Judge blacklisted Vincent Kahiya IN a major
indictment of Zimbabwe's electoral process, the European Union has extended
its list of Zimbabweans under targeted sanctions to include head of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Justice George Chiweshe, the Zimbabwe
Independent can reveal.
The new list published on Monday also includes
the ZEC's chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, and head of the
Electoral Supervisory Commission, Theophilus Pharoah Gambe.
three electoral officers join former elections supremo, Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede, on the list.
The other four ZEC members are however
not on the list.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the new list includes "all senior members
of the new government and politburo and senior figures involved in
manipulating the election".
Chiweshe was appointed head of the ZEC by
President Robert Mugabe in January as Zimbabwe made a half-hearted attempt to
ensure the electoral process conformed to Southern African Development
Community standards on democratic elections agreed in Mauritius last year.
The other members of the commission were appointed by agreement between Zanu
PF and the opposition MDC.
The credibility of the ZEC was put to the
test a few days after the March poll when the electoral body failed to
reconcile its figures of people who voted in individual
The electoral officers join ministers and senior
officials in Mugabe's government who are banned from setting foot in Europe.
Straw said the travel ban and asset freeze had been expanded from 95 to 120
names following the March election.
"This decision emphasises the
EU's continued concerns about the lack of democracy and respect for human
rights and the rule of law that exists in Zimbabwe, and the failure of Mugabe
and his regime to respond to international calls for reform," he
The EU's targeted sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe in
February 2002 after Zimbabwe expelled the EU election observer team from the
The ban on senior electoral officers from travelling to
Europe or holding assets there is further confirmation of Europe's lack of
confidence in the country's electoral system.
changes in the set-up of the Zanu PF politburo and new appointments to
cabinet, the EU has only removed from the list the names of those Zanu PF
officials who died between the time the list was last renewed and now. These
are Witness Mangwende and Enos Chikowore.
Former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo who was expelled from the party and is now an independent MP
remains on the list, as does former Finance minister Simba Makoni who failed
to land the presidency of the African Development Bank last
New entrants include Information minister and former
ambassador to the UN Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy Bright Matonga, Foreign
minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who spent many years as a diplomat in Europe,
most recently as ambassador in London, Water Resources and Infrastructure
Development minister Munacho Mutezo, and provincial governors Ray Kaukonde
(Mashonaland East) and Tinaye Chigudu (Manicaland).
Chimutengwende, who returned to cabinet as Minister of State for Public and
Interactive Affairs, is now also banned from travelling to Europe together
with Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwawo who is Science and Technology deputy
The additions to the EU list came as Australia this week
announced it was tightening its sanctions regime against Zimbabwe. In a
statement on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer said this was
in response to government's demolition of shelters and market stalls in urban
He said Zimbabweans transiting to a third country through
Australia were now required to have visas. He said the government's actions
had created an internal refugee crisis at a time of food shortages caused by
economic mismanagement and drought.
"Once again the Mugabe regime
has demonstrated its contempt for basic human rights and the rule of law,"
Other additions to the list:
Hubert Nyanhongo -
Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications;
Richard Ndlovu - Deputy
Minister for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development;
Damasane - Deputy Minister for Women's Affairs;
Sylvester Nguni - Deputy
Minister for Agriculture;
Edwin Muguti - Deputy Minister for
Joel Biggie Matiza - Deputy Minister for Rural
Obert Matshalaga - Deputy Minister of Foreign
Tendai Savanhu - Zanu PF deputy secretary for transport and
Khantibhal Patel - Zanu PF deputy secretary for
George Nyathi - Zanu PF deputy secretary of science and
RBZ's office falls prey to clean-up Shakeman
Mugari POLICE have destroyed an illegal structure which the Reserve Bank used
as its foreign currency-purchasing centre in Kariba.
which the RBZ leased from a local entrepreneur Rhinos Taonameso, was
demolished last week under government's Operation Murambatsvina because it
had not been approved by the Kariba Town Council.
The building also
housed a curio shop belonging to Sabina Mbewe who is mother of MDC
councillor, Rodney Mbewe. The council declared three weeks ago that the
building was illegal.
The RBZ has been operating from the building
since last year. The centre was located at the intersection of Main Way and
Windsor Street adjacent to Kariba's main fuel service station.
had been strategically located on the road to Caribbea Bay Hotel to cater for
tourists travelling there.
"I think they shifted over the weekend,
they were taking out their furniture and computers last Saturday," said a
businessman with offices in the same street.
Workers at the
purchasing centre have since been sent on indefinite leave while the RBZ
makes frantic efforts to get new offices.
By yesterday the central
bank had not found any offices to accommodate its foreign currency-purchasing
An official at the RBZ's main exchange control office in
Kariba confirmed that the centre had been demolished.
offices were demolished. The building they were using was illegal. I am sure
it was not on the plan," said the official.
"I am sure they will find
a new office very soon," he said. "Right now the guys (workers at the centre)
are not coming to work, they will resume when new offices are
People wanting to change their foreign currency now have to
travel about 150km to Chirundu border post. The other option is to travel
more than 250km to Chinhoyi to transact with commercial banks
The move is a huge inconvenience to the few regional and
international tourists who are still trickling into Kariba.
situation has been made worse by the absence of a commercial bank in Kariba
and Karoi. CFX Financial Services, the only remaining bank in Kariba, closed
down in December after it was placed under curatorship.
Karoi have also left due to lower business after the destruction of the
agricultural sector in the area under the chaotic land reform
Meanwhile, information to hand indicates that police have
threatened to destroy properties housing surgeries and pharmacies in Kariba
saying they were illegal.
Govt bars help for blitz victims Augustine
Mukaro GOVERNMENT has barred humanitarian groups from assisting thousands
of families whose shanty homes and informal businesses were destroyed under
the controversial "Operation Murambatsvina" in a move described by observers
as a desperate attempt by government to cover up the catastrophe the
campaign has created.
The clean-up campaign has left more than 300 000
urban families homeless, jobless and destitute after flea markets, stalls,
tuckshops as well as backyard lodgings were destroyed.
operation, which government alleges is meant to rid urban areas of criminals,
has been met with condemnation from all angles.
who had availed food, blankets and medicines to the destitute victims living
in the open have been told to stop their
"Some NGOs have now resorted to providing
assistance through churches," sources said.
churches in Hatcliffe and Mabvuku-Tafara are distributing food, blankets as
well as other humanitarian assistance to the evicted people."
United Nations in conjunction with the International Organisation
for Migration and other humanitarian assistance non-governmental
organisations this week petitioned government on the deteriorating situation
among the displaced families who are in need of food and
Senior officials at the Social Welfare ministry, which
approves humanitarian assistance, said governors of provinces had been
ordered to block donor groups from distributing food and clothes to the
clean-up campaign victims because such aid would expose the shortcomings of
the controversial campaign.
Officials said government fears that
by allowing donors to intervene, it would be admitting that its actions have
caused a humanitarian crisis. So the donors will be kept away while
government works out solutions.
Last week Manicaland governor Tinaye
Chigudu was reportedly stopping NGOs from distributing medicines and food. He
said he had done so only because he wanted to consult with his superiors in
Chigudu said: "They came to me with proposals that included
medicines, food and repatriation. I told them to hold on to the assistance
because I needed to consult my superiors in government.
a national policy on donations and I cannot go against that. I did not want
to find myself in the unusual situation of being the only governor working at
variance with other governors and local authorities. But that does not mean I
Government last year ordered that food assistance be
restricted to targeted groups such as orphans, HIV and Aids patients and the
But President Robert Mugabe this month made a U-turn by
accepting World Food Programme food assistance to feed an estimated four
million Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.
at more than 80%, the majority of Zimbabweans depended on informal trading to
survive, while even those lucky to have a formal job also supplement their
inflation-eroded salaries through informal trade.
said the informal sector had become a vital safety net in a country now in
its sixth year of severe economic recession.
Failure to provide
proper housing by underfunded and generally mismanaged urban councils has
seen the sprouting of illegal peri-urban settlements around major cities.
Bulawayo vendors take police to court Loughty
Dube AS the ongoing nationwide clean-up operation continues, the
Bulawayo Upcoming Traders Association (Buta), a grouping of hawkers and
vendors, has filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking an
interdict stopping the police from continuing with the operation.
urgent chamber application is expected to be heard today at the Bulawayo High
Court before Justice Maphios Cheda.
The lawyer representing the
vendors, Robert Ndlovu of James, Moyo, Majwabu and Associates, confirmed that
the matter had been set for a hearing.
The latest application by Buta
is among several that have been filed by residents and hawkers countrywide
challenging the destruction of illegal structures and the removal of traders
from designated and undesignated areas by the police.
have cited the officer commanding Bulawayo Province, Mpumelelo Sunduza, as
the first respondent while the Commis-sioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri and
the Bulawayo City Council have been cited as the se-cond and third
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, a
fortnight ago filed another High Court application in a bid to stop the
police from destroying houses and vending stalls.
"We are advised
and verily believe that the police's actions are illegal and have no
"We are also advised and verily believe
that if the police force genuinely
intended to carry out a clean-up
exercise as they allege, and if ever there was anything wrong with the
structures erected by the traders, the former should have sought and obtained
an order from this honourable court to destroy the structures," the vendors'
court application said.
The vendors allege that the confiscation of
merchandise by the police is a direct violation of the law and contravenes
sections of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
further advised and verily believe our members were entitled to be given
sufficient notice in terms of the law and natural rules of justice to remedy
whatever the police call illegal structures.
"The applicant has no
problem with the police arresting those people trading without licences and
in undesignated areas, but disputes the interference by the police with
licenced traders carrying on business in their lawfully allocated bays by the
third respondent," reads the court papers.
The police blitz
countrywide has affected both registered and unregistered vendors. The
vendors, in their court application, want the police to be interdicted from
seizing and confiscating merchandise, or interfering with the occupation, and
trading in the designated areas by licenced traders.
A FRESH and seemingly
irreparable rift has developed between government and Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) over how to help victims of government's "Operation
A series of meetings between the two parties this week
came to nothing after government scoffed at NGOs' efforts to alleviate the
plight of those affected by the operation.
In Harare alone an
estimated 300 000 families have been displaced in the clean-up campaign which
started three weeks ago.
Most of them are now camped at Caledonia
Documents in the possession the Zimbabwe Independent show that
on Wednesday NGOs wanted government to stop the controversial campaign and
allow the provision of emergency aid to the people who have already been
displaced and are living out in the cold.
reconstruction cannot run concurrently," says the submission made by
"Stop the destruction and re-deploy national efforts and
resources to reconstruction."
The NGOs also proposed mobilisation
of national support towards the master plan for reconstruction, and
communication to the people on what the operation has achieved so
Sources privy to the meeting held at Silveira House in Harare on
Wednesday said government turned down the proposal and insisted it was going
ahead with the operation despite the crisis it had
"Government wants to force people to the rural areas," civic
"Churches and NGOs who have housed or helped the displaced
people have been labelled enemies of the operation and told to
The government delegation that rejected the NGOs' proposals
comprised ministers of Local Government Ignatious Chombo, Agriculture Joseph
Made, Home Affairs deputy minister Ruben Marumahoko, and Harare governor
The sources said government remains suspicious
However, NGOs have insisted that they cannot ignore a
"We are sitting in limbo," a Roman Catholic priest
whose parish has been providing services to displaced people, said in a
"We cannot ignore the poor when they come to us
for assistance. Government wants us to provide people with bus fares to go to
rural areas but not all the displaced people have rural
According to the documents, at the meeting the NGOs stated
that there were six categories of people who have been directly affected by
the current operation.
The affected have been classified as
homeseekers, vendors, informal traders, home industrialists, children and
"Homeseekers were people who have been staying in
overcrowded hostels, backyard shacks as well as tenants and lodgers," the
"Over the years, they had become organised into housing
co-operatives, most of which are registered. The clean up exercise has
displaced most of these people.
"The elderly, orphans, disabled,
terminally ill and child-headed households have not been
Despite the ongoing negotiations and pressure from the
outside world to convince government that its campaign was inhuman, four
housing co-operatives were demolished this week.
Chitungwiza has become the latest victim of government's clean-up yesterday.
- Staff Writer.
Forex auction rate close to $10 000 Godfrey
Marawanyika THE foreign currency auction rate this week drew closer to $10
000 against the United States dollar while the number of rejected bids has
The central bank adjusted its diaspora rate by 45%
from $6 200 to $9 000 last month.
On Monday the auction rate had
moved to $9 922,59 against the US dollar, overtaking the diaspora
The new auction rate is likely to be offered as the diaspora
On Monday the central bank availed US$12,5 million on the
auction, and 6 927 bids were submitted with 6 739 being
The highest bid submitted was $9 999,87 against the US
dollar, with the lowest bid at $9 638,68.
Another auction held on
June 6 had US$12,5 million on offer and received 6 373 bids.
least 6 224 bids were rejected.
The highest bid accepted on that day
was $9 514,99 per US dollar, with the lowest bid at $9 495 per US
The weighted average accepted on June 6 was $9 499,07 for
On June 2, the central bank placed US$12,5 million
on offer and received 3 204 bids. About 3 029 were
During this auction, the highest bid accepted was $9 503
for every US unit, with the lowest bid accepted being $9
The auction system was introduced by the central bank on
January 12 last year on the recommendations of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
When the auction system began the amount on offer was US$5
million per session which translated to US$40 million per month. This was
increased to US$68 million monthly in May last year.
introduction of the auction system was meant to stabilise the exchange rate
and allow easier access to foreign currency by exporters and to kill the
ubiquitous black market but this has not been the case over the past
The central bank last month refused to devalue the
currency arguing that this on its own would not open the floodgates to
Urban poor pay price for decades of state failure Ray
Matikinye/Takawira Mapfumo THE first assumption one makes on witnessing the
tortuous queue at Caledonia Farm on the outskirts of Tafara is of people
lining up for scarce commodities such as sugar and flour.
are the new settlers of the recently-established transit camp awaiting their
turn to use the only available toilet.
An evictee who identified
himself only as Goori said each resident has to book first before using the
"Mototanga manyoresa kumapurisa uko kana muchida toilet,"
(You have to register first with the police officers if you wish to use the
toilet) Goori said.
The farmhouse provides the only toilet facility
for the camp that accommodates more than 30 families.
Mufaro, another settler, feared a cholera outbreak.
becomes unbearable especially if one develops stomach
problems. And if
anyone were to catch diarrhoea then we will all be dead in no time at
People who find the toilet queues too trying and frustrating
resort to relieving themselves in the bush creating serious health hazards in
the holding camp.
Caledonia Farm, which is only a few kilometres from
Mabvuku, is the government's latest holding camp where desperate victims of
the ongoing clean-up campaign are being dumped.
manifestly inadequate infrastructure and resources to cater for the needs of
settlers who continue to be dumped on the farm.
As dusk breaks,
55-year old Jethro Mutamba gets up from a boulder, stoops and takes great
care to enter his fragile, makeshift plastic hovel that has served as his
shelter for the past week.
He scans the horizon towards his former
home before letting his eyes range over scores of bodies huddled together for
warmth on the bare ground.
When he tilts his head to gaze at the clear
winter skies above, he shakes his head.
"We are exposed and do not
have food," he complains, adding that government could not have chosen a
worse time of the year to evict the families than now.
government is eager to penalise us after failing to tackle
rampant unemployment and homelessness," he says.
Mutamba is one of
several thousand Hatcliffe Extension residents who had their homes demolished
because Dare Remusha housing cooperative was unaware that government had
cancelled the lease on land where it had built.
minister Ignatious Chombo officially commissioned the housing
Hundreds of families forcibly evicted from settlements in
and around Harare where families had settled at the height of the
controversial and often violent land invasions four years ago and dumped at
Caledonian Farm face serious hardships.
A visit to the farm by the
Zimbabwe Independent this week revealed that living conditions at the camp
resembled detention centres of the 1970s war period. Except for the
farmhouse, which has already been turned into a central security office,
there is virtually no infrastructure to accommodate the swelling population
at the farm.
Household furniture that includes beds, wardrobes and
sofas, lie littered in the tall thatch as people await screening by
authorities. Although the government has promised alternative land to settle,
settlers are sceptical.
"What was wrong with where we were?" asks a woman
who says this is the second time in less than five years that she has been
evicted. "First we were dumped at Porta Farm, then Hatcliffe Extension and
now this?" the 45-year-old mother of four lamented.
removals have swelled the number of homeless and landless across the
Analysts say decades of state failure to improve the quality
of life in impoverished rural areas accelerated a rural-to-urban drift
resulting in informal settlements sprouting up in Zimbabwe's urban centres.
Added to this, severe unemployment, estimated at 75% owing to skewed
economic policies, corruption and mismanagement has worsened urban poverty
This destruction of homes and livelihoods is
reminiscent of dark periods in other countries' histories such as Scotland's
Highland Clearances or, more recently, the forced removals in apartheid South
Africa or the destruction of Palestinian communities, according to Reverend
Dr Iain Whyte, vice-convenor of the Zimbabwe Scotland
During what became known as the Highland Clearances, tens of
thousands of men, women and children were evicted, often violently, from
their homes to make way for large-scale sheep farming by avaricious
The authorities here, echoing colonial sentiments, have
said people should go back to where they came from.
Mohadi's sister booed Savious Kwinika, recently in
Zhove, Beitbridge AN attempt by Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi's sister,
Patricia, to hijack a Canadian Embassy ceremony for party purposes hit a snag
when local chiefs and civil servants told her to stop politicising
development projects meant to benefit the whole community.
dignitaries at the commissioning of a $200 million micro-irrigation project
funded by the Canadian International Development Agency at Zhove Dam, the
minister's sister started chanting Zanu PF slogans, praising the party's
ability to feed the nation.
Instead of responding, as is routine at
such gathering, the crowd booed, accusing her of hijacking donor-funded
projects in the name of Zanu PF.
Patricia was speaking in her Venda
language when she stirred the hornet's nest. "Phannda namavu. Phannda naudi
shumela, Phannda na Zanu PF." (Forward with the land, with self-help
empowerment. Forward with Zanu PF) chanted the minister's sister much to the
chagrin of the crowd.
Patricia praised Zanu PF for implementing the
Zhove project that was wholly-funded by the Canadians and is administered by
Compassion Ministries. Headmen Siyoka, Mbedzi, civil servants and
international visitors from as far as the United States, Canada and the
United Kingdom found it repulsive and bowed their heads in shame.Headman
Siyoka, who was among the invited guests, praised the Canadians for fighting
hunger in the drought-prone district.
He condemned attempts by
local politicians and individuals to politicise the project, arguing that
such hypocrisy and ingratitude scared away donors.
The people of
Beitbridge have not harvested anything this season and we are battling to
survive due to the severe shortage of maize grain. Hunger is still with us as
the maize is still trickling in from South Africa.
I would like to
thank the Canadian ambassador Mr (John) Schramm for channelling $200 million
towards the micro-irrigation project which has seen the local community in
Zhove realising a meaningful harvest," Headman Siyoka said. Speaking at the
same function, Schramm said he was happy that the local community had put the
money to good use. Zimbabweans, he said, were ready and able to help
themselves given initial assistance.
The Canadian government is
funding several rural community projects in Masvingo, the Midlands and
Tougher Posa penalties on the way Ray
Matikinye GOVERNMENT is set to amend the Public Order and Security Act (Posa)
to impose heavier penalties on journalists and media houses which
publish stories deemed to be false or prejudicial to the state.
stiffer penalties are part of a raft of amendments under the General Laws
Amendment Bill currently before parliament.
The amendments will see
fines for contravening sections of the Act shoot up by between 400% and
Journalists and media houses found guilty of publishing or
communicating what is deemed false statements prejudicial to the state now
face a fine of $2 million, up from $100 000.
Dozens of journalists
have been arrested and charged under Posa which analysts say is as egregious
as its sibling the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Penalties for harbouring, concealing or failing to report an
insurgent, bandit, saboteur or terrorist are set to be raised from $200 000
to $3 million while causing disaffection among the police and defence forces
will attract a fine of $800 000 from the previous $20 000.
proposed sectional amendments to Posa have an overall effect of strengthening
a law that has already received condemnation from both local and
international human rights organisations.
Many of the amendments will
empower law enforcement agents to trample on civic liberties.
undermining the authority of, or insulting the president, the penalty has
been stiffened to attract a fine of $400 000. In the past, conviction under
the same section of Posa attracted a $20 000 fine.
In order to deter
rioters from throwing missiles at persons or motor vehicles, parliament will
be asked to approve a fine of $3 million while persons caught in a gathering
abetting riot, disorder or intolerance will fork out $2 million in fines. For
assaulting or resisting a peace officer, the charge now attracts a $3 million
fine, up from $100 000.
ZANU PF activist pastor
Obadiah Msindo of Destiny for Afrika Network is appealing for financial
assistance from the party after the Christian outfit used up its resources in
political campaigns for the March election.
Msindo is under siege from
members of his 21st Century Housing Cooperative who are demanding their money
back after structures built on the stands sold by the network were demolished
In documents to hand, Msindo said the network was broke
after using its resources during the campaign period and that they were now
waiting for reimbursements from the party.
Msindo's letters to
Zanu PF's secretary for finance David Karimanzira, and a Mr Kanengoni, deputy
director of social services, reveal that the network plunged into financial
difficulties soon after the elections.
"Our Network is however
experiencing financial difficulties that are threatening to cripple our
operations," said Msindo in a letter dated May 31.
"We used most of
our resources during the campaign period and are still awaiting payments and
reimbursement from various people. Issues of salaries and other overheads
have become critical and urgent."
Msindo added that: "We are
therefore appealing for urgent and critical intervention to salvage our
Highly-placed sources in the Network said Msindo has
been struggling to pay his workers over the past two
Msindo has called for a national meeting of members of the
21st Century Housing which he says will be addressed by the Minister of Local
Government and National Housing Ignatious Chombo. - Staff Writer.
Mugabe blasts ministers for dishonesty Shakeman
Mugari PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week blasted ministers for
non-performance and dishonesty as the much-hoped-for economic turnaround
Mugabe lashed out at six cabinet ministers who had attended the
bi-annual meeting of the Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs,
accusing them of resorting to "blame shifting", sources said. He also
castigated senior ministers for failing to come up with a working economic
The meeting held on Wednesday last week was
attended by six of the eight ministers who sit on the Committee on Financial
and Economic Affairs. It is made up of ministers whose portfolios are
directly linked to the economy and meets twice a year. Sources said Mugabe,
who chairs the committee, also attacked some ministers for giving misleading
economic indicators and failing to perform.
meeting was attended by Finance minister Herbert Murerwa, Economic
Development minister Rugare Gumbo, Industry and International Trade minister
Obert Mpofu, Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Mines minister Amos Midzi, and
Transport and Communications minister Christopher Mushowe. Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono briefed the committee on monetary policy
Tourism minister Francis Nhema and Energy and Power
Development minister Mike Nyambuya did not attend. Nhema says he was in
Victoria Falls meeting counterparts from South Africa and Mozambique while
Nyambuya was out of the country last week.
Mugabe, the sources
say, was "deeply disturbed" by the state of the agricultural sector,
especially the winter wheat situation. In a no-holds-barred approach Mugabe
is understood to have quizzed Made on the progress of the winter wheat crop.
Although Made has publicly announced that the government was planning to put
85 000 hectares under wheat, statistics suggest only 20 000ha have been
Mugabe is also said to have queried the figures for the
winter maize crop and pushed for a specific response on the food
"It was a tense meeting and everyone was quizzed," the
source said. "It was really tense. Apparently the president thought that some
of the guys (ministers) were not doing enough," he said.
came under heavy fire over the ongoing chaos at Air Zimbabwe and the National
Railways of Zimbabwe, the source said.
"(Mugabe) told the ministers
to stop complaining about sanctions and foreign currency shortages and find a
solution to the problems," the source said.
Murerwa, however, denied that
the ministers had been grilled. He said there was nothing "sinister" about
"It was a meeting to review both the fiscal and monetary
policy," Murerwa said. "It wasn't an extraordinary meeting. It was a
scheduled meeting where general information about the economy was discussed,"
Mbeki shows Mugabe how it's
done PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday fired his deputy Jacob Zuma
from government. Zuma had been fingered in the corruption case in which the
High Court in Durban two weeks ago convicted the deputy president's
financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.
The judge in the case, Hilary
Squires, described the pair's relationship as "generally corrupt". There were
immediate calls for Zuma to resign and be prosecuted. Mbeki this week moved
swiftly to remove Zuma from the second most powerful post in government. His
rationale was simple. He would poison the air for South Africa which risked
being branded a corrupt investment destination.
From this side of the
Limpopo River, however, it was unprecedented. Since the sentencing of Shaik
there have been howls of support for Zuma in the state media. Suddenly
commiserations were being heaped on the Communist party stalwart.
fact that the court said Zuma was a participant in corruption
was conveniently ignored. His liberation war credentials were viewed as
more important, superseding the alleged graft.
He became a victim of
an imperialist plot and racial calumny, as personified by Justice Squires who
presided over the case. In the best tradition of state-media plots, the
ruling by Judge Squires became a Western attempt to discredit liberation
movements in the region.
A columnist in the state media writing on
Tuesday tried vaingloriously to draw parallels between the disgraced Zuma and
"Like Zimbabwean President Mugabe, Zuma has been tried
and convicted in the South African media," the columnist
"The parallels with Zimbabwe do not end there, for the South
African and Zimbabwean justice systems still have a lot in common, though
Zimbabwe has invested a lot to transform the judiciary," he
Based on this ill-informed summation, President Mbeki performed an
unAfrican act of firing a liberator accused of dabbling in corruption. The
attempt to draw parallels between President Mugabe and Zuma - as victims of a
Western conspiracy - and to deify both is an infantile endeavour to
ring-fence errant leaders from public censure.
despite domestic pressure and muffled noises from the region in support of
Zuma, did the right thing. In dealing with Zuma, Mbeki had to weigh between
issues of national importance and protecting a long-time comrade.
tendency in Africa is to choose the latter. Mbeki, according to Zuma's camp,
had to protect the deputy president because of history and maintaining the
power balance in the ruling coalition.
Mbeki's decision could unsettle
the political chemistry of the ruling order in South Africa but it guarantees
economic stability, direct foreign investment and protects the country from
flight of capital.
There was endorsement of the decision from big
business which saw the move as strengthening Mbeki's resolve when he takes
Africa's case before G8 leaders in Scotland next month.
Mbeki had to
act in the spirit of Nepad's peer review mechanism. This was a powerful
statement to the continent that he was committed to weeding out misfeasance
in governance. Without that commitment, Africa's renaissance would be
We need that boldness in our government today. The public
sector, parastatals and sections of the private sector have become citadels
of corruption and inefficiency. Errant officers have continued to occupy
their offices despite their well-documented record of plunder.
the cancer President Mugabe must deal with if we are to believe
his commitment to fighting corruption and fostering a culture of efficiency
in the public sector.
We all recall the pardoning of ministers and
senior party officials who played major roles in the Willowgate scandal. The
minister responsible for the VIP Housing Scandal in the mid 1990s was never
held to account. This is the same with senior officials who looted the War
Victims Compensation Fund. They still form the core of Mugabe's
His government has to date not accounted for Zimbabwe's
"investments" in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Where are the dividends,
Mr President? We have seen numerous commissions being appointed by the
president to probe wrongdoing and the results never
Inefficiency is also rewarded in Mugabe's government. Joseph
Made was re-appointed to the Agriculture portfolio despite almost starving
the nation three years ago. The results of this incubation of corruption
and inefficiency are manifest.
Zimbabwe has remained a poor country
with high unemployment because no one wants to invest here. All this because
Mugabe has engaged heavily in enhancing the camaraderie forged among his
peers in the 1970s at the expense of development and progress in the 21st
That is poor politics and Zimbabweans deserve better. Mbeki has
shown the way in dealing decisively with comrades who allegedly demand
kickbacks. Zimbabwe's tolerance of corruption will leave us increasingly
isolated in a continent where standards of public behaviour are undergoing
A MOUNTING threat to the newspaper industry is
emerging in the wake of the country's still-untamed inflation rate. If it
remains unchecked, it will not only cripple newspapers but also harm an
important vehicle of education and information - one of the props of
I am talking about newsprint costs. All the major titles
in the country are already hard put to balance the growing costs of
Our readers have to brace themselves for another
round of increases in the cover price of the Zimbabwe Independent. It is a
debilitating business to me because I believe news should reach target
audiences without them feeling the pinch in their pockets.
consider the failure by the general public to access information due to the
high costs of media as an assault on their freedom to
The rule of thumb is that the price of a
newspaper should be such that it does not compete with goods and services
required for basic sustenance.
South African newspapers
circulating in Zimbabwe, the Mail & Guardian and the Sunday Times, are
now priced cheaper than newspapers printed and published here. The two papers
now cost $15 000 and $20 000 respectively.
The Zimpapers stable
this week increased the cover prices of all its publications by at least 50%.
We will be following suit next week probably together with our competitor,
the Financial Gazette. The price of the Independent will be going up to $20
It is an understatement to say that there is a crisis
brewing in the newspaper industry due to the ballooning production costs
fuelled by the unremitting increases in the price of newsprint. The sole
manufacturer of newsprint, Mutare Board & Paper Mills, has not hesitated
to pass on its production costs to publishing houses.
rate and frequency of increments this year have been excruciating to say the
least. Where is the Competition Commission in dealing with this damaging
Since February, the paper manufacturer has raised the
price of newsprint from $7 576 472 to $16 632 038 a tonne, with the latest
increase coming on Monday last week. Another hike had been dumped on
publishers on June 1! The price of newsprint has gone up 120% since the
beginning of the year. There is a good likelihood that the cost of producing
newspapers could go up by over 300% this year alone if the current trend is
The total increase for the whole of last year was about
Newsprint is the principal raw material of a newspaper and
together with printing costs should account for about 30% of total production
costs. At our sister publication, the M&G, newsprint and printing costs
amount to between 25% and 30% of the production bill.
figure here is 73%. We have therefore been forced to raise the cover price to
mitigate the effects of the escalating production costs. The rate of increase
in the cover price is however still way below that of production
For example, at the launch of the paper in 1996 street
sales alone were enough to cover all production costs and in some instances
Revenue from advertising all headed for the bottom
line on the balance sheets.
During that period, the wheels
of industry were still turning in the right direction. There was high
consumer demand for goods and services. There was competition among
retailers, hence ad-spend was large. By the way, inflation at the time was
This was a period when we had the luxury of using
imported newsprint which did not turn yellow in less than a week. The
printing stayed sharp even after the newspaper had gone through dozens of
hands and picture reproduction was brilliant (even though pictures were
largely black and white).
Today we pay a premium for poor
quality newsprint that breaks constantly during printing and jams the
printing press. The paper cannot sit in the hot sun for long without changing
The paper manufacturer has just told us they can no
longer supply the peach newsprint used to print the businessdigest because of
the shortage of the dye used to colour the paper. We have no idea what's next
But the cost of this deteriorating service and
products has kept going up like everything else in the country. We are buying
expensive bread which appears to have been manufactured from chicken mash.
Bakeries are selling meat pies with anything but meat for stuffing. We pay a
fortune to garages which pretend to service our vehicles only to steal fuel
and fail to fit promised new parts.
We also pay huge taxes
to a government which has failed to provide basic health, education and
infrastructure to the nation. Then there are things like road tax and carbon
tax that are not used for their intended purpose.
We have grown
to accept this as normal.
We however promise to provide a good
read every week even on poor-quality paper because we have a professional
obligation to do so. Please bear with us.
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) now faces a
stern test of public support after failing to exploit a groundswell of mass
discontent following "Operation Murambatsvina", critics say.
hard on the heels of yet another failure to capitalise on a unique chance
occasioned by public disillusionment over the March poll results, doubts are
growing whether the party has what it takes as a credible alternative to Zanu
Analysts say MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's credibility has been
damaged by the relative inertia that followed the March election.
International Crisis Group (ICG) says in the wake of another stolen election,
the MDC must decide whether to adopt a more confrontational
and extra-parliamentary position despite the real prospect that any
street protests risk attracting the full repressive power of the security
Public confidence in the MDC as an alternative to Zanu PF
sagged when the opposition failed to rally people to protest against a rigged
ballot and further sank when the party hesitated to provide timeous
leadership in confronting government over the demolition of housing
settlements around the country.
The Brussels-based think-tank says the
MDC should establish a clear position on the next steps and the best way to
exert pressure on the government.
But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirayi
"People blame us for not organising protests against
the government. But how do you organise a person whose immediate priority is
to see where his family is going to sleep or eat next?" he asked.
cannot tell a person preoccupied with finding alternative accommodation for
his family or a temporary place to keep his belongings to join a
protest march," he says of charges by critics that the MDC should have seized
the opportunity provided by the unpopular clean-up operation to rally
people against the regime.
Another source of doubts about the MDC
capability to rally public protest is the two-day job boycott called by the
Broad Alliance, in which MDC was a key ally. Critics say the opposition
undermined the strike call by waiting until the eve of the work boycott to
"I think the MDC has failed to provide dynamic leadership," said
Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association, also
part of the Broad Alliance.
What is apparent, though, is that the
worker constituency that the MDC depended on to launch successful mass job
boycotts in the past has been weakened by rampant unemployment as Zimbabwe's
economy implodes following a succession of damaging policies. And MDC
relations with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) appear
At one time, ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe charged
that the party had treated the trade unions as "a caterpillar that digs the
road, and as soon as it is smooth and ready for use, the caterpillar is
banished and punished if it tries to drive on it".
According to the
ICG report released this month, the real fault line in the MDC is its
inability to continue to mobilise people on the route of mass democratic
resistance, mass action and other forms of struggle outside the electoral
channels. The absence of what people call a "Plan B" and the weakness in the
civic alliance that emerged before the election are the real threats to the
The MDC appears somewhat disoriented in its focus by constant
detentions and harassment of its members, as much as it has been by the
suppression of most of the independent press.
The party's secretary
for legal affairs David Coltart defended the party's position over the rigged
ballot arguing that it did not want to trigger a bloodbath that would
certainly ensue if it had taken the mass protest option. Mugabe was prepared
to unleash his repressive machinery to suppress any protest, he
Another factor undermining public confidence in the opposition
party was its indecision over participation in the March poll. Less than a
month before the poll, it announced it would do so "under protest and with a
heavy heart", reversing an August 2004 conditional boycott.
severe pressure to compete from its membership and international actors who
believed its parliamentary influence had toned down Zanu PF policy compelled
it to change its stance.
Tsvangirai summed up his party dilemma: "We are
damned if we participate, and damned if we don't".
appears to have dampened public confidence in the MDC.
ICG says the party
is struggling to maintain unity across a number of strategic, leadership,
ideological, ethnic and even generational fault lines. These divisions have
made a coherent and consistent opposition approach in the post-election
situation more difficult.
But Tsvangirai says people should realise that
the environment in which the party currently operates has
"There is need for us to evaluate our strategies in a changed
political environment because we cannot continue to use the same strategy as
in the past. We have to take cognisance of the serious paradigm shift that
has occurred in the five years. Prior to 2000, there was neither Posa
nor Aippa," he says
He says while party supporters would want to see
the MDC take radical action, the party no longer has faith in one-off events
which the regime will certainly crush.
"Democratic forces know when to
attack and when to regroup. The fundamental issue is that the people must be
prepared for sustained action. We need protracted action that results in a
systematic wearing down of the pillars of the regime," Tsvangirai says.
Bad-mouthing Zim doing us no good By Msekiwa
Makwanya THE challenges in Zimbabwe have been so tremendous that some
"weak-willed" and unprincipled have started to reject their identity as
It is not unusual to find Zimbabweans in the diaspora who
now claim to be South Africans, for example. There are also those of us who
never miss the opportunity to denigrate everything Zimbabwean.
most hopeless of Zimbabweans are those who have ignored the resilience of the
majority of Zimbabweans and those who claim they will never return
to Zimbabwe. Resilience is not a weakness, it is strength.
have their choices and Zimbabwe does not need those who are not ready for its
Meaningless and ill-advised stayaways like the one that
has just failed simply feed into the negativity and pessimism that afflict
some people already.
Some people in the diaspora have expressed
the view that Zimbabweans
are docile and that they analyse so much that
they cannot even act in the end.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr called
this the "paralysis of analysis". It is better to have people who analyse too
much and act less than those who do not analyse enough and act too
It is equally important for people to take action that they
feel inspired to take. For anyone to expect Zimbabweans to engage in endless
stayaways without a result is to take them for granted.
have been asked about the nature of leadership of the Broad Alliance over the
failed stayaway on June 9 and 10.
NCA chairman Dr Lovemore Madhuku,
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other people have issued press
statements urging people to make a statement against the government-led
"Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina".
The media has captured some
very sad stories of the affected people and the pictures spoke louder than
the stayaway. For anyone to expect these people to organise and rise against
the government is to miss the basic point: "You do not fight from a point of
When children have no food and no shelter in this winter,
a reasonable parent cannot start action that would attract the ruthless
machinery of the state. Even if you have shelter and food, it would be very
dangerous to start jambanja (mass action) when other people have nowhere to
hide or to put their property.
After the failure of the stayaway,
some people have started calling Zimbabweans cowards, docile and hopeless.
Part of the reason for such illusion has been created by press reports which
have been portraying the economy as collapsing since 2003.
people then fail to understand how a collapsing economy can handle
mass action. One of the reasons why some people vow not to return to Zimbabwe
is because they think the economy has collapsed.
challenges our country is facing people should remain united. We should not
be united against our own country. People have their priorities and mass
action maybe in conflict with their priorities which have to
Zimbabwe is not like Somalia or Afghanistan yet some
people talk about Zimbabwe as if it is the worst place on earth. We might
have our differences but let us not take them too far and reject our
Some people wonder why some governments are now returning
failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Part of the reason is that they no longer
believe some of the stories about our country and are disgusted by our own
attitude towards our country.
"If you hate your own country how
much would you hate a foreign one?" they ask themselves.
there are bad things going on in Zimbabwe but there are also some very good
things going on as well which we should speak about too
It is in these strengths or positive things that we
should put our hope and not negative issues. Let us build on our strengths
while we confront our weaknesses. We should not get stuck in
The problem is that some speak so badly about Zimbabwe
that you would think it is a speciality that they are paid for. Zimbabwe has
not collapsed and those who love the country are happy to see Zimbabwe still
going. How far will it go? No one has been able to answer this
*Msekiwa Makwanya is a social commentator based in England.
Contact can be made through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flea markets are free markets By Rejoice
Ngwenya THE era of Zimbabwe's greatest economic boom can be traced back to
the decade of 1989 to 1999 when the swan song of fiscal practitioners was
the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap). To the uninitiated,
the meteoric increase and proliferation of vendors and flea markets in
Harare and beyond was a natural phenomenon - yet the enlightened will tell
you that it was a calculated, premeditated move by the government to unleash
the entrepreneurial zeal of its citizenry.
It is deregulation that
broke the monopolistic stranglehold of public transport and uninspiring
advertising billboards. It is deregulation that exposed shoppers to the
tantalising world-class merchandise range in supermarkets and global clothing
brands. In short, government not only embraced the virtues of a "liberated"
economy that saw its citizens slide effortlessly into the family of global
trade, but took money and placed it right into the pockets of those who would
have forever been condemned to the back streets of poverty.
back as 1995, in a study titled "The growth of flea markets in Harare in the
context of Esap", Richard Kamidza wrote: "The harsh economic environment that
has thrown many people out of employment, the desire to beat the ever-rising
cost of living, the failure to secure employment particularly among the
country's educated youths and the liberalised political and economic
environment are some of the forces that necessitated the opening up of new
indigenous concerns in the form of flea markets."
Again in 1995, a
speech by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dumiso Dabengwa at a meeting
entitled: "Conference on Deregulation: Harmonising the Interests of Business
in Local Authorities", states: "In these harsh economic times, street vending
not only creates employment but is also a valuable source of income.
Therefore from a moral, social and economic point of view, harassing and
arresting people who are trying to earn an honest living seems to be
too harsh and unwarranted."
At the same conference, the
Attorney-General, Patrick Chinamasa, said: "I think we are all agreed that
deregulation is the bulldozer, so to speak, which will help pave the way
leading to indigenous participation and involvement in the national
Leon Louw, executive director of the Free Market Foundation
of Southern Africa, lent credence to the theory that there is a direct
relation between a command economy and oppression: "Regulation of
micro-enterprises in South Africa was an integral part of black oppression
under apartheid. Virtually all forms of entrepreneurship by black South
Africans were prohibited."
As near as 1998, Cephas Msipa presented a
paper where he stated: "The informal sector is one sector that offers us the
greatest hope to eradicate poverty and unemployment."
so much as referring to the official character and nature of deregulation, we
know that some of the greatest entrepreneurs this country has ever seen are a
product of unrestricted, free thinking adventure into small-time business. To
mind comes citizens like Ben Mucheche, Phillip Chiyangwa, Ray Kaukonde,
Strive Masiyiwa and Nigel Chanakira. The history of pioneers of cottage
engineering like Guy Georgias, transport moguls in the mould of the late FP
Hall, Matambanadzo et al will testify that it is an environment that allows
for and encourages individual creativity that rewards an
In his book on economic foxes and hedgehogs, Clem Sunter
claims foxes naturally believe in decentralisation of power and letting
people do their own thing. Hedgehogs are natural centralisers since they
think they know best and like to feel that society depends on them. In his
presentation entitled "Entrepreneurship - the key to Zimbabwe's future",
Sunter was quoted as saying: "Foxes say: "Siya so!" Hedgehogs cannot
understand how anybody can work for themselves and regard the small business
sector as a refugee camp for those who have failed to find conventional
Deregulation is about creating suitable conditions for those
who are capable of exploring legitimate means of wealth creation. In a world
where extremist social scientists want to drag innocent minds to the gung-ho
school of thought that liberalisation is anarchist, I condemn them to the "E"
class of populism. The United Nations conceived Human Development Index (HDI)
has proven beyond reasonable doubt that too much government interference in
the lives of citizens is linked to abject poverty.
one cannot, and does not need to guarantee fair or equitable distribution of
wealth in a world where we have different potential. My point is that it is
the duty of government to ensure that everyone is exposed to an opportunity,
much like access to education. Period! Once at your desk, it is your hard
work that counts. Of course the poor, the weak and the physically challenged
should be protected - only as far as access to public funds is concerned.
This is a moral obligation not of government alone, but also society in
general. The government should seek the support of both the affected and the
victims, not by decree, but by consent.
Cosmetics and toiletries
mogul Tony Gara, then as Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
Development, was a convert to deregulation. In 1995 he said: "The
deregulation currently in progress in Zimbabwe is an integral part of Esap .
aimed at striking the balance between regulations and controls on the one
hand and the facilitation and fostering of entrepreneurship on the other. The
essence of successful deregulation is the reduction of the number of
regulatory and institutional barriers controlling and restricting the entry
of aspiring entrepreneurs, and of informal entrepreneurs into the
recognisably and measurably productive sector."
Gara did not advocate
an anarchist business and trade practices environment in urban areas, but ".
local authorities (should) seek ways and means of assisting the vendors and
hawkers and ensure that they conduct their operations in accordance with the
basic requirements as regards public health, public order or safety rather
than continue to institute only punitive measures against vendors regardless
of the descriptions of their trade."
In conclusion, I would like
to caution my enthusiasm about unrestricted trade practices, for I am a
stickler for order and quality. Pavements are not the best place for SMEs to
conduct their trade. Ratepayers for the convenience of both customers and
businesspersons finance pavements.
Also it is not all products that come
from China that pass the test of superiority. And yet I still do not advocate
government restrictions and control, for I am free to
Govt to dilute Gono'spowers over banks Godfrey
Marawanyika GOVERNMENT plans to reduce Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono's discretionary powers to cancel banking licences.
central bank has the power to place a bank under the management of a curator
without consulting government. Now the Ministry of Finance wants to be
consulted first, it has been learnt.
Government is amending the
Banking Act so that it is consulted before a banking institution can be shut
Government also wants to be informed if there are going to be
changes in the shareholding structure of any
Official sources said the Banking Act would be amended to allow
for wider consultation before drastic action is taken to either close down or
place a financial institution under a curator, with devastating consequences
for the banking public. Last year thousands of people were affected when
10 financial institutions were placed under the management of curators
while others were forced into liquidation at short notice.
sources said the financial sector blitz last year hit a number of
senior politicians who had either invested in the affected banks through
proxies or had their accounts affected.
"Before cancelling a
banking institution's registration in terms of subsection (1), the Registrar
(of banks) shall (a) through the governor, consult the minister and (b) after
the consultation notify in writing the banking institution concerned that he
proposes to cancel the institution's registration and of his reasons to do
so," the government said in a notice.
"Before approving the
acquisition of a significant interest in a banking institution, the registrar
shall, through the governor, consult the minister and shall provide the
minister with such information regarding the proposed acquisition as the
minister may reasonably require."
Financial institutions that were
placed under the management of curators were Barbican Bank, Rapid Discount
House, CFX Bank, CFX Merchant Bank, Royal Bank, Time Bank, Trust Bank and
Century Discount House.
Also placed under the compulsory six-month
closure was Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Discount
In January, the central bank merged Trust Bank and Royal Bank
to form the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.
The banks placed under
curators were deemed to be in poor financial positions and were also accused
of diverting from their core banking business.
According to the
RBZ's January report on the status of capital deficiency at troubled banking
institutions, Intermarket Banking Corporation needs a minimum of $18,15
billion to restore normal operations, while the discount division requires
Barbican requires $37,87 billion to restore normal
Rapid was placed under liquidation in
The report said CFX Bank requires $132,9 billion to restore
normal operations, while the merchant banking division requires $74,83
The central bank said Royal Bank would need "at least
$226,75 billion in order to comply with minimum capital
Time Bank needs $269,5 billion capital injection from
The report said Trust Bank requires a minimum of $1,47
trillion to restore normal operations.
IMF to meet local bankers, auditors Godfrey
Marawanyika THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article IV consultation
team which arrived in the country last week is set to meet directors of eight
local banks to discuss the prospects of their institutions and
The team is also set to meet with auditors
The meeting with the auditors is
meant to familiarise the fund with issues of disclosure and transparency in
the financial sector.
The six-member delegation, led by Sharmini
Coorey, also comprises Paul
Heytens (coordinator), Michael Andrews
(banking expert), Sonia Munoz, Jennifer Mbabazi-Moyo and Sanket
According to their internal schedule, the team will meet
with Stanbic managing director Pindie Nyandoro and Barclays managing director
Charity Jinya and their respective credit risk directors.
team is expected to meet with Ben Chikwanha, the managing director of
Interfin Merchant Bank, Sam Malaba of the Agricultural Development Bank, and
Washington Matsaira of Standard Chartered Bank.
The team is also set
to meet with Jewel Bank boss Nyasha Makuvise, Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
head Stephen Gwasira and Metropolitan Bank head
Article IV consultations are held by the fund with
each member country.
Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since
As of February 15 this year, the country's debt
amounted to Special Drawing Rights 202 million (US$306 million) or about 57%
of its IMF quota.
The delegation is also expected to meet with the
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe to discuss prospects for the industry as a
So far the delegation has met with the secretary for Finance
William Manungo and Andrew Bvumbe, secretary for Economic
The team has also met with the central bank to discuss
monetary policy issues and the exchange rate, capital markets and
The delegation, which is expected to be in the
country until Friday next week, is also set to meet with the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries, the MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the Central Statistical Office.
team will also have a meeting with the President's Office to discuss land
reform, anti-corruption and anti-monopolies.
World Bank avails US$87 000 for HIV/Aids Grace
Kombora THE World Bank has disbursed US$87 000 to six Zimbabwean
organisations which took part in the Country Development Marketplace
competion to come up with local initiatives in the fight against HIV and
The competition was launched by the World Bank's country office for
Zimbabwe last year. The competition seeks to empower organisations and
local communities to find their own solutions to assist in the fight against
HIV and Aids.
The winners in the competion were Alois Haene
Memorial Trust in Gweru, Deseret International Zimbabwe, Youth Alive Zimbabwe
in Mutare, Development Aid From People to People in Zimbabwe, National Blood
Transfusion Service in Mutare and Student Partnership
Acting country manager for World Bank Zimbabwe, Sudhir
Chitale, said their institution was strengthening its commitment to HIV/Aids
initiatives in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi through the Country Development
Chitale said the iniative was aimed at
giving NGOs and local communities solutions to fight HIV and Aids on their
"This was an initiative to give the opportunity to NGOs, local
communities and groups to bring to life their own solutions to this fight,"
Chitale urged all winners to be guided by the
sub-theme: "Turning Ideas into action - thinking outside the
"We are relying on your home grown ideas to help mitigate the
impact of HIV and Aids," Chitale told the winners.
Bank workers seek 200% salary hike Godfrey
Marawanyika A MAJOR collective bargaining dispute is looming between the
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (Zibawu) and the Bankers Association
of Zimbabwe (Baz) over demands for salary increments of between 150-200%. The
new salaries should take effect from next month.
Real wages in the
sector have fluctuated between 1995 and 2005.
According to a draft
paper of the collective bargaining exercise, the minimum wage in the sector
as of April was $2,4 million which the workers said was too low given the
high cost of living.
"Following the decline in inflation the real
wage index rose from 103,3 to 170,7 between 2003 and 2004 but wage reviews
have not been consistent with the rate of inflation as indicated by the
movement of the poverty datum line," Zibawu says.
eaten away the gains made by the wage review of January 2005. The real wage
is expected to continue to be eroded by inflation which has started rising
again from 123,7% to 129,1% between March and April 2005." It was reported
this week to stand at 144,4%.
It is understood the central bank has
said the employees should be given 120%.
Financial analysts also
said given last year's tremors in the banking sector, few firms were keen to
part with more than 110% in salary increments.
Zibawu said the
economy was facing a crisis of unprecedented levels, which warranted a salary
review ranging from 150-200%.
It said Zimbabweans could no longer
enjoy their basic rights to food, health, education, shelter, affordable
transport, employment and income security among others.
prices have effectively eroded incomes, especially as wage negotiations have
failed to keep abreast with inflation. Clearly it is therefore crucial that
National Employment Councils negotiate minimum wages linked to the poverty
datum line," Zibawu said.
"It is in the interest of both the employee
and the employer to sustainably improve the standard of living of the
employee. For the employee, rising real income improves his/her wellbeing,
while for the employer, good working conditions are a stimulus for increased
performance, dutifulness and loyalty.
In this regard, it is important
to trace the trends in real wages to check whether the wellbeing of the
employees is improving over time."
The poverty datum line for a
family of six has been set at $3,1 million per month.
datum line is calculated based on the consumer price index, which is used to
Skewed economic programme for
parliament MOST of the address by President Robert Mugabe at the official
opening of the first session of the 6th Parliament of Zimbabwe last week
directly, or indirectly, related to Zimbabwe's very distressed
He spelt out the government's programme for the current session
of parliament, with a very pronounced emphasis upon economic issues,
whilst concurrently he voiced comment upon some of the presently
prevailing characteristics of the economy.
That he did so would be
acknowledged by almost all as having been very necessary in view of the
appallingly distressed condition of the economy. However, whilst some of
government's intended actions, and some of his comments, were very
commendable, others displayed the extent to which government continues to
disregard economic realities and necessities. All too many of the stated
issues demonstrated, yet again, government's obduracy and inability to
recognise the need for policy changes, if a genuine economic turnaround is to
Referring to the increasing frequency of drought conditions
in Zimbabwe, the president said that "there is now an ever-growing need to
seriously move away from the current over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture.
Our collective and urgent focus should now be on effective efforts, aimed at
exploiting our vast water reserves for irrigation." He stated that to this
end, an Irrigation Development Authority will therefore be
One must wonder why such an authority is necessary (over and
above creating yet more "jobs for the boys"), when Zimbabwe already has a
ministry, within the President's office, of Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development, and also has a Ministry of Agriculture. Why is a
third body required to do that for which two others already exist? If those
others are not doing that which they should do, then they must be
restructured, instead of adding an unaffordable further entity to an already
grossly monolithic infrastructure.
Moreover, all the water in the world
will not achieve required agricultural production unless Zimbabwe sorts out
the mess it has made of the agricultural sector. It has displaced thousands
of farmers of proven capability, productivity and resources, with a multitude
of intending farmers lacking in those resources and, in some instances, of
those skills required to achieve productivity, whilst others do not even have
the drive and initiative to achieve production. They only seek to enrich
themselves by pillaging the crops, the equipment and the stores of those
Concurrently, government has repeatedly failed to ensure the
timeous availability of promised agricultural inputs. And throughout, it has
deluded itself, and the populace, with dubious and mythical projections
of agriculture output, jeopardising effective and meaningful
governmental economic planning and central bank management of foreign
This did not suffice to satisfy government's misguided
agricultural policies, for the president further stated that in order "to
stimulate development of the horticultural sector" - the country's third
largest agricultural foreign currency earner after tobacco and cotton - a
bill for the establishment of a Horticultural Production Authority will be
put before parliament.
Is this yet another creation of "jobs for the
boys"? Should not such stimulation of horticultural development have
emanated, long ago and continuously, from the Ministry of Agriculture, acting
cooperatively and cohesively with the Horticultural Promotion Council, the
Commercial Farmers' Union, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union, and other
like bodies? Instead, another authority is to be created, intensifying the
already massive over-regulation of the economy, and placing still another
burden upon a penniless fiscus!
On the other side of the coin, some
satisfaction can be drawn from the president's statement that, with regard to
the land reform programme, "government is correcting residual irregularities
thereof and addressing the issue of properties falling under Bilateral
Investment Protection Agreements".
The irregularities were many,
including the injustices perpetrated upon the farmers who were unilaterally
deprived of their possessions and their livelihoods, were harassed, attacked,
humiliated and denuded of fundamental human rights. And, whilst there was no
legitimate justification for the mass, continuing, expropriation of lawfully
owned farms, a particularly pronounced "irregularity" was the seizure of
farms supposedly protected under Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements.
By taking such farms, government reneged on those agreements. Not only was
doing so internationally untenable and in conflict with the fundamental
principles of good governance, honesty and sound relations with the world at
large, but breach of such agreements dissuades foreign direct investment,
critically necessary for Zimbabwe's economic recovery.
announced the intended creation of two new, unaffordable and unnecessary
governmental entities, the president proceeded to announce yet another,
saying that "government will also establish an independent National Incomes
and Pricing Commission to coordinate the harmonisation of incomes and pricing
issues". Despite the recurrent failures over most of the past 25 years to
regulate prices, government remains determined to do so. Price controls and
price regulation are assured stimuli of commodity shortages, black market
operations, and inflation, as against the misguided governmental perceptions
that they will contain inflation and cater for consumer interests.
world over, the only effective ways of achieving containment of prices have
been the stimulation of competition and the promotion and facilitation of
enhanced productivity. Instead of creating yet another ineffectual
or counterproductive "talk-shop", government should be intensifying its
efforts to achieve a sound social contract between it, the private sector
and labour, via the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. Such contract can only
endure, if other measures are implemented successfully to transform the
economy, inclusive of reduction of the annualised rate of inflation to
Mugabe's bungling weighing us
down "IN a series of deft moves, government overhauled its image from a
negative one as the destroyer of the common person's livelihood to one of a
maker and improver of the common man's options, indeed from a destroyer to a
builder and repairer of livelihoods."
This is the callous verdict of
one Nathaniel Manheru on the impact of the ongoing destruction of so-called
illegal settlements in urban areas. The alleged deft move is the announcement
by government that it would allocate residential stands to those who lost
But in his attempt to defend the indefensible, Manheru
forgets some of the people who lost their properties were retrenchees and
pensioners who had invested their last cent on those structures. Some of them
cannot afford to build on the new stands. Many of them now sleep in the open
and have no food. Can somebody take Manheru on a drive to Caledonia please?
If he is able to pass through the cordon of riot police and still has a human
heart, he may even shed a tear.
But then we are dealing here with
someone who has not visited a single township where this destructive
government has deployed its bulldozers and graders. All he has seen are ZBC's
sanitised pictures of people "voluntarily" destroying their homes. Can there
be greater irony?
Later on comes the mother of all contradictions:
"Outside shards of broken stalls," he writes almost unconsciously, "outside
broken livelihoods stands out one haunting question. Why so many vendors?
What economics are implied by the swelling army of vendors?"
people that would pass for a rhetorical question. But Manheru is so insulated
from poverty that he doesn't know why there are so many vendors in urban
areas and along the country's major highways. The answer is simple: man's
instinct for self-preservation in the face of adversity.
The economy has
been in freefall for the past five years and the informal sector provided the
net for those dropping from the formal sector. Yet Manheru wants to condemn
the victims for their situation. But beyond this hypocrisy, Manheru is aware
that this is not "a normal economy". In fact he should admit this is not the
economy government inherited at Independence in 1980.
mum on Hotelgate", declared Tafataona Mahoso on Sunday. This was in reference
to a list of hotels and other tourism facilities which Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono said had not remitted all their foreign currency to the
authorities. Mahoso lurched on to this list and started talking of "corrupt
hotels which have been sabotaging the economy".
Not so fast comrade.
These are mere allegations. How many hotels have been convicted by courts
other than Mahoso's? The media would be irresponsible to use Gono's list to
convict hotels of wrongdoing. The same goes for claims that most flea market
operators were dealing in foreign currency. How much has the police blitz
brought into state coffers after four weeks of searching, Dr Mahoso? Are we
to assume that the police are converting the foreign currency to their own
Apparently inspired more by a blind zeal for control than sense,
Mahoso claimed the action by the hotels "threatens all three pillars of the
country we call Zimbabwe: the nation, the people and the state".
state," declared Mahoso imperiously, "wants independence and sovereignty, the
capacity to organise, direct and influence the entire space, assets and
infrastructure called Zimbabwe, and the right to determine how this Zimbabwe
relates to the rest of the world in all its political, economic, cultural and
Well said, but is that intrusion good for the
country, that the state should poke its nose in "the entire space" of our
lives? Isn't too much regulation a sign that government has failed to create
a conducive environment for businesses to operate in freely? And our
"analyst" Mahoso still thinks more is better?
We were happy to be
reassured last week by President Mugabe that "we will never collapse". The
president said some people and countries were always "contriving" to bring
Zimbabwe down but they "will never succeed as the country is resilient", he
boasted. He didn't say how we came about the misfortune to be so
But methinks he has courted more difficulty for himself than
for the country and is in fact weighing the country down because of his
mismanagement of the economy. The crude displacement of thousands of
small-scale business operators and the destruction of homes could only make
As for "not collapsing", we wonder what facet of life
stands unscathed by his government's depredations except for State House
where everything must be in plentiful supply. All around things have
collapsed, from commercial agriculture to education and health
Last week we ran an article on Justice Hilary Squires who was
brought out of retirement by President Thabo Mbeki to hear the Schabir Shaik
corruption case in Durban recently. Squires was a former Rhodesian Minister
of Justice and High Court judge.
What we omitted to say was that he
was also the judge who acquitted Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku of
treason charges in 1983. He said Dabengwa was one of the most impressive
witnesses he had seen before him.
Interestingly, Minister of Home Affairs
at the time, Herbert Ushewokunze, denounced Squires as a
What is little known is that Squires had been Ushewokunze's
lawyer in Bulawayo in 1970 when the future minister had been charged with
receiving stolen goods. Drugs we gather. Squires defended him in that case
before his client fled the country.
Caesar Zvayi had a very
interesting article on Squires in the Herald on Tuesday. He was a Rhodie to
the core, was Zvayi's conclusion and Ian Smith appointed him to his cabinet
because of his "white supremacist excesses".
This was evident when he
became leader of the Rhodesian parliament in 1977.
"That year he warned
nationalist protestors and freedom fighters that their actions would be
tolerated as long as they were of nuisance value but when they threatened the
establishment they would be crushed ruthlessly," wrote Zvayi.
government that claims to have brought freedom to Zimbabwe appears to
have turned the tables. Now Zimbabweans are not even allowed to make a
nuisance of themselves, let alone threaten the establishment. A black
government cannot tolerate benign protests by its own people. We have come
full circle and gone beyond Squires' threat. We bet Squires would love to
hear of this lasting legacy that a free Zimbabwe has embraced with open
The Business Herald has been taking its sunshine journalism to new
heights. Last week it carried a headline announcing "Summit endorses
Homelink". This was a reference to the World Economic Forum's Africa Economic
Summit in Cape Town which identified Africans living in the diaspora as key
players in the continent's economic transformation.
Apart from the
material inserted by the Herald's own journalists praising Homelink, there
was no evidence of the scheme receiving "overwhelming endorsement" by the
summit. It was a case of imaginative editing. The session had discussed
diasporan revenues in general terms. If there was specific focus it was on
Ghana and Nigeria.
Which reminds us, last week we were told that after
measures put in place by the Reserve Bank, fuel queues would soon be a thing
of the past.
They are indeed. Now there is no fuel, there are no longer
Have we had an explanation yet from the president's
spin-doctors why he has appointed to office individuals who failed to win
seats in the March election when he gave an undertaking to the
electorate that losers would not be accommodated?
Why, when such a
blatant contradiction emerges, is the president not required to provide an
explanation? This is the very definition of unaccountable
Then we had Nathan Shamuyarira claiming that the resurrection
of the Senate was designed to make Zimbabweans happy. Since when has that
been one of Zanu PF's concerns? How can they pauperise a country and then
claim they are there to make people happy?
Do they now acknowledge
that they were making Zimbabweans unhappy when they abolished the upper house
in 1990? That this was the wrong decision? Or, as we suspect, is Shamuyarira
talking nonsense and thinking, like Mugabe, that it doesn't
Muckraker's question: Who pressed Zanu PF into setting up the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, reviving the Senate, and withdrawing the NGOs
Bill? Since when did Zanu PF decide to reform itself?
magic formula has now been unveiled. Anybody facing a little difficulty in
court - like flouting exchange control regulations - need only say that they
did it in the national interest, which they of course define, and that the
public should not be allowed to hear of the details.
Speaking in parables
is now acceptable testimony, it would seem!
How very convenient. But is
this self-serving nonsense what our judicial system is prepared to
And why does the individual so generously exonerated remain
incarcerated if he was performing a national service?
Muckraker had a
call from a former UZ law student recently who recounted an interesting class
discussion a few years ago on the merits of bail conditions set by the
courts. The caller remembered a fellow student arguing vigorously that the
state should legislate to restrict bail conditions to prevent accused persons
enjoying an unwarranted freedom.
The fellow student's name? It was
something like Kuruneri.