OHANNESBURG, Dec. 24 — Zimbabwe's leading opposition party said today
that three of its members had been killed in recent days by supporters of
President Robert Mugabe, in what it charged were politically motivated attacks.
The authorities in Zimbabwe confirmed only one of the killings. A Zimbabwe
police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, said that one member of the opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, was stabbed in the neck over the
weekend by a supporter of the governing party.
According to Mr. Bvudzijena, the two men had scuffled in a bar in the town of
Magunge. He said the killer had shouted political slogans in support of the
governing party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Popular Front, touching off
the fighting. The victim, Milton Chambati, 45, died at the scene.
"We know who the suspect is," Mr. Bvudzijena said in a telephone interview
from Zimbabwe. "We are looking for him."
Opposition party officials said a second party member was dragged from his
home recently in the town of Karoi and stabbed while a third party member was
ambushed and beaten to death in Bindura on Sunday. Mr. Bvudzijena said he could
not confirm those killings.
But he said that there had been several clashes between members of the two
rival parties, whose leaders are contesting the presidential election scheduled
Mr. Bvudzijena described the disputes as random and spontaneous. "I think it
is political immaturity, where people don't respect other people's political
views," he said.
However, Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the Movement for Democratic
Change, said he believed that the violence was coordinated by the government. He
said he feared that violence would only intensify as election day approaches.
"The situation is quite bad," Mr. Ncube said in an interview.
Last year, more than 30 people were killed during the campaigning for
parliamentary elections, most of them members of the opposition party. But even
though government- backed militants intimidated many voters, the Movement for
Democratic Change stunned the political establishment by winning nearly half of
the contested seats in Parliament.
This year, the stakes are even higher. Mr. Mugabe, who has run Zimbabwe since
1980, is facing the most serious challenge of his career in next year's
presidential election. He will be running against Morgan Tsvangirai, the labor
leader who heads the Movement for Democratic Change.
The governing party and the opposition both held national meetings this month
and tensions have been rising in recent weeks. Since November, the government
has arrested more than a dozen opposition party members and charged them in the
murder of one of Mr. Mugabe's supporters.
Next month, presidents and prime ministers from 14 countries in the region
will meet in Malawi to discuss Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic
Once one of Africa's most promising and prosperous countries, Zimbabwe is now
racked with food shortages and surging unemployment, and an increasingly
authoritarian government seems more and more willing to crack down on its
Leaders from neighboring countries have been criticized for being slow to
denounce Mr. Mugabe for condoning the sometimes violent seizure of white-owned
farms and the intimidation of his political rivals.
Zimbabwe opposition reports more violence
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The main opposition party on Monday
accused the government of intensifying intimidation ahead of Christmas and
identified three more of its supporters killed in political violence.
"Goodwill to all men and women is today an empty phrase in Zimbabwe," said
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change,
in a Christmas message.
Opposition officials said a party youth leader, Trymore Midzi, died early
Monday after being assaulted near his home northeast of the capital, Harare.
Hospital authorities said he suffered multiple lacerations from
machete-wielding assailants on Friday and received 76 sutures in his head and
The independent Human Rights Forum said it was investigating the deaths of
two opposition officials, Milton Chambati, 45, and Titus Neya, 56, west of
Harare on Thursday.
Both were reportedly stabbed to death and Chambati's head was apparently
severed, the forum said. Chambati was an opposition activist from a village near
the town of Karoi, about 125 miles northwest of Harare.
No information on the killings was available from police.
Neya was an opposition activist in the Zvimba home district of President
Robert Mugabe and campaigned against Mugabe's sister, Sabina, in parliamentary
polls last year.
The government has accused the opposition of mounting "terrorist attacks"
against its supporters. Scores of opposition supporters have been arrested in
recent weeks and few ruling party militants have been detained.
Tsvangirai alleged army and security personnel have been deployed across the
country, mostly in civilian clothes and some masquerading as members of the
militant ruling party youth brigade or war veterans, to frighten voters ahead of
crucial presidential elections next March.
The government has denied that allegation.
Militant veterans of the bush war that ended white rule in the former British
colony of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before independence in 1980, vowed at
the weekend to blockade ruling party strongholds ahead of the presidential poll,
barring access to opposition campaigners.
"We are going to do what we used to do during the liberation struggle when
rural areas were prohibited zones for the enemy," said Andy Mhlanga, an official
of the main veterans group.
At least 80 people have been killed since militants began occupying
white-owned farms in March 2000. Tens of thousands have been driven from their
Human rights groups say most of the victims were opposition supporters.
Opposition officials accuse Mugabe of orchestrating violent land occupations
to crush political opposition in rural districts.
Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since independence 1980 has been deepened by
land occupations and a program to nationalize some 4,500 farms without paying
Monday, 24 December, 2001, 17:54 GMT
MDC politicians killed in
Violence has overshadowed elections in the
By the BBC's Alistair Leithead in Johannesburg
Three members of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe have been killed over
the last four days in politically motivated attacks, according to the leader of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Morgan Tsvangirai said he believed the deaths marked the
beginning of a new campaign of violence and intimidation against the MDC in the
run up to the presidential election in March.
Goodwill to all men and women is today an empty phrase in
He said that on the direct orders of President Robert Mugabe, a militia had
been trained and dispatched around the country to intimidate voters ahead of the
The government denies this.
Among the dead was Trymore Midzi, one of the party's youth leaders.
An MDC spokesman said he had been abducted, beaten unconscious and then cut
with broken bottles more than 70 times.
Mr Tsvangirai's MDC has already damaged the ruling
party's grip on
He died in hospital.
Another of the dead was Milton Chambati, an MDC candidate in last year's
A police spokesman said he was stabbed in the neck, after a fight between a
supporter of Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party and three MDC members.
The third man to have died was Titus Nleya, who is also thought to have been
Mr Tsvangirai said President Mugabe was determined to set the country on a
path to civil war.
He says there have been more than 80 politically motivated murders since
The police say this figure is nearer 25.
Nigeria leader cancels Zimbabwe visit after killing
HARARE, Dec. 24 — Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, a key mediator in Zimbabwe's political crisis, cancelled a visit to Harare on Monday after the assassination of Nigeria's attorney general, Zimbabwean officials said.
''His trip has been postponed to another date,'' Youth Minister Elliot Manyika told reporters gathered at Harare airport for Obasanjo's arrival.
Obasanjo called an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday after justice
minister and attorney general, Bola Ige, was shot dead by a gunman in his home
in southwest Nigeria on Sunday.
The Nigerian leader has been a key
player in international efforts to find a solution to Zimbabwe's deepening
political and economic crisis.
Obasanjo brokered a deal in September
aimed at ending the violent occupation of white-owned farmland, in return for
which Britain would give its former colony funds for land reform.
President Robert Mugabe faces threats of sanctions from the Commonwealth, the
European Union and the United States unless he ends violent land seizures and
stops intimidation of the opposition and media ahead of presidential elections
Mugabe cohort seized $4.4M in farm assets: suit
Whites fighting back: Land redistribution in Zimbabwe
faces new legal challenge
The Daily Telegraph, with files from Reuters
HARARE - One of President Robert Mugabe's closest allies has evicted a white
farmer from his land and seized assets estimated to be worth $4.4-million,
according to court papers filed in Zimbabwe.
The farmer, Guy Watson-Smith, is launching the first legal action against any
member of Mr. Mugabe's inner circle allegedly implicated in the illegal seizure
of land and assets. Fearing for his safety, Mr. Watson-Smith, 51, has fled to
The target of his action is General Solomon Mujuru, also known as Rex Nhongo,
the leader of Mr. Mugabe's guerrilla forces during the independence war. In
post-independence Zimbabwe, he went on to become army chief before leaving
government service in 1995.
General Mujuru went into business after leaving the government and owns a
clutch of commercial farms, but remains in Mr. Mugabe's inner circle as a member
of the ruling ZANU-PF politburo and central committee.
He is also one of the most feared men in the country. His wife, Joyce, is
Water Affairs Minister in the Zimbabwe Cabinet.
Mr. Watson-Smith has asked the Supreme Court to force Joseph Made, the
Minister of Agriculture; Ignatius Chombo, the Home Affairs Minister; "Comrade
Zhou'', a "war veteran'', and General Mujuru to hand over his movable assets on
the farm, including tractors, vehicles and irrigation equipment.
In Pretoria, where he is staying with relatives, Mr. Watson-Smith said: "We
will stay in South Africa for as long as this takes.''
According to court papers, Mr. Watson-Smith, under severe threat of physical
harm, was forced by militant Mugabe supporters to leave his farms in the
Beatrice district, 65 km south of Harare, three months ago.
Early this month, General Mujuru drove Mr. Watson-Smith to his farm, the
first time he had been allowed on the premises for more than two months, and
ordered him to tell the farm workers they would be working for a new
Mr. Watson-Smith was told if he went home to pack, the moving trucks would be
burned, so his wife Vicky, 44, son, Adam, 17, and daughter, Alice, 15, packed
their possessions and abandoned the farm.
Mr. Mugabe faces growing international pressure over his land redistribution
program, which he says is a vital step towards redressing colonial-era
injustices. The program has seen hundreds of white-owned farms seized by
supporters of the ruling party, often accompanied by violence and without
On Thursday, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group warned Zimbabwe it
faced suspension from the 54-nation group unless it halts the occupations and
ends media and political intimidation.
The Commonwealth ministers also called on Mr. Mugabe to allow international
monitors into the country to oversee preparations for presidential polls next
year, when he faces a stiff challenge from the opposition Movement for
On Friday, George W. Bush, the U.S. President, signed the Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Act aimed at encouraging Zimbabwe's government to commit
itself to free elections and equitable land reforms, or face sanctions.
The European Union also edged closer this month to imposing sanctions against
Mr. Mugabe's government unless he implements a September pledge made in Abuja,
Nigeria, to halt the violence and hold free and fair elections.
Mr. Mugabe lashed out at the Commonwealth on Saturday, accusing it of acting
under pressure from Britain.
"The Commonwealth is an organization of us all and there should never be a
situation within it when one country wants to use it as an instrument to achieve
its own purposes," Mr. Mugabe said in remarks broadcast on state television.
He told the state-backed Herald newspaper threats of sanctions would not
deter his farms plan.
"They can even ask Lucifer to help them but this is our country and we will
not let go," he said.
|Mugabe ally in £2m seizure row
ONE of President Robert Mugabe's closest allies has evicted a white farmer
from his land and seized assets estimated to be worth Stg£2m, according to court
papers filed in Zimbabwe.
The farmer, Guy Watson-Smith, is launching the first legal action against any
member of Mr Mugabe's inner circle allegedly implicated in the illegal seizure
of land and assets. Fearing for his safety, Mr Watson-Smith (51) has fled to
The target of his action is General Solomon Mujuru, also known as Rex Nhongo,
the leader of Mr Mugabe's Zanla guerrilla forces during the independence war,
and one of the most feared men in the country.
Mr Watson-Smith has asked the Supreme Court to force General Mujuru to hand
back his movable assets on the farm, including tractors, vehicles and irrigation
Mr Watson Smith, claims that under severe physical threat, he was forced off
his farms three months ago.
(Daily Telegraph, London)
Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Maize Runs Out
December 23, 2001
Posted to the web December 23, 2001
Our Own Staff
ZIMBABWE has all but run out of its staple food crop, maize,
and this is likely to trigger a country-wide shortage of mealie meal.
Southern and northern areas of the country are already
feeling the pinch of the shortage. Industry sources say commercial stocks will
have dried up by the middle of next month.
As of 23 November 2001, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had
93 000 tonnes of maize left in stock of which 70% (64 000 tonnes) was considered
fit for human consumption. Sales from the GMB have, for the past two months,
been running at over 20 000 tonnes a week, leading to stocks becoming completely
exhausted last Wednesday.
"As commercial stocks run out, this shortage will become
more and more serious and it can be expected that by mid January, Zimbabwe will
have run out of its staple food," said Eddy Cross, the MDC secretary for
Government spokesman, Jonathan Moyo, did not respond to
telephone calls from The Standard.
Zimbabwe needs a total supply of about 150 000 tonnes of
maize a month with two-thirds needed for the production of Roller Meal and
Super-Refined Meal, and the balance going towards stock feed.
Performance of Prices Makes Sobering Reading
December 23, 2001
Posted to the web December 24, 2001
AS the stock market continues its idiotic gyrations, an
assessment of how prices are really performing provides sobering reading.
Between 1992 and 2000 the turnovers of 45 industrial
(nonfinancial) companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange increased
tenfold. Adjusted for inflation, however, they rose just 15% while over the same
period, pretax earnings of the 45 companies were up 20%.
Turnovers, adjusted for inflation, peaked in 1998, while
profits peaked a year later in 1999. Both have since fallen sharply as both
turnover and profits have failed to keep pace with inflation.
But figures for those companies-when comparing the first
half of 2000 with the same period this year-show a dramatic increase of over 50%
in real terms. The explanation appears to be the very strong results reported
recently by two companies-Delta Corp and Meikles-that account for over half the
Accordingly, their numbers have a major impact on the total
figure for all companies.
Share prices have more than trebled-in real terms-since
1999. They peaked in 1996, which was a year of economic boom, before falling
very sharply in 1997/98 which took the market back to its 1993 levels. There was
a strong recovery in 1999, followed by a sharp fall last year and then again a
50% increase in 2001. Even so, prices today are 20% below their 1997 peaks.
In local currency terms, there has been a net sell-off of
almost Z$43,2bn since the market was opened up to foreign investors in mid 1993.
The bulk of that net sell off (Z$4,7bn) has occurred in the last year.
Because conversions into US dollars are made at actual
rates, there is still a net inflow of US$85m. This reflects the fact that the
bulk of the net inflows (between 1993 and 1995) came into the country at an
average exchange rate of Z$8,5 to the US dollar, while it has gone out at
Money supply in November is estimated at Z$236bn, up from
$118bn a year earlier-a 100% increase.
Money supply growth will accelerate over the next six months
to the elections, now scheduled for March.
The consequence is that there have been bagfuls of liquidity
around recently but not much has gone into the stock market. Analysts concede
that panic has set in, but largely dismiss it as an unjustified reaction by
individuals and small scale investors who don't know any better. A more likely
explanation is that buyers, across the board, have suddenly woken up to the
realisation that the national political crisis actually affects the economy and
that times are likely to get worse.
A long term development should also be considered. The World
Food Programme is getting hapless foreign taxpayers to trump up US$60 million
for emergency food aid to prevent starvation, which could change the national
political scenario and worsen the economic decline, as any future government can
bank on western donors coming to the rescue, no matter how disastrous or
imbecilic the economic policies. Put simply, this seriously erodes the
importance of farming in the economy, as politicians know they don't have to
encourage self-sufficiency-every time there is a problem the west will come to
the rescue. This is ominous for the agro-industrial sector as its well being and
problems will be ignored by the authorities.
Such a future awaits CFI Holdings, which reported an
enormous 240% rise in net profit for the year to the end of September, springing
from a much lowlier 84% increase in turnover. What makes the results even more
astonishing is that unlike many other companies that have brought broad grins to
shareholders' faces, there has been no reliance on interest earnings or foreign
exchange gains. CFI says that acquisitions of the past year, notably Crest
Chickens, are the main reason for its eye-popping performance. No doubt this is
to some extent true but other factors must also be at work.
The only small cloud on the horizon is the short term
borrowings burden needed to pay for the acquisitions with short term borrowings
going up 342% to $921million. Economy pundits are certain of a rise in interest
rates after the presidential elections, no matter who wins, and financing
charges for CFI will rise accordingly. But the company has become so solidly
based and is also wisely getting involved in over-border activities and should
be able to handle that cost with little problem.
Yet the outlanding performance of CFI is also evidence of
the upside down nature of the economy. Traditionally, in most Third World
countries whose economies are collapsing, the manufacturing and distribution
sectors are the first casualties, while primary industries-farming and
mining-prosper. This is because raw materials and equipment for manufacturing
and selling become impossible to buy as a result of hard currency disappearing,
while the primary industries are usually hard currency earners and are protected
by the government. Zimbabwe has become a chaotic free-for-all, where nobody is
looked after, while the continuing supply of hard currency baffles everyone.
Economy Shrinks By 10%
December 23, 2001
Posted to the web December 24, 2001
Our Own Staff
A LEADING local commercial bank has predicted that
Zimbabwe's economy will have shrunk by 10% by the end of the 2001 fiscal
This figure, issued by African Banking Corporation (ABC) is
above finance minister Simba Makoni's budget estimate of 7,3% and in line with
the 11% negative growth rate predicted by another commercial bank, Stanbic.
ABC economist, David Mupamhadzi, said his bank expected the
economy to contract by 10 % largely because of the deteriorating economic
He said a pictorial analysis of the economy indicated that
all sectors of the economy, besides banking, will have a negative growth, owing
to crippling shortages of foreign currency and fuel, escalating production costs
and depressed consumer demand. The manufacturing sector, once lauded as the
economy's leading sector in the 1990s, declined significantly during the first
three months of 2001.
"Output in the manufacturing sector declined by 9,25%
between January and March 2001. On an annualised basis manufacturing output
declined by 11%. The decline of manufacturing output is consistent with the
unfavourable operating environment," said a statement in the bank's latest
quarterly economic bulletin.
According to the bank, the continued weakening of the
Zimbabwe dollar in the parallel market and the rapid increase in broad money
supply (M3) could increase inflationary pressures during the coming months.
Latest inflation statistics as measured by the Central
Statistics Office show that inflation peaked from the October figure of 97,9% to
break new ground at 103,8%. Analysts say that it was the first time in the
history of the country that inflation had broken this mark.
ABC said that money supply growth continues to break
records. After temporarily easing from 69% to 66% in April, it (money supply)
shot up significantly to 73,4% in May 2001. Money supply growth during the
period under review was attributable to domestic credit growth and an
improvement in net foreign assets.
Business News: No Incentives for Savings
Posted to the web December 23,
Government which blames the country's economic ills on
foreign meddling and a dirty campaign against Zimbabwe, needs to act swiftly to
restore an atmosphere conducive to economic growth if most cash strapped
Zimbabweans are to be able to save any money at all, analysts have said.
The 2002 budget, generally dismissed as a damp squid, did
not articulate any plans on halting the current economic slide.
A fund manager with First Mutual Asset Management, Nyasha
Chasakara, said the culture of saving had been eroded by the vicious economic
cycle the country found itself enmeshed in. He said the rate of inflation was
making it difficult for anyone to save and people now preferred to buy fixed
assets such as property as a hedge against inflation.
"There is no longer a culture of saving in the country,"
Chasakara said, "There are some people who have maintained savings because they
are not risk-takers and do not mind their money being eroded."
The money and share markets have been alternative investment
options but they too have been severely affected by the current economic
downturn. The share market has enjoyed a good spell in recent months and has
been able to offer better returns. But because of the effects of inflation,
money market rates were still not attractive enough to attract huge
However, Chasakara said there had been increased interest in
unit trusts because they offered calculated risk on returns. Treasury Bill rates
have also firmed up in the past week in a move analysts said was a telling sign
of government's desperate need for cash.
"One of the major aspects that people look at before saving
are the rates of inflation and interest. If the differential between the
inflation and the interest is so high, nearly 80%, no one wants to save,"
Pension Funds have been an attractive investment option for
both individuals and companies in Zimbabwe but the obligation for them to invest
45% of their prescribed asset base, even though delayed from enforcement to next
year, acted as a disincentive to the scheme. As a result, pension funds were
forced to invest in assets which were not high yielding and to pay back a
correspondingly low interest on investments by individuals.
Economist, John Robertson, said many people had invested in
pension funds, whose resources were now being limited by the current interest
payment structure dictated by government.
"This means that of all the money you put into a Pension
Fund government borrows and pays back approximately 20% interest rate, so there
is a big negative rate of interest you carry on savings and that is incredibly
penalising," said Robertson. "There is a distinct lack of willingness to save.
Take for example, someone with an endowment policy, inflation wipes out the
value of what will be saved."
"What costs you $100 today may cost you $200 at the end of
the next year. So the best thing is to go and spend on speculative things or
something that will hold value-in a sense you are gambling," Robertson said.
Bush signs Zimbabwe Bill
PRESIDENT George W Bush has signed into law, the
Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act 2001 which, among other penalties,
slaps personal sanctions against President Mugabe, members of his cabinet, his
service chiefs, and the immediate family members of all these senior officials,
for crimes against humanity, reports from Washington say.
month, The Standard reported that Bush was expected to sign the Bill before the
end of the year, after it was passed by the US House of Representatives on 4
Friday’s signing of the Bill by Bush puts paid to any hopes
Zimbabwean authorities had that the US president would defy the advice of the
House of Representatives and refuse to sign the Bill into law. It also means
that the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government wasted a great deal of money,
estimated to run into millions of US dollars in a futile campaign to persuade US
politicians to reject the Bill.
The government hired the influential
former Atlanta governor, Andrew Young, and the obscure Coltrane Chimurenga-led
December 12 Movement to spearhead a campaign against the Bill.
Bush: “My administration shares fully the Congress’ deep concerns about the
political and economic hardships visited upon Zimbabwe by that country’s
leadership. I hope the provisions of this important legislation will support the
people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful democratic change,
achieve economic growth and restore the rule of law.”
While the Bill is
widely viewed as progressive, the government has conducted a concerted media
misinformation campaign through its outlets telling Zimbabweans that the Bill
was targeted at punishing Zimbabwe.
However, the legislation calls on
the US government to lobby for international economic aid to Zimbabwe if change
occurs in the country.
Under the new law, the United States will oppose
any new international credits or debt relief for Zimbabwe. The Bill provides
that when the Zimbabwe government meets certain political conditions, such as:
restoring the rule of law; conducive preelection environment; equitable, legal
and transparent land reform; good faith to end the war in the DRC; and civilian
control of the military and police, the US would initiate an economic recovery
Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of
2001 will double the funding for democracy programmes in Zimbabwe and it calls
for US support for election observers to the parliamentary and presidential
elections. The Bill also urges President Bush to consult with other nations on
ways of implementing visa restrictions and other targeted sanctions against
those most responsible for political violence and the breakdown of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe.
But Bush expressed reservations about these provisions,
saying he felt they undermined his foreign affairs authority. “I will construe
the provision as being subject to my exclusive authority to negotiate or vote in
international financial institutions,” said Bush.
At last week’s annual
Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls, war veterans threatened to unleash havoc
if the Democracy Bill was signed into law. Their acting chairman, Patrick
Nyaruwata, warned they could even attack newspapers such as The Standard, Daily
News and the Financial Gazette for what he said was a campaign against Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe also struck a similar chord, stating unequivocally that
Zimbabweans were a defiant lot capable of weathering the effects of any
Ironically, it is because of such irresponsible threats and
actions that the Democracy Bill was introduced by Republican Senator Bill Frist
MDC ‘barred’ from rural areas
ZANU PF has resolved to bar the opposition MDC
party from campaigning in the rural constituencies and will use war veterans to
effect this strategy, a senior party official has said.
In what is
promising to be a repeat of last year’s parliamentary election campaign scenario
when war vets terrorised villagers and effectively barred the opposition from
campaigning in rural areas, the party has again vowed to jealously guard what it
considers to be its stronghold.
War veterans secretary-general Andy
Mhlanga told The Standard last week: “We are saying that the MDC must not
address any rallies in the rural areas and we do not want a situation where MDC
supporters from Harare constituencies are holding rallies in Murehwa. This is
not going to be accepted by the war veterans. We are going to do what we used to
do during the liberation struggle when the rural areas were prohibited zones for
“The MDC boasts of having support from the urbanites so let
them organise their rallies with these people and leave our rural supporters
alone,” said Mhlanga.
Asked to comment on Mhlanga’s statement, Zanu PF
secretary for information and publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, said the party
would not stand in the way of the war veterans.
“They are part of us and
it’s part of our campaign strategy to concentrate on the rural areas where the
majority of our supporters are,” said Shamuyarira.
Of the 57 seats the MDC
clinched in last year’s parliamentary elections, only 15 were from rural
constituencies. On the other hand, 56 of Zanu PF’s 62 seats were from rural
Mhlanga said the decision was reached by war veterans at the Zanu
PF National People’s Conference held in Victoria Falls two weeks ago.
The decision to seal off rural areas, comes in the wake of Mugabe’s
declaration that his party would wage a war against the MDC in order to win the
The violent campaign by Zanu PF has since the run-up to
last year’s general election, left at least 82 opposition supporters dead.
The orgy of terror by war veterans seen mainly in rural areas and the
farming community has mostly targeted opposition supporters and white farmers.
The presidential election has taken on a new dimension with Zanu PF
training a youth militia for deployment in the country’s 10 political provinces
to wage a violent campaign.
Mhlanga warned urban dwellers that if they
visited their families in the rural areas they should not to spread the “MDC
“We also know that some of the people from the towns are
visiting their folks in the rural areas...and then they start campaigning for
the MDC in townships and at growth points. Let them be warned that we will be on
the look out for them and will be monitoring them,” said Mhlanga.
latest move by Zanu PF is also aimed at thwarting the MDC’s efforts to penetrate
the highly conservative rural areas where it has already made headway through
the setting up structures in every constituency.
But the party remains
defiant in the light of the Zanu PF ‘ban’.
Party spokesman, Learnmore
Jongwe said: “War veterans can ban the MDC from campaigning, but they cannot
stop the people from casting their votes at the ballots to determine who should
be their next president.
“The issue is that we have a de facto state of
emergency. We simply have to try to put our messages across despite all these
threats and violence in the rural areas.”
At the Zanu PF people’s
conference in Victoria Falls last weekend, Mugabe railed at the town people for
failing to support Zanu PF but expressed gratitude to the rural electorate for
Encouraging a vigorous campaign, Mugabe said: “What we are
now headed for is a real war, a revolutionary war. We have to move like a
military machine and you must prepare your own unit to move forward. This is no
longer just a contest. This is a revolutionary war.”
Party resolves to fight to the bitter end
GWERU—The MDC has resolved to participate
in next year’s presidential election, no matter what the conditions. This
decision was taken yesterday at the party’s annual conference in Gweru.
The party agreed to embark on a rational, transparent and sustainable
land reform programme, to support the National Constitutional Assembly’s
initiative for a new constitution, revive the health sector, make Aids drugs
more accessible, and also review the government’s funding policy for students.
Delegates were unanimous in their support for Morgan Tsvangirai as the
party’s candidate for the presidential election.
Members resolved to
fight for the presidency to the bitter end, despite the various restrictive
measures planned by Zanu PF to derail the MDC’s campaign for the presidency.
The opposition party also resolved not to resort to the violent election
campaign strategy currently in use by Zanu PF.
The MDC information
chief, Learnmore Jongwe, said his party had adopted resolutions that would pull
the country out of its current political and economic crisis.
resolved to fight the election, even under difficult conditions. We will
continue with our peaceful campaign even after Mugabe has told his supporters to
wage a war against the MDC. But once we get into power next year, we will move
with haste to restore the rule of law,” said Jongwe.
adopted at the conference include an assurance to war veterans that they will
continue to receive their monthly pensions and that members of the uniformed
forces would retain their jobs.
“War veterans will be assured of their
pensions but they will not be above the law, while members of the army are also
assured of their jobs,” he said
“We will review student funding with the
hope of reversing the disastrous privatisation programme,” said Jongwe.
To ease the desperate unemployment situation and assist the declining
economy, the MDC will encourage companies which have closed or relocated to
reinvest in the country, Jongwe said.
Jongwe, meanwhile, managed to
escape with minor injuries on Friday when his car experienced brake failure and
rammed into three trees on his way to the conference.
Business News: Mining royalties opposed
woes in the mining industry which could lead to a total shut down in the
troubled sector, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe has urged government not to
consider royalties and ring fencing measures for new mining projects.
“The introduction of royalties and ring fencing at a time when the
industry is already facing enormous viability problems, will inflict irreparable
damage on the mining sector,” Chamber president, James Maposa, told Standard
Business last week. “Issues of royalties and ring fencing should be considered
for new projects. This allows new entrants to evaluate the project’s viability
against factors contained in the fiscal frame work.”
Maposa said most
existing mines would not be able to bear the costs of royalty while the
application of ring fencing measures could lead to the closure of operations
which depend on group synergies for survival.
Government, in a white
paper circulated to industry this year, indicated that it was drafting a new
fiscal and legal framework for the mining industry. Key areas of the proposed
law deal with mining titles, the environment and the fiscal regime.
Royalties are the share of profits paid to a land owner, in this case
the state, for the right to work a mine. Government’s proposals for royalties
has sparked debate within the mining industry which views them as a tax imposed
on revenue rather than on profit. So companies will be taxed when operations are
still in their infancy and thus unlikely to be profitable.
now lose a percentage of revenue, this being an even higher percentage of free
cash, prior to reinvesting in their operations,” said Ian Saunders, chairman of
the Chamber of Mines’ Gold Committee. “This can’t be good for the long-term
stability and viability of the industry, something I believe the new fiscal
policy is attempting to address.”
Business Tourism: Cresta Calling—Effects of Zimbabwe
Democracy Bill on tourism
It is true that it gets worse before it gets
better. The Biblical pilgrimage of the children of Israel, which saw them coming
out of bondage in Egypt to their promised land in Canaan, mirrors the journey
Zimbabwe has taken since independence in 1980. That night of the Passover
heralded an untold joy for the Israelites as they journeyed towards the Red Sea.
This reminds me of that night when the Union Jack came down, while a joyous
explosion shook the sky at Rufaro Stadium and Bob Marley sent the whole stadium
into frenzy. He should be turning in his grave right now.
from minority rule to majority rule was not easy, as when the Israelites were
before the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was behind them. Can’t go forward and
can’t go backwards. Paruman-anzombe! Then the miracle happened and they crossed
over. For the next forty years they meandered into the wilderness led by their
mentor and deliverer, Moses. As soon as they encountered difficulties they did
not mince their words in telling Moses how the “good old days” were better. They
longed to go back to Egypt and suffer under the yoke of Pharaoh. How
retrogressive! Yet over the past decades we also have looked back to the days of
minority rule, and under the motto “Rhodesia was Super” we have imagined that
things were so much better before 1980.
During the years in the
wilderness, the Israelites were trudging round the mountain for a long time
without possessing the territory, and spies were sent into Canaan to inspect the
land. Two out of ten spies came back with an encouraging report, yet the rest
felt it was impossible to gain the land, and they recommended going back to
Egypt rather than perishing at the hands of the giants. Their other
recommendation was to stone Moses to death for leading them to disaster and
death. It should have taken the Israelites only a month to get to the Promised
Land, but God assigned them 40 years because their enslaved minds were not able
to absorb His blessings. So God allowed forty years for everyone enslaved in
Egypt to die, except for Joshua and Caleb. Even Moses could not enter the
Promised Land because of his disobedience, and all those old minds had to die
before the people could discern how God wanted to prosper them.
past ten years, we Zimbabweans appear to have been meandering round the
mountain, hesitating to move forward and embrace our destiny. There was
sluggishness in resolving the land issue: maybe the giants were too big. But
eventually, over the past two years, we literally “possessed the land”. It was
then that everything started going wrong between us and the rest of the world.
There was a new buzz phrase, “the rule of law”, in our day-to-day conversation.
Soon Zimbabwe was to be a household name among the nations: those who did not
know of our existence had to refer to the map to figure out who this notorious
child was. For the wrong reasons we were in the world tourism hall of fame, or
perhaps rogues’ gallery, as a country not to be visited.
was thinking that things should be getting better next year, along comes the USA
with its Zimbabwe Democracy Bill! The events of September 11 led many to regard
Southern Africa as the tourist destination for 2001, and we in the leisure
industry were busy preparing our marketing strategies for a new lease of life,
until this Bill was passed by the US Congress. It is now waiting for President
Bush’s signature. The Bill’s implications for us in the tourist sector have not
been clearly highlighted, because there was too much noise about it amongst the
politicians. I must say that when I read it my jaw dropped and I realised that
we have to brace ourselves for another fight. I found this most exasperating,
especially since I am already punch-drunk with the constant struggle to stay
alive in tourism.
Let me advise you that this Bill will halt any
progress we have made since independence. In effect, these are economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe by America.
Let me quote Section 4 (c):
Multilateral Financing Restriction—“Until the President makes the certification
described in subsection (d), and except as may be required to meet basic human
needs or for good governance, the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the
United States executive director to each financial institution to oppose and
vote against (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan,
credit, or guarantee to the government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or
reduction of indebtedness owed by the government of Zimbabwe to the United
States or any international financial institution.” This means that any small
donor funding still available will dry up soon. Our foreign currency will
dwindle, and our operating costs will be unmanageable. Cost-cutting measures
will be required. Western tourists, who form over 60 percent of our
international visitors, will avoid Zimbabwe; but they will still come to other
Southern African countries.
Much of the conference business enjoyed by
local hoteliers will diminish because the NGOs, which have necessitated much of
this activity, will have no funding to continue their work. Already a lot of
them have returned to their country of origin or relocated to South Africa. This
will result in price wars, leading to reduced profit margins and subsequent
losses. More leisure companies will go into voluntary liquidation, or cut their
operations. Job losses are inevitable, and quality of service will be
compromised. Gone are the days of room service, with whistles and bells in
hotels. Imported foodstuffs will soon be unavailable or unaffordable.
Where do we go from here? Certainly we need to reduce operating costs,
and accept some job losses. Food and beverage provision is already sometimes
basic and unattractive, and we must ask how we can avoid food shortages.
This is a time to refurbish our hotels and restaurants as we wait for
the tide to turn once again. A lot of our leisure operations have been looking
tired for a while now, and this is the time to give them new life.
also need to ensure that changes in customer demand are addressed, and that
ever-increasing overheads are reduced. With recent reports that inflation is
already at 103%, we might have to be paying daily wages! But take heart: for
this is the season of festivity, celebration and extravagance. Think and
plan—but also spend and enjoy!
is the Group Commercial Director for Cresta Hospitality.
Local Insight—Zimbabwe and her neighbours
A few years ago,
I remember Dr Stan Mudenge, author and minister of foreign (or fallen) affairs
travelling extensively through the region, and to west Africa, Nigeria, to try
and prevent General Abacha from hanging several people, including my friend Ken
Mudenge and other foreign ministers of the Commonwealth were
doing what normal people should do. They were telling Nigeria that it was not an
island where the military dictator could just kill people and forget about the
rest of the world.
But then the same Zimbabwean foreign minister is on
record as telling the world that what the North Americans and the European Union
are doing is tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. For
Dr Mudenge, it was fine interfering in the internal affairs of Nigeria, but it
is not okay for the rest of the world to interfere in the internal affairs of
“Zimbabwe is a sovereign state,” Dr Mudenge wants to tell us
now. By that he implies that such a state can kill its own people without anyone
asking any questions. The ruling party has announced its policy of violence and
is busy implementing it right now, to the detriment of the economy, the misery
of the people of Zimbabwe, and the disenchantment of the international
If a neighbour’s house is on fire and you see the guy running
after the rats fleeing the fire, you have a duty to run to him and remind him of
his foolishness. He must try to put out the fire, not run after useless things.
That is exactly what the ruling party is doing, running after the rats
and abandoning the house to let it burn.
It is madness to hear a ruling
party politician standing unashamedly in public to say there is no violence in
Zimbabwe. We can even say it borders on childish thinking. You know, when we
were young, every time there was a death in the family, we would be taken to an
uncle’s place, far away so that we did not experience death so young. As a
result, we grew up thinking that death only happens in other people’s families,
not in ours. It was only when we were mature that we were allowed to see a
corpse, and to hear explanations about the deaths in the family.
the childish game which the ruling party is playing. As long as they are not the
ones beaten by thugs and shot at by militias, everything is peaceful in the
country. All the violence is caused by the opposition, and that opposition party
even burns and bombs its own offices. How bizarre can we become in a world which
has seen the likes of Goebbels and his cronies?
As long as a Zanu PF
leader is not shot at, everything is okay. The ostrich buries its head in the
sand and imagines that what it cannot see is simply not there.
in the last year or so, Zimbabwe has created more refugees than any other
country in the southern African region. And without any sense of shame, the Sadc
foreign ministers come and tell Mugabe that all is okay. They look from afar and
are manipulated by the government with a lot of wining and dining. They never go
out on their own to see and talk to ordinary citizens of the country, to
discover what is happening.
And look at the names Zimbabweans are given
by the ordinary citizens of the region: ‘makwerekwere’, ‘mapostori’, names
whi-ch insult our personality, originated by a leadership without a national or
even a regional vision, let alone an international vision of merging our destiny
with the destinies of other respectable nations.
Thabo Mbeki, of South
Africa, is also not sure how to handle the situation. One of his fears arises, I
suspect, from the fact that for many years after Zimbabwe became independent,
prime minister Mugabe did not recognise the African National Congress in
preference to the Pan African Congress. I remember Mbeki as international
relations chief of the ANC running all over the place, persuading the Mugabe
government to allow the opening of ANC offices in Zimbabwe.
Now, my logic is
that Mbeki would feel that being harsh on Mugabe would be viewed as revenge for
those harsh days.
The economy has collapsed. People are being killed,
and the police have been told to look the other way, to ignore murder, torture
and rape in the name of political power.
While some of our neighbours
think it is a Zimbabwean problem, and nothing to do with them, it is becoming
clear that a dam which bursts upstream is not only the problem of those living
on the banks of the dam. Those downstream will soon drown.
I addressed a
meeting in Germany with the ambassador of Namibia a few months ago. He was
thinking that the bursting dam is the problem of those who live near the dam,
but he was reminded by someone in the audience that Namibian war veterans have
already invaded several farms, taking their cue from Zimbabwe.
problem we face with our neighbours is one of hypocrisy. I remember that one of
the sanctions we, as children, imposed on bullies was ‘kana uchidero
haticha-tambi newe’ (if you continue like that, we will not play with you). If
the threat was implemented, you went home to your mother crying. To have no-one
to play with was a big blow to your self-esteem.
But our children were,
and still are, wiser than our politicians.
Why don’t we just tell Mugabe
and his praise-singers that if he continues the way he is doing, we will not
play with him any more?
The man must know that our economy is dependent
on the economies of the region, that our borders are only a product of someone’s
imagination because we are the same people.
cheer-leaders mislead him by pretending that he can tell the world to go to
hell. But then it is him who is going around, cap in hand, begging for this or
that aid. It is him who borrows money from all over the place without telling
the people of the country how the money will be paid back. And it is him who
needs the hard currency to drive the economy and to pay for his travels. But all
we know is that a lot of those charlatans arou-nd him will switch camp as soon
as it is convenient to do so. We have seen it happen before, and it will happen
Our elders were not wrong when they said ‘ushamwari
hwechi-kwinyanguvo hwuno-pera kuchingoidza’ (the friendship based on sharing a
blanket ends at sunrise).
Lack of vision makes people jump on worthless
band wagons, like the new notion of fighting terrorism. The Zimbabwean
government has decided that any critic of their government is some kind of
‘traitor’ or ‘terrorist’ who must be hanged.
Anyone who is critical of the
madness of the system is labelled a terrorist, and the laws in place have become
draconian. That is why the president has noticed that people call him all sorts
of names, including ‘dictator.’ If people call you ‘dictator’, it is time to
reflect, not to kill those who tell you so. As far as I can see, it is high time
we took courage enough to administer some bitter medicine to the Zimbabwean body
politic, so that the patient will not decline and eventually die.
Chenjerai Hove is a renowned Zimbabwean writer.
2001, a year of little cheer
year 2001 has come and almost gone. It is that time when people can look back at
what has been an eventful year, albeit for the wrong reasons.
Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, the country has occupied the international
limelight because of its notoriety. Despite the September 11 callous terror
attack on the United States, the small southern African country is still the
centre of international attention, thanks to a desperate regime that wantonly
terrorises its own people. The recently released Amnesty International report
chronicles the scale of that terror.
The year has seen an escalation of
violence by Zanu PF thugs who, for selfish ends, are determined to see that
their aged leader wins next year’s presidential poll, by hook or by crook.
It has been a year that has seen whatever professionalism was left in
our unashamedly partisan police force thrown out of the window. What could one
expect from a force that is led by a commissioner who violated the
Police Service Charter by proclaiming that he is a Zanu PF supporter. Added to
that, Augustine Chihuri has made good his promise that he will rid the force of
any officer who does not support Zanu PF. Taking heed of this warning, a number
of competent senior officers have refused to “swim in that pool” of
unprofessio-nalism and called it quits. Good for them.
What must have
nauseated the public most, however, is how rabidly partisan public media houses
such as the ZBC and Zimpapers have become. The year has seen journalism at these
institutions sink to an all time low, with seasoned journalists being reduced to
mere fiction writers. Scriptwriter Jonathan Moyo has certainly lived up to his
reputation as the country’s leading spin doctor and his followers at Pockets
Hill and Zimpapers are not doing too bad either.
On the economic front
we need not remind people of the huge problems besetting our country, with
inflation pegged at an historic high of 103%, company closures and declining
Like everyone else, The Standard has borne the
brunt of economic hardships but we salute our readers for standing by us in
these tough times. A year ago, when the economic situation was much better and
the paper selling at $20, our print run averaged 20 000 a week. The price of the
paper is now $45, yet demand has increased significantly leading to sales
averaging between 35 000 and 40 000 copies a week. The bonus for our readers,
however, is the attractive new look that puts our paper ahead of the rest.
We salute our readers and all those working for change in Zimbabwe. We
wish you all a Merry Christmas and a better 2002.