Malaysia probes Mugabe donation Dumisani Muleya THE
Malaysian government has been urged to investigate former premier Mahathir
Mohamad's "donations" for the construction of President Robert Mugabe's
lavish Borrowdale home. This follows disclosures Mugabe made in an interview
According to media reports from Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysian parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said authorities
should probe Mugabe's statement - which he described as "shocking" - that
Mahathir donated timber for the construction of the mansion.
call on the (Malaysian) government to issue a ministerial statement as
we want to know whether we have secretly and unlawfully funded the
25-bedroom mansion," Lim said on Tuesday.
"(There is) no moral and
political reason for us to do that. We know Mugabe is a good friend of
Mahathir, but there was no parliamentary approval to fund this corrupt
In an interview with Sky News on Monday, Mugabe said his
mansion was not financed out of public coffers, but from donations from the
Malaysian and Chinese governments.
"We have had assistance of
course, some countries have donated, they have got some timber from Malaysia
thanks to my good friend, former prime minister Mahathir," Mugabe said. "The
Chinese also have donated tiles and so on."
Mugabe said if there
were materials which were not available here, he would import them. Asked
where he was getting the scarce foreign currency to import the materials, he
said "from the bank".
Mahathir was close to Mugabe but new Malaysian
Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi has reportedly sought to distance himself from
the Zimbabwean leader despite attempts by Harare to present him as an
Mugabe visited Malaysia in January during his annual break and
managed to see Ahmad for a short courtesy call.
Lim, who is an
Ipoh Timor MP, said there should be a thorough probe of the financing of
He also said that if it was true Malaysia had funded
Mugabe's house, it would be "unprecedented" for a government to fund another
government leader's mansion.
Deputy Foreign minister Joseph Salang
Gandum told Malaysiakini, an online daily publication, that he was unaware of
Mugabe's statement on Malaysian donations.
"I will check on it.
But I don't think the government would have funded the mansion (although) we
do assist (the Zimbabwean government) in other aspects such as human
resources," he said. "But it is quite impossible (that we have funded) a
Asked whether an investigation would be instituted, he
said: "Let us check first."
Meanwhile, corruption watchdog Kuala
Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity said the government owed the
public an explanation.
"If true, the government must explain why it
funded such a luxury for a political head reputed to be a dictator," said
deputy president Param Cumaraswamy, formerly UN rapporteur on the
independence of the judiciary.
Mawere blasts Gono over arrest Dumisani
Muleya/Augustine Mukaro ZIMBABWEAN business magnate Mutumwa Mawere, who was
released yesterday in South Africa on R50 000 bail after being arrested on
charges of externalising foreign currency, has slammed Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono for "displaying venom" in his duties.
In an interview,
Mawere said Gono was pursuing individuals and companies on trumped-up charges
and in the process destroying the foundation of indigenous businesses as well
as the economy at large.
"It is unfortunate and regrettable that
Zimbabwe has sunk so low. For someone like me who has done so much for
Zimbabwe to be accused on the basis of trumped-up charges shows that
something has gone terribly wrong somewhere," Mawere said.
interests are being served by this crusade is not clear. What is clear though
is that it is destroying the foundations of black business in Zimbabwe and
replacing them with a RBZ governor who wants to be chief executive of
Mawere said it was "appalling" to see a country
engaged in an act of self-destruction "with Gono exerting more energy in
hounding individuals - as if he was a police commissioner - than working on
"Sound economic policies can never be substituted
with a display of venom and arresting individuals. People can try that but
they will fail in ensuring economic recovery," he said.
Zimbabweans spend more time reasoning together on issues than throwing each
other into cells it would be better for all of us. RBZ governors in history
have been known to focus on core issues than spending time
Mawere said the allegations against him were
largely baseless while some were actually lies.
arrested by South African police on Tuesday over foreign
currency externalisation charges back home. He was yesterday released on R50
000 bail after appearing in a Johannesburg magistrate's
Police spokesperson Mary Martins-Elbrecht said Mawere was
released on bail after an initial court appearance at a Randburg magistrate's
court in the South African commercial capital.
"He appeared in
court today (yesterday) and was released on R50 000 bail. He was remanded out
of custody to June 29," Martins-Elbrecht said.
"He is not facing any
charges in South Africa because he was picked up on a Zimbabwean warrant of
arrest by Interpol."
Martins-Elbrecht confirmed that Mawere has dual
citizenship - that of Zimbabwe and South Africa - and his extradition to
Harare would have to be determined by the courts.
"He has dual
citizenship and it's up to the courts to determine whether he can be
extradited to Zimbabwe or not."
Mawere's arrest came as police
intensified their blitz on businessmen suspected of corrupt business
Mawere has rejected the allegations of externalisation,
saying he was not a Zimbabwean resident and did not sit on his companies'
It was not possible yesterday to confirm reports that Mawere
was exposed by a whistleblower who had met a Zimbabwean investigating team
from the Reserve Bank and police.
Mawere gained prominence in the
mid-1990s after he bought the country's largest asbestos mining conglomerate,
Shabani/Mashava Mines, which is part of the huge Africa Resources Ltd, with a
Mawere's business empire which has tentacles in
almost all important sectors of the economy includes Africa Associated Mines.
He also has confirmed interests in eight listed companies, General Beltings,
Steelnet, Turnall, Fidelity Life, Zimre, Nicoz Diamond, CFI Holdings and
First Bank. His firm Ukubambana/Kubatana Investments (UKI) also has large
stakes in other listed companies.
Business, labour snub NECF meeting Godfrey
Marawanyika/ Shakeman Mugari BUSINESS leaders and labour yesterday snubbed a
National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF) meeting on price stabilisation, a
move that once again throws into question the relevence on the forum to
The meeting, addressed by Labour minister Paul
Mangwana, was poorly attended. Only 64 instead of 228 invited delegates came.
Most stakeholders sent junior officers as observers. There were also a number
of reserved tables that remained vacant throughout the meeting which lasted
the whole day.
Acting Finance minister Herbert Murerwa was one of
the prominent absentees from the meeting despite being invited by the forum.
He had been expected to make a speech.
The Zimbabwe Con-gress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), and Zesa
Holdings also did not attend despite having been invited. The three
organisations are key economic players who were expected to contribute to the
discussion on prices and wage increases.
There were no bankers or
hoteliers and institutional talking heads who had become a common sight at
what has now labelled a national talk show. However, the government-backed
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions did attend.
Addressing the few
delegates at the meeting, Mangwana said the tripartite negotiating forum
(TNF) would continue with or without the
"Considering the urgency with which we have
to address some issues of our economy, the TNF has to continue with those who
can participate in the national interest," he said.
"I am happy to
say the TNF agreed that we should proceed and leave the door open for ZCTU to
rejoin," he said.
The ZCTU has said they will only re-join the TNF
sometime in September. The ZCTU pulled out of the TNF in April last year
after government unilaterally increased the price of fuel without the consent
of the social partners.
"We did what we did because as government we
look at the broader framework when designing a national framework," Mangwana
said. "As government we should protect the farmers, unemployed, and
everybody, that is why we did what we did (increasing fuel) and as government
everything rests on our shoulders."
NECF spokesperson Dennis Rwafa
failed to explain why business leaders and Zesa officials failed to attend
"We sent invites to them and they did not turn up for
the meeting. We don't know why they did that," Rwafa said.
can assure you they would have been grilled in the meeting had
Workers take NRZ to court over Cola Loughty
Dube THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has suspended the 25% cost of
living adjustment it awarded its employees at the beginning of the year
resulting in the workers' union seeking redress through labour
The labour dispute went for arbitration on Friday last week,
after the two parties failed to reconcile during an initial
Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railways Union (Zaru)
secretary-general Gideon Shoko confirmed that the matter had gone for
"The NRZ unilaterally decided to withdraw the
cost of living adjustment (Cola) it awarded workers," said Shoko. "We feel
that since the cost of living adjustment was awarded after negotiations
between the workers and the employer, it is illegal for the employer to
unilaterally withdraw the allowance."
The NRZ, crippled by a huge
salary bill and a non-viable business environment, last month delayed in
paying workers' salaries owing to lack of funds.
failed to agree on Friday and the matter has been referred for compulsory
arbitration," Shoko said.
The troubled parastatal, after failing to
pay the cost of living adjustment to workers for the month of April, then
informed workers that it would instead pay the workers cash in lieu of leave
"Under Section 93 of the Amended Labour Relations Act the
NRZ violated the agreement we reached at the beginning of the year during
negotiations by withdrawing the 25% without notice and we do not even know
when and how they will pay for the leave days," Shoko
Sources within NRZ said the company had also frozen promotions
and recruitment of staff in a bid to contain the ballooning wage bill that
saw it pay its workers in two tranches at the beginning of May long after
"The situation is very bad. Management has shelved the hiring
of new people yet we have critical positions in signals and communications
that have to be filled as a matter of urgency because the vacancies there
compromise the safety of the travelling public," said a
The parastatal has also banned overtime payments to staff and
has introduced a stringent clocking-in system at all levels.
NRZ is paying R6 million in monthly charges to Spoornet for wagons
the cash-strapped rail company is failing to return.
which has embarked on a $30 billion recapitalisation exercise, has 60 usable
locomotives when it needs 108 to operate viably.
violated a standing labour agreement and there is no way we are going to
agree to that and if we are not happy with the decision we will appeal to the
Labour Court," said Shoko.
Nkomo tells would-be candidates to cool it Loughty
Dube ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo says people who have imposed
themselves as 2005 parliamentary election candidates in constituencies
throughout the country are wasting their time as the party has not yet opened
"There has not been any nomination call from the party for
parliamentary candidates and people who are already doing so are wasting
their time," Nkomo told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
a time when (Zanu PF national commissar Elliot) Manyika makes an announcement
to that effect, there are no nominations."
Several Zanu PF officials
from around the country have put their names forward as Zanu PF candidates
ahead of the 2005 parliamentary poll.
Zanu PF leaders who have
already declared themselves candidates or claim to have been nominated for
next year's general election include Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho, Walter
Muzembi in Masvingo South, and retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi who has openly
said he is the people's choice in Masvingo North ahead of sitting MP Stan
Others are Philip Chiyangwa (Chinhoyi), Andrew Langa
(Insiza), Obert Mpofu (Bubi) and Abednico Ncube (Gwanda
"As the national chairman of the party I am not aware that
the process of nominating candidates has started but those who are doing so
are exercising their constitutional rights but they will not be recognised by
the party," Nkomo said.
Senior Zanu PF officials have used
coercion to cow constituency and grassroots leaders into backing their bids
to stand as the party's sole candidate.
Nkomo could not be drawn
into revealing whether the party would hold primary elections ahead of the
crucial 2005 parliamentary election or not.
"The decision on that will
come from the national commissar when the time is ripe. The process has to be
sanctioned by the party leadership, who will receive the nominations from the
provincial leadership before vetting the candidates," he
There has been commotion in the last few months with some Zanu
PF members jostling to be endorsed by district and provincial leadership as
candidates, a move party insiders say has led to serious divisions at
"In one constituency the district leadership is
split on who to announce as their choice with one group backing a junior
party member while another group is leaning towards the more senior member,"
said the party insider.
Zanu PF candidates who were defeated in the
landmark 2000 elections are making frantic efforts to be nominated to stand
again for the party while candidates who stood in urban areas are making the
great trek to rural areas where they see brighter chances than in
The Zanu PF leadership in Nkayi refused to endorse Sithembiso
Nyoni as the candidate for the area after the governor and resident minister
of Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, who was travelling with her, failed to
sell her to the constituency.
Nyoni was attempting a parliamentary
comeback through the rural areas after the MDC's Thokozani Khuphe routed her
in Makokoba in 2000.
Tsvangirai says Mugabe deceiving self Munyaradzi
Wasosa OPPOSITION MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has said President Robert
Mugabe is "deceiving himself" in telling the international community that
Zimbabwe has sufficient food supplies. Mugabe made the claim in a recent
interview with UK-based Sky News.
In a statement to mark Africa Day on
Tuesday, Tsvangirai said Mugabe was presenting himself as a reckless leader
by asserting that Zimbabwe had enough food and would not need any imports
"Mugabe's misrepresentation of the (food) situation at
home is a worrying point," Tsvangirai said.
"To assume that
Zimbabwe does not need food aid is simply to deceive oneself. Mugabe was
therefore reckless in suggesting that Zimbabwe does not need to import any
food, let alone appeal for donations."
Tsvangirai said according to
his party's research on the country's food situation, a grain deficit of at
least 1,2 million tonnes is expected for the 2003/2004 season.
the beginning of the current season, the early planted maize was a failure
and there were serious shortages of seed, fuel, fertiliser and other inputs,"
"Our central estimate (therefore) is production of
600 000 tonnes of maize plus 100 000 tonnes of sorghum. Excluding any
strategic stocks, this would imply a shortfall of 1,2 million tones," he
Agriculture minister Joseph Made said recently that Zimbabwe
would have a bumper harvest this season and estimated a grain yield of 2,4
million tonnes. Mugabe repeated the same claims in his interview with Sky
News Africa correspondent Stuart Ramsay, who he invited to come and see
for himself the food situation after the harvest.
Mugabe was covering up for an unsuccessful land
"He (Mugabe) is trying to cover up for a failed
land reform programme that has reduced the entire commercial farmland to
pieces of subsistence plots," Tsvangirai said.
berated the African Union (AU) for ignoring the Zimbabwe's electoral
"As a continental body, the AU has shown little interest in
the plight of our people," Tsvangirai said.
"Flawed elections are
a key source of Zimbabwe's problems.
"We humbly ask the AU to assist
us in this regard in making sure that the next election is held in accordance
with Sadc norms and standards."
He said his party was considering
petitioning the Southern African Development Community to secure what he
called a "legitimate result" over the country's skewed electoral
Sadc electoral norms and standards stipulate, among other
issues, the need for an independent electoral commission, respect for the
rule of law and basic freedoms and rights, public confidence in the electoral
process, and the secrecy of the ballot.
Zanu PF in anti-white campaign Munyaradzi
Wasosa/Augustine Mukaro TENSION has gripped Manicaland province as Zanu PF
supporters have launched an "All Whites Out By 2005" campaign through violent
invasions of white-owned properties and staging of anti-white demonstrations,
the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
The campaign has already
resulted in the loss of one life.
Former Kondozi farm outgrower,
Peter Spiro-Landos, allegedly shot dead one of the Zanu PF supporters
resettled on his farm. Mike Mufambi was shot on Monday evening when a
30-member mob attacked Spiro-Landos at his Riverside Farm
Spiro-Landos (48), a farmer of Greek descent, was
seriously wounded in the attack before being detained by police in hospital
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) vice-chairman John
Worsley-Worswick said Spiro-Landos had been asking police to disperse a mob
of ruling Zanu PF supporters from his farm in the Odzi district for a week
before the attack.
"On Monday evening a mob came to his farm gate and
Spiro-Landos went out to talk to them," Worsley-Worswick said. "The mob
pinned him down and in the scuffle, he drew a gun and fired a warning shot in
the air. But one man was hit and died.
"When Spiro-Landos failed
to return to his homestead after dark, his wife alerted his brother in Mutare
town who promptly responded to the SOS call. Spiro-Landos was later found
near the farm gate, semi-conscious and bleeding from head wounds," he
Police spokesman Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the
shooting. "Spiro-Landos committed murder against a black resettled farmer,
that is the position," Mandipaka said.
"We are detaining him at
Mutare Central police station. We are definitely charging him for murder and
attempted murder," he said. Mandipaka however dismissed reports of the wave
of fresh farm invasions claiming that the situation was
Worsley-Worswick told the Independent that a fresh wave of
farm invasions had swept across the province. "For the past four years
Manicaland was the least affected in terms of farm invasions but has become
the prime target of fresh invasions by ruling party supporters ostensibly in
retaliation for Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett's action in parliament," he
"The flavour of the attacks are very racist and for the first
time, the invaders are demanding that white farmers leave Zimbabwe,"
The Independent can reveal that at least 10
farms have been invaded since last week.
Worsley-Worswick said a
dozen violent war veterans and other Zanu PF supporters invaded Madinare farm
in Chipinge last Thursday. The 120-hectare farm, owned by Carolyn Cutter,
grows coffee and macademia nuts for export.
"On Thursday morning 12
war veterans invaded the farm, broke the fence surrounding the farm house and
smashed a lot of doors including the one to her bedroom."
invaded farms over the past week include Hosstede Farm and two others in
Elsewhere, Mpofu River Farm and Nyahowa Farm, both in the
Karoi area, another in Tengwe, Mana Pools camp and Masapas Ranch in Chiredzi
have also seen occupations.
Mugabe's Sky News act fails to impress Dumisani
Muleya AN overwhelming majority of Sky News viewers and online readers
say President Robert Mugabe's interview with the British television station
this week was "unconvincing".
Sky News poll results on the interview
broadcast worldwide showed most people did not think Mugabe's claims on the
situation in Zimbabwe were serious or convincing.
interviewed on the broad political and economic situation in the country. He
largely denied there were problems related to elections, the political
situation, food or the economy.
But at least 86% of the people polled
by Sky News by yesterday said Mugabe was "unconvincing", while 13% said he
was convincing. The global poll has been running since the interview was
aired on Monday and ends tomorrow.
However, Information minister
Jonathan Moyo yesterday claimed the poll was a "false
Mugabe was criticised at home and abroad for remarks made in
the interview. Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said Mugabe's interview was "a shocking tale of misrepresentations
Tsvangirai said Mugabe gave "a brilliant fictional
account" of what is going on in the country. He said the interview proved
Mugabe was detached from the country's realities.
interview was a tale of blatant misrepresentations and wildly variable
distortions of the situation in Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said.
misrepresented everything from elections, food, political violence,
the economic crisis, and his party's youth militia, to his
Britain's Conservative Party deputy leader and shadow
foreign secretary Michael Ancram said the interview showed that Mugabe was
either living on a different planet or was just a "pathological
Tsvangirai said the interview was only useful insofar as it
showed the world that Mugabe was "intolerant, belligerent and
In the interview, Mugabe repeated his angry criticism
of British Prime Tony Blair whom he claimed had done "mad things" which have
plunged the world into turmoil.
He also blamed Blair for isolating
him from his erstwhile ally, Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
claimed Zimbabwe had enough food supplies and that the World Food Programme
was trying to foist food on the country.
He said his violent seizure
of land from "ill-educated" white farmers was "going to reinvigorate the
In a series of denials, Mugabe also denied that he stole
2002's disputed presidential election. He denied there was widespread
political violence and that the national youth training programme was
creating violent militias.
Mugabe attacked South African retired
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, saying he was "an angry, evil and embittered little
bishop". Tutu has criticised Mugabe for political repression and human rights
Tsvangirai said it was "shameful" for Mugabe to try to
denounce the Nobel peace laureate for speaking out on human rights
"It was shameful and unfortunate for Mugabe to try to
take a dim view of a man who commands worldwide respect like Tutu," he said.
"Whatever he says he can't obliterate Tutu's place in history and the respect
all progressive people have for him."
Political analyst Professor
Brian Raftopoulos said Mugabe's interview was shallow and replete with
"I don't think the president gave a
comprehensive explanation of issues. He was defensive and reacted with broad
generalisations," he said. "He simply denied any problems existed and tried
to gloss over the issues."
Sweden invites Zim scribes Itai Dzamara IN what is
seen as a move to counter state claims that Zimbabwe's media laws are
modelled on Swedish regulations, the Swedish embassy in Harare has organised
a study tour for journalists to the Scandinavian nation.
Zimbabwe's repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(Aippa), including MIC chair Tafataona Mahoso and Information minister
Jonathan Moyo, have claimed it was no different to Sweden's media laws. The
silence of the Swedish embassy could have lent credence to
However, Zimbabwean journalists from both the
government and privately-owned media will have a chance to make the
comparison during the week-long study tour of Sweden.
In a letter
addressed to the selected journalists, Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Kristina Svensson, said the trip would "provide a general understanding of
Swedish society and culture, and specifically Swedish laws on freedom of
speech and access to information".
Svensson said that she hoped the
trip would inspire discussions on issues relating to freedom of expression
and the role of the media, as well as encourage networks between journalists
working in Zimbabwe and their counterparts in Sweden.
this as Sweden's attempt to rebut the state propaganda. Sweden is considered
to have a strong culture of freedom of expression.
Andrew Moyse of the
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said it was disheartening for
countries such as Sweden to remain silent when they were subjected to such
claims. "We hope that this trip will go a long way in explaining how
repressive the media legislation in this country is," said Moyse.
"Comparisons with the reality in Sweden will dispel the myth propagated by
those who created Aippa."
Mahoso on Wednesday denied ever claiming
that Aippa was modelled on Swedish laws. He however said Swedish media
regulations were stricter than Aippa.
"We have never said that Aippa
was modelled on Swedish media laws. No, we have never said that," he said.
"What we have said is that Swedish laws are even more strict than what we
Journalists' associations will also send representatives
on the one-week tour.
The programme will include meetings with a
number of institutions and individuals.
These include a visit to
major media outlets - newspapers, television and radio stations, the office
of the Press Ombudsman, the Press Council, Swedish Union of Journalists,
Swedish Parliament, Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, Office of the
Chancellor of Justice and the University College of Journalism, among
Farm grabbed for ex-mayor's son Munyaradzi
Wasosa ZANU PF activists who two weeks ago occupied fertiliser manufacturer
Sable Chemical Industries (Pvt) Ltd's Sebakwe Farm did so to facilitate
its takeover by Berrington Mangwiro Mawere, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Berrington Mawere is the son of former Kwekwe mayor,
A Sable Chemical Industries spokesperson in Kwekwe who
preferred anonymity told this paper last week that Mawere was using his son
to get the farm.
"It's true that the farm was invaded last week (two
weeks ago) by people suspected to be ruling party supporters," the
"The farm is being taken over by Johnson Mawere,
the former mayor of Kwekwe, and his son Berrington Mangwiro Mawere who claims
to have been allocated the farm."
Investigations by the Zimbabwe
Independent revealed that Johnson Mawere already has an A2 farm in the
Battlefield area between Kadoma and Kwekwe.
Mawere was one of the
first beneficiaries of government's controversial land reform
It is understood the farm was invaded ostensibly to punish
Sable for exporting fertiliser and starving the local market.
spokesperson refuted the allegations by the invaders.
exports fertiliser except under a special permit by the government," the
spokesperson said. "The production capacity of AN fertiliser is 250 000
tonnes annually, largely for domestic use."
The company distributes
fertiliser locally through Windmill and Zimbabwe Fertiliser
The farm produces mainly wheat, maize barley and
Sources told this paper that management was given 24 hours
to remove all farm equipment such as pumps for water to the electrolysis
plant which processes fertiliser.
The company also produces
gaseous oxygen which is critically essential for Ziscosteel and Zimasco for
use in steel and ferrochrome manufacturing respectively.
spokesperson said the occupations threatened the operations of the company's
fertiliser manufacturing plant.
"Stopping the operation of the pump
house threatens the closure of Sable as well as Zisco and Zimasco," the
Sable, the country's sole manufacturer of ammonium
nitrate, employs at least 30 workers on the farm whose future is already in
The spokesperson told the Independent that the company did not
get any notification from the government about the acquisition of the
Efforts to interview Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made were
fruitless. He kept switching off his cellphone. Mawere could also not be
reached for comment.
Airzim workers fume over pension
contributions Munyaradzi Wasosa AIR Zimbabwe workers have accused the
airline's pension fund trustees of not remitting their pension contributions
and using $400 million withdrawn from the scheme for fuel purchases, the
Zimbabwe Independent has been told.
According to a report made by Air
Zimbabwe's three workers' unions to the police, the board has not remitted
pension money since September 2003.
"The board of trustees were not
submitting pension money deducted from employees' salaries as from September
2003 to date," the report said.
"Also of concern is $400 million that
Comarton Consultants (Pvt) Ltd reveals was de-invested (by the
It is understood the amount was used to purchase
Comarton Consultants, an asset management company that handles
the airline's pension fund, held a meeting with Airzim management and
workers' representatives in March to iron out their
Airzim's former managing director, Rambai Chingwena, who
has since left the country, last month faxed a letter of resignation claiming
he was in Namibia. Chingwena was chairman of the board of
Tendai Mujuru is the acting managing director. She also
sits on the board of trustees as an employer-appointed nominee.
2002, the pension fund, which was transferred from Old Mutual to
Comarton Consultants, was worth more than $300 million.
told workers' representatives that the pension fund received 913 000 shares
from Old Mutual when the insurance firm demutualised.
At the meeting,
Comarton announced that it invested $1,2 billion with Old Mutual Asset
Mangers, $1,1 billion in a company only known as GP2, and $950 million with
Datvest Pension Management (Pvt) Ltd.
It was revealed in the meeting
that Chingwena withdrew $400 million from Datvest.
workers quizzed mana-gement why the money was with-drawn, Mujuru said it was
withdrawn for the purchase of fuel. Air Zimbabwe buys Jet A1 fue l from BP
Comarton, represented by Doreen Mupfumira, produced three
notification letters demanding to know why the airline was not remitting
One worker who attended the meeting said Mujuru refused to
answer Mupfumira's question.
"Mujuru totally refused to answer,
while Chingwena refused to attend the meeting saying it was a kangaroo
court," the worker said.
The airline employs about 1 183 workers,
some having monthly pension deductions of up to $70 000.
airline's legal and corporate affairs manager, Arthur Manase,
confirmed Chingwena's resignation but said it was a personal
"To the best of our knowledge, the decision by Chingwena to
resign was purely personal," Manase said.
He said Chingwena was
not under any police investigation and refused to reveal his
In March workers at the ailing parastatal threatened to
down tools over the non-remittance of their pension fund
Game rancher assaulted Munyaradzi Wasosa SUSPECTED
war veterans brutally assaulted the farm manager of Masapas Game Ranch in the
Save Valley Conservancy last Friday, the Zimbabwe Independent has been
Police in Triangle have since arrested 33 people in connection with
the attack on Anthony Bodington and six game scouts on Masapas
Triangle police confirmed the arrests but referred all questions
to the officer-in-charge of Mkwasine police, Inspector Charles
Efforts to contact Munhungeyi were fruitless. He was said
to be attending a soccer match in Chiredzi.
understands the attack was carried out by a group of war veterans, poachers
and people illegally occupying part of the ranch.
A reliable source
said the incident happened while Bodington and his team were patrolling the
"Bodington and the scouts were on a routine joint
anti-poaching patrol with workers from Humani and Senuko game ranches when
the assailants fell upon them," the source said.
The farm is owned
by Lowveld game rancher, Peter Henning.
One game scout was allegedly
stabbed by one of the assailants after they were abducted and held overnight
in the bush.
The Independent understands that a man only identified
as Chirapa, who led the group, is under investigation for an assault
allegedly committed against one of the ranch's managers in
The assailants were said to be armed with knobkerries, assegais
A ZRP Support Unit team rescued the abductees in the
early hours of Saturday morning.
The assault victims, who
sustained severe injuries and lacerations all over their bodies, were taken
to Triangle hospital for treatment.
One senior nurse at the hospital
who preferred not to be named confirmed that Bodington sustained serious
"Mr Bodington came in on Saturday and we treated him for
severe injuries he had all over his body as a result of the beating," the
Rights groups mull protests over electoral law
changes Gift Phiri CIVIL rights groups plan to stage a protest in Harare
against proposed amendments to the Electoral Act which would deny many
Zimbabweans the right to vote in the forthcoming general
NGOs, civic organisations and human rights bodies believe the
draconian amendments proposed by President Robert Mugabe's government will
curtail the voting rights of poor urban dwellers - who are the opposition
party's main supporters - in next year's parliamentary election due to be
held in March.
"The demonstration will show the revulsion of the
people of Zimbabwe for what we see as a great fraud," said Douglas Mwonzora,
spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a broad-based
coalition of civic, religious and opposition groups.
proposals contained in the Electoral Amendment Bill to be tabled
in parliament soon, urban dwellers will be required to produce proof
of residence. Without the proof, expected to come in the form of a receipt
or demand for payment rates in terms of the Urban Councils Act, they would
have to produce a sworn statement from their employer confirming their place
of residence or bring documents such as bank statements or hospital
In rural areas, voters would be required to bring sworn oral
or written statements from their chiefs, who are now part and parcel of Zanu
PF's electoral machinery.
Section 116A of the Bill criminalises
placing bills, placards, circulars or any other document and writing or
painting with the object of supporting or opposing any political party,
political cause or candidate. The offence carries a maximum jail term of six
According to an article by the Electoral Institute of
Southern Africa (EISA) published on Tuesday, the amendments would designate
the under-funded Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) as the only body to
conduct civic education and would ban foreign funding unless directed to the
ESC. Civil society organisations would therefore be prohibited from providing
EISA also noted that the amendments would mean
that only civil servants would be permitted to observe the elections. But
after more than two decades of Zanu PF rule, the civil service is widely
regarded as a partisan institution. The NCA and its supporters plan to gather
outside parliament on the day the Bill is supposed to be
"This motion must not be entertained at all," Mwonzora said.
The amendments to the Act stipulate that voters need to provide title deeds,
certificates of occupation or lodgers' cards as proof of residence before
they can register to vote. But many city dwellers do not own properties and
live in illegal, makeshift structures in the city's working class
Despite promises over the years since Independence, the Zanu PF
government has not been able to provide accommodation and most major cities
in the country have long lists of people in need of
Village heads and traditional leaders will have to vouch for
voters who live in rural areas. Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), a civic organisation, told the
Zimbabwe Independent that the new regulations were a worrying
"We are really worried about these changes and measures
which don't seem to abide by the constitution," he said. Zesn also questioned
the government's decision to introduce the new regulations ahead of
"We should always be aware that flawed
electoral processes are often a source of conflict," warned
has assumed total control of the Harare City Council through Harare
Metropolitan governor Witness Mangwende who is presiding over all policy
matters at Town House.
Analysts this week said in the same manner
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo usurped the powers of both the
mayor and councillors, the appointment of Mangwende was an obvious ploy to
render the MDC-dominated council ineffective.
political career has not been marked by conspicuous achievement, is one of
the ruling party's longest-serving members. President Mugabe appointed him as
governor of Harare in March this year in a move which could revive the
politician's flagging career. The appointment is seen as more political than
driven by a desire to find a solution to the mounting problems at Town
Analysts this week blamed government's continued
interference in council affairs as hampering progress on a wide range of
Highly-placed sources at Town House revealed that
the latest strike by council workers over lack of protective clothing was
being referred to Mangwende as acting mayor Sekesayi Makwavarara seems to
have her hands tied. The delay in finalising the city's budget, which has
impacted negatively on all aspects of the council, is also being referred to
Mangwende by council leaders.
Council sources said the simmering
confusion over the Harare budget has been worsened by the encroachment of
"We heard from the acting mayor in a recent meeting that
the issue is being handled by Chombo and Mangwende and that she (Makwavarara)
was waiting for their feedback," a source said.
policy matters are now being referred to Mangwende's office," the source
"How do you expect progress when council is barred from
holding meetings for six months?"
Chombo and Mangwende took
turns to block council meetings intended to map the way forward.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai at one point mooted withdrawing his party 's
councillors if they were not serving their purpose because of
Councillors who spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent said the appointment of Mangwende was government's strategy to
render the council useless.
"The Urban Councils Act has no
provision of a governor for Harare," Councillor Last Maengahama
"To make matters worse all the issues Mangwende is involving
himself in are administrative and not policy.
"What was the
motive behind his announcement that the water issues would be handled from
the governor's office or when he said he would play a pivotal role in the
recruitment of employees?" Maengahama asked.
The end result of the
announcement was the recruitment of Zanu PF militia members into strategic
positions. Last month Mangwende was reported to have recruited 40 national
youth training service graduates in various council departments.
He is now reportedly determining dates and times when council should hold
Last week Mangwende announced through the state
broadcaster the cancellation of a full council meeting intended to vote in a
new deputy mayor. The move was viewed as a deliberate ploy to protect
Makwavarara who was on the verge of being ousted. Councillors ended up taking
Mangwende to court seeking to restore their rights to hold meetings as and
when they want.
Councillors said they felt Mangwende was brought
in to fill gaps that were left by Chombo in destroying the MDC-led council's
credibility in the eyes of the urban electorate. "Mangwende is interfering
with council activities from the grassroots level such as wards and districts
where Chombo's influence was not reaching," one councillor said.
"The governor has already started moving in on wards, taking charge
of vendors, food for work, control of bus ranks and clean-up campaigns
without informing the councillors. Soldiers invaded our wards in clean-up
campaigns with the instruction of the governor's office, rendering ward-based
groups led by councillors useless."
Councillors also said the
governor was understood to be quietly taking over the allocation of
residential stands on peri-urban properties with the council required to
service the stands.
Mangwende's mission is to lure the urban
electorate to the ruling party in next year's election, councillors
The councillors however said the struggle in Harare should
not be viewed in isolation from the need for democratisation of Zimbabwe as
Officials at Town House said Makwavarara and town clerk
Nomutsa Chideya were under instructions from Chombo to refer all matters on
Harare affairs to Mangwende's office.
Chideya last week said he
was "too young" to discuss Mangwende's role in Harare
I am too young to discuss these matters," he said. "These issues you can only
discuss with the Minister of Local Government. All I know is that the
governor is doing his things probably according to his mandate. You need to
Efforts to contact Chombo were in vain but Mangwende last
week refused to discuss the matter claiming that he didn't know about the
existence of the Independent.
"I don't talk to you. Who owns
your paper which I didn't know existed?" he asked. "That (Trevor) Ncube must
write stories in South Africa where you say he is now based. I don't want to
talk to you and in fact we will kick you away because you go about writing
useless things. Talk to my personal assistant."
personal assistant, Bernard Chahuruka, last week invited this paper to the
inauguration of Mangwende as Harare governor at which he said the powers and
responsibilities of Mangwende would be defined.
In his address at
Mangwende's inauguration last Saturday, Chombo did not in fact define the
governor's role. He merely stressed what he said was the need to restore the
sunshine city status previously bestowed on Harare.
"We see the
office of the provincial governor as pivotal in the prioritisation, planning
and implementation of developmental processes for the province. The housing
problem will be solved and currently we are facilitating the removal of
squatters from Porta Farm so that we resettle them properly," said
Mangwende is no stranger to high office having presided
over various portfolios since Independence in 1980. He has served in the
ministries of Foreign Affairs, Information, Transport and Communications as
well as the department in the President's Office responsible for war
Despite producing little in terms of results in his other
posts, he now appears ready to do combat with the MDC. His appointment as
Harare governor effectively ends his long hibernation in Zanu PF's
political Siberia. Whether he performs any better in this job than he has in
the rest remains to be seen.
FOR at least five years there has been discussion in Zimbabwe,
on an intermittent and spasmodic basis, that a social contract must be
concluded as a key element of measures to achieve economic recovery and
That a social contract be negotiated and agreed upon, and then
implemented, has been a recommendation of numerous economists, of
representative bodies of most economic sectors, of major organisations such
as the International Monetary Fund and many others.
government of Zimbabwe, which usually suffers from the "not invented here"
disease which motivates rejection unilaterally of the ideas of others, has on
several occasions advocated a social contract and, to that end, brought the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) into being.
Oft-asked questions are:
"What is a social contract?" and "Why do we need a social
Essentially, a social contract is one wherein the government,
labour and the private sector agree on a total, or near total, freeze on
taxes and all other governmental charges, wages and salaries and prices. The
contract endures for a period of time while appropriate remedial actions
are implemented to restore economic wellbeing.
The freeze ensures that
rising costs and imports should not be the catalyst of further inflation.
Usually, when the negotiating parties enter into a social contract, they
agree that the only permissible increases during the continuance of the
contract are to the extent that circumstances and prices beyond the country's
borders impact upon the economy as, for example, the recent upsurge in world
As a general rule, the only perceived alternative to a social
contract as can address pronounced inflation, or hyperinflation, is
for government-imposed price controls. But although organisations such as
the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe recurrently call for a reintroduction
in Zimbabwe of price controls, doing so will not contain inflation without
very severely damaging the already gravely distressed economy yet further,
while at the same time expected benefits for the consumer do not
Whensoever Zimbabwe has resorted to price controls,
intensified inflation has arisen. That this should be so is difficult to
comprehend for, if prices remain constant, how can inflation be
The answer lies very simply in the fact that invariably
commerce and industry cannot meet all operating costs and service borrowings
if their selling prices remain fixed. This is so because, unless a social
contract exists, salaries and wages continue to rise, although possibly to a
lesser extent than if price controls did not exist, in order to keep pace
with inflation, even if that inflation is slowed down.
It is also so
because there is generally continuing movement in foreign currency exchange
rates, impacting upon the costs of imports.
As a result, many
manufacturers have to discontinue production of those commodities as, in
consequence of price controls, can only be sold at a loss. Similarly, many of
those in commerce, be they wholesalers or retailers, have to discontinue
selling products if the permitted prices only yield losses.
circumstances result in pronounced shortages, and those shortages create
opportunities for black marketeers. They exploit consumer desperation to
access goods in demand but in short supply by making those goods available at
greatly inflated prices.
That causes yet further inflation. Thus, the
consumer suffers from non-availability of essential or desired products, or
from continuing inflation.
However, if a social contract exists, such
a situation does not occur. As the manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer does
not sustain increases in operating costs, all of which are frozen unless they
are imported, he has no need to increase his prices.
stability within the private sector which emanates from implementation of the
social contract should enable spending stability in the public sector, which
in turn enables the government to have a freeze on the rates applicable to
its taxes and charges for services.
If all prices remain constant, and no
greater amounts are payable to the government, labour can afford not to
receive increments for an agreed period of time, although the consequence is
that labour cannot enjoy any improvement in living standards during that
period, save in instances where labour's income is increased through
promotion to higher-paid job functions.
But succeeding in reaching
agreement of a social contract is only possible if all parties negotiate in
utmost good faith. There has to be genuine dialogue between the participants
in the negotiations.
Those negotiations have to be conducted with
absolute transparency and with a real intent of all to arrive at a workable,
constructive agreement. That agreement has to include a fixed period of time,
whereafter there must be review and, if necessary, modification.
agreement must be explicit as to the nature and extent of the freezes
of prices, wages, salaries, taxes and governmental service charges. It must
be precise as to when any increases during the agreed period may be
effected, the circumstances as must prevail to enable such increases to be
effected, and the basis of determining the amounts of the increases. It must
also prescribe the extent, if any, of reciprocal increases as may then
be implemented by the other parties.
To create an environment which
would make it possible for agreement to be reached, the negotiations must be
devoid of political considerations. Irrespective of whether it is the
government, labour or other elements of the private sector, if a genuine
desire exists to conclude a social contract, all political considerations
must be put aside.
The negotiations must be driven exclusively by a
mutuality of intent that inflation be brought firmly under control, that the
continuing decline of the economy be halted, and that instead the economy be
set upon a steady path of restoration, followed by growth.
all sessions of the negotiations should be chaired by a wholly independent,
but suitably knowledgeable person who is totally detached from Zimbabwean
politics, from Zimbabwean trade union issues and conflicts and from
Zimbabwe's private sector vested interests.
That chairman must also be
able to instil in the negotiating parties a sense of great urgency, and a
realisation of the magnitude of the responsibility of each of them to bring
the negotiations to a successful conclusion, in the best interests of the
Zimbabwean populace, present and future.
In view of the government being
the party to the negotiations that, first and foremost, is responsible for
Zimbabwean wellbeing, an essential element of which is a sound, stable and
growing economy, it must set the example, even before the negotiations are
completed. In doing so, it would demonstrate its good faith which,
heretofore, has been doubted by the other parties and by a great number of
Zimbabweans. It would be establishing examples to be followed by the
Thus, for example, it should establish policy consistency. How
can it justify sourcing of its foreign currency requirements by persisting
in demanding of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that it force exporters
to surrender 25% of export earnings at a spurious, grossly
sub-economic exchange rate of $824 to US$1, while at the same time it exacts
customs duties and value-added tax from importers at the weighted average
auction exchange rate, which is six times the rate at which it sources its
currency. Clearly that which is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the
Similarly, to cite a second example, how does the government
conceivably justify increases in charges by the Registrar of Companies for
the incorporation of companies and for the registration of mandatory
company returns when the magnitude of the increases generally ranges from 1
000% to 2 000%?
In other words, the increases are far beyond actual
inflation, and are totally unrelated to the costs of providing the Registrar
of Companies' services. Moreover, the increases are of such a magnitude as to
create a major hurdle to the creation of new enterprises, which is key to
carried in the official media yesterday denouncing Sky News for putting
questions to President Mugabe that were "either very crude or very stupid"
expose significant tensions in policy-making at the very apex of the ruling
Jonathan Moyo's remarks, carried in the Herald, reveal a seething
resentment of those who facilitated the interview. "Told you so," seems to be
the message to those who believed this would be a useful platform. Clearly,
Moyo does not regard the interview as a resounding success.
So who set
it up? Sky News has privately acknowledged that Ugandan researcher David
Nyekorach-Matsanga facilitated the Sky News crew's initial trip which focused
on the youth training camps and land reform. But the network's website makes
it clear that the ruling party itself was keen to have Mugabe interviewed
because it was felt he could effectively rebut some of the charges about his
leadership and Zimbabwe's current predicament.
The ruling party's
secretary for information and publicity Dr Nathan Shamuyarira has been linked
in media reports to this initiative. But the Department of Information
officiously sought to involve itself by laying down the law of accreditation.
The Sky News crew entered the country "illegally", we are told, at the end of
April "before securing accreditation and despite advice from the Department
of Information and Publicity".
The department had "strongly objected to
the arrival of the crew before agreement on the proposed documentary project
featuring the president".
So it would be fair to conclude from this that
the Sky News crew had a sponsor who was more influential than the
department's presidential gate-keepers. Despite the department's attempts to
block an interview with the president until the team had applied from London,
Sky's home base, permission was quickly forthcoming without the ground rules
some of Mugabe's mandarins were apparently seeking to impose. These included
a co-production with Newsnet, one of the state's propaganda
There seems to have been an expectation that the exercise was
aimed at "countering the negative publicity the country has been
receiving", according to state media reports.
But it was unlikely from
the outset that Sky would lend itself to a project aimed at whitewashing a
terminally-tainted regime. In the event the interview went ahead and Mugabe
was asked the sort of questions that any self-respecting reporter would put
to him on governance, food production, torture and retirement.
significantly, it was a question on the succession issue which seems to have
stung Moyo the most. The interviewer, Stuart Ramsay, cited Moyo as his source
in asking Mugabe about the succession issue causing ructions within the
ruling party. Moyo said he had never spoken to Sky or anyone about
the succession issue.
"It is a total fabrication typical of British
intelligence operatives who masquerade as journalists," Moyo said.
it seriously suggested that the president knowingly gave an interview
to British intelligence officers? If so, he was evidently impervious to
Moyo cites as his ideal of a presidential interview the
vacuous exchange with Newsnet in February when Mugabe emerged unmolested by a
single challenging question. This "travelled instantly", we are told,
although it is not clear where.
The Department of Information has
recently been engaged in energetic efforts to establish a regional network of
state propaganda instruments that will exchange suitably panel-beaten reports
on how well their respective governments are doing. This attempt to revive
the discredited New World Information Order is likely to meet the same fate.
There is no longer in the age of the Internet a market for dissembling
state-generated claims that the public can easily see through. New Ziana and
Newsnet are already suffering from a credibility crisis as nobody takes their
Moyo's invective against the Sky News team is
understandable. While Mugabe may be used to answering "stupid questions", he
did not appear so effective in dealing with the latest batch.
this episode tells us is that there are significant differences of opinion in
the upper echelons of the ruling party over how to counter what the regime
sees as a media campaign against it. This in turn is linked to jockeying for
advantage as the succession issue assumes growing importance.
agrees to do no further interviews with what Moyo calls
"colonial mouthpieces" like Sky, CNN and the BBC, believing the new networks
the Information department has created will have an Al Jezeera effect, then
the likely outcome will be further isolation.
The comparison with Al
Jezeera is simply laughable given the clumsiness of Zimbabwe's propaganda
machine and the ineptitude of its handlers. Newsnet is no Al Jezeera. And no
amount of regional bartering of information is going to disguise Zimbabwe's
"real story" which Zimbabweans themselves are only too familiar with. Thanks
to Sky News, millions more around the world now see the real picture: a
leadership in denial about food shortages and brutality, bereft of ideas and
capable only of lashing out against its critics.
IT is remarkable how deceitful propaganda feeds on itself. From
the suggestion that Zimbabwe can expect a bumper harvest, we have now moved
to the claim that the country has already reaped a bumper
Monday's Herald told us Zimbabweans had something to celebrate
on Africa Day.
"After all, the rainy season has been good and there
has been a bumper harvest."
So, it's no longer wishful thinking, it's
And we now have the first diplomat to fall for this phoney
forecast. India's new ambassador to Harare, Ajit Kumar, told journalists
after his meeting with Vice-President Joseph Msika that India was happy that
"this year Zimbabwe was going to have a bumper harvest".
understand the importance of being diplomatic. But swallowing hook, line and
sinker the mendacious claims of the regime when every single analyst -
including UN agencies - has expressed scepticism about those claims is
Let's hope Mr Kumar is able to explain himself when the
famine figures start coming in. To date India's "support" for Zimbabwe's land
reform programme has involved supplying rice to supplement falling maize
We appreciate that caged parrots such as Caesar Zvayi and
Lowani Ndlovu are obliged to squawk on behalf of their masters. But it would
be helpful that when doing so they could make an attempt to get elementary
Ndlovu for instance appears to think South Africa was first
colonised in 1852. And he expects us to support him in this
The Zimbabwe Independent, among other "running dogs of the
apartheid press", would have you believe, he claimed on Sunday, "the absolute
colonial rubbish that South Africa has been independent since
We don't recall having mentioned this at any point. But if we had,
we would be unlikely to have got the date wrong by 200 years!
"O" Level student could tell Ndlovu, South Africa was first colonised by the
Dutch in 1652. The Sunday Mail columnist managed to get the date wrong five
times in his article without a single editorial intervention!
is not alone in his ignorance. On April 25, Tafataona Mahoso told us South
Africa was in 1948 a "self-governed (sic) British colony".
with the facts enabled him to proceed to claim that Britain, as a signatory
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "would not have allowed its
star colony, South Africa, to proclaim apartheid at exactly the same time as
the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights if that
document had been about human rights and if it had been
That would be a plausible argument if South Africa
had indeed been a British colony in 1948. But in fact it had succeeded from
colonial status to dominion status in 1910 and under the terms of the Statute
of Westminster in 1931 had become a fully sovereign state. As was the case
with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1948,
Britain could not intervene in its internal affairs.
No doubt, in the
spirit of Third Chimurenga generalisation which last week saw Nathaniel
Manheru contemptuously dismissing the publication of phoney pictures as
inconsequential to his wider claims about the British and Americans in Iraq,
Mahoso would argue that this is all a quibble; that the Afrikaner Nationalist
government of DF Malan, which was bitterly anti-British, was in reality a
British colonial front.
But as no South African historian has yet
advanced such an imaginative theory, we should not entertain
It does at least usefully illustrate how those responsible for
policing the media are able to get away with significant distortions of the
record for the sake of their threadbare arguments.
Still with Mahoso's
distortions, we should note that Chengetai Zvauya, Andy Moyse and Clive
Wilson were acquitted in the High Court last week. The three were charged
with criminal defamation after the Standard in 2000 carried a story claiming
the constitutional commission printed its report before consultations were
completed. We recall Patrick Chinamasa inviting others to feed at the state's
trough - ie join in the lawsuit. Jonathan Moyo testified against them,
claiming his credibility as the commission's spokesman was
Mahoso predetermined their fate by regarding the trio as
convicted when in fact their appeal had suspended their convictions. He was
asked last year in court at the Daily News hearing if he was aware that the
case was under appeal. He said he wasn't.
Is he now aware the three
were acquitted last week? Or is he still not paying attention to inconvenient
Muckraker roared with laughter on Saturday when he saw the coward
Manheru telling Roy Bennett he was lucky that "I, Nathaniel, the son of
Manheru", was not in parliament on the day of the fracas with Patrick
"As we say in Shona, he would have seen it."
Nathaniel? You and whose army? Because like all Zanu PF cowards you would
never act unless you had the instruments of state power backing you up. We
know all about your kind of bravery. We have seen it in Joseph Mwale's
exploits. We have seen it in the workers dumped on the roadside
We have seen it in the vicious abuse of decent principled men
such as Desmond Tutu and Pius Ncube who cannot reply to your facile insults -
or "insulations" as you ineptly wrote last week. We have seen it in the
blatant lies peddled every week in your semi-literate column over which your
supine editors appear to have no jurisdiction.
We have on record your
threat that "Bennett's jaws and all should just have been broken in swift and
overwhelming vengeance". That you believe in violence is not in doubt. But
should the Minister of Justice accept the protection of one so brave that he
could not even admit his authorship of the column from which he waves his
It was instructive to read Witness Mangwende's remarks made
outside parliament last Thursday to stir up the hired mob that was trucked in
to exp ress their wrath over the assault on Chinamasa. Mangwende, and Mike
Madiro in Mutare, were strident in telling Roy Bennett where he could not set
foot again. All sorts of threats were made against Bennett by these
fiery zealots. Even William Nhara was photographed waving his fists
What have these three got in common?
They are losers.
Mangwende's career has been in steady decline since the heady days when he
was Foreign minister in the early 1980s. We all recall the incident with
Jimmy Carter! Since then he has fetched up at the department dealing with war
veterans where even the kindest observer would be hard-put to use the word
Now he has been rescued from obscurity by President Mugabe and
put in charge of Harare. Apart from subverting democratic governance in the
capital, he clearly thinks the job description involves hurling abuse at MPs
who, unlike him, were actually elected to parliament.
Mike Madiro lost
the 2000 contest for Mutare South. William Nhara lost a by-election bid for
Harare Central last year. Yet they have the cheek to tell Bennett where he
can and cannot go!
Nothing more clearly illustrates the intolerant and
anti-democratic character of the ruling party than these popularly rejected
demagogues attempting to forbid the access of an elected MP to his
constituency and to parliament.
It might be worth recording what
Chinamasa actually said last Tuesday that caused the furore in the first
place. This is how Hansard recorded his remarks about Bennett: "He forgets
that his forefathers were thieves. And he forgets that what he owns - the
whole of Chimanimani - was not because of his intelligence but was a legacy
... That is an inheritance of stolen wealth accumulated over a
century-and-a-half. I want to warn him that we have taken over Charleswood
Farm, and he must not set foot again on that ground.
"Bennett - I hope
you are listening. Your forefathers were thieves whether they came here in
1890 or stayed in England."
In fact Bennett bought Charleswood Farm in
1983 with a certificate of No Present Interest from the government. The
property comprises 7 000 acres, of which 300 are arable and the remainder
mountainside. Hardly the whole of Chimanimani! And he consulted extensively
among the local community before buying the farm. They have supported him
through thick and thin. And now Zanu PF losers say he can't go back to his
Didymus Mutasa, as always, managed to brighten things up with some
suitably daft remarks. He was accused by Bennett of kicking him from behind,
a move many would consider a good exhibition of Zanu PF bravery.
by VoA if he had in fact kicked Bennett, Mutasa replied:
restraining him from beating up a member of parliament. You don't just wait
there when a mad man is charging at you. It's true. I kicked him very hard.
What's wrong with that?"
Interviewer: "Some would ask that you could have
restrained yourself just like you are asking Mr Bennett to restrain
Mutasa: "Why? Because I am a black man?"
"No - because you are a minister and an honourable member
Mutasa: "Exactly, and that is what honour is all
about. You don't just stand there watching a fellow minister being
Asked whether people should take the law into their own hands,
now that it appeared Bennett's safety was in question, Mutasa replied:
"That's what he was looking for, so he's going to have it. It's his fault.We
are just letting the events unfold in the country, and if the people go
violent against Bennett, and if he gets hurt in the process, it is his own
outlook. That is what he has been inviting and he's going to have
And this is a senior government minister, we need to remind
There appear to be strenuous efforts by Zanu PF to justify its
usurpation of the powers of MDC executive mayors in Bulawayo and Harare. The
Sunday Mail ran a story about a celebration in Harare on Saturday to mark
the appointment of Witness Mangwende as resident minister and governor of
This became an opportunity for Local Government minister
Ignatius Chombo to sing Mangwende's praises. He said Mangwende's appointment
was "key to the restoration of Harare's former glory as the Sunshine
This miraculous rebirth would be achieved through
coordinated infrastructural development and maintenance, said Chombo. He
didn't say why central government had not released those resources to a
popularly elected council or in what respect former mayor Elias Mudzuri had
failed. Isn't it true that residents' interests are being sacrificed to
massage Zanu PF's inordinately huge ego after losing control of the city to
the opposition MDC?
In typical Zanu PF electioneering propaganda,
residents were promised that their transport problems "would soon be a thing
of the past". Government was going to purchase 150 buses and 65 commuter
omnibuses through the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company.
Is this the
same outfit run by one Bright Matonga which managed to purchase only 49 buses
from the projected 200 last year? Has there been a change of management since
Matonga was taken to court on accusations of abusing public funds meant for
the purchase of Kopolo buses?
Of course it would be too much to expect a
Sunday Mail reporter to ask any of these inconvenient questions. It's easier
for him to swallow the propaganda and then regurgitate it for their gullible
Did you notice the bottle of mineral water sitting beside
President Mugabe during his Sky News interview? Evidently the president
shares with us a distrust of Harare's water supply. But how many people can
afford the alternatives?
Multiple exchange rates hurt Zesa Ngoni
Chanakira THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) says the use of
multiple exchange rates for its services is among the major constraints
hampering efficiency at the parastatal.
Zesa general manager
(corporate affairs) Obert Nyatanga said the parastatal was faced with
multiple exchange rates for pre-payment of current electricity imports,
arrears on imports, spares, operational and maintenance works, as well as
value added tax on imports.
"The many exchange rates used are
affecting us," he said. "We have the rate used by Zimra which is $3 875. Then
we have the official exchange rate which depends on the auction rate of the
day, and then we have the parallel market rate which is used when we source
spares from other players in the industry."
The Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) is now using the going rate which stood at $5 331,79 on
This is the rate that Zesa uses but it can change everytime
an auction is held.
Nyatanga said the RBZ should prioritise
foreign currency for Zesa imports because it is an essential
Before the introduction of the monetary policy statement by
the new governor Gideon Gono, Zesa was given priority on foreign currency
This was however reversed when he took over in December
The RBZ claims however that it still gives Zesa a priority on
the auction floors.
"We need prioritisation on the auction
floors," Nyatanga said. "We are not always given first preference. They
should prioritise the queuing system in use."
He said the
parastatal was in serious need of foreign currency for prepayment of current
imports, increase in arrears due to non-payment, inability to service
existing debt, and to secure spare parts for its dilapidated
Zesa's total electricity import arrears stand at US$56
million, down from US$109,7 million last year.
Total arrears on
the Zesa bills stand at $58,8 billion as at May 20, with some over 90
New farmers impinge on mining Godfrey Marawanyika A
PARLIAMENTARY Committee on Mines, Energy, Environment and Tourism has raised
concern on the effects of land reform which it says is now causing friction
between miners and new farmers.
The committee has accused the new farmers
of plotting to take over mines.
In a report the committee said the
problem, which is mostly prevalent in Kadoma and Masvingo districts, seemed
to emanate from the subdivision of large commercial farms into smallholder
plots under the A1 model.
"Most of the land has been reduced to less
than 100 hectares. Previously the farmer and the miner could coexist without
much friction as the farmer could utilise one area while the miner could peg
the remaining unutilised areas of the farm," the report said.
some instances, the miners had acquired mining rights before the land reform
and new farmers now showing interest in mining as well are threatening to
take over mines."
In its first report, the 12-member committee
chaired by Gabbuza Joel Gabuza of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
said in some cases the miner had to peg in small farmers' plots by consent
upon discovery of the claim, adding that in such cases consent was reached on
condition the two enter into a joint venture.
therefore, need for the Act to be amended to provide for a framework for the
two to co-exist in harmony under the new farming dispensation," the report
Gabuza's team also raised concern on the wanton destruction of
the environment by alluvial gold panners whose operations it says need to
be "reined in".
The probe team said there was lack of monitoring
of gold panning along major rivers by local authorities, which they viewed as
the training ground for illegal mining activities.
was informed that the Statutory Instrument restricts panning activities to
certain areas along the rivers, which might not necessarily contain the
mineral and therefore faces resistance from panners," the
"There was therefore need to put in place effective
enforcement mechanism in terms of implementing the statutory
The committee recommended that there was a need for the
amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act, which should be synchronised with
those of the Environment Management Act.
"Judging by the nature of
concerns raised by the various stakeholders, it is evident the Mines and
Minerals Act in the present form is flawed in most respects and hence
management to some provisions would enable it to be user-friendly
legislation," the report said.
The land reform has been marred by
lawlessness. The international community has condemned the violent and
discriminatory land reform. President Robert Mugabe has however insisted that
the reform is beneficial to locals.
Robertson defends parallel market culprits Ngoni
Chanakira ECONOMIST John Robertson has come out strongly in favour of foreign
currency trading on the parallel market, saying government should not
penalise individuals who conducted their affairs on this market because they
were doing it for the benefit of the nation.
Robertson said parallel
market rates came into use at a number of official levels that validated the
use of the rates by others.
"Air Zimbabwe calculated airfares,
foreign embassies set visa fees and the United Nations transferred money from
external banks using the parallel market rate," Robertson said in a
presentation on foreign currency problems.
"Noczim also made use of
the parallel market to overcome fuel shortages on several occasions and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sourced money from this market to pay the German
company that printed the initial consignment of the new $1 000
He said because the parallel market rate permitted those with
foreign exchange to buy Zimbabwe dollars at a significant discount, the
market helped to attract foreign exchange into Zimbabwe in the hands of
traders and visitors, and Zimbabweans working abroad willingly sent it to
relatives and friends.
Robertson said to try to ensure that the
money would be transferred safely, they often used formal banking channels
and various internet sites that ensured the payments were made to local
"Significant proportions of all goods sold by
retailers and manufacturers were paid for with money earned abroad, and most
of this money would not have been brought or sent into the country if the
rigid official rates had ruled for its conversion into Zimbabwe dollars," he
Robertson said all of this activity arose from the distortions
that were injected into the financial system through the adoption by the
authorities of unworkable, irrational and illogical exchange rate
"The faults lay entirely with the policy-makers, not with
the individuals who found they could take advantage of the gaps opened up by
imposed distortions," he said. "Government should now accept full
responsibility for the entirely predictable behaviour patterns that emerged.
Its own active involvement in the parallel market was ample proof of the
inadequacy of the laid-down policy directives and the maintenance of these
defective measures year-after-year is proof of the incompetence of the
Robertson said any move at this stage to penalise
businesses or individuals that were forced to use the parallel market to buy
or sell foreign exchange, whether for survival or for profit, whether
willingly or under duress, should be immediately ruled out of
"Government has the only case to answer, as it was never given
the mandate to create impossible conditions for citizens engaged in normal
business activities," he said.
NMB Ltd bosses Julius Makoni and
James Mushore fled the country after government accused them of externalising
foreign currency among other issues.
They too contend they are not
guilty of the charges.
Poor Zimbabwe image haunts hoteliers Ngoni
Chanakira LEADING hotel and leisure group Zimsun Ltd says Zimbabwe's
poor international image continues to be a challenge and is seriously
affecting business in the tourism sector.
The sentiments come at a
time when the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has been high-profiling the
country's allegedly impressive tourist figures, saying Zimbabwe was headed
for a tourism boom.
Judging from Zimsun's comments in its annual
results for the audited period ended March 31, the situation on the ground as
regards tourists and cashflow, is very different from official
Turnover at Zimsun grew by 434% to $43,218 billion while
occupancies weakened by 3% to 42% compared to the prior
Foreign arrivals contributed 25% of room nights, a marginal
decline compared to 27% last year.
Zimsun chief executive officer
Shingi Munyeza said however these arrivals only contributed 39% to overall
revenues, receding from 56% in the prior year, a direct result of the
unfavourable exchange rate that prevailed in the second
Munyeza is also Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT)
Zimsun foreign revenues grew by 286% over the period,
falling far short of year-on-year inflation levels.
posted a profit of $3,402 billion, a virtual standstill position compared to
the prior year.
"Such profit was attained primarily in the first half
of the year, as in prior years and as is normal for the Zimbabwean tourism
industry, patronage is relatively lethargic in the second half of the year,"
Munyeza told shareholders this week.
"The poor international image
continues to be a challenge. Remarkable strides have been taken to return the
economy to some semblance of normalcy and a renewed commitment on the part of
the authorities to contain inflation is evident," Munyeza said. "One can only
hope that such commitment will be taken the full mile, otherwise the gains
made so far will be reversed momentarily. Unless inflation is contained,
exchange rate stability will remain elusive. Foreign arrivals which in the
past contributed significantly to group profits may become even less
Munyeza said he hoped the hosting of the soccer World
Cup in 2010 by South Africa would further bring a positive awareness to the
sub-region with immediate effect.
Zimsun, through its wholly-owned
subsidiary, African Sun Ltd, recently acquired the lease and operating
business of The Grace in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
The hotel is a
five-star, 75-roomed property.
The acquisition was by way of an
offshore funding structure and took effect on April 1.
said the acquisition would help move the group into the South African
"This will go a long way in diluting negative perceptions on
the region," he said on Wednesday.
Munyeza said patronage from
traditional source markets had remained depressed.
has contracted, reportedly by 6%, following the Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (Sars) outbreak earlier in the year and threats of further attacks,
compounded by a general loss of confidence in the aftermath of the Iraq war,"
Munyeza said the general loss of confidence precipitated by
the financial crisis in the last quarter had not spared the
"By the end of the year, domestic tourism, which over the
years had grown in significance, had shrunk by 21% compared to prior year,"
"Limited air access to the Victoria Falls and the fuel shortages
experienced during the period, also contributed to the decline in domestic
patronage. Collectively, hyperinflation pressures, the financial crisis and
the implementation of the new monetary policies further toughened the
operating environment in the last quarter."
Munyeza said in
addition, as the exchange rate struggled to keep pace with inflation during
the second half of the year, export performance was
"A weakening of the local currency experienced
after April, together with export incentives introduced in May, are a welcome
dose of relief to the industry, although more is needed," he said.
Absurd to play rough and tough while nation
I AM yet to meet a Zimbabwean who doesn't hope for a better
future for Zimbabwe. Everyday, thousands of miles away from home, we remain
Zimbabweans to the very core and always look forward to reading the good news
from our sweet motherland.
It is because of this natural fondness for
my country that I read with excitement and joy a recent report in the Herald
saying that for the first time in three years Zimbabwe was not going to
import any food because there was enough for everyone. (Actually, I don't
remember the Herald ever admitting Zimbabwe was importing food, but I didn't
A government minister was quoted confirming this, and added
that donors need not worry about Zimbabwe anymore.
reading conflicting reports from other media, and after Muckraker's reminder
of Joseph Made's similar remarks last year, I was naturally disappointed that
I had celebrated prematurely. Why, for goodness sake, would anyone want to
play macho at the expense of people's lives?
I know it would not do Zanu
PF any good to appear to be beggars after pulling out of the Commonwealth and
deciding we could do it alone.
We know there are instances where
personal egos would let us stretch our abilities to the very
Any young man who has ever dated a woman would surely testify
that sometimes being tough and rough might gain you an extra point or two.
However, where people's lives are concerned, I do not believe it is wise to
pretend all is well when it is not.
Whether Zimbabwe's foot
shortages were caused by drought or by Zanu PF's pathetic land reform
programme doesn't matter.
What matters is that people are starving
and they are going to die, unless they eat. We need all the help we can get.
We can play rough and tough in times of plenty, but where people's lives are
concerned, it would be absurd to feign invincibility.
And I wonder
too if the people at the Herald have any morals. Surely, how can they mislead
I WISH to
open debate on whether the time is now right for Zimbabwe to consider
introducing a new currency - my suggestion the New Zim dollar worth $1 000 -
in light of our runaway inflation.
On a change-over date, say January 1
2005, all bank accounts would be quoted in the new
Naturally, extensive education campaigns will be required
as well as a transition period where people can bank-exchange their old notes
for new. Obviously many technical issues will need to be ironed out to ensure
a successful transition. However, I am sure the Reserve Bank is
perfectly capable of managing such an exercise.
I cannot be the
only one who considers the mind-boggling numbers that we are talking about
these days to be ludicrous. Let us restore some sanity to our financial
astounded to read that Zimbabwe would not require any food aid in
the 2004/2005 season.
Having visited Zimbabwe in April and travelled
on the Harare/Mutare, Harare/Bulawayo and Harare/Kariba road I am gobsmacked
by the claim that the grain harvest will be about 2,4 million
In 2000 the Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made claimed that
he had flown all over the country and the evidence on the ground pointed to a
bumper harvest. The out-turn was disastrous.
A joke doing the
rounds here in the UK is in 2000 Minister Made mistook the Msasa trees for
maize but in 2004 he has mistaken both the Msasa trees and grass for maize.
With such incompetent people at the helm who needs enemies?
whole fiasco reminds me of one Lovegot Tendengu pontificating that he was "Mr
Tobacco" and the 2003/2004 season's output would be 200 million kgs. The
out-turn was a miserable 60 million kgs. At least Tendengu has had the sense
to keep his little gob shut this year.
Wetherell SKY News' interview with President Mugabe has certainly received
wide coverage. But it did nothing to enhance his standing with the
network's viewers, according to a survey.
The interview, conducted
last Friday by Sky's Africa correspondent Stuart Ramsay, was broadcast four
times on Monday and again in the early hours of Tuesday. It was also reported
in the international press and reproduced in our local state
In Sky's post-interview poll where viewers respond to a
specific question, 86% said they did not find Mugabe convincing. That was by
yesterday, up from 67% after the initial broadcast!
The result is
hardly surprising. Mugabe was less than credible. For instance he suggested
that the opposition "get their voices heard in parliament" just a day after
Zanu PF officials threatened MP Roy Bennett with dire consequences if he set
foot either in parliament or his constituency again.
The president said
there was more violence emanating from the MDC than Zanu PF, a claim unlikely
to succeed given the evidence on the ground.
On Tuesday it was reported
that a senior CIO officer was instrumental in the 2000 petrol bomb attack in
Buhera on Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika. We still don't know the result
of police investigations into the torture of Job Sikhala and Gabriel Shumba,
And who is likely to accept the president's claim that
polling stations in Harare in 2002 were closed early because people were
trying to vote more than once? Has that been mentioned in any official
"All the African groups pronounced the election fair," the
No they didn't. Sadc's parliamentary forum
said the conduct of the 2002 poll did not meet its electoral norms and
standards. I recall the Ghanaian observer mission saying something similar.
And the Commonwealth observer mission, headed by a former Nigerian leader,
was very clear on the poll's shortcomings.
Generally, it can be
said, Mugabe's answers were unsatisfactory. He was delusional about crop
production, in denial about violence and abusive about critics such as
Desmond Tutu and Pius Ncube.
Attacking Tutu in the way he did ("an
angry, evil and embittered little bishop") will have been counter-productive.
Tutu is a much-loved icon of the struggle against apartheid both in South
Africa and internationally. It is not for Zimbabwean leaders to question his
When confronted by evidence of children at Porta Farm school
surviving on aid from international donors, Mugabe suggested the headmaster
must have said that because "he knows your mentality, the mentality of the
whites, it is always negative."
That sort of remark may play well
in Zvimba but it will have gone down like a lead balloon internationally. Who
is advising Mugabe in all this? Not being able to provide a figure for
expenditure on his Borrowdale mansion - a gift from the party - was
inadequate by any standard, especially in an era of acute housing shortages,
and has raised a host of new questions which the Malaysians, among others,
are having to parry.
The government press exposed a power play ahead
of the interview in which the ruling party's information chief, Nathan
Shamuyarira, backed the interview while officials in the Department of
Information opposed it.
"It seems that the real movers behind this
interview were from Zanu PF itself," Ramsay commented on Sky News'
"For many months it had been intimated to us that Zanu PF
had been concerned about the image of both the country and the party to the
Ramsay said he met senior figures who believe the
country can be turned around.
"They also believe one of their best
assets is the President himself - when allowed to talk at
"Certainly the Ministry of Information and the President's
top adviser on the media, Professor Jonathan Moyo, had taken a different
line. They prefer to keep foreign journalists out of the country and the
President under wraps.
"But this time they
Moyo expressed his frustration in yesterday's Herald
accusing Sky News of "premeditated malice".
I think those who
opposed the interview were probably right in their concerns. Mugabe is no
longer the suave and self-confident interviewee he once was. And he was not
on top form last Friday when the interview was recorded. He appeared wan and
He interrupted questions too quickly (which local interviewers
would never dare do with him!). And his speech was occasionally
The habit of suddenly leaning forward to reply to
questions he didn't like gave an impression of menace rather than
self-assurance. And his hearing seemed to be defective at
Frankly I think the interview with Supa Mandiwanzira last year
was more revealing in terms of the questions asked and the replies given. But
it is significant that no journalist from the independent press or
foreign correspondent based here has been allowed to interview the president
for several years now.
I can't believe the president is scared of
us, but his handlers obviously are!
Ramsay is not an experienced
Zimbabwe-watcher. As a result he gave a few hostages to fortune (not knowing
exactly how much Britain paid for land redistribution). But he did a great
job in raising the right issues and situating Zimbabwe back on the
We can safely assume that is where those who
opposed the interview hoped it wouldn't end up.