Friday 06 July 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - Several top Zimbabwean opposition officials have received
cheaper-priced farm machinery funded by the government under its
controversial land reforms despite previously denying benefiting from a
scheme widely seen as an extension of President Robert Mugabe's network of
Investigations by ZimOnline showed that Welshman Ncube, secretary general of
the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) led by
academic Arthur Mutambara, and Bulawayo mayor Joshua Ndabeni Ncube were
among several opposition officials to get equipment under the scheme, even
ahead of some of Mugabe's top lieutenants.
The two factions of the splintered (MDC) last month spiritedly denied
benefiting from the scheme and accused the government of cheap politicking
and of falsely including names of some of their officials on a list of
people who were to receive state-funded farm equipment.
The MDC - which accuses Mugabe of dishing out land, farming inputs and fuel
to cronies - said none of their officials were beneficiaries of the
government farm equipment scheme.
The denial by the MDC came after political analysts criticised the
opposition party of naively accepting favours from the government and
blindly falling prey to Mugabe's politics of patronage.
The analysts said by accepting tractors and other equipment from the same
government it accuses of wrongfully using state resources to buy loyalty and
of presiding over an economic meltdown, the MDC was surrendering its higher
moral ground to criticise Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
But Gabriel Chaibva of the Mutambara-led MDC on Thursday sought to downplay
the accusations of duplicity, saying there was nothing wrong in accepting
tractors and other equipment from the government that were meant to assist
in producing food for the country.
"We are talking about agricultural equipment that is intended to benefit and
assist those involved in farming. If I had access to that equipment I would
also welcome it . . . we will continue attacking Mugabe and his murderous
regime but we will also continue receiving those tractors and that
equipment," said Chaibva.
While Mutambara - who had been listed among beneficiaries promptly and
contemptuously rejected the tractor offer - Chaibva said the Mutambara-led
MDC had in fact not taken a formal position on whether its members could
accept farming equipment from the government.
"The president, (Arthur Mutambara), voiced concern at being included on the
list when he was not actively in farming. The party did not make a formal
position on the matter," said Chaibva, dismissing those criticising MDC
officials for accepting equipment from the government as mere armchair
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai insisted that none of the faction's members had accepted farm
machinery from the government.
He said: "The party made a position that we would not accept that equipment
because Mugabe is using it as a political gimmick. Those from our party who
were listed as beneficiaries have since distanced themselves from the
equipment because they are not farmers and they are not susceptible to
Mugabe's politics of patronage," said Chamisa.
An overjoyed Minister of Agricultural Engineering, Joseph Made, boasted that
some in the opposition had now seen the wisdom of joining hands with the
government to make "our land revolution a success."
Made said: "Some of them have realised that politicking will not help. We
have delivered some of the equipment and they have accepted ownership. They
have their equipment and they have joined hands with us to make our land
revolution a success by producing food for the nation."
According to documents in the possession of ZimOnline, Welshman Ncube
received a Massey Ferguson tractor with engine number 8045-25L/406T137064 on
June 15. The tractor was delivered at his Uvungu Farm/Meikles Estates.
Ncube's tractor was delivered on the same day that former MDC legislator
Renson Gasela took delivery of Landini 8860 tractor, serial number PLWLW
42190, at his farm in Lower Gweru.
Ndabeni-Ncube received a Massey Ferguson 440 (SE), serial number 440-229190.
The Bulawayo mayor also signed for several more pieces of equipment
including a Bain standard plough, Bain T10 disc harrow and a vicon spreader,
used for wheat planting.
Another top official of the same MDC faction Paul Themba-Nyathi accepted on
June 26 June a Same Explorer 85 tractor, serial number EXP855VT25066.
Most of the MDC officials were not immediately available to comment on the
matter but Ndabeni-Ncube echoed Chaibva saying: "I am a farmer and I welcome
any assistance that I can get to enhance my operations and improve on this
country's food security."
Analysts say Mugabe has managed to hang onto and consolidate power mainly
through the support of the army and funding from the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, which has continued to print money to oil the veteran leader's
They said by consistently loosening the purse strings, Mugabe had been able
to silence even officials in his ruling party who say the former guerrilla
leader has become an obstacle to any turn-around strategy in the country's
political and economic fortunes.
Once a model economy, Zimbabwe has plunged into deep recession, with its
real gross domestic product shrinking by around 40 percent in the last 8
years and pushing inflation to the highest in the world at nearly 5 000
percent in May, while shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency
persist. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 July 2007
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Thursday said
thousands of jobs were on the line as struggling companies downsize
operations in response to a government order to slash prices by 50 percent.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said some companies had already closed down
shop, warning that the government order on business to roll back prices to
June 18 levels was hitting hardest the same workers who were supposed to
benefit from lowered prices.
Matombo said: "Reports indicate that quite a number of companies are
downsizing. Others have closed altogether. Thousands of jobs are on the
line. The government might have to come with more innovative ways of solving
the economic crisis.
"The measures being implemented will only serve to worsen the plight of
ordinary workers. Many workers have already been told of salary cuts because
The government last week froze prices of all commodities following a spate
of price hikes that had seen prices of basic goods rising by more than 500
percent in the space of just three weeks.
Soldiers and police, some of them armed, have since last week raided several
shops in Harare to force owners to lower prices.
At least 194 retailers have been arrested for defying the order to lower
prices while President Robert Mugabe's government, which charges business is
conniving with its Western enemies to hike prices and incite popular revolt,
has said it will seize factories that stop production over prices.
Industry Minister on Thursday reiterated threats to seize businesses,
telling ZimOnline that the government had already set up a company to take
over factories that close stop production because of price controls.
"A government company is already in place to take over all those businesses
that fail to manufacture and sell goods at the prices we have told them to
charge," Mpofu said.
But industrialists, who spoke on condition they were not named for fear
their firms would be targeted by the authorities, said they had no option
but to scale down operations and close some of their production lines until
the price ban is lifted.
A senior executive with a food processing company in the eastern Mutare
border city said they had already started sending workers on forced leave
with most of the workers taking unpaid two-week breaks.
He said: "We have asked them to check on the situation after two weeks.
There is no production going on here hence there is no work for them. We may
eventually be forced to lay off some of our workers if the government sticks
to its position."
ZimOnline reporters who visited Harare's industrial sites saw scores of
workers just milling around company premises while others huddled around
fires to keep themselves warm in the capital's wintry conditions.
Amod Chimene, a worker at a soap manufacturing company, said: "Production
stopped two days ago and the warehouses are empty. We have since been
advised to go back home and come each morning to check on progress."
There were similar reports from the second largest city of Bulawayo of
workers being sent home as factories quietly resist orders to produce at a
Analysts say the government's latest effort to keep a lid on prices was
meant to pacify angry workers ahead of general presidential and
parliamentary elections next year but would come at a heavy cost as this
could force some companies to shut down and force more workers to join the
growing jobless list.
"Industry is on its knees. The government faces the risk of crippling the
whole economy by its populist policies and militancy on business," said John
Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 July 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - The Zimbabwean government has no legal grounds to force
manufacturers and retailers to reduce prices of basic commodities, legal
experts said on Thursday.
Prominent Harare lawyer Stanford Moyo said President Robert Mugabe's
embattled government had not promulgated any legal instrument to force
manufacturers to slash prices.
"They have not enacted any instrument to justify the price reductions. I
have seen no legal instrument that authorises the government's actions,"
Moyo told ZimOnline.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it was improper for the
government to "just wake up" and order a blanket ban on price increases
without gazetting any law allowing it to carry out such actions.
"It is unprocedural and unlawful and there is no legal basis for the
directive," said Irene Petras, the deputy director at the ZLHR.
The lawyers said the government was only empowered to control prices of
basic commodities such as bread, flour and maize-meal through a statutory
instrument gazetted in 2001.
The government last week froze prices of all commodities following a spate
of price hikes that had seen prices of basic goods rising by more than 500
percent in the space of just three weeks.
Soldiers and police, some of them armed, have since last week raided several
shops in Harare to force owners to lower prices.
The Harare authorities accuses business of conniving with its western
enemies to hike prices and incite popular revolt against the government.
Mugabe has since threatened to seize factories that stop production over the
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka last week said he hoped the Attorney
General's office would expedite the crafting of legal instruments to
prosecute those arrested during the price crackdown. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 July 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Britain says its stance on Zimbabwe has not changed, charging that
there will be re-engagement by the international community until there is
tangible evidence of change in policy by Harare.
Britain has led criticism against President Robert Mugabe's controversial
rule and mobilised its western allies to impose targeted sanctions on the
Zimbabwean leader and his top officials to punish them for failing to uphold
human rights, the rule of law and for stealing elections.
The deputy head of mission at the British embassy in Harare, Valerie
Brownridge, said the United Kingdom's stance would not immediately change
following last week's change of guard at Number 10 Downing Street, adding
London would continue pushing to end human rights abuses in the southern
"We will continue to encourage reform in Zimbabwe to end human rights
abuses, create democratic space and begin economic stabilisation and
recovery," Brownridge said in response to questions from ZimOnline.
There has been speculation in the past week that the June 27 departure of
Tony Blair as British Prime Minister and his replacement by Gordon Brown
could see an easing of frosty relations between London and Harare.
President Robert Mugabe was the first to voice this sentiment last week when
he said he hoped the coming in of the new British leadership would thaw
relations between the two countries.
"We will maintain our support for the Southern African Development Community
(SADC)'s initiative to address the Zimbabwe crisis and the attempts to
introduce the foundations for a free and fair election in 2008," said
Brownridge, insisting that the British focus had always been on changing
policy, not personalities.
Britain has clashed with the Zimbabwean government over Harare's tainted
human rights record during the past eight years.
Harare has in turn accused its former colonial master of reneging on a
promise made at the Lancaster House constitutional conference that ended a
decade long war of independence for Zimbabwe.
Mugabe blames the outgoing Blair regime of backing out of a pact to fund
land reforms in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean leader reacted to the British refusal to finance land
redistribution by compulsorily impounding farms owned by white farmers,
telling them to approach Britain for compensation.
Brownridge said there would be no be re-engagement by the international
community without substantial and measurable changes in Zimbabwe's policy.
"Our concerns about Zimbabwe are shared by many in the international
community. The government of Zimbabwe should heed the growing demand of its
own people to seek internal reconciliation and adopt policies that will help
restore democracy, the rule of law and respect human rights, and end the
country's self-inflicted economic decline," the British official said.
She insisted that the United Kingdom was and had always been open to
engaging with Zimbabwe and that "like many other European countries has
maintained an embassy in Harare for that purpose".
The SADC regional grouping in March appointed South African President Thabo
Mbeki to lead efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year political and
economic crisis by facilitating dialogue between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Mbeki is believed to have briefed SADC leaders on the progress so far, in
behind closed door meetings on the sidelines of the just ended African Union
summit in Accra Ghana. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 July 2007
By Mandlaakhenkosi Sithole
HARARE - During the past few weeks there has been increasing talk about a
United States of Africa.
Under normal circumstances it would be a wonderful idea but when I look
around the continent, I really do not feel warm about having one great ruler
and for all of us to belong to one big country.
I have nothing against fellow Africans but I have everything against the
chances of our children seeing their chances of getting employment vanish
because we now have to accommodate people from other parts of the continent.
There is a very good and valid reason why visa regimes are applied. I know I
am one of those people who complain about failing to get a visa to this or
that country but I think there is really nothing wrong with a country
ensuring that scarce national resources are not squandered by other people
who feel they have a claim over your part of the continent.
I am even more against the issue of this African dream after listening to
America's Rev Jesse Jackson implore our leaders to offer inducements to
African-Americans, British Africans or anything Africans so they can "come
Call me racist or tribalist, but the only people I want our governments to
encourage to come home are our own nationals nothing more nothing less.
If those other Africans feel this is their home they should just make it
here out of love and not because they can have a better piece of the cake
than Africans already on the continent.
Apart from the fact that I just do not want to belong to one huge country, I
just do not think it is realistic for anyone to think we can have one
leader, one government and actually be able to run the huge entity
We have enough problems such as Darfur and Mogadishu. Why don't we solve
those and then get ambitious.
Our regional trading blocs are struggling to make a mark on the world market
and we assume that by hurriedly lumping ourselves together we can take on
We have no respect for each other and shun each other's products.
It is a wonderful thought but one that will not work. I agree with Uganda's
Yoweri Museveni that within our regions we have similarities that hold us
together but as a continent we have major differences.
In southern Africa we understand each other not necessary well but we have
similar histories. If we get married to the other regions we might not be
able to hack it.
Remember some regions like West Africa are quite streetwise and cut throat
when it comes to negotiating their livelihoods. Southern Africans are more
laid back and likely to get trampled.
We can all be idealists who believe that just because the late Kwame Nkrumah
of Ghana wanted Africa to be the United States of Africa we should honour
him by doing that. We are too different for it to work.
Most African countries survive on donor funding. If we want autonomy then we
should move away from begging and get our resources to work for us in a
transparent manner and with more commitment.
Some people would love the idea of not having visas but in some cases some
countries have been able to keep crime in check because of stringent visa
They have also been able to ensure that their own nationalities get jobs
first before offers are made to outsiders.
Sounds nasty but restrictions do have their use. Look at Harare's avenues.
The locals have been driven out by people coming in from outside who offer
rentals in foreign currency.
The advantage of living in your own country should be the ability to get the
best of everything over outsiders and not the other way round.
My only consolation is that like everything else in Africa things move
slowly - agreement is hard to come by and even my great grandchildren might
never live to experience a United States of Africa.
Imagine some warlord somewhere carving out a piece of Harare for themselves
because it now belongs to every African.
How are we going to handle the issue of resources? We already have people in
some countries waging wars because they feel they are not partaking of the
Coming together will not suddenly make the whole continent rich.
Everyone will want diamonds, gold, cocoa fields and oilfields and they would
be justified, after all we will have become one. What a marriage that will
I need a lot of convincing about this dream because all I can see is mayhem.
Some of Africa's economies are so weak and the idea of having to take over
the burden of sharing poverty does not appeal to me.
Dear Presidents, we are fine as we are. Just keep the African Union and
forget about having one person and some subordinates administer the whole
Just imagine the number of military coups we will have because we will never
agree on who should rule us. Be blessed.
By Blessing Zulu, Carole Gombakomba, Patience Rusere & Ndimyake
05 July 2007
The Zimbabwean government's offensive against soaring prices has run square
into the law of unintended consequences as consumers nationwide face acute
shortages of a broad range of essential commodities and manufactured
On Thursday, Industry Minister Obert Mpofu, chairman of a cabinet task force
formed to whip inflation, ordered businesses to stop selling basic goods in
bulk. However, the shelves of many stores across Zimbabwe had by then been
emptied as consumers loaded up on goods that retailers were compelled by
police to deeply discount.
An informal survey found that leading chain stores including TM
Supermarkets, Spar, OK and smaller retail outlets had few goods to sell in
the wake of the buying frenzy. Basic products such as bread, meat, cooking
oil, salt, sugar and soap were to be found only on the black market where
they were going for exorbitant prices.
Late Wednesday the cabinet task force summoned business managers from a
range of economic sectors to an emergency meeting to discuss the offensive
against price increases. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President
Callisto Jokonya said that ministers demanded manufacturers maintain
production levels. Businesses asked government to provide hard currency and
stop slinging the label of "saboteur."
Silas Masiya, a resident of the Harare satellite town of Chitungwiza, told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the jobless have
benefited from the onslaught in stores as they were able to queue up to buy
goods for resale.
ZimSun Group Chief Executive Officer Shingi Munyeza said tourism firms have
been ordered to slash prices but fear the sector will collapse if pricing
Some business owners said they had been forced by police to open their shops
after hours to sell the officers large quantities of products at low prices
One business man speaking on condition of anonymity said police forced him
to open his Harare hardware store and reduce cement prices to Z$150,000 a
bag (US$1) from Z$1.3 million. The officers then bought 800 bags of cement,
filling the trucks they had brought. Other stores in Harare and Chitungwiza
have reported similar incidents.
Human rights lawyer Rangu Nyamurundira told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such conduct by police represented and
abuse of their powers and violated the rights of store owners thus
Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka
said reports of such activity were false. Contrary to what some business
people were told by line officers, Mandipaka said no investigation into the
charges had been opened.
Mandipaka said the police would continue to clampdown on profiteering
The state move to fight inflation by fiat has led business to contemplate
staff cutbacks and seek wage cuts from organized labor, said the Commercial
Workers Union of Zimbabwe, which represents retail workers.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said representatives of metalworking
companies and other manufacturing firms have raised the possibility of
reduced wages and retrenchment packages in the face of possible company
Commercial Workers Union President Lucia Matibenga, also first vice
president of the ZCTU, told reporter Patience Rusere that job losses are in
store just as happened in the wake of the government's seizure of farms
under land reform from 2000 on.
Economists and political analysts say "Operation Dzikamai," or "Stay Calm"
as the government has dubbed it, instead of controlling prices seems likely
to exacerbate the economic crisis because authorities have not addressed its
Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought
perspective from economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic
Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, and Pedzisayi Ruhanya, program
manager with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who said Harare is returning
to old tactics.
Date: Friday, 6 July 2007
Zimbabwean Sekai Holland was badly beaten by the foot soldiers of a faction
within Robert Mugabe's rogue government in March this year. She travelled to
South Africa for treatment, before flying to Australia to continue her
rehabilitation. She is the Secretary for Policy and Research in Zimbabwe's
democratically elected government. Here she updates Crikey on the situation
faced by her fellow Zimbabweans.
From 11 March this year, when we were tortured, the situation in Zimbabwe
has steadily deteriorated. But the day Mugabe dies you will see a different
Zimbabwe emerge almost immediately. Let me tell you why.
With torture, they have broken our bones, but later we were told that it was
a mistake that we were beaten up. It was a faction within Mugabe's ruling
party that was responsible. What comfort is that, when we are all broken?
In removing Mugabe you remove the illusion that somebody is in control. That
is a point I have not seen reflected in the media. Mugabe is not in control.
It is wrong to think Robert Mugabe is standing in the way. He is a sick old
man. You've got a military power that has built itself around a sick old
man. That's what we have in our way. Once Mugabe goes those power structures
From the day Mugabe shuts his eyes dead, hopefully peacefully in his sleep,
we know exactly what we are going to do. The opposition, civil society, and
other citizens who are working outside the country are well organised.
The intervention Zimbabwe needs now doesn't need to be military in nature.
It's in the form of food, of teaching people proper medication, of bringing
back education, and tackling the HIV problem. We need to do this first
before we can rebuild Zimbabwe.
There are three factors that people outside Zimbabwe are not taking into
1.. People are leaving the country in huge numbers. These are the
able-bodied, the educated, the artisans, anybody, basically, who has a skill
or can work.
2.. HIV now infects one fifth of our population. The people who are left
behind to look after one another are not in any condition to do so. The
problem can only worsen under those circumstances.
3.. Until the world wakes up to the fact that this is country where there
is no food, no education, and health care, then we are going to continue to
say the situation is worsening.
Reports that there has been a significant worsening in the past few weeks
are true. It stems from bad governance, and the total breakdown of the rule
of law. While that gets worse, of course, these other situations get worse
We are now being told inflation has reached 10,000%, and the government has
ordered businesses to lower their prices. To not do so is to risk jail. The
order came because there is no money in the country. My household in Harare
is an example.
When we left to be flown to South Africa on 22 March, inflation was at
3,500%. Yesterday, my sister who lives with our family, told me she can't
find Vaseline. Vaseline is a basic ointment used by everyone to rub on our
dry skin, especially our children. It's not available on the shelves. There
is nothing on the shelves. When we send them money to buy these gods, they
say to us, "Don't send us the money, send us the commodities." But the
problem with sending the commodities is that customs takes them and uses
Mens News Daily
July 5, 2007 at 9:58 pm ·
About two weeks ago Mr. Mugabe made a speech at the funeral of a General who
died under mysterious circumstances and in it he attacked the private sector
for raising prices in the name of regime change. He threatened the mining
companies as well as everyone else and said that if they did not come into
line with what the Party wanted they would be taken over.
Since then a shadowy, totally unaccountable organisation known as the "Joint
Operational Command" has taken up the call and last week they summoned
senior business leaders to a meeting and instructed them to roll back their
prices to the level they were at on the 18th June. The meeting was held with
the Commanders of the Army, the Police, the CIO, Air Force and the Prison
Since then all major retailers and wholesalers as well as the majority of
manufacturers have reduced their prices to the June 18th level. Remember
prices were doubling on a weekly basis at the time with inflation about 15
000 percent per annum. So these price reductions were major and across the
Last weekend the smaller retailers were attacked - I am not sure we can
really call it anything else. One by one they were approached by small
groups of officials, police and militia. The messages were confused and
varied from store to store and group-to-group. Some simply said they had to
reduce a limited range of 18 items to the price levels listed, others said
it was the roll back to June 18th while others simply said cut your prices
by 50 per cent.
No opposition or arguments were tolerated. If the retailers resisted they
were arrested and taken to local police stations. In other cases stores that
were closed had their doors smashed open and prices reduced under
supervision and then the public allowed in, buying the goods at the lower
prices. Many businesses were faced with near riots as people scrambled for
goods. In other cases the authorities confiscated goods, especially where
they found goods stored behind shops.
Then they started on the fuel stations - systematically all stations selling
fuels were visited and if they had stocks they were told to sell at Z$60 000
a litre or else. One operator in Bulawayo refused, was arrested and released
when his lawyers intervened, rearrested and taken to see the senior officer
in Bulawayo who told him no resistance would be tolerated and they then sent
the police to force him to open up and sell. He lost Z$3 400 000 000 in 12
hours on 47 000 litres of fuel bought at Z$132 000 a litre. Today there are
long queues at all filling stations still with stocks. I project by Monday
that there will be no fuel at all in the City, probably in the whole
country. Worse still the fuel importers have stopped buying foreign exchange
and halted imports. It will take weeks to get back to "normal".
The butchers were simply told to sell "meat" at Z$90 000 a kilogram or in
some cases Z$120 000 a kilogram - there was no explanation of the
difference. Since the cost of beef is well above these levels, they quickly
sold out and then closed. Today there is no butchery open in the entire
City. Bakers are following suit - they were told to sell at Z$22 000 a loaf
and they did so but stopped buying raw materials. Today bakers are slowly
closing down across the country.
In the milling industry "controlled" prices are half the real cost of
production and the national staple food, maize meal, has disappeared from
the stores. The prices of other carbohydrate foods such as potatoes have
doubled. Rice is controlled down to half its cost and will also be in short
supply by next week as stocks run out.
If supermarkets are unable to restock because either they cannot buy
products at controlled prices and sell them for a margin to cover other
costs, or the products are just not available, then all basic needs will
start to run out next week. For some mysterious reason one product was
specifically targeted - Mazoe Orange Juice. Its price was set at Z$120 000
for two litres and when all the dust had settled the manufacturers were give
n an approved price of Z$180 000 per unit. So if you were to buy this
product today you would have to sell it at a loss. Sugar sales from the
mills in the Lowveld are Z$15 000 a kilogram - the retail price is Z$17 000.
A mark up of 13 per cent - the fuel on collection of this product from
Chiredzi is Z$7 300 per kilogram alone.
This morning we watched a police raid on a small "Spaza" store run by a
single women who has a teenage son. A 7 tonne truck arrived with four police
on board, they collected all her stocks and loaded them and then ordered her
to appear at the police station at 14.00 hrs. The police officer in Charge
was Inspector Banda, force number 048168 F.
There she was harangued and fined Z$40 000. Her goods were offloaded into a
large warehouse that was full of confiscated goods. While we watched a
well-dressed man in a new vehicle, number 807 516 J drove up and helped
himself to 4 bags of sugar. He did not sign a receipt and drove away. The
vehicle was a make that is driven by senior police and army officers.
While we followed this small saga being played out, we saw truckloads of
police coming and going and more goods confiscated from small informal
traders all over the City coming in. Its quite clear, the Party wants to
show that inflation can be beaten and they are making the business sector
pay the price. The people carrying out these illegal and irresponsible
orders are rewarded for their diligence with authority to loot the stores
they are raiding. Since the big boys in this game can defend themselves, it
is the small people and the informal sector that suffers most. So much for
Zanu PF socialism, or as Mugabe would put it, his personal brand of Marxist
As one man said to me on the street, "Well Eddie, at least now you know, you
do not need to campaign for MDC in March, these people are doing it for
you." He may be right but how on earth do we get there!
Bulawayo, 5th July 2007
05 July 2007
HARARE, July 6, 2007 - Joseph Mwale, the elusive Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) operative, controversially embroiled in the gruesome
murder back in 2000 of two opposition MDC activists, is now safely ensconced
in the Zimbabwe mission in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
Sources in the CIO say Mwale was transferred to Lusaka last year and has
become an official at the Zimbabwean embassy since then. Mwale's posting in
Lusaka effectively scuttles efforts to bring the much feared intelligence
operative to book for the alleged gruesome murder of Talent Mabika and
The two MDC activists died in a callous petrol-bomb attack at Murambinda
Growth Point in Manicaland as they campaigned for their party ahead of the
2000 parliamentary elections, amid an orgy of state-sponsored violence
targeting opposition candidates and their supporters. "Joseph Mwale now
lives in Zambia," said one senior operative at CIO headquarters in Harare.
"But his transfer has nothing to do with running away from being
The agent said Mwale had nothing to fear as he was assured of immunity from
any form of prosecution since he was performing official duties for the
State when the MDC activists were killed. "Talk to Mutasa," said the source.
"He knows what's going on. But I do not think Mwale's transfer is linked to
the Murambinda case."
Efforts to obtain comment from Didymus Mutasa, the State Security Minister
were in vain. Mutasa, a hard-line Mugabe loyalist, recently said he was
launching a massive campaign to smoke out journalists who write for
foreign-based online publications such as The Zimbabwe Times. He has
threatened to take unspecified action against journalists identified as
being correspondents for online publications.
Efforts to bring Mwale to book through prosecution have proved futile over
the years, amid reports that he enjoys massive political support from top
ruling party politicians as well as government officials. Meanwhile, Mwale's
co-accused were arrested and brought to court. Zanu-PF activists Morris
Kainos Zimunya, Webster Gwama, and Johnson Mudzamiri were arrested in 2004
They were released on $5 million bail each in September 2004 by High Court
Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. Efforts by former Manicaland prosecutor,
Levison Chikafu, to bring Mwale to justice were frustrated.
On September 23, 2006, Chikafu wrote to the then police chief in Manicaland
Province saying: "The accused faces a charge of murder which was committed
in the year 2000. The docket was referred to your office with instructions
that you arrest Joseph Mwale and bring him for initial remand." The docket
allegedly disappeared from the police station immediately.
Instead Chikafu was himself arrested on charges of corruption and soliciting
bribes from suspects. His trial kicks off in Harare next week. Since
Chikafu's unceremonious departure nothing further has been heard of the
Mwale murder case. It now appears he quietly slipped across the border into
neighbouring Zambia.- The Zimbabwe Times.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.
By Peter Clottey
06 July 2007
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
says it is not happy about the government's ongoing voter registration
exercise ahead of next year's presidential and parliamentary elections. The
MDC has described the exercise as "fraudulent and opaque". It says not only
was the opposition not informed about the exercise, but that it has also
heard of alleged malpractices during the voter registration process.
The general secretary of the MDC, Tendai Biti, told VOA English to Africa
reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Harare that President Mugabe's
government has embarked on the voter registration exercise to pre-empt the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) organized talks between the
government and the MDC.
"We just get newspaper reports that they've established these mobile units
that are going around the country registering people to vote. The process is
not transparent. These guys just wake up one morning and they decide to get
out this opaque process across the country. We don't know where, how and
when it is being done. They are presuming that we are still going to use
that voters' role, which is totally and completely malseated with
inconsistencies," he noted.
Biti said the MDC has always been opposed to the use of the current voters
"The demand that we are making is that let's not use the voters' role; lets
do what we did in 1980, where every Zimbabwean just voted with an ID, so
that you avoid this completely infested voters' role. But they are going,
basically registering the voters' role to predetermine, to pre-empt the
talks that are taking place within the context of SADC. So it's one of the
issues that is clearly on the table is the issue of what electoral system
you use," Biti said.
He denied the MDC has ever asked for a new voters' register.
"No, we have been demanding that we don't want the voters' role.
Particularly, voters' role presided over by registrar general Tobaiwa
Mudede. We just want every Zimbabwean who is 18 years and above to vote
wherever he or she is. Whether he is in the United Kingdom, in South Africa,
in Botswana or in Zambia. And that is the only way you can totally and
genuinely respect Zimbabweans' right to vote. We did it in 1980; we can do
it again any place anytime," he pointed out.
Biti said the MDC has suggested that if the government wanted the voters'
register to be used for next year's elections, then the old one should be
dispensed with for a new one.
"The second demand is that, look, if we have to use the voters' role, then
let's start afresh. The current one that is being used is so irredeemably
defective, you can't use it, and you would need at least five years to clean
it. So, do away with it and we start afresh," Biti said.
Although Biti would not comment on the SADC organized talks between
President Mugabe's government and the MDC, he said he is worried about the
slow pace of the process.
"Well, I can't talk about those talks, I'm not allowed to talk about those
talks. But if I were any other Zimbabwean on the street I would be concerned
about the pace and progress about those talks because people are suffering.
As I talk to you right now, there is nothing in the shops; inflation is
probably 22,000% in the real terms. So people are suffering and people want
a solution to the crisis in this country.
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has clashed with government over its
crackdown on shops and supermarkets in a doomed bid to curb spiralling
The row has exposed cracks within government over the arbitrary
policy - which prominent lawyers this week described as illegal because it
has not been gazetted (see story below) - as the economy continues to
crumble all around.
Inflation is officially 4 500%, although economists say it is probably
The Zanu PF politburo yesterday discussed the price blitz, with some
officials defending it while others effectively said it was suicidal. This
has left authorities facing a climb down and the difficult task of cleaning
up their policy mess.
While Gono and his technocrats are struggling to revive the economy,
President Robert Muagbe, ministers and Zanu PF officials are pushing a
populist line targeted at grabbing votes in next year's joint parliamentary
and presidential elections. This has put Gono on a collision course with
Mugabe and his officials who are desperate to win the crucial polls.
Gono on Tuesday angrily wrote to Minister Without Portfolio Elliot
Manyika, who was acting chair of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring
and Stabilisation, distancing himself from the blitz and the resultant
Gono told Manyika that the clampdown was futile because it would not
reduce inflation. He said a "holistic package of measures that would uplift
the general supply of goods and services in the economy" was needed.
"I write to make recommendations on the ongoing efforts meant to
stabilise prices in the economy," Gono said in his letter dated July 3,
titled "Prices Reduction Crack Team Programme".
"It is our strongest conviction that only through a holistic framework
can we stabilise prices, without inducing shortages in the market."
Gono's two-page letter, copied to Chief Secretary to the President and
Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda and Minister of Policy Implementation Webster
Shamu, said government has been ignoring advice on how best to reduce
inflation since 2003.
Gono attached a catalogue of policy proposals - which include the need
for fiscal discipline, cutting down of government expenditure and reduction
of the budget deficit - he had offered over the years, saying the
recommendations were either half-heartedly accepted or simply ignored.
Gono has been blamed for quasi-fiscal activities, printing money on a
large scale to fund state operations and thus fuelling inflation, but he has
said he was acting under orders from the top.
The letter is understood to have angered government ministers who
think Gono wants to sabotage their price reduction campaign. Gono himself is
said to have been riled by the crackdown which he sees as inherently
Mugabe and Vice-President Joseph Msika have publicly endorsed the
current price onslaught. Manyika, a Zanu PF commissar, and Industry and
International Trade minister Obert Mpofu, chairman of the cabinet taskforce,
have been at the forefront of the campaign.
Sources said Gono last week boycotted a key meeting convened by State
Security minister Didymus Mutasa to discuss the issue in protest against the
chaotic blitz. It is said Gono resisted efforts by Shamu and Small to Medium
Scale Enterprises Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni, a member of the
cabinet taskforce on prices, to get him to attend the meeting. The meeting,
chaired by Mutasa, who is the chair of the Joint Operations Command that
combines security service chiefs from the army, intelligence, prisons and
police, went ahead without him.
After the meeting, sources said, Gono wrote to Mutasa dissociating
himself from the crackdown. It is said Gono tried to avoid a fallout with
Mugabe over the issue by explaining to him the economic pitfalls of the
A top government official said yesterday technocrats have failed to
make politicians understand their demagoguery cannot be a substitute for
The prices campaign has now degenerated into random and rowdy looting,
leaving shops empty and consumers stranded. As captains of industry and
commerce warned, basic commodities have vanished from the shelves of most
shops due to the government order for retailers to cut prices by half.
Manufacturers cannot recover their costs of production if government
controls prices and will therefore close down operations, a trend that is
Augustine Mukaro/Constantine Chimakure
GOVERNMENT'S current blitz to force manufacturers and retailers to
reduce prices of goods is illegal as there is no enabling law to legitimise
the state's actions, lawyers said yesterday.
Describing the actions of the state as immoral, the lawyers said the
government decision to force business to reduce prices to June 18 levels was
irrational and should be challenged in a court of law.
The blitz has seen government price control teams moving from shop to
shop slashing prices. This has resulted in all basket goods disappearing
from shelves. The accompanying mayhem prevailing at shops and supermarkets
following the slashing of prices has also resulted in massive looting of
goods by gangs, which appear to have inside information about which shops
the enforcers would be visiting.
In an interview yesterday senior Harare lawyers Sternford Moyo and
Muchadei Masunda said government had no legal grounds to enforce a price
"There is no legal instrument authorising the price freeze, controls,
reduction or monitoring on the scale being implemented by the government,"
said Moyo. "It would be very much illegal to arrest anyone."
Another lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, described government's actions as
immoral saying the state was forcing retailers to sell goods at a loss. He
said government, in implementing the current blitz was not taking into
consideration the price at which retailers were purchasing goods from
wholesalers and manufacturers.
"You cannot prescribe things that are practically impossible,"
Muchadehama said. "It is an immoral policy which cannot stand the test at
law. It is not a policy in the public interest. It's like seizing someone's
He said even if the state was to invoke the statutory instrument that
was used to prescribe the prices of basket goods, a notional assortment, it
would find it difficult to prosecute retailers because the instrument was
now outdated since factors influencing production had changed.
However, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto
Jokonya said even in the absence of an enabling law, business would comply
with the defective policy.
"We are aware that there is no law," said Jokonya. "There is no
statutory instrument, but for us what is important is to engage the
"It does not make economic sense to go to court. If we engage them in
the courts, government can wake up tomorrow and declare a state of
emergency. What will we do?"
While business has said it would comply, the blitz has degenerated
into an orgy of looting, throwing the retail industry into chaos - resulting
in many shops across the country losing billions of dollars worth of goods.
Reports from virtually all provinces show that the government price
control units made up of the youth militias, police, army and the Central
Intelligence Organisation are causing havoc when they raid shops, resulting
in people scrambling for commodities. Speculation is rife that the looting
of the goods could be masterminded by unscrupulous members of the price
control units using hired mobs to grab commodities and later off-load them
onto the black-market for their personal gains.
Retailers said they were surprised by the crowds, which immediately
gather at shops during the process of reducing prices by the control units.
They suspect that the police and youth militias enforcing the controls are
also involved in syndicates that immediately buy goods in bulk once prices
The fashioned confusion often deteriorates into uncontrolled commodity
grabbing resulting in goods being damaged and some customers taking
advantage of the melée to leave without paying.
Spokesperson of the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe Denford Mutashu
confirmed the looting of products from supermarkets but said he was not
aware of the involvement of the price controllers.
"We are aware of the looting you are referring to, but we are yet to
quantify its extent," Mutashu said. "A lot of retailers have lost goods to
thieves who take advantage of the confusion in shops once prices are
In Harare a supermarket chain on Tuesday lost billions of dollars
through looting after its employees were overwhelmed by clients as a result
of the reduced prices. Scores of people were seen leaving the shop in First
Street without paying for goods such as soap, salt, rice, Mazoe and
The shop floor was littered with remnants of the products as some got
damaged in the stampede.
THE ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
negotiators in talks facilitated by South African President Thabo Mbeki meet
tomorrow in Pretoria to start up critical dialogue in earnest.
After agreeing to a final agenda over two weeks ago, Zanu PF and MDC
negotiating teams will discuss the first and most important item on the
agenda, the constitution, sources said. The agenda for the talks also
includes electoral, security and communication laws, and the political
The Zanu PF politburo yesterday discussed the proposed constitutiional
amendment for joint elections. Mbeki wants the amendment to be part of the
Mbeki, who looks set to be engaged on Zimbabwe for almost his entire
10-year tenure, is determined to ensure the talks succeed for his legacy's
sake and to get rid of the trouble spot on his doorstep.
He reported progress on the talks to the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) organ on politics, defence and security chairman, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete on the sidelines of the Africa Union summit in
Ghana earlier this week. Sadc mandated Mbeki to be the mediator in Zimbabwe
in March. The Sadc summit in Lusaka next month is expected to tackle the
Zanu PF is represented at the negotiating table by Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa and his Labour counterpart, Nicholas Goche, while the MDC
has Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, supported by two other officials. South
African Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi chairs the talks and is
assisted by Director-General in the Presidency, Reverend Frank Chikane, and
Mbeki's legal advisor, Mujanku Gumbi.
Under the first item on the agenda - the constitution - the process of
constitution-making will be discussed tomorrow. Other issues such as the
electoral system, devolution of power, constitutional appointments and
citizenship would also feature during the discussion because, according to
the agenda, they fall under the constitution item.
The electoral laws issue will focus on voter registration, the voters'
roll, and appointment and functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and
The security legislation item - which Zanu PF refused to call
"repressive laws" - only deals with the Public Order & Security Act.
The draconian Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Act is not
on the agenda because it was allegedly passed in parliament by both Zanu PF
and MDC MPs. It was also agreed that press freedom would have to be
enshrined in the expected new constitution anyway.
The restrictive Broadcasting Services Act was removed from security
legislation and placed on its own. Under this item, there would be
discussion about external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe. In its
submissions to Mbeki, Zanu PF complained about the Voice of the People which
it says is Dutch-funded, SWRA, described as British-sponsored, and the State
Department-financed Voice of America's Studio 7.
Government has been trying to jam the stations to prevent them from
reaching Zimbabweans in the country. The political climate agenda item deals
with issues like demilitarisation of state institutions, hostile rhetoric,
use of militia, abuse of state aid and traditional chiefs, sanctions and
Sources said the talks tomorrow would exclusively focus on
constitution-making because this is seen as the main issue at stake. A
constitutional draft produced through informal talks between Chinamasa and
Ncube in 2003/2004 would be the basis of the negotiations for a new
The unpublished Chinamasa/Ncube draft constitution incorporates issues
from the government-sponsored draft, which was rejected by voters at the
2000 referendum, and the National Constitutional Assembly proposals.
THE collapse of the case of 18 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activists accused of terrorism has made it difficult for President Robert
Mugabe to persist with his claims, first made to Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) leaders in March, that Zimbabwe was under siege
from the opposition party.
Addressing an emergency Sadc summit in Tanzania, Mugabe presented an
almost 40-page dossier detailing alleged acts of domestic terrorism by the
MDC and justifying the March 11 beating of opposition leaders.
Among acts of terrorism cited in the document were a spate of petrol
bombings that took place in March.
The petrol bombings resulted in the arrest of 41 MDC activists, of
which 18 have been cleared while 17 are still in remand prison and the rest
out on bail.
Alec Muchadehama, the lawyer representing the activists, this week
said the case against his clients had collapsed after the police and the
Attorney General's Office failed to set a trial date for over three months.
In an interview this week with the Zimbabwe Independent, Muchadehama
said the police have failed to substantiate their claims against his
clients. He added that the case was political.
"The arrests were political as they targeted particular persons with
influential positions within the MDC," Muchadehama said. "They targeted
people like legislator Paul Madzore who is the personal aide to Morgan
Tsvangirai, Ian Makone - the MDC election strategist - and Morgan Komichi
who is the national deputy organising secretary. The police tried at all
costs to keep them in custody by saying the case was complicated and more
time for investigations was needed. At one time they issued a ministerial
certificate (against granting of bail)."
The lawyer said the courts at one point postponed the matter after the
police indicated they had dispatched officers to South Africa to carry out
"Their extra-territorial investigations were proved false in court as
the police failed to prove that they ever went to South Africa. We had
requested that they provide a map of the areas where they carried out their
investigations and their passports bearing South African visas," Muchadehama
He added that the police have been using many excuses for their
failure to come up with incriminating evidence against his clients and this
resulted in more than 50 court appearances by his clients.
"We have appeared in court on more than 50 times and in 36 of them, we
were applying for bail or arguing that our clients be given a trial date or
the courts throw out the case. Our question to the police was why they
arrested our clients before they had any evidence to link our clients to the
offences they are being charged with," Muchadehama said.
Muchadehama said under normal circumstances a bail application should
either be granted or denied within 48 hours from the time of application,
but in this case it has taken more than three months for the MDC activists'
attorneys to get a bail application ruling.
By Nobuhle Ncube
UPON entering the gates of the University of Zimbabwe, it is quickly
evident that the grounds are not receiving the attention that they once got.
The grass is brown, patchy and overrun with weeds. In areas, it has
grown up to a metre high and in others all that remains is dry red sand.
The buildings are clad in old chipped paint and are cracking while
window frames are reddened with rust. There is little evidence that this
campus was once one of the most beautiful and best looked-after in Africa.
Nobody wants to be seen speaking to a journalist here.
The next dining hall is surrounded by shards of glass and its roof has
collapsed. Its beams are exposed and broken while burnt furniture lies
rotting outside the main entrance.
The walls are covered in black soot from a fire that burned for more
than six hours, destroying the building, according to students who were
there after student activists allegedly set this dining hall on fire in
"I won't miss it here at all," says a student who is completing her
last year at the university.
She expresses severe disappointment at the deterioration of living
standards at the university.
As I enter her residence, I am suddenly surrounded by darkness. There
is no electricity.
"There was no water all weekend either," she says.
The hallway floors are potholed due to missing tiles and a layer of
dirt has compacted into the space that they used to occupy. The bathrooms, I
discover, are the source of the pungent smell that punched my face on
entering the room.
"We are not sure when our residence was last cleaned," this resident
says. "So we just close our eyes and get into the shower, hoping that we
In the male residence the sanitation in the bathrooms is so poor that
the men no longer use their toilets at all and have resorted to "going in
At the top of the staircase, on which I trip a couple of times because
of the darkness, I enter a room where students are watching television
together. This small room is filled with up to 30 chairs so that manoeuvring
around the it requires a degree of skill.
The chairs have almost no upholstery left and are so damaged that
holes have formed through the foam. When asked how the students manage to
sit in the chairs without falling through, a student answers, "just lean to
Students say that the standard of food in the dining halls has dropped
dramatically over the past few years.
"The food is awful here," a first-year student complains, "so I try to
avoid eating in the dining halls if I can. We've tried complaining but
The deterioration of the university campus is affecting academia as
well. Many students no longer use the university library because many of its
books have been stolen and have not been replaced.
"Being a student at this university is not easy," one student told us.
Lecturers and professors shared the same sentiments and would not
allow me to interview them.
"I've been waiting for more than a month to write exams," a
fourth-year student said, expressing her frustration with the current
academic situation at the university.
The current semester has been extended by an extra seven weeks as a
result of the disruptions caused by strikes by the academic staff earlier in
Over the past few years, there has been a severe decrease in the
number of lecturers at the university from over 1 200 to just over 600.
While waiting to write their exams, the students have been asked to
pay $1 million so that they will be allowed to stay in their residences.
This amount is twice what they were required to pay at the beginning of the
At Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where I am
currently enrolled, the campus does not have an official entrance but I
definitely know when I have arrived.
There, the evergreen lawns and arches of tall trees that shade the
paths are so striking that they are surreal - as though I've walked into a
children's story book.
Low stone ledges surround perfectly planned flower beds which add a
variety of colours to the already bright green background. The sounds of
splashing water can be heard from a fountain nearby.
Students are sitting on the grass in groups eating, laughing and
studying in the warm sunshine of the afternoon.
The university also has its own botanical gardens for the purposes of
study, conservation and a beautiful venue for picnics and society meetings.
To get into the girls' residences a security chip is required. The
carpeted floors are constantly vacuumed by Rosemary, always clad in her
starched blue uniform.
In the common room, girls lounge on pink and white sofas which are all
facing a television blaring music from MTV Base. A piano sits in the front
of the room and a pool table at the back. A kitchen connects from the common
room where a fridge and kettle can be used by any of the residents.
The rooms have a desk, lamp and built-in heater. Bed linen is provided
by the university and can be swapped for clean linen every Wednesday.
All rooms also have Internet access. In this particular residence
there is also a connection to the residents' own printer so that the girls
do not have to walk to computer laboratories to print assignments.
Vacuum cleaners can be found on every floor and there is a kitchen
upstairs equipped with a fridge, freezer and microwave.
The dining hall for this residence always gives the students a choice
of health food, Halaal food, vegetarian food, African food and fast food for
Rhodes University's library has electronic security at the entrance
and exit. It has a full electronic catalogue which can be accessed from the
residents' rooms and every book borrowed is registered by an electronic
system which sends students emails when books are overdue.
GOVERNMENT has planned a crackdown on a clique of prominent black
businessmen it helped to empower over the past 15 years. Targeted
individuals face arrest and the seizure of their businesses over the price
war with the state which started last week.
The industrialists who built empires with the direct and indirect
assistance of Zanu PF are now being viewed as pushing to topple the
government by applying economic pressure designed to cause social unrest
amongst the already suffering populace.
The ruling party has played an instrumental role in the acquisition of
significant stakes in a large number of companies involved in the production
of basic commodities. They are Dairibord, Lobels, National Foods and
The industrialists which have been targeted include Dairibord's CEO
Antony Mandiwanza, Lobels CEO Burombo Mudumo and Harambe Holdings David
According to sources Mandiwanza has become the prime target with Zanu
PF saying that it helped him get control of Dairibord and farmland. He is
now seen as being at the forefront of ruling party businessmen pushing for
the ouster of President Robert Mugabe.
He has in the past condemned prize freezes by government and was
particularly vocal in condemning the arrest of businessmen last year for
charging more than the approved government prices. Mudumo was one of the
Govere was fired from his post as chairman of the National Incomes and
Pricing Commission last week after granting bakers the authority to increase
the price of bread.
Dairibord stopped production of milk on Wednesday while bread has been
in short supply across the country. The Joint Operations Command (JOC), a
national security taskforce, is said to have resolved last week to arrest
the party's business elite who it viewed as not playing ball on the issue of
reducing prices. It also plans to seize their business empires.
JOC says the businessmen have joined forces with the two opposition
MDC camps and external forces pushing for regime change.
"They (government) believe these businessmen have not been backing
government politically on the issue of prices. They think they are trying to
use economic pressure to incite social unrest and topple government," said
Mandiwanza and Govere were not available for comment while Mudumo was
said to be in a meeting with his secretary promising he would call back. He
had not done so at the time of going to press.
Last week's unprecedented spate of price increases was followed
hastily by an order from government that they reduce prices by 50%. Business
has reluctantly complied but shortages of basic commodities have ensued
while some companies have closed down.
The Zimbabwe Independent is informed that JOC will use force to get
the businessmen to cooperate. Any failure to comply will be followed by the
seizure of the concerned businesses and subsequent arrests of targeted
The Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation has
already received the full backing of JOC in its campaign to have prices
There have been cases reported of soldiers and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) operatives being used to force producers and retailers to
slash their prices. JOC chairman Didymus Mutasa who is also National
Security minister said he was unaware of any blitz targeted at the prominent
"That's not true. We are targeting everyone including Zanu PF
businessmen," Mutasa said.
ELECTIONS for the Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial executive hang in the
balance after it emerged that the party has been split into two and its
leadership has further deferred elections to control the feud within the
The bickering and in-house fighting within the ruling Zanu PF Bulawayo
province has already seen 50 members of the party being suspended for
holding unsanctioned meetings in the city.
But the delay in the election is causing more confusion in the party
as the two feuding factions are holding clandestine meetings to plot ahead
of the overdue elections.
It has however emerged that the 50 suspended party members belong to a
faction understood to be led by former provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda,
who was dismissed from the party for allegedly disobeying senior party
leaders from Matabeleland.
The suspended party members are accused of having boycotted a meeting
addressed by the Zanu PF national commissar Elliot Manyika and national
party chairman John Nkomo at the beginning of May.
The suspended members instead held meetings at district level at the
same time the two party leaders were addressing the provincial meeting.
Zanu PF deputy national commissar, Richard Ndlovu, this week said
elections for Bulawayo province will not be held soon as the party was still
"The restructuring exercise is still ongoing but I can not give you a
date as to when the elections will be held. The dates are not tangible yet
but we are still far from elections as we only finished the first phase of
the restructuring last week," Ndlovu said.
He however could not be drawn on the ongoing feud in the province only
saying "everything will be put under control soon".
Manyika failed to conduct elections for the province in May after the
two feuding groups clashed leading to the elections being postponed.
The Zanu PF politburo last month recommended that the party
restructure first before elections are held.
The Sibanda faction is in total control of the province and sources in
the party say the current executive led by Macloud Tshawe has no support
base in the province.
The sources however said Tshawe's long stay in office has been through
the support he gets from politburo members in the province who fear that if
elections are called anytime soon the Sibanda faction would easily win.
A fuming Nkomo confirmed the split in the party when he addressed a
restructuring meeting at Insukamini primary school in Bulawayo last week.
"There is only one Zanu PF led by Tshawe," said Nkomo. "He is the
legitimate provincial executive. He is the one who reports to the Central
Committee. Do not be misled by anyone claiming to be the real Zanu PF."
At the same meeting Nkomo lashed out at Sibanda whom he claims was
spreading word that he (Nkomo) had him expelled from the party.
Nkomo has dismissed Sibanda's claims as "rubbish" and says he was
expelled instead for disobeying the party's command.
Party sources said the politburo members were afraid that if Sibanda's
faction wins they will have no control of the province since most politburo
members do not see eye to eye with Sibanda's faction.
Zanu PF Bulawayo province has been trying to re-organise its
structures that were to see a substantive committee selected last month, but
due to fighting the issue is still to be completed.
THE government has ordered Masvingo governor and resident minister,
Willard Chiwewe, to surrender some of his farms to the state after it
emerged that he allegedly violated the one-man, one-farm policy.
A land audit by the Ministry of Lands found that Chiwewe owned three
farms - Clipsham on the outskirts of Masvingo and Ganyani and Penhest, both
along the Masvingo-Mutare highway.
In a recent letter to Chiwewe, Lands minister Didymus Mutasa ordered
the resident minister to surrender some of the properties to the government
"From the evidence we got during the land audit it has come to our
attention that you own more than one farm," the letter reads. "You are
therefore directed to surrender some of them since it is government policy
that one man should have one farm."
"You, however, have the right to argue your case in the event that you
do not agree with the evidence we got."
Mutasa told Chiwewe, also a former permanent secretary at Foreign
Affairs, that the government was identifying land to resettle thousands of
people before year-end and that multiple farm owners should surrender their
properties to the state.
Efforts to get comment from Chiwewe over the past week were fruitless,
but the governor recently claimed that there was a plot to destroy his
political career. He said there were people claiming that he owns more than
Apart from Chiwewe, sources said, several senior government officials
with multiple farms received similar letters to surrender surplus
Some ministers, government and ruling Zanu PF senior officials
allegedly grabbed more than one farm during the 2000 fast track land reform
Numerous audits have been carried out on land ownership, but little
has been done to repossess properties from multiple farm owners.
GOVERNMENT radio jamming equipment reportedly purchased in China has
backfired, gagging its own new shortwave project, Voice of Zimbabwe (VOZ),
sources at the station revealed to the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
The ambitious station, set up to counter Western broadcasts, is said
to be battling to recruit qualified personnel to run its operations while
its few employees are still in Harare instead of moving to Gweru where it
was due to be housed. Sources said the equipment was believed to be made up
of three jammers installed at Thornhill, a military airbase and government
communications centre in the Midlands.
The plan was to block a perceived negative publicity campaign from
outside radio stations such as Voice of America (VOA) funded by the US State
Department, SW Radio which beams from London and Dutch-funded Voice of the
People (VOP), among others. The jamming equipment has prevented VOZ from
starting regular operations due to the self-signal interception going on at
Zimbabweans have been forced to listen to state radio programming
owing to punitive broadcasting laws enacted by government. The country has
four state-controlled radio stations operating under the frequency
modulation (FM) radio wave band and one shortwave, VOZ, which appears to be
suffering a stillbirth.
Government clamped down on Capital Radio, Zimbabwe's first independent
radio station in 2000 setting the police on the station's offices in Harare
where its equipment was confiscated. Radio Dialogue, a community radio
station housed in Bulawayo, has also been forcibly shut down.
"Ever since the station was launched on May 25, it is yet to start
regular operations," a source said. "There are no news broadcast nor a set
programming timetable. To make things worse there are no announcers,
liberation war music occasionally plays but fades away at different times."
Government announced two months ago that the station would run trial
broadcasts for three weeks on 5975 kHz and 4828 kHz, but the trials were a
major flop owing to the jamming machinery from China.
In a bid to cover the broadcasting setback both Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH) and Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu have remained
tight-lipped on the issue and have failed to give any explanation as to why
the touted panacea to counter Western "pirate" radio stations is failing to
VOZ boss, Happison Muchechetere who is also a war veteran yesterday
denied that the station was experiencing technical problems. He said
government had purchased state-of-the-art equipment for the propaganda
project. Muchechetere said government is at war on the airwaves with
imperialists. He said the "imperialists" will not win.
"It's a war of the airwaves and we're not afraid," said Muchechetere.
"We know we're at war with imperialists and they are not going to win. You
people forget that you're doing propaganda for the white man. I'm not
ashamed that I'm doing propaganda for Zimbabweans and for someone who
liberated this country. Hapana chirikujammer apa (There is no jamming here).
We are not experiencing any technical problems," he said.
THE benchmark industrial index yesterday retreated by 20% as investors
shied away from manufacturing, consumer and retail counters that have been
hit hard by the on-going government crackdown on retailers and
Of the 71 trading mainstream industrial counters on the stock market,
only Seed Co recorded gains yesterday. There were no takers for consumer
counters like OK Zimbabwe which closed at $1 000 yesterday from $1 300 on
Wednesday. Before the forced price reduction the counter was trading at $1
Innscor Africa and Dairibord Zimbabwe did not have any offers at $70
000 and $25 000 respectively yesterday, dropping from $85 000 and $36 000
recorded on Wednesday.
Agro-processing company National Foods Holdings did not trade.
Econet Wireless also found no takers following the reduction of
tariffs yesterday at $180 000 from $245 000 on Wednesday.
Analysts said the counters led the losses in response to price cuts
and nationalisation threats by President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President
Analysts said the counters could continue to trade in the red in the
short term as companies stopped producing.
GOVERNMENT'S plan to re-introduce subsidies is a counterproductive
move likely to stoke inflation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
An IMF spokesperson told businessdigest this week that any additional
government expenditure in the form of new subsidies on basic commodities
would increase quasi-fiscal deficits which will stoke inflation.
The IMF said the government will have no choice but to resort to money
printing in order to finance the subsidies. Government last week said it was
going to introduce subsidies on basic commodities to control price
increases. It however did not say where the money to fund the exercise would
The government is in a serious cash squeeze because of reduced tax
revenues caused by the economic crisis which has forced most companies to
A Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries report said the economy had
shrunk by 30% since the crisis started in 2000. The other main sources of
government revenue like tobacco and mineral exports have also slumped.
"Attempting to control inflation by subsidising prices is likely to be
counterproductive," the IMF said.
"Unless new sources of revenues are found, these subsidies will lead
to higher fiscal deficits and new money printing, which will further fuel
inflation and inflation expectations."
The fund said expectations of future inflation also played a
significant role in the inflationary spiral. It recommended that government
tightens its fiscal budget and eliminate all quasi-fiscal activities to
stabilise the economy.
"Other main elements would include exchange rate unification and full
liberalisation of the exchange regime for current international payments and
transfers, the establishment of a strong nominal anchor, liberalisation of
price controls, and imposition of hard budget constraints for public
enterprises," the IMF said.
Finance minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, refused to disclose how
government intends to finance subsidies for all basic commodities.
"Why do you want to know? Go and tell whoever sent you that I don't
want to speak to the (Zimbabwe) Independent," Mumbengegwi said.
Industry and International Trade minister Obert Mpofu was said to be
out of the office all week by his secretary.
Saddled with a domestic debt of $2,1 trillion whose interest component
at $1,5 trillion is 73% of the debt, government has few financing options on
its hands. It will either borrow from the private sector or to print money -
all of which is highly inflationary.
Official inflation stands at 4 500% but the IMF last week said the
figure was more likely 10 000%.
The strained fiscal budget can hardly accommodate subsidies as the tax
revenue base has shrunk in real terms. This leaves the option of printing
Economic analyst, John Robertson, said government would have to resort
to the printing press to fund the subsidies.
"There is no way of funding without printing money. Even if government
were to try and push subsidies into the fiscal budget, the tax revenue base
has been shrinking as fewer people are in gainful employment. So the option
left would be to print money to fund the fiscal budget," Robertson said.
An economist with a local commercial bank said while subsidies were
supposed to come from the budget, it was impossible to do so because
government was hard pressed for funds.
"Everyone knows government is cash-strapped. The budget deficit is
very high. Government is also battling to import food and fuel. It is faced
with a diminished tax base. They will have to monetarise the deficit by
printing money," he said.
Last week government froze price increases and introduced subsidies in
the production chain as a way of controlling spiraling prices of
It ordered price reductions of 50% on selected grocery items, a move
observers said was designed to win the hearts and minds of the people ahead
of next year's elections.
Industry players have been promised fuel at $15 000 a litre in return
for not hiking their prices.
Government has also resorted to repressive measures to enforce its
directive. It deployed the army which cracked down on businesses which did
not comply with the directive.
Soldiers descended on a cement selling outlet in Msasa, Harare and
forcibly sold cement at $120 000 a bag instead of $1 million.
By Tara Walraven
THEIR eyes dance at the thought of the newly drawn cash, still warm in
their pockets, preventing their wallets from closing, weighing heavy as they
They approach the supermarkets with expressions of hope but leave with
faces full of disappointment and despair with shopping bags as empty as
their recently replenished wallets.
Pensioners, mothers and youths are all performing what appears to be a
carefully choreographed dance routine: pick up, sigh, put down and move on.
In supermarkets across the country, the activity along the shelves is
the same: young and old wander the aisles confused, and baffled as the
assortment of goods $1,5 million can buy you continues to change. The only
thing that stays the same is the fact that it is not a lot.
With banks restricting withdrawals for individuals to $1,5 million a
day, grocery shopping has become something Zimbabweans dread. But as prices
around the country were reduced over the weekend, the emptiness of shopping
carts is revealing.
Just last week a 2kg packet of rice cost $700 000 and a single
withdrawal could only buy two. Due to the new price controls the very same
packet now costs $300 000. An extra three packets can be bought at least
As people rush to the shops to take advantage of the reduced prices,
the trolleys are fuller and people try to be comforted by the illusion of
returning to the comfortable lives of the 90s.
Back in 1981, houses were valued at about $25 000. In 2007 these
houses cost $25 billion.
Cars were worth $11 000 and today they cost anything above $3 billion.
Today is "millionaires" can't afford a bicycle.
How things have changed over the past 27 years since Independence!
A price list published by the Bulawayo Publicity Association in
January 1981 shows that a loaf of bread cost 30 cents, 2kg sugar 59c, a
dozen eggs 75c and 5kg maize meal 51c. A two-piece safari suit cost $27
while a shirt could be yours for $17, 90. Amazing isn't it that after 26
years you can't possibly give the same amounts to a primary school kid for
The numbers seem ridiculous but this is the reality in which we find
ourselves in 2007. The figures no longer make sense at all because of
hyperinflation now believed to be scratching 6 000%.
Remedial state policies to dock three zeros from Zimbabwe's forlorn
currency and lately to force retailers to reduce the prices of goods and
services have failed to keep up with the galloping inflation.
Today, just 22 short years later from the heyday of 1985, forget about
car sales floors and estate agents. A wad of $1,5 million notes will take
you to the supermarket and these are your options: 10 packets of plain
biscuits or 10 tubs of Vaseline, 10kg of rice or one bottle of Marmite,
eight tins of Heinz baked beans or four tubes of Colgate toothpaste.
"Not even a cooking pot," sighed one shop assistant, the price tag
reading $1,6 million.
Even tea and coffee to help face the morning frost will consume a
significant amount of this limit.
"Nothing, absolutely nothing," was the response shoppers gave when
asked to describe what would be in their trolleys with the bank limit of
Although this is not entirely true they struggled to elaborate on what
they would be able to take home for such a small amount of money.
Only seven years ago, it would have come as a shock when someone
called over a million dollars "a small amount of money".
One shopper said that she would expect to spend anything up to $20
million in a single grocery shop. She looked undisturbed as the numbers
rolled off her tongue.
Zimbabweans have grown very accustomed to talking in the millions what
should be, before the three zeros were dropped, billions. A language that
was only spoken by a few very successful businessmen has now become the
language in the streets and supermarkets of Zimbabwe.
Warm clothing is an obvious necessity now that the winter months are
upon us. A very basic warm jacket to help combat the winter chills will cost
anything from $3 million to $6 million, certainly falling far out of the
It seems we may have to rely on the eight tins of baked beans to keep
us warm until summer. Who would have thought baked beans would prove to be
So, enter a supermarket after making a withdrawal of $1,5 million and
expect to put only the very necessary into the trolley. But who knows what
the average trolley will contain next week? Perhaps it is only a matter of
time until they once again seem to develop invisible holes that drain our
shopping out of them.
Equally likely is the possibility of full trolleys, a daily withdrawal
from the bank becoming significant once more and allowing us to afford the
luxuries we have learnt to do without.
At the rate things are going it seems almost believable that we could
be visiting the estate agents next month with $1,5 million, ready to buy a
decent house, or to the car sales floors to fetch a new car. This is all but
In the meantime, we can only sit and wait, performing our now
well-practised dance in our everyday shopping, waiting for time to reveal
By Jonathan Moyo
IF there is a lesson that Elliot Manyika - the Zanu PF national
political commissar and minister without portfolio - should learn urgently
before going any further with his Zanu PF propaganda against the business
community over the government's ongoing self-defeating war on prices, it is
that because propaganda is not a substitute for policy, he should not hold
it in his hands for too long lest it starts moving like a deadly snake that
can strike him, his party and government to a spectacular political demise.
Manyika hogged the media limelight this week as acting chairman of the
Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation by going berserk and
ordering parastatals and "all producers of goods and services" in the
national economy to reverse the prices of their products to levels obtaining
before June 18 or face arrest.
His order was of course not entirely new as it came hot on the heels
of a similar mind-boggling command made last week by Obert Mpofu, the
chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, who
is also Industry minister and deputy secretary for national security in the
Zanu PF politburo.
Mpofu had taken his cue from President Robert Mugabe who had earlier
in the same week shocked Zimbabweans and the international community by
threatening to shut down, seize and nationalise companies that did not cut
the prices of their products by half, accusing them of seeking illegal
Whereas Mugabe and Mpofu had targeted private companies last week,
Manyika this week raised the stakes even higher by including parastatals and
any other producer of goods or services in the national economy whom he
threatened with arrest if they did not comply with price reduction orders.
The deployment of Manyika in the senseless price war by the Zanu PF
government, to the point of making him acting chairman of the Cabinet
Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation when he is a political
commissar without portfolio in Cabinet, is understandable but most
It is understandable because Zanu PF has since 2000 defined the
national crisis only and always in propaganda terms. As national political
commissar responsible for the creation and maintenance of Zanu PF grassroots
structures at cell, branch, district and provincial levels, Manyika is a
natural source and conveyor of that propaganda.
The reason he is minister without portfolio is to enable him to be
salaried by taxpayers so as to sit in Cabinet in order to be familiar with
the goings-on there on behalf of Zanu PF exclusively for propaganda
purposes, which is all that the ruling party is now about. In other words,
Manyika is minister without government portfolio because his real portfolio
is Zanu PF affairs at the expense of the fiscus.
The price war against the business community, in fact against the
national economy, is a Zanu PF affair. This is why it was most unfortunate
that the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation deployed
Manyika and made him its acting chairman empowered to decree that all
producers of goods and services in the national economy must slash the
prices of their products, without reference to the cost of production, or
risk being thrown in jail.
If the price war was a national affair beyond Zanu PF, then Manyika
would not be involved in it to the point of taking centre stage. In the
absence of Mpofu, another minister heading an economic ministry, and there
are many of them around, would have been made the acting chairman of
It is notable that the Finance minister and the governor of the
Reserve Bank, who are the principal government voices on the fiscal and
monetary management of the national economy, have thus far been silent on
the price war.
The same goes for the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, Nicholas Goche, who chairs the National Tripartite Forum (TNF)
which brings together the government, labour and business all which recently
signed a social contract whose main objective was to stabilise prices
through negotiation and dialogue.
Interestingly Zanu PF, which is not a member of the TNF, has taken the
lead to reduce that much-heralded social contract to worthless paper. What
is worse is that the Zanu PF-based Joint Operations Command (JOC), under the
chairmanship of the Minister of State for National Security, Didymus Mutasa,
has joined the fray to coordinate and lead the price war against the
As a result, Zimbabwe now has a law-and-order approach to the
management of the national economy reminiscent of the collapsed command
economies in the former eastern European socialist republics. Personnel in
the police, national intelligence and the army have been turned overnight
into price inspectors with all the usual trappings of corruption and
It is only a clueless government driven by a desperate political party
supported by a corrupt and partisan police, national intelligence and
national army that can even entertain the inherently foolish thought that
pricing in the national economy of a modern society in the 21st century can
be run in an effective, efficient and sustainable way on the basis of
commissariat commands and decrees from the likes of Manyika.
By taking the approach it has taken, Zanu PF is confirming to all and
sundry that it has come to the end of the road and is now unable to govern
without resorting to nonsensical propaganda or resorting to Gestapo tactics.
The notion that only such propaganda and tactics can defend Zimbabwe's
sovereignty and consolidate the gains of our hard-won national Independence
such as the recovery of our land rights is now utter rubbish which harms the
Notwithstanding some lingering mistakes which are correctable, the
land reform exercise between 2000 and 2004 was rightly justified on the
grounds that it was correcting historical injustice precipitated by
colonialism. That reasoning cannot be applied to Mugabe's outrageous threat
to seize and monopolise private companies, including those that belong to
black Zimbabweans - many who are Zanu PF leaders or members - who are trying
to make ends meet under impossible economic conditions caused by bad conduct
of national politics.
Surely the government is aware that many companies have closed down
resulting in untold job losses and reduced GDP, and that the government
itself has failed to assist such companies, simply because of the present
sad circumstances of our nation. Against this background, it boggles the
mind how the same government imagines that it can take over companies that
refuse to slash the prices of their products and manage to keep those
It is a fact that the majority of farms that were seized from former
white commercial farmers and reallocated either to government institutions
or new farmers remain unproductive. It would be catastrophic to replicate
that experience across the national economy under the guise of preventing
alleged illegal regime change or even under the guise of helping consumers.
The government does not need rocket scientists to tell it that its
mindless Gestapo approach to pricing will inevitably lead to the complete
disappearance of goods and services from the formal market and that it will
not be able to produce those goods and services.
Everyone can see that the government is in a dark hole. But when you
are in such a hole, you do not continue to dig. You simply get out of the
hole. That is what the Zanu PF government needs to do and do so urgently: it
must get out of the dark hole it dug for itself without making any excuses
which no longer have any takers besides those who make the excuses.
The hole in question is political. Zimbabwe desperately needs a
political settlement as a framework for resolving the economic meltdown that
has brought price instability in the national economy. While reasonable
people and patriotic Zimbabweans will have different views as to the details
of that much needed political settlement, what is obvious is that there is a
need for constitutional and leadership change. Without that, there will be
no economic reform in Zimbabwe whether there is rain or sunshine.
In the circumstances, Mugabe and the rest of the national leadership
must stop playing silly polemical games laced with misplaced revolutionary
heroics and start focusing on real areas of reform for our nation to be able
to move forward. And there can be no better focus than on the ongoing
Sadc-mandated mediation. The details of what to do are in that mediation.
* Professor Jonathan Moyo is a political scientist and independent MP
IT may be early days in office for British Premier Gordon Brown, but
Harare is already optimistic that improved UK-Zimbabwe relations are on the
Brown pledged in his first public remarks last Wednesday that he would
do away with the "old politics" and lead a new government with fresh
With the departure of Harare's bitter arch-rival Tony Blair and the
entrance of Brown, will Britain have a radical policy shift on Zimbabwe that
could see normal bilateral relations restored between the two countries and
probably with the European Union (EU) and the United States as well?
"Well he (Blair) is gone. We hope that those who come after him will
look at Zimbabwe and the past policy and try to improve that past,"
thundered President Robert Mugabe at the burial of national hero,
Brigadier-General Armstrong Paul Gunda in Harare last week.
Zimbabwe hopes Brown will lead an "era of change" and improve
relations between the two - which Harare claims were strained by the land
reform programme while London insists the rupture was a result of gross
human rights abuses and electoral fraud.
Blair stands accused of reneging on the 1979 Lancaster House agreement
on the obligation of the UK to fund land reforms in Zimbabwe and is
perceived as an instigator of EU and US sanctions against the country.
Political commentators and analysts this week said it was early days
for Harare to celebrate Blair's departure from office, as Brown was expected
to continue with UK policy on Zimbabwe, especially as there has been no
change in Zimbabwe's delinquent behaviour.
Apart from the UK policy, the analysts observed, Brown was also bound
by the EU common position on Zimbabwe.
The EU common position includes targeted sanctions that consist of a
visa ban and asset freeze on 131 named members of the government of
Zimbabwe. It also provides for an arms embargo.
The measures, according to the UK, do not affect ordinary Zimbabweans,
but target the elite who underpin Mugabe's rule and implement his policies.
British Embassy deputy head of mission and acting spokesperson in
Harare, Valerie Brownridge, said the UK's position on Zimbabwe would not
change as a result of Brown coming into power.
"We will continue to encourage reform in Zimbabwe to end human rights
abuses, create democratic space and begin economic stabilisation and
recovery," Brownridge said in a written response to questions from the
Zimbabwe Independent. "We will maintain our support for the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc)'s initiative to address the Zimbabwe crisis and
the attempts to introduce the foundations for a free and fair election in
2008. Our focus has always been on changing policy, not personalities."
Constitutional lawyer and National Constitutional Assembly chairperson
Lovemore Madhuku said the government was celebrating too soon.
"There is no way the UK is going to change its policy on Zimbabwe," he
said. Madhuku said Brown was part and parcel of the UK cabinet which
formulated the current policy on Zimbabwe and there was no way he could
"Brown was Blair's close ally, he was the Chancellor (of the
Exchequer) and their Labour party is still in power. Brown's cabinet is more
or less the same as that of Blair. How then is Brown going to change the
stance on Zimbabwe?" Madhuku asked.
He said what could change is the style of governance and priorities,
but not policies.
"The government is aware of that. Mugabe has chosen to believe his own
propaganda that things will change with Brown. The problem in the first
place was not Blair, but Mugabe's human rights abuse record.
"Very soon everyone would realise that Brown will not change anything
and I advise the government to start teaching its supporters how to
correctly pronounce Brown's name as they will be soon at his throat," added
Former ZimRights executive director David Chimhini concurred with
Madhuku, adding that while it was desirable for a UK policy shift, facts on
the ground prove otherwise.
"It will be nice if the UK shift its policy," said Chimhini. "But I
don't see that happening as long as the Zimbabwe government continues with
human rights abuses and poor governance. It takes two to tango. As a country
we need to change the way we are doing things, there is need for a paradigm
Chimhini, the director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, said
Zimbabwe should not expect the UK to change its stance as long as its
concerns were not addressed.
"What we need to do as a country is basic - respect human rights and
good governance. Once that is in place, I am of the opinion that there won't
be problems with the UK, the EU and the international community in changing
their policies on Zimbabwe," he added.
Political scientist Michael Mhike said Brown would not relent on
"The problem with our government is that it has personalised its
bilateral dispute with the UK. They viewed Blair as a problem," Mhike said.
"This is a matter concerning abuse of human rights and it has since stopped
to be a Zimbabwe-UK issue. It is now an international case."
He said Zimbabwe needed to right its wrongs first and see whether the
UK and international community would not play ball with them.
In a statement last week, Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said:
"We have an open mind as a sovereign country and we do hope Gordon Brown
will make that realisation.
"He must be given time to organise his new cabinet, policies and
future relations with Zimbabwe.
"We cannot instigate and say he must do this, but in the same vein we
know he has respect for Zimbabwe."
By Wilfred Mhanda
STATUTORY Instrument 64 of 2007, the Defence (War Veterans Reserve)
Regulations, established a reserve force of the army to be known as the "war
The motive or rationale for the establishment of the force was never
made clear nor were the generality of the former liberation war fighters
themselves and the public at large ever consulted on the establishment of
This is typical of President Robert Mugabe regime's arrogant and
authoritarian rule. Everything is decreed.
In the circumstances, it is only fair to speculate on Mugabe's need
for a force composed of war veterans at this point in time.
Zimbabwe is neither at war with any neighbouring or foreign country
nor does it face any potential military threat from anywhere let alone from
within the region.
Even when the country was involved in wars in Mozambique and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, the need for such a force was never
The interrogation of the need for a war veterans reserve force now is
The only potent threat that the Mugabe regime could possibly face
today is the threat of revolt by its disgruntled populace that has exhausted
The regime has presided over the demise of the country's economy that
has in turn precipitated a humanitarian catastrophe of immense proportions
and wrought untold misery and suffering, unprecedented in the country's
The majority of the country's people have been reduced to paupers who
struggle on the lifeline of survival and extinction year in and year out
prompting a mass exodus to neighbouring countries and further afield.
For many, basic existence has lost its meaning and significance.
In other words, if the Mugabe regime is facing any threat at all, that
threat can only be the threat of revolt by its severely repressed populace
and the former fighters are being enlisted as foot soldiers against the same
people that they took up arms to liberate.
To all intents and purposes, it would be the ultimate undoing of
liberation by the supposed "liberators". Nothing could be more diabolical
and irresponsible for the former "liberators" to do.
This would in essence put the last nail on the coffin of the already
battered image and reputation of the former gallant fighters for liberation.
This would not be the first time that the former fighters have been
set against the suffering masses by Mugabe, in pursuit of "political
The destructive, violent and chaotic farm invasions of the early 2000s
and the violence and anarchy that characterised the 2000 and 2002 general
and presidential elections respectively (if one has the audacity to term
them as such!) were conducted in their name.
All the evil, violence, murders, deaths, torture, rape, intimidation,
forcible displacements, expropriation and destruction of homes and property
were ascribed to them, leaving the puppet master and his hangers-on with
The former fighters were made to spearhead the fight against the very
same ideals that they had taken up arms and sacrificed life, limb and
depravation for viz freedom, democracy, social justice, human dignity and
All this was part of Mugabe's evil design to besmirch the honour and
reputation of the former fighters so as to alienate them from the populace
while at the same time being the beneficiary of their misdeeds.
Mugabe and his cronies got everything from the mayhem of the early
2000s whereas the former fighters themselves had nothing to show after the
looting. That is called killing two birds with one stone.
For the record, no former freedom fighter ever got a farm from the
invasions before the year 2002 despite being "touted" as the flag-bearers of
Chenjerai Hunzvi himself died a pauper without even a single farm and
his sidekicks, Joseph Chinotimba and others, only got them after 2002.
However, what the former fighters as a category got from the
reprehensible and counter-productive process was alienation from the
populace, denigration, loss of respect and public standing in the eyes of
the nation, notwithstanding the fact that the atrocities were perpetrated by
a minority of rogue war veterans and notorious non-former fighters like
Hunzvi, Chinotimba and company.
Clearly, the former fighters were shortchanged by the wily and
evil-minded despot, Mugabe. Mugabe's dirty tricks earned the former fighters
as a whole public scorn for the misdeeds of a few.
No wonder many respectable former fighters, in an agonising display of
withdrawal symptoms, are averse to publicly identifying themselves with the
Mugabe has never had a heart for the former fighters since his
ascendancy to the leadership of Zanu in January 1977 in a coup from the top.
He has always viewed them as expendable objects in the service of his
insatiable quest for total power.
Mugabe's desire to denigrate the former fighters stems from his desire
to tarnish them out of the Zanu PF power equation, which now extends to
cover the issue of his succession.
Mugabe made up his mind to succeed himself a long time ago, and to
him, the former fighters should not entertain any thoughts of power or
decision-making within Zanu PF.
This does not however stop him from abusing them to perpetrate
repressive acts and in running the state machinery. But any pretence to
power has to stop there!
Be that as it may, it is tragic that both opposition forces and civil
society have swallowed hook, line and sinker Mugabe's evil stratagem to blot
the image of the former liberation war fighters to suit his power designs.
What did Mugabe ever do for the former fighters before they rose in
demand for justifiable compensation for their role in the liberation
Rather than sympathise with their demands, the former fighters were
blamed for crashing the economy, forgetting the role of Mugabe's looting of
parastatals since independence and his wasteful war in the Congo.
In fact, the former fighters were expected to get nothing while the
former Rhodesian soldiers they fought against were, courtesy of Mugabe,
enjoying their pensions in foreign currency including Ian Smith himself.
What an affront to the former fighters!
Rather than stopping to think and reason that it was only a minority
of the former fighters, a sprinkling of rogue war veterans among pseudo war
veterans, who committed atrocities against the people, they subliminally
blanket every former fighter as being inherently pro-Mugabe.
If the truth be told, both the opposition and civil society harbour
greater hatred for the war veterans than for Mugabe himself.
Rather than engage the former fighters to soul-search on what they
fought for, they counter-pose their abhorrence for them. Rather than view
them as co-victims of Mugabe's repressive rule, they consider them to be
Mugabe's hardcore supporters.
Rather than courting them as potential allies in the struggle for
democracy, they consider them to be anti-freedom and anti-democracy forces
to be overcome.
Rather than honouring and acknowledging their sacrifices for the
liberation of the country, they pour derision on them condescendingly.
If the sad truth be told, the former liberation war fighters are an
endangered species viewed with disdain by Zanu PF politicians on the one
hand and the opposition and civil society on the other.
It is however high time for a paradigm shift and a reality check; it
is time to build bridges between the former fighters and the opposition and
civil society, as they are both victims of Mugabe's tyranny.
The unremitting suffering to which we are all subject should help
forge indelible bonds of liberation. The fact that there are a few misguided
former fighters, a few rotten and bad apples among them should not override
the common denominator of shared brutal oppression, suffering and abuse by
the dictatorial Mugabe regime.
To the former fighters themselves, the message is: it is high time
they abandoned the sinking "Titanic".
Their heroic sacrifices and honour for the liberation of their country
should not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency for short-term gains.
The gratuities they got and the monthly pensions they receive are
neither out of Zanu PF's benevolence nor its grace but justifiably deserved
recognition for their sacrifices for their country.
There is need to put this in context.
All countries that fought liberation, resistance or patriotic wars
have a special place for their heroes in both their institutional memory and
their national history just as we hold Mbuya Nehanda, Lobengula, Sekuru
Kaguvi and others in eternal esteem.
This is generally expressed in material and other forms of genuine
appreciation. The material acknowledgement in the form of pensions, farms,
residential stands etc that former Rhodesian soldiers, black and white,
received from the British Empire for fighting its wars is living testimony
To this end, the former fighters need neither be ashamed of nor be
derided for what others elsewhere would ordinarily deserve or enjoy.
Mugabe is criminally abusing the justifiably deserved payouts to the
former fighters as patronage to buy support for his repressive and unpopular
All the former fighters should be above partisan political interests
and subscribe to the higher and lasting ideals of nation building and
unflinching defence of the people's fundamental interests for freedom and
The former fighters can ill-afford tying their fate and legacy to that
of the tyrannical and repressive Mugabe regime that has done everything to
negate what they stood and fought for.
The country is bleeding, the nation is suffering and the time for
solidarity is now. That is the hallmark of true patriotism.
* Wilfred Mhanda (aka Dzinashe Machingura) is a distinguished veteran
of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war. He is a founder member of the Zimbabwe
Liberators Platform (ZLP), an association of war veterans.
By Crisford Chogugudza
THE Zimbabwean political puzzle is one of the most intriguing in
contemporary African politics today.
What started in earnest as a liberation project for disenfranchised
and brutalised people has turned into one of the most demonic tyrannical
nightmares in recent memory.
In 1980, when Zimbabwe obtained its independence from Britain, there
was a lot of hope that the country would prosper and become one of Africa's
leading economic jewels.
This was never going to materialise courtesy of the self-proclaimed
Marxist Robert Mugabe and his ultra-loyalists.
The fallen heroes of Zimbabwe, including Joshua Nkomo, Herbert
Chitepo, Eddison Zvobgo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Josiah Tongogara, Jason Moyo,
Lookout Masuku and Nikita Mangena, to name a few, must be wondering what has
happened to the struggle they dedicated their selfless efforts to.
If a leadership is incapable of feeding and valuing the lives of its
own people irrespective of political affiliation, then it does not deserve
to represent the people.
The fast-deteriorating socio-economic status of Zimbabweans at home
today is clear testimony that the revolution is coming to an end.
Today in Zimbabwe marks the beginning of the end of an era for Zanu PF
and its opportunistic mantra on land reform.
The big question is: will Zanu PF fall without a fight and at what
Ten to 15 years following Independence in Zimbabwe, Mugabe suddenly
changed political course and intensified his rhetoric to the West against
the background of fast-deteriorating grassroots support as a consequence of
years of economic malaise and political mess.
Cronyism, corruption, suppression of the media and civil liberties
became the order of the day. The rule of law became a luxury that the Zanu
PF party and government could not afford.
The emotive land issue suddenly became Mugabe's trump card against the
opposition and the gullible peasants. His opportunistic hijacking of the
land issue cannot be justified but nevertheless, he has used it as an
effective political tool to reinvent himself and galvanise his dwindling
It is only in Zimbabwe the world over where ironically the
octogenarian leadership thinks they have the capacity to extricate the
people from deep-rooted poverty.
While the majority of Zimbabweans support land reform, not many
support the chaotic land reform of the Zanu PF type which has brought more
suffering than solutions.
The major beneficiaries of this chaotic land reform are Zanu PF
bigwigs, their closest associates and zealots of the kongonya/nhora dance
Today many Zimbabweans are suffering in a country that once had a
tremendous economic potential to outstage all other African countries in the
sub-Saharan region outside South Africa.
Some analysts have said that the revival of Zimbabwe's economy will
not be conceivable as long as Mugabe and Zanu PF are allowed to impose their
will on powerless Zimbabweans.
The international community including multilateral finance
institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the
International Finance Corporation and the Africa Development Bank will not
support any economy that is run in a mafia style where the inflation rate
has reached the stratosphere.
History has taught us that economic performance and the standard of
life in general have improved in those African countries that are in
transition from ultra-nationalist dictatorships to reformist liberal
The opposition which once had a huge potential to change the political
landscape in Zimbabwe is gradually fading into political oblivion.
The leaders of the fractious opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party need to get their act together, repackage themselves and fight
elections as a united front. There is no substitute for unity or coalition
in next year's elections.
It appears there are miscalculated perceptions from the mainstream MDC
(Tsvangirai) faction that it can go it alone. But the perceived Zanu PF
demise may not work to its favour as the faction needs 30-40% support from
the MDC (Mutambara) camp to have an effect on Zanu PF, let alone win
Arthur Mutambara appears to have compromised his candidature to allow
Morgan Tsvangirai to be the sole opposition presidential candidate under the
banner of a united opposition for the sake of freedom in Zimbabwe.
Mutambara's extra-ordinary gesture of tolerance, flexibility and
humility can only be found in great men who put country first before
individual as did Joshua Nkomo in 1987.
Many who attended the Save Zimbabwe campaign rally in Dunstable, UK,
recently were surprised that Mutambara did not address them alongside
Tsvangirai although he was in the United Kingdom at the same time. What a
The story of perpetual opposition failure to dislodge Kenya's
strongman Daniel arap Moi in the 1990s should not be forgotten.
It is a fact that the current state of the economy will be a major
factor in galvanising a formidable Tsvangirai/Mutambara political onslaught
which is the best strategy for confronting Mugabe and Zanu PF at next year's
The people of Zimbabwe will have a clear choice between starvation and
humiliation under the moribund Zanu PF regime as opposed to hope, revival
and prosperity under a rebranded, united MDC opposition effort.
Under the current economic dispensation, I do not see how Zanu PF can
win any free and fair election in Zimbabwe. They will be lucky to get 30% of
the vote share but of course Zimbabweans know what the old man is capable of
doing: manipulation of elections in his favour.
Some have asked about Mugabe's position after freedom. The people of
Zimbabwe must decide what to do with him.
There is no denying that the beleaguered leader was instrumental in
bringing Independence and was the power behind a lot of social successes in
Zimbabwe, including improved education where the literacy rate is the
highest in Africa at 90,7%.
The old man needs to bargain for his future immunity in return for
voluntarily relinquishing power sooner.
It is widely assumed that Mugabe would want to go if he is assured of
amnesty from prosecution for crimes against humanity. If this is true, a
deal of some sort may need to be struck between Mugabe and the fractured
political opposition in Zimbabwe towards that direction.
It appears Mugabe cannot realise that he has outlived his sell-by-date
and that the people no longer have any faith in him. He has become the
greatest liability in Zimbabwean politics today.
Ironically, the man has become very powerful and getting rid of him is
no mean business.
It is worrying that removing him through democratic means (elections)
has not worked because he manipulates the election machinery to his
advantage every time.
He has politicised and militarised virtually all social institutions
and an election victory against him needs changes of seismic proportions to
Removing him by military means is not an option either, let alone a
viable option looking at the mess that was created in Iraq, and in any case
the generality of the African leaders and their peaceful people would oppose
The only option remaining now for Mugabe's ouster is to negotiate with
him and his most influential southern neighbour and ally, South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki, that is if 2008 elections fail to achieve that
Most importantly, if the West is prepared to build bridges with Libya,
Iran, North Korea and Syria, I see no reason why they cannot do the same
with Zimbabwe strongman Mugabe.
Any efforts to negotiate with Mugabe should be based on the principle
of liberating a community in perpetual fear and without hope.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's policy on Zimbabwe was a
disaster of grotesque proportions and unfortunately most Western leaders
concurred with Blair's failed foreign policy and this created a stalemate on
peace overtures in Zimbabwe.
Hopefully, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will adopt a
better, more focused, realistic and effective foreign policy on Zimbabwe.
It is not clear whether the current Mbeki-brokered talks between Zanu
PF and the MDC will yield any significant results enough to change the
course of the succession debate at State House.
The danger of not engaging Mugabe now is that more people in Zimbabwe
will starve and die as there is no hope of him relinquishing power like
Blair without excessive pressure.
In the absence of new political initiatives to negotiate a political
settlement to bring sanity and a semblance of socio-economic normality,
Zimbabweans will have to wait until Mugabe falls dead before there can be
any real change in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is at a critical period of a once promising revolution that
has dismally failed a whole generation of our people.
* Crisford Chogugudza is a Zimbabwean writing from the UK.
WE have over the years seen the Zanu PF government's systematic
destruction of this country but events this week proved beyond doubt that
this regime does not just lack good sense and foresight but has become
dangerous to its people.
This week government's bully boys were going from shop to shop forcing
retailers to change prices to levels even lower than those prescribed by the
state last week. These government agents had in tow scores of "customers"
who took advantage of the price bonanza to strip shops of merchandise and in
some cases looting goods. The state has argued that this exercise is meant
to benefit consumers who have struggled under a high pricing regime.
The results of the exercise, as has been demonstrated for the
umpteenth time, were entirely predictable. Goods have disappeared from shop
shelves. Manufacturers have switched off the machinery and supermarkets have
started to close down. There is no bread, sugar, salt, margarine, meat, or
flour as goods disappear from the shelves. There were reports of massive
retrenchments in the retail sector this week and the manufacturers are set
to follow suit. It is shocking that a group of adult politicians would look
at their handiwork and rub their hands with glee. Information minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu even believes that this economy have never been stronger.
By what stretch of magic?
This economy is currently at its weakest since the recession hit five
years ago. Any government worthy of the name should be preoccupying itself
with formulating measures that ensure that productivity in industry and in
agriculture are enhanced. Because we have such a poor crop of leaders, the
best they have been able to think up under the circumstances are
retrogressive projects that will only result in deindustrialisation. This
government has failed to come up with prudent economic policies to ignite
economic recovery. Only last year, the government was vending the mantras of
co-operation with the private sector under the supposed quick-fix NEDPP
impetus. This, like other past policies has been interred in a cemetery of
As government thinks up another piece of fiction to convey to the
populace as an economic programme, it has found it convenient to come up
with the dim-witted plan. The current project ranks as one of the worst in a
basket which contains farm invasions and factory occupations. In all these
instances the government has argued that it is working for the common good.
How wrong it has been. In the current descent into madness the lot of
Zimbabweans will not improve simply because they are given the opportunity
to access goods at low prices or are afforded state escort to go and loot
shops. The message from government here is that the people should access
cheaper goods and services even if it means the factories producing the
goods shut down.
Where did President Mugabe learn this type of economics? Firstly he
appoints a huge cabinet stuffed with almost half a dozen economic ministers
holding portfolios of Finance, Economic Development, Indigenisation,
Industry, SMEs Development, Mining and Agriculture. We want to ask what
contribution the men who hold these offices have made to the economic
development of this county? Their record to date has been sterile. Their
presence does not matter anyway because this economy has been reduced to a
caricature run by taskforces which depend on militias and not consultation
to enforce regulations.
After bringing down agriculture to its knees, we saw the same strategy
being implemented with the introduction of command agriculture. Are we now
going to see soldiers running factories like they are doing on the farms?
They have already had dress rehearsals at parastatals. The possibility is
The government of President Mugabe is forcing itself on the people.
The only way it can stay in power is to fight its own people. The record of
this scandalous behaviour is there for all to see. The government has fought
white commercial farmers and won a pyrrhic victory which saw the death of
agriculture. It fought urban dwellers under Operation Murambatsvina and
managed to render thousands homeless. It has also taken up the cudgels
against civic society, the opposition and the media. Today it is fighting
retailers and manufacturers.
These are the same businesspeople who every year in February buy space
in newspapers to congratulate Mugabe for his wisdom and guidance. My foot!
There is little wisdom in the current campaign. We definitely deserve better
leadership than this gangsterism.
by Teldah Mawarire
THIS week the circus came to town. And it was free. Or was it?
"Price-control officers" raided supermarkets and other retailers who
were allegedly over-charging.
It was reported that the price of cement which had cost $1,5 million
per bag became $150 000 while washing powder which cost over $400 000 was
reduced to $80 000
At one Harare supermarket, the chaotic scenes showed how deep we have
sunk into the abyss. At till points, "officers" and citizens alike chose
whatever prices they wanted and literally hit the jackpot with give-away
prices. Warehouses were raided and goods were priced without regard to
suppliers' cost or profit margins. The aftermath of the circus? - empty
With promises of more price reduction shows coming soon to a retailer
near you, there is a huge price the economy will pay for this policy. The
very same povo that the circus is being performed for will eventually suffer
the consequences of local goods disappearing from the shelves as we have
seen in the last week. Imported soap, cooking oil and so on will surface on
the black market beyond the reach of many.
Government after wreaking havoc in the farming sector by grabbing
productive land and dishing it out to cronies, who have zero knowledge about
commercial farming, is now on the warpath against retailers and producers.
This method of grab and destroy from one sector to another is not
sustainable. Soon, there will be nothing left to grab.
By controlling prices and railroading business people to act in line
with its populist policies, government is only suffocating the economy.
Government must know that sticking its incompetent and destructive fingers
into business is a sure recipe for disaster.
The pricing policy is a ploy to win the hearts and minds of the
restless urban dwellers. However, manufacturers and retailers are not in the
business of votes but of operational viability. They just pass high
production costs onto consumers. Government must leave prices alone and
pre-occupy itself with policies that address the root cause of high
production costs such as energy provision, mending the agricultural sector
so that we have something to export and earn foreign currency, restoring
relations with international financiers, doing away with nonsensical threats
of indigenisation so that we restore investor confidence, throwing out laws
that are a threat to property rights, and reducing its own spending.
Two weeks back the media carried comments by Information minister,
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu saying "Zimbabwe is in a much stronger position now
economically and politically than ever. Events on the ground speak for
What events on the ground was the minister speaking of?
Just last month the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries published a
manufacturing survey that indicated that Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector has
shrunk 30%. And the minister thinks this is a symbol of economic strength!
At today's salary rates, a teacher or nurse - both once revered
professionals - earn less than US$20 per month. Men spend the day scrambling
for bread and mealie meal. Carrying these products in public is now a sign
of machismo, and still the minister thinks this is economic prosperity?
It is a miserable shame when a man or woman goes to engage in a day's
honest work but still cannot feed themselves or even think about clothing
and educating their children. The same government that is the author of our
predicaments demands 45% in taxes? It's heartless and mean.
There is no evidence of economic strength when citizens shun their own
currency and peg all prices against other currencies. Neither is there
prosperity when patients who are near-death are turned away at hospitals due
to lack of drugs. We now hear of words that were rarely used in our daily
vocabulary such as "top-up" fees for schooling and salaries. Reports that
employees now prefer their companies to pay them grocery items instead of
cash are telling. Such biting poverty is not characteristic of a thriving
There is absolutely nothing successful about a government that cannot
ensure that the most basic utilities - water and electricity- are delivered
to the populace. Such a government has outlived its usefulness. It is
meaningless to go to work as transport costs are beyond the reach of many.
Something is seriously wrong when nurses at Parirenyatwa refuse to turn up
for duty because they cannot afford bus fare. It is a crisis.
In 1996, inflation was 16%, in 2000 it was 56% and in 2002 it raced to
139%. Now it is well over the 4 500% mark. And there is still no end to this
mess or a sign that government has any idea how to extract the country from
The country has never been further away from economic prosperity.
by Vincent Kahiya
THE government has turned up the rhetoric on the emotive subject of
indigenisation. The indigenisation debate has been a major topic of
political discourse in Zimbabwe for some time.
Of late though, President Robert Mugabe has increased the ante, not
just accusing the multinationals and white businesses of blocking black
advancement in the economy, but also attacking black-owned businesses for
There have been subtle threats by government on black-owned businesses
with the latest coming from Acting President Joseph Msika at Heroes Acre on
Monday. He accused black businessmen who have been raising prices and
scaling down production of "taking indigenisation mudondo (into the bush)".
He lumped these together with the usual suspects - white business owners. He
threatened to take away their companies and give them to blacks who are
prepared to produce.
Which black Zimbabweans by the way? There is a real problem here
because government's actual practice in the indigenisation game has for
years been guided by the need to create a pliant black elite class which
remains beholden to Zanu PF. These then become warehouses of wealth on
behalf of the system which is always keen to share in the affluence.
In an article published in 1996, political commentator Brian
Raftopoulos argued that Mugabe's political rhetoric then was designed to
mobilise an increasingly disillusioned constituency. Nothing has changed.
"However, at present, the indigenisation debate in Zimbabwe has
reached a crisis point, divided by conflicting groups, and presided over by
a state that is itself unclear about the indigenisation strategy it would
like to pursue.
"Furthermore, indigenisation as an ideology of transformation remains
proscribed by the elitist nature of its programmatic reach. Thus, even if an
indigenisation strategy was advanced in a more dramatic manner, structural
reform of a grossly imbalanced economy seems unlikely in the near future,"
The indigenisation lobby groups of the 1990s like the Indigenous
Business Development Centre (IBDC) were formed with the support of state
bureaucrats and politicians. The IBDC lobbied government for support for
state-led policy reforms and the allocation of state resources to blacks on
preferential terms. This included deregulation of laws and procedures
hindering black enterprises; directives to financial institutions to finance
black businesses; access to finance at well below market interest rates;
preferential allocation of government contracts and markets to blacks; land
redistribution and so on.
Their mode of lobbying was premised on close co-operation with the
state and Zanu PF officials. In no time senior IBDC officials became
government officials and in some cases deputy ministers as part of the
patronage system. Rifts centred on the Zanu PF political fault lines began
to emerge leading to a split in IBDC.
The emergence of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) in 1994 added
another twist to the tale of indigenisation as its leaders adopted a
militant strategy targeted not only at white business owners but also at
black Uncle Toms. Away from the political rhetoric the AAG strategy was no
different from that of the IBDC.
The real test for the two groups came when the Econet saga flared up
in 1996. The government up to the highest office was determined to block the
licensing of Econet - even though it was black-owned - until the Supreme
Court ruled in the company's favour. The lobby groups resisted taking up the
Econet fight and there were elements within the pressure groups that
actually saw it fit to fight Econet's sponsors than support a fellow black
The development and growth of Econet and other black-owned businesses,
especially in the financial services sector, is generally opposed by Zanu PF
bigwigs who are quick to destroy every perceived challenger to their
hegemony. The state has over the years demonstrated that it will not
tolerate any attempts to develop autonomous power bases in the private
sector. There is always an exercise in place to closely monitor the
activities of black businesspeople and in cases to invite them onto the
gravy train. Those who have obliged to take the ride cannot get off lest
they are perceived to be sellouts or fronts for white multinationals.
The threat to take over black-owned businesses - highlighted in a
story elsewhere in this edition - is government's broad plan to extend its
patronage network and parcel out businesses to cronies. This is a dangerous
ploy that will set this economy on a tailspin.
The World Bank, in a 1995 commentary on industrial and financial
wealth redistribution in Zimbabwe warned: "It is important that changes to
assets ownership are based on efficiency criteria, but there are no
mechanisms built into the proposals so far put forward that would ensure
that new owners of such assets would be efficient managers - an issue which
generally the market is much better at revealing than any administrative
mechanism. There is therefore a risk that such asset reallocation will lead
to individuals with privileged access to decision-makers being favoured ."
This was prophetic. The recently gazetted Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Bill still does not address the key concerns of efficiency but
merely offers Mugabe's cronies an opportunity to feed at the trough of other
by Eric Bloch
AGRICULTURE was the foundation of a thriving Zimbabwean economy,
providing employment for over 300 000, generating many millions of US
dollars, feeding not only the country but also its neighbours and fuelling
commerce and industry.
So dynamic was the agricultural sector that government cast covetous
eyes upon it, speciously and endlessly contended that it operated upon
stolen lands (all of Zimbabwe's rural lands without exception - even those
bought with governmental consents under "certificates of no interest"), and
resolved to steal those lands.
Property rights became meaningless, and were recklessly abused by
Determined to steal the lands, and virtually all upon them, but
desirous of a façade of legality and legitimacy, government enacted
legislation empowering it to expropriate those lands.
And then, with great vigour, it proceeded to do so, with its primary
focus being upon the most developed, the most viable, and the most
It displaced the owners, drove away the skilled labour, nepotistically
allocated the farms to the hierarchy of government and their friends,
relatives and associates, and to those upon whose support they depended.
Within a few years the jewel of Zimbabwe's economic crown was almost
wholly destroyed and an inevitable by-product of that destruction was
pronounced economic ruination, and poverty and misery for millions.
As that poverty and misery intensified, government began to feel its
future was becoming progressively more and more precarious, albeit that it
could not admit to itself or others that that was so, let alone to
acknowledge that it was its own architect of an intensifying economic
morass, and of a potential future target of national resentment and anger.
Therefore it concluded that, over and above denying any culpability,
and in addition to resolutely blaming others in order to deflect focus from
itself, it needed to be seen to be caring (allegedly) for the distressed
Zimbabwean people, and compensating them for their afflictions.
Moreover, if it is could do so in a manner that would facilitate
self-enrichment for those in government, their families and friends, that
would be a much deserved bonus.
Therefore, government (which is its own worst enemy, with a total
inability to learn form its mistakes, and a profound capability to repeat
them) resolved that it should steal the other economic operations of
Zimbabwe, including mining, commerce, industry, and virtually all else.
To that end it repeatedly spoke of intents to "indigenise" the
economy, and within the next few months it intends to promulgate the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, whereunder at least 51% of all
business, whether public or private, large or small, skilled, or unskilled,
foreign or locally owned, shall be owned by indigenous persons.
The proposed legislation is silent as to the determination of
compensation to present owners, as to when such compensation will be paid
(and in what currency), by when the compensation will be payable and as to
the sources of the compensation funding, if any, save for intended usage of
National Investment Trust funds, the creation of an Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Fund, and the prescription of levies upon businesses to
accrue to that Fund.
In other words, businesses are going to have to fund, at least to some
extent, their own compensation. If that is not theft, what is?
Clearly, having stolen the land, government now has no qualms about
But government is doing one thing markedly differently. In the case of
agriculture, it only destroyed it after stealing the land. In the case of
commerce and industry, it is wreaking destruction upon it before even
legislating the stealth modalities!
For some years it has adhered rigidly to its determined policy of
command economy, wherein almost all facets of economic activity are dictated
by government, in contemptuous disregard for market fundamentals.
The fact that throughout history the only successful economies have
been those that were market-driven was, and is, totally ignored by
government. The fact that the command economy concept has always resulted in
total failure is contemptuously disregarded.
The command economy failed throughout the former Soviet Union, from
1917 to 1989. It failed in China under Mao Tse-Tung, in Cuba under Fidel
Castro, in Argentina under Juan Peron, in Tanzania under Julius Nyerere, in
Mozambique under Samora Machel, in Zambia under Kenneth Kaunda, in Ghana
under Kwame Nkrumah, and wheresoever else pursued.
But this is of no concern to the Zimbabwean government as, on the one
hand, it knows of no other manner of governance other than by dictate and,
on the other hand, the failure of others is seen to be of no consequence,
for it perceives itself to be infallible and omnipotent.
Therefore, it remains determined to continue to apply near total,
grossly excessive, and horrendously destructive, economic constraints and
Consequently, with inflation soaring upwards (over 4 530% per annum
according to government, and to almost 12 000 % in reality) government has
once again resorted to stringent price controls.
Disregarding the recently signed Prices and Incomes Protocol, agreed
at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, and ignoring all the principles of a
social contract (which government pretends should be reached and supported),
government has once again unilaterally overridden economic and market
Instead, cabinet draconically decreed, on June 28, that all prices,
whether for goods or services, whether rentals or any other charges, may not
exceed those being charged 10 days earlier.
It sought to justify this action by once again (and with even greater
intensity than previously) accusing the business sector of being
unscrupulous and of profiteering.
The fact that that sectors' costs are raising continuously is, as far
as government is concerned, completely irrelevant. It is of no concern to
government that business costs have been soaring upwards, at an exponential
Salaries and wages have necessarily risen monthly, parastatals have
recurrently increased their charges, be they for energy supplies (usually
erratic), telecommunications, postal services, rail transport or others.
In like manner, and also necessarily so, local authority charges have
been rising frequently, and very substantially. Most of all, any and all
goods as are imported, and any and all goods and services that have any
import content (even if only indirect) have risen very sharply in price.
This has been an inevitable consequence of a continuing decrease in the
availability of foreign currency, creating intensifying reliance upon
sourcing imports, or the currency for imports, in unofficial markets, at
high and rising costs.
As a result, business has had only two choices, being to increase
prices or to discontinue operations, for business cannot survive when they
operate at a loss. The price increases, save for a few exceptions, were not
profiteering, but necessary for survival.
However, government cannot and will not acknowledge this for, to do
so, will be tacit admission that it has driven the economy on to its knees.
Of course, it is also convenient for government to have the business
community to blame, for it can no longer blame Tony Blair - he's gone - and
Gordon Brown has yet to act or speak on Zimbabwe, so he cannot yet be
And someone must be blamed, for otherwise people will recognise the
fact that the economic Armageddon that is fast approaching is wholly as a
result of government's actions.
Therefore, it is very convenient for government to harness business as
the scapegoat to shoulder the blame.
As business cannot afford to sell at losses, and as that is the
inevitability of the state's price controls, it necessarily has to remove
the products from the shelves.
But this too is seen by government as being Machiavellian, and
President Robert Mugabe (at a funeral!) and the Minister of Industry and
International Trade have threatened dire repercussions upon those who desist
Nationalisation is the threat, which effectively preempts the intended
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment legislation.
So, one way or the other, government is bent upon stealing the
businesses but, in contrast to its own actions in agriculture, is destroying
the enterprises before stealing them, instead of afterwards.
Clearly, despite any denials to the contrary, cabinet is determinedly
set upon the destruction of business.
MUCKRAKER is following with interest the delusional attempts by some
ruling-party politicians and their captive media to suggest that Gordon
Brown may be more amenable to their blandishments than his predecessor.
The government is obviously expecting much of the new incumbent at
Number 10 Downing St. But, as must be obvious to most observers, this is
Brown's policy towards Zimbabwe will be determined by developments in
this country, not by some sudden realisation by Britain's prime minister
that he needs to find an accommodation with Harare.
He will of course be guided by public opinion in the UK and by the
views of Britain's EU partners who would be hostile to any deal that ignores
evidence of misrule. Opposition supporters continue to be abducted and
beaten, court orders are ignored, land-grabs persist, and the state media
continues to emit a toxic cloud of hate and racism directed at anyone who
disagrees with President Mugabe's damaging policies.
With presidential and parliamentary elections looming there is no
evidence of reform of electoral laws, no prospect of the opposition having
access to the public media, and no sign of attempts to curb inflation or
improve economic management. Instead we have economic illiterates like Obert
Mpofu and Elliot Manyika creating havoc in businesses.
Brown will therefore stick to the UK government's policy of not
dealing with the delinquent regime in Harare beyond humanitarian support
until there is concrete evidence of reform and change.
Officially in Whitehall there is support for the Sadc initiative and
Thabo Mbeki's efforts to forge a political settlement. But privately there
is scepticism that Mugabe can be reformed.
There seems to be a willful determination in Zanu PF to make recovery
impossible. That includes the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill which
appears designed to scare off investors and promote cronyism at all levels
of the economy.
Not only is Zimbabwe badly governed, with state abuses widespread, it
is also the victim of devastating economic policies.
It was therefore useful to have the IMF's comments in this paper last
week that the ad hoc measures the government is putting in place won't work.
What is needed, the IMF said, was a package of measures that address
macro-economic distortions in the economy. And there is no sign of that.
Meanwhile, the government press insists that land seizures are
"irreversible". It doesn't appear to understand that there will be a
comprehensive audit of land distribution as part of any political
settlement. This will most likely be the product of an independent
Where it can be shown that individuals abused their rank and status to
take land from farmers protected by court orders or where there is multiple
ownership, those individuals will be evicted.
Judges, police officers, journalists and ruling-party officials should
get used to that prospect.
Violent and lawless cases of land acquisition have scarred the
psyche and its international reputation as well as benefiting the
undeserving. Any newspaper promising its readers that land seizures are
irreversible is seriously misleading them. Land reform is a noble project
and it should not be blighted by Zanu PF's agrarian terror that has seen the
economy shrink by 60%.
For those who are holding out hope of a new deal from Gordon Brown
remind them of another Brown in the British cabinet, Mark Malloch Brown. He,
as UNDP chief a few years ago, came to this country to offer UN assistance.
But first he wanted a team of experts to see whether this was a programme
the UNDP could support. Sadly, they said no, it's a complete mess.
This is the man who will be advising Gordon Brown on Zimbabwe!
Tafataona Mahoso has been complaining about "corporate managerialism"
which he evidently thinks is part of the international conspiracy against
In last weekend's edition of the Sunday Mail he slammed the award of a
manager-of-the-year prize to Dairibord, saying it didn't reflect the wishes
of "the people".
Mahoso is quite adept at claiming the mantle of "the people" which he
presumably dreams up from the back seat of his chauffeur-driven 4X4.
On this occasion his beef was that the prize should have gone to more
deserving companies like the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Grain
Marketing Board and Zupco. These parastatals were "trying their best to meet
their original mandates while Dairibord is externalising Zimbabwean milk and
making it too scarce and too expensive for the original stakeholders, the
people of Zimbabwe," he declared.
So, they're externalising milk now. What next? This from a whole
professor! Some free tuition for Mahoso: Chimombe milk does not come from
workers at Dairibord. Their anatomy is not designed for that. It comes from
a cow's udder. Dairibord processes and packages the milk. The reason why
there is not enough milk in the country is that there are not many cows
around. It's not that Dairibord workers have stopped producing milk. Some
still do but for their suckling babies and not for a professor.
The cows have disappeared because of the state's assault on dairy
farmers under the rubric of land reform. Also Mahoso studiously ignores the
obvious fact that corruption and mismanagement at state-owned companies of
the sort he admires have done much to drain the national fiscus while
providing sheltered employment for Zanu PF's legion of incompetent managers.
That's the sort of "corporate managerialism" that he should be
exposing to the nation in the interests of accountability instead of
hammering one of the few companies that has slipped the leash of its ruinous
Stalinist owners who still dream of the next five-year plan!
We spotted a funny little story in the Sunday News last weekend
concerning elections held for the Zimbabwe Association of Editors.
This outfit largely represents editors in the state sector although
the presence of one or two from the private sector enables its
secretary-general, Willie Mponda, to claim that it is representative of both
government and private newspapers. Indeed, he claims it represents 95% of
editors in Zimbabwe.
This may well reflect the degree of state ownership in Zimbabwe after
the closure of several independent newspapers. It is nothing to boast about,
especially when one considers that once proud publications such as Moto have
been suborned. The ZAE, we can safely say, is one of several agencies
through which the government manipulates the media.
For instance, when state and private-sector editors met to discuss
unity terms two years ago the state editors refused to join their colleagues
in the independent press in criticising Aippa as inimical to media
development. They clearly thought it was a good thing!
These are the same captive journalists we are being asked to join.
If anyone wants to see the standard of journalism in the state media
they need look no further than David Samuriwo writing in the Herald about
Trevor Ncube on Tuesday. He can't spell (we particularly liked "felon" for
forlorn) and appears to think our paper is called "the Independence".
Ncube can speak for himself when the time comes to respond to this
semi-literate hatchet job. But as an advertisement for the cutting edge of
government thinking it speaks volumes.
Zanu PF doesn't have a single writer of note. This is the same author,
by the way, whose editors allowed him to make threats against British
diplomat Gillian Dare. Beating up on women would appear to be a speciality
of these thugs!
A good example of how state journalists not only twist facts but
invent them was evident in yesterday's Herald report on events at the US
Independence Day celebrations. The paper's News Editor caimed that US
ambassador Chris Dell had been humiliated by a Foreign Affairs official
after suggesting that the government would fall in six months.
In fact Dell made no such claim. His speech at the US Independence Day
celebration on Wednesday was about shared values. But, having dwelt on
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address, Dell did say he was surprised to hear
President Mugabe quoting Lincoln in his address to mark Zimbabwe's
Independence Day at Rufaro Stadium in April.
"Nothing could have underscored more clearly the difference between
what the president claims to be and what he really is," Dell noted, "than
the irony of him speaking those words against the backdrop of March 11, the
country's accelerating economic collapse and the growing climate of
desperation and oppression that characterise Zimbabwe today."
It was a speech well received by the large audience present. But when
Foreign Affairs official Samuel Mhango butted in uninvited to make childish
claims that Zimbabwe's meltdown was being engineered from outside Zimbabwe,
he was received with loud ironic laughter by many of those present. His
remarks that Zimbabwe was providing humanitarian aid to its citizens were
greeted with even more sustained laughter.
It was a humiliating experience for Mhango who appeared to have no
supporters present and whose remarks went without applause of any sort. Then
the Herald News Editor who wasn't even present but could easily have
obtained a copy of Dell's speech invents a story that was the diametric
opposite of what occurred!
Mhango by the way threatened to ban ambassadors from making speeches
on their national days. But he will find while his government has the power
to censor state newspapers, it does not have the power to muzzle ambassadors
on their own sovereign turf! Let's see him try.
Poor old Joseph Msika. You can't help but feel a tad sorry for him as
he makes statements that suggest a certain cognitive dissonance from what is
going on around him.
He told mourners at Heroes Acre that Zanu PF would not allow
"sellouts" to "interfere with our good life".
He was referring to the prices of goods which the state is trying to
hold down. But it was interesting to note that he was able to refer to "the
good life" he and his ilk are having while the country goes down the toilet.
That he is blissfully unaware of the discrepancy in living standards
between rulers and ruled tells us more about Zanu PF's detachment from
reality than anything else.
In a similar vein he warned the MDC against violence, saying
petrol-bombing was a serious offence.
"That is not an ordinary crime but terrorism."
So is beating up Nelson Chamisa with an iron bar at Harare Airport.
And what about the abduction, kidnapping and murder of opposition
supporters? Is that not terrorism?
Which MDC members have been convicted of petrol-bombing? We know of
MDC members accused of petrol-bombing but released when the charges failed
to stand up in court. We know of the litany of accusations made by
government officials including a clumsy position paper that was taken to Dar
es Salaam by the president and placed on the Home Affairs website.
It is littered with inaccuracies including a caption describing
Australian ambassador Jon Sheppard as Reuters correspondent Jan Raath (or
"Young Rath" as they put it who in fact works for the Times).
We know of the silly accusations about MDC youths training at South
African militia camps which became a pretext for holding them in jail until
the South African authorities became impatient with the whole improbable
story and put an end to further forays south by Zimbabwean officials.
But Msika appears unaware of any of these developments and proceeds to
repeat accusations that the Herald itself long ago abandoned.
Tucked away in the Business Herald this week was an interesting little
report on what a group of German, Austrian and Italian journalists thought
about Zimbabwe. The first thing they complained about was something the rest
of us have to live with: poor telecoms networks. They weren't able to
contact their friends and relatives they said.
Most telephones in Harare weren't working, one of the journalists
Also, they found the money very confusing. To make matters worse
hotels wouldn't accept Visa and Mastercard, they pointed out,or if they do
it is at the $250:US$1 rate which makes breakfast about US$500!
HAS anyone in or out of government stopped to think just how ludicrous
our economy has become? Take these examples;
* Individuals are only allowed to draw cash from the bank the
equivalent of US$10 a day, businesses US$20;
* It is illegal for an individual to carry enough cash to buy more
than 10 litres of fuel or 10 packets of cat meat;
* Our largest denomination note ($100 000 bearer cheque) represents
just US$0,67. Eleven months ago it was worth US$200;
* The $100 bearer cheque still being used in supermarkets is worth
* A business wishing to draw cash for wages (or anything else) has to
get permission from the Reserve Bank and go to the bank at least twice;
* To effect what used to be a cheque payment now needs one to go to
the bank, fill in an RTGS form and get Reserve Bank approval;
* Account holders have to phone their bank continuously to check on
what payments have been made by RTGS - can't trust the payer;
* To buy, say, a motor car battery now requires an RTGS and you cannot
access the battery until the banks have done their thing (and if the shop
sells several, how do they know who paid for which one). If you have a
blow-out and need a new tyre you will be walking for a good couple of days;
* Supermarkets and wholesalers are not allowed to keep anything in
warehouses or storerooms but have to display all their goods on the shop
floor even if perishable or they do not have room, otherwise they risk
arrest for hoarding;
* Butcheries are not allowed to keep meat in their coldrooms or they
will be arrested for hoarding;
* The minimum wage for the commercial sector is the equivalent of just
US$5,80 and the government takes US$2,60 in tax;
* The minimum wage for the agricultural sector does not even buy a bar
of soap, but a Zanu PF farmer can buy a tractor on loan for less than the
cost of a bicycle to ordinary people;
* Most domestic workers should pay income tax as they are above the
tax threshold which equates to US$0,67;
* Tourists get $250:US$1, so a beer will cost them more than US$240;
* If a child sends a parent R1 000 and the parent changes it at the
legal rate, it will not buy a loaf of bread. Traded on the black market it
will be 20 times the minimum wage, including allowances;
* A vendor selling single cigarettes who sells just one packet of 20 a
day will earn more than a teacher, soldier or policeman;
* War veterans get more money as pension than most civil servants get
working full time.
The solution to all this is just a realistic exchange rate and the RBZ
going back to its core business.
Rents are not their mandate
I SEE from a June 28 newspaper report that, "the Cabinet
Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation froze all residential and
industrial rent increases".
In addition, the Minister of Industry and International Trade
said that the taskforce "reminds" the public that an immediate moratorium is
imposed on rent increases of both commercial and residential properties
pending the finalisation of appropriate regular formulae by both commercial
and residential rent boards.
I must be living on another planet, because I thought that there
is only a National Incomes and Pricing Commission, not a cabinet taskforce.
I thought that the commission can only exercise its functions by making
by-laws; that its by-laws have no effect until they are published in a
statutory instrument, that both sets of rent regulations are alive and well,
that there is no moratorium on rent increases and that the National Incomes
and Pricing Commission Act applies only to incomes and prices of goods and
services, not rents.
NO sooner has he taken delivery of his new luxury off-road
vehicle than he is the subject of numerous congratulatory advertisements.
Meet new Zesa boss Ben Rafemoyo.
Next, will be a guided tour of his own substations and
control centres where the few remaining technicians will explain to him what
he already knows, as he nods with a newly found stately bearing.
Then there will be pronouncements on sweeping reforms,
which will eradicate power cuts. All responsibility for our current woes
will be cast upon the regional power deficit and the embattled Hwange.
Naturally, this new set of responsibilities comes with a
fresh set of perks commensurate with the stress and strain of the new
office. If the grapevine has any credence, he will have neither the time nor
protection to amass as many assets as the previous incumbent. In fact his
training as an engineer will not allow him to bring the profession into
However accepting such a post at this time, raises serious
questions about his judgement. What can he possibly do to provide Zimbabwe
with uninterrupted power that his predecessor couldn't?
Being qualified is not enough, in some cases it has been
shown to be a distinct disadvantage, as two other engineers one electrical
and another civil have discovered with the utility and with the capital city
respectively. Knowledge and training leads to an understanding of the issues
and their magnitude.
This realisation leads to the formulation of action plans
and budgets, which history has shown fails to make it out of the boardroom
door. A compliant board will quickly act to muzzle the group chief, while
another successful power supply deal is announced with great fanfare, with a
bewildered looking chief looking on!
Next month or next year, you and I will read of the
disappointment of the great chief as a result of his failure to anticipate
and meet the nation's power requirements. But lucky him; he jumps into his
4x4 and rides into the sunset, to await his terminal benefits, which will be
far better than the pension he would have received for long and loyal
No sympathy for corporates
SO now the corporates face the risk of invasion?
Cannot say I am sorry.
Where was their corporate and national social
responsibility at the time of farm invasions and murders of Zanu PF
Corporates and others who have for whatever reason
remained quiet or even tacitly approved the Zanu PF regime will have plenty
to answer for when the final reckoning comes - and that looks like it will
not be too far away.
Customer disregard at Blue Lagoon
ON Monday, June 25 at about 7pm, in Blue Lagoon Food
Chain Supermarket on Lomagundi Road, I wanted to purchase a packet of Colcom
Barbecue beef sausages, which were advertised on their fridge for $138 000.
However at the till I was charged $270 000. I
pointed out to three staff members (I was told that there was no manager on
duty) that it was a legal requirment to sell a product at the advertised
price. The staff members admitted to knowing this and that they knew that
they were breaking the law. However they were not prepared to adjust the
price to the advertised price.
On Tuesday morning, out of courtesy I phoned Blue
Lagoon and spoke to a Mr Madondo, who was the least interested in dealing
with my complaint. He told me to send my letter to the press and put the
phone down on me.
I ask, why the Food Chain group allows or even
encourages their staff to break the law? What other pricing polices do they
have that disadvantages the consumer? Why do they feel that they can treat
consumers in this high-handed manner and get away with it?
Wake up to reality
I REFER to the recently proposed Indigenisation
One of the many factors to be considered by our
parliamentarians is the very urgent need to generate much more of our own
We have, firstly, the very viable option of
positioning a power station at the Sengwa coal fields, proposed many yeas
ago but rejected by government in questionable circumstances.
The second are the gas resources in Matabeleland.
Both will need foreign investment and sophisticated
technology but given the new Bill how can we possibly attract investors if
they will be faced with 51% local participation whose sole contribution will
be Zimbabwe dollars printed by the Reserve Bank?
Come on, Zimbabwe, let's wake up to reality!
Let's look beyond elections
THE article "An economic vision for Zimbabwe: beyond
rhetoric of democracy" by Arthur Mutambara, provides optimism about the
quality of our opposition leadership. For once the focus was not only a
"Mugabe must go" mantra, but there was consideration of what should be done
and where we want to be after he's gone.
Elections are not just for the sake of changing
leaders, ditching tyrants or bringing about democracy. Eletions should more
importantly be about choosing a candidate or party that has a better vision
and programme to best deliver economic prosperity and democracy to a
We all know for a fact that the Zanu PF government
has spectacularly failed on both economic and political fronts and one
cannot envisage the possibility of an economic turnaround from this regime,
even if by some odd chance the British provide the funds for land and
targeted sanctions are lifted. Kleptocracy, corruption and the patronage
system are so much entrenched and embedded in the Zanu PF culture and these
conditions can never be conducive to economic development by any stretch of
Mutambara's idea of a small government, which has
eluded the current regime for the past 26½ years, is the starting point for
any government whose intention is to control recurrent expenditure, budget
deficits and inflation.
It's also interesting to note that his economic
vision advocates for uplifting the social standing of technically trained
people (engineers, technicians, scientists etc). While one may be tempted to
say this view is influenced by his own (Mutambara's) training and
educational background, the bare truth however, is that the world over,
technocrats hold the key to industrial or technological development and
advancement and hence the competitive advantage for a nation. Come to think
of it, Zimbabwe is the only country where a graduate engineer, technician or
doctor's pay is several times less than that of, for example, a recently
employed Reserve Bank clerk. How possibly can a country's GDP increase in
such a situation? Or for that matter what economic development would one
expect from a country where an uneducated street dealer is accorded a
Even our children now wish to trade books for
chikorokoza (gold panning) or spend the day at Roadport selling foreign
currency. This is a shame.
This coming election should not only be about
defeating Zanu PF. It should be about us putting economic development-minded
people in government. It is time for a new generation of leaders like
Mutambara, for it is better to burden such bold visionaries with the
difficult task of delivering the economic revolution rather than settling
for the same tried, tired and clueless mediocre bureaucrats or worse still,
electing people whose vision ends at winning elections.
Don Sahayi (Sr)
Wall Street Journal
July 6, 2007
Thirteen years after the end of white rule, South Africa's prosperity,
vibrant media and civic groups, and multi-party democracy stand out. So do
its crime and AIDS epidemics, enduring racial and class tensions, and its
(effectively) one-party state. How the country resolves its contradictions
is one of the keys to Africa's future.
The fight for the leadership of the ruling African National Congress, or
ANC, gives an important clue to South Africa's direction. Earlier this week,
battlelines were drawn between the party's hard-left and its
business-friendly wing at a four-day policy conference. In the former camp
stands Jacob Zuma, the party's deputy president backed by the unions, the
Communist Party and his own Zulus. Supporters of anyone-but-Zuma want to
keep the status quo, particularly on free-market economics, associated with
Thabo Mbeki, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term as
South Africa's President in 2009. Whoever wins the top ANC job in December
will almost surely end up running the country.
Not since apartheid fell has South Africa seen such uncertainty. The
transition from Nelson Mandela to Mr. Mbeki was orderly, in line with ANC
tradition, and their governments used the political stability to entrench
democratic freedoms and put the economy on a growth track. (The global boom
in resource prices helped, too.) The result: business confidence, a slowdown
in white flight and the emergence of a black middle class. At the
conference, Mr. Mbeki stood on his record, touting his government's ability
"to improve the standard of living of our people on the basis of the greater
wealth our economy will produce." Not a word from this former Marxist about
Mr. Zuma's politics threaten these gains. A former Mbeki cohort and former
Deputy President, the charismatic politician taps into pent-up frustrations,
hinting that his administration would push through a more aggressive grab
and redistribution of white wealth. The ANC government has tried to derail
his career with charges of corruption (still hovering over him) and rape
(dismissed), but he remains a serious contender.
The appeal of his brand of politics can't be minimized in a country where
northern European-style wealth -- concentrated around big cities like
Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town -- co-exists with African indigence. Nor
should it be exaggerated.
For four weeks before the start of the policy conference, public-sector
employees struck for higher wages. The largest strike in post-apartheid
South Africa was called by the main trade union federation, and encouraged
by the Communists and Mr. Zuma, in a direct challenge to the Mbeki-led ANC.
But the government held its ground, walking away triumphant last week after
agreeing to a moderate pay hike.
This outcome is a reminder of the ANC's inherent conservatism. This
organization was founded in 1912 and led throughout by professionals like
lawyers and doctors. As a nation, South Africans are patient and disinclined
to take risks, which complicates Mr. Zuma's efforts to take the helm. (It
leads some other observers to predict he'd turn out to be a status quo
President.) South Africans are also well aware that their neighbors,
Zimbabwe most dramatically of all, have been ill-served by the kind of
populism that Mr. Zuma appears willing to indulge.
Complicating matters is the nature of the ANC itself. While South Africa is
today a free country, its ruling party hasn't left the apartheid era behind.
The ANC is a secretive liberation movement that brings, under a single roof,
both new black plutocrats and the Communists. As one conference delegate,
quoted in Business Day, noted: "The ANC doesn't have a left and a right.
It's the ANC of the people."
That's the problem. A normal political party, of which the country has
several, puts forward more or less consistent ideas to appeal to a base of
voters. South Africa won't become a mature democracy until the ANC breaks up
into its natural coalitions, and when race is no longer the litmus test for
higher office. (Today, non-blacks need not apply.) But enough South
Africans -- regularly 70% in elections -- want the old ANC at the helm to
keep it together for now.
The drawback of a one-party system is evident in the current succession
struggle that's marked by backroom dealings and Machiavellian manoeuvering.
At the policy conference Mr. Mbeki floated the idea that, if asked, he might
stand for the ANC job himself to better enable him to handpick his successor
for the Presidency. The Zuma faction shot back with a proposal to make sure
the ANC boss must be the candidate for President, thus automatically ruling
out Mr. Mbeki.
Nothing will be decided for sure for another few months. A third compromise
candidate could emerge. ANC pols-turned-tycoons Tokyo Sexwale or Cyril
Ramaphosa would represent continuity. Someone else might not. As if a
reminder was necessary, all this shows that the transition to free-market
democracy isn't yet complete. It's not just South Africans who have a lot
riding on how it turns out.
Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)
Contracts in the DRC
Wanted: for six month renewable contracts in the DRC, three Zimbabwean
farm managers. One with experience in orchard and plantation crops
especially citrus and bananas, the second with experience in row
cropping: potatoes, maize/soya, wheat and barley and the third with
experience in dairy production. Formal agricultural qualifications an
advantage but not a necessity.
Fluency in Swahili preferable but not essential.
(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)
Furniture Factory Manager
Beira, Mozambique - based
A furniture factory making a range of hardwood furniture is looking for a
This person will be responsible for:
Management of the machine shop and assembly line of a hardwood furniture
Implementation of the process of continuous improvement within the
Production scheduling of orders and management of all raw materials and
Operations and the maintenance of the equipment.
Quality management and control.
The candidate should have experience with working with large teams of
semi and unskilled workers. Be adaptable and creative, working in
sometimes difficult conditions without technical support. The ability to
make critical decisions, at times with little information, to anticipate
problems and plan for them. The flexibility to develop creative,
practical and realistic solutions in based on an understanding of the
limitations of the local environment.
Experience in production and manufacture in the timber industry
preferred, though relevant non-timber production experience in developing
countries also an advantage.
The candidate should be prepared to reside full time in Mozambique full
time. Fully legal residence and work permits will be provided.
Package in US$.
Portuguese not essential at the start but the successful candidate would
have to learn to communicate in the language.
Basic computer literacy an advantage.
CV’s will be accepted until the end of June 2007, and the candidate
will be expected on I August 2007. Included in your CV or on the covering
letter please advise what package you will be expecting.
Please email email@example.com or fax +258 23 30 21 61 for an
For additional company information see www.dalmann.com
(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)
Preferably married but without children. Traceable references required.
Accommodation on site.
Contact G. Dartnall - 302702.
(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)
VACANCY – ESTATE MANAGER
Applications are invited for the position of Estate Manager at St
Applicants should have mechanical experience sufficient for the
maintaining of vehicles, borehole pumps, estate machinery and the general
supervision of the on-site workshop and stores department.
Other duties include the maintenance of school buildings and staff
residential accommodation, the care and development of grounds and
gardens as well as the correct utilization of the irrigation and water
Applicants should have good man management skills; the ability to
understand and converse in both languages will be an advantage as would
basic computer skills.
A good salary is offered, commensurate with experience, as well as other
benefits including housing on campus.
Interested candidates should forward CV's and contactable references to
the Headmaster's Secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org or Fax CV's to
Closing date for applications will be the 30th June and we regret that
only short-listed candidates will receive a response.
(Ad inserted 14 June 2007)
Must be young, innovative, and computer literate. Excel spreadsheets a
Good telephone manners needed. Msasa area.
e-mail cv's to email@example.com or fax 486168
(Ad inserted 14 June 2007)
Nursery School Teacher
Fairly newly established nursery school in Chisipite looking for a
qualified nursery school teacher to teach pre-school year. Looking for
somebody who is not likely to be leaving country in near future and
mature and professional by nature. Attractive salary on offer and lovely
environment to work in.
Please contact Kerry-Ann on 0912 754226.
(Ad inserted 14 June 2007)
. . . to commence soonest . . .
UK based business needing a competent & efficient, self-motivated,
dedicated, responsible mature person of high integrity to manage their
office in Zimbabwe.
Required of you:-
A. Excellent Computer Skills in -
- MSOutlook emails
- File Management
B. Good in MSExcel
C. Company Registration procedures:
- working knowledge of
Knowledge of LINUX an added advantage
Located in Avondale.
Remuneration paid from UK
Assessments being conducted by
Thomas Vallance ACIArb
Trust Executives & Administrators
Para-Legal Advisory Services
POBox HG750, Highlands.
Tels: (B) 04-304 482, (M) 011-617 161, 0912-227 473
Emails: [firstname.lastname@example.org], [email@example.com]
(Ad inserted 14 June 2007)
We are looking for a mature person or couple to run our small 12 bed
safari camp. This position would be ideal for a mature couple or man from
a farming background.
Essential are staff management skills as well as able to speak shona.
Love of wildlife and wilderness areas. Ideal candidates will have some
animal husbandry skills in particular in relation to horses. The camp is
situated 2 hours from Harare. There is no zesa but then again there is
none in Harare! Good communication skills and like people also a
requirement! Some handy man skills an advantage. Excellent package for
Please contact 091 2256434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org delay in
our replying via email may be experienced due to dial up/phone problems.
VARDEN SAFARIS, RIDING SAFARIS - MAVURADONHA MOUNTAINS
PO BOX BW 1714 – BORROWDALE, HARARE - ZIMBABWE
PH/FAX: HARARE OFFICE (263) 4 861766
JANINE CELL: (263) 91 256 434
BASE CAMP CELL: (263) 91 252 163
email: email@example.com, www.vardensafaris.com
WE OPERATE IN A MALARIA FREE AREA.
WE AIM TO REPLY TO ALL EMAIL MESSAGES WITHIN 24 HOURS - IF YOU HAVE NOT
HEARD FROM US AND ARE EXPECTING A REPLY PLEASE RESEND YOUR EMAIL
ZIMBABWE - POSITIVELY GOOD!
(Ad inserted 21 June)
FINANCIAL MANAGER (ACCOUNTANT OR SENIOR BOOKKEEPER)
* EXPERIENCE ESSENTIAL WITH SOUND KNOWLEDGE OF COMPUTERIZED ACCOUNTING
PRACTICES TO BALANCE SHEET.
* INCUMBENT TO HEAD A DEPARTMENT OF 3 SUBORDINATES IN A LONG
ESTABLISHED FAMILY BUSINESS IN GRANITESIDE HARARE
TELEPHONE – GLYNIS 751704/6 OR CELL 011 630164
EMAIL : firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ad inserted 28 June)
Can anyone recommend a reliable, experienced gardener? We would prefer
a mature person who can work without much supervision. In return a good
salary is offered along with excellent accommodation
Please phone 011 614 233
(Ad inserted 28 June 2007)
Phone - 309855 - 60, 3099274
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOKKEEPERS -M/Only and full day positions with very good remuneration.
PA's - M/Only or full day - always looking for experienced ladies.
Engineer - Experience on Intel / AMD based Servers and server equipment,
knowledge of Windows 2000/2003 Server and UNIX an advantage and 5 years
experience minimum. Urgent.
System Administrator - Installation linux and windows servers, Internet
onsite Linux, Windows support, windows VOIP servers and support, software
support, VPN, network support, computer hardware installation and support
maybe, ISP background added advantage. Attractive package
IBM Hardware - IBM i and or p series and x series midrange servers, at
least two years experience, BSc/HND in Electrical Engineering/Computer
Science or City & Guilds T4/T5 or equivalent
Senior Software Developer - SQL Server, Crystal Reports, VB6 & VB.Net for
financial applications. Need to be a team player with good communication
skills. This is a demanding position with appropriate rewards. Attractive
Web Hosting - At least three years experience working as a Web developer.
Graphic Designer - Flash, Adobe, Macromedia, HTML, Photoshop, Developing
graphics on the web.
(Ad inserted 28 June)
Secretary/PA required (preferably a displaced farmer’s wife)
An opportunity has arisen at the JAG Trust for a secretarial/personal
assistant to the CEO. The successful applicant must be punctual,
reliable, able to use initiative, meet deadlines, engage in a high degree
of public relation skills and able to work as part of a team and
independently. JAG is a small office but a fun and challenging
environment to work in, although can be stressful at times.
- - Minute Taking
- Diary Management for CEO
- Knowledge of all Microsoft Office Programs
- Good PR skills
A competitive, inflation proofed remuneration package is offered plus a
Interested applicants should contact the JAG Office on 04-799410 and
furnish a written application with cv via email
(email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) for the attention of
the Trust’s CEO.
(Ad inserted 28 June)
TOBACCO MANAGER REQUIRED URGENTLY
We urgently require the services of a Tobacco Manager who will be
responsible for the production of a 90 ha crop. The farm is situated in
Zimbabwe.The successful applicant will be:* Honest; * Energetic; * Hard
working and in good health; * Dependable; and Competent and experienced
in tobacco production.
Please revert to: email@example.com with copies of current C.V and
references and await follow up from this end.
(Ad inserted 5 July 2007)
Oxford IT has number of new positions that have come up in our books,
.Exposure to International organisation
The turnaround time is very short, please act fast and email your cv to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 309855 / 60
We are looking for cvs in:
ELECTRICAL: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a
registered Electrical Company; A Trade Test Certificate issued by The
Department of Labour.
At least 3 years experience in the field of Electrical. Equivalent of an
IE (Installation Electrician). Be in possession of Wiring Regulations or
Installation Rules. ( His Licence would cover 0 - 1000 volts AC.)
PLUMBING: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a registered
Plumbing Company; A Trade Test Certificate issued by The Department of
Labour. The ability to do all types of domestic plumbing and the odd
commercial installation. The ability to troubleshoot blockages. Knowledge
of the different types of piping used and their various applications.
REEFER/A.C: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a
registered Refrigeration/Air Conditioning Company. A Trade Test
Certificate issued by The Department of Labour. At least 2 years
experience in the repair of Carrier Transicold; Daikin; Thermo King and
York Reefers. Knowledge on how to correctly wire and fault find
MECHANIC: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a registered
Auto Dealer. A Trade Test Certificate issued by The Department of Labour.
At least 3 years experience as a Petrol/Diesel Mechanic. Fully conversant
with Injector Pump Timing, Spill Timing, engine overhauls and braking
systems. Must have diagnostic skills with regard to computerized systems.
Must have knowledge of Mercedes Benz, Iveco and M.A.N. Truck Tractors.
WELDER/FABRICATOR: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a
registered Welding/Fabricating Company. A Trade Test Certificate issued
by The Department of Labour. At least 3 years experience in Arc Welding
and Gas Welding methods. The ability to fabricate ducting and metal
KITCHEN EQUIPMENT: A relevant Certification with a reputable Kitchen
Equipment Supplier/Repair Company. At least 3 years experience as a
Kitchen Equipment Technician. Extensive experience on Berthos; Henny
Penny; Black & White Coffee Machines; Kitchen Refrigeration; Cofrimel;
Techfrigo; Frymaster and Zanussi.
Knowledge in the repair of Laundry Equipment; Knowledge in the repair of
GENERATORS: A relevant Apprenticeship (minimum 2 ½ years) with a
registered Generator/ Heavy Equipment Plant Company. A Trade Test
Certificate issued by The Department of Labour. At least 3 years
experience on Caterpillar; FG Wilson and Iveco generators. (60 kva - 2500
kva.) Must have extensive knowledge on all aspects of the electronics
systems of the generator. Able to troubleshoot fault codes.
Phone - 309855 - 60, 3099274 - email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ad inserted 5 July 2007)
Business for Sale - South West Queensland
Lucrative service station for sale $AU 300 000.00 - potential for a
business migrant to Australia.
Listed on the internet at www.eldersre.com.au. internet id no serv4454
If you want to ask more questions about the business please contact kerry
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EMPLOYMENT REQUIRED------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)Accounting ServicesOutsource your payrolls. For confidential payrolls produced on FDSsystem.Accounting services offered to Final accounts.Contact : Jenny at email@example.com or 011400754.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Ad inserted 7 June 2007)Secretarial / Administration/ ReceptionI am a mature man looking for Secretarial / Administration/ Receptionwith 10 years of experience.Computer literate, good communication skills with all segments ofZimbabwe and foreign societies. Hard working. I will consider full orpart time engagement in any field. Well travelled having worked inalmost every sector in the industries.Please contact me on 492 590 (Work) 0912339 438 Cell or e-mail me at:firstname.lastname@example.org - Tendai Karinda Mr------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Ad inserted 21 June 2007)Coffee Shop Part-Time in AugustReturning to Harare in August looking for a part time job in a coffeeshop, restaurant, B & B in fact anything that's fun and can keep me busyfor 3-4 days a week. Can do most things. Please contact Merle Grantphone 00 267 7211296 or email email@example.com------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Ad inserted 28 June 2007)Mature Secretary/PA/AdministratorAvailable ASAPReliableAble to Work without supervisionCan run an executive officeComputer literatePhone 0912 425468 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Ad inserted 28 July 2007)PA/Secretary37 year old lady looking for a PA/Secretary position.Skills include:Microsoft Office Word, Excel Basic, Internet & Email, Power poinComputer literate, good communication skills.Debtors ClerkOverseeing Sales Representatives.Basic secretarial and reception dutiesReconciling the cash book with cash sales of the previous daybookingssupervise the day to day running of company houseboats and otherAdministrative and office duties.C.V available on request.Please contact Chere 011631546 or 499410------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------