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

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Zim Independent

Gono devalues dollar 94%
Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari
IN a desperate bid to pluck Zimbabwe from the economic quagmire, Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday announced a massive 94% devaluation of
the battered local currency.

Offering more of the same but in bigger doses, Gono also increased secured
and unsecured lending rates, while deploring abuse of the concessionary
lending facilities that he has put in place.

Gono devalued the local currency from $9 000 to $17 500 to the US dollar.
The latest devaluation comes barely two months after a 45% adjustment, which
failed to staunch a thriving parallel market.

The sectoral devaluation is meant to benefit diasporans, exporters and NGOs
while the auction rate is expected to be maintained at US$1:$10 800. The
auction rate is however expected to track the new rate as has been the case
since May when the last sectoral devaluation took place.

The devaluation is unlikely to close the gap between the official and black
market rates as the Zimbabwe dollar crashed two days ago to $35 000 against
the greenback on the informal market.

Gono kept in place the soft lending arrangements like the $5 trillion
agricultural productivity enhancement facility under which a total of $21,4
trillion has been doled out.

The governor also broke new ground by allowing foreign fuel buyers in
Zimbabwe and locals with "free funds" (funds originating elsewhere) to use
hard currency. This was widely seen as an admission of failure in the
governor's attempts to stem the worsening fuel crisis.

He said people would from September 1 be able to buy fuel at "selected
filling stations" at US$1 a litre.

The effective dollarisation of the economy flies in the face of President
Robert Mugabe's insistence that only the Zimbabwe dollar should be used as
legal tender in all formal transactions.

Gono steered clear of his controversial claims of an economic "turnaround"
which he has been flagging since he came into office in December 2003.

In a move which shows that government has realised its assertions of a
recovery were unsustainable, Mugabe is expected to leave today for Beijing,
China, in search of an economic rescue package.

Zimbabwean officials were this week making frantic efforts to secure a US$1
billion bailout facility from South Africa to pay International Monetary
Fund (IMF) obligations.

The deadline for repayment expired on Wednesday, bringing Zimbabwe within a
hair's breadth of formal expulsion from the IMF. Gono said Zimbabwe would
increase its efforts to repay but did not say where the money would come

Still displaying his usual bravado, Gono compared himself to a flowing river
current which cannot be stopped by violent winds.

However, the bluster did nothing to assure a restive nation that he had
solutions to the deepening crisis now characterised by acute shortages of
foreign currency, fuel, food, power, drugs, spares, and other basic

Again, Gono failed to come up with any credible economic model as he clung
to his ineffective piecemeal measures which have failed to inject adrenalin
into the economy.

He increased secured lending from 160% to 180%, while unsecured lending
rates rose to 190% from 170%.

"We are fully aware that this tight interest rate framework will tempt some
market players into an arbitrage mood with the objective of abusing the
targeted concessional special facilities through money market investments,"
he said of speculative tendencies.

Gono said the annual inflation rate, which surged last month to 164% from
144% in May, would continue up until September "before tapering off in the
last quarter of the year".
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Zim Independent

Blitz leaves Mbare's poor helpless
Ray Matikinye
A FILM clip shown on TV illustrating pre-Independence racism against blacks
depicts a man glorifying how Independence brought about liberty to walk
along pavements unhindered while lyrics from a rap music trio popularised by
national radio mocks occupants of backyard shacks as homeless snobs.

Although both media depict distinct eras, their core messages now sound out
of sync after government launched a slum clearance operation.

Zimbabwe's urban centres have been cleared of backyard tenants. Informal

traders comprising mainly poor blacks are no longer allowed to hawk their
wares on the pavements and at supermarket entrances. Neither are the blind
permitted to rattle their begging bowls along the same sidewalks.

Backyard lodgers, beggars and informal traders have become undesirable
"filth" that government loathes for tainting the urban landscape. Municipal
police riding pillion with the state police are vigorously implementing
by-laws prohibiting street vending as part of government's vision of
regaining the capital's former "Sunshine City" status.

The ban strikes a familiar chord with discrimination against the urban poor
enforced during the pre-Independence era.

Ten-year-old Simukai Paurosi plays catch-me-if-you-can with three of his age
peers, dodging between concrete pillars supporting the top structure of a
deserted traders' market that once deserved conversion into a tourist
attraction for its diversity of activities.

Its exquisite array of African artefacts and hand-made trinkets, blending
perfectly with the chatter of haggling subsistence traders, earned it
plaudits from hordes of fascinated foreign tourists before the sector
slumped in 2000.

And squatting in the midst of the capital's oldest working class suburb of
Mbare wind howls through the yawning Musika structure and its cold concrete
floors that show signs of flaking.

Evident grime and gloom marking the structure though do little to discourage
kids from scampering within its vacant stalls.

Few would suspect the kids are providing sentry for their 68-year-old
grandmother selling vegetables and roasted peanuts at one corner of the
deserted market.

"The kids playing out there warn me when they spot municipal police prowling
around here giving me time to hide my wares," says Tariro Ramushu, pointing
to a nook in the market wall where she conceals her stocks.

"The trick is not to display the whole range of what I am selling. It gives
my customers limited choice though but they seem to understand times are
tough. It is hide and seek," says the widowed vendor.

Mbare Musika had become home to scores of informal traders and vegetable
vendors until a recent government decision to ban such activities through
its Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Filth). The internationally condemned
operation worsened already deteriorating living standards among residents of
the suburb.

Last week, a representative of the Rhema Church, Reverend Ron Steele, and a
member of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) fact-finding team to
Zimbabwe was overawed by the destruction. Steele says of his visit to Mbare,
what he witnessed was "just stand after stand and it was just rubble. It was
pathetic. The flea market was deserted."

Being one of the pioneer working class suburbs in the capital, Mbare is home
to the largest population of pensioners and the elderly among its 300 000

"The oldest identified pensioners are more than 87 years old. These are the
founder fathers and mothers of the capital," says trade unionist Gift

"The average monthly pension among most of the residents who formerly worked
as housekeepers and general hands in the surrounding industries is below $50
000," he says.

To augment their meagre pensions, the majority of the residents constructed
lean-tos and outbuildings to their main houses, living off rentals earned
from lodgers.

Extremely hard times forced the elderly like Ramushu to move out from the
main house into one of the three outbuildings to enable her to fend for six
orphaned grandchildren.

Two of her daughters and a son, she says, died in the past three years,
leaving behind six children of school-going age.

"I have struggled to send them to school, scrounging for money through
vending. But the police chase me off the streets where I sell saying it is
illegal," Ramushu bemoans.

"If I don't sell vegetables, the future of my grandchildren looks bleak."

Ramushu recalls how the suburb fostered its own genre of high-profile people
who are now leaders in government, commerce and industry. She claims their
parents could most probably have raised school fees through selling eggs,
vegetables and fruit on the streets of Mbare. "Now that they are in
positions of authority they want to deny my grandchildren similar
opportunities to get educated," she says.

An estimated 30% of the population in the suburb comprises jobless youths
that completed high school. Due to a collapsing economy, the high school
graduates have bloated the ranks of the unemployed. Economists estimate
Zimbabwe's unemployment figures at 80%.

Ramushu's plight is a microcosm of the dilemma faced by urban residents,
especially among the elderly in other towns and cities throughout Zimbabwe.
It has been replicated as a result of the seven-week police blitz on
informal settlements and subsistence traders.

Harare Catholic priest, Father Oskar Wermter of the Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace, says: "A few vendors are timidly emerging again on the
streets with just a few vegetables and fruits for sale, not more than they
can grab and run with if the police come round the corner. You get arrested
if caught vending."

Wermter, who runs a relief operation with other Justice and Peace activists
in the suburb, says most people who were self-employed or depended on income
from renting out rooms are ruined. He says he finds it difficult to get into
the relief centre owing to throngs of people jostling in front of the gate.

"People are hungry and desperate wondering where their next meal will come
from. The sick, the handicapped, the elderly may get elbowed out of the way,
the bedridden may be left out altogether.

"Mbare has an unusually large elderly population," Wermter points out.
"Leaders of our parish neighbourhood groups come with lists of people we
have not been able to assist yet and tell harrowing stories of biting
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Zim Independent

Raft of laws flouted in clean-up
Ray Matikinye
GOVERNMENT violated a raft of international conventions and national laws
when it launched its widely-criticised slum clearance operation, a rights
lobby, the Southern African Human Rights Trust (Sahrit) has said.

Sahrit says government grossly dishonoured education, health and housing
rights entrenched in various international conventions and disregarded its
own laws when it carried out its Operation Murambatsvina. The organisation
is also disturbed by the inappropriateness of national laws used to carry
out the exercise.

According to Sahrit, the slum clearance blitz violated the right to housing
as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the Convention on
the Rights of the Child and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), particularly regarding the Rights of Women in

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has addressed the question of
forced evictions in Resolution 1993/77.

Operation Murambatsvina violated the right to health which is considered as
"indispensable for the enjoyment of other rights".

This right, Sahrit points out, is provided for in Article 14 of the ACRWC,
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (Cedaw), the ACHPR, the Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women
in Africa, as well as the constitution of the World Health Organisation.

The UN Commission on Human Rights has specifically addressed the issue of
access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV and Aids. The
state should at all times ensure accessibility to medication by all those in
need of it.

Sahrit notes that a number of people affected by the clean-up were infected
and affected by Aids and some were on programmes for ARVs.

By moving people arbitrarily, it affected the number of social programmes
that had been in place to deal with the issues of HIV and Aids and exposed
them to danger by simply stopping access to drugs without following proper
drug termination procedures.

The right to education is provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (ICESCR) and Article 11 of the ACRWC.

In this regard the contents of the Unesco Convention against Discrimination
in Education (1960) as well as General Comment 1 of the Committee on the
Rights of the Child provide useful insight on what constitutes an
appropriate policy on the observance of the right of children to access

In an analysis of the exercise, Sahrit was concerned that the state flouted
obligations it voluntarily assumed under the United Nations Charter and
various regional and international instruments to which it is a party.

A fact that worried Sahrit most is that Operation Murambatsvina appeared to
violate provisions of Zimbabwe's own legislation, notably Section 32 of the
Regional, Town and Country Planning Act, which provides for, among other
things, notice before any evictions can be effected.

"Suggestions by the government in parliament that it is not violating
international law are incorrect," Sahrit said.

"The fact that Zimbabwe is comparatively better off than many African
countries in terms of infrastructural development cannot detract from the
fact that Operation Murambatsvina has rendered many families destitute,
compromised the right to health and the right to education, and that the
operation is inconsistent with the human rights obligations attendant on the

It notes that the arguments by the state that Operation Murambatsvina is
purely an internal matter notwithstanding the human rights dimension of the
exercise is misplaced.

Says Sahrit: "We find both the process and the outcome of this exercise
objectionable and wish to make plain the fact that human rights are no
longer the preserve of national governments; this now being a matter of
legitimate international concern."

A body of experts mandated to interpret and supervise the implementation of
the exercise has already declared the indiscriminate destruction of homes by
a state in the absence of simultaneous provision of alternative
accommodation to be inconsistent with the obligation to respect the right to
shelter or housing.

Sahrit also notes that a number of the properties that have been destroyed
were destroyed in circumstances where the state had given beneficiaries
assurances that it would waive its right to strictly enforce the law.

This was the case in respect of all those housing co-operatives that were
set up with the knowledge of the state and commissioned by ministers and
senior government officials. It noted that some of the housing co-operatives
had been or were about to be properly registered with the relevant

"It is our view that in such cases, rather than evict the owners and destroy
the structures, the owners should have been given an opportunity to
regularise the structures and in so doing avoid a situation of
homelessness," Sahrit notes.

Sahrit blames local authorities for failing to cope with housing demands,
thereby forcing the homeless to resort to build structures within their
means. High inflation made it increasingly difficult for low-income earners
to meet construction standards. It cites Porta Farm that has been in
existence for more than 13 years and Hatcliffe Extension settlement for more
than 10 years as examples of state duplicity.

"It is noteworthy that some of the homes that have been destroyed were in
fact established with the full knowledge and/or acquiescence of the state,"
Sahrit says.

The organisation questions why local authorities found it legal to collect
rentals for the sub-standard structures and when it became convenient to
deem them illegal settlements fit for demolition.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of NGOs in the human rights
sector, recently called on government "to bring an immediate halt to all
forced evictions until such time as a planned and humane relocation can take
place; to end the forced relocation of persons to the rural areas; to allow
immediate and unrestricted access by churches and non-governmental
organisations to affected persons so that humanitarian assistance may be
given to those affected; to allow a full and independent audit of the
consequences of the forced evictions; to investigate all allegations of
unlawful deprivation of property and to prosecute all alleged offenders; to
make full restitution of all property illegally confiscated; and to provide
full compensation to all persons whose property was illegally damaged or

l Meanwhile, renowned Nigerian poet and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka said
President Robert Mugabe has lost his bearings.

"A great revolutionary, a liberation fighter has become a monster. He is
behaving like a colonialist," Soyinka said in Cape Town.

African leaders should have the courage to sanction Zimbabwe by refusing to
give it loans, he said.
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Zim Independent

'Charamba causing chaos in ministry'

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba has been accused
of wreaking havoc in the Information ministry by abusing the President's
Office to pursue personal vendettas.

Charamba, who is also permanent secretary for the ministry now headed by
veteran diplomat Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy Bright Matonga, is accused
by colleagues of causing anarchy in the new ministry.

"Charamba's fights with his colleagues and state media employees is creating
chaos in the ministry," a source said. "His working relationship with
Jokonya and Matonga is anything but cordial. There is not even a semblance
of coordination in the ministry. For example, during the recent appointment
of two Zimpapers editors for the Chronicle and Manica Post, there was no
consultation. "

Sources said Charamba has clashed with colleagues and ministers over policy
issues, particularly regarding the running of the state media.

The sources said Charamba was also fighting with Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH) workers over a report compiled by Webster Shamu's Policy
Implementation ministry.

Charamba last month clashed with ZBH head of national productions, Douglas
Justice Dhliwayo, they said, over a number of issues, including the
productions of jingles, videos, and footage to promote Zanu PF policies and
programmes in the run-up to the March general election.

The sources said Charamba accused Dhliwayo of "selling him out" to Shamu,
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and his deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi
to solicit favours from them and sabotage his chances of being appointed a
minister in April.

The sources said Charamba telephoned Dhliwayo over the issue and "subjected
him to a one-hour-long tirade". It is said Dhliwayo was not amused and
reacted angrily with an eight-page letter accusing Charamba of being
"malicious" and abusing the President's Office to pursue personal vendettas.

Dhliwayo also accused Charamba of "embarrassing immaturity" and told him:
"Please be the gentleman you sometimes pretend to be."

The sources said Dhliwayo accused Charamba of launching unwarranted attacks
and insults against senior government officials he described "as mere
politicians who can't do anything to him".

The sources said Dhliwayo then asked Charamba why he was angry that he was
not appointed minister if he thought being a minister was beneath him.

The sources said affected ministers were angry about Charamba's behaviour
and were considering bringing the issue to Mugabe's attention.

The sources said the report that caused the infighting focused on the ZBH,
Zimpapers, New Ziana, and Kingstons and concludes "all is not well" in the
state media.

It says the structure of ZBH is "top-heavy and thus too many chefs and a few
Indians". It also says ZBH is the old ZBC in a "fragmented form".

The report notes the "fragmentation of ZBC" and decentralisation have proved
to be a "financial disaster" because a number of the ZBH entities,
especially Power FM, now a "24-hour music station", are no longer making

The report complains about the political hiring and firing of staff in the
state media, saying inexperienced opportunists had been thrust into senior
posts with disastrous consequences in some cases.

It says while local content in the state electronic media programming is
welcome, "the recent move by Power FM to effect 100% local content is
illegal and unwise".

Sources say the report points out ZBH's news and current affairs programmes
by Newsnet "is a cause for concern and has deteriorated".

"The news desks are being run by inexperienced reporters who were thrown in
the deep end after an exodus of senior journalists due to forced
resignations and poor working conditions," the report notes.

It also expressed concern about the payment of part-time news readers who
get $40 000 a news bulletin. Up until recently news readers were paid $14
000 per bulletin.

"Allegations of sexual harassment, sexual favours, and factions are rife at
ZBH, especially Newsnet. The Newsnet newsroom has no telephones and morale
is at its lowest ebb. This is unacceptable," the report says.

Efforts to get comment from Charamba were unsuccessful. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF chooses 'unknown' candidate

THE ruling ZANU PF has settled for little-known Dickson Abu-Basuthu as its
candidate for the forthcoming mayoral election for Bulawayo.

The selection of Abu-Basuthu comes barely two days before the nomination
court sits to accept nominations for the polls scheduled for the middle of

The selection of Basuthu, who is an unknown quantity in Zanu PF's politics
of patronage, comes against a background of weeks of a thorough search that
prompted the Zanu PF national commissar Elliot Manyika to read the riot act
to the party's provincial leadership for it to come up with a candidate by
the end of last week.

The party failed to come up with a candidate over the weekend and failed to
announce the candidate on Monday and Tuesday as it emerged that party cadres
were not coming forward to contest the mayorship.

Abu-Basuthu will battle it out with the opposition MDC's Japhet Ndabeni
Ncube who is the incumbent mayor for the city's top job.

Ncube beat Zanu PF's George Mlilo for the executive mayoral post in the
previous poll and is set to retain his position against the little known

Bulawayo is an MDC stronghold and the party swept all the seats on offer in
the last parliamentary and council elections. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Byo ups tariffs 50%

THE Bulawayo city council has increased tariffs for high and low density
suburbs by 50%, bringing the total percentage increases for 2005 to 200%,
the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

However, the city mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube said the increment was just "a
hold on budget for survival".

Ncube also said the Bulawayo council would try to match services with the
tariff increments.

"The increments are just peanuts," said Ncube. "It is a hold - on budget for
survival. We will continue to try and balance our services so as to provide
better services."

Bulawayo Residents Association (Bura) chairman Winos Dube said his
association had accepted the tariff increases in the hope that the local
authority would improve service delivery.

He said the association was content with the increment since initially the
city council wanted to increase tariffs by a total of 250% for the year.

"We expect an improvement in services, we expect to see a change," said
Dube. "Initially the city council was supposed to have raised tariffs by
250% for the year. An increase of 200% is OK because it is below what they
had proposed earlier."

"I am sure people will have problems as they are always overstretched but
they will have to take it as there is no other way."

The council is still owed over $100 billion by government and residents. -
Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

Inflation seen galloping to 400%
Shakeman Mugari
DESPITE RBZ governor Gideon Gono's insistence that inflation will end the
year at 80%, analysts expect it to gallop to 400% by December as government
continues its wasteful spending.

Gono yesterday put on a brave face, maintaining that his targets on
inflation were still achievable.

Presenting his monetary review statement, Gono said inflation would continue
rising until September when it would start falling.

"The unfavourable trend is, however, expected to reverse during the last
quarter of the year, with annual inflation still targeted to recede to
around 80% by December 2005," said Gono.

He did not give the reasons for his optimism or indicate the key factors
that would suppress inflation after September. Analysts however say judging
by the situation on the ground, Gono's target of a two-digit inflation by
December had virtually collapsed because of government's profligacy.

Recent fuel hikes and a drastic increase in prices of basic commodities
would stoke up inflationary pressures, analysts have warned.

The analysts said inflation was likely to hurtle to more than 400% by
December. Prices of basic goods have increased by over 80% in the past
month. The analysts say there will be further hikes as manufacturers factor
in fuel charges into their costs.

They say inflation, reported to be around 164,4% last month, could continue
rising to December and probably spill into next January unless government
tames its spending.

Government has been funding its unbudgeted expenditure and domestic debt
through printing more money -- a practice that is highly inflationary and
erodes national wealth. Domestic debt last week hurtled to about $12
trillion, almost half of this year's national budget.

Fears of a further inflationary surge have also been triggered by
information that the Finance ministry is working on a $12 trillion
supplementary budget due early next month. Economist Daniel Ndlela said
inflationary pressures could throw Gono's plans for a double-digit inflation
figure into disarray.

"Inflation will certainly rise sharply in the coming few months. Unlike in
the past, this time the rise is likely to be sharp," Ndlela said.

He said although fuel prices were a factor, government's unbudgeted
expenditure was the major inflation trigger.

"The printing of money is the biggest contributor to inflation. The

is being supported by money printing."

Gono said government credit has accounted for 343% total money growth
through grain imports and funds for the March parliamentary election.

"They have had to run the printers again and again to finance their
expenditure and debt and that is highly inflationary," Ndlela said.

Economist John Robertson said the central bank had also fuelled inflation
through cheap funds doled out under the Productive Sector Facility (PSF).
Since his appointment 21 months ago, Gono has splashed a record $21,4
trillion on different sectors, ostensibly to revive the economy.

"Although fuel and prices of commodities will contribute to the inflation,
the government is currently the biggest culprit," Robertson said.
"Subsidised funding by the RBZ has also been inflationary. The net effect is
more company closures as they struggle with high wages. It means more
suffering for the people," he said.

Since last July Gono has also given out a massive $21 trillion, most of
which has not been repaid or was misused by beneficiaries. The central bank
was recently forced to release $3 trillion to finance the rebuilding
exercise following government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina which
left thousands homeless.

Unbudgeted expenditure has pumped up inflation and the effects will continue
to be felt unless it is supported by production. An IMF mission which
visited Zimbabwe last month noted that the subsidised funding was
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Zim Independent

Monetary policy review: highlights

 INFLATION upward momentum to hold until September 2005;

 Donors pledge to assist Zimbabwe with its food import requirements;

 Tripartite negotiations urged to ensure harmony in economic management;

 Banking sector sound in the last half-year, with new capital reserves
coming in 16 months;

 Money supply growth as measured by all three indices, has moved downwards;

 Liquidity shortages surged to $662,4 billion as at March 2005;

 Interest rates will be converged by year-end;

 Export shipments grew to US$877 million, while mining also grew;

 Foreign exchange earnings were US$630,3 million, down from US$771,5

 Gold sales also declined to US$116,5 million in the period under review,
from US$141,1 million;

 51 auctions were held from January to July 14, with US$12,5 million
allocated per auction;

 Industrial and fuel sectors gobbled 64,1% of auction funds, while other
uses took 35,9%;

 Exporters and diaspora remittances of forex to earn $17 500/US$1;

 Fuel to be sold in foreign currency from September 1;

 Gold support price raised to $230 000 per gramme;

 Special exporters' borrowing facility, at 5%, set aside;

 Import tracking control numbers scrapped forthwith;

 Parastatals and municipal reform fund to be maintained;

 Energy, manufacturing, telecoms and tourism singled out for investment

 Speedy implementation of the 99-year lease in agriculture urged;

 Sanctity of bi-lateral agreements emphasised;

 Zimbabwe badly needs to keep international ties, repay foreign debts and
manage its macroeconomics;

 Investment in core infrastructure urged; and

 Energy consumption should be reviewed.
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Zim Independent

AirZim delays service check check
Shakeman Mugari
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's trip to China this week faced complications
because of Air Zimbabwe's depleted fleet and a widening fuel crisis.

Sources say one of Air Zimbabwe's two Boeing 767 planes, which Mugabe
normally uses on his international trips, should have been grounded this
week because it is due for a service.

Air Zimbabwe chief executive Tendayi Mahachi this week travelled to Thailand
seeking to lease a substitute plane for the one due for service.

Air Zimbabwe has two Boeing 767 long-haul planes which ply the
Harare/London, Harare/Dubai and Harare/China routes.

In case Mahachi fails to secure a plane to lease, Air Zimbabwe has agreed
with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe to extend flying hours for the
Boeing which is due for service.

This means the plane should fly to either London or China today. President

Mugabe, sources say, is likely to use the scheduled flight to China
departing at 6:30 this evening. The London flight is scheduled for 10:10pm.

Mugabe prefers to use the Air Zimbabwe planes because their business class
can be re-configured to suit his needs. He cannot do that with other
commercial flights.

If the plane is not allowed to fly extra hours when it is due for service,
Air Zimbabwe would be forced to pull one 767 from the London route for the
presidential trip or alternatively the president could travel on scheduled
flights, probably via South Africa.

The airline has also been hit by the current fuel crisis which forced it to
delay scheduled flights to London on three consecutive days.

The national carrier failed to fly to London on Sunday morning. The plane
only took off on Monday.

Air Zimbabwe was also forced to reschedule its flight to Dubai, set for
Monday evening at 8pm.

The plane only took off on Tuesday. The flight to London on Wednesday
morning was also delayed. The trip to Bulawayo had to be cancelled because
of fuel problems.

The airline told stranded passengers that the delays had been caused by fuel

Air Zimbabwe's senior public relations manager David Mwenga said the delays
on Sunday and Monday had been caused by "operational and technical

He said delays on the London schedule on Wednesday had been caused by the
fuel shortages.

"The delays on Sunday and Monday were as a result of operational and
technical problems but the delays on Wednesday were as a result of the fuel
shortages," said Mwenga.

Sources said Air Zimbabwe was failing to get foreign currency to acquire
essential spare parts to service its fleet of planes, which has depleted
from 15 at Independence to six.
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Zim Independent

MIC scared of 'robust reportage', ANZ boss claims
Ray Matikinye
THE Media and Information Commission (MIC) is refusing to give Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe an operating licence for fear of its robust reporting
on government's policy failures, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, ANZ CEO, said on

"I think they are scared of the Daily News," Sipepa told journalists at a
press briefing in the capital.

"You can imagine the extensive coverage an independent daily paper can give
its readers in the wake of Operation Murambatsvina and how government could
be kept on its toes trying to do damage control. That I think is what the
authorities are scared of."

Nkomo said he had earlier got it on good account that the MIC would grant
ANZ, the publishers of the banned Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, a
licence on July 16. But the MIC developed cold feet during the intervening

The ANZ only got official confirmation of the MIC's decision at 10am on
Tuesday after the state-controlled Herald and Chronicle newspapers had
published it.

Nkomo said the ANZ would appeal to the Administrative Court but was
pessimistic about the outcome. He suspects that is what the MIC wanted when
they denied the ANZ the licence on the sole ground that the company had
committed infractions on the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (Aippa).

"I assume that when the Administrative Court grants us relief the MIC will
appeal to the Supreme Court to forestall our attempts to get a licence,"
Sipepa said.

Tuesday's decision by the Media and Information Commission has drawn
criticism and condemnation from media lobby groups.

The New-York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the MIC
hearings were a farce designed to disguise the government's campaign to
"silence critical media and to keep the Daily News in a never-ending,
bureaucratic Catch-22".

"The government clearly had no intention of allowing either of these
independent newspapers to reopen," CPJ executive director, Ann Cooper, said.

Misa-Zimbabwe condemned the refusal to grant ANZ an operating licence saying
it was "the latest onslaught against media freedom and freedom of
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Zim Independent

NGOs present damning blitz report to donors
Augustine Mukaro/ Grace Kombora
NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisations are set to present a damning report on the
impact of Operation Murambatsvina to a donors' round-table today, a move
that could shape the international community's response to Zimbabwe's appeal
for money to finance the reconstruction programme.

United Nations special envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Anna
Kajimulo Tibaijuka, presented her findings on the clean-up campaign to the
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and Zimbabwe ambassador to the US Boniface
Chidyausiku on Wednesday. The report is expected to be made public either
today or Monday.

Annan in a statement this week said he was becoming "increasingly concerned"
about housing evictions and demolitions in Zimbabwe. Analysts have said
Annan's statement set the tone for the main report which is expected to be a
major indictment of the government.

This comes as the UNDP office in Harare this week announced that it had
started to co-ordinate humanitarian efforts to help those affected by the
tsunami. It has already set aside US$100 000. The UNDP office also said it
would continue to engage the government on the humanitarian implications of
the clean-up campaign to "ensure that the government adheres to its
international obligations as enshrined in the relevant covenants".

The UNDP said a UN Habitat programme officer in Harare would be appointed
soon. The post would be filled by a Zimbabwean.

"The post needs someone who is familiar with this country, so a Zimbabwean
national will be suitable for the post," the UNDP said.

Excerpts of a survey carried out by ActionAid International-Southern Africa
Partnership Programme in collaboration with the Combined Harare Residents
Association show that the widely condemned operation led to the destruction
of urban-poor dwellings, livelihoods, vending stalls and the confiscation of
goods and property of informal traders worth millions of dollars.

"It is estimated that over 55 000 households in 52 sites across the country
(were destroyed) and between 250 000-500 000 people have been rendered
homeless or forced to migrate to the rural areas," the report says.

"Furthermore, more than 30 000 people were arrested and fined in the

The survey, which was conducted in 26 of Harare's 45 wards, reaching 14 137
homesteads, shows that the worst affected victims were the traditionally
vulnerable groups. Traditionally vulnerable groups include households
hosting orphans and the chronically ill, as well as female, elderly and
child-headed households.

"Ninety-seven percent of the visited homesteads in the 26 wards were
affected by the operation in varying proportions and different ways. Effects
of the operation included loss of accommodation, livelihoods resulting in
children dropping out from school," the report says.

The report also said 73% of urban dwellers were engaged in informal trading
prior to the clean-up, implying that they were adversely affected.

"The primary source of the livelihoods that was disrupted by the operation

include tuckshops, flea markets, fruit and vegetable vending, offering
accommodation, cross border traders and other small traders in which the
traditionally vulnerable groups were mainly involved," the report says.
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Zim Independent

'Economic crisis takes country back 50 years'
Ray Matikinye
ZIMBWABWE'S economic crisis has deepened to levels that have set the country
back more than 50 years when the average person had an average income of
$760 a year, a report by the Centre for Global Development says. The report
says the speed of this income decline is unusual outside a war situation.
The income losses have been greater than those experienced during recent
conflicts in the Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra

Researchers Michael Clemens and Todd Moss say the economy has contracted in
real terms for the past five years and the local currency has lost 99% of
its value forcing an estimated 20% of the population to flee the country.

Interpolating data from the World Bank and United Nations forecasts of
infant mortality rates, the report says the impact of Zimbabwe's current
economic crisis on child health has the potential to be at least half as bad
as that of Aids within the next five years.

The report rebuts assertions by the Zimbabwe government that economic
difficulties are a result of the drought and economic sabotage by Western
countries saying the frequent claims of external plots to destabilise
Zimbabwe are "bouts of official schizophrenia" and signs of growing paranoia
among the leadership. They cannot be a credible explanation of the crisis.

The report recognises that although the suspension of aid from donors has a
part to play, its impact is less compared to lost revenue owing to lower
revenues because of the crisis.

The study shows that the loss of resources to government from economic
decline is vastly larger than resources withdrawn by donors.

"Taking that foreign aid to Zimbabwe for the health sector declined by US$43
million ($752 billion) between 1994 and 2003, we can then ask how much more
domestic money for health the government could have if economic production
had not collapsed. We find that domestic resources for health could be
almost twice as large at US$154 million (about $2,7 trillion) per year if
GDP had not collapsed," the researchers say.

Economist Craig Richardson, using rainfall data from Zimbabwe's own
Department of Meteorology, shows that the tight historical relationship
between GDP growth rates and rainfall cycles over two decades does not hold.

"Since 1948 there has never been a two-year period in which an important
drop in rainfall in Zimbabwe's maize producing region was not associated
with a corresponding drop in Zambia and Malawi."

Richardson says despite this pattern, Zimbabwe's decline in maize production
has been dramatically greater than its neighbours over the past five years.

The report blames misrule, the land seizures and absurd macroeconomic
management for Zimbabwe's current economic woes. It says government has run
a huge budget deficit estimated at 22% of GDP and printed more money to
cover the gap.

Manufacturing has shrunk by 51% since 1997 and inflation peaked at 620%, the
highest in the world, in November 2003.
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Zim Independent

Govt struggles with housing deadline
Loughty Dube
GOVERNMENT'S plans to construct thousands of houses countrywide for families
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina by the end of August look dim as it
emerged that not even a single house has been completed in Bulawayo and
other cities.

The government this month told United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan's
special envoy Anna Tibaijuka that it would by the end of August construct
1002 houses in Bulawayo alone.

However, three weeks down the line, not a single house has been constructed
under the Operation Garikai/Hlalani Huhle in Bulawayo.

In Bulawayo's Cowdray Park suburb, the site of the reconstruction
pro-gramme, only 560 stands have so far been cleared.

The chairman of the Bulawayo reconstruction committee Lieutenant-Colonel
Brave Matavire told Tibaijuka that 110 houses would be constructed every 10
days until the completion of the exercise on August 31. If the government
manages to accomplish this feat, it will only construct 400 units come

Two weeks down the line there is no single house that is ready for
occupation as the deadline set by the government beckons.

Efforts to contact Matavire on progress made so far proved fruitless by the
time of going to press.

Government claims to have set aside a whopping $3 trillion for the
reconstruction exercise. However, civic groups have dismissed the figure as
a government ruse to hoodwink the international community into believing
that something is being done.

A visit to the Cowdray Park site showed that construction was only at slab
level while on some stands foundations were still being laid.

The UN envoy in her consultations with government officials during her visit
to Bulawayo also expressed concern about the timeframe that government had
set for itself.

A source in the Local Government ministry told the Zimbabwe Independent that
it was not feasible for government to complete the construction of the
houses by August this year.

"The government has not engaged enough builders and artisans to undertake
the project, while tendering for the supply of building materials has not
yet been completed," said the source.

Other sources in Victoria Falls and in Gwanda also said no houses had been
completed so far. The government has created two transit camps in Bulawayo
and in Harare to hold thousands of people displaced by the operation.
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Zim Independent

Flawed policies bleed fuel pumps dry
Vincent Kahiya

FUEL accounts for 10% of Zimbabwe's foreign currency requirements. Because
of its centrality in the economy and the huge foreign currency allocation
for imports, it is important for government to implement policies that
ensure fuel adds real value to the economy.

There is a direct corelation between fuel usage and economic activity in the
country. The brief period of growth between 1996 and 1999 witnessed a rapid
rise in fuel consumption due to the expansion of agriculture and industry.

For example, in 1999 annual diesel consumption was 1,05 million tonnes
compared to 450 000 tonnes in 2000. The figure has continued to fall.

Consumption this year is expected to be less that 250 000 tonnes. The period
of high consumption was when the country was producing enough foreign
currency to import fuel.

But as foreign currency started to dry up in sympathy with a failing economy
weighed down by damaging agrarian policies, there was no deliberate policy
to realign fuel policy to new economic fundamentals. It remained business as
usual, with government suppressing price increases even if it meant
importing huge volumes and selling the fuel at a loss.

There is talk of realignment and new policies today but the damage that has
been inflicted on industry is debilitating.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst fuel crisis in living memory with no
solution in site. The government and the central bank have been quick to
attribute the shortages to the foreign currency crunch and to a lesser
extent to sanctions imposed by the West. It is without doubt that Zimbabwe
as a landlocked country needs to dedicate huge resources to import fuel.

But the current problems which mirror the state of the economy are also a
culmination of poor energy strategies since the formation of the National
Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) in 1983 - taking over from the Zimbabwe Oil
Procurement Consortium which was blamed for the shortages of the early

Government's appetite to control the sector gave birth to Noczim and with it
a raft of defective policies which have contributed immensely to the current
crisis in the oil sector.

Zimbabwe has some of the best
fuel-handling and storage infrastructure in the region but has arguably the
most incoherent policies on fuel procurement. The country has enough
facilities to store reserves amounting to over a year's supply of fuel.

The storage capacity at the Mabvuku plant commissioned in 1996 is 460
million litres. There is huge storage capacity at Birmingham Road in Harare,
in Gweru and Bulawayo.

The International Energy Agency says a strategic crude oil stockpile level
equivalent to 90 days' import requirements is appropriate for its member
countries. In Kenya, for example, it is mandatory under an act of parliament
to keep reserves of over 30 days.

There has not been a deliberate policy by the government to ensure that the
country builds reserves in times of plenty. In fact, between 1986 and 1997
government charged a levy on the pump price on the understanding that the
money would be used to purchase fuel reserves. This never happened as the
levy, like a myriad taxes collected by government, was diverted elsewhere.

In this case it was used to service the expanding Noczim debt - a direct
product of a pricing structure which had no relationship to off-shore
prices, exchange rate movements and inflation. The ever-increasing Noczim
debt and viability problems in the sector brought pressure to bear on
government to effect a pricing structure that responded to movements on the
oil prices on the international market, the weakening of the local currency
and inflation.

The MoU between the government and industry mooted in the 1990s was never
implemented. The issues of raising the prices of fuel became a cumbersome
bureaucratic mangle in which recommendations from industry were taken to
Noczim, which took them to the relevant minister. The minister would then
take the issue to cabinet where approval was not automatic. Price
adjustments eventually announced in most instances lagged behind the
volatile situation in the economy and on international markets.

The thinking of government has been that availing cheap fuel to industry is
a form of subsidy which would enable them to produce cheaper goods and
sharpen their competitive edge on the international market. Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono in May tried to bolster this theory in defence of the
fuel subsidy.

"A comparative analysis of Zimbabwe's fuel prices, and other energy costs,
as well as relative cost of borrowing in relation to inflation, clearly
indicate that as a country, we are highly subsidising our producers to
levels where they should produce competitively," he said.

Exporters would be the last ones to agree that they can produce
competitively in this environment. The net effect of this was apparent in
the size of the Noczim debt. Then a new dimension provided more weight to
the debt.

As foreign currency reserves continued to dwindle, the government entered a
world of fantasy where it was buying foreign currency on the black market to
import fuel but used the official rate parity for the pump price. It was not
sound policy that the government was a player on the black market. This was
poor economics which increased Noczim's foreign and local debt.

The parastatal's foreign debt currently stands at about US$80 million and is
growing. The local debt is also growing. Attempts to counter this by
factoring Noczim amortisation levies and charges into pump
prices have not helped the situation either.

The sector has remained unviable for local and foreign investors. The
flirtation with the idea of indigenising the sector just before the turn of
the millennium created anarchy which the government had not anticipated.

Government issued scores of licences to new operators, most of whom had no
capacity or interest in running fuel dealerships. These became citadels of
corruption in which scarce foreign currency went to waste.

Industry players say the government has not learnt anything from its past
mistakes. The pump price increases announced earlier in the month have no
bearing on availability of the product.

In an environment where there is no foreign currency, direct foreign imports
are the answer. The government has given the green light for this to happen
but it will not relent on the pricing structure.

Most individual importers are without doubt sourcing foreign currency on the
informal foreign currency market. They are expected to sell their products
at gazetted prices of about $10 000 a litre. They will not oblige, hence the
varied black market prices of the commodity ranging from $30 000 to $100 000
a litre.

If the country were to receive a huge cash injection now, shortages would
disappear but viability in the sector would not be guaranteed and the Noczim
debt would continue to balloon.

The government has said it will soon table in parliament a Petroleum Bill.
There is also fresh talk of deregulation and opening up the sector. All this
could be an exercise in futility if proposed measures fail to address the
issue of pricing.
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Zim Independent

About time Zim took a reality check
By Tagwireyi W Bango
ZIMBABWEANS crave for an interruption to a five-year chorus of official
monologues and primeval attacks on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his
party, depicting them as neo-imperial, feudal vassals of Europe and America.

Day in, day out, on radio and on television and in state newspapers, a
generation of mediocre citizens is being fostered - totally uncritical of
the goings-on in their country, as they are fed with a routine diet of hate
material designed to turn minds dry and unimaginative.

Zanu PF made its point, way back in 1999. The people listened and made
informed choices. The ruling party dismissed Tsvangirai and his party as a
joke. But, after the 2000 referendum and the rejection of the Zanu PF
message, the ruling party upped the tempo, with a result that needs no
further debate today.

Since then, the communication pattern between Zanu PF and the MDC has left
many without a holistic view of the real situation on the ground. Zanu PF
has charged the MDC with treachery, supping with the devil and outright
betrayal. The MDC refused to listen. Instead, the party argued that it is a
well-grounded, civil society-driven post-liberation formation keen to extend
the ideals of the liberation struggle.

Zanu PF thought the MDC was failing to hear their message. The party further
raised its voice with direct action of violence and farm invasions, turning
a blind eye to the rule of law. The party imposed severe controls on the
democratic space and usurped the functions of the state.

In response, the MDC concluded that Zanu PF must be taught a lesson to
listen. The party repeated its position, alienating what it saw as a
stubborn and narrow-minded political elite which can only be punished into
submission. So, for half a decade, the echo of messages yo-yoed - in a
dialogue of non-listeners.

In April 2002, the two agreed on a national agenda to loosen the standoff.
But, a subsequent legal challenge of the March presidential election result
touched a raw nerve. The discussions collapsed.

The reasons were purely personal, devoid of any bedrock national concerns.
Negotiations are unlikely to make progress if one side fears losing face,
exaggerates its insecurity and believes the result could lead to lack of

The MDC underplays Zanu PF reservations and fears about losing power; Zanu
PF sees the MDC as an inexperienced spoiler seeking to muddy the water and
to humiliate the nationalists for their failure to fulfill certain post-war
expectations. The term "born free", is used to denigrate those who question
the causes of urban blight, unemployment and food shortages.

Constant references to race, colonialism and Zanu PF's overstated capacities
to punish dissenters show that the party's interests could be part of the
problem. The party is hard on the people and soft on the problem.

In April 2002, an opportunity was lost to build bridges and to walk through
the barriers of communication. The occasion could have opened up a platform
for both parties to explore and figure out their interests, discuss options,
set a common Zimbabwean political standard and to enable an inter-generation
of politicians to sample out a range of political alternatives for our

Listening is a normal trait. Like smiling, listening, as they say, is a
harmless concession any party in a dispute can make. Given our experience,
we seem to be miles away from this basic human gift.

When Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo went public last week with the
news that President Robert Mugabe had agreed to meet Tsvangirai to hear each
other out, the guns came out blazing as if Tsvangirai was a hungry cannibal
ready to gulp down modern Zimbabwe's founding father at first sight.

Meeting Tsvangirai, or his deputy Gibson Sibanda as was the case recently,
does not always result in any political agreement. Even if talks were to
resume, a disagreement was still possible - leaving the two organisations
with an option to revert to their original positions if they still believe
that is the best way forward.

But Mugabe went ballistic, repeating the same old hymn of hate about
sell-outs, Tony Blair and puppets. The message is clear. Publicly, Mugabe
maintains that he has an attractive walk-away alternative, cares less about
the political emergency around him.

At recent public rallies seemingly organised as a show of public approval
and political clout, Mugabe made no reference to Obasanjo, preferring
instead to heap praises on Thabo Mbeki of South Africa as his most
reasonable and dependable ally.

As the chairman of the African Union and as Africa's current chief
spokesperson at the moment, Obasanjo is proceeding with his mission. He has
already tasked former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano to visit Harare
and to get on with the job, an assignment Chissano has already accepted and

In sincerity, Obasanjo may have been unaware that he was trying to reason
with an absent-minded colleague who either misconstrued the content of the
conversation or was up against a huge barrier of emotion, mistrust and

Obasanjo could have been concerned about Zimbabwe's growing pariah status,
in particular Harare's potential harm to attempts at constructive engagement
between Sadc and some influential regional trading blocks.

But Mugabe remains caked in a denial mode, seemingly oblivious of any
problem and was unwilling to listen. Attempts at international intervention
show that Mugabe's claims to victory in the March parliamentary election
have, once again, failed to hold sway in Zimbabwe, Africa and even beyond.

For Mbeki, the West's pointman and a vital external link to Zimbabwe,
Mugabe's positive utterances on Pretoria's love affair with Harare made
interesting reading. As Zanu PF and government officials took potshots at
suggestions of dialogue with the MDC, a South African official delegation
was in Harare.

Media reports noted that the delegation, in a series of meetings with their
counterparts in the Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
struck a few deals to bail out our ailing economy with a US$1 billion
largesse. Is this Mugabe's walk-away alternative to a negotiated solution?

Unless a grand plan is on the table, Pretoria is yet to assume the position
of an international donor. Given the domestic pressures on Mbeki, South
Africa lacks the capacity to donate the proverbial Chinese dish of fish to
Harare, each time Zanu PF asks for support. Neither can the Chinese.

Flirtations with China to block a possible Security Council resolution
arising from debates raised by Operation Murambatsvina and other symptoms of
our crisis of governance are now common fare and are bound to fail.

To Tsvangirai, Mugabe's reaction was old music. He recognises Mugabe's
tactic and uses that knowledge as a way of neutralising it. Tsvangirai lives
with unlimited state demonisation, understands the trick and usually ignores
the deception. He argues that there must be a distinction between role and
self; accepts that the noise is not directed at him personally. The vitriol,
you should have heard Mugabe address a rally in Victoria Falls recently, is
aimed at the people Tsvangirai represents as a symbol of democratic

The people without food and jobs have since turned their backs on the Zanu
PF system - hence the on-going internal hemorrhage and self-denial.

The primary challenge facing both the Zanu PF and the MDC is to contain the
urge to control each other's behaviour. They must control their own first,
while keeping their eyes on the goal. Identify shared interests, base your
arguments and agreements on disagreements.

Agreements are possible and normal, even if they are based on different
interests. Differences in ideology, beliefs and principles for a new
Zimbabwe and a new beginning can form a sustainable basis for a
comprehensive political deal that puts the people at the forefront of our

Without unnecessary political embarrassment and humiliation, without
debilitating losses and without losers, Zimbabweans can easily reclaim their
position in the family of nations. With a determined political will, nothing
stands in the way.

Endless foot-dragging, self-saving stone walls, abusive language, media
attacks and tired tricks have failed to provide a substitute for a burning
desire of most Zimbabweans to search for a breakthrough to our political

The issues before us are real. Those in authority seem to have become
hostages of their past, shouldering a baggage so laden with hate and fury
that they react to minor criticism, can't stand rejection and are bent on
causing a scene at the instant.

Trying to get even or to mash those with a divergent view always draws us
back. What happened in March is a case in point. The same fate awaits us if
Zanu PF bulldozes its Senate proposal without the requisite national

Conversely, as a young party, the MDC must stop assisting Zanu PF to
continue to fail the nation. There is life beyond the chaos. Aluta continua
may have been a superb mobilisation tool, a meaningful war cry. But today,
peace is possible.

*Tagwireyi W Bango is the spokesperson of the president of the Movement for
Democratic Change.

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Zim Independent

Moyo's hypocrisy, opportunism revolting
By Chido Makunike
JONATHAN Moyo's efforts to rehabilitate and re-invent himself since finding
his tenure as President Robert Mugabe's vicious propagandist untenable just
a few months ago are fascinating for the astonishing levels of cynicism
towards the political process the man displays.

Reading his article, "Why Mugabe should go now", (Zimbabwe Independent, July
15), I found his arguments for why President Mugabe needs to "go now" for
the great harm he is doing to the national interest flawless.

Moyo said nothing really new. But what made his article such fascinating
reading was the fact that it was written by a man who not so long ago was
Mugabe's staunchest defender. His attempt at re-incarnating himself as a
leading light of the anti-Mugabe movement is as bewildering as his
recruitment as Mugabe's chief spokesman after years of being his staunchest

One wonders if, for a man like this, the political process is fundamentally
about values and how a society is structured and run for the well-being of
its citizens, or if it is merely a cynical game in which the main players
need not adhere to any standard of consistency at all.

Does Moyo stand for anything, or is he the contemptible political harlot he
would appear to be; excellent at making clever arguments from any angle, but
when given the opportunity to live his expressed ideas, able to flop from
one position to a diametrically opposed one with no qualms whatsoever?

No one expects that politicians will be any less fallible than the rest of

The search for better political organisation in Zimbabwe is not about
expecting to be led by saints, but about entrenching a system of running our
affairs in which the checks and balances that are necessary to reduce the
worst aspects of human nature are respected.

But Moyo's utter lack of even the minimum standards of consistency in one's
general position on the important issues of how this country should be
governed is appalling. The word "hypocrite" does not come anywhere near to
doing justice to Moyo's astonishing flip-flops.

He brilliantly articulates some of the ways in which Mugabe is not just a
bungling disaster as president, but threatens the long-term sovereignty of
Zimbabwe. But up until he fell out with him just a few months ago, Moyo was
ferocious in the service of Mugabe.

Moyo is second only to Mugabe himself in so poisoning the political
atmosphere with hate speech, threats and insults that led to the "mutually
assured demonisation" (Mad) that he quips characterises relations between
Zanu PF and the MDC today.

It was Moyo who revelled in hurling invective on behalf of Mugabe at
Zimbabweans who simply dared to differ with their government about how the
country is being run. Moyo contributed significantly to the state of affairs
in which Zimbabweans exercising that simple and most fundamental of
democratic rights were labelled enemies of the state working for foreign

If today Mugabe's continued tenure in office is "such an excessive burden.a
fatal danger to the public interest.that it leaves the nation's survival at
great risk," why did he work so hard to defend him for five years?

The slide that Zimbabwe is on has been taking place for many years, long
before Moyo flip-flopped into Mugabe's pocket. Is this realisation genuine
or is it only because he fell from grace with Mugabe as suddenly as he had
come from opposition ranks to become his right hand man?

Is there an essential, real, unshakeable Moyo, and will he please stand up?
Or is there behind the clever façade, a prostitute who will sell his
services to the highest bidder? Does he have any convictions or does he
amazingly twist with the wind, oblivious of how much of a buffoon he appears
for being unable to make a stand and stick by it?

All the evidence suggests that Mugabe found an inducement with which to buy
the then critical Moyo and when he no longer found him useful to his
interests, threw him aside, giving Moyo little option but to resign to try
to salvage his dignity.

His bitterness at Mugabe he sucked up to so slavishly for years until a few
months ago, probably has more to do with the sting of humiliation he feels
at being cast aside so casually after being such a prominent, willing lap
dog than at any concern for the parlous state of the nation.

Moyo was happy to belong to the mere "status club" that he says Mugabe's
cabinet has become, no one any longer expecting any dynamism or solutions
from them. Moyo was as much an "instrument of patronage" as any of his
present ministers and others close to him were.

The fact that Mugabe "is without compassion" has been obvious from the days
when thousands of Zimbabweans, including Moyo's father, if Moyo is to be
believed, were wantonly massacred in southern Zimbabwe by state troops. Yet
he would appear to only be realising all this now that his official house,
cellphone, car and driver have been snatched away from him. What rank
hypocrisy and opportunism!

With not the slightest sense of shame, which he shows no sign of possessing
anyway, one of the "qualities" that made him such a useful Mugabe lackey, he
resorts to the media that he worked so hard to shut down and restrict during
his time at Mugabe's side.

The state media that he so dominated and reshaped in his own bitter,

intolerant image is closed off to him, so in his awkward efforts to repair
his tattered credibility, he simply goes to that still vibrant media that he
worked so hard to kill!

He is now again the champion of arguments against Mugabe's ruin of this
country that he ridiculed and tried to stifle only months ago. If Moyo had
had his way during the years that his whole reason for existence was to
please Mugabe and throw his weight around as rabid chief propagandist, this
paper (Zimbabwe Independent) would not exist today.

Moyo now eloquently recites all the crises that beset this country, but
until Mugabe cast him aside he was at the forefront of "there really is no
problem in Zimbabwe".

Moyo's arguments about the need for Mugabe to go pronto are perfectly valid
and well-made. But they are made by the one person in Zimbabwe with the
least moral authority to be making them. If Mugabe is an example of the kind
of disastrous politician we cannot afford to have in Africa, given all the
problems we face, Moyo is not any less so. Moyo is a political mercenary of
no apparent convictions. He will say and do whatever he feels benefits him
at a particular time, the concept of "principle" being as alien to him as it
has become to his erstwhile mentor - Mugabe.

The reasons why Moyo is such an object of public fascination are many and
obvious. But that fascination at the more venal characters among us can only
help us to move out of the rut we are in to the extent that it shows us how
we allowed a class of completely amoral individuals to attain power and push
us around.

While we agree Zimbabwe has been brought disgracefully low before the world
under Mugabe, Moyo deserves a disproportionate part of the individual blame
for his enthusiastic efforts to help him do so.

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

Public watches in awe as vultures hover
By Rejoice Ngwenya
THE timeless adage repeated with nauseating frequency at fuel queues is that
Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs, but it now counts for nothing.

Dogs do not eat anything that squirms with worms and is laced with organic
poisons. In essence, even stray dogs summon a residual percentage of
instinctive decency, twitching their nostrils in disgust every time they
encounter remains of a product called Zimbabwe, forsaken and condemned to
political dumping sites.

Dogs are not called man's best friend for nothing; they even share with us
experiential testimony of salmonella poisoning. Whatever man has labelled
"poison", dogs do not touch.

Zimbabwe has that label because when she is not emitting a dog-defying
pungent smell by day in the Herald, it produces dog-repelling toxic
fluorescent fumes by night on ZBC, as warning to other stray dogs. There is
only one species that might explore Zimbabwe as a death-defying culinary
pleasure - vultures - but not for long.

A Ghanaian acquaintance once asked me on a recent trip to Johannesburg: "How
deep can Zimbabwe sink?"

I looked at him and smiled wryly. You see, engineers of the Titanic, like
our cabinet ministers, had this queer notion that their ship was unsinkable.
Its captain, cunningly similar to our presidium, not only ignored advice
about his ship's direction, but also did not even know it was heading
towards an iceberg!

Back to the vultures.

These large scary carnivorous birds have a strange behaviour - they do not
kill anything, but survive on things subdued by other predators. Their
appetite is spectacularly sharp since they systematically pick every bit of
flesh until the bone is clean - "clean" as in Ignatious Chombo's Operation
Murambatsvina - a clean-up that leaves one exposed to the whims of nature
and literally lifeless.

But Zanu PF did not "kill" Zimbabwe. No! It is Tony Blair, the MDC, IMF,
World Bank, EU, George Bush and a host of other detractors campaigning for

All Zanu PF is doing is to "clean" the cities, towns and growth points.
Zimbabweans have, like a human skull, been laid bare, stripped of our
decency, assets, self-esteem and pride.

Our teeth are now exposed not because we are big smilers, but as a
spontaneous response to the cold as we shiver waiting in long queues for
bread, sugar and petrol.

Vultures are patient; they circle over the loot until they are sure everyone
is gone, lulling you, if you happen to be half-alive, into hypnotic amnesia
with their crude innocence and deceptive altitude until you ignore them. For
25 years, Zanu PF has been circling over the people of this nation, looking
all innocent, aristocratic and noble. In the process, erstwhile friends:
Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and the Commonwealth have all
deserted us. Our minds then went to sleep, we almost forgot who Zanu PF was
until they rested on our faces and picked the eyes out of our heads.

Now powerless, we can only hear the bulldozers rattle the ground around us,
but cannot see from whence the destruction comes. Zimbabweans have been
circled. The vultures have landed. There is no way out.

What manner of a country can "turn around" an economy with 60% of its
productive workforce and vehicular fleet grounded? Which planet do these
guys come from - where gross domestic product can be "increased" when there
is no foreign currency to finance inputs?

Vultures do not care much about the quality of the meat; it is not theirs,
but they assign a value to it anyway - a "good" value.

Our Reserve Bank has no forex, but we hear they insist on charging only $10
000 per US dollar for it. The Zanu PF politburo has no petrol, but they
recommend that it be sold for $10 000 a litre. What fool can say to a
neighbour: "Your daughter is beautiful and educated, so when she is getting
married, ensure you charge a lobola of $100 million!" Only charge what you
have that belongs to you!

Most vultures are black with a tinge of brown, so is our government.

Someone gets a litre of petrol for $10 000 and sells it for $30 000. I never
saw a white man destroy a single cottage or tuck shop - it is black-on-black
oppression, dog-eat-dog affair.

Ian Smith must be rubbing his frail hands with glee: "I told you so." How

A government that cannot feed and provide sufficient fuel for its people and
still afford to worsen their misery by destroying property, then add salt to
the wound by saying: "Chigarikayi! Settle down" How many more days does it
deserve to be in power?

When vultures finish, they fly away. The victim has neither recourse nor
capacity to respond. Zimbabweans must be the nicest humans on earth ever
since Adam and Eve.

We were lambasted in Matabeleland, we are fed with propaganda, our folk are
suffering in threadbare hospitals, we struggle to go to work, we queue for
everything and Operation Murambatsvina has come and gone. Our kinsman are
molested at border posts, we sweat it out to get passports, are roasted and
lied to during elections, we, we, we, what next? And we are still
submissive, obedient and silent - government politicians term us

The next time a ZBC licence inspector visits your home, please do us all
Zimbabwean men proud: also show them your birth and marriage certificates.
As added acts of "peace", make them a hot cup of tea with chocolate cake and
offer them your virgin daughter with a promise of a night out with your
wife! Who knows, perhaps they might persuade Sekesai Makwavarara to spare
your cottage, or even organise that you get a full tank of petrol from the
nearest government watering hole.

That's how peace-loving we Zimbabwean men have become! Moribund, stone-cold,
static, prostrate peace-loving zombies.

My point is that in the quest for self-determination and in search of
quality life, there is no need for any Zimbabwean to lose a single drop of
blood. That is sixties and seventies stuff, we are now in the Internet age.

The president and his ministers, army, airforce, prison and police chiefs
also have relatives and friends who are suffering like the rest of us. There
is not a single problem on earth that has no solution. We are simply
ignoring the options. Our limitation is management, attitudes and relations.

The guys who are running the government are, to put it lightly, incompetent
managers. They use wrong policy instruments, they lie to citizens and they
do not want to change their attitude. Our relations with countries that
really matter are bad and we worsen the situation by continuing to say bad

Therefore, my suggestion is that everyone in this current government, like
was suggested by (Minister for Picy Implementation) Webster Shamu, who is
failing to deliver, resign immediately and create space for those who can
rescue this country. Resigning is acceptable, respectable and non-violent.
It leaves one with his/her dignity intact, with echoes of respect resonating
long after one is gone and above all, with a sense of personal relief.

Resigning is a mark of excellence and maturity, not an act of shame. More
often than not in Africa, it is life-saving because the wrath of a people
whose pride has been wounded is hard to contain. It is like volcanic lava
cascading down a densely-populated valley or the angry waters from a dam
wall that has been torn apart by a strong earthquake.

Therefore, the ministers responsible for energy, agriculture, transport,
health, education, finance, housing and trade in Zimbabwe must make the
right choice of resigning immediately.

The Reserve Bank governor, who has tried and failed miserably to restore
monetary sanity to our country, can only do one more memorable thing -

Do these guys have a choice? Empirical evidence is right outside their
windows: the queues, emigration, homelessness and extreme poverty.

Zimbabweans are watching the skies and getting restless, seeing vultures
slowly lose altitude. We are not yet ready to be devoured. We have the right
to live.

*Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

I spy . . .

PRESIDENT Mbeki is dealing with British-sponsored spies bent on deposing the
democratically elected government of President Mugabe.

The spies in question came to Zimbabwe last week under the guidance of a
British intelligence officer. According to the state media, they wanted to
meet President Mugabe but he would have none of that. They went back to
South Africa where they met with President Mbeki to brief him on their
"spying mission".

President Mbeki, media reports say, is fully behind the efforts of the
church in South Africa to assist those who have been affected by Operation

So is he supping with British-sponsored devils? Is any sane person expected
to believe the latest spy story? That is how ridiculous the thinking of
information handlers in the Zimbabwe public media has become.

They expect us to believe the silly story that the South African Council of
Churches delegation led by the Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane
visited Zimbabwe last week at the behest of British intelligence who want to
destabilise the country.

The spy theory was supported by Harare Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who I
saw on television on Sunday confirming the spies' British links. He
described the visit as "part of British attempts to destabilise the country
by painting a false picture of developments here for the international

Is it not true that women from the Anglican Church in Harare have been
collecting clothes, food and blankets to help victims of the
state-instigated tsunami? So what false picture was Bishop Kunonga talking
about here?

Can I also ask the bishop: who is destabilising the country here - a few
clergymen who have come to see how they can help, or a government that one
day allows people to build illegal structures and then wakes up the next day
to destroy them, dumping their occupants on the streets in mid-winter?

I would like to believe that Bishop Kunonga has evidence of the
destabilisation caused by the South African clergymen because his colleagues
in the Zimbabwe Council of Churches have remained unfazed by his partisan
posturing. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches endorsed the SACC's follow-up
trip to see how they can help.

Interestingly, the SA churchmen this week said they were not that keen to
see Mugabe. They wanted to help victims of his depredations. In an interview
with VoA this week, head of the delegation, Methodist presiding Bishop of
Southern Africa, Ivan Abrahams, was clear on their mission.

"If there is a perception that local churches and local NGOs don't have

access to the president, why should a group from outside come and create
that kind of access?" asked Abrahams.

Should we not be thankful when the few friends we still have come to help in
our time of need? Does the church have to adopt politicians' mode of
creating layers of useless bureaucracy before anything is achieved?

The church in Zimbabwe has done enormous work since the start of Operation
Murambatsvina and should focus on that important mission. That is why most
churches did not come out to sing in chorus with Bishop Kunonga.

In case Bishop Kunonga has forgotten, could I remind him that Archbishop
Ndungane was in February 2003 invited by President Mugabe to mediate in
Zimbabwe's dispute with Britain.

"Mugabe also endorsed my efforts to assist Zimbabwe in this regard,"
Ndungane said at the time. He was not being used by the British at the time,
we trust!

Archbishop Ndungane, widely respected in South Africa, should however not be
surprised by government's volte face. In Zanu PF lexicon a spy is a person
who comes to Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission but who does not immediately
sing the praises of government's (read Mugabe's) latest project.

This is the hallmark of a dictatorship. Its leadership feels insecure all
the time. It cannot bear any form of criticism because the incumbent wants
to be portrayed as the best person for the job. Such administrations see
ghosts everywhere.

We were told two weeks ago that a British spy had planted a story on the
wires to say Russian President Vladmir Putin had called President Mugabe a
dictator. An African Union envoy sent to probe the effects of Operation
Murambatsvina was quickly linked to Western intelligence. He immediately
became an undesirable and left without visiting the transit camps.

Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places for all these spies. In February
President Mugabe blasted ruling-party officials for selling central
committee and politburo secrets to hostile nations (South Africa!). He said
even if it was his own brother or sister, he would condemn them.

For the Zanu PF government the world has become one big conspiracy in which
Zimbabwe is the victim. This may seem like a smart move, especially when
there are senior clergymen to endorse the subterfuge.

As Bishop Kunonga said at the weekend: "There is a danger of a prophet being
turned into an advocate of the devil. This is exactly what has become the
case with some of our church leaders."

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

The Ant and the Grasshopper revisited

AS undoubtedly applies to most columnists, they will be targets for
castigation, criticism and denigration from some of their readers, for
inevitably not all of their readers will agree with them.

In fact, the motivation for many columnists is to stimulate dialogue and
interchanges of views and perspectives. Certainly that is one of the
principal reasons for this column's publication.

Very occasionally, the columnist is the recipient of support, for from time
to time there are some who agree with him, and voice that agreement, but
usually the voiced reactions are from those who differ with him.

In the majority of instances, those who are possessed of contrary opinions
and who voice them, do so in a spirit of constructive dialogue, but there
are always some who do so by recourse to insult, to scathing and belittling
comment, and often with reliance upon misconstruction and misrepresentation.

However, rarely in the 22 years of publication of the Eric Bloch Column has
there been as great a voiced reaction to it than over the last few weeks,
following the column's narrative of the Ant and the Grasshopper .

There has been an inundation of letters, e-mails, telephone calls and other
expressions of opinion. Even more amazingly, out of 1382 reactions, only two
were negative (Perhaps there is some substance to the old saying that "it's
better to be right by accident than never to be right at all").

One of the criticisms was voiced, in a letter to the editor of this
newspaper, published two weeks ago. The other appeared in an article on the
Leader Page of the Herald last Friday, written by Boyd Madikila.
Unfortunately, however, his comments were divorced from fact and, it would
appear, founded upon embittered bigotry which blinded him to the actual
message of the tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper.

In doing so, Madikila inadvertently and, most certainly against his beliefs,
paid me an immense compliment.

He scathingly attacked me for having a "technocratic mentality," evidencing
from his diatribe against technocrats that, in fact, he does not know what a
technocrat is.

The concise Oxford dictionary defines a technocrat as an "advocate" of
organisation of a country's resources by technical experts for the good of
the whole community".

If I am a technocrat, then I am proudly so, for I have always sought, so far
as I am able, to advocate "for the good of the whole community".

It was in that context that I have consistently, for over 50 years, opposed
discrimination on any grounds other than the differentials between good and
evil, honest and dishonest, capable and incapable.

It was in that context that, since 1958, I deplored the abhorrent Land
Apportionment Act, originally enacted in 1930, markedly amended in 1941, and
in force until replaced by the Land Tenure Act of 1969.

The legislation was vile and abominable, viciously excluding the majority of
the country's population from land ownership. I spoke out against its evils,
and used my insignificant voice to urge its repeal, albeit to no avail.

But I have spoken out, and will continue to speak out, against equally evil
and oppressive legislation, such as the currently prevailing Land
Acquisition Act, and even more so when it is applied so catastrophically as
to worsen markedly the lot of almost all of the community.

Although Madikila, and others of his ilk, will never acknowledge it, and
will conjure up misrepresentative justifications of their distortions of
history and of fact, the harsh reality is that, until five years ago,
Zimbabwean agriculture fed all Zimbabwe, whereas now much of the populace is
on the threshold of starvation, and the country is having to apply much of
its scarce foreign exchange resources to the importation of food.

In many years, until five years ago, not only could Zimbabwe feed itself,
but it was an exporter of food to the region. Moreover, agriculture was the
source of much of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange needs, but is so no longer
(for example, tobacco production has fallen in four years from 237 million
kg. to 85 million kg), and agriculture provided employment to over 300 000,
and life support to over 1,5 million Zimbabweans. Now, thanks to the
methodology applied by government to right the incontrovertible wrongs of
the past, agriculture has ceased to be the mainstay of the economy, the
provider of more employment than any other economic sector, the generator of
more foreign exchange than yielded by any other economic activity. One
hundred years of agricultural development has been substantially demolished
and ruined.

Madikila justifies all this by historic misrepresentation. That is very
possibly not his fault, for that misrepresentation has prevailed for many
decades, and become the firm and absolute belief of many, and especially
those who cannot judge others on their merits, but only on racial, ethnic or
gender differences.

He alleges that the "ant" (in the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper ),
being whites, acquired the lands they had farmed, "through occupation and
dispossession, forced labour and racial discrimination".

His allegation of racial discrimination is well-founded to the extent that
the iniquitous Land Apportionment Act precluded black ownership of farms.
But the claims of "occupation and dispossession" are either spurious or, at
most, very grossly exaggerated.

According to the Encyclopaedia Zimbabwe , the population of Zimbabwe in 1901
approximated 712 600, of which 12 600 were whites and Asians, and 700 000
were blacks. The land area of the country was, and is, approximately 390 700
square km and, therefore, if all that land was possessed by the then black
population, each and every one in that population, whether male or female,
aged or child, would have possessed - on average - about 55 hectares! That
was certainly not so! And, even if it were argued that the entire 390 700
square km were communally owned, it's impossible to allege that all such
land was productively used.

Production of maize was less than a twentieth of that being produced five
years ago (and sufficed to feed the then population), and the "national"
herd was less than 15 000 cattle. No tobacco, sugar, citrus or other crops
were produced.

Admittedly, the colonialists of the end of the 19th Century did acquire some
land by devious negotiation with Lobengula, and with the Shona chiefs, but
most of the lands were fallow, and unoccupied. Also recurrently disregarded
is that a very great number of the white farmers who were dispossessed of
their farms during the last five years had acquired those farms
post-Independence, from other white farmers, but having received
"Certificates of No Interest" from the Zimbabwean government.

Despite having paid for their farms, and despite their acquisition of the
farms having been with the concurrence of government, they have been
deprived of their farms, without compensation and, in all too many
instances, after having been made the victims of harassment, violence,
vandalism and abuse.

Madikila also attacks the story of The Ant and the Grasshopper for failure
to explain how the "ant" ended up having so much luxury while the
"grasshopper" languished in empty hope. In accusing this columnist of "a
selective memory" (it takes one to know one!), he does at least acknowledge
that I did not suggest that "ants" (whites) are naturally more hardworking
than grasshoppers (black people)." It is correct that I did not suggest
that, and I do not.

I am on record as stating that Zimbabwe has a population of about 12
million, of whom 11,9 million are extremely able, hardworking and the nicest
people on earth, having their lives ruined by the other 100 000.

Unfortunately, however, the "grasshoppers" in the tale equate in the
Zimbabwean environment of today with, in many instances, some of that 100
000. There are countless, substantiated instances where the former
productive white farmers (the ants) have been replaced by unauthorised
settlers who were possessed of neither skills nor resources to work the
farms, nor any inclination to do so.

They resorted solely to vandalising the farm infrastructures, destroying
decades of development in order to sell the components of those
infrastructures, and to pressurising any remaining white farmer neighbours
to farm the lands on their behalf. They were certainly not, and are not,
industrious "grasshoppers". In somewhat like manner, many of the new
"farmers" are from the ranks of the well-connected "chefs", actively engaged
in the urban areas in generating wealth from non-agricultural sources, but
being farmers only on weekends, when in the main they relax in the
farmhouses which they have acquired without payment, instead of actually
doing any farming.

Zimbabwe critically needed (and still needs) land reform, but such land
reform must be constructive instead of destructive, founded upon justice and
equity, and now must be such as will restore agriculture to its former

That is unlikely to occur until government acknowledges and reverses the
inadequacies and inequities of the present programme of land reform, and
until realism prevails, including that persons such as Madikila must remove
the racial "chip off their shoulder".

However, I fully agree with him that "Africa still needs revolutionaries".
Those revolutionaries need to be such as Nelson Mandela, with a genuine
respect for law, humanitariasm and all mankind, irrespective of race and
not, as proposed by Madikila, those who perceive "rule of law, democracy,
good governance" as "hogwash".

If the latter prevails, Africa will always be impoverished, and its peoples
condemned to never-ending misery.
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Zim Independent


A dead-loss journalist and a barmy bishop
THE Herald had a rather misleading heading last week. "ZUJ drafts new code
of conduct," we were told. There then followed a story in which Information
minister Tichaona Jokonya and ZUJ president Matthew Takaona competed to see
who could make the most offensive remarks about the media.

There was a "crisis" in the media, Jokonya declared. What he meant was there
were some elements in the media, such as Internet publications, that could
not be controlled. The prospect of journalists who could not be regulated by
the Stalinists at the Information ministry was evidently too ghastly for the
minister to contemplate.

Then there were all those "unpatriotic" journalists out there.

"There are some journalists who enjoy demonising and undermining the
country," Jokonya continued, "and when they write the stories they do so
with passion."

So passion's out then? So is naivety, it would seem.

"Some are so naïve about our country," Jokonya pronounced, "that they do not
know what type of stories to give prominence."

It must be obvious that any stories declaring the MDC to be tools of the
British must qualify for prominence. The state media writes about nothing
else. And when short of these stories, it allows itself to be duped by
officials hawking British spy stories that are then reproduced word for word
no matter how ludicrous they appear.

Now that's what we call naïve!

Instead of pointing this out, Takaona joined in the attack. He said the code
of conduct came after "the realisation that many newsmen had gone out of
their way to write falsehoods without verifying the facts".

"Many" Matthew? How many have been successfully prosecuted?

He cited poor remuneration as one of the reasons why journalists accepted

"We work very hard but we get peanuts at the end of the day and this has
contributed to some of the reasons why journalists accept bribes," Takaona
confessed, hopefully not speaking for everybody else!

Instead of defending his colleagues against facile accusations by the
minister who needs to be challenged on his definition of what is patriotic,
the leader of ZUJ has nothing to say for himself except that journalists are
a corrupt lot.

Matthew: you are a dead loss and if you carry on like this we are going to
have to revive the ashtray story.

Let's put the record straight. Contrary to the Herald's spin, ZUJ did not
draft the code of conduct. It was drafted by Misa with the help of others in
the media fraternity. It is a simple statement of best practice. The other
stakeholders gave their nod to the code months ago. After much heel-dragging
ZUJ was the last organisation to come on board.

Misa felt the code should be presented to the minister by a media
representative who was not deemed to be unfriendly to the state. Despite
Matthew's appalling treatment by the Moyo regime, he qualified. What Misa
wasn't to know was the minister would wipe the floor with him in front of
the TV cameras. And Matthew would be happy to be the mop. It would also
appear from Tuesday's Herald that he was part of the "unanimous" decision by
the MIC to refuse ANZ a licence. What sort of society is it where
journalists join the state in oppressing their colleagues?

Can we please have in future discussions with ministers media
representatives who are prepared to stand up for their profession and
repudiate in robust language the pretensions of ministers who are not
themselves bound by any code of conduct!

Then we had Tafataona Mahoso spitting on Jokonya's parade, declaring ZUJ and
Misa to be "a confused lot".

"Zimbabwe rejects the global media apartheid models of the North Atlantic
states," he declared in his usual presumptuous way, as if he speaks for

It must have been obvious why Mahoso was keen to rubbish the new initiative:
if it succeeds he will be out of a job. But he could have been a little more
subtle in his bid for self-preservation!

Meanwhile, could somebody explain why Chengetai Zvauya was refused
accreditation by the MIC because of a criminal conviction when he had
appealed to the High Court against that conviction and was subsequently
acquitted? Don't we recall Zanu PF MPs whose election had been overturned by
the High Court because of irregularities continuing to retain their seats
all the way up to March this year on the grounds they were appealing?

Before we leave the topic of journalists, how about this for absolute
gullibility and lack of professionalism?

Relating the visit by the South African Council of Churches team headed by
the widely-respected Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane last week, we were told
the following: "The Herald can reveal that the clergymen are known
supporters of the MDC."

That's as good as it gets folks! Revelations, Chapter 1.

It is one thing for captive journalists to repeat what they are told by
government officials. It is another to hear captive bishops regurgitating
word for word the same forced diet.

We had Harare Anglican Archbishop Nobert Kunonga slamming the South African
bishops as "a willing horse for the British government".

We suppose he meant a Trojan horse. But it was all Greek to us.

The SACC visit was "unprocedural", Kunonga declared without realising that
word had now become totally discredited.

"The abortive visit by the South African clergymen under the guise of
assessing Operation Murambatsvina is, in fact, part of the British attempts
to destabilise the country by painting a false picture of the developments
here for the international world," he claimed.

Most of the world is international, we would have thought. And "facts"
surely have nothing to do with it.

Clearly the archbishop is out of his depth. It would seem he has been got
at. But does it serve the government's cause to have one so obviously
compromised speaking on its behalf in such a naïve and silly way? Somebody
who doesn't appear to have a mind of his own?

And what of all those Anglicans out there who are identified with such
suborned leadership? Will they remain silent?

"The church in Zimbabwe, including myself, has lost all respect for
Archbishop Ndungane," Kunonga proclaimed.

Right idea, wrong archbishop.

Caesar the Butcher has been doing some serious research of late on condoms.
The results have been startling.

Caesar questioned why the United States was donating condoms to Zimbabwe
despite passage of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. He asks
the question while acknowledging that Aids and HIV were declared a national
disaster as long back as 1999 with the disease killing over 3 000 people a
week. He asks despite knowing that government does not have the resources to
import condoms from China or any place under the sun so long as there is a
foreign currency component.

Caesar's inane conclusion is that the US could be trying to spread Aids to
exterminate so-called people of colour. But the obvious solution would be to
manufacture safer condoms for the nation, if that is possible. Zimbabwe is a
sovereign country and therefore is under no obligation to accept condoms
from the United States.

They tried it with the so-called genetically-modified maize, but made an
embarrassing volte face when the implications became clear - mass
starvation. We are out with an even bigger begging bowl again this year
after claiming we had more than enough to feed ourselves last year. Nothing
could be more disgraceful.

Caesar the Butcher may want to appear industrious, but his weird theory is
cause for more anxiety than comfort to a nation already ravaged by
despondency. We wonder what the aim is; maybe that sovereign Zimbabweans
doesn't need imperialist condoms after all? A classic case of looking a gift
horse in the mouth.

Meanwhile, in regard to the syphilis experiment by the US government exposed
by Jean Heller in 1972, when can we expect a similarly courageous exposé
from Caesar about our government's criminal dereliction of duty - from food
shortages to the inhuman conditions at Caledonia Farm? We have had enough of
Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan and Guantanamo conspiracies. What about Highlands,
Matapi and beyond?

We should also be grateful to Caesar for giving us former US President Bill
Clinton's response to Heller's revelations. Clinton remarked in his apology
to those affected by the experiments: "The United States government did
something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong."

When can Zimbabweans expect a similar apology from their president for the
Gukurahundi massacres in which over 20 000 people were killed, the orgy of
violence since 2000, the destruction of commercial agriculture and the
hunger that followed, the transport crisis since 1999 and now the wanton
destruction of homes and informal businesses in the name of Operation
Murambatsvina? Let's have some integrity and honesty here Caesar.

Come Wednesday and the Herald on its front page carried a picture of Grace
Mugabe's fugitive brother Reward Marufu looking hail and hearty in Bindura
in the heart of Mashonaland Central. The caption told us Marufu is the proud
owner of Leopard Vlei Farm. No questions asked.

In case you have forgotten dear reader, this is the same fellow who robbed
the War Victims Compensation Fund of over $800 000 on the pretext that he
was 95% disabled and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. When it
was later discovered that the claim was fraudulent, Marufu vanished into an
igloo near Hudson's Bay in Canada's snowy wastes. Government pretended he
couldn't be located for the law to take its course. The last we heard of him
he was in dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam's country.

So there he was on Wednesday with Air Marshal Perence Shiri of Gukurahundi
infamy and
Pakistani Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat.

Does government still claim Marufu's whereabouts are unknown? And what
happened to those charges that were pending? No wonder government columnists
refer to the rule of law as "hogwash"!

How curious it is that Zimbabwe and the United States have a mutual friend
in Pakistan!

It's great to hear the president is not the monster he is often portrayed as
in the Western media. He likes a joke from time to time, we hear. It's just
a pity that it has to be an old joke.

You all remember the one about Pius Ncube praying: "O God Almighty, take
this enemy of mine," only instead of saying "Bob", he mistakenly said "Pope"?

It's not the most tasteful joke for a "devout Catholic" to tell, but we
appreciate the president recycling it at the Victoria Falls, not to mention
the brave soul who SMS'd it across to the presidential mobile. We gather he
is now awaiting a new posting in Mt Darwin.

By the way, in the standard version it was God who misheard it, not Pius who
misstated it. And we did like the way the president pulled rank on the
archbishop: "Get out of my way Pius, I want to pray to God."

Muckraker agrees with the president (history in the making here!) that Pius
does at times look as if he is a man possessed. He hates Mugabe so much he
can barely contain himself in TV interviews. He needs to discipline that
anger and channel it in a way the late Cardinal Jaime Sin would have done.
That way he would strike a national chord and add depth to a cause that is
crying out for leadership.

Isn't it about time the President's Office improved the quality of the
intelligence reaching it?

On Saturday we had Nathaniel Manheru referring to a meeting at the Zimbabwe
Independent and Standard where editors were supposedly told by chairman
Trevor Ncube to give space to the so-called third force. A picture of Ncube
used to illustrate an article by Jonathan Moyo last week was adduced as
further evidence of a partnership.

This is all very well. Except for one important detail. Neither Moyo nor the
third force were mentioned at the meeting in question. As there were about
10 people present the truth wouldn't have been too difficult to establish.

Let's hope the country's destiny is not guided by such inept intelligence

Muckraker was intrigued to see a little story in the Sunday Mirror saying
that the "Reverend" Obadiah Msindo had threatened to take legal action
against the Independent for alleging he had swindled clients of a housing
cooperative and diverted the funds to Zanu PF's election campaign. Msindo
denies illegally selling stands or diverting funds.

And how did this story find its way into the Mirror? We have no idea.

The lawyers for Msindo are Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana.

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Zim Independent


An act of vindictive pettiness
THE ANZ was once again this week denied an operating licence. That is to say
the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday won't be back on the streets for
as long as it pleases those presuming to shape the future of this country.
It also means Zimbabweans have been denied alternative media voices simply
because those in power believe that only their views should be heard.

What we find distressing about the Media and Information Commission (MIC)'s
ruling is its vindictive pettiness. The fact is the MIC, which reflects the
attitude of government towards the private media, is intolerant of media
diversity and freedom.

MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso has become an instrument of media tyranny used
to close four newspapers - the two ANZ titles, the Tribune and the Weekly
Times .

Mahoso's latest determination in the ANZ case does not add value whatsoever
to the September 11 2003 Supreme Court judgement which led to the closure of
the media group. It simply regurgitates the Supreme Court rationale for the
earlier decision to halt publication while ignoring the court's instruction
that the newspaper group should apply again for registration.

Mahoso's verdict amounts to defiance of the Supreme Court ruling to
re-consider an ANZ application for registration on its merits. The court
ordered the ANZ to register before its constitutional challenge against
Aippa could be heard.

The Mahoso-led commission ruled that the ANZ cannot resume operations
because it contravened sections of Aippa by publishing the Daily News
without a registration certificate and using unaccredited journalists.
Mahoso decreed that this was "inexcusable".

But the ANZ and its journalists had committed no offence to justify the
closure of their newspapers. Up until the time of the closure of the papers,
none of its workers had been convicted of any offence as a result of the
said non-registration.

Much was made in the MIC's verdict of the status of Chengetai Zvauya who had
been convicted of criminal defamation. But his case was under appeal at the
time and he was eventually acquitted. Why then was he not afforded a stay of
judgement by the MIC in keeping with legal precedent?

This is the problem with selective application of a law created to pursue
personal vendettas camouflaged as the public interest. Nothing could be as
contemptible as the commission's reasons for its verdict.

While the Supreme Court asked the ANZ to respond to issues raised in its
questionable "dirty hands" ruling, it did not require the MIC to move the
goal posts when dealing with the media group. When the court advised the ANZ
to apply it must have been satisfied that once the ANZ met the criteria for
registration, justice would prevail.

But according to Mahoso and his commission, the court was woefully mistaken.
This week they sat as the supreme executioner to rule that the ANZ had not
responded "to every alleged contravention in the 2003 determination" and
decided they were not satisfied. Are these the new criteria for registration
of all media houses, we ask?

What does Mahoso think he is doing by reducing himself to a tool of media
repression while pretending to be a media analyst? What sort of a media
trainer would produce students but shut down papers where they could work
because he does not like the editorial content of those publications? This
is abuse of power writ large.

What is also clear is that Aippa is being used by party ideologues to
override the national interest.

MDC legislator Roy Bennett obtained no less than six court orders against
the seizure of his Charleswood Estate. They were ignored. Two weeks ago a
judge ruled that no development should take place on Whitecliff Farm because
it was private property. Again that interim order was ignored by government.

We raise these examples to show how illegal actions that threaten property
rights have been systematically ignored with disastrous consequences for
investment, while petty laws designed to suppress the media are enforced
with fundamentalist zeal by our "Council of Guardians".

Who poses the greater threat: a journalist who is not accredited or a
minister choosing which court orders will be enforced and which will not?

We are appalled by Mahoso's widening discretionary powers about how media
houses should be registered. It is evident from all this that the government
does not believe its stable of dissembling papers can survive the cold wind
of competition .

The truth is that no banning of newspapers will help Zimbabwe overcome the
current political and economic crisis, nor its growing reputation as an
international leper. If anything the government and its hired hands are
doing everything possible to ensure we remain an "outpost of tyranny".

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Zim Independent

Govt in fresh bid to lure farmers
Godfrey Marawanyika/Augustine Mukaro
THE government this week made another attempt to bring back "specialised"
farmers as it seeks to revive the collapsed agricultural sector.

The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZ) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) this week flighted an advert appealing to experienced flower and
horticulture farmers to return, five years after they were violently evicted
from the land. The EPZ and the RBZ requested skilled and experienced farmers
to submit profiles for the rehabilitation programme.

Government wants to rehabilitate specialised farmers to improve exports. The
two institutions requested skilled and experienced farmers to submit
profiles for the rehabilitation programme of the horticulture sector.

"Suitably qualified institutions and individuals who have expertise in the
flower sector rehabilitation programme, greenhouse construction, irrigation,
flower marketing, rose propagation and rose stems supply as well as coldroom
repairs, design and construction should submit profiles for consideration,"
wrote the EPZ in the appeal.

"The profile should indicate the capacity which such companies or
individuals have in their specific areas as well as proven record of their
previous operations."

This is one of the government's numerous appeals to specialised farmers to
return. Since the inception of the controversial land reform, flower
production has plummeted to record low levels, costing Zimbabwe lucrative
contracts in European markets.

Hortico and Kondozi, some of the biggest horticulture ventures, were among
dozens of fresh produce exporting firms that were violently seized by
government agents.

Kondozi Farm, which ceased operations last December, has since collapsed
after being taken over by government's Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority (Arda).

Over 100 EPZ projects have since collapsed due to farm invasions and
financial problems. The numbers continue to rise with commercial farmers
being thrown off their properties everyday. Efforts to lure back farmers
have been widened to include farmers in the dairy sector, conservancies,
beef cattle, as well as pigs, eggs and chicken producers.

Under the new plan, new investors or skilled former operators will be given
special dispensation and guarantees of uninterrupted productive tenure of
5-10 years, backed by protection against disruptions.

The EPZ appeal could however hit a brick wall after Justice for Agriculture
(JAG) told farmers to reject government offers until a favourable atmosphere
prevails in the farming sector.

"Mindful of the present sad scenario and with due consideration to the
disastrous history of this so-called 'land reform programme' and the
illegalities and human rights abuses perpetrated therein, we remain emphatic
that no farmers should return to their farms until our conditions are met,"
Jag said in a caution to farmers.

JAG demanded a return to the rule of law countrywide, especially in
commercial farming areas, and a restoration of the independence of the
Judiciary and a repeal of all unjust laws.

It also called for "respect for and protection of property rights as
enshrined in the present constitution, with international guarantees put in
place, until a new constitution is enacted."

JAG demanded that farmers be comprehensively compensated. It also said the
farmers should be restituted under international law governing compulsory
expropriation of land, improvements and moveable assets and the extensive
damages claims.

Experts say the EPZ and RBZ's efforts could come to nothing because the
government continues to evict commercial farmers.

Sources say the new wave of evictions is meant to make way for government
officials who were promoted to senior posts.

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Zim Independent

Economic mismanagement: a new paradigm for debate
By Tawanda Magaisa
ANY discussion of the challenges faced by Zimbabwe has a common theme:
Zimbabwe is in a poor state because of human rights violations for the past
five years.

In other words, the human rights paradigm is dominant. It is the basis for
international condemnation and it is argued as the reason for the economic

Without attempting to dismiss or underplay the gross violation of human
rights in the country, I wish to offer an alternative approach to looking at
the Zimbabwe problem.

In my view, more than simply a human rights issue, Zimbabwe's problems
largely arise from bad economic management over a long period of time, even
during the time when the international community thought that Zimbabwe had a
clean image.

Critically, the dominance of the human rights paradigm has tended to divert
from the underlying cause for Zimbabweans' dissatisfaction with their

The core problem in Zimbabwe is poor economic management, which others
prefer to simply call in broad terms bad governance.

What really matters to the people is the economy and related issues. Human
rights are equally significant, but they were not the principal reason for
people's rise against the government in the late 1990s.

It is easy to see why human rights are the centre of the debate - the view
that Africa is in the state it is because of lack of democracy and as a
result a poor human rights record.

Why is it important to frame the Zimbabwe problem beyond the human rights
paradigm? It is important, as I seek to demonstrate in this article, because
it may help to shed more light on the wider issues at stake to key African
leaders and other participants seeking to resolve this problem.

They ought to understand that it is not simply a campaign to demonise their
fellow liberation brethren, but that the real grievance lies at the failure
of internal management of economic resources. Unfortunately, this has been
turned into a Mugabe vs the West issue, whereas it is in fact an issue
between the people of Zimbabwe and their government. There is need to
understand that the key grievances against the government go far beyond the
human rights issues which dominate current discussion.

I must quickly dispel any notion that I am attempting to dismiss the human
rights problems in the country.

The point however is that the human rights violations are a result but not a
primary cause of the problems in the country.

They are symptoms and may have exacerbated the situation that resulted
principally from bad economic management.

The failure to pursue viable economic policies, curb economic crime, reduce
indiscipline, etc have been the hallmarks of poor management of resources in
the country and the cause of economic decline.

Arguably, the reason the people of Zimbabwe rose against the government in
the late 1990s had little to do with human rights problems but are signs of
poor economic management that were beginning to manifest themselves after
years of recklessness.

It is the vice of poor management that needs to be tackled if Zimbabwe is to
recover even under a new government.

You could replace the current regime with one that respects human rights in
the usual way but if they do not pursue the right approaches to managing the
resources, problems will persist.

We have seen this already in countries like Malawi and Zambia where change
from the long-serving dictatorships has not necessarily yielded economic
stability, let alone prosperity.

To any casual observer around the world, the problems in Zimbabwe centre on
human rights violations.

In its portrayal in the media Zimbabwe ranks among the most repressive
states in the world. It astounds many across the world why African leaders
stand by while the regime allegedly violates human rights at will.

Some African leaders seem to argue that there is too much unnecessary
attention on Zimbabwe given the lack of similar outcry in relation to places
in Africa such as the DRCongo which are experiencing worse conditions.

To some African leaders "the Zimbabwe problem" is not in fact a problem at
all when compared to the challenges faced by other states in the continent.

But that is where the problem lies with the dominant human rights paradigm.
The problem with this paradigm is that it is cyclical and enables each side
to offer arguments, which make sense to the extent that one chooses to fit
in within a specific side. We can see this perfectly in the case of the one
key issue on which the human right's paradigm has been dominant - land.

The Zimbabwean government has always justified its actions in relation to
the land redistribution exercise on the basis of correcting historical
imbalances. The proponents of this argument argue that it was necessary to
restore the human rights of the indigenous black people. So to them it is
also a human rights issue. Then there is another section that accepts in
principle the need to redistribute land, but believes that the methods used
by the government were wrong.

They too couch their argument on the basis of human rights - arguing that
the rights of property owners, workers, etc were violated during the chaotic

What both groups seem to now agree on however and indeed what the facts
demonstrate, is that the exercise has caused economic disaster.

The way I would characterise this whole exercise, away from the human rights
paradigm, is that this was quite simply a case of bad economic management.

The government acted irrationally and on the basis of a desire to rally
political support during a time of dwindling political fortunes, thereby
throwing all principles of economic prudence that had hitherto governed
their conduct in relation to land.

What was required was an economic policy framework, which recognised the
interests of the white property landowners and the claims of the majority
black population.

The state failed to do so - a clear case of poor economic planning and
irrational judgement. But because we are all forced to see things from a
human rights perspective, we talk only of human rights violations as the key
problem, with the economic meltdown as a mere consequence, not a central
part of the problem. Instead, I would put it thus: poor management of the
land resource characterised by a misallocation of resources is the principal
cause of decline in agricultural productivity and consequently, economic

The need to resolve this economic problem is not to allocate land on the
basis of skin colour, political office and such other stupid criteria but
recognising the skill and capacity to undertake viable farming. There is no
room for sentimental considerations that start and end with slogans like
"This is the land of our forefathers!" - So what, if you cannot make it
productive? Similarly, restricting media freedom and closing down newspapers
is not merely a violation of the freedom of expression. It is a case of poor
economic management - the calculated attempt to destroy an industry that
employs masses of people both directly and indirectly. Similarly, Operation
Murambatsvina should not be simply assessed as a human rights problem - it
is in fact a clear demonstration of bad governance.

This is because it is the same leadership that led to the proliferation of
illegal settlements either by actively encouraging people to settle or doing
nothing to prevent them when they had the power to do so.

There are organisations and individuals that thrive on the human rights

They want everything to be seen within the context of human rights, even if
that characterisation obfuscates the real shortcomings and issues at stake.

In conclusion, I reiterate that I do not seek to dismiss any blatant
violations taking place in Zimbabwe.

But it seems to me that we must not lose sight of other real causes of the
country's predicament and that the people's grievances do not necessarily
have to be couched as human rights matters to be relevant.

This means that even if a new government were to come into power, it is not
simply the restoration of human rights that will solve Zimbabwe's problems.
That is only part of the process.

We do not have to place everything within a human rights framework - that
may in itself be one of the reasons for the cyclical nature of the Zimbabwe
debate. Perhaps framing issues beyond the simple human rights paradigm might
shed more light and pave the way to a solution. I think it is - sometimes we
do not realise that the language and framework of discussion can be as
important as the substance itself.

*Dr Magaisa is a specialist in Corporate and Financial Services Law. He can
be contacted at

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Zim Independent

Bad govt policies haunt sugar production
Eric Chiriga
THE current shortage of sugar is due to the incompetence of new farmers and
the price controls imposed on the commodity by government, the opposition

MDC shadow minister and former Grain Marketing Board general manager Renson
Gasela said settling of new farmers on Mkwasine Estates caused a reduction
in the production of sugarcane.

"Besides failing to take up the land they had been offered," Gasela said,
"those A2 farmers who took up the land are producing sugarcane that is well
below standard."

Gasela said this in paper titled "The future of sugar production in the wake
of land reform", dated July 7.

He said the future of A2 farmers was bleak because they do not have the
required resources to carry out sugarcane farming.

"It is obvious the A2 farmers, without sufficient capital, without
equipment, with no experience and working individually, will not be able to
survive," Gasela said.

He said although 2 700 hectares had been allocated, about 50% of those just
left one or two people to look after their property.

This has left a lot of the cane in a very bad state. A lot of it cannot be
used at all.

"It is a very sorry state to see sugarcane fields full of stunted drying
cane when there is so much water around, flowing in canals."

He also said the National Railways of Zimbabwe was failing to move the sugar
to the markets.

Sugar could be moved to Harare by rail via Gutu in Masvingo, but the
parastatal is unable to because of the controlled price of sugar, which
makes it uneconomic to do so.

Gasela said another factor contributing to the shortage were large
quantities of sugar exported illegally.

At the start of the sugar-milling season annually, government allocates
quantities of sugar to be exported, including a quantity set aside for
indigenous exporters.

Sufficient sugar is then reserved for the local market.

"There are however well connected sharks who smuggle and export from local
stocks," he said.

"The authorities should prove me wrong through an independent audit," he

Gasela said the selection of the new farmers was political and many of them
were likely to move from sugarcane production into irrigated maize.

However, completely irrigated maize could only be profitable if sold as
green mealies, Gasela said.

Mkwasine Estate is a sugar estate and was designed and developed to produce

Gasela said the acquisition of the sugar estates and subsequent allocation
to those in influential positions in government and the ruling party would
prove to be an unmitigated disaster.

He said Mkwasine now remained with 42% of its previous hectares and this was
diminishing as more fields continued to be parceled out.

"The estate has now lost the economies of scale which enabled it to bear the
cost of transporting cane to the mills."

It was the size of the operation and economies of scale that enabled
Mkwasine to subsidise Chipiwa settlers in the area.

The new farmers will now have to meet the full cost of transportation.

Mkwasine used to contribute 15% of national sugar production.

Triangle and Hippo Valley Estates had also been badly affected by the
unplanned settlements and land appropriations.

The estate is being forced to lay off 50% of its workers and stop subsidies
to the hitherto successful Chipiwa farmers. Alternatively, if economics of
scale do not permit, it may be forced to close down.

Gasela said if Mkwasine closes down, that would be the end of sugarcane
production and a loss of employment for about 2 000 people with over 10 000

"The government is in the throes of achieving yet another 'success' by
destroying the sugar industry as they have done to the other agricultural
commodities, namely tobacco, maize, wheat, beef, dairy, horticulture,"
Gasela said.

He said while there was talk of multiple farm ownership, in Mkwasine there
were influential individuals who owned as many as 11 fields in some cases.
"There are obviously many with more than one field but the policy is that
each person is allocated one field."

Each field is approximately 20 hectares.

The new farmers have an average yield of 40 tonnes per hectare. This was not
enough to cover the cost of transportation let alone production costs and a
profit, Gasela said.

Hippo Valley Estates said the land resettlement programme had disrupted
their operations and would cause huge losses to the company and the economy
as whole.

"The serious developments at Mkwasine Estate have greatly disrupted farming
operations on 2 063 hectares currently occupied illegally," Godfrey Gomwe,
the chairman of Hippo said in the company's annual report for 2004.

"Out of a possible 4 880 hectares," Gomwe said, "the estate only managed to
actively maintain 2 817 hectares over the last six months."

He said the illegal occupations would cause substantial loss of sugar
production and associated benefits to the company and the economy.

Hippo Valley North, consisting of 70% of the company's sugarcane land, was
first listed for compulsory acquisition in September 2000 and de-listed in
October the same year.

Mkwasine was listed in August 2000 and de-listed in September 2001.

On March 22, both properties were relisted and applications for their
de-listing were lodged on April 11, 2002.

Both properties were again listed for a third time on August 6 and 15 2003

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Zim Independent

Zesa warns of power deficits
Eric Chiriga
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has warned that the country
could face serious power deficits due to low coal supplies at all stations
and falling water levels to drive the turbines at Kariba Power Station.

Zesa Holdings chairman and chief executive, Sydney Gata, said the country
was faced with serious "energy security threats".

In a paper titled "Electricity Power Overview" presented at a Zimtrade
exporters' conference in Harare earlier this week, Gata said Zesa tariffs
were sub-economic.

Gata cited six major "energy security threats" that he said could plunge the
country into darkness.

These include the "hydrological risk" at Kariba Power station due to
persistent drought, a shortage of coal at all thermal power stations, the
expected power deficit in the Sadc region and tougher new import terms for
Zimbabwe in the period 2006 to 2008.

Experts have warned that the Sadc region faces critical power shortages in
2007. This could severely affect Zimbabwe which imports much of its power
from Eskom in South Africa, Snel in the DRC and Cahora Bassa in Mozambique.

Gata said the power utility was struggling to pay for current power imports
from South Africa and Mozambique.

Zimbabwe is reeling under biting fuel and foreign currency shortages that
have all but grounded the national airline, Air Zimbabwe. Power outages at
peak hours have become a daily experience for most domestic users.

"All new import contracts are now under much tougher terms and conditions
for Zimbabwe," Gata said.

Gata said the country only has one "firm" power import contract for 2005
with Snel of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The contract is for only 150
megawatts (MW).

Gata projected that an extra 1 950 MW would be needed to meet the
anticipated increased demand in the next three years.

"An extra 450 MW are required for the new irrigation and rural
electrification loads, 650 MW to displace current imports, 250 MW for
spinning reserve and 600 MW to support forecast economic turnaround and
gross domestic product growth," Gata said.

The power utility requires US$13 million a month to import electricity,
service debts and buy spares for refurbishment at its power stations across
the country.

Zesa generates 68% (1 440 MW) of national requirements from Kariba Power
Station (750 MW), Hwange Power Station (590 MW) and the balance of 100 MW
from small internal thermal power stations.

Imports of 650 MW account for 32% of national requirements from Eskom (300
MW), Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (250 MW) and 100 MW from Snel in the

Gata said local funding for the Expanded Rural Electrification Programme
(Erep) was inadequate and that government had not given them any support
since inception.

"Government funding is still not available from inception of Erep." He said
financing was currently from the 6% rural electrification levy, Megawatt
Bills and a loan facility from the Reserve Bank.

Gata said the bills were too expensive because of the high interest rates
while debt funding for rural infrastructure "is simply inappropriate,
anywhere, anytime".

External funding is in the form of a loan facility from an Indian firm and
China amounting to US$40 million and US$110 million respectively. According
to the paper, Zesa has a backlog of 12 176 customers who are paid up but
have not been connected. This is an increase from 5 653 in 2002.

He said the severe shortage of foreign currency and suspension of regular
annual tariff reviews in 2003 and 2004 were the major causes of the huge

The power utility has also failed to meet its target for the rural
electrification programme after it electrified only 3 902 projects out of
the 5 000.

He said for the rural electrification programme to function effectively,
Zesa would need government capital grants, low interest rate funds and
priority on foreign currency allocations to meet existing obligations.

Gata said plans were underway to invest in the electricity sector at a total
cost of US$2,09 billion between now and 2010. These include distribution
projects worth US$247 million, power telecommunications of US$22 million and
other transmission projects of US$372 million.

Zesa is courting investors from Iran and China to finance these projects.
Zesa is also exporting tobacco and cotton to offset debts incurred during
the rural electrification programme.

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