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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

MDC rolls out mass action road map

Dumisani Muleya/Blessing Zulu
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders yesterday pledged to be in the
forefront of protests aimed at piling pressure on President Robert Mugabe to
go as the political and economic crisis in the country deepens.

The party yesterday spelt out its course of action ahead of Monday's mass

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told the Zimbabwe Inde-pendent that his
party was fine-tuning its strategy to stage anti-government street protests.

"We are currently finalising the tactics and getting ready to go," Nyathi
said. "Zimbabweans have a clear choice on this matter: to acquiesce in the
current illegitimate regime or to stand up for their rights once and for

Stressing that MDC leaders would be at the forefront of the protests, Nyathi
said the sequence of events in their strategy was already in place.

"On the first day of the mass action, which is on Monday, people will
congregate in the central business districts of all cities and towns," he
said. "The venues of assembly will be announced by organisers in different

On the second and third days, Nyathi said, people will demonstrate wherever
they find themselves. He said local party structures would be used to
co-ordinate the action.

"During the last two days of the mass action (Thursday and Friday) there
will be a change of tactics. People will be asked to stay at home," he said.

"But there might be changes depending on how the situation unfolds."

Nyathi said the MDC would announce the targets for the marches on the days
in question. They have yet to be selected. The MDC has made no secret of its
desire to target State House but it is likely to be heavily defended. So is
Munhumutapa Building.

Announcing the dates of the mass action at a rally in Harare last Sunday,
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said a critical mass of people was needed to
make an impact on the regime. He warned the protests would not be a picnic.

"We want to embark on democracy marches in every town and every workplace,"
he said. "We must be prepared to be arrested, we must be prepared to make a
mark to ensure that we will never again be oppressed."

In his public messages, Tsvangirai has urged people to "rise up in your

"Don't go to work for the whole week. Stand up and be counted. Demonstrate
your anger," he said. "Action must take place everywhere in Zimbabwe. Be
peaceful. Be disciplined.Beware of the Zanu PF merchants of anger."

However, government has warned it will crush the protests. The army and war
veterans have threatened to pounce on the MDC.

The police and the army were yesterday mobilising personnel to deal with the

Police spokesman Wayne Bvu-dzijena yesterday said law enforcement agents
were ready to deal with the MDC.

"We know from experience what they mean by mass action," he said. "As a
result we have put in place strategies to deal with them."

But the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), an independent group of
ex-combatants, said no one has a right to intimidate anybody with violence.

"Any demonstration by any Zimbabwean or groups of nationals is a
constitutional right," the ZLP said. "No one has a legal or moral authority
to take the law into their own hands by using military force to stop a

Nyathi said the MDC was geared for action regardless of the threats.

"We will not be deterred by the police or any other partisan group. If
soldiers decide to be partisan that will be their problem but we will not be
deterred," he said.

"If government out of fear of its own citizens throngs security forces into
the streets that will be a massive defeat for them and a victory for

Crisis in Zimbabwe chairman Brian Kagoro said although government appears
prepared to combat the MDC, its capacity to deal with an angry and restless
population could be strained.

"This regime has spent the last three years practising anti-riot drills but
it has less than 200 000 security forces. As a result its capacity might be

But Kagoro expressed a widespread concern that despite their determination,
the MDC might not be able to achieve the critical mass it talks about.
"People look ready to show defiance but I'm not sure they are prepared for
direct confrontation," he said.

Observers are agreed the mass action will represent a key test of the
opposition's strength. Having won the political initiative after a stayaway
and by-election victories in March, it remains to be seen whether the MDC
can confront a regime committed to using brute force to suppress democratic
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Zim Independent

Govt to open up fuel sector

Vincent Kahiya
GOVERNMENT and fuel companies on Tuesday discussed a new pricing regime
which would allow direct foreign imports and ease the energy crisis gripping
the country, the Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.

Last night industry sources said government wanted to deregulate the
industry and take fuel off the list of controlled commodities. This would
enable the private sector to import fuel and sell it at a sustainable price.
Government is expected to make a major policy announcement on fuel any time
from today.

The talks come amid reports from industry sources that the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim)'s Msasa depot has virtually run dry.

Sources close to the Tuesday meeting said Energy and Power Development
permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga would not commit himself to implement
proposals by industry for a new tariff structure. But the sources say
government could quietly let private importers bring fuel in.

Fuel companies want the government to allow them to import fuel using a
preferential rate of US$1:$1 500 and then add a nominal 20% charge on the
landed price. Marketers want the price of fuel to be aligned to the
prevailing exchange rate.

The marketers, sources said, also want the government to put in place policy
measures to even the playing field and kill off the black market by removing
the subsidy on fuel. Fuel sold on the black market is bought at the
controlled price, which is subsidised by the state.

At a price of US 40 cents a litre, petrol would cost $600 plus 20% ($120)
which translates to $720 a litre under the proposals. Fuel is being sold for
as much as $2 500 a litre on the black market due to critical shortages.

The price of fuel went up in March by 300%, resulting in a mass stayaway
which shook the establishment. Since then government has been reluctant to
effect new increases.

Fuel industry players in March warned the new price of fuel would not
improve the supply side because it was still sub-economic. The situation has
deteriorated further with the black market taking over the fuel trade.

Unscrupulous dealers, some with close links to the ruling Zanu PF, buy the
scarce fuel from Noczim for resale at black market prices approximating $1
000 a litre.

Investigations by the Independent this week revealed that fuel was being
sold at Crittal Hope in Harare's Southerton industrial area which is owned
by Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa for over $1 000 a litre.

At Cold Comfort Farm, run by Zanu PF in Tynwald, fuel is being sold at $1
050 a litre for a minimum purchase of 200 litres. The operation caught fire
and was partly razed last week but business has continued.

Fuel is also being sold for $1 400 a litre at an industrial stand along
Harare Drive in Prospect. Other operators are openly advertising their
businesses in the daily newspapers.

One operator contacted by the Independent refused to divulge where their
"depot" was saying they operated on a cash-on-delivery basis.

Contacted for comment on whether the fuel operations were legal, police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said the traders were violating the

"Fuel is still a controlled commodity and whoever is doing that is breaking
the law," he said.
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Zim Independent

Soldiers granted asylum in Australia

Dumisani Muleya
TWO Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers who fled the country last year
after they were tortured for allegedly supporting the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) have been granted asylum in Australia.

The servicemen, Corporals Irvine Ndou and Kwanele Ntini, arrived in Perth -
the state capital of Western Australia - on April 8 and are now settled

Their trip was facilitated by the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees (UNHCR) in Botswana where they had sought refuge after last year's
presidential election fearing for their lives.

Ndou and Ntini, who had joined the army in 1999, fled the country on April
27 last year and arrived in Francistown in Botswana on April 28 by foot from

On arrival in Botswana, the two soldiers contacted the UNHCR which then sent
them to Dukwe refugee camp near Francistown.

Relating their ordeal to the Zimbabwe Independent last week, Ndou and Ntini
said they survived harsh conditions and death by a whisker.

They said some "senior elements" in the army, who tortured them, wanted to
kill them for political reasons.

The two corporals said they were tortured and harassed for refusing to
campaign for President Robert Mugabe during last year's presidential poll.

"Our problems intensified immediately after the presidential election," they
told the Independent.

"The accusations against us were that we were campaigning for the MDC before
the election. This was simply because we had vehemently resisted the army's
efforts to draft us into the Zanu PF campaign team during our field
attachments as environmental health officers."

Ndou and Ntini had enrolled at the Medical Training School at Imbizo
Barracks on the outskirts of Bulawayo where they took an environmental
health course after returning from the war in the DRC.

They were then deployed to Natisa Clinic at Mapisa growth point and later to
Sikhathini Clinic in Plumtree in Matabeleland South province.

"We refused to campaign for Zanu PF because it was against the ethics of our
profession and also on account of the fact that we were not political
activists. We had done our job in the DRC and we did not want to be involved
in politics."

Ndou and Ntini said there was a massive crackdown in the army after the
election. "Uniformed political activists", they said, targeted those
referred to as "born frees" - those born since 1980.

"We were branded MDC sellouts and alljunior NCOs who were earmarked for
promo-tion were later replaced by old unqualified war veterans who are
actually Zanu PF political commissars," Ndou and Ntini said.

"The claims against us were all false and pure and simple nonsense. It was a
matter of political intolerance and repression, which is at the heart of
Zimbabwe's political crisis. We were nearly 'liquidated' just because we
refused to be part of the army's project to prop up a collapsing

Information on Ndou and Ntini's dramatic escape came as it emerged that one
officer, Captain Ernest Chuma, who also fled after being tortured by the
army in Harare, was still detained in Botswana "for personal security
reasons" awaiting clearance to be sent abroad.

Chuma escaped to Botswana two days after the presidential poll. He tried to
get refuge at Dukwe camp but was arrested by Botswana's security agencies on
suspicion he was tracking down Ndou and Ntini.

Intelligence sources in Gaborone this week said Chuma was still in detention
pending arrangements for his travel overseas. He was nearly repatriated to
Zimbabwe last year but the plans were shelved after a thorough verification
process of identity.

A family member said Chuma's whereabouts were unknown but he last wrote to
his relatives earlier this year saying he was in Botswana.

The army has said Ndou, Ntini and Chuma are deserters. It recently alleged
26 "rogue soldiers" were arrested for deserting and beating up people. This
has, however, been dismissed as a propaganda stunt to cover up army
brutality against civilians.
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Zim Independent

Zim/Libya in Noczim assets dispute

Vincent Kahiya/Mthulisi Mathuthu
SHARP differences have emerged between Zimbabwe and Libya over the real
value of National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) assets and those of its
sister company Petrozim after the two countries failed to agree on the
results of three different valuation exercises carried out last year.

The valuations were carried out to facilitate the acquisition of Zimbabwean
assets by Libya as part of the two countries' trade agreement.

Government sources this week said the Libyan business delegation currently
in the country was keen to see a quick resolution of the impasse which
threatens to scuttle any fuel supply deal.

The composition of the Libyan delegation has raised eyebrows as it does not
consist of technocrats who are usually a key component of such missions.
Sources said there could be an attempt to solve the problem at the political
level which would give the Libyans leverage. Officials from Noczim and
Petrozim, industry sources said, have been resisting attempts to sell off
the assets cheaply.

The transfer of the petro-chemical industry assets are key to the launch of
a joint venture company, Tamoil-Zimbabwe, which the government announced had
been formed last year. The company intends to trade in retail and wholesale
of fuel.

Information to hand shows that last year the Libyans contracted an Italian
company to carry out an asset audit on Noczim and Petrozim, while the
government through the valuation department in the Ministry of Local
Government and National Housing carried out its own assessment. Noczim also
contracted estate agents and property valuators CB Richard Ellis to do a
similar exercise.

Sources said the results from the valuation exercise were so disparate that
negotiations on the transfer of assets collapsed at the end of last year,
which is partly the reason Libya stopped supplying fuel to Zimbabwe.

The audit carried out by the Italian company put the replacement value of
Noczim assets at US$90 million and that of Petrozim at US$62 million.
Petrozim facilities which include the Mutare to Harare pipeline and storage
facilities were built at a cost of US$85 million nine years ago.

Richard Ellis on the other hand put the total replacement value of Noczim
assets at $21,3 billion and that of Petrozim at US$253 million.

The government valued the Noczim assets at $2,13 billion and those of
Petrozim at $626 million. The government figures were lower than those from
the two valuations as the state valuators used a rate of US$1 to $55 while
Richard Ellis used the prevailing black market rate at the time. The
Italians on the other hand did not take into account the value of the land
owned by the two organisations.

The failure by the parties to agree stalled negotiations and another audit
to address the Libyan concerns should have been carried out by the end of
the month. This has however not been done. The execution of that audit now
hangs in the balance as the Libyans are believed to be impatient and would
like the deal concluded as soon as possible.

l Meanwhile, a Libyan company, Mansour Investments, is preparing to build a
hotel and a shoe manufacturing company in Zimbabwe as part of government's
open door policy towards the North Africans who provide fuel.

Led by one Rajab Mansour, the Libyans are also said to be interested in
setting up a shoe manufacturing company with a local company in Bulawayo's
Kelvin North industrial area.

A source told the Independent that the Libyans were originally meant to
co-finance a hotel project with the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) in Kariba
but later opted for a solo project because RTG is also already involved with
Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company which has acquired a 14% stake in the

Libyan Ambassador Mohhamed Azzabi confirmed yesterday that a delegation of
Libyan investors came to Zimbabwe a fortnight ago and consulted with local
business people on the investments but he declined to disclose the names of
the local players.

"All I know is that they have already hired local and international
companies to do feasibility studies for them. They have already started
their projects but they have left for South Africa, Zambia and Malawi," said

A Libyan source said Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company representatives
were also expected in the country soon to explore investment opportunities
in plastic manufacturing, cold storage and water bottling.

This follows last year's reports that unspecified Libyans were eyeing the
country's biggest platinum producer, the Hartley Mine owned by Zimbabwe
Platinum Mines (Zimplats) as part of the oil barter deal.
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Zim Independent

Locals allege snub by Wankie

Loughty Dube
WANKIE, the country's sole coal producer, is allegedly giving preferential
treatment to export clients at the expense of the local market in a bid to
raise foreign currency, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

This week sources close to the troubled colliery company told the
Independent Wankie was exporting coal to regional countries while local
companies have failed to secure supplies for weeks on end.

The shortage of coal has forced several companies relying on coal for
operations to suspend or scale down operations drastically.

Wankie is currently operating at less than half capacity due to the shortage
of foreign currency to buy spare parts for machinery.

Sources close to operations at the troubled Wankie Colliery confirmed that
most of the country's coal was finding its way out of the country while
there was a serious shortage in the country.

Companies that include Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries, Circle Cement, Portland
Pretoria Cement, Delta Corporation and the tobacco industry have been forced
to scale down operations as a result of the coal shortage.

Wankie is exporting large quantities of coal to companies in Zambia, South
Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) among other countries.

"Local trucks spend days waiting for coal but transporters for foreign
countries are given priority and loading of those trucks is done at night,"
said one source.

The source said in the last few weeks Wankie has increased the number of
Zambian companies that it is exporting coal to.

According to the source Wankie has since the beginning of the year been
exporting large quantities of coal to Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia and
lately Chilanga Cement factory and Kongola Copper Mines have been added to
the list.

Wankie's spokesman Simukai Chihanga confirmed to the Independent that his
company was exporting coal to the three countries in the region but said
there was nothing sinister in the move as it enabled them to get foreign
currency to buy spare parts.

"Wankie exports coal and coke mainly to the DRC, Zambia and South Africa,"
Chihanga said.

"The company only exports about 5% of its total production and the limited
foreign currency receipts we generate from these exports have enabled us to
buy critical spares that have kept us going in the face of the severe
foreign currency shortage facing the country at the moment."

Chihanga however denied allegations that Wankie was giving priority to the
export market at the expense of local customers.

"Customers make their own arrangements to transport coal from the mine,"
said Chihanga.

"We load all local traffic during the day if coal is available while export
traffic is loaded from 6 pm to 6 am. This arrangement enables export
customers to clear their consignments with the banks and relevant
authorities during the day," he said.

However, sources said Wankie recently entered a deal in which it would
supply Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia with a further 6 000 tonnes of coal in
the coming two months.

According to sources Wankie is selling the coal at US$60 per tonne.

However, Chihanga said Wankie was currently unable to meet both the local
and export demand due to lack of foreign currency to buy spares.

The company needs more than US$6 million to purchase equipment such as
draglines, shovels, dumpers, drills, caterpillars and loaders.

"Wankie Colliery Company is currently unable to meet both local and export
demand for its products due to the unavailability of foreign currency to
import spare parts for repair and maintenance of machinery used to mine
coal," he said.
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Zim Independent

Murerwa in another bid to secure funds

Ngoni Chanakira
FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa yesterday left Zimbabwe for Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, where he will meet officials from the African Development Bank
(ADB) in a bid to secure funds to bail the country out of its financial

After Addis the minister will dash off to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) headquarters in Washington to "defend the country's position" on June

Murerwa will then board another plane, this time for Durban, South Africa,
where he will again try and defend Zimbabwe's economic performance at the
influential World Economic Forum (WEF) on June 11.

In an interview yesterday, Murerwa said: "I am going to the ADB to try and
secure more funding for various essentials. This includes electricity,
foreign currency, as well as fuel. I will discuss other issues when I get

Zimbabwe has an acute shortage of fuel, electricity and foreign currency
which has worsened because the international community such as the IMF and
World Bank abandoned supporting the country's economic recovery programmes.

In Durban Murerwa will be accompanied by top business executives including
Trust Holdings Ltd chief executive officer William Nyemba, Kingdom Financial
Holdings Ltd deputy executive chairman Nigel Chanakira, Meikles Africa Ltd
chief executive officer Chris Parvin, ZimSun Leisure group chief executive
officer Shingai Munyeza, and former Finance minister Simba Makoni.
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Zim Independent


World turns back on Zim's wildlife

IN June 2002 I wrote a letter of appeal to the outside world targeting
organisations that claim to be concerned about the preservation and
sustainable utilisation of wildlife.

In my concern about the Wildlife Producers Association becoming defunct, I
wrote expressing my disgust at the lack of response and action by
conservation groups and governments in this global village we live in, in
allowing the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

This inaction has now resulted in the collapse of the Wildlife Producers
Association of Zimbabwe because commercial farmers who were removed from
their land now have no income and can no longer pay levies to the

The association was founded by dedicated men and women who built up an
envious record of wildlife management and sustainable utilisation of the
environment. We were leaders in this field in Africa and indeed in the
world. But alas, no more. The violent and illegal land grabs have done
immense damage to our wildlife.

It is terrible to think that the world has turned its back on us as the
destruction of Zimbabwe's wildlife continues. The loss, according to our
displaced wildlife producers, has now reached an alarming 80% since the
violent invasions of commercial farms started in February 2000.

The one thing which stands out clearly is that a few executives connected to
wildlife and environmental issues bask in the glory of their positions and
benefit from all that is on offer. They do nothing about the wanton
destruction of our wild creatures, other than talk and pass the buck down
the line to those who are equally as ineffectual, and eventually to the
concerned underlings who try to do what is right but are hamstrung by

We need action, not diplomatic manoeuvring, nor quiet diplomacy. Enough of
this slaughter. The United Nations and foreign governments talk about the
humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Zimbabwe, but what about our
environment and wildlife? Is there no concern for them?

The numerous letters of appeal sent out to organisations and
conservation-minded bodies worldwide for financial assistance and help in
publicity were ignored. What is it we need to do to help the wildlife in

Soon many will be extinct and the world will be a poorer place and if the
environmental groups do not step in now to pressurise their respective
governments we can kiss our wildlife good bye. The global village needs to
do something now to stop the lawlessness, possibly by some hard talk and
publicity about this environmental disaster caused by human greed for power.

The recent World Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development held in
South Africa was a farce. All the delegates have gone home after wining and
dining and generally feasting on taxpayers' money and many more humans and
animals have died since then. While human abuses are intolerable, we should
not forget animal abuses which are continuing unabated. Those who attended
the South African conference should be reminded of their high ideals and
visions of a better world.

There are groups of people in Zimbabwe who are trying their best to do what
is right, but their hands are tied by the authorities and even their freedom
is under threat from the draconian laws passed by the Zimbabwean government.

Concerned Farmer,

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Zim Independent


Thanks war vets, now it's our turn

RECENT comments by Patrick Nyaruwata that they will mobilise war veterans to
counter the mass action planned for next week shows the war veterans have
lost direction and purpose. Whose and which sovereignty do they purport to
be defending when they have ruined a once prosperous economy by holding the
country to ransom?

Zanu PF and its thugs and the misguided Green Bombers are trying to hold the
whole country to ransom. But lest they forget, the independence of Zimbabwe
came as a result of collective effort.

For Zimbabwe to be liberated, all stakeholders - the rural, the urban, the
poor, the rich, the educated and the illiterate - were united under one
cause. For the war vets to think that the same tactics used during the
struggle can be used again today without the support of the masses is a

The Iraqi information minister tried to fool the world into believing all
was well when Saddam Hussein's regime was collapsing.

Nyaruwata should know there are thousands of young Zimbabweans today ready
to make the same sacrifice made by war veterans in the 1970s to bring us
back the true democracy stolen from us. They are also willing to die for a
worthy cause just as some of them have already been killed by the Mugabe

We will not yield to your threats and indeed, your days are numbered. The
signs are clear and the time has never been more opportune. Indeed this is
the final push to axe the dictator.

Mugabe thinks of leadership qualities in terms of education, himself against
Morgan Tsvangirai, yet he wants an illiterate Joseph Chinotimba to represent
the people of Highfield in parliament.

What constructive idea can Chinotimba bring to any situation except to cash
in on the confusion he has brought wherever he has been? Surely there is
everything wrong with the politics of Zimbabwe, hence our need to bring
about change.

We know Mugabe will not go down without a fight. Fight you will but down you
are going. People will not accept anything short of victory.

We will keep the pressure on Mugabe and his cohorts and push them to the
wall. Mugabe has nothing more to lose because he has lost everything
already, including his dignity.

Final word to the war vets: thank you for liberating us from the whites, but
as for liberating ourselves from the dictator, now it's our turn.

Mukuru Mukuru,


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Zim Independent

Mugabe succession issue problematic - analysts

Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's recent statements ostensibly initiating debate on
his succession are unlikely to generate useful public discourse as long as a
democratic framework for discussion is absent, analysts say.

They say Mugabe's remarks have so far failed to stimulate serious debate,
particularly within his party, largely because the issue has not been
officially tabled for proper deliberation.

If the debate is to be meaningful, analysts say, Mugabe must first announce
when he is leaving and then lay down the rules of engagement. There should
be clear modalities of how people can articulate their opinions.

Political analyst Lovemore Madhuku said given Zanu PF's Marxist command
structure, in which the force amalgamating the people, party and state into
one entity is Mugabe, there could be no effective debate on succession.

"It would be difficult to have open debate on Mugabe's succession because
some people don't even think he is serious about it," he said.
Madhuku said Mugabe just wanted to sound like a benevolent leader allowing
his followers to tread on what was seen as scared ground.

Analysts say Zanu PF may introduce the issue formally during its December
annual conference. Yet they also suspect Mugabe is trying to ward off
pressure on his buffeted stewardship by pretending to be on a democratic
reform path.

Although his remarks have also been taken by some to mean he is about to
retire, others fear it is just part of his customary brinkmanship. They
think he is trying to maintain his position on the edge of the current

As it is, instead of provoking thoughtful debate, Mugabe's cagey remarks -
which seem aimed at easing pressure on him over the increasingly pressing
issue - have only managed to fuel speculation over his currently uncertain
political future, analysts point out.

Mugabe first declared his succession debate - for years treated as a
political taboo - open and encouraged people to openly discuss it in a
recent interview with ZBC. He also indicated his retirement could be

Last week Mugabe followed that up with vague remarks in Mashonaland Central

Addressing a rally last Thursday in Mount Darwin, about 160 km north-east of
Harare, Mugabe said people were free to openly discuss his succession, but
warned his lieutenants against clandestine campaigns to take over from him.
"You must debate succession openly," he told thousands of supporters. "We
want to be true and open to each other and discuss as a united people, not
cracking each other's heads."

Mugabe said he was aware that some of his party's top leaders were seeking
divine intervention to succeed him.

"I am aware of what is happening. Some top leaders are consulting ancestral
spirits and traditional healers to enhance their political fortunes," he
said. "But it's not about ancestral spirits, it's about unity and people's
However, despite Mugabe's statements, those harbouring presidential
ambitions are still unable to overcome their fear and come out of the
closet. They seem scared of sanctions associated with expressing interest in
Mugabe's job.

Iconoclasts often cite the precedent within Zanu PF to explain the issue.
Sidelined ruling party maverick, Eddison Zvobgo, once considered a potential
future leader, was pushed to the periphery of the party for declaring his
interest in Mugabe's throne.

Others now seem afraid. Perceived potential Mugabe successors including
Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa plead they have no interest in
occupying the highest office in the land, despite engaging themselves in
activities that suggest primary presidential campaigning.

Mnanangwa, who is also Zanu PF secretary for administration, two weeks ago
claimed he had no interest in becoming president under cross-examination in
a High Court case in which it was alleged he had unlawfully released
prisoners while he was Justice Minister.

Others like Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Special Affairs minister and
Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo and former Finance minister Simba Makoni, who
are also seen as possible presidential candidates, have actually remained
mum on the issue.

As if to dramatise this deep-rooted culture of fear, Zanu PF spokesman
Nathan Shamuyarira was quoted in the press saying the succession debate was
not an issue at the moment despite discernible shifts and changes in the
ruling party over the matter.

"That is not an issue at all," Shamuyarira was quoted as saying. "Do you
expect us to form an organisation to debate the succession of the
President?" He reportedly said, in line with the party's constitution,
members would later select Mugabe's successor during the ruling party's
congress next year.
Zanu PF has a deeply embedded political culture - the manner in which people
in a society perceive the state and their role in it - of gullibility and

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza, who is seen as closely linked with Zanu PF,
said Mugabe's statements on his succession indicated that he was about to
"I think basically, it's confirmation that he is about to retire," Mandaza
said. "But it would be helpful if he as the leader of Zanu PF would launch
the issue formally and put down modalities of how it should be managed
within party structures."

Mandaza said as long as there is no official debate on the issue, like
through a party congress, "speculation, anxiety and even division will
While Mugabe is still in charge, Zanu PF political barons are already
looking beyond his tenure of office and consolidating their positions for a
take over when he finally retires.

There have been numerous reports that Mugabe's lieutenants are fiercely
intensifying their efforts to seize strategic positions in the escalating
battle for political ascendancy.

The scramble for power in Zanu PF revolves around factions that have for
sometime been slugging it out against each other.

Retired army General Solomon Mujuru, Mnangagwa, and Information minister
Jonathan Moyo are seen as leading the groups fighting for Mugabe's crown.
Critics say what is currently happening in the ruling Zanu PF is not
unusual. Authoritarian regimes have been generally considered to be fragile
in that they are unable to cope with adversity like economic crisis, resolve
internal conflicts, respond to competing interests and demands, modernise
themselves and, above all, ensure smooth succession.

They are also unable to institutionalise themselves because they rely on
brute coercion to maintain their rule. They often collapse when faced with
civil disobedience and instability or military disaffection. History is
replete with examples from Roman emperors to present-day despots.

Given the current growing social instability, it may be so with Zimbabwe
although the situations are different in time and space.

While the contours of Mugabe's regime are easy to draw, the substance of his
power and authority as well as legitimacy are precariously shrinking. His
power building blocks - the army, intelligence service, police, and the
parasitic hangers-on in the patronage network - are also showing signs of
fading allegiance.

With reports that the army and other security agencies are no longer
irretrievably behind Mugabe, except top generals whose fates are
inextricably linked with his, the volatile state of flux is a recipe for
change. But the suppressed succession debate, unless allowed to flow within
a well-defined and democratic political framework, could provide the
catalyst for an unanticipated maelstrom.
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Zim Independent


In the name of God let Mugabe go

MARGARET Dongo once caused an uproar in parliament after she called MPs,
including cabinet ministers, "Mugabe's wives". The reaction of those who
felt insulted by the petite Dongo's outburst was predictable. Instead of
standing up to President Mugabe's dictatorial one-man rule, they turned on
Dongo, threatening to beat her up.

Dongo's exasperation was easily understandable. As the only independent MP,
she was fighting a lone war against authoritarianism in parliament, prior to
offering herself as a presidential candidate before losing her seat in the
2000 general election. During that time Zanu PF had 147 MPs in a House of

There was no one in Zanu PF ready to stand up and challenge Mugabe's growing
absolutism, let alone take him on for the post of president. Since that
symbolic drama in parliament, debate about Mugabe's successor has gathered
momentum, more so in the media than within the ruling party itself. But the
debate has not been matched by any growing number of men of substance
offering themselves to lead the country out of its deepening crisis. There
is a palpable fear of challenging Mugabe as leader of the party.

It is therefore not surprising that it is Mugabe himself who has rekindled
the debate about a successor. He told a ZBCTV reporter in April that he was
ready to retire and that the succession issue should be debated openly
without fanning tribal or ethnic fires that would divide the nation.

But the reaction within the party has been subdued, largely because of what
Dongo was trying to dramatise in her statement in parliament. The other
problem is of course Mugabe's political antics. Those like Eddison Zvobgo,
Dzikamai Mavhaire and Edgar Tekere who dared challenge Mugabe's presidency
have been ruthlessly sidelined from the party's rigid structure. None of
them has been able to rise from the ashes.

Is Mugabe now keen to relinquish power or is he simply playing a political
game? Is there anybody in the party bold enough to call his bluff? Observers
say Mugabe is keen to retire but faces roadblocks mounted by those in his
party who benefited from his system of patronage and are not certain about
their future. Mugabe is no longer his own man. He is under siege from those
who committed heinous crimes, from the Gukurahundi era to last year's
elections, who fear that Mugabe's departure would expose them to punitive
action under a new government.

There are also those in the uniformed forces and war veterans who looted
properties and committed extra-judicial killings with impunity during the
so-called land reform who see Mugabe as the safest buffer between them and
the prison gates. These are the people putting Mugabe under pressure to stay
on to guarantee their safety, not his alone. It is the same people whose
privileges would evaporate should Mugabe lose an early election or from any
compromise settlement with the MDC. Thus Mugabe's call for a succession
debate is likely to appeal to the worst type, those who feel most vulnerable
to due process and therefore want him to guarantee them personal security.

Commentators also blame the stalemate on the rigid top-down leadership
structures in the party for stifling debate and lack of space for
individuals to air divergent views. Mugabe is the leadership while the
faceless mob is the party and there is nothing in between. Party congresses
where policies and leadership issues should be discussed have become
meaningless annual rituals where party sycophants and opportunists take
turns to shower Mugabe with praise and noone wants to be seen as the fly in
the ointment.

Zanu PF has failed to foster independent thinkers within its ranks.

In other democracies leaders emerge on the basis of new ideas to help the
nation out of its problems, and not through presidential patronage or
parroting the leader's latest fad. What we have come to expect in Zanu PF is
what Mugabe says at a rally becomes every MP's or cabinet minister's slogan.
If he attacks the opposition MDC, that is the song for the week, if he says
the British are responsible for the nation's problems, that becomes the
gospel. None of the prospective successors to Mugabe as president can
clearly be quantified in terms of what they stand for.

For instance who is Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is Jonathan Moyo or Simba Makoni
and what does each represent beyond Mugabe? What are the individual views of
these putative candidates on current political, social and economic issues?
How do they view Zimbabwe's foreign policy, if any, our relationships with
multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the IMF? Can they take a
stand on any national issue and campaign without Mugabe's backing? In short,
do we have real men to campaign for the presidency or are we still dealing
with the same sort of people Dongo was referring to - "Mugabe's wives" -
trying to hang on to his coat tails?

In short, we are not likely to see any serious national debate so long as
Mugabe himself sets the parameters of that initiative and continues to pitch
himself at public rallies as a potential candidate or, failing that, a deus
ex machina. Or so long as he is personally trapped by insecure blackmailers
near him who tell him he can't be safe if they are not but pretend it is the
people who want him to die in office.

But for all practical purposes the only national issue for which Zanu PF
needs Mugabe is to deal with the MDC. On all other issues he is simply lost.
To his captors all we can say is, in the name of God let the man go.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Exporters will soon be unable to export

ZIMBABWE'S foreign currency crisis is becoming ever greater. Forex
availability is steadily declining, with a resultant collapse of those
remaining sectors of the economy as have not already been destroyed.

The increasingly great demand for forex is triggering massive competition
within the foreign currency markets for whatsoever may be available, and
that competition is driving exchange rates upwards rapidly. Last week saw
rates in the parallel market soar to levels almost twice those that
prevailed only a few months ago. Key purchasers of foreign exchange were
major parastatals, believed to have included the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim), the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Air Zimbabwe.

Zesa has been at great pains to deny that it has been one of the
contributors to the upsurge in exchange rates, as a consequence of its
rapacious encroachments into the "parallel" market. In prominent
advertisements it has denied that it has been sourcing foreign exchange in
the black market. But avoidance of the black market does not mean that Zesa
has not sought forex in the parallel market, and in fact the authority has
to all intents and purposes acknowledged that it does patronise that market.

In its press advertisements of denial, Zesa stated that it "... only sources
foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other authorised
dealers like commercial banks ..". Where the forex is supplied by the
Reserve Bank, the transaction is within the "official" market. However, the
only forex accessible to commercial banks and like institutions is the 50%
of export proceeds as are not subject to mandatory surrender to the Reserve

That 50% is intended for the exclusive use of the exporter in accord with a
Reserve Bank prescribed priority listing, and is subject to Reserve Bank
authorisation, and therefore any forex provided to Zesa by the banks must be
that which is "diverted" by the exporter (with the assistance of the bank)
into the parallel market.

It must be assumed that other parastatals also do not access the black
market but, in order to supplement the insignificant funds accorded them by
the Reserve Bank, necessarily emulate Zesa in seeking their critically
required forex needs from the parallel market. That market is regrettably a
diminishing one.

Government has destroyed many of the generators of foreign exchange.
Agriculture was a key producer of forex, producing over 200 million kg of
tobacco, considerable quantities of cotton, sugar, citrus, beef and much
else. Government brought agriculture to its knees.

That a land reform programme was (and is) needed is incontestable, but
despite well-intentioned and constructive advice available to government, it
adopted an obdurate stance which resulted in the slaughter of the golden
goose, and hence it no longer lays golden eggs. In like manner government
destroyed Zimbabwe's relationships with the international community to such
an extent that foreign direct investment dried up, balance of payments
support was withdrawn, and almost all aid other than as required on extreme
humanitarian grounds ceased.

But these disastrous actions of government did not suffice to destroy
totally the foreign exchange resource to Zimbabwe. Whilst not enough forex
could be earned by the mining, tourism and manufacturing sectors to provide
fully for Zimbabwe's needs, they were all major contributors to the forex
pool. So, for a very long period of time government set out to destroy
them - not necessarily with intent, but that was the effect of its economic
policies and its disregard for the concerns expressed by the operators in
those sectors.

First and foremost, government fuelled rampant inflation with its fiscal
indiscipline, its tacit condonation of corruption, its constraints on
productivity through its destruction of business confidence, its active
promotion of a divide between employers and employees, and its incompetence
in management of parastatals upon which the economic sectors necessarily had
to rely for essential operational inputs. These devastating impacts upon
those who could produce much-needed foreign exchange were then reinforced by
government's prolonged, rigid opposition to devaluation of Zimbabwe's
currency, for government was unwilling to recognise a correlation between
inflation, costs of production of export commodities, and therefore of
currency exchange rates.

The result was that exports became less and less viable, for necessary price
increases to address the rising costs rendered the exports uncompetitive
and, therefore, ever less foreign currency was forthcoming. Tourism was also
severely affected, partially due to government reticence to devalue (until
it belatedly did so with the creation of an "export support rate" or
"exchange rate adjustment" in February last. That very temporarily rendered
some exports possible once more, but only for a very short space of time, as
the benefits were soon eclipsed by hyperinflation).

But tourism suffered even more from the adverse image that government's
actions gave Zimbabwe. Perceptions (not unfounded!) of an absence of law and
order, and of a lack of tourism requisites, curtailed interest in Zimbabwe
as a destination. As all these negative factors intensified, so the extent
of foreign exchange inflows decreased. As they became less, so the value of
that available grew, thereby increasing costs for all sectors of the
economy, causing the inflation spiral to rise higher and higher. A
never-ending cycle of cost escalations, resultant higher inflation,
consequential lessening in exports and, therefore, of foreign exchange
receipts, and therefore also of further costs of foreign exchange, set in.
Government being completely unable to acknowledge culpability recurrently
sought others to blame.

The leading culprit, according to the state, was the exporter. Accusations
flew fast and furious that exporters were resorting to transfer pricing,
whereby they were minimising the amounts of foreign exchange that had to be
repatriated to Zimbabwe, and were accumulating vast amounts outside
Zimbabwe. Inevitably some will have done so, for transfer pricing is a
characteristic of any overly-regulated economy, and particularly one wherein
exchange controls exist, and wherein the political, economic and judicial
environment becomes more and more oppressive. But although some exporters
have been guilty of some transfer pricing, it is inconceivable that this
could be of any magnitude, for with escalating production costs few will
have been, or are, able to do so and continue in operation.

Allegations of transfer pricing are not the only attacks upon exporters. As
the extent of foreign exchange available shrunk the Reserve Bank increased
the amounts of export proceeds that had to be sold to it, from 40% to 50% of
those proceeds. That foreign exchange was to be applied primarily to the
requirements of Noczim and Zesa. However, the shrinking forex inflows
resulted in the amounts available to those parastatals falling sharply. That
forced them into reducing supplies of fuel and energy to the populace, and
to enter the parallel market to obtain such forex as available.

Fuel distributors cannot buy fuel at prices of $800 per litre and more, in
order to supply fuel outlets at prices a little more than half of cost. The
insufficiency of forex also motivated Zesa to demand of exporters that they
pay for their energy needs in forex. Some have agreed to do so, despite the
severe prejudice to their operations, but many cannot afford to do so. When
they resisted the Zesa demands, a government official had the arrogant
impertinence of saying that "exporting companies were trying to have their
cake and eating it too". What a brazen effrontery! The exporter has already
been obliged to surrender half of his gross foreign exchange earnings for
the benefits of Noczim and Zesa, and is then expected to yield even more.
How can a requirement to pay twice constitute it having its cake and eating

And how does that insolent government official expect the exporter to pay
for imported raw materials, spares for plant and machinery, franchise fees
and royalties, commissions payable to foreign marketing agents, and the
like, if progressively the foreign exchange which he has earned cannot be
used for his business needs? Soon the exporter will no longer be able to
export, due to lack of inputs, whereafter not only will the exporter be
unable to pay electricity charges, but he will also be without any export
proceeds to be subjected to the 50% obligatory surrender to the Reserve
Bank. Then Zesa will be even worse off, as will be all Zimbabwe.

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Zim Independent


Moyo gets sharp riposte from South Africa

WHILE President Mugabe's publicists were celebrating what appeared to be a
successful visit to South Africa recently, the authorities down south were
not exactly ecstatic.

Firstly, the University of Fort Hare disassociated itself from racist
remarks made at their graduation ceremony by praise-singer Jongela Nojozi.
Then, in response to questions as to who invited Mugabe to Walter Sisulu's
funeral, there was a flurry of statements suggesting he had invited himself.
And the MDC's Moses Mzila rained on Mugabe's Soweto parade by recounting
that when Sisulu visited Harare in the early 1990s the president had refused
to meet him. Now that he needed some nationalist credibility he was only too
keen to fly down with a large entourage to be seen mourning the passing of a
leader whose humanity and political inclusivity were the exact opposite of
Mugabe's narrow nationalism.

But the best bit in this comedy of errors was Jonathan Moyo's maladroit
decision to send a letter of protest to President Mbeki's office about the
"demonisation" of Zimbabwe's leader in the South African press.

Nothing could have been more calculated to excite the derision of the South
African media. In particular, Moyo complained about the disrespect shown to
Mugabe over the ceremony to celebrate the "historic" return of the lower
part of a Zimbabwe bird from Germany.

Muckraker revealed last week that the bird's bottom had actually been
returned in February 2000 but the authorities took three years to respond to
the German embassy's request for a handover ceremony. Why if the ceremony
was so historic, as Moyo claimed, was it delayed for three years?

Moyo targeted the Hogarth column in the Sunday Times which satirised
Mugabe's pretensions. He described the paper as "unAfrican, filthy and
That was a mistake. The editor of the Sunday Times, Mathatha Tsedu, is chair
of the South African National Editors' Forum. He is also a firm admirer of
President Mbeki whom he describes as "the epitome of a truly committed son
of the African soil".

Moyo got his reply last Sunday. The Sunday Times ran a front-page story
itemising Grace Mugabe's shopping bills run up to comfort her during the
first couple's attendance at Sisulu's funeral.

R51 860 was spent on a dinner set, R16 159 at a Pretoria hardware store, R3
443 at Pick 'n Pay, R2 415 at Edgars, and R2 586 at Woolworths. The dinner
set was imported from "Breeten". In all she spent nearly R100 000.

It will not have been lost on South African readers that these purchases
were made as millions of Zimbabweans have been reduced to dependence upon
donors for food supplies. The author of their misery, Moyo says, should not
be "demonised" because he is the head of state of a "friendly neighbouring

There you have in a nutshell the solidarity disease. However wicked and
damaging the policies of a leader, he should not be criticised or held to
account because it is "unAfrican".

Moyo invited Mbeki to intervene "given the fact that the newspaper in
question has been at the forefront of demonising the president, government
and people of Zimbabwe and seeking to divide Zimbabweans and South Africans
for a long time now".

This is disingenuous. No South African newspaper has demonised the people of
Zimbabwe. Instead they have exposed the hypocrisy and double standards that
characterise Zimbabwe's leadership. That includes complaining about a bad
press from another country while illegally abducting and deporting
journalists in your own. As for dividing Zimbabweans and South Africans,
never have the people of the two nations been more unified in their
opposition to the brutal regime in Harare and their determination to see it
removed. Moyo should stop embarrassing Zimbabwe with his ill-conceived
interventions. And if he so dislikes the Hogarth column, why does it look as
if he is trying to copy it in the Sunday Mail - without much success!

Mbeki's spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, gave Moyo an unambiguous answer to his
importunities. The South African government had no intention of interfering
with the media, he said on Tuesday.

"Sometimes we are criticised and lampooned in ways that we do not like, but
we respect the right of the media to do this," he said. "We fundamentally
support the right of people to criticise. Our law allows people to write
what they like."

NB Moyo/Mahoso.

Could Tafataona Mahoso say which media representatives Walter Kansteiner met
"in the desert" during his recent visit to Botswana?

We ask because Mahoso has been peddling stories about meetings in Botswana
which have subsequently proved to be false. But even when it is obvious to
everybody, including those sources in the state media which fed him these
stories, that they are false he goes on repeating them. Then he has the
cheek to label a number of journalists as "disgraced" because they allegedly
repeated falsehoods.

The fact that they were acquitted in court or had their cases dismissed he
regards as "mere technicalities".

The law was badly crafted, he says of the most recent case under Aippa.
So what are we to make of the head of a state media commission
who ignores court findings to pursue a campaign of vilification against
journalists? He cited Grace Kwinjeh, Ray Choto, Mark Chavunduka, Andrew
Moyse, Basildon Peta, Chengetai Zvauya, Lloyd Mudiwa and Geoff Nyarota as
authors of "offending" material.

Choto and the late Chanvunduka were vindicated by the Supreme Court which
struck down those sections of the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act which they
were charged under. In the most recent Nyarota/Mudiwa case, the state again
suffered the humiliation of being told its laws were bad.

But Mahoso will not let the law get in the way when he hurls accusations
against journalists who have offended the pretensions of the overweening
state he so slavishly serves. Needless to say, he exhumes the Magunje case
as his evidence-in-chief. Andrew Meldrum failed to verify his evidence when
reporting the incident, Mahoso claims.

But Meldrum was acquitted on precisely that point: that he did everything he
reasonably could by seeking comment from the police. The police lost that
case for the state by refusing to cooperate.

Mahoso ignores that salient point as well.
How can any journalist trust the integrity of somebody who is not prepared
to respect court verdicts and who goes on repeating childish claims about
meetings in the desert - all part of the state's discredited propaganda
offensive - even when it has been shown those meetings never took place?

If Mahoso thought that Aippa was "poorly crafted" why didn't he say so? Is
there any record of him having warned the minister responsible that the Act
contained serious structural faults? Why is Mahoso wise now after the event?
And what are the "national security implications" of the Magunje story? Have
these been raised before? The only security involvement we can think of was
the way the Daily News was set up!

George Charamba has been celebrating Meldrum's deportation claiming that "a
major plank of the overall Western strategy for regime change had been

There was a clumsy attempt to link Meldrum to US, British and even Swedish
diplomacy with Charamba citing some fanciful ties between London and
Stockholm. But Charamba's central thrust was that the government had a
sovereign right to tear up somebody's residence permit if it so chose. He
justified this by claiming that Britain had been "haunting (sic) innocent
Zimbabweans out of its shores". They were "herded into concentration camps",
he suggested, before being "thrown on Air Zimbabwe without even the
slightest veneer of legality".

Not a single one had abused Britain's hospitality, he claimed.
Sadly, Charamba knows perfectly well that those who do abuse Britain's
hospitality like George Shire and Chinondidyachii Mararike are at liberty to
stay there if they are permanent residents. Those who are not legally
entitled to stay are removed, although not declared prohibited immigrants in
the vindictive way Zimbabwe's deportees are. What Charamba did not say was
why it was okay for his government to disregard three court orders
prohibiting the Immigration department from deporting Meldrum. In fact, in
his long rambling article that was crying out for an editor, he did not once
refer to the intervention of the courts. Which is hardly surprising. This is
a regime that declines to be bound by its own courts. When rulings go
against it, as Mahoso has shown, they are treated as inconsequential. And
then they complain when Zimbabwe is described as a lawless state!

We were grateful, by the way, to have Charamba's admission that former Chief
Justice Anthony Gubbay was "ousted". Will the Law Society please pass that
revealing reference on to the International Bar Association and other
interested parties. It confirms what we already knew but is the first
official confirmation.

Charamba says that "to those of us in the know Meldrum had long stopped
practising journalism".

These are the same spooky people, we can safely assume, who were "in the
know" about the meeting in Botswana between Jack Straw and Walter Kansteiner
(that never took place); who were "in the know" about the MDC sending a
delegation to the same "Botswana" meeting; who were "in the know" about
Strive Masiyiwa taking part in a conference organised in Botswana by the
South African Institute for International Affairs (it took place in South
Africa and Masiyiwa was not present)? What else do these people "know"?

The editor of the Herald on Wednesday demonstrated that he doesn't have a
mind of his own by branding Meldrum a "suspected intelligence officer."
Perhaps we should start naming suspected spooks at the Herald and Sunday
Mail. But that could take up too much space!

Charamba is truly delusional in thinking that by abducting and deporting
Meldrum he has secured a less critical press for his politically ailing
boss. The next few months will show that there is "no rest for the wicked" -
the Congo "gold-diggers and bootleggers" Charamba serves. And the next time
Charamba foists one of his inventive tales about "Western imperialism" on
the Sunday Mail he should disclose that as a Chevening scholar he was the
recipient of British imperialist hospitality a few years ago!

Muckraker has a theory as to where all the missing bank notes have gone.
There are approximately 20 fuel queues visible around Harare on any given
day. Some of these are of course "hope queues", but if there is fuel
anticipated they will grow to at least 100 vehicles. Each driver will be
carrying at least $30 000 if they hope to fill their tanks. That amounts to
$60 million in Harare alone tied up in fuel queues.

Add to this the women who carry large amounts in cash awaiting cooking oil
deliveries, or forex dealers who have harvested all the $500 notes they can
lay their hands on. Then there are the ordinary folk who no longer trust the
banks because they don't have any cash available. How much is held under
mattresses although admittedly these "bricks" could prove rather

During Germany's grosse inflation of the early 1920s people carried money
around in wheelbarrows. Thieves were quick to take advantage. But instead of
stealing the money they would dump the money and run off with the barrows!

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