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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Another tough year for banks
By our staff

ZIMBABWE'S traumatized financial sector was last week presented with another
tough hurdle when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced new minimum
capital requirements to be adhered to by 30 September 2006.

Presenting the Mid-Term Monetary Policy Review on Thursday RBZ governor
Gideon Gono announced new core capital requirements to fortify the public's
confidence in the banking sector on top of painful reforms he effected in
"Cognisant of the challenging environment in which banks are operating and
the key role as a buffer and final line of defence against potential losses,
it has become necessary that as Monetary Authorities, we once again review
the minimum core capital requirements of banking institutions to fortify the
public's confidence in the banking sector," Gono said.

Gono said that Zimbabwe's minimum capital requirements were still far below
international trends. He said the central bank was giving the financial
sector 16 months to meet the minimum capital requirements.

Commercial banks have to raise $100 billion up from $10 billion last year.
Merchant banks, building societies and discount houses have seen their
capital requirements revised from the $7.5 billion to $75 billion. Asset
management, which Gono described in his maiden monetary policy as accident
in waiting, will now have to up the capital requirements to $10 billion.

Gono said that the minimum capital requirements were largely "derived from
the bare minimum outlays required to start up these types of institutions,
as well as the need to maintain the public's confidence in the banking

Independent economic consultant John Robertson said the minimum capital
requirements might not be a big deal as most financial institutions will be
able to meet the requirements within the stipulated time.

Robertson said: "It's not a big deal. Most commercial banks, building
societies, discount houses and merchant banks will meet the requirements
although small asset management firms might fail to meet the requirements."

Robertson said the figures announced were appropriate given the value of the
dollar and that prices have gone up since 2003.

"Financial institutions have been meeting the requirements, have met the
requirements since 2003 and will be able to meet the minimum capital
requirements," Robertson said.

The financial sector went up in smoke last year following the collapse of
ENG Asset Management. Although the financial institutions managed to meet
the September 30 2004 deadline for new capital requirements, a host of these
institutions were to close due to liquidity problems and unsound management
practices. Royal, Trust and Barbican were merged to form the Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group (ZABG), Intermarket and its subsidiaries are being
resuscitated by RBZ and Zimbabwe Financial Holdings (Finhold) while Time
Bank is haggling with the central bank over its closure.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Airzim 'endangers' passengers
By our staff

AIR Zimbabwe, the national carrier could be endangering the lives of
passengers by compromising safety standards.

The Standard understands that last week the embattled airline told
passengers stranded in Victoria Falls that it was going to drain fuel from
one of its planes from Dubai to refuel the Harare-London aircraft.
Aviation standards discourage the draining of fuel from one plane and
refilling in another as this can result in the contamination of the fuel.

Insiders at the airline said that Air Zimbabwe had of late failed to raise
money to buy Jet A1 fuel.

"The airline should have asked for reprieve from British Airways and Kenyan
Airways which have adequate stocks of fuel at the airport," said a source.

Insiders at the airline said yesterday that Air Zimbabwe was sitting on a
time bomb, as one of its Boeing 767 was overdue for maintenance.

The plane was due for maintenance on 21 June. As a result, the airline
requested for an extension of the deadline from the Civil Aviation Authority
of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), a request that was denied.

It takes up to 18 months for a plane to undergo maintenance checks. During
the maintenance period, manufacturers can detect faults with input coming
from the airline.

Sources told The Standard that the airline requested the parent ministry of
Transport and Communications for an extension of the deadline. The deadline
was then extended to 8 July on condition that by that time the airline would
have found a plane to lease.

"We requested an extension of the deadline which was granted to us on the
premise that by that date, we would have found a suitable replacement," said
one senior manager at the airline.

Insiders said Air Zimbabwe CEO, Tendai Mahachi, was ordered by the parent
ministry to look for a replacement plane. Plans to lease a plane from
British Airways hit a brick wall after the airline failed to raise money.

It costs in the region of US$4 000 an hour to lease a plane.

Analysts say the problems at the airline were man-made and aggravated by
wasting resources on flying non-profitable routes.

"Citing the Dubai route as an example, Air Zimbabwe could have used in the
region of US$45 000 in fuel alone, only to come back with a lone passenger,"
said an aviation expert.

The expert shouldered blame on management "which does not have knowledge
about the aviation industry".

He said: "Look at the recently appointed board and see for yourself that not
even a single member has a clue about aviation."

Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, David Mwenga, said he was not aware of any
incident in which the airline had drained fuel from one plane to refuel

When pressed whether the 767 plane that had missed the maintenance deadline
had undergone checks, Mwenga referred all questions to the Ministry of
Transport and Communications.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Proposed constitutional amendments slammed
By Valentine Maponga

PROPOSED constitutional amendments championed by the Zanu PF government will
make Zimbabwe's supreme law undemocratic, spelling doom for aggrieved
citizens who used to resort to the courts for redress, analysts have said.

Lawyers and political analysts interviewed by The Standard said the
amendments are contrary to the concept of a constitutional democracy.
Stanford Moyo, the vice president of the SADC Lawyers' Association, said the
amendments attack the fundamental features of a democracy, which entails
clear separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and the

"The amendments entitle the executive to make executive decisions and block
the judiciary from reviewing such decisions. No person can be deprived of
his property in the absence of due process and a decision of a duly
constituted tribunal or court," he said.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to international conventions and therefore is bound
by international law, which obliges it to ensure that when people's rights
are taken away, they be afforded redress through the judiciary.

However, the proposed provisions take away the right of farmers to resort to
the courts if their rights are violated under a controversial amendment that
deals with agricultural land acquired for resettlement and other purposes.

Section 16b states: ". a person having any right or interest in the land
shall not apply to a court to challenge the acquisition of the land by the
State (for agriculture or for resettlement purpose), and no court shall
entertain any such challenges."

This proposed amendment is in relation to all the land and farms that were
acquired before 8 July 2005 and was published in the Government Gazette.

"By ousting the jurisdiction of the court, the State is rendering the
judicial remedy ineffective in relation to land acquisition," said Moyo, who
is a former President of the Zimbabwe Law Society.

There are more than 4000 land acquisition cases dating back to 2000 still
waiting to be heard in the courts and if the amendments sail through all the
cases would be nullified, depriving the applicants of justice.

Other analysts said this clear disregard for property rights, would have
disastrous consequences on the image of the country as well as further
dampening investor confidence.

"Very few investors would want to invest in a jurisdiction in which property
rights are not respected or in which some property rights cannot be enforced
by the judiciary," said one analyst.

The freedom of movement is also one of the rights that may fall away under
the proposed amendments.

The government wants section 22 to be amended so that it can prevent people
suspected of harming national and economic interests of the state from
leaving the country.

"An example of type of mischief that may justify the impositions of the
restrictions on the freedom of movement contemplated by this clause is
where, for instance, it is discovered that a person intends to depart
Zimbabwe for purpose of engaging in terrorist training abroad," reads clause
3 of the memorandum of the draft constitution.

Zanu PF has often labelled members of the opposition as terrorists.

Among other proposals, the government seeks, through the amendments, to
reintroduce the Senate that will review and possibly refine legislation from
the lower chamber.

Innocent Gonese, the MDC chief whip, last week said they were against the
move of reviewing the constitution in parts. An overhaul would be most

"As a party we are against these piecemeal amendments to the constitution
that is why we have always called for a comprehensive approach to these
amendments. Zanu PF just wants to rewards its cadres who failed to make it
into Parliament," Gonese said.

He said that Zimbabwe was a very small country and the introduction of the
Senate was unnecessary.

"Zimbabweans can expect more misery with the coming of the Senate. This
country does not need that much representation, so it will not address the
problems we are facing. We need food and fuel but the Zanu PF government
seems to be too occupied with itself, accommodating more loyalists in
positions of power and ignoring the people altogether," Gonese said.

Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, said the anticipated senate
would "improve the governance and decision-making processes of government"
by ensuring broader representation and exhaustive consultation.

However, Moyo said the Senate was being constituted in a very undemocratic
manner: "Effectively the President will directly or indirectly appoint just
over 16% of the senators and that is manifestly undemocratic and

The first Senate, set up at independence in 1980, was disbanded in 1987 when
President Mugabe consolidated his power by abolishing the post of prime
minister and assumed the executive presidency.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

WOZA women acquitted
By our staff

BULAWAYO - 29 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), including
activist Jenni Williams, were on Friday acquitted of charges of contravening
the Miscellaneous Offences Act while demonstrating in Bulawayo.

Magistrate Sibongile Msipha, in handing down her ruling at the Bulawayo
Provincial Magistrates' court, said the women did not contravene any of the
laws of blocking traffic as they were in "motion and not stationery" along
the road, "hence they did not block any traffic".
Msipha also said that the State witnesses gave conflicting statements in
court adding "it is not the duty of the court to work on assumptions".

Williams, the WOZA spokesperson, said they were happy with the judgement and
vowed they would continue with their street demonstrations.

Advocate Perpetua Dube, of the Bulawayo Law Chambers, said it was wrong for
the State to have put Williams on trial as she was not part of the
procession of women demonstrating on the day in question.

"Basically, we are baffled as to what led to the trial of Williams, who was
not part of the procession when the women were demonstrating. It was a gross
violation of her rights.

"It was a wrongful arrest and prosecution. We would have expected the State
to issue an apology to her but up to now there is nothing," Dube said.

The 29 were arrested on June for demonstrating against the roundly condemned
"Operation Murambatsvina".

Williams, was not part of the procession but the police detained her for 48
hours with the other 28 women.

This is the third time that the women activists were appearing in court,
allegedly for breaking State laws.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

WFP makes contingency plans to feed 4m people
By Valentine Maponga

THE United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) has made contingency plans to
assist more than four million people in Zimbabwe as the number of people
requiring urgent food aid continues to rise.

According to latest reports from the UN, more than 2.9 million people will
require food aid over the next year until another harvest in May 2006 but
warn the figure could rise substantially.
"The number of people in need is based upon the government's announced plan
to import 1.2 million tonnes of maize to address food shortages, caused by
drought, inadequate access to inputs and limited tillage," reads part of the
report published soon after WFP's executive director and UN Secretary
General Special Envoy For Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa James Morris
toured the region.

The report said there was an urgent need to increase large-scale food
assistance programmes across the region at household levels after countries
in the region failed to grow enough food to meet domestic needs.

The report notes that serious food shortages would persist from now until
the next harvest in May 2006.

"Consistent with the still escalating price, WFP is preparing to provide
food for up to 4.4 million people before the next harvest in 2006."

The report also notes that in Matabeleland Provinces, serious maize
shortages were reported in Gwanda, Nkayi and Matobo districts.

In Manicaland Province, Buhera District is the most affected as people are
beginning to depend on vegetables without cereals as their main meal, while
some households resort to small stocks of red sorghum, from the last

The chronically ill headed households supported by WFP and Africare are
finding it difficult to cope in the absence of the Grain Marketing Board's
deliveries, as prices on the open market are beyond their means, the report

Agricultural Minister Joseph Made was not immediately available for a

According to the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) reports compiled
by SADC, together with the United Nations, the region needs to formulate
national policies on staple food prices, agricultural reform, and trade at
the national and regional level in order to reduce food shortages.

Other countries that are affected include Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland
and Mozambique, leaving the number of people in emergency need of aid at
more than 10 million.

Of the total amount of food aid required by the six countries, WFP needs
US$266 million or 477 000 tonnes so that food can either be purchased
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Soap joins list of shortages
By our Staff

SERIOUS soap shortages have hit the country, with most retail outlets going
without soap and washing powder for the past three weeks.

A snap survey by The Standard established that it has become very difficult
for consumers to get a bar of laundry soap or washing powder due to the
inadequate supplies.
Among the hardest hit were mothers who frequently used soap when washing

The soap shortage has widened the growing list of scarce basic commodities,
which include cooking oil, sugar, salt, milk and self-raising flour.

A shop assistant at one retail outlet in Harare said they last packed soap,
which has become very expensive, on their shelves two weeks ago.

"The deliveries of basic commodities in short supply are no longer
predictable and whenever they eventually come they are gone within minutes,"
said the assistant who identified himself only as Simba.

Manufacturers contacted by The Standard last week were not prepared to

However, Tonderai Mukeredzi, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ)
spokesperson expressed concern that most companies were now producing
substitutes in order to escape price controls and monitoring.

Mukeredzi said most retail shops were now selling South African brands and
yet there is shortage of foreign currency in the country.

"Whoever is importing those goods should re-direct that foreign currency so
that we improve our local industry," Mukeredzi said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Clean-up worsens urban poverty
By Caiphas Chimhete

MOTHERS jostle to be the first in the queue as babies strapped to their
backs, wail because of the pressure from the the ensuing melee and from
hunger and exhaustion.

This is neither war-torn Darfur in the Sudan nor Hambantota in the South
East Asia, an area worst hit by Tsunami, but a feeding point in Kambuzuma
high-density suburb in Harare, where hundreds of people affected by the
government "clean-up" operation receive food and blankets from Dorothea
Mission at Zimbabwe Red Cross Training Centre.
"I was not at home when my house was demolished, so everything was
destroyed," said Marita Dhliwayo, who had a home at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo
Heights in the same suburb.

"Even my child has only one pair of uniform - the one he had when the
demolition took place."

Her husband, Peter, who worked as an informal trader at Siya-So in Mbare, is
now jobless following a clamp down on the sector.

The Dhliwayo family is one of thousands of urban families who have been
impoverished by the government-sanctioned demolitions in a widely condemned
operation the government called "Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina."

An estimated one million people were affected by the "clean-up" exercise
countrywide, with some being forced back to their rural areas, where they
would have to start afresh.

The majority of those that have remained in the urban centres can no longer
afford enough food or pay for accommodation.

At Porta Farm, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)
estimates, nearly 10 000 people are living in the open. They cannot afford
to rent a room in Harare's suburbs as the rentals have skyrocketed.
Moreover, some have lost their livelihoods after the clampdown on the
informal sector.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) conceded that the operation left
thousands of families poorer than they were before it was launched.

Tonderai Mukeredzi, the CCZ public relations manager, urged the government
to expedite provision of assistance to impoverished families. "The operation
was noble and inevitable in order to sanitise urban centres, whose
conditions had drastically deteriorated but this has spawned shortages of
food and accommodation for the urban poor," he said.

Since May, the cost of accommodation in high density has risen by about 233
percent, according to CCZ.

A room in the high-density suburbs, which averaged $300 000 a month three
months ago, now costs nearly is $1 million.

This amount well beyond the reach of most people in Zimbabwe, where 75% of
the population already lives below the poverty datum line.

Presently, says CCZ, the monthly food and non-food basket for a low-income
urban household of six has increased to $4 247 808 in June, up from about $3
million in May.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) conceded the clean-up
exercise had deprived the urban poor of their sources of livelihood as the
majority of them depended on informal activities destroyed in the operation.

The sector, which employed more than 50% of the working population, was
virtually obliterated, leaving thousands of people without a of source

Most of them were into commodity broking, flea market and vegetable vending,
backyard furniture-making as well as cross-border trading.

"Consequently, destruction of their business operations means immediate
deprivation and destitution. As a result, many may be forced to engage in
negative coping strategies such as prostitution and stealing," noted the
latest Fewsnet report released last month.

Mukeredzi also condemned the abrupt closure of the informal sector without
providing an alternative source of livelihood to the people.

"It's not proper just to destroy people's livelihood without giving them an
alternative. The exercise, noble as far a sanitization is concerned, has
further impoverished the urban poor," Mukeredzi said.

The ever-rising cost of living, together with shortages of basic foodstuffs,
has worsened the crisis.

Major increases have been recorded for basic commodities such as sugar,
cooking oil, detergents and bathing soaps and transport costs, which
increased due to worsening fuel shortage that has hit the country.

Several charitable organisations including churches are assisting those
affected and at transit camps such as Caledonia, a few kilometers outside

An official at a Training Centre in Kambuzuma said the number of people who
needed assistance had increased since the demolitions, which government says
have been temporarily suspended, started.

"Its overwhelming. We can't cope anymore," said the official.

Fewsnet has urged government to put "safety nets" for the people whose
livelihood was destroyed by the operation. "Measures to restore urban
livelihoods recently destroyed by the clean-up operations, or to establish
safety nets for the affected households, need to be taken quickly," urged
the Fewsnet report.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

ATS/ MCI petition Parliament over proposed Education Bill
By Caiphas Chimhete

THE Association of Trust Schools (ATS) and the Matabeleland Chamber of
Industries (MCI) last week urged Parliament to reject the proposed Education
Amendment Bill arguing that it would lead to a drastic plunge in standards
of education in the country.

The Education Amendment Bill 6, 2005, which was tabled in Parliament
recently, empowers the Minister of Education to prescribe fees for private
schools as well as taking control of their operations.
In a petition to Parliament dated 6 July, the ATS said: "We object to the
proposed subsection (1) which gives power to the Minister to prescribe a fee
or a fee increase for a private school.

"The decision as to where we send our children and how much we are prepared
to pay is a private bedroom rather than a ministerial decision. Private
schools are alternative schools of choice for parents."

ATS represents 63 private schools and an estimated 30 000 students

In addition, the proposed amendment also gives the minister the power to
dictate penalties, which may include a fine on schools that contravene the

Furthermore, the Bill empowers the ministry to prescribe the qualifications
of all the school teachers to be employed in private schools and to direct
any responsible authority to terminate the services of any teacher who is
deemed not to be properly qualified.

The ATS also objected to the mandatory creation of School Development
Committees (SDC) outside the current governing structures of private

"We object to the subsection 5 (c) (v) which entails the take over of the
management of a private school by the government as an unwarranted draconian
action likely to disrupt the life of our children," said the petition from

Last year, 46 private schools were closed down after they increased fees
without the approval of the ministry of education. The ministry also fixed
the fees to the detriment of the services "provided to our children, which
we choose and are prepared to pay for".

In a separate petition, the MCI said apart from the negative impact on
education, the Bill will also drive investors out of the country.

It said it is the high quality of education that private schools have
maintained for the past 25 that investors find attractive in Zimbabwe.

The chamber said the skilled staff that ordinarily would have left Zimbabwe
due to the current economic crisis have not done so because of the benefits
their children derive from private education.

"We urge the legislators to consider seriously the implications of the Bill
to our economy and its related turnaround programme.

"In this regard we subscribe to the proposals made to you by the Association
of Trust Schools as a rational way of preserving private education in
Zimbabwe for the benefit of current and future generations of our beloved
country," said Edward Schultz, president of MCI, an affiliate of the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

Parliament confirmed receiving the petitions.

"Mrs Dingani is off today but I can confirm that we received the petitions,"
said Rejoice Nyoka, secretary to the Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Helen

Early this year, the High Court ordered the Ministry of Education, Sport and
Culture not to close down private schools that increase fees without its

In a landmark judgment, Justice Tedious Karwi declared that all private
schools in the country could increase fees without the consent of the parent
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Journalists look beyond Mahoso's MIC
newsfocus By Walter Marwizi

THE state appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) has denied the
Africa Tribune Newspapers (ATN), and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ)
operating licences, both in less than a fortnight, throwing the spotlight on
the relevance of the government appointed media regulator.

The decision, said to have been unanimous among the commission's members,
was an outcome that no genuine media practitioner in the industry would have
wished for. Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe published the two titles, The
Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday and employed scores of journalists
and thousands of other workers who have been rendered jobless for almost two

Apart from that, its titles provided a much-needed alternative viewpoint to
the incessant propaganda that was spewed by government-owned newspapers
during the 2000 and 2002 elections.

By denying ANZ which has been in and out of the courts for almost two years
fighting to bring back its papers on the streets, the MIC sent a clear
message to the industry that no media organisation in Zimbabwe could survive
without its blessings.

The timing of this message could not have been more perfect for Dr Tafataona
Mahoso whose organisation has attracted vigorous criticism from journalists
and interested parties who increasingly see the MIC as a Zimbabwe's "media

The MIC, a body set up under the Access to Information and Protection to
Privacy Act (AIPPA), shut down four newspapers in less than two years. One
of these papers, The Weekly Times was banned after only about a month in

A week before Mahoso announced the denial of the ANZ licence, journalists
and media advocacy groups had made a strong statement to authorities about
their displeasure with the MIC.

Led by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and the Media Institute of
Southern Africa, the media practitioners gave the Minister of Information
and Publicity, Tichaona Jokonya, a copy of their own Code of Ethics meant to
provide a set of common professional standards of conduct for media
practitioners and media institutions in the country.

Among many other things the Code, which seeks to render irrelevant the MIC,
sets home-grown benchmarks on how journalists tackle issues of fairness and
accuracy, privacy and the right to reply by aggrieved persons.

Under the Code, journalists commit themselves to the highest possible
standards when they go about their business of reporting. For example,
clause 4 stipulates that journalists must never publish information they
know to be false, or to make malicious and unfounded allegations about
others that are meant to harm their reputations while clause 5 directs
journalists to publish corrections promptly and with comparable prominence.

In its preamble, the journalists indicated they wanted a Media Complaints
Council (MCC), appointed by stakeholders, to apply and enforce their code
instead of the statutory MIC.

And this must have unsettled former media trainer and MIC head Mahoso who
used his African Focus column published by The Sunday Mail last week to
launch a counter attack and dismiss journalists calling for MIC's abolition
as admirers of the "global apartheid media models of the North Atlantic

Mahoso claimed his body was there to protect democracy, national sovereignty
and culture, among many other things and claimed Zimbabwe would reject any
other model.

Two days later, the former journalism trainer delivered news that did not
shock many people in the fraternity but dealt a major blow to staffers of
The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday. He announced that his
commission had "unanimously" agreed to deny ANZ an operating licence for
contravening some sections of the Access to Information and Protection to
Privacy Act (AIPPA).

ZUJ President Matthew Takaona said it was unfortunate that the MIC continued
to regulate the affairs of a media industry that kept on shrinking.

"While I am not shocked by the decision, I treat it is as a big tragedy.
From a union point of view, many journalists are in a state of destitution
and this does not help the situation," he said.

Takaona added that journalists would not relent in their efforts to regulate
themselves, as is the trend world over.

"We are looking beyond the MIC. We have formulated a Code of Conduct that
has been endorsed by stakeholders and we will be taking it to the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communication soon.

"Instead of the MIC, we want to have a professional body, a Media Complaints
Council which will look into people's complaints against the media.
Offending publications will have to publish an apology and anybody who still
feels aggrieved afterwards will be free to approach the courts," Takaona

Iden Wetherell, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum,
stressed that the Code is not a product of ZUJ alone but a coalition of
stakeholders such as MMPZ, MISA, Freelance Journalist's Association,
Federation of African Media Women and Zimbabwe National Editor's Forum.

He says: "We want a self regulatory body that would enhance accountability
and professionalism in the media. All the stakeholders have endorsed the
Code and as soon as possible we would to see a Media Complaints Council
being established."

The proposed Council is not unique to Zimbabwe.

Since 1916 when the Swedish Press Council, the oldest press tribunal was
formed, progressive countries the world over have moved away from state
involvement in media regulation, leaving practitioners themselves to set and
enforce standards for their own trade.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Macheke sexual-abuse case, a shocking outrage
Aidswatch with Bertha Shoko

FRESH reports of sexual abuse of schoolgirls at Macheke Primary School last
week are shocking and worrying.

In April this year there were reports that a 38-year-old general hand, James
Sangarwe, allegedly sexually abused 34 Macheke Primary School children.
Now, even before families of the affected children have seen justice in that
case, there have been reports that six of the 34 girls were raped again at
the school.

A local daily paper reported that Edward Chiripamberi, a temporary teacher
at the school, allegedly raped four of the girls three weeks ago.
Chiripamberi has since been remanded in custody after appearing in court
recently. Chiripamberi is said to have raped the four girls on separate
occasions in the boys' toilet.

An unknown person who sneaked into the school dormitory where the girls were
sleeping allegedly raped the other two girls, who are both in Grade Two,
last Tuesday afternoon.

These reports are horrifying and should worry each and every parent with a
child in school, especially in the wake of the AIDS pandemic.

I want to believe that if a teacher has ample time to rape four schoolgirls
on separate occasions, then there is something absolutely wrong with the
security system at Macheke.

It is outrageous that a stranger can sneak into the school grounds and
proceed to the girls' dormitories without being spotted.

The school has completely destroyed what trust the parents had in it when
they brought their children to grow up and be educated at Macheke. It is
such a shame and I am convinced that this is a clear case of criminal
neglect on the part of the school authorities.

How much trauma can young children like these endure at such a tender age?
Especially at a time when the young girls and their families were still
struggling to to come to terms with the anguish of the initial incidents -
then something like this happens.

My advice would be that parents with children at this school must pull them
out in protest. In addition, the parents must demand a serious inquiry into
this issue by an independent child rights' protection organisation so that
the the affected children are probed in a child-friendly environment and
appropriately counselled.

Speaking at a Press conference on Thursday to lobby various government
departments to act on the Macheke scandal, Betty Makoni, the director of
Girl Child Network (GCN) said there is fear that these girls are not
revealing everything about their sexual abuse, as they feel intimidated in
the presence of their superiors.

GCN made an urgent appeal to government and the Resident Minister of
Mashonaland East, Ray Kaukonde, to set up an urgent inquiry into sexual
abuse of girls at Macheke Primary School and other schools in Mashonaland

Makoni attacked the government for preventing GCN from empowering
schoolgirls after the initial reports of child sexual abuse in April and
believes this resulted in the recurrence.

"Our organization, the Girl Child Network phoned several government
ministries and offered to intervene and assist with various skills and
knowledge on the case with no success due to lack of co-operation by some
authorities," Makoni said.

"A month down the line the whole nation is shocked to learn that at least
four men who include a groundsman, a laundry-man, and a teacher are in this
organised school child sexual abuse syndicate."

Among some of the recommendations that GCN had made was the urgent need to
take the girls through an empowerment process so that the same could not
happen to them again.

Makoni said: "Our advice fell on deaf ears and a month or so later there are
revelations that four of the 14 or so girls who had their case pending with
the perpetrator got raped by a teacher at the same school. This is
disheartening to say the least.

"We have some questions that need urgent and realistic responses from those
who earlier dealt with this case that we felt needed thorough and more
coordinated approach. At least the second case should not have happened at

Makoni said her organisation would continue to work towards empowering young
girls with information to prevent child sexual abuse.

Makoni said: "Lets all develop a culture of prevention and build a network
to protect our children in the home, school, and community. Young girls have
a right to education and should not be turned into wives by teachers."

For feedback and questions please email:
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard


UN report in people's interest

FOR the second time in the history of this country, the United Nations has
ruled in favour of ordinary Zimbabweans. The first was when sanctions were
imposed against this country before independence.

The second was on Friday, when the UN released its damning report, saying
the government had indiscriminately violated the rights of its people. The
UN confirmed that Zimbabwe had disregarded several provisions of national
and international legal frameworks and that it had done so in an unplanned
and overzealous manner.
But the government's response to the UN report on the so-called "Operation
Restore Order" has been to go on the offensive, once again confirming that
the only views it will entertain are those that accord with its own. Last
year when the African Commission on Human and People's Rights produced an
adverse report, the government went on the attack and dismissed the report,
disputing not its contents but the procedure over which it had been tabled
before the African Union (AU). The government has a history - beginning with
the land invasions - of disregarding laws and court orders, setting an
unfortunate precedent.

Zimbabwe's reaction to the UN report is no different to its response to the
one tabled before the AU.

But there are fundamental differences between the UN and the report to the
AU. By agreeing to a UN investigation, Zimbabwe bound itself to acceptance
of the findings and to abide by the recommendations. It has to start
implementing the UN proposals.

The government cannot accuse the UN of bad intentions because while
castigating the government for the manner in which it carried out the
so-called "Operation Restore Order", the UN has made suggestions on the way
forward, and to prove its intentions pledged US$10 million over the next
three months.

The assistance is in such areas as provision of food assistance to affected
households, temporary shelter, water and sanitation, educational assistance,
basic health services, support for persons living with HIV and AIDS, orphans
and vulnerable children, as well as assistance to informal sector traders. A
UN HABITAT desk officer arrived in the country on Friday, marking the
beginning of what should be a partnership between the UN and Zimbabwe.

The UN may have been critical of "questionable strategy and questionable
methods" employed under "Operation Restore Order", but there is no doubt
that it provides Zimbabwe the best opportunity to re-engage the
international community. Zimbabwe needs to abandon its empty bravado and
bombast and seize the opportunity presented by the UN. How Zimbabwe will
relate to the international community will be determined by how it reacts to
the UN report. There is no doubt that there is very little choice or other
viable alternatives for the way forward for Zimbabwe.

If the government decides to play the tough guy, one of the possible
outcomes is that there could be a broadening of the EU sanctions against the
leadership of this country. But the difference this time is that the
sanctions could include all the other characters deemed partly responsible
for the State-sponsored humanitarian crisis, starting with the chair of the
Commission running the City of Harare, Sekesai Makwavarara. Twinning
arrangements with other cities could be suspended as will the other benefits
that go with such partnerships. Other countries on the continent and in the
region, with a conscience, could start taking their own measures to
demonstrate their displeasure at the government's indifference to the human
suffering it unleashed.

The UN slammed the government saying it is collectively responsible for what

The frantic efforts by the government to dismantle the "transit camp" at
Caledonia Farm outside Harare and relocation of the affected families to
Hatcliffe could signal a panic reaction to comply with the UN's
recommendations. Before the government unleashed its madness, Hatcliffe had
such infrastructure as water, sanitation and roads as well as a church-run

The building brigades the government claimed it had established could be
drafted in to assist the affected families rebuild their homes and lives.
The presence of a UN HABITAT representative, who is an expert in urban
planning and management, will ensure that informed long-term decisions and
plans are made and implemented, while shanty towns are upgraded, according
to internationally proven standards.

Helping the affected families rebuild their homes before the onset of the
rainy season could be part of the compensation package to victims of the
so-called "Operation Restore Order".

The United Nations General Assembly is held at the start of the last quarter
of the year. If President Mugabe and his government decide to play the tough
guys, then his presence at the UN General Assembly this year could be a most
uncomfortable one. The government is very good at claiming that its
decisions and actions are guided by the interests of the people. The UN
report is unambiguous about what should be done in order to safeguard the
interests of the people brutalised by their own government. The challenge is
whether the government has the spunk to admit bungling its disastrous
venture and demonstrate that it is man enough and do what every other
government is elected to do - serve the interests of its citizens.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Gono seeks divine power to save Zim
By Kumbirai Mafunda

A HUMBLED Reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono was on Thursday forced to seek
divine intervention in a desperate bid to arrest Zimbabwe's deepening
economic crisis, which has crossed catastrophic level.

The down-to-earth Governor committed his monetary policy statement to "God's
hands" as he ditched his usual two-hour sermons and took only about 53
minutes to deliver a 27-page statement, down from the previous 70 pages.
Economic analysts said Gono's Thursday's statement fell short on measures to
revive Zimbabwe's ailing economy.

"The forecasts are not realistic," said Tony Hawkins, an economic critic and
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's Graduate School of Management,
adding: "I don't believe his forecasts for exports, inflation and money

However, independent economic consultant John Robertson hailed as "positive"
Gono's 94,4% devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, which is expected to shore
up the central bank's purse.

"It is positive but it is not going to overcome scarcities," said Robertson,
an economic consultant at Robertson Economic Information Services.

Gono - who stealthily hiked the selling price of fuel to $17 500, up from
$10 000 barely a month after effecting a 300% hike - allowed motorists to
purchase fuel in hard currency a move seen as an effective dollarisation of
the economy.

Although the central bank chief was adamant that inflation will slowdown to
80% in December critics rounded up on him to dispute the claim.

"There is no way inflation will slow down," said Daniel Ndlela, economic
consultant at Zimconsult. "The fundamentals are not correct."

Gono moved to foil an imminent expulsion of Zimbabwe from the International
Monetary Fund ahead of the fund's Executive Board meeting in August, which
would have sealed the fate of the crisis-wrecked southern African country.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Zim can access EU funds
By our own Staff

ZIMBABWE still has a chance to access funds under the European Development
Fund (EDF), outgoing European Commission head of delegation to Zimbabwe
Francesca Mosca has said.

In an interview with StandardBusiness, Mosca said the country can lay claim
to 109 million euro grant for technical assistance if it adheres to the
concerns raised by the European Union prior to the cancellation of the
developmental grant.
The EU suspended aid to Zimbabwe in 2002 over lack of freedom of the media,
unfair elections, subversion of the judiciary, political violence and
disorderly land reform. Mosca said there was an urgent need for Zimbabwe to
mend relations in order to access the funds.

Mosca said: "The funds are there and Zimbabwe has to address the concerns
raised. If we think that the concerns are being raised, we will start
availing funds."

Mosca flew out of the country a fortnight ago to take up a new assignment in
Central America. Mosca, who arrived in Zimbabwe in 2001, will head six
Central American countries - Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua,
Panama and El Salvador.

She said she was leaving the country with a heavy heart because of the
strained relations between Harare and Brussels.

"It has been a challenge during our time that we would have improved
relations," she said. Mosca said she was "hoping that the political impasse
could be resolved yesterday". She said she is concerned at the decline in
the economic and the social livelihood of Zimbabweans since the country is
laden with resources both human and economic.

Mosca said legislation such as the NGO Bill were an inhibiting factor to

Mosca said: "We recognise that government has a right to regulate NGO
activities but we have some concerns in some positions which were not
allowing foreign money being given to NGOs which deal with human rights
activities." She said it was against the spirit of Cotonou Agreement, which
makes it clear that non-State actors should be receiving funds from donors
for all types of works.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Africa's curse - educated beggars
sundayopinion with Lovemore G Mukono

MY heart bleeds for Zimbabwe and Africa, my motherland. Every time I open
the newspapers or listen to news on television or radio all over the world,
I cannot help but mourn.

My country is full of educated people. But, alas, just like the rest of
Africa to the North, we have a lot of graduates with doctorates whose main
preoccupation is to be the best beggars.
Africa is full of hope, but alas, it ends there. We seem to have been
particularly schooled in the art of destruction; the destruction of that
which belongs to us.

I have watched with interest the way Zimbabweans tend to sit back and relax,
waiting for an event, ostensibly as a panacea to the problems at home. When
there is a budget to be presented by a minister, when the Reserve Bank
Governor is to present a monetary policy, or when there is a music gala, I
have observed that my fellow country people tend to freeze all else and
expect that all our problems will be solved immediately the next day.

I want to comment particularly on the just-ended G8 summit. Many stories and
opinions have been expressed in the media. Largely, these opinions are of
the view that the G8 leaders were expected to confirm that they owe us a
living. I say no! G8 leaders are Heads of State and governments of their own
countries. They look after the interests of their own nations. That is as it
should be. When is Africa planning to be a donor in its own right anyway? I
believe we have the greatest natural resources in the world.

As long as Africa believes that it will claw itself out of poverty on the
basis of the exploitation of the so-called natural resources, aid, grants
(or whatever you may call it) from the West, forget it! I hear a lot about
the Western world refusing to increase aid to Africa or to allow Africa
increased access to their markets.

What products does Africa with its 10 - 60 years of independence have to
offer? Africa produces no engines, no computers, no mobile phones, not even
motor cycles, no aeroplanes, no electronics, no software, no ships, no
medical drugs, no intellectual property.

To put it mildly, Africa spends money on the wrong investments. Africa is so
connected to the soil that the only investments Africa is prepared to
undertake has some connection with the soil and water. Talk of mining and
agriculture! How many times do you meet an electrical engineer who tells you
that he is going into farming? If electrical/electronics engineers go
farming, who then will produce the computer for Africa that will compete
with the latest IBM?

Will we ever reach that critical stage necessary to produce better
intellectually based products that compete on a global scale; a stage where
we will produce so that those with the real money will feel compelled to
release it to us in purchasing our products, an act of competing in the
knowledge-based industry?

I contend that if Zimbabwe were to announce today that the country was now
home to a Jumbo jet factory whose jets can transport 1 000 passengers
non-stop right round the world, or that Zimbabwe was now the producer of a
Maglev bullet train that travels on frictionless magnetism clocking speeds
at 800km/hour we would soon be inundated with orders for these products
whether the West have opened their borders for trade with us or not.

In fact, the citizens of those countries would smuggle our products into
their countries if their governments tried to stop them. Can you imagine the
impact on our economy? But no, Africa does not think this way. Our whole way
of doing things is just not in this direction.

Most of the political leadership in Africa is composed of hopeless
nationalists whose only interest is raw power to control the masses. They
have no ambition to turn the African countries they lead into major economic
powerhouses through the local citizens. They have no initiatives regarding
the economy. However, they are experts when it comes to planning wars and

Until Africa learns to plan strategically for technology-based
manufacturing, until Africa starts to invest in the production of products
that other nationalities will want to buy, there will be no respite. Is it
by accident, if I may ask, that countries such as Japan, Germany, USA,
Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and now China, who pursued a technology agenda
are experiencing unparalleled economic growth? What do our political leaders
learn when they go to these countries? Why do African government leaders
look up to the West for aid, but also demand that the aid comes with no

Can you imagine donating to a street beggar so he may send his child to
school or to feed his hungry population only for the beggar to tell you that
the money you gave him cannot have conditions? Can you imagine if the same
beggar pitched up at the same begging place the next day, but this time
wearing a six-button double-breasted leather suit, with a new fleet of
Mercedes Benz vehicles and smoking a cigar? Imagine him telling you to
donate more and with no conditions attached still? Can you imagine the
feeling? Suppose the initial funds you had given as aid to the beggar had
been part of funds pooled together by your households (tax payers), what
would you tell them? Can you imagine if the government of Zimbabwe were to
deduct our taxes, donate them to some struggling third world country whose
political leaders are often richer than the country they run or the greater
percentage of the tax payers from whom the aid is being sourced? Would you
be willing to have your tax given away without conditions?

I contend that Africa is a joke. We invest our money in the ground and then
look up, hoping that it will rain. In other words, we invest in projects
whose probability for failure is higher than the probability for earning a
return. In the case of Zimbabwe, most people who lined up to take up farming
thought it was easy. They realise now that it is not as rosy as they
believed and the country is poorer.

Africans also hate those of our nationals who exhibit independent thought
and business acumen. Can you imagine that Zimbabwe is trying to turn around
the economy without most of its best business brains in the country? Where
is Strive Masiyiwa? Where is Nigel Chanakira? Where is Julius Makoni? Where
are all those business leaders who have made huge strides in bettering the
economy of our country? Where are our motivators? Who then shows the
up-coming youngsters how it's done? Why is it that the richest people in our
country derived their wealth from non-productive based activities? Why then
are they displayed daily as role models?

We know that Bill Gates got his wealth from producing computer software. Can
we say the same for our local elite? Day in day out we see politicians
politicking on television. Where are the producers? Can we really base our
future on the Chinese traders, whose main interest (and rightly so) is to
find a market for cheap imitations?

Local leading business people have been refused licences to invest in
productive manufacturing in Africa. If Zimbabwe had its way, there would be
no Econet Wireless today. Applicants for Satellite Broadcasting and
manufacturing way back in 2001 were denied licences for no reason yet the
government itself publicised an invitation for those interested to apply?
Foreign stations continue to broadcast to the country and sucking the little
forex available. Who is benefiting? Is Zimbabwe better off without those
investments from its locals?

I have watched with interest the showers of praises given to governors and
politicians in Africa. Those who stand in front of us daily, tell us what
percentage they are allocating resources to this sector or that. But do we
also pause to think that these people are really not productive after all.
They rely on the productive sector to produce and all they do is to try and
share the available cake. Yet they get the entire acknowledgement as being
in the forefront of turning around the economy. Regrettably too many African
politicians tend to tamper with capital and the result is capital flight to
more enabling environments. We spend more time pushing papers and we call
that turning around the economy!
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Living with shortages and sinners!
Americanotes by Ken Mufuka

WHEN you read this article you will know why I had to say a tearful goodbye
to my friends Fabian Mabaya and his wife, Ms Happiness. He insisted that it
be published after my safe departure.

The "Nigerianisation" of the Zimbabwe economy has reached an unstoppable
stage. The government's desire to control and snoop into every aspect of
Zimbabwean life is unquenchable. Rather than alleviate the shortages, it
feeds into corruption. The result is the "Nigerianisation" of the economy.
Everything is available, if you pay a bribe or use official threats.
The sinners who run our government, though blessed with as many as seven
university degrees each, are incapable of comprehending the basic theory by
Adam Smith, that entrepreneurs are not saints. Their basic instinct is to
search for goods at the lowest prices and sell them at the maximum profits.

In the Vumba mountains, border jumpers passed by my lodge, carrying five
litre jerry cans. They faced intolerable hazards in their 20 kilometre
journey into Mozambique to source for petrol which they sold at three times
the official price. The sinner chefs employed the Zimbabwe police to
intimidate, harass and confiscate their goods. It exposed our police force
to corruption. The border jumpers were satisfying an economic need. They
were also earning a living honestly, through hard labour, unlike the chefs
who live off the suffering of the righteous.

The causes of shortages can be traced to the farm invasions - killing the
goose that laid golden eggs. President Robert Mugabe was correct in
reclaiming the land, but as seems to be a pattern with his government; good
ideas are implemented thoughtlessly, wickedly and viciously.

Zimbabwe was a leading exporter of tobacco in the world yielding a crop
worth US$350 million in year 2000. In the past, the months of April to
August, the tobacco selling season, saw government treasury awash with cash.
Now the government struggles to pay its bills, even during the tobacco
selling season. The white farmers had entered the horticultural export
market with remarkable determination, - selling fruits and other products
even to Russia.

The average Zimbabwean is overwhelmed. There are shortages of maize meal, if
one secures a bar of Sunlight laundry soap its lather is indifferent; white
and brown sugar is impure; stamps cost $7 000 a letter and $100 000 for

The sinner chefs boast everyday about their heroic deeds in the liberation
struggle. Their understanding of the world economy is zero, zilch,
non-existent. They have no understanding of the meaning of monetary value.
It is the value of money, stupid!

Without this understanding, even a heroic new cellphone farmer cannot get
anywhere. I drove around with a heroic emergent farmer. He had to cut
through a five kilometre jungle swamp to reach his new possession.

After clearing the land with a primitive axe and fire, his ox-drawn plough
could hardly cut a ten-centimetre farrow. Fertilizer then cost $80 - 90 000
a bag. In May, the price was $350 000 a bag. As I write in July, the price
is $500 000 and when available on the parallel market. I forgot one thing.
The last rains which were due in March and April failed resulting in a poor
season: During the same months petrol prices rose from $3 600 a litre to $10
000 a litre.

Compare this with the US farmers who tears the soil with his caterpillar,
petrol costs $1 for five litres, he is bribed with cash payments in order to
reduce his acreage. Some equipment, he gets for free, or is heavily

The new Zimbabwe farmer, given the circumstances in which he works, is truly
heroic, but doomed to fail. The politicians support the farmers with fierce
scolding of British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Brother Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, took over a prosperous
horticultural outfit from a white farmer. If anybody had the ingredients to
succeed, it was him. But, from day one, everything went wrong. Lord
Sainsbury influenced European grocers not to accept farm produce from
Zimbabwe. He neither had the time nor the knowledge to do what it takes to
overcome these hurdles. The oranges are rotting.

Unless and until the brother chef sinners go back to school and learn the
simple rules of economics, we are doomed to follow Nigerian economics. Nor
do the chefs lead by example.

The supreme chef told a gathering of tribesmen to conserve petrol. Tribesmen
use paraffin, not petrol. The supreme chef then left the rally, six motor
scooters blazing the way, six limousines following and then more police
vehicles raising dust and sand. Thus, the rulers of our country lead by
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Standard

Pressure mounts on paranoid Freedonia rulers
By Dumisani Mpofu

FREEDONIA, the land of the brave and free as a nation did not brook
conditionalities. But different circumstances dictate different strategies.
The word "skint" was used to refer to the state of the country's economy.

Now Freedonia had international obligations, due to be met imminently. It
also required external resources to finance the procurement of such critical
supplies as foodstuffs, grain, power imports and petroleum products.
And so it was that it turned to one of its neighbours, an emerging regional
political and economic powerhouse of good international standing.

Freedonia's neighbour was only too happy to oblige. There were several
reasons for this. For the neighbour, Freedonia's plight represented
opportunities for the neighbour's business sector, but there was, in
addition, a diplomatic coup that had eluded the neighbour but which now
seemed tantalisingly at arm's length.

Freedonia's neighbour set conditions, but Freedonia pretended these were not
within the realm of what it defined as conditionalities. However, everything
comes with a price. You cannot always have your cake and eat it.

"Yes," said the neighbour, "We shall give you some assistance. But this will
go towards paying for your energy, fuel, grain and other imports sourced
from our industries. We will also settle your international obligations. In
return, we expect significant progress on the internal political dialogue."

The leadership in Freedonia faced mounting pressure at home and abroad to
deliver. Freedonia needed to import at least 1.2 million tonnes of corn and
200 000 tonnes of wheat at an estimated cost of US$420 million to cover the
country's cereal deficit. Already Freedonia was experiencing severe
shortages of other basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, soap and
milk. The need to import grain to bridge the food gap increased the prices
of available goods to consumers, while diversion of foreign exchange to
import food reduced the availability of foreign currency available for other
essential imports, including agricultural inputs and machinery necessary for
the 2005/2006 farming season.

Such a scenario meant problems for the following year's food production,
resulting from inadequate tillage facilities, shortages of fuel and late
delivery of seed, fertilisers and chemicals to farmers.

It is not easy for people full of their pride and conscious of sovereignty
to admit failure, but the rulers of Freedonia had said as much with an
announcement that anyone with external resources was free to purchase their
own fuel.

It was only a matter of time before Freedonians with external resources
would be allowed to buy other goods and services the country could no longer
afford to import. It was a profound statement on the extent of confidence
Freedonians had in their system.

However, for Freedonia's neighbour this arrangement was a God-sent
opportunity for its businesses to flood Freedonia's market with their

The power sector suffered intermittent interruptions, with grave
consequences to industry. The losses were staggering. As a response,
Freedonia had ruled that supplies be suspended to some sectors. This meant
that, for example, things such as traffic lights could no longer expect
electricity. Instead, graduates of a national youth service scheme would be
deployed to direct traffic. At least that is what it looked like at the

Palace sources, however, said the real intention was not any energy savings.
They said, instead, the intention was to put out more "eyes and ears" on the
ground to listen to and note any signs of discontent, or Freedonians
discussing or planning and plotting anti-State activities. Already public
transport and queues for basic commodities were being infiltrated by these
"eyes and ears" of the State.

Freedonians recalled an era during the struggle for their freedom, a series
of political slogans that ran like: "Be careful what you say, these walls
have ears." Then, it meant you could pass on State intelligence to freedom
fighters, but in Freedonia's present circumstances, it meant be careful of
Back to the Top
Back to Index