September 2007, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Pius Ncube is
widely believed in Zimbabwe to be the latest victim of dirty tricks by the
feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Archbishop Ncube - many believe he was a victim of CIO
Bishop Ncube, who has just resigned as the Archbishop of
Bulawayo, has been a vocal critic of the government.
In July this year, he called for foreign intervention to remove
President Robert Mugabe.
A week later, he called the president a "megalomaniac, a bully
and a murderer".
Barely two weeks after that, state media gleefully published
photos - allegedly of Bishop Ncube in bed with a married woman.
The bishop denies the allegations but the scandal has led to his
resignation, with her husband suing him for damages.
"The CIO manufactured all that," says Tendai Biti, secretary
general of one faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"He fought the regime and the regime fought back."
ALLEGED DIRTY TRICKS
Pius Ncube - adultery
Morgan Tsvangirai - treason plot
MDC - infiltration split
Ndabaningi Sithole - attempted assassination
Bishop Ncube himself talks of the "crude machinations of a
wicked regime" but vows: "I will not be silenced".
He has, however, lost his job and it remains to be seen whether
his voice will carry the same influence without the backing of such an
Lovemore Madhuku from the National Constitutional Assembly,
which campaigns for political reform in Zimbabwe, says that as soon as you stand
up and criticise the government, you are taking a huge risk.
Opposition activists have been beaten up, tortured and even
killed but CIO agents also employ subtler methods, such as those many believe
were used against Bishop Ncube.
"They visit your husband, or your wife, or your workplace and
try to interfere in your day-to-day life," Mr Madhuku told the BBC News website.
Madhuku: the CIO find ways to interfere in your day-to-day
"They are very clever," he says. "They cannot force you to have
an affair but they study you, so they can take advantage of your weaknesses."
He says that other favoured methods are to entrap businesspeople
into doing something illegal, like dealing in foreign currency.
They then keep this information and use it against you when they
judge the time is right, blackmailing you into giving up politics.
Mr Madhuku says CIO agents have repeatedly gone to the
University of Zimbabwe, where he works in the law faculty, to try to get him
He says they have successfully managed to stop him taking a
high-profile role in his church.
The CIO reports directly to the office of the president and
agents are selected on the basis of their loyalty to Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF
It has a massive budget despite Zimbabwe's economic woes, access
to the latest technology and a massive network of informers.
"You don't know who you're talking to, who you can trust," Mr
Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted after a long treason trial in Harare
He says they have infiltrated every structure of every
organisation in the country. And opposition parties are first in their firing
Two years ago, the MDC, which has presented Mr Mugabe with its
strongest challenge since he led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980, split into
two factions, making it far less effective.
Many see this as another CIO coup.
Mr Madhuku says their agents infiltrated the highest levels of
the party and successfully played on the egos of top MDC officials.
One group, including the party's secretary general and
vice-president, accused leader Morgan Tsvangirai of over-ruling a vote taken by
a majority of the party`s leadership.
Mr Madhuku says undercover CIO agents would have gone to Mr
Tsvangirai and told him: "You're the leader, you must be decisive."
Then other agents would have approached people like Secretary
General Welshman Ncube and said: "That Tsvangirai is a dictator. Our party is
based on the fight for democracy, so we must all obey the rules."
Going back and forth between the different camps, the agents
eventually sowed discord, personality clashes and eventually a split, which
greatly weakened the party.
This was not the first time that Mr Tsvangirai had been
Just weeks before the 2002 presidential election, he was charged
with treason, based on the evidence of Ari Ben-Menashe, a Canada-based political
Grainy footage of the CCTV tape of Mr Tsvangirai (R) was sloppy
He testified that in a secretly-filmed meeting in December 2001,
Mr Tsvangirai had asked him to arrange the assassination of President Mugabe.
As evidence, he produced a grainy tape-recording.
However, on that occasion, the CIO's standards had slipped and
it was obvious that the tape had been heavily edited in an amateurish attempt to
put incriminating words into Mr Tsvangirai's mouth.
The clock in the corner of the CCTV footage kept on flicking
backwards and forwards.
With its tentacles reaching into every facet of Zimbabwean life,
the CIO no doubt tried to ensure that a compliant judge heard the case.
But for whatever reason, on this occasion, their plans failed
and Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted.
Nevertheless, the possibility of a death sentence must have been
a huge distraction for the opposition leader for more than two years, making him
less of a threat to Mr Mugabe.
He was not the first opposition leader to be tried for treason
on spurious grounds in Zimbabwe.
Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, Mr Mugabe's rival for more than 20
years, always claimed that he had been set up when he was charged with trying to
assassinate Mr Mugabe in 1997.
On this occasion, he was found guilty and sentenced to
two-and-a-half years in prison, although he died, aged 80, before serving any
Before the treason charges, another CIO ploy to discourage one
of only two opposition MPs at the time, had been to show Rev Sithole a document
allegedly showing that his wife was having an affair with a government minister.
Rule by Securicrat
Mr Mugabe owes his position to dirty tricks... and the securicrats
who invent them
Mr Madhuku says such petty interference, as much as the threat
of physical violence, is why many ordinary Zimbabweans decide not to get
involved in politics, despite the country's economic collapse.
Mr Biti concurs, and says: "Mr Mugabe owes his position to dirty
tricks and the 'securicrats' who invent them. The 'securicrats' are the real
brains of this regime."
Mugabe to cut powers
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
. . .
But moves to tighten hold on party
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has agreed to shed
some of his sweeping powers in
talks between his party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), but at the same time he has begun
consolidating his hold on ZANU PF,
ahead of a special congress where he will
seek to crush factions vying to
block his candidacy.
party's supreme decision-making body - the Politburo - last week
call an extraordinary congress in place of a conference that had
pencilled for December.
ZANU PF insiders said the congress will give
President Mugabe, who had
earlier hinted at retiring at the expiry of his
current term only to change
his mind after the race to succeed him split the
ruling party right through
the middle, a chance to finally get official
endorsement as ZANU PF's
But the decision also
shows that some opposition to his bid remains, despite
he has received from the leaders of the Women's League
and the Youth League
plus war veterans, chiefs and ZANU PF mayors.
The extraordinary congress has
been called to choose the party's
presidential candidate for elections next
year, Vice President Joice Mujuru
was quoted as saying this
According to ZANU PF sources, President Mugabe's supporters are now
up a campaign for Mujuru's ouster.
Mujuru and Rural Housing
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are linked to factions
jockeying to succeed the
ageing Zimbabwean leader, in power since the
country's independence from
Britain in 1980.
Recent public comments made by senior members of the ZANU PF
regarded as critical of Mujuru, are part of a wider strategy
to sideline her
ahead of congress, the sources said.
But insiders say
although there are dissenting voices in the ruling party,
there is little
chance President Mugabe will face an open challenge at
the conference, which had been planned earlier, congress draws huge
particularly from the boisterous war veterans and the party's youth
women's leagues, where President Mugabe enjoys strong support.
resistance, but unless something extraordinary happens, he will be
nominated," a Politburo member said yesterday.
President Mugabe has,
since the Goromonzi conference last December, shown
increasing unease with
the Mujuru faction, which he backed against Mnangagwa
at the 2004
In an interview with state television to mark his birthday in
President criticised what he said was "an insidious dimension
(in ZANU PF)
where ambitious leaders have been cutting deals with the
Americans", and voiced his opposition to involvement by his top
This was widely seen as a dig at retired army
general Solomon Mujuru, the
only one of his top officials with known
interests in diamonds. The retired
general is Vice-President Mujuru's
And at the weekend, Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, who said the
congress would need to "secure its leader", referred to a "British-run
faction, which has been seeking to worm itself to influence. It is a
faction, which is greedy, anti-nation, a bit daft, without structures, but
well heeled and quite white at its core."
President Mugabe's ZANU PF
supporters, Manheru suggested, were moving
"relentlessly to pare down the
power claims of this faction."
Supporters of President Mugabe have cast him
as the remaining authentic
revolutionary in the ruling party. Apart from
fighting other factions,
radical ZANU PF supporters have sniped at any hints
at the need for reform,
especially after comments in South Africa by Simba
Makoni the former finance
minister, who merely acknowledged that there was
an economic crisis in the
Over recent months, the women's and
youth leagues, chiefs and war veterans
have endorsed the President for the
harmonised 2008 elections.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday
tabled the 18th amendment, but
debate on it will only begin on
The Bill will help President Mugabe manage his succession, but it is
unexpected call for a special congress that reflects the continuing
within ZANU PF over his future.
Jabulani Sibanda, sacked as war
veterans leader in a row some linked to the
succession battle, is suddenly
back in favour, leading a march in President
Mugabe's support two weeks
Sibanda has been linked to the Mnangagwa camp, although he has denied
in previous comments to The Financial Gazette.
However, signs that
support among war veterans for President Mugabe, though
strong, is not
unanimous, came last week when there were clashes in Masvingo
supporting rival factions of the party.
The Politburo meeting also discussed
and approved changes to the original
wording of the Constitutional Amendment
No.18 Bill, changes that will limit
President Mugabe's powers, especially
his influence over Parliament.
The changes were agreed after ZANU PF tabled
the Amendment as an agenda item
in the talks, spearheaded by South African
President Thabo Mbeki.
A 210-member House of Assembly will be constituted
entirely by elected
members, unlike the previous plan where the President
could appoint 10
The President would still choose governors,
three members from interest
groups, and have influence over the appointment
of chiefs to an expanded
93-member Senate. But the lower house would have
the power of veto on the
upper chamber, again diluting the influence of his
The constitutional changes would also see the Delimitation
abolished, and its work taken over by the Zimbabwe
"We will be going back to the 20 percent (constituency
factor, from the current 25 percent, which created huge
and small rural constituencies," a source said.
arrangement had the effect of creating more rural constituencies than
Since 2000, the Delimitation Commission has controversially increased
in rural areas, a ZANU PF stronghold, while seats in the urban areas,
the MDC draws most of its support, were gradually reduced.
said the ruling party was also debating excluding Registrar General
Tobaiwa Mudede from all involvement in elections. The opposition sees
R-G as a ZANU PF appointee.
Chaos at border posts as ZIMRA workers strike
THE country's ports of entry plunged into a crisis
yesterday after the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) workers went on
strike to press for a 5
700 percent salary increase, The Financial Gazette
The work stoppage could have cost ZIMRA at least $1 trillion
alone on the first day of the strike, besides inconveniencing
cross-border travellers battling to clear imports into the
All non-managerial employees at ZIMRA, estimated at over 2 000, had
the work stoppage, which comes at a time when government has imposed
blanket freeze on salary adjustments to rein in rampant inflation,
topping 7 600 percent.
Sources within ZIMRA told The Financial
Gazette yesterday that the
negotiations between workers and management had
collapsed on Tuesday after
the authority refused to grant the 5 700 percent
salary increase, arguing
this was beyond the revenue authority's
The 5 700 percent increment could have lifted the salary of revenue
specialists, the equivalent of bank tellers in a financial institution, to
about $87 million per month, up from $1.5 million per month they are
Workers warned that while government was in des-perate
need for revenue,
ZIMRA's refusal to award workers the salary adjustment
could be a major blow
to the ailing economy.
"Companies had started
remitting Pay as You Earn (PAYE) deductions because
we are approaching the
15th of September. That is about $1 trillion revenue
per day that the
government is losing," said a senior ZIMRA employee.
"There are serious
problems at the Beitbridge border post because after the
Department clears passengers, there is no one to do the customs
All the border posts have been affected except Forbes near Mutare
communication problems there," the source said.
ZIMRA management had offered
the workers a 400 percent increment to be
implemented this month.
would have taken the salary of a revenue officer to $10 million at a
the poverty datum line is estimated at over $15 million.
The workers, who
also seemed to ignore a government directive for a price
and salary freeze,
spent most of the day holed up in an open office at one
of ZIMRA's buildings
in Harare yesterday.
They said the industrial action had started at the
Beitbridge border post,
one of Africa's busiest ports, at midnight
yesterday, before spreading to
Chirundu, Nyamapanda and other border posts
causing serious confusion among
travellers and investors seeking to clear
The Beitbridge border post clears a number of vehicles daily,
some of which
are in transit to Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and the Democratic
Sources however, said it was the disruption in
Harare that would be a big
blow to revenue collection because at this time
of the month, about 85
percent of ZIMRA's revenue collections came from the
corporate tax payments as well as Value Added
ZIMRA's corporate communications department had not yet responded to
questions submitted yesterday by the time of going to press.
is understood that ZIMRA has lost between 10 and 15 key staff members
month since January due to poor salaries.
This is, however, not the first
time ZIMRA has clashed with its workers over
In 2005, the
Labour Court ordered the revenue collection authority to award
a 200 percent
salary increment but ZIMRA pressed on with its decision to
award a 17
percent increment leading to threats by the workers to down
is under pressure to increase revenue collection to replenish the
depleted coffers as escalating costs of goods and services have
toll on the fiscus.
New rules empower govt to take over firms
NEW measures freshly authorised by President Robert Mugabe to
price war make it easier for government to wrest control of
companies under the guise of resuscitating them.
instrument 159A, meant to widen the powers of the National Incomes
Pricing Commission (NIPC), allows the state to appoint an administrator
take over management of any company that stops or cuts production due to
The instrument, published last week, is made under
(Temporary Measures) regulations.
The measures appear
to vindicate suspicions that the widely condemned price
blitz may be
targeted at specific companies, which government might want to
take over in
order to influence the pricing of goods and services.
Targeted for takeover,
according to sources, could be major producers of
basic commodities such as
milk, sugar, bread, mealie-meal and cooking oil.
At the moment, government is
claiming links to the indigenisation drive of
the acquisition by the Cotton
Company of Zimbabwe of H.J. Heinz's 49 percent
stake in food manufacturer
Government is also in the process of enacting a law
companies to give up 51 percent shareholding to
locals as part of new
measures to empower previously disadvantaged
Now, government can issue new shares in a company it takes over,
own directors, and raise capital without the approval of the
according to the latest regulations.
The instrument says "where
the enterprise is a private company, an order
declaring it to be a public
company, whereupon such enterprise shall for all
purposes be deemed to be a
public company", can be issued by the NIPC.
An administrator will be
appointed to take over a company whose owners have
production, the instrument says.
However, it is vague on how it determines
the cause behind the stoppage of
production, defining a "discontinuation" as
when the owner ceases "to
properly or adequately operate or supervise the
The instrument claims to target "essential enterprises", and
defines such a
company as one that manufactures "any commodity used by the
generally, or any significant section of the public."
range of sectors are listed as essential: manufacturing,
supply, retail, commuter transport, health services,
telecommunications and finance.
However, an essential company, according to
the instrument, can also be "any
other enterprise the Minister (of Industry
and International Trade) deems to
be an essential service."
will compensate for any damage suffered by a company under
However, in calculating any compensation, allowance will
be made for "any
dam-age or deterioration, which would probably have
occurred had the
enterprise not been subjected to temporary administration,
and the value of
any improvements effected during the period of the
The NIPC will determine the length of a period
of administration, at the end
of which an order can be issued extending the
period for a further three
Should the NIPC choose to return a
company to its owner, and the owner does
not "continue it to the
satisfaction of the Commission within seven days
after repossession," or
discontinues production within three months, the
administration order will
Administrators, who can be drawn from the military or the
police under the
rules, will be appointed with the consultation of the
Corporation or the Zimbabwe Development
Before an administration order can be issued, an NIPC inspector
is sent in
to "ensure the continuation of essential services". The inspector
to "break open the doors and windows of the premises if he or she
to obtain admission after having audibly demanded
The inspector will take an inventory of all equipment and stock,
all information on the conduct of the business, including the
addresses of owners and creditors.
The new rules represent a
further escalation by government of its war on
business, which began in June
with an order for a 50 percent price cut and
continued last month with a
The price war, which virtually outlaws real profits and has
shortages, has driven industry to the brink, forcing many to
scale down operations by shutting down plants and idle floor
However, industrialists now face the prospect of losing their
they either stop or reduce production to prevent further
Over 7 000 traders, from the heads of listed corporations to small
operators, have been arrested since the crackdown began.
Chinese diplomat reveals why Zim deals are dead in the
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
A STRING of commercial
agreements signed with China have failed because
Zimbabwe cannot raise both
the foreign and the local currency to back the
projects, a senior official
at the Chinese mission in Harare has said.
Liu Joe, trade attaché at the
Chinese Embassy told The Financial Gazette
last week: "Zimbabwe does not
have the foreign currency needed for the
projects. In some cases, they do
not have the local currency."
Liu said he did not have actual figures showing
how much Zimbabwe needed to
raise for the outstanding investments. He also
declined to discuss Chinese
aid to Zimbabwe saying the issue was
Chinese involvement in Zimbabwe has come under renewed scrutiny
weeks after Mark Malloch-Brown, British foreign secretary, claimed
newspaper interview that he had been assured by a senior Chinese
official that the Asian giant had stopped all non-humanitarian
China has dismissed the claims.
adopted a "Look East Policy" in 2002 when the European Union
western countries slapped sanctions on President Robert Mugabe's
and restricted commercial links with Zimbabwe.
Under the "Look East Policy",
the government has over the years trumpeted
what it described as big deals
with the Chinese.
But tangible Chinese investment has yet to
One of the biggest deals was announced in November 2005, after
President Joice Mujuru and Water Resources and Infrastructure
Minister, Munacho Mutezo, signed an agreement in China with the
Corporation of International Economic and Technical
Officials said at the time that the company would build Kunzvi
provide irrigation equipment to boost food security, in exchange for
However, Kunzvi Dam remains "in the pipeline", with
many urban centres still
going without regular water supplies.
Chinese investment into a methane gas project in Lupane is also yet
The government has also previously announced it was negotiating
billion loan facility from China for the stabilisation of the
China - even with its colossal US$1.4 trillion foreign reserve
- has not
extended much in loans to Zimbabwe.
Economy won't collapse: Gono
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has said Zimbabwe will
collapse due to the economic crisis that has engulfed the country,
the country will finally come out of its present quagmire.
Speaking in a
recent wide ranging interview with the London-based New
African magazine on
the future prospects of the economy, which has suffered
eight years of a
successive recession, Gono, said that "armchair critics"
blame Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's problems.
"Let me just say Zimbabwe
will not die," Gono said. "We will have bruises
here and there, but we will
not die. And we will not tell the whole world
our strategies for survival
because we have been betrayed before," he added.
The central bank chief has
spearheaded the country's campaign for an
economic revival since taking over
the central bank governorship in late
In 2005, Gono committed the
country's meager foreign currency reserves to
clear a US$275 million debt
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in
the process averting an
embarrassing expulsion of Zimbabwe from the IMF's
governor expressed his disappointment with the international
system, saying it had been politicised and was in urgent need of
"We have been very disappointed with the action of
institutions that are
supposed to be apolitical," Gono said.
"I am afraid
to say that the multilateral institutions of this world leave a
lot to be
desired. I should say we have greater faith in ourselves than
ourselves (but) we will welcome support from whatever quarter; that
should be predicated on actions that we take voluntarily."
"There is need for
us to reform these institutions. We continue to remain a
member but working
for its (IMF) transformation.
He defended the printing of money by the
central bank, arguing those who
blamed him for the actions were "armchair
"Only the bullfighter knows exactly what goes on in the ring. It is
criticise, but what alternatives do you proffer in an environment
can't get the traditional BoP (balance of payments) support. If you
the impact of sanctions on this economy, you will then see how the
resources has affected us," said Gono.
He argued that the
printing of money to sustain lives, to build
infrastructure, a springboard
from which to leap forward, "cannot be bad."
"After the Great Depression in
the 1930s, the United States had to print
money to finance some of the
infrastructure that the current generation are
proud to have. Look at the
bridges across many rivers and other
infrastructure that were built with
high budget deficits," Gono said.
"When these people in the rural areas say
we want a dam, they want to see
water. They do not care where the funds come
Forex duty on underwear
ranging from underwear to fridges, from shoes to carpets,
wants duty in foreign currency.
An expanded list of what government
defines as "luxury items" is contained
in a statutory instrument, the
Customs and Excise (Designation of Luxury)
amendment notice that came into
effect last Friday.
It was gazetted a day after Finance Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi announced he
would expand the list of goods for which duty would
now be paid in foreign
Earlier this year, government slapped
foreign currency duty payment on the
importation of motor vehicles, saying
cars were luxury items, and that their
importation was hurting the local
motor industry - which, essentially, is
Now government has
released a new list of hundreds of other products that
will be considered
luxury items, and for which duty in
foreign currency will have to be
The list classifies virtually all forms of clothing as luxury
This includes footwear, and underwear for both men and women - and the
instrument describes these at length;
the bras, the panties,
and even girdles, veils, gloves and ties.
Duty for all types of
carpeting, "refrigerators of a household type",
cookers, bed linen, blankets
- excluding, surprisingly, electric blankets -
will also be charged in
According to the instrument, duty for most clothing
be charged at 60 percent of its value, plus at US$10 per
Goods such as bed linen will attract duty of 50 percent, plus the
kg. Fridges and cookers will be charged at 60 percent and US$45
2005 spying case: High Court orders hearing
THE High court has ordered the Attorney General (A-G) and
the Master of the
High Court, Charles Nyatanga, to facilitate the hearing of
an appeal by
three men convicted in 2005 of spying on ZANU PF, following
postponements as a result of the state's failure to get its case in
The three appellants, former ambassador-designate to Mozambique,
Dzvairo, former Metropolitan Bank secretary Tendai Matambanadzo, and
ex-director for external affairs, Itai Marchi, were jailed in 2005
espionage following their arrest the previous year.
Peter Kumbawa sentenced Dzvairo to six years in jail, and
the other two
accused to five years each, but they are appealing against
and sentence. The appellants were charged with breaching the
Court records show that High Court judges Lawrence Kamocha and
Hlatshwayo ruled last month that the A-G must immediately file the
heads of arguments in the matter, and that the Master of the High
should set down the appeal date in the first week of this
Both orders have, however, not been complied with. Neither have
court papers been filed nor a date set for the hearing.
show that lawyers for the three men have now written to the A-G
Nyatanga, protesting at their failure to abide by the ruling. Harare
Selby Hwacha represents the appellants while prosecutor Joseph
represents the state.
Last December, Justice Anne-Marie Gowora postponed the
after the A-G had failed to file the required court
Dzvairo, Matambanadzo and Marchi were convicted of supplying
about ZANU PF to foreign governments, including South
During their trial, they claimed they had been tortured in
They pleaded guilty to the charges at their first court appearance
December 24, 2004, but later sought unsuccessfully to change their pleas
the grounds that their confession had been extracted under
Businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, then a ZANU PF Member of Parliament,
Kenny Karidza, a top ZANU-PF security officer, were also arrested in
connection with the sensational case. They were subsequently set free.
Govt tables land tax for A2 farmers
Clemence Manyukwe/ Shame
Makoshori Staff Reporters
THE government has tabled a law in Parliament
imposing a new tax on A2
farmers, with those failing to pay risking eviction
allocated to them.
Government has previously insisted
that no taxes would be levied on
resettled farmers, but its new proposals
show an increasing desperation to
replenish depleted coffers. Apart from the
farm tax, which comes into
effective next month, the proposals, contained in
the Finance Bill, also
give Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi sweeping
powers to introduce
regulations amending or replacing rates of taxes,
duties, levies and other
On the whole, the new Bill contains
amendments to the Finance Act, Income
Tax Act and Customs and Excise Act.
Notably, it covers the controversial
payment of customs duty in foreign
"This clause will insert a new chapter in the Finance Act, which
the rates of rental to be charged on holders of offer letters in
or leases of, Model A2 farms allocated to them by the State,"
reads part of
the proposed law. "The minister responsible for the gazetted
(Consequential provisions) Act (chapter 20; 28) (No8 of 2006) shall
the offer letter of any holder thereof who fails to pay rentals for
consecutive quarters," the proposals say.
Presenting his maiden
supplementary budget last week, Mumbengegwi said the
tax would be based on
land size and
ecological region in which the farm is located. The tax, he
said, would be
pegged at levels that do
not threaten the viability of
farming. Government had introduced lease
rentals to raise revenue
enforce maximum utilisation
of productive land, said
"Following the successful completion of the agrarian reform
now exists a large number of potential taxpayers involved
in the farming
business," Mumbengegwi said. "It is therefore, essential that
farming taxation regime be reviewed, with the objective of
utilisation of the allocated land."
Last year, State
Security, Lands and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa,
retired army chief and now ZANU PF Gutu senator Vitalis
Zvinavashe, during a
lands committee hearing over whether a new tax should
be slapped on
Zvinavashe had proposed that government tax the new
farmers to fund
compensation for dispossessed white farmers.
Mutasa said the farmers should concentrate on farming only, without
to carry the extra burden of taxation.
"The politicians are refusing to pay,"
Mutasa said at the time. "That land
simply taken from us through
conquest. It belongs to all of us. The farmers
should concentrate only on
Lawyers spotlight wage freeze decree
Njabulo Ncube Political
THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) is collating legal opinion from
the decree issued by President Robert Mugabe ordering a six-month
freeze, with a view to mounting a legal challenge against the
President Mugabe recently invoked the
Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) Act, to order that "no employer
shall increase the remuneration of
any employee on account of an increase in
a consumer index, on account of an
increase in any official or unofficial
rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar may
be exchanged for other currency,
increase in a consumer price index and an
increase in any official or
unofficial rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar
maybe exchanged for any other
The order stipulates that salary or fee increases can only be made
with specific approval from the National Incomes and Pricing
body that President Mugabe directly controls, and without any
galloping inflation, which currently stands at over 7600 percent.
deliberated over the statutory instrument at its meeting last
resolved to tackle the issue, which has irked labour
Beatrice Mtetwa, president of the LSZ, confirmed an opinion was being
over the decree, described last week by the Zimbabwe Congress of
Unions as "satanic". "The council has resolved to get an opinion on
statutory instrument and depending on that, there might be another
resolution. Council felt that six months is too long a period at a time when
employees are suffering," said Mtetwa.
She said upon receiving expert
opinion, the council would make a decision.
Heads of labour unions will
eagerly await the outcome of the LSZ
The ZCTU has already
threatened industrial action if the statutory
instrument is not removed. The
union has said the instrument runs counter to
conventions and is in violation of a fragile protocol
on Incomes and Price
Stabilisation signed in June by government, business
in labour grew last week after statistics supplied by Finance
Samuel Mumbengegwi, in his 2007 supplementary budget statement,
that President Mugabe's annual salary had been raised by $1.4
the original 2007budget, the President's salary had been put at $62.3
million, but was revised by $1 462 305 000 in the supplementary budget.
Illicit diamonds probe team misses own deadline
Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE Kimberly Process (KP), the global
dispensation for preventing trade in
conflict diamonds, has missed a
self-imposed August deadline to make known
the findings of an investigation
conducted in June into allegations of
diamond smuggling in
The KP sent a six-member team that met government officials and
the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange district, as well as River
diamond mine in Beitbridge.
The probe followed claims that rough
stones from the two areas were being
smuggled out of the country.
spokesman told The Financial Gazette that the report was not yet out,
gave no reasons for the delay, or when the findings were now expected.
European Union currently holds the rotating KP chairmanship.
Hohmann, spokesperson for External Relations and European
Policy European Commission, said: "Unfortunately, the report
you refer to is
not finalised yet. Therefore, it is impossible to provide
you with any
detail of the findings of the report or to comment on it."
In an interview on
a representative of Bubye Minerals, which made allegations of
against rival investor River Ranch Limited, said a complaint
probe team had been lodged after the delegation refused during
its visit to
meet Bubye officials to get the company's evidence.
and River Ranch Limited are involved in an ownership wrangle over
Ranch Mine. The dispute is before the courts.
"We are not surprised by the
team's failure to produce the report, because
it was non-inclusive, and the
team was subject to a controlled and
pre-determined itinerary," said Bubye
Minerals lawyer Terrence Hussein.
"The team, in fact, informed my client that
they were under strict
instruction not to speak to Bubye Minerals Private
limited. Bubye has since
launched an official complaint at the manner with
which the KPC team
conducted itself in Zimbabwe."
Hussein said Bubye
wants to be heard like the other parties that had their
say during the
Chinese fertiliser last hope for new season
Zhean Gwaze Staff
Zimbabwe's farmer groups hope that a consignment of fertiliser
China will avert what experts say is yet another disastrous
start to the
Hardest hit by worsening input shortages
are tobacco farmers, who had
planted enough seed to cover 95 000 hectares,
with the aim of increasing
production in the coming season from this year's
77 million kilogrammes to
120 million kg.
Compound C fertiliser, which
tobacco farmers require at the planting stage
is in critically short supply,
the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board
regarding the fertiliser situation is that there is no
fertiliser on the
market. We hope that the consignment coming from China
arrives on time to
save the crop. Otherwise only contracted tobacco growers
imported fertiliser from their sponsors," said the TIMB.
The country has
experienced perennial fertiliser crises owing to the
foreign currency. But this year, the fertiliser supply
situation has been
made particularly dire by the closure of Dorowa Mine,
Iron Duke and Zimphos,
key suppliers of raw materials to the
Media reports said recently the three companies had closed due to the
unavailability of various raw materials and power cuts.
Zimbabwe requires US$45.6 million for the refurbishment of the
plants in the
next three years to ensure production levels are maintained at
or 552 000 tonnes of fertiliser annually, industry players have
The sector also requires US$5.9 million per month to procure raw
such as potassium, which is imported from the Middle East, Chile
and sulphur from South Africa.
Seed maize is also not readily
available on the market, threatening the
summer cropping season.
Farmers Union official Blessing Chifeya said although seed was sold
limited scale, farmers also faced challenges in accessing tillage
Another poor farming season would have a devastating effect
which hoped for better fortunes this year after seven years of
harvests, largely blamed on disruptions to production on farms
violent take over of land from white farmers.
production coupled with an unprecedented economic meltdown has
most Zimbabweans depending on food handouts from international
Bare pantries, hungry kids, no teachers
Zhean Gwaze Staff
Boarding schools now the ultimate schoolhead's
THIRTY-FOUR year old Sekai Muchikichi recounts nostalgically the
her life as a boarder at a high school in Masvingo, and visualises
menu card that was pregnant with what to a boarder were sumptuous
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were never tedious affairs because the
authorities tried hard to serve nutritious meals that blunted the
being away from home.
So good were meal times that, one weekend,
after being served mealie rice,
the students were so outraged that they
demanded an explanation from the
boarding master for the absence of "proper"
Years later, Muchikichi's accounts of life at boarding school are
unbelievable to her daughter, who is in Form One at another boarding
Muchikichi holds out a circular sent out by her daughter's school at
beginning of the third term last week, instructing each student to bring
packet of rice, sugar, and cooking oil.
Worsening shortages of basic
commodities - which followed a prize freeze
that was supposed to ease the
plight of consumers, but has only heightened
their misery - have hit
boarding schools hard.
"I do not know how many parents could have afforded to
send their children
with any of these foodstuffs they list here. The goods
were not available in
any supermarket. I believe even for those who managed
small quantities, the
food will not last the term," Muchikichi
Parents now face a tough decision; either to withdraw their children
the once-fashionable boarding schools and shell out millions in
fares to get their children to day schools, or keep the children
schools where they face starvation.
from shop shelves beginning in June when the
government ordered a blanket
freeze on the prices of all commodities.
When schools re-opened for the third
term, even school uniforms, shoe polish
and stationery had
The Association of Trust Schools (ATS), representing a number of
boarding schools, said its assessment was that the food situation
"We cannot find food. The food situation is precarious," said ATS
Many boarding schools have facilities to bake
their own bread, but a wheat
shortage means they still cannot feed students.
The baking industry has said
the wheat shortage will force it to retrench
more than 10 000 workers.
"At my child's school, we were told that there will
be no bread this term
and the headmaster even warned us that we should not
be shocked when we are
called back to collect our children mid-term," one
Although Education, Sport and Culture Minister Aeneas Chigwedere
recently in Parliament that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been
supplying maize meal to boarding schools, his remarks do not tally with
realities on the ground.
Many parts of the country have gone for months
without maize-meal, and the
World Food Programme (WFP) says up to four
million people could be at risk
of starvation by early next year.
month, the WFP appealed for US$118 million to buy food for starving
Zimbabweans over the next eight months.
The food relief agency already
had 138 000 tonnes of food but needed another
180 000 tonnes to distribute
to about three million Zimbabweans until the
next harvest in April.
such a scenario, boarding schools are unlikely to be in front of the
for mealie meal.
This means that school heads who opt to provide bread for
their pupils will
have to compete with hordes of other buyers desperately
looking for flour on
the black market.
Although the official price of
flour is $6 million per tonne, it is only
available on the black market at
$15 million, which many schools cannot
The headmaster of one
Midlands boarding school said this week that since
students returned last
Monday for the new term, he had spent most of his
time hunting for goods on
the black market.
"I have not held any meetings with staff since we opened. I
am short of
everything. I have no teachers, and I have no food," he told The
Gazette by phone.
Byo's critical water shortage to worsen
Charles Rukuni Bureau
City soon to be left with one out of five supply dams
BULAWAYO - The
critical shortage of water in Bulawayo is likely to worsen if
there are no
rains before the end of October.
The council is now relying on only two
of its five dams but will be
decommissioning one of them, Inyankuni, next
month leaving it with only one
supply dam, Insiza.
The council has
already decommissioned Lower and Upper Ncema as well as
The city of more than one million people is getting only 69 000 cubic
of water a day against an unsuppressed demand of 140 000 to 150 000
metres a day.
If Inyankuni is
43 000 cubic metres of water a day, less than a third of its
The only viable
solution to the city's water problems is the
linking of Umzingwane Dam to
Mtshabezi Dam through a pipeline but the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(ZINWA), which is
supposed to put up
the pipe link has been saying it cannot do so unless the
council agrees to a
government takeover of the city's water supplies.
The Bulawayo City Council
has vowed to resist the takeover because it will
lose 44 percent of its
revenue and also because it does not believe ZINWA
Though ZINWA is using the council's rejection of a takeover as an
observers believe that the real reason ZINWA cannot install the
that it has no money.
The water authority has failed to
rehabilitate its boreholes in the
Nyamandlovu area while construction of the
Gwayi-Shangani Dam is reported to
have stopped. Only eight of the 77
boreholes in Nyamandlovu are operational
and supply the city with 298 cubic
metres of water instead of 16 000 cubic
metres if all boreholes were on
Bulawayo has introduced strict water rationing way beyond what the city
fathers have recommended.
According to the latest council minutes
residents are supposed to have water
at least four days a week from 1530 to
730 but at times they are going for a
week without water.
Emganwini, Nketa, Pumula, Sizinda, Tshabalala, Bellevue. Newton
Southwold and West Summerton should have water on Tuesday and
on Friday and Saturday.
Cowdray Park, Luveve, Magwegwe, Njube, Entumbane,
Barbourfields, Mzilikazi, Mpopoma, Nguboyenja, Iminyela,
Matshobane should have water on Wednesday and Thurday, and
Sunday while all eastern suburbs should have water on Monday
Thursday and Friday.
The council has also introduced a ban
on the use of hosepipes and will not
only fine anyone found using a hosepipe
but will confiscate the hosepipe.
Econet allowed to test mobile payphones
Zimbabwe's largest cellular telephone network operator has been
permission to deploy its mobile payphones in Bulawayo on a trial
The company said its payphones, which operate under the
brand, served both as public payphones as well as airtime
The benefits to the public were that people could
access the phones and
airtime anywhere where there was Econet's network
coverage and this could be
at stadiums, bus terminuses, shopping centres and
even at weddings.
It said the product had immense opportunities to create
The Bulawayo City Council said the
project should be given a chance since it
had the potential to create jobs.
However, it had to be first carried out on
a trial basis to assess whether
any nuisance would rise from its operations.
The council also wanted to
assess modalities for licensing vendors who would
be deployed at various
centres to operate the payphones.
Elections: history set to repeat itself
Personal Glimpses with
HISTORY seems set to repeat itself when the harmonised
elections are held
next year despite South African President Thabo Mbeki's
belief that it will
be possible to stage free and fair polls Mbeki, who is
the Southern African
Development Community (SADC's) troubleshooter on
Zimbabwe has indicated that
a top priority of his mediation mission is to
ensure the combined
parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in
March next year will
produce a result that no one will dispute.
difficult to see what Mbeki bases his optimism on given that the
complaints of opposition groups about an uneven electoral playing
not been addressed.
I have a problem with Mbeki's ambivalence. He does not
seem to be sure
whether he has a role to play in resolving the Zimbabwean
crisis or whether
the matter should be left entirely to Zimbabweans
themselves. However, one
assumes that by accepting appointment by SADC
leaders in Dar es Salaam six
months ago as their pointman, the South African
leader believed he and the
regional bloc had something to offer. But as was
the case about five years
ago when his first stint as mediator was shrouded
in secrecy, Mbeki has
never spelt out his vision and expectations for the
current initiative. He
continues to send out conflicting signals in the same
manner he did when he
operated under the discredited cover of "quiet
At the SADC summit held in Lusaka in mid-August Mbeki reported
being made in dialogue between ZANU PF and opposition groups, but
expound on the nature of the progress. A short while later he was
insisting that it was up to Zimbabweans to solve their own
problems and that
SADC did not wish to take away their right to
self-determination. But the
only way the generality of Zimbabweans can
reclaim and exercise their right
to self-determination would be through
elections in which they can vote for
candidates of their choice without
being intimidated or coerced. The
candidates must in turn have equal access
to the media and must be able to
But barely six months
before the landmark polls, even these minimum
conditions do not exist. The
state media are as partisan as ever and
opposition politicians are only
featured in newspaper reports and news
broadcasts when they are being
attacked, mocked or generally cast in bad
light. Opposition parties must get
police clearance to hold rallies. It has
already been announced that as they
did in past elections, war veterans will
once again campaign for President
Mugabe and the ruling party. The
involvement of the former freedom fighters
in election campaigning has
sparked controversy in the past because of
accusations of violence and
intimidation levelled against them. They have
been accused of barring
opposition politicians from campaigning or holding
rallies in the rural
areas by declaring the countryside a no-go zone.
will be a mammoth task for Mbeki to get genuine assurances that
irregularities such as the abduction of opposition polling agents and the
intimidation of voters right up to polling day will not be repeated next
year. Allegations that the ruling ZANU PF uses food to buy votes persist.
These concerns will be heightened this time around because of the severe
shortages of basic commodities sparked by the government's price war and the
announcement that the state is to introduce Soviet-style "people's
According to the Deputy Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises,
Mutiwekuziwa, the establishment of the shops is designed to ease
enable rural dwellers to have easy access to basic commodities.
conditions under which the people will be able to buy from these shops
yet to be announced. However there is no doubt that the people will now
totally dependent on the state for almost everything.
of the electoral process that has been mired in controversy
in the past is
voter registration. The voters' roll has been described in
the past as being
in a shambles with allegations of thousands of "ghost"
voters being included
while the names of thousands suspected to be
opposition supporters have been
reported missing from the list. Ordinary
Zimbabweans will not have found any
comfort in the recent admission by
Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede that he
has been subjected to political
pressure on issues pertaining to the voting
rights of certain categories of
In The Financial Gazette
issue of September 6-12, Mudede was quoted as
telling the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs
that politicians campaigning
to increase their support bases ahead of next
year's elections wanted him to
revise his interpretation of citizenship
laws. In the past, hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabweans of foreign descent
were deprived of the right to
vote when they were declared to be aliens.
This was apparently done because
it was feared that these people, most of
whom were farm labourers supported
the opposition. This time around however
some ruling party politicians
believe they cannot make it without support
from this voting bloc.
Mudede's attempts to strip people of mixed parentage of their
citizenship was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court, what is
is that such personalised interpretations and applications of the
allowed to take place at all. In the circumstances, it is difficult
what other aspects can be manipulated behind the scenes to influence
eventual outcome of an election. Mbeki's focus on the outcome of next
elections is meaningless unless he interests himself in some of these
Fringe political parties emerge as polls draw closer
Ncube Political Editor
NOW you see them, now you don't. When newspapers
or newsrooms are inundated
with calls from nondescript fellows, brandishing
usually badly written press
statements, you do not have to be a soothsayer
to know an election is
It is four months before voting
begins, and the country's fringe political
parties are once again emerging
from hibernation that began after the last
elections in 2005.
editors and journalists must live with the constant harangues of
political players, each desperate to have stories published on
activities - especially on the front page.
There are different varieties of
parties; some come out in the open as
elections approach, while others are
born just before ballots are cast.
A new party, the Zimbabwe People's Party
(ZPP), has joined a long
list of the country's fringe political parties,
announcing its arrival in a
series of press advertisements.
the Zimbabwe People's Party (ZPP) For Genuine Democracy," reads
one of its
Log on to its website, and an impressive
logo pops up, accompanied by a
thumbs up sign, encircled with more slogans,
"Zvakanaka Zvakadaro, Kuhle Kunjalo, It's good
The site offers nothing more.
But ZPP's splashing of expensive
advertisements has already sent tongues
wagging, with the usual suspicion
that the party could be a ploy by the
Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) to further split the opposition
Another new party to emerge
recently is the Patriotic Union of Matabeleland
(PUMA), launched in Bulawayo
under the theme "Nothing for Us, Without Us".
ZPP and PUMA join a club of
other smaller parties, led by veteran fringe man
Paul Siwela, who leads the
ZAPU Federal Party, and Wurayayi Zembe of the
this class are the United People's Party (UPP), launched in June
by Daniel Shumba, the businessman and former ZANU PF chairman for
Shumba launched his project after becoming disenchanted with ZANU
He was one of six provincial chairmen suspended by the ruling party over
infamous Tsholotsho Indaba.
He later resigned.
"The UPP together
with all Zimbabweans will restore the vibrant and
diversified economy in a
democratic, law-abiding Zimbabwe. Unite with us,
and together we will unite
our nation," the party said in a half page colour
advert on the day of its
The UPP symbol shows two hands, joined together, promising to lead
country "from hopelessness to hope, from poverty to prosperity, from
to well-being, from dictatorship to democracy."
party has participated in parliamentary and presidential
2000, blames the low profile of his party and other small
on both the public and private media.
"We refuse to be called a fringe
political party or a fly-by-night party.
This is nonsensical and a myth
created by the media," Siwela told The
Financial Gazette last week.
said his ZAPU FP - which campaigns for federalism - was in talks with
"like-minded" groups to forge a united front for 2008, so as to avoid
"Kenyan Syndrome" - giving the ruling party victory by splitting the
"We are pushing for a broad alliance with other
players, but at the moment I am not in a position to
identities," he said.
There are more parties. Little known
Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance (ZIYA) has
dismally lost all elections since its
formation on September 15, 2003.
It has courted controversy with disclosures
that its youthful leader
Chawaona Kanoti, a University of Zimbabwe law
graduate, once worked in
President Robert Mugabe's Office as an intelligence
In 2005, ZIYA candidates unsuccessfully contested in Chirumhanzu,
Buhera, while its leader Kanoti was trounced in the
elections in November 2005.
Then enter the United
People's Movement. It has been linked to Tsholotsho
independent Member of
Parliament and former government spin-doctor Jonathan
Moyo (MP) and former
Zvishavane MP Pearson Mbalekwa.
Late last year,
it threatened to change
the landscape of opposition politics in Zimbabwe,
proclaiming it would "rock
"Victory is certain", its advertisements proclaimed.
symbol was a rugged piece of rock, representing, it explained, the "rock
solid foundations" of the Great Zimbabwe Monuments, the pillars of
spiritual home at Njelele in Matopos, the party said.
flamboyant marketing has not won the parties much respect.
"It is good to
have different voices, but these should be from genuine
Takura Zhangazha, a political commentator.
"Small political parties should be
exist but we are in a political environment that requires them now
to take a
back seat and join forces with a progressive opposition party with
realistic chance of delivering change," said Zhangazha.
the political landscape in Zimbabwe makes it difficult for
to grow and eventually dislodge ZANU PF, a revolutionary
party that has
ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.
They said the
ruling party, whose stiffest challenge came from the Movement
Change, which is now in disarray following its split in 2005,
organs such as the police, the CIO and army to fortify its hold
ZANU PF has also made it difficult for smaller
parties to access
external funding except for the meager resources provided
Political Parties (Finance) Act and has shut out the opposition
And because most of the opposition parties remain in the
periphery, ZANU PF
has always enjoyed the lion's share of the
"The promulgation of laws such as the Public Order and Security Act,
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Interception of
Communications Act, etc, combine to make it
parties to thrive," said one analyst.
"Some of the faces behind
the smaller parties are also not convincing, which
explains why people are
not interested in them. It also appears that some of
them are just out to
get donor funding, which is later converted for use by
Scandal in the budget
Dumisani Ndlela Business
It was not a mid-term fiscal policy statement or supplementary
to inspire the market, and take the economy out of its current
Rather, even for those inside government corridors, it was a
knee-jerk affair meant to inform the market that government was
functioning, and that there still was that modicum of courtesy to
budget estimates before the August house, for approval as required
but nevertheless mislead or conceal details that might create "shock
And certainly, as remarks from the market indicated last week,
there was a
scandal in the budget.
Finance Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi,
indicated that the 2007 budget, which
The Financial Gazette has previously
reported as having been spent in March,
had suffered greatly from both
economic and fiscal developments that took
place during the year.
economic front, inflation raced to over 7 600 percent year-on-year in
obviously affecting government expenditure which had been planned
inflation projections of between 350 and 400 percent by year-end.
fiscal front, there was a yawning budget deficit, and this had been
financed by increased borrowings from the domestic market,
Total domestic borrowings to June 2007 amounted to $1.96 trillion,
the domestic debt stock to $8.1 trillion, of which $6.1 trillion was
That was only as far as he could inform the market,
and mention of the
government forcing the printing press to run to finance
government arms was strategically avoided.
Gazette reported in July that government expenditure had
ballooned to well
over $30 trillion in the first six months of the year,
well ahead of a $6.5
trillion envelope issued by former Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa to
finance government expenditure in 2007.
Increased inflationary pressure had
put the national budget off the rails.
The $6.2 trillion had included
provisions for over-spending government
Indeed bids from
government ministries and departments had amounted to $24
trillion for the
This represented a 5 313 percent growth over the anticipated
outturn for the revised budget for 2006.
But over $25
trillion could therefore have been spent during the three
months to June
While fresh salary and wage hikes bloated expenditure for the
were by no means the only factors pushing costs for the
Expenditure for the year suffered from
escalating costs of goods and
services, which rose beyond projected
In his budget statement for the year, Murerwa had indicated that the
framework was based on an inflation target of 350 percent - 400
The salary bill has moved significantly since
the start of the year, way
above projected forecasts.
increased the civil servants' salaries by about 400 percent
against a budgeted salary increase of 300 percent for the entire
This was besides increases in allowances for transport and housing,
went up by 145 percent and 100 percent respectively.
salary increments meant that the government was already way out
budget framework days into the budget.
Civil servants' salaries were again
adjusted upwards in May by 639 percent.
Transport and housing allowances went
up by 524 percent and 110 percent
Already, civil servants
have started demanding salary reviews of 400 percent
his script last week, Mumbengegwi said line ministries, departments and
grant-aided institutions had continued to submit additional financial
expenditure requests in order to meet their operational expenses, cost of
on-going projects to end of 2007, as well as support for agricultural
Additional expenditure submissions stood at over $255
said, indicating that these bids were far beyond the
Consequently, he had unveiled a
supplementary budget amounting to $37.1
trillion, out of additional revenue
projected to hit $26.4 trillion.
This, Mumbengegwi said, was "to maintain
government operations and service
delivery for the remaining four months of
the year, and allow for
continuation of development projects, where progress
has reached critical
In other words, the supplementary budget
was for four months to December 31,
2007; how the government had survived
with a $6.2 trillion budget between
January and August is not
But, certainly, a lot of money had been spent during the eight
August, and Mumbengegwi has not indicated the source of that money
Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
stunned the market after
disclosures that the budget deficit for 2005 had
run into a massive $62
trillion, or 60 percent of gross domestic product
(GDP), contrary Murerwa's
declaration that the deficit amounted to $3
trillion, or 2.9 percent of GDP.
Much of the deficit had been concealed
through government's recourse to the
central bank's quasi-fiscal activities,
which later led to a public row
between Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
and Murerwa over the inflationary
effects of the activities.
that the central bank had supported government projects after
pleas from Murerwa.
Now, apparently, given the chasm between budgetary bids
and what Mumbengegwi
offered - $255 trillion against $37.1 trillion - the
question is how will a
profligate government not known for miracles last
with just that little?
Another lost opportunity
golden opportunity has gone begging. A lot was expected of
Samuel Mumbengegwi's mid-term fiscal policy review on
Thursday, what with a
seemingly untenable economic Tsunami reverberating
across all sectors of the
Mumbengegwi was circumspect, unveiling a maiden policy that was
on detail and lacking the imagination needed to heal the
All there was were all-too-familiar relief measures such as the
of tax-free thresholds and the widening of tax bands to cheer up
workers who will be going through a thorny six months after the
slammed the brakes on all salary and wage increases to tame
even with a bit more cash to spend, workers will still find
with worthless dollars after the blitz on prices left
businesses unable to
In order to stimulate exports, the troubled
local unit was devalued from
$250 to $30 000 against the greenback, sadly by
that time the parallel rate
had raced beyond $270 000.
highlights in the mid-term fiscal policy review statement
expansion of the list of goods attracting duty in foreign
injection of additional funds into infrastructural development
and the usual
rambling about giving a leg up to the crumbling real sector,
Admittedly Mumbengegwi, just like his predecessors Herbert
Murerwa and Simba
Makoni, had little room to manoeuvre. In as much as he
might have wanted to
cut down on recurrent expenditure, which gobbled up the
lion's share of the
supplementary budget, Mumbengegwi was cautious not to
stir up discontent
ahead of a crucial election in which his party, ZANU PF,
is seeking to
extend its stay in power. Mumbengegwi was also under pressure
serious provisions for food imports in the wake of exogenous factors
the drought, while at the same time pumping additional resources
Revenue has shrunk in line with the contraction in
the economy, a trend
which is likely to worsen. And this is against the
backdrop of an inexorable
rise in government's insatiable appetite to spend
what it does not have as
inflation maintained its upward trajectory. This
has been the trend since
the withdrawal of balance of payments support (BoP)
in the late 1990s.
That ministries had submitted votes in excess of $255
trillion but were only
able to secure $37.1 trillion means that they have to
forego a lot of
important things, further compromising service delivery,
which many thought
had hit its lowest ebb. With so many service providers
outstanding payments, the bulk of the $37.1 trillion is likely
to go towards
expunging debts. Capital expenditure might have to be deferred
yawning gaps in recurrent expenditure.
That aside, the
supplementary budget, 700 percent bigger than what Murerwa
had allocated for
the full year, is in itself very inflationary.
Interestingly, Murerwa had
budgeted $4.3 trillion, and by June government
had collected $3.4 trillion.
Taking into account the knock on effects of the
price blitz on the fiscus,
revenue for the remaining months will still
remain constrained, barring any
To keep going in the absence of BoP support,
government would have to borrow
more from the domestic market.
Inadvertently, the budget deficit will widen,
crowding out private
investment in the process and worsening inflation in
the outlook period.
This might explain why the Finance Minister ducked
making forecasts on
revenue and inflation, which made the government look
stupid in the past
after its predictions went way off the mark.
With the central bank expected
to calibrate its delayed mid-term monetary
policy review statement along the
lines of the Finance Ministry's mid-term
fiscal policy and supplementary
budget, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
has his task cut out for him. Gono
has to ensure that domestic debt, whose
financing is at the core of the
country's four-digit inflation, does not
overshoot the runway, mop up excess
liquidity, which would be worsened by
Treasury Bill maturities and the
injection of the $37.1 trillion into the
market. All eyes will also be on
Gono to see whether he can re-adjust the
exchange rate, which, despite last
week's massive devaluation, remains
We could not agree more
with Mumbengegwi when he said, "the success of the
supplementary budget I have outlined above will depend on all
partners subscribing to a common and shared vision, underpinned by
Zimbabwe First Philosophy espoused under the social contract."
however, he had been more specific and truthful to his colleagues
that they are the biggest culprits. If the powers-that-be think
that the use
of the stick on capital and labour would result in those
factors of production coming to the negotiating table with
between their legs, then they must be dreaming.
The heavy-handed treatment
business and labour has been subjected to is
turning entrepreneurs and
workers into reluctant criminals. Unless the
powers-that-be bite the bullet
and admit they have failed, they might as
well forget about securing the
buy-in from business and labour, which is
critical for the success of the
social contract. Otherwise resolving the
Zimbabwean crisis would be like
trying to solve a crossword puzzle with only
half the clues.
Pius Ncube's resignation a most sensible move
EDITOR - The
resignation of Archbishop Pius Ncube was the most sensible
thing to do. Only
he knows what happened, and it is a matter between himself
and God as to
whether he is telling the truth or not.
However, the man is entitled to enjoy
himself and even if his church
disapproved of the allleged sex escapades, he
could still defend himself as
an individual who is entitled to sexual
gratification because it is an
essential need. But he has to follow the
rules and be an example to the
public both as an archbishop and as a
It is just totally unacceptable that he can continue to rant
instead of using his office to influence change which,
unfortunately, he has
dismally failed to do.
It is inconceivable that he
can do so in any other office. The constant
claim that he has championed the
cause of the poor is open to debate. The
lavish garment that he wears would
be adequate material for a couple of
dresses for needy young girls or shirts
for boys, would it not?
Showing up the state as the exclusive and only mean
completely misleading. Please, Archbishop, no hatred towards
you at all but
start a new life with a good woman (who does not want the
same?) and let the
Mordecai Mutiswa Betera
All the people want is water in the
EDITOR - I have seen Water Resources Minister Munacho
Mutezo on a number of
occasions defending the handing over of water
treatment and distribution to
the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
Mutezo has gone further to accuse people of politicising this
at some point purported that some individuals might have
sabotaged ZINWA and
his ministry when a number of suburbs went without water
for three or four
Tell you what Minister, nobody cares who is in
charge of water. All the
people want is water flowing from their taps,
period. Deliver water to the
people and see who will ask which board is in
charge of water. The only
reason why the issue raises so much noise is
because people are not getting
Put the Ministry of Labour,
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, ZESA Holdings or
even the Ministry of Finance
in charge of water and see who among the
residents mind for as long as the
service is delivered.
Before ZINWA was put in charge, we used to have water
would we go without water and whenever that happened,
it never used to be
for the whole day.
Come on ZINWA, the norm,
specifically in my area of residence (Hatfield) was
water today and no water
tomorrow and it continued like that for some time.
We adjusted and lived
with that and accepted that level of incompetence.
As if that was not enough,
things deteriorated even further in the past
couple of weeks. These days, we
are going without water virtually seven days
of the week with water coming
for an hour or two on one single day of the
week. Such has become the
How are people expected to live under such conditions? There are people
have to wash napkins on a daily basis and I want to know from the
how he expects such people to cope.
I know the Minister has
always wanted to make the point that the equipment
is old. True, the
equipment is old. I do agree with him on that. He will,
however, have to be
very scientific to convince me that just as ZINWA took
over, the equipment's
capacity deteriorated from being able to provide water
for the whole week to
providing water for just two hours a week. What I
actually believe is that
ZINWA is causing all these burst pipes that we see
every day. Imagine sewage
not being taken down the sewage lines, all piling
at some point in the line.
Tell me what happens that single day when water
is available? Obviously the
lines are blocked and they burst.
Surprisingly, the Minister is still holding
firm and abiding by his decision
that water and sewer should be in the hands
of ZINWA. He must tell me the
people are wrong when they make noise about
What surprises me even more is the fact that even the majority in
are against the idea of handing over water treatment and
ZINWA. The portfolio committee in charge of that concluded
that the decision
to hand over this crucial service to ZINWA was not in the
best interest of
the residents and the committee got the support of the
House. By whose
authority then is Minister Mutezo and ZINWA sticking to this
decision at the
expense of the
It's up to us as
EDITOR - I always read Bornwell Chakaodza's
column in The Financial Gazette
and would like to comment on his article of
August 30 2007 titled "Time to
hold Zimbabweans to account".
was a well written article which, unlike many other articles out
not merely castigate all and sundry but merely states facts.
Mbeki and many others in his cabinet have many times said
problems have to be solved by Zimbabweans.
The west may say what they like
about the current leadership but it has
little or no effect at all. Short of
economic sanctions or military
intervention, there is nothing else they or
anyone else could do. We all
agree that this is not the course we would like
to take as it will be the
ordinary Zimbabwean on the street that would
suffer the worst.
Therefore it is up to us as citizens of Zimbabwe to effect
change. This does
not necessarily mean a change of the ruling party. How
this will happen I do
not know but it is the only way. Although it would be
a bitter pill to
swallow, the solution may lie in an agreement ensuring the
saftey of our
President on his departure from office for the betterment of
people as a whole.
We do not need a
EDITOR - If one were to come up with an operational
definition of a
dictatorship there is bound to be a clause in it making any
that does not recognise the Universal Declaration of Human
dictatorship. In passing its laws since 2001 our government has
made it its
business to be always in contravention of these and this is a
The cornerstone of these writs is found in the first
three clauses viz:
lWhereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the
inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the
freedom, justice and peace in the world;
and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous
acts, which have
outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a
world in which human
beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and
freedom from fear and
want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of
lWhereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have
a last resort, to rebel.
I must emphasise that "no one shall
be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or
correspondence, nor to attacks upon his
honour and reputation. Everyone has
the right to the protection of the law
against such interference or
We do not need a Thabo Mbeki to solve our problems. After all,
apartheid era in South Africa, the efforts of all the other
abitrate amounted to nothing. It was only after the indigenous
up for their rights that they gained independence.
we should do something to show our disapproval with our lot.
Free, fair polls a pipe
EDITOR - It is less than a year to go before the
elections yet there is a real risk that the elections
will be no more than
The playing field is not level and is
heavily tilted in favour of ZANU PF.
Unjust laws such as the Public Order
and Security Act still exist in our
statute books and remain to be abused by
the police in banning rallies by
the Movement for Democratic
There is an urgent need to repeal such laws as well as to
police who now appear to be an extention of ZANU PF. Above
all there must be
a new constitution that clips the Executive's powers,
which allow it to
override and dominate other arms of government,
particularly the judiciary.
Zimbabwe has one of the most biased judiciaries
whose support for the ruling
party is undeniable. This makes free and fair
elections a pipe dream to be
pursued but never
Bad boy image doing us no
EDITOR - Thank you for a frank paper that lays bare all
the evil amidst us.
I just wish you could publish a daily paper.
It is a
sad reality that the 2010 World Cup will be taking place in our
our chances of benefiting are remote because of the bad boy
image of our
Instead of trying to mend international relations we are busy
ourselves with rogue regimes like Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. North
seen the light and is about to reap the benefits of good
Cdes, it is a phyrric victory we have scored
against the west because we are
hurting our own citizens. Those white
commercial farmers are not British but
are as Zimbabwean as the people of
Malawian and Zambian origin who are
Racism has no place in
the new world no matter what happened in the past. It
is being imprisoned by
the past that will impede our development. I am black
and my father fought
against the settler regime. We cannot develop by
turning half of our
population into farmers. If you look at developed
countries, just about 10
percent of their population are farmers.
ZANU PF has destroyed our economy.
They forget that empowerment can also be
achieved by giving people shares in
parastatals and industrialising the
country and then affording our citizens
the chance to create jobs or getting
high paying jobs whose earnings are the
same as from farming.
Surely how can you mechanise small pieces of land
unless you import ox-drawn
ploughs and hoes? Ever heard of economies of
Please let us rely on people with expertise to run things and help
Zimbabwe out the morass.