26 July 2007
I HAVE asked three distinguished Zimbabweans to join a panel discussion at
Wits University's Great Hall next Wednesday evening on the fate of their
The panellists are Trevor Ncube, publisher of the Mail & Guardian newspaper;
Elinor Sisulu, biographer of Walter and Albertina Sisulu and a leading
member of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition; and Tawanda Mutasah, the
executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
I have tried to get Zimbabwe's high commissioner in SA, SK Moyo, to join the
panel but he is unavailable. I am not surprised when members of the
Zimbabwean government declare their unavailability for anything these days.
Just the other day they did not turn up for talks with the Movement for
Democratic Change because they had more important things to do.
Given my strong views on Zimbabwe, I have asked fellow analyst Khehla
Shubane to chair the discussion.
From our days at Wits University in the 1980s, Khehla was universally
regarded as one of the more level-headed among us. He was one of the very
few people who had no trouble talking to you even if you were from the other
side of the political line.
But why is it important to have such a public discussion, beyond the fact
that Zimbabwe is now in free fall?
First, it is vitally important to understand the broader political context
and political culture of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
For far too long we have focused on the land grabs, making it possible to
see Zimbabwe's problems as purely racial problems. And that is why someone
like Ronald Suresh Roberts can write a book about President Thabo Mbeki's
"native intelligence" on a lot of things, including Zimbabwe, without saying
anything beyond "estimates of the Matebeleland dead run to 20000". In the
book, Fit to Govern - The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki, how and why
and by whom those atrocities were perpetrated is conspicuously absent.
For Roberts, these atrocities are insignificant in the greater scheme of
things: "The regional villains of the self-styled west, from King Leopold
and Cecil Rhodes, to PW Botha and Craig Williamson, through Jonas Savimbi,
Mobutu Sese Seko and Teodoro Obiang Nguema, have perpetrated violent and
kleptocratic horrors over longer periods than Mugabe has time for in what
remains of his sad and violent present".
Instead, he approvingly cites Mbeki's argument that the reason Zimbabwe is
such a preoccupation of the west is because "white people died, and white
people were deprived of their property". I would be embarrassed if I was the
The problem, of course, is that the president himself is Roberts' s biggest
endorser. Frankly, it would make very little sense to the victims whether
20000 people were killed in one massacre, and a million in another .
In a brazen display of his lack of experience with repressive regimes,
Roberts credits Mbeki for the fact that there has been no military coup in
Has the guy read anything about Zimbabwe's political history under Mugabe?
For that you have to read Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe, A Report on the
Disturbances in Matebeleland and the Midlands 1980-1988.
I certainly hope Elinor Sisulu, who has written a preface to the report,
will speak about those atrocities and thus take us right into the belly of
The second reason for a public discussion on Zimbabwe has to do with what I
said a couple of weeks ago - as black South Africans, we have a lot to
answer for when it comes to Zimbabwe. A number of my friends were upset by
that generalisation- just like many white progressives get upset by my
generalisations about white support for apartheid.
And just as I have conceded that there are many white people who "bit the
hand that fed them", I also concede there are many black people who are
appalled by Mugabe.
However, my generalisations seem to have worked very well, at least to the
extent that they got people to say what they really think about Mugabe.
How else could I have known, comrades, amid the applause and the ululations
for Mugabe at all of our public gatherings? At least we now have the
opportunity to support the people of Zimbabwe the old-fashioned way -
The third reason is about the exercise of democratic citizenship. We should
stop relying on officials in the foreign affairs department for our
Besides, they may even be more confused than all of us. In other parts of
the world, foreign policy is a function of the power and influence of
The great historical question is: do we have a lobby for Zimbabwe among us
black South Africans?
n The panel discussion with Ncube, Sisulu and Mutasah will take place at the
Wits University Great Hall on Wednesday August 1 at 6pm.
Mangcu is executive chairman of the Platform for Public Deliberation, and a
visiting scholar at the Public Intellectual Life Project at the University
of the Witwatersrand.
Mens News Daily
July 25, 2007 at 11:26 pm
There can be little doubt now that those of us who continue to live in
Zimbabwe are engaged in a desperate struggle that closely resembles a tug of
war. I do not think anyone who has interests here should either sit on the
sidelines and watch the struggle or ignore the play being acted out on this
particular stage at this time.
On the one side are those who control the State and its machinery. On the
other are the MDC and its activist supporters. This is not an equal
struggle, the one side holds all the resources and capacity of a modern
State - the armed forces, the administration, the Reserve Bank, State
controlled media and the Legislature. The other side is under funded, have
no ready access to the media, do not control the field of play and have only
themselves to rely on. They have a global cheer brigade that encourages them
and applauds what they are doing, but little else.
The reality is this. In the absence of any effective intervention by South
Africa and its SADC allies, Mugabe is now engaged in an exercise designed to
dismantle what is left of the private sector, reduce urban populations by at
least a third and take over what is left standing at the end of this
blitzkrieg either by the State or those connected with the State.
This exercise has no legal basis, it is purely political and is being
implemented with ruthless determination by people who have their backs to
the wall and have nothing to lose. They are serious about nationalizing all
the major foreign firms here, except perhaps for certain selected mining
companies that are needed for the next stage. These will be taken over one
by one by the State using either the State Trading Corporation (the larger
retail groups) or the IDC (all major industry). With the equities market
down dramatically this exercise will be supported by payouts in Zimbabwe
dollars that will be deliberately depreciated by simply printing money in
ever larger denominations.
The smaller concerns will be liquidated by the price control exercise and
then taken over by Zanu PF elements as well as individuals from the Armed
forces and the security apparatus. These assets will be dished out as a
reward for compliance and support and strictly controlled on a political
basis - move away from support for the regime and you will immediately lose
your assets and rights and be forced into exile - look at Mawere, Makoni
(NMB) and many others.
Note that Zanu PF supporters and collaborators are being equally targeted by
this exercise. Many are unhappy with the present operation and the collapse
of the formal economy into which they have invested and secured substantial
assets over recent years. This shows that those with power, no longer regard
them as essential to their needs or operations. This is an action by a tiny
group that is centered on Mugabe and is using the State itself as its
They are deliberately destroying the livelihoods of millions and hundreds of
thousands of jobs. They are also systematically removing the means to supply
those same people with the basics of life. Fuel and food are virtually
unobtainable right now. I am informed that they have 40 million litres of
fuel stored in State controlled facilities. Enough to keep them going during
the siege of the private sector for several months - far longer than any
firm can hang on. Those affected have only one option - flight. I am not
exaggerating or trying to panic people, but a real refugee crisis is now
developing on our borders as two to three million people try to flee to
anywhere that might provide them with the means of survival.
This new wave of humanity is going to impact most on South Africa where the
population of desperate, impoverished Zimbabweans is about to soar to five
or six million. I leave to your imagination how these new migrants will make
a living in South Africa. Please note that this regime gives scant regard to
the interests of any of our neighbors - they seek only their own survival on
a small island of a State in Central Africa.
Their goal is a remarkable one - they are down sizing the economy to a shell
of what we had before, they are reducing the urban population and at the
same time the national population by forcing out those who are the remaining
support base of the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. When it is over we will have
an impoverished, subsistence supported population with some industrial and
commercial activity - all controlled either by the State or by individuals
whom are themselves State controlled and directed. Under these new
conditions elections, run by the military, will hold few dangers for this
So back to the tug of war. This battle is not over, we must, all of us who
have an interest in the future and welfare of Zimbabwe and the region, now
become engaged in this tug of war. We can all do something - I urge you to
take a short break from whatever you are doing and think about what you can
do to help us pull this corrupt, despotic and irresponsible disgrace of a
regime over the mound and consign them to the dustbin of history. We can all
do something - let your mind run over what you might do to contribute, no
matter how small, if we act together we can make a difference.
It might be a small donation to Zimfund.com, it might be a decision to delay
your departure from Zimbabwe and to try and struggle on for a while longer.
A friend at Church has a small business that has been wiped out - he has
gone to the UK to try and find a job and will then leave with his family. If
he does, he takes yet another person out of the struggle, leaving fewer
behind to pull on that rope. You might write a letter to your MP or simply
help a local family without food or clothing. If you run into a Policeman or
a Soldier - urge them to change sides. Every person we can get to change
from supporting the regime to opposing it, is a double victory.
Paul McCarthy wrote the song "Tug of War" for the group "Wings" and says in
the lyrics that this is a tug of war to raise the flag on this hill so that
afterwards we can all walk to a different drum. That is what it is all
about; raising the flag for democracy, freedom, the rule of law, justice and
equity, human rights and development. Help us do just that.
Bulawayo, 26th July 2007
Thursday, 26th July 2007. 6:56am
By: George Conger.
THE FORMER Bishop of Harare and Mashonaland Peter Hatendi (pictured)
has accused his successor Dr Nolbert Kunonga of banning him from functioning
as a priest.
In an open letter published on July 10 in the Zimbabwean, Bishop
Hatendi, denied rumours that he had left the Anglican Church. His absence
from the pulpit was due to a ban issued by Dr Kunonga, he explained.
"Not long after his consecration as Bishop Dr Kunonga let it be known
that he had decided to deprive me indefinitely of my divine right to
celebrate, officiate, preach and administer sacraments in the Diocese of
Harare. The Diocese in which I was baptised when I was three weeks old,
confirmed, ordained and consecrated Bishop."
No reason for the ban had been given, he said.
However, in a letter to the diocese dated Dec 22, 2002, Dr Kunonga
stated he intended to exercise firm control over the diocese and "no one had
authority to over rule his directives or to do anything without his prior
knowledge and approval," Bishop Hatendi said. Allowing him to continue
functioning as a priest appeared to 'constitute a threat to [Dr Kunonga's]
control' of the diocese, Bishop Hatendi said.
Elected Bishop of Mashonaland in 1981, Bishop Hatendi resigned as
chairman of Zimbabwe's Electoral Supervisory Commission in 2000 in protest
at government interference with the country's elections. Dr Kunonga is an
outspoken apologist for the Mugabe regime and has been banned from entering
the EU and the US for his complicity in the crimes of the regime.
Bishop Hatendi noted that he had not fully complied with the ban,
however. "On the premise that 'where there is a Bishop there is a Church,' I
felt duty bound some time ago to set up an oratory altar at home, and to
preach and celebrate in Anglican homes by invitation only."
Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr
Kunonga 'were duly informed of this,' he said.
Kumbirai Mafunda Acting Political Editor
Mugabe meets business leaders
REPRESENTATIVES of Zimbabwe's embattled business sector this week made a
major breakthrough when they met President Robert Mugabe for the first time
in years and got him to commit to a set of new economic reforms in a
development that might also see his Cabinet taskforce on prices ease its
Senior government officials disclosed yesterday that President Mugabe, who
has of late hardened his stance vis-à-vis business and Vice-President Joice
Mujuru on Monday held a meeting with 12 captains of industry, who included
chairpersons of key sub-sectors such as manufacturing, mining, milling, and
The meeting, details of which are being kept a closely guarded secret, was
held at State House, President Mugabe's residence, and lasted for four
The business leaders, whose constituencies have suffered losses running into
trillions of dollars since June 25 when the government ordered a 50 percent
price slash, presented a document to the President detailing economic
proposals they believe are required to ease tensions sparked by the price
war and allow the sector to continue operating viably.
No details have been made available on the proposals, but a "15-point plan"
to rescue the economy, a source involved in the negotiations said, has been
agreed between the President and the business leaders.
President Mugabe, whose government has ruled the country since independence
in 1980, has been on the warpath against the business sector, which he
accuses of supporting a regime change agenda allegedly being pursued by the
main opposition party and its allies.
Business leaders have denied the charge.
Since the price crackdown was launched on June 25, over 4 000 traders,
including company directors, general managers and sales managers, have been
At the same time, serious shortages of products have resulted in empty
shelves in supermarkets and other outlets because most companies cannot
replenish their stocks - spelling potential trouble for the ruling ZANU PF,
which will however, face a divided opposition in next year's harmonised
"They (business) presented a confidential letter to the President, and it
will activate a lot of things. The document outlines the short-term,
medium-term and long-term solutions to rescue the economy," said the source.
At the meeting, it is understood that President Mugabe urged his government
to consider proposals crafted by business.
"The President was really receptive to the proposals made by business. The
way forward agreed was that government should negotiate with business and
work on the proposals," the sources said.
The business delegation to the meeting included representatives from key
organisations such as Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president
Callisto Jokonya, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Marah
Hativagone, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe head Johnson Manyakara,
Delta Corporation chief executive officer Joe Mtizwa, former CZI leader and
Ariston Holdings chief executive officer Kumbirai Katsande, and Pindie
Nyandoro, chairperson of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.
Also present at the meeting were members of the Cabinet taskforce on price
monitoring and stabilisation, which is chaired by Industry and International
Trade Minister Obert Mpofu.
After the meeting, the businesspeople reportedly signed a letter, sent to
President Mugabe on Tuesday, thanking him for "granting them an audience".
Government sources said President Mugabe advised the business sector to
continue lobbying government at their weekly meetings with Mpofu's team.
The meeting with President Mugabe came as some large businesses inched
towards bankruptcy because of mounting losses caused by the imposition of a
price cap on all commodities.
President Mugabe last month ordered a 50 percent cut on the prices of all
goods and services, charging that businesses were raising prices and
deliberately reducing output in an economic "dirty tricks" crusade to
trigger unrest and oust his government.
While the business sector will regard the meeting with President Mugabe as a
major breakthrough, there will be doubts as to whether government is willing
to allow reforms to the extent necessary to keep the economy from further
There have been signs over the past week, however, that the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) could be readying some sort of economic
recovery plan for Zimbabwe, even though government itself is giving mixed
signals on whether it will accept reforms - whether prescribed by local
businesses or by the region. On Tuesday, President Mugabe announced that
Zimbabwe would implement a new economic plan that would be based on what he
referred to as SADC's "recommended package of measures to turn around the
On the same day, central bank governor Gideon Gono talked of "on-going
regional deliberations on enhanced economic cooperation with Zimbabwe",
saying this was one of the reasons he had postponed his mid-term monetary
policy statement, which had originally been scheduled for today.
Tomaz Salomão, SADC executive secretary, has since March 29 led a team to
Zimbabwe to evaluate the state of the economy with a view to proposing
Leefa Penehupifo Martins, head of communications at SADC, said Salomão had
completed his study and was to report to the summit troika of the SADC Organ
on Politics, Defence and Security.
The Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy - a blueprint first revealed by
The Financial Gazette last November - would run between 2008 and 2010, but
now with SADC backing, President Mugabe told Parliament.
Notably, however, government is willing to run the reform plan only once
next year's elections are out of the way and not immediately. This could
suggest that the planned programme includes reforms that could be painful
for ordinary Zimbabweans.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
THE central bank has moved swiftly to allay fears of insolvency in the
banking sector by insisting that interest rates and service costs remain
outside the influence of a Cabinet taskforce on prices that has sparked
economic chaos after forcing commodity prices down.
The Financial Gazette reported two weeks ago that a wave of fear had swept
through the banking sector after indications that government was planning a
clampdown on financial institutions over what is seen as exorbitant bank
charges and high interest rates.
The planned move was meant to augment a government crackdown on industrial
operations and retailers.
But a notice sent out by central bank governor Gideon Gono, who has taken a
tough stance against members of the taskforce straying into the financial
sector, indicates that some taskforce members had already covertly entered
the sector to force interest rates and service costs down.
In a strongly worded notice to chief executive officers of financial
institutions on Tuesday, Gono stressed that the financial sector was outside
"unguided inspection, unguided dialogue, unguided visitation or probe" by
members of the Cabinet crack unit led by Industry and International Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu.
Gono insisted that only the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor had
jurisdiction over the financial sector, and solely had the mandate to foster
liquidity, solvency, stability and proper functioning of the country's
He said his memorandum to the financial sector was in response to "some
distress calls and substantive information" that certain members of the task
force under ongoing government initiatives on pricing had visited financial
institutions demanding that interest rates or cost of services should be
"In some cases, I am told, members of these committees have demanded certain
confidential bank-client information and taken some such schedules with
"Given the potential for such acts to destabilise the entire financial
system and the public's trust in the sector, as governor, I have brought
this serious matter to the attention of the chairman of the task force,"
Gono said in the memo, dated July 24, 2007, a copy of which was shown to The
Financial Gazette by a senior bank executive.
He has also met all Cabinet ministers and members comprising the task force,
as well as deputy police commissioner Godwin Matanga, who is overseeing the
He said they had agreed that the task force had no jurisdiction over the
pricing of financial services and instruments, and any members of the
taskforce approaching a financial institution on the issue should be
"politely escorted out of the banks and if (they) offer resistance, must be
apprehended and handed over to the police.
"Any taskforce or committee issues or concerns by the public in respect of
product or service costing, interest rates or any other concerns about the
financial sector will be channelled to the governor who will use the
sufficient instruments available and/or powers at his disposal in terms of
the Banking Acts to deal with such genuine concerns," Gono said.
He said attempts to arrest members of the financial sector over pricing
issues should be immediately reported to him, the police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri, taskforce chairman Mpofu or the Minister of Finance
"In putting in place these safeguard measures, as governor, I am attaching
great importance on the need to preserve the public's full confidence and
trust in the banking system as the fulcrum of the economy's local and
international transactions, both in production, trade and commerce," Gono
Interest rates are influenced by several factors, such as the central bank's
accommodation rate, normally described as the cost of money.
The central bank's accommodation rate currently stands at 600 percent for
secured borrowing and 700 percent for unsecured borrowing.
Banks have in the past complained that they were in a squeeze because they
were paying a large percentage of their deposits to the central bank through
statutory reserve ratios, leaving them with very little from which they also
had to pay depositors interest.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
POLICE fabricated an elaborate story about a farm that does not exist and
created two fictional witnesses in a desperate bid to link opposition
activists to "terrorism", a High Court judge said in what could further dent
the image of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
The South African farm at which the police claimed opposition activists
arrested at the height of a spate of petrol bombings a few months ago were
trained in terrorist activities does not exist, while the two witnesses that
the police said had implicated 13 members of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in a series of the bombings are also a figment of the law
High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha made the damning remarks on
Tuesday, when he ordered the release of the 13 activists after more than
five months in custody.
The group had been on remand since March on allegations that they were
behind the bombing of several government installations.
Part of the judgment reads: "The police had alleged that the applicants had
trained at a farm known as Lala Bundu Farm. When challenged to show on the
map where Lala Bundu Farm was, they failed to do so. It turned out to be
Among those released are Glen View Member of Parliament Paul Madzore, his
brother Solomon, who is the party's youth secretary general, Chitungwiza
Member of Parliament Fidelis Mhashu's driver Shame Wakatama, Peter Chikwati,
a former opposition Harare City councillor, and activists Tonderai Ndira and
"The applicants went on to further point out that in a desperate attempt,
the state even claimed that it had evidence from one Peter Chindodana and
one John Zhuwawo, but those turned out to be fictitious persons who did not
exist. When the state was ordered by the court to produce these individuals
to show that they existed, it failed to do so," the judge said.
Justice Kamocha said there was confusion on the charges that the accused
persons were now facing. At one point, Police Assistant Commissioner
Musarashana Mabunda had said the MDC members were accused of undergoing
military training in South Africa between December 2006 and March 2007, only
to subsequently make a complete U-turn to allege that the training had taken
place in 2001.
The judge said the prosecutor, Tawanda Zvekare, told the court that the
police made four trips to South Africa to investigate the matter, but that
they had been denied entry on two occasions on the grounds that they had not
followed proper procedures.
The opposition activists, who were represented by human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama, were granted $10 million bail each and were ordered to report
to the police three times a week. The ZRP has been dogged by criticism that
police have become the leading edge of the state's worsening rights abuses,
notably the detention and torture of opposition and civic society leaders in
March this year.
The force has also been accused of harassing legal officers, defying court
orders and acting as if the ZRP is an extension of the ruling ZANU PF party.
TOBACCO deliveries to Zimbabwe's auction floors slumped from 1 million
kilogrammes to 700 000 kilogrammes in the past week owing to operational
challenges, The Financial Gazette established this week.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive officer Andrew Matibiri
said although prices remained firm, deliveries slowed down because of
shortages of fuel, incessant power cuts and the shortage of tobacco wrapping
The season's average selling price remained at US$2.32 per kilogramme.
This year's average selling price has increased by 20 percent from last year's
US$1.92 per kilogramme.
"There has been a shortage of wrapping paper supplied by Hunyani Paper and
Packaging because of failure to get the import component on the paper.
However, diesel and frequent power cuts have been a major challenge,"
ZESA Holdings has increased load shedding due to reduced power generation at
Hwange Power Station caused by limited coal deliveries following a series of
breakdowns at Hwange Colliery Company Limited, the country's sole supplier
Deliveries are around 56 million kilogrammes although the season is expected
to end at 80 million kilogrammes when it closes in September.
The latest tobacco harvest is a slight departure from a previous pattern of
steady decline in crop output that began seven years ago.
The predicted 80 million kilogrammes will represent a slight rise from the
55 million kilogrammes sold last season.
The golden leaf, which enjoyed a peak of over 200 million kg in 2000, has
slid year after year over the last six years to 160 million kg in 2001/2, 85
million kg in 2002/03 to 68 million kg in 2004.
A shortage of inputs, under capitalisation and the government's chaotic land
reform programme have been blamed for the output decline of a crop that was
once the country's key foreign currency earner.
Matibiri said farmers continued to be enthusiastic and were already working
on their seedbeds for the next season's crop.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE High Court has ordered Senate President Edna Madzongwe to vacate a farm
in Chegutu that she allegedly forcibly seized last month.
The order followed an application by the owner of the property, Richard
Thomas Etheridge, of Stockdale Farm, which cites Madzongwe and the Minister
of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa as respondents, that
an offer letter issued to Madzongwe had no effect.
High Court judge Yunus Omerjee granted Etheridge interim relief by consent,
barring Madzongwe from the property.
In court papers, Etheridge claims Madzongwe and other people acting on her
behalf entered the property on June 20 this year and occupied a portion of
it in anticipation of his eviction.
The forcible occupation occurred after Mutasa had served Etheridge with a
notice, dated May 2, 2007, to vacate the farm by August 30 to make way for
On June 15, the farmer was served with another notice informing him of the
government's intention to acquire equipment and materials from the farm.
Etheridge said Madzongwe's offer letter for the property, dated March 6, was
null and void, as the farm had not been acquired.
Part of the interim court order reads: "(Madzongwe) and all other persons
claiming occupation of the property through her, and any other person not
being a representative, employee or invitee of applicant (Etheridge),
forthwith vacate the property."
The temporary order authorises the deputy sheriff to enlist the assistance
of the police in the eviction of any persons illegally occupying the farm.
In her affidavit, dated June 27, Madzongwe says she only went to the farm to
initiate discussions with Etheridge for the smooth handover of the property,
on the strength of the offer letter that had been issued by Mutasa.
She denies acting unlawfully.
"I categorically deny all allegations of any unlawful activities by myself
and or persons under my control. At no time have I threatened injury to the
applicant's person or persons nor to his property.
"While I have attended at applicant's farm on a number of times, I have done
so for the sole purpose of working out a smooth handover/takeover of the
farm and its operations."
The Senate president said Etheridge had consented her presence on the
"My presence on the farm has been with the applicant's consent. On the
contrary, applicant has all along assured me that he would allocate
accommodation for certain of my employees to ensure a smooth
handover/takeover. It is only recently in June 2007, that I have come to
suspect that applicant no longer wishes to proceed with his agreement of
Shingi Mutumbwa represents Madzongwe.
Three years ago, the government said influential officials owning more than
one farm would be prosecuted, but critics say prime farmland continues to be
parcelled out to top ZANU PF officials.
Last year, the Bulawayo High court set aside Mutasa's decision to withdraw
an offer letter to businessman Langton Masunda, in favour of the Speaker of
the House of Assembly and ZANU PF chairman, John Nkomo.
The judge barred Nkomo from interfering with Masunda's occupation and use of
the land allocated to him, including Jijima Lodge and its environs.
A HARARE magistrate has given Nathan Makanza, a government doctor, until
tomorrow to produce a medical report to verify claims that seven alleged
coup plotters were tortured in custody.
It also emerged this week that the unexpected resignation of lead state
prosecutor in the coup plot case, Lawrence Phiri, had caused delays in
On Monday, a magistrate gave a Friday deadline for a medical report to be
produced, according to Charles Warara, the lawyer representing the alleged
"The doctor explained that he did not get a court order directing him to
produce a medical report. Eventually, the court directed that he should
produce the report by Friday," Warara said.
Warara added that the case had been stalled after Phiri left the Attorney
General's Office for a new posting.
The Attorney General had, however, assigned another law officer to the case.
"We could not proceed with the case. The prosecution did not have their
house in order," Warara said.
"They have not responded to our bail application. It has put us in a very
The seven accused, who were arrested in May, face treason charges arising
from allegations that they planned to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.
The alleged ringleader of the conspiracy, Albert Matapo, intended to install
himself as prime minister and then "invite" the Minister of Rural Housing
and Social Amenities, Emmerson Mnangagwa to become president.
The seven accused persons denied plotting to overthrow the government and
have pointed out that they were picked up from a private office while
planning to form a political party.
In June, the High Court barred members of the public from attending the
hearing after an application by the state that the case be heard in camera.
Kumbirai Mafunda Acting Political Editor
INTERNATIONAL aid groups have mobilised less than half of the grain required
to close a growing food deficit in Zimbabwe, a United Nations (UN) agency
The UN launched a US$215 million appeal for humanitarian and food aid early
this year after grim projections that this season's grain yields would only
come in at half the nation's annual domestic requirements. The size of the
appeal would have enabled the UN to feed close to two million Zimbabweans
Grain Marketing Board acting head Samuel Muvuti disclosed on Tuesday that
Zimbabwe is to import 200 000 tonnes of grain from Tanzania, to add to
another 200 000 tonnes that has been acquired from Malawi.
But the country remains in need if aid, relief agencies say.
In its mid-year humanitarian appeal review released this week, the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said donors had mobilised only
US$122 million of the US$253 million required overall and this would leave
swathes of the country at risk of starvation.
"Following this mid-year review, the 2007 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP)
has a revised total requirement of US$253 million. As of 12 July, a total of
US$122 million has been contributed, leaving unmet requirements of US$131
million. The majority of the funding received so far has been for the food
sector, with 91 percent of requirements funded," the UN office said.
In justifying the review of the food appeal, the UN said more Zimbabweans
were seeing their livelihoods eroded by an economic crisis that has further
undermined food security.
The body also referred to fresh forced evictions, although it said these
were not on the scale of Operation Murambatsvina/ Operation Restore Order,
the 2005 government clean-up exercise.
Kumbirai Mafunda Acting Political Editor
A FACTION of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) plans to
mount a diplomatic offensive in the region to lobby leaders ahead of next
month's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Lusaka.
Arthur Mutambara's faction says it will send a delegation comprising its top
leadership to most of the 14 SADC countries to hold talks with leaders
before next month's summit, which is taking place at a crucial stage in the
The party said the meetings are part of an on-going diplomatic campaign by
the opposition to engage regional leaders in dialogue on the political and
economic situation in Zimbabwe.
The MDC faction plans to meet some of SADC's most influential leaders,
including Botswana President Festus Mogae and Zambian leader Levy Mwanawasa,
incoming SADC chairman, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, current
SADC head Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and South African President Thabo
Mbeki, who is brokering dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF and the two
factions of the divided opposition party, is expected to update his SADC
counterparts on the progress of his mediation efforts, which are feared to
be in danger of collapse because of a lack of cooperation by the ruling
The Mutambara faction's spokesperson Gabriel Chaibva confirmed the planned
mission, saying his party would use available options to lobby SADC leaders.
"We will not stop at anything that we believe will assist in finding a
permanent solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. The problems in Zimbabwe are an
African issue," Chaibva said.
SADC is under growing pressure to find a solution to the crisis. Kofi Annan,
the former United Nations Secretary-General, at the weekend described the
Zimbabwe crisis as "intolerable", and criticised African leaders who cling
to power for too long.
"The ever downward spiral of Zimbabwe is both intolerable and unsustainable.
We all have a stake in resolving the crisis," Annan said.
The former UN chief, who is now chairman of the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa, criticised African leaders for shielding each other
from censure, even when some of them are guilty of gross human rights
He said the practice was "a pernicious, self-destructive form of racism that
unites citizens to rise up and expel tyrannical rulers who are white, but to
excuse tyrannical rulers who are black". SADC leaders have so far expressed
concern about the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe only
privately. Ahead of the March summit that appointed Mbeki to mediate,
Mwanawasa broke ranks by publicly denouncing Zimbabwe as a "sinking Titanic".
The Mbeki mediation mission has appeared to be stuttering in recent weeks,
with ZANU PF missing crucial meetings and refusing to allow debate on the
need for a new constitution.
President Robert Mugabe has publicly said he will not negotiate a new
constitution, and on Tuesday opened a new session of Parliament that will
debate an 18th amendment to the constitution. The MDC opposes the amendment,
demanding an entirely new constitution.
However, the talks now appear to be on course again after the ZANU PF
representatives, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche finally travelled to
South Africa last week to meet Mbeki's mediation team, after failing to show
up for earlier, scheduled meetings.
UNITED States president George W Bush has nominated James McGee, a black
diplomat, as America's next ambassador to Zimbabwe.
McGee will replace Christopher Dell, who ended his tour of duty earlier this
month to take up a new assignment in Afghanistan.
McGee has served in a number of African countries during previous diplomatic
"The president intends to nominate James D McGee, of Florida, to be
ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America
to the Republic of Zimbabwe. Mr McGee, a career member of the senior foreign
service, recently served as ambassador to the Republic of Madagascar," the
White House said in a statement on Tuesday.
McGee has also previously served as US envoy to Swaziland.
Earlier in his career, he served as counsellor for administrative affairs in
Abidjan, Cote d' Ivoire.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the US became frosty during Dell's term.
Before his departure, Dell said his successor would maintain the pressure on
the Zimbabwean government.
On the day he left Zimbabwe, Dell was famously chased through Harare
International Airport by a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation news reporter,
who asked whether his was a "mission un-accomplished", an allusion to the
government's repeated charges that during his three-year stint in the
country, the American envoy had pursued a "regime change" agenda.
Dell was a constant thorn in the flesh for the ruling ZANU PF party when,
given the slightest opportunity, he could predict the imminent collapse of
President Mugabe's regime citing hyperinflation and the general difficulties
faced by Zimbabweans as a result of misrule.
Dell at one time predicted inflation would reach as high as 1, 3 million
percent before the end of this year. This, he said, could be the tuning
point for President Mugabe's regime.
But President Mugabe hit back accusing Dell of instigating civic strife in
Zimbabwe to force his government out of office.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
FIRST, there was a reserve force. Then there wasn't. Now, President Robert
Mugabe says, there is.
In March, Defence Minister Sekeramayi announced the creation of an auxiliary
force under the Defence (War Veterans Reserve) Regulations of 2007 Statutory
But not long afterwards, during a question and answer session in the House
of Assembly, he backtracked, telling Members of Parliament that the
government had "no such plans".
Confusing the issue even further, the Ministry of Defence, through the
"Department of War Veterans", then convened meetings across the country,
where the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Board,
retired general Solomon Mujuru, addressed ex-combatants.
Addressing a joint sitting of Members of the lower House of Parliament and
senators on Tuesday, President Mugabe said: "It will also be remembered that
to further bolster the defence forces, government recently gazetted the
Defence (War Veterans Reserve) Regulations of 2007. These regulations are
meant to guide the conduct of those eligible war veterans who decide to
voluntarily join the war veterans reserve force."
This was in stark contrast to Sekeramayi's earlier remarks in Parliament,
when responding to a query by the Movement for Democratic Change shadow
minister for defence, Giles Mutsekwa.
"Mr Speaker, the government has no plans to form a reserve army," Sekeramayi
President Mugabe counts war veterans among his most loyal supporters.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
Critics say new laws will only widen political chasm
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe warned against "parochial, partisan interests" when
he opened a new session of Parliament this week, but his critics point out
that a range of new laws he aims to push through this session will only
widen the chasm between him and his opponents and put paid to any hopes for
The analysts said most of the proposed new legislation has a partisan agenda
designed to entrench existing repressive laws.
The last bill to be passed was the overwhelmingly opposed Interception of
Communications Bill, which allows government to snoop on private
Government critics say the next session is likely to deal with even more
pieces of legislation designed to entrench state repression.
Among the most contentious bills to be debated is the 18th Constitutional
Amendment Bill, which is expected to have a bearing on the country's
Parliament will also debate the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill and
amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, both of which seek to ensure a 51
percent shareholding in all firms for locals.
The 18th constitutional amendment, the analysts said, would have a negative
bearing on the on-going talks between ZANU PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), being brokered by South African president Thabo
The Bill will, on the other hand, extend the ruling party's patronage system
by increasing the number of Members of Parliament, while placing President
Mugabe in a position to influence the selection of his successor.
As an indication that trouble is brewing over the proposed laws, Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of one faction of the opposition MDC, said on Monday that
government should withdraw the 18th amendment to show it was serious about
the SADC talks.
Tsvangirai said he had ordered legislators aligned to his faction to attend
President Mugabe's address in Parliament on Tuesday this week, a departure
from the party's position to boycott all the President's addresses.
"With this decision, it is my sincere hope that ZANU PF and President Mugabe
will also show restraint and maturity. In this regard, the withdrawal of
Constitutional Amendment No.18 that is currently awaiting its first reading
in the Lower House will be a good and decisive confidence-building measure."
According to constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, the amendment would be
the "final nail" in the coffin for the Mbeki mediated dialogue.
"The amendment goes against the spirit of dialogue. The basis for dialogue
is to replace unilateral decision-making with consensus and the inclusion of
the opposition. The amendment has its origins entirely in the ZANU PF
politburo," Madhuku said.
The proposed economic bills would "terrorise" business, in much the same way
the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) were used to cow independent media and
Madhuku said legislation alone would not bring a solution to the country's
economic and political crisis.
"Law making is not the way out of a crisis. The so-called economic laws will
be equivalent to POSA and AIPPA in the economic field,"
ZANU PF has, since 2000, pushed through Parliament laws designed to deal
with perceived threats to its rule, but these have only served to polarize
The majority of the laws were declared unconstitutional by the Parliament
Among laws introduced in controversial circumstances was the General Laws
Amendment Act, which required urban voters to prove that they had lived in
an area for 12 months before an election.
Under the same law, chiefs and traditional heads - allies of ZANU PF - were
required to vouch for anyone registering as a voter in the rural areas.
The law also limited postal voting to diplomats and members of the armed
forces, disenfranchising about three million Zimbabweans estimated to be
living in the diaspora.
ZANU PF has also fast-tracked laws that classified millions of Zimbabweans
of foreign descent as foreigners, making them unable to vote.
In addition, ZANU PF reacted to a flood of lawsuits sparked by the land
reform exercise by amending the constitution so that the courts effectively
lost jurisdiction over such disputes.
Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
ZIMBAWE'S health delivery system is set to get a major boost following a
decision by health professionals, based both in the country and in the
diaspora, to form a trust to raise funds for the revamping of the tottering
The health delivery system continues to face numerous challenges that
include lack of adequate state-of-the-art equipment, brain drain, and low
salaries for personnel.
Paul Chimedza, the chairman of the trust and president of the Zimbabwe
Medical Association (ZIMA) said yesterday there were a lot of gaps in the
health sector that required to be filled, adding it was not the
responsibility of government alone to address the challenges facing the
Said Chimedza: "We felt that there were a lot of things that we could do as
professionals, both here at home and abroad, to address the challenges
facing the health sector in the country. We have realised the need for
equipment, refurbishment of the existing equipment, and shortages of
sundries, drugs, and many other things.
"Through the Zimbabwe Health Access Trust, ZIHAT, we hope we will be able to
address these problems and bring back the good and efficient health delivery
system, " he said.
Chimedza added that the drought situation, the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and
the economic crisis bedeviling Zimbabwe had made it impossible for
stakeholders to channel their resources to the sector.
"The Zimbabwe Health Access Trust is targeting to bring together more than
100 000 Zimbabweans in the diaspora and we hope that we will be able to
raise enough funds to help us in our endeavour," Chimedza said.
The ZIMA boss is the chairperson of the trust, while Susan Mtangadura (SFG
Insurance managing director) is the vice chairperson.
Other members of the trust include Eugene Mlambo (Tetrad Group chief
executive officer - CEO), Chipo Mtasa (RTG CEO), Vuyelo Chitimbire (director
ZACHT) Joselyn Chaibva (Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Company), Marah Hativagone
(Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president), Douglas Mamvura
(e-Tranzact managing director), Supa Mandiwanzira (CEO-Mighty Movies), and
Partson Mapanda (ZIMA Midlands president).
Chad Tarumbwa (ZIMA Bulawayo Branch president), Enock Tatira (ZIMA vice
president), Godfrey Skipa (USA based technical director and ZIHAT diaspora
representative), Mike Mbizvo (World Health Organisation representative based
in Geneva) make up the rest of the members of the Trust.
The trust will formally be launched at a function to be held at a Harare
hotel on August 2.
THE government has announced a new nine-member board for the country's sole
grain marketer, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is expected to usher
in new management for the loss making parastatal.
Former Reserve Bank deputy governor and Infrastructure Development Bank of
Zimbabwe chief executive Charles Chikaura will chair the new board, which
has been mandated to restructure the parastatal and appoint a substantive
general manager or chief executive.
This raises questions about the future of Samuel Muvuti, who has served as
GMB boss in an acting capacity since 2003.
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo said yesterday the new board would be
tasked with "streamlining the management structure" and expanding commercial
operations - under which GMB manufactures its Silo range of foodstuffs - a
division that has been the mainstay of the institution.
The last GMB board, which was chaired by businessman Enock Kamushinda, was
dissolved in 2005. The rest of the members of the new board are Basilion
Sandamu, Francis Muchada, Martin Rushwaya, George Magosvongwe, Edward
Raradza, Aurthur Nyamukapa, Sara Ndhlovu and Michael Bregger.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
THE public enthusiasm that accompanied the government's crackdown on
retailers and manufacturers has turned into anxiety for the restive
population, but one man faces the most invidious task: Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
Gono hastily called off a scheduled mid-year monetary policy statement that
was due next week, saying he needed time to analyse the implications of the
government price controls and an imminent supplementary budget.
But indications are that the consequences of both are likely to be
uncomplimentary, and Gono might find out he has a very difficult assignment
crafting a monetary policy framework that could take the country out of its
present economic quagmire.
Sources indicated that there is growing hostility among Cabinet members
against Gono, who is understood to have vigorously opposed the campaign
against industry spearheaded by a cabinet taskforce on prices led by
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu.
There are even suggestions of fissures between Gono and Finance Minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi over the central bank boss' interest for an oversight
role in fiscal issues, particularly prudent spending to compliment his
efforts to rein-in inflation and reduce money supply growth, the sources
Apparently, Gono is the front man for the government's economic turnaround
programme, but recent events and developments indicate his foot has been
taken off the front of the campaign. The supplementary budget is essentially
a call for additional expenditure, and figures reported by The Financial
Gazette last week do not inspire hope this fresh budget is aimed at
repairing a faltering economy.
The direction the policy decision and implementation had gradually taken
indicates that fiscal policy will likely take a bigger role in the political
scheme as the country drifts towards elections next year.
The political and economic truth does not favour a fiscal policy having an
overbearing influence during the present crisis; rather, it favours the
taking of a bigger role especially in tackling the inflationary scourge.
Fiscal policy should play a diminishing role in the country's economic
stabilisation efforts, and instead trail the monetary policy by
complimenting its inflation-busting measures.
But Gono's latest withdrawal of a scheduled mid-year monetary policy
statement betrays the fact that monetary policy is playing second fiddle to
the fiscal policy, and so Gono would have to mobilise all his creative
genius to ensure that he comes up with a policy that accommodates a
profligate government already oiling its machinery for a ruling party
victory in 2008.
As news reports suggested this week, Gono's twice yearly statements have
become the major highlights of Zimbabwe's economic calendar but analysts say
official policies such as last month's directive to slash prices by half
continue to frustrate efforts to revive the economy.
Gono said in his statement cancelling the scheduled mid-year monetary policy
review statement that he had done so because of "the need for more time to
enable the Reserve Bank to analyse the policy implications and way forward
with regards to the on-going government programme on pricing structures in
He highlighted that there was "need for the monetary policy statement to
draw synergies from the imminent fiscal supplementary budget statement."
The effect of a government clampdown on industry to force prices down has
been to create widespread shortages of basic food commodities, as well as
acute fuel shortages, grounding the economy to a near-standstill.
Scarcity, by nature, generates inflation, and this adds impetus to a problem
the government is already exacerbating through profligate spending.
High government expenditure has stocked inflationary pressures, creating an
unbearable burden on industrial operations that have either closed down or
downsized to remain viable.
The effect of this has been to push unemployment to 80 percent.Inevitably,
Gono will again be forced by the government to run the printing press to
raise money for grain imports and other basic commodities, further damaging
the prospects of a successful turnaround programme.
The move will mean more money in circulation but too few goods on the
The country is already in a liquidity trap.
UNLICENSED drug dealers are flooding the market with a variety of
antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that could do more harm than good, the country's
medicines regulatory body has warned.
The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) said this week that
individual drug importers had flooded the local market with ARVs, which they
are selling from unlicensed locations such as flea markets and hair salons.
MCAZ fears the drugs could expose the public to health hazards as
counterfeit medicines usually cause drug resistance.
"This is a dangerous practice because the medicines may have been subjected
to inappropriate and hazardous storage conditions, thus affecting the
quality and effectiveness of the medicine. Such medicines may be
counterfeited, adulterated and contaminated, thus rendering them ineffective
and sometimes dangerous."
Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said his Ministry was
fighting to stamp out the unauthorised drugs market, estimated to be worth
"We are aware that people may want to make capital out of it (trade)
especially in light of the HIV and AIDS pandemic," he said. "We have invited
various other players such as SAfAIDS to evaluate the problem," he added.
Medical experts say the collapse of the government health system has created
a vacuum in which a parallel market for drugs has thrived.
They warned that un-prescribed ARVs would result in drug resistance.
Sixty-two thousand HIV-positive people are on the government's treatment
programme, but this figure is expected to double by the end of this year.
Altogether, 700 000 Zimbabweans are estimated to be in need of treatment
Zimbabwe has managed to reduce the prevalence rate - making it one of the
few bright spots on the continent on AIDS - but experts fear ground will be
lost to the effects of the economic crisis.
The economic decline means government is unable to import enough drugs to
put more people on treatment, and has also left the country short of medical
equipment and experienced personnel.
Health professionals say the massive circulation of illegal medication
reflects serious shortcomings in the control of the manufacture and
importation of drugs.
Most of the ARVs sold on the parallel market are reportedly smuggled from
neighbouring countries, where they are readily available and cheaper.
Employees steal other drugs from pharmaceutical shops.
According to HIV and Aids lobby groups, at least 3 000 people die weekly
from HIV and Aids-related illness.
A CRUDE and unethical attempt was made to turn Zimbabwe into a depraved
nation of voyeurs or "peeping Toms" when explicit images touted as depicting
an alleged sexual scandal involving the Archbishop of Matabeleland, Pius
Ncube and a woman identified as Rosemary Sibanda, were splashed on
television and in the official press over the past 10 days.
The images, which were reported by the official media to be the result of
private surveillance undertaken over a two-year period by a private
investigator hired by Onesimus Sibanda, were obscene in every sense of the
word and should not have been shown on public television and reproduced in
publications regarded as family newspapers. Moreover, if Sibanda genuinely
undertook the operation to prove his wife's infidelity so as to deal with
his marital problems, there is no earthly reason why the whole sordid affair
should be foisted on the public as a national issue requiring everyone's
attention and input.
For a private investigation touted as having been undertaken for the
ostensible purpose of enabling a cuckolded husband to prove a sexual liaison
between his wife and Archbishop Ncube, the operation is itself replete with
sinister motives and questionable ethics. If, as it is now abundantly clear,
Sibanda undertook the operation so as to "donate" it to the media, questions
must be asked about his motives for making such a move and whether this is
the kind of "investigative" journalism this country needs. Sibanda has to be
a glutton for emotional punishment to have required two years' worth of
pictures from this intrusive operation when one episode of his wife's sexual
intimacy with another man would have been more than enough to prove that she
had committed adultery.
If Sibanda had undertaken the investigation purely for the purpose of
solving his marital problems he would then have had to decide quietly how to
proceed. The overkill surrounding the whole saga raises questions about who
was behind it. The government should not stoop to the level of acting as an
"agony aunt" in the personal affairs of individuals when there are numerous,
serious national problems to be attended to. If I were an agony aunt, I
would tell Sibanda that a man who feels compelled to share this kind of
personal information about his wife with the whole nation is making a big
statement about himself.
The authorities rail regularly against Western culture, saying it condones
abnormal practices such as homosexuality and other forms of deviance and
permissiveness. But here they are enthusiastically condoning the elements of
voyeurism and exhibitionism written all over this lurid saga. Voyeurism is
defined as "sexual gratification through clandestine observation of other
people's activities or sexual anatomy." The surveillance on Archbishop Ncube
indisputably involved an illegal break-in into his residence to install spy
cameras which remained in place for two years, transforming the exercise
into a sexual perversion rather than a simple information gathering
The official seal of approval given to this intrusive and unwarranted
violation of privacy implies that the images culled over the two-year period
were first submitted for high-level previewing so that those to be foisted
on an unsuspecting public could be chosen and approved. It is not only sad
but tragic to imagine anyone in officialdom being so morally depraved as to
derive pleasure from ogling at reel after reel of these images and gleefully
pronouncing them to be fit for public consumption.
It may be politically expedient for the powers-that-be to condone this
episode because of the identity of the woman's alleged lover, but it is
reckless and dangerous to promote the erroneous impression being created
that "private investigators" are above the law and can infringe on the
rights of others with impunity. It is preposterous that a dishonest attempt
has been made to recruit the public, a captive audience through television
and newspapers, as an accomplice in this squalid affair. There are more
pressing issues that should be the focus of national discourse, namely,
rampant public sector corruption, human rights abuses, curtailment of
freedom of speech and other liberties, hyperinflation, record unemployment
and widespread poverty.
At the time the pornographic "peep show" was released into the public
domain, most Zimbabweans were devoting their energies to hunting for food
and other basic commodities in the aftermath of the confusion and anarchy
sparked by Operation Dzikisa Mitengo/Slash Prices. It is cruel and
insensitive for the authorities to try to divert attention from these bread
and butter issues by regaling a harassed population with the obscene details
of an individual's marital problems.
Today it may be Pius Ncube but who knows whose bedroom is to be targeted
next if the state sees nothing wrong with snooping around illegally when it
cannot prove that its intervention is called for because national security
is threatened. Moreover, the privileged audience that previews these
indecent images may become addicted to the pastime and demand more and more
to be presented for their viewing pleasure. If the Ncube debacle could be
pulled off now, just imagine how things will be when the controversial
Interception of Communications Act comes into force.
ZUPCO buys luxury buses
PASSENGER transport company, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO)
has ploughed foreign currency earned from plying regional routes into the
purchase of five new luxury coaches and 15 new bus engines and replacement
The passenger transport company, which services daily cross border services
to Francistown, Blantyre and Lusaka said the addition of another regional
luxury coach service on the Harare-Bulawayo-Johannesburg route had also
generated hard currency to acquire a total of 15 complete sets of engines,
gear boxes and rear axles from First Automobil Works of China to refurbish
its ageing fleet.
Despite the debilitating economic crisis marked by out of control inflation
ZUPCO's revenue surged by 1 320 percent to $8.7 billion while profit after
tax increased to $1.4 billion for the year ended December 31 2006.
ZUPCO, however, said fleet availability deteriorated to 69 percent from 73
percent due to an aging fleet and a shortage of spares.
- Staff Reporter
ACCA winter school opens
ABOUT 160 members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
(ACCA) are scheduled to convene in Nyanga for the 2007 Winter School, which
Indications are that issues to do with compliance with international
accounting standards, which require inflation-adjusted financial statements
for companies operating in hyperinflationary conditions, might hog the
The Institute of Chartered Accountants' annual winter school grappled with
similar issues last week.
"That issue is going to be discussed, but wide consultations will be
required to come up with a position," said Cuthbert Munhupedzi, the services
manager for ACCA Zimbabwe.
"Employers, many of whom will be represented at this annual conference, need
to be reassured that accountants and auditors are committed to sound
financial reporting and governance, underpinned by a responsible approach to
business," said Munhupedzi.
Mugabe reiterates mines plan
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has reaffirmed government's bid to take over control
of the country's mineral resources and the mining sector through amendments
to the Precious Stones Act and the Mines and Minerals Act.
The country's mining sector has taken centre stage in recent months
following announcements by the government that it would force foreign owned
companies to cede 51 percent shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.
In his remarks marking the opening of the third session of Zimbabwe's
parliament, President Mugabe said there was need "for the nation to assert
control over, and maximise benefits, from its mineral wealth".
He added that following the discovery of alluvial diamonds at the Marange
diamond fields, "a Bill to amend the Precious Stones Trade Act (Chapter
21:06) together with the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill," would be tabled
for consideration and adoption by parliament.
President Mugabe said parliament would also be requested to ratify the
Association of African Diamond Producing Countries Convention, which will
put in place diamond marketing strategies for member countries.
The convention was signed last year in Luanda. -Staff Reporters
AMERICAN screenwriter, producer and playwright Aaron Sorkin's play, A Few
Good Men, which was made into a successful film in the early 1990s, examines
questions of duty, honour, patriotism and rule of law that are quite
relevant to Zimbabwe's situation.
More often than not, these values, albeit hidden in the moral philosophy of
Sorkin's play, are abused to mean different things to different people in
order to muzzle debate and advance sectional interests.
The tragedy has been that those who do not agree with the interpretations of
the powers-that-be have been made to pay a heavy price. Zimbabwe is replete
with such examples.
Simba Makoni, the former finance minister and Nkosana Moyo, the former
industry minister, were honourable patriotic sons of Zimbabwe whose
dedication to duty was beyond reproach but this counted for nothing, as they
were hounded out of the system for no other reason except holding views
different from those of their colleagues.
The tendency for those that see themselves as paragons of virtue has,
therefore, been to go into overdrive in pursuit of their beliefs regardless
of the consequences. The zeal and vigour with which the land seizures and
Operation Murambatsvina were executed is a case in point with the current
crackdown on prices being another example.
For self-preservation, Zimbabweans have resigned to their fate, preferring
to be bystanders in a game in which their views should hold sway. In spite
of the pessimism and despair, it is however, encouraging that a few voices
of reason remain.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is among the voices not relenting in
pointing out the correct course to right the eight-year-long recession whose
characteristics are all too familiar. Earlier quoted in the local press
calling for sobriety and sustainability in achieving the elusive stability
in runaway prices of goods and services, Gono has had to defer his monetary
policy review statement to analyse the policy implications of recent
external and internal dynamics.
"We must avoid good intentions having negative results. Everything needs to
be properly dissected looking at the pros and cons so that we do not make
rushed decisions," he was quoted saying in reference to a government order
banning the use of fuel coupons. "The last thing we want is legitimate fuel
that runs the mines failing because we have done what we have done . . . we
have hindered people from going about their normal business," he added.
That coming from a man privy to details of every economic activity is
indicative of the country's lack of capacity to deal with the fuel crisis at
the moment. Gono knows only too well that when it comes to the crunch, all
eyes will be on the lender of the last resort to dig deeper into its drying
foreign currency coffers to pay for fuel, electricity, fertilisers and other
All of a sudden, the powers-that-be want the nation to believe that the
Zimbabwe State Trading Corporation, which collapsed in the 1980s through
mismanagement, is rising from the ashes to resuscitate private enterprises
that have fallen victim to its flawed policies. God forbid! Faith has also
been placed in the rundown Cold Storage Company, which has been entrusted
with the sole responsibility of supplying the whole country with beef. How
the meat processor failed to restock the national herd, which fell from 1.4
million in 2000 to 250 000 currently, has conveniently become irrelevant.
All of a sudden the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), which had
become known more for corruption than delivering fuel, has the capacity to
keep the country's vehicle fleet mobile. No mention is being made of
Noczim's shortcomings, which resulted in the de-regulation of the fuel
industry. On the backdrop of Gono's advice, we doubt if Noczim has
reinvented itself to meet the country's fuel needs.
It is unfortunate that sober-minded people have opted for silence and
speaking their minds under the cover of darkness, which is not helpful.
Exorcising the culture that makes it a taboo to give an opposing viewpoint
is everyone's responsibility.
Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke was spot on when he noted that
"when bad man combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by
one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
Gono cannot win the war alone. More voices are needed to stand for what they
believe is right. We wonder who among the legislators feeding from ZANU PF's
patronage system has the guts to stand up and be heard. Is advice from their
constituencies ever taken up? Shame on them!
The approach to policy-making has tended to be up-down, hence people who are
supposed to benefit from these policies never relate to them.
It is time technocrats in government and elsewhere took a leaf from Gono who
has tried to draw views from all the key constituencies as opposed to taking
the prescriptive route. True, much of Gono's advice has largely been ignored
but as they say, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good
men do nothing".
A land of milk and honey again . . . after Pius Ncube
EDITOR - Hooray! We have managed, through a carefully planned sting
operation, to expose that sanctimonious running dog of the imperialists,
Pius Ncube, who was doing our country down.
Now ZESA will no longer shed us 18 hours a day, fuel will be in huge
abundance and transport woes will end, hospitals will be fully equipped and
manned and death will be a thing of the past, local authorities will attend
to refuse collection, roads and street lighting, corruption at all levels of
society will be rooted out, farms will be fully utilised and there will be
no need to import anything, foreign currency will flow in and inflation will
come down, the police will start doing their national duty and crime and
social vice will find their demise.
In short, Zimbabwe will now become the land of milk and honey again; all
because we have brought down that pretentious clergyman.
You, of little faith and even smaller minds, why do you waste the precious
little national resources at your disposal to settle personal scores while
the country descends into a chasm of dire poverty, anarchy and oblivion?
What was said again about little things and little minds? You numb my mind.
I give up.
Paranoia, not panacea
EDITOR - The recent slashing of prices on commodities by the government has
created further economic arguments and political ambivalence. There has
emerged people who seem to be courting the view that our government has the
capacity to stamp out lawlessness. Alas! They also seem to suggest that the
merchants, the commuter bus operators and other economic players such as
fuel dealers are liable for the lawlessness, which has become the mainstay
of our country.
There is thus a fearful symmetry. Clearly, the government is the real
culprit; it is the locus and the perpetrator of lawlessness. Those who
espouse contrary views need to be reminded that merchants of imported goods,
the fuel dealers and the commuter bus operators are like all of us, victims
of circumstances, which were engendered intentionally or inadvertently by
the government. The current fluctuations of economic factors are neither
caused by the economic players nor by our consumerism, but they are clear
seismic ramifications of misgovernance.
It is true. At present, our country's livelihood depends on imported
products and the scant foreign currency flowing from those in exile. Our
fuel and many hospital supplies are imported commodities. So, given our
indefinite international isolation and the sharp decline in the value of our
currency, it is confounding and extravagant folly to expect fuel prices,
commuter bus fares and treatment fees to remain within the confines of
Official exchange rates are too artificial; they do not embrace or reflect
the prevailing economic variables. Therefore, we should expect prices of all
imported products to continue spiralling. However, I make no negation that
there are a few rogue elements who may be taking advantage of desperate
consumers by charging extortionate prices.
Clearly, such miscreants can be censured, once there is a broad and apposite
restoration of the rule of law throughout the country. It is needless to
stress that the palpability of our government has been graphically
illustrated by an amalgam of activities: its failure to implement an open
and transparent land redistribution exercise; the manipulation of electoral
processes; restriction of fundamental freedoms contained in an edifice of
laws such as POSA and AIPPA, which were passed in 2002 to subvert political
liberalism; the use of war veterans, youth militias, police and others in
attacking opposition supporters and civil society representatives. Our
government lacks not only the qualification or the courage to stamp out
lawlessness, but the integrity to do so.
Reproach or rapprochement with the current government is like trying to
embellish or to put make-up on a frog. Such well-intended efforts will be
stultified by the enormity and the gravity of its recalcitrance and
brinkmanship. However, the glaring truth though is that slashing of prices
is not the panacea to our economic crisis.
It is economic foolishness and political paranoia, which inevitably creates
an acute shortage of basic commodities and brings untold suffering to the
Condom to church
EDITOR - In pursuit of our dream of an AIDS-free
generation, events unfolding are showing that there is an area that is not
being targeted by the AIDS awareness programmes. We have read and heard of
sex scandals involving leaders of Christianity from Vapositori to those of
great churches like the Catholics. This group preaches about abstaining and
discourages the use of condoms.
It is time we target these people to make them aware
of the dangers of HIV/AIDS. Innocent spouses are perishing in silence as
their gullible partners are drawn into having 'holy" affairs. They teach
about self discipline, abstaining, faithfulness but they behave otherwise.
Let's save the nation and take a "condom to church".
Lovemore Andrew Magaso
Recycle, not reshuffle
EDITOR - I do not think it's proper to say President
Mugabe is going to reshuffle his Cabinet but we must say recycle instead.
Everyone knows the same old people who have run out of ideas are going to be
replaced by either the old guard who were offloaded years back or with those
who are currently serving. We want new ideas please.
Correct this misrepresentation of facts
EDITOR - In a story in last week's Financial Gazette
titled "Chikafu complains to AG about Chinamasa" paragraphs 5 and 6 purport
that Mrs Lilian Kudya spoke to me, the Chief Magistrate, about referring Mr
Chikafu's pending criminal trial to the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs. It also purports that we discussed whether the same
Minister would give directives on how Mr Chikafu's case would be dealt with.
For the benefit of your readers, I emphatically deny
that Mrs Kudya asked me the quoted questions or anything to that effect.
Mrs Kudya is free to tell you what she asked me. The
truth is that she asked me whether I knew which magistrate was to preside
over Chikafu's pending criminal trial. My response was that I did not know
and that I had not been requested to appoint one. She then indicated that
she and some of her colleagues had presided over applications made by Mr
Chikafu, which made them reluctant to preside over the trial. I suggested
that if she too recused herself then another magistrate had to take the
There was no mention of the Minister at all.
Why have goods we can't afford?
EDITOR - I am shocked by the castigation that the price
controls introduced by the government have received so far, particularly
from the private media. Some so-called economists have also chipped in to
belittle the efforts of goverment to cushion the poor from the ever rising
cost of living.
Others have viewed price controls as a political strategy,
but the question is so what if it's for the benefit of the poor employee? I
have never understood the meaning of the phrase national interests. The
introduction of price controls has clearly defined the phrase for me.
First, we are all Zimbabweans and that should come first
before we start talking about party politics.
Fears were that firms would close. Personally I think that
those that close will do so not because it is no longer viable for them to
remain in business but because they have hidden political agendas. Why
should we have basic products on the shelves that are beyond the reach of
many workers? Is this not the same as closing down the business?
This is doublespeak, if you ask me
EDITOR - The Property Gazette headline of August 29 2004,
"RBZ to keep an eye on property sector" clearly shows the extent to which
government and business will tell you one thing while they mean the other.
Doublespeak, as political pundits would say.
In the article, RBZ governor Gideon Gono is quoted as
saying that they would start monitoring the property sector "in response to
the continuing wanton hiking of rentals in the real estate sector with scant
regard to macroeconomic fundamentals".
The governor decried practices, which included "the
fuelling of property price increases through quoting prices in foreign
currency'. Deja vu.
Naturally, an Estate Agents Council spokesman "agreed that
there is need for continued dialogue and practical activity within the
sector to enhance the governor's fight against inflation."
In the same issue of Property Gazette, a 4-bedroomed house
in Zengeza was going for Z$110 million, a Hatfield house was fetching Z$290
million, while a one-bedroomed flat was asking for Z$100 million. And this
was before the three zeroes were removed, remember!
Today, in 2007, the same Zengeza house is worth Z$4
billion (revalued), a 3-bedroomed Hatfield house is worth a whopping Z$9
billion (revalued), while the same flat as above is fetching a cool Z$6
Now here's the catch. Z$4 billion is actually the old $4
trillion if we include the three zeroes, which were conveniently removed
last year. That means the Zengeza house has gone up by . wait for it . 36
000 times in three years! Similarly, the Hatfield house has gone up by about
31 000 times, while the flat is worth 60 000 times its 2004 price! Eish!
I "hope and pray " that my figures are wrong. And could
some economist please check the above figures for me before someone realises
I'm a cartoonist and therefore shouldn't be talking about this!
But there's still hope for us yet. I still have have faith
in Gideon Gono.
Politicians playing Father Christmas
EDITOR - In the wake of the prevailing economic crisis, a
number of unschooled self-proclaimed economists have come up with their own
ingredients of uninformed populists policies that snub what they call
bookish economics. Most of these (politicians) have not even perused the
supposedley offending textbooks and merely rely on hearsay from those of
questionable sanity. Dr G Lipsey in his book an Introduction to Positive
Economics says "when a person rejects a given economic theory chances are
that he is merely offering an alternative theory."
As I have said elsewhere, price reduction is a
self-defeating attempt to prove popular with the party fathers playing
Father Christmas to the masses by indulging in this physical policy. Such
acts of chivalry are often met with catastrophic consequences such as the
collapse of the business sector due to shrinking profit margins against a
backdrop of rocketing inflation, stock exchange crash, retrenchment of
employees especially in the luxury goods sector.
With this there is an unprecented acceleration in the
parity rate (a more realistic measure of inflation). In short there will be
a depression. Empirical evidence of the present situation proves this: There
has been a marked increase in the number of redundant employees already in
the retail sector due to reduced activity, PEPS stores have hinted of their
intention to curtail their operations in Zimbabwe, Makro are unhappy and
have said words to the same effect. This is merely a tip of what is coming.
The laymen, perhaps caught up in the euphoria and ecstasy
brought about by the frenzied looting of the shops of basic commodities,
cheered at the prospect of nationalisation. After the atrocities suffered
under the No Electricity Authority, No Water Authority, No Railways, Air
Zimbabwe and Dead BC one would expect them to know better. What is the use
of obtaining a cheap product that cannot be delivered? When did any of us
ever buy diesel from NOCZIM at the said "official price"? What is the use of
being able to potentially afford bread when all you can do is stand in a
queue all day with no reward to show for it because no relative or friend of
yours had the sense and foresight to join the police force?
In democratic societies, there is a clear distinction
between a political party, the government, and the state. Now, why is it
that the Politburo, which is essentially a ZANU PF arm has to decide on
matters of national importance? Why do I have to pay $50 000 to get home at
2000hrs and kindle the fire and hunt for water?
As Ken Mufuka asked: what shall become of us?
The First Post
Moses Moyo in Harare
The story of a cattle rustler shows how vindictive Mugabe's justice can be
I was arrested by Mugabe's police the other day. They caught me dealing in
foreign currency, and threw me into the Harare Remand Prison. After six
hours I bribed my way back out onto the streets, but during that time I met
a man whose plight made me forget mine.
His name is Takawira Mwanza; he is 35, a tall, dark and softly spoken man. I
laughed when Takawira told me his story. As is so common in today's
Zimbabwe, I laughed to keep from crying.
Takawira is in jail because he committed the ultimate Zimbabwean crime. He
stole from our President. Mugabe hasn't forgiven him, and probably never
will. This is his story. He was a soldier. More than that, he was a member
of the Presidential Guard, an army elite dedicated to protecting Robert
Mugabe. He was stationed at one of Mugabe's rural retreats, Highfields Farm
in Norton, 40km south of Harare. The year was 2001.
The President, celebrating a close-run election victory against the newly
formed Movement for Democratic Change, decided to buy himself a present. He
had a prize bull flown in from China on Air Zimbabwe, to join his fecund
herd at Highfields Farm.
The bull was huge and white and the President named it Karigamombe, which
translates as He Who Fells A Bull. No, I don't get it either.
Takawira fell in love with the bull. "He was so beautiful," he told me.
"Also I had my own herd at my village in Sanyati, and I decided my cows
deserved a bull like Karigamombe."
He was due some leave, so he took it. The first night he borrowed a truck,
made some excuse about a visit to a vet, loaded up Karigamombe, and trundled
him the 80km to his village. His arrival was a big event for the village -
and I imagine for Takawira's cows.
"I know it was wrong to steal," he told me. "But a man has to look after his
family any way he can." Takawira is not the most cunning of criminals, and
this wasn't the most baffling of cases, even for Zimbabwe's military
intelligence officers. They turned up the next day, took Karigamombe home,
arrested Takawira for cattle rustling, and saw him sentenced to four years'
A stern but reasonable sentence, you might think. Takawira did his time,
looking forward to his release in 2005. He didn't get it. What he didn't
know was, Mugabe had taken it personally.
"The President doesn't think you have been punished enough," he was told. So
although he had completed his sentence he was not to be released. That's why
I found him in the remand prison. It's where the government puts anyone they
don't know what to do with. "Perhaps one day the President will be in a good
mood, and let me out," he says, with unjustified optimism. Fellow prisoners
say he cries out in his sleep for Mugabe to release him, and let him return
to his family.
Meanwhile Karigamombe continues to enjoy life with his family on Mugabe's
farm. The bull is said to be very contented. And so, doubtless, are all his
FIRST POSTED JULY 26, 2007
Posted : Thu, 26 Jul 2007 09:32:34 GMT
Author : DPA
Harare/Johannesburg - Thirty-one people died from diarrhoea in western
Zimbabwe after relatives were unable to prepare rehydration solution because
there was no sugar, reports said Thursday. The outbreak occurred in Gokwe
district last month, said the official Herald daily.
Children under the age of 5 were the most affected, according to the
"I can confirm that 14 people have died in Siamchembo area in Gokwe
North while another 17 died in Masita in Gokwe South," Deputy Health
Minister Edwin Muguti told the Herald.
Villagers are usually told to prepare a simple rehydration solution
using salt and sugar for diarrhoea patients.
But sugar shortages meant it was impossible in many cases to make the
"Most homes failed to prepare the oral rehydration solution because of
the sugar shortage in their areas, Muguti said.
This contributed to the high death rate. They could still have saved
lives by simply boiling water and observing basic hygiene standards," he
There are chronic shortages of most basic goods in Zimbabwe, including
sugar, bread, cooking oil and meat.
The situation has been worsened since the government last month
launched a crackdown on high prices, which saw many goods disappearing from
the formal market and reappearing on the black market at much higher prices.
Lack of clean water, especially in arid rural areas is also a massive
problem that contributes to the spread of disease.
The deputy health minister said the diarrhoea outbreak in Gokwe was
now under control.