Zimbabwe's economy seen on brink of collapse Mon May 23, 2005
9:22 AM BST
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's
central bank governor is ringing an alarm for the country to fight "bravely"
to save an economy on the brink of collapse, but analysts say his plans may
fail on President Robert Mugabe's controversial politics.
southern African country is struggling with a deepening economic crisis
dramatised in fuel, food and foreign currency shortages, which many critics
blame on mismanagement by Mugabe's 25-year-old government.
fuel pumps in Harare were dry, as public transport operators queued up for
hours for fuel at the few outlets selling the commodity. On Thursday evening
many people were forced to walk home from work in the capital
Supplies of most basic commodities like the staple maize mealie,
cooking oil and sugar have been erratic in both rural and urban areas with
supermarkets out of stock for days on end.
Central bank Governor
Gideon Gono devalued the currency by 31 percent on Thursday in a bid to
raise foreign exchange for vital food imports after a devastating
He also slashed interest rates for exporters and warned he may
escalate a crackdown on corruption as part of measures to bring the economy
out of a six-year recession. Growth forecasts for 2005 were revised
But analysts said Gono's economic recovery programme would not
succeed unless the government reviewed some of the policies partly blamed
for damaging the economy, once regarded as one of Africa's most vibrant and
"The political framework for economic recovery is outside
Gono's influence, and although the situation is desperate, there is nothing
to suggest that the government is going to do the right things at the right
time," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group National
"Mugabe has staked his public pride on some
of the policies that Gono says need to be revisited ... and if there any
reviews Mugabe will want those to be done slowly while maintaining an
impression that he is sticking to his position," he said.
on Thursday he was disappointed in poor output among Zimbabwe's new black
farmers and called on the government to allow the return of some white
commercial farmers who lost their farms during Mugabe's controversial land
Agriculture, particularly tobacco, was once a key
earner of foreign currency for the country's now struggling
NO REVERSAL OF POLICIES
But Gono -- clearly aware of the
implications of his statement -- said this did not mean there was going to
be a reversal of Mugabe's redistribution of white-owned land to black
The central bank governor also said Mugabe's government had
promised to reaffirm to the world that it respects the sanctity of private
Critics say these were undermined by the land
seizures and by the confiscation of some black-owned businesses during a
recent state crackdown on corruption.
In a lengthy statement, Gono
said Zimbabwe was working hard to repair relations with Western donors,
including the IMF and World Bank, which along with the European Union and
the United States, have cut aid to the country over Mugabe's
Leading Zimbabwean economic commentator Eric Bloch said Gono's
statement contained some solid and practical plans to rescue the economy
which has shrunk by more than 30 percent in the last five years.
big question is whether the authorities and all the other key economic
stakeholders are going to do their bit because if they don't do, we are
doomed," he said.
Besides devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar to 9,000 to
the U.S. dollar from 6,200 Gono said the central bank would come down hard
on black market traders thriving on shortages of food, fuel and foreign
The 31 percent adjustment was within a range predicted by
analysts but well below the black market rate of up to 18,000 to the dollar
demanded by exporters.
Mugabe, 81, and in power since independence
says the Zimbabwe economy is being sabotaged by foreign and domestic
opponents trying to oust him over his nationalist policies.
on Thursday the economy was on the crossroads.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) --
Paramilitary units armed with batons and tear gas patrolled Harare's main
roads Monday as police warned they would not tolerate any more protests
against their crackdown on street trading - the only livelihood for
thousands in Zimbabwe's shattered economy.
Police Chief Superintendent
Oliver Mandipaka said 9,653 people have been arrested in a five-day blitz on
street vendors, flea market stalls and other informal businesses.
roundup of street traders - who include teachers and other professionals
unable to make a living at their old jobs - came as the government took
drastic measures to address an economic crisis it once denied.
crackdown is aimed at crushing the black market for scarce staple goods such
as maize meal, sugar and gasoline. The government claims the traders are not
licensed and blames them for sabotaging the economy.
clashed with police over the weekend in the most serious unrest since
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF won a landslide victory in March 31
parliamentary general elections, widely condemned by Western governments for
alleged vote-rigging and intimidation. Mugabe, 81, has been in power since
independence in 1980.
During the election campaign, the government had
scoffed at critics who said the economy was on the verge of collapse. But
since winning, it has taken drastic action, last week announcing a 45
percent devaluation of the Zimbabwean currency against the U.S. dollar, a
ban on luxury imports and heavy subsidies for agriculture and
After seven years of unprecedented economic decline, 80
percent of the work force is unemployed and 4 million of Zimbabwe's 16
million people have emigrated. Agriculture, once the mainstay, has been hard
hit by Mugabe's seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms for redistribution to
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, accused Mugabe of trying to create conditions for
declaring a state of emergency, which would give him unlimited powers of
detention, seizure and censorship.
Zimbabwe faces disastrous harvest, WFP
News Zimbabwe Police Target Street
Vendors Zimbabwe May Allow Food Aid From
Zimbabwe Releases and Deports
Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of
ordering the crackdown in response to pressure from newly arrived Chinese
businessmen to stop secondhand dealers undercutting their cheap
"The country has been mortgaged to the Chinese," Tsvangirai said
in a statement. "How can we violently remove Zimbabweans from our flea
markets to make way for the Chinese? The majority of Zimbabweans depend on
informal trade to feed, clothe and educate their families."
Mugabe's "Look East" policy, the country has acquired airliners and jet
fighters from Beijing, rejecting calls to restore links with the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank severed in 1998 over chronic
Police chief Mandipaka said police were deployed
and commuter buses were banned from the city center to prevent
He said street vendors had been fined for operating without
licenses and for possessing staple items such as maize meal, sugar and
gasoline they planned to resell on the black market.
leave no stone unturned in their endeavor to flush out economic saboteurs,"
One fruit vendor, Wilbetson Ndou, 60, said police raided
his stall Saturday and confiscated everything in sight.
"I am cross.
They just took everything. I've had a license for a year ... but they say
they don't care," said Ndou. "I have been selling like this on the street
for 35 years."
Crackdowns also were launched in the cities of Gweru and
Bulawayo, strongholds of the opposition. In Harare's Mbare township, police
seized 40 tons of sugar. Ten filling station attendants were arrested with
7,900 gallons of gasoline.
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 23 May
2005 (IRIN) - Human rights activists in Zimbabwe have condemned the police
for their heavy-handed tactics in an ongoing crackdown on crime.
campaign code-named Murambatsvina (a Shona word for "clean-up"), police
officers last week arrested and detained unlicensed street-vendors, accusing
them of dealing in foreign currency.
Urban centres like Gweru,
Bulawayo and Harare, the capital, were the hardest hit, with thousands of
unregistered business owners arrested and their commodities confiscated.
Public transport operators were also rounded up in the police blitz and
asked to explain where they had acquired the forex to import their
A total of 9,653 people have reportedly been arrested so far,
and 30 mt of sugar, 8,000 litres of diesel and 13,500 litres of petrol
The government has defended the clampdown, arguing that
illegal trading on the parallel market was contributing to rising crime
rates in urban areas.
"A lot of illegal activities were flourishing
around Harare and the rest of the country, and that is what we want to
eliminate," police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka told IRIN.
clampdown has elicited retaliation from some traders, who fought running
battles with police.
Law enforcement officers found themselves on the
receiving end of a barrage of stones when the residents of Chitungwiza, a
satellite town 35km from Harare, resisted attempts to demolish their
informal 'tuck-shops' at the weekend.
Otto Saki, a project officer
with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it was unfortunate that
the police had allegedly used strong-arm tactics to tackle small-scale
traders, and ZLHR had met with representatives of the street traders to help
them challenge the police action in court.
The leader of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, alleged that
the clampdown on vendors was the ruling party's retribution for the
opposition having maintained its control of urban areas in the 31 March
"It is unfortunate that a government that claims
to have been legitimately elected by the people can descend on its own
citizens with such brutal force - it does not make sense to shut down the
informal industry, because that is the main form of trade left in the
country: the economy has been mauled," Tsvangirai told IRIN.
is facing its worst ever economic crisis, characterised by the flight of
investors and donors, runaway inflation and shortages of fuel and foreign
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
May 2005 (IRIN) - A survey of communities across Zimbabwe points to a
sharply deteriorating food security situation, with 82 percent of districts
reporting widespread crop failure after poor rains in the 2004/05 growing
"[This] is atypical for this time of year, and compares with 29
percent of districts reporting this [rise in food insecurity] in April 2004.
In previous years April has been ... the period with the highest share of
districts reporting improved food supplies, as harvest yields boost
household supplies," said the latest report by Food Security Network
(FOSENET), a national NGO.
Although reports of deteriorating food
supplies were received from all 45 districts surveyed, the worst-affected
districts were situated in a central arc within Matabeleland North, Masvingo
and Midlands provinces.
Supplies of the staple maize meal also began to
fall at urban sites in April.
Early harvest yields usually contribute
to improved food availability from March onwards, but "a large proportion of
households are reported to be sourcing food from commercial sources, both in
rural and urban areas," the survey found.
"Reports from sentinel
sites indicate that the share of households sourcing food from [their] own
harvest is low, with 20 percent of districts reported to be using this as a
food source in April 2005. This has fallen since September 2004, when 52
percent of districts reported this as a food source, and compares
unfavourably to the 44 percent reported in April 2004," FOSENET pointed
The lack of rain meant "three-quarters of districts (72 percent)
reported that households in the wards planted maize - and nearly two-thirds
(62 percent) of these districts reported that the crop yield is poor to
Apart from a greater reliance on the open market for food,
communities have also turned to the state's Grain Marketing Board
"GMB deliveries were reported in sites in 49 percent of the
districts in April 2005. This is an increase compared to the 23 percent
reporting this in September 2004, and significantly higher than the 21
percent reporting this in April 2004," the researchers
However, a rise in the GMB's controlled maize price has also
been highlighted as a problem for the poor. "Communities report that
households have had difficulty affording GMB maize, with prices of Zim
$10,000 [US $1.11] per 10 kg of grain being reported. Prices of GMB maize
are reported to have risen by an average of 90 percent since April 2004,"
Prices of commercial maize meal have also
increased since last year, with the reported price in both formal and
informal markets averaging Zim $24,000 ($2.66) per 10 kg, just over double
the price of GMB maize grain.
"Higher prices remain a problem for the
urban poor, as they are primarily dependent on commercial sources for food.
Monitors in half of the sites reported that 49 percent of households in
their sites cannot afford these commercial maize meal prices," the report
Commercial supplies of maize meal were also significantly less
than April 2004, a reflection of the "overall production
Relief activities were reported in just 12 districts,
including the government's cash-for-work programme and some NGO feeding of
school children, pregnant women and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Archbishop Ncube slams Britain over asylum
is the full text of an acceptance speech delivered by Archbishop Pius Ncube
on being awarded the Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award in
Friday -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By
Archbishop Pius Ncube Last updated: 05/24/2005 03:40:31 I WAS surprised to
be nominated for this award because I did not expect anyone to know me in
Scotland. I stand here today feeling very happy to receive this beautiful
Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award. I feel I am undeserving and
unworthy of this great honour. I say I am undeserving because the cause for
justice, rule of law, the respect for human rights, and decent living, have
not been realised yet in Zimbabwe.
The President of Zimbabwe is also
called Robert, like the celebrated Scottish Poet Robert Burns - yet he is
lacking in compassion and feeling for others, unlike the poet, who was a
compassionate and considerate man.
Of 53 countries in Africa, Zimbabwe
had the second best economy to South Africa. Since 5 years ago our State
President Robert Mugabe has become authoritarian. He lawlessly grabbed 2000
commercial farms in order to destroy the newly formed opposition party - the
Movement for Democratic Change - which was a challenge to him, and to
strengthen his political position, thereby destroying the economy of the
Of the 12 million people in Zimbabwe, 5.5 million are now in
need of food aid. Many spend 4 days without food, thousands of babies and
young children have died of malnutrition each year, because those who
possess the farms do not know any farming. The inflation rate is 400% per
annum. Unemployment is over 80%, industry closes down, 2 million Zimbabweans
are infected with AIDS and do not get any proper treatment because our
hospitals have no medicines and the doctors and nurses have left the country
in big numbers.
It is known that 3.4 million Zimbabweans have left the
country. Mugabe has rigged 3 elections to his advantage since the year 2000.
He has banned 4 newspapers and all media is reduced to propaganda. The
people are hounded by state intelligence and police and the President uses
torture to intimidate the people and keep them afraid.
saddens me that the British Government since September last year has
embarked on forced repatriation of Zimbabweans who are asylum seekers. They
fled from harassment, torture, and a threat to their lives and they will be
made to suffer when they are returned. Some Zimbabweans are handcuffed,
jailed and badly treated here in Britain. And as Great Britain is a highly
respected country in the world, I am afraid that this attitude will be
followed in other wealthier Commonwealth countries, as happened with the
imposition of the visa on Zimbabweans in November 2002. I plead that you be
patient with Zimbabweans till the situation normalises.
The little I
know about the celebrated Scottish Poet, Robert Burns, shows that he had a
hard life and understood the lot of the common man. He wrote the poem: 'A
Man's a man for a' that' to portray the dignity of the common man. He calls
on human beings to be brothers and sisters and to support one another
through respect, love and service. There is no greater message in all the
world than that.
In receiving this award, I do it on behalf of many
others who work for peace in Zimbabwe. I also receive it on behalf of the
suffering people of Zimbabwe.
Finally, I thank Lord David Steel and
the Award Panel for electing me to receive this Award. I have discovered
that Scotland is a beautiful place with warm-hearted lovely people. I
receive this award on behalf of those who suffer from repression in
Zimbabwe. I thank you all.
Gono urges Zimbabwe to lure back horticulturists May
Harare - Zimbabwe, the sixth-biggest rose producer until 2001,
may offer leases to resume farming to the former owners of flower and
vegetable farms whose land was seized by the government.
governor Gideon Gono said late last week he was disappointed in poor output
by new black farmers and called on the government to allow some white
commercial farmers, who lost their farms during the government's
controversial land reform programme, to return.
"New investors, or
skilled former operators, would be given special dispensation and guarantees
of uninterrupted productive tenure of five to 10 years," Gono said in a
statement on Thursday.
The government began seizing commercial farms in
2000 in a controversial land redistribution drive, forcing many white
farmers to emigrate, but Gono said they might be invited back because of
their technical knowledge.
"There is great scope for promoting and
supporting joint ventures between the new farmers with progressive-minded
former operators of former agriculture estates, as well as other new
investors, so as to hasten the skills transfer cycle," Gono said.
state would protect farmers from disruptions by landless people who had
invaded many of the commercial farms, he said.
But Gono said this did
not mean there would be a reversal of the land redistribution
In 2000 Zimbabwe earned $87 million (R569 million) by selling
flowers, mainly to traders in Amsterdam. Vegetables were also exported to UK
firms such as Tesco.
Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria Monday
May 23, 2005 The Guardian
A special United Nations envoy is to visit
Zimbabwe this week to assess the country's critical food situation. It is
not clear what reception James Morris, director of the World Food Programme
(WFP), will get from the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, who curtailed
UN food distribution last year.
Mr Mugabe said last week that he would
accept UN food aid, so long as it came with no political
He admitted that Zimbabwe, once known as Africa's
breadbasket, would need international food aid for the fourth consecutive
Mr Morris's visit comes as Zimbabwe is in the throes of severe
shortages of food, fuel and other basic commodities. Mr Morris is going as a
special envoy of the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, with a brief to look
at the availability of food and the impact of Aids on food
He is also charged with assessing the role of weak government
in food shortages.
Zimbabwe needs to import 1.2m tonnes of grain over
the next 12 months at a cost of $250m (£137m), according to new government
The government announced on Friday that it was drastically
revising its budget to find the funds for the imports.
blames drought for the crop failures. The World Food Programme says that the
impact of Aids has also decreased Zimbabwe's agricultural productivity, as
the country has an HIV infection rate of more than 25%.
independent agricultural experts place the blame for the drastic drop in
food production on Mr Mugabe's land seizures and the ensuing chaos which has
Mr Mugabe's government is refusing food to
desperately hungry families suspected of supporting the opposition, human
rights campaigners said last week.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of
Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, showed videos of several poor Zimbabweans who accused
the government of denying food to them.
It is not clear if Mr Mugabe will
insist that his government distributes all United Nations food aid. In the
past all UN food assistance was distributed impartially.
former white farmers in Zimbabwe yesterday told the Guardian that they were
not giving serious consideration to the suggestion made by Mr Mugabe's key
economic aide that some white farmers could return to farming.
wide-ranging statement on emergency economic measures on Thursday, the
Central Bank governor, Gideon Gono, proposed that selected white farmers
could go back to farming on 10-year leases.
His proposal is widely
viewed as a further admission that the land seizures have provoked
Zimbabwe's recurrent food shortages. But white former farmers rejected Mr
"It is a fiction and a fraud," said Joe Whaley, who was
thrown off his tobacco farm in Norton three years ago. "The government would
have to make fundamental changes before anyone in their right mind could
look at the proposition.
"It is a lawless situation right now. People
get land for political patronage. It is rotten to the core."
Whaley is starting to farm in neighbouring Zambia, at the invitation of
A leader of former white farmers said the new land
proposition was only on offer to those farmers who give up their title
"It is like someone stealing your car and then coming back and
asking you for the registration papers in order for you to lease the car
back," said John Worsley-Worswick, chief executive of Justice for
"Even as Gono makes this suggestion, there are dozens of
farmers who are being thrown off their land.
"What is happening on
the ground is a direct contradiction of Mr Gono's propaganda. He is trying
to put a face of respectability on to the government's land
By Paul Nyakazeya and Martin
Kadzere THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has turned to the tourism sector
in its crackdown on perpetrators of speculative and corrupt practices that
are threatening to cripple the economy.
This was part of the ongoing
clean-up campaign by the central bank to restore sanity in all sectors of
the economy and ensure the turnaround programme succeeds.
sectors which are going to be thoroughly scrutinised and monitored by RBZ
include manufacturing, fuel importers and agriculture.
The tourism sector
accounts for 6,5 percent of Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the
country has not registered any tangible benefits despite evidence of a sharp
improvement in tourist arrivals.
According to statistics from the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, tourist arrivals went up 30 percent to 452 111
during the first quarter of the year, up from 349 121 during the
corresponding period last year.
However, investigations by RBZ revealed
irregularities perpetrated by senior officials in the sector who
deliberately opted not to remit foreign currency generated by their
Some hotel operators have also been
deliberately charging foreign visitors in local currency while some visitors
were not accounted for in their books.
Resultantly, the country was
prejudiced close to US$244 million during the past five months against the
US$6 million remitted to the RBZ.
Responding to the allegations, Zimbabwe
Council of Tourism (ZCT) president Mr Paul Matamisa vigorously defended his
organisation, saying although tourism was a "limping animal" allegations
against the sector were "baseless" as tourism arrival figures were subject
He said that some lodges and hotels were operating
without licences, prompting them to find other means of disposing of their
foreign currency earnings or resorting to charging in local
"It appears as if we are not following the proper procedures as
far as remitting foreign currency is concerned. What people should know is
that statistics of tourist arrivals are less than what is presented to the
public," said Mr Matamisa during a breakfast meeting on the monetary policy
review held in Harare on Friday.
"There is a situation where guests
make some pre-bookings and pay in advance. Such amounts are not recorded at
hotel receptions and the outstanding balance is the one which is recorded at
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reception and forwarded to
the Reserve Bank.
"With the big figure presented to the public, it would
appear as if something fishy is going on since foreigners are required to
pay in foreign currency," he said.
However, Dr Gono was quick to
dismiss Mr Matamisa's claims, saying: "The books are in police hands and
will see the long arm of the law extending towards senior managers who are
the major culprits.
"You might not be aware of what is happening under
your umbrella because how would you account for hotels that are not
registered while you are supposed to monitor your sector?
playing games with the economy and we have discovered that some hotels have
been charging at little as US$5 per night for accommodation while others are
charged in local currency.
"Your governor has three volumes of all the
corrupt acts that were happening in the tourism sector. It is now in the
hands the police. A number of individual hoteliers would be
"I am not afraid to tell you that you could see one of these
five-star hotels closing down soon because that infrastructure is not
benefiting the country.
"This is the sector that always complains
about foreign currency shortages and fuel yet they are pulling in the
opposite direction with the turnaround strategic," said Dr Gono, who was
clearly in a no-nonsense mood.
However, the governor pointed out that the
central bank would not spare other sectors which were engaging in corrupt
"We are going to work tirelessly to ensure sanity reigns in
the economy. We have witnessed deliberate vandalism of agricultural
"Plantations are being harvested in their infancy while
airliners and transporters are also used to export foreign currency," he
Acting Minister of Finance Mr Patrick Chinamasa echoed Dr Gono's
sentiments, adding legislation would soon be enacted to deal specifically
with unscrupulous business people in the economic mainstream if sanity was
to prevail in the economy.
Murwira GOVERNMENT will soon issue 99-year lease agreements to all farmers
officially resettled under the land reform programme, a Cabinet minister has
The issuance of the lease agreements, it is hoped, would give
farmers the much-needed security of tenure and put to rest speculation by
detractors that the land reform programme would one day be
Minister of State Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement
Cde Didymus Mutasa said Government was in the process of making final
verifications on the beneficiaries to ensure the lease agreements were not
issued to the wrong people.
"The issue of a 99-year lease is certain
for the new farmers as that is Government policy. Resettled farmers would be
issued with leases as soon as we are satisfied that the land they accessed
was given to them properly and above board," said Cde Mutasa in an interview
"We would also want to satisfy ourselves as to whether the
farmer concerned is capable of productively utilising the land given to him
The minister's remarks come in the wake of concerns by most
farmers that the absence of the leases created uncertainty.
complained that it was difficult for them to make meaningful long-term
investments and developments on the farms in the absence of
In his Post-Election and Drought Mitigation Monetary Policy
Statement, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, said it
was important to address the issues of tenure and title to make farming a
"It is imperative that the banking sector is encouraged
to partner with Government in financing agriculture. It is for this reason
that the issues of tenure and title are imperative so as to make farming a
bankable business," said Dr Gono.
Cde Mutasa said the Government
would continue to compulsorily acquire land for resettlement and allocate it
to those in need.
He reiterated that it was not Government policy to
reallocate farms owned by blacks.
"We will continue gazetting farms
for resettlement but it is not Government policy to take land from black
farmers. We will continue identifying land for acquisition and give it to
those who have applied for it," he said.
The minister said the slow pace
at which the Government was apportioning land was due to the bottlenecks
arising from legislation.
"The court process is the greatest stumbling
block. We need legislation that will make any acquired land automatically
belong to the State.
"We have already started working on that legislation
which will soon be tabled in Parliament," said Cde Mutasa.
Zim radio faces likely closure 23/05/2005 09:38 -
Nairobi - An award-winning Zimbabwean radio station in exile on
Sunday warned it could be forced to close down by the end of this month if
pledges of donor funds are not delivered, its manager said.
the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) awarded SW Radio
Africa, which broadcasts to Zimbabwe on shortwave from London, the 2005
"Free Media Pioneer" prize for being a "voice to the voiceless".
radio will receive the price on Tuesday at the end of the ongoing IPI
general assembly in the Kenyan capital.
"If the funds promised by our
donors do not arrive before the end of the month, we will be forced to stop
our activities," said Gerry Jackson, the founder and manager of
However, it was not clear how much money the exiled station needed
in order to continue operating.
Jackson, a Zimbabwean journalist, set
up the station in December 2001 after being forced to leave Zimbabwe
following the closure of an independent station he set up after being fired
from a public radio station.
According to IPI, the radio, which has nine
employees in London, "remains a rare independent voice" in
The Harare government regularly jammed broadcasts in the months
before the March legislative election, and continued after them, according
to the press watchdog, which also in its report in March chided the Southern
African nation for limiting press freedom.
Previous winners of the
prize, created in 1996, include the Russian NTV television station and the
Serbian B-92 radio station.
ZIMBABWEAN human rights lawyers said they were "gravely
concerned" by the conditions in which jailed former opposition MP Roy
Bennett was being held.
They said they were "horrified by the conditions
that Bennett was being subjected to in his detention", including physical
and verbal abuse by prison guards.
The lawyers said last week that
Bennett has lost nearly a quarter of his body weight while in prison, and
warned that "his condition is bound to sharply deteriorate further if no
immediate measures are taken".
Bennett - who was one of two white MPs of
the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change -
is serving a year-long prison sentence with hard labour for pushing Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who had insulted his family in
Although Bennett later apologised for the incident, he was
charged and jailed for contempt of parliament.
The lawyers have asked
the African Commission on Human and People's Rights - which is part of the
African Union - to rule that Bennett should be released immediately as he
was only tried and sentenced by a tribunal and not a competent court of law.
The right to due legal process is provided for under the African Charter on
Human and People's Rights.
According to the lawyers, Bennett reported to
them that one of the guards had poked him in the eye, and said he would make
him suffer while in prison.
The statement said he had been subjected "to
all sorts of humiliating, inhuman and degrading treatment".
lawyers group has also requested the commission to recommend that
hostilities by the Zimbabwean government towards Bennett, his family and his
workers cease and that his property, including a farm, be returned to
Bennett was recently transferred from a rural minimum-security
prison to Chikurubi Farm prison, which the lawyers said was a congested
maximum-security jail used to hold hard-core criminals. No reason was given
to Bennet's family for the move.
He was made to sleep on the floor
without blankets, but was later given blankets by other prisoners. Inmates
who were seen fraternising with Bennett have been threatened or harassed by
prison guards, the statement said.
The lawyers also charge that Bennett
had not been given a change of clothes and had been denied clear water to
This had often meant he had to resort to washing in toilet basins
using water meant for flushing. They say he has been made to squat on a
painful knee as indirect additional punishment and contrary to
recommendations of the prison's doctor.
The lawyers said in the
statement that over the past few weeks the Zimbabwe government had been
involved in a search for an alleged arms cache on Bennett's
This, in addition to Bennett's move from a rural prison to a high
security facility, raised the possibility that the authorities intended to
find a pretext to further detain him as he neared the end of his prison
term, the lawyers say.
Separate from the Bennett case, Zimbabwean
human rights lawyers challenged what they charged were inhuman conditions of
detention two years ago, but a judgment has yet to be delivered by the
FRUSTRATED residents of Chitungwiza rose up on Friday, after
enduring days of brutality and intimidation and fought running battles with
police officers who were demolishing tuck-shops and confiscating goods from
Police and residents, as well as children were engaged in
running battles, resulting in the stoning of a ZUPCO bus and a supermarket
in the area. MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, lashed out at the government,
saying the ongoing clampdown in urban areas to flush out alleged illegal
foreign currency dealers, flea market and tuck shop operators was a
government sponsored exercise to punish urban dwellers for voting for the
MDC in the 31 March general elections.
The police blitz was also
unleashed on other MDC strong-holds of Harare, Bulawayo and
Other areas that were also targeted include Harare's Kuwadzana
Extension, Highfield and Epworth.
Unconfirmed reports said some
police details may have sustained injuries when they faced a barrage of
missiles from the defiant residents of St Mary's.
Job Sikhala, the
Member of Parliament for the area, confirmed the skirmishes in the volatile
constituency but was quick to distance himself from the
'Kwakagwiwa hondo inohlisa muSt Mary's." (There was a
fierce fighting in St Mary's).
Sikhala said: "It was not something
that was organised. It was the people's combined eruptive
Police spokesperson, Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, was said to
be "busy" according to a person who answered his cellphone when The Standard
sought his comment.
A small detachment of police details also
reportedly ran for dear life as an angry mob bayed for their blood.
Re-enforcements came to their rescue at Huruyadzo.
A resident from St
Mary's who spoke to The Standard said: "We could not allow the police to
confiscate goods sold by our parents because the money that they earn sends
the children to school."
Speaking in an interview with The Standard,
Tsvangirai said the government wanted to provoke urban residents into
resisting the brutal campaign as an excuse to declare a State of
On 10 May, Police struck at the Registrar-General's Office and
arrested 94 people in a "clean up" campaign of people accused of creating
artificially long passport queues.
On Wednesday, police descended on
Harare and arrested nearly 7 000 alleged illegal foreign currency dealers
and stall-holders at licensed flea markets. Among the people arrested were
those accused of using "abusive language", public drinkers and
Tsvangirai said: "It defies logic that the Zanu PF government can
arrest legally licensed flea market operators when they know that they have
destroyed the economy to an extent that 80 percent of the population is not
"The majority of Zimbabweans depend on informal
trade to feed, clothe and educate their families. Despite the creation of a
ministry responsible for informal traders, the government wants to force
hard-working and honest citizens to resort to criminal activities for
He said the time had come for Zimbabweans to engage the
"dictatorship" in a new struggle. "Each person must ask themselves what they
have done each day for the struggle although we emphasise that this is not
an armed struggle, but a social revolution."
He said the MDC's
intelligence wing had informed him that flea markets were being cleared up
to make way for Chinese traders.
"The country has been mortgaged to the
Chinese. How can we violently remove Zimbabweans from our flea markets to
make way for the Chinese?"
He said the Chinese would be handed the flea
markets in appreciation of the free MA 60 plane which the government
received from China.
Flea market operators interviewed by The Standard
said they were puzzled why they were being been beaten up and
A stall holder who identified herself only as Joyce said when
they asked police for an explanation of the evictions, their questions were
met with further beatings.
"We have licences and we don't deal in
foreign currency. If they want foreign currency they should ask Chinese
traders where they are getting the foreign currency to bring in cheap goods
which have flooded the markets."
Sikhala added: "The government's actions
are a punitive act of vengeance against urban dwellers. By taking away their
only source of livelihood, they want to starve them as a form of punishment
because of the electoral outcome."
In Kuwadzana Extension, residents
were left traumatised after all the tuck-shops in the area were demolished.
There are no supermarkets in Kuwadzana Extension and this means residents
have to travel long-distances in order to get basic groceries like sugar,
bread and milk, if they are available.
By Friday morning, commuter
bus drivers were instructed to drop off passengers on the outskirts of the
Central Business District, forcing them to walk the rest of the way into
Yesterday residents of the capital were still battling to come to
terms with the combined police and Harare city council blitz.
struggled to get transport to their homes, the shortages of basic
commodities still awaited them. Fuel, electricity, grain, sugar, water,
beer, medical drugs, foreign currency, cigarettes and matches remain in
Industries threatened as fuel crisis deepens By Bertha
THE fuel crisis continues to deepen, literally grinding everything
from the transport sector, small to medium businesses and industry in
general to a halt, while the government has remained mum on the worsening
Fuel supplies ran dry in Harare and many parts of Zimbabwe
last week with most service stations reporting that they last received the
commodity a fortnight ago. Transport problems worsened in the capital
from Wednesday, leaving thousands of commuters stranded in the city centre
until late hours of the night. Hundreds of others trudged home on foot to
far away destinations such as Chitungwiza and Mabvuku.
commuters could be seen scrambling for places onto any form of transport
available with little regard for their safety.
The story was the same in
major towns such as Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and Bulawayo.
Wednesday army trucks were also spotted in the city ferrying passengers to
their various destinations.
From mid last week, many people failed to
report for work on time while others failed completely as the fuel crisis
worsened for the second time in as many months.
The situation was
further worsened by a combined government and Harare city council "clean up"
campaign, which has resulted in the relocation of commuter bus drop off and
pick up points to the outskirts of the city.
Also not spared by the fuel
crisis are small businesses and industry in general. Most companies and
industries that depend on fuel for their core business had their operations
disrupted as fuel supplies dried up.
Even government agencies such as the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) were also grounded by the
The fuel shortages affected essential services such as
bread and milk deliveries while the long-term effects on industry and the
economy at large, are profound.
Economists last week attacked the
relevant authorities for not coming out clean to the nation about the fuel
crisis, saying it is national disaster that should be dealt with as a matter
Even as the fuel crisis deepened the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development has failed to issue a statement to explain to the nation
the extent of the problem.
In his monetary policy review Reserve Bank
Governor, Gideon Gono skirted around the issue but failed to provide
solutions to the crisis.
Economist Daniel Ndlela said he was irked by the
hypocrisy of industrialists after the monetary policy review.
said: "Industrialists were shaking Gono's hand and congratulating him on the
policy review at the breakfast meeting but failed to raise the fuel issue
yet they know how it has had adverse effects on their operations. I failed
to understand it.
"This should have been a contentious issue. Gono never
talked about it really in his monetary policy. The devasting effects on
industry and other essential services need to be calculated and action taken
quickly to solve the crisis."
Ndlela said the reduction in forex
earnings that Gono spelt out in his policy review gives a measure of the
seriousness of the problem at hand.
Mike Bimha, chairman of the Employers
Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), said the reduction in productivity as a
result of time lost in transport and petrol queues was
"This is obviously not a good situation because disruption of
production because of this fuel crisis has adverse effects to the economy in
the long term."
Asked about the losses industry has suffered as a
result of the fuel crisis, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
economist Joseph Malaba told The Standard they were calculating the losses
and will release them this week.
The Minister of Energy and Power
Development, Mike Nyambuya, was not immediately available for comment by the
time of going to press. His mobile phone was constantly not reachable.
Gono warns foreigners on forex deals By Kumbirai
EXASPERATED central bank Governor Gideon Gono on Thursday lashed
out at foreign nationals in Zimbabwe accusing them of aggravating the
illegal trade in foreign currency that has now ballooned.
Zimbabwe's six-year-old hard currency crunch bites, Gono took the podium to
shift the blame game from banks, individuals and the tourism industry to
foreigners living in Zimbabwe whom he accused of abusing the government's
hospitality by engaging in illegal foreign exchange transactions that
threaten his economic turnaround programme. "Some of the purveyors of
this trade are non Zimbabweans who have come all the way from their mother
countries in the region, some from West Africa, South East Asia, and beyond,
under the banner of the friendly relations existing and being forged between
Zimbabwe and their countries," said Gono. "We cannot, and will not, allow
any shadow forces to interfere with, or derail our turnaround programme,
which we are putting back on the rails with immediate effect," Gono declared
in a sermon that lasted nearly three hours.
Gono's furious outburst came
a day after police intensified a crackdown on foreign immigrants by invading
flea markets and confiscating goods and wares, ostensibly in search of hard
cash. Dwindling supplies of hard money in the central bank's coffers,
official sources said, precipitated the crackdown.
Asian and West African origin have cornered Harare's CBD putting most
Zimbabwean traders out of business. Some of the foreigners have opted to pay
their rentals in hard currency pushing locals to the outskirts of the
Zimbabwe has adopted the so-called "Look East" policy under which
the government is awarding multi-billion tenders and investment projects to
friendly countries such as China and Malaysia ahead of Westerners. President
Robert Mugabe argues that Washington and London have ulterior motives such
as trying to effect a regime change, a charge both deny.
the illegal dealings that the Nigerians and Chinese nationals are allegedly
committing, Zimbabweans also condemn their cheap quality products, which
have flooded the local market and have driven local traders and businessmen
out of business. Gono warned that law enforcement agents would ruthlessly
deal with the foreigners.
"Our dream is to see those foreign national
joining Zimbabweans and being given picks and holes to till the land for the
damage they are causing to our economy," said the RBZ chief,
tongue-in-cheek. The central bank has come under fire from government
officials for failing to clamp down on a thriving black market for foreign
currency where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at up to $26 000 to the
American greenback compared to an official rate of $6200.
say the blame game and the seizures cannot bring in enough foreign currency
to alleviate the fuel, food and electricity crisis.
"Gono is running a
police State from the Reserve Bank. The crackdown and intimidation is a
clampdown on individual freedoms," said Eddie Cross, economic advisor for
the opposition MDC.
Minister Matonga in fresh farm invasion By our own
THE newly appointed Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity
and Member of Parliament for Ngezi Constituency, Bright Matonga, has invaded
Chigwell Estate in Chegutu.
Sources said Matonga visited the farm
last Saturday and declared his interest, advising the current owners to
vacate the farm premises by the end of this week. Last week a group of
Zanu PF supporters demonstrated at the farm, calling for the owners to
Matonga already has another farm in Banket and if he succeeds, he
would have two farms, defying President Robert Mugabe's call for one-man one
Matonga was allocated the 670 hectares Mupandaguta farm at the
height of the government's land redistribution exercise.
the current owner of the farm, told The Standard his son's property was
violently removed from the farmhouse and is currently stashed
He said two men were guarding the house to make sure that no
"The first day he (Matonga) came and told us that we should
leave the farm without showing us any proof that he had been allocated the
farm. He was very violent and told farm workers to stop working," Beattie
He said, Matonga in one of his many trips to the farm last week,
came with police details.
"The police officers did not say anything,
but were just watching as the mob was removing my son's property from the
house," he said.
On Wednesday more than 100 contract workers from
Chegutu, who used to work at the farm, vowed to attack anyone who would come
to disrupt activities at the farm in solidarity with the commercial
Matonga was not immediately available for a comment yesterday,
while the Minister of State for Special Affairs responsible for Land and
Resettlement Programme, Flora Buka, was also not available for a comment by
the time of going to print.
The 4 000 ha Chigwell Estate has most of
the land under wheat, tobacco, oranges and soyabeans.
invasion comes at a time when the government has long declared the land
reform over. It therefore, highlights the chaos that characterises the
exercise that started in 2000, with the seizures of commercial farms by war
veterans under the excuse of seeking to correct historical land imbalances
The numer of white commercial farmers has dropped from 4
000 in 2000 to less than 1 000 and this has affected overall agricultural
So far the government has been able to resettle about 140 000
beneficiaries. However 1 513 plots totaling 164 000 ha remain unoccupied
World Bank debt soars to US$347 million By our own
BULAWAYO - ZIimbabwe's debt to the World Bank (WB) has ballooned to
a whopping US$347.2 million (about Z$624,9 billion), throwing the economic
revival programme into disarray, as the country battles with a crippling
fuel, food and foreign currency shortage, The Standard
World Bank's senior social development specialist for
Zimbabwe, Dr Ebrahim Jassat, confirmed on Friday that the southern African
nation owes the Bank US$347.2 million in arrears. "The government paid to
the World Bank US$3 million in 2004 and no payments were made so far in
"The stock of Zimbabwe's arrears to the bank reached US$347.2
million as of April 1, 2005," Jassat said.
He, however, pointed out
that the Bank was in the process of finalising proposals to access funding
from a trust fund to support Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT)
Jassat said the world's financial institution would
explore making treatment available through a United Nations Programme on HIV
and AIDS currently being developed, and that institutional capacity support
for Monitoring and Evaluation would also continue.
GAPWUZ ordered off Wa Mutharika's farm By Foster
THE government has ordered officials from the General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) to leave a
Kadoma farm owned by Malawian President, Bingu wa Mutharika where they were
representing farm workers in their dispute over wages, The Standard can
Wa Mutharika's Bineth Farm is located some 20 km outside Kadoma
along the Sanyati - Gokwe Road. The farm workers' union was threatened
with arrest if they continued to visit Bineth Farm to assess their union
members' working conditions and grievances.
The GAPWUZ national
organising secretary, Justin Wachi, told The Standard that the incident
happened recently at the GAPWUZ offices in Milton Park in Harare.
person who claimed to be a government official who was in the company of the
manager at Bineth Farm approached me and warned us against intervening on
behalf of farm workers at the Malawian President's farm," Wachi said.
said the person who claimed to be a government official said the Malawian
President's farm should remain off limits for GAPWUZ and that officials who
violated the order would be arrested.
Workers at the farm have
complained about poor wages, housing and lighting.
Wachi said he now
lived in fear following the threats.
"I am now afraid. How can I not be
afraid when an official claiming to be from the government threatens me with
"However, we will continue to represent our members in their
fight for better working conditions," he said.
The move was
immediately attacked by the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions, (ZCTU) Wellington Chibebe, who described the action as
"It is shocking that the government can come up with that
position. The impression being created is that Bingu wa Mutharika is a first
class citizen ahead of other Zimbabweans. A worker is a worker whether he
works for President Robert Mugabe or President Wa Mutharika."
the Labour Act did not exempt the Malawian President from treating his
workers like other human beings.
Chibebe said the ZCTU was waiting for a
formal approach from GAPWUZ before making its next move.
of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche, was not
immediately available for comment.
The Malawian president is reported to
have acquired the farm in 1994 after marrying a Zimbabwean woman, identified
only as Ethel.
Wa Mutharika has a small vegetable patch, a small beef and
dairy herd and several goats.
Among the workers' major complaints are
the dilapidated pole and mud huts, and late payment of
Call for Mudede's arrest
By our own
HIGH Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee last week reserved judgement
in the 2002 Presidential Election petition case in which the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is calling for Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to
be charged for contempt of court.
Justice Omerjee said the court
needed some time to analyse the submissions made by both
Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, who is representing the MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, said Mudede should be charged for contempt of
In his submissions last week, De Bourbon said Mudede had on a
number of occasions defied court orders that ordered him to avail the court
with voting materials as evidence to show that the results he announced just
after the 2002 elections were not manipulated.
deliberately ignored the orders of this honourable court over a continued
period of time and this must be seriously considered. He has defied a number
of court orders and in my submissions this must not be taken as a simple
matter," De Bourbon said.
He said the registrar general's office should
have reprioritised its budget in light of the court orders.
strengthen his argument, De Bourbon made reference to the matter of jailed
former Member of Parliament for Chimanimani Roy Bennett, who was sentenced
for 15 months for contempt of Parliament.
The court also heard that
Mudede defied seven court orders that ordered him to bring all ballot
materials that were used in the hotly contested 2002 Presidential
State lawyer, Virginia Mabhiza, for Mudede, had earlier on
argued that the first respondent had failed to comply with the court orders
because of economic hardships.
"We greatly appreciate the importance
of obeying court orders but the lapse of time is evident that it was very
difficult for the respondent to comply," Mabhiza said.
It took more
than 18 months for the opposition's challenge to come to court despite the
MDC being confident that their lawyers had uncovered evidence of electoral
The MDC said there were glaring discrepancies in the figures
recorded at polling stations and those announced by the registrar general's
International observers said the presidential election in March
2002 was marred by a climate of fear, and violence targeted against
Hungry villagers arrested after confronting chief By our
FILABUSI - AT least 300 villagers from Silalatshani
area in Filabusi were on Friday arrested for demanding that the local chief
address them on government's food relief plans for the area in light of the
Stung by the reality of imminent hunger and starvation
due to poor harvests in the area the villagers, among them an
80-year-old-woman, thronged the chief's homestead for a
solution. However, The Standard understands that the local chief then told
them not to bother him. He allegedly told the hungry villagers to go and get
food from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
The Insiza seat was won by Andrew Langa of Zanu PF.
people were first arrested on Thursday after they were also allegedly told
not to bother the chief. This resulted in the other 300 villagers turning
themselves in the next day, in solidarity with the other four.
secretary general, Welshman Ncube, confirmed to The Standard that the
villagers were arrested for putting pressure on the chief to honour his
pre-election promise of obtaining food for the villagers.
the hungry villagers stormed the chief's homestead to remind him that they
had 'voted wisely' for Zanu PF.
"My understanding of the issue is that
these people are without food. They have completely run out and they
approached the chief about this," said Ncube, adding that, "as of Friday the
villagers were still detained."
"They went to remind the chief that he
promised them food if they voted wisely and they had now come for the food.
The result, however, is that the chief has a very short memory and tells
them to go away because he can't help them.
"To ward off the pressure
he called the police and they started beating up people and arresting
Ncube said he did not even know under what law the villagers were
Contacted for comment, Officer-in-Charge of Filabusi police
station, who identified himself as Inspector Shoko, said he could not
confirm the arrests referring all the questions to Gwanda, "where they have
authority to comment".
Shoko said: "I am not in a position to comment
on the issue. We have protocol here and you can only get the information
from Gwanda police."
Meanwhile for 70-year-old Tariro Shoko in the
drought-prone Mwenezi district of Masvingo province sometimes it can be
extremely difficult to make ends meet.
For Gogo Shoko the burden is
not to find food for her alone but for six of her grandchildren orphaned by
the Aids pandemic.
She wakes up as early as 4 AM everyday to prepare her
grandchildren for school and do other household chores.
On one such
day, Shoko woke up only to find there was nothing to cook for the
In a desperate effort to make sure that the children feed
before going to school, the old lady rushed to two of her nearest neighbours
but they were in the same predicament.
Her last hope was the local
traditional leader. But the traditional leader quickly dismissed the old
woman because she was a known opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Shoko was told that food assistance could only be given
to supporters of the ruling party.
Traditional Chiefs, headmen and
village heads acted as agents of the ruling party during the recent
parliamentary elections, force-marching villagers to vote for Zanu
The predicament of Shoko mirrors the plight of hundreds of villagers
in the arid area of Mwenezi district where maize meal deliveries have been
erratic for the past two months. Most of the villagers did not harvest any
crops during the last season.
The regional GMB depot is always empty
and villagers struggle to get a bag of maize meal whenever a delivery is
For some, even if the maize is delivered, they are not allowed to
buy the maize meal because they belong to the opposition party.
The Standard visited the drought-hit province last week, some villagers said
they were surviving on wild fruits.
Tichaona Mukandi, one of the
villagers, said: "The current situation is a disaster for us. We have not
been receiving maize deliveries for the better part of the last two months.
We have resorted to eating wild fruits especially 'Chakata' so that we don't
die of hunger."
Chakata is normally a favourite with donkeys. Villagers
said they make sure that their donkeys do not get anywhere near Muchakata
(parinari curatellifolia) trees.
A village head, who spoke to The
Standard but declined to be named, said there were fears that if the
situation continued for another month, some villagers could die of
"The situation is bad and if this continues many people will die,
especially those with extended families. The HIV and AIDS pandemic that has
left so many orphans in the care of grandparents," said the village
Addressing journalists recently, Mwenezi MP and Zanu PF Masvingo
provincial chairman, Isaiah Shumba, confirmed the situation was worsening in
"We have already sent an SOS (Save Our Souls)
message for food to the government as Zanu PF provincial executive because
the situation is bad. We need at least a truckload in each of the 32 wards
in Mwenezi, to avert starvation.
"The food problem is widespread,
affecting the whole of Masvingo province. Grain is now coming from Bulawayo
and I think it will be wise to move the grain to Rutenga via the railway
line," Shumba said.
Other areas affected in Masvingo province include
Gutu, Chiredzi, Zaka and Chivi.
Apart from Masvingo, most provinces
in the country such as Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Manicaland
are also in need of food assistance.
The World Food Programme (WFP)
last week said it fed about a million people in April up from 900 000 people
four months ago. International aid agencies have said more than 5 million
need food aid in the country, a figure the government has
Police spokesperson, superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said he
could not comment because of the on-going "clean up operation" spearheaded
by the police, that has seen flea markets and home industries being
'SA reaping from Zimbabwe chaos' By Foster
THE South African government is happy with the political and
economic upheavals in Zimbabwe as continued chaos benefits the South African
economy, political analysts have said.
Since the year 2000 when
Zimbabwe economy began to slide following violent land seizures by the
country's liberation war veterans, South African President Thabo Mbeki has
been engaged in what he described as 'quiet diplomacy' which cynics say is
an excuse for doing nothing to try and assist resolving Zimbabwe's deepening
crisis. Last year, he told visiting USA President George W Bush that by June
of the same year, there would have been a solution to Zimbabwe's problems.
Many are aghast that nothing became of these assertions.
labelled Mbeki's policy as 'cash cow diplomacy' as his continued aloofness
ensures that his country benefits as an alternative investment
When asked what role he can play in resolving the
Zimbabwean crisis, the South African President has always said it is up to
Zimbabweans to solve their problems without interference from
During the struggle against Apartheid, Mbeki's young brother,
Moeletsi, was exiled in Harare, while the future president of South Africa
was himself a frequent visitor to Harare. He operated from Lusaka, where the
majority of the ANC leadership was based.
President Robert Mugabe
played a crucial role in brokering peace between the warring Mozambican
government and RENAMO.
University of Zimbabwe Lecturer in Political
Science, Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, said when Mbeki speaks about
letting Zimbabweans solve their problems, he would be doing so in bad
"When Mbeki says Zimbabweans should be responsible for solving
their problems that is a very welcome statement but made in bad faith and
full of deceit. He seems to forget that the South African independence came
not because political parties sat down and came to an understanding, but
because there was external pressure for a political settlement."
said the South African President was happy to let "Zimbabwe burn while his
"From an economic standpoint, it is to the advantage
of the South Africans for Zimbabwe to remain on its knees because this would
result in companies and Non-Governmental Organisations relocating to that
country because of economic and political turmoil in
Mukonoweshuro said industries, which lost confidence in the
investment climate in Zimbabwe, would naturally relocate to South Africa and
hence creating jobs and wealth for Zimbabwe's southern neighbour.
addition, Zimbabwe has now become a supermarket for South African goods
because we can not produce most of the basic requirements and in the end we
have to import from South Africa, which sustains their
Mukonoweshuro said that Zimbabwe, which was the only credible
competitor for South Africa in the area of regional investment, had fallen
behind its neighbour, which had ventured into regional markets
"What this means is that South Africa can go and invest in
emerging markets like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and
Angola, knowing that it has no challenge because Zimbabwe is busy battling
with its internal problems."
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general
of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe concurred with
"South Africa would favour a situation whereby Zimbabwe
continues to deteriorate because the Zimbabwean economy was until a few
years ago, one of the strongest in the region, posing a direct threat to
South African investments."
He said if Zimbabwe continued to have
problems, it would be to Pretoria's advantage.
"If the status quo
continues, no serious investor would even think of investing in Zimbabwe.
They would just go to South Africa."
Majongwe said it was therefore not
surprising that Zimbabwe's southern neighbour, although widely expected to
take the lead in helping solve the country's problems, in reality, Pretoria
had instead opted for a back seat.
"Furthermore, the reason why South
Africa is not happy with a political solution in Zimbabwe is that if it
leads to MDC assuming power, then Cosatu, a labour movement would pose a
threat to the political fortunes of the African National
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said the South Africans could
not be impartial in mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis.
continue to engage the South Africans but we can not regard them as
impartial mediators. Anybody but South Africa," he said.
Africa's labour minister, Membathisi Mdladlana disgraced his country last
month when he declared before hand that the 31 March elections would be free
While the South African economy is growing, Zimbabwe is
currently experiencing a crippling fuel, electricity, maize, and sugar and
beer shortage among many others.
So desperate are the authorities in
Harare for every scrap of foreign currency that massive resources have been
committed to raiding not only illegal foreign currency dealers, but also
sections of the hospitality industry such as hotels and lodges which trade
in foreign currency.
Last week, police launched a blitz against flea
market operators widely suspected to be fuelling the currency black market
in the Harare.
Changes to Labour Act could scuttle investment
BULAWAYO - The latest round of proposed amendments to the
Labour Relations Act could render Zimbabwe an unattractive investment
destination in the long term, a labour expert has
Bulawayo-based labour consultant, Davies Ndumiso Sibanda, told
The Standard that the proposed amendments gazetted in March need to be
revised as they are skewed in favour of workers. "The proposals have
responded more to concerns of unions than employers. For workers it's good.
For employers, that flexibility in management of labour is further taken
away. The cost of labour management will go up, rendering Zimbabwe a less
attractive investment destination in the long term."
A case in point is
the gazetting of new minimum wages for domestic workers, which saw them
earning from $850 000 to $1.2 million. The new wages were supposed to be
effective from the beginning of last month.
There was an immediate
reaction from employer organisations, with the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) calling on the government to revoke the statutory
instrument prescribing the new wages because the effect would have been to
push salaries across the board as other workers pressed for similar and
Industrialists argued that this is not what had
been agreed to during discussions with the government, but others suggested
that the reason for the increases was the 31 March parliamentary poll in
which the government had hoped this would sway urban votes in its favour.
They also said the government had simply been late in gazetting the wages
and that is the reason why this was done in April and not March before the
But this month the government backed down
with the Secretary for Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, Lance
Museka, announcing: "The concerns from stakeholders have been noted. The
concerns are genuine and there really is need for a rethink. The Ministry is
currently working on a paper for presentation to Cabinet."
the misgivings, Sibanda said once legislated; the proposals would bring the
country in line with International Labour Organisation standards on
conditions of service and employee rights.
He said a big plus for the
Bill was that it clears inconsistencies where different pieces of
legislation addressed the same issue.
Some of the major issues the Bill
Clarifying the issue of notice for casual and seasonal
workers. The Bill proposes a day's notice and probation from the current two
Introduction of a model employment code that outlines disciplinary
and grievance procedures for organisations without codes of
Sibanda described the proposal as a "step forward." The proposal
eliminates labour officers from disciplinary and grievance handling
Maternity leave is increased to 98 days from the current 90
days. Maternity pay will be 100 %, among other provisions.
Lawyer sues chief for $150 million By Godfrey
LOSING opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate
for Nyanga, Douglas Mwonzora, is suing Chief Saunyama for $150 million after
the traditional leader allegedly "detained" the Masvingo prominent lawyer at
a campaign rally he addressed in January, The Standard has
In his affidavit dated 11 May, Mwonzora says that Chief
Saunyama should pay him $150 million for the unlawful arrest, harassment and
deprivation of liberty. The High court has since served Chief Saunyama of
Saunyama village in Nyatate, Nyanga, with summons and ordered him to respond
within 10 days, failure of which will lead to prosecution.
alleged that on 29 January this year Chief Saunyama, also known as
Chikwesere, disrupted his campaign rally at Nyatate Business Centre and with
the help of nine other people pounced on him.
In the affidavit,
Mwonzora said the Chief claimed that the he had detained him because he held
the rally without the approval of traditional leader. The police, said
Mwonzora, had sanctioned the MDC rally.
After he was "arrested" by Chief
Saunyama, Mwonzora said that he was taken to Nyanga Police Station, where he
was later released.
Mwonzora is the vice president of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of non-governmental organisations
calling for a new constitution.
In the last parliamentary elections,
the Masvingo-based lawyer lost to Paul Kadzima of the ruling Zanu PF
The ruling Zanu PF used traditional leaders to thwart campaign
rallies by the opposition party in the rural areas in the run up to the 31
March Parliamentary elections.
Devaluation no panacea to forex crisis - RBZ By Bertha
RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono on Thursday said devaluation was
not a solution to the country's worsening foreign currency crisis arguing
that it would deepen the parallel market and stoke up
Presenting his Post Election and Draught Mitigating Monetary
Policy statement, the central bank Governor said "considerable debate" had
been generated over the past months about introducing a sustainable exchange
rate. Gono said although the subject of devaluation has been discussed
particularly in relation to exporter viability and foreign currency
generation, he strongly differed with the argument that this was the sole
solution to the country's economic problems.
The Reserve Bank
Governor said "proponents of perpetual exchange rate devaluation as the sole
panacea" were not taking into consideration numerous issues such as the
illegal exchange rate and inflation.
"Over the past 17 months of the
turnaround program, considerable debate has been generated on the subject of
sustainable exchange rate management, particularly in relation to exporter
viability and foreign currency generation," said Gono.
authorities, we are vividly conscious of the need to maintain exporters'
viability as a necessary condition to uplift the country's foreign exchange
He said as long as there is widespread indiscipline
in the economy where market players "are bent on making quick gains through
rent-seeking activities as mere trading of foreign currency", devaluation
will only fuel the black market."
"Any unguided exchange rate
depreciations will turn out to be short-lived respites which are sooner
torpedoed by bouts of speculative attacks," said Gono.
anti-devaluation stance Gono also said total devaluation would unduly
increase the price of imports. He also said he had taken into account the
social responsibilities of government such as importation of HIV and AIDS
drugs in a refusing 100% devaluation.
Despite his strong anti-devaluation
stance, the central bank Governor moved to revise the Diaspora rate from
$6200:US$1 to $9000: US$1 against a parallel market rate of about $24000 to
The reduction of forex inflows for the first four months of 2005
have dwindled significantly compared to the same period last year and market
analysts attribute the reduction to this unattractive exchange rate compared
to the black market.
The central bank had set a year-end target of
US$3,1 billion. In his monetary policy review Gono said the country had only
managed to raise US$385,7 million in the first four months compared to
US$448,6 managed in the same period last year.
Gold exports in the
same period only US$80,4 million in the last four months compared to US$90,7
million in the same period last year. Diaspora earnings in the same period
recorded US$49,1 last year compared to a meagre US$13,6 this year and thus
the central bank governor's decision to review the exchange rate.
MDC responds to leadership criticism Sundaytalk with Paul
YOUR editorial titled "MDC's mass action threat
questionable" refers: Without wanting to appear to quibble over words I take
issue with the implication that mass action as a form of struggle to achieve
a democratic dispensation in the country can be characterised as a "threat"
as you put it.
I also disagree with your contention that the movement
prescribes solutions it does not believe should apply to its
leadership. The people of Zimbabwe have a right, enshrined in the
Constitution, to enhance their democratic struggle through a variety of
activities including strikes, stay-aways, demonstrations and many other
forms that the current confines of the law allow.
By opting for mass
action, which the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) does not define as
narrowly as your editorial does, the MDC is merely availing to the people of
Zimbabwe another possible avenue out of the current tyrannical
The leaders of the MDC are at the forefront of this
struggle. The records of arrests, detention, torture and imprisonment of
most of the leadership of the MDC, indicate that contrary to your assertion
MDC leaders have always led from the front.
The proposed mass action
is not just in response to a culture of stealing elections in this country;
it is a concerted effort to exert a heavy price on dictatorship. This regime
has to learn that keeping people under the yoke of oppression has a price
and that it will pay that price. Mass action, carried out in different
forms, not just through strikes or demonstrations, which your editorial
seems to confine itself to, can restore a sense of worth and pride to an
There is no direct relationship between the disputed
elections and the proposed mass action. The battle for electoral reforms
will be fought in other fora, including the courts. You will recall that the
MDC campaigned vigorously for electoral reforms through its RESTORE
Most of the SADC Mauritius guidelines for the conduct of free
and fair elections in the region can be traced directly to the MDC's RESTORE
I do not know from where you pick the notion that the MDC
seeks to replicate the Ukranian situation in Zimbabwe. These are different
situations, separate historical as well as separate cultural environments.
Of course, one can learn a lot from a different environment for application
in one's own environment. What would be disastrous is to attempt to
parachute "holus bolus" another experience into one's
The MDC cares immensely about the unfair incarceration of
Roy Bennett. You are being unkind to both the MDC and the Bennett family
when you insinuate that the MDC is not caring in this respect. A lot of
practical things through many committed individuals have been done in the
furtherance of Roy Bennett's freedom. We regret that a lot of these attempts
have not been successful.
It is precisely because people are
concerned with bread and butter issues that we as a party are convinced that
the people of Zimbabwe should engage in various forms of democratic
resistance to enhance their opportunities of accessing bread and
Zanu PF has reduced our people to "hunter-gatherers" who spend 24
hours of their day looking for food, in the process, losing out on things
that render life more meaningful and complete. Participating in democratic
resistance will give our people more meaning to their lives.
entering of a third force, as your editorial suggests, is a development that
cannot and should not be used as some form of blackmail against the MDC.
Anyone who seeks to join the political foray is entitled to do so in their
own right, the MDC does not determine who seeks to form a political
The power of opinions should be the ability of such an opinion
to give everyone an opportunity to measure theirs against those on offer.
When you opine that the opposition is "failing to demonstrate that while it
lost the elections, it still remains relevant to the search for solutions to
a better Zimbabwe", your opinion is inaccurate and unfair to the
We have done as much as reality allows us as a party to offer
solutions to the country's woes, our RESTART document is testimony to this
fact. We are convinced that a combination of various forms of political
pressure will make Zanu PF come to its senses. It is not an easy process. It
is difficult but it has to be done. All those engaged in the struggle for
democracy in this country need to come together and give form to their
collective desire for a better Zimbabwe.
Paul Themba-Nyathi is the
spokesperson for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zim crisis: people vs the State Sundayopinion By Marko
WHILE Zimbabweans are overwhelmed by growing food shortages, and a
host of other hardships, questions that emerge about their continued silence
inevitably form everyday discussions among people who would like to see the
country get back to its feet.
This has also brought to the fore, what
role the country's opposition is supposed to play in coming with a road map
that will see Zimbabwe's recovery. Two major players in the debate about the
country's return to civilisation have emerged - the people themselves and
country's foremost political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). That the MDC was born out of people's frustration with the politics of
the party that has hogged political space for a quarter century should have
then meant a quick return to international dialogue with countries known to
have been the country's development partners since the coming of
But this did not happen with subsequent elections. Besides
pointing to the ruling party's disputed victories, the answers are not
simple. The Movement for Democratic Change is being criticised for not
providing the leadership the people need for a way forward. The party is
seemingly lost for solutions. What the people need is for the party, to
which they have sworn allegiance, to point them to alternatives that will
not merely effect regime change, but create constructive engagement which
will see an end to many years of arrogant rule.
But the issue
considering the nature of the politics that have been seen here becomes; how
would anybody brave enough - much as seen through the atmosphere the MDC has
had to operate, from the pre-Jongwe days to the present day Roy Bennett
debacle - have fared? How would anyone of us have approached an opponent
like Zanu PF?
In part, the answers to these questions explain why many
Zimbabweans have left the country's fate to be decided by higher forces than
mere mortals. It shows the extent to which solutions outside the failed
ballot are hard to come by.
But then it is not only within the
country's frontiers the crisis, which has sought to seemingly establish
itself permanently here, will find solutions. Amid all the criticism of the
opposition, how would anybody have approached this issue considering that
the multilateral approach that defines international relations has been
Could the planned visit by the United Nations chief be
part of the Gods' plan to redeem us? The opposition has had the unfortunate
position of virtually being left alone to deal with the issues here. The
globetrotting of the party's leadership since the disputed 2000 legislative
poll is yet to bear any fruit.
Which countries have lent their voices
to pragmatic approaches to the crisis here in the light of calls for South
Africa to literally crack the whip and tell President Robert Mugabe to
Besides the so-called smart sanctions whose effect has not helped
Zimbabweans to live better lives, what can be pointed out as serious
attempts to engage the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe with real efforts to
deal with the Zimbabwe crisis? That some people have suggested that
Zimbabweans resolve their own problems is ample evidence that the "interior
settlement" of issues here is much larger than the simple analysis that has
emerged here vis-à-vis the MDC's competence.
Why is it that the
people who took to the streets in the famed 1998 food riots have not
repeated that feat in the past few years when life has continued to be
extremely tough for many here?
The latest round of food shortages and
obscene price increases that has seen the emergence of a flourishing
parallel market has provided fertile ground for any protests. But this has
not happened, why? Thus it has been intimated that only the gods will save
The hazards of taking to the streets are many, and looking
at how many opposition party supporters have lost their lives in the past
years and with their families failing to seek legal recourse - never mind
that their grievances are supposed to be justifiable - is reason enough for
many to elect to suffer silently.
All things being fair, they would
take to the streets, but the ever-looming security and "law" enforcement
forces have been enough to stop short in their militant tracks any aspiring
It has been known in the struggle for democracy that academics
also become the vanguard of protests, but has this happened here? University
student activism has helped push reforms across the world and has sparked
revolutions since World War One. In Zimbabwe all forms of militancy have
been suppressed, and therefore the opposition cannot be treated as typical
fall guys to be blamed for failing to lead the people not to the Promised
Land, but a life where the people can demand accountable
If a regime can torture an individual like a legislator or
interestingly a human rights lawyer like Gabriel Shumba and get away with
it, what then about the ordinary man, woman and child with no clue about
their rights? But these same people would still claim a fundamental right, a
right to life. Because all traces of militancy have been successfully
stymied by the regime, it is then curious to have criticism heaped at the
feet of the opposition that they have failed the people.
challenges this country faces are gargantuan, and any pretence that they
will be over through the ballot or the MDC taking the people by the hand and
swarming the streets is futile.
Amid all the cul-de-sacs that the MDC
has met, with the most fundamental being apparent judicial dependence on the
executive, the question becomes whither Zimbabwe? Obviously the people are
not ready yet to take bullets from trigger-happy defenders of the regime,
and unless real pressure is exerted from outside it could be another 75
years before salvation comes. And nobody knows in what form it will
Some things defy logical explanation By Dumisani
IT was amazing. The whole country was abuzz with the news - that is
the underground or parallel news. The official media never so much as even
vaguely hinted at it: the Don of Freedonia's revolution meeting
What fuelled the parallel news was that the Don had been absent from
the public view for days, but in an eastern suburb of the capital there were
a lot of activities and it was the movement in this suburb that got the
underground news into overdrive gear. Things had not been going as well
as expected for Freedonia, but others said such descriptions were diplomatic
platitudes, because in their view, things had turned disastrous. Others with
a penchant for recklessness abandon described the State as in intensive
But it was this disaster that had moved the Don of Freedonia's
revolution to do what barely months ago was unthinkable, perhaps in his view
treasonous. He was in secret talks with the leader of the Freedonia Freedom
Front (FFF), the official opposition.
Freedonia had a surfeit of
people who let it be known they knew everything and had ready explanations
for this and that which afflicted the nation. According to these watchers,
they had seen a flurry of traffic as emissaries drove in and out of the
imposing villa in the eastern suburbs of the capital.
Some of the
more outlandish watchers even suggested that they had seen the leader of the
Freedonia Freedom Front drive into the villa and moments later the Don of
Freedonia's revolution arrived in an unmarked vehicle, without his
ostentatious security entourage. This was being done because they wanted to
But so much for discretion. The underground news travelled
the length and breadth of Freedonia at lightning speed. It was running a
live commentary on who had been seen where with who and doing what or how
ponderous so and so looked when he/she came out and therefore this must
suggest such and such. The only people who thought what they were doing was
secret were those visiting the villa. Otherwise the whole of Freedonia
waited with bated breath.
It was as if this was being captured live
on television - the television of the mind.
Some things are not that
easy to fathom. They are as puzzling as things from my childhood.
recall one day when villagers gathered at our home. I never knew there were
so many people. Up to this day I cannot glean what the purpose of the
gathering was. But I do know that later in the day, sometime just after
lunch, I saw something that frightened and still frightens me.
footpath to the river, there stood a cluster of trees. In one of them
something very unusual was happening, even the elders gathered at our home
could not explain the meaning of this. It was an extraordinary
In this one tree, different snakes of various colours rested
themselves. The elders came, gawked at the spectacle and retreated in hushed
Night fell, but by next morning, the snakes were gone - as
mysteriously as they had come. I don't recall what happened to the elders
who had gathered at our home. I do not recall them bidding us
Several days later, we went down to the river - one of the
tributaries of Munyati River. We swam and played in the river with reckless
abandon, until we decided we had enough for the day and were preparing to
leave. Then something terrified the hell out of us.
A brown snake
with white stripes along its eyes reared itself from the same pool we had
been swimming merrily. Like a periscope, it started what I believe was a
backward movement but still staring in our direction. We stood speechless
and transfixed, just as Freedonians watched the spectacle in front of them
Some things just do not have immediate explanations, just as
the underground news that the Don of Freedonia's revolution was meeting the
leader of the Freedonia Freedom Front.
Mlambo Last updated: 05/24/2005 04:28:04 AFTER reading Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono's monetary policy statement, I have been left wondering
whether indeed this man knows what he is doing. In fact, the long and short
of it is that he should resign. He can see he cannot change things. He has
no solutions to the current problems. His resignation is the most useful
decision he should make under the present circumstances. He should bite the
bullet and let go of the governorship.
Gono's monetary policy statement
is nothing more than hogwash. It does not promise anything to the ordinary
man. It does not say anything positive. It gives nothing to look forward to.
It sends shivers down the spines of those he promised to pin down. It is
full of retribution. It offers nothing to look forward to for the ordinary
man. The ordinary man has no interest in Gono's retribution, because he
gains nothing from it. The men whom he wants to descend on are not excited
either. Gono wants to name and shame those involving themselves in
corruption. What will that achieve? We witnessed this kind of retribution in
the late 80s through the Sandura Commission. Maybe Gono never learnt
something - that they were all pardoned except for those who had already
died. What therefore does Gono think he will achieve by this act of
retribution? This is senseless as it will achieve nothing. I never expected
it from the RBZ governor.
This man fails to understand his role. Can he
be told that he is the RBZ governor and not a politician. He should learn to
leave politics to politicians. Politicians determine fiscal policy and that
should be left as their domain. His role should be to convince them, and
lobby them on the merits of aligning their fiscal policy with his monetary
policy. It is not his duty to spell out fiscal policy. I am sure no one gave
him a job description when he took over. It is not his territory. Little
wonder there are reports of certain sections of the ruling party calling for
his head. Yes, they cannot leave him alone because he is growing bigger than
a simple governor. He is usurping ministerial powers. He is slowly becoming
a Jonathan Moyo of the previous parliament and cabinet and for that he
should step down or get the kick.
As if the above is not enough, the
nature of retribution he proposes for exporters resembles a lot of folly on
his part. It shows a lack of vision. Exporters are the source of meaningful
inflows of foreign currency. More of these people are required to get
Zimbabwe from where it is. It is their foreign currency that we require as a
country, and not the diaspora dollar or pound. I am not sure what their
response would be, in a country without that currency, to a policy statement
that promises to deal with them viciously for 'wrongs' that they do. They
are smarter than Dr Gono by all means. And a crackdown on them would worsen
things. He can take all the exporters to jail, all Zimra officers and
officials to jail, all corps to jail etc, but the ones who replace them will
be equally corrupt if not worse. It's not about retribution Dr Gono. It is
about a change in mindset. It is about a change in values. It is about
teaching children to grow up as good citizens. It is about teaching children
in homes. It is not about teaching them 'not to steal because if you are
caught you will go to jail'. It is about teaching them to be 'good citizens'
and also that 'good citizens do not steal because stealing is bad'. Gono is
teaching the former and it is a pity he is teaching adults and not children.
Such requires a national approach, not one of violent enforcement as is the
case now. It requires the efforts of everyone, not the RBZ chief's
single-handed approach. As he does not understand this, I call for his
See now he has been sucked into the Kuruneri saga. Maybe it
is true he in fact facilitated the transfers, in which case he is likely to
be found guilty. Any full investigation of his tenure as CBZ chief will
bring out a lot more things against him - remember he should have been
responsible for the activities of his direct reports. Who knows, he might
end up behind bars for flouting the same rules he preaches right now. In a
previous article I said Dr Gono needed to give government some explanations
regarding the Zimbabwe/Malaysia Bilateral payment arrangement and how that
money made available by government to the 'productive sector' to buy stuff
from Malaysia was utilized in procuring stuff from our neighbours South
Africa. In his position he is not only expected to be free from corruption,
but must be seen to be free from it. The Kuruneri saga will cast a lot of
doubt about him despite what the final verdict on his involvement would be.
It would therefore be gracious for him to step down now.
we read about Dr Gono having sanctioned the purchase of 50 state of the art
cars for use by the RBZ in fighting corruption. I am told those cars are at
the RBZ depot in Msasa. Imagine, 50 cars for the RBZ when the Ministry of
Health is using ox-drawn ambulances in Seke. Yes, 50 cars to enforce his
retribution when people are dying enroute to hospitals in ox-drawn
ambulances. It beats all reason. These are cars that will be parked
kwaMereki during weekends and at rural homes over holidays. Corruption has
suddenly become more important now than before to the extent of sidelining
dying people in preference for spelling out policies and holding conferences
in hotels regarding how best the RBZ can harness the corrupt business
people. While fighting corruption is good, it might as well be left to the
government through responsible ministries and not the RBZ. Yesterday Gono
was complaining about the size of the cabinet and today he is on a
recruitment drive and spending mission for a department that will have more
court cases than any positive returns to the economy. For this lack of moral
fibre, I ask Gono to step down.
And after buying the RBZ vehicles and
hiding them in Msasa, the man has the guts to tell Zimbabwe that he is going
to be restricting the importation of luxury goods into the country - because
he has brought in his. This too is corruption and he should step down for
it. Why did he not say it prior to that mega purchase?
He has also
failed to close the parallel market. For as long as there is no foreign
currency available to all bidders at the auction floors, there will always
be a parallel market. Everyone in Zimbabwe prices their goods based on
parallel market rates. We need no explanations on this - that is how things
are. But exporters are expected to convert their foreign currency holdings
at the auctions at the RBZ stipulated rates. The implication is that they
will be subsidising the importers. If there should be any subsidies, then
government is supposed to be responsible for that. The RBZ forex subsidies
to importer is not proper. Look at it this way. An importer gets USD at the
auctions (on a day he is lucky, usually he buys USD at the parallel market
rates) for ZWD9000.00. He gets his stuff in the country and does his
costings at ZWD25000.00 and sells to the market. The next day, the importer
goes again to the auctions and buys again at ZWD9000.00 and the exporter
continues to be forced to sell his forex at the ZWD9000.00 and the cycle
continues like that. It is not sustainable for the exporters. The parallel
market is there because there is a demand for the forex. If the parallel
market had been absent, then all the manufacturing and other importing
companies would have been 'dead' by now and Dr Gono would have fewer
companies for his 50 brand new cars to monitor. Because he could not destroy
the parallel market as promised on his ascendancy to governorship, he should
In his policy statement, he decries the drop in tobacco output
as contributing to the drop in foreign currency inflows. Till when will
Zimbabwe be pinning its hopes on a crop that everyone the world over is
campaigning against. There are anti-smoking campaigns everywhere and in many
countries people are no longer allowed to smoke indoors in restaurants ,
pubs etc. Even if the tobacco hectarage goes up, the inflows from it may not
be that newsworthy. For this lack of vision, I ask the governor to step
I am not trying to be too negative about Gono. He simply has no
clues as to what to do. He has no solutions to the current problems from the
RBZ's perspective. He is not aware of where he starts and ends. He has
turned the RBZ governorship into a political post and wants to do everything
and be everyone. It is a total recipe for disaster. He should leave politics
to politicians and lobby them for alignment of their policies with his. This
governorship is beyond him. Retribution has never achieved anything
anywhere. It has only brought bitterness and resentment. It does not change
anyone's mindset and Gono is better told to leave that route. In his prayers
to God for answers, let him seek wisdom to get everyone to share his values
and not incarcerate anyone as the Zim jails are not enough to accommodate
everyone involved in the sins that Gono would like to use the 50 state of
the art cars for. CONTACT MLAMBO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 05/24/2005
03:48:52 THIS past week I had the rare and wonderful opportunity of
attending a press conference that was jointly addressed by Bishop Phillip
Rubin and Archbishop Pius Ncube. The event was held in Johannesburg, South
Africa, and organised by the Peace and Solidarity Trust.
trust was formed in 2003 to help develop a joint strategy for Christians in
both Zimbabwe and South Africa who are concerned about the worsening crisis
in Zimbabwe. Bishop Rubin and Archbishop Ncube are the current
co-chairpersons of the trust.
Bishop Rubin is the leader of the
Anglican Church in KwaZulu-Natal. He is well known for his celebrated role
in the fight against the apartheid regime. At present, Rubin has emerged as
a key leader of the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum.
The forum is a
loose coalition of diverse South African civic & human rights groups,
social movements, youth and student organizations, together with the various
national faith based alliances such as the South African Council of
Churches. The forum is presently involved in concerted efforts to galvanize
a strong national coalition fighting for the restoration of democratic space
Archbishop Ncube is the most eminent prelate of the
Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe today. He is presently well known and
respected as the leader of the Catholics in Bulawayo.
it has not been due to his clerical services that Ncube has been hitting the
headlines of late. In recent years, Ncube has emerged from the religious
obscurity of Sunday mass services at the St. Mary's Cathedral and taken
centre stage in the national agenda. Ncube has of late become somewhat of a
growing myth and legend in the eyes of many long suffering millions of
The rise of Ncube to national significance and
influence has been so spectacular. The popularity of the soft-spoken cleric
has soared at such a very high rate that can only be compared to the
nation's meteoric inflation rate!
It, however, comes not as a
surprise that Ncube has now become to be seen as a phenomenal struggle icon.
Many Zimbabweans know very well that Ncube has found his largely critical
voice after realizing that as a church leader he has a moral role to play in
the escalating crisis in Zimbabwe. Ncube has repeatedly said that he is not
an aspiring politician and neither is he motivated by a personal hatred of
the Mugabe regime.
He has persistently said that he regards himself
as a key church leader as part of the prophetic voice of the nation. He
believes that the church leaders can not remain silent while their
congregations face the worst terror of their lives at the hands of an
increasingly desperate dictatorship.
Ncube also insists that he
will not keep silent as long as he has to face the hungry faces of his
congregation every time he tries to deliver a mass service. There is such a
huge socio-economic crisis as represented by the widespread shortages of
basic food commodities that he as a church leader has to come out and be
vocal about it.
Ncube has also lashed out at the Mugabe regime for
its poor human and political rights records. He has been very critical at
the regime system of unjust and repressive laws such as AIPPA and POSA. He
has also attacked the abuse of young Zimbabweans as represented mainly by
the notorious Green Bombers from the national youth service
But it is against Mugabe's failure to step from power
that Ncube has reserved his most arsenic and rabid attacks. He has
repeatedly called for Mugabe to step down for the good of his nation. In
particular, he has lashed out at Mugabe for using all fraudulent means to
undermine the electoral process of the country. Ncube has lambasted the
nation's past three major polls as illegitimate and not the express will of
the people of Zimbabwe.
Ncube's ever increasing role in the
struggle for a new democratic dispensation have however, not gone unnoticed.
Apart from Zimbabwe where he has already achieved folklore status, Ncube has
started to receive recognition all over Africa, especially in South Africa
where his visits are keenly covered by the local media.
Ncube's influence has also reached overseas recognition. Last year, he was
given the ultimate recognition when he was hosted by the former American
Secretary of State Collin Powel in Washington DC. The seal of approval from
the USA and Europe only served to increase the vitriolic attacks and
rhetoric from the Mugabe regime and its lapdog media outlets such as the
ZBC, Herald and the Chronicle.
But in spite of the ever increasing
threats on his life from the Mugabe regime, Ncube appears undeterred. If
anything, he seems to have intensified his public criticism and
outspokenness against the regime. He has continued to look up to his heroes
such as Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and
Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Many political observers and analysts of
the crisis in Zimbabwe now regard him as the most controversial and
outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime today. As it is, the die is cast and
there is no more turning back for the cleric. He has crossed his own Rubicon
and thrown the gauntlet against the regime. Many in Zimbabwe are praying
that he never gives up on his seemingly impossible mission to reign in on
the errant Mugabe regime.
It is against this background that I take
this opportunity to join the nation of Zimbabwe in congratulating Ncube for
being the winner of the 2005 Roberts Burns International Humanitarian Award.
The award is Scotland's most famous international award.
meant to honor the actions of an exceptional individual who in he past year
has put humanitarian concerns above all others. The late Burns was a
legendary Scottish poet who was assassinated for his role in promoting the
rights of the Scottish people.
Ncube is indeed a worthy winner of
this year's award. Congratulations! Makorokoto! Amhlophe athe nke!
CONTACT DANIEL BY E-MAIL: email@example.com
Daniel Molokele is a lawyer and a former student leader. He is currently
based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His column appears here every