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How to stay alive when it all runs out
Jul 12th 2007 | HARARE
Ordinary Zimbabweans find creative ways to
Economist print edition
AT FIRST glance, life in Harare appears surprisingly
normal. Cars still cruise along the streets, shops are still open, children wear
neat school uniforms, and men and women in suits still talk on mobile phones.
Yet in Zimbabwe appearances are deceptive. The economy is collapsing. Eight in
ten people have no formal jobs; inflation, officially estimated at more than
3,700%, may actually be twice as high.
So President Robert Mugabe has decided to try to do
something about the galloping prices of basic goods. Ignoring protests from
Gideon Gono, the governor of the central bank, Mr Mugabe, who famously despises
“bookish economics”, has sent the police in to order shopkeepers to slash their
prices, forcing them to sell at a loss. The predictable result is huge crowds
waiting outside shops to rush in and grab whatever they can while the going is
good. Factories are threatened with being taken over if they stop production.
Hundreds of shopkeepers have been arrested, accused of not lowering their prices
So basic goods such as cooking oil, soap and meat
have disappeared from the shelves. At a supermarket in the Fife Avenue shopping
centre, expensive imported goods are still on sale but the meat counter is empty
and there is no bread. Luckily, there is a bit of cooking oil. Each bottle costs
about one-third of a teacher's monthly wage and shoppers are allowed to buy only
two bottles each. A woman pushing a trolley says she spends a good part of the
day going from shop to shop to find basic items such as sugar or
Petrol, which was expensive but available after
private importers were licensed, has now dried up as well, thanks to the
enforced price cuts. At a petrol station in one of Harare's leafy suburbs, a
line of over 80 cars snakes around the block, overseen by a few policemen and
soldiers. Without much petrol, public transport, whose fares have also been
slashed, has become too scarce for commuters. On one of Harare's main avenues,
crowds wait by the side of the road at night, hoping for a ride home. Some
people run after a pick-up truck that is already full, trying to jump on. It can
take hours to get to work in the morning.
Yet most things are available on the black market—for
those who can afford them. At night, you only have to drive to the right spot
and young men rush over to offer petrol at more than eight times the official
price. In the poor district of Mbare, about 3km (two miles or so) from Harare's
centre, a few people are selling cooking oil and sugar at the side of the road;
some carry bags of maize flour on their heads. But police raids this week have
pushed this black market even further underground.
Twenty kilometres outside Harare, a 40-year-old
teacher explains that she cannot survive on her monthly earnings of 1.9m
Zimbabwean dollars, equivalent to $7,600 at the official exchange rate but only
$7.60 on the black market. Her husband makes even less. She walks 5km to work
every day only “because there is nothing else to do”, but some of her colleagues
no longer show up at all. She grows vegetables in her back yard; the greens, she
says, are “our chicken and our pork, our eggs and our beef”.
There is no running water for most of the day, so she
fills buckets and bottles whenever taps work and has to boil the water as it is
no longer safe to drink. Electricity is also scarce, so she cooks on a wood fire
in her back yard and buys candles whenever she can afford to. She wears a
worn-out anorak and woollen hat in her small house, as she cannot afford heating
to fight the biting winter cold. To feed and school her three children, she
borrows money to buy a few things, then goes to South Africa or Zambia to sell
Many people survive by trading. A 34-year-old
professional, who has left his job to become a middleman, buys foreign exchange
on the black market and imports all kinds of stuff, from IT equipment to stationery. He then
resells at a fat mark-up to local companies that cannot risk breaking the
foreign-exchange laws. When not driving to South Africa, he lounges in his
drawing room watching satellite television on a wide screen. He says he makes a
profit of more than $5,000 a month; he lives in a nice residential area where
electricity and water are always on.
There is plenty of foreign exchange, he explains. The
lucky few with access to American dollars at the official rate of 250 Zimbabwe
dollars to one American greenback are making a killing selling them on the black
market, where the rate is about 250,000. Getting enough local cash has become
the main hurdle since restrictions were placed on withdrawals. To get around the
Z$1.5m daily limit, people open multiple bank accounts or pay a 10% premium to
get cash against a bank transfer.
Choked by hyperinflation and arbitrary restrictions,
people have become increasingly creative to survive. More than 3m have
emigrated, mainly to South Africa, while a small elite bleeds the economy dry. A
local businessman says the system will collapse in six months—and that Zimbabwe,
under new management, will become Africa's fastest growing economy. “Then
again”, he smiles, “we have been saying this for years.”
Zimbabwe price crackdown moves to Mugabe heartland
MacDonald Dzirutwe Thu Jul 12, 9:59 AM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has
sent crack police to enforce price freezes
in the rural strongholds of
President Robert Mugabe, where businesses have
failed to heed measures aimed
at reining in inflation and halting economic
government, grappling with inflation of 4,500 percent, ordered
last month to roll back and freeze prices on petrol, bread, milk,
oil and other key consumer items after a sharp increase in their
The move has prompted panic buying, leading to empty store
shelves and long
lines at petrol stations, and pushed the economically
African nation closer to breaking point.
started deploying many officers to rural areas to make sure there
compliance, and we are saying we are not going to stop until we are
satisfied that there is total compliance," police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka
Mandipaka said many businesses in rural areas -- where
the majority of
Zimbabwe's population lives and where Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party enjoys
strong support -- had failed to follow the government's
directive on prices.
So far, the crackdown has been concentrated in the
capital Harare and other
urban areas where workers have borne the brunt of
the severe economic
crisis. It has led to arrests and fines for 1,768
executives and companies.
The chief executive of Zimbabwe's largest
supermarket chain has been
arrested and faces 41 charges of defying the
price freeze, while police on
Wednesday seized 49 commuter buses and
detained the drivers for
overcharging, Mandipaka said.
commuter operators have grounded their fleets, citing fuel shortages
forced 60-percent reduction in fares, leaving thousands of commuters
The rollback program was extended to rural areas after the
accused some businesses of diverting goods to rural shops were
freeze had not been enforced.
Zimbabwe, once one of
Africa's most prosperous countries, is in the eighth
year of a deep
recession, marked by chronic shortages of food and fuel,
unemployment and poverty and the world's highest inflation rate.
Rural Zimbabweans, who have been forced to engage in
informal trading and
open small shops to supplement what they make from
subsistence farming, are
increasingly feeling the pinch of the government's
"Can you imagine someone who is running a little store
and told to reduce
his prices ... he has no insurance and will not only have
to take the loss
but will go out of business," said John Robertson, a
economist in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, who blames the
economic problems on sabotage by Western nations
upset over his seizure of
thousands of white-owned farms, has threatened to
nationalize companies who
hike prices without cause.
The 83-year-old Zimbabwean leader, in power
since independence from Britain
in 1980, has said that those resisting the
new economic measures are part of
a Western plot to topple his
While the price crackdown has brought relief to hard-pressed
can find goods in the stores, basic foodstuffs, such as
and cooking oil, have disappeared from
Economic analysts warn that many businesses could shut their doors
than continue producing at a loss.
Industry and International
Trade Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed reports that
the government also
planned to cut workers' salaries, the official Herald
newspaper reported on
Buses impounded, top boss held in Zimbabwe price blitz
Jul 12, 5:24 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe stepped up a crackdown on
government-imposed price controls by impounding dozens of buses
cost of fares and arresting the boss of a top retail chain, police
A total of 49 buses were seized on Wednesday and
their drivers detained for
alleged profiteering after passengers were
charged fares in excess of a
government edict, spokesman Chief
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said.
The impounding of the buses caused
major disruption on Wednesday night as
commuters heading home from Harare's
central business district massed on
roads, frantically waving down lifts or
scrambling onto the few buses still
Apart from the impounded
vehicles, many operators have withdrawn their buses
in protest over
government-gazetted fares which they say do not cover their
costs at a time
when inflation is believed to be well beyond 5,000 percent.
also revealed that Willard Zireva, chief executive of OK Zimbabwe,
picked up at his home on Tuesday night and faces a string of charges for
overcharging customers at the food and clothing chain.
"He is still
in police custody and is facing 41 counts of defying the price
the spokesman told AFP.
The price controls, announced by the government
on June 26, have led to
widespread shortages of staples such as cooking oil
and salt in
supermarkets, although the black market is thriving as a
Mandipaka urged businesses to continue providing their
"The operation against people who violate price controls will
"We urge commuters to give service to the members
of the public and avoid
Arrests of Zimbabwean Businessmen Continue
Zimbabwe's few surviving manufacturers servicing the
retail sector are starting to close down or reduce their work week even further
as the economy dramatically contracts. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that
shops are emptying, urban commuters are stranded, and businessmen are being
arrested in the face of the most dramatic financial collapse in Zimbabwe's
Willard Zireva is the chief executive officer of one
of Zimbabwe's most famous and enduring brands, OK Bazaars. He was arrested
Tuesday on 41 counts of violating the government-ordered price freeze in the
The government has frozen prices at the June 18
level, when nearly 5,000 percent inflation caused price increases every two or
About 2,000 businessmen, from chief executive
officers to small one-man traders, have been arrested in the past 10 days on
charges of violating the price freeze.
Supermarkets are no
longer ordering supplies because they say they cannot afford to sell products at
a loss. Staples such as beef, corn meal, cooking oil, salt, and sugar have
disappeared. People are lining up for small supplies of bread and
|Zimbabwean shoppers walk past
empty shelves in Mabvuku, Harare 04 Jul
Commuter buses have stopped running because their
fares have been cut in half and owners say they cannot afford to operate any
Fuel is scarce in Zimbabwe, because the price has
been cut to less than half of what it costs to import.
Now, some manufacturers, already working short weeks
and suffering from loss of production because of long electricity shut downs,
have begun to close.
An industrialist from Bulawayo, Eddie Cross, said he
has shut his clothing factory for a week to see whether the situation changes.
He said the controlled prices are between 20 to 50 percent of the cost of
The government has also withdrawn licenses from
scores of privately owned butchers, and says only the state's bankrupt Cold
Storage Commission may slaughter animals.
consumers say they were happy to be able to buy goods at reduced prices, many
are now worried that essential goods will only be available on the black market
and will cost far more than before the price freeze.
|A stampede as hundreds of people
thronged a shopping warehouse in Harare, 12 Jul
There are many eyewitness reports that senior members
of the ruling ZANU-PF and the security forces have been the main beneficiaries
of reduced prices and have bought in bulk from supermarkets.
According to lawyer Jonathan Samkange, who has
represented many of the arrested businessmen, the government has not passed a
price control law. He also says he does not know how many people are still
detained in connection with the crackdown.
The government said Wednesday, again without
legislation to back it up, that profit margins for manufacturers, wholesalers
and retailers will be restricted to between five and 10 percent.
Police Superintendent Oliver Mandikapa says he is
sending officers to rural areas to monitor small traders' prices.
The ongoing crackdown is enforced by State Security
Minister Didymus Mutasa. The government says it is trying to stop profiteering
by unpatriotic businessmen, who are accused of sabotaging the
The political and economic crisis began in 2000 when
President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned commercial farms that produced
about 40 percent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.
This led to rising inflation and shortages of
agricultural supplies because the new farmers, many of them President Mugabe's
colleagues, did not know how to farm on a commercial scale. Most of the land
they were given is not used.
electoral rigging already emerging in Zimbabwe
Sokwanele Article: 12
source in the Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed that while frustrated
Zimbabweans queue in their thousands to obtain their birth certificates,
identity and passport documents, Government has hijacked the process and is
clandestinely handing out documents to Zanu-PF supporters. "These supporters
from far off places are preferentially given identity cards and passports and
registered as voters", this is in order to reconfigure the Harare and Bulawayo
urban constituency voters rolls ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections.
electoral law allows only holders of national identity cards and passports to
Womens Affairs, Oppah Rushesha, her deputy Abigail Damasane, and Sithembiso
Nyoni, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, are rallying government
departments to assist the processing of batches of national identity cards and
passports. The Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare led by Nicholas
Goche is facilitating wages for the youth militia (locally referred to as the
Green Bombers) who are now literally political commissars for Zanu-PF, while the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) facilitates the registration of Zanu-PF
supporters in the Harare and Bulawayo urban voters roll.
parliamentary election of 2005, former MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi lost the
Gwanda constituency seat to Zanu-PF after the CIO secretly registered thousands
of graduates from the Border Gezi youth militia.
Many see this
as one reason why, in 2005, the Zanu PF government embarked on 'Operation
Murambatsvina' or 'Clear out the Trash', a police operation to destroy homes
belonging to poor urbanites, exposing victims to the cold winter. Despite
condemnation by the United Nations (UN), President Robert Mugabe endorsed the
action, arguing that these were necessary slum clearances. Homeless victims,
many of whom were MDC supporters, were forcibly removed to remote areas and
rendered unable to vote since they are now far from where they are registered to
also setting up self-help and grocery clubs for Zanu-PF supporters with funds
drawn from the fiscus, and these have also been associated with clandestine
projects, the brainchild of Vice President Joice Mujuru, entail chicken rearing
and the supply of farm fertilizer and these are targeted at boosting the morale
of personnel in the army and police force. According to our sources,
beneficiaries of the project are secretly registered as voters to swell the
Harare and Bulawayo urban constituency voters roll.
led by Ministers Oppah Rushesha and Sithembiso Nyoni, buy scarce commodities
such as cooking oil and washing soap in Botswana and South Africa for profit
sale back home. Many interpret this as an open admission by the government of
having ruined the economy. Grocery club members are each given Z$10 million
sourced from the Reserve Bank - this is to facilitate the purchase of scarce
commodities. They are then directed to illegally buy foreign currency in the
streets. Again, sources say that beneficiaries are being registered as voters in
(Tsvangirai) National Director of Elections, Ian Makone was arrested at a
critical time for the MDC. Makone was arrested just when the party was about to
launch its Democratic Resistance Campaign (DRC), a campaign based on the
precepts of the revered Mahatma Ghandi, and timed to coincide with the launch of
the party's campaign for next years tripartite national elections. Said one MDC
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity; "it stands to reason that
Government arrested Makone to rig next years elections while he was in jail. And
even though he is out of custody, his work is hampered because other important
MDC members are in custody over spurious petrol bombing charges."
Matibenga, MDC (Tsvangirai) National Chairperson-Womens Assembly, was refused
permission to even check that her name was on the voters roll. This was just
before one registration official recognised her and instructed subordinates to
assist her saying, "she's the MDC boss. We don't want to be all over the
newspapers". Matibenga insists that people should "demand" to be
Zanu-PF has a
track record of manipulating the registration process towards meeting its own
objectives. First, through 'Operation Murambatsvina', Zanu-PF reduced
significant numbers of MDC supporters on urban voters rolls nationwide. Second,
by registering new supporters in Harare and Bulawayo, Zanu-PF is encroaching and
building its numbers on turf traditionally held by the opposition MDC.
it has lost the urban vote and it 'wins' elections by manipulating the
delimitation Commission, comprised mainly of Mugabe's dreaded Central
Intelligence (CIO). This body marks out constituency boundaries according to
area population, and in the current status quo ensures at any one time there are
more rural than urban constituencies.
secret and continuous voter registration is calculated to swell the number of
Zanu-PF supporters on the voters roll.
registration of Zanu-PF supporters in Harare is augmented by the Ministry of
Local Government redrawing and extending Harare Province boundaries to include
areas previously held by evicted white farmers. In these recently acquired
areas, such as Harare South where Zanu-PF holds a parliamentary seat, government
has resettled mainly war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters, and is now secretly
registering them as voters. Felix Mafa, MDC spokesman for Bulawayo Province
asked, "what other evidence of rigging do people need?"
while in many democracies the citizens voters roll is accessible for voter
registration throughout the year, Mugabe maintains a law restricting the voter
registration period to one week, and although the law obliges government to
advertise the period of voter registration, no adverts have as yet been flighted
on state radio and television. This is save for one advert appearing in The
Chronicle newspaper, issue of Saturday 16 June, stating that voter registration
runs from 17 June to 17 August.
exercising a fraudulent silence and is determined to ensure that mainly Zanu-PF
supporters register to vote. Shockingly, Government has sent registration
officers to the suburbs, allowing only two days for voter registration, thus
excluding hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans from the process and consequently
denying them a right to vote.
It is clear to
many that Mugabe and Zanu-PF are rigging next years' elections before voting
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Harare Steps Up Police Patrols
Cape Argus (Cape Town)
Posted to the web 12 July 2007
Thabo Mabaso And Geoff
Zimbabwe continues to dominate the international media
reports of intensified police patrols, the cancellation of
licences and a dramatic rise in the government's domestic
debt to Z$2 116
And the country's economic situation is
forcing an increasing number of
Zimbabweans to flee to South
Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper said that yesterday
deployed more officers in Harare's central business
A police spokesman said the reinforcements were meant to
eradicate the CBD
of the black market, foreign currency dealers and illegal
traders of basic
"We will wield the axe on all these illegal
dealers without fear or favour
and we will not be deterred by their status
in society," Chief
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka was quoted as
The government also swiftly moved to revoke the licences of all
abattoirs for "failure to provide services to the
All butcheries in Zimbabwe have been closed since the government
order to retailers to halve the price of their
Private abattoirs wishing to resume operations have been ordered
for permission from a cabinet taskforce.
Farmers wishing to
sell livestock need to contact a government-controlled
Meanwhile, Malawi has announced that it has sold 90 000 metric
maize to Zimbabwe.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
country's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, called on businesses
yesterday to defy the government's
retail price freeze.
quoted him as saying: "Zimbabweans realise the dangers of the
honeymoon. The future, in the short term, is bleak.
"More businesses are
going to close."
For our collusion with Mugabe black SA
should feel ashamed
12 July 2007
WE are incapable of being ashamed of our country, we do not love it. It
shame that can be valuably mobilised," renowned scholar of nationalism
Benedict Anderson said during an address at Wits last year.
often locked horns with many white South Africans over their lack of
about apartheid. This lack of shame has often turned into outright
how apartheid gave them a cruel and unfair advantage over black
suppose their unspoken logic is that any expression of shame would
lead to a
pronouncement of guilt, which would in turn to lead to punishment.
Anderson puts it, there is something intrinsically redemptive about
without extending into guilt and punishment.
In the same way that I have
been astonished by this lack of shame in white
society, I cannot see how
black people cannot be ashamed by our complicity
in the Zimbabwean
I will leave criticism of "quiet diplomacy" to foreign policy
experts. I am
talking about something much more basic and simple than such
concepts. I am simply asking whether we can feel proud about
African identity and our values given our own collusion in what
Collusion may seem like a strong word.
After all, our country did not send
troops to put down the people of
Zimbabwe. But I would argue that we
provided this monstrous dictator with
psychological aid and comfort. Our
leaders and intellectuals swallowed
President Robert Mugabe's lie that
Zimbabwe's problems were a creation of
the western world. We gave him
standing ovations and received him with
thunderous applause whenever he came
here. We put down his critics as agents
of the west or sellouts or coconuts
of one type or the other.
argued for noninterference as articulately as our former oppressors did
during those long dark decades of apartheid. We did and said all of these
things even as we witnessed the destruction on our television screens. The
idea of a country in which the government has to arrest shop-owners for
increasing prices to stay in business is truly absurd.
people have been asking how it is that a whole society can stand
their ruler does as he wishes with the whole country. In many ways
that is a
question for the people of Zimbabwe to answer. The question for
Africans to answer is how could we have given psychological aid and
to the agents of this tragedy. Personally, I was sickened by the
thing, and our participation in it. I always felt we had squandered
moral authority in defence of an irredeemable monster.
I suppose part of
the reason I write is to simply record my own reactions to
history. And when
it comes to Zimbabwe it is a history of which I am utterly
In the final analysis my expression of shame about our
support for Mugabe
also has something to do with our political future. I
fear that in our
support for Mugabe we demonstrated that we lost the basic
value of ubuntu
that was supposed to underpin our political democracy. If we
can show such
callousness towards the people of Zimbabwe, what would stop us
callousness to our neighbours here at home?
world history is littered with examples of neighbours turning on
in the name of ethnic and racial nationalism, mainly at the
thugs and gangsters lodged deep within the state. For
example, there is
still more we need to know more about the genocidal
campaigns that Mugabe is
said to have unleashed on the people of
Matabeleland in the 1980s.
the final analysis, Mugabe's terror raises lessons for SA about what
when thugs take over the state, when its citizens become accomplices
terror, and when politicians and intellectuals become the chief
theoreticians of that terror. We have the responsibility to do some
soul-searching about our own role in this sordid and tragic affair, if only
to prevent it from happening here any time in the future.
instinct may be to deny any such complicity, and say there is
could have done. But did we really have to applaud this murderous
What does that say about us and our own cultural and political
did we become cheerleaders in an unseemly celebration of mass
The answer must begin with a sense of shame, but then shame
articulation of preexisting values. I still look forward to
the day when all
this racial nationalism is no longer with us, and we can
speak openly about
the values we hold in common.
Mangcu is executive
chairman of the Platform for Public Deliberation, and a
visiting scholar at
the Public Intellectual Life Project at the University
SA govt steps in as Zim crisis escalates
July 12, 2007,
The department of foreign affairs says it will discuss the plight
African businesses operating in Zimbabwe with their Zimbabwean
following the arrests of business people.
This comes as
South Africa's business leaders are urging government to fast
Zimbabwean mediation process, as that country's political climate
crippling South African businesses operating there. Business Leadership
South Africa (BLSA) says that country is faced with a system meltdown. As
the presidential decree continues to be enforced, South African businesses
are bearing the brunt.
The Zimbabwean Reserve Bank has confirmed that
Makro had slashed its prices
and is trading again. "We will continue to
comply with the law of Zimbabwe.
Whether or not the business will be viable
going forward will depend on
whether the supplier can supply the product at
the prices set by the
government," said Grant Patterson, the chief executive
To ensure compliance, over 1 700 store owners and business
been arrested, including the chief executive of OK Zimbabwe.
is something that is done fundamentally to contain that
have empty shops very soon. Shops will close down, and
where will people buy
food?" said Jerry Vilikazi, the Business Unity South
Africa (Busa) CEO. Both
BLSA and Busa have called for decisive leadership at
a political and
Meanwhile, South Africa's embassy in
Harare has been receiving complaints
from business people operating in
Zimbabwe. Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson
of the department of foreign
affairs, says following the discussion with SA
business people about their
current plight, they will take it up with the
Businesses believe that a political solution must be
found soon before
Zimbabwe's economic infrastructure collapses.
Open Letter to the Next US President
Open Letter to the Next US President: Get Tougher on Mugabe's
Despotic Government, But Send Aid for the Suffering
by Constance Manika
“When elephants fight, it is the grass which
suffers.” – African Proverb
The Zimbabwean government
introduced an ambitious Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs) program in 2004, but
Ropafadzo Kondo, who tested HIV positive in 1999, got no benefit from the new
When this program was launched, the Minister of
Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, openly admitted that his
government had no resources to expand. Rather, Zimbabwe was counting on the
assistance of the international donor community to provide more people with the
According to the World Health
Organization in 2005, 565 adults and children
are infected with HIV in Zimbabwe every day. That’s one person every three
• Photograph by Steve Evans
•And of the more than 1.8 million people
living with HIV and AIDS, only 40,000 have managed to access HIV drugs from the
state run programs. More than 600,000 people remain in urgent need of the life
This is the figure that Zimbabwe’s government touted
in 2004 hoping the donor community would assist. Currently, an additional 20,000
people are estimated to be buying the drugs on their own at private pharmacies
or have relatives in the Diaspora who are sending them from abroad.
But three years later, Ropafadzo and many others are
still on the waiting list; their hopes of ever accessing these life-prolonging
drugs are slowly fading away. With a CD4 Cell Count of just 60 instead of the
recommended 200 or more, Ropafadzo is living on borrowed time. To make matters
worse, being on a teacher’s salary of only $20 USD a month, she can’t afford to
buy the drugs on her own in the private sector, as they are prohibitively
So what really is the problem?
No supplemental funding is coming to Zimbabwe as the
international community continues to protest against the Mugabe led government’s
maladministration and poor human rights record. This is why the government
program has not grown to accommodate more HIV positive Zimbabweans.
Infuriated by Mugabe’s expulsion of Pierre Schori,
head of the European Union (EU) Observer Mission to Zimbabwe, during the
controversial 2002 presidential elections, the western powers “officially”
(because even as far back as the late 1990s international funding had already
started drying up) imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
• Photograph by Steve Evans
•It is entirely acceptable for the
international community to put pressure on Mugabe’s government by freezing funds
on Zimbabwe’s economic programs or by imposing sanctions, but why should
ordinary and innocent people like Ropafadzo be caught in this struggle? Other
than toil for a pathetic salary month in and month out, what have they done to
The truth of the matter is that Mugabe and his
cronies who are responsible for wrecking the economy and isolating Zimbabwe are
not even feeling the slightest pinch of these EU Sanctions!
Even though they are banned from traveling to Europe
and have had their “off shore” accounts frozen, they are still well able to
afford three meals or more a day. They still cruise around town with the latest,
most expensive, bullet-proof cars with full fuel tanks while the majority of
people queue for hours to refuel their cars at service stations or pay
exorbitant prices from black market dealers.
And while they may be banned from Europe, they are
still able to send their children abroad for a “decent” education, but only
after bribing the Registrar General for a change of surname to evade the EU
travel bans. And, even when they are unable to send their children abroad, they
are able to escape the rot and decay they have caused in the public education
system by sending their children to expensive private boarding schools. The rest
of us, unfortunately, are left with few choices because our pockets are not deep
This is the cruel and heartbreaking reality on the
ground in our country. Ordinary people are suffering in the name of sanctions
and because of donor fatigue. It is the hardworking Zimbabweans, who will go mad
trying to figure out what to eat, how to pay the bills and fees for their
children, and for people like Ropafadzo, where to get money to buy
I, along with many other Zimbabweans, hope that as
the people of the United States choose their next president in February 2008,
they will elect someone who can look beyond politics, adopt a tougher stance on
Mugabe’s despotic government and force it out of power. But whatever actions the
new president may take, one must also remember that ordinary, innocent
Zimbabweans do not deserve to suffer.
Zimbabweans like myself pray for world powers, the US
included, to intervene, to put aside the politics that prevent them from caring
about the kind of impact their actions will have on innocent women and children,
the sick and the old. There should be no strings attached to humanitarian aid,
not because Mugabe will profit, but because the general population has, up until
now, unfortunately been caught in the cross fire.
If one traces the history of the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) in
Zimbabwe, the decline in humanitarian assistance began in 1998, when signs of an
economic meltdown under Mugabe’s rule began showing. Previous allegations of his
government’s corruption and misuse of taxpayer money had been surfacing
repeatedly long before then.
USAID’s program of development assistance to Zimbabwe
dates back 27 years, to when Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. USAID
drew up its plan for financial assistance to Zimbabwe into three phases. The
first phase (1980-1989) was for post-Liberation Struggle Reconstruction.
• Photograph by Steve Evans
•In the second phase (1990-1997) funds were
committed for economic reform and development. In this period, USAID’s support
included the growth of the informal sector, provision of private sector housing
and expanding the role of the private sector in providing family planning
In the third phase (1998 – 2002) funds were committed
for political reform and HIV and AIDS Mitigation. In this period, USAID strategy
shifted to meet “increasing changes in Zimbabwe’s political, economic and social
arenas”. USAID says by focusing its funding on HIV/AIDS prevention, it hopes to
increase dialogue between civil society and government institutions.
In the third period, the decline in funding,
especially for humanitarian needs, was very evident. In the period just after
independence, USAID funding for humanitarian needs was $29 million USD. In the
second phase, USAID committed $164 million USD for humanitarian needs, which
allowed Zimbabweans to get through the 1992 drought, our worst ever, without any
The third phase marked a decline in funds: just $115
million USD was committed. Then from 2002 to 2006, a time when 80 percent of
Zimbabweans were living in poverty as a result of successive droughts and the
worsening economy, there was a huge dip in funding: just $85 million USD was
Before relations between Harare and Washington
soured, funding for Zimbabwe’s various programs was enormous. Although the US
government still has an embassy here in Zimbabwe and continues to offer funding
for various programs, the truth is that the US could offer more humanitarian
assistance, if it wanted.
Last month US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher
Dell, donated about $18 million USD worth of ARVs to Zimbabwe, which will
benefit at least 40,000 Zimbabweans over a three-year period. This was Dell’s
“farewell present” to our citizens and came as a big surprise to many of us.
Without sounding ungrateful, many AIDS activists
attending the function said the US government could provide drugs for the
600,000 people in urgent need of treatment, if it really wanted. They added that
if the US delegation feared the government would abuse the drugs, then the US
could channel the funds through a number of reputable networks which service
people living with HIV and AIDS. While at this function, a friend of mine who
works at the US embassy here in Zimbabwe told me in confidence that they had
been forced to cancel a planned media tour for Laura Bush to Zambia. Why? His
“bosses” feared that we would see how little Zimbabwe was getting in aid, in
comparison to the amount of money Laura was giving Zambia. Zambia receives $187
US dollars for every person infected with HIV, compared to the $4 USD
Zimbabweans receive, according to Avert, an AIDS
Dell’s three-year mission in Zimbabwe can be
described as very “eventful”! He crossed paths on many occasions with state
security agents for his open criticism of the Mugabe regime and became the most
unpopular envoy in Harare. Mugabe even threatened him with expulsion for
“meddling in the affairs of Zimbabwe” but has been silenced. Dell recently
predicted that Zimbabwe’s inflation was going to reach 1.5 million percent by
the end of the year and drive Mugabe out of power.
Ultimately, I know I speak for many Zimbabweans when
I say “YES!” for sanctions against Mugabe and his corrupt government ministers
and supporters, but don’t sacrifice humanitarian assistance for ordinary people
like Ropafadzo. This is my open letter to the next US
About the Author
Constance Manika is a journalist
who works for the independent press in Zimbabwe. She writes under this pseudonym
to escape prosecution from a government whose onslaught and level of intolerance
to journalists in the independent press is well
Dlamini-Zuma 'clarifies' Zim remarks
Thu, 12 Jul
Media reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
for new intervention by the SA Development Community (Sadc) in
misleading, her department said on Thursday.
is further from the truth," said spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.
than calling for a new Sadc initiative on Zimbabwe, Minister Dlamini
was reiterating the decision of the Sadc Summit held in Tanzania in
This had mandated President Tao Mbeki to
mediate between Zanu-PF and the
opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, and mandated the Sadc
executive secretary to look into
the country's economic situation.
Media reports said Dlamini-Zuma had
told reporters in Pretoria this week
that Sadc should step in to save the
deteriorating Zimbabwean situation.
Mamoepa said Dlamini-Zuma had
expressed concern about the country's general
situation, including its
deteriorating economic situation.
"...It is in part, for the reason that
Sadc has decided that there must be
some discussion and reconciliation
because it is very difficult to rebuild
an economy in a country where there
is a serious divide and polarisation,"
he quoted Dlamini-Zuma as having
The minister was speaking to reporters after talks with Italian
Minister Massimo D'Alema.
"The suggestion that Minister
Dlamini Zuma called for Sadc to intervene in
Zimbabwe is erroneous and
misleading," said Mamoepa.
"Minister Dlamini-Zuma has confidence in the
current Sadc initiative on
In April, Deputy Minister Aziz
Pahad said the Sadc executive secretary of
Sadc was tasked to undertake a
study on the country's deteriorating economic
situation by an extraordinary
Sadc summit in March.
"The Sadc economic
rescue initiative is aimed at assisting the government of
Zimbabwe to revive
itself from the current economic challenges," he said.
reports said Sadc was putting together a plan to peg the
rand to the
Zimbabwe dollar by extending the multilateral monetary area of
Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland to Zimbabwe.
The Sadc secretariat rejected
the reports, Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald
disassociates itself from any reported support packages as they did
originate from its secretariat," said the secretariat.
Zimbabwe threatens opponents of equity bill
Thu Jul 12,
9:52 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Opponents of a bill to ensure a majority stake
public-owned firms ends up in the hands of Zimbabwe's indigenous
population were warned they could lose their business licences
The draft indigenisation and economic empowerment bill, which
on June 22, has raised fears among foreign-owned companies
Zimbabwe that they will lose control of their firms.
comments carried by the state-run Herald daily, Indigenisation
Mangwana said the government was determined to push ahead with
its plans and
critics should not try to thwart the legislation.
"Those who take leading
roles in decrying the indigenisation proposals
allegedly to scare away
foreign investment risk their trading or business
licences being taken,"
He said the indigenisation drive was designed to ensure
independence for Zimbabweans and urged businesses to comply with
shareholding requirements including mergers, demergers and
"There is nothing racial or punitive about it. It is the
norm in all
sovereign nations the world over," he said.
Some of the
firms dually listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London
Exchange firms include Old Mutual, NMB bank and Hwange.
firms that may be affected by the new policy include Barclays
Nickel Corporation and mining giant Rio Zim.
On June 27, President Robert
Mugabe also warned that his government would
seize and nationalise firms he
said were profiteering excessively in a bid
to incite Zimbabweans to revolt
against the state.
Brother aganist Brother,
Locking Kids out of School, Physical and Psychological Abuse
Zimbabwe: Outpost of Tyranny
July 11, 2007
among the effects of Robert Mugabe's war against his own people.
vignettes illustrating the human cost of Mugabe's war on the poor:
friend and gardener/handyman who works for us approached me on Monday
inform me that when he came back from Church on Sunday, he found his
($140.00 U.S.), 3 pairs of trousers and 2 pairs of shoes (his only
missing. Sunday evening, he got a call from a friend of his
brothers had been living together at the gardener's place but
he, too, had
gone missing--to tell him "not to be too upset when he finds
missing at home". According to the garderer, he could hear his
telling the friend what to say over the phone. The friend explained
the brother had taken the money and clothes in order to attempt to flee
Zimbabwe, via Beitbridge and across the Limpopo river, to South
2. Two separate examples of children being locked out of school:
who guards my house at night told me yesterday that his eldest
son (age 11)
was barred from school on Monday becasue the "top-up" (periodic
tuition necessitated by the hyer-inflationary environment) of
Zimbabwe Dollars (around $12.00 U.S. at prevailing parallel
rates) had not been paid. A colleague at work, who is
raising the two
children of his wife's sister (both parents of the children
was suprised to see his wife's 16 year old niece show up at
his door step
last week (she attends a boarding school around 120 KM outside
That child, too, had been barred from school for non payment of
3. The same night guard mentioned above,
and about whom we blogged in March
(after he was brutally beaten in the
township area where he lives,
Chitungwiza, when he was unable to produce on
demand a ZANU-PF membership
card for a gang of youths in the pay of the
ruling party) told me when I
arrived home last night that he needed to see
the doctor again because the
left side of his head where he was beaten with
a metal bar had begun
swelling again and blood had been pouring from his
nose. Tendai (the name
I'll give him, not his real name) has also been
depressed-seeming since the attack on him, probably collateral
In these cases, the victims were able to hunt down
the money necessary from
family or friends to get new shoes, pay the
"top-up" or see a doctor but
many victims are not.
Crackdown On Prices to Target Banks?
11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007
A WAVE of fear swept through the banking sector this
week, with sources
indicating that bank executives were on high alert after
was planning a clampdown on financial institutions over
The planned move is meant to augment a
government crackdown on industrial
operations and retailers to force prices
down, The Financial Gazette is
"There is that
fear -- people are talking about it in the market," a bank
The Financial Gazette yesterday, warning that the move could
and leave banks with huge losses on their loan books.
Kingdom Bank, a
subsidiary of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, last week
lowered its minimum lending rates from 630 percent to 550
percent, barely a
fortnight since increasing the rate in line with economic
It was not clear if Kingdom's move was in reaction to
rumours of the planned
clampdown, but market sources said there had been no
fundamentals to support
a rate reduction.
The central bank's
accommodation rate -- the benchmark for the cost of
money -- is currently at
600 percent for secured borrowing and 700 percent
Besides the lending rates, government is also expected to
issue a moratorium
on bank charges.
The Financial Gazette understands
that producers and retailers forced to
reduce product prices have alleged
they were facing huge borrowing costs and
these were contributing to the
high product prices.
Banks have in the past complained that they were in
a squeeze because they
were paying a large percentage of their deposits to
the central bank through
statutory reserve ratios, leaving them with very
little from which they also
had to pay depositors interest.
also be interesting to see how the government will deal with the
rate spike given that it is also a function of accommodation rates
by the central bank.
Power Cuts Threaten Wheat Crop
11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007
AN estimated 5 000 hectares of the 8 000 hectares of
winter wheat could be a
write-off after wilting in the fields due to
irrigation failures caused by
persistent power cuts, The Financial Gazette
established this week.
The write-offs could compound current shortages
and force the country to
resort to expensive imports.
organisations this week said they have been inundated with calls from
members complaining their crops had been damaged due to the power
The power outages have ravaged wheat farms despite assurances
utility ZESA Holdings that it would cut supplies to domestic and
industrial operations by at least 20 hours daily to ensure
supplies for wheat irrigation.
ZESA this week warned in
a statement that it would intensify load shedding
due to reduced production
at Hwange Colliery Company, which supplies the
power utility with
The power utility is faced with a plethora of problems including a
currency squeeze that has hamstrung the import of critical equipment
spare parts for crucial repairs to machinery.
requires about 420 000 metric tonnes of wheat annually, has
plummet since the onset of controversial land reforms in
further decline has been projected for the current season, raising the
spectre of serious flour shortages.
Wheat farmers this year had
managed to plant about 8 000 hectares of wheat,
way below a national target
of 76 000 hectares, because of lack of farming
equipment and critical inputs
like fuel, according to a recent report by the
committee on lands, land reform and resettlement.
An estimated 13.9
million litres of fuel was needed for the season but only
litres had been secured 15 days before the planting deadline.
Farmers Union (ZFU) economist Blessing Chifeya said farmers had
working in the evenings, giving them insufficient or no time to
Although he could not ascertain the total hectarage ZFU
members had put
under wheat, a spokesperson for the Commercial Farmers Union
represents former white commercial farmers, said about 5 000
planted by their members would be affected.
farmers still remain the major wheat producers in the country.
fear they will have to plough in their wheat as the insufficient
supplies are affecting the wheat which should now be reaching an
stage," said the CFU spokesperson.
The parliamentary committee on lands,
land reform and resettlement urged the
government to set aside additional
funds for grain imports.
The winter wheat crop is harvested just before
summer around August.
Zimbabwe "not collapsing" -
The Citizen, SA
DURBAN - Claims that Zimbabwe is about to collapse
were a "euphemism
for regime change" that had been predicted many times
ambassador to South Africa said on Thursday.
Reacting to recent media reports that his country was in a state of
collapse, Ambassador Simon Moyo said: "The fact is that Zimbabwe is under
siege from the illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West because of its
land reform programme. Despite facing considerable challenges... the country
is not collapsing and will not collapse.
"The so-called collapse, a
euphemism for regime change, has been
predicted many times before."
He said that several publications had written about Zimbabwe's
"with monotonous and nauseating regularity".
Referring to recent price
controls imposed the Zimbabwe government, he
said that official calls to
reduce prices had been ignored "by some business
people" who were pegging
their prices to the black market value of the
United States dollar.
"The government has taken appropriate measures to arrest a situation
was spiralling out of control and threatening the lives of ordinary
Moyo said the government was attempting to stabilise
freezing them at June 18 levels.
He said that police and
"crack monitoring units on price monitoring"
had raided warehouses and
"uncovered huge stocks of basic commodities being
hoarded around the
Moyo said the action of the authorities had forced
increase production to meet the increased demand for their
"Admittedly this situation has witnessed the emergence of
middlemen who are buying goods and reselling them on the black
He said that most major businesses
had complied with the government's
directives and that "ordinary people"
were happy and "appreciative" of the
Hotlines had been inundated with calls from "ordinary citizens" who
supplied "crucial information on unscrupulous and illegal business
"Unfortunately for our detractors, the perennial
regime change has
turned into an ever-receding mirage," he said.
Last updated 12/07/2007 19:20:04
Lobola Becomes Big Business
Financial Gazette (Harare)
Posted to the web 12 July 2007
FORTY million dollars, ten head of cattle, makandinzwa
nani $1 million,
cellphones, groceries. The list goes on. This is what
parents in Zimbabwe
are charging in bride price (lobola) for their
With the country's economic situation worsening, parents are
Daughters have become major assets for their parents. Like
sugar, bread or
cooking oil, they have become commodities in the hands of
their parents, and
their value is constantly being adjusted to the current
rate of inflation.
Zimbabwe's deteriorating economy, marked by
galloping inflation, has
resulted in the escalation of the bride
The practice of paying lobola has gradually shifted from being a
ritual meant to cement relations, to a commercial transaction,
side bargains to get the best deal.
At a recent lobola
ceremony, which this reporter attended, the groom -- a
civil servant -- was
charged a massive $40 million, excluding the compulsory
cattle and clothes
for the bride's parents. He was then charged ten head of
the customary beast for the mother "for nurturing her
daughter". The price
of each beast was set at $2.5 million, but was later
reduced to $1.5 million
In this era where everyone is looking for assets that
will preserve value,
the more female children you have, the richer you
With inflation at over 4000 percent and formal unemployment levels
percent, the lobola market has become big business.
parents are now forcing their daughters to get married to rich men as a
of lifting themselves from poverty. This is perhaps not new, since it is
practice that only complements an old Shona proverb, "Mukwasha muonde
hauperi kudyiwa" (direct translation: The son-in-law is like the fig tree,
that always bears fruit).
Daughters are now being put on auction, the
highest bidder taking the
bride's hand. Child marriages have become more
frequent, as parents struggle
to feed their families and send their children
The price goes higher if the girl is educated, has a good job.
It is even
worse if she is a virgin, but this factor is slowly losing its
But because of the exorbitant bride price, women become mere
property in the
eyes of their husbands. They end up being treated the same
way he treats his
Before money became the agent of trade, bride
price was in the form of a
hoe, cattle or goats. The groom could also work
for the woman's parents for
an agreed period of time, which is known in
Shona as "kutema ugariri".
Due to the high costs of paying lobola, some
lovers have opted for eloping,
escaping the lobola "madness".
unrealistic that my in-laws demand that I pay more than $40 million
to get a wife considering the peanuts that I earn at the end of the
After all the bride price is only a formality, it should not be
a means of making money," one man said.
Rosemary Muronga, an activist
with a women's rights group, says she does not
understand why most parents
demand such exorbitant charges for lobola. She
said this was "just like
selling goods on a market".
Fuel Shortages Resurface
Financial Gazette (Harare)
Posted to the web 12 July 2007
resurfaced this week as direct fuel importers (DFI) halted
in the wake of a government order, directing them to slash
pump prices by as
much as 150 percent.
Industry Minister, Obert Mpofu, whose crackdown on
post-June 18 price
increases secured the backing of the ruling party's
supreme policy and
decision-making organs, has ordered fuel dealers to sell
petrol and diesel
at $60 000 and $50 000.
A crack unit,
comprising intelligence, police and army officers, responded
directive by raiding service stations countrywide, forcing them to
As of Monday, 33 managers had been netted in the
industry-wide blitz, which
has been a boon for the legal
Hours after the sporadic raids, only fuel tankers from the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe could be seen delivering fuel at
Fuel importers interviewed by The Financial
Gazette said they have since
cancelled fresh orders, spawning serious
shortages on the market.
Industry, currently counting its losses
following the crackdown, which
started last week, has been the worst hit.
Analysts said it was no longer
profitable for fuel importers to keep the
pumps running, unless they can
access cheaper foreign currency from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
A number of importers were accessing expensive
free funds and dabbling in
illegal parallel market activities to remain
operational because of the
chronic foreign currency shortages.
country needs US$40 million for its monthly fuel requirements.
economy requires 900 million litres of diesel and 730 million litres of
petrol every year to operate at full capacity.
The fact that all
petroleum supplies are imported means that the country has
no control over
the price of fuel and is vulnerable in the event of
Zimbabwe, in the throes of a biting economic recession,
has battled eight
years of foreign currency shortages caused by poor exports
and the dearth in
both balance of payments support and donor
Government critics lay the blame squarely on mismanagement and
populist policies, charges denied by its spin-doctors, who see the
misfortunes as a direct result of targeted sanctions imposed on
elite by the European Union and the United States.
executive with a local merchant bank told The Financial Gazette this week
that government can only avert the fuel shortages by increasing the supply
of foreign currency to the sector or go into back-to-back deals with
petroleum producing countries such as Libya.
The banker doubted
whether the government had fully considered the
unintended consequences of
the massive reduction in fuel prices, saying
appeared to have had an overbearing influence over
"It would appear that the rationale behind the blitz was to
(Christopher) Dell's prediction without taking into consideration
factors," he said. "I don't think they had planned to deal with
shortages that are now arising," added the top banker.
the United States ambassador.
A top executive with another financial
services firm said, as usual, the
government was tinkering with the
He said: "The bottom line is that if you want a long-term
should aim for correct prices. The major driver of the price
been our currency, and anything else is a derivative. We
should find a way
of improving the supply of foreign currency so that it can
be accessed over
the counter. Without that we are chasing our
Mugabe milked me dry
Moses Moyo in
Dairy farmer Bruce Johnson Stewart remembers losing his
property in a land
Zimbabwe's historic land reform
programme - or, if you prefer, Mugabe's
wholesale robbery and dispossession
of his country's white farmers - is
widely blamed for the poverty that has
descended on this once- prosperous
country. But it hasn't stopped
The government has announced that the total number of seized farms,
standing at around 4,000, will be extended by another 100.
Johnson Stewart, a 64-year-old ex-dairy farmer, knows how those 100
will feel. He lost his farm five years ago.
Now he has no home, no money, and
nowhere to go.
"I remember the day like
it was yesterday," he says. "March
2, 2002. We'd been milking, I was
laughing and joking with my four
For a moment his grim expression softens, as he remembers life on
No surprise to learn that his nickname among his workers was Mr
because he was such a good employer.
Johnson Stewart's land
lay 20km north of Bulawayo, along Airport Road. He'd
inherited it and his
herd from his father. It was a good life for him and
his wife Amanda. Until
"We'd finished milking, it was just getting dark, and two
armed police arrived. The men had shiny new weapons, and they
around excitedly. Their leader, a cold and confident man, told me
we had 24
hours to leave. We had no choice. We packed everything we could in
trucks. And when they came again the next day, we moved out. But I
to hand over my keys. That farm is mine, and always will be.
had literally nowhere to go. My daughter has taken us in, at her home in
Montrose suburb, but we can't stay there for ever.
"But I don't want to
leave Zimbabwe. This is my country, I want to stay and
help make it home for
all Zimbabweans, black and white.
"The farm? It's been split into 15 small
lots for African farmers. But the
government has not given them the official
title to the land, so they can't
raise finance. There is only one water
source, a borehole, and someone has
stolen the pump. I get calls from my old
workers, asking for help, but
there's nothing I can do."
JULY 11, 2007
Mugabe will be hoist by his own petard
2007 08:41 AMBy Tabani Moyo
IT is proven beyond any doubt that the
Zimbabwean crisis is not largely due
to the vagaries of nature but a
man-made disaster. The country's economic
meltdown was best contextualized
by Professor Masipula Sithole in 1997 who
outlined that President Mugabe,
who by then was 73, had triggered the law of
diminishing returns into
motion. Mugabe, now 83 has lived to confirm the
late professor's words as
evidenced in the current guerrilla warfare against
the business community by
irrationally slashing the prices of commodities
literally at gun
The law of diminishing returns therefore properly accounts for the
proportionate deterioration of mental faculties due to the marginal increase
in the octogenarian politician's age. In this article I seek to widen the
insights developed by Prof Sithole and assess the quandary in which Mugabe
has placed himself by implementing the ill-conceived idea into policy. By
implementing such costly and acutely dangerous ideas and turning them into
policy which is enforced by the military, police and other paramilitary
groupings, the government is shooting itself in the foot. Slashing prices of
commodities is a cosmetic approach to an economy that needs a complete
overhaul and to be supported by a proper operational environment that allows
business to thrive or fall on their own accord.
So senile are the
price slashes that even cellphone users couldn't believe
themselves when the
rates were forced down the throats of the Zimbabwean
entrepreneurs from ZWD$
10 000 per minute to ZWD$ 500 per minute. The price
was therefore reduced by
95%. There is no where in the world in functional
economies even the most
developed countries, where prices fall down by such
a huge margin. When such
activities transpire in the economy, then it's like
the titanic beginning to
The multiplier effect was also noted at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
Thursday, 5 June 2007, only a single firm of the 71 listed
to trade its shares. Reports from across the country
states that shelves are
already empty since the imposed prices are far below
the costs of production
for the producers.
These churlish manouvres
by the ruling ZANU PF party are an indication that
the Mugabe regime has
failed to run the country through conventional
monetary and fiscal
methodologies as a way of salvaging the comatose
economy. Pundits will also
posit that the country has passed that stage
which the economic tool box can
be applied to clean up the mess.
Which ever model it is taken from, only
palookas will swallow Zanu PF's
hook, sinker and rod. Even crows will sense
Zanu PF's malignant motives
without it officially making a declaration of
intent. The ruling party is in
the process of crafting statements for its
election manifesto for 2008
elections. History is repeating itself, after
the plunder of farms in 2000;
the kleptocracy has hatched another trump card
for the presidential and
parliamentary elections in March next
The first attempt towards the implementation of the firm invasions
the year 2003, when the campaign was spearheaded by bogus war
by Joseph Chinotimba who is alleged to have siphoned the
capital to start
his businesses from the companies who bribed him to avoid
was accompanied by Phillip Chiyangwa and the Deputy
Minister of Youth
Saviour Kasukuwere. The process frustrated the then
Minister of Economic
Development Dr. Nkosana Moyo into resignation as the
process was against his
efforts of restoring investor confidence in the
country. Currently the price
war has concocted divisions between the Reserve
Bank Governor Dr. Gideon
Gono and cabinet ministers, with Gono raising the
same concerns raised by
the former Minister of Economic
The ultimate agenda is to implement the rogue Indigenization
Empowerment Bill as an election gimmick that the incumbent
party has the
interests of empowering the people of Zimbabwe who have been
privileged due to the social and economic imbalances perpetrated and
perpetuated by the Ian Smith regime. Such a ruse won't work.
commodities being sold at the moment are those which had long been
as firms keep a minimum stock level. When they run out of such
country would have reached an economic stalemate. This will
likely lead to
food riots as people will resort to looting the few goods
which would have
The only option which will be left is for the government to
remove the price
shield. This again will prove to be a quagmire as the
prices will not remain
where they were before the price controls accompanied
with threats of
imprisonment and confiscation of businesses who fail to
imposed. The prices will multiply five fold since the producers
in the chain of distribution will need to cater for costs such as
interest rates on their overdrafts. The market will be determining
again the pace at which prices will increase again which will prove to
torrid moment for the beleaguered party as elections are drawing
The government is putting blame on the opposition arguing that
increases are due to the activities of economic saboteurs. The blame
that ZANU PF has thoroughly mastered does not take the country out of
current economic mess but simply exacerbates the situation. The masses
increase pressure on the octogenarian leader for plunging the economy
the intensive care unit.
On a regional scale, SADC and the AU
have to deal with yet another daunting
task. The action of President Mugabe
violates the principles of dialogue
towards settling Zimbabwe's
socio-economic and crisis. The continued
incarceration of opposition and
reprisals against civil society leaders
especially Save Zimbabwe Campaign
smacks of government's hypocrisy on its
commitment to deal with the
deteriorating situation in the country.
Mugabe and his government has
become a regional problem child, Mugabe have
proven beyond doubt that he is
an oasis of defiance with impunity. The
regional bodies such as SADC are
starting to realise as noted by their
acknowledgement of the depth of the
crisis through appointing a mediator in
Thabo Mbeki, the South African
president. It seems as if the child is very
stubborn, just as the talks are
kicking off, he has again brewed another
problem which I will hold, if the
African leaders do not find a clear and
drastic measure to such behaviour by
the Mugabe, the problem will start
replicating itself in the region like a
deadly virus. It is therefore wise
for the African leaders to prevent such a
spill over when they still hold
It is therefore sad to
note that the country is in the hands of people who
have become an acute
danger to national development. The cacophony of those
selfish chefs within
the belief or culture known as Zanu PF - a culture of
jingoism and pillage have become a threat to state
stability and development. They have failed. They must
relinquish power and
give way to a handsome crop of people with capacity to
run the country
through democratic procedures.
Tabani Moyo is a human rights
activist. He can be contacted on
Rise in border jumpers
From ZWNEWS, 12 July
business owners and residents along the South African border with
report an increase in the number of people crossing the Limpopo
find sanctuary in South Africa. According to a local farmers'
crossings now take place the length of the river boundary and not
the immigration gate at Beit Bridge and some estimates now put the
above 2000 per day, though official statements from the South
government deny that the influx has reached this level. Incidents of
have also increased, but police say that local criminals may be using
Zimbabweans to carry out acts of robbery in exchange for the cash they
to continue their journey to Johannesburg. One farmer claimed to have
excess of 80 people crossing his lands every night.
Zimbabweans cross the border to shop in Musina
July 12, 2007,
Musina businesspeople in South Africa are benefiting as more and
Zimbabweans are doing there shopping there. The influx is as a result
shortages following orders by the Zimbabwean government for all shops to
prices by half.
This led to panic buying, leaving shelves empty.
The southern African
country is experiencing its worst economic crisis with
at 5 000%.
Musina is the last town before the
Zimbabwean border with South Africa and
every time hardships hit Zimbabwe,
Musina benefits. At this stage it is
mainly basic foods and petrol that are
running out in Zimbabwe and it is a
common sight to see Zimbabwean residents
taking a taxi to come and shop in
motorists reach the last fuel point on the South African side, it is
standard practice to fill up as many containers as possible. Besides
Zimbabweans also buy loads of foodstuffs.
In the meantime, the number of
Zimbabweans trying to cross into South Africa
illegally has picked up
sharply. Last week, defence force border patrols
arrested 5 000. Normally
the figure is about 700 per week.
Mugabe must follow
THE announcement of the closure of private abattoirs in
is the latest step in the rapid economic shutdown of
South Africa's northern
Private butcheries have shut their
doors and many abattoirs stopped
operating after police ordered beef to be
sold at about a quarter of the
The move follows hot on
the heels of the announcement last week of a 50
percent price slash on
goods, which saw shops being flooded by eager buyers
and more than 1500
shopowners arrested for not complying fast enough to
police and price
With inflation at 4500 percent, many analysts now
agree that the country has
gone beyond the point of no return.
Harare, the once prosperous capital, residents are eking out an existence
a place where many pay their entire salary in travel costs just to get to
work and back.
Zimbabwe, which once had one of the most diversified
economies in southern
Africa and recorded a record growth of 12 percent in
1980, has fallen into
ruin as a result of the policies of its president,
But far deeper lay the scars of this country's recent
history, once hailed
as a model liberation state after casting off the
shackles of the Smith
regime in 1980.
The ghosts of the wholesale
slaughter in southern Matabeleland in the
mid-80s, called the Gukurahundi,
which in Mugabe's Shona language means "the
early rain which washes away the
chaff before the spring rains", resulted in
As had been
its intention, it quelled possible future dissent by Zimbabwe's
According to Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the
Institute of Security Studies, one of the major driving
Mugabe's cling to power is a fear that he may be tried for
humanity once ousted from power.
On a rainy and humid
August day in 2003, in another African state far to the
northwest, the world
watched as another dictator said farewell to his reign
of terror over his
Now, Charles Taylor of Liberia is being tried for war crimes at a
tribunal in The Hague.
This newspaper suggests that Mugabe
follow the same route and that the
excesses of his regime be fully
But first he needs to be ousted from power - and observers
Mugabe's eventual overthrow will indeed come from within his
The thinking seems to be that there will be changes in
the country before
the end of this year.
To many outside - but
especially to the citizens of his own country - his
departure will come as a
Mugabe has become a liability to us all.
MDC vs Free-Zim UK on apathy in the diaspora
12 July 2007.
were definitely off in this debate as Free Zim Youth UK member
Chibhanguza debates MDC official Matthew Nyashanu. Why are
in the United Kingdom failing to work together? Is it
differences, petty squabbles, personality clashes or just plain
Lance Guma provokes the debate on Behind the Headlines.
are available for two weeks on our archives even after broadcast.
SW Radio Africa
Africa - the independent voice of Zimbabwe - is back on multiple
Between 7pm - 9pm (Zim time) on shortwave every day and
online 24 hours a
day at www.swradioafrica.com , In the 25m band
, 11775 kHz , 11810 kHz ,
12035 kHz , In the 60m band , 4880 kHz
Chief Justice libido
Moses Moyo in
Adultery is illegal in Zimbabwe, but one amorous judge has
friends in high
We may be a Third World country. We
may be ruinously poor, hopelessly
governed and riddled with corruption. But
there's one aspect of life in
which we can go head-to-head with you Western
nations any time you like. And
that's sexual misbehaviour in high
Take the case of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku of the Zimbabwe
Court. Judge Godfrey clearly suffers from a chronic case of being
keep his trousers on. He is currently the subject of 10 - count
them, 10 -
lawsuits for adultery.
This has been too much even for our
broad-minded and forgiving President
Mugabe, and he has told Judge Godfrey
he must resign. Chidyausiku will
give ill health as his reason for going.
Rude good health would perhaps be a
more accurate description.
past, Judge Godfrey has wisely tended to restrict his romantic
junior court staff and others. His latest inamorata was a
high-profile - none other than Monica Chinamasa, loving wife of
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa.
Godfrey were old friends. Not any more. Patrick is taking
Godfrey to court
(adultery with a married person is an offence here), and
disgrace has been enough. The judge has been pronounced
guilty, and must
His paramour, Monica, is an interesting figure too. In 2003 she took over
gun-point a previously white-owned tobacco farm, moved in, and
invited her new white neighbours round to tea, much to their
year later she was declared Zimbabwe's Tobacco Grower of the
Meanwhile Judge Godfrey, Zimbabwe's Adulterer of the Year, is fighting
adultery suits on all sides.
One is said to concern a senior female
legislator, and three others are his
subordinates at court. Although I have
access to court files, the papers on
these cases have mysteriously
disappeared, and as a result actual names are
hard to find.
None of this
will surprise Judge Godfrey's friends, or indeed his
low-profile wife. In 2000, when he was part of a
he made some unauthorised payments to fellow
Mukombachoto, later describing the incident as a "moment
More moments of weakness were to follow, including one on an
overseas trip, with another fellow commissioner, Lupi
On top of all this, Judge Godfrey is a familiar figure to the
operate in Harare's red-light districts. No doubt he is a handy
With all this going for him, you may ask how he's
lasted so long at the top
of the judicial ladder. The answer is two-fold.
First, he is a
not-too-distant cousin of Mugabe. And second, he's always
been happy to
legally back up other ministers when they seized white
Now he faces retirement. How he'll fill his time in future is not a
anyone seriously asks. A more relevant question is perhaps how, at
of 60, does he maintain his libidinous momentum and serial success
Well, he remains a highly presentable man, well-dressed and charming.
also looks remarkably fit.
It must be all the exercise.
POSTED JULY 2, 2007