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Business Day

Zimbabwe's land policy sure recipe for famine

Massive humanitarian aid is needed as agriculture withers under Mugabe
COMMERCIAL farmers in Zimbabwe have been forbidden to farm on pain of
incarceration, states the latest directive of President Robert Mugabe.

The warning is tantamount to issuing a starvation directive to the
population since commercial agricultural production, and not subsistence
farming, feeds the people.

A Democratic Alliance (DA) delegation to Zimbabwe led by Tony Leon
learnt that this situation has confirmed the worst fears of an impending

The United Nations (UN) World Food Programme office in Harare stated
that it would be impossible to exaggerate the crisis. It is estimated that,
in Zimbabwe alone, between 5-million and 6-million people will suffer
starvation during the next six to nine months.

An estimated 1,8-million tons of cereal, representing a 75% food gap,
will have to be imported.

This food gap the difference between minimum nutritional requirements
and what is available is the biggest in recent world history. Two years ago
in Ethiopia the gap was a mere 10% by comparison.

Dan Maluleke, DA spokesman on land affairs, marvelled at Mugabe's
effrontery in begging for food aid abroad while forbidding the production of

It is generally believed drought is the cause of the crisis, but this
is simply not the case. Droughts are endemic to southern Africa, have long
since been allowed for by regional agricultural practices and have never
caused regional famine.

The present human tragedy is man-made through the self-inflicted folly
of the Zimbabwean regime that has turned a regional breadbasket into a
begging bowl.

The UN office in Harare was opened in 1997 as a procurement centre for
food distribution elsewhere. As a result of the policy of Zanu (PF) this has
now been turned into the largest food aid centre in Africa, if not in the

John Makumbe of Transparency International describes the land policy
as the "repeasantisation" of Zimbabwean society. It was initiated in a bid
to regain flagging popular support while simultaneously removing one of the
economic support bases of popular opposition.

The move displays a callous disregard or at best complete ignorance of
the disastrous consequences for food security.

The realities of this century are very different from the past. Just
since independence in 1980 the population of Zimbabwe has doubled.
Subsistence production can no longer feed the population. Urbanised society
needs commercial production for its nutritional needs.

The new settlers represented by well-off political insiders and
socalled war veterans simply do not possess the necessary skills to farm, as
our visit dramatically revealed. The fertile Mazoe Valley not far from
Harare is a snapshot of the larger picture in Zimbabwe.

In just two short years this remarkable breadbasket has been turned
into a begging bowl. Most of the infrastructure such as dams, silos,
orchards and horticultural units developed since independence in 1980, and
many farms acquired since then, have been confiscated without compensation.

Farms have been occupied by the likes of the governor of the province,
the mayor of Bindura, the wife of the chief of the army and the Zimbabwe
ambassador to the UN.

Even farmers' household goods are included in this theft. The stolen
implements, fertiliser, seed and fuel have been utilised to plant some
wheat. The yield from this will be neither sufficient nor sustainable. We
witnessed overflowing irrigation dams next to which oranges were dropping
off the trees and orchards were dying for want of watering.

Of particular concern to us has been the targeting of South
Africanowned farming enterprises. We visited a project where an irrigation
dam was built in 1986 at a cost of R3m, enabling the transformation of
virgin bush into 2000ha of irrigated fields. We saw irrigation fields
overgrown with weeds and returning to bush.

Unlike the governments of Italy, Holland and Germany, SA's government
has done nothing to date to protect the interests of its nationals. The
result is that the management and staff of these farms have been chased off,
dispersed and added to the unemployed. The rural schools set up and
maintained by commercial farming enterprises have closed down, which must
eventually result in a lost generation like the South African experience of

The belief that the present land policy, described as
"indigenisation", can benefit the indigenous population is a fallacy. The
policy requires replacing 4000 commercial farmers by untrained new settlers.
Even if 100 settlers replaced each commercial farmer, only 400000 people
would be accommodated out of 12-million people.

This will be a reduction in the total number of people sustained by
agriculture since it is estimated that 1,5-million people formerly employed
by commercial farmers will be displaced.

In addition to reduced agricultural output must be added the reduction
of industrial activity dependent on commercial agriculture. The net result
will be a meltdown of the economy in general and largescale unemployment.

An immediate reversal of the present policy could return the
production of annual crops to previous levels quite soon. It is, however, a
different matter with regard to the production of orchards and horticulture
where a time lag of up to 10 years is involved. Likewise the replacement of
entrepreneurial and managerial skills, once lost, will require considerable

The DA has been gathering the names of South African citizens
adversely affected by the land policies of Zimbabwe and is in the process of
providing these to SA's government. It is government's duty to protect the
interests of its citizens.

Botha is leader of the DA in the Free State and the party's spokesman
on agriculture.

Jul 11 2002 12:00:00:000AM Andries Botha Business Day 1st Edition

11 July 2002

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Spare a thought for those who bring vegetables to your doorstep

7/11/02 7:59:20 AM (GMT +2)

By Wellington Gadzikwa

WHILE many people have been forced to resort to green vegetables due
to the high cost of beef, have you ever stopped to consider what goes on in
the lives of those who bring the "greens" to your doorstep?

Or are you at the forefront in launching endless complaints and
brickbats at vegetable vendors for overcharging?

A rudimentary knowledge of pricing tells anyone that $200 cannot buy
enough meat for two people these days.

Due to the prevailing economic hardships many people risk having their
innards lined green because of the persistent consumption of eating green
vegetables, which have become the only affordable alternative to meat.

For vegetable vendors at Mbare Musika and those who sell at your
doorstep, vending is not just a job.

It's a way of life.

They work very odd hours, brave the cold weather to go and collect the
vegetables, and leave their children unattended, yet society attaches little
economic significance to their work.

If you are one of those who hold such views it's time you buried them
for good.

Unbeknown to you, your boss or some other business executives today
might have been raised on money generated from vending vegetables.

Bringing vegetables to your doorstep or Mbare Musika is an extremely
difficult process for those involved.

Vegetable vendors are also affected by the harsh economic conditions
which are forcing people to resort to the produce they hawk on the streets
or other out of the way places.

James Muchemwa and Never Chivhunga of Chihota in Mashonaland East sell
vegetables in bulk to small traders at Mbare Musika.

Things are not what they used to be - they are unanimous on this

Transport costs have soared and transporters now charge $12 to carry a
bundle of vegetables.

In addition they also pay $200 for their transport and $62 entrance
fee into the market.

This is not all.

Vendors work late into the night, braving the cold weather and in the
morning they have to endure the numerous comments from customers and risk
losing some of their valuable produce to thieves.

At present a bundle of vegetables now costs between $70 and $75 - a
price which is not inclusive of the amount of effort needed to produce them.

If vendors were to charge a price that would enable them recoup
production and labour costs, the price of vegetables would be much higher.

Charles Shonhiwa, also from Chihota said: "With this price of $75, we
are not making any profit because the price should be $170 or more per

He said production costs had risen for all their inputs, such as
seeds, pesticides and fertiliser which he said does not have a fixed price.

"The price of fertiliser fluctuates between $2 000 to $2 500 and this
negatively affects our profits," he said.

This harsh economic environment is affecting the lives of vendors and
those dependent on them and threatening the viability of the informal sector
which helps ease the country's unemployment problems.

Amai Melody Kadyautumbe, a vegetable vendor from Hatcliffe said
vegetable vending has been her sole means of survival but now life is really

She spends $140 to travel to and from Mbare Musika to buy vegetables
for resale and in many instances she has to sell her wares at a low price
because of complaints from customers.

Another problem is that vegetables are perishable.

The money she is getting now is not enough to pay rent, school fees
and food.

"My children are always being sent home from school. The profits I am
getting are not enough for me to buy maize-meal, which is expensive on
the black market."

Kadyautumbe said she would divide the $70 bundle she had bought
between herself and her daughter-in-law.

She would make three small bundles to sell for $10 each.

Society seems to take the important role that vendors play for

It has to appreciate the enormous difficulties vegetable vendors face
in making sure that they bring this affordable relish to our doorstep.

Jenifar Chiba who sells vegetables by the roadside in Mbare said
getting them is now a difficult and expensive task.

It costs her $200 to buy a big bundle from which she makes small
bundles of three or five leafs for sale at $5 each.

"I wake up at around 5am every morning in order to get the vegetables
and start selling from 8am up to 8pm, leaving our children with no one to
look after them."

Gamuchirai Dhliwayo, another vendor, said in the past two weeks,
vegetables have not been easy to obtain because of the stiff competition
from those who buy in bulk, popularly known as makoronyera (unscrupulous

She said the money she makes has to cater for school fees and help in
looking after other relatives who have lost their breadwinners.

Although vending is not as profitable as it used to be, she says she
has to continue with the trade since she has no other means with which to
make ends meet.

Judith Mudimu, also from Mbare, said things were better last year and
they now record most of their major sales from the middle of the month up to
month-end when people do not have money to buy expensive relish.

Dhliwayo became a vegetable vendor to augment her husband's salary
which is not enough to meet their basic needs, as well as to cushion them
against the effects of the tough economic environment.

But she said on good days she can make a profit of $60 after ordering
a big bundle costing $150 "It's rare these days to realise such profits,"
she said.

Dliwayo said she only wished people would respect the prices they set
rather than haggle over them.

"Many people think we are making a killing from selling vegetables,
but that is not the case," she said.

Vendors endure the agony of engaging in running battles with the
municipal police, out to nab unlicenced vendors.

Few people ever stop to wonder who will be looking after vegetable
vendors' children while the parents are engaged in this daily struggle for

Their children also need parental care which is often compromised by
their absence from home while they eke out a living on the streets, or the
official vending stalls and other places within easy reach of their

These full-time vegetable vendors help reduce unemployment by engaging
maids to look after their children while they are busy touting for
customers to buy their produce.

Little recognition is given to them and the role they play in reducing
unemployment by the public.

Even so, vegetable vendors are people who need to lead a good life,
provide for their children's education and put something away for their
future, like everyone else.

Like all other workers they labour to meet the nutritional needs of
the hard-pressed Zimbabwean urban population.

Spare a thought for them, would you.
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Daily News

The secret of survival in an African winter season

7/11/02 7:41:37 AM (GMT +2)

THOSE of you who know this part of the world will appreciate that at
this time of the year, the middle of our winter and just after frost, the
winter veld consists of nearly white grassland with a covering of trees
still in leaf, but in varying degrees of autumn colours.

Before I travelled abroad for the first time, I was always struck by
the opinion of visitors that Zimbabwe was so colourful all-year round. I was
in the lowveld recently and I must say that the bush was looking
magnificent: all the red and gold on the trees with the golden grassland and
red earth.

It always strikes me at this time of the year that we have two plant
species that come out in full colour just when everything else is yellow,
white and gold. Those are the aloes and our bougainvillaea. The former is
found in the most inhospitable places and how they flower when things are so
dry and barren I never know.

The bougainvillaea is another matter - an import that is planted all
over our towns and often grows into huge towers of spiky tendrils and
leaves. At this time of the year it comes out in full bloom and, to be
frank, this year I think the stuff has outdone itself. The city is ablaze
with piles of luminescent reds, purples, whites and pink. It's quite a

In some ways this reflects the situation in Zimbabwe. We are in the
middle of winter - its dry and cold and everything is dead (or should be).
It's a long way to go to an uncertain wet season and sometimes we think it
will never come. All is dry and frosted. Nothing will grow.

Then suddenly you find that the aloes in your backyard are in full

Talking to visitors who come to Zimbabwe for various reasons, they
often comment that this is such a resilient place. How do we keep going they
ask? People from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund look at
the numbers and say to us: "You guys should be dead in the water, what keeps
you running?"

Well it's like the aloes and bougainvillaea - we have no idea, but it
happens and it's wonderful to watch.

When the Rhodesian war was at its height and I feared that the
stubbornness of our own politicians and the determination of the nationalist
leaders would lead to a scorched earth situation, I went to my chairman,
Willie Margolis, and said to him: "Surely there is something we can do to
turn this situation around?"

His advice disappointed me at the time. He said: "Eddie, go back to
your office and do your job to the best of your ability and in that way you
will help more than you know."

Disappointed, I did just that and years later I realised what valuable
advice that was.

In Zimbabwe there are thousands who are helping us keep the country
going in the middle of the present crisis, despite everything. I am thinking
about Dave Lasker and his company, Archer Clothing, who are one of the
premier manufacturers of clothing in Africa. Here they are in Bulawayo,
exporting 90 percent of their production to the most sophisticated markets
in the world, despite all the odds.

Lasker and his family could be doing this anywhere, but they chose to
do their thing here. Recently, the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra put on a
concert - Mozart. The music was just wonderful. Aloe flowers for us in the
middle of this long winter, no, rather a blaze of brilliant bougainvillaea.

One-third of our workers have lost their jobs in the past three years.

In other countries a 3 percent fall in employment would be a disaster.

Here it's met with certain stoicism. Some would say our people are too
patient, too accepting. They should be out there beating up their
oppressors and those responsible for all this suffering. How do they survive
is the question?

A son in South Africa working a minibus route, a daughter in a
hospital in the United Kingdom. Each of them sending half their earnings
home to keep the family alive. Risking the crocodile-infested Limpopo River
to find work when there is none at home. Living in a tiny room with no
friends just to be able to save a bit of money and send it home. These are
millions of African aloe flowers in the dark of the African winter.

A woman sitting in a street market from five in the morning until late
every evening. Buying her vegetables from the farmers at local markets and
then selling them to customers hurrying home. A single mother, raising four
children on her own. Determined to send them all to school and to see them

A market woman selling her goods in South Africa, sleeping rough and
then returning to her home in Zimbabwe with a few things for sale.

Bribing the Customs at the border, learning to defend what is hers
against thieves and the police. Using her natural intelligence to work out
exchange rates and prices that would baffle a college professor.

Breaking the law every day to survive and looking after a sick brother
and his children, all of whom will be her responsibility when he dies.

A road worker underpaid and poorly supervised who does his job on the
roads to the best of his ability. The unsung Director of National Roads in
Zimbabwe who seems to do miracles with his tiny budget and meagre resources.
Whose staff are never seen idle and who keeps the roads in a condition that
would make the rest of Africa proud - and he never gets any recognition for
his work. Aloe flowers in the African winter veld.

One day we are going to have to say thank you to all those unsung
heroes in our country who helped us keep going when the summer rains seemed
so far away. I well remember one such unsung hero, a simple market woman who
ran a stall at Mbare Msika (market). She raised four girls on her own. All
went to university and all became successful professionals. Let me tell you,
she is a real hero especially to her girls who eventually clubbed together
and bought her a house and allowed her to retire gracefully when she could
no longer work.

We are committed to standing alongside these unsung heroes and
ensuring that they can succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Not through
theft of other people's property or corruption, but just by giving them an
enabling environment that will allow them to do what they know best.

Vendors will not be harassed and their goods stolen by corrupt police.

Cross-border traders will be recognised as major traders in their own
right. Money changers will be respected for their market skills and they
will help us find and establish real values for what we do and have. Africa
is rich in these entrepreneurial skills, rich in enterprise just where you
least expect it. This is the secret of survival in an African winter season.

Just like the aloes in the African veld
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Mugabe takes back seat as AU is born

7/11/02 7:55:51 AM (GMT +2)

From Thomas Deve in Durban, South Africa

President Mugabe, whose conduct during the recent presidential
election and State-backed land seizures attracted critical international
coverage took a back seat in most proceedings and was only topical in the
corridors of the summit to launch the African Union (AU).

A source in the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mugabe
and fellow Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders attacking
the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) did not have the
democratic credentials.

"These leaders are bent on discrediting Nepad because they will be
found wanting on the democratic ideals enshrined in the proposed recovery

Mugabe openly challenged the Nepad conception of good governance in
the Sadc consultative meeting and was supported by presidents of Tanzania,
Malawi, Namibia, and Congo.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi put himself firmly in the driving seat
of the freshly launched AU by publicly asserting that Africa was for the
Africans and any white people who did not want to serve the continent should
pack their bags and leave.

Addressing the more than 40 000 people who had gathered in Durban's
Absa Stadium, he said: "We are now free wherever we are. Forgive white
people. We are bigger than them. They are free to go back to their lands if
they do not like to serve Africa."

Gaddafi, who is largely viewed as the major financier of the AU
project, did not mince his words on issues of militant positions when
relating to the West.

"Now that the continent is standing on its feet, we will transform it
from a haven of booty hunters to a continent of free people. Slaves have now
become free and our struggles have been our schools on which we will define
our democracy good governance, democracy and human rights," he said.

The assault on the West reinforced the position that many Sadc heads
of state had taken over the weekend when they met privately to take a common
position on Nepad, spearheaded by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki, who now chairs the AU, said the launching of the Union
constituted a special victory celebration for the continent as a whole.

"Imperialism and colonialism had sought to own and control Africa
permanently, from Cape to Cairo. African pride and courage ensured that
Africans own and control Africa permanently from Cape to Cairo . . . We must
deepen our culture of collective action," he said.

"Through our actions, let us proclaim to the world that this is a
continent of democracy, a continent of good governance, where the people
participate and the rule of law is upheld," Mbeki said.
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Zimbabwe's deepening poverty seen worsening Aids pandemic

7/11/02 7:48:55 AM (GMT +2)

From Collin Chiwanza in Barcelona, Spain

TWO University of Zimbabwe academics dealing with HIV/Aids yesterday
said increasing poverty and unemployment in Zimbabwe would worsen the
epidemic as most poor people faced a higher risk of HIV infection and death
from Aids.

David Wilson is a professor of psychology and Helen Jackson, a
researcher and writer on the impact of HIV/Aids on the African continent.

Jackson, the former director of the Southern Africa HIV/Aids
Information Dissemination Service, (SafAids), said in an interview many
displaced Zimbabweans, especially farm workers and their families would lose
their basic economic security and housing, and this will increase their
chances of contracting HIV infection, while those already infected with HIV
were likely to progress faster to full-blown Aids.

Wilson said it was a pity that the systematic use of rape and violence
as political tools had enormously contributed to the spread of HIV/Aids in
Zimbabwe. He said there were many vital lessons from the 14th International
Aids Conference which could not, unfortunately, be applied in Zimbabwe
because of the political crisis.

Jackson, who has been actively involved in Aids work in Zimbabwe for
the past 14 years, said: "One of the side effects of the increasing poverty
in Zimbabwe, the collapse of the economy and the displacement of people is
that the HIV/Aids epidemic will intensify."

She said the problem of Aids was unfolding in the context of declining
health services, critical drug shortages and a massive brain drain making it
more difficult to effectively support Aids patients. Jackson has written a
book entitled: Aids Africa-Continent in Crisis, which takes a critical look
at the devastating effects of Aids on the African continent.

The book focuses on some of the hardest hit countries, especially in
Southern Africa, which is by far the worst affected region in the world. It
also explores the driving forces behind the epidemic, the impact of HIV/Aids
at different levels, and policies and programmes that make a difference.

Commenting on the book, Bummi Makinwa, the team leader of the Joint
United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids, (UNAids), said "No terrorist attack,
no war, has ever threatened the lives of more than 40 million people
worldwide. Aids does and this book documents the facts, the stories and the

The 440-page book was published by SafAids and will be officially
launched during the ongoing 14th International Aids Conference in Barcelona,
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Farmer assaulted

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:34:24 AM (GMT +2)

GREG Henning, a white commercial farmer in Chiredzi, was yesterday
assaulted by six war veterans who accused him of cutting cane on part of his
land allocated to settlers.

According to a Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) spokeswoman: "Five of
the war veterans held Henning while the sixth identified only as Mutemachani
assaulted the farmer."

The spokeswoman said Henning had later been driven in his vehicle to
Chiredzi police station where a police officer said they would only pursue
the matter if charges were laid.

He, however, warned that "Henning would be charged under Section 8 of
the Land Acquisition Act for interfering with the resettlement process".
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Govt to slash farm compensation

By MacDonald Dzirutwe Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:32:18 AM (GMT +2)

THE Ministry of Agriculture has reduced sharply the money it is
seeking to pay compensation for seized commercial farms to only $1 billion
in next year's budget, down from more than $4 billion allocated in this year
's budget, it was learnt this week.

According to figures seen by the Financial Gazette this week, the
agriculture ministry will this year seek just over $32 billion for its total
budget, nearly two times the $16.9 billion allocated in the current budget
for the fiscal year ending in December.

Despite the increase in the overall budget allocation, the government
will only pay $1.3 billion as compensation for the commercial farms it is
seizing under its controversial reforms versus $4.2 billion allocated in the
2002 budget.

The figures confirm that the government, which has so far taken nearly
90 percent of commercial farm land, will only pay compensation for
improvements made on the farms and not for the actual land.

The ministry's figures show that the government has paid $381 million
in the first quarter of this year as compensation for acquired commercial

It was not possible this week to ascertain how many farmers had been
compensated so far.

The ministry has, however, spent $4.86 billion of its $16.9 billion
budget in the first quarter of 2002.

It is also seeking $15 billion from Treasury to enable the government
to supply inputs to newly resettled farmers.

The government last year announced that it had set up a $15 billion
farm input scheme but it later emerged that Treasury had only made available
$6.6 billion.

As a result, hundreds of newly resettled farmers failed to have inputs
while many got them late.

The government has spent $2.89 billion in the first quarter of this
year in supplying the farm inputs.

The ministry is also seeking to increase its grants and subsidies to
the newly resettled farmers from $340 million last year to $5.865 billion.

Farm industry players who gathered in Harare this week to debate the
budget proposals of the agriculture ministry said the funds being sought for
the inputs were inadequate, adding that the ministry should actually request
up to $40 billion.

"We are worried that the amount being sought for inputs is too little.

"This is because we were looking at $150 billion for the whole (land
reform) programme, which would mean that we need $40 billion for farm
inputs," an official of the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union, which represents most
of the newly resettled farmers and peasants, said.

Made is on record as saying the government needs $160 billion to
effectively implement its agrarian reforms, but the latest figures show a
possible scaling down of the scheme.

Lovegot Tendengu, the executive director of the Farmers' Development
Trust (FDT) which trains small-scale tobacco farmers, said his agency was
being under-funded and urged the government to put more resources into the

He said the FDT was now relying on donor funds which were quickly
drying up.

"We are grossly under-funded and we are having to rely on donors and
embassies for funding.

"Without the trained people, we cannot have the crops," he said.

Western aid donors and international lenders have cut off aid to
Zimbabwe in protest against its seizure of farms and failure to observe the
rule of law.

They also say that the redistribution of the land is not transparent
or fair, charges the government rejects.

Kuda Ndoro, the Commercial Farmers' Union senior agronomist, said more
financial resources were needed to compensate farmers so the government
could only worry about production issues in the future.

He said the agriculture ministry should also consider input support
for most communal farmers, hard hit by last season's drought.

But some retailers of agricultural inputs say while the agriculture
ministry is seeking $15 billion for inputs, it is not yet clear whether the
inputs will be adequately available in the coming farming season.

An official at Farm and City, one of Zimbabwe's largest retailers of
such inputs, said the company had not sold any seed and fertiliser between
January and April this year.

He said since the introduction of price controls last October, there
had been a sudden decline in the supply of inputs to retailers.

"With the advent of price controls, we have not been selling (because)
there was a dry-up of inputs," the official said, preferring not to be

"We are worried about the availability of inputs like seed, crop
chemicals and fertiliser.

"There were no sales throughout our branches (between January and
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Wider food crisis seen next year

Abel Mutsakani News Editor
7/11/02 9:31:29 AM (GMT +2)

THE Zimbabwe government is ratcheting up pressure on white farmers to
stop farming in what analysts this week said was the final onslaught on the
country's food security and its collapsing agro-based economy.
With about four weeks left before a government deadline on about 3 000
large-scale farmers to vacate their land or face prosecution, the Harare
authorities have upped the ante against the farmers, charging 15 of them
last week with defying an earlier order to stop working their land.

"By destroying commercial agriculture, we are making only one thing
certain and that is poverty and hunger will be with us," Harare-based
consultant economist John Robertson said.

He added: "We are moving to a communal system of agriculture abandoned
even by the Russians. We can only damage our capacity to feed ourselves
through these actions."

Most analysts said the latest crackdown on the farmers could spawn
wider and deeper food shortages next year. Half of Zimbabwe's 12 million
people already face famine this year because of a combination of drought and
the government's seizure of farms.

Under the controversial fast-track land reforms, which will be
completed by August this year, Harare has seized most land held by
large-scale commercial farmers ostensibly for redistribution to landless

President Robert Mugabe says the seizures are necessary to correct
inequities in land ownership created by Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial
ruler, which saw about 45 000 white farmers controlling nearly 70 percent of
Zimbabwe's most fertile land.

But analyst this week said the government's action against the farmers
was a reckless move that would drive the last nails into the coffin of a
farming sector that was once the bread basket of southern Africa.

It could render Zimbabwe a perpetual recipient of foreign food aid,
they warned.

Zimbabwe is already begging for more than 500 000 tonnes of the staple
maize to feed six million people threatened with starvation, but it has no
foreign currency to import the food because of skewed economic policies
which have virtually killed the export sector.

International financial bodies such as the International Monetary Fund
which used to provide emergency balance of payments support have also cut
off aid in protest against Harare's policies, exacerbating a four-year-old
economic siege.

As well as the government's often violent land reforms, farm
operations in the agro-based economy have been disrupted by ruling ZANU PF
supporters who have occupied hundreds of farms in the name of land hunger
and with the government's open backing.

Roberston said: "In terms of food sufficiency, Zimbabwe's carrying
capacity at the moment is about 13 million people and this is largely
because of our highly developed commercial agriculture sector.

"If we completely destroy commercial agriculture, we could reduce that
carrying capacity to three million people. What do you do with the rest of
the population?"

Before the farming disruptions, the largely white-dominated commercial
farming sector produced about 40 percent of Zimbabwe's total maize.
Small-scale farmers, most of them black, produced 60 percent of the staple

But it is maize produced by commercial farmers that is exported to
other countries and also consumed by people in urban areas because most
small producers normally retain a large portion of their harvest for their
own consumption.

The large-scale farmers also produced about 92 percent of the wheat,
also in short supply this year because of the upheavals on the farms.

Economic experts say commercial agriculture accounts for nearly a
third of Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector.

University of Zimbabwe political science professor Masipula Sithole
said Mugabe's crackdown on the farmers just when Zimbabwe is already facing
its worst food crisis was the most dramatic sign yet of how his government
was out of touch with reality.

"The whole fast-track land reform, from start to finish, defies
logic," he told the Financial Gazette.

"With this latest push against farmers, I do not know anymore that the
government is in touch with what is happening on the ground," he said.

Many farmers whose land the government is targeting for seizure are
leaving the country following the latest orders that they cease all farming
by mid-August, raising fears of an even wider food crisis next year.

The Commercial Farmers' Union, which represents the commercial
farmers, says if the government eventually takes all the land it has
targeted, about 90 percent of its members will be left with no farms.

Many of the new black farmers allocated land by the government have
little or no commercial farming skills while some of Zimbabwe's neighbours
such as Mozambique have been quick to woo the expertise of the displaced
Zimbabwean farmers.

Agricultural authorities in Maputo last month said about 150
Zimbabwean farmers had successfully applied to farm in that country's
central Manica province.

Robertson said: "We are returning the country to peasant agriculture

A bank economist added: "What is going on in the country is
self-hurting and clearly not sustainable.
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Top ZANU PF official defects to MDC

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:30:09 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO - Leonard Mhlanga, ZANU PF's chairman for Bubi-Umguza in
Matabeleland North, said yesterday he had resigned from the ruling party to
join the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

He is the first senior official to quit ZANU PF since the staging of
the disputed March presidential vote won by ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe.

Mhlanga's exit from ZANU PF, two months before rural district council
elections are held, dealt the ruling party a severe blow in an MDC
stronghold in which ZANU PF had claimed it was winning back support lost in
the 2000 parliamentary elections.

"I have quit ZANU PF for life because it has nothing to offer except
confusion and ill-advised policies," Mhlanga told the Financial Gazette
hours after officially joining the MDC.

"I and many Zimbabweans have endured a lot of ill-treatment from ZANU
PF and I think its time to call it quits and join a progressive party," he

Apart from being ZANU PF chairman for Bubi-Umguza in the past 10
years, Mhlanga simultaneously held the post of security secretary for ZANU
PF in Matabeleland North.

In 1995 he was elected the vice president of the Association of Rural
District Councils, a position he held for two years.

In the run-up to the March presidential ballot, ZANU PF's self-styled
war veterans claimed to have "fired" Mhlanga and seven other Bubi-Umguza
Rural District Council officials for allegedly sympathising with the MDC and
blocking the government's land reforms.

Asked why he had decided to join the MDC now instead of doing so at
its formation two years ago, Mhlanga said: "People are leaving ZANU PF
everyday. I am the latest high profile person in the province to leave it.

"At the time, I believed that ZANU PF had the capacity to right the
wrongs in our country but it has dawned on me that I was wrong all along. I
have seen the light. I speak as someone who should know because I have been
with ZANU PF since the (1987) Unity Accord."

Mhlanga predicted that villagers in his area would follow suit and
join the MDC.

"I am not there to infiltrate the MDC but to help it get stronger.
People now openly talk about how they were hoodwinked into voting for ZANU
PF in March. It will be clear how much support the party has lost in the
forthcoming district council elections," he said.

Jacob Thabane, the MDC legislator for Bubi-Umguza, confirmed the
defection of Mhlanga.

"He joined the MDC today and we are happy that he has seen the light.
He is not the only one in my constituency because ordinary villagers are
doing it quietly," Thabane said in a separate interview.

The MDC legislator said Mhlanga was likely to stand on the MDC ticket
in the council elections set for September this year.

"People want him to stand as the candidate for Ward Two elections in
the constituency. ZANU PF is not taking people anywhere, even in areas where
it parcelled out land and launched its reign of terror."

ZANU PF cadres in the province said Mhlanga's defection was a
non-event. "He is a bitter man. We are no longer in need of his services," a
senior ruling party official here said, preferring not to be named.
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US slams eviction of white farmers

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:29:31 AM (GMT +2)

THE US government has criticised Zimbabwe's detention last week of 15
farmers for allegedly failing to obey orders to stop farming and the
continuing drive by Harare to evict farmers, saying this will reduce
Zimbabwe's ability to provide food for its citizens.

"It is extraordinary that the government of Zimbabwe is taking action
to shut down operations on productive farms when, at the same time, it has
declared a national emergency to deal with widespread hunger and possible
famine," a US State Department spokesman said this week.

The 15 farmers were charged by the authorities last week after they
continued attending to their sugar crop in defiance of a June 24 government
order requiring nearly 4 000 of Zimbabwe's biggest farmers to stop farming
or face prosecution.

The government issued the order, under which the farmers must vacate
their land by mid next month, using its controversial Land Acquisition Act
which bans financial compensation to owners of farms that are being seized
by the state.

The State Department said in a statement: "Even before this latest
development, the government's actions and policies had collapsed Zimbabwe's
economy and caused widespread suffering within Zimbabwe and the region.

"The destruction of Zimbabwe's agricultural sector will take years to
fix, thereby consigning Zimbabwe, once a prominent agricultural exporter, to
the role of food importer and aid recipient."

Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst economic crisis. It also faces
mass starvation unless international donors urgently provide more than 500
000 tonnes of food aid to feed more than six million people - or half the

While poor rains last season are blamed for causing food shortages in
southern Africa, food experts hold Harare's controversial fast-track land
reforms and the seizure of productive farms by its supporters largely
responsible for its food crisis.

The US, which has given US$27.5 million worth of food aid to Zimbabwe
since the humanitarian crisis emerged several months back, said it would
provide an additional 100 000 metric tonnes of food aid to Zimbabwe and
other drought-hit southern African states.

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Britain gives 32m to Zim

Harare - Britain said on Wednesday it is spending 32m on humanitarian
assistance to Zimbabwe, facing a famine that threatens millions of people.

The British High Commission in Harare said its government had already
provided 10m since September to help address the food crisis and that
another 22m was pledged last month.

While it described the aid as "apolitical," the high commission nevertheless
said that the famine in the southern African state was being made worse by
poor governance.

Britain, the fomer colonial power, has been repeatedly accused by the
government here of meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, by allegedly
supporting the opposition to President Robert Mugabe.

The money is mainly being used to provide food through the UN's World Food
Programme (WFP) and several non-governmental organisations while a small
portion is being spent on health supplies through the World Health

"All humanitarian assistance from the British government is apolitical,
targeted on the basis of need alone," the commission said.

But it added: "While the British government recognises the impact of drought
in Zimbabwe, (International Development Secretary) Clare Short has made it
clear that, in our assessment, poor governance has greately exacerbated the
economic and social crisis."

In April Mugabe declared a state of emergency to open the doors for
international aid for some 7.8 million people, including 5.4 million

Six other African nations - Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland
and Zambia - face serious hunger problems because of combinations of bad
weather, poor policy and conflict.

The latest UN humanitarian report on Zimbabwe, published last week, said 5.5
million people in the population of 13 million face famine. Zimbabwe needs
to import a total of 1.8 million tonnes of food to survive until the next
harvest in 2003.

Zimbabwe's food shortages have been blamed in part on a drought, and in part
on Mugabe's tumultuous land reforms, in which more than 90% of white-owned
commercial farms have been targetted for resettlement by blacks.
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Stockfeed shortages weigh down farmers

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 6:42:20 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE'S dairy farming sector faces serious viability problems
because of shortages of stockfeeds, according to the chairman of the
National Association of Dairy Farmers, Stoff Hawgood.

Hawgood told the association's annual general meeting in Nyanga at the
weekend that the deepening shortage of stockfeeds might force farmers to cut
down on milk production or, in the worst of cases, to downsize their herds.

He gave no figures to back his assertion, but stated: "Unless
addressed with urgency, this (the shortage of stockfeeds) will result in
further losses of production and potential animals."

Dairy farmers use mostly silage and maize to feed their animals but
the country is experiencing a critical shortage of maize both for animal and
human consumption.

Maize production in Zimbabwe slumped 60 percent last year because of
poor rains and disruptions on farming by government supporters who seized
land from farmers.

Nearly all of the 500 000 tonnes of maize which the United Nations'
World Food Programme is mobilising from donors for Zimbabwe is earmarked for
human consumption, leaving livestock farmers with few alternative

Hawgood said the acute shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe was
hindering efforts by farmers to import stockfeeds.

At any rate, he noted, some of the stockfeeds had a limited shelf life
and could not be stocked in larger quantities for longer periods.

"This problem can only be addressed by the importation of raw
materials, mainly for energy, in the form of maize and other ingredients,"
Hawgood said.

Controls on the prices of milk imposed by the government in October
last year had only exacerbated problems for dairy farmers, he noted.

"To further exacerbate an already dire situation, milk is now
under-priced on the supermarket shelves, creating an above normal demand and
thus compounding the shortage of milk."

Hawgood said milk producers were realising a return of $1.07 per every
dollar invested, which he said was just enough to break even.

He said the dairy farming sector still had the potential to double
production in the next three years if there was an enabling environment and
political stability.

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The AU and prospects of economic integration

Daniel Makina
7/11/02 7:07:04 AM (GMT +2)

THE outgoing 39-year-old OAU was to a large extent driven by what I
could term a tinge of Nkrumahism. "Seek ye first the political Kingdom and
everything will be added unto you", once remarked Kwame Nkrumah, the first
independence leader of Ghana.
Thirty years later, Chinua Achebe, an eminent Nigerian writer,
observed: "We sought the 'political kingdom' and nothing has been added unto
us; a lot has been taken away." By then Nkrumah's statist and authoritative
political kingdom had produced disastrous economic consequences for Ghana
prompting a military regime to take over under the leadership of Jerry
Rawlings that immediately and authoritatively embraced IMF-World Bank
reforms to save the economy in the 1980s.

The transformation of the OAU into the African Union modelled on the
European Union (EU) ushers in a new era. Essentially, African leaders
committed themselves to the dream of having an African parliament, an
African central bank, economic integration and an African court of justice,
among other things. However, foremost in the minds of the person on the
street are economic benefits that this entails. This raises the moot
question: are there bright prospects for African economic integration? A
review of the necessary conditions on a comparative basis with the mimicked
EU model is imperative to answer that question.

What underpinned European economic integration was the sheer size of
trade flows within the same region. In contrast, trade among African
countries is still insignificant. Trade blocs such as the SADC, COMESA,
ECOWAS, the Magreb Union and the East African Community (recently
resurrected) are yet to deliver meaningful benefits at a regional level.
Regional integration is still incomplete. Hence, expecting continental wide
integration could be akin to putting the cart before the horse.

The degree of internal factor mobility is an essential component for
economic integration. For instance, labour skills move easily and freely in
the European Union. In Africa, by contrast, skills migrate outside the
continent instead. What is left is an increasing reservoir of unskilled
workers eking a living through use of porous borders and few professionals
with limited capacity to implement the ambitious continental programme. In
addition, private capital flees the continent to safer havens in the West
further denying the continent of investment necessary for any meaningful
economic integration.

Strong financial institutions that underpinned European integration
are absent in Africa. The credibility of Bundesbank, the German central
bank, and the stability of its currency, the D-Mark, played a central role
to the birth of the euro. A similar parallel is yet to emerge in the African
continent where international trade transactions are mostly conducted in
Western hard currencies and central banks have no track record of pursuing
price stability free from political manipulation.

African economic integration is a worthy goal but the necessary
conditions need to be nurtured. Presently there is too much fragmentation,
even at regional level. However, a dream and a sustained effort to realize
it is the cornerstone of development. What is expected from African leaders
by their people is NOT again thirty years down the line to ask in despair:
what has been added to the political kingdom?

The pressing business for Africa now, and perhaps its salvation, lies
in the strengthening of the rule of law, property rights, human rights,
civil society and political liberalization to put an end to despotic,
inefficient and corrupt political economies. The Nepad project that is
underpinned by sound economic principles, governance and accountability is a
good start. Whilst the African Union dream is likely to be bogged down by
transformational problems (from an entrenched OAU liberation mindset), the
Nepad project is a novel idea. The danger is that it might be made
subservient to the African Union dream. The credibility of Nepad depends on
being a parallel project free from political posturing from the
heterogeneous members of the African Union.

Daniel Makina is a lecturer of finance at the University of South
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Are journalists' unions toothless bulldogs?

Takura Zhangazha
7/11/02 7:07:28 AM (GMT +2)

To be a journalist in Zimbabwe is obviously to be involved in a very
risky business, especially so if you are not from the state media.

The spate of arrests and beatings that have occurred, thanks to
Jonathan Moyo's nefarious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), are enough to make the media fraternity in Iraq think it is
independent and protected.
Despite all the dust that has been kicked up about the AIPPA, the
journalists' unions as well as the ordinary journalist are behaving in a
manner that falls slightly short of being labelled "relaxed".
The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) as well as
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) have existed only in name in the
middle of the turmoil that is being unleashed by the government on the
all-important profession of journalism.
There are no obvious actions that seek solidarity with the violated
journalist and there is no effective lobbying to the effect of making the
public and government aware that the harassment of journalists has to stop.
A question that emerges is why the journalists' unions seem to have
run out of steam so early on in the race for freedom of expression.
The first reason is perhaps the most obvious.
This is that because Zimbabwean journalists are polarised along the
lines of state-owned media versus the privately owned media.
ZUJ has been having problems trying to balance its membership from
both sides of the media industry.
At a MISA Zimbabwe organised demonstration against the AIPPA at the
Parliament of Zimbabwe in February, the absence of media personnel from the
state-owned media was glaring and the attendance by personnel from the
private media was almost expected.
Journalists in the state media gave their reason for non-participation
as the proverbial "one cannot bite the hand that feeds them".
Apparently it was tantamount to seeking a sacking from the omnipotent
Minister of Information to have been seen any where close to that
Moreover, the state media journalists have avoided any other
pro-freedom of expression activities for fear of victimisation.
In such circumstances, it is difficult to envision an effective ZUJ in
the processes of acquiring freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
The Independent Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe has not fared
much better either but this is for other reasons, the most significant of
which is the general inability of the union to prove itself a better option
against the recalcitrance of ZUJ.
IJAZ is a fairly quiet union that raises its head occasionally through
Press statements.
This leaves most journalists with limited options but to look to ZUJ
for representation.
Unlike ZUJ, IJAZ does not have any significant national presence, a
situation that lessens the impact of the union on challenging government
ZUJ, on the other hand, does not put its national presence to good
Its members in smaller towns are not sure what is in AIPPA as well as
how it affects them.
Either way the journalists' unions have left their membership high and
dry and seem to be taking too long to deal with pertinent issues of the day.
As such, the Lenin like question must be asked, "What is to be done?"
To deal with the problem of polarisation, the journalists, unions need
to strengthen their individual membership base.
Leadership is an important component of any union but the leadership
of the unions has tended to be more symbolic than anything else.
Over the years, there has developed a subtle power sharing agreement
between the unions where the public media get the presidency of a union
while the independent media get the secretary general position.
This has not helped in alleviating the unnecessary polarisation of
people in the same profession and has severely compromised the impact of
individual membership that the organisations are founded upon.
The rivalry between the state-owned and the privately-owned media has
subsumed the ordinary member of the unions and thus rendered the latter
politically weak.
This is not to dismiss the democratic importance of such rivalry but
the extent to which it has been carried is not progressive.
The leaders of IJAZ and ZUJ must come to terms with this failure and
bridge the divide between individual membership and that of media companies,
effectively reviving linkages with individual members across the country and
re-affirming the importance of having union representation at this stage in
the history of the journalists' profession in Zimbabwe can do this.
The unions must also engage in training programmes for their members
regardless of whether they come from the state or private media.
These training programmes must distinctly feature themes such as
freedom of expression, the importance of an objective media industry in the
country as well as media law reform.
Once these programmes are started, the profession will start having a
semblance of unity and a sense of purpose.
It will also be able to create political space for itself unlike at
present where journalists are being subjected to the most draconian laws
without fighting back.
Besides just working for the advancement of freedom of expression and
a less politically interfered with media, the unions must also pursue strict
unionist agendas of collective bargaining, job actions and union caucuses.
This will enable them to function with fluidity and adequate
recognition from the individual journalists.
Added to this, the ordinary union member will realise that their
monthly or yearly subscriptions to the unions are worth it.
Another significant area where the unions need to improve is in their
ability to hold free and regular elections in line with their constitutions.

Leadership should change on a reasonably regular basis in order to
allow that there be dynamism in the unions.
Without that the unions are bound to become sterile and repetitive of
different strategies to protect their interests.
The unions must also keep their links with organisations such as the
Southern African Media Development Fund (Samdef), Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA), Southern African Journalists Association (Saja) and
a host of other international or regional organisations alive.
To have links with international media organisations should not be
construed as a competitive issue as is the case at present.
The links are merely strategic links that seek to protect and promote
freedom of expression and the independence of the media.
Takura Zhangazha is a freelance writer based in Harare.
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African Union: is it a union of democrats or autocrats?

Masipula Sithole
7/11/02 6:54:56 AM (GMT +2)

WHEN I asked Albert for suggestions on this week's topic, he
uncharacteristically pleaded insanity for there was nothing exciting during
the weekend except the acknowledgement by His Excellency on Sunday that we
are increasingly isolated.

"Zimbabwe needs friends," he said at the instance of a send-off for
visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Remember the time we had many friends visiting our President? Pictures
lined up all over the place. We even had to replace the old airport building
with a larger one by the side for being old and ugly. Now we have a
beautiful and modern "international airport" by any standards, but no

All because of these British imperialists and their dogs running
around telling other countries not to be our friends. Pamberi nekushinga
macomrades! Forward with perseverance comrades!

But for how long can we continue in this self-deception?

"May be you can write about the Durban meeting," said Albert, sounding

"All the African dictators are descending on Durban," he added,
wanting to be unkind.

We agreed on the Durban meeting. Moreover, the President was there
too. More importantly, the ZBC "diplomatic correspondent" (you know who?)
would be bombarding us with reports from Durban as if the whole country was
in Durban.

African leaders were in Durban to bid farewell to a moribund
organisa-tion and to welcome another. I don't mean "another moribund"
organisation for I have a lot of faith in the African Union (AU). Those who
wanted Zimbabwe to have been on the agenda were mistaken because this was a
swearing in ceremony.

Zimbabwe will be on the African Union's agenda sooner than people
realise. I saw it in the President's rather sombre and reflective demeanour
as he sat among familiar colleagues in the conference room.

I watched with nostalgia an organisation I had known throughout my
life pronounced dead and a new one replacing it. Political and economic
historians will assess the Organisa-tion of African Unity (OAU) differently.
This is as it should be.

Let us admit it, the OAU started with a promise of deliverance -
"deliverance" from the evils of colonialism and usher in the "good life" for
the African people. But we know, don't we, that we ended up more miserable
than under colonialism as one decolonised country after another replaced
colonial oppression with indigenous oppression as the continent regressed
into unchecked dictatorship and underdevelopment.

I understand why a foreigner would oppress, exploit and even kill us.
But I don't understand why, after colonialism, we should oppress, exploit
and kill our own people as we have done during the past 39 years of the OAU.

Moreover, I for one question the "decolonisation" success story being
showered all over the OAU. Decolonisation would have occurred with or
without the OAU, as indeed happened with most countries that got their
independence in the 1960s.

And for those that got their independence or majority rule later - the
former Portuguese colonies, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa - it was more
the result of bilateral relations that the liberation movements had with a
"patron" country than with the OAU per se that was crucial. Those who were
in the liberation movements at the time know what I am talking about.

Not to say the OAU did not help. Of course it did, but the proportion
is often, and in this case, exaggerated. Otherwise the OAU was a
disappointment that the AU must not be.

For instance, did you know what happened to Dialo Telli, the first
secretary-general of the OAU from Guinea (Conakry)? He was suffocated to
death by drawing him in a prison cell at the hands of Sekou Toure, one of
the founding fathers of the OAU, because he dared challenge him for the
presidency of Guinea.

Not a voice of censure from fellow OAU heads of state, presumably
because of the "non-interference" clause in the OAU Charter!

The spate of military coups that were to take the lives of such
luminary founding fathers of the OAU like Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and Ethiopia
's Emperor Haile Selassie, who donated Addis Ababa to be the capital of the
OAU, and many other lesser mortals were met with a mixture of glee and joy
by the OAU as the continent bled to death in internal strife and conflict.

The OAU did not censure mad men in office like Emperor Bokassa of the
Central African Republic and Uganda's Idi Amin Dada, who messed up that
beautiful country beyond normal repair. Amin even assumed the chairmanship
of the OAU during the height of his madness over the Indian community and
the British imperialists.

Not to say anything about corruption in high places during OAU's 39
years. Mobutu Sese Seko is known for always boasting at OAU summits that he
was "only the sixth richest man in the world" and that most of his wealth
was in Europe. Mobutu was the envy of many African heads of state who
emulated and sought to outdo him in public corruption.

Countless other bizarre stories can be recounted in the OAU days like
political opponents being thrown into the Shire River to the delight of
hungry crocodiles in the late Kamuzu Banda's Malawi, et cetera. Were the
African leaders gathered in Durban not aware of these excesses in their
evaluation of the OAU? Decolo-nisation, chete chete!

The new organi-sation that replaces the OAU should do better, much,
much better. And it is poised for that. This is why.

If anything, we have learned from our past mistakes and we are
conscious of it. The OAU was largely an organisation of "united" autocrats;
there were no democrats in it.

Julius Nyerere of Tanzania? May be. Sir Seretse Khama and Ketumile
Masire of Botswana? May be. Gabon and Mauritius? May be? Zimbabwe? Either
than regular elections, there is nothing else in them.

Is the AU a "union" of yet another set of incompetent "autocrats"?

In all fairness, I detect a new political environment on the African
continent. Some at the Durban meeting were aware of this changed
environment; others suspected it, including Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

There was the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) group
and the "other" group at the Durban meeting. Let us talk about the AU and
NEPAD subsequently but next week let's talk about three models of union
formation - the United States of America, the European Union and the AU.

Professor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
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In God's hands

7/11/02 6:51:16 AM (GMT +2)

ONCE again last week, the government sought to deflate mounting public
criticism of its reckless policies which have singularly killed a prosperous

As usual, the administration had to find scapegoats on which to heap
blame for its own stark misdeeds and failures.

This time it had to be Finance Minister Simba Makoni and Reserve Bank
governor Leornard Tsumba, caught short because they are political
lightweights and are unwilling to be dragged down the road of ruinous
policies which have marked this government's 22 years in power.

Their crime? They are being accused of not clamping down on the
parallel market, which the government blames for the foreign currency crisis
afflicting the country.

And yet all in Zimbabwe know - or should know - that the shortage of
hard cash is none other than the government's own creation.

President Robert Mugabe's persistent refusal to devalue the local
dollar, overpriced by more than 100 percent against the currencies of
Zimbabwe's major trading partners, is a key cause of the forex crisis.

No doubt, the drying up of balance of payments support for Zimbabwe
and the poor performance of the country's exports have magnified the crisis.

But no one should doubt that Zimbabwe will continue to be ravaged by
forex shortages so long as Mugabe sticks to his guns on the issue of

A more realistic exchange rate which factors in the inflation
differentials between Zimbabwe and its key trading partners is needed
urgently. Obviously a devaluation would need to be accompanied by other
sensible measures to try to revive the economy.

As things are now, the President's stance runs counter to efforts that
seek to promote exports, themselves stunted by runaway inflation and the
high cost of money caused by the government's free spending.

Needless to say, the government's seizure of productive private
commercial farms and other contentious governance issues have been
responsible for the flight of international financial lenders and investors,
leaving Zimbabwe to its own devices.

The forex parallel market is thriving in Zimbabwe largely because any
shortages are bound to create such a market anyway and, ironically, because
some in high places could be benefiting from deals that are made there.

The harsh reality of the forex crisis, just as too many others
breathing down on what was once Africa's most promising economy, is that it
merely dramatises that things have gone badly wrong in Zimbabwe.

They cannot go on this way for much longer. There is so much palpable
human misery that, no matter what the government's spin doctors say,
something has simply to give in.

With nearly 80 percent of the population already living below the
poverty line, the nation is being tormented further by man-made famine in a
rich farming country.

It is being tormented further by the fact that the few essential goods
which are still available are now beyond the reach of most, many of them

It is being tormented further by the fact that many in the land have
been forced to flee their homes as political violence and intimidation
menacingly stalk Zimbabwe.

The only thing in abundance are mountains of paper stacked in various
government offices showing the result of this or that government inquiry on
this or that project, many of them only pipe dreams anyway.

In the midst of the searing pain, crisis-weary and patient Zimbabweans
are keeping their heads firmly down, too afraid of the long threatened iron
fist and too busy to worry about their basic freedoms while they struggle
for bare existence.

They are praying and hoping that, one day, there will be deliverance,
true to the biblical promise.

They are, to all intents and purposes, placing their hopes and fate in
the hands of God.

As the African Union was born in Durban this week amid hopes of better
economic and political governance on a continent sapped by civil strife and
hunger, Zimbabwe stood out alone as the chief spoiler, its soiled human
rights and governance record in tatters.

Zimbabweans don't deserve this.
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End reign of terror, MDC chief says

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:38:17 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged African
leaders gathered in Durban for the launch of the African Union (AU) to make
a fresh start and not allow dictators among them to get away with murder.

The AU was launched on Tuesday by 40 African heads of state.

Unable to attend the ceremony, Tsvangirai instead delivered a
video-taped message saying the biggest challenge for the AU was the
"illegitimate" government of President Robert Mugabe.

The Movement for Democratic Change leader said he told the leaders
through the videotape: "The meeting of the AU heads of state presents an
opportunity for Africa to make a fresh start. Dictators must not be allowed
to get away with murder.

"The situation in Zimbabwe will test the AU's moral integrity,
credibility and commitment to democracy and human rights."

Zimbabwe has become a pariah state following a violent parliamentary
election in 2000 and a heavily flawed presidential election in March this

The international community has refused to recognise the results of
the presidential vote, accusing Mugabe of stealing it and unleashing terror
on members of the opposition. Mugabe rejects the charges and says he won

Analysts say Zimbabwe is the biggest test for the AU, which has
embraced a new economic blueprint known as NEPAD which seeks to entrench
good governance.
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MDC denied voters' roll

Staff Reporters
7/11/02 9:33:38 AM (GMT +2)

THE High Court yesterday dismissed an application by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for an order compelling the
Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, to give the party the electronic version
of the voters' roll.

The full reasons for the dismissal of the application were not
available yesterday when Justice Susan Mavangira delivered a ruling made by
Justice Anne-Mary Gowora.

Citing the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary
Forum's norms and standards which seek free and unimpeded access to the
voters' roll, the MDC had sought an order to force Mudede to give it the
voters' roll in electronic form.

The party is challenging the result of the March presidential election
controversially won by President Robert Mugabe.

By the time the election was held, the MDC did not have the voters'

Since the announcement of the poll results, there has been controversy
and confusion over the total number of votes cast, with the MDC saying the
figures were not tallying.

MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe yesterday said his party would take its
case to the Supreme Court after hearing the full reasons for the dismissal
of its application.

"One can only assume that the registrar-general's office and the
Mugabe regime have much to hide by refusing to hand over a copy of the
electronic version of the voters' roll," he said.

"We have long argued that the voters' roll is not only in shambles,
but has been deliberately crafted so that the numbers of voters can be
inflated to increase ZANU PF's vote count."

Meanwhile, an international campaign calling for fresh presidential
polls in Zimbabwe under international supervision was launched this week.

Dubbed "Save Zimbabwe", the campaign is supported by a website located
at www.zimbabwenews.

It seeks to attract a broad range of audiences, including the newly
formed African Union, the SADC, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the

According to a statement from concerned Zimbabweans living in or
outside the country, the campaign will also seek support among leading
global aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and human rights bodies.

"The campaign recognises that the present crisis in Zimbabwe is
related to a crisis of governance owing to the illegitimacy of the Mugabe
regime," the group said.

"This crisis manifests itself in a number of ways. The country's
economy is on the verge of collapse, at least 70 percent of the country's
population is unemployed as industries close down and about 80 percent of
Zimbabweans live below the poverty datum line."

The campaign calls for an orderly land reform programme that is
managed by a non-partisan land commission.

It says Zimbabwe is facing starvation because of a drought and Mugabe'
s misplaced policies in dealing with the land question.

"Mugabe has turned a genuine national demand for equitable land
redistribution into a political dice, sponsoring violence and resulting in
the hunger and starvation that the nation faces today," the group said.
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Zimbabwe to tighten foreign currency rules

7/11/02 9:32:56 AM (GMT +2)

Bankers said the sector was rife with rumours of the step after
criticism in the state media that the finance ministry and central bank had
failed to curb the thriving black market, where the Zimbabwe dollar trades
at a fraction of its official value.

"The market deduction of this criticism is that we should expect a new
policy, but unfortunately I don't think that policy will address the
fundamental problems that we are facing (or) increase exports and earnings
and set a realistic exchange rate," one senior banker said.

"Instead of measures to reverse the current decline and incentives to
grow the economy, I think we are going to get more controls on the little
money we are still getting," he said.

In June, the Zimbabwe dollar plunged by nearly 50 percent on the
unofficial parallel market to between 600 and 800 to the US dollar.

This compares with an official exchange rate of 55 against the dollar,
which has been in place for two years.

Neither the government nor the central bank - which has traditionally
always refused to be drawn into market speculation - has commented on the

Private banking officials, who all refused to be named, said they
expected the new policy to order the liquidation of all private foreign
currency accounts (FCAs), held by corporates and individuals.

They also expected the government to scrap a facility where some
exporters can retain 30 percent of their foreign exchange earnings to
finance vital imports, and to centralise the management of foreign currency
at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The Reserve Bank was looking at allocating any available foreign
currency in the following order - 40 percent for fuel and electricity
imports; 20 percent for essential imports such as maize and drugs; 20
percent for an export-revolving fund and the remaining 20 percent for
general allocation, they said.

The banking industry also expects President Robert Mugabe to approve a
crackdown on a black market that has mushroomed over the last two years,
after the exchange rate was fixed.

Zimbabwe is mired in its worst recession since independence in 1980
and foreign currency reserves have shrunk dramatically, with the country now
living from hand to mouth.

The government has not serviced its foreign debt - now estimated at
$700 million - for about a year.

The crisis began in February 2000, when pro-government militants, led
by veterans of the 1970s liberation war, began invading white-owned
commercial farms.

Mugabe's government has said it wants to correct imbalances in land
ownership created by British colonialism, but the country is now facing a
severe food shortage caused by the disruptions to farming, coupled with

Farmers say they support land redistribution but are opposed to the
methods employed by Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since the former Rhodesia
gained independence from Britain in 1980. - Reute
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War vets seize council offices

Staff Reporter
7/11/02 9:26:18 AM (GMT +2)

BULAWAYO - ZANU PF's war veterans in Matabeleland South have seized
the Matobo Rural District Council after expelling its three senior
officials, including the chief executive, for allegedly frustrating the
government's land reforms, witnesses reported yesterday.

Speaking from Maphisa Business Centre, the head offices of the council
which is about 100 kms south of here, the witnesses said groups of war
veterans were patrolling the area near the council's office after "sacking"
its officials on Friday.

Several angry ratepayers, complaining no senior council official was
able to handle their grievances, also phoned this newspaper yesterday to
protest against the illegal dismissals.

The witnesses said the veterans had fired council chief executive
officer Ernest Ndlovu, assistant chief executive officer Joseph Ngulu and
Tapson Ncube, an executive officer in charge of council projects.

The veterans also sent home the acting district administrator for
Kezi, Mathew Nkomo, and an unnamed official working for the state-run
Agritex. The two were also accused of blocking the government's land reforms
because they were opposition followers.

Kezi is a small centre not far away from Maphisa.

Matabo constituency overwhelmingly voted for the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) in the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

Lovemore Moyo, the MDC's legislator for the area, yesterday criticised
ZANU PF's reported actions, saying the ruling party was intensifying its
persecution of the province's villagers and civil servants suspected to be
backing the MDC.

He said he had received numerous calls from angry constituents over
the disruption of the council's offices as well as the harassment of the
district administrator for Kezi.

"A lot of people are failing to do their business at the council
offices because of the absence of key personnel," Moyo told the Financial

"It is up to the governor, Stephen Nkomo, to deal with the rot because
these ZANU PF war veterans are taking the law into their own hands. We can't
have uneducated people dictating to chief executives and senior officials
how to do their business."

None of the sacked officials could be reached for comment yesterday.
Governor Nkomo was said to be attending a meeting in Gwanda, further away
from Maphisa.

This is not the first time that the veterans, many of them too young
to have fought in the 1970s independence war, have interfered with the
running of local government offices in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland

Last year they chased away the chief executives of Lupane and
Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North. They also force-transferred a provincial
administrator from Gwanda in Matabeleland South to Harare. The three were
accused of being MDC followers
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