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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Standard

'My life is in danger' - Gono
By Savious Kwinika

*RBZ Governor gets death threats RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono says his
life is now in danger and that he has received death threats from top Zanu
PF politicians and bankers.

Gono has now been allocated round-the-clock protection that includes close
security details and members of the dreaded Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO). The Standard has established that the 24-hour protection
is jointly co-ordinated by the two State security agencies.

Wherever Gono goes these days, there are at least three close security
officers charged with ensuring his safety, official sources told The
Standard last week.

Speaking during a seminar hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants
of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) in Bulawayo
on Friday, Gono told participants that his life was in real danger.

"I have received serious death threats from corrupt bank managers,
politicians and other company owners who were thriving from rampant
corruption. They want my head on the platter but this will not stop the
policies we are trying to implement," said the RBZ Governor.

"But while I need security, it is important to highlight to the nation that
even if I am killed, Zimbabwe has a population of 14 million people who will
take over the fight against corruption in the financial sector," said Gono.

He added that he felt his "security" was from the ordinary women, men and
children who had found that life in Zimbabwe was becoming unbearable.

A Standard reporter spoke to one of Gono's security aides at a Bulawayo
hotel on Friday who said: "It is true that we are providing tight security
for Gono, but it has nothing to do with your newspapers."

Following the announcement of Gono's December monetary policy, some senior
executives in the financial sector have been forced out of their influential
positions while others have fled the country.

Leading politicians, including Philip Chiyangwa - Zanu PF's chairman for
Mashonaland West - have been incarcerated after being implicated in dubious
deals uncovered by the close monitoring of asset management firms and
commercial banks.

The Standard last week learnt that Gono, the former boss of Commercial bank
of Zimbabwe (CBZ) who is known to be a close confidante of President Robert
Mugabe, first sought protection late last year after he received threats
from some people who were affected by his monetary policy.
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Zim Standard

Court declares 73 Manicaland soldiers dead in the DRC
By our own Staff

MUTARE - More than 70 Zimbabwean soldiers from army barracks in Manicaland
have now been declared dead after having been reported missing in late 1990,
during the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Standard has
established. A Mutare Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday that 73 of the
soldiers declared dead were from Manicaland and were killed during one
battle in the DRC on March 15, 1999

The disclosures were made by senior army officials during a missing persons'
hearing before Provincial Magistrate Hosiah Mujaya and another Mutare
Magistrate Billiard Musakwa.

The court heard that the soldiers who perished on March 15, 1999 were under
Major Stephen Madzorere. Ten of the soldiers who died at the Mpunbu battle
in the DRC were named in court on Thursday, with the names of the remainder
expected to be made public this week.

Among those officially declared dead in court were Private Manyepa, Ruhodo
Marshall, Kuchona Isaac, Vhelapi Nkomo, Vukile Sibanda, Madzutu Titus
Mashava, Gwete David Zvanyanya, Promise Maphosa, Dryton Chasakara and
Tarugarira. They were all from 31, 32 and 33 Infantry Battalions in

President Robert Mugabe sent Zimbabwean troops to the DRC in 1998 - without
consulting Parliament - to repel rebels that were fighting to overthrow the
late Congolese leader Laurent Kabila's government.

The Zimbabwe Parliament was forced to ratify the army's involvement in the
vast central African country more than 18 months later.

Although the Zimbabwean government has never publicly announced the number
of soldiers who died in the Congo, unofficial estimates say thousands of
Zimbabweans perished in the three-year campaign.

The Zimbabwean presence in the DRC is also reported to have milked the
government of billions of dollars.

Although The Standard and its sister paper, The Zimbabwe Independent
published some names of soldiers reported to have died in the DRC in 1999, t
he government, at the time, could neither confirm nor deny their identities.

According to the Missing Persons' Act, a person who has been missing must be
declared dead after certain period of time.

This is done for the reasons of issuing a death certificate or for the
purposes of disposing of the deceased's estate to family members or
relatives. An authority of the rank of a provincial magistrate makes the
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF sets up youth camps to spearhead violence in Zengeza
By Chris Bvunzawabaya

ZANU PF has set up several youth camps in Zengeza where a by-election is due
within two weeks and residents complain that the youths have already started
to harass them.

Four candidates: James Makore of the MDC, Christopher Chigumba of Zanu PF,
Tendai Chakanyuka of NAAG and Gideon Chinogureyi of Zanu Ndonga are locking
horns for the constituency.

The seat fell vacant after opposition MDC Member of Parliament Tafadzwa
Musekiwa went into self exile in UK amid claims that his life was in danger.

The MDC, which has won nearly all major urban elections since its inception
in 1999, is heavily tipped to retain the vacant seat during the elections
pencilled in for March 27 and 28.

MDC officials told The Standard last week that several youths, some of them
members of Zanu PF's infamous Chipangano vigilante group, have been bussed
into the constituency and were already unleashing terror among opposition
party supporters.

The Deputy Mayor of Chitungwiza, Lovemore Mutsamba, a senior MDC official,
said ruling party supporters were also camped near the police station in
Zengeza where they have held at least one person hostage while several
people, including children and the aged, say they have been assaulted by the
"chain wielding youths".

"They beat up several people this morning (Friday) with chains and whips and
what is worrying is that they are based close to the police camp,'' said

The youths are reported to be targeting MDC supporters distributing party
campaign fliers in the constituency.

Residents said the situation was particularly tense in Unit D and 14 where
several MDC supporters have been beaten up.

In those sections, the Zanu PF youths are alleged to have set up four strong
bases, one of them close to Makore's house.

MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity, Paul Themba Nyathi said about
170 points had been set in the constituency. "We have someone in the truck
who was heavily assaulted by the youths," Nyathi told The Standard

An MDC supporter identified as Chikemu was hospitalised after he was
attacked by the marauding youths, said Makore.

"These people are not from Zengeza S they are being brought here from other
places. The people of Zengeza are peaceful," said Makore.

Asked about the situation in Zengeza, Electoral Supervisory Commission
spokesperson Thomas Bvuma said they had toured the constituency recently and
had not received any reports of violence.

"'We toured the area recently and the only report we had is of a woman who
claims to have been head butted by a Zanu PF supporter," said Bvuma.
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Zim Standard

Police mount siege on NMB directors' homes
By Rangarirai Mberi

POLICE have cut telephone lines to the homes of the four NMB directors they
accuse of externalising $30 billion in foreign exchange, as fresh details
emerged on events leading to the directors' flight to London last week.

The Standard has established that police cut the phone lines in an attempt
to stop the four from contacting their families, who police sources say are
now being kept under keen surveillance and being closely trailed by police

Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, however denied knowledge of the moves,
but said police were still seeking the directors' extradition to Zimbabwe.

CID Chief Superintendent Nicholas Mhene, who is heading the investigation,
could not be reached for comment.

NMB Deputy Managing Director James Mushore and fellow directors Otto
Chekeche and Francis Zimuto, fled to London last week after police announced
on radio and television that they were after them. Bank chief Julius Makoni
was already in England for over a month.

Authorities accuse the four of externalising foreign currency through the
United Kingdom-based money transfer company LTB.

"As far as I know, NMB simply received and paid out Zimdollars. Any trade in
forex was done between LTB and several other banks," Mushore told The
Standard on the telephone, presumably from London, on Friday.

Mushore said the NMB directors would not return to Zimbabwe until police
made public the exact laws which they are alleged to have flouted.

Asked whether skipping the country would not undermine their claims of
innocence, Mushore said they had made the decision to flee in the light of
the controversial Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Amendment of
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which denies bail to those accused of
economic crimes.

Mushore would not be drawn into making any further comments regarding the
matter or the events that led to their sensational escape from the law.

News that police were after the four came three weeks after NMB suffered a
strange robbery at their Kwame Nkrumah Avenue headquarters, first reported
by The Standard.

Intruders broke into the offices of the four directors on the night of
February 6, and removed computer hard drives from their computers. Other
personal valuables such as mobile phones and jewellery were left virtually

Investigations by The Standard last week revealed that the burglary occurred
only weeks after NMB dismissed a manager from its IT division, Reginald
Magejo, accusing him of forging a bank statement in order to acquire a visa
to the UK.

Magejo, it is alleged, used Chekeche's bank statement in his visa
application, substituting Chekeche's name on the statement with his own.

"After officials at the British embassy contacted the bank for confirmation,
it was established that the bank statement in question belonged to
Chekeche," a source revealed.

Magejo was subsequently denied the visa. NMB bosses also attempted to drag
Magejo before a disciplinary hearing, but he quit the bank before any action
was taken.

"He warned the NMB directors before he left that he would bring down the
bank, saying he knew a lot," our source said last week. NMB, the sources
revealed, reported the forgery to police and also reported Magejo's alleged

Magejo was arrested the following week, but was immediately released,
reportedly after Mhene's intervention. Bvudzijena however yesterday denied
knowledge of the matter and Magejo could not be located for comment.

On February 23, police opened investigations into NMB's dealings with LTB.
After being questioned by the police, Mushore reportedly called RBZ Governor
Gideon Gono, who - according to Mushore - had at an earlier meeting approved
NMB's business links with LTB.

On February 29, Makoni wrote to Gono, despairing at police action against
the directors' families and authorities' support for unconstitutional laws.

"We simply do not understand why existing statutes dealing with exchange
control infringements cannot be used and interpreted for such allegations,"
says the copy of the letter Makoni wrote to Gono.

*Meanwhile, Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL) founder and deputy
chairman Nigel Chanakira has denied media reports that he is on the run for
allegedly illegally externalising foreign currency.

Speaking from his base in South Africa, Chanakira said the report carried in
Thursday's edition of The Tribune stating that he had fled the country and
was headed for the UK was incorrect.
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Zim Standard

Turmoil in banking as RBZ recalls loans
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will later this month begin recalling funding
extended to troubled banks, central bank sources have said.

Reclaiming the money could plunge the financial sector deeper into
uncertainty, as it is unclear whether the banks that have received the
support will be able to sustain themselves without the RBZ funding.

"The funding they got was only to fill the gap temporarily. It was made
clear to the banks that they had to initiate their own strategies for long
term viability," a senior RBZ official said early last week.

Governor Gideon Gono will end all support to banks by March 31, when the
central bank will begin reclaiming the funds it poured into the banks, the
RBZ official said. However, other bankers insist it would be too early for
the RBZ to demand repayment, hardly three months after releasing the money.

Central bank has never made public its total spending under the Troubled
Bank Fund, but reports have placed support to Trust at $200 billion and $30
billion to Century, among others.

The cost of the liquidity support has also not been made public, although
sources say the rates are around 300%. Gono has also said funding would be
made expensive as a punitive measure against the offending banks.

"Reserve Bank liquidity support will attract penal rates as it shall be
assumed, until proven otherwise, that such support has been necessitated by
the diversion of funds to non-productive and speculative activities," Gono
said last December.

Trust Holdings' Corporate Affairs Manager Sure Chimbga however denied the
reports last week, saying the RBZ had extended the aid on condition that
Trust institutes reforms within six months.

"We are confident that the restructuring we are undertaking will see us
paying back all the money well before the six months are out," Chimbga said.

Trust will soon ask its shareholders to pump in fresh capital into the bank,
to add to its drive to mobilise deposits, Chimbga revealed.

Trust last week announced the arrival at the bank of a new team led by the
central bank's head of supervision and surveillance Stephen Gwasira, which
will work with the bank's own turnaround committee towards restructuring the
bank and meeting obligations to the RBZ.

As precondition for the support, central bank has ordered that the banks
make changes to their management and boards.

The Reserve Bank under Gono wants a separation of boards for holding
companies and their subsidiaries, and has also demanded less managerial
positions for those holding significant ownership of banks.

The RBZ has since forced through massive reforms at Trust, seeing off
founding directors William Nyemba, Chris Goromonzi and Nyevero Hlupo.

Sources in the banking sector say Gono might demand similar changes at the
giant Intermarket Holdings where chairman and CEO Nicholas Nyengerai is the
chairman of the group's banking operations as well as its other financial

Reports say Intermarket is in a serious liquidity crunch and has sent an SOS
to Gono to pump in close to $80 billion to support to stabilise the
diversified financial services group.

The RBZ is expected to ask the Intermarket board to separate Nyengerai's
functions and this might result in him being forced to drop out completely
or at least shed off his executive functions, said sources.

Gono has also in the past two months doled out over a trillion dollars to
the productive sector, swelling surpluses on the money market and keeping
interest rates well depressed. The funding was extended on concessionary
rates of 30%.
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Zim Standard

RBZ targets safari industry in forex blitz
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, has
warned that his axe will soon descend on the lucrative safari and hunting
industry, long accused of not remitting foreign currency earnings to the

This comes at a time when there are widespread reports of massive corruption
and serious malpractices in the hunting of game in Matabeleland North

Gono said while there had not been any investigations in the operations of
the safari industry in the country, his department was taking an interest in
that sector.

"We have started to take an active interest in all sectors including tourism
and I can safely say that hunting and safari operations are coming under our
interest," Gono said.

He said his department is in the process of sending staff to international
forums on wildlife and the operations of safaris in a bid to collect data
that would be used to determine whether there are malpractices in the

"We recently sent a team to attend a meeting of safari operators and their
organisations in the United States in the hope that staff would acquaint
themselves and understand how the industry operates from a time when the
tourists leave their countries up to a time when they are here," he said

Gono, who was speaking during a seminar hosted by the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
(ZNCC), told the delegates that the central bank had already started
initiatives to capture figures on arrivals and departures at all the
country's borders.

"The RBZ is aware that there are tour operators who are bringing tourists
into the country but the tourists are not booked into any hotels but are
transferred into private lodges in the bush and it is difficult then to
arrest foreign currency leakages but we will soon catch up with these
people," he said.

However delegates challenged Gono to probe the conservancies and the safari
operators whom they accused of externalising foreign exchange.

Safari operators are allegedly charging US$40 000 for elephant hunting
trophies but delegates were stunned when Gono said the RBZ has no records of
the lucrative trade.

Top Zanu PF officials, including ministers and governors, have taken over
the running of most of the hunting and photographic concessions in the
Gwayi, Matetsi and Dete areas.

The hunting industry has clinched hunting deals worth $20 billion for the
next hunting season that commenced last week.
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Zim Standard

World Bank team coming to Zim
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - A joint team of economic experts from the World Bank (WB) and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) will jet into Zimbabwe next week to resume
talks on the implementation of sound macro-economic policies, a senior World
Bank official has confirmed.

Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank Country Director for Malawi, Zambia and
Zimbabwe, told The Standard from Washington in a telephone interview that
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) efforts to revive dialogue with the two
Bretton Woods institutions was most welcome.

"The World Bank will join the IMF team to discuss micro-economics and
macro-economic policy. The World Bank is naturally concerned with the
suffering of people with HIV and Aids as well as the severe food shortage in
Zimbabwe," said Schafer.

He said at the moment the World Bank was not supporting Zimbabwe financially
but implementing policy support.

Schafer said besides the policy support the World Bank was offering, the
Bretton Woods institution would like to explore ways on how to tackle HIV
and Aids, a problem that is threatening to wipe out whole populations.

He said his organisation would also explore ways to increase food production
through the implementation of a higher standard of agriculture.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono, on Friday in Bulawayo
confirmed that the central bank was ready to talk with both the IMF and the
World Bank to improve the economy.

"Sure, the IMF and World Bank team will be coming to Zimbabwe on the 19th of
March to discuss various economic issues. We are aware that we are not fully
acquitted to our arrears with both the World Bank and IMF, but as a debtor,
we need to fully co-operate with the creditor," said Gono.

Zimbabwe owes the IMF US$940 million while the World Bank is looking forward
to Harare finally doing something to reduce the balance of payment support
which is in arrears to the tune of US$250 million.
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Zim Standard

MDC's Tumbare-Mutasa sues Mohadi, Chihuri for $2,5 bn
By Valentine Maponga

BENNIE Tumbare - Mutasa, the MP for Seke who was brutally attacked and
detained by police in Kuwadzana suburb last year, is suing the Minister of
Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi, the Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and six
other named police officers for $2,5 billion, his lawyer has confirmed.

The other six are identified as constables D Musonza, Pachawo, C Mwale, M
Tafirei, Matare and one R Chanetsa, believed to be a member of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Raphael Maganga of Muzenda and Maganga legal practitioners said the figure
($2,5 billion) was reached at after combining all the damages suffered by
Mutasa during and after the attack which occurred following a campaign rally
for Nelson Chamisa who was the MDC candidate for Kuwadzana by-election. The
by-election had been called after the constituency was left vacant following
the death of MDC spokesman, Learnmore Jongwe.

"The special damages are all the medical expenses he met as well as the
costs incurred when he used a hired car for six months. The general costs
accrued from the unlawful arrest and detention, pain and suffering, loss of
amenities and disfigurement," said Maganga.

On March 16 2003, Mutasa was coming from a rally in Kuwadzana when suddenly
a rowdy mob - presumably Zanu PF supporters - attacked the vehicle he was
travelling in together with another MDC MP, Job Sikhala and Chamisa.

In the ensuing confusion, his driver lost control of the vehicle which
veered off the road and hit a woman who was walking on the other side of the
road, prompting police to open fire on the car, the lawyer said.

"Upon seeing this, other MDC officials managed to flee leaving
Tumbare-Mutasa alone in the vehicle. Police officers approached the vehicle
and attacked my client using booted feet and fists before taking him to
Kuwadzana Police Station. They detained him overnight but no charges were
laid against him." he said.

The Seke Member of Parliament sustained injuries on his chest, back, arms,
legs, the genital area and the face. The doctors who examined him after the
attack pegged his disability at 35% and their medical findings which were
shown to The Standard will be produced in court as evidence.
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Zim Standard

New farmers decimate lion population
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - As the plunder of wildlife in safari and conservancy areas in
Matabeleland North continues unabated, it has emerged that the lion
population in the areas has been depleted as a result of wanton hunting by
new farmers.

The revelations come in the wake of similar allegations of the plunder of
the Presidential Elephant Herd by the new farmers allocated safari land
under the fast track land reforms in areas bordering Hwange National Park.

As a result of the indiscriminate slaughter of the beast, the Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority has reduced the 2004 hunting quota for lions
in the Matetsi, Zambezi and Gwayi conservancies.

An internal report, entitled '2004 hunting season private land quotas for
approval: Matabeleland North province', co-signed by the authority's chief
ecologist, the director of operations, the board chairman and approved by
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema, confirmed the reduction
in the hunting quota of lions for the 2004 season.

"Lion population in particular has been observed to be declining as
evidenced by reduced hunter success rates and observed low numbers," reads
the report.

"It is therefore recommended that the lion quota for the Matetsi and Gwayi
be drastically reduced this season, furthermore the hunting off-take from
safari areas be reduced significantly per operator during the next hunting

This is not the first time that Parks and Wildlife Management has taken
action to curb the abuse of hunting rights in the same area.

Last year in October the Department of Parks banned all hunting activities
in the Gwayi Valley Conservancy after it emerged that some operators were
using fake hunting quotas while other operators were not following
stipulated hunting quotas.

The Gwayi Valley Conservancy borders the Hwange National Park and safari
ranches that have been allocated to new farmers under the government's A2

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) chairman, John Rodrigues,
however said the reduction in the hunting quota for lions by Parks and
Wildlife Management would not have any effect because there were no lions to
talk about left.

"There should have been a complete ban on the hunting of lions as the actual
number of lions in the country is not known, the Department of Parks and
Wildlife Management should first do an audit because the number of lions has
dropped so drastically," Rodrigues said.

He said collared lions protected by the World Foundation have also been
hunted down while an over-20 animal pride in Kariba has been reduced to a
mere three member pride.

"People with concessions are not hunting in a conservative way; they just
kill anything on their way, 20 animal-pride in Kariba has been reduced to
three beasts and unless the Parks and Wildlife Management put a stop to the
hunting of lion altogether we will have no lions to talk about in future,"
Rodrigues said.

The reduction in the lion hunting quota comes barely four months after the
Department of Parks and Wildlife Management banned several safari operators,
some of whom include senior Zanu PF politicians, from conducting hunts in
the wildlife rich province of Matabeleland North.
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Zim Standard

Power struggle rocks war collaborators' body
By Our Own Staff

SERIOUS infighting has emerged within the Zimbabwe War Collaborators'
Association (ZWCA) following the ouster of elected chairman Joseph Svosvore
by the outspoken Joseph Kandimiri.

The developments have reportedly left most of the pro-Zanu PF association's
largely rural-based membership confused about its leadership, some members
told The Standard.

Jabulani Mbetu, the ZWCA project co-ordinator said: "Most comrades out there
in the countryside are confused about our leadership.

"We know that there are some bigwigs in the parent party (Zanu PF) who are
definitely fanning these disagreements and are satisfied with seeing
conflicts within our association."

Another senior ZWCA official, Tonderai Musonza said: "The collaborators have
split. Our elected chairman is Svosvore, however, Kandimiri with the backing
of other top party officials is now running the show and getting all the
media coverage.

"This is setting back our efforts to persuade the government to accord us
hero status, send our children to school for free and obtain land."

The "war collaborators" who make up the ZWCA membership, are former couriers
and informers during Zimbabwe's 1970s independence struggle, then known as
mujibhas and chimbwidos, who assisted liberation war guerrillas with
scouting, food and reconnaissance functions.

For years now, the ZWCA has unsuccessfully pressed the government to award
them monetary rewards and pension benefits similar to the gratuities given
to war veterans 1997.

Contacted by The Standard, Svosvore alleged that Kandimiri was a stooge of
top ruling party officials who was not "democratically elected" by the
association's membership. Kandimiri on the other hand counter accused
Svosvore of not being a genuine war collaborator.

"There are some influential Zanu PF figures who are trying to pull me down
to distract the vision of the association by throwing in Kandemiri at the
fore of the war collaborators ... its just another political gimmick," said

"I am the elected chairman of my association and remain so until the next
congress where elections will be held. I also have the backing of the ZWCA
patron, Shuvai Mahofa (the Gutu South legislator), so I wonder whose mandate
Kandimiri is championing."

"So many people can attest that Svosvore is no genuine war collaborator
because he is afraid of getting vetted by the war veterans of his home area
... even his village headman and cousin Dumburashe has said Svosvore is no
war collaborator," Kandimiri told The Standard.

"Instead the people have elected me and I do not care about the consent of
Mahofa because we don't think she herself was a chimbwido (female
informant). We are saying our only patron is Baba Mugabe."
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Zim Standard

Workers chase away Hungwe
By Caiphas Chimhete

MASVINGO provincial governor, Josaya Hungwe, fled for his life last week
when his workers at Bryan Farm in Norton - incensed at his move to slash
their salaries by half - tried to mete instant justice on the aging Zanu PF
politician, The Standard has established.

The towering governor, who is more than two metres tall, was forced to flee
Bryan Farm which he had visited to tell workers their salaries had been
slashed from $76 000 to $38 000 per month each.

The workers said apart from the salary cut, working conditions at the 1
200-hectare farm had worsened since Hungwe invaded the farm in 2001,
dislodging former owner David Dobson.

"People were angry and speaking on top of their voices and he thought we
would beat him up so he fled. He was really taken aback," said Sebastian
Moyo, who added that the workers however did not intend to harm him.

The farm, which is managed by FSI Holdings, specialises in tobacco
production as well as cattle rearing. Presently, it has about 350 cattle.

The workers said the problem arose when Hungwe doubled their salaries in
January, only to say he wanted to cut them by half in February without
giving a clear explanation.

Presently, the minimum wage for farm workers is pegged at $38 000 but
negotiations are underway to raise their salaries by about 30 percent.

After fleeing the farm Hungwe approached the Minister of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana, who on Tuesday dispatched a team
to investigate the disturbances at the farm.

The team comprised officials from Mangwana's ministry and representatives of
the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapuz),
and the National Employment Council for Agriculture.

Gapuz Secretary General Getrude Hambira said her team went to Hungwe's farm
to investigate the disturbances. But one member of the investigating crew,
who also confirmed that Hungwe had been forced to flee the farm, said the
team found that the Governor had erred and urged him to pay the workers
their new salaries.

"We have already written to Mangwana informing him of the situation.
Mangwana will tell Hungwe to pay the salaries in full since he approached
him in the first place," said one of the officers.

Neither Mangwana nor his chief labour officer, a Mr Dziti who instructed
officers to go to Hungwe's farm, could be reached for comment.

Hungwe, who accused The Standard of being biased and writing lies, on
Thursday confirmed approaching Mangwana over the salary dispute but denied
being chased away.

"Havana kundidzinga ini ndini zvangu ndakati ndichambodzokera ndinozwa kuti
zvinofambiswa sei. (They did not chase me away, I decided to go and find out
the proper procedures concerning the salary issue), he said.

Hungwe was reluctant to explain why he had initially increased the workers'
salaries or divulge his contractual arrangements with FSI Agricom, a company
he claimed was supposed to have paid the salaries.

"I went to the farm because FSI Holdings had not paid the workers because
they had not been able to withdraw money from the bank," said Hungwe.

But FSI Agricom spokesperson, Sophie Hamandishe, denied that her firm was
responsible for paying workers' salaries but confirmed that the workers at
Bryan Farm had not been paid.

"FSI has nothing to do with these finances. Our connection to the farm is
through the farm manager who was seconded to the farm at the Governor's
request, hence the misunderstanding of our role," said Hamandishe.

When The Standard visited the farm last week the workers were on "a go-slow"
because they had not been paid their February salaries.

This is not the first time that Hungwe's workers have gone on strike either
for late salary payment or poor working conditions. In January this year the
workers at the farm were on strike after the Governor again failed to pay
their salaries on time.

"Murungu wedu anga ari nani nekuti aiteerera matambudziko edu (Dobson was
better because he would listen to our problems)," said Godfrey Bwanali (75),
who claimed he was being ordered to perform heavy duties, which he had
stopped doing when Dobson owned the farm.
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Zim Standard


He who is without sin, cast the first stone...

AS always in life, much depends on how you do it. Either you are
scrupulously honest about it or you give ammunition to people to see it as
electioneering and a witch-hunt.

We are of course referring to the anti-corruption campaign that Zanu PF has
embarked upon in recent months. As we have said in and out of season,
corruption should have been fought right from day one and not 23 years
later. We are together in this fight. Where we differ is the timing and the
selective application of the anti-graft regulations.

The question may be asked: Who really should be throwing the first stone?
Who really in Zanu PF can honestly say he or she does not have skeletons in
his or her cupboard? Why target certain people when it is common knowledge
that Zanu PF chefs and bureaucrats have been looting left, right and centre.
Not only that. They have been engaging in corrupt activities for a long time

Businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats - the whole lot - are guilty as

Given the Zanu PF-induced anarchic environment, who really in all sincerity
can say he or she was not engaging in the black market. Government
ministers, civil servants, parastatals, the private sector and all manner of
individuals were buying and selling forex in complete breach of the Exchange
Control Regulations. These regulations merely existed on paper. In fact,
they were not worth the paper they were written on.

By their foolhardy policies, the Zanu PF government created a shortage
economy and the people who took advantage of shortages of all kinds were the
Zanu PF chefs themselves, their relatives and friends. Who does not know
that ministers and civil servants purchased the greenback at $55 and on
their return from their trips abroad flogged it at the prevailing parallel
market rates.

If the team that is investigating illegal dealings in foreign currency and
externalization are to be taken seriously, then the net must close in on
each and every government minister and on each and every civil servant. What
a mammoth task!

But it must be done if honesty and sincerity are to be the hallmarks of this
long overdue fight against corruption. Otherwise it will be seen as once
again one of those Zanu PF political gimmicks and election strategies, now
that the 2005 parliamentary elections are not far away.

Trying to convict selected companies and individuals to the exclusion of the
main culprits will be hypocritical and will be seen no more than hunting for
the 'witches' who might turn out to be mere sacrificial lambs.

Zanu PF created an abnormal environment in Zimbabwe - an abnormal
environment that included a thriving parallel market. The government itself,
the corporate world and individuals openly traded in this market and
everybody including the guardians of the law - the police - turned a blind
eye to the 'illegal' activities.

No one was sourcing foreign currency from the banks because there was none.
Many institutions including the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
and National Oil company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) sourced foreign currency on
the black market. The was no alternative source.

Can these organisations also be investigated for breaching the Exchange
Control Regulations along with thousands upon thousands of individuals who
technically were in breach of the same regulations.

Many companies in the private sector were buying foreign currency from the
black market during these harsh economic times. Can they now also be

Let it be remembered that this was before the introduction of the auction
system - a system which came into being only in January this year. What were
companies and individuals expected to do? How were they expected to survive?

It is clear from the foregoing that there is a much more complex, bigger and
broader picture than people are being led to believe. There is more than
meets the eye in what Zanu PF is trying to do.

Corruption has been rearing its ugly head for a long time now and no one can
say say 'I am not a sinner'. Neither Zanu PF nor the corporate world can
preach from a position of moral superiority. We do not swallow this Zanu PF
thing although we acknowledge that the fight against corruption has long
been overdue.

Yes, this cancer must be exposed and rooted out but it must be done in an
open, full and accountable manner. Openness and accountability are the only
way to avoid scepticism and cynicism being expressed by people who rightly
will say: 'Yesterday it was land reform, today it is anti-graft ... you
cannot trust these Zanu PF fellows'

'Be honest' - is all what we are saying. Even if it comes down to the whole
lot, the so called chefs being shipped out - let it be.
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Zim Standard

Bedroom battles or crazy condom capers?
overthetop By Brian Latham

The tragically delusional government of a troubled central African nation
has accused the United States of America of launching a propaganda war on a
new front.

Ministry of Misinformation officials announced this week that thousands of
condoms, donated by the US government, carried counter-revolutionary
messages aimed at helping the opposition rise up against the ruling Zany

It was unclear whether a large audience would see the counter-revolutionary
condoms - or indeed who would see them at all.

Over the years, the American government has donated millions of condoms to
the troubled central African banana republic in an effort to curb the spread
of Aids. But Zany officials now say this was a plot, mere cover for,
counter-revolutionary activities under the counterpane.

"It's just the tip of the problem we face," said an official from the
ministry of misinformation. "Western governments are aligned against us in
an effort to screw us over."

Still, an official from the US embassy said he knew nothing about
counter-revolutionary condoms, but he hoped they worked.

Meanwhile a member of the opposition More Drink Coming Party denied any US
involvement in the distribution of condoms with a political message. "We
hope the Americans will one day have the courage to stand up and do the
business," said the spokesman. "But we do not believe they've made much of a
stand yet."

It was also pointed out to Zany officials that the US government distributes
over 80 million of the estimated 100 million condoms used by troubled
central Africans every year, while no more than a few hundred
counter-revolutionary condoms were found.

Social scientists claim troubled - and obviously excitable - troubled
central Africans may well go through more condoms a year than any other
nation on earth. This, they say, is because a condom costs less than a slice
of bread. It may also be because the propaganda broadcast by the
misinformation ministry is so boring and obviously untrue that people have
very little to do in the evenings.

"Actually counter-revolutionary condoms are not a bad idea," said an unnamed
academic from the terribly troubled central African university. "Don't quote
me, but if two people are reading the message on the condom, that's two more
than are watching the eight o'clock news."

Still, officials from the misinformation ministry said that it was
unpatriotic not to watch the news, though even more unpatriotic to use
counter-revolutionary condoms.

"We will get to the root of this problem," said a Zany Party spokesman, "no
matter how long it takes us."

He said police would soon launch an investigation into the matter. "We don't
care how deep they have to go, we will find the source of these mischievous
prophylactics and put an end to the matter," he said.

Still, a busy and largely untroubled security consultant told Over The Top
that police would be hard pushed to investigate the matter. He said he
feared for the life of a policeman barging into a troubled central African
bedroom in the dead of night and demanding sight of politically sensitive

"It's the sort of thing that could leave the cop up to his neck in hot
water," said the security consultant. "More to the point, not even the most
zealous Zany cop is going to want to collect the evidence."

Meanwhile a political analyst told OTT that the whole matter would subside.
"It's just exciting in the heat of the moment," he said. "But the story will
wither away and leave little but embarrassment in its wake."
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Zim Standard

ZIMSEC's incompetence shocking

I am a Zimbabwean student based in the UK and would like to air my
grievances with regard to the incompetence of ZIMSEC.

I wrote my 'A' levels under ZIMSEC and when the college that I now attend
asked ZIMSEC to provide my new college with the ZIMSEC A level syllabus,
there was no response from ZIMSEC.

Multiple emails and letters were sent to ZIMSEC but all this was in vain.
Not only did this induce doubt in my new UK college about my academic
credentials but also revealed how ZIMSEC is failing to offer world-standard
educational examining board qualities.

The ZIMSEC website, which should be a vivid and convenient source for
supporting material such as syllabi offered, is shallow compared to other
examining boards such as UCLES. It's surprising to note that there is no
information on the ZIMSEC site about ZIMSEC offering 'A' level exams.

As a former ZIMSEC exam candidate, I expect ZIMSEC to help me with providing
any information that I might need that is related to their examining
services. I want to challenge all the authorities involved to improve their
services so as to offer world standard education.

Could the ZIMSEC website be improved please, since it is the most convenient
way for overseas college educational administrators to review Zimbabwean
students academic certificates.

Bothwell Bvanyangu

Birmingham University

United Kingdom
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Zim Standard

CZI broke after Danes pullout
By Kumbirai Mafunda

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) is facing a tough fight for
survival following revelations that it has exhausted funding from its major
donor who has since pulled out of Zimbabwe.

Official sources said the Confederation of Danish Industries (CDI), which
had poured millions into the CZI for capacity building, had pulled out and
is not renewing funding.

The CZI entered into an agreement with CDI in 1999 and the marriage was
supposed to last at least for three years ending 2002.

However, when the contract expired in 2002, CDI agreed to extend the
agreement to last year, as there was some extra funds that remained from the
initial budgeted funds.

CDI is reported to have fallen out with the local industrial body after the
imposition of travel and economic sanctions on Harare by the European Union
to whic

h Denmark is member.

The agreement between the CZI and the CDI, which was meant to improve
service provision at the local industrial body, included upgrading the
labour, trade and communication departments, which gave birth to the
production of a monthly newsletter.

The CDI support also covered remuneration, equipment and computers,
literature and subscription to magazines. Through CDI support, CZI also
managed to send some of its staff and delegates to meetings abroad.

CZI Chief Executive Farai Zizhou confirmed that the CDI funds were exhausted
and that the Danes had in the meantime pulled out completely.

"Now we don't have any donor support. We are standing on our own and
surviving on voluntary contributions from our members," said Zizhou, who
remarked that CZI was now among a few chambers in the SADC region that are
independent of donor support.

Although Zizhou could not be drawn into revealing the exact membership of
CZI, Standard Business understands that contributions from members is

Some members are reported to be failing to pay the annual contribution,
which ranges from $500 000 for small members $10 million for big

Membership contributions to CZ, sources said, were falling fast because of
the adverse operating environment that is taking its toll on most companies.

The CZI reports that over the past three years more than 700 companies have
closed shop owing to the disintegration of the economy.

Sources said CZI had appointed a special committee to look into financial
schemes that can boost its coffers. Apart from the funding dilemma, sources
said CZI was also recording a huge staff turnover.

About five senior officers have left the body between December 2003 and
January this year.

The industrial body now only has a staff compliment of 21 down from last
year's 26.

"It's a permanent struggle," said Zizhou. "How do you hold on to people in
this environment where people are attracted by better packages to commercial
entities," he added.
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Zim Standard

Poor tobacco sales predicted
By our own Staff

ZIMBABWE'S annual tobacco auctions, for years the country's main foreign
currency earner, will open to early selling at the end of this month with
projections of a poor crop; the smallest since independence in 1980.

Officials at the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB), which
regulates the marketing of the golden leaf, said the marketing season will
start on the 30th of this month at the three auction floors.

These are the Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (ZITAC), Tobacco
Sales Floor (TSL) and Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ).

The early opening of the auction floors was meant to curtail borrowings and
high interest repayments, say officials.

A meager 60 million kgs is expected to pass through the three auction
floors, 25,9% down from last year's crop. About 81 million kgs was sold
during the 2003 selling season.

The auction floors, which sold 237 million kgs in 2000, have largely been
reduced to mere shells.

This season's marketing would be a unique one following the introduction of
a dual marketing system for the crop where authorised contractors will also
come in.

Sources said the TIMB has trimmed the number of selling teams stationed at
the three auction floors reflecting the drastic plunge in the output of the
country's once prime foreign currency earner. Only one selling team will
conduct the auction spending about two hours at each auction centre.

"We downsized in anticipation of a low crop," said an official.

Selling teams have since 2000 been reducing from 16, three in 2001 and two
in 2003.

Under the new tobacco exchange rate, an exchange rate of $3 356 to the US
greenback will be used this year.

Tobacco has been the country's prime export crop contributing up to 12% of
national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, production of the crop has taken a drastic knock since Zanu PF
loyalists and land hungry peasants began to forcibly occupy commercial farms
in 2000.

Zimbabwe has already lost its market share to neighbouring countries such as
Malawi and Zambia and seasoned producers like Brazil and China who are
increasing their crop.

Owing to the precarious state of farming in Zimbabwe, tobacco manufacturers
are jumping ship and undertaking huge capital expansion projects in
Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia where they want to capitalise on stability at
the farms in those countries.
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Zim Standard

Gono's 100 days of solitude
By Rangarirai Mberi

AN intriguing exchange ensued between a banana vendor and his "warring"
customer across the street from Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's office
the other morning.

"One grand point five," said the vendor, pointing proudly at his fine stock
of giant bananas. "What!" retorted the well-dressed customer, clutching his
elephant skin briefcase. "Gono akauya pano munovata mujeri daddy."

It's hundred days in office for Gono this Tuesday, and the temperature is
high in the financial sector. What the banana vendor might not know is that
his customer is probably cross he isn't making as much money as he would
like to - ostensibly because of Gono.

There is little doubt that Gono has managed to turn things around at the

As he said in an internal memo to his top brass recently, "it has been a
hectic three months".

He has also endeared himself and the office of Governor to the ordinary
person - including the push-cart banana vendors - something no previous
governor of the central bank had managed to do.

Gono has already put fear into greedy bankers by ordering them to return to
core business, after years reporting obscene profits from "other income".

"He has certainly made his mark in the market and the economy at large.
People have taken him seriously," said Moses Chundu, Group Economist at
Century Holdings.

After Gono's appointment was confirmed, there was none of the cheap "tea
boy" slurs that his rivals were wont to say when he was at the commercial
bank CBZ.

Suddenly, acres of newspaper space were dedicated to congratulating Gono.
Among those quick to congratulate him were many bankers who were sitting on
piles of very dodgy money, indeed.

Gono took office - some say ascended to power - on December 1, but perhaps
the day many will remember his administration by is December 18, when he
announced his long-awaited monetary statement in the style popularised by
the US federal reserve chief, Alan Greenspan.

Monetary statements had in the past been the traditional fare of boring
promises, but the ruling party's information department this time went full

As has been the case so far, Gono was made a marketable product. Advertisers
were asked by ZTV to advertise around the Governor's speech, like Nike and
Michael Jordan.

Throughout his short-term, the government and the ruling party has claimed
ownership of the Governor. He has looked nervous about it at times,
uncomfortable with the crown of "saviour" that has been thrust upon his

"Don't attribute credit to me where it is not due," he once told chartered
accountants recently.

This was after a torrent of praises from the State media claiming he had,
hardly a month on the job, slashed inflation. However, a wishy-washy report
soon appeared in The Herald, alleging a "plot to discredit Gono".

Secret letters had been intercepted, the report alleged, revealing a dark
plot to discredit the Governor through the private Press.

By not challenging these reports, as he had done with the earlier praise
singers, critics said he was human after all: he enjoyed the hero worship.

On January 2, Gono's dispatched his men to Century Discount House, shutting
it down and withdrawing its licence. Gono probabaly had no idea where it
would lead to, but this dramatic event opened a black hole into which many
heavies have been sucked into.

Two directors of ENG Capital, owners of CDH, were nicked on a $61 billion
fraud charge. Then Zanu PF legislator Philip Chiyangwa was sucked in on
allegations he had been hiding hot cars from the police.

Then four First Mutual Asset Management bosses fell in, accused of ploughing
an unauthorised $40 billion into ENG. FML directors were also accused of
gaining billions each in questionabl deals with ENG.

Gono also forced changes at Trust Holdings, probably the country's biggest
bank by assets.

Creaking over a deep liquidity chasm, Trust sent out an SOS to Gono. He held
the lifeline, but said he would only throw it out once the bank threw
overboard its founder William Nyemba and two of his lead men.

To critics, this alone was going back on pledges he made in the monetary
policy. He had warned he would not spend taxpayer money saving troubled and
badly run banks.

Critics said the money to troubled banks would be awash on the market,
throwing off Gono's money supply and inflation targets of under 200% by
year-end. But Gono last month ably justified the aid.

He also went back on his word regarding banks that fall out of the cheque
clearing system. If a bank was expelled from the clearing house for more
than a week, "serious remedial action" would be taken, he warned on December
18. He liked reminding banks just who was in charge.

"There is nothing that hurts credibility more than making a threat and not
carrying it out," Gono told a Zanu PF caucus meeting.

However, six banks were out of the clearing system for over a fortnight, one
of them since long before December 1, but none of the "remedial action" was
seen. Critics say one of the banks was spared because it belonged to a
longtime friend of his.

Then there was the really clever foreign exchange auction. Gono had learnt
that President Robert Mugabe had early November turned down then Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa's suggestion to devalue the Zimdollar to $3 900 on
the US greenback.

He introduced the auction system, and the dollar was down to $4 214 at
Monday's auction. Murerwa called it "devaluation", Gono likes to call it

But he had to face suggestions that the auction was not as transparent as it
should be.

There have been tense times for Gono in the past 100 days. It was reported
he had received threats from prominent businessmen, the "champions of

And at the Zanu PF caucus meeting, businessman and MP Ray Kaukonde asked
Gono to declare his assets. He replied that he owned a farm and a few other

There were however no questions about whether the Governor still held stock
in Jewel Bank and his interests in the media, among others.

Other critics say Gono has probably overplayed his pledge to increase
transparency in the central bank's operations.

His recent list of asset management license applications was only the latest
in a string of statements the RBZ has released, some of which many feel
carry data that the Governor really should have kept away from the public.

"Some of the details are perhaps best kept confidential," said Century's

The export defaulters' list for instance, carried names of firms that had in
fact already remitted their earnings. The RBZ had to apologise for the

Bankers say Gono's key task going forward will be to restore confidence in
banking. Gono says he does not believe "we can afford more (banks) than we
have at the moment", and this means his bank purge could be open ended,
further hurting confidence.

"I think it's important for him to take stock, to admit to himself that he
is not an old hand at this job and he too has some lessons to learn," a bank
CEO said.
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Zim Standard

When no news is good news!
Americanotes by Ken Mufuka

WHENEVER Zimbabwe is in the news, my students bring me the news and I pray
that for once there may be good news. On Sunday, February 29, there was a
British Broadcasting Corporation piece on Green Bombers of Zimbabwe.

The negligence of the Zimbabwe officials borders on the insane.

Surely, when Hillary Anderson visited the training camps of the "Youth
Brigade" she must have brought her whole crew, jeeps, cameras and support
staff. Even a blind man would have seen her. What the officials thought she
was going to write about, baffles me. Then they complain about bad

Here is a reaction of the viewers.

"Our main concern is about the brutality, the use of rape as a reward and
punishment and the indoctrination of the kids" undergoing this training.

In another reaction, a Zimbabwean living in Britain says he was horrified
with the cruelty shown in the film and the Hitler like methods used to crush
the Zimbabwean spirit. So the film was shown in Britain as well.

Two weeks before that the New York Times carried a front page report on the
state of the Zimbabwe hospitals. It went to great length to prove by
references and articulate use of sources how the health system has
collapsed. Meanwhile, President Mugabe travels in style to South Africa to
attend to some family wedding arrangements.

Meanwhile President Mugabe goes to Venezuela to show solidarity with
President Hugo Chavez. There is good reason for the trip. President Chavez
has been on the Central Intelligence Agency's list of regime change for a
long time. Two years ago, a CIA abetted national strike almost overthrew
him. What good that does to Zimbabwe, I have no idea.

One would like to support the clean-up effort by Dr Gideon Gono of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country's central bank.

The news reaching us, however, about these efforts, makes poor reading. The
effort to clean up the banking system seems to be limited to those on a
political hit list who have ambitions within the ruling party. If this
allegation is true, it suggests that this is a typical case of selective
prosecution, which enables the alleged thieves to declare themselves
political victims and therefore eligible for political asylum.

The overthrow of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide on Sunday February
29 is of interest to Zimbabweans. Brother Aristide, a former Catholic priest
turned politician, was elected in 1991 and quickly overthrown by remnants of
the Mulatto Duvalierist military.

This is what he says. He was returned to power in 1994 by US President
Clinton and 20 000 marines. He turned out to be unforgiving to his enemies
and to the treacherous United States. He abolished the gendarmerie, thus
making enemies out of unemployment.

The issue of Aristide is that as soon as he was elected, he went about
destroying the democracy that had elected him by changing the rules so he
could run for a second and third term. In achieving this aim, he is accused
of cheating on a massive scale in order to circumvent the electoral rules.

Thus his election in 2000, rather than make him a legitimate elected ruler
of Haiti, marked him as a cheat. The Central Intelligence Agency only
succeeds if the leader of a country due for regime change is regarded as
illegitimate by his people. The US then interferes as a saviour of the

He blames the US for all sorts of crimes, some imaginary some real.

What interests us is that Haiti used to be self-sufficient in rice
production until the rice markets were opened to free trade. The traders
found it cheaper to import Florida wheat, the workers migrated to work in
Florida illegally most of the time, leaving the once flourishing rice fields
empty swamps.

The importers are of course American. Whether Aristide should have placed
emphasis on the history of oppression in his country that has sapped the
enterprise of the people rather than blame the US for all the evils of
Haiti, is the question. The old school nationalists, President Thabo Mbeki,
President Mugabe, President Aristide and President Nujoma, all place too
much emphasis on the past rather than the future.

Aristide did not have the last word. He told Randall Robinson and the Black
Congressional Caucus that the Central Intelligence Agency and some white US
Marines had abducted him from his palace and flew him into exile.

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell says that the US only facilitated his
departure in order to make way for a peaceful resolution of Haiti's
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Zim Standard

Mugabe marks second year of misrule

THIS month marks two years of President Robert Mugabe's rule since his
controversial re-election in March 2002. The Standard's senior reporter
Kumbirai Mafunda critiques the ageing leader's time in office.

"The next poll will be held six years hence. Let that sink in Britain and
its surrogates in the MDC," President Robert Mugabe boldly declared soon
after his tainted re-election in March 2002.

He was addressing his party's 125-member Central Committee meeting in the

The clear message, which must have come as sweet music to Zanu PF loyalists,
was a bitter pill to swallow for supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic (MDC) and other progressive forces in Zimbabwe, keen to see a
change in the country's political fortunes.

To critics of Mugabe, this meant that the Zimbabwean ship would drift until
2008 under the command of Captain Mugabe, the same one who led them adrift
over the past 20 years.

Two years into Mugabe's new controversial term - secured amid widespread
condemnation of what was seen as a flawed election - Zimbabwe has indeed
spiralled deeper into its worst economic and political crisis.

Before celebrations for Mugabe's victory thawed at Zanu PF headquarters, the
President had already signed a restrictive media bill, the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) on March 15 which
culminated in the shutdown of the only independent daily newspaper, The
Daily News.

This was Mugabe's first major act since his controversial re-election in the
March 9-11 watershed presidential election.

To date more than a dozen journalists have been charged under the draconian
law and some foreign correspondents have been kicked out of the country.
Political violence, which has wrecked the southern African nation, has also
escalated since Mugabe's re-election.

Human rights groups contend that the escalation in violence is a calculated
ruling party campaign to intimidate opposition supporters and ensure
Mugabe's grip on power.

Spirited efforts by Pretoria and Abuja to nudge the two political foes to
the negotiating table faded during Mugabe's tenure when mediators from the
two countries headed home after failing to salvage the talks.

The European Union, whose team of election observers was booted out of
Harare before the elections, immediately announced travel and economic
sanctions on Mugabe and his close aides in protest against the flawed

Attempts by the opposition and pro-democracy campaigners to challenge
Mugabe's iron fisted rule through demonstrations have been thwarted and worn
down by a barrage of arrests thereby turning the country into a police

"The political space for individuals has shrunk. We had more freedoms two
years ago," lamented Tendai Biti, MDC's secretary for economic affairs.

On the agricultural front, white commercial farmers alleged an upsurge in
violent evictions and looting of their property, which they blamed on
retribution. Since his re-election Mugabe's misguided policies caused an
exodus of white farmers and now more than half of Zimbabwe's 12 million
population is starving or facing starvation.

To bolster the evictions, a law that prohibits farmers from continuing
farming operations 45 days after being served with a notice to stop or face
imprisonment, was promulgated.

Critics also accuse Mugabe of deliberately starving opposition supporters to
strengthen his grip on power. Humanitarian food aid sourced through the
World Food Programme (WFP) is allegedly being selectively distributed to
ruling Zanu PF followers at the expense of opposition loyalists in some

Despite swearing in his 'war Cabinet' in August 2002, the economy failed to
respond positively and instead disintegrated further. Widespread shortages
of basic commodities and fuel have crippled Zimbabwe's economy, one of the
region's strongest prior to the wholesale seizure of productive farmland.

As the disintegration of the economy continued, 2003 saw the manifestation
of another scarcity - this time the unprecedented shortage of the legal

Bank notes became scarce and tradable for a premium on the streets.

Meandering queues became a common site outside most commercial banks and
building societies. The hoarding of cash almost brought industry and
commerce to a halt.

Instead of sewing up its tattered image, Harare further ostracised itself
from the international community by foolishly pulling out of the
Commonwealth towards the end of last year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), to which Harare has been in arrears
since 2001, initiated procedures for the compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe
from the IMF after having determined that government had not actively
co-operated with the fund. As of November Harare's arrears increased to
US$273 million.

"Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. We have gone downhill faster
than any time during the 24 years of independence. We are the laughing stock
of the region," says John Makumbe, a political analyst.

"We have never endured such a terrible time like the one we are in," said
Tendai Chabati, a resident of Chitungwiza. "I shudder to think how we are
going to survive the remaining four years under Mugabe."

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the
past two years have been terrible.

"These have been terrible years for the country. We have a dictator on one
hand and an incompetent leader in terms of managing the country on the other
hand," said Madhuku.

He said Mugabe had failed to make his government legitimate and has no
capacity of improve the economic well being of Zimbabweans.

"There has not been improvement in the lives of people. Controversy on his
(Mugabe) re-election still lingers on," he added.

Surgimed Chief Executive and former president of the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Danny Meyer, observed that other than the
restructuring at the central bank, spearheaded by Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono, nothing peculiar was achieved in the last two years.

Said Biti: "It has been a wasted period in which the country has gone
backwards. The level of suffering, violence and brutality has increased."

Political analysts say the record of Mugabe's two years in office since his
re-election is a clear indication that if he continues in office the only
direction for Zimbabwe will be downhill.
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