|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The real Makoni does stand up
I HAVE never concealed that I hold the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Simba Makoni, in very high regard. That I do so is not in order to ingratiate myself or for any other ulterior motive, but because I am very conscious of his undoubted integrity, his considerable intellect, his unlimited patriotism and his depth of caring for the Zimbabwean people, and of the extent that he strives to achieve the impossible, albeit such impossibility inevitably results in failure.
And yet I am aware that I am today in the minority of people who have that regard for him, and who have that recognition of his dynamic and positive characteristics. Instead, most (including the author of the editorial comment in last week's issue of this newspaper) have a very different perception of Makoni to that held by me.
That that is so is not surprising for, when Makoni came to office as minister in mid-2000, he did so in the midst of a deep crisis of expectation, which expectation has not been fulfilled. For three years the government had steadily destroyed almost every facet of the economic recovery that had been achieved from 1994 to 1997.
It had commenced the destruction of Zimbabwe's economic mainstay - agriculture - by deliberate, vicious, inhuman confrontation with the commercial farmers, instead of resorting to co-operation and collaboration to achieve a constructive and effective reform of land ownership and usage.
It intensified its profligate spending, well beyond the state's resources, its expenditures including massive compensation packages to not only genuine veterans of the pre-Independence war, but also to tens of thousands of get-rich-quick impostors, and including vast costs of waging a prolonged war in a distant land.
It allowed its exchequer to be further decimated by its failure even to attempt to contain inflation. And it resorted to endless outpourings of vitriol and unfounded and unsubstantiated accusations against countries and organisations that had hitherto befriended Zimbabwe, thereby alienating them with a consequential sharp reduction of international aid and support, of foreign direct investment, and of demand for Zimbabwean exports and patronage of the tourism industry.
It was in that devastated and ever-worsening economic environment that the appointment of Makoni occurred. He was seen as a technocrat whose years of experience as secretary-general of Sadc and in commerce would rapidly restore order and vitality to an economy in great disorder and almost moribund. He would be the knight in shining armour who would rescue the Zimbabwe damsel in distress.
The desperation felt by most for a rapid transformation of the economy from one fuelling extreme poverty to one which would be the source of widespread wellbeing caused an expectation of the new appointee which was unrealistic in the extreme. So great was the national craving for economic change that almost all anticipated that Makoni could, almost single-handedly achieve a near-miraculous turnabout.
But, with or without Nkosana Moyo (who was a man of great ability but who resigned his post in intense frustration within a year of appointment), what people expected of Makoni could not be achieved unless he had the unreserved support in his endeavours from the president and the entire cabinet. Without that support nothing could be achieved, even if he knew all that needed to be done.
And, whilst that which transpires within the cabinet is generally not known by the public at large, the absence of that support almost throughout Makoni's term of office to date has been very evident by the magnitude of acts of commission and omission by his colleagues as related to the fiscal and monetary policies and programmes espoused by him.
Not only was the support very evidently not forthcoming, but on innumerable occasions those colleagues took actions diametrically in conflict with those policies and programmes, thereby undermining them, and on very many other occasions they unreservedly resisted or frustrated the policies and the implementation of the programmes.
Instead of recognising the extent to which the minister vigorously attempted to achieve necessary reform, most who had built up high expectations felt themselves let down and scathingly castigated Makoni.
They vociferously contended that if there was substance to his renowned integrity, he would have emulated Moyo's action of resigning from office, thereby disassociating himself from a government which obstructed any economic metamorphosis, and demonstrating his disapproval of the resistance of the president and the cabinet to the measures necessary to reverse the economic decline.
However, were he to do so, it would be a Pyrrhic victory with nothing gained. In contrast, for so long as he continues to serve as Minister of Finance and Economic Development, he is accorded the opportunity to continue to try to achieve change from within, and often it is more possible to achieve change from within than it is from without.
And, as long as he holds office, he is enabled to minimise, insofar as may be possible, the adverse consequences of the ill-considered and the unconsidered determinations of the executive as a whole.
Moreover, although the Zimbabwean economy has continued to decline, and to do so at a rapidly accelerating pace, and despite the fact that (although he would probably, in loyalty, deny it) the minister has been handcuffed and hogtied in most of his endeavours, nevertheless he has some significant achievements and successes to his credit. He has progressively achieved improved controls and accountability in the management of the state's finances, with an ongoing introduction in various ministries of measures to ensure compliance with budgets and adherence to votes, although he is the first to admit that more has yet to be done.
He has sought to enhance funding for the "social" ministries, and in particular for the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministries of Education and of Higher Education, while seeking to contain the expenditures of other ministries (with the notable exception of the Ministry of Defence and the President's Office).
Minister Makoni ensured that the establishment of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which had been contemplated for a very extended period, finally materialised, and that in so doing the collection of State revenues is increasingly being achieved with greater efficiency and equity.
And he initiated meaningful interactions with the private sector. Instead of very occasional "window-dressing" meetings with the private sector representatives, all representations being automatically disregarded immediately following such meetings, constructive discourse is now frequently initiated and facilitated, and genuine consideration given to submissions, even if not always resulting in acceptance thereof.
Most of all, Zimbabwe has a Minister of Finance and Economic Development who, although trying to do so without disloyalty to his president and his colleagues, nevertheless does not prevaricate and "tells it as it is!" There are many examples of his determination to state fact and not to hide behind misrepresentation.
One such instance was when he addressed the National Economic Consultative Forum last year, and unhesitatingly stated that prerequisites for Zimbabwean economic recovery were the restoration of law and order, ensuring that every farmer - whether commercial or communal - be enabled to farm in absolute security and with the knowledge that if he planted a crop, he would be able to harvest it, and reconciliation, harmony and co-operation with the international community.
He did likewise when he presented his budget to parliament on November 1 last year. Without reservation he detailed Zimbabwe's economic ills, and what was necessary to cure those ills, even if unpalatable to the ruling party and to government. And he did so yet again when he spoke in parliament last week.
He openly stated that violence throughout Zimbabwe must stop if there was to be any prospect of economic recovery. In doing so, he was acknowledging not only the existence of violence, but also that such violence was substantial, notwithstanding his government's recurrent denials of such violence, or attempts to suggest that there were only isolated incidents, allegedly all at the instance of the opposition.
Equally, he did not mince words in disclosing the extent of economic decline. Supporting his statement with comprehensive statistics (regrettably not wholly up-to-date but the latest available) he detailed the monumental decline in agricultural productions, and especially of maize, cotton, beef and tobacco.
He highlighted the decline in mining, tourism and in manufacturing, and the ineffectiveness of price controls in the absence of a social contract. If he has the courage to speak out openly and forcefully in total divergence to the official, misrepresentative pronouncements of government as a whole, it is safe to assume that he does so even more forcefully behind the closed doors of the cabinet room.
Admittedly, on most occasions that he presumably does so he is not heeded,
for his colleagues determinedly allow political dictates to override economic
needs, but for so long as he does so the opportunity for change remains. If he
resigns, he may enjoy a more satisfactory, less stressful life, and the public's
perceptions of him may be enhanced, but he will only make way for a "yes man" to
be appointed in his stead, making it ever easier for the cabinet to disregard
the economic chaos it creates.
EU lets in Mugabe official
By Harry de Quetteville in Paris and David Blair Foreign Staff
President Robert Mugabe's police chief, widely condemned for allowing Zimbabwe's descent into lawlessness, has visited France with the approval of the British Government despite a European Union travel ban.
The police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, travelled to Lyons for a meeting of Interpol's executive committee. He left Zimbabwe eight days ago for a French city famed for its gastronomic delights, and his office in Harare said he was not expected to return until Monday.
The French authorities gave Britain advance notice of Mr Chihuri's visit and a Foreign Office spokesman said: "No objection was raised."
Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign secretary, called on Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, to give a statement to parliament "explaining this appalling behaviour".
Mr Chihuri, who turned a blind eye to the invasion of white-owned land and seized a prize farm for himself last year, was singled out when the EU imposed "targeted" sanctions on Mr Mugabe and 19 of his senior allies in February.
All of those on the target list were, supposedly, banned from visiting the EU, and any overseas assets they possessed were frozen. Yet Mr Chihuri, who is Interpol's vice-president for Africa, was granted a French visa and allowed to travel to Lyons, the organisation's base.
A Foreign Office spokesman said the EU travel ban allowed member states to grant exemptions so that Mr Mugabe or his ministers could attend meetings of international bodies.
A French diplomatic source said: "Because the headquarters of Interpol are located in France, we are obliged by international treaty to authorise Mr Chihuri's entry and stay in France. We did so in consultation with our EU partners, including Britain."
France notified Britain about the visit on March 27. Mr Ancram condemned the failure to object as "driving a coach and horses through the EU's sanctions".
He said: "Once again, it takes the pressure off Mugabe and helps to lead him to believe that he can continue his reign of terror, of abuse of human rights and of robbery with impunity."
Mr Chihuri, who was educated at Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, has earned the mistrust of Zimbabwe's opposition in his eight years as commissioner. When squatters began invading white-owned farms in February 2000 he took no action.
In a landmark ruling, Zimbabwe's High Court ordered him to evict the invaders. Mr Chihuri first consented to the judgment and then ignored it. The High Court issued a second order which Mr Chihuri also ignored.
The Supreme Court ordered him to investigate the torture of two journalists detained by the army in January 1999. Mr Chihuri took no action. Instead, he purged the police of any officer suspected of disloyalty to Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Mr Chihuri declined to curb Zanu-PF gangs when they launched a brutal terror campaign against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which had claimed 125 lives by the time of Mr Mugabe's re-election in March.
Although the mobs operated from a network of well-known base camps across Zimbabwe the police failed to act against them. Mr Mugabe was admitted to America a fortnight ago to attend a United Nations summit on children's rights.
Although the US authorities imposed a travel ban on the Zimbabwean elite last December they allowed Mr Mugabe's visit on the grounds that they have no power to prevent world leaders from attending the UN.
But he had to stay within 25 miles of New York.
Harare - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has ruled that a case brought by
journalists challenging a controversial media law did not need to be heard
urgently, their lawyer said on Friday.
The court found that the challenge, which was filed last week by journalists working for foreign organisations in the southern African country, had failed to demonstrate that it deserved a special hearing.
Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer for the Zimbabwe Foreign Correspondents Association, said the registrar of the Supreme Court had written a letter informing her that the case would be handled through the normal procedure.
Unless a case has been accepted as urgent by the court, matters in the Supreme Court normally take months and sometimes up to a year before they can be heard.
|Up to a year before they can be heard|
Maize Crop May Be Even Smaller Than Thought The study conducted by the UN's World Food Program (WFP), the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
(FEWSNET) said that Zimbabwe would need to import 1.77 million tons of maize to
survive until the next harvest begins in March 2003. UN officials representing
Southern African nations met Saturday in the western resort town of Victoria
Falls to organize a regional plan for dealing with the food shortage.
Plans are already in place to import 431,300 tons of maize, leaving a
shortfall of 1.3 million tons. "This cereal balance analysis highlights the
potential for a human catastrophe in Zimbabwe," the report said. "To avert a
humanitarian crisis and potential famine, maize imports and the required
financing must be sourced and secured without delay," it said. The food shortage
is compounded by a four-year-old economic crisis, which has left about 80
percent of the population in poverty and without enough money to buy foods to
replace locally grown maize. Large parts of Southern Africa, including Angola,
Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing a serious threat of famine, with more
than five million people in need of emergency food aid according to the
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe Zimbabwe, normally a regional breadbasket, may harvest even less maize than previously expected, worsening the outlook for a nation desperately short on food, a report said Saturday. Preliminary reports from a new crop and food supply assessment indicate the harvest now underway could produce only 510,000 tons of maize, down from earlier forecasts of 600,000 tons. Zimbabwe needs about two million tons of maize to feed its 13 million people. This year's crop is less than one third of what the country produced in an average year during the last decade, AFP reported.
The study conducted by the UN's World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said that Zimbabwe would need to import 1.77 million tons of maize to survive until the next harvest begins in March 2003. UN officials representing Southern African nations met Saturday in the western resort town of Victoria Falls to organize a regional plan for dealing with the food shortage.
Plans are already in place to import 431,300 tons of maize, leaving a shortfall of 1.3 million tons. "This cereal balance analysis highlights the potential for a human catastrophe in Zimbabwe," the report said. "To avert a humanitarian crisis and potential famine, maize imports and the required financing must be sourced and secured without delay," it said. The food shortage is compounded by a four-year-old economic crisis, which has left about 80 percent of the population in poverty and without enough money to buy foods to replace locally grown maize. Large parts of Southern Africa, including Angola, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing a serious threat of famine, with more than five million people in need of emergency food aid according to the UN.
From ZWNEWS, 18 May
Land to the politburo
Commissioner Chihuri is one of 181 government and Zanu PF officials who have already seized, or are in the process of seizing, farms as their personal property. In Chihuri's case, the farm is Woodlands A in the Shamva area owned by Pat Butler. Wayne Bvudzijena - the police spokesperson well known for refusing to speak to the independent press - has two farms in which he has an interest. Shepherd Gwasira, the ZRP Officer Commanding Mashonaland West has added 110 Ha to the 2000 Ha he already has. Albert Mandizha, the Senior Assistant Commissioner in Bulawayo, has been granted the 1200 Ha Sanga Farm in Goromonzi. Inspector Marufu, OC Gwanda has his eyes on a farm in Esgodini. Godwin Matanga, Deputy Police Commissioner, is after Nurenzi Farm, in Hwedza. The two vice-presidents, Zanu PF MPs, civil servants, senior army and air force officers, leading war veterans (including Joseph Chinotimba, who is after two properties), the chief ZBC correspondent - and relatives of some of them - are all part of the scramble for land. Many of these VIP settlers already have government land leased to them, as revealed in the Dongo List dating from 1999.
From BBC News, 18 May
Zimbabwe police chief flouts EU ban
BBC News has learned that the head of Zimbabwe's police force has been allowed to visit France despite a travel ban imposed as part of international sanctions against President Mugabe and his senior officials. A leading British MP has condemned the decision to allow the official, Augustine Chihuri, to attend an Interpol Conference in the city of Lyon. Augustine Chihuri is a key member of Robert Mugabe's inner circle. As commissioner of police he has been implicated in widespread human rights abuses. Because of this, Mr Chihuri is among leading government officials subject to so-called "smart sanctions" by the EU and the United States. Central to these is a ban on travel, but BBC news has learned that not only was Mr Chihuri allowed to enter the EU, he attended an executive conference of Interpol, the international policing body.
Diplomatic sources in Paris said Mr Chihuri had been allowed to visit Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, only after consultation with other EU members including Britain. In London a Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that Britain had been consulted and said members of the Interpol executive were allowed to travel without restriction because of an international agreement which pre-dated the sanctions. The chairman of the UK parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee Donald Anderson said he was appalled by the news. He said Britain should have ordered its representative on the executive to boycott the meeting. Mr Chihuri's visit and a recent trip to the UN in New York by Mr Mugabe place a major question mark over the effectiveness of the sanctions for which Britain lobbied so vehemently. If the hope was to isolate the Harare government, the sanctions are quite simply, not working. Interpol has refused to comment on the affair - Mr Chihuri is still a vice-president of the organisation which stresses respect for human rights as one of its core values.
From The Natal Mercury (SA), 16 May
Three million face starvation in Zimbabwe
A relief agency on Thursday warned that as many as three million Zimbabweans might face starvation in two weeks' time as the European Union prepared to dispatch a high-level delegation to lobby southern Africa regional leaders to do more to rein in President Robert Mugabe. Previous relief agency estimates have identified about 550 000 people in need of food aid in Zimbabwe. However, the Famine Early Warnings Systems Network said in Harare on Thursday that as many as three million people would need food aid on a daily basis from June. Analysts have previously dismissed the 550 000 figure as an underestimation. Harare economic consultant Eddie Cross said the latest figure - an estimate by the Washington-based famine network which monitors the global food situation - might also be too low. Cross said most of the previous estimates had been based on rural analysis of the food situation without taking into account the many people living in the urban areas who could hardly afford any food items. Zimbabwe's unemployment rate stands at 60 percent. In its Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation report, the famine network said Zimbabwe needed to mobilise $345-million (R3,5 billion) to import 1,3 to 1,4 million tons of maize to meet the country's consumption requirements this year. The slow international response to a call by the World Food Programme for humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe would exacerbate the food situation. Zimbabwe's food import programme has been hampered by an acute shortage of foreign currency leaving the burden of providing food aid on relief agencies.
Reports said a high powered delegation of the European Union would meet SADC regional leaders from Monday to pressure them to act on lawlessness and bad governance in Zimbabwe to put the country back on the road to economic recovery. The EU delegation arrives in Maputo on Monday to meet President Joacquim Chissano. It was also expected to meet Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the current SADC chairman, and President Thabo Mbeki. It was not clear whether the team would meet Mugabe. The 15-nation EU has imposed smart sanctions on President Mugabe and his close advisors after accusing the Zimbabwe leader of stealing the March presidential election. The EU has also withdrawn all aid to Zimbabwe citing corruption, skewed economic policies and a haphazard land reform programme. Meanwhile, Denmark has closed its embassy in Zimbabwe in protest at Mugabe's rights abuses. Zimbabweans at the Danish embassy in Harare are demanding hefty severance packages from the Danes. They argue that the embassy closure was unexpected and they had no prospects of getting other jobs.
In Harare, three more independent journalists were arrested and charged on Thursday over reports in the last issue of The Sunday Standard that criticised the police, the newspaper said. Editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporters Farai Mutsaka and Fungayi Kanyuchi were questioned at the main Harare police station before being charged under strict new media laws, said assistant editor Brian Latham. The charges related to two articles carried on Sunday on the importation by police of sophisticated Israeli-built riot control vehicles and alleged police corruption, he said. The three are accused of "abuse of journalist privilege by publishing falsehoods", an offence punishable by up to two years in jail. Chakaodza, the editor, faced two charges for allowing the reports to be published. The three were jailed overnight and are due to appear in court on Saturday, Latham said. Police had no comment.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 18 May
Commonwealth's Zimbabwe safari
Ministers from eight Commonwealth countries are due to meet in a safari lodge in northern Botswana Friday to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe won re-election in March in a disputed poll. "The group's mandate is to address serious or persistent violations of... principles on democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law," the Commonwealth Secretariat said in a statement. The Commonwealth announced a one-year suspension of Zimbabwe's membership of the 53-nation group in March, saying the violence-scarred election failed to reflect the will of voters. The Kasane meeting, which will group ministers from Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, India, Malta, Nigeria, Samoa and The Bahamas is also expected to discuss situations causing concern in other Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth Secretariat representative Joel Kibazo said representatives of the group, appointed at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia, in March, would start talks around 9:00 am (0700 GMT) at the lodge in Kasane, about 900 kilometres north of Gaborone. Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon has urged the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to find a way to co-exist. He has also said the Commonwealth backed a call by presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for reconciliation in Zimbabwe between the two foes. Nigerian and South African mediators failed to kickstart talks between the two political opponents Monday after Zanu-PF decided to pull out of scheduled mediated discussions with the MDC.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 17 May
The great betrayal
President Thabo Mbeki emerged from his talks with the Nordic leaders on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) this week almost rubbing his hands with glee. Mbeki's overwhelming relief at the positive response of European powers is linked to the impending meeting of the G8, whose stance will be crucial to Nepad. We seriously doubt ordinary Zimbabweans share his enthusiasm.
Mbeki's message was that he and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo have brought Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to heel, and that Nepad's pledge of African democracy for Western economic assistance remains on course. Presumably because they are anxious for an African success story, European leaders, including Britain's Tony Blair, are colluding in this lie. The most grotesque case of wilful blindness was a statement by the Canadian High Commissioner in South Africa, Lucie Edwards, that the "dangerous corner" of Zimbabwe has been "passed relatively smoothly", that "the first test had been overcome", and that Mbeki and Obasanjo's acceptance of Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth had saved the day.
What are the facts? This week Zimbabwean human rights monitor the Amani Trust reported that attacks by Zanu PF youth brigades and "war veterans" have intensified since the election in a "campaign of violent retribution". Highlighting "a sustained attack on opposition supporters by agents and supporters of the ruling party", Zimbabwe's Human Rights NGO forum reported 16 cases of torture and kidnapping in the last two weeks of April alone. Since the election, eight journalists have been prosecuted under the Access to Information Act, which - in an uncanny echo of apartheid press law – criminalises inaccurate reporting. Mugabe's government may have started to move illegal squatters off white farms, but farm seizures have taken a sinister new twist as Zanu PF grandees personally evict farmers and grab their land, houses and other possessions. The principal of a well-known Harare secondary school has been prosecuted under the Public Order and Safety Act for questioning the legitimacy of the election in a circular to parents. Famine - the direct consequence of the systematic disruption of commercial agriculture - stalks a land once self-sufficient in staple foods. And this week Zanu PF unilaterally called off reconciliation talks with the Movement for Democratic Change.
The promise of unity government had been Mbeki's trump card in his attempts to avert Western eyes from a manifestly fraudulent election. One argument is that until the African Union (AU) is launched, there are no mechanisms for African self-policing on governance and human rights. This is nonsense. We have a regional peer review system in the Southern African Development Community, set up at the April 2000 mini-summit at Victoria Falls. It has been ineffectual, much as the AU peer review mechanism is likely to be. It is not enough to say that if one is serious about African economic and political resurgence Nepad is the only game in town. With corrupt and brutally repressive governments in place, passively endorsed by South Africa and the West, no amount of aid will make a difference. It is little short of ominous that Nepad is being laid on a foundation of lies and the international betrayal of the rights of ordinary Africans.
The Commonwealth's powerful democracy watchdog, the Ministerial Action Group, decided at a meeting in Kasane, Botswana, on Friday to make Zimbabwe a priority. This follows indications that the suspension of Zimbabwe by the troika of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Australia's John Howard had failed to coax Robert Mugabe's government towards respect for human rights and democracy.
Now the Commonwealth democracy watchdog has decided to put Zimbabwe back on its priority list. This could open the way for discussions on sanctions, something that the establishment of the troika had tried to forestall.
"Most member states are losing their patience, but there is not much we can do about the situation there," Botswana's Foreign Minister and C-Mag chairman Mompati Merafhe said.
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon told the Sunday Times this week that all his efforts to talk with the Zimbabwean government had failed.
This week also saw the European Parliament turn up the heat, by recommending tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe. The resolution, binding on all the EU's 15 member states, will be tabled before the body's Council of Ministers. It also comes on the eve of a visit to the Southern African region by an EU delegation which hopes to pressurise regional leaders to take a tougher stance on Zimbabwe.
The EU resolution called on Southern African Development Community governments to refrain from "normal diplomatic relations with the Mugabe regime".
The demand was followed by a veiled threat by the Euro MPs that the New Partnership for Africa's Development and the Group of Eight industrialised nations' support would be "jeopardised" if African leaders continued to cooperate with Mugabe.
The latest actions follow the breakdown in reconciliation talks between the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and the continued harassment of the media and the opposition.
The European Parliament also singled out President Thabo Mbeki, calling on him to show "consistent support for the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law" and "demonstrate the quality of leadership that befits the powerful and crucial regional position of South Africa".
It called for new presidential elections in Zimbabwe, as well as stronger action against Mugabe's government. It also recommended that Zimbabwe's debt repayment arrangements be reviewed and that screws be tightened on access to financial markets.
Meanwhile, the British government, which has been the chief campaigner for tough action against Zimbabwe, said it was unclear whether Zimbabwe's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth and targeted sanctions against Mugabe's government had had any impact.
Foreign Office Minister Baroness Valerie Amos said there was no evidence that Mugabe had improved his record on human rights, democracy and respect for the rule of law following the suspension in March and in the face of EU sanctions.
Following a widely criticised presidential election, Mbeki, Obasanjo and Howard decided that Zimbabwe be suspended from the Commonwealth councils for one year, during which time dialogue between the governing and opposition parties would be encouraged.
SA's presidential spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, said South Africa would continue to press for dialogue between the MDC and Zanu-PF. "There is no replacement for dialogue and we believe an all-inclusive government in Zimbabwe is the only way to ensure that the polarisation is dealt with," Khumalo said.
Supermarkets Adjust Price of Chicken
The Daily News (Harare)
May 17, 2002
Posted to the web May 17, 2002
MOST supermarkets yesterday had adjusted the retail prices of chicken and stockfeeds following a government Extraordinary Gazette released this week.
In its latest price reviews of controlled products the government increased the producer, wholesale and retail price of chicken, stockfeeds and bricks this week by 27,9, 34,2 and 45 percent respectively.
A whole chicken now costs $231,10, up from the old retail price of $173,82. In addition the government last month increased the price of bread, cooking oil, soap, margarine, milk and cement in its first round of price increases of basic commodities effected since the price controls on basic commodities were introduced last October.
While the government has in the past month reviewed the prices of controlled products with hopes manufacturers will increase production, basic commodities continue to be scarce.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said while it appreciated the latest increase in prices, it maintained the position that a better way of keeping the prices of basic commodities affordable needed to be found.
The CZI said: "We have in the past highlighted the negative consequences of price controls. In our current experience with price controls, we have seen severe shortages of controlled products, a thriving black market for them where prices are two to three times higher than the controlled prices, a deterioration in the quality of these products, a significant scaling down in the operations of the affected companies, a growing cross-border smuggling racket for gazetted products and price increases for some uncontrolled products meant to compensate for the losses incurred on the controlled products."
The government is yet to make a decision on increasing the price of maize-meal whose supplies have dwindled to an extent some supermarkets in Harare are receiving their supplies once a month.
The erratic short supply of basic commodities throughout the country is playing havoc with the lives of many Zimbabweans.
Ordinary people are on the verge of starvation as the supply of maize-meal remains critical. Major supermarkets in Harare such as OK, TM, Jarzin and Food Chain Group (FCG) had no maize-meal, sugar and cooking oil yesterday.
Demand for maize-meal is still very high because of the shortage of maize in the country. Jarzin Supermarket received three deliveries of sugar this week, but only one delivery of cooking oil.
Margarine is available in all supermarkets but milk, Colgate and toilet tissue are priced differently depending on the supermarket.
OK and FCG this week increased the price of 500ml of milk from last week's price of about $39 to $55.
This price increase is the second price review in one month following the price adjustments made by the government on milk. The $39 is the government stipulated retail price for 500ml of milk.
Judge Nicholas Ndou, the former accounting officer of the Northern Province (now Limpopo) legislature, was sworn in by President Robert Mugabe on August 20 last year, 19 days after he was forced to resign from his job in South Africa.
An Auditor-General's report now before the Limpopo legislature has found that Ndou was "ineffective and inefficient".
This week in Harare, Judge Ndou was hearing a corruption case. But in SA, he is accused of irregularities that cost his province more than R2.6-million.
Judge Ndou also left behind two civil judgments against him - one for tax evasion of R34 650 and one for nonpayment of rent for a Pietersburg house totalling R7 715.