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

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Zim Independent

Mugabe to beg China for rescue

EMBATTLED President Robert Mugabe, currently presiding over the world's
fastest shrinking economy, is due to visit its fastest growing - China - in
search of a rescue package.

Official sources said yesterday Mugabe will lead a high-powered delegation
to China on July 29 in a desperate hunt for a "comprehensive economic rescue
package" to save the country from collapse.

"The plan is that the president will lead a strong delegation of ministers,
senior government officials and bureaucrats to Beijing in two weeks' time,"
a well-placed official source said.

"The trip was planned last year but was postponed to later this year.
However, due to the current economic problems, it was brought forward.
Zimbabwe has an emergency and wants help from China."

After its recent visit, the International Monetary Fund said the economic
situation in Zimbabwe would deteriorate. The IMF said Zimbabwe needs a
package of fundamental structural and policy reforms instead of donations.

Sources said Mugabe would meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime
Minister Wen Jiabao for talks that would cover a "wide range of issues".

But Mugabe's main aim would be to secure an economic rescue package to deal
with the current litany of problems.

The critical issues that Mugabe wants the Chinese to help him tackle include
the shortages of foreign currency and fuel whose contagion has accentuated
the broad economic crisis.

Zimbabwe has no meaningful foreign exchange reserves due to poor export
performance, lack of international balance-of-payments support and drying up
of aid.

The lack of foreign currency is at the heart of the shortages of fuel,
drugs, electricity, spares and raw materials. The current fuel crisis is the
worst ever.

However, China, whose economy has been growing at an average of 9% for 27
years, has the world's second largest foreign currency reserves, US$600
billion, after Japan.

China - which has a trade surplus with the United States of over US$100
billion a year - has billions of dollars in hot-money inflows each month.

Sources said Mugabe wants to take advantage of his close ties with the
Chinese, which date back to the liberation struggle during the 1970s when
Beijing trained and armed Zanu PF's military wing, Zanla, to secure a
financial package that would allow him to buy fuel and other critical

The sources said Mugabe would want new lines of credit after traditional
facilities were either closed or dried up as the country plunged into

International financial institutions cut Zimbabwe's lines of credit because
of the country's falling credit rating and growing political risk.

Chinese companies, assisted by the government, have launched a wave of
proposed mergers and takeovers of United States conglomerates. - Staff
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Zim Independent

      EC head leaves with a heavy heart
      Godfrey Marawanyika

      ALTHOUGH the European Commission has continuously assisted Zimbabwe
with humanitarian and financial aid, its major concern has been government's
haphazard policy implementation, head of delegation Francesca Mosca said on

      Mosca told the Zimbabwe Independent at the end of her four-year tour
of duty: "All the time I have been here, I have tried to dialogue with the
Zimbabwean government. Government has had some good intentions which were
not properly implemented, such as the land reform and the current clean-up
campaign," she said.

      The European Union was also concerned about freedom of the media,
independence of the judiciary, land reform, election results, and political
violence. "We don't want a regime change as suggested by some quarters but
we want a policy change."

      The European Union slapped Harare with targeted sanctions after the
disputed presidential election results in 2002. Mosca said it was important
for Harare to mend its relations with the EU as quickly as possible.

      During her tenure Zimbabwe has benefited from more than 108 million
euro, which has been availed to health, education and rural development
programmes at a time when the country has been starved of international
loans and investment.

      The government received 57 million euro under the Health Sector
Support Programme, 11,4 million euro for Education Transition and Reform
Programme, and 19 million euro for micro-project.

      The Zimbabwe Decentralised Programme benefited from Euro 15,2 million
while 26 million euro went towards food relief.

      Despite the availability of the funds, the EC like other aid agencies
has faced problems of an overvalued exchange rate.

      "There have been problems for our money to get real value mostly
because of the overvalued exchange rate, which results in our projects being
very expensive," she said. "We have found support though from the Ministry
of Finance in some of these problems (but) the exchange rate has remained
one of our major concerns."

      She said because of the high inflation rate, currently at 144,4%, they
had over the years voiced their concerns to both the Ministry of Finance and
Foreign Affairs over the loss of value of their projects.

      Government is this year expected to get 18 million euro for health
service support, a similar amount for "frame of mutual obligations" and a
further 8 million euro under the 13th Micro Project programme.

      Owing to lack of resources in the clean-up campaign, Mosca said the
United Nations had appealed for 2 million euro to buy food to assist
families displaced by Operation Murambatsvina. An additional 20 million euro
will also be availed for drought assistance.

      Mosca, who has in the past been attacked for her passive role in
Zimbabwe's crisis defended her stance saying; "I have always been a firm
believer in dialogue, but I hope the political impasse between Zimbabwe and
the EU could be resolved yesterday. But I believe both sides would like to
resolve the impasse soon."

      Mosca said she had a lot of regrets about leaving Zimbabwe. "It has
been a challenge. I hoped during my time we would have improved our

      Mosca is going to South America where she will head the EC and manage
the organisation's projects.

      While based in Panama, she will be responsible for operations in
Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

      Speaking at a farewell function for Mosca, Finance minister Herbert
Murerwa pleaded with Mosca for the EU to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and
a return to normal relations.

      "I strongly urge you to influence the EC to lift the suspension of the
signature to the ninth European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative
Programme and make available the resources under the ninth EDF," Murerwa

      The minister thanked the EC for its generosity in development
endeavours and social challenges.

      Mosca, who took over from the late Asger Pilegaard, is today leaving

      country with a heavy heart having arrived in the country in 2001.
Relations between Harare and Brussels have failed to improve during her

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Zim Independent

Tibaijuka barred ministers from council meeting
Susan Mateko/Adrian Nel
UNITED Nations special envoy to Zimbabwe, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, last week
barred three ministers from attending her meeting with the Bulawayo
executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, contrary to government claims that the
mayor blocked the politicians from attending the meeting.

Ncube now faces disciplinary action from government which has openly voiced
displeasure at the ministers' failure to attend the meeting in Bulawayo.

The exclusion of Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, SMEs minister
Sithembiso Nyoni and Bulawayo Metropolitan governor Cain Mathema, has
stirred a hornet's nest with government calling for disciplinary action
against Ncube.

However Ncube scoffed at the allegations against him and the intended
disciplinary measures.

He said he had been ready to receive the ministers and all present as they
were part of the envoy's convoy. He said it was Tibaijuka who indicated that
the presence of the ministers was inappropriate as the meeting was a council

"The envoy told me that she was with ministers but did not think it was
appropriate for them to come into the meeting," said Ncube. "She then sent
her assistant to tell them that they were excused because it was a closed
council meeting," Ncube said.

The mayor, who has in the past clashed with government officials over
malnutrition death figures in the city, said he was not fazed by the threats
to discipline him since he was simply doing his job.

"It would be very strange for me to be disciplined for doing my work

according to council procedures."

When asked why Tibaijuka would have asked the ministers out of the meeting,
Ncube said he was not aware of the reasons but suggested the UN envoy wanted
to get an unbiased opinion from the local authority since she had already
seen the ministers.

"I am not sure why she did not want them in, maybe she wanted an unbiased
opinion from local government," Ncube said.

The threats against Ncube have angered the opposition MDC and in a statement
this week the party said it was not the mayor who decided whether the
ministers should be in the meeting or not.

"The MDC is not surprised that the regime is angry and nervous about the
meeting," the party said. "The guilty are afraid, goes the saying. One might
ask the question - what is it that the ministers feel the Bulawayo council
said to the envoy that they did not want revealed?

"What is it that they had not covered during their own meeting with the
special envoy which they wanted to say at the mayor's meeting?" the MDC

Mathema last week alleged that it was Ncube who ordered them out of the
meeting and said the mayor's behaviour was shameful, unacceptable and
undemocratic. Mathema said government would take disciplinary action against
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Zim Independent

Landlord sues TeleAccess for $1b
Shakeman Mugari
TELECOMS firm TeleAccess' financial problems have deepened amid revelations
that it cannot even pay its rentals.

The Daniel Shumba-owned company is being sued for failing to pay rentals for
its offices at BB House where its switching equipment and staff are housed.

The owners of the building, Croco Properties, are suing TeleAccess for $457
million after the troubled company defaulted on its rentals for nine months.

In papers filed at the High Court in March, Croco Properties are demanding
that TeleAccess be evicted from the building immediately.

The total claim by Croco Properties could run into billions of dollars as
owners are demanding that TeleAccess pays $2,1 million every day for
unlawful occupation of the building since last November when its lease
agreement was allegedly cancelled. This comes to $580 million and inflates
the total claim to over $1 billion.

"In breach of the agreement defendant has failed, neglected or refused to
pay the sum of $457 699 238 in respect of rentals and other sums due to
plaintiff," says Croco Properties through their lawyers.

"Defendants' (TeleAccess) right to occupy the premises terminated on
November 2 2004 but despite demand defendant has failed to vacate the

In its opposing papers TeleAccess has through its lawyers denied that it
"refused or neglected to pay" the rentals. It argued that Croco Properties
had "wrongfully" hiked rentals by 590,73% a month.

"Defendant avers that its payments of rentals and other sums due to
plaintiff are up to date and further that the only reason there appears to
be arrears is plaintiff's erroneous interpretation of the . lease
agreement," TeleAccess says.

The lawsuit comes as the company continues to experience financial problems
and risks losing its fixed network licence.

Since being granted a licence in 2003 TeleAccess has failed to launch its
operations due to lack of funding. It has also failed to lure foreign
investors to provide the much needed foreign currency.

According to telecommunications regulations, TeleAccess was supposed to roll
out its network in June 2003 after it was granted an operating licence.

The company recently had a private placement to raise funds to import
essential equipment. Sources say the private placement failed to attract
sufficient numbers of institutional investors.

TeleAccess however says the placement raised the initially targeted $150
billion but that the offer had to be extended for another two weeks when the
required amount rose to $210 billion due to exchange rate movements.

However, at the current exchange rate $210 billion can only raise US$21
million, which experts say is not enough to roll out a network to rival
Tel*One. The experts say the private placement lacks the foreign currency
component that is required to buy essential equipment.

Shumba has in the past claimed that his network was stuck in the mud because
he does not want to raise forex on the parallel market. But last week he was
dragged to court on charges of sourcing foreign currency on the black
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Zim Independent

Senate Bill set to be gazetted today

SOUTH African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was in Harare on
Tuesday to advance President Thabo Mbeki's bid to revive talks between the
ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Sources said yesterday that Mlambo-Ngcuka had a mandate from Mbeki to nudge
President Robert Mugabe to the negotiating table with MDC leader Morgan

"Her mission was a follow-up on the talks between Mbeki and Mugabe last week
in Libya over the issue of talks between Zanu PF and the MDC," a senior
government official said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka met Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru for several hours.

"There is always a co-ordinated approach to assist Zimbabwe," Mlambo-Ngcuka
said afterwards.

"We need to understand as well the extent of the challenges and the impact
on the people. I was getting a global understanding of the challenge."

Mbeki's spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, would not comment on the issue, referring
questions to Mlambo-Ngcuka's press officers. Kanyo Gqulu, Mlambo-Ngcuka's
spokesman, said he could neither confirm nor deny that the issue of Zanu
PF/MDC talks was on his boss's agenda.

Mbeki met Mugabe on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Sirte,
Libya, to discuss the revival of talks to resolve Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis. Mugabe also met Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in
Libya, who later revealed that Mugabe had agreed to talk to Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader met Mbeki and Obasanjo prior to that.

Sources said former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano would facilitate
the talks.

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said although Mugabe had met Mbeki and
Obasanjo, there would be no talks with the opposition.

Information minister Tichaona Jokonya said the same on Wednesday.

But Obasanjo's spokesman Remi Oyo told VoA in an interview on Monday that
Mugabe had agreed to hold discussions with Tsvangirai under the auspices of
the African Union which Obasanjo currently chairs. He said no time frame had
yet been set for the discussions.

Zanu PF and the MDC started talks after the disputed presidential election
result in 2002, but the dialogue soon collapsed. Mbeki and Obasanjo have
been trying to restart the stalled talks.

Tsvangirai said Mlambo-Ngcuka's visit could be part of "exploratory
initiatives" to reconvene inter-party dialogue.

Tsvangirai said on Wednesday although he was not privy to the reason for
Mlambo-Ngcuka's visit, he believed Mbeki had a role to play in resolving the
current crisis.
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Zim Independent

Budget top-up to gobble $12 trillion
Shakeman Mugari/Eric Chiriga
FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa is next month expected to present a $12
trillion supplementary budget to fund food imports and Operation Garikai.

This comes as government's domestic debt last week ballooned to $12 trillion
from $10 trillion last month due to government's appetite for funds.

The budget is meant to finance massive food imports to see the country
through to the next harvest and operations Murambatsvina and Garikai.

The supplementary budget is also meant to sustain nine ministries that

President Robert Mugabe created after the general election. The new
portfolios were not catered for in the initial $28 trillion budget announced
at the end of last year.

Sources say government plans to play up the food imports to justify the
budget. Experts say the supplementary budget is an indication of
government's failure to live within its means.

Zimbabwe needs about $2 trillion to import food to see it through to the
next harvest.

The $3 trillion recently allocated for reconstruction of homes under
Operation Garikai will also be factored into the supplementary budget,
expected to be presented early next month.

The nine ministries created by Mugabe will gobble up a significant chunk of
the auxiliary budget through salaries, vehicles and operations. Sources say
the government also plans to use the money to finance the cost of
living/salary adjustments of civil servants.

Although Finance minister Herbert Murerwa could not be reached for comment,
he told parliament last week that government would come up with a
supplementary budget to cover the cost of the clean-up operation and food

"We are going to have a drought this year and we had not anticipated it. So
we are going to have a supplementary budget this year," said Murerwa. He
however said the other extra expenses would be financed through last year's
budget by reprioritising.

Analysts said the supplementary budget could stoke inflation as government
prints more money to finance its largesse. They say it would also worsen the
budget deficit which government had initially estimated at 5% of gross
domestic product (GDP). They say it would throw into disarray Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono's inflation targets of between 50-80% by year-end.
Economist Daniel Ndlela said the move would worsen the budget deficit, push
up inflation and increase state debt.

"It's a budget explosion. They will have to print money to finance that
budget," Ndlela said.

"Whether they finance it through printing money or borrowing, the results
will be disastrous. It shows government's failure to plan its expenditure
and to stick to it," he said.
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Zim Independent

MIC fails - media workers
Ashleigh Swaile
MEDIA practitioners this week told the government that the Media and
Information Commission (MIC) has failed to fairly regulate the media as it
targets only private media houses and journalists.

In order to address this anomaly, the media fraternity under the auspices of
the Media Institute of Southern Africa has drafted a code of conduct which
was handed to Information minister Tichaona Jokonya on Wednesday. This is
seen as the first step in setting up a voluntary media council.

The MIC chaired by Tafataona Mahoso has been blamed for closing four
newspapers, rendering dozens of journalists jobless and reducing public

Other media groups involved in the promotion of the code of conduct include
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe,
the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef), the Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz), the Federation of African Media Women
Zimbabwe (Famwz), and the Freelance Writers Association of Zimbabwe.

The alliance told the minister of the need for self-regulation as opposed to
statutory control of the media through the MIC.

In a statement yesterday Misa said a mutually agreed code of conduct acts as
the "first step in setting up a self-regulatory media council".

"The voluntary media council is not meant to accredit journalists or
register media houses but mediate in disputes between journalists and the
general public," Misa said.

Jokonya was informed that the code addresses concerns of private media
houses which, to date, have suffered from the Media and Information
Commission's failure to regulate national media fairly or professionally.

The minister was informed of such concerns, including the fact that the
government has a responsibility to come up with policies that promote media
in Zimbabwe, "even if that media is critical of the government".

It is also realised that complaints against the media must be resolved
amicably without costly litigation.

Although the Information ministry has agreed that the government would not
stand in the way of these efforts, Jokonya's allegations at the meeting
regarding "unpatriotic journalism" have already sparked reaction from Zinef.

In response to the minister's claim that some sectors of the media
fraternity hurt Zimbabwe's national interests, Zinef said: "It's a pity that
when the independent press responds to the minister's invitation to engage
in dialogue, it is subject to abuse.

"Patriotism is not about concealing the state's record of misrule nor its
persistent abuse of power including assaults on press freedom and complete
lack of public accountability," the editors' forum said.

"Our code of conduct demonstrates our sincerity and seriousness in
fashioning a professional press. The government now needs to do the same."

Misa said the proposal for a voluntary media council is set on the
understanding that complaints against the media "must not result in the
arrests of journalists or closures of media houses but a fair hearing in
which the media, if it errs, is asked to apologise and retract such

Members of the public may still choose to pursue civil suits against the
media in courts of law, but they are encouraged to use the voluntary media
council in the first instance.
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Zim Independent

Price controls commission on cards
Shakeman Mugari
THE government will this month establish a special commission to impose
price controls as shortages of basic commodities worsen and prices rocket.

The National Incomes and Pricing Commission to be led by Economic
Development minister Rugare Gumbo will be responsible for fixing prices of
basic commodities and agricultural inputs. It will also set stringent
controls on other services.

But economic analysts warn that controlling prices of goods that are barely
available will only worsen shortages.

Government claims the commission will contain galloping prices to stop
businesses from profiteering. The analysts say a price freeze will
exacerbate the economic meltdown through company closures.

Controls failed to achieve the desired results in 2003 and there are no
prospects of them working now, they say.

President Robert Mugabe is expected to appoint members of the commission in
two weeks' time and government reportedly already has a list of commodities
to be controlled.

According to the plan, controls will cover cooking oil, soap, flour and
sugar, all of which are scarce. The list will also include agricultural
inputs such as fertiliser, seeds and chemicals.

A source said the controls were likely to broaden to include ploughs and
spare parts for tractors and combine-harvesters.

Prices of controlled commodities will be fixed for a period of six months.
Government has already established the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory
Commission (Zerc) to control power tariffs, which Zesa Holdings had planned
to increase by an average 300% this month.

Local authorities are also not allowed to review their rates without the
approval of Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo.

Gumbo confirmed that the commission would be formed in the next two weeks
and that he would chair it. "We are working towards a price stabilisation
mechanism. I will be leading that commission," Gumbo said. "We have been
contemplating this plan for the past few weeks to stop the price increases."

He however referred specific questions on price controls to the Minister of
Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu.

Mpofu could not be reached for comment but he told a business meeting in
Kariba two weeks ago that prices controls were looming. Mpofu told a
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce congress that government was going to
restore price controls because industry had failed to "control itself".

"We are determined to control the pricing process of goods and services. You
cannot blame us as we have called industry to control its pricing system,"
he said.
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Zim Independent

Moyo plans to spill beans
Loughty Dube
FORMER Information minister and government spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo will
this year publish his memoirs on his term as a minister. He is due to
provide the reasons he joined Zanu PF and why he was dismissed from
government, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

The book is set to be an important political record of the internal politics
in Zanu PF and should offer an insight into the flip-flop career of Moyo who
was loathed for his assault on civil liberties when he was in government.

He has now reinvented himself as an exponent of human rights and arch-critic
of President Mugabe's policies.

"It would be a betrayal of my profession as a trained academic not to write
a book of my memoirs and experiences while in government and of state
policies and their implications for the country and for Africa as a whole,"
Moyo said in an interview this week.

"It is difficult to write a book until the environment is conducive but the
sooner I get the book out of my way the better because I would not want the
passage of time to make the book irrelevant. It should not be polluted by

Moyo, a schooled propagandist and accomplished academic, shocked many when
he abandoned his criticism of President Mugabe and joined his government in
2000 before his flirtation with Zanu PF ended in recrimination after five
years as Mugabe's image maker.

The Tsholotsho MP said he was still working on engaging a reputable
international publisher to publish the book that he said should be out
before the end of the year.

"If my memoirs do not come out by next year I would have wasted my time
writing them," Moyo said. "The book will be about everything I did before
joining government, the reasons that led me to join government and Zanu PF,
the actual dynamics in government and in Zanu PF and the book will also
dwell on the pursuit of other big issues," he said without elaborating on
the "big issues".

Moyo however said the other reason for him writing the book was to correct
falsehoods that have been made about him.

"There are a lot of falsehoods that have been said and continue to be said
about me by some people and there are things that have been done and
continue to be done against me. With all that, it's necessary for me to
write," Moyo said.

"There are so many questions, so many things that people want answers to and
to just sit and do nothing would be unfair."

Moyo was at the helm of the government propaganda machinery until he fell
out of favour with Mugabe for allegedly masterminding the ill-fated
Tsholotsho meeting that Zanu PF says was called to plot a coup.
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Zim Independent

'Govt rigged elections and has much to hide'
Ray Matikinye
GOVERNMENT is erecting as many obstacles as possible in the path of court
challenges by the Movement for Democratic Change to the 2002 presidential
poll outcome, raising suspicions that the vote was rigged, MDC secretary for
legal affairs David Coltart says.

The MDC in 2000 challenged the poll in 39 constituencies and the
presidential election results two years later but the majority of the cases
have not been heard up to now.

Coltart told a press briefing on Tuesday that government was delaying the
course of justice to gain advantage over clear constitutional provisions,
lending credence to assertions that the judiciary has been compromised.

"The government of Zimbabwe has persistently said (President Robert) Mugabe
is the legitimate leader and we wonder why so many obstacles are being
placed in our way," Coltart said.

"It is clear they have much to hide."

He cited Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede's failure to comply with his
statutory duty to furnish ballot boxes used in the presidential poll for
inspection despite a series of court orders for him to do so.

Mudede only complied after the High Court convicted him of contempt of

court and fined him $5 million. But when the ballot boxes for Rushinga were
made available as agreed, seven of them had their seals broken, making it
impossible to verify the ballot papers. Initially, Mudede had made available
only five boxes.

Ballot boxes from other constituencies were stacked in small rooms in the
High Court Buildings in a manner that made it almost impossible to gain
access to them, Coltart said.

"They know that they rigged the elections and they cannot escape the fact
that their time is up. The whole thing is highly suspicious," Coltart said.
"It has been over three years now but we still don't have access to the
ballot boxes as required by law."

Coltart said failure by the RG to furnish the boxes within the 10 days
stipulated by the High Court meant Mudede's suspended three-month sentence
should automatically come into effect.
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Zim Independent

      RBZ firm faces collapse
      Roadwin Chirara

      A COMPANY jointly owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the
Ministry of Finance, Climax Investments, could fold because of serious
financial problems.

      The company plunged into problems after it lost its clients last year.
Before the crisis, the company specialised in debt management but lost
clients after the RBZ launched its Productive Sector Facility last year.

      The company is said to be failing to generate enough revenue to
sustain its operations. Climax was also a victim of last year's financial
crisis, which saw many asset management firms and banks closing down.

      Problems worsened after its $1,7 billion investment was locked up in
troubled National Discount House (NDH).

      The board, chaired by former Finance minister Tichaendepi Masaya, is
understood to be making frantic efforts to save the company which sources
say could sink soon.

      The directors recently met and decided to diversify their business
into asset and fund management.

      It is diversifying from solely debt management to broaden its revenue

      The board is also said to be at loggerheads with staff members over
the appointment of Victor Mkotsanjera as an executive director of the

      Staff members are said to have questioned his qualification and
ability to turn around the fortunes of the company, especially during the
current difficulties.

      Masaya denied that the company was in trouble but confirmed that it
has now shifted from debt management to asset management and equity

      "There is nothing wrong with the company moving from debt management
to investments considering there is now low business in that area," Masaya

      "Everyone has a right to exercise his or her options with regards to
their investments and we have exercised that right," he said.

      With regards to the appointment of Mkotsanjera as executive director,
Masaya said there was "nothing wrong with the appointment".

      "Anyone, even your uncle, can come and be appointed to the board,
there is nothing wrong with that. Why do people just look for something to
talk about?" he said.

      Masaya denied allegations that Climax was selectively investing in
businesses closely linked to some member on the board.

      He confirmed that the company had lost $1,7 billion in NDH.

      "Yes, we have funds tied up in NDH and we exercised an option of
turning the debt into equity."

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Zim Independent

New power body scuttles Zesa tariff hike
Godfrey Marawanyika
A NEW power-pricing proposal to be introduced by the new Zimbabwe
Electricity Regulatory Commission (Zerc) could scuttle Zesa Holdings' plans
to hike tariffs by 600% starting this month.

Zerc has recommended that electricity tariffs be done once a year with
approval from the commission.

This should mean that Zesa Holdings cannot make ad hoc tariff hikes. In a
policy document released this week, the commission said power distribution
firms should only effect a 12-month tariff increment instead of periodic

The commission is mandated in terms of the Electricity Act to govern and
control the electricity supply industry (ESI). The document, titled
"Electricity Pricing Methodology", said tariff hikes would now be approved
once a year.

"This means that tariff application will have to be done annually by all
licensees," Zerc said in the document.

"Tariff adjustments to cater for the current high inflationary environment
will be accommodated using an indexation formula to be invoked when
necessary but no less than three months after previous tariff adjustments.

The regulator may at a later stage, basing on economic stability, reduce
assessment and review periods to reduce costs and increase stability."

The new pricing policy came as Zesa was planning to increase power charges
by an average 300%.

Sources last month said Zesa was planning a massive tariff hike of 230% for
domestic consumers. The commercial sector, which includes manufacturers,
would pay up to 600%.

Before Zerc, power utilities needed cabinet endorsement before they could
adjust prices.

Last year, Zesa hired a South African-based energy consulting and advisory
group, Sad-elec, which recommended the setting up of an independent
regulatory authority in the sector.

The commission, appointed last month, is expected to promote competition
through the licencing of more players in the energy sector. It will be
responsible for licensing and approving price adjustments.

Zesa requires at least US$13 million a month to meet electricity imports,
service debts and buy spares for refurbishments. It generates 1 440
megawatts of power from Kariba South power station (750 MW), Hwange power
station (590 MW) and a small thermal power (100 MW). This constitutes 68% of
national requirements.

Imports account for 650 MW, representing 32% of national requirements from
Eskom (300 MW), Hydro Cahora Bassa (250MW) and 100 MW from Snel of the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Zim Independent

Bad policies a setback for govt on forex
Eric Chiriga
GOVERNMENT'S insistence that exporters must add value to their commodities
to earn more foreign currency will not work because the country's primary
industry - agriculture - has been crippled by bad policies.

The government insists that the panacea to the foreign currency crisis is
value addition to the country's exports instead of exporting raw materials.

However, economic analysts argue that the supply side in the agricultural
sector has gone down drastically. They say there is a need to improve
primary production and address the structural rigidities within the economy.

They say there is little to add value to as production volumes are
continuously declining. The agriculture sector, which used to constitute
more than 50% of the country's exports before the chaotic land reform, has
declined sharply since 2000.

Horticulture, dairy and tobacco industries were severely affected by the
land invasions resulting in the country importing basic products like milk.

Economist John Robertson said there was need to create a conducive
investment environment in the sector. He said government was not willing to
put its money at risk.

"The value addition concept is a noble one for the enhancement of the
country's exports and foreign currency earnings but there are structural
rigidities that need to be addressed," he said.

"There are domestic structural rigidities. Our cost structure is skewed,"
the economist said. He said there was no foreign direct investment which
would bring processing plants for value additions.

Billions of foreign investment are required for plant and machinery for the
value addition process, while existing industries are closing down due to
viability problems.

The business sector has called on the government to improve its relations
with the international community to lure foreign investment and boost

At National Economic Consultative Forum and Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce meetings held recently, the government maintained that value
addition was the panacea to the country's foreign currency woes.

Exporters are operating at between 30-40% of capacity amid escalating
overheads. They are also failing to access foreign currency on the RBZ
auction system to import raw materials.

The country is reeling under serious foreign currency shortages and this has
been exacerbated by the recent increase in fuel prices.

The foreign currency auction can only supply about US$44 million per month,
which is then gobbled by fuel imports which require about US$60 million per
month. Business leaders have also blamed the government's inconsistent
policies as the causes of the economic downturn.

They say government policies are frequently changed and randomly

The leaders have also condemned the price controls that were introduced by
the government saying that they are causing serious viability problems.

Fertiliser manufacturer Sable Chemicals made a loss of $9 billion due to the
price controls.
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Zim Independent

AirZim to spend millions on Dubai route launch
Roadwin Chirara
AIR Zimbabwe is planning to splash millions of dollars on the official
launch of its controversial Dubai route, which has seen the national airline
suffer crippling losses.

Air Zimbabwe continues to make losses on the route that was imposed on the
airline by the government before carrying out feasibility studies.

The official launch set for month-end is likely to be a major drain on Air
Zimbabwe, which is currently in financial crisis. Plans for the launch are
said to have reached an advanced stage and AirZim officials have already
started talks with its partner, East African Airline, to help.

The airline is said to be making frantic efforts to enlist the support of
the tourism sector to help finance the bash.

Players in the tourism and travel sector are however said to be sceptical of
the plan saying the government initially sidelined them when the route was
opened in May.

According to a tentative plan, Air Zimbabwe officials will hold a mini
function in Entebbe, Uganda, and another in Dubai, both requiring scarce
foreign currency. There will also be a big bash in Harare.

Air Zimbabwe is also likely to fly passengers to Dubai for free as part of
the launch.

Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga confirmed the planned launch. He said
there were also plans to officially launch the Kariba route, which is also
reeling from the slowdown in the tourism industry.

"We are planning to officially launch the routes but this is subject to some
factors," Mwenga said. He said the carrier was trying to enlist the support
of the various stakeholders in the travel and tourism sectors.

"These projects involve a number of players and thus we have set aside
tentative dates, with the Kariba one set for this Saturday (tomorrow) and
the Dubai route set for sometime at the end of the month," he said.

The airline has shelved initial plans to fly to Bangkok, Thailand, after
management were alarmed by losses on current Asian routes to Dubai and

Experts say the Dubai route is likely to collapse because it was not
properly marketed. They say that Air Zimbabwe is surviving on leftovers from
established airlines plying the route like Kenya Airways and United Emirates

Kenya and United Emirates Airlines have better services and are more

Air Zimbabwe also faces stiff competition from Air Malawi which is new on
the route but is more organised. Air Malawi will soon introduce direct
flights to the United Arab Emirates.
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Zim Independent

ZCTU challenges govt on fuel
Tahna Fleishman/Ashleigh Swaile
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has attacked government for its
silence on the fuel crisis, challenging the authorities to explain the

This follows five weeks of a deepening fuel crisis which has gripped the
nation resulting in the loss of production and shortage of commuter

In a statement last week, ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe said
government should come out in the open and explain the problem.

"Government should come out in the open and tell the public about the fuel
situation and what it is doing about it," Chibebe said.

He said government's silence on the fuel situation was surprising.

"Long winding queues of cars are now a familiar sight at service stations
and motorists have resorted to sleeping in their cars while waiting for the
fuel they dream will come anytime soon. Workers have resorted to footing to
work because there is no public transport system to take workers to and from

Government has over the past three weeks failed to supply petrol and diesel
to service stations throughout the country, leaving many motorists and
thousands of workers stranded. The crisis has crippled the public and
private operations with most companies operating below capacity. The public
transport system has virtually ground to a halt with workers having to
resort to foot, directly impacting on production of basic commodities and
reducing working hours.

Chibebe said the slowdown in production and the rapidly escalating price of
fuel had caused a surge in prices of basic goods posing a threat to the
workers and the public. Last month government hiked the petrol price to $10
000 per litre from $3 600 but did not guarantee the commodity's

A Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) report for last month shows that an
average family of six now requires $4,2 million a month to survive. Chibebe
said his organisation was shocked that government looked unconcerned by the
impact of the crisis on the industry and public.

He urged government "to make a public announcement on the fuel situation and
what measures are being embarked on to bring the situation to normalcy".

Experts say the fuel shortages are likely to continue unless foreign
currency inflows improve. Currently international fuel suppliers are
demanding cash upfront from Zimbabwe because of its poor creditworthiness.
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Zim Independent

Basic goods vanish as crisis deepens
Ashleigh Swaile/Tahna Fleishman
THE shortage of basic commodities has widened to include soap and salt as
the economic crisis continues to deepen.

Shortages of basic commodities intensified this week with most retail shops
running out of essential goods such as salt and soap.

The recent shortages also add to the list of basics that have disappeared
from shelves as companies grapple with perennial foreign currency shortages
and increased overheads caused by skewed economic policies.

Currently the list of shortages includes milk, bread, flour, cooking oil and
toothpaste. Experts say the list is likely to widen as the economy continues
to crash and government intensifies its interference in the manufacturing
sector. The government is also likely to worsen the situation with its plans
to reintroduce price controls.

Although government blames companies of hoarding the basic commodities,
manufacturers say their operations have been affected by the foreign
currency shortages.

Human resources director of Unilever Noah Matibiri, in an interview this
week, attributed the shortages of locally-produced goods, particularly soaps
and washing powders, "to foreign currency concerns". Unilever produces more
than 50% of the basic commodities.

Matibiri said the company had not stopped production of the goods but
availability has been limited by foreign currency constraints.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) spokesperson, Tonderai
Mukeredzi, the shortages were a result of the foreign currency shortages or
some companies withholding their products in a demonstration of their
displeasure with government's price controls.

"From what we understand, many companies are experiencing problems due to
foreign currency (problems). They do not have the money to import essentials
and are therefore forced to scale down their operations, some companies by
at least 50%," Mukeredzi said.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that they may have the capacity to
produce but are not doing so, because they are not happy with government

He said although it was necessary for government to intervene it was not
proper to introduce outright controls.

"We believe sometimes it is necessary for government to intervene, but not
necessarily to control. At present we have only three controlled products -
bread, flour and roller meal. Everything else are monitored products," he

The CCZ recently held price surveys to assess the situation and advise
government on the way forward. "We are concerned that basic commodities
continue to be in short supply," said Mukeredzi.

As of June, basic commodity prices have soared. The CCZ report for this
month has placed the cost of living for a family of six at $4,2 million, up
from the $3,1 million in May.

"This has caused a 34,5% increase in the cost of living," Mukeredzi said. In
addition to these hikes, prices for consumer goods such as margarine have
risen by 82% and meat by approximately 26%. The CCZ also estimates that the
price of soap has increased by 57%.

The increase in prices of basics has seriously eroded the incomes of the
workers who are already affected by other hikes in transport and medical
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Zim Independent


Murambatsvina: who got the Hopley stands?

I PUT a question with notice to Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo
on Operation Murambatsvina as it has affected, among other areas, Hatcliffe
Extension,which he announced will not be used for housing, especially
low-cost housing, as it is "unsuitable"!

This is despite the fact that it is right next to Hatcliffe One, a
high-density area, and that the site-and-service scheme was laid out for
low-cost housing and the water and sewerage reticulation installed for that
layout, and funded by the World Bank.

His response was that it is not suitable to have a high-density area right
next to a university and that it is going to be re-designed so that there
are some houses for teachers at the adjacent police boarding school, but the
rest of it will be for the Zimbabwe Open University, which has 25 000
students enrolled and needs that space!

This is a lame excuse. They are just reducing the number of people living in
Harare North, in my view, so that we will be merged with another
constituency to reduce the number of Movement for Democratic Change

This issue is of serious concern to the residents of Hatcliffe Extension,
who still believe they have a right to their allocated stands, for which
they paid deposits and rent, and have lease agreements with the government.

This matter is before the Supreme Court, but we have no idea how long it
will take to hear the case or hand down judgement. Besides, we know that we
can no longer rely on impartiality from that bench.

Chombo stated that all the residents of Hatcliffe Extension who went to
Caledonia Farm were allocated stands at Hopley Farm as listed in the Herald
of July 2. We have done an analysis of that list to see how many of the
sample 329 families we managed to record before they were evicted have been
allocated stands at Hopley.

The number of stands allocated at Hopley, which were all for Hatcliffe
Extension residents, according to Chombo, is 1 272 stands. Only one stand
has been allocated to any of the people on our sample list - to Susan
Mapuranga who was on stand 3987 Hatcliffe Extension.

Who got the other stands? We know one person on the list who did - Robson
Mhandu, probably of the ZBC, unless there are two Robson Mhandus.

Trudy Stevenson,

MP - Harare North.
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Zim Independent


Wildlife body useless

RECENT reports of a massive haul of illicit ivory in Harare have exposed the
level to which the responsible wildlife management authority has sunk. The
authority no longer has any capacity within its ranks to effectively manage
our wildlife resources.

From the responses given by the authority's director-general, it appears
that they speculate that the ivory might have come from the Zambezi Valley;
they are not definite. If the authority cannot be precise of the source of
the ivory that has been discovered, then it can also not be sure of the
extent of poaching in the various wildlife areas.

While they say that Zimbabwe has an overpopulation of elephants, they are
oblivious to the fact that Zimbabwe's wildlife population is characterised
by heavy poaching and mismanagement, and that overpopulation of the past no
longer exists. In the recent past there has been rampant poaching and
overhunting that has been going on unnoticed. On its part, the authority
since its inception has never undertaken any operation to enhance viability
of wildlife populations.

Such a state, which is conducive to decimation of wildlife, was bound to
occur given that the authority does not have any professional wildlife
managers and conservationists among its ranks. Wildlife areas are not being
managed and field staff are not being remunerated while on the other hand,
the authority has been overloaded with well-paid "chefs" who do not know
anything about wildlife management.

Managerial and clerical staff who play no role in protection take 75% of the
authority's wage bill, while a paltry 25% is spent on law-enforcement
personnel. Obviously, such a structure does not augur well for wildlife
protection and management, hence the reported ivory hauls are just the tip
of the iceberg.

Further investigations and unbiased resource surveys will reveal that there
are no longer any viable wild animals in our parks estate. Lions have
disappeared. Only trees and grass remain.

It's high time that the responsible ministry ensures that those who have the
responsibility of managing our wildlife resources are wildlife managers. We
cannot let wildlife go to the dogs, while at the same time pinning our hopes
on a revival of the tourism sector on the same decaying wildlife industry.

It's time we heed the president's call to put performers into our key
economic industries. The authority should be restructured and rid of all the
excess chaff that is draining salaries so that proper and well-trained human
resources are recruited for wildlife management.

The demise of the wildlife will render all efforts to revive the tourism
sector futile.

John Williams,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Cheap ruse

MADAM Anna Tibaijuka left the country last week and government has upped the
tempo in demolishing so-called illegal properties. Rural buses which had
been commandeered to service urban routes to mask the transport crisis have
suddenly reverted to their old routes and transport blues are back.

It was not a coincidence that on the eve of the arrival of the United
Nations diplomat the government suddenly transformed Operation Murambatsvina
into Operation Garikai to create the illusion of a major reconstruction

Now neat small greenhouses protecting tomato plants from frost and other
elements are being pulled down. We are not sure what operation this comes
under as greenhouses are entirely legal. And were we not told that
Murambatsvina was over?

But we should not be surprised by this manoeuvring by government. It is very
good at creating a crisis and then trying to convince the whole world that
the disaster is justified and is aimed at developing the country.

I do not want to conclude that Tibaijuka fell for this cheap ruse given what
has been going on in this country in recent years. The jury is still out
until she issues her report later this month.

Government worked feverishly to show Tibaijuka what it was doing under
Operation Garikai and not its sibling Operation Murambatsvina. But her
statements during the tour clearly show that the apparition of Murambatsvina
loomed so large that she could not avoid taking potshots at government,
albeit in polite diplomatic-speak.

I liked her comments when she toured the Midlands capital Gweru. She said:
"The issue is not a clean city. Cleaning of cities cannot be an event, it
has to be a process."

This was a significant lecture to our government which has difficulty
understanding that any reform takes more than a single act of madness.
Murambatsvina or Garikai in their current form do not constitute reform.
They are events influenced by a sudden rush of blood to the head. That is
not sustainable lest the head bursts. Murambatsvina is an orgy of
destruction, a testosterone-driven event meant to leave no doubt about its
intention - more destruction.

Garikai is not an elaborate or well-planned process. It is a hasty plan
designed to convince the world that after 25 years of doing nothing,
government is serious about provision of housing. That is why an unbudgeted
$3 trillion - more than 10% of Herbert Murerwa's national budget - has been
committed to the project.

Houses are being built at Whitecliff where there are no water or sewer
lines. By the way, does the city have the capacity to provide water to these
areas considering its own admission that its infrastructure is already
stretched to the limit?

Whatever happened to the promise by Water Resources minister Munacho Mutezo
in April that "within the next one or two weeks" government would announce
how the Kunzvi dam project would be financed?

Then there was an announcement that tarred roads were no longer necessary in
new housing projects. Shortcuts like this are not new.

Remember that other event - the fast-track land reform exercise? It was
declared officially over in 2003. But can we say that land seizures are over
in Zimbabwe? Are our rulers so inane they cannot distinguish between a
process and an event?

The land reform programme was an event. It was a phenomenon characterised by
violence, deaths, dispossession, theft, arson, looting and poor planning.
The declaration that the land reform was complete and had been successfully
concluded meant that the show was over. What is becoming an elaborate and
painful process is cleaning up the mess; like the aftermath of a youth party
in your back garden. The regeneration of the trampled lawn and that
flattened ornamental shrub is a process and not an event. That is how
elementary it is.

There are more examples of this. On the eve of the election, the airwaves
were opened to the opposition. The police surprisingly exercised restraint
when dealing with crowds. This was democracy at work, our rulers told us.
This showed us that "Zimbabwe was now a mature democracy", the state media
blared imperiously. What impertinence. By allowing the face of Morgan
Tsvangirai on television, Zimbabwe became a mature democracy overnight. My

This is how our political leaders conceive development, be it social,
political or economic. It has to be a big splash, someone flicking on a
switch and all our problems are over. This does not work.

The big splashes on Gideon Gono's monetary policies or the budget

statements or the launch of economic programmes (which incidentally never
work) are mere events devoid of process - or maturity. Event management is
not the same as managing a process.

Gukurahundi, farm invasions, Posa, Aippa and now Murambatsvina. Do we ever
learn how to do something properly without threats, violence or destruction?

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Zim Independent


Chance to pluck Zimbabwe from mess
IS the fate of the nation now in the hands of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change? This might sound absurd as the MDC is not the party in
office, nor does it have any influence in governance. Zanu PF on the other
hand has a firm majority in parliament but does not appear to have what it
takes to extricate the country from a rapidly deepening crisis.

Last week, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament that fuel
problems would not go away as long as Western sanctions against Zimbabwe
remained in place. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, responding to a
damning statement by the IMF last month, said the country had been forced to
take desperate measures in dealing with the economy because of sanctions.

Does this mean sanctions are working despite government efforts to make us
believe they were a non-event?

The MDC is now being called upon to talk to "its Western masters" to lift
sanctions imposed on the country. Since 2000 Britain and the United States
have not moved an inch on the sanctions position despite calls from African
heads of state for the punitive action to be lifted. South Africa's Thabo
Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo can testify to that.

But this week events took a new turn. The likelihood of talks between the
two political parties has increased after Obasanjo and Mbeki met President
Mugabe in Sirte on the sidelines of the AU summit last week. Opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's diplomatic shuttles to Abuja and Pretoria over
the past two weeks are also linked to rekindling dialogue between the two

As expected, Information permanent secretary George Charamba poured cold
water on the subject this week. It is without doubt that he speaks for the
highest office in the land in opposing talks. Even in the midst of the
current crisis which is now obvious to all but the most obtuse of his
followers, Mugabe refuses to acknowledge that there is anything wrong.

In such an environment, the diplomacy by Mbeki and Obasanjo is rendered
extremely difficult. But this week there has been some movement.

Following hard on the heels of Charamba's statement that there would be no
talks, South African deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka arrived to make
clear Pretoria's position. While Zimbabwe's official media attempted to
dress up her meetings here as a women's affair, it was her talks with Mugabe
that were significant.

Reports in South Africa make it clear that Mbeki is expecting to see
national dialogue get underway as soon as possible even if it means dragging
Mugabe to the negotiating table kicking and screaming.

This is the culmination of an international effort that has been underway
since before the election but culminated in Libya and Scotland.

It comes at precisely the moment when Zanu PF is fragmenting. Pearson
Mbalekwa's resignation, while not the harbinger of a mass exodus, is at
least suggestive of growing disaffection. And there is certainly more to
Philip Chiyangwa's departure than the reasons given in the official press.

Further, relieved of Jonathan Moyo's whip, senior Zanu PF bigwigs are no
longer singing from the same hymn sheet as Mugabe on the issue of dialogue.
Gono understands more than most the importance of balance-of-payments
support if the country is to be rescued from its current morass.

The last serious attempt at dialogue took place two years ago when Chinamasa
held unofficial talks with the MDC's Welshman Ncube to sketch the outline of
a constitutional settlement.

The process was blocked by the usual obstacle who appears to think that by
procuring electoral victory he can sidestep the country's mounting problems.

Unfortunately for the hardliners in Zanu PF the opposition is not dead. It
is still around and will be for a long time to come so long as the
conditions that spawned it continue to exist. Mugabe's government remains
synonymous with inefficiency and failure. The biggest threat to Zanu PF
today is its failure to deliver.

This brings to the fore the importance of pressure from within the party to
usher Mugabe and his last-ditchers to the negotiating table with the
opposition. He is a difficult man to pluck from the rails of his
entrenchments but failure to do so is increasingly becoming suicidal for the
party which has become rudderless after the election.

If Zanu PF truly endorses Mugabe as the best man to lead the party and
ultimately the country, it must ensure that his every move benefits the
nation. Can that be said of his current performance?

There is a huge challenge ahead for the party. It is one thing to keep
Mugabe in office but quite another to allow him to run the country down.
Leadership in Zanu PF is not Mugabe's sole responsibility.

The opposition which now occupies an important place in finding a solution
to what even Mbeki calls the Zimbabwean crisis also has to demonstrate the
qualities of leadership. There has been a preoccupation with trying to get
Mugabe out of the way but the task to hand is much larger.What does the
party have to offer at the negotiating table if Mugabe agrees to dialogue
today, as the South African media is reporting?

In the past this issue has resulted in serious ructions within the upper
ranks of the party which has reflected badly on Tsvangirai's leadership. A
divided party is its own enemy in negotiations. Both sides need to
understand that.
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Zim Independent

Blitz exposes govt policy contradictions

Augustine Mukaro

CONTRADICTIONS surrounding the widely-condemned Operation Murambatsvina and
the worsening economic crisis dogging the country have exposed government's
failure to manage public information in the post-Jonathan Moyo era.

Since the inception of the clean-up campaign, government has failed to come
up with a common position to explain the current crisis.

President Robert Mugabe and ministers have been making contradictory
statements, which analysts say indicates lack of a coordinated communication
strategy and panic in government circles in view of international
condemnation of its failed policies.

Mugabe and his ministers have been inconsistent in their bid to turn a
demolition campaign into a development initiative, both in the eyes of
United Nations envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka and the world at large.

However, the attempted manipulations have failed to yield results as
Tibaijuka, who at times appeared to have swallowed hook, line and sinker
government's justification of the operation, in fact managed to see through
the smokescreen.

Mugabe led the campaign to declare Operation Murambatsvina a noble cause
when he told Tibaijuka his government had planned the demolition blitz -
meaning it was designed earlier - before the March 31 general election but
it could not be implemented because Zanu PF would have been accused of
trying to destabilise the MDC's urban strongholds.

He claimed he had promised during the campaign to implement the programme
after the election. However, there is no evidence of him saying so except
pleading with urban voters to support his party, which lost all but one
urban seat.

Mugabe's claim that the clean-up was planned was proved to be a futile
attempt to hoodwink the UN envoy. Finance minister Herbert Murerwa told
parliament last Wednesday Operation Murambatsvina was not budgeted for
because "we had not anticipated this programme".

"It is very clear that when we announced the 2005 budget we had not
anticipated this programme. So it will translate into some parts of the 2005
budget being re-prioritised to accommodate this expenditure," Murerwa said.

He was responding to a question from opposition Movement for Democratic
Change MP Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga on why government was now
allowing "unbudgeted expenditure" when it said it would not do so.

Murerwa's revelation contradicted Mugabe's claim that the clean-up programme
should have been implemented before the March general election. This means
Mugabe misled UN envoy Tibaijuka when they met a fortnight ago.

During the African Union summit in Libya last week, Mugabe made another
attempt to sell a dummy to international journalists when he claimed that
nobody had been displaced and rendered homeless by the ruthless crackdown.

He made no mention of Caledonia Farm and other transit camps nationwide to
accommodate the displaced multitudes.

Mugabe's claims were also shot down by the police when they confessed to
Tibaijuka that they demolished a conservative 5 176 structures, displacing 9
444 people in Bulawayo alone.

The figures are viewed as an understatement by human rights groups who
estimate destroyed township homes at around 200 000 structures resulting in
up to a million people being affected, creating a huge homeless and hungry
population housed at transit camps.

Tibaijuka had a go at the army and police officers for their involvement in
the clean-up campaign saying they were neither a construction company nor a
cleaning agency.

Police spearheaded the demolition of the home industries and backyard
structures. The army on the other hand has been tasked to build 25 000
houses by August 30 for the displaced people. Government has undertaken to
build 24 000 houses in Harare and 1 003 in Bulawayo by the end of August.

The figures are a far cry from the number of displaced people. The
discrepancies in numbers expose government's hidden agenda that the clean-up
campaign was to force people back to the rural areas.

Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema unwittingly confessed to Tibaijuka that all
the people that would not be accommodated in the new structures would be
sent back to their rural areas.

Tibaijuka did not take the intention lightly.

"Rural repatriation does not work and it has never worked anywhere," she
said. "The people are not here (in urban areas) because they want to be but
because they are trying to get a living. Even in the United States and Japan
people move into cities because they want to work and create small
businesses that will help them survive. Zimbabwe is not an exception to

Churches and non-government organisations dismissed the claims that
Operation Murambatsvina was planned as a cover-up that could only be used by
a government that has lost its moral worthiness.

"The claims were just a cover-up from a system that has become morally and
intellectually bankrupt," said a Roman Catholic priest who has been actively
involved in assisting clean-up victims. "It's a test case for the UN."

The clergyman said there was no way government could have planned for this
programme, which requires massive resources because it had no money.

"You can't budget for phantom programmes. If there was such an exercise on
the planning desk it would have been communicated to stakeholders to come up
with a working plan and communication strategy," he said.

Since the arrival of Tibaijuka on June 26, government initiated a series of
cover-up strategies, launching an unrealistic reconstruction programme,
ordering the removal of the clean-up victims along the route scheduled for
the UN envoy's convoy. Caledonia evictees were moved to Sally Mugabe
Heights, about 25 kilometres off Domboshava Road.

Rural transport operators were diverted from their normal routes to give the
illusion that the transport situation in urban areas was being managed
properly despite swingeing fuel shortages.

All buses plying rural routes
were ordered to service urban routes in return for heavily subsidised fuel
of $1 800. The facility was withdrawn soon after Tibaijuka boarded the plane
on Saturday. Transport blues have returned with a vengeance.

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Mugabe moving towards a 'village democracy'
Ray Matikinye
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's surprise adoption of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe
constituency in Mashonaland Central as his personal responsibility as a
reward for its unwavering support could spell disaster for rural
constituencies that overwhelmingly rejected Zanu PF in the last polls.

The action can best be interpreted as living up to the threats he made
during the March election campaign in Tsholotsho when he warned villagers of
dire consequences if they voted for independent candidate Jonathan Moyo or
the opposition, MDC.

"If we have Tsholotsho voting for Moyo where will Tsholotsho be going -
isolation or oblivion?" he asked.

Matabeleland as a region has suffered lack of development for years while
Mugabe tried to force the people to abandon their traditional PF Zapu party.

The adoption of a rural constituency other than his former stamping ground
in Highfield could explain the missing link to the recent clean-up operation
and the banishment of a majority of its victims to rural areas after his
total rejection by the urban electorate.

It could also reveal the idea behind appointing a Minister of Rural Housing
and Amenities alongside a Ministry of Interactive Affairs.

Zanu PF looks primed to adopt the "Look East" policy in more ways than one.
Mugabe, who has bashed the West for a plethora of problems that Zimbabwe
faces, has a vision of Zimbabwe uninfected by Western bourgeois and
imperialist influences.

Passionate about a monolithic one-party state, Mugabe could be moving in the
direction of African essentialist left, popularised by Tanzanian academic
and law professor Issa Shivji.

Shivji's concept of village democracy as a replacement of Western forms of
democracy could be what the doctor ordered for Mugabe in the face of half a
decade of rejection by the urban electorate.

Stephen Chan, Professor of International Relations at London University,
says Shivji's idealistic concept rests on the belief that if Africa can rid
itself of the legacy that colonialism brought and renegotiate all links that
are now "imperialised", it could start again. The concept has a strong
appeal to Mugabe.

In the book Citizen of Africa Chan says Zanu PF intellectuals and
theoreticians have been selective in appropriating part of this vision. They
follow on this concept that democracy should cascade upwards from village
assemblies forming electoral colleges. "By the time each electoral college
has elected the next above it and the process culminates in the election of
the president, the village peasant will have been left several cascades

Shivji's ideal state has everything to do with the masses, particularly the
rural village-based peasant masses leading the way to an African form of

Rural conditions have worked to Mugabe and his ruling party's advantage in
the past. The advantages have prompted government to pamper chiefs and
traditional leaders for their role as coercing agents. Recently, Policy
Implementation minister Webster Shamu announced the appointment of chiefs
for rural towns like Rusape.

The adoption of a "Look East" policy by Mugabe does not restrict itself to
trade but could be a precursor to adopting ideology as well in the form of
the introduction of village assemblies.

Essentially, the village assembly, similar in principle to the town council
meeting, is the supreme decision-making body on all major village affairs in
this scheme of things. Village assemblies are composed either of all adult
villagers or of one representative from each household. But they have rarely
been convened.

By 1994, according to Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (Zimba-bwean
equivalent of the Rural Housing and Amenities and Interactive Affairs)
reports, about half of all villages had formed village representative

The role of the village committee is dual and sometimes contradictory. On
the one hand, the village committee is charged with implementing decisions
made by the representative assembly. On the other, it is responsible for
publicising government policies and persuading villagers to follow those
policies even when government policies are not entirely popular. By law, the
village committee is responsible for mediating civil disputes, helping to
maintain social order, and reporting popular opinion and proposals to the

Even the official research arm of the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs
recognises that the committee's twofold function of implementing
higher-level policy and responding to village-based initiatives can be

"The village heads lack authoritative power and village heads often act on
behalf of the government, and cannot give much consideration to the
interests of the local community," one report says.

Rural development in China has not yet progressed to the point where the
relationship between political and economic development is evident. For many
Chinese, the most important question is whether the introduction of village
democracy in fact staves off rural unrest.

President Mugabe's recent move could have been an alternative to letting
seething anger among urban jobless explode, prompting him to preempt such an
event by launching Operation Murambatsvina.
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Zim Independent

Why Mugabe should go now
By Jonathan Moyo
PERENNIAL wisdom from divine revelation and human experience dictates that
all earthly things great or small, beautiful or ugly, good or bad, sad or
happy, foolish or wise must finally come to an end. It is from this sobering
reality that the end of executive rule has finally come for Robert Mugabe
who has had his better days after a quarter of a century in power.

That Mugabe must now go is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan
but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and
constitutional action by Mugabe himself well ahead of the presidential
election scheduled for March 2008 in order to safeguard Zimbabwe's national
interest, security and sovereignty.

One does not need to be a malcontent to see that, after 25 years of
controversial rule and with the economy melting down as a direct result of
that rule, Mugabe's continued stay in office has become such an excessive
burden to the welfare of the state and such a fatal danger to the public
interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora that each day that goes
by with him in office leaves the nation's survival at great risk while
seriously compromising national sovereignty.

If there is one unified truth among otherwise divided Zimbabweans, a truth
now also ringing true within key governmental and non-governmental centres
of regional, continental and international opinion, it is that the country's
seven-year-old economic recession will worsen as it gets wider and deeper
beyond fuel shortages unless and until there is a far-reaching political
settlement of the five-year-old Zimbabwean leadership question.

So what should President Mugabe do? The leader of the MDC, Morgan
Tsvangirai, says Mugabe should be dragged to the negotiating table by the
likes of presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo and forced to talk a
political settlement with the MDC. But calling for inter-party talks now is
really flogging a dead horse not least because there's really nothing to
negotiate given the depth of "Mutually Assured Demonisation" (Mad) between
Zanu PF and the MDC. No wonder Zanu PF and its government, gloating over
reported divisions within the MDC as if they cannot feel the heat from the
ethnic fires that are burning inside the ruling party, have been quick to
dismiss inter-party talks by reminding Tsvangirai that his party is in
parliament where a lot of talking is done.

On March 18 Trevor Ncube wrote an incisive analysis of the Zimbabwean
predicament ahead of the general election in this paper which
disappointingly concluded that President Mugabe was needed now as never
before as the solution to the crisis gripping the country and challenged him
to appoint able and dynamic deputies to succeed him.

Mugabe has publicly demonstrated his leadership incapacity to make way for
an able and dynamic successor by succumbing to manipulative tribal pressure
from a clique in his party on November 18, 2004 at a politburo meeting that
unprocedurally and unconstitutionally amended Zanu PF's constitution to
guarantee the imposition and ascendancy of Joice Mujuru to the
vice-presidency three days before the Zanu PF membership was due to elect a
new top leadership and central committee.

Curiously, this real coup whose tribal story has not yet been told took
place on the morning of the same day during which, later in the evening, a
coup plot was allegedly hatched at Dinyane High School in Tsholotsho giving
rise to the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration.

Inter-party negotiations or appointment of able and dynamic potential
successors are no longer viable options for Mugabe not only because Zimbabwe
has now reached a point of no return to Zanu PF but also because the
required critical solution must focus not just on Mugabe but also, and more
importantly, on Zanu PF itself where there is internal dictatorship,
institutionalised patronage and refusal to reform.

This leaves Mugabe with one real option that he must now exercise: to resign
in terms of the constitution of the land and to allow Zimbabweans to choose
a constitutional successor now. The nation is bleeding and it would be very
irresponsible to expect Zimbabweans to wait until 2008 for the presidential

The Zanu PF proposal that the next presidential election should be held in
2010 together with parliamentary elections due then is pure political
madness gone too far all because of the politics of patronage and must be
rejected with all democratic and legal force possible.

Apart from the obvious yet very important fact that a voluntary
constitutional resignation to make room for a constitutional successor now
would indelibly guarantee him an honourable legacy and avoid the risk of
looming instability in our country, the following are among compelling
reasons why Mugabe must follow the constitutional exit door by resigning

First, Mugabe is now leader of a shelf political party that exists only in
name even with those seemingly high numbers in parliament because, in real
terms, the hearts and minds of the bulk of its members have ideologically
emigrated to a new all-inclusive third way beyond current party boundaries,
the so-called third force which in fact is a people's movement, such that
Zanu PF membership is now only for strategic survival purposes in practical
and not ideological terms which are temporary.

Mugabe could of course reverse this were he to resign now and give the
remaining scattered faithful ones in his party some hope to inject a new
dynamism before time completely runs out with the result of consigning Zanu
PF to the fate suffered by Unip in Zambia, Kanu in Kenya and the MCP in

The rot in Zanu PF smells in government where the Cabinet has become no
better than a status club in which ministerial positions have no strategic
policy value as they have become instruments of patronage to gain personal
access to national resources and the illusion of power and influence.

This explains why government has now resorted to ruling through "GBO"

(Government By Operations) led by jittery security arms, implemented an
undeclared state of emergency and roped in the Reserve Bank to pursue an
unprecedented law and order approach to monetary policy in order to
criminalise Zimbabweans, whether as individuals, families or businesses, to
make them insecure and vulnerable to inhuman and barbaric attacks in the
name of restoring order reminiscent of the Gukurahundi days.

This evil has been dramatised by the destruction of houses and business
properties that has affected the whole nation and invited the possibility of
international intervention to the detriment of our sovereignty.

But the most compelling reasons for Mugabe to resign now have to do with his
own fallen standing in and outside the country. The prevalence of unkind
jokes about him on text messages and the Internet say it all. Mugabe now
lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the country, let
alone his party.

He is without compassion, maybe because he is now too old, too tired and not
in the best of health. His failure to visit stranded families left homeless
and suffering from the irrational acts of his own government speaks volumes
of his cold and cruel leadership style.

From all discernable indications, Mugabe has lost influence and is now
viewed with suspicion or cynicism or both by his peers in the Sadc, African
Union and across the developing world where he used to enjoy considerable
authority. Of course, Mugabe is still respected as an old man and he still
makes very interesting bombastic speeches that are applauded for their
entertainment value and which are full of sound and fury but signifying
precious little at the level of policy and action.

Given the foregoing, President Mugabe has no reason whatsoever to continue
in office as that is no longer in his personal interest and is most
certainly not in the national interest. He just must now go and the
fundamental law of the land gives him a decent constitutional exit that he
must take while he is still able to do so to save the nation and preserve
his legacy.

*Prof Moyo is MP for Tsholotsho and former Information minister.
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Zim Independent

West should understand African mindset
By Charles Frizell
THE current attention that Africa is receiving is very welcome, but I fear
that all the most well-meaning efforts will come to nothing and end in
bitterness and recriminations from both sides.

This is because there is no understanding whatsoever in the West of African
values and mindset. The values in Africa are fundamentally different from
those of the West, or the east for that matter.

The West is puzzled and angry that South African president Thabo Mbeki and
other leaders do not roundly condemn the Mugabe dictatorship. Yet to an
African it is very obvious. When one member of a family is criticised by an
outsider, the family sticks together. All Africans share a bitter memory of
discrimination and oppression by the colonial powers.

What is most hurtful is the arrogance of the Europeans who automatically
assume their superiority. This is so automatic that it is often unconscious.
We in Africa are considered to be no more than another species of animal in
a vast game reserve.

For centuries Africans have been put down and humiliated. It is naïve to
think that this can be forgotten in a handful of years.

Most Africans feel emotionally insecure due to the way they have been
treated in the past. This applies just as much to presidents and prime
ministers as it does to the common man. This may seem illogical to Europeans
because these men and women have power and success. However, there is always
the suspicion that they are being sniggered at behind their backs. And this
is true a lot of the time.

To be the recipient of aid brings shame, to need aid at all is equally
shameful. In Africa it is also well-known that nearly all the aid benefits
the donor country far more than the recipient. Ailing industries are given
hidden subsidies disguised as aid. We know that when the "project" ends, so
will all back-up. Spare parts will only be available at enormous cost and
local industry will have been crippled or destroyed.

The aid workers look down on the local people and consider their postings as
nothing more than a paid holiday - fun in the sun. It is not possible to
give meaningful aid without an intimate knowledge of the country, and the
"we know best what is good for you" attitude is both arrogant and ignorant.

Africans are also very cynical about the good intentions of Europeans. We
have learned to our cost that expediency and self-interest have always ruled
paramount. We wonder why there is all this talk of aid, which diminishes us
instead of fair trade that would empower us. The greatest affronts to Africa
are trade barriers and subsidies such as the Common Agricultural Policy.

We do not believe that Europe or America will make the sacrifice of giving
up these protectionist practices, but until they do so, all the
protestations of goodwill will fall on deaf ears. They will simply not be
believed as anything more than patronising condescension.

Public criticism of African leaders is very unlikely to bring any positive
results. However, that does not preclude behind the scenes persuasion of the
standard carrot and stick type.

The carrot is there in the form of the financial muscle of the West that can
ensure markets for African products and investments in African countries.
The stick is also there. But many in Africa considers Britain as a toothless
bulldog; nothing has changed in decades.

Britain and Europe are ridiculed because of their hand-wringing and
indecisiveness when push comes to shove. In Africa, we respect power and
resolution; we do not respect weakness and those who simply cry in their

I sincerely hope that the new focus on Africa will encourage people in
Britain and Europe to try and understand Africa and Africans, and not only
understand us, but treat us as valid human beings.

Many of the dictators we suffer under were in fact installed by Britain and
the other European powers, yet now these countries distance themselves and
say that they are our own problems.

* Charles Frizell is a Zimbabwean who writes from the UK.
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Zim Independent

Mugabe exit: answer to Zim woes
By Chido Makunike
THE single biggest obstacle to solving the rapidly mushrooming problems that
Zimbabwe faces is the continued occupation of the office of president by
Robert Mugabe.

As long as he remains president, Zimbabwe will continue to be a write-off.

This has been clear for many years, but many chose not to see this reality.

Now through his own terrible miscalculation in the last couple of months,
this has become so blatantly obvious that even those who would have liked to
continue to admire him find it difficult to argue the case of their support
for him.

Over many years, almost every imaginable variable of governance has been
tried in an attempt to forestall the steady decline of Zimbabwe.
Diametrically opposed ideologies have been adopted one after the other.

Grand development plans that never came to fruition have been announced and
abandoned. Country after country has been touted as "our saviour" in one
respect or another - all of them to eventually leave on worse terms with
Zimbabwe than at the beginning.

Mugabe and a small ruling clique have sent this country to wars that were
supposed to massively benefit Zimbabwe if won, but ended up impoverishing
and further alienating us from former friends.

Many ministers have come and gone, often taking flak for failed initiatives
that should rightfully have been laid at the door of Mugabe himself.

All these gambits have one thing in common: they all failed to make any
material improvement in the condition of Zimbabwe, actually leading to an
unforgivable fall from the once respectable heights it commanded among the
community of nations.

The one constant as all these variables were being changed has been Mugabe
at the helm of government. Until this last remaining variable is changed,
forget about the "recovery" of Zimbabwe in any respect.

Not so much anymore, but up until a few years ago one often heard the
argument that it was unfair to lump responsibility for the failure of a
nation on one person. Most of the time that is a perfectly reasonable and
valid argument. But in Zimbabwe Mugabe has gradually usurped so much power
to his person that it is an argument that does not hold much water.

He also has become so much of the international public's embodiment of all
that is wrong with Africa that even his initial successes are being
re-evaluated. He has so rapidly and completely undone his own once positive
legacy that it is difficult to imagine that he can ever reclaim his lost
glory. He may cling to his position by military means, but for all practical
purposes he is finished - a spent force, kaput.

In any endeavour involving a group of people, there must be one person with
whom the buck stops, who must accept ultimate responsibility for the success
or failure of the enterprise. For a country that person must be the head of

In Zimbabwe we have had a situation wherein the head of state does not mind
being credited for any good that was once perceived to have been done by the
state, but shirks all responsibility for the much greater harm the state has
done to the nation. This is a double standard that must not be allowed.

Zimbabwe is in shambles, and let us not be so cowardly that we beat about
the bush and fail to apportion the final blame where it squarely belongs -
on Mugabe.

A good president can be such a powerful positive symbol that he galvanises a
nation to think and act positively. Even if he/she is not particularly
educated, intelligent or knowledgeable in any particular field, if he
positively inspires a critical mass of the citizens of a country, he helps
create a positive energy that can be harnessed to spur huge strides in
politics, in the economy and in development in general. This is what
"greatness" is all about.

Mugabe is the opposite of all these qualities. He thrives on division and
intimidation more than on unity and motivation. He is more a destroyer than
a builder. He seems perfectly content to be more feared and hated than to be
respected and loved.

Until recently, he has always had some facile way of dismissing his growing
band of critics. But with the widespread revulsion towards him he has
recently engendered, even among his last die-hard admirers, for the shameful
scenes of state violence against the most vulnerable Zimbabweans, all that
has changed.

With the seminal events of particularly the last few months, the struggle
for a better Zimbabwe has qualitatively moved to a significantly different

Just three months after claiming a "landslide victory" in a parliamentary
election, Mugabe, his regime and party have squandered whatever moral
authority they had hoped that claimed victory gave them before the world.
Mugabe has acted more like a person whose party lost the election than as
the genuine victor.

Despite the opposition MDC's many and increasing weaknesses, Mugabe has
inadvertently laid the foundation for the inevitable eventual emergence of a
stronger and broad-based new opposition to him.

Within his party, despite the widespread cowardice and self-serving venality
that has served as the glue that has held it together since it lost any
defining or guiding ideology, disrespect for him - indeed disgust with him -
is slowly beginning to find public expression.

Zanu PF may be full of thieves and cowards, but many of them have also been
shocked at the undeniable proof of just how cruel and divorced from the
people's interests the organisation they belong to really is.

The most recent shock to many Zanu PF die-hards has been the
incontrovertible proof of just how internationally isolated Mugabe is. Just
to mention one of the many crises bedevilling us, the unprecedented fuel
shortage has virtually ground any meaningful economic activity to a halt,
and there is no sign at all of a plan on the horizon to deal with it.

No country is any longer offering to bail out Zimbabwe under Mugabe, even
those few that are touted as our last true great friends. All economic
forecasts and plans can be virtually thrown out of the window on this basis
alone, not to mention all the other things that are haywire.

He is all alone, putting Zimbabwe at the mercy of cynical predator nations
quite prepared to rape a country they recognise has very limited options
because of the way its president has boxed himself into a corner.

For a significant number of people, the struggle for a new Zimbabwe has
graduated beyond being simply about one political party being replaced by
another. It has transcended that limited paradigm to become one of a
struggle in which whether one is Zanu PF, MDC or non-partisan, most of us
are now united in recognising what an awful liability the man who occupies
the office of president is to the efforts to get Zimbabwe back on track.

All the efforts at recovery in the economic, political and social spheres as
well as in just the "soul" of Zimbabwe will come to naught as long as Robert
Gabriel Mugabe remains ruler of this land.

*Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Mbeki alone in defence of Mugabe
By Justice Malala
WHEN South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart,
Olusegun Obasanjo, met at the G8 summit in Gleneagles last week, the warmth
between them was unmistakable.

The two have travelled the world together for more than six years, cajoling,
arguing with and sometimes even shouting at Western leaders to come up with
concrete steps to eradicate African poverty.

At the G8 summits in Genoa, Italy, and Kananaskis, Canada, they thought they
were close to a deal - but were disappointed.

There is no leader on the African continent that either is closer to. Both

recognise that, as the two most powerful countries on the continent, the
failure of one will be the failure of all African countries.

Yet at the Commonwealth summit in late 2003 the two argued so bitterly that
they refused to speak to each other.

While a majority of Commonwealth countries - with the African component led
by Nigeria - bayed for action against President Mugabe, Mbeki fought to
protect his northern neighbour.

The meeting was described as the most divisive in the Commonwealth's
history. Many, including Mbeki, said the Zimbabwe issue threatened to split
the organisation apart.

Over the past six years Mbeki has been prepared to jeopardise his most vital
political and personal relationships in defence of Mugabe. Even as police
raze shacks in and around Zimbabwe's cities - leaving hundreds of thousands
homeless - he said he would wait for UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's envoy
to finish her investigation.

Standing next to him, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso said
he was disappointed by the African Union's declaration that this was a
domestic matter.

"This is a human rights crisis and human rights are not an internal matter.
They should be the concern of all people, African, Asian and European," said

Mbeki did not flinch. The Sussex-educated president believes "quiet
diplomacy" - a strategy whereby he keeps Mugabe on side to bring about
gradual change - will work.

In more than six years of "quiet diplomacy" Mugabe has broken every promise
he has made to reform. Another defence Mbeki has used for not condemning
Mugabe is that he believes Zimbabwe's problems were caused by Britain.

In 2003 he complained that Britain failed to pay a "measly" £9 million for
land redistribution. But Mbeki travels alone.

Civic leaders in South Africa - from Nelson Mandela to Archbishop Desmond

Tutu to Cosatu, the powerful trade union congress, opposition parties and
even members of Mbeki's cabinet - have expressed outrage at human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki and his fast-diminishing coterie in the ruling ANC have refused to

Even when senior South African election observers were beaten up by
pro-Mugabe youths in the 2002 election, Mbeki ensured that the team declared
the election free and fair.

In November last year, after Tutu questioned "quiet diplomacy", Mbeki
attacked him as having no respect for the truth.

On its website the ANC sought to discredit Tutu, accusing him of having been
a struggle hero of the West and white South Africans - not South Africa's
black masses.

Last year Mugabe called Tutu "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop".

Even Mandela has declared that people like Mugabe "want to die in power
because they have committed crimes".

Cosatu - the country's biggest trade union federation and an ally of the
ANC - has been accused of recklessness for its Zimbabwe human rights
campaign. After being kicked out of the country on a fact-finding mission
last year, secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said: "The New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) will stand no chance if a government such as
Zimbabwe willingly disregards its own laws in this manner. The continent
will go nowhere if its leaders can act with impunity."

Mbeki knows this. He knows too that he stands alone in South Africa on
Zimbabwe. The business community, which backed "quiet diplomacy", now calls
on him to speak out. At the centre of this is his belief that calls for
Mugabe's departure are racially-motivated. He will not be lectured to by the

"It is clear some within Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world, including our
country, are following the example set by (Ronald) Reagan and his advisers
to 'treat human rights as a tool' for overthrowing the government of
Zimbabwe and rebuilding Zimbabwe as they wish. In modern parlance, this is
called regime change," he said in a letter after the Commonwealth meeting.

In the past few weeks of mass evictions in Zimbabwe, people have died. More
than 1,5 million are homeless. All are black. Where is Mbeki's solidarity
with them?

*Justice Malala is a political analyst, journalist and the founding editor
of ThisDay newspaper, Johannesburg.
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Zim Independent

Charge the government under Posa
By Denford Magora
THERE is a law in Zimbabwe which most people believe should be repealed.
That law is the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and its various
legislative sidekicks. But hang on a minute, before we actually repeal this
law, I believe that it should be used one more time.

This law has a specific provision for prosecuting those who "spread alarm
and despondency" amongst Zimbabweans. This clause is what someone should use
to sue the Zimbabwe government. Our government's behaviour on the economic
front (and specifically the fuel crisis which they should have seen coming a
long time ago) is indeed spreading alarm and despondency within the ranks of
the population. Their silence on whether a plan even exists to sort out the
fuel problem once and for all has seen Zimbabweans from all walks of life
dejected and despondent.

Their government does not seem to know what to do. This situation is
comparable to a father who fails to provide basic food, shelter and clothing
for his family. When asked by his helpless children what is going to happen
to them, the father says that he was fired by so-and-so and therefore,
so-and-so is to blame for the predicament that the family finds themselves

Those at the front of the battle against our economic problems seem to have
thrown up their hands. Ministers, the ruling party and all of government are
now holding aloft the white flag of surrender.

How else are we supposed to see Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa's comment
in parliament recently? Asked when the current economic crisis (specifically
the fuel problem that has made a joke out of public transport and is
committing economic genocide within the ranks of the country's business
community) would end, the minister blandly admitted that he had no clue.
Instead he offered the now tired excuse of sanctions as the reason why his
government is in office but not in power. And the nation is supposed to
accept this? It would be idiotic to take that explanation.

I, amongst other Zimbabweans, have all along held the view that, covertly,
the country is being de-campaigned and there is the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill
in the United States that actually forbids any extension of credit to
Zimbabwe by the IMF even if the country settles its debt tomorrow. True,
pictures painted of a wanton murder of white people in the country
discourage tourism and investment in business. Still, the government that
has raised all of this hell for Zimbabwe on the international scene refuses
to resign.

My view has been that this is fine if that government continues to get
elected into power as happened in March this year (putting aside the
somewhat jaded accusations of ballot-stuffing). By refusing to bow out, the
government is saying that it can fix the mess that it got us into.

We took this to mean that the government was determined to make a concerted
effort to right the economy, provide housing as well as an environment in
which more jobs can be created. In other words, Zanu PF and Mugabe have all
along led the nation to believe that they are capable of turning this
country around. Because I will not be told who to vote for in my country by
some drooling imbecile in the United Kingdom, I chose to give them the
benefit of the doubt. The nation, in effect, gave Zanu PF a long rope in the
belief that the party in government was actually committed to seeing the
economic crisis come to an end.

We were all misled, as evidenced by the current meltdown which is
threatening the very foundation of Zimbabwe's economy.

Chinamasa's comments in parliament are telling in several respects. First,
this man, who also happens to be "Leader of the House" essentially told the
nation that his government has neither the resources nor the wits to
overcome the "illegal sanctions" imposed upon the country.By virtue of his
statement, he has told the country that his party and government cannot get
the nation out of the mess we face. His government does not have any idea
how or when the fuel crisis will come to an end. This is an admission of
failure which should make us ask just why Zanu PF insists on clinging to
power when it is acknowledging that it has no idea how to end the suffering
of the people it lied to in order to get re-elected.

Lied, yes, because the ruling party spoke about an economic turnaround when
they sought the people's mandate at the last election. Zanu PF spoke as if
it had the solutions to the economic problems facing us. Now the party is
plainly admitting that it cannot solve our economic problems. Instead, the
president and his party are now saying that our fate is in Morgan
Tsvangirai's hands. He asked for the sanctions, they tell us, and he should
go back and ask for them to be lifted.

What utter nonsense! Even if Tsvangirai was to go and ask the IMF, World
Bank, America and Britain to remove the "sanctions", do Zanu PF and the
president truly believe that British premier Tony Blair and US president
George Bush would oblige?

Of course not. Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, Zimbabwe will not get
any relief from the outside world no matter what. There is absolutely
nothing that Mugabe and Zanu PF can do, short of resigning, that will see
this country being welcome back into the corridors of Washington or London.
This is something everyone, including street kids, know to be true.

So, if the government's position is that they need the West after all and
that the West should lift the sanctions to enable the government to do its
job, then this is a basic admission that there is no end in sight to our

What, the nation has to ask, can spread despondency better than that? What
could possibly alarm the population more than hearing their own government
say that it has no plans to end the fuel crisis and the economic decline
that erodes people's paycheques before they even receive them?

Does it not follow then that this government is in breach of Posa?

*Denford Magora is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

State's fixation on price controls

GOVERNMENT clearly is unable to learn from its own experiences. The only
time, during the last 15 years, that there was a continuing decline in
Zimbabwe's rate of inflation was from 1994 to 1997, when the state belatedly
pursued its Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap).

The principal characteristic of Esap was economic deregulation, and that
characteristic was fundamental to the upturn enjoyed by the economy during
those three years. However, in late 1997 government succumbed to the
pressures of the war veterans, undertaking to give them lump-sum
compensation payments, assuming an unsustainable fiscal commitment. Doing
so, compounded by a foolhardy commencement of an extremely destructive
programme of land reform, motivated government to abandon the fundamentals
of Esap, which had been incorporated in a successor economic programme,
styled the Zimbabwe Programme of Economic and Social Transformation

It needed to do so in order to have something to blame for the inevitable
reversal of the economic upturn. That was necessary in order to deflect
blame from itself, and since then Esap has been the recurrent "whipping boy"
of the government, allegedly responsible for the pronounced economic
collapse (alongside the British government in general, and Tony Blair in
particular, aided and abetted by George Bush!)

The fact that Esap had successfully placed the economy upon a path towards
recovery was irrelevant, just as the allegations against the international
community were - and continue to be - spurious.

Government had never been committed to Esap, notwithstanding that it had
itself constructed that programme. It could not be committed to anything
which ran counter to authoritarianism, for it was (and still is) imbued by
an absolute addiction to the concepts of total control.

Having been forced by pressure to commit limited, inadequate state resources
to war veterans (actual and pseudo), which would result in massive fiscal
deficits, which would fuel inflation, which would trigger economic decline,
government needed scapegoats, and Esap was very suited to that purpose. An
immediate and continuing consequence was that once again economic regulation
became the order of the day and, as the economic decline progressively
worsened, so the extent of regulation has intensified.

With inflation once again upon an upward spiral, the regulatory focus is
once again directed towards price controls, despite the many negative and
adverse consequences that they had occasioned in the past.

In June, the secretary for Industry and International Trade, Rtd Colonel
Christian Katsande said that government would not accept prices of goods
increasing beyond 10% (although he did not specify the frequency at which
such increases could be made!)

He said government was "meeting with stakeholders ... to formulate new
prices for basic commodities and see how we can control prices of other
goods and at what rate."

He continued that government was aware "of some unscrupulous retailers" who
would effect "shocking price increases" for various goods and transport
services, and that such "illegal pricing" would not be condoned.

To reinforce this stance, he said: "For example, there is no good reason to
increase on old stock of clothes, furniture, electrical gadgets and other
food stuffs that are already on the shelves."

However, there is often a good reason that he completely overlooked, and
that is that whilst the cost of "old stock" does not increase, operating
costs do, and must be recovered through selling prices, failing which the
business must fail. Salaries and wages have, in the main, been rising
quarterly, rentals often rise on a quarterly or half-yearly basis,
electricity and communication charges have been increasing regularly, and
similarly other overheads have been surging upwards. Thus, even when stocks
are old, prices must nevertheless be increased.

The government policy of curbing price increases by regulation, instead of
by measures that contain inflation, was similarly stated last month, at a
ZNCC seminar, by the deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade,
Phineas Chihota. He stated: "Prices of basic commodities have continued to
rise to unaffordable levels, hence the government has to come in full force
and fulfil one of its major roles, that is to protect the viability of
industry whilst, on the other hand, protecting the consumers."

He continued: "The importance of basic commodities to the livelihood of the
majority of Zimbabweans had prompted government to control and monitor the
prices of such goods as maize meal, wheat, flour and bread."

The fixation with price controls also motivated the Minister of Industry and
International Trade Obert Mpofu to state last week that government would not
tolerate any price increases greater than 10%. He did not, however,
endeavour to reconcile that percentage with the month-on-month inflation
rate for May, (being the last released rate) of 13,1%! Government is
determined to demonstrate to the electorate how deeply caring it is, and how
it is striving to protect the populace from the avaricious stratagems of
industrialists, wholesalers and retailers who, incredibly, do their utmost
to assure the survival of their economically embattled businesses.

But in doing so, government recurrently disregards two economic
fundamentals. The first is that none are disposed towards trading at prices
which result in losses and, therefore, if they cannot attain the prices that
viability requires, they discontinue producing or selling the relevant
That applies whether it is that the required prices are ones which customers
are not prepared to pay, or are maximum prices imposed by government. In
either event, the products cease to be available.

That brings the second fundamental into play. Shortages become the norm!
Product scarcities become more and more pronounced. And, if the products
concerned are essentials, then a black market in those products soon
develops, and the populace can only obtain those essentials at very much
higher prices.
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Zim Independent


The day Moyo's armour got a piercing
HOW time flies. It is now three-and-a-half months since the election. So you
would naturally suppose Zanu PF and all those celebrating its "crushing"
victory would have had time to fulfil promises made to the electorate. For
example, what has happened to the following promises published in the last
week of the campaign: "An end to sanctions"; "No disruption to fuel
 supplies"; "Faster economic turnaround"; and "More currency inflows"?

In any normal democracy the opposition and the media would be haunting the
president and his ministers with questions about those broken promises, just
as they would be asking Mugabe why he appointed Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Sithembiso Nyoni, and Amos Midzi to office when they had failed to win
seats - contrary to his assurances that electoral failures would not be

But in Zimbabwe we assume that Zanu PF will make promises it has no
intention of keeping and we therefore let them off the hook. We even had
Patrick Chinamasa stand up in parliament last week and tell the House there
was no end in sight to our fuel woes until sanctions are lifted.

"Until political isolation is terminated we will continue to face these
challenges," he said, using the buzzword "challenges" for crises.

Would Jonathan Moyo have ever permitted this collective clueless-ness by

What Muckraker wants to know is why Mugabe keeps telling the state media how
grateful he is that everybody is backing Zimbabwe and not listening to the
UK, US or EU, when there is nothing to show for the support he is supposedly
getting. Why doesn't Libya translate its supposed support into fuel? Where
are the Iranians whose new president was so warmly backed by Harare? What
has happened to Malaysia's Petronas? Where are Venezuela's oil tankers?

None of them are headed this way!

Then there is the non-existent investment inflows. What happened to that
great South-South deal with YTL over Hwange? A whole Zesa board was fired
for saying it wasn't in the national interest. But the president ploughed
ahead. Where are the Indonesian millions after one of their nationals found
his ostrich farms expropriated?

Now the Chinese will save us. Let's wait and see. Looking East when the East
is looking West is proving problematic!

There was a funny little article by Munyaradzi Huni in the Sunday Mail last
weekend quoting Gideon Gono as saying he had never applied for a New Zealand
visa. This was in response to reports from Wellington that he would be
denied a visa to visit the land of the long white cloud where a Homelink
team had been expected.

It was all "Internet fiction", Gono scoffed.

So Muckraker decided to seek clarification from the New Zealand government.
And the response was as follows: "The Prime Minister said in a press
interview after last Monday's Cabinet meeting (July 4) that a Reserve Bank
team headed by Gono would not be welcome in New Zealand. Applications from
lower level officials (eg a RBZ team minus Gono) will continue to be
considered on a case-by-case basis."

Clear enough Munyaradzi?

Then there was the piece by the Herald's political editor claiming that an
AP story about Vladimir Putin emanated from Andrew Lloyd, Southern African
division desk officer at the FCO. The Herald branded Lloyd a "spy" but then
revealed that its political masters had been spying on him.

We had "diplomatic sources" telling us that "a government official" had
confronted Lloyd with the claim that he was the source of the AP report on
Putin denouncing Mugabe. It had been traced to his computer, we were led to

Lloyd was reported as begging for mercy in what looked suspiciously like
Herald -speak.

Would a desk officer at the FCO in all seriousness ask: "How did you get
hold of secrets to my prime minister" and then "plead" with the official not
to make his findings public?

It was always a standing joke in our newsroom that whenever the Sunday Mail
quoted some MDC official as denouncing his own party, the official would
always sound like a Sunday Mail reporter. Now we have the same thing with
the Herald. The conversation with Lloyd, we can be sure, was pure fiction.

And why does the political editor pretend that he got the story from a
"diplomatic source" when it was handed to him by the same government
official cited in the story?

Meanwhile, the state media has been blaming the MDC for "jamming" the courts
with electoral petitions, thus frustrating the electoral process by causing
delays in the hearing of cases.

So it's the MDC that has been causing delays in the hearing of electoral
cases is it? And what about the cases stemming from 2000 and 2002? What were
the obstacles there?

We hear that Jonathan Moyo is now moving around with a UZ rent-a-crowd. They
were very evident at the Ambassador Hotel meeting last Thursday where they
cheered Johno's every word and barracked John Makumbe when he spoke. But
that didn't stop Makumbe from piercing Moyo's armour with a well-aimed shot.

"If he was offered a job by Mugabe tomorrow he would take it," Makumbe
blasted. "And he would be twice as vicious as before."

Moyo appeared somewhat deflated after that!

Presidential spokesman George Charamba appears to believe there is some
prospect of Zimbabwe rejoining the Commonwealth following talks in Sirte
between President Mugabe and Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. He was
quoted in the Herald as saying Zimbabwe did not want to return to the group
of former British colonies because of the "very bad and unfair experience"
Zimbabwe had in 2003.

It will be recalled that Mugabe desperately tried to attend the Abuja Chogm
but was barred by Obasanjo on the grounds that the country's suspension was
still in force. Then, once President Mbeki had failed to end Zimbabwe's
suspension, Mugabe withdrew in a huff.

Charamba needs to be told that there is no prospect of Zimbabwe being
invited to rejoin, whatever Obasanjo might suggest. Zimbabwe does not meet
the basic conditions of the Harare Declaration of 1991 which is why it was
suspended in the first place. Why is it "unfair" to require a member to
adhere to the conditions it has signed up to?

What Muckraker doesn't understand is why, if this is an "effete club" and of
"no material value", as Charamba says, did Mugabe do everything within his
power to remain a member? As for leaving the Commonwealth "for good", that
will be up to a future government to decide, not Charamba.

Finally, if the Herald decides to reprint articles from the Mail & Guardian,
it might be a good idea to include the last word.

John Vidal wrote approvingly of Operation Murambatsvina: "Last year 250
homeless Zimbabweans, members of the Federation of Slum and Shack Dwellers,
negotiated the provision of land from the city authority.

"They have now planned the layout of their community, worked out the cost of
the homes and are ready to build. Where are they? Harare."

In the Herald version the word "Harare" is missing, so the story ends:
"Where are they?"

What is the significance of this omission?

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono had no kind words for operators in the
tourism sector. He accused them of keeping foreign currency in their
"drawers" instead of surrendering it to him.

But that was not all. They were also accused of "wasting the Victoria Falls.
That's criminal and that's vandalism and we cannot afford to do that at this
time," Gono warned.

He was angry that the Victoria Falls was being "marketed as if it belongs to
other countries" while the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority was "sleeping behind
the steering wheel".

What Gono probably doesn't know is that Zimbabwe has become a hard sell
regardless of however one tries to package it. Operation Murambatsvina is
not the best advertisement to lure tourists. In case he wasn't aware, even
South African Airways has cut the number of flights to Victoria Falls in
favour of Livingstone just across the Zambezi River in Zambia. That just
goes to show how bad things are for any business in this country.


s it Zupco or China promoting the zhing zhong buses? This week the Sunday
Mail ran a story ostensibly to debunk claims that buses purchased from China
are of poor quality and generally unreliable. The paper sponsored its
reporters to ride on the buses to different destinations around the city.

The crew was impressed. "The buses are of international standard and quality
and the seats are comfortable much as they are economical wise," enthused
one of the crew members.

We are curious to know what is meant by "international standard and quality".
What other imported buses did they ride on we wonder?

Commenting on claims that the sumps for the buses were too low and so the
buses had problems going over speed humps, the writer took a few pot shots
at our road engineers.

"It seemed evident," he wrote, "that what was needed was a road network to
fit the buses not the other way round." He said the roads in high density
suburbs "are not fit for this century and age. Our road engineers are so
overzealous that even some small private cars have the same problems" going
over the speed humps.

Free advice for city planners. They must redesign our roads to suit Chinese
buses, not the other way round.

We were interested to read Caesar Zvayi's interview with Energy minister
Mike Nyambuya in which the ex-soldier declared he wasn't "appointed to
resign". What has been remarkable about the minister since his appointment
is his capacity for enigmatic silence. In the early days of the fuel crisis
we assumed that as a military man, President Mugabe wanted someone who could
deliver, and less of a motormouth. We were wrong. He doesn't talk and he
doesn't deliver. Nobody appears to know what is being done to alleviate the
deepening crisis.

But surely what is the point of being a minister if not to serve the nation?
Nyambuya is doing nothing of the sort, yet he wants to cling on to his
sinecure. His reason is that there are shortages of bread and other
commodities and yet the ministers responsible are not being asked to resign.

Meanwhile, what has become of Gono's pledge that the fuel crisis would "soon
be a thing of the past"? What economic turnaround can we expect when
thousands of workers spend so many man-hours in fuel queues or at bus
terminuses every morning trying to get to work?

At least Enos Chikowore was man enough to admit failure and quit.

Muckraker this week stumbled upon a magazine calling itself Zimbabwe Travel.
It's a curious title considering how travelling has become such a tricky
undertaking which involves lots of planning. But that is beside the point.

In the magazine was an article on the death by hanging of those valiant
revolutionaries, Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi. The two were sentenced to
hang on April 27 1898 in Salisbury.

As they were being dragged to be hanged on the Musasa tree along Tongogara
Avenue, writes Diana Ganya, "eyewitnesses say the two broke into
revolutionary songs and dance, furiously kicking and punching despite being
in leg-irons and handcuffs".

Dear reader, you have to choose what to believe. Either you take it as the
stuff of myths and legends or that the prison guards in colonial times were
not as vicious as they are today. In free Zimbabwe once you are in leg-irons
they make sure you cannot lift your leg, let alone execute a "furious" kick
or punch. We hope they are not teaching our children these fables. It would
also be interesting to know what century the "eyewitnesses" belong to.

From myth to reality, we hear Zvayi this week nearly broke a female
colleague's neck with a Mike Tyson kind of blow. Never mind the cause of the
fracas, we are told Zvayi did not take kindly to being reminded that he was
only a teacher laying claim to journalism, and he did what he would
predictably have done with a student challenging his authority in the

We hear the attack was so vicious it shocked most female colleagues who had
gotten inured to shock by the excesses of Murambatsvina. They allegedly
wanted to cover his head with their petticoats and only the timely
intervention of PD appears to have saved Zvayi the ultimate humiliation.

PD has promised a commission of inquiry and disciplinary action to avoid the
issue turning into a gender bashing scandal.

It's never a good idea to fight colleagues at work. It's worse when that
workmate is a woman. Were the police informed of this brutal assault on a
hapless woman by a bullying pugilist who confuses the newsroom for a boxing
ring and takes women for punch-bags? Let the law take its course.
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