The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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            Zim Independent
Mugabe's absurdity

IT'S absurd when we have a whole president claiming that we Zimbabweans are "very, very happy" when most of us are struggling to make ends meet.

It's strange President Robert Mugabe even has the audacity to say our problem is not that we are hungry, but that we are "not potato eaters" and that we don't like rice. Really, Baba Chatunga?

We fear Mugabe's lust for power has now blinded him that he can't even see how "his" people are suffering. We are hungry, angry, sick, desperate and poor but our president is so out of touch with reality we wonder why he is still in power.

We don't care that the old man feels like a God-ordained king and treats himself royally, but it becomes obscene when he lies in front of the whole world that we Zimbabweans are "very, very happy".

Experts warn that half of Zimbabwe's 11 million people could face starvation, but we can tell you a lot more - even those considered capable of feeding themselves - are already reeling courtesy of Mugabe's apparent recklessness.

We haven't forgotten the dear leader shooed away food aid donors because he believed his sycophantic Agriculture minister's predictions that Zimbabwe would enjoy a bumper harvest. Bumper harvest? From air? From untilled soil?

If his statements are not the epitome of arrogance, then it can't be anything better than meanness. I'm afraid here is a man who doesn't care a hoot about the people he wants the whole world to believe have entrenched him as Zimbabwe's eternal ruler.

We won't even be tempted to believe the president's claim that he will "rest" until he has done it, for his delusional statements cannot be trusted by anyone - even by those who would want him to rule forever as long as they feed off the spoils of their bootlicking antics.

We will keep our ears to the ground following pronouncements that the ruining Zanu PF government is mulling doctoring the already heavily sutured constitution in order to synchronise presidential and parliamentary elections. It wouldn't be a bad idea were Zanu PF not notorious for rigging and other politricks to entrench Mugabe's hegemony.

All right-thinking Zimbabweans want Mugabe gone yesterday. We can't afford another minute of his headship. Of course the old man behaves as if Zimbabwe is a village of which he is a sabhuku (headman).

Mugabe believes Zimbabwe will never be a colony again, but I'm afraid the country is now a colony of poverty. Poverty has laid eggs in all corners of the country, and most of the eggs have already hatched.

We won't say much, for it might be just another waste of time talking to a heartless leader. For now, suffice to say we are "very, very sad"!

Hokoyo Nenhamo,


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Zim Independent
The curator is sitting right in our pockets

IT'S depressing to imagine the government of Zimbabwe has had the impudence to hike the value-added tax (VAT) from 15% to 17,5% at a time when we are already taxed to death by a plethora of hardships courtesy of our incompetent leadership.

In essence the hike in the tax is a spike in our spending power at a time what we are getting slave pittances from our employers. Literally, the curator is now sitting right in our pockets - we are insolvent!

While we have become used to the government's indifference to the plight of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe, it becomes worrying when the taxpayers just accept the imposition of massive taxes on us by a leadership that cares not a bit.

This is the time we wish Morgan Tsvangirai were still at the helm of the now toothless Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). In the late 90s Tsvangirai led a series of mass strikes that saw the government capitulating and agreeing to cut down the then sales tax from 17,5% to 15%.

Today we have a ZCTU leadership whose preoccupation seems to be battling for relevance within the organisation instead of fighting for the rights and emancipation of the distressed and oppressed worker.

The $7 million that the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six now needs for basic goods per month, I'm afraid, is far less than even a single person now requires to survive.

That figure certainly doesn't factor in the fuel price hike and its ripple effects. Only this week, bread prices more than doubled while we no longer have the luxury to look at other basics such as milk.

The ill-thought-out Operation Murambatsvina has not done us any good as rentals have skyrocketed as demand for housing escalated to unprecedented levels.

With the way everything is going, it's not long before statisticians revise their estimates of over 70% unemployed people in Zimbabwe. With some people earning a gross of $2 million per month - enough only to transport one who stays in Chitungwiza to and fro work in Harare - the only sensible thing would be to give up that employment.

We have now plumbed the depths of despair as workers. How long shall we suffer while funding a heartless regime through taxing tithes?

Should we call for Tsvangirai's return to the ZCTU? Well, of course Tsvangirai has grown bigger than the worker's union and is now most people's hope as redemption from all the crises bedevilling Zimbabwe is concerned.

It's unfortunate the government, in its wisdom or lack of it, found it necessary to impose draconian laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) to curtail any demonstrations against its cruelty. Yes, cruelty is what the taxes imposed on us are.

But it would be outright dereliction of duty if the ZCTU leaders were to fold their hands and say they can't do anything on behalf of the workers because of Posa. The government can still be engaged in other ways that will make them realise how unfair and cruelly it is treating us the workers.

Either way we are suffering. We can't go on like this and the workers - whose taxes ensure President Robert Mugabe, his family and cronies live happily - deserve better.

Don't tell us "Tsvangirai's" targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his hierarchy are to blame. Or that Tony Blair is the master of our suffering.

We are not that daft after all to swallow that gibberish hook, line and sinker.

Eheka Mastondido,


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Zim Independent
An odyssey of hypocrisy, inconsistency
By Chido Makunike

SUPPOSE you were one of the tiny number of people who still believe that Zanu PF has any consistent ideology or stands for any identifiable principle.

Suppose you were a politician, media owner or bureaucrat whose job or access to the privileges of patronage in a dead economy depended on singing the praises of Robert Mugabe and his nasty regime. Or, if you were a state propagandist employed solely to try to put a positive spin on anything that Mugabe and his regime did.

If you were any of these, your life and job have been made bewilderingly difficult by the haphazard and confused actions and statements of the Mugabe regime.

For many years now we have been told that the reason why the Mugabe regime's reputation is so low is because of a Western conspiracy by countries "trying to reverse the gains of the Third Chimurenga led by the revolutionary Mugabe government to empower the landless black masses".

The local arm of that massive conspiracy are the "black stooges" in the opposition movement and the media which has gone the same way.

But lately, we have seen an astonishing number and frequency of own goals by Mugabe's repressive and incompetent regime. Its defenders have become fewer, less robust and less convinced by all the excuses for failure, and therefore in turn, even less convincing than they have ever been.

Let us consider a few of the many internal contradictions shown by the Mugabe regime as it fascinatingly implodes on itself.

As Mugabe's right-hand men - central banker Gideon Gono and his official ministerial superior but in reality junior, Herbert Murerwa - ran around to pay off the IMF, Mugabe, their supervisor, was busy undermining them at every turn.

In a more hopeful time Mugabe had told off the IMF and declared that they could go and hang, to the cheers of the ideologues who stare at us from the pages of their columns every week.

With his back now against the wall, the economy's strangulation more apparent with every passing minute, Mugabe has been stung by the humiliation of having to crawl back on his knees to the IMF he so loathes.

To assuage this latest of many recent humiliations, Mugabe dons his rhetorical "revolutionary" cap and goes to Cuba to bask in the glow of his hero Fidel Castro. Even as Gono and Murerwa jumped hoops and scrounged around high and low to gather just enough hard currency to avoid Zimbabwe being kicked out by the IMF, Mugabe was carping about how much he hated the IMF!

It was not the local "oppositional" or the foreign press that first highlighted the sad, comical inconsistency that Mugabe has been reduced to, but his own embattled propaganda machinery. Alas; irony of ironies, the great self-declared anti-imperialist bulwark, Mugabe, has now been forced to kow-tow to the IMF because he has brought his once-thriving economy to its knees!

If the IMF is the blunt instrument of neo-imperialist powers as Mugabe, Umdala Tafataona Mohoso and others never tire of reminding us, then Mugabe has delivered Zimbabwe to the doors of the wolf by his incompetent "running" of the country's affairs.

Sekuru Mugabe and Umdala Mahoso, if you have any doubt about what I am saying, just ask Gono and Murerwa why they scrambled in the undignified way they did to pay off an organisation that you say is responsible for many of our problems?

Sekuru, Umdala, please find a "revolutionary", Pan Africanist way to clear up the confusion of many Zimbabweans: if we paid this money voluntarily, what exactly is our position in regards to the IMF?

By George Nathaniel Charamba, can you quote any Saturday Shakespearean poetry or hurl any insults to explain all this?

If our arms were twisted by circumstances or more directly, to pay the IMF, what does this say about the "sovereignty" that Sekuru Mugabe has been shouting himself hoarse about for years now to justify his incompetence and brutal repression? Somebody please help me out; has my thinking faculties been clouded by the white neo-imperialists, or are there real, pitifully glaring inconsistencies here?

The symbolism of first visiting US-defying Cuba on his way to New York for a UN meeting was interesting. It was like saying: "My juniors may be running around bowing to international real politik by raiding our already depleted national coffers to pay arrears to the IMF, but look at me, I am still very tough rhetorically, I can still play to the gallery!"

But as shown by the disquiet at this tired old duplicity even amongst those who worship the ground Mugabe walks on, it is no longer fooling anyone. You know you are beginning to lose it when previous diehard supporters begin to ask what there is to gain from all this adolescent show of rhetorical machismo.

Cuba may have chaffed under Castro's repressive heel for decades now and has definitely suffered from US sanctions against it, but it has certain areas of achievement to its name.

The provision of above average health services is one such area. Innovations in areas of agriculture are another. Contrast that to Zimbabwe under Mugabe's tutelage, where the country is going backwards in every respect. Mugabe expressed pleasure at the prospect of mooching off Cuba's proffered medical help, but had nothing to offer Cuba in return, except the rhetorical hot air that is his stock in trade that he uses to lay claim to still being a "revolutionary".

While the real revolutionaries of today quietly find ways of improving the lot of the people, the surviving dinosaurs of yesterday cling to a pretend definition of "revolutionary" that they learned from romantic novels and movies. At least Castro knows how to retain the romantic, outward trappings of a "revolutionary".

His long beard may be greying, but it sets him apart from looking stiff and formal, giving him a certain panache. I don't know if Castro has built a gauche, obscene mansion in an exclusive suburb of Havana in lean times for his fellow citizens. I don't know if he likes to be ferried in a French helicopter or luxurious German limousine at the same time that he claims to be an anti-Western revolutionary.

But the contrast between his being donned in "revolutionary" fatigues while Mugabe, the self-proclaimed African "revolutionary" was as usual bundled up in a conservative "imperialistic" suit like an English banker, was rather stark!

My heart goes out to the media policemen, permanent secretaries, ministers and foot soldiers of the Mugabe propaganda machinery.

Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, the hypocrisy and inconsistency of your principal makes your task of defending him increasingly, pitifully difficult and untenable!

* Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.

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Zim Indep
Thanks Benjy, but Moyo wasn't wrong
IndependentSport View with Darlington Majonga

MAVERICK, enigmatic and charismatic at the same time is one political turncoat christened Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo who many Zimbabweans love to hate.

A sharp-tongued and robust orator, Moyo has over the years dramatically changed from one of President Robert Mugabe's harshest critics to his staunchest defender before reverting to the dear leader's nemesis again.

Professor Moyo gained notoriety for championing the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, while he also managed to lift propaganda to unprecedented levels with his habitually scatological defence of Zanu PF's policies that almost cost Mugabe the presidency.

However, for all his unsavoury reputation, it seems many still found some of J-Mo's works irresistible. That's why ZBC still plays Moyo's jingle Go Warriors, while PaxAfro's songs are still played endlessly on national radio.

Away from politics, there is one great idea Moyo propagated that most of us greeted with scorn simply because it was the brainchild of a "hated" politician - the Warriors Trust!

The Warriors Trust was formed after the then Vincent Pamire-led Zifa executive had bungled Zimbabwe's 2004 Nations Cup qualifying trip to Mali in July 2003. From then onwards, the Trust always came to the rescue of the Warriors.

While the Warriors Trust ensured that Zimbabwe were well-catered for during their maiden African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia last year, we still did not trust the political hand dabbling in the affairs of the national team.

The Trust had promised the Warriors US$10 000 per each player had they beaten Egypt in their debut match at the Tunisia finals but Zimbabwe unfortunately lost 1-2. The Trust however fulfilled its pledge when it paid the players US$3 000 each after they upset Algeria 2-1.

Being the same Warriors Trust that denied journalists from papers deemed anti-government seats on the plane that had been chartered for the big trip to Tunisia, we still viewed the Trust with scepticism, as we feared Zanu PF wanted to extend its hegemony to the people's sport.

But following events this week, it seems Moyo's idea - objectively speaking - was not so bad after all. Politics aside, his idea was the way to go.

Warriors hitman Benjani Mwaruwari this week offered to bankroll a two-week training camp for the national team in France just before the Nations Cup finals in Egypt next January.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) was this week yet to accept the offer that would see Mwaruwari taking care of accommodation, meals and training facilities and arranging friendly games with "credible opposition".

The Auxerre striker hopes the Warriors might have a chance to meet the likes of Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea who are likely to camp in France as well because the bulk of their players are based there.

There is also every possibility of engaging top French Ligue 1 sides.

Zifa will only have to foot airfares for the players and technical team and leave everything to Mwaruwari.

This is too tempting an offer the perennially cash-squeezed Zifa would find hard to turn down. With barely four months before the biennial Nations Cup finals kick off in Cairo, this offer is no doubt a godsend for the Warriors.

While some players were so desperate to make the squad for the Tunisia finals that they allegedly bought some members of the technical team DVD players and other electrical gadgets to bribe their way into the team, Mwaruwari's move is clearly not sinister in any way. Mwaruwari is one player who would literally walk into any team on the continent.

The star striker, who recently donated blankets worth millions to old people in Bulawayo, deserves our appreciation for his charitable deeds.

George Weah, who is now eyeing Liberia's presidency, was as famous for his charity as he was for his footballing prowess when it came to his national team. Weah would fund airfares, accommodation and allowances for the Lone Stars.

Earlier this month, Barcelona star Samuel Etoo dangled US$2 000 per player to his Cameroon compatriots if they beat Ivory Coast - which they did.

So Mwaruwari is not short of contemporaries in this commitment business.

While Zifa chefs rub their hands with glee at the good news coming from France, are they not ashamed that up to this day they had not achieved anything tangible in as far as preparing the Warriors for the Nations Cup finals?

It's exactly a year since Zifa terminated its marriage with Moyo's Warriors' Trust. But regrettably, we haven't seen anything since Zifa chairman Rafiq Khan promised a new trust would immediately be formed. If a new Warriors Trust was indeed formed, we are afraid we haven't seen any proof of its existence, if not relevance.

This idea of waiting for handouts does not bode well for a country eager to prove its significance on the international scene.

Over the years Zifa has failed dismally to attract meaningful sponsorship for the national teams, resorting to last-minute scrounging or government bailouts just before international assignments.

As long as we have people who are not interested in being taken seriously as administrators, the Warriors brand will never become as attractive as it should be to prospective sponsors,

It's little wonder that as long as administrators make it their core business to fight against each other at the expense of football, key products will remain allergic to football sponsorship.

We all appreciate that with the tough economic situation prevailing in Zimbabwe, many corporates have little to spare for sport.

But the main reason sponsors are shying away from football is simply because we have greedy and selfish people in Zifa just for power, not football.

Secondly, the football association does not have a plausible policy on sponsorship, while a system to build and manage relations with sponsors is something Khan and his band of sycophantic administrators have never heard about.

Sponsorship this age is a business whereby both the sponsor and the sponsored have to benefit. In the past sponsorship was lopsided, with the sponsor being seen as a donor.

That's the biggest challenge administrators have - to disabuse themselves of the belief that a sponsor just has to pump in money without getting any mileage. It's now a win-win scenario.

The Warriors brand needs serious marketing, and we should desist from taking out our begging bowls all the time.

Well, so J-Mo was not wrong after all. Anyway, thanks Benjy for your kindness and commitment.

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Zim INdep
Vincent Kahiya

IS there such a thing as deliberate inefficiency? Some might argue that deliberate inefficiency is a good thing if it keeps people employed. This appears to be the motivation for many members of our civil service. Inefficiency creates a false impression that they are swamped with work.

That is why the standing in line to get in and out of the country at Beitbridge could take up to three hours in some instances while two immigration officers leisurely process thousands of incoming passengers and other posts remain closed. It is the same story at the Harare City Council's Rowan Martin banking hall.

This explains why long queues have become permanent fixtures at the Registrar-General's office. There are also queues at the Vehicle Inspection Department for those wanting to get drivers' licences.

Investors wanting to open new businesses in Zimbabwe are subjected to long periods of waiting as their documentation is taken from one office to another or is completely forgotten about.

At Parirenyatwa hospital on Monday there was evidence of this institutional disease when a man who had been knocked down by a car lay writhing on a stretcher as nurses chatted and compared their fingernails. Zimbabwe has become a country of queues where self-important bureaucrats preside over the powerless multitudes who have to endure humiliating instructions of "sit down", "stand up", "don't lean against the wall" and so on.

A small argument between a client and an officer can result in hours of delay, hence instructions must be followed without question. These officers really enjoy power. They are demi-gods.

Deliberate inefficiency ensures that service delivery by public officers is carried out at glacial speed, akin to the North African tectonic plate grinding toward the European. The snail's pace and false piety with which things eventually get done are characteristic of the corruption and deliberate inefficiency of most of our bureaucrats and managers.

Therein breeds corruption. A passport that usually takes months to be issued can be obtained at the supersonic speed of a day and a driver's licence can be obtained without the learner even going for a road test if the right inducement is paid.

This is the same country where a five-kilometre road can be built in a fortnight if "big" cars are to travel on it (remember Carrick Creagh in Borrowdale?) while a pothole is only repaired after five years or when a fatal accident occurs. An engine overhaul can be done on a minister's car in a week while getting wheels for an ambulance can take years.

Why then, one wonders, does this very capable nation and its government, which on occasion can move with massive force (remember Operation Murambatsvina or an NCA demo?) proceeds so often at the pace of biological evolution?

This is because the system has been corrupted so much that inefficiency brings in more rewards to public officials than formal wages. Public officials, now celebrated as "tycoons", will continue to prosper in this environment, not because of entrepreneurial vision but their brazen shamelessness. They are focused, along with the rest of the political elite, on the profits that doing business within and with government alone can bring.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru was last week warning such officials in frank yet very strong terms, which shows that government is well aware of the problem. A month ago, I wrote in this column that the country needed a moral leader to mobilise the country towards acting positively. Mujuru is positioning herself as the guardian of honourable behaviour. I am tracking her progress in this area to see if she can rid the RG's office of queues, cleanse customs and immigration officers of lethargy and corruption, ensure there is water in Harare and Bulawayo and that Air Zimbabwe does not fly three passengers for thousands of kilometers in a 250-seater plane. So far there is not much on the scorecard.

On Tuesday, I bade farewell to one of the best columnists to have graced our opinion/editorial pages since the launch of this paper, Chido Makunike.

It is strange isn't it that Makunike, gifted with some of the best analytical minds and writing skills, is in fact a gardener. His handshake says it all.

He is leaving the country and his landscaping business to take up a new job as coordinator of the Africa Organic Service Centre (AOSC) in Dakar, Senegal. AOSC is part of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). That is a much bigger garden for him to work.

In a statement announcing the appointment IFOAM said Chido Makunike was a "recognised leader in the African environmental and organic initiatives".

"Known for excellence in journalism by many southern African readers, Makunike is strongly supported by the organic movements in Zambia and Zimbabwe."

René Fischer, director of the Zimbabwe Organic Producers' and Processors' Association, said Chido's passion for the organic movement combined with his highly tuned skills for critical analysis will serve the African organic industry well.

I wish him well in his new job.

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Zim Indep.
M&R boss acquires loss-making arm
Roadwin Chirara

PADDY Zhanda, Murray & Roberts (M&R)'s chairman, has acquired the firm's loss-making agro business, Zimbabwe Tomato Drying Company (ZTDC), in a $13 billion deal.

The acquisition follows the company board's decision to off-load non-core assets.

M&R has resolved to focus on its core business of construction and manufacturing.

The deal, which is structured on a cash price tag, will see Zhanda acquiring the entire operations and assets of the ZTDC through his Mykol Motors company.

M&R had previously struggled to sustain the operations of the ZTDC after the division continued to register repeated losses, incurring a $4,5 billion loss in the half-year results.

In a statement this week, the company said Zhanda had recused himself, dispelling previous market speculation of conflict of interest in the deal.

It said that he had also declared his interests. The concerns came after M&R, through its financial advisors - FBC Bank - turned down bids from five other prospective buyers.

FBC is said to have shortlisted three companies which were then submitted to M&R together with submissions of their financial advisors over their financial positions.

M&R chief executive, Canada Malunga, however refuted the speculation saying the decision was reached after considerations submitted by independent evaluators and advisors.

"Yes there were six bidders but the decision on the sale of the company to Mr Zhanda was taken, independent of his influence as he recused himself from the all meetings regarding the deal," Malunga said.

He said the M&R board had also taken into consideration the business proposal submitted by Mykol Motors.

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Zim Independent
Mugabe supporter mulls tightening grip on Hwange
Godfrey Marawanyika

NICHOLAS van Hoogstraten, one of President Robert Mugabe's most vocal supporters, is planning to consolidate his grip on Hwange Colliery in the company's upcoming $1,5 trillion rights issue due year-end.

Van Hoogstraten, who is the single largest individual investor in Hwange Colliery, recently spent two days in the mining town where he was assessing progress of investments.

His visit came ahead of the intended rights issue where Hwange plans to raise between $1,5 and $2 trillion, making it the biggest fundraising project by a stock-listed firm.

Van Hoogstraten is the largest individual shareholder in Hwange Colliery with a 12,66% stake through his company - Messina Investments.

The Briton is also understood to be a significant shareholder in Willoughby Consolidated, a UK-registered firm which has a 1,41% stake in Hwange, while government has the largest stake of 38%.

The recent visit could be an indication that he is planning to increase his stake.

Managing director, Godfrey Dzinomwa, confirmed that van Hoogstraten spent some time at the complex recently.

"He was there (Hwange Colliery) for sometime," Dzinomwa said.

"Just like any other investor, he was assessing his investments at the company."

Hwange Colliery Company, will soon come to the market with a $1,5-$2,5 trillion rights issue, becoming the biggest fundraising project by a stock-listed company.

A month-and-a-half ago the rights issue was said to be around $1 trillion but analysts said due to devaluation of the local currency on the official market, the rights issue might rise almost $2 trillion.

They said the rights issue will mostly be handled by a number of banks to minimise their risk exposures.

Currently, the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group have been shortlisted to handle the rights issue.

Dzinomwa said there were some issues which were still to be resolved.

"There are a few things that are still to be sorted out, but I cannot disclose the outstanding issues since it won't be procedural," he said.

"That's all I can say at the moment as I cannot say anything on how much we intend to raise or who will be our underwriters."

Since the beginning of the year, a number of firms have gone onto the market seeking to raise cash through rights issues.

Hwange Colliery has two mines - an open pit and an underground one - with the open pit producing 85% of the total output.

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Bulawayo has no fuel for municipal vehicles
    September 22 2005 at 10:37AM

Harare - Crippling fuel shortages in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo have
brought almost all essential services to a halt, the mayor said on Thursday.

Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said Bulawayo's entire fleet of municipal vehicles was
off the road, and burst sewerage and water pipes were left unrepaired.

Only five of the city's 12 ambulances were able to run at the moment, and
the number of fire engines has also been reduced, the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) mayor said.

"The general services of council are not being carried out," Ndabeni-Ncube
said, adding that this was impacting heavily on the welfare of the city's
1.4 million residents.

Bulawayo, with its wide tree-lined avenues and low-rise colonial-era
buildings, is not the only city to be badly affected by Zimbabwe's current
fuel shortages.

Last week the capital Harare was reported to have only one fire engine on
the road with just a quarter tank of fuel left. Municipal authorities said
they were being forced to buy fuel on the black market to keep municipal
services operating.

Earlier this month the government hiked the price of diesel and petrol by
more than 100 percent, but the measure has not improved availability. -
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Mail & Guardian
Harare cops 'replaced by war veterans'

Harare, Zimbabwe

23 September 2005 10:34

Four of Harare's top police officers have been sent on forced leave and
replaced by war veterans, the state-controlled Herald reported on Friday.

Nomutsa Chideya, the town clerk, said that four senior managers in the
municipal police department had been sent on "indefinite" forced leave
starting on Thursday and "a new team of war veterans was appointed in their
place with immediate effect," the newspaper said.

The report said there had been a "gross deterioration in the city's policing

Under the government's controversial Operation Restore Order launched in
May, street children and pavement vendors were cleared from the city. But
they have slowly been trickling back, much to the anger of the authorities.

"Every day we ask the police chief to update us on the situation in the city
and he says everything is under control. But we have seen the resurfacing of
street vendors and street kids," said Chideya.

Harare used to be managed by an opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)-led council, but is now controlled by a state-appointed commission,
following the sacking of the mayor.

Chideya said members of the public had complained about the reappearance of
the vendors and street children.

"The people complained that our police force was not effective and was not
visible. We responded to those queries and decided to try a new leadership,"
he said.

One of the new team of war veterans is a woman. Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s
war of independence are normally seen as loyal to President Robert Mugabe's
government and party.

Mopping up
Meanwhile, the government has ordered the cancellation of title deeds for
over 4 000 white-owned farms and vowed to take over all remaining white

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told reporters in the capital Harare that
the cancellation of the deeds follows last month's constitutional amendments
barring white farmers from appealing to the courts against the government's
seizure of their land, the Herald said.

"Government has directed the Registrar of Deeds to immediately nullify all
title deeds to the 4 000 farms which have been nationalised," the newspaper

Most of the farmers who had lost their land had challenged the takeovers in
But last month lawmakers from President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union -- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party used their
parliamentary majority to force through changes to the Constitution which
make all agricultural land state property.

Only around 400 white farmers had remained on their land following the
controversial land reform programme, which was launched in 2000.

Most were forced to co-exist with settlers on their land. But Chinamasa said
that these farms now face expropriation.

"There will be a mopping-up exercise with those farms who escaped the net
being accounted for and gazetted for acquisition," the newspaper quoted him
as saying.

Agricultural production in Zimbabwe, once known as the breadbasket of
southern Africa, has plunged dramatically in the years following the seizure
of commercial farms for redistribution to new black farmers.

In recent weeks, government officials including Vice President Joyce Mujuru
and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono have accused some new farmers of
lacking commitment to farming. – Sapa-DPA
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Zim Indep
From mergers to demergers to mergers
By Admire Mavolwane

FROM the 1970s right into the late 90s, being a conglomerate was the in-thing. There were - and still are - historical and strategic reasons for this once popular corporate structure not only here in Zimbabwe, but the world over.

Investing in otherwise diametrically opposite business entities either through acquisition or Greenfield projects was seen by cash-rich companies as yielding significant benefits by lowering business risk through diversification.

According to the 1997 Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Handbook, the conglomerate sector had 14 counters and was the dominant sector on the bourse.

Back then, the main ones were Commercial Industrial Holdings (CIH); CFI; Delta Corporation; TA Holdings; TSL Ltd; TZI; Acacia Holdings and Mashonaland Holdings.

Non-listed conglomerates included AngloAmerican Corporation and Astra Corporation. All these companies held investments virtually spanning all economic sectors.

For example, Delta had its interests classified into beverages, retail, hotels and miscellaneous whilst TA Holdings' stable included Aroma Bakeries, Blue Ribbon Foods, United Refineries, Commercial Refrigeration, Cresta Hotels and Zimnat Insurance under its "core businesses".

Aberdare cables, Cummins Zimbabwe, Sabata Holdings, Combine Cargo and TA Electric were accounted for as other businesses.

Associates comprised Sable Chemicals, ZFC and Nissan Clover Leaf.

Listing the businesses then owned by Mashonaland Holdings would take up another whole paragraph.

Various conjectures can be postulated as to why companies sought to spread their tentacles into every sector like giant octopuses.

It appears that most of the competition was based on the final outcome of who owned what - that is, which CEO ruled over the largest empire and hence held the bragging rights in town.

The trend reversed somewhat during the new millennium with the cliché "focusing on core business and unlocking shareholder value" finding its way into the vocabulary of every self-respecting executive.

Shareholders' meetings at that time turned into mini-MBA lectures with a new crop of managers swiftly disabusing understandably startled participants of the notion that a Jack of all trades, ie conglomerate approach was best and passionately preaching the new gospel of core business, focus and competitive advantages.

The major drive towards leaner, more efficient structures and businesses was the realisation that resources and management time could no longer be spread evenly and efficiently at the same time. Even then, resources were becoming tighter and tighter.

However, some cynics say that the fad was driven by investment bankers, management consultants and academics who made fair sums advising companies and running studies and seminars on this phenomenon.

In order to facilitate smoother divestitures, de-mergers and management buyouts became the new buzzwords.

Admittedly, some of the sell-offs were, more often than not, forced rather than voluntary: as the business environment deteriorated, many operations began to bleed and could not be recapitalised as the holding companies were themselves short of cash.

Locally, Mashonaland Holdings embarked on a two-pronged strategy which involved the sell-off of minor subsidiaries and the de-merger of Powerspeed.

TA Holdings did not go the dividend-in-specie route back then, opting instead for the systematic disposal to management and other successful bidders.

Delta Corporation weaned itself from OK Zimbabwe Ltd, furniture retailer Pelhams and hotel group Zimsun through a dividend-in-specie.

The OK Zimbabwe transaction also included a private placement and initial public offering. The highly-successful and relatively controversy-free de-merger of Art, unlike that of Strategies Holdings from TZI, also included a management buyout.

Another high profile de-merger which was later dogged by litigation was the unbundling of Astra Corporation into Cairns Holdings, Astra Industries and Tractive Power Holdings.

A look at the historical time line will show that most of these corporate exercises took place in the period between 2000 and 2002, with the unbundling of the THZ group closing the now famous chapter.

The clock seems to have been turned back again, and for different strategic reasons, to acquisition.

Innscor, which has been on the prowl for a long time, is now emerging as the new ever-hungry acquisitor. Its major target in 2002 was CFI, negotiations for which were unsuccessful - for the time being.

Since then, the group has acquired a 36% stake in National Foods and is now the major shareholder in Colcom, controlling it with 77% of the shareholding.

Innscor now has (disclosed) interests in fast foods outlets, bread baking, Spar corporate stores and franchises, product distribution, crocodile skins, credit retail, white goods manufacturing, biscuit manufacturing, television sets assembling, pork production and retailing, tourism as well as running two corporate headquarters.

CFX Financial Services could have been under the group's umbrella were it not for its high-profile collapse late last year.

Ariston Holdings, a listed horticulture and floriculture concern, had at one time appeared on the group's radar screen. The group is still on the acquisition trail as evidenced by the snapping up of non-listed entities WRS and IRIS Biscuits, as recently as the first six months of this calendar year.

Recent full-year to June 30 results of the group show the impact of the partnerships that the group has entered into, whose earnings are exceeding those of wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Group turnover grew by 278% to $2,2 trillion with the agro-processing sector, which comprises Colcom and the Niloticus Crocodile Farms, being a major driver to the growth in revenues, particularly the consolidation of the former.

The manufacturing sector was sluggish whilst performance in distribution and retail was subdued.

Operating margins shed two percentage points to 21%, resulting in the corresponding profits increasing by a diluted 246% to $458,6 billion.

The diverse range of products and sectors obviously had mixed fortunes in as far as margins were concerned; bread manufacturing and retailing is the one that easily comes to mind as the product price is heavily controlled.

Losses in the regional operations obviously did not help.

On the contrary, the inclusion of $61,7 billion worth of non-cash profits as a result of compliance with biological assets revaluation (IAS41) of the crocodiles and business combinations (IFRS3) goodwill from the acquisition of Colcom of $22,2 billion and $39,5 billion respectively, came in handy.

Interest income increased by 2,5 times to $57,5 billion as the group's cash pile remains its key attribute although its capacity to generate it was weak judging by the limp 27% growth in cash generated from operations.

A very strong $125,3 billion contribution from associates National Foods and Colcom in the first six month as well as Shearwater compared favourably with $29,1 billion in the prior year and was a welcome shot to the bottom line.

Attributable earnings of $387 billion were realised, up 235% on the prior year.

The focus for growth remains both organic and acquisitions with a number of possibilities currently being looked at.

However, regional operations which are still to perform to expectedlevels, having pre-judiced shareholders of approximately $10 per share in the last financial year, are a pimple on an otherwise spotless face.

In an effort to try and turnaround these operations which were previously touted as an engine for growth, a high level team of managers has been deployed. 2006 will hopefully see a positive contribution from the diaspora.

In the final analysis, one thing which really stood out from these numbers is the fact that acquired businesses and partnerships have tended to do better for Innscor than its wholly-owned subsidiaries and greenfield ventures.

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Zim Indep
Govt used my money to pay IMF - Mawere
Dumisani Muleya

PROMINENT Zimbabwean tycoon Mutumwa Mawere, now a South African citizen, says part of the money recently used by government to pay the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrears came from his seized companies.

Mawere's disclosure reinforces reports that government raided exporters' foreign currency accounts and the auction system to raise the US$120 million it paid to the IMF to reduce its US$295 million debt.

The revelations raise questions about the propriety of the sources of the money which Harare paid to the IMF after failing to secure a loan from South Africa to settle its arrears. Harare rejected Pretoria's credit facility conditions.

In a letter written last week to the IMF managing director, Rodrigo de Rato, Mawere said government used proceeds from his confiscated firms to pay the IMF.

The letter was copied to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and senior IMF officials. Mawere is a former World Bank and International Finance Corporation employee.

The payment of part of the IMF debt and a handful of concessions on economic reforms saved Zimbabwe from expulsion. Harare was given another grace period of six months to put its house in order or risk being expelled.

"While your executive board has decided to postpone a recommendation to your board of governors with respect to Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the fund," Mawere said, "I am not sure whether your management and staff are aware of the policy steps that have led to the illegal expropriation of private property rights by the state thereby enhancing its capacity to pay you.

"I am sure that if your executive board was aware that part of the source of payment from Zimbabwe directly originated from the proceeds of the state's illegal activities, your institutions would have arrived at a different conclusion in your deliberations," he said.

Mawere lost his flagship conglomerate, Shabanie Mashaba Mines (Pvt) Ltd, which he had bought for US$60 million from British company, Turner & Newell plc in 1996, to the state.

His mines, together with companies in finance, insurance and agriculture, were seized under the Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act which came via a presidential decree.

Mawere - who now runs his South African company, Africa Heritage at Rivonia in Johannesburg - wrote to Robert Mugabe in the past over the issue of his companies. He has accused government of seizing his firms on political grounds.

Mawere was accused of externalising foreign currency and was specified under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He was arrested in South Africa last year but freed after Zimbabwe failed in its bid to extradite him.

He said he felt compelled to bring the issue to the IMF's attention due to the misrepresentation of facts about Zimbabwe's arrears repayment.

Mawere said contrary to Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono's claims that the money came from "exporters", "my companies that generate about US$100 million per annum now under state control were used to pay you (IMF)".

He has accused Gono of spearheading the campaign to seize his firms and nationalise them. He said this had set a dangerous precedent and was very damaging to the economy.

"It is unfortunate that by expropriating my assets, the state has created a window to make good on its obligations to you," Mawere wrote to Rato.

"I would like to believe that your institution may not be aware that parts of the funds used to reduce Zimbabwe's obligations to you were a direct result of the dispossession of private property rights by the state."

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Zim Indep
Charamba accused of assaulting wife

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba has been accused of wife battering after he allegedly beat his spouse in a domestic row over a missing gun.

The accusations against Charamba, which have surfaced in the ruling Zanu PF newspaper, The Voice, come against a background of fierce infighting at the Information ministry and between the ministry and the Zanu PF information department.

Deputy Information minister Bright Matonga said yesterday in the state media he was aware senior ministry officials were plotting his downfall. The infighting reflects factionalism in Zanu PF and wrangling in state departments.

Charamba, who has reportedly clashed with government colleagues and state media employees, has lately been locked in a war of words with the editor of The Voice, Lovemore Mataire, over an unclear dispute.

Mataire two weeks ago attacked the author of the Herald's Nathaniel Manheru column saying he was a "British agent" and "saboteur". He said Manheru was a "double agent" and "liar" who gushed "stinking effluent".

Mataire claimed Manheru - who former Information minister Jonathan Moyo has identified as Charamba - indulged in "spousal abuse and other immoral activities". Charamba had earlier described Mataire as a failed and incompetent editor who makes "spectacular political and editorial goofs".

Charamba - who is also Information permanent secretary - was said to have assaulted his wife last year on February 24 at their Mandara home after a gun dispute.

Sources said Charamba attacked his ailing wife, Rudo, who had just been released from hospital at the time, angering family members and government officials.

The sources said the case was reported at Borrowdale police station after relatives and friends intervened. Charamba was said to have in turn made a report at Highlands police station about a missing gun.

Charamba would not comment on the issue yesterday. He referred queries to his lawyer Johannes Tomana. "Can you talk to Tomana, he is my lawyer," he said.

Asked for comment, Tomana said: "There was that matter by the police but the case was withdrawn. Check that with the wife (Rudo)."

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he would check the issue. "I'm still checking with Borrowdale police. We don't have (in police parlance) a case called wife battering, it's called assault," he said.

Manheru also accused Mataire of hobnobbing with opposition politicians and moonlighting for the Voice of America's Studio 7.

He said Mataire recently went on a jaunt with a girlfriend and suffered a car crash which cost her an eye and left his marriage "in tatters". - Staff Writer.

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Zim Ind
Gono breaks silence on debt payment
Godfrey Marawanyika

RESERVE Bank governor, Gideon Gono this week broke his silence on why the country pumped out US$120 million to pay the International Monetary Fund (IMF) insisting that this was for the greater good of the country as it reduces its high perceived risk.

Comments by Gono insisting that Zimbabwe needed to mend its relations with the IMF are in stark contrast to President Robert Mugabe's scathing attacks on the fund.

Two weeks ago Mugabe attacked and rubbished the IMF soon after the fund had given Zimbabwe a six-month reprieve, saying Harare had never been friends with the fund and, would never be.

Mugabe has consistently attacked the IMF in the past five years.

However, Gono on Tuesday insisted that it was in Zimbabwe's interests to re-engage the fund.

He said normalisation of relations with the international lending cartel also reduces the country's high risk, adding that mending relations also enhances international credit worthiness

"The suspension of the compulsory withdrawal gives the country ample time to improve (its) macroeconomic policies and increase payments to the IMF. This paves way for access to other critical benefits such as technical assistance," Gono said.

Gono said Zimbabwe would strive to maintain good relations with the Bretton Woods institutions.

"At present, Zimbabwe does not qualify for debt rescheduling because it is not on an IMF-supported programme. IMF membership brightens prospects for a Fund-supported programme, which is a precondition for the country's eligibility for debt-relief under the Paris Club and other creditor group, " he said.

He also entertains hopes that the country would also benefit from some IMF programmes like the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

Gono said that an IMF-supported economic stabilisation programme will immediately unlock the much-needed bridging finance, while the country's export sector recovers.

"Potential foreign investors are deterred by the exclusion of the country from the fund as they have confidence in the IMF decisions on countries. The decision taken by the IMF not to suspend the country influences Zimbabwe's access to credit from the international community," Gono said.

Speaking on why they made a hefty US$120 million payout to the fund at a time when the country needed foreign currency to import fuel and food, Gono said the payment was necessary to save Zimbabwe.

"Expulsion from the IMF would have resulted in the loss of the EU, United States and Japanese markets for Zimbabwean products," Gono said.

"In 2004 total export earnings amounted to US$1,7 billion, of which US$466 million accrued from trade with the European Union, United States of America and the Japanese markets. This is enough to cater for about two-thirds of the country's annual fuel."

Zimbabwe's expulsion from the fund would have therefore worsened the economy through loss of trading partners, Gono said.

He also argued that normalisation of relations with the Bretton Woods institutions enhance Harare's battered international creditworthiness.

"In particular, an IMF-supported economic stabilisation programme will immediately unlock the much-needed bridging finance, while the country's export sector recovers," he said.

"The current strategy to prioritise payments to the multi-lateral institutions should be pursued vigorously in order to pave way for dialogue with other international creditors."

Zimbabwe first incurred its arrears to the IMF in 2001.

Since the beginning of this year, Zimbabwe has paid the IMF US$134 million but still has to offset the remaining US$175 million which it has pledged to have settled by November next year.

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Zim Independent
Makoni back in succession race
Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's convoluted succession struggle has taken a new twist with disclosures that a ruling Zanu PF coterie is mulling a novel ethnic balancing act to unravel the tangled leadership crisis.

Official sources said the dominant Zanu PF faction seen as led by retired army commander Solomon Mujuru has come up with a multi-ethnic plan to unscramble Mugabe's succession logjam in a bid to avert a damaging split in the ruling party.

Sources said the latest proposal revolves around a delicate quadrilateral plan involving senior Zanu PF officials, Simba Makoni, Joice Mujuru, John Nkomo and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The sources said the new plan - which is a reaction to growing internal factionalism and infighting - suggests that Makoni would be the Zanu PF presidential candidate in 2010. If he wins, Mujuru and Nkomo would be his vice-presidents, while Mnangagwa becomes prime minister.

Although Mugabe is said to be hostile to the idea of Makoni succeeding him, sources said a powerful clique wants to push for this plan because they think he is the only one who could win Zanu PF an election if given adequate initiation.

Makoni is seen as the only one not tainted by the current policy failures including the damaging Operation Murambatsvina.

He is also seen as an acceptable compromise candidate likely to appeal to critical constituencies at home and abroad. But, like Nkomo and Mnangagwa, he does not have a solid power base in his home region.

Although Mujuru remains Mugabe's anointed successor for now, Zanu PF insiders are beginning to think the presidency could be too big a task for her. They think she should remain as vice-president under Makoni. Nkomo and Mnangagwa would provide stability, it is suggested.

This proposal was said to be linked to the coming stop-gap Senate, which will be in office for five years only, and an expected floor-crossing arrangement.

Zanu PF thinks it would be the main beneficiary of floor-crossing if the opposition MDC remains locked in leadership wrangles and ineffectiveness.

A new constitution, drawn up by parliament, is expected to be introduced in 2010 as a final point of the grand plan.

The Senate poll would be held in December. After that the constitution would be amended to push the presidential election to 2010 and make floor-crossing legal.

Sources said the new succession proposal is designed to deal with the fallout of the Tsholotsho saga in which a rival Zanu PF faction led by Mnangagwa was accused by Mugabe of plotting a palace coup.

Mugabe meted out severe punishment to those involved, but his backlash left the party fractured. The Tsholotsho incident also left Zanu PF riddled with factionalism and infighting.

Sources said the Mnangagwa camp was making manoeuvres to recover lost political ground either from an inside or outside vantage point as a Third Force. This has raised the fear of a Zanu PF split.

The sources said the new scheme was also aimed at dousing the ethnic fires burning inside the Zanu PF tribal cauldron. In terms of the plan, Makoni is expected to represent Manyikas, Mujuru Zezurus (although she is said to be Korekore), Nkomo Ndebeles, while Mnangagwa would represent Karanga interests.

"This is the deal they are working on. It's not surprising because Zanu PF politics are largely defined through the narrow prism of simplistic ethnic and historical dichotomies," a source said.

"This arrangement is influenced by the Tsholotsho fallout and the need for ethnic balancing. The movers and shakers of the ruling party think it's a masterstroke which will address competing interests and concerns."

As first reported in the Zimbabwe Independent in May, Zanu PF plans to amend the constitution again to postpone the scheduled 2008 presidential election to 2010 under the pretext of harmonising the presidential and the parliamentary polls.

But sources said the real reason was that the party was afraid it could not yield a candidate who could win the 2008 election. Insiders say the ruling party feels a contemporaneous election system would benefit the party because prospective MPs would also campaign for the presidential candidate.

The amendment will stipulate that the 2008 poll will be held in 2010 and that an interim president would be elected to run the country for two years. The changes would also say if the incumbent president cannot continue in office due to incapacitation, ill-health or death, a designated vice-president would take over. Mujuru would be the designated one.

The 2010 presidential election would then be held with Makoni as the ruling party candidate.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who first hinted at these proposals at a Zanu PF central committee meting on May 27, said this week the ruling party was looking at different scenarios for harmonising elections.

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Zim Independent
Showdown looms over human rights
Augustine Mukaro

A SHOWDOWN looms at the African Commission meeting in Banjul later this year where government is set to present a report on the human rights situation in the country.

Civic groups are preparing a counter document.

Zimbabwe, which last presented a human rights report to the commission in 1996, has embarked on the move, civic groups say, in a desperate bid to defuse mounting pressure from African states. Civic organisations are however in the process of preparing a counter report that would be presented alongside government's.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights meeting scheduled for November in Banjul was initially set to be held in Harare but government opted out saying it had no money.

The government's report, a copy of which is in the hands of the Independent, skirts around crucial issues which have plunged the country into the current economic morass.

The report is silent on issues such as the violent land invasions, violence that rocked the country's last three major elections, human rights violations resulting from the government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina, and the recent 17th Constitutional amendment, which virtually took away the right to private property and undermines the role of the judiciary.

It also glosses over draconian laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act without pointing out that the legislation led to the closure of three newspapers and took away the right to assembly by Zimbabwean workers and civics.

"Following the completion of Operation Restore Order, the government has embarked on a property ownership scheme termed Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle," the government report says.

"Under the scheme, plots have been allocated to various home-seekers, in particular those that were affected by Operation Restore Order. On the sites specifically allocated to the affected persons, construction of homes is in progress."

Civic organisations described government's report on Operation Murambatsvina as misleading as it leaves out the arbitrary demolition of houses in high-density suburbs resulting in the displacement of an estimated 700 000 people.

"There is no way you can talk of Operation Garikai without giving highlights of the crisis created by (Operation) Murambatsvina," one human rights lawyer spearheading the writing of the civic organisations' shadow report said.

"Government should first show that it created a disaster through Murambatsvina displacing hundreds of thousands of people without alternative accommodation in the process. It should also mention the setting up of transit camps which had no infrastructure to handle such large numbers of people.

"It should also mention the disparities between the number of displaced people and those allocated stands. A very small fraction of the displaced have benefited from the Operation Garikai initiative."

On land the government report says: "Government embarked on the land reform programme to correct the disparities which had been entrenched on racial lines.

"The guarantee to the right to property remains as reported, however the constitution has since been amended to exempt government from paying compensation for any acquired land for resettlement," government says.

Civic organisations said although noone is opposed to land reform, government did not explore the violent invasions which characterised the land reform and the seizures of farming equipment without compensation.

"Government doesn't explain how the land invasions transformed the once breadbasket of the southern African region into a net importer of food," another human rights lawyer said.

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Zim Independent
Civilisation takes step back in Harare
Grace Kombora

WHEN modern technology designed to make life easy fails due to human incompetence, civilisation takes a step backwards.

Some Harare residents are daily putting up with the inconvenience of having to do without water to bath or electricity to heat their water and cook food, Their lifestyles have reverted to primitive mode.

And the reason?

Harare council officials and the sole electricity utility company, Zesa, are failing to provide the basic services due to a combination of gross ineptitude and lack of planning.

"We are tired of waking up in the dead of the night to search for water," complains Maria Munetsi of Glen Norah who came to Harare four years ago anticipating a promising life in the city but is now witnessing little difference from her life in Mutoko.

Waking up around 4am in order to search for water has become monotonous for her. She has to wake up so early in order to get water from one of the unprotected wells in the area.

What worries Munetsi most is the toilet, which now produces an unpleasant smell owing to the length of time since it was last flushed.

Residents in Glen Norah have gone for two solid years without consistent and reliable water supplies

With the water shortages persisting, the residents have resorted to relieving themselves in the bush, something they have been forced into to counter problems posed by the collapse of waterborne toilets.

"We have no option but to use the nearby bush. The city council should build Blair toilets," Munetsi said.

Munetsi fears for disease outbreaks in the area as the living conditions continue to deteriorate.

"I fear that my children risk contracting cholera and other waterborne diseases," she said

Munetsi has to search for firewood to cook, as power outages are now a norm in the area.

"Firewood is now expensive and one has no option but to buy," Munetsi said.

Munetsi's story is characteristic of Harare residents whether they live in the working class or high-income residential suburbs.

Bathing and washing of nappies is no longer as systematic as before for the residents as water has become a scarce commodity.

Scenes of desperate mothers doing their laundry along the Mukuvisi river conjure up memories of rural life. The river, carrying industrial effluent, is during the day clogged with mothers doing their laundry.

Mandara, Greendale, Mabelreign, Highlands and Borrowdale are the worst-affected low-density suburbs because they are located on higher ground which reduces pumping.

Residents from the low-density residential areas never used to experience such difficulties as most of them have boreholes. But the boreholes now cannot function without electricity or diesel.

"Its amazing that both water and electricity had become a problem in the city yet they are necessities," said Moses Dodzo from Mandara.

Mandara residents had been struggling since the beginning of September. At times they have gone for three consecutive days without water.

Some residents say Harare is a disaster waiting to happen as millions of people fumble desperately for reliable service from an obsolete water reticulation system that needs an extensive overhaul and repair. Above all it needs competent maintenance.

Repairs to the Morton Jaffrey works, the major pumping station in Harare, are still underway.

"The whole debacle is really appalling," a Marlborough resident who preferred to be called Mrs Don bemoaned. She said council officials are reluctant to do their job whilst ratepayers continue suffering.

"People who caused problems remain mum while city's ratepayers go for weeks and in some cases months without water," Don said.

She said for six months she had no water and the city authorities have been promising to come and repair her system ever since.

What matters to her most are the water tariffs she pays every month whilst the water system is down.

"It never used to be like this in the low density areas and this really shows that the water situation has reached crisis level," Don said.

Recently Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) board chairman Willie Muringani said the water crisis was going to persist. He was clueless when the problem was going to be solved.

The Combined Harare Residents Association chairperson, Mike Davies, said there is a need for a democratically elected council in place, which has the residents' interests at heart.

"We need a democratically elected council which has residents at heart," Davies said.

Davies said the solution to the crisis was the construction of Kunzvi Dam, which had been on the drawing board for almost a decade.

"The construction of Kunzvi Dam will ease the problem," Davies said.

For years government has been promising to start on the multi-million dollar Kunzwi dam but has done little to get the project on stream.

Water Resources minister, Munacho Mutezo, promised that construction would start before mid-year but there is little to show for it at present.

With Operation Garikai in progress there would be more strain on the system which is currently unable to cope.

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Wimbledon Guradian
Bringing hope to a nation in need
Sharon Waterworth saw the death of her father as a chance to change lives.
Sharon Waterworth saw the death of her father as a chance to change lives.

The plight of millions of impoverished Zimbabweans has spurred a woman to take action to try to improve the situation.

Sharon Waterworth, who grew up in Mitcham but now lives in Zimbabwe, has been determined to try to relieve the impoverished conditions in the southern African country for years.

But it was not until the death of her father in March that she decided to use donations raised from his life celebration service, held at St Barnabas Church, Mitcham, to do something positive in his memory.

By July and with just £235, Sharon, who married a Zimbabwean and whose father lived in Zimbabwe for 10 years, had already managed to change lives.

Eighteen-year-old Fungai Ganda is currently living a dream, as Sharon was able to fund the first year of her business and marketing degree, making her the first in her village to go to university.

Sharon said: "Fungai has gone from a place that did not have any televisions, computers, running water or a sewerage system, to a big city to sit in a lecture theatre. I know she will work very hard."

Sharon's next step was to travel miles to a church group in Rusape, where she successfully founded a co-operative of women who have embarked upon a peanut butter-making venture.

Nearby, Anna Sibanda can now earn money to feed and clothe her family after the fund bought her a second-hand sewing machine.

Saplings of a plant were donated to various local schools and churches with the aim of reducing the rate of deforestation and to teach more about the environment.

In the future, Sharon hopes to raise more money to continue paying for Fungai's education and to help others too.

"There's so much unemployment, illiteracy and Aids to see so many die in front of you is something terrible," she said.

"The problem is just so big you don't know where to start."

Sharon has made a good start and hopes to encourage more candle making, bee-keeping and honey production to enable Zimbabweans to generate a regular income of their own.

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Fin Gazette
National Agenda
Zimbabwe, SA relations in perspective (Part 4)

Isaya Muriwo Sithole
9/22/2005 8:38:45 AM (GMT +2)

THIS was meant to be a four-part series but due to an overwhelming response by a wide spectrum of audience across the globe, I will add another part so as to be able to respond to some of the issues raised.

I must confess that I am humbled by most of the comments that I get and from different people and organisations. It effectively cures what has often been called the "Elijah syndrome" (that one is alone) that often haunts many an activist.
From previous instalments, it has been stated that SADCC was conceived as a political strategy to bring political change in South Africa and that it was not necessarily conceived from an economic argument that made sense on its own. This perception instructed SADCC philosophy from its conception to the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990, two years before SADCC transformed itself from a coordination conference to SADC, the development community.
The question has often been asked whether this transformation was a development whose time had come, a natural progression from a "conference" to a "community" as a result of its success and cohesiveness since its formation in 1980.
In his analysis, the late Professor Masipula Sithole came to the following conclusion, which I largely agree with: "The evidence is that all member states of the SADCC of 1980 (with the exception of Tanzania - which is essentially in east Africa, unless our sense of geography is mistaken!) increased their economic dependence on apartheid South Africa, notwithstanding its wrong politics.
"So, the transformation from 'conference' to 'community' had nothing to do with the success of SADCC in coordinating less economic dependence on apartheid South Africa . . . Thus, judged by its own objective of lessening economic dependence on South Africa, the old SADCC was a 'tremendous' or 'resounding' failure! We all know it. (If the primary objective . . . was to liberate South Africa, which it was, the irony is that liberation came despite continued economic dependence).
"Therefore, countries of the SADC sub-region are a community that is dependent on South Africa whether her politics are right or wrong. This perspective should instruct our perceptions of Zimbabwe and SADC's political and economic prospects in a post-apartheid and post-Mandela era." (Financial Gazette, September 17 1998).
However, in my view, Professor Sithole appears to have been rather too pessimistic in his assessment of the prospects of Zimbabwe and other SADC countries to reduce dependence on, and even disengage from, the South African economy. It is now practically impossible for a democratic South Africa to pursue some of the strategies and tactics discussed last week, like bombing and disrupting transport routes, either through direct action or surrogate activity. These formed the core of the strategy used by apartheid South Africa to ensure continued economic dependence by independent southern African states.
In as much as SADCC was a political expression of repugnance for a regime and an economy which survived solely by repression of the majority at home and of its neighbours regionally, its first stated goal of reducing economic dependence on South Africa is a practical goal for even in the contemporary regional politico-economic power equation, and the linkages must be changed. Although this thinking exists in various governments of the region, its proponents are not unrealistic about the difficulties involved. But as stated in previous instalments, the focus is and has always been on reducing and not eliminating dependence.
The objectives of SADCC - to increase economic development through regional coordination and to reduce economic dependence, not only but especially on apartheid South Africa, were not simply left to vague declarations. Steps taken towards these long-term goals were many, but small; they have been determined but practical.
Within six years of its existence SADCC had about 398 projects, costing US$4.8 billion, of which half were either completed, implemented or actively under negotiation. But in a real sense, SADCC was always on the brink of failure, for its goals were very long term. Development and dependence reduction constitute an ongoing process and there is no "final victory". Yet the first years of SADCC also show real successes.
The choice by apartheid South Africa to bomb SADCC projects is proof, in fact, of the country's vulnerability to coordinated economic links in the region. In 1985 it was estimated that Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana could save $100 million per year on transport cost alone if the Mozambican lines were open and problems arising from the valuation of the rand and meticais highlighted last week were phased out.
With sound government policy, growing food is cheaper than importing it from South Africa. SADCC industry found that importing small tools cost 10 times than if artisans made them. For many imports, South African sources are more expensive, even with tariff preferences, than regional or global sources.
The first comprehensive estimates of the cost to its neighbours of South African aggression were prepared by SADCC for the 1985 Organisation of African Unity summit. These covered the period between 1980 and 1984 and amounted to over $10 billion.
---- To be continued next week.

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Zim Independent
The Interpreter misinterpreted
Itai Mushekwe
GOVERNMENT'S claim that Universal Pictures political thriller, The
Interpreter, allegedly backed by the CIA starring academy award winner
Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn is an American propaganda effort to further
vilify Harare is baseless according to visiting American filmmaker, Charles
Burnett jetted into the country last week to conduct master classes on film
directing for a group of experienced and aspiring Zimbabwean filmmakers at
the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust. He said that the Sydney
Pollack-directed movie had been grossly misrepresented.
"Hollywood uses whatever it can to market its films. I think the government
claims are far-fetched and are a means to divert people's attention from
real issues. Any country can say it's about them. The description of the
film can fit the character of hundreds of world leaders," Burnett said.
Burnett, who has just finished his latest feature film, Nujoma: Where Others
Wavered - whose synopsis is based on the autobiography of Sam Nujoma,
Namibia's first president, proceeded to point out that most Hollywood films,
ironically portray the CIA, FBI and police in unflattering light citing the
Bourne Identity sequel as an example.
"The CIA have been targeted themselves by Hollywood. Here is an industry
that produces films that sell with a sole purpose of making money," he said.
Burnett also asserted that most Hollywood writers are liberal and against
President George Bush.
"If anyone is to get angry, it has to be Bush himself because most political
motion pictures produced hit at him directly. Look at the damage he suffered
from Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine which was released prior to
the 2004 presidential election," said Burnett. He expressed concern over
films being used for cheap political mileage and propaganda, which he said,
has no universal qualities served by art because it is programmed and
single-minded. Unlike a situation whereby film is used to bring about social
change, such as fighting racism, segregation and empowering people.
A local movie critic who declined to be named argued that it was not the
mandate of the US government to censor films for political content,
sexuality, violence and language. Instead a private body known as the Motion
Picture Association for America deals with such matters.
"What I find incredible is how the state media creates a conspiracy,
generates that conspiracy and has the government creating an absurd
situation. This government is deviating from pressing issues especially food
security and economic growth. Instead they find time to critique a movie.
This clearly shows that they're fighting imaginary battles," he said.
The Interpreter, which is to some extent an echo of the 1994 Rwanda
genocide, gives an account of an imaginary embattled African President of a
state called Matobo. The President, Edmond Zuwane, a teacher by profession
has been at the helm of political power for 23 years. He sets out to make a
final and desperate appearance at the UN General Assembly to exonerate
himself from alleged crimes against humanity, to evade being hauled before
the International Criminal Court. Zuwane's country is under increasing
international isolation, thereby making it a pariah state.
The thriller premiered this April at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York
City, is the first of its kind ever allowed to shoot inside United Nations
headquarters.   Chinese given Kunzvi Dam tender
Potraz moves to withdraw TeleAccess licence
Cracks widen at Mirror
Charamba accused of assaulting wife
Govt used my money to pay IMF - Mawere
West still major trading partner despite Look East policy
Implement Zanu PF directives, Manyika tells parastatal heads
Media workers want MIC disbanded
Showdown looms over human rights
Civilisation takes step back in Harare
The Interpreter misinterpreted
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Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:52 PM

September 22, 2005; :


Mrs F.C. [May] Meyer, Zimbo Farm, Selous, passed away peacefully in Harare
on Saturday 17th September 2005 after a short illness. A Memorial Service
will be held at St Mary's Church, Enterprise Road, Highlands on Friday 23rd
September at 2,30pm.
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