Zimbabwe to introduce exit visas to rein in critics Wed 14
HARARE - Zimbabweans will be required to obtain exit
visas to travel outside the country under new draft regulations that could
see opposition leaders and government critics banned from leaving the
country, ZimOnline has learnt.
Authoritative sources said the
regulations were being "deliberated on" by the Justice and Foreign Affairs
Ministries before they are submitted to Mugabe's Cabinet for approval and to
Parliament later for enactment.
"If the plans go ahead, then the
exit visas would come into effect at the beginning of next year. Officials
from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice are deliberating on the
modalities which will be sent to the Cabinet for approval," said a senior
government official, who spoke on condition he was not named.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could neither deny nor confirm whether
the government was considering imposing exit visas when contacted by
ZimOnline on Tuesday.
Chinamasa would only say:
"Are you afraid? Whether we introduce the visas you are talking about is not
the issue. The issue is that we should not allow saboteurs to go round the
world bad mouthing the country."
Already the government can seize
passports from Zimbabweans after Mugabe last week approved controversial
constitutional changes empowering the state to do so. The government says it
needs power to withdraw travel documents from citizens it feels may harm the
interests of the country if allowed to travel abroad.
critics say Mugabe will use the new passport law to immobilise human rights
activists and opposition leaders and prevent them from highlighting
government repression to the world.
The government used its
overwhelming majority in Parliament to push through the constitutional
changes that ban Zimbabweans from contesting in court seizure of their land
by the state and also provides for the creation of a senate that critics say
will further entrench Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party's stranglehold on
Enjoying absolute control of Parliament, the government
would be able to overrun the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party to railroad the proposed visa laws through the House.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis blamed on repression and
mismanagement by Mugabe, particularly his chaotic seizure of land from white
farmers that destablised the mainstay agriculture sector and in a large part
contributed to perennial food shortages.
An estimated four million
people or about a third of the 12 million Zimbabweans require about 1.2
million tonnes of food aid or they could starve. Inflation is above 250
percent and unemployment is more than 70 percent while a burgeoning HIV/AIDS
crisis is killing more than 2 000 Zimbabweans each week in the backdrop of a
collapsing public health sector.
But Mugabe, who founded Zimbabwe
from the ashes of the British colony of Rhodesia in 1980, denies ruining the
country, instead blaming its myriad problems on sabotage by Western
governments out to fix Harare for seizing land from whites and giving it to
The veteran leader also accuses opposition leaders
and human rights activists of worsening Zimbabwe's situation by campaigning
for international sanctions against the government.
together with his top officials is banned from the United States, European
Union, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand says the targeted sanctions
are hurting most the economy and ordinary Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline
Harare dry as fuel crisis worsens Wed 14 September
HARARE - Zimbabwe's long running fuel crisis worsened in the
past week with virtually all garages in Harare for example without diesel or
petrol on Tuesday.
Even garages given special permission last
month to sell fuel in hard currency and have had constant supplies since
then, were also without the commodity.
In some outlying areas
such as Gwanda town deep in the south of the country, garage owners said
they had not received supplies for more than a month.
been on this queue since last night but there is no fuel, I can also not get
back the foreign currency I used to buy fuel coupons," said Emma Shongore,
as she waited along with hundreds of other motorists at Wedzera Petroleum
service station along Harare's Samora Machel Avenue.
Wedzera is one
of a few local oil firms allowed to sell petrol and diesel in hard
But fuel industry players told ZimOnline the acute
shortage was because the government was diverting hard cash collected from
the pumps to paying creditors who helped it raise the US$120 million paid to
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) two weeks ago.
payment helped Zimbabwe escape expulsion from the IMF with the Fund's board
last Friday recommending that the southern African nation be given another
six months to pay an outstanding US$175 million and consolidate relations
with the Bretton Woods institution.
An official at Wedzera
Petroleum's head office in Harare said: "The problem is we are not in charge
of the foreign currency collected from motorists. The RBZ collects and gives
us small portions which are however far below market demand."
Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya said there was some fuel coming into the
country but added that this was far too little and not enough for everyone.
The government was working flat out to address the situation, Nyambuya said.
But the minister refused to disclose what specific steps his department was
taking to ensure adequate fuel supplies.
"It is common
knowledge that fuel is in short supply in Zimbabwe but we are continually
exploring ways and means to solve the crisis," Nyambuya said.
Apart from fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs, food and nearly every
other basic survival commodity is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe
because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
US$500 million loan offer by South Africa to help Zimbabwe pay off the IMF
and buy food and fuel remains untapped because President Robert Mugabe is
unhappy about demands by Pretoria that he commits to re-open dialogue with
the opposition before money can be released to him. - ZimOnline
Zimdollar trades at $26 180 to the greenback Wed 14
HARARE - The Zimbabwe dollar on Tuesday traded at
$26 180 to the United States dollar in tandem with inflation.
Annual inflation gained 10.3 percentage points on the July rate of 254.8
percent to 265.1 percent in August.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
sources on Monday told ZimOnline that the corresponding adjustment in the
exchange rate was part of an "understanding" between the central bank and
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the exchange rate be adjusted in
line with movement in the rate of inflation.
But Finance Minister
Herbert Murerwa denied that there was such an "understanding or agreement"
with the IMF on exchange rate management.
According to the same RBZ
sources, the drop in the dollar value to the greenback was also because of
mounting pressure on the government's foreign currency auction floors where
demand has more than outstripped supply.
The acute shortage of hard
cash had also worsened Zimbabwe's long running fuel shortages with nearly
every garage in Harare without petrol or diesel on Tuesday.
IMF board, which last week deferred recommending Zimbabwe's expulsion until
after six months, warned that economic and social conditions in the troubled
southern African country would deteriorate further unless Harare implemented
drastic measures to stem economic decline. - ZimOnline
Police chief cracks down on cheeky fuel thieves Wed 14
KAROI - A police commander on Tuesday ordered his
officers to arrest and lock up in cells all illegal fuel traders in the
small mining town of Karoi because thieves stole 70 litres of petrol from
his parked vehicle.
Thieves drained the petrol from chief
superintendent Leonard Makunike's car last Monday night. Makunike is the
officer commanding police in Hurungwe district which incorporates the town
The stolen fuel is certain to be offloaded onto the black
market which is thriving in the small town 204 km north-west of Harare as it
is elsewhere across the fuel-starved Zimbabwe.
The 50 illegal
fuel traders picked from Karoi's central business district were still in
police custody by last night.
"I am lucky that I was not arrested
but the police are hunting us" said Rodwell Pambare, 34, who has survived on
illegally selling petrol since the fuel crisis worsened three years
Pambare said about 20 police officers descended on their
trading spot and rounded up everyone who was there including innocent
bystanders who are not involved in the illegal sale of fuel. He said he was
quick to take to his heels but his friends were not.
by ZimOnline, Makunike said the police were not on a revenge operation but
were out to stamp out the illegal fuel black market. He said: "We cannot
allow fuel dealers to continue stealing fuel and this operation will be on
as we want to rid Karoi of all illegal fuel dealers."
Some of those
arrested would be charged with loitering, the police chief said. -
Zimbabwean pressure group to demonstrate at UN offices Wed
14 September 2005
JOHANNESBURG - A Zimbabwean pressure group will
next Saturday stage demonstrations at the United Nations (UN) offices to
press the international community to act against President Robert Mugabe's
human rights violations.
Ralph Black a spokesman of the Association
of Zimbabweans Based Abroad that is organising the demonstrations, said they
wanted to help put pressure on world leaders meeting at the UN to address
the five-year old Zimbabwean political crisis.
demonstrations are to protest the brutal and repressive regime of President
Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. World leaders must do something about Zimbabwe
before the country drags the rest of southern Africa into an abyss," Black
World leaders meet today at the UN to discuss
various issues relating to world peace and security. Mugabe, who denies
charges of human rights violations, is also scheduled to address the UN
Black said the protesters will also seek to
highlight recent constitutional changes in Zimbabwe which will further limit
democratic space in the country.
Mugabe last week approved
recent constitutional changes that bar the largely white farmers from
contesting the forcible seizure of their land in Zimbabwe's courts. The new
law will also seek to ban Zimbabweans deemed "saboteurs" of the government
from travelling abroad. - ZimOnline
UN Chief Annan to Take Up Aid Issues With Mugabe By Blessing
Zulu Washington 13 September 2005
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will take the opportunity of the
General Assembly's 60th Session, which opened Tuesday, to speak with
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe about humanitarian assistance issues,
A senior U.N. official said their discussions will go
beyond the normal consultations in the scope of the General Assembly and
cover the aftermath of Harare's May through July urban "cleanup" campaign
that left more than a half million people homeless.
At the top of the
agenda, according to this source, is the Zimbabwean government's
unwillingness to authorize a "flash" appeal to donors for $30 million to
help victims of the operation. U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator Jan Egeland
said last month that his office and the government could not agree on the
wording of the appeal, specifically as to language describing the scope of
the dislocation and humanitarian need.
The U.N. later said discussions
were continuing - but weeks later the appeal has yet to be issued. Harare
likewise refuses to formally request food assistance through the U.N. World
Food Program although maize and other staples have long been in short supply
for months and grain stocks by one official account are dangerously
Sources said Mr. Annan is also likely to bring up the issue of
political reform - notably engaging all political parties as the path to
resolving the country's crisis.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe Zimbabwean Ambassador to the United Nation Boniface
Chidyausiku, who said the meeting would be routine.
Ethnic allegiances play complex role in battle to succeed
By James Mapapu in Masvingo (Africa Reports No 41,
With Robert Mugabe having announced that he plans to step down
as president of Zimbabwe in 2008, controversy continues to rage over the
question of who will replace him.
Mugabe - in power for a quarter of
a century - made clear who was his own favourite candidate for succession
when he shoehorned his longstanding ally Joice Mujuru into the post of vice-
president late last year.
But another member of the president's ZANU PF
party, Emmerson Mnangagwa - who had been widely viewed as a natural
successor before being sidelined by the move - retains support.
whole dispute over succession is inextricably tied in with rivalries between
Zimbabwe's various tribes and clans.
And it has only deepened of late in
the midst of Murambatsvina, or Operation Drive Out the Rubbish - Mugabe's
infamous campaign to expel hundreds of thousands of urban poor from their
Mujuru - who earned the nickname Teurai Ropa, or Spill Blood,
after becoming involved in the war for independence from white rule at the
age of 18 - has held various ministerial posts under Mugabe. She was
appointed vice-president at last December's ZANU PF electoral
In the run-up to the congress, Mnangagwa - a shrewd political
player also known as Ngwenja, or Crocodile - had also successfully lobbied
six provincial chairmen to back him for the vice- presidential
But Mnangagwa's bid came to nothing. In the event, Mugabe turned on
the chairmen who had backed him, suspending them from ZANU PF before
embarking on a campaign to root out Mnangagwa's other senior
While ZANU PF is keen to stress that all is now well, it is
clear that the fallout from this whole affair is far from
Mnangagwa appears to have retained the support of all six of
the provinces that backed him in his bid for the vice-presidency.
commands a similar aura of fear as the president and is not necessarily
thought of as a cure for Zimbabwe's decline. But he is perhaps the only
person capable of uniting warring factions within ZANU PF.
politicians in Masvingo, in the heart of territory dominated by Mnangagwa's
clan, have already ruled out the possibility of supporting Mujuru if and
when Mugabe steps down.
"Do you honestly think that Mujuru can lead this
country when Emmerson [Mnangagwa] is there?" asked one local senior ZANU PF
"Do you think she [Mujuru] has the qualities to rule an
already fractious country?" the politician went on. "The candidate needs to
be a person of steel, someone who will not brook any nonsense."
is obvious that Mujuru cannot lead the country - she can only do so with the
explicit backing of Mugabe," echoed Josh Matindike, who fought for the ZANU
movement during the war of independence. "We all know that Mnangagwa should
lead the country."
Many of Mujuru's opponents feel that she owes her
vice-presidential post to her husband, Solomon Mujuru, a hard-nosed opponent
Solomon Mujuru took command of the ZANU guerrilla army in
1979 under the nom de guerre Rex Nhongo, and he went on to lead Zimbabwe's
armed forces for a decade after the war ended. He apparently fell out with
Mnangagwa when the latter blocked his bid to buy into a lucrative chrome
But the ethnic allegiances of the key players are also a
significant factor in this struggle for the post-Mugabe
Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru both belong to Zimbabwe's biggest
tribe, the Shona. But within this tribe, Mnangagwa comes from a clan called
the Karanga, while Mujuru belongs to Mugabe's own Zezuru
Tensions between the Karanga and Zezuru trace back to the war, when
the Karanga provided the bulk of fighters and military leaders for the ZANU
Since power fell into the hands of Mugabe - a ruthless
Zezuru intellectual who led the ZANU movement but did no fighting himself -
many Karangas feel he has ignored their contribution, sidelined their
leaders and promoted members of his own clan.
December's congress, none of the top five ZANU PF posts were occupied by
Karangas, despite the fact that members of the clan make up some 35 per cent
of Zimbabwe's 11.5 million citizens. The Zezuru account for around 25 per
cent of the population.
The cabinet formed by Mugabe following March's
general election is also dominated by Zezurus, at the expense of many
"We have known for a long time that Mugabe hates
us, Karangas," said Marvellous Chauke, a war veteran from
Chauke believes Karangas have wasted too much time fighting
each other, "Now is the time for us to rally around Mnangagwa and give the
Mugabe-Mujuru alliance a run for their money. We need equal representation
Tinotenda Mapfupa, a supporter of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, MDC, in Masvingo, said he was outraged at the way in
which Karangas were being treated by Mugabe and his clansmen.
would rather all ZANU PF supporters in Masvingo province opened their eyes
and stopped supporting ZANU PF," said Mapfupa.
The rivalries have only
been exacerbated by the Murambatsvina operation, which has seen vast numbers
of homes in urban slums demolished in what the government says is an effort
to clean up such areas and fight crime.
The operation drew intense
international criticism and badly dented the image of ZANU PF. Supporters of
Mnangagwa have been quick to blame it on Zezurus.
Indeed, the four
people most intimately involved in planning and implementing Murambatsvina -
Mugabe, Mujuru, Zimbabwe's other vice president Joseph Msika and the local
government minister Ignatius Chombo - are all Zezurus.
simmering discontent, Joice Mujuru will have to work carefully to earn the
trust of Karanga politicians in the looming battle for succession.
make things more complicated, the coalition behind Mnangagwa's bid for the
vice-presidency also involved members of a smaller Shona clan, the Manyika,
and members of Zimbabwe's other main tribe, the Ndebele.
occupy eastern and northern parts of Zimbabwe - their ancestors began
arriving here from western central Africa over a thousand years ago. The
Ndebele, on the other hand, mainly occupy the dry western part of the
country, and trace their roots back to the Zulus of South
Mapfupa told IWPR that Mnangagwa's best option would be to form
an alliance with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, along with representatives of
the Manyika and Ndebele.
"Then we will see where Mugabe and his
Zezurus get the mandate to rule Zimbabwe," said Mapfupa.
is the pseudonym of a Zimbabwean journalist.
Close allies for years, the presidents of Nigerian and Zimbabwe now
clash furiously whenever they meet.
By Kamu Yananai in Harare (Africa
Reports No 41, 12-Sep-05)
The relationship between Olusegun Obasanjo and
Robert Mugabe remains awash in bad blood following the Zimbabwean
president's resounding rejection of a proposal from his Nigerian counterpart
to help solve the country's political crisis.
Obasanjo, chairman of
the Africa Union, recently appointed former Mozambican president Joachim
Chissano to mediate between Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
But Mugabe refused to talk, angrily denouncing
Obasanjo, and late last month Chissano gave up, perhaps reluctant to get
between the onetime allies who now clash furiously whenever they meet.
Observers say Mugabe now considers Obasanjo a deadlier enemy that British
prime minister Tony Blair.
It wasn't always so.
The two were once
linked closely at both political and personal levels and Obasanjo owes his
life to Mugabe and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda whose intervention
after the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa summit of 1994 saved
him from the hangman's noose during the murderous military dictatorship of
the late Sani Abacha. Others like Nigerian author Ken Saro Wiwa were less
fortunate, and Abacha sent them to the gallows.
When the international
community accused Mugabe of rigging the 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and
presidential elections, Obasanjo returned the favour, defending Mugabe
against scathing criticism from the West. He was among the first leaders to
endorse the authenticity of the controversial election
Mugabe responded by openly supported Obasanjo's own
dubious win in 2003, which was also mired in controversy amid accusations of
vote rigging, political violence and intimidation.
The two leaders
teamed up to condemn the West and their election observers, particularly
those from the European Union. Both played the Pan Africanist card and
accused the EU and its allies of racism steeped in eurocentrism in their
outlook towards Africa.
Mugabe attended Obasanjo's inauguration in May
2003, playing to the international media gallery in an apparent show of
solidarity and brotherhood.
But then came the falling out, when
Obasanjo committed what Mugabe perceived as the greatest possible sin -
calling for his resignation. Worse still, the comments were made in a
powerful international newspaper, London's Sunday Times.
"If I say I
am thinking about my succession, that's an indication that I think he
[Mugabe] should think of his. In my part of the world there are many ways
you can tell a man to go to hell," he is reported to have said.
Mugabe, who is well known for viewing anyone who suggests he step down as an
eternal enemy, this was unforgivable. Tried and tested lieutenants,
including the late Eddison Zvobgo, Edgar Tekere and Margaret Dongo, who've
made similar demands have all sunk into political oblivion.
unforgiveable was Obasanjo's support for the white farmers of Zimbabwe, who
he described as true Africans and invited to begin commercial farming in
Nigeria along the banks of the Niger River.
He widely praised the
governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, for inviting them into the country,
saying they have specialist farming skills and should not be allowed to go
to places like Australia.
Then in late August, Obasanjo said he wanted
every Nigerian state to give new homes and land to farmers expelled from
their properties by Mugabe.
Some fifteen Zimbabwean farmers eventually
took Obasanjo up on his offer.
Following his controversial land grab,
Mugabe has become incandescent with rage at anyone who expresses sympathy
with the displaced farmers who he views as white imperialists and accused
his onetime friend of selling out.
Then came the Commonwealth
Following Mugabe's controversial election victory in 2002, a troika
of Commonwealth heads of state - Obasanjo, Australia's John Howard and South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki - was set up to recommend whether Zimbabwe should be
Mugabe was confident that with the help of African
solidarity and by playing the race card he would convince Mbeki and Obasanjo
to overrule Howard. When the trio recommended Zimbabwe's suspension, the
rift between Mugabe and Obasanjo opened even wider.
In 2003, Obasanjo
faced a tricky dilemma when he had to decide whether or not to invite Mugabe
to the Commonwealth Summit in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. Mugabe's
destructive and racist policies threatened to plunge Commonwealth nations
into a quasi-racial divide, with African countries on one side and the white
community (Britain, Australia and New Zealand) on the other.
was faced with a dilemma because Britain's Tony Blair, Mugabe's sworn enemy,
threatened not to attend if Mugabe was invited. Obasanjo had earlier on
baffled Mugabe by trashing an attempt by African, Caribbean and Pacific
countries to lift the Commonwealth suspension against Zimbabwe.
end, Obasanjo did not invite Mugabe to attend, prompting a furious Mugabe to
withdraw Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. Mugabe felt deeply betrayed because
he had assumed that Obasanjo was on his side.
Almost two years later,
Mugabe's government accused Obasanjo's government of teaming up with Blair
to fund the opposition MDC's 2005 election campaign. Mugabe argued that the
MDC was offered 200 million US dollars through Nigeria for its campaign
activities. Mugabe has always alleged that the MDC is a front for Britain's
desire for regime change and Obasanjo therefore, in Mugabe's view, was
committing yet another unforgivable sin.
Kamu Yananai is the pseudonym of
a Zimbabwean journalist.
Mugabe backs steps boosting power Constitution
changes adopted, report says By Michael Hartnack, Associated Press |
September 13, 2005
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- President Robert Mugabe quietly
adopted constitutional changes that make it easier for the state to seize
private property and prevent opponents from traveling abroad to criticize
his 25-year rule, state radio revealed yesterday.
The report said
Mugabe signed the amendments into law Friday, the same day the International
Monetary Fund deferred a decision for six months on whether to expel this
southern African nation.
The amendments mark ''the liberation of our
land," Mugabe said yesterday during a three-day trip to Cuba. ''It's now
final, and no one can question it."
The constitutional overhaul
strips landowners of their right to appeal expropriation of their property
by the state and declares all real estate is now on a 99-year lease from the
Domestic opponents intending to attack the government abroad
can now be denied a passport to travel, a provision that government
officials have openly said could be used to silence critics.
government has allowed the seizure of 5,000 white-owned commercial farms in
recent years, wrecking agricultural output and exports and causing
widespread food shortages.
He blames US and European Union sanctions
-- imposed for alleged human rights abuses -- for putting the Zimbabwean
economy into free fall. Inflation now runs at some 255 percent a year and 80
percent of the work force is idle.
''The Cubans are being punished
with sanctions in the same way we are," Mugabe said during his ninth visit
to Cuba since 1978, referring to the decades-old US trade embargo against
the communist-ruled island.
Gono Says Zimbabwe Will Pay Off Remaining Arrears to
IMF By Barry Wood Washington 14 September
Last week (September 9) the executive board of the
International Monetary Fund voted for the third time in 18 months to
postpone the expulsion of Zimbabwe for non-repayment of overdue loans.
From Washington, VOA's Barry Wood has more on the dispute.
have been just another ordinary meeting of the 24 executive directors who
represent the 184 member countries in the IMF. Several other agenda items
were discussed before the meeting turned to the managing director's
recommendation that Zimbabwe be expelled for non-payment. At that point
Zimbabwe's central bank governor was invited to speak. IMF spokesman Tom
Dawson says it is unusual but not unprecedented for a central bank
government to address the executive board.
"In terms of a country making
its case in the context of compulsory withdrawal, there have been few cases
where compulsory withdrawal has actually come to a head," Mr. Dawson says.
"But I do believe.It is established under our rules that the representative
of the government can and indeed has the right to speak to the board, or
come to the board of governors, in certain cases to make their
Gideon Gono, now in his second year as governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, had flown to Washington from Harare for the occasion.
Earlier that Friday he had been with European and African directors, urging
them to vote no on expulsion. After all, only one country, communist
Czechoslovakia, had ever been expelled from the Fund, and that was in 1954.
In his presentation to the board, Mr. Gono conceded that while Zimbabwe was
technically guilty of violating IMF rules, it should be given more time to
put its financial house in order. Zimbabwe, he assured board members, was
on a turnaround journey and bold measures would be put in place to bring
down a 300 percent inflation rate and revive an economy that has shrunk by
40 percent in six years.
Speaking to VOA's Zimbabwe service, Mr. Gono
said he was thrilled when the board deferred expulsion for another six
"It was a very humbling moment indeed," he says. "It is difficult
to express the feeling of joy and relief. But also the feeling of the
weightiness of the decision and the responsibility that lies ahead are some
of the issues that I still carry that are memorable."
a Ghanian-born economist and professor at Washington's American University,
says the IMF made the wrong decision.
"No, no. The IMF should have pulled
the plug on Zimbabwe," he says. "Even the South Africans wouldn't extend aid
to Zimbabwe. I don't know what the IMF knows that the South Africans don't
know. The economy of Zimbabwe has literally collapsed. Any reprieve or
extension to Mugabe only helps keep the (ruling) Zanu-PF in power. And I
think most Zimbabweans will oppose any life-line to the corrupt and
dictatorial regime in Harare."
Zimbabwe has been in trouble with the IMF
since 1999, when the Fund ceased lending because its policies were not being
followed. In 2001 Zimbabwe stopped making loan repayments. Two years later
the IMF stripped Zimbabwe of its voting rights. In 2003 it began the process
On each of the three occasions that Zimbabwe avoided
expulsion, it made partial repayments, gestures intended to avoid complete
isolation from the financial community. This time, the payment was big-$120
million. Bankers in southern Africa wondered where destitute Zimbabwe came
up with the money. Central Bank governor Gono says Zimbabwe chose to make a
payment to the Fund instead of importing food.
"This money is
ordinary funds that would normally have flowed into the coffers of the
central bank," he says. "And with it we would have done a lot. For instance,
$120 million would have bought one million tons of food, enough to feed the
people of Zimbabwe for eight months. Two months of fuel, or drugs, and
so-forth. But we decided to sacrifice, a deliberate decision that these
inflows were not going to be used for consumptive purposes, but to defend
the integrity and membership of the country."
secretary of agriculture, Simon Pazvakavambwa, has said the country has only
three weeks of food supplies.
IMF spokesman Dawson was asked whether the
IMF is concerned about where Zimbabwe got the money for the
"Some of the press stories indicate that they came from export
earnings that had not yet been remitted to the government. But that's all I
know on that," Mr. Dawson says. "They did, as I noted, make the
Mr. Gono says Zimbabwe will pay off its remaining arrears (175
million dollars) in 2006.
He also gives some hint of what he calls
the bold measures that will be implemented to reactivate Zimbabwe's
"I cite a good example, say, of agriculture," Mr. Gono says. "In
agriculture we need to move with speed to bring to full utilization the land
that is now in our possession. We need to curb aspects of corruption that
are endemic in the economy. We need to be transparent in everything that we
do. We need to be consistent in implementing the policies we would have
agreed. And not implement policies one day and reverse them the other
To critics, these are empty promises that have been made repeatedly
since 1999. President Mugabe, currently in Cuba, continues to denounce the
IMF while Mr. Gono says IMF membership holds the key to Zimbabwe's future
Robert Mugabe has indicated for the first time that he will retire as
president of Zimbabwe in 2008, when his current term expires. He will be 84
and "will want some rest", he told Britain's Five News, but said he would
remain active in his ruling party, Zanu-PF, which will choose his
Mugabe also boasted of his "special
friendship" with Prince Charles, which Clarence House quickly denied. Before
starting a state visit to Cuba on Sunday Mugabe admitted that poverty and
hunger were increasing in Zimbabwe. He has been accused by Human Rights
Watch of blocking aid.
House prices soar
Meanwhile, house prices in Zimbabwe have soared beyond the reach of most low
to middle-income earners, that country's Herald Online reported on
It said building societies now required prospective
borrowers to earn a net monthly salary of Z$15-million to qualify for the
With the exception of government housing
schemes, low and middle-income earners could no longer afford a mortgage
because the repayment rates were above most income
For one to qualify for a mortgage for a
three-roomed house in Tafara in Harare, which cost about Z$-250-million, one
needed to be earning a net salary of at least
With that salary, the building society would
only give half percent of the total mortgage and the borrower would have to
pay the remainder.
Houses in middle-income Harare areas
such as Msasa Park, Westgate, Mabelreign, Hillside and Cranborne, now cost
over Z$1,5-billion, making it impossible for anyone with a net salary of
less than Z$-90-million to buy in these areas on
Most of the houses on the market are being bought
for cash by mostly Zimbabweans in the diaspora, business people, speculators
or current home-owners.
Rentals have also gone up and a
room in the high-density suburbs of Harare now costs about Z$750 000 on
As a result, thousands of workers in the low and
middle-income bracket are now committing more than half of their salaries to
A survey by The Herald revealed most
workers in the Z$1,5-million to Z$-5-million salary range are finding their
monthly income only enough to cover their housing costs.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have been told they will have enough food as maize
imports from South African and other countries continue, the Herald Online
reported on Monday.
It said this assurance came from the
chairperson of the National Taskforce on Grain, Didymus Mutasa, and from
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.
Their comments come
after a statement last week by the secretary for agriculture, Simon
Pazvakavambwa, that the country was left with three weeks of
Mutasa said the country was importing about 15 000
tonnes a week from South Africa.
This, in addition to
some grain coming from other countries and the local market, was enough to
feed the nation at any given time.
"What the secretary said
is completely untrue and unfounded. I wonder what was his motivation to say
such words, which are completely baseless," said Mutasa.
"We are importing an average of 15 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and
if we add what we get from the local market and other countries, then we
will be having enough food to feed the nation at any time." -
Statement by IMF Staff Mission in
IMF Vs Mugabe act 2 scene 1
mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Zimbabwe during
June 13-25, 2005 in the context of the 2005 Article IV Consultation
discussions and ahead of the Fund Executive Board's consideration of the
issue of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the IMF1. It made the
following statement: "We had cordial meetings with Zimbabwe's economic
team led by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono and want to thank the authorities for
facilitating our work. Our discussions focused on policies to place Zimbabwe
on a path to achieve sustained growth, low inflation, and improving living
standards. Output is expected to decline sharply this year, in part due to
the continued difficulties in agriculture-which have been exacerbated by
drought-and the intensification of foreign exchange shortages. "The
mission projects that, on the basis of present policies, the budget deficit
will increase markedly in 2005, partly due to the cost of higher food
imports, interest payments and higher pension costs. Together with the RBZ's
substantial producer and credit subsidies, these deficits would fuel a sharp
increase in money supply, and hence inflation, by end-2005. The authorities
indicated their desire to address these problems by taking measures to
contain further increases in the budget deficit. The macroeconomic outlook
is further clouded by the gravity of the food security situation and
implementation of "Operation Restore Order," which threatens to worsen
shortages, contribute to lower growth, and aggravate inflation
pressures. "As indicated in previous rounds of discussions, the mission
stressed that the magnitude of the economic problems confronting Zimbabwe
calls for a comprehensive policy package that should include decisive action
to lower the fiscal deficit, a tightening of monetary policy, and steps to
establish a unified, market-determined exchange rate. The package should
also include structural reforms, such as the removal of administrative
controls, to ease shortages and restore private sector confidence. "A
rebuilding of relations with the international community is a critical part
of the effort to reverse the economic decline. We hope the authorities will
work more closely with us to formulate and implement such a policy package,
which would help stabilize the economy and improve the welfare of the
Zimbabwean people." -As of June 20, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the Fund
amounted to SDR 201 million (US$295 million). Compulsory withdrawal is the
last step in a series of escalating measures that the IMF applies to members
that fail to meet their obligations under the Articles of Agreement. On
February 16, 2005 the Executive Board decided to defer for six months
consideration of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal, providing the country
with another chance to strengthen cooperation with the Fund in terms of
policies and payments.
IMF Considers Complaint Regarding Zimbabwe's Compulsory
Withdrawal (2) 09.13.2005
The Executive Board of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to
the Fund and considered the Managing Director's complaint regarding
Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the IMF (see Press Release No.
03/210). Recognizing the severity of the decision at hand, the increases in
payments from Zimbabwe since the last review in July 2004, and some
improvement in economic policies, the Executive Board decided to postpone a
recommendation with respect to compulsory withdrawal, providing Zimbabwe
with another chance to strengthen its cooperation with the Fund in terms of
economic policies and payments. The Executive Board will consider again the
Managing Director's complaint regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal
from the Fund within six months or at the time of the Executive Board's
discussion of the 2005 Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe, whichever is
earlier. The Board's decision provides the country with an opportunity to
significantly strengthen its cooperation with the IMF, with the aim of
addressing its economic decline and resolving its overdue financial
obligations, prior to the Executive Board's next consideration of the
Managing Director's complaint. The Executive Board noted that Zimbabwe
has taken some initial policy steps to arrest the economic decline, but
concluded that these efforts remain insufficient to decisively turn around
the economic situation. The Board called on Zimbabwe to adopt and implement
a comprehensive adjustment program as a matter of urgency, in the areas of
fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies and structural reforms. The
Executive Board also noted Zimbabwe's payments of US$16.5 million to the IMF
since the last review, which, however, fell short of stabilizing its arrears
to the IMF. The Board noted the authorities' intention to further increase
payments to the IMF from the second quarter of 2005, and urged Zimbabwe to
make every effort to increase payments and resolve its overdue financial
obligations to the IMF. Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF
since February 2001. As of February 15, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF
amounted to SDR 202 million (US$306 million), or about 57 percent of its
quota in the IMF. Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of
escalating measures that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their
obligations under the Articles of Agreement.
escaping expulsion from the International Monetary Fund(IMF) by a hair's-
breadth for nonpayment of arrears and policy failures, Zimbabwe has promised
radical reforms to rescue its crumbling economy.
governor Gideon Gono, who lobbied for Harare to be spared expulsion, said
"radical policy measures" were necessary to pull the country out of its
deepening economic morass.
He said the narrow escape highlighted the need
for urgent economic reforms. Zimbabwe requires structural reforms and
sweeping political changes to ensure economic recovery and
The IMF said Zimbabwe should urgently implement a
"comprehensive and coherent adjustment programme as a matter of urgency, in
the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies and structural
Gono said it was critical to introduce "radical policy
measures" that would revive and stabilise the economy, whose real gross
domestic product has shrunk 30% in the past five years.
after keeping quiet to allow reformists in his government to lobby the IMF
to prevent expulsion, President Mugabe resumed his attacks on the
organisation, saying it was "unhelpful".
The remarks by Gono and
Mugabe exposed yawning ideological and policy gulfs in the government. While
some of his bureaucrats and ministers seem to appreciate the need for
reforms, Mugabe remains rooted to his unreconstructed
This divides Mugabe's regime into two ideological
groupings: the proreform camp and the antireform old guard. The Young Turks
understand the need for urgent change to avoid being swept aside by the
winds of change, while the Mugabe diehards seem to think they can stop the
march of history. Herein lies the crux of the matter. No matter how Gono
pushes for reforms, his programme will not go far. Mugabe is the stumbling
block. He will not back IMF-engineered reforms.
Mugabe has always
been sceptical of the IMF. He said in Cuba last weekend that the IMF "has
never, and will never, be a friend". Under pressure, he may accept social
market economics, but given a choice he will want state ownership of the
means of production.
This is why he recently enacted three pieces of
legislation, on banks, land, and companies, which allow the state to take
over properties arbitrarily.
When Mugabe came to power in 1980, he
declared "scientific socialism" as his regime's economic policy. Dirigisme -
control of the economy by the state - for Mugabe is still the only economic
model. In the 1980s he conducted a disastrous socialist experiment -
skirting perilously close to unsustainable welfare economics - that choked
economic growth and sowed the seeds of the current crisis.
experiment created a huge debt crisis and balance-of-payments constraints,
which later forced him to approach the IMF for a bale-out.
Mugabe had good intentions, the policy was catastrophic. The situation was
compounded by his authoritarian rule. Those who have worked with Mugabe say
he is instinctively dictatorial.
This is partly why Mugabe will not
accept Gono's radical reforms. There will be no policy shift of consequence,
except for the worse, as long as Mugabe is in power. He is the millstone
around the neck of business.
The past five years have shown Mugabe is
now a dead weight in the body politic.
Although he is still in
charge, Zimbabwe is precariously on the edge. It is experiencing only
Instead of accepting loosening
bureaucratic and coercive control, Mugabe is consolidating power to shore up
his weakening regime. The recent constitutional amendments bear
Reform proposals by Gono, whose economic recovery plan is
in tatters, will therefore remain a castle in the air.
By Staff Reporter Last updated: 09/14/2005
09:02:42 ABOUT 44 police officers with the Zimbabwe Republic Police are
languishing at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after being overheard complaining
about the harsh economic conditions in the country, New Zimbabwe.com can
Although efforts to determine under what law they were detained
were unsuccessful, senior police sources said the officers were arrested for
"breaching the Police Act".
Their desperate families held meetings
with senior police officers at the weekend to try and secure their
Zimbabwe is facing an economic meltdown with prices of basic
consumer goods, which have reached unprecedented levels, going up
The crackdown on the police and army comes after growing
disgruntlement over government's economic policies which have reduced
Zimbabwe's once bustling economy into the world's fastest collapsing economy
with inflation topping 265 percent.
Sources said senior police
officers at the weekend held a meeting with the families of the police
officers at Chikurubi complex and warned them that it is an offence
punishable by imprisonment for police officers or their families to be heard
complaining about the economic hardships that the country is
"We were warned that our husbands are bound by the police oath to
be loyal to the country therefore if we or our husbands complain about the
economic situation we will be promoting anarchy," said the wife of a police
officer who cannot be named.
In July a group of police officers who
had been evicted by their landlords because of their participation in the
destruction of houses under the government's discredited Operation
Murambatsvina demonstrated outside Police Headquarters, demanding that their
bosses address their housing needs.
By Prof Welshman Ncube Last updated: 09/14/2005
09:01:18 THE adoption of the Constitution Amendment Bill (No 17) by the
Zimbabwe Parliament on Wednesday 2 September was a systematic retrogressive
move for the country. It will exacerbate the crisis of governance which has,
within five years, driven Zimbabwe to the precipice of being a failed
By amending the constitution for the seventeenth time since
independence twenty five years ago the Zanu PF government has sent out an
unequivocal message to the people that it has no respect for the
constitution. Conversely, it cannot expect the people to take the
constitution seriously; a factor that will serve to intensify the perceived
lack of legitimacy within Zimbabwe's body politic in the eyes of the people.
This dichotomy goes to the very heart of Zimbabwe's ills as it symbolises
the absence of national consensus on core governance issues and the total
lack of public trust in the current Government.
A constitution should
be a symbol of national unity. It should represent a contract between those
in power and those who are subjected to this power. It should define the
rights and duties of citizens and the institutional arrangements that keep
those in power in check. To ensure its legitimacy, a constitution must be
formulated in strict accordance with the principle of inclusiveness. There
must be broad public participation and ownership of the final
The people of Zimbabwe have never had an opportunity to
formulate a constitution in this context of democratic legitimacy and
produce a truly national document that enshrines and protects our values and
rights. We are yet to be empowered with the fundamental right to design and
organise, in the collective sense, our governance and constitutional
arrangements so that they are properly aligned to the agenda of realising
the shared goals and aspirations that defined our liberation
Instead we remain lumbered with an albatross around our necks
in the form of the patched-up constitution initially agreed to at the
Lancaster House talks in 1979. This document was not an agreement amongst
the people of Zimbabwe, it was essentially a 'ceasefire' document that
flagrantly failed to include sufficient safeguards against arbitrary
behaviour by the Executive and infringements on citizens' basic freedoms and
The Government did attempt to replace the Lancaster House
model in February 2000 but its draft constitution was overwhelmingly
rejected by the people in a national referendum on account of its chronic
democratic deficits. The people's desire for a new constitution, which was
so apparent during the referendum campaign, remains undimmed.
and the people of Zimbabwe therefore hoped that the Government, given the
scale of problems afflicting the country, and the self-evident national
desire for change, would adopt a holistic rather than a piecemeal approach
towards constitutional reform. By pursuing the latter route the Government
has spurned a golden opportunity to begin the process of reversing
Zimbabwe's political and socio-economic decline.
The Bill itself contains
a number of self-serving provisions that not only further dilute the
democratic content of the constitution but also ensure that, to all intents
and purposes, it is tailored to suit the whims of Mugabe and Zanu
The provision which allows for the reintroduction of a bicameral
parliament, through the creation of a 66-seat Senate, is designed to extend
the system of presidential patronage. It has nothing whatsoever to do with
improving legislative oversight but has everything to do with appeasing and
accommodating disgruntled elements in the ruling party who Mugabe is
desperate to harness to his succession agenda. As a consequence the creation
of a Senate is simply aimed at providing jobs for those members of the
ruling party who are either unelectable, defeated in internal primary
elections or who were rejected by the electorate in the March 2005
This egregious development is compounded by
the fact that it will place additional burdens on the fiscus at a time when
the Government does not have the money to buy sufficient quantities of fuel,
food and other basic commodities that are essential to alleviate the
suffering stemming from Zimbabwe's unprecedented humanitarian crisis; a
crisis precipitated by the Government's policy failures. The Z$50 billion
that the Government has budgeted for the Senate elections demonstrates its
skewed sense of priorities and provides a stark reminder of its shocking
indifference to the suffering of the people it purports to support and
In addition to the creation of a Senate, the Bill provides for
the establishment, under the constitution, of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC). In principle this is a welcome move as the ZEC was
previously a statutory body and national electoral bodies need to have
constitutional backing. The problem, however, is that the ZEC, even with
constitutional status, is not sufficiently safeguarded from manipulation by
the Executive. For instance, the President will appoint the chair of the
Commission. Moreover, the ZEC has no jurisdiction over the crucial exercise
of voter registration. This remains in the hands of the Office of the
Registrar General which has a track record of conducting voter registration
on a discriminatory basis to secure political advantage for the ruling
By failing to properly address concerns around the independence of
the ZEC the Government has signaled its reluctance to reform Zimbabwe's
electoral framework and administrative processes in line with what is
expected under agreed SADC standards. Given Zimbabwe's electoral record over
the past five years this intransigence is likely to result in more disputed
elections and further violations of the sacred principle of
The failure to institute constitutional guarantees
pertaining to the right to freely participate in elections is symptomatic of
the insidious political agenda that lies behind this Bill. This agenda
becomes even more apparent when one considers the likely impact of the
reform measures on private property rights and freedom of movement. The
adoption of these measures indicates a renewed effort by the ruling party to
strengthen its coercive grip on society. In Zanu PF's warped analysis,
placing stringent curbs on fundamental freedoms is the best way of
perpetuating its tenure.
In the year that we are celebrating twenty five
years of independence, one would have expected a Government which claims to
be the custodian of the values that guided our liberation struggle, to be
expanding our freedoms rather than placing restrictions on them. With
regards to freedom of movement, the Government will now possess powers under
the constitution to deny passports to its critics. This move is part of an
integral plan to deny international platforms to its critics and seal off as
many of the information arteries as possible which deconstruct the
distorting narrative peddled by Zanu aficionados and expose the shocking
realities on the ground.
The central tenet of the Zanu PF narrative is
the disingenuous claim that Zimbabwe's crisis is anchored solely on the
issue of land re-distribution. The provisions in the Bill covering the area
of land acquisition underline the depths of the Government's deception over
the land issue. There can be no dispute over the need to resolve the land
question, however, under Zanu PF the main beneficiaries have been members of
the ruling elite rather than the communities and individuals who were
dispossessed in the first place.
Land should be given back to the people
it was stolen from initially during the colonial era, yet, under the reforms
being enacted, state ownership of land seized from white farmers will have
constitutional backing. This means that those who are resettled on their
land will not regain ownership of it. This is a gross injustice and
contradicts the very essence of the land reform programme. Permanent state
ownership of all acquired land in terms of the constitution must be seen as
yet another control mechanism in the hands of the Government. It will ensure
that the resettlement exercise is conducted on a discriminatory basis with
those seen as not loyal to the ruling party denied access to land or having
their leasehold agreements revoked.
Furthermore, the provision
covering land acquisition, interpreted in its broadest sense, poses a direct
threat to the security of property rights. The Government will now possess
arbitrary powers to acquire any land which is defined as 'agricultural
land'. The deliberate vagueness of this definition means that property in
peri-urban and urban areas could in future be at risk of compulsory
acquisition if activities conducted on a property are deemed 'agricultural'.
Under the new rules property owners will only receive compensation for
improvements made to buildings and will have no right to due
The denial of the right to due process breaches international
statutes to which the Zimbabwe Government is signatory. Moreover, by
removing the right of the Judiciary to interpret laws and pass judgments on
the activities of the Executive, Mugabe and Zanu PF are further eroding one
the central pillars of constitutionalism - the separation of powers. Checks
and balances are now a thing of the past.
The passing of the
Constitution Amendment Bill (NO 17) is a recipe for disaster. Neither the
ruling party nor Parliament had the constitutional mandate to introduce such
a Bill. Attempts to engage the public, and canvass their views on the
proposed amendments, were perfunctory. The whole process was totally lacking
in legitimacy. The net result is that the Government has made the crisis
worse. To help tackle the crisis we need to come together as Zimbabweans and
formulate a constitution in a transparent and all-inclusive manner. We all
need to have ownership of the constitution and use this document as the
basis for healing the divisions bedeviling our society and retarding our
development as a nation. Professor Welshman Ncube is secretary general of the
Movement for Democratic Change
Chinaka Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:02:55 ZIMBABWE'S opposition said on
Tuesday it may boycott elections for an upper house of parliament later this
year, accusing President Robert Mugabe's party of rigging previous
The southern African country is struggling with a severe
political and economic crisis that government critics blame on Mugabe's
controversial policies, including his seizures of white-owned farms for
redistribution to blacks and his use of tough media and security laws
"No decision has been made on whether we will
participate or whether we will not take part," Paul Themba-Nyathi, spokesman
for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told Reuters.
is still consulting on the issue because there are some people in the party
who feel that we are legitimising the whole rigging process by participating
in these elections." "Then there are also others who feel that if we boycott
the elections we are surrendering the entire political space to ZANU-PF ...
and that we have to keep fighting," he added.
The MDC accuses
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party of rigging the last three major parliamentary
and presidential polls.
It agonised over whether to boycott parliamentary
elections on March 31, eventually deciding to field candidates only to
receive a severe drubbing from ZANU-PF, which won a two-thirds majority,
enabling it to change the constitution. The MDC and Western governments
said the polls were unfair.
William Bango, a spokesman for MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, said the opposition chief was opposed to the introduction
of a Senate through piecemeal constitutional changes.
believes that this is not a priority given that millions of people are
facing unprecedented economic hardships of general lack of food, lack of
fuel, lack of jobs and international isolation," Bango said.
Mugabe, on a
visit to Cuba, told Zimbabwean students that elections for the Senate --
which the government says will improve the quality of legislation passed in
the country -- would be held before the end of the year.
Mugabe, 81 and
in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies charges by his
critics, including the European Union and Washington, that his ZANU-PF party
rigged the 2002 presidential poll and parliamentary elections in 2000 and
On Monday, Mugabe confirmed that he had signed into law
controversial constitutional changes effectively nationalising the formerly
white-owned farms and empowering the state to impose travel sanctions on
The MDC says the latest changes to the constitution -- which
Mugabe has altered 17 times since 1980 -- are proof that he has become a
classic dictator. Mugabe says his opponents have conspired with
foreigners to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy over his land seizures, which he
argues were necessary to correct colonial imbalances that left minority
whites in control of the bulk of the prime farmland.
struggling with severe shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency for
imports after a six-year recession in which the economy has shrunk by over
30 percent - Reuters
Munyuki Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:10:16 ZIMBABWE'S Administrative Court
has set the dates for a hearing in which the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) is challenging the denial of a licence to publish its two
titles by the Media and Information Commission (MIC).
ANZ are the
publishers of the banished independent daily - The Daily News and its sister
paper, The Daily News On Sunday.
The Administrative Court has set
September 21 and 22 as the hearing dates in this case which comes after the
MIC denied ANZ the licence when it ruled that it had contravened certain
sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
The MIC said ANZ had committed an inexcusable offence by
continuing to publish its two titles between January 2003 and September 2003
despite the company's refusal to register with the media regulatory
But in its papers filed in the Adminstrative Court, ANZ argued that
the MIC had no legal basis to deny both The Daily News and Daily News On
Sunday licences because the MIC, in denying them a licence, had merely
looked back at the issues dealt with the Supreme Court when it first ruled
in 2003 that ANZ was operating outside the law.
At the time, the
Supreme Court ruled that ANZ was approaching the courts with dirty hands and
had to comply by registering with the MIC which went on to deny the group a
licence after it had complied with the law.
The Daily News and Daily News
On Sunday were shut down on September 12, 2003, when the Supreme ruled that
ANZ was operating illegally. Since then, the newspaper group says it has
spent 182 000 Euros (Z$10 billion) on legal fees.
journalists have been arrested and four newspapers closed since AIPPA became
law in 2002.
By Tandayi Motsi A
CRITICAL shortage of fuel has crippled the Harare City Council's service
delivery system, forcing the municipality to procure fuel from the black
market for emergency cases.
This emerged yesterday when Town Clerk Mr
Nomutsa Chideya gave oral evidence before the Parliamentary Committee on
Mr Chideya told the committee that for the past month,
the council had not received its fuel allocation from the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe.
"We have not received diesel for the past four
weeks. We are not able to attend to any sewerage or water pipe bursts
because all our vehicles are grounded," he said.
"For the sake of the
health of the residents, we would rather buy the fuel on the parallel
market. We will face the consequences later, but at the moment we have to
deal with the situation."
The fuel crisis, Mr Chideya said, had also
severely handicapped emergency services with only one fire engine having a
quarter tank of fuel.
He said the Harare City Council used to receive
fuel allocation of 30 000 litres a month, but this had been drastically
reduced to about 10 000 litres per month.
The fuel crisis has been
worsened by the continued increase in the price of the commodity on the
international market with motorists in Britain and other European countries
planning to hold massive demonstrations against the now frequent price
The foreign currency crunch in Zimbabwe and rising fuel prices has
made it difficult to import adequate supplies to meet the country's
The town clerk said efforts by the council to deliver
essential services were also being hampered by the uneconomic tariffs it was
charging. He gave the example of water for domestic consumption, which, he
said, the council was buying at $2 000 per cubic metre from the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority, but was selling it for $600 per cubic metre to the
This, Mr Chideya said, was being compounded by the fact that
the Government was taking too long to review the municipal
"As a result, we have sunk; we cannot operate effectively," he
The situation had been exacerbated by the dwindling funding of
local authorities by external development partners such as the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank, with the last of such funding having been made
available in 1992.
Turning to the clean-up operation, Mr Chideya said
apart from curbing illegal activities, the exercise had vastly improved the
image of the city. He said prior to the operation, there was loss of life
every week in previously crowded high-density suburbs such as Mbare, but
this was now a thing of the past.
Responding to questions by the
lawmakers on what council was doing to deal with the resurfacing of street
people and illegal vending in the city centre, Mr Chideya said council was
striving to enforce the relevant by-laws, but this was being hampered by the
shortage of municipal police. The council, he said, had an establishment of
800 municipal police officers, but out of these about 200 were suffering
from ill health due to various ailments, thus compromising the effective
execution of duties.
Harare City Council would soon recruit an additional
200 municipal police officers in a bid to cope with the
Mr Chideya said the commission running the affairs of the
Harare City Council would soon be consulting residents on the 2006 budget as
well as to discuss issues affecting them.
He said the regularisation
fee for illegal structures had been raised to $20 million and $50 million
for residential and commercial stands respectively because this was designed
to serve as a punitive measure and act as a deterrent.
licences had been increased from $250 000 in 2004 to $10 million and $15
million with effect from January and July respectively.
Director of Works
Mr Psychology Chiwanga said there was no bias in the manner in which the
clean-up operation was implemented.
He said this in reply to a question
by Harare North MP Ms Trudy Stevenson (MDC), who had asked the council
officials to clarify the perception that the clean-up operation sacrificed
the poor while sparing the rich.
Mr Chiwanga said the council had
flighted advertisements as far back as 2002 warning residents to pull down
illegal structures or approach the authorities for guidance.
some of the structures that were pulled down in areas such as Mbare could
not be regularised because they had been constructed on top of the sewage
The council, he said, had so far received 589
applications for the regularisation of structures.
allegations that the council was still billing some residents for demolished
illegal structures, Director of Housing and Community Services Mr Numero
Mubayiwa said this was not true as such residents were being billed to pay
up arrears that had accrued before the clean-up exercise.
case of rubble, the residents must remove it, or if we do it for them then
we will charge them and we started to levy the illegal structures in January
2005 as a punitive measure," he said.
Mr Mubayiwa said at least 9 000
people had been allocated residential stands at Whitecliff Farm, 7 000 had
benefited at Hopley Farm and there were about 3 000 beneficiaries in
Hatcliffe under the massive housing reconstruction project being undertaken
by the Government.
Government, he said, had pledged to make more land
available to council for residential purposes.
Mr Mubayiwa said the
city had a housing waiting list of about 107 000 applicants, but he was
quick to point out that this was not a true reflection of the demand for
housing as a large number of people did not bother to
Acting City Treasurer Mr Cosmos Zvikaramba told the committee
that the Harare City Council's books of accounts were last audited in 2002
because of the archaic computer system.
"The one which we have now
has serious deficiencies," he said.
However, Mr Zvikaramba said the
drafts for 2003 were now ready and auditors were expected to descend on the
council anytime from now.
He said the council hoped to be through with
the drafts for 2004 by the end of this month after which another set of
auditors would be called to scrutinise its books.
Mr Chiwanga said
the city's sources of water were heavily polluted, forcing the council to
apply eight chemicals in the purification process. He said there was need to
establish alternative sources of water to meet demand as currently demand
was outstripping the supply capacity.
Acting chairperson of the
parliamentary committee and Mutare Central MP Mr Innocent Gonese (MDC)
assured the senior council officials that the committee would do its best to
ensure that the challenges facing the council were overcome.
West MP Cde Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu-PF) chairs the committee and the other
members are Chinhoyi MP Cde Faber Chidarikire (Zanu-PF), Mbare MP Mr Gift
Chimanikire (MDC), Gokwe South MP Cde Jaison Machaya (Zanu-PF), Chivi South
MP Cde Charles Majange (Zanu-PF), Chief David Malaba of Matabeleland South,
Bikita East MP Cde Kennedy Matimba (Zanu-PF), Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr Timothy
Mubhawu (MDC), Mutare North MP Mr Giles Mutsekwa (MDC) and Kadoma West MP
Cde Zacharia Ziyambi (Zanu-PF).
VILLAGERS in at least three provinces
in Zimbabwe have run out of food and are appealing to the government for
help. Chiefs and headmen interviewed during a recent tour of the three
provinces appealed to the government to come to their people's rescue with
emergency food aid. Worst affected are families in Mt Darwin (Mashonaland
Central), Mutoko and Mudzi (Mashonaland East) and Buhera (Manicaland). A
survey by The Daily Mirror revealed that in areas such as Chadereka, Hoya
and Chiutsi in Mt Darwin, many families were going hungry and were depending
on fruits and vegetables. "We sometimes go for weeks without eating sadza
because we have nowhere to buy maize. Those who have the commodity are
charging exorbitant prices, far beyond the reach of many of us," lamented a
mother of three. "A bucket of maize in Mt Darwin costs about $150 000 and a
10kg pack of mealie-meal goes for between $80 000 and $90 000, which many of
us cannot afford on a weekly or fortnightly basis," she added. Other
villagers echoed similar sentiments and appealed for swift government
intervention before disaster struck. "We appeal to the government to help
us with maize or anything to eat because we sometimes go for days without
food. Fruits and vegetables have become our main sources of food. Government
should do something to help us," said village head Chiutsi. The local
chief sang the same sad tune, saying they now pinned their hopes on the
government to dole them food rations. "The government is our last hope. It
(the government) should provide us with food because we had no bumper
harvest this year due to drought," said Chief Chisiwiti. In Buhera, the
scenario was being replayed with local leaders looking up to the authorities
for help. Headman Mawira under Chief Nyashanu said the government should
help the rural citizens, some of whom had gone without food for
weeks. "We could not harvest anything under the Zunde Ramambo programme
because of the drought the country is experiencing. We appeal to the
government to assist us because some villagers have run out of food," said
Headman Mawira. Chief Hata of Nyanga also said things were not well in his
area. "We look forward to the government to assist us with maize before the
situation gets out of hand. The price of mealie-meal is beyond the reach of
many, such that others go for weeks without tasting their staple food,"
Chief Hata said.
THE price of life-prolonging HIV and
Aids drugs - Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) - has shot up six-fold during the past
three months, with suppliers attributing the increase to spiralling
inflation and the acute shortage of foreign currency , The drugs, which
cost $200 000 in June, now cost $1,2 million and most people living with HIV
and Aids (PLWAs) have since stopped using them, risking the danger of
developing resistance to further therapy. A snap survey by The Daily Mirror
yesterday revealed that most pharmacies and chemists in the capital have
increased the price of ARVs monthly since June. In June, the price of
ARVs was pegged at about $200 000, before shooting up to around $400 000 in
early July and to $800 000 last month. The cost rose to $1,2 million this
month. President of the Retail Pharmacists Association (RPA) Douglas Shonhiwa
told this newspaper that the price hike was a result of hyperinflation, now
pegged at 265,1 percent and scarce foreign currency to import raw
materials. "Like any other commodity, prices are changing every week and ARVs
are not an exception. When we get these drugs from manufacturers,
pharmacists put a mark up price of 50 percent," said Shonhiwa. "It's not
surprising that the next batch of ARVs to be delivered to pharmacies would
have different prices because of the runaway inflation," he added. Head
of The Centre - an organisation working with PLWAs - Lynde Francis said the
price increases were making it difficult for ordinary citizens to access
ARVs and would impact negatively on the fight against the HIV and Aids
scourge nationwide. She attributed the increases to reluctance by the
international community to assist Zimbabwe financially. "Zimbabwe
receives the lowest amount of aid for HIV and Aids in the entire region.
According to donor funding, about US$4 is channelled per head in this
country contrary to a total of US$87 in other African countries. It is
really a criminal disparity," said Francis. She said the recent price
hikes were likely to see many PLWAs dropping Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) to
prioritise food and other necessities. Elisha Chidombwe, the Zimbabwe Aids
Prevention and Support Organisation chairperson, described the price hikes
as curtailing government's efforts to achieve the universal goal of making
ARVs affordable. "It is a drawback to the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare's roll-out plan for ARVs to be easily available and accessible to
everyone," Chidombwe said. He implored the government to either
standardise the price of the drugs or subsidise companies involved in
manufacturing generic ARVs. An official from Yemurai Centre - another
organisation working with PLWAs - who spoke on condition of anonymity,
confirmed that a number of their clients had already stopped taking the
life- prolonging drugs citing prohibitive costs. "A recent case was of
our client who travelled all the way from Hurungwe intending to purchase his
monthly concoctions with only $700 000, but went back empty-handed because
the prices had changed over night, " she said. She said although they were
trying to assist clients, the number of people getting off the drugs was on
the increase. "The best we can do at the moment is to refer them to
government institutions where ARVs are distributed free of charge, but
clients are also complaining that the process is too long before one is put
on ART," she claimed. Although the drugs are dispensed free of charge at
government medical institutions, access is limited. The process to be
placed on ART is also too long, prompting infected people to opt for private
suppliers. If they go to the government institutions, they have to wait for
up to four months while the institutions check their medical history and
viral load before deciding whether they qualify for therapy. However, it
is not advisable to skip the monthly doses, since the patients can develop
resistance to the ARVs. The chairman of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Health, Blessing Chebundo, yesterday called for the regularisation of ARV
prices if the country was to fulfill its mandate of providing affordable
drugs. He said as a committee, they were engaging the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare and suppliers on how to make ARVs affordable and easily
accessible. "It is our topical agenda to make sure that people have access to
affordable therapy. It is also our wish to have import tariffs and duty
scratched from such drugs since we are talking of a national disaster," said
Chebundo. Currently, less than 30 000 people are on ARVs, yet more than 400
000 Zimbabweans are in dire need of the drugs.
Chihuri lashes out at international media for
The Daily Mirror Reporter issue date
POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri yesterday lashed out
at some sections of the international media for "shamelessly" portraying
Zimbabwe as being synonymous with lawlessness and human rights
abuses. This, he said, was despite the good work done by the national police
in safeguarding peace in the region as well as internationally. Chihuri
made the remarks while bidding farewell to 20 police officers bound for
Kosovo on a United Nations peacekeeping mission. He also used the occasion to
thank and welcome back home 25 officers who recently completed their tour of
duty there. "The Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to court the eye of the
United Nations and remains a shining beacon of proficient policing in the
region and internationally," Chihuri said. "This has given impetus to its
continuous invitation for mission duties by the world body despite a barrage
of negative reportage by some spiteful international media who have tried to
portray our country as a nation fraught with lawlessness and human rights
abuses. "I am pleased to note that our professional discharge of police
duties, which is in harmony with international policing standards, justifies
the faith that the UN has in us," he added. The travelling contingent
comprises seven inspectors, 12 assistant inspectors, and a sergeant. There
is only one female officer for the UN tour, a situation the commissioner
deplored. "I am, however, not amused by the conspicuous gender imbalance
among those who are leaving for Kosovo as there is only one female
officer. "In line with global trends, the ZRP seeks to promote gender equity
and I wish to urge female officers to acquaint themselves so that they
qualify for these UN missions," Chihuri said. He urged the officers to be
well disciplined and never commit human rights abuses, which would tarnish
the country's image and the force's reputation.