November 11 2006 at 12:44PM
Harare - Cash-strapped national carrier Air Zimbabwe has suspended its
flights to London fearing the seizure of its planes by a European navigation
agency over a $2,8-million (R20,2-million) debt, an official said on
Air Zimbabwe board chairperson Mike Bimha was quoted by the
state-controlled Herald as saying the Agency for the Safety of Air
Navigation recently won a court order to impound the national carrier's
planes to recover its debt.
"It's a debt that accrued well before our time," Bimha was quoted as
"As a security measure our lawyers have advised us to suspend flights
pending discussions with the agency's lawyers."
London is one of Air Zimbabwe's most lucrative destinations.
The newspaper said the national carrier resorted to arranging for its
London-bound passengers to be accomodated on British Airways and South
African Airways flights.
But the development inconvenienced passengers who needed to catch
connecting flights from London.
"The good thing is that we are into the winter season in the United
Kingdom where the numbers of passengers are not too big so we have no
problems transferring passengers to other airlines," The Herald quoted Bimha
Air Zimbabwe's fortunes have been flagging in recent years because of
shortages of fuel and spare parts, as well as allegations of poor
Dwindling tourism numbers have contributed significantly to the
carrier's problems as visitors from traditional tourism markets, such as the
United States and western Europe, have shunned the southern African country.
Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer Oscar Madombwe told
members of parliament earlier this year that passenger numbers slumped from
one million in 1999 to 23 000 last year.
Last month the national carrier announced fare increases of up to 500
percent on both international and domestic routes.
Meanwhile, fuel shortages forced the national carrier to ground its
entire fleet for more than a day in November last year.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages for the past six years
blamed on shortages of hard currency. - Sapa-AFP
Saturday 11th November 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been an exercise in such absurdity that you wonder how
anything at all has functioned - and how we have survived it.
Monday began with an electricity cut at 7.30 am which lasted for 7 hours.
The power came back on but not for long and we ended the day after 11 hours
of no power. I met a man on Monday with agonising toothache. He went to have
it extracted but the dentist couldn't help - his surgery had neither
electricity nor water.
Tuesday we again spent most of the business day in silence, going another 10
hours without electricity, and the water pressure dwindled to a fast drip.
There were no street collections of garbage due to no fuel and a friend
phoned and said butchers were complaining their meat was smelling and going
off in the heat. The story resurfaced about the wrong fertilizer that had
been imported by the government from South Africa. 70 000 tonnes had come in
but was found to be too high in some elements and was unsuitable for use on
most soils. Apparently high sulphur levels could reduce yields or even
destroy crops if used on the wrong soil types. The real bone shaker was yet
to come though as the press reported that, oops, the fertilizer had already
been delivered to the GMB for giving out to farmers. Double oops, as the GMB
said they'd already started distributing it across the country.
Wednesday, could things get worse? Yes. There was no water at all, not even
a slow drip but there was electricity so hey, we shouldn't be too
capitalistic and ask for both services - even though we pay for them!
Thursday the water came back on but now it smells of sewage, is the colour
of urine, has a thick yellow sediment and oily bubbles on top. Headline news
was of a lavish ceremony with Mr Mugabe giving out 99 year farm leases to
120 new farmers. Some of the beneficiaries include a high court judge and a
chief correspondent on ZBC TV. The caption below the picture on ZBC TV was:
"99 year farm leases very constitutional." Then followed an interview with
some expert or other who said the 99 year leases were "very very legal." It
is not clear if the 120 leases were for farms where compensation has been
paid to farmers for infrastructure and stolen crops, or to farm workers for
loss of livelihood, or to any of the men, women and children who were
subjected to all manner of human rights abuses ranging from theft to arson,
rape, looting, torture and even murder. It's not funny, very funny or even
very very funny, but somehow we carry on and so we limped into Friday.
Friday word hit my home tome that 20 000 new mobile telephone lines were
available for sale. No one knew if it was the government owned phone company
or the private one doing the selling so there was pandemonium. At the post
office there were riot police trying to get people to calm down and get in a
queue - and all this for the chance to legally buy a telephone line. How
crazy can things get!
It's been a very difficult week for ordinary people in Zimbabwe and it gets
harder and harder to hold things together and keep pretending to be normal.
I end on a note of hope which I saw at Speech Day at my son's school. Even
in such appallingly hard times our schools take such care and pride to turn
out fine, well mannered, caring and clever young men and women. All credit
to these schools and their dedicated staff who could have fled to easier and
greener pastures but haven't because they have hope and vision. Zimbabwe
owes them and other professionals a great debt.
Until next time, love cathy.
BY OUR STAFF
AN enraged President Robert Mugabe last week hauled central bank
governor Gideon Gono over the coals after learning from The Standard the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had played a part in importing fake fertiliser from
Last week, The Standard reported alarm over the importation of
70 000 tonnes of fertiliser from South Africa, which both the GMB acting
chief executive Samuel Muvuti and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made,
condemned as unsuitable.
Made has ordered farmers to stop using any suspicious
fertiliser, promising them compensation.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday confirmed
that Gono was summoned by Cabinet to explain the controversial deal that is
likely to bury this agricultural season.
Gono on Monday appeared before the National Economic Recovery
Council (NERC), at which he sought to exonerate himself of any wrongdoing.
The NERC was chaired by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
But determined to get to the bottom of the matter, Mugabe
convened an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on Thursday at which Gono was
asked to explain how the "sub-standard" fertiliser had been imported.
Gono confirmed that he had been asked to explain the
controversial fertiliser deal after both Mugabe and the Cabinet had "taken a
keen interest in the story that was published by one of the weekly papers
But he denied being roasted during the specially convened
Cabinet meeting on Thursday. He claimed the poor quality fertiliser was
between 160 and 800 tonnes and worth between US$50 000 and US$300 000.
Gono accused unnamed ministers and government officials of
"grandstanding and deliberately misrepresenting facts" about the imported
He said: "The recent fertiliser furore is a tip of the iceberg
in a growing tragedy of misinformation, which is designed to 'rubbish' the
efforts of those trying to make a positive difference to our economic
turnaround and instead, sow seeds of disunity, panic, suspicion as well as
hatred among and between stakeholders".
Gono said the agenda was to portray him and the central bank as
obstacles to the success of the land reform programme.
Gono alleged the attack on the central bank had been timed to
coincide with "two most crucial" moments.
He identified these as the advent of the rains and a decisive
season in terms of the land reform programme, as well as Zanu PF's national
conference due next month, at which the issue of the land is expected to
take centre stage.
Gono said the central bank was being blamed unfairly for the
fertiliser fiasco when the Secretary for Agriculture, Simon Pazvakavambwa,
and his team of experts flew to Durban, South Africa, to inspect and certify
the fertiliser before it was cleared and subsequently imported into the
The team included Dr Sam Muchena from the African Centre for
Fertiliser Development at Hatcliffe Estate, Harare, and John Madzinga from
Muchena and Madzinga could not be reached yesterday.
The fertiliser at the centre of the dust-up was from Sasol and
not Intshona, as earlier reported.
On charges that the central bank had "gone it alone" in sealing
the fertiliser deal, Gono said the Ministries of Agriculture, Industry and
International Trade, as well as Finance, had been involved in the deal,
which was concluded in Harare on 28 April this year with Nedbank and the
Rand Merchant Bank for the provision of fertiliser.
But the controversy gets muddier because while Muvuti condemned
the fertiliser, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture's crop nutrition
section, Chemistry and Soil Research Institute (CSRI) L T Mupondi, and
Pazvakavambwa, approved its use.
On 26 July, Pazvakavambwa directed the GMB to distribute the
fertiliser, saying it could be "provisionally" registered as 7:14:7 Compound
D for one year.
"I note that the results obtained are within the acceptable
range of Nitrate (N), Phosphorus (P205) and Potassium (K20). Based on these
results, I now direct that the product be released to GMB for distribution
The CSRI's head said the Sasol fertiliser could be provisionally
registered for a year only adding: "It is because the sulphur content of
this fertiliser is below the Zimbabwe 1.05% is below that of registered
compound type fertiliser which has a sulphur content of 6.5%."
But fears remain that Zimbabwe would be headed for another poor
agricultural season because of the poor quality of the fertiliser from South
At a press conference held yesterday morning to exonerate Gono
from the fertiliser mess, Made confirmed that some of the fake fertiliser
had been distributed but said affected farmers should return it.
"If there are farmers who are not happy with the fertiliser,
they should hold on and we will test it. Compensation will be made to the
affected farmers," Made said.
He said a structure had been set up to ensure that any
fertiliser was tested before it was supplied, to make sure it was the
Some farmers have already returned the fake fertiliser to the
GMB depot in Chitungwiza. This was confirmed by a senior official at the
depot on Friday.
By Bertha Shoko
THE Global Fund to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and Aids
has rejected Zimbabwe's sixth round application for funding on undisclosed
The rejection effectively scuttles any plans by the government
to put thousands of infected people on Anti Retroviral Drugs (ARVs).
Set up in 2002, the Global Fund is one of the biggest
international organisations providing funds to poor countries to fight
malaria, TB and HIV and Aids.
Zimbabwe submitted its application in July after the funding
body called for proposals for round six in April and set 3 August as the
deadline for all submissions.
The Standard understands Zimbabwe applied for funding for all
three diseases but the largest chunk of the money was intended to scale up
ARV treatment countrywide.
There are only about 40 000 people accessing the life-prolonging
drugs from state-run programmes and in the private sector.
This compares with the more than 600 000 people who actually
The Global Fund's decision is final and Zimbabwe cannot appeal
because it had a previous successful round five application.
A country can only appeal against a decision if it has had two
unsuccessful round applications in a row, according to Global Fund rules.
In a response to The Standard last week, head of communications
at the Global Fund, Jon Liden confirmed the rejection but could not disclose
Liden said: "The full explanation of the Technical Review Panel's
decision will be sent to the CCM (Country Co-ordinating Mechanism) shortly.
It is up to the CCM to decide if it wants the explanation to be made
The CCM is made up of representatives from the government, NGOs,
academic institutions, private businesses and HIV and Aids activists living
with the disease.
The Standard understands one reason was a provision by Zimbabwe
to pay health personnel extra money to compensate for inflation in an effort
to retain their services.
The leader of a rebel group of people living with HIV and Aids
who are pressing government for increased access to ARVs, Joao Zangarati,
said he was convinced the government's bad human rights record was the
reason why the donor community continued to snub Zimbabwe.
Zangarati said: "We are slowly moving into isolation because of
our country's bad track record.
"The donor community is punishing the wrong people. This is a
good reason for us (the ARV movement) to put more pressure on the
government. We know we are going to win this battle eventually."
Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
could not be reached for comment yesterday.
BY FOSTER DONGOZI
THE head of church leaders behind the National Vision Document,
Bishop Trevor Manhanga has dismissed speculation that the final document was
only launched after heavy editing by Zanu PF and government officials.
The Standard is in possession of two "national vision" documents
which, though generally the same, are in some cases very different.
There is mounting speculation that the bishops sent the draft
document to President Robert Mugabe for perusal before it could be launched.
But Bishop Manhanga poured scorn on the speculation, saying: "It
took us about five months to come up with a draft and somebody came across
the draft which was circulated before the launch. The official document is
the one that was officially launched and not the draft that you are talking
For example, while one document says people whose relatives were
murdered by the government need to know the truth about what happened to
their relatives, the official document says there are some serious issues
about the Gukurahundi period "that the nation needs to look into".
On the constitution, the original document referred to it as a
source of "conflict" but the edited version refers to the constitution as
causing some "misunderstandings".
Mugabe has made it clear that issues such as sovereignty and the
constitution were not negotiable.
Church leaders met the Movement for Democratic Change founding
president, Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday to discuss the document.
Tsvangirai said he was prepared to work with all Zimbabweans who
wanted to see an end to the crises in the country.
He said it was his belief that as long as Mugabe and Zanu PF
remained in a state of denial about their contribution to the current mess,
the process, like previous ones would lead to a blind alley.
"To save Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have to address the
known roadblocks to a new society.This crisis shall remain with us unless
Mugabe and Zanu PF shift their mindset through a patriotic desire to save
Zimbabwe from further haemorrhage."
He called on the churches to force Mugabe to create an enabling
environment to save the country.
Meanwhile, an MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara has dismissed
as false reports that it was engaged in unity talks with the Tsvangirai
There were reports last week of the two warring factions
exploring ways to end their conflict.
"The MDC advises that, contrary to assertions that have been
made in the media and also peddled by the Tsvangirai grouping about
reunification talks, there are no such talks," Gabriel Chaibva, a
spokesperson for the Mutambara faction said.
"The MDC has not set up any re-unification committee and there
has not been any contact with us from the Tsvangirai grouping, serve for the
press reports. However, we are not opposed to any talks aimed at bringing
about the re-unification of all democratic forces, but emphasize that such
discussions should be premised on the founding principles and values of the
By Foster Dongozi
THE Zanu PF leadership in Matabeleland and the Midlands has
written letters to the ruling party's presidium for clarification on whether
party spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira's comments on Gukurahundi were his
personal opinion or the position of the ruling party.
In the early 1980s, the government unleashed the 5 Brigade on
Matabeleland and the Midlands, the perceived political base of their foe,
"We are very worried that the party has remained silent after
Shamuyarira's statement on the massacres. We are not sure if he was speaking
in his individual capacity or on behalf of Zanu PF," said a Zanu PF
provincial officer in Matabeleland South.
The Standard's Zanu PF sources in Matabeleland and the Midlands
confirmed efforts were being made to seek clarification.
A Midlands official said: "Several senior party leaders in the
Midlands were very annoyed by Shamuyarira's statement and want clarification
from the presidium."
Asked if he regretted the actions of the 5 Brigade, Shamuyarira
said: "No, I don't regret. They were doing a job to protect the people."
More than 20 000 people, including unarmed civilians, were
killed in the Midlands and Matabeleland by the soldiers.
Although he fell short of apologising for the massacres, Robert
Mugabe described the era as a time of madness.
The Zimbabwe Liberators' Peace Initiative says it intends to
take Shamuyarira to the International Criminal Tribunal over his utterances
on the massacres.
Max Mnkandla, the head of the organisation, said they were in
consultation with the United Nations over the issue. "We therefore want the
Unity Accord to be removed and we are in the process of preparing to take
the issue to the highest court in the world. We want the perpetrators to be
brought to book."
BY WALTER MARWIZI
AN Army captain accused of supplying intelligence to an
ex-Rhodesian soldier now on trial in Mutare for allegedly plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe will be court-martialled tomorrow, the
army confirmed yesterday.
Captain Alfred Chiukira is due to appear in court tomorrow,
after languishing in solitary confinement at King George VI barracks in
Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi said: "Captain
Chiukira is due to appear before the General Court Martial on Monday, 13
Tsatsi was responding on Friday to questions from The Standard
on why the army continued to hold the intelligence officer in detention.
Chiukira was arrested last March in connection with the
discredited arms cache case after allegations that he had worked with Peter
Hitschmann, who is on trial on allegations of plotting to kill Mugabe.
Except for Hitschmann, all the other defendants, including MDC activists,
were acquitted as the case crumbled in spectacular fashion.
Despite protesting his innocence, Chiukira has been held in
detention for six months at KGVI barracks without being court-martialled.
Reports filtering from the Army Headquarters suggested Chiukira
had been tortured in detention.
A doctor who examined him was reported to have certified that he
had suffered 17% disability as a result of torture.
Chiukira was reportedly not allowed to see relatives, friends
and his lawyer.
The Standard understands that a desperate Chiukira at one time
tried, in vain, to send a document detailing his torture to the
The document was suppressed.
There are reports that army chiefs were determined to keep him
under lock and key until after conclusion of Hitschmann's trial.
Sources told The Standard army intelligence chiefs feared if
Chiukira was acquitted at the General Court Martial due to lack of evidence,
that would not only embarrass them, but could turn out to be "live"
ammunition for lawyers battling to free Hitschmann in Mutare.
Tsatsi refused to comment on reports of torture and the
suppression of the document destined for Mugabe.
"In view of the above development, most of your questions
relating to the case cannot be entertained at this stage as the case is
still sub-judice," said Tsatsi.
BY OUR STAFF
PRODUCTION of asbestos has declined significantly at Gaths Mine
since the government took over Shabanie-Mashava Mines from business mogul,
A visit to one of the mines in Mashava by The Standard last week
showed production has dropped by about 50% since 2003 amid revelations of
poor management and a mass exodus of qualified technical staff.
Production of asbestos fibre has dropped from 180 000 tonnes to
around 100 000 tonnes a year.
Workers alleged all was not well at the mine since the
government moved in. Operations had declined sharply, they said.
They complained of poor pay and working conditions which they
said had forced trained personnel to seek greener pastures elsewhere,
leaving the mine with semi-skilled workers.
A worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We used to
enjoy good working conditions here when Mawere owned the mine, but now it is
no longer the same. We are no longer paid as much as we were before the
government take-over. This is because the mine is not producing enough."
Another disgruntled worker said: "Poor production has affected
workers' morale as most of the company's qualified technical staff has
The government wrested the mine from Mawere in 2004 through a
reconstruction order after controversial allegations of mismanagement and
externalisation of foreign currency.
Mawere was said to owe state enterprises billions of dollars,
although the state failed to prove the existence of the debts.
The government, through the public media, blamed Mawere for the
problems dogging Shabanie-Mashava Mines, but the workers maintained that
poor management was the real problem at the giant asbestos mine.
Speaking to journalists, Gaths Mine general manager, Dominic
Sibanda, confirmed the decline in production over the past three years. But
he attributed the low production to ageing mining equipment that would cost
millions of dollars to repair, for the company to operate at full capacity.
Gaths mine needs about US$10 million to repair the equipment and
purchase new machinery if it is to operate at full throttle, he said.
"Production levels have declined over the past years due to a
number of factors," said Sibanda. "Under normal circumstances we are
supposed to produce 180 000 tonnes a year to meet our demand but now we are
only able to produce slightly over 100 000 tonnes a year."
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
MASVINGO - Villagers in Murinye communal lands have attacked the
government for failing to evict illegal settlers on the banks of Lake
They complained the settlers' activities were responsible for
the massive environmental degradation near Zimbabwe's largest inland lake.
The settlers who include war veterans, ordinary villagers and
their leader, Chief Murinye, invaded an area on the banks of the lake
reserved for wild animals. The animals have now deserted the place as
poachers have taken over.
Villagers say the new farmers are cutting down trees
indiscriminately and ploughing on the banks of the lake, creating conditions
for massive soil erosion and deforestation.
Other settlers are said to have built houses close to the dam,
putting their lives in danger in the event of floods.
Petros Dzingirai from Murinye communal lands urged the
government to remove the farmers as a matter of urgency.
"They took advantage of the land invasions to settle in a
wildlife area, disturbing the normal lives of wild animals before they
started tilling on the banks of the lake. I think it's unacceptable," he
Dzingirai said the new farmers were engaged in a brisk firewood
business in nearby Masvingo.
"The green vegetation that used to be a marvel to the eyes of
tourists who visited Mutirikwi is now history," Dzingirai said.
Masvingo provincial administrator, Felix Chikovo, said he was
not aware of the destruction on the banks of Mutirikwi.
"I will have to check with the lands officers if the farmers are
illegal or not. I can't know all the farms in the province, so I will have
to check," Chikovo said.
The settlers who invaded the area had the blessing of Zanu PF
political heavyweights in the province, who are still allocating land to
The settlers are not only ruining the environment but are
reportedly poaching fish in the lake during the night.
By our staff
MOBILE telephone service providers, Econet and Telecel, have
launched separate court challenges to what they consider an attempt to
reintroduce the monopoly of TelOne through the backdoor.
The High Court last week the heard challenges on a telecoms
statutory instrument after applications by Econet and Telecel to fight
Statutory Instrument 70 of 2006, which the mobile operators say is
tantamount to reinstating the monopoly of the State fixed telephone
operator, struck down as unconstitutional nearly a decade ago.
The court on Monday heard the applications and the parties
agreed to the suspension of the Statutory Instrument pending the final
determination of the applications together with an additional constitutional
application that Econet must bring within 14 days of the granting of the
The statutory instrument, which was supposed to come into effect
on the 1 November, 2006 has been further suspended by the court until the
matter has been determined.
At the heart of the dispute is a provision in the statutory
instrument which sets termination rates for incoming international traffic.
International operators sending calls to TelOne customers will
be charged US7 cents whilst those calling Econet or Telecel must pay US20
cents. The statutory instrument seeks to give TelOne the exclusive right to
transit traffic coming from outside to the mobile networks.
The mobile operators contend that the effect of this instrument
is to divert incoming international traffic destined to their customers to
come through TelOne at the lower price of US7 cents. The operators want the
provision for TelOne to transit traffic destined for mobile operators struck
Econet and Telecel say that like them, TelOne should only
terminate traffic destined to its own customers, and should not touch
traffic destined for their customers. They contend that an exclusivity on
transiting, which TelOne currently does not enjoy, is tantamount to a
restoration of a monopoly that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1995.
In papers filed by Econet's lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal
Practitioners, the operator argues that Potraz is trying to bring into
effect a flawed Statutory Instrument.
Two Supreme Court judgements in 1995 and 1996 authorised Econet
to operate a gateway for both incoming and outgoing telecommunications
traffic, saying TelOne's monopoly was unconstitutional.
In 1997 the High Court ruled that the telecommunications sector
needed competition and the right to move traffic within, into and from
Econet's lawyers say in papers before the High Court that
provisions of the Statutory Instrument are prima facie unconstitutional,
vague and irrational in various respects.
The lawyers say the Statutory Instrument contradicts
recommendations of the government's Information Communication Technology
Taskforce, which operates under the National Economic Development Priority
Programme, which are part of efforts to revive the economy.
They also point out that the SI is contrary to the government's
monetary and fiscal policy in that it favours TelOne; is against the
monetary authority's 18 December 2003 appeal to the telecommunications
sector to maximise foreign currency gains; and has the effect of limiting
foreign currency inflows into Zimbabwe.
Telecel equally argues that the Statutory Instrument is vague,
unimplementable and has been promulgated outside provisions of the parent
Act. David Drury of Gollop & Blank argues in the Telecel papers that the
Regulations are ultra vires provisions of Section 99 of the Act in that the
minister has purported to fix termination rates through the Statutory
Instrument when the Act does not give him the power to do so.
The Statutory Instrument will remain suspended until all the
cases are finalised. In the interim, it is not clear whether the Task Force
will continue meeting.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - The city council is set to decommission yet another
dam as water levels at the city's supply dams continue to decline.
The decommissioning, which would bar the council from drawing
water from Umzingwane dam, will plunge the city into a crisis, barely a
month after Upper Ncema was decommissioned.
Water levels in Umzingwane and Upper Ncema have been seriously
depleted due to soaring temperatures in the past few weeks.
Umzingwane, with a carrying capacity of 45 million cubic litres,
is 5.4% full while Upper Ncema, which can contain 44 million cubic litres at
any given time, is only 1.6% full.
The Town Clerk, Moffat Ndlovu, confirmed the council was
planning to decommission Umzingwane.
"We are praying and hoping that the rains come soon to avoid
disaster," said Ndlovu. "We would decommission it but we can't say when. The
situation is critical."
Upper Ncema and Umzingwane were decommissioned last year after
the council failed to draw water from them due to their low water levels.
Faced with a similar prospect this year, the council has come up
with measures designed to conserve water.
Daily water allocation for high-density suburbs has been reduced
to 400 litres from 500 litres. In the low-density suburbs the allocations
were reduced from 600 to 450 litres.
Water rationing penalties for households using more water than
the stipulated amounts have been increased by 5 000%.
Bulawayo faced one of its worst water crises last year when both
Lower and Upper Ncema and Umzingwane dried up. As a result, a number of
suburbs went for five months without water. Residents were forced to draw
water from water puddles and rooftops.
Repeated calls by the city council to have the city declared a
water-shortage area have been ignored by the government.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - A deputy minister has been acquitted of a charge of
threatening to shoot an aspiring Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate in the run-up to the March 2005 parliamentary election.
Andrew Langa,(pictured) the Deputy Minister of Environment and
Tourism, was acquitted at the close of the State's case, together with his
co-accused, Spare Ndlovu and Donny Mhlanga, at the Gwanda magistrates'
He had been accused of threatening to shoot MDC's Insiza
parliamentary candidate, Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube. Gwanda magistrate Douglas
Zvenyika said the state case was inconsistent and contradictory.
Zvenyika noted that there was no prima-facie case against Langa
and his two co-accused.
According to the State's case, led by Elias Mapendere, Langa
threatened to shoot his political rival in the Insiza election at a voters'
roll inspection centre.
The incident allegedly took place on 22 January last year when
Malandu-Ncube was checking his name on the voters' roll.
The State claimed that Langa, in the company of his bodyguards,
was miffed by the presence of Malandu-Ncube at the centre.
It was alleged Langa threatened to shoot Malandu-Ncube after he
defied his order to stop inspecting the voters' roll at Avoca Primary
Langa was accused of having said that "he was going to shoot
Malandu-Ncube and nothing was going to happen to him as he was from the
The State claimed Langa had, before threatening to shoot his
rival, ordered his bodyguards to fire shots at Malandu-Ncube's supporters.
This sent them fleeing in all directions, the State had alleged.
Langa, represented by Thompson Mabhikwa of Mabhikwa, Likhwa &
Nyathi, said after the verdict: "All I can say is that I am happy that I
have been vindicated as justice has finally taken its course."
But Malandu-Ncube said he was not happy with the verdict. "It's
not what we were hoping for, but we knew they would be acquitted."
Langa won the Insiza seat with 12 537 votes with Malandu-Ncube
amassing 8 840 in an election marred by violent clashes between MDC and Zanu
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Junior dotors at Bulawayo's Mpilo Central hospital
last week downed tools in protest against what they described as "appalling
They started the strike 12 days ago, saying they were "greatly
disturbed" by the government's continued failure to provide "even the most
basic medical supplies to treat patients".
The doctors to protested against deteriorating health services
characterised by widespread shortages of drugs, food and equipment.
The doctors only returned to work on Thursday after the
government started to buy some of the materials they said they needed.
"It has become very difficult to work with basically nothing to
use in all departments; it is disappointing to watch patients deteriorating
in a hospital, as no help can be given to them," medical practitioners at
the city's two main referral centres, Mpilo Central Hospital and United
Bulawayo Hospitals, said in a statement.
The striking doctors said there was virtually nothing to
administer to patients at the two hospitals, and the situation was the same
in government-owned health institutions across the country.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said recently
that the country's health facilities had "in fact become death traps, as
patients continue to die unnecessarily due to drug shortages".
In some instances hospitals had no running water for days as was
recently the case with Harare Central Hospital two weeks ago.
Officials have acknowledged shortages of key drugs in the recent
The health delivery system has virtually collapsed in the last
seven years due to lack of foreign exchange to purchase medical requirements
and a shortage of qualified personnel, who have fled low pay and poor
working conditions for greener pastures in other countries.
Doctors at Bulawayo hospitals were also concerned about the
quality and quan tity of food being given to patients, and claimed that
malnutrition was rampant in government health institutions.
At least five patients at the Ingutsheni Hospital for the
mentally-challenged in Bulawayo died last month after allegedly being
diagnosed with malnutrition.
The deputy health minister, Edwin Muguti, confirmed the deaths,
but said the authorities had yet to establish the cause.
"There is basically no food to feed the sick, yet it is only
natural that patients need to eat for their conditions to improve. We demand
that government sets its priorities right and start working towards
rebuilding the health sector," the doctors said.
There was no comment from the Zimbabwe Doctors' Association,
which officially represents the country's medical practitioners.
Hospital sources said even after "crisis meetings" with senior
hospital officials last week; they would not return to work and be subjected
to "stressful" conditions where they are "expected to treat patients with no
The doctors say they watch helplessly as patients are discharged
"in a worse condition than when they were admitted" because there are no
Minutes of a meeting held between Dr P Moyo, the acting medical
superintendent, and the junior doctors read in part: "It has become very
difficult to work with basically nothing to use in all departments. It is
disappointing to watch patients deteriorating in a
hospital as no help can be given to them.
"Doctors took an oath to save lives and do not want to continue
lying to patients that they can do something for them when they know very
well there is nothing they can do as the hospital can no longer function."
According to the doctors, some of the missing basic medical
supplies include intravenous fluids (largely used in re-hydrating patients
with diarrhoea and nausea, for example), methylated spirits, bandage straps,
swabs used to clean wounds and, syringes and injections.
This is the junior doctors' second strike in less than four
months. They have appealed to President Robert Mugabe to remove the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare David Parirenyatwa, at the next cabinet
They accuse him of being "too autocratic and overbearing" in his
approach to important issues.
The country's health delivery sector has been in intensive care
as a result of problems ranging from lack of medicines, drugs and the exodus
of personnel to countries offering better salaries and working conditions.
Contacted for comment Parirenyatwa said: "That's not true; there
is no strike at Mpilo. I was there at Mpilo Hospital last week and drugs and
all medicines were available. You can't tell me that in a space of a week
they are all finished.
"Mpilo is 70% fully stocked, though there might be one or two
necessary drugs we don't have. It's not fair to say that Mpilo is not
operational due to lack of drugs and medicines. Our health sector is too
delicate to be used as a punch bag all the time."
By Foster Dongozi
ZANU PF politicians and officials in the Commission running the
capital city are alleged to have refused to accept a donation from a
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP towards the completion of a library
Nelson Chamisa, the MP for Kuwadzana, told The Standard that
repeated efforts to engage Harare officials and Zanu PF to have the library
completed had been snubbed.
"I have spoken to senior officials in both Zanu PF and the
Harare council on countless occasions," said Chamisa, "but I have been told
they cannot accept the donation because I belong to the opposition."
He said he had sourced $20 million (revalued) which would have
gone towards the roofing, electrical fittings and sourcing of books for the
Construction of the library started in 1994 but the municipality
ran out of funds and abandoned the project.
The Chinese contractor who built the library did not put in
enough pillars, resulting in the structure being condemned until more
pillars were added.
The MP said he sourced the money for the addition of more
pillars and roofing for the library in 2003.
But the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Ignatious Chombo, described Chamisa's claims as "preposterous".
"He is lying, how can I refuse money for development?
"If he brings that money today, I guarantee you that my ministry
would do something about it. You should be careful of these politicians
because they might want to use you to further their agenda."
Chamisa said: "Even the late Learnmore Jongwe tried to work
towards the completion of the library but he faced similar frustrations.
What is even more frustrating is that in Kuwadzana there are 12 primary
schools and two high schools, which means the future of thousands of
children is being sacrificed for political gains."
Several pupils who spoke to The Standard said because of delays
in completing the library, they were forced to walk long distances to access
libraries in other communities.
A high school student said the absence of a community library
would affect the standards of educational performance of the pupils of
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
INVESTIGATIONS into the reported appalling working conditions at
Chinese-owned companies in Zimbabwe are being stymied by government
protection of the owners, says the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
The labour union's statement came barely a week after The
Standard exposed the deplorable working environment at S&M Bricks, in
Harare, owned by Chinese nationals.
ZCTU deputy secretary-general, Japhet Moyo, said they had
encountered problems investigating the Chinese firms because it seemed to be
the government's policy not to antagonise China, the lynchpin of its "Look
"For a long time now, we have been having problems with how the
Chinese companies treat their workers," he said. "The problem is that they
(Chinese companies) seem to be getting protection from the government."
Since the government launched its new policy, after the
imposition of targeted sanctions by the West, the government has invited the
Chinese to invest in the country.
Moyo said there were poor working conditions even in
Chinese-owned shops and clothing factories, but they were most pronounced in
brick-making firms, such as S&M.
The firms operate mainly around the Mt Hampden area ofHarare.
Moyo said one case involved an employee who lost his fingers
while operating a machine.
When the ZCTU raised the matter with officials in the Ministry
of Labour, "they tried to sweep the matter under the carpet", Moyo said.
"The worker was paid for damages, but only after Zanu PF
officials intervened. This is how bad it is."
Moyo said the ZCTU had raised the issue with the Ministry of the
Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare on several occasions, but all in
vain - nothing had changed.
The minister, Nicholas Goche, could not be reached for comment.
But Moyo said the ZCTU, through their affiliate, Cement and Lime
Workers' Union (CLWU), would soon write to Goche demanding an inquiry into
how Chinese companies were treating their Zimbabwean workers.
Moyo said inspectors from the National Social Security Authority
(NSSA) had encountered difficulties investigating Chinese-owned companies.
NSSA's principal inspector, Wilson Mamhende, referred all
questions to the chief inspector, John Mutswatiwa, based in Bulawayo, who
could not be reached.
ALLEGATIONS of corruption have surfaced at the Agricultural
Rural Development Authority (ARDA) amid reports that its property, worth
billions, had been attached after the misappropriation of 195 cattle
belonging to Roy Bennett, the former Chimanimani Member of the House of
The parastatal seized 821 cattle in 2004 after Bennett had been
forcibly removed from his Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani.
But ARDA dragged its feet and did not return the herd
immediately - until Bennett obtained a court order HC 2807/05 on 18 May this
ARDA, according to sources the company, had initially delivered
285 cattle before a writ of delivery allowing the deputy sheriff to attach
'movable property' at the authority's Charter Estate in Chikomba, was
ARDA, fearing a contempt of court charge, delivered an
additional 198 and 143 cattle on 11 and 19 October respectively.
Sources said ARDA was now dithering on the remaining 195 cattle,
saying if it did deliver them, it would be under protest and would contest
the matter in court.
"The truth is ARDA misappropriated the cattle," said the source
familiar with the matter. "Now they are saying the remaining 195 would be
delivered under protest. They are saying Bennett's cattle were depleted
because of natural causes and so do not feel obliged to return all the
"They are also afraid because they had to use some of national
herd to replace his herd and could get into trouble with he government."
According to sources, some of the remaining 195 cattle had been
sold, while others were slaughtered and eventually served in the company's
ARDA owe Bennett 122 sheep and a horse, whose return sources
said he was not too keen to pursue because of their value and the possible
futility of the attempt.
"The question is: where do they get this much livestock without
digging deeper into the national herd?" asked the source.
The dispute resulted in the deputy sheriff attaching farm
machinery at ARDA's Charter Estate in Chikomba a couple of weeks ago.
ARDA's chief executive officer, Joseph Matowanyika's mobile
phone went unanswered as Standardbusiness made frantic efforts to obtain
comment from him.
By Our Staff
IN a desperate attempt to save face, the government has approved
six other areas for consideration as Tourism Development Zones.
Government has been struggling to resuscitate the industry whose
recession began at the height of the land reform programme but hopes the
expansion of the TDZ concept would help increase the tourism experience
through exploration of areas that were traditionally not viewed as resorts.
The director of research and development in the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority, Simba Mandinyenya, said last week government was desperate to
boost tourism and had resolved to encompass areas that had not been
traditionally considered as resort places as part of the strategy to
"We are looking at undeveloped areas in terms of tourism and the
ministry (of Environment and Tourism) has approved six other areas which are
just awaiting gazetting," Mandinyenya said.
A preliminary report for tourism statistics covering the first
nine months of the year indicates a 45% increase in the number of arrivals
to 1,5 million from 1,4 million in the corresponding period last year.
However, the figures have failed to tally with bed and room
occupancy, which are averaging 39% and 23% respectively. The industry's
contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has also been on a free
fall, dropping from 6% in 1999 to 2% to date.
The industry now employs 100 000 workers down from 200 000 in
1999. In response to the crisis, the government adopted a 'Look East' policy
to tap new markets but industry has been worried that Asians are not big
spenders and move in groups to cut costs.
The sector generated US$140 million during the first half of the
year but only US$56 million can be accounted for.
TDZ's are expected to be the panacea to the problems and
Midlands, Matopos and surroundings, Kariba and the Zambezi Valley, Mudzi
district to include Nyamapanda Border Post, Eastern Highlands to encompass
Forbes Border Post and Chimanimani TFCA and Lake Chivero and Manyame have
been approved for the concept.
This brings the total number of TDZs to nine. Beitbridge-Shashe
Limpopo and Environs, Gonarezhou (GLTP), Chiredzi and environs and Great
Zimbabwe National Monument, Lake Mtirikwi and environs were declared as
Tourism Development Zones in July last year.
By Our Staff
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last Thursday succumbed to pressure
from bankers and scrapped the seven-year economic stabilisation bond.
Officials said bankers who were wary that the bond could fuel
note shortages during the festive season and a general collapse of the
industry let up the heat on the central bank to remove the bonds "or face
Submissions were presented to the RBZ a week ago detailing how
the bonds could result in a repeat of the liquidity crunch of 2004 and long
queues at the banks.
According to the officials, the central bank, seeing that it had
no option but to oblige the bankers decided to agree by first reducing the
take up of the bonds from 10% to 5% and then cancelling them a week later.
"The financial sector yesterday heaved a sigh of relief when the
RBZ scrapped the issuing of the 7-year economic stabilisation bonds, which
were supposed to been taken up by 17 November 2006," said one official.
Marketwatch By Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
THE stock market has weakened in performance since the
announcement of the measures to fine-tune the monetary policy last month, a
report from a local financial institution says.
Interfin said the industrial index had lost 49.5% since the
announcement on 9 October while the mining index had dropped 61.5% over the
October was a bleak month for the equities with the demise in
performancefuelled by the announcement of an introduction of the five-year
Financial Stabilisation and the suspended 7-year Economic Stabilisation Bond
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Analysts do not expect the situation to get any better ahead of
the 2007 national budget and predict that the gains enjoyed by the equities
last week would not be sustainable.
"Much activity should peak after the budget but then again we
would be going into the festive season which is normally quiet," said an
analyst with a stockbroking firm.
The stockbroker said he did not expect the equities to wince
after the ruling made in favour of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
The High Court ruled that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange had no
legal basis to bring the case before it for determination. Stockbrokers were
contesting a decision by ZIMRA to charge value added tax backdated to
"I think the performance of the stock market would be mostly
affected by the budget, but not the ruling. When the decision to charge VAT
was made early this year, stockbrokers did not have the money to pay. What
ZIMRA wants us to pay is not much now as it has been eroded by inflation and
we have made our money so we will not feel the bite."
For last week, however, the local bourse basked in the glory of
the scrapping of the 7-year ESB. While interest rates were high hitting 250%
for 7 to 14 days, stock market investors took the chance to return to the
bourse. The rejection of all the bids for the 91-day paper (highest at 400%
an lowest at 80%) did not quell the optimism of equity investors.
Most are optimistic that coupon payments for the CPI indexed
Treasury Bills, which began last Thursday, civil servants' salaries and cash
bonuses will be awash on the money market pushing down interest rates.
The benchmark index closed Wednesday 5.53% points down to close
at 355 135.29 points. Gains were in Meikles which added $400 to $2 000. ZHL
upped $40 to $95. AFDIS and CFI rose $25 apiece to close at $150 and $100.
Losses were in ASTRA, ABCH, Edgars, M&R and Seedco each dropping
$10 to trade at $50, $340, $120, $100 and $240 respectively.
The mining index also gained 3.83% points to close Wednesday at
137 645.81 points. This was due to gains in Falgold, which jumped $45 to
$95. Hwange added $10 to $135.
BY OUR STAFF
THE Registrar-General's office has over the past two weeks
failed to print plastic national identification cards after most of the
imported consumables ran out, it has been established.
Sources at the RG's office said the materials, most of them
imported from the United States, are out of stock as the office faces a
serious shortage of foreign currency.
The RG's office replaced metal national identity cards with new
plastic ones two years ago.
"Those plastics are imported from the US and right now there is
nothing," said an official at Makombe Building in Harare. "We are not
issuing any national IDs at the moment because of the shortages."
The new card is made of polythene synthetic material, which does
not break if it is bent and has numerous visible security features.
It is also produced instantly, compared with the metal one.
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede could not be reached for
comment. His secretary said he was not taking calls from the media since he
was very busy. But she said Mudede might hold a press conference this week
on the identity card crisis.
THE China-Africa summit in Beijing last week raised many
Africans' hopes of a hefty boost in trade between the world's fastest
growing economy and the poorest continent on the planet.
If Chinese firms could abide strictly by the labour laws of the
countries in which they invest, that would enhance the "win-win" strategy
which is being ballyhooed so recklessly.
The Chinese have mellowed, ideologically, and now value the
close trade and investment ties they have with the US and Europe. Thousands
of Chinese students attend American and European universities, while there
is a strong appetite for Western goods back home.
In a short space of time, the former anti-capitalists have
absorbed the lessons of an economic system they once despised.
In Beijing last week the Chinese may have been delighted to
renew their acquaintance with a true ideological soul mate - President
Robert Mugabe. But trade with other African states is a good deal more
lucrative and that, in the final analysis, is what counts.
For the Chinese, this summit, not for the first time, must have
reminded them that, as the second most powerful communist nation in the
world during the Cold War, not all their guests last week would have been
welcomed into the Great Hall of the People.
Only people committed to the dictatorship of the proletariat
were welcome then.
How times have changed. Communism has given way, not entirely to
capitalism, but to an economic system that has transformed the world's most
populous country into an economic giant, rivalling those past masters of
wealth-creation, the US and Japan.
And to think that just a few decades ago China sought to
engineer an agricultural revolution - the Great Leap Forward - that was an
unmitigated disaster and led to widespread famine.
Most of the 48 African leaders at last week's summit will know
how difficult it must have been for Communist China, under the Great
Helmsman, to welcome the leader of Western capitalism Richard Nixon, to
their shores in February 1972.
This signalled the end of the Bamboo Curtain, although the final
nail was hammered into place with the reforms initiated post-Mao in 1978.
China remains the People's Republic, once an ideological ally of
China, in spite of its economic miracle, remains nominally
socialist. There is no democracy or pluralism in the People's Republic.
Tibet remains a colonial possession.
For some African leaders with latent dictatorial tendencies,
this link to socialism could prove irresistible as a spur to create the
conditions for a one-party state - which Zanu PF tried and failed to do in
the late 1980s.
Many Zimbabweans opposed the one-party system and the land
reform programme which the Chinese applauded wholeheartedly. Mugabe's
government deserved severe international censure for conducting elections
which were neither free nor fair.
The Chinese found absolutely nothing wrong with all this.
Trade with China, without ideological strings attached, could
certainly help the country out of its rampant poverty, which Zanu PF has
failed to end in 26 years in power.
That help cannot be in exchange for any dilution of our
commitment to democracy.
Zimbabwe should not be turned, ideologically, into another
people's republic - ie where the party controls the people!
But the greatest irony in all this is that China's success story
is based solidly on market policies that Zanu PF declines to follow.
China is good for business, Zimbabwe isn't. That at the end of
the day is the reality.
Sunday opinion By Dumisani Mpofu
MOST ordinary Zimbabweans have puzzled over why there are so
many contradictions between what our leaders say and what they do.
Last weekend television viewers were treated to one of these
It is incontestable that Sekesai Makwavarara, the chairperson of
the commission running the City of Harare, has played a prominent role in
the unprecedented decline in service delivery. She is often cited as one of
the authors of Operation Murambatsvina and only last week she launched
another mini-Murambatsvina. She represents everything that is against the
interests of residents of this once beautiful city.
Even the Harare provinceleadership of the ruling party is
worried by her propensity to misdirect her efforts and attention from
working for the good of the residents of the capital to the extent Zanu PF
has publicly denounced her. The ruling party's Harare provincial leadership
sees her as a liability.
It was therefore surprising to see people who should be more
enlightened - women politicians and businesspeople - jostling to mix
socially with Makwavarara, despite all the neglect and escalation in rates
for non-existent services that her administration has visited on the
residents of this city. Do these women have no shame?
Women's solidarity is one thing but buttressing incompetence in
the name of gender support is taking things to the highest levels of
absurdity. Big-spending Makwavarara does not deserve the support of anyone
because of what she has done or rather what she has consistently failed to
do for the residents of this city.
At the weekend she was shown hosting a tea party, supposedly to
raise funds for the less fortunate, and to demonstrate that those who were
jostling to rub shoulders with Makwavarara have very short memories, they
did not appear to appreciate the link between what they were gathered at the
tea party for and the cause of the misfortune that has visited so many poor
families - that is Makwavarara herself. It is quite amazing that none of the
enlightened women who attended the tea party saw the hypocrisy in
Makwavarara has caused so much misery that applying common sense
would have found it ironic that this woman can stand before a gathering and
claim compassion for the less fortunate.
It has always been a source of unending amusement that people
already bursting at the seams because of excessive indulgence in food will
gather to feast in the name of fund-raising for the less fortunate of our
society. There is another way of achieving the same desired end - hold a
function where no food is served! If people are genuinely concerned about
those who have nothing they can surely forgo a meal once in a while. Such an
act should make them feel better, give their digestive systems a break, and
the medical profession will vouch it is healthier.
Support for projects aimed at poverty alleviation or reduction
is commendable, but there is an alternative. People who genuinely want to
make a difference to the lives of the less fortunate can still do so without
factoring Makwavarara into the equation.
There are precedents that have come up in recent years. At one
time all international aid flowed through government channels. As a result
of increasing questions and concerns over transparency and whether the
people who deserved assistance from the international community were the
ones benefiting, there has been a shift in how international aid flows into
needy countries - through non-governmental organisations.
In the case of Harare, there are several charity organisations
working with street people and vulnerable families. Funding for the less
fortunate could be channelled through such organisations, churches or the
various homes for the less privileged children, the elderly and the
The business women who attended Makwavarara's tea party would
achieve far better results than giving her the impression that people
support her because of the good work she and the commission she chairs are
doing. Makwavarara and her fellow commissioners do not deserve the kind of
support the business women gave her.
What is most disappointing is that this gesture of support for
someone who has from Day One consistently embarked on a path to make
residents of this city suffer so much through failure to collect refuse,
recurrent water cuts, the collapse of public street lighting and inability
to repair potholes and roads throughout the city comes from people who
should be better informed. The commission is the biggest litter bug in
Harare through its failure to collect refuse timeously.
The majority of those at the tea party probably did so out of a
genuine desire to help the less fortunate, but there would also be those
angling for contracts from the commission running Harare. Very few people
have qualms about doing the right thing. Rather, their pre-occupation is
doing what's right for oneself.
As for Makwavarara, the turn out at the tea party is regrettably
interpreted as support for an administration whose performance has been
THERE was much fanfare when the government's latest turnaround
programme, the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) was
Many Taskforces were set up to look into various sectors and how
they could be turned around. Among these was the Task Force on Information
Communications Technology (ICTs). The Task Force on ICTs was set up under
the auspices of the Office of the President and Cabinet and its members
include senior members of government, industry, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
the Defence Forces, the Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe
(Potraz), all telecommunications operators, IT companies and other
The Task Force chairman is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry
of Science and Technology Dr Vincent Hungwe with J Malaba, of CZI as
co-chairman. Whichever way one looks at the composition of the Task Force,
there can be no question that it is representative of all stakeholders in
the sector. Given its representative nature, and the fact that it is a Task
Force set up in the highest office in the land, one would expect its
deliberations, recommendations and resolutions to carry a lot of weight.
We are informed that members of the Task Force, who are all very
busy men and women, met every week to deliberate on how to turn around the
sector. Leakages on international traffic resulting in foreign currency
losses were discussed and identified. Uneconomic tariff rates for outward
bound traffic were cited as one of the major factors that encouraged people
outside Zimbabwe to instigate reverse calls which result in high outbound
traffic which has to be mainly paid for in foreign currency. The Committee
therefore resolved, among other things, to look into how foreign currency
inflows could be maximised whilst looking at minimising outward bound
telecommunications traffic which is a drain on the country's scarce foreign
The Task Force also discussed the now thorny issue of
termination rates, which is the major bone of contention that has pitted
Telecel and Econet against Potraz and the Minister of Transport and
Communications. The Task Force resolved to have only one termination rate of
US$0.15 in respect of all telecommunications operators in order to create a
level playing field. The Task Force specifically stated that if the
Regulatory Authorities (Potraz) were not prepared to implement the single
termination rate of US$0.15 for all operators, Statutory Instrument 70/2006
would have to be reviewed. The Task Force also emphasised the urgency of
implementing the single termination rate it had recommended in order to
immediately maximise foreign currency earnings for the sector.
The need to maximise foreign currency earnings from the
telecommunications sector had, of course, been alluded to by the Reserve
Bank Governor in his maiden monetary statement in December, 2003. The
Governor specifically referred to uneconomic international traffic
termination rates which resulted in Zimbabwe paying "approximately seven
times more than it is paid for the same volume of traffic terminating in
Zimbabwe thus making Zimbabwe a net payer of scarce foreign currency". The
Regulator, Potraz, was specifically tasked with coming up with a policy that
would minimise the dumping of international traffic in Zimbabwe at
sub-economic rates. The Reserve Bank recommended minimum termination rates
of between US20c- 25c.
In any other country, the regulator would have immediately
followed up on the recommendations of the monetary authorities.
When the regulator finally woke up from its deep slumber, it
promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 70/2006 in March, 2006 and it did the
exact opposite of what had been recommended. It determined that TelOne could
charge a termination rate far less than that recommended by the monetary
authorities which mobile operators contended would result in the routing of
traffic through TelOne which was cheaper at US7c compared to the mobile rate
of US20c. The dumping of international traffic at sub-economic rates is
therefore likely to increase if SI 70/2006 is implemented in its present
The SI 70/2006 was put in abeyance while stakeholders were
looking into how to maximise the foreign currency gains while charging
economic rates. The setting up of the Task Force at the highest possible
level would have been a most welcome development to the sector as the issue
of termination rates for international traffic would be considered at
Presidential and Cabinet level. The deliberations, resolutions and
recommendations of the Task Force would have been considered a serious
matter that would receive serious consideration from those who had set up
the Task Force.
Enter Potraz. Despite being a member of the Task Force, and
despite being fully aware of the recommendations of the Task Force, Potraz
simply brought into effect the provisions of SI 70/2006 without so much as
informing the Task Force. This was obviously done in consultation with the
Ministry of Transport and Communications. The fate of the Task Force's
recommendations to the Cabinet is currently not known and it would not be an
exaggeration to surmise that it is gathering dust somewhere.
When challenged about ignoring the recommendations of the Task
Force, Chidoori, who is also a prominent member of the Task Force, stated on
oath that ".the recommendations of the Task Force have no force of law, they
He also stated that "The Minister has opined that the fixing of
termination rates is desirable, and has gone ahead to promulgate the
regulation". He further stated that the SI 70/2006 was also meant "to
protect and promote the interests of consumers", and the consumers he is
referring to are the external operators likely to take advantage of TelOne's
Why would a Zimbabwean regulator tasked with regulating the
telecommunications sector in Zimbabwe want to promote the interests of
consumers outside Zimbabwe? Is the regulator seeking to protect the hordes
of ministerial offspring in the Diaspora ahead of the country's foreign
The Minister's representative, George Mlilo, whose Ministry is
equally represented in the Task Force, was not to be left out. He also
stated that: "The discussions led by the ICT Task Force are not legally
binding on either party. They were just representations being made by all
Now, if the government is serious about turning the economy
around, why is it ignoring the recommendations of a body it set up and which
it confirms represents stakeholders in the sector? And why should this Task
Force and all the others in the other sectors continue wasting time on
meetings, resolutions and recommendations that are subject to ministerial
whims? And what sort of Presidency sets up a Task Force and thereafter
allows it to be humiliated by junior ministers and functionaries in a
The silence from the Presidency and from Industry on the
treatment meted out to the Task Force can only lead to the conclusion that
the NEDPP is yet another diversionary programme meant to take the spotlight
away from the serious economic decline that has engulfed every sector.
The treatment meted out to the ICT Task Force constitutes a
clear lack of commitment to turn around the economy. The NEDPP is therefore
stillborn and the only things it is likely to turn around are the fortunes
of those who have made it a matter of national pride to outdo each other in
the looting orgy of parastatals.
A LOOTA CONTINUA COMRADES.
We should consider as a matter of conscience that our liberation
actions have been marred by divisions. We have not done an important number
of things we should. We have influenced ourselves to be pre-occupied with
the defence of our selfish positions, ignoring in fact that, unity in action
is the best means to victory.
The recent disastrous rural district council elections, coming
16 months before the presidential elections should be a wake-up call for all
progressive forces to unite and launch a "Free Zimbabwe Campaign" .
Zimbabweans should start strengthening their unity, whether
behind the prison walls, in hospitals or in the Diaspora, by sharing a
common ideal and acting together for the cause of our liberation and
prosperity. Our unity should be indissolubly linked, with that of the
selfless fighters who perished in the struggle from the First Chimurenga to
Gukurahundi and right up to Murambatsvina.
The "Free Zimbabwe Campaign" should prioritise action around
areas of convergence like the need for a new constitution which cuts across
all progressive movements, from the groupings within the MDC to social
There should be an action team tasked to co-ordinate and
intensify mass action. Without unity in action President Robert Mugabe's
dream to become Life President will be realised.
All progressive forces should feed into the action team
committees, imagine all the 41 MDC MPs, joining the action team and
mobilising at least 50 cadres from their respective constituencies and the
civic society joining the action team at all levels for common action
against a common enemy. A common struggle against a common enemy will create
the basis for friendship and future collaboration to serve the interests of
Organisations can maintain their identity, like the National
Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe National Students' Association, as
long as they join the action team structures and mobilise their membership
to toyi-toyi for a free Zimbabwe. If we learn to fight together then the
main aspect of our unity will be simplified.
The time is ripe to be alert and create awareness among the
masses about the evil intentions of the regime with regard to extending and
entrenching Mugabe's dictatorial rule to 2010.We must be conscious of the
real forces at our disposal and base our revolutionary work on the popular
Frequent meetings should be held to explain to the people what
is happening in the struggle; what the democratic forces are endeavouring to
do and what the intentions of the regime may be. We should write and
distribute letters, fliers, and pamplets and draw slogans on the road to
regenerate a sense of duty in the masses to free Zimbabwe. That's the way
There is need to try as much as possible to protect liberated
zones such as Harare and Bulawayo and in areas such as in Mashonaland
Central where we must reinforce meetings, mobilisation and organisation of
the people. Let's educate people to fight fear and ignorance. That's the way
Half successes should not be a deterrent to enter into the
presidential race. The Free Zimbabwe campaign should actually culminate into
a full-fledged presidential campaign. It is difficult for any opposition to
win the presidential election under the current constitution. The challenge
is to envisage and counter any rigging.
Though an uphill, struggle it's not a political mirage to win
the elections. In 2002 the MDC could have won if there was better voter
turnout in its strongholds. In liberated zones voter turnout averaged 50%.
In Harare it was 52.2% and Bulawayo 45.7%, whereas in Mashonaland East it
was 70% and in Mashonaland West it was 62%.
If voter turnout had been 60% in all constituencies throughout
the country, assuming the same voting trends applied, the MDC could have won
under those harsh conditions.
While the struggle to defeat the regime is our main concern, we
should nevertheless envisage the problems likely to be encountered in the
future on the road to full prosperity and democracy.
It is no longer about the Zimbabwe we want but about the
Zimbabwe we need.
Publicity of salary hike fuels inflation
I think that whenever civil servants are awarded salary
increments, they should not be publicised. In the private sector whenever
they award pay increases they do not shout about them. They just do it
The moment you have the pay increases published by the media,
you fuel inflation. Prices will go up as a result of this media coverage. I
strongly believe that if you don't cover the increments in the media, prices
will stabilise and things will work out for the benefit of everybody.
Please consider this advice seriously as it will help in the
long run. Another issue is about new workers who join the Public Service.
Why does it take forever for one to be on the payroll?
One will work for three months without pay even though he or she
may get the salary at a later stage. Money is losing value on a daily basis.
If one's salary is delayed it is a great disadvantage.
I believe that given the current economic situation the Public
Service Commission needs to speed up processing salaries for new members who
join the Civil Service. Why does it take three months for one to be on the
Is Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah, the chairperson of the PSC, aware of
this? If he is aware, what is he doing to speed up the process?
M F K
'Christian' politicians not living up to the dictates of their
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is a "devout" Catholic, so I hear.
Vice-President Joseph Msika is a certificated lay preacher in the Anglican
Church, while Vice-President Joice Mujuru is a devout Salvation Army
trooper. That completes the Presidium.
Other "confessed" Christians are Ignatious Chombo, Webster
Shamu, John Nkomo, Herbert Murerwa, to name but a few. Even the tough Elliot
Manyika claims silver faith although he does not appear to know his Bible
There are so many "Christians" in Zanu PF's top hierarchy
that if they were serious they could make a difference. I remember seeing
Vice-President Mujuru one day in serious prayer holding hands with other
women on television. She also spoke on tolerance and non-violence.
Mugabe has been seen at various Christian forums while
Murerwa and Gideon Gono always close their presentations with a scripture or
benediction. Actually it is Murerwa, who made famous Jeremiah 29:11 during
the 2002 budget presentation with the quote, "I know the plans I have for
you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you."
And yet it is these same "Christian" leaders who wreaked
havoc in Matabeleland during the Gukurahundi era. It is they and their
cronies who masterminded several "suicides", disappearances, secret murders,
assaults and "accidents".
Christianity talks of two types of sins - sins of
commission and sins of omission. Our "Christian" leaders are guilty of both
sins. While our houses were razed to the ground by Operation Murambatsvina
none of these Christians protested.
"Christian" members of Parliament pass draconian
legislation like Aippa and POSA and deliberately swallow the government lie
that victims of police violence fell from a moving vehicle. I wonder if
these Christians take their Christianity seriously.
When Solomon assumed the awful task of leading God's
people, at a tender age, he asked for wisdom from God to do so wisely.
Solomon took two things seriously. The first was his own faith and the
second was his conviction that his was a divine duty towards God's own
It is a viewpoint I would challenge "Christian" Mugabe and
his henchmen to take seriously if they are indeed Christian and realise the
awful responsibility they bear.
I hear Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC is a regular Methodist
and that his wife is a devout member of the same church. Lucia Matibenga and
Paul Madzore are devout Catholics. Sekai Holland has a strong Lutheran and
London Missionary Society background, while Tapiwa Mashakada is a devout
My advice to these people is - please take your faith
seriously. Battling for our lives after our brutal assault at cells at
Matapi Police Station I remember Ian Makone and Lovemore Matombo asking that
we pray and we all bowed our heads in prayer. I believe this may have saved
the life of at least one of us: note: Wellington Chibebe was unconscious for
most of 12 hours.
I challenge all these leaders to take Christianity
seriously even in their private and political lives.
As I write, I am watching television and Vice-President
Mujuru is on television urging the people of Mashonaland Central to deal
with sell-out non-governmental organisations. She actually urges them to "do
what you know" with them. This is the most dangerous and reckless statement
such a "mother" has ever made.
Reverend Nqobizitha Khumalo
Mugabe has no claim to being a custodian of African values
President Robert Mugabe is impliedly portrayed by
African leaders like Thabo Mbeki as the custodian of African values and this
is what he claims to be. I wish to express how disgraceful he has been in
the light of African values about land, starvation, death and disease.
In Africa, death is something which is respected,
something that should not be the order of the day - not to be talked about
and not to be content with when it occurs in the family, community and
I remember in the early 1980s when two of my
extended family members died of natural causes within the space of a year.
My grandparents quickly called for a gathering of all my extended family
members including those who were as far away as South Africa to discuss why
such a "tragedy" had happened and how to prevent such a tragedy from
Every week I call my folks back home from New
Zealand. At least two people die every week - mainly of HIV or AIDS. At
cemeteries in urban areas fresh graves, are now a common sight! I wonder
what as the head of a family that we call Zimbabwe Mugabe thinks of this.
I write from miles away from the land of my birth as
a refugee - displaced by Mugabe who claims to be a custodian of African
values and yet about a third of Zimbabweans are out of the country -
fugitives from their land but Mugabe always brags about giving the "land to
In African culture, a man who leaves his children to
starve is seen as disgraceful. Food is a basic necessity. Slaves and
servants of a kingdom would be subjected to hard labour but never left to
What does Mugabe think when citizens of his country,
mostly graduates, are all over the world, under-employed? Is he not a cursed
father? Instead of seeing the flight of skills as a manifestation of
something wrong in his house he is always fond of posturing, cursing fellow
Zimbabweans who seek their survival overseas.
Our neighbours, Botswana and South Africa have
become xenophobic of Zimbabweans because we have flooded their countries as
we run away from starvation in our own country.
I am saddened to see my relatives who have remained
in Zimbabwe being subjected to starvation while our forefathers taught us
that it is taboo for hunger to play havoc with a family while its head plays
the role of a spectator. Can Mugabe really be the custodian of African
values, given the above?
Zanu PF promoting violence in Mutoko
SINCE the institutionalisation of violence by
President Robert Mugabe in 2000, so-called war veterans have taken advantage
of this "legalisation of violence" to apply "beat up and bruise" tactics in
order to control the masses.
When the majority of Zimbabweans voted against
the proposed constitution, Mugabe in frustration, unleashed the so-called
war veterans and the politically ignorant rural folk on to the commercial
farmers whom they accused of having worked with the MDC and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) to influence the electorate. This was the
beginning of our nightmare.
If Mugabe can sanction the brutal assault of
white commercial farmers and more recently the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions' leadership and NCA members, who can stop the likes of Zanu PF
political leaders from acting likewise?
During the handover ceremony of irrigation
pipes in Chiutsi village in Mutoko by a local mining company on Friday 29
September 2006 David Chapfika , who was the guest of honour, gave food
vouchers and a bag of fertilizer each to two women whose husbands (a war
veteran and a Zanu PF supporter) were jailed after brutally assaulting the
MDC candidate for Chiutsi in the rural district council elections.
The Zanu PF MP promised to look after these
two women because their husbands were arrested while on duty for the ruling
party. By these "donations" the ruling party member was encouraging other
Zanu PF politicians and their supporters to emulate the two who are
languishing in prison. This political thuggery must stop!
As if that was not enough, another ruling
party official from Ward 20 asked vendors to prove that they had voted by
showing him the indelible ink. He ordered vendors to go and vote for him,
claiming that he was the one who made it possible for them to sell their
goods from the markets they operate from. He also threatened to bar one
commuter bus operator from using the rank because it was allegedly carrying
MDC activists during campaigning for the rural district council elections.
Doesn't such conduct have an impact on the
outcome of elections and can the elections be considered free and fair?
It is high time the people of Mutoko freed
themselves from Zanu PF bondage. The tools of change are none other than the
educated youths, especially those attending or those that have attended
institutions of higher learning. My advice to them is: Let's educate our
relatives in rural areas. They are in a position to listen to us more than
to the local political leadership.
Our relatives are being used as political
tools during election times but are subsequently dumped while Mugabe's
hangers-on drive Hummers and Jeep Cherokees and put on designer suits. We
should give Mugabe his MDC - Mugabe's Death Certificate, politically.
Let us introduce our relatives in the rural
areas to newspapers such as The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent, the Mail
& Guardian and The Sunday Times that enlighten them. In addition, let us
introduce them to radio stations such as Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and the
BBC so that they get to know the truth about the real causes of our problems
and not the smart sanctions against the ruling party's leadership and
Human rights organisations should target the
population in Mutoko for workshops. We need workshops where we are educated
about our rights so that we know what to do when ruling party officials
T K G Hungwe
No love lost between Africans and racist
THE current fear of criticising anything
Islamic by countries of the world is a great disservice to intellectual
The reaction of Moslems whenever they feel
that their religion has been belittled should be a cause for concern by the
non-Moslem world. Is their Allah not powerful enough to protect himself from
the infidels without the Moslems venting anger?
History has taught me to be wary of the
Arabs. There has never been any mutual relationship and understanding
between Arabs and Africans since the early expeditions into Africa by Arab
Arabs have always regarded themselves as
superior to Africans. The slave trade re-enforced this belief, otherwise,
why would they treat Africans the way they did during the barbaric human
The fact that some African countries
embraced Islam does not indicate love between the two races, but
demonstrates that Islamisation was through forceful persuasion. Islam found
roots in many parts of Northern and Western Africa through conquest during
the slave trade.
No other religion has been as brutal to
Africans as Islam. Imagine parading human beings for sale at a market place
just the same as goats, chickens, camels and other livestock! Has there ever
been a public apology to the continent of Africa from the Arabs for their
I will admit that the slave trade was not
restricted to the Arabs alone because many other foreign countries were
involved but the Arabs did the actual brutal hunting down of slaves.
Africa has been known to be involved in
ethnic or civil wars - which country on earth has been free of such wars?
But Arabs should not have taken advantage of such a state of affairs to
devastate Africans in the manner they did for decades.
Many Africans, millions of them were rounded
up like wild horses and shipped all over the world, particularly, America.
There are communities of African origin in India.
Africans should not be deceived by Islam,
which seems to spread love all over the world when their love is nothing but
hollow. A few of us who were lucky enough to be awarded Arab scholarships
were soon disillusioned when we experienced Arab discrimination.
Out of a group of 10 who went to Libya none
will say that they had friends from that society. African students who dared
to date Moslem girls soon found themselves on the earliest planes back to
The story is the same in every Moslem
country. How many Moslems have been expelled from African countries for
dating African girls? I am not promoting love affairs across the
African/Arab divide but all I am doing is to disprove the myth that Arabs
have love for Africans - there is no such thing.
The events in Sudan bear testimony to what I
have been discussing. The Islamic government in Sudan is busy eliminating
groups of people of African origin. America and Britain called it genocide
but Arab countries are silent about this genocide because it would be
unArabic to voice any complaint against a fellow Arab country.
The African Union (AU) is slowly waking up
and is now realising that Arabs are anti-black Africans. However, the AU's
financial muscle is too feeble to make any meaningful contribution towards
helping the ravaged people of Darfur. The voice of the AU should be heard on
all broadcasting stations on the continent condemning the genocide of fellow
Africans in Darfur.
Is it not ironic that the Americans and the
British, who are hated most, are really the saviours of oppressed Africans,
particularly in Sudan's Darfur region?
Without tools,yields poor
I visited Mudotwe Irrigation Scheme in Musana,
Mashonaland Central, recently and have a very sad story to tell about the
government's so-called agricultural revolution.
After benefiting from the wheat seed and
fertilizer allocation for their winter wheat, farmers had high hopes of
contributing to the dwindling national yield, but their hopes have been
shattered because they have failed to secure a combine harvester to harvest
their crop before the onset of the rains.
Desperate farmers have resorted to the use of
sickles in order to harvest their wheat crop but this is costly and they are
bound to incur heavy losses, raising fears that the expected high yields may
not be realised.
The situation at Mudotwe is a wake-up call for
the government to start making sure they help these small-scale farmers to
acquire the necessary equipment.
The corporate sector could buy and lease the
equipment to the farmers or enter into an arrangement that the farmers are
able to-rent-to-buy the equipment. It would be a worthwhile investment.
T P Z
End is nigh for Mugabe tyranny
AS a patriotic Zimbabwean I would like to
express my sympathy and solidarity with those who were brutalised by this
barbarous regime for merely marching and asking it to improve the lot of the
majority of our citizens.
First, it is the government's mismanagement of
the economy and the corrupt tendencies, coupled with its profligacy that has
brought Zimbabwe to its knees.
I was unsettled by the arrests and brutal
assaults of leaders of the labour movement and their counterparts from the
civic society by youth militias disguised as uniformed police and the
Gestapo-like Central Intelligence Organisation.
Such horrendous violence against defenceless
citizens by a government that purports to be a custodian of democracy must
I salute the labour leaders and the democratic
movements who have participated in protests against the government. Their
courage under the current state of affairs is a victory against Mugabe's
tyrannical rule. The prospect of ending oppression and tyranny is about to
S T M
We have not heard from you for some time. We just wanted to let you know that Shearwater have secured a permit from National Parks to capture 15 wild juvenile elephants (7 - 8 years olds) from Shumba Pan in Hwange. We have sent an Inspector to monitor the welfare of the elephants who will intervene if the elephants are not treated humanely. We are at a loss to understand why the permit was issued which contravenes accepted policy that no wild caught elephants will be domesticated. IFAW and NSPCA are issuing press releases and we are contacting everyone we can think of who can bring pressure to bear on National Parks to stop the capture. The individual doing the capture is one Le Grange. Johnny Rodriguez is out of the country at present. Anything you can do to assist or if you have any information in this regard, please contact Glynis Vaughan. Our Inspector, John Chikomo, will have a camera and he has been instructed to follow the elephants to establish where they are being relocated to. Glynis is also trying to secure a meeting with Minister Nhema.
Thank you for any assistance.
Phone: 04 497885 / 497574 / 091 367 260
John Chikomo 091 696 309
Subject: update on eles
Finally had contact with Insp with elephants. He caught up with them at Simantella camp at Hwange National Park. 4 eles had been moved already to Nakavongo Range in Vic Falls ( belonging to Shearwater - where they have their elephant company). Four others (2 seven yr old, 1 ten yr old, 1 eight yr old) were being loaded and moved tonight to the same venue to be offloaded tom. Our Insp is instructed to stay with them. Shearwater deny any ownership of the captured eles. The permit is in the name of a Mr. Mainos Mudukuti of 12 Fairmile Close, Ruwa. But Shearwater were using their helicopters, equipment etc and moving them to their facility. They want to capture another three on Friday but we are hoping that they will put it off because of our prescence. Will keep you updated on all that. Also another guy that we have been watching for a while - Basil Steyn - month ago he moved 15 elephants from Sondelani Ranch in Gwanda area to Vic Falls. Those poor 15 eles are still in small boma in Falls and are in appalling condition. Our insp. will go their tomorrow to investigate and let me know.
----- Original Message -----
From: SAVE FOUNDATION & Nicholas Duncan
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 6:19 AM
Subject: Fw: Pic
Please find attached a picture of one of the captured elephants being loaded
in Hwange National Park. Pic from a tourist, taken on side of the road.