As expected, the budget statement issued today by
the Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert Murewa, did little or nothing to resolve the
economic crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe in the past three years. There is no
attempt in the 2003 budget to correct the macro economic fundamentals that
continue to determine the downwards spiral in all sectors of the
In the current year, Zimbabwe will have the distinction of the
most rapidly shrinking economy in the world. We have predicted for some time
that the GDP would decline this year by at least 12 per cent, inflation would
exceed 200 per cent per annum by year-end and exports shrink to less than a
third of the level that prevailed in 1997. As a consequence of this rapid fall
in economic activity, employment has shrunk by a third and continues to fall
rapidly. Even though prices are rising faster than expected and tax rates have
risen dramatically as a result, the income of government was unable to meet
expenditure and the budget deficit which has been increased in this budget to
11.5% of GDP ( or $230.2 billion) is unacceptably high.
What makes this
deficit even more unacceptable is that it has incurred despite the fact that the
state continues to fall behind in its servicing of foreign debt and also holds
interest rates at unacceptably low levels. It must be restated that low interest
rates in a hyper inflationary environment, in effect impose a massive tax on all
who hold savings. This is not reflected in the budget and is one of the reasons
why the wealth of the nation, accumulated over the past century, is being wiped
The decision to raise the retention by government of foreign
exchange earnings by the private sector, to 50 per cent from 40% e a level that
has prevailed in the past two years, is a decisive death thrust on the side
of the productive sector and particularly the export sector. The budget makes
no serious attempt to encourage exports, on the contrary raises a hammer on
exports through an increase and enhanced clamp-down on corporate foreign
currency accounts. The further surrender of the remaining 50% of exporters'
funds to the RBZ, with whatever conditions to be worked out is yet another clear
signal to existing and future exporters that in Zimbabwe this is an uncertain
and thorny field. The 2003 budget is he last straw to break the export
In effect this means that exporters and the tourism industry,
already struggling with viability problems and critical shortages of foreign
exchange to finance their own activities, will have to sell still more of their
foreign exchange at the ridiculously low official exchange rates, after sourcing
it on the parallel market at a premium
Despite all requests the State
has yet to give an explanation to the nation on just what it does with the more
tan US$1 billion a year that it is currently buying from exporters at official
rates. Theoretically this amount of foreign exchange should be more than
adequate to meet all essential import requirements. The long queues outside
filling stations and the shortage of drugs at hospitals are all testimony to the
fact that the government is not using existing foreign exchange earnings
properly. To increase retentions to 50 per cent is just a further attempt to
extend this theft of public resources to the detriment of every
The adjustment of the threshold below which tax will not be
levied is welcome but it must be noted that any benefit will be short lived in
the current inflationary environment. It is now expected that inflation will
exceed 500 per cent in 2003 and under these circumstances the MDC feels that it
is time to consider the indexation of economic fundamentals such as salaries and
tax thresholds. Although this would entrench inflation at very high levels, it
would serve to protect the welfare of wage earners and especially civil servants
who find themselves being left behind by the slow response of the State to their
The MDC must restate its own view that no economic stabilisation
and recovery can begin until the political preconditions are met in full. These
1. A return to the rule of law. 2. The adoption of a land
reform package that is legal, just and transparent. 3. The resumption of
normal relations with the international community. 4. The restoration of the
legitimacy of the government in the eyes of both Zimbabwean and the global
Once these conditions are met in full, then attention can be
given to restoring stability and growth to the Zimbabwe economy. Until then, the
downwards spiral in economic activity, employment and incomes must be expected
to continue. This regime simply does not have the capacity to tackle these
issues any longer and the MDC calls for urgent talks to get the country and its
failing economy, back on its feet.
It must be noted that Zanu PF has now
been in power for 22 years. During this time the life expectancy of every
Zimbabwean has declined by 22 years, incomes have fallen to levels below those
that prevailed in 1965. Industrial production has fallen to levels last seen in
1970 and the mining industry has shrunk by almost half. Tourist arrivals, once
predicted to reach 2 million visitors a year by 2003, remain stuck at 20 per
cent of pre 1997 levels. Agriculture, once the mainstay of the economy, is in a
shambles and food shortages are predicted well into 2004.
once the pride of central and southern Africa as a democratic State doing its
best to improve and upgrade the lives of its people. Today we are the laughing
stock of the region with a failed economy, our currency is collapsing and our
people wallowing in poverty and hunger. The budget is just another symbol of the
failure of Zanu PF to neither appreciate nor understand the nature of the crisis
they have created. Unfortunately the majority of the vociferous ZANU PF
supporters and leaders in the gravy train do not suffer the consequences of
their actions. The obvious wealth of the new elite with their conspicuous life
styles is testimony to this and a shadow over all of Africa.
disgusting to note that Defence has been allocated $76billion despite the fact
that Zimbabean troops have been withdrawn from the Congo. There is no
justification whatsoever especially when a large chunk of this money is not
going towards the welfare of the soldiers.
The budget is predicated upon
weak macro-economic fundamentals and is silent on key issues such as exchange
rate re-alignmet, the food crisis, export incentives and others. It is also
silent on measures to eradicate poverty and the creation of jobs.
all Murerwa's budget is a non-event and hopeless. No wonder why "Bishop" Murerwa
had to seek divine intervention from the bible in face of an insurmountable
task. The current economic crisis cannot be resolved without addressing the
problem of governance and market confidence. And because the nation has been
short-changed in the ZANU P.F budget, the MDC may have to reconsider the
crafting of its shadow budget as an alternative in order to show the
TAPIWA MASHAKADA SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE 14
POLICE in riot gear on Tuesday evicted 34 families from
Chevden Farm in Masvingo East commercial farming area in an ongoing exercise
in which scores of invaders have been evicted from properties they occupied
Hundreds of villagers who occupied black-owned
farms, undesignated farms, farms protected under country-to-country
agreements, and those owned by church organisations will be
The exercise follows eviction notices issued by the
provincial land task force three months ago. The task force gave the invaders
notice to vacate the properties or risk forced removal.
in riot gear raided the property owned by a farmer identified only as R
Chigumeke in the eastern part of the province and ejected
It could not be established by yesterday afternoon
how many people had been removed.
The operation began in
Masvingo East commercial farming area where politicians such as defence
forces commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, and the Speaker of Parliament
Emmerson Mnangagwa, are believed to own properties.
police confirmed the evictions were underway but refused to give details
Some of the delisted farms illegally occupied by invaders
include Nuanetsi, Ruware and Eaglemoth ranches and Wasara-Wasara Farm
Police officer withdraws kidnap charges against 10 war
11/14/02 12:23:08 AM (GMT +2)
Gande in Bulawayo
IN a strange twist of events, a policeman has
withdrawn charges against 10 war veterans who allegedly kidnapped him at Fort
Rixon and drove him to Bulawayo where they held him hostage.
Constable Robert Sigauke was rescued by other police officers after he had
been held for more than five hours in May.
The war veterans pleaded
not guilty to charges of kidnapping when they appeared before acting Bulawayo
regional magistrate, Godwin Sengweni.
They were acquitted on the
basis of an affidavit written by Sigauke. The 10 are all members of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association.
alleged to have handcuffed Sigauke at the Fort Rixon charge office. He was
then bundled into a waiting government truck and driven
Sigauke was sent to one of the accused's house in
Makokoba where the group told him that he would spend the night.
He was rescued during the night by the Police Support Unit reaction group. In
his affidavit, Sigauke admitted that he decided to withdraw charges after a
meeting with senior police officers, government and Zanu PF officials at the
office of Matabeleland North Governor Obert Mpofu. The war veterans had
accused Sigauke and Phillip Rogers of Heany Junction Farm of torturing a
suspected stock thief.
In the affidavit, Sigauke alleged that he
was not coerced or pressured to withdraw the charges. He said he was
withdrawing the charges against the accused because they had been misled and
they had later apologised.
"The accused persons and myself are all
members of the war veterans' association, and fighting among ourselves may
discredit the ruling party," said Sigauke.
The 10 are June
Masango, 61, Moses Siphuma, 49, Wilson Tshuma, 46, Moses Moyo, 43, Zwelitsha
Stanford Masuku, 36, Dean Maphosa, 40, Priscilla Janet Chiwara, 43, Douglas
Mpala, 42, Khumbula Ndlovu, 40, and Mbonwa Ndlovu, 58.
Joseph Sullivan, the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe,
on Tuesday disbursed over US$110 000 (more than Z$6 million at the official
exchange rate) to 19 community-based projects drawn from Zimbabwe's eight
The ceremony was held at Zambuko Primary School in
Hatcliffe Extension, Harare.
Zambuko Primary School received
US$7 500 (more than Z$400 000) for a solar-powered borehole.
water to be drawn from the borehole will be used for drinking and cooking,
irrigating the school's garden plot, and for ablution facilities. The
primary school has an enrolment of 750 pupils.
The funding for the
projects was provided through the Ambassador's Special Self-Help Programme,
as a gift from the people of the US to the people of Zimbabwe.
Sullivan said: "The Self-Help Programme is a clear expression of
the willingness of the people of the United States to support the initiatives
of the people of Zimbabwe."
Projects receiving funding included
food production and processing initiatives, income-generating projects to
support children orphaned by the HIV/Aids pandemic, clean water supply and
irrigation programmes for schools and youth training projects.
The projects received an average of US$5 000 (more than Z$275 000) each.
2002 Posted to the web November 14, 2002
British-funded Amani Trust is operating illegally in Zimbabwe since it is not
registered under the Private Voluntary Organisations Act.
The Minister of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde July Moyo, told Parliament
yesterday that the organisation had only registered its constitution with the
Deeds Registry Office.
"Amani Trust is one of the NGOs to which my
ministry gave notice in the Press on 13 September 2002 to stop their
operations until they have regularised their registrations," said Cde
"I would like to end by reminding these organisations that failure
to adhere to the law will result in arrests being made."
Cde Moyo was
responding to a question by Makoni West MP, Cde Gibson Munyoro (Zanu-PF) on
why Amani Trust continued to operate when it was obvious that it was more
political than developmental.
Cde Moyo said the Government would deal
strongly with NGOs that took advantage of registering with the Deeds Registry
Office to further political agendas.
Last month President Mugabe
announced that the Government would scrutinise NGOs and review the policy and
laws governing them.
The Government has accused the British government of
working with NGOs such as Amani Trust in clandestine operations to unseat it
and President Mugabe.
Amani Trust was originally established to provide
community-based care for the survivors of torture and violence.
run-up to the March presidential poll, the organisation funded safe houses
set up by the opposition MDC as hideouts for its members on the police wanted
list for political violence.
The trust established the safe houses under
the guise of providing shelter to victims of political violence.
investigations revealed that the occupants were being used to carry
out special assignments for the MDC and the National Constitutional
Assembly such as participating in anti-Government demonstrations and
opposition rallies and meetings.
The occupants were also being used to
catalogue cases of political violence as part of a dossier that was being
compiled by the MDC to justify the intervention of Britain, the United States
and the European Union in Zimbabwe's politics.
Amani Trust and other
anti-Government NGOs have also been on a crusade to demonise Zimbabwe at
major summits by presenting false reports on political violence.
August its director, Dr Frances Lovemore, was arrested for releasing a false
report alleging that national youth service graduates, war veterans and some
policemen were wantonly gang-raping young girls.
Last month, the British
High Commission gave about $3,6 million to the trust.
confirmed to a group of New York City councillors on a fact-finding mission
to Zimbabwe that her organisation was indeed being funded by
She also confirmed that her organisation received a cheque of
$3,6 million from the British High Commission.
In a related issue,
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa,
yesterday released a list of NGOs threatening peace and security in
Cde Chinamasa was responding to Mutare North MP, Mr Giles
Mutsekwa (MDC) who wanted to know the organisations involved in such
Cde Chinamasa made the response on behalf of the Minister of
State for National Security, Cde Nicholas Goche.
named were Westminister Foundation for Democracy of Britain, the Zimbabwe
Liberators' Platform, Amani Trust, Help, the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust and the
Southern African Media Development Fund.
"These NGOs come under the guise
of strengthening civil society," said Cde Chinamasa.
"We have a
plethora of both foreign and local NGOs that disguise their activities in
semantics such as human rights, democracy and promoting
Cde Chinamasa said most of these organisations were
foreign-funded and their aim was to destabilise the nation.
the Westminister Foundation had received about $6 million from the British
Government, while representatives from the three major political parties in
Britain sat on its board.
"It has been involved in over 80 projects for
the MDC and helped plan its election strategy," said Cde
"Against this background, it will be naïve to believe that
these organisations are impartial. But not all NGOs are involved in
subversive actions. We would like to see all NGOs keeping out of
Cde Chinamasa dismissed a recent report by the United Nations
linking some Zimbabwean officials to the plunder of wealth in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
He said the contents of the report were not factual
since enemies of Zimbabwe seeking to demonise the country drafted
"The so-called UN report is a lot of rubbish and is propaganda
directed at Zimbabwe," said Cde Chinamasa.
"Our conduct in the DRC was
above board and right-thinking people are happy that we prevented
"We have no time to waste clearing malicious reports. The
allegations are unfounded and we know the source. It is the British and the
United States who were trying to chase us from the DRC so that they can
continue to plunder the country as they did under the rule of
Cde Chinamasa was responding to a question by Mr Mutsekwa on the
response of the Government to the report
planning a crackdown on the black-market currency business by closing every
bureau de change in the country. The plan, which will go into force by the
end of November, is intended to rein in a parallel market in which a single US
dollar is worth as many as 1,500 Zimbabwe dollars.
The official rate -
at which all export earnings must be exchanged - is just Zim$55 to the US
The announcement formed part of the 2003 Budget statement,
during which Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa admitted that the country's
economy would contract by 11.9% this year, after shrinking by 7.3% in 2001.
Mr Murerwa's announcement undercut even economists' most doleful
predictions of a 10% contraction.
The problem, he told parliament in
Harare, was the drought afflicting most of southern Africa - coupled with "the
necessary uncertainties associated with the land reform programme".
Zimbabwe's crisis has seen unemployment rise to close to 70%,
and the inflation rate soar above 100%.
More than half the country's 12
million population are thought to be at risk of famine.
promised inflation would drop into double figures by the end of 2003.
The problems are exacerbated by the probable loss of a deal with Libya
to supply scarce fuel in exchange for stakes in state-owned companies and tracts
of prime land confiscated supposedly for resettlement by black farmers.
Above all, the exchange rate imbalance makes
economic management impossible, economists say.
Businesses are paid for
their exports at the official rate, but must buy inputs from abroad at the
Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni was sacked earlier
this year after publicly backing the idea of a devaluation - anathema to Mr
Mugabe's ruling clique, from which Mr Murerwa is drawn.
And despite the
supposed crackdown, many Zimbabweans believe that the massive mismatch persists
at least in part because the elites of Zimbabwean society and politics are
making money from the difference.
United Nations reports have shown that
spoils from the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo end up in the coffers of
the ruling party, Zanu-PF, and the pockets of senior government and military
The budget also included measures to give
more support to black farmers resettled on land stripped from commercial farmers
But neither the spending plans nor the exchange rate
crackdown - should it actually come to pass - are expected to do much to address
the country's problems.
Corruption, mismanagement and the near-complete
disruption of commercial farming by the fast-track land grab - as well as the
drought - are the factors many independent economists blame for Zimbabwe's
Media urged to wake up to Zimbabwe crisis By Paul
Donovan Posted 14 November 2002 00:00 GMT
A BBC journalist who
went undercover to report from Zimbabwe has called on the British media to
wake up to the unfolding crisis in that country. "We're talking about 6.5
million people here who could starve by Christmas and the international
community has not woken up to it," said Christian Fraser, the Breakfast
reporter on Five Live. "It seems that it is only when you start to see
children with stick bones and swollen bellies that the tabloids get turned
on." Fraser managed to get into Zimbabwe, from where the BBC has been banned,
via South Africa. He then went to Harare and moved out to cover a
by-election where Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party was manipulating the
food supply in order to secure an electoral win. Fraser's reports on
Zimbabwe have gone out on Five Live, Radio One and News 24. Fraser also
believes that when the British media do focus on Zimbabwe, there is too much
attention paid to white farmers. "There are 1.5 million people working for
the white farmers and they say there is too much focus on them. The farmers
will admit that they can move and farm elsewhere - that is not an option for
many who work for them," he said. Fraser recalled one case in which a
farmer went away and returned to discover the whole workforce of 500 black
farm workers had been removed and dumped elsewhere. Fraser is keen that
the UK media start to give the crisis in Zimbabwe proper coverage. "The
reaction when you tell people that more than six million people could starve
by Christmas is, 'It's Africa, isn't it?' It's a sad indictment that we don't
care or the people who sell newspapers don't care."
is a tribute to the modicum of democracy which still remains in our country,
However, a challenge has to be proffered to civil society
for it to re-group and re-emerge with vigour and vitality, if we are to
tackle the so-called Zimbabwean crisis.
The satanic regime,
characterised by its serious economic deprivation of the people, has
downplayed the nature of African associational life. The Mugabe
government has adopted an evidently dictatorial stance so as to entrench its
authority and stay in power.
African associational life is
generally viewed as having dynamic qualities involving the (re)emergence of a
wide variety of populist, professional, and political movements that give
expression to the people's long-suppressed democratic
These groups usually demand not only a return to
democratic-pluralism but also social justice and guarantees of human and
In Zimbabwe the solution to the crisis will not come
from heaven; providence alone is not the answer. In fact, appealing for
divine assistance is the last act of betrayal a people can ever
There are indeed possible solutions and alternatives to the
political and cultural problems the country is facing. The solution will not
come from outside but from within. The impeding factor, for now, is that this
nation is full of cowards, people who believe that one day things will be
fine without striking the first blow.
If you want to be free you
must initiate the attack on oppression first; if freedom is to be achieved,
it must be done at your own initiative.
The form of economic
desperation we have been subjected to is probably the most powerful factor.
It inhibits the possibility of national awareness of political
When people are scurrying about to make ends meet,
striving to survive, they cease to see the connection between political
opportunities and economic justice - they are brutalised.
regard political rights as a concern of the elite, when they should be
everyone's. Economic deprivation goes hand-in-glove with lack of
education and lack of time and other resources to confront
This is evident in Zimbabwe where the
population has reverted into hunters and gatherers, especially in the rural
areas. People are now dependent on wild fruit, which they then grind in order
to make sour porridge.
Recently I visited part of Lupane, a
village called Tshongogwe. In that small village there was a report of four
children who had recently died of starvation.
This is an obvious
indicator of impoverishment, yet the Zanu PF leadership continues to flight
adverts in the electronic media declaring "Upfumi hwawanda" (there's now
wealth in abundance) - which is clearly ironic.
It is high time
people realised that poverty is an affront to human dignity.
also remains imperative to understand Mahatma Gandhi's teaching on poverty,
particularly the fact that poverty is the greatest form
People along the national highways compete with
birds and monkeys to scavenge for grain dropped by delivery trucks. The
masses are starved because, for a bag of maize, they have to profess
allegiance to and support for Zanu PF, now rightfully referred to as the
This suppression, when the leaders' stomachs are
full, exacerbates poverty, thus rendering the country's political leadership
the lords of poverty. Mugabe continues to project himself on the
international scene as a champion of Zimbabwe's sovereignty.
question is, what sovereignty, when people are perpetually starved? Zanu PF
has become openly ruthless. If people complain about starvation, they are
silenced. Who then will fight for us?
No one seems prepared to make
the first move. If the situation continues the way it is, then future
generations will have nothing to inherit. This is the mark of an
People are openly killed in Zimbabwe for
challenging the status quo. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in his letter dated 7 June
1983, directed to Mugabe, then Prime Minister, says it is not ideal for the
government to force the people into trusting it. Instead, people feel obliged
if they see it fit and they tend to fight for the government.
Nkomo said fear was a state of despair instilled in the people by
a government that fears its own people.
The government is trying
to create a record of having the first-ever nation of cowards. People are
afraid of making sacrifices for the cause of liberty, lest they go the
Lookout Masuku and Learnmore Jongwe way.
A word of advice to the
leadership: this yearning for democracy cannot really ever be
The solution will come from Zimbabweans themselves, not
anyone else from outside.
This will happen one day after the
Zanu PF terror campaign fizzles out, when cowardice is overcome and there is
open defiance of the regime's brutality.
The main point to
underscore is that democracy is universally valued; it needs to be considered
in the context of African realities and it must make effective use of
indigenous values, institutions and social mores.
tribute is paid to all those who have died at the hands of these men that
would be our leaders. Their hopes and aspirations are about to be
FORMER Zanu PF Member of Parliament for
Mhondoro, Mavis Chidzonga, is being accused of using her political muscle to
lead a group of new farmers to take over a farm in Norton belonging to the
Henderson family, now resident in the capital.
denied she chased away Linda Henderson, the co-owner of Idaho Farm, saying
part of the property had been allocated to her family through an application
she made to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
The 1 243-hectare Idaho Farm is currently occupied by
Chidzonga and her family; Andrew Mushita, a scientist; King Chanetsa, a
pilot; Tendai Mahachi, Lever Brothers' supply chain director and Elvis
Chibamu, a Mhondoro businessman.
The hectarage occupied by the
new farmers ranges from 100 to about 246 hectares.
said Chidzonga visited the farm regularly from April 2002 before she received
a Section 8 notice demanding that she move out so that new settlers could
Henderson said: "Armed police came to the farm to
arrest me on 7 August 2002. Chidzonga, driving a Nissan Hardbody vehicle,
came with the police. Although I was released later, they claimed they had
arrested me for vandalising the electricity supply as I prepared to leave the
farm, which was not true, of course."
Chidzonga herself delivered the Section 8 notice to her. She moved out of the
property on 24 August after reservoirs on the farm had allegedly been emptied
by "Chidzonga's workers" who had moved onto the farm prior to Henderson's
Contacted for comment, Chidzonga, who now owns more than
200 hectares of the farm, said: "I have not grabbed the farm. I applied to be
resettled as an A2 commercial farmer and was allocated Plot 2 on Idaho Farm.
I did not know her before the plot was allocated to me.
are five tenants on Idaho and we have been given 99-year leases. There are
supposed to be six of us, including Henderson, who was given 350ha but she
has refused to co-exist with us."
But Henderson said the whole farm
had been acquired by the government and that nothing was allocated to
Chidzonga said: "We had meetings with her, where we told her
that we have been allocated land on the farm and that we were professionals
and did not want to be confrontational. We told her that the land reform
programme was a reality and it was there to stay, but she decided to pack her
Chidzonga, in her capacity as the co-ordinator of the Group
of New Farmers on Idaho Farm, wrote to Henderson on 17 July 2002, enquiring
about the fate of Henderson's workers and her cattle which were still on the
farm as the new owners moved in.
Chidzonga ordered Henderson to
remove her cattle from the plots earmarked for occupation by the new farmers.
She said the new settlers on Idaho Farm had not occupied the whole
But Henderson denied she owned the five residential
properties on the farm. She said: "The government has not allocated a portion
of land to me on Idaho. The five residential properties do not belong to me.
They are private properties.
"When I was given an eviction
notice, Chidzonga told me her idea of co-existing was sharing the workshop
inside my homestead. The whole thing has not been a friendly arrangement and
I am challenging it in the courts."
Contacted for comment, a
representative of the five residential properties, who declined to be named
for fear of victimisation, said: "Our private homes have nothing to do with
Idaho Farm or Henderson. They are not agricultural properties and have been
our private homes for more than 25 years. The properties are perceived to be
part of Idaho Farm because some of them are situated along Idaho
These properties were not acquired by the
The five new settlers are now sharing three houses on
the Idaho Farm homestead, with Chidzonga occupying the main house. Chidzonga
said the arrangement was temporary as they would build their houses soon.
Chidzonga denied she had delivered the eviction notice to Henderson and that
her workers had cut water supplies to the farm.
"I brought the
police to the farm to interview her after we saw that she had vandalised
electric cables on the homestead and in the barns. She also removed some
parts of the irrigation equipment.
"She is not allowed by law to
remove immovable property from the farm. The police did not use my vehicle
when they arrested her. I also did not deliver the Section 8 to her. It is
just that, when she received it, I was there, checking if she had received
it, as we wanted to start planting."
Chidzonga has this season
planted 15ha of irrigated tobacco and 10ha of dryland tobacco, as well as 10
ha of maize. She has moved her 40 head of cattle onto the farm.
Henderson used to produce 40ha of tobacco, 200ha of maize and had 200 head of
cattle until 2000, when the farm invasions started. Henderson is now
living in Harare.
Chidzonga said she was infuriated by some local
and international media which reported negatively on the land issue "without
questioning the historical land injustices".
"Of course, I admit
the government has been cruel to some farmers, but the media should also
capture where the government has done good things for the people," she
Mushita, one of the new farmers, said he was allocated a plot
on Idaho Farm by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
after applying for land under the commercial farming resettlement
Mushita said: "I applied in Chinhoyi last year and I
received letters that I had been allocated Plot 6 on Idaho Farm. I have never
spoken to Henderson. I do not know whether or not Henderson has been
allocated land on Idaho or elsewhere. If she claims that the six residential
properties do not belong to her, then she might have a case."
The three other new farmers, Mahachi, Chibamu and Chanetsa, were
not available for comment at the time of going to press.
A GREAT deal of criticism has
been levelled against several foreign governments by some Zimbabweans for
their reluctance to assist in bringing about democratic governance in
Among those governments is that of South Africa whose
president, Thabo Mbeki, has been the main target of such
For his part, Mbeki has repeatedly said that his
government would use what he calls quiet diplomacy to influence the course of
events in Zimbabwe. His approach has not worked up to now, but it is still
being pursued by Pretoria.
Some Zimbabweans are of the opinion
that Mbeki should have long told President Mugabe to show respect for the
rule of law, and for his own country's constitutional freedoms and human
Mbeki has, however, been quoted by several South African
media as saying his administration would not be pushed into a confrontation
It would appear that Mbeki would rather there was
a government of national unity in Zimbabwe, than either a de facto one-party
state or an unstable multi-party system.
A glance at the
regional scenario shows that Namibia's President Sam Nujoma is in full
agreement with Mugabe's approach on virtually everything, particularly the
land policy and its implementation.
Mozambique's policy seems to be
to ignore as much as possible the tragic goings-on in Zimbabwe, while at the
same time to welcoming white commercial farmers forced out of
Botswana's policy seems to be that Zimbabweans should
resolve their economic and political problems within their borders so that
they do not spill over into their territory.
Zambia's policy on
Zimbabwe is like Mozambique's. Lusaka is welcoming commercial farmers and
helping them to settle in and farm. Zambia's policy is obviously based on its
experience of the effects of the "Zambianisation" of land ownership, a scheme
introduced by Kenneth Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP)
government in the late 1960s.
Zambia was forced to import food from
South Africa, a major destination of most white commercial farmers whose
property had been bought by Kaunda's government and sold mostly to black
Zambians as part of the Zambianisation programme.
unrealistic to expect or even ask South Africa's Mbeki to be more forceful in
his diplomatic contacts with Mugabe because of three
The first is that it is more than likely that
Mbeki is aware that should Zanu PF fall, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), a trade union-backed party, would take over the reins of power in
A similar event occurred in Zambia when the Frederick
Chiluba-led Movement for Multi-party Democracy, also a trade union-sponsored
political organisation, kicked Kaunda's UNIP out of power.
process could not be ruled out in South Africa, if Zimbabwe had
a labour-backed government. It could inspire the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU) to form a party to replace the African
National Congress (ANC).
Thus, it is most probable that the ANC
would rather have Zanu PF in power in Zimbabwe than the MDC.The second reason
is that South Africa has a worse land problem than Zimbabwe's because before
Nelson Mandela's democratic dispensation came into existence, only about 12,7
percent of that country's land was occupied by the black majority, with the
lion's share being owned by the minority white population.
cannot afford to be seen to be directly or indirectly opposed to Mugabe's
pro-black land acquisition and resettlement policy. Opposition parties,
especially the Pan-Africanist Congress, a well-known old ally of Zanu PF's,
could capitalise on that and win South Africa's black rural vote, as well as
quite a large chunk of the peri-urban black constituencies.
third reason has its origins in the history of the liberation struggle in
southern Africa. In 1967, Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People 's Union
(Zapu) formed an alliance with the ANC of South Africa, a development that
was cemented by the blood of ANC and Zapu guerrillas who fought ferocious
battles against Ian Smith's forces in the Hwange area that year.
Those battles are seldom, if ever, mentioned by the pro-Zanu PF historians
whose partisan propaganda is passed off as history in Zimbabwean school text
The commanders of that ANC-Zapu army were Chris Hani
of the ANC, and John "JD" Tshakalisa Dube of Zapu. Their alliance increased
the solidarity between the two organisations to such an extent that it is
very likely even today that the ANC leadership would not wish to harm any
Zimbabwean structure in which the former Zapu is involved.
the former Zapu is a part of the present Zanu PF government led by Mugabe,
the ANC may not wish to oppose Zanu PF out of sheer respect for its former
It should be borne in mind that the current Zimbabwean
High Commissioner to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, is a former Zapu cadre,
and he probably reminds Thabo Mbeki's Foreign Affairs officials occasionally
of the ANC-Zapu alliance.
Apart from these considerations, I
find it utterly foolish for the people of Zimbabwe to look beyond their
territorial borders for intervention to solve their internal problems. While
this attitude may be the continuation of the tradition of externalising the
country's democratisation process, it is still neither wise nor
The people of Zimbabwe should decide whether to deal with
their socio-economic problems head-on, or continue to let their country
slide deeper and deeper into a tragic economic morass.
assistance or intervention can and will come only if and when there is a
deadlock between those trying to solve the problem. Zimbabweans should
understand and accept one incontrovertible fact of life: freedom is never
free it has to be sacrificed for and comes at a high price.
Steep visas, high air fares fail to stem exodus to
11/14/02 12:26:59 AM (GMT +2)
THE United Kingdom is still the favourite relocation
destination for Zimbabweans seeking respite from the economic hardships at
home, despite the introduction of stringent visa restrictions and a steep
rise in air fares.
Hundreds of people, desperate to flee economic
hardships and government-sanctioned political violence at home, yesterday
jostled for positions in a long-winding queue at the British High Commission
offices in Harare to secure the much-sought-after visa.
British High Commission last Thursday announced new UK visa requirements and
fees costing $72 000 for a six-months visa in that country. The visa
requirement coincided with the increase of Air Zimbabwe fares
Harare-to-London Air Zimbabwe fares last Thursday
rose from $500 000 to $1,2 million.
Sophie Honey, the British
High Commission spokesperson, yesterday said it was still too early to
comment on the impact of the stringent visa requirements. Honey
said: "It is a bit too early to make an exact overview of how the
announcement of visa requirements has affected immigration trends.
"However, we have noted long queues of people seeking the
immigration documents outside our offices."
government last week introduced visa endorsements for Zimbabweans visiting
the UK in an effort to stem the flood of economic refugees and asylum seekers
to the UK.
The move was also expected to bring respite to the
Registrar-General's Office, which was failing to cope with the long queues of
Zimbabweans applying for passports so they could leave the country and seek
economic refuge elsewhere.
According to reports in the British
Press, an estimated 150 Zimbabweans leave the country every week to settle or
seek employment in the UK.
Most of the people gathered outside
the British High Commission offices yesterday said they were not deterred by
the restrictive visa requirements and steep air fares because they were
prepared to pay through the nose just to get away from the depressing
economic environment in Zimbabwe.
Nomathemba Sibanda said she
was being forced to leave the country because of unemployment.
She said: "I am a university graduate who can't seem to get a job anywhere
besides possessing adequate qualifications for my
"I will pay anything possible as long as I
get to leave the country and settle in a better environment.
is such a sad scenario, but there is no choice for most of us but to seek
greener pastures elsewhere and in my case, the United Kingdom is my chosen
Zimbabwe's unemployment level is pegged at 70
percent.Alfred Mapedzauswa, who was also queueing for a visa, said the
introduction of the high fees were not a deterrent at all.
Mapedzauswa said: "Though the visas are expensive, they will also
save Zimbabweans from being harassed by British immigration officials."
TOBAIWA Mudede, the Registrar-General, must surrender all
ballot boxes, ballot papers and other relevant material used in the
March presidential election to a designated point in Harare for safekeeping,
the High Court ruled yesterday.
Justice Yunus Omerjee confirmed
a provisional order sought by the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to compel
Mudede to direct constituency registrars countrywide to surrender the
election residue to a place to be determined by the High Court.
The chamber application was filed on 16 October by Tsvangirai's lawyer,
Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, instructed by Bryant Elliot of Gill, Godlonton
Tsvangirai said in his application he had reasonable
fears that Mudede was not complying with provisions of Section 78 of the
Electoral Act which deals with the security of election residue.
He argued that Mudede had caused "material prejudice" to his
election petition to have the results of the presidential election set
aside. "The documents are central to the allegations of irregularities
and corrupt practices referred to in my election petition," Tsvangirai said
in his founding affidavit.
"I, therefore, need to urgently
ascertain whether the respondent has complied with the said Section 78 of the
Electoral Act and to ensure that the documents are forthwith preserved in
accordance with the law."
Mudede said in his opposing papers,
submitted by Loyce Matanda-Moyo of the Attorney-General's Office, the
election residue was safe and secure and was being guarded "round-the-clock
on a daily basis in the respective constituencies".
allegations are based on baseless fears and are mere speculation," Mudede
said. He argued that bringing the material to Harare would be "prohibitively
too expensive and unnecessary" as money would be required to cover travel and
subsistence fees for constituency registrars and staff transporting the
material and travel and storage costs for the material.
election material for past presidential, parliamentary and by-elections has
always been kept by respective constituency registrars. "We do no see
why the election residue for the 2000 presidential election should be treated
differently," Mudede said.
Justice Omerjee did not immediately give
his reasons for confirming the provisional order that had been sought by
In a related development, the MDC has raised concern
over the continued delay in setting a hearing of the election petition in
which the party is challenging the results of the March presidential
Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the MDC, said
despite the lapse of eight months since the election, won controversially by
Zanu PF's President Mugabe, no date had yet been set for the hearing of their
Ncube said the MDC had filed the petition in
terms of the Electoral Act.
Jacob Manzunzu, the Registrar of the
High Court, said there had been a series of procedural developments which had
to be fulfiled since the petition was filed on 12 April which allowed, among
other issues, the respondent's right to file opposing papers.
Manzunzu said in a statement to The Daily News: "In the meantime,
the petitioners also sought to engage the services of a senior lawyer from
"By letter dated 5 September 2002, the
petitioners' lawyers advised the Registrar that the South African lawyer had
been granted an exemption certificate by the Minister. Arrangements were then
made for the lawyer to be admitted towards the end of
Thereafter, a pre-trial conference was held before the
Judge President, Justice Paddington Garwe.
Garwe ordered the
petitioner and the respondents to file a summary of their evidence by 4
October and 31 October this year respectively.
This has now been
done and a pre-trial conference to discuss all issues related to the holding
of the trial will take place now.
"Mr Ncube will be aware that
before trials in the High Court take place, certain procedures have to be
followed in order to narrow the issues and deal with any other relevant
matters so that the trial proceeds expeditiously once it starts."
Government vows to arrest banned citizens if they
11/14/02 12:26:13 AM (GMT +2)
Tamborinyoka Political Editor
THE government warned yesterday that
expatriate Zimbabwean citizens working for private radio stations who were
last week included on a list of people banned from visiting the country,
would be arrested once they set foot in Zimbabwe.
In the same
vein, the government said it was closely monitoring the activities of
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which it said were supporting the
opposition MDC and the independent Press in trying to unseat the
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Patrick Chinamasa,
the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said Zimbabweans
who were included on a list would be allowed back, but they would be
Asked what the government would do to banned Zimbabweans
who held only Zimbabwean passports, Chinamasa said: "They are free to come
back, but they will be welcome in our prisons. Those citizens with other
foreign passports are not Zimbabwean citizens because we cannot have these
people demonising the government every day on the radio.
Zimbabwean has a right to be in Zimbabwe and has a right to come back to this
country. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, but we cannot allow
dual citizenship - our people travelling with British and Dutch passports but
who engage in acts of broadcasting information that denigrates the
Chinamasa was responding to a question by Harare North
MP, Trudy Stevenson, on whether it was government policy to ban Zimbabwean
citizens from visiting the country.
Last week, in a retaliatory
move following the decision by the European Union to slap travel bans on the
Zanu PF elite, and another decision by Britain to introduce visas for
Zimbabweans, the government published its own list of banned
The list included British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
his government ministers, as well as Zimbabweans working for the independent
SW Radio Africa (SWRA), which broadcasts from London, and the Voice of the
People (VoP), which broadcasts from the Netherlands.
workers were named as John Matinde, Gerry Jackson, Georgina Godwin, Simon
Parkinson, Mandisa Mundawarara, Violet Gonda, Tererai Karimakwenda and Graeme
Counsel, while Lodewijk Bouwens was named as being employed by
In another crack-down on NGOs, July Moyo, the Minister of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, told Parliament that Amani Trust
was not properly registered and its leadership risked being
He said the organisation had only registered its
constitution with the Deeds Registry Office, but had not regularised its
registration in accordance with the Private Voluntary Organisations
In another response to a question read on his behalf, the
Minister of State Security, Nicholas Goche, said the government was
monitoring the activities of NGOs.
He said NGOs were used by
foreign powers to unseat governments in small countries and to force a regime
Goche said most NGOs were disguising their nefarious
activities with semantics such as support for democracy and human
He again cited Amani Trust and the Westminster Foundation
for Democracy (WFD) which he said was involved in supporting several
projects for the opposition MDC and helping plan its election
Goche said in 2000, the WFD provided the MDC with money,
which he said was still flowing into the party's coffers.
also cited the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust and the Southern Africa Media
Development Fund (SAMDEF) .
Goche said when The Daily News was
facing financial problems, it received US$526 000 (Z$28,93 million) from
OPINION November 14, 2002 Posted to the web November
Ross Herbert Johannesburg
WHILE African and world
attention has been focused on the disaster in Zimbabwe, a calamity of
potentially greater proportions is unfolding in Côte d'Ivoire.
far more forceful action is taken there is a real risk of unleashing in West
Africa's most prosperous nation a Liberian scenario complete with unwinnable
ethnic warfare, economic meltdown, and untold damage to Africa's image and
the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
crisis in Côte d'Ivoire erupted on September 19, when units of the army
staged a coordinated uprising across the country. The rebel soldiers the
Mouvement Patriotique de Côte d'Ivoire (MPCI) seized control of the northern
60% of the country but failed to capture Abidjan, the country's economic
Forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo proved unable to
dislodge rebel troops from their northern stronghold. To avert a full-scale
war, about 1200 French troops deployed across the country as a thin buffer
between the government and rebel troops. The French troops will soon be
replaced by an equally small and far less well prepared African
Tensions remain high as government troops and youth militias
allied to Gbagbo and his Bete ethnic group murder opposition politicians and
attack Abidjan slums which are occupied by foreigners and
Gbagbo demands that the rebels surrender their arms, while
the rebels demand a rerun of presidential elections, which barred the leader
of the country's largest opposition party from participating. So far Gbagbo
How did West Africa's most developed, stable nation come
The situation is the predictable consequence of a leader staying
in power too long. Similar instability came to Somalia because of Siad Barre,
to Malawi today because of Banda, to Zimbabwe, Central African Republic,
and Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Côte d'Ivoire, founding president
Felix Houphouet-Boigny ruled for 33 years. He oversaw far faster growth and
greater stability than any of the country's neighbours. However, the seeds of
discontent began to grow as he maintained one-party rule and resisted calls
to name a successor.
His death in 1993 brought to power Henri Konan
Bedie, who sought to bolster himself by cultivating animosity to foreigners
and preventing his most popular rival, Allasane Ouattara, from running for
president on the grounds that he is not a citizen, despite having served as
Bedie, from the mostly Christian south, began publicly
inciting animosity against foreigners. At least a quarter of the population
were born outside the country but migrated in search of jobs, mostly from
Burkina Faso, Mali and other Muslim countries. With the north of the country
predominantly Muslim and heavy with people of mixed local and foreign roots,
Bedie's xenophobic move was seen as a direct assault on half the population
with dangerous regional and religious overtones.
A pattern of serious
human rights abuse has escalated ever since. Violent protests accompanied the
1995 elections. Local independent media reported a coup attempt in May 1996.
Journalists were jailed, and opposition figures arrested, tortured and
several died in police custody.
Bedie's government was seen as corrupt
and inept enough that the public broadly cheered when he was deposed in a
coup on Christmas 1999. Gen Robert Guei took power and pledged to hold
elections. However, Guei promulgated a new constitution designed to bar
Ouattara's participation in politics. Fourteen of 19 candidates were thus
banned from contesting the presidential election.
Laurent Gbagbo, the
long-time opponent of Houphouet-Boigny, was the only other significant
candidate in the 2000 elections. When Guei halted the vote count and declared
himself the winner, public outrage and massive street protests swept Gbagbo
Gbagbo refused to acknowledge the dubious process that brought
him to power. He persisted with the antiforeign rhetoric and once more
blocked Ouattara from standing in parliamentary elections. More than 500
people were killed during and after the elections.
As Human Rights
Watch reported, "by December (2000), the relationship between the security
forces and the youth wing of Gbagbo's party had consolidated, with the latter
enjoying complete immunity, even when they committed atrocities in the
presence of gendarmes and police. Although President Gbagbo did not initiate
the descent into violence, for which Gen Guei must bear primary
responsibility, he (used) the same methods of incitement and ethnic
Gbagbo publicly blamed a failed coup attempt in January
last year on foreigners, which sparked a frenzy of violence. There were at
least 150 extrajudicial killings by security forces last
Although Gbagbo did hold a series of reconciliation meetings with
Guei, Bedie and Ouattara, he made no fundamental concessions and continued
to spout ethnically divisive rhetoric. When the rebellion was launched
in September, he immediately blamed foreigners and security forces
began widespread attacks on Abidjan townships largely occupied by northerners
and foreigners. Guei and his family, including grandchildren, were
For Africa, all this poses a difficult dilemma. Gbagbo is the
recognised head of state subjected to an attempted coup. However, he and
his predecessors have launched the country on an extremely destructive path
by inciting ethnic animosity and massive human rights abuse.
the MPCI were wrong to launch a rebellion, Gbagbo is equally wrong. He has
made no concessions and sought to rearm and attack his opponents. In recent
days, in the midst of negotiations, his supporters have continued attacking
defenceless people and they murdered two opposition leaders.
Even if he
could launch a militarily successful counterattack, it would never convince
the 40% of the population who are Muslim, or the others who are foreign or
disenfranchised, to willingly accept the unfair political systems and state
brutality that is official policy. A war at this stage would send the nation
into the kind of anarchy, collapse and brutality that Sierra Leone, Liberia
and Somalia experienced.
With so much at stake, Africa must forcefully
assert itself. Gbagbo must be told Africa will not allow this to be settled
through war and if necessary trade and arms sanctions will be imposed.
Instead of a hopelessly inadequate force of 1200, a force of 10000 to 20000
soldiers should be deployed.
They should have the might and the mandate
to disarm the rebels, to stop the human rights abuses and enforce a fair,
inclusive compromise. Otherwise Côte d'Ivoire will become a Liberia but the
scale of horror and economic damage will be 10 times worse.
Africa Research Fellow at the SA Institute of International Affairs and head
of its Nepad research and civil society programme.
Foreign Minister of South Africa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has appealed to the
international community to help President Mugabe's government out of its
present economic mess.
At a joint news conference in Pretoria with
her Zimbabwean counterpart, Stan Mudenge, she said: "Even if Zimbabwe made a
mistake, the point is that we need to move to the future. No one can change
yesterday, no one can change today, but we can change the
On the other hand, we can all learn valuable lessons from
the past. One cardinal lesson people who have dealt with the political and
economic gymnastics of the Mugabe government have learnt is that it is not
given to admitting its transgressions.
The whole land reform
fiasco was a mistake from start to finish, but to this day, Mugabe will not
come out in the open and confess to the world that this was as big a faux pas
as the other political gaffes he has committed in a political career studded
with other errors.
Most commentators assume that when the South
African Foreign Minister speaks of Zimbabwe's mistake, she is referring to
the events preceding the near-collapse of the economy.
illegal seizure of the farms in 2000 and the murder and violence that
followed it have led to the political and economic isolation of
the country. In 2002, a presidential election was held during which
many voters were deliberately disenfranchised. Today, the new Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, the rather ineffective Herbert Murerwa,
will present the national budget in Parliament.
This will be an
exercise in utter futility: what kind of budget can be worked out for a
country practically without a cent to its name is a matter of
In Pretoria, Dlamini-Zuma, said Britain must honour
its pledge at the Lancaster House Conference in 1979 to pay compensation to
the commercial farmers whose land should be taken over for the resettlement
of landless peasants in the overcrowded communal areas, with their infertile
The British government has said in the past that as soon as
these farms were distributed, not to the genuinely landless citizens of
Zimbabwe, but to Zanu PF's legion of fat cats, it had a rethink - and rightly
The mistakes that Mugabe must correct must include a return to
the rule of law. The agricultural sector of this country is in what
some pessimists have called terminal collapse, largely because of
the chaotic land reform promoted so zealously by Mugabe and his
government, quite often illegally.
The fat cats continue to reap
the richest rewards from the programme, while many of the landless people
have yet to be empowered sufficiently to fight against their endemic
Land reform must take account of the economy of the
country, which it obviously did not, as it was basically a knee-jerk reaction
to a crisis of political survival faced by Zanu PF.
pluralism must be given an unfettered opportunity to flower. The media must
be returned to the people, and not be imprisoned in the clutches of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act monster.
Dlamini-Zuma's appeal to the international community to come to the aid of
Zimbabwe may be brimming with sincerity, but it doesn't seem to take account
of how much resentment towards South Africa her government's futile quiet
diplomacy has built up among ordinary Zimbabweans. By any political
calculations, if South Africa had blended its quiet diplomacy with a tough
reminder to Mugabe that he was ruining his country just to stay in power,
there could have been far less chaos than there is today.Moreover, many lives
would have been saved. As it is, the chances that Mugabe will agree to mend
his ways and correct his errors must depend on how determined South Africa
and the other members of the Southern African Development Community are to
prevent the economic contagion of Mugabe's blunders from developing into a
terminal illness in the region.
The developing world needs trade, not aid, to help
the poor November 15 2002
Handouts from the rich nations
too often fill the pockets of dictators rather than the bellies of the
starving, writes James Shikwati.
About a year ago, trade ministers
who met at the last World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar, launched
a new round of trade negotiations called the Development Round. Since then
very little has been done in the way of freeing up trade to people in poor
Indeed, mostly things have gone in the opposite direction,
with the US announcing a subsidy bonanza for its farmers and imposing
restrictions on steel imports. Meanwhile, to the extent that the
international community has been discussing "development" it has been in the
context of increasing "aid" to the "developing" world. This was the theme of
the meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, in March, and again at the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
But "aid" will not stimulate
development. Only trade can do that. For many years, well-meaning aid
agencies have sought to help people in poor countries. Since the 1960s, over
$500 billion. has been given to the governments of African countries in the
form of grants and soft loans. Yet the results have been less than
spectacular. During the 1980s, at least 92 attempted military takeovers -
some succeeding, some not - were recorded, affecting 29 African countries.
Between 1981 and 1996 aid to Africa from all donors averaged about $US19
billion annually. During the same period, nearly half the countries in Africa
experienced significant episodes of violent conflict between government and
opposition groups. Four million people lost their lives, including seven
heads of state; 3 million people became refugees.
remains: how can something that seems so good have had such a corrosive
effect? The answer is that aid gives untrustworthy leaders the resources with
which to engage in violent and repressive acts. Mengistu (Ethiopia), Pol Pot
(Cambodia) and Idi Amin (Uganda) are among the more infamous recipients of
foreign aid. Even food aid has been diverted to feed soldiers whose sole aim
is to keep the population down. Recent reports indicate Robert Mugabe is
diverting food aid to his supporters rather than allowing it to go to the
starving millions in Zimbabwe.
In places where poverty is rife, aid
becomes the route to riches for the elite. Money is disbursed through
contracts, with rulers receiving huge kickbacks for their favours. By 1982
Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) had accumulated a foreign debt of $5
billion. Its president, Mobutu Sese Seko, had accumulated a personal fortune
of $4 billion.
Aid also undermines the democratic accountability of
government. By offering governments a non-tax source of revenue, it enables
them to ignore the wishes of citizens and reduces their incentive to deliver
public services efficiently and effectively. It also exacerbates cronyism.
Why not award valuable contracts to your brother-in law's more expensive (and
less efficient) building company if you know the people can't
For the poor of the world, the main concern is that their
governments stop strangling and looting their economies. As the Peruvian
economist Hernando de Soto has shown, economic progress depends mainly on
society's institutions. That means formal property rights, free markets and
the rule of law. These institutions enable people to own and exchange goods
without fear of arbitrary expropriation, either by bandits or by the state.
They thereby encourage economic activity, which enables people to escape
from poverty. Some even become rich.
The rich world can help - by
opening its markets to textiles, agricultural goods, and other products from
the poor world. Trade will lead to production that will lift the standards of
living in poor countries. It could also remove its agricultural subsidies,
which reduce world market prices of these goods, reducing the amount
poor-world producers can obtain for their goods.
When the developed world
does give aid, it should be narrowly targeted (say, to provide assistance to
trade negotiators or technical training), or in the form of products (such as
food aid or medicines) rather than money that can be stolen, diverted or
Guilt and goodwill have blinded many to the damage that aid can
do. Trade, not aid, is the solution for the poor. At this week's informal
WTO ministerial meeting in Sydney, trade ministers should make good on
their promise at Doha to create a world trading system that benefits
all participants. That means reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers on
all goods, as well as reducing agricultural subsidies.
director of the Inter-Region economic Network in Nairobi, Kenya, is visiting
Australia for the WTO meeting.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Cholera stalks drought-hit southern Africa Cholera is
emerging as the latest health threat to the 14 million people facing severe
food shortages across southern Africa. In recent weeks, at least 500 cases of
cholera - and 24 deaths from the disease - have been reported in Zimbabwe's
Masvingo province, which in addition has HIV/AIDS adult infection rates of
more than 40 per cent. Cases have been reported in neighbouring countries
affected by a drought that is increasingly driving people to drinking
contaminated ground water. The Zimbabwe Red Cross has been assessing and
responding to needs in Masvingo and educating the local population on how to
avoid falling ill. The International Federation has sent cholera treatment
kits for up to 5,000 people, and has more medicines at the ready if needed.
"We also need to step up our water and sanitation activities to ensure that a
very vulnerable population has improved access to clean drinking water," says
Dr. Hakan Sandbladh, the Federation's emergency health adviser. Cholera has
arrived unseasonally early, and that is a direct consequence of the food
crisis. "People are weak, have limited access to food and are using poor
water sources. We're concerned that the situation will get worse rather than
better as the season progresses," explains Ben Mountfield, country manager of
the Red Cross food operation in Zimbabwe.
A club with almost 200 skilled workers from overseas has been formed
by an Auckland firm trying to beat a skill shortage that has seen New
Zealand companies lose "millions in potential orders".
Club was formed in May by immigration consultancy Malcolm Pacific, which
recognised what they now describe as a "desperate cry for skilled
"Although we are an immigration business, not a recruitment
agency, people know we bring skilled workers to New Zealand," Malcolm
Pacific's Albert Bosma said yesterday.
And that reputation led to a
flood of calls as New Zealand's skill shortage got worse.
"A couple of
years ago we would get monthly calls," Mr Bosma said.
"Last year it was
weekly or twice a week, but now the phone is ringing every day... Have you
got diesel mechanics, sheetmetal workers, fitters and turners, engineers?
He said the Hunters Club was formed to serve three
"The migrants win because they settle well and get good jobs,
the employers win because they get skilled, experienced, English-speaking
workers, and we win because we enhance our business and attract more
Mr Bosma said the club would provide short-term solutions to
problems which are costing New Zealand firms dearly.
more and more. Skill shortages are hitting companies hard," he
"We've had calls from businesses who need 10 sheetmetal workers to
fill million dollar contracts and if they could find them, they could
employ another 20 or so semi- or unskilled workers down line.
problem is, they can't find them here as they don't exist, they've all got
jobs or have gone offshore," he said.
To date, the Hunters Club has a
membership of almost 200 workers.
"Seventy per cent of the members are
British, 20 per cent are South African and the remaining 10 per cent come
from the United States, Middle East and Zimbabwe," Mr Bosma
"They include nurses, civil, marine and mechanical engineers,
diesel mechanics, carpenters, fitters and turners and a whole range of
Mr Bosma said that the fastest-growing group of
migrants joining the Hunter Club are from the US.
"The lifestyle in
New Zealand really appeals to people from the US," he said.
of Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce said anything that helps fill
skill gaps is valuable.
"There are two ways of solving a skills shortage
- training for the long-term and immigration as an immediate response," Mr
"We believe the Hunters Club is a good way of facilitating
that immediate response."
I FEEL that my case is
representative of that of many other Zimbabweans who are languishing in
poverty. I also feel something needs to be done urgently about President
Mugabe's destructive misrule.
It's quite shameful that Mugabe
has allowed to destroy, with utter ruthlessness, whatever has tried to block
his path to absolute tyranny.
If he did win the March
presidential election fairly as he claims, then why all this mayhem? Why
can't he settle down and enjoy power? I feel Mugabe is punishing us for
rejecting him in March 2002, leaving him with no option but to steal the
election. He appears to derive pleasure from seeing his party hooligans
murder opposition officials and supporters with impunity.
Our country has really gone to the dogs while we watch.
don't need a rocket scientist to tell us to rebel. When I see people
starving, being brutally assaulted and murdered, I begin to doubt Hitler's
death. I think he's still alive and well.
---- Thrown into
11/14/02 12:17:37 AM (GMT +2)
Zimbabweans should not close their eyes to the activities of this government,
which seeks to drive its population into the furnace.
plunged the country into darkness. We don't really know where we are going
and what the future will be like.
What is the government's plan to
overcome the current economic hardships and unfavourable political climate?
None at all!
It is clear that the government and its officials are
clinging onto power to enrich themselves, instead of working for the people.
Because of a small group of people, the whole country is
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe November 4th- November 10th Weekly
CONTENTS 1. GENERAL COMMENT 2. INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS: BELLAMY'S REMARKS 3. LAND REFORM AND FOOD SECURITY
As this weekly update was going to press, Zimbabweans
were awaiting the announcement of the 2003 budget proposal by Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa. The announcement comes at a time when the economy
is facing the most severe crisis in the country's history. All media agreed
that the budget was unlikely to address the fundamental causes of the
country's economic crisis. Nonetheless, the public media remained optimistic
and called on the minister to allocate more funds to government's land
reform programme, which they believe is the key to solving the country's
economic woes. Conversely, the private media observed that whatever financial
chart Murerwa would come up with was likely to be sacrificed on the altar
of political expediency. They particularly highlighted the country's
run-away inflation as a militating factor against any solutions to the
tottering economy. While the private media concurred that high inflation was
the root cause of escalating prices of goods, the public media found
themselves latching onto familiar conspiracy theories that manufacturers were
either breaching price controls or withholding their products to push for a
price hike. In fact, price increases have become a major concern for the
general populace, who only learn of new prices when they get to the till
operators. The media, it seems, have been out-sprinted by the dramatic and
continuing increase in prices to an extent that they have totally failed to
keep their audiences up-to-date with the soaring cost of living.
Notwithstanding the difficulties the media have in keeping track of a high
inflationary rate, they still have a duty to inform their audiences. Even
more disturbing is the failure by the media to highlight clearly how the
inflationary environment has eroded the disposable income of general workers.
Instead, media reports merely bordered on generalizations as compared to
specifics and statistical evidence. It would also be instructive for the
media to examine what has happened to the prices of so-called controlled
commodities and whether government is doing anything about enforcing these,
especially as this was a platform upon which ZANU-PF fought the presidential
Meanwhile, this week MMPZ looks at the coverage of the
US/Zimbabwe relations with regards the warning by the US against alleged
politicization of food by ZANU PF. Also, this update examines the manner in
which the media covered the land issue in relation to the country's food
2. International relations: Bellamy's remarks
gulf between the public and private media was again exposed in their coverage
of a warning by US Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mark
Bellamy, against government's alleged politicization of food aid. The public
media was alarmist, interpreting the American's "interventionist" comment
about food distribution as a call to attack Zimbabwe militarily. On the other
hand the private media restricted themselves to coverage of Bellamy's
reported remarks and those of other US officials, leaving their audiences to
interpret the meaning of what was said. These differences in reporting the
issue were best captured by the way The Herald and The Daily News of the same
day (6/11) titled their stories. The Herald's headline: Anti-Zim drive: US
plans to invade Harare was exaggerated, while The Daily News one, US
threatens Zimbabwe: Warns of intervention to ensure food reaches needy
regardless of political affiliation, was more to the point. In fact, both
papers' stories emanated from the same report published in the US-based
Washington Times, which did not mention any military attack on Zimbabwe. But
strangely The Herald appeared keen on pursuing a war agenda by narrowly and
subjectively interpreting Bellamy's statements that his country was
considering "intrusive and interventionist" measures that could challenge
Zimbabwe's sovereignty as constituting "a thinly-veiled military threat".
This was despite the fact that the American embassy, which could have
clarified the issue, was just a telephone call away. Interestingly,
The Herald and Daily News both quoted US State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher, explaining this new US stance and never referred to any
military intervention. Both papers merely cited him saying "the review of
food distribution methods arose after the Zimbabwean authorities seized grain
the World Food Programme was distributing and gave it to supporters of
the government". Said Boucher: "We need to look very carefully at this
situation to make sure that we can monitor the use of the food and make sure
it goes to the neediest of people without any political consideration. So we
are looking at it now." Notwithstanding such explanations, The Herald
continued to editorialize these comments, accusing the US of "planning to
invade Zimbabwe.on the pretext of bringing relief aid to people who were
allegedly being denied food on political grounds". The paper even tried to
dismiss the seizure of the World Food Programme (WFP) food aid by ZANU PF
supporters during the run-up to the Insiza by-election as "an isolated and
unverified incident in Matebeleland South" and therefore not worthy of
American attention. This contrasted sharply with reports in the private Press
of ruling ZANU PF supporters using food as a political tool against
its opponents such as, No ZANU PF card, no maize meal in Mufakose, The
Daily News (5/11), UN urged to intervene to stop partisan food distribution,
The Daily News (8/11) or Grace lures voters with food, The Standard (10/11).
In fact, to lend credibility to its US invasion theory, the public
Press solicited comments from mainly government commentators, The Herald
(6/11) and Chronicle (7/11). For example, The Herald quoted an unnamed
government spokesman, who while accusing Bellamy and the US of being "either
blank, mad or both", tried to drag Africa into the US/Zimbabwe dispute. Said
the government spokesman: ".SADC and the African Union should take note of
the mad talk about intrusive and interventionist challenges to
Zimbabwe's sovereignty. Today it's about Zimbabwe, heaven knows who is next
in SADC." The government spokesman then tried to link the opposition MDC to
the US action by implying that the American threats stemmed from the MDC's
loss in the Insiza by-election, sentiments that were surprisingly echoed by
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Chief, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, whose
position demands that he be apolitical. ZBC (3FM, 6/11, 1pm) picked up the
story that afternoon. And just like the public Press, stated that the US
wanted to invade Zimbabwe. That same evening, ZTV followed suit. It reported
that this was not the first time the US government had threatened
Zimbabwe's sovereignty alleging that, "Americans are well-known for imposing
their will on weaker nations by threatening military action and Zimbabwe and
other African countries have been on the receiving end". As evidence, its
reporter then chronicled allegations of US interference in Zimbabwe's
sovereignty since 1983. In the same bulletin, ZTV (8pm) quoted a US embassy
official, Bruce Wharton, who denied claims of US military intervention
saying: "The United State has absolutely no intention of invading Zimbabwe."
SW Radio Africa (6/11) also carried the US denial. However, ZTV swamped the
US response with a hotchpotch of claims, which included allegations that the
US has military bases in Botswana from where "the threatened
intervention" could be launched and that US and British troop formations were
reported on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. ZANU PF advocate
William Nhara added, in the same bulletin, that the alleged US threats
"should be taken seriously" and urged government to take measures that
"should ensure that our armed forces.intelligence forces.policing forces are
put on alert .". However, Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge's (ZTV &
3FM, 6/11, 8pm) stated that government would not take Bellamy's remarks
seriously as they were made following a "misrepresentation of facts by three
Zimbabwean citizens" who are alleged to have said they had evidence that
"Shonas want Mugabe to eliminate all the Ndebeles, . and that a genocide is
planned". The following morning, The Herald (7/11), developed Mudenge's
claims in its article, UK behind invasion plot, which tried to link Britain
to America's purported military attack on Zimbabwe. The article implied that
since Bellamy made his remarks at a meeting on Famine and Political Violence
in Matebeleland, organized by the London-based Zimbabwe Democracy Trust
(ZDT) and sponsored by the Centre for International and Strategic Studies
(CISS), the British had therefore influenced the proceedings. The fact that a
former secretary at the British High Commission in Harare, David Troup,
allegedly chaired the meeting while three MDC activists were on the ZDT
panel, was used as further evidence. Again, no attempts were made to verify
these claims with either the British or the Americans. It was left to The
Daily News (8/11) to do so in its story, UK denies masterminding plot to
invade Zimbabwe. In fact, The Herald (7/11) simply dismissed the outcome of
the ZDT-organized meeting by alleging that the three MDC activists
(former magistrate Johnson Mkandla, Bulawayo Residents Association president
Paul Siwela, and Ernest Mtunzi, now resident in Britain) had spread "just a
pack of falsehoods". Similarly, ZBC (ZTV, 7/11, 8pm) managed to link the
American threat to its now traditional targets; the MDC, Amani Trust and the
British government. It reported that many people in Matabeleland had said
"the British and the MDC are trying to get political mileage through
spreading falsehoods about Zimbabwe and its people" adding that "the true
principal shareholders of the MDC" ZDT and Amani Trust "are among the
organizations behind a major misinformation campaign against Zimbabwe". In an
effort to discredit allegations that food aid was only distributed to ZANU
PF supporters, ZTV reported, in the same bulletin, that statistics on
food distribution patterns by the state controlled Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) showed that MDC strongholds get most of the grain while ZANU PF
strongholds get less. However, there was no independent assessment to confirm
the report, or even to say who, within these strongholds, received the
relief. The report (and Radio Zimbabwe, 8/11, 6am) also quoted selected
chiefs from Matabeleland South as having dismissed allegations of the
politicization of food "as mischievous and baseless attempts by the
London-based Democracy Trust that there is ethnic cleansing and that their
subjects are being denied food aid on tribal grounds". So did Chronicle
(8/11) in its MDC claims rejected. Yet even as the public media dismissed
such allegations, The Financial Gazette (7/11), for example, was reporting on
ZANU PF's continued post-election retribution against supporters of the MDC
in Insiza despite the fact that the ruling party had won in that
constituency. The paper reported that at least 50 villagers had since been
displaced in the past two weeks while others suspected of having voted for
the MDC were being denied permission to buy maize from the GMB. The alleged
US threat to Zimbabwe triggered a barrage of criticism from the public media
that climaxed with the announcement by the Zimbabwe government of
retaliatory sanctions against 119 people, who included senior officials of
the British government, ZTV (7/11, 8pm), The Herald, Chronicle and Daily News
of the same day (8/11). Notably, Zimbabwean media personalities working for
SW Radio Africa and Voice of the People, private radio stations
broadcasting from Britain and the Netherlands respectively, were included on
the list. But while the public media was content to accept the
government's explanation that the "decision to impose the sanctions was taken
to safeguard the country's sovereignty, secure its national interests,
peace and stability", The Herald (8/11), the private media was more
questioning. For example, SW Radio Africa (8/11) queried the logic behind
government's decision to blacklist its own people, observing that Simon
Parkinson, who was listed as an SW Radio Africa employee, was in fact working
for a different radio station in South Africa. The station quoted a
lawyer, Anthony Brooks, as saying it was unclear under what Zimbabwean law
the minister could declare a Zimbabwean a prohibited person adding: "If
the minister fails to explain the legal basis of his action he can be taken
to court". Likewise, The Daily News (9/11), quoted National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku dismissing the move
as "an act of madness". Said Madhuku: "It amounts to the unprecedented and
unthinkable act of deporting Zimbabwean citizens. It is, beyond any shadow of
doubt, unconstitutional and illegal even under our current defective
constitution. It offends every notion of freedom of justice." Madhuku, added
that the ban could be the "starting point to a grand strategy to drive all
democracy activists out of Zimbabwe". However, The Sunday Mail's attempt to
provide Information Minister Jonathan Moyo with a platform to respond to the
NCA was compromised by allowing him to twist the interview into a personal
attack on Madhuku, whom he repeatedly branded as "an ex-convict". 3FM &
Radio Zimbabwe (10/11, 1pm) carried excerpts of the same interview.
Meanwhile, the announcement of retaliatory sanctions coincided with a
statement from the British government that it was introducing visas for
Zimbabweans wishing to travel to that country because of "very significant
abuse of our immigration controls by Zimbabwean nationals". The public Press
both downplayed and welcomed the move as exemplified by The Herald (9/11)
comment, Visa requirement a blessing in disguise. Conversely, The Standard
(10/11), called for the scrapping of visas, saying President Mugabe was to
blame for the increasing number of Zimbabweans emigrating to the
3. Land reform and food security
The public and private
media were also divided over their perspectives on the impact of the ongoing
land reforms on the country's food security. For example, while the
Chronicle (5/11), Farmers ready for planting season painted an optimistic
picture about the prospects of a successful 2002/3 agricultural season, the
private Press was doubtful. The Daily News (6/11) and The Zimbabwe
Independent (8/11) carried an IRIN report stating that government's land
reform had missed its aim of achieving "optimal utilization of land and
natural resources and to promote equitable access to land to all
Zimbabweans". Moreover, The Zimbabwe Independent exposed how ill-prepared
both government and the newly-resettled farmers were in their task of feeding
the nation when it reported that the winter wheat crop had been affected by
late harvesting resulting in some of it rotting in the fields. Unnamed
agricultural experts were also cited contesting Indigenous Commercial Farmers
Union boss Thomas Nherera's predictions that the country would produce 250
000 tonnes of wheat considering the hectarage under the crop. The paper also
reported that the much publicized winter maize project in Masvingo, which was
spearheaded by provincial governor Josaya Hungwe was a "monumental failure",
as it only yielded 7 500 tonnes of maize, enough to feed the nation for a
day. However, ZTV (7/11, 8pm) unquestioningly quoted Hungwe alleging that the
winter crop "can feed people for ten months . we are talking about 10 months
of feeding people." But The Business Tribune (7/11) concurred with other
private papers. It carried a report by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) predicting Zimbabwe's "food security position for the
2002/2003 marketing year" assuming "famine proportions". The report noted
that cereal harvests in the country had actually plummeted by over 60 percent
for the 2001/2002 season and that "current projections indicate a maize
deficit of 1.98 million tonnes for the 2002/2003 marketing year". Despite
these revelations, the public media remained optimistic. They blamed
producers of agricultural inputs for causing shortages and viewed this as the
main obstacle of the reforms. For example, The Chronicle (7/11), Success of
agrarian reforms threatened, saw the shortage of maize seed "as part of
efforts to derail land reforms". Without according the producers the right to
reply, the paper (8/11) followed this up with a comment, Stop playing
political games with seed. This blame game gathered momentum in The Sunday
Mail (10/11), which quoted Agriculture Minister Joseph Made accusing
manufacturing companies of creating artificial shortages of fertilizer in the
hope of pushing for a price increase. Just like the public Press, ZBC (7/11
& 9/11, 8pm) merely catalogued reports highlighting problems affecting
the new farmers without analyzing the underlying implications to food
The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe,15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare,
Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to
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Project, please visit our website at http://www.mmpz.org.zw