The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

Mpofu, RTG in fresh land row
Blessing Zulu/Godfrey Marawanyika
THE stock exchange-listed Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) is seeking government
intervention to prevent senior Zanu PF officials from taking control of
safari properties on which the company runs lodges.

RTG shareholders, including Mauritius-based technical partners Ireland
Blyth, have expressed alarm at disruption to tourism activities resulting
from changes in land ownership in Hwange.

These mostly concern a company called Touch the Wild in which RTG controls
60% and Ireland Blyth 40%.

RTG has appealed to Special Affairs minister John Nkomo's office to
intervene. Nkomo is heading the government's land implementation committee.

RTG chairman Ibbo Mandaza last month wrote a letter to Special Affairs
permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe seeking his intervention in dealing with
the senior politicians who include Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu.

"Following our recent telephone discussion on the above (Farms 39, 40 and 41
in the Sikumi valley, Dete, Hwange), this letter serves to seek
clarification on the developments surrounding our tourist activities in the
above properties," Mandaza wrote.

Mandaza said Farm 40 has improvements in the form of a safari lodge known as
Kanondo on state land leased by Zimsun and sub-leased to Touch the Wild,
"now owned by a company controlled by Governor O Mpofu". A company
controlled by Mpofu, Mandaza said, also owns Farm 41.

"The new owners of farm 39, 40 and 41 have indicated that they wish to have
the leases revised upwards in spite of the existence of leases which are
only due to expire in 2008. The above developments have caused distress to
our board, but especially to our foreign shareholders. Kindly advise what
our rights are within the context of the land reform programme."

The foreign owners include Groupe Accor of France (35%) and Lafico of Libya

Mandaza's letter said that Sikumi 2, which was initially owned by B de
Fries, was designated in 2002 and "given to an indigenous company controlled
by Hon Prof Jonathan Moyo who has agreed to maintain the existing terms and
lease with TTW (Touch the Wild)".

Documents to hand show that initially RTG wanted to be the direct lessee of
this important piece of land with the government being the lessor. In May
2002 RTG applied to government to exempt Sikumi Lodge from a land
acquisition order.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority chairman Buzwani Mothobi in a
statement dated December 13 2003 on the land-use practice in the area said
the growth of tourism in Hwange depended on Touch the Wild lodges.

Up until 1999, the government wholly owned RTG. Government has since reduced
its shareholding to 17%.

Chiwewe yesterday confirmed having received the letters but said he had
tasked the Land Inspectorate to handle the matter.

"I referred the matter to my inspectorate," Chiwewe said. "The person I have
given the responsibility to handle the matter is Daniel Moyo, the national
coordinator in Matabeleland North province," he said.

"I am on leave up until mid Feb-ruary, so I do not know what has happened
since." Chiwewe is the current head of the Presidential Land Resettlement
Committee, which is expected to beef up Minister Nkomo's clean-up efforts.

An official from the inspectorate confirmed that RTG's complaints had been
forwarded to them, adding that a decision will soon be made on whether Moyo
and Mpofu should vacate the areas and the land revert to government.

"I can confirm that we got the letter of complaint from Chiwewe," said the
official. "The investigations have been carried out and we did not like what
we saw. A determination will be made soon," he said.

The inspectorate is led by deputy police commissioner Godwin Matanga and
assisted by Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena.

Mpofu switched off his phone on three occasions yesterday when contacted by
the Independent for comment.

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Zim Independent

GMB fails to cut budget deficit
Itai Dzamara
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB), suffering from the effects of the chaotic
land reform programme, has failed to cut its huge budget deficit despite
increasing the selling price of maize and wheat last year, the Zimbabwe
Independent has gathered.

Sources at the GMB said maize and wheat imports using parallel market forex
rates compounded the parastatal's woes.

The sources revealed this week that the parastatal was still expected to
incur a huge budget deficit.

"Price increases didn't work. All they did was to reduce the size of the
deficit, which a recent management meeting estimated would be over $250
billion," said a source.

GMB acting chief executive officer Colonel Samuel Muvuti had not responded
to written questions from this paper by the time of going to press

In the 2003/4 financial year, the parastatal forecast a budget deficit of
$302 billion, which was attributed to the effects of the land reform
programme. Drastic declines in local harvests over the last three years have
forced the GMB to import maize and wheat and sell at huge losses.

Government's populist policy of price controls has seen the GMB selling
maize and wheat at well below the buying price.

"The year 2003/2004 recurrent budget shows a budgeted loss of $301,7
billion," said the sources. "The budgeted loss is largely attributed to
trading activities in major crops which are not viable. The loss will arise
from controlled prices of wheat and maize. The two crops will account for
almost 100% of all commodity-trading activities."

The GMB hoped to reduce the deficit by charging "break-even prices" which
were approved by government in July last year. The new selling price of
maize is $272 987, up from the previous $9 600 a tonne, with wheat selling
at $305 487 per tonne.

However, the sources said the new selling price failed to extricate the GMB

from debt due to the instability in the foreign currency exchange regimes.
The parastatal has been importing maize and wheat using foreign currency.

"Large quantities of grain have also been disposed of by the GMB meant for
government's relief programmes," said a source.

"For the past three years government has not provided money for the GMB's
recurrent and capital expenditure despite sometimes having to direct the
board to sell below cost, particularly maize and wheat," said Muvuti in the
2003/4 recurrent and capital expenditure budget.

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Zim Independent

Chefs rake in millions from FSI land deals
Augustine Mukaro/Blessing Zulu
PROMINENT Zanu PF politicians are raking in millions in profits from
illegally subleasing farms they were allocated for free under the land
reform programme.

Lease documents obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent last week show that
Zanu PF bigwigs were last year paid around $50 million each by
agro-processing firm FSI Agricom which rented the farms from the

FSI in a statement to the Independent last week denied renting farms but
confirmed business links with leading politicians in their outgrower scheme.

"As far as we are concerned, Enos Chikowore and Chris Kuruneri are our
out-growers and we support them in the same way that we support other
farmers who have successfully qualified for our out-grower scheme," FSI

Documents to hand show a number of prominent politicians as having
agreements with FSI.

The documents show that FSI was planning to move equipment from one property
currently under dispute to what it described as "less controversial
operations at Gombera (Chikowore), Paarl (Kangai), Stockfields (Matika),
Binga (Malpas Investments), and Escortvale (Kuruneri) as well as our Chegutu

Special Affairs minister and land implementation committee chairman John
Nkomo three weeks ago said beneficiaries of the land reform programme could
not lease farms to third parties as this was illegal.

"Once acquired, the land becomes state land," Nkomo said.

"A beneficiary is given a lease by the state, and there obviously are
conditions attached to it. But no one is allowed to (sub) lease the land."

According to the documents, top ruling-party functionaries who benefited
from the controversial land reform programme and proceeded to rent their
farms to FSI Agricom include Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa.

In addition to the provision of seed and fertiliser FSI installed
sophisticated irrigation equipment on the farms. They are currently in
dispute with Chiyangwa over that equipment.

Chiyangwa was allocated Old Citrus farm under the land reform programme.

Former war veterans chairman Patrick Nyaruwata and secretary-general Andy
Mhlanga, who are sharing Bramfield farm in the Mazowe area, leased their
land to FSI until this year when they decided to operate on their own.

Contacted for comment, Nyaruwata confirmed that he had entered into an
agreement with FSI but had since decided to go it alone.

"FSI helped us grow soyabeans last year," Nyaruwata said.

"In my case the arrangement was that FSI provided me with seeds and
chemicals on condition that I would sell the produce to them. They would
then deduct the cost of what they had provided and give me the proceeds. I
have however since decided to go solo and I am happy with the progress so

The documents show that Chiyangwa was paid $50 million in October 2002
before FSI could start operations on the farm. The documents show that the
FSI signed five-year leases with the new landowners.

"$50 million will be paid in year one upon signing of the agreement," the
contracts say.

"In year two and subsequent years payment will be based on profit-sharing
between the landowner and the land-user after all the costs have been
deducted. In the event that the produce is exported, the land owner will
receive 5% of the gross income in foreign currency," the contract

FSI Agricom officials said precise contractual agreements were tailor-made
to suit individual requirements. They would not provide details citing
confidentiality clauses in the contracts.

"The confidential nature of our contractual relationships with beneficiaries
prevents us from disclosing to third parties without prior approval of the
concerned farmers," an official said.

FSI has been operating 634 model A2 farms allocated to new farmers since the
onset of the land reform programme in 2000. The properties were either
allocated to farmers who could not work on them or required financial
assistance to effectively utilise the land.

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Zim Independent

Mnangagwa probes Coltart list
Staff Writer
SPEAKER of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa has instituted an inquiry to
establish a possible breach of privilege after MDC legal secretary David
Coltart last week tabled a list of Zanu PF officials whom he said acquired
farms in breach of the law.

Coltart tabled the list during debate on the parliamentary legal committee
report on the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill. Coltart argued that Zanu PF
MPs could not debate the issue because they had a vested interest.

Zanu PF chief whip Jorum Gumbo, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and
politburo member Didymus Mutasa disputed the information which they said was
deliberately falsified with the intention of tarnishing the names of Zanu PF

The parliamentary Order Paper of January 22 indicates that the Speaker has
instituted an inquiry to see if Coltart's submission amounted to a breach of
parliamentary privilege.

"I therefore rule that there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege
and that an inquiry is necessary to establish whether or not there has been
breach of privilege and therefore contempt of parliament."

The "list of some members of parliament reportedly having a pecuniary
interest through allocations" (below) is published by Hansard, the record of
parliamentary proceedings, of January 21:

Name Farm

Chapfika V The Grove

Chauke E Farm 784 Ngwindi Sugar Estate, Chiredzi

Sikato 10, Masvingo

Chinamasa Patrick

& Spouse Subdivision 1 Nyamazura

Lot 1 of Mirror, Rocklands, Marondera

Lawrence Dale 3 and part of Lawrence Dale 4, Headlands

Chindori-Chininga Calgary @ Mazowe (1500ha taken fromA1)

Chimutengwende Brock Park Farm and Bemill Park

Chipanga S First Everton, then Crofton, Rusape

Chitango V Showers 'B'

Chombo I Allan Grange (300ha) + Oldham, Chegutu

Dokore L Barnwell

Dzinzi N Dendere

Gasela E Forest Extension 2

Gumbo J Lot 21a Nuanetsi Ranch and Wolwehoek

1299ha Mwenezi

Gumbo R Fauna

Hungwe JD Lot 21a Nuanetsi Ranch and

Bryn Farm, Chegutu

Kasukuwere S Harmony Farm, Mazoe 500ha

Pimento Farm

Bamboo Creek

Bretton Farm

Dr J Made Causeway Farm

Tara Farm

Madzongwe E Bourne and Coburn 13, Chegutu

Mahofa S Zaka Scheme Plots, Lothian at Gutu

Spring Farm



Mangange C Hippo Valley Settlement

Mangwende W Rudolphia Farm, Arcturus

Manyika Elliot Duiker Flats

Subdivision of Caledon

Matiza B Highlands

Midzi Amos Magudu Ranch

Mohadi K +Mrs Bothasrus and Bea Ranch, Beit Bridge

Moyo Prof J Little Connemara 1, Inyanga

Patterson, Mazoe

Lot 3a Dete Valley, Lupane (through Eternity Trading)

Mpofu O Auchenburg, Nyamandlovu, Umguza Block, Umguza; (and one purchased?)

Lot 40 of Dete Valley

Msika Umguza Block (Nephew on Broadlands, Sister on Harmony)

Muchena, Olivia Eastwolds

Mudenge S Chikore Farm, Masvingo

Mugabe S Remaining extent Mleme 1037ha

Longwood 924ha

Gowrie Farm, Norton

Audley End

Zvim Golden Stairs?

Mutasa D Beazil Grange

Lone Kop

Murerwa Dr H Causeway Farm

Ncube A Makhando Outspan

Nyoni S Fountain Farm Insiza (was planned for youth training)

Parirenyatwa Dr D Rudolphia Farm, Acturus

Sekeramayi S Ulva, Marondera (displacing 21 families)

Shumba I Moira Ranch, Mateke

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Zim Independent

Noczim/traders strike deal
Staff Writer
THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and fuel traders have agreed
on terms that will see the state enterprise acting as a middleman in the
procurement of fuel.

Industry sources this week said since the deregulation of the fuel industry
and the improved availability of foreign currency Noczim's role had now been
reduced to handling fuel on behalf of the traders. In the past, Noczim was
the sole importer of fuel but it failed to meet demand due to foreign
currency constraints.

Fuel availability has improved remarkably over the past six weeks and there
has been a corresponding drop in the price of the commodity from $3 200 to
about $2 700 a litre.

Other traders were yesterday selling both petrol and diesel for $2 200. The
drop in the price of fuel has been attributed to the availability of foreign
currency - prompted by the auction system, and the use of the pipeline as a
cheaper option to transport the commodity.

The traders recently agreed a handling charge of US 7c per litre with Noczim
which would see the parastatal co-ordinating the payment of taxes and duty
on behalf of the dealers. Under the arrangement Noczim will also organise
the transportation of the fuel through the pipeline from Beira to Mutare and
then to Harare via the pipeline. The company will also do quality checks on
the products being imported.

The sources said Noczim had now cut its imports to about 20% of normal,
mainly for government departments, the uniformed forces and parastatals.

The arrangement is however benefiting large companies, which usually import
large quantities of fuel. Smaller operators have continued to use road
haulage to move fuel from the Mozambican port of Beira.

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Zim Independent

Police raid MDC Byo offices again
Staff Writer
POLICE stormed the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Bulawayo
again this week and took the party's provincial administrator away with them
for questioning over what they said was subversive material.

Police last Friday searched the MDC's Bulawayo offices. They returned on
Monday afternoon and took away Joshua Mpofu for questioning after they
allegedly found Zvakwana/Sokwanele leaflets.

Sokwanele/Zvakwana is publishedby local activists and pressure groups.

MDC provincial information and publicity officer Victor Moyo confirmed to
the Zimbabwe Independent that police raided the party's offices and took
Mpofu away with them.

Moyo said Mpofu was questioned by police who wanted to know who published
and distributed the Zvakwana/Sokwanele material. He was later released
without charge.

"Police came in here and picked up Mpofu," said Moyo. 'They also wanted to
know who printed and distributed Sokwanele/Zvakwana posters that were found
at our offices. Police also took other material that we feel should be
returned," said Moyo.

The police, armed with a search warrant, last week stormed the MDC offices
in Harare and Bulawayo ostensibly in search of dangerous weapons and
subversive materials.

The MDC said after the search that the police left with documents that
included MDC policy documents, workers' telephone contact books, and other
personal documents belonging to staff.

This is not the first time that police have raided the opposition party's
offices with the excuse of searching for weapons but in all instances the
searches have yielded no positive results.

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Zim Independent


Christians have duty to denounce Mugabe

HAMLET has a problem: What to do about his evil uncle who rules over
Denmark. He asks himself: "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the
slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of
troubles and by opposing end them?"

Hamlet's question is one that all Christians in Zimbabwe ought to be asking
themselves. How should Christians behave towards a regime that consistently
violates basic human rights and the rule of law? More specifically, are
Christians under a duty to publicly denounce the Mugabe regime? For the
reasons given below, I believe that Christians are under such a duty.

A number of passages in the Bible discuss the relationship between
individuals and government. Romans 13:1-4 says:

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no
authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist
have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the
authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so
will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who
do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of
the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he
is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does
not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath, to
bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (Emphasis mine.)

Similarly, 1 Peter 2:13-14 says:

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among
men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are
sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right."

What emerges from this passage is the fact that God has established civil
government for a particular purpose. In the words of the American Christian
scholar Francis Schaeffer the government "…is to be an agent of justice, to
restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, and to protect the good in
society." No other purpose is assigned to government by scripture. Thus
civil government will be acting lawfully, in God's sight, when it acts
within the parameters of the purpose for which it was established. When it
purports to act outside of these parameters, however, it will be abusing its
God-given authority.

It is clear therefore, that scripture teaches that governmental authority is
not absolute. The only kind of authority governments have is the limited
authority delegated to them by God.

It is against the background of this limited authority that the meaning of
the scriptural obligation to submit to the governing authorities must be
considered. Construed as a whole, it is clear that the relevant passages in
the Bible make a government's obligation to do good the paramount
consideration. The purpose of submission to the government is to facilitate
the government's task of doing good. Thus, as British legal scholar David
McIlroy notes, "the obligations of subjection and obedience are merely types
of, or examples of, the over-arching obligation to do good, and when the
consequences of obedience are not good but bad, there is not obligation to

Many Christians have failed to read Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 with sufficient
care. As a result, some have adopted the erroneous view that Christians must
never criticise or oppose governments.

Some have gone even further, arguing that the church must never become
involved in politics under any circumstances. Such views take no account of
the duty cast upon all Christians to oppose sin in all its manifestations
and whatever its source. Indeed, a large portion of scripture - both Old and
New Testament - is concerned with recording how various men of God opposed
the governing authorities of those times. So licking the boots of wicked
rulers is not an activity mandated by scripture.

On the contrary, Christians must speak out against the evil deeds
perpetrated regularly by the Mugabe regime. Silence in the face of such evil
is itself sinful.

Greg Linington,

Lecturer, Constitutional Law,


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Zim Independent

Land Bill violates constitution
Blessing Zulu/Augustine Mukaro
THE controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill passed by parliament on
Wednesday violates the constitution of Zimbabwe, the House was told last

Legal experts this week said government was trying to legitimise blatant
illegalities in the land reform programme through legislative changes.

"Apart from retrospectively condoning mistakes by the Minister (of Lands) in
acquiring land, the Bill asked parliament to condone the executive's
abandoning of all its criteria and its targets set out in its fast track
land reform programme, and approve of the state's intention now to acquire
'not less that 11 million hectares'," a statement by legal practitioners
said this week.

The lawyers said the land programme was first published in April 2001 under
the name "People First". It was approved in a Supreme Court ruling of
December 2001.

"People First" proposed to acquire five million hectares of white-held land
over five years, and resettle 150 000 people on it.

The lawyers said the five million hectares was in accordance with
government's known intention since 1990 or earlier, as was the objective of
taking only underused land, which had encouraged commercial farmers to
develop some land intensively.

"Both in 'People First' and in the Supreme Court hearing government said
enough farmland to meet its target was lying completely unused, not merely
under-used," it was noted.

The lawyers said the government acknowledged that it had already seized 9,2
million hectares according to the findings of the Utete land audit report,
which revised the December 2001 target of five million hectares.

The amendment, which has since been passed by parliament, allows the
Minister of Lands to seize not less than 11 million hectares of agricultural

"That figure covers almost all privately-owned farmland in the country,
including church-mission farms, public-company and other corporate
investments in which many pension funds have invested, and the independent
indigenous commercial farmers.

"It will let him (the minister) do that arbitrarily without any immediate
payment, leaving at most 0,2 million hectares of privately held farmland not
yet directly controlled by the minister," the lawyers said.

"It plans to cancel all down-sizing agreements farmers were invited to make
and reached, and all court orders about those," the lawyers said.

The Bill now awaits presidential assent before it becomes law.

Presenting an adverse report on the Bill, parliamentary legal committee

acting chairman professor Welshman Ncube said its clauses were inconsistent
with the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Ncube said the Bill sought to amend Section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act
without directly serving notice to the landowner, which would negate the
constitutional right of owners to receive reasonable notice of the intention
to acquire the land.

"The legal requirements to give notice to owners of the land to those with
interests in land is an obligation imposed by the constitution of Zimbabwe,"
Ncube said.

"It is plain that this provision obliges, compels and requires that before
any property, including land, can be lawfully acquired the owner and other
persons with rights and interest in that property should be given reasonable
notice of intention to acquire the property. This is the constitutional
obligation which cannot be abrogated by an Act of Parliament."

Ncube said the Bill's intention to add a provision to Section 3 of the Act,
to make it unnecessary for the acquiring authority to deliver to the owner
copies of any application to the Administrative Court for confirmation,
would violate the owner's right to a fair hearing enshrined in the

He said the repealing of the Hippo Valley Act would mean that the state is
unilaterally resiling from a contract agreement freely entered into with the
Estates and enacted into an Act of Parliament in 1964.

"The state is using its legislative powers to authorise itself to not just
act in breach of the contract it freely entered into but in effect to cancel
that contract. Clearly, therefore this is an obnoxious and mean provision,"
Ncube said.

The report was however discarded after a vote.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Envoy responds

ZIMBABWE'S ambassador to the United States, Dr Simbi Mubako, seems to have
suddenly noticed an article I wrote several months ago and decided to
respond to it.

"Those who know Mr Iden Wetherall (sic) will not be surprised by his article
in Foreign Policy of November 2003," he wrote in the Herald of January 23 in
what looks like a reprint of something tailored for the American market.

"Disparaging journalism of this kind is the hallmark of his weekly magazine
(sic), the Independent. From its inception, in itself the most eloquent
statement on the existence of a free press in Zimbabwe, the paper has not
changed its stance."

It was ironic that Mubako's claims about a free press appeared shortly after
journalists from this paper were picked up and thrown into jail for writing
a story President Mugabe's minions took exception to, describing it as

Mubako proceeded to characterise my Foreign Policy piece as "another
instalment of the ongoing Western media's campaign to bash Zimbabwe and
demonise President Mugabe".

The ambassador claims Mugabe was idolised in the West as a statesman and a
man of peace before he embarked upon his land seizures.

"He was regarded as a democrat and a saint (but) the truth of the matter is
that Mugabe remains the same man, neither saint nor devil but Mugabe the
African nationalist."

Farmers achieved great heights of prosperity, Mubako notes, in the first 20
years of Independence. But Mugabe's vigorous response to land hunger is
viewed as a threat to white interests, he says.

"As most Africans see it, the only thing wrong with Zimbabwe now is its
economy, not its politics, and not its human rights profile as the West
would want us to believe."

Zimbabwe possesses all the ingredients of democracy, Mubako claims: a
constitution with clear delineation of powers, a vigorous legislature, an
independent judiciary, a multi-party system and a fiercely militant free

Indicative of this is Morgan Tsvangirai's appeal to the courts for redress
after the 2002 presidential poll, something he had "every right" to do.

The shortage of hard currency, fuel queues and job losses are all the direct
consequence of Western economic sanctions, the ambassador inventively

I recall being pulled aside by a senior Foreign Affairs official at a
diplomatic reception some years ago to be told that I was in for a surprise
when the new ambassador to Washington was appointed. He would be cut from a
different cloth than that of current appointees, I was assured, providing a
more polished image of Zimbabwe abroad. That was Mubako. And if his latest
foray into sunshine journalism, radiating Zanu PF mantras, is anything to go
by he will cut little ice with his hosts.

Yes, Mugabe was seen as a leader capable of bridging the racial divide and
embracing policies that would lead to peace and prosperity. His address to
the nation on the eve of Independence was a model of tolerance and

Compare that with the remarks he made about Pieter de Klerk and Roy

Bennett last year, laced with what many saw as incitement and hate, denying
to them rights accorded by the courts (and the electorate in Bennett's case)
simply because they belonged to the opposition. That speech was not a
figment of a hostile press. It should be required reading if any illusions
persist about "Mugabe the democrat".

Mubako makes much of Tsvangirai's court petition. But I don't recall

Mugabe saying that the opposition leader had every right to make that
appeal. In fact I recall him suggesting the opposite. Only when Thabo Mbeki
and Olusegun Obasanjo pointed out that such appeals were part and parcel of
the normal democratic process did we see a change of tone.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission may indeed have declared the
presidential poll free and fair, as did Nigeria, Iran, Russia, China, and
other paragons of democratic virtue! But Sadc MPs were very clear on the
shortcomings in the management of the poll which was run by a supervisory
body beholden to a president who changed the rules as he went along,
including putting the army in charge.

And it is no good Mubako continuing to pretend that Africa has no problem
with human rights issues in Zimbabwe after the stance taken by West African
states, Kenya and Botswana at the recent Commonwealth summit. He also
appears not to have read the NAACP's election report. African Americans are
under no illusions about the human rights violations taking place in

Some white farmers may indeed have prospered in the 20 years since
Independence, as Mubako claims. But so did the country as a result of their
efforts and those of their workers. Many of the owners of confiscated farms
are able to produce certificates of no interest from government which show
that the state was afforded every opportunity to acquire their properties
legally before Mugabe decided to avenge his referendum defeat.

Mubako in Washington does not have to experience the shortages and hardships
that flow from arbitrary land seizures which have transformed the country
over three years from one self-sufficient in food production to one entirely
dependent upon the generosity of donors. His claims about floods and drought
would sound a little more plausible if neighbouring states were not doing so
well in similar circumstances. How long ago was Cyclone Eline and didn't
Mozambique have much more severe floods?

Mubako's remarks on constitutional governance are equally wide of the mark.
Only last week Zanu PF MPs voted to ignore an adverse report of the
parliamentary legal committee which pointed out that parts of the Land
Acquisition (Amendment) Bill were inconsistent with constitutional
guarantees of people's rights.

Mugabe and his ministers have publicly stated they will not observe court
rulings they disagree with.

As for the independence of the judiciary, is Mubako, a former high court
judge, completely unaware of the threats made against judges both in the
Daily News case and earlier?

Americans have access to news about Zimbabwe from a variety of sources. They
are not likely to swallow Mubako's claims that there has been an attempt by
foreign powers to "incite a popular uprising". They know that any expression
of popular opinion has been brutally crushed and constitutional rights

That is the truth about Zimbabwe Americans know and which Mubako can't hide.

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SA Firm Bails Out NRZ

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Sheltam, a South African
registered firm, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will
result in the latter leasing locomotives to be used by Zimasco.

Once the deal becomes operational the NRZ will be assured of payment in
foreign currency every month from Sheltam. The signatories of the agreement,
including government, agreed that Sheltam and Zimasco would pay the NRZ US$2
per km per locomotive.

Under the MoU, the monthly haulage requirements of Zimasco will be handled
by Sheltam, which would then move 12 300 metric tonnes of chrome from
Kildonan to Kwekwe, and also handle 25 000 metric tonnes of export from
Maputo/Beira. The company will move 12 000 metric tonnes of chrome from
Wankie to Kwekwe.

Sheltam will also be responsible for the transportation of 7 000 metric
tonnes of chrome from South Africa to Kwekwe, 40 000 metric tonnes of chrome
from Shurugwi, Guinea Fowl, and Chomvuri being moved to Kwekwe.

Under the agreement, NRZ and Zimasco shall agree separately on the freight
rates to be "applicable to the Shurugwi firm's traffic, which shall be
ferried by the NRZ taking into account that Zimasco will be providing their
own locomotives through Sheltam, and the additional costs that may be
imposed on the NRZ as a result of the agreement".

According to a copy of the agreement the NRZ shall determine all departure,
arrival and running times of the haulage operation and it will also make
available to Sheltam premises, facilities to operate from.

It will also provide a "pilot who possesses the necessary road knowledge
required for the section worked and is qualified in all methods of trains
working currently used on the lines in question to assist the Sheltam

Government would among other things be responsible for issuing necessary
permits, visas, licences and any other required approvals. In the MoU,
Sheltam will provide NRZ with certified crews at their own costs who have
relevant knowledge of operation and management of their locomotives.

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Toffees Cost More Than Shares!

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004

Ngoni Chanakira

ONLY in Zimbabwe can a listed share cost less than a toffee. Each toffee now
costs between $100 and $150 on the streets of Harare, while chewing gum is
going for between $200 and $250.

The scenario on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) makes interesting

There are currently 75 counters listed on the bourse in the industrial,
property, hospitality, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture, as
well as engineering sectors. There are seven listed mining counters.

Three counters, Century Holdings, Trust Holdings and First Mutual Ltd, are
suspended from trading on the bourse after ZSE boss Emmanuel Munyukwi told
them that they should come clean on their involvement in the ongoing $61
billion ENG Asset Management scandal.

The scam, the brainchild of Nyasha Watyoka and Gilbert Muponda, has turned
Zimbabwe's financial services sector topsy-turvy and resulted in some
prominent individuals scurrying for cover from the Fraud Squad.

A "spot check" on the share price of some one-time blue chip counters this
week made very interesting reading.

Zimnat, the insurance giant, currently holds the ZSE's wooden spoon with a
struggling share price ranging between $5 and $6 - way below the price tag
of a toffee on the streets.

It is closely followed by another insurance concern, Fidelity Ltd whose
price tag is $7.

"Maybe this is the time to buy shares on the stock market," a stock market
analyst told businessdigest this week. "With the prices being offered one
can actually snap up millions of shares."

ZSE boss Munyukwi said the low share prices were a sign that the economy was
in extremely poor shape at the moment.

He said investigations and uncertainty within the financial sector had also
contributed to the chaos.

"People are very worried about what is going on in the financial sector and
they thus do not want to take any risk," he said in an interview. "Another
reason for the prices is that this is the beginning of the new reporting
season when most companies release their results. What has happened in the
financial sector is making investors think twice before buying, driving
prices down."

Investors have been very cautious about buying shares especially in
financial counters because of the ENG saga.

Some asset management firms have shut their doors overnight and directors
vanished without paying dividends worth billions to unsuspecting investors.

Financial counters have thus had their share prices "revised by investors".

Bottom of the financial counter list is First Banking Corporation Ltd with a
share tag of $10 - also much less than a toffee or bubble gum on the

Other counters read as follows: Jewel Bank, $18, Barbican, $45, Kingdom,
$46, and NMB, $65.

Top financial counters at the moment are the Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Ltd
at $700 and ABC Holdings Ltd at $270.

A stock market analyst said insurance counters were the hardest-hit because
the industry was risky at the moment and investors cautious.

He said like the financial services sector, there were also too many
insurance-related counters on the stock market.

Mining counters, on the other hand, are all going for much more than sweets
and toffees on the bourse.

Wankie Colliery and Falcon Gold Zimbabwe Ltd, however, are very close with
share prices of $120 and $140, respectively. Ashanti stands at $30 000,
Bindura Nickel, $1 800, Rio Tinto, $4 000, and Falcon $3 000.

Munyukwi said the stock market could improve if the economy continued to
pick up and investors especially international ones showed confidence in it.

Brick-making concern Willdale, which received a million-dollar injection
from Trust Bank after facing financial problems, has a share price of $6,50.

Its colleagues in the brick-making/property sectors Dawn Properties and
Mashonaland Holdings Ltd are standing at $30 and $40, respectively.

Other prominent counters found to be going for a song include OK Zimbabwe,
$24, RTG, $28, and Zimbabwe Sun, $30.

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EU Beef Ban Begins to Bite

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004

Ngoni Chanakira

ZIMBABWE's cattle herd continues to decline and prospects that the beef
industry is likely to recover soon are dim, according to a senior Cattle
Producers Association (CPA) official.

The official said the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks further worsened
prospects for much-needed foreign currency earnings.

"The foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks continue to dog the industry," he
said. "Our cattle industry like all other sectors in this economy is on the
verge of collapse despite the willingness by some farmers to bring the
industry back on its feet."

He said several trips had been made to Malaysia to try and win that market
after Zimbabwe had lost out on the lucrative 9 100-tonne European Union (EU)

The official said beef exports to South Africa and Libya had also been
halted because of the foot-and-mouth outbreaks in Mashonaland and some areas
in Matabeleland.

The EU has said the ban on Zimbabwean beef to that region would not be
lifted until the foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks were brought under
control. This put paid to reports that billions in foreign currency would be
chalked up by the cash-strapped government.

Head of the European Commission to Zimbabwe Francesca Mosca last year told
Businessdi-gest: "Zimbabwe imposed a self-ban on beef exports to the
European Union since 2001 and this has not been lifted. The ban was related
to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Before the ban was imposed,
Zimbabwe had a beef export quota to the EU of 9 100 tonnes per year under
the 'Beef and Veal Protocol' under the Lomé IV Convention."

Mosca said this quota was worth more than $2 billion.

"In 2001, before the ban, Zimbabwe had exported around 4 500 tonnes worth
about $1,5 billion," Mosca said. "In 2002 the European Commission spent 17,2
million euro on projects in Zimbabwe and 28,6 million euro have so far been
approved for projects in 2003. Apart from this, the amount spent on/approved
for food aid during 2002 and 2003 is 79,5 million euro."

The Cold Storage Company (CSC) - reeling in a more than $7 billion debt -
handles all beef exports to the EU.

The parastatal is still engaged in a wrangle with five commercial banks that
are struggling to receive payment for outstanding debts.

In February last year, the EU renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe.

It is reliably understood that the CSC has failed to fulfill its 9 100-tonne
export quota because the Department of Veterinary Services - also in the
red - cannot source about US$2 million for foot-and-mouth disease vaccines.

An export deal with the Democratic Republic of the Congo hangs in the
balance because the Congolese are allegedly not paying government the agreed
United States dollars, preferring "barter deals" instead.

In a major U-turn about two years ago, seen by business executives as an
arrangement to propitiate disgruntled indigenous businessmen, government
gave Farirayi Quality Foods (Pvt) Ltd the go-ahead to also export beef.

The company, whose boss is John Mapondera, was allowed to export beef to
Libya, following President Robert Mugabe's visit to that country in search
of fuel and alternative markets other than the EU and US.

Beef exports to Libya have, however, failed to pick up mainly because of
religious differences with Zimbabwe arising from the treatment of the meat.

To worsen the beef exports crisis, Zimbabwe's commercial beef herd has
nose-dived during the past three years from 1,4 million to the current
estimated 250 000. The herd dropped following government's controversial
fast track land resettlement programme two years ago that resulted in
commercial farmers not restocking since they were unsure of their fate.

CSC last year said while the commercial herd had been significantly reduced,
the non-commercial herd had remained stable at an estimated five million.
The parastatal said it would soon begin "reaping the benefits" of the
"resuscitated" Cattle Finance Scheme during the third quarter of this year.

This scheme had been abandoned in the 1990s when the then Cold Storage
Commission felt it was not part of its mandate.

The Cattle Finance Scheme was targeted at the commercial farming sector and
the recently resettled Model A2 farmers.

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Gono Sidelines ZCTU

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has so far snubbed the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in its outreach programmes on how the recently
introduced foreign currency auction system operates.

Instead, the central bank has only sought partnerships with the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce,
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism, and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

It has however not explained why the labour body has been left out.

To date the central bank has embarked on a number of road shows intending to
educate people on how the auction system would work, but the ZCTU does not
appear among the stakeholders in the road show.

Ironically some of the institutions being consulted by the RBZ are some of
the organisations that also meet with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF)like the ZCTU.

The next IMF meeting on Zimbabwe will be either in June or July when the
Washington representatives come for their regular Article IV Consultative

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe this week confirmed that they
had been left out by the central bank on its consultative process on how the
auction systems work.

"Well when people are doing their own thing you might not want to interfere
in whatever they are doing," he said. "They (RBZ) only sent us a manual to
show us how the auction system will operate and that was only that. But they
have not sent us anything inviting us like what they did to others. For us
this is not a surprise. We assumed that since they are an arm of government
they might be under pressure not to invite us. But we would like to wish
them luck in whatever they are doing."

ZCTU, which provides input in some key institutions such as the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF) which also comprises of government and business, is
an organisation that seeks to achieve, among other things, a social contract
and industrial harmony.

TNF talks collapsed last year when government could not put pen to paper on
the signing of the Declaration of Intent, a document that would have
eventually paved the way for the final version of the social contract.

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RBZ Backtracks On Pegging in Forex

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

January 30, 2004
Posted to the web January 30, 2004

Ngoni Chanakira

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it is now "illegal" to peg
properties in foreign currency, backtracking from its original decision
allowing estate agents and landlords to do so.

Landlords owning designer properties in the leafy suburbs of Borrowdale,
Khumalo, Highlands and Mt Pleasant and garden flats were laughing all the
way to the bank as they were selling or renting out their mansions in United
States dollars at parallel market rates.

"We will be informing our members this week that the RBZ has told us that we
misunderstood their advice," said Estate Agency Council chairman
Tavenganiswa Mabikacheche in an interview. "We have been told not to
advertise in foreign currency and we will be adhering to this."

He said members had initially thought that earlier correspondence between
the RBZ and his council had given the go-ahead to peg but not charge in
foreign currency.

Former RBZ governor Leonard Tsumba gave the nod in a letter to the council.

"There seems to be some confusion somewhere and we have been told that this
is wrong," Mabikacheche said.

In his Monetary Policy Statement new RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the
scramble for property by asset managers had resulted in asset-driven price
inflation arising from the diversion of savings from banks into real estate,
foreign currency purchase, equities, vehicles and other forms of consumptive

He said this was crowding out credit from real productive activities and
causing capacity constraints at the supply level.

A month ago the foreign currency rates on the parallel market stood at about
$7 000 for the US dollar and $10 000 for the British pound.

These figures have however fallen to about $3 500 and $6 000 for the
greenback and pound respectively, after the RBZ introduced an auction
system. Houses were going for as much as US$300 000 during this period.

But prices have now gone down because of the low foreign currency rate.

Property market analysts said the low interest rates of about 50% being
charged had scared landlords from selling their houses and flats in
anticipation that prices could rise again after investigations within the
financial services sector are complete. In Zimbabwe it was illegal to charge
goods using foreign currency.

It was however permissible to peg items in foreign currency in which case
the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent was then payable.

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Zim Independent

Zesa raises $10b but bills linger on
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)'s hopes of raising money to
settle bills and renew contracts with regional power suppliers have received
a major boost as the power utility has managed to raise $10 billion. However
sources say Zesa still owes several suppliers including South Africa's
Eskom, Mozambique's HCB and the Democratic Republic of Congo's Snel at least
US$415 million.

Last week Zesa floated a $10 billion Megawatt Bill which was oversubscribed.

The two lead financial institutions handling the transaction said they had
received applications worth almost twice as much.

A senior Zesa manager who requested anonymity however said Zesa had resumed
load shedding because of its failure to supply sufficient electricity since
creditors are now demanding the US$415 million before resuming supplies.

Creditors have already rated the struggling parastatal as an interruptible

Zesa has been advertising its services informing the public that there would
not be any power cuts, especially during the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations
in which Zimbabwe is participating for the first time.

Despite this promise several residential areas especially in upmarket
suburbs such as Borrowdale and Helensvale last week experienced power cuts.

Zesa claimed this was due to "tree-cutting in these areas".

In a statement the two-lead advisers, Genesis Investment Bank and Jewel
Bank, said the amount on offer that Zesa wanted to raise was $10 billion,
but they had received applications worth $17 billion.

They said the average rate of allotted tenders was 68,39% adding that the
highest rate tendered was 202,78%, while the lowest tender 52,30%.

The Megawatt Bill which has a 90-day tenure was opened to investors for only
a day.

Last week's offer was open to various investors including pension and
provident funds, insurance companies, life mutuals and commercial banks.

Other than settling bills, Zesa also intends to use the money raised for
procuring power from other power suppliers.

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Zim Independent

Erich Bloch Column

Misplaced ululation and denigration

UNDOUBTEDLY motivated by the Minister of Fiction, Fable and Myth, the
state-controlled media had an ecstatic time last week.

It ululated vociferously at the decline in the rate of inflation in December
2003,  being the first reduction in that rate for many years. It warbled
with joy that that reduction was a direct consequence of positive government
actions in general, and of the new monetary policies announced by the
recently-appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank in particular.

Most of all, it chirruped euphorically that December’s drop in the inflation
rate was the undoubted precursor of a continuing decrease in inflation and
of an imminent transformation of the economy. So jubilant was that media at
the alleged magnitude of the achievement of a lowering of the rate of
inflation that it virtually implied that Zimbabwe was on the threshold of
becoming an economic Utopia.

It cannot be denied that, based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the
year-on-year rate of inflation fell in December by 20,8 percentage points,
from 619,5% to 598,7%. But the governmental mouthpiece suggested that the
fall in inflation was 21%, not recognising the difference between percentage
points and percentages. A fall of 20,8 as a percentage of 619,5 is 3,36%
which is significantly less that 21%! In fact, that fall was approximately
one-sixth of the extent that the sum of the media contended.

The spuriousness of the interpretations given to the fall in the inflation
rate is underscored by the fact that although there had been a drop in the
year-on-year rate, there had nevertheless been inflation of 11,5%
month-on-month from November to December. Thus in the short space of one
month the consumer required $111,50 to buy that which a month before only
cost $100. The state’s media was also very wrong in giving credit for the
shrinkage in the inflation rate to the new monetary policies. As excellent
as many of those policies are, they could not have triggered a contraction
in inflation in December, for those policies were only announced on
December 18 2003 and subsequently implemented, whereas the CPI from which
the rate of inflation is determined is computed from price data collected by
the Central Statistical Office (CSO) during the first half of each month.
Policies announced on the  December 18 of the month, and implemented
thereafter, cannot influence prices in the first two weeks of the same

The “authoritative” journalists who spewed forth their joy at the fall in
inflation were also oblivious to the fact that CPI no longer facilitates
accurate determination of the rate of inflation for it applies a “spending
basket” determined in 1994 and applied since 1995, as reflective of the
spending pattern of the average consumer.

However, over the following more than nine years and especially in the last
two or three years, spending patterns have necessarily changed dramatically.
More and more have been constrained by the impacts of inflation to change
their spending, with all or a greater portion being expended on
accommodation, food, utilities, education, health care and transport, and
ever less being spent on leisure and entertainment, furniture and household
stores, clothing and footwear and other items, And, in recent times, the
greatest price escalations have impacted upon food and transport (the
year-on-year inflation rate of transport in December was a gargantuan 1
110%!). Thus, it is virtually undoubted that the actual rate of inflation
has been higher than the official rate.

Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the official rate of inflation did
decline last month. The causes of that decline were not, and could not have
been the new monetary policies.

Among the more significant causes was that the parallel market exchange
rates which prevailed over the last few years (until that market almost
disappeared following upon the new monetary policies) remained at nearly
constant levels from September to December 2003 thereby stabilising the
costs of imported inputs and hence minimising price increases.

Another major factor was that the very pronounced inflation in the last few
months had further contracted the ability of consumers to purchase goods
other than essential commodities. As a result, manufacturers and retailers
sought to stimulate sales of non-essentials by price reductions.

However, it is undue complacency to assume that the rate of inflation will
now fall continuously. Although the very much lesser exchange rates applied
to importers via the foreign currency auctions as compared to the previously
prevailing parallel market rates should have a positive effect on inflation
once existing stocks procured at the previous rate are exhausted, it is very
probable that the weighted average auction rate will rise in the weeks or
months ahead.

Currently, market demand for foreign exchange is relatively limited, with
most factories having only reopened last week, and with many factories,
wholesalers and retailers being overstocked. But that demand will
progressively increase, and yet the prospects of increased foreign exchange
earnings are minimal in the foreseeable future. This is especially so for so
long as exporters have to sell 25% of export proceeds at a rate of $824:
US$1 in order to subsidise government and receive a low yield through the
currency auctions on the remaining 75% of those proceeds.

As demand increases and supply declines or, at best, remains static, bid
levels at the auctions will inevitably rise, once again fuelling inflation.

In addition, this month the consumer is hard-hit by massive increases in
local authority charges for owners’ rates, water, refuse collection, and
other services, and by very considerable increases in school fees and in the
costs of medical services, health care and medical aid contributions.

To some extent however, those increases will be counter-balanced by the
lowering, for the time being, of fuel prices as fuel becomes more available
heretofore and is imported with foreign exchange sourced at the presently
lower auction prices as compared to previously sourced foreign exchange in
the parallel market. Decreases in interest rates will also impact favourably
on inflation although more so in February than this month as the more
substantial interest rate decreases occur late in January.

Although the December fall in inflation was not a result of the monetary
policies initiated by the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Gideon Gono,
nevertheless they will impact favourably on future levels of inflation, and
very markedly so if concurrently there is appropriate change in destructive
governmental policies and there is constructive fiscal management.

Gono deserves very great commendation for his dynamic and positive stance
ever since he took up his office. He has demonstrated immense motivation,
very great determination, flexibility and realism. But despite that, his
efforts and their successes are very substantially dependent upon a radical
change in the political  environment, for government’s continuing
destruction of agriculture, inactivity in containing corruption, racial
divisiveness, and confrontationalism with the international community
undermines most of the good that Gono’s policies and actions can achieve.

Gono deserves overwhelming support by government and private sector alike.
Nevertheless, the manner in which government’s principal daily newspaper
has, in justly commending him, simultaneously belittled his predecessor was
disgusting, scurrilous and uncalled for in the extreme. It sought to ascribe
blame for Zimbabwe’s economic ills at the feet of Dr Leonard Tsumba without
any justification, and presumably only to direct focus from the culpability
of government in bringing the economy to its knees. It denigrated Tsumba,
although it did so without credible foundation.

In unjustly castigating Tsumba, the state media ignored the fact that
government constantly, from 1997 onwards, withheld the authority necessary
for the Reserve Bank to implement monetary policies which would counter the
negative impact upon the economy of government’s political acts.

That media intentionally blinded itself to the steadfast refusal of
government to vest the Reserve Bank with the autonomy necessary for
effective monetary policy implementation. And it was equally blind to all
the cautions voiced by the former governor whilst in office, studiously
disregarded by government, and to all the constructive measures he sought
unsuccessfully to implement, the government obstructing his endeavours.

If the state media were balanced, it would have vented its ire and criticism
upon its masters and not upon Tsumba. He tried and failed, through no fault
of his own. The only positive is that, very possibly, government has
belatedly recognised its errors (at least in this respect) and is giving
Gono the freedom and support that he needs.
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Zim Independent

Political will vital for economic revival

Shakeman Mugari

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono’s new monetary policy may have
all the ingredients needed to resuscitate the economy but its success hinges
on government’s political will to address basic fundamentals, analysts have

They say Gono’s policies will hit a political brick wall because there is no
commitment from the leadership to let Gono do his work unfettered.

The general feeling is that Gono’s policies will have a limited impact
unless government commits itself resolutely to fundamental issues of the
rule of law, democracy and property rights. Government will also have to
show committement to fight corruption in the public as well as the private

The analysts say there is need for government and the ruling Zanu PF party
to restore order in the agricultural sector which is currently a shambles.
In short, for Gono’s policies to be effective, he needs the goodwill of the
government, the ruling party, and the private sector.

The Reserve Bank governor is widely perceived as the right man who will pull
Zimbabwe’s ailing economic from the morass that currently envelops it.
Appointed in December last year amidst much hype, Gono seems to have struck
the right chord. The battered Zimbabwe dollar has started to recover against
major currencies since the introduction of the auction system. It has gained
more than 35% against the US dollar and more that 40% against the South
African rand.

Gono is also credited with stabilising the forex market. He also instituted
a clean-up of the country’s financial sector where many companies were
making super profits courtesy of shady deals. As part of the clampdown on
the wayward asset management firms, one of the biggest cases of fraud was
unearthed leading to the arrest of more than eight people. The profile of
the arrests cuts across the judiciary, financial sector and politicians.

Government apologists, Zanu PF supporters and optimists believe the country
is on course for recovery. However, most commentators say despite Gono’s
reputation as a strategist, his policies will come unstuck in the face of
resistance by obstructive forces in government. They say his monetary policy
statement, for instance, is predicated on politicians doing their part to
bring the country back into the fold of the international community. Gono,
they say, cannot force Zanu PF and the opposition MDC to engage in
constructive talks, and yet this is vital for any sustained economic
recovery programme. The political stalemate in the country is also having a
serious impact on regional economies with South Africa and Botswana bearing
the brunt of the swelling numbers of economic refugees fleeing the meltdown
in Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo commentator Eric Bloch says Gono’s policies will not have a
far-reaching impact unless President Mugabe’s government institutes concrete
measures to restore the rule of law and commits itself to fight corruption
at all levels.

“Gono’s policies will only slow down the economic decline but will not
reverse the country’s misfortunes,” said Bloch. “They will reduce inflation
to some extent but not to sufficient levels. The policy will not bring in
sufficient foreign currency to meet Zimbabwe’s needs and fund infrastructure

He said for the country to recover there was need to revisit the land reform
to restore viability and re-establish the rule of law.

“The government still has to deal with key issues of the rule of law and
show evidence of a completely free and independent judiciary. The issue of
violence against the media and the opposition needs serious consideration,”
said Bloch.

This, he said, would ensure that Zimbabwe was readmitted into the
international arena where it would open new lines of credit, promote trade
and create much-needed goodwill.

Gono has promised to approach multilateral organisations like the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

“We will engage whoever we owe money. Yes we will approach the IMF and the
World Bank to work out a plan to pay what we owe them,” said the governor
during his monetary policy presentation last year.

Bloch said Gono would have to widen his scope and approach traditional donor
states like the European Union countries, the United Kingdom, Commonwealth
countries and the United States. Unlike the Bretton Woods institutions,
Zimbabwe’s standoff with these countries is political.

He said for Zimbabwe to get the much-needed balance of payments support from
these countries there has to be a strong indication that Mugabe’s government
is now committed to the rule of law and democracy.

Zimbabwe is currently isolated because of her poor human rights record since
1999. Zanu PF has continued with its violence against the opposition and the
media. There has also been concern on the international front over the
attempt by government to arm-twist the judiciary.

Mugabe’s regime has constantly ignored court orders, especially in the cases
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe where government ignored four
rulings that were in favour of the paper. The EU and other key donor
countries that have the capacity to help Zimbabwe are still not convinced
that the government has taken significant steps towards democracy.

A Harare-based economist said the monetary policy needs the support of a
stable political environment. Zimbabwe has endured sustained economic and
political instability since government embarked on an unplanned land reform
exercise in 2000 and Mugabe’s controversial re-election in 2002 only made
things worse.

“It’s good that Gono realises that Zimbabwe should talk to the IMF and the
World Bank. But these organisations are also likely to raise outstanding
issues on the political front,” said the economist.

“The policy will only work if government is serious with addressing the
political side. Those organisations (IMF and World Bank) may agree with the
policy shift but they also want political change. Intimidation and violence
against the people must stop,” said the economist.

Despite propaganda campaigns insisting that the land reform is now over,
government continues to gazette more farms for compulsory acquisition. A new
wave of farm invasions has also started. The chaotic land reform has caused
agriculture production to drop by more than 50% since 1999. Tobacco, once
one of the country’s biggest forex earners, has plunged by more than half
since 2002.

NMB Holdings deputy managing director James Mushore said although Gono’s
policy was focused, government should put emphasis on increasing production
in the agriculture sector.

“There are vast tracts of idle land due to lack of financing,” said Mushore.
“Greater transparency in the redistribution exercise is required with more
consultation with experienced farmers and less attempt to control the law of
supply and demand.”

Professor Gordon Chavunduka said the monetary policy would dismally fail if
there were no total change on the political front.

“I don’t see any change the governor will bring. We need a complete overhaul
of the social, economic and political systems. These piecemeal changes will
not work. Never,” said Chavunduka. “Only a few individuals at the top are
benefiting. At the moment it’s only patching. We need total re-organisation
of the system to make progress on the political front,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s tattered image will also make Gono’s effort to lure foreign
investment a difficult one. On the international scene, Zimbabwe is regarded
as one of the worst destinations for investment. Reputable economic
publications like the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Heritage
Foundation have confirmed that Zimbabwe is not conducive for foreign
investment. This perception, analysts say, is going to haunt Gono’s effort
to earn forex.
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Zim Independent


      Imaginary analysts and inventive journalism

      “GONO report stings MDC,” declared a Herald headline on Tuesday. We
were curious because we had no clue that Gono had written a report on
anyone, let alone the MDC. True to form, it turned out that the so-called
“Gono report” was the usual “cry wolf” false alarm.

      “The success of the economic measures announced by Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono late last year has thrown the MDC into
confusion,” came the Herald damp squib. If this is not inventive journalism
then we don’t know what is. A monetary policy announced last year has turned
out to be a “report” by Gono?

      This silly, unsubstantiated intro was followed by gratuitous claims
about the opposition. Gono’s report had not only forced the MDC to revise
its economic policy, it had caused divisions “with some members of the party
worried that the clampdown in the financial sector by Gono would catch up
with them as they were involved in illegal foreign currency deals”.

      Where is Tafataona Mahoso and his Media and Information Commission
when  inventions like these are casually plonked into the text? What does he
have to say about this kind of unsubstantiated accusation? Surely if the
reporter knew of anyone we should have seen the story in the Herald. Gono
has already set up a whistle blower’s fund. We would expect a patriotic
Zimbabwean to have whispered into Gono’s ear details of these “illegal
foreign currency deals”.

      Of course these are as imaginary as the “analysts” allegedly claiming
the MDC is “working on a violent and unconstitutional take-over of power”.
The trouble with the story is that it has absolutely nothing to redeem it.
So far as illegal deals go, Zimbabweans have their own ideas who have been
involved in bureaux de change; who are feeding the parallel market in
virtually everything from fuel to foodstuffs. They advertise in the Herald.
People know who the mafia involved in illegal gold deals are. Why is the
Herald not exposing them if they are MDC crooks?

       The Herald “report” also claimed the MDC’s “Restart” economic
programme was a “copycat” of the government’s. We would not be surprised
even if the claim were true. There have been as many programmes as there
have been finance ministers that one would be hard pressed to draft one
without using some of the terms so wantonly bandied about by Zanu PF. Even
the IMF and the World Bank that Gono and the state media now talk about so
freely are not a new discovery. Zanu PF has had it all, from Zimprest to the
latest so-called National Economic Recovery Programme.

      The stark question for Herald political bootlickers is why are we only
now beginning to hear about “success” when all these plans have been in
place for over 10 years? We have heard about anti-corruption commissions for
as long as we care to remember. They have remained a pipedream just like
Zanu PF’s own leadership code. Corruption and the economic rot have spread
like a cancer despite the presence of these programmes.

      The point we are making for the benefit of hypocrites at Herald House
is that Gono can only go as far as it’s politically expedient. In the past
Zanu PF has not been short of ideas. It’s the implementation that has always
been the matter. If anything is going to come out of his monetary policy, it
is because he was man enough to tell the president he would not risk his
reputation for political games.

      He has said as much when he said monetary policy alone can’t alter the
country’s fortunes. Just like economic recovery programmes that government
has touted over the years, the rule of law must be restored before Gono can
win back foreign investors. It is not enough for Jonathan Moyo to shout
himself hoarse about the rule of law and Zimbabwe being a constitutional
democracy. People are interested in the realities on the ground. Gono knows
this very well and wants politicians to play their part.

      The Herald’s columnist Caesar Zvayi reminds us that Zanu PF leaders
once adhered to a leadership code that required selfless behaviour from
them. He cites Border Gezi as an example of such humility.

      “Our own president, Cde Robert Mugabe, a living legend,” Zvayi gushed,
“has always called on detractors who claim that he has properties outside
the country to confiscate whatever they can find, sell and donate the
proceeds to charity.

      “He has always told them that he does not own even a needle outside
our borders,” Zvayi claims. “He has been vindicated as the detractors have
failed to come up with anything in spite of combing all the world’s
capitals, much to their chagrin.”

      We don’t recall anybody “combing all the world’s capitals”. But we did
see a statement from the European Union recently saying 850 000 euros
belonging to Zanu PF luminaries had been found stashed in EU banks.

      This paper has never claimed that Mugabe owns property outside the
country although we would welcome full disclosure on the property he owns
inside its borders. Perhaps the slavish Zvayi has some leads here? And who
among the Zanu PF leadership did the 850 000 euros belong to? Why have the
owners kept deathly quiet about that? Perhaps because it is seen as
 “peanuts” by the rich and powerful!

      Zvayi gives Herald readers a little introductory history by pointing
to selfless leaders elsewhere. He gives the examples of Mahatma Gandhi,
“India’s first president on independence from Britain in 1947”, and Julius
Nyerere, “Tanzania’s first president on independence from Britain in 1961”.

      Sorry Ceasar, wrong on both points. If you are going to pontificate to
us from the pages of the state press you must try and get your facts right.
Mahatma Gandhi held no post in the newly independent India. He declined all
offers. In any case India did not become a republic until 1950.

      Nyerere was prime minister of Tanzania at independence in 1961. He
stood down to make himself eligible for the presidency when Tanzania became
a republic the following year.

       Whatever our criticisms from time to time, the Herald and its sister
papers look like paragons of professionalism when compared to their
state-owned counterparts in Zambia. The Times of Zambia carried a front-page
story last week titled “Three crashed to death”. They were “crashed” when a
wall “crashed” on them, we were told.

      A verbatim report on President Mwanawasa’s speech to parliament is
continued from the previous day without any introduction — or new sentence
it would seem. It begins: “… nation by decimating the productive age group
among the population”.

      Seriously, that’s how it starts. At least Mahoso starts his
long-winded continuations with a new sentence even if it is rarely
accompanied by any explanation of what he said the week before!

      The Times of Zambia’s editorial clumsiness could have been avoided if
the report of Mwanawasa’s speech had been written in lower case instead of
large capital letters!

      There is a front-page picture of a police promotion ceremony where the
figures are barely identifiable (which made our poorly reproduced front-page
pic last week look positively stunning!).

      And instead of referring to “former president Kenneth Kaunda”, Zambian
ritual requires that he be called “First Republican President”.

      The paper claims it is “Zambia’s largest circulation daily”. Which
once again proves that size isn’t everything!

      We were interested to note from Mwanawasa’s address to parliament the
following: “I want to appreciate the strengthened bilateral relations with
the United Kingdom. The British government is providing a lot of support in
economic programmes, governance issues and in the education and health

      Mwanawasa added: “Mr Speaker, it is satisfying to note that Zambia and
the United States continue to enjoy warm and cordial relations. These have
provided a valuable basis for our two countries to cooperate on a number of
issues including provision of technical, financial and material assistance
to Zambia.”

      And all this right next door!

      Information minister Jonathan Moyo sees plots everywhere. Apart from
the “dubious” award of a goal to Egypt there was the matter of the wrong
national anthem. The band played Ishe Komborera Africa.

      Moyo declared this gaffe “a cheap attempt by the organisers to
demoralise our boys…”

      Couldn’t it just have been a simple mistake? Is everything a
conspiracy against Zimbabwe? And why anyway should the much-loved Ishe
Komborera Africa hymn be demoralising for anybody?

      Similarly, George Charamba dismissed reports in the South African
press last weekend that President Mugabe had arrived in Pretoria for medical
treatment as “contemptuous”.

      What on earth was contemptuous about that? “Silly” would have been a
better word. Anybody reading the Telegraph’s account of the president’s
visit to South Africa would have been struck by a sense of déjà vu. The
roadblocks allegedly thrown up around Harare, reinforcements being rushed
in, the quotes about preventing unrest, an interview with a “senior Green
Bomber”, and even the vomiting fit appeared familiar. Which is not
surprising. They had all been used in a report the paper carried on Mugabe’s
health in October!

      Why can’t spokesmen for the president simply say, as spokesmen do
everywhere else, “that is wrong, here are the facts”, instead of using words
like “blasphemy” and “contemptuous” which expose them to ridicule?

      The civic group Crisis in Zimbabwe put out a strong statement this
week on the abuse of Aippa by those in power. It noted there have been
numerous instances when reporters employed by the government-controlled
Herald and the Sunday Mail have fallen foul of the provisions of Aippa which
prohibit the deliberate publication of false information.

      “A case in point was the report by an unidentified Herald reporter
contained in the Herald of January 22. In the article the reporter falsely
reported that the leader of the main opposition party, facing treason
charges, had implicated the United States government in an alleged coup
plot. After a complaint to Judge Garwe, presiding over the case, it was
established, in court, as a matter of fact that the report was in effect
false and inaccurate.”

      Needless to say, the Media and Information Commision has said nothing
about this episode. The government’s selective use of criminal provisions of
the law to curb perceived media excesses violates citizens’ freedom of
expression as well as Section 18 of the Constitution which guarantees every
person, equality of treatment before the law, Crisis in Zimbabwe pointed

      It might add a further consideration to its comments on double
standards by government. President Mugabe does not mince his words when
attacking other heads of state he disagrees with. His intemperate and
abusive language about the British and Australian prime ministers is a
matter of record. Yet when newspapers subject his activities to legitimate
scrutiny he seeks refuge in the law of criminal defamation. His minions
suggest his holy authority cannot be questioned. What does that tell us
about equality before the law and political accountability in Zimbabwe

       Zimpost are advertising their usual efficiency. They have sent
reminders to post office box holders saying: “This is to remind you that the
annual rental for your private box/bag becomes due on the 1st of January
next year and the amount indicated hereunder is to be paid not later than
the 10th of January”.

      The card is date-stamped January 20 2004. So that gives box holders
until January 10 2005, right?

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Zim Independent

Let’s demystify the presidency

THERE was a furore at Munhumutapa Building at the weekend following media
reports claiming that President Robert Mugabe had gone to South Africa to
seek medical treatment. We still don’t understand the cause of the anger by
functionaries in the President’s Office. Perhaps at some point they may care
to explain.

For the time being we want to believe President Mugabe’s own assurances that
he is “very strong and very fit”. We also want to take this opportunity to
remind officials in the Information department that President Mugabe,
whatever the controversy that has dogged his reelection in 2002, is not
private property. As the president of Zimbabwe he is, whether we like it or
not, national property supported by public funds.

Mystery surrounds the real purpose of his visit to South Africa. The foreign
media reported variously that Mugabe had flown there to seek medical
treatment, to discuss with President Thabo Mbeki business relating to talks
between Zanu PF and the MDC, and to invest in property. There was precious
little evidence supplied for any of these conclusions.

Information secretary George Charamba was furious about suggestions that
Mugabe, like other ordinary mortals, was susceptible to illness, declaring
haughtily: “The president is as fit as none of his detractors can ever hope
to be in their lifetime.” The president was on leave and therefore could not
be discussing anything with Mbeki on the planned talks, he pointed out. Any
such speculation was “contemptuous”, Charamba told state media.

It was not until Tuesday’s ZTV Newshour that the truth was disclosed.
President Mugabe said he had gone to South Africa on family business to meet
relatives who migrated there in the 1930s. This had nothing to do with any

“I am very strong and very fit and I thank God for giving me that capacity,”
Mugabe told his late wife Sally’s relatives at the National Heroes Acre. “I
remain strong without any ailment so far although opponents and enemies give
me many diseases.”

There was more macabre humour: “For more than 20 times I have been declared
dead, but they (opponents) do not say that I have resurrected.”

But the problem lies not with the media or President Mugabe’s opponents. It
is the culture of secrecy surrounding the nation’s principal public officer.
The president’s whereabouts and his wellbeing are matters of legitimate
public inquiry. In Zimbabwe the culture has been to treat the president as
if he were a property of the cabal around him, protected by spokesmen who,
while paid from the public purse, behave more like partisan pitbulls lunging
at the throats of any journalist rash enough to ask them an elementary

Instead of facilitating access to information they have turned themselves
into formidable gatekeepers whose sheer scale of arrogance appears designed
to drive away any inquirer after the president’s whereabouts or his state of

Not that we are in any doubt about President Mugabe’s state of health. For
his age, he is as fit as a fiddle. Witness the hours he puts into attending
politburo meetings. What we are saying is his aides should learn to answer
genuine inquiries honestly and without exciting scepticism. They should stop
their belligerent approach which only serves to alienate them from the
media, deprives the public of valid information, and invites ridicule

What we have become used to instead is a kind of self-inoculation against
the truth that in the end is counter-productive. One doesn’t know if Mugabe’
s officials always know what he is up to. The standard response is either
“write what you want, we don’t want to talk to you” or “get the answers from
your sources”. That type of response normally comes from ignorance. Or from
mistaking closeness to the seat of power for power itself. In both instances
the result is shameful.

In an embarrassing gaffe last year, Mugabe thanked “our doctors and nurses”
who had done their best to save the late Canaan Banana’s life, as if he had
died at the Avenues Clinic. It was only later that we discovered Banana had
died in the United Kingdom.

In the latest episode, what could have been easier than saying simply that
the president was in South Africa on private business, and no he would not
be meeting Mbeki? What is to be gained from an overweening declaration about
Mugabe’s health as if he was destined to live forever?

Officials in the Information department must learn to answer questions. That
is what they are paid to do. They are deluded in believing that they are the
presidency. We are not impressed by their conceit. Even President George
Bush’s press secretary has a press briefing at the White House every day.
And despite what our political commentators tell us about the “patriotic” US
press, it is often less than friendly in dealing with its head of state!

The point here is that the powers-that-be don’t have to like the media. But
treating the independent press as “the enemy” that needs vituperative
repudiation in response to a simple inquiry is clearly counter-productive
and does nothing to win Mugabe friends or influence people. What is needed
is a professional and politically neutral press department such as Botswana’
s presidency has recently established. The energetic output of that office
puts ours to shame.

We need to remind ourselves of the central thrust here: To get Mugabe’s
story into the public domain in a way that is honest and makes the president
look reasonably good. Can his spokesmen put their hands on their hearts and
say that is what they have achieved this week?
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Zim Independent

'Sorting out this mess is very awkward'

Comrades: It feels really good to be getting back to work after my January
holiday. Grace, myself and the kids had a wonderful time in Malaysia and
Indonesia, briefly away from subjects who do not appreciate all that I have
done for them for many decades. I will be damned if I will let them tell me
when it is time for me to go! Who the hell do they think they are? Joseph's
idea to make a major statement to the corrupt, arrogant, ungrateful young
pups in the party by landing like a tonne of bricks on one of them was
brilliant. That old fellow hasn't lost his political instincts yet!

And the best part of it was doing it while I was on leave so that I could
say I had nothing to do with it, it was just the rule of law taking its
course in our constitutional democracy. I will have to reconsider my
decision to let Joseph go in my impending cabinet reshuffle. Maybe I will
retain the old fox after all. I liked the macho bravado of him flexing his
biceps. If I had more of that kind of real men in my ranks, particularly
amongst youngsters in the party, surely it wouldn't be in such shambles. We
old guys were hardened and learned discipline in the bush fighting Ian Smith
over many years, but these youngsters cannot think beyond having many
mistresses, 4X4 vehicles and just generally being loud, bullying nuisances.

I wonder where we went wrong in raising such a bunch of soft, crooked
youngsters instead of the tough, principled cadres we thought would be the
vanguard of the revolution after us. Were we mistaken to buy their black
empowerment rhetoric? We didn't mind it so much that they were creaming off
a lot of money for themselves in gold, fuel, foreign currency and other
deals (after all they must be allowed to enjoy the benefits of loyalty to
the party) but we mistakenly thought they also had a little bit of decency
and concern for the welfare of the nation. But if I go all out with this
blitz against corruption I might not have anyone left in the cabinet,
politburo and central committee!

And yet I have raised public expectations so high the CIO is reporting an
avalanche of whistle-blowing on the dirty dealings of even the few of my
aides I thought were relatively clean. Damn it, sorting out this mess is
going to be very awkward. I think I will retain mafikizolo Nathaniel. My
threat at the time I hired him as my propagandist that I would throw him to
the foreign wolves who were chasing him for money they alleged he took from
them if he misbehaved seems to have done the trick of keeping him loyal and
motivated. I sometimes almost feel sorry for the way he is forced to reject
everything he once stood for in order to continue to enjoy my protection,
but he is certainly aggressive in my defence. He very ably plays the role of
deflecting a lot of heat from me.

Come to think of it, his childish stunts have given me welcome comical
relief on some of my darkest days. I think I will make my final decision on
whether he still serves my interests or to throw him out on the basis of the
Daily News issue. If Nathaniel can find a way to keep that troublesome paper
banned he could have earned an extension of his time in office, although I
am getting a little bit tired of all the negative worldwide publicity he has
earned for me.

Hmm, who would I replace the energetic mafikizolo Nathaniel with if decided
to discard him? Few people have that rare mix of viciousness,
pseudo-intellectual sophistry and shamelessness. Wait a minute, Tafataona
Mahoso has been very promising in his role as Media and Information
Commission chairman. He is well read, he is a rigid ideologue, and I rather
like his stiff academic style. He has done as well as Nathaniel in trying to
permanently banish the Daily News, if not better. Yes, sekuru Mahoso shows
great promise in the service of my regime. Young George Charamba tries but
he is not as ruthless as I would like. Perhaps he needs more seasoning
before he can be considered for higher office.

My homeboy Ignatius Chombo sometimes seems lacklustre despite having picked
up a doctorate in something or other somewhere. Perhaps it is time to
replace him with someone more dynamic. But on second thoughts at the
MDC-dominated Harare city council he has managed to totally confuse those
British-sponsored counter-revolutionaries. I hear reports that since the MDC
acting mayor was given a house in fashionable Gunhill and a spanking new
vehicle, she has been very cooperative. Jeez, it is so easy to neutralise
these youngsters of today, we would never have won the liberation struggle
with people of this calibre. This is one reason I am so reluctant to give up
power - with the weak, easily bought new breed of youngsters of all
political persuasions we have raised since independence, the British would
recolonise this country within days of my departure by just dangling cars,
houses and filthy lucre. No, I will hang on to the bitter end; Zimbabwe will
never, never, ever be a colony again - to hell with their democracy, term
limits and human rights.

Emmerson and I have been through thick and thin together for many decades.
Whatever people say about him, he has been an unfailingly faithful
lieutenant. I am torn between returning his loyalty and cutting him loose
for the many unkind stories about him that are reported to me.

I could have been long dead if it were not for his unflinching support from
even before Independence, but particularly since then. If he was sometimes
over-enthusiastic in his methods, well, one can't make an omelette without
breaking some eggs. It is these kind of tough decisions that have to be made
that cause me much anguish and have delayed a re-organisation of my regime
that has been long expected and is probably overdue now. Decisions,
decisions - and people think being supreme ruler is all foreign trips, fun
and games! I sometimes get very resentful of the lack of appreciation of
what a tough, thankless job this is.

That young Gono at the Reserve Bank is just what I needed to give my regime
a new look and buy me some more time. Phew, he came along just in time, I
was running out of ideas on what to do about this economy I have helped
ruin. The young chap may be a little overzealous though, I will have to
watch him carefully. I didn't mind him shaking up the crooked young money
lenders. Not only are the bankers not grateful to my government for creating
the conditions for them to become overnight billionaires, but more
unforgivably, many of them are sympathetic to Tsvangison and the opposition.
After all we have done for them!

But I may have to shorten the long leash of independence I gave Gono. I had
not thought about the far-reaching political implications of his monetary
reforms. I am getting a lot of pressure from many of my most trusted cronies
whose business interests his policies are threatening. This is so tiring -
just when you think you have solved one problem, two others are created.
Maybe I should think about retiring to the comfort of my private Borrowdale
estate - but no, my enemies would never give me any peace there. I must
soldier on in power.

And they actually have the nerve to accuse me of clinging to power because
they think this is an easy, cushy job!

-Chido Makunike is a regular columnist based in Harare.

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Zim Independent

Zim no longer a constitutional democracy
By Fidas Muchemwa
MANY a time I have heard people, including learned professors, referring to
Zimbabwe as a sovereign state and a constitutional democracy. The president
himself is on record claiming that he will defend Zimbabwe's sovereignty
until he is laid to rest at the Heroes Acre.

It is interesting that people refer to the state and not the government.
Unconsciously they are admitting that the government of Zimbabwe is not
democratic, sovereign and does not observe the constitution.

It is important to clarify from the onset that there is a difference between
the state and the government. The state refers to a geographical and
permanently defined territory with some characteristics like a legal system,
culture, population, etc, whereas government refers to a temporary bearer of
state authority.

In Zimbabwe, sovereignty, constitutionalism and democracy are all left in
the mouth of those who have unquestioned access to ZBC and ZTV. In practice
we buried these a long time ago.

When one talks of constitutionalism one is referring to government in
accordance with the constitution. Whether the government in Zimbabwe is
still bound by the constitution is a question we all know the answer to.

In practice, one is supposed to speak about constitutionalism if the state
presents indispensable features like protection of fundamental rights, an
independent judiciary, the separation of powers and democratic tenets such
as general adult suffrage and free and regular multi-party elections, all of
which must be clearly outlined in the national constitution. All these
features are no more in Zimbabwe.

On democracy, one is persuaded to conclude that the authorities need to go
back to pre-school and learn what it is.

Democracy refers to government by the people. In simpler terms democracy
means people governing themselves. Here I can pose a question to every
Zimbabwean: Are you governing yourself? Are we governing ourselves? This
means that in a democracy, the right to govern does not rest in a single
individual (eg a king) or a class of persons (aristocracy). This is in total
contradiction with the understanding our army chiefs have, when they had the
audacity to come out on national television and prescribe what type of
people can be presidents of this "democratic state". In a real democracy the
people and not the army do the prescription on who should govern.

Everyday and night we are forced to believe that there is something like
"African democracy". Whether it is African, Asian or Caribbean, democracy is
democracy, which presupposes free political discussion, toleration of
different views and the right of all people to participate in political

Whether African intellectuals are busy formulating African democracy is not
a matter for discussion now but it is still internationally accepted that
elections are still a powerful and relevant mechanism to keep government
accountable to people. Constitutional democracy therefore means that
peoples' representatives - parliament or president - are not free to make
laws that please them but are bound to observe the norms and values embodied
in the constitution.

The doctrine of trias politica (separation of powers) is a theory first
advanced by a French writer named Montesquieu. He said state authority must
be divided among the three arms of governance ie legislature, executive and
the judiciary. His reason then, which today is still valid, was because
there can be no political freedom where one person or body of people make
the law, implement it and then act as arbiter when the law is contravened.

The legislature has the power to create, amend and repeal legal rules. The
executive has the power to execute and enforce legal rules. The judiciary
has the power to interpret legal rules and apply such rules to concrete
situations. That's different in Zimbabwe. The executive has taken over all
the duties. The president can overturn parliament's decision and can issue
decrees as he sees fit. This means that the executive equally has power to
make laws.

The interference by the executive in the judiciary is also another point to
worry about. The recent defiance by the police (which is the arm of the
executive) in taking orders from the High Court is a clear sign that only
the executive is ruling in Zimbabwe. Judges have been harassed and
intimidated. All these and many more were efforts by the ruling regime to
instill fear in the judicial sector. Those were the last gasps of
constitutionalism and democracy in Zimbabwe.

Sovereignty is another word that has caused a lot of confusion and is abused
by politicians.

If a country is said to be sovereign and independent it means no other
country has power or authority to interfere with the sovereign country's
statehood. For example no country can use Zimbabwe's airspace without the
consent of Zimbabwe. Signing international agreements like treaties is one
way of retaining a country's sovereignty.

However, advocates of democracy talk not of a country's sovereignty but
people's sovereignty. People's sovereignty means that the people have the
power unto themselves to decide about what government they want in power and
other national institutions.

The logical conclusion one draws from this is that we cannot have
sovereignty where there is no democracy and no democracy where there is no

This is because in sovereign and democratic states the constitution is
regarded as embodying the will of the people and is reflective of the
prevailing values. It is further a requirement that a constitution must
enjoy the support of the majority of the people in a state.

-Fidas Muchemwa is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

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