Sun Oct 4, 2009 1:57pm GMT
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will grow by 6 to 7 percent in 2009 and
capacity utilization, revenue collection and foreign investment will rise,
but it still faces total debt of $5.7 billion, its finance minister said on
The International Monetary Fund this month forecast GDP growth for Zimbabwe
of 3.7 percent for this year, in line with an earlier government forecast.
The increase would be the first since 1997.
However, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said he was considerably more
optimistic than the IMF, adding that growth could rise by as much as 15
percent in 2010 as the country aims to fully utilize its productive capacity
and sell-off state assets.
He noted that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, which opened earlier this year,
was one of the fastest growing in the world and said the withdrawal of the
worthless Zimbabwean dollar from circulation early this year had breathed
new life into the economy, which once battled world record-beating
Consumer prices were likely to decline an average of 7 percent this year, he
"It will be a long time before the Zimbabwean dollar will be reintroduced
... unless we could have exports of 30 percent of GDP, there is no way we
can begin to think of reintroducing the Zimbabwean dollar," he said.
Biti added that he would like to see one regional currency in southern
Southern Africa's former breadbasket has seen its once-vibrant economy
shattered by poor policy choices by President Robert Mugabe's government,
particularly the seizure of white-owned farms for the resettlement of
But the formation of a unity government by Mugabe and his political rival
Morgan Tsvangirai appears to have halted the economy's free-fall, although
unemployment still hovers around 80 to 85 percent.
Zimbabwe was currently compiling a list of state companies for sale as it
bids to raise funds, including communications companies and banks.
"In the last four months we have looked at every asset that we own," said
Earlier this month he said it was common knowledge the country was "broke."
On Sunday, he repeated that total debts of $5.7 billion -- around 150
percent of GDP -- were unpayable, but the country was working on a debt
IMF Director for Africa Antoinette Sayeh said in an interview on Saturday
there was talk in some quarters about clearing a portion of Zimbabwe's
multilateral debt, but said that would not by itself help the country win
financing from the IMF and the World Bank.
She said the IMF was encouraged by the significant rise in government
revenues in Zimbabwe and a reduction in inflation, but that cutting spending
on wages presented a challenge. Further political and economic reform
efforts were needed before it won international support, she added.
Updated 2 hr(s) 32 min(s) ago
By David Ohito
MPs attending a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in Tanzania
have faulted the coalition governments in Kenya and Zimbabwe, saying they
threatened parliamentary democracy.
They described them as 'rescue packages' that do not fit the definition of a
The MPs were unanimous that the two countries cobbled up governments because
of the need to stop bloodshed.
Kenyan MPs Olago Aluoch and Njoroge Baiya of ODM and PNU agreed with their
counterparts from the Commonwealth that the Kenyan case was necessary to
stem the violence although the two parties did not share the same
The two defended the quick agreement the international community facilitated
in Kenya, saying the violence could have consumed the whole nation.
They were speaking in Arusha during a workshop on whether coalition
governments threatened the existence of parliamentary democracy.
Mr Aluoch said: "We realised that unless we came together quickly we were
going to have no country; we were going to lose the nation."
Mr Baiya said the Kenyan scenario shows coalition governments formed
hurriedly faced serious challenges.
He added the size of the Cabinet was an embarrassment.
Tanzanian MP Getrude Mongello said the Kenya and Zimbabwe power sharing
deals posed serious challenges to coalition agreements.
MP Halima Mdee noted the two parties (PNU and ODM) shared nothing in common
in terms of ideology and their coming together was a government of
Prof Palamegamba Kabuli, the Dean of Law Dar-es-Salaam University said
Africa should start getting used to coalitions and not "rescue packages" in
forms of governments.
The meeting agreed the only way to resolve election disputes was to have
independent and strong electoral commissions.
MPs from Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Canada, Australia and Africa agreed
coalition examples such as Kenya and Zimbabwe were not best recipes for
By Camilla Hall
Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's government will complete work within two
weeks on a list of state-owned companies to be put up for sale, Finance
Minister Tendai Biti said.
The government is examining the future of state companies including
telecommunications operators, banks and the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe, Biti said at a seminar in Istanbul where he's attending the
International Monetary Fund's annual meeting. It will decide within two
weeks which companies should be sold and which should be restructured, he
OCTOBER 4, 2009, 2:55 P.M. ET
By Gabriele Parussini
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
ISTANBUL (Dow Jones)--Long on front pages for its disastrous policies,
which spurred inflation to a staggering 231 million percent last year,
Zimbabwe is now dodging the global economic slump and the specter of a slow
recovery for many countries in the world.
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti expects gross domestic product to grow
between 6% and 7% this year, the first expansion in 12 years and almost
twice his earlier projection.
Growth could be as high as 15% a year for the next two years.
Zimbabwe remains a special case. Other African economies will grow only 1.7%
on average this year, and 4% in 2010, according to International Monetary
"Our main problem has been politics," Biti said in a presentation here
Sunday. "Our politics have been ugly, and we're now getting rid of the
Zimbabwe's decline started in 2000, with President Robert Mugabe's chaotic
land reform, which decimated the country's agriculture, once its main
foreign exchange earner.
Supplies of goods and fuel from abroad dwindled, causing shortages and
sending the economy into a tailspin.
For all its optimism, the government of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
sworn in February, started its Short Term Emergency Recovery Program from a
very low point.
Between 2000 and 2008, Zimbabwe's GDP shrunk 40%. Capacity utilization fell
to less than 10%, and life expectancy shrunk to less than 40 years. More
than one of every seven people has HIV.
And the government, short on funds, is still struggling to provide basic
services, including healthcare and education. The external situation is
equally worrying: the country has foreign debt arrears of $3.7 billion and
gross reserves of $6 million.
One problem that remains unsolved is the reintroduction of the battered
Zimbabwean dollar: Ostracism towards the local currency - some bank notes
had a face value of several billion dollars - is not ready to fade away.
"It will be a long while before the Zimbabwe dollar can be readopted," Biti
said. "Unless we have exports of 30% of GDP and unless we have a GDP of $9
billion, there's no way we can begin to think of reintroducing it."
The multiple currency system - with the U.S. dollar and the South African
rand among others - deserves praise for cutting the country's prices from
last July's staggering hyperinflation to the 7% drop in prices the
government is projecting for this year.
Although deflation is unwelcome, it is a widespread risk these days, and at
least it's a sign that the troubled African country is reverting to
"Inflation may well always be a monetary phenomenon," said Donald Kaberuka,
president of the African Development Bank, referring to the monetarists.
"Hyperinflation is always a political phenomenon."
Although the negative inflation means that nominal GDP is hardly
flourishing, Zimbabwe has still been somewhat sheltered from the worst of
the global crisis. Paradoxically, that might have been a silver lining in
its 12-year isolation.
"We were out of the mixer for 10 years, we had a self-imposed economic
crisis," Biti said. "We were totally sheltered."
All the country needs now, he added - with an eye to prospective investors -
is a change of perception in the world's public opinion.
"It doesn't make the headlines that a country goes back to normality, the
way it does when people are displaced, killed, vandalized," he said.
With domestic businesses, the government has been quite successful.
Sitting besides Biti on the panel, company executives were asked to list the
flaws of the government's economic policy. They didn't seem to be able to
"In terms of hope for business a switch has happened," said Shingi Munyeza,
chief executive of hotel and resort group African Sun. "A year ago we spent
our time planning for the worse, now we're planning for tomorrow to be a
Talk of a Zimbabwean renaissance is, to be sure, a reflection of just how
grim the past was.
"Fifteen months ago we had no business in the country," said Geoffrey White,
chief executive of Lonrho Plc, a U.K. based company that focuses on Africa.
"They're coming from such a low base that every day seems like Christmas."
-By Gabriele Parussini, Dow Jones Newswires; +33-6-1643-0307;
Written by Bobby Jordan
Sunday, 04 October 2009 09:06
Robert Mugabe and Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft-drink company,
are locked in a courtroom battle with a South African businessman in a case
that could take the fizz out of Zimbabwe's economic revival.
At stake is control of Zimbabwe's soft-drink industry - once largely
controlled by Zimbabwean-born Mutumwa Mawere - which was nationalised three
years ago by Mugabe's Zanu(PF) regime.
As a result of being nationalised - under laws outlawing the
"externalisation" of foreign assets and permitting the seizure of insolvent
or state-indebted companies - several of Mawere's firms, some listed on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and in South Africa, were liquidated by Zimbabwean
One of Mawere's South African companies, Petter Trading, owes money to
creditors. And local liquidators of the firm are claiming that the way it
was nationalised was unconstitutional.
If the Zimbabwean courts uphold this claim, it will give the South
African liquidators access to assets seized by Mugabe's government.
The liquidators are trying to secure the assets of Mawere's former
Zimbabwean soft-drink company, Schweppes Zimbabwe, which he acquired from
Coca-Cola several years ago. The assets, worth an estimated US$20-million,
are now owned and managed by Coca-Cola, in conjunction with a Zimbabwean
A lawyer representing the liquidators, Frank Cohen, said he believed
the case had a good chance of success: "I see light at the end of the
tunnel. The (Zimbabwe) government has to ultimately capitulate because this
issue isn't going to go away.
"Schweppes Zimbabwe was ultimately owned by one of the Coke companies.
After reconstruction they (the Zimbabwe government) went and took the assets
and shares of Schweppes Zim and sold it back to Coca-Cola - and they then
became the owner of the company.
"That's why we subpoenaed Coke," Cohen explained.
Court documents show an internal battle between Zimbabwean officials
who disagree over the circumstances of Mawere's case.
Coca-Cola and the Zimbabwean administrator of Mawere's former
companies this week denied any wrongdoing.
Coca-Cola Central Africa's spokesman, Innocent Jam, confirmed the
company "took over control of the shares and re-assumed management of
Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd" - but only because Mawere defaulted on the original
terms of the sale agreement.
The situation forced Coke to deal with the Zimbabwean state-appointed
"The Coca-Cola Company has granted licences to several bottlers in
Zimbabwe to manufacture and produce beverages bearing its trademarks.
"There have been no dealings with any persons or legal entities
currently under sanctions imposed by America, Britain or any other country,"
the company said in a statement.
Jam added that Coca-Cola was phasing out its involvement in Zimbabwe,
including its management role at Schweppes Zimbabwe.
State administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba said he was confident the
Zimbabwean government would triumph in court - as it had done in similar
cases in South African courts involving some of Mawere's other liquidated
Gwaradzimba said: "They lost all the cases in South Africa, which
shows ... the courts have seen the impropriety with which the companies were
handled, whether in Zimbabwe or in South Africa."
Sunday Times (SA)
By SARAH NCUBE
Published: October 4, 2009
BULAWAYO - Bulawayo is sitting on a time bomb as its sewerage reticulation
system is almost absolete with reports that none of the 18 pumping stations
that transport waste to treatment waste plants are working. The Zimbabwe
The grounding of the pumping stations has compromised the efficient disposal
of waste and cases of backflow of sewage into households are increasing
daily, according to the Mayor Councillor Thaba Moyo.
The Mayor revealed the crippled sewerage system when delivering the
20008/2009 annual report during his installation ceremony on Friday.
"The city's sewerage system consists of 13 major sewerage mains that are
linked to 18 pumping stations that pump waste to the city's 10 treatment
plants. Presently, none of the pump stations are operational and this has
caused great concern to council in the efficient disposal of waste," he
"In some instances, backflow of sewerage into households that are served by
these lines has occurred. To mitigate the problem, the Bulawayo Municipal
Commercial undertaking assisted council in the rehabilitation of the main
lines leading to Aisleby Treatment Works."
Clr Moyo said on a monthly basis, council faced 500 chokes, which affect
both household mains and trunk mains and the problem was exacerbated by the
scarcity of resources such as equipment, manpower and vehicles.
He admitted that council has been failing to deal with sewerage blockages
during the 2008/2009 municipal year, resulting in sewage flowing directly
into open spaces.
Clr Moyo said the city needed US$5,392 million to rehabilitate its sewerage
"This can be broken down as follows: US$1,4 million (short term), US$2,5
million (medium term) and US$1,485 (long term)," he said.
He disclosed that council's sewer reticulation system pipes have long
outlived their lifespan and needed a complete overhaul as a matter of
Clr Moyo said the residents were also forced to drink water from unprotected
shallow wells, local streams and surface water due to serious water
shortages dogging the city.
"This made them vulnerable to contracting water-borne diseases from polluted
water. The persistent problems with the sewerage system and unserviced new
developments such as Cowdray Park have resulted in people resorting to using
the bush and unprotected water resources, further increasing the likelihood
of water borne diseases," said the Mayor.
On the water supply, Clr Moyo said frequent power cuts by ZESA negatively
impacted on the operations of the pump stations, resulting in burning out of
pumps and other major electrical faults.
"Due to the high costs of repairs, the city is currently operating with no
standby pumps and this the main reason why when there is any maintenance
work to be done on the water network, the city has to endure the long
periods without supply," he said.
Bulawayo has for the past decade battling with sewer and water pipe bursts.
The pipes are ageing and can no longer sustain the ever-ballooning city's
The local authority however faces serious financial constraints to repair
and install new water and sewer pipes.
Bulawayo residents have on several occasions complained over unattended
burst sewer pipes.
Posted: Sun, 04 Oct 2009 11:51:15 +0200
The Air force of Zimbabwe has embarked on a cattle rearing project at its
field air base in Chegutu. The project allows the force to sell part of the
beasts while also for feeding its staff.
The field air base in Chegutu has more than 250 herds of cattle that were
bought from the proceeds realised from the sell of Chapungu players some ten
The officer commanding administration wing Commander Kidwell Chimanikire
said the project which was the brain child of the air force commander has
managed to sustain the organization.
"We started the project after proceeds from some of the players of our team
Chapungu. We started with 20 herds of cattle in year 2000," noted Commander
Wing Commander Chimanikire however said the project is facing challenges due
to veld fires that have destroyed grazing pastures.
"We have problem in getting supplementary food for our cattle because the
pastured have been destroyed by veld fires," he said.
The issue of veld fires has not only affected this project but several other
farmers as their cattle are now moving long distances looking for pastures.
Veld fires have of late been on the increase despite government's call on
the people to desist from causing the fires. As the veld fires spread
different species are destroyed leading to an unbalanced eco-system.
The Vigil is marking its seventh anniversary on Saturday 10th October by hosting President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace on a shopping expedition at Harrods. They complain that they are victims of illegal sanctions which have prevented them from spending their hard-earned millions on shopping trips to the West.
The Southern African Development Community last month said the targeted sanctions are the cause of Zimbabwe’s ruin and demanded their removal. The Vigil wants to meet SADC halfway and show what would happen if the sanctions are lifted.
Two stalwarts of the Vigil, Fungayi Mabhunu and Gugu Tutani, will impersonate the presidential couple on their shopping spree. Fungayi will once again be wearing our Mugabe mask. They will return to the Vigil with their purchases by rickshaw to be welcomed by SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors adopting their traditional posture – on their knees in worship of Mugabe.
The Vigil has sent this letter to SADC’s Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Augusto Salomão:
“The Zimbabwe Vigil is presenting the following petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, to pass on to the European Union. “A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe”.
The presentation will take place at our regular Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Saturday 10th October to mark the Vigil’s 7th Anniversary. We reluctantly call for action against SADC members because of their failure to meet their obligations as guarantors of the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe brokered by SADC a year ago. SADC was committed to reviewing the agreement after 6 months but declined to do so 8 months after the formation of the coalition government, despite an appeal by the Movement for Democratic Change to address outstanding issues which threaten the viability of the government.
We have asked Mr Van Orden to accept the petition because of his close interest in the Zimbabwean situation. Thousands of people from all over world passing by the Vigil have signed the petition since we first presented a tranche to the European Union exactly a year ago. Since then SADC has been consistent in its refusal to help the people of Zimbabwe and the Vigil believes SADC countries must now be faced with consequences of their dereliction of duty.”
SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors in London are being invited to join us at the Vigil to witness the handover of this petition by actors impersonating “His Excellency, President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces" Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, milk producer for Nestlé’s. Mr and Mrs Mugabe will be photographed earlier in the day shopping at Harrods – the denial of this “human right” was seen as the major problem by SADC at their last meeting in Kinshasha at which they called for targeted sanctions to be removed.”
We were happy to have Josephine Zhuga on the front table, which engages with people passing by and gets them to sign our petitions etc. She says an IMF official stopped on his way to catch a plane to Harare. He said things seemed to be getting better. Josephine told him she disagreed and mentioned the unemployment, the problems with schools and hospitals, the lack of any respect for the rule of law and the continuing human rights abuses etc.
We at the Vigil are in close contact all the time with family and friends all over Zimbabwe and are increasingly cynical at the over-optimistic spin so many people are trying to put on the situation in Zimbabwe where any dispassionate observer would see complete deadlock in implementing the Global Political Agreement and no rule of law.
Thanks to Chipo Chaya, Jonathan Kariwoh, Reginald Gwasira and Gladys Mapanda for working so hard looking after the Vigil register and merchandise and manning the front table. Also thanks to Kimpton Samkange who, after successfully going through the asylum process, is offering supporters advice on the matter.
You can hear Fungayi Mabhunu of the Vigil Management Team in part 2 of ‘Memento’ on the BBC World Service which will be broadcast several times between Friday 9th October 00:06 GMT and Sunday 11th October 23:06 GMT (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/10/091001_fridaydoc_memento_one.shtml)
We learn from Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network that the Zimbabwean girl Tare has arrived in the UK and has been admitted to hospital. It seems her treatment will take longer than anticipated so donations are still very much needed: www.girchildnetworkworldwide.org
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 158 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October. The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date. There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
· ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
· Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
· From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499.
· Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: email@example.com.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.