are desperate enough to risk their lives crossing a crocodile-infested river,
three barbed wire fences and an electric fence in attempts to escape the
border police - and their country's woes.
"The people that we catch are
in the worst condition ever," a military source said at the Beitbridge border
post between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"They come from further north, so
they walk much further, and where previously they would carry some of their
personal belongings with them, they now have just the clothes on their
Zimbabwe is in the throes of crippling food shortages which
threaten more than two-thirds of the population of 11.6 million. Food riots
broke out in two towns this week, causing four injuries and 34
The shortages are mainly attributed to a drought which has
ravaged Southern Africa. But critics also blame President Robert Mugabe's
controversial land reforms, which have seen white-owned commercial farms
seized for redistribution, worsening the food crisis.
"border jumpers" are arrested and deported every month - close to 100 a day -
as they try to avoid the security forces on the frontier between South Africa
"Some just come over because they buy food in the border
town of Mussina and then get themselves caught for the free ride home," the
military source said.
An old copper plaque at the border post explains
that Beitbridge was erected "for development of communications in Africa and
for the furtherance of public and educational objects".
German-born mine magnate Alfred Beit, the 500-metre-long bridge - built in
1924 - retained its colonial name after democratic elections in South Africa
These days it has become more of an umbilical cord between the
two Southern African nations as more Zimbabweans legally stream across the
border to buy basic food stuffs such as maize and fruit, supplies that are no
longer freely available in their own country.
Some use pick-up trucks
and cars, but many are unable to afford taxi fares and have to walk long
distances. South African border officials said close to 9,000 travellers
passed through Beitbridge between Christmas Eve and New Year
"The people of Zimbabwe are really suffering," remarked a South
African Defence Force soldier posted at the bridge which carries traffic
between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
He was checking the passport of an
ageing woman, carrying fruit and a small bag of maize on her head.
year ago she might have been carrying a 50kg bag of maize, but with
the Zimbabwean dollar losing value on a daily basis, many can now only afford
to buy 10kg packs.
But not only locals are affected by the
Zambian businessman Ignatius Mooya used to trade
in Harare, but is now travelling to South Africa with his truck driver,
hoping to make new business contacts.
"We used to trade in Harare, but
we use American dollars to trade and while Mugabe has fixed the rate at Z$150
to one American dollar the real rate on the street is over Z$2,000 for an
"We have to do things above board so it means we lose
money," Mooya explains.
Malawian resident Mark Visser, who was on
holiday in South Africa, said he would avoid Harare on his way back
I HAD a really gloomy
Christmas holiday. It stands out as the worst in recent years. With 10 days'
leave from work, I thought I would take time to visit my relatives and join
my parents in the rural areas in time for Christmas.
Unfortunately, I did not manage to do this thanks to the fuel crisis. Fuel
failed to materialise even though we were told daily that it was on its way
to service stations.
Five weeks after the shortages worsened, the
fuel crisis is still with us and there appears to be no let up.
The authorities continue to maintain a deafening silence. I guess
they realise they can mislead the nation only so much.
Typically, we as Zimbabweans have come to accept the unavailability of fuel
as a way of life. It is business as usual.
At the end of last year,
I said Zimbabweans deserve this nonsense because of our failure to stand up
for our rights. l still maintain that we deserve this and much
Happy queue year!
Amid all this gloom, two
interesting developments took place that really uplifted my spirits, which
are daily being crushed by living under these wretched conditions in
The ouster of Leo Mugabe as the ZIFA chairman and the
political change that took place in Kenya were bright spots in a dismal
As a soccer fan, I have followed with keen interest the
twists and turns of the ZIFA saga. In the process, I have also learned
Leo Mugabe is a good human being and I enjoy
excellent relations with him in so far as we talk about everything except
He is uncomfortable delving into that area, at least when
he talks to me.
The reasons that led to his eventual ouster from
ZIFA are neither here nor there. Those are what are called occupational
In the same breath, I must hasten to say I am not
absolving the ZIFA board members of any blame from the goings on at the
association. However, the fact that they took a stand and said enough is
enough is significant.
People need to stand up on a matter of
principle when the rot sets in.
Wherever I go, I am bombarded with
questions about when the current economic crisis and hardships are going to
end, what needs to be done and the usual self-pitying lamentations that
Zimbabweans are known for.
People blame the situation they find
themselves in on the ruling ZANU PF party and rightly so, but do not seem to
have any solutions to offer.
Some senior ZANU PF members have
indicated to me that the economic situation is critical but acknowledge they
do not know what needs to be done.
That is the tragedy that has
befallen this country.
After the events at ZIFA House, I have a
standard answer that I give to people who ask me what needs to be done about
the situation in this country.
The solution is simple: let's
second the Vincent Pamire-led ZIFA board to Shake-Shake building and appoint
them as committee members in the Politburo.
Give the "five
musketeers" three months and they will deliver.
The problem with
Zimbabwe is that we have few people who stand up on a matter of principle to
point out the ills that have befallen this country without any shame or
We should not always look to opposition parties or
independent newspapers to tell us what our country is doing
It might be expecting too much, especially in Zimbabwe, but
we should develop a culture where seasoned ZANU PF politicians - the likes of
John Nkomo, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Solomon Mujuru - stand
up on a point of principle to publicly tell their leaders where they are
going wrong for the sake of Zimbabwe.
This is how it should
Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe we have bred blind-followers and
praise singers. That has been the sad story of Zimbabwe since 1980. It is a
story of bootlickers and praise singers who sing for their supper at any
given point, even when there is nothing to sing for.
We may want
to blame outside forces for all our problems, but has our leadership examined
Unless and until we have leaders in our midst who stand up
to point out what is wrong and demand that justice be done, then God help
If we are to move forward as a country in 2003, we need people
in our political leadership who will follow the example of the ZIFA board
Only 528 farmers plant tobacco, output set to
Staff Reporter 1/9/03 8:36:44 AM (GMT
ONLY 528 large-scale commercial farmers have planted tobacco
for the 2002/2003 agricultural season, which will slash output by more than
half to 60 million kilogrammes and worsen the country's foreign currency
crisis, it was learnt this week.
According to the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association (ZTA), the number of large-scale tobacco growers has
plummeted from 1 400 in 2001 to 528 this year, of which 75 are black farmers
allocated land under the government's agrarian reform programme.
In the past, Zimbabwe's large-scale tobacco farming sector was dominated by
white farmers, the majority of whose properties have been appropriated by the
government for the resettlement of landless blacks.
In its latest
planting report, the ZTA said large-scale growers would produce up to 60
million kilogrammes of tobacco this year, down from 150 million kgs in
"Recent statistics from Tobacco Hail Insurance and
councillors' returns indicate a total of 528 commercial farmers planting a
crop of 21 000 hectares, of which 7 800 hectares are irrigated," the report
"This translates into a possible crop from this sector of
between 55-60 million kilograms, 22 million kilograms of which is irrigated,"
the report added.
The ZTA report said of the 75 resettled
farmers known to have planted tobacco, 25 had planted 776 hectares.
Information is still being sought on the plantings of the remaining 50 new
farmers, the association said.
A senior ZTA official told the
Financial Gazette that small-scale tobacco growers, comprising existing and
resettled farmers were estimated to be planting 30 000 hectares, which would
produce a crop of up to 25 million kilograms.
of small growers to this year's tobacco crop is expected to be slightly
larger than last year's 15.7 million kgs because of the increase in their
numbers resulting from the agrarian reforms.
The ZTA official said
the unavailability of inputs, which has adversely affected many farmers
countrywide, was a serious concern for the growers, adding that funds
allocated to small-scale producers by the government were insufficient to buy
all the necessary inputs.
This has resulted in farmers being unable
to buy adequate petrol and diesel for their equipment, curing fuels for
curing tobacco and food for their workers.
The ZTA official said
at least 50 percent of small-scale farmers were still in the process of
planting at the end of December and their crops were likely to be affected by
low rainfall, which would reduce yields.
"At least 50 percent of
the small holder crop is currently being planted, a significant proportion in
the drier southern areas," the official told the Financial
"These late plantings will unfortunately be subjected to
dry conditions and yields could suffer as a result."
sold 165.7 million kilogrammes of tobacco in 2002, down from 202 million kgs
in 2001, at an average price of US$2.26 cents a kilogramme.
further decline of output in 2003 is expected to worsen the country's foreign
currency crisis, which has already severely affected the economy. Tobacco is
Zimbabwe's single largest foreign currency earner.
week said continuing hard cash shortages would make it more difficult for
Zimbabwe to import food to alleviate the effects of drought and could force
more local companies out of business, worsening unemployment and poverty
50% of Matabeleland firms face collapse in first
From Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief 1/9/03
8:23:02 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - At least 50 percent of industrial
firms in the Matabeleland region could collapse in the first quarter of 2003
unless the government introduces measures to halt Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown, industrialists said this week.
According to the
Matabeleland Chamber of Industries, half of the 75 companies registered with
the organisation were listed in critical condition when they closed for their
annual Christmas shutdown on December 20 2002.
Officially, most of
the firms are expected to reopen next Monday, but business executives and
officials at the chamber of industries said some of the companies might be
forced to resume operations in February or March if there was no improvement
in their operating environment.
They said Zimbabwe's fuel
shortages, which have worsened in the past five weeks, had severely
compounded the impact of the country's economic crisis and left a large
number of Matabeleland companies on the verge of collapse.
pretty bleak for Matabeleland industries and business, more so with the
shortage of fuel, especially diesel, which most industrialists use in their
operations," said Ken Jerrard, the president of the Matabeleland Chamber of
Industries, which represents industrialists in the region.
whose organisation is affiliated to the powerful Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), added: "At the moment, we don't know how many firms might
fail to reopen for 2003 although most are expected to officially open for the
new year next week. Half of the industries are in critical condition. If the
government does not come up with rapid responses to the ills in the economy,
I can see about half of our industries collapsing in the first quarter of
"I might be wrong with my predictions, but the reality
of it is that companies are in great difficulty. Some firms have said they
will only reopen briefly to finish off orders they have and then that's
Zimbabwean companies have been hard hit by the country's
worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.
The crisis has been characterised by soaring inflation of 175.5 percent,
severe foreign currency shortages, company closures and an unemployment rate
that is estimated at more than 70 percent.
government land reform programme has resulted in the takeover of at least 90
percent of the country's commercial farms and has combined with drought to
slash food production by over 60 percent, leaving eight million Zimbabweans
in need of emergency food aid.
Food shortages have been worsened by
a blanket freeze on prices that has further knocked the viability of local
companies and spawned a thriving black market for basic commodities, where
prices are more than treble those set by the government.
Stringent exchange control measures, introduced in November
requiring exporters to lodge 100 percent of their earnings with the central
bank, have also forced companies to send distress signals to the
Previously, exporters had to remit 40 percent of their
forex to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and could trade the rest on the
parallel market for hard cash, where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at more
lucrative rates than those fixed by the government.
many exporters to recoup their operating costs and break even despite the
fixed exchange rate.
Jerrard told the Financial Gazette: "The
companies are failing to get foreign currency from the official market,
others are being forced to wait for weeks by the RBZ. This is difficult for
He said as a result, a number of firms in
Matabeleland had downsized their operations and laid off staff before the end
of last year, adding that his organisation would compile a detailed report on
the impact of the economic crisis in February "when things are
Jerrard said: "But one thing is clear, we are going to see
companies closing down more rapidly than before. The price controls are
affecting most businesses. Most butcheries and bakeries in the region have
"These are the hardest hit and clear casualties of the
price controls. These (butcheries and bakeries) I don't see re-opening at all
in the new year unless a miracle happens."
Tour operators in
Victoria Falls this week said they were unlikely to be spared by the
country's worsening economic crisis.
Victoria Falls Publicity
Association chairman Pathisani Nkomo, who is also the head of a tour company
in Zimbabwe's prime tourist resort, said: "I am afraid of what might
transpire in the new year. We might see some operators downsizing or even
closing completely because of the fuel crisis and the general harsh operating
Analysts said further company closures would hit
hardest on ordinary workers, who have become poorer in the past three years
as their wages have failed to keep pace with rampant inflation, which has
steadily eroded their purchasing power.
Most workers forced out
of work this year would be unable to find alternative employment or would
face great difficulties in venturing into the informal sector, which has not
remained unscathed by the economic crisis, the analysts said.
Although it was not possible to ascertain this week how many workers could
lose their jobs in Matabeleland in 2003, analysts have estimated at that at
least 300 000 Zimbabwean workers could be unemployed by the end of the first
quarter of 2003.
Koketso Magabo, a senior representative in
Matebeleland of the Zimbabwe Domestic Allied Workers' Union, said the closure
of half of the industries in the region and anticipated company closures
around Zimbabwe would be disastrous for his organisation.
members are employed by people employed elsewhere," he told the Financial
Gazette. "If people who employ them as domestics are retrenched because of
company closures, it will be a big problem. A majority of Zimbabweans will
not be employed, including domestics and allied workers."
Ngwenya, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' representative in
"Indications are that most employers are hard
pressed. We have heard rumours that a number might not open. We are really
worried for the worker.
"We know it has to do with the economic
problems we are facing. Everything is going up everyday so we are looking at
a 200-300 percent (salary hike as a) cushion for the workers."
Analysts said to protect both companies and workers, the government had to
speedily implement proposals submitted by industry for protecting firms from
the impact of the economic crisis and recent state regulations.
Affirmative Action Group head Sam Ncube said: "If nothing changes, we might
not have businesses to talk about. I have heard that some companies might not
open but the government should not let this happen by coming up with rescue
packages. It must with immediate effect address the issue of fuel, which is
certainly going to force firms to close."
commentator Eric Bloch added: "With what is happening in the economy, many
business here will not survive 2003 and thousands of workers will be
retrenched thereby impoverishing the greater part of the region.
"The government, which is in the process of reviewing proposals from the CZI,
should move with speed to implement some of the measures raised. Unless the
government introduces effective export incentives, I don't see companies in
that sector surviving the next six months."
Bloch added: "It is
also true with those companies reliant on imports. The shortage of foreign
currency means companies in this sector cannot reliably source the imports.
It is a very sad scenario."
Senior Reporter 1/9/03 9:47:40 AM (GMT +2)
MUTARE - While
the more affluent were sleeping off their Christmas and New Year hangovers,
30-year old Wilford Muchingami joined his neighbours in Sakubva high-density
suburb in a quest for basic foodstuffs that for most Zimbabweans have become
like the Holy Grail because of their scarcity.
maize-meal he had at home was eaten during the festive season, a time when
families usually receive many visitors and when children cannot be fobbed off
with meagre portions of food.
For Muchingami and thousands of other
Zimbabwean urban workers, the end of the holiday was bleaker this year than
in the past, when most families had to worry primarily about the infamous
"January disease": little money and countless bills to pay.
dejected Muchingami told the Financial Gazette that with the 2002 festive
season over, he and his neighbours had to literally hunt for every basic
foodstuff imaginable: mealie meal, sugar, cooking oil, bread and
"If I had a choice, I would just queue for the
mealie-meal at the supermarket, but they are no longer getting any supplies,"
Basic commodities have slowly disappeared off most
supermarket shelves in Mutare and other towns and cities across Zimbabwe in
the last few months. The shortages have combined with a biting fuel crisis to
make life unbearable for most urban dwellers.
The food shortages
have been blamed on price controls imposed by the government in 2001, drought
and a controversial land reform programme that slashed food production by 60
percent last year.
Unable to recoup escalating production costs by
raising prices, manufacturers have cut back on production of controlled goods
or introduced substitute products at prices that many urban workers cannot
As a result, hunger, which until a few months ago appeared
to be largely confined to the country's poorer rural communities, is
fast tightening its grip on the country's urban communities.
Harare, the city's health department warned last year that malnutrition in
children was on the rise due to the food shortages.
But the extent
of the impact of the food crisis in Zimbabwe's urban areas remains unclear.
No comprehensive survey has been undertaken to determine the number of urban
dwellers that are in need of emergency food aid.
inadequate resources, relief efforts by both the government and
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) remain focused on rural areas, where
the bulk of the more than eight million Zimbabweans facing starvation
Left to largely fend for themselves, the country's urban poor
have been forced to adapt to whatever survival strategies they
Mike Zengeya, another Sakubva resident, told the Financial
Gazette his secret to survival was joining whatever queue he might come
across because chances were the commodity on offer was one he was in need
He said: "Whenever you see a queue, you just join and then
ask whatever it is people are queuing for later.
chance is that you were probably looking for whatever it is that's being
sold. The point is, we have to queue for almost everything and soon, we may
have to queue even for cigarettes. That is how bad things have
Zengeya spoke as he hurried to join a long and winding
queue at a Sakubva shop, which was selling sugar for the first time in three
Other consumers in urban areas have survived the food
shortages by cultivating the operators of a thriving black market in
foodstuffs that is awash with scarce commodities.
But prices on
the illegal market have recently skyrocketed beyond the reach of families
with low incomes that have not kept pace with soaring inflation, which
reached an all time high of 175.5 percent in November.
The cost of
goods on the black market is more than treble the prices set by the
government, making them a luxury for many urbanites.
According to a
2002 survey by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, an urban family of four
needs at least $35 000 a month to pay for basic commodities, but many workers
do not earn half this amount.
Mutare resident Raymond Tembeya said:
"I earn $16 000 a month. Compare this with the prices being charged on the
black market and you will understand my bitterness."
who is employed as a general labourer by a food manufacturing company, added:
"I have a family of five and yet a bucket of maize costs $4 500, a two
kilogramme packet of sugar costs $500 and I am buying a loaf of bread for
"And you expect me to survive? At least in the rural areas
they receive assistance from the NGOs."
The general labourer
said the problems faced by his family and many others lucky enough to still
have employed bread winners had been compounded by Zimbabwe's economic
recession, which has forced a large number of companies out of
The closure of several firms in the past three years has
pushed the country's unemployment rate up to more than 70 percent and unable
to relocate to the rural areas, which have been even harder hit by the
food crisis, many retrenched workers are being forced to rely on
urban-based relatives for survival.
Tembeya told the Financial
Gazette: "At least I am lucky, I am still holding on to my job. But things
have become tougher. A number of my relatives have been retrenched and I now
have the burden of looking after them as well as paying school fees for some
of their children."
As the shortages bite harder and the number of
dependents increase, several families in Mutare interviewed by this newspaper
said they have had to change their eating habits.
explained: "It's either you have the money but the goods aren't available or
when the goods become available, you no longer have the money.
"So we have been forced to change our feeding habits. Instead of three square
meals a day, we now have only two. One that combines breakfast and lunch and
another one in the evening."
But for others like Muchingami, a
staunch supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the
food crisis has brought additional problems.
He must register
himself as a member of the ruling ZANU PF so that he can receive maize-meal,
which he says the party has been distributing to its members in the past few
The ruling party has denied distributing food aid along
But Muchingami said: "Since the beginning of
December, mealie meal has been distributed through ZANU PF councillors and in
most instances, we are left out. Some people in this area have received
mealie-meal on four occasions and we have been left out because we are
perceived to be supporters of the MDC.
"I guess ZANU PF is
trying to use the hunger in the cities to win back support. So if I am to get
food, I will have to be seen as one of them, even if it's against my
And with weather and agricultural experts forecasting
another drought this year, Muchingami fears he may have to compromise his
political principles for a long time to come
BULAWAYO - War veterans have opened an
office in one of Bulawayo's oldest high-density suburbs, which residents this
week said was being used as an illegal police station where members of the
public were subjected to beatings as punishment for perceived
The residents alleged that several people had been beaten
and tortured in the office, which is located at Pumula shopping
"People are being subjected to kangaroo courts at that
office everyday," Pumula resident Paul Tshuma told the Financial
"Some have been beaten while others have been tortured. We
have brought this to the attention of the police at Pumula police station,
but nothing has been done," added a visibly angry Tshuma.
Dube, the Bulawayo spokesman for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, however said
there was "no way" war veterans could usurp police powers.
news to me that there are war veterans arresting people in Pumula," he said.
"I will find out what is happening. At the moment, I cannot fully comment on
something that I have not investigated."
"Who gave them power to
arrest people?" he added.
However, Clement Moyo, another Pumula
resident, alleged that he was "arrested" by the war veterans following a
He said he was forced to their office and assaulted
by the war veterans, who he later reported at Pumula police
Moyo said the Pumula shopping centre office had become so
notorious that residents were afraid to walk past it at night.
"These people need to be exposed," he told the Financial Gazette. "I am
taking some of them to court for what they did. They think they are
the police yet there are not.
"Some of them are not war
veterans. They are using that office for their nefarious activities and this
has to stop."
Other Pumula residents said the war veterans used the
office as a base for raids on local shops and vendors suspected to be
hoarding or selling basic commodities at higher prices than those gazetted by
They said the war veterans had taken over the
registration of people in need of mealie meal and bread at local
"You cannot buy mealie meal if you are not one of them. They
now control the queues at the shops in addition to harassing us," said
Police officers at Pumula police station, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said they had received reports of harassment and
beatings by the war veterans based in Pumula.
"These people are
taking advantage of the political situation but I tell you, it's just a
matter of days before we bring them to book," a police officer said. "They
think we are stupid but we are gathering information on what they do in that
"We are going to account for all those that have committed
any crimes. They (war veterans) go around claiming that they are part of us.
They are free to work with us to combat crime but not to try and usurp our
powers as some of them are doing."
David Mano, another Pumula
resident, said the police should shut down the war veterans' office because
it was fuelling animosity between the residents and the former freedom
"We are against that office," he said. "The war veterans
there are behaving as a law unto themselves. This has to stop because very
soon the residents that have been quiet will be forced to
"We know most of these people that are causing trouble
but they seem to have no shame. Police should do something."
was not possible to get comment from the war veterans this week. The
Financial Gazette was denied entry into the Pumula shopping centre office by
a self-confessed war veteran standing guard at the door of
"We only allow ZANU PF supporters, war veterans
and residents with genuine problems. You are not one of us. You are of one
those youths in this suburb that need re-education," he fumed. "You are
sell-outs, get away. Go away before you court trouble."
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials in Bulawayo said
they had received reports of beatings and harassment by war veterans
"Some of our supporters have been taken there," said
MDC chief whip in the Bulawayo City Council Charles Mpofu. "We are aware of
it. Meal mealie is also being sold there to ZANU PF supporters.
"That office has to be investigated. It is as if it's a police station on its
own yet it's just a batch of confused opportunists."
played a leading role in the occupation of white-owned farms in 2000 and have
been implicated in the political violence that has rocked Zimbabwe since in
the past two years.
Commentators have accused the government of
allowing the war veterans and youths who are part of the controversial
national service programme to commit crimes with impunity because they have
emerged as a strong power base for the ruling ZANU PF.
groups are said to have played a crucial role in the ruling party's
parliamentary and presidential election campaign, intimidating opposition
party supporters and potential voters.
National service graduates
have lately been accused by consumers of usurping the powers of the police by
attempting to control food queues, and are alleged to have attacked police
officers manning a queue for mealie meal in Chitungwiza
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena however this week said
the youths were not an extension of the police force and could not undertake
SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE: Progress under land reform, SA govt
9 January (IRIN) - The South African Ministry of Labour said it was impressed
with the progress resettled farmers in Zimbabwe were making following a visit to
several farms in Mashonaland on Thursday.
"After visiting three farms,
Minister [Membathisi] Mdladlana was impressed with the commitment of the
resettled farmers. In one case a black farmer who now owns 250 ha of land and
employs 74 people has developed the land much more than the previous owner.
Also, contrary to what is believed, there are white farmers in Zimbabwe who are
patriotic and want the land reform to yield some positive changes," spokesman
for the department of labour, Snuki Zikalala, told IRIN.
that on his return to South Africa Mdladlana would impress upon the government
the need to assess how land returned to people under the country's own land
reform programme had been used.
"The visit to the farms was a learning
curve for the South African delegation. What was evident was that the land that
was given to resettled farmers was not left idle," Sikalala said.
Mdladlana has been on a four-day visit to the country for talks with the
government aimed at regulating the status and working conditions of illegal
Zimbabwean immigrants working on South African farms.
It is estimated
there are currently more than 10,000 Zimbabwean illegal immigrants working on
farms in Limpopo province in the north of the country alone.
said: "Discussions have centred on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between
the two governments which would ensure that Zimbabwean farm workers in South
Africa benefit from the country's minimum wage policy therefore eradicating the
exploitation of cheap foreign labour. Of course, farmers would have to prove
that they had first sought South African labour before employing any foreign
Following the signing of the MOU between the two countries,
farmers would have to comply with the newly introduced minimum wage of R800 per
month (about US $93) in metropolitan areas and R600 (about US $70) in rural
areas as from March this year.
The departments of labour and home affairs
first tried to phase out illegal Zimbabwean farm workers in the Limpopo province
about four years ago.
The exercise followed complaints from farm workers'
rights activists that farmers shunned local labour in favour of cheap foreign
Angola may offer dispossessed Zimbabweans farms January 09, 2003,
Angola wants to invite dispossessed Zimbabwean
farmers to take over thousands of farms abandoned during the country's
27-year civil war. The governor of Benguela province, Dumilde Rangel, says
Zimbabwean farmers have the know-how and could create jobs in
Some 45000 farms lie abandoned in Benguela alone.
Angola faces a monumental task of re-building the country after a cease-fire
signed last year finally brought to an end to a civil war in which most of
country's infrastructure was destroyed.
farmers, who received their marching orders from the government, are already
plying their trade in Mozambique after receiving invitations to do so.
corporate governance buffs, the news that government is mulling the idea of
setting up a Securities Exchange Commission in Zimbabwe is the best news
since sliced bread.
The worldwide crisis in capitalism sparked by
the collapse of Enron, WorldCom, Andersen and others as well as the enactment
of the controversial Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States, which has
extra-territorial implications, mean that this proposal could not have come
at a better time.
A Securities Exchange Commission is invaluable
for the creation of a culture of best practise, which creates trust in the
financial system and in turn reduces transaction costs for
Insofar as it protects investors by regulating disclosure
and reporting, a Securities Exchange Commission is also key for the
development of "deep and liquid" capital markets, which are critical sources
of cheap financing for enterprises.
The spill over effects of
well-funded enterprises include, amongst other things, a healthy economy in
general and, in particular, greater revenues for central government through
the creation of wider taxation bases, greater returns for investors, and
better wages for employees.
In this article, l share some thoughts
on a possible model of a Securities Exchange Commission. l also argue that
this development is as overdue as it is fundamental to attracting foreign
investment, both direct and portfolio but that key to these reforms is the
wider reform of the political-economic fundamentals of our body
Although we have been repeatedly reminded by politicians
not to mimic other systems and to come up with home grown solutions for our
problems, which is a fine argument, there is no need to re-invent the
We must therefore look to other jurisdictions for
inspiration. This is critical because our country will not be able to fully
participate in a globalised economy without some measure of harmonisation of
our national political interests with our global economic
To this end, l will look at two different models; viz
the Anglo-American model and the Chinese model, with a view to establish
a workable formula for our own jurisdiction.
America and the
United Kingdom are important case studies because of their dominance in the
global capital markets, whilst China shows us all that there is no shame in
repenting from policies that do not work, in spite of their historical
At the very outset, it must be noted that there are
basically two dominant models of regulation: the "market forces" model, in
which industry regulates itself, and the centrist or state regulatory
Recent trends world-wide have been towards a hybridisation of
the two models, which probably began with the interventionist policies of
the Roosevelt presidency in America, which was keen to restore confidence to
the American capital markets after the massive stock market crush of
The crush came about as result of the lack of control of
market operations. Estimates have been made that as high as US$50 billion in
new securities offered, half became worthless when the stock market
Institutional investors, especially banks, lost a lot of
money in the crash because of their heavy investments in the markets. The
panic withdrawals that ensued also caused many bank failures. Public
confidence in the markets reached an all-time low and it became clear that
the capital markets had to be reformed.
Based on Congressional
findings, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
were passed and the Securities Exchange Commission was created pursuant to
the latter legislation. The result was more government oversight of all
aspects of the American financial system.
The Commission has four
divisions, viz; the Division of Enforcement, which investigates and takes
appropriate action in the event of violations of securities laws such as
insider trading, misrepresentation or omission of material information about
securities, manipulating the market prices of securities, and sale of
securities without proper registration; the Division of Corporate Finance,
which oversees corporate disclosure; the Division of Market Regulation, which
oversees and sets standards for all key players in the securities world; and
lastly, the Division of Investment Regulation, which oversees the investment
In England, the Financial Services Authority
(FSA) is the equivalent of the American Securities Exchange Commission and is
statutorily the sole regulator of all UK financial services, including
insurance and banking.
It replaced the Securities and Investments
Board and its array of self-regulatory organisations. There is now emphasis
on the "Control and Command" model of regulation wherein a
government-empowered body monitors and enforces regulation, but with an
active self-regulation regime that complements the efforts of the
Many other countries have successfully used this model
including, Thailand which, as recently as 1992, enacted its own Securities
Exchange Commission Act and thereby established a Securities Exchange
Commission to oversee the Thai capital markets.
On the other
hand, China has a slightly different model, which is explained by its
Under communist China, the concept of private
property was anathema and hence private enterprise in China is relatively
novel, having seriously begun in 1978 when the Communist Party made a pledge
to work towards "socialist modernisation".
One critical issue
which China has had to address and which is the cornerstone of corporate
governance, is the issue of the rights of shareholders and other stakeholders
in corporations, in view of the fact that enterprises in China were
predominantly state enterprises.
With privatisation, the government
had to contend with the interests of other shareholders, with the inevitable
result that state control in the enterprises weakened somewhat.
But China still falls in the class of ownership structure in
which shareholding is characterised as block holding, as opposed to
the market-based model in which shareholding is more dispersed amongst
There is also still a lot of state control
in commercial activities, which extends to the regulation of the securities
markets through the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), which is
charged with authorisation, rule making, investigation and enforcement of all
aspects of the securities market.
Something new has been
happening in China however, in relation to securities law and listing
requirements. With the promulgation of the CSRC's Notice Concerning the
Announcement of Corporate Governance for Listed Companies, which proposes
changes that are very similar to the Anglo-American regime, there is a clear
sign that global market-place trends are influencing the way that business is
done in China and that there is more and more movement towards convergence
with international regulatory standards.
It is thus clear that
considerations of raising global capital have taken precedence over
ideological considerations. It is also clear however that the protection of
minority shareholders will have to increase if China is to fully exploit the
potential of its capital markets.
What is evident from a cursory
study of securities regulation in the countries cited is that:
lThe primary mission of a Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect
investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets by overseeing
and developing the capital markets and all other key participants in the
securities world, including stock exchanges, broker-dealers, investment
advisors, mutual funds, and so on.
lA Securities Exchange
Commission must also fulfil the other vital regulatory tasks of
authorisation, provision of information, enforcement and policy
lStock markets are inherently risky. To reduce these
risks (for it is not possible to completely remove all risk), investors must
have timeous access to accurate and relevant information about an investment
prior to buying it. Mandatory disclosure lies at the heart of financial
lIn order to be effective, a Securities
Exchange Commission itself must meet certain minimum requirements; the
following being some of the most important:
- It must be
independent of both issuers and investors and not prone to political
interference. In America, no more than three Commissioners of the five
presidential appointees (who are subject to Senate confirmation) may belong
to the same party.
- It must be manned by experts (which is a real
challenge because the private sector usually has a monopoly of experts
because of better pay).
- It must be well resourced to enable it to
retain competent staff, hire consultants and educate the public on the
- It must have authority, i.e. some real teeth
backed by the possibility of sanctions against transgressors.
It must be strategically placed and able to control access to engage in
financial services through authorisations and permissions.
present in Zimbabwe, the regulation of the financial sector is fragmented
amongst several regulators such as the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank,
the Registrar of Companies and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange amongst others.
This lack of coherence in regulation is costly, inefficient and confusing to
players and consumers alike.
The current system may also create
grey areas, which could be exploited by unscrupulous dealers at the expense
of consumers. This raises problems of non-objectivity and partiality, at
least in perception.
Apart from this, the financial industry has
grown in sophistication and consolidated beyond traditional areas of
operation, which poses a real supervision challenge. The solution is not to
increase regulatory powers in diverse bodies, but to create a single,
integrated regulator for the entire financial industry.
must also be emphasis on the education of the public on the financial system
to foster a culture of investment, investor activism and shareholder
Whilst there is no perfect model of securities
regulation, Zimbabwe must begin to move towards convergence with prevailing
international trends. In an increasingly globalised economy, countries can
ill afford to resist change.
They must constantly evaluate their
own systems against international benchmarks, such as the International
Organisation of Securities Commissioners. This is unavoidable because of the
increasing importance of international capital.
International Monetary Fund, for example, now operates the Financial Sector
Assessment Programme, which has potential to wield significant powers of
sanctions and incentives, particularly in countries in need of their credit.
There is even growing lobbying for a World Financial Authority, which would
be critical in determining the movement of global capital.
Investors worldwide will not want to invest their precious money in countries
that do not have a reputation for good corporate governance.
coming up with a new regime of financial regulation, we must strive for a
system that combines the "market forces" model and the centrist model by
creating and encouraging strong peer regulatory systems that are
industry based but backed by a strong and efficient body such as the
Securities Exchange Commission.
Government backed regulation is
vital because markets are not always perfect and thus public policy justifies
some intervention to provide certainty and predictability. On the other hand,
market forces are flexible and adaptable to the rapid changes that occur in
the financial world. Hence the structure we choose must be a hybrid of the
It must strike a balance between sufficient
flexibility, which allows business to flourish, and strength to give
confidence to investors. What is vital is that there be accountability in the
system with regards to globally accepted principles of good corporate
governance, which is essential for the creation of public confidence in the
Ultimately, however, it is the macro-political
and economic climate that determines whether well-heeled international
investors will surrender their money for local securities.
influential 1997 research covering 49 countries (including Zimbabwe) showed
that countries with poorer investor protections, measured by both the
character of legal rules and the quality of law enforcement, have smaller and
narrower capital markets.
This is where central governments come
in. Contrary to the laissez faire approach of minimum intervention by the
state in the economic arena, research shows that a government's ideal role is
to create a market with consumers possessing effective demand.
This requires eliminating severe inequalities that depress the purchasing
power of consumers by an orderly and inclusive land reform, progressive and
not punitive taxation, and advancement of workers rights, amongst other
And so, while the idea of a Securities Exchange
Commission is laudable and long overdue, what is more critical is widespread
political and economic reformation that will usher in a leadership that can
articulate a coherent and comprehensive policy of development.
To me, the current one cannot.
lTapfumanei Nyawanza is a Zimbabwean
lawyer presently pursuing further studies in the United Kingdom. He can be
reached on e-mail address T.Nyawanza@warwick.ac.uk
Unblocking Zimbabwe's blocked transition to
Masipula Sithole 1/9/03 8:18:47 AM (GMT
"ZIMBABWE'S children in the diaspora" (Part Five) must wait.
For the time being I thought it appropriate to begin the year by suggesting
what we should do to break the impasse of last year, which will continue to
In this rather lengthy contribution, I want to make a
"patriotic suggestion" to unblock Zimbabwe's blocked transition to
The ZANU PF government has said it was duly elected
following the laws and constitution of Zimbabwe as a sovereign state and not
the expectations of other countries.
The opposition MDC and the
international community argue, however, that sovereignty should operate
within certain international norms and expectations, which Zimbabwe is in
Thus two contradictory principles are involved in
this issue: the principle of "national sovereignty" and the principle of
"human rights". Both are enshrined in the United Nations
My assessment of the two is that national sovereignty is
becoming obsolete and moribund in the era of globalisation and
internationalism, while human rights threaten to be the pre-occupation of the
21st century in the march of history from primitive to contemporary notions
of human community. It's just an observation, but a very important
In other words, the political impasse in Zimbabwe should
be problematised and contextualised in this way: national sovereignty
versus human rights, both enshrined in the UN Charter.
shall the international community respect: national sovereignty kana kuti
human rights? Which is dearer to the contemporary international
Which should be dearer to us as Zimbabweans? Should it
be national sovereignty (whatever that means) or human rights of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness (whatever that means)?
President Robert Mugabe and his party have chosen national sovereignty. MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai and his party have chosen human rights and good
governance; they believe that where the two are in conflict, human rights and
good governance must take precedence. These two are at the core of the
present political impasse.
What is the way forward? How do we
unblock the blocked transition to democracy in Zimbabwe? I see the following
(1) Status quo: whereby the MDC and the international
community recognise the Mugabe government, notwithstanding how it came to
power. This option includes a "government of national unity", the possibility
of including the MDC in Mugabe's Cabinet. This would be still maintaining
the status quo, at best, and legitimising the illegitimate, at
(2) Election re-run: whereby ZANU PF agrees to a re-run of
the March presidential election under international scrutiny and supervision.
Given its acclaimed popularity - having solved the land question - there
is nothing to fear but fear itself!
(3) Bringing forward the
presidential election: whereby the presidential elections due in 2008 are
brought forward to occur concurrently with the parliamentary elections due in
2005, three years away. A constitutional amendment could be made requiring
parliamentary and presidential elections to occur concurrently. Mugabe would
be 81 in 2005, a perfectly legitimate reason for early
(4) Removing the stumbling block: whereby an
intransigent leader is removed from the political scene. A theory has been
advanced that long-time adversaries have intractable positions; they have dug
in their heels. If a negotiated settlement to a contentious issue has to be
successful, one of the adversaries has to leave the political scene. There is
evidence for this.
Not until there was a new leader in Salisbury
(the malleable and unsuspecting Bishop Abel Muzorewa replacing the
intransigent Ian Smith in 1979) did the Lancaster House Conference
Not until the soft-spoken Joaquim Chissano succeeded the
ideological and militarist Samora Machel did rapprochement with Renamo begin,
however slowly, in Mozambique.
Not until the stiff-necked
hardliner Pik Botha was replaced by the reformist Frederick W de Klerk did we
see movement towards ending apartheid in South Africa.
say more? Not until the unreliable papa Laurent Kabila had been assassinated
and replaced by baby Joseph Kabila did peace talks in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo have a real chance.
And not until the power-hungry
veteran UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi was killed did prospects for real peace
come to Angola, even instantly.
The removal of stumbling blocks,
therefore, has in certain cases (many in our region!) proven fruitful in
paving the way forward. As a pacifist myself, I am naturally inclined to
prefer the Smith/Muzorewa and Botha/de Klerk examples to the other three
cases where removal from the scene was violent. This is an option still open
to ZANU PF.
(5) Civil unrest: whereby all hell breaks loose and we
gravitate towards the "state of nature" where life, in Thomas Hobbes'
formulation, is "solitary, nasty, brutish and short". Civil unrest or mass
uprising has many attendant dangers (seen and unforeseen).
least Zimbabwe still has its economic physical infrastructure intact; its
people still have some semblance of goodwill towards one another. (We still
share a joke or two those rare times Jonathan and I bump into each
During an uprising, both physical infrastructure and
goodwill are destroyed and it takes long and tedious years to rebuild
Which option do I prefer? I prefer all of them, in the sense
that it depends on circumstances. Option (1) and (5) are the least
attractive, yet they appear the most likely, one leading into the other, as
we mindlessly let this impasse drift along unchecked.
like option (1) because, although I come from Chipinge, I am an
internationalist in the sense that I strongly subscribe to the view
that where the principles of national sovereignty and human rights are
in conflict, the latter should take precedence. In that sense, I am
an internationalist who happens to come from Chipinge.
good governance and human rights are permanently on the African and
international agenda in the 21st century whether we like it or not. In that
sense, I live in the future, while (oops?) lives in the past. It's just an
opinion, a very important opinion, one might say.
But frankly, I
prefer option (3): bringing forward the presidential election to occur
concurrently with parliamentary elections in 2005 instead of 2008. It appears
to be the best under the currently prevailing circumstances of meeting the
dictates of national sovereignty on the one hand and human rights and good
governance on the other.
But can the collapsing economic, political
and social order hold for three more years until 2005? That is the question.
Some even wonder if things can hold for the next three months. But, built
into the third scenario or option is the following:
announces he will retire in three years. (Sooner could be more helpful!) He
announces he will not be seeking re-election. He can give his age as the
reason; he will be 81 in 2005!
This would release his party to
search for another leader well ahead of time for the 2005 presidential
election. He would begin negotiating his retirement package together with
those of his colleagues, which they could ask the international community to
In addition, the President would announce that he would
revisit the constitutional debate of 2000 that was left unfinished in a rush
to the 2000 June parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections.
He would start the process of levelling the electoral playing field
by dismantling the para-military political structures such as the war
veterans and the youth militia.
He would repeal all the
draconian legislation affecting people's civil liberties and human
He would take steps to de-politicise the army, police,
security service, judiciary and the public service in general.
Such democratising agenda and processes can start immediately, presided over
by Mugabe himself. The irony of it is that the President can do all this to
everyone's relief (including himself) and still maintain the "national
sovereignty" that is so dear to him! Why doesn't he do that, veduwe-e-e;
In this scenario, Mugabe and ZANU PF would come out
smelling like a rose in that they would claim to have solved both the "land
question" and the "good governance" and "human rights" issues so dear to the
MDC and the international community.
Both the MDC and the
international community would look ridiculous to insist on re-running the
presidential election. I would cease to be an internationalist and join my
friend doing the kongonya dance in the "Fourth Chimurenga"!
any rate, it takes time to even up the playing field and to create a national
psychology for a free and fair election in a population traumatised for so
long, particularly in Zimbabwe's rural areas. In my view, three years is
about the optimal time needed to unblock Zimbabwe's blocked transition to
What is likely to happen in this scenario is
immediate positive response from the international community. Hence the
collapsed economy would start picking up almost immediately after such steps
begin to be taken.
In this scenario, Mugabe's successor (even
himself!) might have a chance to win a truly free and fair election. (I might
even consider voting for a ZANU PF candidate! Chenjera kunyeperwa!). Even if
ZANU PF loses, Zimbabwe would have a democratic constitution that protects
even their human rights and the rule of law.
This, I submit,
would unblock the blocked transition to democracy in Zimbabwe. This way, both
principles of national sovereignty and human rights and good governance,
which contradict each other in this impasse, are resolved without any further
bloodletting and suffering.
I am aware there is a sixth and perhaps
obvious option, the military option. There are three perspectives on this.
The first suggests that a military coup has already occurred when the
military, in one form or another, intervened and blocked the transition to
democracy last year. That scenario is therefore option (1) (the status quo)
which, like any military government, is already unsatisfactory.
A second perspective on the military option suggests that the military will
eventually get fed up with the lack of progress since the March presidential
election and stage a proper military coup pending an election in which
existing parties contest. In this scenario, the military itself might form a
political party of its own called the Zimbabwe Military Party (ZMP) and
contest against both ZANU PF and the MDC (Jerry Rawlings style).
perspective on the military option is that the military, as a corporate
entity, might support any of the above five options, except that option (1)
(status quo) has already proven it is not getting the country anywhere.
Option (5) is too chaotic, leaving option (2) (re-run), option (3) (bringing
forward) and option (4) (removing the stumbling block).
"patriotic" contention is that the military, as a corporate entity, would
support option (3) more readily than any other, including the
second perspective of the sixth option. This again is only a point of view,
again a very important point of view.
Finally, how likely is
Mugabe to buy into this? It depends on the skills of the salespersons. The
view that the President is irredeemable (won 't change) is too deterministic
and pessimistic an idea which is often advanced by the more sanguinary among
us, wittingly or unwittingly.
Like all of us, Mugabe will push his
agenda relative to options available to him at a given point in time. He is
not as blind an actor and will know when his options have narrowed. And, they
have rapidly narrowed since his controversial re-election.
can't resist admitting that this is a minority view, judging from what one
reads in both Jonathan and Gono's Press! (By the way, both men could sell the
idea if they should decide to become "patriotic").
spectre of civil unrest looms ahead, larger than life. When is this going to
occur? This is a question those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't
But this too depends on the skills of the salespersons of the
idea, and there are many; some of them are hungry for food while others are
hungry for fuel. Somehow, they will meet and press demands.
don't need a salesperson. I shudder to contemplate the consequences. All this
can be avoided by looking very closely at option (3).
Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
Institute. While he is currently on sabbatical leave in the United States of
America, Sithole can be contacted at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and telephone number (202)
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday alleged that it had unearthed
hundreds of phantom and non-resident voters in Kuwadzana constituency in an
audit that revealed 10 000 new names had been added to the voters' roll since
the March 2002 presidential election.
The MDC faces the ruling ZANU
PF in a by-election to replace the late Learnmore Jongwe, the opposition
party's member of Parliament for Kuwadzana who died last year.
The government is still to set the dates for the poll, in which MDC national
youth chairman Nelson Chamisa will square off against a ruling party
candidate yet to be nominated.
The opposition party's campaign
manager in Kuwadzana, Charlton Hwende, said an MDC audit of the Kuwadzana
voters' register showed a total 10 000 new names of potential voters had been
added to the roll since the presidential election controversially won by
President Robert Mugabe last year.
Hwende said a physical check
by the MDC showed that several of the new voters did not live at the
Kuwadzana addresses listed as their residences on the voters'
Another 150 people registered to vote in the by-election
actually live in the ZANU PF stronghold of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe
constituency in Mashonaland East province, he said.
Some of the
new voters were traced to Dziva-rasekwa high-density suburb, located close to
Kuwadzana, while others were from Epworth just outside Harare and Seke
Hwende told the Financial Gazette: "We deployed
about 90 people, 30 per ward, to carry out an extensive audit on the voters'
roll. What was most worrying about the results of the audit was the number of
voters who are not known by the landlords and the neighbours at the addresses
where they are purported to be staying.
"A good number, about
150, is coming from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, while others are from Seke Rural
and from urban constituencies such as Epworth and Dzivarasekwa, where ZANU PF
enjoys substantial support."
Hwende said the MDC's 90-member audit
team had uncovered cases where up to 25 potential voters were listed on the
voters' roll as residing at a given Kuwadzana address, where in fact only
five people lived.
Several names of long deceased people were also
still appearing on the voters register, according to Hwende.
MDC official said his party had conducted its audit using the voters' roll
utilised in last year's presidential ballot and another copy of the register
supplied by Mudede's office.
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, who
is in charge of compiling the voters' roll, could not be reached for comment
on the matter by the time of going to print last night. The Registrar General
has been accused of manipulating the voters' roll to favour ZANU
Mudede, whose office this week confirmed that thousands of
mostly ZANU PF supporting illegal settlers at Whitecliff farm adjacent to
Kuwadzana had been registered to vote in the upcoming by-election, denies the
ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa
said his party was happy with the Kuwadzana voters' roll and vehemently
denied charges that ineligible ruling party members were being added to the
register to ensure the party won the by-election.
He told the
Financial Gazette: "What rigging? Are they already panicking? The voters'
roll was open for inspection. They can't just be unhappy in their offices.
They have got to inspect the voters' roll.
"That is the purpose for
inspection, to rectify anomalies. You can't just sit at home and be unhappy.
You put forward your concerns."
is pressing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to pay part of the
$100 billion Zimbabwe spent on the DRC's four-year civil war in foreign
currency in a bid to boost the country's hard cash resources, it was learnt
Government officials said the Zimbabwean ministerial
delegation that visited the DRC last November had tabled the proposal to the
Congolese because of the country's biting fuel crisis.
ways were discussed on commercial deals which can be implemented by the two
governments (to settle the debt)," an official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, told the Financial Gazette.
"One option Zimbabwe has
tabled is to have compensation of the war effort paid in foreign currency to
help pay for our fuel bill."
Officials in the Ministry of Finance,
which has been involved in negotiations on the DRC war debt, could not
comment on the matter yesterday.
Contacted on his mobile phone, the
ministry's permanent secretary, Nicholas Ncube, said he was attending a
funeral and was unable to discuss the issue.
Energy and Power
Development Minister Amos Midzi declined to comment, saying he was "busy
attending to pressing issues".
Sources however said the Zimbabwean
government had received no response to their proposals from Kinshasa, which
wants to compensate Zimbabwe through timber and diamond
The sources said representatives of the DRC government
had told the Harare officials at the November meeting that the onus was on
Zimbabwe to ensure that the concessions the country was granted became
They said the proposal made to the DRC was only one of
several options the Zimbabwean government was considering to pay its fuel
bill after a procurement deal with Libya failed to halt the country's liquid
Zimbabwe needs about US$45 million a month to meet its
fuel requirements, but has been unable to raise the money because of a hard
cash squeeze, which has adversely affected business and the country's
public transport system.
Official sources said the country's
fuel shortages had worsened in the past few weeks because President Robert
Mugabe had been advised against acceding to demands by Libya to barter fuel
for the national oil-pipeline at Feruka and storage depots in
Libya emerged as the country's main liquid energy supplier
after a deal in which the North African country supplied Zimbabwe with fuel
on preferential terms in exchange for investment opportunities.
According to government sources, the Libyans had initially been interested in
ventures in the hotel, tourism, farming and financial sectors, before further
casting their eyes on key Zimbabwean fuel assets.
government and National Oil Company of Zimbabwe officials had advised Mugabe
against endorsing further demands that they described
"President Robert Mugabe was advised that it
was improper to let the Libyans get the pipeline and depots as they had been
demanding because those are of national strategic and security importance," a
government official told the Financial Gazette. "That was the
Analysts this week said the government was under pressure
to quickly resolve the fuel crisis, which has been cited as one of the key
factors affecting the viability of local businesses.
Matabeleland Chamber of Industries this week warned that the fuel crisis was
one of the reasons that could forced half of its 75 members out of business
in the first quarter of this year.
THE MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI'S SPEECH TO MDC MPs AND WARD COUNCILLORS ON
THE PARTY'S POSITION ON THE ZIMBABWE UNIFORMED FORCES.
9, 2003. The Mugabe regime has been using scare tactics to foment hostility
in the Zimbabwe uniformed forces i.e. the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), the Air
Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) towards the MDC.
The common tactic used has been to cast these uniformed forces as part and
parcel of the political structures of ZANU PF. In this context the vain,
cowardly and despicable strategy has been to try to portray the national
uniformed forces, together with ZANU PF, as the common political opponents of
the MDC. This is a deliberate attempt by ZANU PF to bring the uniformed forces
in its political battles against the people, led by the MDC. The position of the
MDC in this diabolical scheme has always been clear and consistent as spelt out
in our defence policy, which is a public document. Mugabe and ZANU PF are
acutely aware of our defence policy. We have no political quarrel with all
the Zimbabwe uniformed forces and we regard all them as patriotic, national,
professional rather than partisan, and political. I would therefore want to take
this opportunity to clarify once and for all, the party’s position on these key
national institutions. THE UNIFORMED FORCES HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO FEAR
FROM AN MDC GOVERNMENT. THEY CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A HEALTHY AND PROFESSIONAL
FUTURE THAT IS FREE OF POLITICAL ABUSE. The MDC unequivocally recognizes and
unconditionally accepts that the ZNA, the AFZ and the ZRP, just like the civil
service, are permanent and eternally enduring national institutions, which are
provided for in the Zimbabwe Constitution. They are an expression of, and
therefore indispensable guarantees for our security, sovereignty and national
independence. These are cardinal issues on which the MDC has never and will
never surrender or compromise on. An MDC government will protect and respect
the professional integrity and organizational autonomy of all the uniformed
forces. The organizational hierarchy and seniority of all the uniformed forces
will be respected and guaranteed; and the criteria for advancement and promotion
will be respected. Pensions and all other benefits will be guaranteed and
the usual public service mechanisms to keep pensions in line with the cost of
living adjustments will apply. The MDC government will not implement,
tolerate or support any policy or programme that deliberately seeks to disrupt
the organizational integrity and professionalism of the uniformed forces. The
organizational continuity of all the uniformed forces will be
guaranteed. Immediately after the formation of an MDC government, we will
implement a programme of national healing and reconciliation. We shall not allow
past memories, past bitterness and past vendettas to continue to haunt the
nation. No one will benefit from dwelling in the past. For the uniformed
forces, the practical implication of this policy is that we shall draw a line
that will put an irrevocable seal or closure on the events and tragedies of the
past. There will be no recrimination or persecution of members of the
uniformed forces. We will expect and encourage the uniformed forces to join the
nation as one patriotic force and march together with courage and determination
towards the re-building of our country and invent a prosperous future for
posterity. As with all other citizens of our great nation, constitutionally
guaranteed roles, rights and privileges come with responsibilities. In this
regard, the MDC government will expect and require all our uniformed forces to
reverently adhere to their constitutionally mandated role of defending the
nation against security threats. However, we will require that all the uniformed
forces desist from participation in partisan politics as organised units.
IT IS INTOLERABLE IN ANY DEMOCRACY FOR THE UNIFORMED FORCES TO AGREE TO THE
PARTISAN USE OF THEIR MILITARY MIGHT AND INTERVENE TO DECIDE THE OUTCOMES OF
DEMOCRATIC CONTESTS BY POLITICAL PARTIES. The uniformed forces should not
agree to act as armed wings of any political party. They are to act as
non-partisan patriotic units rendering non-political and constitutionally
determined service to the nation as a whole. Under an MDC government, all
members of the uniformed forces will be free to exercise their democratic
political rights as citizens and participate in electoral politics as private
individuals, but never as organized units of the uniformed forces. The root
of the crisis in Zimbabwe today is a crisis of governance, which manifests
itself in a political contest between the MDC and ZANU PF. The Zimbabwe
uniformed forces are not party to this political contest and therefore they have
absolutely no political role to play in it. Bringing them into the contest does
not only violate the Police Act and the Defence Act, thereby seriously
undermining political neutrality and professionalism, but it is also patently
unconstitutional. We therefore call upon all the uniformed forces to be
facilitative of peaceful and democratic political change, rather than agree to
play an obstructive role that may ultimately send the nation tumbling into the
abyss or catastrophe. In the new democracies in Africa and elsewhere today, the
uniformed forces have played a critical role in ensuring that political change
is democratic, orderly and peaceful: · In Senegal the uniformed forces
maintained their non-political, non-partisan and constitutional role and the
change of government was a model for all Africa to emulate. · Ghana
moved from a government with a direct military legacy to a purely civilian
democratic government; the uniformed forces, by sticking to their constitutional
role ensured that the democratic process was irrevocable. · Only
yesterday, the uniformed forces of Kenya pledged loyalty to a newly elected
democratic government, and the country has laid down a firm foundation for
national renewal, recovery and development. · Had the uniformed forces
chosen to disrupt the democratic transitions in Namibia and South Africa those
two countries would have been plunged into chaos. · In Venezuela, for
the past month, political parties have been locked in political combat, but the
Venezuelan uniformed forces have remained loyal to their constitutional mandate.
They have refused to take a partisan position. · Brazil has just
effected a smooth change of government, and the uniformed forces abstained from
interfering in the political process. The plain truth is that the world is
now a hostile place for uniformed forces that expand their roles to the realm of
politics. Political change will come with or without the co-operation of the
uniformed forces as it did in many countries in Africa and beyond, but it is
preferable and in the national interest that political change be orderly and
peaceful. The uniformed forces in Zimbabwe must therefore play their part by
being professional and non-partisan. There should be absolutely no room for the
involvement of the armed forces in political contests between the MDC and ZANU
PF.It is now self-evident to all Zimbabweans that the Mugabe regime is
illegitimate and has lost all the capacity to solve the problems of the nation.
The unending fuel crisis has now reached its zenith and Mugabe does not
even know where the next litre of petrol or diesel is going to come from. With
food shortages set to continue until 2004, there is no sustainable programme to
feed the nation throughout 2003. We all face a bleak and frightening common
future. Without a comprehensive political solution no amount of military force
would ever resolve the problems of the country. The uniformed forces of
Zimbabwe can play a positive role as facilitators of democratic change if they
abstain from partisan intervention in politics. Democracy and good governance
can not be decided by the gun. As a result of the regime’s pathological
ineptitude it has opted for a false solution that seeks refuge in the
militarisation of politics. The overall strategy is to try to spread the
blame for its misrule and then hide behind the uniformed forces. They have tried
to create a civil-military junta in order to use military means to ward-off
democratic challenges from the people. The Mugabe regime today finds itself
in a situation in which it uses the uniformed forces to protect itself from
democracy. Protecting illegitimate regimes from democracy is surely not the
responsibility of the uniformed forces. This overt and illegitimate
militarisation of politics is one of the key reasons why the MDC has spurned
recent efforts through some shadowy and retired military elements to involve the
uniformed forces in the search for a political solution to the country’s
problems. Our position is that the uniformed forces have absolutely no
functional or constitutional role to play in the Zimbabwe political equation.
The departure of the uniformed forces from partisan political activity is
the only course of action that will guarantee the triumph of the sovereign will
of the of the people of Zimbabwe. They should therefore not be abused by a
bankrupt and corrupt regime that is too cowardly to face the consequences of its
tyrannical actions. THE PLAIN TRUTH IS THAT THE UNIFORMED FORCES HAVE NO
CASE TO ANSWER IN THE COURT OF ZIMBABWEAN PUBLIC OPNION. THEY ARE NOT AND HAVE
NEVER BEEN ON TRIAL. IT IS THE CIVILIAN POLITICIANS IN ZANU PF WHO HAVE, MUST
FACE A DEMOCRATIC INDICTMENT. The MDC is a legal, national, patriotic and
constitutional political party that upholds the sanctity of the sovereignty of
Zimbabwe and the sacredness of the people’s expression of their sovereign
popular will through democratic, free and fair elections. In that regard we
remain unshaken in our conviction that the path to Zimbabwe’s future is a
civilian rather than a military or semi-military one. The test of
acceptability for any government in Zimbabwe must lie with the people and not
some civil-military junta. The uniformed forces have no business in, and must
resist the unconstitutional expansion of their mandate to embrace the
illegitimate role of king-makers in the vain exercise of serving the fortunes of
a regime that has clearly lost the political and moral authority to govern
government's intention to appoint governors for Harare and Bulawayo has been
condemned as "a retrogressive development". Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, was quoted in
yesterday's Herald as saying President Mugabe had declared in last Friday's
Government Gazette that Harare and Bulawayo would
Chombo reportedly said "the legal modalities"
had already been worked out. He said the governors could be used to dish out
State resources to favoured beneficiaries. The chairman of National
Constitutional Assembly, (NCA), Lovemore Madhuku, whose organisation is
pressing for constitutional reform, said Mugabe was cashing in on flaws in
the current constitution to protect Zanu PF's interests.
is nothing in the Constitution that protects local authorities," Madhuku
"As things stand, anything can happen as long as you are not
protected by the Constitution. Mugabe can abolish the mayorship or reduce the
powers of mayors." He said Zimbabwe's Constitution allows eight
governors to sit in Parliament so Mugabe would have to either appoint the two
governors from sitting non-constituency members of Parliament or appoint two
other people to become governors.
He said it was not possible to
pick from elected MPs as they would have to resign from Parliament once they
were appointed governors. "If Mugabe appoints people who are not sitting MPs
to become governors, he will have to work out which two governors would not
sit in Parliament as the Constitution allows only eight governors to sit in
the House," Madhuku said.
"I hope Zimbabweans will learn from this
and realise why we are advocating for a democratic constitution," he said.
Madhuku said the NCA's proposed constitution protects local authorities from
abuse by the government.
Chombo said the governors would
"co-ordinate urban agriculture, road construction, public works programmes
and link developmental programmes with adjacent provinces".
proposal has been viewed as a ploy to undermine Harare Executive Mayor Elias
Mudzuri, and Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, his counterpart in Bulawayo. The two were
elected on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) tickets.
Mudzuri and Chombo have clashed on a number of policies, while the State
media has launched a relentless campaign to discredit the mayor and his
MASVINGO city faces a serious health hazard as companies
are discharging effluent, including raw sewerage, into Lake Mutirikwi, the
city' s sole source of water.
Companies in Masvingo's industrial
area are currently disposing of their waste into Mucheke and Shagashe rivers
which feed into the lake.
This has raised strong fears among
residents that their drinking water might be polluted.
say the practice has remained unchecked for months. Luckson Mudzinganyama, a
spokesman for the residents, said the council should seriously look into the
matter to avoid a serious disease outbreak. He said: "We feel our water is
not safe for drinking. Companies and organisations are discharging waste into
rivers which directly feed into the lake. As residents, we demand to know
whether our water is still safe to drink."
The Executive Mayor of
Masvingo, Engineer Alois Chaimiti, said yesterday he had tasked the city's
health department to look into the matter.
some companies were discharging waste and raw sewage into the rivers which
feed into the lake, a practice he said should stop.
"I am also
worried about the waste being discharged into the rivers. I have instructed
the city's health department to look into the issue," said Chaimiti. But the
mayor assured residents that Masvingo's water was safe to drink. Chaimiti
said: "The waste being disgorged into the rivers has not yet affected the
quality of our water. "In fact, the town has the best water in the country.
Our water purification plant is perfect and residents are assured of quality
yesterday sealed off Harare's Town House and its immediate surroundings to
quash a demonstration against the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo.
Bothwell Mugariri confirmed to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
last night the arrest of eight people saying they would be charged with
violating Section 19 (a) (i) of the repressive Public Order and Security
In the ensuing skirmishes, the police allegedly arrested a
couple along the First Street Mall and seized their video
The demonstrators carried placards in support of Harare
Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who has been the target of constant attacks
Passers-by were caught up in the melee as the
police indiscriminately attacked those who happened to cross their path. A
Daily News crew witnessed a policeman forcing a woman walking along Julius
Nyerere Way to pick up placards which had been abandoned on the streets as
the demonstrators fled in different directions, with the police in hot
The protesters, mostly youths numbering about 200, grouped
in the central business district, waving placards denouncing Chombo for
his continued interference in the affairs of the Harare City
Last week, Chombo ordered the council to reinstate Nomutsa
Chideya, the town clerk, Lovemore Mbengeranwa, the director of health
services, and Leslie Gwindi, the public relations manager all suspended by
the opposition MDC-dominated council last year for incompetence,
insubordination and having been irregularly recruited,
Mudzuri, elected on an MDC ticket last March, has
said the three will not be reinstated.
the MDC shadow Minister of Local Government Affairs, condemned the arrests
and use of brute force by the police."The Mugabe regime through . . .
Ignatius Chombo, has made several attempts to frustrate the Mudzuri-led
council," Chaibva said.
He said the arrests were a violation of the
residents' constitutional rights. Chombo's order to Mudzuri to reinstate the
suspended officials was in contravention of the Urban Councils Act, added
A police source said eight people were arrested and taken
to Harare Central Police Station. Mudzuri denied a news report by the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) that he had organised the
demonstration against Chombo. In a statement last night, the Harare mayor
said: "It is very unfortunate that the ZBC is making serious and malicious
allegations about His Honour, Executive Mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri's
involvement in organising the demonstrations that have taken place
"I wish to deny categorically that I made any input
whatsoever in organising the demonstrations."
(Harare) January 9, 2003 Posted to the web January 9, 2003 Staff
Reporter Harare FIDELITY Printers, Zimbabwe's sole printer of money, has
failed to pay millions of dollars owed to a German paper supplier, raising
fears that shortages of $500 notes will continue in the next few weeks, the
Financial Gazette has established. Although it was not possible to
ascertain this week how much Fidelity Printers, a wholly owned subsidiary of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, owed the German firm, sources within the
central bank said the debt ran "into several millions of American
dollars." "The central bank has not been settling its dues for some time," a
source said. Fidelity Printers chief executive Christopher Kambasha would
not comment on the matter this week, referring all inquiries to the central
bank. The was no immediate response from the Reserve Bank's public
affairs department, whose officials were said to be out of the office on
business. However, officials within the Ministry of Finance warned that the
shortage of notes was likely to continue because of Zimbabwe's numerous,
pressing foreign debts, most of which are in arrears. The country's
foreign arrears have reached US$1.3 billion and are expected to rise this
year because of a severe foreign currency crisis that has dogged Zimbabwe for
the past three years. Sources said the shortages of bank notes could also be
attributed to recent central bank guidelines to banks, aimed at curbing
withdrawals of cash and distribution of $500 notes at a time Zimbabwe's
hyperinflationary environment has led to a high demand for money. The
country's capital inflows have declined from US$502 million in 1995 to a net
outflow of US$347 million in November last year. "Bankers were asked to
scrutinise people with suspicious looking accounts, or who either bank or
withdraw a lot of money," a source told the Financial Gazette. A Harare
based economist this week warned that if the shortage of $500
notes continued, it would pose a security threat to members of the public
who would now be forced to carry large quantities of bank notes for
their transactions. "The greatest problem is that people holding money for
large transactions would be exposed to thieves as they would be handling a
lot of money," said the economist. "The other problem is that this might
lead to a shortage of money in the formal market, which might lead to another
parallel market of our money," he added.
OPINION January 9, 2003 Posted to the web January 9,
Richard Wiley Harare
ON Christmas Eve at around 1400
hours, I was "enjoying" the passing of the third hour in a petrol queue
blessed with blazing sunshine.
As my house happened to be less than two
kilometres from my position in the queue, I asked my wife to bring me a
couple of beers. Liquid refreshment had become a necessity in the
aforementioned heat and unsurprisingly, the slowly approaching garage
couldn't help as the fridges were devoid of any refreshments of a more sugary
Being a generous fellow, I couldn't let a friend a couple
of cars back in the queue go without his share of the amber nectar so the two
of us retired to the shade of a leafy tree situated not far from a "police
Needless to say, a couple of PC Plods passing by in a ZRP
vehicle found unusual levels of energy and alighted with alacrity with the
declared intent of carting the two of us to the nearby "station".
crime, we were bluntly informed, was to consume alcoholic beverages
in public. The charge was a hefty $5 000 each.
The fact that our
vehicles were now within spitting distance of the oasis called a service
station was of no concern to the Plods. "Come now and pay" was the clear
No warning was entertained, no consideration given to the
circumstances, but that's life and so is the fact that patrons have for 20
years consumed alcohol in public outside a bottle store within direct line of
sight of the self-same police station. To my knowledge, not one of these
imbibers has been apprehended.
I continue to hear and read tales of
woe concerning the use/carriage of chigubhus containing liquid
Many motorists have had this fuel and containers "confiscated" at
places such as Beit Bridge border post or even at roadblocks manned by
individuals purporting to be representatives of the ZRP.
Worse, I have
heard of many victims being allowed to retain their chigubhus and the
contents thereof, but only on payment of a "fine". The word "fine" is, of
course, a euphemism for "bribe". The most commonly applied "fine" seems to
amount to $5 000.
At the time of the last major fuel shortage, a lawyer
sent me a copy of the Hazardous Substances Act with the specific purpose of
demonstrating that there is no law which prevents any person from storing (or
moving) liquid fuels in a loose container.
To my knowledge there has
been no change whatsoever to this legislation but that doesn't seem to deter
a multitude of individuals from exploiting positions of power and profiting
at the expense of innocent individuals.
Now to matters of a more relevant
nature but possibly of more appeal to those who are small-minded, in this
case, in a nice sense.
I am referring to that littlest of urban runabouts
called the MCC Smart which is produced by yet another division of that global
I first saw a Smart at the 1997 Frankfurt
Motor Show and was frankly staggered that the proprietors of the
three-pointed star should involve themselves in such a project.
tells me that the Smart was initially a slow seller but the expansion of the
dealer network in Europe has seen sales pick up considerably such that these
"cars" are a common sight, even in the UK.
The range has in fact expanded
from the original Coupë to include a City Cabriolet, a Crossblade and a
Roadster but for purposes of this article, I will confine my comments to the
This two-seater is available in a number of
configurations which are identified by descriptions such as Pulse and
Passion. Whichever model you consider, all are powered by a turbocharged
three cylinder, fuel-injected motor mounted in the rear.
model produces 44 bhp at 5250 rpm. This is sufficient to propel the little
machine to a limited top end of 135 km/h with 100 km/h reached in 18.9
The smarter Smarts feature more turbo boost which results in a
peak power output of 61 bhp with torque rising to 88 Nm. The restricted top
speed remains but 100 km/h is reached in just 16.8 seconds. (A 54 bhp motor
is also available for models fitted with auto transmission). A
six-speed sequential gearbox (motorbike-style) is offered as standard fare
but for the lazier motorist, a "soft-touch" auto is also
Front suspension is by conventional McPherson struts while the
rear end sees a resurrection of the old De Dion system fitted with coil
springs. In all applications, the front wheels are four inches wide while the
rears grow by one-and-a-half inches to promote a decidedly sporty
When you first see a Smart, your most immediate impression is how
tiny the darned thing is. To put this in perspective, its total length is 2.5
metres on the button while its width is a smidgen over 1.5 metres. Given
the miniscule dimensions, it may come as something of a surprise that
kerb weight is as much as 720 kg.
The fuel tank holds a relatively
generous 35 litres and provides a fuel range of approximately 600 kms in
Prices in Britain range from anywhere between £6 500 to £10
000 depending on model and specification. This large variance points to the
availability of a huge range of options, the most attractive of which are
airconditioning and side airbags to name just two.
If I'm not
mistaken, I believe there's a Smart running around Harare and I'm told Zimoco
is in the process of importing a couple. Doubtless they'll be great fun in an
urban environment but please consider they could disappear completely in some
of Harare's potholes.
THE government is
considering a policy document promoting sustainable wildlife management
within the land reform programme, which has cost Zimbabwe at least $6 billion
in poached wildlife in the past two years, the Financial Gazette has
Officials within the Ministry of Environment said the
document, titled Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy, was drafted in July by
the ministry and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority, in conjunction with two international wildlife conservation
The document was submitted to other ministries at the end
of last year, the officials said.
The objectives of the proposed
wildlife-based land reform policy, a copy of which is in the possession of
this newspaper, include equitable access to land and wildlife resources as
well as sustainable management of wildlife.
"In addition to
engendering greater production efficiency in the wildlife management sector,
this policy seeks to address past inequities with respect to access to
wildlife resources and benefits," the draft policy document
"However, the current land reform is silent on how to
incorporate wildlife-based land uses. Therefore, in order that various
proposals for wildlife-based land reform can be given due attention, it is
necessary to articulate a relevant policy that will encourage sustainable
management of Zimbabwe's wildlife resources."
It was not
possible to ascertain this week if and when the document would be brought
before Cabinet for discussion.
The permanent secretary in the
Ministry of Tourism, Lucas Tavaya, yesterday would only say that the
government was still "looking into the document" without going into
Wildlife industry officials estimate that at least 50
percent of Zimbabwe's wildlife has been wiped out by poachers in the past two
years, and that the country has lost more than $6 billion in
Most of the poaching has been blamed on war veterans, who
began occupying white-owned farms in February 2000, and on beneficiaries of
the government's controversial land reform programme.
for the country's wildlife in the implementation of the agrarian reforms has
resulted in the loss of not only wildlife but vegetation and animal habitats
that conservationists say will only regenerate after many years.
Animal conservancies and tourism resorts have also been adversely affected by
the land reform programme.
"Whether planned or not, virtually all
resettlement has been based on use of land for agriculture," the draft
Wildlife-Based Land Reform Policy said. "This emphasis on crops and livestock
has fuelled poaching, habitat degradation and woodland loss on newly settled
"The (Wildlife-Based Land Reform) policy is underpinned by
recognition that wildlife is a viable land use option that can facilitate
attainment of equity objectives and that it is feasible. This policy is
complemented by existing natural resources legislation and the state
protected area system."
The document proposes the creation of
wildlife production zones outside protected areas that are dedicated to
"In these areas, wildlife should be the only
permitted primary land use option. Outside core zones, wildlife production,
amongst other land use options, will be encouraged," the draft policy said.
"Wildlife production must be maintained where it is the most appropriate land
Govt refuses to grant Harare council borrowing
1/9/03 9:43:11 AM (GMT +2)
has refused to grant the Harare City Council borrowing powers that would
enable it to undertake crucial capital projects in 2003, Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo said yesterday.
Chombo told the Financial
Gazette that his ministry and the Ministry of Finance would only grant the
council borrowing powers when it had a strategic plan in place.
He said a plan was necessary because the city council had
suffered financially during the tenure of the Solomon Tawengwa-led council,
which was dismissed by the government for mismanagement in 1999.
The minister said by granting the council borrowing powers, the government
was acting as the guarantor for funds borrowed and it wanted to see a
document clearly spelling out what the council intended to achieve during its
term in office.
"It is the state which guarantees the borrowing and
we have to be satisfied that it will be used in line with government plans
for the next few years," Chombo told the Financial Gazette.
Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri said the government's refusal to grant the Harare
municipality borrowing powers would this year adversely affect
its operations, which last year were severely hampered by the lack of
He said although the Ministry of Local
Government had approved the city's 2003 budget, the council would be unable
to undertake capital projects unless the borrowing powers were
"The budget approval will not serve much without the
borrowing powers," said Mudzuri, adding that important infrastructure
development would be derailed.
Capital projects that the city
will not have sufficient funds to undertake this year include the upgrading
of sewerage treatment plants, the construction of additional reservoirs and
the servicing of housing stands.