May 10 2007 at 07:10AM
By Beauregard Tromp and Reuters
Mercenary Simon Mann has been rearrested within moments of being freed
from Zimbabwe's notorious Chikurubi Prison, pending extradition to
The former British SAS officer-turned-mercenary on Wednesday lost his
fight against extradition to Equatorial Guinea, where he is more than likely
to spend the rest of his life at the infamous Black Beach Prison as an
example to other mercenaries.
Mann has been held at a Zimbabwean prison since being convicted in
September 2004 of attempting to purchase weapons without a licence as part
of a broader coup plan against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang
Harare magistrate Omega Mugumbate issued a ruling that 54-year-old
Mann could be extradited to the West African country to face charges just
two days before his expected release from prison.
"The extradition application is not prohibited in terms of the law. If
it's granted, it would not violate international law," Mugumbate said.
"The respondent did not prove charges of torture, while the applicant
provided a prima facie case against the respondent.
"It is hereby ordered that the respondent be extradited to Equatorial
Guinea," he stated.
In an exclusive interview with The Star, Equatorial Guinea's
Attorney-General, Jose Ole Obono, the man who has led the investigation and
extradition requests relating to the coup attempt, detailed his plans for
Ole Obono was speaking from his offices in Malabo, the scene three
years ago of the much criticised trial of South African mercenaries.
"Simon Mann was attempting to take the life of the president of
Equatorial Guinea. He wanted to overthrow the government. Therefore, the
penalty for the charges in Equatorial Guinea are very, very serious," said
"Having given our word to Zimbabwe that the death penalty will not
apply in this case, the sentence in this case will be long-term
imprisonment, with a minimum of 30 years," he said.
Mann's lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said he would appeal.
"Your worship, you did not address the question that he will not get a
fair trial and, your worship, you did not address the question that he will
be tortured," he said.
Mann was released on Wednesday but immediately detained under an
immigration warrant for his deportation, said Samkange.
Sixty-six other defendants arrested with Mann after their plane
stopped in Harare served less than one year in jail, after pleading guilty
to charges of violating Zimbabwe's immigration and civil aviation laws.
Eleven others are serving sentences ranging from 13 to 34 years in an
Equatorial Guinea jail in connection with the coup plot.
Former British premier Margaret Thatcher's son Mark, accused of
helping to fund the foiled coup, cut a deal with prosecutors in South Africa
to avoid jail.
Samkange said international law barred the extradition of people
indicted in political trials or facing possible torture.
"It would be a very sad day if Zimbabwe were to extradite a man
against all international conventions," he said.
Ole Obono denied that his government had offered incentives, like
lines of credit and oil for the cash-strapped Zimbabwe, in exchange for
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on May 10,
10 May 2007
CRISIS-weary Zimbabweans braced for darker days yesterday after President
Robert Mugabe's government announced 20-hour daily electricity cuts for
households across the country.
The government has said the cuts will allow supplies to be shifted to
irrigate the crucial winter wheat crop amid persistent food shortages.
Zimbabwe has already been experiencing frequent power cuts caused by the
declining capacity of its aging power plants, which have seen very little
new investment as the country battles severe foreign currency shortages.
Several Harare suburbs have also endured lengthy periods without water, some
for as long as three weeks, as the eight-year economic crisis takes its toll
on municipal and utility services.
The extended power cuts by the state-run power utility, Zesa Holdings, also
mean more financial woes for residents battling with the highest inflation
rate in the world, at 2200%.
The cuts are intended to spare urban business districts but many shops and
businesses in residential areas could still feel the effect.
Mines and factories have also been hit hard by regular power outages, which
have caused a decline in production and contributed to an economic crisis
and escalating political tensions over Mugabe's 27-year rule.
Up to $2bn is required to install new equipment and expand production at the
country's two main power plants in Hwange and Kariba to meet increased
industrial and domestic demand, officials say.
A government notice published in the state media said Zesa would give
priority to wheat farmers, who need electricity for irrigation, while
domestic use across the country would be restricted to four hours a day.
Zesa spokesman James Maridadi said the power rationing programme was
expec-ted to be enforced immediately and to run for three months.
Apart from erratic power supplies, Zimbabweans have to cope with persistent
food, fuel and foreign currency shortages. With Reuters
POLICE have added a bizarre twist to their crackdown on legal practitioners
by beating up their own lawyer.
At the weekend, police turned on state prosecutor Richard Chikosha, who
represented the force in a case in which lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Andrew
Makoni were challenging their detention.
Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that officers from the Central
Investigations Department's Law and Order section assaulted Chikosha at
Harare Central Police station. His alleged crime was having consented to the
granting of bail to Muchadehama and Makoni, who represent 13 Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) activists detained since March. The two lawyers were
arrested last Friday on allegations of obstructing the course of justice.
Police yesterday denied assaulting Chikosha.
"As far as I am concerned, nothing happened to him," said national police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
But sources insist that following Chikosha's assault, police went on to defy
two High Court orders for the release of Muchadehama and Makoni. They were
only freed on Monday after a Harare magistrate granted them $500 000 bail
While the arrest of the two lawyers has refocused attention on growing
police impunity, it is Chikosha's beating on Sunday that more starkly
exposes the indiscriminate callousness of state security agents.
Chikosha's plight mirros that of Mutarre prosecutor Levison Chikafu, who
believes he is under siege for prosecuting Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa. He once fled his home after being threatened by security agents.
This followed the collapse of a case in which the state claimed to have
discovered an arms cache in Mutare that it alleged was linked to the
Chikafu was arrested last month and later released on bail last week. He has
since written to Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele to protest at the
abuse he suffered in custody.
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
ZANU PF ignores mediation efforts, schedules local govt polls
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki's efforts to mediate in the Zimbabwean
crisis threatening stability in the region faced a key test this week after
the ruling ZANU PF moved to schedule local government elections to January
The elections, that would give some insights into the likely outcome of the
harmonised March 2008 poll, look set to be held under the existing
constitution, which the opposition says must be replaced before any new
elections can be held.
Previous attempts to initiate dialogue between the main Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and ZANU PF, whose style of governance is blamed for
the Zimbabwean crisis, have been stalled by the insistence for a level
playing field starting with the demands for a people-driven constitution.
At an emergency summit in Tanzania in March, Southern African Development
Community (SADC) heads of state appointed Mbeki to help end the crisis in
Zimbabwe by bringing the government and the MDC to the negotiating table.
However, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo's announcement of dates
for council elections can only see the opposition entrenching its position
on the need to place constitutional reform at the top of the agenda of any
talks. ZANU PF says a new constitution is not a priority.
Chombo said on Monday that council elections would be held in January, two
months before the joint presidential, parliamentary and senate elections.
Analysts said the announcement by Chombo in his home province of Mashonaland
West is another prank in ZANU PF's bag of tricks to scuttle Mbeki's
They argued that holding local government polls in January would give ZANU
PF a chance to gauge the public mood, two months ahead of the general and
A shock defeat in the February 2000 referendum on a new constitution jolted
the ruling party into a violent campaign that helped it stave off defeat in
general elections five months later.
MDC insiders said this week that party leaders were pinning their hopes on
President Mbeki "to impress upon President Robert Mugabe to play ball by
creating an environment conducive for mediation through the drafting of a
However, political analysts tell The Financial Gazette that Mbeki's mission,
whose prospects for success were already dim, have been further dented by
ZANU PF's decision to forge ahead with a campaign for elections under the
current constitution that the opposition claims allows President Mugabe to
"ZANU PF is already preparing for the 2008 polls under the current
constitution," said John Makumbe, a fiery government critic who teaches
political science at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). "There is dead silence
over Mbeki's mediation from President Mugabe, a pointer that the ruling
party is not interested in dialogue."
According to Makumbe, the MDC would be deceiving itself if it thinks ZANU PF
will disrupt its campaign machinery to concentrate on the drafting of a new
"ZANU PF will push for the 18th Amendment under the present constitution.
They do not intend to postpone elections in order to re-write a new
constitution. A new constitution is not on top of the ruling party's agenda
at the moment," said Makumbe.
Apart from merging presidential and general elections, new amendments to the
constitution proposed by ZANU PF will significantly enlarge Parliament and
empower it to elect a new President in the event that the post falls vacant.
Some analysts cited the deep-rooted suspicion between ZANU PF and the MDC as
a major hurdle that could scuttle Mbeki's mission.
Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the UZ, believes Mbeki's
mediation does not exist in the political machinations of ZANU PF.
"The ruling party is proceeding as if there is no SADC or Mbeki initiative.
They are oblivious to it and are preparing for the harmonised polls under
the current constitution, which they say is non-negotiable," said
Holding local government elections in January would allow ZANU PF to "test
the waters", said Masunungure.
"They want to test the waters before the presidential and parliamentary
polls. Privately, they know the Mbeki initiative exists on paper, but they
are simply not taking it seriously. What they want is to win elections in
2008 under the current constitution."
South Africa has been reluctant to comment publicly on President Mbeki's
initiative. However, last week, deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Aziz Pahad,
appealed to both ZANU PF and the MDC to stop grandstanding and instead
create an atmosphere conducive to mediation.
THE provincial secretary of the Arthur Mutambara faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and former deputy mayor of Bulawayo, Albert Mhlanga,
has defected to the Morgan Tsvangirai faction together with 35 other leaders
of various structures of the party.
Mhlanga, who insisted that he was not defecting but was rejoining the main
MDC, said he had been forced by people at the grassroots to cross the floor
because there was no way the opposition could defeat President Robert Mugabe
if it remained divided.
Zimbabwe will be holding parliamentary and presidential elections next year.
President Mugabe has already been nominated as the ruling ZANU PF's
"All our efforts must be directed at (President) Mugabe and not at our
colleagues because without unity we are doomed," Mhlanga told a press
conference on Tuesday.
Mhlanga and four youth leaders who attended the conference were introduced
by the party's national secretary for Integration, Healing and
Reconciliation, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the former chief executive of the
banned Daily News.
Nkomo also said Mhlanga was not defecting but was simply rejoining the party
as he was one of the founder members of the MDC. Nkomo, himself initially
switched to the Mutambara faction but left a few months later.
He said he had left the Mutambara faction because he did not see any way
forward under that faction, which he preferred to call a formation.
Nkomo said Mhlanga had made a wise decision because "for us, the enemy is
not Mutambara but Mugabe and ZANU PF".
Mhlanga's defection brings to six the number of councillors that belong to
the Tsvangirai faction in the 29-member Bulawayo City Council. There are
only four ZANU PF councillors.
WHAT must have seemed a harmless gift, a heifer, has landed Bulawayo
executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube squarely on the manure heap.
The Bulawayo City Council now wants him to explain why he gave the
eight-month-old bovine to President Robert Mugabe at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) without approval.
As if criticism of this gesture was not enough, the embattled Ndabeni-Ncube
is also facing a revolt over his management style. He is under fire for
splashing $120 million on a party held on the eve of the start of the ZITF.
Independent and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors are
disgruntled over Ndabeni-Ncube's gift to the President and his blowing of
millions of dollars on the party, both of which were not authorised.
Ndabeni-Ncube, who is serving his second five-year term as mayor of the
country's second largest city, was elected into office on an opposition
But it is understood he has now fallen out with many of his MDC colleagues
over what they describe as his authoritarian management style.
Councillors yesterday accused him of not following laid down procedures when
he presented President Mugabe with the heifer at the ZITF, on April 27.
They also rapped him for his extravagance at a reception held at the ZITF on
the evening of April 23 where guests, including a contingent from the media
wined and dined to the tune of $120 million.
"We are not saying he should not have given the President a gift, but that
council authority should have been sought. This is how council operates,"
said outspoken independent councillor Charles Mpofu.
President Mugabe officially opened this year's ZITF, a function
traditionally performed by a foreign head of state.
Mpofu said councillors and other senior municipal officials were only
informed of the donation via a circular.
"The mayor is usurping council authority as he is behaving like a lone
ranger," charged Mpofu.
Another councillor said the matter would be discussed at the next executive
Council spokesman Phathisa Nyathi confirmed that a heifer was presented to
President Mugabe during the trade fair.
"I understand it was a heifer. But I was not there and I do not have the
details. The mayor would be in a better position to say whether or not full
council authorised it," he said.
Ndabeni-Ncube is currently in Europe and is only expected back in Zimbabwe
later this month, officials said.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO - Things are falling apart at townhouse. Or so it would seem
according to media reports.
But the recruitment of a new town clerk for the country's second city, which
sparked the latest squabble, seems to be only an excuse for some councillors
to settle old scores with executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube.
This was clearly apparent at a full council meeting last week when some
councillors dragged in issues that were aimed at embarrassing the mayor,
whom they accused of bulldozing his way to ensure that his alleged favoured
candidate, Gilbert Mlilo, the current town clerk of Gwanda, landed the post.
The position of town clerk fell vacant after the retirement of Moffat Ndlovu
last month. Four candidates were interviewed for the post. Three of them are
current council employees. These are Gilbert Dube, the chamber secretary and
current acting town clerk; Middleton Nyoni, the city treasurer; and his
deputy Stanley Donga.
Some councillors argue that the town clerk should have been selected from
the current council employees instead of bringing an outsider, especially
someone from a small town like Gwanda.
They argued that the deputy town clerk had always been promoted to take over
the top post when it fell vacant and claimed that the mayor was opposed to
the promotion of any of the current council employees because they were his
seniors when he was a council employee.
Ndabeni-Ncube was deputy director for housing before he was elected
The councillors were also irked by comments the mayor made in a confidential
letter to council employees who had been interviewed for the town clerk's
job after minutes detailing how the interview had been conducted and the
scores of each candidate were leaked to the media.
In the letter, the mayor apologised for the embarrassment caused to the
employees but this letter too was leaked to the media. The mayor said the
councillors who had leaked the documents were misguided and had displayed
their ignorance, deceit and utter disregard for the feelings of other
He accused the councillors of having no respect for the oath they took and
of having "little minds that discuss people".
However, it was his concluding remarks that seemed to have irked the
councillors. "Can we, however, get solace from the expression: Fools rush in
where angels fear to tread," the mayor wrote. And it was on the issue of
calling them fools that some councillors dwelt during the full council
Despite the heated debate, mainly from Alderman Charles Mpofu and Councillor
Stars Mathe, who took every opportunity to remind the mayor that he had
called them fools, but was a bigger fool himself, the mayor managed to
contain the situation from getting out of hand.
Some councillors, however, cornered their colleagues after the meeting and
told them that if they had any axes to grind with the mayor they should have
raised them in the council-in-committee, which follows the open meeting,
rather than the chamber, which is open to the public.
Despite the acrimony, however, the council resolved to recommend Gilbert
Mlilo for the post of town clerk to the Local Government Board.
But the issue, it appears, is still far from over.
Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
INFIGHTING between ZANU PF factions vying for control of Bulawayo deepened
this week with former war veterans association leader, Jabulani Sibanda,
launching a blistering attack on "godfathers" subverting the party's
constitution for selfish interests.
A tough-talking former liberation war fighter, Sibanda's scathing attack put
paid to Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for administration's claims
that the feuding factions in the politically restive Bulawayo province had
His remarks, which appear targetted at influential ZANU PF heavies who have
successfully shut out the young blood from rising through the ranks of the
party, come as the boisterous war veterans are beginning to assert
themselves in the party.
At the party's apex, the presidium, Vice-President Joseph Msika and John
Nkomo, its national chairman, wield greater influence in Bulawayo and the
rest of the Matabeleland provinces.
Dumiso Dabengwa, a politburo member, weighs in third although he is seen as
the brains behind ZANU PF's scheme of things in Bulawayo.
In an interview, Sibanda who is under siege from the party's provincial
bigwigs, claims the bending of rules by top ZANU PF officials is at the core
of the factional fighting.
"There are some people who have become so ignorant of the party's
constitution that they look at themselves, think of what is best
politically, for them, and then try to implement those outcomes," he said.
"They have weighed their curriculum vitaes so much that they now believe
they are heavyweights to such an extent that they can manipulate the party's
constitution for their benefit. They think that having 27 or 30 years of
service in government, their detention at Gonakudzingwa and many of those
camps during the war, is licence to manipulate the party's constitution, and
indeed the country's constitution, to suit their own tastes," he added.
Following a week of factional clashes in Bulawayo and Masvingo that
embarrassed ZANU PF and forced Mutasa to admit for the first time the
existence of two feuding camps, Sibanda has driven the message home by
insisting that the fissures are a result of political heavweights ignoring
the party's constitution and selectively implementing rules designed only to
secure their own political futures.
Bickering rocked ZANU PF's Bulawayo structures last week when the party
tried to hold elections to choose a new leadership for the province.
A group of supporters said to be sympathetic to Sibanda were locked out of
the elections venue.
ZANU PF's political commissar, Elliot Manyika, was forced to abandon the
elections under a torrent of abuse from senior party figures. He has called
for an audit of the party structures this weekend.
Sources this week said war veterans, who had been confined to the periphery
in ZANU PF, were beginning to dictate the pace in the party.
For instance, war veteran retired major Alex Mudavanhu, was last month
elected ZANU PF provincial chairman for Masvingo.
Another war veteran would be representing the party in a by-election to be
conducted soon, while fissures in Bulawayo could again be tipped in favour
of the former liberation war fighters.
Sibanda said while junior party members were looking up to senior party
members to bring sanity to party structures, the same senior members were
fuelling the chaos.
"They did the same thing in 2005, dismantling the very executive that had
worked extremely hard to bring members together. They thought they were
destroying me, yet they were destroying the party. Two years down the line,
they are back in the picture once again, trying to make themselves relevant
to the political scenario.
"I believe these are internal reactionaries who have found their way into
the politburo through manipulation."
Sibanda said given the confusion in ZANU PF, supporters and sympathisers
were bound to dump the party for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, which seems better organised in Bulawayo.
ZANU PF has struggled to win a single seat in Bulawayo ever since the
emergence of the main opposition party in 1999, which poses the biggest
threat to the ruling party's continued hold on power.
Its leadership, which came through the 1987 Unity Accord, has thus been
lacking the support of the people at grassroots level.
Asked whether, as alleged, he was the leader in Bulawayo of the Emmerson
Mnangagwa camp, Sibanda said: "I am my own self and no one owns me. I work
with, and for the people. There are people who want to be leaders yet they
do not have people to lead. These are the people who have brought the
confusion that the party has been witnessing in the last few weeks."
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
A $29 billion advance from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has pushed the
government domestic debt stock to slightly over $1.3 trillion, sparking off
fresh fears of renewed government recourse to the highly inflationary
overdraft facility with the central bank ahead of an election next year.
Zimbabwe's Presidential election, expected to run simultaneously with a
parliamentary election to be brought forward under a planned harmonisation
programme, will increase pressure on government expenditure.
Crop assessments have confirmed terrible food shortages this year, triggered
by a devastating drought and low capacity utilisation on the country's
An update of government domestic debt made Tuesday indicates that the RBZ
extended a $29 billion loan to central government during the first week of
May, moving the debt stock up from a high touched on March 30, 2007 of $1,
283 trillion to $1,313 trillion.
The overdraft account had a deposit of $3,6 billion prior to the latest
Although this is not the highest advance to government during the year, it
however, sent distress signals to a market terrified of increased direct
borrowing by government ahead of the scheduled elections.
Government could increase its recourse to the overdraft facility to reduce
the interest burden on its debt stock, which has mounted significantly due
Of the current government debt stock, $330 billion is in Treasury Bills
(TBs), bearing a whopping $904 billion in interest.
While government could evade the huge interest burden from market
borrowings through increased recourse to its overdraft facility, the effect
of increased direct borrowing from the central bank would be to add to
domestic liquidity and inflation, a move likely to be in conflict with the
Reserve Bank's own tight monetary policy expected to be intensified on heavy
TB and Consumer Price Index-linked bond maturities between May and October.
Government expenditure is under pressure from unbudgeted wage and salary
commitments reviewed early this year to curtail work protests by a restive
Fresh commitments from food imports, and another adjustment to salaries and
wages for civil servants expected soon to curtail protests, could swell the
government's appetite for funds, forcing the central bank into increased
money printing, which would further fuel inflation.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
FINANCE Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi will soon table a Bill in parliament
retroactively legalising unauthorised spending by ministries and Parliament
No reasons were given to justify the unauthorised spending, running into
billions of dollars at today's prices, by the line ministries. Given that
the legislative assembly is the major culprit, the Bill is likely to sail
through despite any measure of resistance that might come from opposition
Last week the government gazetted the Financial Adjustments Bill, which is
to be presented in Parliament to condone the expenditure.
The Bill has, however, failed to meet a constitutional deadline as set out
set in section 103(5) of the Constitution.
According to the relevant provisions, such a Bill must be tabled in
Parliament within 14 sitting days of the extent of the expenditure being
"This Bill will condone unauthorised expenditure by the Ministry of Home
Affairs in the sum of $19 546.27 during the 2000 financial year.by the
former Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement in the sum of
$4 186 331.87 during the 2003 financial year; by the former Ministry of
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in the sum of $1 180
560.92 during the 2004 financial year; by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs in the sum of $2 912 323.21 during the 2004 financial
The Ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare spent $3 741
596.92 without authority in 2004, and Environment and Tourism, which
accounted for $554.96 in 2001 are included in the list.
Parliament was the biggest culprit, exceeding its expenditure by $2 641.42
in 2001, $17 899.98 in 2002, and by $3 222 268.19 in 2004.
Government's insatiable appetite to spend what is does not have has
continued unchecked, worsening the size of the budget deficit, which it
continues to fund through the printing of money.
Inflation has zoomed past the 2000 percent mark as a result, dampening
prospects of an early economic recovery.
The constitution requires the Ministry of Finance to present a Bill
condoning the unauthorised expenditure to Parliament within the next 14
sitting days of the legislature after the level of the over-expenditure has
Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
SOUTH Africa has refuted claims by Zimbabwean police that it harboured and
trained opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists in
terrorism and acts of insurgency.
This follows allegations by the police in an ongoing trial of MDC activists
facing terrorism charges that South Africa's crack police unit, the
Scorpions, trained MDC activists in military activities.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Ronnie Mamoepa, told The Financial Gazette
from Pretoria this week that South Africa had not trained any activists in
any military tactics, and that it observed and respected regional and
international protocols on terror and insurgency.
Said Mamoepa: "The South African government respects protocols that were
signed by SADC and indeed the international community, which bar any country
from helping any elements in destabilising another country.
"We have a lot of our issues that we need to attend to and we have not been
involved in this cooperation with the opposition (MDC) to try and
destabilise Zimbabwe. We respect Zimbabwe as a country, brother and
Thirteen opposition members, including MDC Glen View Member of Parliament
(MP) Paul Madzore and his brother Solomon, are currently being held under
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act on charges that they trained
as "insurgents, bandits, saboteurs or terrorists."
This paper has reported how police accused the group of having received
military training in South Africa.
Appearing before a High Court judge, the investigating officer in the case,
Wellington Ngena claimed: "Between December 2006 and March 2007 in Pretoria
and Orange Free State in South Africa, they attended or underwent a course
of training on how to draw up detailed plans for dummy runs and decoys,
creation of dilemmas for the Zimbabwe government and how to use them, thus
receiving military training."
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), anxious to avoid having its
corporate governance record tarnished, is pressing ahead with investigations
to establish whether its Zimbabwe office facilitated the smuggling of
UNDP's quest to get to the bottom of the allegations despite denials by its
local office raises more questions
on the goings-on at a Beitbridge mine that is at the centre
of a protracted ownership dispute.
United Nations under-secretary for legal affairs, Larry Johnson, has told a
lawyer representing Bubye Minerals, a company claiming title to River Ranch
diamond mine, that the UNDP's head office was also examining Bubye's request
for a freeze on any support to River Ranch Limited, Bubye's rival over the
Bubye recently accused UNDP of complicity in the alleged illegal trade of
diamonds by River Ranch Limited.
It now claims to have gathered evidence in the form of signed affidavits and
other documents showing that their rivals had smuggled diamonds out of
Zimbabwe with the assistance of the UNDP.
However, local UNDP representative Augustino Zacharias and River Ranch
Limited have strongly denied Bubye's accusations.
In spite of this, the UN's legal office indicated in a letter to Bubye last
week that investigations would go ahead.
"We have brought your letters to the attention of the UNDP and we understand
that the UNDP, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of
the World Bank Group and the African Management Company (AMSCO) are
currently examining the questions that you have raised," said Johnson.
AMSCO is a UN capacity building scheme for African firms.
Bubye Minerals director Adele Farquhar this week wrote to Johnson accusing
the UN and the West of double standards, for imposing targeted sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants while funding a company
sitting on disputed diamonds.
"We are a country that is the subject of targeted sanctions. In consequence,
there are severe shortages of basic foodstuffs and medicines. If Bubye
Minerals (a locally owned company) was mining and selling the diamonds, a
portion of its foreign currency earnings would be remitted to the central
bank to fund essential imports of power, fuel, food and medicine," Farquhar
said. "Yet, as it stands, the World Bank and United Nations appear to be
aiding and abetting the looting of resources from this country, whilst at
the same time calling for tighter sanctions."
ZANU PF politburo member, retired army commander Solomon Mujuru and former
ruling party legislator Tirivanhu Mudariki are directors of River Ranch.
Sibonokuhle Khaya-Moyo, wife of Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa,
Simon, is a Bubye Minerals director.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Reporter
THIRTEEN of the 16 ZANU PF supporters jailed for three years each last year
for violence have been released from prison, it has been learnt.
A Rusape Magistrates Court last April sentenced each of the 16 to three
years in prison after a trial that linked State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa to the violence.
Mutasa was, however, never tried.
Ten months of their sentences were suspended on account of good behaviour,
and another six months were suspended on condition that the convicts paid
for property damaged by their actions.
The case stemmed from intra-party violence that broke out between a faction
loyal to Mutasa and another aligned to war veteran James Kaunye, Mutasa's
rival in a race to be ZANU PF's candidate for Makoni North in the March 2005
The thirteen who have been released are: Phenias Koro, Tendai Cosmos Hombe,
Kudzanayi Chipanga, Gilbert Zowa, Gift Marisizo, Michael Sithole, Misheck
Maringwi, Tafadzwa Nyangobwa, Aaron Kachidza, Nyasha Bhudali, Fungayi
Chiringa, Tax Jimo and Delta Mandibaya.
Albert Nyakuedzwa, who was the ruling party district chairman for Makoni
North, and two other ZANU PF supporters, remain behind bars pending
finalisation of a murder case in which he, together with eight other party
loyalists from Rusape, allegedly masterminded the killing of war veteran and
Tina Wilson Mukono. High Court judge Charles Hungwe is still to deliver his
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
HIGH Court judge, Justice Anne-Marie Gowora has dismissed an application by
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned Daily
News, to be deemed registered, but found that by deferring dealing with the
matter indefinitely, the government was violating the newspaper's
constitutional right to publish.
She found that government delays in dealing with the application were
prejudicial to the ANZ and readers of its publications, which included the
weekly Daily News on Sunday.
Justice Gowora said for the High Court to grant the ANZ the order the court
sought would be tantamount to turning it into a "licensing authority."
"Examining the relief sought by the applicant, it is clear that it is
premised on a lack of action on the part of the (Media and Information)
Commission. What is before me is not the review of a decision made by the
commission. What I have been asked to consider is for this court to place
itself in the shoes of the commission and make the decision whether or not
applicant should be granted a license to operate a mass media service," said
"This court is in fact being requested to substitute its own discretion for
that of the commission . . . in order to accede to the relief being sought,
this court would then itself become the licensing authority."
The judge said there were "exceptional situations" where the court could
exercise adminstrative functions, but none of these applied to the case of
the Daily News.
She said one of the exceptions was in a situation where the end result is a
forgone conclusion, and where delays would cause harm to the applicant.
The judge said it was surprising that, despite a 2005 Supreme Court ruling
that the MIC had been disabled from hearing the ANZ's application because of
bias, the government had not established a legal framework to facilitate the
hearing of the application by an impartial body.
"Given the attitude being displayed by the Minister, however, it is obvious
that he does not intend to put in place measures or even change the
composition of the commission in order for the application for the
registration of the applicant to be dealt with by an impartial body. Clearly
this would be in violation of the applicant's rights in terms of the Act and
the constitution," the judge said.
"It is obvious in this case that further delay in dealing with the
registration of the applicant will cause prejudice to the applicant and, in
an abstract sense, to its readership. The applicant made its application in
2003 and, four years on, it has still not been registered."
The judge said it was incorrect for the ANZ to say there was no longer an
administrative authourity to deal with the case following the Supreme
Court's ruling on the MIC's bias.
The Adminstrative Justice Act as well as the Minister or his deputy can deal
with the application.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
THERE is a paradox about the Zimbabwean crisis: while creating international
investor concern and a refugee influx in neighbouring countries, the country's
economic and political woes have at the same time created opportunities for
growth and expansion for regional neighbours.
Last year, the Zambia Investment Centre (ZIC) said Zimbabweans fleeing a
devastating economic crisis had by September made business commitments
amounting to US$135 million in the past six years, bolstering its economy
whose agricultural sector has been turned around by white farmers displaced
during Zimbabwe's muddled land reform.
The Zimbabwean investments created 113 151 jobs in Zambia, the ZIC said.
Zambia recently made a rare admission that it had profited from Zimbabwe's
economic crisis, although it said it was not happy benefiting from "the
misfortunes of our neighbour".
Speaking at an International Monetary Fund (IMF) press briefing by African
finance ministers in Washington recently, Zambia's finance minister N'Gandu
Peter Magande said there had been no disruptions to Zambia's economy from
Zimbabwe's crisis "apart from the demand on the Zambian economy to provide
what (the) Zimbabwean economy has failed to (provide)".
"If anything, we have gained," Magande said in response to press questions
on the impact of the crisis on Zambia.
South Africa, battling a soaring crime rate often blamed on an influx of
illegal Zimbabwean migrants, has been one of the major beneficiaries of
Zimbabwe's crisis, alongside northern neighbour Zambia.
A recent study indicated that South Africa's retail sector was earning
billions of rands annually from Zimbabweans crossing the border to buy basic
commodities, now in short supply in the country.
South African companies have been making rich pickings from Zimbabwean
assets, particular in the resource sector, made cheap by the country's
A number of South African companies have invested heavily in Zimbabwe's
capital-intensive resources sector since the emergence of an economic crisis
seven years ago. These include the world's second largest platinum producer,
Impala Platinum (Implats), which owns the majority of Zimbabwe's platinum
claims held by the Zimbabwe Platinum Mines and Mimosa; Metallon Holdings,
which owns the largest gold producing mines in the country.
Mmakau Mining, another South African company, took over a 75 percent stake
in Eureka Gold Mine over a year ago together with another South African firm
Shaft Sinkers, which holds 25 percent after buying out Placer Dome.
Bridgette Radebe, wife of South Africa's Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, and
a sister to mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, heads Mmakau Mining.
Some of the South African firms that have invested huge cash into
exploration programmes in Zimbabwe include diamond majors De Beers, Rockover
Resources Limited, which is involved in a joint venture with SouthernEra
Diamonds Inc. over the Tsholotsho Diamond Project in Zimbabwe, and African
Platinum (Afplats), which has laid claim to a platinum group metals deposit
along the Great Dyke belt.
However, Afplats' platinum claims are likely to transfer into Implats
ownership following the recent acquisition of Afplats by Implats.
Angloplats, the world's largest platinum producer, is planning to open its
Unki Project, a platinum mine in Shurugwi, which it owns jointly with Anglo
South Africa-based African Pearl Mining, through Zimbabwean subsidiary
Better Mining, recently announced that it would spend US$100 million over
the next three years on diamond mining projects in Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe's government, under pressure from the international
community to halt an economic crisis now in its seventh year, has been
blamed for mismanaging Africa's once most prosperous economy, forcing
millions of citizens into exile, particularly into South Africa.
The regional neighbours have largely remained silent on Zimbabwe's economic
disaster despite international concern mainly from the West.
Magande said white farmers evicted from their land during a controversial
agrarian reform between 2000 and 2002 had resulted in the relocation of the
farmers into Zambia.
"So we actually benefited out of the skills that these people have brought,"
he said, although indicating President Mugabe's government had raised
concern over Zambia's accommodation of "people running away from them".
Magande said Zambia's tourism had also enjoyed a boom as a result Zimbabwe's
Visitors who used to come to the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls are
now going to the Zambian side because of the crisis.
"You can see it from both sides. And because of that, a lot of people
perhaps who were going to Victoria Falls to see on the Zimbabwean side are
now preparing to come to the Zambian side, so this has resulted in a boom in
tourism at the border, on the Zambian side, and obviously to us, that is a
benefit," he said.
Zimbabwe's tourism sector has been hit hard by low domestic [item ends
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
JUDGE president Justice Rita Makarau has dismissed an application by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai seeking to have general elections held
in 2005 declared as having fallen short of regional standards on the conduct
Tsvangirai cited President Robert Mugabe among other respondents in the
court action challenging the credibility of the polls, saying they had
violated the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Principles and
Guidelines governing the conduct of democratic elections.
The Movement for Democratic Change fared badly in the polls, winning 41
seats against ZANU PF's 78.
Tsvangirai also wanted laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Broadcasting
Services Act to be deemed in breach of regional election guidelines.
The application also sought to have the High Court reverse boundaries drawn
by the Delimitation Commission before the elections, which saw
constituencies in opposition strongholds, such as Mbare West and East, being
"The Delimitation Commission has seen it fit to reduce the number of seats
in Harare. It had no proper reason to do that. I attach a table from the
national census conducted in August 2002. This shows that Harare in
particular has expanded by a population growth of more than three times than
of any other province. In the period 1992 to 2002, Harare's population grew
by some 424 670 compared to Manicaland's growth of just 29 213," Tsvangirai
However, Justice Makarau dismissed the application.
In opposing the application, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said: "They
(SADC guidelines) are not a protocol. They are not enforceable or amenable
to enforcement. The SADC Guidelines and Principles are a political document
pegging out for the region a roadmap, which we must all follow towards a
perfect democratic future."
Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
A HUMAN rights lawyer whose mother is a police officer has petitioned Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to stop her harassment by some officers as an
indirect dig at him.
Tafadzwa Mugabe ,who is employed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), challenged Chihuri to order his officers to leave his family alone
and to end the "inhumane treatment" his family has suffered because of his
work. Mugabe's mother, Assistant Inspector Petronnella Musarurwa, has served
in the Police Protection Unit Escorts section, but has been threatened with
eviction from police quarters and transferred, which Mugabe sees as
In his a letter to Chihuri, dated April 19 2007, Mugabe accuses the police
of harassing his mother over the fact that he lives with her at Msasa Police
station. Mugabe said he lives with his mother because he is her only source
of support since his father died in 1999.
"I write on my own behalf as a son of a serving member who has been residing
in a police camp for much of my life, and who is now helpless as his mother
is harassed and victimised for bearing a son whom some elements within the
ZRP accuse and find fault with for being a practicing lawyer who represents
some MDC people."
Mugabe chronicled events that have resulted in his mother suffering a mild
stroke due to stress caused by the ill treatment she was subjected to after
police established that he worked for ZLHR.
Mugabe has accused the Officer Commanding Harare Criminal Investigations
Department Law and Order Section, Musarashana Mabunda of subjecting his
mother to "vicious verbal harassment", leading to her suffering a mild
stroke that left her bedridden.
ZANU PF chairman and House of Assembly Speaker John Nkomo has revived his
legal tussle against a Bulawayo businessman over a wildlife ranch in
Nkomo withdrew a $5 million lawsuit against Langton Masunda in May last year
had obtained an interdict barring Nkomo and his employees from interfering
with the safari operator's activities at Lugo Ranch, of which the exclusive
Jijima Lodge is part.
In legal action seen further drawing out an already protracted battle for
the property situated in the wildlife rich Gwayi Conservancy, Nkomo has
implored the High Court to evict Masunda, who claims to have occupied the
property in August 2002, long before Nkomo took interest in the ranch.
In papers filed with the Bulawayo High Court recently, Nkomo says he wants
Masunda ejected immediately for allegedly occupying the property illegally.
Nkomo claims that he was allocated the farm under the land reform, and that
he holds a 99-year lease issued by Didymus Mutasa, State Security Minister
in charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement.
Nkomo, who is also embroiled in a $2 billion lawsuit brought against him by
former Information and Publicity minister Jonathan Moyo, wants Masunda to
meet the full costs of the court action in respect of the ranch.
"Defendant (Masunda) is in wrongful and unlawful occupation of the property
and, despite several demands, has refused, failed and neglected to vacate
the property," reads part of Nkomo's submission.
He accuses Masunda of "unlawfully operating and exploiting resources at a
profit for himself." Masunda was last year accused of illegally hunting
wildlife worth $123 million on the property. The charge was thrown out.
Lawyers representing Masunda have indicated they will challenge Nkomo's
renewed court action. In papers filed earlier, Masunda claimed having
rightful title to the property, which he says was allocated him also under
the land reform, long before Nkomo laid claim to the land.
The three-year legal battle at one time sucked in Mutasa, who had issued an
order evicting Masunda. However, the Bulawayo High Court nullified the
eviction order in June last year, installing Masunda as the rightful settler
on the property.
Economic Viewpoint with Terence Zimwara
EVENTS in this country for the last few years seem to point to a market
economy as the best way out of the economic crisis we are in and the
existence of the parallel market for hard currency during this period
supports this view.
The parallel market for hard currency has been the most prominent feature to
evolve from the country's supply side economic woes and over the years it
has become more sophisticated as it performed a vital function for the
economy. With the country's foreign currency reserves at critically low
levels, coupled with the absence of major inflows of hard currency, freeing
the foreign exchange rate market is a worthy option for attracting greater
flows of hard cash.
The foreign currency market driven by market forces has a number of benefits
to our economy, chief among them being its function as a tool to identify
and correct mismatches or distortions in prices. The country's prospects for
a change in its economic fortunes depends immensely on increasing exports
among other factors and exports can only increase when the exchange rate
becomes real in the eyes of the exporter along with less stringent controls
on the movement of foreign currency.
A market determined rate will give exporters confidence because it
guarantees them a fair and real value for their effort even if the revenue
were to be accessed four months down the line. The recent refusal by tobacco
farmers to deliver their crop to the auction floors and the continued
smuggling or selling of minerals outside the official channels all stem from
the rate of exchange which many feel is way out of line with economic
What is very clear here is that it is only after implementation of a market
determined rate of exchange, along with other measures, can authorities see
not only increased deliveries of these commodities but increased production.
Instead of devaluing the dollar, authorities can do better by offering a
market determined rate of exchange for these industries as a first step
towards a shift to a market economy. The encouraging thing to come out of
the recent monetary policy review was the acknowledgement that a
market-based economy was the way to go. In fact it has been the view of the
writer that an across-the-board shift to A market economy is the key to
achieving greater economic competitiveness, hence the need to expeditiously
move towards that direction if we hope see a quick economic turnaround.
We cannot over-emphasise the importance and effectiveness of a market-based
economy here but we can learn from countless examples of economies that have
since prospered to become the major trading nations of the world. In the
last century West Germany, Hong Kong and South Korea are among countries
that took the path of a market dominated economy, and though the going was
tough, these countries are now proud major economies of the world.
In fact the success story of the market economies did not end with these but
more recently, nations like Russia and China, which previously shunned the
market economy direction, are now major beneficiaries of this.
In most cases this was made possible when the authorities liberalised
foreign exchange controls and in the case of China, passing laws that
allowed investors to repatriate all their dividends. The benefits for China
are evident for all to see and the country now prides itself as the fifth
largest economy in the world boasting an unprecedented US$1.2 trillion in
its foreign currency coffers.
In the Gulf states of central Asia which attained independence from Russia
in the early 90s, the state of affairs there again provides a stark reality
of contrasting economies. While all the states there have vast resources,
energy in particular, it is Kazakhstan which has been experiencing solid
economic growth since the late 90s, thanks largely to the economic reforms
it undertook. This example helps us understand that we may have an abundance
of natural resources but without the right economic model, such resources
will not help the economy but may actually be a source of instability.
Opponents of a market determined exchange rate in particular argue that
devaluing the dollar and allowing it to float on an open market will result
in massive price increases. However this argument is not sustainable when it
is common knowledge that most economic players are already sourcing foreign
currency on the parallel market.
It is estimated that now more than 80 percent of all foreign currency
transactions are being conducted on the parallel market. For instance, the
massive price increases throughout the month of March 2007 were thought to
be an adjustment by merchants to changes in the rate of exchange on the
Now given that this was so widespread - across nearly all sectors of the
economy - officialising the parallel market rate cannot trigger price
While it is true that devaluations have not worked, the failure is
attributed to the time lags between devaluations and major changes in
economic fundamentals such as the increasing rate of inflation. This leads
to a situation where the disparity between the parallel and official rates
becomes just too wide and in the end few people would be willing to change
their money at the official rate.
The difference between devaluing the currency and allowing for gradual
depreciation is that changing economic trends will result in the immediate
adjustment of the rate and as a consequence exporters will continue to
export with the confidence that their real returns will remain constant.
In the last monetary policy statement review, the authorities allowed
expatriates to send their money here, with the recipients being paid in hard
currency. There is no doubt that this move was popular but the only problem
was that the recipients could not change their money through the official
channels because the exchange rate was too low.
From what was discussed above a market economy cannot be expected to work
when the exchange controls are not in line with minimum international
standards such as free inflow and outflow of foreign currency and
repatriation of dividends. For Zimbabwe, a market determined exchange rate
could be just what the doctor ordered and could help dismantle parallel
market structures that have entrenched themselves in our economy.
lTerenze Zimwara is a student in Financial Management based in Gweru,
Midlands Province in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Economics Society articles are
coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge and he can be contacted on email
Cell 091 2 980 016
Nkululeko Sibanda Staff Reporter
A VISITING Chinese pop star, Chris Wong has poured water on the campaign
marketing the country's tourist destinations in China, saying Zimbabwe
remained unknown in mainland China.
Wong, who was in the country for the Harare International Festival of the
Arts (HIFA) that kicked off in Harare on Tuesday last week, told The
Financial Gazette that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the country's
official tourism marketing authority, still had a lot of work to do in
marketing the country's tourist destinations.
He said while the ZTA claimed it had covered more ground in marketing the
country's tourist attractions to countries in the East, Zimbabwe remained
unknown to many potential Chinese visitors.
Official statistics released by the ZTA show that Zimbabwe received 9 583
visitors from China in 2006, up from 7 146 in 2005.
Said Wong: "The greater Chinese nation is yet to know more about Zimbabwe
and its tourist destinations. Much has been said about Zimbabwe and its
services but what I can safely say is that the authorities marketing
Zimbabwe in China still have a lot of work to do because very few people
understand very little about what Zimbabwe has on offer."
"The problem is that the word about Zimbabwe and its tourism sector has in
the meantime not reached the masses. The elite and those in positions of
authority are the ones who have been enlightened about what this country has
to offer. As I said, a lot more still needs to be done and the time is now
before other countries take advantage of the situation."
He said while Zimbabwe had a lot of potential to lure more visitors from his
country, there was need for players in the sector to embark on a vigorous
marketing strategy that would ensure all parts of China were aware of the
country's tourism sector and all services on offer.
"Zimbabwe has a lot of potential. I can see a positive future ahead of this
(tourism) sector. But I am worried that should people in authority and all
the stakeholders fail to vigorously market tourism, then the future does not
look that bright.
"You have all the things that can draw tourists to Zimbabwe. Why not show
these things to the whole world? The authorities indeed have a lot of work
to do to realise the dream of seeing Zimbabwe luring tourists to come and
see its attractions like the Victoria Falls and many more," Wong said.
His statements fall hard on the heels of similar sentiments echoed by the
ZTA chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, who last year bemoaned the
country's failure to market its tourist destinations to China despite
splurging huge amounts to the project.
Kaseke boldly declared that the strategies that had been employed by the
tourism sector to market Zimbabwe to China had dismally failed to achieve
the desired results.
"Let us not fool ourselves. Zimbabwe is virtually unknown in China. We have
a lot of work to do. The Chinese market has a better understanding of other
African countries than Zimbabwe. We are losing potential tourists because
when marketing, they (other countries) also include Victoria Falls (as part
of their marketing packages)," Kaseke told a local weekly newspaper.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S largest trade union body has voiced concern at the
marginalisation of workers in the country's empowerment plan for the mining
sector, saying ownership structures that exclude workers would hurt the
"Employees have been left out in this ownership debate," said Lovemore
Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). "Any
ownership should include workers," Matombo said, warning government against
parcelling out stakes to cronies and ruling party bigwigs.
President Robert Mugabe's government has said it plans to seize over 50
percent shareholding in key foreign-owned mines for a black economic
empowerment programme to be effected through amendments to the country's
The bill for the planned amendments has been a subject of speculation for
the past two years, creating uncertainty in the capital intensive sector
mainly dominated by foreign companies.
President Mugabe last month told thousands of his ruling ZANU PF supporters
who attended celebrations to mark the country's 27 years of independence
that his government was finalising the legislation.
He said the new legislation would enhance empowerment and national control
of the mining sector, which remains the only industry experiencing real
growth despite the collapse of key economic sectors in the country.
Besides the mining sector, government is also planning to legislate for the
takeover of significant stakes in all foreign-owned companies by indigenous
investors through the creation of a new indigenisation law.
Matombo said equitable redistribution of wealth would be incomplete without
empowerment of workers.
"So the ZCTU is demanding that the proposed indigenisation programme in the
mining sector or any other sector should include workers rather than
benefiting individuals. The ownership structure should be properly arranged
if we are to go through with the spirit of the turnaround of the economy,"
He said the government should set aside a percentage of shares in any
targeted mining house or business venture for workers.
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
. . . As outstanding payments reach US$15 million
GOLD mining companies have refused to opt for Zimbabwe dollar disbursements
for outstanding payments - reported to have reached US$15 million - for gold
deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners made since last year, The
Financial Gazette established this week.
The central bank, which drastically reviewed the gold price in an interim
monetary policy statement made at the end of last month, said gold producers
owed foreign currency by the Reserve Bank for gold deliveries could "convert
such outstanding amounts into local currency at the enhanced gold support
The central bank also gave the gold producers an option to dispose of their
outstanding receipts through the Drought Mitigation and Economic
Stabilisation Bond, under which foreign currency sellers are getting an
effective exchange rate of $15 000 to the greenback against an official
exchange rate of $250/US$.
The gold support price was reviewed from $16 000 per gramme to $350 000 per
But gold producers said they still wanted their receipts in foreign currency
because they had huge foreign currency commitments.
"The Reserve Bank owes gold mines over US$15 million for bullion sales. They
have, however, given the mines an option to get Zimbabwe dollars, a choice
many are not willing to take," an industry source said.
"They need foreign exchange for chemicals and most have run out of foreign
exchange," the source said.
Metallon Gold Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Collen Gura, said his
company had not yet received US$7 million for gold deliveries, some of which
had been made in October last year.
Metallon is the country's largest gold producer and accounts for over 40
percent of the country's total gold output.
"It is one thing to produce and another thing to be paid. The RBZ has been
quiet about its position regarding the funds. What we will be comfortable
with is a situation where the central bank says it is regularising the
payments," Gura told The Financial Gazette last week.
The central bank has, however, since issued a notice saying it would honour
"all outstanding foreign currency receivables" for gold deliveries "in the
very near future".
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe takes serious note of the gold sector's
unintentional, restricted access to foreign currency for the importation of
critical inputs over the past few months. This unfortunate phenomenon almost
brought the sector to a standstill and could have seriously undermined
investors and other stakeholders' confidence in the sector," said the
central bank in a statement signed by governor Gideon Gono.
According to the country's Chamber of Mines, gold output fell 17 percent in
the first two months of this year.
The country produced only 1 587 kg of bullion in January and February, down
17 percent on the same period last year.
The chamber said the country's static exchange rate, escalating costs and
payment delays by Fidelity Printers, a subsidiary of the central bank, the
sole gold buyer in the country, was pushing the sector to the brink of
A number of mines have shut down over the past year owing to the foreign
currency situation in the country.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said this week it was unmoved by
criticism from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) author who accused it of
fuelling the country's inflation, currently at 2 200 percent year-on-year
for March, through quasi-fiscal operations.
A central bank spokesman, Kumbirai Nhongo, said they would remain "guided by
conviction and not convention" and did not have time to react to authors
whose own institutions issued disclaimers declining any association with
An IMF Africa Department employee, Sònia Muñoz, said money printing by the
RBZ had largely contributed to an escalation of inflationary pressures in
the embattled economy.
She said the central bank had incurred huge losses through its quasi-fiscal
operations, which amounted to about 75 percent of the country's gross
domestic product (GDP) last year.
Some of the losses had also been precipitated by monetary operations to mop
up liquidity, subsidised credit to key productive sectors that were showing
distress signs, foreign exchange losses through subsidised exchange rates
for selected government purchases and multiple currency practices, financial
sector restructuring, concessionary debts and loans to government
Nhongo said Muñoz had abused her privileged access to RBZ information during
the IMF's routine article 1V consultations to launch a blistering attack on
the central bank.
"The Reserve Bank will, therefore, not engage in mud-slinging with those
spoiling for a fight, nor will the bank engage in individual dialogue with
authors whose organisations have decided to distance themselves from their
opinions by way of disclaimers," Nhongo told The Financial Gazette.
The IMF distanced itself from Muñoz's article, although it carried the
report, a working paper, on its website.
"The working paper concerned is said 'not to represent the views of the IMF'
but rather the opinions of the individual author. Accordingly, if the
central bank were to engage individual authors worldwide, then productive
time would be lost responding to over six billion individual authors that
make up the world's population, which time the Reserve Bank does not have,"
He said that the central bank would remain "guided more by conviction rather
than convention" and where the latter was at variance with the former,
conviction would take precedence.
"The author is obviously a product of convention," said Nhongo.
The RBZ has since 2004 been supporting the troubled productive sectors of
the economy through quasi-fiscal operations, which critics have blamed for
worsening the country's economic woes.
Gono said last week that the central bank had wound up all quasi-fiscal
activities and that a new company called Fiscorp would take over all
outstanding loans parcelled out during the RBZ's interventions
Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
A DEVELOPING country can do a great deal with US$46 million (about $1,3
trillion at the black market rate) such as improving health delivery and
keeping thousands of children in school but former Zambian president
Frederick Chiluba blew that amount on clothes, cars, jewellery and luxury
Chiluba, who was Zambia's head of state from 1991 to 2001 when current
president Levy Mwanawasa took over, spent a large portion of the money -
wait for this - on high heeled shoes to enhance his height. The now ailing
Chiluba, a former trade unionist who rose to power as leader of the Movement
for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) is only 1.52m tall. An anti-corruption
taskforce set up by Mwanawasa, which seized clothing and other items bought
with the stolen funds recovered 349 shirts, 206 jackets and 72 pairs of
shoes - a collection rivalled only by that of Imelda Marcos, the extravagant
wife of former Filipino dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, who was deposed in a
popular uprising in 1986 and died in exile three years later.
A number of Sunday papers reported at the weekend on the conviction in
absentia of Chiluba by a British high court judge for looting the equivalent
of US$46 million from his nation's coffers during his 10 years in office.
The ex-president stashed the stolen loot in bank accounts in Britain, which
explains why Zambia's Attorney-General instituted the legal action in a
court in London on behalf of the government and people of Zambia. Justice
Peter Smith, who presided over the trial observed : "The people of Zambia
should know that whenever he appears in public wearing these clothes, he
acquired them with money stolen from them. He was the president at the top
of the control of government finances. He was uniquely positioned to prevent
any corruption. Instead of preventing corruption, he actively participated
in it and ensured it happened. It is a shameful series of actions and he
should be ashamed".
The judge pointed out that while Chiluba swam in these ill-gotten riches and
spent millions of dollars on designer clothes bearing his personal monogram
, FJT, which stands for Frederick Jacob Titus, his people were struggling to
eke out a spartan existence on a few dollars a day. Chiluba was found guilty
of graft along with Xavier Chungu who served as head of Zambia's
intelligence services, Stella Chibanda, Faustina Kabwe and Aaron Chungu who
all served as senior officers in the ministry of finance. Janet Legrand a
partner in the British legal firm DLA Piper, which represented the Zambian
government in the legal suit said : "This is a major victory for President
Levy Mwanawasa's battle to stamp out corruption."
While Chiluba's conviction is indeed a symbolic victory for the crusade
against corruption at the highest echelons of power, the chances of justice
being done in the sense of the people of Zambia recovering in full what was
stolen from them are very slim. It is out of the question that the ailing
Chiluba can pay back all he stole. This points to the fact that rather than
wait until a head of state is out of office, effective checks and balances
should be put in place to keep incumbents on the straight and narrow.
Evidence of leaders and their cronies leading incongruously opulent
lifestyles in impoverished African countries abounds but such heads of state
often become, without exception, so authoritarian and tyrannical that
nothing can be done about their abuses while they hold sway.
For years, the government of Nigeria has been battling to trace and recover
billions of dollars stolen by late dictator, Sani Abacha and stashed away in
foreign bank accounts. Attempts to recover this stolen national wealth seem
to have become a vicious cycle as the new leaders who are supposed to look
out for the national interest are themselves accused of corruption and
financial impropriety ahas been the case with Olusegun Obasanjo. These
allegations against him have never been properly investigated and he was
widely accused of double standards and vindictiveness when he tried to bar
his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar from contesting recent elections on the
grounds that he was "unclean". Former Zairean strongman, Mobutu Sese Seko,
who died in exile after being ousted from power by rebels, is believed to
have stashed billions in secret foreign bank accounts and to have owned
properties in some European countries. The man who replaced him, Laurent
Kabila also rapidly became notorious for his love of luxury and other flaws
which led to a bloody end when he was shot by a bodyguard.
Except for South Africa, which has demonstrated refreshing political
commitment to take the corruption bull by the horns as shown by the
dismissal and prosecution of former vice-president Jacob Zuma and ex - ANC
chief whip, Tony Yengeni, most other countries have been known for more
rhetoric than action against graft. It is not difficult to see why. Leaders
who have enriched themselves beyond their wildest dreams at the expense of
their own people through corruption and plunder have a vested interest in
maintaining the status quo, hence their unwillingness to leave office. They
will therefore embark on a charade of crusading against graft by targeting
petty offenders while ensuring it is business as usual for them and their
families and associates.
As the story of the guilty verdict in the Chiluba corruption trial broke at
the weekend, a South African paper reported on another case of questionable
ostentatious wealth being flaunted by a ruling dynasty in another African
country. The paper reported on a foray into the American real estate market
by Inge Bongo, daughter-in-law of Gabonese president, Omar Bongo. Inge is
married toAli Ben Bongo who is minister of defence and the interior in his
father's long-running government. The senior Bongo has been in power for
more than 40 years and is Africa's longest serving head of state. Apart from
Ali Ben , Bongo's daughter serves as chief of staff and a son-in-law heads
the strategic finance and economy ministry. Inge is reported to have set her
heart on a US$25 million mansion in Beverly Hills. Questions have been asked
about where that kind of money comes from since her husband cannot raise it
on his government salary.
The Bongo dynasty has been accused in the past of fleecing the country by
stealing from state coffers and in 1999 the patriarch was investigated by
the US senate after he had transferred US$180 million in oil revenues into
an American bank account. The Bongo's are not the only ruling family
enjoying an opulent lifestyle. Many impoverished Africans across the
continent watch wretchedly as heads of state, ministers and other
influential people amass fabulous wealth and live it up while economies
grind to a standstill, infrastructure disintegrates, public institutions
cease to function and standards of living plunge below pre-independence
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
LISTENING to ruling party politicians explaining why next year's merged
parliamentary and presidential elections are crucial can both be dismaying
While the accepted and universal reason for holding elections should be to
give the people a chance to elect candidates of their choice to represent
them and throw out those who have failed to measure up to expectations since
the last polls, local politicians have a totally different outlook. The main
reason for the holding of elections as far as they are concerned, is to
ensure that they remain in office at any cost regardless of whether or not
they still enjoy popular support. In other words, elections are an end in
themselves for the sole purpose of ensuring that they keep their jobs and
continue to enjoy the trappings of office. With this kind of thinking
underpinning local politicians' philosophy for public service, it is no
wonder that elections have become a matter of life and death characterised
by unnecessary violence and bigotry.
Lest I be accused of being "unpatriotic" for making these observations, let
me refer to recent press reports about the unwillingness of some ruling
party legislators to submit to scrutiny by the electorate through primary
elections. Some of these Members of Parliament were reported to have
demanded that as a trade-off for their acceptance of the shortening of their
tenures as a result of the harmonisation of presidential and legislative
elections, they should be allowed to waltz in as candidates without passing
the first hurdle. They seem to believe that holding their positions is a
favour to the nation even if they are inept, corrupt, inefficient and
clueless about what they should be doing.
In other countries, snap elections can be called at anytime because it is
assumed legislators who do their work faithfully and professionally have no
problem "selling" themselves to the electorate. It is only those who have
slept on the job or used their positions only for personal promotion and
enrichment who would have qualms about taking the test. Those capable of
articulating issues and convincing voters that they are the best candidates
for the job should have nothing to fear as their records should speak for
themselves. Greek philosopher Aristotle argued that although the expert cook
knows better than the amateur how to bake a cake, it is the person who eats
it who is the best judge of whether it tastes good.
In the case of elective office, the best judge of performance, efficiency
and delivery on promises is the electorate, which should never be robbed of
its right to return a verdict on those who voluntarily thrust themselves
forward for public service.
But what chance is there for candidates to submit to scrutiny and
interrogation by the electorate when it is almost official policy that
elections have nothing to do with performance and the aspirations and wishes
of the people? It has been suggested officially that the purpose of some
polls held in the past was to defeat foreign adversaries such as Tony Blair
or George Bush. I remember some elections in the past when Blair was
virtually declared a candidate without his knowledge. This was a convenient
way of evading the burning issues that needed to be tackled. No convincing
explanation has ever been given why the focus of elections in this country
should be the vanquishing of foreign heads of state when governance issues,
corruption, poverty, unemployment and rampant inflation that affect
Zimbabweans are not confronted. This evasive approach will apparently be
resorted to once more for next year's elections. A ZANU PF official was
shown on television at the weekend telling supporters that the aim of next
year's harmonised elections was to shame Zimbabwe's detractors.
The cruel irony is that while Zimbabwean authorities use elections as a
vehicle for deceptive and misleading propaganda in order to deny the people
meaningful participation, voters in the "enemy" countries continue to enjoy
the right and freedom to challenge their leaders on substantive issues
without risking arrest or attack. I can bet my last worthless Zimbabwe
dollar that if they had a choice, Bush and Blair, who have been crucified
over their Iraq policy and have seen their parties suffer heavy defeats in
subsequent elections as a result, would rather contest our polls. This is
because locally victory is guaranteed for the incumbent government
regardless of widespread disgruntlement within the electorate!
Free, fair and open elections are a crucial requirement for genuinely
popular and democratic government and they are supposed to facilitate the
voting public's right of access to facts, to competing ideas, criticism and
views of all those contesting in the polls. The principle of the free
competition of ideas during an election must be observed if polls are to be
transformed from being a violent charade that leaves the country traumatised
each time they are held. It is obvious however that there can be no free
flow of ideas if individuals and political parties are not allowed to
organise rallies and communicate with potential voters as is the case
currently under the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
and specific banning orders.
Elections in other countries are interesting to follow because they are
based on issues, while ours are not. While the build up to elections in
other countries makes for excitement and fireworks as candidates sweat it
out on the campaign stump where they are required to debate issues and
suggest how they propose to tackle problems if elected, the thought of
looming elections in Zimbabwe only engenders a feeling of trepidation. The
violence and vitriol that precede these polls fills me with foreboding and
leaves me wondering how many people will lose their lives or be maimed
needlessly when all that is needed is to allow them to vote freely for
candidates of their choice.
In the part of the country where I come from there is a common saying which
translated loosely into English asks how it can be a coincidence that grey
hairs are found in the vomit of a bear on the same day that an old,
grey-haired woman has vanished. The same question can be asked with respect
to the escalation of attacks, arrests and abductions of opposition leaders
and activists in the build-up to national elections
GOVERNMENT has projected Zimbabwe's tottering economy to emerge from the red
and record a marginal growth of at most one percent this year.
The overly optimistic forecasts are underpinned by an anticipated
improvement in the performances of the key sectors of the economy -
agriculture and mining.
The optimistic forecasts disagree significantly with the gloomy projections
of independent analysts, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
which projects the country's economy to contract by 5.7 percent this year.
Projections for inflation by the IMF and other economic pundits are also at
variance with moderate forecasts by government, which anticipates the
northward bound inflation dragon to recede to between 350 percent and 400
percent by December.
The IMF, which recently reported that government was understating inflation
figures in the country, projects inflation to average 2 879.5 percent in
2007, a downward revision from an earlier forecast putting average inflation
at 4 278.8 percent during the year.
Local analysts see inflation topping 6 000 percent this year, an indication
that Zimbabweans should brace themselves for tougher times ahead. With the
nation now pinning all its hopes on the elusive social contract and the
doomed Mbeki initiative after hopping from one economic blueprint to the
other with no success, the country's economy is now running on autopilot.
No wonder the passport queues are getting longer every day!
There is a reason for the depressing forecasts from independent analysts.
First, there is no improvement in the mining and agricultural sectors on
which the government, with its back firmly against the wall, had based its
projections for marginal economic growth.
Except for platinum production, output for other minerals has been on a
downward spiral with gold, one of the key foreign currency earners, falling
heaviest because of an unfavourable pricing structure caused by a skewed
Crop assessments, undertaken recently with the involvement of the central
bank, have confirmed terrible food shortages this year that have started to
drain the little foreign exchange available in the coffers of the lender of
In the absence of a corresponding increase in foreign exchange receipts,
there is little doubt that the country will again be forced to keep its
printing press at Fidelity Printers oiled in order to mop up the expensive
foreign currency on the parallel market. This would inevitably, result in
money supply growth and an escalation of inflation.
While this imminent food crisis has been partly due to a devastating
drought, it has also been a result of low capacity utilisation on the
country's farms, some of them parcelled out to people without the faintest
idea of farming.
To alleviate the threat of starvation, the central bank has said it would
have to resort to cereal imports. But foreign currency will have to be
mobilised not just for food imports, but also for the importation of
chemicals, seed, fuel, fertilisers and tillage power to avoid previous
disasters where the onset of the rains has caught the farming community
The manufacturing sector, which has, prior to Zimbabwe's seven-year
recession, produced the bulk of these products, is currently underperforming
due to low capacity utilisation blamed on the chronic foreign currency
shortages, price controls and the inflation spiral.
Secondly, government is expected this year to accumulate a huge budget
deficit, far beyond initial forecasts. It has been argued, and government
has largely concurred with this argument, that huge budget deficits, spawned
by increased government spending, have the effect of stunting growth and
There have been reports, which have not been denied, that government had
already spent its budget for the full year by March. With an expenditure
target of $4.6 trillion, former Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa had
extended a $6.2 trillion envelope to the government, hoping that any
expenditure overrun would be within the range of the inflation target of
between 350 percent and 400 percent.
Inflation is currently at 2 200 percent year-on-year for March, and
continues to advance against intensifying inflationary pressures in the
economy. As expected, huge salary and wage hikes for the long-suffering
civil servants, who were preparing for countrywide protests over poor
remuneration, pushed the government wage and salary bill to about the size
of the entire 2007 budget.
Employment costs have remained one of the largest expenditure components of
the government, even though remuneration levels for civil servants remain
relatively low. Calls for a major restructuring of the civil service have
been ignored, and despite a bloated government workforce, the public sector
remains mired in pathetic service delivery, a situation that has had
unfavourable effects on investment levels in the country.
Given that the 2007 budget is premised on wrong assumptions, particularly
those related to inflation, it is clear that serious expenditure overruns
will be experienced this year. A new budget will have to be made and, as has
become traditional, will not consider government's capacity to finance its
Moreover, more expenditure pressures are likely to arise from fresh demands
for resources by central government to placate a restive population ahead of
a Presidential election next year. With plans to harmonise the Presidential
and parliamentary elections next year, there is going to be increased
funding pressure to prepare for these elections.
The failure by government to contain its expenditures within its capacity
has fuelled inflation, damaging any prospects for economic recovery. Given
the absence of ammunition to fight inflation, it would be survival of the
fittest for now or rather "every man for himself and God for us all."
That alone means corporate governance will be thrown out of the window and
despite pronouncements in the direction of fighting graft, Zimbabwe will
continue to creep up the corruption index.
Matters Legal with Vote Muza
IN life it is wrong and unfair to ascribe collective guilt under whatever
circumstances. In my view, such a habit is dangerous in many respects since
it is tantamount to portrayal of prejudice, irrationality and barely
It is for this reason that in this discussion, I shall deliberately desist
from painting all members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) with the
same brush in so far as malpractices by some of its members are concerned. I
can confidently vouchsafe and swear, in the name of my departed forefathers,
that the majority of the members of our police force are honest, rights
conscious, honourable men and women toiling to serve the country from the
vagaries of crime and debauchery.
I observe that among the many good members of our force, there remains a
small clique of extremely dangerous renegades and or outright criminals
masquerading as police officers whose mission has been to trash the law by
indulging in many vices, common of which is mockery of the courts.
I also do not hesitate to state that in this small unethical clique that has
been guilty of bringing shame to our force, there exists uncouth miscreants
who have transformed themselves into passionate political activists. These
are not ashamed to boast about their political allegiances while parading in
police uniform. Unashamedly and with shocking gusto, they have done
everything in their power to prove how they love the ruling party and to
what extent they will go to prove their allegiance to it. To them, the
Police Act and its Service Charter are filthy pieces of paper not worthy of
Time without number, they have unhesitatingly demonstrated to our judges and
magistrates that they are above the law by disregarding court orders at an
alarming rate. In fact the propensity with which they have thumped their
nose at judges and magistrates appears to have been fueled by their
misguided belief that they are untouchable.
In their infinite, albeit misplaced wisdom, they have laboured under the
misconception that they are, by virtue of their political connections, above
the law. Yet the law is an institution that must dominate everyone without
regard to rank or status in society.
Last week, this sub-clique of unprofessional Zimbabwe Republic Police
members was at it again. On utterly baseless, absurd and extremely spurious
grounds they arrested and detained two professional colleagues who were
carrying out a legitimate duty of defending suspects. They did everything
within their means and power to demonstrate their disdain for our judges.
That a team of lawyers reacted, sprung into action and in no time, secured
two court orders for the release of the illegally detained lawyers did not
deter them. The degree of their contempt, especially against the background
of the notoriety the police has gained in frowning at the courts not only
petrified me but left me dumbfounded and in trepidation.
I was left convinced that to practice law in Zimbabwe is now a hazard that
even becomes more dangerous if you are a defender of human rights. An
innumerate portion of lawyers has endured intolerable abuse at the hand of
semi-literate power-obsessed police officers with many such incidences going
In view of this flagrant subversion of the law by people expected to uphold
the same law, one then wonders why a shocking silence pervades the offices
of the Attorney-General, the Chief Justice and the Minister of Justice. Has
the ZRP not brought enough shame and ridicule to our legal system such that
to accept anymore of their abuse and mockery would be to indirectly sanction
I believe the time has come, not only for lawyers but judges, magistrates,
prosecutors and concerned members of the public to take a stand.
While undertaking a protest march may be good in registering disgust at the
habits of our police force, I believe another form of protest needs to be
considered. Is it not right for all right thinking judges and magistrates to
boycott the courts, say for one week, as a show of solidarity with our
abused colleagues as well as to show how the legal fraternity and other
stakeholders are now fed up with renegade members of our police force.
Messrs Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni are no average lawyers. They are
very experienced legal practitioners who have earned a lot of respect among
professional colleagues and also from members of the public. They are
colleagues who have been at the forefront of fighting for justice, and their
commitment to serving the public without regard to political affiliation has
seen them go into the trenches emerging bruised but refusing to succumb.
To me, to my colleagues in the legal fraternity and indeed to some members
of the public, they are heroes for justice who deserve due recognition now
and forever. Their energy, their commitment to justice and their patience in
the face of enduring abuse at the hands of renegade police officers is
admirable and should inspire many lawyers to remain unflinching in the fight
Members of the force who remain obsessed with flouting the law, torturing
suspects and at times murdering detainees for whatever reason must be
reminded that the long arm of the law will certainly catch up with them one
The thrust in this day and age, and learning from history is that while it
may be difficult to deal with violators of human rights during the tenure of
regimes they will be trying to prop up, documentation of their
transgressions and their identification is strongly recommended. Members of
the police force must remain honest and committed to their mandate in terms
of law and not be swayed by political actors, for when that happens,
certainly the seeds of anarchy will be sowed.
Next week I shall give a first hand account of the brutalisation of lawyers
who gathered at the High Court on May 8, 2007 to protest against the illegal
arrest of Muchadehama and Makoni.
lVote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu and Chikowero Legal
Practitioners. He can ber contacted on email: email@example.com
MDC agenda clear
EDITOR - The letter by your correspondent, Mordecai Mutiswa Betera, (The
Financial Gazette, May 2) was confusing and staggering. Betera seems to
suggest that it is wrong for the opposition leaders to discuss democratic
ideas with the West. Ouch! I don't just get it.
However, after analysing the predicates of his letter in detail, it became
apparent to me that he might have been blinded by the cheap and simplistic
political rhetoric, which emanates from our governors.
Betera and many others who share such a view need to be reminded that when
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was founded in 1999, it sought
intervention predominantly from within and around the region, vesting
monumental trust in the post-apartheid South Africa. This was so because of
her democratic and constitutional standing in the region. In case Betera and
many others don't know, the South African constitution came into force on
April 27, 1994, the day on which the general election was held - the first
at which the whole population was able to vote. But despite and in spite of
such incredible success, the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki has
declined to take an active role to help resolve the glaring political
impasse and the economic meltdown hurting our country.
Clearly, it is natural instinct that if you can't get help from your
neighbours, you begin to look elsewhere and looking elsewhere is a sign of
political maturity. Political maturity is the desire to see modern
democracy, and not the desire to silence the voices of those who dissent.
The MDC has a clear agenda and a clear position, posited not only in its
constitution, but replicated in its manifesto. Simply put, that agenda is to
see a return of a democratic renewal in Zimbabwe. There is a glimmer of
hope, which is why MDC officials are free to travel around the world, not
I understand the quintessence of humour in any gathering, but how do we
expect humour to sweep across all the benches in our parliament when the
opposition is branded the enemy of the state. The MDC is ridiculed as "a
party with no rooting", or as Betera describes it, "an opposition which
leans on the UK" yet he is resident in the UK himself. That is juvenile, if
Outraged at police brutality against lawyers
EDITOR - The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) is outraged by
the barbaric attack on lawyers by the police while protesting outside the
High Court against the harassment and illegal detention of renowned human
rights defenders, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni.
The Association wishes to reiterate its commitment to justice, advocates for
equity before the law and vehemently denounces the law's selective
The harassment of people who defend us against organised violence and
torture is a serious mockery to the pronouncements that Zimbabwe is a
democracy. We urge the international community, especially the leadership of
the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to use
their influence on Harare to end targeted harassment and the disregard of
the rule of law.
In that vein we demand:
lA full investigation of the incident and the production of a report naming
lAn immediate end to the harassment of peace-loving Zimbabweans crying to
have a say in affairs that determine their destiny
lReturn to the rule of law without fear or favour.
To our colleagues we say: Remain resolute in reclaiming our democratic space
to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe retain their power.
Combined Harare Residents Association
Zim doomed to fail as long as property rights are ignored
EDITOR - Zimbabwe is doomed to fail as long as the government does not
respect property rights.
No sane businessperson will return to Zimbabwe without these being
I am not talking about property rights for the white commercial farmers. I
am talking of property rights for the several black Zimbabwean
businesspeople who are now living in exile.
No nation can prosper when its own nationals no longer feel safe in it.
As for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor's call for us to return home,
will government give us US$ value for what we have lost? Will we be
compensated for our pain and suffering, our criminalisation, our
If the answer to the above questions is no, our answer is rambai makashinga!
It's not about church's morals
EDITOR - The idea that being an ordained person entitles one to speak for
the masses is not only archaic but also thoroughly misleading. Equally
misleading is the belief that if some in the church err against the public,
the church is to blame and counts for no good.
Man is by nature religious and complex. That one can find, all in one, an
embodiment of church morals and common humanity is a miracle.
It's amazing how morality can, together with a belief in God, provide a
nation with a pattern of interpersonal relationships such as was obtaining
in Zambia a few years after independence among the multitude of tribes. They
greeted each other politely on encounter, beating their chests: "Mulubeleni
sha?" Enisha". This habit was very common even among young people. Is not
the problem in Zimbabwe about relationships? It is.
Historically, access to services was controlled by a few who
characteristically called others names. You cannot find that here in the UK.
And now, that has been replaced by demonising the leadership, alas! And yet
on winning the election legitimately, President Robert Mugabe was greeted by
the gun and the nation was threatened by disunity through the gun and now,
it is threatened by disintegration because of some who were party to the
threat by the gun.
And the Archbishop says nothing! Instead, the said churchman pontificates
about braving the gun (and also enticing his flock to do the same) to face
"the dictator". What a lot of rubbish!
If I have a deeply felt grievance such as that Mahatma Gandhi might have
had, and decide that facing all adversity is a worthwhile endeavour, I do
not involve the common folk but face the danger alone. It is a practice
among some monks in Eastern societies and religions. One does not entice an
ordinary, poor person to risk his life for something whose solution lies in
a very clear course of action - refraining from taking stupid risks where
the other party (government) might have a legitimate cause to use violence
(threat to the stability of the state via violation of the"Riot Act" as a de
facto or de jure government).
And all this nonsense about finding moral justification for leading people
into the inferno by dwelling on foreign ideologies. Apartheid, you name it,
are just attempts to eschew loyalty to one's own authority.
You cannot then have a diaspora! That is a ludicrous concoction. How can you
have genuine diaspora when the majority of the members of the suffering
people (in this case the Zimbabweans who ran away from home) still live in
their original habitat? You cannot take a literary definition.
It is all nonsense and part of the waste of national resources that rages on
and is blamed on the government. You need education, mate!
That does not mean that such suffering, including the beatings, is a good
thing, but it does mean that those who seek to mislead their followers
through the use of prayer and risk them losing their lives must be held
accountable. Jesus himself sought to relieve the suffering of those to whom
he preached. He did not entice anyone to their death (and state machinery
can kill). He said "Give to Caesar, what is due to Caesar. And give to God
what is due to God".
Losing your life is the most serious thing that can happen. Zimbabwe is
free. It does not need taking that degree of sacrifice. Well, taking one's
frock off for a change and respecting the value of life would be a good
start for some.
Mutual respect extends to respect for the leadership. It is a mutual thing
and not something that can be learnt from involving the democratic
institutions of another nation (American aid on democratic practice! How
very rude!) A nation that lost its own blood seeking the guidance of another
nation about the nature of "gemut"!
But important lessons have often come from American social history. Booker
T. Washington said it by asserting "Cast your bucket where you are". It is
all about learning to submit and assert yourself appropriately.
A case of shooting oneself in the foot
EDITOR - When analysing the implications and consequences of events such as
those of the past few weeks in Zimbabwe, one needs to consider whether the
conflict has resulted in a destruction of the "system", in this case the
government, or whether the events have been mere sporadic ones, albeit often
involving serious encounters between the parties - that is the government
and the opposition.
Take the nature of the dispute, but first one needs to shy away from the
depressing journalisic approach of taking a high moral ground and
"holier-than-thou" approach and tell it as it is, objectively.
First, one of the root causes of the clashes seems to have long-standing
origins. It all began when some individuals decided to organise an
opposition policy based upon notions such as "development" and "human
rights", to name only two. Now, that was a misplaced starting point and a
non-starter for an opposition spawned in a society that had just emerged
from a war on slavery.
For such a movement to have claimed that it represented some kind of more
enlightened view of freedom and "human rights" (if one can suppress
laughter, here) was quite absurd and a trivialisation of the struggle. It
seemed as though some had been waiting in the wings to "throw the spanner"
into the newly found freedom. An opposition could have been initiated,
however, but on a completely different basis without showing the incumbents
of government as absolute and all-time sinners to the people. That was most
unwise and a case of "shooting oneself in the foot."
Mordecai Mutiswa Betera