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      New twist to ZANU PF probe

      Felix Njini
      10/28/2004 9:43:24 AM (GMT +2)

      TWISTY investigations into a swathe of ZANU PF companies got a fresh
impetus last week after the ruling party's supreme decision-making body -
the politburo - gave the bloated probe team extra teeth to get to the bottom
of the firms' secretive investments.

      The latest turn of events, which caught most of the ZANU PF bigwigs
unawares, swung attention back to Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had emerged
unscathed despite earlier indications that the investigations were aimed at
him as the party's immediate past finance chief. Mnangagwa, the feared ZANU
PF secretary for administration, was key to the party's investments whose
veil of secrecy many hoped would be pierced by the investigations.

      Party insiders with intimate knowledge of the ZANU PF businesses said
the probe into the ruling party portfolio, which, under Mnangagwa's
stewardship, grew from zero in 1978 to an estimated $100 billion, had been
given a new impetus after new members were co-opted. They said six more
names were added to the probe team at last week's politburo meeting. Names
of the new members could not be ascertained at the time of going to press.
The dramatic turn of events comes after the first probe produced a
watered-down report which party insiders said was deemed a "disappointing

      Before the probe, ZANU PF investments had never been subjected to
public scrutiny. Senior party officials claimed that they were not privy to
the party's businesses as issues concerning their operations involved a few
officials and were always confined to some dark room at the party's

      The insiders said the expanded team, which now has 11 members, got
fresh powers to comb through a web of ZANU PF investments in what might
worsen tension in the fractious party that has been led by President Robert
Mugabe since independence in 1980.
      Among others, they said, the committee had been given arresting powers
and would leave no stone unturned as the race to succeed President Mugabe
intensified. They said this meant that the committee could now go into the
region probing investments made by anyone who may interest the
investigations while the Ministers of State Security and Home Affairs had
been ordered to cooperate fully with the committee.

      There are heightened fears that the investigations could be an
extension of the simmering succession struggles in which whoever is caught
on the wrong side of the law may find it difficult to appeal to the

      This has been denied by the party but political observers say that the
fierce power struggle in ZANU PF could split it right through the middle
ahead of the party's decisive congress slated for December at which new
leaders would be elected.

      Joyce Mujuru, wife of retired army general Solomon Mujuru, is tipped
to land the vice-presidency left vacant following the death of Simon Muzenda
last year. The retired army chief is part of the probe team.

      Mujuru, the Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development, might face a stiff challenge from Mnangagwa and John Nkomo, who
are also linked to the presidency.
      Before the latest turn of events, the committee led by ZANU PF
secretary for finance David Karimanzira, whose inclusion smacked of conflict
of interest, had failed to find anything that sticks against the ruling
party bigwigs close to the operations of the companies.
      The 64-page report, which was discussed at last week's meeting, had
also failed to lift the lid off the complex and secretive operations of the
companies namely ZIDCO Holdings, M & S Syndicate, First Banking Corporation,
Treger Holdings, Ottawa, Catercraft, Zidlee Enterprises, Fribrolite, Mike
Appel and the Southern Africa Reinsurance.

      The probe has since raised the ire of some party gurus who are of the
view that Mnangagwa, the former party finance chief, had to all intense and
purposes been cleared.
      Under Mnangagwa's tenure, the ruling party's share in Tregers Holdings
alone is now worth $40 billion, while its shares in Mike Appel are also
valued at at least $30 billion, with its stake in the enlarged FBC Holdings
estimated at $10 billion.

      This makes the ruling party one of the richest liberation movements on
the continent. The African National Congress, which won this year's
elections in South Africa, is reportedly worth only two thirds of the empire
built by ZANU PF.
      "The party's investments were made under the watchful eye of the first
secretary of the party, President Mugabe so it boggles one's mind how other
ZANU PF members could dare question the presidency," said a source.

      "It is also unheard of for investigations to open up in a case where
it is clear that whoever was in charge of the party's investments actually
created greater value for the liberation movement," the same sources said.
      David Karimanzira, who is chairing the investigating committee, said
they would submit a report to the party after finishing investigations.
Karimanzira remained mum on the committee's new powers.
      "We will only report and hand over the to the party' that is our
mandate," Karimanzira said.
      Other members of the initial committee comprise of Mujuru,
Matabeleland Governor Obert Mpofu, former finance minister Simba Makoni and
Thoko Mathuthu, ZANU PF deputy secretary for transport and welfare.

      ZANU PF bigwigs hauled before the committee during the initial
investigations include Mnangagwa, who was interviewed twice, Nicholas Goche,
the Minister of State for Security, Enos Chikowore, the former Public
Service and National Housing Minister, Frederick Shava, the director for
ZANU PF, Sydney Sekeramayi, the Minister of Defence, Didymus Mutasa, the
Minister of Anticorruption, Nathan Shamuyarira, the ZANU PF information

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      Politicians eager to resume romance with capital

      Nelson Banya
      10/28/2004 6:56:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE short-lived parliamentary revolt staged by ZANU PF legislators in
June, unsettled by the draconian anti-corruption law that the government was
eager to push through, and their subsequent acquiescence after pressure was
brought to bear illustrated the well-known fact that the parliamentarians
are not their own men.

      However, last week's call by the same ZANU PF legislators for a
blanket amnesty to be extended to the country's significant band of fugitive
business tycoons - themselves unsaintly victims of the same law that allows
the police to detain, without trial, suspected economic criminals for up to
a fortnight - accentuates the oft compromising bond between Zimbabwean (read
ZANU PF) politicos and capital.
      The appeal, made to and immediately shot down by President Robert
Mugabe during last week's meeting of the ZANU PF parliamentary caucus, has
drawn widespread condemnation not least for the culture of impunity it would
breed, particularly when there is a general consensus that only the tip has
been exposed, but also because it betrayed lack of foresight and a knack for
unbridled self-service on the part of the party and those who lead it.
      For a long time on the ropes against mounting public disenchantment,
ZANU PF has, of late exuded confidence, largely on the basis of this year' - and probably next year's too - mantra of "fighting graft".
      The party has not missed an opportunity rhapsodise its new-found
vigour in fighting graft. A ministry, headed by Didymus Mutasa, has been set
up to focus specifically on corruption and monopolies.
      What is more, Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri has been arrested
and is currently in remand prison, facing charges of violating the same
exchange control violations he was supposed to enforce.
      A former ZANU PF luminary, James Makamba, whose political star had
long started to wane, also underwent a seven-month-long trial and
imprisonment for violating the same exchange control regulations.
      These lightweight politicians - Kuruneri could walk down any Harare
street without heads turning, while Makamba left Parliament without bringing
the House to a standstill and his mayoral aspirations were crushed by a
presidential thumb back in1996 - have been held up as examples of the
government's commitment to fighting corruption "even in high places".
      However, a host of businessmen - some openly associated with the
ruling party - who could not stand to be made examples of took the exit
option, leaving the police hot on their trail.
      President Mugabe has on countless occasions stated that they will be
pursued and brought back home to face the music, calls which have also been
echoed by police chief Augustine Chihuri time without number.
      When the ZANU PF leader, known to brook no opposition, speaks his
minions in the party know his position becomes the position of the party
and, inevitably, the government.
      It only takes the dauntless to gainsay him, often at the expense of
their position in the party. Examples abound.
      It must have been a great motive, then, that pushed the legislators to
raise an issue on which the President's position was, typically, cast in
      The MPs' calls, apparently predicated on the assumption that the
exiled businessmen, almost all of whom are bankers, would repatriate the
funds they allegedly siphoned not only out of their banks but the country as
well, are as ludicrous as they are mysterious.
      Further, the MPs, none of whom can honestly deny knowledge of the
severe crisis of confidence the ruling party suffers from, would certainly
have thought about the consequences of the amnesty on a sceptical public, a
significant part of which has dismissed the anti-corruption crusade as the
latest pre-election fad.
      Not only would an amnesty put paid to any attempts to purge this
society of pervasive corruption: it would be a public relations disaster
that would seriously jeopardise the party's chances in next year's
parliamentary elections, themselves already mired in controversy.
      That they went ahead and made the plea could be explained by
overriding self-interest and a sense of self-preservation.
      As much as anywhere else in the world, the bond that exists between
Zimbabwean capital and politicians should not be underestimated.
      In a society with an entrenched and institutionalised patronage
system, the sinews holding this link are robust.
      It has often been remarked that while one can successfully set up and
run a business without a political godfather, one has to hedge it against
the vicissitudes that typically define turbulent political and economic
      Zimbabwe's five-year-old economic recession has coincided with
political upheavals and a controversial land reform exercise that threw
property rights out of the window.
      The depth of the corruption that has so far been exposed in the
banking sector alone leads one to surmise, with reasonable accuracy, that
the same levels of decay exist in all the other sectors of the economy -
agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics, energy, real estate and
many others.
      An amnesty to benefit less than a score of executives would be jumping
the gun and protecting, nay abetting, other aberrant businessmen.

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      MDC seeks poll postponement

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/28/2004 9:44:29 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which claims to have
suspended participation in any future elections in Zimbabwe until President
Robert Mugabe implements comprehensive electoral reforms, wants the 2005
parliamentary polls postponed to nearly the end of the year.

      Party insiders said the main opposition party, which nearly upset the
ruling ZANU PF in the violence-mired 2000 parliamentary election when it
clinched 57 out of 120 contested seats, had already communicated the message
to South African President Thabo Mbeki.

      The South African leader, the globally acceptable broker of Zimbabwe's
nearly five-year-old political impasse pitting President Mugabe's ruling
ZANU PF and the main opposition, met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
Pretoria on Monday this week.

      Although spokesmen for President Mbeki and Tsvangirai were reluctant
to shed light on the meeting, it is understood the MDC leader and his
delegation implored Mbeki to pressure President Mugabe to postpone the
      Tsvangirai, in his first trip outside Zimbabwe after acquittal of high
treason charges, travelled with Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary general,
and his deputy, Gift Chimanikire.

      The sources said Tsvangirai told Mbeki that it was impossible for
President Mugabe to fully implement the principles and guidelines agreed in
Mauritius in less than six months. The SADC guidelines and principles on
free and fair elections are legally binding.The government has announced
that next year's polls would be held in March.

      The MDC insiders privy to Pretoria meeting said Tsvangirai had
informed Mbeki that March was too soon a deadline to gauge if President
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF were sincere in adhering to the Mauritius
      Tsvangirai, the same sources added, pointed out that the MDC was not
being allowed to campaign freely in Zimbabwe let alone use the public media
to articulate its policies to the general electorate.
      "Tsvangirai has asked Mbeki to put pressure on Mugabe to adhere to the
SADC Mauritius Protocol. It is felt that it is impossible to implement some
of the guidelines and principles in five months, " said a source. "Mbeki has
been told that it is only when real electoral reforms are in place and the
political environment is level that the MDC can then decide to re-enter the
race," added the source.

      Mbeki is understood to have advised the MDC, which continues to play
hardball insisting that it will not accept half a loaf, that it was unwise
to boycott next years' parliamentary elections at a time when SADC was
adamant President Mugabe would "play ball". It is understood the MDC had
suggested October 2005 as a tentative month for next year's election
provided President Mugabe implemented full electoral reforms as in line with
SADC guidelines and principles.

      Bheki Khumalo, the spokesman on Mbeki said it was a private discussion
not warranting public scrutiny while William Bango, Tsvangirai spokesman,
said he did not travel with the MDC leader to Pretoria.
      "The people that are privy to what was discussed are those that were
in the meeting," said Bango. "I did not travel, ask the secretary general."
      Ncube was not immediately available for comment.

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      Record $163 bln loss for ZESA

      Felix Njini
      10/28/2004 9:46:23 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Electri-city Supply Authority (ZESA), which has failed to
shake off its financial handcuffs, reported a massive $163 billion loss in
the 2003 financial year, The Financial Gazette can reveal.

      It has been established that the national power utility, whose
accounts have rarely been made public, attributed its poor balance sheet to
power tariff subsidies, a high and rising import bill and ballooning
external debt.
      In its turnaround strategy, presented to the Energy and Power
Development Ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in a desperate
bid to raise funds to foot the import bill, ZESA bemoaned that it had
suffered a loss because of lower tariffs and a high import bill.
      According to its 2002 annual report, ZESA, which is being turned into
a holding company, is choking from a US$156 million external debt as at
December 2002, which arose from US$59 million in 2001.
      Officials at the national power utility remained tight-lipped on
ZESA's current external debt figure.
      Some of ZESA's outstanding creditors include the World Bank, which is
owed US$49 million as at December 2002. Repayment of the loan, which has
been attracting rates of between 6.40 percent and 11.6 percent since 1993,
is due in 2007.
      ZESA also owes European Investment Bank 16 million Euros, which is due
for repayment in 2009. Some of the parastatal's creditors include Barclays
Bank plc, Lloyds Bank, Nordbanken, Commonwealth Development Corpora-tion,
Finnish Export Credit Limited, among others.
      "The authority defaulted in principal and interest repayments on all
foreign loans. The loan agreement stipulates that if there is a default in
principal and interest repayments, the full amount becomes due and payable,
hence all the outstanding foreign loan balances have been treated as current
liabilities," ZESA said in its 2002 annual report.
      ZESA's continuously shaky financial position comes amid failure by the
same parastatal to secure meaningful investment into its two key power
generation plants, Hwange Power Station (HPS) and Kariba South Power
station. Analysts said funding for ZESA is critical given that excess energy
capacity in the region would be exhausted in 2007.
      This means that the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government has to prepare
for self-sufficiency in electricity supply by undertaking expansion of HPS
and Kariba South or face complete power outages.
      Executives at Megawatt house, the headquarters for the power utility,
said Zimbabwe's energy supply outlook remains "distressing".
      It is not anticipated that the current foreign currency crunch,
inadequate coal supplies and rail transport bottlenecks would have improved
significantly to ensure security of power supply to the economy within the
short term.
      ZESA has, however, sketched a bold survival plan which hinges on
bringing on board Chinese investors and venturing into coal mining.The
authority has also been trying to attract the sympathy of the central bank,
which has so far chipped in with $10 billion.
      Analysts have, however, slammed ZESA, which has been operating without
a board of directors for nearly a year, for lack of corporate governance.
      "The law says every parastatal should have a board of directors and
ZESA does not have a board. There is no compliance with corporate governance
and there is a problem in terms of who signs ZESA's audited accounts," fumed
legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who chairs the parliamentary
portfolio committee on public accounts.

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      ZANU PF chefs rush to offload seed

      Felix Njini
      10/28/2004 9:47:23 AM (GMT +2)

      STARTLING revelations by Seed Co chairman, Ray Kaukonde, that senior
government officials were withholding hybrid seed maize have triggered panic
among ZANU PF heavyweights, who have started emptying their stocks.

      Giving evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands
and Agriculture, Kaukonde said Seed Co had the list of top officials who
were funded heavily by the company but were deliberately holding on to seed
maize and possibly eyeing the more lucrative export market.

      The rare show of bravery by the Seed Co boss, who himself is the ZANU
PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, incensed some of the unnamed
officials. President Robert Mugabe is said to immediately have demanded to
see the full list "of people sabotaging the agrarian reform".

      But before the purported list could find its way into the public
domain, the culprits, whom sources said included members of the ZANU PF
supreme decision making body - the Politburo - and some Cabinet ministers,
rushed to release the hybrid seed maize they had in stock. The same
politicians were accused of side-marketing last year.

      "Some big chefs have started releasing seed which they were
withholding. The threats paid off. Seed maize is coming in now but the late
comers are demanding cash on delivery, which is quite unusual, but perhaps
it is just a show of anger," said an industry player.

      While efforts to get in touch with the Seed Co chairman were fruitless
yesterday, a senior company official confirmed the latest development,
adding that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed seed producing concern could
continue receiving seed maize until the end of the year.

      It has emerged that the government, which has previously bullied local
producers into accepting sub-economic seed prices, will pay up to $8 million
per tonne on imported seed.

      The government has been haggling with producers over what they deemed
uneconomic seed prices until it agreed to pay $5 million per tonne for
locally produced seed.

      The country requires more than 100 000 tonnes of seed in the 2004/05
farming season to produce the projected three million tonnes of maize.

      Of this, an estimated 70 000 tonnes would have to be imported, players
in the industry said.

      Hybrid seed maize producers, most of them senior government officials,
were withholding the seed following a sub-economic government-imposed price.

      Players in the seed producing industry said ongoing negotiations with
government over the prices of seed have failed to secure a viable selling
price, putting a damper on prospects of producing adequate seed stocks next
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      No surprises expected in monetary policy review

      Nelson Banya
      10/28/2004 9:47:52 AM (GMT +2)

      TODAY'S third quarter monetary policy review, which comes at a time
when a measure of stability has been brought back to the financial markets,
is not likely to see as many surprises as those sprung by Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono in his maiden policy statement last

      Analysts told The Financial Gazette yesterday that the policy review
is likely to see the central bank consolidating its position on the key
areas of inflation control, interest rates, the exchange rate and financial
sector regulation.

      "We are not likely to see any surprises, although the market is
eagerly waiting to see what the position on the exchange rate is going to

      "The current rate (of about $5 600 to the United States dollar) has
become unrealistic.

      The governor is also likely to give the modalities of the new same-day
clearing arrangements as well as tighter regulation and supervision," Best
Doroh, principal economist at the Zimbabwe Financial Holdings (Finhold)
group said.

      However, Trust Holdings Limited's group economist David Mupamhadzi
said the central bank governor, who was expected to meet his advisory board
yesterday, was unlikely to tamper with the exchange rate.

      "I do not think they will tamper with the exchange rate, as it will
have a ripple effect on other variables such as money supply, inflation and
demand. You have to consider the centrality of the exchange rate to the
achievement of the year-end inflation target," Mupamhadzi said.

      The year-on-year rate of inflation peaked at 622.8 percent in January,
but has slowed down to 251.5 percent as of September. Monthly inflation has
also receded from a high of 33.6 percent in November 2003 to 5.9 percent in

      The RBZ has set a year-end target range between 170 percent and 200
percent and double-digit figures by December 2005.

      "Inflation has been on a sustained decline, but there are lots of
underlying pressures, so the policy is also an opportunity for the governor
to announce measures to fine-tune the anti-inflation strategy to address the
pressures," Mupamhadzi said.

      He said the market was also eagerly awaiting the central bank's
position on indigenous banks, which have taken a battering since the
announcement of a tighter monetary policy regime last December.

      "There is anxiety over whether some indigenous banks are still going
concerns. We hope the governor will address those uncertainties that have
made it virtually impossible for indigenous banks to build deposits. You
will remember that in his last statement in July the governor stated his
commitment to restore confidence and stability in the financial sector. The
market will take its cue from the central bank's position on this issue."

      In July, Gono promised the resolution of problems besetting troubled
banks within the final quarter of the year, "so that we start 2005 on a
clean slate".

      Then, four banking institutions remained on the central bank's
Troubled Bank Fund, with 73 percent of Zimbabwe's 41 banking institutions
being certified solid, safe and sound.

      Other issues likely to generate interest during today's monetary
policy statement include the interest rate policy, the productive sector
facility, possible export incentives and other structural issues, such as
low capacity utilisation.

      The productive sector facility, which avails cheap loans (at 50
percent interest per annum for both exporters and producers) has given many
wobbly companies a lifeline and analysts predicted a possible extension
despite the governor's previous exhortations that the firms should work
towards weaning themselves off the fund.

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      10 jailed 'mercenaries' seriously ill

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/28/2004 9:48:24 AM (GMT +2)

      IT never rains, but pours for the alleged soldiers of fortune jailed
at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, amid reports that 10 of them are seriously ill
with varying undisclosed ailments.

      Sources close to lawyers of the 65 jailed men said a majority, just
like other inmates at the high-security prison, were reeling from diseases
blamed on poor hygiene, malnutrition and general congestion.

      "There are about 10 mercenaries that we understand are on their
death-beds. Some we suspect have TB (tuberculosis), but we don't see any
possibilities of them being released soon after the latest freeing of two
members of the group," said an impeccable source.

      It has also emerged that South African attorneys of Simon Mann, the
alleged mastermind of the Equatorial Guinea adventure, are paying for the
upkeep of the duo released last week on humanitarian reasons.

      Mann, the leader of the alleged mercenaries, was jailed for seven
years for contravening sections of the Public Order and Security Act and
Firearms Act.

      The government of Zimbabwe alleges the men were on their way to topple
the government of Teodoro Obian Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, charges denied
by the group, which maintained it was headed for the Democratic Republic of
the Congo to guard diamond mines.

      Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs did not answer his mobile phone when this reporter called to check
on the alleged deteriorating conditions of the alleged mercenaries.

      The Zimbabwe Prison Services public relations department also did not
respond to questions faxed to it by the time of going to press.

      Last week, in a rare show of upholding human rights, the government
freed Pius Kanjowa (45) and Leratu Eselumu (48), part of the 67 rag-tag band
of men convicted of contravening the Immigration Act.

      The two were released together with seven Zimbabweans serving various
sentences for different crimes. The sources said upon arriving in South
Africa last Saturday morning, Kanjowa and Eselumu detailed the appalling
health situation at Chikurubi, emphasising the fate of 10 sick men out of
the remaining 65 incarnated in Harare.

      It emerged from Johannesburg this week that Mann's South African
lawyers received Kanjowa and Eselumu at Johannesburg International Airport
where the two were given unspecified sums of money "to get along".

      The release of the alleged fortune-diggers came in the backcloth of
the death two weeks ago from Chikurubi of another alleged mercenary, Ngave
Jarukemo Maharukua, barely a month after being convicted.

      His death at a Harare hospital followed that of German Eugene Nershz,
one of the 15 foreigners arrested in Equatorial Guinea over the same
charges, who died soon after his arrest.

      Authorities in malaria-infested Equatorial Guinea said the German
succumbed to celebral malaria, but Amnesty International claimed he died as
a result of torture.

      The trial of the 15 men, which has sucked in Mark Thatcher, the son of
former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, has further been delayed by
the death of a high-profile lawyer representing the alleged coup-plotters in
Equatorial Guinea.

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      New rules bar newcomers from ZANU PF primaries

      Staff Reporter
      10/28/2004 9:48:59 AM (GMT +2)

      A NUMBER of ZANU PF stalwarts could fail to participate in the ruling
party's primary elections in the wake of strict rules and regulations
governing the selection of candidates to represent the party in the 2005

      A draft document on the rules and regulations leaked to The Financial
Gazette this week has caused a furore that has caused a major rift between
the ruling ZANU PF old guard and the so-called young Turks.

      ZANU PF officials were yesterday expected to make the final decision
on the draft to ensure that those who qualify roll out their campaign
machinery ahead of next year's crucial parliamentary elections slated for

      The draft stipulates that only those who have served in the party as
an office bearer for at least five consecutive years prior to the primary
elections are allowed to stand.

      "No member of the party shall qualify to stand as a candidate
representing the party in any local authority and parliamentary elections
unless he or she has served in the party as an office bearer in any of the
structures of the party for at least five consecutive years," read part of
the draft.

      Other reasons for ineligibility include past convictions for crimes
involving fraud, guilty of misconduct in the party, guilty of corrupt
election practices such as vote buying, intimidation and the use of
political violence among other reasons.

      Newcomers within ZANU PF felt that the document favours the old guard
and sought to hinder the entrance of the young Turks whom President Robert
Mugabe once accused of having "filthy hands" because of their love for power
and money.

      Insiders said if approved, the draft could effectively slam the door
on political careers of neophytes that include senior government officials.

      It has been established that those likely to be barred from contesting
also include members facing corruption charges and those who have been
hauled before disciplinary committees.

      Intra-party fighting in ZANU PF has been worsened by manoeuvres from
the old guard, which is reportedly hatching clandestine moves to bar the
young Turks from taking part in the primaries.

      The draft also follows interventions by the politburo to stop some
ambitious newcomers in the party imposing themselves de-facto ZANU PF
candidates flying against the ZANU PF norm of holding primary elections.

      Only last year, ZANU PF Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba
caused a furore in the party when he declared himself the de-facto ZANU PF
candidate for Masvingo central constituency.

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      'Honourable' deception

      10/28/2004 7:27:56 AM (GMT +2)

      THERE is no limit to greed, no shackles on avarice, no end to cupidity
. . . . Words to that effect were spoken by one Maxwell Newton about junk
bond king Michael Milken.

      He might as well have been talking about Zimbabwe, a country where
self-centred and remorseless powerful politicians and equally uncouth but
influential businessmen who have always been bent on deception have
exhibited sickening greed and corruption.

      Consider this for a few examples: What was ostensibly meant to correct
an historical injustice through the equitable redistribution of the finite
national resource, land, has been reduced to a senseless land grab orgy by a
voracious coterie of politicians and their henchmen. They are behind the
wanton usurping of the land when well-deserving cases - those who bore the
brunt of the bloody war of liberation - continue to wallow in poverty as the
politicians with bloated self-interest preen their feathers.

      And then there is the rot and madness in the financial sector whose
false bubble which belied its egg-shell-thin veneer of stability was burst
last year. There was lack of integrity and sound corporate governance which
spawned financial impropriety and speculative practices where banks threw
caution to the wind, dealing in empty bottles and bricks - underlying that
risk management is a less developed discipline in the sector. Zimbabwe does
not need any reminding of a psalm-singing banker who ironically paid no
regard to his moral and business obligations by unashamedly advancing
himself in excess of $90 billion from depositors' funds!

      All this points to a disturbing and untenable situation. Zimbabweans
have forgotten what it means to be above board. Indeed the pendulum has
swung too far the other way. In both the private and public sectors, corners
have been cut, palms greased, underhand deals sealed and billions siphoned.
The cancerous and deep-seated corruption has become something of a national
curse, which underscores how low this great nation has allowed itself to
sink. That this needs to be dealt with immediately is beyond argument.The
government should therefore, just like it did with the inflation scourge,
declare corruption public enemy number one.

      This is why we were outraged and repulsed by the ruling ZANU PF MPs'
call last week for President Robert Mugabe to forgive those that have fled
the country after allegations of corruption had been levelled against them.
The reason? They are brilliant young men, whose human resource value is
capital to the country. What hypocrisy? Those who prostitute their supposed
talent and brilliance to dupe and cheat the population into insolvency can
never form or be part of the national human resource bedrock. They are
villains and not heroes.

      While every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty, we feel that
if Zimbabwe extends an inviting right hand to some of these people, it risks
losing a couple of fingers. With all due respect to the few who were just
sailing close to the wind, these are some of the people the nation can trust
as much as it would a rattlesnake with a silencer on its rattle! It was
Gloria Steinem who once observed that American real estate millionaire and
magazine owner Morton Zuckerman had the ethical sense of a pack of jackals.
And the same can be said of some of these fugitive business people.

      While we were dismayed and appalled, we were not surprised though. The
reason is simple. It was a foregone conclusion that somewhere down the line,
the anti-graft crusade would lead to crossed lines given the whiff of panic
within the ranks of corrupt politicians. There was always going to be subtle
but stiffer resistance to the anti-corruption drive from the politicians,
some of whom, among their corrupt selves, should be ashamed that they are
out of jail. Their knickers were bound to be in a twist because a
significant number of the MPs might have benefited from corruption. Evidence
to this effect might be anecdotal but the smart money is on politicians
fuelling corruption in the private and public sectors. The call by the
honourable MPs, which smacks of nothing short of deception was, therefore,
prompted more by fear than noble motives. It is not difficult to see that
some of these politicians implicated in the abuse of foreign currency for
fuel and despicable multiple farm ownership and whose prosecution is long
overdue, hoped that the pardon could be extended to them.

      Still, we find this call by the ZANU PF parliamentary caucus both
morally insensitive and wrong. Not to mention that it is tantamount to
turning the anti-corruption clock backwards. Indeed we find it sacrilegious
because we feel that the MPs should instead seek to stiffen the government's
hand in its endeavours to decisively deal with the all-pervading corruption.
It should be left to the courts to decide whether or not these people are
guilty. President Mugabe was therefore right to reject, in no uncertain
terms, the manipulative MPs' self-serving and selfish request.

      This is not about political point scoring and it would be a colossal
error for President Mugabe to let slip this opportunity to rid the country
of corruption which has been eating at the very fabric of the nation. He
should be principled and should not waver from hard choices because the
state should not act in the narrow and selfish interests of a "chosen few"
but should seek to balance different social interests. He should instead
formulate a strong and forward-looking anti-corruption agenda to see the
current anti-graft drive to its full expression and let the chips fall where
they may.

      To put it mildly, it would be a travesty of justice to say that these
people should be pardoned on the flimsy grounds that they are intelligent.
Indeed God forbid. The public should rally behind President Mugabe and
reject in the strongest terms possible that corruption should be admissible
for the sake of some perceived intelligence and brilliance which the
culprits continue to cut and weld into a weapon to cheat people for
self-aggrandisement. In any case if allegations against some of these people
are anything to go by, then theirs is the kind of intelligence Zimbabwe can
do without.

      Not only that but we find it morally repugnant for the Executive to be
called upon to pardon people for crimes they have not been tried of. Unless
of course the MPs are saying there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe, that there
should be selective application of the law or that the suspects did not
commit the crimes they are accused of. Day in day out, the courts are trying
petty offenders charged with theft and transgression for the day's morsel.
Surprisingly we hear no calls for clemency or leniency from these
self-serving bigots. Yet Anatole France, casting the political economy away,
observed that the law in its majestic impartiality forbids the rich and poor
alike to sleep under bridges and to steal bread! So, whose interests are the
so-called people's representatives serving? What morals and values are they

      The Executive should never be coerced into barring the state from
prosecuting offenders because there is a clear separation of powers.
Zimbabwe is supposed to be a constitutional democracy. And the fugitives
have a constitutional right to defend themselves and be heard in court while
enjoying the presumption of innocence. But they chose to flee. If they
return they will still enjoy that right. And like the Shona say kumuzinda
hakuna woko. Who knows, they might after all be found not guilty and
acquitted. Why then on earth should anyone, let alone the ZANU PF people's
representatives, clamour and plead for pardon before charge, let alone
trial? Indeed the mind boggles. Presidential clemency should only be sought
after conviction and each case should be considered on its own merit.
Precedents abound.

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      ...and now to the NOTEBOOK

      10/28/2004 7:21:42 AM (GMT +2)


      OUR blood brothers in Mozambique with whom we recently held a
solidarity gala - will be holding parliamentary and presidential elections
in December this year.

      They will be freely choosing whosoever they want to be their leaders.
CZ cannot help but envy them . . . and we are told everyday that we in fact
share a lot in common with them . . . a common boundary, a common language
(in some areas), a common liberation war history, a common destiny . . . the
list is endless.
      It is good to know that we share so much with our Moscan brothers. but
only one thing worries CZ . . . there is a limit beyond which nothing ceases
to be common any more between the two people:
      Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano addresses the same meetings as
Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of the main opposition party, yet in Zimbabwe
some special laws have been put in place to ensure that some political
"groups" don't hold any meetings at all.
      FRELIMO war veterans, who number much more than ZANU PF ones, have no
business going around a liberated country killing, maiming, raping, burning
and looting property as our rambunctious lot seem to be past-masters at
right now.
      In Mozambique, so far there are no laws like AIPPA, POSA and such
other criminal statutes that interfere with citizens' basic human rights
like the ones we are being asked to please be comfortable with here.
Mozambican citizens, wherever they are in the world, can vote in the
forthcoming elections because it is their constitutional right to do so, yet
for Zimboz, that right evaporates as soon as an immigration official stamps
"exit" on their passports.


      Our brothers in Christ from the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) this week invited themselves to Harare to see for themselves what
the fabled situation really is like here in Zimbabwe for those who choose to
disagree with the owners of the country. And thanks to God and the gods,
they got exactly that - an experience of a lifetime! And hopefully, with the
experience they have just acquired, they will be able to tell the world the
real story about Zimbabwe, this legendary land of the House of Stone!
      You see, some of these brothers tend to imagine, to fantasise and
dream what it is like to be under your own brother's regime (like what men
tend to do imagining how it is like to be pregnant), so with the
experience-and-a-half they got free of charge in Harare this week, we all
hope they are much more wiser now! And they can tell the world the story
from a position of first-hand knowledge, not that of hearsay and folklore.
      This is Zimbabwe, the little beautiful African country which some
clever people claim they died for in order to make it exclusively theirs,
and are still very much prepared to die again if the need arises.
      So after being warned by the owners of this country that they were not
welcome, the COSATU delegation thought this was an addled threat, or one
such brotherly banter, and they proceeded to land on the Eucharistic
Zimbabwean soils . . . Jeez!
      They should count themselves very lucky because had our war veterans
in the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions caught up with them at the
airport, they would have been in for a big lesson! A lesson on the
consequences of offending the sun.


      There is a new kid on the block. Yes, a new kid on the block calling
itself the Zimbabwe Landless A2 Farmers Association (ZLAFA) and led by no
other than Cde Kurauone Chihwayi, the maverick brother who is in almost any
other organisation that one may think of.
      From the information available, this ZLAFA outfit is a group of those
brothers and sisters whose names were splashed in the official press as
beneficiaries of the much newsy land reform exercise, but were unfortunate
in that they never got to see the pieces of land courtesy of the triple
standards of our people's government.
      In short, if your name appeared on that list and you never got the
farm, then you have no choice but to belong to this group.
      In a statement picked up by CZ, the seemingly dubious organisation
with an imagined membership of 50 000 demanded from the government, among
other things, that it "seriously consider revisiting the manner in which A2
farms were given to ministers, senior military, CIO and ZRP officials
through the backdoor."
      The organisation has the nerve to issue threats to the government:
"The ZLAFA shall lead a fresh wave of farm invasions if the corruption and
disorderly distribution of land is not stopped. The organisation shall
invade all A2 farms allocated to political heavyweights and disrupt farming
activities until sanity has been restored in the (land) distribution
      Quite a serious threat, isn't it? Just imagine, here in Zimbabwe, some
nobodies disrupting work at the Great Uncle's farm and those of the
mandarins around him! Would God not die on that day?
      Guess what? Days later CZ again picked another press statement from
the same address and signed by the same official (Chihwayi) but this time
the statement was coming from another organisation - one calling itself the
MDC Supporters for Democracy (MSD). Remember the noises about lack of
transparency and democracy in the MDC and the characters involved?
      This time Chihwayi was urging all Zimbabweans to rally behind MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai when his treason ruling was due.
      ". . . we are one family with common values, common goals, and a
common enemy. The MSD sympathises with President Tsvangirai and recognises
him as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe. An injury to one is an injury to
all of us comrades."
      From the above, isn't it obvious why Cde Chihwayi could not get land
in this country? Land is a privilege given to those whose patriotism is


      Lastly, CZ would like to commiser- ate with the Mabhaudhi family
following the recent stomach-cringing wine scandal. The family should take
solace in the fact that pastoral scandals are now as common as churches
themselves, so it is not only their family that might, at the moment, be the
subject of public ridicule after someone decided to use God's name in vain.
      Anyway, someone is offering Pastor Mabhaudhi a couple of drinks
anytime, FREE.

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      Worst far from over for manufacturing sector

      Felix Njini
      10/28/2004 7:03:22 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S manufacturing sector continues to wallow in misery as its
competitiveness in export and domestic markets is eroded by rising costs,
ballooning wage bills and a chronic foreign currency crunch.

      The worst appears to be far from over for manufacturers who continue
to be pummelled by escalating production costs which, according to the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) - the umbrella body for all
industrial entities in the country - shot up by 980.9 percent in 2003.

      The steep rise in production costs has put paid to the government's
stated objectives of fostering export-driven growth in an economy whose
export sector has also been dampened by foreign currency shortages and
dwindling business confidence.

      According to the CZI, the volume of manufacturing output further
shrunk by 11.3 percent in 2003 from 5.8 percent in 2002.

      Real turnover for the sector plummeted by 96.3 percent in 2003 while
sales declined by 6.6 percent.

      The CZI said the textile, clothing and footwear industries were under
serious threat from the influx of cheap merchandise from Asia.

      Export capacity, as measured by the proportion of output exported,
increased from 11.8 percent to 21 percent in 2003 as companies tried to
hedge domestic earnings.

      Analysts however said bottom line drivers of returns were not moving.

      The CZI also revealed that investment in plant and machinery declined
from 60.6 percent in 2000 to 37.5 percent in 2003.

      The number of retrenchees trebled from 1 187 in 2002 to 3 585 in 2003
with up to 40 companies closing shop, 25 scaling down while eight are
reportedly contemplating closing down by the end of 2004.

      The dark cloud hanging over Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector is
reflected in the widening disparity between the southern African country's
economic fundamentals and those of its main trading partners in the region.

      Gross domestic product (GDP) for South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and
Botswana is projected to grow by 3.5 percent, 4.1 percent, 6.5 percent and
5.5 percent respectively.

      The CZI said the future of the country's export sector rested on the
government's ability to put in place the right exchange rate regime and the
level of export incentives.

      "Exporters are taking a knock from the current blend rate and hence
would want government to adjust this to enjoy a full auction rate, for
export viability," CZI said.

      "The undersupply of foreign exchange has fallen far short of demand as
confirmed by the disparity of bids (amounts) and allotment levels.

      "Some companies have gone for eight weeks without accessing foreign
currency yet orders have been beckoning to be serviced and plant capacity is
lying idle," CZI said.

      Zimbabwe has also suffered a downturn in both investment and savings
owing to weakening economic fundamentals, which have largely eroded the
capacity to save and the need to invest.

      Gross savings declined from a peak of 20.5 percent of GDP in 1995 to
projected levels of -13.4 percent in 2003.

      Investment dipped from 25.3 percent of GDP in the 1995 to current
levels of 4.2 percent of GDP, thereby compromising industrialisation.

      The CZI revealed that the manufacturing sector is suffering from lack
of product diversification due to lack of resources. Capital outlays for new
technology tumbled from 34.4 percent in 2000 to 15.4 percent in 2001.

      "The manufacturing sector is largely de-industrialising, or at most,

      "The trend indicates a general loss of business confidence, given
mounting macro-economic instability, a major damper to expansionary business

      "There is need to create economic conditions which can shift domestic
investment perceptions from the current mode towards investment for growth,"
CZI said.

      Business confidence has tumbled by 45.2 percent from 2000 to 2001
before dipping much further by 282 percent from 2001 to 2002, CZI said.

      Going forward, the CZI said there was need for a "realistic exchange
rate regime, which provides for a reflection of market and macro-economic

      The CZI also said government should remove the blend rate to give
exporters a fair value of the local unit, priority based foreign currency
allocation system, reduction of duty on consumables and raw materials and
tax cuts to stimulate domestic demand.

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      Coffee production continues to plummet

      Zitha Dube
      10/28/2004 7:17:38 AM (GMT +2)

      COFFEE production continues to sink to new levels as the performance
of the country's agricultural industry remains unsatisfactory since the
advent of the chaotic land reform exercise.

      Agro-industrial giant, Ariston Holdings said last week that coffee
production for the season ended in August dropped significantly.
      "In the year end to 30 September 2004, volumes of all crops produced
by the group increased with the exception of coffee. Other production
activities have either been in line with or in excess of budget," said
management of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firm.
      About 6 000 metric tonnes, a 20 percent decline decline from the 2002
season were harvested last year.
      The coffee industry has suffered a decline in the past two years
because of weakening international prices and because of the poor quality of
the crop.
      Zimbabwe, before the chaotic land reform exercise, used to export 97
percent of mild Arabica coffee and produced about 0,2 percent of the world's
coffee with the domestic product ranking fifth in quality.
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      The mystery of the 'unseen' damning reports

      10/28/2004 7:22:56 AM (GMT +2)

      Can someone tell me what all the brouhaha about the Zimbabwean
government not having seen the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
(UNECA) report on its governance record in advance means?

      There has been much ado in the official press about the fact that a
Zimbabwean delegation scored a major victory in Addis Ababa by successfully
arguing that it had not had a chance to read the document prior to the
Fourth African Development Forum.
      This is not the first time the government of this country has claimed
not to have seen an unfavourable report on its track record in a given area
of concern and relevance.
      When an executive summary of a report by the African Commission on
Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) was due to be tabled in July, Foreign
Minister Stan Mudenge vehemently protested that Zimbabwe had not been given
an opportunity to respond.
      The report, which condemned the government's human rights record, was
compiled by an ACHPR delegation headed by Jainaba Johm of Gambia, which
undertook a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe in 2002.
      On this occasion, the government's reason for not having seen the
document in advance sounded unconvincing, if not downright frivolous.
      The explanation given was that the report had been sent to the wrong
ministry. We were told, in effect, that this very important document had
gathered dust on the shelves of the Justice Ministry for months without any
effort being made to redirect it to the relevant authority, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.
      It was truly a marvel to watch how in this instance the government was
prepared to pose as the wronged party when it was clear that the bungling
and lack of coordination and liaison between the ministries concerned should
have been a cause for great embarrassment.
      The ACPHR report will now be discussed at the commission's 36th
ordinary session in Senegal next month. Mudenge will head a delegation that
includes Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who must now be very familiar
with the contents of the report, having kept it to himself when it first
arrived. The Zimbabwean delegation's brief in Dakar, the venue of the
meeting, is to put across Zimbabwe's "case".
      In the latest feud over the UNECA report, the same claims are being
made about Zimbabwe not having been given an opportunity to read the report
in advance. However, the compilers of the UNECA report, the Southern Africa
Political and Economic Series Trust, are adamant that the final report was
submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ahead of the Fourth African
Development Forum earlier this month.
      So what is going on here? What is it about this country that makes
these reports mysteriously inaccessible to the government prior to these
important meetings?
      The latest document was one of 28 country reports commissioned by the
UNECA to evaluate "progress towards good governance in Africa". None of the
other 27 governments have complained about not receiving documents relevant
to their countries.
      Even if we were to accept that Zimbabwe did not have sight of the
report prior to the Addis Ababa meeting, the question remains whether this
should have proved such an insurmountable hindrance to the delegation's
ability to tell it "like it is".
      I have always believed that unless someone has something terrible to
hide, telling the truth does not need to be rehearsed. It should come
naturally and spontentaneously.
      The government has claimed in the past that its image was being
tarnished by "enemies" spreading falsehoods about its policies and its
handling of issues such as human rights, freedom of speech and upholding of
the rule of law. One would have thought, therefore, that it would seize
every opportunity that arose to prove that the accusations levelled against
it are unfounded.
      Evading these serious issues by hiding behind the excuse that it has
not studied reports in advance will not make these problems go away. This,
in fact, compounds these difficulties because the government cannot give
lame excuses for not responding to concerns raised by continental or
international bodies endlessly without losing credibility.
      Clever arguments and explanations that are not based on the truth are
not sustainable. While the African Union, United Nations agencies and other
organisations can be fobbed off with verbal cunning, what will the
government do to convince its own people that all is well?
      After all, these damning reports consist of concerns expressed by
Zimbabweans. The most spectacular semantic or propaganda coup before the
ACHPR or UNECA will do nothing to change the contents of those documents on
the situation on the ground. These are issues that need to be addressed.
      To believe that Zimbabweans who have described what is wrong in the
country will be duped by these evasive manoeuvres is highly patronising and
myopic. It is not different from trying to mop a flooded floor while
ignoring the leak in the roof.

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From ZWNEWS, 28 October

Bennett arrested

Roy Bennett, the opposition MP sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, was
arrested at Harare airport this morning. Yesterday, the parliamentary
privileges committee who investigated the incident in parliament in which
Bennett pushed justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor, made public
its recommendation that Bennett be imprisoned for fifteen months, three
months of which were to be suspended. Bennett was given until today to
prepare his defence, with the recommended sentence due to be debated in
parliament this afternoon. The parliamentary fracas, in which Chinamasa
persistently provoked Bennett by calling him a "mabhunu" - a term of
derogatory racial abuse - and accused his ancestors of being thieves, took
place in May this year. Bennett, incensed by the insults and the background
of the illegal seizure of his Chimanimani coffee estate, lost his temper.
Since Bennett and his employees were finally evicted from the Charleswood
Estate, it became apparent that ARDA, the government agricultural agency
which had been involved in the seizure of the farm, had stolen the remainder
of this year's coffee crop, worth US$200 000. Bennett had subsequently
traced this stolen coffee crop to a company in Germany, and had been
briefing South African lawyers in an attempt to recover the value of the

Although the proposed sentence has been widely known for several weeks among
parliamentarians, the parliamentary committee only made it public yesterday.
Realising that it would probably be his last chance to speak to his lawyers
direct, Bennett planned to travel down to Johannesburg by air, returning in
good time for this afternoon's parliamentary debate. He was arrested at the
airport, despite travelling with only his briefcase, and being booked to
return later this morning. The sentence recommended by the parliamentary
committee is excessive compared to the punishment Bennett would have been
likely to receive had he been tried in court. Speaking on condition of
anonymity, a lawyer said: "What Bennett did, after prolonged provocation,
amounted only to common assault. The minister (Chinamasa) did not sustain
even the slightest bruise. On similar facts, the heaviest sentence I have
seen handed down by the courts is a Z$80 000 fine, or 50 days in prison if
the fine was not paid. In the overwhelming majority of similar cases, one
would have expected a caution and discharge."
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