November 28, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
YET again, long-suffering motorists have
been singled out for another round of donations following the recent budget
Presumably, the Z$500:US$1 ration applies to all imported
vehicles as the powers-that-be continue to regard ANY four-wheeled passenger
car as a "luxury".
Your Comments Requested
spies tell me that customs revenues on new vehicles plummeted when the 300:1
regime was implemented so expect a similar pattern to follow the latest
If I'm not mistaken, the so-called "local
assemblers" have been given yet another break to the detriment of government
revenue as a result of a 10 percent reduction in sales tax. This means that
these local assemblers contribute a piffling 15 percent of a vehicle's retail
selling price to the fiscus whereas the importers (and individuals) have to
fork out 25 percent sales tax, 10 percent import surcharge and an ever
increasing amount in import duties such that an overall "tax" portion of
around 115 percent becomes entirely possible.
As the "protective" gap
increases, so does the opportunity for the locals to increase their assembly
You don't need to be a nuclear scientist to work out that these
local plants have no right to exist if they require ever-increasing
assistance to remain "competitive".
Besides the straight cost issue,
the oft-quoted story about encouraging local downstream production holds no
water at all. As cars have become more sophisticated and customers' quality
expectations have risen, so the use of locally-sourced materials has
Not so long ago, I owned a Willowvale-assembled Familia
hatchback and I don't recall being able to identify a single item of local
origin. Even the exhaust, battery and glass were fully imported. Perhaps the
paint was local, but that's about it.
In the case of the exhaust, I
can only say thank goodness as the local rubbish fitted to lesser vehicles of
the 80s and 90s barely scraped an 18-month lifespan before allowing eager
exhaust gases to vent into the atmosphere from cavities that shouldn't have
developed with such alacrity.
Remember too, the dreadful "domestic"
carpeting that pretended to cover the floors of Willowvale and Mutare
products? This carpeting was never manufactured to cover humps or sharp edges
and its durability factor mirrored that of the aforementioned exhaust
So, with next to no local inputs, what's the real reason for the
ever increasing protection? There is no sound reason just as there is no
sound reason for not providing import tax breaks to individuals who use their
own forex to purchase cars from abroad.
I repeat my oft-stated
assertion that the application of local "sales tax" on pre-paid imports
contravenes all the norms of fair taxation. If an individual has made direct
payment to an external manufacturer, then ownership of the vehicle in
question passes to the customer once the payment is ratified.
simplistic terms, a "sale" has taken place OUTSIDE our borders so how
can sales tax be applied to an item not sold in this country? Similarly,
an "import surcharge" is effectively a device to discourage imports
purchased with currency acquired on the local market. If the currency has
been sourced externally, why should the importer be saddled with a
On a related matter, the proposal to extend sales tax to
private sales of used motor vehicles will simply encourage more underground
deals and provide even more opportunities for corrupt practices to flourish.
I don't think I need to expand on this matter but I can't resist firing
another broadside at the principle of multiple taxation. How can anyone
justify the application of tax on an object each and every time it acquires a
new owner? Sales tax is paid by the first owner and that should be the end of
The pain is compounded by the huge rate of tax and the
skyrocketing price of new cars. I saw a BMW X5 3,Od advertised the other day
for an eye-watering Z$115 million. No-one could possibly pay that much money
for a vehicle which retails in (expensive) Britain for £33
Assuming I'm right, the seller will now be obliged to add another 25
percent sales tax to produce an absurd figure of Z$144 million in round
Motorists' misery is compounded by the stellar increases in the
"benefits" tax on the use of company-owned vehicles. Every beneficiary is
deemed to derive the same level of benefit irrespective of the monthly or
annual mileage covered. I know of some individuals who clock up over 5 000
kms a month on personal errands just as I know of others, self included,
whose personal use would not exceed 300 kms a month. But the penalty is the
same. What allowance is made for any company car user who carries out
home maintenance of said vehicle? The answer again, is absolutely
The system is plain unjust and unreasonable and is compounded by
the fact that the tax penalty is solely based on engine size and not
procurement cost. This means that the "driver" of a Mazda 626, for example,
pays exactly the same tax as the "driver" of a BMW 320i.
Now that the
summer sun is well and truly burning, those of you with leather-upholstered
cars would be well advised to take steps to preserve the original texture of
the unfortunate cow you sit on.
Direct sunlight and heat are the biggest
enemies of leather so if your car has to sit outside during the day, your
first line of defence is to place sun shades in the front and rear windows.
But you need to do more than that to keep the surface supple and
The first step is to clean the leather regularly, preferably
with proprietary leather cleaning solution or failing that, with a damp
cloth impregnated with a mild soapy solution.
Thereafter, the leather
will just lap up an application of purpose-produced leather food or leather
cream, a commodity occasionally available in stores specializing in car
accessories or leather goods. Either use your fingers or a small piece of
clean sponge and work the cream into the leather. Ideally, leave the muti to
soak overnight and then buff lightly with a soft cotton cloth.
maximum protection, this simple task should be carried out monthly as far as
the driver's seat is concerned but spare a thought for the upper surface of
the rear seat which is exposed to the blazing sun all the time. This area
benefits enormously from a fortnightly application of leather
Rubber also hates sunlight and heat, so treat the door
rubbers and boot and bonnet seals to a regular rub of glycerine soaked into a
Car of the Year
I'm on record as being ambivalent
about the value of COTY awards wherever they are held as the judging is
sometimes subject to manipulation and more importantly, the judges have a
tendency to award more points for daring interpretation than they do for
practical interpretations. In the case of the SA COTY awards, the last two
years defied this trend with the BMW 320d and Audi A4 TD1 coming out on
Certainly, it's practicality that counts in the long run for Mr.
Average. This factor seems to have been overlooked by the European COTY
judges in particular, as many of their selections over the last 20 years have
been dismal commercial failures. A string of mediocre Fiats have hi-jacked
this award over the years (thanks to a proliferation of Italian journalists?)
but quite the biggest shocker was the Rover 3500 SDI of the late 70s.
Remember that fastback-shaped leviathan that rusted with alacrity and spent
more time in the workshops than on the road?
I mention all these
idiosyncrasies because the winner of this year's European award is the
controversial Renault Megane which is fine up front but which is blighted
with Renault's awkward and ugly new corporate rump which for all the world
makes the car look constipated.
The more avantgarde among the world's
motoring pen pushes will hail this new styling venture as a courageous and
bold new direction in automotive presentation, but I'm not too sure.
genuinely hope that the weird elements don't put off too many
potential purchasers as the rest of the Megane bristles with practical
innovations such as keyless-go and starter-button ignition to name just
EDITORIAL November 28, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
NOTHING better demonstrates that the government of Zimbabwe
lives on a planet far removed from the problems facing this country than
plans to introduce a test next year to determine the patriotism of civil
The Public Service Commission (PSC) announced last week that it
would introduce measures next January to assess the patriotism of all
civil servants and those intending to join the public
"People are just working without commitment to government
policies and those of the ruling party," said PSC secretary Ray
"If we deliver service, we bring success to Zimbabwe. We want
to ensure that every citizen is served by the government and that is why we
want committed Zimbabweans in the civil service."
Those found wanting,
he said, would be sent for training and those still unable to make the grade
It's alarming that a regime facing enormous and complex
problems such as life-threatening food shortages and an economy in its third
year of recession can waste time on something as frivolous as
Public servants are fleeing in their thousands for so-called
greener pastures, leaving the country's health and education sectors on the
verge of collapse, and yet the government seems determined to speed them on
their way through such senseless measures.
As admirable as Ndhlukula's
goal of ensuring that every Zimbabwean is served by the government is, it's
clear that this is not the way to achieve it.
Since the government seems
to define a patriot as one who supports the ruling ZANU PF, we are faced with
yet another system that has the potential to degenerate into a mere
witch-hunt for civil servants who have the audacity to hold divergent
Millions of Zimbabweans could therefore be illegally
discriminated against through the loss of jobs, promotions and denial of
service because they support a party that is not ZANU PF.
youths being trained under the controversial national service programme are
to be given top priority at tertiary institutions raise fears that those
public servants deemed to be unpatriotic could swiftly be replaced by these
loyal ruling party cadres.
Given the alleged military nature of this
national service training, such a scenario raises the spectre of the
government's gradual militarisation and politicisation of all sectors of the
public service as it uses all means to cling to power.
The PSC has to
go back to the drawing board on this issue. The demotivation and inefficiency
within the civil service that the government seems to have misinterpreted as
lack of patriotism has a simple solution.
The government must simply stop
wasting precious national resources trying to implement policies that do not
address the real problems facing Zimbabwe.
Public servants are
demotivated because they are poorly paid and some of them work under
extremely trying and deplorable conditions.
This and only this is
responsible for the mass exodus of nurses, doctors, teachers, pharmacists and
other civil servants, as well as for the devil-may-care attitude of many
Only when these issues are addressed can
long-suffering Zimbabweans begin to enjoy first-class service from civil
servants and only then can the country see the success envisaged by
Zimbabweans are concerned with life and death issues and it's
time the government stopped insulting their intelligence by dreaming up
measures supposedly to help the public but which are really meant to distract
them from their suffering.
The government would be better served
dumping this proposed patriotism test in the trash bin, for that is where it
belongs, and rolling back its sleeves so it can come to grips with the real
crisis devastating this once prosperous country.
- At least 86 politically motivated murders were committed in the 12 months
since June 2001, a human rights coalition said in a report today. "The vast
majority of these victims were killed because of a real or perceived
association with the main opposition party," the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), according to the report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum,
which documented the cases of more than 900 victims of political
The list of victims included some supporters of the governing
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), as well as white
farmers and black farm labourers.
MDC supporters constituted 51% of
the victims of political violence, while non-aligned or apolitical victims
comprised 47.6%. Zanu-PF supporters made up 1.4% of the victims.
problem of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe is not a black on white
war based on the redistribution of land and its ownership. The problem rather
is an intolerance of or lack of respect for political pluralism," the report
Of the murder victims, 55 were MDC supporters, eight were
Zanu-PF supporters, six were of unknown political affiliation, five were
war veterans, another five were farm workers, two were white farmers while
the rest were newly resettled black farmers.
The report documents
details of torture, assault, rape and other forms of abuse such as
intimidation, abduction, unlawful detention.
In addition to providing
dates and places at which the alleged abuses took place, the latest report
outlines names of alleged perpetrators of violence as identified by the
Members of parliament from both ruling party and the
opposition have been named in the report as among the alleged perpetrators of
politically motivated violence.
ZIMBABWE: World Vision to feed 60,000 malnourished children
6 December (IRIN) - Close to 60,000 children across Zimbabwe are expected to
benefit from a supplementary feeding scheme from December to March next year,
World Vision said on Friday.
The organisation's Harare office said US
$17,000 had been allocated for the purchase of 21 mt of porridge mixture on a
World Vision director Rudo Kwaramba told IRIN: "The
programme is directed at children under five years but we are hoping to include
6 to 7 year old children soon. Already blanket supplementary feeding has
commenced in areas where World Vision has been operating. The under-five group
receive daily wet feeding at community-based feeding points."
estimate that of the 6.7 million Zimbabwean's facing critical food shortages,
three million are women and children who are either malnourished or
The relief organisation said it was feeding more than
6,000 children in the Gonono village, 260 km northwest of Harare, where the
government-controlled Grain Marketing Board has scaled down maize distribution
from once a week to once a month.
The agency was also delivering a
monthly supplementary ration of 10 kg corn-soya blend to 65,265 HIV/AIDS
patients in districts severely affected by the food crisis.
percent of Zimbabweans between the ages of 15 and 49 are living with HIV/AIDS
and there are more than 600,000 AIDS orphans.
To contribute to
maintaining livelihoods and help avert reliance on food aid, World Vision said
it was also implementing a large agricultural recovery programme.
organisation said sourcing seed had been a challenge as there were shortages
throughout the region and the government had recently purchased all the maize
seed available in the country for its input scheme through the
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Death, including that of people we may not be
particularly fond of, is always saddening.
So it was only
natural for The Mole to be saddened, as no doubt many other Zimbabweans must
have been, by the death of 10 members of the Johane Masowe Chishanu Apostolic
Faith sect, struck by lightning while gathered for a prayer meeting in
Chitungwiza two weeks ago.
People still felt sad in spite
of so many bad things being said about the Mapostori ever since the late
Border Gezi turned the church, en bloc, into a wing of Zanu PF, making them a
permanent and very conspicuous feature at all the party's
But even then, many people must have found it curious
that President Mugabe saw fit to go on national television to express his
sorrow and condole the church's leaders over the deaths. True, those who have
closely followed his political career will tell you that Mugabe is not
particularly known for his judiciousness when speaking about his political
friends and foes.
Far too often, he is given to going to
extremes and saying some very undignified things.Like when, at the burial of
Sheila Hove, the wife of former minister Richard Hove, he described her as
having been "a man and half" despite the fact that she had made headlines for
all the wrong reasons and had died in very inglorious circumstances. Or when
he silenced male critics of Shuvai Mahofa's romantic escapades by telling
them to shut up because he knew that they too "have
Or the countless nasty things he has said about
Tony Blair and Morgan Tsvangirai from the day he labelled the former's
government "gay gangsters" and the latter as "a teaboy".
From our observation of his constantly changing relations with the late
Joshua Nkomo, we all know, of course, that he will have nothing good to say
about anyone who refuses to give him blind support politically and that, on
the other hand, he will see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil
about anyone prepared to give him that blind support like the Apostolic
Church members who were recruited into the ranks of Zanu PF by Gezi, are
Nevertheless, it was the height of imprudence for him to
go on television and say what he said about them following the sad incident.
This was especially so considering that, weeks earlier, he had maintained
a deathly silence following the passing away of Garfield Todd and
Learnmore Jongwe, both of whom were regarded by many Zimbabweans as
political luminaries who ought to have been declared national
Cynics have for some time now been saying that it is a
great honour to be denounced by Mugabe and a curse to be praised by him. The
Mole tends to agree. There certainly is something to worry about if Mugabe
openly praises you - something connected to integrity or moral rectitude -
usually a lack thereof.
n Have the people who work for Zanu
PF's propaganda mouthpieces that pass for newspapers at Zimpapers become so
allergic to the truth that they have stopped reading real
That certainly seems to be the case with those who
work for the Bulawayo-based Sunday News.
Otherwise how else
can we explain the phenomenon of their having so thoroughly embarrassed
themselves by labelling as "exclusive" the front page lead story of their 1
December issue when it had already been published in The Daily News more than
three years earlier?
The supposedly "exclusive" story, written
by the paper's magazine editor, Sifanele Ndlovu, under the headline King
Lobengula's gold chain stolen, read in part: "Two artifacts of immense
historical value, including a gold necklace belonging to the last Ndebele
monarch, King Lobengula, have been stolen from the Natural History Museum in
"The Executive Director of the Department of National
Museums and Monuments, Dr Godfrey Mahachi, yesterday confirmed that King
Lobengula's priceless chain, which is more than 100 years old, and an
extremely valuable gold watch that belonged to a pioneer missionary, the
Reverend Robert Moffat, have mysteriously disappeared from their glass
display cabinets . . ."
Now can someone please tell us how
anyone could have labelled that story exclusive when on 24 July 1999 The
Daily News carried the following story headlined Lobengula's gold necklace
stolen: "A gold-coated necklace belonging to 19th Century Ndebele king,
Lobengula, and a gold-coated wristwatch used by English missionary, John
Moffat, have been stolen from the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo. Police
said the rare artifacts are worth $1,2 million. The items were on display in
the Chiefs Hall on the first floor. Display items are locked in glass
cabinets . . ."
The only difference is that the missionary is
named as Robert Moffat in the Sunday News story and John Moffat in The Daily
News story. So you see, far from being an exclusive, it was a very, very old
I have a small piece of advice which the editor and
staff at the Sunday News might find valuable: as the slogan goes, "Stay with
the crowd, read The Daily News!"
I am a concerned
Zimbabwean who, like many others, has left the country of my birth in search
of, not only greener, but also safer pastures. From a distance, I watch with
a feeling of despair as my beloved country is brought to its knees with
I remember growing up in the sprawling
high-density suburb of Entumbane. The future always seemed full of
aspiration, prosperity and continuity. I always listened intently every time
the then "Honourable President Mugabe" addressed our young and hopeful
His addresses always seemed to be encouraging and
reassuring, especially to the young. Food shortages, unemployment,
corruption, oppression and all the socio-economic problems bedevilling the
country today did not exist.
Today, in a foreign country, I
lament the demise of our dear nation. I watch in despair as all my dreams and
and hopes turn into nightmares. Terrified, I watch helplessly as our once
honourable President uncontrollably turns into a caricature of the African
Undreamt-of shortages, unemployment and economic
chaos have become the order of the day. Our once prosperous nation has become
a disgrace, making headlines in newspapers in all corners of the world for
all the wrong reasons.I sadly bid farewell to all my dreams and to the sanity
that once prevailed in what has now become the ruins of
Stop beating our citizens, Mozambican mayor
12/6/2002 (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende
recently in Manica, Mozambique
THE government has been urged to
withdraw its soldiers from the Forbes border post in Manicaland or risk the
twinning arrangement between the City of Mutare and other cities in
The Zimbabwean soldiers have been accused of beating up
Mozambican citizens at the border post. The call was made by Mougene Cadiero,
the Mayor of Manica town in Mozambique, on Wednesday during the signing of a
twinning arrangement between his town and Mutare. In a prayer, during which
Cadiero pleaded for divine intervention, he said solemnly: "God, please help
to remove the soldiers from that border. They are assaulting our people
every day. It's terrible." The soldiers are deployed in and around Mutare
to intercept smugglers who sneak commodities such as cigarettes, sugar,
bread, cooking oil, flour, maize-meal and alcohol into Mozambique. So far,
two Mozambicans, suspected to be illegal cross-border traders, have been
shot dead by the Zimbabwean soldiers. Following the fatal shootings,
diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Mozambique became
Soares Nhaca, the Governor of Manica Province,
condemned the Zimbabwean security forces over the killings and beatings. But
Oppah Muchinguri, his counterpart in Zimbabwe's Manicaland Province,
remained adamant that relations between the countries were cordial.
"Zimbabwean soldiers are beating up our citizens either at the border or in
their country," Cadiero said in a separate interview. He said the
twinning agreements could be jeopardised if the soldiers continued the
Hundreds of traders, mainly Mozambicans, have
allegedly been assaulted by soldiers and the police manning all illegal entry
points along the border. Those arrested are taken to the Grand Reef Infantry
Battalion cantonment in Mutare, where they are allegedly subjected to further
assaults before being ordered to pay a fine of up to $500 for their
The twinning agreement between the two cities was
signed by Lawrence Mudehwe, the Executive Mayor of Mutare, and Cadiero, his
counterpart in Manica town. The agreement is designed to promote economic,
cultural, social and employment links and boost industrial development
between the two nations. Mudehwe said: "After signing this agreement,
Mozambique and Zimbabwe are now one. I don't think it will be proper to
continue putting in place restrictive measures such as visas to travel to
Mozambique. "If I am visiting my brother or counterpart in Manica, I don't
believe I need a visa and vice-versa. We have been friends for a long time
and it should stay that way. So far, we have signed a twinning agreement with
THE Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) is facing serious financial problems
because of disturbances caused by the land issue to the extent that it has
retrenched 15 workers so far.
CFU president Colin Cloete said in an
interview that uncertainties caused by the land reform programme have
resulted in many farmers stopping paying levies and subscriptions to the
Out of the 2 900 commercial farmers issued with
eviction notices in August this year, only 600 are said to be actively
farming, putting the union in a precarious financial
According to union officials, the retrenchments are
being implemented from top to bottom in all the CFU branches countrywide.The
most senior position to be abolished so far is that of deputy director
responsible commodities, formerly occupied by long serving official, Dr Jerry
Grant. Grant, who joined the union in 1986, left the CFU at the end of
Also affected by the redundancies are commodity
associations where executive officers have been axed. Three crop associations
- the Zimbabwe Grain Producers' Association, the Cereal Producers'
Association and Commercial Oilseed Producers' Association - have retrenched
staff and pooled resources to become one association. The new name for the
merged associations is Grains and Oilseeds. The total number of CFU workers
was 75 before the retrenchments. The staff complement now stands at
Besides financial problems, the CFU has been hit by
divisions. David Hasluck, the CFU director, announced his retirement last
October and gave 30 days' notice to be relieved of the position he had held
since 1994. Hasluck resigned following pressure from the CFU Matabeleland
region which did not agree with his accommodating stance towards the
government on the controversial issue of farm evictions. Hasluck's post has,
however, not been abolished and the union is yet to appoint a new
CFU president Colin Cloete had also resigned in
October over disagreements within the union on the approach to farm
evictions. Cloete was, however, re-appointed by the CFU national council last
week, with Mac Crawford from Matabeleland coming in as vice-president
responsible for regions, while Dough Taylor-Freeme was re-confirmed as the
vice-president for commodities.
The government's discredited
land reform programme is blamed for bringing commercial agriculture to an
almost standstill with many farmers leaving the country through evictions and
uncertainties of tenure.
Sectors seriously affected by the
withdrawal of commercial farmers from mainstream agriculture include tobacco,
wheat, paprika, oilseeds, beef, ostrich and dairy. These sectors were
dominated by commercial farmers over the years.
Media workshop slams ZBC for promoting hate,
12/6/2002 (GMT +2)
PARTICIPANTS at a media workshop in Harare yesterday
accused the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) of promoting violence by
propagating hate language and distorting the truth about the situation in
Church representatives and human rights activists at a
workshop on the promotion of non-violent language in journalism, accused the
public broadcaster of "deliberately lying" in stories involving the
"What we get from the ZBC on a daily basis are
deliberate lies," said Webster Zambara, of the organisation Non-Violent
Action and Strategies in Social Change.
"You hear one moment
that some people are hoarding fuel. The opposition has done this and that.
Anyone who can read between the lines can tell that these are deliberate
lies, and some of the lies they broadcast fuel violence.
Zambara said the ZBC's Supa Manziwanzira's presentation was
highly subjective, considering "the way he frowns on television when
reporting on the opposition parties".
Derek Chiteve of the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe took issue with the promotional songs
broadcast nearly every 30 minutes to solicit public support for the
government's controversial land redistribution programme.
"How do you view Chave Chimurenga (It's now war) and Hondo YeMinda (War for
Land)? ZBC is communicating violence through these songs and the question is
whether hate language depends on who is communicating
Hondo YeMinda, composed and sung by Dickson
"Cde Chinx" Chingaira, denigrates blacks who associate with whites as
"sellouts" and the whites as "devils".
newsreader with the ZBC, speaking at the workshop, called on the media to
desist from "painting a picture of doom".
"Let's not make it a
daily routine that our people should wake up and read bad news," he said.The
workshop, organised by the Ecumenical Documentation and Information Centre in
Southern Africa, is part of the centre's three-year programme to advocate for
peace. It brought together representatives from the Muslim and Christian
communities, civic society and journalists from various national
review of an African autocrat can prove bona fides of continental revival
A FOREIGN diplomat recently posted to Pretoria said she was keen
to understand what the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad)
was really about, but was having big problems.
She said that after
three years in her previous posting in Beijing she was, at least, able to
gain a basic understanding of the inner workings of the Chinese Communist
Party. In her time in SA she did not expect to attain the same level of
understanding about Nepad.
"Nepad is like I don't know what you call it
in English," she said, gesticulating in a frustrated manner. "It's like
foam," she finally said.
This diplomat is not alone in trying to get a
grip on what form the Nepad agenda and institutional framework will actually
Since the Nepad document was launched in October last year,
business, nongovernmental organisations and donor governments that wish to
contribute to or influence the initiative have had problems doing
Nepad has been more an inspirational idea rather than a hard proposal
with a step-by-step action plan for the continent's revival.
increasingly, whether it is in the area of peer review or actually speeding
up delivery of cross-border infrastructure projects that can demonstrably
improve lives, Nepad needs to show that it is alive and kicking.
there is confusion and continuing changes and ambiguity relating to Nepad.
Some of this may be beneficial. There was confusion in Pretoria about whether
it would include political review. Now this is settled and it will include
However, there is also ambiguity, probably intended, about whether
Libya's autocratic and maverick leader, Muammar Gadaffi, would be on
the implementation committee as was intended with its
Angola, one of the new members of the committee, has taken up
its seat, but Libya has not yet been elected to fill a place for the north
African region. This continuing ambiguity hampers transparency, but in this
case helps Nepad credibility.
Adding to the confusion of what Nepad is
really about is that there are no publicly available documents on what the
initiative means for individual countries or the African regional
A lack of public understanding is compounded by the Nepad
website, still under construction, lacking a full list of official
There are three areas that could help Nepad avoid drift and
heavily influence its future credibility in upholding government
accountability and ultimately its ability to generate confidence and economic
The first is whether Nepad can achieve some independence, even
within the African Union (AU). The second is achieving credibility of the
peer review mechanism, which is at the core of Nepad's push for more
The third is how Nepad will find the means
to engage with business and nongovernmental bodies.
concerns that placing Nepad within the AU could potentially lead to its
watering down as it becomes subject to trading in African diplomacy, this has
now been decided upon. How it will take place is still far from clear, but
could have definite implications for Nepad's future credibility.
about a year from now, the Nepad secretariat, the body that has
been promoting the initiative, will be absorbed into the AU. One option
then would be to spread out secretariat programmes among the various AU
agencies. That would risk the destruction of much of the international
enthusiasm that the initiative has been able to build.
would be to make Nepad a special programme of the AU with a high degree of
autonomy. The Nepad heads of state implementation committee and its steering
committee would remain in place and this special Nepad organ would be able to
perpetuate its own identity.
If Nepad were made a special programme of
the AU, it would hold a similar status to that of the specialised agencies,
such as the United Nations Development Programme.
The second area that
will heavily influence Nepad's evolution is peer review. If this mechanism
cannot deal rapidly and openly with the big violators of good governance like
Zimbabwe or Liberia, Nepad will remain a good idea on paper. If effective,
peer review could be used as the key instrument of leverage to help give
impetus to the idea that Nepad is a real change.
Prior to Nepad's
absorption into the AU, peer review will be voluntary. Once Nepad is part of
the AU it becomes compulsory and can take on the tough cases. However, the
heads of state on the Nepad implementation committee still have several
crucial decisions to make about the appointment of a panel of eminent
Africans who will oversee the process and what agencies will be responsible
for the technical work.
If peer review is to really be effective it
cannot stand on the ceremony of the presentation of reports to heads of
That could turn out to be more a mechanism for excuse and delay
rather than action. The strength of the European Union's peer review is that
it is constant and affects the moral authority a government has in making
an argument. Ultimately there is always the sanction of expulsion, as
was threatened in the case of Austria.
The third area, that of
involving business and civil society, is replete with problems of
establishing whether a group is representative of a legitimate constituency.
Nepad now has a host of business groups clamouring for its
Part of the problem is channelling this enthusiasm and finding
ways to co-operate, whether it be on policy proposals or projects.
long-term nature of Nepad is often emphasised by officials, but it
is unlikely that outside of governments there is this sort of indulgence
in patience. The time has come for Nepad to prove its credentials and there
is no better way than through a show of force perhaps by way of peer review
on one of Africa's autocrats.
Katzenellenbogen is International
Affairs Editor at Business Day.
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations
Security Council cleared the way on Wednesday for nearly 3 200 additional
peacekeepers to be sent into the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) as the central African country's long civil war grinds
A resolution approved unanimously by the 15-nation council
raised the UN troop ceiling in the vast and mineral-rich nation to 8 700 from
the current 5 537 in an effort to advance the peace process - which has
been moving forward at a glacial pace - into its final
In that phase, rebel and foreign soldiers who have
been fighting in the four-year civil war would be disarmed and sent home to
be re-integrated into civilian life.
The vote on the
resolution was delayed by a day when the United States tried to add language
to the text that would have kept US peacekeepers in the DRC from the reach of
the International Criminal Court.
There are currently no US
peacekeeping soldiers in the DRC and Washington dropped the effort after
other council members refused to go along.
The new court was set
up to pursue atrocities like genocide, war crimes and gross human rights
abuses. But US President George W Bush has rejected it, arguing it could be
used by a malicious prosecutor to ensnare US peacekeepers. - Reuter
From Ntungamili Nkomo
at Marula and Oscar Nkala in Beitbridge
ABOUT 10 000 foreign
tourists on Wednesday braved the heat and ignored a cholera threat to descend
on Zimbabwe's southern border town of Beitbridge, to view the total solar
Business came to a virtual standstill as workers and
residents joined to witness the rare natural phenomenon. The majority of the
foreign solar enthusiasts were from South Africa, Europe and the United
States of America. They saw the eclipse from various strategic points in the
town, or its surrounding areas.
A water shortage which
had threatened the tourist turnout in the town was rectified a day before the
eclipse. A senior official of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority said: "We
faced a water problem early this week, but we solved it hastily, and I'm
really glad about the high turnout."
Beitbridge hotels were so
fully booked up that some of the tourists had to cross the border into
Zimbabwe in the morning in time for the eclipse.
them said they chose to view the phenomenon from the Zimbabwean side of the
boundary because it lasted longer by 22 seconds.
Centain Dexter, a
British national from Hong Kong, said: "We had heard about the problems
bedevilling the country and the water crisis in this town, but we chose the
Zimbabwean side because the eclipse lasted 22 seconds longer than in South
Poverty in Dulibadzimu also stole the limelight as
tourists jostled to take pictures of the slums and talk to the
Asked whether they saw Zimbabwe as a safe
destination, most said they needed more time to assess the
"The situation as we read in the newspapers is
unbearable and bad. People are dying of starvation because of President
Mugabe's thick-headedness, and someone must tell him to stop killing his
people," said Anthony Trew, an Australian.
Meanwhile, in the
western part of the country, hundreds of motorists on Wednesday morning
converged at another Zimbabwean border town, Plumtree, to view the total
solar eclipse which occurred shortly after 8am.
to the town from neighbouring Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. Plumtree is
100km south-west of Bulawayo.
The natural phenomenon was
occurring for the second time in as many years and was experienced also at
Gwanda, Maphisa, Kezi, parts of the Matopo National Park and West
It swept across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana,
Angola, Mozambique and Namibia. In some of these countries the eclipse was
Bulawayo had only a partial eclipse, but scores of
people thronged the border towns of Beitbridge and Plumtree where full
preparations had been made to witness the total blackout.
The high turnout of tourists was remarkable, particularly after the country
suffered isolation from the international community mainly because of the
lawlessness that characterised the eviction of white farmers from their farms
by the war veterans since the year 2000.The eclipse is likely to have
generated a lot of cash inflows, especially foreign currency which is in
short supply in the country.
Two leading hotel owners in
Plumtree said their hotels were fully booked and they had made huge
profits.Venesia Ruzive, a manager at Plumtree' s Omadu Hotel, said: "My hotel
was fully booked up, and there were many tourists who obviously brought a lot
of foreign currency."
But she said she was surprised that so
many white people came visiting in spite of the sour relations between
Zimbabwe and the Western world.
The Plumtree Hotel manager said
they were fully booked up for the occasion, and as a result were actually
running short of food supplies. At Marula, where a large gathering was
expected, not much took place.
A Daily News crew was taken by
Derek Viljoen to his lodge. He said he had incurred great losses as there had
been a low occupancy at his lodge.
"The turnout was disappointing,
and I think the problem was fuel and the bad image of the country right now,"
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has called for the establishment of banking
facilities at border posts to tighten the flow of foreign currency into the
The group's spokesman also called for a 100 percent
devaluation of the dollar.
The organisation was reacting
to reports that illegal foreign currency dealers would use foreign couriers
to bring in hard currency .
Sam Ncube, the AAG regional
vice-president, said that practice should not be allowed as it would
perpetuate the foreign currency black market and render ineffective all
efforts to control it.
He said the flow of foreign currency
should not be controlled by individuals. "It must be controlled, and the best
way to do that would be to get people to declare their forex at the entry
points where banking facilities are made available. The money should be
exchanged there and not be allowed to fall into wrong hands," said
He said the Vapostori women who operate the so-called
World Bank foreign exchange in Bulawayo's streets, should not be banned
outright, but should be turned into government agents to collect forex and
submit it to the government at a commission.
sustaining the country at the moment is that which comes from Zimbabweans
working outside the country.
"Had we been relying on local
industry and commerce alone, this country's economy could have long crumbled.
This is why there is an urgent need to harness the available foreign currency
for national economic purposes," said Ncube.
He said that
there was also an urgent need to devalue the dollar by about 100
"The Zimdollar has been static for so long while
everything else has been going up. The idea of multiple exchange rates causes
confusion. We need one officially recognised figure," said Ncube.
Political crime takes root in Zim - report Dumisani
POLITICAL violence is increasingly becoming blunt and ugly as
perpetrators adopt callous and shocking methods against their victims, a
human rights group has said. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said in
an analysis of on-going violence that political criminals had become
prevalent and ruthless. The human rights abuses report covered the period
from June last year to June this year. It said crimes committed included
murder, attempted murder, torture, unlawful arrest and detention, abduction
or kidnapping, rape, arson and other forms of organised
violence. "Generally, murders were allegedly committed in a brutal manner,
often using low-tech implements such as knives, batons, axes, hoes,
knobkerries, sjamboks or chains," the report said. "In many cases deaths
were the result of injuries sustained when the victims were tortured." The
report said attempted murders were perpetrated using knives although in some
instances firearms were used. "The majority of individuals targeted were
perceived or actual MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) members,
officials or supporters," it said. It blamed Zanu PF militants and war
veterans for many of the crimes. According to the report, Zanu PF supporters
made up only 14% of the victims in cases where political affiliation was
known because most political thugs were pro-government. "The rest were MDC
supporters," it said. "The high number of MDC victims shows that there was a
concentrated attack on members of the opposition." Arbitrary arrest and
detention were also major political problems, the report pointed
out. "Arrest and detention were almost always accompanied with some form
of torture," it said. Often multiple techniques were employed on the
victim. Torture methods included beatings with batons, whips or sjamboks,
including falanga, the use of water such as mock drowning, choking, and
sexual humiliation, including injury to the genitalia or removal of clothes
before being beaten. It said in some cases, victims who were normally
abducted to torture camps were blind-folded and thoroughly
beaten. "Sometimes victims were forced to shout ruling-party slogans or to
salute pictures of the president," the report said. Abuse of a sexual
nature was also prevalent. "Sexual violence was used as a weapon to spread
terror and humiliate the opposition," the report said. "Women were targeted
for being physically weaker and less likely to report the matter. "The
sexual torture includes forced rape by male abductees of their fellow female
abductees witnessed by both the perpetrators and others," it said. "Sexual
torture has further ramifications such as infection with HIV/Aids," the
CFU members free to contest land seizures Augustine
Mukaro THE Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) will not stand in the way of its
members challenging government's chaotic land reform programme which has seen
over 90% of commercial farmers forced off their properties.
CFU president Colin Cloete said it was the union's constitutional mandate to
support its members when they challenge government in court.
not challenge the generality of the land reform programme,"
"We will try as much as we can to accommodate
whatever resolution government comes up with for the future of the farming
sector but if members decide to challenge their evictions in court, we will
definitely support them."
Cloete said many members had been
completely dispossessed and had nothing to live on.
have lost their lifetime investment and there is no way the union will not
support them," he said in what observers see as a firming of the CFU's
Analysts said the CFU's policy shift was a result of
pressure coming from the dispossessed farmers.
The CFU had been
rocked with divisions on how to tackle government on the land reform
programme, leading to members drifting to Justice for Agriculture which has
adopted a more robust stance against government.
Cloete, who recently
resigned amid internal divisions, was re-elected and Mac Crawford, the
chairman of CFU Matabeleland branch, was elected to the post of
November 28, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
ZIMBABWE'S embattled white farmers have unanimously re-elected
former Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete to head
the organisation, a few weeks after he resigned amid divisions in the
Sources in the CFU said Cloete, who resigned last month, was
reelected at a meeting held on Tuesday to choose a new leader and will head
the organisation until its next congress in 2003.
Mac Crawford, the
chairman of the CFU's Matabeleland branch, was also elected vice president in
charge of provincial regions in what union officials said was a move to
incorporate representatives of farmers in Matabeleland into the top
There was no comment from Cloete, who was said to be
attending a council meeting yesterday.
Cloete resigned in October
following disagreement among members over how the CFU should respond to the
government's agrarian reforms under which at least 90 percent of Zimbabwe's
commercial farms were taken over in what the government says is a plan to
redress colonial imbalances.
Facing eviction from their properties,
commercial farmers could not agree whether to continue engaging the
government in dialogue or to challenge the farm seizures in
Cloete was accused by some members of failing to adopt a tough
stance against the government while others are said to have sided with him
and pleaded with him to rescind his resignation.
A CFU official who
attended the Tuesday meeting said: "The CFU told him (Cloete) that 'we don't
want you to resign' and the election was unanimous. The union also felt that
Matabeleland should be incorporated into the leadership and elected Mac
David Hasluck, the CFU director, who also announced his
retirement last month, is leaving the union tomorrow after 22 years of
service. The union's deputy director, Jerry Grant, is expected to take over
According to statistics from the CFU, less than 1 000 of
Zimbabwe's 4 500 commercial farmers are still farming, which will contribute
to a significant drop in output in the 2003 agricultural season.
November 28, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
ZIMBABWE'S largest meat processor, the
cash-strapped Cold Storage Company (CSC), was this week expected to begin
paying more than $200 million it owes to beef producers for cattle
slaughtered at its abattoirs since March, according to company
CSC board member Lovegot Tendengu said the
government-controlled firm, which was allocated $700 million in the 2003
national budget presented this month, had cobbled up a comprehensive package
for the payment of cattle producers.
"We now have the money and the
producers will be paid in the coming week (this week)," he
Tendengu said the CSC's budget allocation would be used to
recapitalise the technically insolvent parastatal, whose assets were
threatened with seizure earlier this year after it failed to pay debts owed
to several local banks.
The government, which intervened to prevent the
seizure of CSC assets, last month issued a $6-billion guarantee with a
10-year tenure to Time Bank, Kingdom Bank, Trust Bank Corporation, CBZ and
the curator-managed Genesis Investment Bank Limited to cover debts owed to
the five banks by the troubled meat processor.
Association (CPA) chief executive Paul d'Hotman said the CSC had notified
beef producers of its intention to make outstanding payments in the next few
The CPA represents the interests of large-scale cattle producers,
who mainly rear cattle for export. Most of the producers export their beef
through the CSC, which slaughters cattle for export.
D'Hotman said the
association had received verbal assurance from the CSC that cattle producers
would be paid interest on the money owed to them.
"The CPA has been
notified by CSC that outstanding payments to producers whose cattle was
slaughtered at CSC since March will be processed in the next few days,"
"The CSC has given verbal assurances to CPA that interest
will be paid."
Company officials said the CSC had not yet resumed beef
exports to the lucrative European Union (EU) market, suspended because of an
outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces
Zimbabwe's annual EU beef quota of 9 100 tonnes has the
potential to earn the country more than US$40 million.
national herd has fallen by more than 400 000 since August 2001 to 5.8
million, is still struggling to control foot-and-mouth, with a severe foreign
currency crisis causing shortages of vaccines.
The outbreak is partly
blamed on the unauthori-sed movement of cattle into conservancies and game
ranches by war veterans at the height of Zimbabwe's land invasions in
Tendengu said exports were crucial for the survival of the CSC and
that the company was working closely with the Department of Veterinary
Services (DVS) to bring the epidemic under control.
director Stuart Hargreaves said Zimbabwe had still not begun exporting beef
to Libya, six months after a deal was concluded by the Harare and Tripoli
authorities, because the Libyans were demanding beef
from foot-and-mouth-quarantined areas.
"Even the beef exports to Libya
will not start because the Libyans will not accept any beef from the
foot-and-mouth-infested areas," Hargreaves told the Financial Gazette.
November 27, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
Parker Graham Masvingo
Agricultural Research and Extension
Services (Arex) experts say Masvingo governor, Josaya Hungwe, lied to the
nation recently when he said the winter maize crop being harvested in
Chiredzi will feed Zimbabweans for the next 10 months.
Hungwe's claim as a "pure lie", the experts said such a statement, coming as
it did from a senior government official expected to tell the nation facing a
food crisis the truth, was unwarranted and unfortunate.
our country is always experiencing problems; the national planners are
misinformed by politicians such as Hungwe who want to gain mileage out of
"Suppose they stop making prudent plans to acquire grain from
abroad in view of the assertion by Hungwe that there is already enough stocks
to feed the nation for 10 months, what will happen to the starving nation?
Such misleading information is poisonous to the nation," said an Arex
He added: "What I know as an expert who is on the ground is
that the winter maize is able to feed only a fraction of the Chiredzi
population for eight months and not the district, province or the entire
country as claimed."
Masvingo provincial administrator, Alfonse
Chikurira, told The Standard the maize from Chiredzi could not possibly feed
the entire nation for 10 months .
"The winter maize crop had a total
tonnage of 8 000 under a 1 800 hectare piece of land. This maize will be
shared throughout the country in small quantities so that others may taste
the winter maize," said Chikurira.
Zimbabwe requires well over 1000 000
tonnes of maize for 10 months.
Early this year Joseph Made, the minister
of lands and agriculture, after going around the country monitoring the crop
situation from a helicopter, dismissed expert advice on looming maize
shortages saying Zimbabwe had enough to last until the next agricultural
U.S. encouraged but wary on Zimbabwe press
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 - The United States said on Thursday
it was encouraged, with reservations, that a Zimbabwe court has dropped
charges against three journalists. The privately owned weekly
newspaper the Standard said on Wednesday the court had dropped charges of
''abuse of journalistic privileges by publishing falsehoods'' against
Bornwell Chakaodza, Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi Kanyuchi. State
Department spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said: ''While we are encouraged by
this action we continue to condemn the Mugabe regime's ongoing attempts to
stifle the free press as part of its brutal campaign to ensure its continued
rule.'' The United States says it does not recognize President Robert
Mugabe as legitimate leader of Zimbabwe because it believes that
presidential elections in March were flawed.
November 28, 2002 Posted to the web December 6,
STRIVE Masiyiwa, the founder and group chief executive of
technology giant Econet Wireless, has been named one of the world's 15 most
influential young business executives in a CNN/Time Magazine
Masiyiwa was chosen together with 14 executives from 11 countries
out of more than 100 business people nominated by the correspondents of CNN
and Time magazine.
Other high achievers named in the poll include
Richard Barton, the 35- year-old founder and chief executive of web-based
travel agency Expedia, Carla Cico, chief executive of Brasil Telecom, Samsun
marketing chief Eric Kim and Dee Mellor, vice-president of GE Medical
Systems, part of the US behemoth, General Electric.
CNN and Time said
the executives named had transcended national borders and were regarded as
leaders in their industries.
"But their biggest achievements - even for
the chief executive officers among them - may lie ahead," the media
organisations said in a statement. "They hail from 11 countries but share a
sense that the world is their market - and their home."
he was humbled by the recognition of the achievements made by Econet, which
was founded in Zimbabwe almost 10 years ago.
"The award is even more
special in that I was not even aware that I had been nominated to join such
leading business luminaries who were selected by the organisers," he