Zimbabwe Tells Donors It Needs No Cash for Food Imports Peta
Thornycroft Harare 22 Sep 2004, 14:46 UTC
Government has now officially informed Western donors that it has had a
bumper harvest and will need no food aid for the foreseeable future. A
letter from the welfare ministry has been delivered to donor agencies
telling them that Zimbabwe grew 2.4 million tons of maize last summer. A
letter addressed to donor organizations, dated August 26 and signed by
welfare minister Paul Mangwana, has now sealed the doors to any intervention
by non-governmental organizations in addressing the shortage of food in many
parts of Zimbabwe.
In its latest monthly report, The Famine Early
Warning Systems Network, a long-trusted food security monitoring group
across the region, said scarcity of food is emerging in a growing number of
rural areas in Zimbabwe and more and more urban people can not afford to buy
food from the shops. It says it is not sure how much grain is in storage at
the Grain Marketing Board because those statistics are no longer freely
The figure of 2.4 million tons of maize for last summer's
harvest can not be accurate, according to crop analysts referring to data
collected over the last 30 years, as well as estimates of the harvest by the
United Nations and other groups.
The government's figure indicates a
larger harvest than in any previous season, even when the agricultural
sector was in its best shape. Now about 80 percent of Zimbabwe's best land
is unused, following the resettlement of new farmers onto former commercial
farms over the past four years. Most of them have neither the financing nor
the farming skills to grow more than a few bags of maize.
minister Jonathan Moyo is reported in the Wednesday edition of the
government-controlled Herald newspaper, as saying that no food imports are
necessary, or planned, because Zimbabwe has produced 2.4 million
But according to information released to the state media recently,
the government's Grain Marketing Board, the only legal grain trader in
Zimbabwe, has less than 300,000 tons in stock. Mr. Moyo says farmers are
keeping grain at home this year. Statistics from previous years indicate
grain farmers have traditionally held on to some stocks for home
consumption, but sold the rest to generate cash for items like school fees
and essential items.
The United Nations World Food Program announced
recently it had reduced its staff in Zimbabwe by nearly half. Its operations
were geared to feed more than five million people, or nearly half the
population, at the peak of food shortages during the last three
The government says if people do need food aid, it will do the job
itself, from its own homegrown stocks. But well-placed sources close to food
distribution agencies say the government does not have the resources or
infrastructure to deliver food if another food crisis happens, which they
say could be in December. Additionally, non-governmental organizations say
it will take several months for the World Food Program to raise donor funds
and become fully operational again, if the food runs out.
Harare - Zimbabwe's information minister has
accused the mayor of Bulawayo of lying about food shortages in the
second-largest city, where scores of people have reportedly died of
Jonathan Moyo was quoted as saying in the state daily The
Chronicle on Wednesday that there may have been cases of malnutrition in
Bulawayo but no food shortages.
Citing data from the city's
municipality, independent media have recently reported that scores of people
have been dying of hunger in Bulawayo.
"There is no food crisis
in Zimbabwe. There is no food crisis in Bulawayo," Moyo was quoted as
He said the city had stocks of 40 tons of the staple maize,
enough to last it till next harvest in April.
"The lies are
designed not to harm (ruling) Zanu-PF, not to harm the president but
Zimbabwe," said Moyo, promising to deal with journalists who have been
writing stories on the hunger deaths in Bulawayo.
He also urged the
relevant government ministries to take action against Mayor Japhet
Ntabeni-Ncube and the city's health director Zanele Hwalima over the
"What we are seeing here is the use of weapons of mass
deception through the press," said Moyo of the opposition-led city
"They are using deception to justify the introduction of
NGO's (non-governmental organisations) ahead of next year's elections," he
Zimbabwe, which holds legislative elections in March has
ruled out inviting election observers from Western countries.
Regional and international aid agencies and groups that monitor food
security have warned that despite government's claims of Zimbabwe producing
food in excess of its requirements this year, supplies would be insufficient
President Robert Mugabe has shut out food aid saying
it should be given to more deserving countries.
More than two
million people in rural Zimbabwe will suffer from food shortages this year,
according to a report by a committee of United Nations agencies and
A banned Zimbabwean Minister, Kumbirai Kangai, has
been allowed into Belgium to attend a meeting of the EU-ACP Political
Committee. Members of the European Parliament are protesting at this
deliberate act of contempt by the Mugabe regime, which makes a nonsense of
the EU's 'targeted sanctions'.
At this meeting British
Conservative MEP Martin Callanan will be elected Chairman of the EU-ACP
Political Committee. If Mr Kangai is present, Mr Callanan will make his
opening remarks as the newly elected Chairman, but will then walk out in
protest in light of this flouting of the ban.
Orden MEP, Conservative Spokesman on Defence and Co-spokesman on Foreign
Affairs and Human Rights in the European Parliament, who has played a
leading role in opposing the Mugabe regime said:
Mugabe gives two fingers to the EU when he deliberately selects a banned
politician to come to Brussels. Mugabe's oppression of the Zimbabwean people
has intensified and the international community does
I have demanded that the Secretary-General of the
ACP block Kangai's admission to meetings."
Callanan MEP, Chairman-designate of the EU-ACP Political Committee
"It would be an act of the utmost hypocrisy for
politicians concerned about the political and human rights situation in
Zimbabwe to have any dealings with Mugabe henchmen that have been
specifically banned from travel to the EU by the EU.
should be asking serious questions of the Belgian Government as to why he
has been granted a visa to enter the country."
Kanagai is Number 22 on a list of 95 Mugabe associates banned by the EU from
travel to the EU in its Common Position of 19 February 2004. The Belgian
Government consistently seeks to waive this ban on the grounds that the ACP
is subject to multilateral agreements conferring privileges and
Africa is worse off now than
it was during the era of colonialism because its political elite are
plundering its resources and stashing money in Swiss banks instead of
investing it in their own countries. These comments were made on Tuesday by
Moeletsi Mbeki, Chairperson of the South African Institute of International
Affairs, and brother of the president. In his address to the Durban branch
of SAIIA, on the theme Africa: Quo Vadis?, Mbeki said Africa was
experiencing a downward spiral, with its people worse off than they had been
during the time of colonialism. Whereas colonialists had developed the
continent, planted crops, built roads and cities, the era of uhuru had been
characterised by capital flight as the elite pocketed money and took it
outside their countries. Among them were the late Nigerian dictator Sani
Abacha. The money Abacha had plundered had been discovered in Switzerland.
Mbeki said the continent was also facing the problem of being unable to
generate savings, with sub-Saharan Africa getting poorer and poorer every
year. "This is one of the depressing features of Africa," he
Mbeki said that while China had lifted more than 400 000
people above the poverty line in the past 20 years, Nigeria had pushed more
than 90 million people below the poverty line. "The average African is
poorer (now) than during the age of colonialism. In the 1960s African
elites/rulers, instead of focusing on development, took surplus for their
own enormous entourages of civil servants without ploughing anything back
into the country," he said. He said the continent's cash crops, like cocoa
and tobacco, were heavily exploited by the state-run marketing boards with
farmers getting little in return. What should South Africa do about this?
"It should revisit issues and stop putting out fires in Darfur until we
address this fundamental problem of power relations between producers and
controllers of political power," Mbeki said. On Zimbabwe, he said South
Africa should intervene on the side of democracy and not back Zanu PF. "Our
intervention should be to support democracy and not tolerate use of
violence, torture and rigging of elections and, if necessary, we should
support the opposition," he said.
Mugabe Says Bush and Blair Think They're God Wed Sep 22, 2004
03:36 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
accused President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday of
acting like God in riding roughshod over international law in Iraq and
elsewhere. "We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new
political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that 'There is but one
political god, George W. Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet'," the veteran
African leader told the U.N. General Assembly.
"Iraq today has become
a vast inferno created by blatant and completely illegal and defiant acts of
aggression by the United States, Britain and their allies," he
In a defiant speech, Mugabe, who is subject to sanctions by the
European Union and the United States for his human rights record, accused
the West of manipulating international aid to punish governments such as
"Regrettably, we continue to see the unfortunate and futile tendency
to use assistance in this area as reward for political compliance and
malleability, making it unavailable to countries whose governments are
deemed 'inconvenient'," he said.
Mugabe said Blair had "arrogantly
and unashamedly" told the British parliament that his government was working
with Zimbabwe's opposition to bring about regime change.
the lawless nature of this man who along (with) his Washington master
believes he is God-ordained to rule our world, has shown itself," he
Former colonial masters were in no position to teach lessons in
democracy, he declared.
"Here in the United States, we remain aware
of the plight of the black American of both yesterday and today, and of the
semi-slave and half-citizen status that has been his burden," Mugabe
He asserted that Zimbabwe's economy was recovering despite
international sanctions and urged the International Monetary Fund "to stop
its strange mouthings, lies and fabrications about our
IMF sources said on Tuesday the Fund was closing its office
in Harare due to the lack of a country assistance program since 1999. The
IMF began procedures last December to expel Zimbabwe.
2 killed, hundreds injured in Zimbabwe political
By Staff Reporter Last updated: 09/23/2004 04:56:20 THREE
people have been murdered and more than 200 assaulted in
politically-motivated attacks in Zimbabwe so far this year, a human rights
group said in a report released on Wednesday.
The Zimbabwe Human
Rights Forum, a grouping of non-governmental rights groups, said in its
monthly report for July that members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) were being victimised.
victimisation of leaders and members of the opposition party persisted with
politically-motivated human rights violations during the month mainly
related to campaigns being undertaken in preparation for the 2005 general
election," the report said.
It alleged that 244 people had been assaulted
this year. Twelve were assaulted in the month of July alone, it
The report detailed the alleged assault of a teacher in Seke,
outside Harare, who was beaten and accused of supporting the
In another recorded case an opposition supporter in Harare
was assaulted and had her arm dislocated by suspected ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) supporters for wearing an
The rights grouping says the three deaths this year occurred
in January, February and March. Two of the dead were known to be opposition
supporters, it said.
There are fears of a surge in violence ahead of
general elections due next March. Police have promised to clamp down on
politically motivated violence regardless of the perpetrators.
government says it distrusts reports made by some human rights groups,
accusing them of being agents of western imperialism bent on discrediting
ZIMBABWE IMPORTS 100 000 TONNES OF MAIZE Wed 22 September
HARARE - Zimbabwe has in the last month imported about 100 000
tonnes of maize through Zambia, ZimOnline has established.
placed sources at the government's Grain Marketing Board said the State-run
parastatal had in the last two months successfully negotiated with grain
authorities in Zambia and Malawi to supply it with maize.
was made available to the board by government for these imports and about
100 000 tonnes have already come. More supplies will be coming in the
following weeks," said an official of the board who did not want to be
The chief executive officer of the government's grain
utility, Samuel Muvuti confirmed this development. But he insisted the maize
coming in now was part of orders placed with foreign suppliers last year and
that the board had not made any fresh orders for maize.
said: "We have said it over and over again that we are not importing any
maize. Any maize coming through or which is still to be delivered because we
are yet to pay for it was ordered last year. I can't give the quantity that
is either coming in or yet to be delivered."
Zambia and Malawi from
where the maize is coming from were not exporting maize last year because
they had not produced enough for themselves.
Sources said the
decision to import maize was taken because of growing fears within the
government that maize production from last season was going to fall far
short of the 1.8 million tonnes Zimbabwe requires for consumption and for
strategic reserves up to the next harvest in March.
Robert Mugabe in August told international food agencies to take their help
elsewhere because Zimbabwe had produced enough to feed itself. The
government claims farmers will deliver 2.4 million tonnes of maize to its
A survey by the government and the World Food
Programme earlier this year to establish the number of people needing food
aid was called off as it was felt no longer necessary in light of an
expected bumper harvest.
But Muvuti last week told Parliament's
Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture that his board had only
collected 298 000 tonnes of maize or just about two months' supply since
deliveries began around April this year.
The board, which buys the
bulk of maize from farmers between April and October, should by this time
have taken in more than double the quantity of maize it says it is
Parliament ordered a probe into the country's food
situation following conflicting reports with the government saying there was
enough maize to feed the country while the United Nations and other
international food aid groups said about 2.5 million Zimbabweans would still
require assistance despite better harvests than the previous
The parliamentary committee is going to table its findings
on Zimbabwe's food situation in the House when it resumes next
Zimbabwe, which was once a net food exporter, has grappled
with severe food shortages for the last three years mainly because of the
chaotic government land reforms that destabilised the key agriculture
sector. - ZimOnline
MDC accuses secret service of hatching plan to tilt scales in
ZANU PF's favour Wed 22 September 2004
HARARE - Zimbabwe's
main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party says it has
evidence that the state's secret service, the Central Intelligence
Organisation, had already predetermined constituency boundaries for next
year's general election.
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube
yesterday said a Delimitation Commission appointed by President Robert
Mugabe last week to carve up the country into 120 constituencies would
merely rubber-stamp a plan already drawn by the pro-government secret
Ncube said: "The MDC has documentary evidence that the
process of re-drawing constituency boundaries, ahead of the March 2005
parliamentary elections, has already been carried out, under the
instructions and guidance of officers from the notorious Central
He did not present for publication the
evidence that he said his party had.
Ncube accused the
commission that is headed by a High Court judge of being pro-ruling ZANU PF
party and said it would "rubber stamp the unlawful delimitation" already
done by the secret service. The commission also includes a former permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Defence.
Head of the commission
Justice George Chiweshe could not be reached for comment while the secret
service, which normally does not comment on Press reports, refused to
discuss the matter.
With political support in the country almost
clearly defined, with most urban areas solidly behind the MDC while rural
areas mostly support ZANU PF, the way the country is divided up into
constituencies could determine the outcome of elections.
constituencies in cities and towns than in rural areas would most likely
tilt the scales in favour of the opposition while the reverse would favour
the ruling party. - ZimOnline
Exam council fails to pay markers Wed 22 September
2004 HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe School Examinations Council
has still not paid civil servants who marked public examinations written
three months ago, ZimOnline has learnt.
Some of the public
servants, most of whom are employed as teachers by the government, said the
State-run council had continuously shifted terms and dates of payment since
the examinations were written in June.
Council information and
publications manager Faith Chasokela confirmed the delay in paying the
markers but said the matter was being resolved. She said council expected to
pay everybody by the end of the week. Chasokela said: "We have now
instructed our bankers to effect the payments into their bank
The under-funded council, which in the past has also
been accused of gross mismanagement and corruption, promised to pay the
civil servants their allowances within three days after they started marking
The examinations body had promised to pay each
individual an allowance of Z$2 400 per every answer sheet marked, Z$50 000
for lunch and Z$4 000 for transport every day.
scrapped the transport and lunch allowances and said it was now going to pay
the markers only 25 percent of the total allowances they should have
pocketed for the two-week period they were to spend marking. The council
still failed to pay the reduced allowances.
The council will still
require the same civil servants to mark the even bigger public school
examinations scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
remuneration has seen corruption thriving at the council with markers
accused of awarding undeserved pass marks to friends, relatives and whoever
is able to pay the right amount of bribe.
Police last month opened
investigations on at least 44 high school students who allegedly bribed
corrupt officials at the examinations' council to obtain certificates for
courses they either failed or had never sat for. - ZimOnline
Human rights activists to face trial next month Wed 22
HARARE - Amnesty International official, Obert
Chinhamo, and another local human rights activist arrested earlier this
month for allegedly breaching Zimbabwe's Miscellaneous Offences Act will
face trial next month after state prosecutors late on Monday requested more
time to prepare their case.
Chinhamo and Masanko Maruwacha of
the Non Violent Action for Social Change group were last month arrested at
Porta Farm squatter camp about 20 kilometers west of Harare.
They were at the camp to check reports that armed police had raided the camp
and set several houses on fire in a bid to force the squatters to obey
government orders to leave the camp.
Lawyer Aleck Muchadehama, who
is representing the two activists, yesterday told ZimOnline: "The trial was
again postponed (from Monday) to October 20, as the state indicated that
they were not ready for trial."
Meanwhile, Harare Town clerk
Nomutsa Chideya on Monday night issued notices of eviction to the 8 000
residents of Porta Farm.
Muchadehama, also representing the
squatters, said they would challenge the eviction notices in
High Court Judge Susan Mavangira two weeks ago issued a
provisional order barring the authorities from evicting the
Porta Farm was set up by the government in 1991 when it
rounded up street people in Harare and squatters at Churu farm adjacent to
the capital and put them at Porta saying it would find a better place to
permanently resettle them. - ZimOnline
Trelawney, Zimbabwe: Thousands of President Robert
Mugabe's supporters who answered his call to evict whites from their farms
four years ago have themselves become victims as riot police burn down their
houses and chase them off "their" land.
These peasants were to
have been the beneficiaries when Mugabe ordered his supporters in February
2000 to kick out about 4 000 white commercial farmers.
say they are being kicked off to make way for his friends and
"We were told this would be our land for ever," said
Reuben Mashanda, 71. "We came here four years ago. We helped chase
whites from this farm, Little England.
"Please, get in touch
with the president for us and talk to him through the phone, tell him people
in Little England farm have been told to evacuate, their homes were burned
and they are now dumped along the road for two days, with no money for
transport, no food, and no water."
Hundreds of huts built after
Mugabe ordered his supporters to kick out white commercial farmers are now
blackened shells. The first of the burned-out huts is about 30km north of
Harare and the ruins continue for more than 20km on either side of the wide
Every few kilometres groups of thin people were huddled
over their pots and pans tied up in blankets, live chickens were trussed
into plastic bags, and thirsty children were crying in the sun.
The fires set by the riot police were crackling in the bush when we got
A father of two, who had left one of Harare's ghettos to
become a "new farmer" in September 2000, was sitting on a double bed in the
bush with his two children.
"Sabina Mugabe (the president's
sister) wants this land," said Gilbert Mushowe, 44.
told to come here. We did. We built houses, we tried to farm. The police
burned everything, they trampled our vegetable garden. I am very, very
cross. I have been a long-time supporter of Zanu-PF, but that makes no
Sabina Mugabe, a ruling Zanu-PF MP who with family
members has taken over several white-owned farms, denied she was behind the
"Those people are just using my name. They are illegal.
That is cattle land, not for crops. You white people are paying them money
to talk. If I hear of a white person there again, I will order the police to
Ms Mugabe said the "illegal settlers" were in her
constituency, but she did not know about transport for them, nor where they
would be "resettled".
Assistant commission Wayne Bvudzijena
confirmed the evictions.
"They did not have permission to be there.
We followed orders from the lands ministry."
Minister of Lands
John Nkomo said: "Don't talk to me, talk to the governor of the
Nelson Samkange, governor of Mashonaland West province,
who two weeks ago sent militiamen to drive one of the last two white
commercial farmers in the district off his wheat and flower farm, would not
take a call from the press.
People on the side of the road said
Little England was one of about 10 formerly white-owned farms covering about
16 000ha where riot police were burning houses. They said between 300 and
600 families had settled on each of the farms and calculated that about 20
000 people might have been left homeless this week. They said they came from
all corners of Zimbabwe and did not want to go back to their home
They admitted it had been a hard slog trying to grow food on
that stretch of land, which commercial farmers said this week was suitable
for ranching, but too sandy for crops.
The legal owner of
Little England, now living in Harare and who spoke on condition he was not
identified, said: "I saw what was happening. It looks like Vietnam out there
with those fires. I don't know what is legal or illegal any more. I had a
rough time and I am just trying to survive in town."
Reporter A live cartridge has been found at the place where soldiers were
conducting a mock battle drill at the Marondera Agricultural Show, which
turned nasty resulting in the injury of 14 people.
Members of the
Zimbabwe National Army investigating the incident said preliminary
investigations had led to the recovery of the live cartridge where the
soldiers were conducting their displays.
Further investigations are
expected to establish how the ammunition was issued and whether mistakes
were made at the armoury.
They will also establish whether the officer or
officers who handled the live ammunition negligently loaded it or whether it
is possible for a trained officer not to detect the difference between live
and blank bullets.
Those found at fault are expected to go through a
disciplinary hearing which will determine the level of the disciplinary
action, sources close to the investigations said.
were shot near the CSC stand at the show during the mishap.
admitted at Marondera Provincial Hospital and they sustained leg
Two have since been discharged from Marondera Hospital
after their condition was said to be satisfactory.
Five were taken to
Parirenyatwa and Borrowdale Hospitals where their conditions are said to be
Zimbabwe National Army commander Major General Philip Sibanda and
his wife, Mrs Mercy Sibanda and other army senior officers, visited the
injured at Marondera Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Maj Gen Sibanda
wished the injured a quick recovery and said the army would pay for the
hospital bills and crutches for the injured.
"What happened was an
accident, which has never happened before since independence. We have come
here because we are human and feel for the people who were injured in this
accident," he said.
Maj Gen Sibanda also gave the patients Bibles,
fruits, get-well-soon cards and flowers.
Two Form Two students who
are friends were both shot in the legs while they were standing outside the
One of the girls will need crutches to enable her to walk
again. Her mother was close to tears and wanted to know whether the army
would also provide transport when the girl visits the hospital to have her
"Arrangements will be made for transport for those that
will need any kind of help," Maj Gen Sibanda said.
medical superintendent, Dr Jevas Majok Jevas said the incident had disturbed
people of the town who had not understood what had happened.
are happy that you are here and have demonstrated that what happened was not
intentional," Dr Majok said.
companies have started using the cheaper Beira pipeline to transport fuel
sourced from different parts of the world into the country, the Petroleum
Marketers Association of Zimbabwe said this week.
PMAZ chairman Masimba
Kambarami told reporters that use of the pipeline started a week ago after
oil companies pooled resources under the new Special Purpose Vehicle, which
is charged with collective importation of fuel.
"The Beira pipeline
is now in full use and fuel supply, particularly in Harare, has greatly
improved," said Kambarami.
He said fuel supply had stabilised in most
parts of the country except in the south where shortages were still being
Areas such as Bulawayo and Masvingo, he said, were
experiencing fuel shortages and oil companies were trying to speed up
deliveries to these areas.
Mr Kambarami said recent fuel shortages
were caused by the fact that the country's major supplier, Sasol of South
Africa, had stopped oil exports.
He said companies affected had since
moved to other suppliers and the situation was getting back to
Fuel queues resurfaced in Harare and other parts of the country
more than a week ago after reports that the country had run out
The fuel industry initially blamed the shortages on foreign
currency constraints but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe publicly denied the
reason, saying the country had enough funds to import the
Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono indicated that the RBZ had
for the past eight months allocated enough funds to more than 70 oil
companies to import fuel.
He disclosed that some oil companies were
abusing and using for speculative purposes, foreign currency that was meant
for fuel imports.
Fuel supply in the country has greatly improved since
the beginning of this year owing to the increased availability of foreign
currency through the forex auction system.
The new system was
introduced in January this year and has seen a significant improvement in
foreign currency inflows into the country - New Ziana.
Business Reporters THE development of the Beitbridge Export
Processing Zone (EPZA) Industrial Park is running behind schedule, and this
could stand in Zimbabwe's way on its export drive.
sources told the Herald Business this week that the project has been
hampered by several technical glitches.
At present, only four factory
shells, are fully operational at the park, but the completion of the second
factory (second phase) has been delayed due to "unforeseen
The development flies in the face of Industry and International
Trade Minister, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi who had in May intimated that the
construction of the second block of factories would be complete by this
But according to the sources, no meaningful progress has
been made towards the development of this factory to date, leaving the
export processing authority with no clue as to when it would be
This also throws into near disarray the country's efforts of
increasing its exports to earn the much needed foreign currency as well
attracting foreign investments.
"The second factory is presently at
roof level," said a source. "They were indications that the factory must
have been complete by September of this year but it has suffered delays due
to unreliable supplies of building materials.
"The EPZA has been
experiencing problems in importing some of the materials from South Africa,
but there are various other difficulties which have led to these delays,
including insufficient funding from Government."
EZPA chief executive Mr
Walter Chidhakwa confirmed the construction of the second block was running
three weeks behind schedule.
"We are trying to speed up the process to
enable us to meet our next February deadline for the official opening," Mr
Chidhakwa said adding that delays in receiving steel consignments from South
Africa had temporarily stalled progress.
A massive industrial park is
being developed in Beitbridge with the incomplete factory among the biggest.
The construction of the park commenced in 1999.
The development of
the park's first phase has been completed and a South African sugar syrup
producer is already operating, principally, for the export market. This
project represents the single largest investment to take place in
Another locally registered company involved in ostrich meat
has expressed serious interest in setting up operations at the second
factory and is now waiting to sign lease agreements with the EPZA, the
But, it's not certain if the prospective company would
realise it's export dreams any time soon, especially with no clear cut time
frame under which construction of the factory would be
There is a lot of scope for fruit processing ventures in the
Beitbridge area where there is abundance of fruits especially oranges as
farmers in the area are believed to be exporting 15 000 to 20 000 tonnes of
unprocessed oranges into South Africa every month.
that the project is likely to enhance more opportunities for Zimbabwean
exporters who will have easy access to South Africa, the country's largest
HARARE - Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri has been summoned by President Robert Mugabe over reports that he is
involved in corrupt dealings that have cost the country billions of
The Daily News Online understands that President Mugabe
was upset after getting reports that the man he has entrusted with the
mandate to ensure law and order and to weed out corruption was himself
allegedly involved in the rot.
George Charamba could not be reached for comment over the matter as his
mobile phone was unreachable but sources within the police force confirmed
that Chihuri has been summoned to State House over corruption.
Although full details of what transpired at State House could not be
established, Daily News Online has it on good authority that the head of
state was upset with Chihuri.
Chihuri has served his mandatory
two terms as police chief and since then Mugabe has been extending his
Sources in the police could however not confirm
whether Chihuri was under investigation or whether he could face arrest in
the current government crackdown on corruption. Top government officials and
ruling party officials such as James Makamba and Finance Minister, Chris
Kuruneri were arrested earlier this year for alleged corruption. Makamba is
out of prison while Kuruneri remains locked in prison.
Unconfirmed reports say the police chief who is supposed to lead the
anti-graft crusade which started late year has been frustrating efforts to
bring out some of the people and companies which have been siphoning foreign
currency out of the country because he was also allegedly
Recently Chihuri is alleged to have dismissed a fellow
senior police officer who had stumbled on information implicating him in a
car theft scam.
Chihuri was once dragged to the courts in the early
nineties on charges of corruption involving cars while some of his
colleagues who have since left the force appeared on various charges such as
poaching and theft.
Critics have questioned Mugabe's decision in
appointing an accused person to such a sensitive office. Chihuri, whose
Chimurenga name is Comrade Chocha was among the group of freedom fighters
who rebelled against Mugabe in 1978 and were arrested for more than two
years in an underground prison in Mozambique. They were only released a few
days before the 1980 elections after the intervention of the United Nations
and the British government.
The 77 member group, called Vashandi,
included such people as Dzinashe Machingura (Wilfred Mhanda), Rugare Gumbo
(now a cabinet minister), Happison Muchechetere (Harry Tanganeropa), the
late Jones Jichidza (Sebastian Musabayana) and Victor Maunde and Gwarada
Chihuri joined the police force in 1981 and worked
his way up until he became Police Commissioner in 1990.
Nation waits on Mugabe to wield the axe
on Chihuri, Gono
If indeed it is
true that President Robert Mugabe has summoned his police chief,
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri following reports that he is involved in
shady deals that have cost the country billions of dollars, then we are
about to see a new Mugabe.
It would be a great story.
This will not be the first time that Chihuri, a devout member of the
Apostolic Church has been linked to graft. The last time when he made
headlines Chihuri was implicated in the importation of stolen cars and
bribery. He survived but came out scathed for a man whose position is to
watch over the national offices of law and order.
Mugabe did not call for a commission of inquiry. He did not see that the
incident had seriously tainted the image of the police force.
to his weak character, Mugabe renewed Chihuri's term of office when it
expired. And since then it has been renewed every year until now.
Since 1980, Mugabe has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to public outcries
over corruption within the government or scandal-tainted parastatals such as
the Grain Marketing Board, PTC, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe,
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and of late the Reserve Bank of
Gedion Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank has been
implicated in corruption by hiring people known to be his close relatives or
friends without going through the normal procedures.
serious allegations that Gono has offered these same people salaries that
are much higher than those for old staffers at the bank and this has miffed
the old timers who have blown the whistle.
But knowing Mugabe, and
his close relationship to Gono, a distant relative of the First Lady and the
personal banker of the first family, it is highly unlikely that he will
raise a finger, let alone take heed to the complainants.
Mugabe's perennial failure to act decisively against his close lieutenants
implicated in graft is one of his biggest weaknesses as a national
He has always swept dirt under his feet and this has piled
so much that Mugabe emits a pungent smell. Everywhere he goes there are
flies on his person like one who has done something in his
Perhaps the real reason why he will not punish wrongdoers is
that he has too many skeletons in his cupboard to point any fingers at any
of his corrupt friends.
The nation waits to see what action
will be taken against Chihuri and Gono. - Editorial
HARARE - Vendors in Harare's Commercial
Business District have vowed to defy council orders for them to vacate their
selling points and be allocated stalls in areas which are designated for
In separate interviews, the vendors, who are
currently engaged in running battles with the municipal police and Zanu PF
militias from the National Youth Service yesterday told The Daily News
Online that they were losing wares worth millions of dollars to the council
on a daily basis.
They said officials from the municipal police,
who were spearheading the clean-up exercise, were also taking some of their
wares for personal use.
They also alleged that some of the
vendors who had co-operated with the municipal police, were being issued
with market stalls at council designated points after being forced to join
the ruling party, Zanu PF and paying their subscriptions to the
"We are not politicians. We are suffering and are trying to
make life easier for ourselves and families. We do not understand why these
people are demanding that we should first join Zanu PF for us to be given
market stalls in the city centre," said Pelagia Hore, one of the vendors
operating in the CBD area.
Other vendors told The Daily News
Online that they were being forced to pay hefty spot fines with the
municipal police and youths from the National Youth Service confiscating
"We know that our municipal police officials are
corrupt and that they accept bribes from us, but it becomes a problem when
they demand those bribes in front of these youths from the National Youth
Service," said George Paganga, a vendor operating along First
Most of the vendors who are being harassed are those
selling foodstuffs, pre-paid cards for cellphones and vegetable
Harare City Council has always been engaged in running
battles with vendors in the CBD, accusing them of messing up the city and
not paying revenue to the council.
They are also being accused
of exerting pressure on the city's sewerage and water reticulation services
which have now almost become non-functional.
The vendors, who
are part of the nation's 80 percent of informal traders and the unemployed,
have always argued that they were paying rentals to their landlords who were
in turn being levied by the city council.
They say that they are
not supposed to pay any levies as the municipality was not providing them
with any service.
Since the recent mass resignation of councilors
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the government has
taken direct control of all the functions of the council.
introduction of youths from the National Youth Service to help in policing
the streets of Harare, is one of the many initiatives which the government
has embarked on to bring back sanity to the collapsing city.
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 22 Sep
2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe is preparing to host a Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Water Resources, Sanitation and Hygiene Fair (WARSH) in the
midst of a water and sanitation crisis.
The capital, Harare, has been
experiencing ongoing disruptions to its water supply, while borehole use in
rural areas has been reduced.
The SADC fair, from 23 to 25 September,
aims to promote cooperation between members in water and sanitation matters
and assess progress made towards reaching the Millennium Development Goal
(MGD) of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking
water and basic sanitation by 2015.
According to an MDG Mid-Term
Assessment for the period 1990 to 2002, released in August, Zimbabwe
improved its water accessibility to 83 percent and its sanitation coverage
to 57 percent during this time.
However, a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF)
report for 2003 noted that recent environmental disasters, such as cyclones
and drought, coupled with internal migration caused by the country's
fast-track land reform programme, had eroded progress made in the extension
of these basic services.
Thousands of people in rural areas were,
consequently, without access to safe water and sanitation, leaving them open
to epidemics of cholera and diarrhoea, as well as skin and eye
The situation has been worsened by the national economic
downturn, which has eroded the capacity of communities to run and maintain
their water supply systems to such an extent that an estimated 50 percent of
systems are non-functional.
According to the MDG assessment, water
access in rural Zimbabwe in 2002 stood at 74 percent. However, in areas
where over 300,000 families have been officially resettled as part of the
land reform programme, access to safe water is estimated to be as low as 11
percent, and basic sanitation at below one percent.
rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation systems in these areas needs
to be prioritised, UNICEF spokeswoman Shantha Bloemen told IRIN.
the MDG assessment report put access to safe drinking water in Zimbabwe's
towns and cities at 100 percent in 2002, urban areas were increasingly
threatened by water shortages, largely because a lack of foreign currency
has made it difficult to purchase water treatment chemicals, or replacement
parts for ageing equipment.
Many parts of Harare have had to endure water
cuts for long periods, forcing residents to obtain water from unprotected
sources. Although the government has taken over water management of the
capital from the city council, according to official sources
recapitalisation of Zim $49 billion (about US $8.7 million) would be
required to rectify the situation. Analysts say it may be some time before
any sense of normality is restored.
Nowhere have the effects of the
crisis been more keenly felt than in government schools, where water
rationing, coupled with unaffordable water bills caused by the rising cost
of water and leakages in obsolete equipment, has brought a number of schools
to the brink of closure. Although schools may charge levies for operational
costs, they are not mandatory and many parents either are unwilling or
unable to pay them.
As a more sustainable solution to the water problem
in the 287 urban government schools, UNICEF has suggested the rehabilitation
of old boreholes or drilling new ones, as well as training the school
community in water conservation and management.
"This would keep any
costs down and release the schools from the burden of having to raise enough
in school levies to meet the cost of water bills. Instead, these funds could
be channelled into other urgently needed education materials, such as
textbooks and stationery," Bloemen said.
AI Index: AFR 46/027/2004
(Public) News Service No: 233 22 September 2004
dead following police misuse of tear gas Amnesty International is calling for
a full and independent inquiry into the deaths of at least ten people, since
2 September 2004, at Porta Farm, an informal settlement on the outskirts of
Harare. On 2 September, riot police, "war veterans" and members of the youth
"militia" reportedly went to Porta Farm to forcibly evict some 10,000
people, many of whom have been living there since 1991. The police were
acting in defiance of a court order prohibiting the eviction. According to
eye-witness testimony, the police fired tear gas directly into the homes of
the Porta Farm residents. One resident of Porta Farm, a man who had been
ill with tuberculosis, is reported to have died on 2 September, shortly
after being exposed to the tear gas. A young child died the following day.
By Sunday 19 September eight more Porta Farm residents had died. Residents
claim that all those who died, several of whom were reported to have
pre-existing illnesses, had been exposed to the tear gas. Amongst the dead
are a mother and her five-month old son, who were in their home when police
fired tear gas into the building. Hundreds of residents have complained
of chest and stomach pains, nose bleeding and other ill-effects since the
tear gas incident. Doctors who examined some of the Porta Farm residents,
following the events of 2 September, believe that those most seriously
affected by the tear gas were particularly vulnerable due to pre-existing
illnesses such as tuberculosis. Amnesty International is appalled by the
excessive use of force by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and deeply concerned
by the deaths at Porta Farm. "Firing tear gas into a confined space is
completely contrary to international human rights standards on the use of
force by law enforcement officials because of the danger posed to those
exposed," the organization said. Amnesty International is also concerned
by the attempt to forcibly evict the residents of Porta Farm. Forced
evictions - a term used internationally to describe evictions carried out
without due process - violate human rights. They violate Zimbabwe's
obligations under international human rights treaties to which it is a
party. Forced evictions undermine the right to adequate housing and subject
people to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy, family or
home. "The Government of Zimbabwe has an obligation to provide access to
adequate housing for all people within its jurisdiction. Any resettlement of
the residents of Porta Farm must ensure that their civil, political, social
and economic rights are upheld," Amnesty International said. "The
authorities must ensure that all those affected by the police use of tear
gas are properly examined and provided with any medical care they may need,"
the organization added. Background In 1991 thousands of people living in
informal settlements around Harare were moved, by the government, to Porta
Farm, as a temporary measure in anticipation of being permanently resettled.
More than a decade later the majority remain at Porta Farm. In July 2004 the
Porta Farm residents were allegedly told they would be relocated to other
farms. However, the residents were subsequently threatened with death by
"war veterans" if they moved to the proposed locations. On 31 August 2004
they obtained a court order staying their eviction from Porta Farm for 10
days, while the matter was investigated further. Tear gas can be lethal
if used in confined spaces. It can also cause people to panic and stampede,
which is often where the most serious injuries and fatalities occur. Amnesty
International has documented misuse of tear gas by police in Zimbabwe for
several years, including incidents at the University of Zimbabwe in 1995 and
2001. Amnesty International has examined some of the tear gas canisters used
by the police on 2 September at Porta Farm to determine the suppliers. Many
of the canisters carried the initials "PW", while some were marked "ZW".
Canisters with these initials were also fired into university student
residences by the Zimbabwe Republic Police in November
Document **************************************** For more information
please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20
7413 5566 Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, 22 Sep 2004 (IRIN)
- About 50 members of the rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), have
embarked on a 440 km march to the capital, Harare, to protest a proposed
bill that will regulate NGOs.
The drum-beating, whistle-blowing activists
began the march on Sunday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. They are
expected to reach the capital on 4 October and will assemble outside
parliament to present a petition against the controversial
"What we are basically saying is that we are diametrically opposed
to the proposed bill, because, should it find its way through parliament, it
will mean suffering to many women and children. Of course, there are many
risks that include being arrested on the way and being attacked by wild
animals as we sleep in the open at night, but we are absolutely undaunted,"
WOZA spokeswoman Jenny Williams told IRIN from Gweru City, some 200 km north
The protesters, aged between 20 and 60, intend to "be a
physical and spiritual presence outside the parliament when it opens on 4
October and hope to convince the conscience of the legislators against the
bill," Williams said.
"The NGO Bill, if passed in its current form,
will have struck at the lives and very survival of women and their families.
Most of the women are beneficiaries of donor food and have HIV/AIDS orphans
that they care for. This walk symbolises a defending of the kindness of the
donor community, and a way of saying how much their help has meant to
Zimbabweans," said WOZA in an additional statement.
bill, which replaces the Private Voluntary Organisations Act, requires all
NGOs to register with a government-appointed regulatory council, similar to
the controversial Media and Information Commission, and disclose details of
their programmes and funding.
NGOs without registration licenses will be
shut down, and officials who continue their activities illegally could face
up to six months in prison.
Organisations involved in charity work,
disbursing humanitarian assistance, the provision of funds for legal aid,
animal welfare, environmental issues and the promotion of human rights are
all covered in the bill.
The proposed legislation also seeks to ban
foreign NGOs concerned principally with "issues of governance", and deny
registration to NGOs receiving foreign funding for "promotion and protection
of human rights and political governance issues".
have countered that the draft bill is meant to regulate the operations of
NGOs for national security reasons.