|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
HARARE, - A conference on the
scaling up of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in
Southern Africa opened this week in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The first of its kind in the country, the event is being hosted by the
Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (PATAM), the Treatment Action
Campaign, Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and AIDS (ZAHA) and the Southern Africa
HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS).
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the start of the conference, SAfAIDS
executive director, Lois Lunga, said the meeting could provide an
opportunity for countries to review some of the challenges faced in the
roll-out of ARVs.
He said the three-day conference, titled "Scaling up Treatment in Southern
Africa: A Way Forward", was also expected to focus on the need for more
public information on antiretroviral drug treatment.
"The conference would also focus on the World Health Organisation (WHO) 3 by
5 initiative, which is aimed at providing antiretroviral treatment to three
million people by 2005," Lunga was quoted as saying.
The WHO initiative could this month see Zimbabwe's major hospitals offering
ARVs to people living with HIV/AIDS under a partnership with UNAIDS and the
country's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
A representative of the clergy, Bishop Trevor Manhanga, said it was time
Africans discarded their perceived indifference towards the epidemic.
"This conference has to find out what is going wrong. Despite the suffering
and deaths of our compatriots, we continue as though nothing is wrong. If
debt-ridden bankrupt African countries can find the money to buy luxury
vehicles for their government ministers and political cronies, then why can
they not find the money to ease the suffering of their people infected by
HIV/AIDS with access to ARVs and other essential medicines," Manhanga said.
Mugabe Poll Poses Dilemma for MDC
March 4, 2004
Posted to the web March 4, 2004
ZIMBABWE's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is yet to decide
whether to boycott or take part in next year's parliamentary elections,
according to a senior aide of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai.
William Bango, special adviser to, and spokesperson for, Tsvangirai,
suggested that elections would not be possible while the current political
and social situation continued in the troubled southern African nation,
"where democratic space has completely shrunk".
"This is the dilemma facing us...whether we should boycott and let them take
everything or, if we participate under the present circumstances and the
elections are rigged, what will be our claims," Bango told Namibian
journalists in Windhoek yesterday.
"The Zanu-PF (President Robert Mugabe's ruling party) would very much like
to have elections under the present situation where they can manipulate
everything because state institutions are basically dead."
Last month Mugabe was quoted as saying that a parliamentary election would
be held next March.
Bango stated that the MDC would decide whether to participate in that poll
only after debate within the party.
"We will not take a unilateral decision, that is why we took the matter to
all the party structures. We are mobilising a broad-based mass action," he
Bango accused the ruling Zanu-PF of stalling all initiatives towards
dialogue that might have broken the country's political impasse.
"There has been nothing happening (as far as dialogue was concerned) since
June or July last year, contrary to claims by (South African President
Thabo) Mbeki that Zimbabweans are talking," he declared.
Earlier this year, Mbeki announced that Zimbabwe's two main political
parties had agreed to renew formal dialogue soon to resolve the country's
socio-economic and political crisis.
Bango, who is currently in Namibia to exchange views with the Congress of
Democrats, believes that this country can only play an important role in
pursuing a solution to his country's problems "once the government here
realises that the crisis in Zimbabwe is to do with governance, but has
nothing to with America or Britain".
Sunday Times (SA)
'Go to hell' says Zimbabwe minister
Thursday March 04, 2004 15:15 - (SA)
HARARE - Zimbabwe's information minister
has dismissed new US sanctions
which target him and other members of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
party, saying "imperialist" Washington could go to hell, a
"These Americans who are pontificating about human rights and democracy
would not recognise these things even if they hit them on their faces. So go
and tell the imperialist to go to hell," Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
was quoted as saying in today's edition of the state-run Herald daily.
The United States on Tuesday said it was widening an existing sanctions
regime against Zimbabwe to include seven government-related businesses.
The State Department said the sanctions will apply to commercial farms
"seized" by Moyo; Zimbabwe Defence Industries, a state-owned arms maker and
M&S Syndicate, a holding group owned by the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Moyo denied that he owned three farms included among the blacklisted
Zimbabwe businesses, insisting he owned just one - but would not be selling
his produce to the US.
"I am flattered that these hamburger-eating imperialists are interested in
my tomatoes... but I am sending them to Mbare Musika," Moyo said, referring
to a popular produce market in the capital Harare.
On Wednesday, US President George W. Bush renewed sanctions he imposed on
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and other government officials one year ago
for allegedly undermining democracy in the
southern African country.
Bush said the Zimbabwe government was causing a breakdown of the rule of
law, economic instability, and fomenting politically motivated violence.
Meanwhile, Canberra on Thursday tightened its sanctions against the Mugabe
regime, barring managers of state businesses from visiting Australia.
There was no immediate reaction to the news by the Zimbabwe government.
Last month the EU extended sanctions it had imposed against Zimbabwe to
include an arms embargo as well as travel restrictions and a freeze on
possible overseas assets of 95 government officials, including Mugabe.
Australia expands Zimbabwe bans
Senior managers of Zimbabwean state-owned enterprises will be banned from
travelling to Australia under the latest expansion of so-called smart
sanctions against the African nation.
They will join government officials on the list of Zimbabweans facing visa
restrictions for travel to Australia.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the targeted sanctions were aimed at
encouraging the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to address the human
tragedy underway in the country, without the sanctions harming the
strife-torn nation's people.
"The policies and actions of the Mugabe regime are forcing Zimbabweans to
endure economic meltdown and relentless attacks on democratic values and the
rule of law," Mr Downer said in a statement.
"I call on Robert Mugabe to take immediate steps to restore his country to
democracy and the rule of law."
Australia would continue to provide food aid to Zimbabwe, he said.
Probe targets ZUPCO
3/4/2004 7:36:42 AM (GMT +2)
lHeads to roll as fraud suspected lScania threatens legal action
IN an extra twist to the controversy surrounding the acquisition of 48
buses from Scania South Africa by the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company
(ZUPCO), police have, after protracted investigations, said that there is a
sound basis for the prosecution of all people involved in the case, which
should be treated as fraud.
This comes as it emerged that the deal has gone sour and spawned a
boardroom discord at Scania which is now mulling legal action against ZUPCO
over its failure to pay for the buses.
The buses were acquired in 2002 at a cost of US$4.8 million and
cash-strapped ZUPCO, currently on the ropes over the issue, is still to pay
an outstanding US$3 663 680. This would translate to $14.7 billion at the
average auction rate of $4 000 to US$1.
Although the legal suit is reliably understood to have been instigated
from the Switzerland head office to recover the R40 million Scania stood to
lose from the deal, it is the clearest sign yet of growing nervousness about
the beleaguered local company's ability to pay the outstanding $14 billion.
Scania now considers the deal financially imprudent after it was sent on a
merry dance when it asked for payment of the outstanding debts.
"We have received some payment but it has been a year since we last
got paid. And we have decided to take legal action but I am not able to give
you all the details but we will be able to talk to you 10 days from now",
said Henrik Henriksson, the Scania export manager in an interview from
ZUPCO chief executive Bright Matonga professed ignorance about the
impending legal suit.
Pressure on ZUPCO appeared to rise inexorably over the past two months
as concern about the financial health of the company percolated through the
market. The company, which has seemingly failed to get an eleventh hour stay
of execution from Scania, has indicated that it would seek recourse to its
shareholders for an urgent cash injection to enable it to redeem its
swingeing debts. ZUPCO's shareholders are insurance giant Southern Union
Financial Holdings (SUFH) and government, which is already increasingly
finding it difficult to balance the books. They own 49 and 51 percent
Impeccable sources said as the government tried to jettison a
potentially embarrassing debacle, police were unleashed to carry out
investigations into the procurement of the buses at the end of January this
On January 27 2004, a Superintendent Marodza and Detective Assistant
Inspector Nhunhama of the Fraud Squad in Harare went to South Africa to
carry out the investigations, which covered the history of the contract
between ZUPCO, Metropolitan Bank and Pioneer Motor Company representing
They also covered the terms and conditions of payment. At Interpol
Pretoria, Superintendent George Rogers, Inspector Mabaso and Inspector
Lebethe assisted the Zimbabwean police officers in this inquiry.
Police, who have since concluded that there is a compelling case
against those involved in what they now consider "fraudulent activities",
instituted the probe after it emerged that the supplier had not been paid
and that $4.72 billion of the $7.5 billion made available as cash cover for
the payment of a US$4.8 million debt with Scania could not be accounted for.
The funds made available by Metropolitan Bank as cash cover for the deal,
the sources said, might have disappeared in as yet unexplained
Suspicion was further raised when it was revealed that $1.52 million
was paid to Hinley Enterprises, a company whose involvement with the
procurement of buses by ZUPCO is still obscure.
A payment of $100 million was reportedly made to Pioneer Development
Company (PDC), whose directors are Simon Rudland and his wife. PDC owns
Pioneer Motor Company, which acted as Scania's agent in the transaction.
An additional $3.1 billion reportedly found its way back to ZUPCO on
the grounds that the bus company wanted to source foreign currency to pay
The Financial Gazette established this week that while several payment
channels had been proposed, no significant payment had been made to Scania,
which is now on the verge of taking legal action to recover the buses.
It has also emerged that the $7.5 billion cash cover had ballooned to
unsustainable levels due to the huge interest it was attracting.
This paper has it on good authority that a delegation from Scania
South Africa, led by Henriksson, was in the country on January 28 to meet
ZUPCO chief executive officer Bright Matonga and board chairman Charles
Nherera in pursuant of payment for the buses. Sources close to the
proceedings indicated that nothing materialised from the trip. Henriksson
"Their (Scania officials) trip to Zimbabwe was in pursuance of their
payment, which they had been asked to come and collect in Zimbabwe by
Matonga and ZUPCO chairman Professor Charles Nherera. On arrival they were
told that their money had been deposited into their account through Stanbic
"As a follow-up, they checked with Stanbic Bank and they were told
that according to bank records no such deposit or transaction had ever taken
place," a police source said.
It is reported that when the Scania delegation, led by Henriksson,
went back to confront Matonga and Nherera, the two indicated that they had
arranged a meeting with Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). The meeting never took place.
However, in correspondence to Chombo, Nherera indicated that the first
payment was made to Scania in November 2003, almost a year after the coaches
"November 2003 - the first payment in foreign currency, amounting to
US$1 000 000.00 was made to Scania South Africa. December 2003 - a second
payment of US$200 000.00 was made to Scania South Africa.
"The two amounts of forex were sourced by Stanbic Bank and were paid
for (at the official exchange rate of Z$824 to US$1 plus the bank charges)
by Pioneer Motor Company using the cash cover. Both transactions were
effected through the RBZ who released the money directly to Scania South
Africa," Nherera wrote.
Nherera indicated that the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe
had become party to the funding arrangements of the ZUPCO debt and had, in
January, made US$1 126 116 at the rate of Z$4 000 to US$1. Payment for this
(which amounted to $4 504.464 000) was also to be made from the cash cover.
However, the foreign currency was not released, apparently on the
orders of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, which stopped
Stanbic from disbursing the forex for unclear reasons
Makamba ousted from Telecel
3/4/2004 7:38:27 AM (GMT +2)
THE drama continues in the long-running James Makamba case with
reports that the Empowerment Corporation (EC) last week staged a boardroom
coup to oust the embattled business tycoon from the chairmanship of Telecel
Zimbabwe and replaced him with Silas Hungwe.
Hungwe, whose corporate history is suspect, is the president of the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) which is also a member of the EC. The EC is a
consortium of indigenous entrepreneurs with a controlling stake (60 percent)
in the mobile cellular phone operator whose licence was granted by Cabinet
in 1997. The licence was granted for political considerations under the
banner of black empowerment and wealth creation. Telecel International, a
foreign firm, owns the remaining 40 percent.
Makamba, the former ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland Central and
central committee member, is a founding member and chairman of Telecel
Zimbabwe. The prominent entrepreneur was arrested on February 9 on
allegations of externalising billions of dollars in foreign currency and is
still incarcerated under the anti-graft crusade in the financial and
business sectors initiated by President Robert Mugabe.
Impeccable sources close to the developments yesterday said that EC
members including representatives from the ZFU, National Miners Association
of Zimbabwe (NMAZ), Magamba eChimurenga and Integrated Engineering Group
held a meeting last Thursday and replaced the beleaguered Makamba arguing
that the changes were unavoidable in the face of his arrest.
Leo Mugabe, President Mugabe's nephew, who is fighting to reclaim a
long disputed 10 percent stake in Telecel, was said to be at the meeting.
Absent from the meeting were representatives from the Indigenous Business
Women's Organisation (IBWO) and Makamba's Kestrel Corporation.
EC's secretary-general Giles Munyoro confirmed Makamba's "ouster"
saying it was precipitated by his arrest.
"We held the meeting last week and replaced Makamba with Hungwe,"
Munyoro, also the president of the NMAZ said. "We have provisionally
appointed Jane Mutasa as the vice pending her sentence in court."
Munyoro said: "We gave all representatives of the EC seven days notice
of the meeting. We formed a quorum and made our decision. IBWO turned down
the invitation. I was re-elected secretary-general."
Jitters as Wankie fires 10 senior managers, phases out some posts
3/4/2004 7:39:39 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - Wankie Colliery Company Limited (WCC) has axed 10 senior
managers as part of the ongoing restructuring of the country's sole producer
of coal, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
It also emerged yesterday that a Harare-based employment agency -
Proserve Executive Appointments - has been roped in to recruit new employees
to fill the void left by the 10 managers shown the exit at short notice last
WCC managing director Godfrey Dzinomwa advised all employees of the
retrenchments in a memorandum dated February 17 2004.
"As a follow up to my communiqué of 16 February 2004, the
restructuring of the senior management and strategic positions in the
company has resulted in the following managers proceeding on leave pending
the recruitment for the newly restructured positions: general manager
(operations), general manager (finance and administration).
"Vacant positions phased out, technical services manager, processing
manager, marketing manager, public relations officer, chief internal audit,
security manager, purchasing manager, materials manager and human resources
manager," read the memorandum titled "Organisational restructuring".
Sources at the colliery told this newspaper that it was all jitters
among the remaining senior managers and other employees who are not yet
certain about their fate.
The government, through the Mines Ministry, gave the new colliery boss
the green light to do whatever he can to turn around the fortunes of the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed concern, which is tottering from a
shortage of foreign currency needed to procure spare parts and lack of
As part of the turnaround, Dzinomwa is anticipating to increase
production by at least 90 percent by May this year.
WCC is the country's largest producer of coal and coke products and is
listed on the ZSE and the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges.
Apart from the government, WCC shareholders include Messina Investment
Limited (11.72 percent), Garmony Investment (Pvt) Ltd (10.52 percent),
London Register (7.33 percent), Edward Nominees (Pvt) Limited (5.83
percent), Johannesburg Register (1.96 percent), the National Social Security
Authority (1.96 percent), SCM Limited (1.17 percent), Wangh Co (Pvt) Limited
(1.03) and 1 206 individual shareholders with an16.87 percent stake.
Cash-strapped Air Zim fails to recover US$4mln from Congolese airline
3/4/2004 7:41:17 AM (GMT +2)
THE troubled national airline, Air Zimbabwe, has seemingly failed to
recover the US$4 million (about Z$16.8 billion) it is owed by Lignesa
Airlines (LAC) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since March 2000.
Insiders at Air Zimbabwe told The Financial Gazette this week that the
parastatal, which was at one time suspended from the International
Association of Travel Agents, had run out of ideas on how it could recover
the debt that could help improve the airline's working capital requirements.
The case has since been referred for arbitration. The development came
about after the national airline entered into a joint route management deal
Under the deal, Air Zimbabwe planes serviced the
Harare-Kinshasa-Brussels route, while LAC staff sold tickets on behalf of
the Zimbabwean airline and proceeds were to be deposited in a joint account.
The deal collapsed in March 2002 after LAC failed to deposit the money
into the joint account. LAC has since lost interest in reviving the
Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Rambai Chingwena, who
communicated with this reporter through his secretary, referred all
questions to the airline's legal and corporate affairs department.
The legal and corporate affairs manager, Arthur Manase, said various
ways were being explored to ensure that the matter was resolved.
"Please note that all options are being explored to ensure that the
matter is settled to the mutual satisfaction of all parties concerned. As
Air Zimbabwe engages in its turnaround strategy, all efforts are being made
to enhance its service delivery by resuscitating and broadening its routes
whenever possible," said Manase.
Efforts to get a comment from LAC officials were fruitless by the time
of going to print.
Several Zimbabwean companies which attempted to do business in the DRC
had their fingers burnt because of the high political risk which prevailed
in that country.
Ex-trust Bank chief quizzed
3/4/2004 7:42:02 AM (GMT +2)
CORNELIUS Maradza, the managing director of the Zimbabwe Development
Bank (ZDB), who had the shortest possible stint as the Trust Holdings
Limited boss, was quizzed by police last week over a case involving US$500
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed investigating officers
took Maradza and two other ZDB officials to task on February 25 but declined
to give details. He said: "I can confirm we were investigating the case, but
I cannot give you the details."
Insiders at ZDB suspected the trio could have been grilled over a
foreign currency loan advanced to Southend Cargo Airlines for purposes of
financing an airfreight business in Zimbabwe. Southend had plans to lease an
aircraft from the United States, which did not materialise because of
alleged delays in the transfer of the funds.
When the transfer was effected into an account kept by Southend's
business partners in the US, representatives of the airline allegedly did
not sign for the money.
This raised questions on how the transaction was effected. It is
further alleged that ZDB had no licence to trade in foreign currency. A
mortgage bond on the residential property of one of Southend's directors
secured the facility. Maradza confirmed that he was quizzed by police
yesterday but denied ZDB externalised foreign currency.
"This was a legitimate business transaction aimed at generating
foreign currency. Transfers were done using registered dealers. We
understand that our client sued the leasing company for the return of the
money and was unsuccessful," he said.
Fresh row over chefs' hunting safari leases
3/4/2004 7:42:50 AM (GMT +2)
FRESH allegations of favouritism in the allocation of hunting quotas
for this season have emerged in Hwange, giving a fresh dimension to the
controversy in Matabeleland North that has sucked in senior ZANU PF
The new twist to the saga surrounding the allocation of lucrative
hunting concessions comes at a time when disgruntled locals have recommended
the cancellation of all contentious safari leases parcelled out to ZANU PF
Last month, The Financial Gazette highlighted the discord in the area
over the allocation of photographic and hunting leases to senior ZANU PF
officials from outside the region.
Players in the hunting and photographic sector in the province held a
highly charged meeting on Sunday chaired by the governor and resident
minister for Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, demanding the re-distribution
of hunting quotas.
Locals claimed the Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Management had denied them hunting quotas this season, a charge a department
official said was necessitated by over-hunting, mostly in the Gwayi and
The entry of alleged outsiders dominated the meeting, also attended by
officials from the National Parks and Wildlife Management, the Intensive
Conservation Association, the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ) and local
It emerged at the meeting that some ZANU PF politicians,
business-people and ambassadors from outside Matabele-land held about 100
000 hectares of land each, while local politicians, among them governor
Mpofu, held about 3 000 hectares.
Mpofu confirmed holding the land but said he and others in the eastern
part of the massive Hwange National Park had been banned from hunting.
Mpofu told The Financial Gazette that the meeting recommended the
repossession of land with a view to re-distributing it in a manner that
would not raise eyebrows.
"It has also been recommended that locals be given priority in the
allocation of the safari and forestry lands. The stakeholders felt that if
locals were given some of the lucrative farms with large game, they would be
able to develop their communities. I am happy that the meeting came up with
recommendations and I will be forwarding these to Minister John Nkomo and
Minister Francis Nhema," he said.
Nkomo is the Minister of Special Affairs in the Office of the
President Responsible for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement.
Nhema, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, could not immediately
comment, but has in the past disassociated himself from the allocation of
the farms allegedly to his close colleagues in ZANU PF.
Last month, Nhema defended the allocation of farms to some of his
colleagues outside Matabeleland, saying it would be unfair for his ministry
officials to discriminate people from other provinces.
Documents prepared by the Department of National Parks shown to this
newspaper before the meeting on Sunday showed that in Matetsi Unit One,
Eddie Kazombe was allocated 403.77 square kilometres in Unit 2, Enos Dube
292.11 square kilometres, Unit 3 Jacob Mudenda 355.51 square kilometres,
Unit 4 M. Chidziva 469 square kilometres and Webster Shamu of Famba Safaris
in Unit 5 with 368.59 square kilometres.
Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of Zimbabwe National Army Commander Constantine
Chiwenga, is listed as holding 585.40 square kilometres in Unit 6, while
Lovemore Chihota has 614 square kilometres in Unit 7. Marble Dete is listed
as holding 30.5 square kilometres and Tobias Musariri 512 square kilometres.
Several others connected to the ruling party also held huge tracts of
land in the wildlife-rich Sikumi Forestry under the jurisdiction of the fca.
These included a Mr Nyamupingidza of Kasipite Safaris, L Chitiga of
Forklands Investment and Ms Nyamuswa of Shanganai. Ambassador Mvududu is
listed as having been allocated 8 000 hectares of Deka.
Chiyangwa's bail conditions relaxed
3/4/2004 7:43:56 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - The High Court has relaxed bail conditions for Philip
Chiyangwa, the flamboyant Chinhoyi legislator and ZANU PF chairman for
Mashonaland West, who is facing three criminal charges.
Harare High Court Judge Justice Bhunu on Monday this week varied
Chiyangwa's bail conditions imposed by the court on January 16 2004.
Chiyangwa is out on bail on charges involving the obstruction of
justice, contempt of court and perjury which surfaced after the arrest of
ENG Capital Asset Management directors, Nyasha Watyoka and Gilbert Muponda,
on fraud allegations involving $61 billion.
Justice Bhunu ordered Chiyangwa to report to Borrowdale Police Station
once a fortnight every Sunday between 6am and 6pm. Before the bail
alterations, the legislator was reporting at Harare Central Police Station
on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The judge also directed the Registrar of the High Court to release the
ZANU PF Member of Parliament's passport "into the latter's custody whenever
applicant (Chiyangwa) intends to travel on business, subject to the
applicant providing proof of destination and duration of visit, and
applicant shall surrender the passport to the Registrar of the High Court
within two (2) days of returning from such travel."
Meanwhile, the Carte Blanche show, which recently broadcast a
documentary implicating several ruling party and government officials in a
grain smuggling operation, has publicly issued an apology to Chiyangwa after
the station named the Chinhoyi legislator in the insert broadcast on
February 22 2004.
The insert, entitled "An empty grain basket?" contained footage of a
delegation of prominent Zimbabwean public officials at Shankuru Estates -
from which the grain smuggling operation was run.
Carte Blanche said one of the members of the delegation identified as
Chiyangwa was in fact not him.
Tourism catches a fever as polls near
3/4/2004 7:46:07 AM (GMT +2)
THE 2005 parliamentary polls are sending chills down the spines of
players in the tourism industry, who often catch a severe cold each time
Zimbabwe's main political parties square up in crucial elections, analysts
said this week.
President Robert Mugabe, 80, announced last month that the elections,
which could turn out to be a fierce battle between his ruling ZANU PF and
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would be held before March 2005.
Players in the tourism industry, who still have bitter memories of the
catastrophic events that plunged the sector into a "no-go zone" in the
run-up to the bloody June 2000 parliamentary elections and the 2002
presidential ballot, are already worried about another possible bumpy cycle.
Analysts told The Financial Gazette this week the industry, which at
one point rose from the ashes to become Zimbabwe's third largest foreign
currency earner, was a sensitive one that was highly susceptible to
political and economic shocks.
They said it was no surprise, therefore, that the tourism industry
took a major battering at the height of the government's chaotic land reform
Before the bloody agrarian reform in 2000, tourism earned the southern
African economy US$770 million in 1999, but the figure plummeted to a paltry
US$77 million in 2002.
And between 1999 and 2002, Zimbabwe all but lost the lucrative
European and American markets, the industry's lifeblood.
Players in the
sector are now battling to eke out niche markets in the
Far East in line with President Mugabe's "look East" policy in the face of
Western pressure against his government over human rights issues.
A couple of weeks before President Mugabe's announcement of the 2004
plebiscite, both ZANU PF and the MDC had launched their campaigns, raising
temperatures within the tourism industry, which is still battling to recover
from the damage caused by the June 2000 parliamentary ballot and the 2002
Bulawayo-based chartered accountant Eric Bloch said irrespective of
the parliamentary election, there were little prospects of the industry
returning to its glamorous position of the early 1990s.
Bloch said: "I can't
see prospects of a recovery until we can convince
the world that there is law and order in Zimbabwe. People care about crime
rate and violence.
"On top of that, they know of the shortages we have from time to time,
that is, fuel, and they see no point in coming to Zimbabwe."
Ironically, Bloch is expected to head a team from the central bank
that will have the tough task of convincing Zimbabweans abroad to remit
their earnings through official channels.
The Bulawayo-based analyst, however, said he saw a flicker of hope in
regional and domestic tourism, where Zimbabwe still enjoyed some confidence.
He said the period
preceding elections elsewhere had always been
accompanied by lulls in tourism and, for Zimbabwe, some players could even
fail to emerge from the slump.
"For companies in this industry, some may collapse, but the main thing
is how much they can profit from regional tourism," he said.
The impact would mostly be felt in the second half of the year,
traditionally the period in which companies rake in much of their profits,
For the local tourism sector, it may not only be the elections that
could weigh down prospects of a quick turnaround.
The industry is still to profit fully from the "look East" policy,
which has not been helped by the outbreak of the deadly bird flue virus in
Experts say the virus could be worse than the Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome, better known by its acronym SARS, which sent tremors in Zimbabwe
A local analyst, Nyasha Chasakara, admitted there were a number of
other things that still overshadowed the tourism industry such as the
negative sentiment in the economy.
Chasakara said the fact that there would be elections in South Africa,
Zimbabwe's largest trading partner, in April 2005 could mean that the whole
southern region could also be affected by a slump in tourism.
But despite the
setbacks, Chasakara said players within the industry
such as ZimSun Leisure and Rainbow Tourism Group, among others, had tried to
restore the industry's lost glitter.
"When you look at the industry as a whole, it's not in their hands to
decide their destiny. But I would say the mood surrounding the elections
will determine where the industry will go. If they are good and there is no
violence, then the economy will benefit.
"One gets the feeling that they are less than 12 months away already
and there hasn't been that much hype we have picked up about tourists who
are now sceptical about visiting Zimbabwe," said Chasakara. "The lifting of
travel bans is also encouraging."
leading tourism expert, Petros Chidziya of Travellers Information
Centre, said problems were mounting for the industry as it was now grappling
with the after-effects of the new monetary policy announced by the central
bank in December last year.
The policy saw the near-collapse of some banks from the contagion
resulting from the closure of ENG Capital Asset Management.
"The industry has been indirectly affected by this development as some
of our clients had invested in some of the affected financial institutions.
This spelt disaster for us as they had to readjust their travel budgets and
late payments were also witnessed.
"We also saw
the introduction by the Reserve Bank of the foreign
exchange auction, which saw the firming of the Zimbabwe dollar against all
major currencies. We were doing brisk business with the Zimbabweans staying
abroad who were paying for air tickets for their relatives to visit or join
"They were getting a very favourable rate on the parallel market,
which made the fares affordable. With this new development, they are finding
it difficult and are holding back, hoping the dollar might lose again," said
"The road has not been easy since the announcement (of the new
monetary policy) by the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the 18th
of December 2003.
"The world just collapsed for both individuals and companies as a host
of malpractices were unearthed in the financial sector."
The (un)holy alliance of tycoons, politicians
3/4/2004 7:47:01 AM (GMT +2)
Arrests of prominent business moguls show links with
politicians are as much a curse as they are a blessing
THE wave of arrests that swept the country in the past few weeks,
netting a number of politically well-connected and influential business
people, underlines how it can be both a curse and a blessing for any
business person to be associated with politicians.
In Zimbabwe, which has had its fair share
of corruption, the twin
forces of cronyism and a deep-seated political patronage system have given
rise to sweetheart deals that are a product of influence-peddling and
back-scratching relationships for commercial convenience.
But recent events in the economic sector, spawned by the government's
anti-graft crusade and which have seen the arrests of prominent business
people with strong links to the ruling ZANU PF, have raised debate on
whether political patronage pays.
Analysts said while it paid in the short term to
associate with and
ride on the influence of politicians, such relationships could be costly in
the long term.
They said those who survived on such links should not cry foul when
the tables were suddenly turned.
The past three months have witnessed a clampdown on vice within the
financial sector - an initiative of the central bank that has roped in ZANU
PF lightweights but apparently turned a blind eye on the real culprits whose
hands are truly stuck in the till.
Political analyst Alois Masepe said business
people aligned to
politicians were nothing more than wheelers and dealers without areas of
specialisation who jumped at every opportunity that came their way using
political protection and patronage.
"Business persons attached to politics or politicians must realise
that politics can make or break them," Masepe said.
"They are usually in business to benefit from political patronage. The
business people bypass procedures and win tenders to do this or that.
"They harvest as much as they can under political protection, but they
must realise that there is an ultimate price to pay when the tables turn.
They will be used as sacrificial lambs," he added.
Masepe cited prominent businessmen such as Mushandirapamwe and
Mwamuka - both now late - as shining examples of entrepreneurs who fought
hard and honestly to earn their keep.
He said they had achieved fame and fortune under very harsh
"Those caught at the wrong end of the stick must now not complain.
"They took advantage of their political links, getting rich using
short cuts and unsavoury means. Now they are the victims of the same
politics they so cherished," he said.
analyst, Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said: "It's not really
beneficial in the long run because at some point, those business persons may
run into difficulties.
"The business people should not be seen to be mixing with politicians
for the simple reason of wanting to benefit from the relationship and gain
some form of political clout. They should mingle with civil servants who
deal with the issues at hand."
Dzinotyiwei, however, said there was nothing wrong with interacting
with politicians provided the business people did not change the way they
conducted their business.
Commenting on the clampdown on white-collar crime, Dzinotyiwei said he
doubted the government's sincerity given that its past policies had been
supportive of the vice in the first place.
As the blitz on
corruption unfolded, first to be dragged to the courts
were two youthful directors of ENG Asset Management, Gilbert Muponda and
Nyasha Watyoka, on allegations of squandering over $61 billion of investors'
The pair is reportedly linked to some ZANU PF heavyweights who
allegedly used the two as fronts to cut corners and accumulate wealth,
taking advantage of the economic chaos in the country.
Then ZANU PF's chairman for Mashonaland West province, outspoken
businessman and Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi, Philip Chiyangwa, was
arrested on charges of contempt of court and perjury after he threatened to
deal with an investigating officer during a bail hearing in the magistrates
Chiyangwa later won his bail case in the Supreme Court.
As the war against white-collar crime took its toll, prominent Trust
Bank executives William Nyemba, Chris Goromonzi and Nyevero Hlupo were
booted out of the financial house on allegations of mismanagement.
Former ZANU PF Mashonaland West chairman and
James Makamba was next in line.
He was arrested for allegedly externalising funds and his co-director
in mobile phone network Telecel Zimbabwe, Jane Mutasa, was also nabbed.
Mutasa was convicted of externalising US$2 000.
Makamba is reported to have close political links with former
Commander of the Defence Forces and now businessman Solomon Mujuru, former
Cabinet minister Chen Chimutengwende and Minister of State for National
Security in the President's Office Nicholas Goche.
Mutasa, on the
other hand, is said to enjoy a lot of support and
respect in the ZANU PF's Women's League.
Constitutional law expert and chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku, said it was inevitable for business people to be
closely linked to politicians but added that political patronage was an
inherent business risk.
"If you are operating in an environment where the rules are fair, you
don't need to be linked to anyone," Madhuku said.
"But if you are in an environment where political clout can assist
your business, then the links are inevitable. Those being arrested must not
regret or cry foul. If you associate with a corrupt regime, you only have
yourself to blame when things go wrong."
Moyo's powers unreasonable, lawyer concedes
3/4/2004 7:50:08 AM (GMT +2)
THE lawyer representing the government and the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) in the case in which the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ) is challenging the constitutionality of some sections of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) yesterday conceded that
some of the powers vested in the Information Minister were unreasonable.
Johannes Tomana of Muzangaza, Tomana and Mandaza, yesterday admitted
that some of the powers given the minister through AIPPA were too much,
unreasonable and cannot satisfy the natural laws of justice.
Under cross-examination from Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and
Justice Luke Malaba when the Supreme Court sat as a constitutional court to
hear ANZ's challenge on AIPPA, Tomana could not defend the sweeping powers
that the Act gives to the minister, especially under Section 4.
Under this section, the minister can charge a member of the media
regulatory body, the (MIC), with misconduct, suspend him, investigate him,
prosecute him and even dismiss him without the involvement of any other
"The body regulating journalists should be independent from both the
government and commercial interests, but with the minister having powers to
suspend members of the Commission, how would this be possible?" said Justice
Chidyausiku. "How can the minister, who is an interested party, have the
powers to charge a member with misconduct, investigate and prosecute him?"
Asked, as a lawyer, if something was not wrong with such powers in a
democratic society, Tomana responded: "I have no specific instructions to
concede to that," to which Justice Malaba interjected: "You don't need to
have any instructions to concede to this . if the section is unlawful, it is
"What makes it even worse is that the Act does not even attempt to
define what constitutes an act of misconduct," Justice Chidyausiku said.
"The minister would have to decide what constitutes a misconduct and what
does not . in this case even sneezing can be defined as misconduct."
ANZ challenged the constitutionality of several sections of AIPPA, but
the Supreme Court has already ruled on a number of them after they had been
challenged by Capital Radio and the Independent Journalists Association of
Zimbabwe. Tomana argued that most of the remaining provisions of AIPPA were
"reasonable in a democratic society and therefore constitutional", drawing
parallels with some Swedish and British media laws.
He said Swedish media laws, which he said has 14 journalistic crimes
compared to AIPPA with one journalistic crime, were worse than the
ANZ lawyers led by Mordecai Mahlangu dismissed Tomana's arguments,
saying it was not true that Swedish and British media laws were worse than
AIPPA as in most cases they were not interpreted the way the State was
ZCTU has lost it
7:33:43 AM (GMT +2)
SINCE the departure of its former articulate leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
who, in the glow of his greatest triumph as a labour leader switched to
politics in 1999, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has lost
contact with reality. The labour movement does not seem to have a strategic
clarity of thinking and a vision as to the path to be trodden in the fight
for the workers' cause.
And indeed there is predictably a crisis of public confidence in the
union which does not seem to have sufficient leadership depth. In sharp
contrast to Tsvangirai, who it must be admitted, led the labour body with
some degree of distinction, the current leadership with a bloated opinion of
its importance is, for want of better words, a pathetic excuse for trade
And if nothing else, last week's failed industrial action, a major
blow which further damaged the ZCTU's reputation as a credible labour body
or what was left of it, only helped to underline the extent to which the
labour body no longer inspires confidence anymore.
The labour movement increasingly appears to be out of its depth when
it comes to what their constituency, the workers, consider burning issues.
Unless the ZCTU leadership has a cruel and dry sense of humour, how could
they, in their wisdom, ever think that they could rally the workers to
demonstrate against such inconsequential and far-fetched issues as the
unceremonious exit of Lovemore Matombo from his job at Zimpost?
Given the trauma, violence and well documented police brutality during
such incidents, who in their right mind would risk life and limb going into
the streets for such a worthless cause? Indeed, who would risk being locked
up for such an asinine reason in a situation where the police are
increasingly known to ensure public safety everywhere except the police
station? Please. Are these people serious? Is this the best that they can
do? Or are we missing something here?
Don't we already have a plethora of vexing issues that need urgent
attention? For a start, scores of workers have been made redundant over the
past couple of years as companies moved to trim fat from their employment
rolls in the face of the economic meltdown but the ZCTU did not even twitch.
So what is so special about Matombo? Not only that but there is widespread
discontent over social deprivation resulting from economic mismanagement,
frequent and unjustifiable sensitive price increases and an insidious tax
regime among others. Even though these issues directly affect the workers,
they have at most provoked muted response from the ZCTU.
Lest we are misunderstood, we have to point out that we totally agree
with the ZCTU that there is a compelling case against the National Social
Security Authority (NSSA). This is something that the labour body should
pursue with the zeal of the converted because there is need for a radical
push for transparency at the pension management institution, which is
currently run under a veil of secrecy. Workers who contribute to the
pay-as-you-go state pension offered by the authority indeed demand full
disclosure and they must get it! They have a genuine grievance against NSSA
but then why spoil and indeed trivialise it by lumping it together with
inconsequential and unrelated issues? The mind boggles. Or could there be
more to the ZCTU leadership's intentions than meets the eye?
We feel, as indeed do most of the workers who bear the brunt of the
alleged mismanagement at NSSA, that some of the issues put down as the
reasons for the ill-fated job stayaway were too specious and spurious as to
be tangible. This explains why the ZCTU dismally failed to sway the people
towards the stayaway which incident will now go down in history as a
farcical episode in the history of trade unionism in Zimbabwe. In fact,
there is now a justified ill-feeling over the sincerity of the current ZCTU
leadership which, as surely as the sun rises from the east and sets in the
west, will soon switch trade unionism for politics. The general feeling is
that the ZCTU leadership is now using its position to stitch together a
political power base at the expense of real worker-related issues. How sad.
Project doomed as govt fails to raise US$10 mln
3/4/2004 7:14:51 AM (GMT +2)
Hope for end to energy woes shattered
THE Lupane gas project is facing collapse amid revelations that the
government has failed to raise US$10 million (about $39 billion at the
auction rate) needed to kick-start the project, The Financial Gazette
established this week.
Sources close to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which
has been scouting for investment partners over the years to get the project
off the drawing board, said the shortage of foreign currency had dealt a
hammer blow to the initiative, long seen as the part of the solution to the
country's energy crisis.
"The government is committed to implementing the project, but the
prevailing economic conditions have made it very difficult to raise the
required foreign currency," said the source.
Contacted for comment this week, IDC general manager, Mike Ndudzo,
referred all questions to the group's public relations consultant who could
not respond to questions by the time of going to press.
The project, which was to be spearheaded by a local company called
LUPGAS, was mooted in 1999.
Other local investors that had shown interest in the project include
the Zimbabwe Power Company, which is a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and the Zimbabwe Mining Development
The project would provide an alternative source of energy for local
companies currently battling with high electricity bills.
Zimbabwe imports electricity from the region but the foreign currency
shortages have resulted in suppliers refusing to renew contracts with the
financially troubled ZESA.
A nationwide blackout is looming, as ZESA is battling to raise about
US$51 million (Z$186 billion on the auction rate) needed to settle its debt.
Gloomy outlook for tobacco
3/4/2004 7:22:52 AM (GMT +2)
Selling season forecast to kick off on a low note
TOBACCO auction floors are set for a gloomy early opening, despite
indications that the industry could react positively to the boon provided by
the new foreign currency regime announced by the central bank late last
Industry players said although the opening date of the auction floors
had been brought forward to March 30 from the usual mid-April, chances were
that business would be subdued until May.
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) president Duncan Millar said the
industry had agreed to move the date forward to help cash-strapped farmers
ease their cash flow problems.
"We agreed to open the auction floors earlier mostly because a lot of
farmers are in need of money, but we anticipate low activity on most
auctions until May," Millar said.
Most farmers had planted late and this was likely to impact negatively
on tobacco deliveries when the auction floors open, he said.
A crop size of between 60 million and 62 million kgs of flue-cured
virginia tobacco is expected to go through the three auction floors, down
from 82 million kgs achieved last season.
"This has been a very difficult season, but we anticipate a similar
crop in quality to that of last year," said the ZTA president.
The tobacco industry has faced serious problems, which have seen
production of the country's top foreign currency earner plummeting to its
lowest levels in decades.
The unavailability of inputs, coal and a hitherto unfavourable
exchange rate have devastated the sector.
Analysts say even with a handsome 33 percent jump in the world United
States dollar price of tobacco since 2000, the government's chaotic land
reform has cost the country more than US$200 million in lost production.
The tobacco selling season closed last year with 82 million kgs having
gone through the country's three auction floors at an average price of
US$2.25 per kg, translating to US$183 million netted in the 2003 tobacco
Observers say whatever the land reform might in the future achieve in
terms of greater racial equity in ownership, its negative impact on tobacco
output and exports has been severe.
In 2000, the year the chaotic land reform started, about 237 million
kgs of tobacco was sold at an average price of US$1.69 per kg, earning the
country US$400 million.
But hectarage under tobacco production has fallen from 84 857 in 2000
to 74 295 in 2002 and an estimated 65 000 in 2003, despite the increase in
the number of farmers in the sector following the agrarian reform.
Street kid menace
3/4/2004 7:52:08 AM (GMT +2)
Twice within one month in the recent past, there were reports in the
national press about middle-aged women who were raped by Harare's fearsome
army of street kids who have virtually become a law unto themselves.
What was so chilling about the latest incident of rape involving these
young street dwellers, who have turned the streets of Harare into terror
zones for motorists during the day almost in the same way as they have
turned them into terror zones for women during the night, was where the rape
Whereas in the past they were accosting their victims in the dark
corners of streets far removed from the city centre, usually in the avenues
or in the kopje area of Harare of which some parts still remain seedy
despite the considerable success of efforts in the past ten years or so to
clean it up and render it more respectable, their last recorded victim was
raped in Leopold Takawira Street.
It was well within the city's central business district, presumably in
the full glare of that street's powerful lights.
And it must be noted that whatever reports of rape or general
From Page 25
of women that have found their way into the press have only managed to
do so because the victims were all above 30 years of age and so had the
courage to go public about their ordeal - a demeaning and humiliating
experience which younger women would not normally want publicized. As such,
they can only be the tip of an iceberg.
Our society is such that going public would expose the girls to the
ever-present danger of being victimized twice as the cruel tendency in most
underdeveloped societies is to unfairly blame the women for what happened to
them because, in the minds of some men - and, unbelievably, quite a few
women from the older generation - "they asked for it by moving around town
at night unaccompanied".
God knows how many dozens, if not scores, of women who were moving in
the company of their partners have been raped in the presence of their
helpless boyfriends or even husbands and, in quite a few cases, having been
dragged forcibly out of their partners' cars. The problem is therefore not
the women but men who think like animals.
It is because of the prevalence of that unfortunate attitude in
society that the majority of young women who are molested in that way prefer
not to make a report, not even to their close relatives or friends. That
practically creates a situation where a society in which everyone ought to
feel safe, is inadvertently made, for all its women, to look like a jungle
with teeming with wild animals all on the prowl everywhere, anxious to
pounce on any female they may take a fancy to.
It is a primitive state of affairs which we certainly not only can do
without but which, now that it already exists, we can and ought to do
something to eliminate. And action to rid our society of this scourge will
not be by way of everyone coming together and unleashing organized
counter-terrorism against the young street-dwellers - literally beating the
daylight out of them. No doubt, that kind of action is something which we
actually can do, something within our capability since the young street
terrorists are so few when compared to the number of their potential
victims - motorists and women that together we can easily overwhelm them.
But that kind of a solution should never be resorted to in a civilized
society as that would be tantamount to putting our stamp of approval to the
law of the jungle - survival of the fittest. So that way of solving the
problem is out. There is a better way out.
A few weeks ago, we were pleasantly surprised to see the police take
an initiative which they ought to have taken a long time ago but which, for
some reason, they seemed simply unwilling, but not unable, to take.
Literally, the police mercilessly wielded the batons and rubber truncheons
which they normally reserve for savagely beating up peacefully protesting
members of civic organizations, their number one favourite target of late
being the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly.
That sort of action from the police against the street kids can only
yield very limited results. The most immediate and visible result was that
the kids eye-sore presence on our streets immediately disappeared. But as
similar, if less brutal, action has proved against prostitutes, it only
provides society with a temporary respite. After only a few days, they
started drifting back and now they are quite visible again almost all over
But where that police action scored a bigger success was in putting
fear into youngsters' hearts. They are no longer as arrogantly daring and
dare-devilish in their dealings with members of the public as they were
before the police raid.
It is almost a certainty that they will never be as menacing again as
they used to be in the past to motorists from who they virtually extorted
money as payment for "protecting" cars against being broken into - by the
street kids themselves of course! The kids must stay low for the obvious
reason that they cannot afford to draw unnecessary police attention to
The only way of achieving a lasting solution to this problem is to go
about it the most humane way possible. That means applying the same approach
which, of necessity, will have to be used when the country finally summons
enough will to confront the obviously no-criminal but nevertheless more
depressing presence of blind beggars on our streets: approaching it as a
social ill that needs organized and systematic, state-sponsored action.
In terms of the Children's Protection and Adoption Act, these
youngsters on our streets are lawfully classified as "Children in need of
care" just like any ambandoned children or children with abusive or mentally
ill parents. As a trained social worker myself, I know the State has a legal
duty and obligation to find a home for them either with their real parents,
with adoptive parents or with foster parents or, as a last resort in a
children's home. Those with a known criminal record will have to be placed
in a probation hostel like Percy Ibbotson in Luveve, Bulawayo or the Kadoma
Probation Hostel. It will have to be a combined operation involving the
police and officers from the Department of Social Welfare. The
technichalities of it are not our concern in this article but the fact that
there are provisions in the country's statutes to deal with this problem
humanely at State level. I am sure almost every single one of these kids
knows either their parent(s}directly or at least one relative who can lead
the police or probation officers to their parents. Wherever possible, if the
parents can be traced and found to be sound in both body and mind, they
should be made to play their natural role as parents in nurturing and
providing for their offspring.
The same will have to be done for our blind beggars. It is a fact that
many of them have relatives who can look after them reasonably well even in
these hard times. What could be done is that, after the Department of Social
Welfare has located a relative willing to take the blind beggar in, they can
then be registered, and if their own means are not sufficient to cater for
the additional person in their care, these can be augmented by a monthly
allowance from the department. No doubt we are likely to be told that the
government does not have the money to tackle this mammoth task and yet it
had the money to sustain an army in the DRC for almost five years.
The government could also easily find the money to compensate very fit
"war victims" in senior posts in government and to pay gratuities and
monthly allowances to ex-combatants, most of whom are able-bodied and many
of whom are in gainful employment and perfectly capable of looking after
themselves and their families. But then of course it cannot be expected to
find the money to look after its destitute.
Politics of governance and transparency
3/4/2004 7:34:59 AM (GMT +2)
Ever since the announcement of the 2004 National Budget and later the
Monetary Policy, there has been renewed interest in the subject of
governance and transparency both at the government level and at corporate
A lot of developments have taken place much to the surprise of the
public which was getting accustomed to a different way of doing business.
These developments have seen laws being changed, new ministries being
established and influential people being questioned by the law enforcement
Has the economy suddenly awaken to the need to promote good governance
and transparency? What are the potential benefits of such a paradigm shift
in our values as a nation?
The following is the first part of a series of discussions on this
The extreme capitalist ideology had
given the wrong impression that
the economy can be left entirely to the market forces better known as 'the
invisible hand'. As Ann Florini puts it, 'the invisible hand of the market
depends heavily on the support of a thick glove of rules, norms, and
institutions, including governments. But too often the glove is opaque,
obscuring flows of information essential to the efficient and equitable
functioning of both markets and the national and international institutions
that regulate them'.
In her 1999 article titled 'Does the Invisible Hand Need a Transparent
Glove? The Politics of Transparency', Florini noted that transparency was on
the rise being touted as the solution to such disparate problems as
financial volatility, environmental degradation, money laundering and
She was, however, quick to note that transparency faces much
opposition, particularly from those under scrutiny, who have strong
incentives to avoid providing information.
The key to increasing transparency is thus to create incentives for
governments and corporations to provide information.
As the world becomes more tightly integrated, many people are affected
by and thus want a say in what used to be other people's business.
Consistent transparency can smoothen the operation of financial
markets, and it may attract investment that fosters growth. It provides the
means of detecting and thus correcting errors in the policies of
governmental and international institutions.
As democratic norms spread, it is harder and harder to maintain
societal consensus on decision reached in secret by small elites.
Publics have proved willing to accept painful reforms, but only when
they have been fully consulted and kept informed.
Transparency has been defined in many different ways depending on
where it is being used.
In politics, transparency refers to enabling citizens to learn what
their governments are up to by obtaining information provided by the
In economics and finance, transparency has been defined very broadly
as 'a process by which information about existing conditions and decisions
and actions is made accessible, visible and understandable' (IMF 1998).
Both definitions agree that transparency is always closely connected
to accountability. Thus, the purpose for calls for transparency is to permit
citizens, markets, or governments to hold others accountable for their
policies and performance.
Despite the benefits of transparency, increasing it is difficult.
Doing so often requires the power to induce disclosure, either by coercion
or by restructuring incentives, and the information thus revealed can shift
power from the former holders of secrets to the newly informed.
It is, therefore, important to be pragmatic about when it is
worthwhile to push for transparency, because that push is often costly and
not always worth the cost.
Transparency merely lets people see streams of facts. It neither
enables people to do anything about those facts nor conveys any
understanding of their meaning. Thus demand for transparency only makes
sense if two conditions are met i.e.:
lthe targets for
the call for transparency must be able and willing to
provide the requisite information; and
lrecipients of the information must be able to
use it to evaluate the
provider of the information according to some accepted standard of behavior.
There has been a lot of talk about transparency in Zimbabwe with many
organisations having been formed to champion such a cause.
It would, however, appear that the bulk of the work was focused on the
political definition and left little room for the corporate sector.
Government transparency is meant to attract foreign direct investment
but their incentive not to be could hardly be more evident.
As Alesina Perotti (1996) argues: 'the complexity of the budgets of
modern economies is partly artificial, created to help politician hide
taxes, over-emphasise the benefits of spending and conceal government
'They present overly optimistic projections of growth and tax
revenues, which then result in "unexpected" deficits. They inflate baseline
projections making budgetary increases appear smaller than they actually are
'With these and other tools of opacity at government's disposal, the
current and proposed standards for governmental disclosure clearly face
The current thrust of fiscal and monetary policy in Zimbabwe is one of
addressing transparency and governance issues at both the political and the
The problem that the nation was having is to do with lack of
incentives to be transparent. For a long time, the government has been
perceived as being so corrupt that there was no incentive for transparency.
The cry for transparency has been heard from such organisations as
Transparency International Zimbabwe. This perception had been absorbed by
the market to the extent that not being transparent had also become a norm
even in business circles.
The standards of governance had deteriorated so much that it was
impacting directly on the livelihoods of the general populace and in the
spirit of accountability to the electorate (ahead of elections), the
government has had to act to restore normalcy.
The major incentive lies in what happens to the information that is
provided i.e. whether it is used to deter misbehavior or signal good
Shining a spotlight on miscreants can deter them from misbehaving if
they are convinced that misbehavior will be spotted and penalised. This is
where government plays a major part in ensuring that transparency exists not
only in government, but also within the corporate sector.
On the side of corporates, there is always an incentive to be
transparent if the environment encourages you to do so. For instance, the
Basle Committee on Banking Supervision (1998) argues that the market
provides incentives for banks to want to be perceived as conducting their
business in an efficient and prudent manner.
Well-run banks should, thus, welcome the opportunity to provide
reassurance through greater transparency. For banks that are not well run,
transparency could act as a deterrent; 'to the extent a bank's management
knows its activities and risk exposure will be transparent . . . investment
decisions and other business decisions (by market participants) can provide
a strong incentives for bank management to improve risk management practices
and internal controls'
In the second part of these series, we will focus more on the recent
developments in the corporate governance and transparency front specifically
looking at the problem of criminality.
We will seek to answer the question of what government has done to
respond to the culture of corruption that had gripped the nation, what
carrot and stick approaches have been put in place. How effective have these
instruments been? How sustainable are these?
.. Moses Chundu is group economist of
Century Holdings Limited and
a mem-ber of the Zimbabwe Economics Society
We don't find it funny at all, Cde Presidents
3/4/2004 7:31:28 AM (GMT +2)
SOUTH African president Thabo Mbeki allowed the world to get a glimpse
of a sense of humour that may be lurking beneath his usually stern public
persona at a meeting of the African Union in Maputo last year.
Mbeki was relinquishing the chairmanship of the African Union and was
passing the leadership baton to his Mozambican counterpart, President
At the appropriate historic moment Mbeki playfully brandished the
gavel menacingly at Chissano, signalling great displeasure and loathing at
having to give up power and preparedness, if necessary, to harm or kill his
It was all friendly make-believe of course but the vignette, which I
watched on television spoke a thousand words.
The Press commented at the time that most of Africa's self-proclaimed
de facto and aspiring "Life Presidents" in attendance were not amused by
Mbeki making light of an issue of utmost importance to them. For, as is well
known, staying in power at all costs is probably the only issue at the top
of the agendas of most continental dictators and autocrats.
For me, Mbeki's podium humour was ironic because it was the
perennially tongue-tied South African leader's most eloquent acknowledgement
of the existence of a problem he has otherwise done his best to ignore.
His reluctance to face this problem head-on is one of the reasons why
his widely deplored "quiet diplomacy" with regard to the situation in
Zimbabwe has led to a cul-de-sac.
Mbeki's practical joke at the podium was in fact, shorthand for the
fact that most African leaders hold their own people to ransom by regarding
remaining in power for life as an end in itself, for which they are prepared
to commit the most unimaginable atrocities.
It was even more ironic then, that at the same meeting a call was made
for women to play a more active role in promoting peace.
How do women achieve this goal, I wondered then and I ask now, when
blame for most wars, conflicts, anarchy and civil strife raging in many
parts of Africa can be laid at the feet of greedy warlords or ruthless
To some of these mad men wars and civil strife are not only useful as
mechanisms to cow and distract their suffering people, they are also
lucrative business propositions facilitating the amassing of wealth through
the plunder of resources and looting of national treasuries.
It goes without saying therefore that such rulers will not listen to
anyone, let alone a group of women advocating peace.
In Zimbabwe, we have seen how impossible it has become for opposition
parties, civic groups or labour unions to organise any form of protest
against the repressive conditions prevailing in the country.
It seems that the powers-that-be regard peaceful marches and
demonstrations as a greater threat to democracy and national security than
the unruly gangs of youth militias rampaging the countryside intimidating,
raping, maiming or even killing innocent people.
An attempt by a women's group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) to
spread a message of peace and love and to bring a bit of cheer to
beleaguered Zimbabweans by distributing roses on Valentine's Day was
high-handedly thwarted by the police.
Two other groups organised marches to protest against escalating
violence and the rising incidence of rape in Harare but it's doubtful
whether our rulers pay any attention to such concerns.
In other countries, these brave women would be regarded as an asset to
society and would enjoy protection under the law. But in Zimbabwe efforts to
remind the nation of universally accepted values that separate humans from
animals are at variance with an official agenda to prolong the mayhem and
chaos as a mechanism to remain in power.
How can peace and love mean anything to a regime that regards
killings, torture, the raping of women and children and unrelenting violence
and aggression against a peaceful populace as useful election campaign
The ethos of human expendability has become so deeply ingrained in the
ruling elite that whether we like it or not, nothing can move or horrify
them as long as it serves their self-interest and ensures their
The ruling party's determination to remain in power at all costs has
resulted in it having its own absurd interpretation of universally
understood human values.
For example, that most basic of facts, that a person is a person, is
not given as far as they are concerned. The value of a person's life depends
on whether he or she supports the ruling party. It is as simple and as grim
And when is rape not rape? The answer is when it is used as a tool to
terrorise people into voting for the ruling party. Likewise, violence is not
violence if it is perpetrated against those perceived to be opponents of the
regime. The list is endless, but such is the perversity that now
characterises official policy.
The point to be made is that in the face of such a callous disregard
for the sanctity of human life and flagrant violations of the rights of
Zimbabweans, people like Mbeki cannot justify their continued failure to
speak out. If such atrocities don't horrify him. What will?
And why are we getting a thunderous silence from the AU's Chissano
when all attempts by Zimbabweans, including women, to reclaim their rights
and value systems are being mercilessly and brutally crushed?
Comrade presidents, your little prank at the podium in Maputo may have
been amusing but your failure to take a clear, principled stand on the
tragic situation in Zimbabwe is not funny at all.
Editorial from The Herald, 3 March
Take action against unpatriotic politicians
As the countdown to next year's general elections begins,
onslaught against the ruling Zanu PF Government is being revived, with the
international media and other organisations such as the European Union being
primed for another go at removing President Mugabe and his party from power.
The EU has already fired the warning shots with the continuation of
sanctions against senior Zanu PF officials, which was followed up by
opposition MDC pronouncements that it would boycott elections if there is no
dialogue and the BBC's regurgitation of the same old falsehood that youths
were being trained to kill for Zanu PF while others were being raped. The
British government was euphoric last week when it got the support of the EU
to continue with its sanctions regime even though there was no justifiable
basis for these. Building up on this success, the Tony Blair government,
which has heavily funded the BBC since the 2000 parliamentary elections to
intensify its coverage on Zimbabwe, has unfortunately run out of ammunition
and has resorted to regurgitating old stories that have absolutely no basis
in truth. The BBC ran a weekend story alleging that the National Youth
Service was being used to train young boys and girls to kill for the ruling
Zanu PF Government to stay in power. To spice up the story and hopefully
cause as much damage as possible, the television programme interviewed one
girl who claimed to have been raped over several months and some training
officer who allegedly confirmed that this was part of the training. The
story was primed to be picked up by other newspapers and news agencies
throughout the world that ran it with screaming headlines on the so-called
Zanu PF torture camps.
While the story was making
headlines, the British-funded MDC was in South
Africa waxing lyrical about boycotting next year's elections if Zanu PF does
not agree to hold talks with them. Everybody back home knows that the
opposition party is deep in the middle of a campaign to contest the Zengeza
by-election and that its own campaign has been fraught with violence against
its own members for demanding democracy and transparency in the choosing of
candidates. Of course, the international media will ignore reports of
violence within the MDC or that it has not boycotted any elections as it
clearly knows that the electoral landscape is even, making it possible for
it to win the elections. The decision to make this announcement of
boycotting the polls in South Africa clearly demonstrates that this is part
of the revival of the international campaign to demonise not only the ruling
Zanu PF Government but also the country in general. This is what creates the
justification for Zimbabwe's imperial enemies to call for tougher sanctions
against the country and for other neutral countries to develop hostile
attitudes towards Zimbabwe. There should come a time to say enough is
enough. Those who campaign against their own country should be made to pay
for their callousness. We surely cannot have politicians who openly campaign
for sanctions against their own country and enjoy the comforts of that same
country at the same time without being made accountable for their misdeeds.
Forex Demand for Imports Outstrips Supply
March 4, 2004
Posted to the web March 4, 2004
Analysts told The Financial Gazette this week that the foreign currency
auction must supply US$150 million every month, assuming that the government
takes care of 25 percent of the country's foreign currency requirements at
the official exchange rate.
But this is proving to be a tall order given that demand for hard currency
at the auction now stands at about US$18 million every week, against the
US$8 million allocated to bidders by the central bank.
The auction rates started at Z$4 196 to the greenback and subsequently
appreciated to Z$3 518 against the same unit in thin trading. The rate has
since depreciated to Z$4 086.
This has given exporters an effective blended rate of Z$3 233 compared to
Z$3 662 last November when the parallel market rate was Z$6 500.
Economist Anthony Hawkins said there has not been enough foreign currency to
satisfy all bids. Adverse investor sentiment, which has seen very little
offshore lending and continuing capital flight, has worsened the foreign
"This means that exporters are 12 percent worse off than they were last
year. After adjustment for inflation, the blend rate today is about 60
percent what it was in March 2003, when the local unit was devalued at $824.
"To get the same number of real dollars today that an exporter got in March
2003, an exporter needs a blend rate of Z$5 150 which is equivalent to an
auction rate of Z$6 660," said Hawkins.
"The Zimbabwean dollar will fall because of the supply and demand
imbalances, there is not enough foreign currency in the country, what with
the widening inflation differentials with trading partners and adverse
investor sentiments which have deprived the country of offshore lending," he
The situation, according to analysts, has not been helped either by rising
import costs. The firmer South African rand was also leading to increased im
port expenses such as freight and transport costs among others.
Hawkins said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) would need to impose higher
import duties to choke off foreign currency demand for non-essential goods.
"A mediocre agricultural season so far points to reduced farm exports this
year and erosion of auction inflows by parastatals demanding payment in hard
currency. This is putting increasing pressure on exporter viability unless
accommodated by currency devaluation," he said.
"If exporters are to survive, currency must depreciate, though the rate of
depreciation will slow when inflation differentials narrow, supply side
starts to recover and foreign capital inflows resume," Hawkins said.
Market analyst Nyasha Chasakara said exporters have no confidence in the
"artificial" exchange rate, which is not reflective of the supply and demand
"It is very likely that there are some people still holding on to their
foreign currency. The economy has not seen the worst. On the equities
market, investors are not buying shares. The overall position is that there
is no confidence in the market and there is no clear-cut view of where
things are going," said Chasakara.
Trust Holdings group economist, David Mupamhadzi, also noted that pressure
on the available foreign currency is expected to mount in the coming months.
He added that supply injection of foreign currency was key to the success of
the auction system.
"Demand for foreign currency is increasing and the big question is: will the
available foreign currency meet rising demand? If there is no supply
injection, the local unit is going to fall and worse still, the parallel
market has not disappeared as bidders who are failing to get allocations are
actively participating on the parallel market,' said Mupamhadzi.
"If they fail to get the money on the official market, they will opt for the
parallel market. There has to be a supply injection if the rate is to be
kept at around Z$4 000," noted Mupamhadzi.
25% Duty Hike Scuppers Lake Harvest's Plans to Enter S African Market
Financial Gazette (Harare)
March 4, 2004
Posted to the web March 4, 2004
PLANS by fish processor Lake Harvest to penetrate the lucrative South
African market have been scuppered by a 25 percent duty increase slapped on
all fish products from Zimbabwe.
A senior company official, Garikai Munatsirei, said the duty increase has
made it difficult for Lake Harvest to compete with other players targeting
the same market.
"This has been brought to the relevant government ministry, which is
engaging the South African government to see if the duty can be scrapped,"
He said the rising costs of fish feed, driven by increases in imported
inputs such as maize and soya cake, had made the industry less competitive.
Locally, the company has to contend with rising costs of packaging and
increased electricity tariffs.
The lost external market has, however, been partially offset by improved
domestic demand that has inspired Lake Harvest to consider upgrading its
Lake Harvest expects to process an average of 290 tonnes of whole fish per
month this year and gradually increase production to 360 tonnes per month in
2005 and 420 tonnes in 2006.
The continued availability of fish feed and a viable exchange rate would,
however, have a bearing on future production targets.
Lake Harvest exports to the European Union, the key markets being Holland,
Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Spain.
Zambia, Botswana and Malawi are also important regional export markets
taking up to 10 percent of all export sales.
Lake Harvest also has plans, which are at an advanced stage, to set up
similar operations in countries like Malawi (in Lake Malawi) and Uganda (in
The company employs 350 permanent employees and about 100 casual workers
Judgment in ANZ, MIC Cases Reserved
March 4, 2004
Posted to the web March 4, 2004
The Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgment in three cases involving the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the Daily News and
the Daily News on Sunday and the Media and Information Commission (MIC).
ANZ has been locked in a protracted legal wrangle with the MIC over the
company's failure to register with the official media regulatory board and
the constitutionality of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
The full bench of the superior court comprising Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku and Justices Misheck Cheda, Vernanda Ziyambi, Luke Malaba and
Elizabeth Gwaunza heard arguments by both parties.
The Supreme Court also heard two appeals by the MIC seeking to reverse
judgments issued by the Administrative Court ordering the ANZ to resume
operations last year.
The first appeal to be heard was against a judgment by retired
Administrative Court president Mr Michael Majuru, which ordered MIC to
register the ANZ.
This was followed by another appeal against the same court's ruling allowing
ANZ to execute the judgment of the court.
In his submission, in the first case, Mr Johannes Tomana argued that the
Administrative Court had no jurisdiction to order the MIC to register ANZ.
Mr Tomana said according to the powers conferred on the Administrative
Court, after hearing arguments from both ANZ and MIC lawyers, it should have
remitted the matter to MIC for reconsideration.
He said the powers of the Administrative Court were limited to remitting the
matter to the regulatory board in respect of whatever findings the court
would have made.
"The order that the respondent (ANZ) be licenced was accordingly void and
therefore of no force and effect," Mr Tomana said urging the court to set
aside the lower court's decision.
Mr Tomana said the refusal by the MIC to register ANZ should be upheld.
He questioned the logic of the Administrative Court in ordering the Minister
of State for Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo to
constitute a " proper" board, when he said was not party to the proceedings
in the case.
Prof Moyo, he said, was not afforded the chance to defend his appointments
to the commission and yet he was ordered to appoint a new board.
"The minister is not legally bound by the said decision of the
Administrative Court in as much as he is not legally able to challenge the
same decision to which he was not party," he said.
Mr Tomana urged the court to set aside the decision against the appointing
authority saying the lower court had seriously misdirected itself, when it
ruled that the commission was improperly constituted.
On the decision by the Administrative Court to force the MIC to register
ANZ, Mr Tomana said the court erred as the newspaper group could not be
registered in terms of the law.
Mr Tomana said the disqualification of MIC chairman Dr Tafataona Mahoso on
account of bias, could not have invalidated the commission's decision in
terms of the provisions of the AIPPA.
On the second appeal against the Administrative Court's decision to enforce
its judgment, Mr Tomana said it had no powers to do so.
Once it disposed of the matter brought before it, it could not enforce its
judgment, in terms of the law.
In his response Advocate Eric Matinenga who represented ANZ in the appeal
cases said the Administrative Court properly decided the ANZ case in terms
of the powers vested on it.
He said the finding of the court that one member of the commission was
biased was sufficient to vitiate the entire proceedings.
Adv Matinenga argued that since the Administrative Court had the
jurisdiction to hear the case, it also had the power to enforce its
Earlier on the court heard the ANZ application challenging sections 39, 40,
41, 65, 66, 69, 70 and 71 of AIPPA.
ANZ lawyer Advocate Chris Andersen, in his submissions, told the court that
the newspaper group had now complied with the order made by the court, in
September last year that they should register with MIC before challenging
the constitutionality of AIPPA.
He said those sections of AIPPA, breached the rights guaranteed in the
Adv Andersen argued that the MIC was irregularly constituted, as the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo
appointed members of the commission.
The minister could suspend the members and therefore, the regulatory board
was not an independent entity, Adv Andersen said.
This, he said, was unfavourable to ANZ as it amounted to being "subjected to
discipline by a hostile minister".
In his response Mr Tomana argued that the law was entirely reasonable in a
The constitutional court heard the arguments as a consolidated case
encompassing the ANZ constitutional challenge and the two appeals by the MIC
against the rulings of the Administrative Court.
Mr Tomana told the court that among all media service providers in Zimbabwe,
only the ANZ chose to disrespect the law by deliberately refraining from
applying for registration as prescribed because it unilaterally resolved
that it could not, in its alleged conscience, obey such a law.
"Applicant admits that it chose not to apply for registration because in its
view, the provisions requiring registration of mass media services are not
"With due respect, it is not for the applicant to judge any law of this land
as unconstitutional but this honourable court."
AIPPA, he said, was one such law of the country that deserved to be
respected and to be obeyed by the applicant but from the point of view of
the constitution, the ANZ's attitude could not be condoned because it was
contrary to its purpose.
"Infact, applicant's disobedience is demonstrative not only of disrespect
for the law but for the constitution itself.
"The applicant has made no secret of this attitude which lacks moral
obliquity and therefore fitting within the doctrine of dirty hands to
warrant the sanction by this honourable court to refuse to entertain its
"The challenge sounds no more than a request to endorse an unlawful position
already taken by it," said Mr Tomana.
Mr Tomana said AIPPA was unequivocally there to enhance the right to freedom
of expression, to protect the private interest or rights of other people
besides providing other practical measures to achieve clear objectives.
The court, however, proceeded to hear the merits of the constitutional case
after Mr Tomana made concessions that ANZ had complied with the law.
ANZ refused to register its publications with the MIC and instead challenged
AIPPA at the Supreme Court arguing that the law was unconstitutional.
But the superior court refused to hear its application challenging the
validity of the law saying the newspaper group had approached it with "dirty
hands" as it was not registered with the MIC.
The company has been publishing its newspapers intermittently since the end
of last year following various court judgements, which it interpreted to
mean that it could continue publishing.
Nurse spared jail term for fraud
A nurse who swindled the NHS out of nearly £50,000 by claiming pay for
shifts she had not worked has been given a suspended jail term.
Tatenda Tapera exploited a flaw in the time sheets system used by
Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital, the court was told.
She was sentenced to an 18-months suspended after she admitted 20
counts of obtaining money by deception.
Coventry Crown Court was told Tapera, 27, exploited the loophole for
two years but had the repaid the money.
Honorary Recorder Judge Richard Cole told Tapera she had committed
"very serious" offences.
But he spared her a prison sentence after hearing how the nurse, from
Stockingford, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, had repaid the full amount of money
Judge Cole also took into account the needs of her second son, who was
born three weeks premature.
have come to the conclusion that the interests of justice will be
better served by the ordering of the sentence to be suspended in its
entirety for two years," he said.
The court heard how Tapera joined a "bank" scheme of nurses employed
to cover shifts by Warwickshire Primary Care NHS Trust.
The Zimbabwean-born 27-year-old's two-year fraud campaign began when
her time sheets were mislaid.
She was asked to fill them in again and, when she was later paid
twice, the nurse realised there was no system in place for cross-checking
her declared hours of work.
The fraud netted her £45,346.88 gross until it was exposed last
Tapera told police on arrest: "I just realised there was a flaw in the
system and I just took advantage of it."
Tapera admitted 20 counts of obtaining money by deception and asked
for a further 83 to be taken into account at a previous hearing before
Jabeen Akhtar, defending, said her client had not spent the money on a
lavish lifestyle, but sent £25,000 to her elderly mother in Zimbabwe for
urgent medical treatment.
Tapera was sentenced to 18 months on all counts to run concurrently.
The court heard that a new computerised system has since been
introduced at the Walsgrave in an effort to prevent similar frauds.
Aus safari gets green light 04/03/04
Zimbabwe tour to go ahead
Manager Steve Bernard says Australia's tour of Zimbabwe will go ahead
in May, unless 'something drastic' happens before then.
An Australian delegation has this week visited
Zimbabwe to inspect
both the facilities that will be used and the security measures that will be
in place to ensure the safety of the Australian team.
"There's no doubt we're coming, unless something drastic was to happen
just before the tour. We were coming anyhow but we had to make all the
necessary security checks ahead of the tour," Bernard told AFP.
"We would want to stress that the pre-checks we are conducting are not
only for Zimbabwe but we have had security checks in Sri Lanka and the West
Indies where our teams have played before," he said.
Australia played a World Cup match in Zimbabwe last year despite being
urged not to because of security concerns and the regime of President Robert
Mugabe, while England refused to travel there, and may also cancel a
proposed tour later this year.