|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Integrated Regional Information Networks
October 7, 2003
Posted to the web October 7, 2003
Three children on their way from school splash dirty water flowing from a
burst sewer pipe at each other, while further down the road a man holds his
nose as he passes a pool of liquid human waste accumulating in a pothole.
The sewer pipe burst two weeks ago, but nothing has been done - in spite of
repeated visits to the Harare City Council's health department by residents
of the high-density suburb of Warren Park with requests to mend the pipe.
The sight of sewage flowing down the streets and accumulating in drainage
pipes is common, not only in Warren Park, but also in other suburbs. The
problem used to be confined to high-density areas due to overcrowding, but
affluent low-density suburbs are now also being affected.
Residents have largely blamed the situation on the ongoing squabble between
the ministry of local government and national housing, and the municipal
council, which is dominated by the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
Mike Davis, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association
(CHRA) said the standoff between the council and the ministry had adversely
affected the delivery of essential services.
"The government is interfering too much in the affairs of the council, and
our feeling is that the local government ministry wants ratepayers to
believe that the municipality is not capable of delivering. Too much
attention is now being focused on the disturbances occurring due to the
interference, and it is unfortunate that the residents are suffering most,"
Davis told IRIN.
The suspension of Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri had turned the city council
into a political battleground, Davis added.
Mudzuri, elected mayor on an MDC ticket last year, was suspended in April by
the local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, on charges of incompetence
and corruption. Since his suspension the council has been run by another MDC
member, Mudzuri's deputy and currently acting mayor, Sekai Makwavarara,
pending the finalisation of Mudzuri's case.
Makwavarara was seen by most of the councillors as being too sympathetic to
the ruling ZANU PF, and her house was recently stoned by suspected MDC
"It is obvious that Makwavarara cannot exert herself fully to running the
affairs of the council. The current tension makes her feel vulnerable, and
makes her unable to adequately co-ordinate activities of the municipality,"
He alleged that the government was deliberately postponing Mudzuri's case as
a way of perpetuating the problems at Town House, where the municipal
offices are located. "The interference is so bad that the council cannot
fire bad workers, for as long as they belong to the ruling party. That
obviously compromises professionalism, hence the failure to deliver," added
Earlier this year Chombo established a five-member committee that he said
should help in the running of the affairs at Town House. Mudzuri rejected
the committee, charging that it was Chombo's way of trying to frustrate him.
Residents remarked that since the MDC council took over from a
government-imposed commission last year, standards in the city had been
steadily falling. Besides the sewage problem, householders were becoming
used to mounds of garbage accumulating on the roadsides because refuse
collectors were failing to cope - it now took more than a month before
garbage collectors visited their area.
Juliet Moyo of Kambuzuma suburb said residents were resorting to dumping
their garbage on the streets because they did not have a choice.
"Refuse collectors used to clear rubbish on a daily basis. As time went on,
they cut their visits to three times a week, but now we have to go for more
than a month without getting the services. This is despite the fact that we
are always paying our rates on time," she told IRIN.
She expressed the fear that children who played at the dumps risked
contracting diseases as the rubbish mounds were infested with rats and
The city council last year engaged black-owned companies to collect refuse
but they were not adequately performing the task, mainly due to the shortage
of spare parts needed for the maintenance of their trucks. Most of the
council fleet that would normally be allocated to garbage clearance is also
not operating because the municipality does not have enough money for parts
Davis said collapsing infrastructure was another major problem - a number of
suburbs have gone without water for more than three weeks because the water
reticulation and pumping system could not cope.
Davis said CHRA had tried in vain to lobby the government on behalf of the
embattled city council to obtain increased borrowing powers. The council was
granted limited borrowing powers, but the money they could access was said
to be far less than required.
"The government seems averse to increasing council's borrowing powers. Right
now, we are made to understand that council can only access Zim $200 million
(US $250,000), but common sense will tell you that the municipality needs
billions of dollars in order to cope," said Davis.
Observers have questioned why the commission that previously ran the city
was accorded full borrowing powers, yet the current municipality was being
denied these facilities.
Davis said full borrowing powers should be restored urgently if service
delivery was to improve. Acting mayor Makwavarara admitted that inflation,
which has shot beyond 400 percent, was making it difficult to properly
maintain the city's infrastructure.
She said the skyrocketing prices of equipment needed to keep the city
running was playing havoc with finances. As a result, the council had been
forced to suspend some of its main projects, such as the expansion of
residential estates and the upgrading of sewage treatment works.
The lack of sufficient funding has affected not only the quantity of water
being supplied to consumers, but also its quality. Makwavarara indicated
that cost of water purification had risen fifteen-fold, and the department
of works was finding it difficult to access foreign currency to purchase and
import purifying chemicals.
The frequent cuts in water supplies were adversely affecting the performance
of industry. Shakespeare Maya, the proprietor of a steel manufacturing
company, said his plant had been without water for three weeks. The company
consumed more than 40 000 litres of water in its industrial cooling process
and had to hire people to fetch water from a nearby river, but this was far
"We are operating at less than 20 percent of our capacity. Because of the
water problem, we are failing to meet demand. We have big orders but cannot
honour them, and that is bad for business. If the situation continues like
that, we will be forced to downsize operations," Maya told IRIN.
He said there was no accountability in the way the council and the local
government were treating the water shortage problem. He urged residents to
mobilise themselves and lobby government.
However, Davis said it was difficult to get residents to protest against the
poor services they were receiving.
"It has proved to be difficult to mobilise people. All the time we try to
hold a meeting, we are arrested under the Public Order and Security Act.
People are now afraid to gather to discuss their problems because of the
draconian law," said Davis. The only option left was to organise residents
to boycott paying rates, but this was difficult because it would mean the
suspension of many key services.
Zambia Sends Fuel To Zimbabwe, Congo To Ease Shortage
LUSAKA, Zambia (AP)--Hoping to help ease the fuel
shortages of two of
its neighbors, Zambia is planning to export 12 million liters of diesel and
gasoline to Zimbabwe and Congo, officials said Tuesday.
Zimbabwe and Congo have already received 4 million liters each.
The economically crippled Zimbabwean government, in a bid to ease
shortages that have wrecked industry and transportation, tripled the price
of regular gasoline last month.
People wait in lines at gas stations that stretch around city blocks
and can last for several days.
Congo frequently finds itself short of oil and gas following years of
civil war and decades of corrupt mismanagement that has left the vast
country's infrastructure in tatters.
Pipelines are filled with holes and many roads are all but impassable
by the trucks that transport fuel.
Barely functioning government bureaucracies often fail to plan to
bring proper supplies into the country, leaving citizens battling
shortfalls. Rampant demand for scarce petroleum products causes high prices.
Dow Jones Newswires
Long Queues Disappear At Banks
The Herald (Harare)
October 7, 2003
Posted to the web October 7, 2003
LONG queues at banking halls that had become common sight in the past four
months have disappeared in Harare as a result of the introduction of bearer
cheques and the new $500 and $1 000 bank notes.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced bearer cheques as a method of
payment last month in an effort to alleviate the bank notes shortage.
The new $500 note was introduced
on September 26 while the new $1 000 note
followed suit on October 1.
Surveys conducted in the city centre over the past few days showed that
people were no longer spending long hours queuing for cash but were just
walking into their banks and withdrawing as much cash as they wanted.
Most banks were allowing people to withdraw as much money as they wanted
while a few limited withdrawals to reasonable amounts like $50 000 and $100
At the height of the cash crisis, banks were giving out amounts as little as
The most cash that one could hope to get was between $10 000 and $20 000,
inconveniencing many as the rising prices of goods require people to pay
huge sums of money.
An ecstatic Mr Lovemore Mbatsi of Warren Park could not hide his excitement
when he walked out of his bank with $200 000 in bearer cheques and new $500
"I cannot believe this. I got this money without any hassles yet two weeks
ago it was impossible to even dream of asking for such an amount.
"The Reserve Bank has finally come up with the best solutions to the cash
crisis," he said.
A bank teller with a local commercial bank said cash was available in
abundance and people could withdraw as much as they wanted.
He said the cash crisis that had crippled the country and caused long queues
everywhere was on its way out.
"Zimbabwe has recovered and gone are the long faces on people as they are
now getting what they come to the bank for - money," he said.
Checks at supermarkets also showed that long queues at till points had
Till operators at a leading supermarket said this was because people now had
cash to pay for their purchases in the form of bearer cheques and bank
"The long queues we had in the past weeks were a result of the fact that
people were using cards, which take longer to process," said one operator.
Business people recently hailed the arrival of bearer cheques saying they
made transactions easier.
However, in another twist of events, the newly introduced notes and bearer
cheques have already flooded South African and Zambian markets, prompting
the Cross Border Association to call for tighter security measures.
Cross Border Traders Association president Mr Killer Zivhu said individuals
were crossing the border with a lot of money, which would be exchanged for
"We are finding people carrying amounts over $2 million when crossing the
"We notified the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority but they said due to lack of
manpower, they were not able to search every individual who crosses the
border," he said.
He called on the Government to tighten security at border posts and
cross-border traders to get forms that limit the money they could take out
of the country.
Forex Inflows Continue to Fluctuate
October 7, 2003
Posted to the web October 7, 2003
FOREIGN currency inflows continued to fluctuate while outflows were
restrained to moderate volumes in the past week, as the market remained
starved of the resource.
According to a recent Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe report, total inflows from
September 25 to October 1 2003 amounted to US$2,9 million up from the
previous US$2,6 million recorded the previous week while outflows rose by 38
percent to US$ 2,9 million.
For the seven-day period, the statistics supplied by the central bank
indicate that inflows and outflows were at par.
However, of worrying concern is the fact that these figures reflect only a
small proportion of the amount of foreign currency that is in the country as
most traders of the hard currency have gone underground.
After the withdrawal of the NMB Bank's foreign currency trading licence,
most commercial banks are reported to have minimised the illegal trading in
foreign currency fearing possible censure from the central bank.
However, the relevant authorities have come under attack for not putting in
place the proper systems to stamp out the corrupt practice on the streets
where it is believed huge amounts of foreign exchange change hands each day.
Highest inflows were registered on September 26, with total inflows adding
to US$1,1 million while outflows amounted to a paltry US$1,3 million,
representing a net position of a negative US$0,2 million on the day.
Positive net positions were recorded on September 25 and September 30 as
inflows surpassed outflows by US$0,1 million and US$0,3 million
The overall market position still remains in the negative range because of
the need to finance standing international obligations as well as the
procurement of fuel, electricity and medical drugs.
Experts say about US$3,5 million is brought into the country by export
labour and cross-border traders on a daily basis but the larger part of this
money is not accounted for in national accounts.
Exporters have been accused of being dishonest when declaring earnings and
some of them have even come in the open saying they were holding on to their
proceeds in anticipation of the review of the exchange rate which is pegged
at $824 to the greenback.
The Government has put in place a number of measures to tap the scarce
commodity but most of its efforts have been to no avail, as illegal traders
have become more and more resilient.
Also introduced by the central bank recently was the regulation aimed at
tightening foreign currency leakages in the horticulture sector.
Last month the Government went as far as hiring an independent foreign
company that specialises in trade verification in order to curb the
externalisation of foreign currency.
The company specialises in trade assurance, import verification, valuation
support, risk management, pre-export verification and other certification
Analysts feel that more strategies should be put in place to harness all the
foreign currency being earned either from commodity exporters or export
Zimbabwe's Moyo to face the music
October 07 2003 at 09:15AM
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has finally
trial in Nairobi in connection with the theft of $108 000 (about R740 000)
from his former American employer, the Ford Foundation.
President Robert Mugabe's chief spin doctor, who caused a stir earlier
this year when he described South Africans as "filthy, reckless and
uncouth", is accused of defrauding the United States-based Ford Foundation
when it employed him at its offices in Kenya in the mid-1990s. He is accused
of using part of the money to buy a mansion in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
Moyo has tried unsuccessfully to gag the Zimbabwean media from
publishing the details of his case. High Court Judge Moses Chinhengo
rejected his application, saying it was in the public interest.
Reports from Kenya and Zimbabwe said the case, first opened in 2001,
was brought to court last week before Kenyan High Court Judge Onesmus
The hearing was briefly postponed to allow the parties involved, such
as Mutahi Ngunyi, of the Series on Alternative Research in East Africa
(Sareat), to attend the hearing on four consecutive days, Kenya's Nation
The Ford Foundation had sued Moyo and five others for allegedly
misusing $414 000 advanced to Sareat for policy studies projects. The
accused include Sareat director Ngunyi, Joshua Nyunya, Milka Wanjiru
Njuguna-Okidi, Monicah Wanjiru and the Talunoza Trust.
The Talunoza Trust, registered in South Africa by Moyo, is at the
centre of the fraud allegations. The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said
Talunoza was used as a conduit to transfer funds for the purchase of his
house in Saxonwold.
Moyo was a programme officer at the Ford Foundation in Nairobi from
September 15, 1993, to December 31, 1997, before he moved to Wits University
in 1998. The Ford Foundation alleged that Moyo, in collusion with Sareat
trustees and an accountant at the donor agency's Kenyan office, received
$108 000 either in person or through Talunoza.
The Ford Foundation alleged that Moyo received $10 000 from Sareat
directly into his personal bank account through a bank telegraphic transfer
dated January 23, 1998. On February 4, 1998, he is said to have obtained $58
000 through a "nominated account" in South Africa, said to be that of
On the same date, Moyo also received $40 000 by bank telegraphic
transfer, according to The Independent.
The Ford Foundation also claimed that Moyo directed $98 000 to be paid
to his nominated account in South Africa.
The case is likely to be concluded in absentia as Moyo claims the
Kenyan High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the suit, according to a
report in the East African Standard.
Wits University has accused Moyo of absconding with hundreds of
thousands of rands for a project he did not complete.
He is also said to owe R100 000 to South African TV production company
Endemol. - Independent Foreign Service
.. This article was originally published on page
5 of The Star on
October 08, 2003
Friends of the Daily News
The following is an IPI Watch List Protest to the Government of Zimbabwe:
His Excellency President Robert Mugabe
Office of the President
Fax: (+ 263 4) 728 799 / 708 820 / 734 644
Vienna, 6 October 2003
International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of
leading journalists and media executives, condemns the latest attempts
by the Zimbabwean government to intimidate and harass the independent
According to reports in the British
Independent newspaper and the
electronicnews agency AllAfrica Global Media, the Zimbabwean government is
investigating the Sunday newspaper The Standard as well as the Zimbabwe
Independent with a view to possibly closing them in the future.
On 5 October, an article by
Caiphas Chimhete in The Standard quoted
Tafataona Mahoso, the head of the state Media and Information
Commission, atan official launch, as saying, "Oh, you are from The Standard.
becoming for you; we will be writing to you soon." In a reference to a
gossipcolumn in the newspaper, which has upset the government on a number of
occasions, Mahoso said, "You are writing lies, carrying stories with
initials as by-lines."
At the same venue, Junior Information Minister Jonathan
the two newspapers as "the running dogs of capitalism". In a further
reference, he said, "Really, we should shut these papers down because they
trash,they injure our national interest". Moyo then went on to state that
VOA's news broadcasting station, which is beamed into Zimbabwe from outside
thecountry, "faces death".
The attacks on the two newspapers come only weeks after the
closure of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday for apparently
breaching the procedures of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA). In relation to this incident, Five Daily News directors
and 15 journalists have apparently been charged with breaking Zimbabwe's
media laws. In addition to the aggressive comments of members of the
government, the officially sanctioned Sunday Mail has also accused The
Standard of planning to publish a daily edition of the newspaper by
employing members of the closed Daily News. IPI is deeply concerned by the
statements of Mahoso and Moyo because theyonce again show the government's
deep seated resentment of the independentmedia in Zimbabwe. Moreover, it
also reveals the government's continuing desire to close all newspapers
which offer criticism and to stifle all forms of legitimate dissent in the
country. Furthermore, IPI also wishes to point out that government comments
which raise "the national interest" as a justification for the repression of
the media are little more than a self-serving pretence. By claiming to act
in the "national interest" the government is actually guilty of seeking to
protect its own narrow self-interests rather than those of the country as a
whole. IPI believes that the independent media have an absolute right to
comment on the events in Zimbabwe. Through its failure to allow the
dissemination of information in all its various forms, including comment and
opinion, the present government is reinforcing the overwhelming impression
that it is deeply intolerant of criticism and is prepared to contort the
rule of law in order to close down media organisations and persecute
journalists. In view of the above, IPI calls on the Zimbabwean government to
refrain from harassing and intimidating the media and to introduce a media
policy in Zimbabwe which is in accordance with Article 19 of the United
Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which gives everyone the right
to "hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media. ." We thank you for your attention.
Yours sincerely, Johann P. Fritz Director International Press Institute
(IPI) Spiegelgasse 2/29 A-1010 Vienna Austria Tel: + 431-512 90 11 Fax: +
431-512 90 14 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.freemedia.at
From ZWNEWS, 7 October
More than half of Zimbabwe's
voters think President Mugabe should retire
now, and 60 per cent think fresh elections should be held immediately. Even
in the traditional Zanu PF strongholds of Mashonaland, more people say that
Mugabe should go now, than say he should serve his full term, and in
Masvingo province opinion was equally divided. These findings are contained
in the latest survey by the Mass Public Opinion Institute at the University
of Zimbabwe. Conducted in late July and compiled in August, the survey's
findings do not make happy reading for those involved in the current
struggle for position within the ruling party. Province by province, of
those surveyed, more people than not said that they thought that Mugabe was
not genuinely committed to stepping down. Across the country, 60 per cent
thought that Mugabe's successor as Zanu PF should be decided by the party as
a whole, rather than by him as an individual.
Regarding talks between the ruling party and the
opposition, an overwhelming
majority - 80 per cent - said that the talks should resume as soon as
possible. 30 per cent said they thought Zanu PF was not committed to
dialogue, 16 per cent expressed the same opinion about the MDC, and 35 per
cent blamed both parties. On whether the opposition should recognise
Mugabe's legitimacy as president, 18 per cent said they should, almost 40
per cent said there should be no preconditions for talks, and 32 per cent
said both parties should strike a compromise. 60 per cent of those surveyed
also want future presidential and parliamentary elections to be held
And on the all important question of who
Zimbabweans would vote for as Fewer than 20,000 lions may now survive in the whole of Africa, he says,
though they do not face immediate extinction.
The greatest threats to the species his researchers found are sport hunting
and conflict with farmers over livestock.
The lions appear to be declining very fast in many of the remoter parts of
Africa, outside the tourist spotlight.
The scientist is Professor David Macdonald, director of WildCRU, Oxford
University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
The estimate of 20,000 lions or fewer compares with a population put at about
200,000 in the early 1980s.
The researchers studied the impact of sport or trophy hunting in Hwange
national park in Zimbabwe, surrounded by hunting concessions where the parks
department allocates an annual quota: the hunters traditionally target male
Professor Macdonald said their findings suggested the levels of hunting there
were not sustainable. Of the adult males the team tagged or collared, 63% were
shot by hunters in the surrounding area.
The resulting low density of male lions is exacerbated by the hunters' habit
of shooting juvenile males when they find no mature adults.
This means males move widely, and may have ranges of 1,000 square kilometres,
about three times the size of a lioness's range. So it is likelier they will
leave the protection of the park and move into hunting areas.
Unusually, the Hwange lions also associate with more than one pride of
females, meaning they are less able to protect the lionesses and their cubs.
It says the number shot annually far exceeded the recommended sustainable
level of 4-10% of the adult males. The parks department is considering lowering
It compares the conflict in Botswana between lions and farmers with the
hunting which led to the extermination of wolves, lynx and bears in the UK
WildCRU says: "African carnivores today are facing a fate alarmingly parallel
to our long-departed carnivores, caught between the needs of a human
population... and the predators' own considerable need for space and resources."
In the four years the team spent in Botswana's Makgadikgadi national park, it
says, "lions were poisoned, trapped and shot, but never appeared to die from
disease, starvation or injury."
WildCRU says some lions follow the seasonal migrations of zebra and
wildebeest, but most seem to stay behind to ambush stray domestic livestock.
The answer, it says, is to make more wild prey available for the lions
(through discouraging hunting), and fewer domestic animals.
Consistent vigilance by the herders is critical, but hard to encourage,
because they rarely perceive any benefit to themselves or their communities from
the tourists attracted by the lions and other wild animals.
"It's a wonderful hope, a generator of revenue, but it's unrealistic to
expect it to do everything.
"Local communities get very little benefit from it, but they must. The
herders don't see the link between lions and tourists, because they don't see
"The lions' decline is shocking, because it suggests they're a great deal
more frail than we might have thought.
"If they were all in your sitting room, 20,000 lions might sound a lot, but
we're talking about an entire continent.
"And there can be no animal in the world more emblematic of wilderness and
conservation than the lion.
"If even they have been decimated in a couple of decades, that may tell us
something about what's happening to the less conspicuous and emblematic
president, two candidates stand out from the rest. Across the country, 36
per cent said they would vote for opposition leader Tsvangirai, and 15 per
cent expressed preference for Simba Makoni, the finance minister sacked by
Mugabe. Emmerson Mnangagwa and John Nkomo stand neck and neck at 5.5 per
cent support. Current vice-president Msika was supported by 4.6 per cent of
those surveyed, and Eddison Zvobgo gained 2.5 per cent, although Zvobgo has
hardly any support outside Masvingo province. Information minister Jonathan
Moyo was the preferred choice of just over 3 per cent of voters. A quarter
of those surveyed would not express an opinion or said they would vote for
candidates other than those in the list of 13 offered by the survey.
BBC News Online environment correspondent
ZIMBABWE: "Prevent starvation and destitution" UN appeals to donors
Fewer than 20,000 lions may now survive in the whole of Africa, he says, though they do not face immediate extinction.
The greatest threats to the species his researchers found are sport hunting and conflict with farmers over livestock.
The lions appear to be declining very fast in many of the remoter parts of Africa, outside the tourist spotlight.
The scientist is Professor David Macdonald, director of WildCRU, Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
The estimate of 20,000 lions or fewer compares with a population put at about 200,000 in the early 1980s.
The researchers studied the impact of sport or trophy hunting in Hwange national park in Zimbabwe, surrounded by hunting concessions where the parks department allocates an annual quota: the hunters traditionally target male lions.
Professor Macdonald said their findings suggested the levels of hunting there were not sustainable. Of the adult males the team tagged or collared, 63% were shot by hunters in the surrounding area.
The resulting low density of male lions is exacerbated by the hunters' habit of shooting juvenile males when they find no mature adults.
This means males move widely, and may have ranges of 1,000 square kilometres, about three times the size of a lioness's range. So it is likelier they will leave the protection of the park and move into hunting areas.
Unusually, the Hwange lions also associate with more than one pride of females, meaning they are less able to protect the lionesses and their cubs.
It says the number shot annually far exceeded the recommended sustainable level of 4-10% of the adult males. The parks department is considering lowering the quotas.
It compares the conflict in Botswana between lions and farmers with the hunting which led to the extermination of wolves, lynx and bears in the UK centuries ago.
WildCRU says: "African carnivores today are facing a fate alarmingly parallel to our long-departed carnivores, caught between the needs of a human population... and the predators' own considerable need for space and resources."
In the four years the team spent in Botswana's Makgadikgadi national park, it says, "lions were poisoned, trapped and shot, but never appeared to die from disease, starvation or injury."
WildCRU says some lions follow the seasonal migrations of zebra and wildebeest, but most seem to stay behind to ambush stray domestic livestock.
The answer, it says, is to make more wild prey available for the lions (through discouraging hunting), and fewer domestic animals.
Consistent vigilance by the herders is critical, but hard to encourage, because they rarely perceive any benefit to themselves or their communities from the tourists attracted by the lions and other wild animals.
"It's a wonderful hope, a generator of revenue, but it's unrealistic to expect it to do everything.
"Local communities get very little benefit from it, but they must. The herders don't see the link between lions and tourists, because they don't see the money.
"The lions' decline is shocking, because it suggests they're a great deal more frail than we might have thought.
"If they were all in your sitting room, 20,000 lions might sound a lot, but we're talking about an entire continent.
"And there can be no animal in the world more emblematic of wilderness and conservation than the lion.
"If even they have been decimated in a couple of decades, that may tell us something about what's happening to the less conspicuous and emblematic creatures."
JOHANNESBURG, 7 Oct 2003 (IRIN) - There's still time to
"prevent the twin
spectres of starvation and destitution" from occurring in Zimbabwe, said the
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in a plea for more assistance from donors.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe, J. Victor Angelo, said the generous
support of aid efforts in 2002/03 had saved lives.
"I would like to express my gratitude for the timely and generous support
given by the donor community during 2002/03. Through this extensive
assistance, the international donors funded a wide range of humanitarian
interventions, ensuring that the most vulnerable Zimbabwean households had
sufficient food, that malnourished children benefited from special feeding
programmes and that some recovery assistance was given to small-scale
farmers. Lives were saved through these significant efforts," he said in a
statement on Monday.
Angelo warned, however, that "the relief needs in Zimbabwe have increased in
2003. There remains a significant food deficit, and there are important
requirements in sustaining key social services and the public health system.
It is again a question of survival for many families".
Following a request for assistance from the government, the UN launched a
new UN Consolidated Appeal for the country in July 2003.
"This appeal also gave a very strong focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the
most vulnerable groups, and its particular effects on the lives of women and
girls. Latest indications are that almost 780,000 children, approximately 13
percent of the entire child population in the country, have already been
orphaned by HIV/AIDS," Angelo noted.
He added that there were significant competing global demands for
humanitarian assistance in 2003/04, and recovery and reconstruction
requirements in several parts of the world would demand exceptionally high
levels of donor commitment in both the short term and the longer term.
"Despite these strategic pressures, I would like to alert the international
community that there is a high level of vulnerability amongst Zimbabwe's
population, requiring well-targeted and prompt humanitarian interventions.
For example, nationally, the prevalence of underweight-for-age is at 17
percent and stunting at 26 percent, pointing to increased impoverishment and
human insecurity," Angelo said.
He added that levels of funding needed to be "increased urgently" for aid
agencies "to deal with serious food insecurity and an accelerated decline in
health and safe water supplies".
"Moreover, a renewed commitment by the donors is necessary to ensure that
there is an investment in community-based rehabilitation programmes. These
are necessary to strengthen household food production and self-reliance, and
to reduce a growing dependency on external aid," Angelo explained.
There was also a need to enhance the partnership between the donors and
relief agencies, to bring "more durable solutions to the humanitarian
problems in Zimbabwe". However, to achieve this, it "is necessary to
increase the quality of the dialogue with the government".
"I have been assured by the government that the humanitarian programme will
be implemented without political interference. My validation teams have
shown that assistance is reaching the beneficiaries. The teams will also
keep monitoring the delivery of humanitarian aid to ensure that it conforms
to internationally accepted principles and standards," Angelo stressed.
Zimbabwe's dramatic economic decline, coupled with the humanitarian crisis,
has seen growing poverty stretching the survival strategies of Zimbabwean
"I therefore appeal to the donor governments to urgently revive their
generous assistance to Zimbabwe. There is still time to prevent the twin
spectres of starvation and destitution from occurring," he concluded.
Mail and Guardian
NNP releases Africa democracy study
07 October 2003 16:04
The New National Party
on Tuesday released the findings of a study it has
carried out on the extent to which democratic practices, institutions and
norms exist in Africa.
According to its Freedom in Africa Index 2003, which rates 53 countries on
the continent, South Africa tops the list, while strife-torn Burundi is at
Among the study's key findings are that the vast majority of African people,
in 38 states, live under conditions where some form of major restriction is
put on their freedom.
Only four states meet the criteria of being "fully free".
The study examines and scores countries in terms of 10 "indicators",
including free and fair conduct of elections; literacy and education levels;
freedom of association, and of the press; and the presence of the military
Other indicators include equality of women; rights of minorities; multi-tier
governance; multiparty systems; and separation of powers.
The study describes itself as "a static snapshot of the position in Africa
at the time of writing -- February to March 2003".
The indicators are weighted, with a total maximum score of 100 points. On
this scale, Burundi scores 16 points, while South Africa has 98.
Among South Africa's immediate neighbours, Namibia scores 89, Botswana 88,
Zimbabwe 38, Mozambique 62, Swaziland 26 and Lesotho 80.
The study also categorises countries in terms of their score.
States scoring less than 50 points are described as those in which freedom
is either repressed or substantially restricted.
The top category, "Fully Free", is for countries scoring from 86 to 100.
Only four states -- South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia -- fall into
The second highest category, "Generally Free", includes 11 countries.
In an attached statement, the NNP said the study would be forwarded to the
New Partnership for Africa's Development secretariat.
This was as "input into the process for developing the work programme and
methodology of the Africa Peer Review Group".
A total of 16 African countries have so far agreed to subject themselves to
the peer review mechanism. -- Sapa
West urged to fight bribery to developing nations
By David White, Africa Editor
Published: October 7 2003 17:07 | Last Updated: October 7 2003 17:07
governments must take tougher action to stop companies
systematically paying bribes to decision-makers in developing countries, the
anti-corruption organisation Transparency International said on Tuesday.
Eigen, the organisation's chairman, urged richer countries to
help the most corruption-ridden developing nations to overcome official
Presenting Transparency International's global league table of
corruption perceptions, he said action should include blacklists of
companies and assistance in recovering stolen assets.
The league table showed nine out of 10 developing countries scoring
less than five out of a maximum "clean" score of 10. Half the developing
countries on the list scored below three.
"Many of the poorest countries in the world who can least afford
corruption are again at the end of the index," Mr Eigen told a press
conference in London.
A convention agreed by 35 industrialised members of the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development outlawing bribery of foreign
officials came into force four years ago but was still not fully
operational, he said. There had not yet been any serious investigations
outside the US.
But Mr Eigen welcomed the recent drafting of a United Nations
convention against corruption, due to be signed in Mexico on December 9.
He called on rich countries to provide practical support for
governments that showed political will to fight corruption. Those starting
with a high degree of corruption should not be penalised, he said.
"In quite a number of countries which begin intensive anti-corruption
campaigns the perception of corruption may rise," he said.
The index measurement was particularly painful for a country such as
Nigeria, which again came out with the second-worst result after Bangladesh.
This was despite an anti-corruption drive by President Olusegun Obasanjo, a
co-founder of Transparency International.
Mr Eigen said Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Kenya had given
priority to tackling corruption. A handful of both rich and poor countries
had improved, including Colombia, Malaysia, France and Germany. But he
added: "We are sometimes disappointed [over] how slow the progress is."
Countries with lower scores than last year included Zimbabwe, Chile,
Canada and the US.
The TI listing, in which each country's score is based on at least
three survey sources, covers 133 countries, 31 of them for the first time.
Finland retained the top place with a score of 9.7, followed by Iceland,
Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore. The UK was edged out of the top 10 as
Norway moved up the table.
Of the 10 countries set to join the European Union next year Poland,
Slovakia, Latvia and the Czech Republic all showed a worse reputation for
corruption than Greece, the worst-ranked of the current 15 members.
The Berlin-based organisation, funded mainly by government development
agencies and foundations, started the index in 1995.
Mail and Guardian
Zim price controls: More shortages predicted
07 October 2003 13:48
Economists have warned of fresh shortages of basic commodities
expanding parallel market after the Zimbabwean government announced plans
for new price controls across all sectors of production, to take effect
within the next two weeks.
The government last week announced the introduction of a new price control
structure, which includes fuel, to curb what it termed a "price increase
madness" by producers, wholesalers and retailers.
Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo-based economist, said the latest price control regime
would precipitate a shortage of basic commodities on a larger scale than
experienced before, because only a few producers are able to supply the
market at controlled prices and the majority may stop production.
"Should such measures be implemented, the country will experience the worst
bout of goods shortages [to date] and even higher prices in the black
market. As it is, we are operating in a high inflationary environment, which
has no prospects of improvement," said Bloch.
Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, called on the government to abandon price controls and to promote
the revival of the manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors. He said
further price controls would force manufacturers to reduce production, while
those who chose to continue would be forced to try to recover their
production costs by supplying the parallel market.
"The introduction of the fresh price controls is most ill-advised, and
detrimental to the interests of the worker, who is the producer and consumer
of the basic commodities. The prospects are [that] more workers will be
retrenched, since most companies are likely to close.
"The chain reaction will be felt first in the manufacturing, wholesale and
retail businesses, before going down to the man in the street. No one will
be able to afford the black market prices that will be triggered by the
imposition of such controls," said Chibebe.
By constantly reviewing price controls, he added, the government was putting
the jobs of more workers on the line -- a situation that worsens the high
"Price controls are a threat to the workers, and good for those in the
business of profiteering. It is ironic that each time the government
announces price controls, it claims to be doing so to protect the workers
from the high cost of living.
"If they have ever gone down to assessing the real effects of such measures,
they would, by now, know that it does not only throw workers out of jobs and
promote the black market, it also kills the economy in a literal sense,"
Commodity prices in Zimbabwe increased almost fortnightly in the past two
months as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers took advantage of a lull
in the monitoring of price controls, blamed on a shortage of fuel that
grounded price control inspection teams, to raise their prices to what they
said were viable levels.
Retailers said once manufacturers raised their prices, the rest of the
sectors in the chain had to do the same to recover costs and remain afloat.
"It's a do-or-die situation, because business is about viability -- either
we increase our prices in line with the rest, or close our shops," said one
Property owners also increased monthly rentals, while a number were already
quoting their rates in foreign currency to protect themselves against
In its monthly economic highlights last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
expressed concern at the declining level of formal employment, which had
fallen from a peak of 1,4-million in 1998 to below 1,2-million by the end of
2001, in tandem with industrial production. Employment levels had dropped
across all the major sectors, such as mining, manufacturing, construction
"New projects have been suspended due to lack of materials and prohibitive
costs, while viability problems have seen a number of concerns closing
shop," the bank said.
Inflation now stands at 426,6%, with analysts predicting a climb to 500% by
Since the government announced its intention of imposing fresh price
controls last week, all the basic commodities that had returned to shop
shelves at exorbitant rates had disappeared, only to resurface at even
higher prices in the parallel market. -- Irin
Mail and Guardian
SADC urged to take action on press freedom
07 October 2003 11:47
African Development Community (SADC) has been urged to take
action on threats to press freedom in the region, particularly in Zimbabwe.
At a meeting with the SADC secretariat in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana,
a Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) delegation raised concerns that
the mandatory licensing of journalists could be open to abuse by
A particular source of unease was Zimbabwe's Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the recent shutting down of the country's only
independent daily newspaper, The Daily News.
"These laws will infringe on the freedom of movement of all SADC
journalists, as articulated in the SADC protocol on information, sports and
culture," said Thomas Deve, Misa board member and former online editor of
The Daily News.
"[The SADC protocol] calls for regional governments to harmonise their
legislation on media, in pursuit of freedom of movement and access to
information," he noted.
The three-day visit to Botswana, which ended at the weekend, is part of a
regional campaign, titled SADC Journalists Under Fire: Speak Out for Free
and Open Media – Targeting Violations against Journalists in the SADC
"The major problem is the fact that under the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, for you to practise as a journalist you have to
be licensed. What is also worrying for journalists is that some government
departments do not recognise the accreditation card," said Miriam Madziwa,
the Bulawayo-based editor of Zimbabwean newspaper The Tribune.
"The question becomes: why should we register if the accreditation card is
not recognised by government departments?" Madziwa said.
During local government elections at the end of August, accredited
journalists allegedly could not get access to polling stations, or
information from officials, unless they had accreditation specifically
allowing them to cover the elections.
While it has been argued that Zimbabwe's Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act is meant to regulate the operations of the media
and allow the free flow of information, the Misa delegation maintains that
the Act is undemocratic, and places a number of onerous restrictions on the
information that journalists, civil society and the public can access and
Severe punitive measures that could be taken in the event of any crime being
committed by journalists are also imposed by the Act. Records and other
information relating to politics and other issues of national governance are
strictly out of bounds, Misa said.
The Act does not confer the right to information on any person that is not a
citizen, body corporate or mass media service, and not registered in
Zimbabwe in terms of this Act or the Broadcasting Services Act.
"Zimbabwe should be a rallying call for countries in the region, because
governments in the region undertook to expand and increase the number of
players in the media industry," said Jacob Mafume, a Misa legal consultant.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is an indicator of how governments are moving,
and the way they will implement SADC agreements. In Zimbabwe the government
is trying to restrict media diversity and plurality," he charged.
Misa has just completed an audit of the status of the media in the region,
with specific emphasis on Zimbabwe, as a basis from which to lobby for a
more favourable media climate in Southern Africa.
The Misa delegation pointed out that the African Commission on Human and
People's Rights has adopted a Declaration of Principles on Freedom of
Expression in Africa. Principle VIII states that "any registration system
for the print media shall not impose substantive restrictions on the right
to freedom of expression". -- Irin