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MDC's Mbeki talks shocker


Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
Cites State violence for threat to pull out
PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki's mediation effort was this week hanging by a thread
after the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) threatened to pull out of the
process citing escalating violence by ZANU-PF against its supporters,
documented in a report submitted last week to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC).

SADC appointed Mbeki to mediate in negotiations between the ruling ZANU-PF
party and the two factions of the MDC, which have so far led to an agreement
on electoral reforms - a deal many saw as a sign of progress.
But the fractured opposition has upped the pressure on the regional
initiative endorsed by SADC leaders in March by approaching the
Botswana-based secretariat of the 14-member grouping with a protest letter.
In a new twist that might throw Mbeki's mediation into disarray and worsen a
full-blown economic crisis gripping the country, the Morgan Tsvangirai
faction of the MDC is alleging that more and more of its supporters have
been persecuted even as dialogue between the two protagonists took place in
Pretoria and at home.
The MDC whose endorsement of the 18th constitutional amendments - a ZANU-PF
project - has created a rift between the party and its traditional backers
(the civic society) presents in its letter to SADC a chronicle of recent
incidents of repression against its supporters.
The MDC accuses ZANU PF of negotiating in bad faith, citing the arrest this
week of one of its Members of Parliament (MPs) and several people allied to
it, among them student leaders and women activists.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai camp of the MDC, confirmed his
party had formally expressed its concern about the fresh violence to SADC.
"It is summer at the dialogue in Pretoria, but winter time in Harare. ZANU
PF is not showing the true spirit of dialogue by its continued persecution
of our supporters and officials. There is no use for us to be in Pretoria
sharing the same table with ZANU PF when our people are being targeted,"
said Chamisa. "Most of our meetings and rallies are being cancelled or
interfered with by the State, yet the talks seek to ensure free and fair
elections whose outcome is expected to be accepted by all parties to the
talks," he added.
Tsvangirai, who has been overseas for the past two weeks, is threatening to
exit the talks if violence persisted. The former trade unionist said while
his faction remained committed to dialogue, it increasingly doubts ZANU PF's
He has also previously threatened to boycott next year's elections if no
further concessions, including the abolishment of security and media laws,
were forthcoming.
While the Arthur Mutambara-led faction of the MDC remained tight-lipped
about the issue, Elphas Mukonoweshuro, MDC secretary for international
relations and a senior advisor to Tsvangirai, gave the strongest indication
of a pullout, suggesting his faction could leave the talks within a week.
A meeting of Tsvangirai's national council has been scheduled this weekend
to decide on the talks.
However, The Financial Gazette has established that the new threats have
widened divisions within Tsvangirai's faction, with militant figures being
pitted against officials who support a more pacifist route to dealing with
Tsvangirai has been under strong pressure from hawkish supporters since last
month's agreement on Constitutional Amendment 18, and could be backing the
boycott threats to placate dominant hard-line sentiment in his party. But
this has only heightened internal tensions.
Police on Monday summoned the MDC MP for Glen View and the party's Harare
organising secretary, Paul Madzore, to Harare Central Police, in what
Chamisa said was an attempt to thwart the opposition from holding rallies in
the capital.
The MDC reports that since the start of the talks in April, police have
disrupted a total of 103 opposition rallies.
The party has recorded 4 122 rights violations between January and June this
year. These included seven murders, 18 cases of rape, 69 kidnappings or
abductions, 459 cases of torture, 2323 cases of interference or
intimidation, 1141 cases of assault and 152 cases of unlawful detention.
Efforts to get the police's reaction to the MDC's allegations were
Innocent Gonese, legal secretary for the Tsvangirai faction, told reporters
on Tuesday that ZANU PF continued to abuse the legal system to crack down on
The collapse of a state case against a group of opposition activists charged
with "terrorism" showed how ZANU PF was prepared to use the police to
intimidate the opposition, he said.
"The ZANU PF regime lied to SADC in Dar es Salaam, they lied to Parliament,
and they lied to the people of Zimbabwe that the MDC harboured terrorists.
Now that the cases have died a natural death, the only act of terrorism,
which turns out to have taken place was the brutal assault, illegal
detention and torture of MDC members who spent months in prison for no
apparent reason," said Gonese.
The activists were acquitted and had charges of terrorism against all but
one of them withdrawn last week.
Gonese revealed that in addition to a $4.7 trillion lawsuit against the
state, the MDC is demanding an extensive and immediate investigation into
the alleged acts of torture against its supporters at the hands of the
Mbeki has reported progress in the talks between the two protagonists,
describing last month's agreement as a "breakthrough".

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Inflation surges


Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter

INFLATION accelerated to a new record 7 982.1 percent in September,
underlining the failure of a government crackdown on business intended to
slow down price increases.

A blanket freeze on prices of commodities and services ordered by government
last June helped temper inflation to 6 592.8 percent in August from 7634
percent in July.
But the Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported yesterday that inflation
leapt 1 389.3 percentage points to break the previous record.
On a monthly basis, inflation surged 26.9 percentage points to 38.7 percent,
reversing a slowdown recorded in August to 11.8 percent.
The initial impact of the price freeze now appears to have worn off, as
shown by the September data.
Government has also abandoned the policy and lifted caps on selected
commodities, setting off a spike in prices, which analysts say lay the basis
for a sharper rise in inflation for October.
The analysts warn that inflation, the most conspicuous sign of Zimbabwe's
economic crisis, would continue on the upward march as pressures continue to
build on prices.
"The pressures for inflation are still there as money supply is expected to
continue growing while the National Incomes and Pricing Commission is
expected to continue reviewing prices up," said Blessing Sakupwanya, an
economist at MBCA.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono earlier this month raised
interest rates in his monetary policy statement, but there appears to be
little the central bank can do now to slow inflation.
Gono himself gave a grim forecast for inflation in the short to medium term,
saying he saw a continued rise on an expected surge in government spending
due to elections next March and spending on a range of new farm and business
subsidies meant to end food shortages.
His comments drove a bull run on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, which firmed a
marginal 1.9 percent yesterday after the release of the latest inflation
Gono said he believed boosting the supply of goods and services on the
market was the only remedy to combating inflation. But critics charge that
the subsidies in fact speed up inflation as they feed money supply growth.

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Stage set for Nkomo, Sibanda showdown


Njabulo Ncube and Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

THE first in a series of internal ZANU PF elections are to be held in
Bulawayo this weekend, setting the stage for a final showdown between rival
ruling party factions jostling to control the province.

Ahead of the elections, Jabulani Sibanda, who is leading President Robert
Mugabe's bid for re-election as party leader, charged yesterday that
opponents planned to manipulate the electoral system to secure their own
But those at the receiving end of Sibanda's verbal attacks stuck to their
guns this week, insisting the controversial war veterans leader had not been
re-admitted into the party following his expulsion from ZANU PF in 2004.
Information obtained by The Financial Gazette is that John Nkomo, the ruling
party's national chairman, was told in a closed door ZANU PF Bulawayo
province meeting last Saturday of manoeuvres by war veterans to get rid of
senior former PF ZAPU leaders at the extraordinary congress in December.
It was made known to the meeting that the war veterans were also targeting
Vice President Joseph Msika, politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, and other top
ZANU PF figures in Bulawayo.
The meeting, which was convened to discuss the political turmoil in the
volatile ZANU PF province, ironically took place on the same day that
Sibanda led hordes of war veterans in the latest marches to whip up support
for President Mugabe's candidacy.
Sibanda and his supporters plan to wrest control of the province from Nkomo
and Dabengwa, who currently hold sway.
The Bulawayo provincial ZANU PF leadership has opposed the marches on the
grounds that Sibanda has no mandate to organise for the party since his
expulsion by the party's national disciplinary committee, chaired by Nkomo.
Nkomo, Dabengwa and other colleagues are mobilizing support for leaders
allied to their camp ahead of elections for a district executive this
Saturday, and for district coordinating committees the following weekend.
In separate interviews with The Financial Gazette, leaders on both sides
left no doubt that they were gearing their groups up for a showdown.
Effort Nkomo, the ZANU PF Bulawayo province spokesman, said Sibanda should
play no part in the elections, as he was no longer a member of ZANU PF.
"Jabulani Sibanda was expelled from the party. This province has not
received any communication to the contrary. He has never been reinstated, as
far as the Bulawayo province is concerned."
But Sibanda claimed there was a plot by the rival faction to manipulate the
outcome of the polls by sidelining his supporters.
"If the senior people calling for elections know that there are two
factions, they should have called both factions and told them that there are
elections, and not just talk to one faction. They are trying to build
something that will not survive," Sibanda told The Financial Gazette
yesterday. He described Effort Nkomo as "dull".
Should Sibanda and his group sweep into power in Bulawayo, it would signal
the end of the road for Dabengwa and his camp, leaving control of the
province in the hands of supporters backing President Mugabe's candidature
in next year's elections.
After this week's and next week's district elections, the province would
then hold elections to choose a new substantive provincial executive.
ZANU PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika, last week said the Bulawayo
province should attend the extraordinary congress in December with a new
executive. Manyika is allied to Sibanda.
Matabeleland is one of the remaining bastions of opposition to President
Mugabe ahead of the congress. Party officials in the province have refused
to back Sibanda's marches, saying they were waiting for instructions from
Didymus Mutasa, secretary for administration, for party provinces to
nominate leaders as required under the ZANU PF constitution.
Mutasa is in turn however, desperate to prove his allegiance to President
Mugabe after dismissing speculation by "certain mischievous political
elements" about his ambitions. He has added to the controversy surrounding
the congress agenda.
He told ZANU PF provinces this week that the extraordinary congress has been
called only to "confirm President Mugabe" as the party's candidate, a claim
denied by other officials who insist that an annual conference would have
been sufficient to endorse President Mugabe's candidacy.

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Econet moves to check revenue leakages


Staff Reporter

ECONET Wireless, the country's largest mobile operator, has awarded
Indian-based Subex Azure an order to supply it with fraud busting products,
reports from Mumbai say.

Subex Azure would supply Econet its product Nikira, the company said in a
communiqué to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
It said Econet wanted to maximise its revenues by reducing telecoms fraud,
in particular the practice of "refilling" calls where international calls
are diverted before they reach Zimbabwe and are renumbered to appear as
local calls.
This practice was costing the company significant revenue and causing
congestion on international routes resulting in network degradation and poor
quality of service.
The Moneta Revenue Assurance System delivers a comprehensive suite of
automated tools and capabilities designed to enhance a telecom operator's
revenue assurance operations.
"Telecom fraud is an ongoing threat and therefore operators of all sizes
need to ensure they have effective detection systems in place in order to
protect their revenues," Subex Azure managing director and chief executive
officer Subash Menon said.
Econet has a subscriber base of over 647 000 customers and total network
capacity of 800 000 subscribers, which is being increased to 1.2 million.
Shares of the company on Tuesday traded at $1,1 million on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange.
In a statement accompanying the group's results for the six months ended
August 31, Econet chairman Tawanda Nyambirai said demand for the company's
products and services should remain firm inspite of the economic challenges.
"Cost control, capacity expansion, quality of service and new product
development will continue to be key focus areas for management," he said.
"The expansion of network capacity will result in improved service and
product offering," added Nyambirai.

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'ZBH shouldn't demand fees'


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

A PARLIAMENTARY committee says the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)'s
collection of revenue from the public through compulsory radio and
television licenses can be legally challenged.

The parliamentary committee on transport and communications said during a
hearing on Monday that it believed ZBH was a private limited company that
should not compel any member of the public to fund it.
During the hearing, Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu gave testimony on
media laws to the committee, chaired by ZANU PF Makonde Member of Parliament
(MP) Leo Mugabe. Committee member and Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai asked
Ndlovu to state whether ZBH was a parastatal or not, as it was registered in
terms of the Companies Act as a private company.
Mugabe said ZBH's legal authority to force the levying of license fees could
therefore be successfully challenged in court. But he said the committee
would deal with the issue at a later date.
In a previous committee hearing, Mugabe queried the involvement by the
Central Mechanical and Equipment Department in the procurement of drivers'
licence discs, saying the company was registered under the Companies Act and
as such any private company could also go to court to demand to be
authorised to provide a similar service.
The committee pressured Ndlovu into promising to call for new applications
by private companies wishing to operate radio and television stations.
At the same hearing, Ndlovu made a veiled attack on Munyaradzi Mangwana and
Jonathan Moyo, two previous information ministers, for allegedly presiding
over what he said was the collapse of the state media.
When Mugabe challenged Ndlovu on the "appalling conditions" at state news
agency New Ziana, Ndlovu retorted: "I wonder what the former ministers were
Moyo, now independent Tsholotsho MP and a member of the committee present at
the hearing shot back: "It does not help to take your job lightly and think
that it will be done by former Ministers."
Alfred Mandere, chief executive officer of state owned transmission company,
Transmedia, surprised ruling party MPs when he said there was nothing wrong
with villagers listening to Studio7, the Voice of America programme beamed
into Zimbabwe from Washington.
Government calls Studio7 a "pirate station", and has listed it as one of a
number of stations it says are part of a Western "regime change" plot.
Mandere told legislators ZBH should encourage the use of short-wave in areas
beyond its FM broadcasts.
"But they would end up listening to Studio7," said ZANU PF Chitungwiza
Senator Forbes Magadu. To which Mandere replied: "There is nothing wrong
with Studio7."

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CIO agents in theft scam


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

POLICE have uncovered a scam in which Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) operatives connived with truck drivers to intercept and steal copper
shipments from Zambia, which were destined for South Africa.

Three CIO agents are accused in court papers of stealing copper destined for
South Africa, after scheming with the drivers of at least two haulage trucks
that were ferrying the metals.
Frank Utahwarova, a divisional intelligence officer based at CIO
headquarters at Chaminuka building in Harare, Tawanda Muzinda, stationed at
CIO Braeside, and Moses Chademana, a former Intelligence officer who is
still at large, have been investigated in connection with the racket.
The state outline says Chademana is a Zimbabwean by birth, but now holds
South African citizenship.
One of the cases involves Zambian national Tongi Muswangeli, a truck driver.
It is alleged that while travelling through Zimbabwe to South Africa in his
employer's truck, which was drawing two trailers on May 7 last year,
Muswangeli connived with Muzinda and Utahwarova, and others who are still at
large, to divert the truck to Liverton Farm in Chegutu, a property owned by
After passing through Chirundu border post, Muswangeli is said to have
disabled the truck's computerised satellite tracking system in order to
avoid being detected.
The driver had been under instruction to travel in a convoy of three trucks
belonging to his employer and to stop at designated reporting points along
the route, but he defied these instructions.
"After offloading the copper cathodes from the two trailers, the two empty
trailers were taken from Liverton Farm in Chegutu and dumped by the accused
persons along Glenara road near Mukuvisi woodlands Park in Harare," reads
part of the state outline.
The police say Muswangeli later visited Harare Central Police Station and
made "a false report that he and his unidentified assistant driver were
kidnapped and his employer's truck and consignment were seized at gunpoint
in Chinhoyi town by some unidentified assailants."
Police also investigated the theft of 34 tonnes of copper from a Zalawi
Transport truck, after a second driver, Sean Siamubi, allegedly also
connived with the intelligence officers to divert his shipment.

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Chamber of Commerce speaks on Empowerment


Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter

THE Harare Chamber of Commerce yesterday added a fresh twist to the
controversy surrounding the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, saying for
the first time that the government had ignored critical input from the
business community.

"We feel that our input was not adequately addressed," Harare Chamber of
Commerce chairman, Oswell Binha told journalists in Harare yesterday.
"The Bill seems to be heading for direct confrontation with the country's
overall policy on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).we have been singing the
Look East Policy tune, inviting the Chinese to invest in Zimbabwe. How will
we explain this Bill to them without reinforcing the negative country
perception?" Binha asked an audience of journalists.
Binha said the Harare Chamber of Commerce recognised the universal
intentions of the Bill and believed its intentions were noble.
But in its current framework, the proposed law was such that it could damage
the little prospects remaining for the country to attract FDI.
A United Nations investment report unveiled this week indicated that FDI
inflows into the country had slumped by 54 percent from US$88 million in
2000 to US$40 million in 2006.
Vice president of the Chamber Micah Moses said they would seek an
appointment with President Robert Mugabe to warn him about the consequences
of the proposed law.
"We will not keep quiet about making our position clear and if we are given
the opportunity we will advance as far as the top man on the land, he has
indicated that we have the right to do so," Moses said.

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Armed forces fail to account for billions


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

THE Comptroller and Auditor General (C & AG) has once again exposed the
laissez faire attitude among government accounting officers, particularly in
the Defence Ministry.

In her latest report released this week, Mildred Chiri, the C&AG says she is
concerned by the armed forces failure to account for billions of dollars of
taxpayers' money advanced through Treasury.
Chiri's latest report, which covers the year 2005, also reveals widespread
financial impropriety in a string of government departments.
"I am concerned about the Ministry (of Defence's) failure to respond to
internal audit reports issued during the period February 1 to October 10,
2005. About 54 reports had not been responded to at the time of writing this
report. This resulted in my failure to ascertain whether or not internal
audit recommendations were being implemented," she said.
"I am concerned that there was an unreconciled difference amounting to $41
367 435 765 between the figure of unpresented cheques on the reconciliation
statement for audit and the figure in the Public Financial Management
The report said during that year, the army exceeded its Silver Jubilee
celebrations budget by $2 billion due to poor budgetary controls.
On expenditure by the President's Office, the auditor said several transfers
effected by Treasury from the unallocated reserves were not substantiated by
the corresponding advice minutes.
Imbalances in the use of funds were also detected in the Office of the
"The Paymaster General's Bank Reconciliation Statement as at December 31
2005 failed to balance. The closing balance of the paymaster general Account
could not be reconciled to the Reserve Bank's balance of $58 744 606
 211,09," the report said.
On the Ministry of Finance, Chiri said there were several instances when
funds were transferred to ministries without transfer letters being written
while in some instances transfer letters were written to ministries but
different amounts appeared in the system.
"In other instances transfer letters were written to ministries but no funds
were transferred in the system. As a result of these inconsistencies, I
could not satisfy myself on the correctness of the amounts transferred to
the ministries," the report said.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism had not paid due regard to Treasury
instructions while Local Government made unauthorised overdrafts with the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Chiri said of the Local Government Ministry: "I could not establish the
extent of the revenue outstanding as at December 31 2005. I could not
satisfy myself that the assets under the ministry were properly safeguarded
and proper records maintained during the year as no certificates were
produced by the sub-votes to the effect that asset checks had been done."

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Alleged coup plotters to file application for release


Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter

THE seven alleged coup plotters have given notice of their intention to file
an application for their release in two weeks' time if the state fails to
come up with a trial date, their lawyer confirmed.

Defence attorney Charles Warara said the time the police had given
themselves to complete investigations had since lapsed, with no trial date
having been set.
"We have given notice to make an application for refusal of further remand
in two weeks' time," said Warara.
The lawyer said police had indicated that they expected to make further
arrests and therefore needed more time.
The seven accused persons, who were arrested in May, face treason charges
arising from allegations that they planned to overthrow President Robert
The alleged ringleader, Albert Matapo, is said to have aspired to be the
next government's prime minister, while Rural Housing Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa would be "invited" to become president.
The finalisation of the case has been delayed because the state has missed
several deadlines related to court procedures.
Two months ago, bail applications that were later dismissed were continually
delayed after the resignation of a prosecutor dealing with the case,
Lawrence Phiri.
Phiri has since joined the bench as a magistrate.
The State also took nearly three months to present medical reports in court
following allegations by the suspects that they had been tortured.
When they were eventually produced, the medical reports confirmed that the
accused had indeed been tortured while they were in police custody.
Matapo and the others deny the coup allegations and maintain that they only
planned to form a political party.
In June, the High Court barred members of the public from attending the
proceedings after the state had applied for the trial to be held in camera.
The state said this was necessary because some names of people who were
still on the run would be mentioned.
No further was arrests were subsequently made.

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Zim sinks deeper into privation as world marks poverty day


Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter

OCTOBER 17 is celebrated globally as World Poverty Day or International Day
for the Eradication of Poverty.

In Zimbabwe, the day is marked at a particularly sad time, when previously
routine activities such as getting water from taps, food from supermarkets
and electricity at the flick of a switch have become an almost
insurmountable challenge.
A number of events were held throughout the country to mark the
day yesterday but the commemorations went mostly unnoticed by Zimbabweans
engaged in the daily ordeal of standing in food queues.
Poverty reduction
is listed as one of
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), set at a world
leaders' meeting in 2000, which should be achieved by 2015.
However, with only eight years to go before the deadline, there is no sign
of progress in this regard in Zimbabwe.
Instead, the gains made in the early years of Independence are crumbling
with each new year.
From major cities to back-of-beyond places such as Maphisa in Matabeleland
South, the story is the same. In rural areas like Lupane in Matabeleland
North the poverty is more pronounced.
"The food shortages are very serious because people did not harvest much and
they are surviving by the grace of God," said Thubelihle Gwabi of Lupane.
"Had it not been for donors, people would have died. There is politicisation
of food, and water problems in Lupane which make things even worse. The
water table is getting deeper. Soon it will be difficult to get drinking
Donors such as the Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress and
Christian Care
provide food aid to the district in the form of maize, cooking oil and
World Bank figures show that worldwide an estimated 1.1 billion people live
in "extreme poverty", surviving on less than one United States dollar per
day. Women in developing countries bear the brunt of increasing poverty.
The United Nations Population Fund notes that worldwide, women on average
earn only slightly more than half what men earn, while women and girls are
often the last to eat.
In addition, women's health problems are considered less important than
other family priorities.
"We walk seven kilometres a day to get to the nearest well, most of the time
carrying our babies. If you don't visit the rural areas often, next time
you visit you might find everyone gone," said Tarisai Mhango of Shurugwi .
"People now eat only millet and peanut butter provided by donors."
In Mt Darwin, the situation is equally dire.
"People continue to lose their livestock to land mines since this is a
landmine infested area. There isn't much help coming from government. These
people depend on livestock for their survival, but the land mine threat
exacerbates the crisis in many surrounding areas," said Ashley Katiyo of Mt
In many other rural areas, people survive on anything they find even barely
Even in ZANU PF strongholds such as Magunje, government assistance is
unheard of.
"Most people in Magunje survive on monthly food aid packs from relief
agencies. People get maize, but they don't have the money to pay the
grinding mills," said Shemufudzi Chikova who comes from the area.
The government has been adopting piecemeal measures to eradicate poverty and
hunger. Only last week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe hosted a grand farm
mechanisation project aimed at boosting the capacity of farmers to produce
by distributing farming implements.
But seed and fertiliser remain in short supply weeks into the farming
Minister of Information and Publicity, Skhanyiso Ndlovu said yesterday
government acknowledges the level of poverty and destitution in the country.
"Government has directed the Grain Marketing Board to distribute food to
areas hardest hit by hunger. There is quite a lot of maize that the
government has imported and the people must come forward with their concerns
and requirements."
Ndlovu identified Matabeleland as hardest hit, singling out areas such as
Lupane, Binga, Nkayi and Tsholotsho.
"People in these rural areas have no other alternative sources of food, like
in urban
areas, but we are not saying that there is any group of people who will be
discriminated against in the distribution of food," said Ndlovu.

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Empowerment law: UN rings alarm bells


Kumbirai Mafunda and Shame Makoshori Staff Reporte

THE United Nations could have sounded the alarm on the potential dangers of
the government's planned seizure of foreign owned enterprises after it
reported a massive drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the
country, expected to plumb fresh debts should President Robert Mugabe assent
to the proposed law.

The Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill recently passed through both
chambers of the House of Assembly and now await President Mugabe's assent
before becoming law.
The proposed law will allow the government to seize 51 percent shareholding
in foreign owned enterprises, passing own the ownership to blacks, described
in the proposed legislation as previously disadvantaged people.
In an appraisal that calls for clarity before executing the controversial
law, the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTD) this
week reported FDI inflows plunged by 54 percent last year to US$40 million,
from a peak of US$103 million in 2005, at a time when FDI inflows rose in 33
other African countries.
The figures released by the UN body this week showed highly positive growth
patterns in FDI inflows across the continent, except for the beleaguered
country, under pressure from targeted sanctions from the West and lack of
balance of payments support from multilateral and bilateral financial
Africa registered a 78 percent increase in inward FDI to US$31 billion in
But the growth, led by neighbouring South Africa with US$6,4 billion, failed
to cascade into Zimbabwe due to what investment analysts described as the
hostile macroeconomic environment and uncertainty over government plans to
force foreign owned companies to sell controlling stakes to indigenous
In explaining the investment slump, the UNCTD blamed the country's hostile
investment policies, which included last year's crackdown on money transfer
The unfriendly policies had scared away potential foreign investors, the UN
agency said.
Economic analysts this week warned the government against the planned
seizure of foreign-owned enterprises, saying it could turn off the tap on
foreign investment, currently coming in drizzles.
The planned seizures, they said, could put the country in a perilous spot as
other African countries were doing more than enough to tap FDI inflows into
their countries.
"Foreign investment has virtually dried," said Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo-based
economic consultant. "People don't want to invest where they perceive their
investment to be at risk of takeover. So President Mugabe's signature on the
new law will reinforce that (perception)".
The government's Soviet-style policy interventions, which some analysts say
are meant to capture the mood of a restive population that has turned
against the status quo, were draconian.
Market analysts said unfriendly regulations, such as price controls,
expropriation of land and businesses would partner with a highly
inflationary environment and alleged violence to drive off the little
foreign investment that remained in the country.
Government was expected to pitch its rhetoric ahead of elections scheduled
for March next year in a bid to win support for the ruling party, expected
to field incumbent President Mugabe in the contest for the country's top
But should the seizure of foreign owned companies go beyond rhetoric,
critics said, the economy could incur substantial damage and suffer an image
"We are not doing our country any good," a Harare-based analyst, who
declined to be named, said.
"The isolation of Zimbabwe will continue and will make doing business more
difficult," he maintained.
Over the past seven years, the investment and operating climate in the
country has substantially worsened as priority is given to economic
nationalism over competitiveness. This has triggered increasing incidents of
cronyism and corruption in both government and the private sector.
Economic observers indicated that foreign investment was crucial to the
country as it brought with it fresh capital, technology and skills transfer
and helped in the creation of jobs.
Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive officer Richard Mbaiwa told
The Financial Gazette after the release of the UN report that bad publicity
and a hyperinflationary environment had hurt FDI inflows.
"I want to attribute the decline (in FDI) to the general economic situation
in the country," Mbaiwa said.
"The image that has been created for Zimbabwe at the moment is not good for
investors. It is not possible for us to get much investment inflows," Mbaiwa
Analysts attribute the high levels of FDI figures in 2005 to investment by
Implats, which owns platinum mines Zimplats and Mimosa.
In 2000, the country registered outward FDI worth US$16 million, according
to the World Investment Report. There was no outward FDI between 2003 and
2004; FDI outflow amounted to US$1 million in 2005.
No outbound FDI was registered in 2006, according to the report.
African Capacity Building Foundation executive secretary Soumana Sako said
African countries needed to improve their economic environments to increase
FDI inflows into the continent.
"To improve the continent's share of the global FDI, African countries need
to develop or upgrade their enabling environments in order to attract
additional capital inflows," Sako, a former Finance Minister and Prime
Minister of Mali, said.

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War veterans: liberators or campaign tools?


Njabulo Ncube Political Editor

AT last Monday's ceremony to give away farming equipment to the country's
newly resettled farmers, retired army general Solomon Mujuru, who is linked
to one of the factions in ZANU PF's succession race, sat at the high table
as, according to a card in front of him, "chairman" of the war veterans'

But there is no doubt that allegiances in the boisterous war veterans'
association lie elsewhere.
Instead of evoking emotions of pride and respect, the term "war veteran"
strikes fear in the hearts of most people - in and outside the ruling party.
And when they march in large numbers through the main streets of major urban
centres brandishing placards proclaiming President Robert Mugabe as the ZANU
PF candidate for next year's crunch presidential elections, you know they
are not off on some lazy afternoon stroll.
Critics view them as President Mugabe's personal campaign troops, his agent
provocateurs whom he uses as and when he wants, either to deal with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change or to crush dissent within the
rank and file of his own fractious party.
At the weekend, the war veterans took their show to the restive ZANU PF
province of Bulawayo, where controversial leader Jabulani Sibanda led a
group of placard-waving members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association through the streets of the city in a show of unbridled
support for President Mugabe ahead of the ruling party's extra-ordinary
congress in December.
Several similar marches have been held elsewhere around the country, as the
former guerilla fighters go on a "shock and awe" campaign for their leader.
Sibanda's Bulawayo road show was a clear show of his defiance of ZANU PF
leaders in Matabeleland, including Vice President Joseph Msika, angered by
President Mugabe's decision to recall the war veterans' leader, expelled
from the party in 2004 for alleged insubordination, to head his campaign.
Msika, ruling party national chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso
Dabengwa, among other former PF ZAPU leaders, are said to view Sibanda - a
former bodyguard of the late former PF ZAPU leader and Vice President Joshua
Nkomo - as a political upstart.
Cde Jabu, as his supporters call him, accuses the former PF ZAPU leaders of
undermining ZANU PF support in Matabeleland by not bringing any meaningful
development to the region.
In an attempt to smoke out senior ZANU PF leaders opposed to his marches,
Sibanda warned: "Any party member who does not support (the marches) will be
considered a sell-out."
He has also called his critics' bluff by challenging them to come out in the
open and identify the candidate they are backing for the post of President.
Sibanda threatened to dislodge senior ZANU PF officials from Matabeleland at
congress, after alleging they were against President Mugabe.
Analysts said the war veterans have become the sharpest instrument in ZANU
PF's arsenal, pointing out that it was interesting that the former freedom
fighters were this time around being used by President Mugabe to fight
perceived enemies from within the ruling party.
Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, the late firebrand leader of the group, catapulted
the veterans to the centre of Zimbabwean politics, turning them from a band
of destitute people early in the 1990s into a potent force that now has a
strong say on who leads the party.
Hunzvi burst on to the scene like a hurricane in August 1997. Backed by his
50 000 comrades, many impoverished by state neglect, Hunzvi led raucous
protests against the government to improve the welfare of the former
Pressured by unprecedented heckling at a Heroes Day ceremony and picketing
outside State House, President Mugabe buckled, authorising the unbudgeted
payment of $50 000 gratuities - then about US$5 000 - and $2 000 monthly
pensions, then about US$200, and other perks for each veteran.
The budget-busting gratuities and pensions are partly blamed for Zimbabwe's
current economic crisis.
Since then, the group has used the same tactics to drive different agendas.
Sibanda's revolutionary tone sounds exactly like that of Hunzvi, who said at
the beginning of the farm invasions: "I am like Napoleon Bonaparte, Che
Guevara or Adolf Hitler himself. They are figures no one could stop and who
led revolutions. Now no one can stop the revolution we have started."
Having been successfully deployed as the vanguard of land occupations and
violence against the opposition, the veterans have now been turned inward at
ZANU PF itself.
The strategy is clear; run an aggressive campaign for President Mugabe that
will force his rivals to either declare their interest - thus risking their
careers - or to fall in line and back him.
Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, said the war veterans fitted well in the scheme of things of
President Mugabe and the ruling party by virtue of liberating Zimbabwe from
colonial rule.
"Now what is happening is that President Mugabe is dealing with the enemy
within, that is people that are threatening his continued stay in power
inside ZANU PF. In these marches the war veterans are making a strong
statement inside ZANU PF that those not supporting (President) Mugabe's
candidature are doing so at their own peril," said Masunungure.
Masunungure said the war veterans enjoy "an aura of untouchability supported
by their historical role" in the 1970s war of liberation.
"They are not just a sharp instrument ready for use but also a revered one.
Whoever is able to control them is also able to use them effectively as is
the case regarding the marches," said Masunungure.
Ibbo Mandaza, a political commentator, said the new role given to the war
veterans was not only a confusing one, but might widen the rift within the
ruling party.
"The whole thing is confusing because the status of Jabulani Sibanda is not
clear as it is in dispute. This is indicated by comments attributed to Vice
President Msika and national chairman Nkomo," he said. "The President should
stand up and tell the nation what his position is otherwise if he remained
quite and allows these side shows to continue, it is being very divisive and
would further intensify factionalism in the ruling party."
What has added confusion to the whole campaign by war veterans is that in
2000 Hunzvi was part of ZANU PF's entire machinery yet this time around
Sibanda seemed unacceptable to some elders of the ruling party, specifically
Vice President Msika.
Said Mandaza: "How inclusive are the whole war veterans in this matter? Does
Sibanda represent all war veterans? I am afraid there is too much silence on
the whole issue. It is highly explosive and messy. It is not how a party
should organise because party leaders should not come through innuendoes and
ZANU PF provincial spokesman, Effort Nkomo, is on record as insisting his
executive has not yet endorsed President Mugabe as the party's candidate
because the commissariat, as required by the constitution, has not yet
called for nominations for the post.
But Sibanda continues to taunt them either to name their man or take a walk:
"The people who are against us are those who surround the President and come
congress we will remove them."
He points out that none of his critics are elected.
"Today they say they don't know that President Mugabe has been chosen to
represent the party in next year's elections because they were not elected
Sibanda's threats last week betray the strategy to drag rivals out into the
open. He claimed President Mugabe was not to blame for his poor record. It
was because he was surrounded by disloyal, corrupt officials, "who shall
soon be exposed."
Rather than being a real threat to expose anybody in a party riddled with
corruption, it seems the bombast is meant to force officials to fall in
Sibanda's re-emergence displays the new alliances President Mugabe shrewdly
formed over the past year to secure his position.
Although he denied it earlier this year when speaking to the Financial
Gazette, Sibanda is a known ally of Emmerson Mnangangwa, once touted as heir
apparent, but now understood to be backing President Mugabe.
It was Sibanda's alleged role in the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration that
saw him and six provincial party chairmen being sacked in 2004.
But President Mugabe is willing to overlook old betrayals for the benefits
he can get from forging new alliances.
People familiar with how the new alliances were formed trace the matter back
to when Mujuru and Dabengwa were appointed to a board to run the affairs of
the vets, following Sibanda's sacking, a decision that angered war veterans.
It is said that the war veterans believed the board was using a series of
meetings it held with members to raise their own profiles - through promises
of cheap loans, among other pledges - while laying the ground for the
emergence of alternative leadership.
President Mugabe realised he had handed over leadership of a vital section
of his party to potential rivals, and took the decision to reinstate
Sibanda, despised by much of the old guard, but, more important
strategically, hugely popular among war veterans.
Three named senior politburo members approached him over the matter, but
President Mugabe is said to have told them outright that, unlike senior
officials such as the three, war veterans were not ones "to fold their hands
when the country is under attack," according to one account.
This rebuff upset his senior officials, but President Mugabe has taken the
view that the war veterans can better help him get support from Matabeleland
and other regions where his support is shaky than the old guard can.
Commentator John Makumbe says the war veterans have a special place in the
President's strategy for survival.
"President Mugabe is aware of the fact that the Mujuru camp is working day
and night to nominate someone else other than him."
Makumbe suggests some war veterans could be eying Senate posts and other
perks for their work.

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Pig fat for the masses: Who gets choice pork?


Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni

About a month ago, Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu gave
assurances that by the end of this month, supermarket shelves left empty by
the government's arbitrary price slashes more than three months ago, would
be overflowing with goods and essential commodities.

Ndlovu gave the assurance during a press briefing at which he told
journalists that the economy would be back to normal within weeks and
shortages would be a thing of the past. "A lot of wheat is coming into the
country, thousands upon thousands of tonnes. Our people should just be
patient. There are efforts that the government is taking. By the end of
October, the shelves will be full", he was quoted as saying in a story
published in The Financial Gazette issue of September 27-0ctober 3 under the
seemingly prophetic headline : Ndlovu's sunny outlook on shortages.
While it is accepted that government bureaucracy is one of the slowest
coaches around, questions still have to be asked whether the Minister said
what he said merely to soothe the frayed nerves of a restive and hungry
populace when he knew there would be no change for the better. More than
half way through the month of October, supermarket shelves are still mostly
bare. It will be a rare miracle for the situation to rapidly normalise in
the next two weeks.
True, a few stratospherically priced imported items such as drinks,
biscuits, snacks, condiments and tinned foods have appeared on the shelves
of some shops but these luxuries are not the answer to the plight of an
ordinary Zimbabwean man or woman struggling to put food on the table. When
the clampdown on prices was introduced, the public was made to understand
that the government was embarking on the arbitrary move because of its
determination to ease the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans and protect them
from exploitation by greedy businesspeople.
The way things have turned out shows that the publicly touted beneficiaries
of the government's intervention are worse off than ever before and there
seems to be no hurry or urgency on the part of government to remedy its
mistakes. In the prevailing economic atmosphere, ordinary Zimbabweans do not
need expensive imported goods but affordable basic commodities to sustain
their families. These include bread, milk, mealie-meal, sugar, flour, meat
etc which were available before the government's price decree. Is Minister
Ndlovu aware that despite his assurances, these basic necessities are still
as scarce as gold?
The large consignment of wheat that Ndlovu referred to when he briefed
journalists last month does not appear to have done anything to make bread
available at an affordable price. A few shops sell the commodity once in a
blue moon but one has to be in the right place at the right time to join a
long queue. Some shops sell mostly buns, scones, muffins, cakes and
doughnuts which are too expensive and not good substitutes for bread. What
is going on there? Whatever happened to the wheat Ndlovu said was being
ferried into the country from ports in Mozambique?
Many people will have suffered the same aberration I experienced recently.
Walking into a crowded supermarket with mostly bare shelves recently, I was
amazed to espy from a distance through the corner of my eye that its
formerly empty meat fridges were brimming with chicken - good white meat
protein. It was like seeing an oasis in a sweltering desert and I fought my
way to the meat section as fast as I could.
What a letdown! What I had mistaken for nicely packed chicken cutlets turned
out to be pure pig fat from which lard is normally rendered. Yes, the only
kind of meat deemed to be suitable for ordinary Zimbabweans is
disease-causing-cholesterol-loaded white fat. Considering that the meat
sections of the supermarkets that sell this "meat" are always well stocked,
the conclusion can safely be made that pigs are being slaughtered in large
numbers. The big question is, who are the good cuts of meat being reserved
for? The chefs or perhaps a favoured country to which the meat is exported?
Whatever the explanation is, it exposes a shocking level of hypocrisy on the
part of the powers-that-be. During the colonial era, it was accepted that
the poorly paid blacks could not afford the expensive cuts of beef and most
could only settle for "ration" meat and innards. But even then, all cuts of
meat were made available in butcheries and only the price would determine
what one could afford to buy. It was not an ideal situation but it was
better than the one we seem to have now.In that old setting, only acceptable
and normally edible types of meat were sold.
What we seem to have since the government's incomprehensible price blitz
interrupted normal business operations is that only the shavings from the
abattoir floor are deemed to be fit for consumption by the general public
while the rest of the good cuts have mysteriously disappeared from the
market. If what one hears through the grapevine - that all good pork is now
destined for a certain African country- is true, then the citizens of that
country are benefiting more from Zimbabwe's much touted sovereignty than
ordinary local people.How can the lofty ideal of sovereignty mean anything
to people who are relegated to the level of eating "dog meat" in their own
agriculture-oriented country?
The Minister of Information owes the nation an explanation as to who pork,
beef and chicken are being reserved for. What is happening to the beef
supposedly being handled by the Cold Storage Company? An untenable economic
situation is prevailing in the country as a result of the ill-conceived,
self-serving and myopic policies crafted by the ruling elite. The least they
can do after triggering the latest disastrous scenario by embarking on the
self-defeating "price war" is to be seen to be prepared to endure the
consequences along with the people.

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Spare us the spin, minister



AFTER failing to push through the YES vote in the referendum of 2000 and
after surviving a tightly contested election in the same year, the
government has gone to full lengths to muzzle dissenting voices.

With the exception of the print media, where a few privately run weeklies
are allowed to operate in order to give some semblance of media freedom, the
government has refused to let go its control of the airwaves, which it has
used to rubbish the opposition, while swaying public opinion in its favour.
Whether it has been successful in shutting out alternative voices is neither
here nor there.
Its recent admission of the flaws in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA),
reveals, however, that the situation obtaining in the electronic media is
now an embarrassing one. The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings
(ZBH) is now a liability after it allowed unfettered political interference
to get the better of its news judgment. The public broadcaster has become
the worst propaganda station on earth.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, whose elevation as Information Minister in February this
year was met with optimism, told a Parliamentary portfolio committee last
week that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), which emerged in
2001 but is yet to award a single broadcasting licence, would invite new
applications before the end of the year.
He also informed the committee of impeding amendments to the BSA to soften
its restrictive requirements, which, to all intents and purposes, are meant
to entrench ZBH's illegal monopoly.
"We are committed to allow other players. We welcome media pluralism because
this benefits consumers, we have no intention of doing otherwise," Ndlovu
was quoted saying.
The Information Minister is regurgitating the same mantra used by his
predecessors to shield themselves from sharp public criticism. He is playing
by the clock to maintain the status quo in the electronic media while
keeping the public's hopes alive.
The objective is obviously to ensure that no other view is heard on the
available frequencies except for his master's muffled voice.
It is the same technique perfected by the late information tsar Tichaona
Jokonya of paying lip service to issues of promoting freedom of speech,
media pluralism and diversity.
Jonathan Moyo, the author of the BSA, could not hide government's fears when
he revealed in 2001 that it had been realised that most applicants were
foreigners who did not have "Zimbabwean interests at heart".
"We are under pressure from foreigners who claimed that they were
Zimbabweans, when they were actually enemies," Moyo said at the time.
In other words anyone singing a different tune to that of the ZANU-PF
government is considered out of step.
Six years on after Moyo's telling statement, Ndlovu is not ashamed to sing
from the same hymn sheet.
His intention is to buy more time by hoodwinking those pushing for far
reaching media reforms into thinking that something is being done to open up
democratic space ahead of the March 2008 elections.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Ndlovu is merely pre-empting the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s demands for a levelled political
playing field, whose key pillars include access to the electronic media.
Unfortunately for Ndlovu, there is nothing new in his promises.
The MDC, weak as it is after the October 2005 split, should brace itself to
go into next year's elections lumbered with the restrictive laws. Without
equal access to the public media, whose coverage is far and wide, the MDC
will stumble for the fourth time in as many years.
We don't see BAZ achieving in two months what it has failed to do in six
But as they say, the guilty are afraid. If the government is indeed a people
centred one, why should it be scared stiff to liberalise the airwaves as it
has done in the banking sector?
It is this fear of the unknown, which gives its illegitimacy away and
exposes it as a regime sitting on shifting sands.
Government might point at the few private media houses in the print media,
as proof of its commitment to media pluralism, but these have been minimised
since September 2003 when the Daily News and its sister weekly were shutdown
on flimsy grounds.
Twenty-seven years after independence, the government is still to give a
single broadcasting licence.
How sad!
But whether the airwaves are eventually opened or not, the powers-that-be
will continue chasing their shadows. The advancement in technology makes it
impossible to eclipse alternative voices.
With 80 percent unemployment, Zimbabwe needs new players in all spheres of
the economy to create the much-needed jobs, eradicate widespread poverty and
nurture downstream industries such as the film industry, the arts industry
But because of its obsession with holding on to power at all costs, the
government has become so myopic in its conduct that it can hardly see beyond
the nose.
Is it therefore, not surprising that Zimbabwe, which became a unique
democracy at independence, is now ranked along with Ethiopia, Venezuela,
Peru, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Russia, which are notorious for gagging the

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Inflation solution lies in politics


Matters Legal with Vote Muza

Professor Christie is a famous legal scholar. In his book, Business Law in
Zimbabwe, he contends that the solution to inflation lies in the political
rather than legal domain

. When such a respected academic comes up with such a conclusion, he would
certainly have carried out a thorough scholarly investigation that I believe
finds support not only from lawyers but economists and any other persons
keen to learn about inflation. Believing in Professor Christie's statement
is not about being "bookish" as others would have it, but is indeed a
process of subscribing to a theory that is pragmatic.
Historical experiences from other countries that have been inflicted by
inflation prove beyond debate that only a political process can bring a
lasting solution to this economic malady. When Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Governor, Dr Gideon Gono advocated the signing of a social contract, and
when he implored the powers that be to address inflation from a political
dimension, he was simply giving credence to the open truth that political
decisions can be the only panacea to this phenomenon.
However, over the past seven years, government has experimented with so many
"rescue packages" that all ended in resounding failure.
One other method that government has toyed with, and with dangerous
consequences, is the legislative one and this has been through the passing
of laws, sometimes on impulse, sometimes under panic under the false wisdom
that these would redeem them from their blundering.
The June 2007 price blitz that was carried out without any prior warning or
a sound formula, or even further, without consultation with those in
business, was the anti-climax of government's quest to cure inflation with
law. I shall not waste my valuable time outlining the manner in which this
government orchestrated operation has left our economy in a worse off
position than it was in before June. It is now public knowledge that
government' attempt to use law as a tool to control inflation backfired with
chilling results. Even those tough talking cabinet ministers who were at the
forefront of promoting the mayhem witnessed in June have suddenly become
cowed and muted after realising their grave political and economic
In June and a few months that followed, the nation witnessed a number of
legal instruments being applied and/or introduced to punish business people
who were perceived to be the main drivers of inflation. We heard so much
noise about how many people were being prosecuted and sentenced for
The Herald in particular carried screaming headlines as if celebrating the
sadistic manner in which multitudes of business people were being arrested,
detained and sentenced to pay various fines; and in the worst of cases to
prison sentences. In typical fashion, the Zimbabwe Republic Police was
ruthless. They enforced the price controls with astonishing zeal. But
everything having been said and done, it becomes clear that together with
the cabinet, the courts are willing accomplices to the heinous crime of
killing our economy. Overnight, I witnessed magistrates turning themselves
into revenue collectors for the state. They fined business people to pay
hefty fines with chilling uniformity, and to those who tirelessly fight for
justice, the whole exercise as it unfolded in the courts was a monumental
farce that put our magistrates courts into huge shame and disrepute.
My heart bleeds for the multitudes that were unnecessarily dragged to the
courts and convicted. As I argue here, the whole inflation saga, coupled
with political interests of the ruling party were directly or indirectly
responsible for this serious miscarriage of justice.
I believe the price control scandal has taught those in government one good
lesson. This is that you may regulate, arrest and prosecute at will, but
such theatrics can never overcome the sheer force of hyperinflation.
Rather a misapplication of law in times of inflation may actually bring the
undesirable result of triggering it to new heights.
The time has come now for government to introduce political reforms and the
on-going SADC brokered negotiations provide an ample opportunity to let our
country recover from its self-inflicted misery.
The time for crazy experiments is over. The majority are now exasperated
with the current suffering and they long for a new political and economic
dispensation that can guarantee them a better life.
It is in this vein that I strongly support the recently promulgated
Constitutional Amendment number 18 not only for the way it is likely to
bring about political change but for the manner in which it has signified a
softening of positions by the belligerent political parties who for the past
seven years have been shouting at each other.
It is my humble hope that the on going dialogue is going to open better
opportunities for our political leaders to ensure that the current economic
problems are solved permanently.

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Price blitz drives property managers out of business


Synodia Bhasera Own Correspondent
as owners pull properties out of the market
A MORATORIUM on prices, including rentals, imposed by the government in
July, is driving property managers out of business as it emerged this week
that clients are pulling out their properties from the market at an alarming
rate to evade controls.

Desperate to rein in on inflation, government has ordered quarterly rental
reviews that do not exceed 30 percent.
It has also decreed that no tenant should be evicted without being given the
stipulated three-month notice.
With inflation in top gear, the order has put financial handcuffs on
property managers whose rentals can no longer keep pace with inflation,
which is above 6 000 percent.
Because of the negative returns, it is becoming difficult to keep properties
in good shape.
Estate agents who spoke to The Property Gazette this week reported mounting
viability woes, which can claim the scalps of some industry players.
Industry players said they made their recommendations to government when the
regulation came into effect but they are yet to get feedback from the
In order to get around the price freeze, most property owners are
withdrawing their properties from professional managers, resulting in
earnings taking a huge dip.
"We cannot review rentals anymore. The National Incomes and Pricing
Commission should also review rentals as much as they have reviewed the
prices of other commodities," said one estate agent.
"The commission we are getting now is meager, it cannot sustain our
operations. Landlords, while they own properties, they no longer get much
from their properties thus they now prefer to manage them by themselves," he
The Property Gazette can reveal that some tenants are paying as little as
$10 000 to $30 000 per square metre for offices in the central business
district while some are paying a paltry $5 000 per square metre in the
industrial areas.
Estate Agents Council chairman Oswald Nyakunika this week said ". . . the
Ministry has indicated verbally that it
is working on the numbers
to assist in any rental negotiations and it is our hope that they will
incorporate the industry's views and Statutory Instruments' Section 17c
definitions of fair rent, being that rent, which will provide lessor with a
reasonable return (open market rent) after allowing for recurrent expenses
(permitted increases)."

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Power blackouts to intensify


Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE could plunge into darkness after local power utility ZESA Holdings
failed to pay off a US$40 million debt owed to three regional power
utilities for power imports, The Financial Gazette can reveal.

Sources said ZESA Holdings' cumulative debt for power imports had ballooned
to US$40 million due to continued non-payment of arrears to Hydro Cahora
Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique, SNEL of the Democratic Republic of Congo and
South Africa's Eskom, owing to the prevailing foreign currency shortages.
The sources disclosed that HCB had reduced electricity exports to Zimbabwe
to 100MW from 300MW to limit its exposure from the country.
"We passed the window period (HCB) had been expecting us to pay our debt and
that caused the deficit in our power supply," said the insiders.
The dwindling power supplies have forced ZESA to supply the country with
only about half of national power supply needs.
Zimbabwe needs 1 850MW of electricity but sources said ZESA was only
supplying between 815MW to 900MW.
"ZESA is battling to share the 50 percent that we currently have," the
sources said.
The reduced power supplies could exacerbate load shedding and worsen the
plight of miners and manufacturers who are battling with mass blackouts.
Domestic power generation has been affected by lack of spares to repair
equipment at the country's main power stations, where inadequate coal
supplies have also reduced generation capacity.
Critics blame the government for doing too little to expand generation
capacity at both Hwange Power Station and Kariba Power Station.

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Wheat yield smallest ever


Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE will continue grappling with severe bread shortages following
revelations that the distressed country will harvest 144 870 metric tonnes
(MT) of wheat, its tiniest crop since independence.

Information obtained by The Financial Gazette this week reveals a grim state
of affairs where the Agriculture Research and Extension Services (AREX)
projects this year's wheat harvest to fall to 144 870 metric tones, against
an annual domestic consumption of 400 000 tonnes.
The tiny crop harvest will result in a deficit of 255 000 metric tonnes,
which would have to be covered through imports.
"Wheat production for 2007 is estimated to be about 144 870 MT, which is 40
percent lower than the 2006 production level of about 242 000 MT. The 2007
production falls far short of national requirements estimated to be around
400 000 MT, leaving an import requirement of about 255 000 MT," read part of
AREX's presentation to the Agricultural Coordination Working Group Journal
released this week and seen by The Financial Gazette.
Karsto Kwazira, an AREX official, blamed the poor wheat harvest on erratic
power supplies and shortages of inputs.
"The major challenges faced by farmers, which resulted in the low
production, were severe power outages; shortage of top dressing fertilizer;
irrigation equipment breakdown; and quelea bird damage on the very early
planted crop," said Kwazira.
Zimbabwe's state-run Grain Marketing Board has since last month been
battling to secure the release of 36 000 tonnes of wheat stuck at the
seaport of Beira in Mozambique pending payment of US$15 million.
Already the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe has reported that more than 10
000 workers are on the verge of losing their jobs in the baking industry
because of flour shortages and a government enforced order to slash prices
of bread by half.
The country's main bread maker Lobels Bread has scaled back its operations
by shutting one of its largest outlets due to a shortage of wheat.
Bread shortages have been worsened by the government's price controls
imposed in June that saw prices of basic commodities slashed by at least 50
Zimbabwe has suffered severe bread shortages since the collapse of
agricultural production in 2002.
The land grab exercise has backfired as consumers are now importing bread
from neighbouring Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.

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Zim spurned SA's offer of mining BEE support


Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor

ZIMBABWE'S planned indigenisation of the mining sector is understood to have
caused apprehension in Pretoria, where President Thabo Mbeki's
administration had offered President Robert Mugabe's government technical
and monetary assistance for a successful black economic empowerment
programme way back in 2005.

The Financial Gazette is informed by sources in Zimbabwe's Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development that the country had been warned against forced
empowerment in the mining sector, where South African companies have in
recent years invested millions of dollars in exploration activities and
mines development at a time hot foreign funds where taking flight from an
economy now in its eighth year of a recession.
Zimbabwe's mining sources indicated that under an initial plan agreed with
Mbeki's administration, senior mines officials had visited South Africa in
August 2005 to assess its BEE policy, heavily backed by huge capital from
the country's financial sector.
A BEE exchange programme was expected to have been sealed between the two
countries, based on a pledge by South Africa to assist with technical and
monetary support to the country's small and medium scale mining enterprises
to enable them to participate in any future empowerment deals in the sector.
Zimbabwe was also expected to tap into South Africa's experience in the
distribution of resources and income, mineral production, job creation as
well as remittance of foreign currency from mineral exports.
However, the Zimbabwe government threw that process into the lurch after
pushing ahead with a planned law that will compel foreign owners of
established companies to cede 51 percent shareholding to previously
disadvantaged people, a term being used to refer to blacks.
South African mining firms have previously expressed concern over the lack
of progress in sealing a bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and their
country to protect their investments in the country.
Despite what appears to be cordial relations between President Mugabe and
his South African counterpart, there has been no progress on the issue,
which has been outstanding for years.

Major SA miners in Zim
Dumisani Ndlela
Business Editor

Zimbabwe's mining sector has benefited immensely from investment from South
Africa, with several South African companies having made significant
acquisitions over the past five years.
The South African companies that recently swooped mining assets in Zimbabwe
include Mzi Khumalo's Metallon Corporation, which took over Independent
Gold, the country's largest gold producer with five gold mines in the
Mmakau Mining, also recently acquired a 75 percent stake in Eureka Gold Mine
together with another South African firm Shaft Sinkers that holds 25 percent
after buying out Placer Dome. Mmakau Mining is headed by Bridgette Radebe,
wife of South Africa's Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, and is sister to
mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.
South Africa's Impala Platinum (Implants) is also a major investor in
Zimbabwe's mining sector through subsidiary Zimplats and Mimosa.
It also took over the platinum mine, Zimplats, from BHP, which had dismally
failed to commercially extract platinum at the rough great dyke terrain, but
has managed to transform the operation into a viable mining entity now
contributing the bulk of Zimbabwe's mining-sector export receipts.
Between January and August this year, cumulative mineral shipments,
excluding gold, surged to US$55 944 744 compared to US$467 474 095 during
the same period last year.
The 17.86 percent increase was underpinned by a combination of higher prices
and expansion programmes in the platinum sector.
African Platinum (Afplats) also holds a platinum claim, Snake Head, held
through 100 percent owned subsidiary, Mimic Mining, located at the northern
tip of the Great Dyke belt and covering 23 650 hectares. These claims are
now within the Implats portfolio following its take-over of Afplats.
De Beers has also over the recent past splurged huge cash in diamond
exploration in Zimbabwe, and industry sources say prospects are bright.
South Africa's Anglo Platinum, the world's largest platinum miner, is
another key investor in the country's resources sector and jointly owns Unki
Platinum with Anglo American Zimbabwe, also South African owned.
There are several other South African mining companies with ownership of key
resources in the country.

Frantic efforts to pacify foreign capital
Dumisani Ndlela
Business Editor

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced in 2004 that it was busy
working out a plan to lure foreign direct investment in the country's
resource sector, where key mining companies had pledged to pour in millions
of dollars. The plan involved proposals to allow mining companies with
foreign shareholders easy access to foreign currency for dividends abroad,
as well as a guarantee to pay back investors their capital if they decided
to pull out of the country, according to details in possession of The
Financial Gazette.
The RBZ was also liaising with the Ministry of Mines on how best mining
companies could be protected from forcible seizures, which had been ruled
out by senior mines officials despite President Mugabe's threats to do so
but now appear imminent due to recent passage of the Indigenisation and
Empowerment Bill through parliament.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono indicated then that South Africa's Mzi Khumalo's
Metallon Corporation had submitted its investment proposals.
Apparently, Gono had assured Khumalo that the guarantees were likely to be
in place before 2005. Metallon anticipated floating its Zimbabwean and South
African gold assets before December and use the proceeds from the float to
augment its asset base, which is currently too dependent on Zimbabwean
mines. Khumalo's proposal was to invest close to US$100 million in the
acquisition and expansion of Metallon's Zimbabwean mines. Impala Platinum
has pledged about US$700 million to develop its platinum mines in Zimbabwe
over a five-year period, but this could be scuppered by latest concerns over
indigenisation and the absence of guarantees.
Rio Tinto, which owns Murowa Diamond Mine, has put on hold plans for US$250
million additional investments for the expansion of Murowa, pending the
outcome of agreements with the government that recognize and reduce the risk
to Rio Tinto's existing and future investments
AIM-listed resources group, Mwana Africa Holdings, owned by a consortium of
Zimbabwean, Zambian and DRC nationals, is planning to pour huge sums of
money into Freda Rebecca Mine as well as Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC),
which announced in 2004 that it was evaluating a huge but low-grade nickel
deposit in Zimbabwe's Midlands province, where it envisaged injecting US$90
million in the development of an open cast mine at its Hunters' Road
deposit. BNC has already spent a considerable sum of money at its mainstay
Trojan mine, where it is deepening the shaft to prolong the mine's life.
Apparently, Gono has flatly refused to endorse "confiscation and donations"
in the planned empowerment legislation, saying any empowerment programme
should help contribute to new capital, adding value to existing operations.
"As advisors (to the government) we are not in favour of donations. black
empowerment is necessary but not through expropriation," Gono told a recent
meeting prior to the passage of the empowerment bill, insisting he had been
under a mine and knew what was involved to run a mining project.

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New exhibition park planned


Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter

GOVERNMENT last week unveiled plans to construct a modern exhibition complex
behind the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) to cope with the
robust demand for space by companies during the Zimbabwe International
Travel Expo, The Financial Gazette heard this week.

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has mooted the project, which is still
in its
Consultations have begun between Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
whose ministry owns the HICC complex.
ZTA chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke this week said the discussions would be
concluded before the announcement of the 2008 national budget to give Chombo
time to incorporate the cost of construction into his bid.
The tourism authority had underestimated the high demand for space during
the premier expo, the second best travel event in southern Africa.
There were no contingent measures, Kaseke said, to deal with the huge demand
for space that saw the turning down of more than 80 requests for exhibition
stands last week.
These included requests from Nigeria and Iran that were turned down after
the oil exporting economies wanted to book the entire exhibition space at
the HICC.
"Nigeria and Iran had 50 companies between them and each of the companies
wanted at least 300 square metres. This is more space than what we have,"
Kaseke told The Financial Gazette.
"We underestimated the demand. Our estimates were that high demand will
begin in 2008. But our projections have been beaten. We have approached the
Ministry of Local Government, the owners of this property to construct a
modern complex similar to what we have seen in other countries like Spain.
"Another option will be to move the Travel Expo to the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds. Again, we have another travel show
that we run in the ZITF during the trade fair. We also thought of moving to
the Harare Exhibition Park but the grounds there are dirty and not suitable
for a travel exhibition," Kaseke said.
The Travel Expo kicked off in Harare on Thursday with 130 exhibitors, 87
short of the 217 companies that had applied for space.
There was an assortment of local exhibitors; from the cheerful staff manning
stands of major companies like the Rainbow Tourism Group to frowning staff
at smaller operators, that were selling their products.
International buyers from 44 countries took part while nine foreign
exhibitors were from Southern Africa - Swaziland, the Tanzania, Kenya,
Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia tourist boards.
In its 27th year, the Travel Expo is an integral part of the national
tourism calendar, which tourism industry experts credit for keeping the
industry above the water during a rough patch associated with political
instability, a collapsing economy and poor international relations that have
repelled potential tourists.
During the second half of the year, a total of 1 262 900 tourists visited
Zimbabwe, representing a 24 percent increase when compared to 1 019 978
tourists who came during the same period in 2006.

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Tourism industry suffers major setback


Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
. . . as UK reiterates travel warning
ZIMBABWE'S beleaguered tourism industry has suffered a major setback after
the UK reiterated a travel warning advising its citizens against visiting
the country, putting a damper on plans to turnaround the sector's fortunes
by attracting more visitors from Europe.

The travel warning coincided with last week's launch of an aggressive
tourism offensive by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
The ZTA, which is spearheading efforts to market the country as a safe
tourism destination, hosted an international travelling fair in the capital,
which ended last Sunday in a desperate
bid to lure tourists who have shunned the troubled country in the past seven
British tourists and those from Europe spend hugely on vacations, unlike
their tight-fisted counterparts from Asia and Eastern Europe.
In an updated travel warning, the UK's foreign and commonwealth office said
its citizens should avoid visiting the blacklisted country.
The latest advice says
worsening economic conditions and decaying infrastructure have led to
deterioration in the
provision of basic services
while nationwide fuel shortages have hindered in-country
"There has been a general increase in the level of violent crime and a
serious deterioration in the economy and infrastructure, making basic
services, including utilities and health services, very unreliable. Food,
fuel and water can be difficult to find," read part of the travel warning
The UK, a traditional source market for Zimbabwe, warned of severe shortages
of food sparked by a government crackdown on manufacturers and retailers in
"It is very difficult to find basic food items such as bread, milk, meat or
sugar. Many shops have closed at short notice because of government mandated
price freezes. Previous food shortages led to riots in 2000, although these
have not been repeated in more recent times," read part of the travel
warning update.
The foreign office also cited safety concerns at Air Zimbabwe, the state-run
national airline.
"Air Zimbabwe routes, as with other African airlines that have no direct
commercial air service to the UK, have not been assessed by the UK Civil
Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation
Organisation (ICAO) or European Union aviation safety standards."
The travel warning comes at a time when the ZTA is reporting significant
tourist traffic inflows, something seen by players as signifying a rebound
in the troubled sector.
The ZTA reported a 24 percent increase in tourist arrivals during the first
half of 2007 to 1 262 900 from
1 019 978 arrivals during the first half of 2006.
Besides the UK, Australia and the US are constantly advising their nationals
to reconsider visiting the country.
The travel boycotts by citizens of the threee countries have resulted in
poor earnings by the country's tourism sector.
Once a major foreign
currency earner, the tourism industry's fortunes plunged over the past few
years due to reduced tourist traffic into the country.

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Dvpt policy in Zim: An assessment (Pt 2)


Economic Viewpoint with Masimba Manyanya

(Continued from last week)

The ZIMCODD August 2007 Conference confirmed the observations of the
Zimbabwe Social Forum, (2003), the Africa Social Forum (2005), and the SADC
People Summit in 2006. Economic trends pose perhaps the greatest threat to
livelihoods, with life expectancy down from 62 years in the 1990's to 37
years today, and HIV and Aids prevalence rates amongst were the highest in
the world. For Zimbabwe the new millennium is unfolding with its economy
wandering practically rudderless in the wilderness.
In the 1980s it was some type of 'socialism', and today it's some runaway
peripheral market economy; indebted, structurally dependent on global forces
and with growth prospects that are tightly circumscribed. And this is in
spite of huge public investments by the state into financial and economic
planning and budgeting over a period of almost 30 years.
The ZIMCODD Conference also particularly noted that the present state of the
Zimbabwean economy reflects the outcome of successive policy failures over
several decades; and that it can not just be attributed to sanctions alone.
And even if it was 'sanctions', it may help to recall that sanctions
actually did work to support local import-substitution and the building of
the Rhodesian economy in the 1970s during the Ian Smith era. The implication
is that, in spite of the country's much acclaimed high quality of education
and high literacy rates, there appears to be an endemic poverty of ideas on
how to lead the country out of present predicaments towards sustainable
Creative, breakthrough ideas are needed today on how to steer away from
present trajectories in the direction of high unemployment, poverty, and HIV
and Aids prevalence, on how to deal with transitional (financial
stabilisation/confidence building and recovery) challenges, and finally on
how to deal with medium and long term growth imperatives.
In his presentation of the Supplementary Budget on the 6th of September the
Minister of Finance repeatedly pointed to the activities of 'external
detractors', principally former colonists who were opposed to the country's
land reforms. But the Budget could not explain why, since the attainment of
independence in 1980, many State Budgets, alongside other financial and
economic policy programmes have generally all been negative in terms of
their human development impacts.
The Government's preoccupation with external factors also fails to explain
the failure of development policy in the 1990's, a period when there were no
sanctions, and also when there were many ''locally grown'' policies and
programs, as well as substantial financial aid and technical support flowing
in from outside the country.
Colonialism did create problems in Africa, and land and asset redistribution
is a historical imperative. It is a fact that the Pioneer Column took away
from the locals the best land, before imposing on the land harsh,
destructive apartheid doctrines and values.
It is also a fact that the global economy is lopsided, with more than 80
percent of the earth's inhabitants languishing in deepening poverty in what
is now increasingly referred to in the development literature as the Global
South. These are all sticking points in the current dialogue and advocacy
against global imperialism, and socio-economic injustice amongst especially
labor activists.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown could just as well be advised to keep their
'little England.' Yet over the decades little England has become the
destination of Zimbabwe's agricultural exports, amongst other European
countries, as well as the United States of America.
Over the years Zimbabwe's exports to the States have not been landing in the
'bush', in the "George Bush" sense of ther word. They have also been earning
the country valuable foreign currency. Clearly, there are asymmetries
between this country's politics and its economic policies, which has become
a major threat to basic livelihoods. This begs the question; what are the
country's policy priorities? As noted at the ZIMCODD Conference, and as also
reflected in many Zimbabwe Economics Society forums, as a mattrer of
principle, visions and policies that are coherent and integrated with the
country's various monetary, fiscal, employment, human development, and
policy challenges remain critical for sustainable economic development, and
it will always be the duty of political states in any part of the world to
deliver these core institutional responsibilities.
On October 4, 2007, Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo implored Zimbabweans to
unite in backing what he referred to as 'people driven policies.' But
earlier media reports had also suggested a retired major general saying that
Zimbabwe's economic recovery prospects depended on honest leadership in
Government, suggesting that Government needed to be more sensitive to values
of responsible and accountable leadership. These observations are serious,
especially against the background of the Financial Gazzette (October 11-17
2007) article reflecting World Bank estimates that US$40billion is stolen
from Africa by corrupt leaders every year. These facts could help explain
why in 2007 Southern Africa remains linked to the rest of the world in
position of indebtedness, disadvantage and structural dependence.
For Zimbabwe, as for the region, decades of freedom are not only failing to
yield social and economic security for its citizens, there is also no-one
accepting responsibility for the policy failures.
One major difference between Zimbabwe and South Africa for instance is that
while it took ten years of social democracy and welfarist policies under
'Growth With Equity' in Zimbabwe before taking the neo liberal route, it
took five years for South Africa to embark on market policies. Thus in 1996
when the RDP was disbanded; a market based Growth, Employment and
Redistribution (GEAR) strategy, a new macroeconomic policy framework, was
The South African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU 1997) have noted that
thesde policy inconsistencies across Southern Africa tell a story about the
failure of States in the region to prepare for economic policy challenges.
The experience of Zimbabwe in particular shows that it is "Society as a
whole, particularly the working class and the poor, (who) bear the cost of
conservative economic policy." Just as with Zimbabwe's ESAP and ZIMPREST in
the 1990's, South Africa's GEAR not only failed to "catapult" the South
African economy to high levels of growth; unemployment and poverty actually
worsened. Over 1995-1999 the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew in
real terms by 2.1 per cent per annum, 1.7 percent below target.
Thus in 2007 South Africa remains "one of the most unequal countries in the
world, with the poorest 40 per cent of households still living below the
minimum household subsistence level." ("South Africa Tackles Social
Inequities. Some Gains, But Still A Long Way To Go In Overcoming Apartheid's
Legacy" By Ernest Harsch, 2005). Thus, also the overall impacts of South
Africa's policies have also been minimal on the positive side.
While the country's developed regions have continued to enjoy prosperity
incomparable in many parts of Africa, the majority of the country's mostly
black population live below the poverty datum line. Against the background
of these trends are the trade losses and other transfers through debt
servicing, that are all increasing faster than population needs across
Southern Africa.. The situation has deteriorated to the extent that in most
countries half Governments' total spending today is on debt servicing, in
comparison with less than 20 percent on health and education combined.
In 2007 Zimbabwe longs, from the pronouncements of its Government, for
breakthrough visions that can establish for them a sense of economic
security. This means economic visions that are based on clear perceptions of
causal problems and challenges, as well as respect for population needs.
It also means policy strategies that are shaped by values, principles and
ethics of honesty, transparency, accountability and democracy. Noting the
'complexity of the present economic circumstances', the prevalent
'unproductive, polarised partisan politics, the 'alarming rate of increase
of domestic debt and the huge external debt overhang', the existence of a
'captive state,' and the rampant corruption in the public sector, the
ZIMCODD Conference noted that 'moral regeneration', and 'a new value system'
are foundation elements for 'prudent economic and development policies'.
From the Conference, the Zimbabwe Coalition On Debt and Development notes,
in summary; the general failure of economic breakthrough in Southern Africa
in recent decades. This is particularly explained by the failure of states
to envision effective 'blueprint' transformation approaches. States
underestimated challenges of transforming colonial economic structures; the
failure to manage public policies and budgets in the region, which results
in untold suffering especially for marginal communities as jobs disappear,
as incomes shrivel up, as prices soar above their means, and as goods just
become unavailable. This has come with the entrenchment of a fearsome one
party state, tension and conflict.
Since 2006 many writers, academics and activists in Zimbabwe have found
themselves behind bars for having said, written or done things that
Government considered unfriendly. That liberalisation has worked to
undermine labor constituencies and erode the power of governing states and
other entities, to worsen public indebtedness, and to undermine the capacity
of the economy to grow, to cause population and social dislocation and
migration, and to erode human conditions of life across the region; that
with the unfolding of the new millennium there is increasing need for new,
innovative policy approaches, beyond mere liberalisation.
There is need for new policy approaches that can prioritise and link
population needs and challenges to local resource capacities. There is
urgent need for visionary leadership and expertise to guide political and
socio economic transformation and development processes in the region; the
urgent need for a new culture of accountability, transparency and democratic
values in public resource management, to reduce income inequalities,
unemployment and poverty particularly among marginal rural communities,
women and girl-children who continue to occupy the fringes of the economy.
ZIMCODD is a civil advocacy organisation campaigning for development policy
approaches that are inclusive and transparent, for accountability and
democratic values in the quest for new policy visions that are responsive to
basic human development needs.

Masimba Manyanya is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society. He is also a
member of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development. These articles are
coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge who can be contacted on email
Cell 0912 980 016

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FinGaz Letters

Civic groups out of touch with people

Editor - The seemingly unending conflict over strategy to dislodge President
Robert Mugabe's regime from the helm of the Zimbabwe government has
necessitated this piece in your widely read newspaper.
Civil society has fallen into the pitfall of pursuing the politics of
marginalisation where the grassroots communities are not being consulted. As
the politicians before them, civil society continues to treat the citizenry
with scorn. The so-called consultations are simply meant to fulfill an
objective. My belief of citizenship participation is that the common man
participates in decision-making and people are empowered to demand their
Participation of the masses by the cohesion of allowances and the promises
of political support are unhelpful. The citizens of Zimbabwe must challenge
organisations that fail to recognise their important role in a democracy.
In the last few days I have interacted with villagers in rural areas, I am
now convinced that the donor community has some shortcomings that must be
addressed before the 2008 elections. The programming of civil society
organisations has been largely ineffective in finding resonance among the
majority rural people due to its shortsightedness and misinformed basis. In
serious political discussions I held with various people, key focus issues
included food shortages, political violence, women and the 2008 elections
and the aftermath of the crisis, which I feel speak to the real crisis we
Confrontational approaches, in our situation, will fail. Sadly, some civic
leaders are trying to entrench their control of the common view of civil
society in Zimbabwe on matters of national significance. The progressive
civil society must strategically challenge the bullies among us who simply
want their voices to be heard.
I am not given to continuous arguing with some advocates of certain
strategies through the media but on this one I feel strongly that some
colleagues within civil society have more than undermined the work already
done by others to end the current misrule. No single tactic or strategy will
deliver us from President Mugabe's oppressive rule.
The magnitude of the poverty in the rural communities, the unending queues
for basic commodities in urban centres, the continued marginalisation of
women, the ravaging impact of HIV and Aids on the nation, the polarisation
among Zimbabweans, the galloping inflation and the government's zeal under
the farm mechanization programme should present avenues for interventions in
The country faces combined presidential, parliamentary and local government
elections in 2008, but some individuals still prioritise engaging in
self-serving debates about the actions of the country's political parties.
The citizenry must claim their space and seriously consider ditching those
who want to perpetuate their suffering. This is the opportune time for civil
society to focus on how they could influence the citizenry on the course of
responses to the unfolding crisis of governance in Zimbabwe. The programming
should now move away from the reactionary framework, which is mostly defined
in large part by the politics of appeasement, visible within the ZANU PF
Responding by failing to strategise outside the current political framework
will get Zimbabwe's civil society nowhere. Those who live in the rural areas
in Zimbabwe should be involved at all levels, from advocacy activism to
policy levels. More resources need to be devoted to building the capacities
of the communities to emancipate themselves from the current crisis.
The nation needs tangible results out of the initiatives of civil society.
Those organisations that have a membership must reconcile their own demands
with their actions.
Transparency and good governance have been severely undermined by colleagues
who trample on the rights of their membership to participate in
decision-making processes by employing the divide and rule tactic,
effectively used by our past colonial oppressors.

Precious Shumba

 ZESA meter readers sucking figures out of their thumbs

EDITOR - I would like to ask ZESA what calibre of meter readers and accounts
operators they employ. We have had three visits from the readers in the last
12 months, November 06, July 07 and September 07.
In May 07 I queried the meter reading shown on the April account as "actual"
as 94520 (reading date 24/04/07) but on 21/5/07 the meter reading was 88161.
Yesterday I received an account, "Reading date 30/08/07" "Actual 97120", but
the day we were visited by the meter reader 24/09/07, the reading was 91433
and yesterday was 91789.
On second thoughts I would like to encourage the meter readers to continue
sitting under that big shady tree sucking figures out of their thumbs as I
am paying for electricity at today's rates that I will be using in six
months time, saving me money while doing ZESA out of what they would be
earning later!

R.Mansergh (Mrs)

 Indigenisation Bill guise for looting

EDITOR - That our country is collapsing has never seemed to bother those in
the ruling party who have instead concentrated on amassing wealth for
themselves and their families under the guise of black empowerment.
After seizing farms and equipment during the land reform programme, one
would have thought that would be the last time the State would sanction the
looting of private property.
Sadly for our country, parliament recently passed the so called
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill whose thrust is to enable the
seizure of both private and public companies.
The effect of this Bill, if signed into law, is that no sane investor would
ever invest his money in Zimbabwe let alone transact with local companies.
The effects of this Bill on our economy are too ghastly to contemplate
considering that attracting foreign direct investment into the country could
have increased our competitiveness in the global economy.
A cursory reading of the Bill betrays a dirty political game between ZANU PF
and the business community, which has been accused of supporting a change of
government in Zimbabwe.
In my humble view, politics must be separated from business. The Zimbabwean
economy is now being run on the basis of narrow and biased political
considerations. The business community is now being punished.
I pray that the President does not sign this Bill into law if ever private
property is to remain a fundamental human right in Zimbabwe.

Kudzayi Kadzere

 Thou art a prophetic soul, Dell

EDITOR - Last week I was very hungry. I had $500 000 in my pocket, so I
decided to buy something to eat.
I am fortunate enough to be working for a foreign owned company, where we
are given tea for free. So, with a hot cup of coffee on my desk, I rushed
out side the office hoping to get a bun or something to eat.
Little did I know that I was embarking on a hunting expedition, from which I
was not going to get anything. Like a sbhonda, I moved from one shop to
another and I got nothing. I ended up going back to my office to drink my
cold coffee.
What I realised on my "tour" is that our beloved country has collapsed.
Edgars shops are closed, TM hyper shelves are empty with only about three
till operators on duty. Quite a number of shops and butcheries are empty.
And that means a lot of workers have been retrenched.
Nowadays, many families go without meals. School children go to school on
empty stomachs and without packed lunch.
Workers are walking daily to work. Come month end their incomes are a crying
shame. Families are collapsing, people cannot afford to travel to their
makhayas to see their families, or even send them goodies.
Tell me then, if this is not the collapse of the economy and the country
what is it then? Oh Dell your prophecy is being fulfilled right under my
Where are Gono, Obert, Made and the rest of our MPs? The nation, gentlemen,
is perishing please shout SOS. We are sinking fast, very soon we will be the
pale shadow of a once great nation.
Where are you gentlemen, our salaries cannot buy us anything?
Oh, Dell, your prophesy! Could you prophesy again for better days to come
for this nation?

Sam Khumalo

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Zanu PF must rid itself of Mugabe

New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is seeking endorsement from his own
party, an increasingly difficult lobby for his loyalists. Leading his
re-election campaign are hardliners in the war veterans movement. METHUSELI
MOYO, who recently quit his job as head of the ZBC's Spot FM after rejecting
a posting to a new 24-hour propaganda station, Voice of Zimbabwe, says
Mugabe is at his most desperate:
By Methuseli Moyo
Last updated: 10/18/2007 09:02:09
THE latest charade by Jabulani Sibanda and his comrades, of marching through
provinces in "support of President Mugabe's candidature in next year's
elections" - to use catch phrase in the state media these days - is a futile
and desperate, yet revealing event in the political life of Robert Mugabe
and his party Zanu PF.

From 1980 to 2002, we have never witnessed any stage-managed march of this
magnitude in support of Mugabe's candidature, nor have we seen irrelevant
constituencies - from a Zanu PF internal politics point of view - such as
chiefs, mujibhas, chimbwidos, mayors, and even war vets themselves, being
marshalled to declare in public like they have been doing this time around,
their support for "President Mugabe's candidature".

Why would they do it this time? It is clear that Sibanda's tired marches are
designed to scare would-be challengers to President Mugabe within Zanu PF.
It means the enemy is within Zanu PF. Who is the enemy? Sibanda has been
very reckless to reveal that the people he is marching against are Vice
President Joice Mujuru and her husband Solomon, Zanu PF national chairman
John Nkomo, ex-minister Dumiso Dabengwa, and others in Zanu PF believed to
be ready to challenge Mugabe's leadership.

What is clear is that Mugabe does not want that sort of competition, and is
resorting to scare tactics to keep them at bay, going to the extent of
compromising himself and letting a discredited character of the sort of
Sibanda (who is till suspended from Zanu PF) and his deputy Joseph
Chinotimba lead his campaign. Why would Mugabe stoop so low to place his
arguably legendary political career - which I am afraid, is nearing its
demise very soon - at the hands of the people like Jabulani Sibanda?

Wherever he goes - in the war veterans' association and in the Zanu PF
Bulawayo provincial executive - Sibanda has lived and fallen by the sword,
and there is no reason to doubt that even now he is going to be removed by
the sword, as was done in 2004 in the aftermath of the so-called Tsholotsho

To start with, Sibanda was expelled by the same Mugabe and the rest of the
leadership of Zanu PF for his involvement in the alleged palace coup planned
in Tsholotsho. They even ejected him from the war veterans association and
replaced him with Andrew Ndlovu, who like Sibanda, is from Matabeleland.

I was there at Nhlambabaloyi Secondary School in Umguza district in
Matabeleland North sometime towards the end of November 2004 when Mugabe
asked Ndlovu to stand up at a rally and introduced him as the new leader of
the war veterans. Where is Andrew Ndlovu now? Where are you Cde Andrew? It
is clear that things are so bad for Mugabe in Zanu PF that he has decided to
throw away principle for his own political survival, and he has found
another willing tool in Sibanda, who like other well-known tools before him,
is from Matabeleland. It is also clear from Sibanda's high-sounding speeches
that he is targeting people within Zanu PF.

He seems to have no clue that it would do him a lot of good as a Zanu PF
cadre if the party won next year's polls even without Mugabe, than for
Mugabe to win the polls without the party. What would they do then? It would
be a hollow victory that may not last beyond the declaration by Tobaiwa
Mudede or whoever will be running elections come March.

It is clear that Sibanda and his followers have chosen Mugabe at the expense
of Zanu PF. Why I say so? Zanu PF is, or was, a massive political grouping
that has survived for 44 years, of course with Mugabe at its helm in the
last 31 years or so.

What is obvious to many is that Mugabe is now old, weary and redundant.
Listen carefully to his speeches in the last five years and analyse them and
see if you will find anything new or inspiring. Does Sibanda really believe
that Mugabe is strong enough to campaign with the same vigour he did five
years ago, in view of the spiralling economic problems? What will he tell
the people? That Bush and Blair are behind the food shortages? That Brown is
driving inflation?

So if Bush and Blair are behind the shortages and Mugabe has failed to stop
them from causing the shortages, why would we elect him to be President for
a further five years to make it 33 years in power, when he has failed to
protect the nation from Bush and Blair's machinations? Isn't it time to
elect a new leader who could "deliver us" from the suffering caused by Bush
and Blair?

Sibanda needs to open his mind and look ahead and not tie his own existence
to that of someone who has seen his better days on earth and is just whiling
up time while waiting to meet his creator in the not so distant future. If
he lives longer as he is praying for, then tough luck for him as he may find
himself having to answer to some of the things that happened during our
"moment of madness" in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the eighties, and
even more recent during the 2000 and 2002 elections.

Had it been Mujuru, Nkomo, Dabengwa and others marching in support of Mugabe
that would be understandable. They have been with him since the 1960s, and
are bound together by their experiences in the struggle and in government in
the last 27 years. Yet they are not. Why are they not participating in the
marches? It is clear they have waited for too long for Mugabe to go, and can't
believe he still wants to stay on.

The Bulawayo march was more revealing than any other that has been embarked
upon. To start with, the Zanu-PF provincial executive distanced itself from
the march, saying they have not been told to choose a candidate, and there
was no need to march in support of a candidate who has not been chosen and
endorsed by congress. The executive also locked out of the offices war
veterans who wanted to gather there for the march.

When the march finally took place, there was no recognisable Zanu PF
supporter from Bulawayo who participated. I was there and I know all the
senior Zanu PF officials and supporters in the city. They were not there.
Instead, there were strange and new faces, who I believe were brought by the
five ZUPCO buses I saw parked somewhere in town. To me, that clearly
revealed that the march was futile in terms of geographical relevance as the
people of Bulawayo did not participate, serve for a group of street kids who
joined in after learning that there would be meat galore at Stanley Square
after the march.

Where was Nkomo, Dabengwa, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and other political luminaries
in Bulawayo? We now know that they held their own meeting after the war
veterans' march and mandated their political leader Vice President Joseph
Msika to ask Mugabe if he still cared about the Unity Accord between PF-Zapu
and Zanu? If he cared, why would he send a party rebel like Sibanda to go
about lambasting them in public? We are yet to hear what Mugabe's answer to
that would be.

One strange observation that I have made about Sibanda is that he takes
delight in lambasting Zanu PF leaders from Matabeleland, in particular from
the PF-Zapu side. He has rubbished Mskika, Nkomo, Dabengwa and all, yet he
does not dare do the same with the Zanu PF leadership from Mashonaland,
Masvingo, Manicaland and the Midlands. Let him do that he will find himself
out of Zanu PF. Prove me wrong Sibanda.

Just say one or two negative statements about Mugabe, Nathan Shamuyaria,
Didymus Mutasa or someone from the other side and we see that you are your
own man. It would appear Sibanda is on a paid-up mission to denigrate and
weaken the standing of the old Zapu leadership in the eyes of the public in
order to eliminate them from the race to succeed Mugabe. What a shame! Is
Sibanda a later day version of Enos Nkala?

I remember how Prof Jonathan Moyo got away with his fights against Nkomo and
others in Matabeleland, until he touched on Shamuyarira and Mujuru. He was
ejected in an instant from Zanu PF. I also remember how nothing happened to
Joice Mujuru when she made those unsavoury remarks about Joshua Nkomo years

It would appear former PF-Zapu leaders are not Zanu PF enough, and can be
abused by junior party members and nothing happens to them. Sibanda's latest
schemes buttress this view. This does not help Mugabe in any way. He may
need the votes from Matabeleland if he succeeds to squeeze himself in as his
party's candidate, and hopefully faces off against a single opposition
candidate. He may live to regret the way he has failed to protect and show
true unity with his colleagues from PF-Zapu. The people are watching.

Why do I say Sibanda's charade is futile? In my view, it is an own goal
because it exposes Mugabe as a desperate incumbent who needs solidarity
marches from discredited quarters to win an internal competition, and who is
isolated by his colleagues, who all along have supported him.

Sibanda's actions dramatise for all to see the internal problems in Zanu PF
as a party at war with itself, a party that is expending its limited
energies in an internal war, a few moths before a crucial vote which they
would be advised to conserve their little energy for.

There is just too little time between the congress in December and the
elections in March for Mugabe to mend relations with his bruised comrades
and close ranks to confront the opposition. What makes it worse is that
Mugabe -- if he succeeds to get himself declared the Zanu PF candidate -
does not know his opponent or opponents in the actual poll would be. Is it
going to be Morgan Tsvangirai, Simba Makoni, Gideon Gono, Joice Mujuru,
Arthur Mutambara or Paul Siwela? Worse still it could be Emmerson Mnangagwa,
who seems to be taking a rest as he gets Mugabe to square-off with the
Mujuru camp.

Even if Mugabe wins the election, will he survive the economic opposition
that seems to be intensifying against him? Will Sibanda successfully march
against the economy and keep Mugabe in office after March? What will the
rest of the people do? Watch as a few hundreds old men and women march in
support of something they in the least understand?

Time, the magician, will tell.

In the meantime, Zanu PF would do itself a lot of good to advise Mugabe to
go peacefully in his own interest, that of the party, the country, and the

Whoever stops Mugabe from declaring himself the Zanu PF candidate for next
year's polls will be a hero, and State House the prize. It's better for Zanu
PF for that hero to emerge from within their ranks, than to wait for that
hero to emerge at the polls in March. It may be too late for Zanu PF and its
officials who may find themselves in a Charles Taylor scenario.

It is clear that the people who want to dislodge Mugabe in Zanu PF are not
doing it simply because they do not like him anymore or are sell-outs, but
have genuine fears that fielding the man in next year's election would be a
big electoral risk, which could backfire spectacularly and engulf them all,
and are tempted to serve themselves and their business empires by removing
Mugabe themselves.

Sadly, others like Sibanda imagine that Mugabe is a supernatural being, who
at 84 next year and having being in power for 28 years, is the same
respected and inspiring revolutionary he was in 1980. The sooner they
realise that isn't the case, the better, otherwise they will continue
misleading Mugabe into believing that he is there forever. How can that be?

In short, it is better for the people in Zanu PF to remove Mugabe themselves
than to let the masses do it for them in March, lest they live unhappily
ever after. Jabulani Sibanda and company should actually be organising
farewell marches for Mugabe than marching for him to stay longer.

I am dead certain the so-called million-men-march that Sibanda dreams of
would explode in Harare if he invited us to participate in a Mugabe farewell
march. It would not even need a week of invitations on TV and radio like is
the case now with the "solidarity marches", which have still failed to
attract the intimidating marches that would boost Mugabe's confidence.

Methuseli Moyo is a former news editor of the Sunday News and more recently
Editor-In-Chief of Spot FM. He left his job in July after he refused a
posting to the government's propaganda station, Voice of Zimbabwe. E-mail:

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Zimbabwe police arrest S African businessman for smuggling weapons

Monsters and Critics

Oct 18, 2007, 5:31 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested a South African
businessman for allegedly attempting to smuggle three rifles and more than
100 rounds of ammunition out of the country, reports said Thursday.

Douglas McCallum of Big 5 Fly Fishing, a tour company based in Johannesburg,
was arrested last Friday at Harare International Airport, the
state-controlled Herald newspaper said.

The 40-year old businessman was arrested after he had already boarded the

A machine screening his luggage detected the weapons and 108 rounds of
ammunition packed in plastic containers in his luggage, the paper said.

McCallum is due to go on trial Thursday.

In a similar case a US national was arrested earlier this month at the
international airport in the premier resort of Victoria Falls.

Leslie Howell, from Florida, was fined for failing to declare 300 rounds of
ammunition that he had in his baggage in contravention of Zimbabwe's Customs
and Excise Act.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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