By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 2:57am BST 31/08/2007
Robert Mugabe is to lose vital support from one of his few remaining
allies on the world stage, China.
One of the Zimbabwe president's oldest diplomatic friends, China
yesterday told Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Office minister, that it was
dropping all assistance except humanitarian aid.
The move follows a decision by China, a permanent member of the United
Nations security council, to work more closely with the international
community in bringing pressure to bear on "rogue regimes". It represents a
major shift in its previous policy of refusing to attack the internal
policies of long-standing allies.
"I was told that Chinese assistance to Zimbabwe was now limited to
humanitarian assistance, which is enormously important," Lord Malloch Brown
said. "That puts it in the same position as Britain, which is the second
biggest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe."
Lord Malloch Brown was on his first visit since becoming minister for
Asia, Africa and the United Nations.
His talks with Chinese officials centred on attempts to bring peace to
Darfur, where China has also been accused of turning a blind eye to an
ally's repressive policies.
China is the biggest customer for, and foreign investor in, Sudan's
The minister, who as former deputy secretary general of the United
Nations was involved in trying to resolve the Darfur crisis, told a Chinese
audience that in the last year Beijing's position had changed dramatically.
It had actively engaged with the United Nations in putting pressure on
Sudan to accept an international peace-keeping force.
That change has been widely praised by world leaders, but the shift in
policy on Zimbabwe had not been publicised.
Lord Malloch Brown said he had been informed of the change by Liu
Guijin, China's new special envoy on African issues. He said he hoped China
would join the rest of the international community in refusing to "offer a
lifeline" to Mr Mugabe's failed regime, which has led to near universal
unemployment and record inflation.
Privately, diplomats believe that while Zimbabwe once seemed like an
opportunity for China to make diplomatic gains in an area abandoned by
Western countries, Beijing had been unable to avoid the evidence of the harm
being done to Zimbabwe's people.
It was hard to see what long-term result China could get when Zimbabwe
failed to meet basic standards of economic discipline, said one. China's
friendship with Mr Mugabe goes back to the 1970s, and his "liberation
struggle" against the then Rhodesian government.
Just two years ago, even as Zimbabwe's land clearance policies
provoked condemnation around the world, he received a warm welcome on a
state visit to Beijing.
In recent years, major construction projects and business deals
between Zimbabwean and Chinese firms have been underwritten by Chinese state
financing. China has also been a major supplier of arms including fighter
jets as recently as 2005 and, it is reported, military trucks, weapons and
ammunition as recently as last year.
But the coming Olympics, and the desire to deter protest between now
and next year, have been a major factor in changing China's stance.
The only deal recorded during a visit by a member of the Chinese
politburo to Harare in the spring was a straight swap to provide
agricultural machinery for tobacco.
Liu Naiya, an expert on Africa at a government think-tank, the Chinese
Academy of Social Sciences, said China's experience on Sudan had led it to
adjust its Zimbabwe policy.
He said China now intended to exert an influence through the UN along
with regional African organisations.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing's
People's University, said: "China has traditionally good relations with
Zimbabwe but Zimbabwe has changed greatly in the last few years and the
situation is deteriorating. This is definitely a problem for China."
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
31 August 2007
Posted to the web 31 August 2007
NO ONE in private or public sectors can now raise salaries, wages, rents,
service charges, prices and school fees on account of increases or
anticipated increases in the consumer price index, the official and
unofficial exchange rates, or valued added tax and duty.
The ban on indexing pay, prices, rents and fees to the CPI, an exchange rate
or VAT -- coupled with vastly increased powers for the National Incomes and
Pricing Commission -- was made by President Mugabe in regulations gazetted
yesterday to temporarily amend two Acts: that setting up the Commission and
the Education Act.
The regulations were made under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
Act and fall away in six months unless Parliament amends the two affected
Under the regulations, all proposed fees, tariffs and charges by Government
departments, State universities, statutory bodies, including statutory
professional associations, and companies where the State is a majority or
sole shareholder must be approved by the Commission in advance.
The Commission takes over the powers formerly possessed by ministers where
ministerial approval was first required.
All fee increases by non-Government schools since June 18 are banned until
the Commission gives approval. The Commission takes over the functions of
the Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture in approving and setting fees
at non-Government schools.
The Commission can only approve an increase if this is justified on some
other grounds than the application of the CPI, killing the present link
between fees and the CPI.
For all pay awards, and fee and price increases by the private sector, the
Commission must now set standards after consultation.
It can set as a temporary standard the pay, fees or prices on a particular
This would allow the Commission to start with the June 18 freeze date for
prices, or any date it desires for pay, before implementing the standard
The net effect of the changes will be to push inflation down since all
increases will be by less than the current inflation rate.
The regulations are less harsh than a total pay and price freeze but are
designed to have a similar anti-inflationary effect. In the main ban on
indexing salaries, rents, fees and prices to the CPI or exchange rate, an
extra measure has been introduced to stop anyone getting around the ban by
declaring an increase for some other purpose.
The regulations also totally ban any increase that would see a pay packet,
rent fee or price rising to or exceeding the level it would have been if it
had been indexed to the CPI or an exchange rate.
The only exception to the ban allows the Commission, when setting the
standards for pay, service charges and prices to take the CPI as one of the
factors considered. But only one increase a year in pay, fees or prices can
be linked to CPI in any way, except for the pay of those earning below the
poverty datum line for a family of four.
All sections of collective bargaining agreements, leases and contracts that
call for increases to take into account CPI, exchange rate and VAT increases
were declared void in the regulations.
For increases in pay, service charges and rents, the ban on indexing is
total, "notwithstanding any other law . . ." For prices it is slightly
different: "notwithstanding any other law to the contrary but subject to the
Control of Goods Act . . ."
The bans on indexing were coupled with vastly increased powers for the
National Incomes and Prices Commission.
The Act has been extended to the entire State sector. All Government
departments, all State universities and all statutory bodies wanting an
increase in any fee or charge must first apply to the Commission for
approval. Where there is a law giving a minister the final power to approve
tariffs, that power now goes to the Commission.
The regulations explicitly list the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, the
Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, the
Electricity Commission, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (for regulation of bank
charges) and State universities as those who must apply to the Commission
before increasing any fee or tariff.
But it adds to the list: "Any other statutory body whatsoever, including a
body established to regulate the conduct and discipline of members of a
specified profession or calling that is required . . . to approve the level
of fees and charges . . ."
This would imply that professions such as law, which is governed by the Law
Society of Zimbabwe, would have to seek Commission approval before setting
new legal fees.
Companies in which the State is the sole or majority shareholder formed as a
successor to a statutory body -- such as CMED, Printflow (formerly
Government Printers), Government Medical Stores and Air Zimbabwe -- and any
other company in which the State is a majority or sole shareholder, such as
Noczim, must have Commission approval before increasing any charge, fee or
The regulations made it clear, for the avoidance of doubt, that the
Commission's powers to seek information or inspect extend to all its new
The Commission has been made larger, now having at least nine and no more
than 14 members. All commissioners will be appointed by the President and
the previous provisions giving groups such as organised business and labour
the power to nominate have been scrapped.
The Commission is allowed, from time to time, to consult people and bodies
it believes are representative of employers, employees and those who provide
services or rented property to fix a standard by which pay or a service
charge is to be determined or increased. It must, under the regulations, do
this at least once a year.
It can set as a temporary standard once a year the levels of pay and service
charges at a specified base date. This would allow the Commission to start,
for service charges for example, with the June 18 freeze date.
Similar provisions exist for prices but in that case it consults people or
bodies representative of those carrying on business in the course of which
the goods in question are supplied.
Again, it can fix as a temporary standard the prices on a specified base
date, presumably the date of the freeze when a price was allowed to rise as
this year's starting point.
For all standard rises in the CPI can be taken into account, but only once a
Besides temporarily amending the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
Act, the regulations do the same for the Education Act.
The regulations temporarily repeals section 21 of the Education Act, the
section that deals with non-Government schools fees.
Instead of the Secretary for Education dealing with applications for fee
increases, and having to approve any application which does not exceed the
percentage increase in the CPI over the previous term, the power to approve
is transferred to the Commission.
This section of the regulations was deemed to have come into effect on June
New fees, levies and increases in old fees and levies cannot be charged
until the school's responsible authority has applied to the Commission.
The application has to set out full details of the fee or increase, the
basis of the calculation and must include proof that it was approved by a
majority of parents at a meeting attended by at least 20 percent of the
The Commission is forbidden to approve any increase unless the application
is "justified by reference to some basis other than the application of the
consumer price index" and has been approved by a majority of parents.
Once the application in the correct form has been received the Commission
must, without delay, consider it with regard to the costs of operating the
school, any programme for improving facilities, any representation made by
parents, and any other relevant economic factors.
The Commission can then approve the increase, amend the increase and set its
own fee which cannot be below the legal fee at the time of the application
(the June 18 figure for the next application), or reject the application.
Similar powers previously possessed by the Secretary to deal with false
information or misuse of fees are now passed to the Commission.
Where a school has charged unauthorised fees or levies, it can cause the
excess to be refunded to parents or credited to their accounts.
Those who break the ban on indexing pay, fees or prices to the CPI or an
exchange rate, and those who breach the standards set by the Commission when
increasing pay, fees or prices, can be fined a level 8 fine, jailed for up
to six months or given both punishments.
Those who increase non-Government school fees, refuse to pay back
unauthorised fees, or refuse to take ordered corrective action over use of
fees can be fined the equivalent of the excess, jailed for six months or be
given both punishments.
By Graeme Baker
Last Updated: 7:48pm BST 31/08/2007
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, yesterday banned pay and
price rises without his authorisation in an attempt to tackle the country's
"No one can now raise wages, rents, service charges, prices and school
fees on account of increases in the official and unofficial exchange rates,"
the government-controlled Herald newspaper said. "The net effect of the
changes will be to push inflation down."
Pay rises for the next six months will have to be approved by the
national incomes and prices commission, headed by Mr Mugabe, and must not be
linked to the inflation rate, which is running at almost 8,000 per cent.
"Those who breach the standards . can be fined, jailed for up to six
months, or both," the Herald added.
The edicts come two months after the government ordered many retailers
to halve their prices, resulting in widespread shortages and a strengthening
of the black market.
That ban has been extended to include all businesses. Shops had
previously raised prices daily to keep pace with inflation, while employers
increased wages every month to cope with rising prices.
John Robertson, an economist in the capital Harare, said the move was
a result of crumbling government revenues. He warned that it could have
repercussions within the army, which has so far stayed loyal to the
"I just wonder when they will try to reverse the laws of gravity,
because this does not work," he said. "Many soldiers and teachers [are] now
demanding salary reviews."
Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the main opposition party, Movement
for Democratic Change, said the wage freeze was "a sign of desperation and
lack of policy".
HARARE (AFP) - Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on
Friday opened the annual Zimbabwe agricultural show, saying his country
hoped to benefit from the southern African nation's farm technology.
"What we have experienced proves that Zimbabwe is able to export technology
(and) hope that in the near future we will begin to benefit from Zimbabwe's
export," Ogiang Nguema said.
Obiang Nguema, 65, was flanked by host Robert Mugabe at the show, which has
drawn farmers across the nation, once Africa's bread-basket.
"Guinea would love to learn from Zimbabwe's agriculture, the visit has given
us the opportunity to learn in order to ensure that the experience is
transferred to the people of Guinea," he added.
On a week-long visit here, Obiang Nguema, leading a government delegation of
officials and ministers, said Europe, unlike Africa, "has been strong as
they keep advancing their farm economies which Africa has not done."
"For this reason, Africa has remained dependent on processed foods from
Europe," he added.
Zimbabwe's agriculture this year faces a bleak future as the country battles
power cuts, fertiliser shortages and drought. In the past, the show
highlighted the vibrancy of the agricultural sector which formed the
backbone of the economy.
Since 2004, Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea have enjoyed cordial relations
following the arrest of British security expert and ex-soldier Simon Mann
over an alleged coup plot against Mbasogo's government.
Mann, 55, was arrested along with more than 60 other alleged mercenaries on
on March 7, 2004, when a plane stopped over in Harare to pick up weapons
that the men claimed were to be used to secure a diamond mine in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Last May, Mann completed a three-year jail term for an arms offence under
Zimbabwean law related to the alleged coup plot.
He is being held on an immigration warrant at Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison on the outskirts of Harare awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the
high court to reverse an extradition order to Equatorial Guinea.
Fri 31 Aug 2007, 15:02 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Equatorial Guinea leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo on Friday hailed President Robert Mugabe's land seizure drive,
saying Zimbabwe's agriculture sector was one of Africa's most developed.
Mugabe's government has since 2000 embarked on a controversial seizure of
white-owned commercial farms to hand over to blacks, which analysts say
disrupted production and worsened an economy that relies on agriculture.
The veteran Zimbabwe leader has defended the farm grab as necessary to
address colonial land imbalances that left more than 70 percent of the
country's most fertile land in the hands of a few whites.
On Friday Obiang, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday on a state visit,
said his tiny but oil-rich country stood to benefit from Harare's
"The visit has given us the opportunity to learn in order to ensure that the
(agriculture) experience is transferred to the people of Guinea," said
Obiang, who spoke through an interpreter when officially opening an annual
agriculture fair in Harare.
He said what he had seen demonstrated "Zimbabwe is one of Africa's leading
agriculture-allied industrial nations".
This is in contrast to Zimbabwe's economic crisis, marked by the world's
highest inflation rate of 7,600 percent, rising unemployment and shortages
of foreign currency, fuel and food that is partly blamed on the land
The often violent seizures set Mugabe at odds with Western donors, but the
veteran 83-year-old leader has turned to the East for help, and has
strengthened ties with his African peers, including Equatorial Guinea which
now supplies oil to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea ties have grown since Harare authorities in
2004 intercepted 70 mercenaries -- including their leader Simon Mann, a
former British special forces -- who were accused of planning a coup in
While all the men served short prison terms in Harare and were released,
Mann -- who ended more than two years in jail at a top security prison -- is
fighting extradition to Malabo where he is accused of being the mastermind
behind the planned coup.
Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea officials have not commented on Mann although
local media has previously reported that Obiang wanted to have Mann tried in
Obiang, like Mugabe is accused by the West of widespread human rights abuses
and using heavy handed tactics against opponents such as deploying armed
police and army units to crush protests.
But Obiang's visit has mainly focused on strengthening economic ties with
Zimbabwe, which is desperate to end an eight-year recession that is fuelling
"What we have experienced is proof that Zimbabwe is a able to export
technology (and) hope that in the near future we will be able to benefit
from Zimbabwe's (agriculture) exports," he said in a short speech.
Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:51PM BST
By Bate Felix
PRETORIA (Reuters) - Crispin Mutamba fled exhausting bread and fuel queues
in Zimbabwe for wealthy South Africa, only to find himself stuck in another
one for three months outside Home Affairs in Pretoria hoping to get
permission to stay.
The chances are slim.
Mutamba can't find a job or a home. Like many Zimbabweans, he feels like a
pariah, resented by South Africans and blamed for everything from
carjackings to high unemployment.
"Sometimes we have to look for food in trash bins to survive," said Mutamba,
South African officials say Zimbabweans are not entitled to refugee status
because they are economic migrants.
But Zimbabwe is crumbling.
Few people can cope with chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency and experts predict the world's highest inflation rate -- already
more than 7,000 percent -- will keep rising.
President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of widespread human rights abuses,
has made it clear that dissent will not be tolerated as he struggles to
contain the economic crisis.
The defiant leader faces few political challenges from a divided opposition
and his powerful Western foes, whom he accuses of plotting to oust him, have
failed to weaken the veteran leader with economic sanctions.
So millions of Zimbabweans in South Africa live in limbo, with hundreds more
arriving each day.
"Most of them are young and energetic young men in their 20s, in search for
a better life, they are mostly economic migrants," Busisiwe
Mkhwebane-Tshehla, national director for refugees affairs at Home Affairs,
The lucky ones get menial jobs or spend all day on their feet at traffic
intersections, selling dusters or handing out free pamphlets, barely making
enough to survive, some of them university educated who left behind office
jobs back home.
Zimbabweans can be arrested at any minute for being illegal immigrants. So
the longer Mutamba and others wait outside Home Affairs, the bigger the risk
of detention or deportation.
Many Zimbabweans feel South African President Thabo Mbeki and other regional
leaders have only paid lip service to the suffering in their country, a view
shared by Western diplomats.
They have failed to pressure Mugabe to find a solution and still respect him
as an African liberation hero, deep bonds that overshadow one of the
continent's gravest humanitarian crises.
"Government needs to stop burying its head in the sand over the rampant
influx of undocumented Zimbabweans into South Africa and take proactive
action to gain some form of control over the situation," South African
immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg said in a statement.
Applications for asylum and refugee status, meanwhile, are piling up. Demand
is so high that Home Affairs has designated three days a week for Zimbabwean
While prices run wild in Zimbabwe, many basic goods are also out of reach
for them in South Africa, let alone the flashy luxury cars and glitzy malls
symbolising an economic boom.
Mutamba and hundreds of other Zimbabweans face daily humiliations. They line
up outside Home Affairs all day and huddle around makeshift fires at night.
Thin cardboard strips are their beds. Washing up means going to a water tap
at a nearby cemetery.
Some, like Joseph Moyo, had hopes, but not for long. He stands beside a
fence outside Home Affairs and tries to sell bananas to passersby.
"I have no place to go to, there is no shelter, there is no food except when
people come from the church and donate food," said Moyo, 20, who is from
"We are now living like animals".
But that may be better than living back home.
Moyo's fellow Zimbabweans could soon face hunger back home unless relief
efforts are accelerated in a country once viewed as a regional bread basket.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has said hundreds of thousands
of Zimbabweans are starting to run out of food and has made an urgent appeal
to donor countries.
"Vulnerable families will be forced to resort to eating potentially
poisonous wild plants or exchanging sex for food and other desperate
measures to survive," it said.
Being thousands of kilometres away from that harsh reality has done little
to raise Brian Zenzo's spirit. Dreams of a successful future have faded. His
parents can no longer afford to pay for his education.
"Maybe one day I will go back if there is a change and things are better,
and there are jobs and food," he said.
It could be a long wait.
Sydney Morning Herald
September 1, 2007
VIOLENCE in politics is an occupational hazard for Morgan Tsvangirai, head
of Zimbabwe's opposition, who has been beaten, tortured and tried for
treason, but still wants to confront dictatorship by democratic means.
Like apartheid, the Zimbabwe dictatorship is a crime against humanity, Mr
By any standards, the southern African country's situation is dire. Annual
inflation runs at an unofficial 12,000 per cent, (officially 7500 per cent),
3000 to 4000 people die from HIV/AIDS each week, and 5 million of its
citizens have fled the country.
When Mr Tsvangirai hears Australians stressing about 3 per cent inflation,
he thinks they may have lost their perspective, and "perhaps they have taken
their freedom for granted for too long". He is here this week as a guest of
the Department of Foreign Affairs, in a clear indication of how the
Government would like Zimbabwe's political future to unfold.
Zimbabwe hit back at the visit with an editorial in the state-controlled
Herald urging an end to diplomatic ties with Australia.
Mr Tsvangirai, 55, is head of the Movement for Democratic Change, founded by
a coalition of civil society groups in 1999 in opposition to President
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front party. In
2000 the MDC won 57 of 120 seats in a parliamentary election. Observers said
the result was not free and fair.
Mr Tsvangirai said the brain drain, health, economic and humanitarian crises
in Zimbabwe were the work of a regime that had declared war on its people.
But attempts to remove Mr Mugabe - who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
in 1980 - in elections have failed. "He is like a referee who has thrown
away the whistle and joined the other team," Mr Tsvangirai said.
Mr Mugabe retains significant status within southern Africa. For Mr
Tsvangirai the greatest hope comes through a dialogue initiative by South
Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki. "The initiative is slow, but MDC believes
it is better than nothing; any dialogue provides a lifeline," he told the
Lowy Institute. The biggest challenge would be to change the culture of the
government, he said, while the issue of land ownership would remain
controversial. "The land question in Zimbabwe has to be resolved once and
for all, to ensure no one goes hungry again."
So when will the change take place? "Many thought it would be a very short
sprint, but we have become realistic: it may be a marathon."
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 August 2007
Posted to the web 31 August 2007
Schools are opening on Tuesday in Zimbabwe and students will not only have a
tough time securing transport, but they also face health risks due to water
cuts that are now lasting longer periods.
Without water to flush toilets and drinking water being stored in
containers, there is a great risk of water borne diseases, particularly for
students who attend boarding schools. Diarrhoea is already a serious problem
around the country. Hundreds of cases are treated everyday.
The water crisis is best explained by the situation in Bulawayo, where there
is a struggle over control of the city's water supply. Several schools are
located there and the local officials are resisting pressure from the
government to hand over control of the water supply to the state run
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA). They say the water agency has
mismanaged water supplies in Harare and other areas that it has taken over.
And indeed those places are now worse off.
A report by the Institute for War & Peace Reporting said government
authorities have refused to help residents in Bulawayo with repairs and with
waterborne diseases that are on the increase.
Our Bulawayo contact Zenzele said it is feared an outbreak of water related
illnesses may bring the new school term very quickly. He told us many areas
go for 3 to 4 days without any water while others can go for weeks without
seeing a drop. Zenzele said schools like Milton, Evelyn, Polytech and
Hillside Teachers College have no running water.
Health officials are still on strike and there is a critical shortage of
medical drugs. A serious outbreak of disease would be extremely difficult to
deal with, especially at a school that has hundreds of students living
without adequate water supplies.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Harare residents say absence of commodity that's hardly ever in short supply
is clear sign of how bad things have become.
By Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare (AR No. 129, 31-Aug-07)
A long queue starts forming next to a truck, which has just driven into a
shopping centre in Kambuzuma, a poor suburb eight kilometres west of Harare.
For a few minutes, there is pandemonium, as people rush to join the queue.
The shoppers soon find out that instead of sugar, cooking oil, bread, beef,
margarine, the truck was carrying 15 cases of beer, which like the other
sought after commodities, is now only available on the black market for
"I regard the shortage of beer as the most obvious sign of a very serious
malaise," said a local teacher. "Especially, as it comes during the
important Heroes' Day holiday (held on August 11 to commemorate those who
died during the liberation struggle from Britain from which it gained
independence 27 years ago) when President Robert Mugabe traditionally tells
the nation the success his government would have scored in the previous 12
The teacher said he did not remember there ever being a shortage of beer in
Zimbabwe and that this was a sign that things had gone desperately wrong in
"Beer is the about the biggest source of revenue for government and Zimbabwe
is generally a nation of drinkers, so there is bound to be a great deal of
anger. Through the ongoing blitz on prices, the government has not only shot
itself in the foot in terms of revenue generation, but the blitz has also
begun to hit where it hurts most - employment."
At the end of June, President Mugabe's government orderered prices of basic
commodities to be slashed by 50 per cent to counter soaring inflation, which
has been running at 7,500 per cent.
Several senior company executives - many from companies based outside
Zimbabwe - have been arrested since the cuts and have spent nights in filthy
police cells for failing to comply with the government directive to reduce
The resulting shortages of goods have meant many companies have been forced
to close or have had to let up to half of their workers go, citing lack of
One employee who was recently been laid off at TM Supermarket, one of the
biggest supermarket chains, said he felt helpless and did not know how he
was going to fend for his family after his company was forced to retrench
following the shortages and price cuts.
"I was told two weeks ago that I should no longer report for work. It is not
really the company's fault. We have been spending days doing absolutely
nothing. The butcher is not operational, the take-away section is barely
functioning and the shelves are empty of beverages, such as beer and soft
drinks," said the man.
He has three school-aged children and, together with his brother, also looks
after their elderly parents and four orphaned nieces and nephews.
"How am I going to feed my kids and my parents? To me, this whole price
slash was a curse," he said.
With food in such short supply, most people are turning to street-side
vendors, but they are now the victims of a police blitz. Those caught
selling their wares are forced to spend the night in police cells and pay a
heavy fine before being released.
June Benza, who sells vegetables in the central business district, was
arrested with other vendors. She was detained by municipal police for six to
seven hours before being taken to Harare Central police station.
"We thought it was a simple procedure where we would just pay our fines. We
were shocked when we were hurled into filthy and crowded police cells. We
were put into the same cells as hard-core criminals [and] released the next
Mugabe reiterated during his address on Heroes' Day that there would be no
going back on the price war, which has worsened the plight of so many, and
has poorer people flocking in their thousands into neighbouring countries
each day to seek food.
With most bottle stores closed down, and supermarket shelves empty, beer,
like many basics, has found its way onto the black market at exorbitant
A quart, or 750ml, of lager beer costs 60,000 Zimbabwe dollars, ZWD, (4 US
dollars) at retail outlets, but is now going for a minimum 200,000 ZWD on
the parallel market.
Delta Corporation, the country's biggest beverage producer, says the
shortage of beer and other beverages is a result of overwhelming customer
demand, as well as diminished production as a result of water shortages.
Delta spokesman George Mutendadzamera told the official Herald newspaper
that the demand for beer had increased dramatically since the manufacturer
resorted to the June 18 prices ordered by the government.
"Average sales are rising fast and approaching 300,000 litres per day. This
level of lager beer consumption in the month of July is approximately 50 per
cent up on the similar period last year," he said.
Mutendadzamera said Delta was only able to service 60 per cent of its orders
due to a variety of factors, "Our plants are experiencing erratic water
supplies, thus adversely affecting production. We're a big user of water,
hence any shortage of this ingredient impacts our ability to produce
While some Kambuzuma residents were disappointed at finding the truck was
not delivering foodstuffs, others were ecstatic to get their hands the beer,
which has virtually disappeared in the last few weeks.
For an hour, the Kambuzuma residents who managed to grab a few quarts were
happy that at least their Heroes' Day holiday was a bit livelier.
Remsy Kadungure, a resident of Kambuzuma who was queuing to buy beer, told
IWPR, "Such things only happen in Zimbabwe. We can't even relax on a holiday
and enjoy our favourite beer. I never thought it would come to this in
Zimbabwe, where we now have to rely on the black market for beer."
"Everything has become abnormal in this country but the funny thing is that
we have accepted.the.. situation. People are burning millions of dollars
worth of scarce fuel driving around looking for beers. We are drinking
anything that is available. You tell me, what is normal about that? To me,
this shortage of beers is just a sign that everything around us is
"Everything is in short supply. In most suburbs people have to wake up at
2am to fill up buckets with water before they are cut off at 3am. Some
people have to wake up in the middle of the night to iron their clothes
because of power cuts. If this is not a collapsing country - I just don't
know what is."
Nonthando Bhebhe is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.
By Peter Clottey
31 August 2007
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mandated by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF
party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
expressed confidence in Zimbabwe's elections next year. This comes after
President Robert Mugabe promised a resounding victory for his ZANU-PF party
during a speech Wednesday to war veterans. But the opposition MDC has
dismissed Mbeki's pronouncement, saying Zimbabweans are the only people who
can determine whether the elections would be free and fair.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the International Affairs Secretary of the
opposition MDC. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey
that President Mbeki should desist from making such statements.
"We are encouraged by that statement, but that statement has got to be based
on the facts on the ground. Free and fair elections are not a wish; they
must be issues that are discussed, political issues that would ensure that
we get free and fair elections," Mukonoweshuro noted.
He said Mbeki's' expression of confidence in Zimbabwe's electoral system is
not enough, since, he said there are other issues that need to be addressed.
"What we are saying is that, for instance, let's look at the voters' role.
Is the voters' role acceptable to all Zimbabweans? There is violence that is
going on, why doesn't Mr. Mbeki address himself to the issues of the
violence that is going on? There are so many other issues that we should in
actual fact as a negotiating process look at before we can pronounce
confidence or otherwise in the process," he said.
Mukonoweshuro reiterated that Zimbabwe's election is not a preserve of
President Thabo Mbeki.
"I think Mr. Mbeki is not the person to express confidence in the freeness
and fairness of the elections. It is Zimbabweans who must express confidence
in the freeness and fairness of the elections; it is the MDC and ZANU-PF
that must pronounce on that issue. Mr. Mbeki who is the arbitrator should
not be the one who is saying now he is got confidence," Mukonoweshuro
He said President Mugabe's declaration of winning next year's elections in a
resounding manner is questionable.
"Perhaps he knows something that we do not have. A democratic process cannot
be pre-determined by any person or a politician. I think it is not for Mr.
Mugabe to decide what is going to happen. It is going to have to be freeness
and fairness of the elections, no democrat can pre-empt what is going to
happen when the voters express their wishes. We are worried Mr. Mbeki is not
making any comment on that because Mr. Mugabe is going full speed putting in
place legislative procedures that we believe ought to be a subject of
negotiations," he said.
Monsters and Critics
Aug 31, 2007, 13:37 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - A number of police officers have been arrested in
diamond-rich eastern Zimbabwe for taking bribes from illegal miners to allow
them to carry on panning, reports said Friday.
The police officers were being held at Harare's top security Chikurubi
prison, according to a report in the state-controlled Manica Post newspaper.
The report and officials did not provide the number of those arrested.
The officers were arrested in the Chiadzwa diamond fields, the scene of a
huge diamond rush that began last year and has caused enormous havoc to the
Police had been ordered in to seal off the diamond fields. But some are
suspected of having taken bribes from illegal panners of between 1 and 2
million Zimbabwe dollars (4,000 - 8,000 US dollars at the official rate of
exchange) per half hour spent mining, according to the report.
A police spokesman said the culprits would be dealt with 'mercilessly.' 'We
should be worried about civilians, not police officers. They can break the
law at their own peril. They should all know the song by now,' said
Assistant Police Commissioner Obert Benge, confirming the arrests.
Illegal panners told the Manica Post, which is published in the eastern city
of Mutare - one of the hubs of the illicit diamond deals - that corrupt
policemen were allowing them to pay and dig in areas believed to hold
diamonds and then carry the ore they retrieved elsewhere.
Police officers are among inflation-riddled Zimbabwe's worst paid workers,
with some believed to earn less than 8 million Zimbabwe dollars, the current
Like many struggling Zimbabweans, they are likely to have been dismayed
Friday by the news that President Robert Mugabe has frozen wages, rents and
fees for the next six months in a bid to fight runaway inflation, currently
clocking in at more than 7,600 percent.
Illegal diamond mining last year offered a fast route to riches for many who
had previously been mired in poverty. The gems were greeted as a gift from
God and the ancestors.
In a separate report, the Manica Post said at least 200 diamond panners last
week moved onto Charleswood Farm, which once belonged to prominent white
former opposition parliamentarian Roy Bennett. Buyers in flashy cars are
reported to be prowling the nearby Chimanimani Village.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
SW Radio Africa (London)
31 August 2007
Posted to the web 31 August 2007
The government sponsored price war against businesses intensified in Harare
this week with the main targets being transport operators. Scores of
commuter drivers were arrested during a blitz that started on Wednesday.
The security forces are also accused of beating up the drivers and forcing
many operators to ground their fleet because of the crippling price cuts.
Operators are currently charging between Z$40 000 to Z$50 000 a trip in
Harare, depending on the distance and the availability of fuel, but they are
being ordered to reduce their fares to between Z$10 000 and Z$15 000.
Eyewitnesses say many people are being left stranded as a result of the
transport problems. Clever Kafero, a Hatcliffe resident in Harare North,
said the crisis is fast getting out of control. He said on Wednesday
commuter drivers attacked a soldier in Hatcliffe but the soldier returned
the following day with a group of other soldiers and police officers to the
area to "deal" with the drivers.
Kafero said the police and soldiers have embarked on an intensive operation
to force the operators to reduce their prices. Unconfirmed reports say more
than 100 drivers and some innocent commuters were arrested at different bus
ranks in Harare on Friday. Kafero said many people who use commuter buses
from suburbs like Avondale, Greencroft, Kuwadzana, Mbare and Southerton were
left stranded because of the disturbance.
Critics say the security forces are fast becoming a law unto themselves. The
Zimbabwe Independent reports that Esigodini in Matabeleland South resembled
a war zone on Tuesday when soldiers went on a rampage, breaking into shops
and looting goods worth more than Z$60 million before severely assaulting
newly resettled farmers. According to the newspaper 70 uniformed soldiers
caused terror at the Shopping Centre in revenge after colleagues were beaten
during a brawl with villagers at a beer drinking spot in the area.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: August 31, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Roman Catholic bishops accused the government Friday of
making "crude attempts" to divert attention from the nation's political and
economic crisis by publicizing allegations of adultery against Archbishop
Pius Ncube, an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe.
The Catholic Bishops Conference said Ncube, the archbishop of Bulawayo, had
shown courage, moral authority and fearlessness in exposing massacres by
government troops in the western Matabeleland province during an armed
rebellion after independence in 1980 and a brutal slum countrywide slum
clearance operation in 2005.
"For years he has courageously and with moral authority advocated social
justice and political action to overcome the grievous crisis facing our
country," the bishops said in a statement.
"We support him fully in his present painful situation and ask all our
faithful to remember him in their prayers," the statement added.
In July, state media showed explicit images allegedly taken with a hidden
camera in Ncube's bedroom and purportedly showing him with a woman with whom
he was accused of having an affair.
The media coverage violated Ncube's fundamental rights and was "utterly
offensive to the public," the nine-member Bishops Conference, to which Ncube
belongs, said, adding it would not comment on details of the allegations.
Recent attacks against Ncube by politicians - including Mugabe - and the
state media were "outrageous and utterly deplorable," the bishops added.
"They constitute an assault on the Catholic Church to which we take strong
exception. The Catholic Church has never been and is not an enemy of
Zimbabwe," the bishops said.
The bishops said the fundamental rights of ordinary Zimbabweans were
violated daily with impunity. They said the government's economic policies
left shelves bare of food and basic goods, corruption and mismanagement was
rife and tens of thousands of citizens risked their lives illegally crossing
the nation's borders to flee "the catastrophe that our country has become."
"The crude attempts at diverting attention from these facts by intensifying
the hate propaganda and character assassination against those Zimbabweans
who, like Archbishop Ncube, have spoken out in defense of the oppressed, has
not deceived ordinary Zimbabweans," the bishops said.
A government decree in June ordered prices of all goods and services across
the board reduced by half, leading to acute shortages of cornmeal, bread,
meat, milk and other staples.
The measure was aimed at reducing official inflation of 7,636 percent, the
highest in the world, but has stalled the production, distribution or
importation of food and essential commodities, including gasoline.
On Thursday, Robert Mugabe issued a further decree banning any
inflation-linked increases on prices, wages, rents, service charges and
Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and the
International Monetary Fund has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by the
end of the year.
No formal reaction to the bishops' statement was immediately available from
the government Friday. But Caesar Zvayi, a columnist for the state-owned
Herald newspaper, described the bishops as "that grouping of elderly men
with a penchant for political not religious statements."
BULAWAYO ---ONE of the country's largest bakeries Lobels Zimbabwe ,shutdown
operation this week due the continous flour shortages, CAJ News
This comes as Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has failed to pay its suppliers
for 36 000 tonnes of imported wheat impounded at the sea port of Beira in
Lobels Zimbabwe Managing Director ,Southern Region, Ngoni Mazango,
confirmed the closure to CAJ News Thursday .
"We have stopped production for the past week since there is no flour in the
country. We had the last deliveries of flour two months ago"said Mazango.
Mazango, said some millers have also ceased production because they are
unable to get flour from GMB.
"We understand some millers who are our suppliers of wheat have also ceased
production since the GMB has run out of wheat" he added.
The closure of the bakery companies has seen the country being hit by
serious bread and confectionery shortages.
National Bakers Association (NBA) Chairman, Vincent Mangoma, also confirmed
the closure of Lobels Zimbabwe due to flour shortages .
"Many bakeries are facing viability problems, Lobels Zimbabwe has final
shutdown this week", said Mangoma.
Workers who spoke to CAJ News on Thursday, said they were told to go home
and wait for management to contact them.
"There has been no flour and we were told to go home since were spending the
whole day doing nothing" said a worker.
When CAJ News crew visited Lobels Zimbabwe factory in Belmont industrial
area in Bulawayo on Thursday a security guard manning the premises said the
company is currently not operating.
Since government embarked on the controversial price cuts blitz in June
many companies have collapsed-CAJ News.
August 31 2007 at 01:17PM
Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested an award-winning child
rights activist and a prominent talk show host after they broadcast
interviews with child rape victims, reports said on Friday.
Betty Makoni, the director of the Girl Child Network Trust, and
television presenter Rebecca Chisamba were picked up by detectives on
Thursday, the official Herald newspaper said.
The two women were arrested on allegations that they breached
Zimbabwe's Child Protection and Adoption Act when eight rape survivors
rescued by Makoni's organisation gave interviews on Chisamba's show.
Chisamba was released after providing police with a statement, while
Makoni was still in custody on Thursday evening, the paper said.
A lawyer representing the two was not immediately available to
Court official Idine Magonga accused the two of violating the justice
system as some of the girl's rape cases are still before the courts.
"The fact that they brought them to the show as rape victims means
that they are concluding that the eight children were raped," Magonga, the
co-ordinator of the court's Victim Friendly Unit told the Herald.
"They obstructed justice," he charged.
Makoni is something of a national icon. She won the Global Friends
Award and the World's Children's Award in April this year after being
nominated by millions of children.
The activist says jealous people are behind her arrest, according to
Ironically, as news that she had been picked up by police filtered
out, Friday's letters column of another state-controlled paper featured a
letter from school pupil Fenny Mangezi praising the activist.
"You have saved us from sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse
and verbal abuse," the pupil wrote in the Manica Post. "Clearly, Betty
Makoni knows how to care and love the girl children."
Child sexual abuse is rampant in Zimbabwe. The scourge is fuelled
partly by the myth that men infected with the HI-virus can be cleansed by
sleeping with a virgin.
This is the second time in a week that Makoni has been arrested, it
Makoni was arrested last week on allegations of collaborating with two
documentary filmmakers from the United States who were filming at one of her
centres without accreditation from the government's media commission.
The two filmmakers were deported, while Makoni was released without
charge. Investigations into that incident are continuing, said the Herald. -
From Moneyweb (SA), 30 August
The lurid tale of Billy Rautenbach, a buccaneer, Phillipe Edmonds, one-time
English cricketer, and Andrew Groves, foul-mouthed son of a policeman
Johannesburg - In a letter dated Wednesday, August 29 2007, Tshimanga
Mukeba, attorney general of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
informed Boss Mining sprl, and Mukondo Mining sprl, that relevant licences,
as purportedly transferred by DRC parastatal Gecamines in February 2004, had
been annulled and voided. Boss, purportedly 80% held by London-listed Camec,
had been sold, in chunks, to Camec by Muller Conrad "Billy" Rautenbach,
starting early in 2006. On Thursday, Camec's stock price fell in reaction by
as much as 40%. The immediate roots are found on July 17 2007, when the DRC
declared Rautenbach persona non grata. On Thursday Camec stated that the
"rumours of permit revocation" were "clearly timed to impact Camec's "offer"
for Katanga Mining, unveiled on the same day that Mukeba signed the memo
annulling and voiding the Boss and Mukondo licenses.
Complain as Camec may, more than 60 mining contracts in the DRC are
currently under review, and those related to Boss and Mukondo have always
been the most vulnerable. On Thursday, Camec reacted by attacking the entire
DRC, saying it was "totally confident" that it will "successfully refute any
allegations or attempts made against its licences". Camec is headed by a
haughty Phillipe Edmonds, one-time English cricketer, and Andrew Groves,
foul-mouthed son of a policeman. The fact is that the Rautenbach-Camec
licences have been under investigation for years. The core asset in this
story is Mukondo, possibly the world's richest cobalt deposit, held 40% by
Savannah Mining, 20% by Gecamines and 40%, apparently, by Boss. Last July
Savannah bought its stake in Mukondo from John Bredenkamp, a Zimbabwean
businessman. There was an immediate argument with Rautenbach as operator of
the mine; digging immediately stopped and is yet to resume.
For years there have been reasons to question the beneficial ownership of
the DRC concessions Camec claims it acquired from Rautenbach - the stake in
Mukondo, and concessions C19 (23 000 hectares) (within which Mukondo
Mountain sits, like an island), and C21 (12 000 hectares). As recently as
July 2006 the UN Panel of Experts on the DRC cited Rautenbach as amongst DRC
"investors whose personal and professional integrity is doubtful" and whose
continued involvement as a major shareholder in Camec is an example of "the
consequences of insufficient due diligence procedures", also reminding that
Rautenbach "is wanted by the authorities of South Africa for fraud and
theft". The original ownership of the concessions - C19, C21 and Mukondo -
is clear: they belonged to the DRC parastatal Gecamines until the outbreak
of the 1997-8 civil war.
As part of a deal struck between Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe and DRC
president Laurent Kabila in November 1998, the named assets were transferred
to a joint venture between Rautenbach's British Virgin Islands-registered
Ridgepointe and Central Mining Group (CMG), a DRC company controlled by
Pierre-Victor Moyo, the-then minister of state in the DRC presidency.
Rautenbach was CEO of Gecamines when the assets were transferred "without
apparent compensation". The UN Panel described Rautenbach's dual role as a
"blatant conflict of interests". The concessions were stripped from
Rautenbach's control in April 2000 after he was fired from Gecamines by
Kabila, allegedly for theft and fraud. The assets were then transferred to
Bredenkamp. In April 2002 Rautenbach made one of a number of comebacks;
Bredenkamp was instructed to hand back C19, C21 and effectively 40% of
Mukondo to Rautenbach, apparently with zero compensation. Wow.
At this stage, the concessions were held by an offshore investment holding
vehicle, BVI-registered Shaford Capital, owned 70% owned by BVI-registered
Mercan Commercial (100% owned by Rautenbach). Shaford held, among other
interests, 80% of Boss, and 90% of DRC-registered Congo Cobalt Corporation
(CoCoCo). The arrangement tied in with a pattern outlined by the UN Panel:
"asset stripping of state mining companies . . . these transactions . . .
controlled through secret contracts and off-shore private companies, amount
to a multi-billion-dollar corporate theft of the country's mineral assets".
Rautenbach was specifically named by the UN Panel as a key figure in the DRC's
"elite network". Camec, new boy on the block, has always appeared determined
to maintain the opacity of offshore shelters. In 2007, Camec completed the
acquisition of 80% of Boss - following a series of transactions - for $51m
and 172m Camec shares. Then again, Camec has also stated that in March 2007
Camec acquired an 80% interest in Boss for cash of a paltry £31 511. Which
one is it?
Elsewhere, again, Camec has stated that it agreed in February 2006 with
Harvest View to acquire 100% of International Metal Factors, for $80m, being
$25m in cash and 172m Camec shares. There's that 172m shares, again. Camec
has also stated that in July 2006, Camec acquired the remaining 25% interest
in did not own in Congo Resources Joint Venture for £13.8m. The interest was
acquired through Camec buying the entire issued share capital of Majestic
Metal Trading for $25.8m in cash. Wow. Then there is CoCoCo, again, which
apparently owns and operates a cobalt processing plant in the town of
Likasi, as well as various other processing plants and facilities located on
the concessions owned by Boss. CoCoCo also "owns various mining equipment,
including extraction equipment, diggers and lorries".
Even today, it's not clear whether Camec acquired part, or all, of CoCoCo.
This week Camec stated that its mining in the DRC "is contracted out" to
CoCoCo, and that Camec is providing mining equipment to CoCoCo "on a
commercial remuneration basis", implying that CoCoCo remains under exterior
control. In the fine print this week, Camec also disclosed purchasing during
its fiscal 2007 year to March 31 "services and assets" of £19.2m from
companies in which "Rautenbach and his family continue to have a controlling
interest". As of March 31 2007 Camec owed several million pounds to Harvest
View, which holds 90.9m shares in Camec. Harvest view is, apparently, a
By David Blair
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 31/08/2007
No one alive at the close of the 19th century could have missed the
"scramble for Africa". A motley collection of robber barons, imperialist
ideologues, explorers, rogues and adventurers - the likes of Cecil Rhodes
and the appalling Leopold II, King of the Belgians - carved up the continent
in the name of five European powers.
Today, few appear to have noticed that a second "scramble for Africa"
is under way. This time, only one giant country is involved, but its
ambitions are every bit as momentous as those of Rhodes and company. With
every day that passes, China's economic tentacles extend deeper into Africa.
While Europe sought direct political control, China is acquiring a vast and
informal economic empire.
Reliable information on Beijing's African adventure is hard to come
by. But we do know that trade between China and the world's poorest
continent totalled about £30 billion last year - a sixfold increase since
China now buys about one third of its oil from Africa, mainly from
Angola, where an £800 million deal to develop a new field was signed last
May, and from Sudan, where Beijing built a 900-mile pipeline and invested at
least £8 billion. China is spending another £1.2 billion on a new offshore
oilfield in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Beijing has acquired mines in Zambia, textile factories in
Lesotho, railways in Uganda, timber in the Central African Republic and
retail developments in almost every capital.
The reasoning behind China's new focus on Africa is simple. If its
economic boom is to be sustained, Beijing must find more raw materials and
new markets for manufactured goods. Chinese oil consumption is forecast to
grow by at least 10 per cent every year for the foreseeable future. At this
level of demand, its domestic reserves will vanish within 20 years.
Hence the quest for overseas oil. Yet Beijing's options are limited.
America and the Western powers have already snapped up the world's largest
oil reserves. Saudi Arabia and Iraq - with 45 per cent of the world's oil
between them - are in effect closed to China.
So the less developed tracts of Africa are an obvious target. Sudan's
six billion barrels of proven reserves - with more still to be discovered -
have become of vital strategic significance to China.
These facts are of deep concern to many Africans. Their governments
may welcome Chinese investment, but Africa's independent voices do not share
this enthusiasm. The consequences of China's new role there have already
Thanks to Beijing's interest in Sudan's oil, President Omar
al-Bashir's regime in Khartoum has received a windfall. Ten years ago,
Sudan's oil revenues were negligible; last year, Chinese investment ensured
that they totalled at least £3 billion.
Without this ready cash, Mr Bashir could never have sustained the war
in Darfur, where four years of fighting have claimed about 300,000 lives,
either from violence, starvation or disease. The military machine that has
laid waste to vast tracts of land, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee
their homes, was, in effect, bankrolled by Beijing. Moreover, China has sold
weapons directly to Sudan, notably Fantan ground attack aircraft.
Elsewhere, China provides a convenient alternative for African leaders
spurned by the West for their human rights abuses. Devoid of aid and foreign
investment, President Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe would be entirely
isolated but for China's backing. Beijing has given Mugabe civilian and
military aircraft, and its experts helped design a new mansion for the old
dictator, in the style of a Chinese pagoda.
Yesterday, the Chinese government assured Lord Malloch-Brown, the
Foreign Office minister responsible for Africa and Asia, that any future aid
for Zimbabwe would be purely humanitarian. Whether China will keep this
promise is another matter: Mugabe's Zanu-PF has received Chinese money for
at least 30 years; Zanu-PF's national headquarters in Harare - found, aptly
enough, on Rotten Row - was built by China.
The harsh truth is that Beijing has become the ally of choice for
Africa's worst rulers. While China likes to portray itself as a benign force
in Africa, free of the historical baggage carried by the former colonial
powers, Beijing's conduct is already resented.
During last year's presidential election in Zambia, the leading
opposition candidate, Michael Sata, campaigned on an explicitly anti-Chinese
ticket. Beijing's investment was, Mr Sata argued, almost entirely worthless
Yes, China had reopened some copper mines, but the workers were being
exploited and all health and safety regulations ignored. An industrial
accident at one Chinese-run mine claimed 46 lives in 2005. Later, workers
rioted over low wages and poor conditions. Meanwhile, local companies were
being driven out of business by cheap imports.
While Mr Sata lost the election overall, he won huge majorities in all
the areas of Zambia affected by Chinese investment. His defeat prompted a
day of anti-Chinese riots in the capital, Lusaka. Every Chinese-owned shop
in the city was barricaded to avoid being looted. Meanwhile, shops owned by
whites or Asians carried on trading without incident.
Even inside Mugabe's crumbling domain, it has not gone unnoticed that
all three MA-60 aircraft supplied by China to Air Zimbabwe have a terrifying
history of engine fires and emergency landings.
While Americans and Europeans have only just encountered shoddy
Chinese consumer goods, ordinary Zimbabweans talk of "zing zong" products -
by which they mean exports from China which have a tendency to break in your
Like all empires, China's economic domain in Africa is stirring deep
resentment. The wonder is that it has happened so quickly, and where the
scramble will end.
31 August 2007
THE unpredictable nature of President Robert Mugabe's government raises
continuing doubts over operating conditions in Zimbabwe, which houses almost
half of Implats' mineral resources tonnage.
Last year, Implats surrendered about 36% of its undeveloped platinum
resource in Zimbabwe in return for empowerment credits. Since then, Mugabe
has proposed an indigenisation bill requiring local Zimbabweans to hold 51%
of all businesses in the country.
Implats CE David Brown said yesterday the record performance of the group's
Zimbabwean operations was testimony to local management but the year ahead
was likely to be more difficult as they were trying to make long-term power
At present, Zimplats was paying for some of its power in US dollars. It was
looking at importing its own power directly or building a local substation
at the nearby town of Norton, which would be linked to the national grid.
Mimosa was negotiating to buy power directly from Mozambique. In the longer
term, Implats is presented with the issue of the new indigenisation bill,
but Brown said he believed an agreement had been reached with the government
a year ago.
If it got through this hurdle, the outlook would be for continued expansion
at the Wedza Phase V project at Mimosa in a joint venture with Aquarius
Platinum, and at the Phase I expansion project at Zimplats. Once these were
completed, Implats would take a "wait and see" position. And if Zimbabwe
offered an investment climate where Implats could invest on a large scale it
would certainly consider further expansion projects there.
Fri 31 Aug 2007, 11:41 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa has denied it blamed Britain for
Zimbabwe's isolation in a report prepared for a regional summit earlier this
The office of President Thabo Mbeki denied that the government produced a
report on Zimbabwe critical of Britain before Mbeki briefed leaders of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) on his mediation efforts in
"The Presidency wishes to make it clear that it is not aware of such a
report and that if it exists, it was not authored by the Government of the
Republic of South Africa," it said.
"Government once again categorically rejects the allegation that President
Mbeki had blamed the British government for the problems in Zimbabwe. This
is simply not true," the statement added.
The report, obtained by Reuters and other media ahead of the summit, blamed
Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain for Harare's isolation by the West
and said London was trying to undermine talks between President Robert
Mugabe's government and the opposition.
SADC asked Mbeki to mediate talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party
and the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party in March.
Heads of state described a briefing to the SADC summit by Mbeki as positive
and indicated some progress was made in mediation.
Mugabe blames Western sanctions for hyper-inflation, food shortages and an
economic crisis in the formerly prosperous southern African nation.
Critics say Mugabe has destroyed the economy with his controversial policy
of farm seizures.
The SADC summit ended without any call on Mugabe to enact reforms
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
31 August 2007
Posted to the web 31 August 2007
THE ruling Zanu PF is mobilising resources, including a staggering $600
billion budget, for its election campaign ahead of the 2008 poll that
President Robert Mugabe has vowed to win at all costs.
Documents obtained from Zanu PF show the ruling party is pulling out all the
stops to mobilise vast resources to fund its ambitious campaign for the
joint parliamentary and presidential elections in March.
President Mugabe and his officials are expected to formally launch their
campaign next month. The opposition MDC and other parties are also expected
to do the same. The stage is set for a bruising campaign, which will
culminate in a dramatic clash starting with local government elections in
January as a dress rehearsal for the main event in March.
The resources needed for the campaign amount to over $600 billion, and
include vehicles, buses, minibuses, motorbikes, bicycles, sewing machines,
loudspeakers, bond paper, computers, video cameras, PA systems, shredders,
digital cameras, CD writers, televisions, DVDs, control room radios, CTv
monitors, X-ray vehicle mirror machines, photocopiers, heavy duty printers
and material for party regalia.
This inventory is contained in a document on elections prepared by Zanu PF
secretary for finance David Karimanzira. The document has been approved by
the party's politburo and central committee.
"Regarding plans towards the 2008 election, Karimanzira reported that the
capital expenditure and general campaign expenditure was expected to total
$661 616 100 000," the document says.
"Of this, $150 961 614 344 would be allocated to capital expenditure, $61
616 100 000 to election equipment items and the balance $449 038 385 656
would be for campaign support funds to provinces, candidates and other
Zanu PF's projected expenditure for the period June 1 to December 31 is over
$1 trillion, against an estimated income of $204 billion, which implies an
almost $800 billion deficit that is likely to be met through money printing.
Zanu PF's National Fundraising Committee has an overall target of $200
billion. Of the targeted amount, the committee was expected to raise $100
billion, while provincial committees have been tasked to raise the other
$100 billion. By July the provinces had raised a paltry $19,6 million.
The capital expenditure included an element of foreign currency totalling
Zanu PF is going to buy 80 Toyota single cab 4x4 vehicles at a cost of US$22
440 each (total cost US$1,8 million), 80 Toyota double cab 4x4s at US$24 635
each (total US$2 million), 12 Mazda T35s at US$14 621 each (total US$146
210), 12 Mazda minibuses at US$14 621 each (total US$175 452), two 66-seater
starliner buses at US$17 300 each (total US$34 600), two UD Nissan 15-tonne
truck at US$50 223 each (total US$100 446), 500 motorbikes at a total cost
of US$2 425 000, and 10 000 bicycles.
Other capital equipment and items to be bought include 1 000 sewing
machines, 100 loudspeakers, five tonnes of bond paper, 100 fax machines, 84
computers, 110 laptops, 10 video cameras, two PA systems, 10 shredders, 10
digital cameras, five CD writers, 20 TVs, 20 DVDs, five control room radios,
10 CTvs monitors, five X-ray vehicle mirror machines, 15 photocopiers heavy
duty, 186 printers, and 80 000 metres of material for party dress or
Mugabe and Zanu PF this week fired warning shots across the bows of the
opposition after retreating into the war veterans laager and bringing out
thousands of ex-combatants in preparation of the elections. However, the war
veterans have been sidelined for a long time and have lost their grip on the
electorate. Billions are being spent on war veterans at the moment to retain
their loyalty to Mugabe and his party for electoral purposes.
Zanu PF has huge state resources -- including the state security agencies,
money and vehicles -- at its command and would be using them during its
campaigns. By contrast, the opposition parties have limited resources,
although Zanu PF claims the MDC receives large sums of money from abroad.
The MDC denies this.
The two main parties get meagre state funding in terms of the party
political finance law. Foreign donations are prohibited.
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
31 August 2007
Posted to the web 31 August 2007
FORENSIC auditors hired by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to investigate
the NMB Bank scandal have unearthed more fraudulent transactions that
sources say could bring to US$7 million the amount of money siphoned from
The forensic auditors -- BCA Consulting (Pvt) Ltd -- were hired to
investigate NMB's books and systems to establish the extent of the fraud
which involved a syndicate of workers in NMB's treasury department and
Initial investigations in May had put the figure at US$4,7 million but the
amount was revised to US$6,3 million after the investigators said they had
found more transactions which the RBZ auditors had missed. Sources say
additional transactions found by the auditors last week could bring the
total figure to US$7 million.
Budhama Chikami, one of the directors of BCA Consulting, refused to confirm
the new development referring all questions to the RBZ.
"I cannot comment on that issue because investigations are still in
progress. Please talk to the RBZ. They are in a better position to comment,"
NMB seems to have unwittingly confirmed the new figures when the company
told this paper last week that negotiations were in progress to identify a
new investor to inject US$7 million into the troubled bank.
NMB urgently needs the money to pay exporters whose foreign currency was
siphoned from the bank.
Although the auditors are still carrying out their investigations
businessdigest this week reveals the finer details of how the money was
siphoned from the bank. The details include how the main suspect, Shane
Mandara who was an assistant manager in the treasury department managed to
beat the system, perpetuate and conceal the fraud for twenty three months.
Contrary to claims that the fraud started in January this year evidence
shows that the syndicate actually started siphoning money from the bank on
March 31, 2005.
Confidential documents in possession of this paper show that the fraud was
made possible through a combination of falsified instructions and generation
of unauthorised amendments to the existing deal notes.
The normal system in banks is that a deal is generated in the front office
and then transferred into a deal slip which is given to the back office for
In the NMB case the fraud centred on the exporters' foreign currency
remittances to the central bank. Exporters are required to relinquish a
percentage of their foreign currency earnings to the RBZ.
Investigations show that after NMB had remitted the money on behalf of its
exporting clients Mandara would either create a separate or amend the
existing deal notes giving instructions that the reflected amounts to be
transferred into account number 16701690347 belonging to company called
Cardinal Finance (Pvt) which banks with AKB Private Bank based in
To achieve this Mandara provided the back office, the division which does
the actual transfer of the money, with a fake Bank Identity Code (BIC) which
he said had been provided by the central bank. The BIC is like an address
which banks use when doing inter-bank transfers.
Mandara claimed that the BIC had been supplied by the RBZ to be used to pay
Cardinal Finance for a loan which he coded 'RBZ loan 2561'.
The fake BIC, a copy of which is in possession of businessdigest, shows that
the intermediary bank for all transactions relating to the loan was to be
Citibank branch in New York with Code number CITIUS33. The money was paid to
Aagauischie kantonalbank (Code KBAOCH22) which held account number 10937163
The funds would eventually be transferred onto AKB Private Bank whose code
according to the document Mandara supplied was AKBPCHZZ. The BIC were
printed on a special RBZ letterhead which was purported to be coming from
the governor's office.
A free hand scribble at the top of the document shows that it was made to
the attention of Mandara while a note at the bottom showed that it was from
a person called R Zunza who was supposed to be an officer at the RBZ.
Investigators now know that Zunza does not exist. NMB employees who worked
with Mandara said the free hand addition on the BIC address note were made
in a similar handwriting to that of Mandara.
In other words Mandara created the document and sent it to himself to give
the impression that it was coming from the RBZ. This fake document became
the basis on which the syndicate pillaged the bank's foreign currency
The BIC was used by the back office each time Mandara generated a deal with
the 'RBZ loan 2561' code. Each deal that Mandara generated was approved by
The first transaction made on March 31, 2007 transferred US$45 351,37 to
Cardinal Finance. All the 72 transactions were properly approved by his
managers in the treasury department.
Although details were the basis for the fraud the syndicate employed other
tactics to cover their tracks. One such method was to sabotage the Reuters
The Reuter Machine translates into to written form any conversation that
goes on between the dealers and the clients over the phone. Its purpose is
generally to confirm the agreement between a dealer and the client to avoid
future disputes. Every dealer room is supposed to have that machine. Between
March 31 and June 19, the Reuter Machine at NMB did not work. That means
that there was no way that the NMB could have authenticated Mandara's
conversations pertaining to the deals.
When monies were transferred into Cardinal Finance, NMB would get the
Zimbabwean dollar component from local companies.
The local currency component came from 155 companies that the investigators
believe were the beneficiaries of the foreign currency from Cardinal
The question now is why it took NMB twenty three months to discover the
fraud. The answer to this question can be found in the way the fraud was
being carried out.
Mandara and his syndicate were not living a gap in the system. They were not
like bank robbers who loot and flee. They managed to sustain the fraud
because they were taking foreign currency from NMB and giving it local
currency. This gave the impression that books were balanced.
The Southern African
:: Innocent Madawo
Friday, 31 August 2007
SADC mediator, President Mbeki of SAPRETORIA - Talks between Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
are expected to resume here on Saturday, provided both sides do turn up.
Previous meetings have been cancelled because Zanu PF representatives,
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche had been instructed not to attend but
the southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator, South African
President, Thabo Mbeki is hopeful that would not be the case this weekend.
SADC heads of state sanctioned the talks in March following the
Zimbabwe police attack on opposition leaders that threatened to plunge the
country into more violence that could envelope the whole region.
The talks had initially been touted as paving way for a unity
government (regarded by many as the only solution to Zimbabwe's economic and
political problems) but Mbeki now insists the dialogue is to ensure free and
fair presidential and parliamentary elections in March next year.
The talks have also been stalled by disagreements between the two
parties as the MDC demands wholesale constitutional reforms while Zanu PF
insists on a selective review of certain provisions.
The opposition also wants Zimbabwean exiles to be allowed to vote and
that parliamentary representation be on a proportional basis not a
winner-take-all system that has always been used in the country and is
favoured by the ruling party.
Sources said the latest agenda of the talks includes the Bill of
Rights, electoral laws and other legislation which need to be dealt with.
These entail debate on the need for Zimbabweans abroad to vote, delimitation
of constituencies and the death penalty.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which was
left out of the original consolidated agenda, is back on the table. It will
be debated together with the Public Order and Security Act, as well as
broadcasting laws. The original consolidated agenda included the
constitution, electoral laws, security legislation, communication laws, and
the political climate.
Sources said the new agenda largely deals with the need to come up
with a "hybrid" constitutional document by merging aspects of the
government-sponsored draft rejected at a national referendum in 2000, the
National Constitutional Assembly draft and the 2003/2004 document compiled
by Chinamasa and Ncube from the two drafts.
The hybrid document will include Zanu PF's proposals in Constitutional
Amendment (No 18) Bill, which is going to be tabled in parliament any time
In other news, President Robert Mugabe is to lose vital support from
China which has promised Britain that it is dropping all assistance to
Harare except humanitarian aid. The move follows a decision by China, a
permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to work more
closely with the international community in bringing pressure to bear on
Meanwhile, in Harare, price control authorities banned a public
livestock auction at Zimbabwe's main agriculture show fearing it would make
a mockery of price controls on beef that have forced meat off the shelves
across the country, show officials and farmers said.
Farmers expected to get the market value of at least double the
government's price on commercial prime beef per kilogram and up to five
times the fixed price on peasant-raised cows.
The government had waived its fixed price on cattle for the
long-awaited auction of about 160 animals, which was widely publicized in
state media as one of the main attractions of the annual Harare Agricultural