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
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 2004. "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
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 sector".
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
"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.
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.
should have asked for reprieve from British Airways and Kenyan Airways which
have adequate stocks of fuel at the airport," said a source.
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
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
It costs in the region of US$4 000 an hour to lease a
Analysts say the problems at the airline were man-made and
aggravated by wasting resources on flying non-profitable
"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
He said: "Look at the recently appointed board and see for
yourself that not even a single member has a clue about
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, David Mwenga, said he was not aware
of any incident in which the airline had drained fuel from one plane to
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.
Proposed constitutional amendments slammed By Valentine
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
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 legislature.
"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
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
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
This proposed amendment is in relation to all the land and
farms that were acquired before 8 July 2005 and was published in the
"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
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
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
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.
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
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 appropriate.
"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.
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,"
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
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 unacceptable."
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.
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.
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
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
"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
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.
WFP makes contingency plans to feed 4m people By
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
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
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
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 harvest.
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 noted.
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
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 locally.
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
The soap shortage has widened the growing list of
scarce basic commodities, which include cooking oil, sugar, salt, milk and
A shop assistant at one retail outlet in Harare said
they last packed soap, which has become very expensive, on their shelves two
"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
Manufacturers contacted by The Standard last week were not
prepared to comment.
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
Mukeredzi said most retail shops were now selling South
African brands and yet there is shortage of foreign currency in the
"Whoever is importing those goods should re-direct that foreign
currency so that we improve our local industry," Mukeredzi said.
Clean-up worsens urban poverty By Caiphas
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."
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."
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
The majority of those that have remained in the urban
centres can no longer afford enough food or pay for accommodation.
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
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) conceded that the
operation left thousands of families poorer than they were before it was
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.
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.
amount well beyond the reach of most people in Zimbabwe, where 75% of the
population already lives below the poverty datum line.
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
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
The sector, which employed more than 50% of the working
population, was virtually obliterated, leaving thousands of people without a
of source livelihood.
Most of them were into commodity broking, flea
market and vegetable vending, backyard furniture-making as well as
"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
Mukeredzi also condemned the abrupt closure of the informal sector
without providing an alternative source of livelihood to the
"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
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 Harare.
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
"Its overwhelming. We can't cope anymore," said the
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.
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.
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
"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."
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 provisions.
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
The ATS also objected to the mandatory creation of School
Development Committees (SDC) outside the current governing structures of
"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 ATS.
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
In a separate petition, the MCI said apart from the negative impact
on education, the Bill will also drive investors out of the
It said it is the high quality of education that private schools
have maintained for the past 25 that investors find attractive in
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.
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
"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 Dingani.
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 approval.
In a landmark
judgment, Justice Tedious Karwi declared that all private schools in the
country could increase fees without the consent of the parent ministry.
Journalists look beyond Mahoso's MIC newsfocus By Walter
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
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 years.
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
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 hangman".
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
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
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).
President Matthew Takaona said it was unfortunate that the MIC continued to
regulate the affairs of a media industry that kept on shrinking.
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
"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
"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,"
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.
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
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
These reports are horrifying and should worry each and every
parent with a child in school, especially in the wake of the AIDS
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
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
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 East.
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
"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
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
"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
Makoni said her organisation would continue to work towards
empowering young girls with information to prevent child sexual
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
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
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.
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 clinic.
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.
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
Gono seeks divine power to save Zim By Kumbirai
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.
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
Although the central bank chief was adamant that inflation will
slowdown to 80% in December critics rounded up on him to dispute the
"There is no way inflation will slow down," said Daniel Ndlela,
economic consultant at Zimconsult. "The fundamentals are not
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
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
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
Mosca said legislation such as the NGO Bill were an inhibiting
factor to development.
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.
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
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
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
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
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 destruction.
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 conditions?
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
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
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
Living with shortages and sinners! Americanotes by Ken
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.
"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
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 airmail.
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,
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
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 subsidized.
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
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 example!
Pressure mounts on paranoid Freedonia rulers By Dumisani
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
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
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
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
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
However, for Freedonia's neighbour this arrangement was a
God-sent opportunity for its businesses to flood Freedonia's market with
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 surface.
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
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 instigators.