Top Zimbabwe banker demonstrates his grip on reality
It's hearty congratulations today to the Governor of the Zimbabwe Central
Bank, Gideon Gono. With one stroke, he has tackled our hyper-inflation
problem. He has lopped ten zeros off the end of all our currency notes.
Thus, thanks to Gono's incisiveness, a ten billion Zimbabwean dollar note is
now suddenly worth...one Zimbabwean dollar. It will, of course, buy you only
what ten billion Zimbabwean dollars would buy you yesterday - or to be more
accurate, it will buy you less.
Because, as someone here said, lopping zeros off the currency is like
applying lipstick to a frog. It might change its appearance. But the frog is
still a frog. Hyper-inflation is still with us, and the zeros will soon be
racking up again on our new dollar notes, and buying us ever less in the
stores that have nothing to sell.
Those in possession of old-style notes with countless zeros on them need not
worry. These will not cease to be legal tender until December 31. Until them
you can still use them to buy all those essential items our shops haven't
seen for months.
Gono knows the pointlessness of fiddling with figures like this, so why did
he do it? The answer is - modern technology. Apparently our major bankers
and shop owners have told him their computer software could no longer cope
with such elongated totals.
When the news came through, some thought it was a sign of a break-through in
the talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC in Pretoria. Sadly, instead of a
break-through, the talks produced a break-down, mainly due to Mugabe's
ludicrous offer to Morgan Tsvangirai of the post of third vice-president.
Quite what the duties of the third vice-president involve no-one is clear.
Making the coffee? Surely not. Telling the fourth vice-president to make the
coffee? Possibly. What is clear is, Tsvangirai turned the offer down flat.
But, perhaps surprisingly, the talks aren't finished. South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator between the two sides, says they will
reconvene on Sunday.
Will they soon produce a fair and just solution to our country's problems.
I'm willing to bet five Zimbabwean dollars they won't. New dollars or old
Posted on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 at 23:16
by Wayne Mafaro Thursday 31 July 2008
HARARE - New monetary measures including a new currency announced by Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on Wednesday will do little to
revive the country's comatose economy, analysts told ZimOnline.
Gono, tasked by President Robert Mugabe to lead efforts to turn around
Zimbabwe's economy, announced that he would on August 1 introduce new
currency as well slash 10 zeroes from all monetary values.
While acknowledging that the removal of zeros from all monetary values would
be of great convenience to the public, economists said Gono's new measure
fell far shot of the full package of wide-sweeping political and economic
reforms required to resuscitate an economy that has been in freefall since
Harare based economist Luxon Zembe said introducing new currency in an
environment of hyperinflation such as that obtaining in Zimbabwe was "not
He said: "You cannot change the currency where government expenditure
continues to go up, capacity utilization is still at its lowest, where we
have little or no foreign direct investment, no balance of payment support
and a stable exchange rate and without the normalization of international
"These issues are still not solved and can only be solved by addressing the
political situation first."
The new currency will be easily by inflation which at more than two million
percent is the highest in the world, according to Zembe.
The slashing of zeroes would only serve to help financial systems that were
being clogged by the zeros, he added.
Another economist, John Robertson, said the only viable solution to Zimbabwe's
currency and wider economic problems was to implement measures to boost
"The solution lies in addressing issues of scarcity of commodities, of
foreign exchange," said Robertson.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an economic crisis that Mugabe blames on
sanctions imposed by Western countries in a bid to end his iron grip on
However, critics blame the economic meltdown on repression and wrong polices
by Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's 1980n independence
from Britain. - ZimOnline.
July 30, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has pleaded with the business community to
avoid imposing unilateral price increases in the face of an unprecedented
economic meltdown he says has been engineered to make him unpopular.
The Zimbabwean leader says his government may, however, be forced to invoke
emergency measures if business attempts to derail his government's
newly-introduced currency reforms by hiking prices unjustifiably.
During his recent election campaigns, Mugabe repeatedly attacked the
business community for allegedly colluding with the opposition by hiking
prices to make him unpopular.
While his speech yesterday was sprinkled with mild threats to the
businesspeople, a desperate Mugabe largely sought to appeal to their
"We live for each other, work for each other," Mugabe said Wednesday during
the unveiling of the country's currency reforms by central bank governor,
Gono on Wednesday announced the reintroduction of a formal currency, four
years after being forced to replace its circulation by massive cash
shortages fuelled by a galloping inflation.
"And as we live and work for each other, do we realize that we, and all,
have to a very great extent similar interest, similar demands, the same
physical makeup, biological and mental," said Mugabe.
"The content and quality may differ but we have flesh. I have flesh so have
you. You have a brain; so have I. If really we are the same, do we also have
those emotions for each other which are very important - the love for each
other, sorrow, pity, sympathy for each other?"
Mugabe, who has previously accused business of hiking the prices of goods to
foment rebellion against his rule, said his government may be forced to
introduce sterner measures to compel business to comply.
"We become extortionists, we become too self-centred," he said. "We want to
be rich alone, even at the expense of the nation. It is precisely where we
have had difficulties with some entrepreneurs."
He said his government had the option to invoke emergency measures.
"If you drive us more, we will impose emergency measures and we do want to
place our country in a situation of emergency," he said. "Emergency rules
can be tough rules you know. We want to leave you with that freedom,
flexibility to do things, to make decisions.
"In a state of emergency, decisions are made and they are contained already
in the laws or rules that are given.
Zimbabwe has been reeling under recurrent price increases that have fuelled
its inflation to an unprecedented 2,2 million percent.
Previous attempts by government to compel businesses to stick to stipulated
prices have back fired as goods completely disappeared from supermarket
shelves only to resurface on the parallel market at even higher prices.
Mugabe, 84, maintains his government is being unfairly targeted by the
united States and Great Britain.
"The country, let us remember, is under illegal and vindictive sanctions,"
he said. "Sanctions which are not being really personally targeted as they
pretended they were.
He claimed Britain was seeking his ouster, and maintained he was given the
mandate to rule by the people through elections.
"But why," Mugabe said indignantly. "Why should he (Mugabe) leave the seat
of power that his people have given him. What has he done to you, what
offence? They won't say.
"They just say he is a dictator, there is no democracy, no rule of law,
constant violation of human rights. And of course they will get lackeys and
puppets to echo that from within us."
The Zimbabwean leader, who has since refrained from attacking his political
opponents for fear of jeopardising the ongoing inter-party negotiations, did
not elaborate on the alleged puppets - a term he has routinely used to
describe the opposition.
Mugabe accused western powers of abusing the UN Charter to further their
hegemonic interests against his country.
"Then they would want to apply Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United
Nations which is meant actually to apply to a country which is a threat to
international peace and security," he said.
He was referring to a recent attempt by the UN Security Council to impose
sanctions on Zimbabwe. The proposition failed after vetoes by China and
"Are we a threat to international security?" asked Mugabe. "They twist and
manipulate even the Charter.
"These are the international leaders we have during our time."
Referring to US President George Bush, British PM Gordon Brown and his
predecessor, Tony Blair, Mugabe added: "Dishonest, hypocritical, completely
horrible leaders in the nature of the Bushs and Browns and Blairs. Never
telling the truth."
Meanwhile, Britain says it may consider bringing the Zimbabwean issue before
the UN Security Council once more if the inter-party talks between his party
and the opposition fail.
Mugabe is being blamed for bringing down a once prosperous economy through
both corruption by his lieutenants and successive populist policies that
have driven foreign investment outside Zimbabwe 's borders.
Wed 30 Jul 2008, 19:48 GMT
LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on
Wednesday he hoped talks aimed at resolving the country's political crisis
would give President Robert Mugabe an "honourable exit".
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party began power-sharing talks with the opposition in
South Africa last week, but doubts have surfaced over progress after they
were adjourned on Tuesday.
South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday the talks would resume
"The role of Robert Mugabe and the role of Morgan Tsvangirai in the
envisaged co-sharing government will have to be discussed by the negotiating
parties. I am not in any position of defining what his role would be,"
Tsvangirai said in an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News.
"What I would hope is that it will allow him (Mugabe) a process of an
honourable exit," he said, speaking from Johannesburg in what Channel 4 said
was his first broadcast interview since the negotiations began.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are under pressure from within Africa and the rest of
the world to negotiate a national unity government to end a crisis that has
ruined Zimbabwe's economy and flooded neighbouring states with millions of
Tsvangirai said Mugabe was "just as human as every one of us" and had
similar concerns, "although of course I think he is ignorant, or chooses to
be in a denial stage, as far as the violence is concerned."
Asked if he could work with Mugabe, Tsvangirai said: "That I cannot say,
because that is part of the negotiation process."
Tsvangirai said there had been obstacles in the talks but said that was
natural in any negotiating process.
"There have been sticking points. Some issues have been ironed out, some
issues are still outstanding. We hope that as the negotiations proceed they
will find a common compromise," he said.
The settlement under discussion was a transitional arrangement that would
bring the crisis to a soft landing and allow the parties to deal with issues
of rule of law, the constitution, humanitarian intervention and economic
recovery, he said.
This interim period should last "no more than two years in our perspective,"
A two-week deadline for completing the talks runs out on August 4, but it
could be extended.
It has been unclear what compromise could be reached at the power-sharing
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says only Tsvangirai can lead
a new government because he won a first round presidential vote in March and
only pulled out of a June run-off vote because of violence he says killed
122 of his supporters.
ZANU-PF has said it will not accept any deal that fails to recognise
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
July 31, 2008
By Our Correspondents
MASVINGO - A court case held in Masvingo has confirmed beyond any shadow of
doubt that some of the so-called war veterans, indeed, have no record of
service in the war to liberate Zimbabwe.
It is widely suspected that the ranks of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA) are fraught with people who never fought
in the guerrilla war that resulted in independence in 1980.
The war veterans' association has increasingly become the backbone of
support for President Robert Mugabe in the twilight of his political career.
It is led by chairman, Jabulani Sibanda with Joseph Chinotimba as deputy,
both men allegedly with no track record in the war.
Three men, all registered with the ZNLWVA, were sentenced Thursday to an
effective 10 years in jail each after they were convicted of stock-theft.
The trio drove away 16 head of cattle from a commercial farm belonging to
Andre Eugene Fore, soon after the June 27 presidential election runoff.
Records before the court revealed once more that some of the elements
committing crimes or harassing fellow Zimbabweans while posing as former
freedom fighters were merely unemployed people seeking to survive the
current economic hardships by exploiting the status of war veterans for
Taurai Nyome 39, Austin Shoko 41 and Mathias Ndlovu 45 all of Zvomupungu
Village under Chief Neshuro in the Mwenezi District of Masvingo Province,
were each sentenced to a total of 15 years in jail after they were convicted
on 16 counts of stock-theft. The magistrate suspended five years in each
Going by their current ages, Nyome would have been aged 11, Shoko 13 and
Ndlovu 17 when the liberation war of which they claim to be veterans ended
The court heard that the three were registered members of the ZNLWVA, the
main organisation that represents the interests of the members of ZANLA and
ZIPRA the two guerrilla arms that engaged the rebel regime of last Rhodesian
Prime Minister Ian Smith until the declaration of independence.
The association was formed in 1991 with controversial Polish-trained doctor
Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, now late, as chairman. The association had a
modicum of credibility and respectability as it campaigned for the interests
and welfare of genuine former freedom fighters, who had largely been
sidelined and neglected by an increasingly self-centred political
The militant ZNLWVA arm-twisted the bankrupt government of President Robert
Mugabe to pay its members compensation and gratuities in recognition of
their contribution to the war of liberation. Observers say hundreds of
undeserving persons benefited from the huge payouts. The huge sums of funds
paid to the former guerrillas, genuine and bogus in 1997, contributed, in no
small measure, to the onset of the economic downturn, which has now finally
brought a once prosperous Zimbabwe down to its knees. The funds were not
The government also established a War Victims Compensation Fund for those
whose military service with the guerilla armies had resulted in physical
disability. Recipients were paid according to the level of disability
assessed by Dr Hunzvi. By the time the government suspended payments the
fund had been heavily looted. A total of 70 000 applicants, many of them
bogus had helped themselves to the staggering amount of Z$450 million.
Hunzvi assessed commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri to be 100 percent
disabled after diagnosing him for "dermatitis of both feet". Chihuri was
paid a total of Z$138 645 for these "war wounds".
Meanwhile Hunzvi diagnosed Air Force Commander Perrence Shiri for
"poly-arthritis and mental stress disorder".
Both officers now serve on the all-powerful Joint Operations Command (JOC)
which has effectively usurped executive power from President Mugabe since
his defeat in the March 29 presidential election.
The leader of the JOC is General Constantine Chiwenga. He was also assessed
by Dr Hunzvi and was paid an undisclosed amount for chest injuries. His
injuries were, however, of post-war vintage, having been self-inflicted when
he attempted to commit suicide after he failed a military examination long
The happiest beneficiary from this daylight looting was President Mugabe's
own brother-in-law, Reward Marufu. He was diagnosed for "ulcers and a scar
on the left knee" and received the largest disbursement of the whole
exercise - a staggering Z$822 668. This was equivalent to US$70 000 at the
time. When the scandal was exposed he was immediately posted abroad to
Ottawa as a diplomat at the Zimbabwean embassy in Canada. He seized a
commercial farm long distance from there.
Hunzvi diagnosed himself as being 114 percent disabled. While the ZNLWVA was
established to alleviate the plight of impoverished freedom fighters it has
since been transformed into a vehicle for the corrupt enrichment of some of
Disputes over leadership subsequently ripped the association apart,
attracting new elements, chief among them Joseph Chinotimba, a former
municipal security guard. The bearded Chinotimba, whose participation in the
liberation struggle has been questioned, assumed prominence after he played
a frontline role in the invasion of white commercial farms from 2000.
It was during this period that many young men and women emerged as claimants
to the status of war veterans as they settled on the occupied farms, while
threatening and harassing opposition officials and members, as well as
judges and journalists alike. Many of the insidious acts of the so-called
veterans were perpetrated with the tacit approval of the government which,
at the time, had found itself confronted by a popular and viable opposition
for the first time.
Some of the war veterans were richly rewarded. For instance, Zanu-PF
transformed Chinotimba overnight from a municipal policeman to a
businessman, owning a security company, and driving the latest Jeep
The developments tarnished the reputation of ZNLWVA, with genuine war
veterans distancing themselves from the association. It is now led by
Jabulani SIbanda, a vocal supporter of Mugabe, who led marches in his
support before the recent elections. Sibanda has not responded to charges
that he is not a genuine war veteran.
Meanwhile, a large number of genuine war veterans broke away from the ZNLWVA
and established the rival Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform under the leadership
of WiIfred Mhanda. Known as Dzinashe Machingura during the war, Mhanda was
regarded by Mugabe as a dangerous threat to his position. He was jailed for
many years under inhuman conditions at Cabo Del Gado in northern Mozambique.
Among the prisoners with him was Police Commissioner Chihuri.
Yesterday's court case in Masvingo provided incontrovertible proof once more
that in Zimbabwe not all who call themselves war veterans fought to liberate
The court heard that Nyome, Shoko and Ndlovu drove the stolen animals to
their village 34 kilometres away and shared them among themselves.
The cattle, which were then valued at Z$60 trillion, were recovered.
The three were convicted on their own plea of guilty on each of the 16
counts of stock-theft. They also pleaded for mercy.
They claimed they had been misled by politicians to believe that they were
free to do anything since President Mugabe had won the elections.
The MDC Senator for Khumalo,Sen.David Coltart has described as a non starter,ZANU PF’s reported offer of third Vice president post to MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai in an SADC/AU initiated all-inclusive government.
“The general consensus that I’ve gleaned is that he will be offered a substantive post. A third vice president wouldn’t provide him with any power and simply is a non-starter.’ he told ABC’s The World Today program last night.
Coltart further said it could be true that ZANU PF negotiators could have been instructed by Mugabe to negotiate around the Vice Presidency and nothing more. That stance reported stalled talks on Monday.
“They may have put that offer even before the talks started. But I think that Zanu-PF itself would know that that is simply a non-starter.”
Coltart was the only MDC(Mutambara) candidate who won a seat in the political volatile Bulawayo Province and is also MDC’s Secretary for Legal Affairs, he is in Australia this week as a guest of the Centre for Independent Studies.
Coltart also said the current negotiations are different from the 1987 talks that led to the swallowing up of the opposition PF ZAPU.
“We can’t trust Robert Mugabe at all. He has always had a belief in a de facto one party state. He is at his core a Marxist Leninist. And so he does not come to these negotiations with clean hands; and he does not come in good faith.
”But let me stress this: that the fundamental differences between now and 1987; in 1987 Robert Mugabe was in charge of a country that had a reasonably strong economy, he had the backing of pretty much the entire world and so he was in a much stronger negotiating position. Now it’s completely different. Robert Mugabe is alienated, is isolated, even in the region, inflation is out of control, there’s a lot of disaffection within the military and the police and the civil service.
”And to that extent he is the weaker party and he we will have to reach an agreement soon because if he doesn’t there’s the real danger that events will spin totally out of control and that he may even lose power through the military taking things over themselves. ” said Coltart.
Meanwhile South Africa’s ANC head Jacob Zuma took a veiled swipe at ZANU PF ’s hard line stance which forced the talks to hit an impasse on Monday.
“The leadership should realise that negotiations are a matter of give-and-take and of compromise,” Zuma told reporters from Maputo.
July 31 2008 at 07:40AM
Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and the MDC were set to
resume on Sunday, President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday after meeting
Mbeki is mediating in the talks at a secret location near Pretoria.
Mbeki flew to Harare for discussions with Mugabe after the talks
adjourned on Tuesday, amid suggestions by the MDC that they were deadlocked.
"We came just to brief the president on how far the negotiations have
gone," said the South African president.
"There are, naturally, some matters that require the negotiators to
come back to consult. That's why they are all here in Harare today," said
Mbeki, whose discussions with Mugabe lasted an hour.
Mbeki said he had already met Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, in
Pretoria on Tuesday after the negotiations had adjourned, and was to meet
the leader of another MDC faction later on Wednesday.
Earlier, 84-year-old Mugabe expressed his "total commitment" to the
Pretoria negotiations, insisting that they were "going well".
"We are still negotiating, we want to succeed," Mugabe told guests at
a Central Bank function to announce a new monetary policy.
"We would like to see the speedy conclusion of the talks and a
successful outcome so that we can focus our attention in the future around
our economy," he said.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe signed an accord on July 21 to begin talks on
sharing power after a months-long election dispute.
While Tsvangirai believes his victory in the first round of a
presidential election in March should give him the right to the lion's share
of power, sources in his MDC say Mugabe's negotiators are so far only
offering him the chance to become one of several vice-presidents.
The former trade union leader has twice been charged with treason and
needed hospital treatment for head injuries last year, when he was assaulted
by members of the security forces ahead of an anti-government rally.
The MDC said in a communique on Wednesday that two more of its
activists were killed last week, allegedly by Zanu-PF supporters, even after
the accord signing in Harare.
"The deaths show that there is no sincerity on the part of Zanu-PF.
The death of the two brings to 122 the number of MDC activists who have been
murdered since the March 29 harmonised elections," it said.
Mugabe, whose country has a 2.2-million-percent inflation rate, linked
Zimbabwe's economic future to a successful outcome of the talks.
"We want to see a turnaround for our economy, we want to see a
turnaround on our political front," he told guests at the function. But he
warned that in such negotiations, "there is no winner or loser. Things are
not easy all the time".
"Our detractors accused us of inflexibility. Then when we started
talking, they proceeded to impose sanctions, which we don't understand," he
said in reference to recent United States and EU sanctions.
"As Zimbabweans, we should summon our collective will to unite as we
do in business. Only through unity can we defeat imperialism."- Sapa-AFP
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on July
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 17:34
MDC councillors embark on quality service delivery programme
As the MDC promised to the people of Zimbabwe during the 29 March
harmonised elections that once elected into office its councillors put
in place strategies that would bring quality service to every
Zimbabwe, the party would like to inform the ratepayers that sworn in
councillors have started putting in place measures that will bring
quality service to every Zimbabwean.
The MDC is a social democratic party with people driven-centred values
such as transparency, equality, fairness and accountability.
As a result in all cities, towns and rural councils that our
councillors, mayors or chairpersons have been sworn in, the MDC
councillors have started implementing their duties diligently.
The MDC councillors won in 44 local authorities from 89 national
contested councils, while Zanu PF won in 30 councils and the Arthur
Mutambara led formation in 15 councils.
This makes the MDC the party with the highest number of representation
in council across the country.
It also has a total of 800 councillors from the 1958 contested council
During these first 100 days in office, the MDC and the electorate will
monitor how these councillors are performing their duties.
The MDC-led councils have proved that the MDC is the party of choice
and at local level these councils will stamped out corruption and
improve efficiency and quality services both in rural and urban areas.
Some of the areas that councillors have already kick off the
programmes are Harare, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Mutare, Bindura and Chegutu
while full operational MDC-led councils are expected to begin their
duties as soon as they are sworn in.
Through the MDC's majority national council representation, the party
also has in place a social and economic programme, which places
importance on providing people with investment opportunities, quality
and affordable health care and education among other issues.
The councillors will also hold regular meetings with the people to
find out ways on how best to improve the people's livelihoods.
MDC Department of Local Government
Thursday, July 31, 2008
BILL CORCORAN in Johannesburg
SOUTH AFRICA: A SOUTH African court has given its government 60 days to
bring pressure to bear on President Robert Mugabe's regime that will result
in some form of remedy for a citizen dispossessed of farms during seizures
of white-owned land in Zimbabwe.
In a landmark decision on Monday for South Africans whose Zimbabwe farms or
businesses have been seized illegally, Judge Bill Prinsloo in the High Court
criticised the government over its failure to help farmer Crawford von Abo,
from the Free State, despite his repeated requests for diplomatic
"Over all these years the respondents have done absolutely nothing to assist
the applicant, despite diligent and continued requests for diplomatic
protection," said the judge, before adding: "No explanation whatsoever has
been forthcoming for this tardy and lacklustre behaviour."
Mr von Abo, who is suing his government for damages of Rand60 million
(€5.222 million) over its inertia, lost six of his Zimbabwe-based farms in
2002, as well as livestock and machinery, when they were seized by so-called
war veterans during the state-backed land expropriations.
While the court ruled the South African government had a constitutional
obligation to protect Mr von Abo's rights and that its actions amounted to
"an act of bad faith", his application for damages was postponed pending the
outcome of attempts to get his land back or a satisfactory remedy.
"I regret to say that it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the
respondents were simply stringing the applicant along and never had any
serious intention to afford him proper protection," Judge Prinsloo said.
"Their feeble efforts, if any, amounted to little more than quiet
acquiescence in the conduct of their Zimbabwean counterparts and their 'war
As a way to remedy the abuse of Mr von Abo's rights, diplomatic pressure
could be brought to bear on the Zimbabwean government to restore his
property or pay him compensation through the yet to be signed bilateral
investment promotion and protection agreement with Zimbabwe, the judge said.
July 31, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Politically motivated murders and human rights abuses have
continued in Zimbabwe despite the talks between President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party and the MDC.
The MDC on Wednesday accused President Mugabe's party of killing two of its
activists last weekend - despite claims by Mugabe's government that reports
of politically motivated violence after July 24 - when talks with the MDC
commenced - were false.
Acting MDC spokesman Tapiwa Mashakada, who is also the party's deputy
secretary general, said in a statement Wednesday that in spite of the
on-going SADC-brokered dialogue in South Africa, two MDC activists were last
weekend murdered by Zanu-PF supporters.
Mashakada said the body of Fungisai Ziome, an MDC activist who was abducted
from her home on July 23, was discovered in a maize field on Saturday
morning in Glendale. The area, which falls under the Mazowe South
constituency in Mashonaland Central province, is a stronghold of support for
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Mashakada said Ziome, of Ward 13, was an active MDC supporter who was
abducted by Zanu-PF supporters who then allegedly mutilated, burnt and
dumped her body.
Ziome's savagely mutilated body was discovered in the early hours of
Saturday by passers-by. Mashakada said a report had been made about the
murder to the police but no arrests have been made.
Police were not immediately available to comment.
Meanwhile, Kingsley Muteta, a police officer, died at Harare's Avenues
Clinic on Saturday after being beaten, allegedly by a mob of 12 Zanu-PF
supporters at his parents' homestead in Mudzi.
Muteta, who was a serving police officer in Harare, was attacked by a
Zanu-PF mob when he visited his mother after she was brutally attacked by
the Zanu-PF militia at the family's rural home. Mashakada said Muteta's
mother was a well-known MDC activist.
Muteta was first taken to Kotwa Hospital in Mudzi and later transferred to
Harare where he died on Saturday due to the injuries sustained during the
"The MDC has asked Zanu-PF to show its commitment to the dialogue process by
stopping violence, disbanding all militia bases and prosecuting all
perpetrators of political violence," Mashakada said. "The deaths show that
there is no sincerity on the part of Zanu-PF."
The latest murders push the death toll of MDC members killed since the March
29 elections to 122.
The two rival political parties have been locked in power-sharing talks in
Pretoria since last week Thursday. The negotiations seek to resolve the
country's economic and political crises.
The parties to the talks adjourned on Tuesday to allow negotiators to
consult their principals amid reports of a deadlock over the offer of a
deputy presidential post to MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The talk's facilitator, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, flew to Harare
Wednesday to brief Mugabe on the talks.
Mugabe told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Mbeki: "We are still
negotiating, we want to succeed. Negotiations are negotiations; they are not
a card game. You find room for compromise, sometimes compromise is difficult
and you stand by your proposals as presented. You debate again and again and
reach a compromise. I understand the talks are going well."
Mbeki said the talks were due to resume on Sunday.
A Day in a Life of Mr. Average
Humans of the civilized world cannot fathom how on earth an average
citizen survives in Zimbabwe. What with an inflation rate of more than ten
million percent, a completely worthless currency and empty supermarket
shelves, Darwinian adventure, Cesarean courage and Bonapartean arrogance can
be the only vital ingredients in my daily survival kit.
Wednesday 30 July 2008
From Rejoice Ngwenya in Harare
My day starts with a fire in the gazebo to warm a bucket of bathing water.
Electricity is usually down and with a water system that collapsed six
months ago, running water is a thing of the past.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority has a repertoire of excuses why the
precious liquid deserted my home. I have stopped asking. Water bills do
come, but there are no penalties for ignoring them. In fact, deliberately
ignoring water bills has become to me, an act of satisfying sweet revenge!
Electricity does appear once in a while, but the risk of relying on
stove-heated water is much too high, if I have to guarantee getting to a
meeting on time. Forget eggs and a cup of tea. They are not on my menu if
the preceding day I had no access to at least six United States dollars. My
breakfast is therefore limited to a bowl of corn meal porridge with peanut
butter, and boiled sweet potatoes!
Back in the bathroom, I'll be lucky to find a piece of scented soap tablet.
UniLever, one of the few companies that manufactured soap long closed their
doors. We survive mostly on cross border traders who sell toiletries from
Botswana and Mozambique. If I am lucky to find a piece of soap at the
Greek-run Spar, it will probably take all my day's local currency allocation
of one hundred billion dollars.
Mugabe TV presents Mugabe
After a few minutes of watching France 24 news beamed via a free-to-air
decoder, I reassure myself that the streets are still safe from an uprising,
then drive around the block to pick a couple of neigbhours. Nobody watches
the government controlled ZTV news nowadays. After firing an entire staff
accused of being opposition party sympathizers in the days preceding the 29
March Parliamentary Elections, the only television station is stuck with a
Mugabe crony named Happison Muchechetere who has effectively reduced the
broadcaster to a ZANUpf [ruling party] community station.
I cannot leave my neigbhours, because public transport has completely
collapsed. Mini bus operators change their fares everyday, claiming to be
motivated by a local dollar that is resented and rejected by petrol
suppliers who prefer the greenback. One litre of gasoline sells for USD1.50,
while a single return trip ranges anything from one hundred to one hundred
and fifty billion Zimbabwe dollars. Motor vehicle fares are pegged against
the US dollar, hence most mini bus operators have either folded, or switched
to the more lucrative private hire market.
My trip to the city is interrupted by at least four police road blocks. They
are not very hostile, since over the long period that these points have
operated I have grown to know some of the officers by name. It takes about
five minutes to persuade them that my boot is empty - no weapons of human
mass destruction like axes, knob carries and catapults. Careless jokes about
AK47s and grenades can land one in prison. These poor chaps are really
hungry. Mini bus operators are not spared either. They have become somewhat
a reliable source of money. Traffic police call them 'ATMs'. My four
passengers will always volunteer to pay me something at the end of the
journey, though not enough even to buy one bottle of coke. This is
philanthropy. Before driving off to the office, I join a bank queue for my
day's 'allocation' of one hundred billion dollars, in case I have to
purchase a few buns for lunch. If I get a late call from my wife to pick a
few vegetables from the supermarket, I would have to use a
locally-denominated Visa Card - a system that has become more reliable than
even a cheque leaf, provided telephony is working that day!
For big transactions like motor vehicle service, my life is a nightmare. It
costs around forty trillion Zimbabwe dollars for light service. The garage
want their payment in advance, so I generally cannot write a cheque because
Reserve Bank regulations banned figures of more than nine hundred billion on
cheque leafs per day. Governor Gideon Gono concocted a system called RTGS -
an interbank electronic transfer system that has long collapsed due to being
overwhelmed by shear volumes and unprecedented zeroes. More often than not,
it takes almost ten days for the money to show in my garage's account and by
then, the cost of service has changed. This means I now have to 'supplement'
with cash sought from the black market, since the bank can only give me one
Doubling phone bills before they are ready
Back at the office I have another heart ache - a paralysed Internet system.
If I am lucky that the office driver found petrol for the generator, I will
have to labour through a dead-slow dial-up system, or a broad band
struggling due to lack of electricity at base stations or poor support
service since most telecoms technicians have escaped to South Africa! Making
calls through cell phones requires extra ordinary patience. The networks can
no longer cope because of congestion.
Telecel, NetOne and ECONET are the only three players, but government
imposes a tariff control on them. As a result, the companies have not been
able to inject sufficient capital for expansion, while consumers take
advantage of low tariffs to literary 'sleep' on the phones. Of late, Strive
Masiyiwa's ECONET have introduced an advanced payment billing system to
cover themselves against inflation. What they do is to simply double the
figure on my current bill! Net One, the government controlled network is
struggling to supply customers with refill cards due to a lack of foreign
currency to run the system. Telecel has not had it easy either. Its former
owner, James Makamba escaped to London when government accused him of
sympathising with opposition MDC in flighting interviews on his 'private'
television station. The company has since been taken over by a consortium of
My day ends with another drive back home. I no longer have any social life
because not a single point of 'pleasure' accepts local currency. In short,
Zimbabwe's economy has been truly and effectively dollarised. Gono is still
in a state of denial, but as for me, Mr Average, I will have to live to
fight another day. But before I settle for another dose of France 24, I
bundle a few jerry cans into the wheelbarrow in search of water at the
nearest well, a water well in the centre of a middle-income, urban
residence. Truly, Mugabe has reduced us into a bunch of rural urbanites!
Rejoice Ngwenya is a regular columnist for African Liberty. He is a
Zimbabwean Freemarket Activist and Political Analyst.
GUTU, July 30 2008 - Two losing ZANU PF Members of Parliament (MPs),
who also own milling companies here, have been implicated in flour and
mealie meal racket.
Former Gutu South and North MPs, Shuvai Mahofa and Lovemore Matuke,
are being accused of selling mealie meal and flour they acquired from the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in foreign currency at the black market rate.
Mahofa, who was said to have bought 30 000 tonnes of wheat at
government-subsidized rates from the GMB under the auspices of the peoples'
shop concept, is selling a 50kg bag of flour at South African Rand 300. A
source said Mahofa does not want the local currency, citing galloping
inflation that has reduced the Zimbabwean dollar to worthless paper.
"She only charges in foreign currency, especially the rand," said a
source who had bought a bag of flour from the former Deputy Minister.
A quick check by Radio VOP revealed that a few bags were in her shop
at the growth point's central business district, while workers said most of
the flour is stashed at her house in one of the low density suburbs.
On the other hand, Matuke, who got an unspecified tonnage of maize
from the country's grain reservoir, is selling a 50kg bag of mealie meal for
R100. Matuke, who also got a grinding mill through a scheme initiated by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), is also said to be selling the grain direct
to customers, instead of milling it.
"Matuke is selling both mealie meal and the maize grains in forex. But
after he got the maize from the GMB, he is no longer milling, saying his
grinding mill is out of order," added the source.
The two scarce products, which are meant for starving villagers, have
left the two ex MPs making abnormal profits, after buying a 50kg of maize at
the GMB rate (through the drought relief programme) for $1,7 billion and
flour for $5 billion.
Published Date: 31 July 2008
By Jane Fields
ZIMBABWE'S central bank governor yesterday slashed ten zeros from the
country's worthless currency and resuscitated old coins in a desperate
attempt to halt hyperinflation.
"The Zimbabwe dollar will be redenominated by a factor of one to ten, which
means we are removing ten zeros from our monetary value: $10 billion today
will be reduced to $1, effective from 1 August," said Gideon Gono in a
This is the second time in two years that the Reserve Bank governor has been
forced to lop zeros from the local currency as he fights record inflation,
currently estimated at more than 2,000,000 per cent.
In 2006, he slashed three zeros and sent bank employees into remote rural
areas to mop up old banknotes in the now infamous Operation Sunrise, which
was meant to herald Zimbabwe's economic recovery.
But the sham re-election last month of Robert Mugabe has sent the Zimbabwe
dollar plummeting again. With the country on a knife-edge this week as talks
between Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition appeared to falter, the
British pound changed hands for a record one trillion Zimbabwe dollars,
nearly ten times the official rate.
A loaf of bread soared to $300 billion - three times a teacher's monthly
salary. Calculators, computers and bank machines have been unable to cope
with the extra zeros.
Dr Gono, Mr Mugabe's personal banker, announced the introduction of a $500
note. It will be worth five trillion of the old dollars. The note will not
be enough to buy a tub of ice-cream. A $100 billion note was brought in last
The bank chief said old and new notes would co-exist until 31 December. He
joked that Zimbabwe's domestic workers would be "seriously empowered" by the
reintroduction of old $1 and $5 coins.
The coins were last used around eight years ago before Mr Mugabe's chaotic
programme of white land seizures first sparked mounting inflation. Wealthy
Zimbabweans gave the coins away years ago.
Speaking after the governor, Mr Mugabe threatened to impose a state of
emergency if businesses kept hiking prices.
In a threat likely to erode what little investor confidence remains here, he
said: "If you drive us more than you have done, we will impose emergency
measures and we don't want to place our country in a situation of emergency
Businesses have been battered by Mr Mugabe's price slash last year, which
saw thousands of traders arrested. Police frequently arrest business people
found charging in foreign currency, which is illegal.
This month, the regime announced that it had launched an audit of
Western-owned companies ahead of the implementation of controversial black
empowerment laws. Fear of the authorities has forced many businesses
underground. Private warehouses sell goods such as cooking oil and margarine
in hard currency only to "vetted" customers.
Dr Gono blames the crisis on "illegal" sanctions imposed by Britain and the
United States. Yesterday he put on a stern face, but his address at times
threatened to degenerate into farce.
Scheduled to begin at 9am, the proceedings did not kick off until 10:30am,
leaving dozens of businesspeople, politicians and economists gathered at
Harare's International Conference Centre plenty of time to guzzle free
bottles of Mazoe Orange Juice.
After a senior official read a prayer, an embarrassed Dr Gono was forced to
retire from the podium before he started his speech. He asked for "just five
or ten minutes" to finish it, prompting speculation he had been ordered to
Transmission was then frequently interrupted, leaving viewers watching an
advert for Japanese car engines, that was played repeatedly.
July 31 2008 at 08:00AM
By Ufrieda Ho
South Africa is a changed place for Nomusa Moyo.
It has changed so much since the xenophobic attacks in May that even
though the Zimbabwean student speaks passionately about the plight of
migrants, she turns her head away from the camera, too scared a photo of her
in the newspaper will make her the target of an attack.
Moyo is an intern at Constitution Hill as part of Wits University's
World of Work programme.
She is also the co-ordinator of an exhibition at Constitution Hill
called Our Lives Now - Migrant Experiences of SA.
It's a collaborative effort between Con Hill, The Market Photographic
Workshop and the Forced Migration Studies (FMS) programme at Wits. It
follows on from a series of anti-xenophobia talks and exhibitions at
Constitution Hill, and more specifically from Keith Adams's We Came for
Mandela text, which documents the cultural life of the refugee community in
Narratives documented by FMS accompany the images.
These include stories of the ordinariness of going for a beer on a
Saturday night then watching the night turn into one of terror, or the
comments of a woman, identified only as Mercy, saying: "It felt like I was
stealing from my own house."
She had to gather her most precious possessions and flee her own home.
The narratives will be compiled into a FMS document and the
photographs are part of a Market Photographic Workshop project called Back
and Forth. This project was undertaken by their photojournalism and
documentary students in 2006.
The Workshop's co-ordinator of public programmes, Lester Adams,
explains that the project, which pre-dates the attacks, was a way to explore
migrants' lives at the edges of society.
It was also undertaken in collaboration with the International
Organisation for Migration (IOM), an advocacy group for migrants' rights.
Adams says the project was about raising awareness and in the end
about 70 images from that project were put together for a publication of the
Moyo offers her own perspective: "People don't think that migrants
have rights and the right to demand decent living conditions as provided for
in the South African constitution; they're more comfortable with seeing
migrants as helpless victims."
She says people don't bother to understand the resistance or the fear
as migrants are processed by authorities in poorly executed registration
"We need better education, better engagement," she says.
She admits though that the stereotyping and antagonism goes both ways.
The exhibition in itself is not about advocacy necessarily, but it
stands as a mirror to what is happening right now in South Africa; something
we should all see, if were brave enough to take a good look.
* Our Lives Now is on at Constitution Hill until the end of August.
For more information phone 011-381-3100.
This article was originally published on page 26 of The Star on July
The Chronicle editorial yesterday
Opinion & Analysis
When a political volcano erupts
By Stephen Mpofu
ZIMBABWEANS at all levels of society should not lower their guard because
the enemy siege on our country holds, and might even be intensified, witness
the latest broader, harsher sanctions slapped on the country by the United
States and the European Union.
That such retrogressive, even ethnocentric action comes after full-scale,
interparty talks got truly under way in South Africa to resolve the country's
intractable economic and political challenges - after President Mugabe
(Zanu-PF), Mr Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Professor Arthur Mutambara
(MDC-M) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) paving the way for
dialogue does not demonstrate genuine goodwill for Zimbabweans.
Any claims that the latest batch of sanctions against Zimbabwe are intended
at prompting the three political parties truly and earnestly grapple with
the problems facing the country cannot be taken, even at their face value,
If a car engine stalls and you push-start it, you do not continue to push
even when the vehicle starts to run on its own with the engine in full
throttle and then rush ahead and place boulders in its path.
A realistic attitude and supportive action should have been to scrap the old
sanctions and in their place introduce a package of financial and other,
necessary assistance for Zimbabwe - even if these are kept on hold pending
the final outcome of the current talks over the mediation of South African
President Mr Thabo Mbeki.
That way, Zimbabweans and other progressive people of the world would be
convinced that America and Europe do not necessarily wish to punish this
country any longer but that, by putting something positive in a temporary
offing, they are keen to aid Zimbabweans along the path of progress towards
a solution that is not good only for themselves but for all other people in
the global village who share the same destiny with this nation.
Yet in signing in his government new and punitive measures in Washington at
the weekend, President George Bush said that his country will help Zimbabwe
if a solution "favourable to the people" comes out of the current
But who should really and honestly decide what is good or bad for
Zimbabweans: Washington DC or Zimbabweans themselves?
The thinly veiled "if" ultimatum by Mr Bush can only suggest that a solution
that he has in mind is probably one that will further and protect Americans'
political and commercial interests in this country.
In light, therefore, of the war that continues, supported by Europe and
America's illegal sanctions, it is not only incumbent upon Zimbabweans, but
imperative that the masses and their leaders rally behind the negotiations
in South Africa while at the same time defending the image of the country
from negative and destructive misinformation.
As things stand, dirty propaganda has been flowing to and fro between
Zimbabwe and the Voice of America radio - perhaps with other foreign media
also in the fray - like body wastes circulating between a toilet and a
It is a fact that Americans and other Westerners know very little beyond
their borders about what goes on in smaller countries where their national
interests are limited, so it is Zimbabweans themselves who churn out some of
the propaganda demonising their own country, either for money or merely to
consummate their fixation on the Government or the ruling party for
political or other weird reasons best known to themselves.
Of late for instance, there was this hullabaloo about people still "living
in mountains" allegedly because of continuing violence. VOA was accused of
peddling that false information because the violence that followed the
presidential elections has virtually ceased and a United Nations official
recently in the country on official business commented to that effect.
VOA, CNN, BBC or some other foreign radio stations are not ubiquitous in
Zimbabwe but it is Zimbabweans themselves who mainly supply those electronic
media with the unmitigated untruths.
It must be said, however, that there is no harm in Zimbabweans disseminating
information that is correct and to the public interest if the idea is for
wider public to make informed and intelligent decisions that help humanity
as a whole.
However, as is the case, Zimbabweans are to a very large extent their own
worst enemies by pursuing self-destruct actions naively or simply foolishly.
And yet when the crunch comes like a volcano, erupting the lava will not
skirt them but will consume everything in its way.
For Zimbabweans to avoid searching their own souls but instead continue to
place sole responsibility for the anti-Government propaganda crap on foreign
Press maybe unavoidable but it is like kicking a dog repeatedly in the hope
that it will somehow resurrect and learn to bark up the right tree.
Is it not indisputable that in the minds of many in developing countries the
reputation of the foreign Press is a carcass lying in wait for time's