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

Daily News - Leader Page

      Good rains stern test for resettled farmers

      11/4/02 9:03:52 AM (GMT +2)

      IF we are to believe the experts at the Meteorological Office, last
week's rains signalled the beginning of the wet season.

      After last year's disaster, farmers and the population in general must
be hoping that this season will be different in a positive way.

      Agriculture was dealt a heavy blow in 2000 and the chances of a
complete recovery, from the evidence so far, look decidedly slim. The
newly-settled farmers have been given much encouragement by the government,
which seems to have successfully badgered a number of commercial banks to
help them with finance.

      A figure of $8,5 billion has been mentioned, to be matched by a
similar figure from the government. This is an enormous investment in
agriculture and everybody must be hoping that it will all be worth it in the

      This is not to ignore the fact that, right from the start, the
      so-called Third Chimurenga - as Zanu PF and the government have called
it - is essentially a political campaign. Any government or Zanu PF official
who claims there was meticulous planning involved before this whole mess was
launched has to believe his audience are dolts.

      Playing political games with agriculture is tantamount to playing
Russian roulette with the people's lives. The severe shortage of food today
may indeed be attributable to last season's disastrous crop failure. But the
violent take-over of the commercial farms in 2000 played a critical role.

      There was and continues to be massive disruption of agricultural
activity. The few commercial farmers who remain active have to contend with
soaring input costs and the occasional threat from the new settlers on their

      Some of these settlers show scant concern for the elementary
precautions required for good land management. The indiscriminate
cutting-down of trees and the unplanned burning of grass suggest the
re-introduction of farming methods long discarded by modern farmers as
wasteful and destructive.

      But what is of crucial concern to the people, whether they are in the
rural or in the urban areas, is a return to the food self-sufficiency of the
old days. For the new settlers who have ostensibly replaced the commercial
farmers, this season will provide the sternest test for their resilience -
if the rains are as plentiful as the Met Office has promised.

      Of course, if there is a repeat of the El Nino phenomenon, then the
government will to revise its survival strategy.

      Already, some of the new farmers complain of a woeful lack of the
inputs promised by the government. Others grouse about the absence of the
ideal infrastructure of a farming community designed to motivate farmers to
produce their best - clinics, schools, roads, shops.

      Again, this provides further evidence that if the government did any
planning at all before this programme was launched, then it must have done
it in pitch darkness and with "experts" whose qualifications were forged.

      The prospects of the government transforming this essentially
political campaign into a genuinely agricultural one seem remote. Today,
food aid is being used as a political tool by Zanu PF. The shameful seizure
of World Food Programme maize by Zanu PF functionaries for distribution to
their supporters before the Insiza by-election is a potent indicator of

      Everywhere, but particularly in the rural areas, there are reports of
Zanu PF using food as a political weapon, ensuring it is given only to
people who are willing to abandon the opposition.

      In the Insiza parliamentary by-election, starving villagers confessed
they had no choice but to vote for the party with the food - Zanu PF. This
is a serious indictment on the campaign methods of the MDC. If their members
could be swayed so easily, then they need to revamp their strategy

      The next by-election is likely to be in Kuwadzana to fill the seat
left vacant by Learnmore Jongwe's death.

      If the food weapon is employed by Zanu PF as effectively as it was in
Insiza, then democracy could be the loser - again.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Hungry Insiza villagers ignore Mugabe, rush for free food, beer

      11/4/02 8:22:39 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      SCORES of hungry Insiza district villagers ignored President Robert
Mugabe's election victory address at Filabusi but instead rushed for food
and opaque beer served by Zanu PF at the occasion on Friday.

      Hundreds of school children who remained behind to listen to the
president's speech later went away on empty stomachs. The celebration was
held at Filabusi Primary School.

      Mugabe and other high-ranking Zanu PF officials and government
ministers attended the occasion to celebrate the victory of their party's
candidate, Andrew Langa, against the MDC's Siyabonga Ncube in the
parliamentary by-election on 26-27 October.

      Zanu PF polled 12 115 votes, and the MDC got 5 105.

      Thousands of people from across the district were transported to the
venue in District Development Fund, Insiza Rural District Council, Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), Posts and Telecommunications and
Central Mechanical Equipment Department vehicles.

      "We were told that there would be a lot of meat and beer but what we
are seeing is obviously not what we were promised.
      "I came from Mkwabeni thinking there would be plenty of food. In fact,
everyone here came for the food," said one villager.

      Several other villagers said the promise of food, especially the meat
which turned out to be in short supply at the venue, was part of the
invitation message which was reinforced by threats that those who failed to
go would be viewed as MDC supporters.

      All hell broke loose towards the end of Mugabe's address when some
wards started serving food to their people.

      On hearing news that food was being served, the villagers left the
venue of the address and headed for the pots where there was a stampede to
get into queues.

      Some people who did not know their ward numbers, lost out on the food
as they were driven away if they went to the wrong queues.

      Thousands of school children from schools around Filabusi, formed the
larger part of the audience which listened to Mugabe's speech.

      The stampede for beer started when a truck from Ingwebu Breweries,
began pumping opaque beer into two small tanks brought in for storage

      The villagers, some carrying plates with food, pushed and shoved as
they jostled for positions on the queue, forcing the barman to start serving
beer while Mugabe was delivering his address.

      Another stampede occurred at the entrance to the venue, when national
service youths deployed around the area drove away hundreds of food vendors
who had taken advantage of the gathering to sell various types of farm

      The vendors abandoned their wares, and flattened a fence as they fled
from the menacing youths who were deployed around the venue in large

      Two roadblocks were mounted on each road leading to and from Filabusi
for the purposes of searching all motor vehicles entering the town.

      Even security officers of Zesa were present, and so were Zanu PF
youths, the police support and some army units.

      In his address Mugabe hailed Langa's victory as a triumph over what he
described as the "evil machinations of America and Britain".

      He accused the two countries of using the MDC to encourage the people
of Zimbabwe to sell out their sovereignty.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Zimbabwe rushing towards total economic collapse, warns IMF

      11/4/02 8:29:54 AM (GMT +2)

      From Dave Goldiner in New York

      THE International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s top expert on Zimbabwe says
the country is on the brink of an economic crisis that will make the current
hardships seem like child's play.

      Gerry Johnson, the IMF's resident representative to Zimbabwe, said
government mismanagement could soon plunge the nation into a
hyperinflationary spiral that would bring the economy to its knees -
possibly before year's end.

      The group predicts inflation of 522 percent for next year, but Johnson
now says prices could soar much, much more than that.

      "You're moving into a situation where it could go much higher than
that," said Johnson, who is in the United States of America for

      "Once you get to that point, it can go very fast."

      A dramatically accelerating crisis could force companies to shut down
nationwide and prices doubling on a monthly basis - just as the nation
struggles with a catastrophic famine.

      Workers' already shrivelling salaries would be rendered worthless
overnight and the Zimbabwean dollar would collapse to never-imagined lows.

      "One does wonder how much longer can the economy be allowed to
collapse," said Johnson, who returns to Harare this week. "I don't know at
what point people in government start to realise that something has to

      The Zanu PF government is the culprit for creating the three-headed
monster of declining production in all sectors, artificially low interest
rates, and a fictitious fixed foreign exchange rate, Johnson said.

      Especially with the tobacco selling season over, Zimbabweans
      are likely to continue to scramble to buy the increasingly scarce
foreign currency at any price.

      With interest rates being held at absurdly low rates, there is
      no incentive for anyone to hold onto Zimbabwean dollars any longer
than they have to.

      "People have no confidence in the economy," Johnson said. "They are
nervous and they are probably right to be nervous."

      Johnson, who has been stationed in Harare for 18 months, was shocked
to hear from a reporter that the Zimbabwean dollar was trading late last
week at Z$1 400 to the United States dollar - a dramatic fall from its level
when he left the country just the previous week.

      He said the Zimbabwean dollar could quickly plunge to 3 000 or more to
the US dollar and will likely be trading below parity with the Zambian
kwacha next year - a humiliating blow to the Zanu PF government.

      Zimbabwe has rejected the IMF's prescriptions for economic recovery
and refused to service its debt. It recently had its voting rights suspended
by the world financial body, a step short of being expelled.

      Short of restoring the rule of law, the best hope to restore some
semblance of economic sanity would be to raise interest rates, Johnson said.

      That would bring down inflation to manageable levels and give
Zimbabweans some incentive to save or invest Zimbabwean dollars instead of
spending them or bidding for foreign currency.

      Johnson said every economist knows the country can only escape an
economic meltdown with new assistance from the international lending
agencies like the IMF and World Bank.

      But he said it will take more than a phone call from President Mugabe
to win an economic life raft from the Bretton Woods group.

      Mugabe would have to reverse the international pariah status
      he has earned by years of farm seizures, the stolen presidential
election and broken promises to ease political repression.

      "The lender countries are concerned that the people of Zimbabwe are
suffering greatly," Johnson said.

      "They want to see change and so do we."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 1:24 PM
Subject: Industry & Commerce disturbances
A pattern is rapidly emerging of renewed threats to industry and commerce.
It is strongly recommended that if you own or manage a company you strategise now for protection and survival.
The greatest survival technique is networking, so make sure you know who your friends and neighbours are and how to contact them in an emergency.
If possible, form "neighbourhood watch" groups among yourselves, and agree that if any member is attacked or threatened, the others (management and workers)
will physically go to their assistance.
Beef up your security systems - make sure the "man on the gate" or the "lady at reception" knows how to identify potential trouble and what to do.
Do NOT pay protection money.  If you do, you are fuelling the fire, and in the end, you will also suffer when the "economy" further implodes.  Do NOT succumb to threats if you can possibly avoid it.  Make sure you run your company in accordance with the law (even if others don't have to!) and keep your relationship with your workers clear and professional.
Together, we can complete the change for a better life for all Zimbabweans.
Divided, we are doomed.
Trudy Stevenson MP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News  - Feature

      All under the spell of the Great Leader

      11/4/02 8:34:20 AM (GMT +2)

      I INTEND to dedicate this piece to all our great leaders.

      Leaders come in different shapes and sizes. They also come with
different characteristics and beliefs.

      Our Great Leader comes in one unique form: he is great!

      This is in honour of our one and only one Great Old Leader who has a
face that has shrivelled with greatness. The Great Leader hails from the
dusty plains of some run-down district of Zimbabwe. He is everything the
modern world would like to forget quickly. He is not as shrewd as he would
like to have us believe, but still he is great. He is not as smart as the
pinstripe suits he dons, but he still remains great. His inside seems to be
tormented by the crimes he committed as he marched towards his greatness.
The mastery of William Shakespeare tells us that "Brutus was an honourable
man", Brutus who was euphemistically termed great after he murdered Julius

      I know that by honouring this gentleman, if I may call him that
without causing murmurs of disapproval, I could be accused of being as evil
as he is. Still, I take it upon myself to honour him accordingly. He is evil
and he deserves honour of the meanest degree. He is mean and he possesses
several degrees in violence. Despite all this, I find it necessary to honour
this leader.

      I honour the leader for his greatness. Greatness comes in many forms.
This leader has gained a level of greatness through the back door. He is so
cruel that everyone fears him. He is not different from Hitler.

      I suppose that if Hitler were to stand side-by-side with this Great
Leader, more focus would be towards this towering figure from Zimbabwe.

      I hope the Great Leader would not feel offended for being honoured as
the most deserving dictator ever to grace the highest office south of the
equator after the unlikable Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Kamuzu Banda of
Malawi. The Great Leader deserves every praise that goes along with leaders
gifted with killer instincts.

      I am not going to allow the harsh laws of the country to take me in
for libel. I will have to prove my assertion that this Great Leader is a
killer of the worst degree. The first point I shall use to prove my claims
will be by using you, the suffering people of Zimbabwe. I would ask you to
look at yourselves and decide whether you are living as free Zimbabweans or
you are living at the mercy of the Great Leader. It is a hard decision to
make, but I am sure most of you will agree with me that we are all under the
spell of the Great Leader. (Did someone replace the "p" on spell with a
cheeky "m"?) The greatness of the leader can be seen in our subdued and
resigned state.

      If you cannot make a decision on whether you are free or not, still I
shall not be worried because I know that you are under great pressure from
the arms of the Great Leader not to speak ill of him. His presence is
everywhere, in our hearts, in our brains, in our homes, at Gutu, at
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and even at Insiza. The spell of the Great Leader is
there for you to savour. This is on its own the greatness I am talking
about. Greatness comes in different forms. Hitler was great in a negative
way; so is this Great Leader!

      You have a constitutional right to conclude that you a happy
Zimbabwean who is alive and kicking. I shall then take you to the next level
where I shall further my claims that the Great Leader has indeed murdered
all of us. If you are walking on a pavement in town or you are walking to
fetch water at a borehole 15 kilometres from your home in Nkayi, tell me if
you are free with yourself? Do you not hear some voice urging you to revolt
against your fear? Tell me if you trust the people you meet?

      Do you not feel that they are spying on your thoughts? The fear you
have is what makes the leader great. You cannot speak bad about the Great
Leader because he controls your very thoughts!

      Still, most of you may not understand why I am praising this Great Son
of the Soil! He is an inventor and invader who can make events from
non-events. If you remember abbreviations from elementary school, you will
recall that A1 stands for first class - the best, number one! In his
greatness, the leader has decided to re-invent the wheel. He has decided
that for anything that is bigger and better, it shall be called A2, hence
the A2 farms that were given to the political leadership.

      I can hear you screaming that I prove to you that the Great Leader is
indeed the greatest murderer of all times. I do not need to take you to the
Heroes' Acre in Harare or to Emanqcwabani Cemetery in Bulawayo for you to
see the graves of his victims. You are the victims! Look at your skinny
child who is starving because the land did not produce the maize that should
be feeding the child. It's not your fault that your child is starving, but
the fault of the Great Leader. The Great Leader chose to grow violence
against the farming community at the most inopportune time!

      Perhaps among us are those who are slow in the uptake. I can hear them
asking me to prove my point further. They refuse to honour the Great Leader
with the greatness he deserves until they are satisfied that he is indeed
great. I can hear the agents of the Great Leader whose intelligence is also
great smiling with big forms written "slander" all over them. These Great
Agents of the Great Leader prompt me to prove my point even further.

      There are two facets of greatness: the destructive greatness and the
constructive greatness. The atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima was a great bomb
that destroyed a great town. Our economy has been hit by a great atomic bomb
that has been crafted by the Great Leader. The Great Leader has made it a
point that his great money does not fit in your pocket, but in a basket.

      The innovative Great Leader
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Minister threatens municipal officials

      11/4/02 8:46:28 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      ABEDINICO Ncube, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, allegedly
stormed into the offices of the Gwanda Municipality and threatened staff
following the council's decision to enlist the services of the messenger of
court for the recovery of at least $120 000 he allegedly owes in unpaid

      Sources within the council said on 14 October 2002, an angry Ncube,
accompanied by war veteran Robson Mafu, and Councillor Sungano Chademana of
Gwanda Rural District Council's ward four, stormed into the council offices,
where he confronted the Gwanda executive mayor, Rido Mpofu.

      It is alleged Ncube demanded that the council fire Ronnie Dube, the
chamber secretary, for showing what he termed "disrespect" by recommending
that he, a minister, be handed over to the messenger of court. He also
demanded the dismissal of Jonathan Sibanda, a fire brigade officer, whom he
accused of campaigning for the MDC in the run-up to the Insiza parliamentary
by-election last month.

      He is reported to have proceeded to the chamber secretary's office,
where he confronted Dube and threatened to beat him up for allegedly not
respecting him.
      Ncube could not be reached for comment, but Dube confirmed the deputy
minister came to his office on the afternoon of 14 October 2002, and
threatened him for handing his accounts over for debt recovery.

      He said Ncube arrived in the company of Chademana and Mafu, a war
veteran who is also the Zanu PF provincial secretary for Matabeleland South.

      Mafu is the man who led a group of Zanu PF supporters which hounded 25
teachers out their work stations following the victory of some MDC
candidates in the recent local government elections.

      Mpofu, the Gwanda mayor, would not comment on the matter.

      "I do not know if Ncube owes us anything, but you can check that with
accounts," he said.

      Sources within the municipality's finance committee said the deputy
minister was last month served with a letter of demand by the messenger of

      His outstanding bill with the council covers water charges,
supplementary charges and refuse collection for property No 82 Senondo
Township and for another property under construction in Jacaranda suburb.

      Ncube's problems with the council date back to the end of 2000, when
the municipality started registering concern at his failure to settle the
arrears, which at that time stood at $31 477,10.

      Documents show that a full council meeting on 30 May 2001 to evict
Ncube from No. 82 Senondo Township over his arrears. Ncube wrote to the
council and requested a stay of the eviction.

      But the council resolved to hand him over to the messenger of court
for attachment of property to settle the debt again this year when he failed
to honour his earlier commitments.

      It is understood that after being served with papers last month, Ncube
paid $38 000 of the $120 000 he owed when he was handed over to the
messenger of court. He promised to settle the balance as soon as possible.

      That time he did not make a written commitment but still owes the
council about $82 000.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Forex-starved State plans

      11/4/02 8:19:09 AM (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      THE government is planning to tax all Zimbabweans working outside the
country in an ambitious move that has already caused a stir among some of
the estimated three million citizens who have left the country in the wake
of a serious economic and political crisis in the country.

      A South African newspaper, The Star, reported last week that the
cash-strapped government is planning to levy taxes on an estimated three
million Zimbabweans working abroad in a desperate bid to raise cash for fuel
and electricity imports.

      The newspaper quoted Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Development,
Dr Chris Kuruneri, as saying the government was planning to levy income tax
on Zimbabweans working abroad "in a bid to benefit from the brain drain and
strengthen the country's revenue base".

      The planned move was reportedly met with resistance from some citizens
working abroad, who said the government could not levy them when it had
disallowed them from exercising their right to vote in the presidential
election in March.

      The Star reported that the unofficial response was that there would be
"no taxation without representation".

      Jeremy Dube, a Zimbabwean working in Johannesburg, is quoted as
saying: "I am not prepared to subsidise Mugabe's regime when I was denied my
      inalienable right to vote."

      The government's rationale is that the State invested in their
education, and so is entitled to a return in the form of taxes. It was
unclear how the government intends to enforce the new expatriate tax, which
it hopes to implement early in 2003.

      In a letter published by The Standard newspaper yesterday, two
Zimbabweans working in the United Kingdom said: "It is an insult to
Zimbabweans living abroad who have been labelled stooges of the imperialists
to be expected to pay tax both to the imperialist and to the Gaddafi-led
Zimbabwean government."

      Most Zimbabweans working abroad were driven out by the harsh economic
climate, political violence, including inflation now standing at 140
percent, unemployment and shortages of basic foodstuffs.

      Yesterday, Eric Bloch, an economic commentator based in Bulawayo, said
the government's plan was unrealistic and far-fetched.

      "It is unrealistic in that Zimbabwe has double tax agreements with
over 19 countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa, and those
agreements provide that an individual can only be taxed in the country where
they are earning their money," he said.

      "I do not think the government has the capacity to do that and this is
a desperate move to raise money. It is a far-fetched attempt to raise

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Police assault PTUZ

      11/4/02 8:16:45 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      THE Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) organising
secretary for Matabeleland, Innocent Moyo, sustained facial injuries and a
suspected broken rib in an attack by two uniformed police officers in
Bulawayo last week.

      Moyo alleged the two pounced on him when he was about to board a taxi
near the city's Parkade Centre and started assaulting him, accusing him of
having shown no respect for the uniformed police officers.

      Moyo said the attack was a clear sign that the State's retribution
campaign against the PTUZ members was continuing.

      "The police pounced on me for no reason and assaulted, handcuffed and
dragged me to the Central Police Station where I was assaulted by more
police officers and detained for about 30 minutes.

      "When I asked what wrong I had done to deserve the assault, they
assaulted me further," said a traumatised Moyo.

      He said he was assaulted with fists and booted feet.
      He said he feared his eye could have been seriously affected by the

      On 8 October, the PTUZ called for a strike, which was heeded by
thousands of disgruntled teachers demanding better working conditions and a
100 percent salary adjustment.

      Moyo and Enock Paradza, the union's vice-chairman, championed the
strike in Matabeleland. The two were arrested at the height of the teachers'
strike, and charged under the repressive Public Order and Security Act.

      They last appeared in court last week and were remanded to 6 December.
      Moyo alleged that when he challenged the police to explain why they
were beating him up, they said they were employed to beat up people who did
not respect uniformed State security agents, and that they had the powers to
shoot anyone.

      The assault comes after some teachers were served with letters
accusing them of misconduct for participating in the recent strike. The
affected teachers are expected to respond to the letters not later than 8

      Most of the Bulawayo-based PTUZ members who took part in the strike
teach at Mzilikazi, Sobukazi, Nkulumane and Milton High schools.

      Out of those who heeded the strike in Bulawayo, Victor Mhlanga, the
union's Matabeleland chairman, and Nyasha Magirigide, the treasurer, have
been suspended for three months for alleged misconduct.

      The suspension letter reads: "You are alleged to have committed act(s)
of misconduct in that you engaged in a work stoppage as defined in section
56 (1) of the Public Service Regulations, 2002, paragraphs (a) and (b). As
provided in section 59 (1) of the above regulations, you are suspended from
duty for a period of three months."

      The two are not entitled to any benefits during the suspension period.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From News24 (SA), 4 November

Peer review: 12 nations agree

Abuja, Nigeria - Twelve African nations agreed on Sunday to create an all-African peer review system monitoring their governments' conduct in a bid to attract lucrative trade and aid from Western governments wary of wars and human rights abuses on the continent. Representatives of at least four of 18 African nations present at a summit in the Nigerian capital of Abuja left without signing the declaration of intent, organisers said. It was not immediately clear whether the two remaining nations signed. Stressing that wars and civil unrest were hindering development on the world's most poverty-ridden continent, summit host President Olusegun Obasanjo said peer review was essential. Work must be done to "enthrone genuine democracy, the rule of law and good governance in all its ramifications", he added. Little was known, however, about how the peer-review system would operate. A copy of the document would only be made public on Monday, summit organisers said.

Peer-review has been cautiously supported by Western supporters of the New Partnership for African Development, or Nepad. Nepad was designed by the leaders of South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria to energise the continent's economies through partnerships with industrialised nations. But it's uncertain how tough leaders of politically fragile, ethnically diverse African nations are prepared to be in policing themselves, and whether the panel would cover misgovernment or human rights abuses. Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade, an outspoken figure who has cajoled African counterparts for failing to speak out about abuses in Zimbabwe and other states, did not sign the document and left the summit hall less than an hour after the meeting began. The reason for his early departure was not known. Botswana, Tunisia and Cameroon also did not sign, Obasanjo said. South Africa, with Nigeria one of sub-Saharan Africa's two most influential nations, insisted in recent days that peer review should be limited to matters of economic good governance, like ensuring accountability for public funds and growth-friendly policies. Political matters should be left off the job description. Others had envisioned a more expansive policy, which would take to task African regimes that condone political corruption, undemocratic policies and human rights abuses. "There was never ever any suggestion that we have a Nepad peer review process that would conduct the work of the commission on human rights," Mbeki said in recent days.

In the end, South African President Thabo Mbeki signed the document, Obasanjo said. "The peer review mechanism must be African-owned, African-led, and African-managed," Obasanjo said. "It must be voluntary, technically competent, credible, non-discriminatory and free from political manipulation from any quarters." He did not specify whether it was the participants or judgments of the proposed panel that should be "voluntary". "We recognise in Nepad that peace and security is a condition precedent on poverty eradication and promotion of rapid economic development," Obasanjo said. Obasanjo called on summit participants to support attempts to end civil unrest and insurrections on the continent. The phased withdrawal of some UN peacekeepers from Sierra Leone after more than a decade of civil war, meanwhile, "bears eloquent testimony to what is possible ... when all stockholders demonstrate political will". "Heartwarming developments" had also been made in efforts to end years-long conflicts in the Congo, Sudan, Angola and Somalia, he added. "I urge all parties to the conflict in Ivory Coast to demonstrate their genuine commitment to peace and national reconciliation in the ongoing negotiations and peace talks," Obasanjo said. Conflicts in Central African Republic and Liberia "must also be brought to a speedy end." Along with Obasanjo, the presidents of South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Botswana, Algeria, Senegal and Mozambique attended along with diplomatic representatives of Angola, Gabon, Ghana, Tunisia, Cameroon, Egypt, Mauritius, Uganda, Mali and Republic of Congo.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Common resolution on occasion of a joint DUA-EPP Conference in Cape Town
30 October 2002

"The future of Zimbabwe - A common concern for African and European

We, Members of the South African, Zimbabwean, Namibian, Lesotho, Mozambican
and the European Parliament; representatives of parties from Southern Africa
and Europe; and representatives of NGO's and civil society in Zimbabwe and
South Africa; gathered in Cape Town on 30 October 2002 to assess the effects
of the current crisis on the people of Zimbabwe, civil society and the
economy, and the negative impact on Southern Africa, have agreed to the
following resolution:

A. whereas the current political crisis in Zimbabwe started with the
rejection of a ZANU-PF sponsored constitutional proposal in 2000 indicating
growing discontent by the people of Zimbabwe for the rule of President

B. whereas even though the opposition in Zimbabwe has won almost half of the
contested seats in the 2000 Parliamentary elections, and there is no doubt
that the election was not free and fair;

C. whereas despite the manifest concern of independent national, regional
and international monitoring bodies the presidential election in 2002 was
similarly not free and fair resulting in the current illegitimate Mugabe

D. whereas continued political pressure has been applied against political
opposition, independent and privately owned media, the judiciary and civil
society by the police, army, the Central Intelligence Organisation and
ZANU-PF militia;

E. whereas repressive legislation has been enacted which destroys democracy
and state institutions are less subject to the rule of law than to the will
of a single person, this completed the domination of the judiciary and the
emasculation of the legislature and thereby created a dictatorship;

F. whereas the governing party makes the land issue a political platform,
which is used to divide Zimbabweans along racial lines, while they
themselves had not for more than 20 years pursued a sustainable land reform
programme and have ignored calls for such a programme from inside and
outside Zimbabwe;

G. whereas it is therefore evident that the land issue is used only as a
pretext to retain power at all costs;

H. whereas, as a result of  the expropriation and illegal occupation of
commercial farms, and the deliberate terror campaign against hundreds of
thousands of farm workers and their families, who as a consequence have lost
their livelihood and have become internally displaced, the reality of
starvation is now evident;

I. whereas imported maize and other emergency food supplies are being
controlled for political purposes by ZANU-PF, leading to a policy of
deliberate, selective starvation of Mugabe's political opponents and their

J. whereas some women and children are being abducted and raped because of
their or their husbands' alleged political affiliation;

K. whereas there is a continued campaign of mass terror based on torture
against suspected opposition supporters, civic activists, teachers and
nurses by ZANU-PF supporters, and increasingly by the Zimbabwe Republic
Police and the Central Intelligence Organisation;

L. whereas the local government elections on 28 and 29 September 2002, and
the Parliamentary by-elections on 26 and 27 October 2002 were marred by
political violence and intimidation;

M. whereas the overall economic situation is debilitating and characterised
by hyper- inflation, a growing budget deficit and a breakdown of internal
and foreign investment;

N. whereas as a consequence thereof a mass exodus of human capital to
neighbouring countries and further a-field, cripples the economy further,
and places undesired strain on the host countries;

O. whereas Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC was also used by the governing
party to exercise economic control over parts of this country, to gain
access to natural resources, and for senior officers to enrich themselves
from the country's mineral assets under the pretext of repaying Zimbabwe for
military services, as outlined in the 8 October 2002 UN report on the
illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and other Forms of Wealth of the

P. whereas the failure to resolve the current crisis in Zimbabwe represents
a blatant contradiction of the Peer Review Principles set out in the NEPAD
initiative, and the principles of good governance as laid down in the
Founding Charter of the African Union and SADC's own policy papers;

Q. whereas the SADC Summit on 2-3 October 2002 in Luanda discussed the
situation in Zimbabwe, and the African Commission for Human and People's
Rights' meeting in Banjul recently failed to discuss the Zimbabwe human
rights situation due to lack of quorum;

R. whereas the Southern African governments have not successfully used their
influence to convince Mugabe to reinstate democracy and the rule of law in
Zimbabwe, but have instead exercised silent diplomacy which has failed, even
though the Zimbabwe crisis adversely affects the region as a whole e.g. the
flow of some two million refugees from Zimbabwe into South Africa;

S. whereas all Commonwealth initiatives on the Zimbabwe crisis have proved
to be ineffective;

T. whereas the European Union has ceased its financial assistance to
Zimbabwe and has introduced targeted sanctions against a list of
high-ranking officials, but does not live up to its own commitment by
relocating from Copenhagen to Maputo a SADC-EU Foreign Ministers' meeting,
scheduled for 7-8 November 2002;

We therefore:

1. call for an immediate return to legitimacy by the setting up of a
transitional government, constitutional and electoral reform, the setting up
of an Independent Electoral Commission, and the holding of free and fair
elections under international supervision;

2. call for an immediate return to the rule of law in Zimbabwe, and an
immediate end to politically motivated violence and selective distribution
of emergency food supplies;

3. demand the revocation of all legislation enacted to paralyse the
democratic institutions and the basic freedoms of individuals, media and
civil society institutions and associations;

4. demand the institution of a sustainable, legal and constructive agrarian
policy that benefits those who need land most, while simultaneously
maintaining the economic basis of successful land use in Zimbabwe;

5. welcome the continuous focus put on the developments in Zimbabwe by the
European Parliament;

6. however also deplore the expediency of the European Union and its SADC
partners in relocating the EU-SADC Foreign Ministers' Meeting from
Copenhagen to Maputo in order to avoid confrontation over the principle of
Zimbabwe's attendance, and expect the European Union to adhere to its own
decisions concerning targeted sanctions for future meetings, and in
particular the forthcoming EU Africa Summit in Lisbon in April 2003;

7. call on SADC to live up to its own written principles, commitments and
minimum standards regarding democracy, the rule of law and the conducting of
free and fair elections;

8. call on the peoples of Southern Africa to show solidarity with the people
of Zimbabwe, also by strengthening their civil society ties and networks;

9. reject all attempts to reduce the NEPAD Peer Review Process to a mere
economic appraisal;

10. invite all individuals, parties, NGO's and other stakeholders to
endorse, promote and operationalise this resolution, and therefore welcome
the invitation extended to Zimbabwean civil society organisations by the
Deputy Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs of the SA
Parliament to brief said committee, during a Konrad Adenauer forum on
Zimbabwe held in Cape Town on 29 October 2002, as an encouraging first step
in this process.


Editors note: Jenni Williams representing Justice For Agriculture Zimbabwe
attended and addressed the conference along with other Zimbabwean NGO's
representatives. Request the list of participants from Hendrien Rust

Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The International Herald Tribune, 4 November

45 countries set to back rules against 'blood' diamond trade

Alan Cowell, New York Times

London - Representatives of 45 countries that produce, sell or trade in
diamonds are about to endorse the beginnings of a system to prevent African
warlords from fueling their conflicts through so-called blood diamonds. The
representatives were scheduled to meet at Interlaken, Switzerland, on Monday
and Tuesday, two years after a passionate debate over illicit diamond sales
galvanized the gem industry and forced even the giant De Beers cartel into a
major shift of corporate strategy. The 45 countries, which include the
United States, are to give formal approval to new rules intended to make
sure that, from the gravel of diamond mines to distant jewelry stores,
diamonds will be certified as untainted. The goal is to prevent illicit
diamonds being used to pay for the weapons used in wars, from Angola to
Sierra Leone. But many of the advocacy groups that first inspired the debate
said Friday that a system of written warranties that was offered last week
by the diamond-cutting and trading business to complement the government
effort was critically flawed because it could not be audited. "Despite two
years of repeated promises, the diamond industry has failed to deliver a
detailed and credible self-regulation system that will stem the flow of
conflict diamonds," said Alex Yearsley, a campaigner from the London-based
group Global Witness, which raised the issue in 1998.

The 45 countries are meeting to discuss what is known as the Kimberley
Process, under which government and industry figures have been trying to
formulate legally binding rules. The U.S. government has taken a particular
interest in pressing the countries to introduce a certification system by
Jan. 1. A senior State Department official, James Bindenagel, was appointed
the special negotiator for conflict diamonds. The U.S. concern coincides
with persistent but largely unsubstantiated reports that operatives of Al
Qaeda laundered money through diamonds mined illicitly in Sierra Leone. The
United States also accounts for half the world's $60-billion-a-year trade in
stones sold as jewelry after rough diamonds are cut and polished into
sparkling gems. "It's imperative that we launch on time," Bindenagel said in
a telephone interview from Washington on Friday. He said that the United
States intended to require certification beginning Jan. 1, and if European
and other governments failed to commit themselves to introduce the new
system by then, the world diamond trade could be disrupted. "We still regard
this as an emergency," he said, citing reports of continued diamond-fueled
conflict in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. Christine Gordon, an independent, London-based diamond analyst, said
that, while there had been no corroboration of reports linking the diamond
trade with Al Qaeda, there were strong suspicions of ties between Lebanese
diamond smugglers in West Africa and the militant Hezbollah movement in

To a large extent, the Kimberley Process has come too late to prevent the
worst excesses of diamond-financed warfare in Africa. However, a UN report
chronicled the continued activities in Congo of what it termed "elite
networks" of politicians and soldiers involved in "the illegal exploitation
of the country's national resources." In theory, such illicit traffic will
become much more difficult. Governments of diamond-producing countries will
be required to license the miners, and the trade in rough diamonds across
borders will be controlled by tamper-proof methods for certifying shipments
and other measures. Previously, buyers in cutting centers like Antwerp,
Belgium, or Tel Aviv were under no formal obligation to ascertain the origin
of rough diamonds offered by sellers. Once diamonds are cut and polished,
their origins are even more difficult to trace. In addition, rough diamonds,
particularly those found in riverbeds, are easy to smuggle. Eli Izhakoff,
the leader of the World Diamond Council, an industry body, said that the
work to create the system had "squeezed out a lot of the profit-taking from
the blood diamonds."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

State Does Not Support Land Invasion'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

November 4, 2002
Posted to the web November 4, 2002

Nasreen Seria

GOVERNMENT does not support land invasions and any comparison with
Zimbabwe-style land acquisition was "unfounded".

This was said by Adv Denzil Potgieter, leading the state's legal team in a
case in the Pretoria High Court, in which Benoni farmer Abraham Duvenage
contests the sheriff of the court failed to evict 40000 squatters on his
land. There is a great deal of interest in the outcome of the case, because
of the land-grab activities in Zimbabwe, and because it may clarify the
state's responsibilities in evicting people who occupy land illegally.

AgriSA, the commercial farmers' union, said in court last week that the
state should avoid Zimbabwe-style land occupations by putting plans in place
to deal with illegal squatting.

Duvenage obtained an order in October 2000 to remove hundreds of illegal
occupiers, who began settling on his farm in May of the same year.

The sheriff of the court failed to carry out the evictions, demanding R1,8m
as payment for the hire of a private security firm.

Duvenage then took his fight to court, saying it was government's duty to
effectively carry out a court order.

AgriSA has asked to be allowed to take part in the court proceedings as an
amicus curiae, or a friend of the court, saying the case has important
implications for its members.

The state argued last week that it had fulfilled its rights after it handed
the court order over to the squatters, and instructed the sheriff to carry
out the evictions.

Government also argued it was not the duty of the police to evict the
illegal settlers.

"There are appropriate housing policies to deal with a situation like this
in an orderly fashion. Delivery of housing is based on priorities," said

He said prioritising the interests of those who occupied land illegally
"over and above others", would spell the death knell to government's housing

Potgieter also held up the eviction of illegal squatters in Bredell last
year as a model of government's "approach" in "managing property".

Government made international headlines last year after it used force to
evict squatters in Bredell, near Kempton Park, who had moved onto land
partly owned by the state. The evictions were later described as heavyhanded
in some quarters.

Potgieter said as co-owner of the land, government had to pay its share to
the sheriff (for a private security firm).

"This is what is also expected of (Duvenage)," he said.

Duvenage, who farms soya, maize and sorghum, started talks two years ago
with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council to buy the 45ha of his 2300ha farm
where the squatters lived.

However, the council told him later that it would not buy that portion of
his land as it was unsuitable for housing because of underground sinkholes.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Nepad's Peer Review Still 'Work in Progress'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

November 4, 2002
Posted to the web November 4, 2002

John Stremlau

AFRO-PESSIMISTS are treating President Thabo Mbeki's comments that political
governance would not be a priority of the African peer review mechanism as a
deathblow to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

Strategically, Mbeki was right to promote good governance political and
economic-corporate and enhanced regional co-operation as the three pillars
for sustainable development under Nepad. Tactically, though, he is also
right to try to dampen expectations that the principles of peer review can
be easily put into practice.

A quick look at the work of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) helps us understand this discrepancy. In
no other international organisation has the practice of peer review been so
extensively developed a process that began more than 40 years ago. This has
been made easier by the high degree of trust and homogeneity that prevails
among the 30 highly industrialised nations comprising the OECD.

Yet even the OECD has no rigorous peer review definition, beyond a
"systematic examination and assessment of the performance of a state by
other states". Members volunteer for review, but each round is negotiated
and tailored to the special needs of the target country. Peers have no power
of enforcement beyond persuasion.

Political governance issues, as a rule, are not directly addressed. But
there is a consensus that peer pressure leads to high levels of compliance
in virtually all areas of national policy.

Fabrizio Pagani of the OECD's legal directorate recently published a highly
readable Peer Review: A Tool for Co-Operation and Change, available at It should be required reading for anyone commenting on African
peer review.

Tutoring a group of visitors from Africa two weeks ago, Pagani expressed
great admiration at Africa's willingness to declare political governance a
legitimate part of their peer review. He said Africa had leapt ahead of the
OECD in this area, yet faced far more daunting challenges in assembling
information, analysing it and overcoming huge cultural differences.

Cultural differences, he said, are often overlooked but still raise issues
of how and what to review among OECD members. And Africa, he said, is the
most culturally diverse continent in the world. Africa's biggest immediate
problem, however, will be a lack of good data.

Even rudimentary standards for collecting, analysing and comparing basic
information have yet to be determined and accepted. Developing subregional
frameworks is likely to be the next best step as peer pressure is more
naturally organised among smaller groups than in the context of continental
or global institutions.

Political governance, inevitably, will be the most problematic, but
including it on the Nepad list of fundamental factors will allow the process
of building peer pressures to begin, even in advance of any decisions about
the nature and location of any implementing mechanism.

The OECD is eager to help. Earlier this year it published jointly with the
African Development Bank, African Economic Outlook, which for the first time
gives data on all African economies in a comparable manner similar to the
OECD's own Economic Outlook. Anyone questioning the salience of good
governance for economic development and co-operation need only read the
critique of Zimbabwe.

Defining the meaning of "peer", and sticking to the rules once they are
defined, will be vital for the success of Nepad. African governments are
committed to begin this process early next year. Expectations of progress
must be realistic and well-informed. The important thing is to begin the
process. Mbeki's comments last week may have actually helped.

Stremlau is head of International Relations and directs the Centre for
Africa's International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


                  04 Nov 2002
                  Local NGO tackles rural poverty in dry Zimbabwe
      Christian Care has operated in Zimbabwe since 1967. Its mission
is to improve the quality of life and self-supporting capacities of
disadvantaged people. Its chairman in the Matabeleland region, Jackson
Ndlovu, told AlertNet's Busani Bafana how the organisation works in a region
affected by drought.

            AN: What challenges do national political developments present
to NGOs in Zimbabwe?

            JN: We are not much affected by the current situation in our
running programmes. Suffice to say we are a bit concerned that future
project proposals and extensions to other areas may be hindered by the
current land-related issues.

            AN: Given the dry climate in most of Matabeleland, what poverty
alleviation strategies have you implemented there?

            JN: We are running nutrition gardens in Binga, drawing water
from the Zambezi River using pump engines in Beitbridge. Christian Care has
helped in the construction of sand dams and started small-scale irrigation.
In Insiza we also have harvested rainwater by construction of water
harvesting tanks, mainly for household use. I am of the opinion that
Christian Care could do more in the dry areas of Matabeleland North if
cooperation with local authorities could reach a level higher than it is.

            AN: Has your organisation been involved in the food aid
programme of the U.N. World Food Programme?

            JN: Yes mainly in Mashonaland and Manicaland. Matabeleland would
be covered under a different church-related support, and we should be
getting feedback on our application to be given a licence to import food.
Already we have identied Umguza/Bubi and Lupnae areas for food relief, which
should be undertaken before the end of October. We are looking at feeding
over 200,000 families.

            AN: Where does Christian Care work?

            JN: Christian Care is national and works in Manicaland,
Mashonaland, Masvingo and Midlands provinces. Our current programmes (in
Matabeleland) are in Insiza, in water and sanitation. In Binga we are
involved in nutrition gardens and health. We finished our programmes in
Beitbridge last year.

            AN: What problems have you encountered in your operations and
how have you resolved them ?

            JN: We have had some problems related with identity. People
generally believe that Christian Care is one of the foreign NGOs, whereas we
are Zimbabwean. We depend on the goodwill of Christians locally and
internationally. As an NGO, we have had problems related to the uncertainty
on the way forward of our programmes, but I must admit most of the anxiety
has been that we did not know how much people were willing to work and
defend what we do. We need food now to feed people, but we also have to wait
like anyone else. Some areas of Matabeleland -- like Nkayi -- are not
covered and Christian Care is afraid to get there. But it would appear the
fear is self-inflicted by the Christian Care's staff.

            AN: What have you done to promote the participation of the local
people in your initiatives?

            JN: In Binga we started the programmes by involving the locals
in the identification of areas to set up the vegetable gardens, asked them
to form their own committees and we work together. In Insiza we have
water-harvesting tanks. These are community activities where the locals are
in charge. So are our livestock replacement schemes. In Beitbridge the local
community was given brick-moulding equipment to make them self-sustaining.
All our projects have the facet of learning and take over.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

      Mugabe has us fighting each other

      TIM Modise, that witty master of talk show radio, tells the funny
story of how when his programme runs out of zap (this doesn't happen often)
he is tempted to simply ask his listeners what they think of President
Robert Mugabe. That way, he says, his show would immediately effervesce as
South Africans of all colour and creed love to air their views on Zimbabwe.
      Yes, Zimbabwe is a big deal in SA sometimes even bigger than it is in
Zimbabwe itself, so my colleague Mzi Malunga often reminds me.

      Very rarely, indeed, do South Africans get excited about continental
issues the way we do about Zimbabwe. We spend lots of time debating the
question of who is right and wrong in our neighbour's deepening crisis,
wondering how a country that showed so much promise a few years ago could
have descended into chaos so quickly.

      What fascinates visitors to SA though, are the racial tensions that
often boil over in discussions over the House of Stones (literary
translation of the Shona meaning of Zimbabwe).

      This mazy of emotions over Zimbabwe appears to stem from our close
cultures and similar preindependence and immediate post-Uhuru history which
makes Zimbabwe less the simple issue of a neighbour's plummeting fortunes,
but one of the nature of our own political growth and future.

      But if there is one thing I have to give Zimbabwe's embattled rulers
(in addition to the above factors), it has been their ability to also
confuse South Africans and the rest of the international community about the
real issues in their country.

      This mastery in obfuscation has not only helped Uncle Bob extend his
long rule, it has also meant that in SA, public opinion on him is often
divided needlessly along racial lines, despite the fact that the victims of
Mugabe's tyrannical rule are almost entirely black.

      Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political crisis is simply not a
black and white issue.

      The fact is that while attacks on white farmers by Mugabe's supporters
often grab the headlines, his treatment of the black opposition and its
millions of black followers, black journalists and black judicial officers
is infinitely more brutal and disgraceful than the pressure he has exerted
on the commercial farmers.

      Zimbabwe's 80000 or so whites may be relatively wealthier than their
13-million black countrymen, but they don't threaten Mugabe at all.

      In order to clarify our own thinking on the issue, therefore,
particularly as black South Africans, we should ask ourselves who has
presided so miserably over the country since 1980 to the extent that black
Zimbabweans are today worse off than they were at independence?

      Indeed, we should also analyse who has been in charge of the policies
that have resulted in 80% of the Zimbabwean population now living well below
the poverty line.

      I suspect that if we were to allow ourselves just a little room to
think along these lines and less emotively, we would all reach the obvious
deduction that the economic and political crisis now destroying Zimbabwe is
not of the west's making, and neither is it engineered in Sandton.

      The hard facts are that Mugabe has been in power for 22 years and has
thus presided majestically and alone over the decay of the country not white
racists, even if they may secretly be wishing Zimbabwe's young democracy

      In the same vein though, expectations that Pretoria can rein in Mugabe
are equally misplaced. Pretoria can only work to minimise the damage to SA
by nudging and encouraging Mugabe to resume stalled unity talks with the
country's beleaguered opposition. And for this to work, he will need the
support of other African leaders.

      Ultimately though, if the anarchy in Zimbabwe is to ever come to an
end, it will take Zimbabweans themselves (and they have shown amazing
courage in the past three years) to put Mugabe in his place and get the
country back to its feet.

      Nov 04 2002 12:00:00:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

      04 November 2002
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Dear members,

Our sincere apologies for not having been sending you news updates for
sometime. This has been due to some technical problem which took us time to
attend to. We will ensure that you get updates regularly in the future.

We also advise you to regularly visit our website for
curent and other news.

MDC Information Department

4 Nov, 2002

Beef price hikes point to an economy in collapse

The recent increase of the price of beef by 100% is the result of the Mugabe
regime's chaotic land reform whose negative effects are beginning to have a
tall on the economy. The disorganised land chaos has managed to extinct most
basic foodstuffs. Although Mugabe's propaganda machinery would have the
nation believe that the hikes are the fault of private abattoir owners, it
is apparent that rogue war veterans and the so called 'new farmer' were
slaughtering cattle on the farms leading to a shortage of beef. These cattle
rustlers are getting away with these crimes because the police has been
compromised and turned into an army of Zanu PF thugs. Consumers are now
paying high prices for basic commodities as a result of the two years of
mismanagement of the economy and mayhem on the farms.

The regime has attempted to hoodwink the masses by controlling prices only
to buy their votes, yet have reneged on tackling the root cause of price
increases in the country.Basic food prices have risen by over 200 percent in
the past 12 months. Poultry and pork prices have risen by more than 100
percent in recent weeks, bread now cost $160 and maize meal prices in
informal markets are now three times to the controlled price. While the
recent collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar on the parallel market from $750 to
one US dollar to over $1 500 today presages massive price increases in every
product with an import content. Clothing, soap, cooking oil and fats will
all rise shortly by anything up to 100% and there is nothing that the state
can do about this under present conditions. Zanu PF will blame the private
sector and external influences for the state of affairs, but the truth is
that there is no one to blame except themselves and their ill-advised and
illegal theft of private assets on the farms in the name of land reform

The only one way back to sanity and a restoration of reasonable living
standards is to change the leadership of the country and restore the rule of
law and our relations with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile the rains have started to fall but our farmers do not have the
necessary inputs to start the cultivation season. Again the farmers have
been put off by the regime's chaotic land reform. Despite repeated lies that
have been peddled on the success story of the reform nothing tangible has
been achieved. This is yet another example of the appalling incompetence of
the government in its handling of national key issues. The regime is
bankrupt and does not have the capacity to sustain a proper land reform

Paul Themba Nyathi/Rensen Gasela
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Government allows private imports of fuel

JOHANNESBURG, 4 November (IRIN) - Higher inflation and fuel price hikes would follow the weekend announcement that the petroleum sector could import its own fuel, instead of being forced to buy from the parastatal National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), economists have warned.

This followed reports that the government was struggling to raise the foreign currency needed to pay for supplies.

President Robert Mugabe told a National Consultative Forum's annual retreat last week that cabinet had "cracked" its head over fuel supplies every week. Instead, foreign companies could use their own resources to import petrol and diesel, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

"Twenty-two years in government, 22 years of playing this foolery. They [companies] don't suffer from the headaches and stomach aches I suffer from," Mugabe was quoted as saying of the government's attempts at sourcing fuel.

Economist John Robertson told IRIN that if multinationals used the parallel market to source foreign currency for their own supplies, this could push up the price of fuel significantly.

"The price of anything that needs to be transported around the country will rise and food deliveries will become less efficient. The food crisis will become worse," Robertson warned.

He said that past week's attempt by the government to raise sufficient foreign currency from the parallel market - because it didn't have enough in its own coffers to pay Noczim and South African electricity supplier Eskom - was believed to be behind the latest surge in the parallel exchange rate.

The official government rate is Z $55 to US $1 but due to currency shortages the parallel rate has shot from Z $500 for US $1, to the current Z $1,400.

He said the anticipated increase had already set off a fuel shortage through the dual reaction of people scrambling to fill up and fuel companies hoarding ahead of the anticipated price increases.

"It would make no economic sense for owners to sell their current stocks at the lower price because they would have to replace stocks at the higher price and wouldn't get a higher bank loan on the basis of a price increase," he said.

In a statement, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said: "The private sector has been calling for this [private imports] to be allowed and has given assurances that it will work with the state to overcome current shortages and disruptions in supply as well as ensuring that pump prices do not escalate unreasonably. They have given undertakings that they will work within an open and transparent system."

However, the MDC cautioned that: "To simply expect the oil majors to buy foreign exchange from the market as other importers do at present would be a non-starter. Exchange rates are so volatile at present and the shortage of foreign exchange in open markets so great, that prices would have to rise 10-fold to reflect the costs involved."

The party proposed an agreed rate of exchange for the private sector importers, but the government's own foreign currency shortages would make this difficult.

The statement concluded that "it must be noted that if the private sector took over the procurement and delivery of fuel to Zimbabwe there would be a saving over present costs of over US $100 million per annum".

One of the reasons was that the present high premiums being paid by the state to current suppliers would fall away.

Robertson believed that the solution lay in the Zimbabwe government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "making up" and resuming their working relationship so the government could borrow "a few billion" and build up the country's foreign currency reserves again.

Local newspaper The Daily News reported that IMF Resident Representative for Zimbabwe Jerry Johnson had warned that the country was on the brink of an economic crisis and that the inflation rate could go beyond the 500 percent mark.

Inflation for September was 137 percent.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Goals not achieved in fast-track land reform

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 4 November (IRIN) - Among the initial goals of the land reform programme in Zimbabwe was the resettlement of people from densely populated communal rural areas to newly acquired farm land.

However, in the rush to implement the government's fast-track land reform programme, this has not happened, say analysts and the would-be beneficiaries of land reform. They also point to signs that cronyism has affected land redistribution.

John Chirova, 55, seems a bitter man. Chirova comes from Chiweshe district in the sprawling Mashonaland province, a region renowned for its rich soil.

But instead of busying himself with the acquisition of agricultural inputs during the pre-planting season, Chirova spends most of his time at Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe, on the look-out for anyone who can buy him the opaque beer popularly known as "scud".
"For the past two years, we have been battling to get plots of land with no success. Here in Chiweshe we are still packed like jailbirds. Nothing has changed whatsoever," Chirova said.

He told IRIN how he was forced to give part of his already tiny plot to both his married and unemployed sons.

For Chirova and the thousands like him, the fast-track land reform programme represents a shattered hope.

Analysts say there exists ample evidence to prove that the broad objective of President Robert Mugabe's government to "achieve optimal utilisation of land and natural resources and to promote equitable access to land to all Zimbabweans" was far from being achieved.

Despite Mugabe's statement last July that decongestion of communal areas had been achieved through the land redistribution programme, analysts and the intended beneficiaries of the exercise say rural areas are still densely populated.

"There is considerable lack of decongestion in some areas," said Professor Sam Moyo, a land expert.

Professor Moyo believes the resettlement of people in rural areas - where the majority of Zimbabweans live - was being frustrated by the manner in which land was currently being redistributed.

"Some farmers under the [commercial farming] A2 model have excessive pieces of land, with some of them owning two to three farms each. This obviously tends to limit decongestion," Professor Moyo said.

A cabinet minister who recently visited Mashonaland Central's Mount Darwin district also voiced her concern about the lack of resettlement in the area.

"There was chaotic allocation of land in the district with the council waiting list not being followed," the cabinet minister, Olivia Muchena, was quoted as saying in a local daily newspaper.

Mashonaland Central, also blessed with fertile soils, is home to more than a million people. However, Elliot Manyika, the governor of the province and Minister of Gender, Youth and Employment Creation admitted that only about 15,000 people from the province have been resettled.

This despite the deadline for the processing of the applications of people wishing to be resettled having passed two months ago.

In Chiweshe most homesteads resemble tiny villages. Generations of families share the plots of their parents and grandparents. More mouths to feed from the already low yields from farm plots.

In areas like Padare, Kanyemba, Gweshe, Howard, Mutsarara and Panzvimbo, residential space is fast running out. As a result, it is becoming a familiar sight for homes to be sited on hills in the rocky terrain.

Despite the Chiweshe people, who number more than 100,000, having registered for resettlement, less than 1,000 have been moved.

"I am sure the governor and the provincial land committee have something against the people of Chiweshe," Chirova mused.

Manyika acknowledged that no resettlement occurred in Chiweshe from the early 1980s when the government began land redistribution. The area was also overlooked during the second resettlement phase in the 1990s. 

A similar scenario to Chiweshe can be found in the other provinces: in Manicaland, Masvingo and the Midlands.

The lack of a transparent and effective redistribution programme has been blamed on corruption.

A senior member of the war veterans' association, Mike Moyo, said his organisation would carry out a land audit because of the numerous complaints it had received.

"We are extremely disturbed by the reports we are receiving. We decided to carry out an audit of how land is being distributed after many people approached us saying there are so many corrupt practices in the allocation of land," Moyo told IRIN.

Moyo said the main culprits were apparently provincial governors, provincial administrators and district administrators as well as the land committees tasked with the processing of applications and the allocation of land.

He added that most of the reports were received from people in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West provinces.

Disgruntled would-be beneficiaries have complained that the government officials ask for bribes and other favours in return for a recommendation of their applications. In other cases, it was alleged that they favoured friends and relatives or supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF.

In Mashonaland West's Banket area, concerns have been raised that ZANU-PF loyalists are using their political influence to obtain farming plots for their children, some of whom are still going to school, under the communal or A1 resettlement programme.

John Mautsa, the director of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) said: "We are aware that families are being involved in the multi-ownership scandal. However, the problem is difficult to stem because some of the culprits use different names." 

Official figures put the number of beneficiaries under the A1 model at 330,000 while 54,000 have been approved under the A2 model. When the fast-track programme started, the government said it intended to resettle more than a million people over a three-year period.

The recently appointed Minister of Land Reform, Flora Buka, played down allegations of corruption in the land redistribution exercise.

"Concerning allegations of corruption in the provincial land committees, I do not have evidence. I can't act on the basis of speculation," said Buka. However, she said her ministry was doing an audit in the provinces and investigations could follow.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Beira-Zimbabwe Railway Reopened

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

November 2, 2002
Posted to the web November 4, 2002


The railway linking the central Mozambican port of Beira to Zimbabwe was reopened on Friday night, after unexploded shells and other military ordinance were removed from the line.

The railway runs past the arsenal of the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) which caught fire on Wednesday morning when it was hit by lightning. In the ensuing series of explosions, munitions were thrown out of the arsenal in all directions.

One explosion damaged the railway, and derailed a goods train. Other shells landed around the track, but did not explode.

They all had to be removed before the line could be re-opened.

FADM sappers were involved in this work, while a team from the rail company, CFM, removed the derailed train and repaired the track.

The executive director of CFM's central division. Joaquim Verissimo, cited in Saturday's issue of the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique", said the first train to leave Beira after the line was reopened was carrying maize to Zimbabwe.

Verissimo estimated the total cost of the interruption of traffic, and of the repairs to the line, at 200,000 US dollars.

47 families had their homes completely destroyed by the exploding munitions. In support of these families, the Sofala provincial committee of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party on Friday delivered 100 sacks of rice and two large bundles of clothing as a gesture of solidarity.

The gift was delivered by the mayor of Beira, Chivavice Muchangage. Frelimo has promised more assistance, including to those families who returned to their homes only to find that thieves had broken in during their absence and stolen their possessions.


Maputo, 2 Nov (AIM) - Mozambique's Deputy Environment Minister, Francisco Mabjaia, has guaranteed that fishermen whose nets were ruined by a spillage of fuel oil from the Matola port fuel terminal on Tuesday will be compensated.

Accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Esperanca Bias, Mabjaia visited the site of the spill on Friday.

He stressed that under Mozambican law, those who cause environmental damage are obliged to pay compensation.

Both the Maputo port authorities and the state oil company Petromoc, which owned the fuel oil, "are interested in assessing the possible environmental impact so as to implement the measures that may be necessary".

The spill was relatively small, estimated at between 400 and 600 litres of fuel oil. But this was quite sufficient to ruin the nets of a number of fishermen who operate in Maputo bay.

Mabjaia said these fishermen should be compensated "as quickly as possible", so that they could resume their normal activities.

The oil has not damaged beaches in Maputo bay, and the slick is presumed to be still at sea.

Mabjaia said that he intended to go by boat into the bay, to see where the oil slick had gone. "This oil will eventually end up on the coast", he warned. "We shall see what impact this will have".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Forex-Starved State Plans To Tax Expat Zimbabweans

The Daily News (Harare)

November 4, 2002
Posted to the web November 4, 2002

Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

The government is planning to tax all Zimbabweans working outside the country in an ambitious move that has already caused a stir among some of the estimated three million citizens who have left the country in the wake of a serious economic and political crisis in the country.

A South African newspaper, The Star, reported last week that the cash-strapped government is planning to levy taxes on an estimated three million Zimbabweans working abroad in a desperate bid to raise cash for fuel and electricity imports.

The newspaper quoted Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Development, Dr Chris Kuruneri, as saying the government was planning to levy income tax on Zimbabweans working abroad "in a bid to benefit from the brain drain and strengthen the country's revenue base".

The planned move was reportedly met with resistance from some citizens working abroad, who said the government could not levy them when it had disallowed them from exercising their right to vote in the presidential election in March.

The Star reported that the unofficial response was that there would be "no taxation without representation".

Jeremy Dube, a Zimbabwean working in Johannesburg, is quoted as saying: "I am not prepared to subsidise Mugabe's regime when I was denied my inalienable right to vote."

The government's rationale is that the State invested in their education, and so is entitled to a return in the form of taxes. It was unclear how the government intends to enforce the new expatriate tax, which it hopes to implement early in 2003.

In a letter published by The Standard newspaper yesterday, two Zimbabweans working in the United Kingdom said: "It is an insult to Zimbabweans living abroad who have been labelled stooges of the imperialists to be expected to pay tax both to the imperialist and to the Gaddafi-led Zimbabwean government."

Most Zimbabweans working abroad were driven out by the harsh economic climate, political violence, including inflation now standing at 140 percent, unemployment and shortages of basic foodstuffs.

Yesterday, Eric Bloch, an economic commentator based in Bulawayo, said the government's plan was unrealistic and far-fetched.

"It is unrealistic in that Zimbabwe has double tax agreements with over 19 countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa, and those agreements provide that an individual can only be taxed in the country where they are earning their money," he said.

"I do not think the government has the capacity to do that and this is a desperate move to raise money. It is a far-fetched attempt to raise revenue."

Back to the Top
Back to Index