*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
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
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
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
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.
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 Manicaland.
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
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 declaration.
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.
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
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.
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,''
The youths are reported to be targeting MDC supporters
distributing party campaign fliers in the constituency.
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
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
An MDC supporter identified as Chikemu was
hospitalised after he was attacked by the marauding youths, said
"These people are not from Zengeza S they are being brought here
from other places. The people of Zengeza are peaceful," said
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.
Police mount siege on NMB directors' homes By Rangarirai
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
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 vehicles.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
"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
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.
February 29, Makoni wrote to Gono, despairing at police action against the
directors' families and authorities' support for unconstitutional
"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
*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.
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.
Turmoil in banking as RBZ recalls loans By Rangarirai
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will later this month begin recalling
funding extended to troubled banks, central bank sources have
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
"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
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
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
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.
confident that the restructuring we are undertaking will see us paying back
all the money well before the six months are out," Chimbga said.
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
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
The RBZ has since forced through massive reforms at Trust, seeing
off founding directors William Nyemba, Chris Goromonzi and Nyevero
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 companies.
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.
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
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%.
RBZ targets safari industry in forex blitz By Loughty
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
This comes at a time when there are widespread reports
of massive corruption and serious malpractices in the hunting of game in
Matabeleland North province.
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
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 industry.
"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
The hunting industry has clinched hunting deals worth $20
billion for the next hunting season that commenced last week.
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
"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
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
He said his organisation would also explore ways to increase
food production through the implementation of a higher standard of
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.
MDC's Tumbare-Mutasa sues Mohadi, Chihuri for $2,5 bn By
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
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.
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.
New farmers decimate lion population By Loughty
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
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.
population in particular has been observed to be declining as evidenced by
reduced hunter success rates and observed low numbers," reads the
"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 season."
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 model.
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
"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
"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
Power struggle rocks war collaborators' body By Our Own
SERIOUS infighting has emerged within the Zimbabwe War
Collaborators' Association (ZWCA) following the ouster of elected chairman
Joseph Svosvore by the outspoken Joseph Kandimiri.
have reportedly left most of the pro-Zanu PF association's largely
rural-based membership confused about its leadership, some members told The
Jabulani Mbetu, the ZWCA project co-ordinator said: "Most
comrades out there in the countryside are confused about our
"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
"This is setting back our efforts to persuade the government to
accord us hero status, send our children to school for free and obtain
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
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.
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,"
"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
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.
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
"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
The farm, which is managed by FSI Holdings, specialises in
tobacco production as well as cattle rearing. Presently, it has about 350
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 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
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
Neither Mangwana nor his chief labour officer, a Mr Dziti who
instructed officers to go to Hungwe's farm, could be reached for
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
"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
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.
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.
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
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 now.
Businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats
- the whole lot - are guilty as charged.
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.
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
Many companies in the private sector were buying
foreign currency from the black market during these harsh economic times. Can
they now also be investigated?
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
'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.
Bedroom battles or crazy condom capers? overthetop By
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 Party.
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
"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
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.
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.
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 condoms.
"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."
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
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.
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
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.
said the Confederation of Danish Industries (CDI), which had poured millions
into the CZI for capacity building, had pulled out and is not renewing
The CZI entered into an agreement with CDI in 1999 and the
marriage was supposed to last at least for three years ending
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
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.
could not be drawn into revealing the exact membership of CZI, Standard
Business understands that contributions from members is erratic.
members are reported to be failing to pay the annual contribution, which
ranges from $500 000 for small members $10 million for
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
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.
senior officers have left the body between December 2003 and January this
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.
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
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
These are the Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre
(ZITAC), Tobacco Sales Floor (TSL) and Burley Marketing Zimbabwe
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
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.
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
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
intriguing exchange ensued between a banana vendor and his "warring" customer
across the street from Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's office the other
"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
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 RBZ.
As he said in
an internal memo to his top brass recently, "it has been a hectic three
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.
already put fear into greedy bankers by ordering them to return to core
business, after years reporting obscene profits from "other income".
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
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.
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 throttle.
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
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
"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
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
"There is nothing that hurts credibility more than making a
threat and not carrying it out," Gono told a Zanu PF caucus
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.
introduced the auction system, and the dollar was down to $4 214 at Monday's
auction. Murerwa called it "devaluation", Gono likes to call
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 indeginisation".
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 assets.
were however no questions about whether the Governor still held stock in
Jewel Bank and his interests in the media, among others.
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 Chundu.
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 error.
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
"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.
When no news is good news! Americanotes by Ken
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
The negligence of the Zimbabwe officials borders on the
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
Here is a reaction of the viewers.
concern is about the brutality, the use of rape as a reward and punishment
and the indoctrination of the kids" undergoing this training.
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.
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
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
One would like to support the clean-up effort by Dr Gideon Gono of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country's central bank.
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
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.
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 down-trodden.
blames the US for all sorts of crimes, some imaginary some real.
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
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 problems.
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
He was addressing his party's 125-member Central
Committee meeting in the capital.
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
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
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.
rights groups contend that the escalation in violence is a calculated ruling
party campaign to intimidate opposition supporters and ensure Mugabe's grip
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
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
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 state.
"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
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 areas.
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 tender.
Bank notes became
scarce and tradable for a premium on the streets.
became a common site outside most commercial banks and building societies.
The hoarding of cash almost brought industry and commerce to a
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.
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
"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
"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
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
He said Mugabe had failed to make his government legitimate and
has no capacity of improve the economic well being of
"There has not been improvement in the lives of people.
Controversy on his (Mugabe) re-election still lingers on," he
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
Said Biti: "It has been a wasted period in which the country has
gone backwards. The level of suffering, violence and brutality has
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.