Wed 8 February 2006
HARARE - Feuding leaders of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party yesterday momentarily set aside their
differences to unanimously reject claims by South African President Thabo
Mbeki that they had two years ago agreed on a new constitution with the
ruling ZANU PF party.
Mbeki told South African state television in an interview last Sunday
that his much maligned policy of "quiet diplomacy" toward President Robert
Mugabe's government was in part based on expectations of a political
breakthrough after Mugabe's ZANU PF and the MDC had in 2004 agreed a new
constitution during secret talks.
The South African leader - who openly regretted the missed chance to
resolve Zimbabwe's crisis that the secretly agreed constitution presented -
said the two political parties had given him a copy of the draft
constitution "initialled by everybody" before abandoning the initiative
after new problems arose between them.
But the leaders of the two rival factions of the MDC, who spoke to
ZimOnline separately, strongly denied ever agreeing with ZANU PF on a new
constitution for Zimbabwe, let alone submitting such a document to Mbeki.
"As a party we are not aware of what he (Mbeki) was talking about. We
are in shock," said MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube, who together with party
vice-president Gibson Sibanda is battling to wrestle control of the party
from Tsvangirai, admitted leading an MDC delegation that held "informal
talks" with ZANU PF officials over a new constitution.
But Ncube said there was no agreement reached in the talks and like
Tsvangirai also distanced the MDC from any draft constitutional document
that Mbeki claims to have received from Zimbabwe's two biggest political
"All I know is that we had some informal talks at length with Patrick
Chinamasa (ZANU PF legal secretary) and other people from late 2004 and up
to the run up to the 2005 election. The talks never bore fruits which were
palatable to the party (the MDC)," Ncube said.
He added: "We never gave Mbeki a draft constitution - unless it was
ZANU PF which did that. Mbeki has to tell the world what he was really
Chinamasa, who is also Zimbabwe Justice Minister, however insisted
that the meetings between a ZANU PF delegation led by him and an Ncube-led
MDC team had produced a draft constitution, adding that a new House of
Senate controversially introduced by the government last year was part of
some of the provisions contained in the draft constitution.
He said: "Part of the constitution is what resulted in the
reintroduction of the Senate. Obviously when two sides discuss you cannot
agree on everything. The issue of proportional representation was one such
issue which they (MDC) wanted but we did not give in."
It was not possible to immediately get comment from Mbeki's office on
But this is not the first time that the South African President,
designated the point-man on Zimbabwe by United States President George W
Bush, has publicly clashed with the MDC over his attempts to broker a
negotiated solution to the country's political, social and economic crises.
For example, the MDC has spent the better part of the last 24 months
denying claims by Mbeki that there was formal dialogue between the party and
The Zimbabwean opposition party at one time declared it would never be
part to any mediatory process initiated by Mbeki, saying the South African
leader had shown bias against it after he endorsed ZANU PF's victory in last
March's general election, which the MDC said was rigged by Mugabe's
The opposition party has however since reversed the decision to
boycott Mbeki-led efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis. Forged out of
Zimbabwe's labour unions but also bringing together several civic groups,
the MDC is expected to formally split in the next couple of months after
Tsvangirai and party chairman Isaac Matongo on one hand, Sibanda and Ncube
on the other disagreed on how to oust Mugabe and ZANU PF from power.
The split, triggered off when the opposition party's leaders could not
agree on whether to contest last November's senate election, is expected to
hamper the MDC's effectiveness as Zimbabwe grapples its worst economic and
political crisis since independence from Britain 25 years ago. - ZimOnline
Wed 8 February 2006
HARARE - The noose could be tightening on the beleaguered Zimbabwe
government with growing indications that the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) is fast running out of patience and wants a complete overhaul of the
country's economic policies.
The Bretton Woods institution, which sent a team last month to assess
Zimbabwe's economic performance ahead of the organisation's board meeting
next month, last week showed it would not be hoodwinked by hasty and
cosmetic changes to economic policy being implemented by the Zimbabwean
At the end of a week-long mission to Harare, the IMF team stuck to its
guns and demanded - for the umpteenth time - a major shift in economic
The IMF mission insisted that Zimbabwe's economic crisis calls for
urgent implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising several
mutually reinforcing actions.
It cited areas that required urgent action as strong fiscal
adjustment, full liberalisation of the exchange rate regime, adoption of a
strong monetary anchor, elimination of quasi-fiscal activity by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), price deregulation, public enterprise reform,
strengthening of property rights, and improvements in governance.
The IMF also wants President Robert Mugabe to provide adequate social
safety nets and food security for vulnerable groups, particularly those
affected by his controversial urban clean-up campaign officially known as
"Operation Murambatsvina or Operation Restore Order" which the United
Nations says left 700 000 people without shelter after the government
Economic analysts who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said the IMF's
tough stance against Harare even after the government paid more money to the
Fund, was a sign of increasing frustration with Zimbabwe and could also
indicate that the world lender was itching to impose even tougher
conditions before the southern African country could be allowed to access
"They (IMF) continue to refer to their earlier statements and this
shows that they are trying to send the message that they are not satisfied
with the performance and that they will not be hoodwinked by what has
happened since their last visit," said economist James Jowah.
Consultant economist John Robertson said Zimbabwe would have to win
back the trust of the IMF and other international bodies.
"The IMF has been consistent in their recommendations and it is up to
Zimbabwe to ensure these conditions are met," said Robertson.
Zimbabwe was almost chucked out of the IMF last year for failing to
meet its obligations to the multilateral financial institution.
To avoid expulsion, the government has paid off part of its arrears
but analysts say this may not be enough to warrant a complete change of
heart by the IMF.
"I think the international community has now realised that behind the
veil (of recent payments), there is no real commitment from the government,"
RBZ governor Gideon Gono partially relaxed the exchange rate in
October last year by reintroducing the interbank foreign exchange market.
This saw the country having three foreign exchange markets, with the other
two being the auction market for government and essential services and the
unregulated parallel market.
The partial relaxation saw the exchange rate on the interbank market
slide from around 26 000 Zimbabwe dollars to the United States greenback in
October to 99 201 on January 26 when Gono again got involved in the workings
of the market.
The exchange rate has been stuck at that level for more than a week
under the new system whereby the central bank only allows the rate to slide
within a set band and depending on the volume of currency traded.
Financial services group FINHOLD has warned that the new measures
would worsen Zimbabwe's balance of payments problems as they fetter the
country's capacity to produce goods.
"Movements against currencies such as the South African rand are
likely to be one sided (against the Zimbabwe dollar) as the trade balance is
shifted in favour of South Africa. Such movements will definitely affect
domestic exporters through higher operational costs," said FINHOLD in a
report analysing Gono's 2005 fourth quarter monetary policy statement.
The Zimbabwean authorities have also failed to contain inflation, with
the annualised rate ending 2005 pegged at 585.6 percent against IMF
projections of 400 percent.
Analysts forecast that the rate would rise further between now and
April, shooting beyond 800 percent on the back of increases in electricity
tariffs, food prices and medical fees.
Zimbabwe is facing an acute shortage of electricity blamed on its
inability to raise foreign currency to pay for imports as well as spare
The state-run Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has already
applied to the government for a tariff increase.
The analysts warned of greater hardships between now and March when
the next IMF board meeting takes place as the Harare authorities implement
changes to try and please the Fund - although they said whatever changes the
Zimbabwe authorities may implement between now and March could never be
enough to convince the IMF to resume assistance. - ZimOnline
Wed 8 February 2006
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) on Tuesday called
on the government to repeal a new General Laws Amendment Act which became
effective last week and places more hurdles on the country's already
severely restricted journalists.
The new law was passed by Parliament last year but became effective
legislation after being signed by Acting President Joyce Mujuru last Friday.
Under the law, journalists or citizens convicted of publishing false
information or statements that are prejudicial to the state or are likely to
cause, promote or incite public disorder or adversely affect the security or
economic interests of Zimbabwe face up to five years in jail.
Zimbabwean journalists already face up to 20 years in jail for
committing the same offences under the government's Criminal Codification
Act enacted last year.
ZUJ national vice president Njabulo Ncube said: "The new law comes at
a time when journalists are clamouring for the repeal of other bad media
laws and comes hard on the heels of the passing of the Criminal Codification
Act by government last June which will see journalists facing up to 20
years in prison.
"A cocktail of all these laws will now make it difficult for
journalists to perform their tasks without fear or favour and we call on the
government to repeal all these laws."
The new law also revises fines courts can impose on journalists
convicted of publishing falsehoods from Z$100 000 to $10 million, while
journalists as well as citizens found guilty of insulting or ridiculing
President Robert Mugabe will now pay a fine of Z$2 million, up from $20 000
or alternatively jailed for up to a year.
The latest restrictions on the Press come barely two months after the
Harare administration promised the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights that it was planning to repeal some of its harshest media laws.
Apart from the fear of being imprisoned for insulting Mugabe or
publishing false information, journalists in Zimbabwe also have to deal with
stringent requirements to register with the government's Media and
Information Commission in order to practice in the country.
Journalists, who must renew their registration after every 12 months,
face up to two years in jail for practising without being registered with
the commission. Newspaper companies are also required to register after
every two years with those failing to comply with the requirement being
forced to close and their equipment seized by the state.
At least a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past six
years for violating the government's press and security laws while four
newspapers, including the country's biggest circulating daily, the Daily
News, were forcibly shut down by the government over the past three years.
The Word Association of Newspapers ranks Zimbabwe among the three
worst places for journalists in the world. The other two are the Islamic
Republic of Iran and the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. - ZimOnline
Wed 8 February 2006
MASVINGO - Milling firms in Masvingo province south of Harare
yesterday told ZimOnline that they were being forced to donate money to pay
for the hosting of President Robert Mugabe's birthday party on the 21st of
A spokesman for the milling firms, Emmanuel Donga, said those who
failed to contribute money for the 21st February Movement celebrations were
being told they would never get allocations of maize or wheat from the
state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The GMB is the only company permitted to buy maize and wheat from
farmers for resale to milling firms. Donga said: "While we have a national
duty to feed the nation it is not fair to force us to pay the money . . .
after all not all millers are ZANU PF supporters."
But the GMB denied it will deny millers maize or wheat if they fail to
donate money for Mugabe's birthday party, saying it had nothing to do with
raising funds for the celebrations because this was being done by a
committee set up by Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.
GMB acting chief executive officer, Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti
said: "I am not aware of that but if the taskforce is looking for money from
millers, I do not see any problem."
ZANU PF chairman for Masvingo province Samuel Mumbengegwi could not be
reached for comment on the matter.
The ruling party has in the past been accused of arm-twisting the
business community to sponsor its activities. It denies the charges. -
Brussels, 6 February 2006
6050/06 (Presse 36)
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union concerning
Council Decision 2006/51/CFSP of 30 January 2006 implementing Common
Position 2004/161/CFSP renewing restrictive measures against Zimbabwe
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey,
Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of
the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as
well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, declare that they share the
objectives of Council Decision 2006/51/CFSP of 30 January 2006 implementing
Common Position 2004/161/CFSP renewing restrictive measures against
Zimbabwe. They will ensure that their national policies conform to this
The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part
of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
The Herald (Harare)
February 7, 2006
Posted to the web February 7, 2006
PEOPLE should shun food sold by vendors as the danger of contracting cholera
is still lurking, Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa
His remarks came amid reports that cases of cholera continue to emerge in
different parts of the country.
In an interview yesterday, Dr Parirenyatwa said people needed to be careful
especially when it came to foods like fish and meat sold by vendors at open
Consumers, faced with diminishing purchasing power, are forced to buy from
vendors who sell their products at low prices.
The meat sold by vendors is not inspected and the fish may have been caught
in sewer-infected water, the minister cautioned.
"People should always put their health first no matter how cheap something
"Buying meat and fish whose origins one is not even sure of is like signing
a death warrant at this time when cholera cases continue cropping up here
"While we are doing our utmost to monitor and keep on top of the situation,
sometimes the best person to monitor one's health is oneself," Dr
New cases of cholera were recently reported in Buhera with health officials
saying some cases had been reported in Harare.
While many Zimbabweans went on alert after cholera claimed 14 people in
Harare and Chikomba between December and January this year, some people
thought they were out of danger and therefore relaxed.
Health officials said such lethargy is dangerous in light of the persistent
Cholera is prevalent during the rainy season when waste is washed away, at
times directly into water used for consumption.
As such there was need for people to continue exercising high levels of
cleanliness, like washing fruits and vegetables and their hands every time
Dr Parirenyatwa said even the water used for cleaning the vegetables and
fruits has to be clean.
Some people assume that once they dip fruits or vegetables into water they
have cleaned them. Many have often just used dirty water for this purpose.
This is especially the case with vegetable vendors who use the same water to
wash everything they will be selling.
Dr Parirenyatwa said because of the gravity of the cholera threat, it was
high time people desisted from the habit of shaking hands with everyone they
"I am sorry but I think I have to tell people that the time to just shake
hands with everyone is gone, even at funerals, maybe people need to start
expressing sympathy in a different manner from what they are used to.
"This is because it is at such gatherings that diarrhoea outbreaks occur and
when you just shake hands with other people, maybe they would not have
washed their hands and you put your life in danger."
More than 250 cholera cases were reported this rainy season prompting the
Government officials to join in the fight against the disease by banning the
vending of all types of meat.
Zimbabwe Departure Tax
Please be advised that with immediate effect,
the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has revised
their ZWD = USD rate to ZWD96,000 = USD1.
This following levels now apply:
Domestic Departure Tax: One Way
International Departure Tax:
These taxes apply when travelling on Air Zimbabwe flights only.
African News Dimension
Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 11 hours, 36 minutes and 42 seconds ago.
By ANDnetwork .com
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has demanded that Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's wings be clipped to stop
"quasi-fiscal activities" at Zimbabwe's central bank.
Critics say Gono, appointed to the RBZ in 2003 by President Robert
Mugabe's has strayed from monetary policy issues, poking his nose in almost
every aspect of Zimbabweans' lives -- disbursing trillions of dollars to
farmers, intervention in the cricket saga and at one time seeking to
investigate government officials.
Sometime last year, South African President Thabo Mbeki expressed
measured disquiet at the way the country's central bank was operating.
There have been claims in Parliament by opposition MDC legislators
that Gono had assumed the role of Finance Minister.
In a press statement released on Friday, the IMF said: "...the mission
emphasized that Zimbabwe's economic crisis calls for urgent implementation
of a comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually reinforcing
"These include: strong fiscal adjustment; full liberalization of the
exchange rate regime for current account transactions; adoption of a strong
monetary anchor; elimination of quasi-fiscal activity of the Reserve Bank of
The statement was issued at the end of an IMF staff visit from January
to February 1, ahead of its meeting in early March to decide if Zimbabwe
should be expelled from the fund.
The international institution, which noted that discussions were held
at a time when Zimbabwe is facing food shortages, added that property rights
and relations with the international community must be strengthened and
"In the absence of such a comprehensive and immediate policy package,"
it said, "Zimbabwe's economic prospects would be bleak."
February 07 2006 at 01:35AM
Harare - Some of the houses built by the Zimbabwean government for
people made homeless by its controversial urban clean-up campaign are not
going to the needy, a government minister admitted on Monday.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, who is also the member of
parliament for the southern border town of Beitbridge, said houses in his
constituency had been given to civil servants and people not resident in the
"The whole thing has been done in a very unprofessional manner,"
Mohadi said in an interview with national radio.
"People that have been allocated houses, some of them come (from)
outside Beitbridge and they're not even resident there. And some of them,
mostly civil servants, are people (already) staying in government houses,"
Last May, the government deployed police countrywide to demolish
houses, cottages, shacks and flea markets deemed illegal in an urban
clean-up campaign dubbed Operation Restore Order. Around 700 000 people were
made homeless and jobless in the crackdown, according to the United Nations.
A follow-up operation, dubbed Operation Garikai (Settle and Prosper)
was supposed to see new houses built for those made homeless.
"We came up with this Operation Garikai as government in order to
address a simple situation whereby our people had their houses destroyed and
those were the people who were supposed to be allocated houses," Mohadi
"But unfortunately, especially in my constituency or in my town of
Beitbridge, it hasn't been so."
The minister's admission follows a weekend report in the private
Standard newspaper that civil servants and their relatives were among those
recently allocated houses under Operation Garikai in the southern town of
Gwanda. - Sapa-dpa
By Blessing Zulu
06 February 2006
Officials of the U.S. nonprofit organization Freedom House have dismissed
claims by a Zimbabwean state-run newspaper that the pro-democracy
institution has been holding clandestine meetings with Harare's opposition
across the border in Zambia.
The Sunday Mail said Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan
Tsvangirai and other prominent figures in his faction of the divided
opposition party were in the Zambian border city of Livingstone to meet a
Freedom House representative.
It said Freedom House is a front for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
and "known world wide for aiding civil unrest in countries seen as a threat
The organization's Web site says Freedom House was "founded over 60 years
ago by (U.S. First Lady) Eleanor Roosevelt...and other Americans concerned
with the mounting threats to peace and democracy." The organization engages
in advocacy, education and training "to promote human rights, democracy,
free market economics, the rule of law, independent media, and US engagement
in international affairs."
The Sunday Mail said Zimbabwean authorities have opened an investigation
into what Tsvangirai and eight other MDC officials were doing when they were
Zambian immigration spokeswoman Mulako Mbakweta said Tsvangirai was removed
last Thursday for failing to declare his intended activities in the country.
Tsvangirai spokesman William Bango said the MDC is awaiting an explanation
Freedom House research editor and Zimbabwe analyst Mark Rosenberg told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although a former
chief of the CIA once served as the group's chairman, Freedom House is not a
front for the CIA.
Voice of America reporter Sarah Williams spoke at length with Freedom House
Deputy Director Thomas Melia, who said his organization has not met with the
Zimbabwean opposition in recent days and that reports to the contrary are
Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: chiefn
By Matthew Nyashanu
Movement For Democratic Change officials continued to receive a
good welcome from UK residents on their three-day visit to the UK. The
delegation led by party chairman Isaac Matongo, included the fire brand
Kuwadzana MP and party spokesman Nelson Chamisa, Makokoba MP and deputy
chief whip Thokozani Khupe and Ian Makone personal assistant to the MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai.
Their Leeds meeting attended by more than one hundred and fifty
people packed the Leeds West Indian Centre. Mr Isaac Matongo said that MDC
had emerged stronger and more focused since the futile attempt by the pro
senate rebels to destroy it. He urged Zimbabweans in Diaspora to support the
efforts aimed at restoring democracy at home.
Chamisa said that the collapse of social and health services in
Zimbabwe is enough testimony to show that Mugabe s' government is now in the
intensive care unit. He also said that the MDC was geared to step up efforts
to in bring peace and tranquillity to the economic ravaged southern African
state. Makokoba MP Thokozani Khupe took a swipe at the senate when she
described it as a ZANU PF project to reward Mugabe s' cronies while people
suffer from hunger and starvation.
Mr Chamisa also deplored the deportation of MDC officials from
Zambia. His delegation, including party president, Morgan Tsvangirai, were
made to walk ten kilometres into Victoria falls town as the security
operatives who engineered their deportation had no cars. Leeds people sang
and danced as they reaffirmed their strong support for the MDC party
president Morgan Tsvangirai. The meeting ended at six o'clock after more
than four hours of deliberations during which the people in Diaspora vowed
to write new chapters in pressing for change in Zimbabwe. The delegation
headed for London where they were due to meet more Zimbabweans at the forum
and are also due to go to South end-on- Sea for another meeting.
Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
SOME 45 Zimbabweans who illegally entered Botswana were each
given three lashes in public at a customary law court in that country while
six women claim to have been raped by soldiers before being deported.
According to the Mmegi, a Botswana daily paper, the humiliating punishment
was part of a joint operation by that country's police and army to crackdown
on illegal immigrants, mainly Zimbabweans working or selling wares in
villages around Francistown.
The Mmegi said the operation code named "Operation Clean Up" has
resulted in the arrest of 552 Zimbabweans so far for entering the
neighbouring country without valid travel documents or vending without
permits. The spokesman for the operation, Senior Superintendent Boikhutso
Dintwa of the Botswana Police said about 552 illegal immigrants were
arrested mainly from within and around Borolong village, west of Francistown
"The joint operation between the police, the army, immigration,
prisons and other government departments, was conducted house to house,"
said Supt Dintwa. "We nabbed some of our targets from their work places,
where they were employed illegally. Some were travelling in the bush whilst
others were from the roadblocks that we mounted."
He said 45 Zimbabweans were tried at the customary law court and
given three strokes each. The Supt said some of them paid admission of
guilty fines for various offences such as overstaying in that country and
selling wares without permits. The arrested illegal immigrants were taken to
the Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown, where they were kept for a
short period before some of them were deported. Last year Botswana said it
was deporting 2 500 Zimbabweans every week. The neighbouring country's
politicians also blame the increasing crime rate in their country to an
influx of Zimbabwean illegal immigrants.
This has resulted in a number of operations to flush out the
illegal immigrants, a situation that has at some instances resulted in the
abuse of Zimbabweans legally resident in that country. Botswana has also
faced mounting criticism over its decision to erect an electric fence on its
border with Zimbabwe ostensibly to control the movement of animals between
the two countries. Critics of the move say the fence is meant to control the
movement of people between the two countries and mainly targeting
Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans who spoke to Zimdaily condemned the move describing
it as a primitive act sanctioned by primitive leaders.
"You cannot expect that to happen in a country neighbouring
Zimbabwe, this is primitive and can only have been sanctioned by primitive
leaders of that country, it flies against human rights, freedom of movement
and the dignity of human beings, this calls for investigations and an
apology by the Government of that country to those who dignity was injured,"
said a human rights lawyer in Harare. "It's a gross human rights abuse, you
cannot allow that to happen, lashing an adult cannot be expected this day
and age," said another human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo.
Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Zimbabwe is set to retrench young soldiers and recall war
veterans to form a reserve force in a move ostensibly aimed at reducing the
defence forces expenditure, Zimdaily has learnt. Defence ministry public
relations and International relations director general, Brigadier General
Trust Mugoba told a workshop that it was important that the country "shifts
from a large robust force to a minimum self defence capability."
Brig Gen Mugomba revealed that the ministry of Defence had
created a department for a war veterans reserve force. He said the
department was established after realisation that war veterans had military
skills and could be better managed by the ministry. He said it was not all
war veterans that were being catered for, but only those with special
skills. "We have created a department for war veterans. It was decided that
war veterans since they have military backgrounds, could be better managed
under the ministry," he said. "We have no situation where war veterans have
been called to participate in the defence of the country since independence,
we need a reserve army and only those with certain skills will be called
when needed. We are going to retrench thousands of junior troops to cut back
Zimdaily heard that since the 1990s, Zimbabwe reduced the size
of its military establishment from 82 000 to 40 000 and then to around 30
000 presently. "We are considering having a reserve force so that when the
need for military personnel arises, they can easily be mobilised and called
to duty," Brig Gen Mugoba said. He said government was cognisant of the need
to compensate the reduction in the numbers with equipping the country's
defence with modern equipment. Reports suggests Zimbabwe is struggling to
maintain its army amid reports that some troops are protesting food
shortages. Another beef in the military seems to be cuts in pay. Troops
involved in the protests are mainly junior and have been confined to their
barracks and some will be court-marshaled, according to military sources.
Zimdaily understands that Mugabe is wary of junior troops who he
fear could overthrow him through military coup hence the need to recall war
veterans who are loyal to him. Last month a top soldier warned junior troops
against supporting the opposition. But Brig General Mugoba denied that
junior troops were going to be retrenched because of fear of mutiny.
"Actually this is in response to to the peace dividends that followed the
demise of apartheid rule, the government is now pursuing prudent policies
for the reduction of the defence expenditure while redirecting resources to
the social sector. Loyalty is not an issue here but we realise that war
veterans have a military background," Brig Gen Mugoba said.
Mugabe has clung to power through his ruthless use of the army.
The loyalty of the army would ensure he retains power although he has now
reached a frail and paranoid old age. Observers say there are growing
prospects for civil war, but it appears military coup is no longer out of
the question due to the disgruntlement of the armed forces.
Tuesday, February 07 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Telecommunications service providers have hiked tariffs by an
average 200 percent over the past fortnight, further straining Zimbabwean
households and firms that have to contend with burgeoning inflation. The
cost telecommunications makes up a significant weight in the basket used in
calculating consumer price index (CPI).
TelOne, the country's single fixed telephone line operator,
became the latest service provider to hike tariffs, increasing rates by 220
percent last week. A unit, which is made up of three minutes, now costs $8
608, 99 up from $2 700 while a minute now costs $2 869, 66 during the peak
period and $2 152, 25 off peak. Sub-regional outgoing calls now cost $13
018, 39 to fixed networks and $24 237, 97 to mobile networks during the peak
period. International outgoing calls to Group 1 destinations such as the
United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and France, will cost $14
934, 48 (fixed) and $23 494, 20 (mobile) during peak period.
Calls landing in Group 2 countries, including China, now costs
$42 006, 05 (fixed) and $326 849, 83 (mobile) in the peak period. Telone has
also hiked the internet charges, a service it provides through its
subsidiary Com One. Internet charges per minute are now $4 821, 04 and $3
615, 78 for peak and off peak periods, respectively. Reuben Gwatidzo, a
telecommunications player and former Telecommunications Association chairman
bemoaned the impact the new charges would have on businesses across the
"Today business heavily depends on electronic communications to
reach markets within and beyond our borders. "You can imagine the effect
these increment will have on e-commerce, e-banking, e-business, which relies
on Internet services." There has been a wave of tariff hikes in the telecoms
sector with two mobile operators, Econet and Telecel also increasing tariffs
by more than 200 percent. Telecel increased charges for intra-network calls
of Telecel to Telecel from $3 500 to $9 500 during the peak period and $8
000 from $3 000 during the off peak.
Charges for Telecel to other networks were increased to $9 900
from $4 000 during peak period and $8 400 during off peak.
Zimbabwean mobile phone networks have to meet the bulk of their
costs, 95 percent, in foreign currency. The networks have long complained
about rigid regulatory oversight over tariffs, a factor which has impacted
negatively on revenue. However, although the networks have enjoyed the
relative relaxation by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), they are wary that radical tariff hikes
could hit ARPU (average rate per user) statistics hard.
The Herald (Harare)
February 6, 2006
Posted to the web February 6, 2006
THE Government has launched investigations into the scarcity of mealie-meal,
which is in short supply throughout the country but is readily available on
the parallel market.
While shops have failed to get mealie-meal supplies for the past month, the
illegal market is flourishing with some unscrupulous traders overcharging
the desperate public.
A 10kg bag of roller meal is being sold for $600 000 against the gazetted
price of $180 000.
The Minister of State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption, Cde
Paul Mangwana, confirmed that the Government is investigating mealie-meal
"The Government is investigating irregularities in the buying and selling of
"There is need to find out what is taking place on the ground in order to
ascertain the level of cheating in the trading of mealie-meal," said Cde
He added that Government was determined to nip in the bud corrupt tendencies
that are contributing to macro-economic instability.
"Unfair trade practices are not tolerated as they adversely affect policies
implemented to stabilise inflation in order to attain economic growth," he
The Minister said the Government would mete out stiff penalties to
unregistered dealers driving the parallel market.
All major cities in Zimbabwe have been hit by mealie-meal shortages in the
past three weeks. However, unregistered traders who were buying maize in
bulk are now selling mealie-meal to the public at inflated prices.
Some of the traders are repackaging the commodity in small quantities of
about 500 grammes.
Last week, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Matabeleland regional manager,
Mr Comfort Muchekeza, said the council was handling increasing cases of
cheating by millers.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police, spokesman for Bulawayo province, Inspector
Shepherd Sibanda, said police would arrest any traders found selling mealie
meal at inflated prices.
"The police are ready to act on instances of overcharging therefore we urge
members of the public to report retailers for overcharging," said Inspector
The Herald (Harare)
February 6, 2006
Posted to the web February 6, 2006
KUWAIT has extended loans and grants amounting to US$63,6 million to
Zimbabwe to support infrastructural development.
According to the 2004-2005 annual report of the Kuwait Fund for Arab
Economic Develo-pment, the Middle Eastern country extended US$54,2 million
to the transport and communication sector and a further US$9,39 million to
the agricultural se-ctor.
A number of African countries benefited from the Kuwait Fund which supported
24 projects, in several sectors, at a cost of US$1,2 billion.
"The fund will continue diligently to strengthen its co-operation with
developing nations and to help them achieve their development goals, while
maintaining friendly relationships with partner countries, built on mutual
respect which would serve our national objectives and to promote the role of
the State of Kuwait in the international community," said Mr Mohammad Sabah
Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who chairs the fund.
Zimbabwe and Kuwait enjoy excellent bilateral and multilateral relations and
the former has a diplomatic mission in Kuwait.
Since 1980, Kuwait has extended grants to fund the purchase of diesel
locomotives for the National Railways of Zimba-bwe and road projects, which
included the Mhandamabwe-Chivi-Tokwe, Bulawayo-Nkayi and the Buchwa-Rutenga
Kuwaiti Ambassador Saud Al-Daweesh said there were many business
opportunities that people from the two countries could tap to further
enhance bilateral relations.
Recently, Acting President Joice Mujuru signed the book of condolence at the
Kuwait Emb-assy in Harare to. pay homage to the late Emir of Kuwait, Sheik
Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
February 07 2006 at 09:42AM
A listed British mining company has concluded a R470-million deal with
international fugitive Billy Rautenbach, a close associate of some people in
President Robert Mugabe's inner circle.
Central African Mining & Exploration Company has not disclosed
Rautenbach's involvement in the company, in which he has now become an
effective 20 percent shareholder.
After months of secret negotiations, mostly in Harare, Rautenbach sold
three cobalt and copper deposits in the Democratic Republic of Congo last
week to Camec, whose top executives are controversial London businessmen
Andrew Groves and Phil Edmonds, a former England and Middlesex left-arm
Rautenbach is wanted for trial by the South African police, and
prosecutors have reportedly begun preparations for extradition proceedings
from Zimbabwe, where he is normally resident.
Among Rautenbach's associates in Zimbabwe are his DRC "fixer", Rural
Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, tipped by some to succeed Mugabe when
he retires, and the ex-chief of Zimbabwe's security forces, General Vitalis
Rautenbach's entry in 1998, in conjunction with Mugabe and his
cronies, into the rich mining deposits in southern DRC was part of the
spoils of war, after Zimbabwe sent in its army to assist late DRC president
Rautenbach was appointed chief executive of state mining company
Gecamines, and he was allocated extensive mining concessions and two copper
and cobalt processing plants.
Two years later he was sacked by Kabila and had his other assets
seized. He was accused, among many alleged transgressions, of
under-reporting sales and exports of hundreds of millions of rands of cobalt
for the benefit of his company, Ridgepointe Overseas Development Company.
Kabila then asked another Zimbabwean businessman, John Bredenkamp, to
take over some of Rautenbach's seized assets, among them the Kambove and
Kakanda processing plants and a large number of deposits in the rich Katanga
province in southern DRC.
Bredenkamp invested in excess of R110-million to open the Mukondo
deposit, arguably the richest cobalt mine in the world.
In February 2004, Rautenbach, assisted by his high-ranking Zimbabwean
facilitators, was mysteriously awarded half of Bredenkamp's assets in the
DRC. Bredenkamp was never compensated.
Two weeks ago, on the eve of signing the Camec deal, Rautenbach had to
urgently settle about R25-million on two minority partners, after the High
Court in the British Virgin Islands issued a provisional liquidation order
against the holding company of his DRC assets, Shaford Capital.
The central thrust of the case presented to the court was that
Rautenbach was depriving his minority shareholders of their fair share of
the profits, and that Gecamines was also not receiving its 20 percent
profits from Shaford Capital.
In papers supporting the application for liquidation, information was
provided to the court alleging crude extraction techniques known as
high-grading, which expert opinion claims will drastically shorten the life
of the Mukondo mine.
Rautenbach, Groves and Edmonds failed to answer repeated and detailed
questions left for them on their cellphones.
It is not clear at this stage what obligation Rautenbach, and
therefore Camec, may have to top Zimbabwean and DRC politicians who
engineered his controversial return to the DRC after his expulsion.
Rautenbach had substantial assets in South Africa, which have been
seized by the state. He faces serious fraud and corruption charges in
connection with Hyundai Motor Corporation.
Together with his brother Peter, he has several thousand cattle about
160km north of Harare, untouched during six years of seizures of white-owned
This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on
February 07, 2006
The Herald (Harare)
February 7, 2006
Posted to the web February 7, 2006
FARMERS should take the initiative to mobilise their own resources before
turning to Government for assistance, a cabinet minister has said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made, said although the Government
remained committed to the provision of inputs, farmers should also help in
sourcing their own farming inputs rather than to leave the task to the
Dr Made said farmers should go out of their way to mobilise funding through
commercial banks and other agricultural stakeholders.
"A2 farmers should start preparing for the winter crop and with the help of
farmers' associations and syndicates, they should invite corporate companies
to work out farming contracts," Dr Made said, commenting on the progress of
the 2006 agricultural season.
Some farmers in Mazowe and Odzi have already invited the minister to discuss
prospects for the summer season, the successful implementation of the land
reform programme and the mechanisation programme.
About the prospects of the winter season, Dr Made said communal and A1
farmers will be provided with wheat seed between March and April so that
they plant in wetlands.
As the season progresses, Government will concentrate on making fertilizer
"The ministry will also focus on productivity and yield enhancement instead
of wasting resources on land preparations when seed and fertilizer are not
available," he said.
Dr Made added that there was need to improve the balance between crop and
"A lot of emphasis has been placed on crop production because the bulk of
the starch and energy comes from crops but it has to change.
"We want to focus on our plantation and industrial crops to improve our
industrial base," he said.
Government was also aware that 20 percent of the crops planted throughout
the country had reached maturity and 80 percent still needed Ammonium
"We are happy that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe continues to work hard on
making fertilizer available to farmers and we urge farmers to look at the
production of other crops such as sorghum, cassava, jatropha, soyabeans,
potatoes and sugar beans," Dr Made said.
Like other ministries, the Ministry of Agriculture continues to lose skilled
and experienced workers to other regional countries.
He called upon the Public Service Commission to improve the conditions of
service in the agricultural industry.
Dr Made also urged the Department of Agricultural Engineering to work with
A2 farmers in providing back-up services on appropriate equipment,
technology and servicing their tractors.
However, the department was also facing problems of staff shortages.
The Herald (Harare)
February 7, 2006
Posted to the web February 7, 2006
CHITUNGWIZA small maize millers are crying foul over the way Grain Marketing
Board Aspindale depot is allocating maize to millers.
The small millers are alleging that they are being allocated 30 tonnes of
maize per week which they grind for public consumption, while the bigger
companies get 400 tonnes per week, which they resell, thereby causing
unwarranted maize-meal shortages on the market.
Asked for comment, GMB chief executive officer Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti
dismissed the allegations as unfounded and irresponsible.
"These are false allegations as we all know that the parastatal like many
others, is facing foreign currency shortages and we have logistical problems
which all millers are supposed to know.
"Noone is getting 400 tonnes. That's absurd. At the moment we have a
derailment problem on the Maputo route causing a major blow to our import
efforts," Rtd Colonel Muvuti said.
Mr Joshua Munemo, managing director of a Chitungwiza milling company said
big millers were short-changing the public.
"We get 30 tonnes of maize a week, which we grind in one day and sell to the
public. The so-called big millers get 400 tonnes and we don't see their
maize-meal in the shops," he added.
Mr Munemo also warned the Government that the actions of the big companies
could cause maize-meal shortages.
"We are warning the Government to watch out for maize-meal shortages due to
unscrupulous dealings by some individuals at the GMB," he said.
The millers also alleged that some Government officials who own milling
companies were being given special preference over small maize millers.
"Some Government officials pass with six or seven truck loads without having
to wait for longer periods. We wait for days trying to get the purchased
maize and pay more for transportation," said Mr Munemo.
It is further alleged that when the big millers get the bulk of the
subsidised maize they later resell it at exorbitant prices.
"The big companies are not milling, they resell to other bigger companies
which make stockfeeds or pop-corn which is more profitable whilst the staple
food is scarce on the market.
"More tonnage should be given to millers who operate in more populated areas
such as Chitungwiza to alleviate shortages as they deal directly with the
people," said Mr Munemo.
Retired Colonel Muvuti dismissed the claims as misinformation on the part of
"They are making stories out of nothing and we should think of other better
things for national development other than false allegations," he said.
The parastatal has been rocked by scandals in recent years as transparency
by officials in their dealings comes as a secondary matter leaving it on the
same footing as the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.
Early this year, police launched investigations into allegations that
officials at GMB Rusape Depot were operating a syndicate that was smuggling
agricultural inputs and grain from stocks for resale on the illegal parallel
market at exorbitant prices.
Last week, GMB suspended a loss control manager for allegedly facilitating
illegal movement of grain from farmers to millers in violation of the GMB
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-07
MDC's pro-Senate camp failed to field a candidate for the Chegutu mayoral
elections by close of the nomination court last Friday, leaving Morgan
Tsvangirai's faction to battle it out with Zanu PF on March 4.
In an interview yesterday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana said Martin Zimani of Zanu PF and MDC's
anti-Senate candidate Francis Dhlakama, were the only contestants for the
"Two candidates, Francis Dhlakama of the anti-Senate MDC and Martin Zimani
of Zanu PF will contest the Chegutu mayoral elections. The pro-Senate MDC
will not take part in the elections because it did not provide a candidate
by the close of nomination court on Friday," Silaigwana said. Both MDC rival
factions had approached Dhlakama for the top post before the incumbent mayor
dumped Sibanda for Tsvangirai.
Dhlakama, whose term expired last December, claimed in an interview with The
Daily Mirror last month that both factions had approached him to contest the
poll on their tickets. He said: "Personally, I am prepared to stand again
for the post because I feel I haven't done what I set out to do. One thing
that is pleasing is that the two factions (in the MDC) approached me and it
shows that they feel I should stand for them."
Yesterday, Welshman Ncube of the pro-Senate camp was evasive on why the
faction failed to provide a candidate for the poll when contacted for
"I thought we did field a candidate," he said. Asked the name of the
candidate the faction fielded, Ncube replied: "I have no idea. I don't
know." He then advised this newspaper to contact him later, but repeated
efforts to reach him were fruitless. On the other hand, Zanu PF unanimously
elected Zimani to contest the post on the ruling party's ticket.
Mashonaland West chairman John Mafa said the party was confident Zimani
would emerge the victor. "They were a number of candidates vying for the
post in the party such as Muchenje, John Karembera, Dzapasi and Kunonga,
but Zimani was unanimously chosen to represent Zanu PF," said Mafa.
He said the election of Zimani was with the blessing of top Zanu PF
officials like secretary for information and publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira,
Senate Speaker Edna Madzongwe, Policy implementation minister Webster Shamu
and all members of the central committee in the province.
"The decision to choose Zimani was agreed at a meeting with central
committee members in the province. We are going to take Chegutu from the
MDC," said Mafa. Zanu PF goes into the local authority elections with seven
wards already in the bag after both MDC factions failed to field
candidates in ward elections in Rusape, Gutu, Zvimba, Buhera, Kadoma, Mutoko
"Of the 14 local authority ward elections, only seven would be contested.
The other seven went to Zanu PF unopposed," said Silaigwana. Ward
councillors who were elected unopposed were Everisto Manyengavana (ward 7:
Rusape), Patrick Chimbare (ward 16:Buhera), Dandira Danson Kurauone (ward
35: Gutu), Jeffrey Muruzi (ward 3: Kadoma), Ravidzai Yabote (ward 7: Mutoko)
and Walter Chidhakwa Kufakunesu (ward 21: Zvimba).
The Chegutu mayoral elections and other polls taking place next month across
the country will gauge the strength of the MDC following the October 12,
2005 split over differences on the Senate issue. Since the division, MDC's
performance in elections has been pathetic with Zanu PF winning four out of
five contested ward elections last month. The ruling party won two wards in
Chitungwiza, a known MDC territory, where both factions had fielded
Tichaona Chapfika of Zanu PF got 917 votes beating Rangarirai Mutingwende of
the pro-Senate camp and Appronia Choruwa (anti-Senate faction) who polled
257 and 212 respectively. The Tsvangirai camp won a single ward in
Zvishavane where Masocha Magwanhiri beat Zanu PF's Tapiwa Mushayabasa while
Sibanda's faction participated in some wards, but got no votes.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
From Our Correspondent in Chinhoyi
issue date :2006-Feb-07
AN ambitious 300-hectare irrigation scheme at Gache-Gache has failed to take
off due to lack of funds to electrify the income-generating project.
Kariba District Administrator Jim Kadziya told The Daily Mirror recently
that $25 billion was needed to connect the scheme to the ZESA power lines,
but the project has failed to secure the required funds.
"Getting connected to the ZESA power lines which are about 10 kilometres
away from the scheme has been hampered by unavailability of funds. The
project was initially expected to cost $2,9 billion, but now the cost has
risen to $25 billion due to the hyper-inflationary economic conditions," the
A senior ZESA Rural Electrification Agency (REA) official confirmed that the
irrigation scheme could only be connected to the power grid after payment
had been made.
"REA needs a full payment of $25 billion from the project sponsors before
they could connect the irrigation scheme," he said.
When fully operational, the project is expected to improve the livelihoods
of about 200 families from Binga, Hurungwe and Nyaminyami areas with each
family getting a 1,5 hectare plot under irrigation
"With the warm weather in Kariba district the irrigation scheme would allow
plot holders to do double seasoning - that is cropping during both summer
and winter. Paprika does especially well in our district," Kadziya said.
Beneficiaries of the scheme have been identified from the people who were
affected by the construction of the Kariba Dam. The worst affected were
people from Binga, Hurungwe and Nyaminyami.
The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) and the National Aids Council (NAC) have
pledged to buy irrigation equipment for the scheme once electricity is
The Herald (Harare)
February 7, 2006
Posted to the web February 7, 2006
OLD Windsor Primary School, which opened its doors in Goromonzi district in
2003, is now a force to reckon with.
Last year the school came tops in the Grade 7 examinations, beating 71 other
schools and registering an 83 percent pass rate.
Situated in Ruwa about 21km outside Harare on the Mutare Road, Old Windsor
is owned by a Chinese investor, Mr Ching-Chou Tsai.
There are plans to introduce Chinese as a subject and distance learning for
"O" and "A" Levels and professional studies.
The introduction of Chinese will be welcomed especially by Zimbabweans who
travel to China regularly on business.
"Due to the language problem, there is a bottleneck. We are there to fill
the gap. We believe that we could do something to help both countries," Mr
Ching-Chou Tsai said.
The school opened its doors in 2003 with 215 pupils in Grades 1 to 6.
Work on the school started in 1998 with an investment of US$5 million and
was completed in 2002 with support from Government, Metropolitan Bank and
Beverley Building Society.
"It was a hard time especially during the economic challenges in Zimbabwe,
but my father didn't mind because he had a dream for the school and the
nation," said Mr Ken Tsai, son to Mr Ching-Chou Tsai.
Mr Ken Tsai, the first administrator and executive director of the school,
recently returned from Britain where he graduated with master's degrees in
computer/Internet design and education.
His family believes a good environment, modern equipment, sufficient
textbooks and good teachers are the key to quality education anywhere in the
"Education is the only way that can change and improve a person's future
even a country's future. We want (to lay the foundation for) the best
quality education in Zimbabwe.
"Our emphasis goes beyond the academic to include sport, teamwork . . . We
even care about our students' health," Ken added.
Plans were in the pipeline to establish a high school next to the primary
He commended the excellent relations that existed between China and
Zimbabwe, as evidenced by increasing travel between the two countries.
The school is run by a board of governors and employs 17 teachers.
ZIMBABWE'S tobacco industry requires about $150 billion for curing the crop
ahead of the marketing season expected to start next month.
Tobacco Growers Trust chairman, Mr Wilfanos Mashingaidze, told Business
Chronicle last week that TGT, and other stakeholders were involved in talks
with banks about funding, which would be used to purchase coal and diesel.
"We are talking to the banks to see if we can come to some sought of
agreement. Coal and diesel are the major products required in the curing
process of tobacco and we are hopeful that the majority of growers would get
assistance from banks," he added.
Mr Mashingaidze said that tobacco growers had submitted loan applications to
the Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank).
He said that other banks were not willing to provide loans to the farmers
citing uncertainties in the agricultural sector.
Mr Mashingaidze said that many farmers had also accessed loans under the
Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) administered
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
He lamented poor funding for the sector, which he said would affect the
total crop output and quality.
"There is an urgent need for the provision of funds to ensure that the
curing process is done according to schedule," said Mr Mashingaidze.
The tobacco industry is this year expecting an output of more than 65
million kg of flue-cured tobacco, down from the initial projections of 160
kgs due to input shortages and storms, which hit parts of Mashonaland West.
Mr Mashingaidze said that coal deliveries had significantly improved in the
past three weeks.
"The growers are no longer facing difficulties in procuring coal because
deliveries have significantly improved but the major worry is of accessing
funds to purchase it," he said.
At its peak in 2000, a record 237 million kgs of the golden leaf were
produced, earning US$400 million. The earnings have however, dropped to
US$137 million in 2004 and US$118 million last year due to poor funding,
land preparations and shortages of critical inputs.
Mr Mashingaidze said that the Government and private sector should formulate
policies to revive tobacco farming, which is the country's top foreign
currency earner despite its depressed state.
Institure of War and Peace Reporting
The total collapse of the game matches the country's overall decline.
By Tino Zhakata in Harare (AR No.53, 7-Feb-06)
In the context of what is really important, the game of cricket comes very
low on most sane people's lists.
However, its calamitous disintegration in Zimbabwe is a symbol of the wider
collapse of a country, which was once Africa's "breadbasket", but is now the
continent's basket case - something so flawed that it is almost beyond help.
The country has the world's fastest declining economy, with inflation
approaching 600 per cent. It has seen nearly a million poor people driven
from their homes in the government's Operation Murambatsvina (Operation
Drive Out the Filth). Some 5000 mostly white-owned commercial farms have
been confiscated and given to loyalist supporters of President Robert Mugabe
in government, the judiciary and armed forces.
In just the last few weeks, Zimbabwe Cricket, the game's governing body
here, has lost its Test Match status, and now the domestic game finds itself
without any Test-class players and probably soon without any professional
cricketers at all. Its remaining thirty-five first-class cricketers have
gone on strike in protest against corrupt administration and because their
fees and salaries have not been paid for several months. Most plan to quit
"It is without question the nastiest mess professional cricketers have ever
found themselves in during peace time," said leading British cricket writer
Unfortunately, it is an only too familiar Zimbabwean crisis. It surfaced
during the 2003 World Cup when Henry Olonga, Zimbabwe's first black
international cricketer, and his white colleague Andy Flower, the country's
greatest ever batsman, took to the field in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
city, wearing black armbands "to mourn the death of democracy in our belovèd
It continued when the country's remaining top world-class cricketers, such
as Flower and his brother Grant, Heath Streak, Sean Ervine and some fifteen
others, quit Zimbabwe, citing racism among administrators, especially from
the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, Ozias Bvute, Mugabe's personal
enforcer on the national cricket board.
When a board member questioned why President Mugabe was Zimbabwe Cricket's
patron, Bvute threatened him, "If the member knows what is good for his
health, he will desist from asking such questions."
The game in this country effectively died when its young Test captain, the
brilliant 22-year-old Tatenda Taibu, fled the country last December to
pursue his career in Bangladesh, citing the fact that he and his family had
been physically threatened by a cricket official following his allegations
of maladministration by Bvute and Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka.
Now the country's residual first-class players, none of whom would get into
any of the world's nine other Test Match teams, have gone on strike. Their
complaint is mainly about unpaid fees and salaries totalling around a
million US dollars. Zimbabwe's leading human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa,
is representing them in a High Court action against Zimbabwe Cricket in an
attempt to release funds.
At the same time, former national coach Phil Simmons, a former top West
Indian Test batsman, is suing Zimbabwe Cricket for illegal dismissal last
August and seeking reinstatement of his salary of 10,500 US dollars a month.
Zimbabwe Cricket offered to pay off the cricketers' arrears in increasingly
worthless local Zimbabwe dollars at an old rate of 25,000 to one US dollar,
when the real rate on the street is now more than 150,000 to one US dollar.
The government, awash with inflation, has just issued a new 50,000 dollar
banknote. It sounds a lot, but it is not even enough to buy a loaf of bread.
"I'm sure that the taking of legal action signals the end for cricket in
Zimbabwe," a former international player told IWPR.
And Clive Field, the players' representative, said, "Zimbabwe Cricket has
really had it now. The players are simply walking away. Some have made it
clear they want to get their dues and pursue their careers elsewhere."
The country's best Test Match fast bowler, Tinashe Panyangara, has been
signed by a minor English club, Holton-le-Clay, in the Lincolnshire League.
He is finalising his work permit with the British authorities.
Dion Ebrahim, currently the most experienced Test player and the country's
former vice-captain, is quitting to pursue academic studies in Britain.
Plans by Douglas Hondo, a fast bowler and perhaps the country's most popular
cricketer, and Prosper Utseya, at 20 one of Zimbabwe's most promising young
internationals, to relaunch their cricket careers abroad are at advanced
Players have made plans to leave the country because they are unsure that
even if they win their court case that Zimbabwe Cricket has the money to pay
them. The board made huge losses last year despite receiving substantial
payments from the Dubai-based International Cricket Council, ICC, which runs
world cricket. Last December, the homes of Bvute and Chingoka were raided by
Reserve Bank fraud squad investigators. They were grilled about alleged
misuse of foreign funds, totalling some 22 million US dollars, earned by
Zimbabwe Cricket from Test matches and one-day internationals. The two men
have not been prosecuted.
Even before the players decided to quit en masse, Mugabe had killed the game
stone dead. In early January, he told the government to take over Zimbabwe
Cricket - in defiance of ICC regulations that national administrations must
not be in government hands. Mugabe appointed a senior army man, Brigadier
Gibson Mashingaidze, chairman of the government's Sports and Recreation
Commission, to run Zimbabwe Cricket.
Mashingaidze immediately sacked all Asian and white administrators in
Zimbabwe Cricket and withdrew the country from Test Match cricket before the
other nine members of the ICC demanded Zimbabwe's expulsion. Brigadier
Mashingaidze said Zimbabwe would continue to play one-day internationals,
but without any first-class players that will be impossible. Already the
West Indies and Pakistan are considering suing Zimbabwe Cricket for failing
to fulfil contractual obligations by sending the country's best cricketers
on impending and long-planned scheduled tours to those two countries.
After the government took over cricket administration, players'
representative Clive Field said, "I think we're stuffed, more stuffed than
we've ever been. If this is the bunch that's going to help deliver cricket,
I don't know what they are going to be delivering at the end of it.
"I don't think it's going to be cricket. It's going to be a corpse."
Tino Zhakata is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
Nepal's hopes of reaching the super league of the ICC U-19 World Cup cricket
tournament came to an end on Tuesday after Zimbabwe defeated Nepal by 2 runs
in the second match held in the Colombo Cricket ground on Tuesday.
Nepal opted to field first after winning the toss. Zimbabwe made 201 runs in
49.5 overs losing all wickets. At one point, the Africans were reduced to
90-6 but they recovered to reach 201.
Seam bowler Paras Khadra was superb for Nepal taking 4-28 in 9 overs while
opening bowler Amrit Bhattarai was impressive with 1-27 in 10 overs.
Off-spinner Ratan Rauniyar captured 1-29 in his 10 over spell.
In reply, Nepal could only muster 199 runs in 50 overs losing nine wickets.
Kaniska Chaugain was the highest scorer for Nepal with 78 runs while Sarad
Bheswakar and Paras Khadka scored 38 and 28 runs respectively.
At one point, Nepal was cruising at 150-4 in reply, but they lost two quick
wickets to reach 158-6. Nepal still had a chance to win at the end but
Zimbabwean bowler Gary Balance took two wickets in the final over with his
leg-spin to secure a victory that all but guarantees Zimbabwe a place in the
It was brave captaincy from S Williams to go with the spinners in the last
over as a couple of bad balls would have cost them the match.
"We had a look at the Nepal batsmen and could see that while they were fine
with the ball coming onto the bat, they struggled when they had to wait for
the ball to come to them. So in the last couple of overs, we made a
deliberate attempt to take the pace off the ball and the spinners saved us,"
the Zimbabwean captain said.
The two sides are part of Group D that also includes England and Ireland,
who Zimbabwe beat in their opening match on Sunday.
Nepal will take on European qualifier Ireland on Thursday in its last match
of the league phase.
Earlier, England defeated Nepal by 77 runs in the tournament on Monday.
Nepal had defeated Scotland and Namibia in practice matches played before
the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2006 campaign.
The top two teams from each group qualify for the Super League series while
the bottom two go to the Plate Championship. Nepal can get the opportunity
to play in plate championship despite this loss.
Sixteen countries are taking part in the tournament. nepalnews.com pb/bt Feb
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
07 February 2006 01:10
South African farmers called for compromise on Tuesday after the
lands commissioner said that large-scale expropriation of farms would start
"It is in everyone's interest that land claims be completed as
soon as possible but it needs to take place in a fair manner," said Annelize
Crosby, land affairs adviser at Agri South Africa, the biggest organisation
representing white farmers.
"You cannot go around taking land left, right and centre. It
would be wrong to penalise farmers because they want fair prices for their
properties," she told Agence France-Presse.
South Africa's chief land claims commissioner Tozi Gwanya said
on Monday that the "willing buyer, willing seller" model would no longer
apply to land restitution because many white farmers wanted more money than
the government was prepared to pay.
"There are in excess of 7 000 claims that have been
outstanding," he said, referring to efforts by the government to redress
apartheid-era land grabs in which many members of the black majority lost
"We have been negotiating with some white farmers for two or
three years especially in four provinces -- Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West
and KwaZulu-Natal -- and this has to stop," he said.
"From March, we will begin expropriating land for which
negotiations have gone on for that period or more," he said, explaining that
a six-month deadline would be imposed on new cases.
But Crosby said the land claims commission needed to keep the
complexity of the process in mind.
"The process started in 1994 and we are now in 2006 but there
are many reasons why it is taking so long. In some cases we are dealing with
really big land claims that stretch across many farms. This involves many
farmers and also whole communities instead of only individuals claiming back
their land. It makes the process very complicated," said Crosby.
She acknowledged that there might be some farmers trying to take
advantage of the situation.
"But one should also keep in mind that the value of land has
been on the increase in the past few years. We need to find a middle ground
here. It is unfair to lay all the blame at the farmers' doors."
The willing buyer-willing seller principle has been at the core
of the post-apartheid land drive, guaranteeing that land will be acquired by
the state at fair prices.
South Africa has said that it will not follow the path of
Zimbabwe where thousands of white-owned farms have been seized by President
Robert Mugabe's government since 2000 and given to landless farmers.
Black ownership of land in South Africa has increased from 13%
at the end of apartheid in 1994 to 16%. - Sapa-AFP