The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Fri 8 October 2004

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference has called on the
government to open up the public media to all political parties and said the
present arrangement where only the ruling ZANU PF party had access to the
public media was undemocratic.

      A free media environment where the government and its opponents were
able to market their policies to the electorate was critical to ensuring a
democratic election in March next year when Zimbabweans choose a new
Parliament, the bishops said.

      In a pastoral letter entitled, "A Credible Electoral Process for a
Responsible and Accountable Leadership," released this week, the clergymen
said: "It is important that all political parties have access to media
coverage so that they can inform citizens about how they intend to govern if
they are elected into power.

      "A political system that operates in such a way that only one party
(ZANU PF) has access to a proper coverage by media cannot claim to be

      The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, which operates the
country's only television and radio station, has imposed a virtual blackout
on the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and other
opponents of the government.

      The government's vast newspaper empire also ignores the MDC while
restrictive media laws ensure the remaining three independent but smaller
newspapers are more than guarded in their criticism of government policy and

      The country's biggest and only independent daily newspaper, The Daily
News, was shut down by the government last year because it had not
registered with the state's Media and Information Commission.

      The call by the Catholic bishops echo norms and standards for
elections adopted by Southern African Development Community leaders last
August that require, among other things, equal access to the public media by
all political parties to ensure free and fair elections.

      Zimbabwe's Justice Ministry has indicated all parties in Zimbabwe will
be granted access to the public media but Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo, who controls the media, has insisted the MDC will not be granted
access because he says it is not loyal. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Zimbabwe, foreign firms seal US$60 million fuel deal
Fri 8 October 2004

      HARARE - BP South Africa and another unnamed foreign oil company will
supply US$60 million worth of fuel to Zimbabwe in the next three months
under a deal that was expected to be signed in Harare yesterday, sources
told ZimOnline.

      Zimbabwe, in the grip of an acute fuel shortage for the last five
years, will receive 2.4 million litres of petrol and 36 million litres of
diesel per month under the deal to be signed between the two oil firms and
the Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe.

      Sources said BP was going to supply half of the fuel while the unnamed
foreign oil firm, which is said to be working with a consortium of
Zimbabwean businessmen, will supply the other half.

      The two foreign companies beat several other international oil firms
to win the fuel supply tender floated last month by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe on behalf of the petroleum association.

      The initial three-month supply period is a trial phase which could be
extended if Zimbabwe's petroleum association showed it was able to pay
foreign suppliers on time and consistently, according to the sources.

      Association President Masimba Kambarami confirmed the deal but refused
to shed more light. He said: "We are finalising the contract which should be
operational soon but I cannot release the details of the suppliers at the

      The association brings together oil firms in Zimbabwe and is the only
one now permitted to import fuel into the country which it then distributes
to its members.

      The oil industry was opened up at the beginning of the year but the
government has barred individual oil merchants from importing the commodity
after several bogus oil dealers misused close to US$113 million allocated to
them by Zimbabwe's central bank for fuel

      The state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) also imports
fuel but only for key sectors such as agriculture, health and government

      Previous fuel supply deals between NOCZIM, which in the past was the
only one allowed to purchase fuel for the country flopped because the state
firm was unable to raise hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

      NOCZIM owes US$171 million to several international oil companies who
supplied it with fuel.

      Another US$60 million fuel facility arranged between Zimbabwe's
central bank and British Virgin Islands-registered Saturn Investments
collapsed last August after local oil firms, which tapped into the facility,
failed to pay back. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Cheeky thieves strike at Mugabe's rural home
Fri 8 October 2004

      HARARE - Daring thieves evaded tight security at President Robert
Mugabe's Zvimba rural homestead, 86 kilometres west of Harare, and stole
irrigation equipment worth more than Z$75 million, it was learnt yesterday.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday could neither confirm nor
deny the theft and instead referred ZimOnline to Mugabe's spokesman, George

      Bvudzijena said: "Please talk to Charamba from the Department of
Information and Publicity. He is the person best placed to comment on
presidential matters. I am sure he will be able to furnish you with more
accurate information."

      Charamba's office said he was busy the whole of yesterday attending
"presidential programmes" and unable to take questions on the matter.

      Police sources said thieves sneaked into the presidential homestead
last week and made away with an assortment of aluminum irrigation pipes,
sprinkler systems, centre pivots and water pumps.

      The thieves, who by late last night were still at large, scaled a
perimetre fence around the homestead and evaded armed troops, who keep a
24-hour guard at the home, to steal the irrigation equipment.

      Mugabe and his family, who spend most of their time at the
presidential palace in Harare and only visit the rural home mostly on
weekends, were not at the home when thieves robbed it.

      The President, however, runs lucrative agricultural projects at the
homestead which include wheat production and piggery.

      Ever security conscious, Mugabe has always ensured maximum security at
all his homes including at the multi-billion dollar residence still under
construction in Harare's affluent Borrowdale suburb.

      A multi-million dollar radar security system is under construction at
the Zvimba homestead. The radar system sourced from China will be linked to
the Borrowdale home and to Mugabe's palace.

      Crime is on the increase in the country as some hard-pressed
Zimbabweans resort to illegal means to survive a grinding economic crisis,
which critics say is the result of Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy. -

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Women activists released on bail
Fri 8 October 2004

      HARARE - The magistrates' court yesterday freed on bail 60 women
activists arrested earlier this week for demonstrating against a proposed
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) law as police arrested 10 people
during fresh protests against the draft legislation.

      The 10 were part of about 400 members of the National Constitutional
Assembly who gathered at Parliament early yesterday morning protesting
against the NGO Bill and another law proposing electoral reforms dismissed
by pro-democracy groups in the country as

      The assembly, which is campaigning for a new democratic constitution
for Zimbabwe, is a coalition of churches, labour, opposition parties, human
and civic rights groups in the country.

      The assembly members, arrested yesterday were still detained at Harare
Central police station by late last night. A spokeswoman of the assembly
Jessie Majome, said: "We strongly condemn the arrest as it is a denial of
Zimbabwean citizens' rights to demonstrate
      as enshrined in the Constitution."

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, however accused the assembly
demonstrators of assaulting a police officer who was on guard duty at
Parliament and said the law enforcement agency was looking for other
demonstrators who allegedly took part in the assault.

      Later in the day, members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure
group arrested on Tuesday were granted bail but ordered to return to court
on November 11 to answer to charges of breaching the Public Order and
Security Act.

      The state says the women violated the security law when they marched
for 440 kilometres from Bulawayo to Harare in protest against the NGO Bill
and also when they demonstrated at Parliament on Tuesday without permission
from the police as is required under the

      The NGO Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, seeks to
ban civic bodies from carrying out voter education. It will also prohibit
NGOs focusing on human rights and governance issues from receiving foreign

      Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday wrote to
the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) calling on the
continental body to persuade Harare to respect human rights and to implement
genuine electoral reforms in the

      Director of the lawyers' body, Arnold Tsunga, said in the statement:
"It is necessary that the Zimbabwean government be taken to task on issues
of addressing electoral irregularities, which characterised the elections in
2000 and 2002.

      "The African Commission must make recommendations to the Zimbabwean
government on the importance of laws that protect and promote citizen
participation and non-infringement of fundamental rights and freedoms."

      A report by the commission criticising human rights violations in
Zimbabwe could not be tabled at the African Union (AU)'s summit last July
after Harare successfully lobbied AU leaders to postpone discussing the
report until it had responded to the findings of the commission. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mugabe gives in to SADC critics on poll law


Faced with pressure at home and abroad, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
has introduced a second set of electoral reforms in a month, abolishing the
controversial mobile polling stations and setting up a tribunal to settle
poll disputes.
The electoral bill is the second set of poll regulations introduced by
Mugabe (pictured right) ahead of national elections due in March. They are
also an attempt by Mugabe to meet electoral standards set by his peers in
the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

On September 10 the government published the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissions
Bill, which went through its first reading in parliament on Wednesday.

If enacted the bill will give Mugabe powers to appoint key members of an
"independent" commission to oversee all elections, limit the voting days to
one and open the counting of votes at polling stations.

The new bill is also aimed at limiting the controversial postal votes, which
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed were used by the
ruling party to steal the last general election .

The MDC yesterday dismissed the reforms as "piecemeal and cosmetic", saying
they did not address fundamental electoral problems. It said the changes
fell "far too short" of SADC principles governing democratic elections.

The country's civic groups have also complained about a lack of safeguards
to ensure the independence of the electoral commission, and fear that it
might be biased.

Last week the groups told a parliamentary committee that they were worried
that the electoral commission did not adequately address issues relating to
electoral violence and conflict resolution.

Business Day
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Mercury

      'We won't allow MDC to rule'
      October 8, 2004

      The new Supreme Commander of Zimbabwe's Defence Forces, General
Constantine Chiwenga, has declared that the army will never allow the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change to take over the country, even if
it wins an election, because it is "foreign driven".

      This is the second time a defence force commander has threatened a
military takeover of Zimbabwe. Just before the 2002 presidential elections,
Chiwenga's predecessor, Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, flanked by other top army
generals, including Chiwenga, who was then commander of the Zimbabwe
National Army, declared at a media conference that the defence force would
never allow a non-participant in the 1970s independence war to take over the

      Zvinavashe said the army could not salute anyone who had not fight in
the liberation war, a reference to MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai who did
not directly participate in Zimbabwe's liberation war.

      He described the presidency in Zimbabwe as a "straitjacket" that was
not up for grabs.


      Despite the threats, Tsvangirai garnered 1.2 million votes, losing to
Mugabe by 400 000 votes, despite having had his supporters in urban centres
teargassed away from polling stations.

      Chiwenga has since been promoted to succeed Zvinavashe, who has
retired as head of the ZDF, the joint command structure of both the Zimbabwe
National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe.

      Addressing thousands of people at a prize-giving day at a rural
secondary school, Chiwenga was quoted as saying that the defence force was
there to protect the country's achievements and would not allow anyone to
disturb these.

      "I would not hesitate to go on record again on behalf of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces, to disclose that we would not welcome any change of
government that carries the label 'Made in London', and whose sole aim is to
defeat the gains of the liberation struggle," Chiwenga was quoted as saying
in the state-run Herald newspaper.

      Mugabe has dubbed Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections next year the
"anti-Blair elections" saying he wants to destroy the MDC, which he accuses
of being a British creation, once and for all. - Independent Foreign Service
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

MPs in travel scam
Itai Dzamara
MPs who represent constituencies outside Harare are raking in millions of
dollars monthly from transport and accommodation allowances despite staying
in the capital most of the time they are attending parliamentary sessions,
investigations by Zimbabwe Independent have revealed.

In what could turn out to be a scandal to rival one that erupted in South
Africa in July, it emerged that MPs use the out-of-town allowances facility
as a cash cow on a bad day.

It has surfaced that a lax system at parliament allows MPs to pocket huge
sums of money monthly in transport claims. There is no mechanism of
verifying whether an MP really travelled the claimed distances every time he
attends parliamentary business.

MPs are paid $2,1 million per month while governors get $2,8 million.
Ministers are paid $3 million while the vice-president's salary is $3,5

Legislators however claim millions of dollars in travel allowances. The
Independent this week established that MPs from Matabeleland get $25 million
monthly in transport and accommodation allowances. MPs are also paid $180
000 per night if they stay with relatives or friends.

The clerk of parliament, Austin Zvoma, this week said their system only
verifies whether an MP attended sittings or committee meetings to approve an
allocation for transport. He said they also checked the mileage on MP's
vehicle to ascertain whether it tallies with the claim submitted and the
parliamentary business attended.

"It is not our responsibility to follow the MP to establish whether he has
indeed travelled from the address submitted," Zvoma said.

"We check the register and confirm whether the member was present in the
House as claimed or whether they attended a committee meeting. We could only
confirm whether they travelled from say Zvishavane to Harare by stationing
someone there, who would follow them all the way. The accounts department
checks MPs' vehicles' mileage to confirm whether they have recorded the
required distance."

When a member is sworn in, he submits an address which is taken as their
permanent residence. It is these addresses that parliament uses all the time
the MPs claim transport allowances. Investigations by this paper revealed
that a majority of MPs who represent constituencies outside Harare submitted
addresses in their constituencies and claim transport allowances based on

Figures obtained from Zvoma show that transport allowances vary depending on
the size of the MPs' vehicle engine. However, most of the MPs' vehicles -
secured through a government loan scheme - have engine capacities of 3 000
cubic centimetres, which is the highest level. The allowance for the highest
level is $11 125 per km for petrol and $11 029,82 for diesel.

For a trip from Bulawayo to Harare, a distance of 440 km, the allowance for
a petrol vehicle would be $4,8 million. The same amount is allocated for the
return trip. A return ticket to Bulawayo by Air Zimbabwe costs $774 000.

A claim for a trip from Masvingo to Harare, which is 298 km, using a petrol
vehicle, earns the legislator $3,3 million multiplied by two for the return

During parliamentary sessions, MPs are usually required to attend weekly.
MPs from outside the capital claim that they go to their constituencies
every weekend. This means an MP can make four claims a month, which
translates to $38,4 million for an MP based in Bulawayo.

Parliament pays accommodation allowances straight to three-star hotels.

Sources said there had been complaints by the Ministry of Finance over the
expenses incurred by parliament, especially on transport allowances, which
they say gobble the largest chunk of parliament's annual budget.

But Zvoma said: "We haven't had any investigated or verified cases of the
abuse of the system."

All that is required to obtain the accommodation allowance is confirmation
that an MP attended parliamentary business. In the case of hotels, it has to
be confirmed that the MP stayed at a particular hotel, to which the money is
paid directly.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

NMB in liquidity crunch
Shakeman Mugari
ONE of Zimbabwe's strongest banks, NMB Bank Ltd, was yesterday feared to be
lurching into a serious liquidity crisis amid reports that several financial
institutions are in dire straits.

Market sources said NMB was trying to secure liquidity support from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to avert collapse. The bank, whose founding
directors fled to London earlier this year to avoid arrest, has been
struggling to get stop-gap finance from the RBZ's Troubled Banks Fund.

Sources said NMB was scrounging for $160 billion.

There is also trouble at discount house NDH, which was struggling to pay
maturities and has not been writing new business.

Insiders said NDH was also facing a serious liquidity crunch. The sources
said NDH was surviving on overnight accommodation from the central bank.
Although NDH managing director Ernest Matienga was not available for
comment, an official confirmed the financial institution was facing a
liquidity crisis.

"Like any other financial institution, we are facing liquidity problems,"
said the company official.

The Zimbabwe Independent last night heard that NDH yesterday held a meeting
at Royal Harare Golf Club with creditors over sums ranging between $50
million and $500 million to explain the company's liquidity crisis. Sources
privy to the meeting said NDH wanted to calm the edgy creditors. The
discount house also announced it was restructuring for a possible take-over
by First Bank.

Despite meeting the RBZ's capital adequacy deadline, many financial
institutions are still facing serious liquidity problems.

Analysts say the Reserve Bank contributed to the liquidity crisis through
its treasury bills. The analysts said in June the central bank forced banks
to buy its treasury bills and promised to give them overnight lending.

The purchase of the bills wiped out banks' reserves.

By Tuesday this week, the market was in a serious deficit of about $300
billion and this has seen most banks scurrying for cover. Almost all banks
are under stress and are using the overnight lending facility to stay

Financial sector insiders say a number of banks this week rushed to the
central bank to seek accommodation and funds from the liquidity support

David Hatendi, the NMB chief executive, yesterday said the bank was talking
with the RBZ.

Panic withdrawals at NMB have been worsened by the booting out of its
chairperson, Paddy Zhanda, last week.

Last week alone the bank had more than three meetings with Reserve Bank
authorities seeking accommodation and liquidity support. Hatendi said: "The
market has been in a short position and like any other bank we have been
affected," Hatendi said.

"In anticipation of this eventuality we did alert the central bank and the
talks have resulted in an understanding," he said without giving details of
the 'understanding'.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Kondozi equipment goes missing
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF politicians have taken lawlessness on the farms a step further after
they allegedly took much of Kondozi farm equipment for personal gain, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Manicaland provincial officials and Zanu PF supporters who spearheaded the
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda)'s takeover of Kondozi
earlier this year are said to have seized much of the equipment and taken it
to their properties.

The revelation comes at a time when Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe is failing to
recover billions of dollars worth of equipment invested in the farm in Odzi.

"When Barclays' evaluation team visited the farm to make an assessment and
put a price on movable equipment, most of it had gone missing," sources
said. "Party leaders who spearheaded the takeover of the farm helped
themselves to the equipment and agricultural inputs which included
fertiliser and chemicals."

When Kondozi was invaded in April it lost billions dollars' worth of
equipment, which included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five UD trucks,
several T35 trucks and 26 motorbikes. Several tonnes of fertilisers and
chemicals were also lost.

In May Barclays obtained a High Court order authorising it to repossess the
farming equipment at Kondozi. The bank is still struggling to get the
equipment, which has gone missing.

After the High Court order, Arda intimated to Barclays that it was
interested in buying the equipment.

Sources said independent evaluators who visited Kondozi Farm for assessments
discovered massive looting of equipment. This scuttled negotiations between
Barclays and Arda.

"Findings of the evaluators indicated that some of the equipment had been
taken to other Arda estates around the country while other implements could
not be accounted for," sources said. "Tractors, trucks, motorbikes as well
as fertilisers and chemicals have been recorded as missing items."

Transport and Communication minister Chris Mushowe who is alleged to have
played a part in the take over of Kondozi, dismissed allegations of looting
of equipment as malicious.

"I have absolutely nothing from Kondozi," Mushowe said. "In fact, that
allegation is false and malicious. I don't even have a tractor at my farm so
when I want to till the land I actually hire," he said.

"I don't even understand why people drag me into Kondozi issues. The farm
was given to Arda and they should be in a position to tell you where the
equipment is," Mushowe said.

Manicaland provincial chairman Mike Madiro dismissed the allegations as a
political gimmick aimed at discrediting his executive.

"There is no truth in those claims," Madiro said. "If there are individual
members who could have taken some of the equipment they should be named and
allow the law to take its course."

Madiro said there was no member of his executive who took anything from
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

War vets 'see through' evictions plot
Loughty Dube
AS evictions of newly-resettled farmers intensify countrywide, war veterans
have charged that senior Zanu PF officials are targeting former combatants
to stop them from campaigning for their colleagues who want to contest in
party primary elections this month.

The latest evictions have seen hundreds of settlers, the majority of them
former freedom fighters, being forcibly driven off the land they occupied at
the height of the 2000 land invasions.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association recently announced
that its members would challenge senior Zanu PF officials for positions in
the party in all constituencies in the primary elections.

War veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda this week said the current spate of
evictions was aimed at stopping war veterans from contesting in the primary
elections and subsequently in next year's parliamentary election.

"If anyone is throwing war veterans out of farms just because they are
challenging them then those people should be prepared to throw 14 million
Zimbabweans out of the country because nothing will stop the war veterans
from contesting in all the country's constituencies," said Sibanda.

Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week said the
evictions had nothing to do with correcting anomalies but "a shock response"
by party leaders who used war veterans as campaigners and grassroots
organisers in previous elections.

"The big fish are afraid because they realise that if war veterans contest
the primaries senior party members will lose. They know war veterans are
popular with grassroots voters," said the source.

The government has allowed land invaders to stay on the farms since 2000 but
just three weeks ago, it started evicting settlers from Porta Farm. The
evictions have since spread in Mashonaland West allegedly to pave way for
top government and Zanu PF officials under the A2 resettlement model.

Sibanda said in other areas senior party officials were pushing war veterans
out due to greed.

"Our members are being pushed out because we openly stated that we would
contest elections in all wards in the country. But we are not going to sit
back while our members are being kicked out of the farms by some of these
greedy senior party officials," Sibanda said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zanu PF boycotts SA polls meeting
Dumisani Muleya
THE ruling Zanu PF this week boycotted a South African Council of Churches
(SACC)-organised meeting to discuss elections in Zimbabwe. Despite being
invited, Zanu PF did not attend the crucial conference.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) attended the meeting
which drew participants from South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The MDC was represented by senior officials who included its
secretary-general Welshman Ncube and spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi.

Speaking yesterday after returning from the two-day conference in Pretoria,
Nyathi said the meeting was "very helpful".

"The meeting was extremely useful because it showed that more and more South
Africans now understand what is going on in Zimbabwe and are seriously
concerned," Nyathi said.

"They have realised how serious the Zimbabwe crisis has become because of
the growing number of Zimbabwean political and economic refugees crossing
the border into their country, both legally and illegally."

Nyathi said many countries in the region were now aware of the disastrous
economic crisis engulfing Zimbabwe. He said human rights abuses, suppression
of political and civil liberties could no longer be hidden behind the
smokescreen of land reform and anti-imperialist rhetoric.

"Everybody now knows the disaster unfolding in Zimbabwe is due to a failed
leadership and policies," Nyathi said.

The conference was organised by the South African Council of Churches in
partnership with the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, the
Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), the Institute for Democratic Alternative in
South Africa and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation to help
Zimbabwe build consensus on the barest minimum standards for elections.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Human rights report up for discussion in Dakar
Gift Phiri
A DAMNING report of the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe by the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) will be discussed at the
commission's 36th Ordinary Session in Dakar, Senegal next month.

An executive summary of the report was tabled at the African Union (AU)
summit in Addis Ababa three months ago amid loud protests by Foreign Affairs
minister Stan Mudenge who claimed Zimbabwe had not been afforded an
opportunity to respond to the document.

The report provoked anger in the Zanu PF government which pledged to provide
answers to the report's accusations of human rights abuses in two weeks.

A special team of the commission led by Jainaba Johm of Gambia prepared the
report after a fact-finding visit in June 2002. The team came to Zimbabwe
after the Human Rights Forum sent a request to the commission in 2001.

The delegation met with opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
officials, former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe Sternford Moyo,
police commissioner Augustine Chihuri and civic society heads.

It also met Vice-President Joseph Msika, Speaker of Parliament Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo and Information minister
Jonathan Moyo. At the end of the visit, Johm said her team had accumulated
20kg of documents from evidence given by many people regarding the human
rights situation in the country.

A draft agenda of the 36th session includes Zimbabwe under item 13 and
delegates will discuss the draft report and decide whether to adopt it.

Although it was not possible to obtain comment from Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa, government sources confirmed that cabinet authority was being
sought to send a delegation to Dakar to represent Zimbabwe.

"There are plans to send a delegation comprising Foreign Affairs minister
Stan Mudenge, Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Chinamasa to put across
the Zimbabwe case," the source said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Forget talks - Mugabe
Dumisani Muleya
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has told his ruling Zanu PF to forget talks with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and railroad the proposed
electoral reforms before next year's general election.

Zanu PF sources said Mugabe told his party's decision-making politburo last
week on Wednesday that there was effectively no point to engage the MDC
further because informal dialogue has so far failed to yield anything
useful. He is also understood to have also indicated there was no time for
renewed inter-party talks anymore because the election was forthcoming.

The politburo met on September 29. The party's secretary for commissariat,
Elliot Manyika, presented a report on the Seke by-election, the imminent
Masvingo by-election, Women's League's recent congress and party
restructuring. There was also a discussion of strategies of winning next
year's election.

Sources said Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs and head of talks with the
MDC, Patrick Chinamasa, and other heavyweights initially thought it was
better to try to engage the opposition again but Mugabe was against it.

Chinamasa was then mandated to bulldoze the reforms - to be ushered through
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill and the Electoral Bill - with
or without the MDC support.

Following the reopening of parliament on Tuesday, Chinamasa introduced the
ZEC Bill on Wednesday and is said to be ready to push the Electoral Bill
which expected to be gazetted either today or next week.

The ZEC Bill will establish a purportedly independent electoral body, which
will run all elections, voting in one day instead of two, use of transparent
ballot boxes and counting of ballots at polling centres.

The introduction of the ZEC will add to the existing bodies, the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC), Election Directorate, Registrar General of
Elections' Office and the Delimitation Commission, which all deal with

Government will also introduce the Electoral Bill to amend the Electoral

This Bill will establish constituency centres, an Electoral Court to deal
with election disputes, a Registrar-General of Voters office and discard
mobile polling stations. It will limit postal votes, which have been a
subject of dispute, to uniformed forces and people working on government

The MDC has dismissed the reforms as cosmetic, saying they do not address
fundamental electoral problems. It said the changes simply fall far too
short of the Southern African Development Community principles governing
democratic elections.

However, Zanu PF is said to be determined to proceed unilaterally. This will
further impede South African President Thabo Mbeki's attempt to resolve the
Zimbabwe crisis.

Mbeki has of late been stepping up his efforts to prevent another disputed
election and its consequences to Zimbabwe and the region. He said recently
he was prepared to travel to Zimbabwe everyday, if need be, to deal with the

After meeting Mbeki on September 21 in New York at the UN General Assembly
summit to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis, Mugabe has however been pulling in
the opposite direction.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Police block NCA protest
Gift Phiri
HEAVILY armed riot police yesterday broke up pro-democracy demonstrations in
Harare, in a week filled with protests in which more than 55 activists were

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a coalition of church, labour
and civic rights groups, yesterday claimed 400 demonstrations cordoned off
Nelson Mandela Avenue to denounce the proposed non-governmental
organisations law. The NGO Bill was tabled in parliament on Wednesday.

The proposed law will prohibit NGOs from receiving foreign funding for
projects related to human rights and governance. Three people were arrested
during the protest which left parliament premises littered with protest

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said "the activists were arrested for
taking part in an illegal demonstration".

Police also fought running battles with scores of women outside parliament
on Tuesday after the activists presented a petition to the Speaker of the
House opposing a clampdown on human rights groups. Three photographers, and
49 women - including one with a two-year-old child - were arrested. The
photographers, Howard Burditt of Reuter, Tsvangirai Mkwazhi a freelancer and
Desmond Kwande of the Sunday Mirror, were released on Wednesday without
charge while the women were yesterday remanded out of custody to November

"We have walked 440 kilometres to deliver this petition to parliament and
hope and pray that you will hear our cries and not pass this Bill," said the
petition from the women, most of whom are members of Bulawayo-based Women of
Zimbabwe Arise.

"If the Bill is passed in its current form, it will strike at the very
existence of us and our families. We do try to survive independently but
without help from NGOs, our families and those of us who are ill shall
surely fade away and die," said the petition, which was also backed by Aids
support groups.

The Post Independence Survivors Trust, in a petition presented to the
Speaker, urged government to withdraw the Bill saying it was "patently
unconstitutional, undemocratic and therefore undesirable in a democratic

Civic society representatives from the Combined Harare Residents
Association, the National Association for NGOs, Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, and Human Rights NGO Forum were barred entry into parliament for
the first reading of the bill by police details guarding the entrance on
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Mnangagwa raps portfolio committees
Staff Writer
THE Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa this week ordered chairpersons
of the House's portfolio committees to stop issuing public statements before
the compilation and presentation of their reports to parliament.

Mnangagwa said this undermined the good work of portfolio committees in
their effort to foster transparency and efficiency in the public service. He
said premature publicity created a wrong perception about the purpose of
parliamentary inquiries.

"There is an increasing tendency by some chairpersons of committees to issue
press statements or conduct press interviews on matters that are under
investigation by their committees. In the process they express their opinion
or that of the committee before a report is drafted, considered, adopted and
presented to the House. This is clearly in violation of the Select Committee
Rules cited above," Mnangagwa's statement to chairpersons of portfolio
committees said.

The Select Committee Rules state that "during examination of a witness, a
member shall not offer debate nor shall he/she express his/her opinion or
that of the committee on matter under discussion".

He cited cases where the standing rules had been breached. He mentioned
Philip Chiyangwa's Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade
committee. The bulk of cases were discussed under the Public Accounts
Committee headed by Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Observers have said while the Speaker's intervention was meant to preserve
order in parliament, there was a possibility that public officials were
becoming sensitive about revelations of their operations in the press.

"Government business has for years been shrouded in secrecy but the veil has
been removed as officials and politicians have to answer committee inquiries
in public and in the presence of the media," said a former senior civil

"This is disconcerting and believe me there are many a politician who
believe the committee meetings are better off without the media. The other
problem is that some MPs in their quest to name and shame are breaking
standing orders of parliament by making premature disclosures to the media,"
he said.

The media has of late been awash with stories emanating from parliamentary
proceedings and interviews with members who constitute the committees.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

New farmers forced to bank-roll Zanu PF congress, poll
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF is forcing newly-resettledfarmers and civil servants to contribute
towards the $20 billion needed to finance its congress and the parliamentary
election next year, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.

Highly placed sources said the ruling party had written to A2 farmers asking
them to donate at least $50 000 each towards the December congress and the
March election.

"A directive was given to provinces who circulated it to all farmers," a new
farmer in the Mazowe Valley said. "Each farmer is expected to donate a
minimum of $50 000. The amounts vary according to the production level on a
particular farm."

Each province is expected to raise $500 million to finance the December
congress and the March parliamentary poll. There are 10 political provinces
in the country. Zanu PF said some of the money would come from fundraising
activities, corporate donations and the party's own companies.

Sources said Zanu PF had also written to civil servants working in rural
areas asking for donations.

Zanu PF secretary for finance David Karimanzira recently said the party was
seeking to raise in excess of $20 billion for its congress in December and
next year's parliamentary poll.

Murehwa North MP Victor Chitongo, whose district has already donated $70
million, said farmers and businesspeople in the area had voluntarily availed
the money in response to the party's call.

"As a constituency committed to the party our new farmers and businesspeople
have responded to the call to raise money for the party," Chitongo said.

"The farmers and businesspeople voluntarily made the money available and
they are still raising more. The party is being supported by almost everyone
in Murehwa District."

This is not the first time the party has arm-twisted rural people to raise
money for its events.

"A2 resettled farmers were in April this year forced to donate money for
Independence Day celebrations," farmers said. "Last year we were instructed
to start paying rentals for land and we are now doing it monthly."

So far the party has raised $160 million, with Jongwe Printers donating $50
million and $40 million coming from a well-wisher. Sources said Zanu PF was
also pursuing other fundraising programmes to meet the $20 billion target.

They include a dinner dance expected to be held in Harare next month.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

CIO interrogate Byo mayor, town clerk
Loughty Dube
STATE security agents and government officials last week descended on
Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet Ncube and the city's town clerk Moffat
Ndlovu to interrogate the two before demanding an explanation of
malnutrition-related death figures compiled by the city's Health department.

The interrogation of the two officials follows Information minister Jonathan
Moyo's threat that government would deal with Ncube and the city's Director
of Health, Zanele Hwalima, for allegedly peddling false information on the
city's malnutrition deaths.

Six security agents from the CIO and the police's law and order department
last week on Tuesday visited the mayor at his City Hall offices and
interrogated him on the malnutrition deaths figures before leaving with
several official documents from the city health department.

The following day Bulawayo acting provincial administrator Edson Mbedzi
summoned the town clerk Moffat Ndlovu to his office and quizzed him on how
council compiled statistics pertaining to malnutrition.

Ncube confirmed the visit by the state security agents but said he was happy
that the issue was well explained to them.

"We had a team from the police and the CIO last week and they wanted to find
out how we gathered the information on malnutrition deaths and they were
shocked to hear that the figures came from government hospitals," Ncube

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo has also threatened to deal with
the Bulawayo mayor for giving the independent media "false" information on
malnutrition-related deaths.

Ncube confirmed that Moffat Ndlovu was summoned to the administrator's
office and state security agents and the government officials had been made
to believe that malnutrition-related deaths records were a council

The Bulawayo council is dominated by opposition MDC councilors and Chombo
has been trying to hamstring its activities the same way he has emasculated
the Harare City Council.

"They were surprised to hear that we compile the statistics from the
Registrar of Births and Deaths who collect the information from government
hospitals," Ncube said of the investigating officials.

The Bulawayo mayor has vowed not to be intimidated. He said the malnutrition
figures helped council plan its child supplementary feeding programmes.

The council is running child supplementary feeding programmes for 13 000
children under five years in all its clinics in the city.

The interrogation of the two officials came at a time when the council had

produced another report detailing more malnutrition-related deaths in the
city. The latest report indicates that a further 12 people died of
malnutrition in the last month.

The latest figure brings to 173 the number of people who have succumbed to
malnutrition in Bulawayo alone.

The government has in the past hotly disputed that people in the country are
starving despite its own initiative to introduce a feeding scheme for needy
people in Beitbridge two weeks ago.

The government has been involved in a war of figures with international
donor agencies on the country's projected harvest for 2004.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zim's land reform sore point for Annan
Itai Dzamara
ZIMBABWE'S chaotic land reform programme is among the areas of conflict on
the African continent which the United Nations is trying to resolve through
regional groupings, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said in a report
released recently.

Annan said the UN was working with the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) to unravel the crisis created by the land reform. The land
issue is cites in the report released last week titled Causes of conflict
and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development.

"Sadc and the African Union have taken the lead in resolving the conflict in
Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sadc is also helping to
find a solution for the issue of land in Zimbabwe," Annan said in the

The UN, together with donor countries, is rendering technical and financial
support to Sadc countries working on conflict resolution in the region.

"The report notes that while substantive progress is being made in tackling
the scourge of conflicts in Africa and in laying the foundations and
creating the infrastructure to deal effectively with the conflicts on the
continent, some new trends and sources of conflict have emerged compounding
existing challenges," he says.

The new trends, Annan said, involved crisis of governance and democratic
principles as well as unfair distribution of resources in politically
sensitive situations.

The other countries mentioned by Annan as being embroiled in conflict are
Angola, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia
and Sudan.

Annan said the UN was appointing mediators to solve the crises and relieve
the tension.

"The appointment of special mediators remains the primary means by which the
United Nations can assist member states in resolving conflicts. My special
mediators, with the support of the department of political affairs, have
been active in supporting regional peacemaking efforts," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

DA appeals to Mbeki
Staff Writer
SOUTH Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President
Thabo Mbeki to defend SA investments in Zimbabwe following plans by
government to expropriate sugar plantations owned by mining giant Anglo
American Corporation and JSE-listed flower exporter, Conafex Holdings SA.

All three sugar plantations, tucked away in Zimbabwe's south eastern
Lowveld - Mkwasine, Hippo Valley and Triangle - have been served with
notices of compulsory acquisition despite Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (Bippa) between the two countries. The trade pact
compels the Zimbabwe government to protect the investments and properties of
other countries from arbitrary expropriation.

The government has advised Conafex's Zimbabwean subsidiary, Zimcor Ltd, that
all its agricultural estates are being compulsorily acquired with immediate

"The implications of this action and the matter of compensation are not yet
clear," Conafex said in a statement last week.

This is the second expropriation attempt on the Zimbabwean assets of an
SA-listed company, following a notice served on Anglo American for the
expropriation of the company's Hippo Valley sugar estates.Mkwasine Estate,
which is jointly owned by South Africa's Anglo American Corporation and
Tongaat Hullet, was issued with a Section 8 order on July 23. The 11
500-hectare sugar estate's notice expires in two weeks time. The order gives
management and staff 90 days to wind up operations and vacate the property.

Anglo owns a stake in Mkwasine through its Zimbabwean subsidiary, Hippo
Valley Estates, while Tongaat is represented through its local subsidiary,
Triangle Ltd. Hippo Valley, which also grows sugar, is already under a
Section 5 order, a formal notice of intention by government to acquire a
property under the land redistribution programme. The company was served the
notice in January.

The DA spokesperson on agriculture, Kraai van Niekerk, warned that the
proposed expropriation of Conafex and the sugar plantations by the Zimbabwe
government was yet another "red light for South African investors in

He said this would damage South Africans' confi-dence in pursuing ventures
in other African countries.

"If the ANC government, and indeed President Thabo Mbeki, is not prepared to
defend the investments made by South African companies in Zimbabwe and other
African countries, then it will betray the development ideals laid out for
Africa by Nepad," Van Niekerk told SA's Business Day last week.

But Nana Zenani, a spokesperson for the Minister of Agriculture Thoko
Didiza, said there was nothing the South African government could do because
the land seizures were happening in another country.

"We cannot dictate to them what they should do," said Zenani.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zanu PF takes over at Town House
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF has smuggled two of its top functionaries, Tony Gara and Tendai
Savanhu, into the Harare City Council despite Local Government minister
Ignatious Chombo's protestations that there was no commission running the
affairs of the city.

Chombo transferred authority to run Harare from Movement for Democratic
Change councillors to the ruling party through the appointment of a
monitoring committee chaired by James Kurasha. The Kurasha committee is made
up of five members including Gara and Savanhu.

Gara is a former mayor of Harare, former deputy Minister of Local Government
and 2000 parliamentary election losing candidate for Mbare East. He lost the
seat to MDC candidate Tichaona Munyanyi.

Savanhu is also another 2000 parliamentary election loser and former Harare
commissioner. Savanhu lost Mbare West to the MDC's Dunmore Makuwaza.

The two were brought back to the politically sensitive Town House to ensure
the ruling party's grip on the local authority ahead of the 2005
parliamentary election.

Harare town clerk Nomutsa Chideya revealed to the Zimbabwe Independent that
acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara was making all decisions on the city while
the five-member Kurasha committee monitored implementation.

"All decisions are being made by the acting mayor until such a time as
government puts in place a structure to run the city," Chideya said in an
interview. "The Kurasha committee is on a monitoring mission."

Asked for details on his committee's functions at Town House, Kurasha said
there was need to get clearance from Makwavarara and her team of officials
before he could comment.

"We are a monitoring team appointed by the Ministry of Local Government,"
Kurasha said. "I can't give any details, you should get clearance from the
Town House first."

Council sources said Kurasha and his team had been allocated offices at Town
House and were attending all decision-making meetings of the local

"Kurasha now has a permanent office at Town House while his other members
spend most of their time in the other offices in the town hall," sources
said. "The committee had long taken over the running of council even before
the resignation of the MDC councillors. "
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Arda takes over FSI
Augustine Mukaro
THE Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has taken over the
running of FSI Agricom farms as government moves to expropriate all
businesses owned by Mutumwa Mawere.

Highly placed sources said Arda managers had been deployed at the FSI
Agricom head office and the four farms owned by the firm.

FSI Agricom owns Risboro, Rogate, Bosbury and Essex farms, all in
Mashonaland West. The four farms are highly mechanised and produce cereals
and maize seed.

"Operations at all FSI farms are now being controlled by Arda," sources
said. "Production activities and the day-to-day running of the farms now
fall under the agricultural parastatal."

Officials at FSI head office confirmed the take over, saying it was part of
government's crackdown on Mawere's business empire.

"The whole issue started when government took over Shabanie-Mashava Mines,"
one official said. "Arda officials moved into FSI on a government directive
and they are directing everything, including office work."

The official said most senior managers at FSI no longer had a say in the
daily running of the company. FSI farms were listed for acquisition by the
state on June 4, and served with Section 8 notices on July 9. The farms
measure a total 4 305 hectares.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Porta deaths: Amnesty rebuts police denials
Gift Phiri
ZIMBABWEAN police's denial that 10 squatters died at Porta Farm following
police misuse of teargas was rebutted by Amnesty International this week
when the human rights watchdog disclosed the names of those killed.

Police retaliated by vilifying the international human rights organisation.
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, branded the
organisation "liars" and insisted that noone had been killed.

"I see a lot of inaccuracies in that list of names of people that Amnesty
claims died from police misuse of teargas. I am still trying to verify with
Norton police whether it is true," Bvudzijena said on Wednesday.

Police last week challenged Amnesty to produce the names and hospital
records of the people it claimed were killed when police fired teargas into
homes during an attempt to forcibly evict the settlers.Bvudzijena said: "We
saw that statement (by Amnesty). But Amnesty must provide the names of the
people that it says died. If the people died at hospital, then there should
be a report from the hospital as evidence.

Amnesty International this week named the deceased after obtaining sworn
affidavits the relatives of the dead. They are Fungai Livson's one-day-old
son who had not yet been named, Ronald Job Daniel (five months), Matilda
Matsheza (five months), Yolanda Rungano (five months), Monalisa Banda (seven
months), Kuyeka Phiri (30), Viola Mupetsi (30), Julia Nheredzo (32), Raphael
Chatima (40) and Vasco John (65).

The Amnesty report also said an eleventh person, Angeline Nhamoinesu, aged
46, had since died.

"All 11 deaths were reported to Norton Police Station or to a police post
based at Porta Farm by relatives of the deceased," Amnesty said in a
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Germany expresses solidarity with Zim
Staff Writer
THE German government last week sent a strong message of solidarity to
Zimbabweans struggling for democracy.

Addressing a large gathering to mark German Unity Day last Friday, acting
German ambassador Jan Hendrik van Thiel said over the centuries his country
had experienced ultra-nationalism, racism and authoritarianism.

All of these failed, bringing destruction, pain and suffering in their wake,
he said.

"We will not lecture any country on the ideology it should follow," Van
Thiel said, "but we cannot support abroad what we fight at home."

Germany today enjoyed multi-party democracy, a strong independent judiciary,
a free press and a vibrant civil society, he said.

"We consider the most human and efficient social, political and economic
system that based on freedom, democracy, rule of law and social justice,"
Van Thiel said.

"The German government stands up for these values and ideals wherever they
are in danger," he said.

"We offer to all those who want to struggle with us for those values our
solidarity and support."

Van Thiel said Germany considered Africa to be a major partner.

"We would like Africa to be a stable, prosperous, free and united
continent," he said.

Ambassador-designate Karin-Elsa Blumberger-Sauerteig was present at the
ceremony but did not host it as she is yet to present her credentials to
President Robert Mugabe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Only 32% of land ready for planting
Augustine Mukaro
A RECORD low hectarage is expected to be put under crop in the 2004/5 season
as only 32% of land normally planted has been prepared for planting.

Farming experts who carried out a survey recently said less than 200 000
hectares of land had been prepared for planting in the commercial sector
while an estimated 220 000 hectares were ready in communal and
newly-resettled areas.

Under normal circumstances, crop production should take up 1,3 million

The survey by agricultural experts said the fall in land planted would be
exacerbated by the high degree of uncertainty prevailing in the sector.

It said evictions of both commercial and newly-resettled farmers would
result in a substantial decline in the planting of major crops such as maize
and tobacco in the coming season.

Hectarage in the commercial farming sector has been in decline since the
government embarked on the arbitrary land reform programme in 2000.

Planted land in newly-resettled areas would also decline as government
evicts A1 settlers to make room for A2 farmers throughout the country.

The survey said the 2004/5 season could be the worst in Zimbabwe's
agricultural history, as all factors are unfavourable to production.

"Tractors available for tillage have slumped from over 30 000 to below 10
000 including those owned by farmers, firms and quasi-government
organisations like the District Development Fund (DDF) and the Agricultural
and Rural Development Authority (Arda)," the survey said.

If all the tractors were operational, they could till up to 400 000 hectares
but over half of them have broken down and some have been overused.

The government's DDF, which normally offers tillage to communal farmers,
will not get close to last year's 100 000 hectares due to lack of spare
parts for most of its tractors.

Tobacco Growers Trust (TGT) past president Thomas Nherera said draught power
remains the major stumbling block forcing farmers to reduce the area under

"So far TGT has brought 242 tractors into the country and their capacity is
a maximum of 10 000 hectares," he said.

"The ideal situation would be about 100 000 tractors. All farmers would be
assured of access to a tractor to till land. Tobacco farmers alone need to
plant up to 75 000 hectares."

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) estimates that about 500 of its members
remain on the land either fully or partially operational out of some 4 500
before the land seizures began.

"Reductions in commercial plantings since the beginning of the land reform
programme in 2000 are: flue cured tobacco by 72%; maize 72%, cotton 95%, and
soyabeans 70% including hectarage planted by A2 farmers," the CFU August
report said.

"The total area of crops grown has dropped from normal levels of around 530
000 hectares to approximately 220 000 by last season. A further considerable
plunge in cropping activities is inevitable this year."

With less than a month to go before the first rains are expected, the
availability of fertiliser and seed is still dogged by uncertainty.

Local manufacturers have for the past three seasons failed to meet demand as
foreign currency shortages have hampered imports of vital chemicals.

Inputs expected in the market are likely to be inadequate for even half the
traditional hectarage put under crop.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

'Sweden to insist on democracy'
Staff Writer
SWEDEN will continue demanding respect for human rights, democracy and good
governance in its partnership with countries and organisations, Swedish
ambassador to Zimbabwe Kristina Svensson said last week.

Officially opening the Sida Day during the Water Resources, Sanitation and
Hygiene (Warsh) Fair last week, Svensson said her country will strive to
reduce poverty and promote "peace, democracy and good governance".

She said Sweden would also seek to enhance investment in children and young
people, economic growth and equitable distribution of income and resources
and gender equality.

Diplomats who spoke to the Independent said such a position is likely to
dash any hopes of the resumption of closer relations between Zimbabwe and

They said the government has continued to subjugate civil liberties and
perpetuate the breakdown in the rule of law.

"The drought of democracy in Zimbabwe continues to produce serious
violations of internationally recognised human rights," a diplomat said.
"The freedoms of assembly, association and expression, which are fundamental
to the existence of a functioning democracy, are not being respected."

Svensson said the new policy on global development is premised on the
principle of "shared responsibility" and targets poor countries.

"Development co-operation will support and complement the efforts made by
poor people and countries themselves to overcome poverty," Svensson said.

Sweden was one of the first countries to freeze bilateral support to the
Zanu PF government after the deterioration of human rights in the country.
Over the past three years, Sweden has provided development aid to Zimbabwe
through United Nations bodies and legally constituted civic society

The Warsh Fair was meant to promote cooperation between members in water and
sanitation matters and assess progress made towards reaching the Millennium
Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without access to safe
drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zisco needs US$200m to avoid collapse
Gift Phiri
FINANCIALLY beleaguered Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) needs over
US$200 million for recapitalisation before year-end to avoid collapse.

The state enterprise's management however says it is finalising plans to
engage a strategic partner in a move aimed at pooling investment capital.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands the country's sole iron and steel
manufacturing firm urgently requires working capital to import spares,
purchase wagons and coke oven batteries, and to maintain conveyors used to
transfer coal and coke to blast furnaces.

It also needs funds to service its debts estimated at over $30 billion and
to boost production levels, which have slumped to less than 20% of normal

In an exclusive interview with the Independent at the giant steelworks in
Redcliff last week, Zisco managing director Gabriel Masanga, while admitting
that there was need for massive recapitalisation, denied that Zisco was
teetering on the brink of collapse. He said management was looking for a
strategic partner to turn around the company's fortunes.

He said the company was already in talks with potential suitors and was
likely to move into a partnership "very soon". An extraordinary general
meeting held two weeks ago approved amendments to the company's articles of
association in line with the envisaged alliance, he said.

"The next step is to look for a strategic partner," Masanga said. "There are
a number of organisations interested in taking up equity in Zisco. We are
just waiting for the major shareholder to decide which strategic partner it
is comfortable to work with."

Masanga declined to disclose names of foreign companies that could be
engaged as external partners. An unnamed consultancy firm has been hired to
audit the steelmaker ahead of the injection of fresh capital.

Industry sources said Johannesburg Securities Exchange-listed Iscor had
expressed an interest in partnering Zisco. A Chinese firm, Shougang
International Trade and Engineering Corporation, is also being touted as a
prospective strategic partner. Previous government-brokered deals involving
the two companies have been shrouded in secrecy. Masanga confirmed that
Zisco had been working closely with the Chinese in the refurbishment of
blast furnace number four.

He said the biggest constraint at Zisco was raw materials, mainly coal and
electricity, which were in short supply because the company had not been
able to pay suppliers. He said support infrastructure to the plant needed
either replacement or repairs.

He said he was optimistic the company would soon get its regular supplies of
important raw materials and would be able to save itself from bankruptcy to
become one of the country's major foreign currency earners.

"From the investment of the new equity partner we think that we can turn
around the company for the good," Masanga said. "We don't want to continue
going to our majority shareholder, the government, asking for cash
injections. We want to use our returns to retire our debts and also post
good profits."

Zisco has a potential to export products worth US$105 million per year when
operating at full capacity. The company, one of Africa's biggest integrated
steelworks, has been a perennial loss-making entity for the past decade,
exerting huge pressures on the fiscus. Because of its strategic importance,
the government has been sceptical about opening it up to foreign investors.
But its persistent failure to make profits has forced the state into a major
policy shift.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

TeleAccess turns to farming
Conrad Dube
ZIMBABWE'S prospective second fixed telephone operator, TeleAccess, has
turned to contract tobacco farming and mining to raise US$160 million needed
to import equipment for its network operation.

TeleAccess, owned by Distinguished Ownership (Pvt) Ltd in which Daniel
Shumba is the controlling shareholder, will need earnings from the
agricultural and mining sectors as foreign exchange shortages bite in the

TeleAccess financial advisor, the Jewel Bank, has contracted tobacco farmers
and miners to provide assurance to Chinese firm, Huawei, a potential
equipment supplier, that TeleAccess will be able to pay for the equipment in
hard currency.

The Chinese supplier has requested TeleAccess to provide security in the
form of tobacco, chrome and platinum products before they can supply more
than US$160 million worth of telecommunications equipment for the project to
take off.

Jewel Bank chief executive Nyasha Makuvise told a parliamentary portfolio
committee on Transport and Communications on Monday that farmers would
produce the tobacco that would be sold to raise the forex.

Makuvise said potential equipment suppliers were reluctant to accept payment
in local currency, which has been depreciating against major currencies.

He said delays in implementing the project had been partly due to changes in
the regulatory process and policy shift in the parent ministry had also
affected the bank's efforts to issue a private placement to fund the

"The delays have caused implementation costs to shoot up while several
negotiations between Potraz and our client have been going on over the
period. At the prevailing auction rate of $5 600 per green back, almost $890
billion is required," Makuvise said.

He said the suppliers, wary of Zimbabwe's foreign currency shortages, had
asked for a share of the country's tobacco crop.

They also want a share of chrome and platinum earnings as payment for the
equipment. Makuvise said the suppliers also wanted other minerals beforethey
could de-liver telecommunications equipment for the project and to assure
Sinosure, Huawei's insurance agents, that payment would be in hard currency.

He said the potential suppliers wanted a 20% down payment before delivery
and the other 40% after delivery, with the balance payable after the launch.

Makuvise said if the contractual agreements are concluded the company would
deliver the "equipment in two to three months".

Jewel Bank is now structuring a deal in which TeleAccess will contract
tobacco farmers to grow the forex-earning crop.

The parliamentary committee was seeking to understand the mystery
surrounding the delay in the implementation of the project, which is of
significant national interest.

Makuvise said negotiations between the Chinese company and TeleAccess had
been stalled by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of
Zimbabwe (Potraz)'s delay in allocating frequencies to TeleAccess and the
numbering plan to distinguish between operators.

Makuvise told the parliamentarians that Huawei wanted confirmation from
Potraz that TeleAccess would be allocated frequencies and numbers for the
service provider.

He said there would be a private placement to raise part of the required

In the fundraising project, the bank was looking for both loans and equity,
he said.

TeleAccess was licensed in January 2003 by Potraz to become the second
national fixed line telephone operator.

Telecommunications regulations had stipulated that the company was to roll
out its network within six months of getting the licence.

The telecommunications company has complained that Potraz had delayed in
allocating them numbers for their system.

Makuvise said the rollout would be as soon as the interconnection agreements
were signed and the authority approved the numbering plan.

TeleAccess undertook to connect 60 000 lines in its first year of operation.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Zesa hikes electricity tariffs
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) last Friday raised
electricity tariffs by 18,9% citing increases in postal charges. The power
utility has also promised that more increases are coming anytime subject to
cabinet approval.

Obert Nyatanga, Zesa's general manager for corporate affairs, said the
parastatal had been forced to revise the rates from $37/KWh to $44/KWh
because of the increase in postal services from Zimpost.

"That increase has been caused by the hike in postage fees by Zimpost. We do
not absorb the postage fees," Nyatanga said.

"We will be implementing our own hikes, but we are still waiting for cabinet
approval. The proposal for the gradual increase is with effect from
September 1.

Zimpost increased its postal fees from $2 300 to $4 600 for an ordinary
letter with effect from October 1.

The last time Zesa hiked tariffs was in February, when electricity users
were slapped with a 400% increase.

The power utility was later forced to grant a temporary tariff relief of
between 29-45% after an outcry from consumers and industry.

The tariff relief was applicable from the March consumption.

The increase by Zesa follows massive tariff hikes by another
government-controlled entity, Net*One, which raised its rates by 385%.
Industry has said the hikes would raise the cost of production, which would
be passed on to the consumer.

Nyatanga said once Zesa obtained cabinet approval, it would implement tariff
adjustments in line with an independent evaluation which was done by
consultancy company, Sad-elec of South Africa.

"Once we have obtained the approval we will have the new rates effected," he

Following the outcry on the tariff increments earlier in the year Zesa
appointed Johannesburg-based energy consultancy firm, Sad-elec to conduct an
energy pricing study.

In its pricing report submitted to government and Zesa in August, Sad-elec
recommended that for Zesa to operate effectively its tariffs had to be
revised upwards.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Ugandan minister lectures Zimbabwe on black market
Godfrey Marawanyika
UGANDAN Minister of Tourism, Trade and Industry Edward Rugamayo this week
offered Zimbabwean businessmen and government officials a few tips on how to
deal with the black market.

Rugamayo was responding to businessman Steve Margolis who wanted to know if
Uganda had foreign currency shortages and what incentives foreign investors
got for investing in Uganda.

"We do not have any restrictions on foreign currency or what you can get
from the banks," said Rugamayo. "We do not even need receipts or to know how
much forex you have or what you have purchased," he said.

"We now have a problem with the shilling appreciating against the United
States dollar. But all I can say is that we have plenty of forex."

The revelations by Rugamayo stunned Zimbabwean business executives who were
attending a breakfast meeting organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe

"Uganda had inflation figures almost comparable to what you have here. We
had two foreign currency markets - the official one and the black market,"
he said.

"We have unbundled some of our enterprises, such as the electricity and
hotels. We said we want to liberalise the money sector, it was really
painful. For example, we had 1 000 000 shilling, but government decided to
delete two zeros from that one million and we were left with 10 000

From the 10 000 shillings, he said, government took 30% of the value,
leaving 7 000 shillings.

"That wiped out the black market."

Rugamayo was part of a Ugandan delegation that accompanied President Yoweri
Museveni to Zimbabwe this week.

Museveni was in the country on a three-day state visit.

Rugamayo told the meeting that they wanted investment in the leather,
aviation, pork and textile industries.

"We have two million pigs in Uganda which we roast in the pubs everyday. We
would be glad if we could develop a pork processing plant," he said.

"All our leather is exported mostly to Pakistan as raw hides, we lack value
addition," he said.

"I am told that Zimbabwe's national airline has plans to go to Teheran, and
we would be glad if it can make a stopover in Uganda because we also do a
lot of business with Iran."

At the meeting, Native Investment Africa chief executive Phillip Chiyangwa
complained that because of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in
which Zimbabwe and Uganda fought on opposing camps, he had lost a contract
to supply 500 wagons to Uganda.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

      Zimbabwe under new colonialism

      Godfrey Marawanyika

      FORGET smart partnership and South-South cooperation, a new form of
colonialism is developing in Zimbabwe although this time around it has
nothing to do with territorial occupation. Chinese entrepreneurs are dumping
their substandard goods on Zimbabwe - from clothes and toys to toilet

      Over the past four years, Zimbabwe has been trying to strengthen its
relations with countries in the Far East after its fallout with the West.
This has seen Zimbabwe struggling to consolidate its partnerships with China
and other Asian tigers.

      President Robert Mugabe is battling to promote his "Look East" policy
in a bid to find new trading partners as traditional Western economic ties
show signs of severe strain.

      Taking a cue from the president's call, business trips have been
organised to China, Singapore and Malaysia to promote new trade links.
However, this policy has so far largely succeeded in reducing Zimbabwe to a
dumping site, especially of Chinese products.

      Chinese entrepreneurs are taking up office space and retail outlets
and have opened restaurants in residential areas. In the Harare CBD some
butcheries have been converted to retail use.

      Shoes, electrical goods and clothing are the main products entering
the country. Others include toothpaste, toothbrushes, pencils, pens and

      As a result, Zimbabwe's retail and manufacturing sectors are battling
to survive under a flood of substandard Chinese products that are being
dumped on the Zimbabwe market.

      Analysts say if this influx continues it will force many local
manufacturing and retail outlets out of business. This could lead to massive
retrenchments as companies battle to survive due to loss of market share
that has been taken by Chinese products.

      Over the past three years, Chinese outlets have mushroomed in Harare's
central business district and in the process marginalised local firms.

      It's a new form of colonialism, the analysts say.

      The government believes that the new strategy is paying dividends.

      Recently it received tractors from China and last year Malaysians
promised Zimbabwe large quantities of fuel after Mugabe's visit.

      Despite the well-publicised promise which was supposed to see supplies
transported via Beira, nothing has so far materialised.

      Also the Chinese government has promised to support the land reform.
Businesspeople in Zimbabwe have however remained sceptical of the
initiative. They argue that the relationship is lopsided.

      Their claims have been proven right if the current situation is
anything to go by. Asian products have invaded the market.

      Independent economic commentator Eric Bloch said the country was yet
to benefit from the policy shift.

      "I don't believe that we have really benefited from the Asian
products, especially from China. There has been some limited investment in
the form of bricks and other things but the country has been flooded with
low quality products which have prejudiced our industry," he said.

      "We are unable to compete with these products because they are
heavily-subsidised," he said. "What is happening is that Zimbabwe has been
recolonised through these Asian products."

      Since holding the disputed 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and
presidential elections the Zimbabwe government has been pushing for business
with the Asian tigers.

      During the opening of the Fifth Session of parliament this year,
Mugabe reiterated the need for the country to do business with the Asian

      One of the major problems that has been cited with products from Asia
is lack of durability.

      Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions acting secretary-general Colleen
Gwiyo is not at all pleased with the influx of products from the East, which
he says has led to widespread worker exploitation.

      "Most of the workers who work for these Asian orgnisations are paid
very low wages. Government is to blame for this crisis," he said.

      "For some strange reason they just opened up markets under the guise
of economic liberalisation yet they do not know the effects."

      Gwiyo said some of the industries affected by the influx of products
from Asia are leather and textiles.

      "The disturbing thing is that most of these products do not last more
than two months. Most of the products only have a shelf life of two months,
whilst others last for a month."

      Despite the outcry from labour, business and the general populace,
Mugabe's Industry and International Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi says
the concerns are not justified.

      He argues that since consumers are benefiting from the availability of
cheap products, concerns by industry can be dismissed.

      Black empowerment activist Paddington Japajapa last month wrote a
letter of complaint to the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry
and International Trade on the influx of Asian products and what he termed
"human trafficking".

      Japajapa also complained of marriages of convenience by foreigners to
obtain resident permits and citizenships.

      Japajapa's letter led to a fact-finding mission by the parliamentary
task force which last week said that they were greatly worried about the
influx of the Asian products.

      Phillip Chiyangwa, the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on
foreign affairs and trade, refused to comment on the problems industry is

      "I cannot comment on that issue because that would be making
pre-emptive statements which will not be proper," he said.

      "Once the fact-finding mission is completed I will be able to comment
on that matter."

      Under the "Look East" policy Zimbabwe has been given some agricultural
equipment in the form of tractors.

      A bank economist who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the
trading environment between Zimbabwe and the Asian countries was heavily
skewed in favour of the latter.

      "The problem is that everything has been politicised at the expense of
fair trade," the economist said.

      "There is political expediency. Politicians do not care, but I believe
local industry is not doing enough to highlight their plight. The greatest
shortcoming we have is that parliamentarians are used to rubber-stamp
agreements without first doing a proper economic analysis of what the
country will get."

      The economist said that the major problem MPs were facing was that
most trade agreements only received ratification after they had already been

      MDC economic advisor Eddie Cross said Zimbabwe was failing to make use
of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect her market.

      "All we know is that some local products have suffered immensely;
these Chinese products are coming into the country at very low prices,"
Cross said.

      "Most of these products are substandard and these guys are exploiting
the vulnerability of the Zimbabwean market. Since China has joined the WTO
we should be able to use international trade rules to protect ourselves, but
we cannot do that because of the political link between the Zimbabwean
government and the Chinese," he said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


Bonding wont heal health system

THIS week Health minister David Parirenyatwa announced that health personnel
trained at government institutions would be bonded to the state for a period
equivalent to the time it took to train them to stem the brain drain.

The haemorrhaging of skill in the health sector has been problematic for
Zimbabwe, which has over the past five years lost a large number of doctors,
pharmacists and nurses. Aggressive recruiting of health professionals by
Europe and North America and countries in the region is depriving Zimbabwe
of vital skills.

Statistics are anecdotal at best because doctors leaving the country do not
seek to have their names removed from their professional registers. Studies
have however shown that of 1 200 physicians trained in Zimbabwe in the
1990s, only 360 were left by 2001. The rate of emigration has accelerated
since then as graduate doctors escape the harsh reality of living in a class
way below their qualifications and status in society.

Even without specific figures, the extent of the brain drain is easy to
fathom. Paediatricians, neurologists, specialist surgeons, cardiologists and
dermatologists have become an endangered species in the country. In
government hospitals patients can wait for days before they are attended to
by specialist staff.

The patient-to-doctor ratio continues to balloon. The United Nations
Development Programme's Human Development report for 2004 says Zimbabwe has
about six doctors per 100 000 people. It says the country is committing less
than 3% of its GDP to the health delivery system. Up to 39% of the
population is undernourished, it says.

There are more not-so-good indicators. In 1975 life expectancy was 56 years
but the figure has since dropped to 33. Zimbabwe's infant mortality, once
the envy of most African countries only five years ago, is going up and is
believed to be above 7,5 of all live births.

This week Health permanent secretary Elizabeth Xaba said maternity mortality
in Zimbabwe was too high at 695 per 100 000. Government has proffered
ox-drawn ambulances as a solution to pregnant rural women's access to
healthcare. Not in the 21st century please Elizabeth!

Then there is the high HIV infection rate of 24%, which has pushed the
already overstretched state hospitals to the wall.

The deteriorating health conditions are in sync with the growing deprivation
of an already poor population. The sad reality is that poor health status
keeps the poor in poverty and poverty keeps them in poor health, thus
worsening the vicious cycle. Poverty is one of the main causes of reduced
life expectancy in Zimbabwe. As much as 70% of the population is living on
below US$2 a day.

Lack of accommodation has resulted in overcrowding which has increased the
spread of respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma. The risk of
diarrhoeal diseases has also increased in urban areas due to poor water
quality, as there is no foreign currency to import chemicals for water
treatment. Waste disposal in urban areas has become erratic due to
inefficiency and lack of equipment. Unemployment has pushed female juveniles
into prostitution with its attendant dangers.

Government's resettlement programme has not helped the situation either as
new farmers do not have access to primary healthcare. Child immunisation
programmes have suffered major setbacks in resettlement areas.

Public health institutions are offering limited services due to poor
funding, worsened by lack of balance of payment support. The cost of
accessing health services has meanwhile continued to rise. Only this week
private doctors increased consultation fees to as much as $400 000 per

The health delivery system is sick and Parirenyatwa, who got the poisoned
chalice from his predecessor Timothy Stamps, has continued to treat the

Parirenyatwa believes tethering doctors and nurses to hospital beds will
improve the country's health delivery system and reduce the emigration rate.
This is not the first time government has promised to bond health personnel.
As way back as 1997 when the exodus started to pick up, government said it
would bond nurses. The president of the nurses association then, Clara
Nondo, responded: "That will not work as long as government does not address
the primary causes why professionals in the health sector are trooping out
of the country daily. Bonding will not stop the brain drain because it's
about bread and butter issues and not patriotism."

Working conditions emerge as the single most important pre-disposing factor
for health professional to leave. Salaries of health workers have remained
poor while working conditions have deteriorated, as equipment and protective
clothing are not being replaced. Doctors working long hours have complained
that they are exposed to dangerous situations as fatigue-induced errors can
result in them contracting diseases.

The government has taken every opportunity to denounce those leaving the
country as sell-outs. It is a dangerous attitude.

The long and short of it is that bonding doctors by itself will not staunch
the brain drain so long as the working conditions and the political
situation in the country remain unstable.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

You were right, Gono!

WHEN the then newly appointed governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono,
presented his first Monetary Policy statement last December, he foreshadowed
that the year-on-year inflation rate would decline to 200% or below by
December. Most economists, analysts and businessmen received his projection
with great scepticism and cynicism.

Inflation had been burgeoning at an ever greater pace since 2001. At that
time the populace was already wilting, for inflation (based upon the
Consumer Price Index) rose to a then inconceivable level of 71,9% at a time
when first world countries had inflation within the range of 2-4%, and
virtually all countries within the African sub-continent had inflation
levels well below 20%, and many below 10%.

But despite having reached what were perceived to be the unattainable
pinnacles of inflation, the rate continued to surge upwards, reaching 133,2%
in 2002 and a horrendous 619,5% by November 2003.And, with inflation having
uncontrollably soared upwards, despite recurrent pronounced assurances
emanating from government that the necessary measures were being pursued to
bring the rampant inflation down sharply, and none of those assurances
materialising, it was inevitable that most received Gono's prognostications
as being devoid of realism and as empty of substance as had been all the
unfulfilled promises of government that inflation would fall.

That the whole Zimbabwean population, with very rare exception, could not
give any credence to Gono's prophecies and targets was very understandable.
Almost all were suffering severely from the hyperinflation which had set in
and was believed to be endemic to the economy. A consumer's average spending
basket in 1995 of $100 had a cost increase to $190,10 in 1999, rising to
$469,60 in 2000, to $1 883,10 in 2002 and, by 2003, that which cost $100 in
1995 cost an unbelievable $8 757,10. To quote from a publication of the
National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF): "If a domestic worker earned an
annual income of $12 000 in 1995, for the same standard of living the same
domestic worker by 2003 needed an annual income of $1 032 000, or 86 times
more than his/her income of 1995."

And, if only the most essential components of an average consumer's spending
basket were assessed, the inflation impacts were, in most instances, even
greater. At least $645,95 was required in December, 2003 to buy the same
food as could be purchased for $100 in December, 2002. Accommodation costs
(by way of rent, rates, fuel and power) as amounted to $100 in December 2002
amounted to $455,11 a year later whilst, in the same period $100 of medical
expenses equated to $669,06 in December, 2003. Even more stunning and
frightening for consumers was that $100 of transport and communication costs
in December, 2002 rose to $1 210,55 by December 2003.

The scepticism was reinforced by awareness that the many causes of
Zimbabwean inflation included continuing profligacy of government, with its
never-ending spending far beyond its means and consequential immense
recourse to borrowings, many of which emanated from the Reserve Bank which
resorted to the inflation creative excessive printing of money. How on earth
was the Reserve Bank governor going to curb the government spending
excesses? A further very great contributing factor to inflation was the
gargantuan levels of corruption that pervaded all sectors of government and
the private sector, and there were no indications that government was
genuinely motivated to do anything to curb corruption, albeit that it had
talked of doing so for many years.

Inflation was also fuelled by the massive depreciation of the Zimbabwean
dollar - not at official rates of exchange, which were virtually static, but
within the parallel and black markets, which were extremely active and
virtually the only source of foreign exchange to fund imports. Commodity
shortages were similarly triggers for ever greater inflation, for many
essentials such as petroleum products were only available from unofficial
markets at enormous premiums.

In such an environment, hardly any could imagine that the "new broom"
governor could possibly achieve an almost miraculous decrease in inflation
to an extent of two-thirds rate reduction within one year. This columnist
was one of the vast majority who, whilst admiring the governor's
aspirations, believed they were unrealistic in the extreme. I believed that
he was succumbing to wishful thinking which could not be transformed into
reality. But now, nine months later, the signs are very clear that all the
sceptics, myself included, were totally wrong in our disbelief and doubts.
Although the governor's target has not yet beenreached, it is becoming
increasingly apparent that the prospects of his forecast proving correct are
now very great and that, in fact, the target may well be surpassed. Gono
has, so far, proven that he was potentially right in his inflation

In the first full calendar month after the governor's initial Monetary
Policy statement, year-on-year inflation rose to 622,8%, being an all-time
record high. But since then it has fallen in each and every month.

The achievement is remarkable and widely commended, including very positive
comments from as authoritative a body as the International Monetary Fund.
The astounding reduction in the rate of inflation is attributable to various
factors, one of which is purely technical. The rate is calculated according
to the movement in the CPI, by comparing the index for a prescribed period
against the base of the prior period. Thus, the August, 2004 inflation rate
is determined according to the extent that the CPI at August, 2004 exceeds
that at August, 2003 in the case of year-on-year inflation, and exceeds that
of July, 2004 in the case of month-on-month inflation. As the CPI had been
rising at an intensely accelerating rate, the base upon which the rate is
determined has been rising. Thus, measurement has progressively been against
a higher base, resulting in a falling rate.

However, the lowering of inflation cannot only be ascribed to atechnicality.
A very major factor has been that not only has the foreign currency exchange
rate been almost static for some time, minimising escalations in import
costs, but in addition most imports in 2001 to 2003 were funded with foreign
exchange sourced within the parallel and black markets. By December 2003 the
rates in those markets were in the region of US$1:$7 600, whereas the rate
at which, until recently, imports were mainly funded was that determined in
the foreign currency auctions of the Reserve Bank, which recently, were only
marginally above US$1:$5 600.

As a result, in many instances, the cost of imports has, in Zimbabwean
dollar terms, fallen, and this has contributed significantly to the decline
in the inflation rate.

Almost immediately after taking office the governor has promoted a theme
tune that "there is no gain without pain", he trying to prepare the populace
as a whole, and the business sector in particular, for negative and adverse
side effects of some of the monetary policies.

Regrettably, the greatest sufferers of that pain have been Zimbabwe's
exporters and, as a result their employees, suppliers, shareholders and
other stakeholders. With continuing inflation, although at a substantially
lesser rate than previously, exporters have been faced with continually
increasing operating costs.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent


It's time to name and shame, John

LANDS minister John Nkomo at the weekend disclosed that 397 people had so
far been identified as multiple farm owners. He didn't say what kind of
people they are, their social status or their positions in government, the
party or business. Still, Nkomo reiterated his determination to enforce
party policy of one-man one-farm.

"There is a lot of resistance but I can assure you the process (repossession
of extra farms) is going on," said Nkomo.

Unfortunately the minister appears to see this as a personal task and in the
process leaves out of the fight what should be his key ally - the public,
the people of Zimbabwe who are keen to know who took what and what is
happening to them. Naming and shaming should be more effective than
clandestine whispers in the ears of thieves. Does Nkomo have any names to

A donor organisation has helped build an A-level classroom block in Saviour
Kasukuwere's constituency in Mt Darwin. As required by political etiquette,
the NGO asked the local MP, Kasukuwere, to be the guest of honour at the
official opening.

That was their blunder. He told the villagers, SFM reported last week, to be
wary of NGOs that come with sinister agendas pretending to help. He said
they should accept donor help "with a suspicious mind". He then thanked the
particular NGO that built the classroom block, which was not named.

It's called looking a gift horse in the mouth Cde Kasukuwere.

Shouldn't Zimbabweans be more suspicious of those who distribute computers,
pairs of shoes, trucks and bicycles just before an election? What is the
motive here Cde Kasukuwere? Isn't it every government's duty to make these
things available all the time?

This is the same MP who is so fascinated with blair toilets that in 2002 he
gave "Toilet" Tambaoga $200 000 for his toilet song but forgot that pupils
in his constituency needed a classroom block. And he has the effrontery to
question the motives of those who can identify a genuine need!

Jonathan Moyo's "patriotic" Southern Times reported last week that Zambia
would be celebrating 40 years of "freedom and pride" this month.
Vice-president (until his abrupt removal this week) Nevers Mumba said South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki had been invited to the occasion along with Zambia's
past two presidents - Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba.

Mumba observed that "unlike in most neighbouring countries" Zambia had
enjoyed peace from one government to another.

He said government would launch the independence week from October 16 to 25
"with activities from non-governmental organisations, religious groups,
cultural centres, diplomatic missions and the private sector".

The same cannot be said of Zambia's benighted neighbour where partisan galas
have been turned into a national pastime, where national days have been
reduced to campaign rallies.

From preliminary reports, there is no indication that an invitation has been
extended to a neighbouring president suffering from an acute and very
infectious disease called Blair fever - with symptoms similar to Bush fever.
Muckraker understands the Zambians are afraid of catching the contagion and
spoiling their 40th anniversary.

The same afflicted fellow is reportedly uneasy when issues of transition
from one government to another are mentioned. It is against the cultural and
liberation values of his country for a president to voluntarily leave power,
Muckraker is reliably informed.

We hear his friend of the Namib Desert last week received a special honour
from French President Jacques Chirac after he decided it was time to pass on
the baton. Although he has been a staunch admirer of our leader, he has not
gone on to destroy his country in solidarity. Don't they say that imitation
is the most sincere form of flattery?

Mozambique's Joachim Chissano has also launched a valedictory expedition
with his "Don't cry for me, Mozambique" tour. It looks like friends are
dwindling. Which perhaps explains why our leaders have felt the need to find
new ones.

Welcome Yoweri Museveni. Let's put the small matter of the Congo war behind
us so we can shake our fists at the West together. But we suspect Yoweri
will meanwhile quietly remain Blair's best friend, just as all our
neighbours have!

We note that despite invitations to Museveni to criticise Tony Blair, he
declined to do so preferring to talk about Britain's colonial legacy. As for
regime change not being for black Africa, when did Museveni decide that:
before or after he toppled Milton Obote?

Musician and war veteran Dick Chingaira wants to dislodge Gibson Munyoro as
MP for Makoni West. Chingaira says the constituency is now worse than it was
in colonial times.

"The constituency is now underdeveloped and it is much more worse than it
was during the liberation struggle," complained Chingaira to The Voice.

He said potential investors were being "turned away by the state of the

To dramatise the sorry state of affairs in the constituency, Chingaira says
he has composed a song titled "Campaign, Win and Forget" in which he exposes
truant MPs who are seen only around election time. Once they are elected
they disappear into the crowds in town.

It looks like the truth is getting too stark to be concealed when war
veterans start drawing parallels between Ian Smith's Rhodesia and Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Especially when these comparisons are being made just
before the country celebrates its silver jubilee of Independence.

The Voice's editor Lovemore Mataire, in his weekly column about the
"resurrection of Cde Tongo" only portrayed the late commander of Zanla as
being intrigued by the new street names. He didn't say if he would be
impressed by the general state of decay across the city.

How was it possible for Tongogara to walk into town from Tongogara Avenue to
Samora Machel Ave without crossing Herbert Chitepo Ave? Was this a genuine
oversight or were you making a statement about the latter's death? And why
would Tongogara rush to see the nondescript Harvest House and miss Shake
Shake Building whence emanate all the policies that have caused the ruin of
so much potential in this country? Wouldn't he want a cockerel for a meal?

By the way, when did Tongogara die? December 1976 or 1979?

We would also have loved to hear Tongogara's views on the Chimoio Solidarity
Bash. Would he have approved of adults and youths shamelessly
commercialising the mass murder of refugees in Mozambique to bribe the
nation to forget the daily deprivations of the most basic commodities?

Cde Goings On at the so-called Sunday News - which never has any - seems a
tad miffed by our nomination of him for Bootlicker of the Year award. He
attempts to even the score by casting all sorts of aspersions about people
working at the Independent. Trevor Ncube is not the real owner of the paper,
he darkly suggested.

If Cde Going Going Gone, who styles himself a journalist, knows who the
"real" owner of the Independent and Standard is perhaps he could tell us.
What is the point of calling himself a journalist, advertising a hot story
and then declining to disclose it? What a tease!

We liked Munyaradzi Huni's latest conspiracy report in the Sunday Mail.
"Controversial" UNDP resident representative Victor Angelo is being recalled
amid reports that the world body is "furious" with his "meddling" in
Zimbabwe's internal affairs. So "furious" are they that they are offering
him a "higher post", we learn. This will result in him "being used" by
Britain and Germany, Huni says.

But it would appear he has already been "used". He worked closely with
former British ambassador Brian Donnelly, Huni tells us.

In fact, anybody following this issue will know that Angelo went rather
further than many Western diplomats were comfortable with in trying to help
Zimbabwe out of the hole it had dug for itself. He tried to get the UNDP
involved in land reform, indigenisation, and electoral capacity-building, in
each case trying to rehabilitate a recidivist regime. Angelo was Zimbabwe's
friend. But such is the blind and obdurate nature of its rulers that they
couldn't see that. Very simply he got in the way of the demagogues in our

We can all therefore safely conclude where the Sunday Mail story came from:
the same person who appeared to be having a go at John Nkomo last week over
the "disastrous" implementation of farm evictions and who authorised a
hatchet job on Didymus Mutasa recently while President Mugabe was out of the

These are the "dirty hands" that Mutasa referred to in an interview with the
Independent last week. Their prints are evident in any story that has a
bearing on the succession.

Finally, we were surprised to see Dr Timothy Stamps, who grandly styles
himself "Health Advisor in the Office of the President and Cabinet", writing
to the editor of the Sunday Mail in response to a letter in the Independent.

Clearly, although he may appear confused about which paper he should be
writing to, he has not been idle in his current post. He has evidently been
absorbing some of the melodramatic language that is the speciality of that
august department of state.

Stamps describes our correspondent's letter as "disorganised, dishonest,
deceitful, defamatory" and "prejudiced".

He then prays that God may heal the writer of his "bitterness".

We can be sure that the last thing our correspondent wants are the prayers
of somebody who kneels aboard the gravy train. But from a public-interest
point of view, does Stamps' portfolio apply to all members of the Office of
the President and Cabinet, or just its chief beneficiary?

And can you imagine the sheer stupidity of this same office complaining to
the Media and Information Commission about publication of a picture of
President Mugabe hoisting up his pants at the Harare Show when he was
surrounded by journalists and photographers?

This is a blatant abuse of Aippa by Mugabe's apologists. What will the next
step be: no pictures of the president unless they have been first vetted by
his office to ensure he is doing nothing indecorous?

Nothing could have been more calculated to invite the world to laugh at the
foolishness of Zimbabwe's control freaks. They deserve all the publicity
they got.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Museveni's mission
Vincent Kahiya
THE last time Airport Road was festooned with flags and portraits was in
July 2002 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was here. The visit was
immediately turned into a propaganda junket and upgraded to a state occasion
despite Zenawi being a prime minister and not a head of state.

Zenawi's government has been clamouring for the extradition of dictator
Mengistu Haile Mariam to face charges of genocide.

This week President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who not-so-long ago claimed
to "differ profoundly" with President Mugabe over the DRC conflict, was here
on a state visit. Hundreds of women carrying President Mugabe's bespectacled
face on their bums and chest were bussed to the airport to receive another
true African son who had come to "learn" about Zimbabwe's successful land
reform programme. The Zimbabwean model of land reform has been praised by
benevolent regional heads who have however conveniently avoided implementing
it in their own countries.

President Mugabe told us that the two leaders had buried their "transient"
differences, which stemmed mainly from the DRC conflict in which the
Zimbabwean and Ugandan armies fought on opposing sides.

Museveni's trip was therefore presented to us as an illustration of African
brothers' ability to make up and kiss for the sake of pan-Africanism.

Museveni described the conflict over the DRC as a "little misunderstanding"
and said Zimbabwe and Uganda had "always worked together". This is
notwithstanding the thousands of soldiers and civilians killed in the
conflict and the devastation to economies.

There are parallels between Museveni and Mugabe. The two leaders in 1998
sought glory from foreign military adventures at the expense of their
national economies.

Like Mugabe, Museveni was heavily criticised for taking troops into the
Congo. Both Uganda and Zimbabwe were implicated by the United Nations in the
plunder of resources in the DRC. But there was a difference in the handling
of the UN report by the two leaders.

Mugabe in his now commonplace mode of disdain frowned at the report, which
he dismissed as the work of those bent on poisoning the good relations
between Zimbabwe and the DRC.

Museveni on the other hand immediately set up a judicial team to probe the
findings of the UN. The team implicated his brother Salim Saleh and senior
army officials. Museveni, after cabinet approval, ordered a full probe,
which resulted in Saleh's resignation from government and government
approving his prosecution in December last year. Zimbabweans implicated in
the plunder of the Congo have political patronage to thank for their escape
from censure.

That does not however make Museveni a white lily. It shows the deficit of
transparency in our leadership. Museveni still has his blemishes, especially
his insistence that Uganda should be a non-party state.

In 2000 the two African presidents survived polls which attracted world
attention. Mugabe's Zanu PF won a narrow majority in the parliamentary
election which was followed by every TV viewer worldwide. President Museveni
won the important referendum, saying that Uganda should continue being a
"non-party state", thus blocking multi-partysm.

His supporters say he is right in one aspect. Peace is still fragile in
Uganda, and the country does not need leaders who thrive on ethnicity,
regionalism or class. But Uganda also needs democracy and charismatic
leaders and popular parties which can give all Ugandans a feeling of being

But Museveni is a man on a mission to create employment and boost economic
growth. Last year the country recorded growth of 6% compared with Zimbabwe's
negative growth of 8%.

His business delegation was looking at securing business opportunities and I
bet they saw plenty of them here. There are companies which have mothballed
expansion projects until Mugabe's government comes up with a coherent
economic policy and a durable political settlement.

The Ugandans were taken to Dairibord, which is struggling with insufficient

milk supplies from farms ravaged by the resettlement programme. How about
Dairibord setting up a milk processing plant in the liberalised dairy sector
in Uganda? We hear the dairy sector contributes about 20% to Uganda's food
processing sector.

The delegation went to Varichem, which has started manufacturing ARVs. That
would augment the vibrant HIV/Aids campaign back home.

Museveni, a strong supporter of the United States' Africa Growth and

Opportunity Act, last year spoke of his passion to secure markets on a trip
to the US.

"Africa has demanded aid, aid, aid. I don't want aid, I want trade!'' He is
seeking and getting trade for his country while Mugabe wants acclaim and
personal adulation for stage performances.

Mugabe has been on many business forays whose benefits to the nation have
remained encrusted in rhetoric. There is nothing to show for it except trade
attaches and diplomats deployed across the globe to only raise the
Zimbabwean flag every morning. Now we have substandard merchandise from

Museveni says Uganda does not need to set up an embassy in Zimbabwe unless
there is tangible evidence of business between the two countries.

"An embassy is not a decorative feature to be used for wining and dining,"
he told state media on Tuesday.

How many restaurants is the Zimbabwean government running across the world?
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Dear sisters and friends of WOZA,
We were shocked to learn that you were arrested and inhumanly treated when
performing a peaceful democratic protest against the proposed NGO bill.
We want you to know that you have an international attention and a special
focus from women in your sister city Munich.
We condemn the oppressive acts of your government, join your protest, admire
your civic courage and pray with you for a good future,

Vera Murschetz, Sarasota, Fl, USA;
Lucille Klein, Sarasota, Fl, USA;
Prof. Dianne Chambless, Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Vivian Golden, Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Dr. Lisa Rhodes, Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Anne Domenach, Paris, France;
Dr. Louise Stern, Paris, France;
Anna Farfante, Rome, Italy; I
nga Berkhan, Rome, Italy;
Sabine Picking, Berlin, Germany;
Dr. Isa Klein, Berlin, Germany;
Karin Leppien, Bonn, Germany;
Eva-Maria Behrens, Hamburg, Germany;
Helene Meier, Hamburg, Germany;
Marlis Proksche, Wertingen, Germany;
Ilona Poos, Munich, Germany;
Gaby Beltermann-Kamper, Munich, Germany;
Angelika Doubrawa, Munich, Germany;
Ariane Schilling, Munich, Germany;
Dr. Brigitte Kern, Munich, Germany;
Eike Paschek, Munich, Germany;
Charlotte von Tettenborn, Munich, Germany;
Caroline Beltermann, Munich, Germany;
Martina Nebi, Munich, Germany;
Dr. Elke Schmidt, Munich, Germany;
Antje Hettler, Munich, Germany; and
Dr. Antje Wolters
Adalbertstr. 104/V
80798 München
Tel +49 (0) 89-271 65 63
Fax +49 (0) 89-272 18 64
Mobil +49 (0) 170-8313135
Email <>

Back to the Top
Back to Index