Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 11:33 GMT
Black Zimbabweans suffer in
Many thousands of black farmworkers are
By Christian Fraser
correspondent recently in Zimbabwe
On the edge of a
dry, dusty field, 30 miles east of Harare there is a small collection of mud
It is home to 200 farmworkers.
Five months ago, they
worked in the surrounding tobacco fields for their white employer but the farmer
has been forced off his land and the crop he planted has withered in the ground.
We have no food, no work and no money. Who will feed my
The self-styled "war
veterans" who surround his empty farmhouse refuse to let these people work. They
are guarding this farm for their new tenant.
President Robert Mugabe
claims land like this has been confiscated to assist the resettlement of
But the selection process is controlled by committees
from the ruling Zanu-PF party and the main beneficiaries are party officials,
"war veterans", and card-carrying members of the party, some of whom have no
background in farming.
The tenant of this farm has
yet to make an appearance.
In the faces of these former farm workers is
a nation broken.
Cowed into submission by their indifferent masters they
sit and wait.
Even farmworkers' children have been
But as they wait the stomachs of their children grow
bigger, swollen by malnutrition.
"We have no food, no work and no money.
Who will feed my children now," says 37-year-old Grace.
Her 10 children
are given one meal a day.
Through the hot afternoons, under a baking
sun, they scavenge in the nearby woods for roots and fruit.
people from this village have died. One from chronic diahorrea, the other from
"Something like 4.6 million people in this
country need food aid now," says the Reverend Tim Neill.
that figure is going to rise to 6.7 million".
I would say
we are down to 10% of production
John Worsley Worswick, White
Reverend Neill resigned from the Anglican church last year over
the controversial appointment of Nolbert Kunonga, the bishop of Harare, an open
supporter of Mr Mugabe.
Since then, he has been involved with the Farm
Community Development Trust, a charity assisting commercial farmers and their
workers affected by the land reforms.
His work is getting harder as the
government tries to restrict the work of the charities.
"The queue forms
and the first third get the food - the last two-thirds of the queue don't get
any food. I suppose it is just a miracle that the first third were people
supporting the Zanu-PF party," Reverend Neill observed sarcastically.
Mr Mugabe's fast track land-reform plan is now in
its final stages.
In 2000, there were 4,500 white-owned farms.
Only government supporters get food aid
Today only 400 farmers are still on their land.
More than 300
farmers have been arrested this year for breaching the government's compulsory
acquisition orders, known as a Section 8.
With vast areas of farmland
left untended, the government now has precious few commodities to export - the
economy is in sharp decline.
"I would say we are down to 10% of
production," said John Worsley Worswick, from the farmers' lobby group, Justice
" We used to produce something like 220 million kg of
tobacco. A month ago we were looking at a crop of around 40 million kg, now we
are probably looking at something more like 20 million kg.
"Ten per cent
of production. And I think that will be reflected right across the board for
every crop. In fact it will probably be worse. It is not as political at the
moment to produce a tobacco crop as it is to produce a food crop."
Tobacco accounts for one third of Zimbabwe's foreign currency
reserves; money the country needs to buy things like fuel and other imports.
The shortage of foreign currency is crippling and as the crisis
continues to get worse the Zimbabwean Government has defaulted on all its
Mugabe says he is giving land to the
The impact of this economic catastrophe is everywhere.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, we queued for an hour and a half at
the only petrol station with any fuel.
The biggest hospital in the
capital, Harare, is running out of essential drugs.
As the Zimbabwean
dollar continues to plummet in value, people are desperately trying to exchange
Zimbabwean currency for US dollars.
The official exchange rate has been
pegged at 55 Zimbabwean dollars to one US dollar.
On the black market,
the exchange rate two weeks ago was Z$700 - by the end of last week it was up to
Every day food prices change.
The menus in Harare are
marked up every morning and yet the wages stay fixed.
Zim dollar falls to new low
currency has taken a further plunge towards its lowest trading
record when it
fell dramatically against international currencies on the
black market this
week due to what a leading economist says is panic buying
A week ago the Zimbabwe dollar was trading at $800 against
the US dollar and
at $1 800 against the British pound and the headlong plunge
The dollar is now trading at over $ 1 800
against the American greenback and
$ 2 500 against sterling and is expected
to fall further.
The Bulawayo parallel market is selling the rand for
$250, up from $180,
while the Botswana pula is selling at $280, up from $200
The fall of the dollar comes a week after the
International Monetary Fund
(IMF) released a report urging the Zimbabwean
government to act to end the
current economic crisis facing the
The IMF report predicts that inflation in Zimbabwe could
rise to 522% next
year if no new economic measures are introduced by
Economist Eric Bloch attributed the plunge in the
exchange rate on the black
market to panic buying that has created a huge
demand in a shrinking market.
"Government parastatals last week
flooded the black market to raise money to
pay their debts and this has
forced private companies involved in imports
into panic buying of forex and
thereby creating a serious demand in a
shrinking market," said
He said Noczim and Zesa officials were active on the black
market last week
seeking forex to pay off debts to South African fuel company
energy supplier Eskom respectively.
"This situation was
exacerbated by Air Zimbabwe which moved into the black
market last week to
raise over US$28 million to pay Exim Bank for the two
planes they purchased
through them, hence the forced increase in the
exchange rate," Bloch
The fall of the Zimbabwe dollar has forced price increases on a
in basic foodstuffs and imported goods - a move that is impacting
on ordinary Zimbabweans.
Last week beef prices went up
overnight by more than 100% while the price of
basic commodities is rising on
a daily basis.
Bloch said if the dollar continued on its free-fall,
businesses that rely on
imports would fold and this would result in the
country's unemployment rate
further going up.
"If the situation
continues like this, companies that rely on imports will
close," said Bloch.
"Unemployment would worsen and this would result in more
of basic commodities."
Bloch said there was no other way to arrest
the forex situation in the
country except by a drastic devaluation of the
"If the president continues with his attitude that
devalution is dead, then
there is no way we can end forex shortages and the
ever rising exchange
rate," Bloch said.
"We are waiting for the
total explosion of the economy and all of us in
Zimbabwe are aboard a Titanic
that is about to sink."
Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 16:12 GMT
Zimbabwe 'diverts food
People must show Zanu-PF, as well as identity cards, to get
The European Union has condemned the government of President Robert
Mugabe for diverting food aid to its own supporters and ignoring opposition
A Danish minister told Reuters news agency "that is not
The Zimbabwe Government is using our aid and
our food to put political and economic pressure on its own people
Bertel Haarder, Danish Minister for Europe
Last weekend, a United
States official warned that the US may have to take "intrusive" measures to
ensure that food aid was properly distributed.
Up to six million people
- half the population - are estimated to need food aid after poor rains,
combined with the government seizure of almost all white-owned farms.
Bertel Haarder, European Affairs Minister of Denmark, which holds the EU
presidency, was sparking at a meeting of EU and Southern African officials in
the Mozambique capital, Maputo.
The meeting was due to be held in
Denmark but was switched to Mozambique because Zimbabwe's leaders are banned
from entering Europe under EU sanctions.
"We would like to strongly
react against the fact that the Zimbabwe government is using our aid and our
food to put political and economic pressure on its own people," Mr Haarder said.
The BBC's Christian Fraser, who recently went to
Zimbabwe, says that bags of maize were stacked outside polling stations during
the by-election in Insiza - reportedly put there to reward people who voted for
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Zanu-PF won the election in what was
considered an opposition stronghold.
Just a few hundred
white farmers remain on their land
Following the US warning,
Zimbabwe accused it of planning to invade the country under the pretext of
guaranteeing the distribution of food aid.
Mr Mugabe denies that the
food crisis is a result of his land reform programme and blames it on a drought,
which has affected much of the region.
But white farmers who are
prevented from working their land say that their dams are full of water.
Just a few hundred white farmers remain on their land, out of some 4,000
two years ago.
Our correspondent says that the land has gone to Zanu-PF
officials, who often have no farming background, instead of the landless black
people who were supposed to benefit.
In Maputo, Zimbabwean Foreign
Minister Stan Mudenge repeated his government's argument that former colonial
power Britain should compensate the white farmers who have lost their land.
As a result of British colonial rule, whites owned much of Zimbabwe's
Britain has refused to pay unless there is transparency
in the redistribution of land.
Visitors from Zimbabwe will need visas
nationals travelling to the UK will be required to have visas
have a right of abode here, the Home Office has announced.
The new visa
programme will help to ensure effective immigration controls
and make it
easier for genuine Zimbabwean visitors to travel to the UK. It
will put the
UK in line with virtually every other European Union country,
the USA and
Canada - all of which require Zimbabwean nationals to hold
Secretary David Blunkett said:
"I have decided to bring in a visa
programme for Zimbabwe to deal with what
is very significant abuse of our
immigration controls by Zimbabwean
nationals - large numbers are refused
entry to the UK and returned, others
are granted short term entry, many as
visitors, but fail to return home. In
addition, the UK has experienced
increasingly large numbers of unfounded
asylum claims from Zimbabwean
"The visa programme will also make it much easier for genuine
visitors to travel to the UK. At present, because of the pressures
immigration controls, they face lengthy queues and questioning on
The new arrangements will take effect on Saturday 9 November,
transitional arrangements in place to assist genuine visitors who
already bought tickets for travel on or before 7 November and will
the UK before midnight on 15 November.
Customs duty revenue down by 50 percent
MacDonald Dzirutwe Senior Business Reporter
11/7/02 6:29:42 AM (GMT
THE government will this year collect $21.58 billion from
duty, or more than 50 percent less than the $49 billion it had
to net from duty revenue, according to figures from the
Monetary Fund (IMF).
The shortfall could
exacerbate the govern-ment's budget deficit,
officially forecast to be around
14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)
this year but seen at around 16-20
percent, and wreak havoc on an already
year the government earned $16.55 billion in customs duties,
which was $3.45
billion less than the $20 billion it had hoped to raise from
The IMF had projected last year's customs duty collection
Shipping and forwarding industry experts this
week blamed Zimbabwe's
foreign currency shortage, which has forced most
importers to seek hard cash
from the parallel market where rates are
prohibitively high, for the drop in
imports and duty revenue.
The thriving black market, buoyed by the forex crisis and the fixing
Zimbabwe dollar at 55 to one US unit by the government, levies more
500 against the Zimbabwe currency.
"People now have less money to
spend on imports because of the high
cost of sourcing foreign currency and
this is why we have less customs
duty," an official at a Harare clearing
house said, refusing to be named.
"This is why I believe the IMF
(International Monetary Fund) figures
are more realistic than the
government's projections," he told the Financial
Economists said the government was likely to collect more revenue
individuals' Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) income tax and sales tax. This,
said, would probably compensate for the slump in customs duty and
narrow the wide budget deficit.
Chinyama said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)
was now more efficient
in collecting PAYE taxes and that sales tax
collections would also increase
as a result of high consumer spending.
In the second quarter of
this year, Zimra had collected $24.3 billion
or 40 percent of total revenue
from the PAYE tax while $16.8 billion was
generated from sales
There were no figures to show how much ZIMRA had raised in
the same period. But the revenue authority is expected to raise a
$240 billion this year from duty collections.
finance minister Simba Makoni in July increased the exchange
rate to $300 to
one US dollar for the importation of passenger vehicles,
beverages, tobacco and manufactured goods to meet the government
Makoni had hoped to raise $11.5 billion from the
rates but analysts say this will not be possible because of
a slump in
imports of the listed goods.
John Robertson said for example the price of
passenger vehicles had shot up
by 178 percent since July, thus reducing
demand for imported vehicles in
Because car kits entered the country duty-free, it was
now cheaper for
manufacturers to import these and assemble the cars in
"Because of this, we now have more people bringing in the
it is now very expensive to import a car. You will find that the
will be prejudiced of valuable revenue," he said.
economist at a Harare commercial bank said the slump in customs
collections was inevitable and a predictable symptom of a
Zimbabwe is in its fourth year of economic
recession, which has been
worsened by a cut-off in international aid by the
West to protest the
government's seizure of private farms, a crackdown on the
media and the opposition and a disputed presidential ballot in
It faces critical shortages of fuel, foreign currency and
inflation runs at 140 percent; unemployment stands at 70 percent
absolute poverty affects nearly 80 percent of its estimated population of
A presidential poll re-run or a new
11/7/02 7:02:52 AM (GMT
In my last contribution [October 3-9] I stated that the failure
talks between ZANU PF and MDC shifted the focus of the Zimbabwean
democracy to a question of whether what Zimbabwe needs is an
or a new constitution.
In Zimbabwe electoral
laws are tipped in favour of the sitting
President and with the vast
legislative powers that the Executive Presidency
has, it is obviously
extremely unlikely that it can ever be possible in
Zimbabwe to have a free
and fair election under the current laws.
Of particular concern is
Section 158 of the Electoral Act which gives
the President something close to
arbitrary powers in respect of elections.
On a literal
interpretation, the provisions in Section 158 of the
Electoral Act give the
President the right to ride roughshod over every
electoral law and the
provisions in the Act which seek to uphold and protect
the notion of free and
fair elections are hence not worth the paper they are
Only within the two months preceding the Presidential
President Mugabe promulgated a statutory instrument under Section
had the effect of making substantial amendments to the Electoral
law to his
Morgan Tsvangirai's application to have
the statutory instrument
declared ultra vires the Act and Section 158 of the
Electoral Act declared
unconstitutional was dismissed by the High Court on
the grounds that he does
not have locus standi; without proceeding to look
into the merits of his
case. [In simple terms locus standi refers to the
eligibility of a person to
bring a claim before the courts].
Zimbabwean judiciary has generally adopted a very restrictive
locus standi and this technicality has been used to deny the
people a right
to be heard especially in matters of public interest. It is
needless to say
that the Zimbabwean judiciary has always been a
disappointment in matters
relating to elections. It is against this
background that the call for a
re-run of elections should be considered.
In spite of the
overwhelming evidence of electoral irregularities, all
odds are against the
success of the MDC court challenge.
Apart from a host of bad
precedent on election petitions, the fact
that we have a restructured
judiciary whose independence is questionable,
and in particular a
pro-executive Supreme Court, is sufficient cause for
Even if the court rules in favour of the MDC, what are the chances
Mugabe will accede to a re-run of the elections when he declared way
Zvimba that such a call is a wild goose chase?
However, we hear
that President Obasanjo announced in September at a
press conference in Lagos
that Mugabe has told him in confidence that he
will respect the order of the
court. (Perhaps the President had a prophetic
vision and he now knows the
decision of the court in advance!).
Supposing the MDC wins the
court challenge and a re-run of the
election is granted, we will still be
stuck with the effects of POSA, the
Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, The Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act and the
Executive Presidency itself as an
Powers Act empowers the President "to make
regulations dealing with
situations that have arisen and that need to be
dealt with as a matter of
urgency; and to provide for matters connected
therewith or incidental
thereto". To date no regulations have been created
under the Act relating
directly to elections.
Nevertheless, there is nothing that
precludes the President at some
point in time when he is under pressure to
use the power conferred on him by
the Act for the purpose of temporarily
amending the electoral law. In other
words, regulations that can not be
enacted under the Electoral Act may be
permissible in terms of the
Presidential Powers Act, which expanded the
legislative options available to
Supposing the President does not do all this, there
is nothing that
precludes the ZANU PF dominated Parliament from amending the
or giving the President a gift of more powers pending a re-run
elections and rigidly insisting on the rule of law!
stuck realities make the argument for a re-run of elections
unappealing to me
unless the re-run is sought within a constitutional
MDC court challenge must not be a strategy complete in itself but
it must be
part of a broader strategy which involves strategic alliances
The argument that the crisis in Zimbabwe is a "crisis of
has not had any credible rival in sight and abuse of the
is part of misgovernance.
sets the structure for governance and if the
constitution is defective,
governance can even be worse - rotten! If the
crisis in Zimbabwe is one of
governance, then "it is a new constitution,
constitution must be the first target for all those that aspire
governance, tolerance, nation-building and economic development.
one retraces our history to 1997 and reflect on the emergence of
forces in Zimbabwe it is clear that the facts speak
Up until 1997 we did not have a vibrant and
discerning civil society
in Zimbabwe. The underdeveloped socio-economic
structures undermined the
emergence of social forces capable of exerting a
counteracting effect on the
authoritarian tendencies of the post-colonial
It is public knowledge that the government
accepted to embark on
constitutional review following immense pressure from
civil society. It all
started with labour and student uprisings in 1997-98
heavy-handedness with which the police dealt with these revolts
serious constitutional questions especially in relation to the powers
President, the Bill of Rights and the electoral process among other
The labour and student uprisings occurred at a time when
was beginning to feel the real pinch of the government's pursuit
neo-liberal economic policies and up to now Zimbabwe is experiencing
severe economic rescission compounded by a controversial land policy and
controversial re-election of President Mugabe.
This led to
increasingly drastic cut-backs on social expenditure which
deterioration of such social services as health care delivery
Unemployment continued to rise and poverty became
There was widespread perception that since its
inception in 1987 the
Executive Presidency had concentrated for too much
unaccountable power in
one person's hands and this power has been badly
abused to the detriment of
the people of Zimbabwe.
calls for constitutional reform could be heard from
various quarters of the
civil society and this resulted in the formation of
The NCA is a loose coalition of opposition
political parties and civic
organisations including labour and student
movements, church groups, youths,
lawyers, progressive intellectuals and
The major objective behind the formation of the NCA was
for it to act
as a common action front to lobby the government to embark on
democratisation of the constitution.
The government refused to
engage the NCA in meaningful discussions
over constitution making. The NCA
was pressing for the convening of an all
stakeholders conference to agree on
the process and the legal framework for
knew that such an approach would undermine their intended
dominance of the
process and they preferred to proceed by way of a
commission appointed by the
President while a defiant NCA embarked on a
parallel process whose major aim
was to act as a barometer to the findings
of the government- appointed
It is now on record that the
Constitutional Commission's draft
constitution was resoundingly rejected by
Zimbabweans in the historic
referendum of February 2000 mainly because the
NCA successfully campaigned
for a "NO" vote citing both content and process
The "NO" vote to the Commission's draft constitution did
not mean a
"YES" vote to the urrent constitution. The fact that we had
constitutional review in the first place is testimony of the fact
is a general consensus, if not unanimity, among Zimbabweans that
constitution has outlived its political value.
an illegitimate constitution that has the effect of compromising
legitimacy of any government that derives its mandate from it. In other
even if the MDC, or any political party for that matter, were to take
political power, their legitimacy would still be in question to the
that they point to the current constitution as the source of their
The current constitution symbolises the last vestiges of
in Zimbabwe in spite of the rhetoric of "sovereignty" and
from government circles.
Now that we have been
told over and over again that a new constitution
is not a priority in
government, the forces of change must go back to the
drawing board and do
what they have done before.
By the way who said if a new
constitution is not a priority to the
government then the government is not a
priority to the people?
However, it would appear that the NCA,
which was the common action
front has sulked over time. Some have broken away
to form their own
organisations where they are chairpersons, presidents or
secretaries of this
In addition, the MDC which is one
of the major member organisations of
the NCA has of late preoccupied itself
with an election re-run (with taking
over power, to be blunt!).
However, because of the partisan nature of a political party, the MDC
not have the capacity to command a following that is characterised
To be continued
Sithole is a Harare-based legal practitioner
Murerwa's no-win task
11/7/02 6:42:51 AM (GMT +2)
WHICHEVER way Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa juggles the 2003
national budget figures next Thursday, he cannot win
and none expect him to.
Neither he nor any Cabinet minister could
possibly stitch up a
meaningful and binding financial chart for the nation in
the 12 months from
next January purely because few in the government seem to
care about living
within their allocated budgetary votes, the trigger of
And because the economy is in a
tailspin, none could possibly give an
accurate prognosis of the conditions on
the ground in a month's time, let
alone in a year.
Murerwa's budget will largely be irrelevant. It will be more of a
financial plan that is likely to be reviewed in the course of next
year if it
is to make sense at all.
Notwithstanding Murerwa's no-win
assignment, he could take some
measures which in the short term could just
keep the nation's ship afloat.
But he faces tough choices.
increase in the price of fuel - already signalled by President
Mugabe's call on multinational oil groups to buy their own fuel -
lubricate the wheels of a sagging economy, and yet there would also be
political price to pay for this.
A fuel price increase would
automatically lift prices of virtually all
other goods and services just when
ordinary Zimbabweans can hardly make ends
inflation, already at an unprecedented high of 140 percent,
sharply and hurt both consumers and companies. Just last week,
International Monetary Fund projected Zimbabwe's inflation at more than
percent by next year's close.
But is the government prepared for
such an eventuality? If not, what
are its options on fuel procurement in the
face of a biting squeeze on hard
cash? The answer is: none.
Perhaps to go around the same problem, Murerwa could raise the 40
level of foreign currency which Zimbabwean exporters cede to the
bank. Thus, there would be more hard cash to pay for fuel supplies,
Zimbabwe earning enough forex to continue subsidising
What incentives would he give to exporters to
boost their production
and thus earn more forex in the face of
inflation-fuelled production costs
and shortages of raw materials and
equipment caused by the forex crisis?
Murerwa cannot possibly raise
or widen the tax threshold for
individuals and corporates because it is
already too high.
But then what does he do in the face of dwindling
revenues that come
into the state coffers? Does he sell part or most of the
companies, the so-called parastatals, to raise the cash that he
After two years of upheavals on commercial farms which have
the population in dire need of food aid and with signals that a
famine could be beckoning, how and from where will Murerwa raise
to import food?
Are Zimbabwe's hungry millions
prepared to go on empty stomachs for
It is obvious
that the government, for all its hardline and
desperately needs huge aid injections from none
other than its Western
"imperialist enemies". But are they themselves
prepared to dole out their
Still on agriculture, has the government now raised and
the funds that are critically needed to buy inputs and equipment
reported thousands of new black farmers who are taking over the
If not, is Zimbabwe not facing a
man-made catastrophe of empty farms,
of no food, of no crops and of no hard
cash normally earned by tobacco and
These and many other
questions will no doubt test Murerwa's mind to
the limit ahead of Thursday's
budget. We wish him luck but the omens do not
look promising at all.
ZIMBABWE: Oxfam urges government to lift ban on feeding
November (IRIN) - A British charity Oxfam on Thursday said it was still awaiting
approval from the Zimbabwean government to go ahead with the delivery of food
supplied by the World Food Programme (WFP).
Jane Cocking, Oxfam's
regional programme manager in Zimbabwe told IRIN: "We are still in negotiations
to become a WFP implementing partner. All the paperwork has been done and there
are ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Social Welfare. We are confident
that the suspension will be lifted soon."
Last month Oxfam and Save the
Children's Fund (SCF), another British NGO were banned from distributing
WFP-supplied food aid. Additionally, SCF was ordered to stop distributing its
own food to people in the Binga district of western Zimbabwe.
The ban on
the two charities came at a critical point, with hunger deepening across
Zimbabwe. WFP has estimated that close to six million are in need of emergency
food aid until the next harvest in March/April 2003.
In the meantime,
Oxfam said that it had distributed seeds to communities in the Midlands and
Last year the government accused aid agencies of
using food relief to campaign for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
More recently, the politicisation of food aid has become a controversial
issue as the government faces allegations of channelling food aid away from
regions where political opposition is strongest.
Last month WFP suspended
the distribution of relief supplies in Insiza district in Matabeleland South
province due to alleged political interference by President Robert Mugabe's
Little room for manoeuvre as Murerwa unveils new wish
By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
11/7/02 8:44:59 AM
ZIMBABWE'S 2003 national budget is doomed to be another
list unless the government adopts a holistic approach to
causes of the country's economic crisis, analysts warned
Economists and market commentators said unless the
that the budget can not operate in a vacuum, whatever
Minister Herbert Murerwa presents to parliament next
Thursday would come to
"What needs to be done is to come
up with a budget that tries to
instil confidence in the economy," Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce
economist James Jowa told the Financial
"But that is going to be very, very difficult because the
itself is not adequate to restore confidence. There are other
the budget that need to be addressed, otherwise the budget
will not do
Kingdom Financial Holdings analyst Witness
Chinyama said: "What is
needed is a holistic approach, whether it be economic
or political. It has
to be a package that addresses all aspects of the
The analysts said such an approach would require the
implementation of a comprehensive economic recovery strategy
identify the underlying causes of Zimbabwe's economic crisis,
tackling them and a realistic timetable for doing so.
The government would also have to commit itself to restoring the rule
and demonstrating respect for property rights, which have been under
since ruling ZANU PF supporters began occupying white-owned farms in
Failure by the police and the government to protect these
rights or to
bring to book most of the perpetrators of violence associated
with the farm
invasions and elections in the past two years has seriously
's image as a safe investment destination.
analysts said respect for the rule of law and property rights
the international community's confidence in Zimbabwe's economy
foreign investment as well as assistance from the
International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank, whose withdrawal of
balance of payments support in
1999 has contributed to economic recession.
"One of the major
problems for the economy is the foreign currency
crisis, and to improve our
foreign currency inflows we need to do three
"One, we have to encourage the export sector through
better prices. Two, we have to re-engage the international
also have to encourage foreign investors and we know foreign
mainly use our relationship with the IMF and World Bank to see if
we are a
risky or a safe country."
But the analysts said none of
these measures were likely to
Mugabe has told the international community that
Zimbabwe can do without its
support, while the government says it has
completed the seizure of
white-owned farms and is not planning to reverse
think any of these things will be addressed right now," Jowa
means we will have a budget in a vacuum. It won't have support
international community or other measures to back it up.
means we will have to rely on tax revenue and we are already
taxed to the
neck. If he (Murerwa) tries to increase tax, this will simply
shrink the tax
base, companies will collapse and jobs will be lost.
"If the basic
things are not addressed, revenue will shrink and we
will have to come up
with another supplementary budget and have another huge
budget deficit. It's
a vicious cycle."
The economists said Murerwa's budget was likely
to place focus on the
agricultural sector, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy
and which the
government has identified as the engine that will drive future
Tobacco growers, whose exports are the single largest
earner in Zimbabwe, would have to be well taken care of to
minimise the drop
in output expected next year because of the government's
"Growers look forward to the possibility of an
early announcement of a
significantly increased support price for the new
season when the Minister
of Finance and Economic Development presents the
fiscal budget for 2003,"
the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association said in its October
"The announcement of a viable support price scheme as
soon as possible
will be necessary for continued support by financial
growers alike as they proceed at the moment with a leap of
continuing to transplant their seedlings."
said Murerwa was also likely to make proposals aimed at
so-called new farmers who have been resettled on previously
and who need massive financial support from the Treasury if
they are to
maintain the same level of output as displaced
This means Murerwa cannot afford to address
the government's loose
monetary policy, which has fuelled inflation,
presently pegged at 139.9
percent. The government has maintained low interest
rates since January last
year, encouraging borrowing and consumption which
has resulted in negative
returns for investors on the money
Chinyama pointed out: "I think he will want to see that
remains cheap for the farmers. Curbing inflation means tightening
policy and tightening monetary policy contradicts the need to
Sagit Stockbrokers said in a
commentary: "The forthcoming budget has
much to address if the authorities
are determined to keep the financial
however, that a significant interest rate increase will be
in mind the government's financial obligations to meet
national food and fuel
requirements, as well as the agrarian reform
analysts said Murerwa might still try to meet the needs of other
the economy, most of which have been hard hit by inflation and
the budget to propose ways of alleviating the problem.
Manufacturers, for instance, are facing soaring production costs
inflation but are unable to raise their prices to keep pace with
increasing cost of production.
The government reintroduced price
controls last October, adversely
affecting the viability of many companies
and sparking commodity shortages.
Gold producers have also been
forced to scale down operations or to
close down completely and retrench
workers because of high production costs,
foreign currency shortages and a
fixed exchange rate.
Independent economist John Robertson said:
"It's very difficult for
him (Murerwa) to address inflation, but there are
fears a price and wage
freeze might be included in the budget and that would
"A price freeze today would need foreign exchange
from two months ago. You can't do it now and get away with
it. A wage freeze
would be disastrous because prices on the black market
would continue to go
This would significantly raise the
cost of living for ordinary
Zimbabweans, close to seven million of whom are
threatened with starvation
because of food shortages and many of whom are
unlikely to be catered for in
the 2003 budget through funding for the social
"Unemployment is rising, many people need
assistance and the
government is not meeting their needs," Robertson
"In the past, the government has said to aid agencies 'if
you think we
have a welfare crisis, you can come and sort it out' and over
the years it
has stopped allocating money for social welfare because donors
"But these donors are not there anymore and
the ones that are coming
here are looking at disaster relief. It all adds up
to a miserable situation
where a number of people will have to be neglected.
I think as they draft
the budget, they are looking at how much money is there
and how many people
can be left out.
"People are saying Murerwa
has no room to manoeuvre. Each year a
budget is presented they use the same
phrase and it's still true. It has
never been more true than now."
Is the opposition a bunch of spineless sissies or
11/7/02 7:04:17 AM (GMT
AS Zimbabweans ponder when their woes will come to pass, hope
eventual attainment of that Utopia has been placed in other folks who
provided the legitimate forum for the representation of their
In the history of this young nation, the conditions
that prevail today
were in the past met through the formation of political
These were the now ruling ZANU and ZAPU. Their
contributions to the
people's struggle here for self-rule have been
documented and the challenges
Years later, Zimbabweans
find themselves faced with the same challenge
as seen back in the fervent
nationalism years of the 1970s. But what is
unfortunate is that while we have
seen the latter-day oppressors' mutation
come with the population
collectively failing to duck or resist that forced
march toward this
Africanised gulag, the people who the ordinary man, woman
and child vested
their trust in toward the realisation of the same goals
that were pursued
back in the years have had the unenviable task of having
too much expected of
It will be argued that the circumstances that existed when
for Zimbabwe's independence was born have been graphically made
today, thus the men and women who have taken up the challenge on
fellow compatriots have to soldier on and bring victory today, not
But what that analysis apparently seeks is what could be
time frame that has been allocated to the opposition here for
realisation of those ideals that are eagerly sought after
How many years have people given the Movement for Democratic
(MDC) to deliver them to the promised land?
1999 and standing in its first election in June 2000 a few
months later, the
expectation among many here no doubt was that the party
was just what the
doctor ordered to pull Zimbabwe from what then appeared
not to be a terminal
Perhaps naturally, people demand immediate relief when
them hard - which in itself is not wrong as it would double
their resolve -
but it would be grossly unfair to apportion all the failings
to make this a
better country once more on the men and women who took the
behalf of all peace-loving natives of this land as some writers
It is beyond debate that all sane Zimbabweans are in
agreement that we
need salvation and quickly. What lacks consensus is
obviously how that path
is to be trodden.
With the people having
shown their allegiance to the MDC, it is
obvious that the party had been seen
as their only way out of this living
hell, and that this was to be achieved
via the ballot. But because the June
2000 parliamentary elections which had
been expected to leave President
Mugabe with a parliamentary minority, came
and went amid gross abuses of
both human rights and electoral conduct, the
people's resolve was naturally
This meant they
apparently "had not seen nothing yet." The worst was
And then came the March 2002 presidential election,
won by the ruling party's candidate. Alarm and despondency
levels as people became aware that they had to wait some six
more years of
hell before their second shot at expelling their
Blaming anybody for failing to be equal to the
challenge that has been
provided in the form of the ruling party is to ignore
the first rule of the
politics of Africa itself.
The history of
the continent is littered with horrendous tales of how
men and women were
brutalised by ruling parties which invariably had been in
the forefront in
the struggle that brought self-rule.
Armies were privatised, the
police force made a mean fighting machine
against unarmed citizens,
legislation to quell all dissent was enacted, free
academics thrown into filthy jail cells, fathers
kidnapped, patriots forced
into exile. We could go on.
Can it be argued conclusively that all
this does not exist today in
this country? But have the leaders of the
opposition fled their motherland
like the "cowards" which they have been
People dreaming of a Zimbabwe that will be a model of
democracy and an
economic bulwark in the southern Africa region will note
that the presence
of the MDC itself is a stepping stone toward that ideal. It
is the presence
of that cabal of patriots willing to make their presence felt
establishment that will itself rescue this country from this
And this because it takes the presence of a
political opposition to
push for better existence for the people. But that
push itself fundamentally
rests on universally recognised means in the form
of an election, yet
because this has not borne the fruit as desired by all
here, we thus hear
the charge that the opposition here are a bunch of
If the birth of a strong opposition had never
been, that in itself
would have sealed our fate as people morbidly content
with taking punishment
as copiously dispensed by the ruling party. Salvation
does not come simply
because you yearn for it - it comes because you have
worked for it. Yet
desperation has bred unorthodox means for the realisation
of a favoured
ideal, and at very high human cost.
The very fact
that Zimbabwe finds itself in a situation like this
which has also pitted the
ruling party against outside powers in the form of
the European Union and the
United States has meant that any who attempt to
step into the ring to fight
the ruling party is dismissed as one who is paid
to sing that tune by those
And as this comes when the theme in African
politics is solidarity
under what appears to be that citizen unfriendly
banner of pan-Africanism,
efforts to effect change by locals are met with
While the leaders as seen at the Earth Summit
echo each other's
sentiments, the people dismiss them as folks out of touch
Nobody wants to hear speeches attacking imaginary enemies. What
are speeches accompanied with actions attacking
Amid such zany behaviours from men who should be leading
then becomes of anybody who attempts to oust them through the
The appointment of another Harare Commission to assist the
in the running of the affairs of the capital city would be enough
that with such an opponent the opposition will be blamed till
failing to lead Zimbabweans to a better existence.
In all the blame being heaped on the opposition here on its failure to
this regime out of power, should we not be grateful that they have
resorted to other means that defeated political parties bent on getting
State House have employed across the African continent?
Surely these men are of different stock from the "transformed
Charles Taylor of Liberia who as a warlord clinched victory in a
election simply because Liberians feared that if they voted for
that man was going back to the bush and resume his slaughter
Zimbabweans surely should be grateful that despite all
of the opposition by the ruling party, they have not been
awoken in the
middle of the night by the sound of gunfire. Could anybody have
considering the forces the ruling party has in its corner, which
judiciary handpicked to do the bidding of ZANU
a.. Marko Phiri is a freelance writer
Will the troops shoot to kill eight months after? (Part
11/7/02 6:41:56 AM (GMT
LET us finish this theme on the likely behaviour of men and
uniform and in dark glasses eight months since the controversial
presidential election. Will they shoot at fellow citizens
protesting the government's ineptitude in providing them with
the "good life"?
We argued in Part One (see Fingaz,
October 24 2002) that the country
is fast reaching a consensus on the source
of its misery, and that men and
women in uniform and in dark glasses are part
of this emerging consensus.
They are, after all, part of the general
In Part Two (see Fingaz, October 31 2002) we further
institutionally men and women in uniform and in dark glasses, to
they choose to, are the last guarantors of constitutional order
governance in any society before the general citizenry takes to the
to demand a new social contract.
But the military may be
corrupted and perverted by politicians, and
therefore may be inclined to
protect an inept and corrupt government. This
is borne, in our case, by
information about some of our commanders' alleged
involvement in the
"Diamonds" Republic of the Congo.
We argued, nonetheless, that this
corrupt tendency, notwithstanding
the parallel debate (parallel to that
raging within society in general)
among men and women in uniform and in dark
glasses, that this debate is
beginning to focus on individual and
institutional responsibility for
getting the country out this
We made the point that often it is the strains and
surface within the military and other instruments of
state coercion that are
often the straw that breaks the camel's
We want to conclude this theme by discussing recent
in our view, are potentially a danger to the state's
coercion, hence to society in general.
the mainstream military and police, there are far too many
performing military or paramilitary and police functions in
This is a development that started prominently after
Mugabe acquiesced to war veterans' costly demands in 1997.
The war veterans
have remained a prominent - if not notorious - feature of
state apparatus of
coercion since then, gaining in stature at every
In addition, and to a much grander scale, is
the official creation of
the Border Gezi National Youth Training Centre for
the production of youth
militias, the so-called "Green Bombers". They have
dubious military, police,
party and civilian roles of inculcating patriotism
into the general public.
This is the legacy the late Border Gezi left
The "Green Bombers" will soon be fighting for space and
"costly" demands on the government as they realise their importance
pivotal role for the regime's survival as the late Chenjerai Hunzvi's
veterans had discovered when they made their demands in 1997. It is
obvious they will start replacing the war veterans in importance to
regime's survival. Witness their role and impact in successive
Already the President has publicly
recognised them as "war veterans of
the Third Chimurenga", positioning the
most enthusiastic among them for the
national shrine to be buried as national
heroes, while some among the
veterans of the Second Chimurenga are sent to
jail for crimes committed in
the enthusiasm of work for the
I have in mind here the case of war veteran Andrew Ndlovu.
Samora Machel who once observed: "The revolution eats its own
Then there is the "Police Support Unit" outfit. Is it
police or a "support unit", I wonder?
I ask the
question because in most "law and order" operations the
"support unit" seems
more prominent than the police establishment it is
supposed to be supporting,
and the unit is inordinately opinionated and
political, unlike personnel from
the conventional police force.
The role of the regular police is
being increasingly despised and
marginalised; it is thoroughly compromised.
If the rumour is true that the
youth militias are to impart patriotism on
campus, then the days of the
police support unit on campus or anywhere else
are narrowly numbered, except
as auxiliaries to assist the emergent youth
They were called "Young Pioneers" in Malawi. Even the
army and police
feared them. There was ambiguity of turf; institutional
jealousy crept in.
The Young Pioneers provoked a confrontation with the army;
they were crushed
and run out of town.
Should our army wait
until they are provoked into a confrontation?
Coming late in
Zimbabwe, the youth militia will be behoven not to
Kamuzu, but the new
politicians, the so-called "Young Turks" in ZANU PF, as
the old recede to the
background or die out. With the massive production at
several centres like
the Border Gezi Centre, these militias will be the new
recruits into the
army. Soon the "best and brightest" (I mean the most
"loyal and patriotic"!)
among them will be promoted to army commanders.
institutions and individuals in them nervous, no matter how
one looks at it.
There creeps in institutional jealousy as the ambitious
chaotic situation they have deliberately created.
Such are the
likely consequences of too many actors and institutions
doing the same thing.
At some point, there is bound to be collision whether
or not this is the
intention of the politicians who seem busy muddling
"Assume you are right, Professor, what do we do now," you will ask?
Really, I don't know. Tanyira pogona. We have made a mess!
suspicion is that some among men and women in uniform and in
have the answers, if only we can consult them before we mess
things up for
them and ourselves further.
In the past I have not hidden my
admiration (if fascination) for
former army commander General Solomon Mujuru.
It seems to me there is a
perceptive side to that man on national affairs.
Have we consulted him or
omafikizolo have taken over?
served his country so sterlingly - both before and after
Mujuru gave way to others and went into business. He could be
employment for our school-leavers had our politics been right. He
only one to publicly say our involvement in the Democratic Republic
Congo (DRC) was ill-advised, right at the beginning of the costly
Somehow the dignity of our men and women in uniform and in
glasses has to be restored; it must be restored; it would be
and unpatriotic not to do so. The forces should be the
guarantors of society
's security in its pursuit of the "good
To me the answer is simple. Those who have made their money
bonanza in the DRC should make their exit from the army into
help create employment for the many who are unemployed. They
to have it both ways; it is hurting Zimbabwe; it is therefore
I think those who are advising early retirement will
must succeed, for if they should fail, Zimbabwe is headed for
Chimurenga, the real "Third Chimurenga" (not chemombe mbiri
mashanhu!) during which the troops will simply
a.. Professor Masipula Sithole is a
lecturer of political science at
the University of Zimbabwe and director of
the Harare-based Mass Public
Opinion Institute. While he is currently on
sabbatical leave in the United
States of America, Sithole can be contacted at
telephone number (202) 429 3819.
Govt to spend money it does not have
Professor Anthony Hawkins
11/7/02 8:44:07 AM (GMT +2)
the inmates securely in control of the financial asylum, no sane
going to predict what will be in next week's budget.
Suffice it to
say that accounting groups and banks are cutting back on
presentations, apparently because they envisage a non-event,
but also because
as inflation escalates into the stratosphere it is time to
keep a wary eye on
The asylum analogy is all too valid. If correctly reported,
finance minister wants to levy income tax on Zimbabweans working
Often, such incomes are covered by double-taxation
certainly in the case of the two main countries affected, the
and South Africa.
Accordingly, such a tax - even
if it were feasible, which it isn't -
would be illegal. Not that that would
bother the inmates who gave up on
legality years ago.
Predictably, the deputy minister has since denied that the government
to tax exiled Zimbabweans.
In any event, forecasting what might be
in the budget is a pointless
exercise given the massive divergence between
budgets and outturn.
The experience during the first half of 2002
is striking. Although the
economy is declining twice as fast as former
finance minister Simba Makoni
predicted a year ago, revenues were 15 percent
The explanation? Inflation was substantially higher
Normally higher inflation would also mean increased
spending. But not
in a paragon state of fiscal rectitude like Zimbabwe!
Expenditure was 28
percent below budget because foreign debt is not being
capital-spending programmes were not being fully implemented and,
savers and pension funds are being ripped off in the most cynical
unprincipled fashion. All par for the course.
highlight the sheer pointlessness of the budget exercise,
Makoni tabled a supplementary budget which increases
spending by $53 billion
(13.5 percent, of which $11.5 billion was to be
funded from additional
In theory then, the budget deficit projected last November
billion was to increase to almost $180 billion. But because revenue
forecast and spending below, Makoni was optimistic of meeting his
deficit target of 12.9 percent of GDP.
likely to average 135-140 percent in 2002, GDP
estimates are highly
More meaningful indicators of the gravity of the
fiscal situation are
hyperinflation, escalating money supply growth and
estimated at over US$1 billion in mid-year and forecast to
billion by year-end.
Converted at a realistic
exchange rate, Zimbabwe's GDP is probably in
the region of US$4.5 to US$5
billion, meaning the economy is now smaller
than those of Botswana and
Arrears alone are now 35 percent of GDP and total
including arrears, exceeds GDP.
It can be taken
for granted that what Dr Herbert Murerwa does about
this unhappy state of
affairs and what he should do will turn out to be two
very different things.
Put simply, the situation is straightforward
essential policies should be:
a.. Abolition of the official
b.. A huge increase in interest rates, coupled
measures to curb money supply growth
Increased taxation and substantial reductions in public
a.. The urgent restructuring of the public sector,
reductions in the number of civil servants - especially
b.. Accelerated privati- sation
But these remedies are politically impossible. Abolition of the
exchange rate has been ruled out - in the most categorical terms by
Robert Mugabe himself.
A substantial interest rate hike would burst
the asset price bubble,
bringing down highly geared corporates and
individuals, as well as several
banks in the process.
finance ministers, and the current Reserve Bank governor,
Leonard Tsumba are
guilty of creating a basis of a systemic financial
For that reason, not to mention the fact that the
sectors of the economy are peopled by numbers of ZANU PF
heavies, a rational
and responsible monetary policy is a
More importantly, a sharp rise in nominal interest
jeopardise the government's land resettlement plans because it
would make it
impossible to provide credit to the new farmers at
Spending cutbacks are
impractical too, given the need to spend
massively on land resettlement,
while also trying to keep pace with
hyperinflation in terms of government
consumption spending, wages and
Lip service may be
paid to public sector restructuring and
privatisation, but without foreign
participation privatization is unlikely
to be successful.
formal sector employment today no higher than at independence 22
this is not the time for the government to be retrenching staff.
All of which suggests that the 2003 budget will be more of the same.
vain attempt to hold on to power at any cost, the government will
spend money it does not have, funded by running the printing
literally - while also borrowing from the banks.
Notes and coin in
circulation increased 70 percent in the first eight
months of 2002, while
money supply has doubled over the past year.
We can expect the
familiar platitudes about the need for fiscal
responsibility, the promise to
introduce VAT next year, or very soon
thereafter, the commitment to bringing
down inflation and re-engaging the
IMF, and promises to reform the public
We may get a petrol price hike since NOCZIM must again be
hand-over-fist and, in another fig-leaf operation, Murerwa might
to increase the 40 percent of foreign earnings that exporters
must sell to
the Reserve Bank at the ludicrous Z$55 rate to 50 percent or
That would be self-defeating, since it would merely
depreciation in the parallel market. But this government's
capacity to do
the wrong thing should never be under-estimated.
If ZANU PF were not so obviously - indeed criminally - culpable for
inter-related crises it has created, the five F's of food, forex,
fiscal policy and finance - one might have some sympathy for the
Such sympathy would be misplaced. Those
deserving of sympathy are the
75 percent of the population living in "abject
poverty", to quote Makoni
"the sick and elderly who cannot afford drugs and
medical care, the
pensioners", who have been ripped off disgracefully by
Makoni and Reserve
Bank governor Leonard Tsumba, while the self-serving Old
Mutual has Pontius
Pilate-like washed its hands shedding crocodile tears for
enough to have trusted it.
Sympathy too for the
starving millions, the millions afflicted with
HIV-AIDS, for those ejected
from their farms and those farm workers deprived
of a livelihood, however
Murerwa's budget next week should be judged in terms of
what it does,
not just to revive a terminally-ill economy, but for the
millions of people
who are casualties of the government's
I won't be holding my breath.
a.. Anthony Hawkins is professor and director of the Graduate School
Management at the University of Zimbabwe.
Fuel price hikes could fuel instability:
By Abel Mutsakani News Editor
11/7/02 8:45:52 AM
ZIMBABWEANS could end up paying about $750 for a litre of
fuel or 10
times more than the current pump price if the government goes
ahead to allow
private oil companies to import fuel into the country, a
analysts this week warned could have dire economic and
In a rare admission of failure,
President Robert Mugabe confessed last
week that his cash-strapped
administration was finding it increasingly
difficult to keep the fuel pumps
Mugabe indicated he would revoke an earlier decision
companies from importing fuel, but stopped short of saying they
be given the greenlight to sell the product at market
Economic and political commentators said the freeing of the
to profit-driven private firms would trigger price increases
economy that could possibly ignite political and social upheaval
country that has for the last three years leapt from one crisis to
but somehow remained intact.
Brian Raftopoulos, an
associate professor at the Institute of
Development Studies, an affiliate
college of the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ), said: "We are looking at a total
meltdown situation. It is clear if
this happens (if fuel prices go up), then
it would in the next few months
help push the country into absolute collapse.
Raftopoulos spoke as the International Monetary Fund's
representative in Zimbabwe Gerry Johnson this week warned that the
could soon plunge into a hyperinflationary spiral that could bring
economy to total collapse.
Noting wage-led strikes by
university students, teachers, medical
staff and engineers at the national
Air Zimbabwe airline, the respected
Raftopoulos said there was already a
momentum for a general strike and price
hikes across the
Any upward changes in the price of fuel could quicken mass
Zimbabweans are paying $66.39
for a litre of diesel at the pump and
$74.47 for a litre of petrol, most of
it imported from Libya and South
Africa by the state-run National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe which, together
with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
gets 40 percent of all hard
cash earned by Zimbabwe to pay for energy
Mugabe did not specify whether private oil companies would
similarly allowed easier access to cheaper foreign currency nor did he
light on how the price of fuel imported by private companies would
The government more than a year ago rejected a
proposal by private oil
firms to be allowed to import fuel as a consortium,
fearing that this action
would push up prices of the vital commodity just as
the government was
facing its biggest electoral challenge from the country's
Movement for Democratic Change.
Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ) chairman Masimba
Kambarami said the
association was planning to meet the government sometime
this week to seek
clarification on arrangements the state had for oil
companies to import
But whatever price structure or modalities the industry would
with the government would need to also address the viability of the
companies, he noted.
"The bottom line for everybody is
viability and sustainability of
supply," Kambarani told the Financial
Harare-based independent economic analyst John Robertson
government was likely to continue importing some of the fuel but
private oil firms to procure more of the commodity.
if the government allowed private firms to have access to the
currency that is available in the country at the official
rate of one
American dollar to $55, as is the case now, the hard cash
Zimbabwe would not be able to pay for fuel requirements,
Robertson said the oil companies could raise their own
pay for fuel from abroad or could mobilise the foreign currency
Zimbabwe's illegal but thriving black market but that whatever they
would have to result in them making a profit.
dollar is officially pegged at $55 to the American unit
but even the
government has admitted that this rate grossly overvalues the
given the huge inflation differentials between Zimbabwe and
its major trading
Most financial analysts say the real value of the dollar
closer to the black market rate, which at the moment is around $1 500
Robertson said: "The price of fuel on the
international market is
US$0.50 per litre and ruling out any other additional
costs, you will still
get a price of 750 Zimbabwe dollars for a litre of fuel
if the companies use
the real value of the local dollar.
"Clearly whatever pricing formula or supplying arrangement they will
with, we are looking at a price of fuel that is more or less 10
people are paying now."
UZ business studies professor Tony Hawkins
said: "The government is
caught between a rock and hard place: either it
allows a substantial rise in
the price of fuel or there is no fuel at
The UZ professor spoke as garages and car owners this week
that many fuel pumps, especially in Zimbabwe' s southern regions,
Any hike in the price of fuel could
immediately ignite unrest in the
labour sector, with workers possibly opting
for industrial action to force
employers, themselves reeling under an
economic siege, to award
substantially high wage rises to track galloping
"Any substantial increase in the price of fuel would be
inflationary, with prices going up across the economy. We could
complete dislocation of everything - the social, labour and
sectors," Robertson acknowledged.
UK firm threatens to sue govt over losses
11/7/02 8:33:21 AM (GMT +2)
AFRICAN Gold Plc
(Afgold), a United Kingdom-based gold producer, says
it is to lodge a
compensation claim against the Zimbabwe government for
losses caused by the
country's volatile political climate.
The firm did not say how much
it would sue for in what would be the
first case of its kind in independent
In a statement accompanying the firm's 2002 financial
released, chairman John Teeling said Afgold's operations in
been hurt by Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and a breakdown in the
rule of law
in the past two years.
The company, which in the
past 15 years has invested more that four
million pounds in Africa, most of
it in Zimbabwe, has been forced to sell
off most of its local gold interests
because of tumbling gold prices,
soaring inflation and an artificially high
Afgold's remaining Zimbabwean gold mine, Inez, has
been hard hit by
macroeconomic instability. Its management has been harassed
by ruling ZANU
PF supporters, who have invaded white-owned farms since
Teeling told shareholders: "Political uncertainty
economic turmoil. Hunger is widespread and famine is
"Ominously, the rule of law is breaking down. In the
past year, the
Inez mine has been invaded three times. Senior management has
intimidated, threatened and physically abused. The local police force
either unable or unwilling to help.
"During the invasions, we
have been in touch with the relevant
authorities. As a UK company listed in
London, we obtained assistance from
the Foreign Office in London and from
officials in the Zimbabwe High
Commission. We have informed the authorities
that we will lodge a claim for
damages and compensation against the state of
But he said his company, still out in the market in
search of other
investments in Africa, had no plans to pull out of Zimbabwe
as long as Inez
mine remained self-financing and local management was willing
to remain in
The firm hopes to continue operations at
Inez, located 25 kms east of
Kadoma, partly to safeguard the interests of 100
workers who have about 700
Teeling said: "We supply
this village with water, fuel and some
security. In recent months we have
begun supplying staples such as salt,
maize and cooking oil. If Inez closes,
there is no alternative paid
employment. Workers of 12 years' service and
their families may starve. It
is as serious as that.
"But it is
not altruism alone which keeps us in Zimbabwe. Gold miners
and explorers must
go where the gold is. Zimbabwe is rich in gold.
"It was the third
largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa
and Ghana but output has
halved. When the political situation clarifies and
returns, Afgold would hope to participate in the revival
of the mining
industry. It will take some time, several years, for the
present upheaval to
run its course, but finish it will."
ZANU PF debates Mugabe's surprise U-turn on fuel
By Sydney Masamvu Political Editor
AM (GMT +2)
THE top leadership of the ruling ZANU PF met yesterday
proposals to allow private oil companies to import fuel amid
divisions had emerged over the issue, with one faction fearing a
fallout if the government relinquishes control of the crucial
Yesterday's meeting followed an announcement by
Mugabe last week that multinational companies must import
their own fuel
instead of buying the commodity from the state-run National
Oil Company of
Mugabe said it was foolish for
the government to continue procuring
fuel on behalf of international oil
firms, which he alleged then reaped huge
profits while the state incurred
The ZANU PF Politburo, the party's supreme body, was
expected to debate the proposal on fuel imports and either endorse
Party insiders told the Financial Gazette before
the Politburo meeting
that they expected to be briefed on the proposal before
A task force, including private sector
representatives, charged with
working out the means of implementing the
scheme would then be formed, if
there was consensus, to oversee the fuel
import by multinational oil
Association of Zimbabwe chairman Masimba
Kambara-mi said there were still
several issues to be worked out before a
new policy on fuel procurement could
"We have had some talks but there are still some
policy issues that have to be ironed out and other players
like NOCZIM will
also have to be part of the process," he told the Financial
ZANU PF insiders said there was a flurry of
consultations during the
week among Politburo members ahead of yesterday's
meeting to determine the
merits and de-merits of Mugabe's
Some members were arguing that allowing private oil firms
fuel would push up the prices of transport and basic commodities
firms would have to charge market prices for their
These officials are arguing that price controls
imposed by the
government last October would become irrelevant, with
consequences for consumers.
"We have in the past few
days been consulting among ourselves on this
issue and some think it is not
ideal under the current economic and
political environment to bring in
private oil companies on board on fuel
procurement," a Politburo member
"The issue needs further discussion, which we will do. It is
idea under normal circumstances," he added.
said while they appreciated that Zimbabwe had the lowest
fuel prices in the
region, they wanted the government to maintain the
present arrangement until
the country's political and economic crisis eased.
They want the
price of fuel to be reviewed on a quarterly basis,
beginning with the 2003
national budget, which will be presented next
members also want to know how the new arrangement will work and
private oil firms will be given priority in the allocation of
currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
They are also demanding
that state security agencies audit some of the
Authoritative sources say the Central Intelligence Organisation's
unit has already compiled a risk report detailing the economic and
impact on state security of allowing private players to take over
Fears of sabotage by the multinational companies have
Zimbabweans are currently paying $66.39 for a
litre of diesel at the
pump and $74.47 for a litre of petrol, most of it
imported from Libya and
South Africa on preferential terms by NOCZIM.
Timber firms win case on seizure of estates
11/7/02 8:35:02 AM (GMT +2)
THE High Court yesterday barred the
Ministry of Lands from acquiring
forestry estates belonging to private
companies Border Timbers (Pvt) Limited
and Forrester Estates (Pvt) Limited in
the eastern highlands.
In a provisional ruling granted by High
Court judge Justice Charles
Hungwe, illegal settlers who have occupied land
in Forrester and Border
Timbers estates will also have to be removed by the
The companies' lawyers, Wintertons Legal Practitioners, had
that properties belonging to the two firms were protected
intergovernmental bilateral agreements between Zimbabwe and
The two companies have German shareholders. The lawyers
said the land
would only be acquired when the Zimbabwe government paid full
for the properties and with the consent of the German
The lawyers said because the properties had not been
the occupation by the settlers was illegal.
Last month illegal settlers preparing land for planting set fire to
14 000 hectares of forestation belonging to Border Timbers and the
Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ).
The fires engulfed pine and gum trees
worth about $9 billion, most of
it which would have been destined for the
export market. Border Timbers and
FCZ are some of the biggest timber
producers in southern Africa.
Border Timbers has in the past warned
its shareholders in cautionary
statements that the company is choking as a
result of the government's
fast-track land resettlement exercise which has
targeted some of its
Border Timbers and Forrester had
initially cited the ministries of
foreign affairs, defence and state security
in their case but the lawyers
for the two firms yesterday dropped this
demand, saying the action was no
five white farmers yesterday applied to the High Court to
have their eviction
notices invalidated. They challenged the acquisition of
their farms by the
government. An interim ruling will be made next
Although some farmers have successfully challenged the government's
and land acquisition notices, the government has in some cases
resettle landless blacks on those properties.
Last August the
government ordered about 3 000 farmers to quit their
properties and make way
for the resettlement of landless blacks.
- Staff Reporter
ZANU PF backers blacklisted
11/7/02 9:49:02 AM (GMT +2)
NEW Zealand has
extended smart sanctions slapped against Zimbabwe in
April to cover 142
officials of President Robert Mugabe's government and
business associates of
the ruling ZANU PF, it was learnt this week.
smart sanctions against members of Mugabe's top
hierarchy after his March
presidential election victory, which has been
rejected by the international
community and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change because of
alleged electoral fraud.
The sanctions initially covered Mugabe and
19 of his top officials,
who had already been blacklisted by the European
Union (EU) and the United
States of America, which have also introduced arms
New Zealand Foreign Ministry Press
secretary John Tulloch this week
said the list of the affected officials had
been expanded to reflect an
August Cabinet reshuffle in Zimbabwe and business
people who had profited
from their association with ZANU PF.
started with 20, then went to 72 and that was to take into account
reshuffle and things like that. Names have been added from the EU
list and a
couple of other intelligence agencies from overseas.
of the names are concerned with members of Cabinet and
government, but there
are some business people as well."
Tulloch declined to make
available New Zealand's expanded blacklist,
saying intelligence sources who
had contributed to its drafting had
requested that names on the list remain
"Some of the names on the list were taken from
agencies who asked us not to publicise the names," he
However, New Zealand officials say the expanded smart
"follows closely" the list of Zimbabwean officials and
banned by the EU, the US and Canada.
blacklist, which has been expanded from 20 to 79 since
introduced in February, includes Mugabe, his wife Grace, his
presidents, Vice President Simon Muzenda's daughter Tsitsi as well
entire Cabinet and ZANU PF Politburo.
Business people banned by the
United States include prominent bankers
Enoch Kamushinda, Taka Mutunhu,
Gideon Gono and David Chapfika. Also
included are businessmen Philip
Chiyangwa, Saviour Kasukuwere, Billy
Rautenbach and John
New Zealand Foreign Minister Philip Goff said
Wellington had decided
to extend its blacklist of Zimbabwean officials
because of the Mugabe
regime's refusal to heed international protests against
human rights abuses
and the subversion of the rule of law.
"President Robert Mugabe has continually failed to respond to
international community's profound concern about human rights abuses
subversion of the rule of law in Zimbabwe," he said.
"Accordingly, New Zealand has decided to extend its travel
against the Mugabe government. The ban has been placed on
implicated in a serious way in undermining the rule of law and
allowing human rights abuses. It is now being widened to
profiting from their commercial dealings with the
He said New Zealand's travel ban underlined the
to working with the international community to apply
pressure on Mugabe to
restore democracy and the rule of law in
From The Guardian (UK), 7
'Since I was born, I've never seen
Andrew Meldrum in Nkayi, south-western Zimbabwe
The old woman crawls from her hut and slowly stands up. She
walks unsteadily to greet the visitors. "Pardon me," she says politely in the
Ndebele language. "I am weak. We have gone two days without food. We are
gathering wild berries but they are not enough. We are losing strength." The
tidy homestead of five huts decorated in lively geometric designs speaks of a
more prosperous past. "Since I was born in 1924, I have never seen such hunger,"
says Maria Nyathi (whose name has been changed to avoid retaliation). "Even in
1947 when there was terrible drought, we could easily purchase food. But now the
government prevents us from buying food because they say we support the
opposition." Mrs Nyathi's dreadfully thin daughter is racked by a cough. She has
Aids and is declining rapidly because of malnutrition. Mrs Nyathi's
granddaughter, seven, is too weak from hunger to walk to school. Nearby, the
state's grain marketing board sells maize, but the Nyathi family and many others
have been turned away to punish the 40,000-strong Nkayi district for voting for
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "It is criminal what this government
is doing," Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube says in his Bulawayo office, 100
miles to the south. "They don't care if people die. For the sake of political
power the government is willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands. The
government is starving areas that voted for the opposition in recent elections.
It is the work of devils." As thin, hollow-cheeked people wait for donations
outside his offices, the visibly distraught archbishop says the casualties of
the government's policies are mounting. "No less that 80 people have died of
starvation in Matabeleland already; 600 have died from the combination of Aids
and hunger," he says.
Binga, in Matabeleland North province, is the most egregious
example of food being used as a political weapon. It is one of the areas hardest
hit by the famine, but the government has stopped all food deliveries to the
area for months. A handful of President Robert Mugabe's "war veterans" blocked
deliveries of food to schools by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
and Save the Children UK. The UN world food programme cannot deliver food to
Binga until the government gives its approval for a charity to distribute it.
Meanwhile the people are starving. More than 30 have died from malnutrition,
officials at Binga hospital say. The area voted strongly for the MDC in the
March presidential election and again in the local council elections. Local
officials tell Binga residents to "go to Britain for food", says the area's MP,
Joel Gabbuza. His allegations are echoed by the local MP in Nkayi district,
Abednico Bhebhe. "Our people are being starved because they refused to vote for
Mugabe," Mr Bhebhe says. "We try to smuggle in food but it is dangerous. The war
veterans have declared Nkayi a 'no-go' area for any MDC and for any whites." He
was beaten and imprisoned for weeks when he visited his constituency during the
presidential election in March. MDC supporters recount stories of torture and
murder in the Nkayi area. "I was whipped with barbed wire. My feet were beaten
so I could not walk. I was kept in a pit for several weeks and forced to drink
urine," says Venny Dube, 30, showing scars to back up his account. "A friend was
murdered; others are still missing months later." The people of Nkayi are afraid
of further reprisals. At Mrs Nyathi's homestead, when a motor vehicle is heard
passing nearby, she immediately urges the Guardian to leave. "If it is the war
veterans they will hurt you and punish us. Go and tell the world what is
happening here," she says.
SADC needs a clear agenda on
Group's goals must be defined well'
GABORONE Poverty and sustainable
development were inextricably linked,
said Botswana's President Festus Mogae
as he opened the 2002 Southern
African Development Community (SADC)
consultative conference here yesterday.
"Poverty is one of the
greatest challenges facing the world today," he
thing about this meeting is that we are all in agreement as
we start. The
challenge is to translate our goals into concrete improvements
in the general
living standards of our people and the sustainable reduction
The conference is the annual meeting between the 14
member states of
SADC and their international development
Mogae has asked for more funding to fight HIV/AIDS, which
reversing development; and to make good on promises to provide money
fight famine in southern Africa.
If the SADC's development
agenda was formulated to show what members'
priorities were, it would be
easier for the co-operating partners to
development agenda must clearly show how we intend to move
the number of our people living under extreme poverty by
Peace, stability and the HIV/AIDS epidemic continued to be
Referring to famine in the region, Mogae said:
"The number of people
affected by the food crisis is estimated to rise to
14,4-million by March
"Although the worst affected
countries are Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique,
Angola and the Congo, the remaining
countries of the region will be equally
affected if the drought continues
into next year, especially semi-arid
Botswana and Namibia.
"Four months after the launch of the United
appeal, $256,5m, or 42% of the $611m required has
been secured, mostly for
The agricultural recovery
programme has only received 28% of what is
required. The health sector has
received 14% of the required $48,2m. More
must be done," Mogae
Although famine-stricken, some SADC member states will not
genetically modified foods as part of aid packages.
Saying he had no concerns about genetically modified food "I eat what
served to me" Mogae said the SADC was aware of the urgent need to
clear policy on the issue. Sapa
Oct 29 2002 12:00:00:000AM Business
Day 1st Edition
07 November 2002
From The Daily News, 7
Chiwengas to stand trial for farm
By Fanuel Jongwe Court Reporter
The High Court has referred for trial the dispute over assets
between Jocelyn Chiwenga, and a commercial farmer, whose property, Chakoma
Estates in Goromonzi, she occupied in April this year. Justice Rita Makarau made
the ruling after Roger Staunton, the director of Shepherd Hall Farm (Private)
Limited, applied for an order compelling Chiwenga to allow a valuator to assess
the value of the assets in dispute. Jocelyn is the wife of the Zimbabwe National
Army Commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga. Makarau yesterday
referred for trial the protracted property dispute between the Chiwengas, T
Mautsa and the Minister of Lands, Agricultural and Rural Resettlement, on the
one hand, and Staunton, on the other. Shepherd Hall Farm operates Chakoma
Estates. "The applicant asks for an order that this court appoints a valuator to
place a value on the assets," the judge said. "However, there is a dispute as to
the quantity of the movable assets that the respondents took over when they took
occupation of the farm. The parties have produced different lists. In my view,
evidence will have to be led on this dispute. Accordingly, the matter will have
to be referred for trial."
In addition, Makarau ordered Mautsa, the Chiwengas and the
Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to give notice that they
would defend themselves within 10 days. They took over the assets after they
occupied the farm in April this year. Staunton is also seeking a court order
compelling the respondents to compensate him for the value of the contentious
assets and allowing him to remain on Chakoma Estate. He also wants the court to
restrain Mautsa, the Chiwengas and the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement from interfering with his occupation of the farm. The application
was not opposed. Staunton filed an urgent chamber application, pending
determination of his court application, and was granted a provisional order. The
respondents were barred from selling, exporting or disposing of flowers and
vegetables from the farm. The proceeds from the sale of flowers and vegetables
from the farm in the control of Hortico (Private) Limited were frozen pending
determination of the application.
Staunton alleged in his application that Mautsa and the
Chiwengas invaded Chakoma Estate and promised to compensate him for the land and
improvements on the land, for vehicles and other equipment and for crops on the
land if Staunton introduced them to his overseas market. Staunton obliged. When
the date for the promised compensation passed without payment, Staunton
approached Mautsa and the Chiwengas. He was allegedly told that he would be paid
by the government in terms of the Land Acquisition Act. Meanwhile, Mautsa and
the Chiwengas continued to harvest and pocket proceeds from the export of
vegetables and flowers. Mautsa and the Chiwengas denied the allegations against
them. They said they were the lawful owners of the property which they said was
allocated to them by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.
They said they did not promise Staunton any compensation.
Zimbabwe man arrested for Mugabe poster
7 - Zimbabwean police arrested a man for carrying a poster in a
township saying God would punish President Robert Mugabe for ''evils
to the people, state media reported on Thursday.
The man was arrested
on Wednesday for holding a poster saying: ''God
shall confront Mugabe over
evils done to people. Then would the police and
officials arrest God on that day?''
The Central Intelligence
Organisation is the national spy agency.
The man was detained under a
tough security law that forbids people
from denigrating the president, the
state-owned Herald newspaper said on
The crime is
punishable by a fine or a year in prison, the newspaper
said. Police were not
available to comment.
Zimbabwe is facing its worst political and
economic crisis in 22
years, partly due to a controversial state campaign to
white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks.
Nearly half the country's 14 million people are facing a hunger
crisis due to
drought and the land upheaval. Unemployment and inflation are
highs, and consumers are battling shortages of fuel and cooking