From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 7
Zimbabweans whisper for their
Harare - 'Psst," the young man hissed, as I drank a cup of
coffee on the veranda of a roadside cafe. The hisser was furtive, but it was not
diamonds or cocaine that he was trying to sell me - it was food. He was offering
20lb of maize meal for Z$2,500, which is equal to anything from two to 50 pence
depending on which exchange rate you use. The minimum wage for a labourer is
about Z$7,000 a month, the same price as 2lb of imported margarine in the nearby
supermarket. Local margarine is no longer available. We whisper arrangements. I
will meet him behind the garage across the road in 45 minutes. At the appointed
time, I drive along a sanitary lane at the back of the garage, and wait. These
deals take time. Two youths emerge from under a tarpaulin covering the back of a
derelict pick-up and hiss at me. I hiss back. They drag four 20lb sacks of maize
meal into the back of my car. The packs are wrapped in loose plastic sacks to
disguise the tell-tale shape of a 20lb bag. I dig into about three inches of
Z$500 notes, pick out Z$10,000, and the transaction is over. The youths
disappear back under the tarpaulin of the pick-up, and I have my maize, enough
to feed the woman who works for me and her family when I go away for
But more shopping has to be done. Sugar. That is usually
available from youths at a shopping centre further west. As they see my old car
roaring round the corner, they smile and disappear for a couple of minutes,
re-emerging with a 4lb pack of sugar in a cardboard box. The price has gone up
to Z$500. Next on my list is milk. Too late - it's 9.30am and all the milk in
the supermarkets was sold an hour earlier. The bread queues at bakeries are too
formidable to join. Many of the bakeries are next door to coffee shops, yet
sipping a cappuccino while watching people queue for food is too uncomfortable.
Then a blow to the solar plexus. Why the hell didn't I notice that my petrol
gauge was near empty? We had a week of no fuel queues, and like summer, I
thought it would go on for ever. There is not enough in the tank to get to my
"stash". A stash, or a friendly garage owner, is essential for those who cannot
face queuing - or rather can afford not to. A friend drives 10 miles away, fills
up at my friendly garage, then drives to me, and we suck a tube and siphon
enough petrol to get me to the garage to fill up. I will have to phone 10
minutes ahead before getting there - which is difficult as mobile phones hardly
work. Calling ahead is necessary so that the garage owner can tell me if the
coast is clear, so that he can arrange for me to jump the queue without being
lynched as a "white supremacist". On the way back from my hunt for maize meal,
sugar and milk, I pass children begging at traffic lights. There are six traffic
lights to get through before home, and at each one I give them sugar, a
teaspoonful wrapped in paper, taken from coffee shops. There is no point in
giving them money, as most people cannot afford to give enough on a regular
basis to buy even a banana, and sugar is a treat.
Along the roads, the four-wheel-drive vehicles speed to the
suburbs, driven by rich members of the black middle class, girls with hair
expensively plaited, ears fixed to cell phones. On the side of the uneven
streets, the dwindling working class trudge home, unable to afford even a bus
ticket. Out in the desolate townships and shanty towns it's worse. A woman bit
the lip off another who jumped a queue a couple of weeks ago. On a hot afternoon
recently fists flew at a bread queue on the western outskirts of town. At a
township east of Harare on the same day there was a queue for cheap maize meal
distributed by a local ruling party official touting for votes at an upcoming
by-election. He was selling it to people with a ruling party card that pre-dated
the disputed March presidential elections, which gave President Robert Mugabe
another six years in power. Opposition youths, who far outnumbered the ruling
party shoppers, were grinning broadly. They claimed to have "redistributed" some
of the food to those who had been turned away. Last week, the World Food
Programme issued a sudden warning about the deteriorating food situation in
Zimbabwe. Yet for those whose pockets are stuffed with a few inches of Z$500
notes, everything can still be all right in Harare.
From News24 (SA), 6
Zim 'worst' in southern
Harare - Zimbabwe is worst off among the six southern African
countries threatened with famine, which is a crisis rooted in the Aids epidemic
and not just crop failures and hunger, a top UN official said on Thursday.
Stephen Lewis, the UN's special envoy on HIV/Aids in Africa, told a press
conference that southern Africa was facing "deadly human destruction" due to
famine because the immune systems of many people have been run down due to
HIV/Aids. Fifteen million people in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland
and Mozambique are threatened with starvation, and five million adults are
living with HIV/Aids in these six countries. "Zimbabwe in many ways is the
epicentre in southern Africa - it's where everything at the moment amongst the
six countries is at its worst," said Lewis. Nearly eight million people, or more
than two-thirds of Zimbabwe's population of 11.6 million, are threatened with
famine. And at least 2.2 million Zimbabweans are living with HIV/Aids. "There's
no question that this calamity is something that neither this country, nor the
continent nor any of us have ever dealt with before," Lewis noted. The special
envoy, who is on a trip to four of the six affected countries, including
Zimbabwe, met on Thursday with President Robert Mugabe. Asked whether he felt
the Zimbabwean government was doing enough to deal with the crisis, the UN envoy
said Mugabe had spoken "with concern" about the crisis. "I got the sense when he
(Mugabe) was talking of someone who was certainly deeply aware of what was
happening," said Lewis. He said he held a serious discussion with Mugabe about
possible methods of intervention that could be used to overcome the crisis.
Deputy Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri was reported by the Ziana state news
agency as having told Lewis the number of Zimbabweans needing food aid had
climbed to eight million people from the previous figure of 6.7
Zim Independent - Editor's Memo
What have you done?
THOSE who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to
it is said.
I was pondering this maxim recently and
wondering why so few commentators
have picked up the obvious fact that
Zimbabwe is replete with lessons from
its own struggle for liberation that
have application today. The South
African experience is also
The Rhodesian and South African regimes had by the
mid-1960s closed off all
avenues of peaceful protest against their narrow
exclusivist rule. The
Suppression of Communism Act in South Africa in 1950
and subsequent laws
directed against the ANC and PAC made civil protest
Defiance campaigns and demonstrations against the pass laws
which had been a
feature of civic protest in the 1950s proved impracticable
after 1960 as the
machinery of the state was mobilised to crush protest of
any sort. The
result was the formation of underground structures as revealed
In Southern Rhodesia the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act, passed in 1960 but
extensively amended thereafter, which
suffocated dissent, and the refusal of
the Rhodesian Front regime to
countenance democratic reforms led to an
exodus of young Zimbabweans who were
organised outside the country in what
eventually became the Patriotic
Today we are witnessing the suppression of civic protest on
much the same
scale. Many would argue that conditions are in many respects
those prevailing in the 1960s. The government has declared war on
democratic opposition, it has subverted the justice system, and
legitimate protest impossible. Twenty-nine members of the NCA were
and detained over the weekend for doing nothing more than exercising
constitutional right to demonstrate for a new
The Public Order and Security Act, little different in
form and content from
the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, makes it an
offence to denigrate the
president who, as head of government and the ruling
party, is a major player
on the political stage who doesn't hesitate to
denigrate his opponents.
Another law passed this year, the Access to
Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, seeks to prevent the press from
performing its watchdog role on
behalf of society.
Zimbabweans are leaving the country every year because it is
governed by a
party that has destroyed their job prospects and made it an
But while some comparisons are valid, with important
lessons to convey, the
situation today is obviously not identical to that of
30 years ago. There
are now ten times as many Zimbabweans living outside the
country as there
were at the height of the liberation war in the late
Under Ian Smith the economy held up well despite sanctions.
Today it is a
wreck and seven million people face
Despite such adversity there is fortunately no
possibility at present of a
civil war along the lines of the insurrection
that took place here after
1972 in which 30 000 lives were lost. The main
opposition party, the MDC, is
committed to peaceful and democratic means in
its quest for change.
But the nation is being dangerously divided
along a number of lines. Anybody
under 30, apart from a handful bought by the
ruling party, is likely to
support the opposition. So are urban residents who
are mostly unamenable to
the facile blandishments - not to mention insults -
of the president and his
party. People living in towns with access to
information (the real sort)
know how national resources have been squandered
by what one writer to our
Letters column this week describes as a
kakistocracy - government by the
The residents of
Harare and Bulawayo know perfectly well President Mugabe is
anything but a
Educated people are also overwhelmingly opposition
supporters. Nobody with a
modicum of intelligence is going to swallow the
daily diet of puerile
propaganda put out by the ruling party. Go onto any
campus and ask students
what they think about Zanu PF and they will frankly
This unanimity of views is hardly surprising. The political
present consists of nothing more than Zanu PF attempting to break
out of the
rural cul-de-sac to which it was confined by the electorate in
2000. It is
trying to beat and buy its way out of that political exile by the
state power including selective food distribution. At the same time
illegally crushing dissent. That is a recipe for strife. No government
indefinitely sustain its tyranny by resort to force.
do we do? How does a democratic movement, committed to civic
including parliamentary and judicial due process, confront a regime
holds those values in contempt and is prepared to use force to
peaceful mobilisation? The obvious answer is to put tens of thousands
people on the streets as the South African mass democratic movement did
the 1980s. What is needed is a critical mass that cannot be bludgeoned
This is not going to be an easy business. The
police clearly have orders to
break up even the smallest gathering despite
the fact that freedom of
expression and assembly are constitutionally
guaranteed. The problem is
compounded by the fact that Zimbabwe, unlike South
Africa, has no culture of
civic protest. The images of South African clerics
and trade union leaders
marching peacefully arm in arm through Johannesburg
and Cape Town in the
1980s are unlikely to be repeated here. Can you imagine
prelates from the Catholic Bishops Conference or the Zimbabwe
Churches venturing out of their episcopal burrows?
need to do more to lay a civic foundation before street protest can
Civic awareness can take a number of forms from advocacy of a
constitution to worker education. Lawyers, academics, students,
unionists and business people all have a role to play.
collaborators with Zanu PF's tyranny need to be exposed as such.
regime's legitimacy inexorably evaporates - as is currently
happening - and
its incapacity to deliver necessities like food or fuel is
society will be better placed to mobilise the masses who
have already, in
2000 and March this year, demonstrated resistance to
despotism. Those taking
to the streets will understand what they are doing
there and will respond
non-violently to police provocation. Events this week
in Venezuela where the
people are confronting another populist demagogue
This is a learning process. But it has to be undertaken.
The sooner the
better. Ask yourself as 2002 draws to a miserable close: What
am I a member of that is working for change? What have I done
this year to
make a difference?
Land invaders scupper streetkids project
A GROUP of landless people, led by war veterans, has barred the
Street Children Rehabilitation Trust from constructing a home for
at Hopley Farm along Chitungwiza Road, after illegally occupying
the Zimbabwe Independent has been told.
The patron of the
Trust is First Lady Grace Mugabe who has already acquired
another farm in
Mazowe, ostensibly for the same purpose. The trust is
chaired by Jewel Bank
CEO Gideon Gono.
Harare City Council public relations officer,
Cuthbert Rwazemba said council
had donated the land to the trust for the
development of a home for
streetkids, who have become an eyesore in the city
centre. But it had been
invaded by landless people as part of government's
"The acting town clerk has reported
that the Street Children Rehabilitation
Trust has advised that the land in
question has been occupied by a group of
landless people who have erected
some structures," said Rwazemba.
He said the organisation could not
develop the land unless the illegal
Rwazemba said the trust had already withdrawn from the
"The trust is no longer interested in developing the land for
rehabilitation of the street children," he said.
planned to remove the illegal settlers. The land was reserved
original purpose and would be offered to any other organisation
developing a home for street children.
Land invasions started in
February 2000 when war veterans invaded white
commercial farms in Masvingo
marking the beginning of a countrywide lawless
and often violent campaign
which has displaced more than 3 000 farmers and
150 000 farm workers to
Zim Embarks On Massive Restocking Exercise
December 5, 2002
Posted to the web December 5,
Beef prices have soared in recent months owing to the
significant drop in
the number of cattle available for slaughter and
profiteering by butcheries.
The Cold Storage Company and private
abattoirs are scrambling for cattle
resulting in increased prices for
Traditionally, during this time of the year farmers are reluctant
their beasts because of the availability of grass.
the problem has been compounded by the de-stocking throughout the
white commercial farmers whose land was redistributed to
New farmers are starting to buy cattle and are not
expected to send many
cattle for slaughter this year. Cattle rearing is a
long-term business not
ideal for farmers looking for quick returns on
Private abattoirs that manage to secure cattle are
their prices, forcing butcheries to push up prices as
Retailers have increased the price of beef from around $990 a
between $1 200 and $2 000 on average.
however, still selling super grade beef for $900 a kg, choice
beef for $890 a
kg, commercial for $850 a kg and economy beef for $650 a kg.
prices are $375 for a kg of super grade meat, $250 and $275 a kg
and commercial meat respectively.
Some butcheries in high-density suburbs
are selling low-grade beef at a flat
price of $1 200 a kg.
retail outlets like TM, OK, Spar, Food Chain supermarkets are, in some
their outlets, selling super grade beef only.
The retail outlets are also
now selling high quality beef cuts such as rump
brisket, blade and T-bone at
prices ranging from $1 750 to $ 2 000 a kg, up
from around $1 695 a kg.
Fillet is being sold at prices of up to $2 250 a kg
at some city
The Cold Storage Company (CSC) which has gone for a month
sells super grade meat for $975 a kg, choice for $975 a kg,
$825 a kg and economy for $775 a kg.
"We have gone for
a month without beef," said a sales official at the
company. "There is no
The profit margins for butcheries have now come under intense
While they are not expected to sell beef at prices below wholesale
their profit margins have to be reasonable.
At present, some
butcheries are putting over 100 percent mark up. Butchery
owners gave various
reasons to justify the increases.
"Prices are going up for other things,
so we have to do like wise," said a
city butchery owner. "Abattoirs have not
hiked the price of beef but
overheads for us have gone up. So we have to make
up for this."
Other butchery owners cited transport costs and the need to
make a good
return on their purchases.
"When inflation is low its
reasonable to make a mark-up of say 8 or 10
percent," said one butchery owner
in Mabvuku. "But when it's high as it is
now, you have to increase
accordingly, otherwise you will not be able to
However, consumers say there is no reasonable justification for
to hike the price of beef.
They accuse the business sector
of speculative pricing, profiteering and
being generally greedy when it comes
Consumers also condemned the business sector for believing
increases were the only panacea to viability problems.
know things are tough in the business world," said Mrs Jane Matare
Greendale. "But the situation does not warrant regular and
Private abattoirs dominating the beef industry
increased beef prices for all
grades by 15 percent in March 2001. By then,
the wholesale prices for
economy beef rose to $66 a kg from $57 while
commercial beef price went up
to $80 a kg from $68.
At the time,
retailers paid $110 a kg up from $95 and up to $120 a kg for
super and choice
It was common for butcheries to increase prices by around
$45 for economy
and commercial grades and for up to $55 for super and choice
A year later, greed and speculative motives have crept into the
pricing system pushing prices of beef to unimaginable and
"It's the 'everything-is-going-up syndrome' which
is driving us to charge
unrealistic prices," said Mrs Matare. "It's pure
greed and sheer drive for
Last year, a retailer would
put up a margin of $45 for lower grades and $55
for high quality beef grades.
Presently, butcheries are putting margins of
between $400 and $1 000 a kg for
both low and high quality beef grades.
The Government was forced to
impose a price freeze on a whole range of
products and services to protect
consumers from profiteering by
manufacturers and distributors.
price of the listed goods and services cannot be increased for the next
"Butchery owners are charging whatever they feel like," said Mrs
Muregerera of Mufakose. "They adjust prices everyday and it's now
to budget or plan."
However, beef prices will stabilise as
efforts are being made to rebuild the
Development Trust (LDT) is at the forefront of the rebuilding
efforts. It has
so far distributed at least 15 000 beasts to about 8 000
Zimbabwe's national herd was depleted following the 1992
drought, the worst
in living memory, which reduced the number of cattle to
about five million.
At least 1,6 million livestock died during the 1992
The national herd is estimated to be 5,7 million with an asset
value of $60
billion. Of the 5,7 million cattle, 4,5 million is found in the
resettlement areas while the remaining 1,2 million is in the
The Government this year allocated $450
million to the trust that was
established last year to assist new farmers to
get livestock on credit.
Under the programme, farmers who require
livestock apply to the trust
stating the type and number of cattle they
The trust would then either allocate the cattle or ask the
farmers to look
for the cattle themselves for which the trust would
The scheme also includes a number of other programmes, such as
supplementation and artificial insemination.
The massive national
herd restocking investment exercise has resulted in the
empowerment of the
resettled farmers as they now have access to loans they
could not get before
because of the collateral demanded by financial
empowerment policy is also being developed to promote livestock
for the lucrative multi-billion dollar beef industry, which is a
Zimbabwe and Libya recently signed a deal that would see
supplying the latter with a quota of 5 000 tonnes of beef per
A proposal has been made that 50 percent of that quota should come
LDT senior administrative officer, Mr Forbes
Muvirimi, said farmers had
already dried up the $450 million allocated by the
Government because of the
Initially, he said,
the beneficiaries were allocated a maximum of 15 herd of
individual farmer but this had to be revised downwards following
popularity of the programme.
"We are waiting for additional funds from
the Government to expand the
programme since the farmers are raring to go,"
Mr Muvirimi said.
At least more than $1 billion was needed to
successfully rebuild the
national herd over the next three years. The trust
was facing several
challenges in its efforts to assist the new farmers to
secure livestock on
"Some farmers have no adequate knowledge
about the type of cattle suitable
for their areas while the other challenge
is the shortage of quality bulls
which are essential for the breeding
programme," Mr Muvirimi said.
Some of the cattle distributed to the
farmers, he said, were also dying of
diseases such as heart
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Mr Sylvester Tsikisayi said the
farmers who had benefited from the trust's livestock input scheme
was a drop
in the ocean.
"There is need for the Government to allocate
more resources to the
restocking exercise in order for more farmers to
benefit from the scheme,"
Mr Tsikisayi said some of the
cattle distributed to the farmers were dying
of diseases because of the
shortage of dipping chemicals.
He called for closer co-operation among
the ZFU, LDT and the Department of
Veterinary Services in order for the
restocking exercise to be a success.
The ZFU, Mr Tsikisayi said, had put
in place an insurance scheme for farmers
to ensure that those who lost their
cattle through genuine reasons would be
efforts of restocking the national herd have been boosted
by the support of
other organisations like the Indigenous Commercial Farmers
Union (ICFU) and
World Vision International.
ICFU president Mr Davison Mugabe recently
said the union was seeking to
raise up to $500 million for the establishment
of a "cattle bank" that would
guarantee the future of the beef
He said a number of white commercial farmers whose farms had
had slaughtered their cattle in order to sabotage efforts to
The de-stocking exercise was taking place
despite a policy put in place by
the Government early this year of protecting
the slaughter of female beasts.
This followed reports that the country's
total herd of breeding cattle had
gone down drastically from an estimated one
million to about 400 000.
The plans to set up a cattle bank, Mr Mugabe
said, had reached an advanced
stage and ICFU members would be expected to
contribute a minimum of two
heads of cattle each for breeding under the
On the other hand, World Vision International was complementing
Government's efforts of restocking the national herd through the
Development Programme (ADP) which was initiated in 1996.
donor agency in July this year distributed more than 100 heifers and 12
to villagers in Mudzi in Mashonaland East province.
The beasts, bought at
a cost of more than $3,7 million, would go a long way
in empowering the
Beneficiaries of the ADP would pay half the costs of the
beasts, a move that
would ensure that the recipients utilise the cattle
properly as well as
promote good management.
King Lobengula's gold necklace disappears
POLICE in Bulawayo have instituted investigations into the
from the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe of a gold necklace
and two other
items belonging to the last Ndebele monarch, King Lobengula,
last week amid
claims that museum officials are the prime
Matabeleland police spokesperson, Smile Dube, confirmed that police
investigating the case but he would not be drawn into giving details of
investigations or saying whether senior museum staff were under
"We cannot specify the exact nature of our investigations into the
since this would jeopardise our progress on the case, but we are
stone unturned in the matter," Dube said.
The disappearance of
the exhibits from the museum has caused a furore among
the royal Khumalo clan
who have called upon the police to act swiftly to
The disappearance of the items comes exactly two years after the
the same museum of a One Thousand Guinea Gold Trophy valued at
One of the stolen items was a priceless gold watch that had
belonged to a
pioneer missionary, the Reverend Robert Moffat. Sources in the
the Zimbabwe Independent that it was impossible to break into the
considering the tight security in place.
"This looks suspiciously
like an inside job and considering that senior
museum officials were
reluctant to bring in the police raises suspicions
that they were involved.
Chances are very high that they are, since there
was no forced entry," said
The stolen exhibits were kept in a glass compartment at the
security features include a burglar alarm and a closed-circuit
Efforts to contact the executive director of the
Department of National
Museums, Godfrey Mahachi, proved fruitless but an
official in the department
confirmed the disappearance of the
"The Department of Museums is still assessing how the items went
is going to investigate what else is missing from our inventory.
is done, we will be in a position to comment on the thefts," said
A spokesperson for the Khumalo clan, Peter Khumalo, said the
family would do
everything possible to recover the lost property. "The police
swift action to recover the royal property and we are going to
demand a full
list of the remaining artefacts in the museum," Khumalo
Mangwana threatens Tswanas
move that could further strain already frayed relations between Harare
Gaborone, it has emerged that the Minister of State for State
Parastatals in the President's office, Paul Mangwana,
threatened to flush out
all Tswanas from Zimbabwe during an angry exchange
with Botswana MP and head
Of delegation, Shirley Sekgogo, in Brussels
He is understood
to have said this while menacingly wagging a finger at the
MP ahead of last
week's aborted EU/ACP joint parliamentary assembly.
Mangwana, who led the
Zimbabwean delegation, is said to have confronted
Sekgogo during a
lunch-break on Monday last week following her forthright
speech in which she
blamed Zimbabwe for scuttling regional investment
opportunities and for
Sekgogo, MP for Selebiphikwe which borders Zimbabwe,
also blamed Mugabe's
government for triggering the exodus of Zimbabweans to
Botswana due to its
political repression and economic
An irate Mangwana who together with his counterpart Chris
Kuruneri and other
Zimbabweans working at the Brussels embassy had earlier
tried to shout
Sekgogo down, is said to have taken issue with the speech and
Sekgogo in full view of other delegates shouting at the top of his
"You Batswana people are always harassing us. We will drive
you all out of
Zimbabwe," he is alleged to have said while scowling and
wagging a finger at
a stunned Sekgogo.
"You have been ill-treating
our people for too long and now you say all this
MDC foreign affairs spokesman Moses Mzila Ndlovu, who was
meeting, intervened to console Sekgogo. Mzila confirmed the
incident in a
telephone interview from Bulawayo on Wednesday.
was right there and was just telling Mangwana to stop it but he told me
said Mzila who is MP for Bulilimamangwe North. "All Sekgogo had said
truth but Mangwana didn't want to hear the truth."
Mangwana looked as if he was about to manhandle her had it not
been for other
Botswana male delegates who pulled Sekgogo aside and shouted
at Mangwana in
Setswana to leave her alone.
Sekgogo's office this week would neither
confirm nor deny the incident.
Diplomats in Harare told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that the
Botswana government will formally complain to
Harare over Mangwana's
remarks. Botswana's ambassador to Brussels, George
Sesinyi, has already
complained to the EU and the ACP, sources say.
Airzim contracts SA engineers
attempt to avert threats to passenger safety, the beleaguered
airline, Air Zimbabwe has hired 15 South Africans to bolster its
pool of engineers and is paying them in foreign currency, the
Independent has learnt.
Sources at the national carrier
said the 15 were being paid hefty amounts in
"The South Africans are reportedly being paid US$440 each
per day and they
work for five days," said a source. "They are being
accommodated at a local
Air Zimbabwe acting managing
director Rambai Chingwena confirmed to the
Independent that the airline had
hired the South Africans.
"Air Zimbabwe has indeed hired 15
engineers, not to bolster its manpower but
to carry out a specific 10-day
assignment," said Chingwena.
"The assignment is to complete a major
maintenance programme otherwise known
as a "C" check on the aircraft which
was abandoned after it had been
dismantled by the engineers, most of whom we
have now dismissed from
employment. This stripped aircraft was being used as
a ransom by the
engineers to coerce and corner management into submitting to
unaffordable salary demands. After the 10-day period or soon
completion of this aircraft, the South African engineers will return
base," he said.
Chingwena said 89 engineers had been dismissed
from the airline on
"Cases are pending
before the Ministry of Labour for the remaining 50," he
striking engineers were served with letters firing them last week and
have since taken up the matter with their lawyers at Gill, Godlonton
Meanwhile, the visa requirement imposed by Britain
on Zimbabweans wishing to
travel to that country has hit the national
Passengers have had to be refunded millions of dollars due
But Chingwena said this was not unusual.
reimbursing those passengers that did not succeed to secure visas in
standing rules and we are doing so voluntarily as a matter
"The reimbursement of passengers' payments are not
restricted to people who
have been affected by visas alone. This happens all
the time in our system.
It is also industry practice," he
Commenting on the effects of the visas on Air Zimbabwe's
flights, the acting
MD said the impact was minimal.
"We are not
alarmed by the reduction in passenger numbers due to the
visas. Our flights for December are very healthy. The
reduction in passenger
numbers is approximately 20% and consists largely of
applications for visas are still pending," Chingwena said.
Tough time for Zim asylum seekers
THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans fleeing President Mugabe's misrule and
economic conditions at home are set to find their way to the United
blocked after the British government last week moved to reduce the
of asylum seekers making successful claims in that
The British Home Secretary, David Blunkett, last Friday scrapped
"exceptional leave to remain" (ELR) arrangement that allowed
asylum applicants to stay in Britain until their cases were
The decision means that thousands of migrants, among them
Iraqis and Somalis, who were given the right to live temporarily
because of compelling grounds, could now be sent back
The British government announced that it would replace ELR with
a new status
called "humanitarian protection" which the government said would
tighter and only apply to claimants who proved they could not safely
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Foreign
Affairs spokesman, Moses
Mzila Ndlovu, said the MDC was concerned by the
"The MDC is gravely concerned with developments
in Britain over the
cancellation of ELR for asylum seekers and we will see
having nowhere to seek refuge," Ndlovu said.
hope the British will reverse this decision and allow victims of
violence to stay, especially Zimbabweans."
The British Home Office
said the move to annul ELR was prompted by sharp
increases in the number of
people applying for asylum in the last three
The number of
asylum applications made in the period from July to September
this year was
In the first nine months of the year 62 480 asylum claims
were made compared
to 53 660 for last year and the statistics suggest the
total for 2002 will
be the highest on record.
Immigration minister, Beverly Hughes, said ELR was being abused.
believe that our use of ELR has encouraged abuse and acted as a pull
encouraging economic migrants to apply for asylum in the UK in the
that they will be given ELR when their asylum claim is rejected,"
Thousands of Zimbabweans who have left the country on
political grounds are
among those on the list of people on
The British Home Office said there has been a surge in asylum
from Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Rahman of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said the
by the British government was "shocking". Others agreed.
of Refugee Action said: "The abolition of ELR is deeply
disturbing. As global
political events and human rights abuses continue to
uproot innocent people,
the government must extend protection to those who
No takers for $60b Agribond
Augustine Mukaro/ Godfrey
GOVERNMENT'S last minute attempt to raise funds to kick-start the
reform programme has suffered a serious setback as the recently-launched
billion Agribond has failed to fly due to no takers, the
Independent has established.
Market analysts said investors
developed cold feet in committing their money
to the much-touted Agribond
because of its low retention incentive and
uncertainties surrounding the
"The Syfrets Corporate and Merchant
Bank-spearheaded Agribond is offering a
paltry 29% yield rate while other
investments in the markets yield not less
than 45%, making investors snub
it," one economist said.
"The $5 billion FSI Agricom
private-placement bond floated almost at the
same time with the Agribond is
offering 45% in returns and has so far
received a better response," he
The bond was floated in two forms, the short-term Agrobill
worth $25 billion
and valid for up to 275 days, and the long-term Agribond
worth $35 billion
whose tenure is three years with a 45% interest per annum,
semi-annually in arrears.
For the three-year Agribond, a
capital redemption/sinking fund has to be put
in place by the issuer, of
which 20% of the money lent to farmers has to be
repaid in the first year,
30% in the second year and the remaining 50% in
For the 275 days Agrobill, there is a 29% discount per annum
features include a tax exemption on the
"There is no forward movement in terms of the bond issues
government decided to finally float the bond investors had
already taken a
position to snub it," the economist said.
was made worse by the confusion caused by the monetary policy
weeks ago. We have never seen such a monetary policy over the
no-one really knows what is happening."
The failure to attract the
much-needed investors to finance the land reform
exercise, despite banks
initially agreeing in principle to assist, has been
caused by financial
institutions' reluctance to participate due to the risk
associated with the
Analysts said government had tried to bulldoze its
past financial institutions but the cracks emerging
on the bonds flotation
indicated the land reform programme was poised to fail
if no outside capital
injection was secured.
"Banks made their
position very clear from the outset and there is no way
loans will be availed
to applicants for as long as there is no collateral,"
an analyst said.
Business CEOs urge govt to reverse damaging
EMBATTLED company executives are frantically
trying to persuade government
to reverse its latest damaging economic
measures which are threatening to
finish off Zimbabwe's already prostrate
Companies, which are reeling in a hostile business environment,
week they were worried about the consequences of Finance minister
Murerwa's ineffective budget and crippling monetary
Issues haunting business include the rigid foreign currency
price controls and interest rates.
National Chamber of Commerce economist James Jowa said the new
currency policy was "too stringent and would further
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
president Anthony Mandiwanza said
his organisation was already talking to
government over the policy issues.
"We are in the process of
discussing with government to find the best way
Other business organisations concerned about the damaging
the Chamber of Mines, Export Flower Growers Association,
Export Leaf Tobacco
Zimbabwe and the Horticultural Promotion
Export Leaf Tobacco company secretary Simukai Manjanganja
said: "We are
still seeking clarification on the whole issue and assessing
how exactly it
will impact on us."
Stockbrokers said the budget
and monetary policy were wreaking havoc on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
Analysts said on top of the general budget fiasco, the market
shocked by the tightening of foreign exchange
A market storm over the effect of the government's dual
policy introduced recently to shore up the sinking economy
The government suspended its 57,2% bank
rate and introduced different rates:
one for exporters and the "productive"
sector and another for importers and
billion revolving fund was established for exporters, who could borrow
and "productive" companies, which could borrow at 15%. But exporters
5% interest rate was meaningless because the government would still
most of their proceeds for 60 days, after which it would decide
not to pay them on the basis of a priority list and
Importers and ordinary borrowers could access loans
at about 40%.
Analysts said there was no justification for the ad hoc
policy, which they
feared would create a parallel market for local money in
addition to the
ballooning foreign currency black market.
market haemorrhaging started in earnest after the November 14 budget
announced. The day after the budget, the ZSE's industrials index shed
238,08 points or 4,84% to land at 122 698,38 points. In the days before
budget announcement both the industrials and mining indices had
record highs of 130 899,59 and 11 181,20 respectively.
MDC to challenge GMB's monopoly on imports
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will legally challenge
Marketing Board (GMB)'s monopoly on cereals marketing, importation
distribution unless the party is issued with a licence to import grain,
Zimbabwe Independent has been told.
MDC Agriculture spokesman
Renson Ga-sela in an interview last week said the
MDC had applied for a
permit to import about 100 000 tonnes of maize for
free distribution to
starving people throughout the country, but the GMB has
"If they remain quiet we are going to take them to court,"
He said the MDC had made several attempts to import food but
blocked by the government.
He said as the food crisis
deepened, the government was importing food using
taxpayers' funds but was
distributing it on party lines.
"Zanu PF continues to politicise
distribution of food along party lines in
such areas as Insiza, Binga,
Muzarabani and in urban areas as well, where
only Zanu PF card holders are
allowed to buy mealie-meal," he said.
"Surely MDC supporters and
other Zimbabweans who are not necessarily Zanu PF
members cannot be left to
starve because of political convictions which the
regime has used to keep a
grip on its dwindling support base."
He said the MDC had to date
imported 132 tonnes of maize from South Africa
under the Feed Zimbabwe Trust,
but the maize was still impounded at
Beitbridge while millions
GMB's monopoly was also challenged in court two weeks ago by
Marketing (Pvt) Ltd, which is seeking a court order to rescind
parastatal's monopoly which it says infringes on other companies' right
associate with clients of their choice in commercial trade.
company has a permit to import maize and wheat but has not been able to
because of a statutory instrument that gives the GMB a monopoly to
trade in grain.
Zanu PF firms hold Harare hostage
TOP Zanu PF functionaries are milking the Harare City Council of
dollars a month under a "jobs for the boys" arrangement initiated
Solomon Tawengwa-led council and the Elijah Chanakira Commission, it
In virtually all strategic services which support the
day-to-day running of
the city, Zanu PF officials and their relatives have
choke-hold on the local authority by positioning themselves as
providers, often failing to deliver where it mattered
Contracts awarded to Zanu PF-linked functionaries include the
water treatment chemicals, refuse collection, road repair
and vehicle and equipment procurement.
Investments, registered in the name of Debrah and Define Chapfika,
recently contracted to supply hydrated lime and carbon for water
Highdon was paid US$140 000 in September to supply 1 000 tonnes
of lime but
has since failed to fully deliver, leading to the looming
shortage. Highdon's managing director is Macdonald Chapfika,
brother of MP
City of Harare department of works director, Vusimuzi
Sithole, told the
Independent that Highdon had delivered less than half of
the chemicals it
had been paid for.
"The mayor has written an
urgent letter to the Reserve Bank because the
water treatment chemicals
situation has become critical," Sithole said.
David Chapfika is the
Zanu PF MP for Mutoko North and former director of the
Unibank, which is now under new ownership.
He is also the chairman of
parliament's finance committee.
The upgrading of the water
purification plant at Morton Jaffrey Waterworks
in Norton was awarded to Leo
Mugabe's company, Integrated Engineering Group.
The company has
failed to adhere to the contract terms, leaving millions of
dollars worth of
equipment lying idle since 1995.
Zanu PF's top brass also controls
the critical refuse collection in Harare.
companies,Encore Consolidated, Broadway, and Environment
Joel Biggie Matiza, the Zanu PF MP for Murehwa
South, owns Encore
Consolidated while Tony Gara, former Zanu PF Harare
province chairman and
losing candidate in Mbare East constituency, owns
Another refuse collection company, Waste Management
Services, had their
contract terminated by the Chanakira commission in 1999.
They claim they
were disqualified for not having sufficiently close links to
City treasury sources said council pays over a
billion dollars for refuse
collection every month.
said there were suspicions that some of the contracted companies
thwarting council efforts to obtain the basic essentials in a move to
the MDC-run council's reputation with residents in the
"Contracted companies could be holding the council to ransom
deliberately sabotaging the new council," sources
Department of Health assistant chief environmental health
Kandwe, said there was a lot of room for the service providers
Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri said he was in no position to
comment on the
issue as he was attending a series of meetings.
Food Prices Shoot Up 100%
November 28, 2002
Posted to the web December 6,
PRICES of basic commodities have shot up
by between 50 and 100 percent since
the government imposed a blanket freeze
two weeks ago on prices of all
goods, a sign, analysts say, that the
Soviet-style clampdown will adversely
affect the consumers it is supposed to
A snap survey conducted this week by the Financial Gazette in
retail outlets showed that the cost of commodities had continued
skyrocket after the state decreed that no manufacturer or retailer
allowed to hike prices.
Basic foodstuffs and other household
essentials such as laundry and bath
soaps, most of which are in short supply
on the market, recorded the biggest
leaps in prices.
A 25-litre gallon
of cooking oil, which only last week was selling for less
than $15 000, had
shot up to between $25 000 and $34 000 this week, while
the price of a
standard bath soap tablet jumped to more than $600 from $300
in the same
The cost of domestic appliances such as stoves, refrigerators,
sets, video recorders and radios, most of them imported, also went
up by an
average of more than 50 percent in the past week.
commodities such as sugar, cement, seed and fertilisers, which were
scarce on the market before the price freeze, began slowly
shop shelves after the price clampdown.
Shoppers interviewed in Harare
told this newspaper they had planned to take
advantage of the price freeze to
stock up on groceries for the Christmas
holidays but were shocked to see
prices continuing to skyrocket.
Margaret Karedza, a mother of two from
Harare's Southerton suburb said: "We
wonder why the government even bothers
to introduce the price freeze when
the next thing you find is prices have
Industry and International Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi,
who is in
charge of price controls, could not be reached yesterday for
comment on the
But analysts said the price freeze was
unworkable and that the government
should address rising costs of production
if it wanted to halt spiralling of
Economist Witness Chinyama
said: "The government should address the
production costs first before it
introduces the controls, which so far have
not been successful."
noted that the government did not have the physical capacity to enforce
An economist with a Harare commercial bank said: "Price
controls have never
worked anywhere in the world and it is clear they will
not work in
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa admitted when
he presented the 2003
national budget two weeks ago that controls imposed
last year on prices of
basic foods had failed because they targeted the final
taking into account the entire production process.
minister also admitted that the controls had adversely affected
who they were supposed to protect. However, the government went
announce the blanket price freeze on all commodities a few days later.
From the archives.................
Don't Forget Mugabe's History
The Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
By David Moore
Johannesburg - One of the things that makes the
tragic events to South
Africa's north almost farcical is the historical
amnesia of many of
How could the promoters of an
"African renaissance" (is Andrew Young,
former mayor of Atlanta, really one
of them?) have ever held Robert
Mugabe up as an example to us all? How could
they forget the
Matabeleland massacres so shortly after his taking of the
throne? And well before that, how could they overlook the way
treated dissent during the liberation war?
The truth is that Mugabe
has acted similarly in the past when his back
has been against the wall. He
and his immediate allies have made
coalitions with many different groups -
both inside and outside
Zimbabwe - to grab and hang on to the nationalist
coalitions have sometimes included veterans and international
including Britain and the United States. Mugabe has turned against
soldiers who brought him to power more than once in the
Similarly, he has marshalled the British to his cause when he has
In the wake of the Portuguese coup which accelerated
independence, Guinea- Bissau and Mozambique, Tiny Rowland,
Kaunda and John Vorster decided that it was time to bring
nationalists into the fold of moderation. To that end, a
Zimbabwean nationalists were released from Ian Smith's gaols
discussions in Lusaka. The presidents of the frontline
including Samora Machel, were confronted with the fact that Mugabe
a few of his cell mates had deposed Ndabaningi Sithole from his
presidency. Machel responded: "What, you've done a coup in
In the months following that prison coup a number of "rebels"
killed by Zanu's militariat, and national chair Herbert Chitepo
assassinated. Opinion in Zimbabwe is still divided over who
responsible for his death -Rhodesian agents or opponents within
In the wake of the internecine struggles
inspired by this "revolution
from above" the Zambian state declared Zanu
illegal and incarcerated
those of its soldiers within its borders. This left
a small, very
young, very radical and very well-trained group of officers
task of reigniting the war from bases in Mozambique and Tanzania.
did so in short order.
Along the way they made a credible attempt
to implement Julius
Nyerere's desire to unify Zanu and Zapu armed forces, as
starting up a college devoted to materialist analysis of
shortcomings of nationalism as they were experiencing it.
succeeded to such an extent that the West soon arranged for
infamous Geneva Conference of October 1976. There, the leaders of
"free world" could find out who they could deal with among the
pretenders to the mantle of Zimbabwean nationalism.
meantime, Mugabe and colleagues such as Edgar Tekere were
cooling their heals
under house arrest in Quelimane. The new young
leaders of the war were
admitting him to their camps - against the
wishes of the Mozambicans -
because they had been so badly betrayed by
Sithole. Mugabe was the only one
in the "old guard" they could trust
to some degree - or so they thought. He
took this grace as the signal
that he was their man. When he visited London
he announced to the
world that he was with the guerrillas.
call for the Geneva conference was issued, the young soldiers
were told by
the frontline presidents to "pick a leader". They
refused, advising instead
the formation of a coalition that could not
be torn asunder by Smith. Such a
united front would have even included
"puppets" like Bishop Abel Muzorewa and
Sithole, because they did not
see much difference between them and Mugabe,
the leader who appeared
to be speaking in their name. Their stance was
essentially that of the
national democratic revolution: if a decent victory
could have been
scored at Geneva, they would have been glad to return to
fight a clean democratic election on behalf of the people.
their chance for a united front, they refused to go until
Mugabe never forgave them. Within months they were in
prisons, wherein they stayed until the 1980 elections. It is
they could have challenged Mugabe's hold on the soldiers in
Mozambican camps, but the first generation of guerrillas - in
of most of the security apparatus - was probably against them.
had they followed popular pressure in the camps the Mozambican
may well have intervened: for reasons that he may well have
regretted but followed him to his grave, Machel had turned against
Smith did manage to pull the slacker nationalists
into his desperate
prognostications, thus prolonging the war by more than
Halfway through 1977 Mugabe consolidated his leadership at the
party congress since 1964 with a declaration that the Zanu axe
fall on the heads of people with critical tendencies. The
soldiers' efforts at bottom-up Zanu- Zapu unity was maintained only
a tactical, very fragile, political level, under the
Front's" thin banner. The Matabeleland massacres show how deep
It is doubtful that the land invaders up north
represent all the "war
veterans". They resemble the anti-democratic and
allies Mugabe's supporters recruited in the mid-1970s.
Since then the
soldiers have never been, and almost certainly are not now,
their uncritical support for a leader who has gone way beyond
Furthermore, it as just as likely now as then that a good
of these ex- soldiers would support the broadest range of allies
the "national democratic revolution" so badly skewed by Mugabe
allow. Given that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)is a part
that process, it had better make some careful alliances with
soldiers in and out of uniform.
Moreover, if one remembers
Mugabe's 1975 trip to England, one should
not rule out a deal with the old
colonial masters. They have always
preferred a firm hand they can count on to
unruly democracy, and it is
likely that even now Mugabe is more reliable to
the old colonial hands
than the MDC -especially if he can claim to have old
and new soldiers
on his side. After all, if the MDC did win the election and
commission for truth and justice, it would not only be Mugabe's
that would be on open display.
David Moore is a professor in the
department of economic history and
development studies at the University of