IN an outburst of anger spilling
out of acrimonious parliamentary events following MDC legislator, Roy
Bennett's assault on two cabinet ministers, Zanu PF supporters yesterday
demonstrated at Parliament Building and at the opposition's Harvest House
headquarters. Hundreds of the ruling party supporters were ferried to the
points of the demonstrations in trucks, chanting anti-Bennett songs. The
demonstration, in which some property at Harvest House was destroyed, was
meant to register the party's anger against Bennett who on Tuesday assaulted
Zanu PF legislators Patrick Chinamasa and Didymus Mutasa in parliament. It
could not be established whether police clearance had been obtained prior to
the protests, in accordance with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Chinamasa is the leader of the House as well as the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, while Mutasa is the Minister in charge of
the Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies portfolio. The demonstration started
just after 1400 hours, when parliament was about to sit. The eastern entrance
to parliament along Nelson Mandela was blocked as the demonstrators waited
for MDC MPs, particularly Bennett, and harassed ordinary motorists in the
The few MDC MPs who attended the parliamentary session
yesterday had to use the western entrance along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue. Senior
Zanu PF and government officials, among them Amos Midzi, the Minister of
Mines and Mining Development and Zanu PF chairman for Harare province, and
Witness Mangwende, the resident minister for Harare metropolitan province,
addressed the demonstrators. Mangwende said Bennett should never set his foot
in Harare province, while there were also calls for him to leave the
country, even though the legislator, who is a former staunch member of Zanu
PF, insisted on Wednesday that Zimbabwe is his home. Said Mangwende:
"Bennett akabvumidzwa sei kubuda apa musi wacho? Uye ndanzwa kuti nezuro anga
ari pano paparliament, akabvumidzwa sei? Isu hatichada kumuona muHarare
province kubvira nhasi,"(How is it that Bennett was allowed to leave
parliament on the day (when he assaulted the ministers)? Why was he allowed
to attend parliament yesterday? Forthwith, we don't want to see him in
Harare province.)" The crowd waved banners that read: "Bennett must live
parliament & our country", "Zimbabwe can do without Bennett", "We condemn
disrespect of parliament," "Bennett's head now", "Expel Parliament
Malcontents" and "MDC now dead and buried".
later went to Harvest House, with police escort, where they went on the
rampage and destroyed screen doors and windows at the opposition party's
offices. The rowdy crowd sporadically harassed motorists, especially whites
who were either driving or walking. Government ministers and Zanu PF MPs
waved their fists at the demonstrators as they disembarked from their
respective cars when they arrived for the afternoon session, in a gesture of
solidarity. MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said what was more disturbing
was that police had actually escorted the crowd but did nothing. "It's
absolutely appalling that police actually escorted the crowd which later
stoned our offices, and that no arrests have been made," said Nyathi. "What
is more disturbing is that police searched our offices claiming that some of
the people who had stoned our offices had been kidnapped by our supporters,
what an insult!" No comment could be obtained from police as chief police
spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena was said to be in
hospital. His junior, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka declined to comment
saying he had not obtained a report relating to the protest. A parliamentary
committee has already been set up to look into the conduct of Bennett but the
leader of the opposition in parliament, Gibson Sibanda said Bennett's conduct
was a personal reaction and did not reflect the thinking of the MDC. He,
however, said Chinamasa's remarks were in bad taste, when he accused
Bennett's forefathers of being murderers and thieves.
to the VOA Studio 7 broadcast were yesterday treated to another bravura
performance by Didymus Mutasa - the honourable minister of corruption, and he
of the infamous "let them starve" speech. The subject was the recent
parliamentary fracas which started with Roy Bennett - an opposition MP -
losing his temper, and finished with two honourable ministers - Mutasa, and
his colleague Patrick Chinamasa - flat on the floor. The most immediate
context of the broadcast was the Zanu rent-a-mob which had just finished
attacking the Harare offices of the opposition party, injuring at least one
person, after baying for Bennett's head outside parliament - egged on by two
other honourable ministers, Amos Midzi and Witness Mangwende. Bennett, Mutasa
informed us, was "mad member of parliament charging at everybody he found".
Pressed by the interviewer that Bennett may have been provoked by Chinamasa
calling him a cattle thief, Mutasa's response was: "What's wrong with that?
That's what politics is all about, and you don't get into politics to be
easily provoked, and then to take such terrible action and turn mad. We
deplore that very, very strongly."
Let's put that "terrible
action" into context. This is how Hansard's rather sanitised account reports
what Chinamasa said: "He forgets that his forefathers were thieves. And he
forgets that what he owns - the whole of Chimanimani - was not because of his
intelligence but was a legacy...That is an inheritance of stolen wealth
accumulated over a century-and-a-half. I want to warn him that we have taken
over Charleswood Farm, and he must not set foot again on that ground."
"Bennett - I hope you are listening. Your forefathers were thieves whether
they came here in 1890 or stayed in England." Insulting enough, when one
considers that Bennett bought Charleswood Farm in 1983, with a certificate of
No Present Interest from the government, and only bought the farm after
consultation with the local traditional leaders, who consented to his
purchase. The property comprises 7000 acres, of which 300 are arable and the
remainder mountainside. Hardly the whole of Chimanimani. Charleswood is
designated an Export Processing Zone - it exported coffee - and there is a
tourist lodge on the land built with South African foreign investment. Both
these businesses generated employment and foreign currency.
this in context, Mutasa has spent the last few months investigating his
honourable party colleagues, caught with their fingers in the
foreign currency till. Chinamasa's ministry has been chasing a handful of
them through the courts. They, and their party, have no grounds to call
Bennett a thief. To give even more context, what Hansard fails to report is
that Chinamasa called Bennett "mabhunu". The word in literal terms means
white man, and is derived from the Afrikaans word for farmer. But it is also
a racist term of abuse, equivalent in its meaning, in reverse, to the
k-word or the n-word. And this is not the only provocation which Bennett
has received. Charleswood Farm was first invaded on 19 May 2000, in the
run-up to the general election in which Bennett, a "mabhunu" in an
overwhelming black constituency, was elected to parliament. In the violence,
Mrs Bennett, pregnant at the time, was kidnapped. Four days later, the foetal
heartbeat stopped, and the baby later miscarried. For four years, the CIO and
the army have run riot in the area, lead by Joseph Mwale, an outstanding Zanu
thug. In the process, one Charleswood employee has been murdered, two raped,
and over 200 beaten senseless. For four years, Bennett has fought the
violence through the courts. He has won no less than six court orders
confirming his ownership of Charleswood, and his and his employees' right to
be left in peace. The last two of the court decisions were made "with
consent" i.e. the Attorney General's office did not contest them.
the face of four years of attacks, Bennett finally lost his self-restraint.
He did not rape or kill or beat anyone senseless. Yet Mutasa yesterday
blatantly licensed mob violence against him. "We are just letting the events
unfold in the country," Mutasa said. "If people go violent against Bennett
and if he gets hurt in the process, it is his own outlook. That is what he
has been inviting, and he's going to have it." Many millions of Zimbabweans
have similarly endured what has been thrown at them by their own government -
loss of livelihood, loss of home, loss of dignity, loss of loved ones. By
Mutasa's twisted logic, there are an awful lot of people who have "brought
things upon themselves". One more piece of contextual background. Readers of
a certain age may dimly recall a previous honourable minister in a previous
regime. Like Mutasa, P K van der Byl liked to cultivate his image as the
blunt-talking hard man in a party he regarded as full of wimps. Like
Chinamasa, van der Byl's highly polished self-regard was once ever present.
Who remembers van der Byl now? The honourable ministers should not
FOREIGN Affairs director- general, Ayanda Ntsaluba has
pointed to a stall in SA's attempt at a brokered settlement in
Speaking at the South African Institute of International
Affairs in Johannesburg last night, Ntsaluba said neither the ruling Zanu
(PF) nor the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) recognised
they needed each other to secure the country's future.
He said a
recognition by the two parties they needed each other was a precondition to
any settlement in the country.
This admission of a stall comes weeks
ahead of President Thabo Mbeki's self-imposed deadline for a settlement in
the country and amid accusations from human rights group Amnesty
International that President Robert Mugabe may be using food as a political
weapon ahead of early parliamentary elections.
Ntsaluba's remarks came
amid rising tensions in Zimbabwe as Mugabe's supporters demonstrated in a
number of towns and yesterday smashed up the entrance of the opposition's
headquarters. This follows the scuffle in parliament earlier this week
between MDC MP Roy Bennet and Minister of Justice Patrick
Ntsaluba said SA's policy of trying to bring about dialogue
between the parties was the only way to ensure that the country did not
experience a major implosion.
Meanwhile, Sapa reports that Amnesty
International came out in strong opposition yesterday against the extradition
to Equatorial Guinea of 70 alleged mercenaries held in Zimbabwe .
organisation said the men would be at grave risk of torture, unfair trial
procedures and could face the death penalty in Equatorial Guinea.
Zanu PF on revenge mission in Harare Dumisani
Muleya/Shakeman Mugari THE assault on two cabinet ministers in parliament by
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Roy Bennett has provided
grist to the government's propaganda mill and a handy pretext for a new bout
The incident on Tuesday, in which Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa and his Anti-Corruption colleague Didymus Mutasa were
floored by Bennett during a heated debate, yesterday showed every sign of
becoming an excuse for pumping up Zanu PF's campaign against its political
Zanu PF yesterday mobilised its supporters to denounce
Bennett and the MDC for the scuffle in parliament when the opposition MP
attacked Chinamasa in reaction to provocative racist remarks. Mutasa was
caught up in the fracas.
The ruling party bussed in supporters to
parliament where they were addressed by local officials.
minister and Harare provincial executive member Amos Midzi, Harare governor
Witness Mangwende, and failed Harare Central candidate William Nhara
addressed the mob.
"He is banned from Harare. He shall not set foot
in the capital again," Mangwende said. "Not even in Ruwa. Harare has no place
for violent people. We want to do a thorough job on him," he said amid
cheering and demands for Bennett's scalp by the mob.
urged supporters to hunt down Bennett - who failed to appear in parliament -
at his Ruwa farm. In fact, Bennett hasn't lived on the farm for some
Bennett has been evicted by the government from his
Charleswood Estate in his Chimanimani constituency. The farm was initially
taken over by the Defence ministry last month but it was later given to the
Agricultural & Rural Development Authority.
Zanu PF militants
waved placards reading: "Bennett's head now!" Another one read: "To hell with
(British Prime Minister Tony) Blair."
A ruling party supporter said:
"Bennett belongs to Britain where there are no people but toilets" - Zanu
PF's customary language for Blair.
Others also shouted threats and
abuse. "We want to braai him alive. He is good pork meat," one demonstrator
The mob - backed by the Mbare-based ruling party militia group
Chipangano - also went to the MDC's Harvest House offices and broke the
The group, armed with axes and machetes, wanted to
attack MDC officials in their offices. However, riot police intervened. But
instead of arresting violent members of the mob they arrested four MDC
officials inside the building after searching it.
Paul Themba Nyathi said the police claimed they were looking for a Zanu PF
member who was allegedly abducted into the building.
The mob then
turned their fury on anybody wearing red clothes. The colour red is
associated with the MDC.
After the raid the mob headed back to
parliament and on their way attacked people willy-nilly. They were then told
to return to the trucks that brought them.
In Mutare, Zanu PF
supporters on Wednesday brought business to a halt after they forced
companies and shops to close. They denounced Bennett for pushing down
Chinamasa and demanded that he should be punished. Whites were warned to
clear out of the province.
Zanu PF Manicaland provincial executive
members including chairman Mike Madiro joined the crowd that forced
businesses to shut down. A crowd of about 400 people then gathered at Meikles
Park and was addressed by Madiro who said Bennett would be "disqualified from
He should not risk his life by returning to the
province, Madiro was reported as saying.
VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika has described as "immoral little boys" government
and Zanu PF officials advocating the violent seizure of productive
horticultural farms across the country.
Msika, who is the chairman
of the Cabinet Committee on Land Reform, denied allegations that he was
losing out to ambitious ministers on the land issue.
interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Msika said he decided to
drop the contentious issue of Kondozi Farm in Odzi after consulting with
He said there were reasons, which he wouldn't
disclose, that had made him abandon the Kondozi issue.
said he was still on top of the situation in government and Zanu PF on the
land issue and other policy matters.
"I haven't lost to
anyone," said Msika. "How could I lose to those immoral little boys?" he
asked, referring to government officials who supported the use of the army
and police to evict the owner of Kondozi Farm and his workers last month to
pave way for the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
Information minister Jonathan Moyo openly backed the
seizure of Kondozi and declared there was no going back. Agriculture minister
Joseph Made and Transport minister Chris Mushowe also backed the use of the
police and army to evict Kondozi owners and farm workers.
don't want to comment on Jonathan Moyo's actions. I can't waste time on
that," Msika said. "There are other reasons why I chose to keep quiet over
Kondozi but I won't disclose them. This is how those little boys found some
stone to stand on," he said.
"But it was after meeting with the
president and agreeing on matters of principle. He (Mugabe) shares the same
position with me regarding the land issue. I am still in control and
effectively still represent my position. Arda has a farm next to Kondozi and
there was no reason at all to forcibly take over this one."
The tough-talking Msika said he would fight anyone who dares set foot on
productive horticultural concerns, saying these were vital to the nation's
"My position, which is not personal but based on
policy, is that we should not disturb sugarcane estates, citrus estates and
other horticultural concerns in the Lowveld and Highlands," he
"These are large industries earning the country a lot of
foreign currency. But they should not remain exclusive to a few individuals
or whites only.
More people must be included in the ownership of
the concerns but not through violent and barbaric ways," Msika
"Personally as the chairman of the land taskforce I
wouldn't accept having the army and police descending on farms to forcibly
evict owners, farm workers or peasants. Such actions cast a bad image on the
land issue that has been a success generally."
'We can do without IMF' - Mugabe Gift Phiri DESPITE
efforts by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono, to mend
relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Robert Mugabe
continues to throw spanners into the works by rubbishing the Washington-based
multilateral financial institution.
Mugabe told visiting journalists from
the Kenyan East African Standard last week that the IMF was useless in the
reconstruction of the country's ruined economy. Mugabe launched a scathing
attack on the financial institution saying the country did not need the IMF
as it takes steps to resolve its deepening economic troubles.
have no faith in them (IMF). We can do our own thing without the IMF and the
rest," said Mugabe.
"They come in with their balance of payments
assistance, yes we need that at times. But their prescriptions, they are
awful, believe me," Mugabe told the Kenyan journalists.
statements fly in the face of Gono's pledge to cooperate fully and engage in
sustained dialogue with the IMF. In his first quarter review of his monetary
policy statement, Gono emphasised the need to embrace the IMF in his
turnaround strategy for the economy.
He said it was imperative to
"reengage the international community to lay a sound basis for the
reestablishment of Zimbabwe's relations with international creditors and
other global business partners".
Since 1999, until December last
year, Zimbabwe has been failing to settle its overdue loan repayment to the
IMF of US$290 million. As of February, Zimbabwe had repaid US$6 million and
also promised to make small quarterly payments of US$1,5
Mugabe's broadsides could deal a blow to efforts by Gono to
thaw relations between Zimbabwe and the IMF. Since his appointment in
December last year, Gono has moved to court the IMF.
mission that was in the country last month promised to reexamine the huge
arrears owed it by Zimbabwe in early July and welcomed steps taken
by government to put its fiscal house in order.
desperately needs balance of payment support from the IMF but Mugabe
continues to talk tough. In fact before the entrance of the new RBZ chief,
Mugabe had told the IMF and the World Bank to "go to hell".
accuses the IMF of being responsible for the prolonged suffering currently
bedevilling the country, now almost completely isolated from
the international community.
Equipment seizures illegal Eric
Chiriga PARLIAMENT'S Legal Committee has criticised the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures)(Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Materials
2003) statutory instrument saying its regulations contravene the enabling Act
and the Declaration of Rights.
"After careful and extensive
examination of the regulations, my committee came to the unanimous view that
the regulations violate the enabling Act and contravene the Declaration of
Rights," said Welshman Ncube, the acting chairman of the committee in a
Ncube said the fundamental defect of the regulations
themselves was that they did not have an enactment clause, indicating as
required the authority that made the regulations or the authority in which
they were vested.
He said the regulations violated provisions of
Section 16 of the constitution.
Under Section 16 no property of
any description or interest or right therein shall be compulsorily acquired
except under the authority of the law that the acquisition is reasonably
necessary in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public
morality, public health, town and country planning or the utilisation of the
property for a purpose beneficial to the public generally or to any section
of the public.
The section also requires the acquiring authority to
give reasonable notice of the intention to acquire the property, pay fair
compensation for the acquisition within a reasonable time and the person
whose property has been acquired has the right to ask the High Court or any
other court for the prompt return of the property if the court does not
confirm the acquisition.
"It is clear from the text and spirit of Section
16 that the right to property is firmly entrenched in our constitution and
that the only derogations from this right the law allows are those that are
reasonably necessary," Ncube said.
"My committee reached the
conclusion that the provisions of the statutory instrument 273A cannot be
justified in terms of these expectations (defence, public safety, public
order, public morality, public health and town and country planning)," Ncube
Ncube said that the statutory instrument failed to make a
distinction between an illegitimate and legitimate
"The constitution requires the acquiring authority to
pay fair compensation for the acquisition before or within a reasonable time
after acquiring the property," he said, "While on the other hand Section 8 of
the regulations empowers the administrative court to fix any compensation
that it deems reasonable in the circumstances."
"The exclusion of
fairness as a criterion for determining of compensation in terms of the
regulations is in violation of the constitution," he said.
committee said the regulations under consideration, among other things, ban
the destruction or disablement of farm implements and authorise the state to
compulsorily acquire farm equipment or materials.
Powers (Temporary Measures) Act is a special piece of legislation that
represents a departure from the doctrine of the separation of
The general motive behind the Act is to empower the president
to make laws to deal with matters that require immediate
The power to legislate rests with parliament and the
process of passing legislation is governed by rules contained in the
constitution and by parliamentary conventions as provided in the standing
rules and orders. These rules ensure transparency and accountability in the
Meanwhile a Bill to regularise the statutory
instrument was introduced in parliament on Wednesday. It is currently being
considered by the legal committee.
Chefs ignore order to give up extra farms Gift
Phiri SEVERAL government ministers and senior military officers accused
of grabbing farms in violation of the government's "one man, one farm"
rule have still not handed the extra properties back to the state, almost a
year after the expiry of an ultimatum issued by President Robert Mugabe,
the latest land audit has revealed.
A five-member Presidential Land
Resettlement Committee appointed by Mugabe in January has completed its land
allocation audit and has once again unearthed widespread evidence of corrupt
allocations and the use of violence by senior politicians and military
officers to evict landless smallholder farmers, the very people Mugabe
claimed the land reform policy sought to help.
Independent understands that the confidential audit has also revealed that
the land policy has not only precipitated a catastrophic reduction in crop
production, but has financially benefited the elite of Mugabe's ruling Zanu
Reports of abuses uncovered by successive groups of auditors
since February last year have embarrassed Mugabe, who has staked his domestic
reputation on the speedy transfer of land to Zimbabwe's more than two million
Stung by the series of damaging revelations,
Mugabe last year gave his lieutenants up to June 30 to surrender their
supplementary properties and remain with one farm each. But up to now only
one Zanu PF official, Matabeleland north governor Obert Mpofu, is understood
to have relinquished his extra properties.
The latest land audit
team is expected to present its findings to the Ministry of Special Affairs
responsible for Land, Land Reform and Resettlement, which is expected to
subsequently present the report to Mugabe. Officials on the committee
confirmed the latest developments.
"The committee has finalised its
audit process and a report has been compiled," said Willard Chiwewe, a senior
secretary in the President's Office who is heading the
"We will hand over the report to the ministers in the land
task force who will consider what we have found out. After that, the report
will be handed over to President Mugabe."
committee was set up to beef up another team led by Special Affairs minister
John Nkomo in the clean up effort. Chiwewe said one of the key
recommendations of the audit was that ruling party officials who had multiple
farms should have the extra properties forfeited to the state.
of the key findings of the report is that those with multiple land ownership
should be served with withdrawal letters of the farms," he said.
Ministry of Agriculture would have to send those letters to those people with
multiple land ownership. That would happen I am sure, I do not see any
problem at all."
The team was tasked to look into the chaotic
handling of the land reform programme and came up with recommendations that
would see the creation of a permanent office that deals with land reform.
Like the Utete Committee before it, the team said that areas that were
protected under bilateral trade agreements, forestry estates or which had
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) licences be exempted from compulsory
An audit, carried out last year by former secretary to
the cabinet, Charles Utete, to investigate matters relating to an earlier
land audit by Flora Bhuka, the Minister of State in Vice-President Joseph
Msika's office, revealed that some of the violations of the land reform
policy were committed by Mugabe's closest political allies.
13 cabinet ministers and four provincial governors were named as having
violated the "one man, one farm policy".
Since the Utete Report was
published, a number of EPZ farms have been invaded, which has resulted in the
destruction of property and looting of assets. National Parks and
conservancies also remain occupied.
Govt figures misleading Godfrey
Marawanyika GOVERNMENT has been criticised for failing to provide accurate
statistical requirements on food assessment which led to massive food
shortages in 2001.
A report, sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
on post-Independence land reform in Zimbabwe titled "Controversies and Impact
on the Economy" by Medicine Masiiwa, says government in 2001 misled the
nation on food stocks and that this should not happen
"Ministerial competence and government accountability must be
highly upheld if food security and rural empowerment are to be realised in
Zimbabwe. In other words, senior government officials must always send true
messages regarding land, agricultural and food security matters to prevent
the country from being caught off guard on the basis of unreliable
information like what happened in the year 2001," the report
The report, jointly published by the foundation and the
Institute of Development Studies, was released this
Agricultural minister Joseph Made in 2001 made an aerial
assessment of production levels and claimed the country had enough food
stocks to feed itself. This proved a disaster when Zimbabwe had to survive on
food handouts from the international community.
The launch of the
report this week comes at a time when government has again claimed that there
will be no need for food assistance because new farmers will produce 2,4
million tonnes of maize this cropping season.
The report said that
although there was a clear need for land reallocation as demonstrated by the
Svosve people's invasions in 1999, government's method of land transfer was
cause for concern.
"Firstly, government was rather lethargic in its
land policy implementations during the first 10 years of Independence. Poor
achievements of set targets can only be attributable to lack of political
will from government because unlike now, government received reasonable
international support for the land reform programme," the report
"The latter phase of the land redistribution, particularly the
fast track resettlement, caused significant damage to the economy because it
was unplanned and was characterised by excessive violence and
Kondozi debacle hits banks Augustine Mukaro IN a
move that could scupper the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
(Arda)'s efforts to effectively operate Kondozi Farm, the High Court
yesterday granted Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe an order to repossess all farming
equipment at the farm.
The violent seizure of Kondozi Farm by Arda and
the abrupt closure of the horticultural concern has adversely affected the
farm's financiers, Barclays-Fincor, Zimbank-Syfrets and African Banking
Corporation, who collectively advanced loans of about $37 billion to towards
Since the seizure of Kondozi last month, Arda has taken
control of the farm's assets, which include motor vehicles and
The interim order granted by Justice Charles Hungwe, a copy
of which is in the hands of the Zimbabwe Independent, places all the movable
assets under judicial attachment and bars Arda from using or tampering with
The order also interdicted Arda from using, dismantling, and
disposing or in any way whatsoever dealing with the assets.
the event of the respondents failing to comply with this order, the Deputy
Sheriff be and is hereby authorised and directed to take possession of the
movable assets and deliver them to the applicant," the order
Movable assets listed in the order include an ERF 30-tonne
truck, 30 motorised knapsacks, 10 Jialing motorcyles, 15 Same tractors, six
Nissan diesel UD 90 trucks, three Nissan Cabstar four-tonne trucks, two
Nissan 2,7 S/cab trucks, and two Nissan 2,7 Hardbody
Kondozi is still expected to pay about $5 billion for the
listed assets to Barclays.
Kondozi operations director, Piet De
Klerk, three weeks ago was on record as saying that the seizure of the firm
had resulted in the loss of more than $60 billion worth of business and
He said his organisation had lost over $20 billion worth
of movable assets alone which included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five
UD 90 trucks, several T35 trucks, four vehicles that were used by management
and over 26 motorbikes.
Kondozi Farm was one of Zimbabwe's biggest
horticultural exporting concerns supplying produce to supermarkets in
Britain, Europe and South Africa.
Meanwhile, former Kondozi Farm
outgrowers face imminent closure due to lack of financing and markets after
the seizure of the horticultural business last
Highly-placed sources in Odzi said the 35 outgrowers who
depended solely on Kondozi Fresh Produce for financing of their agricultural
business and marketing of produce were winding up their operations due to
"Kondozi was financing all expenses for the
outgrowers from cropping through to marketing. The firm would recover its
money when the produce was exported before remitting the profits to the
outgrower," sources said.
One of the outgrowers who spoke to the
Independent on condition of anonymity, said the affected farmers were
disposing of their equipment to raise money for paying gratuities to
"We are trying to sell our assets to pay gratuities and
terminal benefits to the workers we are going to retrench because the seizure
of Kondozi has left us without the ability to continue, even if we wanted
to," the outgrower said.
"As you know, horticulture is very
labour-intensive. The outgrowers have hundreds of thousands of workers but
have no money to keep them."
The violent seizure of Kondozi left the
majority of the outgrowers stranded.
"As we speak, 20 of the outgrowers
have had their electricity disconnected because of failure to pay bills.
Kondozi used to pay Zesa bills," the outgrower said.
Chinamasa, Bennett both wrong Gift Phiri ZIMBABWE'S
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa and MDC MP Roy Bennett should both be held accountable for
their actions in parliament on Tuesday.
Chinamasa was floored by the
burly Bennett after verbally abusing the white MP while debating an adverse
report on the Stock Theft Amendment Bill.
Chinamasa, who had made
offensive remarks about the MP's ancestry, was sent tumbling to the floor
after being slightly pushed. In the ensuing melee, another minister Didymus
Mutasa was also floored by the emotionally charged Chimanimani MP after
Mutasa kicked him from behind.
Chinamasa said Bennett had not
forgiven government for "taking his farm, forgetting that his ancestors were
thieves and murderers".
"The conduct of both legislators has brought
parliament into disrepute and both must be held accountable for their
actions," said MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi.
actions of Roy Bennett cannot be condoned, neither should the demeaning,
hurtful, wicked, barbaric and provocative racial and personal slurs and
insults hurled at Bennett by the Minister of Justice."
soldiers and police officers seized Bennett's Charleswood farm as part of
government's haphazard land reform exercise in April despite over six High
Court orders allowing him to stay.
Bennett yesterday said he was not
proud of what he had done.
"I lost my temper when Chinamasa said I
would never go back to my farm. He went on to say that I was being punished
for the crimes of my ancestors. I am not proud of what I did but I will never
apologise to Chinamasa," said Bennett.
MDC vice-president Gibson
Sibanda told the Independent that he had apologised to Chinamasa and Mutasa
for the unfortunate incident.
Bennett is now set to appear before a
disciplinary hearing committee that comprises three Zanu PF MPs and two MDC
lawmakers. The two opposition MPs are Tendai Biti and Professor Welshman
Ncube and those from Zanu PF are Chief Jonathan Mangwende, Joyce Mujuru and
EU tightens arms restrictions Gift Phiri THE
European Union (EU) has said it will tighten its controls on arms exports
amid reports that member states continue to supply weapons to Harare despite
an arms embargo imposed four years ago.
Widespread human rights abuses by
the Zimbabwean security agencies and armed party supporters prompted the EU
in January 2000 to impose an embargo on military equipment to
The 25-member bloc argued that its member states could not
continue selling weapons to a country that is engaged in violence and
The EU this week warned new members that those caught
flouting the gunrunning ban would face serious consequences. Most of the
countries alleged to be engaged in the arms trade with Zimbabwe are among the
10 new entrants joining the EU on May 1.
Four of the 10 new member
states have a large number of weapons manufacturing companies. The Czech
Republic has 27, Poland 22, Slovakia 11 and Slovenia six.
arms control committee will not allow gunrunners to continue to export
weapons to conflict zones and countries which ignore human rights such as
Zimbabwe," the EU council said in a statement posted on its
"It is imperative to remind new member states that they are
bound by an EU Code of Conduct agreed in 1998, which sets out common
standards for the management of the arms trade. Any member state found in
breach of this regulation will face disciplinary action."
catalogued a series of arms trade deals that have taken place with Harare
after the imposition of the trade embargo. It said Austrian arms company
Steyr delivered 66 four-wheel drive vehicles to the Zimbabwe National Army in
November 2001, almost a year after the imposition of the arms embargo.
Standard editor charged Dumisani Muleya STANDARD
editor Bornwell Chakaodza and reporter Valentine Maponga were on Wednesday
charged under the Public Order & Security Act for publishing allegedly
false information likely to be prejudicial to the state.
the two journalists over a story suggesting government officials were
involved in the recent murder of Bindura Nickel Corporation chief executive
Reports indicate that Chimimba died after he was
shot in the head outside his home.
The murder case has also been
linked to the disappearance earlier this year of a large Bindura consignment
of nickel and platinum to South Africa.
The Standard spoke to
Chimimba's family members. The deceased's younger brother, Simon, was quoted
as saying: "My brother was killed by the so-called big guns and as a family,
we are fully aware of who is responsible but we know God will provide the
However, police claimed that the allegation was untrue as
suspects in the murder case had been arrested. They then reacted by arresting
the two journalists.
The journalists' lawyer Linda Cook confirmed
the charge under the repressive security law.
"They signed warned
and cautioned statements. Initially police had indicated they would detain
them overnight, but then they released them and said they wanted to interview
other people over the matter tomorrow," Cook said.
WHAT is the government's policy on reengagement with the
International Monetary Fund? The public have the right to
President Mugabe recently told a Kenyan newspaper that "we can do
without the IMF". He blamed the Washington institution for imposing "awful"
terms on Zimbabwe and other developing countries.
to the IMF is nothing new. He has at least been consistent in his public
opposition to any restoration of ties to the Bretton Woods twin. He is less
trenchant about its sibling, the World Bank.
But Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono has made reengagement with international lenders, including the
IMF, the centerpiece of his recovery programme for the financial sector. He
referred to the importance of restoring ties to the IMF in his recent review
of progress since his December statement.
Gono has been holding talks
with the envoys of leading donors seeking their support for
balance-of-payments assistance as a first step to wider multilateral aid.
Mugabe conceded in his East African Standard interview the importance of
balance-of-payments support. But he was adamant on other
"I have no faith in them. We can do our own thing
without the IMF and the rest," he was reported as saying.
Is going it
alone official policy?
It may be important to recall here that the IMF
did not come to Zimbabwe uninvited in 1991. They were asked to assist in
reviving a sclerotic economy that had become hidebound by dirigiste policies
that discouraged investment and growth with concomitant implications for
Whatever we might say about the unsuitability of the IMF's
"one size fits all" policies, their central prescription that government
should stop spending money on itself remains as valid today as it was 13
years ago. Mugabe may like to pretend that the IMF was opposed to policies
that helped the poor. But in fact it was critical of spending on a top-heavy
bureaucracy and parastatals that provided little more than sheltered
employment for the ruling-party faithful. That included a cosseted military
The IMF's advice that the government should live within its
means and provide a more helpful business environment is one few outside
Mugabe's inner circle would disagree with.
But what we have seen over
the years is a string of Finance ministers signing up to sound economic
policies only to be thwarted by presidential sniping from the wings. Indeed,
some have been denounced as saboteurs!
It is against this background
that Gono must now struggle to establish a national consensus. Those
diplomats he has seen are adamant that there will be no assistance from the
international community until there is agreement within Zimbabwe itself on
economic policy. And that is unlikely to be forthcoming so long as the rule
of law is subverted by the state.
The legal umbrella group, Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, has pointed out that Roy Bennett, at the centre of
an incident in parliament this week, has been granted six court orders
preventing the state from interfering with his operations at Charleswood
Estate in Chimanimani. ZLHR has called on the Minister of Justice to uphold
those orders and to ensure the executive complies with its responsibility to
ensure that citizens enjoy the right to the protection of the law, which
right is provided for in our constitution and international instruments that
the government has acceded to. It referred to "a culture of defiance of court
orders" which undermined the judiciary and the justice delivery system
entrenching a related culture of impunity and lawlessness.
in the official press by Joseph Chinotimba illustrate the lawlessness that
has now become endemic in the country. Roy Bennett has every right to return
to his farm whatever war veterans and other ruling-party activists with a
history of intimidation may think.
The way in which the incident in
parliament, the result of extreme provocation by Minister Chinamasa, has been
used by the official media to work up hostility to Bennett in particular and
whites in general, discloses a sinister agenda of populist persecution ahead
of next year's general election. Events in Mutare on Wednesday confirm this
So long as the state persists in defying court orders and
threatening its perceived opponents in vicious and inciteful terms there is
unlikely to be a national consensus on anything. Certainly the reengagement
of the international community will remain problematic so long as the
president declines to support it. And without the involvement of the
international community no programme of recovery will
Zimbabwe is rapidly becoming a Zanu PF island and its continued
isolation remains the most damaging consequence of misrule. Gono has yet to
succeed in getting that message across.
IF the statements last week by the Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare minister Paul Mangwana and his Agriculture and Rural
Development colleague Joseph Made are to be accepted at face value, it
appears that they and the government which they represent are about to effect
one of the most astounding miracles ever witnessed.
equipped with fish and loaves of bread, they are about to feed the Zimbabwean
multitude, thanks to a miraculously bountiful harvest achieved without land
preparation, without planting and without tending to the crop. Suddenly,
spectacularly, without requisite actions or resources, Zimbabwe is about to
become a land of plenty.
Miracle workers are rarely believed until they
have actually wrought the miracles, and that is especially so when previously
promised miracles did not occur. But on this occasion the prophecies of the
imminent miracle were not only generally received with great cynicism and
scepticism because such prophecies are so rarely believed.
sardonic disbelief and incredulity that characterised the reception of the
ministerial statements was greater than ever, because like prophecies have
repeatedly failed to materialise in the past. But the tragedy
of disillusionment and distress for the few who may naively have believed
the prophecy of an immense outturn to the present agricultural season will
be compounded by the intensified, negative impacts upon Zimbabwe's
already desperately frail economy.
The ministers stated, with
considerable pride and authority, that the final crop assessments evidence
that there will, in the aggregate, be an output from the now ending maize and
other grains season of 2 805 995 tonnes of maize, sorghum and millet, which
includes 2 431 182 tonnes of maize.
The refinement and precision of the
crop assessment techniques must be astounding, for the results were not
"approximately 2,8 million tonnes, inclusive of approximately 2,4 million
tonnes of maize", but an exactitude level to the last unit! Perhaps next year
it will be possible to assess accurately to the last kilo, or even the last
Of the projected maize crop, the ministers expect 1 200 000
tonnes of maize will be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board. Presumably
the other 1 231 182 tonnes represent production for own consumption in the
What the honourable ministers failed to disclose was how
such a stupendous crop production was possible in the light of the real
circumstances on the ground in the shortly to end production
In the first instance, although Zimbabwe's overall rainfall was
very satisfactory, the rains only commenced at any substantial levels two
months into the rainy season. By that time, much as had been planted
in anticipation of the rains had wilted and died, and the farmers had little
or no resource to plant again.
Moreover, all indications prior to the
commencement of the season were that Zimbabwe only had a sufficiency of seed
to yield a maximum maize crop of between 600 000 and 800 000 tonnes. Even if
all those seeds had been fertile and developed to full growth, despite the
initial inadequacy of rain, it would be truly miraculous for a crop of three
to fourfold the maximum possible, on available seed, to be grown.
a miracle is reinforced by the widely known fact, readily verified in the
period from October 2003 to January 2004, that there had been exceptionally
little land preparation, other than in communal areas, for any crops of any
nature to be grown. Almost all the provenly productive commercial farmers had
been driven off the land under the government's politically and racially
motivated land reform programme.
That programme, which could have been
most constructive and nationally beneficial, was pursued with obduracy,
dogmatic denial of well-intentioned, authoritative advice, with injustices
and national prejudice.
And a very great proportion of the newly settled
A1 and A2 farmers could not adequately prepare the lands, for they lacked the
requisite resources. They had no title to the lands, and therefore no
collateral to source required funding.
Instead, they had to rely upon
oft-repeated, but very rarely fulfilled, promises of the required inputs from
the government, while others took it for granted that the displaced farmers
would - despite all the prejudices they had sustained and all the suffering
inflicted upon them - prepare the lands for the new settlers, either out of
the goodness of their hearts, or due to a misplaced sense of guilt, or in
response to pressures and threats including, most recently, the legalised
"theft" of their equipment.
However, the miracle assured by the ministers
is even greater. Not only has there not been a sufficiency of seed for the
projected crops, and not only has the extent of prepared lands been
insufficient to yield such crops, but Zimbabwe also did not have a
sufficiency of fertilisers, chemicals and insecticides.
constraints of limited foreign exchange availability for essential imports of
chemicals and insecticides, and for equally essential inputs for fertiliser
production severely hampered Zimbabwe's three principal producers of
It has long been known that one cannot make bread without
flour, but it appears from the ministers' statements that Zimbabwe's A1 and
A2 farmers are able to produce maize without land preparation, without seed,
without chemicals and insecticides, and without fertilisers. Truly a
most sensational, spectacular and astounding miracle!
of that miracle, the ministers have informed the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), representing the international donor community, that
Zimbabwe will not require food aid this year, save and except for Aids
orphans and the infirm.
Why, if Zimbabwe is going to have a crop so
greatly in excess of the 1,8 million tonnes needed to feed the whole nation,
does it even need food aid for Aids orphans and the infirm? With the
allegedly record crop, well in excess of need, is Zimbabwe unwilling to look
after its own needy? Or will those needy be the vehicle to obtain food aid
when the projected crops are not achieved?
The economic repercussions
of advising the donors that aid will not be required will be immense for,
when it becomes evident that the prophecies were false and there is no
miracle, the government will then desperately need to import large volumes of
food, for it will not necessarily be possible, even if there is then a
willingness, for the donor community to activate the necessary food aid at
That need to import food will make severe inroads into
Zimbabwe's limited foreign currency resources, to the detriment of industry,
commerce, mining, agriculture and horticulture, and society as a whole. The
insufficiency of foreign exchange will fuel further depreciation of the
Zimbabwe dollar, which will in turn fuel inflation, and product shortages
will also contribute to an upsurge in inflation. And the government will have
to fund the food imports, thereby swelling the fiscal deficit and forcing
greater recourse to borrowings. That too will be a catalyst for
The resurgence of inflation will once again erode consumer
spending power, resulting in reduced demand upon industry and the
distributive trades, and that inflation will destroy any existent export
All these tragic economic developments can be
laid fairly and squarely at the feet of the ministers. Year after year the
Agriculture and Rural Development minister had delivered crop forecasts which
have not materialised, and it appears that this year he has been joined
therein by his colleague at Public Service, Labour and Social
It is also, at the least, troublesome that a request from UNDP
to inspect maize reserves at Grain Marketing Board silos has been declined.
If the maize is really going to exist, why does it need to be hidden, and if
it does not exist, should that not be acknowledged as early as possible
to enable remedial aid to be accessed and the economy not further
Zimbabwe waits with baited breath to witness the miraculous
feeding of the multitude by ministers Mangwana and Made!
WHAT sort of "courage" does President Mugabe think it takes to
accomplish the land reform programme when all the resources of the state,
including the police, army and militias, are at his disposal?
his courtiers at a belated birthday celebration on Monday: "If we had not put
up courage and spectacular bravery we would not be where we
"Today", the country is a wasteland. Agricultural
production has suffered an unprecedented collapse. Mugabe was presented with
a leopard skin at a time when Zimbabwe's wildlife resources are being
decimated by land invaders.
What sort of "courage" and "bravery" are
required to threaten and evict, often at a few hours notice, defenceless
farmers and their workers who have no means of upholding their rights other
than through the courts whose rulings the state is anyway prepared to
The Olds family were given a taste of the "bravery" fast-track
land reform has produced. A convoy of trucks containing ruling-party militia
passed unmolested through a police roadblock in Nyamandhlovu and gunned down
Martin Olds. Neighbouring farmers attempting to go to his rescue were stopped
at the roadblock and could not proceed.
What has happened to the
killers of Martin Olds and his mother Gloria? And what sort of "courage" and
"bravery" does it take for those supported by the instruments of the state to
threaten and assault innocent citizens while the forces of law and order
stand by helpless saying it is a "political matter"?
That is "courage"
and "bravery" Zanu PF-style. But as we all know, bullies usually turn out to
Chief among them, Nathaniel Manheru, has been waxing
indignant of late about the Zimbabwe Independent's choice of photographs. He
took us to task for not publishing pictures of Iraqi prisoners being abused,
especially when we had previously featured the bare buttocks of Zanu PF's
"What can be more humiliating than pix of white British urine
descending in a torrent on a haplessly manacled Arab suspect?" he wanted to
know, claiming we had "spiked" the story.
In fact the pic in question
turned out to be fake. The editor who published it was forced to resign and
apologise. He had been hoaxed, he claimed.
That was last Friday
afternoon. On Saturday the Herald spiked any mention of the latest
No doubt it would have proved inconvenient to Manheru's
claims about the beastly British. But you would have thought the Herald would
have wanted to correct its own columnist's error before someone else did.
Especially with all that urine splashing around.
Manheru's jibes about "abused reporters" at the Independent, what do we call
government editors who are obliged to carry the following self-serving
"Hands down, this man from Tsholotsho they call Jonathan Moyo
seems to have trouble aplenty for his opponents who now appear quite beggared
of replies. Clearly he has got them on the run."
But while the
Herald's much-abused editor had been dutifully filing reports saying how well
Moyo stood up to media heckling in Maputo, Manheru subsequently appeared less
sure of events. There was, he claimed, "an attempt at physical abuse and even
harm of the minister in Maputo".
Surely not? The minister getting a taste
of his own medicine? That would never happen in Zimbabwe - unless of course
Roy Bennett was on hand! We did spot one glaring error in Manheru's frothing
last Saturday. He claimed to have a small head.
How Piet de Klerk
could end up as an adoptee of some of the ruling party's bigwigs "is a baffle
too sharp to ache my small head", Manheru suggested, taking his now-customary
swipe at political rivals. Or did he mean his brain, after the Maputo
But he stretched credibility a bit far in expecting even
Herald readers to buy the claim that his head has shrunk in recent weeks.
There is no evidence of that!
Would you buy a second-hand car
from this salesman? We refer of course to Joseph Made who last week claimed
that Zimbabwe will this season produce 2,4 million tonnes of maize,
surpassing the national grain requirement of between 1,5 and two million
Isn't this the same person who in 2001 took a flight in a plane,
called it an aerial reconnaissance mission and predicted a bumper harvest
after the first round of land seizures? That prediction proved grossly wide
of the mark.
Now he is at it again predicting another bumper harvest
even though the situation on the ground is even more dire than it was the
last time he opened his mouth. It is in fact so serious that even the UN has
been prevented from assessing crop production because their findings may
prove too embarrassing.
What we are seeing here is a case of ministers
attempting to assert mind over matter. Sadly, when it's Made's mind that is
being applied, we know there is likely to be little in the way of
The minister gave ample proof of this when he reprimanded
the acting director of Agricultural Engineering Paul Gotora for suggesting
irrigation equipment and transformers had been vandalised or stolen during
the land reform programme.
"It is very unfortunate that Gotora had to
make such a reckless statement," Made declared, "when we all know that white
former commercial farmers are responsible together with their principal
handlers, the British, for the vandalisation of farm
Officers like Gotora needed to be educated so "all of a
sudden light is shone on them", Made said.
And in remarks that did
nothing to help his case, he claimed the director of Agricultural
Engineering, a Mr Chitsiko, had taken a Cummins Genset 166 horsepower
generator for his personal use.
Made pleaded with all officers who took
equipment without authority to return it. He didn't say how many of them were
Meanwhile, Manheru has been trying to get us to
celebrate the "surge" in the economy predicted by the IMF. We are constantly
trashing such indications when they emanate from government, he complained
It is just rather unfortunate that Manheru's comments came
on the same day that the Herald carried a front-page story saying "Prices of
goods, services on upward surge".
This could be the beginning of a
trend, the paper reported, which would see prices of all commodities going
So which surge should we regard as significant? The IMF one which
nobody can see or the prices one that is so evident not even the Herald can
We liked the letter to the editor of the Herald last
week headed "President highly respected in US".
Apparently this wave
of popularity emanated from a little girl at Philadelphia High School who had
chosen Zimbabwe as her project for Black History Month.
project, Zimbabwe's land and history were displayed," a correspondent, JM
Khamba, proudly wrote, "with President Mugabe's picture well decorated at the
centre of Zimbabwe, and his moustache properly trimmed."
goodness for that. But presumably unconnected to this
earth-shattering revelation was an editorial on the same page headed "US/UK
behave worse than Hitler".
Khamba told the Herald's editor that the
pupils at Philadelphia High School exhibited their work outside their
classrooms "and Zimbabwe had the most attention of those viewing the projects
because of its ruins."
We can understand that.
Bank governor Gideon Gono will need to tell President Mugabe to play his
political cards well if he wants a major turnaround of the economy anytime
soon. While the governor believes we need the support of multilateral lending
agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Mugabe
appears to think we can "go it alone" as he has claimed in the
Gono recently told visiting Kenyan journalists that he had
positive discussions with IMF and World Bank representatives and that
Zimbabwe was willing to pay its creditors. "As a nation Zimbabwe remains
resolute in redefining its place in the international arena through
engagement and cooperation with international partners," he
Unfortunately that is not what Mugabe thinks. The IMF should keep
out of Zimbabwe's affairs, he believes. Quite the opposite of what Gono is
trying to do. Mugabe seems to favour the politics of further isolation as
clearly demonstrated by his "No going back" response to the Commonwealth.
The situation is worsened by the foul-mouthed Moyo who will not pass up
an opportunity to rubbish anyone who doesn't sing his boss's
Could it be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left
hand is doing? Because until we get the politics right, there is clearly no
magic that monetary policies alone can change the country's fortunes. That is
the message that Gono should be driving home. As it is he is merely
papering over the cracks.
South Africa has won the right to
host the 2010 World Cup finals, thanks in part to the luminaries who went to
Switzerland to push the case for their country. The win was despite efforts
in the local state media portraying Johannesburg as the crime capital of the
But Zifa chairman Rafiq Khan is probably being overoptimistic
about the benefits of the South African victory to Zimbabwe. The Sunday Mail,
which of late has reverted to referring to the "apartheid South African
media", said Zimbabwe would get a tourism boost.
It quoted Khan as
saying: "We are going to feed off South Africa's preparations for the World
Cup as we are also bidding to host Acon 2010. A lot of teams will come and
camp this side maybe for a month on their way to South Africa and this will
greatly improve our standards."
So we have been reduced to feeding off
other nation's virtues just because we have politicians who don't know which
side their bread is buttered on? The country's ambassador to South Africa,
Simon Khaya Moyo, was quick to seize on the opportunity, saying the "whole of
Africa should share in the glory".
"We must therefore celebrate this
moment and ready ourselves for the challenges ahead of us," he said without
elaborating. "This gives us a chance to extensively market our country as
Africa's Paradise," gushed Moyo.
We wish we could share his enthusiasm.
It would help if he could discourage those ministers who want visitors to
Zimbabwe to first get clearance under Aippa. That piece of legislation does
not give the impression of a Paradise, and that could just put us beyond the
glow of South Africa's splendour.
Fraud Squad to probe parastatals Shakeman
Mugari THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts plans to seek
the intervention of the Fraud Squad in a bid to clean up
The committee will soon begin wide-ranging
investigations into the operations and management of the parastatals in an
effort to rid them of corruption and lack of
Targeted parastatals include the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa), the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
The Zimbabwe Iron and
Steel Company (Zisco), National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will also come under scrutiny.
interview last week chairperson of the committee
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told businessdigest that they would soon
summon chief executives, director generals and managing directors to give an
account of their company operations.
Of concern to the committee
is the failure by the state companies to produce annual reports and
externally audited accounts.
"We will summon the heads of these
parastatals to answer some crucial questions. We want to know why they are
dragging their feet in producing annual reports," said
"Once we find out any anomalies we will
immediately recommend that the Fraud Squad moves in. We have the powers to
recommend that an investigation be carried out by the police." The committee
will also investigate the hurried unbundling process by some parastatals
under the guise of commercialisation.
She said the committee was
concerned with the manner in which Zesa and ZBC were unbundled without
audited accounts and up-to-date annual reports.
"We also want to know
what they were unbundling if there was no proper valuation of the operations.
What were they unbundling if they did not have annual reports? What is the
value of the assets they were unbundling? We want to know," she
She said the committee viewed the rushed unbundling of Zesa and
ZBC as a clear case of asset-stripping.
Top on the list of
executives to be summoned is Zesa's executive chairman and chief executive
Sydney Gata whose position has been shrouded in controversy for some
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: "The case of Zesa is serious. It's
worrying. They are operating without a board of directors."
said the situation where Gata was both the chief executive and
executive chairman should not be allowed to continue.
unacceptable - Gata is not answerable to anyone. He reports to himself. There
is really no accountability," she said.
The investigations will also
seek to establish how the parastatals sourced their foreign currency over the
past two years.
It would also centre on the recent massive tariff
increases that were instituted by the state companies over the past few
Zesa has only two days' coal supply Ngoni
Chanakira INSTEAD of the usual 45 days supply of coal for power generation,
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) says it now only has two
days supply because of problems bedevilling the National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Wankie Colliery Company (Wankie).
manager (corporate affairs) Obert Nyatanga yesterday said the power situation
was very worrying and had resulted in the parastatal occasionally failing to
supply a full service to the country.
Commerce and industry have been
severely affected by power shortages countrywide caused by load shedding and
"The shortage of coal from Wankie and wagons from the NRZ
have become major problems for power generation," Nyatanga said. "These
shortages affect us just like they do tobacco farmers in the agricultural
sector. We need 45 days of coal at our power stations but right now we have
an average of only two days. This coal can be burnt in just one
It is reliably understood that the NRZ is supplying Wankie only
66 wagons instead of the promised 150 per day, further crippling operations
at the financially-troubled mining concern.
Wankie has complained
to the NRZ but the situation remains gloomy because the railways is seriously
in the red, has worn out wagons, spare parts shortages and is basically
operating under severe strain.
Nyatanga said industry was demanding
increased power but Zesa could not meet these demands.
coal is ready there are no wagons and we have to use road which is very
expensive," Nyatanga said. "It then erodes our revenue base."
chairman Ngoni Kudenga last year highlighted the seriousness of the issue,
saying "inadequate supply of empty wagons" by the NRZ was adversely affecting
the supply of coal to the market.
Kudenga said: "Inadequate supply of
empty wagons by the National Railways of Zimbabwe adversely affected the
supply of WCC coal to the market. Under normal circumstances NRZ should
supply 150 railway wagons per day. However a daily average of 66 wagons was
supplied, which is only 44% of normal requirements. Consequently, customers
continued to use road transport resulting in 45% of WCC coal being moved by
this model of transport."
For the period ending December 31 2002,
Wankie made an operating loss amounting to $7,9 billion, which was marginally
higher when compared to $7,8 billion recorded in the previous
Kudenga said coke sales for the year at 3 448 600 tonnes were
302 818 tonnes or 8% lower than the 3 751 418 tonnes achieved in the previous
"Demand for coal and coke remained firm throughout the year in
both the domestic and export markets," Kudenga said. "However, the company
failed to meet demand because of major challenges."
He cited the
major challenges as foreign currency shortages, unprecedented high inflation,
price controls, transport constraints and loss of
Meanwhile a number of international bidders who
have shown keen interest in taking up some of the Zesa power stations are
seeking guarantees from the government on the payment terms.
plans to dispose of Kariba Power Station and Hwange Thermal
So far Zesa has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with some of the investors.
However, the would-be
new partners are now seeking some form of security in the form of either cash
crops or minerals that would have to be sold in their respective
Nyatanga yesterday said an agreement would be reached
within the next month on the guarantee issues raised by investors.
we have a Zanu PF-controlled municipality (through the new "governor of
Harare" and minister Ignatius Chombo) we note that there have been no refuse
collections in Mount Pleasant for the past two weeks.
Prior to that,
there was a collection at 6am when staff were not awake to put out the refuse
Easy run for the contractors! I think it is time for the refuse
rage to take over and for residents to dump their refuse at a central point
... perhaps outside the gates of the district offices to block the
ZTV's main news bulletin on May 12 had as its "top story" the
announcement by Zimbabwe's Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made that 2,4
million tonnes of maize would be produced this season (2003-2004).
presidents of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and Indigenous Commercial Farmers
Union both proclaimed their delight at the overwhelming success of the land
reform programme and confidently stated that there would be no need for any
grain imports this year.
And in the finest traditions of ZTV's brand
of impartial news presentation and analysis an "economist", Richard Chitumba,
was brought in to explain how this wonderful harvest would beneficially
impact on Zimbabwe's agro-based economy.
All Zimbabweans will
undoubtedly wish to congratulate everyone concerned with the successful
implementation of the land reform programme, not least our dynamic Minister
of Agriculture Dr Joseph Made.
However, I am just a little bit confused.
International news reports on May 10 indicated that the Zimbabwean government
had ordered a United Nations crop assessment team to leave the country only
days after they had begun their work of assessing the annual food
And "an impending famine" was how Zimbabwe's food situation
was described by the German-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation which conducted
an extensive crop survey in March.
It is, of course, perfectly
obvious that any Western foundation would seek to deny the success of the
land reform programme. But it is a sad day indeed when the UN's World Food
Programme and its Food and Agriculture Organisation are hijacked to serve the
interests of Western imperialist propaganda.
news reports suggest that the cancellation of the UN's crop assessment was
because "President Robert Mugabe's government did not want the UN team to
gather figures showing that harvests would fall far short of the country's
What malicious propaganda! To paraphrase that
well-known, but unfortunately Western saying: "The proof of the pudding is in
the eating", Zimbabweans' proof of the maize harvest will be in the
Dear Editor, I WISH to sympathise with MP Roy Bennett whose anger
I can understand. For so long we have had our rights trampled upon by a
regime that is set on destroying everything we have.
They have looted
state coffers, violated property rights under the guise of some revolution
that has only benefited the thieving elite, closed the democratic space by
shutting down newspapers, hijacking public media and using intimidation,
assault, torture and murder to silence alternative voices.
Bennett it must have been the final straw. You give your whole life to uplift
your community and some thieves come and take away your property.
people of Chimanimani what they think and ask the Odzi community what they
think on Kondozi.
ALTHOUGH we do not condone Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett's behaviour, I think
people are forgetting what led him to charge at Justice minister Patrick
We should learn to look at both sides of the coin before we
spit out our vitriol. Just because Chinamasa is black he should not go all
over the show insulting whites and expect them to be quiet only to call them
racists when they retaliate.
Surely, you can expect some kind of
response from a normal person if you call his/her forefathers thieves and
murderers. This is an insult to one's dignity.
Chinotimba to say if government does not take action they will take the law
into their own hands, is something we expect from
I feel there were many ways to emphasise
Chinamasa's point on Charleswood Estate without attacking Bennett's
People should see that Bennett's actions were not racial
but he just reacted like anybody else in the same scenario would and I don't
think the issue warrants all the attention it is getting.
Land reform? Iden
Wetherell "CONFUSION hits farming sector." "Problems emerge over land
reform." The headlines in the government media speak for
At the centre of the confusion, we are told, are directives
from the Ministry of Special Affairs to provincial governors and new farmers
which seek to invalidate offer letters issued late last year to the farmers.
John Nkomo's attempts to clarify the situation have not dispelled an
impression of muddle.
This comes in the wake of the report by the
Utete Committee which sought to identify anomalies and restore some sense of
order to the agricultural sector after the upheaval of the previous three
years. In particular the Utete Report identified certain categories of land
that should not have been disturbed by land reform. These included Export
Processing Zones, national parks, and large commercial estates such as tea
and coffee estates in the Eastern Highlands and sugar estates in the Lowveld
protected by bilateral investment agreements.
It is clear now that
the Utete Report, like the Bhuka Report before it, is a dead letter. There
has been no concerted effort to remove settlers from key national parks such
as Gonarezhou. The Lowveld sugar estates have been targeted for acquisition,
and small peri-urban plots in places such as Christon Bank have been occupied
with the now customary threats to owners. Above all, there has obviously been
no serious attempt to remove multiple farm-holders from their supplementary
properties. Willard Chiwewe, who has been heading a new audit, has said the
issue of multiple-ownership is being addressed.
But in all this we
are witnessing an essential truth not unique to Zimbabwe: once the rule of
law breaks down nobody is safe. War veterans and other ruling-party
grassroots members are realising this as chefs boot them off the land they
acquired during farm invasions claiming the properties have now been
designated as A2.
But many A2 occupiers are not using their
allocations for commercial production. They are either weekend farmers based
in Harare or subsistence farmers. On the once bounteous farms that could be
seen around Harare, Mazowe, Norton, Beatrice, Chinhoyi, Karoi, Shamva and
Marondera, there is in many places zero production taking
Elsewhere, lucrative estates such as Kondozi are likely to be
plundered by greedy politicians prepared to create a wilderness where there
was once thriving activity and employment.
Central to the Kondozi
occupation has been Arda, an emblematic national failure whose one-time boss
is Joseph Made, now the Minister of Agriculture. He has recently said that
the country will witness a harvest of 2,4 million tonnes of maize this year.
His credibility in this regard won't have been enhanced by wildly inaccurate
crop forecasts in the past.
But it tells us all we need to know about
the gullibility of the state media that they are prepared to swallow and then
regurgitate his latest forecast without a single reference to his record of
inaccuracy in the past. The nation is being misled. Why else would the
government thwart UN attempts to establish the facts on crop
In a recent report, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
has noted that: "The latter phase of the land redistribution, particularly
the fast-track resettlement, caused significant damage to the economy because
it was unplanned and was characterised by excessive violence and
The way in which land reform continues to be a
weapon of political vengeance instead of a properly planned programme of
agricultural improvement will have a bearing on investment. No investor will
go where his property can be seized by powerful politicians and officials of
the regime, as in the case of Charleswood and Kondozi, especially where those
properties are protected by High Court orders.
We report today (See
Page 5) that parliament's legal committee has ruled the statutory instrument
under which government could seize equipment and materials on farms under the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act unconstitutional. A Bill has
been introduced this week to regularise the situation regarding farm
It will be interesting to see if this makes the slightest bit
of difference to those who have been helping themselves to other people's
property - the product of years of hard work and investment. Many of those
engaged in this theft have been state officials to whom the minister is now
rather lamely appealing for a return of the items in question.
are beginning to see is a growing consensus that economic stability and
reengagement with international partners will only take place when there has
been a return to the rule of law on the land. That is manifestly
not happening. And the abuse of black commercial farmers who have declined to
be hostage to the regime in the pages of the state media shows that land
reform remains a tool of politicians jockeying for power rather than an
instrument of production.
That is bad for land reform and bad for
Zimbabwe. At least everybody is now waking up to that fact.