Mugabe in denial over '162 deaths by starving' By Peta
Thornycroft in Harare and David Blair, Africa Correspondent (Filed:
President Robert Mugabe's rosy claims of a bumper harvest
were flatly contradicted by the mayor of Zimbabwe's second city yesterday
when he disclosed that 162 people have starved to death in Bulawayo since
The regime retaliated by vilifying the mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Children search for spilled maize Jonathan Moyo, the
information minister, called him a "liar" and insisted that starvation was
unknown in Zimbabwe. "Malnutrition is just a case of not having a balanced
diet," he told The Herald, an official daily.
"People in the USA are fat
because they eat too many burgers. That's malnutrition."
United Nations forecasts that Zimbabwe will grow only one million tons of
grain this year, about half the country's needs. The mass seizure of
white-owned farms has combined with drought to wreck
Last year, almost half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people
survived on international food aid.
A UN-led assessment mission
estimates that five million Zimbabweans will need outside help again before
the next harvest in March. But the regime claims a bumper harvest of 2.4
million tons of grain and has told international donors their help is no
longer needed. Anyone contradicting this message is targeted for
Mr Ndabeni-Ncube, alone among Zimbabwe's mayors, compiles
figures on deaths from malnutrition in his city. He said growing numbers of
people had no money to buy food in a country with inflation of 314 per
"We are not saying there is no food in Bulawayo," he said. "What we
are saying is that people cannot afford to buy food.
"The deaths we
record are from the two city hospitals. There are probably others who starve
to death at home, but we have no way of recording that
"I am shocked that the government should criticise
doctors for doing what I have ordered them to do - monitor malnutrition
Dr Zanele Hwalima, Bulawayo's health services director,
was also singled out for criticism. Mr Moyo accused her of "doctoring lies"
intended to "harm Zimbabwe".
But Mr Japhet-Ncube said: "We are not
going to stop recording these statistics. I expect the government will move
against me, as it has against other elected mayors, because it is
Zimbabwe once exported food to drought-stricken countries in
southern Africa so its dependence on international help has come as a
serious embarrassment for Mr Mugabe. His response has been to deny that
there is a problem.
In May, he said Zimbabwe would no longer accept
supplies from the UN's World Food Programme. "Why foist this food upon us?
We don't want to be choked." he said.
He has effectively ended
co-operation with the UN. When James Morris, the UN envoy for humanitarian
affairs in southern Africa, conducted his last tour of the region, Zimbabwe
declined to receive him and said officials in Harare had no time for a
Zimbabwe holds parliamentary elections next March and Mr
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been accused of channelling food to its
supporters and denying help to anyone suspected of backing the
By keeping out the UN and aid agencies, Mr Mugabe can ensure that
his regime controls all food supplies. Critics suspect that this is his real
A RUSAPE magistrate Mark
Dzira last Friday remanded 31 Zanu PF supporters to October 25 when they
appeared before him on charges of public violence, malicious injury to
property and grievous bodily harm.
The Zanu PF supporters appeared
before him for their routine remand hearing.
against the 31 ruling party supporters are that on August 21 and 22, while
in Makoni North, the group, acting in common purpose attacked other Zanu PF
supporters loyal to retired Major James Kaunye in Mayo, Headlands and Rusape
in Makoni East to try to force them to stop backing Kaunye.
is further alleged that the militants injured Lucia Chitura, the Zanu PF
district co-ordinator for Makoni, Kaunye, the aspiring Zanu PF candidate for
Makoni North, George Ngirazi, a war veteran loyal to Kaunye, Florence
Mhiripiri, the wife of aspiring Makoni East MP Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri
and several other people numbering about 70.
Violence broke out in
Rusape, Mayo and Headlands when Didymus Mutasa, the Makoni North MP, who is
also the Minister of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies and Shadreck
Chipanga, the MP for Makoni East, who is also the Zanu PF deputy chairman
for Manicaland Province and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs led a
five-truck convoy on a looting spree that left several people
Court officials said the 31 men belonging to the Zanu PF
vigilante group "Chinyavada" were remanded to October 25.
Meanwhile, the commission of inquiry that was set up by President Robert
Mugabe has completed its work and produced a damning report that implicates
Reports from Rusape indicate that the police have collected
evidence from victims of the minister's violent conduct during the August
Sources say the police intend to arrest Mutasa
anytime soon for his involvement in the violent clashes in
The report, quoted by The Sunday Mail last week also
reported that on the fateful day, Mutasa slapped in the face a police
Inspector Tomukai, the officer-in-charge of crime at Rusape Police
The paper reported that the Zanu PF youths numbering 25
surrounded the police Defender vehicle and Tomukai failed to identify who
had assaulted him.
But an entry in the Occurrence Book
(1447/2004) made by Constable Gwature indicated that it was actually Mutasa
who had slapped Tomukai
Reporter A French farm equipment manufacturer, Renault Agriculture, will
supply Zimbabwe with 5 000 tractors and 2 000 of these are expected to be
delivered soon while the remaining 3 000 would be supplied
This comes as a major boost to the country's land reform programme
just a few months before the onset of the rains.
The tractors also
come at a time the District Development Fund (DDF) says it needs about $20
billion to operate at full capacity and provide tillage services for the
2004/05 cropping season.
The tractor deal was announced in Harare on
Wednesday during a meeting between Agriculture and Rural Development
Minister Cde Joseph Made and the area export manager for Renault
Agriculture, Mr Laurent Adelinet.
The tractors, to be purchased at a
wholesale price, would be assembled in India and supplied through Tanaka
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Adelinet said they had
held a fruitful meeting with Cde Made and looked forward to closer
"We have agreed to supply 2 000 tractors soon while between
2 000 and 3 000 others would be supplied later," he said.
said the tractors would go a long way in boosting agricultural production in
the country since mechanisation was critical to the land reform
"We have farmers who are interested in acquiring tractors to
enhance production in the tobacco sector for export," he said.
minister said the tractors would also become handy in cotton and maize
New farmers, he said, had always expressed concern over
the prohibitive cost of farming equipment, thus the supply of the tractors
by the French firm in large quantities was a welcome development.
Made said they had also discussed issues related to closer co-operation in
fighting livestock and poultry diseases as France had expertise in
manufacturing animal vaccines.
He said Newcastle disease had hit some
parts of Southern Africa, therefore Zimbabwe should be on guard by putting
contingency measures in place in the event of an outbreak.
Adelinet and his delegation are expected to visit farms in various parts of
the country on a familiarisation tour.
French ambassador Mr Michel
Raimbaud, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority chief executive Dr
Joseph Matowanyika and senior ministry officials also attended the
Zimbabwe needs at least 35 000 tractors of various capacities
over the next 10 years to satisfy the demand for farming machinery arising
from the land reform programme.
The DDF has targeted a total of 128
200 hectares this coming season but says a timeous release of funds by the
Government would enable it to offer credit facilities to all deserving
DDF director-general Mr James Jonga said a number of constraints
were likely to limit the provision of tillage services to the smallholder
farming sector this season and these needed to be urgently addressed before
the onset of the rain season.
"The number of tractors and implements
is fast going down due to minor but very costly breakdowns like worn-out
tyres and broken sensor shafts," he said.
Mr Jonga said while such
breakdowns were easy to fix, it would, however, require $3,1 billion to buy
tyres and tubes for DDF's 194 tractors that need major repairs.
which is a key Government agency with the responsibility of providing
mechanical tillage services, has a total national fleet of 768 tractors, 656
ploughs and 92 disc harrows. Of these tractors, 474 needed
Mr Jonga said some of the tractors that needed major repairs
were now beyond economic repair and were in the process of being
"The boarded (grounded) tractors shall be stripped and stored
as spare units for the functional tractors. Up to 70 tractors have so far
been surveyed and recommended for boarding," said Mr Jonga.
given the nature of DDF's operations and impediments such as erratic fuel
supply, breakdowns and dead mileage, a 75 percent efficiency factor for DDF
was assumed and the land preparation process shall be a combination of
ploughing only, ploughing and secondary discing and primary discing
The Government, he said, should make maximum use of the recently
enacted law on the compulsory acquisition of farm machinery to clear off all
potential tillage capacity that might still be locked up in
He said private sector participation in the sourcing and
financing the acquisition of tractors for individual farmers should be
stepped up in order to ensure successful commercial agriculture following
the conclusion of implementation of the land reform programme.
JAG JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated 23rd September 2004
Please send any
classified adverts for publication in this newsletter to: JAG Job
Opportunities firstname.lastname@example.org --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Advert Received 21st September 2004
Position available for young single
man to provide assistance on a Game Park. General job requirements include
Day to day supervision of Game Park operations and labour Assistance at
the Accomodation Section (Lodge) when required
Pre-requisites for the
position : LOVE of wildlife essential Valid and clean drivers
licence Knowledge of weapons and hunting skills (Some game culling might
be required) Some basic knowledge of Wildlife
In return for this
the sucessful applicant will be given an opportunity to work on a
world-unique Black Rhino breeding station and Game Park. Salary highly
negotiable, depending on skills and knowledge. Other perks to be discussed
with successful applicants.
Please reply to : Imire Game Park e-mail:
email@example.com Tel Main Farm
Office : (022) 2054 Lodge office : (022)
Received 22nd September 2004
Small, Northern suburbs based agrochemical
and fertilizer procurement company requires mature, computer literate,
mornings only secretary/bookkeeper.
Working knowledge of
excel/QuickBooks/pastel necessary and familiarity with agrochemicals an
Please call Mark on 04-301041, 011-216105 or e-mail cv to firstname.lastname@example.org ______________________________________________
Advert Received 22nd September 2004
Wanted: Part-time or full time admin.
assistant for a butchery business in Harare. Please contact Brian on
091239825 or (04)336774, or Tish on 011424226 for further
the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact email@example.com
send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject
297 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOUGHT
FOR THE DAY
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The
more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
Letter 1. JAG Open Letter Forum 20th September 2004
on Eddie Cross's letter dd 17 September 04
Seldom is one moved to comment
on opinion related to such onerous, evil, necessary and justified actions
that Eddie Cross so roundly and convincingly put into print the other day.
Were I, and I'm sure many others would agree, able to have put my thoughts on
paper as well as he did, I would have been proud of my achievement. It is
what we, the silent majority, know and believe and stand for. It is what we,
the silent majority, fail to stand against, act upon or acknowledge.
hope these sort of letters, this type of debate, get an airing or a viewing
on Capitol Hill and the Houses of Parliament, and, preferably,
Mike Whitfield Harare, 21 September
Letter 2. Subject:
At Last, some good nesws from Zimbabwe as Daily News wins
case - D J R Small Dear JAG
HARARE - Regional
magistrate Lilian Kudya, today, Monday, acquitted four directors of the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, (ANZ), publishers of The Daily News and
Daily News on Sunday, who were facing charges under the draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and contempt of court after
publishing The Daily News on October 24 last year.
The four, Samuel
Sipepa Nkomo, Rachel Kupara, Stuart Mattinson and Brian Mutsau, today walked
out of the regional court free after Mrs. Kudya said there was no prima-facie
evidence that the four had wanted to commit any crime against the state. An
issue of The Daily News had been published a day after the Administrative
Court ruled that the current Media and Information Commission (MIC) was not
properly constituted and that a properly constituted MIC was supposed to
issue ANZ with a licence by November 30, 2003, failure of which ANZ would be
Mrs Kudya also acquitted ANZ as a company for publishing
the same newspaper.
ANZ chief executive, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, hailed
today's judgment by regional magistrate Lillian Kudya as a victorious step in
his company's fight against draconian media laws, which have resulted in the
closure of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday newspapers. Nkomo
said the vision of seeing the two titles back on the streets, was slowly
becoming a reality.
He said that, contrary to perceptions being
peddled by the public media, ANZ was not anti-Zimbabwe, the company and its
newspapers were there for the promotion of democracy and good governance. He
added that ANZ was pro-Zimbabwe and provided an alternative voice for the
"This judgment is highly significant in that our company and its
directors have been absolved of any wrongdoing. Even the publication of
our newspapers was, is and will never be criminal," said Nkomo, adding
that today's judgment was a victory for media freedom in Zimbabwe". D J R
Subject: Difficult Landline!
Your communiques are
excellent & hugely apreciated, but with our exceptionally intermittent
land line, almost impossible to down load. Is it possible to send only one or
two buletins a week? One knows a lot of the local ghastly news, but outside
stuff we don't hear. Incidentally, noone ever mentions the main reason for
much of our present problems, & that is the huge population increase
during the last 50 years. When we started farming in the late 50s there were
no people in the doma area at all & most farm employees came from Malawi,
Tanzania & Mozambique. Yours sincerely. (displaced) email@example.com _______________________________________________
4. Subject: I know nothing about that
Dear Family and
This week the latest telephone bills were delivered and they
were the stuff that heart attacks are made of. The price of one unit of local
telephone time has gone from 120 to 585 dollars. Even though I knew it would
be a complete waste of time and money, I phoned the state owned
Telephone Company to complain about the increase and see if there was any
sort of logical explanation for such a massive price rise. A bored
and unsympathetic voice told me that the price had gone up. "Yes, I can
see that," I said, "but can you tell me why?" "I know nothing about that,"
was the response. "But the government has just announced that inflation
has dropped to 314%," I said "and yet your increases are 485% - that's over
a hundred and fifty percent higher than inflation." Again, the answer was
"I know nothing about that". In desperation I said "can you at least tell
me what exactly the increase is for?" The answer did not change: "I
know nothing about that." I assume that my telephone bill pays a part of
this woman's wage and that alone incenses me. Another call, by a friend, to
the Branch Manager also yielded the same answer: I know
Zimbabweans have become trapped in a communication and
information prison. A few months ago the cost of postage stamps increased by
almost 500% and we all stopped posting anything except the most essential
letters. The traditionally long queues in the post office have become a thing
of the past because no one can afford to do business there anymore. The irony
of the telephone charge is that in the same week that most peoples'
domestic phone bills have hit the half million dollar a month mark, President
Mugabe has been touring schools and giving out computers. Almost every night
on ZBC news for the past fortnight, we've seen either President Mugabe or
his wife donating computers to schools and extolling the virtues of
Information Technology. How tragic it is that all these schools now have
computers but will not be able to afford to use them to their full
capability. School fees have remained frozen at unsustainable levels by our
government and no schools are going to be able to afford the massive
telephone charges that are made for email and internet connections. The
generosity of the President's gifts are made a complete mockery of, by the
rulings of his ministers or the excessive greed of his governmental
oganizations who are literally driving themselves out of business as we can
no longer afford the services they provide.
For four and a half years
I have been sending this weekly letter for free to anyone who cares enough
about democracy to read it. Without the generosity of my email server Mango,
I would not be able to afford to do so anymore. I would like to try and keep
writing this letter for as long as I can afford to pay the telephone bills
but must again ask people to please not send photos, pictures or attachments
that now cost literally multiple thousands to download.
Thank you and
until next week,
love, Cathy. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- All
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
JAG Hotlines: (091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need
advice, (011) 205 374 (011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us
- (011) 431 068 we're here to help! 263
4 799 410 Office Lines
Zimbabwe's tourist arrivals declined by 36 percent to
827,245 for the first half of 2004 from 1,303,901 in the same period last
year, according to statistics released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA) on Thursday.
Incessant negative publicity that Zimbabwe
receives in the international media owing to its stance on the land reform
program largely reportedly accounts for the slump in the
The majority of visitors during the period from January
to June this year were from mainland Africa, which constituted 675,538
visitors, while the overseas market contributed 151,707
The leading source country from overseas was the United
States, which contributed 23,300 visitors (15 percent), replacing Britain,
which had been the longstanding leading source country for
This was followed by Britain, China, Japan and
Comparing the figures for the first half of 2004 with
that of 2003, the ZTA noted that the highest increase in the number of
arrivals was recorded for China, which jumped 245 percent from 3, 354 in
2003 to 11,584 in 2004.
This remarkable increase in tourist
arrivals from China is undoubtedly due to the Approved Destination Status
(ADS) that China granted Zimbabwe last year.
The ADS encourages
Chinese people to travel to Zimbabwe, the eighth African nation to be
granted the highly acclaimed status by the Asian country.
Holiday remained the main purpose of visit as shown by the 454, 982 (55
percent) visitors who came to Zimbabwe over the period under
Some 206,810 (25 percent) stated that they were on
business, 148,908 (18 percent) came for shopping while 16,545 (seven
percent) said they were in the country for educational
JOURNALISTS ARRESTED OVER TSVANGIRAI TREASON VERDICT
STORY Fri 24 September 2004
HARARE - Police yesterday arrested
Zimbabwe Independent editor, Vincent Kahiya, the paper's general manager and
a reporter and charged them with breaching state press laws.
The three were arrested over a story carried by their paper on July 30
alleging that High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe had sought to
convict opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of treason without consulting
Under court rules, Garwe must consult the two
assessors with whom he presided over the trial of Tsvangirai on charges that
he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe.
Augustine Mukaro and the paper's general manager, Raphael Khumalo, were
released later in the afternoon after being charged under Section 80 (c) of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Journalists convicted under the section, which prohibits abuse of
"journalistic privilege" through publication of falsehoods, are liable to a
fine of Z$200 000 or a jail term of two years or both.
and his colleagues were ordered to report at Harare central police station
The Zimbabwe Independent carried the article in
question several days after ZimOnline broke the story after authenticating
it with its sources at the High Court.
This is the second time
since January that police have arrested journalists at the paper, which is
one of only three independent publications still operating in Zimbabwe. The
country's only privately-owned and biggest daily newspaper, the Daily News,
and two other papers were shut down by the state for breaching its harsh
Former Zimbabwe Independent editor, Iden Wetherell,
Kahiya, the then news editor and reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara
were arrested in January after publishing a story alleging that Mugabe and
his wife had grabbed an Air Zimbabwe plane for a private holiday in the Far
At least 100 journalists, the majority from the private
media, have been arrested for allegedly breaching government Press laws.
None of the journalists have been convicted.
chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa condemned yesterday's
arrest of the Zimbabwe Independent staffers.
Meanwhile the High
Court yesterday announced that it will deliver judgment in the Tsvangirai
treason case on October 15, two years after the opposition leader was
charged with plotting to assassinate Mugabe during the run-up to the 2002
If convicted, Tsvangirai could be sentenced
to death, but can appeal against Garwe's judgment at the Supreme
The state based its case against Tsvangirai on a barely
audible video provided by Canadian-based political consultant Ari
The grainy video, first aired on an Australian
television channel, was purportedly a recording by Menashe of a meeting with
Tsvangirai where the opposition leader sought help to kill
Menashe, who is wanted in the United States for fraud,
admitted in court that he was on the payroll of the Zimbabwe government. -
Women activists in long march against draft law Fri 24
KWEKWE - About 60 women activists are on a 440
kilometre-march from Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo to Harare to
protest against a proposed new law that will restrict Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe.
A ZimOnline reporter
yesterday spoke to the women, all members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
group, in the city of Kwekwe, 200 kilometres west of Harare.
The drum-beating and whistle-blowing women, who left Bulawayo on Sunday, had
planned to reach Harare on October 4 when Parliament resumes sitting. They
plan to demonstrate outside the House and hand in a petition urging
parliamentarians to block the draft NGO Bill.
The Bill seeks to
establish an NGO Council that will register civic bodies in the country.
NGOs will also be barred from carrying out voter education while those
seeking to perform human rights work will be prohibited from receiving
A spokeswoman of the group, Magodonga Mahlangu,
yesterday said they were not likely to reach Harare on time because they had
run out of food and would now spend much longer in Kwekwe replenishing
Mahlangu said they had had to share some of their food
with a group of villagers and policemen they met on the way. "While we were
walking, we met villagers and some police officers who were starving and we
were forced to share our food with them," she said.
to Mahlangu, the women had so far walked without much incident except on
Wednesday night when they were harassed by some war veterans while they
slept in the open between the city of Gweru and Kwekwe.
are also using the march to highlight to ordinary Zimbabweans along the way,
how the proposed new law will affect their daily lives.
Mahlangu said: "Employees of NGOs will be hardest hit but what we fear most
is that poor Zimbabweans who depend on NGOs for survival will starve to
Aid experts have warned that restrictions by Harare on
NGOs will also see a drop in humanitarian support from international
More than half of the 12 million Zimbabweans have in the
last three years survived starvation because of food handouts from food aid
agencies. International donor groups are also helping the country combat a
ravaging HIV/AIDS pandemic that is killing at least 2 000 Zimbabweans every
week. - ZimOnline
High political risk scares off investors Fri 24 September
HARARE - High political risk and a skewed exchange rate policy
had sacred investors away from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's US$10 million
worth of one year bonds which closed this week, finance industry players
told ZimOnline yesterday.
The bonds were meant to raise hard
cash to stem a fuel crisis that worsened in the last four weeks with several
garages across the country running out of stock.
It could not
be immediately established yesterday how much the central bank had raised
through the bonds. But sources at the bank said the market response to the
issue was unfavourable and the bank was now exploring other ways of raising
Central bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday could
not be reached for comment on the matter.
An analyst with a
Harare bank, who spoke anonymously for professional reasons, said a 12-month
London InterBank Offer Rate on the bonds plus a six percent payable on bond
maturity that had been meant to woo investors was outweighed by market
perceptions of political risk.
He said: "It was not commensurate
with the perceived government risk. It also shows that the rate was not
competitive enough on the international markets."
in Zimbabwe's exchange rate had scared away local investors as any adverse
movement in the rate could mean a loss in value, the analyst
Economic analyst Eric Bloch said the bond may have been
undersubscribed because the two-week application period was too short
especially for Zimbabweans working and living abroad.
"I expected the issue to be undersubscribed because the application period
was too short. I think the issue should be reopened or the central bank must
come up with a second issue without a closing date. People in the diaspora
may want to subscribe on a monthly basis as opposed to once off short issues
like the just ended one."
The bank last week invited resident and
non-resident Zimbabweans, as well as other interested foreign investors, to
subscribe for the one-year foreign currency bonds.
minimum subscription amounts for the bonds at not less than US$100 and that
the payments were to be made in multiples of US$100, 200, 500, 1 000, 5 000
and 10 000.
Special features of the bonds included a guarantee by
the central bank that the bonds were redeemable/payable on maturity, full
settlement of principal plus interest to be made in US dollars and the fact
that the bonds were freely tradable among investors.
failure of the fuel bonds is the latest in a series of attempts by
Zimbabwe's central bank to raise forex to pay foreign suppliers of fuel,
electricity and essential drugs.
The bank's foreign currency
auction floors, where hard cash is sold to the highest bidder, have flopped
because rates at the floors are less than on the parallel market. Another
scheme of the bank, codenamed Homelink that was meant to persuade Zimbabwean
exiles to send money back home through official channels has also failed. -
ZANU PF militia invades centre for the disabled Fri 24
BULAWAYO - Recruits from the government's
controversial National Youth Service training programme have moved into one
of Zimbabwe's biggest rehabilitation centres, the Jairos Jiri Association
for Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Bulawayo.
accused of torturing and maiming opposition supporters, moved into Jairos
Jiri two weeks ago from their camp at Ntabazinduna on Bulawayo's
An official at the centre, Joseph Rusike,
told ZimOnline they had reluctantly accepted the youths after Youth
Minister, Ambrose Mutinhiri, requested them to do so.
said: "It has come when elections are around the corner. It's possible that
people could think another camp has been established. We pray that nothing
About 78 youths are staying at the centre.
The youths have been accused by churches and human rights organisations of
operating torture camps especially in rural areas where they torture and
rape suspected supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
The government denies the youths commit human rights
violations saying the youth training programme is meant to inculcate
patriotism and good behavior in the youngsters. - ZimOnline
Botswana urged to step up pressure for change in
Zimbabwe Fri 24 September 2004
GABORONE - Botswana's biggest
mine workers' union has called on President Festus Mogae's government to
help mount pressure for change in Zimbabwe because the crisis there was
costing its members' jobs here.
Botswana Mine Workers Union
chairperson Gaebepe Senna at the weekend accused Gaborone of not doing
enough to persuade Harare to end a political and socio-economic crisis that
has driven more than four million Zimbabweans into neighbouring countries
Senna said: "We are appalled by the abject silence from
our government when it comes to the situation in Zimbabwe. Our government
does not indicate whether it is for or against the works of the regime of
(Zimbabwean President) Robert Mugabe or (opposition leader) Morgan
According to Senna, Zimbabwean artisans fleeing
hardships in their country and willing to work for below market wages were
flooding Botswana's mining industry, taking up jobs at the expense of
He said mining firms told his union they preferred
Zimbabweans because "they are cheap as opposed to locals."
mine workers leader, who also criticised local firms for exploiting the
desperate Zimbabweans, said xenophobia was rising in the mining industry
with locals angry that they were losing jobs and opportunities to
Botswana has however been one of the few southern
African countries that have openly criticised Mugabe over some of his
controversial policies blamed by many for derailing Zimbabwe's once vibrant
economy. - ZimOnline
Bureau THE National Association of Primary Heads wants school fees raised so
that they can cover the costs of books, teaching materials and essential
The association is now talking to the Ministry of
Education, Sports and Culture on the matter.
In an interview, the
association's chairman, Mr Alexius Musariri, said tuition fees for primary
schools were so low that schools could not adequately provide essential
teaching material such as textbooks as well as furniture.
current situation is that in a former Group A Government school, the fees
are $225 per child per term. For former Group B schools, the fees are pegged
at $100 per child per term," he said.
"In Government schools, we have a
school service fund where the fees go. They are supposed to pay for water,
electricity, textbooks and stationery bills, but these always run into
millions making the fund grossly insufficient. We would want a situation
where the fees take into consideration the costs involved in running a
The association had already raised its concerns with the
ministry which, Mr Musariri said, had taken its concerns
He said as a result of the low fees, amenities such as grounds
and swimming pools, and tractors, lawn mowers and sports equipment were in a
bad state at most schools because the schools could not afford their
maintenance or to buy new material.
Mr Musariri said most schools
were now relying on school development associations for maintenance and the
purchase of essential teaching material.
Asked to comment about the
plight of the schools, the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Cde
Aeneas Chigwedere, said fees were kept deliberately low so that all parents
could afford to send their children to school.
In Zimbabwe, it is illegal
to send a child home because they have failed to pay levies, but a child can
be stopped from attending lessons if they have not paid fees.
minister said the school authorities could raise levies to sustainable
levels for their institutions to run properly as long as the parents would
"We have never ever said school fees and levies must
remain stagnant. No. What we have always said is that the schools need to
agree with the parents and approach the secretary (of the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture) to justify the increments so that they are
given permission," he said.
"If they do that, they will be able to meet
Cde Chigwedere, however, said he was aware that some
schools, especially those run by trusts, were in the habit of introducing a
host of levies, such as bus and desk levies, yet they never buy the items
they would have collected the levies for.
He said his ministry would
only approve such levies where a time scale to raise the money is set. He
said after the purchase of the items the levy should immediately be
Mutasa faces arrest Itai Dzamara ANTI-CORRUPTION
minister Didymus Mutasa faces stern disciplinary action from Zanu PF and
possible arrest after being implicated in acts of violence against a party
rival vying for his seat in Makoni North.
Mutasa could be taken to court
to answer charges of public violence and destruction of property, police
sources said. Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri recently said police
would deal with anyone involved in violence regardless of
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena this week said the findings
of police investigations had been submitted to the Attorney-General's Office
which will decide on prosecution.
"We don't discuss our
investigations or findings. We submit them to the AG's office because it is
part of the court process. The suspected people will be called to answer
charges against them," he said.
Sources in the ruling party said
President Robert Mugabe recently told a politburo meeting that he was not
happy with reports of intra-party violence ahead of primary elections.
Mugabe, the sources said, ordered a full investigation of the clashes in
Mutasa's Makoni North constituency. The culprits could face stern
State media reports at the weekend said police
had found that Mutasa had a case to answer over the violent incident in
which a rival candidate in Zanu PF primary elections, James Kaunye, was
beaten up by the minister's supporters. Mutasa three weeks ago confirmed to
the Independent that his supporters assaulted Kaunye because he was trying
to invade his constituency.
Mutasa has publicly said he wants to
be one of the two vice-presidents. Until he was implicated in the Makoni
violence, he was named as one of those vying to replace the late
vice-president Simon Muzenda.
Zanu PF Women's League heavyweight
Joyce Mujuru and ruling party secretary for administration Emmerson
Mnangagwa are also possible candidates for the position which should be
filled during the party's congress in December. Mnangagwa, who is also
speaker of parliament, was initially considered the favourite until Mujuru
emerged as a contender.
Mutasa, a former speaker of parliament, has
been an MP since 1980 and is one of the few remaining veteran ministers. He
was recently involved in a scuffle in parliament with MDC MP Roy
Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland Mark Madiro this week said
the party leadership in the province was investigating the violence in
"There have been investigations into the violence and the
matter is now being looked into by the party's disciplinary committee. We
want to avoid the recurrence of such incidents which tarnish the image of
the party," Madiro said.
Mutasa last month confirmed that he had
paid bail for 31 of his supporters who had been arrested after they
allegedly attacked Kaunye. Mutasa currently holds the seat.
week Mutasa refused to comment on the matter, saying "it is before the
courts and police are involved".
Sweden may resume bilateral aid to Zim Staff
Writer SWEDEN could soon normalise bilateral relations with Zimbabwe if its
parliament, the Riksdag, adopts a new policy on equitable global
Sweden was the first Western country to suspend
bilateral cooperation with the government in 2001 to protest the systematic
political repression and human rights abuses.The Swedish Foreign Affairs
ministry this week said the new policy proposals aim to contribute to
equitable global development.
"We cannot give support with one hand
while building up obstacles with the other, all policies must aim in the
same direction," Carin Jamtin, Minister for International Development
Cooperation, said in a statement this week.
"The key to success in
the fight against poverty is that all policies, not just development
assistance, contribute to equitable development."
If Sweden resumes
bilateral aid to Zimbabwe, the decision would be helpful to the poor in view
of current official attempts to curtail non-governmental organisations'
activities which have bailed out thousands from hunger and abject
Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Kristina Svensson, said her
country would not abandon the people of this country. She said the move
shift by her embassy from town to spacious offices in Avondale was proof
that her country wanted to continue working with the people of
"I sincerely hope that we soon will be back to a normalised
relationship where our two governments cooperate and we can intensify our
support to Zimbabwe," said Svensson.
"My government will not
abandon the people of Zimbabwe. The newly renovated chancery in Avondale is
proof of this."
Sweden and other 24 European Union (EU) countries
have imposed targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe, government
and ruling Zanu PF officials for political repression and human rights
The sanctions were initially imposed in 2002 by the 15 EU
members before they were also adopted by the new 10 nations in the grouping.
The United States, Canada and Switzerland have also imposed smart sanctions
against Harare. This has resulted in curtailed bilateral cooperation between
Zimbabwe and Western countries.
Annan says Nepad's peer review ups aid inflows Itai
Dzamara UNITED Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan says 23 African countries
that have submitted to the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad)'s peer review mechanism are benefiting economically and in
In a Nepad assessment report released last week, Annan
said the adoption of the peer review mechanism had enabled countries
involved to access more international aid.
feature of Nepad is developing sectoral policy frameworks, implementing
specific programmes and projects and developing ways of good governance,"
"It combines articulation of policy framework on specific
issues with the implementation of programmes in sectoral priority issues,"
Annan said in his report. "The past year has been marked by progress in the
implementation of the Nepad initiative."
Annan said the
commitment of 23 African countries which have subjected themselves to
assessment on their standards of democracy, human rights, governance and
economic management by peers was a stepping-stone towards economic
Nepad was adopted by African leaders in 2001 and
includes a peer review mechanism, a voluntary process by which members agree
to subject their standards of governance and economic policies to scrutiny
by their peers.
Zimbabwe has not signed up to the peer review mechanism
and is among the countries on the continent referred to by Annan as "lagging
behind in the development initia-tive".
Annan highlighted the
role played by the UN in assisting Nepad members to realise its goals in
social and economic development.
"The UN has a key role to play in
mobilising international support to Nepad. In this regard, the
secretary-general has set up an advisory panel, consisting of 13 members, to
assist him in monitoring international support to Nepad," Annan
UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme
and the United Nations Children's Education Fund have greatly assisted in
development programmes in Nepad member nations.
Annan cited South
Africa as an example of a country which had gained a lot from international
partnerships forged through Nepad.
President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and leaders of Nigeria, Senegal,
Algeria and Egypt are the major
proponents of Nepad and its peer review mechanism.
Woza on long march against NGO Bill Loughty
Dube WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), a women's pressure group, has embarked
on a 440-km march from Bulawayo to Harare to protest against proposed
legislation to curtail the operations of non-governmental
The group said it was protesting against government's
human rights abuses and Zimbabwe's four-year political crisis.
least 30 women activists left Bulawayo on Sunday and are expected
reach Harare in two weeks' time.
"We expect to be in Harare
in the coming 10 days. This march is the only way we can express our
feelings about the NGO Bill without being arrested by police for allegedly
disrupting the peace," Woza spokesperson, Jenni Williams, said in a
telephone interview from Kwekwe which the group had reached by yesterday
"There were about 30 of us when we left Bulawayo but we were
joined by about 15 other women in Gweru and we expect more women to join us
along the way," she said.
The government has in the past reacted
heavy-handedly to protest marches organised by Woza and other civic groups.
Woza members, including Williams, have been arrested several times for
taking part in protests.
Williams said her group decided to embark on
the protest march after realising that the police would crush any
demonstration in Bulawayo. In the past three weeks there has been a string
of arrests of opposition and civic leaders for allegedly holding illegal
meetings or demonstrations. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)'s Bulawayo offices were raided by police who claimed they were looking
for "subversive" material.
She said the women were determined to
express their outrage at the Bill despite the hard march.
spirits are high and we will not be deterred by anything. The walk also
seeks to raise money for women activists who are likely to lose their jobs
when government closes down some of the NGOs," she said.
groups and churches have labelled the proposed law an "overkill" which has
drawn international condemnation because of its restrictive nature.
Teachers gear up for strike Staff Writer THE
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) will meet next week to endorse a
proposed strike following the expiry last week of a 14-day ultimatum to the
government to increase teachers' salaries by 100%.
secretary-general Dennis Sinyolo would not commit himself on what action the
teachers' body would take, saying there were options they were
"It is premature for me to comment on that except to
say industrial action cannot be ruled out if there is no movement on the
government side," Sinyolo said.
"It is indeed true that teachers'
patience has been stretched to the limit and it is critical for government
to make an offer. We have requested for a 100% cost of living
Sinyolo said Zimta members would have the final
decision. He said the ultimatum expired on September 15, the same day the
Zimta executive met government officials.
He said government
announced at the meeting that it had revised housing and transport
allowances for civil servants.
He said Zimta has since asked for its
members' views on the issue.
Teachers who spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent said they were in full support of the proposed industrial
"This (strike) is the only language that government
understands," a high school teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
"If they refuse to accede to our demands then we will
definitely take to the streets. We fully support our leaders on this
It was not possible to obtain comment from Chigwedere.
Government has in the past clashed with teachers over salaries and working
On average, primary and secondary school teachers take home
between $900 000 and $1,2m a month.
The Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe has said an average family of five now needs a food basket worth
$1,4 million a month.
A strike by teachers could disrupt public
school examinations expected to commence in a fortnight.
THE cost of telephone calls has gone up astronomically
amid fears that many businesses will not be able to sustain the increases
and could be forced to close shop.
The increase has been met
with howls of outrage from both domestic consumers and business users of
telephones who are charging that the raise was not justified by either the
current rate of inflation, which has been slowing, or an improvement in the
quality of service provided.
The country's fixed telephone
operator, Tel*One, announced last week that it had increased tariffs by 275
to 385% with effect from July 21. The unit charge for a three-minute local
call increased from $120 to $585. Trunk calls will now cost $328 per minute
from the previous $120 per minute. The actual charge for trunk calls depends
on the distance between the calling and the called
Fixed calls to regional countries were increased from
$1 000 to $2 053,83 per minute. The average charge for an international call
is now $2 733 per minute.
Tel*One public relations officer,
Collin Wilbesi, said the telephone operator has been running on sub-economic
tariffs for a long time and it was necessary for businesses to charge
economic rates in order to make a profit and remain viable.
"The tariff structure (will) bring in the revenue to deliver quality
services in new lines and current maintenance," Wilbesi said. "The company
intends to further improve on customer service by ensuring immediate
response to faults, improve on call completion rates and installation of new
Wilbesi said the August telephone bill would be a
six-week cycle bill instead of the usual four-week and it will be based on
the new tariff structure. Telephone users who spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent condemned the increases as excessive.
it would have been fairer to the telephone-using public for Tel*One to have
engaged independent consultants to examine the impact of various price
changes rather than relying on the obviously self-servicing approach that
the company took," Shingai Moyo of Mufakose, said. "Owning a telephone will
soon be a luxury we cannot afford."
A business executive who
declined to be named said the increase in telephone charges would have a
domino effect on the economy. He said most businesses would be forced to
disconnect their telephone lines or simply fold.
Council of Consumer public relations officer, Tonderayi Mukeredzi, said the
increases would inhibit consumers from communicating.
"Increases of this magnitude deprive consumers of their right to information
as only a few previleged consumers will afford to make a call," Mukeredzi
Govt intensifies farm evictions Augustine
Mukaro GOVERNMENT has intensified the eviction of squatters who invaded
white-owned commercial farms starting in 2000 in a bid to restore order in
the agricultural sector.
Analysts said government had undermined its
desire to rectify skewed colonial land ownership patterns through partisan
politics, greed and subliminal racial hatred.
They said land
reform had destroyed a sector government itself touts as the backbone of the
economy through haphazard occupations by people who have little aptitude for
farming or have no resources to embark on commercial production. In some
cases, formerly productive farms have been turned into dustbowls, the
In the past few weeks government has evicted hundreds
of so-called model A1 farmers. Most of them were left stranded after
soldiers and police last week and earlier this week set their homes ablaze
on an estimated 21 farms along the Harare-Chinhoyi
Meanwhile, Amnesty International reports that at least 10
people have died at Porta Farm outside Harare in the past three weeks as a
result of what it alleges was the misuse of teargas by police during the
eviction of squatters.
Police spokesman Wa-yne Bvudzijena yesterday
denied the reports.
"Amnesty International is calling for a full and
independent inquiry into the deaths of at least 10 people since September 2
at Porta Farm," Amnesty said in a statement yesterday.
said: "They (Amnesty International) must give us the names instead of merely
claiming that people died. If the people died at hospital there must be a
hospital report. The law in this country bars anyone from burying the dead
without a police report. We haven't received reports that there is anyone
who died at home."
Amnesty said those who died of exposure to teargas
had pre-existing illnesses. It said on September 2 riot police, war veterans
and Zanu PF militia went to Porta Farm to evict about 10 000 squatters where
teargas was used.
A visit by the Zimbabwe Independent to five
farms in Mashonaland West - Little England, Inkomo, Newlands, Kingswood and
Sotibury - on Wednesday revealed that the evicted families were still
stranded in the open along the highway.In interviews with the Independent,
the farmers, the majority of whom seized the properties from white
commercial farmers in 2000, blamed government for encouraging farm invasions
as "legitimate demonstrations by land-hungry people".
Goodwill Zimbizi, said they were sleeping in the open and still expected
government to allocate them land elsewhere.
"Since Thursday last
week, we have been visiting Murombedzi district offices to find a solution
to this crisis," Zimbizi said.
"Land officers have asked us to
register our names and are promising that we will be allocated land
elsewhere soon," he said.
"Even if we get the land now, there is no
way we will make a meaningful contribution to production this season
considering the time needed to settle down and prepare the land," he
Zimbizi expressed fea-rs that the evicted families, especially
children, could contract diseases because there was no clean water or
sanitary facilities on their roadside settlement.
When the land
invasions began in earnest in 2000, government promised peasants that it
would send land experts to properly plan settlements on occupied farms. They
were warned, though, not to erect "permanent"
Bvudzijena on Tuesday told the Independent that the
peasants were being evicted because they had settled illegally and had been
given advance notices that they would be moved.
minister Ignatious Cho-mbo was last week reported saying the evictions were
necessary to pave way for A2 farmers with resources to utilise the land on a
commercial basis.Chombo said the government would find alternative land for
the evicted families.
There were reports this week that the crackdown
had spread to Banket, Karoi, Chinhoyi, Mhangura and Doma in Mashonaland West
province and in Lower Gweru in the Midlands province.
said government had used them.
"We are convinced that government is
now evicting us from the farms to pave way for Zanu PF officials," said
Gilbert Karima, sitting on an eviction notice in the Mhangura area.
Food supplies dwindling Loughty Dube THE Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet) and the World Food Programme (WFP)
this week warned of declining food supplies in most districts of
The groups said urban people were also facing starvation
because while food was available the prices were
The WFP's emergency report number 38 of 2004 and
FewsNet's monthly food security update released this week, expressed serious
concern about the food situation in the country.
households rely on the market to obtain their cereal needs, food security
will depend more and more on the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)," FewsNet
"However, the quantity of grain collected by the GMB as of
mid-August is insufficient to meet the needs in urban centres and rural
areas with deficit production."
The WFP said Rushinga, Lower
Guruve and some parts of the Centenary valley districts were experiencing
serious food shortages.
"In Masvingo province, reports show that food
security is better in resettled areas than in communal areas. Some major GMB
depots in the province are not selling cereal due to nonavailability," it
"In the traditionally dry Matabeleland province,
Bulilimamangwe, Lupane, Matobo and Gwanda, Tsholotsho and Nkayi reported low
availability of food."
Although inflation has now fallen to 314% from
a January peak of 623%, the groups said this was still too high.
Zim, IMF ties suffer further strain Shakeman
Mugari RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and the Bretton Woods institutions are
likely to be further strained after President Robert Mugabe apparently
declined to meet the new Inter-national Monetary Fund (IMF) managing
director, Rodrigo de Rato, recently.
Mugabe was due to meet with the
new IMF chief on the sidelines of the African Union meeting in Burkina
Faso's capital Ouagadougou on September 8. However, the Zimbabwean
delegation failed to confirm the meeting whilst the IMF team
It is not clear who had suggested the meeting but it is
understood that Mugabe had agreed in principle to meet De
"The call to confirm the meeting from the Zimbabwe side did not
come through and as a result the meeting did not take place as scheduled,"
IMF spokesman David Hawley was quoted as telling Bloomberg news
This is likely to complicate relations between the IMF and
Zimbabwe which are already frosty. Mugabe has shown deep resentment towards
the Bretton Woods institution despite efforts by Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono to mend relations with it and other multilateral
Mugabe lashed out at the IMF, accusing it of telling
lies about Zimbabwe, in his speech to the UN General Assembly on
"We plead with the IMF to stop its strange political
mouthings, lies and fabrication about our situation," Mugabe said. "Our own
regional organisations know the truth about Zimbabwe."
came barely a week after the IMF released a damning report on Zimbabwe's
economic situation. It raised grave concern over Zimbabwe's "sharp economic
The report blasted Zimbabwe for not putting concrete
measures in place to curb the economic slide. It said the current confusion
surrounding land reform was a threat to property rights and eroded investor
"More broadly, staff stressed the importance of
addressing the issue of property rights in a way that would resolve investor
confidence including observing commitments under bilateral agreements," the
It said Zimbabwe needed sound economic policies,
strengthening of the rule of law, addressing governance issues and reducing
corruption if it was to restore international support.
Zim slips in FDI rankings Eric Chiriga THE
Zimbabwean economy has been ranked 138th out of 140 countries, with an
inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Potential Index of 0,064 for the
period 2000-2002, the World Investment Report 2004 has
Zimbabwe had an inward FDI Peformance Index of 0,069 for the
period 2001-2003 as compared to Bangladesh and Haiti, which had 0,083 and
0,080 respectively in the same period, the report said.
inward FDI Potential Index is based on 12 economic policy variables and the
inward FDI Performance Index is the ratio of a country's share in global FDI
flows to its share in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
to the report Zimbabwe experienced a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow
of 2,5% of gross fixed capital formation in 2003.
The report, which
was themed "The shift towards services", said that Zimbabwe's FDI inflow had
declined to 2,5% from 3,5% in 2002.
It also said that the country's
inward FDI stocks were 15,5% of GDP in 2003 as compared to 18,5% in South
Africa and 55,2% in Zambia.
Africa as a whole experienced inward FDI
stocks of 25,3% compared to 27,0% in the previous year.
Zimbabwean FDI inflow has been dwindling with the exception of the mining
sector which remains lucrative and major foreign investment projects are
GOVERNMENT'S decision to have the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH) give coverage to opposition parties in line with regional
guidelines on the conduct of elections will not achieve much unless it is
implemented fully and fairly, analysts said this week.
parties are sceptical about government's sincerity in claiming that the
public broadcaster will give equal access to all parties ahead of next
year's elections. The opposition parties said ZBH, which has become an
instrument of Zanu PF propaganda, was likely to push the ruling party's
mantras to the exclusion of all else.
Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa last week said ZBH would be giving coverage to all political
parties ahead of next year's general election. This would be part of efforts
to reform the electoral framework to meet standards prescribed under the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) guidelines, Chinamasa
Misa-Zimbabwe legal officer, Silas Dziike, this week said the
Sadc principles on the conduct of elections cited access to the public media
by political parties as one of the most critical areas. He said there was
however no law in Zimbabwe which specifically provided for that, leaving ZBH
open to political manipulation.
One of the areas included in
clause 7:4 of the Sadc electoral guidelines is equal access to the media by
all political parties.
"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill should
have included this aspect in line with the Sadc guidelines," Dziike said.
"But it doesn't have it and the Broadcasting Services Act is silent on that
aspect. It merely deals with the technical regulations of the broadcast
media, such as regulating the airwaves.
"What we can have
therefore are bilateral agreements between ZBH and the political parties as
was the case in 2000 when ZBC came up with 10 golden rules. However, that is
prone to political manipulation," he said.
Zimbabwe Election Support
Network chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said ZBH needs to be independent and
professional in line with the recently adopted Sadc principles on
"Under normal circumstances, there shouldn't be an order
from government to the broadcaster to give balanced coverage to all
parties," he said. "The broadcasting authority must act professionally and
independently in the coverage of political parties. One of the standards in
the Sadc principles clearly states that there should be equal access to the
media by all political parties. This is therefore one of the areas that we
need to address if we are to comply with those guidelines."
board chairman Rino Zhuwarara this week said the broadcaster would wait for
a declaration by President Robert Mugabe of the election period, after which
the broadcaster would give space to contesting political
"The Broadcasting Services Act clearly stipulates how we
should do this (giving access to political parties)," he said. "That is what
we will follow."
"We will not censor anything because we are not
in the business of censorship. There is obviously the need for quality
control and we will do this in discussion and agreement with the political
parties after the president has declared the election period," he
Zhuwarara added that ZBH would be apolitical in giving coverage
to political parties as long as they stuck to their agreements with the
Zapu leader Paul Siwela doubts the
possibility of opposition parties getting unconditional access to the public
broadcaster. "What Zanu PF is likely to do is say that all opposition
parties are being allocated a certain amount of space on radio and
television but still order that the reporting be negative on our part,"
"The public media is likely to be used to set an agenda
that works in favour of Zanu PF. That is what happened in 2000 despite us
having agreed the rules of fairness and balance."
president Wilson Kumbula said ZBH would still censor material from
opposition parties. "I have just returned from Botswana where all the
political parties are getting coverage and time on national radio and
television to enunciate their policies," he said.
"Here the ZBH
will certainly be used to censor our information and material to suit the
Zanu PF agenda. As long as the public broadcaster is under the direct
control of Zanu PF we can't hope for anything better," he
Democratic Party leader Wurayayi Zembe said: "We can't be held
to ransom on this matter because under normal circumstances all parties must
enjoy unhindered access to the public media.
"We need terms which
are fair to both Zanu PF and opposition parties."
Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Welshman Ncube said rules should
be set to ensure the opposition was given the opportunity to respond to all
the allegations raised by the ruling party and vice versa, in a balanced
"We have the experience of how in 2000 and 2002 our election
material was censored and in some cases distorted whilst some of it was
denied the chance to reach the electorate despite earlier promises that we
would get balanced coverage."
Media freedom activists Article IX
say this about the role of the media in election campaigns:
role of election campaign broadcasting may be divided into three broad
categories. The first encompasses political party and candidate access to
the people through direct communications, sometimes referred to as political
"The second category includes the manner in which
the broadcast media cover candidates, parties and issues of importance to
the election in news and special information programming. The third category
concerns voter-education information regarding the voting process, voter
participation and related civic issues."
Public broadcasters in
Sadc countries like South Africa, Botswana and Zambia give wide coverage to
all contesting parties before elections. The South African Broadcasting
Corporation, for example, gave opposition parties such as the Democratic
Alliance, the Pan-Africanist Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party space on
television as well as radio to counter the campaigns of the ruling African
National Congress in general elections earlier this year.
Botswana, where a general election is set for next month, Botswana TV is
currently running programmes that accord the Botswana Democratic Party and
the Botswana National Front space to explain their policies while at the
same time responding to questions from the public. Equal coverage is also
given to the campaigns of the contesting parties.
recently adopted the international standards on access to the broadcast
media during election campaigns, created statutory instruments that compel
the Zambian National Broadcasting Company to give equal coverage and space
to all political parties.
Homelink initiative been as successful as officialdom would like us to
believe? A document prepared by the central bank to help governor Gideon
Gono to answer questions from the parliamentary portfolio committee on the
Budget, Finance and Economic Development this week is revealing. It paints a
not-so-rosy picture of the forex transfer scheme.
The Gono document
which his office volunteered to us this week says since January 1, Homelink
has brought in US$36 million which translates to 3% of the global foreign
currency figure of US$1,2 billion for the same period.
importantly however, is another revelation contained in the Homelink press
supplement in which its publicity committee chairman, businessman Herbert
Nkala, said 60-70% of Zimbabwean adults who should constitute the productive
sector are living abroad.
Diabolical? But Nkala's guestimate should
not be doubted because he tells us that it is a "scientific
"The most scientific estimate we have of the number of
Zimbabweans living abroad is 3,4 million," he said. "This represents 25% of
the last national census figure."
"When you take into account
that at least 50% of the population is under the age of 15 and the number of
children who have retired, you are left with the inescapable conclusion that
between 60% and 70% of Zimbabwean adults in their productive years are
living abroad," he said.
Nkala tells us that the large cross-border
population told the Homelink team on its globetrotting mission in May and
June that they wanted to participate in the economy's
"They also confirmed that they will send money through
Homelink," Nkala told us.
That is not all. Nkala said 50% of
diasporans in the United States and the United Kingdom each sends home an
average of US$200 a month. A conservative figure of a million diasporans
sending money home every month should bring Zimbabwe US$200 million a
To be even more circumspect, a quarter of that amount would be
enough to finance monthly fuel and electricity imports.
living abroad are yet to translate their enthusiasm and support of Homelink
into huge remissions.
Nkala said people in the diaspora were sending
money home through other means - a more honourable way of describing the
black market - which unfortunately is finding its feet again. That the RBZ
team on its roadshow was "overwhelmed by the desire by the diasporans to
send money through Homelink" is a political statement which does not reflect
the reality in the central bank's coffers. Indeed, it tells us something of
the delusional thinking that characterises much of the
Homelink has brought in US$36 million and not the hundreds of
millions "overwhelmed" Nkala was promised during his junket in Europe.
Remember boss Gono has said "failure is not an option".
document is revealing in as far as it rubbishes the propaganda in the RBZ's
Homelink supplement. There was no real "overwhelming" response to Homelink
other than from perhaps those who attended expensive parties in Atlanta,
London and Johannesburg.
"Every picture (in the supplement) tells a
story," it declares.
The 3,4 million Zimbabweans in the diaspora who
Nkala tells us would like to "invest their money to boost Zimbabwe's
economy", will not be doing so soon as long as they do not support the
system of governance at home.
If each one of them brought in US$100 a
month through the formal monetary structures, the amount of just US$340
million would surpass forex receipts from exports. Since January, exports
proceeds, which constitute the largest chunk of forex inflows, have brought
in US$745 million - that is about US$83 million a month. Gold is bringing in
an average US$25 million monthly. Not very overwhelming is
The subterfuge built around the numbers game is key to ensuring
that the world regards Zimbabwe as a country on the firm road to recovery.
That is the reason why the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has told us that the
country has produced 2,4 million tonnes of maize. The parastatal failed to
produce tangible evidence to support this when it appeared before a
parliamentary portfolio committee recently.
GMB boss Samuel
Muvuti this week said 300 000 tonnes of maize had already been collected and
a balance of between 500 000 and 750 000 would be collected before the end
of the year. The parastatal, we are told, is collecting between 20 000
tonnes and 30 000 tonnes of maize every week.
At a collection rate of
30 000 tonnes a week the maximum that would be collected by December is less
than 400 000 tonnes. But grain-marketing trends show that communal farmers
producing most of the grain sell their crop before the onset of the rains to
raise money for inputs. There are no huge grain sales between December and
March. Muvuti would want us to believe that the peak marketing period has
shifted to the end of the year. Another invention of the Third
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DEVELOPMENTS on farms north-west of Harare in the past three
weeks have exposed the other face of the Zanu PF government, or rather the
more familiar one. Supporters who have been squatting on Little England and
Inkomo farms were forcibly evicted after more than four years of
The farms were designated A2, they were told, so they had
no business being there. Their contribution to the Third Chimurenga was
over. Thank you and goodbye. As an incentive to relocate, their huts were
Torched in the early hours of the morning, not all managed to
salvage their household belongings. Domestic animals such as cattle, goats
and sheep were reportedly stolen as their owners were ferreted out of their
huts well before dawn.
The result has been huts and other
makeshift dwellings going up in plumes of smoke, and the displacement of
settlers, most of whom can now be seen stranded along the Chirundu highway.
Reports this week indicate that the fires are spreading and more settlers
are being displaced.
Huts on at least 20 farms between Norton and
Banket have been set ablaze so far and the scorched-earth campaign is not
over. By Tuesday it had reached Doma and Mhangura.
farmers who were told to stay put on the land, notwithstanding that their
plots were not properly pegged. The Zanu PF government even came up with the
Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act, which shielded the
settlers from eviction by white farmers who had won court
It is labouring the point even to merely state that most
of these people voted for Zanu PF in 2000 and 2002. Now most of them may not
be able to vote next year because of the latest displacements. Many face
The evictions from Little England and Inkomo farms,
making way for model A2 settlers, is intended to result in consolidated land
holdings to correct the anomalies caused by Zanu PF's fast-track land
But in correcting the anomalies four years
down the line, government should assess the damage to the environment caused
by farmers who were allowed to settle in wrong places.
squatters being removed had cleared forests - completely altering the
ecosystem in some areas, decimated game on farms, removed fences and
vandalised water infrastructure.
The Zanu PF government will not
be able to put right these huge depredations.
Then there is the
humanitarian crisis the forced evictions have spawned. Hundreds of families
were made to abandon their rural homes to push government's agenda of
driving all whites off commercial farms. Some of the settlers had invested
millions in livestock and shelter only to be told to bring down everything
overnight and go back to their original homes.
Cynics are bound to
say the euphoria of correcting historical land holding patterns fooled many
about what was essentially an election gimmick. Those so fooled should have
known better than to trust Zanu PF to live up to its promises to empower the
The sceptics certainly have a point. Like George Bush's war in
Iraq, it looks like land resettlement is far from over more than a year
after President Mugabe pronounced fast-track occupations
The chaos being created now means more disruptions to food
production amid loud complaints about lack of seed, draught power, an
uncertain rainy season and vandalised irrigation infrastructure. It looks
like those who predicted that Zimbabwe would take up to 15 years to return
to food self-sufficiency may have been over-optimistic.
being displaced today join the ranks of thousands of former farm workers
whom they displaced themselves in the name of land reform. We have come full
cycle and the big fish who have always been eating can now safely occupy all
the choice farms without too much effort.
Those war veterans who
tried to occupy Chief Fortune Charumbira's farm in Masvingo know Zanu PF's
true colours. At the end of the day it doesn't matter whether you call
yourself a war veteran or a Border Gezi graduate. Once Zanu PF has
accomplished its mission it will discard you like a banana peel.
Unfortunately it has used the same strategy since Independence without some
people learning a thing.
It is pointless for government to now say
that it wants to allocate land to those who have the resources to utilise
it. That was the point made by those who warned of chaos. It was the point
made at the 1998 donors' conference about poverty alleviation with equity.
Those who opposed the fast-track approach argued that large-scale commercial
farms were being subdivided into subsistence plots when the country was in
dire need of increased exports to aid economic recovery.
to say such arguments were dismissed as unpatriotic and inspired by Tony
Blair's puppets keen to reverse land reform.
They were vindicated by
the Utete audit, which exposed anomalies and inappropriate land use.
Reversing the process is going to inflict considerable suffering on those
villagers who never thought government would betray their trust nearly five
years later. They should have listened more closely when Elliot Manyika sang
in Nora that "Zanu deyekushupika".
ZIMBABWE has now been in a foreign exchange crisis for more
than 42 years! It was on February 14 1962 (St Valentine's Day!) that the
government, through the Reserve Bank, introduced exchange controls because
of the imbalance between the country's foreign exchange inflows and
The negative balance of payments which rapidly developed
after the 1960 decision to dissolve the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
was becoming catastrophically greater, forcing the government of the day to
take the drastic action of regulating all foreign currency outflows,
concurrently with strenuous efforts, reinforced by law and regulation, to
ensure the inflow of all export proceeds and other foreign currency
With a view to minimising outflows of the scarce foreign
exchange resources, the authorities resorted to numerous strategies, one of
the foremost being focused upon the establishment of industries to produce
goods which would otherwise have to be imported. And this strategy was
vigorously intensified after the government of the day embarked upon its
foolhardy Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on November 11
An immediate consequence of that ill-considered action was that
the United Nations, at the request of the then colonial power, the United
Kingdom, imposed severe international trade sanctions upon Rhodesia, now
Zimbabwe. The government arrogantly tweaked its nose at the international
community, and set about innumerable methods of circumventing those
sanctions or, at the least, minimising them.
One of those methods
was perceived to motivate industry to engage substantively in import
substitution, whereby products previously imported would be locally
manufactured, thereby reducing the demands upon available foreign currency,
while concurrently other economic benefits - such as employment creation -
would be realised.
It cannot be denied that some very significant
successes were achieved, such as the establishment of several motor vehicle
assembly plants and some substantial manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, among
The fact that the costs of production were immensely
greater than the landed cost of equivalent imported products was considered
to be irrelevant, for the import substitution assured product availability,
notwithstanding the almost universally applied trade
Understandably, cost was a very secondary consideration to
availability. The higher costs were due to diverse factors, including those
occasioned by the need to circumvent sanctions in order to obtain necessary
However, the greatest contributant to the greater costs
applicable to the domestic production, as compared to imports of like
products, was that the country could not achieve economies of scale. The
size of the domestic market, and other factors, minimised volumes of
production as compared to the volumes produced by factories in other
Thus, for example, the total production of all our motor
vehicle assembly plants in one year was less than the production of some of
Japan's leading motor vehicle manufacturers in one day! Such a production
disparity unavoidably created such a production cost disparity, but the
higher cost was considered acceptable as the local production of goods,
which would otherwise have to be imported, markedly negated the
effectiveness of the trade sanctions. Concurrently the oppressed economy
enjoyed the ancillary benefits of the local production
After UDI came to an end and an independent Zimbabwe came
into being, the trade sanctions against the country were lifted. However,
despite the import substitution and other measures that had prevailed during
the almost 15 years of UDI, the economy was a very emaciated one,
necessitating a continuance of exchange controls.
As a result,
the government continued to extol the virtues of import substitution, and
has done so throughout the 24 years of Zimbabwe's Independence. However, in
the past almost a year, its calls upon commerce and industry to intensify
import substitution has - alongside pleas for increased export performance -
been one of the mainstays of the drive by the government and the Reserve
Bank to counter the ongoing balance of payments deficits which so very
severely constrain the economy.
Regrettably, the focus upon import
substitution is excessive, being almost to the exclusion of other
methodologies as could address Zimbabwe's foreign exchange and other
economic needs.Although import substitution should be constructively pursued
wheresoever it can be achieved without prejudice to, or to the benefit of,
the consumer, pursuing import substitution in instances which exacerbate the
final cost is counterproductive to the economy, even if some saving in
foreign currency utilisation is achieved.
Even more regrettable is
that the emphasis upon import substitution has, to some considerable degree,
diverted attention from another economically beneficial measure, and that is
to maximums upon value-addition to Zimbabwean
Zimbabwe has the productive capacity for a wealth of
primary products. These range from many, varied agricultural products such
as cotton, timber, fruits and vegetables, poultry and meats to numerous
minerals, precious and semi-precious stones and the like. Without
endeavouring to enumerate all of the latter, some of the foremost are
asbestos, platinum, iron ore, bauxite, gold, diamonds and emeralds, to name
but a few.
However, the bulk of these very valuable primary products
are exported in their foundling state, either subjected to no processing
whatsoever, or to very little processing. Instead, the products are exported
in their original procurement condition, inclusive of all attendant
Although in no manner the only one of such products, cotton is
a prime example. Based upon most recently available data, Zimbabwe currently
produces a cotton crop of approximately 350 000 tonnes. Of this, an
estimated approximately 250 000 tonnes is exported with the only
value-addition being ginning.
Between 20 000 and 50 000 tonnes
are exported with some slight additional beneficiation, being in the form of
yarn, leaving only 50 000 to 80 000 tonnes being converted to fabrics and,
possibly, garments or furnishings. Similar statistics are attributable to
most other Zimbabwean primary products.
This situation suggests
that there is a crying need for Zimbabwe to engage very energetically in the
promotion of industries as would be beneficiating Zimbabwe's primary
products. The benefits of doing so would be very considerable.
the first instance, the waste content of exports would be significantly
reduced, therefore reducing transportation costs sustained without a
corresponding enhancement of earnings.
Secondly, the value
addition enables realisation of higher selling prices, thereby generating
greater foreign exchange inflows - potentially to a far greater extent than
the curtailment of foreign exchange outflows achieved by import
The beneficiation processes also involve the
establishment of new industries, and the expansion of existing ones, which
convey numerous benefits to Zimbabwe and its economy. In particular, value
addition to primary products can result in very great job creation, which is
desperatelyrequired in an economy in which more than three million of the
country's labour force are unemployed.
THE Zimbabwe Independent appears to have caused some
discomfort to the Munhumutapa Building Big-Head over its story that the MDC
will be afforded access to the public media in line with commitments made by
President Robert Mugabe in Mauritius last month.
We reported Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying ZBH would soon start allocating
political parties airtime in accordance with the Sadc requirement that all
participants in elections have equal access to the public media.
led to an eruption in the propaganda ministry with much fist-waving that
appeared as much directed against Chinamasa as the Independent.
there's such an order it must have been made by Tony Blair and is therefore
null and void," Big-Head declared with palpable anger.
not lawfully make such an order, we were lectured. He merely repeated the
legal position contained in the Broadcasting Services Act that political
parties have reasonable access to the public media.
"Never" would Blair
be given access to the media, we were firmly told.
This sounded very
much like giving a dog a name and beating it. Are parties to be denied media
space on the grounds that Zanu PF has childishly labelled them pro-this or
What was significant for us was the reference to Chinamasa
being the predictable source of "this inane story". The accusation reminded
us of the official fury that followed our interview with Vice-President
Joseph Msika who referred to "immoral little boys" involved in the Kondozi
John Nkomo has also faced similar attacks from the same
On this occasion we are accused of stealing the story
from the public media. Lifting the story from Newsnet and making it a
front-page story was "a first in the history of desktop journalism in
Zimbabwe", we were told.
In fact our reporter spoke to Chinamasa on
Wednesday evening. Our story was based on his remarks to us, not something
he might have said on TV. The frenzied denials coming from ZBH this week
suggest the Mauritius terms are by no means settled government policy. And
guess who's trying to block them?
Uncle Joe Stalin's column in Moyo's
tired megaphone, the Soviet Sunday News, misses no opportunity to hurl abuse
at the Independent. But just in case readers have difficulty wading through
the juvenile name-calling that is lifted word-for-word from similar columns
in the Herald and Sunday Mail, they are treated to a repetition of the
invective in a column headed "Goings On".
The columnist, it would
appear, spends much of his working day hanging around on Bulawayo street
corners monitoring sales of the Independent. He then proceeds to insult even
those declining to buy it.
An elderly white man who, we are led to
believe, declared there was "no story there" regarding our headline on
opposition access to the public media last Friday, was described as having a
face that "seemed to narrate the tale of an Alfred Hitchcock
The author doesn't tell us which tale, but given his master's
rantings, we can safely assume he is referring to Psycho.
insight, the loitering columnist was able to report that "even the remnants
of our hated colonial past now find it useless to read Blair's toilet
What we don't understand is why the writer chose to ignore
his editor's own story in the "Goings On" column? That was a real
Hitchcockian tale of skulduggery and drama along Gwanda Road. It contained
all the inventiveness we have come to associate with state-owned Bulawayo
papers. But for some reason the so-called Sunday News omitted it.
was so busy attacking the Independent for carrying what it claimed were
false reports that it missed the charge of false reporting going on right
under its nose!
And we were interested to note that the wildly
inaccurate and no longer used figures of 300 000 resettled A1 farmers and 54
000 A2 farmers that the propaganda department had been hawking prior to the
Utete Report have resurfaced from the paper's Special Projects
Let's hope "special projects" don't include smuggling such
discredited statistics into Bulawayo papers!
Sunday News reporters could usefully be doing when hanging around on street
corners is monitoring sales of The Southern Times. After all, this is a
paper that shares their bankrupt ideology. And it claims to have a regional
Last weekend this comprised a front-page story on child
soldiers in the DRC, an interview with Sam Nujoma about his dream for a
United States of Africa, a huge feature on elephants (and why they must be
shot) and remarks by Jonathan Moyo on the "need for region to tell its own
On the editorial page was an article headed "Mugabe indeed one of
the greatest Africans of all time".
So the people who sponsor this
achingly dull, utterly predictable publication, which actually makes the
Sunday News look interesting, have been devoting acres of space to
rubbishing the Independent while doing nothing to improve their own
And regional "allies" are unlikely to be impressed with barbs of
this sort from Southern Times writers: "While other African leaders -
including those enjoying celebrity status for perceived heroism - sit on
time bombs by ignoring the land question in their countries, Mugabe will go
down in story and song as one of the bravest sons of Africa."
song might that be: "Old Sabina had a farm."?
We found the advertising
content significant. There were two ads from Namibia, one being the Namibian
Ministry of Finance. The rest were from Wankie Colliery, Native Investments
Africa Group (including a picture of the shoes that once served as wages)
Better-informed readers will quickly get the Wankie
(Chimanimani) connection. And our theory about Philip Chiyangwa being roped
into Big-Head's self-aggrandising project has now been confirmed. But the
paper will have to do better than this if it's to sell.
burning the midnight oil trying to think up Form II "jokes" like "British
Satanic Apartheid Press" (yes, seriously, that's the best they can do and
they evidently haven't said to their readers: "Stop me if you've heard
it"!), the sponsors of this latest misuse of public funds need to devote
more time to making their own "special projects" more interesting.
week Muckraker expressed dismay at political comment being smuggled into the
Herald's court reports. There was another shocking example this week when
something was tacked on to a report headed "Judgement date for Tsvangirai
set". At the end, the court reporter managed to squeeze this in: "President
Mugabe won the election after defeating Tsvangirai with a wide margin, but
the opposition leader and the party's Western allies have refused to accept
the results, claiming the poll was rigged. But the election was hailed as
free and fair by observers from most African countries, the Third World, and
those from Russia and China."
In a court report!
Don't we recall
those involved in setting up the Media and Information Commission claiming
it would uphold professional standards in the media?
Gideon Gono told
the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic
Development this week that "some stakeholders wanted the central bank to
implement policies that were well-documented in academic books written by
economists but this was not possible as the RBZ had resolved to apply
home-grown policies to turn around the economy".
This is nonsense of
course and he knows it. Which home-grown policies can he name that have
succeeded? What happened to Nerp, Merp and Vision 2020? Were they not
What we want are policies that work. Gono certainly won't
find them from his friends in Zanu PF. Perhaps he should start reading some
He referred to China "where the economy was growing
tremendously because of the application of home-grown policies".
fact China's economy is booming precisely because it has abandoned the
policies that Zimbabwe's leadership is still clinging to.
stop playing to the political gallery and tell it straight. We are not going
to turn around anything until we have turned out those who, having
devastated commercial agriculture and started fighting among themselves over
the spoils, are now setting their sights on plundering the mining
Someone should help Lowani Ndlovu. He is livid about the
speck in UN secretary-general Kofi Annan's eye but blind to the log in his
own. Annan's crime was that he, according to Lowani, belatedly declared
illegal the British and American invasion of Iraq.
not bother debating the illegality or otherwise of the Iraqi invasion. Nor
respond to the silly suggestion that the Zimbabwe Independent should have
made Annan's comments our lead story last week.
But to claim that Annan's
silence was "unAfrican" is most strange to say the least. That criminal
African silence has been the bane of the continent for years. That is why we
had disasters like the famine in Ethiopia in 1984 that killed millions. It
was only exposed by Western media when it was already too late.
Lowani not tell us nobody knew about it. We nearly had a similar disaster
here a few years back when Agriculture minister Joseph Made claimed the
country had a "bumper harvest" when in fact there was a serious cereal
It was the same criminal African silence that allowed
the genocide in Rwanda to happen in 1994. Radio stations and other
state-owned media were allowed to spread hate propaganda the same way state
media in Zimbabwe were encouraged to publish editorials like "Hit them hard"
when the government was carrying out genocide in Matabeleland and the
Midlands in the 1980s.
Over 20 000 people were killed in what President
Mugabe now admits was "an act of madness that should not be repeated" yet
when it happened between 1983 and 1987 the likes of Lowani were silent about
the wanton massacre of civilians.
They were equally complicit in the
violence that preceded the parliamentary election in 2000 and the
presidential poll in 2002. While the rest of the country was low on food
they were not ashamed to go shopping in South Africa. What a true African
It is the same criminal silence that has seen the likes of
Archbishop Pius Ncube being subjected to weekly attacks in the public media
for questioning government figures on the food situation in the country. If
Ncube hasn't got precise figures for those starving etc, it is in part
because the government itself is secretive about the truth. That is if it
has any figures at all. Ncube has also condemned the abuse of youths by
politicians while pretenders to the faith claim Mugabe was sent by God to
Incidentally, while Lowani was wasting space
telling us how touched he was by what's going on in Iraq, he didn't say a
word about the lead story in the same Sunday Mail in which a senior
government minister is being investigated by the police for causing havoc in
Makoni North. Police want to find out Hurricane Didymus's role in what
commissioner Augustine Chihuri last week described as the use of youths by
politicians "as canon fodder". How hypocritical can one
Talking of hypocrisy, Lowani reserved his bitterest attack for
US secretary of state Colin Powell who has refused to indulge Lowani's fancy
by ignoring his taunts for America to invade Zimbabwe. Lowani says Powell
should not seek to avert the imminent tragedy in Sudan's Darfur region
because he didn't stop the Iraq invasion. What Powell sees in Sudan, says
Lowani, he should have seen in Iraq.
"The brutalised human beings in
Iraq are not different from the brutalised human beings in Sudan. Human
beings are human beings wherever they are found," declares Lowani, trying to
make a very banal truism sound like some profound discovery. But that is not
the most criminal part of Lowani's mentality. The tragedy is his insinuation
that nothing should be done to stop the unfolding disaster in Darfur because
nothing was done to stop the Iraq invasion. That notwithstanding the fact
that many countries opposed that invasion.
In short he wants
another genocide in Sudan so that he has more ammunition to hurl at Annan.
It's another plea for unAfrican silence from Lowani in Darfur! What are some
one million black Africans worth, his warped logic suggests, compared to a
few Arab fanatics slaughtering each other daily in the name of killing Bush?
When some 800 000 black Africans slaughtered each other in Rwanda did the
Organisation of African Unity do anything? Why should the African Union act
differently in Darfur?
According to Lowani Africans are wastable,
never mind the numbers. The duty of humanity is to protect Arab oil from
Western plunder. Sudan's Janjaweed militia are the untouchables, Lowani's
answer to American hegemony!
But we did enjoy the attempt by Lowani
to deflect attention by pretending mafikizolo now refers to Tony Blair and
George Bush. No, that won't wash. We use the term advisedly to describe
those who want to cry louder than the grieved, those who want to sound more
Zanu PF than its founders, those who looted more than one farm and won't
heed the president's exhortation to surrender the extra land. It's that
Readers may recall that last week we mentioned one
Goodson Nguni whom we said could not differentiate between the MDC and Tony
Blair. Now a reader has responded by letting it be known that Nguni is in
fact a fugitive from justice in South Africa where he allegedly defrauded
the SA post office where he worked.
The reader says they
witnessed SA's top investigations agency, the Scorpions, attach Nguni's
property at his home in East London just after he fled to Zimbabwe. His
helpless wife or girlfriend had to hand over keys to a Mercedes-Benz bought
by the proceeds of Nguni's alleged scam, the reader says.
scorcher: "He (Nguni) now seeks the protection of Robert Mugabe's regime by
pretending to be its vociferous supporter."
He is not alone in that.
He has seen the trick working before! Another mafikizolo joins
Under the Surface this week described the MDC official in
Murehwa, Peace Banza, as "stubborn" because he had defied the party's orders
not to participate in a local council election. "He is causing untold
headaches to his embattled party," Cde Under enthused as he sank under a
personal illusion. "He has defied his party's ill-advised decision not to
participate in any election and it looks like he won't be
This was despite registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede placing an ad
in the Herald last week to announce that Peace Banza had withdrawn his
It's bad enough to mix journalism and propaganda. It's worse
when you are also blind. Cde Under would not let facts get in the way of his
theory of a party divided against itself. This theory has failed to work
with Job Sikhala in St Mary's. But that doesn't stop Cde Under plugging away
at it every week.
Finally, as we are often accused of saying
nothing positive about President Mugabe and his government, we will let
those who see light at the end of the tunnel have the last word. This
appeared in the Sunday Mail last weekend:
"The country's economy, which
has been on a recovery path since the beginning of the year and whose
improvement has received applause from several international economic
institutions, is set for a major boost before the end of the year as the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade has started inviting
applications for the $200 billion Industry Revival Fund."
Govt closes in on mining sector Godfrey
Marawanyika/Eric Chiriga THE Mining and Minerals Act is being amended to
accommodate an empowerment clause which will require foreign investors to
cede a significant shareholding to indigenous people.
President Robert Mugabe said government would demand a 50% shareholding in
all mining investments.
A draft of the amendment has already been
circulated to mining representatives.
The latest development
comes in the wake of concerns by government that mining firms are not doing
enough to empower Zimbabweans.
Currently the statute allows for only
a 15% shareholding to be reserved for locals.
Chamber of Mines
chief executive officer, David Murangari, said a copy of the draft
amendments had been sent to them.
"One of the major changes in the
amendments is to include a clause on empowerment. There is no specific
clause on what sort of percentage but this has to go through parliament
during the current session," he said.
"Once the amendments have been done
it will become public knowledge."
Last week Mugabe said government was
going to demand a 50% stake in all mines.
Murangari said since
government had not officially communicated to them on increasing the 15%
stake to 50%, he could not comment.
Most of Zimbabwe's mining firms
are owned either wholly or partially by multinational companies that include
Anglo American Corporation, Ashanti Goldfields, Rio Tinto and Mwana
Some of the locally-owned mines are Makwiro Platinum,
formerly Broken Hill Proprietary, and mines owned by the Zimbabwe Mining
Zimbabwe's Labour and Economic Research
Institute director, Godfrey Kanyenze, said the contribution of the mining
sector to both gross domestic product and employment had steadily declined
"In 1980 mining contributed 8,8% towards GDP, by 1990 the
figure had declined to 4,4%. In 2002 the sector contributed 1,4% to GDP," he
"The sector employed 6% of total formal sector employment, but by
1990 this had declined to 4,3% before hitting 0,8% by the year
Kanyenze said the depreciation of the local currency in the
1990s resulted in soaring inputs costs, 40% of them imported, which resulted
in a number of workers losing their jobs.
He said their research
into the state of the mining sector had revealed that when Mhangura Copper
Mine closed 1 300 people lost their jobs.
Kanyenze said retrenchments
had also affected foreign-owned firms such as Anglo American.
Zim banks unsafe - IMF Godfrey Marawanyika THE
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed concern over the country's
banking sector, which it says is a credit risk.
Analysts say this means
that incidents of bad debt in the financial sector are high.
IMF's comments reflect the persistent macroeconomic instability which in the
past four years has accounted for a 30% decline in gross domestic product
and eroded traditional sources of income for the sector.
In a 50-page
Staff Report released last Friday as part of the Article IV July visit, the
fund said the value of banking sector assets had declined in real terms by
40% as of the end of last year.
"Stress tests indicate that the
Zimbabwean banking system is most vulnerable to credit risk, but it is
practically immune to changes in the exchange rate as net open positions in
foreign exchange are small," the IMF said.
The report, however, said
local banks continued to show remarkable resilience in the face of adverse
The IMF said non-performing loan ratios
in the financial sector were low at 5% as of the end of last year, which
reflects a largely negative real interest rate.
problems in the banking sector in the next 6-12 months cannot be ruled out.
Loan performance is likely to deteriorate if the concessional facilities are
curtailed and the general interest rate structure is rationalised," the IMF
"These pressures will need to be carefully monitored and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should be ready to deal with possible failures of
individual institutions and avoid systemic risks. In particular, it is
essential that provisioning and capital adequacy be monitored on a
continuous basis and prudential norms enforced."
NSSA bosses keep parly guessing Shakeman
Mugari NATIONAL Social Security Authority (NSSA) board chairman, Edwin
Manikai, this week failed to appear before a Parliamentary Public Accounts
Committee where he was expected to answer searching questions over the
operations of the authority.
The committee, chaired by Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said acting
general manager, Amod Takawira, also failed to turn up to the
The two had been summoned before the committee to give a
detailed account of NSSA's operations which have been a subject of public
Manikai was said to be in South Africa. Takawira, who has
been acting for the past four years, was said to be on leave. Also
unavailable was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social
Welfare, Lancaster Musaka, who was also said be on
Instead, NSSA and the ministry sent Takawira's assistant and
the acting permanent secretary respectively.
committee dismissed the two junior officials and demanded to talk to
Manikai, Takawira and the secretary.
"We said we wanted to speak to
the chairman, permanent secretary and the general manager who has been there
for the past four years," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga. The meeting was
postponed to next week.
The committee wanted NSSA management to
clarify its financial statements for 2002, which have been completed by the
She said they wanted the authority to give a detailed
account of their spending, policies and operations.
"We want to
scrutinise their report and financial accounts because there has been a
public outcry over their operations," she said. The committee wanted to find
out if NSSA was following procedures in its investment of taxpayers'
New statutory instrument threatens production
capacity Conrad Dube THE recently gazetted statutory instrument which
allows government to take over companies indebted to it, will further reduce
Under the new Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) Act (Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies)
Regulations 2004 gazetted two weeks ago, the state can convert into equity
debt owed by a private company if there is evidence the company is unable to
Industry production capacity is currently 40% and
industrialists say the instrument will drive away much-needed foreign direct
investment. The instrument is a direct attack on efforts to rebuild
confidence and trust in the business environment, analysts
The government has so far taken over Mutumwa Mawere's Shabanie
Mashava Mines under the new law.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce president Luxon Zembe said the worst fears of business are that the
instrument is in the wrong hands and is likely to be used as a tool to take
over competitors assets on the pretext that they owe
"This is a dangerous statutory instrument which we as a
business group will strive to make sure is repealed. The instrument will be
used by predators in government who are supposed to be custodians of the law
to send tremors to targeted business entities and this is not good enough to
attract investment," said Zembe.
The instrument kills the spirit
of entrepreneurship and will drive away potential
Zembe said the statutory instrument was designed with a
bias towards particular entities and was likely to be used against
government critics whose companies owe the government. He said the
instrument was vague in terms of its application and criteria used to
determine the level of indebtedness which might be described as being beyond
the entity's ability to repay. He said the instrument was also not clear on
the level of debt which would lead to government taking over the company or
what period that debt may have been outstanding.
Zembe, should avoid double standards in its operations and policies. He said
the government gave billions of dollars to new farmers who are struggling to
pay but it had not taken over their farms.
The government last year
disbursed over $60 billion to new farmers through Agribank but the new
farmers have so far failed to pay back these loans due to a failed
Zembe said companies would resist any forms of government
assistance even facilities such as the RBZ's productive sector finance
scheme. The phobia, said Zembe would lead to companies becoming content with
current production capacity and it kills the desire to expand. He said this
would lead to retrenchments and closures.
concentrate on creating a conducive environment for business and not on
taking over companies. They should find ways to help improve production
capacity and re-engineer failing businesses," Zembe said.
experiences have shown that government is not a good business manager.
Parastatals are in a rundown state with most of them facing imminent
collapse. Most of the parastatals have not published audited accounts for
more than five years but they continue to receive aid from the
Farms that were taken over by Agricultural and Rural
Development (Arda) are derelict as the parastatal has no capacity to fully
utilise these farms. National Railways of Zimbabwe has failed to resuscitate
its ageing signalling system, while Zesa is failing to expand electricity
supply due to capacity constraints at its Hwange and Kariba Power
Chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on Public
Accounts Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga sa-id the government was moving
back the hands of time by introducing legislation that brings back a command
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said government has no business
running industry but should assume the position of facilitator and
"Most countries in the world are moving away from being
command economies because how then does government regulate if it is also a
key player in the market?" she said.
the government commercialised companies like Astra Holdings but is now going
back to reclaim companies through this statutory
"Parastatals have failed to perform due to government
interference. The state is virtually defining how these institutions should
operate and also the pricing structures which are often not viable,"
TETRAD - Chinese imports hamper Number 1 Stores By
Admire Mavolwane THE growing dominance of Chinese exports has become an issue
of major concern to investment analysts and economists all over the
China last year recorded a GDP growth rate of an average 9%,
quarterly year on year, making it the fastest growing economy. Although it
has slowed down to an average growth of 6%, this is still high when compared
to the rest of the world. China is one of the few countries with a positive
balance of payments and enjoys a trade surplus with a number of countries
including the United States.
The comparative advantage the
country has is a large pool of hard-working cheap labour, no World Trade
Organisation restrictions because the country is not yet a member, and an
undervalued currency that has been kept "deliberately" so in order to
enhance export competitiveness.
One positive impact that rapid
Chinese economic growth has had is the surge in industrial metals
On the debit side, however, has been the number of job losses
that have been incurred in countries like South Africa and the US although
the Congress denies it, as a result of Chinese imports that have flooded
these countries. The undervaluation of the yuan is a double-edged sword as
it both encourages exports and makes imports into China uncompetitive.
Unofficial estimates from South Africa indicate that cheap Chinese imported
clothing now accounts for over 56% of the domestic market
According to the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union,
textile imports in 2003 alone rose by 73% and 20 000 jobs were
Zimbabwe has in the past couple of months also been inundated
by these cheaper Chinese imports which are selling at give-away prices when
compared with locally manufactured apparel. Calls for the government to
intervene and protect the industry by way of charging restrictive import
duties, have in the past gone largely unheeded.
The influx of
imports into South Africa started in 2001 and only now are the authorities
considering the imposition of tariffs, which may be a little too late. We
hope our government has learnt a lesson from our neighbour as to the effect
of procrastinating on such matters.
Whilst accurate and current
statistics are not available (a real weakness in this country as a whole)
regarding the number of jobs lost in this sector, there is no doubt that
some sort of downsizing has been implemented in the industry. Conclusions on
the impact of the cheap imported merchandise can however be drawn from the
year-end results to June of Truworths, which we shall review this
Net turnover for Truworths increased by 643% to $82 billion, as
Truworths Ladies and Topics traded strongly throughout the year, whilst
Truworths Man was hampered by the inability to restock due to unavailability
of foreign currency to fund imports.
Number 1, the cash chain
targeted at the lower end of the market, was the
one directly affected by
cheaper imports and as such had a difficult second half as volumes declined
by approximately 30% year on year and turnover grew by only 385%. At group
level, however, unit sales dropped by about 4% compared with the 2002/2003
Operating profit growth of a commendable 729%, to
$33,7 billion, was achieved on the back of an improvement in margins from
37% to 41%, courtesy of a changed mix in favour of higher margin sales from
Topics and Truworths.
Net finance income of $498 million was
recorded, up 211% on the 2003 figure of $161 million. The group charges
interest only on arrear debtors, and thus the inflow could be attributed not
so much to the deterioration of the debtors book, as on average over 75% of
debtors are in current as to the fact that the group was cash positive and
not geared during the year.
Attributable earnings growth at 703% to $23,5
billion was well ahead of the year on year inflation figure for June of
395%, ensuring yet another real return for shareholders.
forward, the two clothing retailers expect the government to move in and
protect their industry ahead of the festive season.
just been shown an article written recently by Dr Timothy Stamps in the
The self-serving hypocrisy of the article (including an old
photo in the best tradition of vain politicians) is perhaps well suited to
the odious publication in which the article appeared.
forgotten former Minister of Health, under whose stewardship the precipitous
decline of our health services began, attacks the international community
for denying Zimbabwe's corrupt, brutal, kleptocracy access to donor funds to
fight the Aids scourge.
I can think of no other reason for his
rambling, incoherent article other than a desire to curry favour with his
political masters and stay on the political gravy train (probably the only
fully-serviced and functioning train in Zimbabwe!)
his article with a quotation from that valiant leader of the fight against
Nazi tyranny, Winston Churchill.
I somehow doubt if Churchill were
alive today Stamps would quote what he would say about the tyranny that is
Stamps suggests that Zimbabwe is being denied access to
global funding "on purely hearsay political excuses".
seriously believe that corruption on a grand scale and the politicisation of
food aid are mere "hearsay"?
His concern for the women who will "lose
their lives because we do not have enough money to buy the special
equipment" (to diagnose and treat cervical cancer) and for those affected by
the Aids pandemic, rings rather hollow coming from a supporter of a
government whose deliberate policies have led to massive problems of
malnutrition and starvation.
Not content with beginning with a
quotation from Churchill, Stamps concludes with quotes from General William
Booth, founder of the Salvation Army and Tertullian that emphasise the need
to put service to others before self.
For good measure he
additionally quotes a hero of the American revolution, Patrick Henry: "Give
me freedom or give me death."
Doesn't Stamps see the irony of using
such quotations? Is he so blinded to the Zimbabwean reality by his life on
the gravy train that he is genuinely unaware of the essentially selfish,
self-serving nature of our freedom-denying Zanu PF government? But perhaps I
have underestimated and falsely maligned Stamps. Perhaps his quoting Henry
is a way of conveying a message to the MDC and all those brave Zimbabweans
struggling to regain their freedom.
In conclusion Stamps further
adds to my confusion as to where he really stands politically when he asks:
"Do we want the dignity of man or his depravity?"
Surely this is
a question that all those opposed to a brutal and corrupt dictatorship
I wonder if Stamps has ever asked this question of
those responsible for the many incidents of torture and human rights abuses
committed in Zimbabwe.
"We will be remembered as heroes solely by what we
have done for others, to uplift and console them," is the conclusion of
Stamps' article. Surely another subversive remark in the context of some of
Could Stamps be secretly working from within the
system to subvert it?