Residents plead for weapons to fight Mugabe Mon 30 May
MUTARE - Residents in Zimbabwe's eastern Mutare city - driven
to desperation after their informal businesses were destroyed by the
government - pleaded for weapons at the weekend to wage war against the
government because they were just "fed up."
Several hundreds of
residents, who attended a meeting held at Sakubva Beit Hall in the working
class suburb of Sakubva in the city, told local Member of Parliament,
Innocent Gonese, to source guns for them to fight the
Even the presence of the police at the meeting did
not deter the irate residents with several standing up to openly declare
they would rather die trying to "remove President Robert Mugabe from power"
because they had nothing to live for after their only source of livelihood
was destroyed in the ongoing controversial campaign by the government to
clean up cities.
"We want you to provide us with guns because we
are fed up," a middle aged man rose from the crowd to declare
With the angry crowd urging him on, the man
continued: "This government has no respect for the people. Our houses have
been destroyed, our businesses have also gone. We have nothing to live for.
We are prepared to die removing Mugabe. We don't want to hear all this talk
of going to court (to sue for compensation from the state)."
Gonese, a lawyer and a senior member of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, had trouble trying to calm down the residents
who wanted him to say whether his party was prepared to lead an armed
resistance against the government.
"Going to the bush (to wage a
guerrilla war against Mugabe) is not the solution," the legislator tried to
explain. "Of course we have a wicked government but we should seek legal
recourse. That is the best solution," he said.
More than 18 000
people have been arrested and goods worth several hundreds of millions of
dollars destroyed in a crackdown against informal traders and homeless
people that began in Harare two weeks ago and has now been widened to
include other cities and towns.
The government says the campaign is
meant to rid cities of filthy and crime particularly the illegal black
market which it says was thriving among informal traders.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of unleashing the police against
residents in urban centres, all of them strongholds of the opposition, to
punish voters there for backing the MDC in last March's disputed general
The opposition leader has also accused Mugabe of wanting
to provoke spontaneous and violent reactions by residents so he could find a
pretext to declare a State of Emergency and rule by decree.
With tension rising across the country especially in Harare where some
residents fought running battles with the police, Mugabe last Friday openly
declared he was behind the crackdown against informal traders and homeless
As Mugabe spoke, armoured cars and heavily armed
soldiers rolled into several suburbs in Harare last Friday to help suppress
swelling anger against the clean-up operation.
majority of Zimbabweans survive on informal trading while most of those
still holding on to formal jobs must also engage in informal trading to
boost up inflation-eroded incomes. Zimbabwe's inflation is pegged at 129.1
percent while unemployment is about 70 percent.
In nearly every
city, authorities say at least a quarter of residents stay in illegal wooden
shacks, which the government says must all be destroyed.
example in Mutare city, Zimbabwe's fourth largest city, the city council
says there are less than 30 000 legal housing structures and the rest of the
city's estimated 1.5 million people live in wooden shacks.
weekend, several thousands of families in the city had to sleep in the open
after their dwellings were destroyed by the police.
MDC national council yesterday released a statement calling on Zimbabweans
to mobilise against the government.
"We call on all Zimbabweans to
mobilise against this assault on their dignity, livelihoods and well-being.
The National Council is calling upon all Zimbabweans to contribute to the
struggle," read part of a statement by party spokesman Paul Themba
The opposition party, blamed by critics of being as lost as
the government about how to rescue the country from a deepening economic and
political crisis, did not say how exactly ordinary Zimbabweans must
contribute to the "struggle."
The MDC statement did not also
indicate whether the party had any specific programme to help aggrieved
citizens assert their rights in the face of the government's clean-up
operation. - ZimOnline
Several women protesters arrested Mon 30 May 2005
BULAWAYO - Several women from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activist
group were arrested on Saturday in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of
Bulawayo for demonstrating against the rising cost of living.
Jenny Williams, the leader of the group said the women were arrested as soon
as they began to march in protest against the rising cost of living, hunger
and food shortages in the country.
"We were demonstrating against
the rising prices of almost everything and the current food shortages,"
Under Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security
Act, it is illegal to organise demonstrations or meetings to discuss
politics without police approval. The women were still being detained
yesterday after spending the night in the cells.
group has organised several protests in the past against Zimbabwe's
deteriorating political and economic crisis. But the Harare authorities have
cracked down hard on the protesters accusing the group of harbouring a
Meanwhile, WOZA has urged all Zimbabweans to join
them in a peaceful mass action to coincide with the United Nations World
Refugee Day on June 18. The group says the protest will highlight to the
world that Zimbabweans are living as refugees in their own
"We have especially selected this day as Zimbabweans are
living as refugees in their own country as they can no longer earn an honest
living through trade," said Williams. - ZimOnline
ZANU PF to introduce 65-member Senate Mon 30 May 2005
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF will use its two-thirds
parliamentary majority to introduce a 65-member Senate when Parliament opens
next month. Parliament opens on June 28.
Sources yesterday told
ZimOnline that the party's politburo and central committee unanimously
agreed at meetings held last week to use the party's overwhelming majority
to railroad constitutional amendments to create the Senate, first alluded to
by Mugabe during campaigning in the run-up to last March's disputed general
At the time, Mugabe said the Senate would be an
opportunity for ZANU PF members who would have lost in the March 31 ballot
to still have a chance to get into Parliament.
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday told ZimOnline: "As a progressive
party, we always look for ways which make the party move ahead and rule
effectively. If the Senate can make the people of Zimbabwe happier or better
off, it shall be there. We are the people's party, we do what makes them
happy. On your question (about establishment of Senate), we shall issue a
statement in due course."
According to the sources, Mugabe shall
nominate five individuals of his choice to the senate. He already appoints
eight provincial governors and 12 unelected legislators to Zimbabwe's
current single chamber House, which shall be maintained as a lower House of
The re-introduction of the Senate, abolished in 1990,
will expand the already bloated bureaucracy to 215 legislators for a
population of only 12.5 million people.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and civic groups have in the past
called on Mugabe and ZANU PF not to use their absolute majority in
Parliament to unilaterally re-write the country's constitution, instead
calling for an all stakeholder-driven constitutional reform exercise. -
Church leaders rap crackdown Mon 30 May 2005 HARARE -
Church leaders have condemned the ongoing crackdown which has seen armed
police demolish illegal structures in urban areas.
In a statement
released yesterday, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference, a grouping of
church leaders in the country, criticised the government's "Operation
Restore Order" saying it was an unjustified war against the
"We call upon this government to engage in a war against
poverty and not against the poor," said the church leaders.
government has in the last two weeks demolished illegal structures in most
urban areas and arrested over 18 000 people accused of stoking the illegal
foreign currency market. But the campaign has deteriorated into riots after
some Harare residents fought back.
Yesterday, the church leaders
said the presence of informal traders was a symptom of the country's
five-year economic crisis.
"The visibility of these street traders
is simply a manifestation of the economic depression which we are
experiencing," the statement said. "No amount of police action will sweep
this current reality under the carpet."
Zimbabwe is going through a
severe economic crisis which has forced the majority of people into the
The church, viewed as the moral voice of society,
has largely been critical of Mugabe's policies blamed for wreaking what was
once one of Africa's success stories. - ZimOnline
came under fire last week for being "callous and insensitive" to the
people's plight in the way it is carrying out "Operation Restore
Order/Murambatsvina", without offering an alternative solution. Religious
bodies, lawyers and human rights activists blasted the government saying law
enforcement agencies had been very "provocative, offensive and
unsympathetic" to the affected people.
The government during the past
two weeks launched a blitz on illegal structures, razing them to the ground,
arresting vendors and closing down flea markets around the country. The
combined operation left thousands of people without a source of
income. The blitz also rendered hundreds of people homeless after their homes
at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Tongogara, and Hatcliffe Extension and White Cliff in
Harare were razed to the ground.
The government's new farmers said
they were stranded with produce they bring to Mbare Musika because there
were no customers as a result of the clean up operation.
as far as Beatrice, Goromonzi, Murehwa and Mutoko were stranded with produce
for which they had hired trucks to deliver it to Mbare Musika.
such as Power Chipondwa, who buy the farmers' produce, said they do not
understand what the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development
stands for because it was not defending their interests.
informal traders have engaged the services of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) in their bid to sue the police and City Council for loss of
their property and business. They said they had licences which allowed them
ZLHR director Arnold Tsunga blasted the State saying it was
committing an "act of spoliation" by taking the law into its own
"Effectively, the State is at the forefront of undermining the
rule of law. In a normal situation, they should have used court remedies in
order to solve the problems but they have decided to become the accuser, the
judge and enforcement agents," he said.
The human rights lawyer said
instead of protecting citizens the State destroyed the people's sources of
livelihood, a move he said promoted anarchy in the country.
people can raise a very strong case against the State because the police had
no demolition orders from the courts. This move by the government encourages
anarchy. Where are they going to resettle the displaced people?" asked
The Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference said they were concerned
with the manner in which the combined operation was being carried out. They
said the police had displayed lack of compassion in the face of human
suffering and misery.
"Our members, who are doing pastoral work in
areas targeted by this operation, have reported that the action of the
police was very provocative, offensive and unsympathetic to the feelings of
the people ." said the pastors' conference in a statement.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) national director Alois
Chaumba condemned the manner in which the clean up exercise is being carried
Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT) director Philliat
Matsheza believes the government should have given the people enough time to
seek alternative accommodation.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer
Eldred Masunungure warned that the government blitz was bound to trigger
Zanu PF leaders involved in a scuffle By Godfrey
MASVINGO - Factionalism within the ruling Zanu PF took an ugly
twist in Masvingo last Sunday when two senior members in the provincial
leadership were involved in a scuffle in front of politburo members, The
Standard can reveal.
Sources said Masvingo South MP Walter Mzembi,
who is now seen as the de facto leader of the late Eddison Zvobgo camp and
losing candidate for Masvingo Central, Shylet Uyoyo, were at each other's
throat on Sunday at a post-mortem meeting of the recently held mayoral
election. Uyoyo belongs to a faction headed by the Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Stan Mudenge, who together with Isaiah Shumba, the
deputy Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, was in charge of the
electoral process for the ruling party during the election.
members - retired air marshal Josiah Tungamirai and former army commander,
Vitalis Zvinavashe - attended the post-mortem meeting.
Chaimiti of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), retained
the mayoral seat unopposed after the ruling party and its candidate bungled
the process at the nomination court.
Partson Muzvidziwa, who was Zanu
PF's candidate, failed to produce a valid GCE Ordinary Level certificate
with five passes.
The Standard understands that during the meeting Mzembi
blamed Mudenge's group for the ruling party's failure.
In turn, Uyoyo
allegedly accused the Mzembi's faction of links with the opposition
Infuriated by the remarks, Mzembi charged towards Uyoyo and
allegedly grabbed her by the collar. The two then started shoving each other
in front of the Politburo members.
They were, however, restrained by
Zanu PF security officials who took an irate Mzembi away while the women's
league members cooled down an equally furious Uyoyo. The circus did not end
Uyoyo then picked a fight with Zanu PF provincial secretary for
indigenisation and economic development, retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, who
allegedly shouted that Uyoyo was uneducated. But they were
The new Governor for Masvingo, Willard Chiwewe, who is tasked
with "uniting" the factious province, was a mere spectator while the drama
Queues longer as fuel crisis deepens By our own
DESPITE the release of US$18.5 million by the central bank to the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) for fuel procurement last week,
shortages continue throughout the country.
Players in the oil sector
told The Standard that it would take at least two weeks for the situation to
normalise because of the logistics of bringing in the fuel, after funds were
made available. One of the sources said: "It means the transport crisis will
continue. Industry and commerce will be grounded for the next two
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last Tuesday announced that it
had released US$18.5million to the state-controlled Noczim for the
procurement of fuel.
Francis Dzanya, an economist said the delays in
the supply of fuel were mainly logistical.
"The ships that supply
Zimbabwe with fuel could be out at sea and it is very slow to transport fuel
by road from South Africa," said Dzanya, who added that the current crisis
was due to shortage of foreign currency.
Eric Bloch, who sits on the RBZ
board, said it would take about a week from the time of making payment to
the time the fuel is delivered.
Apart from foreign currency crisis, Bloch
said, the on-going fuel crisis was caused by the government's reluctance to
increase the prices of fuels to levels that are sustainable.
fuel scarcities are partially occasioned by inadequate availability of
foreign currency but, to a much great extent, brought about by the
government's resistance to greatly required price increases," Bloch
He said Zimbabwe was one of the countries in Africa selling fuel at
"Not only has the international price of crude oil
risen by 80-100 percent over the last 12 months but, in addition, exchange
rate movements have significantly affected the transportation costs for
bringing the fuel to Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, winding queues were common
last week at the few service stations that received fuel.
As the fuel
crisis continues unabated, transport problems also intensified in most parts
of the country while industry is literally grounded.
have been aggravated by the ongoing police blitz, which has driven most
unroadworthy vehicles off the road, leaving commuters stranded.
worst affected commuters are those from Chitungwiza, Mabvuku and Norton,
whose drop-off and pick-up points are on the outskirts of the
Those who live near Harare's central business district (CBD) in
suburbs such as Hillside, Warren Park and Kambuzuma and Belvedere were
walking to and from work the whole of last week.
Efforts to get a
comment from Noczim chief executive officer, Zvinechimwe Churu, were
But Justin Mupamhanga the secretary for Energy and Power
Development told the state media last week: "We are working hand in glove
with the RBZ. It's not just about the money, but also logistics in the
However, this has not helped improve the situation as long
winding queues of vehicles waiting for the scarce commodity could be seen
stretching for up to two kilometres at the few service stations where fuel
Some motorists now leave their their cars parked at
service stations in anticipation of fuel deliveries, while in areas like
Chitungwiza at St Mary's, motorists were reportedly spending nights in the
queues. "I have been sleeping in the Kombi waiting for petrol but it has not
come" Tafadzwa Nyangande a conductor of a commuter omnibus plying the Makoni
- Chirunga route said
Central Intelligence Organisation officer who shot himself to death in
Harare more than a fortnight ago might have been implicated in the on-going
spy saga that has sucked in some prominent Zimbabweans including diplomats
and ruling Zanu PF officials, The Standard has learnt.
this newspaper have revealed that Elisha Muyemeki, a senior CIO officer, who
shot himself at his home in Mandara, Harare, two weeks ago, was being
investigated over possible links with a South African spymaster being
interrogated by Zimbabwean authorities. Muyemeki is believed to have shot
himself with his service revolver, at his home, after he had been left alone
on the premises. Zimbabwe was in December rocked by allegations that a
senior South African spymaster had successfully recruited top government and
Zanu PF officials to spy for Pretoria.
Sources in local intelligence
services last week said Muyemeki, who was under surveillance, was recently
demoted from his post for making what they said was "an elementary mistake"
of not informing his CIO seniors that he had been approached by the South
Africans to spy for them.
"He made an elementary mistake of not informing
his seniors when he was approached by the spies and for that reason he had
been going through a very tough time. I think he noticed that there were
some possible leads that would lead to his incrimination," said one
A family member last week confirmed that Muyemeki had shot
himself but could not give any more details. "He just shot himself," said
the family member, adding that she could not give out any further
The Minister of State Security Didymus Mutasa declined to
comment on the incident, referring all questions to the police and
"Go and ask those questions to the police and they
will tell you what happened. You can also go and ask the family members they
are better positioned to comment," Mutasa said before switching off his
Police spokesperson Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said he
was very busy and could not give a comment. "I am very busy today with the
operation (Operation Restore Order) and it's very difficult for me to get
information. Try next week," Mandipaka said.
diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo was early this year sentenced to six years in jail,
while Tendai Matambanadzo, a banker, and Itai Marchi, a Zanu-PF director,
were each sentenced to five years, after they were convicted of breaching
the Official Secrets Act.
The sentence came after the CIO trapped a
senior South African intelligence officer at Victoria Falls in December. The
South African is suspected of running a spy ring in Zimbabwe that involved
the likes of Dzvairo, Matambanadzo, Marchi and others.
the spymaster might have implicated Muyemeki - a former journalist in then
Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications - after intense
interrogation by Zimbabwean authorities.
Dzvairo, Marchi and Matambanadzo
had pleaded guilty to the charges at their first court appearance on 24
December, but later sought unsuccessfully to change their pleas on the
grounds that their confessions had been extracted under duress. The trial of
another suspect, Kenny Karidza, is still before the courts.
Mudede accused of electoral fraud By Valentine
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday
said it feared that Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede might have manipulated
the election material used in the 2002 Presidential election because he took
long to release the ballot boxes.
David Coltart, the MDC secretary
for legal affairs, said Mudede played his part in making sure that the
"fraud would not be exposed". "The judgement vindicates our position that
Mudede has always been a biased civil servant and worked for one political
party. Had we been able to expose this fraud early, this would mean that we
would have had new elections in three months but Mudede played his part,"
High Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee last week fined
Mudede $5 million for contempt of court after he failed to comply with
several court orders to surrender ballot materials used in the 2002
Mudede was also slapped with 60 days in prison,
which was wholly suspended for 10 days, on condition that he complies with a
court order issued to him in 2003.
Arnold Tsunga, the director of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR), said the delay by Mudede
definitely undermines the outcome of the case.
He said the delay affected
the efficiency of delivery of justice.
"It is very sad to note that a
senior government official has been found guilty of contempt of court but it
also shows the level of lawlessness on the part of our government. With this
level of lawlessness you can not expect a country to attract investment,"
He said the ongoing court case had an impact on the
legitimacy of the government.
Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, said they feared that the delay by Mudede to submit the
election materials to the courts was meant to manipulate the
"They know very well that they stole the 2002 presidential
election and there is a high probability that the materials have been
contaminated. There is no doubt that they stole the election and we believe
the ballot papers are crucial evidence," Ncube said.
He said the
judgement exposed the criminality of the State governed by thugs who have no
respect for court orders and the rule of law.
"This is not something
about the judiciary but a bad government that allows someone junior as a
registrar general to constantly defy court orders. These people should know
that justice delayed is justice denied," he said.
Justice Omerjee said Mudede was guilty of contempt of court after he ignored
several court orders issued upon him in his official capacity.
has acted with impunity and disdain. It is unbecoming of any public official
or anybody else for that matter to ignore court orders. To condone such
conduct would be to undermine public confidence in the overall
administration of justice and in particular, in the integrity and dignity of
our courts," Omerjee said.
He said Mudede was content with suggesting
a form of inspection not sanctioned by law or by any of court, as a way of
circumventing compliance with the court order.
The MDC is challenging
the outcome of the 2002 presidential election arguing that there were many
discrepancies in the figures recorded at polling stations and those
announced by the registrar general's office.
Firms shut down at a trot in former heavy industry hub By
GWERU - Several companies based in the Midlands
province have fallen victim to Zimbabwe's six-year-old economic crisis,
which is taking a heavy toll on the crisis-wrecked southern African
Some manufacturing, agricultural and mining companies operating
here are closing shop or scaling down operations and failing to pay their
workers adequate severance and retrenchment packages, a development that is
set to create more unemployment. More than 600 chrome miners at Madhatter
Mining Company in Shurugwi say they fear they may be retrenched because the
owner wants to sell to another player in the industry. Industry sources say
if sold Madhatter may be forced to trim.
Shurugwi Mines acting
General Manager Stanley Sigula declined to comment saying the alleged buyout
of Madhatter and the plight of the Madhatter workers is more of a
In Shurugwi, Zimasco is operating Peak Mine having
closed the other underground mine, Railway Block recently ago and remained
with a core group of contract workers doing general work.
The bulk of
the Shurugwi workers are said to have been moved to Lalapansi where Zimasco
is said to be reviving the old mines they left for Madhatter to mine in
Upon the expiry of the Madhatter contract, Zimasco moved back
retrenching workers mainly those aged 55 years and above who could not be
engaged again. Most of the workers who were laid off got home with little
considering the number of years they worked for the mine.
Shoe Company, 105 workers were retired at 55 years and given an average of
$2 million each as packages and told to wait for the maturity of their
pensions at the National Social Security Authority, which they hope to get
when they reach 60 years.
One of the affected workers, Jephious Manyanya
said he worked for Bata for 33 years and got a paltry $2,7 million to face
this harsh life now out of employment. Manyanya said even if his children
are no longer going to school, he needs more money to look after his wife
and himself and $2,7 million would not last them a week.
acting General Manager Emmanuel Helia said the matter was now in the hands
of the Ministry Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
it was "humane" to give an employee who would have served for more than 30
years just $2 million as retirement package, Helia said he was not in a
position to comment as he "does not know the living requirements of Africans
many of whom go to their rural homes and start a good life there".
than 340 workers at the 426 000ha Central Estates Farm in Mvuma, owned by
British tycoon, Nicholas van Hoogenstraten went on strike last month to try
to reverse the termination of employment of a number of their collegues who
had pressed management for more pay and better working
Central Estates workers also alleged that many of those
kicked out were not given awarded gratuities and got as little as $600 000
each as a retrenchment package.
The Vice President of the Midlands
Chamber of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Willy Muringani said
it was sad to note that many companies in the Midlands were either scaling
down, closing or laying off workers at a time when there was need for more
job creation initiatives.
Muringani said many companies were closing shop
quietly and secretly without notifying the chamber and sometimes they only
got to know of the developments from the Press.
MASHONALAND Central governor Ephraim Masawi and Guruve North MP
David Butau on Friday failed to attend an official opening of Masomo Baobab
Secondary School in Guruve although they were on the official
No explanation was given for the unavailability of the
two. The school was built with assistance from the British Embassy through
their Small Grant Scheme, meant to fund various projects in different
Masawi, who was billed as the guest of honour and had
earlier last week called for the postponement setting last Friday as a
suitable date, did not turn up.
Former MP for Guruve North Paul
Mazikana was however present at the official opening and handover ceremony
of the school and saved the situation.
Mazikana said he was overjoyed to
be present at the event because he had sought the assistance when he was
British Ambassador, Rodrick Pullen, said he was happy to
provide assistance to the people in the constituency and that the project
was funded with no strings attached.
He said: "We will fund projects
irrespective of the political orientations of the communities and
organisations from which they come from. "
Pullen said the assistance by
the embassy was "a recognition of the vital importance of education not only
for the economic development of Zimbabwe, but also in allowing every human
being to achieve their potential and lead a fulfilling life."
British government has for the past five years supported schools in Guruve.
Schools that have benefited from assistance include Mahuwe, Karai, Angwa and
Provincial Education Officer, Lazarus Chidavaenzi, said that the
construction of the school was a welcome development, as children would no
longer have to walk long distances of up to 20km to the nearest school
shortages last week grounded planes from the national airline after Air
Zimbabwe's fuel reservoirs ran dry throwing into disarray the country's
tourism recovery efforts.
Air Zimbwe's flights were rescheduled last
week after the national airline failed to secure fuel from its sole supplier
BP Shell. The group acting CEO, Cephas Tarenyika, confirmed to The Standard
on Friday that the national airline was facing problems of fuel.
Thursday, Air Zimbabwe's flight to Bulawayo was delayed by more than five
hours and among the passengers were the Caps United Football team which was
scheduled to play Railstars.
Terror of 'black boots' in Glen View By John
THE high-density area of Glen View is generally a quiet and
peaceful place. That is if the clock is indicating 2.00AM or
Nowadays nobody can afford to buy beer and disturb a
stressed people trying to come to terms with nightmares of a dying nation by
singing at that time of the morning. It was not so last Wednesday on the
25 May the day set aside for Africa Day Our peace was abruptly halted by
overzealous officers from the police support unit popularly referred to as
"black boots," who sang derogatory songs, clearly indicating their mood to
spoil a good sleep for all of us.
We were all caught unawares and the
message in one of the songs was clearly threatening.
"Hamusati maneta kurohwa baba, hamusati. Mbiri yechigandanga ndiyo mbiri
yatinayo baba. (You haven't had enough of being beaten up. We are famed for
roughing up people)."
We held our breath.
Nobody dared to peep
through curtains to catch a glimpse of imposing Dongfeng trucks, one of the
benefits of our "Look East policy".
Residents of Glen View knew only to
well what these vindictive people are capable of.
In 2000 when
angered by the government's insensitivity to their needs as well as police
brutality, the people of Glen View torched a ZUPCO bus.
The sight that
followed was not for the faint-hearted.
Baton-wielding police came in the
dead of the night to exert revenge. Door-to-door, they went hurling abuse,
beating and harassing innocent people who could not defend themselves
against the might of the law enforcement agents.
At one house in Glen
View 1, police allegedly kicked an old woman. The woman allegedly died two
weeks after being beaten up. We were therefore scared.
But last week
around 4AM Glen View was up in smoke as a result of the much-criticised
Operation Restore Order.
They went about burning market stalls, a major
source of income for mainly unemployed people.
helplessly as the Black boots razed to the ground structures that have been
dominant in people's lives.
Still they sang daring the people to revolt.
Some even went as far as telling on-lookers that the law was theirs to
respect or disregard.
One old woman openly wept as she climbed off a
Mbare commuter omnibus with her fresh vegetables to find her stall at
Makomva shopping centre up in flames.
"How will I feed my children?
Where will I get other planks? Have mercy on us, we have suffered enough,"
But one Black Boot shouted: "Shut up vanhu vasingazive
kuvhota. Next time you will know were to place your X."
We all got
the message. The clean up was political.
In Glen View 3 the police
brought down their feared baton sticks on resisting residents.
neighbouring Budiriro a "black spot" according to the police, there was
heavy presence of anti-riot police ready to pounce.
At about 6AM
police razed down the respected "Kumarobots" home industry, long a supplier
of furniture to many established furniture houses in Harare. But that was
when hell broke loose.
In the words of my friend Tawanda Mwerenga:
"People fought their own revolution. Violence repaid violence with violence.
Baton sticks with stones. We rose and we are proud. We said no to police
brutality and we said no to colonial-type oppression. We might have not won
the battle but the war is yet to vanish."
Mobilising each other
hundreds of people stoned the imposing Dongfeng trucks and other
The logic being that nobody was allowed to drive when everybody was
The people whose stalls and cabins were
destroyed led the march to the Glen View council hall.
brought down the whole side of the security wall overlooking Patrenda Way
and destroyed the hall's windowpanes.
They proceeded to the Municipality
offices where they brought down the fence and looted some computers and
The TelOne building was not spared. A security officer at
the Municipality building fired warning shots, rescuing the situation. But
he ran for dear life because his gun was no match for the people's
By 6PM Glen View resembled a graveyard. As if in conspiracy, Zesa
had switched off electricity. There was also no water.
wanted to save their skin retired to bed to avoid a backlash from a police
force that is as partisan as it is violent. There were genuine fears that
soldiers would be called in to beat up people for daring to defend their
There were unconfirmed reports that people in Budiriro and
Glen View area 8 were beaten up. At at a beer hall at Makomva shopping
centre patrons ran for dear life as the Black Boots ran amok.
Glen View rose and the police felt it. A hungry man is an angry man.
Chaotic land reform scuttles seed exports By our own
ZIMBABWE has not exported any seed since the 2000 land invasions
that paralysed the country's agricultural sector, a seed breeding company
Seed Co (Pvt) Limited recently said seed production had
drastically decreased during the past five years because of the land
invasions, which were spearheaded by war veterans. As a result, said Seed
Co, the country has not been able to export seed since the 2000/1
The company said in statement: "No exports have been
made from Zimbabwe since the 2000/1 season as seed production decreased
substantially with the advent of the agrarian reform.
being made through recruitment of new farmers as seed growers, but skills,
experience and commitment take time to development."
New farmers are
being recruited and trained to boost the production of seed to meet the
needs of all farmers.
However, speaking at Seed Co media tour at Rattray
Arnold Research Station a fortnight ago, Paul Rupende, a maize breeder at
the station said, it would take a long time to realize the fruits of the
"The process is, however, slow because seed breeding
requires time, experience and human input," Rupende said.
"The company has established research stations in other African countries
including Zambia, Kenya and Cameroon - a move that will see them help in the
improvement of food production."
Speaking at the same event, Ephrame
Havazvidi, head of Rattray Arnold Research Station, a research branch of
Seed Co, said the research function of the group would continue to impact on
the food security of Zimbabwe.
Havazvidi said: "The research function of
the Seed Co group has, is and will continue to impact heavily on the food
security of Zimbabwe by way of providing the unsubstitutable seed security
to the nation."
Research being carried out by Seed Co at Rattray Arnold
station involves various breeding programmes in maize, soyabeans, wheat,
beans and groundnuts that have resulted not only in the upliftment of
productivity of crops in our country but also in some parts of
Havazvidi said Seed Co had become a one of the leading producers
of high yielding and widely adapted maize hybrids-most of them resistant to
tropical diseases such as grey leaf spot, streak and mottle viruses leaf
blights cob diseases.
of Kuwadzana Extension suburb in Harare have been without electricity for
the past 10 days and they are bitter that this is disrupting their daily
Parts of the same suburb have electricity although they also
experience regular power cuts. The residents said due to electricity
black out, basic food stuffs such as milk and meat were going
Ganyani Khosa, one of the residents, said he had incurred huge
losses as a result of interrupted electricity power supplies to the
He said affected residents were now using firewood for cooking,
while cases burglary had drastically increased as criminals took advantage
"We emptied the refrigerator since all the meat had gone bad
by Saturday 21 May 2005. I can not afford the expenses of seeking
compensation from Zesa for all my perishables that have gone bad," Khosa
An official at Zesa headquarters said some "fuses at the
sub-station in the suburb had blown off" and the parastatals was trying
Mudzuri blasts State move to control Harare water By
OUSTED Harare executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri says plans by
the government to control the capital's water supply is a sinister move to
raid council coffers of money generated by selling water to residents and
In an interview with The Standard, Mudzuri said the government
wanted to embark on a scorched earth policy in plundering the coffers of the
council as punishment for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). The Minister of State for Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development, Eng Munacho Mutezo, recently announced that the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) would take over the running of
bulk water supply to Harare.
Zinwa is a parastatal that falls under
Mudzuri said: "The whole thing is a plan by the
dictatorship to raid the coffers of the council because they have no other
sources of revenue after they plundered the once vibrant economy. Water
provision is a cash cow for the council because it generates a lot of
He said there were fears that as the State ran out of money, it
would soon grab other income generating arms like housing and refuse
He said: "Handing over the water department to Zinwa will
lead to the total collapse of service delivery because like any other State
controlled parastatals, it is inefficient. Zinwa is not experienced in
running a large water department such as the Harare Water Works. Zinwa is
failing to maintain small pumps, which supply water to small growth points.
If they take over Harare, there will be total collapse of service
He said the Zanu PF government had kicked the MDC out of
office at Town House after realising that they were efficient and served the
interests of the people.
He said when he came into office in March
2002, after walloping Zanu PF's Amos Midzi by more than a quarter of a
million votes, he introduced a 100-day delivery strategy, which was meant to
create a culture of accountability.
"Under that strategy, all water
and sewage bursts were supposed to be attended within two hours of the
report being made. If the matter was not attended to it was sent straight to
my desk and I would make sure the issue was attended to."
said while they were attending to pot-holes, local government minister,
Ignatius Chombo, started interfering in the running of the affairs of
Mudzuri said: "Although he admitted to me in private that the MDC
led council was doing a splendid job, he was under pressure from the Zanu PF
leadership to either recruit me to join them or face
Mudzuri said when they sought powers to borrow money for the
capital's development, Chombo refused to authorise the request.
said the water, refuse collection and sewage problems could have been
rectified if the government had not interfered in the affairs of
He said: "We had come to an arrangement with our German sister
city, Munich, for them to assist us in those areas. The assistance would
have included things like vehicles, exchange programmes to share information
but the Germans pulled out after the council was suspended because they only
work with elected councils."
On the attacks by the police and the
Harare municipality on residents, Mudzuri said the government had tested the
patience of Zimbabweans too far and that they would soon meet fierce
resistance from the people.
He said: "You cannot play with the people's
feelings for so long. The government's decision will backfire one day and
the people of Harare will fight back in a big way."
He said as the
elected executive mayor of Harare, he was aware that there were designated
areas like some flea markets in Harare, where people were authorised to
trade informally. "I do not condone lawlessness but the question that
remains is why has the government turned against its own people?"
Family now needs $4m per month - CCZ By our own
BULAWAYO - A family of six will now require about $4
million a month to survive after recent increases in prices of almost all
basic commodities in the country, a Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ)
official said last week.
Bulawayo regional manager for the CCZ, Comfort
Muchekeza, told The Standard on Thursday that although the council was still
working on the figures, a family of six needed about $4 million a
month. "We are still working on the figures for this month, but prices of
basic commodities have gone up, for example bread is now $4 500. I think the
monthly figure is now slightly below $4 million," Muchekeza said.
April the monthly breadbasket stood at about $2.3 million.
Most of the
basic commodities immediately shot up after the 31 March parliamentary
A loaf of bread now costs $4.500, up from $3.500 while a 10kg
bag of super refined maize meal is now fetching between $30 000 and $35 000
in most supermarkets.
A 2kg packet of sugar costs $7 500 but it is
being sold for $20 000 on the parallel market.
Muchekeza said the
monthly breadbasket figure would top $5 million soon due to acute shortages
of basic commodities, which had seen a thriving parallel market mushrooming,
where goods are sold at thrice the official price.
Commuter operators who
are buying fuel from the parallel market, say they pay between $8 000 and
$15 000. As a result, commuter operators are charging $10 000 a trip during
The projected breadbasket figure for the month of May also
doubles the salaries of most workers in the country.
No end in sight to Chitungwiza's sewage woes
By our own staff
A sewage problem that has dogged the sprawling
Chitungwiza town for the the past few years seems set to continue as raw
sewage can still be seen flowing freely in the streets exposing residents to
communicable diseases, The Standard have observed.
high-density suburbs such as Unit H, D, N, G and St Mary's the raw sewage
flows in front of houses, attracting swarms of flies and exposing the
residents to diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. Denford Mutungura
of Unit G said: "Children are exposed to diseases as they play right in the
effluent. We are tired of reporting these cases to the authorities with
nothing being done."
The road that connects Makoni Shopping Centre
and Unit G has become notorious for sewage flows, which stagnate in the
potholes characteristic of the city's roads.
"I no longer mind
the sewage. I think people are now resistant to diseases, otherwise they
would have died a long time ago," said Stella Chauke, a mother of
Apart from the diseases they are exposed to, the residents
have also to contend with the foul smell from the raw sewage.
Residents of the town say they are infuriated by the high rates they are
being charged by the council when the local authority is failing to deliver
expected social services.
A survey by The Standard indicated that
there was little service delivery in the town.
the deputy mayor for Chitungwiza, conceded that they were having serious
problem with the sewerage.
Gwiyo said: "There are some perpetual
cases such as in Unit H and St Mary's and those that are reported and
attended to as and when they happen. We have interim measures to the crisis
but we are implementing long-term solutions.
"Based on the new
revenue collection we have the capacity to deliver and people should expect
changes. Now we have seven trucks back on the road," he said.
government or local authority is prepared to render about a million people
homeless, without affording them either time or an alternative, it is time
to take a stand and call a spade a spade.
Zanu PF and the government have
a habit of creating chaos and then turning around to present themselves as
gallant knights in shining armour, coming to the rescue of the defenceless,
poor and victimised. It is abhorrent that anyone, claiming to represent or
act in the interests of the public could consider rendering as many as a
million people homeless in the middle of biting winter weather.
seems Zanu PF wants to depopulate the urban areas by driving people into the
countryside, in the forlon hope that it can increase its support base.
is inconceivable that the government can believe it is doing the right thing
when hundreds of people are seen lining the streets of Harare late at night
waiting for transport to take them home. Many, frustrated by having waited
for long periods walk home, putting themselves at risk.
damage control exercise, as explained by the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, is nonsensical and an
insult to the intelligence of the people of this country. The government
should not delight in the suffering of people when it does not have a ready
made alternative for them.
In normal circumstances, one plans, consults,
implements on a limited scale, evaluates, modifies and then implements,
always mindful that if things do not go according to plan, there is an
alternative scheme or progress is halted in order to revisit the drawing
board as well as consultations.
These processes are palpably absent from
the various operations being conducted by the government, Harare City
Council and the other local authorities in Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Gweru and
Those driving the latest assault on citizens trying to eke out
a living given the current hardships refuse to take cognisance of history
and for this; they will be condemned to repeat it. There could not be any
poignant reminder of how the colonial administration sought to protect big
businesses, while emptying the townships of excess workforce, and how
ironically the "people's government" is slavishly re-enacting the same
It is hard to resist the temptation that the government
is intent on following Joseph Stalin and the Chinese revolution when they
drove their urban populations into the countryside in a bid to demonstrate
how Communism in the Soviet Union and how the agrarian revolution in China
respectively could be transformed into unparalleled successes.
the world is more the wiser because history has proved how short-lived,
brutal and costly Stalin's and the Chinese experiments were.
many ways of cleaning up Harare if both the government and Harare City
Council are so desperate to present and capitalise on the tourist traffic to
the 2010 soccer extravaganza in South Africa.
The one question that the
government and the local authorities have not been able to answer is why the
hurry to destroy in order to rebuild, when there is so much cost, anguish
and destabilisation involved.
During 1991, just before the Commonwealth
summit, the government created Porta Farm and a cluster of hovels known as
Hatcliffe Extension. Later, it was to create Dzivarasekwa Extension, another
squatter camp. Ahead of the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential
election, the government encouraged homeless people to invade White Cliff
Farm on the western outskirts of Harare. It was a landscape of largely
squatter shacks - the same structures the government and city council to
Porta Farm, Hatcliffe Extension, Dzivarasekwa and White Cliff
are living testimony to the government's lack of planning and commitment to
provision of decent accommodation for its nationals. How then it proposes to
address the overcrowding in the high-density areas when it has a legacy of
squatter camps is mind-boggling.
The government and the City Council
are demonstrating that they do not care about visiting more hardships on
people for which they have failed to create jobs and housing.
year of food shortages, owing to poor harvests, it would have been more
helpful if the government concentrated on ensuring that everyone in need of
food gets it while putting in place proper mechanisms for demolishing tuck
shops and what it terms illegal shacks, even though the city council was
accepting levies collected from the lodgers and owners of tuck
Zanu PF prides itself in implementing the wishes of the people. Is
this just empty campaign rhetoric or whose interests does the current blitz
serve when its short-term effect is to render families hungry and homeless,
at a time when the government clearly does not have the capacity to meet the
needs of the thousands of people affected.
The latest relentless
blitz against commuter buses, flea market and tuck shop operators shows the
people in government and the unelected commissioners running Harare for what
they are - self serving and power hungry.
The council needs to
explain where its planning and building inspectorate departments were when
the illegal structures were erected. What the government has done is no
different from what the Ian Smith administration used to do. The difference
is that in the case of Ian Smith, the people at least understood why.
power utility ZESA Holdings has been given a lifeline to effect a tariff
hike, StandardBusiness has learnt.
Industry sources said the issue of a
tariff increase was discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and a go-ahead
was given to ZESA. Although StandardBusiness could not get the percentage
point increase in tariffs agreed in Cabinet, sources say it was not going to
be the 126% announced by the power utility early this year. ZESA in
January announced a 126% tariff increase as one of the recommendations made
by a South African energy consultancy firm, Sad-elec. Sad-elec was
commissioned by ZESA last year to work out an energy pricing model that
would ensure its sustenance.
The report was presented to the Ministry of
Energy and Power Development last year. Sad-elec in its report said ZESA was
charging sub economic tariffs.
Announcing the intention to increase
tariffs, ZESA said government had made it clear to the power company that
the State could not carry the electricity tariff subsidy of $1,14 trillion
The increase in tariffs is envisaged to push upwards the
weighted average electricity cost. Currently the weighted average tariff is
$104 per kWh against the recommended tariff of $235 per kWh.
proposed increase in tariffs by ZESA drew criticism from industry, which
said the move would impact negatively on companies currently operating at
ESA requires more than US$13million per month to meet
electricity import obligations, service debts and buy spares for
refurbishments. Last year, it was forced to reverse a 400% tariff hike after
the Association of Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) won a High Court injunction
nullifying the increase.
The power utility reduced the tariff increase to
The power utility generates 1 440 megawatts (MW) of total national
requirements through Kariba South Power Station (750 MW), Hwange South Power
Station (590 MW) and a small thermal (100 MW). This constitutes 68% of
Imports account for 650 MW representing 32% of
national requirements through Eskom (300 MW), Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa
(250 MW) and 100 MW from Societe National d'Electricite (Snel) of Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC).
Obert Nyatanga, ZESA's Corporate Affairs
Manager, said he was not privy to what had transpired at the Cabinet meeting
"I haven't heard about what was discussed in Cabinet. Talk to
the ministry as they are better qualified since they attended the Cabinet
meeting," he said.
Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary
Justin Mupamhanga confirmed that Cabinet had discussed about tariffs charged
by the power utility though he had not heard more information about the
Cabinet meeting. When pressed on what percentage points to be effected
Mupamhanga said: "You will be informed officially. Why do you want to rush
Zimsun says tourist numbers increasing By our own
HOSPITALITY concern Zimsun Leisure group says it has seen a growth
in tourist arrivals from international and regional sources despite the
prevailing negative sentiments of Zimbabwe as a tourist
Announcing the group's results for the year ending March 31
2005, CEO Shingi Munyeza said the group had recorded a significant increase
in arrivals from United States of America. "Of note is the 50% increase
in guests from the United States of America from 4 024 to 6 117," Munyeza
Munyeza said the number of guests from the United Kingdom had also
increased 34% to 2 071, compared to 1 544 in the previous
Arrivals from Japan firmed 58% to 2 879 compared to 1 822 in the
year under review.
Munyeza attributed the increase in arrivals to
thawing in perception of security concern and "value for money" because of a
weaker currency in comparison to South Africa where the rand has firmed
against major currencies.
Munyeza warned that shortages being
experienced in the country if not reined in, would impact on service
"If shortages are managed, we (Zimsun) have an exciting year,"
However volumes from the markets noted constituted 7% of the
group's total business in comparison to total guests arrivals of 15% in
Munyeza attributed the slight growth in international business over
the prior year to the group's continued focus 'to engage with tour operators
world-wide through participation in trade shows and updating details of our
product offering in travel catalogues".
In its year- end results
Zimsun recorded a turnover of to $176,224billion a 308% increase from the
Average room occupancy decreased to 38% from 42% in the
Local operations contributed 85% of group turnover. The
Elephant Hills recorded 924 million profits in the year under review
compared to $1,3 billion loss in the year comparable.
Local firms reel as economic climate worsens By Allen
Tichaona and Kumbirayi Mafunda
ZIMBABWE Phosphates - Zimphos - is one of
several companies contemplating sending some permanent workers on forced
leave to rationalise its operations in light of the biting foreign currency
Company sources said Zimphos management were throwing around a
number of ideas in the event that "push comes to shove" and one of the
options is to send workers on forced leave. Biting foreign currency
shortages have also forced bottler Mutare Bottlers to axe about 200 workers.
Industry sources said many firms were planning widespread retrenchments, or
downsizing, to react to worsening economic conditions dramatized by lack of
hard currency to import raw materials, intermittent power cuts and the fuel
"The biting foreign currency shortages has seen the company's
operations being severely handicapped and as a result the company is taking
proactive measures so that they are not taken unawares," said a source at
Apart from forcing workers to go on leave, the fertilizer
manufacturing company is also looking at introducing "weekly shifts" where a
group of workers work for one week and another one the following week. It is
also toying with the idea of shutting down some plants. Zimphos is 100%
owned by Chemplex Corporation, a group that has various interests in the
fertilizer manufacturing industry. Eben Makonese, Chemplex's CEO, confirmed
that Zimphos was experiencing foreign currency problems and has since
communicated their position to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) since the
company was of strategic importance to the agricultural
Meanwhile, Mutare Bottling Company, one of the country's
leading bottlers has now succumbed to Zimbabwe's six-year old economic
crisis and is axing more than 200 workers at its bottling plant, Standard
Business has learnt.Workers from the border-based bottlers told Standard
Business that the lay offs were necessitated by reduced production of
carbonated soft drinks owing to an erratic shortage of concentrates, fuel
and crowns to cap bottles. Mutare has vainly failed to secure foreign
currency to import soft drinks concentrates from Swaziland.
Bloodbath at the ZSE marketmovers with Kumbirai
STOCKS plunged weeklong with the ZSE suffering one of its worst
carnages in 2005 characterised by triple and double-digit losses for the
benchmark industrial index.
Investors gave up hope and not even a
short holiday break in the middle of the week could stop the blood letting.
Deepening concerns over the conduct of dual listed counters accused of
siphoning foreign currency and the massive hike in interest rates led to the
worst week of trading this year. The market responded negatively to the
monetary policy review statement just a day after its unveiling peeling off
a significant 153 562 20 points. The ZSE tumbled 320 182 96 points to close
Thursday at 2 821 836 59 and cap a dreadful week for the stock
"We are seeing a giving up of hope on the part of investors,"
said a leading equity trader. "This is a direct response to Gideon Gono's
contractionary monetary policy report."
Investors were unnerved by a
Reserve Bank report that incriminated the ZSE as a hub for speculative
trading stocks. Stocks were further driven down by down beat profit reports
that came through the week. The week also kicked off one of the heaviest
reporting weeks and some of the companies to report were ART, hospitality
and leisure giant Zimsun and ZSR.
Strategists were unanimous that the
market holds the capacity to recover from the current bloodbath muscled by
illiquid counters that they said were unlikely to come off
"Recovery is going to come. Panic sellers will keep selling and
counters will become oversold and will eventually go to correct levels,"
observed one market veteran.
As investors were channelling funds to
the lower risk market, the money market traded in surplus due to a shortage
of short term paper. The RBZ was only issuing the 6 months
"Rates are depressed and if the central bank continues to float
the 181 TB's there will be resistance," dealers warned on Friday.
ZIMBABWE'S chances to fix its agriculture-based economy has taken a
heavy knock following reports that seed manufacturers have hiked the price
of seed tobacco by 600%.
Tobacco, the golden leaf, is one of
Zimbabwe's key crops and a major foreign currency spinner. The Harare
government has pinned its hopes of an economic recovery on a successful
farming revival. Tobacco representative bodies and growers told Standard
Business that the Tobacco Research Board (TRB) - a research institution that
serves the tobacco growing community - had directed all seed houses to hike
the price of seed tobacco from $10 000/gram to $70 000/gram, far off the
reach of many small tobacco growers.
Seed houses indicated that the
TRB - which is funded predominantly by a levy and grants from growers, the
government, and the tobacco trade and seed sales - had recently circulated a
memorandum commanding them to increase their prices.
The TRB, seed
houses said, did not state the justification for the whopping price increase
but informed sources in the industry said it wanted to recoup losses it
incurred as a result of growing excessive quantities of parent seeds for
this year's crop.
TRB sources said it had put too much seed out hoping to
entice farmers to surpass the 160 million kg crop that was targeted by the
Reserve Bank. The central had forecast a bumper crop of 160 million kg under
its "Vision 160" programme but that has failed dismally because of poor
planning, drought conditions, lack of capital and the rising cost of
Zimbabwe is projected to sell only 85 million kg this year, the
second tiniest crop since independence from Britain in 1980.
got a memo from TRB asking us to comply with the new prices which we hadn't
discussed about," said an official at one Harare seed house. "They said if
we don't comply they would recall all the seeds but that price is too
The official said they had only sold a kilogram in seed for the
irrigated flue cured crop against 20 kg to 30 kg sold this time last
At a meeting held at Kutsaga Research Station last week to find an
amicable solution to the seed cost, sellers were asking for $40 000/gram for
but the TRB had not yet responded to the proposal. Although grower bodies
hinted that TRB would sort out the price issue this week, analysts and
growers were unanimous that they were now running against time, as seedbeds
should be complete by this Wednesday.
Angry growers were reportedly
boycotting buying seed raising concerns that this could also affect next
year's crop. Economic analysts say it would was going to be increasingly
difficult to convince newly resettled small-scale farmers to take up tobacco
growing because of rising inputs.
"Small scale farmers are not going to
grow this year. They are asking too much from them," said one economic
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union president Davison Mugabe
warned that the seed price hike would impede production of the export
"We are expecting some adjustments on that price because we want to
encourage more planting of tobacco this season," said Mugabe, who also grows
tobacco in Mashonaland West. Repeated efforts to reach TRB's General Manager
Anxious Masuka were fruitless before going to print.
Excessive State control throttles exports Sundayopinion
with Jupiter Punungwe
IT is ten o'clock in the evening of Thursday 19 May
2005. I am sitting on my bed my chin firmly planted in my hands, wondering
just where our country is going.
The doctor, Dr Gideon Gono, has just
delivered a speech littered with excellent English. My problem is that apart
from the English I am finding it difficult to find anything else excellent
about the speech. The so called 'monetary policy' has again skirted around
the major ill of our economy - botched attempts by the state to control
almost every aspect of economic activity. I think it is time we faced the
truth - our government is leaning towards Marxist policies of a state
controlled economy. The free market sheepskins that had been donned in the
early 90s are being slowly cast off to reveal the Marxist wolf underneath.
The government is trying very hard to control almost every aspect of
economic activity from the exchange rate to the price of fuel.
supposed intention of these controls is to protect what government calls
'the consumers' who in the more ideological terms of the 1980s would be
described as the masses or the povo. Needless to say these controls are not
achieving the intended aim of protecting consumers. There is no way that the
State can be said to be protecting me - a petrol consumer - when I fail to
find petrol at the nearest service station, but can only find it in dark
alleys and shady street corners at ridiculously high prices. The people
benefiting are the middleman selling the petrol and the corrupt government
(NOCZIM?) officials supplying petrol to him in the first place. There is no
way that my mother, buying sugar at $20'000 for 2kg and mealie meal for
$30'000 for 10kg can be said to be benefiting from the controls.
fact the controls have the nasty side effect of making it near impossible
for industry to operate profitably. As a result the capital base of the
industries whose goods are being controlled has been slowly dwindling,
reducing their capacity to serve a growing population. Those multinational
industries who can afford it have relocated to neighbouring countries while
the hapless industries who can't relocate, usually owned by indigenous
Zimbabweans have gone under or are struggling to make ends meet.
at the transport sector for example, the buses of major operators have
virtually disappeared from the roads - Chawasarira, Kukura Kurerwa, Musasiwa
Bus Service, Power Coach, Shu Shine to name but a few. Even ZUPCO is limping
along on an unprofitable basis only being saved from total collapse by
countless infusions of taxpayers' money.
Industry is suffering
because government controls in effect prevent industry from benefiting from
increased demand of their services and products. The end consumers who the
government is trying to protect are left more exposed to exploitation by
middlemen as goods become scarcer. The middlemen who benefit do not have any
stake in industry therefore they do not reinvest the benefits in the capital
base of the industry.
In a free economy industry would get better profits
from increased demand and reinvest some of those profits into capital
projects leading to improved and cheaper products. The better profits would
also attract additional players into the industrial sector fostering
competition, resulting in better service and again cheaper
Consider the transport sector of 10 years ago, the sector was
profitable and competition was so stiff that operators were ferrying
commuters to Chitungwiza for free on some days. In those days overloading a
bus was taboo because there were so many of them plying routes. Now
profitability of the sector has been destroyed by iron-fisted government
control of fares and commuters are spending almost the entire night waiting
for buses along Julius Nyerere Way.
They will be lucky if they manage
to squeeze onto the open pan of a lorry or a pick-up and make it home. If
they board a bus they will be packed like sardines with almost a hundred
standing passengers instead of the stipulated 25.
measures also do not address bureaucracy and simple lack of information from
government departments. Trying to export anything from this country involves
navigating a maze of corridors with many doors leading to dead end rooms
with no way out and one would be lucky to find a way out of the maze and see
the light of day after a couple of months. This bureaucracy also fosters
corruption as along the maze of corridors you will come across officials who
want you to grease their hands for them to show you the quickest way
Sometimes I feel sorry for the governor. He is serving a government
that simply doesn't want to admit that the root cause of economic decline is
mismanagement by its actions and policies. Of course, they have been aided
by a few other factors, such as hostility from the world's richest
countries, but the root of the problem is firmly planted at their door. One
of the biggest problems of our government is their inability to gather
accurate and objective information, analyse it impartially, take the advice
of experts and simply admit it in those cases where they have been
Take for example the issue of the exchange rate. The way our
exchange rate has been managed for the past 5 years has been slowly
throttling the export sector and driving industries out of business.
Economics is a behavioural science. A lot that affects the economy depends
on the behaviour of individuals and the motivation they have to behave the
way they do. Regulations and controls, of course, form part of the
motivation for individual behaviour, but they are not the only motivation
and in many cases they are superseded by other individual motivations such
as the need for personal profit. Where the export sector is concerned, the
regulations and controls of the exporting country often do not matter at all
because the importer may not fall within their jurisdiction.
example a Malawian importer of Zimbabwean washing powder. The Malawian's
motivation is that they want to make a profit, not that they want Zimbabwe
to make a lot of foreign currency. Suppose the Malawian has a thousand US
dollars. He knows very well that if he goes to a bureau in Lilongwe, or
approaches a foreign currency vendor at Mwanza, Tete or Cuchamano he will
get 20 million Zimbabwe dollars (open market or 'blackmarket' rate
unfortunately is the rate used by other countries, not the rate we want)
enough to buy let's say 2 000 boxes of washing powder. If he carries his
US$1 000 to Harare and goes to a bank in Zimbabwe, the governor says he
should get only 9 million zimdollars (auction/diaspora rate) enough for only
Zimbabwe has every right to regulate trade on Zimbabwean soil.
The Malawian does not dispute that and he knows very well that his goods
will be confiscated at Nyamapanda if he does not comply with Zimbabwean
laws. So instead of buying washing powder in Zimbabwe on the governor's
terms, he would rather spend US$100 taking a bus to Jo'burg or Messina were
he can buy 1 800 boxes of washing powder instead of the 900 the Zimbabwe
exchange controls want to force him to buy.
And Zimbabwe can do
absolutely nothing about it. We cannot start abducting Malawians or any
other neighbouring country's citizens and forcing them to buy in Zimbabwe.
We cannot even prevent them from travelling across Zimbabwe because doing so
breaks regional and international transit laws and if push comes to shove
the Malawian could go to South Africa via Mozambique at a little extra cost.
I hope this scenario clearly illustrates one of the ways in which we are
throttling our own exports. It also illustrate how we are managing to throw
away the geographical advantage we have over South Africa in terms of access
to regional markets.
Leaders cursed to self-destruction Sundaytalk with Pius
MANY people stop me on the street and ask why I haven't been
writing my column in The Standard lately. "I enjoyed it so much," they each
These people think that they are encouraging me to continue writing
when in fact they couldn't be more discouraging. You see, I don't write for
people's enjoyment but to wake them up to the dangerous predicament our
country finds itself in. A sympathetic fellow writer looked at me
knowingly and said: "I understand your problem, my friend. You are suffering
from 'writer's block'. This afflicts all writers at one time or another.
Take a break. Inspiration will come again after you are rested."
wanted to say: "Bull shit" to him but the fellow meant well so I agreed with
his diagnosis of "my problem".
The truth is that I went through a period
of depression as I continuously thought of Zimbabwe's predicament. I felt so
helpless, especially after my court case for "publishing falsehoods" and
Zanu PF's win of the 31 March general elections. I had said to myself,
"What's the use of writing?"
Our beautiful country is hurtling towards
destruction and our stiff-necked leaders will not listen to advice from any
quarter. They seem to have the tragic flaw caused by avenging spirits. In
Shona this is called "Ngozi". The elders say, "Kana munhu ane Ngozi
haarairike". (When one is possessed by the Ngozi spirit he/she cannot be
Ngozi is the aggrieved spirit of a tortured or murdered person
who returns to torture and destroy those who tortured or killed him/her. It
leads that person to do things which will lead to his suffering and
This seems to be the situation with our Zanu PF leaders
today. "Vanenge vane Ngozi" (They seem to be possessed by the avenging
spirits, which are leading them to self-destruction. The tragedy is that
they are taking all of us with them).
I have started writing again
because there seems to be a glimmer of light at the end of this dark and
terrible tunnel. Zanu PF's fear of losing power should be gone now that they
have won the elections by hook and crook. The question now is: "Whither now
Our hope and prayer is that they may or can shake off the
spirits that seem to be tormenting them, listen to reason, swallow their
pride, admit their mistakes and begin to lead the nation to peace and
The other day I listened to someone castigating President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa for not putting the screws on Zanu PF and Robert
Mugabe because Zimbabwe was trampling on human rights.
criticised the African Union for sending Joaquim Chissano, former Mozambican
president to talk to Mugabe about the critical situation in the country.
"Chissano can never be tough with Mugabe because they are buddies," he
In the past I have also ranted and raved against the South African
President for "propping up Zanu PF". However, after much reflection during
my period of deep depression, I tried to see what I think is his point of
view. He probably realised that our Ngozi afflicted-leaders are looking for
the slightest excuse to light the powder keg and Zimbabwe would go the way
of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Rwanda,
Somalia and other such African tragedies.
Let us now pray that their
fear of losing power and facing retribution for their actions is now gone
and they are prepared to listen to their genuine friends. President Mugabe
has taken a faltering but good first step by listening to the United
Nations' Secretary-General Kofi Annan and agreeing to discuss the countries
worsening food crisis with James Morris, director of the World Food
Programme. Our thanks go to Annan for his personal
Zimbabwe is on the verge of mass starvation due to its
unplanned, chaotic and often violent land reform programme as well as
drought. Let us hope that the help will come in time since Mugabe's request
is rather late. Just last year, he declared that Zimbabweans would be
"choked" if food aid was foisted upon them. He advised would-be donors to go
elsewhere with their food. He needs to "climb down" on more issues in which
we are taking the wrong direction.
Let us hope for more such personal
intervention from those who claim to be Zimbabwe's friends, especially South
Africa and China. China is a fast developing giant today mainly because it
came out of its shell and has opened up to pragmatic political and business
relations with Western countries. They need to advise their friends in
Zimbabwe that confrontation with the West is detrimental to its
The Cold War between the East and the West is over and done
with. Our government needs to devote its efforts to supplying the political
requirements for economic and social development instead of carrying on
about academic issues of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism.
Zimbabweans need food, clothing and shelter and not useless and defunct
Way back in 1967 Daniel Lerner, then Ford Professor of
Sociology and International Communication at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology wrote about politicians in Afro-Asia in the book, Communication
and Change in Developing Countries. He said:"Once these leaders make
development the major goal of political action, professional specialists in
development planning will be indispensable allies rather than suspected
adversaries. The anti-imperialist posture of the charismatic leaders in
Afro-Asia may have been useful during the early years of transition from
colonialism to nationhood. This purpose has now been served: the old
colonies have already become new nations. Anti-imperialism now is not merely
an obsolete gimmick; it is often a smokescreen that conceals the nation's
long-term political interests of leaders who wish to stay in power at any
price. Much of the anti-Western propaganda in Afro-Asia today obscures the
divide between political independence, which has already been achieved, and
economic development, which most new nations have barely started to seek.
Anti-Western slogans may still make it easier to raise cheers at political
rallies, but they certainly make it harder to raise levels of economic
Zimbabwe would do well to listen to Dr Lerner's' words
of wisdom. There is nothing wrong with our "Look East" policy. However, we
must not use our relationship with the East to recreate the long-ended
polarisation and dichotomy between the East and the West.
we embarrass our Chinese friends when we use bilateral occasions with them
to lambaste the West. They are working hard to forge closer working
relationships with the West for their own economic development. The Cold War
is over. The name of the game today is economic development through
multi-lateral relationships with all nations in what is now the global
I totally agree with Munyaradzi Ushewekunze who, writing in
The Daily Mirror of 16 May 2005 said, "If the truth be told, the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe is beginning to lose grip on the economy, especially prices
for no other reason but that Zimbabwe is a pariah State, isolated, yet
".This should sound a wake up call to the
government to swallow its pride, discard populist policies perpetuating the
current economic drag and urgently re-engage the West, especially the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to recoup Zimbabwe's investment
Fossilised writers like Dr Tafataona Mahoso and the blinkered
gang at the government mouth piece, The Herald, should seriously take note
of these patriotic sentiments and take heed.
Freedonia's inimitable reign of terror By Dumisani
THERE was fear and confusion in Freedonia. The security agencies
were all over the streets and there was great gnashing of teeth and
Menacing security agents, some on horseback policed the streets.
It was as if there had been a military take-over and law enforcement
agencies were on high alert. Almost everywhere there were cries of
"Maihwe! Mamalo!" We cringed, even though we were not the immediate victims.
We could hear, blow by blow the assaults on the victims. We prayed because
were very afraid.
Freedonia's quiet old man said he had not seen such a
thing since the 1950 and 1960s when the colonials were in the habit of
driving indigenous people out of the city centres or raiding the locations -
areas where the indigenous people were confined to in the urban
Tears welling up in his eyes (we suspected it was the anger that
memories of such events triggered), the old man said he saw no difference
between what was happening in Freedonia and what the colonials used
He broke the silence: "Wherever the colonials are, they must be
enjoying what is happening. I tell you there were times when we were not
allowed in the city, just as they are doing to the Kombis. In the locations,
they raided whole areas demanding to know who had passes to stay because
everyone who had no 'legitimate business' was supposed to be in the reserves
(reserves of excess workforce). Most of you, who are young, must watch Cry
Cry Freedom was a documentary which, among other things,
told of the brutality of security agents in a neighbouring country. The
documentary was a study in the use of brute force against defenceless
Hundreds of security officers were emptied onto the streets of
Freedonia. You could tell where they had been because there were numerous
scenes of smouldering wreckage - a landscape after a demolition derby. Fear
ruled our lives.
After many of the Kombis - public transporters -
were barred from entering the city centres, all over towns in Freedonia
hundreds of people gathered in various places, either on their way to work -
for the lucky few still employed because it was rumoured that four fifths of
Freedonia's working population had lost their jobs during the past half
decade - or home.
The predicament that many of the inhabitants of
Freedonia found themselves in was that this country of the free and brave
had a law which outlawed the gathering of more than half a dozen people.
Freedonians worried that the long lines of people could be construed as a
gathering without permission from the relevant security authorities. They
Freedonians also feared and wondered each day whether the
shacks they lived in and had left behind in their daily search for a source
of livelihood would escape the wrath of the law. Many wondered what they
would do if in the middle of one of the coldest season to hit the country
they returned home at night to be greeted by their young children, huddled
in tattered blankets and crying because what they called their "home" was
demolished. It would be hard to start wandering in search of accommodation
in the middle of the night.
Armoured personnel carriers and some
awesome military equipment called Dongfengs were deployed everywhere in a
formidable show of strength. Terrified residents said they heard the
security agents in the vehicles shouting and singing "tasvika vokubvondora
(the demolition guys have landed)" and "basa tasiya tagwaza (Mission
accomplished)". It was enough to strike terror in the hearts of
Freedonians wondered, but the answers were hard to come by. The
military had taken a recent delivery of troop carriers from the Far East.
These ferocious looking things were visible everywhere. Some mischievous
people said this was a sign of Hokoyo - beware of danger.
Air Force had also taken delivery of fighter planes, also from the Far East
and then there was an announcement that the country expected delivery of
navy boats because Freedonia had decided to establish such a force to police
the three major rivers and the inland lakes. The patrols boats had already
been ordered, again from the Far East.
Freedonians wondered about this
militarization. It was one of the sources of their fear. They asked what the
meaning of all this could be.