Ambassador Christopher Dell
At Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe
November 2, 2005
(as prepared for delivery)
Honorable Governor Tinaye Chigudu, Honorable Mutare Councillor Norman Togara, Captains of Industry, distinguished guests, and Vice Chancellor Murapa,
It is an honor to be here with you today. Vice Chancellor Murapa, allow me first of all to thank you, the students, faculty, and staff of Africa University for your generosity in coming to the aid of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Your donation of bedding destined for 15,000 people in Zimbabwe to New Orleans where many Americans were in desperate need in a time of crisis was greatly appreciated. We in government appreciate the efforts made by Americans and Zimbabweans of faith to help their fellow mankind in a time of need. The gesture was emblematic of the spirit that made the founding of Africa University
possible, and which brings 300 American volunteers a year to Mutare to work on charitable projects. I salute this distinguished institution and the fine work you are carrying out.
Since 1992, the US Embassy and Africa University have maintained a close relationship in furthering higher education in Zimbabwe and Africa.
We have supported the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance in its work developing professionals dedicated to spreading peace and democracy throughout Africa. I commend your efforts and wish you success as you continue to develop the Institute’s programs. As a leading institution of higher education in Zimbabwe and Africa, it is only fitting that straight talk about the Zimbabwean economy begins here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, no issue today is more important to the future of Zimbabwe nor has the potential to harm the region than the growing collapse of the Zimbabwe economy. Not too long ago, Zimbabwe had a vibrant and diversified economy. It was a land of great hope and optimism in Africa. It had a leadership role on the continent and was a symbol for the rest of the world of what Africa could become. Today, as you know, it is a country in deep crisis. I know of no other example in the world of an economy that, in times of peace, has contracted so precipitously in the course of six years.
The facts and figures will be familiar to you. I’ll mention them only briefly: Real GDP fell by almost 30 percent from 1997 to 2003, and the trend has continued through 2005. Inflation is at least in the mid-triple digits and clearly on the rise. If the government continues to print money to meet its obligations it could well drive inflation into quadruple digits by year’s end. Manufacturing has shrunk by 51% since 1997 and exports have fallen by half in the past four years. Almost every major economic indicator has declined significantly since 2001. The investment and operating environment is dismal. Foreign direct investment has evaporated from US$444 million in 1998 to US$9 million in 2004.
Agricultural production – the mainstay of the economy - has collapsed under violent implementation of a necessary but badly thought through land reform. The government, or officials of government acting on their own authority, have continued to expropriate commercial farms without compensation and to distribute these farms in a non-transparent manner to ruling party insiders even though it formally declared the end of the process earlier this year. Not only the commercial farm owners have been affected. This misguided and ill-fated land grab also displaced over a million farm workers and their family members.
The human cost of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has been extraordinarily high. The estimated proportion of the population living below the official poverty line has more than doubled since mid-1990s - it is now about 80 percent of the population. At least half the country faces food shortages. The country’s human development indicators, once the envy of Sub-Saharan Africa, have sunk to the lowest fifth percentile in the world. Well over a quarter of the population has fled the country according to the last national census
It was more than dismaying to read a paper published in July by the Center for Global Development in Washington on the Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis. It estimated that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has set the country back more than half a century. The paper calculated that the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 had fallen back to the same level as in 1953 when the Confederation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was established. That’s an astonishing reversal of 52 years of progress in only a half dozen years.
The flood of economic bad news has been continuous. Most recently, the World Economic Forum published its assessment of the state of Zimbabwe’s competitiveness. Alarmingly, it ranked Zimbabwe as the least competitive of all 117 economies studied.
The facts and figures are bleak. I pose the question: What has caused Zimbabwe’s unprecedented economic descent?
The government’s official position has been that the economic collapse is the result of drought and sanctions imposed by unfriendly western nations.
Let’s look at these assertions one at a time.
On the face of it, it seems possible that drought could account for Zimbabwe’s precipitous fall in output, especially since so much of the economy is based on rain-fed agriculture and the region faces a regular cycle of varying rainfall. This explanation, however, does not hold up well under scrutiny.
The Cato Institute in Washington recently published an insightful paper on the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy. I understand the paper is being widely discussed in business and academic circles in Zimbabwe. The author, economist Craig Richardson, shows that the “drought” of 2000/01 was less severe than at least 12 other recent low rainfall periods. Richardson studied the correlation between GDP growth rates and rainfall since 1985 based on data provided by Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department from all 93 rainfall stations in the country. He found that the historically close correlation of GDP with rainfall cycle no longer holds after 1999. Since 1999, when rainfall has recovered, the Zimbabwean economy nevertheless has continued to decline.
The Center for Global Development paper I referred to earlier carries the rainfall analysis one step further. It notes that rainfall patterns are regional, yet Zimbabwe’s decline in maize production over the past five years has been dramatically greater than Zambia’s or Malawi’s. In fact, Zambia’s maize production actually increased after 2002.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t pretend to be an agronomist, but I do know that Zimbabwe has experienced cycles of drought since time immemorial. Its agricultural sector adapted to the conditions and built impressive irrigation systems and dense networks of dams. As challenging as the conditions are when rainfall is below average, let’s put the drought defense to rest. Under scrutiny, it doesn’t sufficiently account for Zimbabwe’s economic collapse.
Let’s also set the record straight on sanctions.
The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 is the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward Zimbabwe. Under the Act, the United States conditions aid and financing for Zimbabwe on the government’s restoration of the rule of law, the conduct of free and fair elections, placing military and police forces under effective civilian control, and a commitment by the government to an equitable, legal, and transparent land reform program.
Until Zimbabwe meets these conditions, the United States – joined by the European Union and others – will maintain narrowly tailored financial and travel sanctions on ruling-party and government leaders and their families. Sanctions on specific high-level individuals and their families, are the vehicle that the United States and like-minded countries use to signal international disapproval of the way that Zimbabwe’s ruling elite has trampled on democratic freedoms.
The travel and financial sanctions that we have imposed target the highest-level individuals in Zimbabwe. They restrict entry into the United States for senior members of the government, and others who formulate, implement, or benefit from policies that undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic institutions. The financial sanctions prohibit any U.S. person from engaging in any transaction with any person or entity found to be undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe.
Let me make it perfectly clear ladies and gentlemen, Zimbabwean firms that are not connected to regime leaders are free to do business with American firms, and American firms are free to invest in Zimbabwe and trade with any individual except those top-level sanctioned officials. The argument that these narrowly targeted sanctions have hurt the larger economy could only be true if the economy as a whole were entirely in the hands of the 86 government and party officials on the list and they controlled all of it. No doubt they have a disproportionate share of Zimbabwe’s economy in their hands, including multiple farm ownership, but not even the most suspicious observer credits the international sanctions with that degree of influence.
There is so much misinformation about sanctions being bandied about that you might be surprised to learn that Zimbabwe actually has a trade surplus with the United States. It exports more goods and services to the U.S. than it imports. U.S. imports from Zimbabwe were US$76.2 million in 2004; our exports amounted to US$47.3 million. The United States ranked fourth in 2004 among the major destinations for Zimbabwe’s exports; the U.K. ranked second. To me this is clear evidence that, despite assertions in the press and by government officials to the contrary, there are no blanket sanctions against doing business in Zimbabwe and the effect of sanctions is confined to the senior people they are meant to hurt.
Back to the original question: What has been the cause of Zimbabwe’s unprecedented economic descent?
The answer is really quite simple, as well as quite shocking: Neither drought nor sanctions are at the root of Zimbabwe’s decline. The Zimbabwe government’s own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule has brought on the crisis.
The examples of misguided economic decision making since the 1990s are manifold and well documented. The fiscally reckless, massive, unbudgeted payout to war veterans in 1997 is often cited as the beginning of the economic decline. Zimbabwe’s costly misadventure in the Democratic Republic of Congo followed soon after. It was also during this period that the parallel foreign exchange market emerged.
The government’s policy of land seizures and tolerance for chaotic disruptions on commercial farms led to the collapse in food production. The impact of the farm invasions has extended beyond food security, beyond Zimbabwe’s balance of payments crisis, and beyond the plight of the thousands of individual expropriated farm owners. The land grab has intensified the suffering of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable segments of society – the rural and urban poor.
Fast-track land reform, still underway, as you know, here in Manicaland, also had the ugly and debilitating side effect of spurring violence, racial mongering, and the destruction of property and livelihoods. Attempts to get the country back on track since the onset of land seizures have been riddled with political favoritism, disregard for transparency and the refusal to admit and correct mistakes. Farm audits and re-audits take place, but the results appear to drop into a black hole. No wrongs are righted; the rule of law is a shamble. Multiple farm ownership by the politically powerful and their families makes a mockery of the government’s official “one man, one farm” policy.
Fiscal probity is nonexistent when the budget deficit hovers in the double-digits. Even at Zimbabwe’s high rate of tax collection, revenue in a contracting economy cannot keep abreast of the country’s public spending. The government’s wage bill, saddled as it also is with ghost workers benefiting from the patronage system, is an astounding 20 percent of GDP. I ask you, are you receiving a level of service commensurate with this outlay?
The Reserve Bank keeps the printing press running and the economy suffers through the ripple effects on the value of the currency and on food and fuel supplies.
Let me share a nugget of information with you that illuminates Zimbabwe’s odd-man-out status in Africa. In 2004, only Angola and Zimbabwe in Sub-Saharan Africa had inflation rates above 20 percent. Angola brought its rate down from 77 percent in 2003 to about 30 percent a year later. I needn’t remind you how far out of control the cost of living is these days in Zimbabwe.
Since I arrived in this country I’ve been struck repeatedly by the extent of the government’s involvement in so many far-reaching aspects of the economy. Its urge to control, control, and control some more puts a stranglehold on economic activity that belongs solidly in the private sector. Where else in the world does a central bank governor formulate sectoral policy? Why do the officials fear unleashing market forces? Do they have so much to lose personally if they were forced to compete on a level playing field with others? Their actions provide the answer to that, I fear. Moreover, it is the certainty of misguided government policies and not/not the effect of limited, targeted sanctions that have discouraged foreign direct investment.
Officials across the government have made an art out of repeatedly uttering throwaway statements about indigenizing industry, without thought to drawing up a plan involving all stakeholders. Let me tell you something: Nothing rattles investor confidence more than the prospect of expropriation. The constitutional amendment striking down the right to redress in the courts for victims of land expropriation sent a shock wave through the community of investors who keep an eye on the climate in Zimbabwe.
Ladies and gentlemen, while the Zimbabwean economy appears to be entrenched in a downward spiral, and the abandonment of sensible economic policy has shut off most foreign aid, scared away most foreign investment, and spurred an alarming rate of brain drain, there is good economic news coming out of other parts of the region. Zambia, for example, once regarded, I understand, as Zimbabwe’s poor cousin, has been reaping the benefits of prudent economic management.
The Zambian government’s commitment to macroeconomic reform has produced a remarkable turnaround. Zambia clearly still faces daunting challenges, but its leadership has implemented sound policy advice, received very deep-cutting debt relief from creditors and the donor community this year, and has put itself on a sustainable growth path. I read recently that real GDP growth projections had been upped to the high single-digits marking a remarkable about face after two decades of decline. Most interestingly, the turnaround is based on strong performance in three pillars of the economy that were once the mainstays of this country’s prosperity: agriculture, tourism and mining. In addition, Zambia’s turnaround has attracted a flood of grants and investment in the country.
Botswana is a further example of a close neighbor where the sound management of natural resource wealth over many years has yielded tangible benefits. Real GDP growth there has averaged nearly 9 percent per annum, and per capita income has risen above US$3,500. Botswana has also made impressive gains with respect to many social indicators.
Last month Reserve Bank Governor presented his Monetary Policy Review Statement for the third quarter. At his presentation to the diplomatic community he called on the assembled ambassadors to do Zimbabwe a favor and portray a positive picture of Zimbabwe to investors at home. I believe Governor Gono has misjudged diplomats’ influence on investors. There are not many governments left in the world that can persuade or direct their business community to invest in a particular country. Investment flows to countries with sound macroeconomic policies, where the rule of law is respected and contracts enforced, to countries that offer a good opportunity for generating a healthy return on investment, to countries that do more than pay lip service to the concept of transparency. In short, to countries with policy predictability.
As an example of the wrong signals being sent by the government of Zimbabwe, I learned recently of the experience of Lazarus Zim, CEO of Anglo American in South Africa. He related a telling story of his investment experience in Zimbabwe. Anglo American, you might know, is a shareholder in Hippo Valley Estates, which is under threat of seizure by the government. Mr. Zim traveled to Zimbabwe to sort out the problem and was told to talk to the new governor of Masvingo province. He approached the governor, pointing out that Hippo Valley Estates had a contractual agreement with the government to farm in Hippo Valley. The governor alleged no knowledge of the agreement. Mr. Zim then produced the contract, which happened to bear the governor’s own signature. To the Anglo American executive’s astonishment, the governor blithely passed off that the contract was “open to re-negotiation”. You can imagine the lesson Mr. Zim took back to Anglo American’s Board from this experience and the consequences it has had on Anglo American’s plans to invest further in mining in Zimbabwe.
When Minister of Transport and Communications Chris Mushohwe suggested to the Annual Congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in early September that the government might take over white-owned firms just as it had taken over commercial farms, alarm bells rang at international banks. They asked whether it was time to rein in the lines of credit they had extended to their clients operating in Zimbabwe.
I understand President Mugabe designated 2005 the Year of Investment. Is there no greater irony than bludgeoning property rights under the banner of investment promotion?
Taking another look at economic development in the region: I’m also always keeping an eye on how Mozambique is doing, having served there from 1991-1994. Back then, during the last years of its long civil war, it was a desperately poor country near the bottom of every survey of measures of poverty and suffering. Over the past years, however, Mozambique’s strong commitment to sound macroeconomic policies and structural reform has led to a remarkable improvement in economic performance. During the last decade, real GDP growth averaged 8 percent a year - the highest in Africa. Despite a sharp increase in petroleum prices, inflation has declined to low single digits, driven by lower food prices. Growth in traditional exports is strong. The turnaround has attracted substantial private capital and donor assistance in an outpouring of goodwill toward the country.
Circling the region, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge and commend South Africa as an anchor of stability and sound economic management. The economy is growing strongly, inflation is down, public finances have been strengthened and the country’s external position has improved markedly. The Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment program has made advances. The elevation of Lazarus Zim to the top spot at Anglo American is only one example. Furthermore, the South African government’s commitment to basing land reform on well-defined legal principles also appears to be strong.
Ladies and gentlemen, the US Government is committed to fostering economic growth and poverty reduction throughout Africa. In 2000, we took a major step toward this goal by enacting a new law called the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. This US law offers tangible incentives for African countries to open their economies, build free markets, and embrace political pluralism. Those countries that adopt free market principles, adhere to the rule of law, and respect human rights are eligible under AGOA to export a wide range of goods to the United States duty free. Because of this generous piece of legislation, US imports from Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, increased by over 50 percent from 2000 to 2004. This jump in trade included a diverse list of products, among them apparel, cut flowers, and processed agricultural goods.
Thirty-seven African nations have met the AGOA criteria and are eligible for the trade incentives. Unfortunately Zimbabwe is not among them. Like Sudan and Somalia and a small number of other countries, bad policies have sidelined this country.
For similar reasons, Zimbabwe has also missed out on President Bush’s Millennium Challenge Account Initiative. The Initiative draws on development lessons learned over the past 50 years to provide assistance to those countries that rule justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom. The U.S. Congress provided nearly US$1 billion in funding for this initiative in FY 04 and US$1.5 b in FY 05.
Distinguished guests, let me not leave you with the impression that the United States has forsaken the people of Zimbabwe when need has never been greater. And do not for a moment leave here with the thought that the United States is the enemy of the Zimbabwean people. We support, and will continue to support, civil society, democratically minded groups in Zimbabwe, and the sick and the poor of this country.
Despite the government’s refusal to acknowledge the widespread hunger that its policies have caused - and the grim irony of President Mugabe, who has presided over and led this decline, lecturing the Food and Agriculture Organization was lost on no one - we and other donors are helping to feed over five million Zimbabweans. The United States is prepared to help protect Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable populations from the disastrous consequences of this government’s policies. Since 2002, we have spent $300 million on food assistance for Zimbabwe. While policy makers drive the economy to ruin, the United States has worked to keep Zimbabweans from starving. Unlike the government of Zimbabwe, we will not play politics with food. We remain committed to providing assistance to all who need it based solely on their needs.
Allow me also to take this opportunity to also note that the United States implements the largest HIV/AIDS program in Zimbabwe of any donor in the world. Despite the erosion of Zimbabwe’s formerly excellent health care system, current modest HIV/AIDS programs are having a real impact. HIV prevalence is reliably reported to be falling and the United States is proud to have contributed to that decline.
Ladies and gentlemen, the United States is not alone in its assessment of the dire state of the Zimbabwean economy and the measures needed to put this extraordinarily endowed and profoundly beautiful country back on track. But without decisive and deep cutting policy action, the outlook for the next years is bleak.
Zimbabwe cannot pull itself out of the hole it has dug by itself. It must re-engage with the IMF to get balance of payments support and debt restructuring. Governor Gono noted in his last Monetary Policy Review that the public external debt is now over US$ 4 billion and rising. Zimbabwe cannot service this debt on its own. Paying down its arrears to the IMF, however, is only one of the IMF’s requirements for reengagement. The second requirement is implementation of a comprehensive macroeconomic reform package that will lay the basis for sustained growth, low inflation, and external viability. The policies undertaken by the government today fall well short of what is needed to address the economic deterioration caused, as I said before, by shortsighted and misguided government policies.
In closing, may I say that, for our part, the United States adds a third pre-condition for re-engagement. And it goes beyond the economic realm because a dynamic economy hinges on the government representing the people’s interests. To reiterate my remarks in clarifying the U.S. sanctions policy:
While our humanitarian assistance is generous and you can count on it to remain generous, only when Zimbabwe’s government restores the rule of law, conducts free and fair elections, puts military and police forces under effective civilian control, repeals repressive legislation such as POSA and AIPPA, and commits to an equitable, legal, and transparent land reform program will we support financial support for the government of Zimbabwe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my hope that this speech will begin a series of discussions on the important issues of peace, stability and prosperity in Zimbabwe.
Tinoda kuti Zimbabwe ibudirire zvakare
(ti-no-da ku-ti Zimbabwe i-bu-di-ri-re zva-ka-re)
(We want Zimbabwe to prosper again)
Ngi-ya-bonga, (ngee ya vonga - Ndebele)
Thu 3 November 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to
use a meeting of the national council of his bickering Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party slated for Saturday to call for an
extraordinary congress to resolve divisions threatening to break up the
Insiders told ZimOnline that Tsvangirai, facing a revolt after
disagreeing with party secretary general Welshman Ncube and other senior
leaders over whether to contest a senate election at the month-end, wants
the congress held before Christmas.
"There are several issues to be discussed at Saturday's meeting but
indications are that Tsvangirai will press for an extraordinary congress to
resolve differences rocking the party," said a senior official of the
opposition party, who did not want to be named.
Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango could not be reached for comment
on the matter last night.
The extraordinary congress, if it is called, will chiefly discuss the
constitution of the MDC as well as the issue of the party's leadership,
according to our source.
The MDC, which has posed the most potent threat to President Robert
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party's 25-year stranglehold on power, is on
the verge of splintering after its leader disagreed with five other top
leaders of the party over the November 26 poll.
Tsvangirai has vehemently opposed participating in the poll saying it
is pointless to do so because it will be rigged by Mugabe and his
government. He also says the proposed new senate is a waste of resources in
a country threatened by starvation.
Ncube and his group insist the MDC should contest the election after
its national council narrowly voted last month for the party to participate
in the poll, adding that Tsvangirai violated the party's constitution when
he attempted to overrule the 33:31 council decision in favour of
The pro-senate group also argues that it would be unwise for the MDC
to boycott the poll because doing so would be to surrender political space
to Mugabe and ZANU PF.
The Saturday council meeting shall also review the state of the party
and its internal cohesion. It will also discuss the fate of candidates who
registered to stand in the senate poll while Tsvangirai is expected to
recommend to the council that outspoken legislator Job Sikhala be expelled
for claiming the MDC illegally received foreign funding.
However in a sign of the confusion and chaos gripping the MDC, it
remains uncertain whether the national council meeting will actually take
place or whether all members of the two bickering factions will attend.
For example, deputy party secretary general, Gift Chimanikire who
belongs to the faction opposed to Tsvangirai, was this week quoted saying
there was no point of the council meeting and said it was up to individual
members whether or not to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, Sikhala - who told journalists that MDC leaders were
bickering over control of US$500 000 donated by Ghana and Nigeria and that
they had also quarreled before over another US$2.5 million received from
Taiwan - yesterday filed an application at the High Court seeking the court
to determine whether Tsvangirai has powers to suspend him from the party.
Tsvangirai suspended Sikhala accusing him of bringing the name of the
MDC into disrepute because of his claims. But he said the national council
would make a final decision on the matter.
Sikhala, whose claims elicited official denials by Accra, Abuja and
Taipei, insists that the MDC's disciplinary committee headed by vice
president Gibson Sibanda and not Tsvangirai, should have summoned him for a
hearing and make a determination thereafter. - ZimOnline
Thu 3 November 2005
KAROI - A Zimbabwe army major yesterday appeared before a magistrate's
court in the small farming town of Karoi to answer to charges of kidnapping
and assaulting two civilians at gun point before forcing them to roll in the
mud like pigs.
Major Tichaona Chinyanga, who is also facing charges of breaching the
Firearms Act, when he allegedly fired a shot in the air using his service
pistol in a bid to scare his two victims to comply with his orders, was
remanded out of custody to November 28.
State prosecutors told magistrate Elisha Singano that Chinyanga
kidnapped two brothers, Lovemore and Gideon Chimurambi aged 32 and 35
respectively and all of Karoi town which lies about 203km north-west of
Chinyanga, who is said to have earlier had an altercation with the two
brothers over another matter, allegedly force-marched his victims to a local
hotel where he was staying.
At the hotel he allegedly assaulted the brothers and fired a shot to
warn his victims not to resist or disobey his orders. He allegedly then
ordered the two men to roll in dirty muddy water while he watched.
In his defence, the soldier did not deny kidnapping or assaulting the
Chimurambi brothers but said he had done so to punish them for shouting
vulgar words at President Robert Mugabe and his vice Joyce Mujuru. His
victims deny that they insulted Mugabe and his deputy.
This is not the first time that Chinyanga is being accused of
harassing civilians. He is said to have four weeks ago forced police at
Karoi police station to detain another civilian, Raymond Nhemwa, for about
18 hours after accusing him of insulting Mugabe.
But eye-witnesses say Chinyanga ordered Nhemwa's detention to punish
him after the two had a misunderstanding while driving around Karoi town.
Church and human rights groups accuse Zimbabwe's army and police of
committing human rights violations against perceived supporters of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party. The government however
denies that its security forces victimise its political opponents. -
Thu 3 November 2005
HARARE - Former workers of the banned Daily News newspaper have
launched a fresh bid to get their retrenchment packages more than a year
after the courts ruled in their favour.
The workers say they had put the issue of retrenchment packages on
hold during the last 13 months in the hope that the company would be granted
an operating licence by the government to resume publishing.
But the workers say their hopes for a quick comeback were shattered
last week after the chief executive officer of the company, Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo, filed nomination papers to stand on an opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) ticket in this month's senate election.
They said the move by Nkomo could see the government hardening its
stance towards the embattled newspaper company which was already battling to
fend off perceptions of being an opposition mouth-piece.
A meeting to deal with the retrenchment package issue between Ministry
of Labour officials and ANZ lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu which was scheduled for
Wednesday was postponed by a week after the lawyer requested more time to
study the case.
Mahlangu took over the case last week after a colleague from the same
law firm declined to represent ANZ citing lack of co-operation from the
Last July, the Labour Court awarded 153 Daily News workers Z$5 million
each as relocation costs and six months pay for every year served to each
individual. The court also awarded two years' pay to workers who had served
for less than a year.
The ANZ appealed against the ruling but lost the case.
Selby Hwacha who is representing the former workers said: "They (ANZ
management) are liable. The modus of the retrenchment package is what
remains. We will attach their property if need be."
The retrenched workers accused Nkomo of neglecting their welfare since
the closure of the newspaper two years ago.
"We now think management is feeding on our plight. It has been more
than a year since a ruling was made in our favour but the company seems to
be dragging its feet on the issue," said Taka Mparutsa, a former chairman of
the workers' committee.
A worker who was also retrenched, Luxon Muringani said: "Sipepa Nkomo
has abandoned us judging by the way he is seeking political office when he
has always assured us he will never seek a political solution to get the
Daily News re-opened."
Efforts to contact Nkomo for comment on the matter were fruitless last
But the ANZ boss last week rejected charges that his standing for the
MDC in the senate election would jeopardise tha paper's bid to be granted an
The Daily News and its sister publication Daily News on Sunday were
shut down two years ago after it failed to register with the government
Media and Information Commission which licenses newspapers.
The paper is appealing in the courts after the Supreme Court earlier
this year ruled that the MIC should reconsider the paper's application. But
the MIC in July refused to grant a licence to the company arguing they had
not fully complied with the law. - ZimOnline
Thu Nov 3, 2005 8:45 AM GMT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reports of thousands of Zimbabweans still homeless
after a controversial government clean-up program are "nonsense," Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe said in an ABC News interview shown late on
"That's nonsense... anyone who wants facts should come and see what's
happening. We removed them from slums and put them in new places," Mugabe
"Obviously when you destroy slums, even as you prepare new places for them,
there is a dislocation, disorganization of the family for that moment,"
Mugabe told ABC.
It was unclear when the interview took place. ABC said it met with Mugabe
when he was in New York for a U.N. General Assembly meeting.
A U.N. statement issued on Tuesday said the United Nations was getting
reports that tens of thousands of people were still homeless and in need of
aid since Zimbabwe's eviction campaign began in May 2005.
Mugabe's government has refused aid from the world body because of the
U.N.'s description of the demolition program as a humanitarian crisis, and
over calls for the prosecution of those who led the campaign.
"Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands. You go there now and
see whether those thousands are there... Where are they? A figment of their
imagination. They exaggerated," Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe does not welcome outside scrutiny by foreign media. The government
has arrested, deported or denied entry to dozens of journalists under media
laws forbidding foreigners from working permanently as journalists in
Zimbabwe. Visiting journalists require a temporary license from a state
commission to work.
Mugabe's government says the rules were necessary to restore professionalism
in the private media, which it accuses of driving a Western propaganda
campaign against Harare over its seizure of white-owned farms for blacks.
Mugabe, 81 and in power for 25 years, is accused by his critics of wrecking
the southern African state by rigging major elections in the last five years
and pursuing controversial policies which have left him branded a dictator.
In the interview, he denied charges that the demolition program targeted
supporters of his political opponents.
"That's nonsense. That's the message of the opposition, of course they would
say that," Mugabe said, calling it a move to cleanup slums. "We are doing
this in every constituency, in every province. It's happening everywhere."
Mugabe also told ABC that he would remain in charge of the country, after he
"I'll still be in the party," he said. "The party is greater than
government, by the way, and my being president of the party is similar to my
being president of the country."
Date: 02 Nov 2005
By Trócaire's Niall O'Keefe and Severine Meyer from Hararember, November
A few months after the crisis in Niger, images of small emaciated children
and sickly thin adults are again reaching the shores of Ireland, this time
coming from southern Africa. Images such as these seem to be recurring every
couple of months. Why, despite the work of international and
non-governmental organisations in the region, does it seem that some African
countries are not able to break out of the cycle of poverty? The answer to
this question varies from one country to the next and Zimbabwe certainly
makes an interesting case study on how a once prosperous country can enter a
downward spiral of growing impoverishment and chaos.
Up until the end of the 1990's, Zimbabwe exported 60% of its production and
was a major producer of tobacco and beef. In the last year however, the
country has been affected by widespread food shortages. The southern parts
of the country, which have a drier climate, are especially affected by food
shortages and due to the failure of the main harvest in April and May the
scene in Matabateland South is one of desolation. The dryness is such that
it looks like a fire has devastated the countryside, leaving trees bearing
only what looks like a few burnt twigs.
The meagre harvest gleaned by farmers has been used in the months since May
and household food stocks are quickly running out. Some families have had to
reduce the number of meals to one per day, some to one every two days, in an
effort to ration their food stocks. Many other families have already
finished their stocks and don't know where they will get their next meal.
Children go to school hungry and have little chance of getting a meal when
Zimbabwe is now confronting yet another food crisis, resulting from what
seems to be a combination of unfortunate weather, recurring drought and
chronic poverty. This is, however, not the full picture and the roots of the
food shortages run deeper than their "traditional" reasons.
The demise of Zimbabwe's economy in recent years (the International Monetary
Fund have estimated that the country's economy will shrink by seven percent
in 2005, compared to a decrease of 4% in 2004) is a result of a number of
combined factors. These include:
The introduction in 1999 of a number of pieces of legislation restricting
individuals' freedom and any types of opposition to the President or ruling
The fast track land programme which was launched in 2000. This land
redistribution programme had been recognised as a necessity by many for the
last decades, however, the programme was accompanied by violence,
intimidation and even killings of white farmers by the Zanu-PF militias.
Redistributions disregarded legal procedures leading those who received new
plots to doubt the security of their title of ownership. As a consequence
many left their newly acquired plot unplanted. Others simply did not have
the resources or know-how to plough the land and did not receive any
support. All in all, the land programmes led to a decrease in the acreage of
land cultivated and decrease in the production of maize from 2 million tons
in 2000 to 600,000 in 2004.
A campaign launched by the government in May 2005 targeting people deemed to
be living in illegal housing or involved in illicit trade. As a result of
the operation, thousands of informal dwellings and businesses were destroyed
in major urban centres. The campaign affected poor Zimbabweans and was
carried out without adequate planning or capacity to provide adequate
humanitarian assistance, leaving tens of thousands homeless. As of July, the
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimated that Operation
Restore Order had affected approximately 374,000 people but other
non-official sources indicated that up to a million people had been
In such a context, it is very difficult for national and international aid
organisations (including the United Nations) to operate freely and respond
to the increasingly large needs of the population. The Government of
Zimbabwe has vetoed the result of the annual food security survey (ZimVac)
and uses food as a political weapon, conducting food distribution only in
villages where the Zanu-PF wins local elections.
This policy is maintained partially to propagate a perception amongst the
public that the government, and not the development organisations, are
serving the people and partially to maintain an instrument of control over
the people, retaining the exclusive right to import and distribute grain.
Even collecting vital information on nutritional levels amongst children or
on crop harvests to assess the extent of the food shortages are hampered by
the government and local officials will only tell you that such information
is 'sensitive'. While many organisations provide supplementary food and try
to ascertain the extent of the food crisis, the operating environment is
It is estimated that up to 3 million people in Zimbabwe urgently require
humanitarian assistance. Trócaire is currently implementing a feeding
programme in schools and is also looking at supporting targeted food
interventions for vulnerable groups such as widows and orphans.
However, while supplementary food can be supplied quickly, the Government of
Zimbabwe needs to immediately increase the supply of food to sufficient
levels and create a more conducive operating environment for development
organisations. It is also imperative that the international community
mobilises resources to support the people of Zimbabwe in the short-term
while supporting local efforts to re-establish the independence of state
structures from ruling political parties in the future.
Posted to the web on: 03 November 2005
HARARE - Prices in Zimbabwe have risen sharply in the past week, threatening
to push inflation higher and compound the misery of the poor majority
battling daily to eke out a living, analysts said yesterday.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a six-year economic crisis marked by chronic
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food which analysts blame on
mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe.
Analysts linked the latest bout of price increases to a slide in the
Zimbabwe dollar, which tumbled 66% against the greenback after it was
partially floated by the central bank two weeks ago.
The country is now a net importer, and prices of basic commodities increase
weekly while wages lag and pensions and savings are eroded by inflation.
In the past week alone, prices of basic commodities and rentals doubled,
while firms passed on mounting production costs to already struggling
Statistics from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe show that a low-income
urban family of six needed Z$10m ($164,50) last month to cover basic costs,
up from Z$6,9m in September.
Analysts say the price increases will see workers, who have borne the brunt
of the economic crisis, demanding higher wages, which would trigger another
round of price rises and create an inflation spiral.
"I . woke up on Monday to find that prices have doubled just like that,"
Kenneth Manungo, a clerk at a Harare insurance firm who was queuing to buy
"I don't know whether our employers know how much we are suffering," he
Zimbabwe has branded inflation the "number-one enemy".
It stood at an annual 359,8% in September and analysts believe it will end
the year above 400% - well beyond central bank forecasts for it to reach
between 280% and 300% by December, and an impossible two-digit promise given
The worsening economic environment threatens central bank measures to put
the once prosperous economy on a recovery path, analysts said.
"For the next coming months the situation will only get worse before it gets
better," said leading economist Eric Bloch.
"I am pessimistic of any recovery in the short term and this means suffering
for the majority."
The International Monetary Fund says Zimbabwe's economy, which has
contracted by a third since 1999, is rapidly reaching a point where it will
never recover to previous levels, even if policy action is taken.
Production and exports in the key agriculture sector have continued to
slump, resulting in persistent food shortages since 2001, which critics
blame on the government's seizures of land from white farmers.
Farmers predict another poor season for agriculture due to shortages of
inputs such as fertiliser, seed and fuel while a senior government official
said on Monday some black farmers had failed to fully utilise their land.
Bloch says even with enough rains, Zimbabwe will have to import more food
next year as farmers are ill-prepared for the 2005-06 agriculture season.
The government has said it will import 1,8-million tons of maize to take the
country through to March next year.
The drop in agricultural output, coupled with foreign exchange shortages and
inflation, have seen industrial output shrink, with most firms operating
below 30% capacity.
Analysts said the government should rein in expenditure, and stop subsiding
loss-making parastatals. Domestic debt swelled to Z$13,2-trillion last
month, up from Z$3,3-trillion at the start of the year.
"As long as we have a high budget deficit, money supply will increase, which
is highly inflationary. We will not win the inflation war," said Charles
Halimana, a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies.
By Chinedu Offor
02 November 2005
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has called for marches around the
country next week to draw attention to the plight of workers amid the
ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibhebe says the action is necessary
because the government has not taken measures that were agreed upon to
soften the impact of soaring inflation and unemployment in excess of 70% of
The government blames the crisis on Western sanctions - though most
observers say targeted sanctions affect only senior officials - and a slump
Mr. Chibhebe told reporter Chinedu Offor of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the call for a nationwide march was collectively decided by several workers'
November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 2, 2005
The prospects of Zimbabwe's economy bouncing back from its current crisis
are likely to be dim if the results of a new survey of university and
college graduates are taken into account.
Over three quarters of the parents of new graduates are now urging their
offspring to leave, mainly because their families depend on remittances from
abroad. Tens of thousands of Zimbabwean doctors, nurses, pharmacists,
teachers and other professionals have already left the country. Most
seriously affected is the health sector where, according to one estimate, 60
percent of state-registered nurses and about half of the medical doctors
have left the country since 1999.
The Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) carried out the survey of
final-year college and university students in Zimbabwe and its report has
just been published. It shows that a coercive approach to the brain drain
would only intensify the level of discontent and for most of the students
would make absolutely no difference to their emigration intentions.
Only six percent of the students had not considered moving abroad. Just over
half (56 percent) said that they were likely to emigrate within six months
of graduating. Some 70 percent said it was likely they would have left the
country within two years. Over a quarter of students had already applied for
or were in the process of applying for a work permit in another country.
Most of the graduates foresee a long spell in the diaspora, and while they
want to be buried back home and to retain their Zimbabwean identity, they
are pessimistic about the future of their country.
As they prepare for graduation maybe a quarter are already filling in
applications for visas to work abroad - either in South Africa or in the UK
or North America (but not elsewhere in Africa).
The university students polled were from faculties of law, science,
engineering, commerce, medicine/pharmacy and arts/humanities. The colleges
included technical, commercial and teacher training institutions located in
several urban centres.
Almost 60 percent of the students said they were proud to be called
Zimbabweans, a high proportion but lower than in every other Southern
African Development Community country tested. A similar number agreed that
being a citizen of Zimbabwe was a very important part of how they see
themselves (high but again low in the regional context). There is also a
strong desire among students to help build their nation. As many as 78
percent of the students felt it was their 'duty' to contribute their talents
and skills to the growth of their country.
Levels of student dissatisfaction about economic conditions are higher than
in any other SADC country surveyed. Only three percent were satisfied with
their personal economic conditions and less than 35 percent were optimistic
that things would improve in the next five years.
Only 14 percent said their ability to find the house they wanted would
improve in the future; only 19 percent thought medical services would get
better and only 21 percent were optimistic about their ability to find a
good school for their children. Only 18 percent felt that their personal and
family's safety would improve in the future and just 19 percent were
optimistic that the future of children would get better. Very few of the
students expected the quality upkeep of public amenities, the availability
of quality affordable products and customer care to improve.
Only 11 percent felt that the HIV/AIDS situation would improve.
Southern Africa is the preferred destination for 36 percent of the students,
followed by Europe (29 percent), and North America (24 percent). Fewer than
one per cent listed the rest of Africa as their preferred destination.
Seventy seven percent of students said that they were being encouraged or
strongly encouraged to leave the country by their families.
In contrast to many students in Southern Africa, Zimbabweans are interested
in long-term migration. Around 60 percent have a great desire to leave for
more than two years and 46 percent said it was very likely that they would
do so. Only 12 percent indicated a preferred stay of less than two years in
their most likely destination. As many as half the students said they would
stay away for longer than five years.
Although many of the students said they would want to be permanent residents
(60 percent) and citizens (57 percent) of their most desirable destination,
fewer said they would want to retire there (37 percent) and fewer still to
be buried there (18 percent).
By Concerned Zimbabwean
Last updated: 11/03/2005 13:46:39
I AM one of those people who fully support the attainment of a new Zimbabwe.
I am not an MDC supporter or opponent, but just someone who has been
watching Zimbabwe since your days in the Zanu PF youth league in the early
It was the time of Gukurahundi, a time of serious suffering and mass murder
for the people in today's so-called MDC strongholds in Matabeleland and
Your leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) mass actions
in the late 1990s inspired me in a great way to start hacking away the
perceived invincibility of Zanu PF, personified here as Robert Mugabe, whom
I understand is a relation of yours.
Relationships aside, let me get to the purpose of my first and last letter
to you as one of the most outstanding leaders in the struggle for Zimbabwe.
Morgan, you have lost it. You cannot fight Mugabe's dictatorial tendencies,
which you have worked so hard to expose since the fight began in 1999, by
I have supported you through all the blunders from Dickens and Madison,
through foolish and highly treasonous statements, including publicly
threatening to remove Mugabe violently when you have never fired a gun even
You will of course remember that such statements damaged the MDC's
democratic credentials, particularly the clause on the use of non-violent
means to achieve democratic change. In the end, you earned yourself a charge
of treason and plenty of ridicule for the party from such organs as the
State media. At that time, I didn't call you a political failure although I
did begin to ask myself if you knew anything about diplomatic and political
deftness. I grudgingly forgave you.
In June 2003, you so badly misjudged the political temperature, your own
level of political support and the retrogressive effect of such legislation
as AIPPA and POSA and called for a 'Final Push' that never materialised. It
was yet another monumental blunder but I still forgave you, thinking you
needed time to grow from the orator and rabble-rouser I saw during the late
1990s mass action days to real presidential material.
I cannot hide my disgust now that you have all but proved yourself to be a
selfish power monger and dictator, secure behind village militias puffed to
the seams with stinking tribal-instigated hatred.
The fact that you choose to advocate for violence and chose to reinstate
your own thugs even after disciplinary hearings does not make you any
different from Mugabe who gave 5 Brigade members a presidential amnesty
because they had done his bidding. By opposing the decision of the national
council, you are acting exactly like Mugabe who ordered 11 000 Zimbabwean
troops to go and fight save an unpopular toad in the Democratic Republic of
Congo without consulting the cabinet and parliament.
By defying the vote of your own national council in favour of senate
participation, you are proving yourself to be a dangerous, self centred
dictator who apart from not honouring decisions reached by popular consensus
in a democratic poll chooses to behave like Napoleon Bonaparte who found
time to fight little feuds and never-ending wars instead of leading France
out of the feudal age.
One thing you are proving though is that you are not a politician but an
agent provocateur, thriving only in the chaos of mass action.
Your bereftness of political ideas and the fact that you have made yourself
appear like a little God over the MDC constitution proves you to be the most
unqualified candidate for the presidency. You cannot hope to be the
president of Zimbabwe if you think of personal supremacy like Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran. The rules of slander may not be that stringent in
Zimbabwe but anyone who aspires to be president but still hopes to gain
political mileage out of making divisive tribal slurs is like a cobra, and
not different from Euegene Terre Blanche.
You cannot hope to be the president of Zimbabwe just by visiting mass
graves, which I am sure you knew existed since your days in the Zanu PF
Youth League. You cannot hope to earn votes and support for your lack of
policy and visionary leadership by promising people in the Midlands and
Matabeleland that an MDC government will bring Gukrahundi perpetrators to
book when you are campaigning against their leaders at the same time. You
cannot hope to get the crucial Matabele vote (ask Mugabe) by going around
mass graves ridiculing Joshua Nkomo as a sell-out when the people know that
he alone stopped the murders which you today seek to use as a back door to
end your enstrangement from the people and the MDC constitution.
If Joshua Nkomo sold these parts to Zanu PF, it was a desperate effort, made
under the murderous pressure of Zanu PF youths like you at the time. Who is
fooling who, Morgan? All Zimbabweans with long memories will remember the
field days The Herald got sometime in 2002 when it was revealed that you, as
MDC president, was still listed as a Zanu PF member, meaning you were still
a card holder. Your silence instead of denying that allegation proved that
you were indeed a Zanu PF card holder, meaning you can still rejoin Zanu PF
like many confused firebrands before you. Edgar Tekere and Dzikamai Mavhaire
are good examples. It surprises me then that this Zanu PF card holder of
yester-year can stand up and say the MDC leadership from Matabeleland is on
the Zanu PF payroll. You can't be serious.
Let those who did not know learn that Zanu PF allowed you to become that
powerful at the ZCTU because you were not just a relative of Mugabe, but a
prolific and loyal party cadre as well. So they allowed you to take care of
the worker constituency, something you did for Mugabe until 1997. Your use
and reliance on anti-Ndebele tribal slurs and discriminatory language is
achieving the opposite effect from what you hope to get. It is making you
stink Zanu PF and you are just as confused as they are about the real
loyalties of the people of Matabeleland.
From what we have heard from your mouth so far, we have no choice but to
identify you as a Zanu PF-bred tribalist of the worst order and tag you
Public Enemy Number Two, deputising Mugabe. In the case of you and your
confused supporters, (who twice opposed you and twice re-joined you) your
anger against participation in the senate polls in understandable. All
losers do the same thing, especially if they have emerged blood-nosed from
every fights, fair and foul, even as better supported-boxers elsewhere win
against the most overwhelming of odds.
You lost almost all the constituencies in the Mashonaland provinces and
therefore do not have the MPs, and by extension the people to protect from
the tired old age home candidates bearing Zanu PF vermin. I understand that
you cannot have senators if you don't even have MPs. But the situation in
Matabeleland is different. You can still call yourself MDC president because
of the constituencies the party has, most of which are in Matabeleland and
the Midlands. Here is a region that has never voted for Zanu PF even as
yester-year Zanu PF youths now turned dictatorial democrats raped and killed
them. So Zanu PF simply does not have the space in Matabeleland and you know
it. Your experience as a Zanu PF youth in the early 80s should tell you that
you are the wrong person to tell these people to surrender the democratic
space they have held so dearly onto, to your former masters in Zanu PF
simply because you have said so in defiance of a democratic vote. No,
The so-called Senate dispute, which I read as a right-thinking people
standing up against a gang rape of the MDC constitution, has also exposed
you as nothing but a political upstart, a street protester who excels only
in organizing boycotts. You cannot boycott one election, participate in
another, issue personal decrees against others and still think all of
Zimbabwe has to follow you until you clear your confusion. No Morgan, you
cannot tell me that the political field was level in 2002 when you lost the
It was not level when you agreed to participate in the last parliamentary
elections. It is equally true that civil servants were already living in
poverty, wages and people were starving when you went into the presidential
and all the subsequent elections. Tens of MDC supporters, including your two
aides, were dead. At least 12 commercial farmers had been butchered. Why
didn't you sacrifice the presidential vote of 2002 and ask that the monies
be directed towards drought relief and civil service salaries? Was it
because you thought you would win, even as you knew the so-called playing
field had never been leveled since your days in Zanu PF? Why can't you just
donate the funds you are currently abusing in your struggle to organise a
senate boycott to the salaries of the civil servants you seem to love so
dearly? Or to Operation Murambatsvina and the many poor sods you would by
now have met in droves if you ever walked to work at all?
Your offer of senate election funds for salaries is not different from
Dumiso Dabemgwa donating Z$200 million to the Nkulumane Traders Association
because you are both trying to buy support, Dabengwa with money he has and
you with money you do not have. Zimbabwe does have capable leaders beyond
you; young and old. Trade union politics is easy, for it is based on one's
ability to rally work stoppages and boycotts, but governance, even that of
broad-based parties, demands much more thought refinement than brazenly
spilling nails and spikes on the roads to stop people from going to work or
You still have the opportunity to grow, especially if you can tune yourself
into a democrat that respects popular votes. The democrat will also have to
drop Zanu PF militia thinking and uphold the rule of law, even against
home-boys and thugs who purport to sing from the same bible of non-violence.
As a fine democract Morgan, I need to remind you that the emotions of people
in Matabeleland were abused by Zanu PF in the early 1980s and that will not
be allowed to happen again. Never, ever. Therefore any Zanu PF member,
former or current, is not welcome to play on such emotions.
The skulls in the mass graves don't like stranded political opportunists who
use their bones as a carpet to State House, so do the living. And
misfortunes follow offenders.
I shudder to think what a Zimbabwe under you would look like with all the
theories you are coming up with to drum up tribal animosity between
Zimbabweans, just so that you can remain life president of the MDC. I also
feel very sorry for the increasingly paranoid William Bango. I remember his
descriptions of Zanu PF propaganda during his tenure in the media and
realize now that he was learning a lot then which has just come useful now.
Speaking on behalf of you as a president who also doubles up as a personal
speaker is obviously turning out to be a difficult job, hence the
Even those media outlets, run by your supporters in Zimbabwe and in the
Diaspora, that have stood behind you in predicting that you have "crushed a
rebellion' when in-fact you were the rebel needing containment have had to
lick their ugly festering wounds. They are now chiding themselves for the
poverty of analysis and isolation from the Zimbabwean reality that they
Even such propaganda as Bango's hallucinations about senate candidates
withdrawing, altered in your office next day to say "low-calibre and unknown
candidates" (as if the MDC ever had a high caliber president) faltered in
the face of truth. Next time tell William that consistency is what makes one
a reliable spokesman. And please stop speaking for yourself if his duty is
to speak for you. Last but not least, a piece of advice: Anyone who claims
to be a wise man and goes around offering advice to all but none to himself
is not wise!!
A Concerned Zimbabwean
(ZANU PF cannot rig MDC internal elections!)
November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 2, 2005
With the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe worsening daily, there
has been restiveness in the normally loyal security forces.
President Robert Mugabe responded by calling for vigilance against a
"vicious imperialist onslaught" by Britain and the US, while praising the
role of the armed forces in the land reform.
Zimbabwe's soldiers are angry over the government's refusal to increase
their salaries and provide adequate food to the 40,000-strong army,
according to media reports in SA earlier this month.
"Dozens" of soldiers have been prevented from leaving the army in protest
and have instead been sent on forced leave in a bid, prompted by food
shortages, to reduce numbers at the barracks, according to the reports. The
situation has been worsened by bureaucratic inefficiency.
But the army said the soldiers were taking leave accrued from their stint in
the DR Congo, a claim made less credible by the fact that the military
engagement in the DRC ended four years ago.
Army commanders have in recent weeks been seeking to placate soldiers amid
reports that some troops have been detained and may face courts martial at
Second Brigade barracks in Harare in connection with "indiscipline" related
to agitation for salary increases.
Senior army commanders have been warning against "unruly campaigning" that
could be interpreted as "mutiny", according to a Business Day report in SA.
A senior army commander told troops on September 13 at Cranborne barracks in
Harare there would be no pay rise until January. A few days later a senior
military intelligence officer told troops at the Presidential Guard HQ in
Dzivarasekwa in Harare the issue would be addressed.
Meanwhile four of Harare's top police officers have been sent on forced
leave and replaced by 'war veterans'. Four senior managers in the municipal
police department were demoted, according to a report in the state-run
The report blamed a "gross deterioration in the city's policing
effectiveness" because street children and pavement vendors cleared from the
city under the government's 'Operation Restore Order' launched in May have
been slowly returning.
Harare used to be managed by an opposition Movement for Democratic Change
council but is now controlled by a state-appointed commission, following the
sacking of the mayor.
In an additional development there have been reports that the head of the
police close protection unit and number one bodyguard for Mugabe, Winston
Changara, has been demoted, allegedly after the president's wife Grace
reported he had been rude to her. It was unclear when the alleged incident
Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 4:45 AM
Subject: Program on Zimbabwe
SARFM HOSTS ITS FIRST EVER POLITICAL PROGRAM
This Sunday, Nov 6th, at 7pm.
Join us as we take a close look at the current affairs of Zimbabwe with His
Excellency Boniface Chidyausiku, The ambassador of Zimbabwe to the United
Nations. You can get into our chat room or call us to make your comments or
ask questions. We will be joined by another surprise guest, so don’t forget
this Sunday at 7pm on SARFM, our first political Program, IT’S ON !.
To listen now go to www.sarfmradio.com.
Afrika my beginning...Afrika my end