††††† Zim farmers working for the good of Africa †††††
March 26, 2004
††††††† By Peter Fabricius
††††† Zimbabwe's white
farmers - evicted from their farms in their home country - are, like the lost
tribe of Israel, wandering around the continent, looking for places to put
down their roots again.
††††† And they are starting to do so. About 150
families have now settled in Mozambique, about 100 in Zambia and a handful in
Tanzania. The few in Zambia have been widely credited with turning the
country from a net food importer into a net food exporter within a couple of
years. In Mozambique, President Joaquim Chissano recently visited the
ex-Zimbabwean farmers in Chimoio, near Beira, and thanked them for
re-establishing the country's dairy industry.
††††† This week the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents Zimbabwean farmers, sent a
delegation to meet Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who offered to let
them farm in his country.
††††† Alan Jack, who led the CFU delegation,
said in an interview that the farmers had been overwhelmed by the
††††† "Where else do you get to meet the president, the
vice-president and the minister of finance all at once?" he
††††† Jack said he told Obasanjo: "We are Zimbabweans but we
cannot farm there now. We are also Africans and we want to stay
††††† He said the Nigerians candidly admitted to him that their
farm industry was ruined, that they were importing 98% of their food and
that they desperately needed help.
††††† Obasanjo told them: "We don't
want to take what is good for Zimbabwe away, but we don't want what is good
for Africa taken away. Wherever you stay in Africa, the knowledge you have
remains in Africa for the benefit of Africans."
††††† South Africa's
Democratic Alliance has praised Obasanjo for his "wise and farsighted
approach" and for realising that the "irreplaceable local skill and
experience" of commercial farmers was "crucial to obtaining overall food
security in Africa".
††††† It noted that the success of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development depended upon reviving the continent's
immense - but largely fallow or unproductive - farmlands.
is intriguing to see how the same person - a white Zimbabwean farmer - can be
viewed so differently by two African leaders. To Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe he is a coloniser, a parasite feeding off black Zimbabweans and
denying them land. To Obasanjo he is an investor, possessing rare skill and
capital, willing and able to come to his country like a pioneer and help it
††††† By welcoming them so warmly and praising the
contribution they can make to Africa, Obasanjo must surely have intended to
send a message to Mugabe that he is wrong about the farmers, that he is
squandering a valuable resource.
††††† But many other Africans -
probably quite a few in this country - will no doubt feel considerable unease
about what they would see as a recolonising of Africa. This handful of
whites, however, can surely not dominate any country, nor seize land from
locals as the colonists did. Severed from any government force, they are
merely investors, no more colonisers than an industrialist who builds a
factory in an African country. Especially as the Zimbabwean farmers insisted
that they should not displace any local farmers from their land and the
Nigerians fully agreed to that.
††††† Jack admitted, though, that his
delegation had raised one particular concern with the Nigerians: that having
moved to the country and revived the farmland, they would then excite the
envy of the locals who would covet the productive farms they then saw, and
come to take them away as the Zimbabweans had done. In other words, that when
they had served their purpose, it might be convenient to re-label them as
††††† "They assured us they were a democratic country with a
constitution and that would never happen," he said. "We know, though, that
there are no absolute guarantees. Each farmer must make his own
††††† But between certain deprivation in the present and
possible deprivation in the future, there is no real choice.
††††† According to media reports, Zimbabwean finance
minister, Christopher Kuruneri, is building a R30-m luxury mansion in Cape
Town and is paying for it with cash -- with US dollar bills. ††††† Whilst
both Kuruneri and the Zimbabwean government have denied that he is breaking
any Zimbabwean foreign-exchange rules, there are arguably a number of South
African rules and international rules on money-laundering that are being
††††† According to a front-page report in the Sunday Times
this past week-end, Kuruneri has been paying monthly visits to Venture
Projects & Associates, the project-management company that is arranging
the building of the mansion. The report quoted a source as saying that
Kuruneri regularly gives Venture Projects owner, Chris Hayman, cash to pay
the contractors before promptly jumping on a flight back to
††††† Kuruneri told the Herald newspaper that he bought the
property with hard currency that he earned from consultancy work outside
Zimbabwe before he was appointed as a minister.
††††† The report in
the Sunday Times further stated that a source close to Hayman's company said
that Hayman's services to Kuruneri included the safekeeping of large amounts
of US dollars.
††††† The nature of these transactions raises several
questions over the legality of this arrangement. According to the Financial
Intelligence Centre (FIC), in terms of the recently-legislated Financial
Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), it is necessary to report suspicious
transactions to the FIC.
††††† The act was introduced to combat
money-laundering activity in South Africa. According to the Act, money
laundering means an activity that has the effect of concealing or disguising
the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the proceeds of
††††† According to the FIC, the circumstances
surrounding each individual case need to be taken into account when
determining whether it is suspicious or not. In this case, Venture Projects
would need to determine whether the payment of millions of US dollars in cash
by a Zimbabwean government official should be regarded as
††††† The alleged cash payments and safekeeping of dollars
also raise the issue of a possible serious breach of exchange-control
regulations by Venture Projects. According to Chris Grove, deputy GM of
exchange control at the Reserve Bank, in terms of local exchange-control
regulations, local companies or persons receiving foreign currency in cash
are required to offer the foreign currency for sale to an authorised dealer
by no later than one business day after receiving the money.
Venture Projects is, indeed, receiving payment in dollar bills as reported,
in order for it to be complying with exchange-control regulations, it should
have already facilitated the conversion of dollars to rands through a local
bank. In terms of FICA, the bank would then be required to obtain full
details of the origins of the money in question. Should the bank then deem
these origins to be of a suspicious nature, it would then be required to
submit a report to the FIC.
††††† In terms of the act, failure to report
any suspicious activities could result in a 15-year prison sentence a fine of
up to R10-m.
Mugabe 'set to announce his retirement' By
Moshoeshoe Monare in Harare 26 March 2004
Robert Mugabe, will announce his retirement in December during Zanu-PF's
national congress, a senior executive of the ruling party said
Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu's secretary for information, said the
congress would be the final decision-making platform about Mr Mugabe's
future. But he said it was not clear whether Mr Mugabe would announce an
immediate departure or a date to relinquish power. "The congress of the party
is a regular congress that is held every five years, and that congress will
elect the leaders of the party and you can say that it is at that point
that Mugabe will indicate his view of his role in the future," Mr
On Mr Mugabe's successor, he said: "John Nkomo
[party chairman] is on a par with Emmerson Mnangagwa [parliamentary speaker].
It depends very much on how Mugabe quits. If Mugabe at the December congress
says I am quitting now, Joseph Msika [the vice-president] will take over. It
will be very difficult for anyone to oppose him. But if [Mugabe] says I will
be retiring in a year's time, then Msika will be out, infighting will be
between Mnangagwa and Nkomo."
Mr Mnangagwa has been linked to illicit
gold dealings. His name appears on the charge sheet in the case of Mark
Mathew Burden, who is accused of having paid Zim$8m (£5,500) into accounts
held by Mr Mnangagwa.
Other contenders to succeed Mr Mugabe include the
ministers Dydmus Mutasa and Sydney Sekeramayi.
Zimbabwe comes under spotlight at Civicus
March 25, 2004, 17:23
The Zimbabwean government is
increasingly coming under pressure to review its policies on basic civil
liberties to ensure economic and political governance. A report commissioned
by the international civic organisations Civicus and tabled in Gaborone,
Botswana, urges the international community not to ignore what it terms "the
desperate situation in Zimbabwe".
The report, titled "Resisting
Repression", and distributed at the Civicus Assembly, outlines Zimbabwe's
troubled history, examines a host of repressive laws and also shows how
government is clamping down on operations by civil society. The report
details the government attacks on organised labour, its undermining of the
judiciary and shows how the land question is being abused to divert
Zimbabwean representatives at the conference believe
the report is proof that South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy towards
their country is misplaced. Delegates are expected to deliberate over the
Zimbabwe situation, and also engage their respective governments and other
steak holders back home.
Kumi Naidoo, the secretary general of Civicus
said:"We cannot have land reform by comprising fundamental issues of
democracy, governance and the rule of law ... because everyday that we delay
we are culpable of the deaths by starvation, HIV/Aids and actually direct
violence that is happening in Zimbabwe right now."
The main focus of
the report on Zimbabwe deals with the political and economic situation, which
seems to have spiralled out of control, and also reflects on avenues that can
be used by civil society to influence and reverse the present course of
Domestic debt soars to $600b Ngoni
Chanakira ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt, which stood at $346 billion in December
2002, rose to approximately $600 billion by December last
The country's total external payment arrears continued to
increase, riling international creditors.
NMB Holdings Ltd
chairman Paddy Zhanda this week said the debt was dominated by Treasury
Bills, mainly two-year paper, which account for 97,5% of the total debt while
government bonds account for the balance of 2,5%.
In his statement
accompanying the group's results for the period ending December 31 Zhanda
said the government intends to further restructure the domestic debt this
year by issuing more long-dated instruments.
The budget deficit is
expected to reach $1,83 trillion this year and domestic debt is set to end
the year at about $2,4 trillion.
Zhanda told investment analysts that
the country's balance of payments position remained precarious in 2003
largely as a result of poor export performance coupled with the absence of
external capital inflows.
He said exports of goods and services were
estimated to have fallen by 3,9% from US$1,603 million in 2002 to US$1,540
million in 2003.
Imports of goods and services fell less steeply from
US$2,634 million in 2002 to US$2,618 million in 2003.
is estimated to have recorded a current account deficit of US$1,130 million,
slightly up from US$1,044 million in 2002," Zhanda said. "The capital account
deficit is estimated to have declined from US$345 million in 2002 to US$309
million in 2003."
The chairman said the overall balance of payments
deficit for 2003 was therefore US$1,439 million.
International Monetary Fund delegation is currently in the country for the
annual Article IV Consultation.
It has met the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Chris Kuruneri and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Zimbabwe's overall balance of payments deficit for 2003 was
therefore US$1,439 million.
The country owes the IMF about US$270
Gono has promised that the country will repay all debts to
He, however, said the country needed to first pay its
electricity and fuel bills to international creditors.
against the background of the weak balance of payments position, gross
official foreign currency reserves for 2003 were estimated at US$175 million,
which represent approximately one month of imports, while usable reserves
were much lower at just under US$40 million.
external payment arrears continued to rise in 2003.
As of December 2003,
external payment arrears were estimated at about US$1,8 billion, up from
US$1,3 billion at the end of December 2002.
A breakdown of the external
arrears shows that government arrears account for the largest portion at $1,2
billion (67%) while parastatals and the private sector account for US$558
million (31%) and US$15 million (2%) respectively.
Mugabe has vowed to deal with corrupt people in his government no matter who
they are? Hmmm... very, very interesting.
Has anyone whispered to him
about the still-unresolved Noczim saga, or GMB, Zesa, Air Zimbabwe, NSSA; or
the ministers' wives who were buying forex at $824:US$1 and selling it at
$6000 last year; or a certain fitness trainer who took forex from Zimbabweans
desperate to go to the UK; or a certain general's wife who took over a white
farm, sold the proceeds to a British company and pocketed the forex; or the
minister who sold his South African mansion and forgot to declare the
And what about the boxing promoter who had a tuck shop in
London? Or the musicians who go on tours overseas and in the region but never
declare their forex?
EVER since the sudden crash of ENG Asset Management
Company, the Zimbabwean banking sector has been in a state of extreme
turmoil. It was within days of the initial exposť of the appalling state of
affairs at ENG that Zimbabweans were confronted with the facts that other
asset management companies, and several banks, were in a parlous state and
facing probable collapse.
At one stage it was almost a daily event that
the national media would disclose the dismal circumstances and insecurity of
another financial institution. Within a very short time, the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) found it necessary to intervene in some bank or asset
management company or other, the interventions raging from providing very
considerable bridging funds from RBZ's troubled banks' fund to placing the
institutions in liquidation or under curatorship.
Several causes have
been identified for the previously unknown, unsatisfactory and very damaging
state of so many of the institutions that have constituted the Zimbabwean
financial sector. Although yet to be confirmed by convictions of some
directors of some of the collapsed, or near-collapsed, institutions,
allegations have been pronounced that such directors had disregarded all
principles of good governance.
In some instances, the allegations are
that such directors had used depositors' funds to invest in vast fleets of
luxury motor vehicles and houses, houseboats at Kariba, country estates and
other profligate excesses.
In other instances, directors and senior
management stand accused of investing the funds entrusted to them into
speculative and unacceptably high risk investments, tantalised so greatly by
the possibilities of spectacularly extraordinary profits that they abandoned
the very fundamentals of monetary prudency and responsibility.
a number of instances, they extended this rash practice by simultaneously
providing massive indefinite period, or long-term, loans to related parties.
Generally, it is alleged, that they did so without any recourse to collateral
security necessary to protect the lender and its depositors, and without
disclosure to colleagues, auditors and public sector monitoring and
surveillance entities of the relevant relationships.
Yet a further cause
of the near collapse of some of the banks, asset management companies, and
others within the financial sector, has been under-capitalisation, both in
terms of operating finance, and in terms of managerial and operational
Promoters of the new banks and other financial institutions were
attracted magnetically to the perceived prospects of immense future wealth,
such perceptions being founded upon the very evident and considerable
successes of some long-established banks. Imbued with beliefs that not only
were financial sector enterprises horns of cornucopia, but that the flows
of abundance from those horns were automatically accessible, they plunged
into money-market activities ill-prepared, inadequately capitalised and
equipped, and without necessary skills.
Still another catalyst of the
collapses was the fact that the financial sector was grossly over-traded.
Responsible businessmen, economists, and many others have long pondered how
it was possible for a country of only 12 million people, of massive
unemployment and a distressed and depressed economy, could justify and
support such a vast plethora of banks, building societies, asset management
companies and other financial enterprises.
Banking licences were issued
by the licensing authority with almost total disregard for the merits or
otherwise of licence applicants, and without any attempt to consider whether
the economy could support yet further banks.
At one stage, very recently,
the relatively miniscule Zimbabwean economy had at least 18 registered
commercial and merchant banks and building societies. (Interestingly, it was
reported last week that the IMF team to Zimbabwe consider that the Zimbabwean
economy justifies the existence of a maximum of seven banks). Simultaneously,
and despite the catastrophic failure, only a few years ago, of the ill-fated
Access to Capital asset management company, which left many impoverished,
over 50 asset management companies came into being. Some were, and are, of
undoubted repute and competence, but others were very clearly not so. For a
transitional period of time, whilst interest rates were soaring upwards as a
result of money market shortages and imprudent money management, most of
those management companies thrived. But their monetary successes were
unsustainable in a volatile economy, and especially so when they were
under-capitalised, lacking in skills, and engaging in speculative, high-risk
The first trigger to the collapse was the inclusion in the
monetary policies announced by RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, less than three
weeks after his appointment, of an intent that all asset management companies
would have to be licensed by the central bank. Licensing requirements would
include capital adequacy, requisite managerial resources, lodgement of
statutory reserves with RBZ, and submission to comprehensive RBZ monitoring
and surveillance. Almost immediately thereafter, the partial implosion of
the financial sector commenced.
The initial collapse was that of ENG
Asset Management, with potential deficiencies of many billions of dollars.
Rapid-fire disclosures were of vast outlays of monies on a fleet more than 35
exceptionally costly, luxurious motor vehicles, many up-market houses, and
diverse hazardous investments. But also disclosed was that various banks,
pension funds, insurance companies and asset management companies were
heavily exposed to ENG, having deposited very many billions of dollars with
them, having failed to carry out appropriate risk-evaluation exercises before
doing so. Prima facie, most of the investment analysts and directors of those
investing entities relied solely upon their personal contacts and friendships
with ENG 's founders and executives, and upon the bullish reports emanating
from ENG as to their investment successes.
As the contaminated state
of ENG's affairs became increasingly known, and the extent that others were
at risk of sustaining massive losses, depositors anxiously sought to withdraw
their funds from them, desperate to save their assets.
This set off a
chain reaction of one, and then another, and then another, financial
institution, becoming illiquid and unable to service withdrawal demands. In
some cases the illiquidity was solely because of the very great extent of
withdrawals by depositors. Even very sound financial institutions, with
considerable asset resources, cannot conjure up sufficient liquid funds to
enable mass, simultaneous, pay-outs to depositors.
Thus some, because of
under-capitalisation, or because of imprudent investment, were suddenly in
jeopardy of collapse, whilst others who would under normal conditions have
been considered to be of minimal risk, were unexpectedly cast into a like
circumstance of potential closure. And, as this happened progressively to
more and more, public panic became increasingly pronounced, thereby
exacerbating the financial sector's instability. RBZ had to take rapid,
dynamic and protective actions, forcing the closure and liquidation of some
banks before there was further erosion of their resources, assisting others
with short-term funding, and imposing stringent management controls,
including instances of curatorship.
These actions were very necessary
and, in most instances, wholly unavoidable, but a regrettable, certain
consequential hardship on depositors resulted. Employees had difficulty in
accessing salaries, the impoverished could not withdraw what little funding
as would have been available to them for essentials, pensioners and many
retired persons were suddenly stranded and unable to pay rentals, purchase
foodstuffs and other essentials.
Some businesses have had their very
operations jeopardised, all their funds being locked up indefinitely in the
RBZ has had no alternative but to act as it has
done, but it is critical that the relevant liquidators and curators do
everything possible to enable resumption of operations of the financial
institutions at the earliest opportunity, and insofar as possible
transitionally facilitate partial releases of funds to the depositors in
Equally, they and RBZ must give high priority to pursuing
mergers or takeovers of the troubled enterprises with others possessed of
substance and skilled resources. And, as far as reasonably practical, the RBZ
must provide further, interim funding from the troubled banks' fund. Only by
such actions can the disastrous prejudice to many be countered or minimised,
and the financial sector restored to normality.
Makamba stuck in jail Vincent Kahiya DEFENCE
lawyers representing beleaguered businessman James Makamba have decided to
put in mothballs an application to challenge the constitutionality of a
presidential decree which allows the state to hold a suspect for up to a
month without bail.
This week legal sources said George Chikumbirike of
Chikumbirike & Associates, who replaced a defence team from Scanlen &
Holderness, was not pursuing the constitutional challenge.
challenge was filed as an urgent matter by Sternford Moyo, a senior partner
at Scanlen & Holderness.
"At the moment the most important aspect
for Mr Chikumbirike is to secure Makamba's release on bail," a lawyer close
to the case said.
"The challenge to the statutory instrument is
considered to be confrontational and academic as it will not get the intended
Makamba was arrested on February 9 on
allegations of illegally dealing in hard currency. Attempts to secure his
release have failed at seven court sittings. The legal team from Scanlen
& Holderness last month filed an urgent application in the Supreme Court
challenging the legality of the statutory instrument.
The team was
subsequently replaced by Chikumbirike who decided to take a different
approach, saying Makamba's arrest had been irregular. That gambit managed to
secure the release of the businessman last Wednesday - albeit temporarily as
Makamba was arrested inside the Remand Prison complex after police obtained a
fresh warrant of arrest from a regional magistrate.
Makamba's bail hearing in the High Court was yesterday postponed to
Kingdom retrenchees blow whistle Staff
writer WORKERS retrenched by Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL) have
started to blow the whistle on the bank, sending a deluge of e-mails to the
media and the central bank.
In the last three weeks it has been
reported that KFHL deputy chairman Nigel Chanakira was on the run, a claim
which has turned out to be untrue.
However, informers have continued
to send details of what they term incidents of misfeasance by the bank's
directors - especially externalisation of foreign currency.
letter to central bank governor Gideon Gono from KFHL chairman
Richard Muirimi said the leaks the bank was experiencing might be coming
from disgruntled retrenched workers.
"To safeguard the business
and to protect the dignity of those affected, they (the workers) were
requested to commence leave with immediate effect," said
"They are however on full pay. It goes without saying that
amongst those in this category there will undoubtedly exist a degree of
disgruntlement and perceived victim status. In fact some of the information
management challenges and 'leaks' we have recently experienced seem to point
to this group," he said.
As part of its rationalisation exercise,
KFHL is reducing its staff complement by 123 during 2004.
week a "whistleblower" sent an e-mail to the Zimbabwe Independent, which was
copied to the central bank, saying Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB), a subsidiary
of KFHL, had accounts with foreign corresponding banks in Europe, the United
States, Botswana, South Africa and Australia.
The informant claimed
the accounts were opened to harvest foreign currency from Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora. It said Zimbabweans would deposit hard currency in the accounts and
KMB would pay the equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars at parallel market
The informers have been urging the central bank to investigate
KFHL as it did with NMB bank whose directors have since fled the
Ministry forces students to take political
course Itai Dzamara IN what is seen as a bid by government to advance its
political agenda, the Ministry of Higher Education has introduced "National
and Strategic Studies" as a subject in institutions of higher
The ministry has ordered polytechnics, teachers' colleges
and universities to make the subject compulsory.
It appears to
have been adapted from the controversial National Youth Training Service
Students who fail to pass the National and Strategic
Studies course cannot graduate.
Sources in the Ministry of Higher
Education confirmed that the subject was compulsory at all colleges and
The Zimbabwe Independent this week spoke to a number of
students at the Harare Polytechnic who face the possibility of being denied
graduation in August after refusing to sit for the National and Strategic
A question paper for this year's final exams currently
underway contains questions such as: "Which political party in Zimbabwe
represents the interests of imperialists and how must it be viewed by
Another question asked is: "African leaders who try to
serve the interests of imperialists are called what and how do you view
The National and Strategic Studies department at the
Polytechnic has three permanent tutors. However, students said they had been
boycotting most of the lessons, inviting the ire of authorities who have
vowed to deny those who fail their certificates.
Head of the
National and Strategic Studies department at the Harare Polytechnic, a Mr
Gavi, could not be reached for comment this week.
'Your paper can suffer and you can die' Staff
Writer SELF-STYLED war veteran Andrew Matambanadzo, who runs Emmanuel
Andrews College in Harare, last week threatened to shoot a Zimbabwe
Independent reporter and close down the paper if it carried a story
alleging mismanagement at the college.
Matambanadzo, whose war
credentials could not be established, said he would shoot the reporter,
Shakeman Mugari, and use his political muscle to close the Independent if it
carried a story about his college.
The threats were made after Mugari
called Matambanadzo to verify allegations of victimisation and mismanagement
raised by students, lecturers and tenants at the college.
shoot you. I can just shoot you. Your paper will close. Unoziva zvakaitika
kuDaily News (You know what happened to the Daily News)," said an angry
"I am a war vet. Your paper can suffer and you can
die," he warned before slamming down the phone.
Mugari made a
report to the police.
Matambanadzo is alleged to be using his
war-veteran claims to bully students, lecturers and tenants at the college.
Students and lecturers have alleged ill-treatment at the hands of
Matambanadzo who they say is running the college like a "backyard
"Lecturers are grossly under-paid and if you complain he
kicks you out," said a lecturer who came to the Independent's offices on
Monday last week. Matambanadzo allegedly lets out rooms on the college
It is in dealing with tenants in these rooms that
Matambanadzo is said to be exercising his iron hand most. He is alleged to
have manhandled some tenants who were in arrears with their
"He is rough with tenants," said the lecturer who spoke to the
Independent. "The college has a shortage of lecturers. The few who are there
are never paid on time. The sanitary facilities are in a sorry
A senior college official confirmed that there were problems
at the college.
"Problems are found in each and every institution. We are
rectifying the situation. The situation in improving," said the
Four officers, dressed in regular
clothes, arrived at Bulawayo Agenda's offices after lunch, saying they
represent the Law and Order section. Coordinator of the pressure group,
Gorden Moyo, says the men showed him a search warrant before they confiscated
books, letters, documents and video recordings of the organization's public
meetings. Mr Moyo says the men returned later, only to take the group's
23-yeard-old administrator, Sibusiswe Ndlovu, with them. Her current
whereabouts have not been confirmed. Mr Moyo says he thinks she's still in
custody. Mr Moyo added he has no idea what the police were after. He
suspects, however, that there may be a link between the search and a recent
police directive prohibiting public meetings after 5pm. The marketing manager
of Radio Dialogue, Kholiwe Nyoni, says five men appeared at the station's
Pioneer House offices just before lunch. They also had a search warrant. The
document was authorized by a chief superintendent Paradzai, who is believed
to be the head of the police's Law and Order section. Ms Nyoni ads the
officers took documents from different offices, including invitations to an
upcoming arts festival. She says she thinks the raid may have been motivated
by the station recently starting "in house broadcasting", which is aimed at
orienting staff with broadcast equipment. Since its formation four years ago,
the community station has been pushing for independent broadcasters to be
allowed to operate. As part of this campaign Radio Dialogue co-produced a
protest "Free the Airwaves" CD with the Media Institute of Southern Africa,
NI Missionary Faces Prison In Zimbabwe Over
Prayers Mar 26 2004
††††† A NORTHERN Ireland
clergyman is facing prison in Zimbabwe for holding a street prayer
††††† The Rev Noel Scott, who has been a missionary in Bulawayo
for more than 30 years, could be jailed for two years for breaching the
Public Order and Security Act when he stands trial next month.
The retired Anglican priest was arrested and briefly imprisoned with three
other church leaders for praying on the pavement on their way to a prayer
meeting for peace two years ago in the run-up to a
††††† However, magistrates threw out the
summons over a year ago as "defective" and "out of the blue".
Scott has now received a new summons and will stand trial on renewed charges
of breaching Zimbabwe's controversial security law which prohibits the
holding of certain types of public gatherings or marches that have not been
sanctioned by the police.
††††† In a letter to the Church of Ireland Dean
of St Patrick's in Dublin, Mr Scott revealed how he has been on remand since
he was first arrested.
††††† "Since then I have made seven or eight
appearances in court," he said.
††††† "Thousands of people are on remand
and the magistrates keep on postponing their cases.
††††† "It's a
reflection on the general lawlessness here and is a form
††††† Mr Scott, who was ordained in 1960 for the
assistant curacy of Ballymacarrett in the Diocese of Down, has been offered
sanctuary by the Church of Ireland but he is refusing to leave the community
he has given his life to help.
††††† Despite being retired, the
shortage of clergy means he is "not short of work," he told Dean
††††† "I'm also very involved with Christians Together for
Justice and Peace of which I'm a founder member with Archbishop Pius and
others and we do what we can within the limits imposed."
Coltart, a lawyer and Member of Parliament for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said the pastors and church members had been charged
under the draconian new security laws with "disobeying the command of a
Editor's memo Media lid THE Zimbabwean public
are being short-changed in terms of access to information which is vital for
deciding what party to support ahead of next year's parliamentary
In order for voters to make an informed choice, they should
have access to a variety of views. Twenty-four years after Independence
voters have never had such a limited range of views to choose from. Following
the closure of the Daily News, there is only one daily newspaper that is not
owned by the government. And it reflects views not very different from the
There are a handful of weeklies such as our own, but they
are aimed at niche markets and cannot pretend to play the role a daily does
in keeping the public informed on a 24-hour basis. Stories this week, for
instance, about prominent Zimbabwean politicians have been carried in the
South African press yet denied to the Zimbabwean public, with the exception
of a story in the Daily Mirror based on South African press reports and the
usual denials in the Herald.
We endeavour on a Friday to bring you
some of the news being withheld during the week. But inevitably stories fall
through the cracks in the media floor.
Very simply Zimbabweans are
not getting the volume of information they deserve for a variety of reasons,
most to do with repression and control.
The Media and Information
Commission has prevented the Daily News from registering. At the same time
the government media has become a crude instrument of the ruling party which
has an interest in ensuring that every piece of news that could influence
public perceptions of the regime is spun to maximum effect.
other words, the very opposite of access to information is taking place. The
reading public are being blocked from knowing what is happening around them.
What news they do get from official sources has been fully
Part of the problem lies with a regulatory body that is
hostile to a free press. As Professor Guy Berger pointed out in our columns
last week, registration is not a formality. It is designed to control and
Worldwide, Prof Berger pointed out, generally only
broadcasters are licensed, and that is for technical reasons of limited
frequencies. In the few cases where newspapers are registered, it is purely
an administrative matter and applications cannot be rejected for political
It is worth emphasising these points because we are
frequently told that Aippa is similar to legislation elsewhere. It is not and
I am surprised the Swedish embassy allows to pass unchallenged repeated
claims that Aippa bears some resemblance to Sweden's regulatory
"The facts are straightforward," Berger says. "Through
registration the regime of President Mugabe has raped its country's media and
robbed its people of their right to information."
For those who
argue that the media needs regulating, there are many means of securing
accountability, Berger points out. In addition to laws of defamation there
are complaints systems of the sort that have been up and running for many
years elsewhere and which Misa and the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum have
been proposing for this country.
If progress has been slow, it may be
because we are operating in a siege climate!
The African Union's
Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa is unambiguous.
It affirms "the fundamental importance of freedom of expression as an
individual human right, as a cornerstone of democracy, and as a means of
ensuring respect for all human rights and freedoms".
Zimbabwe is in
violation of those AU principles. And it's not OK as South African ministers
such as Penuell Maduna have been suggesting.
ZBC is increasingly
sounding like Rwanda's Radio Mille Collines in 1994. This is a so-called
public broadcaster that denies room to the public it is supposed to serve.
And rival broadcasters are prevented from offering competition despite a
Supreme Court ruling ordering the freeing of
Similarly, government-owned newspapers reflect only
a narrow and partisan view of events in the country. This is not the sort of
climate in which an election campaign can be fairly conducted. Put together
with all the other structural impediments to a free and fair poll, it looks
as if we are heading for a situation even more hostile to democratic practice
than that of 2002.
Since the closing of the Daily News government
spokesmen have stepped up their attacks on this newspaper. While this is to
be expected, their bitter recriminations are not a good advertisement for a
successful regime. Indeed, their preoccupation with this newspaper would
suggest we are making a difference!
What I can't understand is why
a government that claims to be so popular feels a compelling need to close
down democratic space, prevent the publication of alternative views, threaten
its critics, and assault anybody demonstrating against its rule. Is this the
behaviour of a regime safely ensconced in the affection of its people? And
does it really think it can keep a lid on democratic expression
Visiting Tanzanian ministers may helpfully ignore the
realities around them. But Zimbabwe's crisis won't go away so long as
intolerance and repression remain the chief electoral supports propping up
this failed administration.
THE prospects of Air Zimbabwe regaining its pre-Independence
lustre continue to recede because of severe undercapitalisation and the
failure by the national carrier to forge alliances with regional and
Analysts say alliances with international partners
would help Air Zimbabwe improve viability. With only five planes and amongst
the most poorly resourced airlines in the region, Air Zimbabwe would benefit
from either regional alliances or from an international strategic
At Independence Air Zimbabwe had 15 planes and was a major
player on the regional and international scene. The fleet gradually wasted
away during the 1980s and early 90s as the Zanu PF government wreaked havoc
on the economy.
Air Zimbabwe has not been spared the problems afflicting
other parastatals such as shortages of forex as well as hyperinflation.
Service delivery at the Zimbabwe Passenger Company (Zupco) and the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has sunk to record low levels. The Zanu PF
government continues to abuse the transport parastatals for populist gain
whilst failing to ameliorate their viability problems.
Of the five
planes currently at Air Zimbabwe, two 767 Boeings operate the Harare-London
route, presently the major source of income for the national airline. Air
Zimbabwe is however unable to satisfy demand on the lucrative route which has
seen British Airways operating a daily flight between Harare and
Two Boeing 737s operate local and regional routes whilst the
fifth plane has been out of service for several months now due to failure to
purchase spare parts.
Local and regional routes operated by Air
Zimbabwe include Harare-Bulawayo, Harare-Victoria Falls and
Harare-Johannesburg. But even on these limited routes service is erratic
while scheduled flights are often cancelled at short notice to accommodate
the wishes of the political leadership.
A visit to the Harare
International Airport this week revealed low activity at the state-of-the-art
facility which cost billions of dollars to construct. The airport is
underutilised by Air Zimbabwe which has resulted in other airlines taking
advantage to increase their landing frequency and capture the business
opportunities missed by the national airline.
South African Airways,
British Airways and Tanzanian Airways currently make frequent landings at
Harare International Airport.
South African Airways operates local routes
such as the Harare-Victoria Falls, especially during the high season, sources
at the Harare International Airport said.
Finance minister Herbert
Murerwa last year said there was need for parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe to
revitalise their operations and become viable.
"The continued survival
of Air Zimbabwe is critical for its operation, the promotion of tourism and
national pride. It is therefore imperative that it charges economic prices
for its routes," said Murerwa.
The airline increased its fares last year
as well as introducing a system of charging in foreign currency. However,
highly placed sources this week said the move had failed to solve the
airline's viability problems.
Plans muted more than two years ago for Air
Zimbabwe to penetrate the Asian markets and forge strategic alliances with
established airlines have withered in the bud. The national airline has
instead experienced a steady decline in business as regional competitors such
as South African Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways and Egypt Air
South African Airways, with about 150 planes that
operate routes across the world, has strategic alliances with Airlink, which
comprises individual operators as well as British Airways, among other
international airlines. Egypt Air has an alliance with Kuwait
Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena admitted in an
interview with the Zimbabwe Independent last September that the national
airline was losing to regional airlines. He however said that hopes were
pinned on plans to forge strategic alliances and penetrate new
But Chingwena's efforts are yet to yield results. Instead, the
national airline has for the past six months experienced worse financial
problems, culminating in its suspension from IATA last month. Workers at Air
Zimbabwe last week went on a brief work stoppage over salary and wage
increases as they turned down a 20% increment offered by management. The
workers are demanding a 300% increase.
"The situation is worsening
here," said a senior source at Air Zimbabwe this week. "The airline is in
serious financial problems and we understand that funds for the medical aid
and pension scheme were being diverted into meeting operational
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and
Communications, Karikoga Kaseke, this week acknowledged the huge challenges
to improve Air Zimbabwe and the other parastatals in the transport
"It is indeed a huge challenge," said Kaseke, who was at the helm
of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. "Air Zimbabwe needs to enter
strategic partnerships with other airlines whilst at the same time we
implement sound business policies. The same applies to Zupco and
Zupco entered a deal with South African-based bus manufacturer
Scania two years ago for the purchase of 250 buses that would have turned
round the fortunes of the parastatal. However, only 48 buses were delivered
to Zupco, for which it failed to pay. The deal faltered and Scania is still
trying to recover money for the 48 buses, less than half of which are still
on the roads.
Zupco has been stuck in viability problems partly
because of the "hire" of its buses by Zanu PF and government, which do not
pay for the services.
At one time Zupco had a fleet of over 700 buses.
But a visit to the Zupco depot in Harare this week revealed that most of what
remains at the transporter are ramshackle "chicken buses". Sources at Zupco
said about 50 buses in total were on the roads countrywide.
also not been spared either. Hopes of a turnaround were raised two years ago
after the introduction of the blue train to operate routes linking major
towns and cities across the country. However the parastatal was hard hit by
the introduction of the populist freedom train, which blew a big hole on the
NRZ this week reverted to the ancient steam
locomotives in the face of acute shortages of diesel. The shortage of
locomotives and wagons has also seen NRZ failing to move heavy goods,
especially coal from Hwange.
Meetings with IMF fruitful - Chapfika Staff
Writer THE Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development David Chapfika
says the meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been
fruitful and much learnt about what the country needs to do to return the
economy to normalcy.
Chapfika, a banker and former executive
director of the collapsed Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), said while Zimbabwe
was trying its best to normalise relations with the Washington-based donor
agency, it was proving very difficult to pay up all outstanding debts because
the country had other commitments.
"We need to pay for our fuel,"
Chapfika said. "We also need to pay for electricity supplies and the
importation of food before we can really pay up our dues to the
Sources said there was tension between Zimbabwe and the IMF
team that had found the going not very rosy in Zimbabwe since jetting into
the country last week.
They said government was unhappy about the
IMF's continued investigations into the country's human rights record and
delving into issues dealing with the rule of law and the judiciary as well as
press freedom in Zimbabwe.
Economist Tony Hawkins said the
relationship with the IMF needed to be boosted because the country needs
balance of payments support from the international organisation.
send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject line.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 25TH MARCH 2004 OLF
FOR THE DAY
Sometimes when you stand face to face with someone, you
cannot see his face. Mikhail S. Gorbachev
FORUM Letter 1.† Subject; THE FOOD TROUGH Dear Jag,
Agri Africa is
portraying itself as the saviour of the commercial farmer - long after the
Loss Document and Valuation Consortioum were set up. There is a difference -
there is a chance to get a head or five into the feeding trough which Jag was
never there for - and then came Agri Africa - a mutation of the Valuation
Consortium which had been set up by Jag - but with an appetite!
like some others who found that they just could not live without a big chunk
of shares in TSL?
*What is the difference?
* Who else wants a
lovely ride on the back of a few thousand farmers, and their 350 000 staff,
that have just lost nearly eveything?
I am not sure how the CFU is
portraying itself after telling farmers for so long that it was "working with
government on the land reform programme" but it could seem prudent for them
to distance themselves from such a PR policy at some stage in the future. J.
Tayler Esq. of Chiredzi appears to be well briefed on the CFU policy and
defends it with great passion, bless him.
Taking the CFU's holistic and
historical complicity in the whole land debacle I am now fascinated by Mrs.
Kerry Kay's thoughts: espousing that it is wrong for Jag to be
confrontational with any institution that has been complicit with what has
happened to farms, farmers and staff, and their families. Jag is a member of
Crisis, and the Freedom Charter is available for any person to see. * Should
Jag now be expected to default on its committment to Crisis and go on bended
knee to the CFU and Agri Africa like they some God like beings? - I think
not. * Does Mrs. Kay know something about the CFU that we do not - have they
become born again members of Crisis, re employed Mr. Freeth or done something
heroic? - I know not.
I openly ask Mr. Tayler and Mrs. Kay, and indeed
the CFU President himself, to present these new credentials on the Jag OLF,
of this 'born again CFU' that they refer to, and simply ask if the Freeth
affair has been settled satisfactorily yet? What have we to
Letter 2.† Subject: JAG OLF 22ND MARCH
2004 NO. 248
This full program is being aired regularly on ZBC TV and is
followed by a similar length program with the government's
missed the programme on BBC about the Green Bombers. Through your good
offices, would it be possible to get BBC to air this again, perhaps more than
once, not only for the likes of myself who missed it, but to show our local
friends what is going on.† This surely needs to be exposed to them? Perhaps
JAG could also advertise the times when it is due to be presented. Kind
regards Annabelle Hill
I would ask you to consider the following scenario which at one
time or another we will be likely to come across. It is one that many
farmers, business owners and employers of labour could be faced
We all personally have a deep seated fear of being picked up by the
CIO, CID or just the regular ZRP. This invariably results in us being thrown
in jail. Whilst there it is certain that our human rights will be
violated. ∑ We will be incarcerated in filthy prison cells, probably contract
lice, hepatitis, cholera or some other communicable disease. ∑ We will be
housed in a cell that was built to accommodate 6 people with 30 or so other
unfortunate individuals. ∑ The food we recieve will be dirty, blankets will
be filthy and will have sleep spooning with these other unfortunates. ∑ We
will be arrested by incompetent police who are virtually illiterate, they
will have scant disregard for the law and will have conducted almost no
proper investigation. ∑ If it is thought that we are guilty of committing an
offence classified as corruption we can be locked up for 30 or more days with
no recourse to the law and we do not have to be charged with anything. ∑
If there is little or no physical evidence to tie us to the crime, and the
police are unable to establish through normal investigative procedures that
we have in fact done anything wrong then we will really be in trouble. ∑ It
is likely that we will be whipped with sticks on the soles of our feet. We
will be routinely beaten about the body and torso where there will be no
marks. We could easily have our testicles or tongue subjected to electric
shock. This will be done to extract a confession, if guilty we will be
charged at some indeterminate time in the future, and incarcerated until
then. If they are unable to extract a confession them it will be assumed that
we are innocent and we will be released withput charge after our swelling has
You are all wondering where this is leading so I present you
with this moral dilemma.
Put yourself in this Hypothetical
I have an ongoing theft problem at my workshop. I have been
informed by an outsider that some of my employees are responsible and
evidence has been presented to me. I do not feel that the evidence I have
been given is watertight and have a sneaking suspicion that it may be someone
trying to get back at another individual but I am desparate to put a stop to
the ongoing theft.
The ZRP uniformed branch are reluctant to act as the
amount is "only" a few hundred thousand dollars that I am able to trace to
these individuals. This will mean taking statements, conducting a long and
tedious investigation, trying to locate the stolen goods and tying the courts
up with a relatively minor charge.
I have been told that if I were to
go to the CID and beef up the charge bringing in the other goods that are
missing which will take the amount to over 1 million dollars then they will
act. This is where the manipulation of the law starts to manifest
Of course this will mean that it will cost me slush money to make
sure that my case starts to take priority. The more money or "incentive"
that I offer to give, the higher priority that the case will take. The
individuals concerned will be picked up and subjected to the most horrendous
torture in order to establish their guilt or innocence. Confessions will be
extracted that may result in a conviction. I will be able to fire the
individuals concerned when they get out of jail and in theory my theft
problem will go away.
If I cause these people to arrested Knowing full
well the treatment that they will get, am I not also guilty of a
Irrespective of a persons guilt or innocence, does he deserve
brutalisation because the police are incompetent or unwilling to carry out
their investigations in a proper manner?
Am I not as guilty as the
police of violations of a persons human rights as the policeman committing
the torture? Common Germans who stood aside and watched the Nazi genocide
claimed ignorance of the gas chambers. Am I also able to claim ignorance
as I have not personally seen the police beat anyone to a pulp?
the easy route to claim the moral high ground and say that if the individual
steals then he must be punished by the system. If I were to steal from a poor
person would he be as able as I am to exploit the system to have me
prosecuted? The answer as we are all aware, is NO!
Whilst I am no
bleeding heart liberal, I tend to think that we manipulate the system when it
suits us but squeal unrelentingly when the system is used against us. When
a politically connected individual exploits the system to have us arrested
for staying on our farm and stealing our equipment it is terrible but is it
not just as bad to bend the system when it suits us.
Where does one draw
the line when economic crimes are involved? Are we not all guilty on a daily
basis of economic crime, if we were not able to conduct shady deals on a
daily basis we would not survive one month in Zimbabwe.
There is a
recent case that I am aware of where 2 economically disadvantaged young white
men were given lengthy prison sentences for stealing from their employer,
also a white man. Their employer was paying them a pittance and exploiting
their desperation to find employment in order to be able to help support
their families. This man is fabulously wealthy, connected to the party and
owns vast tracts of land untouched by the current land grab. Allegedly he
used his considerable financial muscle and political connections to force the
legal system to prosecute the case as vigorously as possible. Who is the
villain in all these scenarios?
ZANU-PF have created a monstrous legal
system that is becoming increasingly far removed from the norms of Justice.
As the whole fabric of society breaks down the economically or the
politically connected are increasingly able to exploit it to satisfy their
own greedy needs. We as individuals must be careful that we do not degrade
ourselves and become the monster that we all despise.
What am I going
to do about the theft problem that I have? I am buggered if I
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
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Move to acquire conservancies criticised Godfrey
Marawanyika THE Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has criticised government
plans to acquire all privately-owned game parks and conservancies, saying the
move is tantamount to punishing farmers who provide sanctuary for
WWF has since made an appeal to the Presidential Land
Resettlement Committee, saying land acquisition should be based on sound
ecological and business principles.
Rhino Conservancies Project
official Raoul du Toit said taking private parks would have a bearing on
other projects being financed by overseas donors.
"Some aspects of
the draft policy document convey an impression of punitive measures against
the existing conservancy members, rather than the straightforward
implementation of equitable land reform measures, so both constitutional
rights and investor safeguards need on-going consideration as this policy is
finalised," du Toit said in the WWF's submission to the Land Resettlement
"Some of the investments in wildlife were funded by loan
agreements, notably the loan that Save Valley Conservancy secured from the
International Finance Corporation for restocking the
In the February report, du Toit said wildlife assets
constituted the repayment guarantee for the loan, adding that obliterating
the current asset value of the restocked wildlife resources through
"draconian policy" would create problems.
He said the policy would
affect the willingness of World Bank institutions (including IFC and GEF) and
other funding agencies to provide future financial support for wildlife
The government has come up with a policy which seeks to
declare all conservancies and ranches state land that should be administered
by the Parks and Wildlife Authority.
Government says this will
enable resettled farmers and other indigenous people to venture into the
Under the envisaged arrangement all land and
wildlife will belong to the state and be regulated through the Ministry of
Environment and Tourism or its agencies.
In the report, du Toit
noted the increased problem of poaching in the conservancies, saying that
could not be ascribed to resource alienation.
"Far from being
alienated, informally-settled occupiers of many properties have assumed full
rights of resource utilisation and making the best of latitude that they
currently enjoy to reap these resources," du Toit said.
"It could be
argued that the official tolerance of invasions into conservancies and into
Gonarezhou National Park has served to give the go ahead to settlers to
extract 'their' wildlife with few or no checks and balances."
Toit called for the creation of opportunities to utilise the wildlife, and
controls on the levels of offtake and loss of habitats.
He said the
WWF was prepared to assist the government in coming up with a proper working
"It is a matter of reality that the WWF has recently been
confronted with a range of serious allegations of impropriety in Zimbabwe's
hunting industry, particularly in Dete-Gwayi-Matetsi area where problems of
resources pillaging were highlighted ..." he said.
allocation of rights to resources utilisation in the conservancies gives rise
to the same level of controversy that has arisen in
north-western Matabeleland, then WWF will be under extreme pressure from our
international constituents to join calls for serious sanctions, notably the
imposition of a ban on the importation of safari hunting trophies to the
Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party denied a
report in The Star newspaper on Friday that embattled President Robert Mugabe
would announce at the party's congress in December when he planned to step
Zanu-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, who was quoted by
the Johannesburg daily in the report, denied it.
"It's not true. What
I told the reporter was that we are having a congress in December where all
leaders of the party are elected. We have an election of all party leaders
every five years," Shamuyarira said.
"The reporter asked me if the
president will be re-elected and I told him that I don't know," he
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in
1980, has come under pressure to step down from domestic and international
opponents, who blame him for the country's economic and political
Mugabe, 80, has previously denied speculation he would leave
office before the end of his current term in 2008.