Robert Mugabe brought his despotism to a new level of sophistication last
week. By allowing the nation's highest court, which he effectively controls,
to acquit opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of a treason charge that could
carry the death penalty, Mr. Mugabe effectively gave his thugocracy the
false semblance of legitimacy and prevented a potential rebuke from South
Africa. In reality, Mr. Mugabe maintains his dictatorial control of
Zimbabwe, and has stepped up his repression.
The state-controlled media in Zimbabwe is predictably in concert with the
Mugabe regime: "The judgment ...will go a long way in remoulding the way in
which both the local and international communities regard matters of
governance in Zimbabwe," Zimbabwe's Sunday Mirror commented. "How the case
was handled symbolises that there are checks and balances and therefore
there was no need for fear that the executive...would interfere with the
justice delivery system." Clearly, this is the message Mr. Mugabe is trying
to send. Mr. Mugabe remains a brutal dictator. Amnesty International
said Monday that while it welcomes Mr. Tsvangirai's acquittal, "the
trial...was a politically motivated prosecution in keeping with a wider
pattern of arrest and trial on spurious charges as a form of harassment of
the political opposition in Zimbabwe." Amnesty International's 2004 report
on Zimbabwe found that in 2003, "There was an escalation in state-sponsored
attacks on critics of the government." The report said that incidents of
torture were reported, hundreds of people were detained for holding
political meetings or peaceful protests, journalists were harassed and
detained and government officials politically manipulated food aid.
Mr. Mugabe has long stacked the court in his favor, which is why Mr.
Tsvangirai's acquittal should be seen as the leader's attempt to sway
international public opinion, not an indication that judicial freedom is
emerging. Amnesty said in its reports that "authorities continued to harass,
intimidate and force out of office magistrates and judges who handed down
judgments perceived to be in support of the political opposition."
The charges leveled against Mr. Mugabe were, by all serious accounts,
laughably unsubstantiated and the fact that the trial dragged on for close
to two years is testament to the court's lack of independence. The
government's star witness, Israeli businessman Ari Ben-Menashe, admitted in
court he had received $615,000 from the Zimbabwean government for a
public-relations contract. A tape in which the government said Mr.
Tsvangirai called for the "elimination" of Mr. Mugabe was grainy and
virtually inaudible. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said
the administration hopes the acquittal "signals an end of the politically
motivated prosecutions." That remains wholly unlikely. Mr. Tsvangirai still
faces another treason charge for his role in calling for street protests
against Mr. Mugabe. That charge will likely continue to handicap Mr.
Tsvangirai until April's parliamentary elections. Mr. Mugabe's fear
of criticism from the South African government may have prevented the High
Court from finding Mr. Tsvangirai guilty. The case strongly suggests that if
South African President Thabo Mbeki were to otherwise strengthen his
ineffective "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, Mr. Mugabe could feel
compelled to change.
Political furore over fugitive bankers Staff
The recent call by Zanu PF members of parliament on President
Robert Mugabe to pardon financial executives who fled the country after they
learnt that they were being investigated for economic crimes, has led to a
backlash, with critics charging that the plea betrays some of the
As a result, the critics say, there is
need to investigate the MPs to establish whether or not they have been
participating in graft. Suspicion is mounting that some of the MPs, among
them high profile members of the ruling party, could be part and parcel of
the underhand financial dealings that almost brought the economy to a
standstill. Reliable sources told The Sunday Mirror that one of the MPs
instrumental in making the plea to President Mugabe is a young provincial
chairman in the ruling party and has become a rich person
At a ruling party caucus meeting held last week, the ruling
party MPs, using Joram Gumbo, the ruling party chief whip as their
mouthpiece, called on the President to pardon the businessmen who went into
self-imposed exile in Britain, America and South Africa, when it dawned on
them that they were under investigation for underhand dealings in the
They argued that the "fugitives" would not only
repatriate externalised funds, but would also participate in the revival of
the crisis-ridden Zimbabwean economy.
The MPs also argued that the
fingered suspects were "intelligent" and would make meaningful contributions
to the economy if they were allowed to return and investigations against
them were stopped.
President Mugabe was, however, steadfast, arguing that
whoever was suspected to have committed a crime should be brought to
The businessmen include National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe
directors Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche, James Mushore and Francis Zimuto,
former Intermarket founder and chief executive Nicholas Vingirai, former
Finhold chief executive William Mudekunye and Barbican boss, Mthuli
The seven fled Zimbabwe early this year citing fears of
unwarranted arrest under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
(Amendments of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) that was promulgated to
deal specifically with individuals suspected to have committed economic
crimes. Among the latter were externalisation of foreign currency, dealing
on the forex black market and illegal gold deals.
"The call to pardon
the so-called economic crime suspects who fled the country does not come as
a surprise to those who are in the know. It is basically about protecting
selfish and filthily corrupt interests," said one of the sources.
Presidential Powers amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,
promulgated at the start of the year, provide that anyone arrested on
charges of externalising foreign currency amongst other charges, may be
detained for an effective one month without bail.
The Act is the
chief instrument being used in government's anti-corruption drive, and is
seen as being responsible for the self-imposed exile of the financial
Under the Act, a magistrate may not decline a
police request for further detention on persons arrested under the law, a
phenomenon that saw prominent businessman and ruling party politician James
Makamba spending over seven months in prison, while a cabinet minister,
Chris Kuruneri is still languishing in remand prison without concrete State
progress in availing evidence that he externalised foreign
The Presidential Powers amendment, which was passed by
Parliament, has been criticised as a serious abrogation of human rights in
the country, as it virtually prescribes that anyone charged under it is
guilty until proven innocent, in direct conflict with the
The "fugitive" businessmen indicated that they would return
to Zimbabwe to clarify matters surrounding their investigation only if
government were to guarantee that they would not be incarcerated upon
arrival, something the Zimbabwean government has failed to
There is speculation that the fugitive businessmen were
sacrificial lambs in an anti-corruption drive that has been perceived as
protecting senior ruling party stalwarts.
In addition, some of the
implicated businessmen are known to have donated large amounts of funds to
the ruling party, with Vingirai donating $20 million at the Zanu PF annual
national conference last December.Another commentator observed that there
has been an intricate relationship between the corporate world and
politicians, with either side gaining from the other. "There is no bank that
does not have its own political godfathers, and these protective figures
have also been benefiting from the businesspeople, particularly in monetary
terms," he said. "Zanu PF or MDC, politicians and corporate persons have had
some kind of romance in which it's a win-win situation. It therefore is
obvious that some people in Zanu PF would want to protect their colleagues
in business," said the commentator. Gumbo's explanation of why Zanu PF MPs
decided to lobby the President lends credence to the suspicion that the
legislators could have something to hide. He said the MPs' call was not a
new thing, saying the matter had been on the agenda of the ruling party
legislators for more than seven months.
"We only managed to get the
attention of the President on the issue of the (fugitive) businessmen at the
past caucus meeting (last Monday). There is nothing sinister in our pleas to
the President," said Gumbo.
Gumbo defended the fugitive executives,
saying they had dealt on the foreign currency market with hopes of enhancing
the Zimbabwean business operations, ultimately to the benefit of the
He told The Sunday Mirror that there was a significant difference
between some of the fingered executives, and other individuals who illegally
externalised foreign currency for personal benefits, such as sending their
offspring to foreign educational institutions and holidays.
said: "Even those who externalised foreign currency sending their kids to
foreign universities and going on holidays, still resided in the country and
did not do so with the malevolent intention to harm Zimbabwe." Gumbo is seen
as absolving the black market through his attempt to justify activities that
took place there despite repeated calls for an end to unofficial dealings.
Firebrand former independent member of parliament, Margaret Dongo did not
have kind words for the Zanu PF MPs, calling for them to be investigated
with the intention to flush out all those who might be found to be corrupt.
"The whole thing stinks, and stinks of high level corruption. When the
Presidential Powers were promulgated, they passed through Parliament and
these very MPs voted aye. This goes to show that they were never happy with
the amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and were whipped
to vote in favour.
"They did so against their will because they are
fundamentally corrupt themselves. Elections are round the corner and they
are looking at who can bankroll them, hence the call to bring back their
erstwhile cronies. "What is disturbing is that the tendency on the part of
these MPs, and even their handlers, is that it demonstrates that they don't
mind dirty money, but of course, this is not to say the so-called fugitives
are dirty. Our law says a person is innocent until proven guilty," said
The introduction of proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure
and Evidence Act caused a furore in parliament as even Zanu PF legislators
sought to avoid voting for the amendment.
In an unprecedented move,
ruling MPs, among them Phillip Chiyangwa walked out in unison with MDC
legislators on the hearing of the proposed Bill on June 22 this year,
refusing to rubber-stamp into law the Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill) into
Dongo, who was a Zanu PF member of parliament before choosing to
go independent after reportedly being frustrated for her outspokenness,
queried why the MPs did not extend the same gesture to the likes of Kuruneri
and Mutumwa Mawere, saying that could be because they have not been
bankrolling the ruling party. Mawere, who has been resident in South Africa
since 1994, is also being accused by the government of externalising foreign
currency, in spite of his repeated denials. Media reports have indicated
that there could be a well though-out strategy to strip him of his corporate
assets after falling out with influential government officials.
government recently announced its intention to take over the running of
Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) and has already sent its authorities to run the
agro-concern (FSI) that is linked to the business mogul.
"In any case, it is an insult that these MPs have the audacity to try and
justify their position on the grounds of intelligence and capacity. Does
that mean the country is short of intelligent and capable people? "Nothing
stops me from assuming that it is these very people who are calling for them
to be pardoned who facilitated the flight of the businesspeople, given how
it looked easy for them to cross the border the moment they knew they were
under investigation." The latest developments have also raised questions as
to why the Zanu PF legislators have decided to appeal for the President to
pardon the businessmen, when they could have waited for the police and the
courts to do their work.
Shamuyarira, Zanu PFinformation and publicity
secretary could not be reached for a comment.
government on Thursday scuttled a planned visit by the powerful Congress of
South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) saying its mission was "political".
Cosatu delegation was due in Harare today for a five-day fact finding
mission as regional bodies pile up pressure on the government to normalise
the political and economic situation in the country. But the Secretary
for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lance Museka, wrote to Cosatu
Secretary-General, Zwelinzima Vavi, on Thursday pointing out that because
the programme also involved meeting organisations critical of the
government, "the mission was not acceptable".
secretary general of the ZCTU, Cosatu's hosts yesterday said: "We are
awaiting Cosatu's reaction but on our part the letter is a non-event because
we invited Cosatu and it is not coming on behalf of the South African
government but of South Africa's trade unions and there is no need for the
government to ban it."
The deputy secretary general for the ZCTU, Collin
Gwiyo, also blasted the cancellation of the visit and said he did not see
why the government was becoming jittery because,"the Cosatu visit would
largely be fraternal".
National Constitutional Assembly chairman,
Lovemore Madhuku, said the government's reaction was a sign that it was
desperate and against the wall. "The government's reaction is a sign that it
has run out of ideas and is now clutching at straws. "
were also expected to hold talks with representatives from Crisis Coalition,
National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Election Support Network,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Council of Churches, a
decision which appears to have riled the government.
Museka told Vavi:
"These organisation are critical about the government of Zimbabwe and indeed
most of these are quasi-oppositional political organisations. Again, the
proposed meeting with Zanu PF and MDC officials demonstrates the political
nature of the mission to the extent that it has to be within an agreed
framework of dealing with the political dimension of Labour within the two
"In view of the foregoing, the mission is not acceptable and
Cosatu is advised to liaise with Hon Mdladlana (SA Minister of Labour) with
a view to revisiting the original agenda.
"In order to avoid
inconveniencing your members who are supposed to travel to Harare on Sunday
the 24th October 2004 you are kindly advised to inform them in time that the
mission has been called off."
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President
Lovemore Matombo, whose organisation was due to host Cosatu, said: "Their
(Cosatu's) intention is very clear. In order to apprise themselves of the
Zimbabwean crisis, they have to strike a balance by meeting the two
"We (ZCTU) wrote to Minister Mangwana, inviting him to meet the
delegation in his capacity as labour minister, but we have not received any
confirmation from him," said Matombo who added that Zanu PF had snubbed
Cosatu on numerous occasions.
"It is also Cosatu's wish to interact
with Zimbabwean civil society organizations, given the impending threat of
closure by government through the proposed NGO legislation," he
Among other things, they were expected to find out government's
position on the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Electoral Bills and the fate of farm
workers on farms controversially acquired by the government.
Bill was presented to the House on October 6. It seeks to ban foreign
funding for NGOs whose core business is human rights and governance
Mugabe throws out wheat price recommendations By Caiphas
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week unilaterally slashed the
producer price of wheat recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development after he was advised that it would make the price of bread too
expensive and was likely to benefit mainly only Zanu PF politicians who have
taken up lucrative wheat farming, The Standard can reveal.
senior government officials took up farming - including wheat production -
after the 2000 land invasions spearheaded by war veterans and Zanu PF
Reliable sources last week said the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development, without the input of other stakeholders including
farming bodies - recommended a producer price of about $3 million a tonne.
But Mugabe slashed it down to $1,749 218 a tonne after concerns by financial
experts that bread would become unaffordable to the low-income
It was also pointed out to the President that the tottering
economy was unlikely to absorb such a huge increase without suffering
The sources said if the producer price of $3 million a
tonne was approved, it would have seen government ministers and officials,
who took up wheat farming soon after moving onto formerly white owned farms,
pocketing billions of dollars. This would have resulted in the cost of bread
shooting up beyond the reach of ordinary people. Presently, most Zimbabweans
struggle to buy a loaf of bread, which costs $3 500.
"As we head
towards next year's elections, Mugabe does not want to appear insensitive to
the people's plight," said a source.
The Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Joseph Made, who is also a wheat producer, could not be
reached for a comment last week. There are several other senior government
and Zanu PF politicians who took up wheat farming in the wake of the chaotic
land reform programme.
"They are pushing farming bodies to make noises so
that the producer prices can be revised upwards. They also want to benefit,"
said the source.
Denford Chimbwanda, the chairman of the Grain and Cereal
Producers' Association, a department of Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union
(ZCFU), said the union wanted the price to be pegged between $3 million to
$4 million a tonne to ensure profitability.
"We are trying to talk to
them because with this new producer price all new farmers will go under. It
will only benefit white commercial farmers who have all the machinery
because they have been in the business for a long time," he
Chimbwanda, who denied that the union was under pressure from
politicians to call for a producer price increase, said a revision was
unavoidable, as the cost of inputs had gone up significantly.
to obtain a comment from the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), the
organisation that represents some white commercial farmers, were
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) spokesperson, John Wolsick, said
wheat farmers had recommended a price of at least $2,5 million a tonne
through the CFU. "The $1,7 million per tonne is not realistic considering
the cost of inputs. The few that are still on the farms are definitely not
happy," said Wolsick.
ZCFU president Davison Mugabe said many new farmers
were going to close shop.
"You might want to know that GMB (Grain
Marketing Board) has put a 42 percent hike on fertilizer and other inputs.
Water and electricity charges have also gone up," said Mugabe, whose union
represents black commercial farmers.
Harvesting wheat has also become
expensive for the new farmers who hire a combine harvester for $650 000 a
hectare. "If you add the cost of diesel, the amount will go up to about $750
000, which most farmers cannot afford," said Mugabe.
producer price was pegged at $776 000. Although the price has more than
doubled, Made last week said the GMB would not increase the price to millers
until the next winter harvest of 2005/6.
"If they want to subsidise they
should reduce all factors of production such as the cost of fertilizer,
water and electricity. Remember, wages went up by 100 percent," said
Tsvangirai launches diplomatic offensive By Foster
MORGAN Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), yesterday left Harare on a diplomatic offensive to win the
support of leaders in the Southern African Development Community
His first port of call was expected to be Mauritius where he is
scheduled to meet Prime Minister Paul Berenger, who is current chairman of
SADC. The Mauritian Prime Minister hosted the SADC Conference in August,
which ushered in the principles and guidelines governing democratic
elections signed by SADC leaders including President Robert Mugabe on behalf
The veteran trade unionist is leading a powerful
delegation, which also includes MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube and
deputy secretary general, Gift Chimanikire.
Tsvangirai had since 2002
been unable to meet regional leaders to brief them on the developments in
the country because of travel restrictions imposed by the treason trial in
which he was acquitted two weeks ago.
Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William
Bango, yesterday told The Standard: "Tsvangirai is going into the SADC
region to meet with various leaders to thank them for supporting Zimbabweans
in their quest to resolve the crisis of legitimacy. They will also compare
notes on the political situation in the region. Tsvangirai realises that the
MDC is driving the political agenda in this country especially in the field
of foreign affairs and he has seen it fit to confer with regional leaders on
the best way forward to bring Zimbabwe back into the family of nations and
the international community. He is looking at the best way to help Zimbabwe
shed off its pariah status and ensure that Zimbabweans do not lose a chance
to resolve the crisis of legitimacy through free and fair
Bango said from Mauritius, the whirlwind tour would swing to
South Africa, where Tsvangirai and his delegation would meet South African
President Thabo Mbeki who has long vowed that he wants to resolve the
"Tsvangirai will be meeting President Mbeki in his
capacity as the chairman of the SADC Organ on Security, Politics and
Defence. Arrangements are being made to meet other leaders from the region,
including Botswana President, Festus Mogae," Bango said.
Tsvangirai would also embark on visits to other African countries outside
the SADC region.
Bango said Tsvangirai's agenda was to meet as many
African leaders as possible. There was a growing spirit and realization that
the Zimbabwean crisis should not derail the advancement and development of
the African continent. Zimbabwe was one country where the lack of good
governance had a negative effect on the growth of the economy.
had been fears that the police would seize his passport. His arrival brought
proceedings to a brief halt as word spread that the opposition leader was in
the airport building.
Tsvangirai told The Standard by telephone: "I am
now in the departure lounge and have not had any problems. I am ready to
board the aircraft."
Before his departure, Tsvangirai, addressed an MDC
rally attended by about 11 000 people in St Mary's constituency,
The MDC president called on the people of St Mary's to be
united. He also announced that a democratic process would be used to come up
with a candidate for next March's general election.
leadership has in the past been accused of plotting to oust incumbent St
Mary's Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala.
Ari Ben-Menashe: con-man supreme By Rangarirai
SOMEWHERE across the world, where another big con-trick is probably
brewing, a short, sweaty unorthodox political consultant is gleefully
rubbing his hands as he contemplates his ill-gotten fortune.
Ben-Menashe, an Israeli running a Canada-based political consultancy, who
clowned and sweated through Morgan Tsvangirai's treason trial, has just
added the Zimbabwe government and Tsvangirai to a long trail of sour
business clients. Ben-Menashe was nowhere near the High Court two Fridays
ago. His work here is done. Both the government and Tsvangirai have come the
worse off for their association with the man once described by the Jerusalem
Post as "a notorious, chronic liar".
Playing two ends against the
middle, Ben-Menashe took a US$1 million cheque from the government. The
taxpayer paid an initial deposit of US$615 000, and further costs were
incurred flying Ben-Menashe in and out as the State's star witness. Whenever
Ben-Menashe made the trip to Harare, the government would roll out the red
carpet, wrap the political consultant in the Sheraton's opulence and pander
to his every whim.
The government's top spy Happyton Bonyongwe also
revealed during the trial that Harare had paid US$10 000 to Ben-Menashe's
personal assistant, Tara Thomas, to compensate her for injuries she
sustained in a freak bicycle accident. Ben-Menashe claimed the accident was
caused by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"When she fell down there were two people and as she was lying in agony, one
of the people said: 'Let your Zimbabwe help you.'"
That the State
believed Ben-Menashe's claims that his assistant's bicycle bruises needed
US$10 000 to heal is perhaps testimony to the Israeli's abilities to bend a
ball with a straight bat. He knew prosecutors were anxious to get Thomas
here, if only to undo the damage caused by Ben-Menashe's outbursts and
The evidence-in-chief was a grainy video taken
by a security camera, and Thomas' eyewitness account would bolster the
embarrassingly inaudible tape. In the end, it never worked out that way, but
Ben-Menashe had made an easy US$10 000 out of an alleged bicycle
Dickens and Madson's business history reeks badly of rotten
deals. It's a thick rot spread across the globe, primarily in the Third
World, from Zambia to Estonia.
Carlington Sales, a commodity broking
firm for which Ben-Menashe was president, allegedly received US$7,2 million
from former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba's government to supply
maize. Not a single grain was ever delivered to Zambia.
arbitration court ordered Carlington to pay back Zambia, but Ben-Menashe
quickly filed for bankruptcy, which effectively ended Zambia's chances of
recovering the funds.
The same company also allegedly received US$300 000
from the government of Belarus for the supply of wheat. Again, Carlington
never delivered the commodity.
Ben-Menashe's trail stretches back to
Burma, Sudan, the Czech Republic and Ghana, where he has pulled off various
tricks, many of them made easier with the unwitting help of corrupt
Defence lawyer George Bizos said Ben-Menashe was
involved in the "blood diamonds" trade in the Democratic Republic Congo
(DRC). The Israeli's now-abandoned company, Associated Metals and Gems Ltd,
had meddled in conflict diamonds in the DRC, Bizos said.
Ben-Menashe's response under cross-examination was punctuated with "I don't
remember" or "I have no idea", in addition to numerous outbursts. Bizos at
one time asked Ben-Menashe how many times he had answered, "I don't know".
Ben-Menashe's reply? "I don't know".
Apart from his chequered if somewhat
murky career, Ben-Menashe is known for his propensity for fantasy. A US
Congressional inquiry described him as "an unmitigated liar".
a sad confirmation of Tsvangirai's political naiveté that the opposition
leader went ahead and consorted with Ben-Menashe, giving away huge sums of
money to a man with such a well known history of skulduggery. The
consultancy work he was promised turned out into a year-long trial in which
Tsvangirai faced the death sentence after about $500 million frittered away
in legal fees and related costs.
Apart from this huge legal bill, the MDC
had in 2001 made a US$97 000 payment to Ben-Menashe's outfit, Dickens and
Madson, for consultancy work in North America.
government has seized five plantations owned by Border Timbers, the
country's largest timber producer, ignoring an earlier pact with Germany not
to take over the land, and months after it announced that the official land
grab was over.
A Germany-Zimbabwe Investment Protection
Agreement, signed in 1995, ostensibly protects Border Timbers properties
from acquisition. Under that agreement, Zimbabwe gave assurances to Germany
that Border Timbers' land would not be targeted for seizure.
acquired Border Timbers land totals just over 34 million hectares. The
acquisition order was served on Tilbury, Cambridge, Imbeza, Mahugara and
Shares in Border Timbers swung lower on the news,
down 16% on the week to Wednesday at $1100, setting a new downbeat tone for
already distressed agro-stocks.
This is the second time that Border
has had its properties listed for seizure in as many years.
the Attorney General withdrew acquisition orders on eight Border properties
after the firm appealed against listing, backed by the
Holders of land served with a Section
8 acquisition order are required to lodge an appeal against the order within
five days of publication of the notice of acquisition. Failure to object
within that period means the order would be confirmed "unopposed without any
Occupants of such land would then be required to wind
down operations and leave within 90 days.
understands that Border Timbers has lodged an objection to the acquisition
orders, but Managing Director John Gahadzikwa was not immediately available
for comment on the matter last week.
Ken Schoffield, Chairman of Radar
Holdings - owners of Border Timbers - was said to be away in South Africa
when sought for comment last week.
Border Timbers' sawmills reputably
process more than 350 000 cubic metres of logs each year, and the firm also
runs a veneer factory.
In addition to the timber plantations, the
government has also taken over Aberfoyle Estates - a major tea exporter -
and Eastern Highlands Plantations, one of Zimbabwe's few producers of washed
Arabic coffee, which is mainly for export.
The land seized from the
two tea and coffee estates measure a combined 2,3 million
More land has also been taken from Hippo Valley, which has lost
more of its Mkwasine estates. Recently, government issued Section 8 orders
on several sugar estates in the Lowveld co-owned by South African investor
Tongaat Hullet and Anglo American Corporation.
swoop on land held by agro-industries is a flagrant violation of its own
earlier pledges to leave such land untouched under its controversial land
In May, Vice President Joseph Msika - chairman of a Cabinet land
reform task force - told Interfresh that he would not support any seizure of
land held by investors.
Interfresh has 88% of its Mazoe Citrus
Estates listed for acquisition, while Ariston and TZI have also had some of
their prime businesses taken over. Property holding company Mashonaland
Holdings now also has some of its land listed for seizure. Mashold Chairman
Abner Botsch has said his company is negotiating with government to have its
ZBH radios bankrupt after unbundling By our own
THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) has suspended National FM
management after the station accrued a staggering $170million phone bill at
a time when the station is hardly generating any income.
suspension of National FM's Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Chauke, and two
other top executives was announced on Thursday, but ZBH remained mum on
reasons for the move. But before the suspensions were made public,
StandardPlus had learnt from sources that Radio Zimbabwe - ZBH's only
profitable entity - had been requested to loan National FM $20million as
part payment. Radio Zimbabwe's bill for a comparable period is understood to
National FM recently hired 14 part-timers in a desperate
bid to generate revenue but the move is said to have failed dismally,
resulting in Chauke being deemed incompetent.
The unbundling of the
ZBC has been a huge flop with only Radio Zimbabwe managing to sustain
itself, StandardPlus can reveal.
In fact, with the other ZBH companies
bankrupt and regularly dipping into Radio Zimbabwe's coffers, the unbundling
only exists on paper.
The exercise, embarked upon at the beginning of the
year with the aim of "diversifying" and making subsidiaries more profitable,
has resulted in subsidiaries struggling to sustain themselves except Radio
Zimbabwe, which rakes in about $500million per month and bankrolls all the
For instance Newsnet, with a staff of more than 200, has
a salary bill of about $700million but only makes about $400million per
month, sources say. It has to constantly "borrow" from the Radio Zimbabwe
account to try and meet the difference - a development which has sapped
morale at the station.
Newsnet is said to currently owe Radio Zimbabwe
about $200million, and is borrowing about $30-$50million per month for
salaries. The hiring of a private company, Magfair, to collect licence
revenue has met with limited success.
Since the restructuring, only
Radio Zimbabwe (formerly Radio 2), which broadcasts in vernacular languages,
has been able to retain popularity and attract a substantial amount of
The other stations - Power FM (formerly Radio Three and 3FM)
and Spot FM (formerly Radio One) - are struggling. Power FM is said to be
realising half of the amount it used to generate from
The lack of revenue has resulted in staff being constantly
paid late since the unbundling exercise. Sources at Radio Zimbabwe, situated
in Mbare, are concerned that revenue being generated by the radio is being
used to bail out other stations instead of being ploughed back to improve
"What really irks us is that we are making much
money but we are not benefiting at all. Look at the difference between the
structures at Pockets Hill and our humble buildings here. This building
badly needs a coat of paint. Our facilities from the canteen to the carpet
in the reception urgently need improvement," said a source.
complained that instead of looking at ways of making money, Newsnet was
actually recklessly spending money it does not have.
"Newsnet is not
making any money but relying on what we make. How do they justify sending
out five reporters to Mozambique for the Chimoio bash?"
Chief Marketing Executive Officer, Allan Chiweshe was said to be out of
office while his Finance Officer, Joseph Zhuwau, would neither confirm nor
deny questions put to him but referred StandardPlus to the ZBH Chief
Excutive Officer, Loveness Chikozho.
Chikozho asked StandardPlus to fax
"These are very serious questions for which I cannot provide
answers on the phone," Chikozho said. "I will respond to your queries but I
need to give the response to the responsible authorities
Meanwhile, Joseph 'Man Soul Jah' Nhara - one of the proponents of
the 100% local content policy on national radio - was last week fired by ZBH
Holdings for incompetence and embezzlement of funds.
Nhara, a reggae
musician who led the Gweru-based People Against Cruel Existence (PACE) band,
introduced the 100 percent local content policy when he was appointed chief
Executive Officer at 3FM (now Power FM).
The introduction of the new
policy paved way for a new breed of upcoming musicians who invaded the
airwaves and subjected radio listeners to perpetual doses of the
"home-grown", often shoddy music.
When he was transferred to SFM, Nhara
again introduced the local content policy at the station. The policy was
reversed two months ago.
ZBH announced last week that it had relieved
Nhara, a former technical college lecturer in Gweru, of his duties at the
national broadcaster following a decision by a disciplinary committee that
heard his case.
He had been on suspension since early last month. Walter
Mufanochiya has been appointed acting chief executive officer at SFM from
Efforts to get a comment from Nhara were fruitless, as he
could not be reached on his mobile phone.
SCORES of students will start writing final examinations tomorrow
unaware of how they fared in their mid-year tests or in which subjects they
needed to improve.
The Zimbabwe Schools examination Council (Zimsec)
has been widely condemned for failing to release this year's June Ordinary
Level examination results on time. Traditionally these results come out
in early September, about a month before final examinations, but it's a
different case tomorrow when "O" Level students start the end of year
When the students step into the examination centres
tomorrow, many who wrote the early examinations will be unaware of how they
fared in June.
Several parents interviewed by The Standard said in order
to secure passes for their children, they usually registered them twice for
subjects like mathematics and English.
"My child is not good in
Mathematics so I registered her for the June sitting so that she could
assess herself and also if she passes she would not have to sit for the end
of year examinations as the subject takes most of her study time,"said
Maxwell Mudadigwa of Harare.
Students have also complained about the
delay and said this had greatly inconvenienced them.
Most of the
students who sat for the June examinations told The Standard that they had
not planned to write examinations for subjects they would have
"I wrote four subjects in June with the hope of lessening my
October burden as I do 10 subjects. I am still struggling to read all the
subjects," said Sithabile Marufu of Foundation College in
Zimsec Information Officer Faith Chasokela said the delay was
because of some machines that were not functioning well but could not say
when the results would be released.
Shamuyarira dodges questions on AIPPA By our own
ZANU PF Secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira last week
steered away from controversy by dodging critical questions posed by
journalists at a forum organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
Shamuyarira who was expected to speak about how politicians and
their supporters could ensure that Zimbabwe has a peaceful 2005 general
election, chose to confine his presentation to how the government sought to
change the colonial media after independence in 1980. He spoke at length
about how the government set up the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust (ZMMT) and
ensured that blacks were trained as journalists.
Asked about his views on
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Shamuyarira
said: "You can have strict laws but they will not be adversely applied
against anyone. If you don't have a culture of tolerance in the media that
is when you will use those laws," said Shamuyarira, a former
He would not elaborate on some aspects of AIPPA, which he
said were bad.
In August, Shamuyarira publicly told participants at a
workshop in Victoria Falls that he did not support AIPPA, which restricts
the freedom of the Press.
The Editor of The Standard, Bornwell
Chakaodza, who spoke at the same forum urged the media to stop being used by
politicians as instruments of hate, so as to contribute to a violence-free
election next year.
"The media, particularly Sate-owned, has been
disseminating hate messages and generating a climate of hatred in the
country. And as you know, violent rhetoric and inflammatory language can
lead to violence and all sorts of problems."
MDC legislator Nelson
Chamisa, who also presented a paper cited intolerance by politicians as one
of the reasons why there is violence during election time in
"We have a regime which is afraid of the people and the
opposition and its best way to deal with such a situation is to be violent,"
PF-Zapu leaders say they are unhappy with the way they are being treated
despite the 1987 Unity Accord.
The agreement between the old Zanu PF and
PF-Zapu brought to an end the mass killings of unarmed civilians by sections
of the army and dissidents from 1982 to 1987. President Robert Mugabe,
then Prime Minister, also doubled as defence minister while the dissidents
were said to be supporters of the late Dr Joshua Nkomo.
interview with The Standard, the ex-PF-Zapu stalwarts said, they were
particularly irked by the apparent lack of respect for the most senior
former PF-Zapu leader, Joseph Msika, who is also the ruling party's and the
country's Vice President.
They said this would never have been
tolerated if junior politicians had ridiculed senior politicians from the
old Zanu PF, such as the late Vice President, Simon Muzenda.
trained former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) intelligence
supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa, said the attacks on Msika and Nkomo were
"There have been embarrassing and unjustified public attacks
on Vice President Msika and the national chairman, Comrade (John) Nkomo. I
want to believe that some measures are being taken to rectify the
On the representation of former PF-Zapu members in cabinet,
Dabengwa said: "Certainly, there is no adequate representation in cabinet
but that is mainly due to our failure to win some parliamentary seats in the
2000 general elections."
Veteran politicians from the former PF-Zapu
said the apparent scorn poured on Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo, by the State
media had more to do with his political background in PF -Zapu.
claimed the onslaught against senior PF-Zapu leaders had its origins in the
Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and
Jonathan Moyo who underwent initial training with Zanla
guerillas in Tanzania before abandoning the struggle to pursue his education
in the USA, now heads the department.
Moyo is now set to clash with
Nkomo in primary elections for the Zanu PF ticket to represent Tsholotsho
Said one of the former PF Zapu leaders: "There has been a
systematic pattern in which junior politicians have been ridiculing
colleagues from the former PF-Zapu. You will remember how Joyce Mujuru
described the late vice president Joshua Nkomo as a senile old man. Nothing
happened to her. But if a junior politician from PF-Zapu had said similar
things about the late Simon Muzenda, that official would have been severely
Another official pointed out that following the Kondozi
wrangles between Msika and junior ministers from the old Zanu PF, the Vice
President had been ridiculed and embarrassed in State controlled newspapers,
with one story implying that he was opposed to the land redistribution
In addition to Msika, the venom was directed at Special Affairs
Minister Responsible for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo
after he embarked on a crusade to bring to book multiple farm owners in
government and the ruling party.
"The way things are going, some very
junior politicians seem to thrive on taking pot-shots at former PF-Zapu
leaders," said one veteran politician. He said in former Zanu PF
strongholds, veteran politicians were still running the show while in the
former PF-Zapu strongholds, junior politicians were being encouraged to
replace the old guard.
"What this means is that there are some colleagues
in the united Zanu PF who have a sinister agenda of destroying the Unity
Accord. They want to create a new generation of politicians from Zapu, who
would be answerable to them. This is what is causing some junior politicians
to disregard the Zapu leadership."
Contacted for comment, Politburo
member and former Bulawayo mayor, Joshua Malinga refused to
So far, war veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, has clashed
with Msika, and the leadership of the former Zapu. He accuses them of
inactivity, resulting in the heavy losses to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, during the 2000 general elections and the 2002
Sibanda has been accused of being an appendage of
presidential aspirant, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a charge which the combative war
veterans' leader dismisses.
One politburo member based in Bulawayo
said:" In the current cabinet line-up, the representation from the old Zapu
is a mockery of the Unity Accord. There is just a sprinkling of groveling
junior politicians with no political history, who are only too grateful to
be rewarded with some posts in government."
He said they were
watching developments at the Department of Information and Publicity in the
Office of the President with interest. "There has been a musical gala held
to recognize the solidarity between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and those who
perished during the war waged by Zanu and Zanla from the eastern front. We
wait to see if a similar bash will be held in honour of Zapu combatants and
refugees who perished in bombings in Zambia. A normal person who is not
biased would work towards recognizing the roles played by both liberation
Such a "bash", observers say, could cause a few headaches for
the Zimbabwean government as the northern neighbour is no longer ruled by a
liberation movement as is the case in Zimbabwe.
Chombo's 'push and pull' at Town House By Valentine
THE "monitoring committee" that was set up two months ago to
supervise the affairs of the Harare City Council reports to Harare
provincial governor Witness Mangwende.
Ignatious Chombo, the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing told The Standard
that, in turn, the governor was answerable to him, making him the person in
overall charge of the Harare City. Sekesai Makwavarara, widely regarded
as a protégé of Chombo, is the acting mayor.
committee is doing its work smoothly so far but I am yet to be briefed by
the governor (Mangwende) on the way forward. The members of the committee
are reporting and he is also under pressure from me, it's a push and pull
situation," Chombo said.
Chombo has on several occasions denied that
there was a commission that was running affairs at Town
"Delivery of services is very specific and the team is there to
monitor and ensure the smooth running of the council. The revenue collection
system will also be under scrutiny and how those systems are implemented is
very critical," he said.
However, analysts said all the members in
the monitoring team have strong allegiances to the ruling Zanu PF, rendering
their appointment political rather than technical. Chombo has, since the
ouster of the elected executive mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, taken
control of the city council.
James Kurasha, who was once a member of the
Elijah Chanakira led commission between 1999 and 2002, chairs the committee.
Kurasha also chaired a commission that was investigating Mudzuri before his
He has already been offered an office at Town House
and has been attending all decision-making meetings of the
The other members of the committee are Tendai Savanhu, Mark
Makanda, Tony Gara and an Engineer Muzuva.
Tony Gara is a former
mayor of Harare and over the years has had dealings with the council through
his family enterprise, Cleansing and Environmental Services, a refuse
collection company. The council threatened cancellation of the company's
contract for refuse collection after the city fathers said it had failed to
Gara also lost Mbare East to Tichaona Munyanyi of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). At height of his political career, Gara once
likened President Robert Mugabe to Jesus.
Another member of the
committee Savanhu is a losing Zanu PF candidate in the landmark 2000
parliamentary elections in Mbare West. He lost to MDC's Dunmore
Savanhu was also a member of the Chanakira Commission that led
to Harare losing its "Sunshine City" status.
It was not immediately
clear what the minister's justification for Makanda's appointment was or
what value he would add to the running of the city.
Muzuva is also not
new at Town House and has worked with a number of commissions. He was
brought to the committee as a law expert.
Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya said
they were working smoothly with the monitoring committee. "That is not a
commission. It's just a monitoring committee and we have no problems with
it. I hope it will help in the welfare at the council," Chideya
Kurasha said people tended to personalise issues when they looked
at the monitoring committee. "You want to know who is in that committee, not
their ability. We are doing a great job just monitoring service delivery at
council and we forward our recommendations to officials."
councillors resigned en masse early August citing constant political
interference in their duties. They said they were dismayed that government
interference had prevented the elected Harare Council from carrying out its
The councillors' resignation leaves the city with only nine
councillors among them, Hubert Manhungo of Zanu PF, acting Mayor Sekesai
Makwavarara, Tapfumaneyi Jaja, George Vlahakis and Grandmore Hakata who all
defected from the MDC.
It takes 16 councillors to constitute a quorum
but presently there are less that 10 councillors including those who
defected from the opposition party to Zanu PF. Four other councillors
declined to resign bringing to nine the number of councillors.
were 46 councillors in 2002, 45 from the MDC and one from the ruling
CHIMANIMANI - When
Daniel Kare stopped his Toyota Hilux vehicle about eight kilometres from
Wengezi Primary School intending to give free transport to school children,
he was surprised to see them bolt into the bush.
Being new in the area,
the 28-year-old businessman, leasing business premises at a nearby centre,
could hardly understand why the pupils had reacted that way to his kind
gesture. Upon inquiry, the youthful entrepreneur was told people in Wengezi
in Chimanimani district were suspicious of businesspeople, particularly
those new to the area.
He was also informed that parents in the
locality had warned their children to be wary of strangers or any
Their fears were not without basis.
a man was killed and his mutilated body found near a river. It was suspected
that it was the work of certain businessmen," said Robert Chidhakwa, a
villager in the area.
And its not only in Wengezi that ritual killings
have been reported.
Around the country, there have been several murder
cases believed to be associated with ritual killings in the past two years
in the country. Some of perpetrators sexually abused their victims on the
advice of traditional healers or prophets, before or after killing
The most notable cases of ritual killings included the murder of
six-year-old Isabel Mukusha in Norton early this year. Police said the
post-mortem on Mukusha indicated that the girl had been sexually abused, and
the body refrigerated before being dumped.
University of Zimbabwe
sociologist Claude Mararike said that ritual killings were common in
Zimbabwe and committed by businesspeople, who believe in wicked medicine.
"Those who believe in this practice suffer from human factor decay and
general wickedness of the mind. These are just people with a misdirected
mind," Mararike said.
The causes of ritual murders, Mararike said, were
deep rooted in the demonic perspective, whereby if one commits murder he is
likely to continue to suffer as the spirit of the dead person would haunt
him forever. He said ritual killings were very difficult to exterminate as
it was a common phenomenon the world over.
Most of the killings are
blamed on traditional healers who advice businesspeople to murder for ritual
purposes to enhance their businesses.
Chairman of the Zimbabwe National
Traditional Healers' Association, (Zinatha) Professor Gordon Chavunduka
lambasted traditional healers and pseudo-prophets, who prescribe murder as a
way of enhancing one's fortunes. He said people should not believe
traditional healers who recommend murder as a way of enhancing business
opportunities because it did not work.
"Scientifically, it does not work
but there are people who still believe in it. Maybe psychologically it might
work because when a person gets medicine he works harder and thinks any
success is because of the murder he committed," said Chavunduka, a
The former University of Zimbabwe vice- chancellor said
there was need for awareness programmes targeting businesspeople and
traditional leaders to discourage them from such practices.
businessmen have dismissed the belief that killing for ritual reasons
Ben Mucheche, a long-time Harare businessman, said
the notion that ritual killing would enhance one's business was widely held
in Zimbabwe although it did not work.
Mucheche, a transport operator
queried, why traditional healers would want someone to get rich when they
themselves were some of the poorest people in the country.
my businesses are not doing well, killing someone will not work. Even those
that are said to have killed are not doany better. You just need to work
hard," said Mucheche, who has been in the transport business for more than
Assistant Commissioner Killian Mandisodza said cases of ritual
murder were very difficult to investigate because they were secretive in
"We have no ready statistics at the moment but what I can tell
you is that they are not a regular occurrence," Mandisodza said.
Harare council unleashes Zanu PF militia on vendors By
Our own staff
ZANU PF militia recruits, recently incorporated into the
municipal police by the Harare City Council, have unleashed a reign of
terror on the street vendors, The Standard has learnt.
the City Council spokesperson, confirmed the Council had been working with
the graduates of the national youth service centres for nearly a month.
According to Gwindi, the graduates' main task is to drive out vendors who
are mushrooming all over the capital. "We are currently arresting vendors and
confiscating their products. This will go on until they have relocated to
designated places," Gwindi said.
However, vendors who spoke to The
Standard said they were very bitter about the way the militias were
One vendor who only identified himself as Simon said:
"They should provide vending places, rather than confiscating our products
on a daily basis. That will not change anything because we have nowhere to
Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA) vice chairman, Israel
Mabhoo, suggested the City Council establishes designated vending places in
the city centre.
Quiet diplomacy, a huge success overthetop By Brian
SOUTH Africa's so-called quiet diplomacy was heralded as a
triumphant success this week. Small spontaneous celebrations broke out in
the troubled central African nation and its confused southern neighbour
after the release from prison of a man described variously as a spy - and a
The prisoner, released from one of the troubled central
African country's most notorious prisons was described by the
state-controlled Horrid newspaper as a spy. (All prisons in the troubled
central African nation are notorious, but some are more notorious than
others.) But an official news agency in the confused, if generally more
accurate, southern neighbour described the prisoner as a car
This disparity led to further confusion as almost everyone in the
troubled central African nation is a spy, while almost everyone in the
confused southern African country is a car thief. However, there is
increasing osmosis in this regard, with car thieves being found in the
troubled central African basketcase and spies increasingly visible in the
confused southern African state.
Still, the release of a lonely old
prisoner on the grounds of ill health was held high as a symbol of the
success of "quiet diplomacy" by very senior officials in the confused
southern African nation's Absolutely No Comment Party.
Still, no one
said whether more bewildered southern African prisoners would be released
from troubled central African prisons as a mark of the huge success of
so-called quiet diplomacy.
Nevertheless, a political analyst who could be
named if he existed said it was pertinent that "quiet diplomacy" was
confined to the extraordinary socialist tradition of exchanging criminals -
while ignoring totally issues such as governance human rights, elections and
"Of course, we've been waiting for four years to see
what direction Mr Banjo's quiet diplomacy would take," said another analyst.
"And now we know."
Yet another analyst told Over The Top that
troubled central Africans would be foolish to expect anything else to come
from so-called quiet diplomacy.
"The confused southern African nation is
the world capital of crime," he said, "So it's only natural they should want
their criminals back. On the other hand, they're unlikely to do anything
about governance, human rights, elections or property rights in the troubled
central African banana republic because, when the time is right, or the
banana is ripe, they will be following in our footsteps."
was denied by a senior and very confused southern African official called J
"Banker" Zoomer who said nothing could be further from the truth because the
prisoner's release from a notorious jail heralded a new spirit of
cooperation because it was considered very good governance to release
prisoners, especially on humanitarian grounds, and it made no difference
whether they were car thieves or spies. He said he was unaware of any other
issues that needed to be negotiated between neighbours, though insiders said
that many confused southern Africans were watching their troubled neighbour
with a certain amount of glee.
"We expect the troubled central
African nation to be put up for sale, or at least auctioned off, fairly
soon," said a confused southern African, patting his wallet, "and we think
we'll be able to buy cheap."
Meanwhile the released southern African
prisoner was said to be set return home quietly, and would not be seeking
re-entry to the troubled central African regime at any price.
THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) needs to explain why it
has problems perennially over inability to pay players their allowances and
Zifa draws part of its revenue from sponsorship deals,
levies from gate takings, grants from the world soccer governing body, and
fees from television rights for screening of regional and continental
competitions. The tie against Nigeria on September 5, 2004 grossed the
highest amount ever collected by Zifa yet days just before the departure of
the national squad for Angola for the African Cup of Nations/World Cup
qualifying match in Luanda, players threatened to boycott the trip if they
were not paid their allowances before departure. The scheduled flight was
delayed as a result of an embarrassing stand off at the airport. The impasse
was only resolved after a last-minute intervention from the Sports and
A pattern appears to be emerging. It is that Zifa
only appears to act when the gun is held to their head. But it also
deliberately ignores the fact that it has an obligation to pay in reasonable
time after fulfilment of assignments.
On the eve of last month's
clash with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the World Cup/African Cup of
Nations qualifier, Zifa faced a player revolt over bonuses. Zifa says the
demands by the players were outrageous, but Zifa is believed to be largely
responsible for the discontent among the Warriors.
After the big match
pitting the Warriors against the Super Eagles, Zifa received $250 million
from the Sports and Recreation Commission to pay their debtors. The money is
from the six percent the Sports Commission receives from Zifa after every
The Mighty Warriors, the national female soccer squad, have staged
a sit-in at the Zifa headquarters. The players were demanding allowances for
a qualifier they played in Tanzania in July 2004, which earned them the
ticket to the African Nations Cup tournament held in Johannesburg, South
Africa, last month. But three months later the Mighty Warriors are still to
When the players staged a sit-in at 53 Livingstone Avenue - the
Zifa headquarters - instead of receiving their allowances, they were
threatened with all manner of sanction.
The Young Warriors, too, have
voiced their concern over delays in payment of their allowances and bonuses.
Only last week there were discordant voices from the camp ahead of their
match in Maseru against the mountain kingdom.
The sad thing is that there
appears no end to the financial problems or financial malfeasance at Zifa
and it is tempting to believe that this is deliberate, especially as the
problems manifest themselves all the time. It could be that the constant
state of disarray works to the benefit of some in Zifa. There is no
indication of a determined attempt to resolve the problems either now or
Yet one of the purposes of an audit undertaken by KPMG was not
just to find the extent of the shambles in Zifa's books but it was intended
to establish the right way of running the association viably and
Player bonuses have been a problem that dates back to the
days of Leo Mugabe's executive.
A year ago when the issue of bonuses
for the Cosafa Castle Cup tie against Malawi and the World Cup qualifier
against Mauritania became the major bone of contention between the players
and Zifa, no one seemed to know where the money was.
Football, a company based in South Africa, which held the prize money said
it had deposited the R550 000 prize money into Zifa's accounts. Zifa in turn
said it was still awaiting transfer of the funds. And so the blame game or
that of passing the buck continued.
In all the regional, continental or
world competitions Zimbabwe's soccer representatives participate, the
national soccer controlling authority is paid allowances and bonuses for the
players' participation. If soccer stands any chance of receiving more
sponsorship domestically, it needs to learn to come clean on why it takes
three months or longer or threats before it coughs up.
In the absence
of any attempts demonstrating transparency in its dealings, one of several
explanations could be that the prize money is changed and invested with
asset management companies for periods ranging from 60 - 90 days at the end
of which the investment matures. The soccer controlling body collects the
investment on maturity, pays the original amount into Zifa accounts and
pockets the difference.
The yield on such investments can be quite
substantial! And in the days prior to the advent of "Hurricane Gono," the
thriving parallel market offered fortunes for foreign currency earnings from
Zimbabwe's participation in soccer competitions. This may help explain why
there is such a fight to land a post in the supreme national soccer
authority. It becomes the gateway to instant riches.
Zifa's books are
a microcosm of Enron, Worldcom or Parmalat because a post on the executive
is considered a passport to secrecy, money and power, which fuel the
potential for financial mishandling. The power is through association with
the regional continental and world soccer bodies. For local business persons
one can undertake a lot of personal or commissioned business while of Zifa
However, as long as the manner in which Zifa conducts its
business remains fundamentally unchanged, there is little likelihood of much
change in the success of the national squad in competitive tournaments. The
ineptitude of Zifa impacts on the Warriors' performances.
is time the Comptroller Auditor-General or a parliamentary committee probed
Zifa's books and established a road map. There must come a point when Zifa
will be weaned from perpetual dependency on the SRC or the government.
Mine bosses jittery over fresh rhetoric By Kumbirai
ZIMBABWE'S mining industry, the economy's bedrock, was last week
shaken again following additional threats on the sector.
experts told Standard Business that the sector, which is still smarting from
fresh threats by the government and President Robert Mugabe, was again
thrown into panic by recent statements from government. "It is difficult to
know where we are going . because black economic empowerment is meant to
enable or facilitate the participation of people in the economy but what we
are seeing is quite different," said one miner who spoke
This followed Tuesday's reports in the government-owned
Herald newspaper quoting Mugabe as having complained to several of his
legislators that South African miners were exploiting the crisis-racked
southern African country's platinum deposits.
Joram Gumbo, the
government chief whip, who - according to The Herald - attended an emergency
meeting convened by Mugabe, said he had told them that Zimbabwe and South
Africa produced about 80% of the world's platinum "yet some South African
companies have started mining platinum in Zimbabwe without our
South Africa is the world's leading platinum producer and the
second largest palladium producer after Russia.
But with the Midlands
mining development in full swing, Zimbabwe is heavily tipped to become the
third largest producer of the metal since it has the second largest platinum
reserves in the world.
Tuesday's statements, analysts said, could be
directed at world number one platinum producer Anglo American Platinum
(Angloplats), which owns the US$90 million Unki Platinum Mine in the
Midlands Province. Impala Platinum Holdings (Impala), another South African
mining company, has a controlling stake in Zimplats, which owns Makwiro Mine
and Ngezi Mine while Aquarius Platinum Limited owns Mimosa. Mugabe's
statement analysts said were startling since Anglo and Zimplats have
reserved a 20% and 15% stake respectively for indigenous
Only last month, Mugabe told a gathering mainly
comprising of school kids that his government will soon demand half the
shares in all the country's privately owned mines under an aggressive
indigenisation plan. He insisted Zimbabweans did not yet enjoy "absolute
ownership" of natural resources.
Miners said the rhetoric that seemed to
be continuing unabated was of deep concern to them.
"Until that time
we have government's overall philosophy on black economic empowerment any
investor that doesn't understand any factor is going to be prudent," Ian
Saunders, the Chamber of Mines' president said on Wednesday.
sources said although the chamber had received the draft Mines and Mining
Amendment Bill, which seeks to allow "historically disadvantaged"
Zimbabweans to hold a 49% stake in private and foreign-owned mines, the
organisation was contesting two sticking issues enshrined in the
"We are seriously concerned about how the indigenisation programme
will be executed and the process the government will follow because equity
must not be given to people freely," said an official source.
Who is tarnishing Zimbabwe's image? Sundaytalk with Pius
ONE day a baboon picked up a pair of sunglasses. He put them on
as he had seen human beings wear them. He had always wanted to look like a
human being. He straightened up and started to proudly walk around the
jungle. He soon met a lion.
"Hey, lion," he called out, "you look
so dirty. Why don't you wash?"
The lion was so angry. He would have
killed the baboon if it had not climbed up a tree. When the lion left in a
huff the baboon came down and started to walk around proudly again. Soon, he
came across a buffalo.
"Hey, buffalo!" he called out, "why don't you
wash. You look so dirty."
The buffalo was very angry. He came after the
baboon wanting to gore him with his sharp horns but the baboon climbed up a
tree. When the buffalo left he came down and walked around insulting, in the
same manner, all the other animals he met.
Finally he sat alone in a
tree, isolated by all the other animals. Finally a monkey joined him. "Hey,
monkey! Why don't you wash," he started.
The monkey cut him short. "I
have heard about you. Take off those dark glasses and look at
The baboon took off his cherished glasses and looked at the monkey.
He was not dirty anymore. He then threw them away and vowed never to put on
such stupid things again.
This is just like the ruling party, Zanu
PF, and its government. They see everybody in the world as being dirty
because they are wearing dark glasses made of greed for power and property,
violence and racial bigotry. Until they throw these glasses away, Zimbabwe
will continue to be shunned by civilized countries. It will become more and
more a lonely pariah State.
Our government has accused almost every
nation on earth, civil society and loyal Zimbabweans who dare tell the
truth, of tarnishing Zimbabwe's image. In the light of what has happened and
what is happening on the ground in Zimbabwe, who really is tarnishing the
We all know who tarnished and is still tarnishing
Zimbabwe's image among the nations of the world. It is none other than our
Zanu PF government led by President Robert Mugabe and his coterie of
fanatics notably the terrible trio of the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Justice Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, and the fossilised writer,
Tafataona Mahoso. These few have managed to tarnish Zimbabwe's image beyond
recognition. Our friends are now few and far between.
Even in Africa
our real friends are now few and far between. We can't stand them because
they tell us the truth, which we don't like to hear. Through our dark
glasses, we see them as agents of the imperialist Western countries who want
to "take away the gains of our independence".
Of course, when our
President speaks at international gatherings there is applause. They
applauded Idi Amin in the same way. In 1972 the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU) held a conference in Libreville, Gabon. The Ugandan strongman
Idi Amin attended the conference. He was the only black African leader to be
cheered at virtually every appearance at that conference.
That same year
Idi Amin had forced about 50 000 Asians living in Uganda to leave the
country. He said he did so to put control of the country's economy in the
hands of Ugandans. He was accused of killing thousands of Ugandans who
disagreed with his policies. He praised Adolf Hitler for murdering Jews, and
bitterly denounced the leaders of many nations.
An Associated Press
reporter quoted one of the delegates to the OAU meeting as saying: "Amin is
a disgrace to all of Africa, but he is also the most popular man on the
continent. There is a mystique of bigness and arrogance about him that
fascinates the average African. If you elected a king of all Africa, Amin
This is the tragedy of the African psyche. African political
leaders will applaud an errant fellow leader but will not do what he does.
They will just vicariously live out their fantasies through him when in
actual fact they regard him as a mad man.
In his book, Society and
Culture, Francis Merril describes this social phenomenon thus: "In our
society, there is supposed to be a reasonable consistency between the role a
person conceives himself as playing and that which he actually plays. When
this discrepancy between these roles becomes too glaring, the person is
regarded as dangerous to ordered social relationships.
delusions of grandeur are symptoms of personal abnormality, although they
may not have the same significance in societies with differing norms.
Similarly, men who identify themselves with the winds, the heavens and the
mountains are adjudged candidates for mental hospitals in the United
"Among certain tribes of Northwest Coast Indians, however,
similar delusions constitute normal behaviour for chiefs, who are considered
by themselves and others as very great men. These chiefs devote long and
eloquent speeches to the glorification of themselves and their prowess, in
which they try to leave no doubt in the minds of the listeners as to their
super human powers. The oratory that resounds about the banquet halls of
these chieftains would in our society be heard in the corridors of mental
hospitals, where the less violent psychotics are allowed to exchange
experiences. The chiefs may or may not be convinced of the truth of their
own claims to grandeur. The point is that any person in our society who
speaks of himself in such consistently grandiose terms is mentally
I will not insult the readers' intelligence by trying to
explain or comment on the above brilliant and insightful piece of writing.
Its import is self-evident.
Our own actions and words have tarnished
the image of this beautiful and once prosperous country. It is such a pity
because Zimbabweans had a reputation of being one of the most educated,
cultured and well-mannered people on the continent. Their generosity and
friendliness was legendary. Now, a few deluded leaders who seem to believe
their own lies have ruined all this.
The government has destroyed the
country's superb agriculture infrastructure and loudly calls that
destruction "land reform". The economy is in tatters and they proudly say
that there is an "economic turn around". This, when on the same page one
reads that the cost of living has gone up by several percentage points and
more than 75 percent of the people are living below the poverty datum line!
Who is fooling who?
Last Monday a group of 30 South Africans, Zimbabweans
and Australians on an annual fishing trip were arrested, accused of holding
a political meeting to celebrate the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC's leader. It turned out that the group didn't even know about the trial
since they were in the bush. Since when did celebrating the acquittal of an
innocent man become a crime in Zimbabwe?
Of course, according to Zanu
PF logic, the South African "apartheid Press" and the imperialist Western
media should not report this. If they do they are tarnishing Zimbabwe's
image. Of course, potential tourists intending to visit Zimbabwe from those
countries will now think twice.
I said our government is now being run by
a small coterie of the President's confidantes. Most of the ministers don't
talk much. "Hapana achati bufu."
Why are these good citizens so ominously
quiet? There are two possible reasons. The first is that as Minister of
State for Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has
successfully gagged them. He decides who gets publicity and who does not.
The second reason is that they can see the writing on the wall. They don't
want to be seen as ringleaders. Being banned from traveling to important
Western countries because of the government's actions has given them a rude
awakening as to what may be coming. We now live in a global world where acts
against humanity no longer go unpunished "national sovereignty"