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

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Zim Independent

Farmers sue for $39 trillion
Augustine Mukaro
DISPLACED white commercial farmers are contemplating arguably the biggest
lawsuit in Zimbabwean history of $39 trillion - more than the national
budget - against the state for losses incurred during the chaotic land
reform programme.

The lawsuit comes at a time when Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, in a bid
to arrest the country's crumbling economy, is reportedly luring back
displaced commercial farmers.

Highly-placed sources in the central bank said Gono had constituted a
National Land Board to draft an agricultural reconciliation plan that will
form the basis for rebuilding the agricultural sector.

The land board is chaired by former Arda chief executive, Liberty Mhlanga.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Doug Taylor-Freeme sits on the
RBZ's agricultural taskforce which had a major input in the agricultural
reconciliation plan. CFU officials said the reconciliation plan would
re-call some commercial farmers to jump-start agricultural revival.

"There are strong initiatives coming from the Reserve Bank in conjunction
with the Agriculture ministry," one official said.

"The dairy industry was the first to be approached by the ministry's
Department of Livestock and Development with evicted dairy farmers being
requested to return to their properties."

This could be a clear admission that government's much-publicised land

reform programme was a failure.

On the lawsuit, a draft document by lawyers indicates that so far more than
2 000 evicted farmers have completed the evaluation of their assets and the
losses they suffered when they were forcibly evicted from their farms. The
farmers say they suffered collective damages of $39 trillion.

But the figure could rise sharply because at least 4 000 farmers lost their
properties in the controversial and often violent land seizures that began
five years ago.

Some of the property was destroyed or looted by government-backed war
veterans and other state security agents.

The farmers are planning to file their case with the local and international
courts. Sources said farmers were frustrated with government's failure to
compensate them for improvements on the acquired farms and other losses.

Government promised to compensate farmers for developments only and not for
the land. It shifted responsibility for land compensation to the former
colonial power, Britain, which however rejected ultimate liability but
agreed to mobilise resources and provide funds for a well-planned land
redistribution exercise.

"Government is not showing the will to compensate farmers," a displaced
farmer spearheading the evaluation exercise said. "The partial compensation
extended to about 200 farmers constituted between 5-10% of the value of the

He said the 200 farmers only accepted the compensation because they had no
alternative sources of income. Farmers said figures for compensation were
calculated by evaluating improvements on the properties, lost income,
damaged or vandalised equipment, relocation expenses and the trauma which
the farmer and his workers went through when their farm was invaded.

At least 12 white commercial farmers lost their lives in the chaotic
process, while thousands of black farm workers were displaced.

Critics of the land reforms blame Zimbabwe's poor policies for the country's
current food insecurity, arguing that the majority of the "new farmers" lack
experience and resources.

Of about 4 500 large-scale commercial white farmers operating in Zimbabwe
five years ago, there are about 500 left. Hundreds have been accommodated in
the Sadc region and in Nigeria where President Olusegun Obasanjo pledged
that he would not let the skills developed by Zimbabwe's white commercial
farmers go to waste.

Justice for Agriculture chairman, John Worswick confirmed that there were
initiatives taking place but could not give details.

"Taylor-Freeme is directly involved in the negotiations. He should be the
right person to provide details," Worswick said.

Taylor-Freeme confirmed his appointment to the RBZ's agricultural taskforce.
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Zim Independent

Govt probes Aids council, Noczim
Godfrey Marawanyika
GOVERNMENT has ordered the Comptroller and Auditor-General to launch a full
scale probe on the Aids Levy and the accounts of National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim), after receiving complaints of abuse of funds, it emerged
this week.

The move is meant to bring accountability in the two institutions that have
benefited from public money.

Government collects at least $10 billion every month in Aids Levy, which is
handled by the National Aids Council (NAC). Employees contribute 3% of their
salary to the levy.

Health and Child Welfare minister David Parirenyatwa said the ministry had
ordered an audit on NAC to ascertain how funds were spent.

"We want to know how the public funds were spent," Parirenyatwa said. "We
have to be accountable for these funds. I am waiting for that report."

Acting Minister of Finance Herbert Murerwa said he was not at liberty to
discuss the audit of the Aids Levy funds and Noczim.

"I cannot say anything on it right now. Talk to the permanent Secretary,
Willard (Manungo) or the principal director, Judith Katera."

Manungo was not in the office yesterday.

Katera, the principal director in the Ministry of Finance, referred all
questions to accountant general, Judith Madzorera, who was said to be out of
office yesterday.

Since inception, Noczim's accounts have been subjected to various national
probes without any prosecution.

Last year the central bank ordered a probe into the misuse of Noczim funds
after the parastatal failed to deliver fuel to various government
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Zim Independent

MDC reports increased violence
Gift Phiri
DESPITE government claims that it is adhering to democratic tenets as
required by the Sadc protocol on elections, there are allegations the police
are making overzealous arrests and stifling opposition meetings.

Police last Wednesday arrested Bindura MDC candidate Joel Mugariri and the
party's Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Tsapera Macheka for
putting up campaign posters in their constituency. They were taken to
Bindura police station where they were quizzed and released without charge.

The arrest came hardly 24 hours after the release from police custody of
Shamva MDC candidate Gofrey Chimombe and two opposition youths, Mika Jack
Jumbe and Cleopas Muchenje, who had been arrested on Tuesday for putting up
MDC campaign posters.

In Manyame, violence flared up last week when 11 MDC youths distributing
campaign fliers were assaulted by a group of alleged Zanu PF thugs. Their
campaign material, which included T-shirts, posters and fliers, were burnt
by the Zanu PF mob. The incident happened at Renharm primary school, about
50km out of Harare along Lomagundi Road.

Last week, the government condemned the European Union's decision to extend
economic and diplomatic sanctions on Mugabe and several ministers for
failing to maintain democratic rule. Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said
the EU had no justification for imposing sanctions in the first place,
saying they were based on "lies and propaganda against Zimbabwe".

But human rights activists, opposition politicians and church leaders say
the sanctions have come too late to counter the violence, intimidation and
draconian laws that have already done much to help the ruling party
manipulate the election.

Two weeks ago, a group of soldiers attacked MDC officials coming from the
launch of their party manifesto in Masvingo.

Police chief spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena this week denied the reports,
accusing the MDC of making "false allegations" on the attack by soldiers of
three MDC candidates in Nyanga. MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi on
Wednesday stood by the allegations, saying his party was deeply disturbed by
the refusal of the police to properly investigate the incidents in question.

"The actions of the police thus far in the election campaign have served to
further erode public confidence in the electoral process and further
undermine its legitimacy," Nyathi said.

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Zim Independent

Immigration holds 'mercenaries'
Gift Phiri
SIXTY-TWO "mercenaries" jailed on charges of flouting immigration laws we
expected to be released late yesterday but the Immigration department is
understood to have issued a detention warrant for the Zimbabwe Prison
Services to keep the group while they process their travel documents, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.

Zimbabwe Prison Services public relations officer Superintendent Gibson
Mapokotera could not comment on the release of the prisoners but sources at
Chikurubi Maximum Prison confirmed late yesterday that the men were still in
prison awaiting their deportation.

The High Court on Wednesday reduced by four months the sentences of the
group after an appeal lodged in the High Court late last year. Judge Yunus
Omerjee gave no reasons when he handed down his ruling.

Jonathan Samkange, the lawyer representing the group, told the Independent
in a telephone interview from Namibia yesterday that his clients were
supposed to be released immediately. He said his clients were initially
serving a one-year term which had been reduced to eight months.

"But they qualify for a one-third remission of sentence provided for
well-behaved prisoners under Zimbabwean laws," Samkange said.

"Coupled with this reduction, all the men - except the two pilots who

received longer jail terms - should be released immediately."

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa professed ignorance of the release of the
prisoners saying: "I do not keep track of who is being released."

Efforts to obtain comment from Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi were also
fruitless as his mobile went unanswered.

South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe Jeremiah Ndou told Reuter last night
that immigration officials were processing the men's papers.

"If the papers are ready they will be ready to go," Ndou said. "Their
lawyers are here and they are working out how they will be taken home."

Prison sources told the Independent that the men would be freed into the
custody of Zimbabwe's Immigration department for immediate deportation to
South Africa since they had been declared illegal immigrants.
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Zim Independent

MDC denied access to state media
Gift Phiri
ZIMBABWE'S state media this week effectively denied the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) access ahead of the legislative vote on March

In correspondence to the opposition party obtained by the Zimbabwe
Independent yesterday, the editors of both the Herald and Newsnet said they
would not guarantee the MDC unfettered access to the media.

"We will not be offering any political party any special access to the
Herald, which is a title in the stable of a public liability company with
several hundred shareholders, quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and
governed by a board of directors elected by shareholders at annual general

Herald editor Pikirayi Deketeke wrote in a letter to MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube.

"This is unlike the broadcasting services, which traditionally offer special
free party political broadcasts during general elections."

The MDC had written to the state-controlled daily seeking media coverage for
its events.

The statement was made despite the fact that Zimbabwe is a recent signatory
to the Sadc protocol on principles and guidelines on democratic elections
which, among other provisions, stress the need for political tolerance and
binds member-states to allow all political parties equitable access to the
state media.

While it is true that the Herald has several shareholders, the government
holds 51% shareholding in the listed company in trust for the Zimbabwean
people, making it a public company.

Deketeke stated that the only access to the Herald would be through normal

"On advertising, our policy is that if any party or candidate wishes to buy
space for an advertisement they may do so subject to our normal commercial
conditions," Deketeke said. "These do include the right to reject
advertising material that we consider unsuitable because, for example, it is
immoral, salacious, false or illegal."

While Newsnet editor-in-chief Tazzen Mandizvidza agreed to allocate some
free-to-air programmes to the MDC, the opposition party immediately
protested that the time was inadequate and heavily tilted in favour of the
ruling Zanu PF.

According to Mandizvidza's correspondence, the opposition will be granted an
interview with the state broadcaster on March 7 and 18 only.

It will be given just one discussion programme on March 14 and finally
covered on March 25 when the party will make its second manifesto
presentation. While the opposition has been given negligible access to the
state media, the governing Zanu PF has unfettered access, sometimes
dominating entire main news bulletins.

The MDC has been given 91 minutes for advertising and this airtime can only
be taken up in advertising slots of not more than 60 seconds.

According to the advertising rates, it will cost $3,7 million to broadcast a
television advert for 60 seconds during prime time and the state broadcaster
is demanding cash upfront.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi bemoaned the exorbitant tariffs,
emphasising that the MDC would find it difficult to advertise.

This assertion was repeated by the party's secretary for constitutional and
legal affairs, David Coltart, who said: "Since the protocol was signed,
there is nothing yet to show that the government of Robert Mugabe is
committed to the Sadc Protocol ... On the contrary, government is ensuring
every day that the election will not be free and fair."

Brian Kagoro, chief executive of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a group of
pro-democracy NGOs, said there was nothing surprising about the statements.

"The Sadc protocol is just a collection of basic guidelines," Kagoro said.
"The guidelines are just that - guidelines - and because they are not part
of the country's enforceable laws, the Zanu PF government can choose to
ignore them or implement a few for cosmetic purposes to avoid international
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Zim Independent

Govt appeals for greater donor aid aidbegging' mission
Augustine Mukaro
AS prospects of a famine become glaringly clear, the Zimbabwe government has
intensified its negotiations with the donor community to stave-off a
humanitarian crisis.

United Nations officials in Harare confirmed that government would soon
after this month's general election submit a formal consolidated appeal to
the agency. The UN officials said government should have presented its
appeal this month but the parliamentary election has got in the way.

"Indications are that government is ready to formally submit a consolidated
appeal," said a UN official who has been part of the team working with
government and the donor community.

"All ministries which submitted requests agree that there is need for donor
assistance in the shortest time possible."

Officials said requests for agricultural sector revival and food assistance
constitute over 50% of the country's appeal to the donor community.

An analyst however described government's delay to submit the appeal as a
political gimmick to avoid criticism ahead of a crucial parliamentary
election on March 31.

"An early appeal to the donor community would expose government's initial
claims that Zimbabwe did not need food assistance as a sham," the analyst

President Robert Mugabe told a Sky News crew last year that Zimbabwe would
have a bumper harvest and that donors should take their food to needy
countries. Agriculture minister Joseph Made weighed in, claiming that the
country would have a harvest of 2,4 million tonnes. A parliamentary
committee confirmed only 398 000 tonnes.

Since December last year, government, through the Ministry of Labour and
Social Welfare, has been holding a series of meetings with the donor
community to solicit aid.

UN officials said the donor community was willing to help Zimbabwe once a
formal appeal is submitted. Donors need at least three months to mobilise
resources and ship food to a needy country. If the appeal is submitted in
April, Zimbabwe will only start receiving aid between July and August.

Other than the countrywide food shortages, the country needs to revive the
crumbling health system and the economy in general which has been in
free-fall since 1997 when government doled out an unbudgeted $4 billion to
war veterans for their role in the 1970s liberation struggle.

The South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS) said in the week ended
February 25 that about 7 778 out of 19 556 tonnes of export white maize went
to Zimbabwe. The figure brings to 30 000 tonnes the amount of grain imported
by Zimbabwe since November last year.

Information at hand shows that the cash-strapped government has resorted to
collecting money from rural populace to bankroll its grain imports.

The money is collected through ruling party structures of villages, wards
and councils for the purchase of maize imported through government's Grain
Marketing Board.

Villagers from Gutu District in Masvingo province who have already started
pooling their meagre resources said local traditional leaders were compiling
lists of contributions that would be used to distribute the grain. Villagers
are understood to be paying about $35 000 for a 50kg bag of the staple

The GMB has been failing to bring enough maize into the country, resulting
in ration supplies, leading to widespread scarcities. The limited supplies
have created a boon for black marketers who charge higher prices.

Zimbabwe is staring one of its worst agricultural seasons caused by lack of
planning on government's part. The government has dismally failed to supply
inputs to new farmers who were resettled during the land reform, which
started some five years ago.

Most of the irrigation infrastructure which had been put up by white
commercial farmers over many years was destroyed by the farm invaders as
part of a strategy to reduce the quantum of compensation to the affected

This year the farming community managed to plough about 900 000 hectares ---
far less than the targeted 4 million hectares. There were also critical
shortages of fuel and draught power, seed and other vital inputs like
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Zim Independent

Police 'force' MDC to abandon meeting
Loughty Dube
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was last week forced to
abandon a regional campaign strategic meeting for MPs in the three
Matabeleland provinces after police attempted to force themselves into the
venue at a Bulawayo hotel.

Police details from the law and order section pounced on the venue just a
few minutes before the opposition legislators were due to begin a meeting
called to discuss campaign strategies ahead of the election on March 31.

The MDC was forced to change the venue to the party headquarters after
police refused to leave.

MDC spokesperson for Bulawayo province, Victor Moyo, said police behaviour
was disgusting and interfered with their political activities.

"The police officers refused to budge despite our insistence that this was a
strategic meeting that needed our senior members only and there was no way
we could allow the police to sit through the meeting.

"They refused to sanction the meeting and insisted that they be allowed in.
We had no option but to abandon the meeting temporarily until we moved to
the party's provincial headquarters," Moyo said.

He said as a result, the party lost close to $6 million in venue booking
fees and further expenses for booked meals and teas.

Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, said when police attend public
functions their role is to provide security to citizens and property.

"The police are always there at public meetings to protect citizens' lives
and property. To suggest that they would be there for other purposes is not
right," he said.

Moyo alleged that the police also stopped a road showboard the MDC had
applied for in Nkulumane suburb on Saturday last week.

"The road showboard is an effective campaign tool because we will be moving
along in vehicles displaying our banners and giving out fliers to the
public. But the police barred us from having the road showboard alleging
that it was likely to incite public violence," said Moyo.

He said the MDC was not happy with the way the police handled its
applications to hold meetings and rallies. He said Zanu PF did not even
apply to the police to hold rallies.

"We have to approach the police four to five days before any meeting but
Zanu PF is allowed to hold meetings any time they feel like without even
notifying the police. Some of our meetings are not approved without any
reasons given," Moyo said.

Bvudzijena said it was not the duty of the police to stop a party from
holding meetings.

"The police are only notified but they do not stop any meeting or rallies.

There are instances where some rallies clash and the police indicate
alternative dates. They never force people to cancel meetings or rallies,"
he said.

The police have in the past harassed and denied the opposition permission to
hold rallies and meetings under the notorious Public Order and Security Act.

Just last week police arrested MDC members at a similar strategic meeting
held at a Harare hotel.

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Zim Independent

It's Moyo all the way to Tsholotsho Moyo's trumpcard
Staff Writer
AS the 2005 parliamentary election hype picks up countrywide, the battle for
Tsholotsho has begun in earnest with all the attention focused on the
district which hosted the alleged coup plotters against President Mugabe.

Campaign posters are all over the place - even ox-drawn carts have posters
of former Information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who has decided to stand in
the constituency as an independent candidate.

However, only Moyo's posters are visible as one drives towards Tsholotsho up
to the business centre. There is nothing for the opposition MDC or the
ruling Zanu PF seen.

"Phambili LeTsholotsho" (Forward with Tsholotsho) read Moyo's colourful
posters that also declare him as an independent candidate.

At Godzo business centre, 25 kilometres from Tsholotsho, Moyo's posters are
stuck on trees and on bridges while at Nqoya centre, about 15 kilometres
from Tsholotsho, Moyo's posters compete against each other for space.

"We have a situation where Moyo's teams are putting up posters at night and
pulling down ours," said Mtoliki Sibanda, the sitting MDC MP for the area.

Zanu PF district co-ordinating chairman for Tsholotsho, Vumile Dube, said
his party's posters were damaged by rains that pounded Tsholotsho in the
past week. He said, however, Zanu PF did not rely on posters to campaign but
on teams doing work on the ground.

Villagers at the local business centre speak highly of Moyo and the
development projects he has initiated in Tsholotsho since 2000 when he took
a keen interest in the constituency.

"The development we are seeing in Tsholotsho is new. We had never seen this
in the past 25 years. People are glad that Jonathan Moyo is standing as an
independent because the majority of the people were not going to vote for
him if he was to contest on a Zanu PF ticket," says Siphiwe Mafu, a resident
from nearby Mvundlana area.

She says people in the district will never vote for Zanu PF as long as
President Mugabe remains in power since the majority have never forgiven or
forgotten the cruel massacre of thousands of their relatives by Mugabe's
South Korea-trained Five Brigade.

"People have not forgotten the Gukurahundi issue and they were not going to
vote for Moyo if he was standing on a Zanu PF ticket regardless of the
development he has brought to this area," says Mafu.

Tsholotsho, together with Lupane, bore the brunt of the atrocities during
the early 1980s disturbances that saw close to 20 000 people being butchered
in cold blood.

Campaign teams from all three contesting candidates criss-cross each other
without incident as they try to win the hearts of voters.

Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, last week said the election campaign had
been peaceful countrywide and no incidents of violence have been recorded in

But the talk in this Matabeleland North district is the candidature of Moyo
who until last month was a very vocal minister in President Mugabe's

While Moyo is disliked elsewhere for his vitriol and notorious media laws,
he is the darling of the people of Tsholotsho.

Since he was elected a cabinet minister in 2000, Moyo has initiated numerous
development programmes in Tsholotsho that have seen the main road linking
the business centre with the local council offices being widened and tarred
while tower lights have been erected around the business centre.

Moyo followed that up with the setting up of a scholarship fund that
benefits disadvantaged children from all over the constituency.

Under the fund, the top two students in each of the over 90 primary and
secondary schools in the constituency have their fees paid by the minister.

However, it was the doling out of computers to the majority of poor and
underfunded schools around the constituency that endeared Moyo to the
Tsholotsho community.

Moyo was tipped to easily stroll into parliament until he was sidelined for
allegedly organising and sponsoring the Dinyane meeting that saw him being
barred from contesting in the constituency. It was declared reserved for

Moyo then chose to stand as an independent candidate, a move that led to his
expulsion from Zanu PF party.

Despite his seeming overwhelming support in the constituency, there are some
who believe that he will not win the poll.

"He is not going to win the election. People in rural areas do not
understand what an independent is and he will never win in Tsholotsho,
never," said a Zanu PF activist.

"He has no structures of his own and all along he was organising meetings
using Zanu PF structures. He was using party and government funds as if they
were coming from his pocket but the people know that the development is from
the party and government," he added.

He said the disgraced former Information minister worked round the clock to
win Tsholotsho but blundered when he decided to stand as an independent

"If Moyo had stood on a Zanu PF ticket, the party was going to sweep
everything in Tsholotsho. But now Zanu PF has to fight it out with him,"
said the activist who added that no one from Zanu PF had defected to Moyo's

"The only people we are aware of who jumped ship and joined Moyo were in
previous elections campaigning for the opposition MDC. As for Zanu PF, no
one left the party," he said.

However, the situation on the ground is different.

At the business centre, the villagers are content that Moyo is their saviour
and most agree that he should represent them in parliament.

"Senior Zanu PF leaders who are fighting Moyo have done nothing for us. We
now have a bank here and very soon we will not be travelling to Nyamandlovu
to sell and buy maize," says Thubelihle Nkomo, pointing at the nearby Grain
Marketing Board depot nearing completion and the new Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe branch established through Moyo's efforts.

The sentiment about who is likely to win Tsholotsho changes as you move
further and further away from the business centre.

"We have heard about Moyo who has done wonders for people at the business
centre but we have never seen him here," says Thembani Mhlanga from Phumula
area, 35 kilometres West of Tsholotsho centre.

"We are still waiting for him to bring similar development projects. We also
want electricity here and we want him to tar our roads, too."

However, the battle in Tsholotsho appears to be mainly between Sibanda and
Moyo since Musa Mathema of the ruling Zanu PF, despite growing up in
Tsholotsho, is an unknown quantity.

Most villagers said Mathema was imposed on the constituency as a result of
the influence of her husband, Cain Mathema, the governor of Bulawayo
Metropolitan who also comes from Tsholotsho.

"Musa Mathema was imposed on the people and now it is pay-back time. The
people have vowed not to vote for her. The contest is really between the MDC
and Moyo," added Mhlanga, saying Zanu PF was a dark horse in the race.

Another villager disputed the allegations that Mathema was a newcomer to

"Musa Mathema is a local person, she grew up at eMakwakhweni, just three
kilometres from Tsholotsho business centre. She is also popular with the
locals and come April 1, she would be the new MP for Tsholotsho," he said
without a hint at a fool's day joke.

Moyo however seems to enjoy the support of local chiefs whom he helped to
acquire new trucks under a government scheme.

Tsholotsho has four chiefs - Tategulu, Gampu, Magama and Mathuphula. Chief
Tategulu, who controls three large wards in the constituency, is Moyo's
uncle and is said to be campaigning for Moyo.

"We might have a problem with the chiefs because we know some of them are
still aligned to Moyo. We know some are campaigning for him. We know
Tategulu is Moyo's uncle but that does not mean he is campaigning for him,"
said a villager.

The MDC and Moyo, however, could be undone by the new Delimitation

Commission demarcations that moved the entire Siphepha area in Tsholotsho
into Hwange East constituency while adding four more wards from the new
resettlement areas into the Tsholotsho constituency.

The four new wards include resettled farmers and war veterans who are the
majority of voters.

Moyo comes from Siphepha and one of his elder uncles, Mlevu, is a headman in
Siphepha while most of her aunts are based in the area.

The MDC MP, Sibanda, who also hails from Mathuphula area in Siphepha, says
the ceding of Siphepha to Hwange East and the addition of new areas are is
one way of boosting Zanu PF votes in the constituency.

Sibanda however said the MDC remained confident of retaining the seat
despite these setbacks.

"The police still want us to apply for permission to hold meetings but Zanu
PF is allowed to hold rallies without even notifying the police. We will
still win despite the addition of invaded farms to the constituency,"
Sibanda said.

If Moyo fails to snatch the Tsholotsho seat he would be relegated to the
dustbins of Zimbabwean politics.

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Zim Independent

Outrage at Senate proposal
Ray Matikinye
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has expressed outrage at Zanu PF's
plans to accommodate those of its members who lost party primary elections
held earlier this year in the proposed Senate.

The civic body said the ruling party's proposal was an insult to the
collective intelligence of Zimbabwe and "and an affront to their aspiration
for a free and democratic Zimbabwe".

"The NCA is appalled that Zanu PF has the boldness to even suggest the abuse
of national constitutional reform to reward rejects of its own political
process by creating a Senate for them," the civic organisation said in a
statement this week.

President Robert Mugabe this week assured those of his party members who
lost in primaries that they would be accommodated in the Senate under
proposed constitutional reforms to be instituted after the general election
if Zanu PF wins a two-thirds majority.

Mugabe told campaign rallies in Hurungwe and Zvimba this week that the
Senate would be introduced by June this year as his party was confident of
winning a two-third majority needed for constitutional reform.

Said the NCA: "Zimbabweans deserve and have a right to vibrant, relevant and
democratic national institutions not the museum of political dinosaurs,"
adding that such a House would more aptly be called a sanatorium.

The NCA has hailed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for its
commitment to give the people an opportunity to make a transparent,
accountable and inclusive constitution if it wins the election.

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Zim Independent

Military still in charge of polls
Gift Phiri
THREE years after the widely-condemned presidential poll, military and
intelligenceofficers, who as election agents helped President Robert Mugabe
to retain power, remain in charge, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this

Official sources said army and intelligence officers seconded by Mugabe to
the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) ahead of the presidential poll in
2002 were still supervising the electoral process on behalf of Zanu PF.

Government recently appointed retired Brigadier Kennedy Zimondi chief
elections officer, replacing Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba, who was a key
agent during the presidential poll. Sources said Brigadier Nyikayaramba, who
is currently stationed at 2 Brigade, was removed from the ESC after loud
protests by opposition parties and civic society that he could not be part
of the electoral supervisory body while he was a serving officer of the

Former ESC chair Sobusa Gula-Ndebele - a former military intelligence
officer who was appointed the new Attorney-General recently - has been
replaced by Theophilus Gambe, a commissioner who presided over the flawed
2000 and 2002 elections.

The Independent understands that several military and intelligence officers
are still in charge of the official election monitoring body that civil
society has criticised as a tool of the president.

ESC commissioner Joyce Kazembe confirmed that there were military officers
servicing in the election supervisory body but denied that Mugabe had
appointed them.

"We are an independent body," Kazembe said. "Never has the president given
anybody a directive on how we should use state employees. We have military
officers as members of the secretariat. Most of the secretariat members are
drawn from the Public Service. The ESC has over the past five years
deliberately tried to maintain permanent core staff."

Sources said seconded military officers were presently preoccupied with the
conduct of the forthcoming legislative poll.

"They are busy working on the forthcoming election from Hardwicke House (CIO
offices along Samora Machel Avenue)," a source said.

"They have already finished scrutinising the voters' roll and are now doing
intelligence appreciation of the situation before the election."

Inspection of the voters' roll by the public ended three weeks ago. March 31
has been set as the date for the parliamentary election.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF managed to
field candidates in all the 120 constituencies at the end of the nomination
court last Friday.

The Independent heard that some of the military officers involved in
supervising the electoral process were Major Sibindi from KG VI army
headquarters and Major Kampira from the Presidential Guard.

"These guys have been working on elections since before the presidential
poll in 2002. They were part of a large military network assigned to the
presidential election," the source said.

The Independent understands that Mugabe promoted Gambe to the position of
ESC chair in consultation with the Judicial Services Commission. He has
retained the rest of the commissioners who presided over the rigged 2000 and
2002 election. These are Kazembe, Erica Fungai Ndewere-Mususa and Tendayi
Musekiwa Mberi.

There is still a vacancy for one commissioner following the elevation of
Gambe. Mugabe is expected to appoint the other commissioner in consultation
with the Speaker of the House, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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Zim Independent

Fuel price freeze a vote-catcher
Shakeman Mugari/Augustine Mukaro

THE government last week ordered all major fuel companies to freeze prices
in a move that analysts believe is part of the ruling party's efforts to
lure voters in the upcoming parliamentary poll. The companies had raised
fuel prices in response to the sliding value of the local currency, which
has been in a free-fall for the past seven months both on the auction floors
and on the parallel market. The energy importers were also reacting to the
upsurge in international fuel prices that have been galloping since last
In its ultimatum, the government indicated that it would not tolerate any
fuel price increases before the election.

In a letter to petrol retailers, the Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe (PMZ),
acting at the behest of government, demanded an immediate reversal of the
price hikes arguing that this could tarnish Zanu PF's image ahead of the
month-end election. "Your actions of increasing pump prices are, inter alia,
contrary to the central bank's economic turnaround strategy and will tarnish
the government's image ahead of the forthcoming elections," said the letter.
"There are in fact paradoxical to the government's deregulation of the fuel
sector." (Quote is verbatim.)
The letter also directed that prices be pegged at $3 600 per litre for
petrol and $3 650 for diesel. It further pegged the prices in the southern
region at $3 800 and $3 850 for petrol and diesel respectively.

"May you please refrain from any pump price increase in future without the
express and written authority of the PMZ," the letter said.
All fuel procured through the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has
already been reduced to $3 350 and $3 400 per litre for petrol and diesel
respectively. Analysts view this as an overt case of vote-buying, especially
among the urban electorate who are largely pro-opposition. In the last
parliamentary election government lost all urban seats in Harare and
Bulawayo to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

They say the move reflects government's desperation, which also
characterised the previous elections. Over the past 25 years, the Zanu PF
government has been known to spring populist policies just before an
election such as the farm invasions and price controls. This has resulted in
temporary reprieve for the electorate, which later suffer when the
government fails to sustain these piece-meal measures. The private sector
has in the past borne the brunt of price controls instituted under the guise
of consumer protection but are actually meant to bolster Zanu PF's

The fiscus has also been raided to finance hefty salary hikes for civil
servants. Government recently increased civil servants' salaries by between
250 and 600%. It is probably the biggest salary review in the history of
public sector negotiations.While government insists that these are genuine
measures to improve the welfare of the workers, analysts say there is a
worrying trend where these popular measures are introduced just before the
elections. Analysts say civil servants' salaries are heftier in election

However, the move to control prices of basic commodities and essential
services is tantamount to forcing the private sector to participate
indirectly in the government's campaign and pre-election public relations
"It is a vote-buying tactic. The salary hikes, the fuel price freeze are
part of that scheme," said Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economic
commentator. "But that is abuse of power which will eventually hit the
customer because the manufacturers will hike the prices after elections to
cover the losses, " Bloch said.

He said the vote-buying tactics included increases in allowances for the war
veterans. The government recently increased war veterans' allowances by
about 200%. There are also plans to compensate the war collaborators to the
tune of $10 million one-off payment per individual and allowances
thereafter. The one-off payment will gobble in excess of $60 billion from
the fiscus, which has not been budgeted.Chiefs and village headmen have also
received a 150% increase in their allowances. Most chiefs have been given
subsidised vehicles, had their homes electrified and boreholes sunk in their

All these beneficiaries have in the past been crucial to the Zanu PF
election machinery. The war veterans played an important role during the
2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, which the ruling party
won narrowly. They have also been used to intimidate the electorate. The
chiefs and headmen have also been used in the campaign, with recent reports
of some of them threatening to evict opposition supporters from their areas.

Analysts said the payouts to chiefs, civil servants and war veterans create
a large hole in the fiscus that will have to be filled by printing more
money or raising taxes. "It is just not sustainable and the government knows
that it does not make economic sense," Bloch said. The controls on industry
and commerce have however taken a new dimension with government roping in
the central bank to dictate the prices of goods and services. Recently the
RBZ instituted a blanket ban on price increases for services offered by
parastatals and local authorities.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono has put 70% as the ceiling of increases that can be
instituted by any service provider. A proposed 120% hike on energy by Zesa
was recently blocked by the central bank on the basis that it would stoke up
inflation. Local authorities have also been forced to revise downwards their
budget proposals in line with Gono's dictates. Dr Alex Magaisa, a lecturer
at Nottingham University in the UK, said the policy was bound to boomerang.

"If state intervention in setting prices fails to reflect market realities,
the result might be that business will become too costly to run," said
Magaisa. "Eventually businesses will have to close - which affects not just
the supply but employment and has knock-on effects on related entities. The
fixing process may be convenient for political expediency, but it may have
dire consequences for industry in the long-run," he said
Harare city council is however still seeking to increase rates by between
300 and 600%. The city treasury department has described Gono's 70%
benchmark as not feasible considering the state of the economy.

Bulawayo and Chitungwiza on the other hand are seeking rate increases of not
less than 250%.
Gono has said hefty increases will not be tolerated since local authorities
should benefit from a $10 trillion seed fund as bridging finance. Local
authorities have described the fund as a drop in an ocean. Analysts say Gono's
moves are short-term appeasements geared to hoodwink the electorate. "They
say it's part of the anti-inflation drive but it's a clear campaign
strategy," said Brian Kagoro, a political commentator.

"That has been their system of offering piece-meal measures that in the end
destroy the economy," Kagoro said. He said the government was penalising
manufacturers and service providers. "There is every reason to view this as
a blatant vote-buying tactic."

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Zim Independent

Implications of electoral legislation
By Otto Saki
"IF a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his
views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that
person is living in fear society, not a free society," said Nathan Sharansky


Constitutional law and international human rights law make it implicit on
Zimbabwe to conduct regular and genuine elections. Everyone is entitled to
take part in the government of his country either directly or through freely
chosen representatives, without distinction on any grounds.

The war of liberation in Zimbabwe was fought as a result of the need to have
equal suffrage and for that we have to acknowledge the role of the freedom
fighters but are we going to be eternally grateful if the rate at which we
attained those rights is being superseded by the desire and thrust to
undermine them? When people say they fought for majority rule in essence,
they are saying they fought to attain free and fair elections.

Since independence our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear.
There is always a terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that
intends to gobble us. The relationship of such paranoia to elections is
obvious as evidenced by the laws which have been enacted since the last
major election or referendum and lately attempts to level the electoral
field by passing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act and the Electoral

The role of the media in elections can never be underestimated for the media
is a tool for influencing opinions and change in every democracy.

The free practice of the profession of journalism is an issue of concern
with regards to the coming elections.

The democratic process and the development of every human being are options,
for which the protection of freedom of expression is essential.


Principles for conducting democratic elections include that any poll shall
allow full participation of the citizens in the political process,
inclusiveness, intra-party democratic culture, political party institutional
development, freedom of association and political tolerance. The principles
also include regular intervals for elections as provided for by the
respective constitutions, equal access to the state media for all parties,
equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and to be voted for,
independence of the judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
and voter education.

These democratic principles are internationally accepted and locally
recognised and should therefore be respected, promoted, enforced and

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act

The Act creates the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission whose mandate is to
prepare for and conduct the elections for the office of the president,
parliament, local authorities and referendums. The commission is also
mandated to ensure that those elections and referendums are conducted
efficiently, freely, fairly and transparently and in accordance with the
law. It is also expected to direct and control the registration of voters,
to compile voters' roll and registers and to ensure the proper custody and
maintenance of voters' rolls and registers and to design and print ballot

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

The appointment of members of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission lies in the
domain of the office of the president and the Judicial Service Commission.
Many recommendations were made by the civil society headed by Zimbabwe
Election Support Network but these seem to have yielded no results.

Some of the recommendations were that a five-member commission should be
appointed by parliament from nominees put forward by a bi-partisan
parliamentary committee; parliament would have to appoint the nominees by a
two-thirds majority, to ensure that the appointees are generally acceptable,
or a nine-member commission should be appointed by parliament from nominees
put forward by the Judicial Service Commission, the Law Society, parliament
and the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango).

The Judicial Service Commission, in consultation with the Law Society, would
nominate the chairman, who would have to be qualified to be a judge.
Parliament would appoint four of the remaining members from nominees
selected by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee, and the Law Society and
Nango would elect the remaining four, or a 15-member commission should be
constituted with up to a third of its members being suitable foreigners,
perhaps drawn from electoral commissions in the Sadc region.

Reasons for such varied from the need to have an inclusive and
representative commission. In light of the current state of the appointment
of members of the commission, some key sectors of society and opposition
parties still question the degree of independence of the commission.

Voter education

Voter education will be a prerogative of the commission and political
parties. The restrictions which are imposed on other entities to provide
voter education are wide and far from the constitutional mark. For one to be
allowed to conduct voter education you will have to be citizens or residents
of Zimbabwe, or associations consisting wholly of citizens or residents; the
courses of instruction has to be approved by the commission; organisations
or individuals involved in such voter education should not receive foreign
funding for such activities.

The Act makes specific reference to the NGO Act, which is not yet in force
as the regulating law for the registration of organisations that intend to
carry out voter education. Some of the provisions of the NGO Act have been
criticised for their obvious effect of strangulation of the civil society in
Zimbabwe. The definition of issues of governance includes the promotion and
protection of human rights, which in earnest can be deemed to include voter
education for it falls on issues of good governance and human rights.

Sections 13,14,15, and 16 of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act can be
described as an affront to constitutionalism and democracy. Such provisions
beg the abundance or lack of wisdom on the part of the government or the

Democratic elections

Section 3 of the Electoral Act stipulates the general principles of a
democratic election, which is a reaffirmation of international standards of
the right of citizens to participate in governance issues through freely
chosen representatives. This should be achieved without distinction on any
grounds to join a political party of one's choice, to participate in
peaceful activities to influence and challenge policies of government and to
influence the composition and policies of government. This is a laudable
provision for it attempts to regularise the general conduct of elections to
meet the recognised international democratic standards.

The further inclusion in the Act that all political parties shall be allowed
to campaign freely within the law and have reasonable access to the media is
commendable. But the reality on the ground is yet to establish the extent of
adherence to the same by the government through the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings. There is a need however to have reporting of a balanced nature,
without use of hate language, racial attacks which in the past has been the
style of reporting in the state media towards electoral periods.

Election monitors

A monitor means a person appointed and accredited in terms of the Act. The
monitors are to be recruited from members of the Public Service. This is a
dangerous provision for it allows the government to use individuals or
particular sections of the Public Service, which are considered to be
sympathetic or apologetic to the establishment.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission is empowered to appoint monitors from
the Public Service and deploy them to every polling station. The reasons of
appointing and deploying members of the Public Service as monitors still
escapes many. Accountability has been raised as one of the reasons, but
seems unsatisfactory in the sense that if there is a code of conduct for the
general role of the monitors, anyone who is accredited as a monitor should
be bound by that code.

Civil society should have been included in the process of appointing and
accreditation of observers and monitors.

Postal voting

Postal voting in elections in Zimbabwe has remained an exclusive right for
those who are away from Zimbabwe such as a member of the armed forces, or a
spouse to such a person or an electoral officer. This provision is
discriminatory to other citizens and nationals who are outside the confines
of Zimbabwe for various reasons.

The government has objected to the fact that those in the diaspora should
vote on the basis that it is unconstitutional. Excluding Zimbabweans in the
diaspora from participating in the political process clearly discriminates
against them and I contend that this is outlawed under Section 23 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.

In addition to the protection against discrimination in the constitution,
the government promulgated the Prevention of Discrimination Act Chapter 8:16
which prohibits discrimination on a number of grounds, thus proving beyond
doubt that the government is indeed committed to non-discrimination.

The provisions of the Electoral Act must of necessity be interpreted in such
a way that all of the freedoms and protections that are afforded Zimbabweans
under international and constitutional human rights law are fully protected
and that this can be done by ensuring that arrangements are made for
Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote in general and presidential elections as
and when they are held.

Countries in the Sadc region such as Botswana and Mozambique have been able
to carry out such processes of allowing their citizens to participate in the
elections in their countries. No justifiable reason has been given by the
government to deny the diaspora the right to vote. It is ironic that the
state has been imploring those in the diaspora to contribute to the
development of Zimbabwe through the Homelink scheme.

Electoral Court

Electoral disputes should be solved within a reasonable period of time to
allow citizens to be given a second chance to express themselves if the
court deems the elections a nullity. During the 2000 Parliamentary elections
a number of constituency results were contested. The President had issued
regulations under the Electoral Act (Modification) No 3 SI 318/2000 which
sought to legalise the outcome of the elections and oust the jurisdiction of
the courts in dealing with electoral petitions. The opposition took the
matter to the Supreme Court, which remarkably ruled that:

"The MDC had a civil right to partake on an election that was free and fair
and devoid of corrupt or illegal practices, to challenge the result of an
election which was claimed to be tainted by corrupt and illegal practices
and to seek practical and meaningful redress in the form of a High Court
order certifying that the results were tainted. The notice effectively
deprived them of that right. The right of full and unimpeded access to
courts is of cardinal importance for the adjudication of justiciable

This decision was to say the least was a "brutal full men" or in ordinary
parlance English an empty thunderous order for all the election petitions
were not solved and the judiciary passed the buck onto the litigants
themselves. The Electoral Court will not be spared of the troubles, which
have haunted the present judiciary. Perceptions of dependence and
partiality, administrative delays and pitfalls will also beleaguer the
court. There are no provisions to stop the president from issuing
regulations in terms of the Presidential Powers to legalise the outcome of
the elections.

Broadcasting Services Act

This Act has created a monopoly of the airwaves, which has been challenged
in a number of court cases. The Electoral Act stipulates that political
parties shall have reasonable access to the media. Then Information minister
Jonathan Moyo in response to the provisions said access to the media was not
an actionable right that could be claimed.

And further to that, newspapers have been allowed through their editorial
policies not to highlight materials of political parties they don't feel
like publishing. Under the Act Section 2(1) of the Fifth Schedule, "during
the election period a broadcaster broadcasts election matter, the
broadcaster shall give reasonable and equal opportunities for the
broadcasting of election matter to all parties contesting the election".

The Act defines election time to be 30 days before the polling day for the
elections and ends at the close of polling day or the last day of polling.
This provision should be repealed for the fact that before the election
period, the ruing party has unfettered access to the state controlled media.

The issue which this provision raises is of freeing the airwaves. While the
state has contended that you can't have a country that is perpetually in
election mode from January to December, this view shows the narrowed view of
the importance of freeing the airwaves and reflection of the notion that the
state still has to retain the monopoly of the airwaves and determine what is
newsworthy or not newsworthy for Zimbabweans. To some an election is an
event while to some it's a process, which starts way before the actual
polling days. The Act has retained a limited, narrow and shortsighted
definition of election time.

There are laws, which might not be directly related to electoral periods
such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public
Order and Security Act, but have a direct impact on the enjoyment of rights
related to participation of citizens in an election. This includes as the
right to freely assemble and express one's views.

*Produced for the Zimbabwe Election Support Network by Otto Saki - projects
lawyer, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

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Zim Independent


PRESIDENT Say 'No' to a Senate of deadwood

IT is official. Zanu PF is pressing for a two-thirds majority to enable it
to amend the constitution in the middle of the year to reintroduce the
President Mugabe last weekend told a rally in Hurungwe District that the
envisaged Senate would accommodate Zanu PF members who lost in the party
primary elections. We hope this is not the executive's only motivation in
reestablishing the bi-cameral parliamentary system, which was abolished in

But for a government which premises reward on cronyism, we were not at all
surprised by the latest quest to accommodate politicians who were rejected
by the people at the primaries. At a time when people are looking for MPs
who serve their interests, the latest effort by Mugabe is set to create an
institution whose members owe allegiance to the executive first instead of
serving the people.

Those given a second bite of the cherry to practise politics, albeit as
senators, as is evident in the current parliament, only serve to make up the
numbers for the ruling party with little real contribution to the nation.
In 2000 the 57 seats won by the opposition MDC prevented Zanu PF's pursuit
of a two-thirds majority which it needed to amend the constitution to, among
other things, reintroduce the Senate.

The real issue here was not that Zimbabweans were against the concept of a
second house. The opposition, which campaigned feverishly against Mugabe's
draft constitution, also spoke of the need for a second house but the party
differed with Zanu PF on the reason to broaden the legislature. A Senate
made up of yes men would only entrench autocracy and perpetuate a system
devoid of checks and balances.
Not much has changed since 2000 and we believe that the proposed Senate will
only serve to rubber -stamp party policies instead of providing robust
interventions on despotic legislation which is in conflict with the
constitution. In a functioning parliamentary system, all new legislation is
referred to the Senate whose role is to pick out unconstitutional clauses
and recommend amendments.

The Senate should therefore have experienced lawmakers who understand the
spirit of every proposed piece of legislation. It is a legislative
institution which should be the custodian of best practices in governance
and not a conveyor belt of dictatorial laws.

The same institution can be poisonous to the democratic process if it is
staffed by the wrong people, especially those who are only too ready to nod
through retrogressive pieces of legislation because they are beneficiaries
of presidential patronage. Zanu PF deadwood which Mugabe is promising jobs
in the Senate does not inspire confidence. A lot of them will not be
different from chiefs in the current parliament who are woken up from deep
sleep to vote on legislation they know next to nothing about.
More worrying though is the fact that the Senate will not be allowed to
carry out its mandate of combing the statute books for bad laws as long as
the Zanu PF government believes that every law brought to parliament must be
passed. We have seen how recommendations of the Parliamentary Legal
Committee were ignored when repressive laws such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security
Act were forced through the House.

This mindset of the party is not likely to evaporate with the setting up of
a bi-cameral system. In fact, the Senate would be invited to lend legitimacy
to the repression.
Apart from providing checks and balances in law making, a functioning Senate
should also be involved in vetting and ratifying key appointments to
government and quasi-government bodies. This role has remained largely the
preserve of the executive. The results are manifest in the way parastatals
have been run down. There is no accountability.

A Senate should also be representative of various interest groups such as
women, youths, the disabled, trade unions, ex-combatants, farmers,
conservationists and business. There should therefore be proper consultation
in selecting candidates for the upper house so that it is representative of
the country's different groupings.

It is therefore imperative that attempts to establish a partisan Senate are
resisted by the electorate. In fact, as the National Constitutional Assembly
said this week, "any political party that attains a two-thirds majority in
parliament and then manipulates that advantage to tinker with the
constitution for self-serving ends would be betraying the sacred and
patriotic hopes of Zimbabweans".

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Zim Independent

State in climbdown over money laundering
Conrad Dube
IN a major climb-down, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance
and the Attorney General have conceded that the Bank Use Promotion and
Suppression of Money Laundering Act Chapter 24:24 violates the independence
of the legal profession.

A possible amendment of the legislation is on the cards after a
comprehensive joint review to be carried out by the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
the RBZ, Finance ministry and AG's office.

The lawyers had instituted a constitutional challenge in terms of Section 24
of the constitution the requirement for them to record, report and disclose
information passed to them by their clients in confidence.

The obligations is in terms of Sections 24,25,26,27,28 and 29 of the Bank
Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act Chapter 24:24. The
lawyers argued that such obligations violate a number of fundamental rights
guaranteed by the constitution and the core values of the legal profession.

The sections require lawyers to record information from clients not for the
client's own use but for use by the government and law enforcement agents.
They also require lawyers to report suspicious information and large cash
transactions to incriminate the clients. Lawyers cannot disclose to the
client the fact that the information has been passed on to third parties.

The constitutional challenge was postponed after the parties agreed to work
out comprehensive and collaborative arrangements to ensure the prevention
and deterrence of use of legal practitioners' trust accounts for money
laundering purposes without violating fundamental human rights and core
values of the legal profession.

A copy of the memorandum of agreement to postpone the challenge, says: "The
Bank Use Promotion of Money Laundering Act Chapter 24:24 requires a
comprehensive review as it was enacted urgently to deal with a situation of
monetary emergency which had arisen at the time it was promulgated.

"Such review should address issues such as compliance with internationally
recognised human rights norms and the protection of the independence of the
legal profession as well as attorney and client confidentiality."

The parties agreed to establish a collaborative relationship between the Law
Society and the RBZ and also to establish a framework for detecting,
preventing and deterring money laundering without violating fundamental
human rights or any of the core values of the legal profession.

In its application to the Supreme Court, the Law Society had argued that
imposing the recording, disclosure and reporting obligations on designated
institutions by some sections of the Suppression of Money Laundering Act
violate core values of legal practitioners, particularly the duty by lawyers
to observe confidentiality in respect of all communications received by them
as legal practitioners.

They had also argued that no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of
his freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions and to receive and
impart ideas.

The lawyers argued: "The recording, disclosure and reporting requirements
will deter full disclosure of all relevant information by clients to their
legal practitioners and will consequently, interfere with the right to a
fair trial in contravention of section 18 of the constitution."

They also alleged the requirements violated the right to privacy and the
right not to incriminate oneself.

"Lawyers act as agents of their clients. What they are compelled to disclose
is as good as disclosed by their clients. Where information is
incriminating, a situation whereby the client effectively incriminates
himself, through his agent, is created. This is inconsistent with the right
not to incriminate oneself," the lawyers said.

The application is meant to stop the state from conscripting legal
practitioners to act as state agents contrary to their clients' interests.
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Zim Independent

Zim's cost of living surges 10,5%
Shakeman Mugari
COMMODITIES in Zimbabwe's basket of basic needs have gone up by an average
21% pushing the cost of living by about 10,5%, a local consumer watchdog has

The increase has some semblance to the January's inflation figure of 10,2%.
The increase in the price of basic commodities means that an average family
of six now needs about $1 969 090 up from last January's $1 774 686 to get
through the month.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) attributed the increase in the cost
of living to the recent hikes in the prices of basic commodities.

"The monthly expenditure for the CCZ family of six for the month of February
2005 has risen to $1 969 090 from the January 2005 figure of $1 774 686,"
said CCZ in its February consumer report.

A family of six, according to the survey, is made up of two parents and four

The consumer protection organisation said this indicated an increase of

between 10,95 or 11%.

It said the increase in the overall budget was largely a result of increases
in both food and non-food items.

"Major movers in the basket were flour, which went up by 30%, rice by 38%,
salt 22%, washing soap by 25%, while rent also rose by 25%," CCZ said.

Marginal increases were also recorded on items like margarine, clothing and

footwear, fresh milk, cooking oil and bath soap among other items. The new
figures from the CCZ are likely to strengthen the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU)'s bargaining platform ahead of salary negotiations due anytime
soon. The ZCTU has said it would be demanding a minimum $2 million pay
cheque for each worker regardless of the sector.

The demands are, however, likely to be met with fierce resistance from the
employers who say their margins are already under pressure. There is likely
to be a standoff between the union and employers.

Meanwhile, the Tripartite Negotiating Forum is a still in limbo.
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Zim Independent

CZI/Zesa meet over power blues
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Holdings last week met with
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) over power distribution
problems caused by undercapitalisation.

The meeting, called by Zesa, was also attended by former CZI acting chief
executive officer, Farai Zizhou, executive chairman of Zesa, Sydney Gata and
his corporate affairs manager, Obert Nyatanga.

Officials who attended the meeting said the power utility highlighted its
major problems which pertain to power supply and tariff adjustments.

Zesa said it was facing critical shortages of foreign currency and was being
forced to levy sub-economic rates due to pressure from both industrialists
and government.

Government has not yet approved a proposal by Zesa to raise rates by 120% as
of the beginning of the year.

Nyatanga could not be reached for comment this week as he was said to be out
of the country.

CZI president Pattison Sithole said although he did not attend the meeting
his organisation's members were addressed by Zesa.

"I did not attend the meeting personally, but some of our members attended,"
he said.

"Our members raised concerns about the non-reliability of the supply side
which has affected our output. This was a dialogue process where they also
told our members the problems they are facing."

The power utility also says it is worried by government delays to appoint an
independent regulatory authority. The authority is expected to promote
competition and level the playing field for all stakeholders.

The authority will be responsible for issuing licences to industry players
and operate a market mix of regulated and unregulated tariff structures.

Some of the constraints Zesa and its subsidiaries are facing pertain to
inability to maintain transmission and distribution networks.

The old system has led to a number of faults which have made power supplies
unreliable to industry and commerce.

Although Zesa has not announced load-shedding, failure to maintain
transmission networks has resulted in the organisation failing to detect
faults, which has caused power interruptions.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Justin Mupamhanga, said an
independent regulatory authority would be set up once the technical
framework was in place.

"The process is being done although these guys will always complain,"
Mupamha-nga said on Tuesday.

"We are following laid-down procedures. The regulatory authority will be
established once the process is completed."

Zesa officials also told the meeting that the network was overstretched and
their predicament was worsened by the shortage of materials.
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Zim Independent

Forex shortages batter Zim dollar
Shakeman Mugari
THE Zimbabwean dollar continues to tumble on the parallel market as foreign
currency shortages on the auction floors drive desperate bidders on to the
black market.

The parallel market has been galloping over the past six months boosted by
perennial foreign currency shortage on the official market.

This week the fragile Zimbabwean dollar plunged even further against the
world's major currencies.

It has also been trailing other major regional currencies that are buoyed by
better economic performance.

The Zimdollar this week traded at a record low of $22 000 against the
British pound. In some cases the rate was higher depending on the volumes on

This is up on last week's $21 000 versus the British pound. The dollar has
lost more than 50% of its value over the part six months.

On the auction rate the Zimdollar has shed just 10% during the same period.

In October last year the parallel rate of the pound against the dollar was
hovering around $13 600 while the official rate was floating at around $10

The local currency has also continued weaker against the United States
dollar, which ironically has been struggling against other major world
currencies like the euro, pound and the yen of Japan.

On the parallel market the US dollar is fetching about $11 500. There are
other black spots in the city centre where the rate is as high as $12 500
depending on the volumes on offer. Six months ago black market rate was
around US1:$7 500.

On the auctions the Zimdollar has been losing ground gradually from a rate
of $5 600 last year to the current $6 100:US$1.

The dollar has also come under pressure against regional currencies which
are also firming. It lost ground against the rand slipping on the parallel
market to $2 500:R1 from about $1 250:R1 at the close of last year.

The auction on the other hand was slow to move, notching just over $1 000
against the rand compared to about $980:R1 by December last year.

Analysts say the unattractive rates on the official market have created a
ready market for the parallel market that shows no signs of relenting at the

Demand continues to surpass supply and inflows on the auction. Some
companies have had to wait for more than three months to get a foreign
currency allocation.

In January the central bank rejected 93% foreign currency bids on the
auction market up from 88% bids which were thrown out in December.

Analysts say the shortfall in the official market is being filled by the
parallel market rate. They say the trend is likely to continue in the
long-term until there is enough foreign currency to go around.
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Zim Independent

Transforming rhetoric into reality
Dr Alex T Magaisa
THERE has been much hype about the so-called "Look East policy" from the
government in the last few years.

The thrust of this policy appears to be that Zimbabwe must build alliances
with, and increase trade links with countries such as China, Malaysia,
Singapore, etc located mainly in South East Asia and the Far East. This is
partly a response to political differences between the government of
Zimbabwe and predominantly Western countries such as the USA and the UK
which have strained relations and isolated the country which for some years
has been trying to pursue Western-oriented economic policies. It is also a
demonstration of the historical connections between the liberation movements
whose leadership now constitutes the country's government and the Asian
countries like China, which were supportive. It may also be a recognition of
the economic potential and opportunities in the emerging economies of those
East Asian countries.

In this article, I argue that while the policy of building stronger economic
relations with the East Asian countries is a commendable strategy, it is
necessary to translate rhetoric into reality.

Secondly, we argue that the pursuance of such a strategy does not
necessarily mean that Zimbabwe should ignore or break relations with the
Western countries and institutions.

There is much substance in pursuing economic opportunities with the East.
China has become one of the most powerful economies in the world with huge
exports that surpass big economies such as the UK and France. With a fifth
of the world's population (a massive 1,3 billion people!) China has a huge
reservoir of consumers, which makes it a much sought after market. Currently
the sixth largest economy in the world, it is projected that in the next 10
years it will be in the top three, while in 50 years it may have overtaken
the US economy. Undoubtedly, building connections with China and other
Eastern countries with vibrant economies could bring vast benefits to the
country in the long-run.

However, Zimbabwe must recognise that there is intense competition for these
opportunities in China. The US and European giants recognised the importance
of China a long time ago and over time they have been working on strategies
to enter the Chinese market. They also recognise the competition that will
result from the entry of the Chinese economic players. However, unlike most
African countries, which place emphasis on rhetoric, these European giants
have been doing and continue to do something about it.

According to the Financial Times, high profile leaders in France and Britain
have been making frequent trips alongside top businessmen to China to build
connections and open opportunities.

There is for example the 48 Group, a British business alliance whose mission
is to assist British businesses to open economic channels in China. Clearly
there is intense competition to enter the Chinese market and less talk and
more action will make the Look East policy more effective. Indeed, while we
castigate the West and proclaim the Look East policy, we must remember that
we do not have exclusive rights to enter China. The so-called enemies, in
response to whom Zimbabwe apparently took this policy, also have their own
"Look East" policies and are probably ahead of us in exploiting the

One interesting connection between the East and the Western states is in the
higher education sector and in my view, this has implications in the
economic arena as well.

Britain and the US are probably the largest hosts to thousands of students
from China and other East Asian countries. The universities are filled with
Asian students in all disciplines including business, law, engineering, etc.
Through academic fees and living costs they bring immense income to
universities and local communities but more significantly these Western
countries have an opportunity to create invisible exports through this
system. Not only do the multitudes of students return to their countries
with an appreciation and assimilation of Western cultures and values, but
their education is also reflective of the Western world-view. These students
are likely to be in positions of leadership in both government and business
in the future and their connections with the places where they have received
their training will be vital.

In my view, one must question whether Zimbabwe is pursuing any strategies to
build similar connections that will be useful in the future. This is the
same whether it's with the East or other countries in Africa and elsewhere.
There was a point when our education system was highly regarded across
Africa and the world and we could have easily become a leading centre at
least in the sub-region. Through our institutions we could have recruited
and trained foreign students who would have a long-term connection with the
country. Zimbabwe could have enjoyed long-term benefits from the visible and
invisible exports through such a system. That hope may be remote now but it
is not yet lost.

In addition, the government's insistence of the Chinese and other Eastern
countries as being good friends sometimes gives the impression that these
countries are keen to extend favours to Zimbabwe. The reality is that these
are not necessarily charitable organisations. They, like the West are also
seeking to build their economies, open opportunities and make profits. The
governments may be friends but the businessmen and women are competing on
the same global stage with their Western counterparts and are seeking to
expand their markets beyond China to enhance profits. Some excess products
will find their way to open markets. That is perhaps why Zimbabwe is awash
with cheap Chinese products while there may be limited exports from Zimbabwe
to China.

Ultimately, our Look East policy might produce the very same problem from
which we are running, whereby Zimbabwe and other African countries have
little access to the Western markets while the Western companies can dump
excess and cheap products on our markets.

China and other East Asian countries are not as paranoid about the West as
Zimbabwe has become in the last few years. There may be good cause to be
critical of the dominant Western countries whose trade policies often
negatively affect developing countries' economies. However, even China
itself realised that it had to join the powerful World Trade Organisation,
which has overall authority on the global trading systems. China is becoming
a leading decision-maker on the global stage and the Financial Times
newspaper recently reported that even the powerful G8, the rich
industrialised nations' club is courting China to become more actively
involved in its activities.

One can see a deliberate and calculated attempt to woo China and in the
long-run China may respond positively in order to occupy a position of
influence to protect its own interests. It does not necessarily follow that
because there are disagreements on one front, a country should pursue a
policy of isolation. A policy of constructive engagement and positive action
will do much to assist the country out of its present predicament. Otherwise
while we turn away from the West and look East, the East itself is actually
constructively engaging with the West. Where then does Zimbabwe find itself
in all this?

Zimbabwe needs to identify its key strengths and research about the
opportunities in the East. Having identified those strengths and
opportunities the country can calculate strategies of entering into that
market more competitively. There is no reason why the government should not
be more supportive of companies such as Econet Wireless, which has made
several in-roads in different countries.

The East is very strong in technology and helping our companies to build
partnerships and open business links will benefit the country substantially.

China is the world's largest consumer of products such as iron and steel
because of its booming construction industry. Given that Zimbabwe is endowed
with iron ore and has in Zisco a potentially large steel manufacturing
company, surely this is one of our key strengths that we can utilise to
fight for a share in the Chinese market.

While tourism is generally a strong point, because of the country's image it
is not one of the major selling points at present and it is too dependent on
individual choice and interest. As long as we sort our image problems, I am
sure the usual European tourist market will be available.

We have not created the necessary goodwill to enhance our tourism

potential. Even after the catastrophic Tsunami, more Europeans will soon be
travelling to East Asia before they begin to visit Zimbabwe and there is
currently a large Western effort to rebuild confidence in the East Asian

It is the Europeans that constitute the bulk of the tourist market and just
as the East to whom we are looking, we should be doing more to enhance our
image by rebuilding our political environment which is currently considered
to be a huge risk.

In conclusion, there is much to commend about having an interest in the East
but it does not mean that we should completely ignore the West. It cannot be
ignored because whether we like it or not, the Western countries and
institutions wield great power in the global economy.

The best strategy is constructive engagement which even our friends in the
East are pursuing with the West despite their differences. Our friends in
the East will not always offer us charity - they are also in it for the

In the same way that we want the West to open their markets we must also
insist on and take active steps to open and access the Eastern markets. The
West is also making huge in-roads into that market while taking active steps
to build strategic and positive relationships to build and safeguard their

We cannot afford to spend time on rhetoric - rather, time and effort should
be spent on identifying our strengths and ensuring that as much as we want
the Chinese to invest, we must also have opportunities to enter their
markets. Otherwise we will become net importers of cheap products which will
only do harm to local industries.

Many countries build relationships with their key entrepreneurs yet it
seems, the few that we have in African countries are unnecessarily hounded
out and end up establishing bases elsewhere. If the Look East policy is to
bear fruits, more positive action needs to be taken at these early stages.

*Dr Alex T Magaisa is the Baker & McKenzie lecturer in corporate law at The
University of Nottingham. Contact at
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Zim Independent


Nightmare at Beitbridge border post

IT had never crossed my mind that I would one day sit down and raise a
complaint against any institution, be it a parastatal, in the private sector
or the public service.

I have travelled through Beitbridge border post more than thrice and my
experiences have been nightmares:

The moment you enter the Zimbabwean side from South Africa, you notice the
difference in infrastructure, atmosphere and sanitary facilities. The
toilets on the Zimbabwean side are in bad state. Even animals are cared for

I have gone there on three occasions; once late last year and twice this
year in February, trying to clear some motor vehicles. One is made to wait
for an average of four to five hours before being attended to.

On one occasion I arrived at 8.30pm and the whole process was finished at
12-midday the next day.

I had booked at a local hotel but could not have the chance to check in to
sleep. I waited at the assessing officer's door for 16 hours in vain. There
were no benches to sit on.

It took more than 12 hours to process a single file. On the day I am
complaining about, there were five of us who were made to wait for 16 hours
without sleeping.

The evening shift came and knocked off. Another shift came in the morning
and was about to leave for home before we were attended to.

No one cared to address us and the staff were rude. I don't know whether
this is the kind of training they get; that they should not be pleasant to

I am not sure whether they know what good customer service is. What they are
not aware of is without our money they have no jobs.

I was asked trivial questions which did not seem to influence the decision
the assessor was determined to make. Two things were however certain: they
were either seeking bribes, simply trying to exercise power or lacked
product knowledge.

An example of the questions they asked is: "Why is the invoice written Mazda
323 and there is no Familia and why is the payment transfer written Mazda

Anyone familiar with cars knows that the answer lies in having a physical
check on the vehicle. If one is a vehicle assessor then he should be
familiar with cars.

The other thing which baffled me was being told my telegraphic transfer was
not authentic. As far as I was concerned that was the proof of payment I

How do you prove the authenticity of a bank tt MT199 confirmation? What you
would have been given at the bank is what you give Zimra. How then can one
get controlled stationery to create tt confirmations?

I am aware that all this may be possible but if staff are not knowledgeable
in seeing what is true and what is false, then as citizens we will be prone
to abuse and unfair treatment.

If the officer is in a bad mood they will decide that freight has not been
included and one is charged double.

One ends up paying heavy duties simply because the assessor is tired and the
victim has nowhere to complain. People are receiving inhuman treatment at
the border post.

Power is abused, ignorance of what to do abounds and there seems to be
plenty of duplication of work. There are unending queues yet people are paid
by Zimra to man the border post.

Commissioner-general Gershom Pasi should please help. The situation has now
got out of hand. Just go there in disguise or send someone to witness
first-hand the mess and incompetence of your staff.

Is RBZ governor Gideon Gono able to help on this one? The experience is
close to hell on earth.

Frustrated Citizen,

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Zim Independent


Villagers reduced to slaves

WHY are rural people so badly treated by their chiefs and headmen? These
people are expected to be unquestioning supporters of government yet they
are treated like slaves by their traditional leaders.

Rural folks are made to work for nothing in the chiefs' fields, the
so-called Zunde raMambo.

One area where this form of slavery is prevalent is Chief Charumbira's
village. Villagers under this chief are not happy to be used as serfs. They
are forced to work because of threats of banishment from the area by village
heads and their henchmen.

This practice is grossly unfair to villagers because they are not paid for
their labour. Neither are they fed during their toil.

They have very little time left for work in their own small plots. If they
complain about food, they are told by the village head to collect food from
amongst themselves.

As things stand right now, the villagers have very little food for their
families and they cannot spare any for the Zunde raMambo. Villagers who
refuse to work in the chief's fields are forced to pay a penalty of $25 000,
a rise from $10 000.

The village heads have devised a cunning way of collecting these penalties:
they ask for the fine before a villager can buy maize whenever it is

Because of some unscrupulous heads, a 50kg bag of maize is going for up to
$40 000. Add this amount to the fine and the total comes to a whopping $65
000. Where do the villagers get this kind of money?

Most villagers are forced to go hungry because they cannot afford these
exorbitant charges.

What worries me is the greed and uncaring attitudes of the rural
authorities. Who in their sane minds can ask villagers to work in their
chiefs' fields in these drought conditions?

Chiefs and headmen have become very greedy. They are paid very handsome
salaries while chiefs are given new cars to boot. Sadly, the use of forced
labour has spread to schools. One such school is Chirichoga Secondary where
the head thought he had one hell of a good idea - a mammoth fish pond.

This fish pond requires the use of a mechanical excavator. The intended fish
farming at the school is not necessary because villagers can get all their
fish from nearby Lake Mutirikwi.

All the same, villagers are made to work on the pond using substandard
tools. The digging alone has been going on for more than a year now and the
end of the toil is not in sight.

Considering all this, can you understand the plight of your fellow villagers
and appreciate what your parents and grandparents are going through?

There are many more activities around the country where forced labour is
used. One question which begs an answer is: "where are the fines collected
from villagers taken to and who benefits?"

Villagers have been so politicised by the government and belonging to any
opposition parties is a death warrant or banishment from the village.
Villagers long for their old ways of life when chiefs and headmen protected
them against adversaries.

Chiefs and headmen were part of the village family and villagers worked on
each other's fields on a willing basis with field owners supplying
refreshments and food.

If the government is for the people, let it relax its political hold on
these poor souls who only want to live their normal traditional way of life.



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Zim Independent


Forget the graffiti, go and vote!

WHILST I would normally agree with the sentiments expressed by M Leppard in
his letter "To lose votes...", (Zimbabwe Independent, February 18) I must
point out that the situation is not normal.

People are not permitted to express themselves freely and cannot wear
T-shirts or other party regalia at meetings, let alone in the streets.
Neither can they freely hand out leaflets or sing political songs at their

They are harassed, beaten up and arrested. In fact, they cannot campaign as
opposition parties do in other countries where democratic values and the
rule of law are entrenched.

If Leppard is prepared to forego his/her vote because of the trivial
painting on walls, so be it. It is up to each and every voter to
conscientiously cast their vote. In countries such as Brazil and Australia
it is not an option but compulsory for every person to cast their vote.

The temporary eyesore of graffiti can easily be rectified, but the shocking
devastation to our country, the economy, loss of jobs, the collapse of the
health sector, devastation of the agriculture sector, loss of lives through
lack of drugs, loss of our youth and skills, not to mention our poverty
stricken pensioners, will take a much longer time to heal.

Conscientious Voter,


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Zim Independent


Zim is anything but free

FOR a long time now I have read comments from important political figures of
our country saying Zimbabwe is indeed a free country.

In my opinion, the situation in Zimbabwe is anything but 'free'.Here is the
universal test of freedom and democracy (according to Natan Sharansky, born
in Ukraine).

"If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square (Africa Unity
Square in our Zimbabwe) and express his/her views without fear of arrest,
imprisonment or physical harm then that person is living in a fear society
not a free society."

So, I would like to tell our leaders that at times it's better not to talk
about freedom or democracy because many a time it's an insult to the
intelligence of the cruelly suppressed masses. May I also take this
opportunity to warn the ex-Information minister that if he is not careful
with his words then one day the monster (Aippa) that he helped create will
cruelly make mince meat of his political life (if not natural life).

Lucky for him, some of us never got the warning when he bulldozed this
morbid piece of legislation.

Fanuel Jasi,


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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Justice delayed

I WAS intrigued by VP Joseph Msika's speech at the prisons commissioner's
sundowner last week. The VP's insight into a number of issues of national
importance has at times been at variance with those of his ilk.

I recall in 2001 when he berated war veterans who had gone on a crusade to
remove from government employment anyone perceived to be a member of the

He warned them: "When we fought the war, we had discipline. Some of the
things you are doing now leave a lot of question marks. Do not destroy
institutions of the government when you are part of the government."

He also did not have kind words for war veterans who were rampaging on the
farms. At the Zanu PF conference in Masvingo he was accused of partaking
whiskey with white farmers seen as opponents of the government. Last year he
raised concern over the invasion on Kondozi Farm in Odzi and received a
bashing from overweening functionaries in the party.

Do other officials in his party and government listen when he speaks?
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa should take heed of the elderly
politician's speech at the prisons commissioner's sundowner. He could have
put his government in an invidious position in his quest for judiciousness
in the area of criminal law. He spoke candidly about the unfairness of
holding prisoners for long periods of time without trial.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," he told the prison officers. "This is
what our colonial oppressors used to do. They would put someone in prison
for a long period of time awaiting trial and we cannot have that in
independent Zimbabwe. I am a strong believer in that a man is innocent until
proven guilty," he said.

This is an unequivocal platitude, which progressive democracies would like
to be seen to be embracing. Government's information barons have been
telling us that the Zanu PF government brought "independence and democracy".
The party does not want to be associated with relics of the colonial era,
especially at a time when it has declared the general election an anti-Blair

Msika's assertion is politically correct but I hope he meant well. I am sure
he has not forgotten that Finance minister Chris Kuruneri is rotting in
prison awaiting trial for alleged externalisation of forex. He has been in
there since April last year and his case has not gone to trial.

I would also like to believe that Msika has not forgotten about former
central committee member James Makamba who spent at least six months in
remand prison before facing trial. Can someone remind the vice-president
that Phillip Chiyangwa was abducted and held incommunicado for more than two
weeks before he was produced in court on espionage charges.

The High Court ordered his unconditional release two weeks ago.

The list is long. It also includes businessman Cecil Muderede who was last
year locked away without trial for seven months on multiple charges of
externalisation and fraud.

These people will testify that justice delayed is justice denied. They were
not held for long periods by a colonial government but a government that
claims to have brought democracy and the rule of law to Zimbabwe! Is that
so, Mr VP?

Nhai VaMsika, do you recall that last year your party brought to parliament
legislation to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which gave the
police authority to arrest and detain suspects in serious commercial crime
cases for up to 21 days without them appearing in court?

I am sure the VP was in the House on July 1 last year when the Bill was
passed. That legislation is not in sync with your sentiments. I share your
sentiments that a man is innocent until proven guilty.

MDC legislator David Coltart called the amendment "the most fascist
legislation passed by this parliament yet, reminiscent of the worst
apartheid-era provisions".

Can I also remind you that the judicial system in Zimbabwe has not yet
finalised challenges by the opposition MDC of Zanu PF victories in certain
constituencies in the 2000 election. Is that not justice delayed or is it

A number of Zanu PF MPs whose mandate in parliament is under challenge will
complete their terms and they are lining up to contest another poll at the
end of the month.

To use your own words VaMsika, "we cannot have that in independent

Zimbabwe". Let not only justice be done, but it must be seen to be done if
we want the world to take us seriously.

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

      Poor Africa and the IMF's 'bad faith'

      LAST week's Zimbabwean press coverage devoted nearly as much space to
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the state-controlled media devoted
to lambasting the political opposition and British premier Tony Blair. Only
the never-ending listings of farms being expropriated - so as to further
destroy agriculture? - exceeded the space allotted to stories related to the
      Some of the articles were focused yet again upon the long overdone
denigration of the IMF. As with the fox of Aesopian fame who denied any wish
to have the grapes after he had struggled in vain to reach them, so the
pro-government press in Zimbabwe unhesitatingly derides the IMF
      whensoever it appears that that institution will not support the
      However, this is not unique to Zimbabwe, but is a characteristic of
almost all those countries in Africa as are in debt default with the IMF,
and therefore cannot avail themselves of monetary assistance from that
Bretton Woods body.
      The basis of the castigation of the IMF and, therefore, of denying any
wish for IMF assistance, is invariably founded upon the allegation that the
organisation is naught but a vehicle of imperialistic and colonising
developed countries to dominate the undeveloped and lesser developed states
and subject them to the yoke of the economically powerful. The IMF
      policies are belittled and scathingly dismissed as being weapons to
gain the economic enslavement of Africa.
      In Zimbabwe, the most frequently cited example of the alleged bad
faith of the IMF is the supposed failure of the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (Esap) of the early 1990s.
      The IMF critics claim that Esap was imposed upon Zimbabwe against the
better judgement of the government. They claim that Zimbabwe only embraced
Esap because it had to access funding from the IMF, and the availability of
that funding was conditional upon the adoption of Esap as the programme for
Zimbabwean economic development.
      This was repeated ad nauseum by the government and its newspapers in
the late 1990s in order to justify discontinuance of Esap - notwithstanding
the intensive eulogising of that same programme when it was first announced
and in the years that it was launched. Repeatedly, the programme was said to
be a Machiavellian strategy of subjugating Zimbabwe's economy to those of
the all-powerful first world countries.
      The actualities were very different. In 1989, with the full blessing
of President Robert Mugabe and his cabinet, then Finance minister, the late
(and extraordinarily able) Bernard Chidzero, established "task forces" to
assess the needs of the country's various economic sectors and how those
needs could best be addressed so as to assure the development and growth of
      those sectors. There was extensive and very wide-ranging interaction
between the task forces and the key players in each of the economic sectors
of agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, wholesale and retail trade,
and of finance and services.
      After in-depth inquiry and evaluation, a framework of economic reform
and enhancement was formulated. Thereafter, Chidzero required his advisors
to assess the extent to which the proposals were similar to those applied in
other countries under like circumstances, and to seek advice of those within
the international community with experience and expertise in achieving
successful economic structuring. Based thereon, the government formulated
Esap and then solicited international support, inclusive of funding from the
IMF, the World Bank and others.
      Thus, clearly, Esap was not imposed upon Zimbabwe, but was
conceptualised and devised by Zimbabwe, albeit also with input and advice
from beyond Zimbabwe's borders and including recommendations from bodies
such as the IMF.
      Initially, Esap failed or, at best, had very little success, for the
government's implementation was half-hearted and without conviction. There
was selective implementation of some facets of the programme and disregard
for others.
      Thus, for example, although the architects of Esap had recognised that
implementation would inevitably occasion some hardships, they were necessary
evils for the greater good.
      However, to minimise the hardships, Esap was to include the
establishment and operation of a Social Dimensions Fund. That barely
happened, with only minimal consideration of creating such a fund, and even
more minimal operation of the fund. Zimbabweans suffered the foreshadowed
hardships, but were not aided with the intended compensatory medication!
      Because of the lethargic and apathetic approval to Esap by the
government, the early years of the programme yielded little of the targeted
benefits. Eventually, when it had no alternative, the government reluctantly
intensified its implementation of the programme, resulting in some
significant economic upturn from 1994 to 1997.
      Then political objectives intervened once again, resulting in
non-adherence to the substance of Esap, and that fuelled a reversal of the
economic gains and an escalating economic decline from late 1997 to the
present time. But the government could not accept culpability, for it
perceives itself as infallible.
      In denying responsibility, it necessarily had to find others to blame,
and the IMF was a ready victim to be the recipient of that blame. This was
especially so as it had become fashionable for all other countries as could
not qualify for the IMF support to direct endless vitriol at IMF.
      The virulence of Zimbabwe's disparagement of the IMF intensified
exponentially as the magnitude of Zimbabwean debt arrears increased. The
greater the extent of Zimbabwe's default in servicing its debt,
commensurately greater and more vociferous were its attacks upon the IMF.
This became particularly pronounced when, as prescribed by the IMF
constitution's provisions in respect of debt default, Zimbabwe's membership
was suspended, and even more when the IMF commenced consideration of
possible termination of Zimbabwe's membership.
      Then Zimbabwe, very belatedly, embarked upon economic transformation,
although limited to some extent, as the government remained obdurately and
determined to continue its economically appalling land reform programme, and
reversed itself on previously declared intents to privatise parastatals.
      Nevertheless, and very substantially as a consequence of the
determination of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, Zimbabwe modified its
monetary and fiscal policies. Moreover, at nominal levels only, but
indicative of good faith, Zimbabwe commenced payment of its debt arrears.
One result was that the IMF did not expel Zimbabwe, and instead only
continued suspension of its membership, subject to six-monthly reviews.
      Suddenly, in the eyes of Zimbabwe - or in particular the government
and the state media - the IMF was no longer so evil, even if not yet
perceived as being a valued friend, which it could well become once more.
Last week's press headlines emblazoned a joyful "IMF reprieve for Zimbabwe",
instead of yet again vituperative belittling of the body.

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Zim Independent


Of Nero, Tsholotsho and the MDC

ZANU PF must be paying very well. It has one ardent supporter called Don
Muvhuti who dishes out propaganda every Sunday in The Voice. This week he
was calling for the ban of the MDC which he labelled a front for
Muvhuti claimed the European Union had renewed targeted sanctions against
both the Zanu PF and government leadership at the behest of the MDC and
therefore its MPs were not fit to represent Zimbabweans in parliament. He
obviously doesn't know that MPs are elected and not appointed. There is a
difference between chiefs and governors appointed to parliament by President
Mugabe and MPs elected by the people.
Nor do people buy the lie that Zimbabwe is under sanctions because of the
land reform programme. Those sanctions were meant to punish individuals
accused of perpetrating widespread violence during the 2002 president
election. Those directly affected cannot visit the countries in which they
have been prohibited, whereas the rest of Zimbabweans can travel freely
everywhere they like. But then for someone paid to lie, one must find
something to fill space.

Another confusionist is Tafataona Mahoso of the Media and Information
Commission. Writing in the same publication this week, he said: "The MDC
should not be allowed to promise a better life for Zimbabweans while also
supporting EU and US sanctions against the same people."
We hope by people he is not talking about Zimbabwean voters who have made
sure Zanu PF remains banished to the rural areas. At least there they can
coerce people to vote for them beyond the glare of media publicity. Evil
always thrives under cover of darkness.

Meanwhile, Mahoso claimed Miss Tourism World pageants were in the country
for "six weeks" and there were no incidents of violence despite the United
States warning its citizens to be very wary when travelling to Zimbabwe. Not
that we expected the girls to see or hear anything negative about their
host. But it is revealing that peace or lack of it is now measured in terms
of what visitors have to say or don't say about Zimbabwe. Can any situation
be more desperate?
But then we have become pastmasters at shooting ourselves in the foot. It
was during the same period that Mahoso himself decided to flex his flabby
muscle by shutting down the Weekly Times and launching a vicious attack
against The Zimbabwean. Not that the two publications offended morality or
any national interest, but because they allegedly infringed a self-serving
law that has no place whatsoever in a free society, a strange aberration
called rule by the law, instead of the rule of law. They couldn't have
missed that.

Dr David Parirenyatwa should count himself lucky. He has won the primaries
in Murehwa North to represent Zanu PF in the parliamentary election at the
end of the month. Luck because he is certain to win and go to parliament.
But there is nothing to show for his performance since he was appointed as
Minister of Health. The Herald recently reported that Harare hospital was
"in the intensive care unit" because nothing was functioning. The Saturday
Chronicle this week reported on delegation that toured Gweru provincial
hospital only to be met by two skeletons that no one could account for.
According to the paper, the bodies were believed to have been "forgotten" in
a disused mortuary in 1997. The paper also said the refrigeration system in
the supposedly "new" mortuary "is now obsolete and bodies are said to be
going bad". What was the point of touring the old mortuary if the new one is
also not operating?
Meanwhile the same paper reports that a clinic constructed by the Bulawayo
city council in Mahatshula suburb in 1999 still lies idle because there are
no medical staff and equipment. Why do the people of Murehwa North think
Parirenyatwa will do better after he is elected into parliament? What legacy
does the good doctor want to leave behind?

President Mugabe is about to show us how he is boss of all. He has assured
his party followers who lost in the primary elections that their continued
loyalty will be handsomely rewarded after the parliamentary election. He
said those who lost should support the winners to make sure Zanu PF wins the
Losers in the primaries would be smuggled through the back door into the
Senate, he assured them.
What does that tell us about democracy in Zanu PF? If people said "no" to
the losing candidates it means they don't want them. Only recently Mugabe
talked about respecting the wishes of the people but now he turns around to
reappoint the same non-performers who have been rejected by the people. Aren't
these clear contradictions? Headstrong fellows like Jonathan Moyo can kiss
goodbye to this presidential largesse.

On Monday the president took over the role of spin-doctor, perhaps realising
the boys in the Information department are lethargic. The Herald reported on
Tuesday that Mugabe told the Mashonaland West provincial leadership that the
MDC was trying to divide the ruling party. He had "read in the newspapers"
that the MDC "was bent on dividing the winners and losers" in the Zanu PF
primary elections so as to weaken the party, we were told.

This sounds like Munyaradzi Huni kind of propaganda. We have come to expect
him to dream up all sorts of conspiracies against the opposition, not a
president. This is the same president who has been talking about "witches"
and "spies" in his own party. We hope he won't be telling us next that the
Tsholotsho meeting was in fact the work of the MDC. The divisions in Zanu PF
have been there for much longer. We are not new to the factionalism in
Masvingo dating from well before the MDC was born. Manicaland has not been a
Garden of Eden either. Recent cases include Jonathan Moyo's clash with VP
Joseph Msika over Kondozi Farm in which the latter was embarrassingly
browbeaten. After that Moyo went on to openly clash with party chairman John
Nkomo over multiple farm ownership. He didn't hide his contempt for party
rules if they appeared to get in his way. But that was not all.

When Zanu PF Information secretary Nathan Shamuyarira allowed a Sky News TV
crew into the country, Jonathan Moyo was livid. He countered the Sky team
with his sycophants from Kenya who wrote glowing accounts about himself.
In all this President Mugabe assumed the role of a later-day Nero who
fiddled while Rome burned. He appeared to enjoy the drama from the guarded
safety of State House. His silence was not only embarrassing, but irritating
for his senior party officials. Moyo was a demigod overnight, an untouchable
who could defy all and sundry with absolute impunity.

What the opposition needed to do, were it not in deep slumber, was merely to
accentuate these manifest divisions in Zanu PF. But, as we have said, the
MDC was comatose. To now accuse them of driving a wedge between different
factions of Zanu PF is to give them the credit they don't deserve.

The Tsholotsho indaba was supposed to be the coup de grace, the final
assault on State House. That is when Mugabe realised the gravity of the
situation and intervened. It definitely had nothing to do with the MDC,
which even at this late hour could not capitalise on the divisions to push
forward its agenda.
It's hard to be master and spinner rolled in one, Mr President. Mugabe
nevertheless said this time around Zanu PF wanted "to win with a difference".
He didn't elaborate. We believe the only win that makes a difference is one
that gets the country out of its current isolation. Anything short of that
won't get us anywhere.

Zanu PF political commissar Elliot Manyika reacted angrily to claims last
week by Jonathan Moyo that Mugabe was surrounded by "deadwood and
 tribalists". Nor was it true that Moyo had single-handedly rescued the
party from collapse, Manyika protested at a politburo meeting that endorsed
Moyo's expulsion from the party.
He said Moyo could not have covered 120 constituencies alone. Which is true
is way. But Moyo made sure the party got saturation coverage in the state
media with those Sendekera jingles while the opposition MDC was attacked
incessantly and accused of murders, which could not be proved in court.
Manyika also accused Moyo of "going back to his old ways" of attacking his
seniors and government. Well, one doesn't have to be rocket scientist to
know he never reformed. He is a hypocrite. He only admitted there was no
democracy in Zanu PF after he was blocked from contesting in Tsholotsho. Yet
he spent five years defending the party and government with venom while he
lobbied for laws that made it an offence to criticise President Mugabe.

Lowani Ndlovu says his party Zanu PF has been grievously hurt. Its manifesto
has been plagiarised by the MDC, he moaned this week.
The idea, he says, is to hoodwink voters so that the two "parties do not
differ materially in their approaches, principles and strategies". The
difference, Lowani notes sagely, is that the MDC is silent on the
"historical" context of the country's problems. But Lowani doesn't want to
admit that Zanu PF is trying to solve problems it created in the first
place. Much is being made of inflation coming down without any admission
that the Zanu PF government's economic mismanagement pushed inflation out of
control. Zanu PF cannot hope to benefit from correcting a problem it
created. The MDC is right to point out this trickery.

Zanu PF messed up the land reform programme and it must live with the
consequences. Mugabe himself recently said his party promised the people of
Zimbabwe "its tried and tested leadership" that will ensure the country
"will never be a colony again". As we have said in the past, this is a tired
subject that nobody believes. Instead of talking to the people of Zimbabwe
the president is addressing himself to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Does he seriously believe Blair is responsible for all our problems?
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