The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


THE situation could not get much worse. We now have a government that is
determined to inflict policies that are causing hardship and even starvation
in order to spite the opposition and punish perceived critics.

Zanu PF supporters have been burning crops across the country. But they are
unable to see — or choose to ignore — the connection between wheat
destruction and increases in bread prices. Bread production is under threat
from a number of sources. The cost of production is one.

But shortages caused by land invasions and deliberate burning of fields is

That Zanu PF’s top businessmen can’t see the connection and were last week
filmed threatening bread manufacturers should come as no surprise.

These are the same people who have run virtually every business they have
acquired into the ground. Their economic “expertise” is evident at Crittall
Hope, G&D Shoes, Belmont Leather and Zeco.

How have workers fared at these companies? We need to know because President
Mugabe said on Monday his supporters would be taking over firms whose owners
could no longer run on a profitable basis.

The acquisition of luxurious vehicles by the new owners of certain Bulawayo
companies seems unrelated to their management performance. Will this be the
pattern across the country?

How has the government performed in the management of its own companies? How
have Noczim, the PTC, Air Zimbabwe, Zisco, Zesa and Affretair fared?

What has Mugabe’s record been to date in managing an economy? Is Zimbabwe’s
GDP any higher than it was in 1990 or at Independence? Are the majority of
people any better off? What are the figures for unemployment, inflation and
debt? Has the government succeeded in tackling these problems?

A concerted attempt is being made by the ruling party’s propaganda machine
to blame whites for all the country’s problems. But are whites responsible
for a pattern of borrowing, spending and printing money that has seen
inflation skyrocket? Are whites responsible for the plunder of Noczim and
pillaging of the War Victims Compensation Fund?

Those Zanu PF supporters responsible for systematic theft at their own
companies, Zexcom and Sancorp, are today appointing themselves managers of
companies that can no longer cope with being forced to operate unprofitably.

At least Mugabe has been honest enough to admit he was insincere about
economic reform in the 1990s. But nobody should be fooled by Zanu PF’s
argument that Esap failed because it was unsuited to Zimbabwe’s needs.

Esap’s basic requirement was that the government should spend public funds
wisely. That the parastatals were a burden upon the fiscus and needed to be
liberated so their productive potential could serve the country as a whole
and not just provide a field of sheltered employment for Mugabe’s inept

Esap also proposed that Zimbabwe should live within its means. In other
words, it should operate a leaner and more efficient public sector while
freeing up business to grow and create jobs.

As is evident to everybody now, that project was sabotaged by those
entrusted to implement it. The government continued to spend money
hand-over-fist on the military and on salaries and perks for an army of
cabinet ministers, their deputies and hangers on, many of whom would not
last a day in a private-sector business.

In order to sustain this reckless pattern of unproductive spending, it
borrowed from the money market. This in turn fuelled inflation. The budget
deficit ballooned as government refused to get its house in order because it
wanted to go on purchasing support.

It was a textbook case of how not to run an economy. Meanwhile, Botswana,
Namibia, Mozambique and Mauritius were forging ahead on the basis of
policies declared unsuitable for Zimbabwe!

Mugabe is directly responsible for the economic collapse this country now
stares in the face. His belief that a corrupt and unreconstructed state can
run a modern economy is at the root of our problems.

But in addition to a record of incompetence we now have punitive policies
designed to teach the electorate a lesson. The occupation of farms and
destruction of crops, accompanied by malignant terrorism by Mugabe’s
supporters, is designed to punish white farmers for allegedly supporting the
MDC. Farm workers are also victims of a policy aimed at cleansing the
countryside of opposition support.

When a head of state returns to the failed policies of the past and resorts
to open war on the businesses, farms and livelihoods of his citizens, it is
clear he has reached his endgame. His declaration at Heroes Acre on Monday
was an admission of failure in terms of arguments and ideas.

He doesn’t have any left apart from apportioning blame to others. From now
on he will fight it out with the rest of the country. History tells us who
usually wins those encounters.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


PRESIDENT Mugabe seems to have used the burial of Clement Muchachi to make
one of his now customary scorched-earth speeches. Refusing to acknowledge
that his economic and political policies have been a disaster for the
country, he told the gathering at the Heroes Acre on Monday that his
government was ready to take over companies forced to close down by
insurmountable cost escalations and the recently imposed price controls.

“Those businesses which want to withhold products or close down may go ahead
and do so,” Mugabe said.

“We will as a state take over any businesses that are closed ... and we will
reorganise them with the workers, and at least the socialism we had wanted
can start operating,” he said.

So the whole process of land-grabbing, it now appears, is part of a Great
Leap Forward towards socialist collectivisation of agriculture.

We have the president’s full confession that he was insincere about economic
reform in the 1990s — just as we suspected at the time.

Indeed, the Herald’s headline, “Esap dumped”, was several years old!
Just as his ally China is embarking upon market reforms and liberating the
full potential of its people, Mugabe is heading in the opposite direction.

What does he hope to achieve through these policy vacillations?
First it was socialism, which in essence was a time of unbridled
wealth-accumulation for the ruling class while the ordinary people chanted
slogans amidst poverty.

Then, 10 years ago, we thought government had realised the foolishness of
its ways when it embarked on economic reforms, although we soon realised it
had been dragged kicking and screaming to make this paradigm shift after the
command economy had failed to deliver the goods of growth and
employment-creation. But no, we must return to socialism although it has
failed the world over. North Korea is living on food handouts from its
neighbours. One million people have died of starvation. Anybody recall the
“Juche Idea” which the Herald extolled at the time?

As the saying goes: “Fools step in where angels fear to tread”. And this
will only cause more suffering for the ordinary people while our seasoned
lootocracy creams off what goods are left. They have already been visiting

Why does Mugabe think his supporters and the war veterans can run companies?
How successful have the war veterans been in running their own? What is the
record of Zexcom and Sancorp, apart of course from being plundered by

Phillip Chiyangwa has been in the vanguard of those making menacing calls on
factories. What is his record as a businessman in Bulawayo? What happened to
G&D Shoes? What happened to Crittall Hope and his tourism project in Zvimba?
Which Natives have benefited from Native Investments? And what happened to
Shortson Estate?

This latest development looks like a heaven-sent opportunity for certain
people to seize hitherto successful businesses having first run down their
own. And they don’t even know what populist means!

In a sure sign that the Abuja honeymoon is over Mugabe returned to his old
stories about the British intercepting fuel at sea. He blamed commercial
farmers for running a campaign to discredit the Abuja accord.

But then he extolled the Model A2 resettlement scheme which is the most
egregious violation of Abuja imaginable. It provides for thousands of plots
on commercial farms which will be occupied in flat contravention of the
agreement. It is little wonder donors have refused to come forward with

In an official acknowledgement that no money can be expected under the
present circumstances the Sunday Mail last weekend ran a lead story on how
the British were dragging their heels. Up until then we had been told that
the Abuja agreement had wrong-footed the MDC; that the international
community were coming on board to join Zanu PF’s land reform programme and
everything was now proceeding in accordance with the law.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. All the evidence now points
to a continuing campaign of illegal land occupations.

Politicians and government officials are helping themselves to farms,
farmers and their workers are forbidden to produce crops, and the police
continue to do nothing in response.

A High Court order issued by Justice Moses Chinhengo to Police Commissioner
Chihuri and other government agents to curb lawlessness in Marondera and
allow farmers to operate freely has been ignored.

Meanwhile, war veterans are practising extortion on a grand scale across the
country extracting millions of dollars from farmers in order to compensate
workers who have been forcibly displaced.

This is of course all Britain’s fault according to the Sunday Mail.

“The British government has not yet taken any steps to implement the Abuja
agreement, rekindling memories of unfulfilled pledges at the 1998 donor
conference...”, wrote Munyaradzi Huni, Jonathan Moyo’s chief mouthpiece at
the paper.

“There is still room for the British to come back into Zimbabwe’s land
reform programme,” a government source was quoted as saying. “But if they
squander this chance then it will take time for them to come back again.”

“Even some political scientists” have added their voices, we are told,
saying Britain should start making moves to show its willingness to
implement the programme. And one of those famous fictional diplomats was
conjured up to say: “It now seems as if Zimbabwe is the only one in the deal
that is fighting hard to make sure the agreement is a success.”

There is something profoundly delusional about all this. Britain and other
donors have not agreed to sign up to a land “reform” programme that involves
violence, plunder and crop-burning; that proceeds on an ad hoc basis
according to President Mugabe’s electoral needs.

The “political scientists” turned out to be Professor Sam Moyo of Sapes
saying “government had the big task of creating a consensus among
stakeholders in the country”.

Exactly what steps has the government made in that direction? And who
discarded the 1998 agreement with donors and the UNDP?

The state media has misled the Zimbabwean public. Abuja refers specifically
to the need to restore the rule of law and for land reform to be implemented
in a fair, just and sustainable manner. It does not require donors to
provide funds until that has been done.

“The orderly implementation of the land reform can only be meaningful and
sustainable if carried out with due regard to human rights, rule of law,
transparency and democratic principles,” the Commonwealth foreign ministers

“The commitment of the government of Zimbabwe is therefore crucial to this

Why were those details missing from Huni’s article? Why do government
spokesman assume the rest of the world is going to give Zimbabwe money when
the ruling party is sabotaging agricultural self-sufficiency and has if
anything intensified farm occupations?

As the pictures of burnt-out farm houses with the possessions of their
owners scattered on the ground continued to appear around the world last
week, the President’s Office put out a statement drawing attention to
Article 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which
states that everyone is entitled to protection against arbitrary
interference in his/her personal affairs and those of his/her family and

No, this was not an ironic commentary on the violent dispossessions that
have become a hallmark of Zanu PF’s land campaign where people have been
arbitrarily evicted from the homes they built over a lifetime and their
possessions looted. It was a defence of Grace Mugabe against a newspaper
publishing her less-than-distinguished exam results at the University of

Her tutor, it should be noted, is the president himself.

Up until Monday, when the government reacted with such bile to the Standard’
s story, we felt slightly sorry for Grace. It must be rather difficult
accompanying your tutor on overseas trips and then, while he is free to
sample the night life of exotic locations, having to stay locked up in your
hotel room writing essays on The Three Comedies.

“His Excellency is too great a teacher to be cheapened by such vulgar
sniping,” a spokes man claimed, adding that Mugabe had “seen many
Zimbabweans through their studies from as far back as his days in detention”

There then followed some “vulgar sniping” at the Standard’s editor who, it
was suggested, had benefited from Rhodesian rule — although we were not told

“Clearly the editor of this sub-standard (Get it?) tabloid sought nothing
but maximum embarrassment and hurtful injury to the honour, integrity and
reputation of the First Family,” the spokesman haughtily declared.

First Family? Is that an institution recognised by our constitution? Had we
heard of it before 1996?

This all sounded rather like one of those lettres de cachet issued by a
Bourbon king in response to some real or imagined case of lèse majesté by an
impertinent subject.

The Bastille beckoned.

The Herald pointed out that George Charamba, to whom questions about the
exam results had been addressed, was out of the country on the president’s
tour of Asia when the questions were submitted.

So what? Does everything come to a stand-still when the president goes on
tour? Do the courtiers accompanying him at public expense not delegate the
few responsibilities they have?

Lawrence Kamwi, the First Lady’s press officer, was pparently “unable to
assist”. Why? What is he paid to do exactly? But at least his response was

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we were informed by the indignant
presidential spokesman, also protects the privacy of correspondence. Could
he therefore explain why mail is routinely opened by officers from the
President’s Office as US State Department reports on Zimbabwe have drawn
attention to year after year.

We particularly liked the threat to review all scholarships tenable at
British universities. Does this mean British taxpayers won’t have to support
people like George Charamba on courses at the University of Wales?

Despite all that academic training he still can’t spell the name of Jacobean
playwright Ben Jonson!

Addmore Tshuma, we gather, is currently at City University in London on some
scheme cooked up by his boss. He is already disseminating his poisonous
propaganda from the metropole without even a break for shopping!

We learn that in line with the growing affectation of the court around the
Sun King, Charamba was recently elevated to the post of “Secretary of State”
. The Sunday Mail disclosed this last weekend after publishing one of George
’s literary excursions.

Our warm congratulations. This weekend’s homework: What lessons does Ben
Jonson’s work hold for comic dramatists in the Department of Information?

Congratulations also to Shepherd Mutamba on his appointment to ZBC as
editor-in-chief in the Newsnet division. The Zimbabwe Independent announced
the move on August 3. But he has taken a while getting there.

Finally, Muckraker can reveal the true story behind the “First Family’s”
attempts to improve their education.

As must have been clear to anybody listening to the president’s speech at
Heroes Acre on Monday, he is doing a PhD in Economics, University of
Pyong-yang. And Grace is his tutor!

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

LAST week witnessed much of the Zimbabwean population in a frenzied state of
joy and ecstasy, for government had, in a fit of madness, yielded to the
pressures of bodies such as the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, to the very
evident increasing poverty nationwide, and to a recognition of the severely
negative political repercussions as would arise for the ruling party if it
failed to address the inflation crisis.

That so many of the populace were in a state of near derangement of delight
at the development was not surprising for, on the one hand, prices of almost
everything have soared continuously for more than four years, especially so
over the last nine months.

More and more have become impoverished and unable to make ends meet. Thus,
any action of government which would bring the cost of living down and
contain future increases, had inevitably to be well received.

On the other hand, the ecstatic reception accorded the introduction of price
controls was undoubtedly also attributable to the baseless allegations
against commerce and industry of consumer exploitation, of which many
consumers had become convinced.

Politicians, senior executives of the Consumer Council, the war veterans and
others have recurrently alleged that the business community comprises
leeches who, driven by greed, will exact ever more from them, in complete
disregard of the inability of most to meet their demands.

Those in government have readily fuelled that perception by regular
irrational and unfounded attacks on the private sector to divert public
attention from the fact that it is government that has destroyed the economy
and is almost the entire cause of the calamitous inability of most to keep
pace with inflation.

(Whilst they continuously castigate privately-owned businesses for price
increases which they allege are unjustified, they are remarkably silent when
state-owned newspapers increase their prices.
Maybe that silence is because they do not perceive those newspapers to be

They are equally silent when Zesa, a government parastatal, seeks yet
another 30% increase. They do not comment on massive increases in charges by
the postal and telecommunications parastatal, or when the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe is accorded increases of between 60 and 75%, albeit
subsequently reduced by a token 2,5%! They do not react to 1 000% increases
in charges to study at state universities.

In other words, if the private sector increases prices, it is profiteering,
unnecessary avarice and contempt for the masses! When government does it, it
is an inevitable necessity pursued for the communal good!

When the captains of commerce and industry increase prices, they allegedly
counter effects of competition by resorting to cartel strategies; when
government and its parastatals do it, it is in the public interest. And, in
any event, the public must accept it because of the quasi-monopolistic power
of most of the arms of government.

Price increases are claimed to be politically-motivated, designed to
collapse the government. Presumably that applies equally to private sector
price increases, and to those imposed by the public sector!

Most manufacturers have had no alternative but to increase prices, and to do
so regularly, for failure to do so could only cause the demise of their
enterprises. Much focus of the press and of the proponents of price controls
has been upon the impact of parallel market funding of imports.

Because currency for essential imports has not been available in the money
market, business has been unable to import other than by obtaining the
foreign exchange at high cost in the alternative parallel market, and that
has increased production and operational costs.

That has been just one element of the cost increases that have confronted
producers and distributors. Almost all of them were faced with wage
increases or employee cost of living adjustments in January.

Almost all salaries and wages in the economy increased in July.

Electricity charges have increased several times, and very considerably so
over the past approximately a year. Fuel prices were necessarily heavily
increased. Funding of imports has escalated borrowings, therefore interest
charges, as has the financing of higher volumes, in value terms, of debtors
and stocks, due to the inflation that has characterised Zimbabwe for four

Each business has found that all its suppliers, whether of goods or of
services, have similarly had to increase their prices and as a result, the
costs of repairs and maintenance, printing and stationery, insurance, legal
services, accountancy and audit fees, packaging and so forth have all risen

An endless chain reaction of cost increases has become established, not
because of undue hunger for profits beyond a fair return on capital, but
because government has failed to address the fundamental causes of
Zimbabwean inflation, and has steadfastly aided and abetted economic
decline, causing the inflation to worsen.

Those alleging profiteering cite the failure of industry to respond to
temporary reductions in parallel market rates with a lowering of prices as
evidence thereof.

That disregards other compensatory cost increases, and ignores that the
lower exchange rates prevailed for a few weeks, when previously imported
stocks were still the basis of sales.

Similarly, they cite instances of traders increasing prices on “old stocks”
ignoring that even if the cost of those stocks had not increased, the costs
of holding and selling the stocks had, by way of higher wages and overheads.

All these factors have been disregarded, not only by the man on the street
who may be unaware of them, but also by government, which should know
better. Instead, insanity reigns supreme and heavy-handedly, maximum prices
have been imposed, and in most instances those prices must result in losses
(not only on goods already in stock purchased at higher prices, but also on
new stocks).

The cost of producing a loaf of bread is greater than the legislated maximum
selling price. The same is true of many other basic commodities. Government’
s ill-considered solution to that problem is that the costs of inputs such
as wheat, will also be controlled.

But its intents of such controls are in respect of certain basic inputs
only, and not all inputs (which, if attempted, would create further

In the same week as government prescribed the bread selling price, it
gazetted increased wages for employees in the baking industry, and Zesa
proposed a 30% increase in electricity charges! Controlling the price of
inputs such as wheat will result in reduced production of such inputs.
Farmers cannot continuously grow wheat at a loss!

The consequence must be discontinued production of essential products and,
therefore, country-wide shortages depriving the consumers of their critical
needs, at any price.

Discontinued production must cause business closures and unemployment, and
must impact upon the viability of downstream and support enterprises within
the economy. Diminished sales will also reduce the revenue flow to the

Black market trading in products in short supply will trigger further
inflation. Further economic decline is inevitable. War veterans and the
Consumer Council have often threatened consumer boycotts of commerce and
industry, but enterprise may shortly have little alternative but to boycott

The heavy-handed solution of the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade is that any as violate the price controls, and any that discontinue
productions, will be taken over by the state. So much for government’s
policies of privatisation!

In practice, the state has neither the fiscal nor the skill and resources to
operate all the businesses as most fail if they comply with price controls
and continue operations.

State takeover, which is in any event beyond the scope of prevailing law,
will undoubtedly result in a permanent closure of many enterprises, with all
concomitant economic consequences.

It must be anticipated that such takeovers will cause as much confrontation,
litigation, economic prejudice and alienation of international support as
did government’s misguided and mismanaged land acquisition programme. But of
course, when the further nail has been driven into the economy through the
destruction of industry and of commerce, government can always seek another
Abuja Agreement!

The present demonstrations of approbation by consumers, heavily emphasised
by the state’s propaganda machine, especially by the state-controlled media,
will soon be replaced by new demonstrations — those of anger and of distress
at the shortages and the further inflation that looms ahead.

Those demonstrations may well develop into food riots, into civil unrest,
into racial and political conflict. But government is deliberately oblivious
to this. Its attitude is that it will deal with today’s problem today, and
tomorrow’s problem tomorrow (or the day after!), even if tomorrow’s problem
is caused by the solution to today’s.

It panders to public opinion, irrespective of how ill-informed that may be,
and irrespective of the consequences, and in disregard of potentially more
effective, less destructive, solutions, dooms the economy to greater decline
and Zimbabweans to increased hardships.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From Mbendi
Zimbabwe to import wheat from Brazil
Pana reported that Zimbabwe was planning to import 144,000 tonnes of wheat from Brazil in order to meet a shortfall in wheat production in Zimbabwe. The first shipment is expected this week, with further imports expected running for the next year.
Most bakeries likely to close, says Zimbabwe industry group
From Sapa-AP
October 19 2001 at 10:34AM
Harare - The Zimbabwe government's efforts to fix bread prices could force many bakeries to close and cost thousands of people their jobs, industry officials warned on Wednesday.
"Most likely almost all the bakeries will close" if they were forced to sell bread below cost, said Jacob Dube, an official of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
On the same day, the government announced that official inflation had risen last month to a record high of 83,3 percent.
Increases in the prices of food, medical care, carbonated and alcoholic drinks, clothing and footwear were the main reason for the inflation rate's rise from 76 percent in August, the state Central Statistical Office said on Wednesday.
Calculations of official inflation are based on the prices of a basket of essential goods. Independent studies have shown increases of up to 200 percent this year on the price of medicine, motor spares, tyres and some food.
With inflation exploding, the government ordered price cuts last week of 5 to 15 percent on basic foods in an effort to curb inflation. Most other prices, including the cost of electric power and transportation, were not pegged.
The government cut the price of a loaf of bread by 14 percent, fixing it at Z$48,40 (about R5).
However, it cost at least Z$52 to produce a loaf and deliver it to stores, Dube said.
If they were forced to sell bread below cost, bakers would lose Z$1,8 million a day and many bakeries would close, taking thousands of scarce jobs with them.
"Most likely almost all the bakeries will close if this is not remedied," he said.
Analysts said that if companies were forced out of business because of the fixed prices on staple food, it could lead to shortages and black marketeering, pushing inflation up even further.
The country's main bakeries have already cut production and on Wednesday food stores reported intermittent deliveries. Many sold out early in the day. One store was secretly selling loaves for more than the fixed price.
Trade and industry ministry officials said they were discussing possible government subsidies on wheat supplies in continuing talks with millers and bakers.
It was not clear how the heavily indebted government would raise the money for subsidies.
President Robert Mugabe said on Monday that Zimbabwe was abandoning market-led economic policies and returning to a socialist-style economy.
He also vowed to punish firms caught overpricing.
The trade and industry ministry said on Wednesday it had assigned 130 price inspectors to enforce price controls across the country.
Industry officials said that under the price controls the government practised for its first decade after independence in 1980, the price of raw materials was also fixed. These prices are not fixed at present.
"If this price control is to work, we have to look at the whole price chain," said Titus Ncube, a spokesperson for the private Grain Millers' Association.
Milling executives have predicted shortages in supplies of maize within about six weeks.
Zimbabwe has said it would need to import about 400 000 tons of maize over the next six months, starting shipments from South Africa as early as next month.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Invasions Sabotage Timber Industry

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 19, 2001
Posted to the web October 19, 2001

Barnabas Thondhlana

THE government's failure to respect its stated position that agro-industrial
land will not be designated for resettlement will impact negatively on the
economy as a whole, it emerged this week.

The most notable casualty to date has been Border Timbers in Manicaland.

With an annual turnover of $1,2 billion, the company has seen half of its 48
000-hectare timber estate pegged for resettlement by war veterans and Zanu
PF supporters.

"The Abuja agreement specifically states that no further invasions will take
place, but what we are seeing here are more and more people coming to settle
on land which is supposed to be agro-industrial," said John Gadzikwa, the
managing director at Border Timbers.

"Of concern is the fact that the District Development Fund, the police and
army are all actively assisting these settlers to move onto land which
should not be designated.

"This is happening at a time when one would have expected government to be
actively working on growing the export sector, rather than forcing it to
retreat," he said.

Border Timbers exports rough sawn timber to regional markets of South
Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Overseas it exports pine and board
products to Asia, Europe and Australia.

Downstream Border supplies the furniture industry with wood, and the
industry exports value-added products to foreign markets earning in excess
of a billion dollars in foreign currency a year.

"Of concern to all of us is that government is unaware of the threat, not
only to foreign currency earnings that the designation poses, but to the
forestry industry as a whole," Gadzikwa said.

"A misplaced fire from the settlers right now, for example, would burn up
the whole forestry industry in Zimbabwe as Border Timbers is bordered by
Forestry Commission land and wattle plantations. This could be cataclysmic
for Zimbabwe," he said.

Border Timbers would this month be sending a three-man delegation to the
United States to assure clients that Zimbabwe's timber industry was not
doomed. Competitors from South Africa were reportedly going around the world
telling all potential clients of the death of the industry in Zimbabwe and
the inability of Border Timbers to meet future orders.

The invasion had also resulted in shareholder Radar Holdings putting a stop
to any new investment at Border Timbers.

"The Radar board is unwilling to sanction any major capital investment in
projects where the payback is 15 to 20 years ahead if it would appear that
Border Timbers is unlikely to be operating at the current levels in 15 to 20
years time," said Radar Investments group managing director Chris Schofield.

Heinrich von Pezold, whose company has owned the other 50% share in Border
Timbers since 1992, said they had decided to invoke the Germany/Zimbabwe
Investment Protection Agreement to protect their assets.

"We have taken note that our assets are now at risk and have invoked the
right to seek arbitration under the protection of the Germany/Zimbabwe
Investment Protection Agreement," Von Pezold said.

"Damages that have already happened on the estate have to be compensated.

What is obvious however is that Manicaland's economy is going to be highly
affected by the decline in business at Border Timbers," Von Pezold said.

"Businesses dealing with Border are all inter-linked, and if one goes down
all collapse, there is a domino effect," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Donors, Government in New Clash

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 19, 2001
Posted to the web October 19, 2001

Vincent Kahiya

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the agency expected to take
a lead in mobilising resources for Zimbabwe's land reform under the Abuja
agreement, has once again proposed an alternative approach which in effect
requires Harare to drop the internationally condemned fast-track policy.

UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown last month wrote to the government
laying out international expectations before multi-lateral donors will fund
the land reform programme.

The contents of Malloch Brown's letter are not new but they have poured cold
water on President Mugabe's hopes that the Abuja agreement signalled
international acceptance of his land policy and that donors would be coming
on board waving large cheques.

The indications are that the UNDP would like the 1998 land donors conference
resolutions dusted off and tried once more.

UNDP resident representative Victor Angelo in an interview on Wednesday
confirmed the world body had sent a letter to Foreign minister Stan Mudenge
as a follow-up to the loosely-worded Abuja accord.

The government responded to the letter on Tuesday but Angelo was reluctant
to furnish details of Zimbabwe's response.

"The letter (from Zimbabwe) is being discussed as we speak," said Angelo.

"I cannot give you details about the contents but I can say that the
government did not answer all the issues raised in the letter. It is a
delicate matter at the moment," he said.

Yesterday, Angelo was locked in marathon meetings with diplomats from Sadc,
donor countries and G77 members to acquaint them with the latest diplomatic
initiative to save the situation in Zimbabwe.

The move is thought necessary as an air of mistrust between Harare and
London has started to build up again with Zimbabwe saying Britain is not
moving to implement the Abuja agreement. The UNDP however says the
successful implementation of the agreement hinges on the willingness of
Zimbabwe to be flexible and accept recommendations from the international

In its letter to government the UNDP said it wanted to send another
technical team to Zimbabwe to assess the current agrarian reform under the
fast-track exercise. Angelo said the international community was not really
aware of what was happening on the ground, especially regarding the number
of people who have been resettled and their productivity. "We have to come
up with an assessment of the situation on the ground," said Angelo.

"We have to find out what is happening on the farms...We hear 30 000 or 60
000 and some say 100 000 farmers have been resettled but these are just
numbers - we have to ensure that there is accurate information," he said.

Angelo said the UNDP had indicated in the letter that after the assessment
stakeholders - the government, farmers and donors - had to agree on a
general framework which would then be developed into a fully-fledged land
reform programme with the support of multi-lateral financiers.

Observers said the strategy adopted by the UNDP mirrored the views of key
Western donors, including the European Union and former colonial power
Britain, which had all made it clear that they would not put their money
into the current government land policy.

The key donors want a structured exercise which would be implemented in
stages with results evaluated. Before they could be involved, sources said,
the donors would want a proper audit of the government's fast-track scheme,
hence the UNDP's request to send a technical team.

"The donors cannot just make a leap in the dark because they have taxpayers'
money to account for," said a Western diplomat.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Police Crack Down On Newspaper Vendors

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 19, 2001
Posted to the web October 19, 2001

Forward Maisokwadzo

POLICE this week intensified their arrests of newspaper vendors in the city
centre in a move expected to leave hundreds of vendors jobless.

The police action will be seen as yet another ploy by the embattled
government of President Robert Mugabe to gag the free flow of information
ahead of the presidential election next year.

While other papers have also been targeted, the Zimbabwe Independent and the
Standard have been the hardest-hit.

However, police this week denied any political motive behind the clampdown,
which vendors said mostly took place on Fridays, the day the Independent,
among other publications, hits the streets.

"It's a clean-up of Harare based on the city council by-laws," said police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.

He said it was not a deliberate move to drive out newspaper vendors but
claimed it was aimed at all traders including vendors of air-time cards.

But the police are making contradictory statements as to which laws they are
trying to enforce. Vendors said a CID officer, a Mr Shumba, told them police
were arresting vendors in terms of the Road Traffic Act which did not allow
people to obstruct the smooth movement of traffic.

He said this also included human traffic, making it an offence to sell on
pavements and anywhere else besides shops.

This contradicted Bvudzijena's statement that "the police have no problems
with vendors on pavements".

Asked why ZRP moved to arrest vendors instead of municipal police,
Bvudzijena said they were there to protect the laws of the country
irrespective of which institution made the laws.

"Municipal police can still arrest but it's us who are supposed to effect
and protect the laws and prosecute the offenders," he said.

Police appear to be enforcing the city by-laws selectively because cooked
mealie vendors on Prince Edward St, where newspapers have been confiscated,
continue to do a brisk trade. Fruit, sweets and cigarette vendors have not
been affected across the city.

Newspaper distribution companies have expressed concern at the move, which
they said affected their bottom line.

Graham Gandari, Publications Distribution's circulation officer, said the
police clampdown had significantly reduced their sales.

"We have noticed this happens mostly on Fridays. The selection of the day of
their operations raises a lot of questions," said Gandari.

"It's like they don't want to see us in the city which is an unfortunate
situation as we make a living from selling papers". He gave as an example
the fate of Tichaona Gwashira, who has made a living from vending in First
Street for the past six years.

He said arrested vendors were made to pay an admission of guilt fine of $100
if arrested in the city or $200 for those found on intersections.

Gandari said last Friday 15 vendors were arrested and 10 more were arrested
on Wednesday for vending without a licence and for allegedly blocking

"The situation is complicated by the fact that the City Council is not
issuing vending licences," said Gandari.

He said what surprised him was that when he approached the City Council, he
was referred to a health inspector.

"What do newspapers have to do with health issues?" asked Gandari.

A spokesperson for the City Council said they were not issuing vending
licences at the moment except hawkers' licences which forbid vendors from
selling in the CBD.

Independent publisher and chief executive Trevor Ncube said by their action,
the police were affecting the livelihood of the young people employed as
newspaper vendors.

"This is a very sad new situation happening as it comes at a time when the
rate of unemployment is high," said Ncube.

"These are young people trying to earn an honest day's wage and the police
are preventing them doing so," he said.

"This is the same police force that is totally incapable of, or refuses to
do its job of maintaining law and order in this country but they are going
for innocent people.

"We think that the police are being used as an instrument by politicians who
are intolerant of press freedom in this country. This appears to be the
government's latest weapon of muzzling the press," he said.

Daily News chief executive Muchadeyi Masunda said the police's selective
application of the law gave the impression there were ulterior motives
behind the action.

"This is one of the most ill-advised and ill-conceived moves by the police,"
said Masunda.

"In as much as the police would want to enforce the law, they should do it
with a human face and also consult other concerned parties if they want to
enforce the law so strictly," he said.

Masunda said one of their vendors was picked up on Wednesday in Borrowdale
while on his way to deliver papers to subscribers. He was thrown into cells
at Borrowdale police station until he paid the required fine.

"Police are using a sledge hammer to swat a fly," he said.

Financial Gazette publisher and chief executive Elias Rusike said he could
not comment as he had already sought legal advice on the issue.

"The issue is now in the hands of our lawyers," he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Daily News

CFU predicts major famine in Zimbabwe

10/19/01 8:30:46 AM (GMT +2)

By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

ZIMBABWE, the former breadbasket of southern Africa, is about to face a
famine of unprecedented proportions.

Maize reserves are expected to run out during the middle of November, the
Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU), has said.

The CFU Matabeleland regional president, Mac Crawford, said while maize-meal
was the staple diet of the majority of the population in Zimbabwe already
there were reports of shortages in Matabeleland, the Midlands and Masvingo.

The Famine Early Warning System Network warned in its latest monthly report
that the country only had 233 000 tonnes of maize as of mid-September and
this would be depleted by November.

According to Crawford, the government’s estimate of the country’s
requirement of 200 000 tonnes to avert the famine, is conservative in the
extreme. “I believe that 600 000 tonnes is nearer the mark,” said Crawford.

“This means that the southern regions in particular will run out of maize in
the latter half of November. The government, on the other hand, has stated
that the stocks will last until the end of February, or the beginning of

According to the Monthly Food Security Update Summary of 25 September 2001
issued by the Zimbabwe Grain Producers Association, official maize stocks at
233 000 metric tonnes as of mid-September, were down by 41 percent from the
opening level of 393 000 metric tonnes in April.

“At this time of the year, we see the largest draw-down, 170 000 metric
tonnes a month, on the maize supplies as there is nothing left in the rural
areas,” Crawford said.

Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, has
agreed there will be shortages but said his ministry was unable to pay for
maize imported from neighbouring South Africa due to critical foreign
exchange shortages.

“We also believe that 600 metric tonnes of tobacco has not been able to
reach the tobacco floors this season because of the land invasions and this
would have provided the country with much-needed foreign currency,” he said.

South African traders said they were willing to export about 100 000 tonnes
to Zimbabwe but would release the supplies after Zimbabwe had paid.

“We have yet to see evidence of the government placing any orders into
neighbouring states like South Africa, to draw on its maize supplies,” said
Crawford. “So far, all it has done is to try to source maize on the local
market and make the Grain Marketing Board, the sole buyer and seller of
maize and wheat.

“Of concern to us in particular, is the southern region of Zimbabwe. Without
the orders having been placed already, the logistics of getting the required
maize here with the transport system available, will be impossible. It just
cannot cope with the grain required to meet the national consumption.”

Sylvester Tsikisayi, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union director, said his
association was still assessing the food security situation and would not
say whether or not the country needed immediate imports.

Reasons for the lower than expected production in maize are the low market
prices offered by the Zimbabwe government for maize in the 1999/2000 season,
resulting in less farmers growing the crop, and the past 18 months of often
violent farm invasions, where farmers have been prevented from planting, or
have been evicted from their properties.

In addition, farmers in communal and small-scale farming areas reduced
production because they could not purchase inputs, while the maize yield in
some areas was negatively affected by poor or excessive rains.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Daily News
Zimbabwe Defence Industries failing to pay its workers

10/19/01 8:59:46 AM (GMT +2)

By Luke Tamborinyoka

THE Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), the government’s sole arms
manufacturer, says it is broke and cannot pay its workers at its small arms
ammunition factory.

On Monday, the ZDI gave 50 of its workers one week to decide whether they
wanted to be retrenched or to have their working week shortened to three

But the workers, mostly machine operators based at the company’s Elphida
farm in Domboshava, said there was no proof that the company was broke as
they were supplying the Zimbabwe National Army and the Democratic Republic
of Congo with expensive war machinery.

The workers said the company was reneging on a collective bargaining
agreement to increase their salaries, reached in July with the National
Employment Council for the Engineering and Steel Industry.

“We make blank cartridges for the army. We have supplied mortar bombs, live
cartridges, uniforms and food rations to the DRC, yet the company says both
the DRC and the ZNA are not paying in time but there is no way of knowing if
they are telling the truth,” said one worker.

“The NEC ordered that salaries for the lowest paid machine operators be
hiked from $3 600 to $7 050 but the company has refused to adhere to that
decision since July.”

The ZDI general manager, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, could not be reached
for comment on Wednesday.
On Monday the company gave the workers letters to choose between voluntary
retirement or a three-day working work. The other option is to let
management apply for exemption from the NEC.

“We cannot raise money in the immediate future to comply with the collective
bargaining agreement. This is not out of choice but the company is almost at
a stage of bankruptcy,” the letter reads in part.
“This must be clear in everybody’s mind that we do not want to terminate
anybody’s employment, but that the situation is beyond our control.”

The workers said they had refused the company’s proposals and had returned
the papers given to them to sign.

In 1999, the ZDI fired 44 workers for contravening the Official Secrets Act
by leaking confidential information about the company to the Press.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Daily News

ZCTU warns MPs over price controls

10/19/01 8:56:28 AM (GMT +2)

By Columbus Mavhunga

COLIN Gwiyo, the acting secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), has warned workers to be wary of politicians seeking to
“politicise” the issue of price controls.

Three Zanu PF MPs, Philip Chiyangwa, Saviour Kasukuwere and David Chapfika,
went around factories and shops in Harare last week to check on whether they
were complying with the new prices gazetted by the government.

Gwiyo said the MPs should not involve themselves in the running of industry,
saying he saw no reason for them to visit the factories.
“Workers should be on guard against such conduct by the MPs,” said Gwiyo.

“They want to take over firms under dubious means . . . yet records show
that the firms they have taken over are not successful.”
Chiyangwa hit the headlines last year when his former Bulawayo-based shoe
and leather firm, G and D Shoes, failed to pay its workers and to service
its debts resulting in the retrenchment of 400 workers.

Gwiyo said if the MPs were genuinely keen to keep prices low, then they must
declare what their firms had done in that regard.
Last week, the government introduced price controls on bread, maize meal,
margarine, beef, pork, sugar, chicken, soap, salt and fresh milk.

The government said it was cushioning the consumers against companies which
were forming cartels to profiteer.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Daily News

EU sets sanctions deadline for Zimbabwe

10/19/01 8:54:11 AM (GMT +2)

By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

Zimbabwe’s D-Day comes up on 29 October when the European Union (EU) meets
to decide whether or not to slap economic sanctions against the
financially-strapped nation.

The EU’s Working Group of the Council met on Tuesday and Wednesday this
week, and said the Zimbabwean crisis would be debated and decided on 29

Glenys Kinnock, a Member of the European Parliament representing Wales, said
a resolution on Zimbabwe had now been prepared for the Joint Parliamentary

She said the resolution was being “polished up” and would be discussed by EU

Kinnock said: “The Working Group of the Council of the European Union met.

We remain hopeful that President Robert Mugabe will agree to a mission from
the Commonwealth, including British Minister, Baroness Amos.
“I will continue to call for the implementation of Article 96 on October
29th the onus is now on the European Union.”

Article 96 calls for full economic sanctions to be slapped on Zimbabwe.
On 6 September, the EU called for economic sanctions to be imposed on the
country, accusing the government of causing the economic and political
problems bedevilling the nation.

The sanctions included a travel ban on Mugabe to any EU member-country, a
freeze on all his assets held in EU countries as well as the suspension of
economic aid to the country.

Mugabe has denied that he has any properties overseas.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stan Mudenge, and the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity in the President’s Office, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, have accused the EU of trying to sabotage Zimbabwe through sanctions.

They say the move is meant to topple Mugabe’s 21-year-old government.
Kinnock said if intensive diplomatic negotiations between Zimbabwe and the
EU currently taking place did not bear fruit, drastic action would be taken.

Kinnock said: “The EU will have no choice but to take a tough stance against
Mugabe, since he will clearly have violated all tenets of European,
Commonwealth and other international organisations and should, therefore, be
isolated by the international community.”

Continued violation of the Abuja Agreement will also to be discussed by the
EU parliamentarians on 29 October.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Mugabe engages Libyan special unit

Brian Hungwe
A CRACK unit of Libyan intelligence officers is in the country to beef up
President Robert Mugabe’s security and intelligence system as the nation
lurches towards the 2002 presidential election, now only five months away,
the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Intelligence sources told the Independent this week that over 20 Libyan
nationals were booked at a local hotel and could be seen driving around in
government vehicles. They are understood to be re-training intelligence
personnel and President Mugabe’s close security unit.

As the presidential poll draws near, Mugabe is wary over his security in the
event of losing the do-or-die election that pits his 38-year-old Zanu PF
party against the two-year-old opposition Movement for Democratic Change

The Libyans’ role in the election has been unclear, though suspicions abound
that they could play a crucial role in perpetuating the reign of Muammar
Gaddafi’s closest ally in the southern African region if the vote went
against him.

“As far as I know, they are just involved with monitoring and improving the
security of Mugabe who envies Gaddafi’s intelligence network,” a source

The team will be in the country up to the time of the presidential election
next year.

“There are strong fears that something terrible could befall Mugabe if he
loses. There is need to ensure his maximum security,” the source said.
A British paper this week said “hundreds of Libyan troops”, part of Gaddafi’
s elite forces, “known for their terror tactics, were being housed in secret
locations scattered across the country”.

The Daily Telegraph, quoting intelligence sources, said there was a growing
number of intelligence officers turning against Mugabe, forcing him to turn
elsewhere for protection.

The Libyans were to be issued with Zimbabwean passports by the
Registrar-General’s office to help Mugabe’s presidential election campaign,
the paper said.

Other press reports from South Africa suggest that Pagad, a Libyan-funded
vigilante group which campaigns against drug lords on the Cape Flats, would
be unleashed on the white commercial farmers in a terror campaign.
The development takes place at a time when the country has mortgaged itself
to Libyans after it sought a US$340 million loan to purchase fuel.

The Independent reported recently that the Libyans were going to acquire
major stakes in the country’s two financial institutions and a major hotel
group in addition to receiving 8 000ha of land for industrial and farming

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zanu PF MP Closes Mine

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

October 19, 2001
Posted to the web October 19, 2001

Forward Maisokwadzo

ZANU PF MP for Mutoko North David Chapfika is defying a disposal order
granted by the Ministry of Labour to Ruenya Granite Co in Mutoko allowing
the company to resuscitate operations at the closed mine after war veterans
halted operations in April.

Chapfika is understood to have encouraged the workers to approach the
President's Office sourcing funds to run the mine.

Ruenya Granite finance director Lynda Scott yesterday confirmed that
management was being denied entry to the quarry despite the Ministry of
Labour order granting them the right to commence operations which ceased on
April 19.

The attack on the granite mine was the first such invasion of a non-farm
business by President Robert Mugabe's supporters.

"Chapfika is behind the closure of the quarry and is deceiving workers,"
said Scott.

"We went to the quarry twice after the order was granted on October 3 but
were still denied entry."

Scott said the closure of the mine had resulted in the multi-million dollar
company losing a significant number of customers and exports worth over
US$1,2 million in the past six months.

"For now no-one in the management is willing to go to that place until law
and order prevails," she said.

Scott said management had also written to government about how its order had
been defied by Chapfika and the workers.

"I don't know why Chapfika is getting involved in a private company," she

Scott said before operations could commence, there was need to take stock of
equipment "as we understand 20 000 litres of diesel and several other items
of equipment were stolen".

A company vehicle and computers also went missing during the height of the
skirmishes. Another company vehicle was commandeered to carry ruling party
supporters to rallies organised by Chapfika.

"We had to pay over $50 000 to repair one of our vehicles abused by
non-licensed drivers," Scott said.

Chapfika yesterday said: "We are closely following the issue.

"We are continuing to have meetings with dumped workers as it's a question
of corporate irresponsibility on the part of the management and we have to
find a workable solution to protect the welfare of workers."

He denied having a personal interest in the quarry despite having instructed
workers to write to the President's Office sourcing money to run the mine.

Chapfika claims that management had plans to move out to neighbouring
Namibia and start business there.

Scott dismissed the alleged relocation plans: "We were the only company
without affiliate quarries in other countries and operations in Namibia
where one of our directors, Mr Smith, is temporarily managing operations
started last year before the closure of Ruenya.

"Smith's involvement in Namibia has got nothing to do with Ruenya and we as
management have no plans to move out," she said.

According to the disposal order granted by the Ministry of Labour through
its Labour Relations Officer, Helen Sibanda of the Marondera Office, the
unlawful job action which commenced on May 12 should "be terminated
forthwith" and operations should start with effect from October 4.

"The employer should be given access to the quarry and start operations on
the 4th of October, 2001 without interference from the eight employees being
disciplined in terms of the code of conduct," wrote Sibanda granting
authority in favour of Ruenya management.

Scott said an employer should be allowed to institute disciplinary action
against the eight employees in terms of the National Employment Council
(Mining) Collective Bargaining Agreement and code of conduct.

"If the employer is not given access to the quarry by the employees, dispose
of those employees who continue to defy this order," Sibanda ruled in the
order settling the dispute.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim/SA in diplomatic tiff

Dumisani Muleya
Friction between South Africa and Zimbabwe, which first surfaced at the
September 11 Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Harare,
intensified this week with a war of words between officials on either side
of the Limpopo.

Fuelling the row, high-level sources said, is a growing perception in
Pretoria that President Mugabe, in retaliation for the diplomatic wringing
he received in Harare last month, is supporting the Pan Africanist Congress
(PAC)’s agenda of land invasions modelled on Zanu PF’s programme.

Despite being a negligible party in electoral terms, the PAC has been given
red-carpet treatment in Harare and provided extensive state media coverage
for its land agenda.

PAC officials, who expressed support for land invasions in Zimbabwe during a
visit to Harare in August, are set to return soon for further talks with
their traditional Zanu PF allies.

South African war veterans, reportedly raising funds for President Robert
Mugabe’s re-election next year, are also thought to be backing Harare in its
diplomatic spat with Pretoria.

A meeting is due this month in South Africa between regional ex-combatants
and the land issue is expected to feature prominently.

Sources said Mbeki’s robust stance in regional initiatives over the Zimbabwe
crisis, particularly his encouragement of meetings with civil society, have
riled Mugabe.

Since the Sadc taskforce Harare meeting, the already fraught diplomatic
relations between Pretoria and Harare have further deteriorated.

Zimbabwean authorities, disguising themselves as “analysts” in the official
media, have attacked Mbeki to undermine his policies, especially on land.
They claim that while refusing to speak to the opposition in South Africa on
the land issue, he is only too prepared to meet Zimbabwe’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Sources said Mugabe and his advisors resent Mbeki because he has abandoned
the revolutionary solidarity stance which Mugabe has used to camouflage his
isolation. Harare also does not like Pretoria’s meetings with the MDC, a
party it alleges represents foreign interests.

This could explain the resuscitation of relations with the PAC which were
abandoned after a Cape Town bomb attack in 1993.

Despite energetic efforts by Pretoria to explain the deportation of illegal
Zimbabwean farm workers as “routine”, analysts say the move should be seen
in terms of a deteriorating relationship.

Harare and Pretoria — albeit indirectly — this week exchanged fire over the

Zimbabwe, through its propaganda mouthpieces, claimed South Africa wanted to
sabotage its land reform through the deportations and threatened to seize
more land to resettle the deportees. It also said whites were influencing
Mbeki’s government on this matter despite clear evidence that Northern
Province farmers were helping their workers to appeal against the move.

South African Home Affairs director-general Billy Masentlha said in an
interview that it was disturbing to note officials were associating
themselves with “unfortunate” remarks.

“(Zimbabwe’s) Government has been making unfortunate statements on the basis
of propaganda and rumour,” he said. “Most of the things that have been said
about this matter are just not true.”

Masentlha said official media reports that 8 000 Zimbabwean farm workers
“slipped” out of South Africa to avoid deportation were unfounded.
“It’s an absolute lie, a total fabrication,” he said.

“The fact is the courts have ordered (that) we should have an out-of-court
settlement and we have given farmers until the end of this week to argue
their case. Next week we will provide them with a definite response.”

There are 10 152 Zimbabwean farm workers in South Africa’s Northern Province
currently working on 94 properties — not 15 000 as the Zimbabwe state media
has been claiming. The total number of farm workers in the Northern
Province — including South Africans and other foreigners is — 16 000.

Despite the widening diplomatic rift, Masentlha denied his government was
playing tit for tat.

“We are not deporting Zimbabweans alone. We are deporting illegal immigrants
from South Africa including the farm workers. How many Mozambicans,
Malawians, Zambians, Nigerians and others do we deport on a daily basis?” he

Masentlha said South Africa wants to end the exploitation of what he termed
the Zimbabwe “slave market” by its farmers while creating jobs for

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Zimbabwe fails to take up free satellite facility offer

From Matthew Takaona in Port Said, EGYPT
ZIMBABWE has failed to take up an offer by Egypt to use that country’s
satellite facilities for free to disseminate information worldwide, the
chairman of Egypt’s State Information Authority, Mr Nabil Osman, said here

Mr Osman told The Herald in an interview that the offer, which was put on
the table in 1999, had still not been taken up.

If taken, Zimbabwe would have a rare opportunity to disseminate information
on culture and development news to the rest of the world free of charge, he

Egypt launched Nilesat, Africa’s first-ever satellite, in 1998. The
satellite, which is located in orbit seven degrees west, has the capability
to give coverage to 90 percent of the world.

The satellite is already broadcasting 120 TV channels and stations in
addition to 32 radio channels, said Mr Osman.

He said the offer was made under African co-operation and was tabled at a
conference of ministers of information in 1999.

The satellite was launched at a cost of US$42 million ($2, 5 billion).

"Egypt looked at a number of things before making this free offer.

"The first one was that Africa is always seen through the eyes of the West
because of the dominance of that media on the continent.

"The second was to fight globalisation through the preservation of our

"The biggest weapon that this continent has against capitalism and
globalisation is to preserve and stand proud of our cultures. We are
swallowed the moment our cultures are swallowed.

"We can fight through culture. Our offer was to enable Zimbabwe and other
African countries the opportunity to export their cultures," said Mr Osman.

Zimbabwe had since the appointment of Professor Jonathan Moyo as Minister of
State for Information and Publicity taken steps to preserve and promote its

A law making it mandatory to have 70 percent local content on radio and
television station programmes was put in place.

The promotion of local theatre and drama groups was being vigorously pursued
both in the informal sector and schools, with people being provided an
opportunity to go and perform outside the country.

An information centre, the second-largest in the world, had also been built
in Egypt. It was built at a cost of more than $5 billion.

and the Arab country was once again inviting African countries to use that

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Government to allocate land to immigrants
(Strange use of the word "immigrants" - Ed. B)

From Masvingo Bureau
The Government will allocate land to the estimated 8 000 Zimbabwe immigrants
ejected out of South African farms through illegal exits over the weekend,
the Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Cde Joseph Made, said yesterday.

He said the Government was also urgently looking into relief food, blankets
and sanitary conditions for about 2 000 immigrants who are still stranded
along the 260km border stretch in Beitbridge.

"A major decision has been taken by the Government to allocate land to all
those who need it among those ejected from South Africa.

"They are indeed coming back home under very difficult circumstances but we
must tap their experience in agriculture and use that experience locally,"
Cde Made told journalists in Masvingo yesterday.

He said the former South African farm workers would be allocated land
according to their districts of origin, hence the need for the Government to
acquire more land to accommodate them.

"These are our people and we should give them maximum support.

"We are really looking at their situation more urgently and we have to
acquire more land.

"Some of them are still stranded at the border and we have to move in with
adequate food, blankets and stabilise their situation," said Cde Made.

An estimated 8 000 Zimbabwean farm workers moved out of South Africa over
the weekend through illegal exit points, hoping to return as soon as the
situation in that country calmed down.

They were provided with transport by their employers who also told them to
return after the Government’s crackdown on illegal immigrants eases.

Most of the farm workers had not earned their wages when they were ejected
and are now scrounging for food handouts.

This happened before the farmers and the South African Government reached an
out of court settlement, giving the workers a temporary reprieve.

The South African Government had given a Sunday deadline for the deportation
of all Zimbabwean immigrants in the northern province and the farmers took
heed fearing the R25 000 (Z$225 000) fine.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

 Escalating costs of medical care,drugs...Government control urged

Health Reporter
THE Government has been urged to urgently look at ways of controlling the
escalating costs of hospitalisation and essential drugs to protect poor

Several people who spoke to The Herald on Tuesday expressed disgust at the
increase in hospital fees and drugs, saying many people were now dying at
home as they could not afford health care.

The few that could manage paying for health care at lower levels like
clinics were only able to pay the fee there, but failed to buy prescribed

Some of the people even suggested that the 2002 budget should give priority
to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to improve the appalling
situation in hospitals.

Others said they would want the budget to show sensitivity to the health and
social needs of children and women.

They were reacting to a story carried by The Herald highlighting the
suffering that poor patients were going through as hospitals were now
demanding exorbitant deposits before admitting a patient.

Parirenyatwa Hospital, for instance, was now charging $21 000 for an adult
and $10 600 for a child on admission. Private hospitals like The Avenues
Clinic, for example, demanded $150 000 upfront and the fee was not

Hospitals currently operating on shoe-string budgets had no choice and
wanted to ensure that those who could afford to pay do so.

The Department of Social Welfare, which used to cater for some of the poor
patients, exhausted its budget allocation early this year.

It owes Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals more than $40 million and several
more millions of dollars to other Government health institutions.

The National Union for the Public Sector of Zimbabwe yesterday said
Government must quickly move in to control the price of drugs and hospital

Referring to a two-week old baby who was almost turned away from
Parirenyatwa on Saturday after her parents failed to raise the required
deposit, NUPSZ secretary-general Mr Pesanai Maza-mbani described the
situation as disappointing.

He said it was not fair that innocent children were being denied their
rights to good health because their parents could not afford paying the
required fees.

"What we now see is the commercialisation of the health sector. This means a
shift from a human life-serving mission to a money-spinning business entity.
It is shocking that a hospital bed now costs more than a hotel bed and
breakfast," said Mr Mazambani.

A domestic worker in Harare’s Cranborne area, Ms Bathsheba Jokonya, could
not believe it when she received a $50 442,32 bill from Parirenyatwa
Hospital after her 10-year-old daughter, Chipo, was admitted from June 6 to
June 26 this year after suffering serious burns.

Of the total figure, $22 320 is hospitalisation fees and the rest was for
various procedures performed on her. The bill, however, does not reflect any
medication given.

Ms Jokonya yesterday said that her daughter was still very ill.

She was planning to take her to her rural home than back to hospital. She
even failed to take her daughter for check ups, fearing she would be asked
to pay more money.

"She still needs a lot of care but I cannot go back to the hospital because
the bill will keep on increasing. I do not know whether they will accept her
when I have not settled the bill. I am planning to send her to Chihota on
Saturday because I have no accommodation here in town," she said.

Chipo is staying with a relative in Chitungwiza. Her stomach is swelling and
she is in excruciating pain.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenya-twa said the
Government was concerned with such high costs as evidenced by the move to
control the cost of basic commodities, including generic drugs.

Reiterating that no patient should be turned away from health institutions
because they cannot afford to pay, Dr Parirenyatwa said he would soon be
visiting some of the hospitals to get a true picture of the situation on the

He said children under five years, pregnant women and the elderly above 65
years were liable to free treatment in Government hospitals from district
level downwards.

Meanwhile, P and O Nedlloyd, a shipping company with offices in Harare,
recently transported from Malaysia 704 boxes of syringes for two Salvation
Army hospitals.

The consignment was a special donation from the Salvation Army in Malaysia
for people living with Aids at Howard Hospital in Chiweshe and Tshelanyemba
Hospital in Matabeleland South.

P and O Nedlloyd general manager for Central Africa Mr Andrew Kuster said
his company had offered to transport the consignment free of charge after
realising the critical need for such commodities in the country.

"We agreed to bear the cost of the freight as a gesture of our support to
their humanitarian activities," said Mr Kuster.

P and O Nedlloyd has been operating in Zimbabwe since February this year.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

Fraudulently acquired plots repossessed

From Bulawayo Bureau
THE Government has repossessed land from some senior Zanu-PF officials and
civil servants, who had fraudulently allocated themselves more than one plot
each in Hwange, the Governor of Matabeleland North, Cde Obert Mpofu, said

Cde Mpofu said that a special land resettlement committee he set up after
dissolving the Hwange Land Resettlement Committee had repossessed the land.

"The irregular allocations slowed the pace of resettlement but the special
committee is now giving land to people who deserve it because the original
process had ignored them," Cde Mpofu said.

The district administrator for Lupane, Mr Isaac Ndebele, is the chairman of
the special resettlement committee. Ms Irene Chimwanza, former district
administrator for Hwange who chaired the district land resettlement
committee that was dissolved, resigned after the land scandal was unearthed.

The Provincial Land Acquisition Task Force unearthed irregularities in the
allocations of land by the officials in July. The committee listed 10
beneficiaries who included a member of the Zanu-PF Politburo, a central
committee member, local government officials and other district land
committee members.

Cde Mpofu said people would be resettled under a unique wildlife
utilisation-based model that was being worked out by the Department of
Agricultural Technical and Extension Services in conjunction with the
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management.

Cde Mpofu said under the model, groups of farmers would be given land to
engage in wildlife ranching and run safari operations.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald

 Deputy registrar of banks faces trial

Chief Court Reporter
THE deputy registrar of banks, financial institutions and the stock
exchange, Francis Mambo Rwenhamo, allegedly demanded almost $15 million,
both in cash and kind, as an inducement to register a bank for a former
Zanu-PF MP, Cde Great Makaya, the High Court heard yesterday.

Rwenhamo, who was also the chief economist for the then Ministry of Finance,
is facing trial at the High Court on a charge of corruption and two other
corruption charges with an alternative of breaching the Official Secrets

Rwenhamo is alleged to have demanded $1,125 million cash, two 10-tonne
trucks valued at $10 million, a tractor worth $3 million and a twin-cab
truck valued at $600 000, to register Prime Bank which was being promoted by
Cde Makaya.

But in his defence outline, Rwenhamo, who is being represented by Advocate
Moses Mtombeni instructed by Mr Cosmas Mukwesha of Mtombeni, Mukwesha and
Associates, denied having approached the former MP as alleged.

It is the State’s case against Rwenhamo that between November 1997 and March
last year, he took advantage of his position and approached Cde Makaya who
was looking for a licence to operate the bank.

It is alleged that Rwenhamo indicated that the bank would only be operated
if Cde Makaya paid the bribe.

As a result, Cde Makaya allegedly paid $80 000 in cash and surrendered a
Nissan Hardbody pick-up.

To confirm that he was processing the application, Rwenhamo is alleged to
have brought the entire file for Prime Bank application to Kentucky Hotel in
Harare where he met Cde Makaya and showed him a joint memorandum, which was
being reviewed for approval.

It is also the State’s case that later, when Cde Makaya was notified of the
intention to cancel his bank’s licence, Rwenhamo claimed that he would be
able to rescue the bank.

He later showed Cde Makaya a letter from the Attorney General’s Office on
Metropolitan Bank, contrary to the Official Secrets Acts.

Subsequently, Cde Makaya reported the matter to the police and Rwenhamo was
arrested in a trap after receiving $5 000, according to the State.

Responding to the allegations, Rwenhamo told Justice Mungwira and assessors
Major Misheck Nyandoro and Mrs Evelyn Shava that during his contact with Cde
Makaya, he conducted himself in a professional manner.

He denied demanding the inducement as alleged and claimed that he bought the
Nissan Hardbody pick-up for $125 000 from a Mr Peter Dimitrijevic on October
8 1998.

"Any other arrangements (Cde) Great Makaya is alleging in respect of the
pick- up truck are not only false but complete fabrication.’’

Rwenhamo denied that he went to Kentucky Hotel with a work file to show Cde
Makaya a joint memorandum.

He also denied showing the former MP a letter from Metropolitan Bank whose
contents, he said, he was not even aware of.

In respect of the trap, Rwenhamo said he had no reason to seek a bribe from
Cde Makaya since the licence had already been cancelled.

He said the money he received from Cde Makaya was a genuine loan to be paid
back "but unbeknown to him (Rwenhamo) Great Makaya deliberately in a
clandestine manner set him up,’’ said his lawyer.

Rwenhamo further denied standing in the way of Prime Bank in its endeavors
to obtain a licence.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Herald
GMB scheme needs cooperation
ALL farmers need to borrow to get a crop into the ground yet the banks find it almost impossible to service smallholders. No bank will support a newly resettled smallholder.
So the Government is stepping in, lending money through the Grain Marketing Board, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe and the Farmers Development Trust.
The GMB has just received $5,6 billion for disbursement.
The scheme builds on the lessons of the past. It is obvious that the Government and the GMB want the money used wisely and want the minimum possible number of defaulters.
First, farmers have to form groups in order to qualify. This is a well-known method in many countries to ensure that the better farmers can be identified quickly. Groups of good farmers are usually very reluctant to allow the lazy and incompetent to join them since they want to keep their credit rating high.
Secondly, groups will be vetted. Here we hope that the GMB will use whatever help Agritex can give. Agritex officers usually have a pretty good idea of what is going on in their district and can usually make a good assessment of whether a farmer will or will not produce a reasonable crop given the expected rainfall. They also know who seeks and follows advice and who could not really care.
Thirdly, the loans are not cash. They are the actual inputs of seed and fertiliser. This solves two problems. The obvious one, but the rarer one, is the borrower who borrows for inputs but spends the money on other things. He will not be able to and the grouping of farmers should hinder those who sell their inputs.
The more common, but less obvious problem with cash loans, is that the farmer still has to buy and move his inputs. Sometimes inputs are unavailable, at least locally.
The GMB will ensure that these are available when needed and ensure that they are close enough to the farmers for easy transport.
This scheme appears to have been largely adopted from the highly-successful operations used for several years by Cottco and several of the private horticulture companies.
Cottco and a small group of imaginative vegetable wholesalers were derided when they started lending commercially to communal farmers. After all they had no real security. Yet their schemes, by following the rules the GMB is now adopting, have worked well. Shareholders and owners of these firms are happy.
There is nothing political about this. It simply involves finding honest and hard-working smallholder farmers, trusting them and helping them. Both sides make good money and everyone is happy.
The one slightly worrying factor is whether the GMB is set up for rapid decision making and for rapid action. There is less than a month left before the first farmers should be planting.
This does not give the GMB a lot of time to vet farmer groups and distribute the first batch of inputs. This is why we hope that the GMB will not hesitate to call on Agritex and any other body that can help.
And everyone should help. Regardless of what anyone thinks of resettlement, it has happened and it is essential that it works. Otherwise Zimbabwe will be short of food.
The imaginative GMB scheme is ambitious but can easily work, so long as everyone co-operates and does their share.
Back to the Top
Back to Index