Administrator urges food donors not to exploit
11/28/2002 (GMT +2)
Mutimba in Masvingo
MASVINGO Provincial Administrator Alphonse
Chikurira has urged local
and international organisations offering
humanitarian aid, including
individuals, not to abuse and exploit the
Speaking at a workshop on Zero Tolerance Against Child
Sexual Exploitation in Masvingo yesterday, Chikurira said: "There
for humanitarian aid, but it is unfortunate that increased
is often associated with increased vulnerability of
children, women abuse
and sexual exploitation."
reiterated that the scenario suggested the need to increase
awareness so that
people knew that humanitarian aid was not a privilege but
He said reporting mechanisms must be put in place to
beneficiaries to know where to report to and who to
Chikurira said: "Disciplinary measures must also be
put in place
against implementation partners - government and local authority
and aid workers - who use the aid to abuse and exploit children,
He said as long as the authorities ignored
child abuse and sexual
exploitation, children and women would continue to
suffer and diseases such
as HIV/Aids would not be contained.
Chikurira urged society to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement
curb the increase in child abuse and sexual exploitation.
"Child labour, especially during these economic hardships, is on the
and those ugly happenings seem to go unnoticed by society while
such as the Child Protection Act and other pieces of legislation
protecting children are in place their existence becomes useless if
nothing about it.
"Law enforcement agents such as the police
and organisations such as
the Child Protection Society will not on their own
be able to detect all the
crimes related to child abuse and exploitation
unless the communities and
individuals readily and voluntarily inform them
whenever such crimes are
In Masvingo province
alone, there were 418 cases of rape reported in
2001, while 276 cases were
reported by September 2002.
Sharp division over politicising food aid
11/28/2002 (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka Political
A SHARP division emerged in Parliament last night following
by the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, Renson Gasela, in which
accused Zanu PF of politicising food aid.
Gasela alleged that
Zanu PF had structures that were being used to
distribute food as part of
"keeping a leash on the people of Zimbabwe".
In his motion,
Gasela cited several areas in the country where the
Zanu PF card was
necessary for anyone in need of food.
He drew jeers from Zanu
PF MPs when he said Sithabisiwe Moyo of Binga
had died of starvation as the
ruling party meted revenge for being rejected
by the people of that
Zanu PF MPs shouted that he was lying to the
"Binga is the worst affected by the politicisation of
food aid. It all
started when the Tonga people exercised their democratic
right and elected
leaders of their choice. They are being punished for it and
government wants the Tonga people to die," he said.
Gasela said one MDC supporter had been summoned by Chief Chiwundura
guilty of supporting the MDC.
"He will be sentenced tomorrow
(today)", he said.
Seconding the motion, Paurina Mpariwa
(Mufakose), said the right to
food was a constitutional right and no-one had
a right to politicise food
"The Zanu PF card must not
be a ticket to salvation," she said.
Earlier, the Minister of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr
Joseph Made, had said food aid
must not be politicised.
Jorum Gumbo, the Zanu PF chief whip
and MP for Mberengwa West, accused
the MDC and some non-governmental
organisations of using food aid to woo
support for the opposition
Paul Themba Nyathi (Gwanda North) said Zanu PF was
taking advantage of
the scarcity of food for political
"Food has become the real currency but traditionally,
food was an
instrument for bringing people together, not to divide them," he
He called for a committee, comprising representatives of the
Zanu PF, the church and other organisations to be responsible for
distribution in every ward.
Meanwhile, Amos Midzi, the
Minister of Energy and Power Development,
yesterday denied that Zimbabwe had
pledged any immovable property as part
payment in the fuel deal with
He was responding to a question by Tendai Biti and
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who wanted to know the nature of the fuel
whether Zimbabwe had pledged anything, including
Midzi said the fuel agreement was not a bilateral
agreement, but a
commercial agreement between Tamoil of Libya and the
National Oil Company of
He also said the
present fuel shortages were due to the long distances
between Ferruka in
Mutare and the various distribution points throughout
Midzi informed the House that Tamoil Trading
Limited and Noczim had
entered a partnership to establish Tamoil Zimbabwe
(Pvt) Limited to be
involved in the procurement and distribution of fuel to
"The new company, Tamoil Zimbabwe, is expected
to introduce more
competition in the retail sector, as well bring a new brand
of fuel on the
market, which will be friendly to indigenous players in the
War veterans deny starving Nkayi villagers
11/28/2002 (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
ZANU PF supporters and so-called war veterans have
reprisal campaign in Nkayi district in Matabeleland North
suspected MDC supporters by denying them access to food
This lends weight to recent reports by the Roman Catholic
Pius Ncube that some people, mostly MDC supporters, have died of
Macala Mhlanga, the MDC constituency
coordinator in Nkayi, who came to
The Daily News offices in the company of
two thin and visibly starving
villagers this week said they were constantly
denied food by some rowdy war
veterans, who accused them of being used by
British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair and George W Bush, the American President,
to cause "confusion and
commotion" in the country.
said the situation was very desperate and needed
Siphiwe Nyathi, one of the villagers said
her family was in serious
need of food assistance as she had been barred from
getting food that was
donated by the World Food Programme because her husband
was a perceived MDC
"We are seeking assistance
because Zanu PF is starving us saying we
are supporting the wrong
"Food is distributed at their rallies at which no
supporter is allowed," Nyathi said.
said people were now depending on wild roots for sustenance. The
she alleged, were told by the war vets and Zanu PF officials in
the area that
they would suffer the consequences of supporting a
Ethel Nkomo, another villager who had a child strapped
to her back,
said she was also denied food on the grounds that she was
"We are accused of being sell-outs
because we support what they call
an imperialist party bent on taking back
the gains of independence to the
"My child is no
longer going to school," Nkomo said.
Chuma, the District Administrator denied the
allegations of politicising food
aid. He said they were all lies.
"We are not discriminating
against anyone, and that's a fact," Chuma
MDC legislators threaten
By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor
was heated debate in Parliament yesterday as opposition MDC MPs
ratify a trade agreement between Zimbabwe and the Democratic
Republic of the
Congo (DRC) until full investigations are instituted into
top government officials plundered the resources of that
Allegations of looting against Zimbabwe's ruling elite are
in a recent United Nations report, in which the Speaker of
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and top
officers are implicated.
The two senior Zanu PF
officials have since denied the allegation,
while the government has
dismissed the report as "malicious rumours"
orchestrated by the
Tendai Biti (Harare East) said Parliament could not be
ratify an agreement justifying the illegal activities of top
"We cannot ratify the government's
nefarious activities in the DRC.
The government owes it to the people to
disclose the nature of their
business and who has been benefiting," he
Giles Mutsekwa (Mutare North) said the government had
UN report while DRC President Joseph Kabila had fired his
implicated in the report.
"We want a full
investigation. If the government is going to sweep
aside the UN report, we
see no reason why we should ratify the agreement,"
Job Sikhala (St Mary's) said senior government officials
the report had to be absolved from blame, otherwise ratifying
before investigations is like "ratifying
Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson, accused the
government of rushing
the ratification of the agreement before the relevant
had produced a report.
The MP for
Nyanga, Leonard Chirowamhangu, said there was no reason to
agreement until there was an elected leadership in the DRC.
DRC government is a rebel government not elected by anybody,"
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah) also urged
to wait for the political process taking place in the DRC and
government before signing any agreement.
PF MPs who contributed to the debate said there was nothing
in ratifying the
agreement. They said Zimbabwe had lost business
opportunities to other
countries in Mozambique despite having contributed to
the attainment of peace
in that country.
"We did not enjoy from the peace we helped
establish in Mozambique and
the same could happen in the DRC," said Bikita
East MP, Walter Mutsauri.
Kumbirai Kangai (Buhera South) and
Shadreck Chipanga (Makoni East)
also said Zimbabwe should ratify the
agreement so Zimbabwe benefits from its
four-year presence in the
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Affairs, deferred debate on the matter to next Wednesday when
portfolio committee will have presented its report.
MDC official injured in attack
A Zanu PF youth allegedly
led about 20 uniformed members of the Youth
Brigade in an attack on an MDC
official in Chitungwiza on Monday, seriously
Agrippa Tigere, 32, the MDC's organising secretary for Ward 14 in
"Members of the Youth Brigade who were in uniform and led
Chando who lives nearby, arrived at my house while I was bathing.
youths, who were armed with sticks, told my wife that they were looking
'Charlie'. When she told them that she did not know anyone called
they harassed and beat her up. My wife sustained injuries to the
Tigere said a neighbour's daughter warned him not
to come out of the
bathroom as the group went round the house banging on
doors and looking for
He said: "I hurriedly put my
clothes on and when the youths kicked
open the door, they said I was the
'Charlie' they were looking for. They
Tigere said he has never felt safe since leaving Zanu PF
for the MDC.
Chando, who reportedly led the youths to Tugere's home
and lives two
streets away, was not at home when The Daily News visited.
Maria, who is unwell and was in hospital until last Friday,
at his home after hearing about the incident.
She said MDC women had threatened to destroy her house in retaliation
assault on Tigere.
She said: "I told them they can do what they
want. As you can see, I
am not well so I can't do anything about it if they
come and attack my
ZCTU warning government over looming
11/28/2002 (GMT +2)
Ruhanya Chief Reporter
Workers and the government are headed for a
confrontation over the
State's failure to manage the economic crisis, which
has reduced them to
beggars, says Lovemore Matombo, the president of the
Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Matombo said yesterday
the sentiment emerged from the current
countrywide consultations the ZCTU is
holding with workers on how to deal
with the economic crisis and the
government's refusal to hold tripartite
negotiations, meant to alleviate the
"The information we are getting from the
labour forums is that if the
government continues to refuse to hold the
talks, it shows that it is
insensitive to the suffering of the people of this
"The workers, therefore, suggest that the only way out
jambanja (protests). That is what the workers are saying. They are
go," Matombo said.
He said the labour forums,
which started last week, would be completed
in the next two weeks, after
which there would be a decision on how to put
into effect the workers'
Matombo said: "We know how we are going to implement
What we are trying to do is to prevent the mistakes we made in
stayaway. We need serious consultations."
the ZCTU admitted it failed to organise a mass stayaway to
continued government harassment of workers and trade
unionists, after the
controversial 9-11 March presidential election, won by
President Mugabe, but
disputed by the MDC, the West and some regional and
The umbrella union's leadership admitted then there had
communication between it and rank-and-file
Matombo said this time around, they were holding
with the workers to obtain their views on how the
leadership could respond
to the economic crisis.
"As long as
the workers support us, we will implement their
Matombo said the ZCTU leadership wanted the workers to
come out with a
resolution on what they expected the union to do in view of
obstinacy to enter into the tripartite
He said the ZCTU wrote to the government in July
and followed this up
in August, but there had been no response. Another
request at the end of
October did not elicit a response, too."It is the role
of the ZCTU to
negotiate the poverty datum line with the government and
employers, so that
we can protect the workers from the ever-rising inflation
employers are ready, but the government is not prepared," Matombo
The official inflation rate now stands at 144,2 percent,
since independence in 1980. Economic analysts put the unofficial
rate at 300 percent - more than twice the official
The ZCTU's position coincides with that of other civic
including the National Constitutional Assembly. That grouping of
civil society organisations has called for confrontation with the
over its poor governance and abuse of human rights.
From Knight Ridder (US), 27
Zimbabwe food crisis is rooted in
White farmers' land seized, going to seed
By Sudarsan Raghavan
Nyamandlovu - Joseph Makosana, 48, is a black war veteran who
fought to free his country from white colonial rule. He recently took over a
white-owned farm, one of the thousands that once helped to feed southern Africa.
Now, he's struggling to grow corn. Gerry Southey, 40, is a white farmer. Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe's government seized his farm two years ago and gave it to
poor blacks. Now, it's a wasteland. The man-made roots of southern Africa's
hunger crisis are visible in the lives of these two men at opposite ends of
Zimbabwe's controversial land redistribution policies. Although they were born
into different worlds, both their lives are imploding from the combustible
mixture of long dry spells, political turmoil, colonial wounds and shoddy
economic policies. In a resource-rich nation that once was self-sufficient, half
the population of 12 million is facing chronic food shortages. This also could
worsen the crisis in neighboring nations that traditionally buy food from
Zimbabwe, aid workers say. An estimated 60 percent of Zimbabwe's commercial
farms have stopped producing because of government evictions, threats from
militant war veterans or fear of arrest, according to the Commercial Farmers
Union of Zimbabwe. The production of corn and other cereals has plummeted 70
percent this year, the United Nations says. The winter wheat harvest, the United
Nations estimates, will fall as much as 45 percent. As a result, exports have
plunged, bringing in very little of the foreign exchange the country needs to
import food, aid workers say. Zimbabwe "would not be facing food shortages now
if they had left the commercial sector to function as it had been before," said
Andrew Natsios, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. "The
disastrous decision to confiscate these farms tore up the one insurance policy
the people had to get food."
Zimbabwe has been on the edge since 2000, when Mugabe, now 78,
ordered the seizure of white-owned farms that were on property taken from blacks
during British colonial rule. It was widely seen as a move to bolster his
sinking popularity. White farmers, aid officials and Western diplomats agree
that land redistribution is needed to undo colonialism's legacy in Zimbabwe,
where whites make up 1 percent of the population but own 70 percent of the most
fertile land. But they say the program's fast pace and Mugabe's hardball tactics
have spawned violence and aggravated the food crisis. A dozen white farmers have
been killed since the land redistribution campaign began in 2000, and nearly
3,000 have been evicted without compensation. At least 300 have been arrested,
and Zimbabwe's parliament passed laws in October that make it even easier to
seize white farmers' land. "Time is not on their side," Mugabe said on state
radio. The United States and Europe have responded with economic sanctions and
sharp condemnation. In October, Secretary of State Colin Powell blasted Mugabe
for "the lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law" that has helped
"push millions of people toward the brink of starvation." "It is absolute
nonsense," Mugabe said, defending his land redistribution. "If anything, it's
the only way to empower people to produce, not just enough for subsistence, but
more. To enable them to enjoy life." But an estimated 150,000 black farm workers
have lost their jobs, and although most of them are skilled farmers, they
haven't received any of the seized land. Nor has Mugabe's government kept its
promises to provide tractors, fertilizer, seeds, cattle and training, and
Zimbabwe's 140 percent inflation has tripled the black-market prices of
fertilizer, seeds and other goods.
Makosana, the former anti-colonial fighter, is proud to have a
piece of the land that once belonged to his ancestors, but as he gazes at his
untilled soil he sees a bleak future. The soft, red earth that surrounds his
kraal, or homestead, in Matabeleland province is peppered with thin, mangled
cornstalks. His granary is empty. On good days, he and his six children survive
on black tea and one meal. Makosana's US$7-a-month government pension doesn't go
far in these days of soaring corn prices. He and other war veterans who've
settled on seized land nearby travel 100 miles south to Bulawayo to wait in long
lines for food handouts. "Help us. We can learn how to get better," Makosana
said in a tired voice dulled by months of hunger and dashed expectations. "The
white farmers are necessary. They've got the expertise." In a normal year,
Southey, the white commercial farmer, would be harvesting his crop of winter
wheat now. He also used to grow corn, cotton, soybeans and sorghum. He exported
flower seeds to the United States, Denmark and France. He had 120 head of cattle
and 200 sheep. The cattle, sheep and flowerbeds are gone. On his 4,450-acre farm
in Concession, north of Harare, tall, overgrown weeds sway in the wind. Goats
are munching on the yellow grass, which used to be emerald green this time of
year. Southey dismantled the irrigation pipes and sprinkler system. "It's a
terrible feeling coming to your farm and seeing these people ruining it," said
Southey. The farm, which was in Southey's family for four generations, has been
carved into 14 plots. Businessmen and government officials loyal to Mugabe own
some of them. War veterans occupy the remainder. Southey's black farm workers,
now unemployed, want him to return because the war veterans have no money to pay
them. Some militants have threatened them for accepting food, blankets and
school fees from Southey, who wants his workers to stay on his farm and
safeguard it. "This is where I was born. I have a right to live here," Southey
said. "We've had a good 20 years here. We've built our farm up nicely. We've
kept a lot of people employed. And we've contributed to the economy."
In the last growing season, commercial farmers earned US$800
million, 52 percent of Zimbabwe's export earnings. This season, that's expected
to plunge to US$390 million as the farmers' share of gross domestic product
drops to 6 percent from 14 percent, according to the Commercial Farmers Union.
Price controls and foreign exchange restrictions have made matters worse,
raising food prices and creating a thriving underground economy. The government
has a monopoly on trading corn and other grains, which prevents private traders
from importing grain. "Even people who have the money cannot go to the shop and
buy food," said Robinah Mulenga, the head of the World Food Program office in
Bulawayo. "It's not there." Malnutrition rates among Zimbabwean children are
rising, and hunger is taking a toll on education. Children are dropping out of
school to help their parents work in the fields, look after younger siblings or
take care of sick relatives. "Some of the kids are falling asleep in the class
because they are not getting enough food at home," said Abednegho Sapuka, the
headmaster of the Mbuhulu primary school in the province of Matabeleland. "They
are too weak to learn."
In some parts of the country, food has become a political
weapon, according to human rights groups and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. In Binga, a sleepy MDC stronghold on the shores of Lake
Kariba, armed war veterans shut down for two months a Roman Catholic Church
project to feed 40,000 children, claiming that the people who ran it supported
the MDC. In other areas, Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party is accused of doling out
government-bought food aid only to people with party identification cards.
Mugabe has publicly denied using food to gain political leverage. However, his
deputy foreign minister, Abdenico Ncube, was quoted by the nation's independent
Standard newspaper as telling starving villagers in June: "You cannot vote for
the MDC and expect Zanu PF to help you." It's no surprise that scores of white
farmers - many of whom backed the MDC - have moved to neighboring Zambia and
Mozambique, which have welcomed them. Southey, who is thinking about moving to
Australia, has appealed his eviction from his farm and is awaiting a court date.
"Things can turn around quickly if law and order is restored and people are
given a viable farming option," he said. "Give it another six months... . I
don't know how quickly we can recover. The whole thing is collapsing quickly
|Millions facing starvation in
Millions in Zimbabwe risk starvation as the humanitarian crisis in the
southern African country deteriorates at "a dangerously rapid pace," according
to the World Food Programme.
Food aid and supplies of grain imported by the government fell far short of
immediate requirements to avert starvation, the UN agency said.
Acute shortages of corn, the staple food of the nation's 12.5 million
population, have been blamed on drought and the government's chaotic programme
to seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black
"We are approaching the very worst period of the crisis when 6.7 million
Zimbabweans will need food aid and yet the WFP does not even have the resources
to meet our target of three million beneficiaries in November," said Kevin
Farrell, the WFP chief representative in Zimbabwe.
"It is an extremely serious situation and it is only going to get worse," he
said. "We will all have to work non-stop over the coming months if we are to
prevent millions of people from starving in Zimbabwe."
The WFP said reports of children dropping out of school and families
resorting to ever more desperate coping mechanisms were increasing
It said some families are surviving on wild fruits, some of which is
Unless the flow of food is increased by every means possible "the suffering
we are already seeing is only going to become widespread and more acute,"
He did not mention deaths from starvation but said levels of malnutrition
were worsening and cases were increasing of hunger related diseases such as
pellagra, a chronic dietary deficiency that leads to diarrhoea and bowel
infections, skin eruptions and mental disorders.
Independent human rights groups and charities say hunger has hastened the
deaths of vulnerable groups including the ill and HIV/Aids sufferers, the
elderly and infants.
Story filed: 13:18 Thursday 28th November 2002
Zimbabwe gives farmers two weeks to surrender their
Reuters and Bloomberg
2002 at 08:47AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's state- owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has ordered
farmers to deliver their stocks of maize and grain within two weeks or it will
Farmers were "directed to deliver all corn and wheat in
their possession to the nearest receiving GMB depot within 14 days from the date
of this invoice", the board, which has a monopoly on grain trade, said on
More than half of the country's 12 million people are
threatened by famine, according to the UN President Robert Mugabe's government
blames the food shortages on a regional drought, while the UN says a state
policy of seizing mainly white-owned commercial farms for resettlement by blacks
has slashed supplies.
Mugabe introduced regulations last year giving the
GMB the sole legal right to import and export maize and wheat. It ordered local
producers to sell the commodities to the board.
The UN World Food
Programme and international donors have criticised the GMB's monopoly of the
grain trade and urged the government to relax controls so that food imports
could reach the country more quickly.
Commercial farmers say that
government supporters who
the farms have left grain to rot in the fields.
"On one farm alone, the
Retzlaff family lost 600ha of wheat after they were chased off their farm," said
Wynand Hart, a spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, a lobby group of white
Zimbabwe's supreme court had reserved judgment on a
local company's challenge against the GMB monopoly over all trade in the staple
maize, state media reported yesterday.
Frontline Marketing had asked the
country's highest court to terminate the GMB's monopoly and allow other players
to trade in maize and wheat, the Herald newspaper said.
deputy attorney-general, Bharat Patel, told the court the instrument was
necessary to protect consumers against profiteering in sales of the scarce
"In order to meet the objective of ensuring equitable
distribution of maize at an affordable price, it is necessary to control the
marketing of maize as prescribed by the [GMB] act," the Herald quoted Patel.
The US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) warned last
month that Zimbabwe's food crisis was deepening and millions more faced
starvation unless they received food aid and the government eased its monopoly
on the grain trade.
"The maize marketing system needs to be reviewed to
allow more private sector participation in the marketing and distribution of
maize to increase supplies, lower prices, and make maize accessible to starving
people," it said.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
said Zimbabwe customs officials had impounded about 132 tons of maize the party
had imported from South Africa.
Zimbabwe produced about 500 000 tons of
maize this year against normal harvests of about 1.5 million tons.
US, which has vowed to provide at least half of Zimbabwe's emergency food aid,
has said that a further US$104 million will be given to buy 208 000 tons of
urgently needed food supplies.
The food is expected to arrive in
Zimbabwe between now and March next year, Independent Foreign Service reported
Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now needs
food aid because of a sharply lower maize output.
The government says
the shortage is because of a drought that has hit small-scale black farmers, who
account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's annual maize output.
imbabwe: Media 'sows
seeds of genocide'
A senior member of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), says
government is sowing the seeds of genocide in the country by continuing, through
the national broadcaster, to fill the minds of the nation with anti-white, anti
opposition propaganda. Z. A
senior member of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), says government is
sowing the seeds of genocide in the country by continuing, through the national
broadcaster, to fill the minds of the nation with anti-white, anti opposition
Presenting a paper on ZUJ's position on the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA) on the weekend of 24/25 November, Kelvin Jakachira, a ZUJ
national executive member, said ZBC radio and TV television was effectively
delivering the message of hate directly and simultaneously to a wider audience.
"We do not want what happened in Rwanda to be repeated here," he
Jakachira's warning comes at a time when the state media has
stepped up its campaign to discredit the opposition MDC and the whites by
labelling them as the source of Zimbabwe's misery. "Referring to MDC members as
terrorists can actually give other people the excuse to attack them. Genocide
starts on a small scale," he warned.
Gold lures farmers from land
Harare - Hungry Zimbabwean farmers are abandoning their
fields in search of
gold, raising the fear that the country will again not
produce enough food
to feed its people this season.
More than six
million Zimbabweans face starvation that aid agencies blame on
violence that has disrupted farming on commercial and
The government, however, blames food shortages on the
drought that is
affecting most of Southern Africa.
The landowners are
deserting their newly acquired plots granted under the
controversial land programme in the hope that gold will provide an
poverty and hunger.
The new landowners say they have been waiting for the
promised to them by government since they were "resettled" on
owned by whites at the beginning of the year.
landowner, Tatovonga Chiremba (22), of Shurugwi was "resettled" in
peri-urban area of Gweru in the Midlands province.
"I've been panning along with other new farmers since we were
at the beginning of the year," he says. "We could be farming but
government hasn't distributed seed and fertiliser yet so we have to look
gold to make a living."
"Given the fact that we can make a living
through panning we may abandon the
idea of farming if we don't get the inputs
before the end of this year," he
The government recently
legalised gold panning, under the banner of
indigenous economic empowerment
despite environmental hazards the practice
poses and gold seekers are
flocking to rivers, streams and abandoned gold
Their search is
fuelled by the Central Bank's recent gold price increase to
Z$50 000 (about
R8 300) per ounce. The bank has also set up a gold trust
fund to buy gold
from the panners.
Entrepreneurs also cashing in on the "gold
rush" by setting up tuck shops
and selling food and basic goods to aspiring
Cornelia Mudzingwa, an informal trader from Matenda in Zvishavane
Midlands province says he can't think of a more rewarding line of
"Business is quite vibrant here. I am making a lot of money by
and essentials like soap, maizemeal, sugar, cooking oil and
Mudzingwa says. "We capitalise on the gold panners because every
their time is working time. They live in the bush. This means they
buy from us even though our prices are exorbitant."
says he's smiling because he makes at least Z$10 000 (about R1
600) profit a
Compared to the average low-income earners' monthly income of about
(about R3 300) a month Mudzingwa is a wealthy man.
businesspeople and senior government officials are also climbing
on the gold
bandwagon by reportedly hiring people to pan for them.
There are an
estimated 100 000 panners in the Midlands province alone.
Plots not taken
Zimbabwe once had one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, but the
three years have seen a decline and according to finance minister
Murerwa's 2003 budget speech earlier this month there is little hope
The recession is widely blamed on government
mismanagement and President
Robert Mugabe's controversial seisure of the
Of the 4 500 white farmers only 600 have stayed on
their farms since the
start of the programme two years ago.
was earmarked for "redistribution" of the country's poor but a
by a ministerial committee established that less than a third
allocated plots had not been taken up.
Critics say the new farmers lack
the financial backing and infrastructure
needed to restore Zimbabwe's
agricultural sector. - African Eye News Service
Logistics a key element of emergency
DURBAN, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - A variety of issues - such
as the controversy
regarding genetically modified (GM) food aid - have
created challenges for
logisticians working to keep the relief pipeline for
Southern Africa open.
Poul Skov is the World Food Programme's (WFP)
logistic officer/port captain
in Durban, the entry point for the majority of
food aid in the region.
Skov's office was just recently established, in
fact it will only be fully
staffed and operational in December. At present he
has to manage 60,000 mt
of various food aid commodities in the port.
Maintaining the health of the
stock has become a major challenge.
responsibilities are to handle all logistics services in Durban,
cooperation] with other entities. The [port] office is going to
responsible for the dispatching of cargo to countries in need in
Africa, to monitor the cargo we have [stored] here in port and to
it remains healthy," Skov said.
Last week they dispatched
about 4,600 mt of stock. "It has gone down,
previously we dispatched between
6,000 mt and 7,000 mt. This was partly due
to the situation in Zimbabwe, with
the GM maize issue having halted the
transport of cargo to Zimbabwe," he
Monitoring the health of the stock has meant conducting daily
and spraying to prevent moss and insect infestation.
you find infestation you have to arrange for fumigations of the cargo.
moment the stock is in horizontal storage in bins, this carries a
of infestation. We prefer silos, it allows better management of
the health of
the stock. But for reasons of congestion - the silo's are
full - we have to
store it in bins," Skov said.
Delays caused by the controversy
surrounding the acceptance of GM maize -
Zambia has rejected GM food aid
while other countries in the region have
insisted GM food be milled prior to
distribution - has impacted on the food
"It affects me
in that the routine is bogged down, there's no off-take
[delivery] to the
destination [the beneficiary countries]. It's a highly
There's 3,000 mt of maize sitting in [rail] wagons that was
Zimbabwe, the GM maize may have to be taken off and stored in
until it is sorted out," he said.
Rail operator Spoornet would want its
wagons turned-around as quickly as
possible so as to maximise their use and
"They may say it's okay [to keep the GM maize stored on
the wagons] for a
while, but they will need their wagons soon," Skov
This could become a problem as further relief shipments were
"Shipments are already en-route to Durban and, if worst comes
to worst, they
will have to be diverted to other ports. Durban is one of the
main points of
entry for shipments, feeding the [food aid] pipeline to the
and the Relogs [Regional Logistics] office in Johannesburg has
to manage the
food pipeline for the whole region," Skov added. This
emphasised the need
for smooth operations in the port.
pressures building in Durban, storing the food in "an adequate
according to the manual of WFP" has become Skov's main focus.
challenge was dealing with transporters contracted to deliver food
are private operators, so their aims differ from WFP". "But the
challenge is keeping food healthy and getting them out of the bins and
silos," Skov added.
"When you break the pipeline, you break the
distribution [of food aid to
beneficiaries]. [It was vital] that we make sure
the pipeline ticks over, we
do so in very close cooperation with Johannesburg
- where the information
regarding needs is gathered - and my job is to get it
[food aid] underway as
soon as possible," said Skov.
28 Nov 2002 16:17
Zimbabwe food crisis worsening
rapidly - UN
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The U.N. World Food
Programme warned on
Thursday that Zimbabwe's food crisis was deteriorating
rapidly, with the
government and foreign aid agencies apparently unable to
stocks to feed millions of people.
The WFP said
there was a rise in hunger-related diseases, children
were dropping out of
school and families were resorting to desperate
measures such as surviving on
wild fruit to cope with shortages affecting
half the southern African
"The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is
deteriorating at a dangerously
rapid pace," the WFP said in a statement
issued in Harare.
"At the same time, there is a growing concern
that food imports by
both the government and humanitarian agencies are
falling far short of the
amount required to feed the Zimbabwean people up
until March," it added.
Nearly half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people
are facing severe food
shortages due to drought, although many people also
blame the crisis on
President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform
programme which has
disrupted the country's commercial agricultural
The WFP says its food distribution operations in Zimbabwe
allowed to proceed relatively unimpeded, although there have been
that the government has interfered with other food aid projects with
to prevent food from reaching its political opponents.
The WFP said Zimbabwe's state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which
monopoly on distributing food countrywide, has a limited capacity to
enough cereal due to an acute foreign exchange shortage.
and its non-governmental partner organisations managed to
tonnes of food to two million Zimbabweans in October, but
were struggling to
get sufficient resources for the critical months ahead.
approaching the very worst period of the crisis, when 6.7
will need food aid and yet WFP does not even have the
resources to meet our
target of three million beneficiaries in November," it
is an extremely serious situation and it is only going to get
Kevin Farrell, WFP representative in Zimbabwe.
The WFP said it faces a food shortfall of close to
200,000 tonnes in
Zimbabwe between now and March 2003, threatening its
ability to reach all
the needy. The number of Zimbabweans requiring food aid
is expected to rise
from three million people in November to 5.8 million by
"We will all have to work non-stop over the coming months
if we are to
prevent millions of people from starving in Zimbabwe. The
humanitarian agencies and the international community need to do
possible to increase the flow of food into the country, otherwise
suffering that we are already seeing is only going to become more
and more acute," Farrell said.
The UN agency said
nationwide, families and children were taking
extreme measures, in some cases
resorting to eating wild fruit and poisonous
children were going to school without eating, others were having
without sugar for breakfast and wild fruit for lunch, unless their
receives food aid, the WFP said.l
Many more children have dropped
out of school altogether, some turning
to work as casual labourers for
survival. Most poor families around the
country were eating one meal a day,
Business Day - letter
Zimbabwe threatens SA's
A native-born Canadian who has visited SA regularly for 30 years,
business and holidays, I would like to express the feelings of
Canadians about Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa's Development) and
clarify further the statements of our high commissioner in a letter to
newspaper (November 26).
There is strong resistance in Canada to
giving large sums of money to Africa
considering the negative publicity about
Zimbabwe and the SA government's
apparent support for the Mugabe regime. The
opposition parties in Canada
have been forthright in their opinions on this
subject and our newspaper and
television media have given wide coverage to
The SA government has more than underestimated the strength
of feelings of
Canadians as they look with disgust on the events unfolding in
Our high commissioner and your reports have failed to mention
Jean Chretien will be retiring in one year and there is no
successor will be willing or interested in the Nepad programme
since it is
basically Chretien's own personal agenda. A more balanced
events in Canada is required in SA.
Nov 28 2002 12:00:00:000AM Business Day 1st
ZIMBABWE: Famine ''very close'', WFP warns
JOHANNESBURG, 28 November
(IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday that the humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe has deteriorated to the point where "we are very close to
famine" among already weakened households, WFP Deputy Country Director Gawaher
Atif told IRIN.
WFP had aimed to feed three million vulnerable people in
November, but does not have the food available to reach that target. It will now
have to prioritise who can be fed.
"In November we'll focus on the most
vulnerable of the most vulnerable, it's a target population that already doesn't
have any other source of food except WFP ... We are very, very close to famine
here," Atif said.
The signs of extreme need are already evident. Wild
foods, some poisonous without careful preparation, are being consumed. In food
distribution queues, people are scooping up spilled maize kernels. School
children are dropping out of class to find casual labour, levels of malnutrition
are worsening, and hunger-related diseases are becoming more frequent, WFP said
in a statement.
Overall, the agency faces a shortfall of 200,000 mt
between now and March 2003.
Although WFP's emergency operation has been
60 percent funded, it takes two to three months for those pledges to be
translated into food on lorries bound for hungry communities.
reason for the shortfall, Atif said, was that the Zimbabwean government has not
been able to honour an agreement to swap 17,500 mt of locally stored maize for
genetically modified grain held by WFP that was to have been milled by the
state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The GMB, which outside WFP's
operation has a monopoly on food distribution, has also struggled to import
enough cereals to meet needs, due in particular to a lack of foreign
A total of 6.7 million Zimbabweans will require food aid in the
coming months leading up to next year's harvest. By January, WFP had planned to
increase its distributions to 5.8 million people in 57 districts, subject to the
availability of relief supplies.
"We need more food," Atif said. "The
situation is looking very bleak and that's the bottom line."
coming months, despite other potential hurdles like fuel shortages, WFP needs to
increase its cereal deliveries to around 65,000 mt a month, "while the
government must also rapidly increase its imports, since the economic situation
has put more and more people at risk", the WFP statement said.
the nationwide shortages of maize, bread, milk and sugar has seriously affected
members of Zimbabwe's working class, who do not meet WFP's selection criteria.
The combination of commercial shortages, high parallel market prices and an
accelerating rate of inflation, expected to reach 200 percent by the end of the
year, was drastically reducing the capacity of those earning fixed incomes to
"The number of those in need keeps soaring and WFP
cannot cope on its own. The gap needs to be filled both by the government, as
well as by WFP and NGOs. Only a collective effort can hope to combat this
crisis," the statement quoted WFP Country Director Kevin Farrell as
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11