Reporter Last updated: 10/01/2004 09:59:10 BLACKLISTED and hounded out of
Zimbabwe's state radio after being labelled opposition supporters, a group
of journalists are now using the internet to form common front against
President Robert Mugabe's regime.
A new 24-hour independent internet
radio station went live last week, broadcasting to thousands of Zimbabweans
from a location in London.
Owners of the new radio station called
Afro-Sounds FM say it was set up to "entertain and inform."
media laws in Zimbabwe have ensured government retains control over the
media - both print and broadcasting. Three independent newspapers have been
shut down and Zimbabwean journalists are now being forced to resort to
"illegal" broadcasts from foreign countries to beat the country's harsh
"We don't want to only entertain," says Station Manager
Zenzo Ncube, a former Radio 4 DJ and Afro Beat presenter. "We want to use
entertainment to draw the attention of Zimbabweans and update them on what
is happening to their beloved country."
Among the ex-Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) DJs set to make guest appearences on the
station is former Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe) favourite Ezra Tshisa
Sibanda, who also lives in London.
Sibanda is just one of at least 600
workers forced out by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo during a clean-up
targeted at employees thought to be sympathetic to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change.
Ncube said: "We are happy to be able to provide
independent news and information to Zimbabweans who are concerned about the
deteriorating situation at home. For the greater part of the day we play
music and we have hourly news updates in the evening."
the station's website, listeners can download a special programme to their
computers. Within a minute, the download is complete and listeners can
listen live. TO LISTEN TO AFRO-SOUNDS FM go to the website: http://www.zimnews.co.uk and follow
instructions. More information firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02070934828
MUGABE TO PUT NGOs ON THE LEASH AHEAD OF CAMPAIGN Fri 1
††††† HARARE - President Robert Mugabe this week told his
ruling ZANU PF party's politburo to ensure that Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe were effectively restricted before
campaigning started for next year's general election, sources told ZimOnline
††††† According to the sources, who attended the politburo
meeting last Wednesday, Mugabe told ZANU PF's decision-making committee to
use the party's simple majority in Parliament to ensure the NGO Bill and
another Bill seeking to amend Zimbabwe's Electoral Act ††††† were passed
into law once the house resumed on Tuesday.
††††† ZANU PF would only
launch its campaign for the critical election scheduled for March after the
two Bills were law, Mugabe is said to have told the politburo.
"The meeting mainly touched on the issue of elections, the modalities of
winning next year's elections," said a member of the politburo, who did not
want to be named.
††††† He added: "The President said the party will
launch its campaign for next year's election as soon as the NGO Bill and the
electoral law reform Bill were made into law. He said it was vital to
regulate and control the NGO sector before we started our
††††† Mugabe had also ordered that internal primary elections
by ZANU PF to select candidates for the 2005 parliamentary poll should also
be held after the two laws were in place, according to sources.
ZANU PF spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, refused to discuss the matter
yesterday. He said: "We do not discuss our politburo meetings with the
††††† The NGO Bill seeks to bar civic organisations from
carrying out voter education. Only a government-appointed electoral
commission will be allowed to conduct voter education under the proposed new
††††† The Bill also proposes a ban on all civic organisations
wishing to carry out human rights work from receiving foreign
††††† A draft Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill proposes the
creation of a new commission which the government says will have the power
and independence to run elections in the country according to a Southern
African Development Community (SADC) protocol adopted ††††† last
††††† Civic society activists have opposed the NGO Bill saying it
will shrink further democratic space in Zimbabwe. They also say an NGO
Council proposed under the Bill to licence NGOs in Zimbabwe could be used to
deny civic bodies that refuse to toe the government ††††† line permission
to work in the country.
††††† The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party says the proposed new electoral law will lack
independence because its chairman will be appointed by Mugabe. The SADC
protocol requires independent commissions to run elections. - ZimOnline
Cash-strapped council may be forced to delay public
exams Fri 1 October 2004
††††† HARARE - The Zimbabwe School
Examinations Council yesterday said public examinations were not likely to
be written on time because the council does not have money to pay local and
foreign printers of question papers.
††††† The council also delayed
registration of candidates for the end of year examinations. The exams were
scheduled to run from November to December.
††††† Council director
Happy Jabulane Ndanga told a parliamentary committee probing Zimbabwe's
crumbling education sector that the examinations authority was failing to
raise Z$15 billion demanded by printing firm, Fidelity
††††† Fidelity is a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and prints the primary level, and Ordinary level examination question papers
for the council.
††††† Ndanga said: "Fidelity Printers are hostile to
us. They want a deposit upfront and instalments as they print and will halt
printing if we fall behind in payments. This is likely to cause delays in
the writing of examinations unless we get the money."
††††† He said
the council had also failed to raise foreign currency to pay South African
and British printing firms that were printing Advanced level question
papers. The council did not have money to ferry the question papers to
Zimbabwe even if the foreign ††††† companies printed them for
††††† Ndanga said: "One set of examination papers is printed in
South Africa and the other is printed in the United Kingdom. For these we
need substantial foreign exchange and the Reserve Bank is aware of the
††††† The examination chief said the $11 billion the state had
allocated his council for the examinations and for its general operations
for the year was long exhausted.
††††† The council has also failed to
pay civil servants who marked public examinations written last June and it
did not have money to train markers for the end of year examinations when
and if they are written, Ndanga said.
††††† The problems at the
examinations body mirror the parlous state of Zimbabwe's education sector
because of years of under-funding and mismanagement. - ZimOnline
Nine-month old baby languishes in cells Fri 1 October
††††† HARARE - A nine-month-old baby is among 56 women activists
detained in police cells in Chegutu town and in Harare after attempting to
march from Bulawayo to Harare in protest against a proposed new law that
will restrict Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe.
baby could be heard wailing in the cells at Harare central police station
where its mother is being held together with eight other women activists of
the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure group.
††††† Leader of the women,
Jenny Williams, told ZimOnline from the cells: "We have not fed since
afternoon and it is painful to a nine-month baby who was arrested with us
crying all the time. The conditions in the cells are just bad."
A lawyer from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights battled in court
unsuccessfully yesterday to have 48 of the women held in Chegutu released.
The court reserved judgment to today.
††††† In Harare, another lawyer
representing the nine women activists detained at the capital's main police
station said she will try to get the women released on bail
††††† The women were arrested on Tuesday in Chegutu and at Selous
less than 100 kilometres from Harare. Williams and her colleagues managed to
evade the police and sneaked into the capital but were later
††††† The women were arrested after walking 300 of the 440
kilometres from Bulawayo to Harare. They left Bulawayo on Sunday last week.
They planned to demonstrate at Parliament and to hand in a petition urging
legislators to block the NGO law.
††††† Civic organisations in
Zimbabwe say aid to the country will dry up completely if the government
passes the proposed NGO law. The law seeks to ban NGOs from carrying out
voter education while those wishing to do human rights work will be
prohibited from receiving foreign funding. - ZimOnline
UK pushes for international arms embargo on Zimbabwe Fri 1
††††† BRIGHTON, UK - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
yesterday said London was pushing for an international ban on military sales
to Zimbabwe and other countries that violated basic human
††††† Speaking at the ongoing conference of the Labour party
here, Straw said the United Kingdom was intensifying efforts to end tyranny
in Zimbabwe, Sudan, North Korea and Burma.
††††† He said: "We are
intensifying efforts to get improvements of human rights record in countries
like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Burma.
††††† "We will work soon
with other countries to build support for an international arms treaty
(banning arms sales to the four states). We need to control the sale of arms
to these countries. This is the only way we can restore the rule of
††††† The European Union (EU), to which Britain is a member, and
the United States already have an arms embargo against Zimbabwe on top of
travel sanctions banning President Robert Mugabe and his top officials from
visiting their territories.
††††† Zimbabwe's Ministry of Defence two
weeks ago told a parliamentary committee reviewing the country's defence
capacity that the EU embargo had seriously affected the defence forces
because they were unable to buy spares for weapons and aircraft bought
from ††††† European countries.
††††† Although Zimbabwe has also
equipped its defence forces with eastern manufactured weaponry, a large
component of its arsenal is European made.
††††† An international arms
ban would make it impossible for China which has kept Zimbabwe supplied with
arms since the EU ban from selling weapons to Harare.
and his government are accused of violating human rights, failure to uphold
the rule of law and of rigging elections. They deny the charges. -
Troubled banks to know fate in a fortnight Fri 1 October
††††† HARARE - Banks that failed to increase capitalisation to Z$10
billion will only know their fate in two weeks time when Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono returns from the United States.
Gono left the country yesterday for the US where he will meet International
Monetary Fund officials to discuss strained relations between Zimbabwe and
the Bretton Woods institution.
††††† The central bank chief is expected
to force banks, most of them black-owned, which failed to increase
capitalisation to merge and pool resources to the required
††††† Gono in January ordered Zimbabwe's 16 banks to up
capitalisation from $500 million to $10 billion by September 30. At the time
he threatened to deregister and close institutions that failed to meet the
new capitalisation requirement.
††††† Black-owned banks experienced a
run on deposits for most of the past week as depositors transferred their
money to the larger and more secure foreign-owned banks.
Sources said Gono was backtracking on his threats to close under-capitalised
banks because of political pressure from the ruling ZANU PF party fearful of
massive job loses in the financial sector ahead of elections next
††††† Meanwhile, police yesterday arrested two directors of the
closed Royal Bank allegedly for fraud. The directors, Jeffrey Mzwimbi and
Durajadi Simba, were picked up by the police in the morning
††††† Royal was last month placed under curatorship by the
central bank because of a liquidity crunch that threatened the bank with
collapse. - ZimOnline
EDITORIAL March 25, 2002 Posted to the web September 30,
David Dickson London
The mature response of many African
leaders to the conduct of the Zimbabwean elections bodes well for their
efforts to secure regional support for science. But the political challenges
they face in doing so should not be dismissed lightly.
sight, it's difficult to make an immediate connection between the outcome of
this month's general election in Zimbabwe and the future prospects for
science in the rest of the African continent. But the link between the two
is more direct than might appear. It doesn't lie in either the conduct or
the outcome of the election itself, but in the response to both of other
This response has been expressed in the way that African
leaders such as President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria have essentially aligned themselves with non-African
critics of the brutality and lack of genuine democracy in the regime
established by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. By
doing so, they have raised the prospects for a reasoned, regional approach
to integrating African nations into the global economy. And current thinking
about how this might be done already places science and technology at the
core of viable development strategy, as an integral part of any country's
'system of innovation'.
At the same time, however, the unhappy
political scene in Zimbabwe provides a reminder that any such strategy will
only succeed if the political groundwork has been laid in which it can
flourish. If the science and technology that are needed to help drive
Africa's development are to succeed in achieving their goal, they must
respond to local needs and conditions. They must not be merely an extension
of ideas, concepts and strategies designed to meet interests from outside
Africa, an accusation that lies at the heart of recent political disputes
This is not just an academic debate. The issues that
it raises are central to the success - or otherwise - of the dream of an
'African renaissance' currently being pursued by Mbeki, Obasanjo and other
African leaders in the form of their proposals to establish a New
Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
NEPAD is described as a
pledge by these leaders "to place their countries, both individually and
collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development". It embodies
a broad-based strategy of institutional reform that will lay a firm basis on
which these leaders can transform their economies, and to do so in ways that
allow them simultaneously to participate effectively in the global economy
and to develop weapons to fight poverty on their own doorsteps.
central role that scientific and technological advances can play in this
process has already been firmly embedded in NEPAD's approach. For example,
the document outlining the project that was adopted last October by the
Heads of State and Governments of the Organisation for African Unity
endorses the idea that globalisation "is a product of scientific and
technological advances", while expressing the desire that NEPAD "will enable
Africa to increase her contribution to science, culture and
At the same time, an increasing number of those currently
engaged in debates over scientific capacity-building in Africa -
particularly where such debates are taking place at a regional level - are
accepting the desirability of placing their efforts within the framework of
NEPAD. This, for example, was the outcome of a meeting held last November by
the Committee for Natural Resources, Science and Technology of the UN
Economic Commission for Africa, which agreed that NEPAD "provides a suitable
context to address the challenges of science and technology and
competitiveness in Africa". Similarly a workshop of African scientists on
"Sustainability Science" held shortly afterwards in Abuja, the capital of
Nigeria, issued a statement recommending that "bold, imaginative, consistent
and effective efforts" should be made in this field "to form part of, and
So far, so good. But there are also political dimensions
to the promotion of NEPAD that must not be ignored, if only because they are
likely to play a significant role in its reception and implementation. Last
Sunday (24 March), for example, the European Union delegation to the latest
meeting of the preparatory committee for the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD), which takes place in Johannesburg in August, explicitly
voiced support for initiatives led by Africa "such as NEPAD", while
emphasising that "African countries themselves must take the
At the same time, Western nations are already using their
willingness to support NEPAD as a political lever in order to achieve other
goals. It is widely perceived, for example, that Mbeki decided not to oppose
the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth after it had been made
clear to him that any overt support for Mugabe (as had been expressed by
several other African leaders) would have led to the removal of support for
NEPAD from the developed countries, from which most of its funding is
expected to come.
Domestically, however, all is not well in South
Africa on the NEPAD front. In a dispute which seems destined to spill over
into the proceedings of the WSSD itself, a major split has taken place
between the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are planning "civil
society" activities to take place simultaneously with the summit, and
Cosatu, South Africa's largest labour federation. Although the reasons for
the split are complex, one central factor is the way the NGO's inherent
distrust of the whole process of globalisation has already extended to
distrust of NEPAD and much of what it stands for.
So where next?
There is widespread agreement in Africa (as well outside) that a regional
development strategy such as NEPAD is required. There also seems to be a
growing consensus that such a strategy is essential both to provide a
setting for continent-wide efforts to promote capacity-building in science,
and to push forward any concrete efforts to promote sustainable development
that emerge from WSSD.
At the same time, however, it is equally clear
that both efforts need to emerge from a self-diagnosis by the countries
involved of their own scientific, technical, social and economic needs. Any
attempt to graft on solutions devised outside - however effectively they may
have worked in other parts of the world - risk rejection if this diagnosis,
and the demand that it can lead to, is lacking. The scientific community,
which is already beginning to recognise the potential value of NEPAD in
reaching its own goals, must remain as sensitive to this danger as other
stakeholders in the development process.
From: Dr Esau Masuku (email@example.com) Senior Research Scientist
(Building Materials and Structural Engineering) Botswana Technology Centre
I agree that indeed there is a real relationship between science
and politics. But focusing on the subject of your editorial, one is easily
led to the conclusion that Zimbabwe's elections are likely to impact
negatively on science in Africa! In fact, that danger exists as long as
science in Africa is viewed as a commodity that can be "brought to Africa"
by such vehicles as NEPAD in its present version, which requires that that
it must be "endorsed" by the Western world, as they would be its "prime"
There is nothing for nothing in our world. The price is
always material and tangible. The Marshall Plan, to which NEPAD has often
been likened, was mooted and executed primarily to thwart Soviet expansion
westwards, and thus safeguard tangible and material Western interests, such
as the capitalist way of life.
What would the Western world get in
exchange for Africa's Marshall Plan? The answer is not democracy,
transparency, freedom of the press, observance of human rights, independence
of the judiciary, or the rule of law, all for the well-being of the
Africans! That is merely the packaging of the real prize: namely access to
Africa's resources virtually on the Western world's own terms, safeguarded
by entrenched "property rights" as they are today - owned to a
disproportionately large extent by Western countries or their kith and kin
resident in Africa.
Why is this item so high on the agenda? Because the
political liberation of Africa, which was completed only in 1994, has for
the first time made it a real possibility that, just as it happened during
colonization when the colonial powers used political instruments to disown
Africans of their birthright, the politically empowered Africans can
similarly reverse the situation.
It is imperative, for the sake of
science in Africa, that we, the scientists of Africa, support the idea and
stand up for the best interests of our condition as a people. Leaders come
and go, political parties come and go, but these interests will never betray
While it is very important that we interact with our colleagues in
the scientific and technical fraternity the world over, we should never lose
sight of the fact that only self-reliance will engender genuine progress
towards real social, political and economic development. Let us not lose
sight of the bigger picture because of a smaller one. Zimbabwe is worth much
more than US$64 billion - the price tag attached to NEPAD - let alone
Hearing farce casts new shadow over tour of
Zimbabwe By David Llewellyn 01 October 2004
England's tour of
Zimbabwe next month is in doubt once more. This follows the abandonment in
Harare of the International Cricket Council hearing into allegations of
racism in Zimbabwean cricket.
The two adjudicators, Goolam Vahanvati,
India's Solicitor General and South African High Court Judge Steven Majiedt
called off the hearing because neither party - the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
and the 15 'rebel' white players - could agree who should and should not be
present during the submission of certain evidence.
Majiedt will still consider written submissions before producing a report
for the ICC to consider at their board meeting in Karachi on 16-17
If the ZCU were to be found guilty of racism the ICC could
suspend Zimbabwe from all international cricket, which would settle the
question of England's tour instantly.
But the Federation of
International Cricket Associations (FICA), the body that represents
professional cricketers' associations around the world, could take action
anyway and call on all its members to boycott cricket in Zimbabwe until the
country's cricketing house has been put in order.
But last night no one
was predicting anything. Richard Bevan, chief executive of the Professional
Cricketers Asoociation and that body's representative on FICA, said: "We
cannot second guess the report's findings. We must wait until it is made
public at the ICC board meeting later this month.
"At that point the
players will review their position. But until then there is no point in
The ICC has adopted a similar 'wait and see' stance, while
the England and Wales Cricket Board said the matter was an ICC issue. But
there is no doubt at all about the racism inquiry, which is off. It had been
expected to run for three days, but at the start of day two yesterday the
adjudicators closed proceedings because of a failure to reach an agreement
on whether or not three ZCU board members should be present during the
player's submission of evidence.
Vahanvati and Majiedt were scathing
in their criticism of the outcome. Majiedt said: "This outcome is obviously
not what would be desired, but has been imposed upon us by the positions
adopted by both parties whose attitudes reflect what has brought about these
"We find ourselves in an untenable position at this stage of
the proceedings. If we accede to an exclusion of the three ZCU directors,
the ZCU will withdraw from these proceedings. If, on the other hand, we
decline the request for their exclusion, the players will withdraw. It is
unacceptable to proceed in this fashion." So, match abandoned. And all eyes
will be on Karachi on 16 October when the seals on the report are broken and
the findings revealed.
I won't go - Msika Dumisani Muleya VICE-PRESIDENT
Joseph Msika has dismissed reports that he will retire at the forthcoming
Zanu PF congress scheduled for the first week of December.
In a new twist
to the ruling party's dramatic succession race, Msika said the reports were
baseless because "it depends on what the people say".
"I don't elect
myself, I'm elected by the people. I don't put myself in there," he
"Nxa umuntu engasafuni umsebenzi uyazikhulumela yena,
kakhulunyelwa njengenkomo yo-mdaka (If someone no longer wants a job, he
speaks for himself)."
There has been strong speculation that
Msika could retire to pave way for Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo in the
scramble to succeed President Robert Mugabe. Nkomo is widely seen as one of
the candidates likely to move up in any changes at the apex of
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, who has dubbed the
coming congress a "watershed", suggested in April Nkomo and secretary for
administration Emmerson Mnangagwa were frontrunners in the Mugabe succession
Shamuyarira also hinted that Mugabe could clarify his future at
the congress. He said if Mugabe left immediately, Msika would automatically
step in, whereas if he were to leave after an advance announcement, Nkomo or
Mnangagwa could take over.
Nkomo defeated Mnangagwa for the
position of national chairman at the 1999 congress. Mugabe, who claimed some
of his lieutenants were hunting for lucky charms to enhance their chances,
has said he will retire in 2008 when his current term of office expires. But
most observers have said he is likely to go earlier.
the agenda for the Zanu PF congress has already been compiled and it
includes the usual themes of land, the economy, corruption, international
relations and elections. However, the meeting could be largely dominated by
behind-the-scenes manoeuvres for power.
minister Didymus Mutasa, also involved in the escalating succession battle,
said yesterday he is still strongly in the running for the vacant post of
Zanu PF vice-president despite current allegations of violence levelled
Mutasa, also Makoni North MP, said he would contest for
"I'm still very interested. I haven't changed my mind at
all. I want to run for the position," Mutasa said.
people in my province will support me. I may not have the support of certain
individuals but I have the support of the people who matter."
ruling party's external affairs secretary, said his prospects of becoming
vice-president would not be sabotaged by "false reports" of
"People in Zanu PF are more mature than those elements
with dirty hands planting stories about me in the Sunday Mail. The smear
campaign against me will fail. After all, in politics any publicity is good
Trust owed $300 billion Vincent Kahiya TRUST Bank
was owed at least $300 billion when it was put under curatorship last
Thursday, half of it by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), it emerged this
Trust, whose collapse has been attributed in official circles to
severe liquidity problems, paid the ultimate price for heavily lending to
problem parastatals which failed to service their loans. The bank was also
haunted by its past foreign currency dealings on the black market in which
the Reserve Bank was a major beneficiary.
Independent this week established that the troubled bank, which had been in
a short position since 2002, is owed US$27 million ($152 billion) by the
Reserve Bank from foreign currency dealings on the black
The bank was also sitting on a bad loan book of $150
billion in money lent mainly to parastatals. Among them are the Grain
Marketing Board, the Cold Storage Company and the National Oil Company of
The RBZ gave Trust about $280 billion, which has now
ballooned to $1,4 trillion, from the Troubled Banks Fund to save it from
collapse. By May Trust had already repaid $85 billion to the reserve bank,
Investigations by the Independent this week revealed
that Trust had a US$30 million line of credit with the Cairo-based Afrexim
Bank. Trust was drawing down from the facility for on-lending to the Reserve
Bank, which on numerous occasions failed to pay back the
To keep the facility working, Trust sourced foreign currency
on the black market, reportedly from off-shore company Saturn Investments to
pay Afrexim Bank.
Saturn Investments, represented in Zimbabwe by
Jayesh Shah, was also understood to have been selling foreign currency to a
number of financial institutions which were dealing with the Reserve
Saturn is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Kingdom
Bank over US$900 000 borrowed during the height of the forex
The sources said in February this year RBZ offered to pay
back the US$27
million albeit in local currency at a rate of 1:3 500.
Trust turned down the offer, arguing that it would not be able to source the
forex to pay back the Afrexim loan, which was due in May.
close to Trust said due to the RBZ's erratic loan repayments, the closed
bank was prejudiced of US$27 million between 2002 and early this year. Trust
as a result owes Afrexim Bank the same amount.
The sources said when
Gideon Gono took over as RBZ governor at the end of last year, he was aware
of the foreign currency transactions between Trust and the central
Trust Bank was last year accused of straying from its core
business by investing in non-banking undertakings such as property. There
however are some who believe that the bank could have been saved if the
rescue package from the central bank had been delivered earlier.
Pressure mounts on independent media Staff
Writer THERE is growing evidence of political pressure on Zimbabwe's media
with government stepping up its harassment of journalists at two of the
country's remaining private publications, the Zimbabwe Independent and
Over the past week journalists from the two publications, both
owned by Trevor Ncube, have been questioned by the police about stories
published as far back as February. Both are the subject of civil
The Standard has also received threats from the Media and
Information Commission to investigate the paper for publishing a photograph
of President Mugabe hitching up his trousers which it claimed it had
received complaints about.
In this case and in an earlier
complaint to the Standard, the principal complainant was an official of the
Department of Information in the Office of the
Independent editor Vincent Kahiya, reporter Augustine
Mukaro, and group general manager Raphael Khumalo were picked up last
Thursday over a report that assessors in the treason trial of MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai had blocked Judge President Paddington Garwe from handing
down a judgement before they could review a transcript of the proceedings.
The story was published on July 30.
Standard editor Bornwell
Chakaodza was on Tuesday summoned to Harare Central police station to answer
charges arising from a story published in February, which alleged that
Pastor Admire Kasi had a licence to sell beer.
Meanwhile, Chakaodza was
given until today by the MIC to submit the negative of the photograph of
President Mugabe at the Harare Agricultural Show published on the front page
of the Standard on August 29. It was taken with a digital
MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso, who writes for the Zanu PF
organ, The Voice, claimed the MIC had received "numerous telephone
complaints" about the photograph.
He enclosed a written complaint
from "one of the 10 or so complainants". It was from J Neusu in the
Department of Information, writing on behalf of the "Secretary of State
(for) Information and Publicity" who claimed the "use of the photograph by
the Standard is extremely mischievous and represents a deliberate
denigration of the highest office in the country".
He went on to
complain that "it epitomises the weekly newspaper's editorial disposition
that is underpinned by an anti-Zimbabwe and anti-Mugabe orientation. It is
obvious that the paper seeks to foist on the nation an image of the
President that will facilitate its regime change discourse."
photograph sought to "caricature, belittle and undermine the dignity of the
Head of State", the letter said.
Neusu in an earlier complaint to the
MIC had complained that "reportage by the Standard and its sister paper, the
Zimbabwe Independent, is characterised by outrageous lies and ridiculous
claims underpinned by misrepresentation of facts."
"Their aim is
to push forward an anti-government and anti-Zimbabwe discourse," he said.
"If left unchallenged, such reportage would grow into a monster that
threatens to unleash chaos and despondency amongst the reading
Khumalo said recent police intervention amounted to
harassment aimed at silencing the media group's voice.
surprised at the engagement of the police as all these cases are under
litigation," Khumalo said.
"A clear example is the Tsvangirai story
which we were picked up for last Thursday. Justice Paddington Garwe had
written to us through his lawyers complaining and asking for a retraction
which implies that the case was being handled between the lawyers of the two
The Independent has maintained, through its lawyers, that
Justice Garwe was not in any way defamed by the story.
said the complaints represented a new wave of attempts to silence the
"The complaints defy logic," Chakaodza said.
we are not surprised by the reaction of the Department of Information to
this award-winning photograph of the president, we are dismayed that freedom
of the press is being circumscribed in this manner.
"Anyone with an
elementary knowledge of journalism would have praised such a memorable
Chakaodza said there was need to separate the state of
Zimbabwe from the person of the president.
"We cannot see by any
stretch of imagination how a picture of the person of the president in
whatever situation can be said to be "anti-Zimbabwe," he
Observers have questioned how the Law and Order section of
the CID came to be involved in the Kasi case
Bearer cheques outlive 'expiry' date Gift Phiri THE
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has kept bearer cheques in circulation,
exactly a year after the popular bonds were introduced.
introduced the large denominated paper as legal tender on September 28 last
year as a "stop gap measure" to ease an unprecedented cash crisis in the
The central bank first issued a range of bearer cheques
valid up to January 31, 2004. In January the RBZ released another batch that
carried changed dates of expiry from January to June 30. In June commercial
banks received another batch with a December 31, 2004 expiry date. The
bearer cheques are in denominations of $5 000, $10 000 and $20 000. Despite
the fact that some bearer cheques expired on June 30 2004, they have
remained legal tender.
There were fears this week that banks would
run out of money due to panic withdrawals following Trust Bank's closure
last week. However the central bank said there was enough cash. It said
"total cash holdings amounted to $1,8 trillion, comprising bearer cheques of
$1,5 trillion and banknotes of $300 billion."
said despite reports that the cheques could be easily counterfeited, the RBZ
was keeping them in circulation as a way of avoiding higher denomination
"Government may have made a tactical mistake by giving the
cheques an expiry date," a Kingdom Holdings Financial analyst said. "The
cost implications are immense. Obviously billions of dollars have gone into
the printing of the cheques and more billions of dollars will be needed at
the end of the year to print more."
The largest bank note is the
$1 000 bill which cannot buy a loaf of bread.
Coins and smaller notes
such as the $10, $20, $50 and $100 have virtually ceased to be instruments
of trade. The RBZ had not responded to questions at the time of going to
Royal Bank bosses nabbed over fraud Shakeman
Mugari POLICE this week arrested the chief executive of the troubled Royal
Bank Jeffery Mzwimbi and his co-director Durajadi Simba over an allegation
The two were picked up on Wednesday afternoon and taken to
Highlands Police station where they were held overnight before being
transferred to the fraud section of Harare Central Police
Assistant police commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the
"We arrested them on Wednesday afternoon and we are still
holding them for further investigations," said Bvudzijena
"It is in connection with a fraud case at Royal Bank where
the two were senior officials."
Bvudzijena said police were still
to prefer charges against Mzwimbi and Simba.
"We are still
interviewing them and they are in detention. We are yet to decide when they
should appear in court," said Bvudzijena. He could not reveal the nature of
the fraud or the amounts involved, insisting police were still working on
Their lawyers Scanlen & Holderness confirmed that the
two had been were arrested.
"We can confirm that our clients
Mzwimbi and Simba were arrested and we are in the process of verifying their
charges so we can prepare for the case," said the lawyers.
Bank was placed under curatorship in August after the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) discovered that it was in an unstable financial position. The
RBZ said the bank was in dire straits owing to imprudent banking
Sources said the bank had sunk into the red because of bad
insider loans that were allocated to directors and senior managers without
following proper safeguards. Although Bvudzijena could not be drawn into
giving details, sources close to the issue said the fraud case could have
contributed to the sudden closure of the bank.
Mzwimbi and Simba
are the first directors of a banking institution to be arrested since the
crack down on corruption started earlier this year. Others have fled the
country before arrest such as NMB Bank, Intermarket and Barbican Bank
Nhema in bid to resume ivory trade Loughty Dube A
ZIMBABWEAN delegation led by Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema
is in Thailand to back a bid at the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (Cites) conference by southern African countries to
resume trade in ivory.
Nhema left the country on Tuesday with a
delegation of officials from his ministry and National Parks. The Cites
conference starts tomorrow.
Zimbabwe will support southern African
countries - Namibia, Botswana and South Africa - at Cites in their bid to be
allowed to sell their ivory to control their growing elephant
Zimbabwe will not present a position paper of its own on
Conservation groups allege that Zimbabwe is overestimating its
elephant population to justify a campaign to sell
"Zimbabwe shares borders with South Africa and Botswana. This
means elephant censuses are not accurate since elephants can be counted more
than twice in any of the countries that they cross into at any given time,"
Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce,
Government puts Zimbabwe's elephant population at 100 000, a
figure hotly disputed by conservation groups. Zimbabwe has a capacity to
carry 45 000 elephants only.
Rodrigues said allowing South
Africa, Botswana and Namibia to resume trade in ivory would prove disastrous
as the poaching of elephants would rise sharply.
"The elephant is
already facing extinction due to culling, wanton poaching and hunting by
newly-resettled farmers and we dispute the figures provided by government on
that basis," he said.
Zimbabwe is expected to oppose a proposal by
Kenya to have lions lifted from Appendix 1 to Appendix 2 or gain special
protection after the East African country argued that its population of
lions was facing extinction.
The National Parks authority has banned
the hunting of lion in the Hwange area after trophy-hunting expeditions led
to the depletion of the national pride. The move to oppose Kenya's move has
raised suspicions among conservation groups.
Kenya's efforts at
the Cites meeting are expected to face stiff opposition from other countries
in the region where trophy hunting for lions is permitted.
hunting is permitted in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and
Pro-democracy group officials arrested Gift
Phiri POLICE this week arrested four officials of a pro-democracy group as
repression of perceived government critics intensifies ahead of next year's
Tony Reeler, Kuda Chidzike, Teddy Nemeroff and
Heather Steenkamp of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa)
were arrested on Monday in connection with an inter-denominational prayer
meeting held in Gweru last week. Police said Idasa facilitated an illegal
meeting that violated the draconian security law, the Public Order and
Security Act (Posa).
"The meeting was not cleared by the police,"
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.
The four were picked up
on Monday morning and taken to Harare Central Police Station's Law and Order
section where they were interviewed about their work with Idasa. They denied
any involvement with the prayer meeting and were later released without
The arrest of the four comes ahead of a large meeting
convened by the South African Council of Churches and the South African
Catholic Bishops Conference to be held in South Africa next week. Idasa is
providing the logistical support for the conference which has the theme
"Minimum Standards for the Zimbabwe Election".
officials' legal counsel, Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor & Immerman, said her
clients were arrested over "trumped up charges".
In a statement this
week, Idasa said it was "an independent public interest organisation
committed to promoting sustainable democracy in South Africa and elsewhere
in the region by building democratic institutions, educating citizens and
advocating social justice".
"It is therefore regrettable that the
Zimbabwean government is treating Idasa as an outlaw that is bent on
subverting the democratic processes in Zimbabwe."
the leader of the human rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) Jenni
Williams and seven other women activists were still in custody at the time
of going to press last night. The women were arrested on Wednesday in Harare
after completing an epic march from Bulawayo.
The eight were rounded
up and bundled into a police truck. They were taken to Harare Central police
station. Bvudzijena said the eight were arrested for "participating in an
ZBH evades tax for 9 months Itai Dzamara Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), formerly Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, has
not been remitting tax revenue for nine months and a Newsnet bus was
recently impounded by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) over the
ZBH workers' salaries for the month of September were cut by up to
50% in some cases with claims that the money had been deducted to settle the
debt with Zimra.
ZBH board chairman Rino Zhuwarara confirmed on
Wednesday that a Newsnet bus had been seized by Zimra but said it had since
"Yes, it had been held by Zimra. But it's already back and
operating. It has just been returned. It's really an issue of one or two
companies, not the whole group. I can't disclose the amounts," he
However, highly placed sources at Zimra yesterday said the bus
was still being held over a large debt accumulated over nine months when ZBH
did not remit tax revenue.
Workers at ZBH who spoke to the
Zimbabwe Independent said they were shocked when they received their
salaries for this month last week to discover huge
"Management failed to explain the deductions, which
were up to 50%, until we established that the broadcaster owed Zimra huge
amounts in debt," one of the workers said. "We heard from guys at Zimra that
they had deducted money from our salaries to settle the
But Zhuwarara denied there were any such
"No, the workers' salaries were not affected by that. I can't
discuss that issue," he said.
ZBH, the sole broadcaster, is
controlled by the state.
Since Information minister Jonathan Moyo
banned most sponsored programmes on radio and television, the broadcaster
has been facing serious financial problems.
War vets want Mutasa out Itai Dzamara WAR Veterans
Association chairman Jabulani Sibanda says his association will ensure that
Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa doesn't retain his seat in Makoni
North in the Zanu PF primary elections.
Sibanda said in a wide-ranging
interview that war veterans were angry over Mutasa's alleged assault on
James Kaunye, a member of their association who wants to challenge him for
the constituency. The war veterans have already started "dealing with Mutasa
on the ground" and would make sure he loses the seat, Sibanda
"We don't like violence," said Sibanda. "Didymus Mutasa is not
the party. He is just an individual and he can't go about assaulting our
"We are angry over this and are dealing with the issue on the
ground. He assaulted our member and we are moving swiftly on the ground to
ensure he never wins the election."
Mutasa last month admitted to
having sent his supporters to assault Kaunye at his farm and having paid
bail for 31 of them in court. Police and Zanu PF investigations have
established Mutasa has a case to answer.
Sibanda, who is reported to
be campaigning for Zanu PF secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
denied the assertion.
"I have felt insulted by reports that I
campaign for Mnangagwa. I have never campaigned for him and he has never
approached me," Sibanda said.
On the succession issue, he said the
war veterans association would wait for President Robert Mugabe to move on
the contentious issue.
"There are people who are far away from
attaining the presidency and are nonentities in the party, the mafikizolos,"
"These people want to use the succession debate to push
upwards and position themselves, but they are wasting time."
Food shortages rampant despite govt claims Loughty
Dube DESPITE claims by President Robert Mugabe that the country is not facing
food shortages, government last week launched its drought relief programme
in the arid Matabeleland South province.
Minister of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mangwana, launched the programme last
Thursday in Beitbridge.
The launch of the feeding scheme was seen as
an admission of the severity of the food crisis.
executive director of Post-Independence Survivors Trust, said the move shows
there is a problem with food supply.
"The latest move by the
government absolves (Bulawayo mayor Japhet) Ndabeni Ncube from any blame and
confirms that lots of Zimbabweans are suffering as a result of the food
shortages. There is a scarcity of food in this country," he
Figures compiled by the Bulawayo City Council have shown that
162 people have died since January as a result of malnutrition. But
government has reacted angrily to the reports, saying the country has an
abundant supply of maize, the staple food.
The drought relief
programme is set to benefit thousands of people who are finding it difficult
to source food in the border town of Beitbridge, which is located in the
Beitbridge MP Kembo Mohadi, who is also Home
Affairs minister, said the launch of the feeding scheme would go a long way
to alleviate the plight of people in the district.
The launch of
the programme came a few days after Information minister Jonathan Moyo
claimed Zimbabwe had an abundance of maize. Mafa said the programme exposed
Moyo's statements as threadbare.
"Moyo is a propagandist and he is
not qualified to talk about statistics on food. How can government claim
that there are no food shortages on the one hand and then on the other go on
to have feeding programmes. It's hypocrisy of the highest order," Mafa
Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Forum president Max Mnkandla said
government was not sincere with the food situation in the
"In reality there is not enough food in this country and all
we are hearing from Moyo is mere politicking but people have no food," he
SA warned of Zim-style farm invasions Dumisani
Muleya SOUTH Africa must speedily address inequitable land ownership patterns
to avoid Zimbabwe-style farm invasions, the International Crisis Group (ICG)
The ICG, which deals with conflicts around the globe,
said South Africa faced rising tension over land and should act quickly to
avert a grabbing of farms.
"South Africa still has time to get it
right on land reform and avoid future land-related violence and insecurity,"
ICG special advisor, John Prendergast, said.
farmers and donors, can take practical steps to accelerate the current land
reform programme, contribute to poverty reduction, and reduce landlessness.
The stakes are enormous, with implications throughout southern
In a newly-released book titled Blood and Soil: Land,
Politics and Conflict Prevention in Zimbabwe and South Africa, the ICG said
"tensions over land and race, which have already contributed much to
Zimbabwe's political and economic collapse, are rising in South Africa as
"New approaches are needed if they are not to push tempers to
the boiling point across all of southern Africa," the ICG
"Resolving the challenge of land will be central to getting
Zimbabwe back on its feet when that nation eventually experiences a change
The ICG, based in Brussels, Belgium, and led by
eminent statesmen, said while land reform was an important issue, South
Africa should be wary of plunging into a crisis of farm
"For all the understandable international outrage over
seizures of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, the biggest losers of the land
programme have been black Zimbabweans - black farm workers, black members of
the opposition, and all those who were not part of the ruling elite," the
"There are tremendous historical injustices that need to be
dealt with both in Zimbabwe and South Africa, but Zimbabwe has demonstrated
the deadly dangers of exploiting land redistribution for blatantly political
The ICG said President Robert Mugabe had "exploited genuine
sensitivities about the land issue to divert attention from growing
dissatisfaction with his government".
It said the bungling of
land redistribution in Zimbabwe "exacerbated racial and ethnic
polarisation", as well as precipitating economic decline. The ICG said the
disorderly exercise left agriculture in ruins and the country experiencing
Norton chair splurges on phone bill as town
burns Conrad Dube NORTON council chairperson Bybit Tsomondo has the luxury
of spending $7 million a month on mobile phone calls despite the council
being in dire financial straits.
Documents to hand show gross abuse
of council funds and facilities by Tsomondo who has frustrated efforts to
hold elections for chairperson, vice chairperson, or chairmen of
She has been accused of implementing decisions without
council approval. The elections were supposed to have been held in August
according to the Urban Councils Act.
A memorandum written to
members of the finance and development committee by chief executive Winslow
Muyambi shows that council paid $7 057 107,67 for Tsomondo's mobile phone
bill for the month of July.
Tsomondo is entitled to a monthly mobile
phone allowance of $300 000.
Muyambi said Tsomondo was allocated the
cellphone for official use.
"Initially the maximum allowance for the
council chairperson was fixed at $60 000 per month. This cellphone usage
limit was reviewed upwards to $300 000 per month with effect from March,"
according to Muyambi's memo.
Muyambi said the delay in the council's
response to the increase in tariffs by Net*One caused the prejudice to
Tsomondo in meeting the debt incurred as a result of the tariff
The documents also show that Tsomondo claims an average of
730 litres of fuel per month valued at about $2 555 000 at $3 500 a litre.
In May she allegedly claimed 918 litres, in June 871 litres, in July 786
litres and in August 656 litres.
The documents also show that
Tsomondo was allocated house number 7, Fletcher Road in May this year for
use during her annual tenure. She later bought the house for only $30
million contrary to a letter written by one S Madzinga of the Ministry of
Local Government and National Housing, dated May 10.
The letter read:
"Please be advised that it was agreed that the council chairperson be
allocated a council house for a duration of her tenure as chairperson.
Council should draw up a lease that ends at the next council
The council ignored the recommendations of the
director of housing and community services on land valuations.
Ruling won't bar Tsvangirai from polls Dumisani
Muleya OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's conviction in the landmark treason trial will not necessarily
stop him from standing in future elections as widely
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said the
ruling, set for October 15, would only have a political impact on
Tsvangirai's tenure at the helm of the MDC. It would not bar him from
contesting elections except if he were convicted and served a prison term of
more than six months.
"If Tsvangirai is convicted that will not
necessarily bar him from contesting for political office except for the time
when he is serving that sentence which has to be more than six months,"
"In theory a person who is convicted and sentenced to
less than six months can stand for election. Zimbabwe does not generally
impose a blanket ban against people with criminal records. However, for
public positions someone with a criminal record cannot be appointed within
five years of that conviction."
In terms of chapter IV of the
constitution, section 28, subsection (1), a person qualifies for election as
president if he is "a citizen by birth or by descent, has attained 40 years
and is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe".
"You don't even need to be a
registered voter to stand in an election to be president. That is the
constitutional position," Madhuku said. "It's different from when you are
standing in an election to be an MP because you should not have a criminal
record and must be a registered voter."
There have been widespread
fears that the ruling Zanu PF wants to see Tsvangirai behind bars to stop
him from running for the office of president in 2008. But Madhuku said a
conviction would not necessarily prohibit him from
Tsvangirai was arraigned in February last year for
allegedly plotting to kill President Robert Mugabe ahead of the hotly
disputed 2002 presidential election.
The allegations, firstmade
public by an Australian television ch-annel, were officially confirmed by
controversial Canadian publicist Ari Ben-Menashe in February 2002, a month
before the presidential poll.
The state case hinged on a fuzzy
videotape and an unintelligible audio tape in which Tsvangirai was allegedly
caught discussing Mugabe's "elimination" at a meeting with Ben-Menashe in
Montreal, Canada, in December 2001.
Madhuku said the ruling would have a
political impact as it would either strengthen or weaken Tsvangirai's
position in the MDC. There are fears that Tsvangirai's conviction could
create divisions that might weaken the party.
If Tsvangirai is
convicted, Madhuku said, that would leave him exposed to a possible internal
challenge for power by his lieutenants who might think that he had become an
electoral liability. However, if he is acquitted, he was likely to become
stronger because his reputation would remain intact, and even become
case-hardened, he said.
Wobbly banks still send tremors Dumisani
AS Zimbabwe's banks rushed to meet yesterday's
deadline on new capital adequacy requirements, questions lingered on the
stability of the banking sector which has been buffeted on all sides by the
monetary policy regime introduced last December. Although Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials this week denied that some banks could sink,
distress signals continued to spread across the sector, with reports that
some institutions were pleading to be put under curatorship to avert
imminent collapse. Analysts said the volatility in the banking sector showed
that the financial system remained unstable. They said fears that nine banks
could fail to meet new capital requirements were clear evidence of
Out of 41 banking institutions, seven are under curatorship,
two under liquidation, and four under the Troubled Banks Fund - which means
13 financial institutions are in crisis.
Banks which have been placed
under curatorship include Intermarket, Barbican, Royal and
Trust. Economic analyst Eric Bloch said Zimbabwe's banking sector was
struggling to regain balance but remained shaky.
measures are useful but the sector is still unstable," Bloch said. "There is
still a long way to go before the sector regains stability."
though it was encouraging that the central bank had licensed 31 asset
management firms after receiving 58 applications. Before the licensing
system was introduced, Zimbabwe had more that 70 asset management
He said some banks would soon either be forced to
recapitalise, merge, be put under curatorship or go into liquidation.
Several mergers and closures were said to be looming despite statements to
RBZ governor Gideon Gono, who has been assuring the nation
that the banking sector is "fundamentally sound and stable as a whole", was
quoted in the state media on Tuesday as saying "no banks will
Gono reportedly said contingency measures had been devised to
save "distressed banks" threatened by a hostile economic environment and new
Zimbabwe's economy, which shrank by 9% last
year, is this year expected to contract by 5%, according to Gono, despite
contradictory claims from his office and by President Robert Mugabe that it
was recovering. While inflation is falling, partly due to the use of a fixed
exchange rate, most economic indicators - which are barometers of the
nation's economic health - still remain poor.
prevailing uncertainty in the banking sector, Gono has maintained the
situation is under control. He said there would be no "free-fall Armageddon"
for the banking system.
The new capital requirement for commercial banks
is $10 billion; merchant banks, building societies and finance houses $7,5
million; and discount houses $5 billion.
Last week Gono told the
parliamentary portfolio committee on budget, finance and economic
development that "most banks were now in compliance with the new capital
requirements". He also said those banks that were not yet in a position to
meet yesterday's deadline had submitted their recapitalisation
Gono's streak of optimism, which observers say is as
encouraging as it could be misleading, which ran through his quarterly
monetary policy reviews in April and July, has been widely reflected in the
However, analysts say despite Gono's persistent claims
that the banking sector is stable, there are serious fundamental problems
and underlying risks besetting the financial system.
the placement of Trust Bank under curatorship last week as a clear
indication that some of the banks which remained on the market were actually
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions economist Prosper Chitambara
said Trust's closure was indicative of the depth of the crisis in the
"The closure of Trust has sent jitters in the financial
market. It confirmed the depositors' fears that their money is not safe in
banks, especially in indigenous banks," Chitambara said.
"There is of
course the contagion effect of the closure on other banks. Already many
locally-owned banks have been hit by massive panic withdrawals. The banking
sector is not yet safe. Depositors don't have peace of mind."
said the banking crisis was worsening Zimbabwe's credit risk internationally
when the country was already suffering from serious political and sovereign
risks. "Who would want to deal with a country where banks are closed and
placed under curatorship every month?" he asked.
Trust's closure was said
to be particularly worrying because the RBZ poured in $280 billion - which
has now ballooned to $1,4 trillion (equivalent to the country's domestic
debt) - of taxpayers' money in a bid to rescue the bank but that simply
failed. This prompted accusations that the central bank had just plunged
into the Trust crisis without adequate knowledge of the depth and extent of
the problems. The issue also raised fears that the RBZ could be acting on the
basis of an ad hoc policy. If the RBZ had closely studied the banking
emergency, analysts reasoned, it would have discovered that the banks it
tried to save were on the skids and beyond redemption.
bottomless pit into which the RBZ poured money was only exposed after Old
Mutual did a due diligence exercise to ascertain the possibility of a merger
between the bank and Nedcor of South Africa. Old Mutual has an interest in
Soon after the study was completed, one Old Mutual official was
asked by a business colleague why they "walked away" from Trust and he
replied: "We did not walk away, we ran away!" He was dramatising the
problems that Old Mutual had found at Trust which led to the collapse of the
Trust, like other banks, was dogged by serious liquidity
problems. Most of the ailing banks were also bedevilled by imprudent
business practices, administrative failures, managerial limitations,
structural ownership weaknesses, poor corporate governance, bad risk
management, and leadership incompetence.
But the RBZ's raison d'Ítre
of pouring money into Trust after issuing a corrective order on January 13,
after discovering it was "unsafe and †unsound", was that the bank needed
huge liquidity support to prevent it from a collapse which could trigger
systematic risk and affect "vulnerable depositors". The RBZ had forced
out the original bank directors, including managing director William Nyemba,
on March 15 to steer the institution out of trouble. Analysts expressed
scepticism as to whether the RBZ was sufficiently informed in its actions in
the first place.
Hardly a month after the new team had take over at
Trust, misinformation started flowing, with Gono claiming on April 4 that
the bank had made "commendable progress" towards recovery when in fact it
was sinking deeper into crisis. No evidence whatsoever was provided to
back the declaration which has now proved to have been wholly
Gono also expressed optimism about the positions of
Metropolitan bank, which had received $23 billion, saying the changes made
were expected to "give birth to a new and stronger institution with modern
methods of risks management and stewardship".
He said he was "happy"
to continue supporting Royal Bank's merger efforts. He said the money that
had been sunk into Barbican and Century would be recovered. Although Century
says it has repaid, it is not clear how much of the almost $500 billion in
public funds put into the struggling banks would be recovered.
said last week there were efforts to recover the money which now runs into
trillions, including interest, through the troubled banks resolution plan
although there are strong doubts this would be achieved.
Jonathan Kadzura said: "They allowed the banks to borrow for speculative
reasons and to breach the Banking Act at will. The central bank must come
out in the open and say who has failed the nation."
Bank governor Gideon Gono faces his sternest test when he meets
International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials during his trip to the United
States this week over Zimbabwe's relations with the Bretton Woods
institution. Gono last met IMF officials in Washington in June in a bid
to stop Zimbabwe's expulsion from the multilateral lending
institution. After its Article IV consultation meeting on July 7, the IMF's
executive board gave Zimbabwe until December to settle its US$295 million
arrears or be cashiered for non-payment.
An IMF delegation was in
Zimbabwe from March 17-31 ahead of the annual Article IV consultation. It
reported that Zimbabwe's real gross domestic product had declined by about
In another report released on September 17 the IMF again said
Zimbabwe's social and economic situation continued to worsen because of poor
policies. In particular, the IMF said, the disorderly implementation of the
land reform programme had precipitated a sharp decline in agricultural
The IMF further expressed concerns about the rule of law
and human rights, and lack of clarity on property rights which have severely
undermined investor-confidence and fuelled capital flight and
While these issues will prove to be an encumbrance for Gono
at the IMF, the real stumbling block to the normalisation of relations with
the institution - and by implication other lenders - will be politics back
home. Zimbabwe needs the support and goodwill of the international community
before it can think about economic recovery. Donors have made it clear to
the RBZ governor that there is no prospect of their resuming support until
there is a domestic consensus.
Despite his best efforts Gono will not
succeed without a negotiated political settlement back home. Paul Mangwana's
attempts this week to portray government's failure to raise funds for social
recovery as the product of imperialist pique only serve to underline the
extent of the international isolation Zimbabwe now faces.
appointment last December, Gono has been trying to improve relations with
the IMF. Everybody, except for dogmatic Zanu PF mandarins, knows that this
is critical, not only for balance-of-payments support but also for our
international rehabilitation. But Gono has been undermined, largely by
President Robert Mugabe's obduracy. Mugabe has shown overt hostility towards
the IMF. Only last week he attacked the institution again when he knew Gono
was set to meet its officials over the Zimbabwe issue.
on international platforms to divert attention from real problems at home
will not extricate Mugabe from the consequences of his disastrous
This is where the problem lies for Gono. Government's
fundamental policy contradictions and leadership failures have caused the
current problems and its obduracy has prevented the sort of reengagement
that Gono is attempting to engineer. As he would be the first to admit,
nothing could be more important than resumption of balance-of-payments
support as the country faces an ongoing forex crunch.
Mugabe wants to
spin the country to face East. He admires prospering countries like China
and Malaysia and dreams of emulating their achievements without adopting
their sound economic policies. China did not get to where it is by accident.
It launched economic reforms in 1978 and has since then maintained, for a
quarter of a century, an average 9% growth rate.
A number of countries in
the Far-East that Mugabe wants to endear himself to have implemented
investor-friendly regimes to enhance economic relations with the West and
the rest of the world. Economic relations forged over a long period by a
combination of trade treaties, open markets as well as private and
public-sector networks, are difficult to redefine overnight.
not responsive to doctrinaire populist posturing, reckless demagoguery or
unilateral government interventions. Ideological self-designation does not
help unless backed by social delivery. That in turn requires sensible fiscal
policies. South African ministers have repeatedly made this connection clear
to their constituents.
Our international economic relations, especially
in the current global village, will certainly not respond to Mugabe's
caprices. Mugabe, who is evidently locked in a dangerous ideological time-
warp, must get real and understand this. The sooner he does, the
Gono will have a hard time explaining to the IMF the
contradictory signals emanating from Harare. Exactly where does Zimbabwe
stand on relations with the IMF, World Bank, UNDP and other multilateral
institutions whose help the governor is seeking? Until there is a balance
between political and economic imperatives, his is a forlorn struggle.
INDUSTRY and International Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi
must be a major catalyst for the distraught state of Zimbabwe's industrial
sector and for the massive decline in the country's international
That anyone should occasion industrial collapse, with the
concomitant negative economic consequence in general, and upon employment
and foreign exchange generation is abysmal, but that it should be the
minister responsible for industry and international trade is
One of the first occasions that the minister evidenced to this
columnist how detached he is from reality was at the 2004 annual congress of
the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. I had been accorded the privilege
of being the guest speaker at the closing banquet of the
congress. Inevitably, my address centred upon Zimbabwean economic
circumstances and actions that could stimulate economic recovery and growth.
In the course thereof I suggested that Zimbabwe needed a change of attitude
and policies insofar as interactions with the international community were
I contended that those who claimed that Zimbabwe "can go it
alone and does not need the international community" were misguided. Any
reversal of the economic decline would have to be facilitated by diverse
circumstances, including reconciliation with the international
That reconciliation would result in foreign direct investment,
in technology transfers and in development of export markets and, if that
reconciliation was to be achieved, Zimbabwe needed to abandon its
confrontational stances, its recurrent outpourings of vituperative,
unfounded criticisms and its unwillingness to seek compromise and
In doing so, I further suggested that the most outspoken in
denying any need for interaction with the international community
steadfastly cited Malaysia as evidence that economies can be successfully
restructured and operated in isolation, but they failed to recognise the
very great differences between Malaysian resources, circumstances and
policies when that country so successfully uplifted its economy from very
low levels to remarkably high levels of economic dynamism, and the
circumstances, resources and policies which prevail in Zimbabwe.
spoke, the minister showed increasing signs of irascibility and indignation
and, although not scheduled to speak at the banquet, insisted that he be
given the opportunity to do so. He was given that opportunity, whereupon he
gave vent to his spleen with an outpouring of negative reflections upon my
character - to which reflections he is wholly entitled! - and claimed that
my statements were devoid of credibility because Malaysia has clearly proved
that countries can achieve economic wellbeing in isolation.
he did not absorb what I had said, for he used the very example which I had
destroyed. He then also claimed that, in any event, Zimbabwe had fully
satisfactory international relationships, as evidenced by its membership of
the Southern African Development Community and trade bloc Comesa, and its
very close friendships with Libya, Malaysia and China.
did not explain how those relationships were benefiting the Zimbabwean
economy to an extent as would be forthcoming from reciprocally harmonious
relationships with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the
European Union and the Commonwealth.
In the post-banquet comments from
participants, it was very evident that the captains of commerce present were
wholly unconvinced by his diatribe, and that he had successfully dissipated
any esteem that most of them may have had for him. But then,
approximately a fortnight ago, he saw fit not only once again to disregard
totally the substance of an address, but instead resorted to unmitigated
vitriol, directed once again at this columnist.
The minister is fully at
liberty to despise me, and is welcome to use his best endeavours to belittle
me, but he should not be at liberty to ignore irrefutable facts as to the
state of industry, which he is supposed to assist and encourage, and equally
he should not unilaterally reject opportunities (present or future) to
strengthen international trade. And yet that is exactly what he did, if
numerous reports are well-founded.
The Ministry of Industry and
International Trade, in conjunction with the textile faculty of the National
University of Science and Technology, organised a workshop on Zimbabwe's
textile and leather industries, targeted at identifying how those industries
could be assisted and supported, and could be key players in Zimbabwean
The ministry extended an invitation to me to
present a paper on the textile industry at the workshop and, as I was going
to be overseas and therefore would be unable to attend, I was then requested
to prepare a paper to be read on my behalf. I duly complied, and by way of a
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis suggested that the
textile industry could become a very major factor in a future, strong
economy, subject to the weaknesses and threats being appropriately addressed
and countered, and the strengths applied to exploitation of the
Among various opportunities, which I believe exist or will
exist in the future, I identified the African Growth and Opportunities Act
(Agoa) of the USA, which enables various countries in Africa to export
textiles and clothing to that country without an incidence of customs duties
and import taxes. I suggested that although present political differences
between the USA and Zimbabwe resulted in Agoa not being extended to
Zimbabwe, at some future date Zimbabwe could well become a beneficiary of
Agoa, and the textile and clothing industry should gear themselves towards
maximising on the opportunity, when it occurs.
Reports from 16
different participants at the workshop have since given me substantially
identical details as to what occurred when my paper was presented. Some
participants said that the minister was apoplectic, that he could not
contain himself and fury and heat poured forth from every pore.
venom was only matched by the quantum of vitriol that, in my absence (and
despite the fact that it had been his ministry that had invited my
participation) the minister directed towards me. His ire had been primarily
fomented by my references to Agoa.
Like the fox of Aesop's Fables
fame, that unsuccessfully strove repeatedly to reach a bunch of grapes and
then claimed "I never wanted those grapes!" so the minister said that
Zimbabwe had no desire whatsoever to be aligned to Agoa for, he alleged,
Agoa was nothing but an evil stratagem of the USA to colonise and dominate
He proceeded to state forcibly that I - whom he dubbed as "Dr
Blair" - promoted Agoa because I was an active conspirator with Tony Blair,
the United Kingdom and the USA and the Zimbabwean political opposition,
striving to achieve a regime change in Zimbabwe.
The only gratifying
feature of his censorious decrial of my paper was that his audience, or at
least many present, listened to him in stunned silence, provoked by
dumbfounded amazement that he could project himself in such a ludicrous
manner, completely detached from reality, and that he could allow his racial
and political bigotry to override the interest of the industries that he is
supposed to care for.
BRITISH Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been experiencing some
discomfort this week following what he claims was an ambush in New
York. He said he shook hands with President Robert Mugabe at a reception
hosted by President Thabo Mbeki last week "by mistake" and because it was
The handshake, filmed by BBC's Newsnight in a programme shown on
Monday, has led to a furore in Britain.
"Handshake that shames
Britain," declared the Daily Mail, which printed a picture of it on its
front page. "Straw causes storm with Mugabe handshake," Reuter
Other headlines were equally unforgiving. "Straw blames bad
light for Mugabe row," the Scotsman mocked. "Straw: 'Did I shake Mugabe's
hand?'" the Daily Mail pitched in. "What a mistake to shake," Sky TV
The London Independent quoted Straw as saying: "I hadn't
expected to see President Mugabe there. Because it was quite dark in that
corner. I was being pushed towards shaking hands with somebody just as a
matter of courtesy and then it transpired it was President Mugabe," he
According to the Independent, Straw then defended
his actions: "The fact that there is a serious disagreement between Zimbabwe
and the United Kingdom does not mean that you should then be discourteous or
Critics have said the handshake sent the wrong message. Mugabe is
anxious to extract every ounce of recognition and legitimacy he can which is
why he appears every year at one of the few fora left open to him, the UN
General Assembly meeting in New York. The only restriction imposed is that
he is confined to a 25-mile radius of the UN building.
guilty of gullibility. Does he always allow himself to be "pushed towards
shaking hands with somebody"? How does he know it isn't the head of the
Burmese junta or some populist demagogue like Hugo Chavez lurking in the
shadows? Meanwhile, whatever the reaction of the British press, Mbeki is
probably rather pleased with his diplomatic coup. While it hardly
constitutes the rapprochement he is looking for, he will be able to claim
that "the two sides are engaged in talks"!
Has anybody measured the
column inches devoted in the state media to rubbishing the MDC? Vast acres
of woodland have been chopped down to enable brain-dead columnists like
Lowani Ndlovu to hurl his simple-minded abuse at the opposition as if it
posed a mortal threat to him and his ilk. Perhaps it does. Many of us have
been taking Zanu PF's electoral victory for granted given the manipulation
and coercion taking place across the country. But why does Zanu PF need to
exercise this sort of muscle if it is a natural-born winner?
state media, with their daily anti-MDC ranting, are unwittingly telling us
something: that their masters see the MDC as a real threat to their
continued grip on power. How else do you explain the attempts by the Green
Bombers to prevent Morgan Tsvangirai's rally taking place in Sakubva last
weekend? Why bother if the MDC is already "buried"? And why churn out all
those phoney "analysts" on ZTV every night if the battle is already
The numbers attending Tsvangirai's rally are part of the answer.
Thousands ignored intimidation to attend. And the same scenes are being
repeated up and down the country in the few cases where rallies are allowed
to go ahead or are not broken up by ruling-party thugs. People are yearning
for change. And what does Zanu PF offer? Beatings, poverty and dishonesty. In
other words, more of the same. Does anybody seriously believe the country
has "turned the corner"? Is that the experience people have when they go
shopping? Is that what the new phone bills tell us? And are Zanu PF
policies, in the mining sector for instance, calculated to ensure
recovery? Zanu PF has nothing to offer except discredited mantras, delusional
crop figures and the usual threats.
By making Tony Blair his
principal opponent President Mugabe hopes to beat the nationalist drum at
home and secure support abroad from developing countries that feel frozen
out of the Washington consensus. But scattered applause at a poorly-attended
General Assembly session hardly does the trick. Yes, he will mine some
sympathy there although, as our state media bitterly complained, few other
leaders were prepared to emulate his demagoguery. Especially not President
Mbeki whose thunder Mugabe tried to steal. South Africa has signed up for
Blair's African Commission and so have many others. Then there are the
over one million Zimbabweans who have chosen to live under Tony Blair rather
than Robert Mugabe.
Why have they chosen Britain's bleak shores rather
than anywhere else? Could it be the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and
inflation of 3% - as distinct from 300%! Could it be the attractions of a
strong economy where they have opportunities they can't find at home? Or the
right to say what they like and wear whatever T-shirt they like without
being set upon by armed thugs?
Mugabe can wave his fists at Blair at the
UN. And a handful of sympathisers may applaud. But they don't have to live
with the consequences of his toxic policies. And meanwhile one million
Zimbabweans have voted with their feet. No wonder he won't extend the
franchise to them!
This week a bitter Uncle Joe Stalin launched what he
thought would be a successful counter-attack in the so-called Sunday News in
retaliation for our strikes against him last week. He accused us of stealing
the Sunday Mail and Sunday News' Didymus Mutasa story. We reported last
Friday that there had been developments in the case, and anyway felt it was
a good running story which the Independent first carried on August 27. Just
because the Sunday Mail/Sunday News borrowed the story on September 19
(better late than never) doesn't mean we can't return to it!
So what did
the Sunday Mail offer up last weekend as an example of its originality? A
story headed "Govt dismisses poll postponement" which was (yawn!)
Information minister Jonathan Moyo once again having a go at the MDC and
being afforded any amount of space to do so.
This time it was focused on
remarks by Welshman Ncube that more time was needed if the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission was to be up and running in time to do anything
useful. Uncle Joe could perhaps enquire at Herald House which Moyo statement
they will be running on a Sunday before attacking other papers for lack of
Meanwhile, that other Sunday News organist, Cde Goings
On, claims he is "nobody's apologist". But having declared George Bush and
Tony Blair to be criminals he proceeded as follows: "If they have brains
worth talking about these war-mongers will never forget President Mugabe's
sheer intellectual brilliance and unparalleled eloquence as he told them in
their faces and in their very own backyard that the world will not be
fooled." Now that qualifies Cde Goings for our Bootlicker of the Year
Competition is fierce in the government media so he had better get
his entry in soon! By the way, was Blair actually present at the UN last
week? Oh never mind. Why let the facts get in the way of a good
We were intrigued by remarks made by Cde Goings about a "false,
malicious and outrageously defamatory article" about their editorial
commissar, Brezhnev Malaba.
What on earth could Goings be talking
about? Surely not that little incident along the Gwanda Road? "Those of
us in the know are now marvelling how a motley crew of strange bedfellows
conveniently forgot their past differences and foolishly conspired against
my editor," Cde Goings loyally declared. And how would he know about this
conspiracy that suggests a worrying lack of solidarity in the ranks at the
Apparently he's got the place bugged. "Walls have ears,
especially enemy walls." "Goings On certainly knows the cowardly gang of
wicked, goulish, illiterate semi-literate and barely literate characters who
pushed for the publication of that patently false story."
just at the Sunday News! But Cde Goings has the culprits in his sights as a
purge looms. "They better prepare for what is coming. Pity the young and
gullible reporter who will soon discover that you don't fight other people's
dirty wars and expect to emerge unscathed." The gulag
Congratulations to the Herald for discovering another
"conspiracy" designed to "cause havoc" and "derail" the land reform
programme. Chinhoyi farmers Kestell Bezuidenhout and Pieter Ernst Gertenbach
are challenging a Section 8 order issued on Maryland Farm which had been
allocated to "prominent" lawyers Johannes Tomana, Joseph Mandizha and Wilson
In papers filed at the Chinhoyi magistrates' court, the "former
white" commercial farmers are seeking a peace order and an interdiction
against the "three prominent lawyers" barring them from entering the
By exercising their rights under the law, the two farmers are
involved in "a well-calculated move to derail the land reform programme and
create anxiety among new farmers ahead of the planting season", we are
told. The Herald doesn't say how anxious Tomana, Mandizha and Manase might be
because they could not be reached for comment.
But Bezuidenhout is
clearly a trouble-maker. He was arrested last month for contravening the
Land Acquisition Act when he refused to vacate his farm after being served
with a Section 8. He was later released. It is still not clear what he
actually did wrong! "Observers" said the Ministry of Special Affairs
responsible for land reform needed to come up with "a clear position" on
such cases, given that the courts have ruled that a Section 8 order cannot
A few months ago, the Herald told us, officials in the
ministry were accused of withdrawing offer letters to new farmers "as part
of a conspiracy to return the land back to the former white commercial
farmers". We are still trying to work out what colour they are now. But more
to the point, we are keen to know how this "conspiracy" story found its way
to the Herald!
The Sunday Mail had a masterpiece on Page 6 this week.
It consisted of two stories and four supporting pictures. You didn't need to
read the stories to get the message. The two pictures at the top on
Lomagundi College showed what money can buy at an "elitist"
So long as Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere insists that
pupils should pay peanuts as school fees, the situation in the bottom two
pictures clearly showed what to expect. The pupils at Chijaka primary school
were bare foot, sitting on a log in a pole-and-mud "classroom block"
struggling to share the few tattered books available.
The school, if
it can be called that, relies on "four untrained teachers" whose
qualifications are O-level certificates. And according to one of the
teachers, the nearest source of water for the school is a borehole located
10 km away.
If any school needed a donation, there can't be a more
deserving candidate than Chijaka. Where are Jonathan Moyo and President
Mugabe who have been donating computers and other accessories worth millions
of dollars to schools across the country? We don't believe Mugabe himself
went to school under such deplorable conditions even in colonial times. But
Moyo, according to the Sunday Mail, is concerned only with celebrating
Zimbabwe's silver jubilee after defeating Tony Blair. Never mind that
Independence hasn't improved learning conditions for the poor.
liked the editorial Comment in the Herald on Monday about Paralympiad Elliot
Mujaji. Now that he has won gold, everyone would like to be associated with
that achievement. Nobody wanted to help him during his training, it said. In
fact he nearly failed to make it to the Paralympic Games in Athens for lack
The Herald rightly observed that Mujaji deserves a
rousing welcome home. "It is obvious," it said, "that many of those
individuals and organisations who were nowhere to be seen when he needed
them most will now want to hijack Mujaji's victory."
should be directed to Sports minister Aeneas Chigwedere. When Kirsty
Coventry returned from Athens with her haul of three medals Chigwedere
couldn't miss the opportunity to tell the nation that he had recommended to
President Mugabe that she be given a diplomatic passport.
That was after
the event. Yet he is the minister in charge of sport and doesn't appear to
know who deserves help. It was through the generosity of a few companies
that Mujaji was able to go to Athens. Where was Chigwedere? Is Mujaji going
to be issued with a diplomatic passport and US$50 000?
Moyo appears to have met his match at Roosevelt High School last week. He
was the guest of honour at a prize-giving ceremony. His hosts obviously
reckoned that one sure way of pleasing the minister was to flatter him with
one of his Third Chimurenga jingles.
They got Hondo Yeminda ready for the
occasion and won themselves $1,7 million. Who said adults cannot be
humoured? We all saw it in New York. And thanks to Kirsty Coventry's
achievement at the Athens Olympics, ministers now seem to notice swimming
pools wherever they go. Moyo promised to help Roosevelt School raise the $61
million needed to rehabilitate its swimming pool which the Herald reports
"has been lying idle since 1991".
The verdict is out from the apologetic
Voice editor, Lovemore Mataire. He has exonerated Anti-Corruption minister
Didymus Mutasa from any blame for the violence that occurred in Makoni North
a month ago despite confessing that he doesn't have all the
"It just can't be true that you slapped a police officer," Mataire
assured the minister in his weekly column, "Candid brief from the
editor". "That is just bizarre and unlike yourself," opined Mataire,
declaring there "is more to it than see the eye" (sic) in the allegations
linking Mutasa to the violence.
Instead Mataire believes police
details at the scene of the violence were to blame because they didn't do
"The fact that all the incidents of violence took place in
full view of the police is in itself a pointer that some people could have
set you up." confided Mataire conspiratorially. Was this written for The
Voice or for Mutasa?
Mutasa is described by Mataire as a man of peace
who "exhibits a class of political maturity unmatched with a number of
offshoots now sprouting up". So parliamentary aspirants such as James Kaunye
are condemned out of hand because they were not at Cold Comfort Farm with
the likes of Guy Clutton-Brock and have little association with the children
of ex-combatants born at refugee camps outside the country? So much for a
Meanwhile, the laser surgery which UK papers tell us Jack
Straw had performed on his eyes recently doesn't appear to have been
entirely successful as our remarks earlier attest. You will see from the
Herald photo that he no longer wears "specs". We recommend a return to
the old bottle-glasses which were his trademark. At least with those he
could distinguish Britain's friends from its foes!
RBZ reads riot act Godfrey Marawanyika THE Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has set stringent regulations that bar directors or
senior managers of failed banks from sitting on the boards of financial
The new guidelines, which came into effect yesterday, are
contained in the Bank Licensing, Supervision and Surveillance document on
It means, for instance, that directors of
the liquidated Century Discount House, which was bought by the collapsed
ENG, can no longer be directors of any financial institution. Also affected
are directors who once worked for United Merchant Bank.
institutions must follow good corporate governance principles, which provide
for the disqualification of a director or senior manager who has been
involved in the directorship or management of a failed banking institution
and or bank holding company," the document says.
"Unless that person
shows to the satisfaction of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that the person
was not responsible for the insolvency, liquidation, composition with
creditors, bankruptcy or the arrangement with creditors or other action with
similar effect in Zimbabwe or elsewhere."
The document was given to
banking chiefs by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono at a meeting on Monday.
The meeting also discussed problems of cash availability and the status of
the banking sector ahead of yesterday's recapitalisation
In a 37-page document, the central bank said with effect
from yesterday every banking institution would set out its policy on insider
loans and intra-group transactions to comply with the Banking
The loan policy comes in the wake of revelations that senior
bank officials contributed to the demise of their institutions by allocating
themselves massive loans without approval.
It is thought that
irregular inside loans were one of the major causes of the collapse of
Barbican and Royal banks which have since been ring fenced through a
curatorship. Intermarket also suffered the same fate when its former
chairman Nicholas Vingirai allegedly allocated himself more than $90 billion
Trust Bank, which was placed under curatorship last week,
is also battling to come out of the red after its former managers abused
internal loan facilities.
The new policy forces banks to make
disclosures on any lending in connection with any related
A fortnight ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
raised concerns on the stability of the banking system in Zimbabwe, which it
said was risky. That was before Trust Bank was suddenly placed under
The local banking industry has been severely affected by
the problems of poor corporate governance.
The IMF said there was
need to strengthen financial sector supervision, and particularly with
regard to capital adequacy.
Under the new regulations, every board
member is now required to attend at least 75% of board meetings of a banking
"At its Annual General Meeting, each banking institution
is required to review the suitability of a non-executive director who has
failed to comply with this 75% attendance rule, without valid reason.
Attendances shall be disclosed in the annual report."
new system, the board is expected to meet at least once every quarter to
deliberate on the performance of the bank and provide policy
"Although directors may delegate certain authority to
senior officers, they are ultimately accountable for the banking
The regulations also state that the chief
executive of a bank will be responsible for its day to day running, adding
that his absence must be approved by the central bank.
institution is required to inform the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe the person
who will be directly responsible for the overall running of the institution
when the chief executive officer is unavailable, on leave or otherwise
absent," the report said.
"The person nominated should be fully
acquainted with the affairs of the banking institution, and should be able
to act promptly, with authority, on matters affecting the banking
institution. The delegation of responsibilities to several persons, with no
single person as the coordinator with the institution, should be
The report said remuneration of directors and the chief
executive shall not be out of line with the nature and size of opeations of
a banking institution.
"The directors and chief executive should not
avail themselves of unreasonably bountiful remuneration, with execessive
bonuses and fringe benefits relative to the profits and operations of the
bainking institution," RBZ said.
Nssa boss quizzed Conrad Dube THE Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts this week quizzed National Social
Security Authority (Nssa) board chairman Edwin Manikai over the powers that
allow him to deal in shares on behalf of the authority without board
Pricilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga chairs the
Manikai does not need board approval to acquire or dispose
of the authority's shares worth a maximum of $200 million as he deems
necessary - a situation which the committee said was
According to Nssa's resolution of the board of directors,
the board chair-man's limit of authority toacquire and dispose shares was in
November last year raised from above $50 million to above $200
The Nssa board chairman can buy or dispose shares without
board approval and the public accounts committee said the move leaves room
to manipulation where the chairman can only make a report after
The committee felt that Manikai had to much powers and was
now acting as the defacto executive of the authority. The committee
complained that this was not in line with prudent corporate
"He has decision making powers for share dealings above
10% and up to 20% without board endorsement. This is tantamount to abuse and
usurping the general manager's powers," the committee said.
has in the past been blasted for poor corporate governance and lack of
public accountability at man-agement levels. It has also been delaying the
release of externally audited accounts andannual report as required by the
Nssa has had no sub-stantive general manager for four years
and recently re-advertised for the post.
Manikai told the
committee that his board had recommended the top two applicants to the
Public Service Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul
He said Mangwana has instead directed the board to go
through another process of seeking a general manager.
said there were no reasons given for the new development.
also grilled the chairman over issues of operating on an unauthorised
capital and expenditure budget for the past three years.
Nssa is said to receive $13 billion monthly and pays out $6 billion in the
same period. The monetary value of the fund stands at $506
It also queried why some of Nssa's properties were
operating below the rate of return and why it was paying out meager
allowances to beneficiaries, among other issues.
appeared together withother Nssa officials as well as the permanent
secretary in the labour ministry, Lancaster Mu-seka, most of the questions
were directed at him. "For each capital ex-penditure, Nssa is supposed to
seek approval from the Ministry of Finance, Misihairabwi-Mushonga
"Manikai claimed that they had been doing so, but he said the
Ministry of Finance kept losing the papers and therefore had not given them
approval. However, Nssa proceeded without the Ministry's approval which is
in contravention of treasury regulations."Manikai, in response, said their
parent ministry had advised them to treat the budgets as approved due to the
finance ministry's failure to respond in time. Manikai acknowledged
violating provisions of the Nssa Act, blaming it on lack of proper
information technology, which he said would be put in place next
year.Manikai lambasted the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for attempting
to manipulate his board for political gains, adding at one time there were
moves to dilute Nssa's 47% equity in Financial Holdings (Finhold).
††††† Committee riled by influx of cheap imports †††††
††††† THE parliamentary portfolio on Industry and
International Trade has raised concern over what it termed invasion of the
local retail sector by foreign imports.
††††† Acting chairman Moses
Mzila Ndlovu said his committee had realised that the local retail sector
was being disadvantaged by the influx of cheap products on the local
††††† He said the products were creating problems in areas of
employment as jobs were being lost because the local industry was
retrenching in light of slow business caused by loss of market
††††† Ndlovu, who is MDC MP for Bulilimamangwe, said there was
an urgent need for the government to look into the situation since the
economy was at risk.
††††† "This issue has to be looked into. We are
going to investigate the origins of these products and how they end up in
the country," said Ndlovu.
††††† "We hope the country's markets have
not been used as a dumping ground for these businesses," said
††††† Other members of the committee are Chris Chigumba,
Trudy Stevenson, Ray Kaukonde, Osward Chitongo, Daniel Ncube, Willias
Madzimure and Timothy Mukahlera.
††††† He said there were other
issues that had to be clarified such as how these traders were accessing
their foreign currency and if they were paying duty for the
††††† "We have concerns on how these businesses are
accessing their foreign currency to import their products, sure they are not
getting it from the auction," said Ndlovu.
††††† "We really need
to find out how these products are entering the country because there have
been reports that they are not paying duty because of political ties," he
††††† He said the country could not be held to ransom because
of political ties with some countries it has trade agreements with,
especially when the country was being prejudiced of customs duty and
††††† "How can the country really watch its economy being held
to ransom because of the need for foreign currency and protection of
political friends?" said Ndlovu.
††††† For the past three years,
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a massive influx of goods mostly from Asian
††††† Many of the products that eventually find their way
into the country are sub-standard.
††††† He said the government
needed a clear policy on how to handle its imports especially with countries
that pose a threat to the survival of the local industry.
Ndlovu said the government had taken a clear contradictory position on what
was happening in the local industry.
††††† "There is a direct
contradiction, whilst we have a clear position on what is on the ground, the
government has taken its own position on the issue," said
††††† He said there was also a need to establish how exactly
the country was benefiting from the foreign business
††††† "I wonder what we are benefiting from the current
arrangement because there are doubts if there is any inflow of foreign
currency from the businesses. We really have to distinguish what is
politically correct and what is good for the economy," he
††††† He said the committee would recommend that Zimra and the
Reserve Bank investigate the organisations.
Who's a hero? By Vincent
Kahiya FOR too long physical appearance and political prowess have been used
to identify a hero. For too long it has been inculcated in us that the
outside facade rules over inner self. For too long we have been made to feel
guilty for not trying to emulate these false heroes.
constitutes a hero? In a word, it's integrity, which is the sum of
convictions, and how hard one tries to live by them. Of course, a correct
conviction has to abide by some fundamental laws of nature, like others'
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Information minister and President Mugabe's megaphone Jonathan Moyo made a
key disclosure on why the government needs to control our minds through the
electronic media. Addressing Chinese and local army officers, Moyo said
there should be 100% local content in the electronic media because the
country now had a generation of born frees who in essence were American and
"Local content makes local aspirations our backdrops. It
allows us to celebrate our heroes. Why is it okay to hero-worship (George)
Washington of the USA and not President Mugabe?" he asked.
are not happy with anyone who wants foreign content in our local media. The
reality is that it should be 100% local content and those who want foreign
content should pay," said Moyo.
That is the Moyo law of
Do not look beyond the borders for heroes. All other
heroes should be blacked out - we know that to be the justification for 100%
local content programming. The ultimate hero for Zimbabweans must be RG. Why
does Moyo believe that his control of media content will ultimately control
our passions, tastes and even our heroes? Does he believe that the whole
country should join him in the time warp of men prepared only for
subservience in the quest to secure a guaranteed position at the feeding
Moyo was at Roosevelt School last week where he donated $1,7
million to the school after pupils "successfully sang" the propaganda
jingle, Hondo Yeminda. Pupils are expected to fall to their knees before
lowly shrines all in praise of a festering system. Compare this with the
slogan taught at Nazi day nurseries: "Fuhrer, my Fuhrer, my faith, my
light"! We are not heading in this direction, are we?
hero-in-Mugabe-builders been soaking in this Third Reich deputy fuhrer
Rudolf Hess classic? "With pride we see that one man remains beyond all
criticism, that is the Fuhrer. This is because everyone feels and knows: he
is always right, and he will always be right."
But heroes are not
necessarily those whose exploits and perceived infallibility is celebrated
in song and dance and foisted on the populace. Sensible people choosing
heroes go beyond that.
Heroes should not be cruel, manipulative and
blackmail followers through positions of power. A true hero is not
infallible. He makes mistakes. People choosing heroes know that there is no
hero without holes.
They know that if there are too many of those
holes for their liking, they can walk right through them and away. No amount
of propaganda and threats can stop them.
Joaquim Chissano this week embarked on a roundtrip to his country's eleven
provinces to bid farewell to the 19 million people who live there. He will
be stepping down in December after elections to choose a new
The whirlwind tour, dubbed "Don't cry for me, Mozambique",
is also aimed at giving his chosen successor, businessman Armando Guebuza,
badly needed electoral exposure.
The 64-year-old leader took over
power in 1986 following the death of founding president Samora Machel in a
plane crash. For the next six years, Chissano, with the help of Zimbabwean
troops, fought a bitter war with Afonso Dhlakama's Renamo rebels until a
Rome-brokered accord ended the civil war. Renamo became the official
opposition in Mozambique.
In the polls scheduled for December Dhlakama,
political watchers in Mozambique say, stands a fair chance of winning as he
is far more popular than Guebuza.
President Chissano last year
freely announced he would not seek a third presidential term even though the
Mozambican constitution did not oblige him to stand down. Chissano has said
his stepping down is meant to strengthen democratic institutions in the
country and Mozambique's international credibility as a
Recent municipal polls in Mozambique have been hailed by
the international community as free and fair. Renamo disagrees with foreign
reports regarding President Chissano's democratic record and Dhlakama still
maintains that the 1999 presidential poll, which he officially lost to
Chissano, was marred by irregularities.
highly dependent on foreign goodwill and funds, are nevertheless believed to
be doing their best to organise free and fair polls in
Chissano has however always insisted that the electoral
reform process in his country should be acceptable to the opposition. That
is nation-building. Chissano is a hero.
JAG JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated 30th September 2004
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