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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Another Zimbabwean bank poised to fold


Harare Correspondent

BARELY a week after the closure of five financial institutions facing a cash
crunch in Zimbabwe, yet another bank is under threat.

Banking sources said yesterday that Century Bank might be hit by the
contagion from collapsed ENG Capital Asset Management, which has already
claimed Century Discount House.

The discount house closed shop recently after it was allegedly defrauded of
Z22bn by ENG.

Although the closure of Century Discount House did not immediately affect
Century Bank, sources said would it eventually crumble under its 30%
exposure to ENG.

ENG reportedly bought 350million shares at Z15 a share in Century Bank for
Z5,3bn last year. ENG, whose directors have been convicted and jailed for
fraud of Z60bn, reportedly owes creditors more than Z100bn.

After a meeting held on March 17 between the discount house's liquidators
and creditors, it emerged that some creditors intended to file claims
against Century Holdings, owner of Century Bank, if ENG and Century Discount
House failed to meet their financial obligations.

Century Bank is one of the struggling institutions recently rescued from
collapse by the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank's troubled banks fund.

The bank received Z30bn in support. Other banks that the reserve bank has
moved to rescue are Trust Bank (Z198bn), Metropolitan (Z23bn ) and Barbican

However, Barbican Bank and its asset management company were shut down last
week due to a liquidity crunch.

Three subsidiaries of Intermarket Holdings a bank, a building society and a
discount house met the same fate.

Since the government began enforcing a strict monetary policy and cracking
down on corruption, the financial services sector which has thrived on
speculation in the money and property markets has been in deep trouble.

The sector's predicament has been worsened by steep new capital adequacy
requirements introduced by the government.

An International Monetary Fund delegation visiting the country has said that
Zimbabwe needs only seven banks. There are currently over thirty.

This has heightened fear of an inevitable collapse Zimbabwe's beleaguered
financial sector.

Mar 25 2004 07:29:59:000AM Dumisani Muleya Business Day 1st Edition

Banks called on to merge

Business Reporter
FINANCIAL markets pundits have called on commercial banks to be proactive and merge their institutions to survive the liquidity constraints that many are facing.

Zimbabwe is assessed to be overbanked considering the shrinking economy and the fast pace at which the financial services sector has been expanding without the backing of an adequate productive capacity.

The tough competition in the sector has had detrimental effects as most institutions failed to cope with the intense competition and ended up diverting from their core business and indulge in corruptive and speculative practices which were largely to blame for fuelling inflation in 2003.

The reduced business activity in the core business of commercial banks, which was also worsened by the note shortages a couple of months ago has seen commercial banks trodding on unfamiliar territory when they ventured into areas traditionally reserved for investment banks and asset managers in a bid to cushion their books against the hyperinflationary environment.

Taking into account that two banks have already gone under it is expected that there will be more failures within the troubled sector and at this stage it is uncertain who will survive.

At present it seems the monetary policy has deemed the financial sector as the main cause of speculative behaviour resulting in the hyperinflationary environment and as a result the RBZ has tightened its controls over the sector.

Meanwhile, Century Holdings issued a cautionary statement to the effect that it is in negotiations, which if successfully concluded, will result in significant changes in the structure and ownership of the business.

While no further information has been made available, market commentators assessment is that a merger could be imminent as most indigenous banks are actively restructuring and recapitalising themselves to be in line with RBZ requirements and avoid the chop.

The current environment justifies smaller institutions including Century to merge with other players as opposed to competing for a shrinking market.

Mergers have been anticipated since the beginning of the year as liquidity constraints, competitive forces, tighter monetary policy and regulation and increased capital requirements take their toll.

Even the central bank has indicated that mergers would be a sound option for some of the financial institutions.

Despite some banking institutions being in healthy solvency margins, the biggest threat to the stability of the entire banking system is their liquidity positions due to their asset-liability mismatch.

A total of six banks were suspended from the clearing house system in January this year, due to failure to meet their obligations, namely Trust Bank, Agribank, Time Bank, Barbican Bank, Century Bank and Metropolitan Bank.

Mergers do have their advantages besides combined capitalisation, which include new economies of scale that would allow banks to better match the costs of their competitors.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Malawian traders head to Zimbabwe - to shop

March 24 2004 at 07:54PM

By Ed Stoddard and Denis Mzembe

Blantyre - Malawian hawkers are making big profits by buying their stock from impoverished Zimbabwe, which manufactures most of the goods which Malawi imports.

"There's nothing here (in Malawi). We can't get this stuff here," says 17-year-old Darren as he points to his latest Zimbabwean acquisition - blocks of Butter Cup Luxury Table Margarine.

Bingu Wa Mutharika, economic planning and development minister and presidential candidate for the ruling UDF party in May 18 elections, said on Wednesday he wanted his import-reliant nation to begin producing and exporting more goods itself.

Few things drive this point home harder than the sight of black-market traders selling goods they had to buy in Zimbabwe - itself suffering a severe economic crisis.

Darren's colleagues - who were also selling powdered milk and canned goods - agreed that it was hard to find such goods in Malawi and that anyway they were cheaper in Zimbabwe, where the local currency is in free-fall on the black market.

"I make lots of profit," said Darren, adding that he had paid about 3 700 Malawian kwacha (about R200) for a box of 24 packets of margarine and sold them all for about 4 800 kwacha.

Another trader said he travelled 600km by bus to the Zimbabwean capital Harare to buy margarine - a grinding, full-day journey over pot-holed roads.

Others said they bought their goods from Zimbabwean traders who journeyed to Malawi.

"It's not available here," said another trader standing on a street corner over his Zimbabwean margarine. Asked why not, he shrugged and said: "It's not manufactured here."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

SA's allies still bear scars of Pretoria's wrath
25 March 2004 11:31
South Africa's neighbours who formed an anti-apartheid alliance and sheltered black liberation groups bear deep scars from a backlash by the former white racist regime in Pretoria whose stint in power ended a decade ago.

Between 1975 and 1980 six nations -- Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- teamed up to form a body called the Frontline States to aid the liberation movements in South Africa and Namibia.

The price they paid was dear -- ranging from acts of aggression and destabilisation like simultaneous military raids in the Zambian, Zimbabwean and Botswanan capitals on May 19, 1986 -– to covert support to rebel movements in Angola and Mozambique.

A casualty of apartheid outside the borders of South Africa who has lived to tell his experiences is Zimbabwe's former cabinet minister Kumbirai Kangai -- a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party's supreme decision making body, the politburo.

"Taking the position which the Frontline States did, repeatedly condemning apartheid and warning the then South African government that it would not last long... was a dangerous game," said Kangai, whose house was bombed in 1980.

"The SA government was very vicious," he said.

Sanctions South Africa imposed on landlocked neighbours meant diversion to longer and more costly routes to the sea. The regional countries also spent billions of dollars in defence costs.

As a result of South Africa's systematic destabilisation, it is estimated that some two-million people died, especially in Angola and Mozambique while about seven-million were displaced due to rebel activities.

The resulting economic losses came to more than $45-billion in 10 years, almost three times their combined foreign debt at the time, according to a 1989 Commonwealth report.

Former president of Zambia and ex-chairperson of the Frontline States, Kenneth Kaunda, in a foreword to the Commonwealth report on the devastation of the grouping by South Africa, described apartheid as "a horrendous physical reality".

He said apartheid was responsible for "untold social and economic destruction and shattering hopes for rapid development in the region".

Citing UN statistics that one child under the age of five years was dying in the region every three-and-a-half minutes as a result of apartheid, Kaunda said the impact was "the same as one Jumbo jet filled with Frontline children crashing without survivors every day".

Hundreds of thousands of adults were mutilated or maimed as a result of South African acts of aggression through rebel and banditry sponsorship.

Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique were bombed several times. But probably the most prominent casualty was the former leader of Mozambique Samora Machel, killed in a 1986 plane crash largely blamed on Pretoria.

Former Zambian home minister Aaron Milner recently said the country's economic malaise was partly due to its support for regional liberation movements.

"We had to divert our resources to finance the different liberation movements including the ANC", he said.

But he said the "sacrifice was worth it.

"There was no way Zambia could have remained peaceful when other countries were still fighting white minority rule," he said.

Lusaka became the heart of the Frontline, housing the ANC's headquarters-in-exile in 1977.

The Zambian capital became a veritable centre stage in the fight against apartheid with a flurry of summits and informal meetings and the comings and goings of intellectuals, journalists and liberals seeking contact with ANC "terrorists," as they were termed by Pretoria.

But the hospitality came at a cost.

"The ANC members introduced the gun culture in Zambia, which brought about armed robberies," said veteran journalist Robby Makayi. - Sapa-AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

British filmmaker held in Harare after rape exposé

By Basildon Peta

UK Indepoendent

25 March 2004

An independent British filmmaker spent the weekend in a Zimbabwe jail on suspicion that he helped produce a BBC documentary which exposed systematic rape in the ruling party's youth training camps.

Simon Bright, who works from Zimbabwe and holds a British passport, has since been released to the custody of his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, after being arrested and jailed on Friday. Ms Mtetwa said the police arrested Mr Bright as he tried to board an Air Zimbabwe plane to London.

The police interrogated him over whether he worked or helped "outside broadcasters". He was asked if he had helped in the production of the BBC documentary aired on its Panorama programme.

The documentary exposed how Zanu-PF youth camps allegedly taught recruits how to torture the government's opponents and how young girls were allegedly raped as part of the camps' indoctrination lessons.

Ms Mtetwa said the police had no base for charging Mr Bright over the Panorama programme as he had nothing to do with it. He was then charged under the Public Order and Safety act over a film he helped produce for a non-governmental organisation on the transfrontier national Park which covers part of Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park and the Kruger National Park.

Ms Mtetwa said the police could not explain which parts of the film they found objectionable. He was released after Ms Mtetwa demanded a full screening of his film in court.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Subject: MDC not boycotting 2005 election

I have heard so many people ask "Why are you boycotting the election?" that
I believe clarification is necessary.

MDC is NOT boycotting the 2005 election, or any other election.  We resolved
as a party to prepare thoroughly to participate in the election.  However,
we insist that the election MUST BE FREE AND FAIR this time, and we will NOT
ALLOW Mudede and ZanuPF to steal the election, as they did in 2000 and 2002.

To this end, we have 15 demands which must be met in order for the election
playing field to be even, and to meet the SADC Norms and Standards for
elections, as follows:

15 DEMANDS for 2005 election

1.   The establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission that
will be responsible for running the entire election and the entire electoral

2        The exclusion of partisan officials such as the present Registrar
General of Elections and members of the military from being involved in the
running of the elections.

3.      A completely fresh voter registration exercise done by the
Independent Electoral Commission with the assistance of the United Nations.

4.      The supply of an electronic (computer data base) copy of the voters'
roll to all political parties and interested persons.

5.      The repeal of those aspects of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that curtail media freedoms.

6.      The repeal of those aspects of the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) that curtail the freedom of political parties to campaign.

7.      The amendment of the Electoral Act to bring it into conformity with
those aspects of the SADC Parliamentary Forum's Electoral Standard and Norms
not referred to specifically elsewhere in this document.

8.      The reversal of administrative decisions that have resulted in the
closure of the Daily News and the removal of all obstacles preventing the
Daily News and other newspapers from operating freely.

9.      The liberalization of the broadcasting media and the opening up of
state media to carry equal amounts of coverage of all parties' electoral
messages pro rata to the percentage of votes they secured in the last
general Parliamentary election.

10.  The complete disbanding of the Youth Militia.

11.  The use of translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure, single-piece

12.  That all voting should be done and completed in one day; to ensure this
sufficient numbers of polling stations be established.

13.  Unhindered access to the entire electoral process by international,
regional and domestic election observer missions

14.  That all counting of ballots take place at polling stations in the
mandatory presence of polling agents and observers.

15.  The use of visible indelible ink to identify those who have voted

Before the elections the MDC will review the position and reserves the right
to take whatever appropriate action in defense of democracy.
Please spread this information far and wide, to correct the misinformation
put about by the state-controlled media.

Trudy Stevenson
Secretary for Policy and Research

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim minister: My home will cost R7m, not R30m

      March 25 2004 at 01:24PM

Harare - The Zimbabwean government said on Thursday that the finance
minister did not violate currency laws in a real estate deal in South

The denial came four days after South African media reports alleged Finance
Minister Chris Kuruneri may have violated foreign currency laws set by his
own government when buying property for a seaside mansion in Cape Town.

Kuruneri told the official Herald newspaper that he did not break any laws
and instead bought the property with hard currency earned for business
consultancy work outside Zimbabwe before he was appointed a minister.

Under the currency laws, money earned outside the country does not have to
be repatriated.

      'It is clear I have not been in violation of any Zimbabwean laws'
The government of President Robert Mugabe has said it is carrying out a
crackdown on high-level corruption within the government. The central bank
began introducing new financial measures in December that it said aimed to
fight corruption and black marketeering.

"It is clear I have not been in violation of any Zimbabwean laws," Kuruneri
told the Herald. He also said the mansion he is building in a Cape Town
suburb was expected to cost R7-million and not R30-million as reported.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
with record inflation and unemployment and a thriving black market in hard
currency, petrol, food and other essential goods.

According to official estimates, 70 percent of the 12,5 million population
are living in poverty.

Directors from a leading private bank and a savings and loan company fled to
Britain after Mugabe issued a decree February 17 allowing for the detention
without bail for 28 days of suspects accused of some political and economic

James Mushore and Julius Makoni, directors of the National Merchant Bank,
denied breaching currency laws and said they were willing to co-operate with
investigations into the operations of the bank.

But, in a statement, they said Mugabe's decree was in breach of
constitutional rights to liberty while investigations were being carried

The decree allows for detention for up to seven days before investigators
are required to produce any evidence.

Bank executives have accused police and finance ministry officials of
targeting individual businessmen for investigation while overlooking graft
and currency allegations levelled against ruling party leaders and their

The reports of Kuruneri's Cape Town property have been the talk of Harare's
business and social circuit this week. - Sapa-AP

Back to the Top
Back to Index

More School Heads to Be Suspended

The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2004
Posted to the web March 25, 2004


MORE school heads are to be suspended for increasing fees and levies without
Government approval, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde
Aeneas Chigwedere, said yesterday.

Close to 70 headmasters of Government and non-government schools have
already been suspended and are currently attending hearings.

Cde Chigwedere said as long as schools continued to increase fees and levies
beyond the reach of parents, the suspensions would continue.

All schools now need written approval from the Ministry of Education, Sport
and Culture before they can increase fees or levies by more than 10 percent.

Some of the schools whose heads are on suspension are Prince Edward,
Victoria High, Mutare Girls' High, Mutare Boys' High, Churchill High,
Vainona High, Townsend High, Rimuka 2 High, Kutama High, Mazowe High, Howard
Institute, Mutero Secondary, Zimuto High and Banket Primary.

Some parents recently complained that some schools were still demanding high
fees despite the suspensions being carried out and urged Government to be
tough on those caught on the wrong side of the law.

Cde Chigwedere said such cases would be treated as crimes and that he would
not rest until all errant school heads were flushed out.

Some schools increased levies to as much as $7 million a term at the
beginning of the year, which resulted in some parents being forced to pull
their children out of those schools and finding cheaper alternatives.

Private schools were some of the worst culprits and cases against their
heads have since been handed over to the police, who are still to prefer
charges against them. Some of the private schools whose heads were handed
over to the police for prosecution are Eaglesvale Preparatory and Secondary,
Arundel, Gateway High, St John's College, Hartman House Primary, Heritage
High and Lusitania.

Cde Chigwedere said he expected the 70 heads on suspension to be punished
soon as an inquiry into their conduct is near completion.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Sikhala attacks Tsvangirai

By Staff Reporter
THE MDC was rocked once again yesterday after the controversial St Mary's MP
Job Sikhala ploughed into the party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai saying he
lacked the "strategy to rule".

Sikhala who was removed from his shadow cabinet position of secretary for
security last year, criticised the party's leadership for threatening to
boycott the next elections as "self defeating and dangerous".

"In 1996 Alfonso Dhlakama of Mozambique boycotted an election and all the
cities became Frelimo strongholds," he said, noting that the same occurred
in Angola and up to now that country's MPLA party was still in power.

"Our threat to boycott next year's election is not only dangerous but self
defeating," the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Sikhala as saying.
Sikhala was addressing a campaign rally for Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson
in Mt Pleasant. He spoke of a tendency by the MDC leadership to "pre-empt
positions without taking stock of the consequences".

"We are giving ammunition to our enemies by saying we are going to boycott
next year's elections," thundered Sikhala, a former student activist and
cult figure among the youthful members of the party.

At the same meeting, Stevenson sought to correct Sikhala by saying the MDC
leadership had resolved to drop the election boycott threat. Sikhala, she
said, had not attended the meeting where the change of policy was made.

"At a meeting held recently, which you (Sikhala) did not attend we resolved
not to boycott the election but we are saying the election must be free and
fair," the Mirror quoted Stevenson as saying.

Sikhala's outburst comes barely a week after the outspoken former MDC
legislator for Highfield Munyaradzi Gwisai warned the MDC was heading for a
landslide defeat in the parliamentary elections next year.

Gwisai, expelled from the MDC for his radical socialist views and public
criticism of the party leadership said the MDC will be "slaughtered" by Zanu
PF because most ordinary people were now disillusioned with the party's
leadership. He also said free and fair polls were not possible under the
present constitution.

The MDC has denied there are divisions within its ranks. MDC secretary
general Welshman Ncube has stressed that the party was united and
"suggestions of a split are all a government ploy which would spectacularly

But it didn't stop Gwisai from lashing out at "elitist forces" whom he said
had ganged up with "the rich" and "intellectuals" to fuel the bickering
within the opposition ranks.

Sikhala also made the same point. "What made the MDC survive in the early
days of its inception was that we were multi-racial and united which we are
not today."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Parliament Appoints Team to Probe Coltart's Conduct

The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2004
Posted to the web March 25, 2004


PARLIAMENT has appointed a committee to establish whether Bulawayo South MP
Mr David Coltart (MDC) was in breach of the Privileges, Immunities and
Powers of Parliament Act when he tabled a list of Zanu-PF MPs allegedly in
possession of more than one farm in January.

The Speaker of Parliament Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa told the House on Tuesday
that the Standing Rules and Orders Committee had appointed a five-member
committee to look into the issue.

The committee, he said, was made up of Harare East MP Mr Tendai Biti (MDC),
the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Chris Kuruneri, the
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Cde Paul Mangwana,
Chief Jonathan Mangwende and Bulawayo North-East MP Professor Welshman Ncube

"The committee is expected to report back its findings to the House by April
30," Cde Mnangagwa said.

Mr Coltart presented the list during a debate on the Land Acquisition Bill,
which is now law.

He said Zanu-PF MPs on the list should not debate the Bill as they had an
interest in its passage or not.

This caused a furore in the House with business being disrupted for about 40
minutes as the situation degenerated into a slanging match between Zanu-PF
and MDC legislators.

Parliament observed a minute of silence in honour of the late Lupane MP Mr
David Mpala (MDC) who died last month, when it resumed on Tuesday.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Wheat Production Set to Improve

The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2004
Posted to the web March 25, 2004

Ruth Butaumocho

ZIMBABWE is pinning hopes for improved wheat production on the forthcoming
winter season scheduled to start in a few weeks' time.

The Government has since indicated that it would soon unveil a multi-billion
dollar wheat programme, in which 100 000 hectares of land will be under the
crop for a target production of 420 000 tonnes.

In the last two years the country has recorded reduced wheat production
owing to a number of challenges, among them the shortage of inputs and

Several farmers faced problems in accessing the required inputs and water,
resulting in some of them switching to other cash crops.

In some cases, fertiliser had to be imported from South Africa well into the
winter season when the wheat crop had already been affected by frost or
other factors.

The implementation of the land reform also saw some farmers failing to get
farming equipment in order to prepare their land in time.

Figures show that the country's wheat production had decreased by over 40
percent from 440 000 tonnes a year to almost 200 000 tonnes.

Last year, more than 150 000 tonnes of wheat were delivered to various Grain
Marketing Board depots nationwide, but the crop quality was poor due to
early rains.

Out of a targeted 78 616,2 hectares for wheat production, only 40 809,51
were planted at the time due to delays in input distribution.

During this period, the shortage of wheat on the market affected millers and
bakeries, resulting in the shortage of several commodities among them bread.

However, unlike last year, this year farmers are predicting an improved
season for the crop.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union president Mr Davison Mugabe said this
year's wheat production is set to improve owing to the availability of water
for irrigation, unlike previous years.

"There has been reasonable precipitation and some dams are almost full,
which is a good sign that there will be enough water for irrigation
purposes," said Mr Mugabe.

He, however, said there were a number of challenges that both the Government
and the farmers would need to overcome to ensure a successful winter wheat
farming season.

Some of the challenges include the provision of adequate financing,
availability of equipment, seed and an "attractive" price for the commodity

"We are quite satisfied with the quantity of wheat seed that is available.
However, over and above that, the price of wheat is going to determine the
total output of the crop.

"We are at the moment waiting for Government to announce a pre-planting
price. Once the price has been announced, farmers would them decide on the

In addition to the price of the commodity, Mr Mugabe said that farmers would
need assistance in the procurement of equipment such as harvesters, pumps
and other irrigation accessories.

"Farmers are desperately in need of equipment for planting, weeding and

"The timely availability of this equipment will ensure that we are able to
kick-start the season as soon as possible," he said.

Mr Mugabe urged farmers to start preparing their fields in time for
planting, due in the next few weeks.

The winter wheat planting season traditionally starts in May with harvesting
usually commencing in October.

Reiterating Mr Mugabe's concerns, ZFU vice-president Mr Wilfanos
Mashingaidze said the season promises a richer harvest compared to last

"We are expecting a better farming season in wheat production. However, both
the Government and the farmers would need to invest in resources to ensure
an improved yield.

Already, the Government has started making preparations for this season's
wheat production.

It has led the initiative by making available $408 billion, which wheat
farmers would access. This is in line with its programme to improve the
wheat target production of 420 000 tonnes.

The target hectarage and production are part of recommendations that would
be put forward to the Cabinet Action Committee on Land Reform and
Agriculture by an inter-ministerial committee set up to look into the
preparations for this year's winter wheat crop.

As part of the initiative, a Farmer Identification Task Force will identify
farmers with the land, water and irrigation to be part of the programme.

Apart from identifying the farmers and the farms, the committee, which has
several task forces under it, has already identified some of the resources
that are required to increase the hectarage to 100 000.

Seed companies that form part of the committee and task forces have already
indicated that they have enough seed to meet the requirements of the

The seed houses have indicated that they currently have 12 800 tonnes of
wheat seed in stock, which is more than the 10 000 tonnes needed for the

Fertiliser companies have also indicated that they are able to meet the
requirements of the programme.

In addition to the availability of inputs, the committee has also proposed
that the District Development Fund till 45 000 hectares using its own fleet
of tractors while Arda should till 15 000 hectares. The remaining 40 000
hectares would be tilled through sub-contracting.

The whole project is expected to consume about 10,8 million litres of fuel.

Already, more than 60 000 litres of fuel have been secured for Matebeleland
North Province for the winter crop and plans are underway to make the same
provisions for other provinces.

The private sector is expected to complement the project through financing
the planting of an additional 60 000 hectares of wheat under contract

As an incentive for many farmers to go into wheat production, a new wheat
producer price is expected to be announced at the end of the month to enable
farmers to make quick decisions on which winter crops to grow.

There has always been competition between wheat and barley in terms of the
producer price.

Barley has tended to pay more than wheat and, as a result, farmers have
preferred it.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim 'starts to repay IMF'
25/03/2004 18:01  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe has started to repay its debt of more than US$200m to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to avoid expulsion from the body,
the state-run Herald reported on Thursday.

The paper quoted Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri as saying Zimbabwe had so
far paid $4.5m out of a total debt of $273.9m over the last three months.

The report comes as a seven-member IMF research team, led by Doris Ross, is
visiting the embattled country to assess the economic situation, following
moves last year by the fund to expel Zimbabwe for unpaid debt and lack of

Zimbabwe is currently in the grip of severe economic hardships, with
inflation at more than 600%, 70% unemployment and chronic shortages of fuel,
food and foreign currency.

"The IMF staff expressed concern that inflation levels of above 600% were
too high, and there was need to reduce the figure," Kuruneri told the paper.

He added that the IMF team was also concerned by the government's monopoly
over the buying and selling of grain, and had advised that the sector be

It had also taken the government to task over the country's exchange rate,
determined through a twice weekly auction, which they said was promoting
imports but hurting the export sector.

"Most (exporters) are unhappy for being asked to surrender their foreign
currency at the official rate of Z$824 per greenback, yet the selling price
at the auction is averaging around Z$4 000 to the greenback," Kuruneri
noted. - AFP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Cape Times

      Time for Mbeki to put his foot down over Zimbabwe
      March 25, 2004

      By Paul Malherbe

      It is now more than three years since the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad) was announced. There has been much talk, but little
evidence, of solid accomplishment.

      The idea is nevertheless a good one, and every effort should be made
to identify and remove the obstacles that stand in the way.

      Part of the concept is that there must be a peer review mechanism, and
without the African nations fulfilling this important part of the bargain,
little enthusiasm is likely to develop among donor nations.

      Peer review is consequently a sine qua non that cannot be ignored, and
the situation in Zimbabwe is likely to provide the litmus test as to whether
the African Union is serious about the matter.

      But as our government spokesmen constantly point out, it is difficult
to interfere in the affairs of another country. It is however not impossible
nor unprecedented.

      We have the case of president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania earning
universal praise by invading Uganda in order to get rid of the tyrant Idi

      Amin was however no ally of Nyerere, whereas President Robert Mugabe
is not only President Thabo Mbeki's ally but apparently also a loved and
admired friend.

      So what can one do to bring an ally into line?

      Fortunately there is also a precedent in southern Africa of how one
can solve the problem. When one reads Ian Smith's book, Betrayal, you find
an example of an approach that might be considered.

      Smith was in a similar situation as Mugabe today. He devotes a chapter
to the Kissinger intervention in September 1976. Smith had travelled down to
Pretoria with several of his more conservative cabinet ministers to meet
Henry Kissinger, the American secretary of state, for the first time.

      Kissinger outlined to Smith his plan to get Rhodesia out of the mess
it was in and said that this was the best deal he could get for the
Rhodesians in the current circumstances. Smith accepted that Kissinger was
sincere and trying his level best.

      But his best was not good enough, and in private discussions the
Rhodesians resolved to turn the deal down.

      At this juncture, prime minister B J Vorster came into the picture and
in a short but emphatic intervention he told the Rhodesians that it was
over. If they did not accept the American package, South Africa would
withdraw all support.

      The Rhodesians had no choice and Smith came back from Pretoria, told
his cabinet the outcome and then went on television to announce that they
had accepted majority rule.

      It was the end of Smith's regime. It started the process that brought
Mugabe to power 24 years ago - with aggressive and positive British support
in the process.

      The players are different, but the situation is very similar, and if
anything the relative strengths of South Africa as the regional superpower
and Zimbabwe are even more accentuated.

      Mugabe cannot say no to Mbeki if Mbeki puts his foot down in the
manner that Vorster did 28 years ago. In 1976, Vorster was acting in the
best interests of South Africa. If Mbeki acted against Mugabe, he would
again be doing so in the best interests of South Africa.

      It took the South African Communist Party to set the record straight
in South Africa.

      They had sent a small team to Zimbabwe to investigate the situation
and when they returned they published a short report.

      They confirmed all that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
been saying about the situation in the country, and reminded their ANC
colleagues that Zimbabwe was violating all the human and political values
for which the ANC had fought for 75 years before they gained real democracy
in 1994.

      They said that it was Zanu-PF that was stalling on talks with the MDC,
and called for more effective action by South Africa to break the deadlock.
The question now is, where to next?

      I am afraid the ball is in your court, President Mbeki. After all, you
did accept the role of "point man" on the Zimbabwe issue.

      Eddie Cross, an MDC official, once caused a furore in Johannesburg by
stating that if the South African government did not know how to do it, they
should consult those "furry old Afrikaner Nationalists in Hermanus".

      But has Mbeki the courage to follow the good example of an erstwhile
sworn enemy? If he has, he would most certainly gain huge prestige for
himself and would also make a major and essential contribution towards
getting Nepad under way.

      l Malherbe is an economic philosopher and the author of several books,
including A Pragmatic Approach to the Creation of Value Enrichment and
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Star

      They're in it for the money
      March 25, 2004

      By Geoff Hughes

      Considering Zimbabwe's dictatorial notions of "justice", the state
seemed to take a remarkably long time to frame charges against the assumed
mercenaries or mine security guards.

      "Mercenary" is rooted in Latin merces, meaning "payment or reward",
and when Geoffrey Chaucer, the great medieval poet, first used the term 600
years ago in English, he referred, interestingly, to an honest clergyman:
"He was a shepherd and not a mercenary." Even then the word clearly had
acquired the negative sense of a one who works solely for money, an overtone
which it has carried into the military specialisation explored in Frederick
Forsyth's Dogs of War.

      Originally, military service was a profession, not an obligation, so
that mercenaries have, in fact, a long history in European warfare, reaching
as far back as ancient Greece and the Norman Conquest. They were, by
definition, foreigners.

      The word was more freely used in the past, of hacks or "wretches kept
in pay by some mercenary book-seller", now called ghost writers. Harriet
Martineau, a proto feminist, wrote in 1837 of "the disgusting spectacle of
mercenary marriages", a time-honoured practice.

      a.. Geoff Hughes is Professor Emeritus, University of the

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zim 'will take years to mend'
24/03/2004 23:04  - (SA)

Marietie Louw

Pretoria - The world media portrays white farmers in Zimbabwe as "innocent
beings" who are being murdered by black barbarians when they occupy land.

This is the view of Professor Margaret Lee of Georgetown University in the
American capital, Washington.

She was speaking at the launch of a book called Unfinished Business: The
Land Crisis in Southern Africa, which she wrote in conjunction with Karen

The Africa Institute published the book as part of a congress reflecting on
South Africa's 10 years of democracy.

Lee says the media, especially in Europe and the United States, has
portrayed the white farmers' grief without taking into consideration the
land situation in Zimbabwe's history.

For this reason, about six chapters in the book have been devoted to the
history of land occupation in Zimbabwe up until the recent elections.

Lee thinks the consequences of the Zimbabwean land crisis on African Union
member countries will take years to mend.

Food guarantees have disappeared

Her studies showed that no other country in Africa had had so many hungry
citizens as Zimbabwe since the land occupations began.

"The rate of inflation is 620% and unemployment 70%. Commercial farming and
food guarantees - and people assured of getting food - have disappeared.

A chapter is devoted to the similarities and differences between Zimbabwe,
South Africa and Namibia's land reforms.

Lee says the blame for the land crisis in southern Africa can be attributed
to Western governments who supported white regimes for far too long.

She says white farmers and landowners, who don't want to share their
knowledge with black people, as well as African leaders who don't have
enough knowledge to hand out land, also contribute to the problems.

All will have to co-operate

Lee sounded a warning that South Africa's land reform can "derail horribly"
if people claiming land don't get enough support once their claims are met.

"White landowners, African governments and black people will have to
co-operate to work out solutions to give more land to the landless masses of
the continent," she says.

a.. Send e-mail to

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Xenophobia hits a high in Zimbabwe

      March 25 2004 at 03:58AM

      By Basildon Peta

Zimbabwe's government has launched a crackdown against foreigners as the
paranoia increased over 70 suspected South African mercenaries.

Air Zimbabwe and department of immigration officials said scores of
foreigners, especially East and West Africans, were being rounded up and
deported as part of Operation Dzokera (go back).

Many foreigners were being denied entry into the country as President Robert
Mugabe's government fears that it might itself fall victim to "mercenary
activities" such as those the 70 men were allegedly plotting in Equatorial

All passenger lists of commercial aircraft landing in Zimbabwe were being
submitted to the Central Intelligence Organisation.

"By the time each plane lands in Harare, the CIO and the police already have
the names of all the passengers," said an airport official.

British Airways, operated by Comair, as well as South African Airways, are
the only major international carriers operating into Zimbabwe. A British
Airways spokesperson said on Wednesday night it was still operating its
daily flights.

The CIO and the police have been operating permanent bases at Harare
International Airport in the past few months. The police have also built
holding cells at the airport to detain suspects.

To deal with any security threats, soldiers are stationed at the Manyame air
force base, located near Harare International Airport, as well as at other

Operation Dzokera a joint operation by the police, the army and the
department of immigration, comes after 70 suspected South African
mercenaries appeared in a makeshift courtroom at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

The state indicated it feared a rescue attempt if it transported them to the
magistrate's court 25km from the jail.

It said it did not have enough security and appropriate vehicles to thwart
any possible rescue attempt.

Official sources said that apart from the fears raised by the suspected
mercenaries, foreigners were being accused of a variety of crimes.

Allegedly, some were sabotaging the economy by dealing illegally in foreign
currency, while others were using Zimbabwe for human trafficking.

The sources added that others had entered the country on false pretences in
order to transit to South Africa, which is harder to enter directly from
their own countries.

Asians thought to be involved in drug scams were also being targeted.

Efforts to get official comment from the police and immigration department

  a.. This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on March
25, 2004
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
Sokwanele reporter
25 March 2004
When you go to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in Plumtree to purchase maize you will find that the quantity you receive for what is sold as a 50 kg bag, all depends on who you are, or more importantly which party you support.  To a known ZANU PF stalwart 50 kgs means just that - 50 kgs, or even a bit more for some specially favoured.  To the rest, including known members of the opposition MDC and others whose political allegiance is in doubt, 50 kgs means considerably less than 50 kgs – in fact something less than 40 kgs.   And all the bags, weighing from less than 40 kgs to something over 50 kgs are of course sold for the same price.   
The maize is delivered to the Plumtree depot in bulk and unpacked.  The management then employ casual workers to weigh it and pack it into bags.  Only known ZANU PF supporters are selected for this work by the depot manager, Two notorious war veterans are involved – one whose wife, a ZANU PF councilor, was once caught red-handed with a consignment of 49 x 50 kg bags of maize stolen from the GMB. 
The casual workers pack the maize into two different categories – category 1 consisting of genuine 50 kg bags for the local army barracks, the CIO, police, prison service, ZANU PF members of staff and friends and family - and category 2 , bags containing 40 kgs or less for sale to others.  The two different sets of bag are even stored separately, side by side, to facilitate the selective distribution.  Full bags for those approved by ZANU PF, reduced bags for the rest, and the same price charged for both.  And in the corner of a war veterans office, standing quite conspicuously are a few bags containing in excess of 50 kgs for those specially favoured by the party.
The scam has been going on since August 2003.  Nothing has been done about it precisely because those responsible for stopping the rot are in fact benefiting from it. Certain individuals are obviously making a huge profit on the sale of the depleted bags and it is not too difficult to work out who is included in that number.  The GMB has been given a monopoly control over the acquisition and distribution of maize, and the Plumtree scam is but the latest instance of the proven corruption within the state-controlled body.  It is politically partisan and wide open to such abuse.
To prove the truth of these allegations a member of the community not known for his ZANU PF  sympathies made to purchase a bag of maize.  He walked deliberately towards the stack of genuine 50 kg bags to select one for himself, whereupon he was told he must select from the other stack.  When he complained that the bags in this consignment contained less grain he was threatened with the cancellation of the sale.  The heavier bags he was informed were a “special order”.   Taking a bag from the other stack he went home and weighed it - at 37 kgs.  Under ZANU PF rule the scales of justice are certainly not evenly balanced.
‘they are finished’
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimsec Calls for Exam Fees Review

The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2004
Posted to the web March 25, 2004


THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council has requested a review of fees for
Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations with effect from June this year.

The Government has to agree to an increase before it can be effected.

While he would not disclose by what percentage the council wanted to raise
the fees, Zimsec director Mr Happy Ndanga said the costs of examinations had
risen sharply within the last two months, which made a fee increase

Printing, stationery, travel and subsistence for staff and examiners,
transportation of materials to and from centres and the hiring of security
were some of the costs that had to be met by Zimsec.

Mr Ndanga said the delay in the enrolment for the June examinations was
because Zimsec was still waiting for a decision from the ministry.

The deadline for June examinations is normally at the end of February, while
that of the November examinations is at the beginning of April.

He assured candidates who were beginning to get anxious that Zimsec had made
plans to ensure that the examinations would take place.

Contacted for comment, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde
Aeneas Chigwedere, said the Government was still considering the application
and would be making an announcement soon.

He said he did not make such decisions by himself but only after
consultations in Government.

"The matter is before Cabinet right now, so students can expect to know the
new fees any time soon," he said

Last year O-level candidates paid $100 per subject, while A-level candidates
paid $1 000 per subject.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated March 25, 2004

Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities <>


1. Advert Received 18th March 2004

Please will you place the following in your Job Opportunities ?

Book keeper required for fuel injection pump repair firm.  Office in
Borrowdale.  Computer literacy necessary and knowledge of Pastel

Phone Joye 011 400329
or James 091 210004

or e mail
Thank you, JAG
Margaret Brown
2. Advert Received 22nd March 2004

Could you please advertise this position:

Well known bowling club in Harare urgently need a mature male person as a
club manager to oversee the bar stocks, banking, manage the club, oversee
the staff and grounds plus general caretaker duties. This position would
suit a semi-retired person with a strong character.

Please contact Joe 756363-9 at work or Wendy 303901, 304463, 303838 at work
for more in


3. Advert Received 22nd March 2004

I am a school leaver with the following qualifications:
Pitmans Bookkeeping, level 1, 2 and 3
Pitmans Office Procedures, level 1 and 2
Pitmans Business English level 1 and 2
Cambridge Travel and Tourism - Pass at Core Level, Distinction in Marketing
and Promotion and a pass at Travel Organisation
ICDL Computer Drivers Licence
Completed a course in Web Design and Graphics

8 passes at O'Level - Cambridge

I am seeking employment, preferably in Travel and Toursim, or marketing of
any sort, but anything at this point would be great.

If you have anything to offer me please contact Vanessa Piers on 498500 or
email me on
4. Advert Received 22nd March 2004


Harare based agricultural trading company looking for an experienced
with knowledge of pastel to trial balance.  Please contact 091 614690/ 091
5. Advert Received 23rd March 2004

message: An opportunity exists for a qualified automotive machinists in New
Zealand who is capable of all facets of automotive machining.
All inquiries to
6. Advert Received 24th March 2004

Dear JAG,

Please advertise the following position in your JOB OPPORTUNITIES mail:

"Farming centred group of companies in Greendale is seeking a
Receptionist/Girl Friday with purchasing experience to buy for the farm.
Computer literacy is an advantage. We are offering a competitive salary
with associated perks.

Please e-mail CV's to: or Phone: 490243/8 and
speak to Julie."

Many Thanks,


For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact (updated 25 March 2004)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

London News
The dogs of war go corporate

Peter Singer on the rise of the soldier for hire.

Send this article to a friend
Printer friendly version

19 March 2004

A planeload of mercenaries that touches down in the middle of the night, an evil dictator who tortures his victims on the beach, shady multinational oil interests, an arms deal gone sour, and the key protagonist a former SAS trooper whose last job was acting in a movie: it has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster. But the Logo Logistics affair of Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea is just the latest appearance on the international stage of an important global development – the privatised military industry.

Private military firms are business providers of professional services intricately linked to warfare. That is, they are corporate bodies that specialise in the sale of military skills. They do everything, from leasing out commando teams and offering the strategic advice of ex-generals to running the outsourced supply chains for the US and now British armies.

Such firms represent the evolution, globalisation, and corporatisation of the age-old mercenary trade.

The private military industry got its start in the early 1990s with the rise of the firm Executive Outcomes, the very same South African company that Simon Mann and many of the other coup suspects used to work with. Executive Outcomes, which was linked with multinational mining and energy interests, fought in Angola, Sierra Leone and Congo. While the firm formally went out of business in 1999, its success spawned a global industry of copy cats.
In the decade since it began, the private military industry has mushroomed. Private military firms now operate in more than 50 countries and do up to $100bn business a year.

In Iraq, for example, there are more than 15,000 private military contractors. They protect convoys and key installations, train the Iraqi police, paramilitary, and army, and also do mundane chores like feeding troops and fuelling vehicles. The biggest player in Iraq is Dick Cheney’s scandal-plagued Halliburton firm, presently besieged by a series of accounting and overbilling gaffes, but there are also a number of UK-based companies.

One is Global Risks, reported to have 100 former British SAS troopers, 500 former Nepalese Ghurkas and 500 ex-Fijian soldiers working on the ground in Iraq. This one company has the sixth largest troop contingent in the coalition. Thus, President Bush’s international effort has finally come to pass, except to be completely honest he might want to rename it the “Coalition of the Billing”.

In a world where we police even the fat content of cookies, perhaps what is most surprising is that this industry, so central to national and global security, is completely unregulated. No international laws apply. National laws are little better, with the majority of states, including Britain, having none that fully controls the firms.

Zimbabwe, for example, can only charge the suspected coup plotters with firearms and immigration indictments. In addition, many firms that claim to be “British” or “South African” are actually registered in tax havens such as the Caymans, Bahamas, and Channel Isles.

Firms in the industry often argue that the lack of rules is not a problem, as they claim only to work for “reputable” clients, and have corporate codes and structures that preclude misbehaviour.

But the news from Zimbabwe pokes yet another hole in that thin claim. To begin with, voluntary codes of conduct are just that, written by the firms themselves, voluntarily adhered to and carrying no punishment if broken, either by the firms or their individual employees. Thus, it is up to the firms to decide who they want to hire – the Logo indictees range from class act veterans to a gentleman under indictment back home for murder – and who they want to work for.

Some firms have worked for democracies, the UN and even environmental groups, while others have prospered at the other end of the marketplace, working for dictators, drug cartels and terrorist-linked groups. Indeed, Logo illustrates the very problem of firms determining reputable clients for themselves. Who was the legitimate player to choose, the dodgy coup plotters or the dictator who took power by killing his uncle? Legitimacy is hard enough to determine in international politics, and even more difficult when millions in potential profits comes into play.

The private military industry has grown up, but our regulation and oversight has not kept pace. International and national laws must be updated to account for the behaviour of businesses in war and, in particular, control who they can work with. Likewise, if governments such as those in the US and UK are to continue to be clients of such firms, they must become more business-savvy, and establish sound competition and supervision in their outsourcing. War is far too important to be left to the CEOs.

Peter Singer is National Security Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the Gelber Prize-nominated book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry.

Back to the Top
Back to Index