|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
October 23, 2003
Posted to the web October 23, 2003
This is the first part in a series of the Report of the Presidential Land
Review Committee. Today we start with the Executive Summary of the main
findings and recommendations.
1. THE Committee was able to establish, in regard to those who appeared
before it at both national and provincial levels, that:
(a) Ministers and other Government officials wholly supported the Programme,
stated it to have been successfully implemented in the face of formidable
odds, but variously noted numerous obstacles that impinged on the
implementation process, including resource constraints, the legal framework,
bureaucracy and related operational difficulties.
(b) Beneficiaries of the Programme generally expressed happiness with the
outcome of Programme implementation and the manner in which their own lives
had begun to be transformed, in some cases reportedly dramatically. Yet
complaints were also heard from would-be beneficiaries who were awaiting
resettlement as promised by their local leaders, particularly the Chiefs, or
who, in the case of applicants for the model A2 plots, had still to be
informed as to the fate of their applications or as to whether their plots
would be given back to them or replacement allocations made where such plots
had been taken over irregularly by other persons or where the farms in
question had been "delisted". In addition some former white commercial
farmers wrote or telephoned the Committee's Secretariat seeking the latter's
intervention to enable them to return to their farms on the basis that they
were in compliance with all criteria set by Government in this regard. The
Committee referred such cases to Government for review and rectification
where deemed warranted.
(c) Representatives of farmers' unions, the financial services sector, and
agro-business generally saw land reform as vital for the.country's political
stability and economic development, while however insisting that agriculture
be placed on a properly planned and adequately resourced basis.
2. It should be noted that the process of acquiring and distributing land to
the people under the two resettlement models, the Al and A2, was undertaken
in a complex legal framework which rendered the process both difficult and
cumbersome. As the Committee went about its work it could not fail to be
struck by the number and variety of legal issues that still required
resolution in respect of the acquisition procedures; the allocation of land
to beneficiaries, especially under the A2 model; the assessment of the value
of improvements; and ownership and access to moveable assets on the farms.
Inevitably, the Governmental machinery for administering these matters was
taxed to the limit.
Above all, there was a major contradiction observed as between the 1992 Land
Acquisition Act as amended, which provides for the compulsory acquisition of
land, and the provision embedded in the Constitution which requires that
such acquisition be confirmed by the Administrative Court. This
contradiction ought to be removed.
3. (a) The Committee established that nationally a total of 2 652 farms with
a combined hectarage of 4 231 080 had been allocated to 127 192 households
under the A1 resettlement model as of 31st July 2003. The take up rate by
beneficiaries was 97%. As for the A2 resettlement model, the corresponding
figures were 1 672 farms amounting to 2 198 814 hectares for 7 260 applicant
beneficiaries. The take up rate under this model however ranged from 42%
(Manicaland) to 100% (Matabeleland South), with an average take up rate of
66% nationally. This failure by some 34% of applicants to take up their
allocations implied a considerable amount of land lying fallow or unused
while, ironically, thousands of would-be A2 beneficiaries were pressurising
the authorities to be allocated land.
(b) Regarding former farm workers the Committee established that a number
had been officially resettled under the Programme, and others had secured
employment with the new farmers whilst the remainder opted to either return
to their countries of origin or to their rural homes in Zimbabwe. The third
category however remained in the farm compounds pending a determination of
their fate by the Government.
(c) It was also established that 1 323 white farmers remained with 1 377
farms, amounting to 1 175 607 hectares as at 31st July 2003. The total
landholding under this category constitutes about 3% of land in the country,
excluding land held by corporate entities. The presence or otherwise of
these farmers on the land could not in all cases be verified at the time of
the compilation of this Report.
(i) The Committee recommends that A2 plots not taken up by applicants
already notified of their availability be allocated to other A2 applicants
still on the waiting list subject to the bulk of the land in question being
reassigned to, and re-planned for, the A1 model with a view to further
decongesting the communal areas.
(ii) The Committee also recommends that the resettlement models be recast
with respect to some parts of the country such that the old three-tier model
is restored in parts of Matabeleland South.
(iii) The Committee further re commends that a corporate-type model with a
component to provide for local community participation is established in
plantations, conservancies, safaris and forest areas with particular
reference to the two Mata-beleland Provinces, Masvingo and Manicaland. The
Committee has noted that development in these areas has up until now
occurred in a haphazard or segmented manner. Worse, the Fast Track saw what
amounted to an attempt to subdivide these areas into individual plots which
would clearly be unviable. The Committee calls for a comprehensive policy
and approach that would ensure that returns to the country in both local and
foreign currency multiply well beyond what has been realised to date.
(iv) The Committee recommends that the issue of leases or other forms of
legal title for the beneficiaries of the A2 model be concluded speedily.
Such title is vital for assured productive use of the land. The variability
in plot sizes and the state of prior improvements on them (including such
assets as houses and other infrastructure, etc) should be properly assessed
for purposes of determining the quantum of individual lease rentals and
other cost recovery measures as may be determined.
(v) The Committee recommends that Government urgently addresses the
situation of former farm workers in the farm compounds. Their continued
presence on the farms had created numerous problems arising from illegal
gold panning, misuse of farm facilities and resources and general criminal
4. Given the historically diverse and pivotal role of women in all aspects
of agriculture in the communal lands and the need to strike an overall
gender balance in this crucial sector of the economy, measures such as those
outlined under the relevant section of Part IV of this Report should be
implemented to ensure equity in, and the effectiveness of, the agrarian
reform in the country. Moreover, in order to ensure the survival and
stability of the growing number of families in rural areas now headed by
women and even children as a result of the devastation wreaked on society by
the AIDS pandemic, and in the light of the growing phenomenon of the
feminisation of poverty among women-headed households, the gender dimension
of the agrarian reform needs to be kept uppermost in the transformation of
the sector in the context of the Fast Track. The agrarian reform thus
constitutes an important vehicle for economically empowering women.
5 Programme implementation was adversely affected by many factors, among
them a hostile external political environment, national macro-economic
instability, and adverse weather conditions vis-a-vis a largely rain-fed
agricultural sector. Other impediments to Programme implementation included
limited financial and other resources and administrative difficulties
encountered by an over-stretched bureaucratic apparatus suddenly called upon
to implement a complex programme in great haste, and in a context that
turned out to be exploitable by some through unauthorised and unilateral
interventions in the allocation process.
(i) The Committee thus recommends that there be undertaken a major overhaul
of the machinery of Government involved in land and agricultural affairs
such that these functions are handled by two separate Ministries, a Ministry
of Agriculture and a Ministry of Land Affairs.
(ii) The Ministry of Agriculture would deal with all agricultural matters
including water development and irrigation. It would also house most if not
all of the parastatals currently engaged in agricultural activities of one
kind or another. These parastatals themselves would need to be reformed in
the manner indicated under Part IV hereunder. In addition the proposed
Agricultural Marketing Council (see Part IV) would be so structured as to
provide a direct link to the Ministry.
(iii) The Ministry of Land Affairs would have responsibility on all land
issues including land registration, resolution of boundary disputes, the
proffering of advice to Government on matters of tenure, compensation, farm
sizes, land taxation, land subdivisions, distribution and allocation.
(iv) To facilitate the effective functioning of the Ministry of Land
Afffairs, it is recommended that a semi-autonomous National Land Board be
established. The Board would exercise both executive and advisory functions
vis-a-vis the Ministry.
(v) Further, the Committee recommends that the National Land Board be
empowered to ensure that land allocated to the people under the Land Reform
Programme is fully utilised. Any demonstrated failure over a defined period
to use the land productively especially in regard to the A2 model should
result in cancellation of leases, and the re-allocation of the land to those
willing and able to make use of it
6. Provincial profiles in the Programme implementation process reflect
fairly similar problems and opportunities around the country. However, some
problems were found to be more severe in some provinces than in others. Land
use patterns were a major issue in the two Matabeleland Provinces as already
noted under paragraph 3(ii) and (iii) above and under Part III of this
Report. In addition the pressure for land in certain parts of the two
provinces considered desirable was extremely intense as shown by the take up
rates under the Al model of 100 percent for Matabeleland South and 120
percent for Matabeleland North. In Manicaland while the Provincial
authorities cited the problem of land shortage, this Report noted that the
province had the lowest take up rate (42 percent as against the national
average of 66 percent) under resettlement model A2. More land could be
secured for resettlement under the Al model, with any necessary
modifications, on such state-owned land as that at Chisumbanje and Middle
Save, some of which land is lying fallow. In Masvingo the issue of
Plantations and Conservancies and even a national Game Park loomed large in
relation to the pressure for land among the people in that Province. In the
Midlands Province the Programme implementation process left intact some
properties that exceeded maximum farm sizes. A review of this situation
however would have to take into account land use patterns in the affected
areas of the Province. It was noted that not much decongestion had taken
place in the districts of Mberengwa and Zvishavane and that some people from
these districts had had to seek accommodation in the neighbouring provinces
of Matabeleland South and Masvingo. Further, a number of people from the two
districts of Gokwe in the same province had been resettled, formally or
informally, in Mashonaland West Province. In parts of Mashonaland West
particularly the areas as adjacent to Harare and the western and
north-western parts of the province, the resettlement process appeared to
have taken place in a haphazard manner. In Mashonaland East the delisting of
dairy farms gazetted for acquisition remained outstanding at the time of the
compilation of this Report, despite request for such delisting by the PLIC.
In Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and parts of
Matabeleland North and South the pressure for land especially as regards the
A2 model was particularly intense to the extent that further efforts will
have to be put into the review and refinement of land allocations in these
areas. The Committee recommends the following in addition to the
recommendations captured under Paragraph 3 above:
(i) Measures be taken to decongest areas in a number of provinces including
those mentioned above where pressure for land remains acute.
(ii) Action be taken as soon as possible to regularise the situation
regarding land which is held under Bilateral Investment Promotion and
(iii) A conclusive position be taken on the allocation of land subdivisions
to which the LA3 forms were designed to apply. Representations were made by
a number of white commercial farmers who had been served with Section 8 but
who only had one farm or whose farm was claimed to fall under the
agro-industrial category or who surrendered their other farm(s) to
Government and had been allowed to make a choice of one farm or sub-division
thereof to allow them to continue with farming. Many such persons expressed
the view that as they satisfied criteria set by Government in its policy,
they should have been allowed to continue farming operations on the property
or subdivision in question. A similar view was also expressed by those whose
farm or farms were gazetted without an option being given them to retain
either one such farm or a subdivision thereof. These matters need to be
addressed by Government conclusively and expeditiously to allow for
productive use of the land and a sense of certainty about their future for
the farmers concerned.
(iv) There is need for a countrywide review of plots sizes allocated under
the Al and A2 models to ensure consistency and compliance with policy
(v) In regard to statutory maximum farm sizes, the Committee, while noting
the rationale for these, recommends flexibility in the enforcement of the
same taking into account land use patterns viability considerations and the
(vi) All self-settled land occupiers in any part of the National 'Parks
Estate should be removed and the protective game fences restored without
(vii) Efforts be made in Mashonaland East in particular to delist the dairy
farms which had been gazetted for acquisition, with a view to restoring
viability in this crucial industry.
(viii) The Committee urges deliberate and speedy action by Government to
resolve with finality all allocation issues arising out of, or outstanding
from, Programme implementation. Particular reference is made to the case of
applicants for A2 plots whose names were published in newspapers as
confirmation of their successfully meeting the criteria for land allocation.
It had been indicated. by the allocating authority that all that remained
was the allocation of plots but one and half years later, the applicants
were still to be allocated such plots.
7. Related to the above, the problem of uncertainty as to the place of
pen-urban areas in the Land Reform Programme appeared to remain unresolved
in the period of the Committee's assignment. It is urged that this
uncertainty be removed as it has partly been responsible for the contests
for land that the Committee observed or was informed about as its members
visited the areas in question.
8. Production in the resettled areas, while not computed statistically by
the Committee, reflected appreciable performance especially under model Al.
Beneficiaries made full use of the land allocated to them. In some areas
yields realised in crops such as maize and tobacco were quite significant if
not impressive. This was especially so given the poor rainfall patterns in
the summer seasons covered by the Fast Track. However, a recurring theme in
the producing areas was the need for timeous provision of adequate till-age
services and inputs of all types.
(i) Inputs availability and affordability are fund-amental to enhanced
productivity. It is therefore imperative that practical steps be taken
before the onset of the 2003-2004 cropping season to address the current
shortages and exorbitant prices.
(ii) It is imperative that Government proceed in a co-ordinated manner and
with a streamlined implementation machinery cutting across relevant sector
Ministries. It is important however that Government should seek to engender
the ethos of pride and self reliance amongst the people. In this regard,
assistance with inputs should be carefully targeted, such that it is based
on definite criteria as to need.
(iii) Apart from seed production and fertiliser manufacturing domestically
including the exploitation of coal-bed methane resources for fertiliser
production (especially ammonium nitrate), it is also critical that value
addition to agricultural produce be undertaken as a matter of deliberate
policy For example there is no plausible reason in the country exporting
bulky cotton lint instead of weaving it to boost the textiles and clothing
Given the fact that the country is drought prone, the need for a water
resource development strategy is compelling. As part of such development and
having regard to the agricultural sectors needs, irrigation must be viewed
as a national priority. Accordingly, it is imperative to evolve a set of
policies that accord irrigation its appropriate place in the country's
agriculture. It is equally imperative that governmental institutions
involved in water resource development and irrigation be harmonised and
streamlined to enhance the effectiveness of their overall impact on the
transformation of the sector.
10. The issue of enhanced agricultural production in both the resettled
areas and the present communal lands is vital In the interest of both food
security and the development of the economy as a whole. In this regard, the
Committee has recommended under Part IV of Volume I and Volume II of this
Report, a number of measures to be undertaken across the sub-sectors of
agriculture which would, it is hoped, lead to such enhanced production.
These recommendations cover in the first instance the need for comprehensive
and systematic planning of future agricultural development having regard to
the five pillars that appeared to the Committee to be critical for
transformation in this regard, namely:
Institutional Framework for Agricultural Service Provision;
Human Capacity and Skills Development;
Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer;
Agricultural Inputs and Financial Services; and
Domestic and International Markets for Agricultural Products.
Details pertaining to the production of specific crops are also dealt with
in the sections of the Report cited above.
1 Engage in real and constructive dialogue with the MDC
2 Repeal repressive laws against journalists and the media
3 End harassment of the opposition
4 Address the issues of electoral malpractice raised by the Commonwealth observers at the2002 presidential and 2000 parliamentary elections
5 Engage both the UN and the Commonwealth with regard to lawful and transparent land reform.
 Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
Harare, Zimbabwe - Human rights lawyers said 77 protesters
custody Thursday, a day after police broke up the latest anti-government
demonstration in this troubled southern African country.
Riot police used batons and dogs on Wednesday to disperse a gathering
organised by the National Constitutional Assembly, an alliance of civic
groups seeking political reform in Zimbabwe. About 300 people were arrested
by police and held at different locations.
Alex Muchadehama, one of the human rights lawyers tracing detainees
Thursday, said most were believed to have been freed.
He said those arrested would likely be charged with threatening public order
by holding an unauthorised public gathering.
Under Zimbabwe's sweeping security laws, all protests and public
demonstrations have been declared illegal unless approved by government.
Police were not available to comment. But an unidentified spokesman told
state radio that police believe the alliance is "on an attention seeking
Witnesses said local reporters and photographers were among those detained.
Iden Wetherell, editor of The Zimbabwe Independent weekly, confirmed one of
his staff members, Blessing Zulu, was beaten with batons and detained. Zulu
was released Thursday morning without charge, he said.
Alliance chair Lovemore Madhuku was among those who remained in custody late
Zimbabwe is in the midst of political and economic crisis, with 70%
unemployment and acute shortages of food, gasoline and medicine.
A state program to seize thousands of white-owned farms for redistribution
to blacks has crippled its agriculture-based economy.
President Robert Mugabe's government has also stepped up its crackdown on
dissent, charging opposition leaders with treason and shutting down the
country's only independent daily newspaper.
Zimbabwe protesters 'assaulted'
Zimbabwean political activists were brutally beaten by police after
being arrested on Wednesday, they say.
Some 300 people were arrested near parliament after demonstrating in
support of political reforms, says the National Constitutional Assembly,
Some people were released on Wednesday night but more than 100 are
still being held.
Demonstrations are illegal under tough security laws, unless
officially sanctioned by the police.
"Most of them were beaten on their backs, hands and under the feet,"
NCA deputy chairman Douglas Mwonzora told the BBC Focus on Africa programme.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku remains in detention and was also
beaten, Mr Mwonzora said.
He accepted that the march was illegal but said the NCA would no
longer request police authorisation for its marches, because this was never
"Applying for permission to demonstrate in Zimbabwe by our
organisation is merely academic," he said.
"This was a surprise demonstration."
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had received no such reports
and told AFP news agency that people should make a report "when they are
unfairly dealt with".
Lawyers said they were denied access to those arrested and ordered out
of the building.
"Police said we were not wanted and they pushed us outside," said
lawyer Alec Muchadehama.
The NCA has long campaigned for a new constitution in Zimbabwe, in
particular reducing the powers of the president.
In 2000, it led the successful campaign to reject a proposed
constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission.
Meanwhile, an MP belonging to the ruling Zanu-PF party has had his
election victory annulled.
Shadreck Chipanga, a former intelligence chief, won the seat of Makoni
East in the 2000 parliamentary elections.
The court ruling is the result of a legal challenge mounted by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
The MDC has disputed the victory of more than half of Zanu-PF's seats,
citing ballot rigging and intimidation of its supporters.
It has won eight, and lost a similar number of the 37 election appeals
it has brought to court.
A by-election must now be held in the vacant seat.
On 3 November, the courts are due to start hearing the MDC challenge
to President Robert Mugabe's 2002 election victory.
Spat grows over British aid for Zimbabwe
By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: October 23 2003 17:55 | Last Updated: October 23 2003 17:55
Britain will give a further
£6.88m ($11.65m) in humanitarian aid to
Zimbabwe, bringing the total of British assistance to over £62m in the last
new pledge comprises £5m to the World Food Programme and £1.88m to
Unicef. It excludes ongoing British support for HIV-AIDS programmes in
The announcement in Harare on Thursday came ahead of Friday's
publication of a report by Human Rights Watch not only accusing the Zimbabwe
government of using food aid for political ends but claiming that
international agencies have failed to ensure that access to food is based on
The 51-page report, "Not Eligible: The Politicisation of Food in
Zimbabwe", claims that food has been denied to suspected supporters of the
main opposition party and to residents of former commercial farms resettled
under the government's land reform programme. It accuses members of the
ruling ZANU-PF party of systematically manipulating the supply and
distribution of food aid.
Human Rights Watch also accuses donor agencies of tacit complicity in
preventing food from reaching former commercial farm areas resettled under
land reform. While the international community has spent hundreds of
millions of dollars pouring food aid into Zimbabwe, thousands continue to go
hungry, it says.
These claims are dismissed by the World Food Programme, which
co-ordinates international food aid to Zimbabwe. Its Harare representative,
Kevin Farrell, said on Thursday that politicisation problems had been "minor
and dispersed". But Peter Takirambudde of Human Rights Watch said the
government was manipulating relief efforts while the international community
was "playing along".
Estimates are that 5.5m people - about 45 per cent of the population -
will need food aid over the next nine months. Food imports to date are
estimated by FEWSNET, a non-government organisation that monitors food
problems in Africa, at only 28 per cent of the current year's cereal
Although there have been repeated warnings of another poor harvest in
2003/4, the government insists its land resettlement programme is working
and that Zimbabwe will produce up to double its domestic consumption of
maize (3.5bn tonnes) in the current year.
FEWSNET warns that while rainfall prospects for the current season are
"fair to good", the signs are that Zimbabwe will not manage to produce even
two thirds of its annual maize requirement unless urgent steps are taken to
overcome shortages of fuel, fertiliser, foreign currency and maize seed.
The government appeared to confirm this on Monday when Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made said the central bank had failed to release $30m needed
to pay for maize seed imports. Bankers say this is a reference to a $30m
loan - with repayment pledged against next year's tobacco crop - that the
government is trying to raise from foreign banks.
Tobacco sales for the current year will end next week with sales of
around 80m kilograms - less than half the 166m produced last year. The 2004
crop is forecast to be possibly as low as 40m kilograms.
This latest spat over food aid comes against a background of rising
political temperatures in Zimbabwe. On Wednesday some 300 civil rights
demonstrators were arrested by police, with most of them kept in the cells
On Monday the treason trial of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
will resume, while a week later the high court will hear the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change's challenge of President Robert Mugabe's
March 2002 election victory, widely perceived to have been rigged.
Political opponents denied food in Zimbabwe: Report
October 23, 2003, 09:07 PM
Zimbabwean authorities discriminate against perceived political
opponents by denying them access to food programs, Human Rights Watch said
in a report released today. International relief agencies in Zimbabwe fail
to ensure that access to food is based on need alone and is not biased by
domestic or international political concerns.
The 51-page report, "Not Eligible: The Politicization of Food in
Zimbabwe," documents how food is denied to suspected supporters of
Zimbabwe's main opposition party and to residents of former commercial farms
resettled under the country's "fast-track" land reform program.
The report examines the widespread politicization of the government's
subsidized grain program, managed by the Grain Marketing Board, as well as
the far less extensive manipulation of international food aid.
According to the report, government authorities and party officials of
the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
manipulate the supply and distribution of government-subsidised grain and
the registration of recipients for international food aid.
Select groups are denied food
International aid agencies must devote greater resources and attention
to preventing the manipulation of recipient lists. The report also examines
international community's tacit complicity in preventing food from reaching
former commercial farm areas resettled under land reform.
"Select groups of people are being denied access to food," said Peter
Takirambudde, the executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights
Watch. He added: "This is a human rights violation as serious as arbitrary
imprisonment or torture."
Today one-half of Zimbabwe's population of nearly 14 million is
considered "food-insecure," living in households that are unable to obtain
enough food to meet basic needs. The international community has spent
hundreds of millions of dollars pouring food aid into Zimbabwe, yet
thousands continue to go hungry.
Any perceived political adversaries of Zanu-PF or the government
encounter difficulty gaining access to food. Known members of the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are top-most
among perceived enemies. This category also encompasses teachers, former
commercial farm workers and urban residents-groups generally considered to
favor the MDC.
In effect, without a Zanu-PF party card, a Zimbabwean cannot register
for or receive government-subsidised grain. Human Rights Watch recommended
that the international community continue to fight the politicisation of
relief food through its efforts to maintain tight controls on food
distribution and to implement all aspects of relief efforts directly or
through local non-governmental organisations. - Human Rights Watch
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 23 October
Police bar lawyers after demo arrests
Harare - Zimbabwean lawyers were forcibly evicted from
the capital's main
police station yesterday as they tried to secure the release of more than
200 demonstrators arrested earlier in the day. The demonstrators were
members of the National Constitutional Assembly, who were held after a
protest against the government's handling of the economy, which the group
believes is responsible for chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency. The lawyers were concerned about the welfare of the protesters
after witnesses in the police station reported riot police using batons to
beat the detainees. Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent human rights lawyer, who
was the victim of a police attack earlier this month, was one of seven
lawyers thrown out of the police station. She said: "Riot police threatened
us with tear-gas and beatings." Last month police quelled a similar protest
by the NCA, a coalition of political parties and student, church and rights
groups which has staged a series of demonstrations in the past four years.
It believes President Robert Mugabe has manipulated the constitution to
tighten his 23-year grip on power.
Cons thrive in Zimbabwe as economy shrinks
October 23, 2003
Harare - Zimbabweans battling economic crisis are living by their wits
on the streets, in shops, on farms and at home, with everything from paying
water bills to buying property fraught with the risk of fraud.
Police say the country has been hit by a rise in petty crime as
shortages empty supermarket shelves and the unemployment and inflation rates
Critics say corruption and crime is also on the rise among Zimbabwe's
business and government elite, where greed has created a race for wealth as
political and economic tensions push the once-prosperous country to the
brink of collapse .
Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk sharply in the past three years.
Much of the problem is rooted in the key farming sector, where
production has dropped more than a half since the government's controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for black resettlement.
While a small group of businessmen prospers, the shortages caused by a
fall in the agricultural sector and a drought of foreign currency to import
goods have left many vulnerable.
Now, small-scale cheats and a growing number of big-time crooks - the
so-called mafia economy - are the biggest headaches for consumers struggling
to make ends meet.
"Surviving now has gone beyond just running around to get scarce
products, and getting the money to buy the products but it also means
avoiding those who are trying to cheat you," said Solomon Muchengi, a car
mechanic with a Harare firm.
"If you really want to
survive you cannot afford the luxury of
blinking during your transactions because it can be very costly."
Almost daily, Zimbabwe's media carries private and public
advertisements warning people about scams ranging from counterfeit money to
fake crop seeds.
The economic crisis has left the country with disastrous shortages of
fuel, cement, seed, fertiliser and basic foods such as sugar.
Black market traders sell their wares at up to 10 times the prices set
by President Robert Mugabe's government. But the hunger for life's basic
necessities has also spurred a raging trade in fake goods.
Many Zimbabweans now comb newspapers for "health warnings" on what
fraud schemes to look out for in what one government minister called a fight
against the "mafia economy".
A bag of cement might be partly filled with sand, a tin of cooking oil
might turn out to be tightly sealed water while a pack of "maize seed"
bought at a premium might just be ordinary maize glossed up with paint.
Some estate agents have warned property buyers to watch out for crooks
"selling" homes they did not own, while urban authorities have put up
notices warning consumers to get official receipts for rates and water
charges - or risk yet another fraud.
An official with the watchdog Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said on
Tuesday that fake goods had become a big problem.
"We don't have figures ... but yes, we are getting many reports of
people being cheated [and] of fake goods on the market," he said.
"We are trying to work with the police to address the problem."
Zimbabwe Judge Removes Two Senior Officials from Election Misconduct Case
22 Oct 2003, 21:48 UTC
Court judge in Zimbabwe Wednesday has approved a petition by two
government officials that allows them to remove themselves from a case
brought by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The opposition is
questioning the judge's decision, saying the two officials played a key role
in the presidential election last year that the opposition is challenging in
In their petition, the two officials, the registrar general and the minister
of justice, argued that the election challenge is strictly between President
Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who alleges gross irregularities in the poll. Most Western
observers condemned the election result, which Mr. Mugabe won, as not being
either free or fair.
With the registrar general and the minister of justice removed from the
case, two respondents remain: President Mugabe and the Electoral Supervisory
Commission. But the Commission has also applied to the courts to be removed
as a respondent.
The opposition has expressed surprise at the court decision. Brian Elliot,
the MDC legal representative in the case, said any person with a substantial
interest in the case must be cited. He said the registrar general was cited
in his capacity as head of the body that conducts elections and the minister
of justice was cited because he wrote the laws that tilted the elections in
the president's favor.
In a related development, another High Court judge has annulled the election
victory of a ruling ZANU-PF parliamentary candidate in the 2000 general
election. The MDC won 57 of the 120 contested seats in that election.
The courts have so far ruled in favor of the opposition in eight of the more
than 20 results it has challenged. However, the ruling party candidates in
the other cases continue to sit in parliament pending the hearing of their
appeals in the Supreme Court. The next general elections are due in 2005
MDC outlines poll challenge
10/23/2003 1:06:46 PM (GMT +2)
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose election petition
against President Robert Mugabe's re-election last year opens on November 3,
is challenging the poll results mainly on the basis that the hotly disputed
presidential election was held outside the law, a move that is likely to put
the country's electoral process to its stiffest credibility test ever.
Zimbabwe held a deeply divisive presidential election in March 2002
that left scores of people consumed with anger and hatred after several
people were reportedly killed in the run-up to the election.
President Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence after
leading the country's war of liberation, romped to victory but this has been
contested by the MDC.
Since the election, the ruling ZANU PF and the MDC have been circling
each other like reticent prize fighters probing for the best avenues of
attack. ZANU PF dismisses the MDC as a Western creation meant to effect
regime change in Zimbabwe while the MDC blames the collapse of the economy
into a recessionary heap squarely on the shoulders of ZANU PF.
In the legal heads of arguments filed in the High Court by lawyers
representing MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last week, the opposition party
said although there were many grounds for challenging the validity of the
March 2002 presidential election, they would focus mainly on issues
pertaining to the composition and functions of the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) and failure by the government to comply with Sections 158
and 149 of the Electoral Act.
They would also adduce evidence of abuses by President Mugabe and his
"In the first stage of the trial, it will be argued that, aside from
the violence and fraud that characterised the elections, the elections did
not even comply with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and (the) Electoral Act,"
said MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube in a summary of the heads of
The main argument by Tsvangirai is that the ESC is not legally
constituted and is also not independent of outside influence as is stated in
the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
"At the time of the March 2002 Presidential Election, the ESC had only
four members - not five members it needs under the Constitution. The ESC was
thus by law not validly constituted," said the MDC in its voluminous heads
"Because the ESC was not validly constituted, it could not validly
carry out its functions of supervising the registration of voters and the
conduct of the presidential election."
The MDC further argues that according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe,
upon appointment of the five members of the ESC, the appointment must be
published in the Government Gazette, but the appointment of the four
commissioners presently running the ESC was never published in the statutory
"It is common cause that no such notification has been given, and the
President can not secretly appoint persons to a public commission."
The opposition party said apart from the fact that it was not validly
constituted, the ESC was not independent in discharging its functions as
there was a lot of influence from President Mugabe and the government.
"Section 11 of the Electoral Act says that, if the ESC requests, a
minister may appoint members of the Zimbabwean public service as staff for
the ESC," the MDC argued. "Four days before voting began in the presidential
election, Robert Mugabe issued a regulation stating that a minister of his
government would appoint the staff of the ESC. As a result of this
regulation, government ministers could appoint staff to the ESC, even if the
ESC had not requested this and government ministers could appoint staff to
the ESC even if those staff members were not members of the public service."
The MDC said by doing this, President Mugabe violated the Electoral
Act by forcing the ESC to take on staff, who included members of the
military selected by the executive arm of the government.
Tsvangirai will also argue that Section 158 of the Electoral Act is
unconstitutional in that it gives President Mugabe unlimited powers in
contravention of the principle of separation of powers.
"By giving the President, a member of the executive branch, the power
to amend the Electoral Act, Section 158 goes against the Zimbabwe
Constitution that says only Parliament can make electoral laws. Section 158
violates the principle of separation of legislative, executive and judicial
The section in question delegates to the President the power to amend
the electoral law and this may include power to make deletions from or
additions to election laws.
Tsvangirai will also argue that Section 149 of the Electoral Act,
which in its present form requires a petitioner to "demonstrate failure to
conduct the election in accordance with the principles for a free and fair
election laid down in the Electoral Act" and also to demonstrate the
occurrence of a mistake or failure which demonstrably affected the result of
the election" is wrong.
According to Tsvangirai, the Law Reviser, the official with the
responsibility of publishing legislation passed by parliament, did not
publish the correct version of the law because the correct version passed by
Parliament required a petitioner to demonstrate only one of the defined
shortfalls in an election, not both.
Other legal arguments that Tsvangirai will make include failures
related to the extension of the election for a third day, the unlawfulness
of holding local council elections in Harare and Chitungwiza during the same
time as the presidential elections among others.
Also included in Tsvangirai's heads of arguments is an expert opinion
from Jorgen Elklit, a Denmark-based election expert and professor of
Political Science at the University of Aarhus.
The 23-page expert opinion concluded by condemning the manner in which
the 2002 election was held, saying various irregularities and mistakes
fundamentally affected the outcome of the poll.
"On the basis of the documentation provided, the facts presented to
me, and my general assessment of the situation in relation to the
presidential election in Zimbabwe in March 2002, my overall conclusion as an
expert on elections, electoral systems and election administrative issues on
the basic questions is the following:
"The March 2002 Presidential elections in Zimbabwe were not conducted
in accordance with the general principles laid down in the Electoral Act . .
. they were not conducted efficiently, properly, freely or fairly as these
concepts and principles are generally understood and as I would expect they
should also be understood in this particular context."
He said the various irregularities and mistakes, and the
non-compliance with the fundamentals of the Electoral Act "undoubtedly had
serious material consequences, which most certainly affected the result of
President Mugabe's lawyer, Terrence Hussein of Harare law firm Hussein
Ranchhod & Company this week said they would oppose each and every argument
presented by Tsvangirai's legal team and their set of heads arguments would
be ready by tomorrow.
"We are going to respond to all their arguments . . . our responses
should be ready by Friday," Hussein said.
ZESA shakes up top management
10/23/2003 1:09:39 PM (GMT +2)
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has overhauled its
top management in a move that has seen morale at the power utility sinking
to its lowest ebb, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
As part of the changes, which have worsened industrial relations at
ZESA, Harare area manager Engineer Steve Pieron has been moved to head
office with Engineer Felix Mutonono being seconded from Gweru, where he was
the chief engineer, to fill in Pieron's position in an acting capacity.
ZESA's chief engineer, who could only be identified as Simoyi, would
be moving to head office where he will join two senior executives, Florina
Dube and a JC Ndlovu, relocated from the Harare area office and Bulawayo
Before the changes, Dube was the human resources officer for Harare
area, while Ndlovu was the human resources officer for Bulawayo.
Workers told The Financial Gazette this week that ZESA executive
chairman, Sydney Gata, was trying to suppress seething anger among employees
by frustrating managers viewed as sympathetic to their cause.
The changes come at a time when the workers, who have downed their
tools twice since August last year, were planning another crippling
industrial action that was blocked by a show cause order secured by
A spokesperson for ZESA, Shephered Mandizvida, said the transfers were
in line with the reforms meant to prepare the workforce to suit the
requirements of the commercialisation of the parastatal.
"It is imperative to realise that the head office houses various
successor companies, which were born out of comercialisation and staff
movement is within those parameters.
"The reform programme is not meant to target anyone, but to spruce up
the business structures of the authority to ensure that customers get value
for money from the services rendered by the new ZESA," he said.
Sources however, said the future of those seconded to head office
hangs in the balance because Gata, who was said to be out of the country
yesterday, has hinted that ZESA's headquarters would be disbanded as part of
The Financial Gazette could not immediately verify information that
nine ZESA workers had been suspended from Hwange, four from Gweru and
several others in Harare because of the proposed industrial action that was
supposed to have taken place two weeks ago.
"The workers were suspended for either addressing meetings 'illegally'
or trying to cause an industrial action," said another employee.
Workers interviewed by this newspaper alleged that they had agreed
with management in May this year that they would be awarded quarterly salary
adjustments but the employer was now reneging on the issue.
But Mandizvidza said: "The power utility is not in a position to
address your inquiry relating to the industrial action owing to the sub
judicial nature of the matter."
The workers also alleged that Gata's management style was causing
friction at the parastatal resulting in the poor delivery of service, which
has been worsened by the shortage of fuel.
Gata is also being accused of devoting much of his time on rural
electrification at the expense of improving electricity distribution in
"He (Gata) believes that everyone within the mainstream ZESA is
against the establishment (government) and has brought in iron-fisted
management style," said a disgruntled employee.
Gata is currently doubling up as the ZESA board and chief executive
officer following the dismissal of other board members this year.
27 firms barred from tobacco floors
Brian Mangwende Acting News Editor
10/23/2003 1:12:24 PM (GMT +2)
TWENTY-SEVEN companies, some owned by prominent Harare entrepreneurs,
were barred from trading at the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) this season which
kicked off in April and ended on a low key on Monday after they reportedly
failed to raise offshore lines of credit to purchase the golden leaf.
Among the companies not allowed to trade at the floors are Mucheche
Investments, FSI Agricom Holdings, Pasipamire Holdings, Multichoie Tobacco,
J and B Muchimika, Steelbay Enterprises, Tobacco Leaf Centre, Directfin, AEM
Tobacco Company, Birkmay Trading, Gwaai Leaf Tobacco, Codagreat, Central
Leaf Tobacco, Simbal, Nairb Enterprises and Tronhem Investments.
TSF managing director, David Machingaidze told The Financial Gazette
yesterday that of the 41 companies granted licences by the Tobacco Industry
and Marketing Board (TIMB) to trade on their auction floors, only 14 were
allowed to do so.
"We wrote to the TIMB informing them of the companies we were prepared
to do business with," Machingaidze said.
"This year 36 A class licences were given, but only 14 companies
participated this season. The difference obviously didn't manage to source
the required foreign currency in US dollars. This year, the Reserve Bank was
closely monitoring the situation on the ground. Despite a company having
been granted a licence to trade on the auction floors, we receive a list of
those with the foreign currency credit line facility and simply implement
that. We act on the recommendations made by the Reserve Bank who send us a
According to a list released on October 14 by TSF, the other companies
who were barred from trading are Agricultural Produce Corporation, Antnor
Imports and Exports, Cavhouse Investments, Kamro Tobacco International,
Regiben Management Consultants, Stem and Leaf Tobacco Merchants, Taberon
Trading, Agricultural and Rural Development, Onhardt Tobacco, Soundrider
Communications, Tronhem Investments and Hollywood Holdings.
Zimbabwe has been hit by an acute shortage of foreign currency in the
face of a faltering export sector and increasing international isolation.
Machingaidze said Class A buyers and sellers comprised of companies
required to buy and pay in US dollars while Class B was mainly of indigenous
business-people required to use local currency.
A senior official from the licensing board who spoke on condition of
anonymity said for a company to trade on the auction floors it has to meet
certain statutory requirements which include trading in foreign currency.
"For those in Class A to participate on the auction floors, they have
to trade in foreign currency," the official said. "They have to secure an
off shore line of credit in accordance with the exchange control
regulations. But in the event that one has failed to do that there is a
provision provided for through a Memorandum of Deposit in order to trade.
This is organised by the Reserve Bank."
This year's tobacco season ended on a sad note as the harvest was
about half compared to last year with critics saying the low harvest was
largely due to farm disturbances which started in February 2000 under the
land reform programme.
Heads set to roll at troubled RBZ
10/23/2003 1:14:01 PM (GMT +2)
HEADS are likely to roll at the central bank as the government moves
to restructure the institution, whose laxity in managing Zimba-bwe's
financial levers has attracted widespread condemnation, The Financial
Gazette can reveal.
Charles Chikaura, the acting Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor,
has submitted views and recommendations to the Finance Ministry on how the
bank can be restructured.
The document, which was generated in consultation with key
stakeholders, is being kept a closely guarded secret amid revelations that
President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet is split over the restructuring of the
bank that has gone for four months now without a substantive governor.
"There are those advocating for an externally-led overhaul in the
belief that there is no one at the RBZ at the moment to spearhead the
exercise. President Mugabe is in support of this viewpoint," said a Cabinet
"Others are however, of the view that Chikaura and his team are
equally capable of turning the bank around."
Nick Ncube, the secretary for Finance, confirmed that the issue has
gone through "the structures" and was being looked into but refused to
disclose the details.
"There are options that are open and we will look at that," said Ncube
when contacted for comment.
President Mugabe, who has the final say, has not hidden his
displeasure over the manner the bank is conducting its affairs. At one
point, President Mugabe accused the RBZ of relying on "bookish economics".
ZANU PF Member of Parliament and chairman of the committee on budget
and finance, David Chapfika, has also called for a major overhaul of the
bank although not many people have taken him seriously because of his
involvement with Universal Merchant Bank, which collapsed in 1998. The bank
was later rescued by CFX.
Among the economic ills blamed on the RBZ are the cash shortages,
excessive money supply growth and poor supervision and surveillance.
Sympathisers have sided with the RBZ, saying it has come unstuck
because of political interference and red tape in government.
Highly placed sources said the government was mulling contracting
expertise from Malaysia's Bank of Negara to assist in restructuring the RBZ.
It also emerged this week that the RBZ has acquired top of the range
luxury vehicles for some of its top executives in a veiled attempt to
prepare for their exits, should the restructuring catch up with them.
The all-terrain vehicles were acquired a few weeks ago, and the bank
is expecting delivery of another fleet anytime soon, sources said.
Although RBZ officials who spoke to this newspaper said it was the
central bank's policy to replace its vehicles after every five years, it is
the timing that has raised eyebrows.
The acquisition of the new vehicles coincides with the mooted
restructuring of the bank. Several high-ranking banking officials have been
tipped for the top post in the financial sector.
Massive failure rate at ZOU
10/23/2003 1:11:31 PM (GMT +2)
A MASSIVE 184 students out of the 210 who sat for this year's Masters
of Business Administration (MBA) examinations at the Zimbabwe Open
University (ZOU) in Manicaland failed to make it.
The students have since appealed to the university authorities to
probe lecturers who marked the examination that marked the end of their
three-year MBA course alleging rampant favouritism.
"Although I am one of the students graduating in two weeks' time, it
pains me to discover that some of the students who are due for graduation
did not even submit dissertations," said one of the students.
The administrator at the university's faculty of commerce, Ivy
Nyambuya, referred all questions to registrar Roland Mhasvi, who said he was
yet to receive complaints from those who failed.
"At the moment my hands are fully tied with preparations for the
graduation in two weeks' time," he said. "We have not published the results
and I will have to carry out investigations before I can comment."
Mhasvi however, said the university, which has of late been dogged by
allegations of corruption, nepotism and maladministration would launch an
internal investigation if there was an anomaly in the pass rate.
November 20 is budget day
10/23/2003 1:13:23 PM (GMT +2)
THE eagerly-awaited 2004 national budget will be presented on November
20 2003, a Ministry of Finance official told The Financial Gazette this
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa would be walking on a tight rope as
he tries to strike a balance between government's insatiable appetite to
spend against a shrinking economic cake.
To contain the high budget deficit, which has fuelled inflation,
Murerwa would need to rein in expenditure and stimulate production.
Over the years, the government has struggled to live within its
self-imposed targets, resulting in perennial supplementary budgets.
Murerwa has however admitted that inflation, which is now close to 500
percent, is the main problem, but analysts have castigated his ministry for
doing nothing about it.
A number of stakeholders including the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI), the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have submitted their budget inputs to the
Analysts are hoping for a more generous budget that offers real
incentives to exporters and the productive sector, which are central to
In its budget proposals, the CZI said the use of duty-free
certificates should cover the importation of diesel in view of the
deregulation of the fuel industry.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said the CZI, should also lower the
percentage of foreign currency remitted into its coffers from the current 50
percent to 30 percent to improve earnings.
The ZCTU has also called for the widening of tax bands to increase the
disposable income available to the worker in view of the high levels of
Zim goes 2 months with no IMF representative
10/23/2003 1:14:54 PM (GMT +2)
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) is still to appoint a country
director for Zimbabwe two months after the term of office of the senior
resident representative expired.
The fund's Zimbabwean operations are being managed from Washington by
Doris Rose, who represented the Washington group in March during the Article
IV consultations with the government, labour and the business community.
The previous resident representative, Goodwill Johnson, has since left
for Washington after his term of office expired.
"Currently the IMF office is being managed by Doris Rose who
represented the group during the article IV consultations in March," said
"We do not know when the replacement for Mr Johnson would be made, but
Rose is also in the front running for taking over."
Rose did not respond to questions sent to her this week but currently
Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amount to US$310 million since the country has
been failing to service its debts on time. The international monetarists who
abandoned Zimbabwe in 1995 have since classified the southern African
country as a bad debtor.
The Bretton Woods institution has also suspended voting rights for
Zimbabwe, a situation that could lead to the country losing its membership.
Other international financiers who take their cue from the IMF have
also followed suit and abandoned Zimbabwe.
Inputs crisis puts more food woes on the horizon
10/23/2003 1:15:37 PM (GMT +2)
THE country should brace for yet another spate of food shortages, this
time spawned by lack of the requisite inputs, economic analysts have warned.
News that the government did not have sufficient funds to finance crop
production in the 2003/4 agricultural season not only confirmed earlier
fears of a man-made disaster, but also heightened apprehension among
Zimbabweans who have had to bear the vile brunt of acute food shortages.
The government this week gave its clearest indication to date, that it
may not be able to meet the country's huge agricultural input bill, hardly a
week after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo announced that the
government was targeting 3.5 million tonnes of maize in the forthcoming
Economic commentator John Robertson accused the government of
dishonesty, saying there was no way that amount of the staple grain could be
produced under the current circumstances characterised by lack of resources
to fund inputs, according to the government's own admission.
"It is gross irresponsibility for the government to try and instill a
patently false sense of hope in people by throwing unrealistic figures
"We are likely to see a total harvest amounting to about 800 000
tonnes, which falls far short of the nation's annual requirement of about
2.4 million tonnes.
"There is no seed, fertiliser and fuel and many of the tractors from
DDF (the District Development Fund) do not work anyway.
"You also have a situation where pesticides are in short supply and
the cost of the little seed that is available, at $2 250 a kilogramme, is
beyond the reach of the new farmers as it is being sold in 20 kg packs,"
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has indicated that
the cereal harvest from last season had virtually run out and that the
staple cereal gap for the current marketing season (April 2003 to March
2004) remained high at 738 464 metric tonnes, with maize making up the bulk
of that figure with 671 424 metric tonnes.
The government, which also has to grapple with ensuring adequate
medical drugs imports, among other crucial supplies, faces a huge food
Industry sources indicated that with more people resettled under the
fast-track reform pgoramme, well over 70 000 tonnes of sead maize would be
required this season.
Last year, about 47 000 metric tonnes of seed maize was sold, giving 1
200 000 hectares of land put under maize and this meant that about 64
percent of the optimum.
FEWSNET has expressed doubts over the possibility of the same area of
land being put under maize in the 2003/4 agricultural season if the seed
maize situation remains unchanged.
Robertson said in the current hyperinfla-tionary environment, it would
cost about $1 million to produce a tonne of maize and, as such, the producer
price paid by grain purchasing monopoly - the Grain marketing Board (GMB) -
would remain a disincentive.
He said although the government might increase the producer price to
levels around $600 000 at the advent of the next selling season, not too
many farmers would be keen to meet requirements extending beyond their own
Donor agencies are also reported to have been taken aback, not only by
the government's lethargic approach to giving timeous warnings of the total
grain requirements, but also by the different signals given by government
"It just puts the agencies in an invidious position as they have to
justify their own figures of total requirements, which, inevitably, are
higher than those given by the Harare government, as well as to try and
elicit donor support long after resources have been committed.
"Let it be remembered that the Zimbabwean food situation is more of a
man-made crisis than a natural disaster, as is the case in many other areas
requiring donor support," a source with one donor agency, said..
Any further shortages of grain will have a telling effect on the
country's overall inflation rate, which peaked 455.6 percent on a
year-to-year basis in September.
Food inflation, a major driver of the general consumer price index
(CPI), soared to 487.3 percent in August before shedding 68.3 percentage
points in October but Robertson maintained that the upward trend was going
"The environment is going to remain very inflationary, with monthly
inflation way over 20 percent, to give a very high compound inflation," he
Food shortages have driven the levels of inflation to record highs
every month and economic analysts maintain that the real rate of inflation
is way higher than the official figures computed by the Central Statistical
Office (CSO). The CSO bases its figures on the controlled prices of
foodstuff and services, while disregarding the grey economy in which many
products are available at unregulated prices.
Some economic analysts have put the "real" rate of inflation at around
Zim excluded from African C'wealth countries meeting
10/23/2003 1:16:48 PM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE is the only country which was left out of a two-week meeting
involving Africa's Commonwealth countries which was held in South Africa to
discuss how to utilise the group's funds for technical cooperation.
The meeting, held from October 6-17, was the first of its kind
involving all African countries and excluded Zimbabwe because of its
suspension from the club's grouping. It was jointly organised by the South
African government, the Commonwealth Secretariat and University of Pretoria.
The Commonwealth said that Zimbabwe could not attend the meeting, but
other African countries were represented.
"The gathering is the first of its kind involving all African member
countries of the Commonwealth. Zimbabwe is the only one not invited as it is
currently under suspension," the Commonwealth said.
"These capacity builders, POC and PCPs, (Points of Contacts or Primary
Contact Points) would also contribute ideas to chart the way forward for the
Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC), the Commonwealth's
multi-lateral agency for development by both developed and developing
The Commonwealth had initially been split over Zimbabwe's
participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which would be
held in December in Nigeria but the hosts have said that unless there is "a
sea of change" Zimbabwe would not be invited for the meeting.
Zimbabwe was suspended for a year from the Commonwealth Club in March
2002 on allegations of gross human rights abuses including muzzling of the
Australian leader John Howard has been the most vocal, saying that
Zimbabwe should not be invited although the Nigerians were initially
insisting that Harare should be invited.
This development threatened to split the 54-member grouping along
racial lines up until last month when the Nigerians said that there has to
be significant change for Zimbabwe to be invited.
Issues discussed at the meeting included "money laundering, public
sector reform and good governance practices".
Two-tier fuel pricing system falls flat
10/23/2003 1:16:09 PM (GMT +2)
From the onset, the new pricing system has been a compromise as the
government was under pressure to break the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe's (Noczim) monopoly without upsetting the electorate that was
growing impatient because of the high cost of living.
Oil producing countries, notably Libya, had also shut off regular
shipments to Zimbabwe owing to the fuel procurer's failure to pay on time.
Under the circumstances, Amos Midzi's Energy Ministry opted for a
compromise where Noczim charged a much cheaper price to government,
passenger transport operators and the agricultural sector than the price
passed on to the rest of the economy by private oil companies.
Analysts told The Financial Gazette this week that although the dual
fuel pricing system sounded good on paper, its outcome has been another
policy faux-pas for President Robert Mugabe's government, which has battled
to normalise fuel supplies for the past three years.
Supplies from Noczim have virtually dried up with the government's
mouthpiece, The Herald, confirming the national fuel procurer had run out of
the precious liquid in an unusual headline carried in its Saturday's
Corruption and profiteering have scuttled the two-tier pricing
system's original objective of cushioning impoverished commuters from fare
hikes and keeping fuel affordable for newly resettled farmers.
Critics said the dual fuel pricing system was only meant to portray
the government as concerned about the plight of the ordinary citizen.
Harare economist Joseph Muzulu said the new system, which was
hurriedly and half-heartedly put together, has created arbitraging, where
fuel dealers secure the resource from Noczim and dispose of it at
Muzulu said: "With dual pricing, you need a strong monitoring
mechanism because someone can buy from Noczim and sell on the other market."
While the loss-making parastatal is still selling a litre of petrol at
Z$450, the pricing of fuel by private oil companies is now chaotic. A litre
of petrol can be bought at anything between the gazetted Z$1 980 and Z$3
Law enforcement agencies have been turning a blind eye on private
importers, amid allegations that private oil companies linked to the ruling
ZANU PF were being let off the hook because of their connections.
Only Comoil, owned by a ZANU PF Member of Parliament, was fined for
selling fuel at black market prices, but that was before the de-regulation
of the petroleum industry.
The agricultural sector, which is in limbo because of the shortage of
inputs, particularly maize seed and fertiliser, will not get adequate fuel
supplies this season, while the public transportation system, which include
the National Railways of Zimbabwe's "freedom train", is virtually grounded.
The justice delivery system has also been affected and cannot secure
transport to take prisoners to the courts, while the fleet for
municipalities and the government-run CMED (Private) Limited is grounded.
On average, it now takes at least three hours for a commuter to get
transport to and from work, a trend that has led to absenteeism and loss of
Economic consultant John Robertson told The Financial Gazette that the
whole crisis hinged on the shortage of foreign exchange blamed on poor
export performance and the loss of donor support from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international backers.
Zimbabwe has to regain the IMF's support to improve foreign exchange
inflows while strategies to stimulate exports are being worked out.
"People are not happy with the exchange rate and right now, they are
waiting for a devaluation," said Robertson.
Exporters, who have been accused of externalising their earnings
through under-invoicing and transfer pricing, have been calling for more
incentives to improve foreign currency inflows required to bankroll fuel and
electricity imports, among other things.
With agriculture in disarray because of the shortage of inputs, the
fuel crisis may continue for a long time to come. The land seizures slashed
production of tobacco, the main hard currency earner at a time when aid,
investment and tourism earnings were drying up.
Muzulu said Noczim was now borrowing to service its loans instead of
importing fuel to retire its massive debt, running into billions of dollars.
"In my view, controlling the price of fuel only serves to worsen the
situation. It is obvious that Noczim needs a subsidy but the government
doesn't have the money," said Muzulu.
"Things have fallen too far apart. It's a whole package, where you
have to make the exchange rate find its own level and prices finding own
levels," he said.
Noczim, which is raising money locally to pay for its imports, may
need to raise the price of fuel and put pressure on the government to double
the level of subsidy.
More increases in petrol prices will however, aggravate the country's
spiralling official inflation currently at around 500 percent.
War vets chief clears air on land reform
10/23/2003 1:17:39 PM (GMT +2)
THERE is confusion over the role of war veterans with the dominant
view being that the fighters of Zimbabwe's liberation have turned villains
because of their endless and "unreasonable" demands including their
controversial role in the land reform exercise.
The Financial Gazette Acting News Editor BRIAN MANGWENDE spoke to the
acting chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association, Patrick Nyaruwata, on this and other issues.
Question: There has been talk that the fast track land reform exercise
was President Robert Mugabe's brainchild and not the war veterans'. Who
really was behind it?
Answer: The war veterans initiated that programme. What happened was
that after the rejection of the referendum, which sought to come up with a
new constitution for Zimbabwe, parts of which stipulated that land must be
distributed among the landless, we then took it upon ourselves to seize
Q. How clean are the war veterans in light of the killings of
commercial farmers that took place during the land reform?
understand that wherever there is pandemonium people are
bound to commit crimes. Not only white farmers were killed, but our people
(blacks) were also killed and some maimed. I am not saying I support crime.
The law must take its course.
Q. Have any war veterans been convicted of these crimes on the farms?
A. A number of war veterans have been
convicted for causing chaos on
farms. Some were convicted because they did not have legal representation.
Even the whites were convicted. Wherever there is war, blood is spilt, but I
am happy that the law took its course.
Q. Since you said the war veterans were instrumental in
reform exercise, how many have actually benefited?
A. I don't have the figures at hand, but a sizeable number benefited -
the majority under the A1 model and some under the A2 model. I must,
however, emphasise that we still have a large number of war veterans waiting
to be allocated land.
Q. But the government says the land reform has
reached its logical
conclusion and they are now tying up the loose ends. What do you say to
A. We are looking forward to government
allocating land to those war
veterans who have not yet benefited, but were instrumental in the land
Q. Some newly resettled
farmers were kicked off the farms to pave way
for senior government officials under the pretext that they were wrongfully
resettled. Could this be an admission that the whole exercise was unplanned
and do you feel short-changed?
A. The government should have been clear on the
policy and on who
should have been resettled, where and when. There was a technical problem in
that when people applied for land, they were not told under which model they
would fall, hence the hiccup. War veterans must be allocated the land they
want, but no one is more equal than the other. We won't allow that to
continue happening. It's unacceptable.
Q. You are on record saying those with more than one farm should
relinquish the excess land. Is this happening and don't you think war
veterans were used by the powers-that-be to achieve their own goals?
A. Some have
already started relinquishing excess farms. Some had
become greedy that's why President Mugabe appointed a land review committee
to look into that matter and solve the problem amicably. They have been
warned to stick to the policy of one-man-one-farm and those who do not
comply will face the music and the law will take its course.
Q. Have you seen the Charles Utete
report on the land reform and if
you have, what do you make of it?
A. No, I have not seen it yet, but we gave our
won't stand by and allow anyone to own more than one farm, whether black or
white. Zimbabwe is not expanding so why should people have more than one
farm? I am happy the President took that decision otherwise some senior
party officials who have become so corrupt would be owning at least five
Q. Most acquired farms are
lying idle, with no production taking
place. What is the rationale behind this?
A. This is because some farmers do not have the inputs yet.
Q. Is it true that Andrew Ndhlovu (the managing director
Ex-combatants Investment Fund - Zexcom) was sacrificed so that the
government and war veterans could be seen to be adhering to the rule of law?
A. I don't take it that way. It's just like any other
case. If there
is something behind it, I am unaware of it.
Q. How many farms do you have?
A. I have one farm and it's in
Mazowe - Nalile Farm - otherwise known
as Bramsfield. We are doing wonders there. At the moment, I have 77 hectares
of wheat and another 77 of barley. I am now venturing into maize seed and
Q. You have
been implicated alongside the secretary-general of the war
veterans association, Endy Mhlanga, in the disappearance of $65 million at
Zexcom and your colleagues are accusing you of deliberately delaying the war
veterans' congress to cover up your tracks first. What is your position?
A. They don't know what they are talking about. Zexcom is a public
company formed by war veterans to benefit them. In 1997, the late Chenjerai
Hunzvi was its chairman with Mhlanga as managing director. The company also
had a board. I was the vice chairman, but as you are aware, I fell ill for
some time and was not active in the day-to-day running of the business. I
have no knowledge of the said money. I am a clean man in all this nonsense.
In 2000, other shareholders in Bulawayo petitioned the High Court asking it
to place the company under judicial management saying they want their money
back. The petition was successful and now investigations are under way. It's
now with the Master of the High Court.
On the issue of the congress, we were very busy with the Presidential
election and on top of that, the enemy was advancing fast towards us calling
for sanctions in the country, stay-aways and all sorts of various disruptive
actions. That's why we delayed the congress. We were under serious attack.
Now that our society is no longer under threat, we can safely hold the
congress where we will choose a new leadership. Those who thought we are not
going to hold the congress will see miracles in November. It will happen.
Those who have any ideas of scuttling the congress do not have the capacity
to do so.
Q. Who do you think is responsible for the current state of affairs in
Zimbabwe, especially the meltdown of the economy?
A. We are aware of those who want the economy to collapse totally.
Q. Who are they?
A. The enemy of course and the enemy can be white or
black in Zimbabwe
being sponsored by the British and Americans. The enemy has been calling for
sanctions. We know them.
Q. Where do the war veterans stand in the succession debate?
A. It's too early
for that. The position is not yet vacant. I am a
member of the central committee and everyone is going to be involved when
the time comes. This is a straightforward thing. I don't know why people are
very excited about this.
Q. What do you make of the current confusion in ZANU PF
in light of
the dissolution of the succession committee?
A. I don't know why that committee was put there in the first place.
Q. Have the war veterans been able to access the $40
set up by the government through the Land Bank to purchase agricultural
A. That is a big problem and I am
addressing the issue. We understand
that some branches of the Land Bank are turning our people away because they
don't have collateral. That's nonsense. The minister gave the directive and
it should be followed. During the war, while some were fighting, others were
busy amassing wealth. Where do they want the majority of us to get
collateral from? Do they want us to steal property? We can't accept that.
They must lend them the money without collateral. Most of the war veterans
are pensioners and we have records of them if the banks want to trace them.
If they continue refusing, they will see what's coming to them.
Q. Are war veterans benefiting from
the input support scheme or was it
just a government bluff to maintain your support?
A. Some are and some are not. We are looking into
How’s this for naivety, gullibility?
10/23/2003 1:00:00 PM (GMT +2)
EDITOR — How’s this for naivety and gullibility:
- President Bush, visiting South Africa some three months ago,
believed President Mbeki when the latter told him his "quiet diplomacy" was
going to bring President Mugabe to heel - and soon; (incidentally, what
became of Collin Powell, who was breathing fire and brimstone before that
visit but seems to have disappeared from sight since then?);
- The South African High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, who
could just visit his beleaguered countryman in the Chinhoyi area and sparked
an inter-regional incident when nearly chomped by angry farm invaders (oh,
shame, of course, utter shame!;
- Don McKinnon
(but what else could you expect from him?):
"Commonwealth to tackle Zim head-on" (ZimInd October 17 ). "Zimbabwe is not
. . . an issue dividing Africa from the rest of the Commonwealth. There's
not a single African leader I spoke to that isn't deeply unhappy about
Zimbabwe (etc, etc)". Just like Bush, hasn't McKinnon learned that African
leaders will tell you exactly what they think you want to hear - and then go
and do what they always intended, marvelling at the stupidity of the white
man? (My two regular readers will recall my comment when McKinnon first
visited President Mugabe some 3-4 years ago - "If he's the best they could
get as Commonwealth Secretary General, what were the rest like?". That
opinion has not changed).
Anyone who believed the Utete report would be useful in trying to
establish a new route to proper correction of the land reform programme: "a
political smokescreen aimed at whitewashing the damaging consequences of the
"fast-track" programme", and more, much more (ZimInd, 17 October);
- Anyone who thought President Mugabe and ZANU PF
would be honest in
their approach to the talks with the MDC aimed at bringing the two parties
together to rescue Zimbabwe from its current freefall and re-establish a
And, as an addendum, two other items contained in that ZimInd issue;
Utterly shameful; "Police assault Harare lawyer". Beatrice Mtetwa, MDC
lawyer, was severely assaulted at Central and Borrowdale Police Stations and
in vehicles travelling to and between the two, and had to be treated at the
Today's hollow laugh: NRZ suspended inter-city passenger train
services due to an acute shortage of diesel, and urban commuter trains will
likely suffer the same fate, perhaps this coming week-end - "Train services
Two steps nearer the inevitable disintegration of Zimbabwe. Of course,
the Commonwealth meets in Abuja in early December and will "tackle Zim
head-on", as McKinnon says. Can anyone really believe that meeting will
result in a positive move by the Commonwealth (or anyone else?) to give
practical help to this country?
NEPAD and its relevance to Zim
1:31:51 PM (GMT +2)
New African Initiative (NAI). Three months later, at a meeting in
Abuja, Nigeria, the NAI became NEPAD.
A 60-page summary of aims and aspirations deals with peace and
security concerns, democracy and good governance and the need to attract
more foreign direct investment. NEPAD's architects aspire for a growth rate
of seven percent across Africa but accept that over US$64 billion will be
required to make that happen. The first question for sceptics has been:
where will the money come from? Given the past failure of industrialised
countries to meet their own, extremely modest aid targets, why should there
now be a sudden upsurge of interest in Africa?
NEPAD stresses the merits of self-reliance and the need to shake off
the chains of economic dependency, yet some of NEPAD's detractors argue that
it does nothing to challenge the supremacy of the North and the weakness of
the South. While the NEPAD documents reflect a bleak, angry account of
Africa's humiliation through the years of slavery, colonisation and its
current marginalisation, critics say NEPAD meekly follows the borrowed
wisdom of the IMF and World Bank, courting the private sector and embracing
globalisation at whatever cost.
Serious reservations have been raised about what sort of "partnership"
this is where the G8 "partners", at their summit in Kananakis in Canada mid
last year, promised a measly US $1billion to the 54 "partners" in Africa
while they gave $20 billion to Russia, give $3 billion annually to Israel
(by America alone), and take $15 billion in interest payments from Africa!
(These figures were valid as at mid last year and may have changed).
The anti-NEPAD brigade argues that at Kananakis the West revealed its
true colours - it will assist countries on a bilateral basis - countries
that serve Western interests and that this is no more than the old strategy
of "divide and rule". A leopard, after all, does not change its spots, so
Critics of NEPAD point out that the West preaches free enterprise and
competition but when they can not compete they change the rules and use all
kinds of devices, the only constant here is what is in their interest. The
anti-NEPAD brigade emphasises that the interest factor should never be
excised from the equation because it is very fundamental in the Northern
psyche. They add that if there is any opportunity of a "partnership" as
espoused by NEPAD, the Northern mentality of "how can we take from Africa"
will have to be replaced by the African Union with "how can we work with
Africa or our mutual benefit".
Given the contrasting heritage of the African Union and the European
Union, serious doubts have been expressed if the latter will allow the
former to strengthen its will, ability and capacity to fight for the
interest of Africa, leverage it, maximise it and protect it to the benefit
of all the African people.
Common cause, common purpose, and unity in diversity are the buzzwords
and the next is action. Serious effort has to be made to make the AU an
action union that will make us withstand the pressures of the global economy
But it is not just the G8 and investors who are being viewed with
scepticism. There have been arguments that NEPAD, far from being a
collective, continental project, drawing on African intelligence and input,
is a product of a few personalities. There is concern too, that NEPAD will
be unable to honour its own commitments on good governance and human rights,
that the "peer review mechanisms" talked about will count for nothing given
African leaders' and OAU's past reluctance to criticise and ostracise.
Many Africans have been largely left in the dark on what NEPAD is
really about. Civil society organisations, trade unions and other interest
groups have criticised the lack of consultation while the African private
sector has been a peripheral player so far. Some have noted that the leaders
who supposedly came up with NEPAD are like the old prophets, honoured
elsewhere but not in their own countries. This is also true of the
Yahya Jammeh, the President of the Gambia, is a vicious critic of
NEPAD and his view can be taken as a school of thought complete in itself,
although it still needs to be developed further. This school of thought
argues that Africans can only solve their problems by rising against the
unfairness in the world trade system which is responsible for the
misfortunes of more than half of the world's population.
Addressing his people, in festive mood, on July 2 2002 on the 8th
anniversary of the "revolution" that brought him to power on July 22 1994,
Jammeh made it clear that Africa's salvation would never come from NEPAD. In
his view, Africa's socio- economic development must come from Africa. To
quote him directly, Jammeh said:
"NEPAD will never work. You come up with a programme and depend on
nothing but begging . . . I am not criticising NEPAD but the way it was
conceived to be dependent on begging. Nobody will ever develop your country
for you. What we want is an African Development Trust Fund where we put our
resources and give loans to African countries to develop. But if you want to
develop Africa by begging, you must train so that you have strong knees and
that is why they call it kneepad. If you rely on NEPAD, buy more pads for
your knees and you will never get anything."
In a separate interview with West Africa magazine in 2001, President
Jammeh questioned the rationale of taking NEPAD to the G8 Summit for
approval, arguing that if it is an African project, there is no need to seek
the approval of the G8 because the G8 has never brought its agenda to Africa
for us to approve it. He added that:
"If the problem is an African one what I believe is that before
talking to the G8, the very people responsible for the problems we have
today, we should have brought it to Africa, and each country should have
gathered its intellectuals and allowed them to debate it, as we did with the
African Union project . . . people are sick and tired of African beggars . .
. the socio-economic development of the continent must come from Africans.
That is what I call independence."
It is therefore clear from the foregoing discussion that with the
current trend in the African neo-colonies, nobody seems to be able to see
the way out. The result has been mish-mash of unworkable social theories,
amateurism and universal incompetence, and above all, mass cynicism,
hypocrisy and corruption.
The Zimbabwean government is capitalising on this confusion by
advancing its own notion of a solution and it is in this context that the
supposed support they have been getting from other third-world countries
should be critiqued. Let's make a date next week.
Isaya Muriwo Sithole is a Harare-based legal practitioner
How gun-toting youths wreaked havoc in Zambia
Out & About with Carlos
10/23/2003 1:05:53 PM (GMT +2)
This is the concluding part of the topic introduced last week in which
Carlos talked about the National Service training introduced in Zambia in
the late 70s.
The idea behind establishing National Service - getting school leavers
to participate in agricultural production and equipping them with military
skills so they could defend their country if the need arose - was noble but,
an area of concern, unforeseen at the beginning perhaps, began unfolding.
How many of these youths being taught to use guns were going to get
There was a time when merely completing high school was a one-way
ticket to a good job in Zambia but things were rapidly changing and
competition for the few jobs that were available was becoming stiff.
By the time most of these school leavers had completed military
training, there were very few opportunities.
As time dragged by and, with no jobs in sight, some of these chaps
began regrouping in search for solutions to their predicament.
What was the point of going to school if, afterwards, no employment
Perhaps joblessness had nothing to do with it and the boys were simply
driven by sheer adventurism, for they went on to source guns and there was
an unprecedented upswing in armed robberies.
And the city of Ndola was soon nicknamed "Chicago" as it became
notorious for these robberies.
This was where all action took place while minor robberies were
reported elsewhere in the country.
To the residents of Ndola, armed robberies were not new. The town is
very close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. And
Congolese soldiers, then going for months without pay, would supply Zambian
youths with guns for very little money.
The Congolese soldiers too, would dress as civilians, cross into
Zambia and hold up motorists at gunpoint from whom they would grab anything
of value. The Congolese would then simply dash for the woods and make it
back into Congo. For the affluent suburb of Minsundu, which was very close
to Sakanya right on the Zambia-DRC border, midnight visits from Congolese
robbers were the order of the day.
So, the new breed of young gun-toting robbers who were aware of the
nuisance of Congolese bandits went on to stage daring bank robberies in
broad daylight and, using stolen cars such as the Fiat 132 GLS, they would
drive to the DRC border, dump the car there and use other means of transport
to get back into town. By leaving the car at the border, the young robbers
were simply applying what they learnt in the army - creating a diversion!
This was a ruse meant to give the impression the bank robbers were Congolese
and had escaped back into their country.
Come evening, conversation among pub-goers would be centred around the
exploits of the young bank robbers and how they were outmanoeuvring the
usually heavily armed police.
Unknown to the bar patrons, the robbers would be there, mingling with
them and buying drinks even for strangers.
As these robberies became prevalent, it was now apparent to almost
everyone that these crimes were being committed by none other than the
graduates of National Service. Their ages ranged between 19 and 22 and their
tactics, which made them gain the upper hand when confronted, could only be
attributed some form of military training. Whenever they had a raid, the
gangsters seemed to operate under a code of ethics - they only stole money
or goods leaving their victims unharmed.
The police usually arrived at the scene of crime long after the
bandits had gone.
As time went by, crime- weary Ndola residents' attitude towards these
gangsters began to change. Some even started idolising them.
Work places and watering holes were abuzz with stories of whose
children these young adventurers were, who supplied them with such
sophisticated weapons and which institute would be targeted next.
That comment was foremost on my mind as I left the pub for my flat.
Since when have outlaws forewarned their victims, I asked?
While some of the cops-and-robbers stories doing the rounds at
gatherings were exaggerated, I recall a bank robbery back in April 1982,
which I, together with other workmates at The Times of Zambia (my former
employer) in Ndola, witnessed.
The bank, along Kabelenga Avenue, was situated exactly opposite the
Times of Zambia building.
On that day, most of us had been quick to notice the presence of two
heavily armed para-military police in addition to the usual pair of armed
police officers who manned the bank entrance. By about midday, the presence
of the four armed details guarding the bank was a forgotten subject.
Then a metallic grey Honda Civic pulled up at the bank and parked on a
"reserved" spot - an act which attracted the attention of the fifth guard
(an unarmed security guard). The four occupants of this posh sports car were
young, in their twenties, and one of them got off the car and disappeared
into the bank.
Immediately he walked into the bank the young man clapped his hands
requesting the attention of everyone.
"Listen up and listen very carefully," he announced. "I don't want any
life lost as has just happened at the Zambia Sugar Refinery where I have
just been to, so kindly cooperate with me and start packing as much dough as
you can in the money bags now and, THAT'S AN ORDER!"
Low maize produce forecast
10/23/2003 1:01:23 PM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE will not be able to produce more than 1.2 million metric
tonnes of maize in the 2003/04 agricultural season if the current shortages
of inputs persist.
A Southern Africa Development Community Famine Early Warning Systems
Network report on Zimbabwe released this week said the country would fail to
produce 66 percent of the national food requirements despite forecasts of a
good rainfall pattern.
"However, changes in the agricultural landscape, shortages of inputs
including fertilisers, seeds, fuel, credit and spare parts will all severely
limit potential production for the 2003/04 agricultural season," the report
Seed companies estimate the national maize seed deficit of about 50
000 tonnes, which would be offset by imports at a cost of about US$2 000 a
Only 30 000 tonnes were produced against the national requirement of
87 000 tonnes. The land reform caused the demand for fertiliser to shot up
from 400 000 tonnes to one million.
Some of the farmers' representatives have already conceded that this
farming season's harvests will be less than forecast as most new farmers are
also failing to access funding because of lack of collateral.
Tobacco farmers' groups resisting
Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
10/23/2003 1:00:38 PM (GMT +2)
PLANS by the government to regain monopoly in the purchase of tobacco
have been met with resistance from farmers' representative groups.
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made
recently announced that government would re-establish the Agricultural
Marketing Authority (AMA) to ensure that farmers receive the best price.
The impeding policy shift seem to have been caused by the stalemate
between tobacco farmers and the government over the exchange rate that
should be applied on the auction floors.
Farmers feel that the current tobacco support price of $824 to US$1 is
Farmers' representatives told The Financial Gazette this week that the
government did not have the capacity to buy the tobacco crop because of the
heavy financing costs involved.
"The government cannot sustain this because they would need to either
buy or cease the processing plants and this requires billions of dollars.
"Furthermore, the government will have to look for international
buyers to sell the tobacco.
"Considering the poor relations the government currently has with the
international community, it would be a disaster," an industry official said.
AMA was closed in 1994 when the government liberalised agricultural
commodity marketing in line with the requirement of the Economic Structural
The government's desire to resurrect AMA is meant to help small-scale
commercial farmers who were allocated land under the controversial land
reform programme. Officials interviewed by The Financial Gazette said
although the government argues that the auction system works well for
large-scale farmers, the new farmers actually requires bridging finance to
see them through.
"The government should fund the tobacco crop to enable farmers to
produce more and earn the country the much-needed foreign currency," the
This year, deliveries to the auctions floors were below the
anticipated 100 million kg because of a poor crop blamed on the land reform,
which displaced white commercial farmers who contributed 90 percent to the
Tobacco is Zimbabwe's single largest foreign currency earner.
Nullification of Makoni East Parliamentary Election result
Many people have forgotten that the MDC
challenged the results in 35 of the
62 seats won by Zanu PF in the June 2000 parliamentary elections. It is now
3 years and 4 months since we lodged the "urgent" court applications and
they are still trickling through. So far we have won 7 and lost 5. 3 have
been withdrawn by the applicants under duress and 20 remain to be heard. In
the latest court hearing, the Makoni East seat result has been overturned
taking the total number of seats declared "vacant" by the courts to 8.
Legally speaking these sitting members of parliament should step down and we
should hold a bi-election in each constituency. In fact all that Zanu PF has
done is to appeal the result and leave their MP's in their seats in the
House. If it has taken three years and 4 months to hear less than half the
cases - heaven knows when they will get around to the appeals! Had the 2000
elections been run on a free and fair basis, MDC would have won quite easily
on the basis of the outcome of these court decisions by a court loaded with
Zanu PF Judges.
22nd October 2003
MDC welcomes the nullification of the Makoni East
The judgement given today by the High Court in which
the 2000 Makoni East parliamentary election has been
set aside is a welcome development.
This has vindicated us and has exposed ZANU PF who
have tried in vain to hoodwink the world into
believing that both the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
Presidential elections were conducted under free and
fair conditions. This is not withstanding a catalogue
of indisputable irregularities that were uncovered and
brought to the fore by both the International and
local observer groups in the conduct of these
To date seven seats have been set aside and more than
twenty others are still to be heard.
We are consoled by the fact that the judgement adds
another voice in support of the people of Zimbabwe who
have been denied their democratic right to choose
their own leaders by ZANU PF through election fraud
and intimidation of voters.
We call upon the international community to continue
to exert pressure on the illegitimate Mugabe regime to
force them to come to the negotiating table in order
to bring the country back to legitimacy through
internationally supervised elections conducted under
free and fair conditions.
Paul Themba Nyathi
Secretary for Information and Publicity
World Vision Zimbabwe (WVZ) is close to launching an urban school-feeding
program, funded by WFP, as part of the organisation's urban intervention.
WVZ-Relief Deputy Director Zvidzai Maburutse said the program is set to kick
off at the beginning of November.
"We are going to use the lessons drawn from this pilot program to expand
into other urban schools," said Maburutse.
This is the first time that WVZ has implemented an urban school-feeding
program. Its focus has been in the rural areas where an estimated 4.4
million people need food aid.
He added that the intervention was coming at a time when the food insecurity
in urban centres was becoming increasingly desperate and school children
have been identified as one of the most vulnerable groups.
Urban vulnerability fuelled by the declining economy has continued to slide
and households have been forced to come up with strategies to survive. It is
estimated that 1.1 million people in urban centres are in urgent need of
"We welcome this program and we would like to urge you if you can start as
soon as possible," said Kevi Ndiweni, the chairman of St. Peters Primary
Ndiweni said because of the increasingly desperate situation, most children
were now staying out of school.
WVZ intervention is set to augment already existing programs being run by
other humanitarian agencies in the city.
Last month Catholic Relief Services launched the Market Assistance Pilot
Program (MAPP) to reduce urban vulnerability in Bulawayo.
The MAPP program, which is funded by the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) is bringing in 20 000 metric tonnes of
sorghum into the country. The sorghum is going to be milled and placed in
strategic retail outlets and sold to the public and subsidised rates.
The WFP is also running supplementary feeding in 37 clinics dotted across
the city reaching out to over 25 000 under fives.