The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Zanu PF's new found weapon  11/3/02
      Story by newsfocus by Farai Mutsaka & Thabo Kunene

      ONE has to hand it to Zanu PF for developing the knack of defying
odds, even under the most severe of situations.

      Take last weekend's by-election in Insiza, yet another reminder to
hapless Zimbabweans of the extreme cunning of Robert Mugabe's party. Up to
the by-election period, won by Zanu PF's Andrew Langa who was being
challenged by the MDC's Siyabonga Ncube, many had predicted that the acute
food crisis facing the country would act against Zanu PF in its remaining
stronghold-the rural areas.

      But this was not to be as the party manipulated the self-inflicted
crisis to its advantage, as residents of the patchy Insiza district will

      "The choice was very simple. One didn't need to think much to know
whom to vote for. Voting for the MDC would have been a ticket to starvation.
This we were told and were shown before the election. It's not as if people
here really support Zanu PF," an Insiza villager said after the election.

      While the violence, which has come to be associated with all Zanu PF
campaigns, played a prominent role in cowing MDC supporters, in Insiza, the
ruling party revealed a new found weapon-food aid.

      Although Zanu PF had won all the previous by-elections-in Makoni West,
Marondera West, Bikita West and Hurungwe West-Insiza was considered the
litmus test as it lies within what many consider to be the heartland of the
MDC. The win by Zanu PF brings to three the number of seats held by the
party in Matabeleland, out of a possible 24. The remaining 21 are firmly in
the hands of the MDC. Ironically, the seats which Zanu PF holds-Beit Bridge,
Gwanda South and Insiza-are all tucked away in the southwestern part of

      Zanu PF's victory in Insiza must have been particularly sweet, yet
painful for the MDC, as Insiza is home to the opposition party's vice
president, Gibson Sibanda.

      Insiza is also home to several other political heavyweights from both
the MDC and Zanu PF. Former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, Naison
Ndlovu, Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube and former Mugabe
ally, Enos Nkala-now facing near political obscurity-all come from the
Insiza area.

      This was reason enough for Zanu PF to want to win the seat at all

      Such desperation led to a messy pre by-election period. So gross was
the abuse of food aid by the party that the internationally respected World
Food Programme (WFP), which falls under the auspices of the United Nations,
was forced to withdraw assistance to the constituency.

      In a bid to thwart the MDC campaign, Zanu PF organised its food aid
distribution in such a way as to coincide with MDC campaign rallies. As a
result, the opposition party was forced to cancel a number of its rallies.

      "The Zanu PF machinery has flooded the constituency with maize and
maize seed, but behind the distribution is always the threat that should the
MDC candidate win, all the food will be withdrawn, and the voters will
starve to death. The Zanu PF food distribution road show has followed the
MDC campaign rallies.

      "It is clear to us that the irregularities which have taken place in
Insiza are so gross in their affront to the elementary principles of a free
and fair election that they will undoubtedly impact negatively on the
outcome of the election. They are so extreme that this election cannot be
properly described as an election unless we are to redefine an election to
mean literally a choice between life and death," said MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube, prior to the election.

      In what has now become the fashion in the ruling party's campaign
strategy, on 16 October, Zanu PF filled the Filabusi Hall with bags of maize
for distribution. The hall had been booked for an MDC rally on that date.

      The same pattern was to be seen at a number of other MDC rally venues.

      But Zanu PF's new found weapon should not blur the very real issue of
violence. Langa is now the new member of parliament for Insiza-thanks to the
terror campaign waged against the opposition by President Mugabe's shock
troops, the war veterans and their ruthless allies in the terror war, the
'Green Bombers', who are Mugabe's answer to the late Kamuzu Banda's Youth
Pioneers in Malawi.

      During the campaign in Insiza, normal village life was brought to a
standstill. People's lives were disrupted, while others prayed every night
that they might see the sun rise the following day. Hundreds were brutalised
by the 'Green Bombers', while the police, also highly indoctrinated in Zanu
PF politics, watched and did nothing to protect the poor villagers of

      According to locals, the militias who did the dirty work for the
ruling party candidate were brought in from other regions. They were not
known in the area. On top of all this, villagers told The Standard that they
stood in the voting queues with people who were not even known in the area.

      Nkululeko Mpofu summed up the villagers' plight: "It has been tough
for us. Staying with strange people with a strong appetite for violence has
been a nightmare. We are pleased that election day has finally arrived."

      During the run up to the by-election, 12 MDC officials, including
Charles Mpofu, the MDC candidate's campaign manager, were ambushed by gunmen
and robbed of more than $3 million at gun point.

      One of the officials was shot and wounded by the gunmen. When the MDC
made a report to the police over the matter, the complainants and the
injured official were themselves arrested.

      In another incident, the opposition party's candidate, Ncube, was
almost killed when he was ambushed together with other MDC officials in the
area. It was clear from the beginning that Zanu PF had won the election,
even before it had started.

      Zanu PF vowed to reclaim the Insiza seat, and they did exactly that.
It does not matter whether they won by hook and by crook, the fact of the
matter is that they won. And by continuing to take part in flawed elections,
the MDC is legitimising Zanu PF victories for the outside world.

      Said Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a political analyst based at the
University of Zimbabwe: "This result cannot be used as a barometer by which
the people's opinions can be measured. It is a demonstration that Zanu PF is
committed to maintaining a violent campaign whenever there is an election."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe promises land to DRC war vets

      November 03 2002 at 05:04PM

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said soldiers returning from
the Democratic Republic of Congo war will get preferential treatment in the
carve-up of seized farms, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.

The official Sunday Mail said Mugabe told a rally of his Zanu-PF party in
north-western Zimbabwe that land was still available for all aspiring
farmers, but soldiers who fought in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
were a special case.

"Those who were in the DRC are a source of pride and honour because they
accomplished their mission well," he said.

"Those who have applied for land will be given special consideration and
everyone who desires to go into farming should not be denied the
opportunity," he added.

Last week Zimbabwe withdrew the last of its troops from the former Zaire
where they fought alongside Angolan and Namibian soldiers to defend the
Congolese government against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. At the
height of the war, which broke out in August 1998, about 11 000 troops or a
third of Zimbabwe's army was deployed.

Zimbabwe has been in turmoil since pro-government militants began invading
white-owned farms in early 2000.

Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain
in 1980, says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial injustice,
which left 70 percent of the country's best land in the hands of white

The Zimbabwe government has ordered nearly three quarters of the country's 4
500 commercial farmers to quit their land without compensation under a
programme to seize farms to make way for largely landless blacks.

The campaign has drawn criticism at home and abroad and is blamed by
analysts for a severe food shortage affecting nearly seven million people or
half of the population. The government insists the shortages are solely the
result of drought.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard - letter

      God please help us

      ON 27 October 2002, we witnessed a pure act of selfishness at the
Chitungwiza Community Hall where mealie meal was being sold only to card
holders of Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party.

      Members of the opposition like myself were turned away, threatened and
harassed by youths from the controversial Border Gezi Training Camp.

      If this is the way we are going to treat other human beings and fellow
Zimbabweans, we are surely heading for a big disaster.

      Zimbabwe is not made up only of Zanu PF supporters. We are a
multi-party state, and every one of us is within our rights to choose a
political party of our liking. So food should not be for just one political

      May our ever loving God please help us. How long shall the wicked have
power over us - the underprivileged? We have had enough of the Mugabe-led

      We will soon have a scenario whereby all scarce commodities are sold
only to Zanu PF card holders. What a shame!

      Were it not for the laws favouring the GMB as the sole importer of
maize, even the Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC ) would be able to
source maize for Zimbabweans.

      But whatever the tactics now employed by Mugabe, we all know them to
be the kicks of a dying horse.

      He just can't relinquish power like that and pave way for Morgan
Tsvangirai because he fears that his evil practices will come back to haunt
him. But the God that I know is for us all.

      He is most definitely watching from a distance -change is certain.
Let's all keep the faith.


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Starvation out of control
      By Eupha Mahenga

      FOOD hand outs from the donor community which are hoped to avert mass
starvation in Zimbabwe can be likened to a few drops of water into a lake,
as the crisis out in the rural areas has become uncontrollable and

      Red Cross officials who spoke to The Standard last week painted a grim
picture of the situation in the country's provinces and warned that if the
current rate of food distribution was anything to go by, then the country
was headed for a major disaster.

      The officials said this following the donation of 100 tonnes of mealie
meal by Lever Brothers to Red Cross society.

      Chimanimani Red Cross provincial programme officer, Golden Mukwecheni,
told The Standard that the dire conditions prevailing in Chimanimani were
increasing daily such that it was becoming difficult to identify those in
need of assistance, as virtually everyone was equally starving in the area.

      "The situation in Chimanimani continues to deteriorate. It calls for
immediate help before people starve to death. We are actually grateful for
the donation we received from the Lever Brothers because it's going to ease
the plight of the recipients," said Mukwecheni.

      Red Cross programme officer, health and social services, Catherine
Marenga, said the generous offer from the Lever Brothers came at a time when
it was needed most.

      "This donation in kind which we have just received is very much
appreciated because it is going to assist directly without involving other
expenses like milling, in the case of the grain, because the milling itself
is now expensive for the people to afford. We used to receive monetary
donations and you know the basic commodities are scarce these days-there was
apparently nothing we could do to help society, even though we had the
money," said Marenga.

      The 100 tonnes of mealie meal was shared among four provinces. Each of
the provinces identified a district in dire need of assistance to be the
recipient of the mealie meal. In Mashonaland Central, the donation went to
Rushinga, while the recipient in Matabeleland South was Matobo. Chimanimani
was Manicaland's beneficiary, while drought ravaged Zaka was Masvingo's
lucky recipient.

      A Red Cross official from Masvingo, Elizabeth Chingarara, welcomed the
food relief which would help the starving people of Zaka.

      "Though the food will not be enough to feed everyone in the district
and province as a whole, the little we have just received is going to ease
somewhat the plight of the recipients," said Chingarara.

      Health and child welfare minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa, who
officiated at the hand over of the food, appealed for a united effort in
fighting hunger.

      "We call upon the private sector, non-governmental organisations and
the government to work together to alleviate the hunger which is threatening
the lives of many in the country," he said.

      Over seven million Zimbabweans are facing starvation, particularly in
rural areas where some are reported to be surviving on wild grass and others
on tea and green vegetables because of the severe shortage of maize, the
country's staple diet.

      It is estimated that the country needs over 40 000 tonnes per week to
see it through to the next harvest in April 2003.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      War Vets target Kuwadzana
      By Chengetai Zvauya

      WAR veterans, riding high after the Zanu PF victory in the Insiza
by-election last week, have turned their guns on Kuwadzana, where another
by-election is due following the death of MDC MP, Learnmore Jongwe.

      The war veterans and their equally potent allies, the
government-sponsored youth militia unleashed a reign of terror in Insiza to
ensure a victory which was later interpreted by the establishment to mean
that the tide was turning against the MDC which had held the seat prior to
the death of George Ndlovu last year.

      The secretary for security in the war veterans association, Mike Moyo,
told The Standard that his association was preparing for a fierce contest
with the MDC in what is generally viewed as one of its strongholds. The MDC
currently holds all the parliamentary seats in Zimbabwe's major urban
centres such as Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma and
Masvingo. It garnered overwhelming support in all these centres in both the
2000 general election and the March presidential poll.

      But with Zanu PF brimming with confidence following its triumph in the
Kadoma mayoral poll and last weekend's Insiza by-election, war veterans are
confident of repeating the feat in Harare.

      "We are coming to Kuwadzana for the by-election and we know that the
area is full of MDC supporters, but we are going to put an end to it. We
shall have to politicise the people so that they can rally behind our
party," Moyo told The Standard last week.

      The MDC has seen its representation in parliament gradually reduced to
54 from 57 as a result of the deaths of its MPs. Two of the seats it
clinched in the 2000 parliamentary elections, Bikita West and Insiza, were
reclaimed by Zanu PF in by-elections.

      With attention now turning to Kuwadzana, analysts are already
questioning whether the MDC should continue to participate in elections
which are now clearly nothing short of farcical given Zanu PF's use of every
trick in the book to win elections.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Reprisals in Insiza  11/3/02
      Story by By Cynthia Mahwite

      INSIZA-As Zanu PF basks in the glory of what they call a resounding
victory over the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Insiza
last weekend, weary villagers say the whole electoral exercise was a mere

      Villagers who escaped the constituency this week told The Standard
that violence in the area still continues unabated as Zanu PF supporters and
its youth militia intensify a witch-hunt to sniff out MDC supporters from
the constituency.

      The ruling party has started a retribution exercise to harass and
force opposition supporters to denounce the MDC and join Zanu PF.

      "The Zanu PF youths have given us two weeks to surrender all MDC
material and join Zanu PF and they have started moving around the district
punishing suspected opposition supporters.

      "Despite their winning the seat, which we think was on unjust grounds,
they continue to intensify violence in the area and we are being beaten up
night and day as they continue searching for MDC sympathisers and polling
agents," said a villager who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

      On Monday Zanu PF supporters are reported to have rounded up 11 MDC
polling agents from their homes and severely assaulted them.

      According to villagers, many people are now spending nights in the
bush for fear of being attacked by the Zanu PF youth militias.

      "The happenings of Gukurahundi have resurfaced once again. How can the
government use our own children, whom we have sent to be trained in the name
of national service, to beat us up and attack us at night?" said Baba
Sibanda who declined to give his first name.

      Villagers in Insiza feel that the election was stolen as the
electorate was manipulated to vote for Zanu PF if they did not want to be
killed and have their homes burnt.

      "Our village headmen pleaded with us to vote for Zanu PF or there
would be no peace in the area. However, what is shocking us is that despite
their victory violence is still prevalent and is getting worse," said
another villager.

      "They have forced us to vote for their candidate and he has won, we
are not sure what they want from us now."

      "We knew Zanu PF was winning because they told us to vote for them.
They gave us food, something that the MDC could not do, and told us that if
we voted for the opposition then we would starve," said Melusi Msipha, a
villager in the constituency.

      The Standard had difficulty interviewing villagers as most shied away
from questions asked by this reporter.

      However, the few that spoke to this paper had horrific tales to tell.

      A man who identified himself as Zimutho told The Standard that there
was a lot of violence in some districts in the constituency during the
elections, where a number of MDC sympathisers were beaten up and arrested.

      "Silalatshani, Filabusi and Mahole were the areas most affected with
violence during the elections. Shops in Mahole were attacked and destroyed
with some being burned down whilst the electorate in Silaltshani were stoned
by the militia," said Zimutho.

      MDC spokesman, Paul Temba-Nyathi, said his party would challenge the
outcome of the poll as there was overwhelming evidence pointing to a flawed
electoral process.

      "We are definitely contesting these results because the situation is
crying out for us to do something. This is another seat stolen from us by
the government, only it is so much in the open that people can see it," said

      According to Nyathi, war-vets in Insiza are still maintaining a reign
of terror. He said the number of cases of villagers being beaten up and
tortured continues to increase.

      "We have a number of villagers who have managed to escape from Insiza
and their reports are just so appalling. The situation of violence in the
constituency continues to worsen as people are being raided night and day in
search for MDC members."

      He dismissed the existence of democracy in the nation saying it had
been destroyed by Zanu PF.

      Meanwhile addressing a victory celebration in Insiza on Friday,
President Robert Mugabe said the people of Insiza had refused to be deceived
by the "British sponsored" MDC which championed the cause of the minority

      Mugabe also attacked British Prime Minister Tony Blair for meddling in
Zimbabwe's internal affairs and attempting to influence the outcome of the
Insiza poll through his High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Brian Donnelly.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Doubts over Jongwe letters  11/3/02
      Story by By Farai Mutsaka

      AS the saga surrounding the death of Learnmore Jongwe unfolds, the
late Kuwadzana MP's family is now questioning the authenticity of letters
police allege were written by the former MDC spokesman before his death.

      The family, including three of the late MP's friends, Charlton Hwende,
MDC national youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa and Earnest Mudzengi, said they
were now seeking legal recourse to force police to release the letters "if
they ever existed".

      In a bid to diminish government responsibility in Jongwe's death,
police have sought to insinuate that the former legislator appeared to have
been preparing for his death and they claim to have in their possession, two
letters written by Jongwe just before his death.

      The letters were purportedly written to members of Jongwe's family.
Contents of the letters have not been released, except for an alleged
instruction to his lawyer to give his mother the secret Personal
Identification Number (PIN) for his bank account.

      The police have not released the letters, however, but as evidence for
their claims, have produced a footnote allegedly written in Jongwe's bible
which bequeaths the book to his prison inmates.

      Hwende, who has been mandated by the Jongwe family to represent them
on this issue, told The Standard last week that they would now seek legal
recourse to force the police to release the letters.

      He said the police appeared not to be in possession of any such
letters and could be looking for handwriting experts to fabricate the

      Said Hwende: "The police are claiming to be in possession of three
letters written by the late Jongwe. They have refused to give those letters
to the family, yet we see the state media saying they have excerpts of the
letter. We don't honestly think those letters exist.

      "What they want to do is manufacture non-existent letters to
strengthen their argument that Jongwe committed suicide thereby absolving
the government of both accountability and responsibility for the death. We
think they are looking for a handwriting expert to fabricate the letters.
With the appetite government showed in tarnishing Jongwe's image, even in
death, they could have splashed those letters around a long time ago. We are
now seeking legal action to have the police release the letters they claim
to have," said Hwende.

      Justin Jongwe, Learnmore's younger brother, confirmed that they are
challenging the police to prove the existence of those letters by releasing
them to the family.

      Said Justin: "We want those letters. If they exist then they should be
given to the family as soon as possible. Why are they withholding them if
they are genuine? I don't suppose they were addressed to Marimba Park police
station, Harare Central or any other police station. If Learnmore wrote
those letters, then he obviously addressed them to somebody, who should now
be given the letters. We are going to use legal means to get the police to
release the letters. It appears the police are simply out to embarrass us
and we cannot tolerate that any longer."

      But police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said
police would not release the letters.

      "Those letters are not going to be released. They are part of the
evidence gathered and will be produced before a magistrate. We are not
working on mysterious information. It is something that exists and will be
produced. It is not happening in this case only-this has always been the
process. They (the Jongwes) want to know how Learnmore died and those
letters will be part of the docket," said Bvudzijena.

      Jongwe, who died in mysterious circumstances in his prison cell, was
buried at his rural home in Zhombe on Tuesday.

      Post mortem results, which could shed more light on Jongwe's death,
are yet to be released.

      Said Bvudzijena: "Post mortem results will come, but people should not
be of the opinion that those results will be conclusive. There are a lot of
other factors that come into play and we should look at these as a whole
before we come up with a final conclusion."

      Jongwe's mother last week told The Standard that she held the Mugabe
regime responsible for her son's death.

      She also dismissed insinuations from government quarters that members
of the Jongwe family who had brought him food just before his death could
have laced the food with poison.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Deliberate Destruction.

We spent yesterday looking at the economic situation that existed in March
this year when the MDC felt quite confident that it was going to win the
presidential ballot and take power away from Zanu PF. Then we looked at the
present economic situation and even I, who watches these things on a daily
basis, was shocked at the deterioration in 7 months.

We were naïve to have expected, when we formed the MDC in 1999, that we were
about to engage in a struggle for power that would be based on competing
ideas and policies, on clearly defined democratic principles and within the
framework of the rule of law. We are now wiser - African politics are not
played out like that and that perhaps explains why so many political
conflicts on the continent end up as military conflicts.

Since we founded the MDC we have seen the rule of law abandoned, every
accepted rule for a democratic process discarded or abused and the blatant
use of all the power of the state to try and smash the fledgling Party. Our
refusal to be drawn into a violent confrontation, our persistent adherence
to democratic principles and activities within the framework of the law has
brought us accolades from other democratic forces and countries throughout
the world but scant recognition in Africa itself - where it matters. It has
not even resulted in significant financial support based on principle and a
desire to promote democracy in Africa.

What it has triggered inside the Zanu PF machine is a "total onslaught" in
the old South African apartheid parlance. They have recognised that it has
been urban workers and commercial farm workers who have been the backbone of
the MDC. They have seen that small independent business has been able to
support the MDC financially and all these sectors of our population have
become a target. The commercial farmers have been smashed into the ground -
now the state is taking their staff and their families and dumping them in
the Zambezi valley without food or any means of support. These impoverished,
beaten and harassed people (1,5 million of them) have nowhere to go except
perhaps to our neighbours where they will become new refugees. They have
been stripped of their citizenship and any other rights they might have had
before this economic blitzkrieg was unleashed. Their employers are now
sitting in rented accommodation in the cities wondering just what they are
to do next? Their assets have been handed out to those who committed this
economic crime, in front of the whole world, as a reward for their
activities and support.

In the cities the attack has been more subtle but just as effective - formal
sector employment has crashed - some 400 000 jobs have been wiped out. 2,5
million economic refugees - 90 per cent of them potential MDC supporters,
driven out of the country to become economic refugees in other lands - 80
per cent of them in South Africa. Incomes have been decimated by high
inflation and low wages. The trade unions have been neutralized by
introducing pro Zanu PF structures to all sectors and allowing them to
harass and intimidate the workers in their companies and to entice them with
promises that their companies cannot afford. When required these industrial
thugs are backed up with CIO and Police who harass and intimidate
management. Life has become a nightmare in many companies targeted for this

When they say enough is enough, there is always a Zanu PF gravy train hack
ready with a suitcase full of money to do a cheap fast deal. Best of all,
you have a simple computer driven system of theft which, when a company
receives a payment in foreign exchange, just takes 40 per cent and gives the
company a pittance for its efforts. The company then sells the balance for a
huge premium, paid for by the productive sector or those who are desperate
to leave, and because the resulting blend is profitable, the companies
accept being robbed. Just to show they are in charge, if they need petty
cash for anything - they just sell the foreign exchange back to the idiots
who participate in this grand larceny at the huge premiums they are prepared
to pay. So we pay for our own destruction - it's very neat!

The end result is systematic, deliberate destruction of everything that has
been built up here since 1900. More especially, since 1980, and all the
benefits of the past 22 years of foreign aid and World Bank and IMF assisted
development is being swept away. In 22 years the life expectancy of our
people has declined 22 years on average, incomes have fallen to levels last
seen in the 60's, industrial production is falling 3 per cent a month. We
have gone from being a net exporter of food to being dependent on imports
for 75 per cent of what we need to survive. Education and health systems are
in a crisis state, the educated elite we created with so much optimism in
the 80's has left and now benefits the developed countries where they do all
the jobs the westerners do not want. At home, we get the crumbs off their

What does this mean for us in Zimbabwe - we are being starved, robbed,
beaten and worse and all we get is sympathy! We do not even get that from
our African colleagues - they simply say "accept the inevitable, do a deal
with the devil". A government of national unity is the answer is the cry
from Mbeki and Obasanjo. We turn to our ancestors and Joshua Nkomo comes
back with the answer to that one!

So the debate rages on in Zimbabwean society - do we fight the elections,
even though they are a sham? Or do we lie down and wait until they kill
enough of our MP's to give them the two thirds they need to change the
constitution? How do we fight back democratically when every aspect of the
system is under Zanu PF control and direction?

Take the Tonga people of the Binga district. They are an ancient people,
used to living on the banks of the great rivers where they subsist on flood
plain agriculture and the rich fishing. Long neglected by African
governments and others, they have come to recognise that they as a tiny
ethnic minority have a stake in a democratic system. So they voted for the
MDC in March and June 2000, then in March 2002 and again in September 2002.
The result is that they are now being starved to death en masse. The UNDP
does nothing except make appeals to the Minister responsible; the
international community wrings their hands and goes to the next cocktail
party where they discuss the problem and the question of what to do next.
The people of Binga look at their plight; their starving children and old
people and ask for help from the MDC - what can the Party do? Denied food or
money to make any difference, the MP simply attends funerals and
commiserates with the families.

I wrote to the UNDP asking that urgent action be taken to force a break in
the blockade. All I got was an assurance that they were "consulting". Who
needs to consult in respect to a thing like this, what we need is action and
fast, to avoid a catastrophe.

As for NEPAD, what can we say? There will be no political peer review
process Mbeki says this past week - that will be left to the organs of the
AU. I have lived under the influence of the AU and its predecessors since it
was established. I have never seen any form of effective influence exerted
by this organisation in its entire history. Those who seek to foster
development and democracy in Africa must take note of these events. Do not
listen to the fine words spoken by African leaders - watch their actions and
be warned. The majority do not give a damn about their own people or their
welfare, all they want is control and power and the ability to use the
resources of the State (and donors if possible) to feather their own nests
and the nests of their close associates.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 3rd October 2002
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Water woes dog Beitbridge
      By Debra Mazango

      THE Beitbridge council has been accused of neglecting the town's water
supplies and there is mounting fear that the water crisis could scuttle
plans to cash in on the solar eclipse expected to occur in the southern part
of Zimbabwe on 4 December.

      The Beitbridge Business Association (BBA) and the residents'
association told The Standard that both the council and the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority had failed to rectify the problem which has dogged
the town for the last 16 years.

      Like other southern parts of the country that are set to experience a
total eclipse of the sun next month, Beitbridge is anticipating an influx of
tourists whom it is hoped will inject a great deal of money into the small
town. But with water shortages resurfacing owing to high temperatures and
the breakdown of water pumps, there are fears that the town's image could be
adversely dented, leading to potential tourists shunning the town.

      With a population of 25 000 residents, plus 10 000 squatters, the town
is currently being serviced by a single water pump which is failing to cope
with the load. The pump operates for just two hours a day to save it from
breaking down completely.

      "This situation has been going on for the past 16 years and council
has not been doing anything to repair the leaking pipes, so as the business
association we have been approached to look into the matter before December,
which is seen as a golden opportunity to lure investors to the boarder
town,'' said Michael Ngwenya, an executive committee member of the
Beitbridge Residents Association.

      The Standard is informed that the two dams on the banks of the Limpopo
River are virtually dry. To compound the situation, the dams' low gradient
is making it difficult to pump water to most houses and a health hazard is
looming as residents have resorted to fetching water from streams and
unprotected wells. People in transit to and from South Africa are also being
affected by the water crisis as taps previously installed to serve their
needs have been shut down completely. Public toilets in the town have also
been shut down, resulting in people relieving themselves in any secluded
place, at best, or in open areas, at worst.

      A town councillor, Albert Mbidzi, acknowledged that the water
situation in Beitbridge was desperate. "We are aware of this situation, but
there is nothing we can do since we require about $12 million in order to
provide normal supplies of water to the residents of Beitbridge. The water
crisis is likely to extend for months if government does not take any action
because this place is home to deportees from South Africa who don't pay
anything and the residents owe council over $6,5 million," said Mbidzi.

      If the water situation is not rectified soon, the town stands to lose
tourists to South Africa, which is offering better services on the other
side of the Limpopo.

      Forex starved Zimbabwe is hoping to cash in on the anticipated influx
of tourists to the beleaguered southern African country.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      SA cuts off fuel  11/3/02
      Story by By Chengetai Zvauya

      ZIMBABWE's precarious fuel situation is set to deepen following
revelations that South African fuel company, Sasol, has stopped its supplies
to Zimbabwe following last week's expiry of the US$20 million facility which
saw the country receive fuel from across the border, The Standard has

      The deal between Zimbabwe and Sasol had resulted in the southern and
central parts of the country receiving fuel overland from South Africa from
2000. It could not be established whether fuel from another South African
company, Engen which was also being sourced for the southern and central
parts of the country, was still flowing in.

      The fuel provided by the two companies amounted to 30% of the
country's total requirements.

      But with the facility now exhausted, there are signs that national
fuel procurement entity, Noczim, will struggle even further to cope with
demand. For the past two weeks, the southern and central parts of the
country have been experiencing sporadic stock outs at filling stations,
while supplies in the capital Harare have also been inconsistent.

      The Standard understands that last week, the government sought forex
from local financial institutions in a desperate bid to renew the facility
with Sasol.

      The government is also said to have gone onto the black market to
source forex for another fuel deal with Libya, causing the latest crash in
the dollar which is now trading at up to 1 800 against the US dollar.

      The US$360 million facility with Libya, which was personally signed by
President Mugabe and his Libyan counterpart, Muammar Gaddafi, in September,
was supposed to assure Zimbabwe of uninterrupted supplies until the same
month next year. The Libyans normally supply 70% of Zimbabwe's fuel needs.

      But with news that the forex-starved country is defaulting on
payments, the Libyans are said to have shut their pumps until all dues have
been settled.

      Apart from a shortage of petrol and diesel, Zimbabwe is experiencing
the more severe shortage of paraffin and liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

        Saturday 2 November, 2002

            Land reform: Not if, but how
            Pan African Series

            The question is not about whether land reform in Zimbabwe is
necessary. It is obvious to any observer in this country that it is


            At Independence the best agricultural land was owned by around
four thousand, mostly white, commercial farmers whilst poor, black families
were crowded into the less productive communal areas. This was unfair, an
unjust relic of Colonial policy and change was clearly needed.

            For these reasons the British Government supported at Lancaster
House, and continues to support, the need for land reform in Zimbabwe.
"Scrutator" refers to the then Commonwealth Secretary-General quoting from
the document which broke the deadlock over land. This can only be the one
which Lord Carrington, then British Foreign Secretary, presented to the
conference on 11 October 1979. This said that the British Government
"recognise the importance of this issue to a future Zimbabwe Government and
will be prepared, within the limits imposed by our financial resources, to
help" It pointed out that any serious land resettlement programme would be
"well beyond the capacity, in our judgement, of any individual donor
 country". But the British Government undertook to "support the efforts of
the Government of independent Zimbabwe to obtain international assistance
for these purposes". Contrary to popular myth, neither the Lancaster House
Agreement itself nor Lord Carrington's statement mention any specific sums
of assistance or make any reference to Britain paying compensation to white
farmers Both documents are publicly available and can easily be checked. But
Britain did keep its promise to help with land reform - to the tune of £44
million, which makes Britain the biggest bilateral donor to land reform; and
we did help to organise the donors' conference of 1981 at which a further
£636 million was pledged by the international community for development

            We promised at Abuja, and it remains true today, that more
funding is available for a programme that is sustainable, transparent and
which promotes poverty reduction."Scrutator" implies that this
conditionality is the invention of the present British government and is
something to be ashamed of.

            Not so, on either count. All governments have a responsibility
to their own people to ensure that taxpayers'money is properly spent and
there is nothing new in this. Lord Carrington pointed out, when he outlined
the British government's support for land reform at Lancaster House, that
"any resettlement scheme would clearly have to be carefully prepared and
implemented to avoid adverse effects on production".

            Baroness Chalker also said in writing to Minister Kangai about
land reform in 1996, "As a friend and partner in Zimbabwe's development, we
want to help you and your colleagues provide a basis for sustainable
development for alleviating the poverty of many Zimbabweans in rural areas."
The principal new element introduced by the Labour Government in 1997 was to
strengthen the emphasis on working with Zimbabwe as a partner, on the basis
of sovereign equality, rather than on the basis of a historical relationship
rooted in colonialism. The kind of principles all British Governments have
supported were also agreed by key stakeholders, including the Government of
Zimbabwe and donors, at the 1998 Land Conference, as the basis for the next
phase of land reform in Zimbabwe. The problem is that the way land reform
has since been implemented in Zimbabwe has departed from all these
principles:The current fast track programme has not been properly targeted
to benefit the poorest. Many poor people have been allocated land. But the
majority of acquired land has either not been allocated, or has not been
taken up, or has been allocated to those with more resources; At the same
time the programme has increased poverty for around 300 000 farm workers and
their families who have lost their livelihoods. This has affected up to 2
million poor people. Many smallholders allocated land are also facing
increased poverty for the foreseeable future, because basic infrastructure
and inputs have not been properly planned to enable them to make the best
use of the land; There are few assurances on transparency, and numerous
allegations that land has been allocated to people because of their
political position. To take an example: your sister paper 'The Daily Mirror'
reported this week that Minister Manyika was threatening to repossess land
allocated to people who do not belong to the ruling party.

            The rule of law has not been respected. Numerous court rulings
related to the land reform programme have been disregarded and legislation
has been enforced in an inconsistent manner country wide;The British
Government recognises that even the best managed programme of land reform
can bear economic costs in the short term. But the process underway in
Zimbabwe has not been properly managed to avoid longer-term damage to the
economy and, in our view, the authorities have failed to provide the stable
macroeconomic environment that is needed for land reform to flourish. This
has led to huge economic shrinkage and, as a consequence, increased poverty
for a steadily growing number of ordinary Zimbabweans.

            The British Government would of course prefer to be in the
situation where we are contributing to a land reform programme in Zimbabwe
focussed on reducing poverty. It seems sad that over the last year we have
had to focus our assistance on meeting emergency humanitarian needs in
Zimbabwe - and we have spent £38 million here since September 2001 rather
than investing this money in the longer term development of this country.
But that, unfortunately, is the current reality. It is our genuine hope that
these conditions will not exist forever and we look forward to the day when
we can resume contribution to Zimbabwe's longer term development.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe Mirror

      Was Insiza Zanu PF's turning point?
      Mirror Reporter

      When half of the country's cabinet members descended on the parched
dry lands of Insiza, the importance of the parliamentary election could not
be over-emphasized.

      The glossy and expensive posters plastered on the few weathered
buildings and the dry tree trunks were a stark contrast to the pomp and
ceremony that surrounded the impoverished rural populace. The creme de la
creme of the ruling party addressed several rallies in different villages.
Surely, the people of Insiza had never felt this important before and had
never experienced such benevolence showered on them. Truckloads of food were
being ferried to the drought prone district squeezed in the octopus-like
grip of hunger, far flung in the outback of Matebeleland.

      The British High Commissioner, Mr. Brian Donnelly, assisted by the
international World Food Programme had been accused of donating food to
opposition supporters to counter an equally guilty Zanu PF. TheInsiza
parliamentary election served to make a political statement and for Zanu PF
it did effectively.

      The ruling Zanu PF party won with an overwhelming margin, polling 12
115 against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s 5 102. The question
being posed by many is why there was such a big fuss about Insiza and how
the ruling party managed to change its fortunes in what is regarded as an
MDC stronghold. The answers to these questions are complex. On many fronts-
from the scooped by-elections to the coup de tat at the earth summit by
Robert Mugabe- the ruling Zanu PF and its policies could be said to be
gaining overwhelming popularity. Insiza became another coup de tat to be
achieved. Snatching the MDC seat was enough, but winning a by-election in
Matabeleland was a plus for ZANU PF. But is the overwhelming victory in the
by-election a shift in perceptions for Zanu PF, hitherto unpopular in this
region? Most analysts dismissed this notion that the people of Matabeleland
had buried the hatchet with the ruling party and were now embracing it with
open arms.

      Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a political commentator said that partisan
politics did not even come into play. He said that what had won the election
in Insiza was common sense.

      "The perception you have is that an election is supposed to be an
independent process where people vote for a party of their choice without
external factors. It is not so.

      "The prevailing situation in the country made people think of the
immediate. The reality on the ground meant that people had to vote for a
party that would cater for their immediate needs, in this case it is the
government," he said.

      Matabeleland has had a wave of government-driven developmental
projects and food aid being poured into the region. One analyst concurred
that although the region had always haboured a grudge against the ruling
party, its populace was swayed by need.

      He added that while people from Matabeleland had always been anti-
government since the 80's, they now saw the ruling party as a conduit for
development in the impoverished region. To others the election signaled the
demise of the opposition. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
won the Insiza seat in the June 2000 election was thrashed with a huge
margin in what is regarded as the opposition zone. Analysts have also
accused the opposition of having failed to offer people a credible
alternative to ZANU PF. One analyst said the party lacked coherent and
superior programmes to those offered by the ruling party that could have
tilted the political scale in its favour. However, human Rights lawyer and
political commentator Brian Kagoro, disputed the argument that Insiza was a
sufficient barometer to use to argue that the opposition had failed to guard
their zones of autonomy. He said the constituency was in rural Matabeleland
and that area could not be described as a zone of autonomy for the
opposition. Kagoro said that if the MDC failed to garner support in the
Matabeleland urban then one would argue that they had failed to guard a zone
of autonomy.

      " I think it is the Kuwadzana seat that will spell out the fate for
the opposition. If Zanu PF wins this seat then we will admit that their
popularity has increased." Largely a rural constituency, the Insiza populace
could have been receptive to the ongoing land reform and the looming
starvation eased by the bags of maize that were being used as political

      Dzinotyiwei however highlighted that ZANU PF's people-oriented
programmes won the day. He said: " The ruling party explained the major
problems that were faced by most people. They explained what they were doing
to alleviate these problems."He said the challenge for the opposition was
now to team up with the sitting government on issues of national importance.
He said that partisan politics will always be superceded by the immediate
and the opposition should be seen to identify with the ruling party on
national disasters if they were to be respected. While clamours for the two
main political parties to join hands were noble, recent reports indicate
that the natural disaster (drought) had been hijacked by various quarters to
gain political mileage. This fact has thus dissipated any hope of the two
parties working together. Notwithstanding the row the government has made
over the seat, other analysts saw no significance over the Zanu PF victory
in Insiza except a triumph of violence and intimidation. The Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) in its initial poll report said the poll had
been marred by violence. The report stated that ZANU PF militia had invaded
the constituency. Kagoro echoed the same sentiments, saying that Insiza had
not been a significant election victory. " To me violence won in Insiza,
while people are saying attaching meaning to the election result people are
not talking about the huge scale of violence that was prevalent. It was a
margin of terror that carried the day in Insiza." Kagoro questioned the
prudence of the opposition's participation in rural election when they knew
that it would bring suffering to the electorate.

      However, Kagoro admitted that the election had been used to make a
political statement by Zanu PF. He said that the election was an effort by
the ruling party to demonstrate that it had gained some support. The MDC
candidate Siyabonga Malandu Ncube had fled from the constituency fearing for
his life. He has reportedly accused the police for saying they would not
ensure his safety. The government has been accused of using state machinery
to lure and intimidate the electorate in Insiza. Characterised by a heavy
police presence, some analysts pointed out that the election was held under
a cloud of fear. One opposition rally was reportedly accompanied heavy
police and army presence that cowered its supporters into not attending.
Edward Mamutse, government spokesperson has dismissed these allegations
saying that there is always police presence during rallies to ensure
security. He added that the government was not abusing public funds and food
to buy votes.

      " Food was being distributed in Insiza because there is a famine." The
fact remains that Insiza was monumental.

      When top police officials are invited to a remote district to direct a
parliamentary election, half the cabinet and all the governors are
tirelessly campaigning for a week, then the seat means more than a mere
parliamentary election.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reporters sans Frontieres

     Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe
       In power for more than 20 years, he is now strongly challenged inside the country. As part of his bloody struggle with white farmers, he is targeting independent journalists and foreign reporters. In 2001, Zimbabwe became the African country with the worst press freedom situation. Twenty local journalists were arrested and three foreign correspondents deported. Mugabe and his government make constant sensational statements against the press, which they regularly accuse of "spying" or "terrorism." Yet the former schoolteacher, who has six university degrees, was hailed as a liberator when he won the 1980 presidential elections which ended white minority rule. Today he charges that the privately-owned local press only tells "lies" and that foreign media are out to "destabilise" the country.
      They order violations of press freedom and have others do the deed. They might be president, cabinet minister, army chief, Guide of the Revolution or leader of an armed group. All have the power to jail, kidnap, torture and even kill journalists. Because they have faces, we should learn to recognise these predators the better to denounce them.

       Eduardo dos Santos
            Angola   Islamic militants
            Asia   Altaf Hossain Chowdhury
            Bangladesh   Alexandre Lukashenka
           François Compaoré
            Burkina Faso   Than Shwe
            Burma   The kidnapping mafia
            Chechnya   Jiang Zemin
           Carlos Castaño
            Colombia   Manuel Marulanda
            Colombia   Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista
            Colombia   Fidel Castro
           Joseph Kabila
            D.R. Congo   Teodoro Obiang Nguema
            Equatorial Guinea   Issaias Afeworki
            Eritrea   Meles Zenawi
           Jean-Bertrand Aristide
            Haiti   Ali Khamenei
            Iran   Saddam Hussein
            Iraq   Ariel Sharon
           Kirsan Iloumjinov
            Kalmykia Republic   Khamtai Siphandon
            Laos   Moammar Gaddafi
            Libya   Mahathir Mohammad
           Kim Jong-il
            North Korea   Palestinian Security Forces
            Palestinian Authority   Vladimir Putin
            Russia   Paul Kagame
           Abdallah al-Saud
            Saudi Arabia   Security Forces
            Southern Philippines   ETA
            Spain   Mswati III
           Bashar el-Assad
            Syria   Gnassingbé Eyadéma
            Togo   Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali
            Tunisia   Hilmi Ozkok
           Saparmurat Niyazov
            Turkmenistan   Leonid Kuchma
            Ukraine   Islam Karimov
            Usbekistan   Nong Duc Manh
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe's Tobacco Earnings Slump 43% Following Farm Seizures
      Source: Bloomberg News, 2002-11-01
      Author: Antony Sguazzin

      Intro: Zimbabwe's tobacco earnings, its biggest source of foreign
exchange, slumped 43 percent this year following the seizure of white-owned
farms and a drop in prices, said farmers, who forecast a further fall in
      The three tobacco auction floors in Zimbabwe, the No. 2 tobacco
exporter after Brazil, sold 160.5 million kilograms (354 million pounds) of
tobacco during the six-month selling season, earning the country $364.9
million, the government's Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board said. That
compares with the 201.7 million kilograms sold last year for $641 million.

      The number of large-scale growers has been cut by half to 715
following President Robert Mugabe's program of seizing white-owned land for
redistribution to blacks deprived of land during white rule. The collapse of
the industry will dry up supplies of some of the world's best tobacco used
to flavor cigarette brands such as Camel, Marlboro and Winston. . .

      ``It'll be the last real season we have,'' said Bruce Gemmill, who was
forced off his tobacco and fruit farm near Macheke, 60 miles east of Harare,
in September. ``Who'd risk a crop now?''
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard - letter

      No taxation without representation

      WE would like to respond to the article: 'Locals working abroad to pay
tax'. (Sunday News, 27 October 2002).

      The article is clear testimony of the desperation and confusion of the
Mugabe regime of thugs.

      To begin with, the government decided to ban all Zimbabwean nationals
living abroad from voting in the parliamentary and presidential elections,
the implication being that we had become stateless and had no government to
identify with.

      In reality, we are living abroad through the generosity of host
countries who understand the plight of Zimbabweans far better than the Zanu
PF regime.

      We would like to remind deputy minister, Christopher Kuruneri that
there shall be no taxation without representation. So no voting, no
taxation. It is an insult to Zimbabweans living abroad who have been
labelled stooges of the imperialists, to be expected to pay tax to both to
the imperialists and the illegal Gadaffi-led Zimbabwean government.

      It would be a betrayal of those of us forced out of our beloved
country by the murderous, violent, intolerant, corrupt and greedy Zanu PF
machinery to pay taxes for the benefit of the likes of Grace Mugabe, the
green bombers, Joseph Made, Johno Mafikizolo, Patrick Chinamasa, Peter
Chanetsa and dull boy, Phillip Chiyangwa.

      Why should this regime benefit from a situation they have caused? It
remains to be seen whether democratic nations such as the USA, the UK and
Australia will cooperate with a regime they don't recognise.

      VaMugabe, muchifungawo mhani. Kutokundwawo na vaMuzenda.

      Jennings Rukani and Durani Rapozo

      PaOld Trafford

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      MDC in elections rethink  11/3/02
      Story by By our own Staff

      THE MDC executive will meet this week to review its participation in
future elections.

      The move comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding last
weekend's Insiza by-election that was won by Zanu PF.

      Following the victory by ruling party, which defied all odds by
reclaiming the seat from the MDC in what is considered its heartland, the
opposition party has indicated that it will challenge the results in court.

      The party also challenged the outcome of 37 constituencies in the June
2000 general election, as well as that of the March presidential election
that was controversially won by President Mugabe.

      MDC presidential spokesman, William Bango, said it was this
controversy that had forced the party to review its stance with regards to
any elections held under the current regime.

      "The thinking in the party right now is that we should think seriously
about participating in elections because the conditions on the ground are
not conducive for any kind of election. There is now a general belief within
the party that participating in elections is detrimental as it just
legitimises Zanu PF's fraud," said Bango.

      He added that in the light of this, it was therefore premature to talk
of the Kuwadzana by-election, where reports of intra party squabbles
appeared in the press yesterday.

      "We may not even be participating in Kuwadzana. This is all just
speculation. It is true that there are people jockeying for the Kuwadzana
seat, but what these people do not know is that we are now reconsidering our
participation in future elections," said Bango.

      Meanwhile, the Kuwadzana leadership yesterday lambasted party members
who were already vying for Jongwe's seat.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      Zim feeling effects of US trade shut off
      Kumbirai Mafunda

      ZIMBABWE'S ineligibility in the African Growth and Opportunity Act
(AGOA) has cost the forex starved country millions of dollars in foreign
currency as eligible countries are benefiting from preferential trading with
the United States of America, it emerged this week.

      Addressing a breakfast seminar organised by the Institute of Marketing
Management (IMM) in Harare on Wednesday, the head of Economic and Commercial
Affairs at the US embassy, William Weissman said although Zimbabwe is not
eligible under the African Growth and Opportunity Act the business community
here in the country must take up trade opportunities in that country.

      "There are enormous opportunities for you to sell your products for
the US has a Gross Domestic Product of US$9 trillion . We are also investing
a lot of money and resources into the World Trade Centre which is the best
vehicle in the world to develop trade. Our biggest initiative with Africa is
AGOA which was passed in 2000 and the General Systems of Preferences (GSP)
of which Zimbabwe is a member,"

      When asked what chances Zimbabwean goods had in light of the
imposition of targeted sanctions on some government officials and their
apologists in protest over gross governance and human rights abuses,
Wiessman said: "There are no sanctions that keeps Zimbabwean products out of
the United States. The US government has absolutely no problem with the
people of Zimbabwe but with the government,"

      Asked about the US view of Africa, Weissman said his country was very
upbeat on the direction Africa is moving which has seen neighbouring
countries among them Mozambique, Tanzania and Botswana experiencing growth
in excess of 5% and single digit inflation.

      "We feel Africa is one of the regions we think we want to trade closer
with. We are very cognisant of the impact of agricultural subsidies and we
are looking at African countries who are failing to export on a country by
country basis," said Weissman.

      The trade balance between the United States and Zimbabwe is completely
out of balance in favour of Zimbabwe but exports to New York have
steadfastly been dwindling. The US total imports from Zimbabwe in 2001
amounted to US$91 million, 18,5% down from US$112 million in 2000. US
exports to Zimbabwe declined by 40,4% to US$31 million last year from US$52
million in 2000.

      The Act offers beneficiary sub-saharan African countries duty free and
quota-free US market access for essentially all products through the
Generalised System of Preferences program greater access to American markets
and opens avenues for enhanced trade, investment and transfer of technology.
It also offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their
efforts to open their economies and build free markets. In the southern
African region nearly every country is a beneficiary of AGOA except Zimbabwe
which is mired in its worst political and economic crisis since the
attainment of independence. The wholesale setting aside of the rule of law
and the return to a command economy have shut Zimbabwe out of AGOA.

      Weissman said the second AGOA Forum to take place in Port Louis
Mauritius in January 2003 is a very important occasion for Africa to talk to
the Bush administration.

      The trade balance between the United States of America and eligible
sub-saharan African countries under AGOA has surged by an 61,5% in three

      In 1998 Africa's exports to the USA earned US$13 billion which nearly
doubled to US$21 billion in 2001 as AGOA's benefits came to be realised
whilst US exports to Africa during the same period were static at US$7
billion. Of the US$21 billion, US$8 billion is constituted of duty free AGOA

      The recent IMF assessment of African trade shows that restrictive
practices declined from 75% in 1990 to 14% in 2002 and open trade practices
which stood at 0% improved to 43%.

      Eric Dickinson, an executive member of the Institute of Marketing
Management (IMM) challenged the business community to take advantage of the
export opportunities.

      "We should be more motivational and take opportunities in the United
States because to Zimbabwe exports are critical. We are all aware of the
fact that the main thrust to revive the economy is the export sector so it
is up to the business community to exploit opportunities and take advantage
of them to move the economy in that direction," said Dickinson.

      Export sector performance has been hampered by increased production
costs, a fixed exchange rate and an uncompetitive pricing among other
factors and has resulted in reduced foreign currency receipts.

      What this story means:

      While Weissman may encourage Zimbabwean companies to export to the US,
they are doing so at a massive disadvantage to other companies in the region
since they face 18% duty on getting their goods into the USA. Zimbabwean
companies are advised to export through Comesa countries if they want to
have some kind of comparative advantage.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      New economic theory lauded
      overthetop by Brian Latham

      A NEW economic theory has been developed in a troubled central African
country where analysts say it will revolutionise development and fuel a new
world order.

      The theory, touched upon by the troubled central African country's
most equal of all comrades, sees goods being bought with foreign currency
obtained at outrageous prices, then sold at an enormous loss to the public.
"This means that businesses will go broke and not the government," said a
clearly uncertain spokesman from the troubled central African country's
economics ministry.

      First to be affected by the revolutionary economic theory, said to be
the finest since Karl Marx sent over half of Europe into bankruptcy, will be
multinational fuel companies. They must now import their own fuel, said the
most equal of all comrades.

      Fuel company executives scratched their heads and asked how they were
to do this when the troubled central African nation's corrupt and bankrupt
oil procurer had a monopoly on petrol imports.

      "That's the beauty of the beauty of the scheme," said someone from the
economics ministry. "If we tell them to import it and they can't, then we
can blame them and their imperialist bosses for any fuel shortages that

      Still, a fuel executive said that if the most equal of all comrades
thought oil companies were going to import fuel at, say, 50 US cents a litre
and sell it at 5c, then clearly the most equal of all comrades was using a
calculator made in North Korea. "If we can't sell it at a profit, then we
won't sell it," said the oil executive.

      The oil executive's statement was dismissed as treasonable rubbish by
the troubled central African country's disinformation department. "It's
obvious that these imperialist saboteurs haven't grasped the fundamentals of
the most equal of all comrade's genius revolutionary thinking," said a
functionary reading a prepared script, without saying how the genius
revolutionary thinking would transform the economy.

      But he did say it would transform the government's economy because it
would no longer have to subsidise the price of fuel. When asked whether fuel
would be sold at world prices or whether oil companies were expected to run
at massive losses, the functionary said imperialist profiteering would not
be allowed and prices would be vigilantly monitored by revolutionary cadres
from the Zany Party.

      "Until such time as we own all the fuel companies there will be no
profiteering. After that prices may rise because the fuel companies will
belong to the people and they will be buying the fuel from themselves," he
said, adding that this was where the revolutionary bit came in.

      The idea was so simple that it was pure genius, he went on to say.
"It's much the same as with the farms. Now that the people own all the
farms, they can blame only themselves if food costs too much or if, as is
more likely, there is no food."

      When it was pointed out that only members of the Zany party owned
farms, the functionary said that only members of the Zany party could be
classified as people. "The rest are subversives, imperialists and puppets of
the west," he said, "and they should go and live with their colonialist
puppeteers in those foreign places where such people are tolerated."

      Meanwhile, an economist who was not a member of the Zany party
advocated mass hoarding of fuel because it was unlikely there'd be much to
go around for some time to come. "All I can say is buy now while stocks
last, because in the realms of weird economics, this has to be the weirdest
I've ever encountered, even here," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      The Chickens are coming home to roost

      FACED with a crisis of its own making, the Zimbabwe government is now
calling on multi-national oil companies to import their own fuel instead of
buying this precious commodity from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe

      Economically, morally, politically and almost literally, the Mugabe
regime has run out of gas.

      The chickens are coming home to roost. Over the years, in fact for
decades, before this Zanu PF-induced anarchy, oil companies were calling for
precisely what President Mugabe said last Thursday at the National
Consultative Forum retreat in Gweru, but their call has been falling on deaf
ears. The excuse from government was that oil procurement could not be left
in the hands of western imperialists who could sabotage the economy through
this 'strategic' product.

      Even calls for Noczim to just concentrate on ensuring that Zimbabwe
had adequate reserves stored up at Mabvuku holding tanks were dismissed
contemptuously. The call was being made in an era of economic stability and
relative affluence, rather than of the economic crisis as we are
experiencing now.

      Then, Zimbabwe was experiencing some kind of boom, the economy was
moving forward not backward. There was national optimism then. The
fundamentals of life were plentiful-jobs, health facilities, food, strong
Zim dollar, secure future for Zim children and the amenities essential to
modern life. In short, it was an era of promise and great expectations.

      Now the 80s and the 90s have given way to the self-inflicted
Zimbabwean crisis and the nation's psyche has been darkened once again.
There is an acute shortage of everything. Prices of goods and services are
going through the roof on a daily basis. Honest and hard working Zimbabweans
are being turned into criminals and crooks largely because of the shortage
economy currently engulfing the country.

      It does not take rocket science to figure out why upright Zimbabweans
have been transformed into dishonest people. Private companies, individuals
and the government itself are carrying thousands, literally millions of
Zimkwachas in the boots of their vehicles. The country is being run
literally from the streets and not from the banks, government and private
sector offices.

      For a country long accustomed to honesty and hard work, this is
something new and unwelcome. And this is the environment in which President
Mugabe is calling on multi-national companies to use their own resources to
import petrol and diesel. The implications of this direct importation of
fuel and other commodities on inflation and subsequently on prices, is none
of his business-so it appears. There is no doubt in our own minds that if
such a thing were to happen, there would be human misery of enormous
proportions. The current crisis would be so much worse. We therefore await
the forthcoming budget with bated breath.

      President Mugabe said every week cabinet "cracked" its head over fuel
supplies in the country. He went on: "Twenty-two years in government, 22
years of playing this game of foolery. They (multi-national oil companies)
don't suffer from the headaches and stomach aches I suffer from...For how
long shall I superintend this institution of tomfoolery?"

      We will tell you Mr President. Suffer as long as it takes. Continue to
"crack" your head as long as it takes. There is no hope in hell as long as
you are unwilling and unable to address the real and fundamental issues at
stake in our present situation. And you will continue to suffer. Suffer old

      It is an exercise in self-deception and unmitigated folly for anyone
to think that the economic and political malaise that has enveloped this
country can be solved by tinkering with the rough edges. What we need is a
cure for the disease and not a bandage here and a bandage there.

      The government has destroyed, among other things, the goose that lays
the golden egg: tobacco. The government has destroyed commercial
agriculture. The economy has become a shadow of its former self. Where will
exports for our much-needed foreign currency now come from? This is what the
Cabinet needs to "crack" its head over if there is indeed to be a
turn-around in our fortunes. Not to mention balance of payment support from
the Bretton Wood institutions: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
World Bank. Such support is critical to the economic health and well being
of Zimbabwe. Equally important also is the need to tackle issues crucial to
democracy such as: the rule of law, accountability, transparency, human
rights, violent conflict, free and fair elections, freedom of the press and
independence of the judiciary.

      Zimbabweans cannot go it alone. It is absolute lunacy to say: 'To hell
with the international community and international opinion.' No country can
be an island complete unto itself. Much less so, Zimbabwe. It is wicked and
foolhardy to try to emulate political systems of countries such as Cuba,
Libya and Malaysia. Cuba is an island with a fairly well-developed economy.
Zimbabwe is not. Libya is rich in oil while Zimbabwe is poverty-stricken.
Malaysia has a sound and highly developed economy. Zimbabwe is a midget
compared to that country. In any event, this world is so round, so wired and
networked that it is absolutely ridiculous and foolish to have faith in
another equally (in fact worse) poverty stricken country-Namibia.

      The president must show that he is serious in both word and deed after
his plea at that Gweru retreat for all Zimbabweans, irrespective of
political background or religion, to work together to create smart
partnerships and make Zimbabwe great. The problem with Mugabe is that he
does not mean what he says. He merely pays lip service to what he utters. No
sooner does he leave Gweru and then he says and does things completely at
variance with what he would have urged Zimbabweans to do. This is the
problem. If only he could mean what he said about Zimbabweans working
together irrespective of political affiliation, what a new beginning it
would be for this country!

      Differences will always be there in any society. When will Zimbabweans
learn the simple fact that if and when people disagree with you, they are
just thinking differently? They are not your enemies. They are just being
creative and trying to come up with the best way forward for our country.
The sooner everybody grasps this simple logic, the better for all of us.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim  Standard

      How long can this continue?
      sundayopinion by Mavis Makuni

      THE full extent of the mass misery Zimbabweans are experiencing was
brought home to me in the most excruciating way through three different
incidents over the past week.

      In the first incident, I was walking down the street nibbling an apple
when a young man surged forward from nowhere and snatched the fruit from my
hand. He apologised for his action but explained that he was so hungry he
hoped I understood that he simply had no choice but to do what he had done.

      Another time, I was sitting in a fast food restaurant trying to
assuage my hunger with one of the cheapest items on the menu, an egg roll,
when a smartly dressed young man sitting at the next table leaned towards

      After explaining that he was hungry but could not afford to buy
anything for lunch, he asked whether he could have that half of my roll
which was not garnished with egg.

      The third incident occurred on garbage collection day in my
neighbourhood when two men who usually scavenge for whatever scraps they can
salvage from rubbish cans fought over the rotting contents of a particular

      I was devastated. Firstly, because I never thought things would ever
come to this in my motherland and secondly, because these incidents brought
home the fact that there are real flesh and blood human beings behind the
statistics pertaining to unemployemt, economic hardships, hunger, starvation
and life below the poverty datum line.

      These examples demonstrate beyond doubt that we need men of conscience
and compassion within the political hierarchy to stem the wave of misery and
suffering sweeping across the nation, which is affecting people of all walks
of life. The government levies taxes on all citizens, regardless of
political affiliation and should cater for everyone on the same basis when
there are crises. People are hungry everywhere, including in cities and

      But what we have seen so far, if persistent press reports are to be
believed, is that food is being used as a weapon to punish opponents and to
consolidate the ruling party's control and power over the starving masses.
The people are crying out for compassion and empathy and all they are
getting in return is a kick in their empty bellies. How long can this

      And yet a national disaster such as the prevailing humanitarian crisis
in Zimbabwe presents a golden opportunity for the ruling elite to put petty
and selfish personal agendas aside and build bridges. When faced with
similar challenges, leaders in other countries rise to the occasion every

      A recent example is how Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder came from behind
in opinion polls to win elections in Germany, last month. His victory has
been attributed to his 'hands-on' approach to the floods which hit his
country and other parts of Europe in September.

      Schroeder rolled up his sleeves and toured the affected areas for an
on-spot assessment of the damage. This enabled him to listen to the concerns
and needs of the different communities and to assure them of his commitment
to doing everything possible to help them.

      Such an approach is unheard of in Zimbabwe. What usually happens is
that when the people are down, they are shown a clenched fist and subjected
to fighting talk and threats. Disasters are seen as opportunities to gain
political mileage.

      After the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic
depression, the United States faced a catastrophe as grave or worse than the
largely self-inflicted one in Zimbabwe at present.

      In introducing a package he called the 'New Deal' to address the
economic collapse in his country, the US president at the time, Franklin D
Roosevelt, combined strong leadership with consummate skill to harness all
forces into an effective coalition. He was wise enough to appreciate the
importance of involving all stake holders in tackling the enormous problems
his country was facing. By so doing, he gained enduring respect and

      Zimbabwe political leadership's myopic quest to gain influence and
consolidate power using brute force to instil fear in the population can
only buy them time. It will eventually backfire. When deprived of all means
of voicing grievances and seeking redress, a time will come when the people
will conclude that they no longer have anything to lose.
Back to the Top
Back to Index