I WISH to air my concerns about the controversial African Union
which will be launched soon in South Africa. I agree with the newly-elected
President of Madagascar, Ravalomanana when he labelled the OAU as a group of
African dictators when they would not endorse him as the new president after
winning the elections in that country.
This same issue happened to
Zimbabwe when they quickly came to the rescue of the beleagured Mugabe who
self-endorsed himself President of Zimbabwe after loosing to the young
dynamic Morgan Tsvangirai. These leaders cannot take Africa to the new
challenges of the new millennium. They fear change and they do not respect
human rights for their own citizens.
Right now, they are dining with the
world's most toxic leaders and I mean Robert Mugabe, Daniel arap Moi and
Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya.
What can Libya teach us about democracy
when, in fact, there has never been elections in that country? The country
has never experienced opposition politics since they are suppressed by the
present regime. Moi is still warbling on whether to retire or extend his
authoritarian hand. Mugabe even rigged elections in the eyes of his own son,
Chatunga He portrays himself as a revolutionary, but as I know, a
revolutionary does not kill his own people, make them starve and suffer like
what we are seeing in Zimbabwe. It's embarrassing for South Africa to host
I foresee the African Union being used by Gaddaffi as a platform
to end the Libyan sanctions and to fight the West in the sense of
Africa now needs new blood, non- racist technocrats who
can take us to the challenges of the globalised world. Leaders who think of
their people first rather than the present who think of killing, buying
Mercedes-Benz cars, stealing from public coffers, and are scared of fingering
members within their club who rig elections. If the African Union kick-starts
with the likes of Gaddaffi and Mugabe, forget about it, it's bound to
ZIMBABWE is stagnating, its people yearning for help. But
instead of solutions we are confronted by slogans and snake oil masquerading
When the head of state publicly describes his own
policy-makers as saboteurs and declares the policy of his Finance minister
"dead", the last glimmer of hope for a rational fiscal regime - and with it
economic recovery - is torpedoed.
President Mugabe's statement, in his
address to parliament on Tuesday, that devaluation of the dollar will not be
tolerated is of course unlikely to be his last word on the matter. The sheer
force of economic logic will oblige him to reconsider - probably sooner
rather than later. But judging by the chorus of support from Zanu PF MPs for
Mugabe's hard-line stance, the ostriches are currently in charge of
And it is an entirely delusional policy. As Tony Hawkins points
out in our Page 5 story today, devaluation, far from being dead, is alive and
With most of the economy governed by the parallel rate -
including government business - devaluation is a daily reality. Those who
pretend that US$1 is still worth only $55 are living in their own private
world of party dogma that bears no relation to facts on the ground.
State-owned banks and parastatals would be the first to spell this out for
the president if he asked.
Those who believe in the official exchange
rate would also be entitled to believe that GDP grew by more than 80% between
1999 and 2001, making it the fastest expanding economy in the world, The
Economist points out. If nobody is prepared to indulge in that fiction why
continue to cling to the pretence that there has been no
But the president's stance on devaluation is only part of a
wider problem of official self-deception. Believing that Zimbabwe's economic
problems stem from drought and "British machinations" is at the core of the
"No one can fairly blame us for the situation of want" that
afflicts the rest of the region, Mugabe claimed. But all the organisations
currently contributing to relief efforts have placed the blame squarely where
it belongs - on Mugabe's disastrous land seizures which he pretends are
an "unparalleled success story", even as production plummets and hundreds
of thousands face starvation.
Mugabe refuses to believe that his own
damaging policies are at the root of the national crisis. The sustained
assault on property rights, disdain for the rule of law, rejection of sound
advice from his own ministers and representative organisations like the CZI
and ZNCC, and abuse of international aid have all combined to sink the
It is significant that the European Union, in announcing fresh
sanctions on Monday, drew heavily on the malign public pronouncements of
Mugabe's own ministers.
Populist attempts to remedy the situation are
doomed to failure. A government that refuses to respect its own laws and
courts - demonising judges according to race or ruling - will deter trade and
investment. It is an illusion to think investors in the Far East don't speak
to investors elsewhere in the world before making decisions about where to
put their money. And the $260 million given to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
will be wasted without a return to the rule of law.
Attempts to coerce
banks into giving loans to farmers in the chaotic conditions currently
prevailing on the land are again indicative of the cocoon in which Mugabe's
ministers operate. There is unlikely to be any money forthcoming until
stability returns to the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, the tens of
thousands dispossessed from commercial farms have contributed to a pattern of
internal displacement that started with political violence in 2000. The
plight of orphans, Aids victims and households headed by children has been
made immeasurably worse by Mugabe's arbitrary land seizures. The real face of
his "unparalleled success story" can be seen in homeless rural refugees, food
shortages and downstream company closures.
What emerges most clearly
from Mugabe's address to parliament on Tuesday is a party and government
completely divorced from the catastrophic economic realities detonating
around them. Mugabe and his inner circle are clearly determined to ignore all
sound advice coming from within their own ranks and beyond, and are instead
resolved to go on compounding past mistakes with policies that not only don't
work but are fatally damaging.
That only Mugabe's supporters - most of
them women bused in for the occasion - were allowed to mount a presence
outside the chamber at Tuesday's opening ceremony reveals a regime entirely
cut off from the nation which no longer believes its lies and certainly wants
none of its snake-oil remedies.
'Africa is moving on, but Zimbabwe is
not' Dumisani Muleya
THERE has of late been a great deal of
cacophonous criticism of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad)
in Zimbabwe by civic groups and individuals aligned to
government. President Robert Mugabe last week joined in the anti-Nepad
crusade while visiting his communist ally, Cuban President Fidel Castro who
seized power from Fulgencio Batista's repressive regime in 1959. Mugabe
said African countries should reject Nepad if it came with conditions - such
as democracy, good governance and human rights - attached to it. Analysts
said although nothing was surprising about Mugabe's statement given his
current paranoia about "British machinations", the remarks revealed
his determination to resist current global economic and political
trends. Mugabe is seen as still caught in an ideological timewarp in which he
is battling to maintain his rule and impose a warmed up Stalinist
orthodoxy long since discarded elsewhere - except perhaps in Cuba. In
remarks similar to those expressed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during
the launch of the African Union in Durban earlier this month, Mugabe told
African ambassadors in Havana in manifest "Fidelista" terms Africa should
spurn conditional aid under Nepad. "It's up to us to remain vigilant in any
process of cooperation with them (the West) and reject any tendencies to
subject us to their whims," he said. "The main principle is that we as a
united Africa can forge unity with developed countries and get them to fund a
process of transformation." The G8 recently adopted Nepad in Canada on
condition African leaders stopped breaking democratic rules. Analysts said
there was nothing colonial about Nepad conditions drawn up by African leaders
themselves. Nepad's peer review mechanism, which is a self-monitoring system
to ensure adherence to democratic practices, demands Africa should comply
with internationally accepted standards. Nepad leaders believe the peer
review mechanism would lead to the adoption of policies and practices that
would lead to political stability and economic growth. An independent panel
of eminent persons would be established to manage the check-over
system. Gaddafi - whose country has never held elections since he ousted
King Mohammed Idris in a 1969 coup - was at the forefront of a campaign to
derail Nepad in Durban. A seasoned populist and demagogue, Gaddafi tried
to whip up nationalist indignation among African leaders by waving the
anti-colonial and anti-imperialist cards. "We accept assistance but we
refuse conditions," Gaddafi said. "We are not children who need someone to
teach us. We have learnt our lessons. We have our own culture and they must
respect it." Analysts had predicted this. "Resistance is guaranteed," warned
Francis Kornegay of the Centre for African International Relations at the
University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. "The new order
struggling to be born represents nothing less than a clear and present danger
to the African status quo of authoritarian governance." By contrast Mbeki,
who came out with his guns blazing against Nepad critics, warned African
leaders against futile populist grandstanding, insisting Africa has to
change. "Our experience of numerous decades makes the clear statement that we
have to think and work in a new way," he said. "We have to overcome the
debilitating effect of inertia, which makes us act in the old ways to which
we are accustomed, to do things as we have always done them because this is
the way we have always done them." But Mugabe remains in denial. Last week he
repeated his discrepant mantra that he brought democracy, human rights and
good governance to Zimbabwe. "Now they (West) are coming to us as teachers of
democracy when during colonialism and imperialism they would not allow us to
exercise our rights," he said. "It's up to us to remain
vigilant." Apparently Castro also believes the same although he was quick to
jettison his democratic pledges soon after coming to power as he imposed
"guerilla social engineering". There was nothing new about Mugabe's
remarks in Havana. Addressing his party's central committee meeting on April
5 after his March disputed re-election, he attacked the West with similar
language and intensity. "What Zimbabwe is facing is an integral part of a
global imperial agenda of recolonisation heralded by the 'crisis of
governance' thesis of the World Bank and the wide array of political
conditionalities which accompanied aid regimes in the early and
mid-nineties," he said. "It was a recipe for eroding our sovereign rights as
states in order to make way for new global imperialism packaged in human
rights and democracy discourse." Opening parliament this week, Mugabe
indulged in his customary claims about "British machinations" and alleged
neo-colonial manoeuvres. Before Mugabe publicly stated his position on Nepad
last week, his followers had already set the tone. Information minister
Jonathan Moyo, who often reflects Mugabe's mind, had claimed Nepad was a new
form of imperialism. The government-controlled press had also attacked Nepad
and its promoters. "If they (Nepad leaders) willfully fall prey to the
neo-colonial agenda of Tony Blair and George Bush, they will go down in
history as a gullible bunch of politicians who hastened the recolonisation of
Africa," the state-run Sunday News said in an editorial on June 23. "Can a
serious African politician stand up today and tell us that Western powers are
now willing to share the profits of globalisation with this continent? We
should know we have a political tragedy on our hands when some African
governments begin warming to racist oppressors who killed our people and
denied us independence just yesterday." The vitriol was directed at Mbeki and
his counterparts. "How can we expect imperial plunderers, powerful
capitalists and racist Western powers to bring us prosperity?" the Sunday
News asked. However, British High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Brian Donnelly, in
his contribution to the Britain & Zimbabwe magazine last month, said it
was encouraging some African leaders were no longer prisoners of the
past. "There are many African leaders who have recognised that the world is
moving and adapting to new realities," he said. "They want to seize the
opportunity to build a better future for their people." Donnelly said
rejecting Nepad would keep Zimbabwe handcuffed to the past. "Unfortunately,
Zimbabwe has not yet embraced the idealism and optimism of Nepad," he said.
"In Zimbabwe, it has been argued that Nepad is a duplicitous successor to
tied aid, a neo-colonialist tool, or a way of blackmailing African leaders
into pursuing a Western agenda. But this is the exact opposite of the way
Nepad was conceived, and the way it is being managed and developed by African
leaders. Africa is moving on, but Zimbabwe is not." Instead of Zimbabwe
aligning itself to prevailing international patterns firmly anchored in the
realities of the global economy, Donnelly said: "We see language and
attitudes focused on a distorted image of the past." German Foreign minister
Joschka Fisher said in May that remaining in denial was
unprogressive. "The founders of Nepad looked realistically at Africa's
problems and identified the central reform projects," he said. "They focus on
fighting corruption and bad governance, enhancing democracy, the rule of law
and human rights, eradication of poverty, conflict resolution,
transparent financial markets, and more effective promotion of the private
sector. This new thinking, new dynamism will help Africa take its due place
in the international community." Robert Rotberg, who directs Harvard
University's programme's on Intrastate Conflict and heads the World Peace
Foundation, believes African leaders should make a fundamental paradigm shift
in both politics and economic affairs. "The attitudes of Africa's leaders
must change," he said. The continent's leaders, Rotberg said, should monitor
each other. "This is a tall order. Neither Presidents Mbeki nor (Nigeria's
Olusegun) Obasanjo have employed peer pressure to halt the growing trend
toward dictatorship in today's Africa," he said. "Neither leader has
publicly condemned electoral theft in Zimbabwe or attempts to breach the
constitutions of Malawi, Namibia, or Zambia. Neither they nor many of their
contemporaries have criticised denials of media freedom in neighbouring
countries, corruption, misappropriation or squandering of foreign assistance
funds, or said much about the leadership causes of the famine now engulfing
13 million people in southern Africa."
LAST week, the Central Statistical Office (CSO)
released the June 2002 inflation rate. The year-on-year inflation for June
was reported to be 114,5% as compared to 122,5% a month earlier. Since then,
the populace has been speculating as to how the rate of inflation could
possibly have declined by eight percentage points when prices are rising
continuously. Numerous journalists have been equally perplexed and have
inundated Zimbabwe's economists to obtain answers to the apparent
Many consumers have expressed great scepticism as to the
validity of the reported inflation rates, suggesting deliberate manipulation
and distortion in order to dupe them into believing that the economy is not
as sick as it actually is. That perception is unjustified. Although
government undoubtedly and very frequently will misrepresent realities or
will ascribe any negative economic circumstances to causes beyond its
control, or to malevolent acts of its perceived opponents, it is unfounded to
allege that the CSO is a party thereto. Subject to certain circumstances
hereafter referred to, the inflation rates are reported as accurately as is
The widespread disbelief that manifested itself last
week focused recollection upon a very excellent press statement from the
director of Census and Statistics, published in this newspaper on February
23, 2001, when a similar situation prevailed. In the light of the present
extensive uncertainty as to how the inflation rate could conceivably have
declined last month, it is merited to quote from that informative statement,
which stated that "it is perfectly normal for inflation to fall even when
prices are increasing. It is important to emphasise that inflation is not the
level of, but the rate of change in prices over a time period. In the case
of year-on-year inflation the time period is 12 months."
continues: "The first question that analysts have to ask before judging the
reasonableness of the reported year-on-year rate of inflation is: 'Have the
prices in the month increased more or less in percentage terms than they did
during the same month the year before?'... The year-on-year rate of inflation
is calculated by dividing the CPI for the current month by the CPI for the
same month the previous year. The ratio is then expressed as a percentage and
the difference between it thus expressed as a percentage and 100 is the rate
Thus, the rate of inflation is calculated according to the
formula: 100 x (consumer price index for relevant month this year, divided by
consumer price index for equivalent month last year) minus 100. If the CPI
increased faster in the relevant month this year than it did in the
equivalent month last year, then inflation would have increased. On the other
hand, if it increased faster in the equivalent month last year than it has in
the same month this year, then inflation has decreased.
by way of an example: If an item cost $1 two years ago, and then 12 months
ago the price was increased by $1 to $2, the inflation rate was 100%. Then,
if the price was, this month, again increased by $1 to $3, it would be an
increase of $1 on $2 or 50%. So, even though the price increase is the same
amount in each instance, in percentage terms the increase was twice as great
a year ago. The press statement summarised this by stating: "There will be a
rise in inflation whenever the month-on-month rate of inflation in the
current month (measuring increases in prices in the month) is greater than
the month-on-month rate of inflation 12 months earlier. It is therefore
important to note that a fall in inflation does not necessarily mean a fall
in prices in the current month. The fallacy is equivalent to assuming that a
reduction in the acceleration of a motor car necessarily implies a reduction
in its speed.
"Just as much as the acceleration of a moving car can be
reduced while it is still increasing its speed, so does inflation fall when
prices are still rising. Thus, for example, a motorist can start from zero
kilometres per hour and increase the speed of his car to 120 kilometres per
hour in the first minute. If in the second minute he increases its speed from
120 to 150 kilometres he would have reduced its acceleration by 75% in the
second minute compared to the first minute. This reduction in acceleration
would have been achieved while still increasing speed."
clarification of another key factor in computing the CPI from which the
inflation rate is computed, is provided: "The basket, or weights used for
combining individual item price indices to form group indices, and group
indices to form the all items index, have an influence on the index and hence
the rate of inflation. In particular, as the economy shrinks in absolute or
relative per capita income terms, the weight of the food group is expected to
increase. The increased weight would make the changes in the prices of food
items to have a more pronounced effect on average prices and hence the all
items index and the rate of inflation."
This changing weighting of the
basket is even more relevant today than when the statement was issued some 16
months ago, and indirectly is one of the reasons why real inflation is
undeniably greater than the announced rate. With effect from January 2001,
there was a change in the consumer basket and weights utilised by CSO to
determine the CPI, and therefrom the inflation rates, concurrently with an
updating of the CPI base year from 1990 to 1995. Those changes were based
upon the 1995/96 Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey.
the impacts of the hyperinflationary environment upon most of the populace
have been such that unavoidably there has been a marked change in spending
patterns. For most, the best they can hope to achieve at the present time is
to fund their accommodation needs, together with requisite utilities, the
purchase of food, educational needs, health care, and transport to and from
their places of employment.
They lack the resources necessary for the
purchase of clothing and textiles, furniture and household goods, beverages
and tobacco products, and to engage in recreation and entertainment. Many do
not even have enough income to meet basic needs. Therefore, the weighting of
the component groups of the spending basket cannot possibly be an accurate
reflection of actual circumstance. It is very probable that if the basket was
restructured to accord with present day circumstances, the CPI would be
considerably higher, as would be the rate of inflation.
Over the 12
months of 2001, the CSO conducted a new Income, Consumption and Expenditure
Survey, with a view to updating and adjusting the basket upon which CPI is
based. Regrettably, although its findings will enable some minimisation of
the extent of disparity between the basket and the factual circumstance, it
will not wholly eliminate that disparity, because the intensifying poverty of
ever greater numbers of Zimbabweans, is forcing them to prioritise their
spending more and more to fewer and fewer items and, therefore, the
weightings are changing significantly each month.
As a result, it is not
possible for reported inflation rates to be wholly accurate. The inaccuracy
is compounded by the fact that most basic, essential commodities are in short
supply, resulting in an active black market purveying most of the limited
availability of those commodities, at greatly inflated prices. But the CSO
must necessarily use the prices prescribed by Zimbabwe's draconian and
foolhardy price control legislation (which is a very direct contributor to
many of the shortages, as producers cannot afford to produce at a loss!). The
CSO has no ready access to the volatile, unlawful prices prevailing in the
black market, and yet it is those prices which should more realistically
determine the rate of inflation.
A further factor of the marginal drop
in inflation in June is that CSO collects data in the first half of the
month, whereas in June several significant price increases occurred in the
second half of that month, including a 35% increase in commuter bus fares,
substantial increases in the prices of various beverages and foodstuffs, and
of other commodities and services. Those increases will reflect in the July
inflation rate, as will many other increases which become effective early in
Banks rebuff Made Vincent Kahiya BANKS will not
release funds to newly-resettled farmers until government can produce
collateral against loans or first-class guarantees that money loaned will be
Bank executives this week shot down claims by Agriculture
minister Joseph Made that financial institutions had agreed to fund this
season's crop, planting of which commences in October.
said they wanted the government to explain the issue of collateral first
before committing themselves. Leases were not an acceptable form of security,
The banking sector has been asked to raise at least $76
billion to finance this season's crop, which should be produced mainly by
newly-resettled farmers. The money is needed for tillage and the purchase of
agricultural inputs including fertiliser and seeds.
together with members of the Cabinet Action Committee on Land Reform and
Resettlement met with bankers this week, said leases would be used as
"The government will increase the issuing of lease
agreements so that the new farmers move in in time for the cropping season,"
Made was quoted as saying in the state media. "They will also use the leases
We told the bankers that we are speeding up the processing
Government has been issuing newly-resettled farmers with
But an economist with a commercial bank said
financial institutions would not entertain lease agreements as
"If a new farmer leasing a property fails to repay a loan
what can the bank do?" he asked.
"The bank cannot auction the farm
because it is state land and the new farmer does not have any assets to talk
about. Banks do not own any money. They use investors' money and therefore
cannot risk this investment without any reasonable security," said the
"Banks want to know the nature of guarantees the
government can come up with in such a situation," he said.
banker said with less than three months to go before the onset of the rains,
it was not practicable for the banks to issue loans to thousands of farmers
under the A2 scheme.
He said the government had not even completed
the paperwork required to enable farmers to apply for loans.
only workable plan is for banks to lend money to government for on-lending to
the farmers," said the banker. "Commercial banks do not have the capacity to
administer thousands of loans for all these new farmers in the little time
left before the rains."
Zimbabwe's rainy season usually starts in
earnest in November.
Apart from the issue of collateral, bankers this
week said they also wanted to see a proper audit of the resettlement
programme to ascertain realistic production levels, especially in the A2
resettlement sector. The audit should give a clearer picture of how many
farmers had actually taken up their new pieces of land and were preparing to
plant a crop this season.
The government's crop forecasts in the last
two years have been way off the mark as reset-tled farmers produced a much
smaller crop than officials had predicted.
Made said the banking
sector this week tentatively agreed to match an $8,5 billion government fund
for the purchase of inputs such as fertiliser, seed maize, sorghum and millet
as well as tillage.
The fund is only 11% of what the new farmers need
to finance this season's cropping.
$1 in 1990 now worth two cents Godfrey
Marawanyika INFLATION has eroded the value of the Zimbabwe dollar to a paltry
two cents in just over a decade, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
The union's collective bargaining position in the current
wage negotiations is based on this sharp fall of the dollar. ZCTU chief
economist Godfrey Kanyenze said even the purchasing power of the dollar had
"The value of the dollar in 1990 has been eroded to just
two cents as of May 2002, implying what two cents could buy in 1990 is what
$1 buys at May 2002 prices," said Kanyenze. "This raises important policy
questions regarding the effectiveness of raising minimum wages without
stabilising the economy by, among other things, reining-in on
Employer representatives and the labour body have been
meeting for the past two months in the collective bargaining process, which
has seen some workers being awarded between 60% and 70% salary
Basic salaries for many workers have been eroded by the
high cost of living which has been exacerbated by the rising inflation rate
currently at 114,5%. The shortages of basic commodities, which can now only
be sourced on the black market, has worsened the
Kanyeze said wage negotiations should be based on posting
workers earnings above the poverty datum line to achieve a more equitable
wage structure. "The gap between the highest and lowest paid remains obscene
in the economy," he said.
According to the United Nations
Development Programme, Zimbabwe is an unequal society where 20% of the
population account for 60% of its income and close to 30% of the incomes go
to the middle 40%, while only 10% goes to the poorest 40%.
report said the average incomes of the richest 20% were 12 times those of the
poor and four times those of the middle-income group. Kanyenze said the
tendency over the years had been for negotiations to focus only
"Under condition of high inflation, all that may be
realised from collective bargaining can easily be eroded. As such it is
necessary to include non-wage issues in negotiations," he said. "It is
necessary to look at the working hours with a view to reducing them in line
with international trends.
Other non-pay allowances can also be
negotiated depending on the sector."
Since the collective bargaining
process began two months ago, different sectors of the economy have agreed on
varied salary adjustments because of numerous external factors that impact on
$1 000 note coming Godfrey Marawanyika THE Reserve
Bank will introduce a $1 000 note early next year as the current $500 note -
the highest denomination - has seen its value heavily eroded in less than 12
months, the Zimbabwe Independent has been told.
The central bank designed
the new note at the same time as the $500 bill last year but was reluctant to
launch it. The $500 note came into circulation last August.
new note would maintain the country's usual natural features on
The $500 note was introduced after the then highest
denomination of $100 had been eroded by rising inflation.
introduction of the new note comes against a backdrop of high money-supply
growth that is currently at 113%, just below inflation.
Last year the
central bank opened a new minting plant in Bulawayo where the printing of the
$500 note is taking place.
Zanu PF militia enlisted for census Blessing
Zulu GRADUATES from the notorious Border Gezi Training Institute have
been recruited as census enumerators by the Central Statistical Office
amid allegations that the ruling Zanu PF party has hijacked the
Militias based at the camp were used as part of Zanu PF's
brutal campaign in the run-up to the presidential election in
There are fears that the census results will be doctored so as
to distort figures in areas such as Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) and
Chitungwiza where President Mugabe won on the back of thousands of suspected
ghost voters in the March 9/11 poll.
"The census is being
supervised by politicians picked from various districts instead of qualified
and experienced statisticians and officers at the department's head office
and provincial offices," said a CSO source.
Washington Mapeta, the
census manager said he was not aware of the claims.
"I am not aware
of any members from the Border Gezi Training Institute who have been
recruited," said Mapeta.
"We are a professional body and the people
we recruit are also professionals and we specify the qualifications we
The CSO is flying two officers to Bulawayo to pay field
workers deployed throughout the region.
The source said the delays
in issuing people with T-shirts and identity cards had resulted in problems
for those involved in the field preparation amid allegations that there was
corruption in the tender system.
"I cannot be accused of corruption
because I am not part of the tender committee. I only specify what we want
and it's up to the Government Tender Board to decide," said
On possible cover-ups of numbers, he said: "If the
authorities in a particular area can prove that the figures are not correct
and convince us we can do a recount with them, but this is highly
Morale among enumerators is reportedly low as they are
being paid very little for the exercise. CSO officials deployed in the urban
areas are not paid and those in the rural areas are getting only $150 as a
Field mappers are being paid $300 a month. The small
allowances to the mappers is said to have delayed the production of census
maps which were supposed to have been finished by December 2001
MDC plans another bid for voters roll Dumisani
Muleya THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will make another
court bid to get a copy of the national voters roll used in the March
9/11 presidential election in compact disc format.
secretary-general Welsh-man Ncube yesterday said his party is battling to
overcome hurdles in its court challenge against President Robert
Mugabe's disputed re-election.
"Our lawyers are still finalising
papers on how we can make another attempt to get the electronic version of
the voters roll," Ncube said. "We have two options, either to make another
application to the High Court under the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act or appeal to the Supreme Court."
High Court judge
Anne-Marie Gowora, in a judgement delivered by Justice Susan Mavangira on her
behalf on July 10, ruled the MDC was not entitled to the voters roll in
Ncube said the MDC - whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai
rejected Mugabe's victory as "daylight robbery" - would make another effort
to get the compact disc version because the print form was cumbersome and
difficult to audit.
"The High Court said we are entitled to the
voters roll but not in an electronic version," he said. "It said we are
entitled to a print version upon payment of a prescribed fee, which is about
$1,2 million. We can only get a printed version which is useless because it
could take us 10 years to go through and audit it."
Ncube said if
not removed, the voters roll obstacle would undermine Tsvangirai's challenge
against Mugabe. "It is part of our case that Mugabe created fictitious voters
numbering up to about half a million and, for us to prove this, we need a
copy of the voters roll in electronic version to analyse and show the
irregularities," he said.
The MDC has said Zanu PF used a
supplementary voters roll which contained about 400 000 illegally registered
voters to rig the poll. Mugabe beat Tsvangirai by the same
Observers said the failure of the registrar-general's office
to release the discs amounted to a calculated bureaucratic impediment to the
opposition's democratic rights. The MDC said there were systematic hindrances
in its way. On March 8 - a day before the poll - Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku reserved judgement on Tsvangirai's application on a range of
electoral issues which could have changed the outcome if a ruling had been
made on the key matters before the court.
Chidyausiku ruled after
the poll that Tsvangirai had no locus standi but experienced judge of appeal
Wilson Sandura, in a dissenting judgement, said the opposition leader
actually had a court standing. The MDC has since the June 2000 parliamentary
poll instigated nine court challenges relating to the voters roll.
ZFTU accused of extortion Blessing Zulu THE
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), a Zanu PF creation fronted by
self-styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba, is extorting millions of dollars
from beleaguered commercial farmers, the Zimbabwe Independent
Hardest hit are those farmers who are part of the
$450-million Biri Dam project in Banket who have come under intense pressure
from the ZFTU.
ZFTU officials are reportedly making large claims on
farmers - ostensibly as retrenchment packages for farm labourers who have
been affected by the chaotic land reform programme.
are being ordered to pay as much as $30 million to their labourers as
retrenchment packages," said one farmer. "How are farmers - some of whom were
not able to harvest their crop - able to raise such unrealistic amounts?"
queried the farmer.
ZFTU president Alfred Makwarimba confirmed to the
Independent that his organisation was involved in "solving labour" disputes
on the farms.
"We are aware that some farmers who have been given
Section 5 and 8 orders want to leave the country without paying retrenchment
packages to their labourers," said Makwarimba. "We want to make sure that
they pay and we have been successful in many cases, notably Centenary,
Raffingora and Rushinga.
"Some farmers are just being stubborn and
they are refusing to co-operate arguing that they need to be paid their
compensation first. The government we know already has money ready and they
should go and collect it.
Those who are genuinely poor can pay half the
amount and pay the rest later."
ZFTU interference with operations
on the farms has also cost the nation millions of dollars as farm workers
were forced to down tools resulting in some farmers failing to harvest their
Jenni Williams, spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, said
the ZFTU does not have a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the farm
"The ZFTU does not employ those people and does not have the
right to represent them," said Williams. "We are well aware that they are
taking 25% to 30% of the amount they are extorting and we call upon the
police to arrest them."
Last year the ZFTU went around factories
demanding the rehiring of suspended workers and protection money from
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had
not received any reports of extortion. "We have not received any reports of
extortion and we urge all those farmers facing problems to report to the
police," he said.
Parastatals owe a total US$350m Stanley
James CORRUPTION and mismanagement have resulted in Zimbabwe's
parastatals accounting for more than US$350 million of the country's US$9,5
billion debt, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZCDD)'s latest
The report, released this week, showed that as of June
the country's US$9,5 billion debt comprised US$4,5 billion foreign, US$900
million in arrears, and a domestic debt of $280 billion.
various interventions by government over 1996/1997, the country's major seven
public enterprises excluding the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
suffered operating losses of over $3 billion, half of this being accounted
for by Noczim which registered an overall loss of $174 million, 105% off its
target of $32 million," the report says.
"As a result of the 1997/98
financial crisis which saw the Zimbabwe dollar slide more than 30 percentage
points against the US dollar (on the official market), Zesa's loan portfolio
trebled from $4 billion to $12 billion, showing a 50% increase as a result of
currency depreciation alone. The public debt soared from $60 billion to over
$550 billion within six years in 2002."
ZCDD economist John
Manyanya said rampant corruption and mismanagement had resulted in the
state-owned companies continuing to incur massive losses.
the costly restructuring, there is still rampant corruption and mismanagement
in public enterprises. The various reforms of public enterprises have failed
to infuse professional norms of corporate governance premised on principles
of transparency and organisational or management effectiveness," he
He said the public sector had become the seedbed of corruption.
In the energy sector mismanagement and corruption largely contributed to
severe fuel shortages and huge tariff increases that stoked inflation and
eroded wages over 1999/2001.
Manyanya said government's reluctance
to come up with a transparent system of accountability continued to pose a
threat to the cashflow positions of parastatals.
"At the moment
all of the parastatals are operating at huge losses yet there are no
mechanisms in place to root out financial irregularities. Under
such circumstances, the parastatals will keep incurring losses, posing a
threat to the nation," he said.
"Justifiably, deficits caused by
subsidies to the public enterprises were seen fuelling macro-economic
instability, high inflation, high interest rates, indebtedness and declines
ZCTU invites govt for talks on PDL Godfrey
Marawanyika THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has approached
government for the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF),
which also includes employers as the third partner.
Talks stalled last
year at the eleventh hour after the three parties failed to sign the Kadoma
Declaration which stressed, among other things, the need for good
Business is represented by the Employers Confederation of
Zimbabwe (Emcoz). The agreement was not signed because of a lack of
commitment on the part of government.
ZCTU president Lovemore
Mato-mbo yesterday confirmed they had invited the government to resume talks
and that an invitation had been sent to the Minister of Labour and Social
Welfare, July Moyo.
"We wrote to government earlier this month
seeking the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum so that we look at
the issue of taxation and the Poverty Datum Line, (PDL) in line with the
galloping inflation rate," said Matombo. Currently, the PDL is $25 000 for a
family of six.
"Government has responded saying what is needed was a
holistic approach founded on the need for a social contract."
of the agreements reached by the TNF parties have so far been adhered to due
to lack of political will and constant changing of government's negotiating
team. The Kadoma Declaration could have paved the way for the adoption of a
social contract that has been on the cards for the past two years. Business
sector sources this week said preparatory meetings for the resumption of the
talks were underway.
Ahead of the negotiations, the employers team
has also suffered a setback as the current president, Kenzias Chibota, will
be stepping down next week and is expected to be replaced by someone with
closer links to the ruling party.
Matombo was sceptical whether
government would respect any agreement. "Government representatives on the
TNF have no capacity to take decisions, rendering the whole process futile,"
Address economic crisis, ZNCC tells govt Dumisani
Muleya THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has urged government
to adopt serious policy measures to arrest the deteriorating
In a forthright report submitted to government
last week, ZNCC said authorities should now confront the economic crisis
head-on. It said economic reforms were urgently required.
country should draw up an economic stabilisation programme so as to address
the weak macroeconomic fundamentals," the ZNCC said. "The 2002 budget failed
to address these, and hence the challenge rests with the policy-makers in the
post-presidential election environment."
The ZNCC said a major
paradigm shift was needed to arrest and reverse economic
"In fact, the country has to map out clearly the economic
paradigm which it is going to pursue," it said. "This will be an important
confidence-building measure. In this regard, a major economic conference
involving key domestic and international stakeholders, would be an important
platform to draw up such an economic strategy."
decide, the chamber said, which institutions would implement key policies. It
said a mechanism to ensure implementing agencies were not held hostage to
politics was needed.
"It has to be made clear which institution is
going to drive the implementation of economic reforms," the ZNCC said.
"Zimbabwe is famous for producing very concise economic policy documents
whose action plans never see the light of day. We recommend that institutions
that are responsible for policy implementation have got to be
action-oriented, otherwise without action no real positive change takes place
on the ground."
The industrial body told autho-rities immediate
measures were required to deal with the exchange rate, inflation, interest
rates, money supply growth, restoration of business and investor confidence,
property rights, fiscal discipline, national debt, price controls, food
shortages, land reform, privatisation and exports.
On the exchange
rate, the ZNCC said an adjustment in line with inflation differentials was
necessary. It also proposed a dual exchange rate - one for official
transactions and the other commercial - accompanied by devaluation of the
local currency, which it said is overvalued by more than
Proposing ways of reducing the 114,5% inflation rate, the ZNCC,
said: "To reduce inflation, the stimulation of productive activities should
play a key role through improving the business operating
"This would make products available on the shelves and
remove inflationary pressures. Money supply growth should also be curtai-led
in order to reduce its impact in inflation. This implies that government
should reduce its borrowing, particularly from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
and tighten money supply."
The chamber recommended a re-view of
the current interest rate policy.
"There is need to take a holistic
approach by introducing a total package of measures to deal with the negative
real interest rates that are not conducive for the long-term development of
the country," it said.
The ZNCC said monetary policy should be
tightened to contain money supply growth and prevent an inflationary
"Money supply growth was 100% in March 2002," the chamber
"Money supply growth should be reduced to 70% by December 2002,
60% by March 2003 and levels below 50% by June 2003." It said this could be
achieved through curtailing government access to the RBZ's overdraft
facility. Property rights and the rule of law, the ZNCC said, should be
restored while land reform should be organised and
"We recommend that the whole price control initiative be
revisited with the aim of getting rid of the controls to enable businesses to
become viable," it said.
THE death of Learnmore Jongwe's wife Rutendo has drawn in a
number of opportunists of all descriptions posturing as marriage counsellors
and human rights advocates.
Whatever Jongwe's crime might be, why is
he being tried in the media? Why was the Herald seeking to drag in the
Commonwealth and the European Union even before Jongwe had appeared in
It was to be expected of course that Zanu PF and its media machine
would try to make political capital out of a tragic domestic issue. But it is
the callous disregard for the aggrieved families that is entirely
unacceptable. Is Rutendo's family supposed to be consoled, for instance, by
Jonathan Moyo's claims that Jongwe is the personification of the MDC's
None of this shedding of crocodile tears detracts from
Zanu PF's culture of violence which it has bred in every facet of our lives
over recent years. We are therefore shocked that organisations such as the
Musasa Project can so easily be lured onto the Zanu PF bandwagon of political
vilification without waiting for the courts to decide Jongwe's fate. Zanu
PF has unleashed its militias in rural and high-density suburbs who have
tortured and raped poor women without Musasa Project raising a finger in
their defence. How many victims of political, psychological and
economic violence, all the products of Zanu PF misrule, have they counselled
since February 2000? How many poor farmworkers have they helped since the
mayhem on the farms started? And why have they not been vocal about all
the violence perpetrated by Zanu PF throughout the country in the name of
land reform and Mugabe's rigged re-election in March?
remarks are to be expected, even where they disclose details of professional
counselling. But Musasa Project and other women's groups have shown
incredibly poor judgement in allowing themselves to be used by Zanu PF's
We hope that the Jongwe and Muusha families will
be respected and allowed time to reflect on their tragedies without undue
political intrusion. That's what "protection of privacy" should be
ZBC had to go out of its way to try and justify Mugabe's trip to
Cuba by calling on permanent secretary for information and publicity George
Charamba for facts and figures. Well, Zimbabwe was promised 70 doctors,
including 20 specialists. Zimbabwe was also promised some anti-retroviral
drugs to fight HIV, said Charamba.
"If these are not demonstrable,
quantifiable, tangible, concrete . results," said Charamba before he ran out
of adjectives, "then one wonders what is."
What Charamba was not asked
was what has happened to our own doctors and specialists who are churned out
by our universities at great public expense. Surely there must be something
very wrong with a political system that forces its citizens to seek economic
refuge all over the world when its own health system is collapsing.
any case, isn't it shocking that no business is too small for our embattled
president to attend so long as it involves boarding a plane. "Allies" are
fast getting in short supply the world over. Or was this just another chance
to find out how Fidel Castro has survived in power since the 1959
We have commented before on how the Herald's court reports,
once authoritative and reliable, have now fallen victim to the propaganda
needs of the regime.
That was apparent last week when Peter
Matambanadzo reported on Andrew Meldrum's acquittal. Deprived of the verdict
the state had been hoping for, the Herald reporter resorted to
"A bitter Meldrum, beads of tears in his eyes, told reporters
outside the magistrate's court that he had been ordered to leave the
country," we were informed. "With his head tilted and his dejection glaring,
he accused the government of muzzling the free press." Meldrum "steered
away" from mentioning the false story he reproduced without verifying,
This was itself a bit of a false story. Nobody
apart from Matambanadzo saw the "beads of tears" in Meldrum's eyes - largely
because there weren't any. And most of the correspondents present remarked on
the absence of any bitterness in his statement. Meldrum didn't comment on
the story in question because the magistrate had already done so at length.
He said Meldrum had "acted reasonably like any other journalist" in trying to
verify the story. But the police had been unhelpful.
But none of this
prevented IM Mpofu from doing one of his Form II cartoons showing Meldrum
blubbing as he hung onto Beatrice Mtetwa's skirt, saying he wasn't going (the
pun "Handiende" was admittedly quite funny) because he wanted to "write about
how dangerous it is to live in this country".
We don't need Handy Andy to
tell us that. The Committee for the Protection of Journalists has placed
Zimbabwe among the 10 most dangerous places for journalists to work. That
includes several lawless ex-Soviet republics, Colombia, the West Bank,
Afghanistan, Burma, and Iran. The terrible ordeal suffered by Joe Winter when
state agents threatened the safety of his wife and baby the night before they
left the country last year is a matter of public record.
understand that working as a government public relations officer is a
relatively comfortable job compared to real journalism.
interested to see an SABC news clip on Sunday night, ahead of
EU deliberations on further sanctions against Zimbabwe on Monday. Their
camera focused on the Supreme Court building.
Was this a hint of where
the net may next be cast, we wonder? Does SABC know something we don't? In
the same clip, Olivia Muchena was shown addressing a demo by Zanu PF
supporters outside the British High Commission. But her anti-British
sentiment can't be too pronounced. She was in Britain on a private visit only
recently. The last for a while, we gather.
Stan Mudenge was boasting last
month of how President Mugabe had successfully dodged the sanctions ban on
travel to the EU and US. The examples of the UN and Rome visits were given.
These are however governed by international treaties.
instead be asked to comment on the president's recent transit stop in Madrid
en route to Cuba. Is it true that Mugabe and his entourage were denied visas
to leave Madrid airport and check into a hotel as they awaited their
connection to Havana? And while Grace was able to travel to a UN meeting in
Geneva last week, we gather her husband had to cool his heels again at Madrid
airport on Saturday while awaiting his flight back to Harare.
the Foreign minister may like to comment. Or Willard Chiwewe whose maladroit
response to the latest EU sanctions in Tuesday's Herald showed why permanent
secretaries are viewed as nothing more than Zanu PF functionaries.
being widely remarked in Harare how the imposition of the daily party dogma
has led some otherwise sensible ministers to say the most ridiculous things
in order to conform with the president's firebrand response to international
Last week poor old John Nkomo was obliged to state that
Guardian correspondent Andy Meldrum was a security risk. This was in order to
justify an arbitrary order to deport the veteran correspondent.
on the prospect of intensified sanctions, Nkomo told the World Today that
political violence was not increasing in Zimbabwe.
"As a sovereign state
we must be allowed to govern ourselves," he said. "There are human rights in
Zimbabwe - we are going through a period of transition from when there were
no human rights for black people in Zimbabwe."
He added: "We do not
need to go shopping in Europe. Zimbabwe has many shops and people can go
shopping in Zimbabwe. What is Europe anyway? There are other parts of the
How sad to see ministers reduced to this. It's as if they have
all had a frontal lobotomy with Jonathan Moyo as the surgeon.
Chinamasa is of course the most obvious victim of invasive brain surgery but
there are others such as Joseph Made who apparently didn't need very much
doing. In this connection, we liked the report on Mugabe visiting the Centre
for Genetic Engineering in Cuba. Clearly the old chip has been giving
him trouble and needed replacing. The hair dye was probably leaking into
it. Only Cuba and China still offer this kind of repair-job we
We feel a little sorry for state lawyers who are instructed to
repeat in court the state's case about foreign correspondents being a
security risk. When pressed to show what they have at an "in camera" hearing
where security won't be compromised, they have to decline the offer because
they don't actually have any instructions as to what they are supposed to
produce. Nor does anybody else of course.
Things don't seem to be
going so well for news agencies either in the new era. On a visit last week
Agence France Presse's director Denis Hiault was given a 5pm appointment with
Information minister Jonathan Moyo. That gave him three hours to relax,
shower and change after his arrival. But then a call came through: the
minister wanted him to be there at three.
This meant a quick change at
the office and straight to Munhumutapa Building. There the visiting director
was surprised to see television cameras. Ushered into the minister's office
he was presented with the recent report of the Media Ethics Committee which
should help if he suffers from insomnia on the flight home. In return he
handed over a glossy collection of AFP pictures taken last year, The World in
But despite the smiles and handshakes captured by ZTV and
the Herald, the minister's message was less welcoming we hear. No more
foreigners will be let in to work for AFP when the present incumbents'
permits are up later this year. This almost certainly means Harare will be
downgraded as a regional bureau. Meanwhile, we hope the minister didn't look
too closely at the AFP pix. A few may have had difficulty passing Zimbabwe's
Censorship Act we are told.
Indeed, possession of such material could
be an offence!
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week came up with a
strong rebuttal to government's head-in-the-sand claims about the
black-market trade in foreign currency. There have been fatuous threats by
the government that it might be forced to close down all foreign currency
accounts and bureaux de change to ease shortages. According to the RBZ, this
amounts to dealing only with the symptoms of an underlying "fundamental
"Simply put," said the RBZ in response to questions by the
Herald, "the real issue is Zimbabwe's inability to export more and earn more
foreign exchange . A sustainable solution is to put in place measures that
ensure exporter viability and the generation of more foreign currency
.Growing exports can only be guaranteed by creating a stable
macro-economic environment characterised by low inflation."
exactly what everybody has been telling the government. If anybody has
sabotaged the economy and made life unbearable for the public, it
is government whose political imperatives seem to dictate that the
productive formal sector of the economy must be superseded by the informal
sector. As long as politicians and economists pull in different directions
Zimbabwe will remain stuck in the morass for a long time to come. Trips to
Havana, no matter how many our leaders make per year, won't generate enough
foreign currency for the country. And as long as foreign currency is in short
supply people will continue to beat the system to get it.
Monday Business Herald there was another familiar accusation
against retailers selling cooking oil and salt in big containers which
consumers could not afford. The business reporter claimed these commodities
had "become scarce" because consumers can afford only "smaller quantities".
By some strange twist of logic, the reporter then claimed the manufacturers
and retailers are "trying to sabotage the government by creating
This shows the so-called business reporter has
no inkling about the purpose of business. Companies are in business to make
money and they can only make money by charging prices that recover production
costs. This they can't do if government imposes its own prices that defy
That much must be evident to even the most dense
Is Abednico Ncube a closet member of the MDC? We ask because he
played a key role this week in persuading the EU to step up sanctions against
In a recent speech he made it clear food aid would not be
available to opposition supporters.
"We do not want people who vote
for colonialists and then come to us when they want food," Ncube was quoted
as saying. "You cannot vote for the MDC and expect Zanu PF to help
That statement prompted British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to
claim the Mugabe regime was "willing, literally, to let people starve unless
they vote for a corrupt and bankrupt regime, to keep it in
Well done Abednico. We need more people like you. We have always
maintained that whenever Zanu PF seizes a propaganda advantage, just as it
has over the Jongwe affair, some fool will come along and score an own
Zimbabwe/Zambia trade talks stall Godfrey
Marawanyika LAST week's proposed meeting between Zimbabwe and Zambia to
review the trade impasse between the two countries fell through after
officials from Harare arrived 12 hours late, only to find the Zambian
The meeting was a follow-up to Zambia's ban earlier this
month on all Zimbabwean imports.
Despite the Zimbabwean delegation
arriving late, an informal meeting was later held between Zimbabwe's
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry and International Trade,
Stewart Comberbach, and Comesa assistant secretary-general Sindiso
Some members of the Zimbabwean delegation only arrived on
Tuesday evening leading to the cancellation of the meeting. The meeting was
scheduled for Monday morning.
Sources said during the informal
meeting it was agreed that Comesa rules had not been followed as the Zambians
had ignored the provisions of the regional grouping's safeguard measures
against product dumping.
Sources said Ngwenya made numerous
recommendations including the introduction of countervailing duties for
"The Secretariat also proposed that for the
dispute to be resolved Comesa safeguard measures be applied, which include
countervailing duties for subsidised imports and influx of imports that the
domestic industry cannot compete with in cases where dumping has been
established and when there are balance of payments difficulties," said the
"Ngwenya also proposed that the enforcement of the CD1
system being implemented by Zimbabwe be supported and
Some of the companies from Zimbabwe which attended the
meeting included Cairns Foods, Turnall Fibre Cement and BAT, among others,
whilst the Zambian delegation included the Zambia Farmers Union and Zambia
Association of Manufacturers.
Last month Zambia banned imports of
Zimbabwean cooking oil, wheat products, asbestos and eggs.
Zambian Secretary for Commerce and Industry Mbikusita Lewanika has meanwhile
said the ban on Zimbabwean products stood.
Launching the Agricultural
Trade Forum (ATF) on Thursday last week, Lewanika said historically Zambia
had been too accommodating in trade at the expense of its own
"The ban on 14 Zimbabwean products remains unblocked to
compel mutual trade between the two countries," he said. "The ban is a
temporary move to reduce institutionalised smuggling."
said at a meeting in Zimbabwe on Wednesday last week his counterparts were
unhappy with the unilateral decision effected by the Zambian government but
that the delegation from Zambia justified the need to reduce
Lewanika said the meeting reached a consensus in which
Zimbabwe agreed to address the problem to ensure sustainable trade.
Zanu PF in bid to woo rural voters Blessing
Zulu ZANU PF has embarked on a campaign to woo the rural electorate ahead of
the September 28/29 rural district council elections, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.
Zanu PF councillors are distributing
taxpayers' money meant for social welfare to garner support from rural
voters. Those who are 60 years old and above are being given money for their
daily upkeep. The programme began just before the presidential poll earlier
The councillors are also distributing funds in the
In Makoni West, the Independent witnessed a
meeting where old people were given $1 500 each by a Zanu PF councillor. The
councillor and her team were travelling in a Makoni District Council vehicle.
The councillor was accompanied by an armed member of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police and a municipal policeman.
During the meeting, those
present were first made to recite Zanu PF slogans before getting the money.
The Zanu PF councillor also extolled the virtues of the ruling
"The party is very much concerned about your welfare and we
should never allow the enemy to penetrate our ranks," said the
The funds though have been drastically reduced. Just
before the presidential election in March, the elderly were given the same
amount of money for each of their dependants as the stakes were much higher
"You are now too many and as such we have seen it fit to give
you $1 500 to cover the whole family but Zanu PF will take care of all your
needs. This is the party that you nominated and you know what we can do," the
"We are also going to ensure that all the rural
areas are electrified so that your lives will improve."
for the food-for-work programme have also been reduced from $1 000 per week
to $1 500 for three weeks.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC's local
government spokesman, said he was aware of the latest
"Zanu PF is simply carrying on from where it left off
after the presidential election," said Nyathi.
The rural areas are
being sealed off by war veterans and Zanu PF youths who are vetting all
strangers. Any suspected MDC supporters are turned back, Nyathi
"We are aware that Zanu PF has cut off all rural areas and the
MDC is not allowed to campaign," he said. "They are afraid people from the
cities will influence those in the rural areas and they want to prevent this
"The next thing that they will do is to monitor
all letters sent to the rural areas and this kind of despotism can only be
compared to the Stalinist states. Zimbabwe has now been turned into a police
state," said Nyathi.
The food aid being donated by the international
community has also been politicised, he said.
"There is clear
evidence that MDC members countrywide are being excluded from feeding
programmes," he said. "There is further evidence that Zanu PF is seeking to
control feeding programmes countrywide so as to bolster
The MDC called for the de-politicisation of food aid
and welcomed the decision by multilateral donors to caution
"Whilst we are gratified that the director of the World Food
Programme warned Mugabe at the African Union meeting in South Africa that the
WFP would show zero tolerance if food was used as a political weapon, we
remain concerned that Mugabe's assurance that this would not happen was too
readily accepted," said Nyathi.
Libya under pressure to stop Zim fuel
supplies Barnabas Thondhlana GOVERNMENT is negotiating an extension of the
US$360 million Libyan oil deal amid reports that the European Union is
exerting pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to stop supporting
President Robert Mugabe's repressive regime.
Government sources last
week said a delegation, comprising Jewel Bank CEO Gideon Gono and Mines and
Energy minister Edward Chindori-Chininga, had been to Libya to negotiate the
new deal, expected to be in place in September for 12
Libya supplies 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs with the
outstanding 30% coming by overland deliveries from South Africa and the
International Petroleum Group of Kuwait.
It is understood the new
deal will see the Libyans investing in infrastructure developments and
participating in export barter deals.
Already, fuel outages are being
experienced in the country, with reports that outlying areas have run out of
petrol and diesel. In Harare, a number of service stations were without fuel
Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ)
spokesman Masimba Kambarami however said the fuel situation was
"We might have sporadic shortages here and there, but as far
as the PMAZ is concerned, the stock levels are stable and there is no cause
for alarm," Kambarami said.
Fuel industry sources said the new
deal would see Zimbabwe meeting part repayment of the US$360 million package
in local currency over 90 days, with the foreign component being paid 30 days
"The new suppliers' and financing agreements are being worked
on now and as soon as the jigsaw puzzle falls in place, the deal will become
effective," said an industry source. "Although the deal is supposed to become
effective in September, the period can be reduced if everything is to the
The deal could see the Libyans building
hotels and filling stations in the country. Outstanding from the current
agreement is the finalisation of the Libyans' interest in the Rainbow Tourism
Group, which is currently 1,4% but is due to rise to 14%. The Libyans are
understood to be in the process of registering a local company to oversee
their shareholding in the hotel sector.
John Corrie, the honorary
president of the 92-nation Africa/Caribbean/Pacific - European Union (EU)
Joint Parliamentary Assembly, last week said the EU parliament would approach
Gaddafi through developed countries which buy fuel from Libya to exert
pressure on him.
The EU parliament recently passed a resolution to
urge "Libya and other states to end material support that reinforces
President Mugabe's intransigence".
"We are asking all developed
countries which buy fuel from Libya to pressure it to stop trading with
Zimbabwe, otherwise it will risk their orders," Corrie said.
the maverick Libyan leader seeking to become a member of the New Partnership
for Africa's Development, Libya is likely to find itself more susceptible to
international diplomacy aimed at finding a solution to the Zimbabwe
CBZ in US$95m maize deal Vincent Kahiya THE Jewel
Bank (CBZ) has on be-half of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) secured 500 000
tonnes of white maize worth about US$95 million from South America as part of
private sector participation in food importation, the Zimbabwe Independent
Industry sources said the recently concluded deal is the
largest single grain purchase by the country since the current crisis set in
and should help ease the current maize meal shortage.
have been pushing the government to allow private-sector participation in
food imports to augment the GMB which was last year granted a monopoly to
trade in maize and wheat.
It has also been established that on Monday
the GMB went to tender for the importation of 50 000 tonnes of wheat. This is
despite pronouncements by Agriculture minister Joseph Made that there was
enough wheat in the country and bread shortages were due to hoarding. The
bids should be adjudicated in the coming week.
The Independent has
it on good authority that the Jewel Bank - which will directly pay the
supplier - negotiated the deal on behalf of the GMB whose maize importation
activities have been constrained by poor logistics and lack of foreign
The sources said the government, through the GMB, will
repay the loan to the Jewel Bank, which has also been instrumental in
securing lines of credit for fuel.
Since the beginning of the year
the GMB has managed to import about 500 000 tonnes of maize, mainly from
South Africa, Brazil, China and Kenya.
This has, however, failed to meet
the requisite monthly consumption of 120 000 tonnes. A recent United Nations
report said Zimbabwe needs to import 2,2 million tonnes of maize to avert
This week, the Jewel Bank's investor and public relations
executive Sunsleey Chamunorwa was not able to shed light on the huge deal
citing client/bank confidentiality. "As we have stated before, we cannot, due
to client/bank confidentiality, disclose to the media all the transactions
that we do on behalf of the country or our clients," he
Industry sources this week said the first shipments of the
maize through the port of Beira would be in August. The GMB has already
invited road transporters to participate in the movement of the grain to
augment the rail system that is slower and less
Meanwhile, imports from Kenya are threatened as the East
African country earlier this month curtailed exports of maize to insure the
country against future shortages.
It is understood Zimbabwe has
ordered 80 000 tonnes of maize from Kenya, of which 30 000 has already been
delivered while a ship carrying 25 000 tonnes docked at Beira this week.
Another 25 000 tonnes has not been delivered and it is not clear whether this
would be delivered following the halt in exports.
ZIMBABWE: Producer price rise not enough - farmers
JOHANNESBURG, 26 July
(IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government's announced increase this week in the producer
price of maize and wheat is too low and does not cover escalating production
costs, farmers' representatives told IRIN.
The price of maize had been
raised to Zim $28,000 per mt (US $509 at the official rate), from Zim $15,000
(US $272) and wheat from Zim $25,000 (US $454) to Zim $40,000 (US $727) per mt.
The government-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB) would still sell the maize
at the subsidised price of Zim $9,600 (US $174) per mt and wheat at Zim $29,600
(US $538) per mt.
The minister of lands, agriculture and rural
resettlement, Joseph Made, told the media this was to encourage more farmers to
produce maize as a commercial crop and to ensure adequate supplies. It also
showed the government's commitment to the land reform programme, he said.
"We find it [the increase] unrealistic in the environment of
hyper-inflation that we have at the moment," said Doug Taylor-Freeme, vice
president of commodities for the Commercial Farmers Union.
accurate producer price would be about Zim $60,000 per mt (US $1,090) as it cost
about Zim $43,000 per mt (US $781) to produce the maize, he said.
believe the prices should be set on an export/import parity basis. At the moment
Zimbabwe imports from countries in the region, like South Africa, and we pay a
higher price to South African farmers to import but we should be paying this to
Vanessa McKay of the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association
said the new price was not likely to be an incentive as costs had increased 122
"We've just gone through a difficult agricultural season and
large scale farmers need to recover from the losses they made during the dry
period. They have to be able to buy adequate inputs for next season. [The
increase] is not nearly enough to put farmers in a strong position for next
season," she said.
McKay said the current poor prices had already created
a thriving parallel "bucket" market run by small scale farmers. In defiance
of laws banning anyone other than the GMB selling grain, they were selling
buckets of maize in markets for up to Zim $83,000 per mt (US $1,509).
government's grain policy, which also prohibits private imports and fixes the
selling price, has been cited as one of the contributors to the country's
chronic grain shortage.
McKay warned that by the end of July the country
would have a total "stock out" of maize. Wheat is already rationed. The World
Food Programme has warned that up to six million people will not have enough
food this year because of the complex food crisis.
AFP - Police in Zimbabwe have
arrested an opposition legislator in the centre of the country after shots
fired from a convoy of vehicles in which he was travelling injured four
people, a newspaper said.
Austin Mupandawana, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) MP for Kadoma, was arrested in politically-charged violence in
the city ahead of mayoral elections due this weekend, the state-run Herald
"The suspected MDC members had in the process
allegedly fired three shots injuring the victims," police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena was quoted as saying.
Mupandawana's arrest came after
police earlier Thursday summoned MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai to make a
statement on allegations that he had threatened to overthrow President Robert
Tsvangirai is already facing charges, which he denies, of
plotting to assassinate Mugabe. He is alleged to have made the latest threats
during a rally held in May.