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Leaders on mission to make Mugabe quit

Andrew Meldrum in Harare and Rory Carroll in Johannesburg
Thursday May 1, 2003
The Guardian

Two of Africa's most powerful leaders, Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo,
are to press President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to retire in an attempt to
break the country's deepening economic and humanitarian crisis.
The South African and Nigerian presidents will fly to Harare on Monday,
along with President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, to urge Mr Mugabe to step down
after 23 years in power, according to sources close to Mr Mbeki's office.

A successor would then be appointed from Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party to
head a transitional government sharing power with the opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change until elections could be held.

In addition to holding talks with Mr Mugabe, the three African presidents
are planning to meet the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to discuss
reviving negotiations between the two parties.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has become so acute that both sides may make
concessions that were unthinkable only a few months ago, according to
Pretoria. Two-thirds of the country's 12 million-strong population are now
subsisting on international food relief in a country that was once called
"the breadbasket of Africa".

There is unlikely to be a public rebuke for Mr Mugabe. According to
high-level sources, Mr Mbeki will not broach the so-called "exit strategy"
for his retirement nor will he use as a lever South Africa's supply of
electricity to Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe wants assurances that he will be granted immunity from prosecution
for alleged human rights abuses. It is expected that the presidents will
hail Mr Mugabe as a leader of Africa in public, while urging him to quit in

Mr Mbeki is understood to be willing to ease Mr Mugabe out of office because
the prolonged Zimbabwean crisis has largely scuppered international support
for the New Economic Partnership for African Development, particularly from
the western powers. Under Nepad, African countries are expected to encourage
good governance and economic management in return for increased development

Mr Mugabe fuelled speculation about his possible retirement in a rare
interview on state television last Sunday, in which he suggested that he
might be prepared to step down now that he has achieved his goal of
redistributing Zimbabwe's land.

But on Tuesday, his information minister, Jonathan Moyo, strenuously denied
that there was any retirement plan.

Mr Tsvangirai added to feverish speculation over Mr Mugabe's fate when he
stated yesterday his support for "serious and sincere dialogue" between the
two parties to resolve Zimbabwe's problems.

He went on to set conditions for negotiations, including a halt to all
state-sponsored violence and the repeal of repressive laws against public
meetings and the press.
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Daily News

      Mudzuri ouster angers residents

      5/1/03 11:46:30 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sam Munyavi

      Harare residents yesterday reacted with shock and anger to the
suspension of Engineer Elias Mudzuri, the executive mayor, by Ignatius
Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,
on Tuesday.
      Chombo suspended him on a number of allegations, including misconduct
and mismanagement.
      He said a committee of inquiry would be set up to investigate Mudzuri
next week.
      The MDC described the suspension as "illegal", and "null and void".
      Mudzuri yesterday denied any wrongdoing.
      Speaking from the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo,
Mudzuri said: "The whole thing is political. It is a fabrication. I was
fighting corruption. A lot of their people were stealing."
      Mudzuri said he would welcome an investigation as long as it was
      The Daily News was inundated with calls on Tuesday evening and
yesterday from residents who said it was President Mugabe and his ministers
like Chombo who should go as they had messed up the country.
      Others vowed not to pay rates and said they were waiting for the MDC
to call them to action.
      But Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, said it was up to the residents
to embark on
      a campaign to get the mayor
      He said: "As president of the party, I can't say what action they
should take. This is a matter of serious concern. Zanu PF must accept that
the mayor was democratically elected."
      Mudzuri's suspension came as a five-person delegation from Harare's
twin city of Munich, Germany, was in Harare on the second day of a week's
      In 2001 the Munich council stopped interacting with the Harare City
Council and criticised the government for refusing to hold council and
mayoral elections.
      Hep Monatzeder, the vice-mayor of Munich, said they were "astonished"
by Chombo's decision.
      He said: "This far-reaching decision can hardly be justified in our
eyes. From our experience we know Mayor Mudzuri as a highly qualified,
responsible and engaged partner who is working hard to turn around the
situation in Harare, which deteriorated during years of previous
      "The decision to suspend the mayor on the grounds of general and
unproven allegations is contrary to our understanding of basic democratic
principles. Mudzuri was elected by an overwhelming majority of the citizens
of Harare."
      Monatzeder called for the
      immediate lifting of the suspension.
      He said: "We would like to stress that only a democratically
legitimised city government in Harare can be a partner of the city of
      Sekai Makwavarara, the deputy mayor who was appointed acting mayor by
Chombo, said the full council would decide on the way forward tomorrow.
      Only one out of Harare's
      43 councillors was elected on a Zanu PF ticket. The rest were elected
on MDC tickets.
      Douglas Mwonzora, the spokesperson for the National Constitutional
Assembly, said Mudzuri was "a victim of
      a well-orchestrated plan to paralyse opposition politics in Zimbabwe".
      He said: "It is common knowledge that his pro-residents performance
has often been hindered by parochial and selfish political machinations."
      Paddington Japajapa, the president of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Economic
Empowerment Organisation, called on residents to reject Mudzuri's suspension
"with all the force they can muster".
      He said: "The people who voted Mudzuri into office must say no to such
a criminal act by a minister who holds a personal vendetta against the
      Japajapa called on residents to boycott paying rates.
      A woman who preferred anonymity said: "They have been trying to remove
him ever since he was elected in March last year.
      "They should give him time to correct the mess created by the previous
Zanu PF councils. We, as ratepayers, say Mugabe and Chombo himself should
go. Mudzuri will stay until residents reject him."
      Another said: "Chombo himself has refused the council permission to
borrow money for development. How does he expect Mudzuri to perform?"
      Richard Loane, 70, of Northwood, said: "I shall not pay rates until
the man is returned to office."
      Sylvester Muza, 24, said: "Zanu PF is trying to impose its own people
on Harare residents, but it will not work."
      Allan Kamvumbi, 32, said: "They are mad. They should hold a referendum
like the mayor suggested. We don't have problems with the mayor and we are
not accepting the suspension."
      Elphas Kwenda, 46, said: "I was shocked. The allegations don't hold
water. They will not win. Zanu PF is already dead."
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Daily News

      Munich council to help solve Harare's water woes

      5/1/03 11:50:59 AM (GMT +2)

      By Sam Munyavi

      The Munich City Council in Germany will look at ways of helping Harare
solve its water treatment and reticulation problems, visiting Munich
Vice-Mayor Hep Monatzeder said on Tuesday.
      Munich has had a twinning arrangement with Harare since 1996.
      Monatzeder is leading the five-person delegation which arrived in
Harare on Monday. They will spend a week here.
      He told journalists that the delegation, comprising himself, three
councillors and an official, had discussed with Elias Mudzuri, the Executive
Mayor of Harare who was suspended on Tuesday, and their counterparts in the
Harare City Council, on how to continue their co-operation.
      He said: "We would like to discuss not only chemicals, but technical
      material for water."
      Monatzeder said there were prospects for greater co-operation in those
      Harare has been having problems
      in acquiring water treatment chemicals mainly because of the shortage
of foreign currency.
      The delegation's visit is the first since 2001 when relations between
Harare and Munich became strained during the tenure of the
government-appointed Elijah Chanakira Commission.
      Munich criticised the government for its unwillingness to hold mayoral
and council elections and shifted
      attention from assisting the council to helping civil society.
      Monatzeder said: "The Commission was not democratically elected and we
had to shelve this co-operation. We are happy to see that Harare once again
has an elected mayor. That is the
      reason we decided to come."
      He criticised Mudzuri's arrest by the police earlier this year when he
was holding a consultative meeting with residents in Mabvuku.
      Speaking at the same Press briefing with Monatzeder, Mudzuri said the
relationship with Munich covered several areas but mainly concentrated on
technical co-operation. Hours later, the shock suspension of Mudzuri was
announced by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
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Daily News

      Villagers accuse heads of politicising food aid

      5/1/03 11:53:40 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      VILLAGERS from Hurungwe East on Tuesday criticised village heads for
politicising the government's input scheme prior to the start of the
agricultural season.
      Such actions, they said, seriously affected crop production.
      The villagers were speaking during interviews at Dunga Primary School
in Hurungwe where the World Food Programme (WFP) was distributing grain
donated to Zimbabwe by the South African government as part of its response
to the country's food crisis.
      The WFP grain was distributed through Goal, an Irish organisation. In
Hurungwe, 231 086 people from 53 298 households have benefited from the
      Eris Chuni from Matewesamwa village in Chief Kazangara's area, said
the village heads became active Zanu PF functionaries during their selection
of people to secure inputs through the Grain Marketing Board.
      "The village heads removed people's names from their lists of
beneficiaries," he said. "They only wrote a few names of people who were
known Zanu PF supporters and the rest were accused of being late."
      Sodias Mutobvu, Ward 9 councillor for Hurungwe Rural District Council,
said the impact of the delayed input distribution was being felt in the
area. He said people got their inputs late but denied there were any
political considerations.
      Mutobvu said the WFP should continue feeding people in the area
because very few people managed to harvest enough crops.
      Tineri Chiputire of Chiwanhike village said she was struggling to make
a living owing to poor yields caused by the drought and the interference of
the village heads in the compilation of lists of beneficiaries under the
      She said her eight children were being forced to do piece jobs on
nearby farms when four of them were supposed to be in school. Only those who
were considered close to Zanu PF and the village heads got seed and fertiliser.
      Meanwhile, Luis Clemens, the WFP public affairs officer said the
organisation would reduce its food distribution throughout the country due
to the ongoing harvests and assessments to establish government's capacity
to feed its own people. The organisation has been feeding Zimbabweans in 40
districts since February last year.
      Clemens said the Food Agriculture Organisation was carrying out two
exercises in food assessment vulnerability.
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Daily News

      Mudzuri's ouster stern test for MDC urban supporters

      5/1/03 11:55:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Deputy News Editor

      IT took a Supreme Court ruling to force President Mugabe's government
to have an elected body in Harare last year, five years after the fall of
Solomon Tawengwa the capital city's first executive mayor in 1998 on
allegations of rampant mismanagement and massive corruption.
       But it has taken only a year for the government to remove his
successor, Eng Elias Mudzuri - on flimsy political grounds.
      Mudzuri's suspension, coming against the backdrop of two successful
stayaways by the MDC and the ZCTU and current media reports that President
Mugabe wants to retire has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Zanu PF
is prepared fight to the bitter end.
      The determination by Zanu PF also shows that its recent losses in the
Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections did not jolt the mandarins in that
party to the realisation that urban Zimbabweans have forsaken them.
      Perhaps Zanu PF basks in the knowledge that the position of executive
mayors is not a constitutional provision but a product of an Act of
parliament which they can repeal any time without causing a constitutional
      The move also implies that the road to democratic governance in
Zimbabwe is still long and thorny.
      Legal experts and political analysts have said that the suspension is
not lawfully sustainable and that the decision was a test for the MDC's
popularity and political muscle in the capital.
      Others have suggested that Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing's move was a mere
implementation of a broader Zanu PF strategy to deflect attention from the
crisis of governance gripping the country.
      The government has failed to resolve the fuel, cash, food and
transport problems facing the country.
      Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, yesterday told a Press conference
that the decision was illegal and his party did not recognise Mudzuri's
      Tsvangirai said: "As far as the MDC is concerned, its null and void."
      Dr Lovemore Madhuku, a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe
yesterday said Chombo's reasons for suspending Mudzuri were not legally
      Madhuku said: "From a legal point of view, Chombo has gone beyond his
powers as provided by the Urban Councils Act.
      "Although he has the powers to suspend heads of local authorities, it
is clear under the Act that such powers should be exercised reasonably and
only in extreme circumstances because an executive mayor is an elected
      "Only under very serious cases like murder can he do that," Madhuku
      Madhuku said that in a democratic society, in cases where a mayor is
alleged to be incompetent either councillors or residents should remove him
from office.
      "In this case there is no evidence of incompetence on the part of
      He remains very popular with the electorate.

      "In any case you can't suspend the mayor without giving him the right
to be heard. The correct legal procedure is to investigate him, then call
him for a hearing before suspending him," he said.
      Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro a senior lecturer in the Faculty of
Social Studies at the UZ said that the decision to suspend Mudzuri was a
clear demonstration that "the Mugabe regime will not accept the free
expression of the people of Zimbabwe in democratic processes and the
leadership that comes out of that process."
      "The broader implication is that the Mugabe regime is in actual fact
deflecting attention from the crisis of governance that has reached alarming
levels since the March 2002," he said.
      Mukonoweshuro said the decision was a clear abuse of power.
      "Throughout the world, abuses of power should be resisted and continue
to be resisted. The decision must be defied." A senior Harare lawyer who
refused to be named said that Chombo was abusing the Act in order to settle
political scores with Mudzuri.
      "A mayor is not like a Cabinet minister who can be fired at the
pleasure of the President. The suspension has no legal merits. It only shows
the political arrogance of Zanu PF and the people of Zimbabwe must be
prepared for a big fight with this dictatorship," said the lawyer.
      Jacob Mafume another Harare lawyer said that Chombo's decision was
      Mafume said: "Chombo's powers are unconstitutional in that you cannot
have an elected official being removed from office by an appointee. His
decision negates the purpose of going to an election."
      He said the reasons given by Chombo did not warrant a suspension.
      "There was no attempt to hold a hearing before Mudzuri was suspended.
In any case Chombo is biased against Mudzuri and has been fighting against
him since his election last year," he said.
      Mafume said he did not expect Mudzuri to be given a fair hearing since
the proposed committee to investigate him would simply follow Zanu PF
      Mike Davies, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents and Rate
Payers' Association said that Chombo's decision should be resisted.
      Davies: "We call upon citizens of Harare to reject this latest move by
the regime. We call upon our residents to do whatever they can to defend our
democratic rights. For Chombo to criticise Mudzuri when he is part of an
illegitimate regime that has stolen power from the people of Zimbabwe
through electoral fraud is completely hypocritical.
      "This is a sign of desperation by the Mugabe regime which goes to show
that the problems in Zimbabwe have to do with governance, not land."
      He said Chombo had been undermining Mudzuri's authority since his
election and the residents should not accept this interference.
      Section 54 of the Urban Councils Act which deals with the suspension
and dismissal of a mayor says that the minister may suspend a mayor whom he
suspects on reasonable grounds of having been guilty of any conduct that
renders him unsuitable as mayor.
      Or against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted for an
offence in respect to which a sentence of imprisonment without the option of
a fine may be imposed.
      Mudzuri has not been found guilty of any criminal offence by the
courts in Zimbabwe.
      Chombo said that Mudzuri failed to deliver a turnaround plan for the
city and that he suspended and dismissed key council employees among them
Nomutsa Chideya, the Town Clerk, all suspected to be Zanu PF sympathisers.
      It has been argued that if Chombo was genuine then he should have long
fired James Bwerazuva and Luke Mukungatu, the executive mayors of Gweru and
Marondera, respectively, when residents complained of finding human waste in
their drinking water.
      In the case of Gweru some residents had to be treated after drinking
the contaminated water.
      Kadoma under executive mayor, Fani Phiri, has been grappling outbreaks
of diarrhoea following severe water shortages for the past year.
      Three weeks ago some residents of Mutare were up in arms with the city
council over its decision to levy shacks but Chombo did not raise the issue
with Lawrence Mudehwe, the executive mayor.
      The four mayors were not suspended or fired because they are Zanu PF
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Mudzuri's suspension a case of sour grapes

      5/1/03 11:33:28 AM (GMT +2)

      The suspension of the Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, on
Tuesday by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, Ignatius Chombo, was not only arbitrary and uncalled for, but was
also politically motivated.
      It epitomises the political animosity between Zanu PF and the
opposition MDC.
      Zanu PF bigwigs who had run the affairs of Harare since 1980 had
wallowed in the easy money that came with the corrupt allocation of tenders
for lucrative jobs such as refuse collection, provision of chemicals and
other goods and services.
      When a new council, led by a new team with a different agenda came
into office, it became sour grapes for those who had been on the gravy train
but had done very little to improve the lives of Harare's residents.
      Mudzuri was elected into office in March last year on an MDC ticket
with an overwhelming majority, taking over the administration of the capital
city from the mess that it had sunk to under the previous administration.
      From day one, his job was not an easy task as Zanu PF
      began to bay for his blood as they were stung by the MDC's landslide
victory. Much as he tried to, Chombo could not hide the fact that he did not
want Mudzuri to succeed as mayor.
      Mudzuri's councillors were threatened with prosecution under the
repressive Public Order and Security Act whenever they dared address
residents in their various wards.
      Zanu PF supporters staged at least two demonstrations at Town House in
an attempt to unseat Mudzuri and his team.
      The last one, in March this year, was instigated by
      the dreaded Chipangano, a Mbare-based Zanu PF vigilante unit, that
force-marched residents to Town House to
      demand the ouster of Mudzuri.
      But the resilient mayor, an engineer by training, was
      defiant and firmly stood his ground, much to the chagrin of his
political detractors.
      When Mudzuri's council decided to dismiss workers who were deemed
excess baggage, the entire Zanu PF Harare province cried foul.
      As recently as early April, Joseph Chinotimba, the self-styled
commander of Zanu PF's land invasions, threatened Mudzuri because his job as
security officer was on the line.
      "I will deal with him," barked the war veteran, whose presence at Town
House makes a real mockery of justice and democratic rule.
      As if that was not enough, Chombo denied the council in March last
year, the right to borrow money to carry out some of the projects in its
ambitious and progressive
      10-year strategic development plan.
      This denial, apart from frustrating the council's development
strategy, seriously undermined the council's ability to provide adequate and
efficient service to Harare residents.
      Mudzuri and his team had brought about relief and hope when they took
over by filling in the many potholes in the city and timeously removing
refuse and doing many other basic chores which the previous administration
had failed to do. Chombo, oddly but perhaps not unexpectedly, did not take
kindly to this progressive development.
      Clearly, the Honourable Minister was spoiling for a fight. He wanted
to create a situation in which the residents would be angered by the poor
service delivery of the council, leading to its ultimate dismissal.
      However, in the case of the last Zanu PF mayor, Solomon Tawengwa, the
ruling party had bent over backwards to
      defend him yet he had failed to deliver.
      In the end, justice prevailed, and Tawengwa and his entire team was
forced to step down and was replaced by the Chanakira Commission which, in
turn, created more controversy than good governance.
      It remains to be seen how Harare residents will react to this circus.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Our subservience more to blame than Mugabe

      5/1/03 11:35:16 AM (GMT +2)

      by munyaradzi walter masosa

      Zimbabweans are said to have "celebrated" 23 years of "independence"
recently. Because of my patriotic values, I saw nothing worth celebrating as
I am yet to enjoy the fruits of the so-called independence.
      For many level-headed Zimbabweans, it has been 23 years of pain,
suffering, increasing poverty and repression. So those "Zimbabweans" who are
said to have celebrated must
      be living in a blissful Utopia far removed from reality.
      We are all agreed that we need to free ourselves from Robert Mugabe's
oppressive rule. But each one must ask themselves: "What am I doing to help
myself and fellow countrymen in this fight against oppression?"
      People must stop laying all the blame solely on Mugabe and Zanu PF. We
have ourselves to blame ultimately also for, over the years, we have allowed
a lot of crimes to be committed by the people in power, but we have done
nothing to bring them to book.
      The current economic, political and social crisis in Zimbabwe is a
matter of collective responsibility.
      The simple act of going to church, praying and hoping that God will
one day deliver us from evil is not enough. The gospel of turning the other
cheek is so illusionist and irrelevant to the Zimbabwe of today, where all
the people's rights are being violated daily.
      Most felt that the recent fuel price hike was the last straw that
would push the people over the edge. The responsible (or should I say
irresponsible) minister had the audacity to justify the move by defending
the corrupt National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.
      One now has to pay $1 000 to and from Chitungwiza. Instead of publicly
directing their wrath towards the government, the people just mumble and
grumble but still pay the impoverishing commuter fares.
      When an Honourable Member of Parliament is arrested on concocted
charges, tortured, imprisoned and denied basic human rights because they
belong to the ruling opposition party, is that something to "celebrate" in
an independent Zimbabwe?
      Incredibly the people represented by these MPs do nothing about it,
yet they expect their MPs to deliver. Instead of fighting for people's
rights in Parliament, these MPs now spend most of their valuable time behind
bars or in hiding, "while we stand aside and look".
      The brutal killings of white commercial farmers since February 2000
has no historical justification, no matter how much those murderers try to
defend their gruesome acts.
      Was it not Robert Mugabe himself who preached the gospel of
reconciliation, forgiveness and peaceful co-existence with the minority
whites in 1980? Was it not him who urged blacks to embrace whites in a
spirit of brotherhood?
      What then happened to the Stevens, Olds and Kays?
      Zimbabweans, black and white alike, demonstrated their unbelievable
docility by simply doing nothing about it. In a way they condoned these acts
of barbarism.
      Women seem to enjoy childbirth nowadays, it seems. Gone are the days
when childbirth and rearing was a painful and stressful process.
      If they felt the pain, surely they should have taken to the streets in
protest against the unrealistic prices of baby products like milk, porridge,
nappies and medicines.
      It does not help them or their children to offer silent protests,
claiming to be powerless "sevanhukadzi" (because we are just women). Rather,
women should be at the forefront whenever a protest march is called, because
they are the worst affected in such a scenario.
      The Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, who has since been
suspended by the government, was arrested and allegedly harassed by the
police for meeting the Mabvuku ratepayers. He was merely doing his job which
was viewed by the police as a breach of the Public Order and Security Act.
It is no secret that Mudzuri is a victim of political intolerance. Why did
the residents of Mabvuku fail to rescue their mayor? Why did they not demand
their own arrest in solidarity with Mudzuri?
      Intolerance of divergent political and economic views is typical of
Zanu PF. This is especially evident during election periods. Over the years,
the ruling party has been making sustained efforts to stifle political
opposition. The Unity Accord was, thus, a stratagem to swallow Zapu. This is
the reason why the Mabikas, Hadzidzis, Chiminyas and Pfebves were murdered,
why Tsvangirai, Sibanda, Madhuku and Sikhala continue to be persecuted. But,
of course, subservient Zimbabweans do nothing about it.
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Daily News

      Local firms shun lucrative Asian market

      5/1/03 11:19:35 AM (GMT +2)

      By Chris Goko

      ZIMBABWEAN companies are not looking for opportunities beyond the
continent despite the much touted "look east" policy by the government.
      Not much has been done to venture into Asian countries, viewed by
central government as alternative markets following strained relations
between Zimbabwe and the West.
      Apart from forays into Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore by
Indian-educated banker, Enoch Kamushinda, most companies remained rooted in
      Recently, companies, and banks in
      particular, have set up shop in the region and beyond.
      Some of the companies which have expanded into the Sadc region and
beyond are ABC Holdings, Century Holdings, Econet Wireless, First Banking
Corporation, Innscor Africa, TA Holdings and Trust Holdings.
      Analysts say earnings reaped by Econet and its South African
competitor, MTN, in west Africa encouraged a number of companies to tap that
      Most investments were doted in countries such as Botswana, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and
      For instance, ReNaissance Merchant Bank was planning to invest in the
volatile Sierra Leone to leverage its local operations.
      Investment experts said companies were diversifying into regional
markets to hedge against volatile economic conditions prevailing locally.
      Locally, companies are winding down operations on the back of
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and load-shedding.
      The domestic market has declined
      owing to unemployment and hyper-inflation amid intense competition
brought by the globalisation of world economies.
      Regional markets with bigger populations than Zimbabwe's 13 million
people tended to absorb more products.
      The parallel market offered another
      attraction as companies earning foreign currency returns raked in
millions by off-loading proceeds on the blackmarket.
      Samuel Undenge, a trade consultant, said Zimbabwean companies were too
slow in grabbing opportunities abroad.
      Undenge said: "Cushioning against
      economic hardships is very misleading because companies should have
      taking an outward-approach even when the economy was doing well.
      "But you also find some of the movements, just like in Asia, are
influenced by the presence of other Zimbabwean corporates in those regions."
      The peer factor phenomenon, where
      investors trailed friendly institutions without assessing the market,
had  backfired on some companies.
      Japan excelled after pioneering the neighbourhood-effect that spurred
recovery in the Far East.
      During that time, Tokyo rallied behind the policy: "export or perish."
      Chris Goromonzi, an executive director with Trust Holdings, said
caution was needed when investing abroad.
      Trust was currently pursuing opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria.
      Goromonzi said: "Econet and MTN's successes in West Africa,
particularly in Nigeria, is an attraction for local companies. It's quite a
profitable region as long as you implement your project wisely.
      "The critical mass and earnings are good, if you look at Econet's
turnover for example. And some companies are going there because of the two
success stories from southern Africa."
      There were risks associated with
      investing outside the country, however.
      There are barriers associated with
      language and culture.
      The DRC for example, had no sound banking sector hence most
transactions were on cash basis.
      Nigeria has a rough tradition of doing business and has high levels of
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      Can't we see the need for dialogue on our own?

      5/1/03 11:57:27 AM (GMT +2)

      WHILE the people of Zimbabwe are focussing most of their attention and
concern on their socio-economically torn country, more or less similar
events are unfolding in various parts of the continent.
      A week ago, Nigeria had a presidential election at the end of which
the incumbent, Olusegun Obasanjo, was declared the winner. However, there
were cries that the poll had been marred with fraud.
      Obasanjo, naturally, rejected the charge and accused especially
foreign election observers of ignorance of African culture.
      In Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change contends that Robert
Mugabe of Zanu PF fraudulently won last year's presidential elections. The
matter is before the courts of law.
      In Algeria, a bloody civil war is raging following the nullification
of general elections several years ago when it had become clear that a
radical Moslem party was heading for victory. Somalia as a nation is
fractured and is virtually no more because leaders of its various clans and
communities refuse to recognise and support any one particular person as
their head of state. The Ivory Coast is torn asunder and bleeding also
because some leaders would not accept election results.
      Similar developments have occurred in Lesotho, Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Chad, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Angola, the Congo
Republic (Brazzaville), Madagascar, Rwanda, Uganda and the Central African
Republic. It would appear that there are three main causes of this tragic
phenomenon on the African continent. One is that some African political
leaders would like to turn politics into a profession on which they can
depend for their livelihood.
      The second cause is the continent's grinding poverty. The vast
majority of African leaders experienced excruciating poverty either as
peasants, commercial or industrial workers, small sole traders, struggling
commercial gardeners, poultry farmers or some other type of farmers. Some
before getting into politics were poorly paid carpenters or builders or
welders or tailors, schoolteachers or motor vehicle drivers. A few lucky
ones were medical practitioners or nurses. Whatever they were before joining
politics, most black African political leaders lived a very miserable life
indeed. After becoming political leaders, a world of privileges and
opportunities opened up to them and they most rapidly and, in some cases,
even rabidly amassed wealth by hook, crook or by the book. Some African
countries are ruled by plutocrats who talk in terms of millions of whatever
their national currencies are, and some African presidents live on the lap
of luxury, an
      incredibly different world from that of their earlier experiences. To
try to push or pull such people from that lap of luxury is to ask for
serious trouble, including civil war. Such leaders have a deep-rooted fear
and hatred, of their past poverty-ridden experiences and will do anything to
perpetuate their present privileged lives. The third cause of this terrible
phenomenon is the sheer ignorance that prevails among the vast majority of
the people about their basic rights as nationals of their respective
countries. Some people are not aware that they have an unquestionable right
to vote, let alone to vote for a candidate of their own choice without any
fear whatsoever.
      They are also not aware that by voting for that candidate, they are,
in effect, giving him a job and are, therefore, that elected individual's
      What this means in the Zimbabwean context is simply that we, the
voters, are the bosses and Mugabe, his Cabinet ministers and the MPs are our
employees. That fact is not acknowledged by many, if any at all, African
leaders. They regard themselves as the bosses and the people as no more than
means by which to reach high positions and acquire wealth. Some of these
leaders figuratively step on bodies of people killed either in civil wars
(their leaders), start to get into power or to retain their positions.
      In Zimbabwe, the ruling party, Zanu PF, repeatedly boasts that Zanu PF
ndeyeropa (Zanu PF is a bloody party). Simply stated, that slogan means that
Zanu PF kills to either get into or retain power. I find that slogan to be
not only irresponsible, but utterly criminal in that murdering is a
universally condemned crime.
      Looking at it from a Christian perspective, and Zimbabwe is
predominantly Christian, the slogan should not have any room in the nation's
political vocabulary. Gone are the days when killing of our opponents could
be justified. In a free Zimbabwe, we should live and let live. In a free
nation, differences of opinion should be encouraged to enable each citizen
to air their sentiments and views on issues of interests and value.
      Expression of differing views and sentiments builds up criticism, and
criticism leads to improvement of policies, products, services and their
distribution and delivery. Sound education promotes criticism.
      Had Zanu PF encouraged criticism and acted on it since 1980 when the
country attained nationhood, no 5 Brigade would have been unleashed on the
people of Midlands and Matabeleland provinces and this deplorable economic
decline characterised by fuel queues and the massive fall of the national
currency would not have been part of our woes. The present crisis could have
been avoided by a frank exchange of views, the best opinion winning the day.
It is to achieve precisely such a socio-political environment that people
are calling for a change.
      Do we have to be persuaded by people from outside Zimbabwe to
appreciate the benefit of dialogue? One would have thought that every normal
adult can clearly see the benefits of putting our heads together under truly
free and unfettered conditions to seek solutions to the nation's crippling
socio-economic problems. Any organisation that does not see that necessity
is not fit to exist in any state in this day and age.
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The Star

      South African envoy hands out food parcels, from a limousine
      May 1, 2003

      By Brian Latham

      Hurungwe, Zimbabwe - Ten South African parliamentarians visiting
Zimbabwe ahead of South Africa's communal land reform bill say they will
learn from Zimbabwe's mistakes.

      The Portfolio Committee on Land and Agriculture, led by ANC MP Neo
Masitela, said they could learn from "the good and the bad" in Zimbabwe. But
the team, which contains one MP from each main opposition party, yesterday
deviated from its study of Zimbabwe's land crisis for a propaganda visit to
a World Food Programme feeding project.

      As about 5 000 hungry villagers sat in the dust, the MPs waited
patiently with them for South African High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Jeremiah
Ndou to arrive. His Mercedes limousine made heavy going on deeply rutted and
corrugated roads, forcing a local NGO employee to fetch Ndou, who left his
car to follow at a more sedate pace.

      The eventual arrival of the Mercedes led to hushed accusations of
insensitivity as it slid silently into the shade in clear view of thousands
of impoverished and starving villagers waiting for food handouts in bags
marked "Gift of South Africa".

      There were clear divisions about what the parliamentary committee
hoped to achieve in Zimbabwe.

      "I'm boiling. We're supposed to be studying the land issue, not
wasting our time looking at food aid," said one committee member.

      Pan African Congress leader Stanley Mogoba said South Africa could not
afford "to carry Zimbabwe".

      "This problem in Zimbabwe is nothing like the problem we have in South
Africa. It's already an overwhelming burden for us to be carrying Zimbabwe
when our problem is even larger," Mogoba said.

      Still, SA could learn from Zimbabwe's mistakes.

      "We don't want to drive any single group from the land in our country,
but we have to sit down and talk about it with all stakeholders, including
the farmers," he said.

      "We know that land isn't productive by itself. You have to train
farmers, to give them inputs and implements. They need knowledge. The whole
idea is not to reduce the food basket, but to increase it. This is a
tragedy," he said, looking at the villagers waiting quietly in the baking

      Mogoba said he believed the South African government was criticising
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF.
      "I think it's there, it's just not loud enough."

      Democratic Alliance MP Andries Botha lashed out at the Mugabe regime,
saying his visit to Zimbabwe had left him even more critical. - Independent
Foreign Service
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The National, New Guinea

Zimbabwe: Paradise lost - or simply postponed?

CREATED towards the end of the great colonial thrust unleashed upon Africa
in the century before last, Rhodesia seemed at one point an idyllic
territory, with lush agricultural estates and the ability to progress into
an independent and envied nation.

But as with practically every colony in the African continent, the foreign
dream of a model nation evaporated as rapidly as its imposed name.
The reasons are many and varied.

The facts are that Zimbabwe, as Rhodesia became, has increasingly become a
disaster zone, its economy in tatters, its people divided by tribes,
religions and the lingering legacy of the largely departed colonists.

Concurrently, the world has witnessed a parallel decline in the reputation
and respect once held for President Mugabe, who appears to have become an
immovable fixture heading the nation.

A freedom fighter against the worst aspects of white supremacy, Mugabe began
his formal leadership of Zimbabwe against a backdrop of deep civil unrest.

The unilateral and illegal declaration of independence from Britain,
engineered and led by high profile white settler Ian Smith, had the effect
of catapulting the new nation into a nightmare of conflict.

Today, President Mugabe's grim determination to hold onto power has worsened
that conflict to the point where many observers doubt Zimbabwe's capacity to
survive as a nation.

An ever-increasing percentage of the population is without employment.
HIV/AIDS has helped decimate the work force.

A vicious campaign to rid the country of its remaining white settlers and
give the sequestered land to alleged former freedom soldiers has led to
horrific clashes, the destruction of farms painstakingly established during
the past century, and world-wide accusations of racist attacks.

As a result of this wave of violence, the economic infrastructure of the
nation has been largely annihilated.

The stable agricultural community, much of it controlled by white
Zimbabweans, has been decimated, with obvious effects upon employment, the
rule of law, public security and the morale of the people.

These rampant attacks on the remaining foreign landholders were at first met
with official apathy, and more recently positive government encouragement.
But the Mugabe government clearly has nothing to replace that economic

This tragedy holds salutory lessons for Papua New Guinea.

While there has never been such an organised and horrendous mass attack upon
foreigners in our community, there is a hidden undercurrent of racial
resentment that periodically shows itself publicly.

Foreign aid projects, all conducted at the behest and invitation of the
independent PNG State, are often met with accusations of conspiracy on the
part of the donors.

Individual foreigners have become a favoured target of opportunistic killers
and rapists.

Foreign-owned property and facilities are the subject of regular burglary or
irrational vandalism.

PNG has fast acquired the reputation of being cowboy country, a place unsafe
for any but the most fearless, a country that despite its magnificent and
diverse scenery should be avoided by tourists, and a potential investment
ruined by lawlessness and violence.

That much of this reputation is undeserved, and that there are hundreds,
even thousands of foreigners living contentedly in our midst, are facts lost
in the welter of fear, exaggerated gossip and false rumour.

Against that backgound, we can count ourselves fortunate that PNG is a
member of the United Nations and the Commonwealth, two world groupings in
which we continue to be regarded as valuable players.

Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namliu, whose current brief sojourn in the post
has seen many a musty departmental cupboard opened to the light of day, has
announced PNG's support for Commonwealth initiatives to maintain the current
suspension of Zimbabwe from the organisation, pending the Commonwealth heads
of Government meeting in Nigeria at the end of this year.

The Foreign Minister has rightly linked this support for continued
suspension with the wider issues outlined in this column - human rights, the
rule of law, and above all the issue of land reform in Zimbabwe.
And on that score as well, PNG should take note.

For land reform is also the sleeping giant of the PNG economy.
Until and unless some mutually satisfactory laws can be devised to free-up
PNG land for investment while guaranteeing continued PNG land ownership, the
potential, no matter how unlikely, exists for the terrible social
catastrophes presently visited upon Zimbabwe to erupt here.
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