From: "Trudy Stevenson" Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 10:55 PM Subject:
VOTERS ROLL INSPECTION - MONDAY 17 - SUNDAY 30 JANUARY
the Voters Roll for the Parliamentary Election is announced in today's
Herald. This is very short notice - as usual! The RG's Office should be
advertising this widely and putting posters at every polling station - if you
do not see these posters etc, please let me know - or any other
It will last for ONLY TWO WEEKS, from MONDAY 17 JANUARY to
SUNDAY 30 JANUARY We encourage all who are eligible to vote to check their
names on the roll, or to register or change their details (new address,
change of name, etc) if necessary - BE READY TO EXERCISE YOUR DEMOCRATIC
You are required to produce your ID and proof of residence
to register/change details. Registration centres will be open from 7am -
6pm in urban areas and 5pm in rural constituencies. Generally they are
located at the usual polling stations. In Harare North these
Alfred Beit Primary Avonlea Primary Ellis Robins
High Emerald Hill School for the Deaf Groombridge Primary Hallingbury
Primary Hatcliffe Extension Clinic Hatcliffe 1 Primary Hatcliffe 2
Primary Marlborough District Office Marlborough High School Mt Pleasant
District Office North Park Primary Vainona Primary
THE newly introduced
Zanu PF 30 percent quota system aimed at increasing the number of female
legislators is being resisted by traditional leaders in Mutare South
constituency who argue that it violates their traditional
The constituency, together with Mutare North, Mutasa
South and Makoni East were reserved for Zanu PF female candidates. But all
is not well particularily in Mutare South where Ellen Gwaradzimba, the Zanu
PF provincial women's league boss, had set her sight on.
But traditional leaders in the constituency have made clear their
intolerance towards a female candidate forcing Gwaradzimba to abandon Mutare
South opting for Mutare North.
"Mutare South has proved
difficult because traditional leaders have refused to support the idea of a
female candidate in their constituency," said a senior member of the Zanu PF
women's league in the province.
"So as we speak, Gwaradzimba
has left that constituency and is now campaigning in Mutare
Gwaradzimba lost the mayoral election to Misheck
Kagurabadza of the opposition MDC in 2003.
yesterday said the traditional leaders summoned Gwaradzimba and told her
outright that they would not support a woman candidate in the constituency,
curently held by Sydney Mukwecheni of the MDC.
"They did not
mince their words," said another Zanu PF district official in Zimunya. "They
told her not to waste her time campaigning."
departure from Mutare South effectively wrecked the ruling party's decision
to parcel the constituency to a female candidate.
Zanu PF youth activist Fred Kanzama, top war veteran Levy Gwarada and
another war veteran, whose name was not immediately known, to slug it out in
the weekend primaries.
"Gwaradzimba did not want to take
chances so she felt Mutare North was safer," said one Zanu PF
Gwaradzimba was not immediately available for comment
as she was said to be busy campaigning in Mutare North. Mutare South is a
rural constituency where villagers do not allow women to occupy leadership
positions ahead of men.
The constituency comprises Zimunya
Township, Dora, Chitakatira, Chigodora, Mabwere and
Meanwhile, as Zanu PF parliamentary hopefuls brace for
the weekend primaries, attention has been focused on Mutare Central where
top tobacco farmer Charles Pemhenayi faces businessman Shadreck Beta. The
seat is currently held by Innocent Gonese, the MDC chief
Both Pemhenayi, a Zanu PF central committee member and
Beta, a former ruling party provincial chairman, were yesterday making last
minute manoeuvres to sway voters to their respective sides.
Attention has also been focused on Mutasa South where Oppah Muchinguri, the
Zanu PF women's league boss is being challenged by former MP Irene Zindi.
Zindi, a tough-talking politician, has reportedly refused to step aside to
give Muchinguri a free passage.
ZANU PF SET TO SPIT OUT JONATHAN MOYO Sat 15 January
2005 HARARE - ZANU PF party chairman John Nkomo said the party will take
disciplinary measures against out of favour Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo, who increasingly looks on his way out of both the party and
Nkomo who chairs ZANU PF's disciplinary committee,
said the party was going to act against Moyo for attacking and ridiculing
Nkomo himself and another senior party member, Dumiso Dabengwa in an article
published by the state-run Herald newspaper yesterday.
not going to tolerate indiscipline to tear the party apart," Nkomo said. "We
will put the matter into perspective and help the public out of the agony of
having to think out answers prompted by what they read (in the Herald),"
added the ZANU PF chairman who was accused by Moyo of being a dictator and a
Moyo, an arch-critic of the government before changing sides
to become its most zealous defender, appears already on his way out of the
government after ZANU PF yesterday banned him from contesting March's
He was in the government after President Robert
Mugabe appointed him a non-constituency Member of Parliament under a
constitutional clause allowing him to appoint 30 members to the House. But
Mugabe has this time round promised not to appoint anyone to his Cabinet who
is not elected in the March poll.
Apparently frustrated at
being banned from the general election and his dismissal earlier on by
Mugabe from ZANU PF's key central and politburo committees, Moyo lashed out
at Nkomo and Dabengwa who he accused of telling "primitive lies" about him
Moyo was fired from the party committees after he
secretly attempted to block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as ZANU PF's and
Zimbabwe's second vice-president.
Insiders said Mugabe was
likely to view Moyo's outburst against Nkomo and Dabengwa as an attack on
his authority, a development they said could see the former university
political science teacher jettisoned from ZANU PF. - ZimOnline
African Commission to hear Zimbabwean lawyer's torture
case Sat 15 January 2005 PRETORIA - The African Commission for Human and
People's Rights (ACHPR) will in April or early May this year hear a case in
which a human rights lawyer is suing the Zimbabwe government for torture and
other human rights abuses.
Zimbabwean lawyer Gabriel Shumba
appealed to the continental human rights watchdog after being severely
tortured by state security agents in violation of the African charter on
human and people's rights to which Harare is a signatory.
letter to Shumba, who now lives in South Africa after fleeing Zimbabwe, the
commission said it has sat down the lawyer's appeal for hearing between
April 27 and 11 May.
Shumba said he hoped the case will help draw
attention to human rights violations in Zimbabwe and lead African and other
international leaders to condemn the use of torture in the
The lawyer, who was subjected to electric shocks and was
urinated upon by state agents, said he was also hoping the commission would
ask Harare to compensate victims of torture and to punish those guilty of
human rights violations.
Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the matter. Harare has in the
past denied its security agents torture human rights activists and
Political violence and human rights abuse
have become routine in Zimbabwe since the emergence of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party five years ago as a threat to President
Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party's hold on power. - ZimOnline
Zim Online ZANU PF spy suspects remanded in custody Sat 15 January
2005 HARARE - ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland West province Philip
Chiyangwa and party deputy security officer Kenny Karidza were yesterday
remanded to 24 and 28 January respectively.
The two are part of
a group of five men accused of selling state economic and political
intelligence information to foreign agents. Karidza, ZANU PF external
affairs director Itai Marchi, Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique
Godfrey Dzvairo and banking executive Tendai Matambanadzo have pleaded
guilty to the charges.
Chiyangwa, who the state says was paid up to
US$10 000 per month for his services is pleading not guilty and has a
pending application at the High Court seeking the court to remove him form
remand to relax his bail conditions.
The five men, who are
being charged under the Official Secrets Act, can face up to 20 years in
jail if found guilty of selling state secrets to foreign spies. -
FEATURE: Villagers warn of 'Ides of March' over Mugabe's
chasing away of food donors Sat 15 January 2005 MANICALAND PROVINCE
- Each morning Daniel Munzara, here at Tsuwa village in Manicaland province
wakes up to gaze at the sky. It is a gesture he repeats at intervals
throughout the day hoping for a sign that never comes - a sign of the
"Denga raramba (the heavens will not give the
rains)," he says, his eyes still fixed on the cloudless sky. "This year we
will surely starve to death," he murmurs, so quietly as if to himself than
to our news crew.
Like his fellow villagers, Munzara is worried
that if a dry spell gripping Zimbabwe persists for a few more weeks, his
wilting maize crop, the staple food here, will be completely
And to add to the villagers' fears, the Department of
Meteorology this week warned that the dry spell could be a signal of yet
another drought year for Zimbabwe.
In some parts of the
country's more drought-prone provinces of Matabeleland and Masvingo,
villagers have already given up hope of saving their wilting crops or
planting a new crop.
"This is a double tragedy for us. There is no
sign of rain coming nor is there a sign of the non-governmental
organisations (NGOS) that fed us in previous drought years," Munzara said,
picking up on a recurrent theme with every villager here - that is,
President Robert Mugabe's decision last year to turn away international food
Mugabe told food agencies to take their help elsewhere
because Zimbabwe had harvested enough to feed itself, a claim later proved
by Parliament to have been false.
The cash-strapped government
started importing maize late last year after realising belatedly that there
was no enough maize to feed the people. But the stocks it has so far brought
into the country are way below quantities required to feed the more than
three million Zimbabweans food relief experts estimate are in need of food
The state also reversed a ban on food agencies from
distributing food to hungry Zimbabweans but the NGOs, most of who had
downsized staff after the government had said it did not need their help,
either do not readily have enough food in stock or are still to reach all
areas such as here at Tsuwa village.
"Plan International (an
NGO) is no longer giving us any food because we hear it was told to stop by
the government," said Munzara's neighbour, Sam Mukoyi.
continued: "We are starving and we face a drought. The government has done
nothing except to chase away those who could help. But we will have our turn
Zimbabwe holds a key general election in March. And it
remains to be seen whether swelling anger among the ruling ZANU PF party's
mostly rural supporters, who blame the government for "chasing away" food
donors will translate into a protest vote against the government. -
Zimbabwe's Jonathan Moyo hits out at Zanu(PF) leaders
14, 2005, 13:00
Jonathan Moyo, the Zimbabwean information minister, has
rebuked his own party, calling its chairman a liar after being barred from
contesting primary elections due this weekend. Moyo, who has fallen from
favour after allegedly organising a meeting, dubbed the "Tsholotsho
Declaration", to back a counter-candidate to president Robert Mugabe's
choice of vice-president, issued his statement yesterday.
Nkomo for stating at a public meeting that he could not contest primaries in
his home district of Tsholotsho, Moyo said the decision was "spiteful and
vengeful". "This smacks of an abuse of office," said Moyo in a
"Comrade Nkomo's mission will add more unhappy speculation
that he is doing everything to weaken Zanu(PF) by ensuring that it fields a
weak candidate so as to pave the way for his (opposition) Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) relative Sipepa Nkomo", said Moyo's
Tsholotsho Declaration Moyo also threatened legal action,
saying: "The blatant and defamatory political lies about the so-called
Tsholotsho Declaration have been taken too far by Nkomo and in the interest
of justice, fairness and the rule of law, he must now be held legally
accountable in the courts". Moyo said Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa, the former
home affairs minister, had told "a primitive lie" and a "spectacular false
claim" to defame him.
He criticised Nkomo for being "so afraid or
accommodating of the MDC" that he would not stand against the opposition in
polls set for March this year. The bitter spat, brewing since November, has
seen the ruling Zanu(PF) party split in its worst ever divide since before
the country gained independence in 1980. - Sapa
ANALYSIS January 14, 2005 Posted to the web January 14,
PATRICK VAN RENSBURG
Britain takes the Chair of the
world's G8 leading industrialised nations this year, and will also take the
Chair of the European Union for six months starting in July. Prime Minister
Tony Blair aims to use the opportunity to launch an Africa development plan
based on debt relief, more generous aid and better trade access.
the purpose, he has appointed a 17-member Commission for Africa comprising
mainly Western and African politicians, but that will also include rock
singer Bob Geldof, famous for his Live Aid concerts to raise money to
relieve famine in Ethiopia.
Last week, British Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Gordon Brown, launched the Plan for Africa. In doing so, he made
reference to the massive international response, in terms of financial and
technical assistance to the tsunami disaster of Boxing Day. He called the
world's response a "passion of compassion" which he hoped would be harnessed
against poverty and hunger in Africa.
At his own press conference,
Blair referred to African poverty as "equivalent to a man-made preventable
tsunami every week". In doing so, he reportedly distinguished between the
earthquake-induced waves of the north Indian Ocean, as a "force of nature",
and the underdevelopment of Africa as the "failure of man".
reports quote Blair as saying "thousands of children die needlessly every
day. That is why it is important to take some of this extraordinary spirit
people have shown over the past two weeks and say 'how do we use that to
awaken people's feelings in respect to what can be prevented in terms of
tragedy and catastrophe in the world".
Bob Geldoff's involvement is
clearly a response to a speech he reportedly made in London early last year,
addressed to Tony Blair, in which he called for "a 21st Century Marshall
Plan to save Africa". In his speech, he said "Summon the thinkers and
writers and culture geeks, philosophy monks, development freaks, economists
and anthropologists and report back, not only to the seven richest nations
in the world, but also to the generation that 20 years ago took Africa and
the world's poor from nowhere on the political agenda and placed it right at
Three Commonwealth Finance Ministers, Gordon Brown, Trevor
Manuel of South Africa, and Canada's Ralph Goodale are preparing the
economic chapter of the Commission's Report, and will meet in South Africa
this month to work jointly on their chapter.
While we should all see
the appointment of the Commission as worthwhile, no one should doubt that
Africa itself has to make what comes out of the Commission work. The
question is: Can it?
The Chairman of the African Union is likely to be
the President of Sudan, el Bashir who has yet to stop killing in Darfur. The
AU has not yet committed peace keepers to the Sudan. The Sudanese Government
has recently signed an Agreement with John Garang's Southerners, but this
will be the second time, because an earlier Agreement failed, resulting in
continuation of civil war there.
The Ivory Coast, which had earlier
been seen as a model of socio-economic development in Africa, was plagued by
civil war. South Africa's Thabo Mbeki arranged a cease-fire, but we have yet
to see if the root causes, among which ethnic rivalry plays a part, have
been satisfactorily resolved for the long term.
President Robert Mugabe, who started off so well in Zimbabwe in 1980, seems
to have unleashed economic disaster.
When one looks around Africa today,
one asks oneself whether what Frantz Fanon wrote many years ago is still
valid. "The national bourgeoisie of underdeveloped countries is not engaged
in production, nor in invention, nor in labour; it is completely canalised
into activities of the intermediate type."
When I asked an older
woman why she had not voted at the last general election, her view was that
the BDP only enriched the rich. "And the Opposition?" I asked. "They are
really hungry", she replied.
For me, the nature of the education system
is at the heart of under-development. I quote from Summary Conclusions of a
Seminar in 1974, on Education and Training and Alternatives in Education in
African Countries, in Dar es Salaam, organised by the Swedish Dag
Hammarskjold Foundation, and which I helped direct:
system of education, to which the hopes of so many have been pinned, has
failed the great majority of people. At each stage, fewer pupils are
retained, with a minority completing primary school, and a very small
minority only at secondary level in most African countries.
content of education is such that it does not prepare people to participate
in economic life. It does not give them any understanding of their
societies. It does not show them the need for and possibilities of
transformation of the physical and social environment. Work and skills are
required. But the children have acquired a distaste for manual work and
skills - especially manual work. The methods of education have encouraged
passivity and dependence, and discouraged creative thinking and
"The early school leavers who are left jobless will
constitute an unbearable burden and a source of social
Things may have improved here, but what about most of
President Mbeki had a good relationship with Mr Blair when he
became South Africa's President. He seems now to have a chip on his
shoulder. His committed leadership to the Blair initiative and Africa's full
participation in making it work, are vital to its success.
Speed Up Tourism Master Plan, Industry Urges Government
January 14, 2005 Posted to the web January 14,
PLAYERS in the tourism sector have urged the
Government to speed up the implementation of the proposed Tourism Master
Plan, as it would help revive the industry.
The plan is expected to
be presented before the Cabinet soon following the conclusion of the
consultative process, in which stakeholders in the sector were given an
opportunity to study the contents and come up with their own
The Master Plan would be implemented against the
background of continued resurgence in the sector.
officer of the Zimbabwe Council Tourism (ZCT) Mr Paul Matamisa said the
timeous implementation of the plan would enhance the operations of the
"This year should be the year of establishing new markets as well
as to consolidate existing ones.
"With the policy being put in place,
it will be a major boost to the sector as various constraints which had been
besetting tourism would be addressed," said Mr Matamisa.
that ZCT was focusing on strategies to attract visitors from traditional
markets such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and
An official with the country's tourism marketing board -
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) - said the plan was long overdue and the
authorities should speed up the process.
"We feel the plan is long
overdue and there is urgent need for responsible authorities to hasten its
"This will be a major development to the industry which
is already on the recovery path," said the official.
of the plan would complement the already existing Approved Destination
Status (ADS) granted to the country by China in boosting the operations of
ADS has resulted in tourist arrivals from China climbing from
a modest 4 960 in 2003 to 24 437 in 2004.
By the end of 2004
stakeholders in the sector were worried about delays in the launch and
implementation of the policy, which was mooted early last
Things, however, began moving at a faster pace towards the end
of last year when the draft document was presented to stakeholders to make
Among the pertinent issues to be addressed by the new policy
document are marketing initiatives, human resources development, product
pricing, infrastructure development, tax and other facets that drive or
hinder the development of tourism.
Zimbabwe's tourism sector has been
facing a number of challenges over the past four years, many of them
stemming from the negative publicity the country has been receiving from the
local private and international media.
In its continued efforts to revive
the sector, the Government has deployed tourism attaches to its embassies in
South Africa, France and Malaysia, from where the country anticipates a
significant number of arrivals.
Marketing efforts to turn around the
country's third biggest foreign currency earner are expected to yield
positive results during the next two years.
Economic analysts have,
however, maintained that the country needs to adopt more aggressive
marketing strategies to lure visitors from potential markets such as Europe
Last year, tourism grossed more than US$152,3 million (about
This compares favourably with tobacco exports which earned
the country US$226 million.
January 14, 2005 Posted to the web January 14,
Leonard Makombe Harare
RECENT tariff increases by Zesa
Holdings and other public utilities go against the objective of further
lowering inflation, the president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce, Mr Luxon Zembe, has said.
Zesa Holdings increased its tariffs
by 126 percent, effective this month, as part of the implementation of a
cost reflective regime.
Electricity tariff increases would trigger a wave
of price rises as both industry and commerce would adjust and factor in the
new production costs.
"Tariff increases have a serious impact on the
economy and they have not only been restricted to electricity as there have
also been massive tariff increases by the City of Harare.
means is that these increases will have serious inflationary pressure and
ultimately reverse the gains we have so far realised," said Mr
Inflation has long been identified as the country's number one
enemy. It stood at 622 percent at the beginning of 2004 before it was doused
to 149,3 percent in November last year.
Despite the success of the
home-grown economic programme initiated by the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the economy has
remained sensitive to both internal and external
Electricity plays a very important role in the economy and
any changes in the pricing of power will have a ripple effect on all the
"What is surprising is that some Government departments,
especially parastatals, are at the forefront (of) increasing tariffs and one
asks what private players would do," added Mr Zembe.
He said his
organisation was not advocating a zero increase in tariffs, but wanted it to
be done with restraint so that the ongoing war against inflation is
Mr Zembe added that apart from the sharp increase in electric power,
there has also been an increase in office rentals which have gone up by as
much as 3 000 percent.
"It appears all the businesspeople would like
to make up for their losses in the last five years within one month, and
this is also inflationary.
"As commerce we are not consulted on these
increases and only get to know about them when they are being announced,"
added Mr Zembe.
The foundation for the latest tariff hike could have been
laid last year.
In the first place, Government engaged a South African
consultant, Sad-Elec, to look into the tariff structure in the country. The
study concluded that the $104 per kilowatt hour being charged by Zesa was
much lower than the recommended average of $235 per kilowatt
Secondly, the Government announced that it would not meet the $1,14
trillion electricity tariff subsidy this year, leaving the power utility
with no choice but to increase its tariffs.
January 14, 2005 Posted to the web January 14,
ZIMBABWE'S energy industry has received a boost
following the establishment of a partnership incorporating Government, a
local private power company and two organs of the United Nations.
development falls in line with the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development's mandate to enhance the development of renewable energy in
general and small hydropower in particular.
Because of the
partnership, the country has since been conferred with the Honorary
Vice-Chairmanship of the International Network on Small Hydropower (IN-SHP),
a UN-sponsored non-governmental organisation, and that will see the
Government working closely with a local power development company, PowerMate
"In the spirit of increasing synergies between Government
and IN-SHP, the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development, has been conferred with the unique and prestigious post
of Honorary Vice-Chairmanship of the co-ordinating committee of the United
Nations-sponsored International Network on Small Hydropower," said the
ministry and the local company in a joint statement.
Vice-Chairmanship will enable Zimbabwe to get involved in the IN-SHP
co-ordinating committee's decision and policy making
PowerMate International has been in negotiations with IN-SHP
regarding the setting-up of a local sub-centre for the United Nations
Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development
Organisation, which fund IN-SHP.
The IN-SHP sub-centre intends to
support small hydropower development in Africa and Zimbabwe will be among
the first beneficiaries as initial focus will be on Southern African
Development Community countries.
For that cause, IN-SHP has donated a
30-kilowatt turbine to the Government in support of the rural
The Energy and Power Development Ministry has
invited a team of IN-SHP experts on small hydropower to assist in
identifying potential hydro sites in Zimbabwe.
The team is already in
the country and would also validate known potential hydropower sites with
the aim of producing a National Master Plan for hydropower development in
If successful, these efforts will result in better internal
power-generating capacity for Zimbabwe, giving easier access to power for
identified rural communities. More so, Zimbabwe will have readily accessible
technical, capacity-building and financial support from other IN-SHP
If the small hydro sites are incorporated into the local
power utility's current grid, it is expected that there will be a decrease
in the amount of imported power, a development that would save the country
billions in foreign currency. Several potential hydropower sites have been
identified on perennial rivers in the Eastern Highlands and irrigation dams
throughout the country with one in Nyanga and another in
One such project is already underway at Manyuchi Dam in the
Mwenezi District of Masvingo.
The turbines need to be located in a
perennial flow of water, and most such rivers are in the Eastern Highlands.
If the flow from a dam is used, there must be continuous flow of water from
the dam rather than the high flows in the dry season from irrigation dams
and low or no flows in the wet season when farmers can use
IN-SHP said the need to facilitate energy development projects
in Africa was borne out of the realisation that less than 15 percent of the
continent's population has access to electrical power and account for 70
percent of the world's two billion people without access to this critical
The U.S. government has added its
influential voice to those condemning the new media law recently signed by
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
On January 11, the U.S. State
Department rebuked Mugabe of Zimbabwe for signing the new regulations, which
tighten his control over Zimbabwean journalists. The law would send
journalists to prison for up to two years for working without a
By speaking up, the administration added its
weight to the protests of international press freedom groups like the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Those organizations and others had been trying to call international
attention to the laws for months.
State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher, during his daily press briefing in Washington, said the
administration was concerned about the law.
"Zimbabwe's media law has
often been used to close down the country's independent daily newspapers,
and we think that the new amendments to this law can only make matters
worse," Boucher said. "The steps raise serious doubts about whether the
government is committed to holding free and fair parliamentary elections in
"Stifling free discussion of political viewpoints through this law
is inconsistent with the election guidelines that were adopted by the South
African Development Community in August of 2004," Boucher said. "And so
we'll repeat our view that the government should allow independent daily
newspapers to reopen and should lift licensing restrictions on
The Congress of South African
Trade Unions (Cosatu) has applied to the Zimbabwean government to send a
high-powered delegation on a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe at the end of
the month, two months after officials from the organisation were
The purpose of the visit is to find out how the current crisis
in the country is affecting workers. Cosatu wants to include militant
secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and president Willie Madisha in the
Vavi and Madisha were not part of the first Cosatu delegation
that was bundled out of Zimbabwe in November.
Peter Craven said the union had made the application just before the
"We did not only write to the Zimbabwean government
explaining why we want to come," said Craven. "We also wrote to labour and
other stakeholders. We wrote the letter just before the holidays and we are
still waiting for a response from the Zimbabwean government.
to get a better understanding of what is happening on the ground by talking
to all stakeholders," he said.
The South African labour body had planned
its mission to Zimbabwe for this month, but is still awaiting a
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general
Wellington Chibhebhe, who visited South Africa last week, also said Cosatu
is "spelling out its plans" to visit Zimbabwe.
In a move that alarmed
labour movements in the region, Cosatu's last visit ended when the
government forced the South African visitors into a kombi and ordered them
out of the country.
The union later resolved to block the Beitbridge
border post in retaliation.
Craven said other regional trade unions would
support the blockade. A date for the blockade has not yet been
Though Chibhebhe said there is nothing political about Cosatu's
intentions, the Zimbabwean government has repeated its claim that Cosatu is
not welcome there.
"I do not know what they want in my country. I am
having negotiations with the ZCTU, a union in my country and our relations
with the ZCTU have improved," said Zimbabwe's Minister of Labour, Paul
"I am not interested in talking to them. They are a federation
in South Africa and they have no business to do in my country, except
through the bilateral relations we have with the ministry of labour in South
Africa," he told the country's Daily Mirror newspaper.
unwanted people. Unwanted people are thrown away. If they come, we will
throw them into the next kombi," he said. -- Zimbabwe Independent, Sapa
It seems neighbours Malawi and Zimbabwe are kissing and
making up after a couple of years of strained trade relations. By Hobbs Gama
Malawi and Zimbabwe are two countries with a long history of
trade partnership which began even before independence. However, several
recent political-economic misfortunes have hampered the smooth
implementation of bilateral trade pacts, with issues of trade imbalance,
flouted trading rules and an unfavourable environment being bandied
For the past few years, Zimbabwe has failed to repay debts owed to
Malawian exporters and to remit pension funds for thousands of Malawian
workers in that country. This is largely because of a foreign exchange
shortage, with the depreciating Zimbabwe dollar at one stage trading at Zim
$500 to US$1.
From the Malawian side, all hope is not lost. The strict
financial measures put in place by the administration of President Robert
Mugabe have been noted. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe put a tight lid on
borrowing from the domestic financial market, which has seen interest rates
drop from 600% to 200%, while the foreign reserve position has stabilised at
$1.2bn - compared to $300m in 2003.
And with recovering forex rates,
Harare has since remitted part of the outstanding payments for Malawian
firms and pensioners. "The Malawi government now has faith that active trade
will resume. The challenge is with the private sectors of the twocountries.
Malawi is optimistic about economic recovery in Zimbabwe following reduction
in borrowing and inflation rates in that country," said Eunice Kazembe,
Malawi's minister for Trade and Private Sector Development after a trade and
A Malawian delegation to Zimbabwe recently signed a
fresh bilateral trade accord. Known as the Reciprocal Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreement (RIPPA), it aims to promote and protect a conducive
trading and investment environment. Such arrangements give confidence to
investors and help promote inflows of investment into Zimbabwe and Malawi,
said Zimbabwe's minister of Finance and Economic Development, Herbert
"Foreign investment is critical to the economic development of
any country as it provides new technology, improved production methods,
inflows of foreign currency, access to international markets, joint venture
partnerships and helps to create employment," said Murerwa, rather stating
It was also agreed that Malawi would lift its duty-free
import status on its neighbour's products to protect its struggling markets
until it recovered from tough competition on the local and regional markets.
It is a temporary strategy to give respite to Malawian manufacturers.
Previously there had been temporary bans on Zimbabwean products like dressed
chickens and other poultry products, soaps, cooking oil, eggs and
In recent times, Malawian markets have been choked with cheap
Zimbabwean imports, leaving no space for Malawian producers. Issues of
exploiting the local market as a dumping ground, and trade imbalances where
Zimbabwean producers dominated the market, naturally arose.
temporary scrapping of the duty-free landing aims to address the dumping of
Zimbabwean goods, which was hurting local manufacturers. The proliferation
of these products on our markets has hurt industries which have linkages
with the rural sector; as you know, development in the sector concentrates
on agricultural produce," said Kazembe.
In the past ten years, more than
30 Malawian companies have closed, rendering a lot of people jobless and
causing numerous social ills. Wholesale liberalisation, characterised by an
unregulated influx of foreign products from around the more advanced
industries of southern Africa and abroad, are frequently singled out as the
cause of the demise of Malawi's infant industry. Currently, countries of the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) are grappling with the issue of
tariff removal. In Harare, ministers from the SADC states reviewed the
regional trade protocol established in 1996, which among other things
provides for reduction of tariffs on certain products and removal of some
The protocol is one of the adopted concepts to open up
free circulation of goods and opening up of trading activities to the wider
regional market before the countries explored the stiffer global market
which cannot yet import products from the developing world.
as if the phasing out of tariffs is a broader problem. Most countries of the
region heavily depend on revenue collected from customs duties to finance
their budgets. In the case of the Malawi government, it would not do away
with certain tariffs that would limit its revenue base.
"There is need
for government to turn around revenue collection before it can fully
implement the articles of the protocol," says Kazembe.
At a recent
symposium in Blantyre, stakeholders in the economy talked at length on the
rampant proliferation in Malawi of fake products, some of them smuggled in
from neighbouring countries. The Malawi Confederation of Chambers Commerce
and Industry (MCCCI) and the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) were
vocal not only about the health hazards of counterfeit and substandard
products. They also noted that Malawian consumers reeling under the impact
of shrinking personal incomes are attracted by the cheaper pricing of such
products, and have since launched awareness campaigns on the need to protect
Malawi's local industries.
Government is presently working to enact a law
that will provide for stiffer punishment for producers and sellers of
Another bone of contention in Malawi has been the
negative impact of the donor-imposed privatisation programme, as government
was forced to shed its unproductive state entities that were burdening
already constrained state budgets. Whatever its merits, privatisation has
brought untold miseries emanating from massive lay-offs and restructuring
(downsizing of operations).
With several peaceful
elections taking place in Africa in 2004, is the continent reaching new
levels of political maturity? Not so fast, says Peter van der
To the cynical observer, 2004 was a year of unspeakable atrocity
for Africa. It was a year in which the world recoiled at the mindless
state-condoned genocide in Darfur, where defenceless people clad in
gaily-coloured swathes of cloth were - and are - mown down in their
thousands by blood-crazed lunatics on horseback.
It was also a year
in which harmless civilians fled the bloody mineral-driven conflict in the
tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, only to be hacked to
pieces in the very refugee camps which were supposed to give them
But true to form, 2004 was also a year of astonishing hope for
the continent. Who would have thought that Namibia's Sam Nujoma would have
backed down from a third term of power, golden handshake or not? And the
sight of Libyan maverick Muammar Gaddafi shaking hands with the likes of
British premier Tony Blair and French president Jacques Chirac was enough to
have the most seasoned political observers wiping their eyes in
If anything, though, 2004 was the year of elections in Africa.
Some commentators waxed lyrical about a changing of the guard, and a fresh
new breeze blowing through Africa's halls of leadership. That may be
premature, considering the number of disputed results - and the number of
hardened autocrats still in power - but the very fact that elections were
held offers hope for a continent desperately in need of some good
In April, Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika ensured a second
term of power by winning more than 80% of the vote in his country's
elections. The margin of victory led his rivals to claim "massive fraud",
but the election was a vast step forward from 1999, when Bouteflika's rivals
withdrew on the eve of the vote.
He now faces several challenges, not
least of which is the dismal state of party politics following years of
supervision by army commanders. The army's neutral posture in the 2004
elections was gratifying, but time will tell if Bouteflika takes the tough
decisions: reform of the judiciary, creating genuine political
accountability, creating jobs and cracking down on corruption.
May, Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika took power with a mere 36% of the total
vote. Voting was generally peaceful, but a chaotic voters' roll, abuse of
state funds by the ruling party and the failure of the public broadcasters
to give equitable coverage to the contesting parties during the campaign
period made for a deeply flawed poll.
Going forward, Malawi's
government will have to rely on a series of shaky alliances if it is to
fight the twin scourges of AIDS and poverty which bedevil this tiny nation.
In October, Cameroon's Paul Biya won a landslide victory with 82,2% of the
vote in a farcically rigged election, with international observers saying
the poll had "lacked the necessary credibility". The country's political
system remains in chaos and human rights abuses are on the rise.
Biya regime is one of the most repressive and corrupt in the world.
Opposition parties continue to be repressed and during the election
campaign, government banned opposition meetings and detained government
critics, including political activists and journalists. This may be many
things, but democracy it is not.
Tunisia's elections in October were
similarly controversial, with Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ostensibly winning
94,5% of the vote. The 68-year-old ruler faced three challengers, who all
openly conceded they had no chance of unseating the incumbent.
rights and opposition groups were scathing about the elections, saying they
were little more than a smokescreen for the president's authoritarian rule.
They suggest Tunisia has escaped international criticism because it is an
ally of Europe and the United States in cracking down on Islamic militants.
It remains a blot on Africa's attempts to provide more effective
Botswana's October elections reinforced its reputation as
one of the "most stable, liberal and effective democracies" in Africa, but a
senior political analyst later called for the opposition to be strengthened
after the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won 44 of 57 parliamentary
Khabele Matlosa, a senior research advisor at the Electoral
Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), told IRIN News that Botswana needed to
opt for a proportional representation (PR) voting system to provide the
opposition with a "bigger presence" in parliament. In the PR system a
political party receives a share of seats in direct proportion or equal to
the number of votes it garners in the election.
There were no
surprises in Namibia, either, where long-time leader Sam Nujoma's
hand-picked successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, romped home with 76,4% of the
popular vote. Nujoma rides off into the sunset with a fleet of luxury
vehicles, more free plane tickets than he can use, a fat payout, three
chauffeurs, two cooks, ten security staff and a partridge in a pear tree.
Who says freedom fighters do it for a cause?
In the meantime, two
Namibian opposition parties filed a court application to have the November
national polls declared null and void, or to have all the 830 000 ballots
recounted. At time of going to press, no government figures were losing any
sleep over the challenge.
More good news came from Niger in December,
where President Mamadou Tandja became the country's first head of state to
secure re-election as the arid landlocked country enters a new era of
political stability. Tandja is the first elected leader to have completed a
term in office without being toppled by a coup or assassinated.
retired army colonel, he won a resounding 65.5% percent of the vote to the
34.5% of challenger Mahamadou Issoufou. His challenge is to maintain
stability and bring some relief to a country rated the second-poorest in the
Ghana's John Kufuor was also re-elected in December, in spite
of the best efforts of rival John Evans Atta Mills, whose links with former
ruler Jerry Rawlings continue to haunt him.
Another unhappy election
took place in Mozambique, where the ruling party's Armando Guebuza won 63,7%
of the vote amid screeches of protest from the opposition about widespread
irregularities. It remains to be seen whether the opposition will take its
place in parliament.
So what lies ahead for 2005? While 2004's polls were
largely predictable, this year's elections on the continent are a different
kettle of fish, featuring some of the continent's conflict
First on the agenda is the March elections in Zimbabwe, which
are already shrouded in controversy as Robert Mugabe's government
intimidates and arrests opposition figures, passes ludicrously draconian
laws designed to favour itself, and generally gets up to as many dirty
tricks as possible to ensure the longevity of the Zanu-PF rule.
highly unlikely that voting will be either free or fair, as the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is unable to communicate with its
people. All independent media has been banned, and the state-controlled
mouthpieces will scarcely give the MDC the time of day, let alone any
In strife-torn Burundi, squabbling over power-sharing
arrangements has caused delays in the election timetable. The general
election has been postponed from November 2004 to March 2005 and the
presidential election to April 2005. First, though, a thrice-postponed
referendum must be held on a new constitution.
Part of the problem is
that the Tutsi minority refuses to accept the Arusha agreement, which gives
them 40% of the government to the Hutu majority's 60%. The country now risks
continued instability and violence.
An even bigger headache is the
scheduled elections in the DRC in June 2005, which are looking in grave
danger as new conflict breaks out. The elections are supposed to mark the
end of a two-year transitional period in which Joseph Kabila ruled with the
assistance of four former rebel leaders, but renewed conflict with Rwanda
has thrown this timetable into doubt.
It would be hard enough holding
elections in the DRC at the best of times, with 60 million people and
precious little infrastructure. With war breaking out, it would be
Also scheduled in October 2005 are elections in Cote
d'Ivoire, which is wracked with strife. The country is divided between the
rebel-controlled north and the government-controlled south, which includes
the capital Abidjan. A Thabo Mbeki-brokered peace plan is on the table, but
much work lies ahead if any ballots are to be marked this year.
to cap it all, elections are planned for the Central African Republic, where
General François Bozize seized power in 2003 in grand African style, and
Tanzania, where President Benjamin Mkapa's term of office comes to an end in
£160billion in debt and spends £8billion a year on its
But 43 per cent of people living in sub-Saharan
Africa live on 50p or less a day.
Sudan's debt is £8billion
while Angola owes £5.7billion. But paying off the money loaned by rich
countries, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund means there is
little left for health and education. Zimbabwe's total debt stock stood at
£2.3billion in 1999 and it pays £1.70 servicing its loans for every 53p it
gets in aid.
Nigeria originally borrowed £2.5billion from foreign
governments and institutions.
It has paid back £8.5billion and
still owes £17billion. In 2000, Rwanda's debt was £630million, according to
1999 figures from Jubilee Research and DATA.
almost £3.7billion and Senegal around £2billion.
Malawi's debt stands at £1.4billion while Ethiopia owes £245million.
Bennett, the opposition MP jailed for shoving justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa during a parliamentary debate, has a new jailer. Prison officer
Gwanyiwa, who recently assumed responsibility for security and intelligence
at the jail in Mutoko where Bennett is incarcerated, is making life as
difficult as possible for Bennett, on top of what were already terrible
conditions inside the prison. Speaking this week, Bennett's wife Heather
reported on the victimisation of other prisoners who are friendly towards
her husband or assist him in any way. The number of prisoners sharing
Bennett's cell has also been increased, although other cells in the jail
have not been similarly treated. Access to his lawyers has also been made
more difficult. "On one recent visit, his lawyers were kept waiting for one
and a half hours while Officer Gwanyiwa made frantic calls to Harare trying
to thwart their visit. They were eventually permitted to see Roy, but
Gwanyiwa refused to move out of earshot of the conversation," said Heather,
paying tribute to the legal team who make the four hour round trip from
Harare whenever possible. Bennett also denied recent reports that he will
stand again for election in the Chimanimani constituency in this year's
parliamentary election. "I saw Roy on Saturday," his wife said. "He will not
make a final decision until he has consulted the people of Chimanimani and
his family. He is also waiting for the party to decide whether they will
participate in the election before evaluating his position. The people in
his constituency and his family have already suffered because of the
government's intolerance of any opposition. At the same time, he will not
abandon the people if they call for him, so that it is not a decision that
he will take lightly". Bennett is the first person to be sentenced to a
prison term by parliament. He is serving twelve month's hard labour, with an
further three months suspended.
Harare - Zimbabwe's banking sector was likely to remain in a
state of crisis as surviving institutions struggled to regain investor
credibility, analysts said yesterday. Its economy in free-fall, Zimbabwe was
plagued by liquidity problems last year. Many banks collapsed and the
central bank launched a crackdown on the sector. Thousands of depositors are
still reeling from the sudden closure last month of financial services group
CFX, capitalised at Z$37.7 billion (R40 million), after the central bank put
it under curatorship citing poor liquidity. The move, which brought to eight
the number of locally owned banks to fold, left consumers stranded without
cash on Christmas eve. Several bank executives have been hauled before the
courts on charges of defrauding investors. "After what happened at CFX I
think smaller banks will continue to face serious credibility problems,"
said private economic analyst James Jowa. "It will take quite some time for
depositors and investors to be convinced that the smaller banks can do
business as well as the traditional banks."
There are 10 banking
institutions quoted on the country's stock exchange, which was capitalised
at Z$8.6 trillion in November. The fallout has seen panicked depositors
withdraw their money from the few survivors out of dozens of mainly
black-owned institutions that mushroomed in the 1990s when President Robert
Mugabe's government liberalised the sector. One of the institutions, Kingdom
Financial Holdings, worth Z$20.3 billion on the Zimbabwe stock exchange, has
sought to calm investors' nerves over the past week through a series of
press adverts proclaiming that it was making every effort to remain viable.
"We have had to bear with clients unease in light of speculation that more
banks would close," Kingdom said. Critics say the government failed to put
in place adequate regulations to ensure sound practice and also left the
country with more financial institutions than the economy could
Leading economic consultant, John Robertson of Robertson
Economic Information Services, said: "We've still got many more banks than
we had 10 years ago and the economy has shrunk to half the size of what it
was 10 years ago. What we needed is bigger banks, not more banks. "It is
probable that we will not see any more failures but I think some of the
banks that survive will not do very good business for some time because the
economy is still shrinking despite the government saying that it is
recovering," he said. Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by nearly 30 percent
since 1999 and critics say 25 years of post-independence mismanagement by
Mugabe's government had left the country struggling with three-digit
inflation, unemployment of over 70 percent and chronic shortages of foreign
currency and fuel.
Zanu PF Member of Parliament and
Mashonaland West provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa was paid up to US$10
000 a month by a South African agent to supply information on economic and
political developments in Zimbabwe, the High Court heard yesterday. And in
the Harare regional court, Regional Magistrate Mr Peter Kumbawa yesterday
dismissed the application by three others facing similar charges under the
Official Secrets Act to have their guilty plea altered. Zimbabwe's
ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, Zanu-PF director for
external affairs Itai Marchi and former Metropolitan Bank company secretary
Tendai Matambanadzo failed in their bid after the magistrate rules there was
no coercion or undue pressure exerted on them. In the High Court,
Chiyangwa's advocate, Advocate Chris Andersen, gave some details of the
charges in open court during a review hearing by Justice Charles Hungwe on
the magistrates' court's decision to place Chiyangwa on remand and on his
appeal for bail pending investigations and trial.
Andersen asserted that passing information on political and economic
developments as stated in the charge could not be taken as endangering the
security of the State. This, Adv Andersen said, could not by any definition
be regarded as espionage. He added that there were not enough details on the
charge to enable the lower court to make an informed decision on whether to
place Chiyangwa on remand or not. Adv Andersen argued that the trial court
erred when the case was decided in the absence of the essential elements of
the charge. He also argued that it was impossible for the court to determine
objectively whether the prosecution had reasonable suspicion that Chiyangwa
committed the offence basing on scant information. "The failure of the State
to particularise the information is futile to the charge. Therefore, accused
should not have been placed on remand," said Adv Andersen. Adv Andersen said
it was impossible to infer South Africa as an enemy of Zimbabwe considering
the relationship between the two countries. For his services, Chiyangwa was
initially allegedly paid a monthly stipend of US$4 000 and then increased to
US$10 000 per month by the end of last year.
On the appeal for
bail, Adv Andersen said Chiyangwa was a suitable candidate in view of his
political, business and social status in the country, a fact the lower court
should have considered most. He said chances that his client might abscond
were non-existent since he wanted to contest the primary elections in his
constituency. But according to the criteria set by the ruling Zanu PF,
Chiyangwa is not eligible to contest the election because he has a pending
court case. Chiyangwa was offering $10 million bail coupled with stringent
conditions. The State failed to respond to Adv Andersen's submissions on the
application for review of the refusal of remand, saying the application came
as a surprise. The prosecutor, Mr Brian Vito, said he would need time to
respond to the submissions. He, however, opposed bail, insisting that the
lower court did not misdirect itself when it denied Chiyangwa bail. The
magistrate properly considered all the relevant factors in such matters, he
Urging the court not to place undue weight on the fact that
Chiyangwa was still innocent until proven guilty, Mr Vito said: "The
presumption of innocence must not be over-emphasised and bail must be
refused." He said Chiyangwa was facing serious charges involving matters of
State security and penalties provided for such cases attract a prison term
of up to 25 years. The information passed to the foreign agents, Mr Vito
said, related to the Presidium, political and economic developments. "The
State is in possession of the evidence from the persons responsible for
paying Chiyangwa for his services and who will be called to testify. It is
the State's view that if the applicant is allowed bail at this juncture,
investigations will be prejudiced," he said. Mr Vito said Chiyangwa should
not be trusted since an embassy official implicated in the case disappeared
when he was recalled to Zimbabwe.
He said the investigations were
of an extremely delicate and sensitive nature as they involved relations
between Zimbabwe and a neighbouring state. Mr Vito averred that an assertion
by the defence that South Africa could not be construed as an enemy of
Zimbabwe was misleading. "In intelligence circles anybody is your potential
enemy and, indeed in this case, it has not been established who were the
ultimate recipients of that information, but the agent is based in South
Africa," he said. He urged the court to dismiss Chiyangwa's application,
saying the judge should not be unduly influenced by his pledges that he
would not abscond if granted bail. But Justice Hungwe said the court was
concerned about the inadequacy of the charge, which, he said, did not
disclose the nature of the information supplied to foreign agents. "We do
not know whether the details are military, political or economical as
claimed by the State," the judge said. He said it could have been helpful if
the charges were substantiated for the court to arrive at an informed
decision. In response, Mr Vito said the details were mentioned in the record
of the proceedings. Judgment was reserved.
In the other case Dzvairo,
Marchi and Matambanadzo had originally pleaded guilty to contravening
Section 4 of the Official Secrets Act and admitted to selling State secrets
to foreign powers but made a sudden U-turn asking the court to change their
pleas to not guilty. According to chief law officer Mrs Florence Ziyambi the
trio through their lawyers Mr Selby Hwacha and Mr Canaan Dube, both of Dube,
Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners argued there was coercion and
pressure exerted on them to admit to the charges. Mrs Ziyambi told The
Herald soon after the hearing being held in camera for security reasons that
the presiding magistrate ruled that there was no coercion or undue pressure
exerted on the three. She said the magistrate stated that the sudden move to
alter their pleas was an attempt to delay the court process. The court was
satisfied that a plea of guilty by the trio was not brought about as a
result of fraud, coercion or undue influence, she said. Mrs Ziyambi also
said the trio's lawyers were challenging the magistrate's decision at the
High Court. Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo who were arrested in mid
December last year were further remanded in custody to January 27. The three
are jointly charged with Chinhoyi Member of Parliament Phillip Chiyangwa and
Zanu PF deputy director for security Kenny Karidza for allegedly selling
State secrets to foreign agents.