|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
January 09, 2004, 04:36 PM
Zimbabwe's High Court has ordered police to vacate the premises of the
country's largest privately owned daily newspaper and allow it to publish again
in line with an earlier court ruling, a lawyer said today. The Daily
News, which has been critical of President Robert Mugabe's government since
the paper was founded in 1999, was first shut down by police in September after
a court ruled that it was operating illegally without the licence required by
strict new media laws introduced in 2002.
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - A financial crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe's banking sector
is threatening the political careers and wealth of some of President Robert
Mugabe's top supporters in the business community, analysts say.
A week after police arrested two company directors accused of defrauding
billions of dollars in investor funds, Zimbabwe is awash with speculation
that a central bank drive to clamp down on speculative activity, and its vow
not to bail out banks in trouble, could take down the propertied and
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) drive has already seen a run on deposits
on six mainly black-owned banks, some owned by members of Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party who regard themselves as champions of his government's black
Police and local media allegations that Philip Chiyangwa -- a flamboyant
businessman, member of parliament and ZANU-PF provincial chairman -- tried
to block the detention of the two directors of asset management firm ENG
Capital has fed the gossip about who might be heading for a fall.
The two directors have appeared in court on fraud charges involving more
than 61 billion Zimbabwe dollars in investor funds, becoming the first legal
casualties of a crisis analysts say could push some companies to collapse.
A Harare magistrate rejected their application to drop the charges on Friday
and denied them bail on grounds they might abscond due to the gravity of
charges against them.
BEGINNING OF A CRACKDOWN?
Chiyangwa went to court as a defence witness supporting the two men's bid
for release, saying he had no business interests in the firm but wanted a
political and legal arrangement that did not endanger black economic
But analysts say Chiyangwa's reaction reflected worries among the
political-business elite that the central bank's tighter supervision of
banks and asset management firms could cut into their fortunes, made partly
from illegal foreign currency deals.
"If the Reserve Bank continues on this path, those who have been building
their wealth on illegal deals, or by acting as brokers, are going to go
down," said Zimbabwe political analyst Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei.
Dzinotyiwei said it was too early to be certain, but it looked like
Mugabe -- battling a severe economic crisis blamed on government
mismanagement -- was cracking down on corruption to ease political pressure
on ZANU-PF before general parliamentary elections next year.
"Some of his supporters and officials might get ruined in a crackdown on
corruption, and in his efforts to try to bring order into the economy...but
from a political point of view, the crackdown would be popular with the
people," he told Reuters.
And Mugabe has shown he is not afraid to bring down the rich and powerful,
if it means securing his own position.
Dzinotyiwei recalled how in 1989 Mugabe, facing a fierce electoral challenge
the next year from a former political lieutenant, proved wrong his
opponent's charges that he was soft on corruption by purging cabinet
ministers and state officials accused of selling cars on the black market.
"It's too early to say, but we might just be seeing the start of another
purge," Dzinotyiwei said.
The financial crisis has triggered an 18 percent drop in the Zimbabwe stock
market in the past week as investors balk at financial stocks which have
driven the bourse in recent years.
Zimbabwe Ruins African Unity
Mail & Guardian
January 9, 2004
Posted to the web January 9, 2004
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki begins his political year alienated
from his most powerful ally in Africa, Nigeria's President Olusegun
Obasanjo, because of South Africa's obstinate support for Zimbabwe at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government (Chogm) meeting last month.
The rift has large implications for African unity. It may hamper coordinated
peace-keeping efforts on the continent and the implementation of Africa's
economic recovery plan, the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad), suggest analysts.
Details have emerged of how Mbeki's divisive posturing embarrassed Obasanjo,
for whom Chogm was the most important political function on home soil during
his term in office. There was "anger and disquiet" at Mbeki's stance, say
highly placed Commonwealth insiders.
But Mbeki's spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, denied a rift, saying Obasanjo was
the last person the president saw in Abuja before flying home. "They parted
laughing and on a warm note. Zimbabwe will not damage the relationship."
The two men's positions on Zimbabwe have now diverged from the joint
approach still evident at the beginning of last year. At the Abuja summit,
Obasanjo supported a continued suspension from the Commonwealth, while Mbeki
is widely believed to have fronted a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) statement that "strongly disagreed" with the decision.
Obasanjo is said to have requested Southern African leaders not to make
their statement on Nigerian soil, though Khumalo says the SADC statement was
released in Lesotho and South Africa so that it would not be read as a snub
to the Nigerians.
Mbeki has been weakened globally by hinting, at CHOGM, that the entire SADC
bloc would pull out of the Commonwealth if Zimbabwe's suspension was not
lifted. South Africa denies making the threat. African members make up the
largest bloc of Commonwealth members and as a sub-group of 12, Southern
Africa is the largest.
Mbeki's attempt to oust incumbent Secretary General Don McKinnon by lobbying
for the Sri Lankan candidate, Lakshman Kadirgaman, also failed. The entire
SADC bloc did not vote for the Sri Lankan, again suggesting the president
has an overblown understanding of his sway and support in the region.
Kadirgaman, who announced his candidature two weeks ahead of the CHOGM, was
beaten by 11 votes to McKinnon's 40. An analysis of the voting pattern
suggests four Asian countries (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and the
Maldives) and seven African states voted for him.
Initially pressed to run by, among others, the former Organisation of
African Unity leader Salim Ahmed Salim and the African Union commission
chair Alpha Oumar Konare, Kadirgamar said that he had been "let down" by
South Africa is angered by the publication of the vote; Khumalo called it
"un-Commonwealth" and said it flew in the face of convention in which voting
was always confidential. He would not comment on disunity in the SADC.
Mbeki may have thought the gamble would succeed if the African members voted
as an African Union bloc, but he again misjudged both his own influence and
Mbeki's tactics displayed naivety, say analysts, because the Commonwealth is
more of a club of individual nations, without the tradition of bloc voting
and caucusing of other multilateral institutions.
For his part, Mbeki is said to have been angered because he felt the meeting
had not gone far enough in securing consensus on Zimbabwe and that Obasanjo
had not allowed sufficient debate.
The Chogm left Africa more divided than ever on Zimbabwe.
Obasanjo, who still favours rapprochement with Zimbabwe, is now likely to
work with Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Tanzania.
Each country supports the reintegration of Zimbabwe into the fold of
nations, but they have consistently maintained a stronger position on the
rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe's government than countries like
South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho and Namibia.
South Africa's position both as a global moral beacon and an African leader
were weakened at the Chogm. Analysts say it will take nimble political
footwork to repair the relationship with Obasanjo, a partnership that is a
key to advancing Nepad. And if political negotiations in Zimbabwe do not
quickly move from talks about talks to substantive engagement, South Africa
is likely to be further weakened.
While Mbeki's reassurances about efforts to break the logjam in Zimbabwe
placated United States President George Bush in June, a similar effort
failed at the Chogm. Mbeki reportedly told the Commonwealth heads of
government that a settlement in Zimbabwe was imminent, a position that was
read as over-optimistic.
2004 will be worse
EDITORIAL: ONLY the starry-eyed, incurable sycophants of
Zanu PF could
look forward to 2004 with unmitigated optimism.
Most such people have learnt to ignore the realities of their country’
s pathetic political and economic situation on the nebulous grounds that it
couldn’t get worse.
Unfortunately, all the statistics since 2000 and 2002 have proved them
wrong. After the 2000 parliamentary elections, they were told by their
leaders that things would prove.
After the 2002 presidential election, they were again reassured that
with President Robert Mugabe back in the saddle, things would definitely
Today, there is inflation hovering around 700 percent, unemployment,
poverty and hunger have all escalated. Nearly 80 percent of the people are
living below the poverty daetum line - and that is the official figure.
The prospects for an improved 2004 cannot be based entirely on ”Wonder
Boy” Gideon Gono’s much-vaunted monetary policy, unveiled amid much pomp and
ceremony in Harare last month.
Admittedly, the tightening of the screws on recalcitrant financial
institutions has had an immediate and salutary effect. Suspects have been
arrested and hauled into court to answer this or that allegation of
Ordinary, law-abiding and long-suffering victims of the govermnent’s
incredibly unimaginative economic policies over the last 23 years can only
hope that the new policy will result in a wholesale excision of the rot that
had been allowed to set in over the years, to benefit the fat cats protected
from the law by their loytalty to the ruling party.
Zanu PF’s political and economic policies have failed this country.
The international climate may not have been concusive to the sort of
positive development that would favour a developing country like Zimbabwe.
Even the developed countries, such as the United States, Japan and
Germany did not witness the spectacular economic results they envisaged a
But most of Zimbawe’s woes and wounds were self-inflicted. The boorish
manner with which President Mugabe’s government reacted to criticism of the
the savagery of the land reform programme’s
implementation resulted in many developed countries suspending aid to
Zimbabwe, resulting in the “sanctions’ about which the government has moaned
loudly, mostly in vain.
But the truth is that for the sake of retaining power at all costs,
Zanu PF decided it would not adopt pragmatic political and economic
It would not engage in meaningful dialogue with the largest opposition
party in the country, the Movement for Dermocatic Change. Neither would it
pursue economic policies which could be endorsed, not only by the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but by the rest of the
developed countries which previously poured generous aid into the country.
“Going it alone” or “going East” may be positive options in the
short-term, but in the Global Village the world has now become, only
policies which win international endorsement can succeed.
Zanu PF’s collective ego may swell at the prospect of playing “lone
ranger”, but the people’s collective bellies will end up emptier and
Zanu-Mdc Talks: the Stumbling Blocks
Mail & Guardian
January 9, 2004
Posted to the web January 9, 2004
Even though informal contacts between
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have produced a number of
detailed options for ending the country's political and economic crises, the
two sides remain a long way off from the formal talks necessary to save
Zimbabwe from collapse.
And MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube, who is leading the informal talks
for his movement, insists that until both parties commit themselves to
binding negotiations, the contacts mean nothing.
"The MDC position is that the informal contacts about process cannot be
described as talks because they are not binding and they are exploratory in
character. Even if they stray to substantive matters, they don't amount to
talks because they are only exploratory.
"The informal talks between myself and [Zimbabwean Minister of Justice
Patrick] Chinamasa, to find a gateway to dialogue, are exploratory," he
Ncube is of the view that once binding talks start an agreement could be
quickly hammered out and an election held soon after. "Our view is that once
political talks begin there would be more than enough time to prepare for an
election, which can be held well before those scheduled for 2005," he said.
In a nutshell, the informal talks have identified four stumbling blocks to a
political settlement in Zimbabwe.
The MDC is insisting the Zimbabwean government allow the paper, The Daily
News, to begin publishing again. The Zimbabwean government has repeatedly
violated court orders which gave The Daily News the right to publish and
forcibly closed the paper down.
The opposition movement is also demanding the disbanding of Zanu-PF
militias, widely accused of unleashing a reign of terror in the country in
an attempt to intimidate opponents of the ruling party.
The two sides are also wrangling about amendments to Zimbabwe's Access to
Information and the Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and
Security Act. The MDC and many local and international human rights groups
insist the legislation stifles free speech and free political activity.
Zanu-PF and the MDC seem to have a good idea of what amendments may have to
be made to the Zimbabwean Constitution to facilitate a political settlement
in the country. The MDC would like a limited review of the Zimbabwean
Constitution as a way of levelling the political playing field in the
country before the next round of elections.
"Interim constitutional changes would include the creation of an independent
electoral commission and a much more open electoral framework," says Ncube.
He confirmed that there have been informal talks between the movement and
Zanu-PF around possible constitutional amendments.
However, there are differences between the two over a date for an election
under an amended Constitution.
Ncube also insisted that any comprehensive review of the country's
Constitution would have to wait until after political settlement has been
reached - so that those talks could take place in an atmosphere of free
There is no indication that formal talks between the MDC and Zanu-PF will
start any time soon. "We are waiting. We have not heard anything from
Zanu-PF, or the office of South African President, Thabo Mbeki, who we
understand has a commitment from Zanu-PF for unconditional dialogue," says
Zanu-PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira refused to comment on the informal
talks or the status of contacts between Zanu-PF and the MDC.
Some analysts in Zimbabwe point out Zanu-PF is not likely to make any move
on the talks until Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe returns from a private
visit to South East Asia.
In a further sign of Zimbabwe's
disintegration, the country's banking system
is showing signs of failing, arguably the first sign of the collapse of the
formal economy. This week, six of Zimbabwe's 11 banking institutions have
stopped paying their debts to other banks because they did not have the
The country is already suffering from inflation of 620%, unemployment of
over 70%, a shrinking economy and drought and famine. Economists say that
until there is an end to the political crises, there is no chance of saving
Zimbabwe: Health Woes Set to Worsen
UN Integrated Regional
January 9, 2004
Posted to the web January 9, 2004
Zimbabwe's already strained health sector will come under even greater
pressure after one of the country's biggest nursing schools failed to open.
Harare Central Hospital has an annual intake of 180 nursing students,
recruited three times a year in groups of 60. This year the nursing school
could not open its doors to new students, due to a crippling shortage of
Students who were to have started their training two weeks ago were turned
away on 4 January, when hospital authorities said they would be called to
return at a later date.
An aspiring student nurse who was turned away told IRIN there was concern
that the delays could be indefinite, thus robbing many of a chance to become
professional health workers.
Nurses and doctors who talked to IRIN said the nursing school had been left
with only three tutors and needed a minimum of 15 to operate. The situation
is set to worsen further as the three remaining tutors have all submitted
Harare Central Hospital superintendent Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi confirmed
that the school was experiencing difficulties.
"Like any other profession, tutors are leaving for greener pastures," said
Tapfumaneyi, who stressed that the problems facing the school were not
linked to the recently ended three-month strike by nurses and doctors.
Hospital officials who talked to IRIN on condition of anonymity said the
hospital was losing its tutors to the private sector, and many had left to
work in countries such as Britain and South Africa.
Samuel Mabhiza, a former tutor now working at the private Avenues Clinic,
told IRIN the main reason tutors were leaving was to better their salaries.
"Tutors get slightly above Zim $200,000 a month (about US $243 at the
official exchange rate) and yet the amount of work they do is enormous."
Tutors are paid a salary equivalent to that of a senior nurse.
Harare Central Hospital's nursing school is said to be under-equipped and
the library virtually empty. Tutors therefore had to use their own resources
to do research at the University of Zimbabwe and other private libraries.
The shortage of teaching staff has also affected the progress of second- and
third-year students. A final-year nursing student told IRIN that since
November 2003 they had attended hardly any classes, as they had had to fill
in for striking nurses at the hospital.
"We are likely to fail to graduate this year because we don't have any
lecturers at the moment, and we had to work full-time because our seniors
were on strike," she said.
The shortage of teaching staff at Zimbabwe's nursing schools has also
affected training in specialised fields such as midwifery.
The lack of new nurses is set to worsen Zimbabwe's health woes as many
hospitals and clinics in the countryside are already facing staff shortages.
A 2003 parliamentary report on the health situation in Zimbabwe noted that
office orderlies and nurse's aides are manning many clinics in rural areas.
Despite low salaries, thousands of secondary school graduates apply to
become nurses, mainly because nurses almost always find employment - an
important factor, given Zimbabwe's unemployment rate of over 70 percent.
The high demand for nurses in Zimbabwe, the region, and internationally has
also contributed to the popularity of the profession. Many view training as
a nurse as a sure way of getting a visa to the United Kingdom, and an escape
from Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis.
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE OPEN LETTERS FORUM - January 8, 2004
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Dear Humpty spectator,
The issue of Title is going to be interesting! We have now reached a stage
where many new farmers have demanded, and obtained, title to their land.
They have spent money on their property. They now face the real possibility
of having the land taken from them.
Any man who is perceived to overstep the boundaries of the wealth he has
created and becomes a threat, faces the wrath of the powers that be. See
the spectacular response to the independence of the banking fraternity over
the past few weeks.
How will the men who have borrowed huge sums to finance their farms at
concessionary rates, be able to face the hostile environment in the
agricultural industry as well as the positive interest rates they now face
and the collapsing banks who once supported them?
So now even the power brokers begin to see the need for independent title
to the land.
How will this great dilemma be solved??
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
CLASSIFIED COMMERCIALS - January 8, 2004
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
AD INSERTED 8 JANUARY
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Please contact either Sean or Trish Swales on 091262099, 069 4002 or email:
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If you can offer any of them a home please contact Alan or Nikki Kennedy on
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AD INSERTED 14 DECEMBER
Has anyone got 3 old model type mobile radios (working!) to sell us for our
security guys to use? Plse contact Carl Shoup firstname.lastname@example.org urgently!!
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Turner Swan Caravan & Dabchick Sailing Dingy.
Phone 091 213 987 or email@example.com
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I am interested in purchasing a share in a Zimbabwe Lowveld farm as a very
I am based in Cape Town. All offers will be considered.
Mark Dunbar Anderson (27-21-5576438) email firstname.lastname@example.org )
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A collection of biographies, articles, recollections and memories
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compiled by Sheila Macdonald
Hardbacks GBP20 / US$30 equivalent +/-Z$160
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DONATION OF FURNITURE SOUGHT
The Harare SPCA needs a bed and other basic items to furnish the vets night
room at the new Hatfield veterinary hospital. Please email details of
surplus furniture to firstname.lastname@example.org
ad inserted 10 November 2003
Does anyone have either computers/scanners/printers for sale or loan?
Please contact the JAG office for further details.
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Phone: 300354 / 091334959
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Or a total of $4 100 000 if you take the lot.
These are available in a warehouse in Harare immediately.
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Tel no (Mozambique) 00 263 11 219800
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sides, 200 000 kms, Owner Driven
2. 1999 Mazda DX 2500 D/Cab 4x4, White, Car Guard Canopy, mag wheels, 100
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(ad inserted 14 October 2003)
As a Zimbabwean now resident in Johannesburg I am able to offer the
Immigration - work/residence permits, housing,
Contact: Meryl Dunwoodie
Office: + 27 11 658 0143
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Mark McNulty dumps Zimbabwe citizenship
By Peter Dixon
HE IS Zimbabwean through and through, but Mark McNulty has finally given up
on the country of his birth and pledged allegiance to Ireland.
In his 50th year and about to make merry on the seniors’ tour in the United
States, one of the sport’s most dignified players has lost patience with the
country he loves and is changing citizenship thanks to an Irish grandmother.
After years of turmoil in Zimbabwe, during which his family lost farms under
the regime of Robert Mugabe, McNulty has finally let frustration get the
better of him.
“The home I knew and grew up in in Zimbabwe is no longer,” he said a year
ago. “I play as a Zimbabwean. Why? The fact is that I’m proud of Zimbabwe
and always have been. But he (Mugabe) has got to go.”
A year on and it is McNulty who has decided to leave.
“I can’t afford to sit in a passport office for days trying to explain why I
need to renew my passport or pay a few thousand dollars to ensure it is
renewed,” he said.
“The change came up and I am happy to be Irish. I still have ties with
Zimbabwe and always will — but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to
know that things aren’t terrific the way the country is being run.”
McNulty has won 16 titles in Europe and soon will be making the transition
to playing in the United States on the Champions Tour.
He admitted Thursday that growing frustration with life under the Robert
Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe forced him to make a decision he was hoping to
With bureaucracy turning into harassment for white Zimbabweans who try and
renew their passports in his home country, McNulty has decided to take up
the process of naturalization in Ireland, thanks to an Irish grandmother.
"It's not something I want to get too in to," he said. "But I just can't
afford to sit in a passport office for days trying to explain why I need to
renew my passport or pay a few thousand dollars to ensure it is renewed."
McNulty joins several Zimbabwean sportsman who have either exiled themselves
or switched nationality as the crisis deepens in the southern African
country which is caught up in an economic crisis and political upheaval.
Among them is Zimbabwe former cricketers Henry Olonga, Andy Flower and
Murray Goodwin who now plays for Australia and was instrumental in
engineering Zimbabwe's defeat in Australia last week.
Olonga, whose black-armband protest at the "death of democracy in my
country" during the cricket world cup jointly hosted by South Afdrica and
Zimbabwe last year got him worldwide praise for bravery recently said he had
Writing in the Guardian newspaper, he said: "I haven't been back in
Zimbabwe, though I am in contact with friends there. Do I have regrets? Not
really. Did I change Zimbabwe? Probably not - but I played my part. And if I
hadn't embraced the moment, I could have been a nobody, had a mediocre World
Cup, and no one would have remembered. Now I'm remembered as the guy who
wore a black armband." - Times
Freedom will give Africa its path out of poverty
January 9, 2004
By Peter Fabricius
All hail to Ghana, Mali and S‹o Tome and Principe. Why? Because of the
29 "poorest of the poor" countries in the world - those with gross national
incomes per capita (GNIpc) of less than a miserly $300 (about R2 000) a
year - only these three African states are politically free.
They were ranked free in the 2003 world freedom survey of the American
NGO Freedom House.
The survey reported an incremental loss of political freedom in
sub-Saharan Africa in 2003. It rated 11 countries free, 20 partly free, and
17 not free. The Central African Republic moved from partly free to not free
because of a military coup and Mauritania because of suppression of
Burundi made the only gain, rising from not free to partly free
because of the integration of rebel forces into the government. This was
very much the work of South African diplomacy. But if Burundi's graduation
was a kudo for our Africa policy, the survey also contained an implicit
For this year Freedom House particularly analysed the correlation
between wealth and political freedom. Naturally, it found a strong
correlation. But, significantly, not an absolute one. It found that 38 free
countries had GNIpcs of $3 500 (about R22 700) or less, among them 15 states
with GNIpcs of less than $1 500 (about R9 700).
Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor noted: "It is common
wisdom that poor countries cannot support democratic systems."
"But our data show that in dozens of poor countries, democracy does
not depend on development. In fact, our findings suggest that freedom can be
the engine of development."
This last point is absolutely vital for Africa, of course. It would
not be an exaggeration to say that unless freedom can be the engine for
growth, Africa is doomed. Because, with one or two exceptions where oil has
been discovered, wealth is not going to arrive by itself.
And as we have so often seen up the continent's west coast, oil wealth
is a curse unless it is accompanied by political freedom, particularly the
freedom to pry into the corruption of government officials who channel oil
revenues into their own pockets.
The Freedom House findings should be carefully read in
Buildings. Because, of late, our African policy has tended more and more
towards the common wisdom which Freedom House disputes, that wealth must
precede political freedom.
This was most apparent in President Mbeki's Zimbabwe policy last year,
where he virtually justified President Robert Mugabe's illegal land seizures
on the grounds that international donors had failed to deliver promised aid
to buy land from white farmers.
Most of the world sees Zimbabwe destroying its wealth because of a
reversal of political freedom; Mbeki seemed determined to reverse the causal
link and see the descent into authoritarianism as a result of external,
One can also see this growing "externalist" tendency in the increased
emphasis which Mbeki placed last year on democratising global institutions
such as the World Trade Organisation. These initiatives are of course
vitally important because fairer trade rules are good for Africa and the
developing world in themselves and because of their mostly beneficial
effects on political freedom.
The danger arises when the democracy deficit in global politics
becomes an excuse for a democracy deficit in African national governments.
Mbeki moved into that danger zone with his defence of Zimbabwe in December.
While the world's attention was focused on the drama of resolving or
not resolving conflicts in places like Burundi and Zimbabwe, the unsung
states of Ghana, Mali and Sao Tome and Principe were showing the rest of the
continent the real escape route out of Africa's vicious cycle of poverty and
It's just that no-one seemed to be paying much attention.
Mugabe shops while his country drops
January 9, 2004
By Basildon Peta
Johannesburg: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is on a luxury family
holiday in Asia while his country is suffering from a currency shortage.
Officials said Mugabe, 80, was using his yearly leave to holiday in
several Asian countries. But to avoid paying for his travel and that of his
wife and children from his pocket, Mugabe arranged meetings with leaders of
various Asian countries to give his trip some semblance of business.
That enabled him to justify drawing scarce foreign currency from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe holidayed in Malaysia last week before he met that country's
new Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi early this week. He later travelled
to Indonesia where he met President Megawati Sukarnoputri yesterday.
Mugabe was due to travel to Singapore on a shopping
returning to Zimbabwe after about three weeks absence.
His shopping spree in Singapore caused a storm in Zimbabwe last year
when his 25 large containers of shopping were photographed at an airport.
He was photographed by Greg Mills, the director of the South African
Institute of International Affairs, who had bumped into Mugabe at the
110 Cuban doctors expected
AT least 110 Cuban doctors are expected to arrive in the country at the end
of this month under the Zimbabwe-Cuba Joint Commission.
Head of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Zimbabwe Dr Felipe Delgado Bustillo
yesterday said the doctors would serve in the country for two years.
"The doctors will be working under the comprehensive health programme
launched by President Fidel Castro in 1998, which is aimed at providing
something like a donation to other people specially those in Africa in
solving various health related problems," said Dr Bustillo.
He said the first brigade of Cuban doctors came in 2000 and more than 186
doctors are currently working in more than 52 district hospitals in the
"We have been working during the strike by junior doctors and nurses
contributing to the welfare of Zimbabweans especially those in rural
hospitals," he said.
The second brigade came in 2002 and the one coming at the end of this month
is the third brigade, which will be in the country until 2006.
Dr Bustillo said Cuba has a similar programme in several African countries
including Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Chad,
Lesotho and Tanzania.
He said more than 3 500 Cubans in various fields were working in Zimbabwe.
Cuba, he said, was proud of its successes in the medical field with more
than 21 medical schools and 70 000 doctors working in that country.
Dr Bustillo was speaking at a function hosted for journalists by the Cuban
Ambassador Mr Bueventuras Reyes Costa to mark the 45th anniversary of the
Cuban revolution declared on January 1 1959.
The ambassador said despite orchestrated campaign by almost all governments
in Latin America and the United States to subvert the revolution, the Cuban
people had remained resolute in their fight for the right to build their own
future through self-determination.
"The aggression began as early as 1959 with the use of all possible economic
and political measures, including violence, terrorism and even the threat of
massive military invasion from the US army," said Mr Reyes Costa.
He said despite the threats and the economic blockade imposed by the US, the
Cuban economy has risen by 2,6 percent according to traditional methods of
measuring the fluctuation of the Gross Domestic Product.
Cuba’s GDP also increased four-fold than that of the rest of Latin America
and the Caribbean.
"The Cuban revolution gave to our people the possibility to extend our
friendship, brotherly support and solidarity, to many other countries around
the planet. We are so proud to have diplomatic and consular relations with
181 countries," the ambassador said.
Cuba also has bilateral agreements with 165 countries, mainly in health
care, education and sport fields.
It had 120 Joint Commissions, which are periodically checked to assess the
programmes and outline the new one.
"With Zimbabwe, the friendship and solidarity among our two countries and
peoples, began even before independence," Mr Reyes Costa said.
Cuba marked its 45th anniversary of the toppling of the Fulgencio Batista
dictatorship by revolutionary forces led by Cde Fidel Castro.
In his speech, the Cuban President paid tribute to all those who struggled
to make the revolution a reality.
"I congratulate all those who struggle, those who never give up in the face
of adversity; those who believe in humanity’s capacity to create, sow and
cultivate values and ideas; those who bet on humanity all of those who share
the beautiful tenet that a better world is possible.
"We shall fight hand in hand with them and we shall overcome!" he said.
President has no properties outside Zim: Government
President Mugabe has no properties outside Zimbabwe and is not setting up
any in South Africa or anywhere else in the world, the Government said
In a statement yesterday, the Department of Information and Publicity in the
Office of the President and Cabinet dismissed a report in the South African
Mail and Guardian of January 1 to 8 which alleged that a luxury wine estate
in Cape Town was being prepared for Cde Mugabe when he retires.
"The New Year edition of the South African Mail and Guardian 1-8 January
2004 greets its readers with the uninspired, old and jarring song about
President Mugabe owning properties across Zimbabwe’s borders.
"Faithful to its mission to attack Zimbabwe’s resounding and irreversible
land acquisition through petty and fictitious denigration of the President,
the newspaper alleges that a luxury wine estate in Cape Town is being
prepared for the retirement of the Zimbabwean President. The Department of
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet wishes
to dismiss this latest fib from the Mail and Guardian with utmost contempt."
The department said the President has previously denied that he owns any
property outside Zimbabwe.
"He has said so times without number! The Mail and Guardian and its sister
newspapers in Britain have tried to concoct stories suggesting that
President Mugabe possesses mansions, castles and chateaus in Scotland and
"None of these allegations has been substantiated by anyone including the
British government." The department said the President had not only denied
owning such properties but had also tirelessly challenged those making the
claims to identify and produce proof of such ownership.
He has also repeatedly stated that if any property was found to belong to
him, it should be sold by the relevant authorities and the proceeds given to
"The Mail and Guardian, like all white-owned and apartheid tainted South
African newspapers, may continue to make headlines against President Mugabe
but they will not take away the passionate and emotional admiration that the
President enjoys amongst the black masses of South Africa.
The department said the popular applause that greeted the President’s
address at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 was the only
one of the many instances that bear testimony to the respect given to him by
the majority of South Africa’s black population.
"There can be no greater futility for any South African media, however,
steeped in apartheid, than to try and attach blemish to the Zimbabwe land
Indigenisation under threat
By Sifelani Tsiko
INDIGENISATION is emerging as the biggest casualty, as panic grips the
The arrest of directors of ENG Capital Asset Management facing allegations
of defrauding investors of more than $61 billion and the cancellation of a
banking licence for Century Discount House has triggered consternation in
the financial services sector.
A financial analyst says institutional investors are now in a quandary —
having to move their funds to ‘traditional’ banks, which were not offering
attractive rates like other players, mostly indigenous, who were dishing out
unbelievably high interests.
"The biggest casualty to this mess is indigenisation," he says.
"It’s a noble policy, which was abused by some greedy black bankers. Instead
of being professional, they went too far, and engaged in unethical practices
to enrich themselves."
Says Munyaradzi Manhenga, who works for a computer firm in the city: "Most
blacks in the wake of this latest crisis, I’m sorry to say, no longer trust
our brothers in this sector.
"Its even worse with the arrest of Muponda and the Watyoka (ENG directors)."
He says many people are now in quandary and in worst cases have no choice
except to bank with foreign owned and traditional banks like Zimbank, CBZ
and building societies, which they see as relatively stable. Most indigenous
banks are now channelling their energies to battle the raging distress in
"There is therefore no foundation to speculative statements about Trust
being placed under curatorship," said Trust Bank, one of the bank, which is
experiencing a serious flight of depositors’ money.
The bank has carefully written its statement, on one hand acknowledging that
it is facing a liquidity crunch, and on the other, at pains, downplaying it
with a catch: "The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe carried out an audit following
the reported fraud, whose findings we are glad showed that Trust is one of
the most solvent financial institutions in Zimbabwe."
On the next line, Trust Bank admits: "The only challenge is the liquidity
situation that Trust is already addressing."
Financial analysts say the latest crackdown by the RBZ has rocked the
financial sector to its foundation and almost every bank is engaged in some
"accounting gymnastics and balance sheet doctoring."
They say bank executives are distressed with the new demands of the central
bank, which is breathing down on their necks in the wake of the liquidity
"Even those whose books are said to be clean are peddling fiercely
underneath, while on the surface appearing to be calm just to give
confidence to the depositors,’ he says.
Economists say panic withdrawals will hurt the sector and further erode
confidence in the banking system.
"Customers don’t want to put their money in the banks now. They are confused
and are not sure on what to do except to withdraw and put the money in a
safe at home, something, which is obviously not good," says an economist.
This, he says, is affecting every bank at this point in time.
Others believe the crisis in the sector is self-inflicted.
"I think this is clearly unprofessional on the part of bank executives,
which were reaping super profits on the back of unethical practices," says a
chartered accountant for a leading firm.
"They created this problem. Its very, very bad considering that emerging
banks rose through the support of the Zimbabweans, which they are now
punishing with high minimum balances, interest rates and service charges."
He says that it is no longer enough to continue to emphasise deposits
mobilisation, but that the central bank should put greater attention to the
uses to which these deposits are put.
"Almost overnight banks had become a "greed is good" bank and didn’t have
the backing or the know how to make it work," he adds.
"Depositors’ money was spent on buying luxury cars, which do not add
anything to the growth of the economy."
Most depositors told The Herald that they were either withdrawing their
money or in worst cases even closing accounts for banks whose books were
said to be unhealthy.
"I’ve just withdrawn my $2 million savings," says Charity Sibanda, a human
resources manager for a clothing firm. "I’m happy that I got it before it
"But, I don’t know whether I should keep it at home or bank it with
traditional banks or just wait and see how things will go."
Places to invest her money are becoming limited.
On Monday, this week, some financial institutions were already rejecting
short-term investments, while others had hiked the minimum call rates
investments balances from $1 million to more than $10 million.
In extreme cases, others like the Merchant Bank of Central Africa (MBCA)
have stopped accepting short term investments owing to the confusion raging
on the money market.
Personal savings accounts do not bring satisfactory yields for depositors.
The central bank is reviewing the operations of local banks following
reports of mismanagement, illegal dealing and involvement in non-core
banking activities for speculative purposes.
New RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono has warned that the central bank will not
bail out troubled financial institutions as had happened in the past.
This is not the first time Zimbabwe has experienced a crisis in the
In the 1991, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International was forced to
shut its doors by the Bank of England amid allegations of fraud.
A branch of the BCCI in Zimbabwe was bailed out by the RBZ and ironically Dr
Gono successfully transformed the collapsing bank into the Commercial Bank
of Zimbabwe, now trading as the Jewel Bank.
During this period, there was some panic withdrawals world-wide at BCCI
branches and to a lesser extent in Zimbabwe, thanks to rapid moves to bail
In the late 1990s, came the collapse of the Merchant Bank owned by the late
business tycoon Roger Boka due to exposure over risk loans, the Zimbabwe
Building Society due mismanagement, but was later bailed out by the RBZ
after an injection of more than $700 million.
Woes in the financial sector hit the headlines again following the collapse
of Access To Capital and a string of other asset management firms not to
mention ‘Pyramid Schemes’ (savings clubs), which ripped off millions of
dollars from unsuspecting investors.
Last year, it was the FNBS, which had two of its directors arrested on
allegations of mis- using depositors funds for their own selfish ends.
The ENG Capital Asset Management is the latest in a string of other cases to
rock the financial sector.
Investors are increasingly distancing themselves from the market after
suffering heavy losses in recent trading.
"The RBZ crackdown is a necessary evil," says Fred Mavhima, a printer.
"It’s like a mother going to a clinic with her child. She knows the
vaccination jab is painful in the short-term but good for the survival of
her child in the long run."
The Union Leader
Tens of millions have died
under the ‘progressive’ banner
By DAVID HOROWITZ
EXACTLY HOW many poor people have progressives starved since 1917? It’s a
Russia was the breadbasket of Europe until progressives seized power that
year and instituted policies to “share the wealth.” For the next 70 years —
until socialism collapsed —Russia was a net importer of food, always on the
brink of famine.
In the 1930s, Josef Stalin instigated a campaign to collectivize farming in
the Ukraine — a campaign that created a man-made famine within a year,
killing between six million and 11 million Ukrainians.
Stalin’s crime was protected by the progressives at The New York Times,
including Walter Duranty — now accepted as a Stalin apologist — and on the
Pulitzer Prize Committee, which rewarded Duranty’s work.
The left’s inability to understand the basic economic fact that people need
an incentive to produce has caused the unnecessary deaths of tens of
millions of people in the past 75 years. But thanks to a politically
corrupted media and educational system, their pigheaded pursuit of socialist
fantasies goes on.
A few years ago, when Robert Mugabe, the leftist dictator of Zimbabwe, began
his race war against white farmers to the cheers of progressives, I
corresponded with a journalist friend of mine who writes for all those
leftist news outlets that pretend to care about black people but really care
only about their left-wing agendas. I suggested that he might get his
friends to protest Mugabe’s bloody racism before poor black people began
starving in Zimbabwe as a result of these criminal policies.
Naturally, my friend defended the murders and thefts of land from the white
farmers as “social justice” and turned a blind eye to the racism because it
was directed only against whites, whose parents had been “imperialists.”
The United States and Britain, which led the world in ending slavery and
even attempted (futilely) to end it in Africa, were put in the dock by
progressives at the 2001 U.N. Conference Against Racism and held up for
“reparations.” Muslim Sudan, which maintains slavery today, and the League
of Arab States, whose ancestors enslaved more black Africans than all the
Europeans and Americans put together, were not. Israel, the only democracy
in the Middle East, whose Arab citizens have more rights than Arabs in all
the Arab states, was accused of racism, while the Arab states that forbid
Jews to set foot on their territory were not.
Now the progressive chickens are coming home to roost in Zimbabwe. On
Christmas Eve, The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page news story on
conditions in Mugabe’s Marxist police state. The title of the story said it
all: “Once a Breadbasket, Now Zimbabwe Can’t Feed Itself.” The production of
corn — the diet staple — has declined by two-thirds in the past three years,
and six million Zimbabweans are on the verge of starvation. Former Rep. Tony
Hall of Ohio, now the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. food and agriculture
agencies, nearly got it right when he said, “Zimbabwe stands alone as an
example of how a country can be ruined by one person.” Actually, Zimbabwe is
one of many such countries, and it was not ruined by one person but by one
person supported by a global movement of arch reactionaries who call
themselves progressives and who have killed millions of people in the past
century in the name of “social justice” and learned nothing in the process.
Former “progressive” David Horowitz, author of “Left Illusions: An
Intellectual Odyssey,” is editor of Frontpagemag.com.