The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

Gono's 'secret' out
Dumisani Muleya
THE indelible ink used during the hotly-disputed 2002 presidential election
could save former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri, currently undergoing a
corruption trial for alleged externalisation of scarce foreign currency,
from a guilty verdict.

Intelligence sources said the "classified security item" which Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono refused to disclose in an open court last week when he
testified in Kuruneri's case was the indelible ink used in the election.

Gono told the court he personally invited Kuruneri to provide US$500 000 -
which is at the centre of the externalisation allegations - to save the
country from a potential "national catastrophe".

He said had it not been for Kuruneri, Zimbabwe could have plunged into
"catastrophe" but refused to reveal the details of the issue, citing
national security concerns and the Official Secrets Act.

The sources said the presidential election hung in the balance due to lack
of foreign currency to buy the ink until Kuruneri chipped in at the last
minute to save the situation.

Zimbabwe at the time could not raise the US$500 000 needed to buy the ink.
The sources said Kuruneri emerged as the knight in sh...[ends here]
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Zim Independent

Alliance bungles anti-blitz protest
Augustine Mukaro
YESTERDAY'S anti-government mass action organised by a coalition of
opposition parties and civic groups to protest the ongoing demolition blitz
was a flop largely due to poor organisation and lack of leadership.

Observers said the failure of the stayaway exposed the waning influence of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and its allies,
the same coalition that managed to stage a five-day mass action that brought
the country to a standstill in June 2003.

Other groups involved in the failed protest are the National Constitutional
Assembly, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and a number of NGOs. Human rights
group were also part of it.

However, the broad alliance seemed to have bungled the protests, showing the
alliance has lost the political initiative. In 2003 the MDC was on top of
the situation and reduced President Robert Mugabe to a prisoner at State
House as people stayed away from work for a week.

Back then, even civil servants who do not belong to the main labour body,
joined the stayaway. Most workers stayed indoors, thus denying the security
forces an excuse for a major crackdown.

Yesterday most workers reported for work and businesses were open.

Shops, banks, offices, industries and different service centres were open.

Zimbabwe's main cities were a hive of activity. It was business as usual in

In Bulawayo, the second largest city, the situation was the same.

There was a heavy police presence in parts of the cities and towns and in
the streets. Three Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) activists were
arrested in Bulawayo for allegedly organising the mass action. The three,
Percy Mcijo, David Shambare and Ambrose Manenji, were picked up from their
homes at around 5:00am and detained at Bulawayo central police station.

"The ZCTU has not ascertained the fate of the three who are still in police
custody but has already instructed lawyers to handle the issue," the unions'
spokesman, Mlamleli Sibanda, said.

Despite the failure of the mass action, organisers said they were satisfied
with it. Spokesman for the alliance Lovemore Madhuku said traffic was thin
in Harare "showing a lot of people did not report for work".

"It has been reasonably successful," Madhuku said. "More than 50% of the
workforce in Harare and Bulawayo didn't report for work."

Outspoken MDC MP Job Sikhala said the stayaway succeeded in expressing
popular disenchantment.

"The stayaway was not about closing businesses but voicing dissatisfaction
with government's demolition campaign," Sikhala said. "We have managed to do
that and we are convinced it will be more effective tomorrow (today)."
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Zim Independent

Housing cooperatives under siege

GOVERNMENT'S clean-up campaign took an ugly twist last week with bogus
housing cooperatives that sprouted from the chaotic land seizures coming
under siege from disillusioned members demanding their money back.

More than 30 housing cooperatives exploited the country's haphazard land
reform programme to swindle thousands of homeseekers from all walks of life
of billions of dollars by allocating them stands on unserviced government or
council farms.

The majority of the housing cooperatives bore names of national heroes such
as Leopold Takawira, Simon Muzenda, Moven Mahachi, Chenjerai Hunzvi, Sally
Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

Zanu PF apologist and self-proclaimed pastor Obediah Musindo of Destiny for
Afrika Network was also fingered in the illegal settlements across the
country through his 21st Century Housing Cooperative.

The cooperatives got money through joining fees and monthly contributions
ranging from $300 000 to $15 million.

Nyadzonia Housing Cooperative along Airport Road, whose illegal structures
were among the first to be demolished, charged $7 million per stand at the
time of demolition.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Association
told the Zimbabwe Independent that unscrupulous businesspeople were making a
killing by cheating teachers into joining bogus housing schemes and failing
to deliver the houses.

"We have to deal with members and non-members who have lost their hard
earned cash as a result of joining many shady schemes being proposed to them
by unscrupulous businesses," Majongwe said.

Majongwe said many teachers had joined Gwindigwi Housing Cooperative in
Harare and Marondera in which they contributed $25 000 each since 2002 but
nothing had come out of it yet.

Education minister Aneas Chigwedere officiated at the launch of the
cooperative at the City Sports Centre in Harare.

Majongwe said teachers had been duped into joining bogus housing
cooperatives run under the names of Zanu PF heroes.

People whose houses were demolished said they had already sent emissaries to
claim their monies from the cooperative owners.

"We can't just sit back," one of the evictees said. "Those who took our

money should return it. They made us believe that we would be protected
because of their political links to Zanu PF."

Highly-placed sources at 21st Century Housing Cooperative said home-seekers
last week besieged Musindo's offices demanding their money.

Director-general of 21st Century Housing Cooperative Ronald Kapofu dismissed
the allegations as misleading.

"People want to discredit our network," Kapofu said. "We follow the legal
route and will only allocate stands to our members once they are serviced."

Most of the illegal settlements were established by Zanu PF aspiring
candidates to entice the electorate to vote for them.

Government has also dispatched riot police to the country's small towns and
growth points to clear-up all flea markets and home industries.

Irate informal traders operating at growth points and along major highways
leading in and out of Harare said police destroyed their stalls, which had
become their only means of survival.

Informal trading had become the lifeline for more than 80% of the country's
population rendered jobless by the economic downturn and company closures.

Over the past three weeks government has demolished tuckshops and backyard
structures and home industries in the country's major cities under the
pretext of cleaning up the areas.

The operation has since been challenged in court and a petition to stop it
has been handed over to the United Nations by the Mbare Residents
Association. - Staff Writers.
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Zim Independent

MDC rubbishes reports of infighting
Ray Matikinye
THE MDC has dismissed reports of power struggles rocking the opposition
party over what strategy to use to confront government with.

The opposition party told the Zimbabwe Independent that its constitution was
"quite clear on succession issues".

Media reports over the past two weeks said infighting threatened to split
the opposition party into tribal cliques, with fierce jockeying for key
executive posts ahead of the party congress slated for January next year.

The wrangles are also said to emanate from differences between intellectuals
and trade unionists.

MDC national director of elections Ian Makone, university lecturer Professor
Elphas Mukonoweshuro, and ousted Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri were
reportedly eyeing posts in the national executive.

But the MDC says what was interpreted as factional fights in recent weeks
stemmed from a frustrated party constituency demanding an immediate and more
radical response to Zanu PF's disputed victory in the March poll.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said: "People are frustrated and angry
(believing) that the leadership should have taken a radical approach soon
after the results were announced and this frustration and differences in
approach have been misinterpreted as party infighting."

Presidential spokesman William Bango said: "It would be too ambitious for
those cited as front-runners vying for posts they are said to be eyeing. In
the first place the constitution is quite clear on the modalities of
succession and it would be difficult for a person in the lower ranks to
aspire to the national executive."

Bango said while the trio has ambitions, they each knew very well their
chances of rising to the positions they aspire to.

"Mudzuri is a district member while Mukonoweshuro is a ward member. They
both have to fight to retain those positions and graduate to the high
echelons of the party according to the constitution," Bango said.

According to the MDC constitution, a member starts at the lowest structure,
graduates to the ward, district and province up to the national executive.

Meanwhile, Mudzuri has distanced himself from leadership wrangles saying he
is not vying for the party secretary-general's post.

"I have never made my intentions known to anyone that I would want to be
party secretary-general and I was surprised by the inclusion of my name.

Perhaps it is the work of people who want the post themselves and are trying
to smear other people's reputations to enhance their chances for selection,"
Mudzuri said.

"In fact, the type of democracy prevailing in the MDC has no room for an
individual to nominate himself or herself for a post as alleged. The request
to stand for any post comes from the general membership of the party."
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Zim Independent

Sunshine city now only for the rich
Ray Matikinye
ZANU PF launched "Operation Murambatsvina" in urban areas not out of its
concern about deteriorating standards of hygiene and rising criminal
activity but to forestall a festering nucleus of resistance poised to ignite
mass protests against economic problems, corruption and electoral fraud, it
has emerged.

Sources within Zanu PF say government feared opposition parties could use
the swelling numbers in the cities, especially Harare, to trigger nationwide
protests. The plan was hatched by the party at a meeting but had to assume a
human face by roping in city council officials.

Political analysts see Operation Restore Order as a pre-emptive strike
against urban unrest over Zimbabwe's economic collapse that has brought
about joblessness and crippling shortages of basic commodities and fuel.

Zanu PF became aware that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had been
mobilising workers in the informal sector since 2004. Most of the flea
market workers and vendors in the various towns and cities lost jobs over
the past five years due to the Zanu PF-induced economic meltdown.

And facing increasing prospects of unrest over a collapsing economy, Zanu
adopted a scorched-earth policy toward perceived potential foes riding on
the pretext of a clean-up operation. It detained thousands of Zimbabweans,
torching homes and wrecking street kiosks as well as displacing countless
others from makeshift homes in major cities.

Mugabe told the 61st session of the Zanu PF central committee: "In each and
every constituency, we are now able to gauge the level of our support by
locality and reconstruct the strengths and opportunities of our party on one
hand and threats and weaknesses on the other."

While he lauded party support from rural voters, he said the "habitually
fickle" urban voters withdrew their support through apathy or voting for the

"The hostile urban voter has confirmed that our campaign in urban areas has
been ineffective. The near total sweep by the opposition in Harare and
Bulawayo remains undeserved, owing more to our weakness than opposition
strength," Mugabe told party delegates, indicating how deeply he had been
stung by yet another crushing rejection by the urban electorate.

"We looked for votes from communities suffering from acutely degraded
municipal services right across the board," he observed.

Mugabe ironically blamed the deterioration of services in urban centres more
on opposition MDC control than on the interference by Zanu PF in the
management of urban councils.

He however told central committee members government would marshal all
resources possible to growth points, towns and cities to thwart growing
popularity for the opposition MDC in those areas over the next five years in
order to win back the urban electorate's support.

In the March election urban voters handed Mugabe yet another rebuff by
voting overwhelmingly in favour of the opposition MDC. The opposition even
reclaimed the Zengeza and Kadoma Central seats it had lost in previous

Mugabe's promised new thrust reversed an earlier government policy that
sought to withhold critical financial support to cities and towns viewed as
opposition strongholds.

MDC-led councils inherited a legacy of deteriorating urban infrastructure
that has degenerated alarmingly over the past five years due to an
accelerated economic meltdown.

"What started as a commendable action by the Harare city authorities to
clean up the city took a sinister turn when government went back on the
policy of indigenisation and started flattening flea markets and fruit
stalls," Zimcet director David Chimhini says.

More importantly, the blitz served to scatter the urban electorate and
reconfigure the demographic distribution of the victims in a broader
strategy to gain electoral advantage ahead of the presidential election due
in 2008, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says.

Last week's statement by Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo lends some
credence to MDC assertions. In the weekly message in the party publication,
Nkomo urged supporters to rally behind party candidates in municipal and
local government elections to be held soon. "Let us make sure our resounding
victory in the March elections translates into yet another emphatic victory
in local government elections. It should be obvious that MDC-led local
government structures will not vigorously pursue a Zanu PF-drawn national
agenda," he wrote in The Voice.

Another pointer to government's action could be vice-president Joice Mujuru's
call at the commissioning of a $225 million project funded by the Canadian
International Development Agency in Lupane last Monday.

"Women in rural areas have a habit of running to urban centres to seek
employment. We want people in urban areas to leave their homes and invest in
rural areas because that is where the money is," she said.

A UN expert on the right to adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, censured
Zimbabwe's policy of evicting the urban poor and demolishing their shacks
around the country, likening the operation to a form of apartheid.

"We are seeing in the world, and Zimbabwe is a good example now, the
creation of a new kind of apartheid where the rich and the poor are being
segregated," Kothari said.

"This kind of a mass eviction drive is a classic case where the intention
appears to be that Harare becomes a city for the rich, for the middle class,
for those that are well-off and the poor are to be pushed away."
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Zim Independent

Police operation spreads to private businesses
Loughty Dube
THE police Operation Restore Order this week moved into Bulawayo private
businesses where armed policemen stormed electrical goods shops and several
non-governmental organisations to demand receipts and forex details before
carting property away.

The latest police move comes a day after the Bulawayo city council announced
that it would lose about $756 million this year in uncollected revenue if
licensed vendors do not return to business.

The Independent on Wednesday witnessed truckloads of police vehicles leaving
private companies and some NGOs laden with an assortment of goods that
included computers and television sets among others.

Business people in the city, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
police reprisals, confirmed that police stormed their premises demanding
receipts and proof of where they sourced foreign currency for goods
purchased in South Africa and in Botswana.

"Several television sets that I ordered from Botswana and South Africa were
confiscated by police but some of the goods were purchased three years ago
and the receipts and importation documents have already been lost. How do
the police expect us to keep such old records for small goods like these,"
complained one businessman.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena however defended the latest police action
against the shops and legitimate businesses saying police wanted to
eradicate trade in stolen property.

"There is a lot of property that is stolen and sold in legitimate shops and
the process we are doing now is to stop the trade in stolen goods. There are
shops that are dealing in stolen goods," Bvudzijena said.

The latest action comes after police destroyed market stalls and illegal
backyard shacks in the townships. The police this week also started to raid
shebeens and other illegal drinking spots.

One company had computers confiscated after its owner failed to explain
where the forex to purchase the computers from Botswana was sourced from.

The Bulawayo city council says it will lose a total of $756 million in
revenue if vendors pushed out by police from their trading bays are not
allowed to go back.

Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said council was raking in $63
million in monthly payments by the licensed vendors.
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Zim Independent

Police leave out own shacks in clean-up
Takawira Mapfumo
THE ongoing clean-up campaign is being applied selectively as it has not
affected shacks and illegal structures at most police and prison camps in

The police have been at the forefront of the operation, demolishing
thousands of shacks in high-density suburbs but a survey by the Zimbabwe
Independent has revealed that there are illegal structures at Harare Central
Prison and Tomlinson Depot that have not been affected.

The police use the shacks at Tomlinson Depot for housing. Other
iron-corrugated shacks are being used as classrooms by Tomlinson Depot
Primary School.

There are also shacks at Harare Central Prison Camp being used for housing.
The shacks were not part of the initial accommodation plan but were
constructed because of a housing shortage in the force.

Police chief spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena however denied that the shacks
were illegal saying they were approved by the city council. He said the
shacks were safe and in line with city by-laws.

Nearly all police stations throughout the country have pre-fabricated
housing structures for junior officers due to accommodation problems.

"Those log cabins are wooden modules which are a recent development. They
are legal and permanent," said Bvudzijena.

The prison camp has about two old log cabins and three cement corrugated
ones currently being used as barracks for male officers, as well as an
approximately 150 metre stretch of fowl runs. There are also a dozen shacks
at Tomlinson Depot.

Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said council was going to
destroy all illegal structures regardless of their location.
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Zim Independent

Mabhena warns Mugabe
Loughty Dube
FORMER Matabeleland North provincial governor and ex-Zapu secretary-general
Welshman Mabhena has warned President Robert Mugabe to avoid pushing people
too far as they can revolt against him.

Mabhena said Mugabe was doing everything to provoke the people whom his
failed leadership and disastrous policies had already impoverished in many

He said he could not understand Mugabe's growing "siege mentality and
dangerous paranoia" because no one "is fighting the government but the
government is the one fighting the people".

"Mugabe thinks people hate him and he is very angry at everyone. That is why
he is lashing out in all directions. I urge Mugabe to take care of the
nation's interests and avoid feeling threatened by his own people."

Mabhena said people should not revolt but said he feared Mugabe was pushing
them too far. He said government should address the real issues and not get
involved in sideshows of no material relevance to people's wellbeing.

"Mugabe should not tempt people to go into a revolt but should ask them what
should be done about this situation. People know what should be done for us
to move forward," Mabhena said.

"A true leadership cares for the national and people's interests but when a
leader fights his own people, it shows he has lost it," Mabhena said in a
wide-ranging interview.

The former Zapu supremo said the ongoing demolition blitz on shantytowns and
vegetable vendors was unhelpful.

"People are afraid, angry and agitated but I say to them no matter how
painful the process is, they should not revolt but seek a peaceful solution
to this crisis," he said.

"If people rise against government they would have fallen into Mugabe's trap
and a state of emergency would be used against them."

Mabhena challenged other former nationalists to speak out against Mugabe's
failed rule. He said seasoned nationalists like James Chikerema should voice
their disgust at the current situation.

"I challenge people like Chikerema and other veteran nationalists to speak
out and ask Mugabe whether this is what people fought for when they took up
arms against the colonial regime. Is this what thousands of our fathers and
mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters died for?" Mabhena said.

"Even the racist Ian Smith regime was not like this. It was against the
nationalist movements and the black people but at least it ran the economy
in a much better way despite that its policies largely benefited a white
minority," he said.

"What we are seeing now is un-believable. Everything has just collapsed."

Mabhena said he did not understand how destroying the informal sector and
people's makeshift homes would help ease the current economic crisis.

"The informal sector and poor housing have been with us since the birth of
this country. Even during the colonial era we had farmers who brought in
their produce which was sold on the streets and other such places. People
earned their living through that," he said.

"During the sanctions period under the colonial regime people survived
through self-employment and other personal initiatives. I don't understand
what this campaign of destruction is meant to achieve," said Mabhena.
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Zim Independent

Minister's son wrecks govt vehicle
Shakeman Mugari/ Takawira Mapfumo
IN a clear case of abuse of state property, Education minister Aeneas
Chigwedere's son wrecked a government vehicle which he was using for
personal business.

The son, Gwinyai Chigwedere, damaged the vehicle, a Nissan Double Cab
registration number GED 636, after he hit a road embankment while driving to
his father's farm outside Marondera.

The minister allowed his son to drive the truck even though it is against
government regulations. According to Cabinet Circular Number 3 of 1992, it
is illegal for ministers' children to drive government vehicles.

The government paid a massive $119 million to repair the vehicle. The
vehicle was issued to the minister to use on trips to remote areas.

Government was forced to pay for the repairs despite the fact that
Chigwedere should have personally met the costs. Chigwedere did not report
the matter to police as required by the law.

Documents to hand show that Chigwedere allowed his son to drive the ministry's
vehicle to the farm ostensibly to pay workers.

Although documents in our possession show that the accident occurred on May
31 2003, the vehicle was only repaired in February this year. During this
period no one knew where the vehicle was even though the minister kept
pushing officials in his ministry to repair it urgently.

The truck was later repaired at Floyd Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd on February 8
this year. The invoice number for the payment made by the ministry was
IN101824. Voucher number 1900066924 was used to authorise the payment.

Chigwedere took a month to report the accident to government. In a report he
made to the Education ministry's permanent secretary, Thompson Tsodzo,
Chigwedere accepted that it was his son who had damaged the vehicle saying
it needed "substantial panel-beating".

"I am sorry to report one ministry vehicle, No GED636 was damaged on
Saturday 31 May, 2003," said Chigwedere in the letter to Tsodzo.

"On the fateful Saturday, my son, Gwinyai, drove the vehicle to my farm 15
kilometres out of Marondera, to pay our farm labourers," he said.

Chigwedere then filled in a government Transport Accident Report form. In a
copy of the report in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, Chigwedere put
his driver's licence as 11246AM. Chigwedere also accepted that the matter
had not been reported to police.

President Robert Mugabe has of late been talking tough on corruption in
government. He has also lambasted government officials for misusing
government property.
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Zim Independent

Tekere says Mujuru best after Mugabe
Shakeman Mugari
FORMER Zanu PF secretary-general Edgar Tekere says Vice-President Joice
Mujuru is the best candidate to replace President Robert Mugabe as the Zanu
PF leader and national president.

Tekere said Zanu PF legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa should drop
out of the race and make way for Mujuru.

He said it was also time for Mugabe to go so a new leader could take over.
"I think people have been waiting for too long for him to call it a day,"
Tekere said. "If you look in the region he is the oldest leader and the odd
one out. I mean someone must now take over from him."

Tekere said he was elated by the prospects of Mujuru succeeding Mugabe. "I'm
happy that we will be having someone like Mujuru as president. She is the
best we have at the moment," said Tekere. "Also I am sure her appointment
would improve our international image. At the moment I don't see anyone
capable of doing that in Zanu PF."

Tekere urged Mnangangwa to "pull out of the contest" and support Mujuru.

"What I want to say to Mnangagwa is stop entering the contest and support
Mujuru. We can't all be presidents at the same time," Tekere said. "I
support Mujuru because we were together in the bush. It's only natural that
I would do that."

Tekere went further: "In fact the succession debate should be closed now
because we now have the right candidate. It's a case closed, we now have the
next president. What more do we want?"

Asked why he thought Mujuru was the best candidate, Tekere said Mujuru had
changed from being a "mere school dropout to a soldier and then a leader".

Reacting to accusations there was tribalism in the way Zanu PF chooses its
leaders, Tekere said: "It's not about regionalism and tribalism. Regionalism
and tribalism don't work. I'm campaigning for Mujuru but I'm not Korekore.
If it was about tribalism I would be saying (Security minister Didymus)
Mutasa should be the next president," he said.

Tekere however said Zanu PF was still riddled with corruption. He said it
was corruption in Zanu PF that had contributed to the economic crisis.

"I complained about corruption years back and they expelled me from the
party saying I was a rabble rouser. Now the country is in a crisis because
of corruption," he said.
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Zim Independent

Gono says right, Zanu PF goes left
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE ruling Zanu PF seems bent on throwing a spanner in the works of central
bank governor Gideon Gono to build foreign investor confidence by pulling
left while the RBZ boss is talking of turning right.

Gono and Zanu PF appear to have parallel visions and if Zanu PF's intentions
to nationalise land are anything to go by, then Zimbabwe's hopes of winning
international sympathy are doomed, analysts have said.

According to Zanu PF's planned legislative changes, the ruling party intends
to amend the constitution to allow it free rein in acquiring land,
effectively nationalising the asset.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is understood to have crafted a document
to that effect.

Gono is trying to lure international investors to come to Zimbabwe.

Analysts say despite Gono's efforts to turn around the economy, his major
challenge is in reconciling decisions based more on political expediency
than economic rationale. Gono talks of land being a bankable asset while
Chinamasa and friends think otherwise.

Gono says in his monetary policy review he is "setting the foundation for a
more comprehensive framework for bilateral investment promotion and
protection agreements post the land reform and in the promotion of new

"We are pleased to inform our potential investment partners with whom we
have been negotiating for investment that Zimbabwe, as a part of the global
community, is fully aware of the need to protect and encourage inward
investments as a tool to attract international capital mobilisation," he
said recently.

On the other hand the ruling party is proposing that all land acquired for
resettlement automatically become state land.

"The constitutional amendment being proposed and recommended is to render
and declare all land that has been gazetted and to be gazetted in the future
for acquisition for resettlement purpose become the property of the state
without the necessity of going through the courts," Zanu PF says.

"The constitutional amendment will be so crafted in such a manner and form
to put acquisition of land for resettlement purposes beyond legal

A senior bank economist who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the
intended nationalisation of land would send wrong signals to investors.

"Any normal investor wants to know the status of property rights which is
what Gono is talking about, and makes sense in this case," the economist

"Zanu PF is going three steps back yet Gono is battling to win the hearts of
the very few investors who were prepared to do business with Zimbabwe.
Judging by the information emanating from Zanu PF's intended constitutional
amendments, we are in trouble just like when the farm invasions started."

Since February 2 000 when the farm invasions started, the country has not
experienced any major meaningful investment inflows because of the
uncertainity over property rights.

The current and capital accounts last year finished for the fifth
consecutive year in deficits, figures from the Ministry of Finance have

By the end of last year, the current account had a deficit of US$463,7
million and the capital account was minus US$211,5 million.

The current account takes into account the country's exports and imports,
while the capital account takes into account issues such as foreign direct
investment, portfolio investment, and long-term and short-term capital.

Bulawayo-based economic com-mentator Eric Bloch said government had to be
clear on how it wants to handle the land issue, especially the subject of
99-year land leases. He said if there is no security in terms of lease
agreements this could spell doom for Zimbabwe.

"The government should be forthright on what it wants to do. If they adopt
this attitude of just nationalising land without any options of lease then
we should forget about investment. The would-be investor will just go to any
other country where it is safe to do business," he said.

"There is also another problem of compensation, as people want to know how
they would be compensated. This (compensation) has to be a matter of trust,
but government has to be more forthright in whatever it is doing."

Apparently the Zanu PF document on the constitutional amendment is silent on
whether there are going to be any leases of land.
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Zim Independent

Farm invasions blamed for milk shortage
Chris Goko/Eric Chiriga
NUTRITIONAL foods company Nestlé Zimbabwe says it is processing three
million litres of milk, five times lower than its optimum capacity due to a
slump in dairy farm products.

Nestlé, makers of condensed and powdered milk, coffee, and culinary products
such as sauces and seasonings, as well as selected chocolate brands,
consumes 15 million litres at its five processing plants in Zimbabwe when
producing at full capacity.

Yves Manghardt, chairman and managing director of Nestlé's South Africa,
made the revelation when he presented the Swiss multinational company's
finances for the year 2004.

Manghardt, who is also in charge of the company's operations in 19 southern
and eastern African countries, said his firm was capable of generating
"healthy profits" and fostering economic growth.

He emphasised though that this could only be achieved with the
implementation of "sound business principles" and collaboration between
Nestlé and host countries.

"Nestlé.today emphasised the need for business to make a long-term
commitment to the continent," Manghardt said on Wednesday last week.

"The company can generate healthy profits and create benefits to the people
of Africa," added the Nestlé boss, who listed Zimbabwe among two other
African countries blighted by business and political turmoil.

Nestlé, whose primary focus is shelf-stable dairy products, including

skimmed milk and cooking ingredients, suffered milk supply disruptions owing
to farm invasions ordered by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Although it has been working to assist small-scale dairy farmers, the
outturn has been disappointing and inadequate due to their limited capacity.

Its competing firm Dairibord and other operators have also suffered raw
material supply disruptions, thereby compromising quality and undermining
product supply.

Africa, he said, contributed more than 2,3 billion Swiss Francs in sales
last year alone.

With 27 manufacturing facilities in Africa, Nestle's operations are anchored
in mainly South Africa, Kenya, Cote'd Ivoire, Mauritius, Nigeria and Uganda.

Manghardt said the company would continue to make products of a high safety
standard, but "tailored to suit local tastes".
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Zim Independent

Burying informal sector creativity, enterprise
Alex T Magaisa
THE recent clampdown on the informal sector in Zimbabwe's urban areas
demonstrates a characteristic contradiction that defies logic: instead of
resuscitating the capital that is locked away in the informal sector, the
authorities are attempting to bury it. The informal sector is a direct
product of the legal and economic conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe and
unless those conditions are properly and comprehensively dealt with the
recent clampdown will remain a superfluous exercise.

There are at least two ways of looking at the informal sector. Firstly, it
is a reflection of the demise of the formal sector. Secondly, and more
positively, it is a reflection of the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and
resilience of the people in the face of adversity. An appreciation of the
second positive aspect is crucial to overcome the negative decline of the
formal economy.

The strategy therefore should not be to wipe away the informal sector, but
to harness its potential in a way that builds into the formalised

Many theories have been articulated in attempts to explain the strategy
taken by the government in recent weeks. As is so often with many things in
Zimbabwe today, the discussion has invariably been placed within the
framework of the human rights paradigm. In my opinion, we must also
understand it from an economic perspective - that quite simply, as an
economic strategy, the clampdown was based on the wrong premise and will not
solve the country's problems. It may wipe away the symptom temporarily, but
the cause of the demise will remain untouched.

Perhaps we might try to understand this by exploring some ideas on the
forces that create the informal sector. By definition, the concept of the
informal sector assumes that there is a formal sector. The formal sector
constitutes the core of the market that is legally recognised by the state
and is subject to relevant laws and regulations. It is in the formal sector
where one often finds an organised workplace and organised labour. Players
submit to regulations, pay taxes to the state and rates to local authorities
and are properly registered according to the laws that govern the creation
and operation of business vehicles.

Therefore, everything else that falls beyond the formally recognised market
falls in the informal sector - unregulated, no taxes, etc. But in both the
formal and informal sectors there is an exchange of goods and services for
economic value. But what really gives rise to the informal sector?

The World Bank has identified two forces that lead to an informal sector.
Firstly, when ordinary people seek to survive in an environment where
opportunities for income in the formal sector are scarce they resort to
activities principally aimed at self-preservation. These people engage in
survival activities.

It reminds me of the woman from Mufakose who used to do my laundry at
Shingai Court a few years ago. She came twice a week cleaned my house and
did my laundry for a fee. She was so good and trustworthy I entrusted her
with my keys while I was at work and I became her referee when she looked
for more informal employment.

When she could not make it on account of illness she did not send a sick
note - she sent her son. This woman simply needed to survive and I admired
her resilience and resourcefulness in times of hardship. I was persuaded to
offer her a bonus each month.

Secondly, the informal sector also arises where people within the formal
sector seek to avoid the regulatory framework of the formal system. The
World Bank calls these illegal business activities. This is by no means a
clear distinction, given that both the individual and the business entity
may resort to the informal sector for purposes of survival.

I knew a fellow lawyer who took on clients beyond his formal employment.
They did not exist on the firm's books - he called it his "extra fee" which
he said was useful for him to survive like a lawyer. Was this fellow also
engaged in the informal sector? Indeed, sometimes what the WB may call
illegality in business may also qualify as illegal if carried on by the
individual who is seeking survival. An example of this could be trading
foreign currency on the parallel market. Although the World Bank's
distinction may be hard and questionable, it nonetheless helps us to
understand the conditions that have led to the proliferation of the informal
sector in Zimbabwe.

Among other reasons, the state has approached the informal sector in the
violent manner on the allegation that there is too much illegality taking
place in that sector which is undermining the economy.

There is also the argument that the informal traders have no legal rights to
be trading at the places where they have been because they lack title. The
government fails to appreciate that the informal sector is not a
self-generating project but one that arises firstly, because in the absence
of chances in the formal sector, people have to find something to survive
on. It is not disputed that the economy has regressed and unemployment is
close to 80%. Among other direct causes is the closure of businesses due to
harsh economic conditions and the decline in the commercial agricultural
sector, which was a major employer during the heyday of commercial farming.
Many of these people moved to the peri-urban areas, because they have no
employment on the farms and do not have access to the land.

As Geoff Hill has stated in his work on Zimbabwe, the once wonderful
education policies of the current government in the early 1980s produced a
class of young men and women whose target was to work in the city. Every
young person who passed five "O" levels headed for the city to find a job.

However, we did little to create the employment opportunities. How do you
convince a man of 35 years who has computing knowledge and other technical
skills but no job, to return to where he came from when his struggle was to
escape that environment at all costs? Instead, he deploys his knowledge and
skills to survival activities to enable him to cope with the conditions.

What Zimbabwe needs is not to destroy his structure where he is doing his
work but to harness that potential into a force whose proceeds can be
channelled into the formal economy. He may be willing to submit to the laws
but there is no one interested because of lack of political will.

Then there is the issue of those in the formal sector engaging in so-called

illegal activities to avoid state regulations. Perhaps many in Zimbabwe may
identify with this particular type of conduct. We know that a number of
businesses have been charged with trading foreign currency on the parallel
market. Some commodities are being traded on the parallel market, etc.

In my view, the key question that authorities must confront is what forces
are behind the movement from the formal to the informal market. The common
assumption is that those who move into the informal sector are motivated by
greed. Of course, greed may be a factor but could there be something more
that we are not prepared to admit? That individuals are selfish is an
accepted fact and even formal markets are no exception.

Perhaps another explanation could simply be that individuals in the formal
sector seek earning opportunities in the informal sector because there may
be something wrong with the legal framework of the formal sector. This may
take place where there is excessive and unnecessary regulation, which makes
trading on the formal sector impracticable because it brings no returns.
People engage in formal business to generate income. The price that they are
prepared to pay for the order and certainty of the formal market is
submission to the laws.

However, if the laws become an impediment to business and when compliance to
the formal markets results in losses, that bargain is impaired and the
rationale course is to seek an alternative course. One option is to exploit
opportunities beyond the legal framework, that is, in the informal sector.
Otherwise the only other option is to close shop and engage in other
activities. That is probably why there are formal companies engaged in the
informal sector while others that cannot even find opportunities in the
informal sector have chosen to wind up, introducing yet more players into
the informal sphere. Thus the cycle continues.

In addition to the factors suggested by the World Bank, I would add that
another permitting force for the growth of the informal sector is the
failure to enforce regulations in the first place. It is not a cause as
such, but a permitting force because if the state fails to enforce the
regulations it creates conditions that enable the proliferation of the
informal sector. The state sometimes allows this growth for political
expediency. To the extent that the state permits the growth of this sector,
it is also complicit in the breakdown of the law and cannot therefore claim
a higher moral authority at a later stage.

Thus, while those challenging the state's actions may face massive hurdles
if they pursue the matter from a strictly legal perspective, their grounds
of objection are stronger when grounded on challenging the moral authority
of the state in such circumstances.

Finally, the informal sector is a product of the failure at the formal
legal, economic and political level. The word "turnaround" is in vogue.
Perhaps we have been turning around too much we are now so dizzy we cannot
see the reality of our times. Part of this reality is the informal economy,
which we must harness and not pretend to wipe away.
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Zim Independent


Stop these demolitions now!

ON behalf of the citizens of Munich, twin city of Harare, I wish to express
our deep concern for the people of Harare at this moment.

I have heard that police and army units have been engaged in demolishing not
only the stalls of street traders, licensed as well as unlicensed, but also
legally as well as illegally built homes in several districts of Harare.

According to my information, thousands of people have been made homeless and
many more have lost their means of supporting themselves and their families.

I wish to protest most strongly against these measures in the interest of
the citizens of our twin city who had already enough to put up with because
of the economic situation.

As a long-serving mayor of a state capital with a population of over one
million people, I am fully aware that the maintenance of security and order
as well as the compliance with legal regulations are of importance to the
administration of a big city.

However, my experience has also shown me that a municipality can only be
successful in the long-run if the measures taken by the administration are
always preceded by a careful weighing up of the interests and well-being of
all citizens.

I am sure that you take the responsibility assigned to you on behalf of the
citizens of Harare just as seriously as I do.

I would therefore ask you in the interest of Munich's twin city to do your
utmost to prevent further demolition measures as long as the people
concerned are not offered alternative accommodation, to provide food and
shelter for those who have already been made homeless and as soon as
possible to designate places where traders can pursue their efforts to
provide for themselves and their families.

Hep Monatzeder,

Mayor of the city of Munich,


*This letter was addressed to Harare Metropolitan Governor and Resident
Minister David Karimanzira
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Zim Independent


History shall judge you harshly Mr President

DOESN'T President Mugabe notice that he has crippled the country? Why can't
he resign like leaders in other countries do?

Doesn't he notice that Zimbabwe is the only country with over a quarter of
its population living outside its borders, yet the country is not at war?

Doesn't he think that he is stretching Zimbabweans' patience too far?

Ugandans are all over the world because of, the madness of Milton Obote and
Idi Amin, Nigerians because of the coups and military juntas, Congolese
because of the late Mobutu Sese Seko, Rwandese all over France because of
the madness of Interahamwe while Sudanese have fled xenophobic Arabs. Does
he think Zimbabweans fled the drought?

History will judge you harshly Mr President. You have tormented many souls -
including my mother's, because even if I send her some British pounds, she
can't get the essential commodities nor access the medicine prescribed for

Lucky you Mr President, you get everything you want. I hate you for that Mr
President.yes I hate you! I really hate you for tormenting my mother's

History shall judge you harshly just like it has done Emperor Bokassa,
Obote, Amin, Moi, Mobutu and other despots who once ruled countries on the
African continent. And your children and young wife shall also face the
music when the time comes.

Resign and let others take over and try to resuscitate the economy you have
badly destroyed.

Munhuwepi Asingasiyichigaro,

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Zim Independent


Forget the Senate, give us the vote!

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will always impose his wishes on the people of
Zimbabwe without ever stopping to think if the action he takes will add
value to the country for the good of Zimbabweans.

At some point I thought his promise to re-introduce the Senate was only
meant to induce Zanu PF candidates who had stood as independents to withdraw
their candidature in the March parliamentary elections.

Mugabe first revealed this intention when he met a female Zanu PF official
who had registered for election as an independent candidate in Masvingo.

I realised Mugabe was serious with his intention to please some cronies who
had lost in the primary elections when he maintained his stance after the

And even surprisingly, I read that Mugabe has ordered parliament to sit
earlier than scheduled in order to start debate on the constitutional
amendment to reintroduce the Senate, which at some point was disbanded
because it had proved a liability to the nation.

By so doing, Mugabe has proved that he doesn't care about the economic
crisis prevailing in Zimbabwe as the reintroduction of a Senate is an
unplanned for expense which can be avoided.

For us Zimbabweans in the diaspora, it could have made sense if Mugabe had
rushed a motion to amend the constitution to enable us to vote. We certainly
need the same rights that were extended to Mozambicans in the diaspora in
that country's last election.

Why does Mugabe not learn from some of the positive developments that are
happening next door? After all, the Mugabe regime was actively involved in
mobilising Mozambicans resident in Zimbabwe to register and vote in that

We (diasporans) are a major source of foreign currency for this regime, and
therefore Mugabe should really consider amending the constitution to allow
us to vote in future elections.

Maybe (central bank governor) Gideon Gono, Mugabe's economic and financial
advisor, should tell him that without the foreign currency brought in by
Zimbabweans in the diaspora, the country could have collapsed by now, and
encourage him (Mugabe) to take the issue seriously.

Failure to respond positively, we may have to channel our foreign currency
through the black market. After all, some of us failed to access Gono's
foreign currency when we left the country.

Having just joined the diaspora, I am so full of energy, and will soon start
mobilising other Zimbabweans living or working outside Zimbabwe not to send
their foreign currency through the official channels if they are not granted
their birthright to vote through a positive amendment of the constitution.

Benjamin Chitate,

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Zim Independent


Why this silence on Zim's saviour?

I FIND it disturbing that the governor of the Reserve Bank Gideon Gono
casually informs the High Court that, far from committing any wrong, former
Finance minister Chris Kuruneri, who is currently on trial for illegal
externalisation of funds, actually rescued Zimbabwe from catastrophe when he
chipped in with the US$500 000 transferred into a South African account "in
the national interest".

Why then did Gono stand by in silence while our innocent saviour languished
in remand prison for more than a year? How did Gono know that Kuruneri
possessed such a huge quantity of foreign currency in the first place, and
where did Kuruneri get this money from?

Perhaps Gono unwittingly gives the game away when he rambles on
unintelligibly about the story of a sick mother needing urgent medical

"I have the greatest appreciation of the help that accused gave to save my
mother then," Gono tells the court, referring to Kuruneri.

Apart from his real mother, there is only one person in Zimbabwe who could
possibly fit the bill of being the political mother and father of Gono. I
can only disclose his identity in camera.

"Extraordinary circumstances sometimes demand extraordinary dealings of
circumstances," Gono told the judge, whatever that means!

Could this same defence not apply to the many other bankers who were hounded
out of their banks and Zimbabwe by the same Gono when he was appointed
governor? It now turns out that Gono should also have been targeted. Can
these bankers now return to Zimbabwe and explain in camera the circumstances
surrounding their respective alleged misdemeanors?

I hope Gono's principals found his performance in court last Friday or
anywhere else before then, for that matter, entirely satisfactory.

Chenjerai Ngozi,

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Zim Independent


Proposed hikes scandalous

THE new proposal by Zesa to hike electricity charges by up to 600% flies in
the face of the central bank governor's efforts to bring down inflation and
is scandalous to say the least (Zimbabwe Independent, June 3).

Zesa should put their house in order in as far as service delivery is
concerned before they can start talking about any increase in power charges.

We cannot continue to sponsor inefficiency. This notion of bringing the cost
of this and that up in line with the regional or international prices does
not make sense if our salaries do not match those regions from which they
are bench-marking their charges.

Companies providing essential services must act responsibly and lead by
example if our national dream of reviving the economy is to become a

Fed Up!

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Zim Independent


Demolitions just a tip of the ice-berg

I WOULD like to comment on the political events currently taking place in
terms of the destruction of what government calls illegal structures in
Harare and surrounding areas.

This is just a tip of the ice-berg as more is coming considering the way
Zanu PF has treated perceived members of the opposition. People of Harare
are paying dearly for their show of no confidence in the ruling party, hence
the suffering.

When will our government plan before acting as in this case?

I believe and know that lots of well-to-do Zimbabweans today have been
brought up and raised by money that their parents saved through vending and

Informal types of business have sustained a lot of families, yet the
government which claims to represent the people treats them inhumanely.

How and when are those that have been left homeless going to get decent
accommodation, and how long will it take seeing that government is broke by
admitting it needs UN food relief after telling the world that it did not
need any aid from any quarter. Mugabe should not take people for granted.

Perhaps this is a tough lesson for people to learn where to put the Xs in
future elections.

Eddie Kwaramba,

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Zim Independent


THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)'s plan to hike power
charges is likely to cause more company closures and stoke up inflation,
which will hit the country's urban poor the hardest.
Zesa plans to hike energy tariffs by between 200% and 600% from July 1.
According to a preliminary schedule circulating in the power utility, large
companies and other commercial users of electricity will have their power
tariffs increased by 600%. Commercial users according to the Zesa definition
include manufacturers, mines, hotels and other industrial works.
Tariffs for domestic users will be increased by between 230% and 400% on a
sliding scale. The proposal document also says that domestic users currently
paying between $15 000-$20 000 per month will have their charges hiked by as
much as 400%.
Power used by the agricultural sector will be increased by 200% as part of
government's special dispensation for the sector in the hope of increasing
If the proposals sail through cabinet in their current form it means the
general public, who are classified under domestic users, will be paying an
average of 300% more for their electricity. Companies will be paying 600%
while the agricultural sector will pay 200% more.
The official justification for the increase is that Zimbabwe is charging far
less than what other countries in the region are charging. The plan,
according to sources at Zesa, is to eventually charge in line with regional
power prices. The other explanation is that Zesa needs to operate
commercially hence the need to charge viable tariffs.
But analysts say this could lead to a total collapse of key sectors of the
economy. They say the power hike will cause the economy to shrink further as
more companies close down. A manufacturing report released by the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries last year says that more than 1 000
companies have closed shop over the past five years owing to escalating
costs and a hostile trading and operating environment. Energy costs
constituted a large chunk of the broader
problems that sank most of the companies.
Experts warn that a 600% increase in power costs will certainly wipe out the
remaining few companies. It will drown the remnants of the once viable
manufacturing sector that are already on the brink of collapse. Mining, the
only sector that achieved positive growth last year, will also come
under siege from increased overheads.
Troubled mining companies such as Falgold have said that the old tariffs
were already suffocating them. The new charges will lead to their closure.
"The result is the closure of manufacturing and mining companies in the
country because that would be a huge increase on their costs," said
economist Eric Bloch. "If they don't close down then they would obviously
cut down production and lay off workers."
Bloch said the tariffs if introduced in the proposed form would be the death
knell on the industrial sector. "There are going to be massive retrenchments
because a number of companies will close. Energy is one of the highest
contributors to overheads," Bloch said.
Estimates show that energy contributes about 30% of the costs especially in
manufacturing sector. It is the biggest cost for the tourism sector at the
moment, which is already reeling from a slump in tourist arrivals. Hotels
are currently battling to pay their electricity bills.
But the biggest impact, analysts say, would be the ripple effects of the
hike on the public whose disposable incomes have already been eroded by
inflation. They say the new increase in electricity prices would stoke
inflation and throw into disarray the Reserve Bank's plans to reduce
inflation. Bloch said an increase of that magnitude would send inflation
hurtling to about 400% by year-end compared to 50-80% that Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono had targeted by December.
Perhaps the devastating effect would be seen in the prices of basic
commodities that would shoot up in reaction to the new tariffs. When energy
costs rise manufacturers pass on the crippling costs to customers. The
result is a sudden surge in prices of basic commodities, further
impoverishing the common man.
President of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers' Union George Kawenda
said power charges would squeeze the common man who is already struggling to
make ends meet. "It means increased levels of poverty especially in the
urban areas. It means the people will have very little money at their
disposal to use for other things," Kawenda said.
"These increases are made without consideration for fundamentals. There is
no consideration of how much people are earning now," he said. "It would be
difficult for companies to review salaries that match that increase," he
Other analysts said Zesa is making consumers pay for its inefficiencies.
They said Zesa had over the years accumulated borrowed holes in its books
because of undercapitalisation. "The customers are now being overcharged to
cover the financing costs of this debt. Zesa must be efficiently run," said
an economist with a local bank.
"The customers are paying Zesa's debts," he said.
Zimbabwe has enough power generators that Zesa is failing to utilise. The
country has since independence increased its dependence on imported power
because it cannot maintain its own power resources. The power generators
around the country are a shambles.
Zesa has not been able to acquire spare parts needed to keep the generators
running. Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations have the potential to
produce 20% of the country's electricity needs but they are almost idle.
Generators at the Hwange Thermal Power plant and Kariba Hydro power station
are perennially down owing to a shortage of spare parts.
This has forced Zesa to turn to South Africa's Eskom and Mozambique's Hydro
Cahorra Bassa for supplementary power. The dependence on external suppliers
has increased drastically over the years and Zimbabwe now imports 33% of its
power. This is despite the fact that with proper management Zesa could
produce enough energy for the whole country.
The hike also highlights the serious defects in the RBZ's policy to splash
money on parastatals ostensibly to improve their operations. Zesa was one of
the first parastatals to feed from the RBZ trough with a $50 billion grant
under the Productive Sector Facility. The loan has however failed to improve
Zesa's service provision.
In fact, Zesa this week introduced power rationing as part of efforts to
"save power". The load-shedding is likely to continue for as long as the
foreign currency crisis persists. This, monetary experts say, shows that it
is a fallacy for Gono to believe that he can
improve parastatals by dishing out billions.

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Zim Independent

When it fails, Zanu PF turns violent
By Nelson Chamisa/Frank Matandirotya
THE on-going so-called "clean-up" exercise by the Zanu PF government is
shameful. Thousands have been rendered homeless and thousands more have had
their sources of income destroyed by the so-called "Operation Murambatsvina".

But to us in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) there is more at stake
here, and questions have arisen which need answers from Zanu PF.

Why did the government allow Siyaso in Mbare to sprout over the past 25
years? Why did Zanu PF allow flea markets to sprout during the
self-glorified Third Chimurenga? Why were those aligned to Zanu PF allowed
to form housing cooperatives in and around Harare and why is it illegal now?

The answer is very simple: politics was at play. Zanu PF wanted votes and
power and since the year 2000 the people in all urban areas have
continuously rejected the regime.

In short this is a retribution exercise, as we know that Zanu PF is a state,
regime and government moulded into a seamless whole sustained by violence.
Zanu PF has been reproducing and institutionalising violence since
Independence in 1980.

Poverty and powerlessness are then born out of this, with political
repression and material scarcity being the order of the day. Instead of the
freedom and prosperity that are the legitimate goals of citizens globally,
the Zanu PF order has not been able to find legitimacy in the eyes of the
people of Zimbabwe whom it has reduced to subjects.

But this malformed political order is dying because new social forces,
forged in a cauldron of violence and the unremitting serfdom and scarcity
that are its legacy, are now pressing against the barricades. In short this
suggests that the current regime of institutionalised despotism will
collapse under the weight of violence and present inequities.

As social and economic conditions worsen in Zimbabwe, politics is no longer
the instrument through which contending interests are conciliated in a
structured framework. For Zanu PF politics is itself a struggle for control
of power, which is then used to further and consolidate political ends. If
holding on to power is its primary motive, why does the Zanu PF government
persist in causing so much devastation to civilians?

Events during the past two weeks have illustrated the divide between those
who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the methods of gangsters;
between those who honour the rights of man and those who deliberately take
the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.

Political parties that fight terror as if the lives of their own people
depend on it will earn the favourable judgement of history. Zanu PF knows
these alternatives and has made its choice.

The Zanu PF government is a sponsor and servant of terror. When confronted
the regime chooses defiance. The people of Zimbabwe are meeting hardships
and challenges like every nation that has set out on the path of democracy.

The MDC promises lives of dignity and freedom and that is a world away from
the squalid, vicious tyranny the people of Zimbabwe have known; because free
people embrace hope over resentment and choose peace over violence.

Having helped liberate Zimbabwe, the MDC will honour its pledge to build a
stable and peaceful country. Millions will see that freedom, equality and
material progress are possible in our country.

The people of this country will face the clearest evidence that free
institutions and an open society is the only path to long-term national
success and dignity. For we know that there is a special evil in the abuse
and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable by Zanu PF for its
selfish political ends.

But we must show new energy in fighting back an old evil. We know that
Soviet Communism failed precisely because it did not respect its own people,
their creativity, their genius and their rights.

The day of Zanu PF tyranny is passing. Freedom has a momentum that cannot be
halted. Historians will note that in many countries the advance of markets
and free enterprise helped to create a middle class that was confident
enough to demand their rights.

In fact, the prosperity and social vitality of a people are directly
determined by the extent of their liberty. Freedom honours and unleashes
human creativity and creativity determines the strength and wealth of
nations. The progress of liberty is a powerful trend.

Yet we also know that liberty if not defended can be lost. By definition the
success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples
and upon their willingness to sacrifice. Today our people live in captivity
fear and silence. Yet the regime cannot hold back freedom forever.

Rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we
will stand with the oppressed until the day of freedom finally arrives.

We should strengthen the people's faith in the power of civil society. We
should seek truth and integrity for our fellow citizens to avoid the country's
disintegration. We should rescue this country from its current descent
because we believe in the power of ordinary people.

Our dream is to help our country develop a relationship between the state
and its citizens that is not based on fear. We are still at the beginning of
the road. It's a matter of having enough faith.

*Nelson Chamisa is the MDC national youth chairman and MP for Kuwadzana.
Frank Matandirotya is the MDC district secretary for Chikomba.

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Zim Independent

Gono is visionless and must go now
By Patrick Mlambo
AFTER reading Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's monetary
policy statement, I was left wondering whether this man knows what he is

In fact, the long and short of it is that he should resign. Gono cannot see
that he cannot change things. He has no solutions to the current problems.

His resignation is the most useful decision he should make under the present
circumstances. He should bite the bullet and let go the governorship.

Gono's monetary policy review, presented last month, is nothing more than
hogwash. It does not promise anything to the ordinary man. It does not say
anything positive. It gives nothing to look forward to. It sends shivers
down the spines of those he promised to pin down. It is full of retribution.

The ordinary man has no interest in Gono's retribution, because he gains
nothing from it. The men whom he wants to descend on are not excited either.
Gono wants to name and shame those involved in corrupt activities. What will
that achieve?

We witnessed this kind of retribution in the late 80s through the Sandura
Commission. Maybe Gono never learnt anything - that the culprits were all
pardoned except for those who had already died.

What therefore does Gono think he will achieve by this act of retribution?
This is senseless as it will achieve nothing. I never expected it from the
RBZ governor.

This man fails to understand his role. Can he be told that he is the RBZ
governor and not a politician. He should learn to leave politics to
politicians. Politicians determine fiscal policy and that should be left as
their domain.

Gono's role should be to convince the politicians and lobby them on the
merits of aligning their fiscal policy with his monetary policy. It is not
his duty to spell out fiscal policy. I am sure no one gave him a job
description when he took over. It is not his territory.

Little wonder there are reports of certain sections of the ruling party
calling for his head. Yes, they cannot leave him alone because he is growing
bigger than a simple governor. He is usurping ministerial powers. He is
slowly becoming a Jonathan Moyo of the previous parliament and cabinet and
for that he should step down or get the boot.

As if the above is not enough, the nature of retribution Gono proposes for
exporters resembles a lot of folly on his part. It shows a lack of vision.

Exporters are the source of meaningful inflows of foreign currency. More of
these people are required to get Zimbabwe from where it is. It is their
foreign currency that we require as a country, and not the diaspora dollar
or pound.

I am not sure what their response would be, in a country without that
currency, to a policy statement that promises to deal with them viciously
for "wrongs" that they do. They are smarter than Gono by all means. And a
crackdown on them would worsen things.

Gono can take all the exporters, all Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers and
officials and all cops to jail, but the ones who replace them will be
equally corrupt if not worse. It's not about retribution, Dr Gono. It is
about a change in mindset. It is about a change in values.

It is about teaching children to grow up as good citizens. It is about
teaching children in homes. It is not about teaching them "not to steal
because if you are caught you will go to jail". It is about teaching them to
be "good citizens" and also that "good citizens do not steal because
stealing is bad". Gono is teaching the former and it is a pity he is
teaching adults and not children.

This requires a national approach, not one of violent enforcement as is the
case now.

See now he has been sucked into the Chris Kuruneri saga. Maybe it is true he
in fact facilitated the transfers, in which case he might be found guilty.
Any full investigation of his tenure as CBZ chief can bring out a lot more
things against him.

Gono needs to give government some explanations regarding the
Zimbabwe/Malaysia bilateral payment arrangement and how that money made
available by government to the "productive sector" to buy stuff from
Malaysia was utilised in procuring stuff from our neighbours South Africa.

In his position he is not only expected to be free from corruption, but must
be seen to be free from it. The Kuruneri saga will cast a lot of doubt about
him despite what the final verdict on his involvement is. It would therefore
be gracious for him to step down now.

In addition, we read about Gono having sanctioned the purchase of 50
state-of-the-art cars for use by the RBZ in fighting corruption. I am told
those cars are at the RBZ depot in Msasa. Imagine, 50 cars for the RBZ when
the Ministry of Health is using ox-drawn ambulances in Seke.

Yes, 50 cars to enforce his retribution when people are dying en route to
hospitals in ox-drawn ambulances. It beats all reason. These are cars that
will be parked kwaMereki during weekends and at rural homes over holidays.

Gono is not aware of where he starts and ends. He has turned the RBZ
governorship into a political post and wants to do everything and be
everyone. It is a total recipe for disaster. He should leave politics to
politicians and lobby them for alignment of their policies with his.

*Patrick Mlambo is a Zimbabwean writing from New Zealand.

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Zim Independent


Spreading tentacles of patronage
GOVERNMENT this week started to demarcate residential stands and to
re-allocate market stalls to "deserving people" in the aftermath of the
state-sponsored tsunami, Operation Murambatsvina.
Prospective beneficiaries were registering to be considered for the
re-allocated stands and stalls which the authorities said would bring order
to various urban centres. We were not however surprised by the presence of
Zanu PF sharks who ironically have contributed immensely to bringing
disorder and confusion to town planning by encouraging people to build
houses on unserviced plots and without change-of-use permission.
The state media showed Nyasha Chikwinya as one of the dignitaries at a
registration centre. Details of her illegal housing project in Hatcliffe
have been reported.
The government has said apart from demarcating and reallocating stands in
urban areas, it will publish the names of the beneficiaries in the press to
ensure equitable distribution of resources.
We will not be duped into believing that the Zanu PF government has become a
doyen of transparency and is acting responsibly. The government has never
been known to possess this virtue when it comes to the allocation of scarce
national resources. All its actions have been steeped in the mire of
political patronage.
The government of President Mugabe in its clientelist mode has built a
complex system of power largely based on its ability to co-opt interest
groups in society through a patronage system in which they exchange support
for the regime for material benefits.
In South America, the system of clientelism has been the hallmark of
successive governments who have managed to reward small interest groups such
as land-invaders, collective taxi drivers, and street vendors, to enable
them to organise and have access to public space to exercise their
profession. The practice of rewards also takes place among big business
people who are awarded state contracts or access to cheap money from
governments in exchange for their unwavering support for the establishment.
There are traits of this unsavoury practice inbuilt into the ruling elite in
Harare. The government has been very adept in ensuring that key people
across the social spectrum are adequately catered for.
It is a practice which ensures that strategic partners get prime positions
at the feeding trough. It is a system that seeks to hoodwink the public into
believing that the state is benevolent and keen to correct colonial
imbalances by redistributing resources. At the end of the day, deserving
cases have been elbowed out of the queues and those who should benefit from
the state's welfare system are as poor as ever.
It is sad to note that those politically connected are always at the front
of the queues or do not queue at all to access state largesse. There are
senior civil servants and military, police and security officials who have
become very rich because of this patronage.
Firstly, they were allocated productive and well-equipped farms during the
ill-fated resettlement exercise. Then they accessed cheap loans from
government. Next they were in the government scheme to acquire tractors and
irrigation equipment.
They have not repaid loans but they still get the opportunity to have
another helping at the feeding trough even though there is a long list of
hungry Zimbabweans locked outside.
It is not surprising to discover that these are the same people who looted
funds from the Pay for Your House Scheme in the mid-1990s. There are still
thousands of teachers, nurses and clerks who contributed their meagre
earnings to the scheme in the hope of owning a house one day but their dream
was shattered when crooks in high office hijacked the scheme. Today
thousands of poor civil servants are still waiting for their houses. Good
luck to those who deposited millions of dollars each with a commercial bank
under government's new housing scheme two years ago!
Chiefs and other junior traditional leaders have been given cars when
district hospitals do not have ambulances. Chiefs' houses have been
electrified yet clinics still use candles and do not have running water.
There are also scraps for the selected lot lower down the social ladder.
These come in the form of bags of seed and fertiliser, preferential
treatment in accessing relief aid and even a party T-shirt with a portrait
of Mugabe emblazoned on it.
All these beneficiaries form various layers of support for the establishment
because their collective consciences have been bribed. That includes those
responsible for upholding the law.
It is no wonder we have become poorer by the day when the chosen few live in
a different world of unrivalled plenty. The connection between the wealthy
few and the impoverished many in a system that is unaccountable and grossly
self-indulgent should be obvious to even the most simple-minded observer.
Operation Murambatsvina, if nothing else, has laid bare that national trait.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

'Operation Clean-Up' economic folly
MANY will not agree, but some definitive action by the government was long
overdue in respect of the endlessly growing shantytowns, and particularly
those on the periphery of business and residential areas of Zimbabwe's major
Similarly, constructive action was very necessary in respect of the tens of
thousands of informal sector operators who over-populated certain areas,
such as Mbare in Harare, with ramshackle, potentially dangerous trading
Action was necessary because the growing shantytowns and the crowded
informal sector trading zones were increasingly becoming a major potential
health hazard, not only to those living or trading in those areas, but to
society as a whole. The almost total absence of sewerage and toilet and
ablution facilities, and the mountains of refuse that characterised almost
all those areas were fast becoming the prospective source of disease in
general and especially for a possible cholera epidemic outbreak.
And action was also necessary because of the rapidly increasing extent of
criminal activity in many of the unauthorised trading areas by vast numbers
(but not all) of the informal traders. The criminal activities included
trading in stolen goods and in hazardous drugs such as mbanje and gold
sourced from panners or stolen from mines and the operation of a thriving
black market of foreign currencies while commerce and industry, and all
other formal economic sectors, have been critically short of such currencies
in order to continue their operations, and thereby provide employment and
produce much of Zimbabwe's needs.
Although there have been numerous causes of Zimbabwe's pronounced economic
decline, to the point of near total collapse - and the greatest of such
causes is undoubtedly the government - nevertheless certain informal sector
operators are very major contributors to that economic decline.
So, some very substantive actions by the government were very necessary. The
most constructive of such actions would have been for the government to
desist in its diverse policies which have yielded little but economic
destruction, and vigorously to have embarked upon alternative policies as
would bring about genuine, rapid, and substantial economic recovery.
Such recovery would assure employment creation, minimising the need to
resort to informal sector activities, and would generate state revenues
which could be applied to accelerated housing development and to creation of
informal sector trading centres. But to have done so would have meant the
government would have had to acknowledge the abysmal failure of its
programme of land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement and sought to
realign it to that which had been agreed upon at the Harare Donors
Conference in 1998, and again in Abuja in 2001, but resolutely reneged by
the government.
It would also have meant adherence to the principles of democracy in the
entirety, establishment of a genuinely and totally free and fair judiciary,
respect for human rights, humane enforcement of law and order, creation of
an investment-welcoming environment and constructive and reciprocally
respectful interaction with the international community. Regrettably, to
expect such actions from the government is naivety in the extreme, and
therefore other actions had to be expected of the government.
Such actions needed to be humane. They needed to recognise the dire
circumstances of those living in the shantytowns and those which had forced
so many to turn to informal sector operations as the only way whereby they
could survive.
But the government does not have much of a reputation for respect for human
rights. The actions of the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland in the mid-1980s
are well known. It has had no hesitation in legislating oppressive laws such
as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public
Order and Security Act, and an equal absence of hesitation in incarcerating
persons for many months before they are brought to trial.
So instead of seeking to address the shantytown and informal trader issues
humanely, the government resorted to brute force. Justifying its actions as
necessary in order to restore economic wellbeing to Zimbabwe, it applied
unmitigated brutality.
At the height of winter, tens of thousands, including numerous children,
have been rendered homeless, subjected to the suffering inflicted upon them
by the elements, while at the same time they have been deprived of their
only remaining sources of income, and therefore now face an appalling future
of poverty, malnutrition and ill-health.
Not only is that the fate for those who lived in the shantytowns and those
who traded in unauthorised trading areas, but the same fate has been imposed
upon many who were operating with requisite authority, such as many of the
flower sellers in the designated area of Africa Unity Square.
And the economic consequences are horrendous. Instead of having the alleged
beneficial economic results, the reverse is the case. First of all, there
will inevitably now be an upsurge in crime, for how else will the displaced
survive. They will resort to burglary, theft, car-breaking, pick-pocketing,
black marketeering and the like. Who can blame them, if they have been
deprived of all other avenues of income generation?
Secondly, the previously distressingly low levels of business confidence,
which were hindering economic revival, have sunk to the lowest levels as a
direct effect of witnessing yet further excessive governmental
And internationally, Zimbabwe having become an ever-greater pariah, its
image has been further blackened and cast lower than ever before, to the
prejudice of attracting investment, obtaining lines of credit and restoring
Zimbabwe as a renowned tourism destination.
Action by the government to deal with the dangers and ills of the
shantytowns and of the informal trading areas was critically necessary, but
not the actions taken, and still being pursued. Those actions were, and are,
inhuman and monstrous in the extreme, and pronounced economic folly.
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Zim Independent


Not-so-Bright Matonga speaks
WE were interested to read the story on Information deputy minister Bright
Matonga urging youths to "become self-reliant" in Zimbabwe's shrinking
employment market. Matonga was addressing 300 students in his Ngezi
"The most affected by the unemployment crisis are school-leavers with
neither training nor experience," Matonga pointed out, explaining this was
the reason government had set up the ministries of Small and Medium
Enterprises Development and Youth Development and Employment Creation.
This sounds like a huge contradiction. In case Matonga hadn't noticed there
is currently a massive crackdown by the police and local authorities against
informal traders and small-scale indigenous operators. How many informal
traders have had their future ruined in the current operation with either
direct or tacit approval of either government or city council?
How does Matonga reconcile his anguished plea for self-reliance with his
government's ruthless crackdown against those seeking to be self-reliant
through informal trade?
On another note, Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo said government
would soon come up with less stringent standards for housing construction
that would cut costs by as much as 68%. He said local authorities were
failing to adapt and consequently their requirements made it impossible to
reduce housing backlogs in urban areas. He said council requirements were
"British-oriented" and too costly for Zimbabweans.
Is the order that council and government are trying to "restore" in urban
areas any less British? How is Chombo going to Africanise it we wonder?

We feel sorry for the poor mandarin who, for whatever reason, insinuated
that The Voice newspaper was not the official mouthpiece of Zanu PF. The
editor of the paper, Lovemore Mataire, went ballistic that the tag of party
mouthpiece had wrongly been bestowed on the Herald by a government official
who should otherwise know better.
The official was reminded in no uncertain terms that in Zimbabwe "an
individual is Zanu PF first before being a government minister".
"With all the tireless efforts that I have done in uplifting this paper,"
fumed Mataire in his Candid Brief column, "it is disheartening that there
are some within or among us" who don't appreciate the paper's role.
Mataire needn't worry. The Voice is appreciated about as much as the Chinese
People's Daily!
But seriously folks, we wonder how much the paper is taken seriously outside
party structures. Especially when it claims that a company quoted on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange such as Zimpapers "is a private company and not a
public company". So much for party indoctrination!

One thing that one cannot take away from former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo is that in his operations you could easily see the workings of
an evil mind, at once fascinating and repellent. He did his job with a
finesse which is evidently lacking from his successors. He gave the state
media life, albeit for the wrong reasons in the main. Without him Operation
Murambatsvina has been reduced to a humdrum affair whose overall purpose
remains tenebrous.
When we thought it couldn't get any worse, Matonga showed us we were wrong.
He has decided on a news blackout on the destruction of shacks and other
illegal urban structures, according to a weekly paper. While Newsnet was
following behind Chombo this week showing us what government was doing for
displaced people, there was not a single video clip on the havoc going on in
Highfield, Glen View and other high density suburbs. But they had images of
US Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo, courtesy of politically-correct editing.
Then Monday's 8 o'clock main news led with people commenting on the Warriors'
game against Gabon on Sunday, won through a dubious penalty that would have
been better forgotten. Obviously taking instructions from the same
not-so-Bright mind, the Herald ran an editorial comment on Tuesday titled:
"Warriors' battle for glory a national issue".
As we have already said, at least there was something to admire in Moyo's
calculating mind although he irritated all and sundry by trivialising our
sense of judgement of issues. Unfortunately he has been replaced by a
slouching, almost sightless pair that can only lead us to hell.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has emphatically denied reports that he is dead.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba, who told Mugabe he was reportedly
dead as a result of heart failure, said the president laughed off the
The Zimbabwe Independent two weeks ago reported that Mugabe had visited a
heart specialist in Harare. We did not at any point suggest he was dead. But
if Charamba wishes to add value to our story he is welcome to do so.
Mugabe was in fact as "fit as a teenager", Charamba said. "He is in the best
of health and is at work. Those doubting can check on Thursday when he
addresses parliament."
We definitely hope a lot of people did check and Muckraker awaits their
verdict after hearing what the government will offer the country in the
forthcoming session. We also hope that Charamba is aware that today's
teenagers are hardly the best measure of a healthy person for the obvious
reasons, in addition to unemployment, hunger and other ills that go with a
country whose economy stopped functioning some five years ago.
Some observers, by the way, have pointed out that what ails the president is
not so much heart failure as Yellow Fever. He can only see allies in
countries like China which will not criticise his oppressive policies.

Muckraker would like to put to rest a mischievous story doing the rounds. It
was reported that during talks at the White House last week between
President George Bush and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki an intruder broke into
the grounds. CNN showed the man being wrestled to the ground by security
This was not, as some observers unkindly suggested, Morgan Tsvangirai
carrying out a one-man protest. Nor is it true that he was shouting: "It was
a stitch-up.We wuz robbed."
Although those words may well come to mind in the context of the March poll,
the intruder did not utter them. Nor is it true that Mbeki told Bush:
"Disregard him. He follows me everywhere. I have never seen him before in my

We were interested to hear Benjamin Mkapa's words of wisdom flowing from the
Africa Economic Summit meeting in Cape Town. How come he is suddenly an
expert on Operation Murambatsvina?
"A secondary economy should be dealt with in any economy," he opined,
"especially during the time when attempts are being made to re-establish
stability. The government of Zimbabwe is just trying to formalise the
So that's what it's doing?
You have to be truly ignorant of Zimbabwe's recent economic history to come
up with such a facile explanation. The formal economy has contracted by 30%
over the past five years - and is still shrinking. Investors have fled the
country in droves because of threats to their companies from people like
Joseph Chinotimba and chaotic fiscal measures which make it impossible to do
business. The burgeoning informal sector is a symptom of government's
failure to sustain the formal sector.
Tanzania, after 40 years of economic-management failure, has more recently
adopted a completely different approach that has witnessed growth and
stability as a result. That enables Mkapa to express revolutionary
solidarity at international fora but to avoid like the plague the sort of
policies his friend President Mugabe is pursuing in Zimbabwe.
What intrigues us is how much longer Tony Blair and Gordon Brown can go on
talking about the need to throw more money at Africa when people like Mkapa,
although pursuing sound policies at home, are aiding and abetting Zimbabwe's
descent into chaos.
It was not long ago that any friendly visitor passing anywhere near Harare
was asked to say a few words in support of Zimbabwe's land reform policies.
We don't hear much about those any more. But it seems regional leaders are
now being asked to say something idiotic about Operation Murambatsvina. Who
will be the next poor sucker?

Still with medical matters, UN special envoy James Morris appears to suffer
from a disease known as diplomatic paralysis brought on by policy
contradictions. Unable to speak out on how poor governance leads to food
shortages, he clearly believes that it is better to admit failure than
exhibit anything so inconvenient as firm values.
Asked in Johannesburg on his return from Harare last Wednesday if the recent
crackdown had not made Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis worse, he paused for
30 seconds, during which journalists wondered if he would ever speak again,
only to concede: "I have no answer for that."
Indeed, that probably goes for the UN as a whole!

Still on the subject of diplomacy, we were sorry to say goodbye to South
Africa's ambassador Jeremiah Ndou. A consummate diplomat, Ndou played his
cards close to his chest. He was kept on here well beyond his normal
transfer date in order to mediate talks between Zanu PF and the MDC - a
mission from hell!
He showed what an accomplished diplomat he was last weekend by giving a
lengthy interview to Herald political editor Caesar Zvayi during the course
of which he managed to avoid disclosing one single thing of interest!
Somebody might like to count the number of times he referred to the
"challenges" Zimbabwe faced and see if some sort of record was broken.
"Challenges" is the new diplomatic buzzword to describe far-reaching
structural problems like dictatorship and starvation.
Ndou was not asked the obvious question: Why do you believe sanctions are
inappropriate for Zimbabwe because they isolate the country when your party
advocated sanctions against South Africa throughout the 1970s and 80s?
Was that not to isolate a brutal and abusive regime?
Ndou said when on leave in South Africa he read press reports on Zimbabwe
and couldn't believe this was the same country where he was stationed. A
picture was presented of collapse in which there was no life and people
couldn't move around.
Was this before or after Operation Murambatsvina, we wonder?
While the media was there to criticise, he admonished, it was incumbent on
them to report the good things that government was doing.
Perhaps when he has thought of a few examples he could write and tell us.

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