Friday, 5 July 2002
Paranoid dementia accelerates decline
THIS column has previously addressed the very extensive, negative impact of
government paranoia on the economy. However, recent events demonstrate that that
paranoia has intensified and those in authority in Zimbabwe (or, in any event, a
majority of them) are now suffering from manic paranoia in extremis.
Compounding the appalling symptoms associated with that severe mental
condition is that many who are afflicted by it also suffer from pronounced
delusions indicative of dementia and an inability to distinguish between reality
and the imaginary, invariably alleging that the latter is actually the former.
Regrettably, these mental ailments are also selectively contagious, for almost
all in the employ of the state-controlled media are very evidently victims
suffering the same complaints.
That this is so has been evidenced by innumerable statements and actions of
many government ministers, their permanent secretaries and their spokesman, and
by the specious and spurious media reports devoid of any credibility which fill
the airwaves and the newspapers which are the blatant mouthpieces of the
chronically mentally distressed. This condition has persisted for a long time,
but the extent to which it has intensified was very clearly apparent from a vast
array of statements and reports last week which defy all logic, only being
believable by the naïve, the gullible and those with inadequate IQ. Space
constraints preclude reference to all of them, for to do so would fill volumes.
However, a few examples will suffice.
The alleged "hoarding" of many tonnes of salt by a leading Zimbabwean quoted
company was the lead story for days on radio, television and the government
press. Castigating that company for deliberately depriving the populace of their
essential need, they alleged that the company's motivation was one of malice and
as protest against price controls and to alienate any goodwill the populace may
have for government.
In further substantiation of their allegations, they criticised the company
for engaging in repackaging salt from half and one kg packs into 2 and 5 kg
packs so as to circumvent price controls. In fairness to them, it must be
acknowledged that some of the allegations emanated from the Zimbabwe Republic
Police who intimated an intent to prosecute the company. However, the media saw
fit to expand upon and embroider the accusations against the company. Diverse
motives were ascribed to the company's alleged misdeeds, including that it was
determined to undermine price controls, that it was bent upon "profiteering",
which term is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "seeking to make
excessive profits out of others' needs", and that it was endeavouring to worsen
the lot of the man on the street so that he would blame government for his
In doing so, the authorities and the media were wholly dismissive of the
company's representations that its sale of the salt at the prices permitted by
the price control legislation would result in substantial losses, for those
prices were, it claimed, less than landed costs. Not only would sales at less
than cost be business imprudency in the extreme, but it would be attempted
business suicide. No enterprise can survive if it sells its products at prices
below their cost (and attempted suicide is an offence in law!).
Moreover, when businesses collapse, whether because of non-viable pricing or
for other reasons, their employees become unemployed, the fiscus is deprived of
revenues (both by way of taxes on profits that could have been realised if the
products were correctly priced, and on the profits of others from, and the
indirect taxes on, employee spending of earnings), and downstream enterprises
interacting with the collapsed business are severely prejudiced and their
survival jeopardised. The authorities and the media also disregarded that the
company had apparently made representations to the Ministry of Industry and
International Trade for a realistic review of salt prices, whereafter it
intended, the company states, to resume sales. (Of course, one must also ponder
upon how it was possible that confidential communications from the company to
the ministry fell into the media's hands, and upon the professionalism and
ethics of the media for disclosing the contents of those communications.)
Most of all, one must wonder how a temporary holding of stocks, pending a
response to representations to restore operational viability, can be considered
to be hoarding, which is stated by the dictionary to be an act of
"overstocking", and which the authorities and the media suggest is done with
Another prime example of the inability of the media and of government to
recognise the fundamental facts of commercial life and of its ability to reject
realities was the statement by the Minister of Land, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, Joseph Made, that the banks should support the new farmers. He
remains blissfully unaware that it is he and his government that render it
impossible for the banks to do so. A key purpose of banks is to provide loan
funding and working capital.
However, as the monies they advance are, in the main, not their own but those
of their depositors, there is a strong onus upon them to ensure that recovery of
the advances is assured by the holding of adequate collateral security. And yet
government obdurately repels all representations that new farmers be given title
to the land to be farmed by them. Without title they have no collateral to offer
to the banks, without collateral the advances by the banks would be unsecured,
and to make farming advances to those possessed of no meaningful collateral
would be irresponsibility in the extreme, doing a gross disservice to depositors
and to the economy as a whole. But clearly this is either of no concern to Made,
or he is incapable of recognition of the realities of the situation.
A further heavily repeated story in the media last week was government
contentions that Zimbabwe respects human rights! It is difficult to reconcile
these claims with the many instances of condoned violations of property rights
of farmers, and of attacks upon farmers. It is similarly difficult to align
those contentions with the numerous attempts to suppress free speech and failure
to comply with the fundamental tenets of democracy. It is even more difficult to
accord veracity to government claims when it or, in any event, many of those in
government, are foremost in the perpetuation of racism and discrimination. The
consequence of the disregard for human rights is a most tarnished international
image, resulting in minimal, much needed, foreign direct investment and in
sharply diminished international aid and economic support.
Yet another example of total failure to face up to facts and realities is
government's determined refusal to recognise the extent that the real value of
the Zimbabwe dollar has declined, and to react to that decline by a realistic
devaluation. Instead, yet again, government obstinately refuses to do that which
is desperately necessary if existing export performance is to be maintained and
enhanced. According to the media that are the lackeys of the Minister of
Fiction, Fable and Myth, a special meeting of the cabinet committee on financial
and economic affairs, which normally only meets once a year, was held last week,
under the chairmanship of the president.
The media reports claim that proposals of the Reserve Bank and of the
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were "thrown out", and the
officials of that ministry and the Reserve Bank were instructed "to come up with
other measures, to address the foreign currency situation, which do not involve
devaluation". The reports also cited the meeting as having accused the Reserve
Bank and ministry officials of conniving with commercial banks to fuel the
parallel market along with banks and bureaux de change.
The truth of the matter is that the parallel market exists, first and
foremost, because government's disastrously ill-conceived economic policies, and
its destructive, equally ill-conceived and unjust land programme, together with
its contemptuous disregard for law and order and for harmonious international
relations, have caused immense foreign exchange shortages. Moreover, it is
government's determined rejection of devaluation which assures the continuance
of the parallel market. And government should know, but refuses to recognise,
that intensified controls to contain or eliminate the parallel market can only
bring to an end the already much shrunken export ability of Zimbabwe and,
therefore, will worsen the foreign currency shortages.
It is also devoid of foundation to ascribe the foreign exchange shortages to
the bureaux de change. Yes, they do buy foreign exchange but that which they buy
they also sell. So their operations recycle the foreign exchange within the
market. If they ceased operating, there would be no increase in available
foreign exchange. It would merely pass through other hands, be they the
commercial and merchant banks, or the Reserve Bank, but there would be no
increase in quantity. However, the government's paranoia necessitates blaming
any and all other than itself, and its inability to recognise realities and its
tendency to delude itself precludes it from facing up to the facts. The result
is a continuing decimation of an already severely emaciated economy.
Muckraker Friday, 5 July 2002
Nkomo must be turning in his grave
MANY column inches were devoted this week to the third anniversary of Joshua
Nkomo's death. There was a lot said about what he did for his country and how
much he was loved by all. But the coverage in the state media ignored the
hypocrisy of those who actually hated his big heart and national appeal.
Speaking at Nkomo's graveside on Monday, President Robert Mugabe said: "We
remember him as the father of Zimbabwe, as the one who pioneered the struggle
and one who was committed to the very end to liberate his people and, after
liberation, wanted the people to get land. … What is important now is that we
should follow his steps on those things that he showed us as virtues and that he
Great words those if they did not come from the mouth of one who at one point
wanted Nkomo dead as part of his campaign to eliminate PF-Zapu and establish a
one-party state in Zimbabwe. Great because Nkomo genuinely wanted to liberate
his people, not just himself. Virtuous because Nkomo would not have advocated
violence and racial hatred to achieve equitable redistribution of national
Writing from his Gonakudzingwa detention camp in 1966, Nkomo said of the
system he was fighting: "If we have to be sacrificed on the altar for our
people's freedom and independence … for demanding what is right, just and proper
… we take it in our stride and we accept it without any malice towards anybody."
And lack of malice is what vastly distinguishes Nkomo from the dictator who
has reduced this country to near starvation and raised racial division to a new
religion. Speaking on the need for peace in Zimbabwe in his last years he said:
"I pray and hope that it will be achieved so that Zimbabwe can become one
country for one nation, with opportunities, rights and privileges for everybody
- white, yellow, black, Zezuru, Ndebele, Karanga, Manyika, Venda, Kalanga,
Tonga, coloured and all."
He must be turning in his grave at the blight that has consumed his dream of
a united and peaceful nation. But he did leave those who have abused his legacy
a salient message: "If we are to create a society where we can live as men, we
cannot create it by repressive laws," he said in 1960, the year in which the Law
and Order (Maintenance) Act was introduced. "If anybody thinks he can assure his
future and the future of his children by repressive laws, it is very sad."
Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri says the private media in Zimbabwe does
not appreciate police efforts to curb crime in the country. In a speech read at
the OK Zimbabwe-sponsored function to reward police officers who excel in their
duties, Chihuri claimed the media "distort the picture on the ground" to
discredit the force.
"At other times they conjure and print images which are not on the ground to
please their integrationist (sic) masters for political reasons," he said.
Unfortunately Chihuri was unable to provide any examples of a case where the
private media had "conjured up images" of something that didn't happen. If there
were such images they would probably have come from ZBC which recently showed us
a picture of their reporter being brutally beaten by soldiers.
Another one would have been that of MDC supporters who were assaulted in
Harare two weeks ago when they gathered to commemorate Soweto Day. At that
event, three journalists from the Daily News were brutally assaulted while they
were lawfully going about their duty. One of them had his arm fractured and is
still carrying a plaster.
We believe Chihuri, despite all his arrogance, still has eyes to look on the
ground. Last week he told a delegation of the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights that it was not the role of the police to evict people who had
illegally settled on commercial farms. That was the role of the Master of the
High Court, said Chihuri.
At least he is no longer trotting out the excuse about insufficient manpower.
After all, we know that whenever non-Zanu PF groups attempt to demonstrate the
riot police descend on them in large numbers. And their approach is anything but
professional. Every time people gather and expect the police to come and
maintain order, they instead see the riot police rioting all over town. What
sort of public order is that?
A police report published in the Herald on Wednesday provided further
evidence of partisanship. It said the underlying cause of the current shortages
of certain commodities was "economic sabotage maliciously intended to discredit
the lawfully elected government of Zimbabwe". It said the MDC was hoping to gain
political mileage "by orchestrating artificial shortages".
Nothing better illustrates the extent to which the police force has been
suborned by political manipulation. Not only does the statement show crude
political bias, it reveals an extraordinary ignorance of economic realities. How
can businessmen falsely accused of "hoarding" expect fair treatment from a
police force parroting Zanu PF's mantra that President Mugabe was lawfully
elected and that shortages are all part of an opposition plot?
Sorry Comrade Chihuri. What the police are doing is "appreciated" only too
well and it leaves a lot to be desired! By the way, any progress yet in your
court-ordered investigation of the abduction and torture of two Standard
journalists in 1999? OK Zimbabwe should meanwhile be careful not to have its
functions tarnished by partisan police officers who abuse the platform provided
to launch diatribes against the private media. That sort of association is far
A senior minister in Kenya's ruling Kanu government has accused ruling
parties in Africa of delaying the democratisation process on the continent.
Raila Odinga told a meeting on good governance in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:
"Relations between government and opposition parties in Africa are often
characterised by rancour, acrimony and outright hostility."
This is very revealing, coming as it does from an insider and a top party
official appointed partly because of his illustrious parentage. Odinga is
Kenya's energy minister and secretary-general of Kanu and his words reflect
succinctly the hostility the MDC has experienced with Zanu PF here in Zimbabwe.
They are not even allowed to hold meetings without police permission, which is
invariably denied anyway. In fact the opposition has been called all sorts of
things in an attempt by Zanu PF to establish a one-party state. Even after the
MDC won a substantial proportion of the votes cast in both the parliamentary and
presidential elections, it is still viewed by the ruling party as the enemy of
the people. The "people" being Zanu PF spokesmen of course.
In this connection we were intrigued by Elliot Manyika's remarks about the
dismissal of the Zanu PF Harare executive. Asked whether it had anything to do
with the ruling party's defeat in the capital, Manyika said the executive was
fired for being inactive and not conducting audits of the party structures.
"It is the culture in the party that you do not stay in a position
indefinitely," he declared. "If the time comes to go you must go."
Has this new policy line been relayed to the party's first secretary? Is he
aware of the culture of political obsolescence? And wasn't "Ambassador" Amos
Midzi, the evicted provincial executive's chair, the same person Zanu PF was
trying to foist on the voters of Harare only last March as mayor? When did they
first see signs of "inactivity" or unaudited accounts and what are the
implications for the City of Harare of Zanu PF's failure to notice these trends
earlier in candidates it nominates for high office?
Which leads us to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which Midzi also heads. This
useless organisation milks millions of dollars monthly from the tourism sector
and then issues delusional and politically-coloured statements about how tourism
is headed for a miraculous recovery which the state media gullibly reproduces.
Needless to say, the recovery never materialises because "Ambassador" Midzi's
political associates are busy sabotaging the economy.
Joseph Chinotimba, who was also fired last week in the same purge, still
believes that the ruling party has the right to rule forever. He told the Herald
at the weekend that war veterans should work together "to defeat the MDC" which
was the "common enemy for all Zimbabweans".
What does that make the 1,2
million Zimbabweans who voted for the opposition? All of them traitors? Besides
buffoons like Chinotimba there are mandarins in Zanu PF who still believe that
only liberation movements should rule the country in perpetuity even if they are
destroying the economy and the country. And these are the same people who, like
Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made, believe all whites in this country are
"racists and fascists". But the situation on the ground shows that government
has in fact enacted racist and fascist laws which seek to criminalise commercial
farmers by stopping them from producing food when the nation is faced with
Last week a Mt Hampden commercial farmer had his house gutted by fire. We
have not yet been told the cause of the fire. Instead the politics of sabotage
have clouded the investigations, with claims that the farmer delayed calling the
fire brigade who would have saved the property, worth millions of dollars.
Mt Hampden is about 20km outside Harare. But we have not been told why the
same Fire Brigade failed to save millions of dollars' worth of property gutted
by fire the same week at Shamrock Court in Eastlea, only five kilometres from
their station. Could it be that the tenants of the flats were involved in acts
As it turned out the councillor for the area says the Fire Brigade arrived at
the scene of the fire on time but didn't know what to do. Benjamin Maimba told
the Daily News: "They arrived in time, but they seemed not to know even where
the nearest water … was. The Fire Brigade staff that attended to the scene
comprised young people who seemed overwhelmed by the situation."
Would their reaction have been different if they had been sent to Mt Hampden,
we wonder? And what does all this tell us about the brigade's emergency
Just a few weeks after his counterpart in the Ministry of Education Aeneas
Chigwedere beat a hasty retreat on North Korean-style school uniforms, Minister
of Higher Education Samuel Mumbengegwi has come up with his own version of the
same: from next year all youths will be compelled to undergo uniform
national-service training to instill a sense of "patriotism and national
consciousness". This covers everyone from college students to university
This "national consciousness" training was of such a high priority that
vacancies in hospitals, schools and industry might remain unfilled, said
Mumbengegwi. Those vacancies would be filled later, he said. We are left
wondering where the government's priorities lie in the face of the current brain
drain. We fear most of the youths will again be forced to skip the border to
trade their skills where they are more urgently needed.
In any case, why does government think patriotism is something that can be
purchased from some training course? And how is it hoped that this training will
suddenly staunch the brain drain when there are no employment opportunities at
home? Sorry Comrade Mumbengegwi, you have your priorities completely upside down
on national issues. It makes us doubt government's "patriotism and national
consciousness". Given the calibre of Mugabe's ministers and their petty projects
amidst starvation, do we really need a government at all? Parents should give
this latest imposition another firm thumbs down.
Few will deny the Women in Law Centre together with the Legal Resources
Foundation, the Musasa Project, WAG and the Legal Aid Directorate the credit
they deserve for ensuring women are appraised of their rights when dealing with
deceased estates. But who took the decision to use Herald cartoonist
Mpofu to illustrate their campaign?
Mpofu is best known for his puerile cartoons in the Herald which attempt to
deride the opposition and civil society on behalf of the Herald's political
masters. Readers will immediately identify the women's legal campaign with those
crude cartoons and ignore its message. That would be a pity but they have only
themselves to blame for such poor judgement in the choice of illustrators.
President Mugabe appears resentful that one of his titles has been hijacked
by South African conglomerate Anglo-American. Referring to the salt shortage
which has been blamed on Anglo subsidiary National Foods, Mugabe declared: "We
will not allow Anglo-American to become the principal saboteur of our
Evidently that job is already taken!
As the African Union's inauguration looms it is about time questions were
raised about Col Muammar Gaddafi's role. The OAU failed because it tolerated
undemocratic rulers. While the AU proclaims its support for good governance,
Gaddafi is bankrolling Mugabe and other rogue regimes. Gaddafi is himself a
ruler-for-life. What sort of example is that for Africa?
While the AU and Nepad will be hoping to stimulate trade across the
continent, Gaddafi's regime outlaws trade unions as well as civic organisations.
It was also responsible for the death and deportation of black Africans last
year in a brutal purge of foreigners.
Libya meanwhile is encouraging the Sudan in its war against Christian and
animist minorities in the south.
Arab rulers in North Africa are as much "colonisers and racists" as the
whites they help Mugabe to demonise in the south. What has been the fate of
indigenous Berbers, Dinkas and Copts in much of North Africa? Why are the
victims of forced Arabisation ignored as Gaddafi pontificates on African rights?
If the AU wants to be taken seriously it will have to address the emblematic
problem posed by Africa's Gaddafis and Mugabes who linger on with the potential
to sabotage any new beginning envisaged by Thabo Mbeki and others.
Let's hope the AU is not characterised by the same hypocrisy and double
standards as its predecessor. With Gaddafi and Mugabe plotting to assert their
anti-imperialist credentials in Durban next week we should be on the lookout for
rotten apples in the barrel.
African leaders on collision course over
AFRICAN leaders are on a collision course over the
New Partnership for
Africa's Development (Nepad) project ahead of the launch
of the African
Union in South Africa next week to replace the Organisation of
Nepad movers are anxious to consolidate its
support, while others are trying
to sabotage it.
Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria,
Abdoulaye Wade of
Senegal, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and other leaders
want to secure
African Union (AU) endorsement for Nepad.
African ministers met in
Durban this week to finalise preparations for the
AU launch. Zimbabwe's
Foreign minister Stan Mudenge took part.
However, Africa's veteran
dictators are sulking. President Robert Mugabe and
his close ally, Libyan
ruler Muammar Gadaffi, are apparently opposed to
Information minister Jonathan Moyo - who often
reflects Mugabe's thinking -
two weeks ago advertised government hostility to
Nepad after he claimed the
project was a "modern type of imperialism". His
mouthpiece, the Sunday Mail,
has also been hostile.
But local business
leaders have expressed support for the programme.
Trust Merchant Bank
chief executive William Nyemba this week told a Zimbabwe
debate on Nepad that the project was good for the country.
reasonable person would say no to some of the things proposed in
Nyemba said. "The problem is that some of the people opposed to
programme have not read the Nepad document."
Moyo has said it
was too early for government to adopt Nepad. But the OAU
adopted Nepad at its
summit in Lusaka, Zambia, in July last year. Heads of
state agreed to go back
and consult their people on the programme.
However, the Zimbabwean
government remained largely silent. It only awakened
to the issue before the
G8 Summit, trying to discredit Nepad through a
Gadaffi has also failed to hide his resentment of Nepad. At
a meeting with
Mbeki in Tripoli on June 12/14, the Libyan leader denounced
"It is hard for an African to believe that he will be
treated on an equal
footing by the colonialists and racists," Gadaffi
Libya is also understood to be unhappy with the
launch of the AU in South
Africa. Gadaffi, who considers himself the
architect of the AU, wants it
based in Sirte, Libya.
A paper presented
by Jakkie Cilliers and Kathryn Strurman of the Institute
for Security Studies
in South Africa says Gadaffi is trying to hijack the
evident going by the number of Libyan envoys presently engaged in
for the launch of the AU at a special meeting of Heads of State at
Nyemba said Libya would not endorse Nepad. "Libya is definitely
not going to
support Nepad because of its requirements," he said. "I have
never heard of
elections in that country."
programme coordinator at the Centre for African
International Relations at
the University of Witwatersrand, said:
"Resistance is guaranteed. The new
order struggling to be born represents
nothing less than a clear danger to
the African status quo of authoritarian
recently come out with guns blazing in support of Nepad. Writing
Day this week, he warned Africans against concentrating on
hostile attacks on
developed nations instead of tackling problems at home.
avoid the danger that rather than engaging the positive
challenges the action plan poses, we are drawn to a
campaign against the governments and institutions of the
l Meanwhile, President Mugabe, who
will attend the AU Summit in Durban next
week, is expected to attend a summit
of developing countries in Fiji later
Fiji is hosting
the 78-nation African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) summit
from July 17.
Agribank in crisis
government-owned Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd (Agribank) is in
straits after recording a staggering $351 million loss last year. It
already shouldering a $4 billion debt.
Agribank's audited results -
which have not yet been released despite the
requirements of the Banking Act
but are in the possession of the Zimbabwe
Independent - reveal the bank made
a $350,9 million loss for the year ended
December 31 2001. This followed a
$36 million profit the previous year.
"Agribank's problems are being
aggravated by poor management," a banking
source said. "The chief executive
is busy buying furniture for $4 million
for his office when his bank is
Documents show Agribank chief executive Taka
Mutunhu wants to buy furniture
worth $4,47 million from Office Design at a
time when the bank is in
trouble. The financial statements, which bank
authorities are clinging onto,
show Agribank currently owes other banks $4,6
billion. Sources said
Agribank's bad debt provision is now about $1,5
billion. The bank - whose
core security is land - has been seriously exposed
to government's sweeping
land seizures which have increased its
Agribank's bad debt book has often been
bloated. The bank inherited a $763
million debt from the Agricultural Finance
Corporation (AFC) when it
transformed itself into a commercial entity in
January 2000. At the
handover, government also owed the bank $201 million.
This is still
Documents indicate Agribank was
severely undercapitalised from the start.
The bank started with a share
capital of $313 million created by
restructuring its predecessor's balance
sheet. This figure was low compared
to other banks' capitals of around $500
million. The bank's reserves have
also dwindled precariously. Its capital
adequacy ratio is now minus 5%. The
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s
requirement is 10%.
"What this effectively means is that the bank is
financing its operations
from depositors' funds," a source said. "It's really
Agribank's operating cashflow records
indicate a $298,7 million outflow in
2001 compared to a $43,2 million inflow
the year before.
The RBZ has been concerned by Agribank's financial
emergency. On January 10
it stepped in with a corrective order. The directive
demanded remedy of
fundamental weaknesses at the bank including capital
management and a bad book. Agribank responded by making
provisions for bad debt in its financial statements, which it
release on March 31 as required.
The bank also
intensified loan recovery efforts but that was hindered by the
reforms. Designation of debtors' farms meant clients became
repay. Threats to sell farms could not work because the
grabbed by the state.
To make matters worse, some AFC loans were
considered by the RBZ classified
or irrecoverable. Against this background,
Agribank is planning to transform
itself again into a land bank to escape the
rigours of commercial banking
and sustain its operations through taxpayers'
It has made a proposal, which seeks to extract $654 million
to boost its capital adequacy ratio and a further $599
million to put it on
a sound financial footing. Government is expected to
take over some of its
bad loans. But taxpayers will eventually pick up the
Sources said there were several ailing banks squatting on the
week, Genesis Investment Bank was put under curator
In its annual report for 2001, the RBZ said market
capitalisation and asset
base for several banks had plunged perilously.
Urban land targeted
believed to be planning an amendment to the Land Acquisition
Act which would
give it powers to grab private land in urban areas for
the obligation to immediately compensate property
amendment to the Act seeks to legitimise mushrooming illegal
controlled by Zanu PF officials and war veterans within the city
most recent example is Carrick Creagh estate in Borrowdale which
illegally partitioned into residential plots.
Estate agents this week
said the illegal settlements threatened property
rights as housing
co-operatives with certificates from the Ministry of Youth
Gender and Employment Creation were targeting vacant
Illegal settlements such as Whitecliffe along the
Bulawayo Road and Sally
Mugabe Heights in Borrowdale are going ahead although
they have not been
sanctioned by the Harare City Council. There are other
in Kambuzuma and on Retreat Farm along Seke
Government sources this week said government would soon
legislation to amend Section 3 of the Land Acquisition Act that
The section presently compels government to
pay for land so acquired. The
amendment will allow the government to acquire
private land in urban areas
on a similar basis to that obtaining for rural
land or land outside city
The sources said Harare
council's planning department in Cleveland House had
been instructed by
government to withhold approval of subdivision
applications for some 15
properties within the Greater Harare area until the
new legislative framework
is in place.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said the
Committee on Legislation had not yet considered legislation
acquisition of urban land.
"But that doesn't stop
the Minister of Lands from coming up with such
legislation which will still
need to come to the Cabinet Action Committee on
A recent advertisement in the press invited tenders for civil
works at the
Sally Mugabe Heights housing scheme on Carrick Creagh Farm close
Borrowdale Brooke. The land that this group is selling is actually
land, and being urban land does not qualify for land acquisition as
in Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act. The property owners got a
order last year which declared that the occupation of the property
Half-acre stands in the prime residential area are
being sold by war
veterans at a give-away price of $115 000 plus $4 043
levied as an
administration fee. The Zimbabwe Independent this week visited
the office of
the sellers on the fourth floor of Memorial Building in Samora
in central Harare and found dozens of people making inquiries
stands. Stands in the area are generally valued at $1 200 per
which puts the value of a half-acre plot at about $2,4
People who have bought stands on the 330ha Carrick Creagh
estate were told
last Saturday that they have to begin building by the end of
this month or
their land will be repossessed and resold. Bricks and other
materials have already started arriving at the illegal settlement,
surrounded by upmarket homes.
In a telephone interview
from Germany last week, Harare executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri said the
continued invasion and ongoing building on the
threatened the status of all home-owners in Harare.
owns a property in Harare is threatened by this," Mudzuri
said the municipality could not provide water to an illegal township,
it had the money to do so. He confirmed the new "owners" of stands
obtain title deeds as the property was owned by the
The saga of Carrick Creagh farm began on May 13
2000, when war veterans,
calling themselves the Harare East Housing Scheme,
marched onto the farm
owned by the Newmarch family. The war veterans were
organised by Stalin Mau
Mau who lost the Harare East parliamentary seat to
Tendai Biti of the MDC in
the 2000 election.
In a hearing in
judges' chambers last year, in a case brought by Andrew
Newmarch against Mau
Mau and two others, the High Court ordered the illegal
settlers to leave the
At a recent meeting of prospective buyers at the
farm, a Cde Harare told the
buyers that Minister Ignatius Chombo was working
on details such as title
deeds and other processes to allow for servicing by
the Harare municipality.
He said most of the stands on Carrick Creagh had
already been paid for.
Human rights probe an indictment of Mugabe
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's human rights record has again come under
following last week's unprecedented investigation of rights abuses
Zimbabwe by the African Commission on Human and People's
Analysts said the fact-finding mission was critical insofar as it
illuminate hitherto hidden chapters of human rights violations and
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights chair Tawanda
Hondora said the probe was
important because it could expose a catalogue of
concealed rights abuses. He
said the investigation was also a severe
indictment of government.
"It was significant because it showed that
Zimbabweans' human rights
concerns have now attracted the attention of
African leaders," Hondora said.
"The mere fact that the commission sent a
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe
is in itself a serious indictment of
National Constitutional Assembly chair Lovemore Madhuku said
gathered overwhelming evidence of abuses and could not afford
to ignore all
of it completely.
"They can't make a finding that there
are totally no human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe," Madhuku said. "They really
have a serious challenge on their
The commission indicated at
the end of its mission it had gathered large
volumes of useful information.
Addressing journalists last Friday, group
leader Jainaba Johm said her team
obtained "serious allegations" of human
rights abuses and, in some cases,
evidence of those violations.
She said the team gathered over 20kg of
literature including videotapes,
photographs, police reports and documents.
Eyewitnesses and victims of
violence also testified before the
"Having received a large volume of information in document
form and orally,
our responsibility now is to take time to consider the
material at our
disposal," Johm said. "Our inquiry will be focused on whether
of Zimbabwe complies with its obligations under the African
The investigation team was in the country from June 24-29. It
was led by the
commission vice-chair Johm of Gambia and included Barney
Pityana, who is the
commissioner responsible for Zimbabwe, and Fiona Adolu of
Uganda. Pityana is
a past chair of South Africa's Human Rights
The team, which covered the period 1999-2000, came to
reports of widespread rights transgressions. It met senior
ruling Zanu PF officials, including President Robert Mugabe,
leaders, civil society groups and media
The opposition Movement for De-mocratic Change (MDC)
condemned Mugabe for
misleading the commission after he claimed he was the
"custodian" of human
rights. It said Mugabe should not "amend the truth" to
masquerade as a
guardian of Zimbabweans' rights when the country was under
"Evidence at hand demonstrates beyond doubt
the regime's culpability in
widespread and systematic incidences of murder,
torture, rape, abduction,
kidnapping, arson, inti-
midation and other
forms of well-organised political violence," it said.
"In addition to
these acts of barbarism perpetrated with state sanction and
regime has sought to legalise harassment of political
opponents and to
control what people read, hear or see."
Zanu PF was recently found liable
for human rights abuses by a court in the
United States following an
application by Adella Chiminya and Elliot Pfebve
whose husband and brother,
respectively, were killed in the run-up to the
2000 general election. The
party has been ordered to pay over US$73 million
in punitive and compensatory
Johm said persistent complaints of human rights infringements in
caused last week's probe.
"Since the 27th ordinary session of
the commission held in Algiers, Algeria,
in April 2002, the commission has
been receiving reports of alleged
violations in Zimbabwe," she said. "The
commission responded to these calls
by seeking permission from the government
of the Republic of Zimbabwe to
come to the country and undertake a
Hondora said the investigations would give African
leaders a chance to
understand better what is happening in
"It will offer African leaders an opportunity to understand
that what is
happening in the country has nothing to do with land but has
do with issues of governance," he said.
have managed to raise the profile of human rights violations to
leaders. It should no longer be possible for Mugabe to hide under
of land and Pan-Africanist claims."
The commission came to Zimbabwe at a
time when international human rights
group, Amnesty International, released a
report blaming official impunity
for mounting human rights violations.
Amnesty spokesperson Samkelo Mokhine
said last week at the launch of the
report in Johannesburg there had been a
pattern of human rights breaches in
Zimbabwe since the 1970s.
"The ordinary Zimbabwean hasn't had any sense
of justice - not just from
the'70s but up to 2002," he said. "With this
report we are hoping to jog the
international community and the Southern
African Development Community into
Apart from the current
wave of violence and repression, Mugabe's government
stands accused of
massive human rights abuses in Matabeleland during the
activists say over 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by
security agencies under the pretext of suppressing dissidents.
said impunity - the failure to bring to justice those who commit
human rights abuse - was now entrenched in Zimbabwe.
when state authorities feel that they cannot achieve their
through legal means or with the support of the people," it
implies the distortion of the rule of law. It is justice
being evaded by
those for whom the law is an obstacle, as well as violations
attack or punish those who should be protected by the law."
government adopts a policy of impunity, Amnesty said, other measures
follow: the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are suppressed,
protective role of the police and security forces is eroded and
independence of the judiciary is undermined.
"All this is done in
order to form a shield under which impunity for further
violations can flourish without scrutiny," it said.
stated: "Impunity has become the central problem in
Zimbabwe, where state
security forces - police officers, army officers or
agents of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) - commit widespread
human rights violations
without being brought to justice.
"The Zimbabwean government has also
organised, co-ordinated or otherwise
encouraged 'militias' to carry out
threats, assaults, abductions, torture
and killings against its perceived
political enemies. As a disguised arm of
the state, these informal 'militias'
are composed of supporters of the
ruling Zanu PF, war veterans and unemployed
rural youths, sometimes
press-ganged into their activities."
said police have often accompanied these militias in committing
However, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told the
that Zimbabwe police were effective and professional. The
MDC repudiated this
claim describing the police as "partisan".
Amnesty traced the culture of
human rights abuses back to the colonial era.
"In Zimbabwe, the growth of
impunity has been a long-term phenomenon that
extends back into the days of
the nationalist armed struggle in the 1970s
when Rhodesian forces committed
atrocities against the civilian population
in their pursuit of African
nationalist armed groups," it said.
"Amnesty International documented
many violations by forces of the white
minority regime and campaigned for the
fair trial or release of Robert
Mugabe - now the President of Zimbabwe - as
well as many former and current
"Starting in the
early '80s, the purported threat of 'dissident' ex-guerilla
fighters in the
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces led to a
counter-insurgency war in which
several thousands of civilians were killed
or 'disappeared'," the grouping
Amnesty said government promoted human rights violations by
prosecution of rights transgressors through presidential
clemencies and indemnities; shielding state agents who perpetrate
and blocking rights activists and the independent media from
and publishing accounts of rights infringements.
said political manipulation of the police and the judiciary as well
repression of civil society by government helped to promote human
Who is at the Heart of economic policy?
THE business community can breathe a sigh of relief after reading
accounts in the state media of just what the government's exchange
monetary policy is to be - at least in the short-term.
marathon 1 552-word piece - the lead in the Sunday Mail - the
outlined in remarkable detail just what government's policy on
control was (no change), various conspiracies as to who has fuelled
in the parallel market (the RBZ in cahoots with commercial banks
de change), the current tussle and lack of trust within Zanu PF
policy (Cabinet vs RBZ/Ministry of Finance), and tried to
remind those in the
financial world just who is in charge (government).
This was followed
by an absolute falsehood in The Herald - that the parallel
market rate had
fallen to $150:US$1 - a level at which even the government
hoovered up as many greenbacks as possible. And, in two
advertisements on Monday and Tuesday, "consultant" Sam Undenge took
himself to shell out $460 317,60 (he must have felt very strongly
this) for two full page ads in The Herald to say what he thought
monetary policy should be. Undenge questioned why interest rates
rising, said low interest rates were the answer to all Zimbabwe's
and would be needed to spur on successful agrarian
The net result of these stories and advertisements is that
there is no
change in policy, although the market remains suspicious and
with export earnings such as Interfresh and Ariston have come
recently achieved all-time highs.
For those who missed
the Sunday Mail article, Sandawana brings you
highlights: "Government on
Thursday emphatically told the RBZ there will be
no devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar in the foreseeable future ...
Officials from the central bank
and the ministry were told in clear terms
that they should come up with other
measures to address the foreign currency
situation, which do not involve
devaluation ... It had also become clear
that the parallel market was being
fuelled by banks and bureaux de change
... Following the rejection of the
proposals it is understood that the
government is now set to take decisive
action in the financial sector and
break what is perceived to be connivance
between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and commercial bank officials ... The
proposed devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar would have played into the hands
of Zimbabwe's detractors ... Some
members of the committee felt by now some
banks should have been closed for
repeatedly trading on the parallel market,"
In spite of their own appalling track records, it appears
the RBZ and
Finance ministry officials actually went into the meeting with
good ideas. The RBZ proposed the creation of a pooled foreign
system and a dual exchange rate system, with the official exchange
pegged at $189:US$1 and a commercial exchange rate at prevailing
The RBZ also proposed government suspend import duty
on fuel for six months
to cushion consumers from price increases since
revenue losses from the
suspension of import duty would be offset by the
expected increase in
customs duty as a result of the exchange rate
But paranoia was also behind the rejection of these
expectation that the pooling system would see the parallel
moving toward the commercial exchange rate was also theoretical
given the presence of political elements in Zimbabwe's financial
the "reporter" said.
The stockmarket is pretty
directionless at the moment awaiting policy and
whether this dissertation
through the press is the World of Warp Economics
according to Jonathan Moyo,
or a very well-informed hack, we should remember
that the government usually
gets its way. Chances are, with this
unprofessional rubbishing of the
RBZ/ministry that we might soon have
someone else signing the banknotes,
possibly Dr Undenge.
The sekuru in the furniture business?
market has been less than impressed with Pelhams inaugural results,
that a below-inflation increase in earnings in an environment with
credit and negative interest rates is simply not good enough.
concedes that lower interest rate income, a more competitive
credit world and
change in sales mix weighed on the results last year. Now
the company has
converted all its spare cash into stock and is fine-tuning
So what will be hugely different this year? Firstly,
Pelhams has nearly
three-quarters of last year's profit ($600 million)
guaranteed through in
its credit finance book. And thanks to Zimbabweans'
credit ethic, bad debt
stands at only 1,61% compared with the provision for
5%. Secondly, the
cutting of its "no finance charges" credit terms to one
month from six is
likely to further improve cashflow. Thirdly, it has stock
that will maintain
its value in hard currency terms. And lastly, it is rather
a unique play on
the market since it is the only counter that is exclusively
retail - likely to be a huge beneficiary of lower interest rates
Of course the overriding negative that remains
is when is that disposable
income going to dry up? But nobody expects that to
be soon, given the
stories in the state media this week. What also makes
things interesting for
Pelhams is what will happen if Joshua Doore succeeds
in taking over
Profurn - owner of a 42% stake in Pelhams? Will Joshua Doore
push into the
region (in the same way as it has in Botswana) or will it leave
it up to
Pelhams to push into the region?
SANDAWANA read with interest THZ's rather detailed
on unbundling. The stock has responded positively and
its quite clear that
THZ is undervalued at current levels, especially given
the group's gearing
If it were to have a separate
listing, Turnall Fibre Cement is likely to be
constrained by worries over
price control, supply and the construction
industry. Rubber Products is the
division most highly leveraged to exports
and we await the government's next
move on exchange rate policy. But the
division and its units likely to arouse
the most interest on the stock
market if it were listed would be Steel
Products. The market is already
asking questions as to whether plough disc
maker Hastt would be included.
For one it does not really "fit" with pipes
and fasteners, and given the
political connections of THZ's parent SMM,
Zimplow should be worried that
new farmers might be offered better terms from
Hastt. No doubt SMM, however,
will use any funds raised from the market to
continue its impressive
trail-blazing path of indigenisation.
great injustice (again)
LAST Wednesday, just as the 45-day Section 8
order came into effect,
Russia's lower house of parliament legalised the sale
and private ownership
of agricultural land for the first time since the 1917
but banned foreigners from purchasing the country's
foreigners are - just like in Mozambique - allowed to lease
for up to 49 years.
While Zanu PF has always
craved a thin veneer of legality, Sandawana often
wonders why government just
did not nationalise the land at the start? The
bad publicity would have
quickly died down and by now investor confidence
may have even returned. The
CFU's own lack of sophistication would have lost
them the PR war anyway.
Sympathy for farmers globally has been slowly eroded
as they have been unable
to effectively defend their seemingly elitist
position. The first thing they
should have done is hire a spin doctor who
would put across the same message
at every opportunity: "82% of land has
changed ownership since 1980." But
it's all history now.
One thing that we can be sure of is that the
wheel will turn just like it
has in Russia. Economic sense will prevail one
day until land becomes an
emotional issue once more. Perhaps it will be
Malthusian considerations. But
just like now and preceding the First
Chimurenga 100 years ago, the
landowners will - rightly and understandably -
feel that a great injustice
has been done.
ZIMBABWE: Opposition accused of creating food crisis
[This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 5 July (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's food crisis has
become highly politicised with the government accusing the opposition for the
shortages that have seen basic commodities disappear off shop
This week Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said millers were
stockpiling flour for speculative purposes. His statement followed allegations
by the police that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was
engineering shortages to foment political unrest.
Eddie Cross, MDC
secretary for economic affairs, dismissed the allegations. He told IRIN: "The
government is trying to create a scapegoat for its own shortcomings and these
allegations won't stand up to scrutiny.
"It's nonsense that we are going
to encourage vendors [unofficial traders] to profit from shortages. Vendors are
a natural development because of the collapse of price controls."
said the MDC had been drawing attention to the looming crisis since February
2001 and had consistently supported the efforts of the United Nations and donor
communities who are providing assistance.
"We reject the accusation
completely," he said.
The official Herald newspaper reported that Made
dismissed a plea by the chairman of the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe, Armitage
Chikwavira, for the government to import wheat to stave off bread shortages. He
said the country had adequate stocks and accused millers of rationing supplies
to make money on the blackmarket.
Cross, who is also a baker, disagreed.
"There is no hoarding, three weeks ago the [government-controlled] Grain
Marketing Board cut deliveries to millers by 50 percent."
Only five kg
bags of flour for household use were easy to obtain. But even at reduced levels
of consumption, stocks would run out by the end of July.
World Food Programme (WFP) warnings that the country was on the brink of a
disaster which could leave 5.6 million people, out of a population of almost 13
million, without access to food. Even people with money would battle to find
stocks to cover household needs. Earlier this week the Social Welfare Ministry
said current food stocks were at the level of "hand to mouth".
explained that government traditionally imported extra wheat to stretch local
supplies, but was unable to do so this year due to foreign exchange shortages.
The critical maize shortage has also created an unexpected switch to bread as a
staple food, pushing consumption up markedly. At the moment, customers are
rationed to one loaf at a time, he said.
The country also had a shortage
of stockfeed, which was prohibitively expensive for farmers who were granted
licences to import quantities of feed. This has led to shortages of milk and
poultry. The country had also only grown half its oil seed requirements,
creating shortages of cooking oil and margarine. A drop in the number of dairy
farmers, brought on by land reform, had almost halved milk production, said
Of the grain situation, Vanessa McKay of the Zimbabwe Grain
Producers Association said: "By the end of July we will have a complete 'stock
out' situation and rely 100 percent on imports."
Only the government is
allowed to import and distribute maize and wheat products.
of foreign exchange has compounded the problem. In October 2000 the government
capped the exchange rate at US $1 to Zim $55 to stop a downward spiral, but a
shortage of foreign currency brought on by reduced production and exports has
spawned a competitive parallel market.
Importers who don't have ready
foreign exchange turn to this market to pay for their goods. The parallel rates
have hovered around Zim $350 for US $1 but have been reported to top Zim $1,000
according to demand. The increased expense pushes production prices up and
government price controls on basic commodities prevent companies from setting
their own profit margins.
"We need price controls to be abolished. If
government is worried about consumer spending power they must introduce a fair
system of consulting producers to review prices and keep people in business,"
She added that an untapped source of foreign exchange lay in
the sheds of tobacco farmer where US $320 million worth of tobacco was waiting
to be graded. A land reform law forced almost 3,000 of the country's commercial
farmers to down tools on 25 June in preparation for their eviction from the
Grading the tobacco would be a criminal offence. Fifteen sugar
farmers have already been singled out by police for defying the order to stop
farming. In a possible precedent-setting case, a farmer notched a symbolic court
victory when he was granted interim relief to continue farming until a further
court date on the grounds that the amendments to the land act were
unconstitutional, AFP reported.
While shortages and parallel markets have
become a daily reality for Zimbabwe's consumers, already battling an inflation
rate of over 100 percent, the Zimbabwe Consumer Council (ZCC) said so far nobody
had lodged an official complaint that the shortages were politically
ZCC senior manager Victor Chisi said: "This has not come to us
as an official complaint. Perhaps it is discussed at a national level that there
is connivance between the MDC and industry. I'd like to believe that political
parties have a responsibility to ensure that their membership is alive, that
they should survive."
He explained that some of the shortages were caused
by a combination of business conditions, opportunism and a reaction to price
Prices of certain basic commodities were fixed last October
and supermarkets and shops are policed to ensure compliance. This includes
maize, sugar, cooking oil, soap, chicken and some agricultural inputs.
Chisi said vendors spotted an opportunity and are buying up supplies at
the depressed prices. Some form cartels to sell the items at higher prices.
Families queue to buy the maximum ration per person, then pool their
stock, selling it at the higher prices elsewhere. A two kg bag of sugar costs
Zim $76 (US $1.40 at the official rate) at the government price, but Zim $400
(US $7.50) on the parallel market.
"Some vendors have more stocks than
the supermarkets they are operating next to," Chisi said. "Policing doesn't
apply to them because they are always shifting. Consumers appear to have
accepted this, opting rather to have regular supplies of scarce
However, there are concerns that vendors were being
"sponsored" to sell on behalf of large companies.
"We don't know if the
vendors are real or if they are being created by the formal sector," he
Spokespeople from several large retailers contacted were not
immediately available to comment.
However, Chisi said the formal sector
was concerned that price fixing prevented them from recouping production costs
or raising prices when necessary.
He said there were plans afoot to set
up a monitoring mechanism to give businesses room to remain viable and perhaps
devise an industrial pricing formula to cover production costs.
was concerned that hoarders and vendors were acting in bad faith and "holding
the nation to ransom".
"The situation of consumers is already bad enough.
They have to buy commodities at inflated prices and their welfare is
threatened," he said.
In this, we send to you two statements recently made on
the above subjects.
Police statement highly irresponsible: 03/07/02
statement attributed to the police in today's front-page story in the
accusing the MDC of the so-called "orchestrating artificial
highly irresponsible and borders on outright madness.
It is wrong and
unacceptable for the police to issue partisan political
statements and naked
propaganda whose objective is to absolve Zanu PF from
the mess it has driven
the people into.
Surely can anyone with a conscience in the police force
seek to suggest to
the starving masses that the shortage of maize in Zimbabwe
is as a result of
the so-called "economic sabotage" by the MDC? Is it not
clear to everyone
including pre school kids that the shortage of maize and
maize meal, which
have robbed them of their porridge at pre schools, is
clearly a function of
the Zanu Pf regime's disruption of agriculture through
its ill planned Fast
Track land reform nonsense which was never meant to
Is Augustine Chihuri and Wayne
Bvudzijena genuinely ignorant or they would
like to play silly games with a
hungry nation queuing everyday even for
As for shortages of
sugar, cooking oil, salt, bread and cigarettes, this is
testimony of the
collapse of the policy of price controls which was never
Price controls have effectively collapsed. They have not benefited
consumers. In cases where the consumers have been able to find the
commodities, they have been forced to pay two or three times more than
Against this background, the regime and its
bandwagon of spokespersons does
not see anything wrong with its policies and
blames everyone except itself
for the failure of its policies. This is indeed
sad. Let the message be
clear: Zanu Pf is to blame for the shortages and
economic mess the poor
people find themselves in. If anyone has complaints or
questions on the way
forward, these should be directed squarely on the door-
steps of Zanu PF?
Secretary, information and
Set-up patriotism school for Mugabe's children in
There is nothing national about the Zanu PF youth
service. The illegitimate
regime of Robert Mugabe has set up and funded
activities of the children of
Zimbabwe which have transformed them into
bandits who have been used to
kill, maim and rape innocent citizens,
including their own parents.
There is no doubt that the intention of Zanu
PF is to turn young people into
assassins and murderers rather than train
them in any skills. It is an
expression of a realisation by Zanu PF that they
cannot recruit members
without forcing them into Zanu PF indoctrination
centres, where those young
children shall have Zanu PF garbage forced down
The blundering Samuel Mumbengegwi proves his shallow grasp
of issues when he
claims that Zimbabwean youths are leaving their homes to
work in other
countries because they are not patriotic.
Such must be
the logic of the archaic bandwagon of old men in this regime
and its array of
unelected ministers who fail to appreciate that these
children of Zimbabwe
have been forced to work outside the country, away from
the love of their
families, because Mugabe and Zanu PF have destroyed our
those children are waiting to come back to Zimbabwe to be re-united
their families. They all love their country Zimbabwe.
no jobs in Zimbabwe. There is up to 75% unemployment and more
closing. People are starving in Zimbabwe. There is no food, no
no cooking oil, no bread and no salt,
It is an insult to the character of
our citizens that to this day Mugabe's
illigitimate government still do not
understand the issues at hand. Anyone
who cannot fathom the disaster we are
currently in will never be able to
prescribe real solutions to the challenges
We need a serious government to redeem our economy, and not
policies made in dingy beer halls by a bunch of confused
What Zimbabwe needs now is to pull all its resources towards
country's economy and creating jobs for the people of Zimbabwe.
We must put
our energies on saving the nation from the hunger and starvation
we face. We
must ensure that the collapsed health system recovers and that
people can go
to affordable hospitals and get medicines.
must be forced to dubious training centres that have in the past
certainly in future turn children into killers and rapists. There
numerous stories of how those who were forced into the Border Gezi
Training Centres were abused sexually by their trainers.
Mumbengegwi, Mugabe and Jonathan Moyo's children lack this patriotism
must set up a private and voluntary one in Zvimba and no one will
Professor Welshman Ncube,
MDC Secretary General.
Mugabe inquisition into gay politicians
By Basildon Peta
05 July 2002
Robert Mugabe has ordered his spy
agency to investigate and compile a list
of possible gay ministers and
officials in the Zimbabwe government.
President Mugabe is well known for
his hatred of gays and lesbians, and has
described them as being worse than
"pigs and dogs". He said the British
Government was made up of "gay
He has ordered the Central Intelligence Organisation to spy
on possible gay
people in his administration. How CIO officials will arrive
conclusions is unclear. "That is inside information ... those tasked
the job know how best to achieve it," one said.
Mr Mugabe may use
the list to rid his cabinet of gays. Officials said he
became furious when
allegations of homosexuality were raised against the
former president Canaan
Banana. Mr Banana fled the country before being
charged and convicted in 1998
of sodomising an aide.
Alum Mpofu, one of Mr Mugabe's chief propagandists
during the March
presidential elections and the former head of the
Broadcasting Corporation, resigned from his post after
homosexuality were levelled against him. Mr Mpofu was caught
compromising position with a man at a Harare
Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's
close ally, has also been implicated in an alleged homosexual
affair with Mr
In a separate development, the Zimbabwe
government plans to investigate a
white judge who ordered the arrest last
week of the country's Justice
Minister for contempt of court, the state-run
Herald newspaper reported
Fergus Blackie, one of only two
white judges left in Zimbabwe, issued the
arrest warrant last week after the
Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
failed to appear in court. Officials
later said the minister was on a trip
abroad. Mr Chinamasa said he wanted the
investigation to go ahead regardless
of Justice Blackie's retirement in two
Hopes fade for an end to Mugabe's crackdown
Jon Jeter The
Friday, July 5, 2002
Almost four months after the disputed re-election of the
president, Robert Mugabe, to a fourth term, any hope that the
former guerrilla leader would relax his crackdown against
has all but evaporated.
Since turning back the toughest political
challenge of his career in a
campaign marked by violence and allegations of
fraud, Mugabe has put
restrictions on white farmers at a time when nearly
half of Zimbabwe's
population faces starvation. He has also continued
repression of dissidents
and journalists and, most recently, threatened to
nationalize one of the
country's largest companies.
"Things have not
improved for Zimbabweans since the election," said an
African diplomat based
in Zimbabwe. "I'm afraid that things are only getting
worse. This government
knows it no longer has the popular support of its
people, so it must govern
with the only tool it has left: force."
The UN World Food Program
estimates that nearly half of Zimbabwe's 11
million people urgently need
international assistance to avert starvation as
a result of famine. Donor
nations blame the famine on bad weather and the
government's policy of
seizing the country's most productive farms, owned by
whites, and handing
them over to poor blacks.
Relief agencies say that Mugabe's governing
party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front, has used food
donations from abroad to
reward its supporters and punish members of the
opposition Movement for
Tawanda Hondora, chairman
of Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum, said the
government had required peasants
to show ruling-party membership cards to
receive food rations and had stopped
organizations thought to be sympathetic
to or aligned with the opposition
from distributing food.
On Saturday, however, Mugabe blamed National
Foods, a multinational
subsidiary of the South African mining company Anglo
American, for the
country's food shortage. In remarks published in a
Mugabe accused National Foods of hoarding such basic
commodities as salt.
"We will not allow Anglo American to become the
principal saboteurs of our
economy," he said.
If National Foods does
not "want to operate in partnership with the
government and the people,"
Mugabe said, "the government would put the
enterprise in the hands of the
Last week, Mugabe's government ordered nearly 3,000 whites to
as he prepared for their eviction next month. Branding them
racists and fascists," Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has
given them until
Aug. 10 to vacate farmland to make way for
And even as his fellow African leaders court Western investment
revitalization plan that promises good governance and democracy,
party has continued to intimidate and prosecute independent
opposition politicians and their supporters.
portrayed his party's struggle against the Movement for
Democratic Change as
a battle against a puppet of Britain, the country's
former colonial ruler,
and has portrayed his land redistribution program as
the last piece of
unfinished business of the independence war.
Western governments widely
accuse Mugabe of rigging the March election with
a campaign of torture and
intimidation by youth gangs and militias against
particularly Zimbabwe's wealthy elite of white
farmers and their poor, black
Human rights organizations say that torture of dissidents has
the months since the election, and the United States and
governments have refused to recognize the election results or
travel of Mugabe and his top lieutenants. But Mugabe has not
"It is sad that nothing is improving in that nation," said Don
secretary-general of the Commonwealth, a coalition of 54
nations, many of
them former British colonies, which suspended Zimbabwe for a
year in March.
"We have done more than anyone, but I cannot say that anything
that we have
done has had any effect on putting the government on another
action," he said in London last weekend.
Inflation Blamed For Ballooning
(Harare)- Govt controlled paper
July 4, 2002
Posted to the web July 5, 2002
George Chisoko, Business
Galloping inflation, put at over 122
percent by the Central Statistical Office, has pushed up the cost of production
in various sectors of the economy, with agriculture now needing a huge injection
of almost $230 billion to finance cropping in the coming season.
Communal and resettlement
farmers' alone need to invest $150 billion in summer crops while
indigenous commercial farmers have put their investment at $78
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union, the
representative body of communal and resettlement farmers, blamed the high
inflationary environment for the ballooning cost of agricultural
Inflation has not only impacted
negatively on agriculture but various sectors of the economy have received some
ZFU director, Mr Sylvester Tsikisayi
said their active membership, estimated at over 500 000 countrywide would have
to invest $150 billion in cropping, up from $35 billion last season.
"This huge financial investment has
been brought largely by inflation, which has seen prices of agricultural inputs
escalating beyond the reach of many communal farmers."
A financial analyst with a local
merchant bank said the high inflationary environment would certainly affect
funding for farmers.
"The consequences of high inflation
in the agriculture sector are very dire as input costs will go up. One can only
expect that farmers get higher prices for their produce."
Mr Tsikisayi, an accomplished
agricultural economist said the $150 billion required in the communal and
resettlement sector excluded the cost of labour but was money that would take
care of seed, fertilisers, chemicals and tillage.
At least $40 billion was needed to
finance maize production and with many farmers emerging from a drought, the
injection of external funds has become more important than before.
In the absence of support from
commercial banks, the drought has meant that farmers would find it difficult to
mobilise own resources to buy farming inputs.
Prices for the provision of tillage
have increased to $10 000 a hectare while a 50 kg bag of fertiliser now cost
around $3 000 from $1 500.
A 25 kg bag of the most expensive
maize seed costs $3 283 while the cheapest is almost $2 000 and for 10 kg bags,
the cheapest is selling for $748 while the most expensive is going for $1
Most communal farmers have between
two to three acres of land, which translates to a hectare. A 25-kg bag of maize
seed would be enough for a hectare.
Farmers resettled under model A2
have between 25 hectares and 250 ha of land and these would require much more
seed, which also means a big cost.
The Government is providing inputs
through its multi-billion inputs scheme but cannot, on its own, meet the full
requirements of the several thousands of new farmers that land reform has
"There is need for other players,
such as commercial banks to come in to support farmers. Commercial banks should,
in fact come in a big way although it is unfortunate that they have indicated a
reluctance to lend to farmers without the traditional collateral.
"While we are still engaged in talks
with the banks, we call on them to consider treating livestock as collateral. If
banks cannot support farming, then productivity will be severely affected," said
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe
last week said it was putting together a draft on how best to support resettled
Although funding remains an integral
component of agricultural production, there is need to have input suppliers
adequately equipped for the season.
Fertiliser companies, Windmill and
ZFC have already assured the nation of adequate stocks to meet the needs of
farmers despite the shortage of foreign currency.
Farmers resettled under model A2
scheme fall under the ICFU while the ZFU represent those under model A1 and
Twenty-Two Years Needed to Clear IMF Arrears
July 4, 2002
the web July 5, 2002
ZIMBABWE has paid US$3 million ($165 million) since the
beginning of the year or just two percent of the outstanding payments to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) but analysts say it will take more than 22
years to clear the country's arrears with the Bretton Woods institution.
According to a report released last week, Zimbabwe - which
was last month suspended from accessing IMF technical assistance over its
failure to settle arrears to the Bretton Woods institution - had made two
quarterly payments of US$1.5 million to the Fund since January 2002.
Another payment of US$1.5 million was made in the last
quarter of 2001.
"It should be noted that government made an interim
commitment to pay US$1.5 million quarterly payments to the Fund," the report
"The payments for the last quarter of 2001 as well as the
first and second quarters of 2002 have been made."
But the payments failed to save Zimbabwe from being
suspended by the IMF over non-payment of scheduled amounts, estimated at more
than US$132 million at the end of May this year.
The report said the government was committed to reducing its
arrears with the IMF to 2001 levels but noted that this required additional
measures to generate foreign exchange through increased exports and stabilising
Privatisation proceeds would be used to support increased
hard cash availability and create additional capacity for meeting Zimbabwe's
Finance Minister Simba Makoni projected in the 2002 national
budget that the government would raise $40.9 billion this year from the sale of
Financial analysts this week said it would take Zimbabwe
about 22 years to clear its IMF arrears if it maintains the US$1.5 million
"US$6 million a year is rather small but that is an
indication that the country is unable to afford to pay more than that," said an
analyst with Sagit Stockbrokers.
Business Professor Anthony Hawkins of the University of
Zimbabwe added: "This is just the tip of the iceberg because the country also
owes other multilateral institutions like the World Bank and African Development
Zim Loses $55 Billion
Herald (Harare) Govt paper
July 5, 2002
the web July 5, 2002
ZIMBABWE has lost close to US$1 billion (Z$55 billion) in
money laundering in the last six years triggering the National Economic
Consultative Forum to call for the tightening of laws that deal with
NECF said after a meeting yesterday that existing laws were
fragmented and cumbersome when it came to effectively dealing with the growing
problems of money laundering, hoarding of basic foodstuffs and illegal foreign
"We met to come up with a programme of action," Mr Nhlanhla
Masuku told journalists after the meeting.
"We also discussed the Money Laundering Bill and progress
made in the creation of an independent Anti-Corruption Commission."
The Money Laundering Bill was now ready to be presented to
Parliament for debate.
"Money laundering has become one of the biggest crimes. It
is estimated that over the past 6 years, up to US$1 billion has been laundered,"
"It (Bill) will greatly assist law enforcement agents in
arresting the criminals," said Mr Masuku.
The present laws, he said, had many loopholes and were
failing to deter crimes related to these problems.
Money laundering involves converting illegally obtained
funds into legal ones.
"Enforcement of our existing laws could be better. We are
requesting the police to proceed with arrests of culprits in the private and
public sector to make them accountable."
An anti-corruption taskforce of the forum met yesterday to
discuss what Mr Masuku described as the "foreign currency mayhem".
He said the taskforce discussed issues related to gold
leakage, hoarding of basic foodstuffs, export funds leakage, corruption, money
laundering and law enforcement to curb the crimes.
The Anti-Corruption Commission, said Mr Masuku, has to be
supported by appropriate legislation to make it effective in fighting graft.
The taskforce also recommended that a meeting be held to
discuss legislative grey areas in the management of foreign currency.
"These loopholes must be closed," he said.
"A report will be given to this taskforce when we meet on
However, Mr Masuku acknowledged that the slapping of
punitive measures to curb illegal foreign currency trading was not enough on its
"We did recommend certain policy interventions in order to
deal with it from all relevant angles," he said.
The Government is accusing the private sector of hoarding
basic foodstuffs in what it believes is a well-calculated move to undermine
"A war of words has been traded," he said.
"But, it's really a question of good faith, whether all
stakeholders are carrying out their duties in good faith."
Some existing laws like the Serious Offences Act were
cumbersome and complicated when it came to dealing with crimes related to
illegal foreign currency dealing and money laundering.
This, said Mr Masuku, had prompted the taskforce to push for
a Money Laundering Bill and the creation of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mr Masuku said fines were not acting as a deterrent to
"We need adequate deterrent sanctions to deal with money
laundering. Fines are too low and less punitive."
He cited Botswana's case where if a criminal steals a car
worth $4 million, the law in that country requires him to pay bail equivalent to
the value of the car he would have stolen.
This, he said, acted as deterrent to car thefts.
He blamed the International Monetary Fund policies for
economic problems which Zimbabwe is now facing.
"Esap policies have brought these problems," he said.
"The results we were promised of more export growth, more
jobs, never happened.
"The policies were badly researched and lacking elementary
research. Where is IMF now? We are suffering here and they are in
Zimbabwe is facing a shortage of foreign currency and basic
commodities, a situation the Government says is largely due to hoarding by the
private sector for speculative purposes.
Harare is world's 4th most expensive city
Tokyo remains the world's most expensive city, though Harare has shot up to
fourth place on rampant inflation while Buenos Aires has tumbled to 120th after
the devaluation of the peso, according to a survey.
The three costliest cities in the world are still found in Asia - Tokyo,
Osaka Kobe in Japan and Hong Kong - unchanged from last year, the Economist
Intelligence Unit said in its Worldwide Cost of Living survey.
But one surprise contender for the title of the world's priciest city was
the Zimbabwean capital, which surged to number four from 120th last year,
according to the survey, which excludes housing costs.
"With inflation of over 100%, shortages of goods on the shelves and a
government doggedly holding on to an overvalued exchange-rate peg, Harare has
risen from 120th a year ago to fourth this time round, joining the perennially
expensive Libreville in sixth," the report's author Bill Ridgers said.
"Conversely, the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, has plummeted from 22nd
to (the) 120th most expensive city," he added.
"This mainly reflects differing exchange rate policies.
"Whereas the Argentine peso has been allowed to devalue, the Zimbabwean
government has doggedly held the Zimbabwean dollar's peg to the US dollar
despite inflation running at over 100%," Ridgers said.
The most expensive European city remains Oslo at number five, while London
is the priciest in the European Union in eighth place, shared with Zurich.
New York tops the North American cities in seventh place, unchanged from
last year, followed by Chicago at number 10.