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

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I am pleased to inform you that this programme, entitled 'Secrets of
the Camps', will be shown on BBC World on Saturday 13th March at 08:10
12:10 GMT and 20:10 GMT.

Best regards

Mario Giannini
BBC World
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 12 March

Rent-a-coup: Who's who

Sam Sole and Stefaans Brümmer

The men behind the alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plot represent a who's who
of South Africa's mercenary market - but key players also have links to the
American and British security establishments. In Harare, where 67 suspected
mercenaries were arrested last Sunday, Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi claimed later in the week that Britain's MI6 intelligence
service, the United States's CIA and the Spanish secret service had been
involved. This, Mohadi said, had been confessed by Simon Mann, one of the
mission's principal planners. Mann was arrested in Harare alongside his
"troops", who had arrived separately by Boeing 727 from South Africa. Mohadi
's claim should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the Zimbabwean government
has made a habit of implicating the United Kingdom and the US in latter-day
colonial plots. But it is intriguing that both Mann and his alleged
principal co-conspirator, Nic du Toit, do have direct or indirect links with
the security establishments in these countries.

Mann, a former British special forces soldier who has been resident in Cape
Town and who is known for his association with disbanded South African
mercenary company Executive Outcomes, was earlier a senior member of
Sandline International, a private military firm which has been regarded as
close to the UK security establishment. Du Toit was arrested with 14 cohorts
earlier on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea. On Wednesday he "confessed" on
national television that the plan had been to remove the West African
country's President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, from power to make way
for exiled opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa. The latter has denied his
involvement. Du Toit is a director of Miltary Technical Services (MTS), a
Pretoria company whose founder, Tai Minnaar, worked for the CIA in the 1970s
and seems to have retained contact with the organisation until his
mysterious death in 2001.

The Mail & Guardian has obtained more information putting Mann and du Toit
at the centre of the alleged plot. Mann's offshore company, Logo Logistics,
co-ordinated the operation. Logo is understood to have signed contracts in
recent months with Du Toit's MTS, and with a close corporation of which Du
Toit is the only director, Triple Option Trading 610. Logo, which has, via a
UK spokesperson, denied the coup plot, saying the men were en route to
fulfil a mining security contract in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has
the profile of a mercenary company. Its website reportedly advertises its
services as including "risk intelligence and assessment, support helicopter
operations, service support in harsh environments, rough field and parachute
air re-supply". MTS's role in this operation, according to the M&G's
information, was to supply "trained professionals". Various reports have put
Mann, Du Toit and an unidentified third individual at the scene of earlier
negotiations for arms in Harare. Their shopping list, presented to Colonel
Tshinga Dube, the head of the parastatal Zimbabwe Defence Industries,
allegedly included AK-47s and hundreds of thousands of rounds of

The Boeing and alleged mercenaries' stopover in Harare, en route to
Equatorial Guinea, appears to have been to collect the arms, for which $180
000 had allegedly already been paid when the men were arrested. The bulk of
the alleged mercenaries are South Africans, Namibians and Angolans, and many
of them are said to be former 32-Battalion members - the multinational
mercenary force used by the former South African Defence Force during the
apartheid era war in Namibia and Angola. Members of this battalion also
formed the backbone of Executive Outcomes during its adventures in Angola in
the mid-1990s and other African and Third World hotspots. Here are some of
the key players:

Simon Mann

Mann has a long association with private military companies, including the
trailblazer in the genre, South Africa's Executive Outcomes. Zimbabwe's
Mohadi claims Mann was promised a cash payment of £1-million and oil
exploitation rights in Equatorial Guinea for his part in arranging a coup
against President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Mann was one of the founders of
Sandline International, a London-based private military company that worked
closely with Executive Outcomes, the company formed in 1989 by former
apartheid special forces operatives. Executive Outcomes and later Sandline
played a key role in major private military interventions, first in Angola
in support of the MPLA government against Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebels and
later in Sierra Leone, in the latter case allegedly with the tacit support
of the British security services.

Mann's background made him the perfect intermediary for the negotiation and
conduct of private operations in support of British military, diplomatic or
commercial interests. A member of a prominent British brewing family, he
attended Eton before joining the Scots Guards and later the elite Special
Air Service. After leaving the SAS Mann specialised in computer security
systems. In the early 1990s Mann linked up with another ex-military man,
Anthony Buckingham, who had oil interests. The Angolan government reportedly
approached Canadian company Ranger Oil, with which Buckingham was involved,
to help protect the country's oil installations. That led to the
comprehensive contract Executive Outcomes clinched to shore up the MPLA
government and turned the tide against Savimbi's rebels.

Nic du Toit

Du Toit is understood to be a former SADF special forces operator, who later
also worked for Executive Outcomes. According to a 1999 paper by researcher
Kareen Pech, Military Technical Services (MTS), the company represented by
Du Toit in the alleged coup plot, was set up in 1989 under retired
Major-General Tai Minnaar to procure Soviet-issue helicopters and provide
private military support services. Pech wrote: "Although some companies,
like MTS, have the same business interests, cross shareholdings and even
shared personnel, Executive Outcomes directors denied that they were
associated with these companies." Minnaar died in mysterious circumstances -
allegedly due to poisoning - in September 2001. His attempt to export to the
US a so-called stockpile of biological warfare agents, developed under
apartheid South Africa's chemical-biological warfare programme, was revealed
by the M&G in 2002. That attempt was made in conjunction with two former CIA
operators and with the knowledge of the FBI - which apparently blew the plan
and shopped Minnaar before it could be carried out.

Niel Steyl

Steyl was the pilot of the Boeing stopped in Harare, and is under arrest
there. More is known about his brother, Crause Steyl, who has also been
implicated - by documentary evidence suggesting that his company, an air
ambulance service, was at least an intended partner. Crause Steyl denies he
had anything to do with the operation. He headed the Executive Outcomes air
operation during the mid-1990s and became friendly at the time with Mann.
Both were active in the Executive Outcomes contract to shore up the Angolan
government. The M&G understands that a contract was finalised in January in
terms of which Triple A Aviation Services, Crause Steyl's company based in
the Free State town of Bethlehem, would have provided "aviation services" to
Mann's company Logo Logistics. Triple A trades as Air Ambulance Africa.
Steyl this week confirmed that Mann had approached him last year with a
proposal. "He said it would be like Angola again." But Steyl denies he
acceded. "I live in a small community. Everyone knows me and I do very good
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From ZWNEWS, 12 March

Zengeza violence

Violence in the Zengeza constituency, where a by-election for the vacant
parliamentary seat is due to be held at the end of this month, continued
this week. On Tuesday, three MDC members who were distributing leaflets in
Unit K in Zengeza were attacked by Zanu PF militia. The militia trailed the
activists for some time, before driving towards them in an attempt to run
them over. Mrs Kerina Benhure, and two other opposition supporters whose
names are unknown, were injured. On Wednesday. three houses belonging to
opposition supporters, including that of the James Makore, the MDC candidate
in the Zengeza by-election, were stoned by Zanu PF militia. The militia,
travelling in trucks, invaded the residences, beating up people and
destroying property. Personal property and household goods were stolen,
window panes were shattered, and roofing was destroyed. The houses of the
two houses neighbouring Makore's house were also attacked. An MDC member,
Enock Mukudu, was abducted, and had to be ransomed with a payment of Z$30
000. Before being released, he was stabbed in his arm by his abductors. No
arrests have been made.
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 Opposition Reports Pre-Election Attacks on Supporters
Peta Thornycroft
12 Mar 2004, 16:47 UTC

In Zimbabwe, the main opposition party is reporting attacks on its
supporters in the run-up to a special election for a crucial parliamentary
The Movement for Democratic Change says three of its members distributing
leaflets in the constituency were attacked Tuesday, several houses belonging
to known opposition supporters were vandalized and the MDC candidate himself
was stoned.

Last weekend, an opposition rally in the constituency, which was to be
addressed by its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was stopped by a group of about
30 ruling party supporters. MDC activists have gone into hiding for fear of
further violence.

Those are among the events that have marred the campaign in special
elections to be held in a constituency on the outskirts of Harare at the end
of March. The seat was vacated by an MDC legislator who fled the country
last year fearing for his safety.

The seat is crucial for the opposition party, because losing it would bring
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, ZANU-PF, within a whisker of a
two-thirds majority in the national parliament. With a two-thirds majority,
ZANU-PF could amend the constitution.

MDC admits it made a mistake by naming a candidate, rather than following
the usual procedure of allowing potential candidates to reach consensus
among themselves. MDC Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said this has curtailed
public debate on issues important for the opposition constituency, and may

Moreover, he said, fear of violence against opposition supporters may keep
many voters away from the polls.

Some political analysts say the MDC may well lose this traditionally safe
seat, as well as another one in the Matabeleland province. That, they say,
would leave the ruling ZANU-PF just two seats short of a two-thirds majority
in parliament.
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Zimbabwe to charge "mercenaries" with plotting

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has announced it will charge dozens of mercenary
suspects with trying to destabilise a
sovereign state and says the detainees have been talking about their
purported plot to stage a coup in oil-rich Equatorial

Zimbabwe detained more than 60 men after their Boeing 727 was seized in
Harare on Sunday, and Equatorial Guinea --
sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer -- arrested another smaller
group who said were an advance party.

"The charges are quite clear... they include destabilising an independent
and sovereign government and our statutes,
and the AU (African Union), forbid that," Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi told reporters after President
Robert Mugabe met a visiting delegation from Equatorial Guinea.

Asked whether the suspects were cooperating with the investigation, Mohadi
said: "They are talking".

The plane's operator says the group was due to provide legitimate mine
security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zimbabwe has said those it detained, mainly South Africans, Angolans and
Namibians, may face the death penalty.

Visiting Harare on Friday, Equatorial Guinea's Justice Minister Ruben Maye
Nsue Mangue said the 20 men detained in
his nation's capital Malabo were six Armenians, four Angolans with South
African passports, four Kazakhs, one German
and five former "high-ranking" South African military personnel.

"They have been sent by Western countries, companies. They have received an
advance of $5 million (2.8 million
pounds) and they were promised another $5 million afterwards," he said,
adding the plot had been to abduct President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and take him to Equatorial Guinea's former
ruler Spain.

Zimbabwe, battling international sanctions spearheaded by Britain and the
United States, accused spy agencies of
those countries on Wednesday of aiding the alleged plot against Obiang in
conjunction with the Spanish secret service.

"The United States Government has protested to the Government of Zimbabwe
concerning the outlandish and inaccurate
allegations... about U.S. involvement with a purported mercenary operation,"
the U.S. embassy in Harare said in a
statement on Friday. Britain and Spain have also issued denials.


No detainee has yet appeared in court, but authorities in Malabo presented
Nick du Toit -- who defence sources say is a
former member of a South Africa's special forces -- to diplomats on Tuesday
as the leader of the advance party.

A lawyer hired by a South African firm to represent the Harare detainees was
due to meet them on Friday, but Mohadi
said it was unlikely they would appear in court then. Legal sources said
they can be held for two weeks before a court

Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper quoted acting Attorney General Bharat
Patel as saying the group's leaders --
among them men identified as Briton Simon Mann and South African Simon
Witherspoon -- could be charged separately
from the rest.

Radio Zimbabwe said most of the men, a mixed group of blacks and whites, had
South African passports, some of them

South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said officials were
considering bringing the South Africans in
the group home to face trial under laws banning mercenary activity.

"We are discussing that but we are not opposed to them facing trial where
they committed the crime," Dlamini-Zuma told
SABC radio on Friday. South Africa's mercenary laws aim to shake its image
as a supplier of "dogs of war" to African

"The South African government is making the point that they are very serious
about rooting this out -- it's very much in line
with the African Union and its Peace and Security Council," said Henri
Boschoff of Pretoria's Institute of Security Studies.

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Flood Situation Worrying But Under Control

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

March 12, 2004
Posted to the web March 12, 2004


Mozambique's relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute
(INGC), on Thursday described the floods in the central region of the
country as "worrying but still under control", reports Friday's issue of the
daily paper "Noticias".

Rescue operations are centred on the Pungue valley in Sofala province where
the level of the waters is continuing to rise. The INGC reported that at
least 100 people were still stranded at the road bridge over the Pungue on
Thursday, awaiting rescue. These announcements were made during a meeting of
the INGC Technical Council in Maputo, where this institution shared
information on the situation country wide with its various partners.

INGC national director Silvano Langa said that special attention was being
paid to the central region, and the army and navy had been put on alert, in
case the situation worsens.

The INGC acknowledges that the rescue scheme in the districts of Dondo and
Nhamatanda, in the Pungue valley, is not responding satisfactorily, due
firstly to the reluctance of victims to leave the danger areas, and secondly
to logistical problems, particularly the shortage of fuel for the two boats
used in the operation. Meanwhile, a multi-sector team is visiting 42
districts in the southern and central regions to assess the situation
created both by drought, in certain areas, and floods in others.

The direct of the National Water Board, Americo Muianga, said that there are
reports of rises in the level of the Zambezi, Pungue, and Buzi rivers, in
the central region, and of the Save and Limpopo in the south. The most
serious situation was in the Pungue and Save valleys.

On the Zambezi, the Cahora Bassa dam is holding water back, and the Cahora
Bassa lake is far from full. Further downstream, however, water from the
Luenha river, a major subsidiary of the Zambezi, is raising the levels of
the river at Caia and Marromeu.

On the Buzi river, the water level is still rising, and the road linking the
locality of Guaraguara to Buzi town has been flooded along two stretches,
although it is still usable.

As for the Save river, the authorities say that a further rise is feared,
due to continual rainfall in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The meeting said that the United Nations agencies operating in Mozambique
offered to continue lending all the support the country may need.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that it has about 7,000 tonnes of
foodstuffs available, while the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has
equipment and products for the treatment of drinking water.
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe lawyer to meet 'mercenaries'

By Agencies
A LAWYER representing more than 60 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe
says he expects to meet them for the first time and that they could appear
in court later today.

Attorney Jonathan Samkange said police indicated they would accompany him to
see the men, arrested on Sunday when their plane landed in Harare en route
for what officials said was a mission to topple the government of Equatorial

"My only concern is the rights of my clients," said Samkange, who has been
hired by a South African law firm to represent the men.

The official Herald newspaper quoted acting Attorney General Bharat Patel as
saying the men's first appearance in court would depend on how fast police
finished recording their statements.

Patel told the newspaper that leaders of the group -- among them men
identified as Briton Simon Mann and South African Simon Witherspoon -- could
be charged separately from the rest.

Patel has suggested charges could include violating aviation rules and
breaking immigration and firearms laws. Zimbabwe's foreign minister said
earlier the men could face a possible death penalty, but none of the charges
mentioned by Patel carry that sentence.

State radio said on Friday most of the men, who are both black and white,
carried South African passports, some of them fake.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said officials were
considering bringing the South Africans in the group home to face trial
under laws banning mercenary activity.

"We are discussing that but we are not opposed to them facing trial where
they committed the crime," Dlamini-Zuma told SABC radio on Friday.

Zimbabwe officials have accused the men of being part of a plot to topple
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan
Africa's third largest oil producer, and said the men had implicated U.S.,
British, and Spanish spy agencies in the plan.

U.S. and Spanish officials have denied involvement, while Britain has
declined comment. The plane's operator has said it was flying the men to the
Democratic Republic of Congo to provide security for mining operations.

Zimbabwe has identified the men as coming from South Africa, Angola,
Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo and one from Zimbabwe.

Equatorial Guinea has arrested what it called an advance party of 15
mercenaries and said "enemy powers" and multinational companies had been
plotting against the small central African state.
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Zim Independent

NMB bosses ready to sing
Staff Writer
NMB Bank directors wanted by police on charges of externalising foreign
currency have threatened to reveal the foreign currency deals they and other
banks conducted with government departments and the central bank on the
black market.

At the height of forex shortages government and parastatals sourced foreign
currency on the illegal parallel market to purchase grain and fuel. Foreign
currency was also bought at the parallel rate to pay for electricity

The four directors - Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Otto Chekeche and Francis
Zimuto - have said they will not return to Zimbabwe to be subjected to the
current legal regime where they can be detained for long periods without
trial. The four left the country a fortnight ago.

In an interview this week Makoni, who was managing director of the bank,
said they were prepared to sing if their "persecution" continued.

"For professional reasons we would not like to give details of the
transactions that took place," said Makoni. "But if we are persecuted the
way we are being treated now, we are prepared to reveal the details," said

This comes amid revelations that the Zimbabwe government has not started
extradition proceedings to bring back from Britain the four directors to
face trial.

In written responses to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, the British
embassy said it had not been contacted about the extradition of the four

"We have not been contacted by the government of Zimbabwe or Interpol about
this case," said British embassy spokesperson Sophie Honey.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said extradition proceedings
would only start after police had ascertained the exact location of the

"We cannot start the extradition process until we know the exact location of
the suspects. We are still trying to find out exactly where they are," he

The Independent this week also heard that government would formally complain
against the British government for allegedly facilitating the escape of the
directors by providing them with fast-track visas.

The embassy could not provide details on whether or not the four directors
got express visas.

"All visa applications are con-sidered in accordance with UK immigration
rules. We do not comment on individual applica-tions," said Honey.

Diplomatic sources this week said the British government would not extradite
the directors who would likely be treated as asylum seekers.
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Zim Independent

Air Zim in pensions wrangle
Munyaradzi Wasosa/Itai Dzamara
AIR Zimbabwe management has clashed with workers over allegations that
contributions towards a pension scheme were not being remitted and were
being diverted to other uses without informing the workers.

The workers told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that it was only after a
report had been made to the police fraud squad and investigations had begun
that management tried to explain the non-remittance of pension contributions
for the past five months.

This paper confirmed that a complaint had been forwarded to the fraud squad
and that the matter was being handled by Constables Tumbare and Goshami.

Efforts to reach the two policemen yesterday were unsuccessful. However, a
policeman who answered the telephone at the fraud department in Harare said:
"It is those two (Tumbare and Goshami) who can discuss that matter."

Workers who spoke to the Independent said the pension scheme was established
in the 1950s. It was under the administration of Old Mutual Life Pension
Fund until management decided, without consulting workers, to transfer it to
a firm called Comarton Consultants.

A trustee committee comprising mostly members of management, oversees the
handling of the funds.

The transfer of the fund caused discontent among the workers.

"The transfer should have gone through tender but it didn't and we were
never informed," said a source. "That raises suspicion about management's

Relations between workers and management soured recently after the discovery
by workers that contributions towards the pension fund stopped in October
last year.

"We suspect that the money was being diverted to other uses," a source said.
"The worst thing however is that we were not informed until we discovered
the development and reported it to the police."

Comarton managing director Richard Muirimi yesterday confirmed that the
national airline had defaulted on payments for five months since October
last year.

He absolved his company of any wrongdoing as suspected by Air Zimbabwe
workers. "People speculate that we were using the money for something else,
and that is not true. Fund contributions were not coming through," he said.

However, Air Zimbabwe management acted swiftly this week before police had
nabbed any individuals. Management issued a cheque on Tuesday to Comarton to
settle the arrear contributions.

This paper yesterday saw a copy of the cheque in possession of workers'
representatives, who claim to have intercepted it and made a copy for
"evidence", for the amount of $204 146 205,95 issued to Comarton. The Jewel
Bank cheque number 0121 2011 7186 1011 2906 3170 1, was confirmed to have
been received by Comarton yesterday.

Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena could not be reached for
comment yesterday. His secretary said he was locked up in a board meeting.

The workers also allege that contributions to Cimas medical aid society have
not been remitted by the national airline for a number of months. Workers,
most of who are on Cimas schemes, only learnt about the non-remittance of
funds when they sought assistance to cover hospital and medical bills from

An Air Zimbabwe engineer, who preferred not to be named, said workers had
planned to go on strike over the matter. "The trustees are using our money
to benefit themselves. We suspect they are investing our funds for their own
benefit. We could have gone on strike this Tuesday but our unions feared
reprisals," the source said.
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Zim Independent

Zesn urged to endorse election boycott
Itai Dzamara
OPPOSITION political parties and civil society members have requested the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) to endorse a boycott of next year's
parliamentary election if President Robert Mugabe refuses to make electoral

Fierce debate marked the closing session of a two-day workshop organised by
Zesn in Harare to discuss the Electoral Laws Draft Bill compiled by a
coalition of more than 30 civil society organisations.

A suggestion that Zesn merely endorse the draft bill to government and leave
the rest to political parties was shot down. Zesn had to clearly state in
the draft bill that failure to effect changes to current laws would mean a
non-recognition of next year's parliamentary election outcome, the meeting

"We want Zesn to make a definitive position to government regarding this
issue," said Wurayai Zembe of the Democratic Party.

"Zesn must clearly state that it won't recognise an election held under the
current system. Without amendments it means the poll will be boycotted by
all the groups that constitute the network."

National Constitutional Assembly head Lovemore Madhuku, who chaired the
closing session, endorsed participants' sentiments.

"I think it is clear that the suggestion being made by some participants is
that Zesn has to state in the draft bill that it won't recognise elections
held under the current electoral system," said Madhuku.

Remus Makuwaza, head of the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) election
directorate said: "The demand by civil society for electoral amendments is
legitimate and good for the growth of democracy. Therefore Zesn's efforts
must be fully supported."

Zesn chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said in closing remarks that the
network would relay to government requests made by the participants.

The draft bill was compiled by Zesn after a national consultative campaign
calling for an Independent Electoral Commission to replace the existing
Electoral Supervisory Commission whose members are appointed by President

The bill also calls for an overhaul of electoral laws for them to conform to
international standards.

Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa recently
scoffed at calls by the opposition and civil society for electoral
amendments, saying no changes would be made before next year's polls. He
also said the MDC feared defeat.

The MDC national executive has resolved to boycott next year's polls unless
amendments are made.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF militia lay seige on Zengeza ahead of poll
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF has launched a terror campaign ahead of the Zengeza by-election. The
Zimbabwe Independent this week heard that four torture bases have been set

Zengeza constituency by-elections are due on March 27 and 28. The seat fell
vacant after Tafadzwa Musekiwa went into exile in the United Kingdom and
later resigned. Musekiwa went into exile in 2002 claiming that the ruling
Zanu PF party was after his life.

Four candidates are vying for the seat: long-time Zanu PF cadre Christopher
Chigumba, James Makore (MDC), Tendai Chakanyuka (Nagg) and Gideon
Chinogureyi of Zanu Ndonga.

Speaking to the Independent yesterday, Makore said Zanu PF had intensified
its dirty campaign by attacking and torturing his supporters.

"Zanu PF has already established four bases in the constituency," Makore
said. "The bases are at Zengeza 4 creche, Zengeza 4 shops (popularly known
as Pagomba), in Unit H and Unit D. Zanu PF youths and supporters camped at
these bases descend on suspected opposition supporters during the night,
beat them up and destroy their property."

Makore said he had reported some of the cases to the police who had promised
to investigate.

"Some of the incidents are very nasty. Some victims have sustained serious
injuries such as broken arms. Most of these cases have been reported to the
police," he said.

Makore said there were rumours that the ruling party was setting up more
bases in the constituency to cow the opposition before the poll.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said on Wednesday more that 100

Zanu PF militias stoned three houses belonging to members of the opposition
in Zengeza, including that of Makore.

"Zanu PF mobs moving in trucks attacked the three houses at around 1430hrs
on Wednesday, destroying property valued at millions of dollars and beating
up everybody they met near Makore's house," Nyathi said.

"They shattered window-panes and asbestos sheets of Makore's house before
proceeding to attack two houses belonging his neighbours."

Nyathi said the Zanu PF youths abducted an MDC youth, Enock Mukudu, who was
forced to surrender $30 000 to secure his release but not before he was
stabbed on his left arm as well as sustaining a deep cut above his right

Over the weekend Zanu PF militias invaded the Chitungwiza tennis court where
the MDC was preparing to hold a rally. The rally, at which MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was expected to launch his party's campaign for the Zengeza
constitu-ency, was called off for security reasons.

Nyathi said ruling party militia attacked MDC party members who had been
preparing the venue, seriously damaging two vehicles. Six people were
reportedly injured in the attack with equipment worth millions of dollars
looted. The MDC said the militia then moved around the area in vehicles
attacking anyone seen travelling towards the venue of the rally.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission has however tried to break the cycle of
violence by bringing the contesting parties to a round table and agreeing on
conflict management measures.

"After noting complaints that have been raised about the existence of bases
and safe houses, party representatives agreed that each party would have one
command centre that would be known to all and accessible by the ESC and the
police," ESC said.

"In an effort to stem the use of force and violence during night campaigns,
parties agreed that there would be no campaigning at night. Campaigning will
take place between 0600hrs and 1700hrs."

With only a week before the polls, the Zengeza seat is already showing signs
of becoming the most furiously contested after 2002 presidential election.
Zanu PF desperately wants to win the seat to prove that the opposition is
fast losing support. The MDC on the other hand cannot afford to lose if it
wants to maintain its credibility and grip on the urban electorate.

In the 2000 parliamentary election Zanu PF was relegated to a rural party
after the MDC won almost all urban constituencies.
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Zim Independent

Lecturers/ministry on collision course
Loughty Dube
STRIKING National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturers and
the Ministry of Higher Education are on a collision course after the two
parties failed to agree on a salary arbitration decision leading to the
ministry seeking recourse to the Labour Court.

The matter has been set for the Labour Court in Harare next week on Friday
after the government refused to implement a salary adjustment awarded to the
striking lecturers through arbitration late last year.

The adjustments would have seen the least paid lecturer earn about $1,13
million. Government said it did not have the resources.

The striking lecturers last week on Monday met with Higher Education
minister Herbert Murerwa but failed to resolve the impasse.

Nust Education Association spokesperson Elyween Madziva confirmed the
impasse with the ministry and said his association had received summons to
appear before the Labour Court next week.

"The ministry has appealed against the arbitration salary we were awarded
last year and a hearing has been set for Friday next week. Until that issue
is resolved, lecturers here have vowed not go back to work," Madziva said.

Nust is currently at a standstill as striking lecturers and non-academic
staff have refused to go back to work until their arbitration salary has
been implemented.

However, Nust director of information, Felix Moyo, said not all lecturers at
the university were on strike and that the university was operating
'normally' with the available staff.

"Lessons are going on in some departments as not all lecturers are on
strike. We have expatriate and part-time lecturers who are teaching while
some full time staff are not taking part in the strike," Moyo said.

He said the lecturers were holding marathon meetings to come up with a
position on the matter.

Madziva said unless all the lecturers' demands were met they would not go
back to work.

"We went for voluntary arbitration but the employer is appealing against
that decision but we are willing to go back to work if we are given
something enticing," said Madziva.
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Zim Independent

Police demand details of MDC members
Loughty Dube
THE opposition MDC has alleged that police are harassing its officials and
members in Bulawayo by demanding personal information pertaining to their
political history and details of the party's grassroots membership.

MDC information and publicity officer for Bulawayo province Victor Moyo said
officers from the Law and Order Section were visiting the party's district
and ward leaders in the city demanding that they give information about
themselves and other members.

"The police have been intimidating our members and forcing them to divulge
sensitive information about themselves and about other members in the
party," Moyo said.

He said Pumula South councillor Rodger Sibanda was visited twice at his home
last week.

"Police visited Sibanda and asked him to fill in a form outlining his
political history. He refused but they returned later and forced him to
provide the details together with information on other party members," Moyo

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena promised to comment later on the
allegations but had not done so at the time of going to press.

Allegations of harassment of MDC councillors come a few days after the
release of results of a survey of 50 of the MDC's 59 MPs conducted by the
Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Institute.

The survey revealed that almost all opposition MPs have been terrorised
through violence, intimidation and arrest.

The report further stated that 90% of the MPs had been jailed while 42% had
been physically assaulted.

Moyo said another MDC councillor, Angilacala Ndlovu, was ordered to give
information on the party's structures at branch and district levels.

"The action by the police is abhorrent. We are not sure for what purpose the
police want to use the information they are collecting or whether they are
being used by Zanu PF ahead of elections next year.

"What the police are doing is intimidating our members ahead of the 2005
parliamentary election and we are saying there should be a stop to that," he
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Zim Independent

Chombo lays fresh charges against suspended Mudzuri
Augustine Mukaro
LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo wants suspended Harare executive
mayor Elias Mudzuri to answer fresh allegations of misconduct, fuelling
speculation that a committee led by James Kurasha had failed to establish
any wrong-doing by Mudzuri.

In a letter dated February 16, Chombo said Mudzuri should answer allegations
of abuse of authority, manipulation of tender procedures, failure to comply
with section 313 (1) of the Urban Councils Act, general mismanagement of
council affairs, misuse of public funds and mismanagement of finances.

The allegations come a month after the investigating committee submitted its
report to Chombo. The report has not been made public or given to Mudzuri as
the accused person.

Highly-placed sources in the Local Government ministry said the Kurasha
report failed to reveal any wrong-doing by Mudzuri, prompting Chombo to
raise fresh allegations to justify the mayor's continued suspension.

Mudzuri said it was beyond any doubt that the new allegations were patently
false and meant to justify his prolonged suspension.

"I am a little confused by the heading of your letter minister, as I am
unaware that there is an inquiry into allegation of misconduct which you
levelled against me under cover of your letter dated April 29," Mudzuri

"I am equally perplexed and confused by the letter referring to the
preliminary investigations into the allegations of misconduct against me
having been carried out."

Mudzuri's suspension letter of April 29 did not specify that he was
personally being investigated for misconduct. The Kurasha committee was
investigating the general affairs of council.

Mudzuri denied the allegations referring the minister to provisions of the
Act that fully set out powers of the mayor.

"All council employees and officials who were suspended or dismissed were
dealt with in terms of the provisions of the Urban Councils Act and all
necessary procedures provided for in the Act were followed," said Mudzuri.

He also referred the minister to the chamber secretary and the town clerk
for all records.

Mudzuri said Leslie Gwindi's case was handled by the High Court which found
that he was not properly employed. "Gwindi was not fired by myself but by
council," he said.
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Zim Independent

Moyo cracks whip on state media
Itai Dzamara
WITH exactly 12 months to go before next year's parliamentary elections,
Information minister Jonathan Moyo is on a warpath, cracking the whip at
state media outlets to churn more Zanu PF propaganda.

The Zimbabwe Independent heard that Moyo last month announced at a meeting
with editors from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the
Zimpapers newspaper stable that there would be a "major restructuring ahead
of next year's elections".

Sources at both ZBC and Zimpapers revealed that the restructuring was
already in motion and included the abrupt sacking of Herald journalists who
were corresponding for the Voice of America last month.

"Moyo made his intentions clear at a meeting held last month, and we all
know what is on offer," said a source. "He (Moyo) said next year's elections
were more crucial than those of 2000 and 2002 and that nobody working in the
state media needed to be told about his role in ensuring a 'people's

It was soon after the meeting between Moyo and state media editors that a
massive hunt for Zimpapers and ZBC journalists stringing for foreign
organisations intensified, sources said. Herald sports editor, Robson
Sharuko, sports reporter, Tendai Ndemera and assistant editor Rex Mphisa
were subsequently dismissed.

Moyo is expected to make major editorial changes in the coming weeks at ZBC
and Zimpapers to remove journalists whose allegiance to Zanu PF is
questionable or those that have shown some degree of independence and

Sources said surprise appointments to editorial positions would be made by
Moyo soon. Names already being bandied around include those of pro-Zanu PF
columnists William Nhara and Caesar Zvayi.

The Independent understands there will also be a reshuffling of senior
editorial staff at Zimpapers.

Editors such as Bornwell Chakaodza, Ray Mungoshi, Shepherd Mutamba and Funny
Mushava were victims of Moyo's "restructuring" in 2000 and 2002 after they
refused to take orders to campaign for Zanu PF.

The state broadcaster, ZBC, lost experienced staff in a purge code-named

Vision 30 when Moyo retrenched 435 workers. Disc jockeys such as Ezra
Sibanda, Eric Knight, Peter Johns, Hilton Mambo, Kelvin Sifelani, Brenda
Moyo, Musa Pilime, Themba Mkanda and Musavengana Nyasha disappeared from the
airwaves over night.

Some of the retrenched broad-casters are yet to get their terminal benefits
more than three years after they left the corporation. Nyasha, a
spokesperson for the retrenchees, said this week that Moyo's "restructuring"
was aimed at ridding the ZBC of independent voices.

"It wasn't logical or planned, hence the failure to pay some of the
victims," said Nyasha. "It was all aimed at cleaning the airwaves of
independent broadcasters even it meant a lot of talent going to waste."

Moyo has also juggled around with senior managers at ZBC, with Alum Mpofu
and Munyaradzi Hwengwere being sidelined.

Head of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company Bright Matonga, a Zanu PF
activist and stranger to the media, also had a brief stint at ZBC and left
without ceremony.
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Zim Independent

'Mushowe was seeking help from De Klerks'
Augustine Mukaro
CONTRARY to claims by Transport and Communications minister Christopher
Mushohwe that Kondozi farm owners wanted to bribe him, it emerged this week
that the minister wrote to the De Klerk family asking for assistance.

Mushohwe has given the De Klerks up to April 7 to wind up their operations
and vacate Kondozi farm to make way for the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (Arda).

At a function in Odzi over the weekend, Mushohwe alleged the De Klerks tried
to bribe him with $10 million to donate to schools in Mutare.

He said the De Klerks allegedly used Edwin Moyo as their front. Mushohwe
claims to have turned down the poisoned chalice.

A letter in the possession of this paper dated March 19, 2003, written on a
Ministry of Transport letterhead and signed by Mushohwe when he was still
deputy minister, reveals that he did ask for a donation.

In the letter, addressed to Piet De Klerk, Mushohwe said he wanted to raise
funds to build 'A' level blocks, a library and teachers accommodation at
Odzi Secondary School.

"Odzi Secondary School has been granted 'A' level status and 'A' level
studies have just started," reads part of Mushohwe's letter.

"The school requires assistance to enable it to build 'A' level blocks,
library and teachers accommodation. It is in this view that I, as local MP
for the area is (sic) extending this invitation to you," he said.

"I value and appreciate the many contributions and assistance you have
rendered towards the development of our constituency. Your presence and
indeed assistance in cash and or kind would be greatly appreciated," the
letter said.

Kondozi farm became the centre of controversy when Agriculture minister
Joseph Made, Mushohwe and a Joseph Matovanyika, along with Arda employees,
invaded the 224-hectare horticultural farm on Christmas eve last year.

The farm is registered as an Export Processing Zone farm and has a turnover
of US$15 million. It employs around 5 000 workers.

In an interview on Monday, Kondozi project majority shareholder Edwin Moyo
said Mushohwe had not been consistent in his dealing with issues of the

"The minister should just tell the truth about his intensions on Kondozi,"
Moyo said. "If he wants the farm he should say so without smearing my name
as a front."

Moyo said Mushohwe had been trying all tricks to drive out the current
shareholders on Kondozi against a High Court order allowing them to stay on.

"As we speak, Mushohwe has hired terror gangs who are wrecking havoc on the

"At a rally in Odzi last weekend, Mu-showe threatened to eliminate Kondozi

workers committee members who are resisting his plans to take over the farm
under the guise of Arda," Moyo said.

Workers on Kondozi farm recently tried to enlist the help of Chief Marange
in the area to keep Mushohwe out the property.
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Zim Independent

Court dismisses Mawere/Mtetwa case with costs
Staff Writer
THE High Court this week dismissed with costs a $10 million defamation
lawsuit by businessman Mutumwa Mawere against prominent Harare lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa.

The defamation suit arose in 2000 when Mtetwa, who was representing
businessman Nigel Chanakira in a criminal case, was quoted in the press as
saying Mawere and another businessman Daniel Shumba, had been seen at the
Fraud Squad offices talking to senior police officers.

Mawere then contended that Mtetwa's statement could be understood to mean
that Shumba and himself "had improperly exerted pressure on the police
officers responsible for investigating a complaint made against the
defendant's client, one Nigel Chanakira". Chanakira and other business
executives were arrested in 2000 on charges of insider-trading on Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange shares.

The High Court dismissed the charges after Mawere failed to pursue the case
further after the filing of the application.

In January, Mtetwa made a chamber application in the High Court asking the
court to dismiss the case since Mawere's lawyers had failed to file the
requisite papers.

"The fact that the respondent has not bothered to advance this litigation is
in my respectful view clear evidence of the fact that the respondent has no
intention of pursuing this litigation to finality and simply brought it to
terrorise me," she said.

She added: "I am naturally desirous of having this matter concluded without
any further delays in light of the fact that the respondent does not share
this desire and has virtually done nothing in more than two years.

"I pray that this honourable court dismiss the claim with costs in terms of
rule 75 of Order 11 of the rules of the honourable court."
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Zim Independent

RBZ to outline measures on taping forex abroad
Loughty Dube
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it will announce measures to guide
its efforts to source foreign currency from Zimbabweans working in the
Diaspora by the end of this month.

Eric Bloch, an advisor at RBZ said the framework that would be used to bring
in forex from Zimbabweans working abroad was being worked out and would be
made public at the end of March.

"The RBZ will at the end of this month announce measures to deal with the
bringing in of foreign currency from Zimbabweans working abroad and it
should be made clear that our motives at RBZ are non-political and that the
money is needed to resuscitate the national economy," said Bloch.

He said the issue of getting foreign currency from Zimbabweans working
abroad had been politicised when it was a simple economic issue.

"The issue has been looked at from a political angle when it is a simple
issue to do with the country's economy and we should be benefiting from that
foreign currency," he said.

Bloch said other countries benefited immensely from forex currency sent in
by their nationals working overseas.

"About 70% of Philippines working overseas last year brought US$1 billion in
foreign currency into their country and nothing should stop Zimbabwe
benefiting also if the system is done right," said Bloch.

He said forex from Zimbabweans abroad was finding its way into the parallel
markets of South Africa and Botswana yet Zimbabwe was not benefitting from
its own nationals who always send in money to support their families.

"We need a big chunk of the money sent in by Zimbabweans working abroad but
what we have now is a situation where the bulk of that foreign currency is
traded on the black markets of South Africa, Botswana and even in New York,"
Bloch said.

He said Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were losing considerable amo-unts of
money to fraudsters and black market traders who were charging ridiculous
amounts for transfers.

"Very considerable amounts of money from Zimbabweans is lost to fraudsters
and the new measures we are putting in place will have to make the exchange
rate competitive so that the people will shun the black market," Bloch said.

To gain the trust of Zimbabweans abroad, Bloch said, the system needed to
operate in a reliable, efficient and at a reasonably affordable manner.

Meanwhile, RBZ governor Gideon Gono says the central bank has also sent
teams to the country's borders to conduct foreign currency transactions from
foreigners coming into the country.
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Zim Independent

Govt desperate to lure back ZCTU
Shakeman Mugari
GOVERNMENT is making frantic efforts to bring the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) back into the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The Ministry
of Labour which holds the chairmanship of the TNF is drafting an invitation
to the labour organisation to rejoin the forum. Minister Paul Mangwana said
government had always wanted the ZCTU on the negotiating table.

"We have always insisted that they come back into the forum because their
absence is not serving anyone. In fact, it is worsening the plight of
workers," said Mangwana. "They have always been party of the TNF and don't
need a special invite."

The ZCTU pulled out of the discussions last year after government
unilaterally increased fuel prices without the approval of other social
partners, namely business through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
and the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe.

The labour union said they were not aware of any invitation but indicated
that they would not return to the negotiating forum unless their conditions
were met.

ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said the organisation had not seen an
improvement in the situation since they pulled out of TNF last year.

"We have not seen readable information to that effect. We will only come
back after our concerns have been addressed," said Matombo. "The government
has shown that it does not respect the law of tripartism," he said.

"We will need the mandate of the employees to go back. Without that we will
not rejoin the negotiating forum."

NECF National spokesperson Nhlanhla Masuku confirmed on Wednesday that
government was making overtures to labour.

"I understand they are being invited back into the TNF," Masuku told
journalists at an NECF press briefing. He however took the platform to
lambast the labour organisation saying it did not have the interests of the
workers at heart.

"Even government is more interested in the plight of the workers than the

ZCTU. Employers are more interested in the plight of workers than the ZCTU,"
said Masuku. "They must decide whether they want to meddle in politics or to
be a proper representative of the employees," said Masuku.

The ZCTU's pullout from the TNF led to the collapse of tripartite
discussions. Since April last year, there has been no meeting held under the
TNF banner.
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Zim Independent

Wining and dining to whining and begging

 Ngoni Chanakira

WHEN Finance minister Herbert Murerwa omitted all monetary policy issues in
his 2004 national budget statement last year, analysts said he had failed to
inform the nation about what needed to be done to reverse the current
economic malaise.

While the population was getting poorer, financial institutions were
chalking up billion-dollar profits and taking the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
(ZSE) to new highs. Little did investors and the general public realise that
the sector would be on its knees less than a year later.

There were cheers and clinking of champagne glasses when financial
powerhouse Trust Holdings Ltd (Trust) announced that it had "beat market
expectations" by achieving a profit after tax of $15,1 billion in historical
terms during the six months to June 30. This was an increase of 150% over
the performance figure for the whole of the 2002 financial year.

Compared to the six months to June 30 2002, the historical figures
represented an increase of 817%. The total group balance sheet size stood at
$202 billion compared to $44 billion as at June 30 2002.

Shareholders smiled all the way to the bank as they received a dividend of
700 cents per share - the highest declared by a financial institution in the
history of the ZSE.

Trust immediately embarked on a diversification path culminating in the
institution becoming one of the largest in the country, threatening even the
government-influenced Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold) capitalised
to the tune of $57 billion. Trust went into a marriage with First Mutual Ltd
(FML), which meant customers could now access financial and insurance deals
under one roof.

The union seemed on the roll before the entrance of new Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on December 1.

Suddenly, things turn-ed nasty.

"With effect from January 1 2004, banks in short positions will be required
to provide justification for seeking overnight accommodation," Gono told the
nation on December 18.

"Spot inspections will be conducted to establish the underlying causes of
the bank's asset-liability mismatch. Where persistent and serious managerial
deficiencies are detected, the banks concerned will be directed to
restructure their top management and treasury operations, and if the
situation persists, the Reserve Bank will insist on the restructuring of
their board as a condition for accessing the liquidity support facility."

From popping champagne bottles word quickly went round that Trust and
Century Holdings Ltd (Century) were actually facing collapse!

The drama began to unfold as chief executive officer William Nyemba,
executive director Chris Goromonzi and finance director Nyevero Hlupo were
ousted from Trust. Century's Jefta Mugweni also stepped down from the board.

Analysts point out that the face of Zimbabwe's banking sector definitely
needed the plastic surgery brought about by Gono and his new team.

The new monetary policy resulted in the ZSE's industrial index taking a
major knock and bankers scurrying for cover as they discovered that their
institutions were facing a liquidity crunch. In fact it turned out that some
banks did not have money and were being bailed out by RBZ handouts while
they concentrated on speculative activities. Founding directors and board
members were allegedly abusing company facilities in broad daylight -
borrowing billions to buy foreign currency, luxury vehicles, residential
stands, buildings, and even household goods to resell later at exorbitant

"The problem with the stock exchange and the financial sector is that there
was too much speculation and institutions were not concentrating on their
core business," said Century group chief economist Moses Chundu on Monday.
"We can say the success of the stock exchange was because of the run by
financial institutions. The counters are now, however, under-performing. We
could be stuck with this for some time."

The ZSE has been regularly voted among the best performing bourses in the
world and analysts now question whether this accolade was justified given
that the banking sector - now on its knees - was the major cause of this
fine run.

"The major cause for the financial sector to be in such a state of affairs
is the liquidity crisis," said acting Intermarket Holdings chief executive
officer Rindai Jaravaza.

Jaravaza said this at a press conference where he was at pains to explain
the problems being faced by Intermarket which last week booted out its
founder and CEO Nicholas Vingirai and chairman Michael Mahachi.

Like the events at Trust, the business community was taken by surprise when
it was revealed that Intermarket did not have sufficient funds to cover
costs and pay customers their hard-earned money with-out RBZ help. "Our
discount house is a major cause for concern," said Jaravaza. "We have now
also removed the head of the discount house pending investigations and RBZ

Intermarket took the market by storm when it went on a $22 billion "shopping
spree" to snap up major properties using its property vehicle - Mashonaland

Century Discount House, now also shut, caused headaches for the Century
group during preliminary investigations of the financial services sector
when it was revealed that it was facing serious liquidity problems because
of its exposure to ENG Asset Management Company.

Analysts said while discount houses did not necessarily need to engage in
core banking activities, their banking sisters were allowing them to engage
in speculative activities in collaboration with asset management houses.
Regulations surrounding the operation of discount houses and asset
management firms have now been tightened.

Liquidity support is one of the factors behind money supply growth and high
inflation. Its transmission mechanisms are the banks. Liquidity support is
meant to provide temporary relief to solvent banking institutions that have
experienced temporary liquidity dislocations.

In his monetary policy statement, Gono said persistent use of the liquidity
support window, however, suggested that the banking institution concerned
was not making adequate efforts to address underlying fundamental challenges
in their asset-liability management practices.

"It has become evident that some banks are making commercial investment
decisions on the misguided assumption that the Reserve Bank will eventually
cover their liquidity shortfalls," Gono said. "In some instances, that
support from the Reserve Bank is being applied towards extending loans for
speculative, personal consumption or asset acquisition purposes. "Naturally
as monetary authorities we frown on such balance sheets as our efforts to
control inflation and achieve macroeconomic stability within the vision
period are compromised. In view of the expansionary impact of liquidity
support on money supply, the existing policy on liquidity support to
financial institutions will be tightened."

Gono said the new policy effective on January 1 would ensure that liquidity
help was granted only to solvent and viable banks, and where there was no
evidence of "imprudent behaviour". He also said such support would be given
provided the purpose of liquidity support was not to fund activities of
subsidiaries, such as asset management companies, nominees or non-core
activities of group companies.

Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe shareholders last year took managing director Alex
Jongwe and senior management to task over what they termed a "static share
price" and "poor banking practices". So far, however, the bank, which
receives directives from its headquarters in the United Kingdom, has not
been ruffled by the RBZ's probe. Others in same category are Standard
Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank - both externally-controlled.
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Zim Independent


Zim has a chance to redeem itself

AS Zimbabwe seeks rehabilitation into the international community, one of
the tasks that it has to undertake is to demonstrate that it has moved
forward since the 2000 general election. Let the byword for contestants in
the March 2005 parliamentary election be "peace and more peace". It is vital
that we hold an election that is not only free and fair but is also seen by
all impartial observers to be just that.

The Zengeza by-election at the end of the month could mark a turning point
if all contesting parties work to ensure a free and fair poll. The two main
parties, the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have an opportunity to set the tone for the conduct of future

While it is clear that in Zengeza the stakes will be very low compared to
next year's parliamentary election, politicians must understand that it is
never too early to learn a new ethos of tolerance. They must know that in
the global village in which we live, victory in an election is no longer
simply in the numbers but in the methods as well. One must win the hearts
and minds of the people before they claim legitimacy. Winning an election by
hook or crook is almost a certain way to national stagnation.

The consent of the governed to the governor's rule is critical for any
leader to be able to implement national policies.

Legitimacy does not derive solely from voters. It also involves the outside
world which has much influence on internal governance. Current world
political and economic dynamics make it difficult for leaders to impose
their will on the people through bogus elections. Elections must go beyond
the ritual of merely legitimising self-imposed leaders.

The intertwining of economics and politics has had the effect of redefining
sovereignty. The rigid doctrine of non-interference in internal affairs has
been replaced by a limited yet strong concept of sovereignty. It is no
longer possible for leaders who steal elections and oppress their own people
to also enjoy unrestricted global acceptance. We have more than sufficient
evidence of this since the hotly-disputed 2002 presidential election.

While President Mugabe was declared the winner, many Zimbabweans felt MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai had been robbed - not of victory as such - but of
an opportunity to contest a free and fair poll.

The election was characterised by widespread political violence and
intimidation, a profoundly-flawed legislative framework,  administrative
incompetence and bungling, fear and general hostility.

Government supporters and partisan elements from the uniformed forces were
deployed to run elections, while electoral laws were changed until the very
last day to ensure the "right" outcome.

Zimbabwe has never held a genuinely free and fair election since
independence in 1980. Not that PF Zapu or any other party would have won in
1980. The point is that the whole process was contaminated by dirty tricks
that prevented a free and fair election.

Violence was rampant in 1985, the bloodiest in the country's history, and in
1990, 2000 and 2002. Violence was limited in the 1995/96 elections largely
because Zanu PF and Mugabe were not under serious challenge.

South African president Thabo Mbeki's recent remarks on his ANC Today online
publication on free and fair election are very instructive.

"To succeed in everything we have to do requires that we have a system of
governance that enjoys the popular support and confidence of the masses of
our people," Mbeki said.

"This system must have the legitimacy born of the fact of being freely and
democratically mandated by the people. Free and fair elections are therefore
fundamental to our capacity to implement the people-centred transformation

Mbeki further says: "Certainly, we cannot allow that the freedom space
created by the democratic system is abused to undermine the very system that
creates this space.

"Nobody should therefore make the mistake of thinking that democracy gives
him or her the right to threaten or use force, in reality to take away the
very rights that define our democratic system."

Democracy in Zimbabwe has been corrupted by a phoney refusal by those in
power to accept that not every Zimbabwean needed to cross the border into
Mozambique to secure our liberty. It is a foolish demand by a selfish
clique. That notwithstanding, let's use the Zengeza by-election to show that
we are mature and can conduct a peaceful election.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Killing the goose that lays the eggs

ALBEIT unintentionally, I have certainly raised the ire and fury of some,
both at home and abroad, who demonstrate their unwillingness to accept that
anyone with a view at variance to theirs could possibly have such opinion on
the strength of good intentions. Some of my critics have verged on the edge
of libel, slander and defamation when they suggest that I am a supporter of
President Mugabe, his government and his party. I have repeatedly  stated
over many years my total abhorrence for their policies, their contempt for
the fundamentals of human rights, their disregard for basic principles of
democracy and for law and order, their destruction of a vibrant economy,
their alienation of the international community, and their failure to
address the needs of Zimbabwe.

But that will not motivate me to believe that the vehicle to be used to oust
them from power should be the further decimation of the economy, the
creation of even greater poverty, and the creation of a circumstance that
when finally the long overdue change occurs, there is no economy left to be
built upon. Thus, no matter how vociferous my critics, I will continue to do
what little may be within my ability to support the economy, minimise
poverty and to contain the misery of many.

My only regret is that it is not within my ability to do more to such ends.
And, because I believe that economic destruction is not the desirable path
to democracy, (although it worked in instances of history such as the 1789
French Revolution against Louis XVI), I have been and continue to be opposed
to mass action or work stoppages. Over the last few years, they have
repeatedly achieved nothing other than  worsening the lot of the workers and
their families, and reduce the economy to even greater fragility.

However, let me disabuse those who believe that I am about to lead a Reserve
Bank circus around the world to motivate Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to send
untold wealth to Zimbabwe. That has never been my intent and, had it been,
it would have been unrealistic in the extreme. Can anyone seriously believe
that the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, the US, Australia,
New Zealand and Canada will gleefully give out the necessary visas for such
a visit? And how many Zimbabweans abroad would attend public meetings hosted
by such a circus? Certainly not those who are in employment without work
permits, nor those who are political exiles!

No, the intention is to interact effectively, but in other ways, with those
who are earning abroad in order to support their impoverished families at
home, or to invest in Zimbabwe, according them the opportunity to do so
without risk through formal channels.

Therefore, Chido Makunike, I much regret that I cannot obtain the new fuel
pump for your car, or any other luxurious trinkets and toys, both because I
am not going to New York, or elsewhere to promote funds repatriation to
Zimbabwe, and because I have no hard currency per diem, whether generous or

But I must thank RES Cook for his most generous compliment. After all, it
has long been said that imitation is the best form of flattery, and Cook
accuses me of "pontification", notwithstanding that my pontification pales
into insignificance as compared to his dogmatic vilification of my motives
and my being. Clearly he and my other critics believe that the end justifies
the means, no matter how harmful may be the result of using such means. I
respect their right to criticise, and I respect their right to disagree with
me. I do not respect their belief that I should not have like rights, and
that their vehicle for criticism is one of vilification. Most of all,
however, I cannot agree with them that the path towards political
transformation should be to kill the goose that lays the eggs. Whilst some
will survive to enjoy the change, many will not, and even more will be
permanently prejudiced by the further impact of continuing economic decline.
Moreover, if the goose is slaughtered, from whence will come the eggs in the
future? Whatsoever reasonably can be done to preserve the basics of the
devastated Zimbabwean economy should be done, so that when liberty and
reason return to Zimbabwe, the goose, no matter how weakened, can then be
fattened to lay its eggs once more.

Very evidently, RES Cook, Bekithemba Mhlanga of the UK,  B Mhlanga of
Borrowdale, Dave Goldiner and others do not agree.

However, it is not only they who seek to kill the goose. So too does the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa). Over the years, Zesa has
accumulated a mountain of debt. In part that was as a result of the
government never capitalising it adequately. The inadequacy of capital
forced the parastatal to resort to massive borrowings in order to develop
the energy generation and distribution infrastructure. But that was not the
only catalyst of the debt burden. Evidence is incontrovertible that Zesa's
operations have left much to be desired. Managerial inefficiencies have
resulted in vast operational losses, even before accounting for finance
costs, and those losses have driven Zesa to even greater borrowings, and
consequential unsustainable debt servicing obligations.

Faced with escalating debt, lessening opportunities of further loan funding,
virtually zero financial support from the government, and growing losses,
Zesa has increased its tariffs. In many instances, those tariffs are more
than twice those throughout the other countries in the region, and in other
instances, almost threefold. Industry, mining, horticulture and numerous
other economic sectors can cite endless examples of Zesa tariff increases
devoid of rhyme or reason, and where the escalations are incomprehensible.
They can demonstrate application of tariff increases being effected before
such tariffs have been gazetted, and such increases therefore being
unlawful. Over less than a year, some consumers have suffered increases in
electricity supply charges from less than $10 million to over $70 million.

When representations are made to Zesa that these escalations are not only
vastly greater than inflation, but are guaranteed to remove all prospects of
operational viability of the consumer enterprises, Zesa has consistently
demonstrated a total lack of concern. Zesa managers will attend emergency
meetings of representative bodies such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries and the Chamber of Mines, but will be heedless of all submissions
made, no matter how well founded, and will be obdurate in the extreme,
adhering to their demanded charges. The same circumstance has been the
characteristic of many one-on-one interactions between industrial consumers
and Zesa managers. Disregarding any and all representations made, including
those which highlight Zesa's actions without statutory authority, the Zesa
managers threaten disconnection in the absence of full payment of the
horrendous charges within hours.

In doing so, Zesa not only shows a total lack of concern as to the grievous
economic repercussions, but also fails to recognise that, to all intents and
purposes, it is committing suicide. Major mines are facing closure as a
result of excessive electricity charges exceeding their gross revenues. So
too are many large and small factories. As a result, if Zesa does not
descend rapidly from its arrogant pedestal of inflexibility, the economy
already teetering on the verge of major collapse will be cast into that
collapse. Tens of thousands will become unemployed, foreign currency will be
even scarcer than it is today, and Zesa will have very few customers left.
Soon Zesa's stance on tariffs will drive most of the economy to extinction,
and when that occurs, Zesa will also be one of the fatalities.

It is a very old saying that one cannot squeeze blood out of a stone, but
Zesa is certainly trying to do so. Instead of pursuing an uncompromising,
dictatorial and destructive stance in its interactions with the private
sector, Zesa should be collaborating with commerce and industry , mining,
horticulture, and others to address its problems, and theirs. Concurrently,
Zesa needs to pursue enhanced productivity and operational efficiencies in
order to minimise costs, and needs to pressurise the government to honour
its obligations to Zesa and the nation by according Zesa much-needed debt
relief, and then accelerating the transition to privatisation.

Zesa must not kill the goose that lays the eggs. Instead, it should feed and
nourish it.
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Zim Independent


Mohadi thwarts phantom US invasion

 SO Comrade Philip Chiyangwa has received the word? The Tribune reported
last week that the flamboyant businessman and Zanu PF chairman for
Mashonaland West was now a "born again Christian". The paper claimed that
apart from a "loose connection (with) the church through his late mother,
Chiyangwa was until yesterday (Thursday) not known as a God-fearing man".
Muckraker wonders what a God-fearing man should do?

"I was a Christian before and this time around I decided to be born again
for good," declared Chiyangwa. "I am now a Christian with the Word Ablazed
Ministries after realising that these people were with me during my recent
ordeal. They are for me and I am for them."

Is that all there is to Chiyangwa's metamorphosis? The "recent ordeal" is
that Chiyangwa was arrested in January in connection with the ENG scandal
involving over $60 billion. He was detained for perjury, contempt of court
and attempting to defeat the course of justice in connection with the same
case. Could that period in prison have been his road to Damascus? Is he now
going to forsake his worldly riches to focus all his attention on the narrow
path? Only time will tell.

The Sunday Mail carried a picture of President Robert Mugabe shaking hands
with the born-again Chiyangwa at a belated birthday function organised by
Reverend Obadiah Msindo of Destiny of Africa Network. Muckraker is curious
to know what was going on in Mugabe's mind as he came face to face with
Chiyangwa whom he described at the Masvingo Zanu PF conference in December
last year as a tsuro magen'a (a trickster).

It was at the same gathering that Mugabe first sounded warning of the
impending anti-corruption crusade when he spoke disparagingly against people
who make money dishonestly and then turn around to say "they are born again
Christians". Or those who allegedly use money to buy positions in the party.

He was full of the same spiritual fervour during his birthday commemoration
on Saturday: "We pray for blessings but the Lord also asks us 'what do we
have to offer in return'? Have we lived honest and charitable lives?"

Are we entering a new era of spiritual rearmament? Muckraker understands at
the birthday celebrations in Zvimba three weeks ago Fr Fidelis Mukonori gave
the president a Bible for a present!

The Saturday Herald carried a curious comment admitting that they have been
blaming the wrong people for the nation's problems. In light of the ENG saga
and the fallout in the financial services sector, the editor noted that they
were mistaken to blame all of Zimbabwe's woes "on Western forces".

"It has now emerged that the reality on the ground was some sophisticated
scheming and engineering driven by greed and corruption," the editor wrote.

Such washing of dirty linen in the public is a serious offence in the Zanu
PF scheme of things. The mantra is "Never admit error, blame somebody else".

Except that in typical Zanu PF fashion, banks have become the latest
scapegoat while those responsible for the economic morass now strut across
the stage in white robes. Thousands of column centimetres have been devoted
to the issue of corruption in the past and government's condoning of it.
Instead President Mugabe has used every public forum to condemn Tony Blair
and George Bush for the country's problems while leaving his lieutenants to
wreck havoc on the economy.

He recently declared the Blair-Bush war "won" and that the spotlight was now
inside the country. Muckraker wants to see how far the war will go.
Otherwise the only war, an unjustified war, was in the DRC and the nation
has not recovered from that haemorrhage.

What should have been a major government scoop against imperialist forces
turned out to be no more than a damp squib on Monday. The first reports of
the said American plane impounded at the Harare International Airport gave
the impression that the security of the country was under serious threat of
an American military invasion. The plane was full of suspected mercenaries
and carried military hardware, it was reported.

"The Herald saw the white plane with a blue stripe across its body at the
Harare International Airport yesterday," elaborated the Herald on Tuesday.

"It (plane) contained an assortment of military hardware that included a
rubber boat (dingy (sic)), sleeping bags, loud hailers, hammers, compasses,
sophisticated radio communication equipment, water proof military boots and
bolt cutters." So that is what is meant by "military hardware"!

Their front page picture showed members of the military police who were
rummaging the plane holding what looked like masking tape, never mind
whether it was military or civilian. Where was the hardware?

ZBC Newsnet crews tried to spice their report with footage of weapons seized
when three Americans were arrested at the same venue in 1999. At least on
that occasion there were automatic rifles. But the ZBC tried to deceive
inattentive listeners by superimposing the footage over the latest phantom
invasion - minus Reuben Barwe strutting pompously before the cameras.

At the time of going to press the Americans had already denied knowledge of
the plane while the aircraft itself was said to be destined for Equatorial

So this is how Zimpapers rewards its workers? We are talking not only about
Mathew Takaona, Robson Sharuko and others. The despicable ingratitude
extends to the general hands.

The Manica Post this week carried the story of its longest-serving employee
with 37 years to his credit. Simon Mutimbanyoka joined the company in
September 1966 and retired last month. Everybody who knew Mutimbanyoka had
fullsome praise for him, including Manica Post editor Makuwerere Bwititi.
"He is a quiet and hardworking man," he said.

When it came to the moment of parting all that management could give
Mutimbanyoka for his 37 years of loyal and dedicated service was a

It reminded us of stories we used to read about in the state media soon
after independence of how racist whites were giving their employees a
bicycle after 10 years of service. How things don't seem to change!

After all those many years of service he must now start all over with a

We are grateful that Youth Development minister Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri
has found time from his busy schedule to assure the world that the national
youth training programme is absolutely voluntary and that noone has ever
been raped. Mutinhiri was refuting allegations in BBC's Panorama programme
that youths were being  trained to torture opponents and that young girls
had been raped at the secretive camps dotted across the country.

No, said Mutinhiri almost tearfully, the curriculum for the youth service
"covers national orientation, disaster management, national resources
management, survival skills and entrepreneurship" among others.

The claims by BBC were insulting to a democratic government, he said
self-righteously. "That actually reminds us of the painful atrocities that
were committed against our people by the white regime in the fight for
independence and we would never allow it," declared Mutinhiri.

Muckraker wishes a single person, even from Zanu PF itself, would believe
this fiction. "I would expect that if someone is raped, they would report to
the police," said Mutinhiri with disarming simplicity. Could anything be

But why are the camps shrouded in secrecy if there is nothing to hide? Why
are they located in impenetrable no-go areas where not even the state media
are allowed to film them?

What could possibly be meant by national orientation? As we said earlier, we
wish just one person could believe Mutinhiri's fiction that reporting rape
cases from such camps would be so easy. Could the rapists be so magnanimous!
Has Mutinhiri visited a single camp?

We pray that since Mugabe himself has now gone so spiritual he will tell his
ministers that human beings created by God cannot be used as a means to an
end. It is worse when these are unemployed desperate youths.

We did not first hear of the abominations of these camps from BBC's Hilary
Andersson. Thousands of Zimbabweans who have fallen victim to these accursed
youths don't even listen to BBC programmes. What is Mutinhiri talking about?

ZBC appears to be running out of people ready to be used for its sterile
propaganda. On Tuesday it had to bring in Herald assistant editor Moses
Magadza to comment on the veracity of reports concerning national youth
service graduates.

Needless to say, he dismissed reports of their waywardness as the usual
British propaganda seeking to tarnish the image of government ahead of a
major human rights conference. As a journalist and not one of the usual
dubious political analysts, we would have expected Magadza to be more
circumspect in his comments.

He knows better than the other gullible lot that he has to carry out his own
investigations first before commenting. Instead he allowed himself to be
used to fill a gap left yawning by "political commentators" who have
decamped ZBC.

Equally ready to be of dubious service to Zanu PF propaganda was Patrice
Makova of ZBC's Newsnet. He came in on Newshour as a commentator again. His
was to prove that the impounded "mercenary plane" belonged to the us
government despite all the evidence from Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi
himself that there wasn't a single American in the plane. In fact by Tuesday
all the hype about military hardware had virtually disappeared.

Then there was the indefatigable Shake Maya of Nagg fame. He claims to be
leader of some opposition party but was campaigning for Zanu PF. Thank God
we can't remember what he said. Good riddance!

"I remember introducing Tafa-dzwa Musekiwa to my mother at the Eastgate food
court in December 2000 whereupon my dear friend boastfully declared that by
the time I see him again he would be in government," raved one Boyd Madikila
in the Herald on Wednesday.

"Having spent many days together discussing politics within the embattled
walls of UZ with the likes of Gibson (did he mean Gabriel?) Shumba and the
late Learnmore Jongwe, I dismissed such declarations as dreams of a
political juvenile delinquent. How true my assertions were. Only two years
down the line Musekiwa would relegate himself to political wastelands of
self-imposed exile in the UK."

Muckraker doesn't know what scrapheap Madikila has been salvaged from. But
he seems keen to be co-opted into Zanu PF and to be believed. What we don't
understand is why he found it worth his while to introduce his mother to a
"juvenile delinquent"? Are we meant to believe that that is exactly what he
told Musekiwa at the time when Madikila says "How true my assertions were"?

Backbiters who discuss this with Musekiwa today and then change colours the
next day when they see chances to climb onto the Zanu PF gravy train are not
worth of a friend.
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Zim Independent

Forex auction system hurts
Ngoni Chanakira
WHILE some firms are busy toasting the success of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's (RBZ) foreign currency auction system, others are cursing it,
accusing the system of retarding progress.

"The system is hurting some companies but others are benefiting from it,"
said Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Antony

Mandiwanza. "It is two sides of the same coin and it really depends on
whether you are an importer or an exporter."

The CZI, the country's largest and most powerful business grouping,
recommended the foreign currency auction system to RBZ governor Gideon Gono
who introduced it on January 12.

Mandiwanza, who is chief executive officer of Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd, told
businessdigest in an interview that the popular tendency nowadays was to
"cry and cry without coming up with solutions to problems".

He said the auction system had unlocked substantial amounts of hard cash
hanging speculatively outside the formal system.

Zimplow chairman Oliver Chidawu blasted the system saying it had "adversely
affected export viability".

Chidawu, who sits on several boards, said the net effect of the foreign
currency auction system had been the halving of Zimbabwe dollar export

Auction rates have hovered between $4 000 and $4 200 against the United
States greenback. On Monday the auction rate stood at $4 205,03 to the US

On the parallel market however some companies are buying the currency at
between $5 500 and $6 000 because it is not readily available on the auction

"The recently introduced forex auction has adversely affected export
viability," Chidawu told shareholders in his report for the period ending
December 31. "The net effect has been the halving of Zimbabwe dollar export
revenue. With the decline in local market activity, Zimplow was forced to
rely on exports to survive. Now Zimplow faces an uncertain future."

He said major Zimbabwe customers had also been affected by the new monetary
policy and were finding it difficult to liquidate their debts to Zimplow.

"The future is a question mark," Chidawu said. "These factors have combined
to adversely affect cash flows. It is therefore felt that to declare a
dividend in these unpredictable circumstances would be unwise."

Zimplow exports to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.

Cafca chairman and prominent lawyer Honour Mkushi, who also chairs Standard
Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe, had unkind words for the RBZ's auction system.

"Given reasonable economic, fiscal and monetary policies, the company had
set targets to significantly increase exports and to reinforce or increase
our position as a major player in the region," Mkushi told shareholders in
his report.

"However, the negative impact of the new monetary policy on the group's
exports activities owing to the current official surrender rate on export
proceeds has led to the suspension of export orders."

Mkushi, whose group is a major producer of cables, said while the new
monetary policy had "noble objectives", changes particularly reduction of
inflation, were not going to "happen overnight".

Interfresh Holdings chairman Lysias Sibanda in his report said while trading
conditions for his company were not ideal, especially with respect to
"export viability and returns based on current auction rates", management
was confident of its ability to operate within its core skills and exploit
opportunities as they arose.

Sibanda is chief executive officer of Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd.
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Zim Independent

$10b for livestock restocking scheme
Staff Writer
COLD Storage Company (CSC) chairman Antony Mandiwanza says government has
earmarked $10 billion for livestock restocking, concentrating on model A2

Mandiwanza said the scheme had already begun in Matabeleland.

This week he announced the start of a major and multi-faceted turnaround
strategy for the financially beleaguered CSC.

"The strategy and associated plans have been prepared in close consultation
with government who have made far-reaching and positive decisions and
commitments," Mandiwanza said.

He said the key elements of the plan include the appointment of a new CSC
chief executive, the takeover of past debts, a new livestock financing
scheme and a programme to resuscitate veterinary control fencing.

David Mfote has been appointed CSC chief executive officer. Mfote (40) is
currently deputy secretary, agricultural economics and marketing in the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Resources.

He has already had close involvement with the CSC in recent years, having
served on its board, audit and marketing committees.

Mandiwanza described as "a most significant and welcome development" the
decision by government to take over the CSC's past debt.

"This now puts the CSC in a strong position to revive its balance sheet," he
said. The CSC owed several financial institutions including Kingdom and Time
Bank millions. The banks had threatened to liquidate the cash-strapped
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Zim Independent


Private schools miss top 100

Dear Editor, IT was with a degree of amusement that I read the news article
on the education "rip-off" that appeared in the Herald of March 5.

I am a parent of children attending the so-called elitist schools and would
have liked to see how we compared with government schools in terms of
educational achievement.

The published list of the top 50 schools for the recently announced Zimsec
examination results did make interesting reading.

The top 10 schools were church-run (private not government) and the other
"elitist private schools" did not even feature in the top 100. I wonder why?

Could it be that our children are stupid? Are the teachers not dedicated to
their profession and are merely money grabbers? Or could it be that the news
article did not tell the truth?

No prize for guessing the correct answer.

All the elitist private schools currently offer the IGCSE exams as well as
Zimsec and parents have the option of choosing which exam their children

With all the scandals surrounding Zimsec, guess which one I chose?

It is therefore not surprising that the private schools do not feature in
the top 100 as the majority of their pupils wrote the IGCSE and a few wrote
the Zimsec. You therefore cannot compare apples with oranges.

Here are some questions I want Education minister Aenias Chigwedere to

What school did your daughter attend?

What schools do/(did) the children of the Zanu PF members attend? and

What school are President Mugabe's children attending?

Please spare us your drivel and concentrate on cleaning up the mess you are

Allan Jackson,

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Zim Independent


Was Deuschle really sincere?

IF Pastor Tom Deuschle was sincere in that gift to President Mugabe "Gift to
Mugabe has opened way for dialogue" (Zimbabwe Independent, March 5) he would
of course remember the old axiom "he who sups with the devil must have a
long spoon".

He should recall that so many people with sincere intents have approached
this man and heard the honeyed words drip from his tongue - but after
leaving him he has shrugged his shoulders and carried on doing what he was
doing before.

Pastor Deuschle wants a miracle? So do we all; but I don't think his $30
million will trigger it off. And I really wish I could feel he was sincere
in that gift but...

PNR Silversides,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Blowing the whistle

EVERY year thousands of employees, managers, corporate officers, and public
officials in Zimbabwe witness wrongdoing in the work place. Some blow the
whistle on the maladies, others don't.

The actions of whistle-blowers may ultimately save the nation billions of
dollars. Accountability and service delivery have improved in countries
where whistle-blowing is encouraged and those caught with hands in the till
are dealt with.

Whistle-blowing is oftentimes associated with the heroics of the do-gooder
whose disclosure is meant for the public good. Then there are those who work
on the basis of strict principle because of ethical or moral beliefs. This
group tends to be conservative and devoted to their work and the welfare of
their organisations.

Zimbabwe has for the past three months witnessed a spirited attempt by
government to fight corruption and whistleblowers have been exposing
malfeasance, especially in the financial services sector.

This week the parliamentary committee on public accounts reported that
parastatals' finances were a shambles. Whistles have not started blowing
from quangos where fiscal indiscipline appears to be an accepted business

Information from whistle-blowers should come in handy for law enforcement
agents most of whom are academically-incapacitated to investigate and secure
convictions in white-collar crimes.

We have been told some officers investigating cases of fraud cannot even
interpret a balance sheet and have to be led by the nose through the maze of
figures by informants. In such cases it is easy to misinform the police who
will have egg on the face during trials.

Amidst the frenzy of corruption busting, law enforcers have a tacit duty to
examine the integrity and intentions of the whistle-blower to sniff out
rogue informers trying to cover up the paper trail of their own misdeeds.

Elsewhere in this papers we carry allegations by NMB Bank directors -
currently on the run - that a former employee dismissed from the bank on
charges of misconduct, blew the whistle on them.

Whistle-blowers can be driven by a real or perceived injustice within the
company and feel it is their duty to expose it to the authorities.

There are others though with ulterior motives such as seeking revenge, or a
destructive falling out of the concerned parties.

There are others who wish to destroy a company's reputation, accusing it of
acting illegally, immorally, or irresponsibly. Such whistle-blowers are
usually driven by vengefulness against an employer or former employer for
being fired or demoted.

Such whistle-blowing is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways! The
whistle-blowers can get the world to know about how terrible they believe
their employer, or former employer, is. Information availed by such a
whistle-blower can do damage to the litigation case, especially if the
whistle-blower is made to appear as viciously vindictive.

We recall in 2000 when certain business individuals "blew the whistle" on
businessmen Nigel Chanakira of Kingdom Securities, Intermarket's Nicholas
Vingirai and executives at First Mutual Life on allegations of
insider-trading. The arrests provided good copy to newspapers and government
was quick to advertise its newfound credentials in fighting corruption in
high places.

Despite cartloads of documents wheeled into newsrooms and into the Fraud
Squad base at Ahmed House by the whistle-blowers none of the business
executives was tried, let alone convicted.

Anti-corruption legislation in most countries encourages whistle-blowers to
report corrupt acts to the relevant authority, regardless of the motivation.
Such legislation also provides protection to whistle-blowers as it is
believed that they are a key component to any systematic fight against

But others believe the quality of information and tips provided by
whistle-blowers should be subject to scrutiny by an independent
anti-corruption body to unravel motive and the veracity of accusations.
Amendment 16 to the Constitution of Zimbabwe promulgated way back in 2000
provides for the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission. No
commission however has been set up and government has instead created a
fully-fledged anti-corruption ministry.

The need to check on whistle-blowers is a contentious one as anti-corruption
bodies have always advocated their protection. The argument is that checking
on the credentials of whistle-blowers would discourage others, which would
in turn become a hindrance in the fight against corruption.

But the current anti-corruption drive and the legislative environment it is
taking place in in Zimbabwe leave a very thin line between genuine
whistle-blowing and outright malevolence. It assumed a new impetus after the
amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act through a presidential
edict last month. Suspects can now be detained for almost a month on the
basis of information provided by whistleblowers notwithstanding the accuracy
of the information and intention of the informant.

Needless to say there is great scope for a noble idea going off the rails!
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Zim Independent

Superpower politics costly for Zim
By Fidas Muchemwa
THAT Zimbabweans are stuck in the jaws of a dictatorship is something that
needs no elaboration. But President Mugabe seems to continue enjoying some
degree of immunity from his fellow African leaders.

Why African heads of state have not intervened in the Zimbabwean crisis is
not because they don't understand the gravity of the situation but because
they have ulterior motives. They have decided to sacrifice the people of
Zimbabwe for their own power and the betterment of their nations.

Many theories have been proffered since the crisis in Zimbabwe started. The
crisis continues to deepen and people all over the globe continue to ask the
roles that presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and Bakili Muluzi can

Of all the three "concerned" African statesmen, President Mbeki continues to
take centre stage. Defying the outcry from the international community,
President Mbeki again increasingly aligns himself with President Mugabe.

After the Commonwealth debacle of December 5-8 where Zimbabwe's suspension
from the group was upheld, President Mbeki went on to attack some Western
countries particularly Australia and Canada accusing them of "using economic
power to force their way through". Whether these two countries indeed used
their economic power or not is a question with a thousand different answers.
But Mbeki is failing to see that he is also using his economic power and
influence in Africa to prolong the suffering of Zimbabweans.

Why Mbeki chooses to go against the voice of reason remains a mystery. But
one avenue that has not been explored in an effort to establish Mbeki's
motive and where exactly he stands is that of regional superpower.

In policy studies, foreign policy is regarded as an extension of domestic
policies because it must feed on the national interest and ultimately
provide for all that is necessary for the domestic to succeed.

There is therefore no doubt that each and every country wants to extend its
power and influence over other nations. Africa as a developing continent is
undergoing that transformation where we are going to have superpowers and
pawns. Just like the US is on the American continent, Britain in Europe and
probably China in Asia, we are moving towards that phase.

There is again no doubt that the only countries in Africa that have the
capacity to emerge as superpowers are Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe -
if the country was in good shape. It is therefore necessary to interrogate
the chances of each country's becoming a superpower and the motive behind
their actions and deduce if they can genuinely intervene in solving the
Zimbabwean crisis.

President Mbeki contradicts himself most of the times. His hypocrisy is
further exposed by the fact that he said he believes in quiet diplomacy but
loudly supports Zanu PF.

He says Zimbabwe must solve her problems, must have internal solutions but
continues to give Zanu PF support and accuses the West of interfering in
Zimbabwe's domestic affairs.

President Mbeki wants to conquer Africa. His African Renaissance is one of
the many tricks he employs to try and portray himself as the Godfather of
Africa. He wants the African parliament in South Africa; he hosts Nepad and
many other regional organs.

South Africa did not until recently intervene in the DRC crisis. This is
again another display of hypocrisy. South Africa did not go to the DRC to
assist either of the warring parties during the conflict. But now that signs
of peace are visible Mbeki is the first to enter business contracts with the

Certainly South Africa would not need a strong neighbour if its hegemony
were to spread. It has adopted a dual policy: destabilising Zimbabwe
politically whilst maintaining economic ties. Many Zimbabweans who are
fleeing the country for South Africa are providing cheap labour in South

Shortages of commodities in Zimbabwe mean that South African businesses get
a boost since people will cross over to do shopping.

His primary interest is to keep the discredited Zanu PF in power so that
Zimbabwe remains weak.

Another point to note is that Zimbabwe under the leadership of MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai would easily dominate the Sadc region. It is almost
certain that Tsvangirai, who once led the Sadc region as Southern African
Trade Unions Coordinating Committee secretary-general, will have support and
respect from many countries especially Zambia which shares an almost similar
experience with Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai's close ties with the Congress of South
African Trade Unions is also another shot that makes President Mbeki

President Obasanjo, a former general in the army, is a man who believes in
frank talk. As a former military man President Obasanjo has frankness and
precision as his virtues.

His short-term alliance with South Africa came to an end at Chogm. He broke
ranks on a question of principle. It was clear from the onset that the
relationship between South Africa and Nigeria on Zimbabwe would not last.

Firstly because the two countries have different stakes in the whole saga.
South Africa is making an economic fortune from the Zimbabwean crisis while
Nigeria seems not to be benefiting anything.

Secondly, Nigeria also harbours interests of becoming an African superpower
and it was obvious that at some point the two would clash since they are
vying for the same food.

Thirdly, the motives for intervening seem to be different. Obasanjo seems
genuine in his desire to solve the crisis. This is evidenced by his meeting
with both Tsvangirai and Mugabe while Mbeki's motive is that of keeping his
political power. Nigeria is gaining ground. The defeat of little-known
Commonwealth secretary-general aspirant Kadigamar from Sri Lanka is a sign
that Nigeria is heading for victory.

President Bakili Muluzi seems the only honest broker. That is the reason why
after his visit with Mbeki and Obasanjo he alone went a step further to
invite the MDC leader Tsvangirai to Malawi to get a true picture.

-Fidas Muchemwa is a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
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