is to enable state security to
determine Mugabe's successor and the manner or process of his succession on
behalf of factional interests in Zanu PF.

What is terrifying about this development is that while these security
agents invariably act on behalf of factional interests in Zanu PF, neither
they nor their faction has been willing to take responsibility for the evil
they do.

Consequently, Zimbabweans - including many in Zanu PF itself - are now
hostages whose human and constitutional rights are open to abuse.

The fact that the CIO told Ncube that they were impounding his passport on
the strength of a list that they alleged I prepared when I was minister
clearly demonstrates that those involved in this case knew only too well
that it was wrong and illegal for them to seize the passport. It shows the
CIO lacks the courage of its convictions.

But still the CIO wants to become involved in the whole spectrum of national
life, both public and private. As a result, Zimbabweans must brace up for
all manner of illegalities to be visited upon them by the CIO. But as
citizens we must defend our rights to the end.

While having the CIO using an individual like myself as a scapegoat might
appear to be of no national significance, allowing them to get used to such
conduct can have disastrous consequences on the conduct of state affairs as
our recent history shows.

In May the same security agents conjured up a self-indulgent claim that some
Ukrainian-style "Orange Revolution" was under way in Zimbabwe and connived
with Mugabe to justify the reprehensible demolition blitz, Operation
Murambatsvina, which destroyed the homes and livelihoods of 18% of our

When I was in government it was routine for these CIO agents and their
factional counterparts in government and Zanu PF politicians to abuse me as
a scapegoat for anything they were unable to explain or defend. That's why
for example, even though the fact is that John Nkomo steered Posa through
parliament, the propaganda to this day is that it was my brainchild.

The same goes for the NGO Bill drafted and steered through parliament by
Paul Mangwana. The talk is that I came up with that ill-fated Bill.

Also conveniently ignored is the fact that the version of Aippa that was
passed by parliament without any opposition from the MDC was drafted by
Patrick Chinamasa in consultation with Welshman Ncube after the
Parliamentary Legal Committee threw out the original version.

The list is very long and includes absurd claims, conveniently fuelled and
peddled by the same securocrats that I bombed the Daily News as if I was in
any way in charge of the CIO, ZRP or the army who should know better.

One particularly annoying case where I was abused as a convenient scapegoat
when Nicholas Goche, then Minister for State Security, played a major role
was the Matsanga deportation story.

Apart from abusing me as a scapegoat to justify their illegal actions, the
CIO agents and Zanu PF politicians have also invented ludicrous stories
about me. In one case, they invented a son for me from Kadoma and gave him
money to regularly visit CIO offices over a long period before finally
giving him money to go and look for me in Tsholotsho.

Another invention was made last December in the aftermath of the so-called
Tsholotsho Declaration when I was on holiday with my family in Kenya. The
CIO, working with George Charamba, planted a deliberately false story in the
Financial Gazette claiming that I had resigned from government after
tendering my resignation letter to Joice Mujuru who was acting president at
the time.

But I confirmed earlier this year that Charamba had directly given the false
story of my alleged resignation to the Fingaz after the newspaper's editor,
Sunsleey Chamunorwa, told a high-ranking public figure over his speaker
phone in my presence (without Chamunorwa's knowledge) that indeed Mugabe's
spokesman was the source of the story.

At the time, the Mujuru faction in Zanu PF was desperate to force me out of
cabinet and Charamba - eager to pander to the whims of that camp - was also
desperate to prove he had nothing to do with the Tsholotsho saga. Yet it is
common cause among those who know what happened that Charamba, Mugabe's
press secretary, actually drafted Emmerson Mnangagwa's speech that was
delivered by Chinamasa at Dinyane School on November 18, 2004. I still have
the original copy of Charamba's draft speech with his handwritten cover note

Scapegoating and blaming everybody else but themselves is Zanu PF's
stock-in-trade and no wonder they take no responsibility for their current
failures. After me, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is next in line!

* Professor Jonathan Moyo is MP for Tsholotsho.

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Sadc and human rights - bridging credibility gap

Zim Independent

By Tawanda Mutasah
IT is difficult to read without some hint of fascination the news that South
African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun
Obasanjo, have appointed as Ivory Coast prime minister, Charles Konan Banny,
the governor of the Central Bank of West African States.

While Mbeki's and Obasanjo's interesting but unusual role is obvious to
those who have been following the Ivory Coast political crisis, and the
transition from it, the morale of the story cannot be lost that the concept
of sovereignty is changing in Africa.

Here is a prime minister of an African country being appointed by the
presidents of two African countries that are many miles away from its

Could it be that, contrary to the disappointments we have seen on African
engagement with the Zimbabwe question, the African Union is finally
realising that "domestic" African matters are, in fact, its own business?

Even then, to the vast majority of human rights-deprived citizens of the
continent and its sub-regions, including the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc), cynicism remains endemic concerning the benefits of
regional or pan-African institutions and processes. What, Africans question,
is the point in the massive outlay of resources for the 2nd session of the
Pan-African Parliament that sat in September in South Africa?

Could the just-ended 38th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights put food, so to speak, on the tables or laps of
ordinary Africans?

What happens at the national level, to all the ringing declarations that
Sadc heads of state and government sign up to every year at the summit? How
does one bridge the gap between the rhetoric of good governance churned out
in regional fora, on the one hand, and, on the other, the kind of state
arbitrariness at a national level that results in heinous actions such as
the unlawful seizure of passports of government critics, Operation
Murambatsvina and harassment of the media?

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights courageously led the way
when, at the conclusion of its 38th ordinary session, it emerged that it had
adopted a progressive resolution on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
Beyond these useful beginnings, however, the more systemic question of how
protocols and other forms of regional treaty law are translated into the
legal systems of our countries now begs wider discussion.

Without domestication, excellent regional agreements signed by African
leaders are useless nationally, except as fashionable showpieces on the
international good governance catwalk.

For instance, while it is positive that the African Women's Rights Protocol
has recently come into force, women and girls experiencing discrimination or
violence have limited recourse to its protection if the protocol is not
integrated into the domestic constitutions, laws, institutions, policies,
culture and practices of different African countries.

A number of civil society organisations, a few progressive lawyers and
leaders in some of the region's governments, and some parliamentarians
across the region, have been providing leadership on domestication of

In August, an important voice was added to these efforts. Botswana's
president, Festus Mogae, on taking over the chair of Sadc, undertook as one
of his five priorities, to put in place a monitoring mechanism for protocol
implementation in relation to the 23 or so protocols that Sadc has produced
to date.

Yet the problem is deeper than could be resolved by the good intentions of
the Sadc chair and other policy actors. It is about the reality of political
contestation in the parliaments of some countries, a factor which may hamper
effective bipartisan collaboration for domestication of regional treaty law.

Also, some national leaders hide human rights abuses or democratic
shortcomings behind the convenient cover of national sovereignty, law and
custom. Lack of skills and resources for national domestication processes is
also a problem. Sometimes, there is no real national-level political
commitment to absorb the full protective possibilities of international and
regional norms and standards.

In some cases, Sadc and African norms and standards are in any case framed
in such a hide-and-seek way that countries could claim to have domesticated
them without doing anything meaningful to change the restrictions in their
own laws, policies or practice.

Take, for instance, the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic
Elections, agreed in August 2004 at Grand Baie, Mauritius. How is it that a
country with an electoral system as creatively defective as Zimbabwe's could
have been passed by the "official" Sadc observer team as having complied
with these principles?

Depending on which way each of the Sadc leaders reads the document on Sadc
election principles, vastly different permutations of democratic growth in
Sadc countries may be the result.

A year after the Mauritius principles on elections took effect, could the
elections that have been held in the last several months in Botswana,
Namibia, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zimbabwe be said to have been illuminated
by the principles?

While the "official" Sadc observer delegation, for instance, concluded that
the March Zimbabwe election reflected the will of the people, and complied
with these new Sadc principles, on the other hand Sadc's Parliamentary Forum
was barred from observing the same election because it was feared they would
return a dissenting verdict - consistent with their position in Zimbabwe's
2002 presidential election. Could it indeed have been possible that the
parliamentarians and the Sadc "official" observers were singing from the
same hymn sheet?

On sitting up and reading the fine print in this document, one notices that
the principles are in fact, subordinated to national processes, laws and
constitutions, whatever state all these things are in. Sadc observation of
elections in a member country occurs, under the principles, "in the event a
member state decides to extend an invitation to Sadc to observe its

The principles include acceptance of election results by political parties
when these have been "proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent
national electoral authorities in accordance with the law of the land".

There is no caveat about how those authorities are to be chosen in the first
place, nor what norms and standards ought to constitute the democratic
minima of the "law of the land".

Thus Zimbabwe could assert, as it did, that its March elections pass the
Sadc test by dint of their having been held under Zimbabwean laws, including
laws hurriedly put together a month before the election.

Ideally, the principles should have framed a clear and inviolable set of
norms to be elevated as the electoral standard for the region, with the
imperative that national constitutions, laws and processes must be aligned
with this yardstick.

With such a normative base, auditing national constitutions and legislation
for compliance becomes imperative. Such an exercise would easily show
significant shortfalls in Zambia's public security legislation, Zimbabwe's
repressive media legislation, and so on.

It could also show positive models such as the law enacted in Mozambique in
June 2004, regulating the use of state resources during electoral
campaigning. Otherwise the present positivistic approach results in the Sadc
principles meaning everything to every member country. Even the Hitlerist
draftsman of that infamous March 24 1933 Enabling Act would be envious.

Yet another problem with Sadc and African norms and standards is that not
all of them are framed as binding treaty law. Again the Sadc principles and
guidelines governing democratic elections, for instance, occupy, in the
community of Sadc regional legal instruments, the poor cousin's place of
being no more than a set of "principles and guidelines", and not a
fully-fledged protocol.

With all these problems, a particularly African schizophrenia between talk
and action is often the result.

It even becomes difficult for Africans of goodwill to decide how to feel
about the numerous transnational initiatives that often come up within the

In southern Africa, should it not matter, for instance, that, about five
years into the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), annual
economic growth figures are - with the exception of Mozambique's and Angola's
 - nowhere near the 6% annual target on which the very accomplishment of
Nepad goals is predicated, and that an economy such as Zimbabwe's is
actually shrinking at an alarming rate of about 8% per year?

Again, what is to be the most constructive Africanist attitude that one
should have on finding that, three months after the signing by Sadc leaders
of a protocol facilitating the movement of persons in Sadc, a Zimbabwean
citizen who travels to the US on a 10-year multiple-entry visa is now
required to have a one-off transit visa whenever she passes through
neighbouring South Africa? And that the same citizen has to use one or two
full visa pages every time she enters neighbouring Mozambique
notwithstanding the mutual sacrifices of Zimbabweans and Mozambicans in a
shared nationalist liberation history, not to mention the obvious
flow-charts of consanguinity?

This credibility gap - the distance between policy rhetoric and action -
remains the Achilles' heel of African policy-making, particularly in
relation to progressive policies such as those that would improve access to
human rights. What could be done?

Article 144 of the Namibian Constitution says that, "unless otherwise
provided by this constitution or Act of Parliament, the general rules of
public international law and international agreements binding upon Namibia
under this constitution shall form part of the law of Namibia".

It would immensely assist the cause of human rights in the countries of Sadc
if a provision of this nature were to be secured in Sadc's different
national constitutions.

* Tawanda Mutasah is a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer.

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Zanu PF ignorant of fundamentals

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

By Eric Bloch

FEEDBACK from many who attended the eighth People's Conference of Zanu PF at
Mzingwane two weeks ago concentrated almost entirely upon two aspects.

The first was the amazement at the abundance of food available to delegates,
ranging from 50 cattle, to estimates of several hundred sheep and goats,
kudu, hundreds of kilogrammes of maize meal, and much else. Clearly there
was very bountiful feasting, apparently reminiscent (for some) of the
reputed orgies of ancient Rome and Greece.

That such gastronomic revelry was possible was not surprising, for over and
above receiving vast donations from the well-endowed of the party members,
and equally vast donations from numerous businesses in Matabeleland South
and in Bulawayo (undoubtedly responsive to subtle pressures!), the party
also received a "donation" of $1,5 billion from Zimbabwe United Passenger
Company Ltd (Zupco). It is a company owned by the state, and one must ponder
as to what pressures may have been applied upon its management to make that

One must also ponder as to whether the donation was not a devious, albeit
technically legal, circumvention of the legislative limitations of funding
by the state of political parties. (Why did Zupco not make simultaneous
donations to MDC, UPM and the few fringe political parties?)

Although all, or almost all, who partook in the bunfight, undoubtedly
enjoyed the feasts, there were clearly a conscientious few who had a sense
of guilt, and qualms of unease, prompted by awareness of the many millions
of Zimbabweans unable to access even if minimum food needs. With so many
suffering from malnutrition, with under-nourishment increasingly becoming
the order of the day for a growing number of Zimbabweans, there appear to
have been some conference delegates who had twinges of conscience and a
sense of shame as they revelled unabated, whilst numerous Zimbabweans were

Possibly it was this which caused many to focus upon Zimbabwe's
hyperinflation during the deliberations of the conference. More probable,
however, was that that focus was driven by a fear of progressive loss of
support from the electorate as hunger, poverty and misery intensifies.
Inevitably there must be an increasing party concern that its 25-year grasp
on power would progressively be in greater jeopardy, as ever more would
blame government for the economic ills afflicting Zimbabwe or, even not
holding government culpable for those ills, nevertheless blaming it for not
reversing them.

Apparently there were two overriding views as to the causes of inflation,
and the necessary measures to contain it. The first was, yet again, that
soaring prices are naught but the machiavellian machinations of commerce and
industry to realise excessively great profits, or as malicious techniques of
businessmen to undermine confidence in government.

It appears that these politicians have an impenetrable barrier to their
brains (if they have any), barring their recognition that, first of all,
businesses cannot survive if they do not make profits, and secondly that
attainment of profits without price escalations is near impossible if costs
are rising (including wages and parastatal charges), and if sales volumes
decline as a result of foreign currency shortages, declining consumer
demand, and other factors. The ability to survive and to engender even a
reasonable return on capital employed is further exacerbated by dependency
upon greater borrowings, as working capital needs soar in response to
inflation, and consequentially greater interest charges.

For businesses to contain price increases, they need an adequacy of
operational inputs on a regular basis, which is dependent, for many, upon
availability of foreign currency, so that they can maximise their
utilisation of productive capacity to best advantage, achieving greater
volumes to bear apportionment of fixed costs. Moreover, greater productivity
generates greater volumes of the products, fuelling competition, and there
is little that can curb price escalation more than can competition. But
delegates, with a paranoid conviction that the business sector wishes to
destroy the party by using prices to turn the populace against it, will not
face realities.

Their repeated calls for price controls can only destroy private enterprise,
other than the black market, but they remain rigidly oblivious to this
long-proven, internationally recognised, incontrovertible fact.

The second, even more economically dangerous, perception very voluably
exposed at the conference, was that the primary cause of inflation is the
depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar, and that not only must that
depreciation be halted, but also that it must be reversed. It is undeniable
that a very, very major contributant to inflation has been the declining
value of the national currency, for that has fuelled a massive rise in the
landed costs of imports, be they agricultural, mining, industrial or other

But the demands from numerous conference participants, including a
significant number of ministers, that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe be
directed to effect an arbitrary gargantuan revaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar demonstrated an abysmal ignorance of economic fundamentals. Their
demands evidenced that they have absolutely no understanding of the
devastating, disastrous consequences that would flow from such an action.
Those demands were that the exchange rate then prevailing of approximately
$75 000: US$1 should be adjusted to the rate of some years ago of $824:
US$1, and some even suggested that the rate should revert to the one time
rate of $55: US$1.

The repercussions of any such rate adjustments would be catastrophic in the
extreme. Each and every exporter in Zimbabwe, including producers of tobacco
and other agricultural products, mining, manufacturers, and the tourism
industry, would be faced with irreversible, immediate collapse. With such
exchange rates they would not be able to fund even the most basic of their
operating costs. Overnight, at least a million Zimbabweans would become
unemployed. The total cessation of exports would mean that the only foreign
currency inflows into Zimbabwe would be those of international aid agencies,
embassies and NGOs. Even the present extremely limited imports of fuel,
food, agricultural inputs, health care products, and the like, would cease.
The Zimbabwean economy would no longer be ill, it would be dead!

The politicians are correct that Zimbabwe needs exchange rate stability, for
diverse reasons, including inflation containment. But the manner of
achieving that stability should not be by destructive regulation. It must be
brought about by ensuring that the availability of foreign currency is equal
to, or greater than, the demand for it.

That must be achieved through a number of actions, including containing
inflation by curbing state expenditure, containing money-supply growth,
increasing productivity (and especially so in agriculture, which must be
de-politicised and restored to viability), encouraging competition,
eliminating waste, and halting corruption. That inflation containment will
stimulate export performance.

Increased availability of foreign currency must also be brought about by
other export stimulatory efforts, including meaningful incentives,
consistency in export processing zones' policies, encouragement of toll
manufacturing, recourse to barter trade, and to import substitution, and the
like. Concurrently, non-confrontational policies impacting upon
international relations will enhance availability of foreign lines of
credit, and of aid. And all these factors, if reinforced by restoration of
genuine democracy, and of law and order, will motivate foreign direct

Those at the conference who so foolishly advocated and demanded regulated
exchange rate revaluation need to think again (or is it, begin thinking?)
and recognise that the exchange rate must reach conducive economic levels by
constructive, stimulatory economic measures.

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Hurling stones when enemy is out of sight

Zim Independent


MUCKRAKER had a good chuckle over the Herald's attempt to explain why
President Mugabe had been denied an opportunity to grandstand in Malaysia
last Friday. He had been due to address the Perdana Global Peace Forum, we
are told, "but his presentation was cancelled at the last minute due to an
oversight by the organisers".

And what was this oversight? The organisers had slotted in Mugabe to speak
at lunchtime on Friday but had "overlooked the fact that most of the
participants would have gone for Friday prayers".

"Overlooked the fact" that in a Moslem country most of the participants
would have gone for prayers? How plausible does that sound? ZW News provided
a more likely view.

The speech was cancelled due to a lack of interest, the news service

It appears that Mugabe had requested to speak at the conference, former
Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad's brainchild, at the last minute, and was
allocated the Friday lunchtime slot. But the organisers, the Perdana
Leadership Foundation, decided to cancel the engagement.

"The organisers regret that the session for Mugabe had to be cancelled due
to an oversight. The atmosphere at lunch would not have been suitable for a
head of state," a spokesperson said diplomatically. Many of the participants
would have been at Friday prayers, and the organisers decided not to risk
having Mugabe seen talking to an empty hall.

But the cancellation of what was bound to be the usual demagoguery suggests
Mugabe is running out of space to pose as the developing world's champion.
His fans make constant reference to his performance at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. But he was fortunate there
to tap into the anti-American resentments of well-organised social

Since then one gets the sense that the developing countries would rather not
have him speak on their behalf. He got some polite applause at the FAO in
Rome this year and a hug from Hugo Chavez, himself no mean tub-thumper, but
nothing more.

Indeed, it was instructive to see that while the Herald reported on Mugabe's
meeting with Mahathir, his host while in Kuala Lumpur, it did not give any
coverage to what, if anything, was discussed with the current prime
minister, Abdullah Badawi. Instead we were told about a session with the
Vietnamese premier. And the presence of George Galloway, another demagogue
of note, would hardly have compensated for the meeting with Tony Blair that
Mugabe appears to yearn for!

It was good to note in the Business Herald that the government is "committed
to improving its image".

Economic Development minister Rugare Gumbo said this when speaking on the
2006 budget. "We are committed to improving the image of the country,
retaining tourism, and attracting Zimbabweans in the diaspora to contribute
to the development of the country," he said.

He spoke of the need for improved expenditure management, foreign
investment, and parastatal reform. These remarks came in the same week as
newspapers disclosed huge perks for the new senators, a stampede by public
companies to advertise their support for the regime, including individuals
at its helm, in the official press, continuing raids on farms for
agricultural equipment, and abuse of those countries that are the main
markets for the tourism sector.

Gumbo's recognition that the government needs to improve its image, despite
claims by Simbarashe Mumbengegwi that everything is just fine as it is, is
in itself welcome. But he needs to see the private sector as more than just
a cash cow. Several colleagues of his have in recent weeks made hostile
remarks about seizing companies. Currently sugar producers in the Lowveld
are under siege and the holders of Bippa agreements have seen their
properties taken.

Is that the "conducive environment for the private sector" he talks about?
The problem here is very simple. People like Gumbo, Herbert Murerwa, and
Gideon Gono have some idea of what needs to be done before the country can
recover. But a coterie around Mugabe, including the most delinquent of
ministers completely ignorant of economic fundamentals, want to punish, loot
and destroy. So long as those characters have the bit between their teeth
the country is doomed.

"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again," it is declared by every parrot in
the Zanu PF cage. But in truth, following the recent arrest of radio
journalists and the state's bid to confiscate the passports of its critics,
the country has indeed become a colony again - a penal colony.

Muckraker was interested to note remarks made by Zanu PF deputy Information
secretary Ephraim Masawi calling for the government to "weed out" supporters
of former minister Jonathan Moyo from government and party structures.

There was need to restructure these organs of information dissemination and
rid them of these elements, he told the Zanu PF conference in Esigodini two
weeks ago.

"Jonathan Moyo was doing things for his personal gain," Masawi claimed, "at
the expense of the government and people of Zimbabwe."

Now why didn't Masawi say that at the time Moyo was running the Information
machinery? Why has he waited until the former minister's political demise
before finding his voice? Have you noticed how brave Zanu PF spokesmen are
when they have nobody to take them on?

Which brings us to Blessing Makwambeni who, we are told, teaches journalism
at the National University of Science and Technology.

He had an op/ed piece in the Herald last Friday attacking Morgan Tsvangirai
in trenchant terms. None of it was new. But we are now looking forward to
Makwambeni doing a similar hatchet job on Robert Mugabe with particular
emphasis on his economic management.

Makwambeni accuses Tsavangirai of being a populist and a dictator. It will
be interesting to see what he makes of Mugabe's approach to politics.
Because we would hate to think that Makwambeni is only able to criticise
Tsvangirai's shortcomings as a leader. We would hate to think he is a
snivelling little coward who lacks the courage to mete out similar treatment
to the real author of the country's demise.

The state media is full of bravery - so long as it doesn't involve
mentioning the president at any point!

Here is the man who is not simply head of state but head of government and
leader of the ruling party whose prejudices set the national agenda. And
none of these eunuchs who occupy the opinion pages of the Herald is allowed
to breathe a single word of criticism. Such boldness is truly awe-inspiring!
We wonder what Makwambeni's students think of such courageous "journalism"?

Tafataona Mahoso was caught by ZTV at Esigodini dutifully grinning at Mugabe's
facile attempts at humour. And he wants us to regard him as a professional!
Last weekend he claimed in his Sunday Mail column that the "popular masses"
had renamed Jan Egeland "Ian England in order to indicate that they could
not tell the difference between this purported UN envoy and the line of Ian
Smith and his English settlers here".

As usual, Mahoso's claims are rooted in ignorance. Smith was of Scots
descent. And the only "popular mass" that we know of calling Egeland
"England" was Nathaniel Manheru in the Herald.

But we should not be surprised that Mahoso confuses a government spokesman
with the "popular masses". The week before he was claiming that Zimbabweans
had disowned their decision to reject the draft constitution in 2000.

One of the reasons given for the rejection was that it would have given
President Mugabe too much power, he says. "Why should such an allegation
become so routine?" he asked with some indignation.

He claimed that "in contrast to the elaborate draft constitution for
Zimbabwe in 2000.the parliament of Zimbabwe, after listening to the majority
of the people, passed the 17th amendment to the constitution of Zimbabwe at
1% of the cost of the 2000 draft.

"But that 17th amendment was more valuable to the people than the one
rejected in 2000.because (it) was intended to settle a seething fundamental
political and legal conflict going back 120 years".

In other words, the views of the people of Zimbabwe expressed in the 2000
referendum, after extensive consultation, were of no consequence. Instead
the 17th amendment, passed with little or no consultation and giving the
government powers to bar the courts from performing their constitutional
duty, is seen as more significant because it settles "a true national

Why should an arbitrary amendment passed with little or no public debate be
regarded as settling a "seething political and legal conflict" just because
Mahoso says so?

Does he really think that land reform won't be revisited by a future
government and that recourse to judicial review will not be reinstated in a
democratic constitution to prevent arbitrary confiscation? Why is it
presumed that a regime where state stooges claim to speak for the "popular
masses" and abuse the instruments of unpopular power to settle scores with
their media critics will hold sway forever?

Who are the popular elements here? The independent press that champions
democratic freedoms or a hand-picked gang of media assassins whose mission
it is to silence any voice government finds inconvenient?

So, at last we know who is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in
today. "Tanzania made Zimbabwe what it is today," President Mugabe was
reported as telling Zimbabweans resident in Tanzania.

We feel it is somewhat unfair to blame Tanzania for the collapse of
agriculture, social services, infrastructure and democratic due process.
Zanu PF must take some of the blame. Meanwhile, we wonder if Thabo Mbeki
will own up to the indiscretions regarding Tony Blair which Mugabe was
reported as revealing in his address. Somehow we don't think so.

Mugabe appeared indignant that Zimbabwe should be accused of not holding
regular democratic elections in line with the constitution. The British had
painted "a picture of Zimbabwe that is not real, that Zimbabwe is not
law-abiding, it's a dictatorship that does not recognise democracy.," he

In the same edition of the Herald on Wednesday Local Government minister
Ignatious Chombo was reported as saying there would be no mayoral election
in Harare over the next two years. The reason he gave was the absence of
electoral boundaries. In the meantime his handpicked puppet at Town House
will be "running the show".

So there you have it: the will of the residents of Harare contemptuously
swept aside by a minister who decides when the capital's voters should be
allowed to go to the polls. And all because they voted for the opposition.
How is this classified as "recognising democracy"?

President Mugabe should stop complaining about the British tarnishing
Zimbabwe's reputation. This was, like the passport fiasco, entirely an own

Journalists who attended the GMB's media reception last week had free
lessons on press freedom from the principal press officer in the Ministry of
Information, one Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi. According to the Herald,
he warned that failure to report accurately on the GMB could "subvert
national security" since it was a strategic parastatal.

"If you misinform people about GMB, you are not only satisfying your ego of
lying or meeting the requirements of your paymasters," he said, "but causing
unnecessary anxiety in the nation, thereby subverting national security."
Needless to say, he didn't say nor was he challenged to explain what
national security was threatened.

"As a matter of fact," he declared, "it is common practice the world over
that press freedom ends where national interest begins."

This is patently false and shows the dangers of military men trying to play
philosopher. The national interest and press freedom can't be divorced. It
is the ignorant propaganda of people like Major Anywhere that threatens
national security.

But he did relent though, telling the journalists his statement did not mean
"they should turn a blind eye on malpractices and other negative
developments" at the GMB.

We are grateful to him for that at least. We are in possession of a copy of
a tender by the said GMB for the supply of T-shirts which closed on December

They want 1 000 golf shirts "in fancy fabric" and 2 000 printed colour
T-shirts with piping and double neck "fancy crewneck", among the 6 500-item
order. The question is: who pays the extra cost for the "fancy" bits or are
we in breach of national security by asking?

Zanu PF has resolved that it should have a representative in almost every
organisation in the country. It was one of their resolutions at the
just-ended conference in Esigodini. Those who wish to train as journalists
will now need to first undergo national youth training.

We all know what that means.

Then the party's secretary for youth Absolom Sikhosana pleaded with his
superiors that there should be a 50-50 representation of the party in
soccer, in cricket and especially among those who will travel to Egypt to
cheer the senior national team next year.

Don't ask what qualifications these people have to poke their nose into
soccer and cricket. Sikhosana had a ready answer: "I know that these party
cadres can sing and dance at match venues and they will be representing the
party at such a high level," he said.

But considering the chaos that has dogged soccer administration in
this country over the years and the contagion that has spread into cricket,
we are shocked to be told that Zanu PF is not overrepresented already!

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Paralysed by enormity of the tragedy

Zim Independent


ON the same day that the Herald reported President Mugabe in Tanzania
expressing his indignation that the West had refused to accept that Zimbabwe
held regular elections every five years and had branded his regime a
dictatorship, the Minister for Local Government was telling the residents of
Harare that they would not be allowed to vote again until 2007.

There appears to be a serious dislocation between Mugabe's claims and the
realities on the ground. He cannot understand how his brutal and suffocating
regime could possibly be described as not law-abiding and undemocratic.

This is the same regime that routinely ignores court orders, confiscates the
passports of its critics, and holds journalists over a weekend when the
state admits it doesn't have a case against them.

Does Mugabe seriously suggest he is unaware of all this?

Here is a government that in May this year launched a campaign, Operation
Murambatsvina, that targeted the urban poor, depriving 700 000 people of
their homes, according to a UN report. Over two million lost their

The author of the report, Anna Tibaijuka, was abused by the regime's
spokesmen because they didn't like her findings. Another UN envoy, Jan
Egeland, came in for even worse abuse when he declined to contradict his
colleague's report and described the situation produced by Operation
Murambatsvina as a social "meltdown". In the process "crimes were committed",
he added.

Mugabe had hoped that Egeland would disown Tibaijuka's report. Instead,
after seeing the situation on the ground, he fully endorsed it. So did every
other credible observer.

Operation Murambatsvina mar-ked a watershed. While previously Mugabe had
been able to cite historical anomalies in the pattern of land distribution
as justification for property seizures, in this case it was the poor who
suffered the destruction of their homes. But the motive was the same: the
liquidation of perceived bastions of opposition support.

At the same time the economy that the government kept dishonestly assuring
us was undergoing a turnaround, was in fact in tailspin. Inflation was
galloping ahead owing to the state's incontinent spending habits while
agricultural production had in many areas completely collapsed, thus
depriving the country of forex.

Ruling-party spokesmen claim-ed all this was the result of drought and

In response to the crescendo of criticism surrounding the government's
increasingly desperate measures, the state thought it could block the
message by muzzling the press. This attempt to replicate the Burma
Syndrome - the prevention of information leaving the country - was partly
achieved through reported infiltration by state intelligence, threats from
the government's media commission, and confiscation of the passports of
press critics.

But in one key respect the policy backfired. The seizure of Trevor Ncube's
passport two weeks ago generated a storm of protest around the world,
particularly in South Africa where the Mbeki government was seriously
embarrassed by this clumsy behaviour, and focused an unwelcome spotlight on
repression in Zimbabwe.

Freedom of movement is guaranteed not only in the Zimbabwe constitution but
in the African Union charter and Article 19 of the UN's Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. In other words, Zimbabwe was in violation of
its own laws and international laws it had signed up to.

This is the government Mugabe claims is "law-abiding".

The year therefore ends with the country looking increasingly like a
detention camp in which the homeless have multiplied owing to the state's
depredations, the press is under siege for telling the self-evident truth
about our delinquent rulers, and the country is rapidly running out of
resources of all sorts owing to unworkable and punitive policies.

In the midst of this the opposition has lost its mind and instead of
providing leadership to a rudderless nation, has descended into internecine
warfare. Nobody is impressed by its antics and Morgan Tsvangirai should be
told that in no uncertain terms.

This is the least Merry Christmas on record for a long-suffering population
that deserve better but appear paralysed by the sheer enormity of the
tragedy unfolding around them. We would like to hope 2006 will be better.
But going by precedent that seems unlikely.

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Zim Independent Letters

Where do we get the dung from minister?

AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made doesn't cease to amaze me.

The week gone by, he urged farmers to use natural manure instead of waiting
for human-made organic fertilisers. Although Made didn't specify which
natural manure he meant, I'm tempted to believe he meant cow dung.

As Minister of Agriculture, I'm sure Made needs no reminding that Zimbabwe's
cattle herd has diminished over the years that even if we were to rear
cattle for the sole purpose of providing cow dung for purposes of manure,
all the cattle in Zimbabwe today wouldn't provide enough for agricultural
purposes in Shamva or Mwenezi alone, or even the peri-urban fields in Mbare.

That Zimbabwe's national herd has diminished is in no doubt as evidenced by
the price of meat in butcheries and President Mugabe's assertions that
cattle rustlers should get minimum jail terms of nine years.

Moreso, as Made was at the recent Zanu PF conference in Umzingwane, he needs
no reminding that they killed 147 natural manure-providing animals in three
days, further diminishing the depleted herd.

Could it be that Made's utterance was some kind of Fools' Day prank made in

He is Minister of Agriculture but seems to lack vital information about his
ministry's responsibilities.

Remember two years ago he went on a tour of the country aboard a helicopter
assessing the food situation only to declare that Zimbabwe had adequate food
supplies judging from the crops he had seen.

Even President Mugabe infamously told Sky TV that we weren't a hungry nation
and had enough food awaiting harvesting. Not enough grain was produced
because Made on his joyride saw vast forests instead of crops hence the
wrong results.

Can the minister tell the nation why fertiliser is in short supply? I hope
he will not consult his boss because the answer will end up having something
to do with United States president George Bush and UK premier Tony Blair.
Made is still minister because performance never matters to baba vaChatunga
but loyalty.




Thanks to Dr Mahathir

I HAVE always wondered why the United States and Britain would sit by and
watch - for years - while thousands of defenceless people are tortured,
murdered, and made homeless by an insensitive and cruel government in

Merely imposing meaningless sanctions on the country's leadership and
holding endless debates on what action to take against the Zimbabwean
government is not good enough.

Now I know the answer, thanks to Malaysian former premier, Dr Mahathir
Mohamad, at the recently held Perdana Global Peace Forum in Malaysia.

He enlightened us by pointing out that a dictator can kill and maim his own
people while the United States and Britain would not intervene - simply
because that country has no oil.

And Zimbabwe has no oil!

Bongani Ndlovu,



Will Blair seize'errant' Galloway's passport?

AN extract of a story carried in the Herald issue of December 19 read: "In
his address at the forum, Mr George Galloway, a British MP, said the US and
Britain have arrogated themselves the duty of deciding which country must be
invaded, occupied and which regimes to change and prop up."

He said the terrorist attacks that have rocked some countries in the Western
bloc were a direct result of "Western policies of injustice and double
standards" against other people.

Galloway depicted the US and Britain as war-mongers who had created some of
the terrorists now tormenting them, describing US president, George W Bush
and British prime minister, Tony Blair, as "the self-appointed emperors of
the earth".

"I tell you these killers, liars and imperialists must be condemned by any
right-thinking person of any religion at any time," he said.

I wonder if the Zimbabwean state media and the government would consider
such statements by a UK MP as being anti-British, unpatriotic, a threat to
national interests and security?

Is the Blair administration going to follow Zimbabwe's example by seizing
Galloway's passport once he sets foot in London?

We will see who is more tolerant and democratic: Tony Blair or Robert

By the way, who drafted the programme for the Perdana Global Peace Forum?

My logical guess would be that it was a Malaysian who would have very much
known "that most participants at the forum would have gone for Friday
prayers" at the same time that he slotted in President Mugabe to deliver his

Are the Zimbabwean government's so-called "progressive" allies finally
waking up? The sun truly rises from the East.




Bennett: the stabilising factor

CONGRATULATIONS to Roy Bennett on his election as MDC chairman for
Manicaland and stressing the need for unity in the party.

The MDC desperately needs some unifying, stabilising factor to lead it from
the present unstable situation.

Could Bennett be that factor? For years he has been revered, supported in
his own constituency by his workers and all who have benefited through his
development of the area and its people.

Now with eight months' gaol in Mutoko, courtesy of a Zanu PF parliamentary
majority, behind him, he has the qualification that prepares a man for

And who would not support a man who did what millions wish they could do -
flatten Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, in parliament?

There will be some I suppose, who criticise the fact that he is white, but
it has not held him back. His true worth shines through everything he

He will be there to give strong, forthright, truthful advice to the party.

PNR Silversides,



Why Chombo should keep Sekesai at Town House

ALLOW me to congratulate Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo for
extending Sekesai Makwavarara's tenure as Harare acting mayor.

Makwavarara defected from the MDC - a puppet party - according to President
Mugabe, so she has to be rewarded handsomely.

Harare is the best run city in Africa, Minister Chombo. Makwavarara should
thus keep her job even for life. After her, we can then appoint her daughter
or maid because good brains seem to flow in her family.

There are no potholes in Harare, no raw sewage flowing in the streets, water
cuts are a thing of the past, no single street light is out of order and the
housing waiting list is reduced, thanks to Operation Garikai.

And more importantly, her shrewd thinking led to Operation Murambatsvina
which we all know was such a huge success that London and New York are
contemplating following suit.

Residents' water bills are always correct to the last cent. There are no
street kids and vagrants in Harare and vendors sell their wares without

Enough money is there to procure water purifying chemicals and Harare has an
abundant fleet of refuse collection trucks and ambulance crews that respond
to calls within five minutes on average.

Harare council clinics are stocked with sufficient drugs and personnel while
the municipal police are so efficient that they have become the envy of the
FBI and Interpol.

The council's books are audited annually and all council projects are well
ahead of schedule and above all, our mayor is not greedy; she never bought
that new vehicle, it was all rumour. In fact, she goes to work by either a
commuter omnibus or freedom train.

Yes, Minister Chombo, Makwavarara deserves another term because of her good

She produced a turnaround programme for Harare in minutes, a feat Misheck
Shoko of Chitungwiza failed to accomplish.

Misheck Kagurabadza "ruined" Mutare while Japhet Ndabeni Ncube "lied" about
people dying of hunger in Bulawayo, so why not reward Makwavarara?

Harare does not deserve to elect another mayor as she is the best for the
job - the best-ever Harare has had!

You were right minister to fire Shoko for going to Victoria Falls for a
strategic seminar whilst Makwavarara was so shrewd to blow US$27 000 on a
jaunt to Moscow to see and learn about Moscow. Now that's what we call
leadership. Little wonder why Shoko had to go. That was good thinking

Makwavarara has Harare at heart, she has had countless meetings and
consultations with residents over her two-year tenure.

Even in Chegutu, Executive Mayor Francis Dhlakama had to go. Why he never
thought of going to Moscow is another mystery.

Makwavarara is always there when residents need her. She has an open-door
policy, compared to all other mayors.

Please make Commissioner Makwavarara Life Mayor. In fact, she needs to go to
Moscow every two weeks because Harare is now better than Johannesburg and
Cape Town ever since she returned from her trip.

Long live Minister Chombo, Long live Commissioner Makwavarara!

Gorge Time,



This Morning's interview exposes sanctions fallacy

I WAS amazed by an interview that appeared on ZTV's This Morning on
Wednesday conducted by Gilbert Nyambabvu with the out-going Swedish
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Kristina Svensson.

It was really a revelation.

He asked the out-going ambassador what she had done to alleviate the plight
of the suffering Zimbabweans, considering that her country (and other EU
members) was the main "cause" because of their sanctions against the

The ambassador replied by explaining to him that the "sanctions" were
targeted at senior government and ruling party officials only, and not the
country and its citizens (the very same thing US Ambassador Christopher Dell
said a while ago), and thus had no effect on the economy.

Considering the outcry made by the government, Zanu PF and the state media
over Dell's comments, this was a chance in a life-time for them to prove to
the whole country, once and for all, that the EU and their counterparts are
responsible for the economic meltdown this country finds itself in.

Nevertheless, what does the unfortunate Nyambabvu do?

He stammers, stutters and does not even bother to counter the statement -
obviously knowing fully well that she was telling the truth, and there was
nothing he could say to dispute that fact. And he did not.

Thank you Nyambabvu and ZTV for the revelation. I hope that puts the flimsy
excuse of sanctions being responsible for our poverty to rest forever.

You had your chance to prove your claims and messed up pretty good.

The government, ruling party, the state media and the Mahosos should now
tell us who REALLY is responsible for Zimbabwe's demise.

If these jokers had a solid case, why are they so afraid of confronting
their adversaries face-to-face on national television, for example, on
National Agenda - instead of spewing empty vitriol everywhere?

Are they afraid of doing another Nyambabvu?

Bongani Ndlovu,


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