Zimbabwe seizes US$2.68 million from SA-owned firm Fri 16
HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ),
desperate to raise hard cash for critical imports, has seized US$2.68
million belonging to South African-owned Hippo Valley Estates alleging the
sugar growing firm violated Foreign Exchange Control
Hippo Valley, which is one of Zimbabwe's biggest sugar
producing firms, is owned by South African mining giant, Anglo American
In a report on the sugar firm's operations during the
first half of the year, chairman Godfrey Gomwe said the central bank on
August 12 instructed Hippo's bankers to surrender the hard cash allegedly
because the company had failed to declare the money within the prescribed
Under foreign currency control regulations, exporters
should liquidate their hard cash earnings within 30 days.
said: "On August 12 2005, the RBZ directed that US$2.68 million be
liquidated from the company's foreign currency account (FCA) on the ground
the Company's banker had violated Exchange Control Regulations with respect
to the liquidation of FCA balances within the specified period."
The Hippo chief, who insisted his company did not breach exchange
regulations, said the seizure of the money would, "adversely impact the
company's ability to import critical inputs and thus seriously undermine
Zimbabwean firms have seen production tumbling
over the last six years to about 40 percent of capacity in large part
because of shortages of forex to import raw materials, machinery and spare
The acute foreign currency crunch has also caused shortages
of food, electricity, fuel, essential medical drugs and other basic
commodities because there is no hard cash to pay foreign
The government has defaulted on debt repayments to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other creditors also because of the
hard cash crisis. But Harare last month paid US$120 million to the IMF to
avoid expulsion from the Fund. Insiders said the RBZ raided corporate FCAs
to raise part of the money paid to the IMF.
governor Gideon Gono has however vehemently denied the charge insisting the
money paid to the Bretton Woods institution was raised from what he simply
described as "internal resources." - ZimOnline
White farmer pressure group urges Zimbabwe to appeal for food
aid Fri 16 September 2005
HARARE - The white farmer Justice for
Agriculture Trust (JAG) has called on President Robert Mugabe and his
government to immediately appeal for food aid, dismissing as "fictitious and
scurrilous" government claims that Zimbabwe had enough food
JAG chairman John Worswick, said Harare should appeal to
the United Nations for help while clearing all bureaucratic obstacles to
food aid flowing into the country.
He said: "The government
should make an immediate formal appeal for food assistance with the United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and deviate from its stance of
restricting food relief, which has seen the likes of South African Council
of Churches (SACC) being frustrated by the state's red tape."
Mugabe, whose controversial seizure of white farms is largely blamed for
food shortages in Zimbabwe over the past five years, refuses to make a
formal appeal for aid although he last June personally assured WFP boss
James Morris that his government would accept help from the UN food organ
and other relief agencies.
The veteran leader, who initially
denied the country was facing severe food shortages, is adamant his
cash-strapped government has enough resources to feed all hungry
Zimbabwe's food situation remains at best mysterious
after Agriculture Ministry permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa last week
told a business congress that the country was left with only three weeks'
supply of food.
Pazvakavambwa's claim was however met with fiery
denials from several senior government officials who accused him of lying
about the country's food security situation.
organisation puts the number of hungry Zimbabweans at between four and six
million, said evidently plummeting production levels across the agricultural
sector made the government's food sufficiency claims hard to
"Fundamentals such as seed, fertilizers, and fuel are in
acute short supply and very expensive, the worst scenario since independence
thus making food security assurances by the government illusionary", he
Intelligence minister Didymus Mutasa, who oversees food aid
procurement and distribution, was quoted by state media as saying the
government was importing about 15 000 tonnes per week from South
But food security experts were quick to dismiss Mutasa's
assurances saying that even quantities the government minister claimed were
coming into the country fell far short of the more than 37 000 tonnes the
country requires per week.
Zimbabwe is grappling its worst ever
food and economic crisis blamed by many on misrule by Mugabe's government. -
Morgan Tsvangirai has been particularly touched by the plight of workers and
ordinary people hit by an unending fuel shortage that he has decided to join
millions of Zimbabweans now walking across the country to conduct their
With effect from Friday, 16 September 2005, Mr.
Tsvangirai shall be walking from his Strathaven home in Avondale West to and
from his office at Harvest House in Nelson Mandela Avenue, central Harare
until the situation improves.
Personally, Mr. Tsvangirai has
tried unsuccessfully to get fuel for the past month. He has had to depend on
friends and well wishers who have equally been affected by the crippling
shortages of fuel in Zimbabwe.
Harare has completely dried up of
any supplies, even at the stations where fuel is being sold at US
Mr. Tsvangirai believes there shall be
no end to the current Zimbabwean crisis as long as the Robert Mugabe regime
and Zanu PF remain firmly holed in a denial mode.
food, without fuel, without foreign currency, and without friends, the
Mugabe regime has gone full circle back to the dark days when Zimbabweans
were forced to fight for their rights against colonialism. Zimbabweans are
experiencing the impact and uncertainty of the darkest hour, which, as you
all know comes before dawn.
Mr. Tsvangirai believes the
Zimbabwean dictatorship no longer possesses the wherewithal and resolve to
cling on power. What remains is for the people to muster the tools at their
disposal and push the regime and its parasitic bureaucracy to realize the
emergencies confronting the nation and pave the way for a new beginning, a
The MDC can no longer counsel patience among the
people. Zimbabweans who see the crisis in this country must stand up,
organize and protect themselves against the current form of violence and
abuse, says Mr. Tsvangirai.
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO
Murambatsvina - The Suffering Continues Sokwanele Report: 15 September
In her report of 18th July the UN Special Envoy, Mrs Anna Tibaijuka,
concluded "Operation Murambatsvina has precipitated a humanitarian crisis of
immense proportions." After noting the 700,000 people who had had lost
either their homes, their sources of livelihood or both, and the further 2.4
million indirectly affected in varying degrees, she added:
humanitarian consequences . are enormous. It will take several years before
the people and society as a whole can recover. There is an immediate need
for the Government of Zimbabwe to recognise the virtual state of emergency
that has resulted, and to allow unhindered access by the international and
humanitarian community to assist those who have been affected. Priority
needs include shelter and non-food items, food and health support
Rather than acknowledging their despicable crime the Mugabe
regime has tried to rubbish the Special Envoy's report. Rather than setting
up a massive relief operation they prefer to remove the damning evidence
from sight by the simple expedient of forcing the unfortunate victims out
from the towns where their homes and premises were destroyed into rural
wastelands. Yet notwithstanding their shrill denial and the urgent
cover-up, it seems that Mugabe for one is not convinced that the bluff will
work. Only this week he withdrew the invitation to Kofi Annan, the UN
Secretary General, to come and see for himself.
In order to re-visit
one of the sites of massive destruction and assess the continuing cost in
terms of human suffering, one of our reporters travelled to Victoria Falls
this week. Despite being mentally prepared for the worst he was still
shocked by what he saw there, and the stories he heard first-hand from some
of the victims and those in the community, particularly the local pastors,
who have taken up their cause.
The ZANU PF blitzkrieg swept through the
town on May 30th. In July a team of five pastors from Bulawayo, who were
already providing food and shelter to over a thousand victims in their own
city, made a "solidarity visit" to their colleagues in Victoria Falls. This
visit helped to strengthen the resolve of the church leaders in Victoria
Falls whose courage had failed them for a moment when one of their number
was arrested by the police for expressing too close an interest in the
plight of the homeless. Now the pastors from the two centres visited the
ZRP together. The initial reception to their visit was hostile and
suspicious but eventually the pastors won a grudging measure of respect,
for the police gave them permission to move through the devastated areas,
talk to the victims and assess the level of pastoral need. What they saw
disturbed them profoundly.
Chinotimba is an established, high-density
township. It comprises several hundred long-standing dwellings occupied by
settled tenants. Such was the extent of the housing shortage in the town
however that on almost every plot there was - before the Mugabe tsunami - a
temporary shack standing alongside the authorised dwelling. Every shack was
occupied by a local resident who would otherwise have been homeless. When
Mugabe's storm troops moved through the area they destroyed every shack in
their path. The pastors could see the outcome for themselves. In every
remaining small, two-bedroomed house they visited they found at least 3
families - a minimum of ten people crowded into each. And adjacent to each
house, in the open, where once a temporary shelter had stood, they
discovered fifteen or so homeless people would creep back in the evening to
sleep. In many cases these were the same tenants who had now lost what
limited protection they once enjoyed from the cold and damp. The team of
pastors observed that many of those living in these squalid, overcrowded
conditions and sleeping under the stars, were sick. Some, they were told,
had already died of exposure. During their visit to one home they found a
corpse awaiting collection for burial.
Next the pastors visited "DRC", a
new township in the making. Prior to Operation Murambatsvina the plots had
already been allocated to tenants. Water and sewage services had been
connected up. The tenants had been granted leases and were paying rent for
the sites while they started building their approved houses. Given the
harsh economic conditions prevailing it was not surprising that for most the
rate of progress was slow. When any money or materials was available they
would buy what they could and proceed with the building. The erection of
the structures went on piecemeal and more slowly than the tenants would have
wished, but that was hardly their fault. The pastors were shown some of the
rent cards issued by the local authority. Their evolving structures were
formally approved and legal. Yet again when Mugabe's uniformed thugs came
to the site they flattened every single structure, however far construction
had proceeded. Approximately 2,000 people were affected by this violent
and unlawful action in this area alone.
In other residential areas
adjacent to the small commercial centre of the town the pastors encountered
some 350 now homeless residents whose dwellings had been smashed and burnt
to the ground. Again these people were the legal owners of the dwellings.
Not only were they able to produce legal documents establishing their title;
they also had receipts for the rent paid. When the pastors interviewed them
in mid winter they were sleeping out in the open. They were, observed the
pastors, very bitter at the government which had treated them in this
callous, inhuman (and illegal) fashion.
In the pastors' own assessment
some 4,000 dwellings and places of work were destroyed in Victoria Falls
during Operation Murambatsvina. (In our earlier report of June 15 we
estimated the number rendered homeless at 60,000)
Such was the level of
suffering in the community uncovered by the church leaders in July. In the
ensuing weeks the pastors from Bulawayo remained in contact with their
counterparts in Victoria Falls, and towards the end of August they made a
further visit to the once prosperous holiday resort. They found that the
plight of the homeless was even worse than on their first visit.
time the pastors discovered that, following further sweeps of the townships
by Mugabe's thugs, many of the homeless had retreated to the bush two or
three kilometres outside the town. There they found close to a thousand
homeless men, women and children sleeping rough in the bush. These poor
people had no shelter, food, water or toilet facilities. Most were
unemployed but some were still trying to hold down a job in the town while
living in these appalling and unsanitary conditions. All were at risk from
the wild life that occasionally strayed through the bush, including monkeys,
baboons, buffalo and elephants. Experience had taught them that the
buffalo were most to be feared. Again those reduced to this pitiful
existence expressed great bitterness and anger at the government which had
visited this misery upon them.
The pastors were also shown over three
warehouses in the small industrial area adjacent to Victoria Falls. To
their horror they discovered that the warehouses had been converted from
industrial to residential use - unofficially. Each warehouse had now become
home to a large number of otherwise homeless men who were still in
employment. The minimum number in each was 45. Access to the warehouses
was barred to all women, including wives and family members. Any females
seen in the vicinity were immediately chased away. When the men of God who
visited these dismal premises raised questions about the impact of such
living conditions upon family life and public morality, they received no
satisfactory answers. Word was that the owner of the warehouses has
demanded $ 4 million per month for each, saying how the money was raised and
how many men had to be crowded in to achieve this return, was not his
concern. The whole operation is of course totally illegal.
pastors who spoke to our reporter were clearly angry and disgusted by the
conditions to which the victims of Operation Murambatsvina have been
subjected. They were also deeply concerned for the future welfare of these
people. On the surface it might appear that the situation has improved
because there are only a few people still living in the bush now. But this
is only because of the regime's forced repatriation programme which has seen
over 900 of those previously living in the bush around the town, moved back
to their so-called "rural homes", the link with which in many cases is no
more than a name on an identity document. Food packs were supplied by the
church to some of the homeless before their forcible removal, but these will
only last a few weeks at best. And then what ?
What provision has
been made by this heartless regime - indeed what provision will they allow
others (who do have a heart) to make - for the tens of thousands of victims
now being unceremoniously dumped in remote rural areas, without food, water,
shelter or employment ?
Anna Tibaijuka was right. The humanitarian
consequences of this despicable programme of destruction and forced
migration are enormous, and it will take several years before the people and
society as a whole can recover. What is more, that time will only begin to
run once the issue is addressed seriously by those in power and there is a
massive, coordinated response to the humanitarian disaster. And that
process has not yet even begun.
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KARIBA South hydro-electricity plant
and the Hwange Thermal Power Station face collapse unless they are urgently
refurbished. Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission Commissioner-General,
Mavis Chidzonga told Vice-President Joice Mujuru in Harare yesterday that
the two stations were using obsolete equipment, with technicians at Kariba
now afraid to service the plant. Chidzonga said since the construction of
the Kariba Power Station in 1953, it had been minimally refurbished -
leaving the infrastructure in a precarious state. She called for
immediate government intervention, or else the country would soon face
serious power blackouts. Chidzonga said the government must allocate foreign
currency to the plant so that spares can be imported. "Kariba has a big
problem. It is now dangerous even for staff to go into the plant. The
infrastructure is too old and it requires urgent attention," Chidzonga told
Mujuru. "Last week, we had a delegation that visited the power station and
technicians did not allow them to stay in there for too long because they
were afraid. We are in a big problem, Your Excellency." Kariba generates
750 megawatts. Chidzonga said the Hwange Power station, which generates 780
megawatts, was also in a sorry state. "Hwange also has problems which, if
not solved, may also cause a serious blackout because the equipment there
was last replaced in 1987. We have to carry out expansion works so that
we reach the generation capacity required. "By the year 2007, the region will
not be able to export power to Zimbabwe," Chidzonga said. She added that
Zimbabwe was the largest importer of electricity in the Southern Africa
Development Community (Sadc). Zesa Holdings imports 32 percent of the
country's power requirements from South Africa, Mozambique and the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Chidzonga said despite the country's poor
electricity generation capacity, at least 20 percent of the power is
wasted. Turning to the issue of electricity tariffs, the ZERC chief said
while her institution realised the need to peg power prices with vulnerable
groups in mind, there was need to charge economical charges that would keep
the troubled Zesa Holdings afloat. Industry, she added, had called for
regular supplies of electricity even at higher tariffs. In response,
Mujuru said Zesa Holdings was not a company that government could afford to
ignore, but pointed out that a number of foreign investors had shunned the
parastatal because of red tape. "Foreign investors have previously been
identified but we request too much information. Yes, they are looking for
opportunities but they end up looking as if they committed a crime, that is
our weakness," Mujuru said.
THE unbundling of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) into a holding company incorporating
five subsidiaries has created operational problems for the power company.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC) yesterday said that
the problems called for urgent government attention. Briefing Vice
President Joice Mujuru of the challenges that the commission had identified
in its five months of operation yesterday, ZERC Commissioner-General, Mavis
Chidzonga said in some instances, the holding company was moving away from
its portfolio to encroach into the operations of the five entities. The
holding company's mandate was to be the custodian of government shares and
implement policies. "We are working well with Zesa, but the company has
manyFrom Page 1 challenges brought about by the unbundling. The holding
company is even expanding at a faster rate than its subsidiaries and this is
inhibiting the viability of the subsidiaries," she said. She added that
these challenges could only be solved if the structure of the company was
re-examined. Added another commissioner: "We want Zesa to function well and
create room for the private players but the company has to be restructured
so that its subsidiaries are not affected by the resultant competition. We
should also revisit the Act governing the operations of Zesa to keep it in
line wit the developments at the company." Zesa is currently importing 32
percent of its requirements from three regional power utilities. The vice
president promised to look into all the issues outlined in a documented
presented to her by ZERC. She indicated that she would invite both the Zesa
top brass and ZERC to come up with a proper appreciation of the operations
of the entity.
shortage of some commodities on the market is presenting a major challenge
to the International Prices Comparison (IPC) study that the Central
Statistical Office is carrying out in conjunction with other countries in
the world. CSO acting director Moffat Nyoni yesterday said that the shortage
would affect accuracy of the data being collected. "Non-availability of
commodities is presenting a bigger challenge than the rapid changes in
prices," he said. "It poses problems in the computations that we have to
make." The country has over the past two years experienced a shortage of
basic commodities, among them sugar, mealie-meal and salt. Zimbabwe
joined other countries in the world in the IPC study, which is used to
measure the purchasing power of national currencies in different countries
throughout the world. Some countries also use it to determine salaries for
their diplomats serving in different countries. Nyoni said since the
study involved comparing prices of certain commodities over a period of 12
months, there was need to have the same products every month. He said
shortages during some periods made it difficult to produce accurate data, as
it was not possible to find the averages for the period under
review. There had been concerns that the escalating inflation would
affect results of the study with some commentators arguing that the
information would not reflect a true picture of the situation in the
country. "Even if prices change many times, we can still find an average by
adding the totals for 12 months and dividing by 12," he said. Nyoni said
at least 145 enumerators from his office were in the field collecting data
for this month. He said data that was collected was sent to the African
Development Bank for consolidation with that from other African countries
and onward transmission to the World Bank where the study was being
coordinated. All the countries in Africa, except Eritrea and Libya, are
involved in the study.
Harare City Council has come up with a plan of action to rid the city centre
of vendors, touts and street people who have resurfaced on the streets
following the winding up of Operation Restore Order in July, an official
said. The council's public relations manager, Leslie Gwindi, said the
council held a meeting with other agencies on Wednesday to discuss the issue
and seek assistance to carry out the exercise. "We are going to immediately
put into action a plan to get rid of illegal vendors, touts and street
people from the city centre," he said. Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya on
Tuesday told the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government that the
council was striving to enforce the relevant by-laws to address the problem
of street people and illegal vendors, but was being hampered by the shortage
of municipal police. He said of the 800 municipal police the council
employed, about 200 were suffering from ill-health, which compromised the
effective execution of duties.
No Exit Visas But Critics Beware - Zimbabwe Justice Minister
15 September 2005
Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa denied
Thursday in an interview with VOA that the government intends to introduce
exit visas for citizens wishing to travel abroad.
Mr. Chinimasa said
a constitutional amendment recently passed by parliament and signed into law
by President Robert Mugabe allows the government to seize passports from
individuals deemed to have tarnished the country's image while
The justice minister said Harare will not draw up a list of
people whose passports are to be seized. But if individuals "continue" to
criticize Harare while outside the country, the government will pass
enabling legislation providing for the seizure of passports.
Chinimasa denied the government was targeting the Movement for Democratic
Change or other critics of the ZANU-PF government. He said the amendment
should be taken as a warning signal that could be followed by more specific
But a spokesman for the opposition party said the government's
move to restrict the movement of citizens already represent a gross abuse of
MDC Legal Secretary David Coltart told reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that passage of the travel
amendment was an anomaly.
In Zimbabwe's Latest Fuel Crisis, a Country Running on Fumes By
Carole Gombakomba Washington 15 September
Zimbabwe's worst-ever fuel crisis is getting even worse
with many areas totally dry.
Reports say even the black market is
struggling for supply, and cars and buses are rapidly disappearing from the
streets. Service stations run by Comoil and Exor, licensed to sell fuel for
dollars and other hard currencies, are also out.
Chairman Savious Kasukuwere, who is also member of parliament for Mount
Darwin, a town about 400 kilometers north of Harare, the capital, declined
to comment on the crisis, saying he is no longer executive chairman of the
Businesses and consumers are feeling the drought. Reporter
Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed Shane Mtetwa, a
taxi driver in Chegutu, 80 kilometers west of Harare, who has not been able
to find gasoline for two weeks.
Despite Slaps at West, Some Find Mugabe UN Speech Tame By Blessing
Zulu Washington 15 September 2005
pressure from United Nations officials to request and accept humanitarian
aid, President Mugabe in remarks to the U.N. General Assembly reproached the
West and the U.N. itself for what he characterized as interference in a
sovereign state's affairs.
He also said U.N. members need to go back to
the organization's founding principles if they are to attain the Millennium
Development Goals for reducing poverty and other ills in the developing
world. Mr. Mugabe attributed his own country's failure to reach those
objectives to drought, floods, HIV-AIDS and Western economic
"In reviewing the progress made towards the attainment of the
Millennium Development Goals, we must have the courage beyond the mere
posturing that is characterized by name-calling, finger-pointing and false
accusations," he said.
Mr. Mugabe deplored "situations where a few
countries by virtue of their privileged positions, by virtue of their wealth
and military might, dictate the agenda for everybody else." In a reference
to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, he spoke of "a coalition of
President Mugabe's thinly veiled attacks at the Western powers and
the UN did not go unnoticed. But one foreign affairs expert said the speech
was relatively tame compared to previous U.N. addresses by the Zimbabwean
head of state.
International affairs expert Innocent Sithole, a
former editor of the Mirror newspaper in Harare, told reporter Blessing Zulu
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he thinks Mr. Mugabe chose his words
with care because he wants to mend diplomatic fences.
In Harare, the
spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Mr.
Mugabe's speech was a rehash of old rhetoric and excuses for
Paul Themba Nyathi told Studio 7 reporter Ndimyake
Mwakalyele that he rejected the reasons Mr. Mugabe gave having fallen short
of national development objectives.
Chofamba Sithole Last updated: 09/16/2005 08:03:47 THE MDC is increasingly
coming across as a motley of antithetical interests whose main bond was a
desire to exploit the 'moment for democratic change' that presented itself
in the upsurge of opposition to the ruling Zanu PF at the turn of the
Nothing illustrates this more than the party's agonising over
whether or not to participate in the general election in March and, more
recently, the current indecisive stance with respect to participation in the
senate elections scheduled later in the year. What is clearly apparent is
the lack of intra-party consensus on core principles on the basis of which a
coherent guiding strategy should be devised.
For those who have
closely followed the party's game plan in the last three years, the
breakdown of the 'democratic movement' (MDC plus civil society allies)
became quite glaring since the aftermath of the highly contested 2002
presidential election. Convinced that the 'moment for democratic change'
still held, the MDC made the unusual decision to press for the singular
objective of a re-run of the disputed polls. This decision seemed feasible
and convenient at the time. Mass anger directed at the ruling party over the
apparent electoral fraud was at boiling point, and western resentment of the
Mugabe government was both fierce and total. In the MDC's calculation,
nothing could surely rescue this beleaguered regime from such a determined
combination of popular domestic opposition and diplomatic strangulation by
'those that govern our globe'.
No, not even South Africa's Thabo Mbeki
and other African elites could smother this pivotal moment with their
diplomatic interventions. And yet they did. It all started with the MDC's
demobilisation of its mass movement in favour of doing a 'Lancaster House'
with Zanu PF at the behest of Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo. They
reckoned that if this failed they would approach the newly repackaged - and
now more 'patriotic' - bench to challenge Mugabe's legitimacy. The MDC also
chose to deviate from the core principle on the basis of which the amorphous
social forces within civil society had come together with the common
objective of playing midwife to a new, democratic Zimbabwe.
be remembered here that constitutional reform was deduced to be the
elementary objective without whose achievement the struggle for a democratic
Zimbabwe would be stillborn. It was, therefore, not an accident of history
that the first political formation Morgan Tsvangirai came to lead after the
ZCTU was the National Constitutional Assembly. And yet when the MDC
approached the negotiation table they had as their main legal demand
piecemeal electoral law reform as a preparatory step for re-running the
To begin with, the negotiation route was
naively optimistic and the demand for legal reforms outside of wholesale
constitutional reform was dangerously opportunistic. The NCA was left
flailing its arms in exasperation as the MDC pursued a strategy informed
primarily and almost exclusively by the desire to take over the reins of the
unreformed state from Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF. Many remember the NCA's
desperate protestations in full-page newspaper adverts countering the MDC's
minimalist legal reform and election re-run agenda with calls for a complete
constitutional overhaul 'now!' The MDC rebutted with platitudes about their
commitment to a new constitution but made it unequivocally clear that this
would come after the party had assumed power.
Effectively, and for
similar power-political calculations, the MDC was in consensus with Zanu
PF's pronouncement that constitutional reform was not a
With the collapse of the inter-party talks (to be fair,
they never really took off), the MDC was left brandishing its legal
challenge to Mugabe's legitimacy as its most potent political weapon. They
still brandish it to this day, only a mere two and half years from the
next Presidential election and by which time Mugabe himself would have pretty
much completed the preface to his memoirs!
Having earlier demobilised
its raring charges, the MDC found its way back to the mass action route,
albeit 15 months after the disputed presidential election! Zimbabweans were
told to spill into the streets in June 2003 in what was to be the 'final
push' against Mugabe's regime.
Ironically, MDC secretary-general Welshman
Ncube had some months earlier discounted the mass action route in a national
newspaper interview saying: "We are a sensitive party, we will not send
people to die on the streets." In essence, the failure of the MDC's 'final
push' did not owe itself to the robust response of the state apparatus, for
that was predictable and therefore a redundant factor in the party's
strategic planning. Rather, it lay in the opposition party's prevarication
on the option to seize the Machiavellian moment immediately after the
elections and champion a mass action programme with the demand for
wholesale, people-driven constitutional reform at its core. The 'final push'
was thus tantamount to striking the hammer when the iron had gone cold
(Zvanzi naMacheso simbi inorohwa ichapisa!).
dilly-dallying over participating or boycotting this year's general
elections was yet more evidence of the strategic constipation plaguing the
MDC. The decision to finally put their head on the guillotine (announcing
participation eight weeks before the poll must surely be considered
electoral suicide) was, in my view, less out of political bravery than it
was a sign of the deep-seated fear of floating in uncertain political limbo
following the election boycott. In short, either the boycott threat rested
on no substantive strategic alternative, or intra-party consensus failed to
yield on those options that were proffered. An earlier and swifter decision
on the matter surely could have revived the enthusiasm of its supporters and
ensured the party survived the kind of rout that it eventually
But it is the latest hair-splitting over the Senate elections
that comes across as even more ludicrous. For those within the MDC who are
pushing for a boycott, how do they reconcile this position to their party's
presence in one chamber of the House? As long as they sit in the Lower House
the Senate will be part of them since the two work together. It does not
make sense to attend one and boycott the other.
The MDC should
consider a boycott only within the context of a total withdrawal from
parliament altogether, for that is the only way in which it sounds free of
contradiction. A policy of cherry-picking elections in which to participate
hardly makes for coherence in principle. If at all, it leaves MDC supporters
more confused and disillusioned. Feedback: Chofamba@yahoo.co.uk
Alex Magaisa presents the argument that in addition to the much sought after
political transformation, it is also necessary to confront the deep-rooted
structural deficiencies affecting the Zimbabwean economy whose genesis
pre-date the post-2000 chaos. Dr Magaisa scrutinises the IMF's approach to
Zimbabwe and argues that the postponement of the decision to suspend
Zimbabwe enables the IMF to maintain useful leverage over
Dr Alex T. Magaisa Last updated: 09/16/2005 08:01:48 THE IMF last week
decided to postpone for six months the decision on whether or not to expel
Zimbabwe from its membership. I wrote before that decision that regardless
of political differences between different groups in the country, the
expulsion of Zimbabwe was nothing to advocate for or celebrate because it
would simply worsen conditions for the generality of the people.
media reports indicate that the IMF postponed the decision because Zimbabwe
had made some frantic efforts to pay part of the arrears earlier in the
week, I think that there is more to it than this explanation provides. In my
view, the IMF and other interested parties knew that there were two
possibilities: either to postpone the decision and maintain some leverage
over Zimbabwe or to expel Zimbabwe and lose that leverage. They knew and
rightly so, that by making the last minute payments the Zimbabwe government
was in a desperate situation and needs the IMF membership, regardless of
rhetoric suggesting otherwise.
Having established this through the
threat of expulsion, there was really no incentive for the IMF to expel
Zimbabwe at this time and throw away an opportunity to influence change in
economic policy and most probably, the political climate. We know what
happened to the Commonwealth after suspending Zimbabwe - that body has
virtually lost its leverage over the Zimbabwe government and no longer has
the capacity to exert formal influence in Zimbabwe through its structures.
Sometimes the threat of expulsion or suspension can be more effective than
expulsion itself. Thus notwithstanding the reasons proffered, the IMF
postponed the decision in order to maintain watch over Zimbabwe and to guide
it through threats and conditions out of its present quagmire. It was
therefore more prudent not to expel Zimbabwe last week and one hopes that if
Zimbabwe can carry out its commitments, perhaps there is light at the end of
The key question therefore centres on the Zimbabwe
government's response to the moratorium that it has been given by the IMF.
However, at another level it is also important for the IMF to engage
constructively with Zimbabwe so that the mistakes of the past relationship
are not repeated. I reiterate the argument that the problem within the
political discourse pertaining to Zimbabwe is that in the eagerness to see
the back of the ruling party, there is a tendency to turn a blind eye to
some of the key factors that are also responsible for the country's
predicament. It seems to me that in the presence of the visible shortcomings
of the Zimbabwe government and the ruling party over the last five years, it
has been so easy to forget the role of the IMF/World Bank (hereafter "the
Bretton Woods Institutions") and its impact on the economy in the 1990s. A
large portion of the thorny problems faced today germinated during the 1990s
and have only flourished in recent years as a result of the chaotic and
ill-conceived government policies and actions. Unless we tackle those
fundamental weaknesses, it is unlikely that economic salvation will be
delivered simply by a change of government alone. Alongside advocating for
political transformation, there must also be adequate attention towards
those fundamental weakness.
For the purpose of this article it is
important to recognise multiple and in some cases complex issues that arise
from the relationship between the Bretton Woods institutions and Zimbabwe
that require critical analysis. It could help us to understand the origin of
the debt problem, economic downturn and the political pressure that was met
with brute force in the recent years. In this context, I refer to the
disastrous Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) of the 1990s and
highlight the argument that besides the much-desired political
transformation, it is necessary to confront the deep-rooted structural
deficiencies in our economy.
It is generally believed that though
conservative, the economy of Zimbabwe in the 1980s was performing relatively
well. Despite the socialist rhetoric of the government, studies show that it
actually maintained the economic set-up that had sustained Smith's Rhodesia
in 1970s era of sanctions. The capitalist system prospered with the
import-substitution industrial sector to combat the impact of sanctions and
the economy was generally cushioned through a protectionist regime. The
manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors were allowed to flourish and
the currency was protected by the exchange rate policy that was in
But given the changes at the regional and global levels with the
end of the Cold War and fall of apartheid in South Africa, the economic
policies were considered to be unsustainable. The gospel of free market
economics was in vogue and could not be ignored. Therefore, in 1991 Zimbabwe
responded to the common call at the time and launched ESAP to liberalise the
economy. It was expected that liberalisation would open up the economy to
market forces, promote competition and innovation, attract foreign direct
investment and create jobs. But Zimbabwe was also advised that these
beautiful results would come at a price and many will recall the catchphrase
at the time, which advised people that it was "Time to tighten your belts".
People were advised that it would only be for a temporary period, whereafter
things would stabilise. I must say that though still in high school at the
time and with little knowledge of economics and the wider world, I never
quite understood how it would be possible that the hordes of people being
made redundant through retrenchments and returning to the rural areas with
their chigumuro (redundancy package) would be employed again at some stage
especially given the numbers that were being churned out of the education
system. Today though I have read and seen the world, I am still to be
convinced that this actually works.
As we now know, the beautiful
results did not materialise as previously adverstised. In fact as, Saunders
wrote in 1996, "While suffering over the last five years proved even more
intense, widespread and chronic than the state initially predicted, the
pay-offs did not materialise. Five years on, most of the government's
promises remain unfulfilled, while the hardship of the ordinary Zimbabweans
seems without end". Without end indeed, as we now know.
point here is not to spite the Bretton Woods institutions or to sanitise the
policies and actions of the Zimbabwe government over the last five years. It
is that in this struggle, we must never forget that there are various
factors and actors involved. For a start we should never forget that the
chief architects of so-called reforms under ESAP were the Bretton Woods
institutions. They are significant players in the global economy but they
are not saints either. Under ESAP, the expected foreign direct investment
did not materialise and the jobs that were lost through the retrenchments
were hardly replaced, leading of course to the increasing levels of
unemployment. Zimbabwe opened its markets and products were dumped from
everywhere including South Africa, killing companies in the textile sector
such as Cone Textiles and related industries.
Of course because it
lacks coherent policies and hardly learns from history, the Zimbabwe is
today also flooded with cheap Chinese imports, doing further ham to local
industry. Nonetheless, given the well-documented origins of the problems
under ESAP, it is somewhat astonishing to read simplistic assertions in the
media, which seem to attribute the origin of all the problems faced today in
Zimbabwe to the most recent chaos since 2000. In fact other than large-scale
food shortages arising largely from an ill-conceived and messy land
redistribution policy, most of the structural economic problems were already
in existence before 2000. The recent chaos has simply exercerbated the
situation by reducing international confidence in the country but the roots
of the problems go far and deeper.
And it is also during the 1990s period
that debt increased in the face of diminishing growth levels and reckless
public spending. Some studies indicate that the growing debt was partly
caused by ESAP-connected borrowing, which was encouraged by donors and the
Bretton Woods institutions. These institutions continued to lend when it may
have been prudent to curb the borrowing.
But there was also another
problem and this was a key factor in the failure of ESAP- failure of the
government to curb excessive spending. The civil service was still
overstaffed, bureaucracy remained the order of the day and inefficiencies
increased. To satisfy its spending, the government continued to borrow from
both the domestic and foreign markets. But another key problem also began to
show prominently in the late 1990s.
The failures of ESAP affected the
capacity of the government to deliver key social services, create employment
for the thousands of school levers and generally satisfy the people's
interests. Retrenchees returned to the rural areas and the value of their
packages was eroded over short space of time. The socio-economic hardships
resulted in political pressure due to people's disenchantment. In turn the
government began to make reckless and ill-timed concessions to interest
groups such as war-veterans who in 1997 were paid massive amounts of money
that had not been budgeted. We recall also that in 1998/99 Zimbabwe
witnessed the first widespread job stay-aways and sometimes violent
demonstrations across the cities.
The government began to waver as far as
its debt repayments were concerned and by 1999 the IMF had suspended
Zimbabwe from its balance of payments support programme. In short, a
relationship that had flowered in 1991 with Zimbabwe's adoption of the
fashionable ESAP began to sour to the point were last week, Zimbabwe was on
the brink of expulsion. The Bretton-Woods institutions had thought that
unlike other African countries, Zimbabwe would be a beautiful experiment.
But it failed. The causes of failure were many and while the government
shoulders the bulk of the blame, the thought that the Bretton Woods
institutions share some of the responsibility is inescapable.
now know, economic failure led to political pressure and demand for
political space by civil society and interest groups. Sadly, instead of
accommodating demands of civil society, the government decided it was
necessary to thwart its claims. Civil society wanted a share in the policy
making process. But the government felt threatened and the desire for
political survival dictated its conduct rather than opening up its
structures for mass participation. And the repression tarnished the
country's profile, worsened the economic conditions and this is where we are
What therefore, is to be done?
I have made the brief
historical assessment in order to place our current problems into context.
My lawyering skills can only allow me to go that far and I suppose better
equiped economic historians serve us better. The aim however, is to
demonstrate that what we need is more than a simple transformation at the
political level. We require a clear identification of the structural
deficiencies in the economy, including at the very basic level, a key
understanding of the role of the state in the economy. It has not escaped
the attention of some observers that the trade unionists now in opposition
were some of the staunch opponents of ESAP in the 1990s and did not have
kind words for the Bretton-Woods institutions at the time. It would be
interesting and useful to get a clear articulation of their position in
relation to the economic policies led by these international financial
In my view, there are various credible criticisms
against these bodies but despite that fact, at this stage we are too
hamstrung and we cannot dismiss them as unnecessary. In any event, the fact
that Zimbabwe made frantic payments demonstrates our desperation and that we
need them at this time. Loss of membership would have drastic repercussions,
including negative signals to other lending institutions ands investors that
we are not creditworthy. It would lead to total breakdown. Our position as a
country is such that we need their assistance, though in my view, there is
need at a general level of the developing countries acting in concert, to
negotiate a more viable relationship with them. The failures of SAPs in the
developing world have largely been blamed on the fact that the programmes
were not tailored according to prevailing conditions in the respective
There are two key things that are lacking today, which
Saunders also identified in 1996: Firstly, government's lack of political
capital to institute reforms and the lack of coherent and consistent
policies to implement changes. The shortage of political capital is worse
now given the contested election outcomes and the perceived lack of
legitimacy in parts of the international community. This is a huge handicap
to the government's attempts turnaround the economy even though it controls
parliament. It is difficult to see how in the current global environment the
current government can really generate the desired political capital without
engaging in some internal organic change of its own. The negative
international profile and loss of confidence is directly connected to the
character of the current system, regardless of their conviction in the
rightness of their actions.
But even besides reclaiming political
capital, there is need to address the economic policies and policy-making
and implementation generally. One of the key reasons for the failure of the
agriculture is that in pursuing the chaotic land redistribution exercise,
there was no proper agricultural policy to sustain the new system. Land was
simply taken because it was "our land", without putting into place measures
to retain productivity. No wonder there are insufficient inputs, inadequate
equipment, lack of capital and five years after the takeovers, once
productive land is now lying fallow. Given that in the last 20 years
Zimbabwe had experienced severe droughts occasionally, there should have
been a policy to promote irrigation and other infrastructure to accompany
redistribution. Famine is not simply the result of natural disasters. As the
renowned economist Amartya Sen has demonstrated through research in Asia,
famine usually arises because on lack of proper planning on the part of the
persons in charge. With proper planning, the effects of natural disasters
such as drought can be mitigated.
Also, there is too much contradiction
at the policy level. Ever since the fall of ESAP, there have been a number
of economic blueprints most of which are heard only at the time of
launching. There seems to be a celebration of launching policy and not the
results of those policies. To what extent does the formulation of policy
involve all stakeholders? When policies are put in motion and rescinded soon
after, it brings confusion to the market and shows lack of research and
consultation. On the one hand someone says no more relations with the West
and we look East and on the other hand another key person is saying we need
the Western support. The IMF grants Zimbabwe a moratorium and key officials
applaud but others emerge with scathing attacks against the same
institution. It does not portray the existence of the political will to
change things and foster a more productive relationship. As I have stated,
there is substance in criticisms against the IMF, but it is necessary to
know when and how to articulate it. In any event, such contradictions
increase the confusion about the direction the country is taking. It is like
a football team in which every time after the striker scores a goal the
defenders conspire to score two own goals.
In conclusion, we should not
maintain a superficial assessment of Zimbabwe's economic difficulties in
which we see the problems as arising exclusively during the last five years
and that simple political change will resolve everything. The economic
difficulties have deep-seated roots. It also involves working out a proper
relationship with the Bretton Woods institutions. We need to work out the
debt, some of which arose during that disastrous ESAP era. But more
importantly, the government needs to acquire sufficient political capital,
which at present is arguably in short supply making it difficult for it to
make any significant changes. It also needs to redefine its approach to
policy-making - must involve the people and have coherent, clear and
sustainable polices which are properly implemented and regularly reviewed.
These are the two key elements for revival that whoever is in charge of the
country needs: political capital and coherent policies. Dr Magaisa is a
lawyer specialising in Economic and Financial Services Law. He is also a
columnist for the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. He acknowledges the use of
an article by Richard Saunders, written in 1996 entitled Zimbabwe: ESAP's
Fables in Souther Africa Report Archive Vol 11 No. 2. However, he takes all
responsibility for the contents of this article. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporter THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has pledged to
assist Zimbabwe in acquiring key agricultural inputs for the forthcoming
Addressing journalists soon after meeting the
Minister of Agriculture, Cde Joseph Made, yesterday, UN Resident
Co-ordinator in Zimbabwe Dr Agostinho Zaccarias said the support would go a
long way in fostering a successful harvest.
"Our focus is on the next
agricultural season and we undertook to help the ministry with support in
seed, fertiliser and chemical availability to Zimbabwe," Dr Zaccarias
He added that this was the key area that would make the country's
next agricultural season successful.
Dr Zaccarias said he hoped to
continue having more dialogue and exchange of views with the Government in
"We have also agreed that we will put what we have discussed
into a document that will guide us in implementing some of the programmes,"
Cde Made said the ministry would work together with the UNDP in
efforts to enhance the country's agricultural productivity.
that the ministry was already working together with the UNDP on various
other programmes, especially in dealing with highly contagious diseases such
as foot-and-mouth, which attacks cattle, and Newcastle, which decimates
The minister stressed that there was need for seed farmers to
strengthen production of seed so that the country does not
Cde Made urged seed houses to start making seed available to
farmers for the approaching farming season, adding that it was critical for
farmers to get the seed before the onset of the rainy season.
is now available and should start being delivered to retail outlets and
closer to farmers, especially those in the remote areas," he said after
meeting Zimbabwe Seed Traders' Association (ZSTA) officials.
Seed director and chairman of ZSTA, Mr Themba Nkatazo, cited fuel shortages
as one of the major impediments in delivering seed to farmers.
happy with the new prices of seed and we have enough seed in our
"We have already started delivering seed to some outlets
all over the country, but the fuel shortages are affecting our deliveries,"
He said fuel shortages were a challenge not only to the seed
houses, but also to farmers who are failing to deliver their wheat and
Mr Nkatazo appealed to the Government to give priority to seed
farmers in foreign currency allocations for buying chemicals required in the
industry so that they could meet targets.
This would provide the
country with surplus seed for export next year.
Reporter RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr Gideon Gono yesterday
accused some captains of industry of hypocrisy, saying they were continually
attacking the central bank for not doing enough to raise foreign currency
yet a number of companies owe the State monetary authority a total
unremitted amount of US$150 million, which is long
Addressing heads of parastatals and senior Government officials
at an interfacing workshop in Harare, Dr Gono said various sectors of the
economy were not remitting foreign currency to the central bank.
agricultural sector owes us close to US$8 million, manufacturing US$17
million, mining US$52 million, tobacco US$15 million," he said.
will be pursuing those with overdue amounts."
The governor said the
services and other sectors of the economy also owed the bank substantial
amounts in foreign currency.
Parastatals, he said, were central in
efforts to turn around the economy since they contributed about 40 percent
to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Out of the $12 trillion that had
been set aside by the central bank for parastatals and local authorities
under the Productive Sector Facility (PSF), about $2,4 trillion had been
disbursed for working capital and development projects.
beneficiaries of the facility had failed to access the funds owing to
various reasons, which include poor procurement policies and lack of
transparent corporate governance.
Dr Gono said future disbursements
of the PSF funds would be made through the newly-established Infrastructural
Responding to issues raised by some of the parastatal
heads, the governor said without trading, there was no way the country could
generate foreign currency.
"We can only generate it (foreign
currency) through trade and no amount of crying will result in the governor
producing foreign currency," he said.
Dr Gono said the fight against
inflation should not be left to the RBZ and the Government alone, but all
stakeholders should be involved.
Herald Reporter VICE
PRESIDENT Cde Joice Mujuru yesterday lambasted some Government ministers and
top civil servants for being lazy and for developing a habit of sitting on
urgent files, effectively scuttling efforts being made to turnaround the
Addressing heads of parastatals and senior Government officials
at an interfacing workshop in Harare, Cde Mujuru said some Government
ministries were taking ages to action files that needed urgent
"Some files are gathering dust in the ministry offices and
parastatal heads should approach my office if the files are not actioned
within five days," she said amid applause.
"If you have found some
doors in Government closed and you are constrained because the relevant
Government departments are a hindrance, my door is open."
said as the Vice-President in charge of parastatals, she had initiated a
programme of mid-year reviews on the performance of parastatals to be
subsequently followed by annual reviews.
"I can reassure you that I am
not doing that exercise as a ritual. I am determined to get a fair
assessment of the real issues that you face and I commit myself to putting
the results of my evaluation to good use. Mark my words," she
Parastatals, said Cde Mujuru, were the first and last lines of
defence and should, therefore, never be the weakest link in the
Thus, the challenges which the country was facing required that
parastatals be headed by committed, honest, resolute and diligent
The Vice President said chief executives and board members of
parastatals should interface with Government; and if they felt that the
policies which they were being instructed to implement were not workable,
they should point this out and offer alternative solutions.
are some who do not want to take advice and if they are told 'please close
your trouser's zip or sort out your dress properly because your petticoat is
overlapping' they do not take it kindly, but my door is open for you," she
Parastatals, Cde Mujuru said, should contribute meaningfully to
economic development and if there were any hurdles which they were facing,
these should be surmounted amicably.
The Vice-President said there
was need for unity of purpose among Zimbabweans by putting national
interests first irrespective of one's political affiliation.
national issues, we Zimbabweans behave like a naked teacher wearing an apron
who then turns to write on the blackboard while the back is not covered and
is exposed to the children," she said.
Cde Mujuru said parastatals were
the backbone of any vibrant economy, hence their poor performance could
spell doom for the economy.
Parastatals, she said, should implement the
policies of the ruling party and the Government because one of the reasons
for the public enterprises being on the receiving end was the absence of a
"The performance of parastatals reflects on the ruling
"As your principals and, indeed, the ruling party, we expect you
to diligently transform such broad policy pronouncements by the party into
actionable programmes that add value to the livelihood of our people," Cde
"The time for endless discussion of policies that yields
no tangible results for the ordinary man and woman is over. Our watchword
and, indeed, our battle cry should henceforth be action, action and more
She said a lot of Government policies were either being
disregarded or were being implemented in a half-baked manner.
Vice-President blasted some parastatal heads she said were bent on building
fiefdoms for themselves while others were involved in costly litigation or
poorly crafted public relations exercises through the national
"Let me take this opportunity to encourage all of you here
present to undertake a very serious introspection and make up your minds as
to whether you believe you are up to the job you have been given and you are
fully committed to implement the party and Government vision and should you
have any doubts in your mind, I will gratefully accept your resignation,"
Cde Mujuru said.
Representatives of the parastatals told Cde Mujuru
that some of the public companies were not producing the positive results
because nepotism was at work in the appointment of some chief executives or
board members and such incumbents subsequently failed to execute their
"Most boards are appointed on the technical 'know-who', not
know-how, hence they are not delivering the expected results.
of them do not even understand the party's (Zanu-PF) manifesto," said
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Cde Karikoga
Other participants said the Government was not consulting the
parastatals in the formulation of some of the policies and it was important
that they should have an input in such formulation to make it result in an
easy and transparent implementation process.
Some parent ministries
were accused of employing divide-and-rule tactics within parastatals in
order to settle personal scores with boards that would have fallen out of
favour with them.
The representatives said some of the policies which
they were being directed to implement by the parent ministries were not
written on paper and were being changed from time to time, but if the
implementation process failed the public enterprises would be on the
In response, Cde Mujuru castigated senior Government
officials who abused their authority by instilling fear in their
"Freedom exists, but there is freedom that can be perceived
in the context of taking advantage of the situation and this becomes
ultra-freedom," she said.
The Vice-President said the appointment of
chief executive officers and board members of parastatals should be based on
merit and not nepotism.
"We should give someone a job according to
ability, even in parastatals. How can one person be on more that 10 boards?
Haugonewo kuti ndakwana here? (Can't you say I have enough on my hands as it
is?)," Cde Mujuru said.
She said some Zimbabweans were very good at
self-destruction as they were crying that there was no foreign currency in
the country yet some unscrupulous elements were smuggling gold outside the
"This country is not poor, but the people are the ones who are
poor in the brain. Where do we expect (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr
Gideon) Gono to produce the green dollar from?" Cde Mujuru asked.
was sad, she said, to note that some heads of parastatals were ashamed to be
identified with the Government yet the State was the major shareholder in
the public entities.
Cde Mujuru said there was need for the ruling
party's manifesto to be distributed to senior staff at the public
enterprises in order for them to be familiar with it.
Speaking at the
same occasion, the Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs, Cde
Chen Chimutengwende, said Zimbabweans should remain united in defending the
country's sovereignty in order to counter heightened demonisation of the
country by its enemies.
Cde Chimutengwende said Zimbabwe was not getting
enough tourists because of negative propaganda, which was being published in
overseas media, thereby scaring away visitors to the
"Tourists who read the propaganda onslaught against Zimbabwe are
frightened to come and visit. We have to defend ourselves and respond in a
sophisticated level and kutuka (hitting back by rebuking) is part of it," he
Minister without Portfolio Cde Elliot Manyika, who organised
the workshop, said it was unfortunate that some heads of important
organisations such as parastatals still had the mentality that nothing would
succeed in the country without the whites.
He said some detractors
were even of the view that the land reform programme would fail without the
help of the whites.
"Each time you open your mouth to criticise the
Government, think first. We make mistakes yes, but it is through dialogue
that those can be rectified," he said.
Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption Minister Cde Paul Mangwana, speaking at
the same occasion, said parastatal boards should know that they pay
allegiance to the nation.
He said Government expected a healthy
relationship to exist between parastatal boards and line
"You find a situation where the chairman of the board
hesitates to see the minister. If we do that, we have lost it all," he
Cde Mangwana said parastatals should perform and be run along
commercial lines instead of always draining resources from
The Minister of State for Policy Implementation in the Office
of the President and Cabinet, Cde Webster Shamu, said there was need for
constant interaction between the ruling party, Government and parastatals in
order to have the same focus.
"While Government, which is a product
of the party, did interact with parastatals, albeit in solo fashion as each
ministry tended to supervise parastatals falling directly under it, there
was never an opportunity provided for the party and its Government
parastatals to examine their relationship, to seek a clear understanding of
policies, principles and ideology so projects and programmes can be better
implemented,'' he said.
UN statistics a big reality check, showing up ANC's
misrule September 16, 2005
The human Development Report
recently released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) provides
statistical data showing that, in the last 11 years in South Africa, life
expectancy has dropped, income inequality has increased and levels of
educational enrolment have declined dramatically.
speak for themselves. Peter Fabricius is somewhat off the mark, therefore,
in accusing me of making hay with these statistics: "Africa's elite have
been enriching themselves at the expense of the poor" (September
This report has received far too little publicity. Indeed it
is one of the most important indicators of how things have changed for most
people during South Africa's first decade of democracy.
South Africa ranked 89th out of 174 countries on the UNDP's Human
Development Index (HDI). By 2003 - the year for which the most recent data
is available - we had slipped more than 30 places to rank 120th out of 177
South Africa has slipped down the rankings both in
absolute and relative terms.
The highest score on the HDI is
one and the lowest, nought. South Africa's HDI has consistently declined
over the last decade: from 0.742 in 1995 to 0.696 in 2000 to 0.658 in 2003.
This signals an 11% decrease between 1995 and 2003.
two countries which previously ranked below us - China and Indonesia - have
Significantly, South Africa is identified as one of
only 18 countries whose rating fell between 1990 and 2003.
Fabricius is right to emphasise the impact of HIV/Aids. Life expectancy
dropped from 53 years in the period 1995-2000 to 49 years in the period
2000-2005. The HIV prevalence rate among those aged 15 to 49 was 21% in
The HDI report also makes it clear that the government is
failing alarmingly to stem the tide of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Not only is life becoming shorter, it is also becoming more
On the Gini index, which measures levels of inequality
between 0 (perfect equality) and 100 (perfect inequality), South Africa
scored 57.8 based on data captured in 2000. This places us in the same
league as Zambia (52.6 in 1998) and Zimbabwe (56.8 in
According to the UNDP, the richest 10% of the South
African population had a 44.7% share of total income or consumption in 2000,
while the poorest 10% of the population had only 1.4%.
the most depressing element of the UNDP report is the drop in educational
enrolment. The proportion of Grade 1 learners who reach Grade 5 declined
from 75% in 1990/1991 to 65% in 2001/2002. This is something that the
government could and should have prevented.
provide incontrovertible proof that the ANC's programme of socio-economic
transformation is failing to deliver the better life for all promised to the
electorate in 1994.
Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) may have
benefited a politically-connected elite but it has widened the income
inequality gap and failed to empower the poor.
flirtation with HIV/Aids dissidents and its ongoing failure to roll out
anti-retroviral treatment timeously and adequately have worsened the Aids
The thrust of the ANC's educational policy is entirely
misguided. All the reliable indicators (from international studies, to our
drop-out rate, to matric exemptions) suggest that we have not improved over
the past 10 years, and that we are going backwards in some areas.
The UNDP report confirms this.
The ANC's policy failures are
mutually reinforcing. If children don't receive a proper education, they
don't acquire the skills to lift themselves - and their children - out of
If sensible healthcare policies are not in place, or not
properly implemented, the poor are the first to suffer the consequences of
The UNDP report provides a timely and
startling reality-check. South Africa can ill-afford another 10 years
of ANC misrule. Helen Zille MP DA National
Reporter Last updated: 09/16/2005 10:39:21 MEGA RICH Zimbabwean business
mogul James Makamba is seeking asylum in Britain, barely three weeks after a
Zimbabwean magistrate issued a warrant for his arrest, it was claimed
The Telecel boss owns a multi-million pound-property in the
lush Knightsbridge area of London and would be settling there, sources said
Makamba -- rumoured to have bedded President Robert
Mugabe's wife, Grace -- was due before a Harare magistrate at the end of
August but gave the hearing a miss after staying put in South Africa where
he had gone on a business trip.
He was later spotted by reporters in
the upmarket Sandton surburb of Johannesburg in the company of another
wanted fugitive businessman, Mutumwa Mawere.
A bid to extradite
Mawere failed as he is now a South African citizen.
The weekly Financial
Gazette newspaper, quoting sources, said Makamba -- a former MP and Zanu PF
central committee member -- had engaged London-based immigration law firm
Chipatiso and Company Solicitors, to pursue his asylum claim.
paper said political activist and lawyer, Yvonne Mahlunge, who is at
Chipatiso and Company held meetings with Makamba this week. However,
Mahlunge flatly denied meeting Makamba and declined further comment to the
Mahlunge had not responded to an interview request
by New Zimbabwe.com last night.
Makamba joins a host of rich
fugitives, mainly bankers, who have skipped the country to escape graft
charges. These include former NMBZ executives, Julius Makoni, James Mushore,
Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto. Intermarket group founder Nicholas
Vingirai, Mthuli Ncube of Barbican Bank, Gilbert Muponda of ENG Capital,
Dipak Pandya, Jayant Josh and his brother Manharlal.
In a recent
interview, Makamba told a journalist: "Why do they continue to pursue me?
There are more serious issues to deal with, the economic crisis. It warrants
more attention. Why are they interested in Makamba? The intention must be
Makamba already faces a battle to retain his shareholding at the
cellular telephony company, Telecel Zimbabwe, where government big wigs have
stepped up efforts to oust him.
Sources say there is an escalating
campaign to seize Makamba's properties, with his major shareholding in
Telecel the first target. He has already shut his supermarket in Mazowe,
claiming Central Intelligence Organisation officials were trying to muscle
him out of business.