The US said yesterday that it would lead a campaign to condemn Zimbabwe for
what it said were flagrant and ruinous human rights abuses at the upcoming
meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Washington also said
it would work to convince the international community, especially Zimbabwe's
neighbours, to ratchet up pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his aides
to end their repressive behaviour and press them to hold "early free and fair
To that end, the state department released a glossy 16-page
pamphlet entitled Zimbabwe's Man-made Crisis documenting a litany of abuses
committed by the country's leadership since independence in
"Mugabe has brought Zimbabwe untold suffering," said a US
The booklet is to be widely distributed at the annual meeting
of the commission in Geneva next week. Sapa-AP-AFP
'UK and Zim might make up' 14/03/2003 12:52 -
Johannesburg - The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu
Ndungane, says some progress has been made in setting up talks between
Britain and Zimbabwe regarding the controversial land-reform
Ndungane has been asked by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
to play a mediating role in attempts to resolve the country's
"We have made some strides as far as trying to see the two
countries going back to the negotiating table, but it is premature to reveal
anything," he said on his return late on Thursday after a two-day trip to
"President Mugabe said I could be of great assistance if I
could help on the question of land reform," he said.
Mugabe has said
the root cause of Zimbabwe's troubles was that British Prime Minister Tony
Blair had reneged on certain agreements made by his predecessors, Margaret
Thatcher and John Major, on compensation for land reform in
Britain has led an international outcry against Mugabe's
government about the land issue, which has seen about 4&nbs;000 white
farmers evicted from their land.
Blames famine on
Zimbabwe has been in the throes of crises on the political and
economic fronts in recent years, and is now dealing with a humanitarian
emergency arising from a famine.
Mugabe's government has blamed the
famine solely on a drought that has hit southern Africa.
he would brief President Thabo Mbeki about his visit to Zimbabwe, where he
met Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, civil society organisations
and church leaders.
Mbeki, who has been criticised for his "quiet
diplomacy" approach towards Zimbabwe, conceded on Thursday the land-reform
programme had not been handled correctly, but maintained it was a problem
inherited from colonialism.
"We have seen for some time now that the
matter is not being handled correctly," Mbeki said during a state visit to
"(Botswana) President Festus Mogae and myself have been in
Harare and said directly to the government of Zimbabwe, privately and
publicly, that it needs to be handled in a way that is not confrontational,
in a way that addresses the land needs of black and white Zimbabweans."
Ndungane: Zimbabweans are showing will to change March 14, 2003,
Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town,
says he is beginning to see the political will among Zimbabwean leaders to
find solutions to their country's socio-economic crisis.
is mediating in the Zimbabwe question, says he met with representatives of
civil organisations, churches and the opposition. He says they have all
agreed that there is an urgent need to resolve the problems affecting their
According to Ndungane there is a unanimity on the need for
mediation among the church leaders, Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President,
and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The latest developments
show all the parties want to bring about normality to the situation in
On the oppositions' interpretation of Mugabe's willingness to
mediation, Ndungane said: "There is alot of polarization of society, not just
among politics but even in our churches". However, there seems to be a move
to support for mediation. Ndungane will soon meet with President Mbeki on
his role and the discussions in Zimbabwe.
More African Leaders Criticize Mugabe VOA News 14 Mar 2003,
Two of Zimbabwe's defenders have begun to speak out against
President Robert Mugabe's administration.
A report in The
London Times newspaper says Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has called
on Zimbabwe's president to prepare to leave office. In a surprise statement,
Mr. Obasanjo told the newspaper that President Mugabe should pick his
His comments came days before South African President Thabo
Mbeki said Mr. Mugabe's controversial land reform policy had been handled
incorrectly. Mr. Mbeki said Thursday land reform is needed in Zimbabwe but
that it must be carried out in a non-confrontational
Under Mr. Mugabe's policy, white commercial farmers have
been forced to hand over their farms to poor blacks. Many farms have gone to
Both leaders have been staunch supporters of
the Zimbabwe government amid sharp criticism by western nations of Mr.
One week ago, the United States froze the assets of President
Mugabe and 76 other government officials for what President Bush called
Could the Anglican Archbishop
of Cape Town become the saviour of Zimbabwe? This is the question being asked
in the country after a whirlwind visit to Harare this week by a delegation
led by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. He is mediating, at the behest of
President Robert Mugabe, between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the crisis that has followed last
year's flawed presidential election. "It is going to be like trying to turn
the Titanic while avoiding the iceberg," Ndungane said. "We are going to need
the wisdom of Solomon." The core of Zimbabwe's political crisis is that the
MDC will not recognise the legitimacy of the Zanu PF government because it
has mounted a legal challenge to the election result. And Mugabe does not
want to discuss any transitional authority because it would imply that his
government is illegitimate. Zanu PF also faces a mounting succession struggle
as opposing factions jockey for power when Mugabe goes. Diplomats in Harare
say Mugabe will step down as soon as there is agreement on an
In contrast to his first trip last month, which left civil
society and local church leaders in the cold, Ndungane this time held lengthy
consultations with civil society groups, church leaders and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who is currently on trial for treason in Harare. Tsvangirai, who
has given Ndungane his cautious backing, did not want to be drawn on the
details of the talks. Ndungane said he would report back to Thabo Mbeki at
his earliest convenience. "President Mbeki is my president and I will engage
with him on my visit and hopefully he will be able to convey to (Nigerian)
President Olusegun Obasanjo my impressions after the wide-ranging meetings
with various sectors of Zimbabwean society," Ndungane said. He said he hoped
his mediation efforts would be complementary to those initiated by Mbeki
and Obasanjo. The archbishop said he had avoided engaging in
"megaphone diplomacy" as this was not the role of a mediator.
week, the International Bar Association called on the International Criminal
Court to prosecute Mugabe for "serious violation of
international humanitarian law", while Obasanjo called for Mugabe's
resignation. In contrast, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last
week that South Africa would never criticise the Zimbabwean government. The
crisis over a potential successor has deepened ever since a secret plan to
manoeuvre Mugabe's favoured choice of heir, speaker of parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa, into the post of executive prime minister was exposed and scuttled
by Mnangagwa's opponents earlier this year. Ndungane did not indicate what
the next step in his mediation effort would be, but he noted that both
church and civil society leaders in Zimbabwe had requested that he should
send an independent fact-finding mission to the country. Some civil society
leaders had also suggested the assembling of a group of "eminent persons" to
oversee the mediation and to ensure that Zanu PF kept its side of the bargain
on any transitional arrangements agreed to.
Ndungane said he was
confident that Zimbabweans would be able to resolve their differences once
the conditions for open dialogue could be created and the space opened for
democratic debate. The archbishop said he was spurred to do something about
the situation by a flood of letters and emails from concerned members of the
Anglican congregation. The state-controlled Herald newspaper gave Ndungane's
meeting with Mugabe splash treatment on Thursday, but portrayed it mainly as
a mediation between the archbishop and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Ndungane said on Thursday he had undertaken to approach the British
authorities. But he made clear that he also intended to take up pressing
issues relating to human rights violations, issues of governance and the
humanitarian crisis. He said he was encouraged that Mugabe had vowed that
there would be no hindrance of his efforts.
Mbeki 'supports Zim land grab' 14/03/2003 19:21 -
Cape Town - President Thabo Mbeki's remarks about Zimbabwe's
land reform programme at a press conference during his official visit to
Botswana on Thursday has received divergent interpretations by opposition
DA leader Tony Leon claimed Mbeki had not urged his Zimbabwean
counterpart to end land reform, and in fact said the opposite.
foreign affairs spokesperson Boy Geldenhuys, on the other hand,
claimed Mbeki's criticism of the land reform process in Zimbabwe was good
news for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
reports quoted Mbeki as telling Thursday's news conference in Gaborone that
land reform in Zimbabwe was not being carried out properly.
"We have seen
for some time now that the matter is not being handled correctly," the
president was reported as saying.
In a speech made at Kungwini, in
Gauteng, on Friday, Leon said Mbeki did not, in fact, urge President Robert
Mugabe "to stop his land grabbing; he actually told him continue, to keep
going and finish the job!".
What Mbeki had said, was: "There is no
dispute about it, We need land redistribution in Zimbabwe... It is now a
matter of how to conclude the situation of land distribution in Zimbabwe; and
we continue to discuss it with them.
"We must establish what remains
to be done so we can come to a situation of normalcy in that country as soon
Leon said that over the past three years, "it has been
reported time and time again that President Mbeki has decided to get tough
"Many of us have hoped these reports were true, but every
single time they were false."
Leon said he would use parliamentary
question time on March 26 to ask Mbeki to explain his position "that the
Commonwealth troika does not need to meet, and that Zimbabwe should be
"I will ask him to show any evidence of progress in Zimbabwe
that supports his position.
Good news for Nepad
listen to his answers, and we shall see whether we have a leader ready to
stand up for Nepad and for democracy, or whether Mbeki is really Robert
Mugabe's foreign minister," Leon said.
In a statement on Friday,
Geldenhuys said Mbeki's criticism of land reform in Zimbabwe was good news
"The Nepad process was in danger of derailing because African
leaders, with their refusal to criticise fellow heads of state, created the
impression that they were not really committed to democracy and sound
Mbeki's criticism would restore confidence in the Nepad
programme, and his message for the first time placed "real pressure on Mugabe
"Until now, Mugabe has dismissed criticism by Western
countries as a colonial plot against him and in the process even united
Zimbabweans against him. Criticism from a prominent African leader, however,
cannot simply be swept under the carpet.
"It is hoped that President
Mbeki's criticism will also make the minister of foreign affairs (Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma) think twice before she makes rash statements in public such as
that South Africa will never criticise Zimbabwe," Geldenhuys said.
A number of South African academics have called on
Government to impose targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leadership.
They were speaking during a round table discussion organised by the Institute
for International Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand today.
"Quiet diplomacy without teeth will not work." This is the view of a number
of South African academics who attended the 'New Tools for Reform and
Stability' meeting. They say President Robert Mugabe's regime will not
undertake any meaningful reforms, unless the South African government flexes
its muscles. Hussein Solomon, a professor at the University of Pretoria says:
"The way to do that is by targeted sanctions, targeting Zanu PF political
bureau and cabinet ministers." The academics say the lack of free political
movement in Zimbabwe require external intervention. They argue that South
Africa in particular, should take the lead because political and
economic deterioration will see an influx of refugees. Failure to act, they
say, will raise questions about New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad) commitments to good governance.
Harare - Zimbabwe's parliament has passed a bill increasing the
pensions of former presidents, state radio reported on
Parliment on Thursday passed the Presidential Pensions and
Retirements Benefits Amendment Bill, which allows a retired president to draw
a pension of "100% of his pensionable income".
In November last year
Mugabe's salary was increased to Z$1.6m (US$29 000) from Z$1.3m.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it hoped the bill was "a
clear indication that Mugabe wants to retire", the private Daily News said on
The pensions of vice presidents are also set to be increased
under the new act.
Zimbabwe has two vice presidents, both of them more
than 70 years old. There is only one former Zimbabwean president, Canaan
The pension hike is likely to raise criticism from government
opponents, as the country struggles with economic recession, more than 208%
inflation, as well as high unemployment, poverty and food
A state witness in the treason
trial of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claimed on Thursday
that President Robert Mugabe's death by natural causes was an "appropriate
demise" for the head of state discussed at a key meeting.
This was the
testimony given by the second state witness, Tara Thomas in the ongoing
treason trial of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and two senior party
officials accused of plotting to kill Mugabe.
Thomas, an assistant at
Dickens and Madson, the Canada-based consultancy firm which implicated the
opposition trio in the alleged plot, said a natural death had been suggested
by one Edward Simms at a meeting in Montreal, in December 2001, where
Tsvangirai allegedly requested Mugabe's elimination.
will be the appropriate demise for our friend," Thomas claims Simms told
Tsvangirai at that meeting. She was giving her version of what was said on a
barely audible video tape that had been secretly made of the four hour-long
meeting. The tape is seen as crucial evidence in the state's case.
opposition trio deny the treason charges and claim they were set up
by Dickens and Madson, which has been linked to Mugabe's ruling party,
to sideline the opposition ahead of 2001 presidential elections.
face the death penalty if convicted. Thomas, who earlier this week alleged
that Tsvangirai wanted Mugabe's assassination to look like an accident, said
on Thursday the opposition leader also wanted Dickens and Madson to arrange
discussions between his party and the army, "He wanted us to arrange some
kind of communication between the army and the MDC," she said.
court heard that Tsvangirai wanted the vice president to form a transitional
government with the MDC. On an audible portion of the tape played on
Thursday, Tsvangirai is heard to say a transitional phase should be the
foundation for "a clean election", and that the military should not step in
to fill the breach, but remain impartial guarantors of peace
"In my view, that would be the most stable way to
proceed and, in my view, it will not raise suspicions," Tsvangirai was heard
to say in the recording.
Thomas also alleged that Mugabe's elimination
was to take place within 10 days of the December 4 meeting in Montreal. The
treason trial, which is now in its fifth week, has already heard the
testimony of Ari Ben Menashe, the head of Dickens and Madson. Another nine
state witnesses are due to testify. - Sapa-AFP
land acquisition -- a blunder that defies belief
The magnitude of the
Government's land acquisition blunder defies belief. It also defies all
attempts to measure its likely impact or even the level of destruction so
far. However, with each passing month the evidence is mounting that
Government's actions will rank among the most destructive in the history of
Africa. That is, unless they are swept aside before too many more months have
At this stage, in the early months of 2003, the country could
still embark on an effective recovery course that could yield the beginnings
of a recovery in 2004. But a delay of months beyond about mid-2003 could
delay by as many years the start of any possible upturn. The key starting
point is to secure the 2004 food and export crops.
We know now that
most of the crops hoped for in 2003 have been lost already or were never
planted. This year's meagre food harvests will certainly be retained and
consumed by the few hundred thousand growers. This adds weight to the
already-agreed fact that the balance of the 12-million Zimbabweans will be
dependent on food aid until the 2004 harvests. But unless dramatic changes
take place in 2003, the harvests in 2004 face every prospect of being equally
To ensure that reasonable crops can be harvested in 2004,
large-scale commercial agriculture has to be resuscitated. This is
unavoidable for two major reasons:
· The state does not have the
resources to fund the inputs, training and subsidies required by the hundreds
of thousands small-scale farmers who have been resettled on formerly
· Unless they are extremely capital-intensive and
highly specialised, small-scale farms are inherently non-viable, particularly
in drought-prone areas on fragile soils in the tropics.
temperate regions with dependable rainfall and good soils, the farmers need
subsidies if their areas under cultivation are too small. This remains true
even when the farmers have ready access to training, advice, the latest
technical advances and bank finance.
Farm subsidies are the most
contentious issue in the European Union, despite the fact that the member
states of the EU are among the wealthiest nations on Earth. If they find it
difficult to carry the burden of subsidies, the idea has to be a long way out
of the reach of relatively very poor countries like Zimbabwe.
resettlement of Zimbabwe's large-scale farms destroyed nearly 90% of the
country's commercial farming businesses, which used to number about 5 000.
This number constituted a high proportion of the productive enterprises in
Zimbabwe, and can be compared to a similar number of manufacturing companies
and about 400 mostly small mining companies.
Outside the spheres of
agriculture, mining and manufacturing, most businesses are in the commercial,
professional and other service sectors. However, a high proportion of the
manufacturing and service sector companies also relied on commercial
agriculture. Many factories either supplied products to farmers, or depended
upon farmers for their own inputs. Farmers made considerable use of transport
and communications services, building and engineering services, banking,
insurance and legal services, and were major customers of the fuel and
electricity suppliers. In return, they generated agricultural outputs that
were more than enough to pay for all the products and services. They produced
about 38% of Zimbabwe's total exports, the revenues from which helped to fund
the importation of essentials for every other commercial and industrial
sector in the country.
Commercial farmers produced a high proportion
of the food crops, growing about 40% of the maize, almost all of the wheat
and soya beans. They also produced almost all of the sugar, coffee, tea and
horticultural crops, almost all the citrus and deciduous fruits and almost
all the beef, pork, poultry and dairy products. They were also responsible
for a high proportion of the non-food crops, producing most of the tobacco
and timber and about 30% of the cotton.
They employed the largest
proportion of the country's workforce, paid wages totalling Z$3 billion a
month, provided housing for 350 000 families, schooling for 500 000 children
and basic health care for more than a million people.
farming industry also gave rise to most of the business activity that
sustained the country's small towns. This was through the steady flow of
supplies to or from the farms, the demand for workshop, transport,
construction, financial and insurance services and the purchasing power of
Incredibly, this is the industry that government has
decided to close down. Into its place, they have extended the largely
subsistence agricultural practices of the communal farming sector, areas that
have remained under-developed and impoverished for most of the past century
for the very same reasons now imposed on the former commercial
These reasons are the absence of collateral value for the land,
the consequential isolation of the farmers from the financial services
sector, their dependence on state subsidies and patronage and their ability
to disregard with impunity the exigencies of the marketplace. But as it
was always impossible to ring-fence agriculture to prevent repercussions
on other sectors, farming is by no means the only casualty of the
As a result, Zimbabwe is in crisis. Food shortages
are forcing the country to appeal for aid as it no longer has the money to
pay for food it has failed to grow. A severe shrinkage of manufacturing and
mining output has resulted from the lost agricultural exports as well as from
the adoption of a fixed exchange rate. This policy is in defiance of the
effects of inflation, which has soared to more than 200%, the highest level
in the world today.
Shortages of essential imports such as petroleum
products are destroying business efficiency along with tourist inflows,
hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, hundreds of thousands of
children have lost their school places and the health services are in an
advanced state of disintegration.
Zimbabwe's domestic debts are so
crippling that government believes its only option is to confiscate the
country's pension funds and other savings through massively negative real
rates of interest. It is in arrears on its foreign debt service obligations
and therefore does not qualify for World Bank or IMF funding. And its
prospects appear more dismal by the day as, with each reaction to each new
instability, government takes measures to more deeply entrench the policies
that caused the problems.
These policies started with government's attack
on agricultural property rights, essentially to "legalise" the dispossession
of commercial farmers through constitutional amendments and to nationalise
their land. Claiming that the move was to redistribute land to land-hungry
peasants, to aspiring new farmers and to war-veterans, politicians,
party-supporters and veterans of the war in the Congo, the government
appeared to be content with the assumption was that farming skills were
instinctive and intuitive.
But farming is an exacting business.
Farmers have to pit their wits against the hazards of drought, flood, wind,
hail, soil erosion, insect pests, crop diseases, fungi, and a wide variety of
animals from birds to rodents to big game. Organised raids by humans hungry
for food or profit can be added, but these additional threats do not complete
the picture. Equally serious, but less tangible hazards have to be factored
in, such as possible changes in interest rates, price controls, exchange
rates, labour costs, world market prices, transport costs, fuel costs,
electricity costs, import duties, subsidies and consumer buying
The process of getting good at farming is a long haul. It entails
getting to grips with all the issues involved and using one strategy or
another to minimise the risks. All the challenges have to be met with
investments of time and money, in education and skills development. And all
these strategies call for long-term planning and yet more money, more time
and more effort.
All of these components of the business of farming
can be leveraged up to much more powerful levels if the farmers can gain
access to information on market preferences and price trends. They can
further enhance their prospects of success by learning how futures and
options markets might reduce uncertainties.
Of course, if everything
always goes right for all the farmers, they won't have to be nearly so well
trained, so well prepared or so well informed. If, every season, the seed and
fertilisers are readily available, if the ploughing and sowing present no
problems, if rains are good and right on time, if the weeds don't choke the
crops, if the insect pests and crop diseases don't attack, if the wildlife
stays away from the crops, if the harvesting goes smoothly and the workers
are content with their pay, if transport to markets is easily found, if the
prices are good and if revenues are comfortably above production costs,
everyone will be happy and well-fed and the farmers as well as the country
will be prosperous.
But that is a lot of "ifs" in a row. Life is not
like that -- anywhere. In particular, life is not like that in a
drought-prone tropical country that has fragile soils and is subject to the
full selection of tropical extremes and hazards. Add to that the range of
risks from the financial, marketing and distribution uncertainties, and the
reasons fall into place for the years of careful planning and investing
needed to ensure that at least some production and distribution can continue
even if feared hazards materialise.
It is this process that accounts
for the successful development of commercial agriculture. In Zimbabwe, as a
result of it, the industry as a whole became a highly efficient machine that
could be depended upon to generate and sustain the vital flows of the
country's agricultural requirements.
Zimbabwe's commercial farming
industry should have been viewed as a vitally important and delicately
balanced system. If it had been so viewed, more people would have appreciated
that any steps taken to remove components or disable its functioning
mechanisms would quickly result in hardships that would affect the whole
Zimbabwe's current predicament and its increasingly frightening
prospects are living proof of the fragility of the system and the
business relationships within it. The predicament is also proof of the need
for knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive agriculture.
population has increased dramatically in the past because of the success of
this industry and the growing population came to depend upon its continued
success many years ago. The current economic crisis is because of the
extremely damaging decision to deliberately close it down.
authorities have taken aim at the heart of the intricate commercial farming
machine and deliberately thrown their heaviest spanners into the works,
completely overlooking the country's world-record-breaking population growth
during the past century.
Frequent claims are made that the government has
travelled too far down this land redistribution road to turn back, and
therefore the restoration of commercial agriculture to its former position
cannot happen. However, it is the financial survival of most of the
resettlement farmers that is not going to happen. The state planners do not
appear to have factored in extent to which subsidies are needed by
small-scale grain farmers, wherever they are, all over the world. The
prospect of a developing country successfully subsidising a large percentage
of the population is precisely nil. Zimbabwe therefore faces the
near-certainty that most of the resettled farmers will themselves abandon the
land. The proof comes from all over the world as well as from Zimbabwe's own
experience: getting a good return on expensive outlays is impossible on
small-scale operations. Centuries of experience has proved that only by
enjoying economies of scale can producers in highly competitive markets reach
the needed levels of efficiency.
Countries cannot side-step the basic
issues. The value of what is produced has to exceed the cost of the inputs
that went into its production. If it does not, a loss is incurred and the
producer has been engaged in the destruction of wealth, not the creation of
wealth. Only very rich countries can afford to fund such extravagance. In a
developing country, the inevitable result of efforts to sustain such conduct
is severe inflation and deepening poverty.
Zimbabwe's economy is in
very serious trouble already and it is on a course that can be guaranteed to
take it into very much more. Only by making some extremely urgent and
imaginative changes to this course can the country hope to support its
population through the coming years. A fundamental first step is to restore
Why is it that allowing small-scale farming to
displace large-scale commercial farming will be so damaging? Part of the
answer lies in the fact that farming is a business. No reference need be
made to race. The real issue is the business environment, and one that
delivers the strong possibility of failure has displaced a business system
that delivered the much stronger possibility of good
Dispossessing the farmers, taking the land out of the market
and destroying its transferability as well as its collateral value did
the major damage to the business environment. From there, the damage has
been mainly consequential. Those to whom the land is allocated have no
legally protected security of tenure that could encourage investment and no
access to personal funding. But they face little threat of dispossession
while they remain loyal supporters of the ruling party. This political hold
on the land simply means that better farmers cannot displace them.
contrast to the system in which the farmer's performance determines whether
or not he can meet his obligations, this patronage-based system virtually
guarantees mediocre results.
In the commercial farming system, the
farmers are good because they have to be. With constant pressure on them to
repay loans and mortgages, they work hard, study hard and leave as little to
chance as they can. They stand to lose everything if they fail.
farmer who does fail is quickly displaced by the very demanding and
very unforgiving system. His land is placed back on the market and
hopefully the new buyer will have a better idea of what to do with it. The
system itself imposes the levels of competence and dedication needed to
ensure the farmer's success.
This can be all too easily characterised
as an unfair and even racially- motivated system that has been designed to
keep out those variously defined people who do not make the grade. Using such
arguments to discredit the very standards that make the system work, ruling
party politicians have realised that they can more easily retain power
by prohibiting the entry of such harsh ideas, using violent means
if necessary, and they can retain their supporters by dispensing fear
Offering patronage in the form of something for nothing
is always a powerful tool, but for that idea to work the party needs land and
other resources to give away. It also needs to make the people so dependent
on the party's continuing patronage that they are cowed into submission
by the threat of its withdrawal.
Capturing land and businesses from
private owners and handing them out free to supporters meets the first of
these, and the second is met by destroying other sources of income. For this
reason, the lost industrial and commercial jobs are not defined as party
failures. Affected workers can try to win the favours of the patron by
showing the necessary loyalty and any that show hostility to government can
be quickly shown that the protection of the law can be denied them. Thus the
price for showing disloyalty can be immediately shown to be
These hidden layers of the purposes behind the policies expose the
fallacy in the ruling party's initial claim that the land redistribution
programme was to support agricultural reform. The entire exercise was purely
about politics, or more specifically the politics of patronage. The
process never had an agricultural dimension of any kind.
land was commercial agricultural land, but the purposes to which most of the
commercial land had been applied deserved to be emulated, not reformed. And
the only farmers who needed to be reformed were those who were farming by
obsolete or inappropriate methods, suffering failing yields and causing land
degradation -- the communal farmers on communal farm land. A genuine land
reform programme would have identified the system as the principal point at
issue. An examination of the options would have shown that it is not the
colour of the farmer, or where the land is situated, but whether the system
was driven by collective ownership, or whether it relied on market-driven
individual freehold title that was backed by title deeds and legally
supported ownership rights.
Consider the differences between the
farmers in East Germany and West Germany before the Wall came down. People of
the same race in the same country were farming very comparable soils on
either side of a political divide. To the west, was one of the richest
countries in Europe; to the east, one of the poorest. South Korea might be
similarly compared to North Korea.
The indigenous population of this
country, now at about twelve million people, is 25 times as big as it was
about a century ago. This record rate of increase was made possible and was
sustained by the changing nature of the country's economy. All over the
world, industrialisation has permitted the growth of prosperity as well as
Having built up Zimbabwe's population with the support of
more efficient industrialised methods, the country has become dependent on
sustaining these methods if it is to sustain this population. And to
remain competitive in world markets, it has to keep on improving its
performance, simply because producers in dozens of other countries will never
stop trying to capture Zimbabwe's markets.
But instead, Zimbabwe has
chosen to destroy its commercial farming business sector and to put at risk
thousands of other companies as well as the jobs of perhaps half its working
population. With them will go businesses that earn more than half the
country's foreign exchange and provide government with more than half of its
In short, Zimbabwe is in the process of cutting its economy
back to about half its previous size. It will no longer be able to sustain
twelve million people at the previous average standard of living. Without
the support of the industries that will die, the economy will
barely accommodate six million. But the surplus six million has nowhere to
go. So the consequences for everybody in the country will be
This style of land tenure, amounting to State ownership and
conditional rights to cultivate, is the very antithesis of empowerment. It
has impoverished many countries in the past and it is in the process
of impoverishing Zimbabwe now.
With minor variations, it is the same
system that has been in place in Zimbabwe's communal areas. There, the chiefs
and headmen allocate the land. In the new resettlement areas the
government-driven process is somewhat less structured, but the same severe
limitations apply, resulting in the same poor results. The system itself
imposes the limits on what can be achieved.
If they do not soon change
these destructive policies, Zimbabwe's population should brace itself for the
onslaught of waves of new evidence as one entirely predictable failure
follows another. Food shortages are with us already. Hunger is growing worse
by the day and showing every sign of generating civil disturbances before
long. The country's export earnings are already down and will fall further as
the volumes of our principal exports continue declining.
commercial farms close, more of the businesses that supplied their needs or
depended upon their output will also shut down. Hundreds of thousands of jobs
in, manufacturing, retailing, transport, financial services, construction,
insurance services and engineering as well as the professions will come to an
Looking at the implications of the Zanu PF policies, it is hard to
imagine that even the supposed direct beneficiaries of the land
redistribution policies would have supported them if they had realised the
consequences. When, in time to come, the people add up the costs in terms of
the millions of lost jobs, lost incomes, lost accommodation, lost
schooling and lost opportunities for the rest of their lives, the few genuine
direct beneficiaries of this rolling disaster will be very hard to
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NEMESIS - The righteous infliction of retribution manifested
by an appropriate agent.
There was once a
dream called Zimbabwe, a country that was peaceful, beautiful, prosperous and
full of the most gentle and accommodating citizens, irrespective of colour.
Now it is vastly different. We all know what it has become - we have seen it
crumble before our very eyes, yet only decided to act assertively in the last
four years. That time has been full of struggle, hardships and losses. But
we have all learnt a great deal. We now know that there will never be a
guarantee of security in Africa, unless there is a credible government and
opposition. That politics is in fact everything. Too few people understand
politics; it has become an offensive word, synonymous with corruption and
amoral behaviour. However, politics encompasses everything in a country from
sport to the economy, to the way we live our lives. Therefore anyone who
claims politics if for politicians only, is making a grave mistake. For
evidence of this one only has to look at our Zimbabwe, as one of many
examples. If the people have their finger on the pulse and heartbeat of the
politicians then it would make it difficult for them to deviate from that
which is in the best interest of the people. Politicians are (or should be)
servants of the people. Servant leaders elected on their merit. The
politicians are as much our responsibility as we are theirs.
Zimbabwe has had a liberation war from colonialism.
Black Zimbabweans had the opportunity to avenge their colonial masters of the
past. During that war both black and white Zimbabweans paid dearly "for
their sins of the past". In 1980 we then became collectively Zimbabweans
(those who chose not to, left) - committed to our new country, our country of
peace and hope. I, my siblings and all our friends, of all ethnic groups,
were the "free borns" - the children born in our new land Zimbabwe. Yet we
have been forsaken by our leaders and bombarded with racist rhetoric,
inciting ethnic and religious hatred. Cronyism nepotism and violence has
become our Zimbabwe.
Now the time has come for Zimbabweans to make a
choice. Are we going to realize our uniqueness as an African country? To
realize the potential we possess as a nation economically and humanly. Have
we been through the liberation struggle only to be shackled by the classical
African dictatorship?. Have we not learnt from this experience? Do we not
want to take this opportunity, that awaits us now, to become the leader of
the nations of Africa in every respect? To prove to ourselves and to the
rest of the world that we, and Africa, are perfectly capable of
representative democracy, security and prosperity for all? Mugabe has
destroyed the house, but the foundations are intact. Those are too solid for
even him to destroy. They were laid and set in freedom 23 years
There are many Zimbabweans all over the world waiting to return with
their expertise. All it needs is for us to believe that we are capable of
making the change and see the opportunity in store. Together we must stand
- "pamwechete." There has been loss of life, dignity,
livelihoods, property. There has been such betrayal. Yet with all that we
have survived. After all we have been through and the realization of what
we can become, we should be inspired to get up and carry Zimbabwe over
the finish line. Let us not allow another opportunity to pass us by.
Our future generation will hold us accountable. Our country is in its
death throes. The time is now, the call will come. When it does, let us
give one hundred per cent. No less.
James Roche said " success, real
success, in any endeavour demands more from an individual than most people
are willing to offer - not more than they are capable of
offering." Zimbabwe's future, our destiny, our children's heritage depends on
our choice of action. To actively deny and act in difference to what you
truly believe and know to be right and just, is a great sin.
Please publish the following in your JAG job
Warden: Borradaile Trust Marondera.
The post of
Warden at Borradaile Trust, Marondera has become vacant. This is a
retirement complex with about 70 cottages for independent residents. Two
large establishments house about 60 semi-dependent residents and there is a
small hospital, called Borradaile House, for dependent residents. In the
grounds is the separately administered Borradaile Hospital. The Warden is
provided with a house in Marondera.
Applications with C.V.s and two
referees should reach The Administrator, Borradaile Trust, P.B.3795,
Marondera as soon as possible. In view of the high cost of postage, the
administrator only undertakes to reply to those short-listed.
Acknowledgements will be made to those providing e-mail addresses.
will help us so much if you publish the above..thank you very
Based on recent reports I have been advised that you as a
Council have had a change of heart in terms of standing up for farmers'
rights in terms of the Law, and also in terms of there perhaps being a
problem with the Rule of Law.
As a result of this possible change, I
have had cause to approach the Vice President (Regions) Mr. Mac Crawford in
the physical absence of the President of Matabeland, this week with a few
queries on which I now seek clarification with Council. The queries arose
from the article in the Daily News of 3rd March, 2003 by Mr. Freeth,
regarding standing up for what is right. I ask you as Council to please give
these issues some serious thought and debate on 25.3.2003.
1. Are you
as Council prepared to attempt to do what is RIGHT regardless of the caste of
the prophet from whence idea or principle came? That is, are you able to take
a principle or suggestion from, for example, Mr. Freeth or Mr. Goosen, or any
other farmer, or employee, regardless of financial status, farming status,
religious belief, sex, colour or creed?
2. Does your Council consist of
gentlemen, or ladies, big enough to accept that at times they might make a
mistake, and thereafter embrace a Churchillian attitude - "When the facts
change, I change my mind Sir. What do you do?"
3. Can you as Council
accept that you might now be considering following the very principles and
policy put forward by Mr. Freeth, that caused you as Council to dismiss him
in August last year?
4. Failure to understand the significance of this
issue or the principle at stake, more than likely indicates that Council has
not been blessed with many members that understand Mr. Churchill's attitude,
and that they are not big enough to instruct President Cloete and `Retired
Director and Consultant' Hasluck, to apologize to Mr. Freeth, and rescind the
letter of dismissal.
5. The Vice President advised me that this was
not possible because Mr. Freeth had "a higher agenda and had gone too far at
the time." As a result I am now at variance with Mr. Crawford,
6. The other query is to ask you as Council, if the CFU name
is to be used to stand up for farmers' rights and the Rule of Law? A little
bit like Lloyds, (for example) you are in fact the custodians of `the name of
CFU.' That is to say, is your behaviour maintaining the name, enhancing the
name or perhaps the reverse?
I look forward to a result on both issues
(like one day cricket) at the end of your one day Council meeting on
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
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JAG Sitrep March 14,
Pressure mounted on a second farm yesterday mainly aimed at eviction of farm
employees and inciting them to demand their S16 packages before eviction.
Sixty to seventy settler employees, ZANU-PF youths, green bombers and war
veterans barricaded 15 commercial farmers in the homestead together with 30
farm employees. Many of the farmers had come to the assistance of the
targeted farmer. ZRP eventually attended after the situation had become
serious and by late evening, the incident was defused but not resolved.
Farmers and their workers withdrew from the farm pending attendance today of
labour, union officials, the DA and the ZRP who will attempt to resolve the
AS THE shortage of fuel continues to
bite, commuters in Bulawayo now walk up to 15km to and from work
The shortage of fuel has worsened over the past few
weeks, forcing many commuter operators to park their vehicles or spend days
in fuel queues.
An official at one filling station said: "We have
had no deliveries for the past week and I would be lying to say when we are
likely to have any. It's actually a pathetic situation but we just cannot
Some commuter omnibus operators have taken advantage of
the situation to charge passengers fares way above those gazetted by the
"This is getting out of hand," said an angry Thabani
Moyo of Cowdray Park suburb, about 15km from the city centre. "How can such
acts of daylight robbery by commuter operators be condoned?"
Coffee body accuses settlers of destroying
3/14/2003 4:44:38 AM (GMT +2)
Sydney Saize in Mutare
JULES Lang, the Coffee Growers'
Association's chief executive, has accused newly resettled farmers of
damaging about 5 000 hectares of coffee plantations worth about $2,5
Lang said poor farming methods applied by the new farmers
was largely to blame for the loss of the crop. Much of the destroyed coffee
was in Mashonaland West province.
Speaking at a workshop held in
Mutare last week to formulate strategies on combating a pest that wreaks
havoc on the crop Lang said: "The new farmers have destroyed coffee
plantations mostly in Karoi, Tengwe, Mhangura and Hurungwe in Mashonaland
Lang said the new farmers neglected the crop and
concentrated on "traditional crops" such as maize.
major problem, Lang said, was that the new farmers lacked the technical
skills to maintain the coffee crop. She said there was need to invite the new
farmers to workshops where they would be taught skills on how to grow
"They should be encouraged to learn new skills in managing
the farms on which they were resettled," she said.
believed by numerous authorities to be producing about 0,2 percent of the
world's coffee, with the domestic product ranking fifth in quality.
HARARE magistrate Judith Tsamba last week granted bail to
17 MDC members who were arrested on Sunday in Mufakose after a rally
addressed by their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
They are alleged
to have attacked and disarmed State security agents. The 17 suspects
were remanded to 24 March on $5 000 bail each. The magistrate ordered them to
report once a week to their nearest police stations.
Muzenda represented the MDC supporters. The State, led by Mehluli
Tshuma, had opposed the bail application. In granting bail, Tsamba said
Tendai Mapuranga, the investigating officer, failed to give specific reasons
why the opposition's supporters should be denied bail.
said: "I don't see sufficient grounds for the State to oppose bail because
the investigating officer is actually contradicting himself on what he wrote
on the State outline and what he is now telling the court."
said: "Granting bail to these people was absolutely not prejudicial to the
State. This is a clear case that is crying out for bail because the grounds
for denying bail are flimsy."
Affairs of the heart, either sensational or intriguing, seem to
always feature prominently in the private lives of powerful women - from the
Queen of Sheba through to Cleopatra, Queen Victoria and Princess
Nearer home the love life of the self-proclaimed
Iron Lady of Zimbabwean politics, Big Shuvai Mahofa, has constantly been a
source of juicy stories for the country's newspapers and created so much
interest in the woman among Zimbabweans that she has become a virtual
celebrity in her own right - if for nothing else but her romantic
Although she has kept her surname from the first
official marriage, Shuvai has had a string of marriages some of which - those
to Taderera and Chatikobo, for instance - have been characterised by
controversy bordering on scandal.
To her credit, the
happy-go-lucky Shuvai has never tried to make a fuss out of the somewhat
unwholesome characterisation she is subjected to by the media when reporting
on her love life which doesn't seem anywhere near the boring
For the benefit of those who may have missed out on this one,
the latest Mahofa offering from the grapevine is that she has been smitten by
a dashing 30-plus young army officer who is always by her side whenever
both of them have time off from their work. That the young officer is a
married man does not seem to bother Mahofa too much as the two have
reportedly been spotted moving about openly together.
Zimbabweans, it probably doesn't come as any surprise at all that she doesn't
care tuppence what society thinks about her getting into what would normally
be considered scandalous relationships.
Apparently her affairs have
the approval of the highest office in the land. In December 1988 or
thereabouts, when senior Zanu PF officials took the unusual move of voicing
concern about her love life, President Mugabe quickly doused the fire by
telling the men who had raised the issue to shut up since he happened to know
that they all had girlfriends.
But it would appear not everybody
approves of Mahofa's somewhat mindless romantic escapades, especially those
women she would have dispossessed of their husbands. It is
understood the young army officer's wife is reported to have caused a scene
at Mahofa's Gutu residence late last year when she found out that the deputy
minister was going out with her husband. What wife worth the title
The Good Book tells us not judge so that we may in turn
not also be judged. Sounds both cowardly and hypocritical to me.
Nevertheless, as a footnote to Mahofa's behaviour, it could fairly be said
that it is inappropriate, considering that, as the Deputy Minister of Youth,
Gender and Employment Creation, she is expected to be a good role model for
both women and young people.
· Still on powerful women and
their love lives, you will recall that piece in this column last week about
the amazingly illogical position taken by the South African Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with regard to her government's blind
support for the murderous Mugabe regime.
You will recall that,
in response to a query by journalists at the Press Club in Pretoria why her
government did not publicly condemn Mugabe's government for the mess it has
made of Zimbabwe, she boastfully retorted: "The problem with you (the
Press) is that you are waiting for only one word - condemnation of Zimbabwe.
It is not going to happen as long as this government is in
The sentiment expressed in this column then was that this
was a very strange and disturbing position to take for a government which has
almost first-hand knowledge of the harm caused to the one-time paradise by
the Mugabe regime.
The mystery has now been solved. The Mole has
learnt from very reliable sources that this may all have something to do with
the affairs of the heart. It is understood that, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who
has for some time now been separated from her husband from whom she will soon
be divorced, is now romantically linked to a high-ranking man in the
Nkosazana's alleged beau, who is a member of the
Cabinet, is Mugabe's chief adviser in matters of foreign policy.
That would explain the South African lady minister's attitude towards the
crisis in Zimbabwe, which, to put it mildly, is completely divorced from all
dictates of reason. It is based purely on pillow talk which is
heavily influenced by her feelings towards her new love.
simply wouldn't do anything that offends her new-found companion - a case of
the biblical Samson and Delilah relation in reverse.
By a process
of simple deduction then, we can also see why President Thabo Mbeki, most
probably against his better judgment, is so strangely reluctant to condemn
his errant northern neighbour. He is most probably following the advice of
his chief foreign affairs adviser.
To all intents and purposes,
Mbeki seems to have unwittingly allowed himself to be used in taking an
official stand on Zimbabwe based on romantic considerations.
Sandawana - Waiting for a miracle from
Agribank Sandawana IS there an imminent reshuffle of the top brass at the
Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd (Agribank)?
All is not well in the
government-backed financial institution, judging by events over the past
week. Not that anything has been well in the first place, just as is the case
with the majority of enterprises where the state has its fingers firmly in
Agribank was born out of the cash-strapped and
scandal-ridden Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to pave way for a
This was after political heavyweights and those with
influence in political circles had virtually brought the institution to its
Money disappeared, loans were never repaid, lists of those who
owed the organisation millions vanished, and it soon became a loan outfit for
all those who were well connected.
It was therefore surprising
last week when the Agribank boss was summoned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to come to "head office" to explain why his bank had not been turned
into a "Land Bank", whatever that is!
The Agribank boss, obviously
shaken and unaware of what was going on, appeared on local television trying
to explain what had been done years ago, ie transforming his bank into a
commercial entity. He said loads of paperwork had been prepared for the
central bank but had not been approved.
Small-scale farmers were then
interviewed during the same programme expressing their dissatisfaction in the
way Agribank was being run and how they were being
Agribank is one of the institutions that have been
severely affected by the controversial land programme, better known as the
"land grab programme".
Analysts say the success of the agrarian reforms
is heavily dependent on a clearly defined tenure system, adequate technical
and financial support to the new farmers and a more systematic countrywide
Agribank, on the other hand, has "no
money" to bail out farmers.
Several institutions earmarked for
commercialisation still continue to milk the fiscus at will. The list is long
- Noczim, Zisco, NRZ and Zesa - to name a few of the major culprits. Noczim
has been allocated a percentage from motorists to pay for corruption that was
unearthed at the parastatal.
What is very worrying though is how the
RBZ expects, within a week, Agribank to go commercial!
there are cases of miracles in this world, turning a loss-making financial
institution into a commercial entity within a week would certainly go down in
history as a world record.
Sandawana can only conclude that
heavyweights are eyeing Agribank.
The minute the institution
supposedly goes "commercial" they will appoint their own blue-eyed boys to
the helm, line up as usual for the "free funds" promised in the form of farm
loans and it will be business as usual!
Race for RBZ job hots
The race for the position of governor of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) seems to be hotting up and major banking players are polishing
up their act to land the "lucrative" post.
Having served his two
terms, the current boss Leonard Tsumba is winding up operations at Samora
Sandawana understands that the top three candidates
for the post are Jewel Bank boss Gideon Gono, Finhold boss Elisha
Mushayakarara, and Julius Makoni, head of NMB Holdings Ltd.
central bank post goes with all the privileges of a top government official -
travel to first world countries (foreign currency allowances), mixing with
top international executives (exchanging CVs) and mutual back-scratching
(special mention at rallies and dinners).
Sandawana takes a look at
the candidates whose CVs have allegedly landed on His Excellency's
The top runner is Gono who has helped Zimbabwe secure various
fuel deals at a time when the country had virtually run out of the necessary
foreign currency to pay for the elusive commodity.
Gono has bent
over backwards and travelled to various capitals of the world, including
Kuwait, to try and ensure that Zimbabwe's fuel pumps don't
This has, however, not been helped by a government which
has continued to default on repayments resulting in suppliers stopping
Gono has an impressive CV as far as his banking career is
Under his leadership, the Jewel Bank rose from the ashes of
the collapse of the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International
However, analysts say this has been the result of regular
government support, especially the lucrative fuel contracts.
gave shareholders a total dividend of 110 cents, up from 50 cents issued
during the previous year, an increase of 120%.
The Jewel Bank boss
can easily qualify for the top central bank post because influential
individuals within government who rub shoulders with the president on a daily
basis hold him in high esteem.
Next in the front line, we understand,
is Mushayakarara, the boss at Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold), also
a favourite of government.
Finhold has had its ups and downs during the
past two years, but has managed to play musical chairs with its top brass to
try and weather the storm and please shareholders.
division, Zimbank, has also had its market share kept at bay by some
management mishaps resulting in individuals conning the
Mushayakarara is no stranger to government, having worked as
its economic architect when he was permamanent secretary in the Finance
He would be returning to the days when he handled all of
government's "cash-flow" and financial secrets.
performance, judging by the results for the period to December 31, was not
too bad either.
Sandawana is reliably informed that the third
candidate is Makoni of NMB.
Makoni is a top banker who has had a stint
with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he was one
of the advisors on Africa.
Unlike his two "competitors" who have
worked in commercial banks, Makoni actually helped form the first commercial
bank owned and managed by "indigenous" Zimbabweans.
which is listed on both the Zimbabwe and London Stock Exchanges, has also
performed extremely well.
However, Sandawana is informed that his
"downfall" could be his government "links" or lack of them.
NMB boss is not a regular with the "team" and is considered
His bank's results point to a good player on
the financial scene as his group's total asset base increased by $3 750
million to $89 019 million as at December 31 2002 from $85 269 million as at
December 31 2001.
NMB's profit after tax shot up from $2,8 billion to
$5,2 billion. The group gave shareholders a final dividend of 560 cents per
share, bringing the total historical dividend for the year to 634 cents per
This was an increase of 482% from the position at December 31
None of the candidates will admit they have been given the nod for
the job. But Sandawana understands all three have been approached. Let's
however wait and see.
GMB loses US$20m in grain deal Augustine Mukaro THE
cash-strapped Grain Marketing Board (GMB) could have been prejudiced of over
US$20 million paid to a South African company for maize imports which were
never delivered, the Zimbabwe Independent established this
Officials at the GMB said in February last year the
parastatal awarded a contract to Blazepoint Trading to import over 100 000
tonnes of maize. Blazepoint Trading, a South African firm, allegedly failed
to deliver the maize despite being paid in full to cover the procurement
The landed price of maize at the time was US$200 per tonne,
meaning the GMB paid at least US$20 million for the 100 000 tonnes of
Agriculture minister Joseph Made last year told reporters that
South Africa's Blazepoint Trading had been contracted to supply 100 000
tonnes and that transport logistics were made to ensure the smooth movement
of the grain.
Highly-placed sources at GMB said the company was
paid for the first consignment and a deposit for two other orders to enable
it to process the import procedures. To date nothing has been
"Blazepoint has not delivered anything despite the
payments," sources said. "The GMB has since been informed that Blazepoint has
gone into liquidation."
Sources said in November last year the GMB
took Blazepoint to court for breach of contract but nothing has
"As we speak, some members of the GMB taskforce are in
South Africa trying to negotiate with liquidators of Blazepoint to recover
GMB money," an official said.
"The acting audit manager and
financial accountant, who were also part of the delegation, returned to South
Africa after compiling documents to enable GMB to claim its money from the
Officials at the GMB said Blazepoint went into
liquidation soon after receiving payment from the parastatal, raising
questions about how the company won the contract.
Sources said GMB
officials were only shown silos of grain and told by word of mouth the
quantities held, after which Zimbabwe proceeded to
Sources said the Blazepoint contact person in
Zimbabwe was GMB board chairman Enock Kamushinda who is understood to have
used his influence to arm-twist the parastatal into paying the South African
company deposits for two other consignments before it had delivered the first
"Grain importation in the country has been politicised and is
being done in an ad-hoc manner, which explains why the contracts haven't been
going to tender since the beginning of grain imports in January 2002," a GMB
Kamushinda had not responded to written questions
from the Independent by the time of going to press.
understood to be a subsidiary of Blaze Holdings, based in Cape Town, South
Efforts by the Independent to get comment from Blaze Holdings
were fruitless as their telephone lines were continuously engaged.
THERE was heated debate in Parliament on Tuesday over a
proposal to increase President Mugabe's pension and other benefits by 100
percent after he retires.
Opposition Members of Parliament
immediately attacked the Presidential Pensions Amendment Bill saying it was
uneconomic considering the crisis in the country. They said the move
was meant to create privileges for a few top government officials in a
society that cannot afford to meet the costs of sustaining them.
The MPs said Parliament should be concerned with curbing inflation
and increasing the revenue base.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, brought the Bill to increase
pensions and retirement benefits of former presidents from 75 percent for a
second reading, amid reports that began to surface in January that senior
Zanu PF officials were exploring possible exit scenarios for
He was speaking on behalf of July Moyo, the Minister of
Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare. Tendai Biti, the MP for
Harare East remarked: "However, I am allowed to think aloud and say, does
this mean the President is thinking of retiring?
"When I read
this Bill I wondered as to who is the person who wrote this Bill. Was it the
President or the Minister of Labour? "The purpose of the proposed
amendment is to hedge the pension of a retired president to the salary of a
sitting president. This defies all logic."
The average worker in
Zimbabwe, Biti said, did not have that benefit. Biti said it was
unfortunate that everybody's pension, except for the beneficiaries of the
Bill, was negatively affected by inflation currently standing at 208 percent
arising from the mismanagement of the economy.
"What this Bill
seeks to do is to protect the incumbent President against his own role in the
mismanagement of the economy," Biti said. "He is not attacking the problems
of inflation. To me he is the author of the current economic mismanagement
and this is unfair."
The only reason the MDC was not objecting to
the Bill was that they hoped it was a clear indication that Mugabe wants to
retire. "We will not stand in the way of encouraging him to retire,"
Biti said, amidst laughter by his fellow legislators.
Gonese, the MDC's chief whip, said the only positive thing in the Bill was
that it would encourage sitting presidents and vice-presidents to
Paurina Mpariwa, the MP for Mufakose, said the idea of a
pension was noble but depended on who was going to benefit.
Zvobgo, the Member of Parliament for Masvingo South, this week accused the
government of condoning corruption, saying it was time to hunt down those
spreading the "Aids of corruption".
Moving a motion in Parliament
on Tuesday for the establishment of an anti-corruption commission, he said
government departments, politicians and parastatals were riddled with
corruption and it was time for the "bigger hunt to commence".
Warning that unbridled corruption would lead to the decay of the economy and
social fabric, the ruling Zanu PF MP said corruption had permeated the
institutions of government, parastatals and
Zvobgo said: "Notwithstanding the
economic difficulties that we have, if you visit some parts of our major
cities such as Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru, and observe the buildings, the
houses that are coming up - they are obscene.
"They are clearly
beyond their reach, beyond the means of those who are constructing
Kumbirai Kangai, the MP for Buhera South (Zanu PF), seconded
the motion. Paying tribute to the late Minister of Education, Edmund
Garwe, for resigning following the leaking of an examination paper by his
daughter, Zvobgo attacked the government's policy of sacking board members
for corruption when ministers, and not the board members, ran the
Witness Mangwende, the Minister of Transport and
Communications, last month summarily dissolved the National Railways of
Zimbabwe board and took over control of the parastatal.
came after one of the worst train accidents in the country, in Dete near
Hwange, in which more than 50 people were killed with 64
Zvobgo said: "Corruption has rampaged through
parastatals for almost a decade and a half.
"The cure has always
been one: You sack the board and yet they do not run the parastatal. The
actual operatives and employees at the top level remain, let alone the fact
that we are yet to have leaders such as ministers accepting responsibility
and calling it a day, hence quitting because of the scandals or
"The more responsibility of what has gone wrong is
accepted, the more we will raise national consciousness about this scourge,
this disease, this 'Aids' called corruption." On the chaotic land
redistribution programme, Zvobgo said: "Some people have taken advantage of
the exercise to seize two, three, four, five farms."
said: "The motion before this House is long, long overdue. I do not want to
bore you with my experience. I went through the grill."
Zimbabwe had the security apparatus capable of investigating anything that
happened in and outside the country and did not see why corruption was
continuing. Kangai was acquitted by the High Court last year of
corruption charges involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament, abruptly adjourned
the session. He deferred debate after Patrick Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, moved for an
adjournment after both ruling Zanu PF and opposition MDC MPs continued to
criticise the government for failing to deal with corruption.
This prompted Bulawayo South MP David Coltart (MDC) to ask the Speaker to
explain why he wanted to postpone the debate.
"It is because there
is no one who can relieve me in the House," Mnangagwa said, before shelving
the motion to Wednesday.
President Mugabe, addressing Parliament on
20 December 2001, said the government remained committed to the eradication
of corruption resulting in the previous Parliament providing for the
establishment of an anti-corruption commission following the passage of
necessary enabling legislation.
War and peace Iden
Wetherell MANY of our readers will be looking forward to the Harare
International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) next month. Over a period of just a
few years this event has become a showcase of top local and international
In the midst of shortages and hardships it will represent a small
ray of cultural sunshine.
But I am becoming rather impatient with
Hifa spokespersons saying they don't want the festival to be politicised.
This is a bit like saying they don't want the Pope to be Catholic. Zimbabwe
is a highly political space right now. The government has politicised
everything, including food relief to the starving and the cricket World
Pro-government newspapers have been busy celebrating England's
exclusion from further contention in the World Cup as if this somehow
represents a victory over Tony Blair!
Harare, where Hifa is held,
is solidly opposed to the Mugabe regime. The people of the capital have
expressed their views in a referendum, a general election and a presidential
poll. Zanu PF has no purchase here except where it bribes, beats and
We don't want to see Hifa organisers pretending
that everything is normal - that we can show the world how to party. This
should not be some sort of break from reality. If culture cannot be
celebrated in a free and open way, it should not be celebrated at
If Hifa is to succeed it must acknowledge the adversity
Zimbabweans face at every level. In other words there must be no
The cricket World Cup taught us that this regime
will seize on any and every event from sport to beauty pageants to suggest
everything is normal. It is not. And the Hifa organisers must not allow
themselves to be led into making naïve statements.
One of Hifa's
key organisers in the past, Georgina Godwin, has been threatened with arrest
if she sets foot in this country. Her only offence was to exercise her
constitutional right to freedom of expression. The government on the other
hand has refused until this week to honour a court judgement striking down
ZBC's broadcasting monopoly. That is the "freedom" that exists in Zimbabwe
We had Hifa chair Angeline Kamba recently saying security
agencies had assured the Hifa organisers of the safety of local and
Are these the same agencies that have
been arresting and beating the hell out of civic supporters in recent weeks?
The same people that have broken up women's marches and arrested pastors? The
goons who sang "Masuwa kurohwa baba masuwa chose" when they rounded up
Kamba is a thoughtful woman. If she wants to maintain the
credibility of Hifa she should avoid seeking any assurances from Mugabe's
thugs, whatever title they might be going under.
War in Iraq seems
certain now and it could come as early as next week. I am finding it
difficult to take a firm view on the merits of American action against Saddam
Hussein. Of course war is horrible. It destroys everything in its path
including the weak and vulnerable. It is the easiest thing to oppose
The Americans can be accused of hypocrisy in not upholding UN
resolutions on Israeli depredations. They are obviously concerned with the
stability of oil supplies.
Let us not forget that the US and UK
backed Iraq's war against Iran from 1980/88. Donald Rumsfeld presided over
the reopening of the US embassy in Baghdad in 1983.
fanatic" (Soyinka's words) or not, there is something unedifying about the
belligerence of President Bush and his single-minded advisors. Their
backgrounds in the oil business and corporate giants may be useful in the
field of domestic politics but international diplomacy requires more subtle
skills. The anti-war bloc France is currently cultivating is to some extent
the product of US mishandling - many countries don't want to be railroaded
into a conflict which could trigger bitter anti-Western sentiment in the
Middle East with ramifications for their own Moslem minorities.
the other hand, what use is the UN if it can't enforce its resolutions? The
fate of the League of Nations in the 1930s, when the vain hope of "collective
security" and appeasement dominated the thinking of the democracies, provides
a salutary lesson to those who think it is best to do nothing.
Americans point out that Europe never seems to be able to get its
act together. It couldn't even bring itself to act in Bosnia or against
Serbian attacks on ethnic Albanians on its own doorstep until the Americans
gave a lead.
Just in case you thought France and Russia were
guided by high-minded principles in the pursuit of peace, it is important to
note that they too are preoccupied with oil concessions the present Iraqi
regime has dangled before them.
We hear a lot about the fate of
hospitals and sick children in the current discourse. But how much better off
the Iraqi people would be if Saddam had devoted oil revenues to the health
sector instead of stockpiling weapons and building presidential
I was struck by the posters carried by the estimated one
million anti-war demonstrators in London last month. I didn't see one that
was critical of Saddam. Instead they were all targeted at Bush and Blair.
When exiled Iraqi students attempted to march in support of Bush/Blair they
were dismissed by old leftist Tony Benn as "CIA stooges".
what he thinks of the Kurds who succumbed to Saddam's chemical warfare in
1991 or those Iraqis who have been tortured and executed for opposing
I have been impressed by the passion and sincerity
of exiled Iraqis I have seen on TV arguing the case for regime change. While
it is all too easy to say "I'm for peace", how does the international
community deal with vicious tyrants who oppress their own people to remain in
power? That is a problem by no means confined to Iraq!