The Times October 14, 2005
From Jan Raath in Harare
The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe was arrested
briefly by troops this week while taking a stroll in the capital's National
Botanic Garden near President Mugabe's residence, state radio reported last
The incident happened on Monday when Christopher
Dell was seen in the popular spot adjoining Mr Mugabe's heavily guarded
home. The Defence Ministry said that Mr Dell "has the men on duty to thank
for their restraint" in not shooting him.
Members of Mr Mugabe's presidential guard, in full
combat gear and carrying automatic rifles with fixed bayonets when on duty,
are notorious for harassing passers-by, including children walking to
A Foreign Ministry statement accused Mr Dell of
ignoring "no entry" signs and said that he had "intended to provoke an
unwarranted diplomatic incident". "He risked being shot," the statement
said. "He was well aware a similar breach of his security in his country
would not be tolerated."
The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents in
which Western diplomats have fallen foul of Zimbabwean security men or
ruling party militia and suffered assault, abuse or arrest.
Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:13 AM IST
By James Macharia
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Where have the billions of dollars poured into
Africa to fight AIDS gone?
A lot of this money is channelled through non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) mainly to pay for life-prolonging drugs and education campaigns on a
continent where many national healthcare systems are broke and in tatters.
Donors increasingly prefer to fund NGOs rather than African governments,
many of which are seen as corrupt. But because the NGOs number in the
thousands, it is unclear how much money they have received or how it was
"The trail of donor money is as clear as mud," said Annabel Kanabus,
director of UK AIDS charity Avert.
The United Nations AIDS agency, UNAIDS, says sub-Saharan Africa has just
over 10 percent of the world's population but is home to more than 60
percent of all people living with HIV. Around 2.3 million people died of
AIDS in the region in 2004.
UNAIDS estimates that $8.3 billion will be available to fight AIDS globally
from all sources in 2005. Although this is up from $6.1 billion in 2004,
when the U.S. alone gave $2.7 billion, it will leave a $4 billion shortfall,
Even though some cash appears to have been misused, the main concern is that
most of the money given so far has simply not been enough, and much of it
does not reach those most in need.
"Too little of this money is currently reaching community initiatives,"
Geoff Foster, a child health expert in Zimbabwe said in a report for the
charity Save the Children.
GRASSROOTS, CARS AND SALARIES
The biggest slice of the funding cake goes to the same big, well-known NGOs,
while smaller community-based groups that often have a grassroots connection
to those in need, such as orphans, were left empty-handed, experts said.
"Donors need to address this paradox," Jonathan Cohen, a HIV/AIDS researcher
with Human Rights Watch, said.
"Organisations that are best qualified to fight the disease on the ground
are the least able to obtain funding."
U.S.-based writer Helen Epstein, who has researched on AIDS in Africa, says
one such grassroot AIDS group in Soweto, South Africa, struggles to feed and
counsel AIDS orphans.
The organisation, run by Elizabeth Rapuleng, has a yearly budget of $60,000.
"She (Elizabeth) worries about whether there will be enough food for the
children, whether they all have toothpaste and shoes, and whether they are
all going to school," wrote Epstein in the latest New York Review of Books.
A study on U.S. foreign aid showed much donor cash never leaves the country
"At least 60 percent of U.S. foreign aid funding never leaves the U.S., but
instead is spent on office overheads, travel, procurement of American-made
cars, computers ... as well as salary and benefit packages," Curt Tarnoff
and Larry Nowels, specialists in foreign affairs, said in a paper for the
U.S. Congress on foreign aid spending.
NGOs said salary packages were aimed at attracting scarce human capital, and
were not designed to enrich individuals.
"NOT ENOUGH MONEY"
In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, some 4 million people are
infected with AIDS and UNAIDS says donors will have given some $500 million
to NGOs to fight AIDS in 2002-2006.
"This may seem like a lot of money, but when you set it against the size of
the population it's not enough," said Pierre Mpele, UNAIDS coordinator for
Nigeria. "They (NGOs) do very important work that cannot be quantified in
terms of money."
Only 25 of 66 centres offering anti-retroviral treatment (ARVs) in the West
African country were state-run, Mpele said.
NGOs fighting AIDS in Africa mainly get their cash from President George W.
Bush's AIDS fund, which gave $2.4 billion worldwide in 2004, and the
Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which
mainly funds governments.
South Africa, the country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS caseload -- more
than five million people are estimated to carry the virus -- is the largest
recipient country under Bush's 2005 plan, securing about $150 million for
dozens of NGOs.
The nation's top home-grown AIDS lobby group, Treatment Action Campaign
(TAC), says it spends about half its annual budget of $3.06 million on staff
and operational costs, which experts said reflected the spending pattern for
Nathan Geffen, a TAC official, said the group spends the other half on
education materials and training workshops.
It also spent $76,750 on CD4 tests -- which show how far HIV has advanced --
for 1,000 members, ARVs for 100 people and anti-fungal fluconazole for
AIDS CASH SCANDALS
Alan Whiteside, an AIDS expert at the University of KwaZulu-Natal said most,
but not all, NGOs used the money well. Government agencies ranked badly in
comparison to NGOs.
In Kenya, a former director of the National Aids Control Council, Margaret
Gachara, was jailed in 2004 for a year for defrauding the government out of
about $366,800 in accumulated salaries after she falsified documents to get
the top job.
Critics said her salary diverted funds that could have helped the fight
Gachara was later freed under a presidential amnesty.
Neighbour Uganda, praised for cutting HIV infection rates to around 6
percent from 30 percent in the early 1990s, is probing a health department
scandal over how it spent AIDS money.
Out of a promised $201 million over two years, the Global Fund had given $45
million, but stopped over concerns that there was possible misuse of the
"To steal money intended for ... medication, food and welfare is to steal
from them (AIDS patients) their last glimmer of hope, and to pull the only
rag from under their feeble feet," said Justice James Ogoola, who is heading
(For more news about emergency relief visit Reuters AlertNet
http://www.alertnet.org email: email@example.com; +44 207 542 2432.)
(Additional reporting by Estelle Shirbon in Abuja and Daniel Wallis in
By Studio 7 Staff
13 October 2005
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday he is standing
firm on his decision as president of the Movement for Democratic Change that
the party will boycott November senate elections, despite objections from
other senior officials.
Mr. Tsvangirai told the Voice of America's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
whatever other views may be held in the party he speaks for it on major
But Paul Themba Nyathi, nominally spokesman for the country's main
opposition party, said there is room for negotiation with Mr. Tsvangirai. He
and MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube are among those who want to contest
the Nov. 26 elections.
Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mr.
Nyathi, asking where the party now stands on the senate issue from his own
Civil society leaders, meanwhile, were praising Mr. Tsvangirai for what they
see as his defense of opposition principles in his override of the MDC
National Executive Council vote, which by most accounts was marginally in
favor of election participation.
Zimbabwe Integrated Program Chairman Heneri Dzinotyiwei says democracy has
limits and Mr. Tsvangirai's decision was in the best interests of the party.
But he adds that the burden for the moment is on Mr. Tsvangirai to bring
around his colleagues.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokeswoman Elizabeth Marunda says her group
backs the "decisive" position taken by the MDC leader.
Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu sought the views of Lovemore Madhuku, the
influential chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly advocacy group.
Political analyst John Makumbe told Carole Gombakomba that while both
positions are valid, the current environment is simply not conducive to free
and fair elections.
The ruling party continued to dismiss the MDC decision to boycott the
ballot, saying it will proceed with the elections and select its candidates
Deputy Minister for Youth Saviour Kasukwere, a politburo member of the
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, told Studio 7 reporter
Patience Rusere that Mr. Tsvangirai's override of party dissenters showed
Smaller opposition parties said they will seek seats. But some, like Zanu
Ndonga, complain that electoral officials seem uninformed on senate election
Zanu Ndonga President Wilson Khumbula told reporter Chris Gande that
candidates in the election will also have to contend with fuel shortages
throughout the country.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Some comments regarding Kevin Murphy's letter:
'In response to Sarah Carter's appeal I admire her courage to rejuvenate
Bally Vaughan, however one bit of advice, do NOT term your Full Breakfast
as an "English Breakfast".
She is to be admired indeed. All the best, Sarah.
Kevin, how should Sarah then call the 'Continental breakfast'? Breakfast
number 2? Sarah, to be quite honest Full Breakfast sounds fine. Everyone
in Zim will know what that means.
It is blatantly obvious they, the British, have done nothing for Zimbabwe
for over ten years at least and have no intention of doing anything ever. I
live here and can assure you that half of them still think we are a
province of South Africa and the other half have no idea what has gone for
the last five years. Do not give any credence to their lifestyle, it is
seriously not worth giving credence to !!!
I think you are overreacting a bit here, Kevin. When you say 'I live here'
I assume you are in the UK now. If it is so bad here, what are you doing
here? You could have picked another destination. Whilst I agree with you
regarding their lifestyle sometimes (in this case the younger UK
generation) and that their geography can be appalling, I disagree with you
that the English in general are doing nothing for Zim today. Don't tell me
that you too have been brainwashed, Kevin. In my interaction with people at
work, neighbours, etc, I have found that most are very well informed about
the situation in Zim and Britain still provides humanitarian aid behind the
scenes to Zim and other countries in Africa. Kevin, you have to ask
yourself who is not letting that aid get through - and if it does get
through, who are the beneficiaries?
Jo Schermuly (ex-Harare)
What a lot of poppycock came with Stuart Chappell's letter.
I would suggest he study past history of politics in Rhodesia also read the
facts of Agriculture. Does he not know that Africans, Indians and all
races did have the vote and could register if they earned or owned property
with a value of £ 480? This was brought in many years ago. Does he not
know that tribal systems are the norm in Africa and that the populace
looked to the chiefs as their leaders ? Does he not know that Ian Smith
involved the Council of Chiefs in his Government, trying to teach them
Western style democracy ?. Does he not know that the British Labour
Government wanted to hand over the reigns to the Africans with no
experience of Government under a one man one vote system. No voters roll
Has he never heard of African Purchase areas, where Africans owned their
properties and had all the teaching resources at their call Has he never
looked into the facts of land distribution in Zimbabwe ? He reads too much
in the press. That 70 % of land owned by the Whites and many Blacks, Is
only of the commercial farm land. Much of this is on poor sandy soils
ideal for tobacco production, not the best land as reports indicate? Does
he really think of all land under the Communal system, National Parks,
Urban land, Mining land, Agricultural Research land, Dams, Lakes and so on,
takes a huge chunk of the land mass?
Encourage him to buy a farm, or lease a farm, and I truly think, in a short
space of time, he will wish he never started. Go for it Stuart, many
farmers will sell to you for forex, in cash though and deposited in an
When you get there do not lock your sugar, bread , meat, soap, and drinks
away. You must share these with your household employees!!
You have a lot of reading to do, studying true facts, before you put your
foot, mouth and brain into gear.
Stuart Chappell displays a serious lack of knowledge on the facts on the
ground in Zimbabwe today. He is fortunate that he lives in Britain where
anyone is able to support any political party, express views contrary to
the government doctrine and take advantage of the freedoms that a western
democracy offers. The British democracy was able to take root and
establish itself on the riches earned from Africa and the colonies. It was
also built on the subjugation of the Scots and Irish people and the
establishment of a Upper class and royalty that until very recently allowed
no person of poor breeding into the "ranks".
The reason that there was such a thing as a Rhodesian is that the Brits
encouraged the emigration of many thousands of working class people to
Southern Africa. These people were sick and tired of both the First and
Second World Wars during the early and middle part of the 20th Century and
came seeking a better life. They came to a country inhabited by a people
already "living in mud huts". Wages in 2005 are a pittance if compared in
real terms to what they were paid prior to 1980. The Rhodesian regime was
in power for 15 years and the liberation struggle took place between 1970
and 1980 - 10 years, not "nearly 20 years".
The Zanu government has had 25 years to carry out land reforms and many if
not most of the farms owned by white farmers was bought prior to 1980 and
was only able to be bought if the government provided a certificate of no
I would assert that the British have milked Africa for over 100 years and
when the freedom demands of the Africans were raised the Brits retreated to
Whitehall. The White settlers who had been encouraged to come in the first
place were then abandoned and left to sort the problem out themselves. How
long do we continue to blame all the troubles that Zimbabwe finds itself in
on the Rhodesians or the British? The Indians and Sri Lankans have not
continued whining about colonialism, they have put the past behind them,
educated their people, established industry, built on their democracy and
are uplifting their people; all with a much higher population density and
much harsher climate.
Botswana (has Stuart ever heard of the place?) has a sharply growing
economy, is rapidly enfranchised their population and is a thriving
democracy which allows political debate and freedom of expression
comparable to many western countries.
No Stuart, it is about Power, absolute power! You have fallen into the
trap of believing the garbage that comes out of the mouth of Mugabe and his
The communist doctrine teaches that if you tell a lie for long enough and
allow no other debate to reach the ears of the listener he will eventually
think that the lie must be true.
Your comments of "70% of the land etc " and "The Estate agents are all
white" show how naive you are.
Your final two paragraphs really show how little you know about our country
and how silly the views you express are. Do you as a citizen of the UK
subscribe to the fact that you have to support the Labour Party or your
property will be taken from you without compensation? Would you suggest
that because it was Muslims who carried out the London bombings then all
Muslims in Britain should be disenfranchised and forced out of the country?
If this is not the case then do not suggest to us Zimbabweans, Black, White
or of Asian descent that we have to support a brutal and repressive regime
in order that we be allowed to retain our property or freedoms.
Please do not fool yourself that the reason that Van Hoogstraten expresses
support for Mugabe is because he believes in his doctrines. He does it
because he is enriching himself and his friends and will continue to do it
whilst the money tree still bears fruit. Many of the white farmers that
are still on the land feed the monster that Zanu is, and do it solely for
economic reasons. They are prepared to do it because of desperation to hang
on to their life's work. As soon as these people are no longer useful to
Mugabe he will discard them and appropriate their assets.
Murambasvina was carried out to deliberately force the people from the
towns & cities back to the tribal areas. The government is unable to
control the cities where lively political debate rages in the bars and
tuckshops. Mugabe wants the people back under the direct control of the
tribal leaders and chiefs who are in turn under his control through his CIO
and spies. It has nothing to do with cleaning up anything. The new houses
that are being built will in all cases be given to loyal party workers and
the desperate people who had their lives blown apart will be further
reduced to beggars or return to be subjugated in their homelands.
Sanctions hurts Mugabe because he is unable to freely express his lies in
front of a gullible world press. The Mugabe loyalists find it very
difficult to send their wives to London for shopping or their kids to
Oxford whilst he destroys the health and education sectors at home. It is
hurting their pride and having very little effect on the general populace.
What is hurting the populace is the suicidal policies that Zanu are
pursuing in a desperate bid to cling on to power.
May I resubmit this letter as I feel that it is pertinent to point out that
it was written nearly 10 months ago, particularly in view of the recent
Zimbabwe - Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing Continues and the World Watches
Silently (First written Dec 20, 2004).
Right now, innocent families are under siege by government sponsored thugs
roaming the countryside in a carefully orchestrated campaign to remove
Zimbabweans of European origin, from their homes and property. Their
crime, they are "white" and declared enemies of the State!
In Kosovo proportions, ethnic cleansing has now cleared up to 20,000 whites
(Mainly from the farming community) from rural areas of the Zimbabwe.
Racist hate speech emanates from the state controlled media on a daily
basis in a deliberate attempt to fuel ethnic tension. Like the Balkans
before it, the world has turned the other way, wishing it was not
In Darfur, Arabs displace blacks and, in Zimbabwe, it is white Africans who
are the victims. Why the silence? It is simple. History is an
embarrassment. Whites have been in southern Africa for over 400 years and
in Zimbabwe, both the Bantu (blacks) and whites, as well as Asians and
Coloureds, are guests in the geographical region now known as Zimbabwe. The
only indigenous people were the San, a brown race better known as Bushmen,
who were wiped out by the Bantu moving south from west and then central
Does this explain the sickening denial of what is grossly unjust? Why is
it that when whites are persecuted, there is barely a hint that this is
reprehensible and should be condemned internationally at the highest level.
In Zimbabwe, a racist and illegitimate government openly declares its
policy to rid the country it rules by default, of every semblance of
opposition. By definition, it makes easy sense to focus on whites. They are
generally well educated and have stood behind the democratic forces
striving hard to bring justice, the rule of law and prosperity back to the
country that, only just a few years ago, stood as a gleaming example of how
an African country could excel. The policies of the authority of the day,
resemble those of Pol Pot, Hitler and Milosevic, but still the silence.
Those who claim to be people that uphold the principles of decency, will
one day be forced to reconcile themselves with the truth of their
despicable duplicity and hypocrisy.
I refer to GGG of Scotland's letter on forum no 387.
His/her judgements of past history and the rather wishy-washy comment "Thus
White farmers made so many mistakes that would lead to their own downfall"
is utter and complete rubbish, given what has happened. I am certainly not
a fan of the British or the British government but it's worthy to stick to
the facts. For a start, the British government dished out money (40 million
pounds) for land settlement, specifically targetting poor black
Zimbabweans. That was the agreement. Mugabe dished out this money and land
as part of his patronage system. The facts are all there for all to see.
Mugabe never sticks to any agreement and this is just one example. British
taxpayers money went to Mugabe's cronies, not poor black Zimbabweans. No
wonder the British pulled the plug.
GGG of Scotland has a go at Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers. It seems
that providing schools, clinics and other amenities is not good enough
because, as GGG states, "Thus White farmers made so many mistakes that
would lead to their own downfall". Get real GGG, you do not know what these
white farmers did and you do not know what you are talking about. It's
ignorant people like you that annoy so many Zimbabweans.
Farmers are not politicians. Farmers are simply farmers. They provide food
and if you chase them away, you get starvation. At Independence, Mugabe
encouraged White commercial farmers to stay and remain farming. It was only
in the latter years when he was staring defeat in the face, did he use
Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers as the scape goat. Even as late as
1987, when asked about land resettlement, the minister of Agriculture said
it was not an issue.
The truth of the matter is that these white farmers were protecting a huge
electorate of farm workers which voted against Mugabe in 2000. Mugabe had
to destroy the fabric of this society to remove this threat and he did it
most effectively but at a great cost which will never be recouped
It's perfectly easy to make simple judgements with scattered knowledge,
especially when one doesn't understand the complexities on the ground. The
possible cause of this opinionated condition is obviously as a result of
too many "English Breakfasts" (ref Kevin Murphy's letter no 387). GGG's
confusion is abundantly highlighted with the reference to "Mugabe's right
wing policies". Right wing? - far too many English breakfasts, I say !!
Yes - there are such things as "Oil Trees" - we grew a whole lot in our
Seedling Nursery for the people in SA doing some research into it. They
are being grown in the coastal areas as they are very frost tender. Have
no idea how long they take to grow - but I doubt that they will solve the
short or even medium term problem of lack of fuel in Zim!!!
Kat Chaning-Pearce - Greytown - KwaZulu Natal RSA
Dear Stuart Chappell,
I read with interest your letter on the JAG website and felt I had to make
a few points. I am a white Zimbabwean having to reside in Britain due to
what has happened in Zimbabwe.
I am not sure if you are aware that about %80 of the farms that have been
taken were bought and sold under Mugabe's rule, taxes paid etc and are now
owned by mainly the elite Black people who are Mugabes friends. I must also
reiterate that yes some White Farmers were living in the past but many had
schools, clinics and housing on their farms of which Mugabe cannot provide,
given all the aid Zimbabwe has received since 1980. May I also remind you
that this is not a race issue. After all in the 2002 elections I think it
was, that Black Zimbabweans voted in some white people to represent them in
politics.You also mention that Mugabe promises to give land back to whites.
How many promises has Mugabe kept? Nigeria, Libya and now South Africa are
not taking Mugabes' word for it.I question why then, have some of my family
and I who only owned one fully utilized farm each, had our only livelihoods
taken away from us and we are Zimbabweans, whilst some favoured foreigners
who fund Sunup get to keep farms? We are denied our own birthright in many
Everyone is suffering hence the many Zimbabweans Black and White are living
in the UK at this point in time. You have to have lived in Zimbabwe to
understand life there and how it should be and not make assumptions. You go
and try to live there. It is a beautiful country but the logistics and
efficiency are unbearable. I was born there 1977 and lived there nearly all
my life and have witnessed this tragedy. Please do not be fooled, race is
not the issue and neither is land (there is enough for all). It is greedy
politics that is the cause. Remember that, so too in UK, that majority of
the land is owned by about %1 which are farmers compared to population.
Only that white people are a majority there, hence it is equal when taking
colour out of the equation.Another thing, you state that white people owned
or ran the estate agents......who stops Black people in Zimbabwe from
entering that line of business? It is a country where no laws state who and
what colour can be involved in whatever profession.Thank you.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views
and opinions of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint
of Justice for Agriculture.
The Herald (Harare)
October 13, 2005
Posted to the web October 13, 2005
Government is considering re-introducing price controls and subsidies on
basic goods to cushion consumers from price increases.
The Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs Cde Chen
Chimutengwende yesterday branded some industrialists and retailers as
economic saboteurs, bent on effecting Government change through increasing
people's suffering due to offending price increases.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare, Cde Chimutengwende said Government
was shocked with the manner prices were going up.
"Any country that is under siege is bound to crop up policies that will
protect the consumers. If such errant practices are not brought to an end,
Government might be forced to revisit the issue of price controls in the
interest of the public and the nation as a whole," said the Minister.
He took the opportunity to urge producers, retailers and service providers
to desist from profiteering and from activities that sabotage the economy.
Cde Chimutengwende said it was worrying to note that industrialists and
retailers took Government's silence on the price increases as a sign of
acceptance of their wayward practice at a time Zimbabwe is under sanctions.
He said Government did not own or control any industries and service
providers as in line with the free market system existent in Zimbabwe.
The Minister said it was hoped under the free market system profiteers and
saboteurs would either disappear or at least remain few, saying the impact
of their activities would be insignificant.
The Government had in the past few months been closely monitoring the
situation and had observed with great concern the price increases that have
had adverse impact on the poor, the vulnerable and the lowly paid.
"It had been the Government's position that prices of most commodities and
transportation will not be State controlled but determined by the market
system itself," he said.
While appreciating that production costs of the commodities have also gone
up, Cde Chimutengwende said it was unjustifiable that prices of basic
commodities and vital services be increased on a monthly or weekly basis.
"It seems that many businessmen have either adopted the dangerous policy of
extreme profiteering or have decided to deliberately sabotage the economy.
Both tendencies are totally unacceptable to the Government of Zimbabwe. They
have to stop this forthwith," he said.
Cde Chimutengwende said manufacturers and retailers are the ones who
advocated for the removal of price controls, only for them to behave in the
manner they were doing.
Government consented to their request in the hope that it would bring sanity
but the opposite happened resulting in the majority suffering.
"Now the majority of the people in the country have had the bitter pill of
the current situation," he said.
Cde Chimutengwende dismissed arguments that manufacturers were sourcing fuel
on the black market hence the huge price increases saying most manufacturers
were getting allocations from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe while
some were importing directly.
He also said fears that re-introducing price controls and subsidies would
put Zimbabwe on the collision course with the International Monetary Fund
did not have merit because no matter what the country did, the IMF would
also not approve.
"IMF has been on a collision course with us whether we do something or
nothing. They still blame us and uphold the idea of Government change
centred on what they term our weaknesses," he said.
Zimbabwean asylum-seekers are awaiting a crucial test case ruling
which could stop the government deporting them.
At a hearing earlier this month, lawyers for an unnamed refugee argued
ministers had not properly assessed the risk of abuse faced by deportees.
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal's decision could prompt a judicial
review of the policy by the High Court.
The Home Office denies deportees face abuse but has suspended removals
pending the outcome of the test case.
Lawyers for the refugee told the tribunal how deportees were
considered traitors and spies by the President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Zimbabwean asylum seekers staged hunger strikes and public protests at
immigration centres earlier this year.
At least 50 people took part in the protest, supported by members of
the Zimbabwean community and asylum campaigners.
Some 12,000 people from Zimbabwe claimed asylum in the UK between 2002
The British government has described the regime there as one suffering
political and social unrest that has led to death and serious injury.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-14
THE Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Phenias Chihota, was yesterday
heckled in Parliament for more than 20 minutes by MDC legislators when he
moved a motion condemning the opposition party president, Morgan Tsvangirai's
calls for sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Chihota, Zanu PF's Seke MP, resorted to shouting in order to be heard but
his efforts were in vain as the opposition legislators drowned his voice,
with St Mary's MP Job Sikhala in the forefront denouncing the deputy
Sikhala's attempt to have the deputy minister barred from moving the motion
also hit a brick wall.
The St Mary's MP had argued that in terms of the legislative assembly's
standing orders, Tsvangirai could not be debated since the opposition party's
leader had no right of reply in Parliament.
However, the Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo said the motion should go
ahead as it was already on the august House's order paper.
Nkomo also expelled MDC Mpopoma MP Milton Gwetu from Parliament for
persisting in raising points of order to stop the motion.
Amidst the shouting and heckling that continued unabated, justice minister
and leader of the House, Patrick Chinamasa moved for the adjournment of the
debate on the motion.
According to Parliament's order paper, Chihota motion sought to: "condemn in
the strongest terms the persistent unpatriotic behaviour bordering on
treason by Mr Tsvangirai manifested in his recent appeal to, and threats
against, South African companies investing in Zimbabwe and the cutting off
of electricity and communication links between Zimbabwe and South Africa in
order to bring about economic collapse and regime change."
The motion also condemned the "like minded Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) alleged support for a ban on the trade of asbestos.After the
adjournment of Chihota's motion, Parliament was adjourned to November 1.
Chinamasa said the adjournment was to allow campaigning for the Senate
Meanwhile, Parliament is inviting all legislators to a workshop on
strategies to improve constituency information centres to be held at a lodge
in Borrowdale, Harare, on Monday.
Parliament's chief Public Relations Officer, Tarisayi Chirinda said the bus
carrying the legislators would leave the legislative assembly building at
8:30 am for the workshop that would start at 9am.
She said the objectives of the workshop would be to review current
administrative arrangements, identify institutional problems associated with
the constituency centres, among others.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-14
AN obscure party based in Matabeleland, which does not register a tremor on
the political richter scale Zapu-Federal Party, says it will not participate
in next month's senatorial elections arguing the playing field was uneven.
Party president Paul Siwela, Zapu-FP's national executive committee and the
central committee, met last week and decided to boycott the November 26
elections. "The whole electoral process is full of chicanery. Political
parties are not given coverage unlike Zanu PF in the public media," Siwela
"Already, under the Constitutional Amendment Act (No. 17) which is a result
of these elections, Zanu PF is guaranteed 16 seats. You call that
democracy?" he asked.In the 66-member reintroduced upper House, 50 seats
will be contested for and 10 will be reserved for traditional chiefs while
the President will appoint the other six. "You cannot have free and fair
elections when we have such prohibitive, restrictive and selective laws such
as POSA. It is extremely difficult to hold political meetings these days,"
Siwela claimed without giving evidence.
Siwela claimed that his party had carried out a research, which had revealed
that the electorate no longer has confidence in the country's electoral
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru have been sucked
into the Mediagate saga which involves a controversial takeover of private
newspapers by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Intelligence sources said Mugabe had apparently overruled Mujuru on the
matter after she tried to remove the CIO from the Zimbabwe Mirror Group of
Newspapers. Court documents show that Mujuru was involved in the matter as
letters were copied to her.
The CIO had a leveraged buy-out using public funds at the Mirror titles, the
Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, from which CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo
Mandaza has been suspended. Mandaza is fighting his suspension and takeover
of the papers in court.
The CIO has also reportedly taken over the Financial Gazette through an
ownership front structure. Central bank governor Gideon Gono was key in the
deal as "financial advisor".
It has also been learnt the CIO has influence in state media newsrooms,
production houses which generate news and commercials, a prominent news
agency and the Media & Information Commission.
Reports also indicate the CIO was behind the closure of Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe titles - the Daily News and the Daily News on
Sunday - the Tribune and Weekly Times. The state security agency is
currently trying to buy into another private weekly.
Sources said Mugabe had seemingly overruled Mujuru in her attempt to make
the CIO withdraw from the Mirror papers. It is said Mandaza approached
Mujuru's husband, retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, after the
Mediagate disclosures to enlist his support to drive out the CIO.
The Mirror papers played a significant role in supporting Mujuru in her bid
to become vice-president in the run-up to the ruling Zanu PF congress last
December. The papers were openly hostile to her rival, Zanu PF heavyweight
Sources said Mujuru approached State Security minister Didymus Mutasa on the
issue after Mandaza had spoken to her husband in an effort to resolve the
Mirror ownership problems spawned by Mediagate.
It is said Mutasa agreed with Mujuru that the CIO had no business in the
media. Mutasa told Mirror managers over lunch on August 22 that the CIO
would withdraw because a decision had been made on August 19.
However, Mutasa made a dramatic U-turn on September 19 at a meeting with
Mandaza, CIO director-general Happyton Bonyongwe and disputed Mirror chair
Jonathan Kadzura. Instead of being informed when the CIO was leaving,
Mandaza was told to quit.
It was at this point that Mugabe was thought to have intervened because
Mutasa suggested at the meeting that a higher authority had overruled him.
The following day Mandaza informed Mutasa he was prepared to leave on
December 31 if paid off.
Mandaza then put his exit proposal in writing on September 21. But the CIO
rejected it on September 29, a day before the date they had set for
Prior to that, Mandaza had on September 14 written to Kadzura informing him
Mutasa had confirmed on August 22 the CIO was moving out. Court documents
show the letter was copied to Mujuru, which confirms her involvement in the
In a move seen as Machiavellian, sources say Mugabe on September 28 raised
the Mediagate issue in the Zanu PF politburo where he reportedly asked
Mutasa why they were taking over Mandaza's papers. Insiders thought that
Mugabe was only trying to dissociate himself from the move.
THE Bulawayo city council and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)
are headed for a showdown after Zinwa announced that it is ready to take
over the whole water supply system in the city.
The announcement by Zinwa has irked city fathers who do not want the water
authority to tamper with the city's water supply.
Willie Muringani, the Zinwa board chairman, last week announced that the
government agency was prepared to take over the water supply in the city if
Bulawayo council felt that it was over-burdened and was failing to supply
residents with water.
Muringani said Zinwa had made a similar decision in Harare and there was no
reason why the water authority would fail in Bulawayo.
Muringani was part of a local government team that visited Bulawayo last
weekend to assess the water situation in the city.
Speaking in one of the ad-hoc meetings held across the city, Muringani said
Zinwa would pay for the cost of drawing water from source to the treatment
works while council would put its own mark-up to cover the costs of
distribution to residents.
However, Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that the council would not accept Zinwa's takeover of
the city's water infrastructure.
"That should have been a joke by Zinwa, the water in our dams is managed by
them and they are the ones who are supplying us with water. What do they
want to take over? Do they want to take over our valves or water pumps or
our water taps?" Ncube said.
Bulawayo has been plagued by water shortages with some suburbs in the city
going for close to two months without water supplies.
The city has failed to supply residents with water due to dwindling dam
levels and damage to water pipes by newly resettled farmers and war veterans
at the Nyamandlovu aquifer.
Ncube said there was no way Zinwa would take over the city's water supply
system since the same water authority was failing to adequately supply the
city with water.
"They (Zinwa) are the ones who are failing to connect the city to Mtshabezi
Dam. They are the ones failing to implement the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project and they have failed to repair the pumps at the Nyamandlovu
aquifer," Ncube said.
"Have they solved all the water problems in Harare where they have taken
over bulk water supplies?" he asked.
"All this shows that they have failed and they cannot blame council for
problems that are of their own making."
COMPLETION of the upgrading of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo (JMN) International
Airport in Bulawayo has been delayed due to lack of money. The project
commenced in 2002 and was scheduled to be completed last year.
The refurbishment of the JMN International Airport was part of government
plans to upgrade four airports in the country to international standards.
The four airports were the Harare International domestic terminal, Buffalo
Range, Victoria Falls and the JMN.
In 2003 the cost of refurbishing the four airports was estimated at $800
million but the figure has since ballooned. The cost of renovating JMN
airport alone is now estimated to be $350 billion.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) acting chief executive officer,
David Chaota, confirmed that the project was facing difficulties.
"There have been setbacks to the project but we are doing our best to ensure
that it is completed," said Chaota.
"We are faced with foreign currency and cement shortages and the rate at
which the project is progressing is very slow."
He however said the contractors were doing internal works at the airport.
A visit to the Bulawayo airport by the Zimbabwe Independent did not show
that there was any work taking place and no refurbishment was evident.
The upgrading of the JMN was supposed to cover the car park and extension of
the terminal to increase passenger-handling capacity.
The second phase of the project will see the construction of commercial
facilities that include a five-star hotel, banks, duty shops and a golf
The project has stalled before due to lack of funding and failure by the
authorities to import equipment and accessories for the upgrading of the
airport whose costs keep escalating.
Last year the CAAZ received a US$6 million loan from the African Banking
Corporation and a further line of credit from a Chinese company but the
funds were insufficient to make meaningful progress.
Standards at the JMN fall far short of international requirements.
JMN currently has a handling capacity of 180 passengers for both local and
International norms bar the mixing of domestic and international passengers
at terminals for security reasons. - Staff Writer.
WHEN Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo announced a reconstruction
programme to cater for families left roofless by a government-sponsored slum
clearance exercise, the homeless clapped their hands in joy.
But five months after the state launched Operation Murambatsvina and sought
to counter its disastrous consequences that left 700 000 people roofless
countrwide, victims remain without homes and with little hope of getting
housed any time soon.
Just across the debris of a demolished settlement along the main
Bulawayo-Harare highway rows of unfinished houses stand as a testimony to
the time-tested adage that it is easier to destroy than to build.
Gloating over a reconstruction programme put up to remedy an ill-conceived
slum clearance exercise has come back to haunt the government so much that
it has had to save face by claiming success for private-company housing
schemes as its own.
In July government announced it had allocated $3 trillion to the
reconstruction programme, hoping to parry criticism and worldwide
condemnation of its callous demolition exercise.
This was dented when Finance minister Herbert Murerwa cut the allocation by
two-thirds to just $1 trillion in his mid-term budget review, saying the
clean-up was not planned.
Gradually the sad realities of exaggerating its capabilities to provide the
number of houses it set itself seems to have dawned on it.
Two months after setting itself an impossible target, it moved the deadline
for the completion of its Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle housing programme
to December due to the slow pace of construction and lack of resources. It
said building delays due to shortages of fuel and construction materials had
necessitated the extension of the deadline beyond August 31.
Less than 400 housing units are under construction in the Harare suburb of
Hatcliffe, where a total of 15 000 units are planned.
Recently, Chombo embellished the state's success in meeting its targets by
claiming credit for a housing project a private mining company put up for
its employees in Zvishavane. Mimosa Mining company has, as part of its
community responsibility, built more than 900 houses under a home ownership
scheme in Zvishavane town, 30 km from the mine to avoid a "ghost" settlement
when mining operations cease.
It intends to construct 151 units for its senior employees.
Government has also claimed credit for an on-going housing project in
Cowdray Park initiated by the Bulawayo city council some five years ago.
In Manicaland province, less than 100 houses have been completed out of the
960 earmarked for the current construction phase.
The housing project has been hit by fuel shortages that constricted the
delivery of building materials. About 350 houses are already under
construction in the province, according to officials overseeing the
Less than 100 of the 10 000 housing units planned for the Whitecliff
settlement in the capital, Harare, have been built.
Prospective beneficiaries might have prematurely clapped their hands too as
it has emerged that the majority of the people affected by Operation
Murambatsvina may not meet the criteria for ownership of the new houses.
The programme is no longer specific to the poor who make up the majority of
"The government has effectively handed over the allocation of stands to
municipal authorities. One has to earn above a specified salary category to
qualify, be on the municipal (housing) waiting list and be able to afford
the deposit and monthly installments," the mayor of Gwanda, Thandeko
"The houses will only be available to the gainfully employed, and one has to
be well paid to afford the installments," Mkandla was quoted as saying.
On Monday, the High Court in Harare ruled in favour of 252 families who were
displaced by the blitz, granting a provisional order barring their eviction
from open spaces in the Mbare suburb of Harare.
The families, who are now squatting outside Mbare No Five grounds and
Jo'burg Lines, had decent homes until the demolition of their houses in May.
They could have been among those who have come to realise that they clapped
their hands too soon when government promised a new beginning for them.
THE politicisation and manipulation of food as a campaign tool by Zanu PF
has come under spotlight in the ongoing case where the opposition MDC
candidate for Gweru Rural Renson Gasela is contesting ruling party
candidate, Josphat Madubeko's victory in the March 2005 parliamentary
Gasela says the politicisation of food by Madubeko and his election agents
tilted the scales against him since most of the villagers at the time were
facing drought and had no option but to vote for Zanu PF to receive food.
Zanu PF has in previous elections come under fire over allegations of using
food as a campaign tool.
The electoral case in which Gasela is challenging his loss to Madubeko has
revealed a lot of politicking and use of food as an election strategy by
Zanu PF, especially in rural areas where village headmen are responsible for
deciding who gets food.
Gasela, the MDC's agriculture spokesman, wants the court to nullify
Madubeko's victory claiming the election was held under a climate of fear
and violence directed at his supporters who he says were also denied food.
In leading evidence, Nicholas Mathonsi, the lawyer representing Gasela,
alleged that Madubeko and his election agents systematically used food as a
weapon to force villagers to vote for Zanu PF.
"We have evidence of food manipulation. The respondent and his chief
election agent, Thomson Ncube, systematically used food as a weapon to force
hungry villagers to vote for Zanu PF," Mathonsi told the court last week.
"Zanu PF officials led by the area councillor were in total control of food
distribution and they decided who got food and who did not.
"The councillor is the one who sources the food from the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and is the one again who leads the food committee in the area
while the headman, who is also sympathetic to Zanu PF, keeps a list of who
is allowed to buy the food when it arrives."
Mathonsi said villagers paid chiefs, who are known Zanu PF supporters, for
the food that they received. He said when the GMB maize was delivered the
councillor would take control of the distribution process.
In previous elections, especially the 2000 parliamentary and the 2002
presidential elections, allegations of food politicisation were levelled
against Zanu PF, provoking an international outcry.
In 2002 Human Rights Watch published a report titled The politicisation of
food in Zimbabwe which stated that the Zimbabwean government and the ruling
Zanu PF manipulated the distribution of grain through a registration process
where known opposition supporters were ferreted out.
The opposition has accused Zanu PF of abusing food distributed through the
GMB while Zanu PF has accused non-governmental organisations working inside
the country of using food aid to campaign for the opposition.
In October 2002, members of the Zanu PF militia and war veterans in Binga
ordered a local NGO, Save the Children, to stop a feeding programme alleging
that officials were favouring MDC supporters. Binga is an MDC stronghold.
In the same year, the World Food Programme (WFP) suspended relief operations
in Insiza district after ruling party militia stole three tonnes of maize
and handed it to Zanu PF supporters a few days before a by-election.
Just this year, the MDC provincial executive in Matabeleland South wrote to
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) detailing how the Zanu PF MP for
Insiza and deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Andrew Langa, was
barring MDC supporters from purchasing maize meal in the area.
During the two weeks of the election petition, several witnesses took to the
stand to testify that Madubeko and his election agents were responsible for
the distribution of food and manipulated food in the run up to the
Madubeko and his supporters deny the charge and allege that Gasela is a bad
loser clutching at straws to save face over his clear loss to the Zanu PF
A witness for Madubeko collapsed and fainted under intense cross-examination
from Mathonsi on how food was distributed in rural Gweru before the
The witness, Another Sibanda, a councillor for the area, allegedly called
meetings on the pretext that they were intended to discuss food and
Mathonsi alleged that Sibanda was abusing his position as councillor by
calling for the food and development meetings when he knew they were Zanu PF
In his own personal account, Gasela told the court that he lost to the
former headman because the ruling party used food to buy votes from the
Gweru Rural constituents.
CONTROVERSY over the resignation of career journalist Jonathan Maphenduka
from the Media and Information Commission board came to a head this week
when Maphenduka accused MIC chair Tafataona Mahoso of manipulating board
Maphenduka called Mahoso a "blatant liar" who was trying to assassinate his
character to retain his job.
"The MIC board is being manipulated to keep one man in employment," said
Maphenduka in a statement yesterday. "Whereas three years ago Dr Mahoso had
nothing to his credit except his two feet, walking his way to the nearest
commuter omnibus bus stop like most ordinary Zimbabweans, today he is driven
home in a Mitsubishi Pajero and his gate is opened for him by a police
officer. This new taste for luxury is his sole source of motivation,"
Until his appointment as chairman of the MIC, Mahoso was a pedestrian,
easily identifiable on the pavements of Harare by his bulky Gladstone bag
during his stint as chairman of the National Arts Council and the ZBC board.
He was fired amid acrimony from the ZBC board.
Mahoso claimed this week that Maphenduka had resigned from the MIC because
the United States embassy had denied him a visa to travel to the US.
"The claim by Dr Tafataona Mahoso that I told him I had been denied a visa
by the US embassy is a blatant lie, a brazen and shameful fabrication
designed to assassinate my character. If the US embassy officials have
banned me from travelling to their country, they have not bothered to inform
me," Maphenduka said.
"The argument that the MIC board has taken collective decisions is
ludicrous," Maphenduka said accusing Mahoso of canvassing commissioners to
reject the September 2003 application by the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) for registration.
He said to keep his job, Mahoso manipulated most of the MIC's decisions by
making outlandish claims, especially in the case of the banned Weekly Times,
which he said harboured secessionist ideas merely because of the name of the
Maphenduka said the decision to ban the fledgling weekly was made despite
legal advice that there was no link between Mthwakazi Publishers and
Mthwakazi UK and Mthwakazi On-Line.
He also revealed that legal experts had advised the MIC board there was no
basis to deny the ANZ, publishers of the Daily News and the Daily News on
Sunday, registration. The ANZ has spent close to $10 billion in legal fees
in a protracted battle to get a licence to publish since its ban on
September 13 two years ago.
In his press release on Monday, Mahoso accused Maphenduka of resigning from
the MIC for expediency.
Mahoso said although Maphenduka claimed he had resigned because he did not
agree with the "punitive determinations" made against errant mass media
services, he had in fact agreed with all board decisions.
Maphenduka said he did not attend the board meeting that decided to deny the
ANZ registration on September 17 2003.
Augustine Mukaro/Godfrey Marawanyika
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has made an undertaking to respect the sanctity of
Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (Bippas) and to
regularise bilateral investments affected by the chaotic land reform.
In a document released this week, titled Investing in Zimbabwe, signed by
Mugabe, government reiterates that investment remains a key pillar of the
country's economic turnaround.
"Government is committed to respecting the sanctity of international
agreements, including modalities of compensation along with the terms and
conditions that were agreed upon in the bilateral agreements signed after
independence with such government institutions as the Zimbabwe Investment
Authority, Export Processing Zone Authority and other government
ministries," the document said.
The document said cognisant of those investment pull-factors and
perceptional risk factors in the investment source markets, government was
working on a framework to regularise Bippas that were inadvertently affected
during the emotive land reform.
"We are pleased to inform our potential investment partners that Zimbabwe,
as part of the global community, is fully aware of the need to protect and
encourage inward investments as a tool to attract international capital
mobilisation," the document said.
President Mugabe has declared 2005 a year of investment.
The country has Bippas with several European Union countries, four of them
ratified by Mugabe.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono has condemned fresh farm invasions in
Manicaland as "criminal".
Despite Gono's open denunciation of the new wave of evictions, Zanu PF thugs
and armed militants have continued on a land grab orgy, violently kicking
out white farmers in a number of provinces.
Police have not taken any action against the perpetrators. Police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena said police had nothing to do with land distribution issues
unless criminal activities were reported in the process.
"Land issues concern the Ministry of Lands," Bvudzijena said. "We don't take
issue with the allocation but will only act when criminal activities are
reported. There is no way we can take anyone to court when there is no
State Security and Land Reform minister Didymus Mutasa a fortnight ago said
the land reform would continue until all farms had been acquired by the
state, a statement viewed as having prompted the new wave of land
seizures."Naturally we are going to acquire all land in Zimbabwe, make no
mistake about that. After we have done that we are going to allocate that
land to everybody irrespective of their race," Mutasa said.
Violence against the remaining white commercial farmers gained momentum over
the past two weeks with the latest incident being the eviction of one farmer
in Rusape on Tuesday night and an attack on Andrew Bruford in the Beatrice
area on Sunday.
GOVERNMENT is going to retrench workers to reduce a wage bill widely blamed
for the burgeoning budget deficit.
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa told a pre-budget seminar last week that
government was finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the current wage
bill because of its contracting revenue base.
He said government would soon come up with a labour audit to flush out
"ghost workers and pensioners".
"Furthermore, our economy cannot sustain the current size of our public
service. The 2006 budget should benefit from the current exercise by
government to realise a lean civil service," Murerwa said. "This will be
accompanied by an audit exercise to flush out any ghost workers and
The wage bill has been gobbling up a massive 20% of gross domestic product
(GDP) for the past two years.
Murerwa said civil servants could only be remunerated well when their number
was severely cut through retrenchments. "This is also the only way we can
begin to adequately remunerate the public servant," Murerwa said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has since 1990 insisted that the
government's wage bill is too large and should be reduced to contain
expenditure. The fund has also raised concerns about the size of the army,
which although not part of the civil service, has been consuming a large
chunk of national funds.
Over the past three months the government has been battling to maintain the
army, with reports that a number of barracks have closed due to lack of
food. The biting food shortages have forced the army to send some soldiers
on forced leave to easy the pressure on the limited resources.
During his presentation, Murerwa admitted that the government's bungling had
widened the budget deficit.
"Our budget expenditures over the years have, save for 2004, always been
exceeding the economy's capacity to fund them through tax revenue.
Hence, budget deficits and recourse to highly inflationary borrowings have
become a permanent historical feature of our fiscal policy formulation,"
He said capacity utilisation remained "unacceptably low across most of the
major economic sectors, further worsening unemployment".
He said some of the country's problems were caused by the "structure and
performance of our budget as an instrument of economic policy".
THE Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) saga took a new twist this week
with the former directors of Trust Bank taking the Reserve Bank to court to
compel it to make a determination on the fate of their assets that were
acquired by the state bank.
The former directors filed an urgent application seeking the High Court to
compel the RBZ to make a determination on the matter within four days.
The new court action is in response to the Reserve Bank's failure to respond
to their earlier appeal to stop the ZABG from using Trust's assets, which
the Supreme Court ruled last month to have been acquired illegally.
The Supreme Court ruled that the sale of Trust Bank's assets to the ZABG was
unlawful, "null and void and of no force or effect".
In the application filed on Tuesday, the former directors want the court to
compel the RBZ to make a decision on the assets.
"Respondent (RBZ) shall determine the appeal of the applicant (Trust) and
announce its determination within four days of the date of this order," said
the papers, which were served on the RBZ on Tuesday.
The directors said the delay by the central bank in making a decision on the
matter was prejudicing them.
"The matter is therefore urgent in that both the Reserve Bank, to which an
appeal has been lodged, and the curator, who has been asked to put the
matter right, have simply ignored applicant's plea and appear to be willing
to allow the unlawful disposal of the assets of Trust Bank Corporation Ltd
to stand," it said. Hearing has been set for this afternoon.
THE Bible in the book of Matthew contains rather controversial advice
to Christians. It says: "Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not cast your
pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack
I take it to mean that we shouldn't give what is precious to us to
those who are stubborn, unappreciative or do not value our assistance.
Pigs are unclean animals, according to God's law (Deut 14:8), and
anyone who touches an unclean animal becomes "ceremonially unclean" and
cannot go into the temple to worship until the dirt is removed.
The moral of this biblical tale of pigs, pearls and dogs is that
believers should not entrust holy teachings to unholy or unclean people. It
is futile to try to teach holy concepts to people who don't want to listen.
Christianity does not encourage believers to stop giving God's word to
unbelievers, but there is a warning that we should be wise and discerning in
what we teach, and to whom, so that our time is employed fruitfully.
The small sermon sprang to my mind on Tuesday after reading a
statement from World Bank boss Paul Wolfowitz on Zimbabwe. Wire services
quoted him as saying the World Bank may withhold further aid to Zimbabwe to
"set an example". He said allocating money to Zimbabwe under the present
government would be a "terrible waste of funds".
He said the World Bank would be allocating its funds "very, very
carefully, and in the case of Zimbabwe, perhaps not at all".
"My Africa experts say that with the kind of misgovernment that is
taking place in Zimbabwe, it is not clear that development is possible at
"For several reasons we have to be very careful about corruption and
its effects. We need to set an example. It is a terrible waste of funds if
it is diverted into corruption," Wolfowitz said.
If Wolfowitz had used the analogy of the pigs, dogs and pearls to
illustrate his point on Zimbabwe, he would have been branded a racist or
other worse terms. But did he not mean the same thing?
Wolfowitz's statement on Zimbabwe is one of the most acerbic delivered
on the country. It sends an unambiguous signal to would-be investors not to
be associated with a nation that is now an international billboard of
misrule and corruption.
Most multi-lateral donors get their cue from the World Bank which has
now struck a resonant riff which is likely to be replicated across
continents. The statement could also be indicative of a more robust approach
by the bank against the conduct of President Mugabe's government.
The bank has been critical of the country's economic policies,
especially the land reform programme, largely blamed for pushing the economy
to the wall. Wolfowitz's statement is an indictment of the country's
political system and a call for behavioural change. Repaying debts to the
IMF, as Zimbabwe did last month, is not enough to mollify the Bretton Woods
institutions. They are saying the politics need change if the country is to
take useful advantage of assistance.
When central bank governor Gideon Gono returned from the United States
last month where he had gone to plead Zimbabwe's case not to be expelled
from the International Monetary Fund, a sibling of the World Bank, he gave
us the impression that fences were being mended with the international
This was not so. Despite his efforts, the bank believes support to
Zimbabwe would be a terrible waste of money. It is tantamount to casting
pearls before swine: ".they will trample them underfoot and attack you".
Remember this statement from President Mugabe in Havana last month:
"The IMF is almost never of real assistance to developing countries.It is
willed by the big powers which dictate what it should do," Mugabe told
"We have never been friends of the IMF and in the future we will never
be friends of the IMF."
So is there reason for the IMF to keep its pearls? The answer is no
because Zimbabwe needs help, no matter how much President Mugabe and his
government try to convince us that salvation will come from the East.
The country needs international support to buy medicines and equipment
for hospitals. The dualisation of trunk roads has progressed at a
painstakingly slow pace because funds are simply not there. There is no
fuel, Zesa cannot expand its infrastructure while local authorities are
struggling to provide potable water to residents. The common man is hurting
as relations between Zimbabwe and the world deteriorate.
In 1998, Mugabe, then head of the Organisation of African Unity,
denounced the World Bank as the "new oppressors".
"African countries are going through a hard political test," he said
"After getting rid of colonialism, they suffer from the new imperialism of
those who seek to humiliate us.
"These institutions don't worry about the price increases that their
requests cause and problems that they pose for the poor. But the governments
concerned don't have any choice, because they need the credits granted by
these institutions. The result is what happened in Indonesia and other
countries, as well as in mine. The people take to the streets because they
can't stand the inflation."
He added: "People who supported the government yesterday have turned
Five years after dumping the IMF, what does he have to show for his
Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that Zimbabwe's economy will
shrink by 7% this year against official forecasts of a 2% recovery.
The IMF, which was in the country for two weeks last month to assess the
economic situation, said on top of the 7% contraction after a 4% decline
last year, and 10,5% negative growth in 2003, inflation would notch 400% in
As if to confirm this worrying prospect, official figures released this week
showed inflation galloped from 265% in August to 360% last month.
The IMF projected a widening of the fiscal deficit which would fuel money
growth, pushing inflation to over 400%. It said although monetary policy had
tightened, this has not been consistent .
It said the fiscal deficit would widen substantially in 2005 to 11,5% of
gross domestic product (GDP), from 4,7% in 2004, due to greater spending.
While much of this increase was due to higher interest payments, the primary
deficit (excluding interest payments), is also projected to increase by
almost 2,5% of GDP.
This expansion is due to a sharp increase in the government wage bill from
15,5% of GDP in 2004 to about 20% in 2005.
With President Robert Mugabe locked in his own succession crisis, government
is barely doing anything to reverse the damage caused by his regime's failed
The ruling Zanu PF is grappling with Mugabe's succession struggle.
Zanu PF is trying to postpone the 2008 presidential election to 2010 on the
pretext of harmonising the parliamentary and presidential polls when in fact
it wants to extend its rule through the backdoor while grooming Mugabe's
Analysts say the situation is worsened by the emergence of a clique of
securocrats holding the reins behind the scenes. Last week it emerged that
Zimbabwe's state security agents engineered the disastrous Operation
Murambatsvina in which thousands of homes and informal businesses were
destroyed in the name of an urban clean-up.
Analysts say, if true, this shows Mugabe is now hostage to his increasingly
bold security apparatus - army, intelligence and police - which is pulling
There is also a risk the country will become even more repressive as the
economic and political situation deteriorates. The diplomatic disengagement
by South Africa and the international community offers further room for
Mugabe to ratchet up repression.
The IMF said key macroeconomic fundamentals would be skewed further.
Entrenched structural and administrative distortions in the economy remain
unattended to and this will prevent economic recovery.
The IMF projections should provide a sobering reality check for delusional
government spin-doctors always keen to mislead the nation on the state of
The IMF report is also a serious indictment of central bank governor Gideon
Gono who, against all rational economic forecasts, initially predicted the
economy would grow by 5% this year. Gono later revised his forecast to
between 3,5% and 5%, before further climbing down to a 2%-2,5% growth.
Gono is still clinging to his snake-oil prediction that inflation will come
down to between 50% and 80% in December when every literate citizen can see
it is practically impossible to achieve that - except by gross manipulation
Analysts say it is high time Gono and his team cast away their ostrich
mentality and faced up to reality.
"Gono has done his best but the problem is mainly the politics," one banker
said. "However, he is also sometimes naïve because he allows himself to be
used for electoral agendas, only to be left alone on the economic
"The other problem is he seems to understand more of business management
than economics. He is a very good business manager, but has no clue at all
Analysts have wondered how an economy can grow when all its major sectors -
agriculture, mining and manufacturing - are shrinking in real terms.
Only last week, Zimbabwe's sole tyre manufacturing company, Dunlop, shut
down due to foreign exchange shortages, throwing 820 workers on to the
MD Phil Whitehead was quoted as saying: "We stopped production last week,
and workers are at home. This is a huge disaster. You cannot run an economy
Dunlop is one of hundreds of companies that have closed down in the past
five years. There are other factors showing the economy is fast vanishing
down the tubes.
In addition, a new wave of farm invasions is sweeping the country.
The Commercial Farmers Union said last week that government had ordered 25
of the few remaining whites farmers in Manicaland to vacate their land by
the end of this month.
The picture from other economic indicators is equally grim. Apart from the
rise in inflation, which is marching on unchallenged, problems in
agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, foreign exchange shortages,
particularly for fuel imports and other essentials, will cause real GDP
contraction, ensuring Zimbabwe's economy continues to be the fastest
shrinking in the world.
Economic analyst Eric Bloch said the IMF report merely spelt out the reality
that government has been trying to dodge for the past five years.
"History has shown that government is hostile to external criticism and they
might just react in the same way to the IMF report. They may just ignore it,
but at their own peril," Bloch said.
"The reality is we have to genuinely restore agricultural productivity, cut
the huge government expenditure, curb corruption and restore our
international relations, before we can dream of an economic recovery."
Zimbabwe already has the highest inflation and the weakest currency in the
A World Bank director Hartwig Schafer recently said he had never seen an
economy withering at such a pace outside a war zone as the Zimbabwean one.
"I can't think of a country that has experienced such a decline in peace
time," Schafer said. "The major reasons for this decline are the breakdown
of agricultural productivity and distortion of economic policies."
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe said while the
IMF report was damaging, it was also true. He said the attitude of
politicians was still the problem.
"Most of our politicians are still in a denial phase. They want us to
believe that everyone is wrong and they are the only ones who are correct,"
"For example, there are still people invading farms at a time when we need
every farmer to be working to produce for the country. We are planning a
Senate election when the country is broke. These are the kind of things
which are undermining the economy."
By Jonathan Moyo
IF there is one clear and present danger now threatening political stability
in Zimbabwe, it is that President Robert Mugabe's succession crisis has
become so uncertain and dangerous that it is now in the hands of
unaccountable yet politically-ambitious securocrats.
These securocrats - the security apparatus - are working in a manner
reminiscent of the callous brutality of their Rhodesian and Gukurahundi
predecessors who caused mayhem under the cover of Ian Smith's state of
emergency which was after Independence renewed by Zanu PF until 1990.
The difference between the wicked Rhodesian state of emergency that ended in
1990, after having been extended by Zanu PF to justify the Gukurahundi
campaign, and the current one, is that the former was declared and therefore
governed by some rules even if they were extremely vicious, while the latter
is undeclared and more dangerous because it is not governed by any publicly
known rules besides the whims and caprices of the securocrats themselves and
those of their president who is now playing dirty politics with the nation.
A rare window into the shocking and totally unacceptable operations of the
power-mad securocrats in our midst was opened last week, courtesy of the
Herald which was obviously prompted by some beleaguered wordsmith in
The revealing article ran 13 controversial paragraphs detailing the clearest
confirmation that the dastardly Operation Murambatsvina, which destroyed the
homes and livelihoods of 18% of the population, was hastily planned and
implemented by some panicky and overzealous elements of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
What was even more dramatic about this confirmation is the disclosure that
the operation was exclusively approved by President Mugabe without regard to
the constitutional rights of the targeted innocent victims and the knowledge
or involvement of other constitutional bodies and processes - including the
The confirmation by the Herald made it crystal clear that our body politic
once again is being run by some very ambitious and dangerous securocrats who
have steadily exploited President Mugabe's record of governing under a
brutal state of emergency, as he did during the first 10 years of our
Independence, not only to take over civilian governance as is
constitutionally defined, but to also take over the running of Zanu PF,
which left on its own, has become a dead duck.
In political terms, Zanu PF and President Mugabe are today singing from the
hymn book of securocrats. In fact, Zanu PF and CIO structures have become
one and the same thing, and this largely explains why democracy has become
an impossible proposition within the ruling party because it has given way
to securocracy. That's what happens in sunset politics in authoritarian
Even the ever-dithering and politically-impotent official opposition - the
MDC - is showing all signs of a party that has been heavily infiltrated by
the same securocrats.
One tragedy from this backward development is that we now have security
chiefs who cannot tell the difference between President Mugabe's political
interests as a politician, Zanu PF party interests and the national interest
of all Zimbabweans.
This conflation of interests by misguided securocrats has become a fertile
ground for unprecedented national conflict with trappings of ominous
Although (editor) Baffour Ankomah imagined that his story, republished by
the Herald last week, was given to him by President Mugabe's wordsmith as a
scoop to be revealed by New African magazine, the fact is that the
information about how Operation Murambatsvina was planned, and by whom, and
for what reason, was already public knowledge in Zimbabwe.
What remained was corroboration of the information by sources closer to
And when it comes to such sensitive matters involving the securocrats, you
cannot get a better confirmation than from the good old Herald. Anyone who
knows anything useful about media politics in Zimbabwe will tell you that
there is no way in heaven the Herald would publish such a telling article
that was not only damning, but also revealing in that it confirmed the truth
about a government now run by panicky securocrats and a hostage president.
It is very dangerous to have a president who is a prisoner of securocrats
because he does not only lose his executive powers to them, but is also
often prompted to act in the narrow interests of his security apparatus
without properly measuring the political consequences of his decisions.
The Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina episodes are classic examples of what
happens when securocrats are in charge.
The unassailable facts confirmed by the Herald with the support of those who
pushed for the article to be run are that Operation Murambatsvina had
nothing to do with the habitat niceties of cleaning slums out of Zimbabwean
We now all know Murambatsvina was a security operation whose
Gukurahundi-like objective had everything to do with demolishing the homes
and livelihoods of slum dwellers and informal sector traders who make up 18%
of our population, so as to disperse them in order to render them
There is no amount of self-righteous pontification by Mugabe's
British-trained and managed wordsmiths that can obfuscate these facts
Another trick from the wordsmiths that has fallen flat is their absurd
attempt to deflect attention away from the disastrous consequences of
Murambatsvina through outlandish claims about the fiction called Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle which does not have even one satisfied housing
What is worse about the nonsense around this fiction is that, like
Murambatsvina, Garikai/Hlalani is also run by securocrats, some of them in
Given that where there is no vision the people perish, the implications of
the dramatic takeover of national politics and civic works by wayward
securocrats are so staggering that if nothing decisive is done, and done now
by the people of Zimbabwe to put a stop and reverse the situation, then we
are headed for conflict on a scale never before witnessed in this country.
Mugabe and his securocrats will bear responsibility for whatever happens
because they are currently busy mobilising anger against themselves and
instigating instability through repressive measures.
They must remember that when that happens they will also be entangled and
may not come out clean. They have to learn lessons from what is happening
around the world, otherwise they might spend the rest of their lives on the
run, afraid of incurring the people's wrath as a result of the consequences
of their excesses and the inevitable need for them to be held accountable
for their actions.
The Herald confirmation that Operation Murambatsvina was the brainchild of
alarmed CIO elements who hastily implemented it outside the confines of
constitutional governance, clearly means that Zimbabwean laws, including the
constitution itself, were violated. This alone warrants an independent
Besides such an inquiry or regardless of its findings, there is a prima
facie case that President Mugabe once again did not uphold the oath of his
office by acting in a unilateral manner whose consequence was to render
destitute some 2,5 million Zimbabweans.
On this sad score, President Mugabe does not have moral and political
legitimacy to remain in office. He can remain there only as a hostage of the
very same securocrats who have become public enemies of the people but that
will only help prompt instability which is looming large in Zimbabwe and
raise the urgent need to take steps to avert it.
We have seen that elsewhere around the world, including in Iraq of all
places, security officials who become a law unto themselves by abusing
prisoners or terrorising civilians are legally liable to disciplinary action
and prosecution while victims are compensated. Why not in Zimbabwe?
Did Zimbabweans give their sacrifices during the liberation war so that
President Mugabe and his securocrats can use the cover of Zanu PF to
terrorise the population into permanent docility even when 18% of the
population has its homes and livelihoods illegally destroyed by the
government whose first duty should be to protect life and property?
Surely, in any constitutional democracy, the people have an inalienable
right to rise up against an evil government acting against state interests.
There is a difference of night and day between rising up against a wicked
government of the day ruling against the interests of the people and rising
up against the state.
Despite its pretensions fuelled by politically-corrupt securocrats, Zanu PF
is not the state and the state is not Zanu PF. That's very clear.
The state is the people and the people cannot rise up against themselves.
The time has come for these distinctions to be understood and made. There is
need for action to be taken to nip the impunity of securocrats and their
political hostages in the bud.
One major reason why the securocrats had no qualms at all about Operation
Murambatsvina is precisely because of the impunity from the Gukurahundi
precedent which is at work here. The fact that nobody was held liable for
the Gukurahundi massacres of over 20 000 people and for the destruction of
homes and livelihoods of more than 25% of the population means that as a
nation we remain at risk of similar or worse atrocities committed by panicky
securocrats in cahoots with an aloof and unaccountable president. We must
never allow this sort of thing to happen again.
In this regard, the planning and execution of Operation Murambatsvina by
securocrats with the approval of President Mugabe in the manner they did,
serves as a rude wake-up call to Zimbabweans that the Gukurahundi mentality
of government-engineered and led atrocities is still pervasive among some
security elements who have learnt nothing from our dark past and who are now
taking advantage of the collapse of the Zanu PF commissariat, President
Mugabe's undemocratic nature and the impotence of the official opposition,
to implement an undeclared state of emergency.
It is no wonder that these apprehensive securocrats known to conjure up
hasty operations with nefarious objectives are now proposing to postpone the
presidential election until 2010.
They are also pushing for a law- and-order approach to monetary policy while
seeking to control and run the public and private media - including the Zanu
PF official mouthpiece.
These sinister agendas of the securocrats are only surpassed by their own
breathtaking incompetence which guarantees that they will always want to
come up with wicked operations either to deal with people merely holding
different political views, as in the case of Gukurahundi, or to criminalise
poverty, as in Murambatsvina's case, which they are largely responsible for
creating through their leadership and policy failures.
The sooner Zimbabweans understand this and do something big to stop it once
and for all, the better for posterity and the prosperity of our republic.
* Professor Jonathan Moyo is independent MP for Tsholotsho.
By Bornwell Chakaodza
"FIX it or go" (Zimbabwe Independent, Editor's memo, October 7). "Stop the
destruction, Gono must go", said Tendai Biti, MDC's secretary for economic
affairs; and "Gono's trillions no panacea to Zim woes," wrote Shakeman
These are some of the headlines in last week's issue of the Independent by
which the paper made conclusions on Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's
record over the past two years.
Let me remove the danger of misrepresentation by pointing out from the
outset that although you certainly goofed by over-estimating the governor's
transformative power on the Zimbabwean crisis, the Gono conundrum excites
extremes of opposing views.
Like no other governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe since Independence,
Gono is a subject of intense interest and controversy, and not just among
financial or economic experts but in the entire Zimbabwean society.
Therefore, many of the things (not all) contained in the three articles
already referred to deserve attention as an antidote both to the excessive
and sometimes embarrassing hero-worship that has attended the governor in
the government gazettes - the Herald, the Sunday Mail and ZBC; and to the
mindless and ill-founded political slanging to which he has sometimes been
subjected from some of the more un-neighbourly of his colleagues and fellow
Democracy is all about deep debate and it is important that differences of
opinion continue to exist side-by-side peacefully.
Having made these preliminary points, let me state my position. It is based
four-square on the premise that "though knowing we won't succeed, we try
anyway". We have to. Someone has to.
Gono has been thrust into a situation not of his own making but that of the
endlessly bungling and arrogant Zanu PF. This is a Zanu PF-induced crisis.
It was not Gono's decision to pay more than $36 billion gratuities to former
political prisoners, ex-detainees and restrictees - a figure which will
further paralyse the Zimbabwean economy.
The Reserve Bank governor is not the cause of our predicament. It is the
ruling party, and by their docility and inaction, all Zimbabweans must take
full responsibility for this crisis.
What Gono is trying to do is to manage the crisis and de-accelerate the
decline of the economy. The trying will of course be an empty experience
without his colleagues to assist him to make things happen. It is truly a
Against all odds, against all adversity, the governor and his team are
trying, and trying and trying. And let us give them credit for that. Far
from improving anything, perhaps the governor's "heroism" lies in his
ability to hope, to believe and to act, even in the face of justifiable
despair. It could be that Gono cannot control trying!
Yes, things have got much worse in whatever direction you care to look.
Inflation is continuing to make a determined assault on an economy which is
already in the intensive care unit. All one has to do is to take a look at
the statistics of sadness that stand before us day-in and day-out.
The $9,6 million September monthly basket of basic commodities for an urban
family of six that the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe came up with is to me
not a true reflection of how prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks. All
Zimbabweans buy from the same supermarkets whether poverty-stricken or
otherwise, and considering the way prices are going up on an hourly basis, I
shudder to think how the vast majority of Zimbabweans are surviving.
My questions, not to Gono, but to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF: How
much practice will it take to plan a human sacrifice of your own people?
What would it take to say: "We have done our bit, let us go for the sake of
The level of destitution in this country has to be seen to be believed. My
questions are directed to the Zanu PF political establishment because it
holds the key to the turnaround of the fortunes of this country - not Gono
and his colleagues at the central bank.
Gono cannot and will not fix the problem. There are decided limits to what
he can do with the best will in the world. With these kleptomaniacs in
government, what amount of power and influence can Gono wield over them?
Zanu PF must admit openly that we have become a failed state. And it is Zanu
PF which has to fix the problem. It is a very difficult situation for any
governor of the Reserve Bank whoever it could have been.
We cannot expect Gono to remain asbestos in a melting pot. The real epidemic
is the ruling Zanu PF. This is the contextual framework which was lacking
particularly in your Editor's memo and the article by Biti.
Yes, by dishing out trillions to corrupt and unaccountable parastatals,
local authorities and other organisations, the Reserve Bank is merely
offering bandages and patches to a worn-out tube.
It can never be a cure for an economy that is terminally ill. And I think
there is a very simple point that the Reserve Bank management has to grasp:
Without Zanu PF willing and able to fix the politics of this country, no
amount of fresh blood you continue to pump into an anorexic Zimbabwean
economy will revive it. Any business the world over needs political
stability, security as well as the environment in which it can grow and
thrive. That kind of environment does not exist in Zimbabwe.
But that does not mean Gono and his team do nothing until the environment
becomes propitious. Far from it. Giving up now can never be an option, to
quote Gono's favourite expression.
As a central bank you have a huge task on your hands but do not give up. I
think this is the bottom line. The answer obviously lies in political hands
but continue to persevere. I want to challenge all Zimbabweans to say that
if any one of us was in Gono's shoes in the current political climate, would
we fare any better? A big no is my answer.
Things could be much worse without Gono. Ours is an abnormal environment. I
want to repeat what I said earlier on: Though knowing we won't succeed, we
try anyway. In Gono and his colleagues, we must pay some homage to the power
of the human spirit and to their extraordinary efforts against crushing
This is the context which was conspicuous by its absence when the editor
said about Gono: "Fix it or go". If hypothetically Gono were to go tomorrow,
will things begin to improve in our troubled country? Will they improve
under the present political environment? I think it is important to keep
things in perspective.
Although his heart is in the right place or near enough, Gono has obviously
made mistakes, as every active and creative man does.
I am sure the governor will be the first person not to claim infallibility
like the Pope. Foremost are the governor's false predictions on the fuel,
forex and inflation fronts. The truth is that the Reserve Bank governor has
made public promises before he has come to appreciate the complexities
surrounding these issues, especially in this ever-changing troubled
environment of ours.
In fairness to Gono, promises are hard to keep in a fast-changing and
unplannable environment. The fact of the matter is that no chief executive
officer of an organisation, especially in today's Zimbabwe, can say that he
is immune from contradictions between promise and reality. This is another
level to which Zanu PF has sunk Zimbabwe. Most of those who critically
support Gono are well aware of this aspect of his record and it inspires in
them a definite caution and reserve.
The key point that I want to leave with your readers is: It is one thing to
fix a problem and another to try, particularly when it is not of your own
making. And I do respect and admire Gono and his team for trying.
To tell the youthful Gono to go is to completely miss the point. You very
well know which ageing leader should go! And that is where the opposition
MDC, civil society, the business community, the churches and ordinary
Zimbabweans have to raise their voices continually rather than remain silent
Criticising Gono yes, but to tell him to go is to present an illusion, to
take us to the land of fantasy and fiction.
* Bornwell Chakaodza is former editor of the Standard and the Herald
Eric Bloch Column
FOR a long time, government believed that the business community was crying
"wolf" with recurrent prognostications of imminent collapse of their
enterprises, due to an insufficiency of foreign currency to fund essential
Undoubtedly that disbelief was fuelled by two primary factors. The first was
government's never-ending belief that all businessmen are endlessly
resorting to pronounced profiteering, at the expense of the populace and of
the well-being of the economy and that therefore, if they bewailed any
circumstance, they are misrepresenting realities in order to achieve even
greater profits sought by their never-ending greed. Any factors given by the
business community would, therefore, either be wholly disregarded by
government, or would be cavalierly dismissed as being wild distortions or
exaggerations, of little or no consequence.
Inevitably, the second factor that has motivated government to treat the
desperate pleas of the business sector with contempt, must be assumed to be
that government itself has become so prone to misrepresentation that it
automatically takes it for granted that everyone else does likewise. This is
compounded by the fact that government suffers from pronounced paranoia, and
therefore it perceives the distressed wails of the business sector to be
nothing but veiled criticisms and attacks upon government, instead of
recognising that the cries of probable collapse are genuine, and are
distraught appeals to government to do something constructive to resolve the
It is time that harsh realities are recognised: the amount of foreign
currency falls far short of the national need. Such foreign currency as is
forthcoming, primarily by way of export proceeds, is fast exhausted in
funding a few priorities, leaving little or nothing for most enterprises. By
the time food imports have been paid for (necessitated by the state's near
total destruction of the agricultural sector), fuel imports paid for (albeit
for a fraction of the fuel that the country needs), and foreign currency is
allocated for the purchase of agricultural inputs (in the vain hope of
recovery of agriculture, as improbable as that recovery is until the
so-called land reform programme is constructively restructured), there is an
insignificant amount of foreign currency left for other purposes. Moreover,
much of that insignificant amount is required for government's own purposes.
Some of those purposes are very merited, such as honouring Zimbabwe's
grossly overdue debt repayment obligations with the International Monetary
Fund, but it is extraordinarily difficult to justify others, in Zimbabwe's
straitened foreign exchange circumstances. How can one credibly justify the
purchase of jet fighters for the Air Force, aviation fuel for consumption at
air shows, and dozens of new motor vehicles for chiefs and for unnecessarily
appointed additional cabinet ministers, when one cannot provide a
sufficiency of foreign currency for anti-retrovirals, for the manufacture of
pharmaceuticals (with some of the manufacturers not having received any
foreign currency since last February), for the manufacture of goods for
export (which would thereby generate foreign currency), and for the
manufacture of import substitution products (thereby reducing foreign
currency needs), and for sufficient fuel to keep Zimbabwe on the move? Any
attempt at such justification must be spurious.
The bottom line is that numerous enterprises are on the verge of collapse.
They have struggled vigorously to continue operations, sourcing whatsoever
imported inputs they could by recourse to lines of credit from suppliers,
until the suppliers understandably withdrew those lines, as a result of the
recurrent debt default on the part of their Zimbabwean customers, due solely
to the ongoing inability to access the foreign exchange necessary to service
They also tried energetically to continue operations by very careful
management and productive usage of whatsoever limited stocks that they had.
And, in order to meet market needs, continue to provide employment, continue
to generate export revenues, and continue to be contributive participants in
a declining economy, many resorted to imports financed through the parallel
market, only to be prosecuted for so doing.
It is time government recognises, even though belatedly, that Zimbabwe's
economy is in crisis mode. The ranks of more than two million unemployed,
who wish for employment, will soon be joined by many more, unless some very
positive actions are taken, without delay, to address the crisis. The
decline in the economy, which government has been foreshadowing in
presidential and budget statements as being reversed, will intensify, unless
effective steps towards foreign exchange generation are forthcoming without
delay, no matter how unpalatable they may be. And the revenue flows to the
impoverished fiscus, with its disastrous levels of debt, will shrink even
more, as businesses collapse, more and more become unemployed, and the
already constricted consumer spending power is constrained to an ever
The first of the necessary steps is for government to pursue policies which
are complementary to the Reserve Bank's monetary policies. No matter how
soundly based most of the monetary policies are, they cannot succeed when
they are undermined by the contrary policies of government, mainly being
politically driven polices which destroy investor and business confidence,
are destructive of economically necessary, harmonious, international
relationships, and which swell the fiscal deficit. In particular, government
needs to prioritise many of the foreign currency requirements of the private
sector ahead of many of its own. It needs to reduce its own foreign exchange
usage to the bare minimum and absolute essentials, instead of spending on
its "like to have" needs.
Secondly, it must work intensively to repair its relationships, and restore
the good, past Zimbabwean image, with the international community. Doing so
requires, in the first instance, to rid itself of its pronounced paranoia.
It needs to disabuse itself of the misconception that the former colonial
power, Britain, and its allies, are enemies of the present Zimbabwe,
determined that the country should again be subject to colonialist control.
That is the last thing that Britain, the European Union, and the United
States actually want. Empire-building and colonialism is something of the
past, to which they no longer aspire. What they do want is evidence of
democracy, respect for human rights, justice and real law and order,
constructive economic policies, and a desire for a meaningful contribution
to global harmony and international collaboration.
Aligned to such policies must be the creation of a genuinely
investment-conducive environment. That does not exist when the president
threatens indigenous takeovers of equity in the mining sector, perceived
nationally and internationally as being a potential replay of the injustices
that characterised Zimbabwe's catastrophic land reform programme. (The
programme was very necessary, but the manner of achieving land reform was
unjust, inhuman and economically disastrous.) And that investment-conducive
environment does not exist when the Minister of Transport and Energy talks
of forced nationalisation of white-owned businesses, even if thereafter the
Minister of Industry and International Trade commendably makes a statement
that no such action is contemplated, and that it will not occur.
Such an environment also does not exist when foreign investors are entitled
to dividend remittances, but cannot effect them when the foreign currency is
not available. And it does not exist when the speedy processing of foreign
investor applications by the Zimbabwe Investment Centre is negated by
inordinately prolonged delays in procuring work permits for essential
Concurrently, government and the Reserve Bank must work together, with great
urgency, to assure exporter viability. Although the exchange rate moved very
significantly over a period of six months, the move was not sufficient, if
measured against the rate of inflation, and for the last few weeks has been
almost static. Exporters cannot survive if inflation-driven cost increases
are not offset by appropriate exchange rate movements. Exporters can also
not survive if they are obliged to surrender 50% of export earnings, in the
event that their import contents of the exports exceeds 50%.
Whilst the present foreign exchange crisis requires maximum possible
surrender of export revenues to the Reserve Bank, Zimbabwe is "cutting off
its nose to spite its face" when it requires surrenders to an extent as
preclude export operations.
Hand in hand with assuring exporters of their currency needs, Zimbabwe needs
to recognise that many potentially exportable products are not export price
competitive against like products, especially from the Far East in general,
and China in particular, because of the magnitude of export incentives that
the competitors receive from their governments. Zimbabwean export incentives
fall far short of those given by China and others, and government and the
Reserve Bank need to revisit the export incentive regime (within the World
Trade Organisation/GATT constraints).
These are but a few of the measures necessary to avoid an intensifying
collapse of a business sector which already has innumerable enterprises
operating on a two or three day working week only, or under closures with
personnel being required to proceed on leave pending imported inputs being
Time is fast running out and, if the right actions are not urgently embarked
upon, the only growth businesses in Zimbabwe will be those of professional
STATEMENTS in the official press last week provided an interesting view of
the Byzantine manoeuvres surrounding official policy-making at Munhumutapa
It has long been known that Operation Murambatsvina was the product of a
small cabal that included intelligence and police officers. Anna Tibaijuka
referred to the absence of broad consultations when she submitted her
So it was useful to have Baffour Ankomah's confirmation of this in his New
African article subsequently carried in the Herald . George Charamba's
disingenuous rebuttal last Saturday has simply alerted us to the regime's
sensitivity on the issue.
" New African can now reveal that the operation was the brainchild of
Zimbabwe's intelligence community which felt it had to move quickly to nip
in the bud a Ukrainian-style revolution (or street protests) then being
planned in Zimbabwe and funded by the same Western countries who paid for
Ukraine's so-called Orange Revolution earlier this year," Ankomah wrote.
"Vulnerable slum dwellers" were to be the cannon fodder of this revolution,
he tells us, hence the authorities' sense of urgency in dealing with them.
Ankomah has declined to respond to an invitation from Muckraker to reveal
who sponsored his visit to Zimbabwe where this implausible story was fed to
him. The one thing everybody understands perfectly well is that no street
protests or indeed any other protests could be expected from the supine MDC
despite evidence of yet another stolen election. The mood was sullen but not
The CIO - one of the best intelligence services in the world, Ankomah
believes - panicked and nipped the pending street protests in the bud by
demolishing the habitats of the slum-dwellers. Because of the speed at which
the operation moved, many cabinet ministers and senior officials who would
normally know about such an operation were kept in the dark, he claims. The
security services "drove the process" and laid-down procedures were
You have to be very gullible indeed to swallow all of this. Yes, a small
cabal of securocrats may have been driving the crackdown. But the threat of
an Orange Revolution was pure fiction fed to Ankomah by the same people who
paid for his visit.
Then we had Charamba blaming the independent press for picking up on the
story. Murambatsvina, he claimed, was a "collective programme premised on
the twin goals of dealing with lawlessness and providing decent
Nothing of course could be further from the truth. If there was any
lawlessness it stemmed from Murambatsvina, as has been widely documented.
That is why Tibaijuka suggested there might be grounds for prosecution of
If it was a "collective programme", why was it not discussed at the cabinet
meeting in the week that it was launched? And the "decent accommodation" has
been slow to materialise. Why wasn't it provided in the first place?
It is difficult to work out whether Charamba's statement on Saturday was
designed to castigate the Herald's editor for carrying Ankomah's very
revealing remarks or provide a pretext for attacking independent media
And who is the "fringe politician" who gets dragged into Charamba's tirade?
Perhaps the one who is subject to further abuse by Nathaniel Manheru in the
same edition? The one Manheru was cheering on after his attacks on
journalists only a year ago!
And how interesting to see that the deputy minister's lie about Morgan
Tsvangirai hopping aboard his 4x4 during his first walk into town is
repeated by Manheru whose office will have been provided with material
evidence that the vehicle was nowhere in sight on the day in question,
largely because it was locked in Tsvangirai's garage. The world's best
intelligence service cannot have been that blind behind those dark glasses!
And then we are lectured by Charamba about the "abuse of journalism".
Muckraker is confused about Zimra's foreign exchange rates provided to the
Herald every week to assess the value of imported goods. They provide rates
for the Austrian schilling, the Belgian franc, the French franc, the German
mark, the Irish punt, the Netherlands guilder and the Spanish peseta, among
What is puzzling about all these currencies is that they were abolished four
years ago with the introduction of the euro. So where Zimra gets its rates
from is anybody's guess!
Why does Zanu PF get away with holding voters in contempt by promoting
electoral failures to high office?
We have before us the example of William Nhara who failed to get elected to
parliament in Harare and is now principal director in the Interactive
Affairs ministry. Then we witnessed a number of parastatals with shocking
records of mismanagement rushing to congratulate Engineer George Mlilo on
his appointment as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and
Communications. This follows his failure to secure the Bulawayo mayorship.
Does anybody still remember Mlilo's record at Bulawayo City Council. As
chief engineer he
almost went to jail for ill-treating pigs!
It will be interesting to see who the president appoints to the senate after
his assurance that there would be no more rejected candidates as ministers.
We were intrigued to note Mugabe's recent remarks that "the country's
ancestors had endured worse treatment and conditions, including brutality,
detention and many other inhumanities and deprivations at the hands of
But what about brutality, detention, and other deprivations at the hands of
his regime? How does he explain such depredations in the post-Independence
era? What was the fate of Lookout Masuku?
Then we had Cain Mathema making what must be some of the daftest remarks of
the year - in a highly contested field. He said: "It's not the president who
invented poverty in Zimbabwe, (it was) foreign investors who came here, such
as Cecil John Rhodes."
Mathema is right. The president did not invent poverty. He just made it a
great deal worse. Investors should take note: living standards have now
fallen below those obtaining 40 years ago. A remarkable achievement for any
leader and one which even Mathema would have difficulty excusing.
Muckraker was alarmed by Sunday Mirror columnist the Scrutator's positive
evaluation of Lands minister Joseph Made's contribution to land reform.
While Made might have spent many years at Arda and is a "qualified" (pun
intended) agricultural economist, the Scrutator is silent on his disastrous
trail there. Arda estates are some of the worst performers in the country.
It is also myopic to say only so-called "casualties of the land reform . . .
hate him with a passion". He claims Made was the first to make things (land
reform presumably?) really work because by January 2003 the country had
increased the number of "commercial farmers" from 4 500 to 80 000.
Two issues emerge here. It's not simply casualties of Made's ineptitude who
"hate" him, but all those now facing starvation because of a programme
executed with criminal malice and incompetence. Did the Scrutator expect
Zimbabweans to award Made an honorary doctorate for predicting a bumper
harvest that never was?
As for the number of commercial farmers, the Scrutator's revelation is the
stuff of fiction. Anyway, how do you explain the paradox of 4 500 white
commercial farmers feeding the whole nation and then 80 000 black commercial
farmers failing to do so, as the late Enos Chikowore pointed out at the Zanu
And what has happened to those small-scale farmers who, we were always told,
produced more than 70% of the maize? All displaced in the name of land
reform and the Scrutator calls that Joseph Made's greatest achievement!
As usual, we failed to make sense of Tendai Chari's raillery against the
media in Zimbabwe which he said was silent on the release of Judith Miller
of the New York Times newspaper who was imprisoned for refusing to disclose
Zimbabwean media were accused of "thinking inside the box" because they
failed to make a connection between the US government's actions and their
implications for third world journalists.
It's a pity we are having to be told of lack of press freedom in the US by
the same "media" analysts and lecturers who have never written a single word
in support of the Daily News and the plight of its workers; the same
analysts who are quick to point out that the US is not a "paragon" of press
freedom to justify the enactment of satanic laws like the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
As for claims that America is a paragon of press freedom, surely that can
only be peddled by the state media here. We have no evidence of the
Americans making such self-righteous claims for themselves.
What we know is that American media don't believe a sitting president should
be protected by law from public scrutiny. Nobody is infallible. They have
attacked George Bush over Iraq and he was recently forced to accept that
Hurricane Katrina was poorly handled after excoriating criticism in the
We know Chari is able to tell us how many US soldiers have died in the war
in Iraq but is curiously silent on Zimbabwean soldiers who died in the DRC
It's called "thinking outside the box" Mr Chari. We thought it was only
Joseph Chinotimba who needed help to see Hurricane Katrina in its proper
perspective. Remember Oliver Mtukudzi's Handiro Dambudziko ?
Then there was Nathaniel Manheru and the IMF. He was patriotically furious
that Zimbabwe was nearly expelled from the IMF when it was not the most
delinquent debtor. We are not worried about Manheru's contrived reasons why
the IMF wanted Zimbabwe out. It is the league in which we find ourselves
that worries us most.
The worst offenders, according to the fund, are Somalia, Liberia and Sudan.
We are not quite that bad in terms of indebtedness apparently. And that is a
cause for relief and celebration at Munhumutapa Building!
After a lot of head-scratching Manheru found the usual reasons for
Zimbabwe's problems with the fund: land reform and our involvement in the
DRC war, as if there is anything redeeming about those disastrous
But an obvious point that Manheru conveniently ignored was that our fellow
outcasts have been virtually at war during the whole period that they have
failed to meet their obligations to the IMF. Zimbabwe was not. Which means
our failure was almost entirely due to fiscal mismanagement.
As for Somalia, it has not had a government since the ouster of Siad Barre
in 1991. The civil war is not yet over in Sudan. In Liberia the wounds of
war are still raw.
It is this lack of a sense of shame that has been the curse of this country;
that those who should be seeking to take the country further than Ian Smith
did instead want to lead us back to the Stone Age so that we compare well
with other failures!
Is success so unAfrican that we must always seek company among the world's
rogue states? We found ourselves being reminded again of the much-abused
expression about "normalising the abnormal".
And obviously when Manheru went ballistic about the IMF's inflation
projections of 400% by year-end he hadn't seen the Central Statistical
Office's figures this week. By year-end the figure could be higher than 400%
and there is nothing Gideon Gono can do about it. His crime is pretending
that he can.
We liked the letter in the Herald last week from "Patriotic Farmer". It was
the usual tosh about how we must all support the government's efforts. But
like all these true patriots, the writer gave himself away. His letter
carried a Mt Pleasant address!
Finally, we note the Met Office is now giving "predictions" instead of
forecasts. The Department of Meteorological Services, as it is properly
called, on Tuesday "predicted" that the rainy season would begin at the end
of this week. Masvingo, Beitbridge, Mwenezi and Chivhu would be the first to
benefit, we were
Let's hope this prediction is not of the same sort as President Mugabe's
prediction of fuel deliveries, Joseph Made's prediction of a bumper harvest,
and Gideon Gono's prediction for inflation!
AS Zimbabwe's inflation soared to 360% this week the central bank appeared
unfazed by such a damaging development that has blown away any prospects of
economic recovery this year.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was quoted in the state media on Wednesday
as promising to deal decisively with the scourge because he has the
ammunition to do so.
"We have a sufficient battery of policy instruments to deal with the
resurgence," said Gono.
So he has a secret weapon to fight inflation? Where has he been hiding it?
Gono's military-speak about his mystery arsenal makes it even more confusing
to tell where exactly the economy is headed now that all the other measures
he has paraded since December 2003 have failed.
If indeed there is such a weapon to unleash on the country's number one
enemy, why has it not been deployed in the past to deal with the problem
once and for all? There was no need to wait for inflation to head towards
the 400% mark before rolling out his secret weapon because, as the
International Monetary Fund said in its report released last week, the
economy has "collapsed".
Part of the reason for that, it said, was the Reserve Bank's profligacy in
throwing money at failing paraststals and the clean-up operation which no
bank had any business getting involved in.
Inflation has effectively wiped out the purchasing power of savings held as
paper assets. It has distorted the economy in favour of extreme consumption
and hoarding of real assets, causing the monetary base, whether specie or
hard currency, to flee the country. Zimbabwe has become anathema to
investment, which calls for a speedy resolution of the crisis. The nation is
waiting for a new strategy to be paraded and critiqued before it is put into
action. Covert operations unleashed on the populace create unnecessary
hostility and tensions between the Reserve Bank and stakeholders.
The greatest weapon to win the inflation war is commonality of purpose by
all interested parties and ultimately ownership of the fight by those on the
frontline. It would be futile for Gono to dispatch troops with a different
cause to fight the inflation war. I am referring here to the carrot and
stick approach, the hallmark of Gono's monetary policy.
The stick has been wielded more often than the carrot has been offered.
Businesses which have felt the punitive hand of the central bank more than
they have tasted the benefits of reform have not applied themselves fully in
the fight to achieve economic recovery.
We agree with Gono that the fight against inflation requires desperate
measures to ensure the problem is not only wiped out but does not recur.
Gono has introduced a form of shock therapy in his monetary policy reforms
aimed at curtailing money supply growth, encourage exports to curtail
imported inflaton and to stabilise the local currency. This worked to an
extent before the general election when there was political will by the
government to put things right, as a campaign gimmick.
Buoyed by this temporary trend, the central bank was projecting inflation
would fall to between 20-35% by year-end. It was subsequently revised to
50-80% and then 265%.
This week Gono said double-digit figures would be achieved at the end of
next year and single-digit inflation by the end of 2007. Does anyone still
For any form of therapy to work there should be full commitment by the
political leadership. Shock therapy worked in post-war West Germany in the
late 1940s. During 1947 and 1948, price controls and government support were
withdrawn over a very short period. This had the effect of kickstarting the
economy. Germany had previously had a highly authoritarian and
interventionist fiscal regime.
Lately, Ecuador's therapy involved placing the nation under a currency board
which allowed the central bank to print only as much money as it had in
foreign reserves. A currency board is a system by which a currency is
convertible at a fixed exchange rate with another currency. This means that
the currency is fully backed by foreign reserves.
Gono's major problem when he rolls out his secret weapon is whether he will
be allowed to make proper use of it. The government of President Mugabe,
stuck in the groove of populist rhetoric, is averse to any drastic changes,
especially those that will induce more pain in a restive populace. Signs of
the government's disinclination to radical changes were manifest when Gono
decided to devalue the dollar and when he introduced a measure of
The fight is still on but Gono should know that his plans must pass the
political test. In his January 2005 monetary policy statement, he said he
would "not pursue policies that unduly undermine people's livelihoods." He
has nothing to lose now because most people's livelihoods have already been