The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zimbabwe Tests cancelled


May 21, 2004

Australia's two Tests against Zimbabwe have been cancelled, Zimbabwe Cricket
Union chief executive Vincent Hogg said today.

Hogg is currently meeting with Australian cricket officials to decide if the
three one-day matches are to be played.

A detailed announcement is expected within the next two hours but Zimbabwe
has opted to scrap the Tests ahead of today's teleconference by members of
the International Cricket Council board.

The ICC was set to vote in favour of scrapping the Tests.

The tour could now be downscaled to a one-day series.

Sri Lanka thrashed a second-string Zimbabwe lineup in two recent Tests,
heightening fears that the scheduled matches against Australia could damage
the integrity of Test cricket.

Zimbabwe does not have any more Tests scheduled until October, when it tours

Zimbabwe has been severely weakened by 15 white players quitting in protest
at what they said were racially biased selection policies.

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From The Daily Mirror, 21 May

Baying for MP Bennett's blood

Zvamaida Murwira

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 process.

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".

The demonstrators 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.
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Comment from ZWNEWS, 21 May 2004

In context...

Listeners 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

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.

To put 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.

In 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 forget.
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Business Day

Zanu (PF), opposition should realise they need each other SA


International Affairs Editor

FOREIGN Affairs director- general, Ayanda Ntsaluba has pointed to a stall in
SA's attempt at a brokered settlement in Zimbabwe.

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

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 Chinamasa.

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 .

The organisation said the men would be at grave risk of torture, unfair
trial procedures and could face the death penalty in Equatorial Guinea.
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Zim Independent

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 of

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 opponents.

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.

Mines 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.

Mangwende 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 months.

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 said.

The mob - backed by the Mbare-based ruling party militia group Chipangano -
also went to the MDC's Harvest House offices and broke the front-door glass.

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.

MDC spokesman 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

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 parliament".

He should not risk his life by returning to the province, Madiro was
reported as saying.
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Zim Independent

      Msika fights on
      Itai Dzamara

      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

      In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Msika said he
decided to drop the contentious issue of Kondozi Farm in Odzi after
consulting with President Mugabe.

      He said there were reasons, which he wouldn't disclose, that had made
him abandon the Kondozi issue.

      He 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 (Arda).

      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.

      "I 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 livelihood.

      "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 said.

      "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 said.

      "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."

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Zim Independent

'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.

"I 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.

Mugabe's 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 million.

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.

An 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.

The country 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".

Mugabe accuses the IMF of being responsible for the prolonged suffering
currently bedevilling the country, now almost completely isolated from the
international community.

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Zim Independent

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 report.

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

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 added.

Ncube said that the statutory instrument failed to make a distinction
between an illegitimate and legitimate acquisition.

"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.

The 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.

The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act is a special piece of
legislation that represents a departure from the doctrine of the separation
of powers.

The general motive behind the Act is to empower the president to make laws
to deal with matters that require immediate attention.

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 legislative

Meanwhile a Bill to regularise the statutory instrument was introduced in
parliament on Wednesday. It is currently being considered by the legal

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Zim Independent

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

The Zimbabwe 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 PF.

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 landless

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 taskforce.

"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."

The five-member 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.

"One 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.

"The 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 acquisition.

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.

About 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.
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Zim Independent

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 again.

"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 said.

The report, jointly published by the foundation and the Institute of
Development Studies, was released this week.

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 said.

"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 general
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Zim Independent

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 the project.

Since the seizure of Kondozi last month, Arda has taken control of the
farm's assets, which include motor vehicles and tractors.

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 it.

The order also interdicted Arda from using, dismantling, and disposing or in
any way whatsoever dealing with the assets.

"In 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 said.

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 D/Cabs.

Kondozi is still expected to pay about $5 billion for the listed assets to

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 equipment.

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

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 month.

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 financial

"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 labourers.

"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

"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.
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Zim Independent

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.

"Whilst the 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."

Gun-toting 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

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 Paul Mangwana.
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Zim Independent

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 Zimbabwe.

The 25-member bloc argued that its member states could not continue selling
weapons to a country that is engaged in violence and repression.

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.

"The EU 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 website.

"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."

The EU 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.
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Zim Independent

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.

Police arrested the two journalists over a story suggesting government
officials were involved in the recent murder of Bindura Nickel Corporation
chief executive Leonard Chimimba.

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 answer."

However, police claimed that the allegation was untrue as suspects in the
murder case had been arrested. They then reacted by arresting the two

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.
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Zim Independent


Just what is government policy?

 WHAT is the government's policy on reengagement with the International
Monetary Fund? The public have the right to know.

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.

Mugabe's hostility 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 IMF

"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 employment.

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 apparatus.

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.

The remarks 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 trend.

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 succeed.

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.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

A miraculous feeding of the multitude

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.

Although not 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.

The 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 gramme!

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 communal areas.

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 season.

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.

Such 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

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

The 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 fertilisers.

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!

In anticipation 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 short notice.

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 inflation.

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 market competitiveness.

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 Welfare.

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 destroyed?

Zimbabwe waits with baited breath to witness the miraculous feeding of the
multitude by ministers Mangwana and Made!
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Zim Independent


Aippa casts pall over 'Africa's Paradise'

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?

He told 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 are

"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 ignore?

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 be cowards.

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 victims.

"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 revelation.

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.

As for Manheru's jibes about  "abused reporters" at the Independent, what do
we call government editors who are obliged to carry the following
self-serving drivel?

"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 embarrassment!

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 tonnes.

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

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 matter!

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 equipment."

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 British.

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 last Saturday.

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 up.

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 ignore it?

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.

"In her 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

Thank goodness for that. But presumably unconnected to this earth-shattering
revelation was an editorial on the same page headed "US/UK behave worse than

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.

Reserve 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 past.

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 said.

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 praises.

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 world.

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

"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.
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Zim Independent

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 debt-ridden

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 accountability.

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

In an 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 Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

"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 said.

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 time.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: "The case of Zesa is serious. It's worrying.
They are operating without a board of directors."

She said the situation where Gata was both the chief executive and executive
chairman should not be allowed to continue.

"This is 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 months.
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Zim Independent

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).

Zesa general 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 vandalism.

"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 day."

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.

"When the 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."

Wankie 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 year.

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 year.

"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 critical

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.

Zesa plans to dispose of Kariba Power Station and Hwange Thermal Power

So far Zesa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some of the

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 countries.

Nyatanga yesterday said an agreement would be reached within the next month
on the guarantee issues raised by investors.

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Zim Independent


Unleash that refuse rage!

NOW that 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 bags.

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 entrances.

Refuse Rage,


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Proof of maize harvest will be in the sadza

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).

The 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

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 harvest.

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.

Understandably, Western 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 food requirements".

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 sadza.

R Scott,

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Zim Independent


When patience is no longer a virtue

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

For 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.

Ask the people of Chimanimani what they think and ask the Odzi community
what they think on Kondozi.

Chris Kabwato,

South Africa.
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Chinamasa went too far

Dear Editor, 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 Chinamasa.

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

For Joseph Chinotimba to say if government does not take action they will
take the law into their own hands, is something we expect from semi-literate

I feel there were many ways to emphasise Chinamasa's point on Charleswood
Estate without attacking Bennett's forefathers.

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.

An observer,


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Editor's Memo

Land reform?
Iden Wetherell
"CONFUSION hits farming sector." "Problems emerge over land reform." The
headlines in the government media speak for themselves.

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

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 place.

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 production?

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 general

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 equipment.

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.

What we 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.

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