THE judgment in the treason trial of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai, to be
handed down by Judge President Paddington Garwe tomorrow, will leave an
indelible mark on Zimbabwe's political landscape howsoever the verdict
Tsvangirai's year-long trial on charges of attempting to
assassinate his nemesis, President Robert Mugabe, ahead of the hotly
contested presidential poll in 2002, ended in February and the verdict has
been anxiously awaited ever since.
If convicted, Tsvangirai
faces capital punishment or a lengthy incarceration.
MDC leadership, which this week affirmed its solidarity with its embattled
leader, dismisses the basis of the state's case against Tsvangirai, the
possibility of a conviction tomorrow is, no doubt,
Further, a conviction - unthinkable to the
multitudes of Tsvangirai's followers and international sympathisers - could
trigger radical changes to the MDC, a party the former trade unionist has
led since inception in 1999.
There have been reports of a sharp
division within the MDC as to which course to take should Tsvangirai be
Some, it has been argued, have been pushing for
what they perceive to be a pragmatic position: finding a replacement to
ensure the party is not rudderless as it enters the crucial pre-election
phase. But others would prefer to retain Tsvangirai as a statement of
It would appear, though, as if the latter view prevailed
at Monday's meeting of the MDC national council.
national council met and considered the upcoming judgment on the treason
case of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai. The council re-affirmed the MDC
view that it is democracy on trial, not the president as an
"The MDC national council resolved that it will
stand in solidarity with the president on judgment day," party spokesperson
Paul Themba Nyathi announced this week.
It has also been
suggested that the ZANU PF government, which has scarcely had peaceful sleep
since Tsvangirai and fellow trade unionists in the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions teamed up with the student movement, imperilled white citizens
and sections of the intellectual community to found the MDC, would find a
A conviction would jeopardise Tsvangirai's
electoral prospects. The country's laws bar convicted persons from running
for political office.
An acquittal, on the other hand, would be a
massive boost for Tsvangirai, who has said his party's push for power has
now entered the decisive phase, despite the current uncertainty surrounding
the MDC's participation in next year's parliamentary elections.
This would be a serious public relations disaster for the ZANU PF
government, which has never missed an opportunity to characterise the
opposition leader as a puppet of dangerous extraneous interests - mainly
Britain and the United States.
The government, which is
battling to restore its battered image at home and abroad, could find itself
in a ponderous situation should Tsvangirai be convicted. And it will take a
lot of egg in the face if he is acquitted.
Two senior MDC
officials - secretary general Welshman Ncube and Gweru Rural Member of
Parliament Renson Gasela - who, according to the state, were also guilty of
complicity in the treason case were acquitted.
leaders who have challenged ZANU PF's hold on power have been arraigned on
treason or other charges.
"This is not the first time that those
who have led the people in the fight for peace and freedom in Zimbabwe have
been charged under treason. Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku of ZAPU and
Ndabaningi Sithole of ZANU (Ndonga) were charged, while Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo
had to flee under serious threat to his life from the regime," Nyathi
Tsvangirai himself has been calm ahead of the day of
reckoning, peremptorily going about party business. He never made mention of
the upcoming judgment in his weekly message, dwelling instead on his recent
trips to Gwanda North, Zaka East and Masvingo Central
"People are yearning for their freedom. They are
demanding a new beginning that will create jobs and deliver food on the
"They are demanding the immediate restoration of confidence
in the electoral system. My party is ready to play its role in this
process," Tsvangirai said.
THE stalled second fixed telephone
network, TeleAccess, precariously hangs in the balance as it emerged that
its financiers, who have since doled out $147 billion, no longer have the
financial wherewithal to proceed with the project, which has been on the
cards for the past four years.
Highly placed sources told The
Financial Gazette this week that the latest revelations have put the band of
TeleAccess backers in a quandary, as they now face the tricky option of
either having their licence cancelled or convincing the authorities to wait
a little longer.
It has since emerged that only political
intervention can save the Daniel Shumba-owned TeleAcess from losing the
lucrative licence, controversially awarded by the government four years ago
without going to tender.
The fresh twist to the project might
spill into another legal wrangle, similar to one that rocked the mobile
telecommunications sector in the late 1990s, when Econet Wireless, fronted
by Strive Masiyiwa, sensationally defeated the government in court to land
the country's second cellular licence.
sources told The Financial Gazette yesterday that evidence presented to the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications, which is
probing delays surrounding the rollout of the terrestrial telephony project,
pointed to a bleak future.
Although the committee is yet to gather
evidence from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of
Zimbabwe and the Telecommunications Ministry, evidence received so far
indicates that the firm was "unlikely to operate in any foreseeable future
and hence other players should be brought in" through a
The company's financiers, who have been bankrolling the
project since 2002, indicated to the committee they would no longer continue
to pump funds into TeleAcess "until a tangible financial deal is worked out
with a Chinese firm to bankroll the project at US$160 million". It, however,
also emerged that the Chinese would have to look elsewhere for the
Other prospective players in the fixed telephone network
industry have also criticised the TeleAcess project to the probe team,
proposing that the licence be withdrawn and other players be allowed to
participate in the country's long-awaited second fixed telephone
"Apart from lack of funds to finance the project, what is
also coming out clear is that with only a licence for a voice service, it is
next to impossible for TeleAcess to run the venture profitably," said a
telecommunications source privy to the latest goings-on surrounding the
"You need a combination of data, Internet and voice
services to run a profitable venture. It is then easy for financiers to chip
in if the project licence has these three aspects. So the long and short of
it is the TeleAcess venture is bleak. Only a political decision can save it
from collapse," added the source.
According to the evidence
presented by the bankers, the project urgently needs US$160 million, about
Z$1 trillion using the auction exchange rate of Z$5 600 against the
When the firm was given the licence four years ago, it
indicated it needed $8 billion to effectively implement the project. It is
understood the bank has pumped in about $147 billion into TeleAccess since
The parliamentary committee is also said to have been made
aware of some glaring technical and financial shortcomings of
The same sources said it was apparent to the
parliamentary committee that the firm lacked independent resources to
bankroll the massive project as its assets had been surrendered to bankers
Silas Mangono, the Masvingo central legislator who is
the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and
Communications, yesterday declined to discuss the TeleAccess probe, saying
the matter was still under investigation.
"I am not allowed to
grant interviews or comment on parliamentary issues under probe. Wait until
we finish the investigations and have presented our recommendations to
Parliament," said Mangono.
Raw material shortage haunts agro-chemical
Zhean Gwaze 10/14/2004 7:05:21 AM (GMT
ZIMBABWE'S agro-chemical manufacturing industry requires up to
US$20 million (about $112 billion) for critical raw material imports to beef
up existing stocks, amid startling revelations the country lacks enough
chemicals for the 2005 farming season because of foreign currency
Industry players this week said they had only managed to
secure US$6 million through the foreign currency auctions at the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), a drop in the ocean to the industry's
The secured amount is only a third of the nation's
requirements to access the raw materials in the manufacture of essential
inputs such as fertiliser.
Foreign currency constraints have
also caused fertiliser manufacturing firms such as Zimbabwe Fertiliser
Company (ZFC) and Windmill to operate below capacity ahead of the new
ZFC has 14 000 tonnes of compound D in stock, while
Windmill has 19 521 tonnes. Windmill expects to produce a further 42 000
tonnes of compound D before the end of the year.
Chemicals, which produces ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser, is managing 18
000 tonnes a month, instead of the expected 20 000 tonnes of AN.
complement AN fertiliser, the industry needs to import 30 000 tonnes of
"We need to import urea to complement AN but we need foreign
currency. Currently, we are not getting any from the auction floors. The
industry's annual foreign currency requirement for agro-chemicals is US$20
million," said Onisai Machiridza, Windmill business development
Government has placed an order for 40 000 tonnes of
compound D fertiliser from ZFC and 25 000 tonnes of the same product from
Windmill for distribution to new farmers who still require assistance in
Farming experts say the country needs one
million tonnes of fertiliser a year because of the agrarian reform, but
fertiliser firms are presently operating at below 75 percent of their
capacity because of the severe foreign currency crunch, government's price
controls and bottlenecks in the transportation of the product.
Some of the major ingredients in the manufacture of fertiliser, potash and
urea are imported from the Middle East, Chile, South Africa and Europe and
usually arrive in Zimbabwe two months after orders are placed.
Industry players also said the government had ordered them to stick to the
prices set in July by the Industry and International Trade Ministry.
A BULAWAYO property
developer may have swindled scores of desperate house-seekers of millions of
dollars in a scam that could rope in the Bulawayo City Council, the Deeds
Office, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and two building
Alpha Construction which is owned by Jonathan
Gapare, who is presently campaigning in Chivi South in a bid to oust sitting
Member of Parliament Charles Majange, is reported to have failed to build at
least 60 houses in Cowdray Park's Section 12, more than two years after
In addition, some 225 houses in various stages of
construction were built on the wrong spot and may have to be destroyed
because they are encroaching onto the next stand.
Some of the
houses that are complete have been allocated to more than one person. The
person staying in the house usually does not have title deeds while another,
who in most cases resides outside Bulawayo, has the deeds.
least two stands, 6702 and 6711, are legally owned by two people, each. Each
has title deeds for the same stand. Two other house-seekers who have given
up hope of seeing their houses built are now suing the company for about
According to their lawyer, who declined to have their
names published, one client, an old lady, paid $95 000 for the stand and
$550 000 for the construction of a four-roomed house in October
The other client paid $95 000 for the stand and $1 654 875
for the construction of a three-roomed house in January 2002, but both
houses have not been built up to now.
Insiders say the two will
be lucky to get any money because the company is in financial problems. The
company even admitted to the council in June that it was having "cash flow
A major bank which is owed about $2 billion is
reportedly making frantic efforts to recover its money. Officials from the
bank's head office in Harare were reportedly in Bulawayo last week. Another
bank is said to be owed close to $1 billion.
was awarded a contract to service and develop 532 stands in Cowdray Park
eight years ago. But up to now more than 60 stands are still virgin
Some of the houses that have been completed do not have
toilets or running water, yet standard agreements most of the buyers sign
stipulate that Alpha Construction shall build a house to the "satisfaction
of the buyer and the Bulawayo City Council" . . . "complete with
electricity, plumbing and painting to the satisfaction of the
The company, which seems to be under pressure to explain
why it has not completed the project up to now, wrote to the town clerk on
June 29 this year, claiming that it had completed 82 percent of the sewer
reticulation system and hoped to complete the exercise by July 31. It
claimed that it had completed 95 percent of the water reticulation system
and hoped to finish by August 15.
Nothing of the sort has
happened. A site visit by The Financial Gazette on Tuesday revealed a
pathetic situation where some residents, forced to live in semi-finished
houses, were using other unfinished houses as toilets. The residents are
getting their water from a communal tap.
In the same report to the
town clerk, the company said it had completed 242 houses which were now
occupied. It said 16 houses were complete but unoccupied. It was putting
final touches to 90 others. Eighteen were at roof level, 74 at wall plate
level, four at window sill level, 10 at concrete footing level, 23 had
trenches excavated while 22 stands were still open ground.
Abednico Ncube, chairman of the Section 12 Residents Association, said the
figures had all been cooked up. He said, while a number of houses were now
complete and occupied, most had been completed by the owners after they
realised that the company was taking too long. He said the company had, at
most, completed 40 houses only.
He personally had completed his
own two-roomed house though his building society had paid Alpha Construction
the full amount.
"You only need to ask yourself, why would someone
leave a complete house unoccupied, if there are indeed 16 houses that are
complete but unoccupied, when people are rushing to stay in unfinished
houses?" he queried.
Another anomaly was that though the
company admitted in its letter to the town clerk that there were
encroachments on 117 stands, an internal memorandum from the council's
engineering services department dated September 1 2004 revealed there were
The Financial Gazette was unable to establish when Alpha
Construction should have completed the project according to its contract
with the council.
What is even more disturbing is how
house-seekers were milked and asked to pay more money than in the original
agreement to have their houses built. In some cases they signed more than
one agreement of sale for the same stand.
Kefasi Dube, for
example, was sold stand 6911 for $95 000 in 2002. He was charged $355 000
for the construction of a four-roomed house. He had paid $520 000 by October
1, 2002 leaving a nil balance. But on the same day he was slapped with a
charge of $795 000.
Dube, who works in South Africa, signed another
agreement on January 4 2003 which now stated that the cost of construction
was $1.055 million while that of the land was $190 000. He had paid $2 780
500 by March 18 this year, but up to now construction of his house has not
In another case, Collin Simango bought stand 6679 for $9
000 in 1998. He was supposed to pay $79 000 for the construction of a
four-roomed house. According to a letter dated November 16 2000, Simango
paid off the outstanding balance of $ 9 921.50 on that date and was advised
that a Bulawayo law firm was now processing his title deeds.
But he signed another agreement of sale on January 15 2003 which stated that
he was purchasing the same stand for $20 250 with the cost of construction
at $68 085. His house was built but on January 28 this year, he was told
that he owed the company $769 500 which he had to pay by February 7 or face
Even more disturbing however, is the fact that some
stands are owned by more than one person. So far the association has
discovered that seven stands are owned by two people, each.
Ncube said dual ownership could be rampant because in most cases the other
buyer stayed outside Bulawayo with some working in South Africa or the
He said this was quite disturbing because it
implied that there was some collaboration with officials at the city
council, the deeds office, ZIMRA and the two building societies that held
the bonds because they had to give clearance for a transfer to be
There are also fears that the Bulawayo scam may just be
the tip of an iceberg as Alpha Construction has allegedly been awarded
contracts to develop stands and build houses in Beitbridge, Chirundu, Chivi
Growth Point, Gwanda, Gweru, Plumtree and Victoria Falls.In March this year
Gapare claimed that his company had been awarded a contract to build 10 000
houses in Angola at an estimated cost of US$550 million.
A PROBE instituted by Vice President Joseph
Msika into the assault and torture of four ZANU PF youths by members of the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in Bulawayo has netted two men
linked to the secret service, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
Sylvester Chibango and Medicine Furusa appeared before the Bulawayo
magistrates courts on Monday this week and were charged with assaulting the
four youths from Emganwini.
Chibango and Furusa were each
convicted of common assault and subsequently fined $50 000 or 30 days in
Charges against the two were that they severely assaulted
Mandlenkosi Sibanda, Mandlenkosi Luphahla, Tisunge Botomani and Nkosilathi
Gava at Magnet House, the headquarters of the CIO in Matabeleland, a
The four ZANU PF youths told Vice President Msika
last week at his Gumtree residence that they were kidnapped, assaulted and
tortured by the CIO agents.
They specifically mentioned that
they were tortured in the presence of the CIO Matabeleland boss Innocent
Chibaya, a revelation which is understood to have infuriated Msika, who
immediately ordered a probe into the incident, seen as a result of
intra-party violence within ZANU PF.
The youths went on to show
Vice President Msika their injuries, including their badly injured private
parts, resulting in the Vice President ordering a probe into the conduct of
Chibaya and Bulawayo police boss Charles Mufandaidze.
said after this newspaper broke the story police, moved with speed to arrest
Chibango and Furusa.
ZANU PF sources in Bulawayo yesterday said
they were not happy that the two men had been let loose after paying fines
of $50 000 each.
"Now the problem is that the men still attend ZANU
PF meetings. They listen into our meetings and take notes. The youths that
were assaulted are very afraid and are not sleeping at their homes," said a
senior ZANU PF member from the province. - Staff Reporter
AS the government
attempts to clean up Zimbabwe's battered image on the international scene,
the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has made unsavoury remarks about
the country, which might once again put it on the spot.
report by the ECA, looking at the state of governance in 28 African
countries, made damning observations on Zimbabwe's human rights record
despite the country having subscribed to the major international
instruments, treaties and conventions.
"In Namibia, Mauritius,
Senegal, Morocco, Lesotho, Benin, South Africa and Ghana too, there is
considerable adherence to the rule of law. But in Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad,
Zimbabwe and Malawi there are doubts about the commitment of government
agencies to respect and implement the rule of law," read part of the report,
which is a synopsis of the first major continent-wide study to measure and
monitor progress towards good governance in Africa.
which is part of the United Nations, observed further blemishes on
Zimbabwe's electoral laws, which the government says it is in the process of
transforming in line with new Southern African Development Community
It said: "Electoral commissions are gaining
capacity and competence to manage elections. Voter registration is conducted
easily in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana - and less so in Zimbabwe,
Ethiopia and Chad . . . Election results, now earning the public's
confidence in many countries, are accepted with less rancour. In Mauritius,
Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa and Senegal elections are seen as credible.
But they remain fairly controversial in Kenya, Nigeria and
Zimbabwe also fared badly in promoting investments, with
the ECA ranking pitting Zimbabwe among nations with bureaucratic
For example, it takes 10 days to start a business in
Zimbabwe, 96 days to enforce procedures and 33 days to enforce a contract.
In South Africa, it takes nine days to start a business, 38 to enforce
procedures and 26 to enforce a contract, while investors in Zambia can start
a business in six days.
"The Zimbabwean delegation would like
to congratulate ECA and the various national institutions from the 28
countries that helped in coming up with the report," Jonathan Moyo, the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity, who is leading the
Zimbabwean delegation to the Fourth African Development Forum in Addis
Ababa, was quoted as having said by The Herald yesterday.
"However, Cde Chair, we feel a bit ambushed by the manner in which the
report was made known to us. The report was presented to us during the
meeting and we didn't have time to read it.
"If surely one of
the aspects of good governance is transparency and if we are going to
discuss such an important document before having time to read it, then there
is a problem," Moyo was quoted as having said.
revolution is devouring its own children as the faction-riven ZANU PF
experiences an unprecedented level of intra-party violence.
dangerous tensions tearing the ruling party apart come at time when the
so-called Young Turks square up against the old guard which they accuse of
not wanting to let go their monopoly on power. Inside party sources say that
ZANU PF primaries would be held next month to choose candidates to represent
it in next year's crucial parliamentary polls.
Mutasa, a senior politician in the ruling party who is eyeing one of the
posts of the dual vice-presidency, allegedly recruited a rag-tag band of
unemployed party youths to mete out instant "justice" on party supporters in
Rusape thought to be against his candidature.
One war veteran,
James Kaunye, an emerging Young Turk with the full support of the boisterous
war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, was beaten silly by Mutasa's alleged
agent provocateurs who went on the rampage in the constituency, beating up
perceived Mutasa enemies.
"He (Mutasa) can't go about assaulting
our members. We are very angry over the issue and we are moving swiftly on
the ground to ensure that he never wins the election," Sibanda, the war
veterans' leader, told journalists soon after the disturbances in
In Matabeleland, the violence within the party has gone a
notch further with operatives of the country's dreaded Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) allegedly being roped in to deal with ZANU PF supporters
linked to the old guard vehemently opposed to Sibanda, the war veterans
boss. Sibanda has publicly stated that the war veterans would deal with any
of the old politicians that are against the emerging new breed of
politicians, like himself and other war veterans planning to move up the
Last week four party youths who hold posts
within the ZANU PF structures in Bulawayo were severely assaulted and
tortured at Magnet House, the headquarters of the CIO in Matabeleland,
resulting in Vice President Joseph Msika ordering an investigation into the
CIO and Zimbabwe Republic Police bosses in Bulawayo. Msika said it was sad
that ZANU PF was against ZANU PF.
The youths allegedly told the
Vice President that they were tortured because of their backing of senior
former PF ZAPU politicians against Sibanda's political machinations in
Sibanda, a former personal bodyguard of the late Vice
President Joshua Nkomo, is seen in Matabeleland as a blue-eyed boy of
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament. It is widely believed that
Mnangagwa could succeed President Robert Mugabe when he eventually retires
at the end of his current term in 2008. President Mugabe has not publicly
denied his alleged close association with Mnangagwa.
Masvingo, the ruling party's provincial offices have been closed more than
once as party squabbles in the province spiralled out of control.
The big questions emerge: Is brother rising against brother as the
architects of the Third Chimurenga fight for political turf to enjoy the
spoils of the revolution? What are the implications of this intra-party
violence to the country's political landscape and the ruling party
Political analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette this
week said intra-party violence in ZANU PF was not surprising as the party,
which broke away from PF ZAPU in 1962, had a long history of violence before
and after independence in 1980.
"We have to acknowledge that
Zimbabwean politics has always been characterised by violence starting from
the formation of ZANU PF, after independence and after the 1990s," said
Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe. "Violence seems to be a constant feature from the pre-independence
to the post-independence period. Now it has taken a new dimension as ZANU PF
cadres compete for power. It is eating from within," said
Brian Raftopoulos, who lectures international studies
at the University of Zimbabwe, said the cause of the latest intra-party
violence was due to the looming primaries as ZANU PF politicians sought to
position themselves to run on the ruling party's ticket.
"Competition for political positions is already on and is now so intense
with the looming primaries. So tense is the situation that even senior
politicians are being challenged by up and coming politicians," said
Raftopoulos. "The stakes are very high. People are looking at consolidating
positions at all costs," he said.
Masunungure said without an
outside enemy such as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has
suspended participating in any future elections, the violence within ZANU PF
was bound to escalate until after the primaries, which sources said would be
held during the first week of November.
"Without an outright
enemy, the violence is turning inwards to target newly-defined enemies. It
has neutralised the MDC in the rural areas, the perceived stronghold of ZANU
PF, so the violence is now consuming those people labelled enemies from
"There is also inter-generation conflict or tension in the
whole episode," he said. "This is clearly shown by the Mutasa/Kaunye
debacle. The Young Turks are saying: 'We have had you for so long, now pave
the way for us.' But this is being met with violence."
Raftopoulos said the eruption of intra-party violence in the run-up to the
ZANU PF primaries gave credence to the widely held view that the ruling
party was prone to violence even at the slightest of
"It's a confirmation that violence in ZANU PF is an
integral part of its history. It shows that violence is a central part of
the party and it is a continuation of the way ZANU PF resolves its internal
problems, that is by resorting to violence," he said.
ZANU PF had previously been accused of systematic bullying and intimidation
against opposition supporters. Up to today the MDC still claims that the
last presidential poll won by President Mugabe was tainted by unfair
campaigning and violence against its supporters.
Political Reporter 10/14/2004 7:07:53 AM (GMT +2)
government, under immense pressure from the region and the local opposition
to implement comprehensive electoral reforms agreed by the Southern African
Development Community, has rejected external funding to bankroll next year's
watershed parliamentary polls.
Government and diplomatic
sources told The Financial Gazette that President Robert Mugabe's
government, wary of international development agencies and internationally
funded non-governmental bodies, intended financing the polls from its own
They said the government, accused of employing unorthodox
methods to win the historic June 2000 parliamentary and the highly disputed
2002 presidential polls, was uncomfortable with foreigners poking "their
noses into the local body politick".
The same sources said the
government, which in past elections has requested funding from the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP), had already informed foreign donors
operating in the country that had previously funded the country's electoral
processes, that it had sufficient resources to stage the 2005
The sources said last year the government had made a formal
request at the local offices of the UNDP for funds for the 2005 polls
pencilled for March but later, through the offices of the Ministry of
Finance, rescinded the decision.
The government accuses
international organisations of working in cahoots with the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to remove President Mugabe from power illegally,
charges the UNDP has flatly denied.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, confirmed to The Financial
Gazette that the government will not be accepting any foreign financial
assistance to cover the expenses of next year's polls or any electoral
process relating to the polls.
Chinamasa said the government had
resolved not to accept any foreign funds for the electoral process as most
of it came with strings attached.
"We are not accepting any foreign
money for the parliamentary polls and we have communicated this to the
UNDP," said Chinamasa. "We don't want their money. We have sufficient funds.
We are going to fund the process from our own resources. We have the
resources. The UNDP and other foreigners must keep their money," he
Chinamasa asked why foreign organisations,
which he said had been demonising the government for
nearly five years, wanted to force their funds on the
"Why should foreign funds be forced upon us. Are you
disappointed that we have rejected money from the UNDP and other foreign
organisations? What are they saying about it," he quipped.
Bernard Mokam, the acting UNDP resident representative, also confirmed the
government had initially put a formal request for funds to finance the 2005
parliamentary polls but later withdrew the request.
for funds but they have since indicated to us that they no longer need our
support," said Mokam. "We have not received a new request for funding but we
are still available to offer the assistance. However, if the government
still wants assistance from us it has to put the request now if we are to be
able to raise the money in time for the March polls. We need at least six
months in advance to examine and then process the request," he
Diplomatic sources were, however, of the opinion that it was
unlikely the government would turn to the UNDP or any other Western
organisation considering that it had drafted legislation prohibiting NGOs
from accessing foreign funding to financing their local operations.
ZIMBABWEAN agriculture is at a
crossroads. Nowhere is this more demonstrated than by the shrunken state of
the once resilient economy which is dependent on the sector.
And reports this week that fertiliser and agricultural chemical supplies are
critical, which in itself could be an understatement of significant
proportions, could not have come at a more irksome moment for agriculture
and indeed the fragile economy.
This is more so as it comes against
a background of reports of uncertainty over the supply of seed. The seed
debacle, just like that of fertilisers, has been spawned by government's
poor decision-making, where it lacks forward-planning and has, in the very
last minute tried to drive a hard bargain in the seed price war. The
government, which seems to be driven more by short-sighted populist reasons
for political expediency, has been talking at cross purposes with seed
producers who want to continue operating above the red-ink
The situation has been aggravated by ministers who negotiate
in bad faith and are desperate to show that they are "amadoda sibili". This,
oblivious of the fact that President Robert Mugabe meant hard-nosed
spark-plugs with clarity of thinking and vision, the unsophisticated
rhetoricians have done with the enthusiasm of a newly-enrolled boy scout
demonstrating his knot-tying skills to his indulgent parents. Indeed it
would be difficult to imagine less fit people to run the key ministries of
Agriculture and that of Industry and International Trade than Joseph Made
and Samuel Mumbengegwi, respectively.
We have always known
where we are with these two gentlemen. Nowhere. In our opinion, the two have
been the Mount Kilimanjaro of incompetence. We are caught up in this vicious
circle because they have been doing the equivalent of what the Shona call
"Kudya maoko sevacheche" (fiddling Nero-style while Rome burns). This is why
we feel that if there is any scandal that should see ministers being forced
to walk the plank - this is it. Heads must roll. Scapegoating or accusing
seed producers and fertiliser companies of sabotaging the economy will not
get us anywhere. We need a fresh approach because the current one is failing
Not that we are in the least taken aback by the
precarious situation of local agriculture - potentially the backbone of the
economy. In any case fertiliser manufacturing companies and farmer
representative groups, who should know better had warned, time without
number, about the imminent input shortages several months earlier. What is
shocking though is the increasingly paranoid government's inability to learn
from past mistakes. This is why we cannot help but wonder whether we will
ever get it right and bring agriculture back to its pre-crisis
Admittedly agriculture is not the be-all-end-all of the
country's economy nor is the economic meltdown something that lends itself
to a quick fix with the revival of agriculture. But it goes without saying
that agriculture fires the local economy. It was not by coincidence
therefore that once agriculture caught a cold, the economy started suffering
violent and uncontrollable convulsions. As agriculture, which previously had
the single biggest sectoral contribution to the country's gross domestic
product, lurched from one crisis to another, so did the economy which was
pushed to historic contraction.
The mind boggles therefore as
to why the government, which has been tilting at windmills, cannot
prioritise those sectors that can help refloat the sickly economy? Even
government itself has admitted that a quick recovery in agriculture will
halt the unprecedented economic slide and instead light up the fuse for a
possible sharp early recovery. Why then has it been seemingly so difficult,
over the past three years, to make contingencies for such eventualities like
we have now? We are not going to be swayed by arguments that the country
experienced a debilitating foreign currency crunch because the issue of
agricultural input shortages has been with us for a number of years now. So
if government was not just politicking and truly believed that land is the
economy and vice-versa why didn't it, over the years slowly build up
something like a rainy-day fund, a special purpose vehicle to guard against
such a situation? Indeed why does this unacceptable situation keep on
recurring if those responsible have been doing something about it? Or is
this the best they can possibly do? Then God help us because no one else
With the damage done by huge mountains of food import bills
over the years, Zimbabwe cannot afford yet another failed agricultural
season. Its consequences on the economy can only be too ghastly to
contemplate. If the country fails to get adequate agricultural inputs
coupled with the probability of a weak El Nino occurring during the
mid-rainfall season- perish the thought - it would be, for want of a better
word, disastrous for the economy.
Not only that but that
worst-case scenario would also give the irreversible land reform a bad name.
It should be admitted that there has been controversy surrounding the
approach, style and form of the land reform. What with the law of unintended
consequences having taken hold and spawning bewildering complexities when a
coterie of corrupt politicians and their cronies abused the exercise meant
to benefit millions of peasants that have been practising back-breaking
subsistence farming in the dust-bowls dotted around the
Worsening the terrible aura is that with the persistent
input shortages, what the new farmers gained on the swings they lost on the
roundabouts. They are neither improving their economic standing nor adding
value to the national economy. Be that as it may, the exercise provided
government with optimum opportunity not only to correct historical
injustices but also ensure economic empowerment for historically
marginalised blacks and guaranteed food security for the erstwhile regional
bread-basket. But sadly with the bungling that is going on, all this could
be a pipe-dream.
A FAIRLY considerable time has
elapsed since the controversial and anarchic land acquisition programme
commenced, but the controversy primarily caused by corruption, greed, quest
for political glory, indecision and poor planning continues
Whereas in the past the controversy revolved around the
forceful ejectment of white commercial farmers, lately the tide has turned
against some unfortunate newly resettled black farmers.
is impeccable evidence emanating from Mashonaland East and Central
provinces, which evidence is bolstered by official acknowledgement in press
reports as well as several law firms handling eviction cases, that indeed
government is attempting to unlawfully evict some beneficiaries of the land
Already hundreds of families in lawful occupation
of farms in Goromonzi, Macheke and Chinhoyi have been forcefully thrown out
of their holdings while a few fortunate ones re-occupied their properties
after the High Court granted temporary relief interdicting the Zimbabwe
Republic Police and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from
evicting the newly resettled farmers.
The victims have been
poor rural folk who for years dedicated their lives to giving support to
government's radical land reform programme. It is unfortunate that these
poor rural folk are now being relegated to a life of victimhood because
government has not attempted to offer them alternative land where they can
continue their farming. This blunder has obviously led to a grave injustice
because normally, and more so in the interests of justice, people must not
be evicted unless there is alternative land and an order has been granted by
a competent court.
Recently in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a
group of squatters re-occupied their land after the Constitutional Court
held that justice would require all reasonable steps to be taken to procure
a mediated solution before an eviction. It was also held that the
municipality had a constitutional duty to offer alternative land to illegal
land occupiers before attempting to eject them. It appears this is the
position that our own High Court has taken when it granted the evictees
temporary relief because government was ordered not to eject the new farmers
until alternative land had been secured.
However the current
victims are the same people government went to great lengths to stop their
evictions by white commercial farmers who had unleashed civil suits, to
eject the perceived illegal occupiers of the time. To abate the civil suits
and entrench the rights of the illegal settlers, government then passed the
Rural Land Occupiers Protection From Eviction Act (Chapter 20:26), which
sought effectively to legitimise the land occupiers' rights.
However, it is important to know whether government as represented by the
Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Development has the legal or moral
authority to evict lawfully resettled farmers.
As a matter of
interest and before we venture to investigate the legality or otherwise of
the evictions, it is worthwhile to note that the effectiveness of the rule
of law has been undermined by government's flouting of court orders in the
past. As such the general circumstances of the latest evictions must be
judged within the context of a political system that has at times been at
loggerheads with the judiciary because of its perverted inclination to
abandon legality in place of disregard for law and order.
Agricultural Land Resettlement Act (Chapter 20:01) (The Act) is the statute
providing for resettlement of people on land acquired through the Land
Acquisition Act (Chapter 20:10).
A close perusal of the former
statute will reveal that neither the President nor Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Development is empowered to retake possession of
alienated land on the basis of redesigning farming structures. As a matter
of fact this Act is silent about this mode of repossession of leased state
Section 17 of the Act only empowers the responsible minister
to repossess land where a lessee has failed to comply with terms and
conditions of his lease. The ground being used by Minister Joseph Made, that
he needs the land for A2 farming is therefore not a lawful excuse for
purporting to terminate leases with newly resettled A1 farmers.
Section 12 of the Act empowers the President at anytime, and in a manner and
conditions he may deem fit retake possession of leased land. Such
repossession must only be for public purposes, and only upon payment of
mutually agreed compensation.
There is nothing at hand to prove
that the evictions have been necessitated for public purposes like urban
expansion, hospital, dam or road construction which can be held as public
need. It is common cause, as indeed senior government officials have agreed,
that the sole purpose of dispossessing the new A1 farmers is to give the
land to A2 farmers.
The police who are carrying out the evictions
are not relying on any court order, but are relying on their own powers. If
indeed these cruel evictions were being carried out within the framework of
the law, a proper eviction order should have been sought from the High Court
to empower the responsible minister and the police retake the land. It
appears the responsible minister did not seek to secure a court order first
because he had no grounds at law to justify his claim to the A1 leaseholds.
As such, these farm evictions must be seen from this light and also from the
general trend where politicians have generally ignored the due process of
Other than the reasons discussed above, government currently
has no basis upon which it can seek to disempower the A1 farmers who
ironically were at the forefront of hitherto farm invasions that sustained
the controversial radical land resettlement programme. Otherwise, the only
option available for government is to amend the law to cater for the current
unforeseen developments as regards farm moduling.
may argue that what is going on is a clear case of poetic justice, but be
that as it may, government must learn to respect its own laws so as to
honour the constitution as well as being exemplary. It must be stated that
the unwelcome culture of using the law when it suits politicians is
dangerous for democracy, as well as our society's quest for real and
It has been stated before that chaos in
all its forms is contagious and if government continues on the path it has
chosen, pandemonium shall eventually take root, and possibly culminate in
Vote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu &
Chikowero law firm.
EDITOR - I want to raise a long
overdue issue of the disappearance of letters and cards we send to our
families back home.
It seems that, along the post office sorting
line, some officers are opening letters in the hope of getting foreign
currency. This is a national disgrace that undermines family communication
Many other people abroad have complained about
EDITOR - When
Elias Mudzuri was mayor of Harare, he faced all kinds of criticisms about
water shortages in the capital.
The problem was attributed to his
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), because it was the one in
charge of the city.
The public media made a lot of noise : the MDC
and Mudzuri have killed the city.
Now Mudzuri and company have
gone. Sekesai Makwavarara has come in, but it's still the same old story. So
the big question is: is it an MDC problem or a zanu pf problem, lest we
start blaming the latter party again? Or is it just that the Morton Jaffray
water works are old and need to be replaced?
have made news where there is no news.
The solution to Harare's
water woes is simple enough for everybody to see: do away with the old pumps
and sanity will once again prevail in our sunshine city.
be warned: don't be duped by so-called analyses made by politicians on
national television. To whoever is responsible for the provision of water in
Harare, just do one thing: revamp the old water works and spare us all the
"WE are going to take drastic measures against
these people. After all, they are fake freedom fighters. These people never
participated in the armed struggle but they are always causing confusion in
ZANU PF," Vice President Cde Joseph Msika was quoted at the weekend as
saying of one professor and a senior official of the war veterans
The VP, whom we are made to believe is very good at
following up on his threats, was wondering how these two mafikizolos, who
"behave like renegades", had found their way into the ruling party's central
committee and politburo, where they were now causing untold
We wait and see how "drastically" the VP will deal with
these two - plus many others of their ilk!
Now that the
Chimoio gala is finally done, we can at least afford to breathe some fresh
air again . . . but we don't know how long this luxury will last before the
owners of this country decide to pollute the air with more noise about the
Actually, since our life now hinges on nothing but
galas, we can't help but anxiously wonder when and where the next gala will
We know for sure that we will have the unity gala just before
Christmas, but that is just too far . . . we will die if we are not given
another gala in between.
We know that at the end of this month,
the professor's musical ensemble, PaxAfro, will be having its first public
performance, and the double CD Back to Black has 26 long and good songs, but
this is not gala enough.
So what idea can we turn into a gala?
Which hero died in November? Cde Cain Nkala. So why can't we have a Cain
Nkala gala in November, just for the sake of the survival of this
And we won't mind much if one of these future galas is
held in overnight boat cruises between Victoria Falls and
And what is this that we are told that most of our
"patriotic" countrymen who went Chimoio for the "historic" bash turned out
to be more of sex tourists than anything else?
We are told the
bash provided a good opportunity for some adventurous Zimboz to go on sex
exploration expeditions in the neighbouring country, where they were invited
to "enjoy the beautiful bitches" of Mozambique and this and
We are even told that most of the organisers, musicians and
the general members of the public actually enjoyed themselves so much so
that, in the next few months, we may actually start having children with
these names: Solidarity, Zimofa, Obrigado, Estadio de Municipal, Historic,
Chimoio etc, etc!
And what about
this one? According to two researches on the effectiveness of donor-funded
media programmes on journalists in Africa, we were found to be a very unique
The researches (Towards an Integrated Media Support
Strategy by Rolf Freier and Media Training Needs Assessment for Southern
Africa by Colleen Lowe Morna and Zohra Kahn) discovered that we hardly
attend these programmes to learn anything . . . we only attend them for the
dear sake of the per diems - and no per diem, no participation!
We are told this per diem culture has gotten to levels where it is creating
another breed of journalists: conference journalists, a people who are in
fact tourists, but whose expenses and allowances are paid for by
Reminds one of an incident he witnessed recently in
South Africa . . . please don't quote CZ.
Ajoke is being told in Harare that after
inviting himself to State House, where a big party was being thrown in
honour of Golden Girl Kirsty Coventry, Cde Chinoz asked the MC if he could
please say a few words:
"Pamberi nekubatana! Pamberi naKitsi! Pasi
nevarungu! Pasi nevasina mabvi!
"Ini nemamwe ma O-vets takagara pasi
tikaona zvakakodzera kuti apihwe mhembaship yeZNLWVA. Iko zvino Kitsi ave
ne-allowed yekupamba ivhu pamwe nesu.
navo pasi tikavaudza kuti anofanira kupihwa ruremekedzo rwegamba
rerusununguko nekuti mwana uyu wakatisunungura. Kubva 1980 tainge
takasungirwa zvinhu tichitadza kubata kana menduru imwe. Iyi yaarwa iFourth
"Congrajureshenzi Kitsi, our national hero, gallant son
of the soil, mwana wevhu. Mhururu nemuridzo uko. Thengi yu vhere
Don't quote CZ please.
Still on jokes, after
the unfortunate arrest of musician Pastor Charles Charamba for allegedly
helping himself to an illegal Agribank loan, we are told there will be a new
and more euphonious song waiting to be released.
A DISPUTE is
flaring between the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and Wankie
Colliery Company Limited over a $60 billion debt.
according to earlier reports, had agreed to a repayment plan to retire the
debt to Wankie, has now turned around and is accusing the colliery company
of "trying to force the debt down our throats".
The debt arose from
the supply of coal by Wankie to ZESA'S power-generating subsidiary, the
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). It emerged last week that ZESA has abandoned
the proposed repayment plan, which entailed $10 billion weekly instalments
to Wankie until the debt was fully retired.
Gazette has established that the plan only worked for two weeks before ZESA
contested the debt.
Wankie marketing and public relations manager
John Nkala confirmed the payment dispute.
"ZPC has not been
honouring its payments under the agreed plan," said Nkala.
however, would not be drawn to give more information on the issue.
ZESA group company secretary Timothy Sain and corporate affairs director
Obert Nyatanga vehemently denied owing WCC any funds, saying that they had
sent their senior finance director to Hwange in a bid to ascertain the
"We do not owe them any funds in as far as we are concerned.
They are trying to force a debt down our throats, but we have sent our
senior finance director to Hwange to reconcile the books and ascertain the
debt," said Nyatanga.
"The only debt we can safely acknowledge
is for the supplies from last month (September), which is due end of this
month (October), which we have not failed to pay. Any day in November, they
can claim that we have failed to pay them," added Sain.
revealed that the debt in question was understood to be as a result of the
adjustments made on the price of coal from $37 000 to $60 000 a
"These so called debts are adjustments made on the price of
coal, which was in dispute at that time and they are charging us on coke,
among other things. We have an agreement that we should work collectively as
instructed by the Ministry of Energy," the ZESA officials said.
The two parastatals fall under the Ministry of Mines and Power
WCC has indicated that the price adjustment had
been made after due and extensive collaboration with the Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development and the Ministry of Energy and Power
Hwange Power Station (HPS), an arm of ZESA, is the
major consumer of WCC's coal.
WCC reported a $16 billion loss
on HPS coal due to a rigid pricing regime enforced by the government to
secure cheap coal supplies to the power station.
understood to be pushing for a review of the price, maintaining that the
power utility reduced its tariffs by 45 percent and cannot sustain its
operations in the face of "exorbitant" coal prices.
BULAWAYO - A few
years ago, workers at a quasi-government agency were grounded when two
vehicles that had been donated to the agency by a United Nations
organisation broke down.
The agency's chief executive had three
cars but workers could not use them even though their operations had been
paralysed. The chief executive had a Mercedes Benz, which he rarely used,
preferring his latest four-by-four. The Nissan Sunny was now reserved for
his wife to take their children to school and for family
The agency was not making money. It relied on a
government grant, which had to be approved by Parliament every year.
Everyone knew it was bleeding to death but Parliament kept approving the
grant because the agency was of "strategic national
This scenario is typical of most state enterprises.
Chief executives of these enterprises are competing one-on-one with chief
executives of private companies that are making profits while their
enterprises are bleeding the nation to death.
Their debts are
mounting despite several pronouncements to turn them around. Acting Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa said recently that parastatals owed 60 percent of
the public debt.
Luxon Zembe, a management consultant and president
of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, said everyone knew what should
be done to turn around state enterprises, but people simply did not have the
guts to implement it.
Even President Robert Mugabe admitted
when he officially opened the current session of Parliament: " . . . our
parastatals, once reformed and commercialised, and properly re-oriented,
will be the cutting edge of our economic policy".
governor Gideon Gono, architect of the current economic recovery programme,
said for there to be meaningful turnaround strategies, it was imperative
that Zimbabweans rid themselves "of the gross mentality of entitlement,
where office bearers resist implementation of prudent turnaround strategies,
clinging to the past, with no sound financial management
Gono said the parastatal sector should enter into contract
systems for top management, where each contract was renewable upon
satisfactory performance, with remuneration being
He said parastatals should produce quarterly
progress reports on the implementation of their turnaround plans. They
should also publish their accounts every half-year.
"It is one
thing to plan but quite another to implement the plan," Gono said. "As a
country, we have acquired a reputation for excellent economic planning
skills but a record of failure when it comes to walking our talk or
implementing those economic plans."
Zembe, however, felt the
problem was not at management level but at board level. The boards were made
up of political appointees. They reported to ministers and were therefore
subject to the political whims of the minister rather than to economic and
"We need boards that are independent,
boards that are empowered to make decisions, boards with competent people,
boards that are accountable. This is what corporate governance requires,"
"The majority of board members must be independent
people who do not have a direct interest in the enterprises. They must not
be civil servants. We want independent people who can think independently
and can act independently in the interests of the enterprise and not the
Zembe and Gono's sentiments are not new. A commission
of inquiry into the administration of parastatals recommended way back in
January 1989 that the firms should produce half-yearly reports within three
months of the end of that half-year, just like companies listed on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange do.
The commission also recommended
that, "save in exceptional cases, permanent secretaries and other public
servants not be appointed as members of a parastatal board".
Zembe's argument that the problem is not at management level but is because
of government meddling is amply demonstrated by the exceptional performance
of the few state enterprises that have been privatised, such as the Cotton
Company of Zimbabwe and Dairibord Zimbabwe.
Sylvester Nguni and
Anthony Mandiwanza were the general managers of the Cotton Marketing Board
and Dairy Marketing Board before they were privatised. The companies were
both perennial lossmakers. But after being commercialised and privatised,
they started making profits.
The Cotton Marketing Board, now
Cottco, which is still under Nguni, even managed to beat all competition and
bought out its competitors. The company has also diversified into seed
production, with a major shareholding in the Seed Company.
Dairibord Zimbabwe, still under Mandiwanza, survived intensified competition
and diversified outside the country. It now owns a plant in Malawi. It also
bought out Lyons and has a stake in Charhons.
Zembe said the
solution to turning around lossmaking parastatals was simple. If a
parastatal was not making a profit, it should be privatised or
commercialised. He brushed off fears that people would lose jobs while the
enterprises would lose their national identity.
"A company can
be privatised and still remain national," he argued. "When you are running a
business," he said, "you have to constantly ask yourself: does this add
value to the business? If it doesn't add value, get rid of it. If it means
some people have to lose their jobs, so be it. Once the business starts
doing well, it will create more jobs."
Zembe said there was need
for a paradigm shift because there was a mentality within state enterprises
that they were not in business.
"Everyone must realise that they
are in business and they must operate like any other business. If you want
to drive a Cherokee, you must earn it. It does not make any sense for anyone
to drive an expensive car when the company is running at a
Apart from being control freaks, it is not clear why the
government is clinging onto lossmaking parastatals. Their value, analysts
say, would be unlocked once they are commercialised or
State enterprises that have been privatised have all
added value to the government.
When the government privatised
the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe, for example, and remained with only a 20
percent stake, the value of that 20 percent was worth more than its entire
stake before privatisation only one year later.
A MASSIVE staff
exodus has hit the crisis-ridden Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC), threatening to scuttle the state enterprise's revival
It has been established that morale at ZMDC was at its
lowest ebb, with a number of senior managers having left the organisation
citing low remuneration and the slow pace in implementing the organisation's
ZMDC's once-domineering presence in the
mining sector has shrunk by nearly 70 percent. Observers have opined that
what remains of the original ZMDC is only a shell.
said chief executive officer Dominic Mubayiwa was the only remnant of the
old guard at the moribund firm, often held up as an example of corporate
failures synonymous with most state enterprises.
entirely wrong when a senior manager leaves the organisation at only 24
hour's notice," said a source.
"People are just leaving and even
those coming in are not even lasting till the expiry of their probation
period. There is nobody to orient the incoming staffers. The accounts
department is full of new people," the source said.
managers who have left this year include the human resources manager,
administration manager and chief mining engineer and senior accountants,
"The only executive remaining from the old guard is
Mubayiwa himself," the source said.
ZMDC has been flighting
adverts to try and fill up the vacant positions. In one of the adverts, the
corporation said it was looking for eight accountants.
massive resignations come barely six months after Mubayiwa was appointed
substantive chief executive of the parastatal.
Insiders said this
was going to be a stern test for Mubayiwa, whose tenure is also under the
It has also been established that eyebrows are being
raised whether Mubayiwa, a long-serving member of the management at ZMDC
prior to his elevation, was doing enough to turn around the company's
ZMDC has closed 10 mines under its stable, remaining with
only three. The closures have been attributed to gross
Two of ZMDC's biggest operations, Kamativi Tin Mine
and Mhangura Copper Mine (MCM) were shut down in 1994 and 2001
Of the remaining three, Sabi, Jena and Elvington gold
mines, only one, Jena Mine is operating profitably.
ZIMBABWE'S small-scale milling
sector, still choking under the effects of government imposed price
controls, rising overheads and grain costs, is pressing for a 30 percent
increase in the price of mealie-meal.
The sector, once a thriving
beneficiary of the economic liberalisation, but now hit by the economic
recession, is no longer able to remain viable in an increasingly harsh
Players in the sector said they were urging
the government to consider a 30 percent upward review of the price of
meali-meal to ensure the continued survival of the industry.
Millers, reeling under controls imposed on the price of mealie-meal in
October 2001, are pleading with the Industry and International Trade
Ministry to let the market dictate the price of the commodity.
In a letter to the ministry, the Grain Millers Association (GMA) said there
was a mismatch between the costs of production of maize meal and the selling
GMA also said the price of maize per tonne at $600 000 per
tonne was too high and called for a downward review of the price to $400 000
The price of diesel has since shot up from $2750 per
litre, since the last price review, to $4650. Minimum wages are now at $615
000, the GMA added.
"There is still a mismatch between the
costs of production of maize to the selling price of maize meal. The selling
price of maize meal is $11 437 per ten kilograms whilst production of the
same 10 kg bag of mealie-meal costs $15 355.
"The majority of
our members run medium to small business units and as such have no financial
muscle to sustain this situation for long," GMA said.
"It need not
be emphasised that the present status quo will obviously see indigenous
millers who are operating unviably due to the current controls on maize meal
being forced out of business," GMA warned.
Coupled with biting
price controls, millers' operations have also been dampened by the shortages
of maize. Millers who have increased the prices of their products without
government approval have in previous cases faced the full wrath of the
Production of maize and other crops has fallen to
below 50 percent because of drought and a controversial government land
Agrarian reforms have led to the take-over of at
least 90 percent of white owned land, most of which was commercial farming
land but now largely under-utilised.
The eviction of productive
white commercial farmers slashed food production by more than 60 percent in
2002, reducing Zimbabwe to a perennial grain importer
Price offered by the monopolistic Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) to grain producers has discouraged producers, while millers have to
buy maize from centralised depots, forcing them to fork out large amounts of
money for the grain, fuel and transport.
"We would like to
recommend government to direct the GMB to reduce the price of maize from the
current $600 000 per tonne to $400 000 per tonne," GMA said
stalled sell-off of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)'s two
key power generation plants, Hwange and Kariba South to Chinese investors,
is set to be sealed towards the end of this month.
It has been
established that China's National Aero-Technology Import and Export
Corporation (CATIC) and China Electric Technology Import and Export
Corporation (CETIC) have agreed to develop Hwange Power Station (HPS) and
Kariba South Power Station, creating a vein of hope for Zimbabwe shaky
CATIC, which had long cast a keen eye on
Zimbabwe's power generation assets, is going to develop two units of 300
megawatts at HPS whilst CETIC has undertaken to expand two units of 150 MW
at Kariba South power station each under a Build-Operate and Transfer (BOT)
The deal between CATIC and Zesa, which is being turned
into a holding firm would be sealed on October 28.
involvement in the belated expansion of Kariba South is going to be
finalised in the first week of next month, Obert Nyatanga, the general
manager corporate affairs for Zesa said.
Zesa has agreed to
give the two Chinese firms a 70 percent equity stake in the power generation
plants in return for a US$543 million capital outlay.
agreements, which give Chinese investors rights over Zimbabwe's prime power
generation plants, have scuppered Eskom of South Africa's entry into
It has also been established that the cash strapped Zesa has
ventured into tobacco contract farming to use proceeds from tobacco exports
to retire the loans from CATIC and CETIC.
The parastatal hopes
to raise between US$20 million and US$40 million per year from tobacco
"We have come up with a tobacco facility to offer
securities against the borrowing. We are venturing into tobacco contract
farming to amortise the loans," Nyatanga said.
Zesa is heavily lobbying government to award the Chinese investors a coal
concession, which would assure them sustainable coal supplies.
CATIC and CETIC are expected to export the coal to China.
and economists have urged the government to restore order in the
agricultural sector where ownership wrangles are erupting every day.
Jonathan Kadzura, an economic commentator and farmer told The Financial
Gazette that ownership rows had stalled production.
of those without offer letters are necessary because they are an impediment
to production. There are also cases where two or three people have offer
letters for the same property. That should be corrected so production can
"If the government does not rectify the issue now, yet the
agricultural season is already underway, we're shooting ourselves in the
foot," he said. "Right now," he added, "there is chaos on a number of farms
where many people have claims on a single piece of land." Last year, the
Charles Utete-led Presidential Land Review Committee recommended to the
government the eviction of "illegal settlers" on commercial farms in a bid
to restore order to the agricultural sector.
calls for a comprehensive policy approach that would ensure that returns to
the country in both local and foreign currency multiply well beyond what has
been realised to date," Utete's committee recommended in its report. In what
some analysts described as a policy shift, the government, towards the end
of last month, threw out "squatters" who invaded commercial farms at the
height of land reforms.
ABOUT a week
before his three-day state visit to Zimbabwe last week, Ugandan President
Yoweri Museveni was a guest on the BBC programme HARDTalk.
by host Tim Sebastian to elaborate on why it had become necessary to amend
the Uganda's constitution to enable him to serve an additional term, the
normally eloquent former soldier seemed uncertain about his
He mumbled that the change was not being introduced for
him, but "for the people, for everybody."
When it was pointed
out that, as the incumbent, he stood to benefit the most immediately, he
continued to insist that the change was for the benefit of the
Museveni is not the first African leader to fiddle with his
country's constitution with the sole aim of extending his tenure as head of
Most recently, Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Bakili Muluzi of
Malawi both tried to change the constitutions of their countries to extend
their incumbency and delay their departure from State House.
But both were obliged to throw in the towel when public opinion in their
respective countries showed that the electorate did not share their personal
ambitions and wanted a change of guard.
However, the sort of change
that followed subsequent elections in Malawi was not exactly what the people
had in mind.
Muluzi was accused of engaging in underhand manoeuvres
to ensure that his protege stepped into his shoes. Both are accused of
wanting to govern by proxy. No genuine change there!
Museveni was in Zimbabwe last week, he declared that "regime change" would
never work in Africa. In the story I read in a state daily paper, the
Ugandan leader did not elaborate.
Call me a brainwashed cynic, but
my reaction was: "Don't give us that palaver about what won't work in Africa
when it has worked for you!"
Museveni is in power today because he
effected regime change by way of a military coup in which he seized power
from Milton Obote. Is he now telling us that regime change is OK only when
it brings him into power but unacceptable when the people need to rid
themselves of dictators like him who think they have a god-given, exclusive
right to govern perpetually ?
Museveni has been in power for 18
years now. Some African leaders such as Muammar Gadaffi of Libya have been
in power for close to 40 years. If regime change does not work in Africa,
what are the people supposed to do when they are tired of such
In a majority of African countries, the people cannot
determine their own destiny through free and fair elections either because
polls are never held or, if they are allowed, they are always rigged. Can
such oppressed populations be blamed for welcoming support from those who
offer to help them bring about regime change?
who cling to power are fond of advancing high-sounding moral arguments and
denigrating their own people for aspiring to Western values such as
democracy and transparency. But these same leaders would be hard put to cite
an African country that has prospered under the stewardship of an
insensitive and greedy dictator.
Most African economies are in
ruins today because of rampant corruption, economic mismanagement and lack
of public accountability that are the order of the day under tyrannical
The fraudulent and corrupt activities that took place
under the regimes of Frederick Chiluba in Zambia and Daniel arap Moi in
Kenya robbed the citizens of these countries of billions of dollars in
national resources. These are resources that could have been used to improve
the average person's quality of life.
Cde President Museveni
needs to know that the impoverished people of Africa are tired of their
hypocritical leaders' shrill rhetoric against the West. They cannot convince
us that they are the only true Africans when they cannot do without the
fruits of Western-style capitalism such as presidential jets and grand state
Museveni himself caused a furore in Uganda last year
when he splurged R850 000 (about Z$595 million) to fly his pregnant daughter
in his presidential jet to deliver her baby in Germany.
Commentators noted at the time that an ordinary Ugandan earning an average
wage would need to toil for 85 years to make that kind of money.
Museveni's own comment was: "When it comes to medical care for myself and my
family, there is no compromise."
Well, when it comes to the right
of the people to change a government or choose one, there should also be no
African leaders would not be so opposed to regime
change if they had not let their people down as badly as they have done. It
is no secret that the people of Africa have been ill-served by greedy
leaders who want to remain in power for life out of self-interest rather
than a commitment to serve their people.
The people cannot be
expected to rejoice when they are increasingly reduced to paupers at the
same time as the lifestyles of their leaders become more opulent and