The MDC will meet next week to agree on a position regarding the Senate
elections now due for the 26th November 2005. We have been debating this for
some weeks since the Parliament voted to adopt the required constitutional
amendments to bring the Senate back into existence.
Many have thought that we were dithering - but in fact we are a genuine
democratic movement and what we have been doing is debating the issue quite
vigorously amongst ourselves. Our leadership is divided on the issue - those
who live in areas where we can win seats, want to run, others are opposed. I
fall into the latter category. I have been opposed to fighting the Senate
seats since the debate was initiated at a National Executive meeting last
This is another tough decision for the MDC - we are after all, the only real
democrats in Zimbabwe and fighting elections is the reason for our
existence. In addition this represents democratic space and it is argued
that we should be moving into this space even if we were opposed to the
creation of the Senate in the first place.
I will be away for the National Council meeting at which this decision will
be taken and of course will fully support any decision taken - but I still
feel we should boycott the election and urge all Zimbabweans to simply stay
away from the polls. My reasons for thinking this way is as follows: -
1. We have steadfastly apposed the piecemeal reform of the
national constitution. We apposed this amendment from the start - we cannot
now go into the contest to try and obtain Senate seats for MDC candidates.
2. The formation of the Senate and this election process is
irrelevant to the resolution of the political and economic crisis that now
faces the country.
3. The Ministry of Finance has asked for Z$250 billion to
fund the election and to run the Senate for the remaining two months of
2005. This at a time when inflation and government spending is spiraling out
of control and the State is unable to meet the essential needs of our
4. The Senate creates yet another level of Government in an
already cumbersome and top-heavy system. It does nothing to improve
decision-making or to reduce expenditure - in fact it makes matters worse.
5. All decisions will continue to be made by a small
coterie of old men around Mugabe and the Senate will simply be a refuge for
6. The real priorities of the country are to provide food,
fuel, jobs, better health and education services and the full restoration of
all our economic, political and human rights.
Instead of this Senate election we should be demanding that: -
a) Zanu PF accepts that they have failed the country, that they have no
solutions to our crisis and cannot meet our needs as a nation.
b) Instead of elections for a useless Senate, we should demand that Zanu
comes to the table for national talks to resolve how we are going to
overcome our real problems and to agree on a totally new Constitutional
basis for the future.
Aside from the above arguments lets look at the conditions under which this
so called election will be held.
They have already carefully manipulated the boundaries of all Senate seats -
minimizing the influence of the urban population and ensuring control over
the outcome in the majority of seats.
They have disenfranchised hundred of thousands of existing voters through
the constitutional amendments adopted at the same time as the creation of
the Senate. They have also removed up to a quarter of the urban population
under the guise of "Murambatsvina" and dumped them in the rural areas where
they are totally dependent on the State for survival.
All the mechanisms used to defraud the electorate in previous elections -
the manipulated voters roll with millions of dead and missing voters, the
control of the whole process by military and security agencies and the
politically aligned Registrar Generals Office, are still in place.
The restrictions on the media, the control of all State media and the
majority of the private media are tighter than ever. The propaganda machine
is in full swing and will be used to campaign against all opposition. In
addition there is total control over all political activity on the ground
including rallies, meetings, demonstrations and any other normal forms of
freedom of expression.
There is very little food in the country and what is available is totally
controlled by the State and the security apparatus. This includes military
control of the Grain Marketing Board. Food will be used as a political
weapon and following "Murambatsvina" there can be few communities who do not
now believe that any group voting against Zanu PF will be subjected to
penalties, even starvation and the destruction of their homes and
livelihood. Is it appreciated outside Zimbabwe that the destruction of the
urban homes and small businesses is continuing unabated?
Under these circumstances to ask the MDC support base to come out and
campaign, to be beaten and identified for post election retribution and when
all that has been done, to have the election stolen from them again, is just
too much. We need to say to Zanu PF as a Nation that enough is enough - we
are tired of your games. Come to the table and talk to all of us about how
we want to be governed in the future and what we need to do to start a
recovery in our economy. We will no longer dance to your tune.
The world knows, as does Zanu PF, that in any free and fair election
conducted under normal democratic rules, that the MDC would win nearly all
seats in any election. Frankly I cannot see Zanu being safe in any part of
the country. To go through what is an expensive and elaborate electoral
farce just to
be humiliated and then fail to resolve any of the real problems we face, is
just not an option. We have more important work to do - like preparing for a
post Zanu PF future that must surely be just around the corner.
Bulawayo, 8th October 2005
Mon 10 October 2005
HARARE - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend said his party would this week decide
whether to contest Senate elections scheduled for next month.
Tsvangirai, who addressed rallies in Harare on Saturday and in
Chitungwiza the following day, said the MDC's national council would meet by
Wednesday to thrash out the issue of the Senate polls that has sharply split
opinion in the country's biggest opposition party.
The opposition leader, who has fiercely argued against participation
in the poll, hinted during the weekend rallies that he was still opposed to
participation in the Senate.
"We cannot contest elections under the current conditions ... If ZANU
PF stole the elections in 2000, 2002 and earlier this year, will they not
steal the vote again?" he said.
The opposition accuses President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party
of rigging elections to stay in power. It also accuses Mugabe of unleashing
violence on the opposition during election campaigns to maintain his grip on
power. Mugabe denies the charges.
Fifty seats of the 66-member Senate are up for grabs in the November
26 election with the chief's council electing ten while Mugabe will appoint
The MDC's women and youth wings also criticised participation in the
MDC Women's League chairperson Lucia Matibenga told the rally: "We in
the women's league have decided that the MDC is not going to the Senate
elections, that road is closed. We cannot continue to ride on Zanu PF's
Critics say Mugabe wants to use the Senate to placate disgruntled
party loyalists who failed to gain entry into parliament last March. They
also charge that Mugabe wants to use the poll to smoother differences within
his ruling ZANU PF party which rose over his succession issue. - ZimOnline
Sun Oct 9, 2005 11:34 AM GMT
By Ed Stoddard
CHIKWAWA, Malawi (Reuters) - The green sugar cane fields of southern Malawi
bear testimony to the fertile soil that blankets the sun-drenched land.
But aid agencies say 5 million people there, or close to half the
population, need food aid -- a shocking state of affairs in a country which
should be a farmer's paradise.
From Niger in West Africa to mountainous Lesotho in the south, this scenario
is repeating itself -- relief operations under way to feed millions of
Africa's blessings need to be weighed against its curses, and the reasons
for hunger vary from region to region.
"The hunger has different regional causes. In Niger, a large part of it was
environmental. There were locust swarms and the bad rains," says Clare
Rudebeck, a spokeswoman for aid agency Oxfam.
Desertification, caused in part by widespread deforestation, threatens to
drive millions of Africans from their homes, a international report said
earlier this year.
Such a process may already be having an impact on food security and is seen
as a source of conflict between nomadic herders and pastoralists.
In southern Africa, where mass starvation is not imminent but where an
estimated 12 million people need food aid to see them through to the April
harvest, AIDS is the main culprit.
"Lack of rains is the trigger but the underlying causes are complex and
include AIDS," Rudebeck said.
Workers in the prime of life are falling ill and succumbing to the pandemic,
leaving the very young and the very old to do the back-breaking labour
required on peasant plots -- with obvious consequences for crop yields.
Demographics is another hindrance, as poor rural people view children as an
asset and so have large families, meaning that population growth in many
African countries is faster than economic growth.
The result is societies which are growing poorer with shrinking family
incomes that are unable to buy food when the going gets tough.
A study this year found the number of poor people in Africa almost doubled
between 1981 and 2001 and the continent is home to virtually all of the
planet's "ultra-poor" who live on less than half a dollar a day.
Much of the arable land in densely populated countries such as Malawi is
being used for cash crops such as sugar, tobacco and coffee, leaving less
space for essential staples.
NO GREEN REVOLUTION
Africa has also missed out on much of the "Green Revolution", a global
effort to boost staple crop yields which has focused on wheat, rice and
maize. Only the latter is widely grown in Africa but it is not very
resistant to drought.
Much of Africa is heavily dependent on millet, tubers and other staples
which have been by-passed by the green revolution.
And in a Brookings Institution paper called "Ending Africa's Poverty Trap"
published last year, American economist Jeffrey Sachs pointed out that while
Africa has its fertile regions, much of the continent has erratic rainfall
and few large rivers for irrigation.
The roots of the problem go deep in history.
"The problem is that only a tiny minority of wild plants and animals lend
themselves to domestication, and those few are concentrated in about half a
dozen parts of the world," Jared Diamond, who has written extensively on
environmental influences on history, wrote in September's issue of National
Many of the domesticated foodstuffs that sprang from the Fertile Crescent in
southwestern Asia spread east and west but were halted from marching south
into Africa by the vast Sahara desert.
"Africa's own native plant species -- sorghum, oil palm, coffee, millets and
yams -- weren't domesticated until thousands of years after Asia and Europe
had agriculture," Diamond said.
In short, Africa had a late start to begin with and still faces an often
Bad governance is not helping, with Zimbabwe's seizure of white-owned farms
for distribution to poor blacks blamed for a collapse of commercial farming
in a former breadbasket.
09/10/2005 21:24 - (SA)
Media24 Africa Bureau
Harare - Several of Zimbabwe's new farmers, resettled on at least four farms
in the Chegutu area, have been sent packing by some former white commercial
farmers who "invaded" their land.
They cited a recent High Court ruling that nullified land offer letters
issued by the government under the land reform programme.
The eviction of the new farmers came amid reports that scores of former
white commercial farmers in Mashonaland West have besieged the courts
seeking orders to evict newly resettled farmers in the wake of the High
President Robert Mugabe's government has, however, reiterated that despite
the court ruling, all new farmers should stay on their allocated pieces of
land pending the issuance of new offer letters.
The High Court last week nullified offer letters issued before the
promulgation of the Constitution Amendment (No. 17) Act 2005, creating a new
wave of uncertainty among scores of new farmers whose land is being
Judge Bharat Patel ruled that the new farmers' offer letters were invalid
since they were issued before the promulgation of the new law which makes
all land acquired under the land reform programme state land.
Judge Patel made the ruling following a case in which a white-owned
commercial farming company was contesting the resettlement of three new
farmers on Farnley Farm in Chegutu.
This comes against the backdrop of most new commercial farmers who occupied
formerly white-owned farms during the controversial land reform programme,
reportedly failing to pay their workers stipulated wages because of low
production levels over the past three years.
Apart from that, the gazetted monthly wages for farm workers are
"pathetically" low and most of them are living in abject poverty.
The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers's Union (ZCFU), Davison
Mugabe, confirmed the problem, saying the new farmers were having
difficulties paying their workers because they were "starting up".
A survey by Beeld in Chegutu revealed that some new farmers were being
evicted after former white owners were granted eviction orders by lower
courts on the grounds that the offer letters were invalid as ruled by the
Their former workers were reportedly assisting them resetle on their
"Whites were much better than our balck brothers as we have now gone for
more than three months without being paid at this farm," said Gibson Menje,
a "foreman" at Ardlui Farm.
The new farmer John Majasi was said to have been evicted by a messenger of
court with the former owner taking over his old farm.
"The house Majasi was living in was destroyed and burnt while he quickly
moved his property and equipment to a nearby farm," said Majasi's neighbour,
Solomon Chidhakwa, adding Majasi had since left the area and his whereabouts
are not clear.
One of the former white owners who was on the farm when this crew visited
the farm, Peter Zietsmen, told Beeld that Majasi had been evicted because
his offer letter was invalid.
"The house was actually ours and not Majasi's. The messenger of court
mistakenly destroyed it.
"Majasi was in the wrong place that is why he was evicted," said Zietsmen's
"It is our right to be here and no one else's."
At Hallingbury Farm, the new farmers said the white commercial farmer had
returned and was busy with his own operations.
He said 16 farmers were allocated plots on the farm.
One of the farmers, Obert Kudyarawanza, said the white farmer started
tilling land allocated to the new farmers while workers on the farm were
allegedly ordered not to work for the new farmers.
"We are in serious trouble here.
"He (the white farmer)says he is seeking eviction orders so that he can
return to his farm."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-10
ABOUT 250 Mbare families affected by Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order
have gone to the High Court seeking a temporary order restraining
authorities from evicting them from open spaces they have occupied in Harare's
oldest township since the urban renewal campaign was launched.
The families, who have been in the open areas since June, also want a final
order to the effect that if they are to be evicted, reasonable accommodation
must be provided for them.
In addition to that condition, they are seeking that reasonable notice be
given prior to the eviction, which eviction has to be carried out by
properly identified people as well as in the presence of government
officials and their representatives.
Zvikomborero Mashonganyika and 251 others, who are the applicants, are
currently settled at Tsiga grounds between Mbare Musika and Jo'burg Lines;
No 5 Football Ground as well as another open space between that ground and
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi
and the City of Harare are the first, second and third respondents.
In court papers filed on Thursday through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), Mashonganyika said they had lived with the possibility of
being evicted since October 2 when two police officers with police dogs told
them that they should vacate the areas immediately.
The police officers reportedly added that everyone should have left by dawn
on October 5.
"We have not been given an option of anywhere to go. It has merely been
expected of us that we should "disappear", a feat we are by no means capable
of. As far as l know, nobody in these areas of those affected by Operation
Murambatsvina has benefited from Operation Garikai housing delivery
programme. Thus we have absolutely nowhere to go," he said.
Mashonganyika added that after their displacement and loss of livelihood due
to the clean-up exercise, their children were no longer going to school and
further displacement would worsen their plight.
He said prior to the two police officers telling them to vacate the place,
they had not received any notice, written or verbal, from either the police
or the council that they were to be evicted.
Mashonganyika said the only time council officials visited them was on
September 2 when officials counted the number of shacks in the areas.
As for the police, he added, they had only been incidences where they came
and confiscated wares they would be selling.
He said prior to coming to the area, he lived with his two children in a
cabin at a house along 2nd Avenue in the National section of Mbare.
In late May, the cabin was destroyed and he was subsequently evicted by his
Chihuri, Mohadi and the council have not yet responded to the suit.
However, in an interview on Friday, City of Harare spokesperson Leslie
Gwindi said the people must be moved from the area, as they were illegal
October 09 2005 at 05:32AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition hinted on Saturday that it might
boycott polls to create a new upper house of parliament next month saying
conditions in the country were not ripe for a free and fair vote.
"We have said in the past will not participate in elections when we
have a skewed playing field," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters at a rally in the populous
Highfield township in the western Harare.
"We are still debating whether or not to contest in the polls for
senators and this is one of the greatest challenges we have faced as a
The MDC said it will announce on Wednesday whether to participate in
the November 26 polls, which it describes as the last straw for democracy.
"We are asking ourselves whether the vote will not be stolen again as
was done in the previous elections since 2000 and whether participating in
the polls will resolve our current national crisis of growing poverty and
unemployment," Tsvangirai said.
The MDC, which has posed the stiffest challenge to the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), claims elections in the
country have been rigged since 2000 to hand President Robert Mugabe's party
Tsvangirai said there was an opinion in his party that the money set
aside for the poll could be used to pay teachers and the army better
"Others are of the opinion that if we boycott our party will be
The MDC was "changing its course and galvanising the people of
Zimbabwe against the current dictatorship," the opposition leader said.
The 66-member upper house of parliament will comprise 10 traditional
chiefs, 50 elected senators and six appointed by Mugabe.
It was created under a constitutional amendment that also includes
provisions barring white farmers from legally challenging land grabs and
stopping government critics from going overseas.
Lucia Matibenga, chairperson of the MDC women's league, said the
party's women's council had already resolved to boycott the poll for a
"As women we say 'No' to the senate. We are not going to campaign for
seats in the senate. We will instead use the time to address pressing
The MDC, which currently holds 41 seats in the 150-seat parliament,
has already dismissed the creation of the upper house as a distraction from
Zimbabwe's mounting economic and political troubles.
The governing party says the senate will buttress legislative
authority but critics contend the move is aimed at further strengthening the
government's stranglehold on parliament, where it can already pass key
decisions on its own. - Sapa-AFP
October 09 2005 at 05:54AM
Harare - Reeling under the country's worst fuel crisis ever, Zimbabwe
is looking at a scheme to make "bio-diesel" from a tough drought-resistant
A Harare machine maker has launched a project to get Zimbabweans to
extract oil from the seed of the jatropha tree, which is commonly used as a
garden hedge in the dry northern regions.
The jatropha (jatropha curcas), a shrub from South America that grows
up to eight metres, is used in many African countries in the manufacture of
candles and soap, cooking and lighting oil in rural homes.
"Because of the current fuel shortages, prices keep going up making
the production of your own fuel an economically viable option," says Andy
White, the director of Appropriate Technology for Africa, a small
machine-making business based in Harare.
"We will teach people how to make the bio-diesel and provide the oil
presses and other machines."
White refused to divulge his recipe for "green diesel", but said that
it is made by mixing "appropriate" amounts of jatropha oil with ethanol and
Zimbabwe has faced serious fuel shortages since 1999, but the current
crunch, which has seen meandering queues at gas stations, is the worst ever.
ATA is collecting jatropha seed to demonstrate to people how to make
the commodity, the latest alternative after an earlier project by the
government to make diesel out of sugar cane failed.
"With the bio-diesel from the jatropha seed, farmers can run their
tractors, water pumps and grinding mills and ordinary motorists will not
have to worry about rising fuel prices," said White.
The government partly blames the fuel shortages on plummeting
agricultural production although analysts attribute the low yields to
Harare's land reforms in which the state seized at least 4 000 white-owned
Abisai Mafa, of the Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe, said this week the
ministry for science and technology was considering "massive production of
the jatropha plant" in this year's farming season.
"Locally produced diesel will provide an alternative source of energy
enabling people in villages to engage in self-help projects such as grinding
mills, peanut butter and soap production," New Ziana news agency quoted Mafa
Science and Technology Minister Olivia Muchena confirmed government
plans to give the jatropha a try but said "we will let you know more when
everything is in place".
Local historians say it was brought to Zimbabwe by Portuguese traders
and explorers in the late 13th century and is commonly used as a fence to
protect gardens from stray animals.
Traditional villagers used the seed to make ornamental beads and the
leaves to stop bleeding. - Sapa-AFP
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-10
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission at the weekend said it would soon start
extensive voter education throughout the country in preparation for the
senatorial elections set for November 26.
ZEC spokesperson Utloile Silaigwana said told New Ziana on Saturday that the
Commission was already mapping out a strategy of carrying out the exercise.
"We are making preparations for the voter education exercise," Silaigwana
said. "We will go full time into the field and also use the media to educate
Silaigwana said they want people to understand the importance of the
election so that they participate in numbers.
"The people should take part in this democratic election and choose their
senior leaders. We will explain what the Senate is to them."
He encouraged people to go and register to vote as well as inspect the
voters' roll, emphasising that inspection of the voters roll was always
President Robert Mugabe
has set November 26 as the date
for the holding of senatorial elections.
The country is reintroducing the Senate, abolished in its infancy in the
late 80s, following the recent passing of the Constitutional Amendment No 17
Bill by Parliament.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-10
MUTARE - MANICALAND Governor and Resident Minister Tinaye Chigudu has hailed
Britain's continued support to Zimbabwe's poor and disadvantaged members of
Speaking after the commissioning of a block of furnished classrooms at St
Mary's High School on Thursday by British Ambassador Rod Pullen, Chigudu
emphasised the need to work together with the British to improve the welfare
of the needy, especially Zimbabwean youths.
"We have all witnessed the good job being done by our friends. It is really
good to mingle with people like the British ambassador, for they are
kind-hearted. After understanding the plight of the students at this school,
he quickly came to their rescue," Chigudu said.
"As I am reliably informed, the British will continue to help this school in
many ways. As the governor for this province, I am unable to do other things
in terms of development, but if we fail, we have our partners who can help
us as you are seeing it for yourselves. Let's work together for the future,"
he added.Pullen commissioned classroom blocks complete with 175 chairs and
desks, in addition to 10 teachers' tables and desks.
"Britain remains committed to providing assistance to Zimbabwe especially
the poor and most disadvantaged members of the society.
"The Department for International Development (DFID). the ministry of the
British Government responsible for development co-operation worldwide
continues to provide assistance of about $1,3 trillion each year to
Zimbabwe," Pullen said.
The ambassador added: "Almost all of this money is spent on development and
social welfare, particularly in the health sector on HIV and Aids, and in
areas such as food aid and increasing provision of inputs such as seed and
fertiliser to community-level farmers to allow them to become
"Britain remains the second largest donor providing assistance to Zimbabwe."
Approximately 40 new projects across the country are supported each year
from the embassy's annual budget of $8,4 billion.
Pullen, who has commissioned other projects in Mutoko, Guruve, Harare,
Mutare, Mvuma, Mutasa, and Chiredzi, among others, said his country also
supported community-level projects nationwide under the Small Grants Scheme.
"The projects that we support range from the provision of medical equipment,
water pumps, support to women's cooperatives in market-gardening, and
support to schools and other educational facilities," he said.
Pullen stressed the need to set aside political, social and religious
differences and work closely for the sake of the needy.
Mon 10 October 2005
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Sasol oil firm says it now requires cash
upfront for supplies to Zimbabwe after withdrawing a fuel credit facility to
Responding to questions by ZimOnline, a Sasol official said the oil
firm that had in the past kept hard cash-strapped Zimbabwe going by
supplying fuel on credit now demanded cash upfront before any deliveries are
"All Sasol fuel now supplied to Zimbabwe is undertaken on a payment
upfront basis," said the official without elaborating why or when the
petroleum credit facility was cancelled.
Zimbabwe Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya could not be immediately
reached for comment on the matter.
Sasol and other South African firms such as electricity giant Eskom
have in the past five years helped avert total economic collapse in Zimbabwe
by providing fuel, electricity and other key commodities on credit even as
President Robert Mugabe's government often failed to make payments on time.
With Sasol and other foreign oil suppliers insisting on cash upfront,
Zimbabwe's six-year fuel crisis has worsened in recent months and is
threatening to bring the crisis-sapped country to a complete halt with only
a handful of garages across the country selling diesel or petrol.
Cities including the capital Harare have been forced to suspend key
services such as garbage collection or maintenance work on water
reticulation systems because there is no fuel.
Harare town clerk Nomutsa Chideya last month told Parliament's
portfolio committee on local government that the capital city, with more
than two million residents, had grounded nearly its entire ambulance and
fire service because there was no fuel.
In the second largest city of Bulawayo, Executive Mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube told ZimOnline also last month that all other services except
the ambulance division had been grounded because of the fuel shortage.
The fuel crisis is itself a result of an acute hard cash shortage that
began after the International Monetary Fund cut financial assistance six
years ago after disagreeing with Harare on fiscal policy and other
Food, essential medical drugs and nearly every other basic commodity
is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe because there is no hard cash to pay
foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline
STOCKS slowly climbed to the unsurpassed zenith in the history of the ZSE
Thursday, ahead of this week's release of nerve-racking inflation data.
Bulawayo-based cement maker PPC and Old Mutual led the advancers pushing the
winning industrial index to 7 590 074.74 Thursday.
But Thursday's 0,08% victory was somewhat uninspiring considering the gains
bulls had been scoring since Monday. Dealers attributed the lacklustre feat
to profit taking, as some investors felt satiated with the rapid gains they
yielded. However, others felt that investors were already taking forward
positions on the alternative market as the market had already deduced
inflation figures to come in much stronger on Thursday.
Investors were reportedly committing their funds in cash generating counters
that are defensive in nature.
"The movement is in currency hedge and retail counters," said one dealer
On Friday the market was awash with intelligence that the central bank could
effect another hike in its accommodation rate upon realising that it is
losing the inflation war. Though the central bank has set itself an 80%
inflation target by December, which however appears unlikely, the IMF says
inflation will climb up to 400% by the end of the year.
On the foreign exchange auction demand for forex hit US$152 286 189.63 from
US$132 458 398.62 while the number of bids rose to 5 029, underlining
companies thirst for allocations. However, the central bank could only allot
a paltry US$12 500 000, which fell short of quenching companies craving for
On the active parallel market the Zimbabwe dollar hit new lows touching $100
000 to the American greenback and $15 000 to the rand. Dealers observed that
cynical investors were now holding positions in currency and hence driving
the market further underground.
As companies battle with out of control inflation, three listed firms will
soon ask their shareholders to raise additional cash to inject into their
dry coffers before the end of the year. Standardbusiness can reveal that
pharmaceutical and drug manufacturer CAPS Holdings intend to raise $50
billion for the refurbishment of its main factory while troubled NMB, and
furniture manufacturer Tedco, will also ask shareholders to follow their
By Caiphas Chimhete
A LOCAL health watchdog group has warned of increased incidence of diseases
in Zimbabwe, which could strain the country's already crumbling health
In a recent survey, The Cost of Health, A Community Research Report, the
Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) said the cost of the "health
basket" was now beyond the reach of most employed heads of households, let
alone families of the unemployed.
The survey, which covered 20 districts in the country, looked at the
changing costs of hygiene, food, medical care and public health items for
communities in urban, rural and peri-urban areas.
The survey found that 30 percent of families interviewed had stopped using
or eating some basic commodities such as meat, fresh milk, cooking oil,
peanut butter, toothpaste, cotton wool and bath soap.
It said poor households showed "severe signs of cost stress for high-energy
food; productive health and hygiene items were dropped from the health
basket without suitable substitutes".
The fall off in consumption of hygiene products, notes the report, exposes
the poor households to water, and faecal-borne diseases. Diseases that are
associated with poor hygiene and lack of good food include diarrhoea,
cholera, scabies, kwashiorkor and malnutrition, mostly among children under
the age of five.
"Fallout of these items has health consequences and may reflect in rising
costs of illness for such households. This may be expected to lead to higher
levels of illness in households, and greater pressure on the health services
as more people become ill," says the 20-page report.
The group said in July the cost of a health basket was estimated at $2
million, which was beyond the reach of most employed households, "the
majority of whom are earning much less than that."
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said a family of six now requires
$9.6 million a month to live a normal life but an ordinary worker earns an
average salary of $3 million.
Households that dropped items from the health basket include the elderly,
those headed by people with low education qualifications, those without
occupational skills and those headed by the unemployed.
CWGH says there is need to protect vulnerable groups through improved safety
nets, "economic and social security transfers, particularly to avoid
overloading households and the public health sector".
The country's public health sector is facing a critical shortage of drugs,
equipment and personnel. Doctors and nurses are leaving the country in
droves in search of better working conditions and salaries.
The survey, carried in two phases, covered both rural and urban areas. The
group visited areas such as Acturus, Bindura, Chimanimani, Harare,
Tsholotsho, Zhombe and Zvishavane.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - The Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,
Abednigo Ncube, recently led heavily armed anti-riot police to evict
gold-panners who had struck a rich vein on a gold claim, The Standard can
The incident happened last Friday.
Authoritative sources in Matabeleland South said upon learning of the
small-scale miners' windfall at Caesar East Two Mine, the minister
immediately applied for a mining licence to extract gold from the same
Matabeleland South Deputy Mining Commissioner Raphael Moyo told The Standard
that Ncube, who is also the MP for Gwanda, applied for a mining licence last
week, which he was granted within a few hours.
"We gave the Minister the licence on Friday after he had applied for it. He
got his authorisation from our head office in Harare to mine at Caesar East
Two," he said.
Assistant inspector Trust Ndlovu of Matabeleland South Police confirmed that
the police raided Caesar East Two Mine, located on the outskirts of Gwanda,
the Matabeleland South provincial capital.
"Right now I do not have any correspondence from our district office in
Gwanda. They usually carry out the raids on the panners but this time they
did not provide us with the figures of those arrested," Ndlovu said.
The Deputy Minister was livid when contacted for comment: "What do you want
from me? I do not talk to The Standard. Go and talk to other people who are
interested in talking to you."
Gwanda deputy mayor, Petros Mukwena said there were pitched battles between
the police and the small-scale miners who refused to leave the gold claim
resulting in 50 of them being arrested for illegal mining.
"What the deputy minister did is appalling and regrettable. It's harassment
of poor people trying to make ends meet. He should be stopped from mining at
the gold mine and investigated by the police," Mukwena said.
International investors are now shying away from Zimbabwe because of
State-sanctioned lawlessness, which has resulted in the breakdown of the
rule of law, characterised by the plunder of private enterprises.
By Foster Dongozi
MOVEMENT For Democratic Change President, Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said
the $30 billion set aside for holding Senate elections on 26 November would
be better spent if used to award civil servants realistic salaries.
Tsvangirai was speaking at a rally attended by more than 12 000 people at
Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare.
In his address to the people who braved the blistering sun after walking to
the venue, Tsvangirai set the stage for the MDC's boycott of the Senate
The MDC's official position on the Senate elections will be announced by
Tsvangirai on Wednesday after completion of consultations with members on
whether or not to contest.
"The money for the Senate elections will be better spent if the Government
uses it to increase the salaries of teachers, policemen, soldiers and other
civil servants who are struggling to feed their families and to go to work.
"If we participate in the Senate elections, will it improve the crisis of
hunger, poverty and unemployment that we are facing as a country? As a
matter of principle, I am not going to drink from a poisoned chalice."
He said the time had come for Zimbabweans to confront the government and
hold it accountable for the destruction of the once vibrant economy, which
has seen Zimbabweans extremely impoverished.
He said in addition, the government had turned against its people when it
embarked on an orgy of destruction of houses and flea markets, human rights
violations and electoral fraud.
"We have tried elections and been cheated. We went to the courts to
challenge the outcome but the process was frustrated because there are many
Zanu PF people at the courts. We have tried protests and people have been
The time, he said, had come for Zimbabweans to organise themselves and use
people power to confront the government.
"Democracy does not come on a silver platter. Zimbabweans should organise
themselves and confront the dictatorship. I will lead the way in confronting
the regime but people should not wait to be led. They know what they want
and they should organise themselves."
He said dictators around the world such as in Romania, Ethiopia and
Yugoslavia had fallen after people stood up to the evil regimes.
The mood for a boycott of the elections was set by MDC supporters who had
posters denouncing participation in the elections.
MDC national youth chairman, Nelson Chamisa, and the national women's
assembly chairperson, Lucia Matibenga, told the rally that their political
wings, the largest in the party had already resolved against participating
in the elections.
Matibenga said: "The Senate elections are a gimmick to divert us from our
goal of catching Mugabe and Zanu PF. The Senate is a Zanu PF agenda and we
as women in the MDC see no future in the elections."
Professor Welshman Ncube who has been reported as leading a pro-Senate poll
faction denied that there were divisions in the MDC.
"If there is a party that is very divided today, it is Zanu PF. You should
not believe everything that you read in the Zanu PF newspapers because those
perceived divisions are a Zanu PF agenda. We are all here today because we
are all united."
By our staff
BULAWAYO - A senior officer in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Major
Claudius Ncube, based at 1 Brigade in Bulawayo has been arrested for
allegedly stealing 60 000 litres of State diesel worth $1.4 billion
(official price) or about $5.4 billion on the parallel market.
The ZNA, through its public relations officer Captain Peter Mahlathini
confirmed that the ZNA was carrying out investigations and Ncube was
assisting the military police in their investigations. He declined to give
further details for fear of jeopardising the investigations.
However authoritative sources in the army told The Standard that Ncube was
arrested a couple of weeks ago allegedly in connection with the theft of
diesel which was sourced from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe for use
by the army in the Matabeleland region.
Ncube is alleged to have taken advantage of the fuel crisis by diverting
army trucks to unidentified fuel dealers in the city where the fuel was
drained from vehicles and sold on the parallel market at inflated prices.
Several garage owners are reportedly assisting Bulawayo police with
MY humble apologies for using this medium but I was afraid any other way the
powers that be would not have received my message. I am a 34-year-old civil
servant - teacher to be precise and qualified.
As Ministers Aeneas Chigwedere and Herbert Murerwa may be aware they haven't
given us an increment since January but the price of basic commodities, in
fact, everything has been going up.
Is it the suggestion that prices of basic commodities where teachers buy
don't go up?
As a teacher one has to sacrifice so much just to buy kitchen chairs. How
are we ever going to acquire assets like other professionals? We can't open
accounts because instalments are either more than half our salaries or more.
And what state of mind am I supposed to be in when I stand in front of
school children in class on an empty stomach? Doesn't that affect the way I
teach somehow? The two ministers should answer this question.
They have decided to award us a $440 000 to $880 000 for transport but no
change to the salary. Presumably, this is because where teachers buy goods,
nothing has gone up since January - only transport!
But transport went up by more than 200% a couple of months ago. I don't know
about other teachers but personally I am very bitter about the way the two
ministers are treating us. They are treating us as if we are unqualified
teachers. Sometime last year the two gentlemen scrapped PAYE, after
realizing that they were giving us a raw deal. They might as well do that
How many people out there besides us are still getting the same salary as
they were in February? I have been in the field for two years and am getting
$2 553 350. I can't even afford a two- plate stove.
When are we getting an increment - 2007 or 2008? Have a heart! We are family
men and women. We have families to support and children to send to school as
well as bills to pay and we are qualified.
Most of all consider the school children we teach. Approach President Robert
Mugabe or something!
From DPA, 9 October
Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 134 people in Harare for illegally
dealing in foreign currency, a state-controlled newspaper reported on
Sunday. Most of the arrests were made at the Roadport bus station in central
Harare, where buses from the region arrive and depart, a police spokesperson
told the paper. "We have been conducting raids on a daily basis on the spots
that are prominent in foreign currency deals like Roadport and we have
undercover officers that are stationed at these areas," said the
spokesperson Loveless Rupere. "We can confirm that to date 134 arrests have
been made," he said. The black market in scarce foreign currency is reported
to be thriving in Zimbabwe, where one US dollar changes hands on the streets
for up to four times its official value. Zimbabwean police recently launched
a new blitz to enforce a ban on street vendors, touts and black marketeers
in the city centre. The clean-up, dubbed Operation No Going Back, is a
follow-up to Operation Restore Order, launched five months ago that also saw
the demolition of houses, cottages and backyard shacks across the country
and the arrest of tens of thousands of traders. The operation was roundly
condemned by the United Nations.
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 9 October
By Moshoeshoe Monare
In a move interpreted as a protest, President Thabo Mbeki will not be
attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta at
the end of November. It is believed Mbeki felt let down by the meeting two
years ago, when he took a pounding over Zimbabwe. While it is customary for
heads of state to attend the biennial event, South Africa's delegation will
instead be led by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka this year. Joel
Kibazo, a Commonwealth spokesperson, said from London that although on the
whole leaders attended, sometimes they did not due to pressing issues at
home. "Sometimes there have been issues in a leader's country that have
needed attention, but on the whole leaders have tended to come to CHOGM. In
2003 the Indian prime minister did not attend because riots broke out in his
country just when he was about to fly," Kibazo said. He had not received any
notification from South Africa that Mbeki would not be attending. "We expect
the leaders to attend. This is a meeting for them, but sometimes they are in
the middle of elections and cannot leave home," Kibazo said.
Mbeki was dealt a defeat at the previous CHOGM summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in
2003 when he failed to push through his motion to have Zimbabwe's suspension
lifted. He was miffed by what he saw as the conspiratorial agenda of some
member states, especially Australia, which pushed hard to block Zimbabwe's
reinstatement. In an emotionally charged response, Mbeki wrote in his online
column on the ANC Today newsletter that such member states were motivated by
an urge to protect their "kith and kin". Another diplomatic defeat came at
the same meeting in Abuja when Mbeki failed in his push for a Sri-Lankan
candidate to replace Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon. Murphy
Morobe, the presidential spokesperson, said Mbeki was not boycotting the
meeting. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, the national director of the South African
Institute of International Affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand,
said it was odd and unusual that Mbeki was not going to attend. "It is
indicative of the fact that he feels the Commonwealth has taken a position
which perhaps, in his mind, is not fully conversant with the issues at
stake, particularly regarding Zimbabwe. He feels that some countries were
pushing their own agenda. He feels disillusioned," Sidiropoulos said. Kibazo
was not aware of any tension between the Commonwealth and South Africa.
sundayopinion By Darlington M Mutingwende
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's spirited efforts towards economic turnaround
may come to naught if the necessary issues are not addressed.
The RBZ, led by the well-intentioned governor, Dr Gideon Gono, within twelve
months, shot down inflation from its all time high of 623% to 131%. Lately
however, there has been some down turn in these achievements. The inflation
figure has sky-rocketed to an unbelievable 264%. There is overwhelming
evidence that all these gains may reverse.
Enemy number one for any plausible economic turnaround effort is
government's unlimited propensity to spend. Despite the public media's
proclamation that the government has since seen the logic of living within
its means, the situation on the ground is a far cry from desirable
expenditure levels. A bloated Cabinet, re-introduction of the Senate and
unbudgeted housing schemes are typical examples of unplanned expenditure.
The learned governor, in one of his monetary review statements, warned
against unnecessary and uneconomic benevolent payments.
Equally counter-productive towards the RBZ's economic turnaround efforts is
government's allergy to criticism. While it is true that some of the
criticism against government is unwarranted, it is wrong for government to
perceive and dismiss all criticism as hogwash. Even mad men in their
tantrums will at one occasion say a few sensible words. It is wrong for the
government to take any dissenting voice as that of an enemy of the "State".
This has killed all efforts towards any meaningful dialogue within the
country and with other international organisations.
The same attitude has seen government's tightly controlled media responding
to any criticism by spewing out venomous and propagandist vitriol
exonerating the government of all its wrong doing. The private media is not
innocent either. Pre-occupation with demonizing the government has become
This distracts the nation from real issues on the ground. A scenario where
various stakeholders of the economy trade accusations and
counter-accusations with each other impacts negatively on any turnaround
The existence of the parallel market in our economy has become an
unprecedented ill that needs to be addressed immediately. There is ample
evidence almost everywhere of illicit deals. "Operation Restore Order",
although implemented with terrifying speed and zeal, at least cleaned the
streets of some of the unorthodox traders bent on amassing wealth by hook or
The private sector stands guilty of the despicable sin of parallel market
dealing that has irreparably maimed the economy. As long as we have such
elements, our economy has a long way to go before we can think of an
We fare badly in international relations. Traditionally allied to the West,
Zimbabwe has suddenly turned to the East. Foreign policy of any society is
of paramount importance to the survival of that society's economy. While
there may be political differences and bickering, the mood swings of the
bickering individuals should not be allowed to transcend national interests.
Let us align ourselves to partners that bring us maximum economic benefits
and not those who sing us praises while they condemn us to be economic
Economic turnaround strategies inevitably call for substantial foreign
investment. Sadly no foreign investor, not even from the East, would want to
invest in a crisis-riddled economy. Recent efforts to mend relations with
the IMF are at least commendable and a step in the right direction.
Good corporate governance is fast disappearing from the corporate world.
Locally, the financial services sector debacle is a case in point. Many
companies seek to make a quick buck using the most unorthodox means.
One more disabling thing to Zimbabweans is lack of collective pride as a
nation. One only notices fragments of this when the national team plays
another country. On the political front, one hardly notices this very
important facet of what should be a coherent and proud nation.
The RBZ's efforts came about after a management shake up at the institution.
No turnaround efforts would have come about if there hadn't been a
management change at the monetary authority.
Why do we need to have loss making parastatals led by the same persons for
more than a decade? Turn around situations call for leaders with a new
vision, new ways of doing things.
A country yearning for sound economic recovery should prop up efforts to
produce. What I find objectionable is how things have turned out in
agriculture. In turnaround situations, you do not necessarily destroy what
is there and re-build and claim success. It is an undeniable fact that there
was imbalance in land distribution in Zimbabwe before the 2000 haphazard
land re-distribution exercise took place. However, the commercial farmers
had vast tracts of land that were lying idle.
One would have thought that a wiser approach would have been to leave all
productive land intact and allow the commercial farmers to carry on with
operations but taking all idle land for distribution to the landless. If the
government had taken only unproductive land and given it to landless
Zimbabweans, commercial farmers would have fewer sympathizers. But to
literally harvest their crops, jump into their beds and take all their
assets was an outrageous way of turning around fortunes in agriculture.
One other sad scenario of the Zimbabwean situation is that there is general
ineptitude. Why, for instance, should it take the governor's visit to
Bulawayo to find out that some hoteliers are billing their clients in local
currency instead of forex when there is a whole ministry responsible for
Zimbabwean opposition politics leaves a lot to be desired. Opposition
political leaders are obsessed with regime change. While this should be the
ultimate goal of any opposition party it is important for opposition parties
to focus on policy formulation. In some countries opposition parties go for
several years without winning any election to allow them to form a
By our staff
ZIMBABWE'S six year-old economic crisis coupled with worsening poverty has
resulted in a surge in the number of children involved in child labour
especially in the agricultural sector.
According to a Rapid Assessment Study by the Employers' Confederation of
Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) conducted last week in the tea estates of the Eastern
Highlands, more than 20% of the workforce were children who should not be
John Mufukare, an executive director with EMCOZ attributed the high number
of children working on the tea estates to mounting poverty and the
prevailing economic hardships in general.
"We undertook the study to raise awareness on the negative impact of child
labour but child labour practises will only stop after eradicating poverty,"
The study was conducted at the Katiyo and Eastern Tea Estates and according
to EMCOZ it was not comprehensive but provided some insight on the situation
on the ground.
Economic hardships that have afflicted the country over the past few years
have resulted in many children opting out of school after their parents
failed to pay the exorbitant fees now charged by most schools.
The Aids scourge has also contributed to the rise in child labour, as most
families are now child-headed and the children cannot pay their school fees.
Mufukare said the use of child labour in the tea estates was not a result of
the complicity of the employers but most were unaware of the situation.
"Most of the children work as sub-contractors and are used by other
employees like their parents who would have been tasked to pick the crop,"
added the EMCOZ executive.
He said that the use of child labour was now rampant in the country
particularly in the agricultural and domestic sectors and the practice
needed to be stamped out forthwith.
"Communities should take more responsibility and come up with measures to
eradicate this bad practice and that is why as EMCOZ we took this initiative
to visit the tea estates," he added.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is against the use of children
and has always advocated for the eradication of this practice.
Efforts to get comment from the government were unsuccessful at the time of
going to print.