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

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Zim Independent

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.

The 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 constituencies.

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 said.

The EU's targeted sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe in February 2002 after
Zimbabwe expelled the EU election observer team from the country.

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.

Despite major 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 month.

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).

Chen 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 minister.

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 centres.

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," Downer said.

Other additions to the list:

Hubert Nyanhongo - Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications;

Richard Ndlovu - Deputy Minister for Water Resources and Infrastructural

Abigail Damasane - Deputy Minister for Women's Affairs;

Sylvester Nguni - Deputy Minister for Agriculture;

Edwin Muguti - Deputy Minister for Health;

Joel Biggie Matiza - Deputy Minister for Rural Housing;

Obert Matshalaga - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs;

Tendai Savanhu - Zanu PF deputy secretary for transport and social welfare;

Khantibhal Patel - Zanu PF deputy secretary for finance;

George Nyathi - Zanu PF deputy secretary of science and technology;

Alice Chimbudzi - Zanu PF politburo member
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Zim Independent

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.

The building, 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.

It 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

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 centre.

An official at the RBZ's main exchange control office in Kariba confirmed
that the centre had been demolished.

"Yes, their 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 found."

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 there.

The move is a huge inconvenience to the few regional and international
tourists who are still trickling into Kariba.

The 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.

Banks in Karoi have also left due to lower business after the destruction of
the agricultural sector in the area under the chaotic land reform programme.

Meanwhile, information to hand indicates that police have threatened to
destroy properties housing surgeries and pharmacies in Kariba saying they
were illegal.
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Zim Independent

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.

The operation, which government alleges is meant to rid urban areas of
criminals, has been met with condemnation from all angles.

Diplomatic sources who had availed food, blankets and medicines to the
destitute victims living in the open have been told to stop their activities

"Some NGOs have now resorted to providing assistance through churches,"
sources said.

"Roman Catholic churches in Hatcliffe and Mabvuku-Tafara are distributing
food, blankets as well as other humanitarian assistance to the evicted

The 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 shelter.

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

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 Harare.

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.

"There is 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 banned them."

Government last year ordered that food assistance be restricted to targeted
groups such as orphans, HIV and Aids patients and the elderly.

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.

With unemployment 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.

Economic experts 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.
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Zim Independent

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.

The 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.

The vendors 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 respondents res-pectively.

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 justification whatsoever.

"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.

"We are 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.
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Zim Independent

Govt/ NGOs clash over blitz

A FRESH and seemingly irreparable rift has developed between government and
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) over how to help victims of
government's "Operation Murambatsvina".

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 farm.

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.

"Destruction and reconstruction cannot run concurrently," says the
submission made by NGOs.

"Stop the destruction and re-deploy national efforts and resources to

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 far.

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 caused.

"Government wants to force people to the rural areas," civic sources said.

"Churches and NGOs who have housed or helped the displaced people have been
labelled enemies of the operation and told to stop."

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 David

The sources said government remains suspicious of NGOs.

However, NGOs have insisted that they cannot ignore a humanitarian crisis.

"We are sitting in limbo," a Roman Catholic priest whose parish has been
providing services to displaced people, said in a separate interview.

"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 homes."

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

The affected have been classified as homeseekers, vendors, informal traders,
home industrialists, children and vulnerable groups.

"Homeseekers were people who have been staying in overcrowded hostels,
backyard shacks as well as tenants and lodgers," the NGOs said.

"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

"The elderly, orphans, disabled, terminally ill and child-headed households
have not been spared."

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.

The volatile Chitungwiza has become the latest victim of government's
clean-up yesterday. - Staff Writer.
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Zim Independent

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 increased

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 rate.

The new auction rate is likely to be offered as the diaspora price.

On Monday the central bank availed US$12,5 million on the auction, and 6 927
bids were submitted with 6 739 being rejected.

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.

At 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 dollar.

The weighted average accepted on June 6 was $9 499,07 for every greenback.

On June 2, the central bank placed US$12,5 million on offer and received 3
204 bids. About 3 029 were rejected.

During this auction, the highest bid accepted was $9 503 for every US unit,
with the lowest bid accepted being $9 479,25.

The auction system was introduced by the central bank on January 12 last
year on the recommendations of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

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.

The 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 16

The central bank last month refused to devalue the currency arguing that
this on its own would not open the floodgates to foreign currency.
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Zim Independent

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.

But these 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 toilet.

"Mototanga manyoresa kumapurisa uko kana muchida toilet," (You have to
register first with the police officers if you wish to use the toilet) Goori

The farmhouse provides the only toilet facility for the camp that
accommodates more than 30 families.

Richard Mufaro, another settler, feared a cholera outbreak.

"The situation 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 all."

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.

There are 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

"It seems 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.

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo officially commissioned the
housing project.

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.

The forced removals have swelled the number of homeless and landless across
the country.

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 and

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 Group.

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 landowners.

The authorities here, echoing colonial sentiments, have said people should
go back to where they came from.
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Zim Independent

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.

Introducing 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

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 Matabeleland provinces.
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Zim Independent

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.

The 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 800%.

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 Act.

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.

The 45 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.

For 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.
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Zim Independent

Msindo appeals to Zanu PF

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 by police.

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

"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 operations."

Highly-placed sources in the Network said Msindo has been struggling to pay
his workers over the past two months.

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.
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Zim Independent

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 falters.

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 recovery programme.

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.

Last Wednesday's 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 progress.

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 planted.

Mugabe is also said to have queried the figures for the winter maize crop
and pushed for a specific response on the food situation.

"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.

Mushowe 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 the meeting.

"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," he said.
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Zim Independent


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

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.

The 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 President Mugabe.

"Like Zimbabwean President Mugabe, Zuma has been tried and convicted in the
South African media," the columnist proffered.

"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 said.

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.

President Mbeki, 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.

The 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 doomed.

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.

This is 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 government.

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 published.

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 century.

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 change.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

      Monstrous monopolies

      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 democracy.

      I am talking about newsprint costs. All the major titles in the
country are already hard put to balance the growing costs of production.

      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.

      I consider the failure by the general public to access information due
to the high costs of media as an assault on their freedom to access

      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 $20 000.

      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.

      The rate and frequency of increments this year have been excruciating
to say the least. Where is the Competition Commission in dealing with this
damaging monopoly?

      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 maintained.

      The total increase for the whole of last year was about 100%.

      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.

      The 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 costs.

      For example, at the launch of the paper in 1996 street sales alone
were enough to cover all production costs and in some instances pay

      Revenue from advertising all headed for the bottom line on the balance

      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 around 15%.

      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

      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 colour.

      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 in store!

      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

      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.

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Zim Independent

MDC faces test in wake of blitz
Ray Matikinye

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.

Coming 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 PF.

Analysts say MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's credibility has been damaged by
the relative inertia that followed the March election.

The 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 services.

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

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 thinks otherwise.

"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.

"You 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 back it.

"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 strained.

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 MDC.

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 says.

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
reversing an August 2004 conditional boycott.

Only 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".

Such wavering 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 changed.

"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.
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Zim Independent

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 Zimbabweans.

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.

The 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.

People have their choices and Zimbabwe does not need those who are not ready
for its challenges.

Meaningless and ill-advised stayaways like the one that has just failed
simply feed into the negativity and pessimism that afflict some people

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

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 much.

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.

Questions 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 weakness".

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.

Some 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.

Whatever 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 be

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 identity.

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.

Of course 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 with

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 negativities.

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 question.

*Msekiwa Makwanya is a social commentator based in England. Contact can be
made through
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Zim Independent

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.

As far 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 economy."

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."

Even without 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 economy.

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 jobs."

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.

Fair enough, 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

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 choose.

*Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

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.

The 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 down.

Government also wants to be informed if there are going to be significant

changes in the shareholding structure of any bank.

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.

The 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 House.

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

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 $172,53 billion.

Barbican requires $37,87 billion to restore normal operations.

Rapid was placed under liquidation in December.

The report said CFX Bank requires $132,9 billion to restore normal
operations, while the merchant banking division requires $74,83 billion.

The central bank said Royal Bank would need "at least $226,75 billion in
order to comply with minimum capital requirements".

Time Bank needs $269,5 billion capital injection from shareholders.

The report said Trust Bank requires a minimum of $1,47 trillion to restore
normal operations.
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Zim Independent

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 systems.

The team is also set to meet with auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers Zimbabwe.

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 Mohapatra.

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.

Coorey's 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 Ben

Article IV consultations are held by the fund with each member country.

Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since February 2001.

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 whole.

So far the delegation has met with the secretary for Finance William Manungo
and Andrew Bvumbe, secretary for Economic Development.

The team has also met with the central bank to discuss monetary policy
issues and the exchange rate, capital markets and concessional lending.

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.

The team will also have a meeting with the President's Office to discuss
land reform, anti-corruption and anti-monopolies.
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Zim Independent

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 Aids.

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 Worldwide.

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 Marketplace

Chitale said the iniative was aimed at giving NGOs and local communities
solutions to fight HIV and Aids on their own.

"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

Chitale urged all winners to be guided by the sub-theme: "Turning Ideas into
action - thinking outside the box."

"We are relying on your home grown ideas to help mitigate the impact of HIV
and Aids," Chitale told the winners.
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Zim Independent

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.

"Inflation has 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

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

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.

"Rising 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

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

The poverty datum line is calculated based on the consumer price index,
which is used to compute inflation.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

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 economy.

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 be achieved.

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 established.

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 displaced.

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 exchange.

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

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

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.

Having 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.

The 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 single-digit
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Zim Independent


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 their property.

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?"

To most 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

'Private media 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 use?

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".

"The 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 financial aspects."

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 assailed.

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 things worse.

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 facilities.

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 reactionary.

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

A 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 arms.

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 any queues!

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 governance.

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 matter.

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

So the 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 entertain?

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.
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