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      D-Day for Tsvangirai

      Nelson Banya
      10/14/2004 7:03:36 AM (GMT +2)

      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 goes.

      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

      While the 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 convicted tomorrow.

      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 support.

      It would appear, though, as if the latter view prevailed at Monday's
meeting of the MDC national council.

      "The MDC 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 conviction desirable.

      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

      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.

      Most opposition 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 noted.

      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 constituencies.

      "People are yearning for their freedom. They are demanding a new
beginning that will create jobs and deliver food on the table.

      "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.

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      TeleAccess in limbo

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/14/2004 7:04:02 AM (GMT +2)

      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

      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

      Telecommunications 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 re-tender.

      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 funds.

      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 network.

      "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 greenback.

      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 2002.

      The parliamentary committee is also said to have been made aware of
some glaring technical and financial shortcomings of TeleAccess.

      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 as security.

      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.

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      Raw material shortage haunts agro-chemical manufacturers

      Zhean Gwaze
      10/14/2004 7:05:21 AM (GMT +2)

      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 shortages.

      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 requirements.

      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

      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 farming season.

      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.

      Sable Chemicals, which produces ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser, is
managing 18 000 tonnes a month, instead of the expected 20 000 tonnes of AN.

      To complement AN fertiliser, the industry needs to import 30 000
tonnes of urea.

      "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 manager.

      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 acquiring

      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.
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      Massive housing scam hits Bulawayo

      Charles Rukuni
      10/14/2004 7:05:49 AM (GMT +2)

      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 societies.

      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 being paid.

      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

      At 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 $100 million.

      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 2001.

      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 problems".

      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.

      Alpha Construction 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 land.

      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 owner".

      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

      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 225.

      The Financial Gazette was unable to establish when Alpha Construction
should have completed the project according to its contract with the

      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 started.

      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 eviction.

      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
United Kingdom.

      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 effected.

      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.

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      Byo assaults: two CIO men netted

      10/14/2004 7:06:10 AM (GMT +2)

      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 prison.

      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 fortnight ago.

      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.

      Sources 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

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      ECA tables damning report on Zimbabwe

      Staff Reporter
      10/14/2004 7:06:40 AM (GMT +2)

      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

      A 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.

      The ECA, 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 election guidelines.

      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."

      Zimbabwe also fared badly in promoting investments, with the ECA
ranking pitting Zimbabwe among nations with bureaucratic procedures.

      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

      "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

      "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.

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      Intra-party violence escalates in ZANU PF

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/14/2004 7:07:12 AM (GMT +2)

      THE revolution is devouring its own children as the faction-riven ZANU
PF experiences an unprecedented level of intra-party violence.

      The 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.

      Recently, Didymus 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 Rusape.

      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
political ladder.

      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

      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 Matabeleland.

      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.

      In 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 itself?

      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 Masunungure.

      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

      "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 within.

      "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 provocations.

      "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.

      All along 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.

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      Keep your money: govt tells donors

      Chief Political Reporter
      10/14/2004 7:07:53 AM (GMT +2)

      THE 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 coffers.

      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 polls.

      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 said.

      Chinamasa asked why foreign organisations,

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      which he said had been demonising the government for nearly five
years, wanted to force their funds on the government.

      "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.

      "They requested 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 added.

      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.

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      Will we ever get it right?

      10/14/2004 7:35:37 AM (GMT +2)

      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 line.

      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 the nation.

      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 levels?

      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 will!

      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 country?

      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.

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      Farm evictions illegal and morally wrong

      10/14/2004 7:30:57 AM (GMT +2)

      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 unabated.

      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.

      There 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 reform programme.

      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'

      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

      The 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 land.

      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 law.

      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.

      Some cynics 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
substantial justice.

      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 civil strife.

      Vote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu & Chikowero law firm.



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      Our mail is vanishing

      10/14/2004 7:17:43 AM (GMT +2)

      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 and unity.

      Many other people abroad have complained about this.

      Makho Nzima,

      United Kingdom
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      Just revamp the dilapidated water works

      10/14/2004 7:15:54 AM (GMT +2)

      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

      Our politicians 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.

      Voters 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 nonsense.

      Colonel Teejay,

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      ...and now to the NOTEBOOK

      10/14/2004 7:32:33 AM (GMT +2)

      "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 association.

      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 problems.

      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 next gala.

      Actually, since our life now hinges on nothing but galas, we can't
help but anxiously wonder when and where the next gala will be!

      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

      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 country?

      And we won't mind much if one of these future galas is held in
overnight boat cruises between Victoria Falls and Kariba.

      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 that.

      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 specie.

      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.

      Another Kirsty

      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

      "Today taungana pano tichipemberera kuhwinha kwaKitsi pakubhaguja
kumaOlympia. Kitsi aratidza kuti mweya waNehanda Nyakasikana
waimutungamirira stereki nokuti zimhandara rakaita zvenjuzu chaiyo.

      "Ini nemamwe ma O-vets takagara pasi tikaona zvakakodzera kuti apihwe
mhembaship yeZNLWVA. Iko zvino Kitsi ave ne-allowed yekupamba ivhu pamwe

      "Vepolitibhuru takagara 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 Chimurenga.

      "Congrajureshenzi Kitsi, our national hero, gallant son of the soil,
mwana wevhu. Mhururu nemuridzo uko. Thengi yu vhere machi."

      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

      It goes like: "Mwari muno-nditumireiko kuAgribank imi muchiziva kuti
ndinonokora . . !"

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      Wankie, Zesa haggle over $60 billion debt

      Chris Muronzi
      10/14/2004 7:10:24 AM (GMT +2)

      A DISPUTE is flaring between the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) and Wankie Colliery Company Limited over a $60 billion debt.

      ZESA, which, 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

      The Financial 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

      He, 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 debt.

      "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

      "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.

      The two 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 tonne.

      "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 Development.

      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

      ZESA is 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.

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      Parastatals: the govt's spoilt brats

      Charles Rukuni
      10/14/2004 7:10:52 AM (GMT +2)

      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 shopping.

      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 importance".

      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".

      Central bank 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 norms".

      Gono said the parastatal sector should enter into contract systems for
top management, where each contract was renewable upon satisfactory
performance, with remuneration being performance-related.

      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 business considerations.

      "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," Zembe said.

      "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 individual."

      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

      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 loss."

      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 privatised.

      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.

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      Massive staff exodus hits ZMDC

      Staff Reporter
      10/14/2004 7:11:51 AM (GMT +2)

      A MASSIVE staff exodus has hit the crisis-ridden Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC), threatening to scuttle the state
enterprise's revival ambitions.

      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 turnaround

      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.

      Insiders 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.

      "Something is 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.

      Senior managers who have left this year include the human resources
manager, administration manager and chief mining engineer and senior
accountants, among others.

      "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.

      The 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 microscope.

      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 fortunes.

      ZMDC has closed 10 mines under its stable, remaining with only three.
The closures have been attributed to gross mismanagement.

      Two of ZMDC's biggest operations, Kamativi Tin Mine and Mhangura
Copper Mine (MCM) were shut down in 1994 and 2001 respectively.

      Of the remaining three, Sabi, Jena and Elvington gold mines, only one,
Jena Mine is operating profitably.
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      Millers seek price review

      Felix Njini
      10/14/2004 7:12:30 AM (GMT +2)

      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 operating environment.

      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 price.

      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 per tonne

      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

      "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 authorities.

      Production of maize and other crops has fallen to below 50 percent
because of drought and a controversial government land reform programme.

      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

      The eviction of productive white commercial farmers slashed food
production by more than 60 percent in 2002, reducing Zimbabwe to a perennial
grain importer thereafter.

      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
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      Kariba, Hwange power stations sell-off deal set

      Felix Njini
      10/14/2004 7:12:57 AM (GMT +2)

      THE long 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
energy supplies.

      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) arrangement.

      The deal between CATIC and Zesa, which is being turned into a holding
firm would be sealed on October 28.

      CETIC's 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

      The agreements, which give Chinese investors rights over Zimbabwe's
prime power generation plants, have scuppered Eskom of South Africa's entry
into Zesa.

      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 exports.

      "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.

      In addition, Zesa is heavily lobbying government to award the Chinese
investors a coal concession, which would assure them sustainable coal

      CATIC and CETIC are expected to export the coal to China.
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      Restore order in agricultural sector: farmers

      Munyaradzi Mugowo
      10/14/2004 7:22:59 AM (GMT +2)

      Farmers 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.

      "Evictions 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 resume.

      "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.

      "The committee 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.

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      Coup master Museveni's lesson on regime change

      10/14/2004 7:31:31 AM (GMT +2)

      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.

      Pressed 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 response.

      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 people.

      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 state.

      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!

      When 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 tyrants?

      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?

      African leaders 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 regimes.

      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 residences.

      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 compromise!

      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 Westernised.

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