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


Pahad tells of hopes for Zim
11/09/2003 10:02  - (SA)

Willem Jordaan

Cape Town - Deputy minister of foreign affairs Aziz Pahad says President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change may
come to an agreement before the end of the year.

Addressing a media information session, he said although he had no intimate
knowledge of the talks he thought "things are moving in the right

Pahad said: "I hope the talks, which started a while ago, will be concluded
as soon as possible."

Pahad's statement follows President Thabo Mbeki's one earlier this year that
a solution for the Zimbabwean crisis was within reach.

Zanu-PF sources said earlier that "official negotiations" about the
Zimhabwean situation could begin towards the end of this month.

Standing ovation?

South African government sources say several factors are increasing pressure
to bring about a negotiated settlement between Zanu-PF and the MDC in
Zimbabwe as soon as possible.

The MDC announced that mass action would start again on October 1.

And, the court case in which the MDC will question the validity of the
election result which kept Mugabe in power is scheduled to start on November

Government sources say these two factors could hamper meaningful talks.

Commonwealth leaders are scheduled to meet again on December 6 and the
renewal of sanctions against Zimbabwe could be one of the points for
discussion if meaningful progress hasn't been made for a negotiated

Pagad was asked how it was possible that Mugabe could have received a
standing ovation at the recent Southern African Development Community in
Tanzania when he was ruining his country.

Pahad said he wasn't aware of any standing ovation and added there had been
choirs and loud music, which could have been construed as a standing

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From ZWNEWS, 11 September


The Daily News recently reported that a man had been arrested and charged
under the Public Order and Security Act for faxing a letter and other
documents to a friend in the UK in which he discussed the conduct of the
recent elections in Kwekwe. What follows is the opposition record of what
happened during the polling days in Kwekwe.

Friday 29 August

An MDC election agent, the Honourable MP Blessing Chebundo, was attacked in
his vehicle at Thulani village polling station at about 21:00 hrs. He had
gone there to deploy polling agents. The group of attackers numbered
+/-30.The vehicle sustained dents on the body. A report was made to Kwekwe
Central Police Station.

Saturday 30 August: First polling day

Voting went on peacefully inside the polling stations. However, outside the
polling stations, there were many groups of Zanu PF youths who were manning
roadblocks on all pathways leading to the polling stations. They were
vetting all intending voters and turning away those perceived not to be Zanu
PF supporters before getting to the polling stations. Youths were being
turned away on Saturday purportedly because any youth who tried to vote on
Saturday was not a Zanu PF youth. Zanu had agreed youths would only vote on
Sunday. The following stations were the most affected: Amaveni: all three
wards 7, 8, & 9; Mbizo 3 Play Centre: ward 5; Emtonjeni Primary School. Ward
3; Section 7 Play Centre ward 2; Dambuzo Primary School: ward 4; Chana
Primary School: ward 11. Numerous phone calls were received from the public
who had been denied passage to the polling stations throughout the voting
period. Some potential voters were pulled out of the voting queues for being
identified as MDC supporters. Reports were made to the police officers
manning the stations but nothing was done as the police officers were
unarmed, and they seemed very afraid of the Youths, and unwilling to do
anything about them. The feeling was that the officers were under
instruction not to disrupt the activities of those youths.

At Emtonjeni Primary school, at 09:15 hrs, Zanu PF youths manhandled Mrs.
Linda Mutamba and many other ladies as they walked into the school yard to
vote. Election Agent M.P. Blessing Chebundo appealed to Sgt. Makoni to
intervene. Only Linda finally voted out of that group of ladies. The others
complied with Zanu PF youths orders to leave. District Registrar Mr.
Nhliziyo was called in and he came with a senior ESC. lady officer and they
only recorded the incident. At Chana Primary School Mrs. Elizabeth Shawabaya
had her identity card confiscated by Zanu PF youths so she could not vote. A
report was made to the ZRP Post at Mbizo 16. Nothing was done despite the
fact that the group of Zanu PF youths was still there. She could not vote.
The same thing happened to Maxwell Machona and many others whose identities
we could not establish. Groups of Zanu PF youths sat outside Amaveni Hall &
St. Martins Primary School and demanded that all people going in to vote
should bring back serial numbers of their ballot papers. These would
purportedly be used to track down those who voted for the opposition MDC.
Many voters complied with the order, fearing for their lives.

Mr Marongwe, a councillorship candidate, had his house stoned at +/-08:30
and the roof was badly damaged. Eight asbestos sheets will need replacement.
His neighbour's house was caught in the cross fire and will need three
asbestos sheets replaced. Marongwe's two windowpanes and glass door were
shattered. Police did not apprehend the culprits, but instead arrested an
MDC youth named Makiwa Muchengeti for trying to apprehend one of the
attackers. He was fined $5000.00. At 10:00 hrs. the mayoral candidate's
election agent in the company of his personal assistant Fanuel Murapata,
three polling agents and ward 3 councillorship candidate Nelson Zhou were
attacked with stones by Zanu PF youths as they drove off section 7 polling
station. They were forced to retreat back into the polling station for
refuge, and were kept hostage for thirty minutes until chief inspector
Muchemedzi arrived and pleaded with the youths for a safe passage of the
team. Instead of arresting the youths, the officer pleaded with people who
were committing a crime. The youths were left to roam freely and decide who
goes in and out of the polling stations. Mrs. Pauline Sithole, wife of ward
5 councillorship candidate, was attacked with metal objects and sustained
scalp and leg injuries. She was sutured at Kwekwe General Hospital. Emmanuel
Mavhima was severely assaulted as he left Kushinga Primary Polling station
after voting. The crime was "voting on the wrong day for youths", which to
them meant he was an MDC supporter. He sustained injuries of the scalp and
was bleeding profusely when he was picked up by our MP's vehicle and taken
to the local clinic. He was then transferred to Kwekwe General Hospital for
suturing and further management.

Sunday 31 August: Second polling day

The Saturday trend of barricading roads by Zanu PF youths continued unabated
at all the aforementioned stations. As mayoral candidate Dr Madzorera and
election agent B. Chebundo with five others in the pick up truck were
leaving Chana Primary School, they were attacked viciously by a mob of Zanu
PF youths. The vehicle, a Mazda B160 truck Reg. No. 610-098Z belonging to
Dr. Madzorera was badly damaged. The windscreen was shattered and the car's
body will need panel beating. All these incidents were reported to the ZRP
At Kwekwe Central and Amaveni. Further reports and serious appeal were made
with the senior police officers, namely Chief Supt Masuka, Supt. Lizzy
Timuri, and Assistant Commissioner Ncube to address the prevailing hostile
situation during the election period. The situation however worsened, with
the mayoral candidate and his election agent failing to access the polling
stations on day two of voting. These issues were also taken up with the ward
registrar Mr. Masunda, the district registrar Mr. Nhliziyo, and senior
members of the ESC, including their leader Mr. Joyce Mbudzi. We made it
clear to them that we were continuing with the election process under
protest because the ground was not level. The general attitude of the
police, as expressed by chief supt. Masuka and also by assistant
commissioner Ncube, was that the police were not interested in dealing with
thugs operating outside the 100 metre radius of the polling stations because
it was election time. They refused to deploy more officers to deal with the
disruptive elements that we persistently complained about. As we could not
access the polling stations we could not bring

After announcement of the results

Zanu PF terrorism persisted last night after results were announced. So far
we have reports of three houses in Amaveni and one house in Mbizo that were
attacked during the night: Mr. Marongwe's house was attacked again last
night. The attackers came in a pick-up truck whose driver was only
identified as "Mr. Mhara". An additional asbestos sheet was broken. Mai
Tandi's house, W493, was stoned. Three windows + three asbestos sheets were
shattered; headboard and T.V. set were damaged. This happened at +/-20:00
hrs. The attackers came in a pickup truck written Birdale electrical and
driven by Mr. Chivayavaya. The truck belongs to councillor Madzoke. House
W491 belonging to Mai Mara was stoned. 4 asbestos sheets plus 6 windowpanes
were shattered. An elderly stroke patient who was in the house could not
escape the missiles and was hit by one of the rocks. We don't know the
extent of the injuries. House W480 belonging to Mai Makwavarara was stoned.
Five asbestos sheets shattered. House 561 belonging to Mai Ushe was
attacked. Four windows and a French door were broken.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From IRIN (UN), 10 September

C-SAFE finds "high vulnerability" in resettled areas

Johannesburg - Less than one in every 10 families living in newly resettled
areas in Zimbabwe has received food aid, the Consortium for Southern
Africa's Food Emergency (C-SAFE) has found in its latest baseline survey.
C-SAFE said in areas where the consortium operated, vulnerability was "very
high" and over 60 percent of the 1,625 households surveyed since March 2003
were in "at least one vulnerability category". The survey, conducted in
Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, found that rural households had suffered the
brunt of the ongoing food crisis, with 80 percent of households classified
as "asset poor" or "very poor". C-SAFE noted that while poverty was a
significant contributory factor in exacerbating the impact current food
shortages were having on rural families, many households were without items
which could be sold in exchange for food or to deal with emergencies. It is
estimated that in Zimbabwe the standard value of assets owned per household
averages Z$194 000. "Asset values are significantly lower in newly resettled
areas, as opposed to communal and old resettled areas," the survey said.

While less than a third of male-headed households in the sample population
could be classified as "asset poor", the figure increased markedly in
families headed by women. Households often also had to cope with the added
responsibility of caring for orphaned children and 30 percent of homes
survey were currently hosting an average of two orphans, C-SAFE found. In
some areas parents had been forced to remove their children from school,
most of them citing "the high cost of education" as the main reason.
School-aged children living in households with a chronically ill family
member dropped out of school at a significantly higher rate. Ongoing drought
conditions meant that almost 40 percent of all households had cultivated
less land than in the previous season. C-SAFE noted that access to
agricultural inputs varied from district to district, with over 90 percent
of households in Gutu, in the south, reporting insufficient access. The
survey found also found that 18 percent of families were engaged in
"on-farm" labour to access cereals. Gifts and remittances, an important
alternative source of cereals, were being contributed to almost a quarter of
all households. Half of all households reported borrowing food, borrowing
money to buy food, or buying food on credit during the last 30 days. "Over
three-quarters of households are reducing the number of meals they eat every
day. A large percent of households skip entire days of eating at least one
to two times per week," C-SAFE said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Land scandal unfolds

      Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau
      9/11/2003 11:43:09 AM (GMT +2)

      DAGGERS are reportedly drawn in Matabeleland North where
investigations into multiple farm ownership have been completed as the
government moves to pacify a restive populace and assuage the general
perception that the controversial land reform has been a disaster,
benefiting mostly the ruling clique and their cronies.

      The province's multiple allocation list seen by this paper yesterday
in Bulawayo make for some pretty dismal reading and provides an insight into
how influential ZANU PF and government officials abused their positions to
seize farms under the controversial land reform programme. The list was
compiled by the Joint Operations Committee on Land in the province.

      The list, which is a sad reflection on the level of corruption in the
high echelons of the ruling ZANU PF and a microcosm of the extent of the rot
nationally, indicates that Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs, has
five farms, three in Matabeleland South, one in Matabeleland North and the
last one in Masvingo.

      Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information and Publicity in
the Office of the President and Cabinet, has a farm known as Dete Valley in
the province and another in Mashonaland Central. He is also said to have
recently acquired another one at Sub-division 10 Mguza Block.

      Matabeleland North ZANU PF Central Committee member, Alexious Chiyasa,
owns two farms known as Antoinette and Chiwara while John Nkomo, the ruling
party's national chairman and Minister of Special Affairs, also has two
farms, one at CSC Mguza Block and another in Filabusi in Matabeleland South.

      Clifford Sibanda, the ZANU PF Matabeleland North secretary also
acquired two farms in Inyathi district and at Sikumi, Hwange while co-Vice
President Joseph Msika has one farm at CSC Mguza Block and another in

      Jacob Mudenda, the ZANU PF chairman for Matabeleland North and central
committee member, has one farm at Sikumi and another one known as Nyathi
Safari in the Matetsi hunting area. Thoko Mathuthu, a ZANU PF politburo
member, also has two farms in Hwange.

      Matabeleland North Provincial Administrator Livingstone Mashengele,
who doubles up as the chairman of the Joint Operation Committee on land, is
tomorrow expected to interview more than 52 multiple farm owners in the
province. Although he confirmed this, Mashengele said government ministers,
ZANU PF politburo and central committee members were not in his area of

      "I have been told that ministers, politburo and central committee
members with more than one farm in the province and other provinces have to
report to the President when surrendering their extra farms. So I cannot
comment on these people, it is not my area of jurisdiction. What I can tell
you is that my committee is going to interview more than 50 people who
appear on a list that we have prepared. It is at this meeting that they will
decide which farm to keep or let go."

      This has sparked fears that the government could have a change of
heart and decide not to press ahead with the exposure as the implications of
the investigations sink in. It remains to be seen whether the government
would expose all the multiple farm owners irrespective of their positions in
government and the ruling party.

      "It is also after the meeting and interviews on Friday that I will be
in a position to know who has taken what and handed over what," said the
chairman of the Joint Operation Committee on Land which comprises the
police, army and Lands and Resettlement as well as Local Government

      The land reform process has already run into a wall of negative
sentiment internationally and locally. And by taking a scythe at the illegal
multiple farm ownership which has added strain on the credibility of the
controversial land reform, the government, balancing on a political knife
edge against a backcloth of a collapsing economy, is trying to endear itself
to a sceptical public that has long dismissed the land reform as nothing
more than a gravy-train.

      After the initial euphoria that characterised the initial wave of
violent farm seizures that sparked off a political storm, the mood,
especially among the landless peasants who were meant to be the
beneficiaries, has now lapsed into scepticism amid sleaze allegations that
have provoked a sharp intake of breath even among the government's long
standing sympathisers and supporters.

      The sleaze allegations where the ruling ZANU PF heavyweights have been
accused of acquiring several farms per individual at the expense of the
landless peasants and which also contravened the government's stated
stipulation of one farm per person, for a long time provoked a muted
response from the government.

      Government officials tried to explain this away by saying that the law
of the unintended took hold when senior politicians in ZANU PF helped
themselves to multiple farms. It is however widely believed that the
authorities' deafening silence over allegations of corruption in the land
reform process suggested a tacit approval of the rot.

      It was only in the second quarter of this year that President Robert
Mugabe, probably realising that the pendulum had swung to far the other way,
belatedly appointed former senior civil servant Charles Utete to head the
Presidential Land Review Committee to investigate cases of multiple farm
ownership. The national findings of this committee are expected any time

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      MDC ditches 6 suspended councillors

      Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
      9/11/2003 11:54:38 AM (GMT +2)

      THE potential for deep cracks within the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) continue to simmer as it has emerged that the six suspended
Harare councillors had to fight for reinstatement on their own after being
ditched by the opposition party.

      Highly placed MDC party insiders said the six councillors including
suspended Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri met last week and resolved to
go it alone after the opposition party took long to intervene.

      It was at the meeting that a fellow councillor and lawyer Jerome
O'Brien was tasked to take up the matter with the High Court.

      "The party virtually turned a blind eye on them like they did when
Mudzuri was suspended. Following the unlawful suspensions, the party should
have come out in the open and stood by the councillors, but that didn't

      "What Ignatious Chombo (Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing Minister) did was illegal as evidenced by the High Court ruling and
if things had to be put out in the open for the public to know, he will be
exposed," said a party insider.

      The first casualties of Chombo's purge on the Harare council were
Falls Nhari and Fani Munengami who were suspended last month on allegations
of ignoring the minister's order to postpone council elections for a new
deputy mayor.

      Next in line were councillors Elijah Manjeya, Michael Richard Laban,
Elizabeth Marunda and O'Brien who were elected into the executive committee
in a primary election conducted at the MDC headquarters in Harare.

      This is the second time the MDC has turned its back on the circus at
the Harare City Council where councillors are in constant clashes with the
Local Government Minister over the management of the capital city.

      The Financial Gazette reported last month that the MDC had turned its
back on the embattled Mudzuri following his abrupt suspension from office by
Chombo in April this year.

      Contacted for comment, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube scoffed at
suggestions that the opposition had abandoned its councillors and that a
rift would soon emerge within the party.

      Ncube said: "Whoever is telling you that information should return
ZANU PF money . . . I am the one who instructed O'Brien to go and file
papers with the High Court."

      O'Brien said he consulted Ncube among other lawyers seeking their
guidance on the way forward.

      "We needed to do things quickly because of section 78 of the Urban
Councils Act, which stipulates that if a councillor is suspended for more
than 30 days, the seat falls vacant. We were running out of time and we
needed to do things quickly," he said.

      Mudzuri, who was ejected from council on allegations of corruption and
mismanagement, confirmed the meeting took place at councillor O'Brien's

      "We made a decision that O'Brien takes up the matter with the High
Court. O'Brien then subsequently made an urgent application to the High
Court," he said.

      On Tuesday, High Court Judge Justice Moses Chinhengo granted a
provisional order in favour of the six suspended councillors and declared
the minister's decision a nullity at law with the consent of the Attorney
General's office.

      The judge said the suspension was invalid as it was not in accordance
with the Urban Councils Act, which stipulates that the minister should issue
letters of suspension, but in this case it was his permanent secretary
Vincent Hungwe.

      Insiders said cracks were imminent within the MDC because the party is
no longer acting in a coordinated manner.

      "We can't let things continue like this. Look at ZANU PF. They stand
by their own even at death because they know that they were struggling
together. What is happening to us? Our party needs to be more serious and
mature. We have a lot of lawyers in the MDC, but nothing is happening on the
ground," said another insider.

      Constitutional law expert and political analyst Lovemore Madhuku said
the MDC had to pull up its socks and close ranks when its members are being

      "The party must take centre stage in such important issues," he said.
"They certainly need to correct their stance."

      Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe and
political commentator said: "The councillors must have weighed the odds
between playing a political game and being the city fathers. There is a
conflict of interest there, but they must have thought it best to do
something alone for the sake of the residents. The problems of the city are
really at middle management level, which has nothing to do with politics."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      ZCTU puts its reputation on the line

      Cyril Zenda
      9/11/2003 11:55:52 AM (GMT +2)

      AS the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country's premier
labour movement, is preparing for another mass action, this time to express
displeasure over the government's handling of the cash crisis, analysts this
week warned that the labour body is putting its credibility at stake and
could lose it all if the proposed action fail to produce the desired

      The analysts said by rushing into action without proper circumspection
just for the sake of being seen to be doing something could prove disastrous
for the labour movement as it risks losing what remains of its credibility
if its dejected membership does not heed the call.

      "Most people know that the mood out there is not for any stayaways so
they (ZCTU) might soon realise that they are shooting themselves in the
foot," said University of Zimbabwe lecturer and Zimbabwe Integrated
Programme chairman Heneri Dzinotyiwei.

      "The question that should be asked is whether these people are doing
this out of genuine concern for the plight of the workers or simply to
enhance their personal agendas."

      In July the ZCTU gave President Robert Mugabe's government a two-week
ultimatum to address swinging cash shortages that threaten to bring the
country to a virtual standstill.

      The once-powerful labour body last week followed up on its ultimatum
with an announcement that it will mobilise workers for a week-long
mass-protest at the end of this month.

      The protests almost coincide with the October 1 deadline given by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to Mugabe for his ruling ZANU PF party
to agree to dialogue with the opposition or face mass action.

      The analysts warned that since the planned mass action comes on the
heels of a failed opposition "final push" and disappointing voter turn-out
in parliamentary by-elections and urban council elections, the hapless
workers may not heed the call even though they are desperate for a quick fix
to the cash crisis.

      The government which has blamed everyone else for the sudden shortage
of bank notes but itself, has been tinkering with the crisis but not taking
any bold steps to end it. It is blaming cross border traders for
externalising billions in bank notes and some "economic saboteurs" for
hogging the cash.

      Its reaction has been announcements that it is going to replace the
existing $500 note with a new one to punish those who have externalised
local notes. It has also introduced some local travellers' cheques, which
have not been widely accepted by the generality of the people and is
planning to introduced $1 000 notes.

      Observers say all these measures are not even half-good enough so the
cash crisis could be around for some time.

      "Whoever is organising this mass-action does not seem to think,
because any right thinking person cannot see the logic behind the move,"
said Collins Chipare president of local civic group, the Rainbow National
unity and Reconciliation Centre.

      "How can one convince people who desperately want cash to stay at home
for up to nine days (one working week and two weekends) without going to
banks or supermarkets to look for cash in the hope that after the mass
action, the country will be awash with cash?"

      He said if the planned stay-away becomes a flop, this would impact
negatively on what people think of the trade union movement.

      "If the workers who desperately want cash decide to ignore the mass
action, then the ZCTU could be just as good as gone because no one will take
it seriously anymore," Chipare said.

      Dzinotyiwei said: "We seem to have in this country experts at
complaining but not experts in problem solving. Yes, the government has
failed to address the cash crisis but have these people presented a concrete
alternative which the government has refused to accept before calling for
the mass-actions?"

      He said if the ZCTU leadership just expect the government to find a
solution to the cash shortage without themselves even making any
suggestions, then it would appear like their motive is merely to clash with
the government not to assist in getting this country out of the crisis.

      He said judging from past experiences, President Mugabe's stubborn
government was unlikely to be prodded by the mass action into solving the
problem, no matter how successful the protests could be and therefore after
the stay-away things could be what there were before.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Bickering over exchange rate plugs fuel imports

      Staff Reporter
      9/11/2003 11:50:59 AM (GMT +2)

      DESPITE the partial de-regulation of the fuel industry, the supply
situation has remained critical because of last-minute glitches in stitching
a financial package worth at least US$30 million (Z$24.72 billion) every

      Industry players told The Financial Gazette this week that members of
the Petroleum Marketers' Association (PMA) who scored a major victory late
last month when the government agreed to de-regulate the procurement of
fuel, face another uphill task in getting financial institutions to bankroll

      Banks, which had pledged to secure monthly allocations of US$30
million in tranches of US$10 million, had not made headway in getting the
central bank to agree on the exchange rate to apply on the arrangement.

      The banking sector, now under increased scrutiny from the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the police and the spy agency - the Central Intelligence
Organisation - said the deal could only be bankable if exchange rate is
moved from Z$824 to the United States dollar to about Z$3 000 to the same

      PMA chairman Masimba Kambarami said the association was waiting for
banks to tie up the financing aspect, adding that supplies would not improve

      Kambarami said: "Supplies will improve gradually, but as for now,
banks are finalising the syndication and once that is done, everything would
be okay."

      An official with the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) told The
Financial Gazette this week that banks cannot unilaterally determine the
exchange rate on the deal without the full backing of the RBZ, which has
already suspended NMB Bank for flouting exchange control regulations.

      "Everyone is afraid of losing foreign currency trading licences like
what has happened to NMB," said the BAZ official.

      The BAZ official said the syndication of the funding arrangement was
meant to closely coordinate the Zimbabwe dollar funding for this prog-ramme.

      The foreign currency would be sourced from exporting companies.

      While PMA members are agreed that individual members can approach
banks of their choice, the association is concerned that the difference in
funding structures for banks could lead to the fuel having different cost

      The announcement of new pump prices for private fuel procurers would
also erode the viability of most companies particularly the indigenous oil

      On August 28, Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power
Development, increased the price of fuel for private importers from $450 for
a litre of petrol to $1 170 with diesel going up 430 percent from $200 per
litre to $1 060.

      Public institutions such as public hospitals will, however, continue
to receive fuel from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

      Despite the new prices, the fuel supply situation has remained
critical in all major cities and towns.

      The product is only available on the black market and at few service
stations that are importing fuel on behalf of clients. Only a few
multinational companies have so far brought in fuel imports at the new

      Zimbabwe has been going through a severe fuel crisis because of the
shortage of foreign currency caused by poor export performance and the lack
of donor support.

      Zimbabwe needs at least US$40 million per month to import fuel.

      The shortage has disrupted activities in industry, commerce and

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Chefs play tribal card in banks swoop

      Staff Reporter
      9/11/2003 11:43:41 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) clampdown on illegal trade in
foreign currency took a fresh political twist this week amid accusations by
senior ZANU PF officials that the institution was being excessively
heavy-handed on banks pioneered by executives from Manicaland.

      Industry players told The Financial Gazette that the tribal twist to
the ongoing swoop on local banks accused of violating the Exchange Control
Act had caused panic and fear among RBZ employees who fear losing their jobs
should the muted restructuring of the institution takes off.

      Top ZANU PF politicians from Manicaland (names supplied) rolled up
their sleeves last week after the RBZ suspended the Julius Makoni-led NMB
Bank from trading in foreign currency for 12 months.

      The NMB Bank boss is a descendant of the Makoni dynasty in Manicaland.
While Paddy Zhanda, the bank's chairman is from Mashonaland, but party
insiders said he has lost his political clout within ZANU PF.

      The bank, which is said to have ignored warning letters signed by
acting RBZ governor Charles Chikaura about the alleged contravention of
exchange control regulations, denied the charge.

      At least six other banks escaped with fines for contravening the same

      "The issue is getting out of hand. The question being asked is why the
RBZ seems to be interested in a few banks and yet by its own admission,
almost all the banks are participating on the black market? This is where
the tribal element has come in," said the source.

      The tribal card was also influenced by indications that the net was
fast closing in on high-flyers in the banking sector - Trust Bank
Corporation and Interfin Merchant Bank - which notched $15.1 billion and
$12.7 billion in half-year after-tax profit in June this year.

      Trust Bank is chaired by former government minister Tichaendepi Masaya
and managed by William Nyemba. Both Masaya and Nyemba come from the Eastern
Highlands in Manicaland.

      Interfin Merchant Bank's top three executives, namely Timothy Chiganze
(chairman), Jerry Tsodzai (chief executive officer) and Farai Rwodzi (deputy
chief executive officer) are also from Manicaland.

      Chikaura could not be reached for comment at the time of going to

      This is the first time that tribe has been used to cow the RBZ whose
only documented criticism has been the inconsistent application of policies
and lethargy in responding to debacles such as the collapse of the United
Merchant Bank and First National Building Society.

      The RBZ has been tightening screws on banks in response to findings of
an external audit completed by the last quarter of last year.

      Sources said the audit unearthed rampant violation of Exchange Control
Regulations by several banking institutions.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Forex market depressed

      9/11/2003 11:51:19 AM (GMT +2)

      THE foreign currency market has remained depressed with dealers saying
rates were stuck at week-long levels following sporadic raids on banks by
the central bank.

      "The markets are depressed and there is very little trade taking
place," a dealer said.

      "There has not been much movement either downwards or upwards. The
market is trying to find direction."

      The United States dollar, the benchmark unit that determines the
direction of other currencies' rates, remained stuck at between 6 000 and 6
300 Zimbabwe units on the parallel market. The official exchange rate is
still quoted at fixed levels imposed by the government in May this year
although no transactions are being made at that price.

      Dealers said there was virtually no trade on the interbank market.

      Zimbabwe is currently going through its worst economic crisis in
history that has been largely driven by an acute foreign currency shortage
over the last three years.

      The shortages prompted the emergence of a foreign currency parallel
market, which has been thriving ever since the crisis hit the country in

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      MDC councillors to meet to map the way forward

      Staff Reporter
      9/11/2003 11:51:48 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors are expected to hold
a caucus to ratify the election of a new deputy mayor for Harare and several
committee heads on Saturday following a High Court judgement nullifying the
suspension of six councilors.

      Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius
Chombo suspended the six councillors for alleged misconduct after they
defied his directive to postpone council elections until investigations
against suspended Harare executive mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri were

      High Court Judge, Justice Moses Chinhengo, ruled that Chombo's actions
were in direct contravention of provisions of the Urban Councils Act and
declared the move illegal.

      Councillor for ward eight in Avondale, Harare, Jerome O'Brien, told
The Financial Gazette yesterday that the meeting to discuss the election of
a deputy mayor and committee heads would also include re-strategising
against Chombo's unilateral decisions that have distabilised the capital's
local authority.

      "We are going to have a caucus meeting on Saturday where we will
re-strategise and discuss the issue of the elections now that the High Court
has ruled that technically we were never on suspension," O'Brien said.

      Last month, the councillors defied Chombo's directive to postpone the
elections to replace the deputy mayor, MDC's Sekesai Makwavarara, and
executive committee heads, resulting in the suspension of four councilors.

      The elections had been held according to provisions of the Urban
Councils Act, which stipulate that elections for those positions must be
conducted after every 12 months.

      Two other councilors had been suspended after an earlier attempt to
install them into hot council seats.

      Chombo suspended the executive mayor in April on allegations of
corruption and mismanagement of council affairs.

      Since then, the Combined Harare Residents Association has been up in
arms against Chombo in relentless efforts to have Mudzuri reinstated, but
that has been stiffly resisted by the minister.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Punish land grabbers

      9/11/2003 11:40:50 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S disillusioned landless peasants are understandably waiting
with bated breath for the outcome of the Utete Land Audit Committee and the
government actions thereof, even though in Zimbabwe justice has been known
to be, at best cheap and at worst blind, for the rich and politically

      The government is under heavy moral pressure to go beyond the rhetoric
and contemplate action. To the peasants and ordinary Zimbabweans, this is
the time for the government to roll out an armoury of anti-corruption
measures to put paid to the cancer of corruption eating away at the heart of
the nation. This is the time for some tough decisions for the government so
that it can, for once, earn plaudits for honesty and seriousness.

      This has to be, for there is no worse betrayal imaginable to
Zimbabweans, most of whom sacrificed their lives and limbs for the country,
than the senseless and wanton usurping of land by these influential people
when more deserving cases in the form of the peasants are practising
back-breaking subsistence agriculture in the dust bowls dotted around the

      Yet these are the people who bore the brunt of the war of liberation,
a war that orphaned children and widowed wives. This is also the kind of
social injustice that the fallen heroes, a symbol of black resistance to
white supremacism and its inherent social injustices, fought against.

      It is only natural therefore that to Zimbabweans, who over the years
have been presented with a steady diet of scandals and corruption involving
senior government officials and their henchmen, this presents the government
with a perfect window of opportunity to bring the culprits to book.

      These self-centred individuals, who rank among some of the most
voracious acquirers of land meant for the landless peasants, reducing what
was meant to be an equitable redistribution of the nation's resource into a
senseless land grab orgy, should not remain faceless. Their names should be
made public and they should be made to account for their greedy and
reproachable actions.

      This will bring back some semblance of credence to the anti-corruption
claims of a government going through a severe crisis of public confidence.
We hope that the implications of exposing the culprits, most of whom are
reportedly aligned to the ruling ZANU PF, will not shrink the government's
resolve to clean the house.

      Much as the business of politics is fluid where anything can happen,
we hope that the powers-that-be have not flipped from their plans to expose
the culprits for fear of the implications of such an exposure, especially
from politicians who will see this as a slap on the wrist. In fact, what
they should be afraid of is the likely political backlash against the
shocking level of greed exhibited by these uncouth looters who own more that
one farm.

      We sincerely believe that this is the only way to go. Failure to act
will give ammunition to the detractors of the land reform programme who,
right from the onset after government's restatement of its land
redistribution intentions in 1999, argued that a careful balance should be
struck between legal security and economic flexibility to provide optimum
opportunity to achieve the objectives of equitable land redistribution
although government dismissed this as see-through red-herring. They argued
then and still do so now, that the decision to take land was fine, but the
approach, style and form was wrong and chaotic because it was open to abuse.

      Unfortunately they seem to have been vindicated.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      . . . and now to the notebook

      9/11/2003 11:59:32 AM (GMT +2)

      Bribes up!
      So the government is revising fines that we pay when we are caught on
the wrong lane of the law? It’s all fine and dandy as long as it is doing it
to keep petty offenders under control, not to raise money to finance its

      The truth of the matter is that what the proposed hefty fines will
mean is that more and more people will be tempted to rather pay a bribe to
police officers than to pay the actual fine. So what has been inadvertently
increased are amounts that members of the public pay in bribes to police

      CZ wonders who will have the nerve to challenge police officers to go
ahead and take them to police stations to pay fines now that the fine is
heavy enough to break a bull’s neck. It’s only too tempting to be at one’s
diplomatic best and befriend the arresting officers so that half way to the
police station, you will be free again.

      What it means is that where you used to pay a bribe of say $2 000
because the actual fine was $5 000, you may have to pay $10 000 to avoid
paying the actual fine of $25 000. Or it will mean running your legs off if
you don’t have the money to pay the bribe!

      When caught with a stub of the wisdom grass, it would make more sense
for Jah CZ to pay the arresting officer a bride of say $100 000 rather than
be dragged before the courts where he will eventually pay a fine of up to
$1.5 million.

      And this will even be more tricky for brothers who had developed a
habit of, after sleeping away from home for whatever reason or excuse, just
passing through a police station to pay an "admission of guilt fine" in
order to get a pass to get home without disturbing marital peace. When the
fine was $500 they did not bother, and they complained a bit when the fine
went up to $5 000. Now they will have to think twice before they offer to
buy that pass for a princely figure of $25 000! This is equivalent to some
people’s gross monthly salaries in this independent Zimbabwe!

      So by planning to increase the fines by such big margins, the
government is indirectly admitting that our money is now worthless but still
can not print much higher denominations, just to get that sadomasochistic
satisfaction from seeing us queuing day and night!

      So with the shortage of cash, what if CZ is caught drinking at some
illegal watering hole somewhere along Mbuya Nehanda —which until recently
Joseph Made used to patronise — but with only, say, $1000 left in his
pocket? Surely this is not enough to offer as a bribe to any self-respecting
police officer just as it is not enough to pay the fine. So what will he do?
Even if he is willing to pay the fine at the police station, chances are
that he will not have easy access to any cash. So will they allow him to go
away for a week or so to hunt for cash in order to raise the $25 000, or
would he be allowed to use the so-called traveller’s cheques? We wonder!

      The shortage of cash has also severely affected the bribe industry in
Zimbabwe. Ask my journalist colleagues, cops or other people who are in
positions that can make things happen or fail those who survive more on
bribes than on their salaries, and they will tell you that life is no longer
half as sweet as it used to be when cash was easily available.

      Surely no fool can take a bribe in the form of a banker’s cheque, let
alone the "local traveller’s cheque"! It has to be cash, musvo!

      Big Dhara country

      With shortages no longer part of quotidian existence but existence
itself, Zimbabwe has become a Big Dhara country. You have to be a Big Dhara
yourself or you should have your own Big Dhara who should ensure that you
are not starved of the shrinking national cake altogether.

      You need to be a Big Dhara to jump the queue for anything, be it a
queue for fuel, commuter omnibus, cash, land, common sense, burial space,
ZimSwitch Purchase Point, anything, otherwise you will queue till the cows
come mooing home and still leave the queue empty-handed. This is Zimbabwe, a
Big Dhara country.

      If you hear them calling you Big Dhara (Biggaz) then know that you are
home and dry. You will not have to queue for anything anymore. But there is
a small fee (or is called a cut?) that you have to pay because there are
families in Zimbabwe that are now earning a living on this!

      If you are not a Big Dhara yourself, you don’t have to worry. You just
have to make sure you acquire one for yourself. The Big Dhara will ensure
you get everything that others spend weeks on end queuing for. Just a single
call, if not a beep, will be enough to ensure that whatever you want is
available to you. Pronto! But there is also a fee, if not a double fee here,
depending on how close you are to the surrogate father. It could be either a
direct cash "cut", in kind as most of our sisters are wont to do, or simply
through what the French call an au pair arrangement, a scratch-my-back-and-I
’ll-scratch-yours deal.

      A Big Bhara will do everything for you, from getting cash for you, to
getting cheap common sense for you, to getting Musimboti delivered to your
doorstep if you are too shy to buy some for yourself! Big Dhara will do
everything for you!

      Coffins and fuel

      When the Great Uncle reads stories about people faking death and
getting into coffins in order to get fuel, can he still brag that he has
done a lot for his own people? In the forum of his own mind and without
discussing with anyone, not even his wife, what does he tell himself?

      That he is the best thing to ever happen to Zimbabwe and without him,
Zimbabwe will be just as good as dead?

      Such stories might sound weird and bizarre but the truth of the matter
is that they are now happening among our own people because things have just
gone bad and to survive they now do anything that it takes for them to be
able to keep body and soul together!

      If things get this bad, any person with a conscience will definitely
know that he has failed and will do the honourable thing! Small wonder why
even madmen are now getting arrested for throwing stones at his motorcade!
When madmen begin to get angry with the way you do things, what do you think
you are doing?

      ‘Criminal’ Jurnos

      If ZimSun does not want journalists at its functions, it should not
invite them, instead of inviting them in order to get objects to make fun
of. Colleagues who were invited to cover the listing of ZimSun’s property
subsidiary Dawn Properties this week regretted attending the event. They say
they were treated like criminals and everyone hopes this is not true.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Why many chose to stay away from the polling booth

      9/11/2003 11:56:50 AM (GMT +2)

      THE recent apathetic response to the local government polls and
parliamentary by-elections drew a lot of comments and harsh criticism of
Zimba-bwe’s civic society, especially those in civic education.

      While criticism is healthy and encouraged, it is only fair to say
criticism should be informed.

      Some of the comments were unfortunate and regrettable given that some
of the commentators and analysts are people who are supposed to be informed.

      Apathy by definition is reluctance by citizens to participate or in
the case of elections, electing not to vote or to stay away. In principle,
apathy is manifest in attitudes of despair and depression created by
political circumstances, non-involvement of people on important issues that
affect their societies, a lack of interest in public affairs, an attitude of
resignation, withdrawal and despair and a state of hopelessness.

      It is caused by a number of factors that include imposed leaders,
threats, bribes, destructive power struggles, weak leadership (i.e. selfish,
corrupt, incompetent leaders), unfulfilled promises, few positive results,
political rights which have not advanced people’s economic position, no
meaningful choices and lack of clear alternative proposals on issues.

      To clarify the last factor, this scenario could be instructive; there
are three devils up for election. The first will, after killing you, proceed
to eat you, the second will burn you and the third bury you. Which one would
you chose? Many would rather stay away.

      The above show that it is simplistic to assume that the recent poor
showing was caused by ignorance on the part of the electorate.

      Before delving into the problems and constraints that assail the very
few organisations that have grassroots civic education programmes,
clarification on the difference between civic education and civic
information is necessary.

      In civic education, method reinforces content i.e. citizens do not
only study ideas about creative democratic ways of organising society but
they practise them. Civic information places emphasis on content. Education
is based on the knowledge, experience and talents of citizens and what they
want to learn, whereas information is based on what agencies think citizens
should know.

      Education is two-way communication, bottom up while information is one
way communication, top down.

      Civic education espouses active learners and citizens who develop
their capacities and potential but information deals with passive learners.

      Lastly, civic education is concerned with decentra-lised co-ordination
of local initiatives while information is centralised.

      Civic education entails the use of participatory methods. These take
the form of picture codes, role-plays, dramas, study circles, songs, dances,
poems, story telling, visual arts, videos etc. Voter education is a branch
of civic education. It is the preparation of citizens to participate in a
responsible manner in the governance of their country or community.

      It deals specifically with the rights and responsibilities of citizens
on issues of elections and preparation of citizens, especially of voting
age, to participate in the electoral process.

      Critics argue that organisations need to extend voter education. This
is ideal and as acknowledged by many, has been happening throughout the
country before the 2000 referendum.

      Those who understand the political, social and economic situation in
Zimbabwe appreciate the difficult environment ensuing from February 2000.

      While we appreciate the growing frustrations as a result of the
deepening crisis, we find it sad that respectable individuals become
simplistic in their analysis.

      Equally dismaying is when authoritative newspapers vent out their
anger and frustrations on the wrong target.

      It would be unfortunate to expect newspapers that were "banned" in
some areas to be read in the same areas.

      It is unkind to expect vendors to take the "banned" newspapers to
those areas where they are "banned".

      Similarly it is unrealistic to expect residents of the same areas to
read the same papers in their areas. This is exactly what critics are
calling on civic organisations to do.

      Newspapers and human rights organisations report on a daily basis the
human rights abuses occurring in various parts of the country.

      In the run-up to the 2000 Parliamentary election and the Presidential
election of 2002 and subsequent by-elections, thousands of people were
forced out of their homes and jobs because of their involvement in political

      Voter education is deemed political activity. There are many activists
who have joined thousands of internally displaced persons in the country.

      Unfortunately, some are living miserable lives now after losing their
property to political hooligans.

      Some lost limbs and others paid the ultimate price. A good number of
activist civil servants are now jobless after being accused of aiding and
abetting the opposition by civic involvement, especially voter education.

      A lot of civic leaders have suffered assaults and other forms of
indignity for daring to conduct voter education.

      Many places in the country are still no-go areas for strangers, let
alone civic society organisations.

      This is the grassroots! It should be noted that it is reported that in
some parts of the country opposition candidates were barred from registering
their candidature!

      Apart from the harsh political environment described above, it is
important to point out that three pieces of legislation are significant when
analysing the current apathy. These are Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the
Private Voluntary Orga-nisations (PVO) Act.

      Civil society organi-sations undertaking grassroots programmes
experience hardships as activities in some areas have to be approved by both
the formal and informal authorities.

      It should also be appreciated that even in the cities no meeting is
taking place without attracting uninvited guests from the secret police.

      Although civil society has nothing to hide, their unsolicited
attendance intimidates participants at the grassroots level.

      In some rural communities participants to voter education workshops
were invited to some re-education sessions.

      In some communities, before some meetings, facilitators are quizzed by
authorities on their registration status, in terms of AIPPA and PVO Act.

      In some rural areas, non-governmental organisations are associated
with European imperialism and should therefore be shunned.

      Some local authorities, including chiefs, are scared of sanctioning
voter education programmes in their communities because of a possible
backlash and victimisation before and after the elections.

      A lot of workshops were prevented and voter education materials
confiscated and burnt.

      In my view, voter apathy is a serious challenge for democracy and

      Apathy brings the legitimacy question to the fore. How legitimate is
the authority of an authority that was put up by less than half of the

      The Bantu people believe in the wisdom that "hushe vanhu (Shona),
Inkosi yinkosi ngabantu (Zulu) – a leader is only a leader because of the

      Concerns were raised last week that future parliamentary and
presidential elections may attract the same apathetic response from the

      There is no guarantee that this will not be the case. While many are
quick to prescribe voter education, but as articulated herein, without
significant changes to the political and legal environment, nothing much
will change.

      Civic leaders who last year made submissions on electoral reforms to
some parliamentary portfolio committee, submitted that the proposed ban of
NGOs to conduct voter education was retrogressive and taking the country
back in time.

      It was argued then that the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC),
despite the energetic efforts of its personnel, has no capacity for voter

      It has taken less than a year for this to come true. The country is
back to the early 1990s where civil society, in response to similar growing
apathy, embarked on a two-year voter education campaign.

      The ensuing 1996 evaluation recommended the institution of a long-term
civic education project that covers issues of citizen participation, power,
governance, development and democracy.

      And this saw the birth of the Church/NGO Civic Education Project.
Given that less than 30 percent of the electorate took part in the lame 1996
presidential election where Robert Mugabe ended the lone contestant after
the eleventh hour withdrawal of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Bishop Abel
Muzorewa, government joined forces with civil society in the fight against

      Officers and community workers from government ministries, especially
the Ministry of National Affairs, Employment Creation and Cooperatives, were
seconded to work on the project.

      Materials for use in grassroots voter education were produced and one
such manual, "Choosing the Future: Elections and Leadership" carries the
following Memorandum on Voter Education Manual by the then Minister of Home
Affairs, Dumiso Dabengwa,

      MP: "I have taken note of the fact that this book produced by the
community publishing process has had more than 3 000 contributors across the

      There can be no doubt that its contents are a true reflection of the
people’s wishes. I fully endorse the use of this book for a co-ordinated
voter education campaign."

      Donors like the UNDP and embassies used to support such endeavours

      One such UNDP-supported programme was the Women in Politics and
Decision Making Project. Provincial governors used to support this voter
education initiative and one such force behind the programme was the late
Border Gezi in Mashonaland Central.

      Unfortunately everything changed after the 2000 referendum.

      Because of the legitimacy question and serious challenge posed by
apathy to democracy and development, the government ought to create an
environment conducive to citizen participation as happened in 1996 and join
forces with civil society in the fight against apathy. The time to start is

        .. Wellington Mbofana is the national director of the Civic
Education Network Trust (CIVNET). The views expressed herein are his own and
do not necessary reflect those of CIVNET.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Joshua Nkomo must be turning in his grave

      9/11/2003 11:57:17 AM (GMT +2)

      As the far-reaching restructuring exercise reaches its full
expression, The Financial Gazette this week introduces yet another column,
Personal Glimpses, to fulfill our promise to provide only the best for our

      ONE day in January 1985, I set out with trepidation for an assignment
at nationalist hero and statesman, Dr Joshua Nkomo’s Pelandaba residence in

      The press had received a tip-off that an unwelcome nocturnal visitor
had done the unspeakable by defecating on the veteran nationalist leader’s

      Dr Nkomo was at that time in the political wilderness, having fallen
out with the ZANU PF government of then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe over
the discovery of arms caches allegedly stockpiled by Nkomo’s political
party, PF ZAPU. Nkomo and his party were accused of planning to stage a
rebellion against the state.

      Nkomo, who was seeking re-election to Parliament after being relieved
of his ministerial post, was a sitting duck with respect to the political
brickbats and scapegoating directed at him.

      My own anxiety as I made my way to the PF ZAPU leader’s residence
stemmed from a number of considerations. One was that the incident that had
occurred at his house was embarrassing culturally. On top of that, it
presented a particularly tricky etiquette barrier for me in that I was to
discuss the details of this sordid affair with someone of the opposite sex
who was only not old enough to be my father, but was a national icon. To add
to my discomfiture, this was the first time I was to meet Dr Nkomo on a
one-to-one basis.

      However, as soon as I had introduced myself, it became clear that my
apprehensions were groundless. His ample chins quivering, the man who came
to be known as Father Zimbabwe burst into uncontrollable gales of mirth as
he steered me by the shoulders towards the offending heap of human excreta.

      Still laughing hilariously, the veteran nationalist recounted what had
happened. The culprit, one Abisha Moyo, had arrived in the dead of night and
relieved himself near a door. Hearing unusual noises outside, Dr Nkomo’s
driver had gone out to investigate but had experienced the full force of
Moyo’s unsanitary fury when the young man scooped some of the stuff and hit
the driver in the face.

      Moyo appeared before a magistrate in a fast-tracked trial the same day
and was jailed for two months for assault and fined $50 for offending public

      When I expressed surprise those many years ago that he could laugh and
crack jokes when someone had just perpetrated such a barbaric act at his
house, Dr Nkomo replied: "You have to understand this is African politics.
The young man thought this was the best way to jump on the Anti-Nkomo

      After asking me whether I had children, to which I replied in the
affirmative, Dr Nkomo said one of the best ways to ensure that young people
learnt about tolerance and the need to accommodate different points of view
was for parents to take greater control in inculcating such values in their
children. He said it was important for children to learn early in their
lives that patriotism did not mean hating certain individuals or following
other individuals blindly.

      This incident occurred almost 19 years ago. Abisha Moyo, who was 24
years old when he was convicted for this unusual offence, is 43 years old
now. I have often wondered what he tells his own children, if he has any,
about this aimlessly perverse act.

      I have known, however, that Dr Nkomo must be turning in his grave
whenever I have read about brutal acts such as rape, beatings, arson,
robberies or torture perpetrated by that deliberately created human time
bomb consisting of youths who have undergone so-called national service
training in this country.

      Whenever the notorious "Green Bombers" have been accused of a
particularly savage atrocity, my heart has ached desperately and I have
found myself asking the question: whose children are these? Have parents
lost control over their children to such an extent that they are unable to
put their feet down and refuse to have their sons and daughters turned into
rapists, murderers, robbers and arsonists?

      The tragedy is that these impressionable young people are
indoctrinated to believe that what they are doing is noble and patriotic.
But we are sowing dangerous seeds for future calamity. How can a child who
is initiated into young adulthood by being trained to be a heartless and
cold-blooded killer and a generally hardened criminal later be made to
respect the sanctity of life and other humane values?

      More importantly, when the madness going on in this country finally
ends, who will take on the impossible task of re-educating these misguided
youths so as to re-integrate them into society as normal citizens?

      The people of Liberia, where now exiled tyrant and warlord Charles
Taylor recruited children as young as 15 years into his ragtag army to
safeguard his own political career, are now grappling with this very
problem. All indications are that it threatens to be insurmountable.

      A young man who was a child soldier in the civil war in Sudan some
years ago was featured on the hard-hitting BBC programme HARDTALK over the
past week.

      He told presenter Tim Sebastian how those terrible experiences foisted
upon him as a child still haunted him. It was not difficult to sense his
anger at having his life messed up at a time when he was not old enough to
make his own decisions and choices, a crime against humanity if ever there
was one.

      This young man has to live the rest of his life with that simmering
anger robbing him of his joy and chances to develop to his full potential.

      In the "Green Bombers", Zimbabwe has its own raging bulls waiting to
be unleashed on society.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      The challenge of the 2004 national budget

      9/11/2003 11:51:43 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa will
announce the 2004 national budget almost a month from now.

      The budget comes at a very daunting time in Zimbabwe’s
post-independence history as the economy is in an unprecedented crisis since
the attainment of independence in 1980.

      The crisis is reflected in the acute shortage of foreign exchange,
basic commodities and most recently, the legal tender (Zimbabwe dollars),
hyperinflation (399.5 percent), low levels of savings and investment,
accumulation of external arrears, high and unsustainable budget deficits,
low industrial capacity utilisation, market and state failure, collapse of
real incomes and widening income differentials, high un- and
under-employment and high levels of poverty.

      Instead of abating, the crisis is worsening by the day. Inflation, for
example, has reached an all time high of 399.5 percent in July 2003, way off
the year-end target of 96 percent.

      In the context of the deepening crisis, workers and Zimbabweans in
general can no longer enjoy basic economic rights such as the right to food,
health, education, shelter, transport, employment and income security among

      Rising prices have effectively eroded incomes, especially as wage
negotiations have failed to keep abreast with the hyperinflation. Rising
nominal wages have effectively pushed workers into a higher tax band,
resulting in the nominal increase being wiped out entirely through the
combination of higher taxes and hyperinflation.

      The lowly paid are the most affected by this trend. The average
private sector minimum wages (excluding domestic service) works out at
around Z$60 000 yet the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) stands at Z$104 100 as at
July 2003, implying the current minimum wages, at 58 percent of the PDL, are
starvation wages.

      The point has been reached where the salary of workers can no longer
cover monthly transport costs. Recent increases in school fees in particular
make it difficult for workers on minimum wages to take their children to

      One of the key challenges facing the Minister of Finance is
stabilising the economy. Macroeconomic fundamentals are currently skewed,
with severe macroeconomic instability characterising the economy. Economic
stabilisation involves bringing to sustainable levels internal and external

      Internal balances refer to achieving sustainable levels of the budget
deficit and inflation (single digit). To address the internal imbalances,
the following could be done:

        a.. Adopting an "optimal" structure of the state (including foreign
embassies) based on its strategic developmental role and focus;
        b.. Enforcing fiscal discipline by adhering to statutory borrowing
limits and budgets;
        c.. Reining in on the parallel market for foreign exchange and
        d.. Restructuring parastatals;
        e.. Implementing a credible public reform programme to achieve
effective delivery and strategic focus;
        f.. Ensuring basic commodities are available by implementing the
agreed price management system and establishing viable producer prices; and
        g.. Decentralising functions and budgets to local authorities and
other non-state agencies.

      External balances refer to achieving a sustainable position with
respect to the balance of payments: the record of transactions between
Zimbabwe and her trading partners.

      The external balance is made up of two accounts, namely the current
account, which records the balance between exports and imports, and the
capital account, which reports inflows and outflows of capital. In the
crisis state of Zimbabwe’s balance of payments, immediate concerns are:

        a.. Negotiating a Business Charter with quantifiable targets for
exporters as agreed under the TNF and remitting earned foreign currency
through official channels;
        b.. Restoration of Bureau de Change to normalise inflows of foreign
currency through official channels;
        c.. Normalising relations with development (cooperating partners);
        d.. Incentivising exporters (e.g. through retention of higher levels
of foreign exchange earnings than the current 50 percent);
        e.. Promoting a culture of exporting and putting on track the Buy
Zimbabwe (Proudly Zimbabwean) campaign;
        f.. Adding value to raw materials; and
        g.. Grants from development partners (windfall from the
normalisation of relations).

      As had been agreed under the TNF, there are immediate issues that can
be implemented to deal with the acute shortage of foreign exchange, basic
commodities, the parallel market and measures to restore confidence amongst
stakeholders. These include the following:

        a.. Restoration of Bureau de Change;
        b.. Implementation of the Prices and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol
(as opposed to price controls);
        c.. Implementation of the Kadoma Declaration on good governance;
        d.. Negotiation of a Business Charter with quantifiable targets for
earning and remitting foreign currency through official channels; and
        e.. Review of NERP and prioritisation of measures accepted from it.
      Since the food deficit arising from the drought is still widespread,
coupled with the descent into poverty of at least 80 percent of Zimbabweans
as a result of the crisis, it will be necessary to provide targeted relief
assistance to those affected.

      This may entail increased imports (donation) of food from abroad.
Clearly, poverty and hunger will be a source of instability in the short

      Relief assistance, as jointly identified in 2000 by government and
civil society through the Enhanced Safety Nets focusing on:

      lThe Basic Educational Assistance Module (BEAM) Programme;

        a.. Public Works Programme;
        b.. Assistance for the procurement of essential drugs; and
        c.. Supplementary Feeding Scheme.
      It is important to depoliticise these programmes and ensure that they
are developed and owned by the beneficiaries.

      The budget is a key instrument of implementing the development
priorities as outlined in a national development strategy. It provides the
necessary resources for the attainment of set goals.

      One of the major challenges facing Zimbabwe is correcting the
inherited segmented economy.

      By focusing on the formal sector, which is male-dominated, past
policies have neglected the non-formal sectors that accommodate the majority
of the population, and especially women. They have, therefore, reinforced
the inherited dual (separate) and enclave (isolated) structure of the

      The inherited structure of the economy is wasteful in that it neglects
the majority of the people who are in the non-formal sector of the economy.
There is, therefore, a need to broaden the base for growth thorough
empowering the hitherto marginalised groups and sectors (non-formal). In
this regard, there is an urgent need to empower these sectors through the
redistribution of resources: land, capital, skills and entrepreneurship.

      The land reform programme has failed to unlock the development
potential of the non-formal sector in that it was not properly planned and
hence the redistributed land has not been productively utilised. The budget
should, therefore, ensure that resources are made available for empowering
disadvantaged groups and sectors.

      In this regard, it is important to develop the mooted Empowerment
Charter, with sectoral schedules as recommended by the Tripartite

Back to the Top
Back to Index



Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1: JAG Conservation

We must just do what we have to do.

Sure the White hunters with the guns in the last century only became aware
of the damage they were causing when they ran out of targets.  Then we
started talking about game conservation as National Heritage.  And
organising trophy safaris.

Well our wild life is a national heritage and a natural wonder and those
days of slaughter are long gone.  It is now too late for wanton destruction
without game counts.

We were at Chitake this time last year and watched by torch light lions
slipping down to the water on the other side of the river from where we
sat.  We could see the light reflected in their eyes when they looked
towards us.  We startled a female elephant and 2 young down the gorge and
they stepped silently away before we had a good look at them.  I wished we
could have stayed there and made friends with all the animals to show we
were not there to hurt them - but we would not have interfered with them.

Thank God we have people like yourself who draw these things to our
attention, and that of the world so that it will go on record.  AND bring
them up in parliament.

It is all too sad, what more can I say?

All the best



Letter 2: Transparency

Justice for Agriculture.

Dear Sir,

On 8th August, 2003 CFU Agricultural Information Services Department sent
out a bulletin entitled:
Doug Taylor-Freeme has been unanimously elected as President of the
Commercial Farmers' Union....
He added that Matabeleland representation on Council was vital as
membership of the Union from that province was significant."

Today, 9.9.03., The Chronicle (Kholwani Nyathi) has provided interesting
comment on the matter. Headlines:
"Serious rift rocks CFU."

Mr. Nyathi then continues with somewhat contradictory comments in relation
to the headline:

"Mr. Taylor-Freeme told the Chronicle that the move was a non-event..The
few elements have decided to take a political stand, but the CFU remains
apolitical. The new CFU Chief claimed that the splinter group only
represented between 7 and 8% of the union's membership in the region as the
majority of farmers in Matabeleland remained loyal to the union." Mr.
Nyathi then writes about "the gains made since the start of the agrarian

The Daily News of 9.9.03 also quotes Taylor-Freeme as saying "there were
farmers in Matabeleland who were agitating for the CFU leadership to adopt
a political position, adding that this would not happen."

It also quotes Minister Joseph Made as having said, "white farmers were now

Clarification is needed over the following:

In what manner was Matabeleland taking a political stand?
Is Matabeleland significant or insignificant?
Or is it the policy sought by Matabeleland that is significant, or
politically incorrect?
What gains are there from the Agrarian Reform?
Are Zimbabwean citizens, who happen to be white farmers comfortable with
being referred to as "irrelevant?"
Does the CFU accept the reference to the majority of their members being
termed "irrelevant" by Minister Made?
Is it correct that a previous CFU President of Scottish extraction, has
facilitated a handsome increase in agricultural production north of the
Zambezi with some of the so called "irrelevants" there by showing them to
be "relevants" instead?

Could these anomalies be cleared up by a statement from the parties
concerned, in the interests of transparency and relevancy for white

White Farmer.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Musutu set to take over top police post

        FORMER International Police head for Southern Africa Frank Musutu is
tipped to take over as deputy commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP) as it emerged that the incumbent, Griffiths Mpofu, was leaving the ZRP
due to ill-health.

      Police sources told the Daily News yesterday that Mpofu would be
leaving the force next month because

      of ill-health, paving the way for Musutu to take over the post.

      Mpofu was a prime candidate to succeed Augustine Chihuri at the helm
of the ZRP.

      A police source said: “Mpofu is not coming back into the police force.

      He is serving his last days and will be retiring on health grounds.

      “Musutu is expected to be confirmed to the post. He already working
from Mpofu’s office at PGHQ (Police General Headquarters), but in an acting

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday confirmed that Musutu, a
senior assistant commissioner, was currently acting as deputy commissioner
but said he was not aware of Mpofu’s alleged impending departure from the
police force.

      “Indeed Snr Asst Commissioner Frank Musutu has been acting deputy
commissioner. I am not aware of the resignation or retirement of Deputy
Commissioner Mpofu and any confirmation or comment in this regard may be
solicited from him,” said Bvudzijena.

      It was not possible to get a comment from Mpofu, who was understood to
be recuperating at his home after being discharged from Harare’s upmarket St
Anne’s Hospital, yesterday.

      Bvudzijena would not discuss whether Musutu would take over as the
substantive police deputy commissioner saying: “Such senior appointments are
made at the recommendation of the minister (of Home Affairs) to the
President. People are not just appointed to such positions, because there is
a procedure to be followed.”

      Contacted for comment, Musutu said: “I am just here as the acting
deputy commissioner.”

      Mpofu, renowned for dressing down Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
in 2000, has not been feeling well for the last few weeks, according to
those close to him.

      Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      1 500 single-farm owners lost land to reforms – JAG

        COMMERCIAL farmers’ pressure group Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
yesterday said the government had seized a total of nearly 1 500 farms from
their white owners, who each owned only one farm, in open disregard of the
government’s stated “one man one farm” policy.

      JAG director Hart Wynand told the Daily News yesterday that the
government had “serious hypocrites” who thrived on deception and corruption
to hoodwink Zimbabweans and the international community.

      Wynand said: “Out of the 4 000 white commercial farmers, about 1 480
farmers who have only got one farm have had them listed for compulsory
acquisition and have lost their farms.

      “There are another 1 200 farms, constituting 30 percent of farmers,
that have not been listed but have been forced out of their farms since
January because of the continued breakdown in the rule of law.”

      Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made was
unavailable for comment. His secretary said the minister was out of the

      But President Robert Mugabe and Made himself have in the past told
Zimbabweans and the international community that the government would not
take land from white farmers who owned only one farm.

      The state also insisted that in the case of white farmers who owned
land close to communal lands, they would be allocated alternative farms if
their land was taken by the government for redistribution to landless
communal farmers.

      But a commission, appointed by Mugabe to probe the chaotic and often
violent land reform programme, showed that top ruling ZANU PF and government
officials had grabbed several of the best farms for themselves.

      Mugabe has ordered his lieutenants to return the excess land they
seized. None of the government and ruling party officials has publicly
surrendered land but state-controlled newspapers reported this week that 30
000 hectares had been returned to the government.

      Wynand said the government had only used the one man one farm policy
as a convenient excuse to parry off criticism against its controversial land
redistribution scheme.

      Staff Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Free elections impossible, says human rights delegation

        Visiting leaders of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum told a meeting
at Chatham House in London on Monday that it was impossible to have free and
fair elections in the current climate in Zimbabwe – and voiced deep concern
that Zimbabweans are losing faith in being able to express their will
through the ballot box.

      Albert Musarurwa, chairman of the forum, an umbrella organisation of
16 civil society bodies in Zimbabwe, and Arnold Tsunga, director of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, were speaking after a closed meeting with
diplomats from 23 Commonwealth countries.

      The meeting was called ahead of the Commonwealth summit to be held in
Nigeria at the end of the year, where some African states will press for an
end to the suspension of President Robert Mugabe’s regime from the councils
of the Commonwealth.

      In a report issued on Monday, the Human Rights Forum said that the
Zimbabwe administration failed to live up to promises made under the Abuja
agreement which it signed with the Commonwealth in September 2001.

      Under the agreement, Mugabe’s regime promised, among other things, to
end occupations of white-owned farms, to restore the rule of law to the land
reform programme, to permit freedom of expression and to take firm action
against violence and intimidation.

      “There has been continued disregard for the rule of law and
manipulation of the judiciary that has compromised equal access to justice,”
said the report. “This has been accompanied by a culture of impunity
presided over by a seemingly partisan police force.

      “Economic decline has accelerated as a result of mismanagement,
coupled with engagement in an unsustainable land reform programme that has
only served to aggravate food insecurity in the country.”

      Every election since June 2000 has been marked by organised violence
and intimidation, “supplying food in exchange for votes and the use of
retributive force where voters are deemed not to have voted “correctly‚” the
report added.

      “There has been no directive given to the police, army or the
intelligence organisation to cease gratuitous use of violence against
Zimbabwean citizens. The Zimbabwe government has apparently acquiesced to
human rights violations, in particular those at the hands of uniformed state

      There was no word on the outcome of the closed meeting.

      But informed sources said it was marked by tense exchanges between
representatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat and diplomats from the
Zimbabwe High Commission.

      During the public meeting, Zimbabwe’s Deputy High Commissioner in
London, Godfrey Magwenzi, intervened, declaring: “We are not in the habit of
harassing people.”

      He was greeted with derisive laughter. Noting that in recent
parliamentary by-elections and local elections, the turnout was as low as 11
percent, Tsunga said: “There was serious voter apathy and part of that
apathy was because people in Zimbabwe no longer value elections as a
meaningful way of (getting) change.”

      In its report, the forum called on Mugabe’s administration, the
Commonwealth, the African Union and Zimbabwe’s Southern African neighbours
to recognise that the crisis in the country was not due only as Mugabe
maintains, to the land redistribution issue.

      They should acknowledge that the crisis was due also to endemic
political violence and human rights abuses, a partisan and politicised
judiciary, the breakdown of the rule of law and the deteriorating economic
and social environment.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      The travails of urban local government in Zimbabwe

        The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s electoral
capture of six of seven mayoral contests and most of the council seats is
obviously a cause for major celebrations by the opposition party, especially
the winning candidates themselves.

      The MDC victories will obviously change the architecture of local
government in Zimbabwe and re-configure centre-local relations in the
country. And yet the celebrations must be restrained in light of the history
of centre-local relations as played out in the Harare City Council (HCC).

      When the MDC scored a landslide victory in the March 2002 HCC
elections and captured the mayoral crown in the process, there was much
unrestrained celebration of the historic victory. But not for long, as mayor
Elias Mudzuri and his crew were to soon realise.

      Going by what has been happening between the HCC and Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo, urban local government in Zimbabwe is in travail.

      Local authorities face a myriad of problems ranging from a limited
resource base, inadequate capacity to make and implement policy, limited
policy space due to the overbearing weight of the government.

      Local government also lacks the glamour, visibility and aura of
national government and politics. This is despite the fact that local
government should be the crucible of grassroots democracy and the training
ground for national level politics.

      In terms of those commanding the state at the national level, local
government is nothing beyond the representation of the state at local level,
whereas for the people themselves, local government is an instrument to
translate their wishes and preferences into grassroots development. The
central government, through the minister of local government, firmly
subscribes to the first view while the MDC-controlled councils hold the
second view, hence the patently inevitable collision.

      The central government has sought to make local government
ungovernable where the MDC is in control, the same charge the government
levels at the MDC – that the latter wants to make Zimbabwe ungovernable.
What the ruling ZANU PF party is accusing the MDC of doing at national
level, it is busy doing at local level in MDC-controlled areas.

      It could be argued that the drama involving the HCC is an exception
rather the rule and that the problem is an idiosyncratic one, meaning a
clash of personalities between Chombo and Mudzuri. It can even be posited
that Chombo is the problem, as the Daily News on Sunday (7 September 2003)
suggested in the article New mayors brace for Chombomania.

      There is more than a grain of truth in the "clash of personalities"
argument. When Mudzuri was suspended in April, Chombo accused him of
arrogance and insubordination in addition to the other charges of corruption
and mismanagement.

      It is fair to say both actors detest each other; the animosity seems
mutual. Their antagonism seems to mirror that of their political bosses,
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

      In both cases at the two governance levels, we have classic instances
of two bulls in one kraal and none wants to defer to the other. Like poles
repel each other, elementary physics teaches us.

      And yet the idiosyncratic factor or the fear of "Chombomania" should
not be overplayed. For one thing, Chombo presently happens to the minister
of local government and therefore Zanu PF’s and the government’s hatchet man
in bludgeoning MDC councils and rendering them impotent.

      Any other Zanu PF minister would in all likelihood behave this way
given the penchant of the ruling party of interpreting virtually everything
in political and, more precisely, partisan terms. It’s all part of the power
politics and linked to the grand strategy of "wear and tear", what the Daily
News on Sunday revealed as "Plan B" allegedly hatched by Zanu PF in the
event of an MDC victory in the council elections.

      The plan entails "the introduction of bureaucratic hurdles to make the
cities and towns ungovernable". The hope is that this will erode the
authority, power and legitimacy of the MDC councils. It is akin to low-level
guerrilla warfare, whose ultimate aim is to pounce at your prey when it has

      Notwithstanding my observations above, I would argue that the central
problem in the centre-local relations is a juridical one, that is the
institutional and legal framework governing the relations between the two

      In the first place, local government in Zimbabwe is a legislative
rather than a constitutional creature and as such has no independent
constitutional existence in the sense provided for in the South African
Constitution Act 108 of 1996. In a large sense, Zimbabwe’s local government
is an appendage of central government whose birth, development and death is
almost entirely in the hands of central government.

      The Parliament of Zimbabwe, at the instigation of central government,
can make and unmake local governments in Zimbabwe.

      Secondly, under the governing instruments, principally the Urban
Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act, the minister of local
government virtually has full discretionary powers in his interactions with
local authority structures. Both Acts are littered throughout with
references to the "minister shall".

      The Rural District Councils Act has more than 250 instances where the
minister can interfere in the day-to-day running of those councils. The
overall effect of all this is that local government in Zimbabwe projects the
face of the minister rather than that of the people, a complete negation of
the notion of local democracy.

      So far, Chombo has been enthusiastic in invoking various clauses of
the Urban Councils Act to "discipline" local councils, and as in the case of
the HCC, sabotage their operations. The minister’s lethal arsenal includes
weapons like suspensions, inordinate delays in approving budgets from
"enemy" councils, denial or delays in approving borrowing powers (Bulawayo
and Harare) and so on. While the central government and Zanu PF repeatedly
accuse the MDC of campaigning for sanctions against the country, they are
actually busy implementing sanctions on MDC-controlled councils. What Zanu
PF did not manage to get through the ballot box, it is achieving through
ministerial intervention, backed by defective legislation. The democratic
process is vitiated as the verdict of the majority is subordinated to the
wishes of the minister. Here we witness a classic case of decentralisation
in order to centralise. Zanu PF has a strong centralising streak and the
party has an allergic distaste to any competing or countervailing centre of
power. Also flowing from the HCC saga and to some extent Chegutu is the
inability or unwillingness (or both) to cohabit between the two sworn
political rivals. If Zanu PF and the MDC can not work together and tolerate
each other at the lower tier of government, can there be any prospect of a
viable government of national unity as some are advocating? There is also an
irony to the centre-local relations in Zimbabwe. What the minister rightly
insists local authorities should do in the governance and management of
their councils are precisely those very things that he and his colleagues
are failing to do at national level. The crisis of local governance is a
reflection of the crisis of governance at national level, a case of the
centre infecting the periphery. The tragedy of centre-local relations in
Zimbabwe is that local government, instead of being the cradle of democracy,
becomes its graveyard. Something urgently needs to be done about local
governance in Zimbabwe. By Eldred Masunungure

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Just another futile exercise

        THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and a group of local musicians
will stage a marketing extravaganza in South Africa which will showcase
Zimbabwe’s tourism potential to the world at large.

      Coming at a time when the once prosperous Zimbabwe is in the grip of a
painful economic meltdown, the marketing exercise is indeed welcome.

      Unfortunately, however, the marketing exercise of the ZTA and its team
of patriotic musicians will prove to be just another futile attempt by the
the government and other groups such as the ZTA to spruce up Zimbabwe’s
image, without addressing the basic issues fuelling the country’s shameful

      From independence in 1980 up until 2000, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry

      Both domestic and international tourism flourished as tourists from
the world over flocked to peaceful and stable Zimbabwe to sample the country
’s famed tourist attractions.

      Overnight, tourism jumped to third place after the buoyant agriculture
and mining sectors, having previously been the country’s major foreign
currency earner.

      Why the tourism sector and the country’s image have taken a knock in
the last few years should be clear to the ZTA and all except the mentally

      No tourist will visit any country where political violence and racial
hatred are preached like the Lord’s gospel by those in authority.

      No matter how many tourism expos and extravaganzas the ZTA stages, no
sane tourist will visit Zimbabwe for as long as they believe their safety is
not guaranteed in this country because of the colour of their skin or
because of the country they come from.

      Tourists and foreign investors will continue to shun a country where
the rule of law is openly trampled upon and state security agencies stand
accused of violating and abusing the innocent citizens they are sworn to

      For the past three years, the ruling ZANU PF party has done all it can
to destroy tourist and investor confidence in its bid to stay in power.

      The drop in the arrival rate of foreign tourists in this country,
which the ZTA naively believes it can reverse by singing in South Africa, is
merely a reward for the mad economic and political policies of the

      Why, we ask the ZTA and the government, would tourists flock in their
thousands to a country which has does not have any fuel nor cash to buy
day-to-day needs?

      The government and the ZTA should realise that the planned one-day
tourism exhibition in South Africa is just a drop in the ocean. Much more
needs to be done outside the tourism industry itself.

      Only political and economic stability will revive the waning fortunes
of the lucrative tourism industry.

      The government should seriously start re-engaging the international
community and help the country shake off its pariah status.

      No amount of rhetoric and grand-standing can hide the madness and
political violence that have become routine in this country.

      Only when the government abandons its misguided policies which scare
away investors will any campaign to spruce up the image of this country

      What is needed to market this country are not tourism promotions in
South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore.

      The remedy to the country’s ills lies in sound economic and civilised
political policies.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      State to woo investors for gas-energy plant

        THE government plans to court giant South African (SA) synthetic
fuel producer Sasol Holdings and Malaysian investors to build and operate
gas-energy plants in southern Zimbabwe, which would help launch coalbed
methane (CBM)-based synthetic fuels to ease the country’s energy shortages,
it was learnt this week.

      Top government officials told the Business Daily that there had been
"informal contact" over the CBM reserves, with the Asians expected to chip
in with finances, while SA would provide the technology.

      "There has indeed, been discussion over this issue (CBM exploitation)
and l can tell you that government is interested in engaging Malaysian
investors as well as South Africans," said a well-placed source, adding
there would more formal exchange and presentations on the issue soon.

      While Kualar Lumpur is quite strong financially and competent in fuel
technology as well, Harare favoured neighbouring SA’s Fischer-Tropsch
technology, in which synthesised gas from carbon-containing elements is
converted into petroleum liquid hydrocarbons like aromatic-free diesel and
other products such as electricity.

      The Jewel Bank of Zimbabwe in a paper on the proposed CBM project
however said there was need for synchronisation of energy and mineral
development policies before would-be investors commit themselves into
developing promising industries such as the coal-bed methane (CBM) sector.

      Said the Jewel Bank: "The government . . . needs to put in place
legislation that facilitates the exploitation, transportation and
utilisation of gaseous hydrocarbons such as coal-bed methane."

      "The piece of legislation should dovetail into the research component
of the Ministry (of Energy and Power Development) and also make provision
for the financing of such projects."

      Zimbabwe, stung by three-year fuel shortages, is desperate to find
alternative energy sources hence its move to exploit a combined 30 billion
tonnes of CBM reserves in Beitbridge, Chiredzi, Gokwe, Gwayi, Hwange, Lupane
and Sengwa.

      The country is said to be endowed with 500 billion cubic metres of
natural gas in mainly the low-lying areas, which could be converted into
both electricity and liquid fuels.

      With the country underdoing energy sector reforms, Sasol’s technology
would suit the Zimbabwean scenario because it uses less expensive catalysts
such as iron.

      The Jewel Bank also proposes a number of funding mechanisms for the
huge project, which range from private sector-funded development, project
financing and public sector funding.

      Business Reporter

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      RBZ in rates bind as ZSE ticks up

        THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is in a bind as to how to bring
interest rates down after its measures last week to slash the premium on the
key repo rate only served as a temporary respite to ease rates, analysts

      The rate cut breathed life into the stock market, which had been
back-pedalling after falling its perch in the last two weeks.

      Analysts said despite the intervention by the central bank last week,
rates had begun to creep up again this week with call rates being quoted at
110 percent from around 80 percent at the end of last week.

      "We believe the cut of the repo premium offered some temporary respite
but rates have already started to go up again," said a dealer with Time

      "We do not think the RBZ has something to offer at the moment to
improve the situation. Without a head at the bank there will not be any new
monetary policy to give the market direction."

      The RBZ slashed premiums on the repo rate, the rate at which
commercial banks borrow from the central bank but analysts said the central
bank was still in a bind about how to tackle the tricky issue of interest

      Secured overnight borrowing from RBZ drew a premium of 20 percent on
the repo rate, currently pegged at 65 percent, now draw a premium charge of
only five percent while unsecured borrowing will draw a charge of 10
percent, down from 40 percent.

      The central bank had hoped this would ease interest rates, which had
shot past 140 percent and at the same time reduce interest payment on its
growing domestic debt, now pegged at $580 billion.

      This has, however, failed.

      But in the absence of upbeat economic news in a country experiencing
its fourth year of economic recession, the stock market seemed to have
picked the fall in interest rates as a rallying point, from its slump which
saw panicky investors offload their Zimbabwe Stock Excvhange (ZSE)
portfolios two weeks ago.

      Analysts said investors, not getting a lift from any new data,
continued to guess their way into investments, mostly putting faith in
traditional bellwether stocks and sifting through company data in search of
bright prospects.

      "Let’s forget about fundamentals, that is not working," said a
Harare-based stockbroker. "What we can only do now is to follow trends and
get to understand the stock better in order to make a meaningful investment.

      The bulls that have driven the market for much of this year seemed to
have come back to the ZSE, market watchers said.

      Trading was mixed yesterday, with notable gains in Cottco which which
put up $35 to $515 while NMB, which had taken a battering following the
suspension of its forex licence for a year, rebounded yesterday, notching up
$20 to $150 as it emerged that the central bank could reverse its

      The gains helped hoist the industrial index to 732 652.35 points from
731 218.70 points at Tuesday’s close.

      Dawn Properties, which listed its shares on Tuesday and immediately
climbed to $81 slumped to $70 yesterday, dragging with it parent company
Zimsun, which shed the same $11 to close at $109.

      The mining index shed 8039.13 points to 144 711.09 points yesterday,
pulled down by losses in heavyweight Bindura, Rio Tinto and Falgold.

      On the money market, rates started picking up from last week’s drop
with 30, 60 and 90-day rates trading between 80 and 85 percent.

      The market remained illiquid at $33.1 billion short yesterday and was
forecast to be $34 billion down this week.

      Dealers said the RBZ was unusually quiet about the continued liquidity
crunch in the money market, adding that at the time the central bank has
tried to come to raise funds from the market, it has rejected all bids
because of high rates.

      For the fifth week running, the central bank has not come to the
market to raise money except for the traditional 91 Thursday tender which it
has floated but continuously rejected all bids because bidders will be
levying high rates. "The Reserve Bank (of Zimbabwe) has not come to buy from
the market in the past five weeks," said a dealer with a Harare discount
house company. But you will then realise that each time they have come to
complement the market with more liquidity the rates have been higher."
Analysts have started to question where the government, known for
traditionally relying on the domestic banking sector, is getting money from
to finance its requirements. Meanwhile foreign currency inflows have failed
to improve despite a recent clampdown on financial institutions by the RBZ.
The swoop saw NMB Bank Limited lose its forex licence, although the central
bank is said to be considering reversing the decision. Trading on the
parallel market, although subdued, continues but with traders now taking a
cautious approach. By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business Editor

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Industry also plays politics – dirtier too

        The economic meltdown in Zimbabwe has stretched all institutions
beyond their limit of sustainability.

      Today, rumbling stomachs and throbbing headaches interrupt jokes.
Imagine the stress of waiting in the bank to withdraw cash that is not

      As the ship sank to the seabed, there was another player in the midst
of the crisis that played a role. However, in our eyes, it just appears as
another victim of circumstances, yet the facts prove otherwise.

      Industry really plays politics too, perhaps with more vigour than all
the politicians. Truly, industry cannot be spared for its role in the
Zimbabwe crisis.

      It’s unfortunate that where industry acts politically, economists are
quick to jump onto the grand stage to lecture us righteously about laws of
supply and demand.

      There is no doubt that industry miscalculated badly towards the 2002
presidential elections. It fired many workers, the so-called downsizing.

      Some companies shut down deliberately, expecting to come back to life
after the elections. Others even relocated to neighbouring countries in a
bid to frustrate their workers.

      The povo (masses) in rural areas were not spared either. Some goods
seen on the shelves in the evening were not available the next morning.
Goods on the shelves were deliberately pegged at abnormal prices and many
economic excuses were given, such as foreign currency and fuel shortages.

      Economic sense indeed, but we have plenty of goods produced in
Zimbabwe which have no foreign ingredients and do not need expatriate skills
but are more expensive than foreign goods. Is that not politics?

      Why did industry reduce the size of bread and increase its price?

      Politics is the ability to have control and power over the people so
that an individual, group or institution even determines what the people eat
or acquire. Therefore, industry played all games possible to frustrate the
workers in order to woo them to vote for its crippled baby – the Movement
for Democratic Change.

      The baby tried to run before crawling and lost the race. Worse even
happened. We were branded cowards because we voted incorrectly or through
intimidation and are still failing to recover the stolen elections, even by
violent means.

      Thousands have lost their jobs and the only thing that is not scarce
in Zimbabwe is sunlight. Out of frustration, some industrialists even
anticipated a civil war, an idea which Zimbabweans refused to buy.

      That is why even news reporters in rival media houses write the same
story differently.

      As a result, things are now upside down and the politics of blame has
taken centre stage.

      Even in situations where a mere school pass note could guarantee you a
job, a gold diploma and experience are unwaveringly required.

      Everything is up on the black market and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
continues firing bullets at shadows. Surely, where solutions are so elusive,
confusion reigns.

      Richard Chauke


Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Moyo, Mudenge are lost

        That Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge takes time to summon all
foreign diplomats to explain the behaviour of the repressive government and
its violence against innocent Zimbabweans seeking to express their rights,
is not only an expression of a guilty conscience, but also an admission of
evil-doing by his government.

      But then these diplomats are in Harare to witness such acts of
brutality by Zanu PF militia on their own!

      Jonathan Moyo, George Charamba and Munyaradzi Huni are wasting their
time at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the Herald and the Sunday

      ZANU PF’s Nathan Shamuyarira realised that Harare is now totally
pro-Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) with not a single Zanu PF supporter
behind the ruling party. He had to allegedly bus in militia thugs from the
rural areas who were only too happy to taste bread after a long time.

      Many of them from Shamva and Bindura had their first opportunity to
wander about the streets of Harare, thanks to the MDC-initiated mass action.

      However, Moyo and his close associates continue to speak to the wrong
audience through the ZBC and their state-run newspapers.

      Their real supporters do not understand the language they speak, nor
are they able to read through the pages of the Herald. One of their thugs
tore up a copy of the Herald thinking it was the Daily News.

      Give them free education and expose them to another lifestyle and see
if they will ever want to be used again. I advise Moyo to copy his employer,
President Robert Mugabe, who is now expressing himself through South African

      Ready to Explode


Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Zimbabwe daily operating 'illegally'

      The Supreme Court in Zimbabwe has ruled that the private Daily News
newspaper, which is highly critical of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,
is operating illegally.
      The court issued its ruling after the Daily News challenged a section
of Zimbabwe's media law, which requires news organisations and journalists
to register with the Media and the Information Commission.

      Lawyers for the newspaper argued that the requirement was

      The controversial law was signed by President Mugabe in March 2003.

      Thursday's ruling means that the publishers of the Daily News will
have to register under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act if it wants to challenge the law again.


      In January, Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo accused the
Daily News of deliberately flouting a properly constituted Zimbabwe law and
therefore being disrespectful to the judiciary and the parliament.

      But the publishers of the Daily News said the Media and Information
Commission had refused to accredit the journalists working for the

      During the anti-government protests in June 2003 the newspaper said it
was time for the opposition leadership in Zimbabwe to directly send a
message to the army and the police urging them to disobey what it described
as an illegitimate government.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Executives Resigned Over Inflation

Financial Gazette (Harare)

September 11, 2003
Posted to the web September 11, 2003

Dumisani Ndlela

A CONFERENCE on hyperinflation last week revealed a deep feeling of
resignation among the country's company executives, whose business
operations have been threatened by an inflationary scourge that spooking
Zimbabwe's economy for the past three years.

Zimbabwe's inflation currently stands at 399.5 percent year-on-year for
July, and analysts fear it could hit the 1 000 percent level by December
against an earlier forecast by the government of 96 percent by the end of
the year.

The rate is way above inflation figures for Zimbabwe's trading partners,
averaging five percent.

Delegates to the Zimbabwe Conference Call on Hyperinflation with economics
professor Michael Salemi from the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, United States, which was organised by the United States Information
Service (USIS) last Friday, spoke with unconcealed anger about the disaster
brought upon them by the country's economic crisis.

"The entire economy loses (from hyperinflation) - time, efforts, hard
thinking - people are always trying to avoid the costs of hyperinflation," a
delegate to the conference said.

Although one presenter said it was not entirely the government's fault that
the country faced its present economic problems, arguing that the business
community had to engage the government, there were muted voices of

One delegate noted that the inflation-spurred devastation was quite evident,
but authorities were unwilling to engage stakeholders to find a lasting

His group, part of a multinational conglomerate, had tried to engage the
government in discussion over the crisis in the country, with South
Africa-based executives coming into the country only to have a cabinet
minister bolting out because one of them had made a remark unfavourable to

"There is no willingness by the government to engage," he said.

Zimbabwe is currently facing its worst ever economic crisis in history,
characterised by acute foreign currency shortages and the shortage of basic
food commodities and even components for routine factory machinery repairs.

"Hyperinflation ends when governments make credible commitments to stop
deficit spending and stop rapid money creation," Professor Salemi told the
conference by telephone from the United States.

"Hyperinflation can end rapidly once commitments are in place," he

But that's where it gets difficult for Zimbabwe.

The Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, last month presented a
supplementary budget which doubled the government's spending from just over
$600 billion to $1.442 trillion.

Surprisingly, Murerwa expects the budget deficit to narrow on the back of a
super performance by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).

Salemi agrees that the deficit could narrow, saying the government is the
biggest beneficiary of a hyperinflationary environment through an "inflation

But the rest of the economy would be counted among the losers, Salemi said,
"because valuable resources are used up attempting to avoid the costs of

But money supply growth has been hitting record high levels. Although the
government has been criticised for its profligacy over the years, which has
been blamed for huge budget deficits, it has failed to extricate itself from
the high spending culture.

As two economists at the conference, Howard Sithole and John Robertson
agreed, inflation erodes value, leaving a trail of unprecedented economic
destruction in a country.

Consumption starts to exceed production, said Robertson, triggering price
increases which in turn prompt wage increases, which trigger further price
increases. Consumption eventually falls, but profits remain acceptable at
the higher prices. Falling consumption translate into increased savings.

Robertson noted that a rise in savings would have catapulted the country
into huge productive sector investments, leading to increased supply,
although prices would have continued to rise.

Consumption would have been restricted by rising prises and this would have
resulted in increased savings.

Investment in capacity would have been justified, as profits remained high
despite lower sales.

This would have culminated into higher output oversupplying the market, and
rising stocks would have arrested new investment. Accumulated savings would
have started attracting lower interest rates, and reduced sales of capital
and finished goods would have led to labour retrenchments.

Job losses would force a further decline in consumption as well as savings.

Falling sales volumes would initially prompt higher prices to achieve
required turnover.

High costs of holding stocks would then begin to threaten price stability,
with the possibility of falling prices discouraging all new investment.

Further accumulation of savings would lower inflation at this stage, and
inflation rates would become higher than interest rates.

Consumption spending would start to rise again, depleting stocks, without a
response from supply volumes.

Stocks would fall further, and developing shortages would cause prices to
rise further.

Inflation would continue to rise above interest rates, so spending would
continue to increase.

Scarcities then become more serious and prices rise further.

Spending much more to buy much less creates panic buying of selected goods.

Production and employment levels are more seriously endangered.

"The ensuing crisis generates political unrest and possibly state
intervention," said Robertson.

Indeed there has been increasing agitation among Zimbabweans over the
economic crisis in Zimbabwe, but political unrest has been curbed through
the use of the police and military to crush any forms of dissent.

The state has intervened by controlling the prices of basic food commodities
but this has worsened shortages or caused the products whose prices are
controlled to be available on the black market.

Sithole said hyperinflation had different implications on different sectors
of the economy.

Looking specifically at the financial services sector, Sithole said in real
terms, the size of the financial sector had been reduced since the ratio of
deposits to gross domestic product had fallen.

Banks were not making much of their money from traditional lending business
under the present hyperinflationary environment, he said.

"The challenge for banks is to explore ways of managing revenue - the
pressure is to increase revenue streams," Sithole said.

Salemi said one way to ameliorate the effects of hyperinflation was through
conversion of paper assets into real property, inventories or assets
denominated in a stable currency.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Times (SA)

White Zimbabweans look for land in Nigeria

Thursday September 11, 2003 16:07 - (SA)

LAGOS - Five white Zimbabwean farmers are in Nigeria's central Kwara State
prospecting for land on which to raise livestock, state officials said on

The Zimbaweans arrived in the state's capital Ilorin on Wednesday and met
with Governor Bukola Saraki, his spokesman Tajudeen Kareem told AFP.

"They told the governor they are interested in land to start livestock and
cattle-rearing businesses," he said.

Kareem said the governor promised to assist them and directed agriculture
ministry officials to take them on a tour of Kwara's facilities.

"The Zimbabweans will visit a government-owned poultry farm at Oke-Iyi to
see if that project, abandoned many years ago, can be revived," he added.

Kareem said President Olusegun Obasanjo was aware of the visit. "The
president is happy about the visit and the investment opportunities it will

Some 4,000 white farmers have been evicted from their land in Zimbabwe since
the government President Robert Mugabe launched controversial land reforms
in 2000 ostensibly to redress colonial-era disparities in land ownership.

But the government has come under fire for allowing ruling party members to
grab prime farmland under the programme.

The policy drew international condemnation, especially from Britain, the
former colonial power, which believes whites are being unfairly targeted.

While the Zimbabwe government says it has successfully completed its
controversial "fast-track" land reforms, white-owned farms continue to be
listed regularly for compulsory acquisition.

To date, the government says it has resettled 210,000 peasant farmers and
14,880 commercial farmers on 11 million hectares (26 million acres) of
formerly white-owned land.


Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe may make cabinet changes to stop farm abuse

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Sept. 11 — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe fuelled speculation on
Thursday that he plans to sack some ministers who grabbed several properties
from white farmers during his controversial land seizure programme.

       In July Mugabe ordered ministers who took more than one farm during
the drive that began three years ago to surrender all but one, but officials
say only a handful of ministers complied.
       On Thursday, after receiving a report from a committee he set up to
review the land reforms, Mugabe rattled his ministers by announcing that he
would implement all the proposals in the document -- which called for a
restructuring of the government.
       The report, by an eight-member committee chaired by Mugabe's former
cabinet secretary Charles Utete, was not released to the media, but Mugabe
said it contained practical suggestions on how to advance Zimbabwe's farming
       ''We shall take full cognisance of your findings...and of your
recommendations. I want to assure you that government is going to respond
positively,'' Mugabe said.
       ''We will look at it, and we will take urgent action,'' he said,
adding: ''They are also recommending the restructuring of my government.''
       Mugabe's speech fuelled speculation among officials and ministers at
the ceremony that he meant he might fire those ministers who defied his
order to surrender extra farms or transferred them to their relatives.

       ''I think anyone who thought he (Mugabe) is not serious must think
again. He has taken out the axe, and some heads might roll very soon,'' one
minister said.
       In the late 1980s, Mugabe used a judicial inquiry into a vehicle sale
scandal to dismiss several ministers.
       Government officials said this week that some of Mugabe's ministers
were fighting his war veteran supporters over land seized from white
       Mugabe is accused of plunging what could be one of Africa's richest
countries into a political and economic crisis through controversial
policies that include the compulsory transfer of hundreds of white-owned
farms to landless blacks.
       Critics say that while thousands of peasants have benefited from the
programme, the most productive farms have been seized by government
ministers and senior officials from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, sparking
fierce battles with other ZANU-PF supporters.
       On Tuesday, the private Daily News reported that leading war veteran
activist Mike Moyo had won a court order barring Mines Minister Edward
Chindori-Chininga from occupying a farm in northwestern Zimbabwe on the
ground that he already owned two other farms.
       Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence from
Britain in 1980, says his land seizures are meant to correct colonial
imbalances which left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the hands
of minority whites.

Back to the Top
Back to Index