been expected for some time now, two of Zimbabwe's greatest cricketing sons,
top batsman Andrew Flower and talented fast bowler, Henry Olonga, have now
publicly announced their sad but inevitable "retirement" from international
cricket. That retirement, ipso facto, also spells the end of their
association with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, (ZCU).
ways with the ZCU may be enmeshed in acrimony, but it is fair to acknowledge
that, until the start of the Cricket World Cup tournament, theirs had been a
happy, healthy, and mutually beneficial relationship.
Predictably, the ZCU has decided to treat the star cricketers' departure as
nothing extraordinary, pretending they are not the least bothered and
dismissing it as "a normal occurrence the world over".
we do who their patron is, Zimbabweans don't need the services of a
clairvoyant to tell them why the union's leaders are treating this
unfortunate development as a non-event. But they would be very mistaken
if they think anyone will believe the departure of the two, and probably that
of Guy Whittall too, is "normal", because it simply isn't.
the truth be told, it is easy to understand the ZCU's morally deplorable
head-in-the-sand position they ill-advisedly chose to adopt right from the
start of the crisis when they failed to advice the International Cricket
Union against making Zimbabwe a co-host of the tournament. That would have
been an excellent way of drawing the world's attention to the abnormal
political situation in this country.
However, knowing the character
of the regime running this country, it is accepted the consequences of doing
that could have been dire. But there was no reason whatsoever for the ZCU to
then go on to pretend they are not deeply disturbed by these cricketers'
departure. Their attitude constitutes a display of hypocrisy of the worst
kind because deep down in their hearts they know that the cricketers'
departure is a big blow to Zimbabwe as a test cricket nation. Before their
slump in form over the recent past few years, our cricket team were among the
few sporting disciplines - the two notable others being tennis and golf -
that kept Zimbabwe's flag flying high on the international
Their valiant showing, in particular their historic
demolition of the English cricket team, could not have failed to give their
patron President Mugabe, immense satisfaction, given his well-known antipathy
towards everything British.
Much of the credit for doing the
country proud surely went to And Flower and Henry Olonga who often stood head
and shoulder above the rest of the team. And that is not a figment of some
adoring fan's imagination. A year or so ago, Flower was ranked the best
batsman in the world. On the contrary, it was mean in the extreme for
Zimbabwe's cricket authorities to fail to even show that they are sorry to
lose him and express their appreciation for his contribution to the
development of the game in Zimbabwe which culminated in the country achieving
the ultimate in the sport - attainment of test status.
clearly a tower of strength in the Zimbabwe team. And it may not be
altogether idle speculation to say that the treatment he and Olonga received
from the cricket authorities following their courageous and memorable
demonstration "against the death of democracy in Zimbabwe" had a bearing on
the team's subsequent poor performances, especially against
But if the Zimbabwe Cricket Union will begrudge them
their due recognition and a fitting farewell, the rest of Zimbabweans are
giving Flower and Olonga a heroes' send-off. They will for ever be held
proudly in our memories for boldly daring to publicly condemn what had to be
condemned. You have been a powerful inspiration to many. Go well, men of
From Kelvin Jakachira and
Paidamoyo Chipunza in Mutare
THE opposition MDC yesterday said six
of its candidates had been disqualified from contesting in the Chipinge Town
Council elections under suspicious circumstances.
Zanu PF candidates were duly elected after the disqualification of the MDC
members. The elections, called after Chipinge gained town status, are set for
26 and 27 April.
After the disqualification of the six MDC
candidates, only two wards will be up for grabs. Prosper Mutseyami,
the MDC deputy chairman for Manicaland, said: "What has happened is that all
names of known MDC members have been removed from the voters'
Mutseyami said their candidates were disqualified after the
names of their respective nominators could not be found on the voters' roll.
He said the MDC had hired Langton Mhungu, a Chipinge lawyer, to challenge
the disqualification at the High Court.
confirmed he was instructed by the MDC to challenge the
disqualification. The nomination court sat on Monday in the town. Joyce
Munamati, the provincial registrar, said Zanu PF candidates in six wards were
duly elected after the disqualification of the MDC candidates.
She said if any name did not appear on the voters' roll it was because the
affected individual had not registered during the voters' roll inspection
The disqualified MDC candidates and their wards are Daniel
Ngorima, 2; Simango Dennis, 6; Daniel Tendai Njanjeni; 3; Maimurei Mazure, 4;
Shadreck Makuyana, 7; and Chrispen Rambo, 8.
Air vice-marshal tells of Menashe's inaudible
3/21/2003 6:44:16 AM (GMT +2)
ARI Ben-Menashe attempted to sell military aircraft to the
Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) two years ago before he contacted a senior air
force official with claims of a plot by top MDC leaders to assassinate
President Mugabe, the High Court heard yesterday.
the treason trial of MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, and two party
officials, Air Vice-Marshal Robert Mhlanga, said he got to know Ben-Menashe
when he approached the AFZ, ostensibly to sell an array of military
"He was selling a whole array of aircraft ranging from
transport aircraft, helicopters and fighter planes," Mhlanga said,
under cross-examination by defence counsel Advocate Eric Matinenga.
Ben-Menashe was the key prosecution witness in the ongoing
He said at the time he met Mhlanga, he was president of
Carlington Sales, a commodity company. He showed senior AFZ officials
brochures showing samples and performance specifications of the aircraft he
said he was selling and spent a week in Harare trying to persuade the
government to buy the aeroplanes, Mhlanga said.
allegedly spoke highly of his business acumen and "made a lot of mention of
his career in the Israeli secret service - Mossad. He even had a book which
he wrote about his career, to prove the authenticity of what he was saying",
the court heard. Mhlanga said the deal failed as the AFZ did not need
aircraft which Ben-Menashe claimed he could source from Russia and other
countries in the former Eastern bloc.
He said Ben-Menashe
telephoned him two or three times later following up on the failed
deal. Some time in November 2001, Ben-Menashe telephoned again - this
time with a tip-off on an alleged plot by the MDC to assassinate Mugabe and
stage a military coup, Mhlanga said.
"I became inquisitive and
asked whether this had anything to do with the aircraft and he said he had
information pertaining to a plot to assassinate the President," Mhlanga said.
"He said the plot was being orchestrated by the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and some of his officials."
political consultant allegedly flew to Zimbabwe three days later armed with a
miniature cassette tape, a mini-diskette and a transcript of proceedings of a
meeting in London where Tsvangirai allegedly requested Ben-Menashe's
consultancy to assist in the conspiracy, the court heard.
played the cassette on a recorder and, I must admit, I did not make head or
tail of the contents of the cassette. When I looked at the transcript there
was quite a lot of information I could not make head or tail of. I could hear
voices - his (Ben-Menashe's) voice and Tsvangirai's voice but I could not
make a statement out of it."
Daily News photographer, Philimon Bulawayo, and the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) Corporate Affairs Director, Gugulethu Moyo, who were arrested
on Tuesday, were finally released from police custody without being charged
yesterday following a High Court order.
Moyo was arrested at Glen
View Police Station when she tried to get Bulawayo released after his arrest
while covering the mass action in Budiriro.
Moyo was severely
assaulted by Jocelyn Chiwenga, the wife of the army commander,
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, and her messenger, Kelvin
Chadenyika, at the police station.
After their release, the two
were taken to hospital for medical treatment by Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the
Executive Chairman of ANZ. Both Moyo and Bulawayo were having problems in
walking and looked exhausted.
The police denied them medical
treatment on Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday. Relatives of Bulawayo
cried outside the Harare Central Police Station when they saw him, after
having spent two days without knowing his whereabouts.
where he was, Bulawayo said: "I was booked out of the Harare Central Police
Station late afternoon on Wednesday and when I asked one of the plainclothes
policemen where I was being taken to, he said I should shut up and should not
give them instructions."
He said he was not assaulted while at
Highlands Police Station, where he was eventually booked. Moyo only
said: "I am glad that I can be asked how I am."
Kay Ncube, the ANZ
lawyer, said the police said they would proceed by way of summons.
"We spent the whole day trying to force the police to honour the High Court
order, which was issued by Justice George Smith on Wednesday night, to have
my clients released," said Ncube. The National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) yesterday condemned the assault of Bulawayo and Moyo and called on the
police to arrest Chiwenga and Chadenyika.
"It escapes reason as
to where Chiwenga finds the temerity to mete out partisan punishment on
journalists and media workers carrying their legitimate duties," said Max
Saungweme, the NCA spokesman. "Her involvement in the assault of the ANZ
staffers is a case of total abuse of her status as a wife to an army
The NCA called for the immediate arrest of Chiwenga and
the officers involved in the assault. The Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists secretary-general, Luke Tamborinyoka, condemned the
"The union is deeply shocked at the continued harassment
of journalists," said Tamborinyoka yesterday. "The arrest of ANZ staff
only confirms that Olusegun Obasanjo (the Nigerian leader) was taken up
the garden path. No sooner had the ink on Obasanjo's letter to John Howard
(the Australian premier) dried than we get the government's action in
the opposite direction."
STILL remains a mystery in what capacity Kelvin Chadenyika and Jocelyn
Chiwenga, the wife of the Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine
Chiwenga, assaulted Gugulethu Moyo, the Corporate Affairs Director for
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), and Daily News photographer,
Philemon Bulawayo, on Tuesday morning.
It has been established that
Chadenyika is a messenger at Zimsafe, a company owned by Jocelyn Chiwenga.The
company, which makes reflectors, mostly for the army, is located at Stand
Number 181, Theris Road in the Willowvale industrial area.
employee at Zimsafe who refused to be named said Chadenyika, commonly known
as "Sporadic" in soccer circles, was Chiwenga's henchman who moved around
with her every time she left the offices.
Chadenyika was not at the
company when The Daily News called. But he frequents The Daily News offices
to give news tips.
Chadenyika, a former assistant coach with Darryn
T Football Club, took officers at Glen View Police Station by surprise when
he verbally abused and harassed Moyo and other arrested people.
He assaulted people arrested by the police for allegedly stoning vehicles and
beating up those who defied the mass stay-away called by the opposition MDC
for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The police let Chadenyika and Chiwenga
terrorise Moyo, who, as the ANZ lawyer, had come to represent Bulawayo,
arrested for carrying his camera as the police assaulted members of the
Moyo was seated on a bench outside the charge office at
Glen View Police Station when Chadenyika arrived.
On seeing her,
he became furious, demanding to know what she wanted there and who she
When Moyo identified herself as a lawyer with The Daily
News, Chadenyika slapped her on the head and threatened to assault another
lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, who had accompanied Moyo.
then assaulted Moyo, twisting her arm and slapping her in the face, accusing
her of fomenting anarchy and representing the State's enemies.
ENOCH Kamushinda, the chairman of Metropolitan Bank, is
accused of defying a High Court order not to evict more than 1 000 tenants
from seven blocks of flats he owns in the Harare Avenues area.
Kamushinda, who is also the chairman of the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group, could
not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of the country. The
tenants were granted the provisional order on 14 March this year.
The tenants charged that Kamushinda was trying to unlawfully evict them from
the flats located between Fife and Herbert Chitepo avenues under the pretext
that he wanted to carry out structural repairs and renovations to enable him
to raise the rents.
He cannot do so before the current lease
agreements signed with the sitting tenants expire. This has prompted
the tenants, through their lawyer, Simon Sadomba, to file papers for
Kamushinda to be charged with contempt of court.
They said the High
Court should order Kamushinda not to refuse to accept their rents and to
remit payments for water to the city council, which disconnected water to the
flats. They claimed his actions were illegal as the matter was still to be
decided by the Northern Region Rent Board and the High Court.
"The cutting off of water supplies is not only inhuman but mischievous, as it
causes a humanitarian crisis which will create a health hazard," Sadomba
Kamushinda has been involved in a wrangle with the tenants,
who are reluctant to leave, despite a notice in November last year, ordering
them out by end of January.
Justice Benjamin Paradza granted
Mnondo Properties Residents' Association the interim order on behalf of the
tenants. The order bars Kamushinda's company, Mnondo Properties (Pvt) Ltd
from disconnecting water and electricity supplies from the premises known as
Stow, Ringron, Sarsden, Creed, Spofforth, Icomb and Cotswold
The company is also being interdicted from evicting and
interfering with the tenants.
AIR Zimbabwe plans to hire two 50-seater planes from Air Littoral Industrie
SA of France at an approximate cost of US$147 000 (Z$117,6 million) for each
of the planes every month for the next three years.
the head of fleet management at Air Littoral France, has queried where Air
Zimbabwe got the nearly US$2 million (Z$1,6 billion) in foreign currency
which it wired to France as a commitment fee.
On 12 March, Rambai
Chingwena, the Air Zimbabwe managing director, received an e-mail from Sineux
which confirmed receipt of US$170 000 (Z$136 million). The airline first
received US$150 000 (Z$120 million) and later US$20 000 (Z$16 million) as a
commitment fee from Air Zimbabwe.
Sineux said: "We have received
from Air Zimbabwe an amount of US$102 086,20 (Z$81 668 960), initially US$102
100, but minus US$13,80 (Z$11 040) as bank fees. We do not know to what this
wire refers. We only know that it was initiated by the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe. Could you tell me if this money comes from you?"
Chingwena said he thought it was premature for him to give details of the
deal and his communication with the authorities at the French airline. There
were still a lot of things that needed to be discussed, he said.
said: "It would come through at the appropriate time. It's at a stage we feel
is not for public disclosure."
According to sources at the national
airline, five senior managers led a delegation to France last Sunday to
conclude the deal. The delegation comprised Phineas Ndlovu, the acting
general manager (engineering department), Eddie Manda, the senior manager for
hangar maintenance, Boston Odongo, a Ghanaian, the senior manager quality
assurance, David Tambo, the acting senior manager technical services, and
Mordecai Magaisa, the chief internal auditor.
Jean Durand, the
president director-general, will represent the French airline in the signing
of the contract.
ZANU PF youths in Mutasa yesterday stopped the British
High Commissioner in Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly, from officially handing over
a water project worth $2,8m to two schools in the district, after
threatening to disrupt the programme.
The youths, from the
Border Gezi national youth training centres, threatened villagers in Mundenda
village - warning them against attending the hand-over ceremony.
The project, meant to benefit more than 1 600 students atMundenda Primary and
Secondary schools, was funded by the British High Commission in Harare.
Mundenda is about 40 kilometres north of Mutare.
"It was so
disappointing," Donnelly said in an interview yesterday. "I hope we will be
able to go there when things are calm." The project includes a borehole, a
windmill, a water tank and pipings.
Donnelly said the other reason
which forced him to postpone the hand-over ceremony was that the Member of
Parliament for the area, Giles Mutsekwa, was in police custody. Mutsekwa, who
represents the Mutare North constituency, was arrested on Wednesday for
reasons as yet unknown. Mutsekwa is believed to be detained at Penhalonga
Police Station, about 15 kilometres north of Mutare.
postponed because the MP for the area, who was arrested, has not yet been
released and that some youths visited the school and told the local community
that the hand-over should not take place," Donnelly said .
"The local community was concerned and we decided to postpone the hand-over
to avoid unnecessary problems for the school board."
the provincial youth development head, said: "I do not know anything about
that." He promised to investigate the allegations.
Donnelly is in
Mutare for a road show aimed at disseminating information about the United
COMMUTERS in and around
Harare are forking out as much as $300 to get to work following the recent
increase in fuel prices.
The government gazetted fares, which are
being violated by commuter omnibus operators, had remained between $50 and
$80 for a single trip.
Commuter omnibus operators have defended the
fare increases, saying they were a true reflection of the high cost of fuel
and spare parts.
A litre of petrol now costs $145,20 up from
$74,47, while the price of diesel has gone up from $66,39 to $119,43 a
The shortage of foreign currency on the official market had
forced operators to source it from the parallel market, where the United
States dollar is fetching up to $1 500 against the local unit.
Residents from south-western suburbs of Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro and
Highfield were paying between $200 and $300 for a single trip to
Several commuters who spoke to The Daily News yesterday
accused the government of neglecting commuters by taking too long to respond
to the transport crisis.
The recent acquisition of buses by the
State-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has made little impact
as queues are still taking too long to clear.
The few Zupco
buses available were, however, still charging $65 on the City-Kuwadzana
route. Agrippah Muchengu, 28, of St Mary's, said bus fares on
the City-Chitungwiza route now range between $80 and $200 for a single
"I paid $200 to get into town (Harare) in the morning, but I
was surprised when went back to Chitungwiza because I was made to pay $80
for the trip back," Muchengu said.
THE chairman, directors and management of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa) are faced with a most unenviable and near impossible
task of providing all of Zimbabwe with its electricity needs.
Agriculture, mining, tourism, transport, communications, commerce and
industry, and residents all rely on a continuing, reliable supply of
electricity, and must look to Zesa for that supply.
confronting Zesa are immense. In the first instance, it necessarily has to
import electricity from neighbouring territories, including Mozambique which
produces electricity in excess of its domestic needs at Cahora Bassa, and
from Eskom in South Africa, as well as from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC). Imported energy has to be paid for in foreign currency. But,
thanks to government's gross mismanagement of the economy coupled with its
even greater mismanagement of Zimbabwe's international relations and
consequential loss of balance-of-payments support, international aid and
foreign lines of credit, Zimbabwe suffers a chronic scarcity of foreign
This results in an insufficiency of forex for Zesa to meet its
external commitments for imports of electricity. So serious is the situation
that on March 11 Zesa disclosed that it had only ten days within which to
make payment for supplies from Cahora Bassa, failing which supplies would
be discontinued with effect from March 22. In such event Zesa will have
no alternative but to resort to load-shedding, to the detriment of all
sectors of the economy and the great discomfort of all
That is not the only foreign currency based problem
confronting Zesa, for it also needs very substantial amounts of foreign
exchange to fund essential imports of spares, consumables and equipment. In
addition, Zimbabwe's continuing foreign currency crisis does not only impact
directly upon Zesa, but also indirectly, for that crisis has caused major
reductions in production of coal at Hwange due to insufficient importation of
spares and consumables needed to maintain mining operations at required
levels. As a result, Zesa suffers severe constraints on thermal power station
operations and, therefore, on Zimbabwe's domestic generation of
Added to all these problems, Zesa also has to cope with the same
problem as impacts so very greatly upon all Zimbabwe, being hyperinflation.
Zesa's wages and salaries necessarily rise because its employees suffer as
much as do all other Zimbabweans from rampant inflation. Its operating
costs similarly rise continuously from the ever-escalating upsurge in prices
As Zesa has always suffered from under-capitalisation and
as Zesa's inadequate capital base has been progressively eroded by its
operating losses, it has had little or no alternative but to depend very
heavily upon borrowings. Servicing of those borrowings has placed an immense
burden upon Zesa, both by way of interest charges swelling the losses, and by
way of yet further needs for foreign exchange.
With all these almost
insurmountable adverse circumstances, Zesa's board and management would
normally be deserving of much sympathy and understanding. However, any sense
of sympathy wanes and understanding declines when Zesa allows its
monopolistic powers to influence its customer relations, which are founded
upon arrogance and dictate instead of upon dialogue, coupled with an
astounding lack of appreciation of commercial realities.
evidenced very clearly when, a few months ago, driven by the pressures that
Zesa was suffering, it sent a letter to major exporting consumers, appealing
to them to pay for their electricity consumption in foreign currency. Whilst
the motivation for such an appeal was clear and understandable, nevertheless
the appeal demonstrated a great lack of realism. On the one hand, very few
exporters could afford to apply foreign currency to pay for electricity as at
that time 40% of export proceeds were mandatorily sold to government, and the
remaining currency was needed by many for the purchase of raw materials and
other inputs necessary for continuing exports and, on the other hand, any who
had foreign currency in excess of their own needs had to dispose of it in the
parallel market, for only that market's exchange rates made their exports
viable. But Zesa's lack of realism was so great that its appeal for payments
in foreign currency offered an exchange rate of US$1: $55 (when the parallel
market rate approximated US$1: $1 250!).
But last week Zesa outdid
itself. The appeal for foreign currency payments last year having been wholly
unsuccessful, Zesa unilaterally informed a gathering of Bulawayo
industrialists that forthwith all exporters would be billed in foreign
currency based upon an exchange rate of US$1: $55 (notwithstanding that since
February 27 the official rate of exchange in Zimbabwe, as specified in
Statutory Instrument 83A of 2003, has been US$1: $800). In doing so, Zesa was
disregarding and flouting law, for by statutory instruments it has long been
legislated that all pricing in Zimbabwe must be in Zimbabwean
Moreover, in dictating this new payment requirement, Zesa was
also ignoring the fact that pricing its supply of electricity at such an
exchange rate would effectively represent a 1 455% tariff increase. Such an
increase would have been almost seven times Zimbabwe's annualised inflation
rate, and would have been over and above several tariff increases in recent
months, including a substantial increase in February.
Zesa tried in
its discussions with industrialists to justify last month's massive increase
in its charges by referring to the new official foreign currency rate of
exchange of $800: US$1 despite the fact that that rate came into being on the
eve of the last day of February, whilst Zesa's tariff increase was for the
whole of February. Furthermore, Zesa alleged that the tariff increase only
had the effect of aligning the tariff with the regional average, which it
claimed was US3,8 cents, but the industrialists refuted this, they hurriedly
making appropriate telephonic enquiries with neighbouring territories,
enabling them to contend that the regional average actually approximated
US1,8 cents or less than one-half of the average tariff cited by
Zesa back-tracked by advising representatives in Harare of
Zimbabwean industry that the payment of electricity bills in foreign currency
was not compulsory. That policy reversal was of utmost importance for,
irrespective of whether or not Zesa could lawfully demand forex payments, the
hard fact is that very few, if any, exporters could afford to make them, they
already being required to sell 50% of their export proceeds to the Reserve
Bank. Even for the few that could pay in foreign currency, Zesa's
intended currency conversion rate would have made it impossible for any
exporter to continue exporting without sustaining major losses.
another very great concern created by the Zesa actions is that the tariff
increases fly in the face of the agreements reached in the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The TNF comprises government, labour and
private sector enterprise, and to all intents and purposes concluded a
Social Contract in terms of which there would be no increases in prices for
goods and services, wages and government charges without prior agreement
between the parties. Such increases as would be agreed would correlate
with inflation and any other justified factors necessitating the
Despite that TNF agreement, to which government is not only a
party but has also been an advocate in its recently released National
Economic Revival programme (NERP), Zesa continues autocratically to revise
its tariffs. To all intents and purposes, therefore, as Zesa is owned and
controlled by government, the government considers itself not to be bound by
anything that it agrees within the TNF, and especially not by the TNF's
Protocol on Prices and Wages Stabilisation.
Not only are
industrialists affected by the TNF price-stabilisation agreement, but they
are also constrained by Zimbabwe's price control and price freeze
legislation. As a result, they are in a situation that their production costs
soar upwards due to Zesa's tariff increases, but they cannot adjust their
prices. That can only collapse many more industries, further reduce export
performance and hence reduce the already inadequate inflows of foreign
exchange, and must undermine NERP.
All that must have devastating impact
upon Zesa, essentially self-inflicted, and must soon curtail Zesa's
operations. Contrary to the maxim associated with Zimbabwe's Independence of
"More power to the people", in a different context it will soon be "No more
power to the people".
Have price controls been
abandoned? Sandawana ZIMBABWEANS must be celebrating the news that
individuals can now import certain "essential commodities" in short supply in
the country. Citizens have regularly complained about the very high import
duties charged locally.
While this move could be intended to help a
desperate nation, Sandawana smells a rat here.
genuine importers will be various individuals who intend to take advantage of
the latest offering to reap millions from cash-strapped and desperate
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) this week announced
that individuals could now import larger quantities of at least 11 foodstuffs
without an agricultural permit, provided the commodities were imported for
domestic consumption only.
Individuals can now import up to 20kg
of dried beans, 100 litres of cooking oil, 20kg of dried or fresh fish, 20kg
of groundnuts and 20kg of dried or fresh kapenta. An individual can also
import a maximum of 500kg of maize meal, five litres of milk, 200kg of
onions, 200kg of rice, 50kg of sugar and 100kg of wheat
Motorists were also granted a dispensation to import, for
personal use and not for resale, fuel in containers up to a maximum limit of
500 litres per vehicle provided that the beneficiary observes all safety
Those individuals with access to foreign currency
therefore no longer need to procure goods in Zimbabwe provided they have
enough family members or associates to travel to and from neighbouring
Will there be checks and balances as to the number of
trips one undertakes - in a month, two months etc?
customs officials tell that the imported goods were bought using one's own
Have we finally admitted that we have failed to
resuscitate our collapsing industrial base?
The new scheme seems
like another of those policies being implemented without careful thought
about the consequences.
We predict worsened congestion at the
passport office as citizens become cross-border traders, massive profiteering
at border posts as goods and cash change hands, and the complete
disappearance of the few products that had become available on our
supermarket shelves for domestic consumption.
Why introduce price
controls when goods are not available?
THE government's price controls seem to be a total failure
judging by the way companies are becoming very innovative to beat the system.
Last week we witnessed a flood of milk in our supermarkets, much to the
delight of consumers. However, consumers were shocked to realise that the
product not only came in a much smaller satchet, it had skyrocketed from
about $120 to $220! Has the quality of the milk or packet improved, we
wonder? We have also been flooded with smaller sized soaps, loaves of bread,
cooking oil containers, and sugar packets at a higher price. When will all
Shack levy in the offing
IT sounds unbelievable
but it is true. Mutare City councillors have been debating the introduction
of a "Shack Levy"! Sandawana is reliably informed that seven councillors
however objected to the "noble" idea tabled for discussion during last week's
full meeting. Why should residents be forced to pay a levy for illegal
structures springing up all over the city?
We thought shacks - wherever
they may be - were to be demolished and low-cost houses built for homeless
ratepayers instead. Isn't this recent debate an admission by the Mutare city
fathers that their housing policy has failed? We thought shacks were illegal
structures in the first place!
It's time to eat Kenya
that the hullabaloo about the wonders Zimbabwe would perform at the Cricket
World Cup is over and the country having been unceremoniously booted out of
the prestigious tournament, several conclusions are being made as to why we
did so badly. The event, which began in Cape Town in February, ends this
weekend in Johannesburg and was the biggest cricket tournament ever. It was
also the first of its kind to be staged on the African
Zimbabwe and Kenya co-hosted the event with South Africa.
Kenya, who were responsible for our eventual cricket failure, supplies us
with tonnes of aid in the form of maize meal - our staple food. The maize
meal is popularly known here as "Kenya". Observers say maybe it's time to
forget about the Cricket World Cup and concentrate instead on "eating Kenya"!
IMF to examine policies, payments before acting on
Zim Ngoni Chanakira THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it will now
closely examine the progress made on policies and payments when it considers
the issue of the possible suspension of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights
in the organisation in early June.
In an interview this week, after
the Washington-based aid agency released a damning report on the state of
affairs in Zimbabwe, IMF senior resident representative Gerry Johnson said
Zimbabwe still had voting rights within the organization.
"However these could be reviewed in early June when the executive board meets
because they have been considering the issue of suspension of voting
Zimbabwe currently owes the IMF US$310 million. Its arrears
amount to US$211 million. The country had its balance of payments support for
the economic recovery programme suspended by the IMF in 1999.
World Bank - another Bretton Woods Institution - and several international
aid organizations also suspended financial support to Zimbabwe, citing the
country's poor macroeconomic principles, controversial land resettlement
programme, abuse of the judiciary, as well as
A seven-member team from the IMF visited
Harare from February 25 to March 13 in connection with the annual Article IV
Consultation between the Fund and Zimbabwe.
The purpose of the
visit was to hold discussions with the Zimbabwean authorities on the economic
situation and macroeconomic policies.
The team also met with
representatives of civil society, such as NGOs, the business and financial
communities, political parties, and trade unions, as well as the diplomatic
In its report, the IMF team said: "While Zimbabwe's
arrears currently preclude access to IMF lending, further determined policy
adjustment efforts would be an important signal of Zimbabwe's determination
to address its serious economic difficulties.
"Such efforts would
also begin to lay the basis for regularising Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF
and other creditors. The staff team also welcomed the authorities renewed
undertaking to make small quarterly payments of US$1,5 million to the
The executive board will closely examine the progress made on
policies and payments when it considers the issue of the possible suspension
of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights in the IMF early
The organisation said Zimbabwe's economy had experienced a
progressive and sharp deterioration during the past four years.
said real gross domestic product (GDP) had declined by about 30%, and
was still contracting.
Inflation had doubled in each of the last
two years to reach 200% at the end of 2002 and could well rise
The IMF pointed out that there were widespread shortages in
Zimbabwe, poverty and unemployment had risen, and the HIV/Aids pandemic was
The organisation said it however welcomed government's
efforts in trying to address problems in a "consultative fashion through the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum"; the setting of the exchange rate for most
transactions at $824 to the US$1, as this was a courageous step forward and
would require careful follow up; and price control mechanisms which were
being reviewed, with the aim of providing more "flexibility to address the
availability of goods and the viability of producing them".
IMF said it was notable that government had tightened monetary policy
in recent weeks, and if that was pursued "with increasing vigor inflation
will eventually be brought under control".
In an interview this
week economic consultant John Robertson said the most important issue
affecting Zimbabwe at the moment was the unstable
He said continuing to pretend that the
political climate was "normal" was "hoodwinking the
Robertson said: "None of the IMF findings are surprising
because they deal with economic issues - inflation, the exchange rate, budget
deficit and so on. However what needs to be solved is the country's political
situation - the rule of law, and abuse of the judiciary and property
He said once these burning issues were not dealt with
nothing would change.
Seed producer falls victim to land grab Augustine
Mukaro NATIONAL Tested Seeds, one of the country's largest
seed-producing companies, is threatened with closure as its farms have fallen
victim to government's programme of land grabs, the Zimbabwe Independent
established this week.
The company's farms, Parklands, Lindale and
Sigaro in the Norton farming area stopped production in 2001 after they were
invaded by the war veterans.
The farms were subsequently served with
Section 5 notices. The notice bars the property owner from making any new
investments because government has shown its intention to acquire the
It is not clear who the properties will be allocated to.
Sources said First Lady Grace Mugabe visited the farms last
"Grace was accompanied by Ignatius Chombo when she visited
the farms last weekend," sources in the area said.
Chombo is the
National Land Taskforce chairman responsible for ensuring that people
allocated plots under the land reform programme occupy them.
used to produce seeds for almost all crops grown in Zimbabwe ranging from
maize, wheat, soya-beans, to pumpkins and vegetables. The seeds were
processed, packagedand marketed under the banner of National
"We have since stopped any farming activities at the
two farms," sources at the farm said.
"War veterans occupying the
farms are utilising very small portions leaving vast stretches of land lying
idle. They become violent if the farm owner tries to plough," the sources
Efforts to contact the owner of the properties, Joseph Kennedy,
were fruitless as he was said to be in Australia on business. Kennedy is also
the managing director of National Tested Seeds
Israeli-made vehicles on alert during mass
action Loughty Dube THE Zimbabwe Republic Poli-ce's new crowd control
equipment rolled into action this week as government prepared for any
eventuality during the two-day stayaway.
The Israeli-made armoured
vehicles armed with water can-nons were sighted in Chitungwiza on Tuesday and
were still parked at Chitungwiza police station on Wednesday
Last year the police vehem-ently denied having purchased the
vehicles when the Standard broke the story. Farai Mutsaka, a reporter with
the Standard, was arrested and charged with "abuse of journalistic privilege"
and publishing "false news" for writing that the police had bought
However, Israeli company Beit-Alfa Trailer Company
(Bat) confirmed after the publication of the story that its Jet Pulse Water
Cannon System was currently in "active use" in Zimbabwe.
control vehicles were however not called into action this week as they are
only effective in controlling large crowds.
On Tuesday two Zimbabwe
national army armoured vehi-cles with mounted machine-guns patrolled
Chitungwiza, Mufakose and Kuwadzana. Police who have complained of lack of
manpower, maintained a heavy presence in the high-density areas with some of
them wielding new whips which were liberally tested on the
Meanwhile, riot police and the army took turns to assault
Bulawayo residents in unprovoked attacks in the city's populous high-density
suburbs of Mako-koba and Mpopoma during the two-day mass
Two truck-loads of riot police, some heavily armed with AK
47 rifles, sent vendors and commuters fleeing in all directions at the
Renkini bus terminus as they indiscriminately attacked any grouping of more
than three people.
The riot police travelling inarmoured trucks
brought busi-ness at the terminus to a standstill as they descended on anyone
They beat up commuters with baton sticks while some people
were booted. Across the city in Mpopoma armed soldiers patrolled the township
where they randomly attacked residents.
A news crew from the
Zimbabwe Independent touring the townships on Wednesday witnessed soldiers
assaulting a group of youths they found seated outside a shopping complex in
Police spokesman for Bulawayo Smile Dube said he had not
received any reports of police assaults on civilians.
"It is not
the business of the police to go about beating up innocent civilians but if
there are any aggrieved people they should come forward and report the
allegations at any police station in the city and the cases will be
investigated," said Dube.
As Chinamasa fails to sell land reform ... Govt
rapped for human rights violations Mthulisi Mathuthu ZIMBABWE has
suffered a setback at the ongoing 59th session of the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva where Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
tried in vain to sell government's controversial land
While Chinamasa blamed industrialised countries for
abdicating their moral duty by refusing to support Zimbabwe's development
needs, some Western nations argued that there were no reciprocal
international obligations in respect of the right to
Croatia, Italy and Bulgaria stressed the importance of
the rule of law and respect for human rights, two principles Zimbabwe is
accused of violating.
The conference, which opened on Tuesday this week
and ends on March 25, will also see the United States calling for tighter
measures against President Robert Mugabe's regime for human rights
Chinamasa argued on Tuesday that it was time former
colonial powers accepted responsibility for the "evils of colonialism and
slavery" and pay reparations to meet the development needs of poor
Reporting on Chinamasa's speech in Geneva, the UN said:
"Zimbabwe was naturally deeply disappointed by the lack of movement in the
Working Group on the Right to Development."
Chinamasa was quoted
saying: "Statements by some members of that Working Group to the effect that
there were no reciprocal international obligations in respect of the right to
development are most disturbing as they reflect the arrogance of the
developed countries and their insensitivity to the gross human rights
violations and crimes against humanity that they, as former colonial powers
and slave-trading and slave-owning societies, had committed against the
majority of peoples of developing countries."
This was after Italy
had emphasised that it was every government's responsibility to "uplift its
own people" and respect human rights.
Chinamasa said despite its
formation five decades ago, the UN Human Rights Commission was still not
committed to the right to development and was letting former colonisers off
Chinamasa said far from being a retributive exercise,
Zimbabwe's land resettlement exercise was motivated by the desire to meet
people's right to development.
He challenged developed nations to
assist new farmers in their efforts to work the land and fully realise their
right to development.
In contrast to Chinamasa, Inter-Parliamentary
Union secretary-general Anders Johnsson said: "Any democracy worthy of the
name must aim to protect the dignity and fundamental rights of the
"It must seek to bring about social justice, nurture the
economic and social welfare of the community and invigorate the fabric of
The land reform exercise has been characterised by
corruption, state terrorism, arbitrary seizures and displacement of
Zim faces power blackout Augustine Mukaro ZIMBABWE
faces a prolonged power blackout after South African utility Eskom joined its
Mozambican counterpart Cahora Bassa in threatening to halt electricity
supplies to Zimbabwe over payment arrears.
Documents obtained by the
Zimbabwe Independent show the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) is
facing a major crisis that requires urgent attention if the country is to
avoid being cut off.
The documents reveal that government has failed
to allocate the foreign currency for power imports. The regional power
companies are threatening to switch-off the country as early as this weekend
over a US$6 million debt.
Zesa says if government does not immediately
provide hard currency, it will have to resort to stringent survival measures.
This could include the introduction of drastic load-shedding as local
generation capacity has been reduced due to breakdowns at Kariba and coal
shortages at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Zesa has asked
exporting companies to pay for electricity bills in foreign currency to deal
with growing debt.
Economists said this was unworkable as past
attempts had failed.
Zesa executive chairman Sydney Gata, in a memo
to customers dated March 12, said the power utility required US$17 million
monthly to import electricity. Last year's monthly allocations from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe averaged US$2,12 million and there have been no
allocations this year.
South African and Mozambican power companies
are demanding by tomorrow down payment of US$6,4 million from Zesa in part
settlement of a combined debt of US$150 million.
SA's Eskom and
Mozambique's Cahora Bassa said the debt repayment should be "accompanied by a
convincing and credible future payment plan".
Gata said Zesa was
disappointed that local industry was reluctant to adopt its proposal which
would help not only to raise foreign currency but also be acceptable to
regional power utilities.
Last month Zesa sent electricity bills in
foreign currency to exporters and miners but industry is yet to accept the
Zesa has proposed a tariff regime of US$3,8c/kWh or
a discounted rate of US$3,5c/kWh for exporters willing to forward-purchase
Exporters also have the option to pay in local currency but
at a premium rate of $60,75/kWh.
"It is therefore envisaged that
if all customers participate in this initiative, Zesa will be able to raise
US$6,67 million per month which, though not sufficient, will go some way in
Zesa's critical needs and currency emergency obligations," said
Last year Zesa's plan to bill exporters in foreign currency
failed as exporters were not prepared to surrender their forex at the
official rate of US$1 to $55 when they sourced the greenback at the parallel
rate of US$1 to $1 250.
Despite the new incentives for exporters
who now have a preferential rate of US$1 to $824, most exporters still source
forex at the parallel rate of US$1 to $1 400.
Gata conceded that
Zesa could be disconnected by tomorrow if it fails to pay the demanded
amounts and provide a future payment plan.
"Eskom has already
classified Zesa as an interruptible customer and are now demanding advance
payment for supply. The 25% discount on the import tariff from Eskom to Zesa
has been lost and arrears continue to grow and incur an interest penalty of
24% per annum," he said.
Cahora Bassa is demanding an immediate
payment of US$5 million while Eskom wants R11,2 million. This adds up to
"We shall advise that under current circumstances of
non-payment by Zesa, we shall reduce your power level to zero Mega Watts from
22nd of March 2003," reads part of the letter from Cahora Bassa.
White collar crime a threat to depositors -
Murerwa Ngoni Chanakira THE Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Herbert Murerwa has admitted that white-collar crime within the financial
sector is on the increase and if unchecked, will pose a serious threat to
These sentiments come soon after Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
(ZSE) chairman Geoff Mhlanga accused some company directors of listed firms
of "operating unprofessionally" by releasing confidential information to the
market and the media.
It also comes hard on the heels of a
billion-dollar scam involving misappropriation of depositors' funds by
directors of First National Building Society (FNBS).
The ZSE board
suspended three counters from trading in view of the significant movement in
the companies' share price to "protect investors".
The bourse questioned
the reasoning by investors for the "significant movement".
suspensions lasted 24 hours for each company.
Firms that have been
suspended during the past months include Zimbabwe Sun Ltd (Zimsun), Tedco
Ltd, and African Banking Corporation Holdings Ltd (ABC).
was guest of honour at the fifth anniversary of Kingdom Financial Holdings
Ltd (KFHL) unit trusts last week, said: "Cognisant of the fact that equity
and money markets act as a link between investors and business requiring
capital to create jobs and gross domestic product growth, government recently
announced a dual interest rate policy aimed at mutually benefiting both
savers and borrowers.
"In addition, government has put in place the
National Economic Revival Programme with a view to creating a conducive
economic environment. However, government remains worried that white-collar
crime is on the increase in this sector, such that if unchecked, will pose a
serious threat to depositors.
"In addition to strengthening the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's supervisory capacity, government is in the process
of putting in place legislation to set up the Anti-Corruption Commission in
order to mitigate this problem."
In an interview, ZSE chief executive
officer Emmanuel Munyukwi this week said the major reason why there was an
increase in suspensions was that companies were ignoring "conditions and
procedures" as stipulated by the bourse.
Munyukwi said: "Companies
are not sticking to requirements. There is nothing new about suspensions
because we have taken such action in the past. Some firms are just ignoring
information on their results, not issuing profit warnings and are releasing
information to persons not qualified."
He said because there was no
regulation dealing with insider trading, it was extremely difficult to prove
that firms were engaged in insider trading.
However, one counter that
had been suspended, ABC Holdings, accused the ZSE of acting in haste to
suspend the financial institution without prior notice or consultation as
required by Sections 1.4 as read with 1.5 of the Stock Exchange Listing
This requirement says: "When the listing of securities
in a listed company is under threat of suspension, the affected company shall
be afforded the opportunity of making representations to the committee in
support of the continued listing of such securities prior to the committee
making any decision to suspend such listing."
ABC said suspending
counters without consultation resulted in the group's image being tarnished
and would cause "potential prejudice to shareholders and other
Munyukwi said there were several ways companies were
not sticking to ZSE regulations and the new Securities Bill would deal with
He said activity on the bourse was taking a knock because of the
economic problems especially those facing agriculture where revenue flow was
AS the decent
people of Zimbabwe watch in horror as this wonderful country sinks deeper and
deeper into a cesspool of evil, poverty and anarchy one cannot help but
ponder the reason why this has been allowed to happen.
Never in the
history of this fair land has such unbelievable evil and hate been allowed to
A bush war raged in this country between 1973 and 1980 "to
rid the land of the dreadful white colonial oppressors".
this period, certain elements of the black population of the then Rhodesia
took up arms against the Rhodesian government to achieve the
Since the Zanu PF government came to power in
1980, most rational, balanced, honest and intelligent people have realised
that a large proportion of the senior cadres, ie Robert Mugabe and company
who were in control of the bush war had a hidden agenda -
"Freedom" for the people was the front they put up
but freedom for Zanu PF to do exactly as they pleased with whomever they
pleased whenever they pleased was part of this hidden agenda.
would be intrigued to know why arms were taken up against the
Rhodesian government but now in this hour of desperate need, nothing even
remotely resembling an armed uprising against this evil regime has come to
SA church to rescue Iden
Wetherell THE involvement of the Anglican Church of South Africa in
Zimbabwe's stalled internal peace process is welcome. Archbishop Njongonkulu
Ndungane is a respected churchman who brings to the table the essential
ingredients of integrity and independence of mind.
The same, sadly,
cannot be said for our local prelates. Indeed, the entry onto the scene of
the South Africans is itself a rebuke to the local
The Catholic bishops have been working
studiously to discourage their South African counterparts from speaking out
on the Zimbabwe question, while the Anglican Church has been paralysed by the
election, in questionable circumstances, of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to the
Harare diocese. His undisguised admiration for the president has led to an
inevitable rift in the Anglican church whose members do not all share their
bishop's political views.
The Catholic bishops, let us not forget,
were so delinquent in their duty seven years ago that they could not agree
among themselves on the publication of a report into the Gukurahundi
atrocities of a decade earlier. Many felt exposure of such manifest evil
would be "unhelpful" in the church's relations with government.
recall an episode two years ago that told me all I needed to know about the
church leadership in this country. A group of church spokesmen had
just emerged from giving evidence to a visiting mission of foreign
dignitaries at the Sheraton Hotel and were being interviewed by the press.
One of the group, the secretary-general of the Christian Council of Zimbabwe,
was talking about the need to counter "white lies", a phrase he
evidently misunderstood, while blaming the country's poor image on the press.
The Catholic bishop present was invited to comment on the suggestion that
the country's problems stemmed from media distortions. He was unable to do
so. In fact he was unable to add anything of value whatsoever to the views
of the pro-Zanu PF clergy around him.
I have every respect for
Catholic bishops such as the Bishop of Bulawayo in the 1980s, the Rt Rev
Henry Karlen, and his present-day successor Pius Ncube who stand up for what
is right. In fact few observers would be able to differentiate between the
two when reading Karlen's criticism in 1984 of government troops carrying out
"a campaign of starvation, torture, rape, beatings and murder against the
Today Pius Ncube is prepared to follow the
dictates of his conscience in standing witness to the same activities by the
same regime. The special service he held for young women abducted and raped
by the "Green Bombers" during last year's presidential election campaign was
an example of the testifying and healing role the church should be playing in
Warnings and menaces from security authorities that he was
exceeding his episcopal mandate will have only stiffened his
Much of what we are seeing now in the way of threats, police
brutality and militia atrocities will be familiar to observers of the South
African scene in the 1980s and Eastern Europe just before the collapse of
Communism. Civil rights activists and church leaders were targeted in those
societies as terminal regimes lashed out at their opponents.
situation here is by no means unique. But at the same time it must
be acknowledged that our civil society is structurally weak. The church
needs to find its voice. And the academic, legal, and business communities
need to speak out on injustice and national pauperisation,
is obvious concern in civil society that Ndungane, who knows little
or nothing about Zimbabwe, will be taken in by the claims of the
ruling-party politicians he meets. This, after all, is what happened to Thabo
Mbeki and a host of visiting South African ministers pre-selected for their
But we need have no fears on this score. South African
civil society is made of sterner stuff. As he made clear at his press
conference, the archbishop recognised that the Zimbabwe crisis involved more
than a land problem.
"The restoration of political normality, a
culture of human rights, hunger relief and political legitimacy are important
to bring peace and stability to Zimbabwe," he said in remarks echoed by
Charles Villa-Vicencio of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation which
is sponsoring the talks.
Those involved have no illusions about the
size of the mountain they have to climb. But so far they provide the best
opportunity we have had for political change. They are declining to swallow
President Mugabe's blandishments or his redundant nationalist pretensions
about the MDC being British-sponsored. The fact that the Herald ran an
opinion piece denouncing Ndungane's remarks is a good sign. However obdurate
Mugabe may appear, he is at least now acknowledging that he needs help in
climbing out of the hole he has dug for himself.
Archbishop Ndungane and his colleagues well. They need the goodwill of all
Zimbabweans in their rescue mission.